Monday, March 12, 2012

Wow, I'm a bit behind here. I wanted to post about Kyle's birthday in February. Well, after a couple of weeks of sickness, time once again got away from me. Kyle has the distinct pleasure of being born just after Valentine's Day. We had a nice little party with Grandma, Grandpa, and Pep. Pep really enjoyed getting to see the kids, and it was good for the kids to spend time with him. Sadly, his alzheimer's has progressed, and we want to make sure the kids get to enjoy spending time with him. During he party, Kyle got the first taste of his cake (with a little help from Dad).
Of course, after he blew out the candles, Kyle ate the piece he stuck his finger in.
I know it sounds cliche-ish, but I can't believe Kyle is already 8 years old. I was just looking through his baby pictures the other day, planning to finally scrapbook them. I had forgotten what a cute chubby baby he was. Only 2 of my babies have been born with thick, black hair, and Jarod lost his when he was about 4 months old. And Kyle is the only one of the bunch to have inherited his daddy's dimples. He's simply the cutest thing ever.
To my sweet, inquisitive Kyle, happy birthday. Thank you for everything you do to help me around the house. I love your desire to be a great big brother. We are so happy God blessed us with you in our family.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Story of a Birthday and a Haircut

A couple of weeks ago was Tyler's 4th birthday. Now I realize I'm a bit slow on writing about this, but better late than never, right? We had a nice little family party with Grandma, Grandpa, and Pep (great-grandfather). I had gone scrapbooking the day before and planned to get his gift when I stopped at Walmart for pictures, but they didn't have what I was looking for. This led to a quick run to a different Walmart before church Sunday morning. Ok, confession time. I went during Sunday school while everyone else was at church. But really, I do my best shopping by myself with no one to distract me. That's way too easy of a thing to do. Distract me, I mean.
Where was I? (he he he) After church we went over to Mike's parents' house for the festivities to begin. It was a gorgeous day for January, and the kids took advantage of the weather and played outside for a while. The party itself was nothing exciting, but it was so nice to be together as a family to celebrate Tyler's life. He has been such a blessing to our family and really kept us on our toes. From sitting on the shelf in the fridge eating turkey, to climbing into the dryer, to hiding under my bed playing on his brothers' ipod, to going out to play in the snow barefoot and in his pajamas, he has been quite the adventurer.
Speaking of adventurers (ha-that's my nice way of saying he's a little stinker), Zach was quite a little stinker last week. One morning while the older kids were working on schoolwork, Zach and Tyler were playing quietly in their room. I should have clued into the fact they were being so quiet. But this one slipped right by me. Zach had given himself a nice little haircut.
Needless to say I had to shave his head to try to even it out. He ended up with a very short haircut. But he had another guinea pig. I found a couple of short spots on Tyler's head as well!
On that note, Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's been so long since I've written that it could be easy to say where should I start. So much has happened since my last post. Our wonderful Disney cruise in November of 2009. The stress and worry of a job loss in 2010. The relief of a new job. Then the joy of a new pregnancy.
That pregnancy is the one thing that has most impacted my life. We had taken a break from our decision to trust God with the size of our family. When Mike found his new job, we renewed our step of faith. And I got pregnant right away. We decided to wait until Christmas to tell the kids our news. I wrote a note and put it inside our big communal Christmas stocking. When I dumped all the toys out of the stocking, the boys had a heyday checking out the toys. Rachel immediately saw the note laying on the floor. As she picked it up and read it, I watched as her face showed the surprise and happiness she was feeling. When she read the note aloud, all the boys got very excited.
The kids were all praying for a baby sister, and even Mike got on the bandwagon. He has never had a preference before whether it was a boy or a girl, but he was even wanting a girl. I, on the other hand, was just worried about the baby being healthy. We went in for a level 2 ultrasound at 18 weeks. It was a boy. What are the odds of having 7 boys in a row. But I was just relieved to hear that he was doing well. He was measuring kind of small, but other than that, he seemed perfectly fine. Two weeks later I went in for a regular check-up. My doctor couldn't find his heartbeat with the handheld sonar so she sent me back for an ultrasound. I didn't think anything about it because this had happened several times throughout this pregnancy. As I laid on the table, the technician scanned for several minutes. I couldn't see the screen so I just assumed she was taking measurements. Finally she turned to me and said, "I couldn't find a heartbeat." Even now as I write this I feel shock that this could have happened. I will never forget hearing her say those words. How could this happen? I was halfway through the second trimester. Everything was going well.
I just couldn't believe what was happening. Instead of bringing home a healthy baby, we only had his ashes and his footprints. Those tiny little footprints. My only tie to him. We never got to hold him, see his tiny face, smell his baby smell. It just seemed so surreal.
The last 11 months have been the darkest in my life. Babies have been born at 24 weeks and survived. But we lost our sweet Benjamin to a cord accident. The umbilical cord had twisted on itself. I thought it would have been easier if he had had some kind of defect. At least there would be comfort that he would not suffer. But it just seemed to be a cruel accident.
I have only gotten through this time by God's grace and the support of my wonderful husband and children. During those times when I felt so much sadness I would hold them tight. When I would wish I could be holding little Benjamin, I would grab Tyler and hold on tight. He usually lets me linger on the hug even though I know he would rather be running around and getting into trouble. Rachel has been so sensitive to my feelings. I know this has been hard on all the kids and they miss Benjamin too. But they know they will get to meet him someday. My wonderful Jarod, the man of the family who hates to be hugged, will give me the best hugs when he knows I'm feeling down. And Mike has been so supportive. I thank God that we have become even closer through this time, when I know that often grief will drive a couple apart.
As I shared in a testimony at church on Christmas Day, I want to share my experience with people. When Thanksgiving came along, I had a hard time being thankful for this past year. It has without the shadow of a doubt been the worst year of my life. I have not felt like praying or reading the Bible. But our faith is not based on our feelings. If I can somehow encourage someone through what I have been through, then I feel like there has been some purpose in losing Benjamin. I wish I could say I have completely recovered from this tragic loss, but I can’t. I wish I could say I knew why God allowed this happen, but I don’t. Some days are better than others, but it’s still something I think about every day. His loss will always be with me. One of the
hardest things that is unique to a miscarriage is that because no one ever met him, he becomes forgotten by others. I want to keep his memory alive. Even though he never entered this world, he still existed and is close to my heart. I treasure these tiny footprints because they are the one tangible thing I have of my little boy. I am still finding my way through this tragedy, but if I can
be an encouragement to someone to take it day by day, to not lose faith, then I feel like I have found some purpose in what I have gone through. Day by day, with lots of prayer, I continually remind myself that even though I don’t understand God’s purpose, I have to remain faithful and trust Him. And I know that I will see our baby Benjamin someday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

