Thursday, December 31, 2009

The End

...of a lot of things this year. It seems time to say goodbye to a friend. It's the "end" of his life here on earth, but the beginning of his eternal rest. Please pray for him and his family.

Butch didn't have any major endings, but he didn't have any major illnesses or injuries this year!
The end of my marathon endeavors. I won't be running another marathon. Maybe I'll run another half this year, but I'm pretty sure the marathon training and run wrecked me for the Olympics, anytime soon.

It's the end of the never-ending weird weather year. We barely had a summer. I hope the winter will be mild and short and we have a refreshing, decent MN summer.

This year marked the end of a marriage in our family. It shook us to our core and seriously damaged our ability to trust. We have become much stronger through this, don't worry, but please pray for the family as we try to figure out the new "normal" and if you don't mind, pray that my brother finds a good job to support his family.

This year was the end of our 8 member family! We're working on number 9 and everything is going very well in that regard. She'll be making her appearance around April 18th.

This year has also seen the end of a two-driver-only family. Katrina got her driver's permit now and all we need are some clear roads for her to practice on, so she can get her license in the fall of 2010!

We all worked on playing guitar since last Christmas and we've all gained a TON of knowledge and ability (YAY for youtube!). For a very minimal cost, we've been able to get guitars for everyone and free lessons to each other and from the internet. I highly recommend this method of music education. When you are learning something that you love and that can be picked up relatively easily, take advantage of it! We can't afford expensive lessons for all the kids, so this was a great adventure that can last for years!

Matty became an official altar boy this year, that's something new. He RELUCTANTLY did the training and has helped for exactly ONE Mass (one more this weekend then for Anna's wedding next weekend), but it's a start and helps him to better understand the Mass and become more "church community" involved. It really helps that we seem to get totally cool priests that kid around with the kids but are completely reverent and orthodox for Masses.

It was the end of waiting for Weazy to receive our Lord in the Eucharist! She had her FHC this spring and it was a wonderful event for her. She really couldn't wait (even though I tend to want to wait until I think they're ready...she really was ready!) and got to receive with her cousins and the parish school kids.

It was the end of total homeschooling for this family. I tried Kindergarten for Bocker this year and he LOVES it. It's been getting hard to wake him up so early for the bus, but I think I'll be driving him a lot this winter, and I don't mind. It's all kindergarten at his school (public) so I like the idea of him learning the early skills from someone other than me for just a couple hours a day. Hey, it's free, right? I'll bring him back home next year, as I don't really think he'd do well at the bottom of the "pecking order" in the grade school and I think he has learned the patience to sit and do lessons now at home. I really like the primary school, though, so I'll be sending the other kids there when they are ready for Kindergarten too. Hopefully they'll all get the same teacher. I like her style.

It was the end of Mariela drawing stick persons with giant heads and spiky hair. That girl draws me at least 30 pictures a day with massive scenery and details you can not believe. I have to get my scanner fixed so I can put some of her amazing art on the art blog.

No major endings for Tommy. He's just working on all the new things like being a super football fan of the universe! He is hilarious in his knowledge of the game and excitement for it. He plunks his little body down in the crook of Matty's arm or Daddy's and watches and cheers like an old pro fan. I can't believe he'll only turn TWO this February! It seems like he's been around forever.

We ended our first year babysitting the two neighbor girls. We've had a few bumps with separation anxiety here and there, but we've really enjoyed the extra company and watching them grow along with our little ones. I think Tommy is in love with the 1 year old. He can't keep his hands or lips off of her when she comes in the morning. He loves ALL babies, of course, but, I think because she only comes a few times a week with weekend breaks, that he appreciates her more when he sees her after a long separation. It will be interesting to see how he acts with the new girl in the house! I don't know if any other girl could ever replace his "ee-yah" (what he calls the neighbor girl). I can see the future where our lives separate maybe for years and they meet again in college and realize they've loved each other all along...heehee, that would make a cute story!

Well, I'm starting to think of more and more BEGINNINGS and less endings, so I'll stop now and continue the stories in the NEW YEAR...maybe even tomorrow! Hopefully, it will be a happier, less stressful year. I don't THINK it will be, but I do hope it will be. That's all we can do, right?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December Ending

Well, with the best of intentions, I didn't make it through December with a post-a-day.

I was sick, that's my excuse. It seems like EVERYONE went through a barfing flu-type thing (at least on facebook!) so this family must have caught that virus too. I think it hit all the girls. So far, it hasn't affected any boys in the house...but I'm waiting for that other shoe to drop, as it always does.

I haven't been getting ANY sleep. I am stressed out and have a bad cold sore. I thought I was going to go into labor with the barfing I did yesterday.

The GOOD news is, Anna's wedding is next weekend! Yeeeehawwwww! We have a slight dilemma regarding the new address of our soon to be brother-in-law. The kids already have an "Uncle Matt". So far, we've been addressing the NEW Uncle Matt like this: Future Uncle Matt. Since that will no longer be applicable, we've decided we have to come up with some alternative name for him. What should it be??? "Uncle Matt 2" sounds lame. "Little Uncle Matt/Big Uncle Matt" are kind of rude sounding since both of them are pretty big but new Uncle Matt is quite tall. "Anna's Matt" just doesn't do him justice. We'll have to think on that one some more. Both of their last names sound a little goofy and not as personal, so we can't go by "Uncle (last name here)".

Okeydokey, ONE more post tomorrow for December, then I'll really try to post weekly, at least. I'll also try to scrounge up my camera (where did I leave that thing?) and post some more pictures or beg some off of Trina. I'm also going to try to record some of Matty's accomplishments on the guitar. He's really taking off with that thing. We need to find him a decent amp., though so he can shred some electric guitar for a change. I think that's where he'll really shine!

Now, I have to head out to ALDI for some groceries, even though I still feel like junkola. We have NO butter, eggs, cheese, bread, or other basics in the house. I did miss the whole week's trip last week but we filled in with holiday meals so we didn't feel the hurt until today!

Oh man, I just looked at Mariela and she has a goatee. It's purple marker colored. She's really been bored this morning and she's been using a marker to write in her workbook...and all over herself, apparently...oh, wait...some of the furniture too. It's a never ending battle around here, I tell ya. I have to go show her a mirror now. I'll try to get a picture before she gets a bath.
(used my cellphone)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wrapping Up December

Just check out Trina's blog for pics of Christmas. She might have a POC camera, but at least she can FIND hers!

It sure looks like we had a lot of presents in those pictures...wrapping paper will do that! This year we had to downsize the piles of stuff. It was a rough year (for a LOT of people, I know) but, thanks to the generosity of our families, and our understanding children, and the snowstorm that forced us to do a little more work and offered a distraction...everyone really enjoyed Christmas this year. We have each other. That's the most important thing!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


From the Talley's caringbridge for today:

Good morning,

Michael had a rough evening and night. The pain now has moved into the back of the neck radiating to the top of his head. This morning he was hitting his pillow due to the tremendous headache. We recieved orders to increase his pain
pump yesterday afternoon but the pain continues. I also have been giving him oral pain meds on the hour. Michael has been sleeping since yesterday at 10:00am. This is the only way for his body to deal with his discomfort. I have just called the nurse again.

I just spoke to the nurse regarding his pain and she said the doctor wants to transport Mike to the hospital by stretcher tomorrow morning. They would like to start him on a new IV medication that works well with his current one. He will most likely become even more sedated. If this medication controls the pain better without any other complications he may come home in three days. If he becomes worse he will remain in the hospital for his remaining days left here with us. The doctor feels this is our only shot to get better control otherwise he will be continuously trying to play catch up with his pain.
I knew he was hanging on to see Christmas with us, I was hoping he wouldn't be in so much pain.
We all received wonderful presents from him. The kids and I each got a teddy bear made out of Michael's shirts. The kids say daddy on the arm and mine said, Mike. Last night they all slept with their teddy's that smell like daddy.
Then he turned to me and said what do I give to my wife? Knowing this is the last present I give her. He handed me a necklace with a Gold heart pendent that opens for our pictures to be placed into. On the back he engraved " I will always be with you! Love Michael. The tears rolled down my checks. I can't believe with everything he has been enduring he wanted to give me one last gift. I will always treasure and wear that necklace for the rest of my life. Thank you, Honey! Last night I just layed on the bed next to him and held him tightly. I just kept asking Jesus to come and relieve his pain. I told him I will love him for eternity and I will not say goodbye. Our love has no end! Michael kept saying, it's time for me to go home. We looked at eachother then and told eachother how much we hate whats happening. That we will miss being together.

