Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Holland.


Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.


We just had our 3rd Christmas "in Holland."  Wesley is 4 and this should have been a really exciting Christmas for him.  But we are in Holland.  Things are not the same here.  I currently have 7 still wrapped gifts sitting by the tree, all with Wesley's name on them.

Christmas morning, he acted like we were trying to murder him when we tried to get him to open his gifts.  So, we are letting him do it in his own time.  Every now and then, for reasons unbeknown to us, he will take interest and decide to open something...then it's back to whatever he was doing before.

I mourn Italy on occasion, but I recognize the beauty of Holland.  Wesley greets me with great vigor every time I am away from him for a time...even if it's just long enough to take a shower.  :-)  He gets super excited for the smallest things.  "Cars" is his favorite movie and you can't help but smile when you see how excited he gets over it!  He loves to be praised and will look for it!  He likes to make you laugh, he just recently learned how to pretend to be a dog.  He will get in my face barking, panting and even licking until I just crack up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Is for the birds!  Ok, not really, but sometimes it would be nice to say that!  But, I have kids, doesn't really work that well with kids.  My tree isn't up and there is only 4 days till that magical day.  Bah, Humbug!  :-)  I NEVER get my wrapping done before Christmas's actually become a tradition now.  Rich and I stay up till all hours of the night Christmas Eve wrapping.  Once we get the kids' presents done, we exchange gifts.  Simply because it's after midnight, so technically Christmas, and because we don't want to wrap any more!!

Rich doesn't get all into the idea and spirit of Christmas which makes it hard for me.  I have fantastic memories of putting up the tree with my family.  But Rich's family wasn't into all the "trappings" of Christmas.  So, he doesn't get into it.  It's almost like holding down a child to give him medication.  Yeah, that's what it's like.  It's not a fun experience, but it has to be done.  So, I am spending the day getting the room ready for the tree and when Rich is actually home for a few minutes, I will make it happen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food Friday

This one is so very yummy!  While my oldest LOVES shrimp...we just don't have it that often.  A little pricey in the purse, you know.  So, here's a great recipe that is reminiscent of the classic Shrimp Scampi...served beautifully over rice or pasta!  Yum!

Chicken Scampi

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced (or more!)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 boneless chicken breast halves, chunked
1.In a skillet heat the butter or margarine and oil over medium high until the butter/margarine melts. Add the Italian seasoning, garlic and salt and mix together in the skillet. Stir in lemon juice.
2.Then add the chicken and saute for about 3 minutes or until white. Lower the heat and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. More butter/margarine can be added if needed.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Food Friday

This is something that I just recently discovered.  It's a really easy recipe and super yummy!  I am lucky if any make it onto the plate when I make these, we are all picking at them!

Parmesan Asparagus

1 pound thin asparagus spears
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, or to taste
1.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
2.Place asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer. Spread Parmesan cheese over asparagus, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
3.Bake 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is melted and asparagus is tender but crisp. Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkling with balsamic vinegar to taste.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Future Plans.

I was looking through my old yearbooks the other day.  I started looking at the senior pictures and the little blurbs that went with them which lists "Future Plans".  16 years after the fact, how have their lives turned out?  I know mine has not turned out the way I thought it would when I was a senior in high school.  I was going to go to medical school.  I am a stay-at-home mom that never got her degree.  Far from medical school.

When we are 17 or 18, we think we have this whole life thing pegged.  We are going to do it better than our parents did.  We are going to have this world by the...  HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHHHAAAAA!!!!!!!!  Sorry, I couldn't even finish that thought.  Let me share a secret that most of my readers already know...

We knew NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!

Sure, some of us went on to do what we said or the plans were pretty vague.  "Get a job."  That's almost guaranteed, isn't it?  But I bet their lives aren't really what they expected them to be.  Life was supposed to be "easy" back then.  For the most part, I think that "future plans" in a high school year book is completely laughable.  Something to look back on and ponder, "Gosh, I had such dreams."

Don't get me wrong.  I think it is great to have can you go anywhere if you don't?  But I think they should be flexible.  What's that saying?  Life is what happens while we are making plans.  Life doesn't always line up with our plans.  God is the only one that can see the WHOLE picture.  And I am very thankful that I don't have hold of the wheel with my very narrow view.

I wouldn't change my life for anything.  Ok, there are a few things that I would love to have not had to go through, but I wouldn't be where I am right now.  And I am happy right now.  I love my life right now.  I wouldn't want my "future plans."

How about you?  What were your plans in high school?  How do you feel about them now?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Food Friday (on Monday)

Here's a great dessert recipe that I used on Thanksgiving this year. Enjoy!

