Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Baby is Turning 2, and Yay for the Air Getting Fixed

Yesterday I had to bite the bullet and get our air conditioning fixed. Lucky for us, one of Jack's friends from preschool has a dad in the biz, so he didn't charge us for labor, and only charged us cost for the parts we needed. Still dropped a $268 bomb, something we could do without at the moment, but with 100 degree heat indexes predicted for the next few days, I conceded we needed to turn it on. We are NOT 'AIR' people. I prefer fresh, cool, outdoor air which has been wonderful the past several nights. I have also been known to open windows in January just for fresh air's sake, and I know most people think I'm part crazy (duh...see the blog name?).

On to more important things. Maddie's birthday is in a few weeks and I am at a complete loss as to what to get her. She has taken to carrying a purse, or gift bag full of her first birthday cards and calling it her "pack". She carries them over the shoulder like an old lady, which I find really funny, since I don't think she's ever seen me carry a purse. Just a big diaper bag. Having had the joy of raising both, I really believe there is a difference between boys and girls. She likes her babies, and I'm not quite sure who taught her the evil word "Barbie", but all on her own she picked out Barbie fruit snacks last week. She calls them, "My Bobby Car!". Maybe since Steph got her a Barbie VW bug for Christmas....hmmm...?

It's okay though, because while this tomboy is busy raising a girly girl, I get to smile real big when she 'shoots' at people driving by our Cul De Sac, and when she plays Cars, and Transformers too. However, since we have ugly boy action figures coming out the wazoo, any help on what to get a 2 year old girl for her birthday would be great.

I cannot believe it's August. What happened to my summer? I had such good intentions...children's museums, the zoo, lots of fun stuff after my triathlon and all that training...and then POOF! Summer's almost over! What did we do for the past few months? I'm not too sure, but my kids have great tan lines, and they seem happy.

Sigh. Now real school begins. I'm so sad, so excited, and really, I could have another kid (okay, emotionally, definitely NOT physically) were it not for the fact that I'd feel like I'd be playing roulette, and saying...No Whammy, No Whammy, No Whammy STOP! in order to get a totally normal, healthy human being to raise.

For now, we'll take 2nd birthdays, kindergarten, and preschool head on, and all the fun, learning, and parenting sorrow it may bring.


Granny update...

She's doing good post op, even after a bit of a bad reaction to something last night that caused her to go into the ICU. I just spoke with her, and she was a bit distracted by her Law and Order watching, so I'll take that as a good sign.

Thanks everyone, for your good wishes.

Congrats Chris and Yelly!

Our good friends welcomed daughter Jilian Nicole on Saturday morning. Although I have been instructed to call her only Jilian, when she is standing next to my son, I may have a Freudian "Jill" slip, because, well, Jack and.....

I'm so original I know, especially since John's dad is Jack and has a sister named Jill who has a daughter named Jill who has a husband named Jack.... Good times.

Anywho...congrats Yelly! We are so happy for you and your growing family. All our love and best wishes for the fun months and long nights ahead!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fantastic News, Awful News, and Everything in Between

Our house lately has been a revolving door of kids, and I've loved every minute of it. After Julianne left last Thursday with her 2 girls, Jenny brought over KiKi (Nate's Katie) and Sammy while she took Julia to the dentist. Later that afternoon, 3 out of the 4 neighbor kids came over to utilize the bouncy house, set up in our living room and play. It's like the good old days where the only thing on a kid's agenda is that beautiful 4 letter word, "PLAY!"

Sunday was my cousin Erin's wedding shower at a really awesome Spanish Tapas restaurant, where, in fact John's cousin had his wedding last November! The food was so good it was totally worth the 1 and 1/2 hour drive. Maddie and I had a good time, and we found out my cousin Carey (sister of the bride) is expecting next February! How exciting for my aunt and uncle...weddings, babies....etc etc. Such good happy news, and I wish everyone the best of health and happiness, and minimal pregnancy related discomforts!

On the other side of the sliding scale, we found out yesterday that my maternal grandmother has cancer. Details at this point are sketchy to say the least, but as of this moment the thought is that her breast cancer 5 years ago never went away, and was masked by her cancer med 'rumidex' (sp?). Tumors have been growing in or near her lungs and when she was cleared of breast cancer last October she went off the meds and has had breathing problems ever since. All last winter it was thought to be bronchitis, then maybe pneumonia, then it became necessary to drain fluid from her pleural cavity just so she didn't suffocate.