God Bless!
Love Nicole & Michael

December Spam

Man! I have been getting some WEIRD spam lately! I even got some Cyrillic spam. That was very strange.

I woke up at 3 am because Trina had Mari overnight in her room and needed me to come and get her. Trina had been throwing up. I think it might have been some questionable meatballs. I don't eat meatballs anymore (unless I make them, myself) since the whole "went into labor with Niklaus" incident of 2003.

I also had another crazy dream.

I flew to England (Boy! Were my arms TIRED! ba dum, ching) and met my sweet friend, Antonia! I was there with my mom and I think Trina was there with me. We were in her kitchen, doing some cooking and I was trying to figure out why her butter (which I was cutting, for some reason) was making noise. She laughed and asked why we thought it was so strange. I figured out that all butter in England had internal graters and I just couldn't figure out how to shut it off. Why I'd want grated butter, I'll never know.

Her husband walked in with their son, Joey and a friend. I couldn't believe that Joey was almost as tall as me (10 years old?) and I said "It's just WRONG that he's almost bigger than me!". I resisted the urge to talk to him like he was a baby or to grab him and hug him. He looked mildly amused by me but then went to go hang out with his friend, like most 10 year olds would. I was just happy to be there, visiting with Antonia. We sat and chatted about how long we'd known each other. I said, "I'm pretty sure it was 1999 when we first 'met' on the blogs." but that didn't make any sense at all, since I've only been blogging since about 2005! I did remember that it was shortly after they got married that we became friends. I was very surprised to find myself there, in her actual kitchen and country and didn't remember getting there. It was a pleasant, wonderful feeling to have a "free" visit (even if I sort of knew it was a dream) and we just enjoyed the time.

(Do do do, do do do, do do do...wavy lines...back to the real world!)
I think I had that dream because I was telling someone about Antonia and how she got to meet the Pope while she was in her wedding dress. Also, the Holy Father got knocked down at midnight Mass and I automatically think of Antonia when I think of him..."Joey" is Joseph Benedict (isn't that just cute?). So, "Hi!", Antonia! It was nice to visit you in my dreams! Keep blogging about that cutie pie son of yours and your life in England so I don't feel so bad about the fact that I'll probably never get to pinch his little cheeks (at least while he's still a baby..he'd probably think that is weird when he's 18 or so). I hope you have lots more babies so I have a chance at some babycheeks sometime in the future! I'm glad to have "met" you online and value your friendship (obviously, since I actually DREAM of meeting you in person!), opinions, and advice! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

P.S. Antonia is the one who inspired me to write a post-a-day in December. I only officially missed about 2 days (minus Christmas eve and Christmas day...we were busy with family, and tiredness, digging out of snow, untying twisties, and installing batteries in know how it goes!).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snowy December

(Huh? I THOUGHT I posted on Christmas eve! Here is the post I had in my edit draft pile but never got a chance to hit the "publish" button, for some reason. Better late, than never!)

We're not stuck, but it's looking very White Christmas-y around here! Butch and the neighbor have been puzzling over the non-starting go. So, it's a group thing and we're all attacking the piles of snow together. We had Butch's family over this morning for a very successful brunch. Now, I have to put together some stuff for the Dehmer party (my family) over at Trine's.

I'm sending Analise with Butch and whoever else wants to go to the children's Mass (Weazy is in the choir) and then we're off to try and get up Trine's driveway. I'm in the choir for midnight Mass, so we'll (hopefully) be able to make it back to town!

Joyful Christmas Eve, everyone!

(p.s. I know Enya is a little freaky/new-agey but this rendition is beautiful!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yuck December

I nearly had a root canal this morning and the dentist told me that the nerve will zap me for 24 hours but if it's more than that and really bothering me (I believe she said something like "pain that brings you to your knees"), then I get to go back for a root canal and crown. Yay.

There's a huge storm coming and might cut off our Christmas fun family time.

I have zero money to pay any bills that might come my way in the next few days.

Butch's side of the bed deflated last night and I can't figure out what's wrong with it (BTW, "lifetime warranty" on the Sleepnumber bed does NOT actually mean lifetime warranty).

BUT, we have our health, for now...we have each other, even if it might be only on the phone this weekend, and we have our Lord, whom we may not get to visit in the Eucharist if the roads don't let us.

So, what have I got to complain about?

I'm just tired from staying up way too late wrapping presents (hurts my back enough to make me cry)and getting up way too early to get to the very last dental appt that was available... so ignore this whole, whiny post.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December Confusion

Hmmm, I thought I wrote a post yesterday? Guess I didn't! I got up early, got Bocker off to school, took some of the kids last-minute shopping, babysat the rest of the day, then went to a neighbor's party with our whole family. I met some new neighbors, which was really nice.

WHEW! Today is a little bit calmer.

I woke up around 11:30 to Analise SCREAMING, "MOM!". Mari had a high fever and was feeling terrible. I brought her downstairs to try to get her to take some Tylenol and sleep on the couch. Her fever must have broke in the middle of the night because she feels just fine and perky again now. That was different.

Tomorrow is going to (possibly) be another day of babysitting, keeping the kids from driving each other nuts (it's supposed to start snowing and NOT stop), and figuring out some last minute Christmas stuff.

If I can round up my camera, I'm going to post some funny pictures later. Have a great day!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"Silent" December

We sing a Christmas concert at 10:20 on Christmas Eve then midnight Mass 11pm, right after that.

We will conclude with the Hallelujah chorus (We will be singing our version!).
St. Michael's Church in St. Michael MN. Midnight Mass is so nice. I try to go every year that I can!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lazy December Posting

I'm all shot from the day, so I'm being lazy and linking to Trina's post. We forced Butch to be Santa for the neighbor and her friend's families (they were having a party and provided the Santa suit). He balked, at first, but he really liked it (I knew he would!) and we waited at the neighbor's house, across the street. Since I had a lasagna in the oven, and since the neighbors hadn't eaten yet...we turned it into an impromptu party (the BEST kind!).

Go to Trina's post for awesome shots of SantaButch and family!

Friday, December 18, 2009

December Dentistry

Analise lost a tooth (Thankfully! It had a cavity! She has one other tooth that has a cavity and IT is loose, as well...I told her to work on it!) this month. Niklaus had a SUPER loose tooth in front and the adult tooth was coming in behind it, like a shark. I finally convinced him to yank the sucker.

I have a special method where I tell them, "Okay, I'll just tie this dental floss around it. If it doesn't come out right away, I'll just take the string off and we'll try again later." Then I yank it so fast, they don't have time to even realize that I pulled it.

My little neighbor girl came over the other day (I've already yanked two of her baby teeth and one of her sister's.) She asked me if I thought her tooth was "ready". I told her that it wasn't quite ready, but to come back in a couple of days. Today she came over and asked me, again if I thought it was ready to be pulled. It's her front, top tooth so, in my humble (semi-professional tooth puller) opinion, I told her that I could try to pull it, but that it might hurt too much and that she should come back in a couple of days.

I have a chipped tooth where I had an old filling but they won't be able to fix it until after Christmas and it's starting to HURT! All those Christmas cookies and chocolate! All that savory good Christmas food! All those yummy drinks and Bob's Candy Canes! Oh well, I'll just have to depend on New Year for the good stuff.

I think I should get a present from the tooth fairy for Christmas this year. I give her tons of business!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December Prisoner

We trapped a ladybug this morning. Tommy loves watching it crawl up the jar. Is it more cruel to let it go outside, keep it in the jar, or smush it?

Any Hindu out there want to weigh in?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Facing December

This is my niece, Madeline (back in late August). I missed her baptism because of illness in our family. I hope she forgives me, someday.

She looks like the forgiving type.

I think we'll be okay.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December Movie Review

MAN! IT WAS COOOOOOLD TODAY! So, I decided to get the kids out of the house so they would stop climbing the walls and bugging each other. I also had to use the gift card that I got last year for the theater. It was 25 bucks, so I only had to shell out 5 dollars for all of our tickets!

We went to see The Princess and the Frog.

I thought it was going to be some super PC movie about black and white, injustice, blah blah blah...