Dirt Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla
pudding mix
3 cups milk
1 (12 ounce) Cool Whip
1 pkg Oreos
1.Chop cookies very fine in food processor. The white cream will disappear.
2.Mix butter, cream cheese, and sugar in bowl.
3.In a large bowl mix milk, pudding and whipped topping together.
4.Combine pudding mixture and cream mixture together.
5.Layer in pan, starting with cookies then cream mixture. Repeat layers.
6.Chill until ready to serve.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Favorite Guy in the whole wide world!!!

Today is a very important day!  It is the day that my favorite person was born, 36 Now 38!) years ago.  :-)  This post is dedicated to him!  I love you, baby!

I think I will just give a few reasons why he's my favorite person, but if you know him, you already know!  Enjoy the pictures!

1.  He loves me more than I could ever have hoped to be loved!  Just for who I am.

2.  He has a heart for God.

3.  He's a wonderful father to our children.

4.  He's my best friend.

5.  He's the funniest person, EVER!

6.  He never gives up.  Even on me, when I have.

7.  He's a ROCKIN' guitarist!

8.  He can admit when he's wrong...usually.  :-)

9.  He builds gorgeous guitars!  Agape Guitars  (Had to get his blog in here somewhere!)

10.  He inspires me to be a better me!

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Rich.  I've been with him for 16 (18!) years and I am still learning new things about him.  He's a fantastic guy and I can't imagine what my world would be like if not for him.  He has taught me a lot, and I'm not even close to being done with him!  So, make sure you tell him Happy Birthday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving (A day late)

Those of you who know me, know that I am late for almost everything.  I was even late for my own wedding!  It's not a fun affliction to be stuck with, but I do what I have to do.  Also, I usually use Fridays for Food Fridays...that will come out on Monday.  Make sure you check it out!  With that out of the way, let me get down to business.

This is what I am thankful for this year:

My husband, Rich, is the best thing that has ever happened to me!  Honestly, I can't imagine what my life would be like if I had not happened upon him 16 years ago.  He's my best friend and I am incredibly thankful to be married to the wonderful man!  He works outrageously hard so I can be a stay-at-home mom to our children...which brings me to number two.

My kids.  I think I have the funniest children around!  They make me laugh on a daily basis.  At 10 and almost 5 they are still really cuddly, so I get so many cuddles that I can hardly stand it!  I am thankful that God trusted me to raise them.  

Sharon Holbert and Bethany Powroznik.  I am so truly thankful for these ladies.  They love my son.  They love him enough to be tough on him.  They believe in his potential.  If it weren't for these two ladies, Wesley wouldn't be where he is today.  Because of them, I have the option to either start him in kindergarten next year or go ahead and hold him back another year.  I have that option because I think that he could make it in kindergarten.  Their hard work has given that to us.  Bethany is Wesley's pre-k teacher.  Sharon is his Developmental Specialist.  I will be forever thankful for them.  They are helping Wesley be able to function in this crazy world.

Thanks for reading this.  It's a great feeling to be thankful for something!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekend and new blog...nothing creative here.

I have a new (revived) blog for my soap!  Come follow me over there!

I hope you all had a great weekend.  Mine was a little up and down.  Friday ended up pretty great because a problem that I was having with Wesley's SSI got resolved and I had a fantastic time with the MOPS ladies at Mom's Night Out!  We had an absolute blast!  We played "I've never..." and I revealed a little more about myself than I wanted to, but that's the beauty of these one was judging me.  We were all laughing and had a good time.  I knocked Lisa out of the chair, but was nice and helped her up and let her have it.  :-)

Saturday was a pretty good day too.  Nick got to go hunting for the very first time...I will have to recount some stories later this week.  The we got together with his 4H group and went to see Megamind.  That was a really good movie!  Loved the soundtrack!  Songs like "Back in Black", "Bad to the Bone", "Bad."  Great stuff!  Then we went to eat at McDonald's.  We had a good time!

Yesterday is where the down came to play.  Got the kids all dressed and ready to go to church.  I was excited to go, Rich was playing at CRC this weekend.  We got in the car, with the exception of Nick, he was still in the house...went to put the car into park to go see what was taking him so long and the gear shift fell off in my hand.  Ok, either this thing just broke or I suddenly have super human strength!  Wow!  Let's see what else I can do!  Nope, it just broke.  Of course, I was sitting in front of the house in the middle of the road, in reverse.  Nick couldn't get out of the door, so...not thinking here...I shut the car down.  Great, now I can't get it started again because it's in gear!  ARGH!!  Luckily, there isn't much traffic on my road at 8:30 on a Sunday morning.