Yesterday she was having surgery to put in a chest tube to drain said fluid (which has had 8 billion tests run on it), and to have her pleura "glued" (again, the sketchy details), but the docs went in and found rampant cancerous tumors. I do not know if they're in the breast, chest, or lungs, but hopefully I'll talk to her today and get more 411.
This is Grammies with a very sick Maddie at Christmas. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I have a feeling the road ahead of her is long and uphill.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Leg Hurts, and I'm Hungover...leave me alone

I took Nate to speech yesterday and dropped in on my favorite physical therapist. She put me on her table and as I was talking I heard a POP and gave a scream and she said, "Yup, I just put it back into place for you." Not only is she suprised at how "amazingly well I hold up given how unstable I am", but I had popped my femur out of joint. It freakin' hurt! Now I'm sore because the nerves were compressed, I had bone on bone grinding, and my muscles are being expected to work to hold me in place. She told me to take an Advil, so I started drinking instead.

We had company. Julianne and her girls were over and we did a 'build your own pizza' bar for dinner. Then the kids all went to bed, and Jenny and Cheryl came over. We had a chocolate fountain, wine, (Sharp's nonalcoholic beer for preggers Julianne) and told funny stories and laughed. It was good times, and I'm more than a little sad they are gone. Hopefully we'll see them again soon!

I'm off to nap. I'm tired, hung over, and my leg is killing me. I just need a little nap to make the mommy monster go away......

The Broken Oar

We've been busy the past few days. Tuesday we took the kids with our future in-laws to the local biker bar for dinner. It was classic car night, and the boys really seemed to enjoy checking out the rides. We ate outside at the beer garden located on the beautiful and smelly Fox River. Boats come in and dock at the bar, eat, and then head out. The kids LOVED the jetski's. Daddy's girl.

I thought for sure this kid was going in. I was down right positive I'd have to pull on my lifeguard hat and go for a smelly swim. I didn't though. Narrow escape.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Yay! We are soooo excited, Julianne and the girls are coming from Omaha for a one night stay at Hotel De Cricksters tonight on their way to another friend's house tomorrow and then on to Michigan.

I am feverishly trying to make my home if not clean, than presentable, but here's what's happening. I clean/pick up a room, the kids destroy another 2. At least she will have freshly laundered sheets, a newly dricleaned comforter, and good food for dinner complete with chocolate for dessert.

I love company, and I actually like cooking for them. Whether or not THEY like ME cooking for them is another story entirely....

Drive safe Juli. We'll see you soon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

On Becoming a "Locavore"

I like that term, locavore. It imbues a sense of responsibility, and community, I suppose. I read in the paper yesterday??? Saturday??? One of these past blurs of days??? that Americans and their grocery stores throw away BILLIONS of dollars worth of food each year. It made me just a little sick, because everywhere you turn is a HUGE chain conglommorate for all your processed food needs.

I also read in the paper about a woman in Rockford (see link at right) who is conducting a one year famiy experiment to eat ONLY foods locally grown and raised. She ONLY eats foods within a 100 mile radius of her home. However, she's not the 'weird lady'. She set decent parameters, like allowing chocolate, cooking oils (don't know too many Illinoisians with olive trees in their backyards), a social clause (dinners out), and the right to provide foods for her kids if she feels they're lacking something they need nutritionally that isn't available locally. While I like her idea and her parameters, I can't just go hard core like she did, but I'm going to modify our lifestyle here a bit, and ease into it.

The idea of eating local isn't new, it's what people just used to do. Now, I feel like we're slowly poisoning ourselves with chemicals, preservatives, and the like. Food loses nutrients the further it has to travel to get to the grocery store and eventually your plate, and most of it winds up being wasted anyway.

Next year, I plan on gardening. With the move, this year just wasn't my year for various reasons. But, I do plan on cultivating a decent vegetable, and hopefully herb garden next spring. For now, I'll just have to go shopping in my parent's garden, and 'borrow' from their neighbors.

I've also been trying to hit up farmer's markets, and am kicking myself for not getting more strawberries when we went picking and freezing them for winter. I'll have to do it with the blueberries, and I DEFINITELY want to relearn the canning process that my mom and grandmother used to do. I'll have to learn greenbeans (I think it's too late for them, right ma?), and applesauce and my mom makes a mean array of jellies, my favoirte of which is a Damsen Plum. It's a lost art, but I want to do it. Take some vacation in the fall mom, and plan on a sleepover in Jack's room!

I'm also in the market for a food dehydrator, if anyone sees one at a garage sale, let me know!

My mom said I'm making my kids weird. That stemmed from Jack saying, "Mom, I don't ever want to be fat." We have conversations about how McDonalds and the like isn't healthy for you, but OKAY once in a while, and all 3 kids have seen this past summer the importance of exercise during the course of my triathlon training. I don't think I'm making them weird, I do allow the occasional transgression into a greasy vat of fries, but I DO feel I'm making them conscientious about what they put into their mouths to fuel their bodies.