St. Louis, Here We Come!

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. Last weekend we were at a magic convention in St. Louis. We left on Wednesday so we could do a little sightseeing with the kiddos. After we arrived and checked into the hotel, we drove to the arch. It was a bit challenging to find parking, but once we got there and through security, we were good to go. Mike bought the tickets to go up the tram to the top of the arch. We checked out the museum there while we waited our turn to go up. When it was time, we had to wait in line. Then we got through the turnstyle and had to wait in another line. Then they let us go to this narrow hallway to wait once again to get onto the tram cars, which looked like a spaceship from the 1960's. They had tiny doors and five seats inside this small space. It was enough to make anyone claustrophobic.

Once we got to the top, it was very crowded, but the kids had a blast looking out the windows. They were amazed at how small the cars and people looked down below. It really was pretty cool.

Thursday morning we went to Science Center. It was a really fun science museum. The best part of it, though, was that it was free! After that we took the kids to White Castle. Jarod was bragging that he ate 6 sliders. What an appetite!

Thursday evening the convention began with a magic show. Bright and early Friday morning the kids competed in the stage contest. They were the only junior contestants so they had to compete against the adults. They did such a good job.

Saturday they competed in the close-up contest, as did Mike. Since they needed 3 contestants to have a junior competition, we made up the junior portion. Rachel, Jarod, and Nathan each had a routine. Jarod was so excited and surprised when he was announced the winner. They each did such a good job, and they each had strengths in different areas. They all did a good job and I wish they all could have gotten first.

The highlight of the trip was the Saturday evening stage show. Even though the kids didn't place in the stage contest, they were asked to open the show. What an honor to open for some big names in the magic business, people who work in Vegas and have won awards. They got so much exposure and everybody loved them. They were the hit of the show. Mike and I were just bursting with pride.

Sunday we made our way to Columbia and spent the night with Mike's sister. Thanks for the hospitality, Amy! We had fun playing Trivial Pursuit, playing the nintendo and watching movies. And don't forget Shakespeare's Pizza. Poor Zach was so tired he fell asleep waiting for the food! Mike had to take advantage of the opportunity to tease him. When I showed Zach the pictures, he thought it was really funny.

