Monday, November 7, 2011

Of Ethan and Kimber

Part of the reason I haven't blogged in the better part of a year is because I just wasn't sure how to break the news of Ethan's death.

The death of a child is just a hard thing to understand. And I'm not pretending that I have all the answers. But I do take comfort in the fact that Ethan had a great seven years in this life. He was a happy, well-loved little boy who lived every minute he had.

When I heard the news about Ethan's passing, I hopped on a plane and headed to Arizona to help my dear friend Kimber in whatever way I could. That was my plan. Go help Kimber.

Amazingly enough, while I was there scrubbing bathrooms, cleaning up backed up sewage (some might call Kimber the Job of Mesa), making lasagna and trying to make Kimber laugh, Kimber was busy comforting others, including me.

Her strength was a beautiful phenomenon to witness. It still is.

Naturally, she has "bad days," as she admitted to me just last week, but she is finding joy in her new baby, her other children and her husband. She is busy making her house a lovely home for her family to enjoy. She is doing her best to live a full life with an Ethan-shaped hole in her heart.

At this time of Thanksgiving, I am hoping I can follow Kimber's example and focus on the many things I have to be grateful for.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do You Pray?

Dear Friend and Devoted Reader, I am selfishly going to tell you a very sad thing. I am not doing it to make you feel bad or cry; I am doing it to plead for your help--in prayer.

Meet Ethan:


On Sunday, Ethan, was his normal, energetic seven-year-old self. His mom put him to bed but was woken up in the middle of the night by his screaming. She went into his room and found him unconscious. After he was transported to the hospital, it was discovered that he had blood on his brain. A diagnosis of Arteriovenous Malformation near his brain stem followed. (Basically, when his little body formed years ago in the womb some blood vessels tangled, compromising their structural integrity. Sunday night, those vessels burst, causing blood to be released in his brain.) Not good, to say the least.

Ethan is fighting for his life and he can use all the help he can get. That’s where you and I come in. My little family and our extended family have said countless prayers on his behalf and I am hoping that you will join us in praying for Ethan’s strength and for his doctors’ and parents’ wisdom to know what is best for him.

Summer Fun 2009 074

Here is a little picture of my Teensy with her arm around her cousin, Ethan. That’s right, Ethan is our cousin. He is my kids’ second cousin and, through marriage, he is my first cousin once removed. That may sound like a distant relative, but believe me, it is not. This child’s family is near and dear to my heart.

Ethan’s mom is my dear friend and college roommate, Kimber. I have such a soft spot in my heart for that girl. She was a great roommate—fun, considerate, sharing, etc. And most importantly, she introduced me to her “cute cousin, Michael” the moment he moved to town. The very best things in my life—my husband and children—are a direct result of my association with Kimber. If I can repay a small part of that by soliciting for prayers on behalf of her sweet little boy, I am happy to do it.

Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts for Ethan.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Familial Torture

Dear children, before you get out of your church clothes, please stand in front of Grandma's Christmas tree for a quick picture.

*Immediate sounds of mutiny. Cries of victimization.*

Okay...Maia put your gum under your tongue. Mason and Marlee, stand up straight. Mason and Mackenna, you need to smile. Marlee what are you doing with your jaw? Look here and just smile!

You know what...just do what you want for a minute.

Fabulous. It's the photo every mother dreams of having. Let's do one more.

Okay. You've had your fun. Now, dear children, for the love of all, please stand nicely and smile naturally for 2 seconds.

Oh, forget it.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Pull Up a Chair

Don't you just love to try new things? Especially new types of projects? I know I do!

When my dear friend's son broke one of the chairs in her sitting area, I hatched a scheme that would allow me to try my hand at a little reupholstering.

I scoured the local thrift stores and found this little beauty:

Several hours, many staples and not even one swear word later, I presented her with this:

Now, let's not kid ourselves: it's not perfect. But, my friend cried when she saw it. And I count that as a success. I mean, who doesn't love trying something new and making a self-proclaimed non-crier shed some tears ?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

If You're Going to Make Fun of Me...