With the rising costs of food at the stores, the rising gas prices, and 2 mortgages (we got an offer on the other house by the way, that wasn't worth a pot to piss in, so keep praying for us!), I want to start supporting the local farmer/businesses. Unfortunately, organic food at farmers markets is damn near double the traditional farmers and out of budget for now, but when I do have to visit the grocery stores, I try to buy our 'staples' in organic form, if I can. It's actually even a little cheaper sometimes.

My neighbor makes her own breads and buns and things like that, so I'll have to get her recipes and bump some ideas off her, for sure.

So now I've got even more goals for my personal growth, and the general growth and health of the family. In addition to maybe wanting to do another triathlon this summer (gotta get a decent bike first!), I'm going to try and be more of a 'locavore'. Any thoughts, suggestions, and comments are welcome.

I've also put up some interesting links regarding local farming on the right. If you have more, I'd love to check them out. As it is, I kinda borrowed them from the newspaper anyway!

One caveat among many though...I do REFUSE to give up my morning coffee, local or not! Call it addiciton, or call it 3 kids, caffeine can sometimes be a mom's best friend!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Roses are...PINK!

Aren't these gorgeous? And they've opened up even moreso since I got them. Thanks Aunt Eileen! She sent me a dozen PINK (of course) roses for my part in the Breast Cancer Triathlon last weekend.
Thanks everyone for all your kind thoughts and support.
You'll never know what it meant to me.


Our good friends Matt (our Best Man) and Rene' had a baby girl yesterday. Isabella Marie weighed in at 6lbs 12 oz and everyone is doing well.

Yay babies!

A Fisher Among Men

Nate was so excited to get daddy alone time, especially when he found out they were goin' fishin'. Apparently, he's a natural.
He also took some great photos. I don't know what that blur is in the corner. I could have cropped it and edited the heck out of this photo, but Nate took it. It's special.

Another Nate version of an Ansel Adams classic...sorta. I personally like the dock graffiti.

More fish. He's such a big kid now. Oh, the doors that open for a 3 year old. How could you not love it?

Fishing pole, or guitar hero? Take your pick.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I have yet to meet her, but I hear she's adorable. Our friends, Rob and Sheila welcomed (about a week ago, I'm SO behind lately) baby Magdalena (Maggie) Marie. Maggie joins brother Ryan and I'm hoping that for these guys they experienced the "It's easier going from 1 to 2 kids than 0 to 1 kid" scenario that I did.

YAY Rob and Sheila. Now...just one more in our group needs to POP!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Think Fast Before You Run!

The Race. Is Over. WHEW!

I've gotten a few e-mail inquiries about why I didn't blog about the race yesterday. I more than survived, and I finished strong, in less than 2 original goal a complete success. My swim was 16:15, bike 53 min and change, and the run we won't talk about. I needed to walk (my foot hurt and I had cramps) and drink some water. Out of nowhere, this woman came up and said, "Come on. You've been pacing me this whole race. Let's run together. Let's go." And we did.

I finished on a high, happy, proud, strong, and all woman! However, I think my body can't handle adrenaline rushes well, since I went to bed to 'rest' at about 5 p.m. as I was feeling nauseuous and the next thing I knew it was 6:00 this morning. I feel great, and I'm definitely doing this next year!

This is the sign Jack made me. It said, "Think Fast Before You Run!" and "I love you mom!". There were pictures of Supergirl on it, and someone tied to a rock. I'm glad THAT wasn't me, even though, if I'm perfectly honest, the first 1/2 minute of the swim scared the CRAP out of me, and that was the one event I felt strong in. Imagine 100 people plus bottlenecked into a small area of water, all their limbs, splashing and running into you. I almost hyperventilated, but breathed myself down, and got into open water and a good rhythm. It was smooth sailing from there.

I could have cropped this down (I'm in the running crowd in the pink) but wanted my fan base to get a good view of what it looks like at the finish line. It's a feeling words cannot describe.
Go Me!

Crossing the timing chip mat, where they announce everyone's name as they finish.

Me, the kids, and my awesome sign.

It was undeniably hard at the end, but I had my family and my good friends there supporting me. Even their little ones held signs that said "Girl Power!, and Jen had her "Run Asshole Run" sign. I am so honored to have such amazing support people. My mom, dad, bro, husband, kids, and everyone else kept me strong...just the thought of seeing them at the finish line was enough.