BOY! Was I pleasantly surprised! I actually cried...well..."teared up a little" at some of the parts. I really liked the voices, the story, the characters...pretty much every thing about it. I can't really think of ONE controversial thing about it. There's a little bit of "voodoo" reference, but what Disney movie DOESN'T have some "magical, fantasy" aspect? They didn't over-do that part, and it was so unbelievable, you don't leave there thinking "Oh no! They're trying to turn my kids into superstitious voodoo priests!" or anything like that.

Thumbs up. Go see it. Even Mari and Tommy watched and stayed still for the whole thing. The 10 previews before the movie, I could have done without (Especially the Chipmunks movie...that one looks seriously disturbing.)!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sleepless in December

I woke up from a dream in which I was wrestling a capybara.

I had the name "Emanuela Devins" running through my head all night so I googled it. It doesn't mean anything but it got me thinking about that name "Emanuela". I looked it up and it's of Hebrew origin meaning "God is with us.". That's nice. "Devins" (which, interestingly, I keep mistyping as "Devina") had this origin: (Celtic) Poet, Savant

I also found out (from a baby names website) that Michelle Duggar gave birth to her 19th child very early (preeclampsia) and she was due in March! I can't imagine having an under 2 pound baby and how scary that might be. They named her "Josie Brooklyn". The Josie is cute, the Brooklyn...not so much, but if you HAD to take a "J" name, I do like Josie (although, I would have just made it "Josefina or Josephine").

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December Cuddling

I laughed my butt off when my good pal, Mr. H wrote this post:

"The youth choir sang at Mass last night - they did a great job. The song they sang during the preparation of the gifts was the Katina's Draw Me Close. Below are the lyrics.

Draw Me Close
Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I'm Your friend

You are my desire
No one else will do
'Cause no one else can take Your place
To feel the warmth
of Your embrace
Help me find a way
Bring me back to You

You're all I want
You're all I've ever needed
You're all I want
Help me know You are near

Listening to the words, I began to form an image of Jesus "drawing me close", pressing me into his big, strong, hairy-chest. There I was "feeling the warmth of His embrace", and I couldn't help but notice how the whole song's imagery seemed awfully, well, feminine.

I really hope heaven isn't like that, because that would be really awkward. I've never thought of Jesus as a hugger. I mean I'm sure he hugs babies, and little kids all the time, and probably women too, but I'm going to go out on a limb here d have to guess He'd opt for a knuckle bump from the fellas.

Don't get me wrong I know Jesus loves me, and my wife assures me that he's going to hug me if I do get to heaven (if for no other reason than for this post). I'm just sometimes surprised how some of these songs seem to be written in such a way that they can be sung to Jesus or to a wife/girlfriend.
But like I said, the youth choir did do a nice job."

So, I couldn't help but chuckle a little when I saw Mr. H tonight at Mass, and the selection for the Communion meditation included these lyrics (Your Love Is Extravagant):

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel like moving to the rhythm of Your grace
Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place
Your love is extravagant

Wow. I suppose it's true, that Jesus loves us all very intimately and we should be entranced by Him always...but my Trina noted, "It sounds like the lines came from Twilight.".

Busted in December

Okay, so I missed ONE day. Big whoop.

Actually, we were very busy yesterday. In the morning, I went to the benefit breakfast for the Talleys. Their neighbors organized it (Applebee's facilitated the event) and the kids served the breakfast. A bunch of people donated some REALLY cool prizes (one I was hoping to win was the American Girl Doll. It was "Rebecca", the one Weazy was hoping to get for Christmas). I did not win, but it was really nice to be a part of something like that.

THEN, I had to do a whole bunch of last minute shopping for Anna's bachelorette party. It was so great the way it worked out. Butch and the other bro-in-laws went out to shoot in Menomonie (Anna's Matt's brother, Chris couldn't join them because he was called away for an emergency with their son, Mason...say a little prayer that they can figure the fever thing out!), but they had a very great time. They went to shoot clay pigeons at Matt's parent's farm, back to Menomonie for tavern fun, back to Matt's house for...I don't know...drinkin' dude stuff, I suppose. Butch reported that they had a great time.

Us girls (about 17 or so) went to Rachie's house (so nice of her to host it!) and made some DEEELICIOUS treats, chatted like girls do, and opened presents. Then, at 9pm, the LIMO came. We planned on heading to the cities to do some Christmas lights touring and visit a club or two...then Anna decided we should head back to our home town for some hick bar hopping. It was so so so fun to see Anna really enjoy herself and cut loose! We ended up at a bar where a local band was playing and I was so amused by how skeezy guys are these days...I suppose they were always like that, but my whole adult life, I've only been with Butch at the bars, so the skeezers would leave me alone. Not that they were "hitting" on me, mind you. Really, it's hard to be sexy and funky when you're 5 months pregnant with your 7th child and the only one NOT drinking! Anyway, the guys were super funny to watch. Some of the other groups we ran into were really funny too. There was this one girl who had a birthday party and they were wearing old bridesmaids dresses...not sure how the theme followed through...also there was a "purple party" for another birthday girl. That was was actually kind of cute. The guys in the party were all wearing festive necklaces along with the girls. Okay, it was kind of lame, but it was SOMETHING. All in all, it was a very successful party day. Here, at home, Trina entertained my three youngest and my sister's four until we got home at almost 2ish am. I was crashed.

I missed Mass this morning (which was a good thing, I heard since they let a nun talk for over 20 minutes!) so I am going to 6pm Mass. It's good to have that option as I was in no condition to sit at Mass this morning. I hadn't had a drink (unless you count sparkling apple cider?) but I felt like I had the WORST hangover. Now, I have this theory that the reason you feel so crappy the day after going out has less to do with the alcohol than the pounding music and the strain of having to talk over it, staying up later than you are used to, and having to contort your body into unusual shapes just to make your way in and out of crowded bars...oh wait, that's probably just me. I must have said, "Oh! Excuse me!" a thousand times last night because of my belly bumping into people.

Friday, December 11, 2009

That Lovin' You Feelin' Again

You know that twitterpated, wonderful feeling you have when you think you might first be in love? You know how it consumes you and every time you think of your beloved you get that feeling? You could be sitting at class, strolling a cart through the store, walking down the street, working out at the club and all of the sudden, you think of your new beloved and whoooohoooooohoooooooo you get "that feeling"?

It's amazing, isn't it? Do you remember how it would hit this little part at the bottom of your stomach and all of the sudden your face would flush and you felt like you just HAD to see your beloved at that very moment? You just KNEW at that moment that you must, for sure, LOVE that guy/girl! Oh, it is glorious (and I don't use that word, ever)!

I was talking, one time, about this to my sister, Katrina. We both agreed (big surprise) that people don't realize that they will NEVER feel that feeling again, ever. Some people have that immature notion of "love": that they must only "love" their spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend if they have "that feeling" and if they don't have "that feeling", no matter how hard they try to get it back again, then they must not really "love" that person anymore and it's over.


Here's the thing: Love is so so so soooooo much more than "that feeling"! I didn't even really realize this until about 5 years ago. CRAZY WOMAN! Why would you admit that? Don't you LOVE Butch?

Of course, you fool! I really, truly, and with all my heart, body, and soul LOVE my husband. At first, I loved him because he seemed to be right for me (selfish) and he seemed to really like me for who I was (selfish) and he seemed to really think that I was great, even when I didn't feel so great about myself (selfish). I had "that feeling" and it was awesome!

Then, we had children and got busy and took each other for granted. I still "loved" him but it sure seemed like it came a little harder than it did before and it was on occasion that I ventured to imagine why people left their marriages. It was scary and stupid, I decided, to leave the person with which you had so much stability and comfort...even if you hadn't grown past "that feeling".

I don't know when the "change" happened, but I feel like, with every passing year, I LOVE Butch more and more and feel even more bonded and IN LOVE with him. It's a NEW kind of twitterpated, a new and wonderful kind of love that makes me have a funny feeling in my stomach. It's sort of the mirror image of what I felt way, way back when. It's the kind of funny feeling that comes up when I think about how I would feel if I would lose him...sick to my stomach about EVER being with anyone other than him. I know it sounds a little bit naive, but I could never, never be with anyone else. No one could love me like he does. No one could love my children the way he does. No. I chose very well, back then. I used to think that I made my decision based on "that feeling" and that I might have chosen differently if I had given myself a chance to mature...but now I really don't think that matters. I really believe that REAL love happens when you stop waiting for it to happen and you start WORKING and BUILDING right where you are.

