Thursday, November 23, 2006

I am thankful for my grandfather.

Today is Thanksgiving, a day where we think about all the blessings in our life, who and what we are thankful for. I have so many things to be thankful for. My cup runneth over.

But today I'd like to tell you about my grandfather. He passed away three years ago today at age 83. I was very close to my grandpa. I was the oldest grandchild and the only granddaughter. You can bet we had a very special relationship.

I grew up only about a half mile away from my grandparents and spent lots of time with them. I could walk through the pasture to their house and did just that quite often. We spent time together, doing everyday things. They were always there for me (and my grandma still is). My grandfather was a wise man, a business owner, a farmer, quick-witted, stubborn, and proud. He loved having his family around and always wanted us together on birthday's and holiday's.

Sometimes, out of the blue, like while I'm in the middle of a store or doing laundry, I will find myself recalling a memory of him, of something he taught me (and he taught me a lot), and my eyes will fill with tears. I am comforted by the thought that he is watching over me and my family; guiding me from afar.

I'm sad that my girls will never know him the way that I did. They were only a little over a year old when he died. His memory wasn't as sharp the last few years, which I think was really hard on him.

Now, I have moved back to my hometown to be close to family. My hope is that my girls can have the relationship with their grandparents that I had with mine. I can only provide the opportunity, but hopefully a similar relationship will cultivate. My strong family ties are a big part of the "who" I am today...and I'm very proud of that.

Thank you, Grandpa.

Grandpa Bud
(written & read by me at his funeral)

In 1920, my grandpa was born,
The first of three to arrive on the farm.
His parents, Frank & Anne, were happy to see,
A little boy added to the family tree.

I don’t know much about his childhood days.
He worked real hard milking cows and baling hay.
He finished school at the end of eighth grade ~
With a head for figures; a fine farmer he made.

He met my grandma when he was about twenty-six.
She thought him quite handsome; he thought her a good catch.
They dated a short while and then got hitched
On a cold, wintry day in 1946.

In 1950, a business began.
Hauling lime to the fields was in high demand.
Knoblauch Lime Co. was its name;
It continues to grow, even now to this day.

It wasn’t long before the house was filled
With a little boy and two little girls.
He continued to farm; he had a love for the land.
Good thing he had help from the hired hands.

His children grew up and went on their way,
But they kept close by as they had lots to say.
Then the grandchildren were born, and they loved him so.
He teased them plenty as they began to grow.

He could be blunt and quite stubborn, but what a softie inside.
And when he spoke of his grandkids, it was always with pride.
And in their eyes he was someone they wanted to model,
He was smart and so wise, and respected by all.

I’ve looked up to my grandpa since I was a girl.
He taught me so much about life in this world.
On being honest and thankful for all that I’ve got.
And he gave great advice, whether I took it or not.

He has now passed on to a much better place,
Where he walks in the garden with His Holy Grace,
Laughing and teasing and chewing his cigar
As he looks down upon us, guiding us from a far.

And even though he is gone and we’ll see him no more
Doing some fishing or combining corn.
He’ll always be with us; we’re not really apart
For we all have our memories of him in our hearts.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Patriotic Girls

I love that they say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in school. I think they are talking so well, and seem so articulate to me!



Oh, and if you are wondering about what Lindsey is saying after she is done saying the Pledge, I asked her about it. She told me that she was talking to me in Spanish!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Prematurity Awareness Month

Yesterday was Prematurity Awareness Day.

It's a chance to reflect on my journey; our previous life in the NICU. Some days it seems like so long ago, barely four years, and at other times, it seems like yesterday.


when I was on bedrest at home due to an incompetent cervix and having a cerclage placed. Through all my infertile life, I remember thinking "if I could just get pregnant, then everything would be okay". Once I got pregnant for the first time and had a miscarriage, I remember thinking "if I could just make it to 12 weeks, then everything would be okay". So, after my fourth IUI/INJ cycle, I got pregnant again and at 19 weeks, my world fell apart when I lost our son, Seth Allan, to what we now know was an incompetent cervix. I'll never view 12 weeks as safe or even 20 weeks or even 30.

Honestly, it's never safe. Yes, the statistics get better as time goes on, but one never knows. I'm forever changed because no matter how far along someone is, the thought always crosses my mind that something could happen. I'll never feel that blissful naivete that many do as they go through a pregnancy. Not that I'm planning on getting pregnant, but I will never feel that about anyone else either. NOTHING, in regards to my reproductive organs or life, has, or ever will be, normal. I've been angry about it. I've mourned. I've accepted it.

My third pregnancy (after two more IUI/INJ cycles) was, well, really quite rocky the entire time. I did have a few weeks in the middle (which for me was around week 14-17), where I actually felt pretty good. No bedrest, no bleeding. At 22 weeks, it changed again when my blood pressure at home on bedrest was elevating and I went in to have it checked. My doctor proceeded to immediately admit me and I went into a dark room and on that awful stuff called Magnesium Sulfate. I guess lucky for me, I was quite oblivious to what this all meant. I was able to get two courses of steroid shots to help mature the girls lungs. The problem was that I ended up not tolerating the Mag and developed pulmonary edema. I was on oxygen and gaining 2-5 lbs.of fluid a day. They stopped the Mag.