Allow me to give you some good ammunition to use:

I stayed up until midnight last night finishing a Christian romance/suspense novel.

(If that genre alone doesn't crack you up!)

I quite enjoyed Saturday's book. It won't win any awards, but it sure was a fun little escape.

And I can't stop laughing at myself for turning the pages so quickly in a Christian romance/suspense novel. (I mean, who knew there was such a thing?!)

I know, I know, you want the title. I am too embarrassed to put it! I was a little sheepish about people asking me what I was reading yesterday morning. A Kindle sure would be handy at times such as those!

Fine. You beat it out of me: Beguiled. See? Embarrassing--I told you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Handy Like That

Once upon a time, in a time long forgotten, our dishwasher stopped working. Oh, it would still "run"--making loud noises, using gallons of water, etc. But it didn't actually wash any dishes the way you would expect something called a dishwasher to do. Gradually, its performance became so poor that we abandoned all attempts of even claiming to own a dishwasher. Eventually, it became a large black box sitting under the counter. I tried to be a real trooper about it, but I was growing really grumpy, frankly. I felt like I was wasting so much time washing dishes.

So, when my Michael asked me for ideas of a Christmas present, I told him that I just wanted to get a new dishwasher (and not feel guilty about it). And that, dear friend and devoted reader, is what I did!

Last week, I went to Sears and purchased the long-awaited appliance. The salesperson told me that Wanda didn't qualify for free delivery. "No problem!" I responded, "I can pick it up." Warily, the salesperson continued, "But you will need installation, right?" (I had seen the "Installation $169.99" signs posted around the floor models.) "No, thank you. My brother knows how to do it," I replied. And that's true. He does. And I was going to have him help me if I needed it. But guess what? I didn't! I did it all myself!

The next morning, I drove to the merchandise pick-up center where they loaded the dishwasher into my van. I drove home and pulled it out of the car. It wasn't too heavy, despite the "Warning! Excessive Weight Hazard" label on the box. I picked it up and started to go up the stairs to the front door (my front door is 1/2 story up and on the side of my house). The box was rather large, obviously, so on my third step up I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and called my neighbor to see if she could come out and help me get it up the stairs. She didn't answer her phone, so I muttered my mantra to myself: "Where there's a will, there's a way." Then, I hefted that sucker one more time and took it up to the porch, scooted it around the corner and lifted it into the house. Thankfully, it slid effortlessly across the wood floors to the kitchen once I was in the house.

Then, I started the installation. I had watched a handyman video online the night before and felt like this task was totally doable. (A big thanks to Hans Vatter, The Handyman Extraordinaire!) I am not saying that is was fun be on my belly trying to reach the various pipes and wires while turning a wrench when there was nowhere to turn it, but it wasn't too bad. And it was certainly worth the savings of $170.

No, things didn't go perfectly smoothly. Right off the bat, I totally thought I'd turned the water off under the sink but realized when water came pouring out from under the old dishwasher that I had not. Big oops! That sent me running to the basement, groping in the dark of the laundry room to reach the house's main water shut-off valve (in the dark because I had already turned off all the power to the whole house--that's how we chickens do all of our electrical repairs!) But other than a couple of soaked towels, it was all good.

And it didn't take a super long time, either (even with a run to Home Depot in the mix to get a needed part (really, you can't put a 70 cent part in the box with a major appliance?!?!?!?--I would have paid a whole extra dollar, maybe five, not to have to run to Home Depot in the middle of the installation process!)). But I digress. Even with the annoying trip to Home Depot, I had a load of dishes being washed by the time I went to pick the kids up from school.

So, Merry Christmas to me and my new BFF, Wanda the Whirlpool (I figure a friend who came to my rescue and saved my sanity deserves the title of "new BFF" and a real name). She is such a welcomed addition to my kitchen!

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill