Wednesday, August 26, 2009


We're back to the school year now. I was looking forward to getting back onto a schedule for many reasons. For one, I just felt like I was going a little bit crazy over the summer running the kids here, there and everywhere. The main reason I was looking forward to having a regular schedule again is that it really helps me maintain my weight loss. I eat healthier when I can plan my day out. When I'm home, it's just easier to get a healthy meal prepared and make healthier choices. What I wasn't anticipating so early in the school year was the start of the shared coughs, runny noses, sore throats, etc. It was day #3 of school and I already had to keep Nikelle home from school.

I always find it difficult making the decision of whether or not to send my daughter to school. If someone could just give me some clear guidelines, I could make the decision easier. Obviously, if she has a fever, I keep her home. A fever, however, is not the only contagious bug out there. When she is wiping her nose all day long, coughing and sneezing, I think it's probably best to not share those germs with others. In the back of my mind, I think, well someone else must have sent their child to school with the same symptoms and that is where she picked it up. Still, I did the responsible thing and chose to keep her home.

All day long, I would reassess the situation. How's she feeling? Is she coughing? How much is she blowing her nose? Did I hear her sneeze? I am continually second-guessing my decision as to whether or not she should be home from school. After all, perfect attendance is something the schools reward. If they're missing school, they're missing time for learning, right? I finally came to the conclusion that I was teaching her to take care of herself and be considerate of others by keeping her home from school that day.

The next day, she seemed much improved. As we were getting ready to go to the bus stop, I had every intention to cancel the doctor appointment I had scheduled that day for her. That's when I noticed the baby's runny nose and middle one's cough. I made the decision in that moment to allow Nikelle to go to school but pick her up and take all three of them to visit the doctor.

The doctor's visit went exactly as I had hoped. Nothing too serious. Nikelle was fine going back to school and I didn't have to purchase any new medication. I thanked the doctor, paid for the visit, got our stickers and began the drive back to school. My thoughts went something like this: Thank you, God, for healthy kids. I really cannot imagine life with children that have a chronic or terminal illness. And, sweet, we get back to school exactly at the time I had said we would return Nikelle. I love it when things go as planned.

I park the van, get the baby out of her car seat and hear my middle child whine, "I really have to go potty!" And, of course, she's dancing. Grrr. I do not want to have to ask at the office if my little one can use the bathroom. "Let's go then. Get your shoes on and get out of the van." Seriously, why is it that when a kid says 'I really have to go to the bathroom', they just stand there saying it over and over again rather than actually making some progress toward getting where they need to go? "I can't find my shoe!" she cries still doing the potty dance. Seriously, not like I had planned. Why take your shoes off because you are in the van? I could not find the shoe so I carried her to the sidewalk where she could walk.

As I followed her in, I could not believe what my life has become. I watched my 2nd grader run ahead of me. I was holding the doctor's note she needed to excuse her from recess and gym class. I just hoped the office didn't let her in until I caught up with her. I held the baby in my arm grabbing a tissue and fighting her to wipe her nose. I just shook my head as I watched my preschooler hobble on ahead of me with one shoe on and one shoe off needing to go to the bathroom.

When, oh when, did I allow my life to get so out-of-control? And yet, it's a good thing because God is changing me. And when God is involved in the change in my life, it's always a good thing.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I am drained this morning. A 9:00 bedtime should have prevented this, so I was somewhat uncertain as to why I felt so tired when I woke up.

That's when all the memories of my dreams came back to me. Normally, I'm able to shake off the feelings. I will simply tell myself that it wasn't real, it was just a dream. There is often something in my dream that is so far fetched it anchors me back in reality.

Last night, however, it was all too close to reality other than it being a little early for Christmas. It was Christmas without dad in my dream. At my parents' house, without dad. My sister, brothers, and their families were there. We played Christmas music. I even remember when I opened a CD case, the Gaithers, Heaven, was on top.