I told a young man in a new relationship (tonight!) that, if you don't "know" within the first few dates, then it will be a choice: you start to decide what you will "put up with" and, if it's too much, a person should just call it and leave with honor. That's why I believe that "marital relations" should actually be saved for actual MARRIAGE. You have NO regrets when you leave a sub-par relationship. Your body didn't get in the way of your decision and you have left no part of yourself behind to dwell with that other person and any other relationship they might have in the future. You actually COULD leave and "just be friends". What a great thing it would be to not have to play those stupid, emotional games!

This horrible Tiger stuff brought those thoughts around again. Why would ANYONE feel like "the grass is greener" or need anyone other than the person with whom they CHOSE to build a life? I don't understand it and, I suppose, I don't EVER want to understand it, because that understanding would mean that I don't love Butch, and never did. What if Tiger would have expressed to his WIFE how he felt having so much overwhelming wealth, talent, popularity made him feel like life was "too big" to be contained within his marriage? What if he had told her that he had women throwing themselves at him and that it was too much for him to handle, as a man? Maybe, if they had gotten help with that reality, they could have gotten even stronger in their relationship and teamed up to repel all of the evilness that is constantly trying to break apart ALL families? I don't know, but I do know that he wouldn't be in the trouble he's in now. I pray for his family, but I don't know how you come back from that kind of betrayal.

I wish all people who were thinking about being unfaithful could see, in a magic ball, the tragic and sickening consequences of their actions. I wish they could FEEL what it feels like to each person involved (spouse, children, in-laws). I wish they could, for one moment, take that moment and banish the thought forever. The moment a person gives attention to, or accepts attention from someone, other than their spouse, is the beginning of the end of any chance at that REAL, lasting love that God intended for the original couple.

Love is an ACTION! Love isn't a touchy feely may start out that way, but it can't hold on without many ACTS of love on the part of both people in the relationship.

Find ways to ACT upon love, to strengthen the bonds of love between you and your beloved, EVERY DAY.

No one has/could ever build a life of PURE JOY out of a sordid, "secret", skanky affair. It's tacky, embarrassing, life-altering, family murdering, miserableness for all humanity.

Thus ends my rant for today. I've been working on this one for a while. If you are still with me here, you must really, really love me (or be a glutton for punishment...either way, I love you right back!).


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cooler in December

A week or so ago, I noticed that Tommy found an unusual "toy". My in-laws like to go to those local business expos and get free stuff (pens, pads of paper, funny hats, balls) to bring over to us. We have a lot of little advertising doodads around but Tommy really became fond of a neoprene can cooler (just like one of these). It is navy blue with a white "Anchor Bank" logo on it. He liked how soft it was, I guessed, and he would put his little fist through it and rest it on his forearm. I didn't notice how much he liked to wear it, until I realized the other day that he woke up from his nap...STILL wearing it! When I offered to help him get it off, he yelled at me! I asked him, "Tommy, what IS that?" and he looked at me like I must be stupid or something and said:



I told the kids, "Hey, ask Tommy what that can cooler thingy is!". He had the same answer, every time!

Now, Tommy is the first sub-two year old in the house to even give a hoot about any sport. We noticed his love of sports when, during the playoffs, he watched the Yankees and Twins play. He started to actually PITCH the ball as though he were a real, live, professional pitcher...with follow through and everything! We tried to capture it on film but I accidentally erased it. It was amazing. He was REALLY watching the pitcher on the mound and copying his every move!

His football obsession is even worse. The other day, he was fussing so Matty asked him if he wanted to just snuggle on the couch and watch a show. He said "Yeah, football!". Matty told him that there was no football on today. He was SO disappointed, so Matty tried to find some sport channel on the menu. That's when Tommy discovered ESPN Classics. He made us watch some 1982 College game. If we turned the channel, he was incensed! How could we? That's FOOTBALL!

Butch has created a monster, for sure this time.

It wasn't until today that I figured out what that little neoprene "football" meant to him. At first, we thought it maybe represented the player's pads? Then, we thought that the little logo looked like some football team logo and that he recognized it as something like that? NOPE. I got it! He watches the games SO closely, that he's noticed how the quarterback has that little armband which has the plays written in it. He thinks his "armband" is that thing. He also wore it to bed tonight. Luckily, he's got teeny arms and it doesn't cut off circulation, but I think maybe Santa might bring a REAL one for Tommy this year. Instead of football plays, I think it might have some pictures or football cards inside it. It will be his favorite present and I'm sure Santa will make it JUST the right size, because I'd be willing to bet he will NEVER take it off!

(Always take pictures of your kids when they do naugh...I mean "adventurous" things. It will help to diffuse the frustration. That smudge on his cheek was my super-stay lipstick. It superstayed on him for 4 days. I finally got it off, after a bath, with some baby oil, and some scrubbing.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

December Mystery Revealed!


At least NOW, in THIS house, they do!

Okay, now for the name suggestions?

I really like Cecilia and it's been an option since Analise...but was never grabbed before. The sisters all have threatened to take it...I might this time but, since this is a nikname family, I can't think of one for that name (I HATE the way "cece, seesee" sounds, blech) I also like Irene for a middle name. I'm open to suggestions (for now!). The only qualifications are that it has to "go" with Katrina, Analise and Mariela. It has to be sort of "special and different" but not weird like "Loquashia" or something. It has to be a little bit princessy but not overly so. Here are the names we can NOT have (nieces):


Okay, have fun with suggestions!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

December Hope

Please say a prayer for my friends in their most difficult hours! Michael Talley is hanging on for the holidays but he is in a lot of pain and is afraid to sleep, lest he never wake up. Here is his caringbridge site. Here is a lovely article in the Star Tribune about the family. Here is a story (with video!) of the Talley surprise we pulled off a couple of weeks ago. The Santa is my dad! There are a lot of my friends and some of my family in the crowd! It was such a nice day and it made the family so happy to see the love and support they have.

Please, leave an encouraging message/donation or just drop a line to let them know that you are praying for them. Michael needs assurance that his family will be lifted up when he is gone.

Thank you!

Monday, December 07, 2009

December Tunes You Love To Hate (A Poll)

Look to the sidebar of the blog to find the poll of all of the songs nominated for worst Christmas song ever (according to my fb friends and my family). Put in your vote and I'll post the results next week sometime. Meanwhile, go see Crescat for a really awesome "Tacky Nativity Scene" contest that will make you laugh and that would probably make Baby Jesus cry (you can see the nominees with this link until tomorrow when she will probably post the finalists in the poll).

(Saw these in Target. Some things just defy good taste beyond all belief.)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Gender in December

I have a dilemma. It's probably a really stupid one but I'll throw it out there for ya, anyway. When I first found out I was pregnant, it was a week after the two little girls told me that they were "praying for a baby girl". I was floored that they would want another sister already, since Tommy was barely one and a half years old?! So, after trying to convince them to shift their prayers to some infertile couples that we knew (and having them say that they would pray for THEM too, but that they were still going to pray that we got a baby girl!), their prayers came true.

I didn't want to know the sex of my first baby, but I did hope for a girl and got what I wanted. I knew with all the others, for different reasons. I have every other sex, so this next one should be a girl...but you know about God's funny little jokes on me and how He likes to mess with me all of the time? I am very tempted to NOT find out the sex (at my appt. this Wed.), since it doesn't matter at ALL (never did!) what the sex of the baby is...on the OTHER hand...

I have tried to prepare the girls for the possibility that this baby is defying the odds of this family and it will be a BOY.

Me: Mari, you know, this baby might actually be a BOY?

Mari: But what if it's a girl?

Me: But what if it's a BOY?

Mari: But what if it's a girl?

You can see where this line of questioning goes...EVERY TIME and you can see, also, part of my problem. Analise is a little more practical, but I can see that she REALLY BELIEVES that her prayers will be answered and that it can really be nothing but a girl!

I know, I know, you are thinking "Oh, they will love the baby no matter what!". Yeah, that's true of course, but I wonder (especially about Mari)

(conversation happening RIGHT NOW)

Trina: Mari, will you still love the baby in mommy's tummy if it's a boy?