The next few days passed by and I had no idea of the severity of my condition: Preeclampsia. Nine days after being admitted to the hospital, the doctor rounding, whirled into my room and told me that we couldn't wait any longer. You're having a C-section at 4 p.m. I called my husband and told him to come to the hospital. I was sobbing. When he got there, I was telling him that I didn't know WHY they were doing this. I was FINE! I could make it longer. I could make it to 28 weeks. I called the doctor back in. I needed him to explain to me why they were doing this. 24 weeks was too early! Needless to say, he went through the list of the reasons: my blood pressure, the protein in my urine, my weight gain, my kidney function. He said they had limits to each of these and he'd already let me go past them to get me to 24 weeks. It was time.

And with that, I was propelled into another new experience: life in the NICU and the rollercoaster ride that comes along with it. Times two. My time in the NICU really deserves it's own post. It was a long 114 days. I journaled every day. It was very therapeutic for me. You can read my journals at L & S's Caring Bridge page. Just click on Read Journal History.

I'm sharing some of my story today, like many others have. Premature birth is a serious, common and costly problem. It can happen to any pregnant woman, and no one really knows why. 1 in 8 babies are born too soon. 1 in 8! Many do not survive. We were one of the lucky ones. I will never forget where my girls started, how hard they have fought or how very far they have come. In an instant, things could have turned out so differently. I have been blessed.

Lindsey - 4 days old Sydney - A month old

I love you, sister! Let me lay one on you!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Housewarming Party and 40th Birthday...

Last Saturday was our housewarming party. We had a really good turnout; about 36 guests throughout the night and maybe 12 kids or so; friends, relatives, co-workers, and almost all of our new neighbors! We had planned to have the food and big part of the party in our garage (yes, I know it's November in Minnesota, LOL), and we still did, even though the temp was only 40 degrees. It figures that it was beautiful the weekend before and in the SEVENTIES three days before, but alas, we still had a great time.

I spent the week running errands; getting food, cleaning, hanging pictures, finding home decor items. Thanks so much to my mom, grandma, aunt and sister-in-law for helping with the food. Our menu consisted of Sloppy joes, Greek salad, chips, cheese & crackers, veggies & dip, and several desserts: Cream cheese bars, pumpkin bars, brownies, and chocolate cake. And of course, the beer, wine, and drinks were flowing!

DH got the garage ready that morning. We had carpet on the floor and he fired up the space heaters. It climbed from a cool 39 degrees to almost 60 F! I was amazed at how many people stayed out there in the evening. There was plenty of room inside and we had tables set up all over.

I was a poor photographer though, and got no pictures of everything set up; only a few pictures later in the evening. I didn't even get pictures of the signs that Brian had made at work saying:

Welcome to our Housewarming party which has absolutely nothing to do with Kim's 40th Birthday on Monday, November 13!

But, you get the drift! We received some wonderful housewarming gifts - plants, wine, etc., but the best part was sharing the evening with our friends. Honestly, I haven't had such a fun and relaxing time for a long, long while. It was nice to just sit, visit, kick back, eat, talk, drink, and know that I didn't have to drive anywhere!

The girls had such a good time playing with the kids and then between 7-8 p.m., my sister-in-law took the girls to her house, along with my niece & nephew, where they stayed overnight and my niece babysat.

Later in the evening, all the party moved inside, with some dice shaking going on downstairs and girl talk going on upstairs! The party broke up around 12:30 a.m. and one of my girlfriends stayed overnight, so of course, we were up a little bit later chit-chatting.

As for my 40th Birthday on Monday, it was pretty uneventful. I received a bunch of very beautiful cards and gifts. I spent the days with my girls and they loved singing to me. We went out for a family dinner at the Country Kitchen. Did you know that you get a free dinner and ice cream sundae on the actual date of your birthday? Brian got off pretty easy with my dinner free and the girls split a kid's meal.

Oh, I did get a nice compliment the other day, when I told someone I had just turned 40. They said, "No WAY! I thought you were about 32!" Hey THANKS!

I'll be a hunting widow this weekend. Brian is leaving on Friday and will be back on Sunday. It's going to be a fun girls weekend, hanging out with Lindsey & Sydney and my girlfriends. Hmmmm....what kind of fun food can we whip up while we're sitting in our jammies watching movies?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Adventures in painting...or trying to paint.

I referenced a story below regarding painting. Or trying to paint. The thing is I ordered this bedding several weeks ago and it shipped quite quickly. I was waiting to get the bedding before I picked out some paint colors. I had really wanted to get this done before our Housewarming Party this weekend. Well, I waited and waited and waited. The darn bedding did not arrive. I was getting nervous, because while I did like the bedding in the picture, I didn't "love" it, and wasn't sure that I'd even like it when it got here.

So, on Tuesday, I decided, to heck with it, I'm not waiting any longer. So, the girls and I jumped in the van and headed to the Cities. I'm still shopping for home decor stuff anyway. We made a stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond and Kohl's. I found a quilt that I just love. And they had TWO! I bought them and headed directly to the paint store where I looked at this and that and that and this, and I made a decision on the paint. I was trying to find a chip sample here to show you, but can't. Yellow and Green. Jonquil and Great Green, to be exact.