Hopefully I'll get more pics from my dad and Jen to post. Enjoy these for now, and before you think that I did a great job, keep in mind:
* There was a blind woman who did the race.
* Some woman, a survivor in her 70's did her swim, fell off her bike and was rushed to the hospital via paramedics, got 5 stitches, came back to the race and finished the run. It was the story of the day.
* A family, a woman in her 80's and her daughters all did the race together.
* A woman with a prosthetic leg did the race ( and probably beat my time).
* The winner of the race (overall) did the entire thing in 1 hr. 2 minutes.

And lastly, but not least, we ALL raised money for Breast Cancer research foundation. THAT is the most important thing to remember.

Happy Week all! Enjoy the weather, the day, and when you think you can't do something and want to give up, remember YOU CAN!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Today was the day I racked my bike and picked up all my final race info. I am sooo excited for this race I can hardly stand it, even if it means I'm leaving tomorrow at 4 a.m. to make it in and out of the transition area in time.

I found out I am number 2575 and have my body marked with magic marker accordingly. I am also swimming in Wave 20, with an 8:12 start time. My wave color is pink, if you're out there looking for me.

Today was amazing though. 4,000 women are participating in this race, which according to Mr. Race director at our final race instruction talk thru this a.m., is "not the most competitivie event out there." Meaning, it's all about GIRL POWER!!! After we got our final instructions today, Sally Edwards, multiple time winner of the Ironman (in fact the first woman to do it!) gave us our pep talk. She is also going to be the last person to finish the race (she's the Danskin spokeswoman and that's her thing), but at 61 years young, she could very easily finish first, I'm sure. She was amazing, inspiring, and a real motivator. Her speech gave a lot of good pep talk, especially the "YOU GO GIRL" high fives we all had to give each other!

She also brought up onto the stage a bunch of breast cancer survivors doing the race (120 + of them) and THAT was amazing. There were women up on the stage bald, or with 1/8 of an inch of hair and probably 5 seconds post chemo up there, there were very young women, and one woman probably close to pushing 80. It was a tearjerker moment, and the whole thing made me want to persuade ALL my friends to do it next year, just to be able to live that moment. Incredible what people can do.

After I sat thru my instructions, I got my race packet, my body inked, my free bag, and my shirt, along with other freebies at the expo. I came out with a waterbottle, a pink baseball cap with some bank logo on it, but also a pink ribbon soooo score!, and some Sport Beans. Yes, Sport Beans. The race takes place in Pleasant Prairie, home of Jelly Belly's, and now they are making Sport Beans with like, electrolytes or something like that in it. Fabulous! They really don't even taste bad.

I wish I'd taken pictures, but I promise next year I will. John is planning on coming up with the kids to watch, so maybe he'll get some, but he's not very creative, so I'll have to bank on Jen to get things like, the finish line, or the view across the water (1/2 mile looks futher when staring at it head on), etc.

On my way out, I ran into my friend CeCe and all her sisters in law that she's doing the race with. She came with her Mother in law, who is their breast cancer survivor. Funny, 4,000 women and I run into the one person I know there. Girl power at it's best.

I'm excited. I'm ready. And, after today, I am inspired by these women who have found strength and courage and are truly remarkable!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Inspirational Catalyst

With 4 days left to go before this triathlon thingy, I think I should fess up. I keep getting a lot of questions regarding the 'why' of me doing it. I can thank CeCe for that.

CeCe and I used to work together, she being the kindergarten teacher, me being the first grade teacher she always gave her worst case scenarios, because the other first grade teachers (save one) weren't very warm, fuzzy, or generally accepting of the 6 to 7 year old mentality. Not to mention, we did a lot of sensory based activities before we even realized they were really really good things to be doing, and we fought doing hard core curriculum all day long like true soldiers. Not that it helped, since we both are retired from that life. And I digress.

CeCe also has 3 kids, and pretty much had them in the same way I did...have a baby, 2 years later have another, 15 months later (for me 13) have another. In fact, her baby and Nate are the exact same age, to the day. So I know that whenever I need to know what to expect kid/sibling wise, she is my go to person.

Last year she was talking about doing this triathlon thingy and I was VERY interestd. She told me I needed to wait a year. Last year was not my year, since I was still breastfeeding at the time, and Maddie wasn't even a year old yet. I kept that in the back of my head, because she was right of course, and here I am a year later, ready to do this thing.

I'm thinking that after Sunday, it may be a bit anti-climactic, since I've been working so hard for those few hours, but I can always sign up to do the one in Lake Geneva, and I've decided that if I enjoy this race, I will do more next year, definitely.