Mari: (thinking...) Yeah.

Bocker: (piping in) But it's gotta sleep in MY room, so it's a BOY

Mari (shrieking) NO! It's sleeping in MY room, so it's a GIRL!


Now they are running up to their rooms to plan who has the most room in their rooms and discuss further what the baby might be according to who has the most appropriate sleeping space.

I think I'll find out on Wednesday. (Hahahahaha, probably something will be "in the way" and I won't be able to find out?! That would be JUST LIKE God to do to me! He is so funny!).

What do YOU think?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I Thought He'd Be Born In December

Back when I was pregnant with my BIGGEST baby, I had a due date of November 30th. I knew he was a boy, and I knew there was a chance I'd go overdue, so I theorized that he'd be born on the feast of St. Nicholas. Since we planned to name him "Niklaus", I thought it would be super-extra-cool if he could be born on his saint's feast day!

Well, as you know, God has other, funnier plans (always) and I went into natural labor at around 2am on the 30th of November. Yup, my ginormous baby, whom I thought could stay in there for another week (I wasn't in a hurry, I was going to give birth at a hospital that is 7 minutes away and I wasn't quite ready. I also had just gone to the doctor the day before and wasn't even really dilated at all!). His birth story is my favorite if you want to read about it here.

Fast forward to today. It is the eve of the feast of St. Nicholas and I can't help but remember about wanting an extra week of being pregnant (which would have made him over 11 pounds, I'm sure!) with the first baby born after two losses. I guess, looking back, I treasured that pregnancy a little more than any before because of the hope that a baby, brought to term, represented to me. His delivery was the worst of the the first four, but he is the BEST kid. He's easy going, friendly, funnier than all-get-out, and snuggly (he will probably always be snuggly, even when he's a grown man). He just turned 6 last week and is just as funny as he was when he was a week old, six years ago tonight. He made me laugh (as soon as the pain from giving birth to that chunk of baby!) from the moment I laid eyes on him. He never gets self conscious or embarrassed when people laugh at the funny things he says and does. He just always assumes everyone is laughing WITH him (which is usually true!) and I hope he never loses that ability.

Happy Birthday/saint's day, Niklaus John, my sweet, big, squishy boy (who is still obsessed with Texas and wants to go there someday)!

(Bocker, holding up our town's water tower on a walk we took last month. He is still really big and tough for a kid his age. It's a good thing he has a smooshy heart. He is a gentle giant.)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Will It FINALLY Happen In December?

Go here to vote in an informal poll about the Mass translation re-vamp! I'm so excited (have been since last year) about this. I hear teeny rumblings in my parish but I don't think the people will quite know what hit them? Whatever happens, I know it will all be old news and okeydokey within a couple of years (with minor growing pains). I'm just very happy it's all in the works and coming soon!

H/T, the wonderful Fr. Z

Thursday, December 03, 2009

If We Make It Through December

HA! I bet you thought I wouldn't even make it past the third day! WELL la dee fricken dah, here I am so there tttthhhhppppttttt!

Seriously, I am so stressed out that I have a rash all over my body (TMI alert, whoops, too late) that doesn't bother me during the day, but at NIGHT it drives me NUTS. I'm pretty sure it's candida infection (too much sugar, stress, not enough "good" bacteria, overgrowth of yeast in my whole system) according to the internet searches I did on "rashes during pregnancy". By the way, do NOT look up anything having to do with "rashes, images". It's not pretty.

Is it bad to secretly (not anymore, I guess) wish that a couple thousand dollars just fell in my lap during December so I wouldn't have to worry about presents, decorations, donations, food, etc.? To make matters worse, Butch has extra time off during the holidays (for which he doesn't get paid) and that's always a concern. I know I know, I should be all "but it's about family, and love, and thanksgiving, etc." and it SHOULD be about those things, but the other things matter, too.

I heard Glenn Beck this morning talking about how he sold his house (took a loss) so that he could work his way to being debt free. I actually considered what would happen if we went back to renting after all these years. It wouldn't solve the problem of a car (we still owe for a couple of years on the van) but BOY wouldn't it be great to be even CLOSE to being debt free? It can't happen right now (I'm pretty sure we couldn't afford the loss we would have to take on our home in this market) but it's an interesting proposition I might explore if the market perks up.

I don't usually talk about this personal stuff but I'm so stretched right now (financially and literally...this baby is growing FAST!") that I know my good pals who read this will sympathize without getting all mushy about it. BUT, lest I be accused of being too dry in this post, I offer this picture. Go ahead, stare at it and try not to say "awwwwwwwwww"!

(My niece, Madeline. I get to squish those cheeks in real life. Jealous?)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

December Days

This is going to be a monumental December! We are getting ready for my baby sister's wedding the first week of January. Her birthday is Christmas eve and we have her bachelorette party coming up soon too. It's the "month of Anna", I guess! Oh yeah, also Christmas is this month.

We had her first shower in November for our family:

Matt's family had a shower for Anna at Matt's house (while he was still at sea) and I got to hold his sweet little nephew, Mason (this is Matt's Bro and sis-in-law's blog).

Mason is just a month older than Tommy and has a syndrome called "VCFS". It's a combination of symptoms (not the same for every child) that caused Mason to need heart surgery when he was just a few months old, causes feeding and development problems, and recently caused him to start having seizures. Look into this syndrome if you have time. It's a lot more common than you'd think and it's good to be aware of for understanding and advancement of research!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Posting For You Daily In December Happy Makes Me

I just love it when I get comments from people from other countries or company spam comments. They make me laugh. I save them in my email box for days when I feel sad. Here's one for your pleasure:

"Could not find a suitable section so I written here, how to become a moderator for your forum, that need for this?"

Heeheeheehee, come ON! You can TOTALLY tell that this must be a native speaker, right? (Maybe native to Malaysia!). That right there is some funny stuff!

It's my intention to post daily pictures during December, too.

Here's me in my Halloween costume this year:

Guess who?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Last Christmas

I hate the sound of it, but they are trying to make the best of a rally, in how he feels right now, to decorate the house and prepare for saying goodbye. PLEASE, if you can donate ANYTHING to keep this family in their home when their daddy dies, please, do so!

I usually can't stand Fox 9's sucky local reports but this time, they did a good job profiling my friend Nicole and her family in my hometown. Watch it here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yo, Vinny, Yous a Catlick Now! (I Mean: "Vincent's Baptism")

Sorry, I can't ever help but think in mobster when I say Vincent's name.

Here's the view from the top of the steps of the back entrance to our church. I want Butch to make a patio similar to this in the back yard. Wouldn't that be sweet?

Here's Vinny's family of some sisters and girl cousins protecting him in his paganbaby state before Mass.

Here is what happens EVERY time we come in the back way...Tommy wants a drink and Matty helps him. It almost guarantees we'll have big water splotches on our shirts and children that have to pee five minutes into Mass. I think it's pretty awesome that Matty does the things he does for the little ones. I don't even have to ask (most times). He's a good son (said in the mobster voice in my head).

While the family waits for Mass to begin (They are sitting next to a scale model of the historic Church of St. Michael. It's really amazing if you ever get to visit our church, you won't want to miss it.), Tommy makes a break for the water fountain. Of course.

Usually, when there's a baptism during Mass (instead of the huge group baptism on a Sunday afternoon...this one was at a 5pm service on Sat. night), the parents, Godparents, and maybe some siblings and a grandparent or two go up to the baptismal hottub...I mean "font". I thought this picture was cool because it only shows about 1/4 of the family that was crowding around that thing! Vincent was so funny during his splash. He had a fun, happy look the whole time and never cried at all.

This is the ONLY, I repeat ONLY time I don't mind applause during Mass:

I took a quickie shot of the dome of the church to show again how pretty the iconography of our church is. You can't see the names of the apostles but I had to for sure give props to my patron, St. Thomas. I doubt that he's happy to be my self appointed patron (get it? get it?).

After Mass, Tommy hopped up on the table where baby Madeline was sleeping in her carrier. He wouldn't let anyone else kiss or touch her. He's pretty protective of the babies in the family...oh heck...he thinks ALL babies are HIS AND HIS ALONE and won't let anyone near the babies if he can help it. I think he'll be just fine around our new one in the spring. Oh, and baby Madeline will be unpaganized later this month (in a smaller church...hope we all fit!).