Gifts were exchanged in my dream. I had emotions where I had to tell myself not to get self-centered and proud (again, all too real). In this dream, my cousin called and asked if she and her parents could come over and make dinner with us. There was just so much that seemed like it was happening. Nothing a big deal, just ordinary life without my dad.

It's emotionally draining because I can't shake it off as a dream. He is gone from this world we still live in. [sigh] Sometimes I wonder if the pain in my heart will ever go away.

I learn each day how to live this new reality of my life. I am able to count my many blessings and know I am loved by God. My girls bring such joy to the heart and there is so much to invest in family and friends. Life is full. Life is good. It's just that life is altered and I can't change that.

I hate not being in control.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dutch Hollow Lake

The girls getting ready to swim at Dutch Hollow Lake.

Andelise did not like this suit one bit.

A family picture at the lake.

with Grandma, too.

And the most fun of all....burrying Daddy in the sand!
It was a wonderful weekend of lasting memories.

Camping in Wisconsin

Starting a campfire poses to be fairly tricky with wet wood and a wet fire pit.

The girls enjoy playing with the rocks as we pack up the van.

Nikelle does a good job of keeping her baby sister safe as I attempt to capture a picture that does not happen...

...because Andelise would rather find danger!

Alas, peace. Grandma pushed Ande around for a while a few times in order for Rod and I to accomplish something at the camp site.

More fun in Wisconsin

Our annual pictures in front of the tee pee by the trading post.

Our girls prior to the start of the LaValle parade.

Grandma and Nike show respect for our country and our veterans.

Grandma steps up to the job of making Jaycie feel safe as the engines and their sirens passed by.
Andelise caught on quickly to the candy part of the parade and enjoyed a dumdum lollipop.

She is still clutching some sweet tarts here at the end of the parade that she picked up at the beginning.

There are many sweet memories that brought tears to our eyes over the weekend but we are grateful for the many more we are still able to make.

Choosing joy amidst the rain

We went to the Dells for a little vacation. Our plan was to camp at Dutch Hollow Lake. Unfortunately, we drove up during a monsoon and decided it would be best to get a hotel room for the night. I have to admit that my initial response to all the rain was to grumble. It did not seem like it was going to be much fun to set up a tent and sleep in puddles of water all night long. I'm so glad I chose joy. It was so much nicer to choose to find a solution rather than just pout. This is not my nature to choose joy but I would certainly like to remember the benefits to embracing the change of plans.

Rather than fight the storms, we chose to spend the money for a hotel room where the kids could enjoy some playtime in the pool. We made the perfect choice for our family! Nothing too fancy but a little more than just a pool. There was a pool about 6" deep with a couple of slides. The girls loved it! Jaycie enjoyed some one-on-one time with her Daddy here.

Ande wanted to go up and down the slides. She's at the stage now where she wants to wander without being limited by holding onto our hands. Unfortunately, we know the potential end results of allowing her to roam free, so it was fairly exhausting to chase her around all weekend. (Thanks to my mom-in-law for all the times she took on the responsibility!) As we would walk up the slide, she would be saying "whee". We would get to the bottom with her only to have her pulling us to go up the slide again (when she wasn't attempting to climb back up the slide).

This was the bottom of the slide. Nikelle is enjoying the pictures where she can pretend she's being eaten! Wonder where the girls get the ideas to pose for pictures? (See picture of Rod above.)

The girls certainly enjoyed their time with Grandma. Although bittersweet being back at the Dells for the first time since Dad Carlson passed away, it was nice to watch Grandma playing with the girls. I even have pictures of her coming down the slide but I didn't think I'd embarrass her with those here on my blog!
Both of us agreed that the money spent at the hotel was well worth all the memories. Our decision was confirmed more when we awoke in the morning to thunder, lightening and down pouring rain!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1 John 2:28 (New Century Version)

"Yes, my dear children, live in him so that when Christ comes back, we can be without fear and not be ashamed in his presence."