The best parts about this particular race is that
A.) It raises money for breast cancer. We all know my family's dealings on both sides with that.
(By the way, you can still pledge, follow the web link at the bottom).

B.) Rumor on the streets is that my home girls are coming to spectate. I could not ask for a better system of support than my girlfriends. Truth be told, they are also planning on hitting up the nearby outlet malls too, but my hope is they will see me in this race, they will see all of the women in this race and subsequently be inspired to be a part of it. You can do it as a team, so not one person is doing everything...split it up gals! :-p At the very least, they are just going to be reminders the day of that race of the fact that I have made some very good decisions in my life regarding love and relationships.

I'm also semi-wondering who's going to be holding the margarita glass for me at the finish line?!

Check out the info here if you're planning on coming! (Or pledging!)

Until then, today's a swim day...better go train!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

4th of July

I'm a little slow on things these days.

Here's Madders and Grandma and Granpa's. She was trying to get the ball, and almost took a few headers into the pool. Good times.

Maddie and her older cousin Jenny (by older I mean in her late 20's) kept playing this diving game with he ball. Maddie would keep diving over it and land head first and rolling. It was really really funny.
Nate, Maddie and Brooke at Oma's before he fireworkds. Brooke was all decked out in her Cubbie's cheerleader outfit, these crazy blue and red hair bows, red white and blue jelly bracelets, and sunglasses. Her mother likes her to 'accessorize'.

The kids with Great Grandms. We're just missing our September arrival to make the greatgrandkids photo op complete.

The little ones in the wagon, getting ready to head to fireworks. Madilynn did not like them at all and kept clutching on to me saying, "home....home". It was a little sad, but cute just the same!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

She's Ferosh

Yes, that is Maddie beating up her dad with Hulk hands. It's not fair he has two lightsabers, but she's feisty enough to take him on.
And here she is, the sweet, messy, partially naked girlie girl with her baby and always her pearls. She loves those stinkin pearls. Someday she'll have mine that I got from her father, but for now this Stepford baby can have her costume jewels.

Friday, July 04, 2008

We Aim High Here...We really do

Conversations with Jack lately have revolved around 'big boy school' and when do I get to start mom? This conversation took place at the dinner table last night:
J-When do I get to go to school?
John checks calendar,
John-About 7 weeks Jack!
Me: Jack, what do you want to learn about in Kindergarten?
Jack: Well, mom, actually, what I want to learn is how to become a Star Wars character and how to fight with Lightsabers.
Well, padawan, we're pretty sure that's not gonna happen. Kindergarten may be a bit disappointing, what with learning how to read and add and all that.
But someday you may reach that goal of becoming a storm trooper.
For real.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Some Juicy Red Fun

Because gas prices are insane, my kids' entire summer has been revolving around my race workout, and my mommy guilt issues, I decided we needed to do something outrageously fun today, so I took the kids to a local berry patch this morning to pick strawberries, since today is the last day to do so. Blueberries will be pickable for them the first week in August, and mental note: Do it naked. Berry picking is messy.

Nate found the tractor. I wonder how old it is?

Jack was driving. Where to and how far have yet to be determined.

GAAAREEEENNN ACRES is the place for Maddie!
Jack's berries. He actually took this picture, and I think it's kinda cool.
Maddie picks berries.
Jack in the middle of the patch.
Nate would pick one, eat 5. He actually had a good stretch and a semi full basket, but then he tripped and they all spilled. Poor guy.
I got to pick some too. Again, photog Jack did a super job.

After the berry patch we hit the waterpark nearby and it was a blast. Nothing says summer like waterslides, water shooter thingies, umbrellas with water pouring down and a ginormous sand pit. They are all currently sleeping, and I suppose I should wake them up. Otherwise tonight will be a problem.
This was sooo much fun, I really cannot wait for the blueberries!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dammit, I just Knew it Would Go Down this Way

I had my cycle class this morning, and dragged myself there, because I have 12 days before this crazy race.

The instructor, no stranger to a good triathlon and who has friends doing the one I am told me that

A.) The bike is hilly, but the run will be flat. Or Vice versa, in which case I'm screwed. I hate running uphill, but I hate running DOWN even more. I always feel like I'm going to eat pavement for lunch if I don't get my legs under control. I feel like I look like a cartoon running, you know, how they're all blurry from the waist down because they're running so fast, but then they don't go anywhere. Ugh.

B.) The water is chilly. It's an easy swim, but the water is chilly. I hate nothing more than being cold, and I am always cold. Always. So cold water is never my friend.

Let's just hope we got some hot days between now and then to warm that lake up.

Otherwise I may get hypothermia before I swim half a stroke!