Friday, November 06, 2009

Insane Preggo Dream Number 942

I know where this one came from. I had just read a big write up about Mary Jo Copeland and how she cares for the street people that come into her Mary's Place in the cities (here in MN). Also, I caught a bit of Slumdog Millionaire yesterday while babysitting (in the morning, before the kids were awake, of course!). I had seen that movie before and it really was a good one but a little hard to take. It's hard to think about children suffering so much in the world, with no one to care for them and everyone around them just exploiting them.

In my dream, there is a little boy of about 6 or 7. He is staying at his uncle's house. I see him because Butch and I are visiting a friend who is in a tough spot. His wife is leaving him, his in-laws hate him and they are broke. The little boy is playing on a huge playset in their yard (he is the nephew of our friend's dad, who lives with them...but our friend doesn't really have responsibility for him). They are trying to get rid of the playset so we start taking it apart and find this little boy at the end of the slide.

He is very confused but not sad. He has on a saggy diaper and that's all. I think to myself that he could certainly use some clothes and he must be able to use the toilet so I take it upon myself to help him find something of Bocker's to use. I bring him home to care for him because nobody seems to mind. The rest of the dream, I'm training him to use the toilet, teaching him to speak properly, and giving him general instructions and love. He repeats everything I ask him and then adds a question mark at the end. For instance, If I tell him, "Now, you should probably have a sweatshirt because it's cold." he'd say, "I should have a sweatshirt, because it's cold?". He'd never directly ask "why?" but I sensed that no one had ever cared about him enough to direct him in what he should do. I know that his mother is a hippie who's drugged out and his father is absent or very very mean. The little boy doesn't seem to be permanently damaged, just a little behind in ability. I take him home with me, even though we are living in poverty at a relative's house ourselves and have lots of kids who sort of resent another mouth to feed. I try to teach them that we should love our brother, even if it's someone with whom we're not related.

I woke up and whispered this prayer: Dear Lord, be with all of the abandoned children in the world. Lead them to safe adults who will love them and care for them. Keep them safe from harm and protected by their angels.

It occurred to me that we don't have any "street children" around here. They wouldn't last a week in the cold. That's the hard reality of life here in Minnesota. I know that children are neglected and abandoned all of the time, but they would be picked up by social services or cared for by a neighbor (I hope) or die from exposure very quickly. I've never seen a child huddled under a bridge or picking from a waste dump. I've never seen a child, in rags, begging on the street.

I am very disturbed by this dream. I think I fear losing my home, my own children, my husband, my way of life. I think, even worse, I fear that the world doesn't care anymore about children...or anything. I must fear that my own children might lose the ability to care about others, or become selfish, or become like everyone in the world seems to be right now. I am all about self preservation, but not at the cost of losing one's soul or ability to reach out and find enough love for someone who has none.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Talleys

"Today the nurse was out from hospice. She changed the dose Michael could receive from his PCA pump due to his increase of pain through the weekend. He state's honey, its hurting all over. My neck, shoulders, back, and the swelling in my lower extremities is awful. Last night we tried using the Oxycontin in between dosages of the Morphine. It helped some but not enough. We also, tried some Ativan to help relax him before bedtime. He sleeps well but becomes very disorientated and has bad dreams. He even got up once and I found him sleeping standing up at the bathroom sink with the water running. I guess that drug doesn't agree well with him. I told the nurse maybe we should try something else. I don't need him falling or something. I have just stood bye all these months while Michael took care of his own treatments and medications but now it will be my job to make sure he is getting the right dose and care that he needs. The nurse feels the confusion at times will become more evident and she would prefer that I take over these areas. I have been so proud over the last year, Michael able to care and do for himself. I feel it's important to keep independence as long as you can. As his wife, I will take over and provide the best care ever. For he deserves the very best.
Michael states" you Nicole are the only one I trust to care and love me completely, you are my angel!
"Ooh! Honey I feel the same about you as well.
The nurse sent pressure stockings as well to try and pull the edema out of his feet and into the upper body. It may work or it may not. For his swelling is different then the normal swelling you or I would get from our vessels. Her concerns are dehydration for Michael is not getting the fluids anymore it's being stored in his body instead. Their is nothing we can do about this. She placed him on a water pill but we can't go to high due to his low blood pressures. Lately they have been 80/44 which is very low. It has been hard sleeping next to him the last couple of nights. I hear his breathing slowing down. I think will he take that next breath. Then I pray, pray and pray!!! The nurse said today I think Michael was given the strength these last few weeks to see you through and now he will be able to relax knowing everything's all right again. I thought, okay! I can stay sick for a long time. I can keep him taking care of me, if that means I could keep him longer. Then she just hugged me tight. She said, " Nicole you are a strong women I can tell and you will get through this. Then my tears came like a water fall, I just don't want to be strong anymore, I just want my husband physically here with me forever! God please give me strength.
As for Nathan he is finally turning the corner, he should return to school on Wednesday. His cough may persist for few more days.
God Bless to all!!
Love Nicole & Michael"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lately (part 2)

Maybe I should title it "Much Late-er-ly". I don't know who even reads blogs anymore...I think, maybe the people who aren't on facebook? Heh heh.

The tree farm we went to visit when we brought the kids to see Anna and her house was absolutely wonderful. It was a pretty hot day, which got to be kind of frustrating for the kids (you can kind of see their hot faces in the pictures) when everything around us was fall themed. The bigger kids went through the corn maze (which wasn't really a "maze" at all, just a path through the corn, with a bridge in the middle, just for fun). They had a pumpkin/apple cannon that was super cool and HUGE (and LOUD!). They had two jumping castles, a petting zoo, haunted house (not really scary, just cool), picnic area, haunted path through the woods, a boardwalk surrounding a sandbox with lots of bikes and scooters for racing around, a panning-for-gold, spray painted rocks-trough (fakey, but fun), a teepee with dress-up clothes inside it, a huge hay bale climbing pile, and an awesome hayride through some of the most beautiful country I've ever seen.

We are going to Anna's for Thanksgiving and will, most likely, go to this tree farm then to pick up our tree when we are there. Anna said that they have bonfires and hot chocolate for the you-cut-your-own-tree people. That would be an amazing event for the family. That would be lots of fun (don't know how the tree would travel on top of the van for the two hour drive home?).

This boat was in a neat spot. It really looked like a fishing boat on a pond, with a dock and everything. There were fishing rods with magnets on them and the "fish" had paperclips attached so you could "catch" them. No Weazys were drowned in the taking of this picture.

This is one of Tommy's 930 funny expressions. It's the one saved for when you don't want the hayride to end and your mom says, "Come off the wagon, Tommy!".

Matty will NOT let me take a picture of him unless he is in sunglasses, disguise, or I am covert in my photo-taking. He was bored in this picture because he was too hot and way too cool to jump in the jumping castles with the little kids. I told him today that it stinks that he's all angle-y, awkward, gawky, and not my cute, squishy, chubby, little Matty anymore. He acted offended, for some reason. He did give me a huggy and a kissy, though.

I thought it was so sweet when these two were sharing food together on the teeny picnic table. She kept handing Tommy food and he kept saying, "Dank Ooo" automatically. He's so polite.

There were lots of landscape pictures but it was really one of those "you had to be there" kind of places to really take in the beauty and scope of the surroundings.

If you don't mind being a temporary Cheesehead, head on over/down/up to Pleasant Valley Tree Farm in Wisconsin (I did not receive any compensation for this endorsement, I just really liked the place!). If you want, you can tell them Laura The Crazy Mama sent ya. I won't get anything out of the deal, except maybe bragging rights.

Next installment: Vincent's baptism

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Lately (part 1)

My sister, Trine and I loaded up the kids into the van and rolled on over to Menomonie, WI to visit Anna. She is living at the home she will share with her hubs-to-be when they get married (in January). It's his house, but he is off to sea until right before the wedding. We miss him a lot but we had fun taking over his house for the weekend. I doubt that old house had that many little people in it since...well, maybe EVER! There were kids everywhere! We were completely freaked out by all of the steps but the kids were fairly careful the entire time. At the very end, I am the one who fell down the stairs (don't worry, I'm all better)! Anna worked very hard to paint and re-decorate the once-bachelor infested pad to a very beautiful, elegant house. It's probably over 100 years old and had been moved to it's current location. She did a LOT of work, all by herself and it turned out so nice.