Here is the bedding the girls and I chose: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The colors are really beautiful. I love that there isn't really a theme to it so that I can switch things around if I want to. Lots of colors to choose from too. I think I may do some sort of window treatment with pink in it. Not sure though, and I definitely won't have that done by tomorrow.

Anyway, back to the painting. I had already taped off the bedroom to prime. It was a very vibrant blue before. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I had 3-4 hours on Wednesday morning and figured that I could knock it out. NOT! I'm and expert roller, but boy, that edging takes me forever! It was my first time using a brush (which went really well, BTW), but I'm very slow. This is when I called my grandma, who came out and edged everything for me while I took the girls to the dentist. When I came home, after stops at Sam's Club and Linens N Things, she had everything edged and she is GOOD! I called her to thank her for doing it and tell her how fast she was, since I was there when she started. She just said that she has LOTS of experience.

I finished up almost all of the painting on Wednesday night and yesterday, I did the last of it: the top of the ledge and one corner that I had to edge. I also touched up in some of the corners.

So, today, I will put all the electrical covers back on, get the bedding washed and put on and maybe the girls can sleep in there tonight! Some after pics will be coming shortly.

Oh, and if anyone has some ideas on decorating or window treatments, I would gladly accept them! I need all the help that I can get. I'm thinking of painting some wooden letters that spell out their name for over their bed. I also want to pull up the carpet that's on the floor. It's just tacked down as there is wood laminate underneath. Then I need to find a big rug to put between the two beds. What do you think? Any other ideas?

Always a work-in-progress!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Party, Painting, Appointments...

I swear...since we've moved, I've just been running around here like a chicken with its head cut off. I guess it's maybe because now the girls are in preschool and I'm taking them there and picking them up three days a week, whereas, we used to just stay home. But you would think with that extra time by myself, I wouldn't feel like I'm just not getting things done.

Last night I got home after a long day. The girls went to preschool, then I came home and began painting their room (that's a whole other story!). I thought I could knock it out that morning as I'd already painted part of it and it was all taped off, etc. I started edging and 1) I haven't done it that much and 2) I'm not that good at it. But I figured that the only way to get better was to go for it. I used a brush this time and while I really did good, it was so slow. So, I called my grandma and she came over to edge, while I went to pick the girls up at school and then take them to the dentist!

After the dentist (another story!), we went to Sam's Club to pick up some stuff for our Housewarming Party this weekend. You NEVER get out of there quickly. After that, we ran to Linens 'N Things to get a few things for the house. I'm still trying to decorate and get window treatments, etc. It won't all be done for the party, but it's supposed to be a continuous work in progress, right?

When we came out of LNT it was DARK! Drove home, where I started to make the girls grilled cheese sandwiches. I was thinking of too many things, because I wanted to get downstairs and finishing painting, I burnt two sandwiches on the stove because I forgot I was making them!! Thankfully, Brian took over the cooking part and headed downstairs. I finished up the painting in about an hour or so. I have one little bit left to do that I couldn't do last night as I had to tape off an area, but it was still wet. I'm hoping to do that this afternoon.

Today, L & S will go to preschool again and then I'm heading out to the office where I need to install some computer software for my mom & brother. Then it's back home to do a few things and back to school where I volunteer with serving hot lunches. I think after that, I will be able to do the painting. I NEED to get this stuff done before Saturday, as well as, clean, cook, do laundry...all that "fun" stuff!

Oh, and tomorrow is Sydney's one year follow-up appointment with the cardiologist. We need to pick up Brian at 11 and head into Minneapolis for the appointment. S is getting a echocardiogram, chest x-ray and EKG tomorrow. Then we'll meet with Dr. Bass. Hopefully all will be good with her Amplatzer.

Thankfully, we don't have dance tonight (ANOTHER story!). That would just be one too many things this week!

Maybe after the New Year, things will settle down.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween 2006

BRRRR! It was a cold one! Too bad the weather was off by a day! On Monday it was almost 70 degrees. the time the evening came around, it was only 20's and windy! But we still had the most beautiful princesses around!

Lindsey was an adorable Sleeping Beauty! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sydney was a precious Cinderella! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I thought this year we might be able to hit a few more homes than just family, so we headed to some of our neighbors. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if they're my children. They were so shy, hiding behind my legs, even at their friend Lily's house (and she opened the door!). I asked my mom if I was like that and she said, NO! Quite opposite, I guess. They must get this from Brian.

Anyway, after hitting four homes in the neighborhood, we made the rounds to great-grandma's, aunts & uncles & cousins, grandparents, etc. Even though we all live in the same town, it was still a lot of running around and we didn't get home until late, but L & S really DID have fun! Hmmmm...maybe they're not all that interested because they're really not that interested in candy. M&M's are about it around here. Oh and the Tootsie Roll! LOL!

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Oh, and I just have to share a picture of their Halloween outfits that they wore to school! They were so excited for school that day!

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All in all, it was all good.
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