Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mr. Bear

Scarlet received the sweetest bear for her dedication (from Nana and Papa), and because she was wearing such a cute dress today and the fact that she and the bear are almost exactly the same size, I had to take some pictures!
What is this bear???

By the way, the girl started rice cereal this week, and no surprise, she absolutely loves it. She was getting to the point that she wanted up to 36 ounces of formula per day, and she was eating every 3-4 hours! Since she will be 4 months this Saturday, I knew it was time to bust out the goods! The first time I gave it to her she was so hungry that she cried because she just knew there was food in her mouth, but she didn't know what to do with it. Slade was very worried about her! So, I gave her a bottle to feed the hunger a bit, and then tried again.
Since then, it's been a great success, and she gets cereal twice a day. She is sleeping like a champ, too. Last night...12 hours straight. Yippee!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Loosy Goosy

Spencer lost another tooth, and this time, he pulled it out on his own. He is sure that you get a dollar for each time you wiggle to get it out. Hmmm....I don't remember that tooth fairy policy. Maybe times have changed. So far he has called everyone in the family.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Yesterday was Scarlet's dedication at church. It's always a family affair, of course, so all available family members (and good friends, too) made the drive to Fenton to attend church with us yesterday. Scarlet wore the dedication gown I was dedicated in 31 years ago. My mom saved it hoping that one day it could be used again by her granddaughter, and yesterday was the day.

Scarlet looks so pretty in white! Actually, one of my favorite parts of the dress was the slip that goes underneath because the material is so thin. I spent some time this weekend getting it ready for her to wear because there were some yellowed spots, but got them out with a Clorox bleach pen and some really hot water. With only a few mishaps (to the dress...another baby, spit-up, 5 minutes before the service, bad moment), we made it to the front of the sanctuary for a ceremony conducted by both my dad and Stefan's.

I don't know what it was really, but I was very stressed about the whole thing. I knew the job that our dads would do would be beautiful, for sure. We had been through two previous dedications with our boys. It was sort of anti-climatic, I guess. I planned a nice family dinner with a cute cake and good food to celebrate Scarlet, but I felt a lot of pressure as I often do in both-sides-of-the-family situations. Somebody is always feeling like they get the short end of the stick or as if they are not as important as somebody else, and honestly, it's quite frustrating.

Later that afternoon and evening, I decided to take up hair bow making, and so my sisters and my mom helped me out. Here's what I came up with so far. I will not be paying $4 and $5 per bow at children's stores anymore!

Next up...Mackinac trip with Stefan.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Alzheimer's disease is a nasty, nasty disease that seems to be cropping up more and more frequently. Like autism, the causes are unknown, but it doesn't really matter what caused it if you or someone you love is experiencing the symptoms of it. Early alzheimer's can do unspeakable things. I know. I have seen my grandfather-in-law change from a sweet-spirited, kind and gentle man to just a shell of what he once was. And what comes from him is not what his true spirit. I have seen my husband and his family profoundly affected by these changes. My husband is himself a sweet-spirited man, one who has shown his true self to very few people. I am lucky enough to be one of those people, and while it has taken me eight years of marriage to understand that I am barely scratching the surface, at least I know I made a good decision when I decided to marry him, or rather, God made a good decision when he threw us together. So when I see him in anguish and unable to hold it back, or when he wishes that things could be easier and his Papa could be in a better place, I know how deeply to his core that it has shaken him because he normally would not express such sentiments so freely.

Alzheimer's has done many things to my own grandmother, and to protect her privacy and that of my grandfather, you'll have to forgive me if I don't get too specific about who they are. While my grandpa is enamored with technology and the internet, I don't feel it would be respectful of me to shout their business right into your laptop. Some of the things that alzheimer's has done to her have been unkind. Physically, she seems like a miniature of what she once was. Perhaps that's because when you are growing up, the people you love and trust and the places you love and trust seem so much bigger to you. But in the last 5 years, she seems to have aged more quickly than is necessary. It's heartbreaking to sit in church or a living room with family and have to answer the same questions about whose kids are whose, when the baby is due, will said baby be a girl or a boy. You get the idea. And then to hear the story again of how she herself lost five babies either during pregnancy or shortly after they were born; it's tough.

Yesterday, they were blessed with a new house. One that fits them well. The family was there to welcome them home, and for the first time in many months, she seemed herself. She was present, and it was a good day. There were very few flashes of her "bad" moments where she is unaware. To see glimpses of what was once her "all the time" self was also painful. When she sat in a chair and told me, "I love babies. Can I hold her?" I gladly gave baby Scarlet up and took pictures while she held her and played with her and sang to her. It was a sweet time that I will never forget.