Ignore my surly, apple-eating, oldest son and our mess we brought with us. I wish I had good pictures of the loft/office. It's just so perfect and cute.

That picture of the sailboat, above the mantel is actually a real picture of Matt! It's so cool how nautical themes are everywhere in the house (but not overwhelming or tacky). Anna even found some old Navy manuals (from Matt's grandpa, I think) that we had so much fun reading, out loud to each other. The "rules" of proper behavior for a Navy man were old fashioned sounding and classic.

Next, I'll post about our trip to the tree farm. I have so many awesome pictures, I wanted to save them all for their own post!

I also have pictures from our first trip of the year to the apple orchard, and of Vincent's be continued...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Just A Reminder

I know there are a million, other things to think about right now. But this stood out for me when I caught the link from Antonia's blog:


"In his letter, the bishop reaffirmed that priests from outside the parish cannot give conferences or lead retreats at the parish without written permission from his office and that no one can use parish facilities to promote the alleged apparitions or messages. The bishop specified that the pastor should ensure that Father Perutina stop offering comments on the messages Pavlovic claims to receive on the 25th of each month.

He also asked Father Vlasic to remove from the parish Web site all references to the parish and its church buildings as a shrine or sanctuary and to ban prayers allegedly dictated by Mary or suggested by her alleged messages from liturgies and prayer services inside the church, including public recitations of the rosary."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sad News

Please, if you have time, visit my friend's site and give them a message of love and encouragement? They have stopped treatment and are leaving Michael's care in God's hands. He is in a lot of pain and they don't know how much time he has. They are trying to find some peace in their decision, but they don't want to lose their daddy/husband/brother/son. Please, pray for them today.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


We'll go back to Guatemala. I was thinking about the hotel where our friend got married and looked it up.

Casa Santo Domingo

It had been an old cathedral and convent until there was a terrible earthquake (and flooding...due to a large amount of water in a crater lake in the nearby volcano) in the old Guatemala and the city got relocated to the current location. Antigua (old city) was inhabited for some time, then people started to filter back in. The old grounds of that place were a debris dump for several generations until a commercial enterprise decided to excavate and turn it into a hotel. At the same time, the antiquities department of the government worked with them to also do some work to restore/turn it into a museum. It was absolutely beautiful.

The only thing remaining of the cathedral was the big wall behind the altar, and partial side walls. We got to celebrate Mass there! The wedding Mass was "in" the old Cathedral where, instead of a roof, they had a sort of permanent tent thing above our heads, lots of flowing, white fabric draped far above our heads and around us, wrought iron candles high above on the ruins of the cathedral walls were lit up, too. You could see, on the floor, where the original pillars once stood. The altar pedestal (looks like a stone table, which is still there, in it's original spot, being used as a modern altar) had a small painting of the Virgin, still standing after the destruction of the cathedral. Go to this site and check out the history of the excavation and look at some of the pictures of the museum. It was amazing to see in real life. I can't believe I was actually there. I hope, someday, I can go again with my family.

Here's an excerpt:

"The city was founded as Santiago de Guatemala (Saint James of Guatemala) and was one of the most important Spanish cities of the New World. As seat of the Captaincy General of Guatemala between the years 1543 and 1773, it was the political, religious, economic and cultural center of the region comprised between Chiapas and Costa Rica. Because of the destructive 1773 earthquakes and the Royal Decrees of the same year, the capital was transferred to the Valle de la Ermita (Valley of the Hermitage) and was founded as La Nueva Guatemala de la AsunciĆ³n (The New Guatemala of the Assumption) and that is why the abandoned city was called “La Antigua Guatemala” (the Old Guatemala)."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Do You Sense A Theme?

These are all snaps of pictures Mom has on her walls. I didn't even go DOWNSTAIRS to see if there were more down there! There has always been a recurring theme of joy for life around Mom and Dad's house and it looks like it's a continuing theme with the next generation! My second younger brother, Pete and his wife, Nellie (Janel) had their 4th child, Vincent (or, as Tommy calls him "Sinsint") last month. One month later (exactly four weeks!), my youngest brother, Rudy and his girlfriend, Jess had their first (I say "first" for a reason, I'll elaborate more later) baby girl Madeline. She's only four days old today! We saw them all late yesterday at Mom and Dad's. Here are some pics of the first time we all got together after the babies came:

"Sinsint SO Big!"

Sr. B holding Vincent and Jess nursing Madeline

Mari, Weazy, Tommy ogling Madeline

Auntie Anna taking a snooze with Vincent

Papa and Madeline

Jess is a wonder of a new mom. I've never met anyone quite like her. She's joyous, lighthearted, giddy, tolerant, non-controversial, sensible, well-read, lovable and SMART!
I've really never met anyone who could, at the same time, be kind of scatterbrained and have all her ducks in a row? How could that be? I have NO IDEA, but she pulls it off with such grace, it has to be a God-given gift!

Really, it makes me cry to think about how God knew how much we needed Jess in our family right now. I love all of my sibs and their spouses, but (no pressure, Jess!) she is the shot of loveliness and grace this family has needed for months now. What could have been a polarizing, stressful time (the news of an unexpected pregnancy) has been a wonderful gift of love and togetherness that I was absolutely smacked across the face with (in a good way!). Never mind that their baby is gorgeous and wonderful, and healthy in every way and was wanted and loved from the moment of her creation...The fact that Rudy found Jess and that Jess decided to put up with HIM (hahaha) and become part of our family (even after meeting us?! GO FIGURE!?) by adding a new member and including us in every aspect of the baby's development has been such a refreshing shot of love to a family that was suffering a pretty sad loss, financial worries, and tension...
For a girl with no siblings, she has slipped her way, effortlessly into our very TIGHT KNIT family, and become part of our frenzied, crazy quilt pattern as though she's been here for years, or maybe had a place marked out for, and held for her from the beginning.
All I can say about all of that is that God is good and He's been watching out for us.
A new baby will do that to you, you know? A new baby (anybody's baby, but especially one that belongs to you in a special way) will show you the heart of God in their face and bring you closer to expected, and UNexpected ways.

We now have 20 cousins in the family (my sibs and I...with one more of mine on the way)

I'm so happy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

All Aboard

This time, it was a dream about a train. I've never considered the hobo life, but apparently, it's somewhere in my subconscious.

My sisters and I are just getting done with a huge train ride. We are in our old bedroom in the basement of my parent's house, discussing our adventures. We all agree that it was a mistake to ride on TOP of the train cars because of low bridges and rain. We laugh when we remember how we went on this clover leaf thing and how we got separated when we were playing "leap from car to car" that one time. My sisters are much more experienced train riders than I am and I am in doubt that I'll ever get as "into it" as they are. We start discussing family issues and I disagree with how they are handling a certain issue.

I have a lot of anger about something but my sisters are at peace. They had brought a person along on the train ride with whom I am super angry. They get all lovey-dovey and say good bye to that person but I am holding on to my rage. I want to call and chew that person out. I want to punch them in the face. With every nasty name I call that person, with every fault and sin I point out, my sisters laugh and say they are "over it and why can't you be?" I get angrier and louder. I know it won't do any good, but the anger is so that it's making my voice hoarse and my blood pressure rise. The most infuriating part is that my sisters are so calm.

I wake up with a dry throat and nausea.

I don't know if the nausea is because of the pregnancy, the thought of riding on trains, or the deeply sick feeling I get when I think about the person that is causing so much anger in the family.

On a totally unrelated note:

P.S. PLEASE pray for my long suffering friends. They just keep getting blow after blow and they need tons of prayers right now:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jolly Trolls

...the nights of uncomfortable sleep, the crazy dreams, the waking to go fifty billion (okay, at least twice) times a night, the extreme fatigue then extreme wakefulness and anxiety...
of pregnancy.

If you didn't already hear, I'm all knocked up...again. Yup, it's my 9th pregnancy (two didn't make it the whole, nine months, but I think they do count so I'll include them here). Wowie, that sounds strange.

I don't know the due date yet but I DO know that I am only just a few weeks pregs so it's veryveryvery early and prayers are appreciated, always.