This week I've been trying to get back to normal, doing laundry, cleaning, putting stuff away, and planning for school and for cub scouts (I'm the wolf den leader, along with another lady). My head is spinning.

Well, I'm off to do more head-spinning activity. Have a great day!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Well, it's been entirely too long since I've written. No, I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth. Let's see, what have I missed blogging about since Tyler's birthday? Mike took Zach to see Sesame Street Live, starring Elmo. Elmo is Zach's absolute favorite Sesame Street character, so as you can imagine, Zach had a blast. And Mike took lots of pictures for me.

Mike also took Jarod, Nathan, Joel and Kyle to a monster truck rally. He didn't get any pictures, but the boys had a blast.

In February we celebrated Kyle's 5th birthday. Mike put trick candles on the cake. Kyle was so funny trying to blow them out again and again.

Mike kept threatening to cut Tyler's hair, which as you may know, would have meant him taking the clippers to Tyler's head. I couldn't bear the thought of Tyler getting a buzz cut. He wouldn't have looked like a baby anymore. So I finally trimmed Tyler's hair just to keep Mike from shaving his head. Here are the results.

Yes, Tyler was sitting in the bathroom sink. He was just small enough to fit in it and it kept him from squirming. I know, it's wierd, but when you have seven kids, you do what you can.

March brought Zach's 3rd birthday. As you can guess, the theme was Elmo. The cake was made entirely out of cupcakes. (I can't take credit for the cake. I bought it at Sam's.)

In April, Jarod and Joel turned 10 and 7, respectively. They had a combined birthday party the day before Easter, so I decided to have an Easter egg hunt for the party. It was a great success. I told the kids they were each allowed to find a certain number of eggs, and it was fun seeing the older kids helping the younger kids after they had found all of their eggs. For our family Easter egg hunt on Easter at my in-laws, we just had each kid assigned to a different color. Great way to avoid the kids fighting over someone getting more eggs than the others.

Soccer season has come and gone. Jarod and Nathan played on one team, Joel and Kyle played on another team. Now softball season has started for Rachel. Jarod, Nathan, and Joel joined Cub Scouts this year. Unfortunately we joined mid-year and Nathan and Joel were unable to get their patches for the year, but the new year starts next month. Now that I am more familiar with scouting, we'll get more done next year. It was a good introduction to scouting this year. Jarod will still be a Webelos next year so we'll just keep plugging away on his requirements.

Well, I'm getting a bit long-winded, but I think I've covered all the big things that have happened this spring. Hopefully it won't be so long before my next post.
Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tyler's Favorite Number

How can a one-year-old have a favorite number? I'm not sure it's possible, but if Tyler could talk, he would probably say his favorite number is 1. Why one, you may ask? Well, he was born in the first month, at 1:11 p.m., and weighed 8 lbs, 11 ozs. And to top it off, he took his first steps on his first birthday. That's one milestone I'm not likely to forget anytime soon.

We had Tyler's party on Tuesday. It was a quiet party with just Grandma, Grandpa, and Pep (great-grandpa) attending. Tyler hasn't quite mastered blowing, so I had to help him blow out his candle. The funny thing is that I had trouble blowing out the candle. You'd think I'd be able to do it, what with thirty-some (ahem) years of experience blowing out candles. I mean, it's not that hard. But Tyler didn't mind.

Rachel, Jarod, and Nathan were in a talent show this morning for one of our homeschool coops. The other kids played piano, violin and flute and did a great job! Rachel, Jarod, and Nathan did their magic routines. The residents of the nursing home where we had our talent show seemed to really enjoy it.

I tried to upload a video of Tyler taking his first steps, but blogspot didn't seem to like it. Here's some pics from his party though.

This is the cake before I decorated it. Notice the cake missing from the corner. I had left it on the counter and Zach decided he was hungry for cake. At least he didn't eat any more than that.

Here's the cake after I decorated it. I was really tired that day cause Zach and Tyler had kept me up a good part of the night before, so I didn't make anything too fancy. After all, I thought Tyler would like his cake to be shaped in his favorite number.

Here's Tyler watching the candle while I blew it out for him.

Here he is with his cake.

Apparently he didn't understand what a plate is for. "This plate sure is a fun toy, Mom!"

I had to show him what the cake was for.

I think he liked the cake, wouldn't you agree?

Happy Superbowl!