As I mentioned previously, alzheimer's has done many things to my grandma, but there is one thing that I have been repeatedly thankful for. In fact, it is something that has resonated in my heart for many months each time that I see my grandma. It has not changed her faith and belief in Jesus. She may not remember what house she is in, or whose baby is whose. It might be tiresome to listen to the same story again, although I would never let on for a million dollars. It is hard to see her try to figure out how the water faucet works or to suddenly look over and see that she is confused about where she is, why she is there, and who is around her. But every time I see my grandma, I see that her faith has not been lost; that it has, strangely, been strengthened. In church about a month ago, I caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye and saw her singing every word to to the contemporary praise and worship songs, I cannot tell you how my heart was warmed and how my own faith in Jesus was fortified. And during service and in quiet moments when it just family, it is more than evident that HE resides within her at her very core. When my grandma is gone, there is no doubt in my mind that she will be in Heaven with Jesus, knowing exactly who she is and where she is at. No doubt she will be looking down on all of us and saying, "Bless them, Lord, bless them."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not for the faint of heart....

My sister, Emily, has been coming each week to my house and spending the night with my family for a night (or two) since the baby has arrived. This is in part to be with Scarlet and get to know her, but also to see the other shorties, see me, and worst of all, get in as much time as she can before she marries Josh next month and they head off to Cleveland (TN) to start their new life together. Words cannot express the ache my heart feels at this reality. More on that later.
So, back to the present...tonight after Stefan got home (late) we wanted to go to Coldstone and get ice cream. The kids were all in bed, we had 15 minutes before closing time. We had already tried to go to Dairy Queen with the kids after our after dinner walk, but DQ was CLOSED because of the power issues. The boys had superhero popsicles instead, and we decided the grown-ups would have grown-up ice cream later on. Of course, we were behind the SLOWEST individuals on the planet all the way there, and we pulled up at 9:58, and they had already turned the lights off and locked the door. So, we decided to go to Culver's (yummy)for their custard, but as we pulled up there, they were shutting down. We thought they might still be open because people were still enjoying their ice cream at the outside tables, there were people in the parking lot, and lots of cars. As we were making a turn in the parking lot to leave, we see this little boy, I would estimate 3-4 years old, since I have one of those myself, with his pants all the way down, his bum lighting up the night, POOPING on the sidewalk. You might think his parents were not watching or something, but NO, they were right there with him on the sidewalk while he pooped on the ground, wiping his bum with little paper napkins and THROWING them on the ground. Remember the people on the patio still enjoying the ice cream? Not even 5 yards away. This did not look like an emergency situation, if you know what I mean (ie...full formed waste, not runny, and a nice little pile of it). The parents were very calmly standing there with him while he did his business, no shame, no idea, it seemed, that this is NOT SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE! So, I went through the drive through and told the lady at the window that they should really know that there was a little kid contaminating their sidewalk in the front, and they might check it out. The poor woman said, "I'll send my manager." By the way, we decided against the ice cream.


Over the last week, we had some powerful storms in southeastern Michigan. In fact, my family is lucky because in all the communities that surround us, there was terrible damage. Even in our town, things were badly hit by the weather, but our little corner was protected. Our backyard is filled with trees that are easily 75 feet tall, and in all that wind and rain, not one thing happened to us (we were in the pool when it started) or our home. We are thankful! You can read about it here or here.

Anyway, Spencer's last day of school is tomorrow, BUT his school has not had power all week long, so he spent the long days with me, and because I was not yet ready for summer, it was hard, I won't lie. I have had Scarlet to myself for two days per week while Spencer is in 1st grade and Slade is at preschool. I knew this was our last week of girl time, and that was fine, but mentally I wasn't ready for it to end early! Neither was Spencer, and he had a hard time adjusting to the days at home, and sweet thing, he was really bummed because his class was going to the computer lab and they were going to "get to do whatever they wanted, not just the typing stuff!"

Don't get me wrong....I love being around my kids, but you know how when you have to readjust to a new way of thinking or a new pattern? I have to prepare myself for that, and this week I was thrust into it with no warning, and I didn't have anything planned except a lot of running around that I was going to do while the boys were in school so they didn't have to suffer through. Guess what? They suffered through. Here's to summer!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Smarty Pants

Yesterday, in his infinite wisdom, Spencer came to me while I was making dinner. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Mom, you tell the best advice. I like what you say; sometimes it's even better than Mrs. Vanas (his teacher)."

Taking that compliment with a grain of salt, meaning I think we could have done without the Mrs. Vanas comment, but I'm glad he trusts his teacher...she is with him all day long, I looked right back at him and said, "Thanks, buddy."

Now, let's see if we can have that conversation in another six years when he's twelve!

Saturday, June 7, 2008