(Don't continue reading if hearing about other people's dreams bores you to death)

So, I woke up at 1:30 this morning (note the posting time). I completely crashed out around 10 pm, which is HIGHLY unusual for me. I vaguely remember telling Butch, as I gave in to the waves of sleepiness, "Crud, I'll probably wake up in the middle of the night and won't be able to sle..." then I started snoring.

I fully intended to just shut my eyes for a minute and then head downstairs to clean up and take care of business...of course, now that I'm WIDE AWAKE, I can't remember what that "business" is!

I had this dream:
I'm walking through an old, huge, series of barns with lots of spiderwebs. I'm with a group of really old dudes (that kind of look like trolls) and we are searching for something. We see a whole bunch of hundreds-of-years-old, trolly and train cars. We have to sort them out. It's like an archaeological "dig" but these old guys are in some way connected to this rail line. They are maybe old workers that have come back to help identify certain train parts? I am the only young one among them and I think it's ridiculous that "they" have made these poor, old dudes come to sort out this huge, rusty mess. I spy a chunk of metal that looks interesting. I find out that my great grandfather or some distant ancestor has a great deal to do with the invention of some of these machines. I am given a list, a LONG list, of patents the relative is responsible for and I can't believe my eyes! I am told that, if I help sort this stuff, I could keep whatever was pertinent to his inventing and that it could be worth millions of dollars. I start to dig through the stuff and find a big grouping of little, tiny, trolley cars (almost small enough for very small children) and I start to unload them to sort them out. The old dudes, with big smiles on their faces, start helping me. They clean off the machines, throw out any nasty things that have been festering on those things for all those years (could have been thousands of years for all the dust and junk on them) for me, and generally keep the mood light. I am sort of sad that all of this stuff has been neglected for so long so I start to get depressed. My sister, Katrina (who is rarely, if EVER in my dreams) notices a figurine in another pile. We both get very excited and ask the dudes to go check it out. She directs them to carefully separate what turns out to be a huge grouping of little figurines (like wooden puppets...I just read Pinoccio to Mari, in real life) kind of like a train set for kids. They are all hooked together but are all shapes and sizes. It reminds me of The Jolly Troll. (Man, I haven't thought of that place in YEARS! It was this goofy, tacky, buffet restaurant somewhere in the city. Dad used to take the family there for a special treat but it always kind of creeped us out. It had a whole bunch of fake houses lined up along the walls...we would go look in the windows of them to see the figurines while we were waiting for our food. The animatronic trolls were working and doing various troll duties like cobbling, baking, house making, etc...anyway), this chain of wooden characters could be cleaned off and set up, once again so we set out to separate it and make it nice for future use. We were getting very excited at our find but very grossed out at how oldie and dirty everything was and how much it was going to take to clean it all and get it in working order.

That's when I woke up with a TERRIBLE headache. I don't really ever get headaches so I know something is not right. I don't want to take anything but if I did, it would probably be 3 XS Tylenol, that's how bad it is.

I think I'm tired again. Gotta go before I fall asleep on the keybolskjdklv xccccc'''''''''m

Friday, August 14, 2009

Alternate Use For A Treadmill

Besides being a clothes hanger, a treadmill (apparently) can be a comfortable resting place for a tired soul:

(This was a totally remarkable event. Tommy NEVER sleeps anywhere besides his bed. A day after this picture, he got really sick with a fever and terrible ear infection. He's better now.)

We tried running last week and this week but each run was a strain because of the air quality. We'll try again, today but I'm not really counting on it being a satisfying or fruitful run...except in that we are, at least, trying.

This summer has been a weird one. We had one of the coldest Julys on record and now the humidity is almost unbearable. Just when it's time to don some summer clothes, you got outside for 2 minutes and you're panting and gasping and running back into the air conditioning. I sure am thankful for air conditioning!

How about this "health care reform" crapola? I can't not say something about it. All the hubub and opinions are dominating the news. Here's my .02.

We already have "insurance" for the "poor" (it's called medicare/medicaid, right?). Why don't we have a system for health insurance (for people who don't need to live off of the government and want more choices in health care) just like car insurance? Competitive pricing, better coverage, portability, etc. and if you don't want or need health insurance, how about posting pricing for care (like pricing at McDonalds...right above the receptionist's heads). THAT would take care of about 80 percent of the problem, right there!

OH NO! That would be too simple! The reps in D.C. would have less justification for their existence and three figure salaries.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some Days...

...Don't you feel like the weight of the world is on your back?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I DO Do Facebook/Summer Fun

Heehee, I know, I know...I said I wasn't going to get involved in that thing. Sometimes, I just have to participate in a trend. I'll probably ditch it some day but for now, it's kind of fun and a nice way to stay in touch with the relatives. I don't accept everyone as a "friend" because I don't like the pressure of having people I barely know judging my every move...I have a BLOG for THAT hahahahaha!

I have been busy since the marathon getting things around here in order, doing a running program with Trina, going out with Butch to a wedding last Saturday, going out with the girls on Friday night, chatting with Regina on the phone and making her a super cool video that none of you other people will EVER see (I just wanted to prove to her that I do exist and I'm not some creepy, 70 year old perv or something, trying to draw her in with my friendly ways). We went to the zoo yesterday with my nieces and went shopping today for matching outfits too.

We have been working on things around the house, outside in the garden, and trying to find little, fun things to do locally. I try to visit with friends as often as I can but it's hard when everyone is on vacation.

Matty finished his baseball season with a great game where he played a lot as catcher and I was so proud of him. He's been having a good time making sniper stands and shooting off fireworks and his airsoft gun. He's kind of a pyro, but we still love him because he does the dishes.

Weazy and Matty get to go on vacation with Auntie Nina and Uncle Matt and fam in August and they are really looking forward to that!

Mari and Tommy like their rides in the bike trailer that our neighbors so generously gifted to us after their kids had outgrown it. I like the workout and they like the ride.

Butch has been working IN town almost this whole year! That will change this autumn though, I'm sure. You have to get work where you can find it, right? I'm kind of hoping he'll get some out of town work that is within MN so we can go on some mini-vacations with the kids. There is still a very big possibility that we'll be able to meet our friends in K.C. later this fall too!

We went to a parade on Sunday and I'd just like to say that I have never been so caught "in between" in my LIFE. The people to the right of us were super anal and we couldn't be good enough for them. It seemed we were in their way the ENTIRE TIME and the mothers kept shoving our kids out of their kid's ways until I was ready to punch them. The people on the LEFT of us were super obnoxious (like the ladies on the right thought WE were) and their kids were way too old to be running into the street in front of all of OUR special, way cuter kids. Ugh. It tried all of our patience and we just wanted to have a nice time at the parade with the kids. I am bringing a "parade kit" next time. Here's what it will contain:
1. A piece of chalk to mark out the 'safety zone' for our kids (which sucks but might eliminate any fussing from the righties out there)
2. Bags for candy and garbage.
3. Bandaids and wipeys for the scrapes they get diving for candy and scratched off mosquito bites.
4. A bullhorn for telling off the annoying people around us and getting the attention of the cops...just kidding.
5. A scissors for opening all of the freezies that people tossed at the kids. Those things are great on a hot day, but they are teeth wreckers, for sure.

Now for some PICTURES!

Mari, Weazy, Ani, Lexi in their funny, stripy pants

Trying to see the cool tractor through the lefties

Always fun to wave to the pretty princesses!

Love this poochy lipped, crazycurly haired alien!

The obligatory tribute to M.J....with more candy!

Perfect illustration of why we couldn't see anything! (LEFTIES! ARGGGGHH!)

(That last one there is just for Jordan!)

Perfect illustration of our perfect children being perfectly parade proper.

Butchie and I at the wedding. We will celebrate our 16 anniversary in a couple weeks!

Here is what Butch looked like before I went out with the girls (in the two pics above this one). I love that boy.

Here is a video I shot last month of the yard, I'll post a new picture of our garden now that it's HUGE with veggies and green goodness. We have fresh salad every day! You can hear the wind which is a daily issue. I love our yard. I love our house. We are very lucky to have it. I hope we can keep it for a good, long time. I'm going to try to freshen up the porch today with some new paint. I might paint the front door too...what color should I paint it? Right now it's a deep purple but I don't like that anymore. What do you think would look neat?

Latergaters, if you do facebook and want to be my friend, look for me "Laura Nielsen" and send a request. Sorry if I don't accept it but I'm pretty choosy and I need to really know you pretty well to put you on that list!