"Dad, can you come rescue me?  I'm stuck!"  Dad played the knight in shining armor. He took my steering column apart so I can shift gears manually.  Ugh.  Checked it out online, apparently, this is a common problem with these vehicles.  And something like $2000 to replace the steering column!!  Are you kidding me?!?  It's almost Christmas, I don't have that kind of money!! (I wouldn't have that kind of money even if it WASN'T almost Christmas, but that's beside the point!)

And this morning, my kids decided that 4:30 was a FINE time to be awake!  (ZZZzzzzz.....)

Anyway, that was my weekend.  How was yours?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Food Friday

Today I am posting a pretty simple dish for pasta.  I tried making homemade pasta this week, but I think I will wait until I have a pasta machine before I make it again.  I don't think I cooked it long enough either, but oh well.  Got a nice arm workout from it!  Here you go!

Oh, before I post it, I would love to hear from you all.  I am on the lookout for some great holiday recipes.  Have one?  Care to share?  I would love to try them!

Creamy Spinach and Tomato Pasta

1 lb thin spaghetti
2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
10 oz baby spinach leaves
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon prepared basil pesto

1.Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Drain.
2.While you wait for the pasta, combine the tomatoes and spinach in a saucepan over medium heat. When the spinach begins to wilt, stir in the sour cream and pesto. Toss sauce with drained pasta and serve immediately.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I've done it.

I finally went and did it.  I opened an Etsy shop.  It's called Foggy Morning Sundries.  I joined the site about 18 months ago, but never got up the nerve to start selling.  After the craft show that I did last weekend, I did it.  I love making soap!  I love trying to be creative and coming up with new things.  Here's to trying to make a go of it!  Wish me luck and come check it out!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meaning-full Monday

Coming up on Thanksgiving, I am seeing lots of people post what they are thankful for.  I love seeing these posts on FB.  I love that people are taking the time to reflect on even the small things in life to be thankful for.  Sometimes it's only small things that you have.  Then, it's the small things that get you through those huge awful things.  I have several big things, but right now, (knock on wood) we are doing quite well with them.  Today, my big awful thing staring me in the face is HOUSEWORK.

My weekend was super busy!  I had a Pampered Chef party, a craft show, and a birthday party all this weekend.  That being house is a WRECK!  I am going to chose to be grateful for it though.  I am choosing to be thankful that I have a house.  That I have things that need cleaning up.  That I have the children that so enjoy wrecking my house.  I wouldn't trade any of that for the world!  So, there you have it.  I am turning my big awful thing around and being thankful!  I am choosing to walk through this day with a happy heart, not grieving all the work that needs to be done.  If I look hard enough, I can always find something to be thankful and grateful for.

As I am typing this, I am delighted to look out my window at a family of deer passing by on the hillside. See, it's the small things that can almost always make me smile.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Small Things Saturday

I love the mornings when they want to crawl in bed with me.  I love the feel of the little ones snuggling up.  I'm going to miss that soon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Food Friday

This is a recipe that we have played around with to get just right.  It is FABULOUS!!!

French Onion Soup


  • 2 1/2 pounds yellow onions, halved, and sliced 1/4-inch thick (8 cups)
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups white wine, divided
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Homemade croutons (recipe below)


In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, saute the onions with the butter and bay leaf for 20 minutes, until the onions turn a rich golden brown color. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and 1/2 cup wine and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the white wine and simmer uncovered for 15 more minutes.
Add the beef stock plus salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, taste for salt and pepper.  Serve hot with croutons and grated Parmesan.  We prefer to broil the bowls to melt and slightly brown the cheese.

Sour dough bread
butter, melted
garlic powder
kosher salt

Cut up enough sour dough to fill your bowls.  Toss with melted butter, season with salt and garlic powder.  Toast in 350 degree oven until lightly browned.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Funny Wesley!


Today's topic is "Share a funny memory of your child."

This is more about the way Wesley is rather than a specific time.  Wesley is 4 and in preschool.  Their class is comprised of half autistic children and half neuro-typical children.  Wesley is quite the ladies man.  He picks a little girl to be friendly with and will pursue her for most of the day...the last time they told me about it, he actually moved in for the kiss!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Definition of Self

I was absolutely supposed to write this post.  So, here it is.

I wrote a guest post over at Big Mama's Blog on depression a week or so ago.  This was a hard post to write and share with everyone.  I don't talk about this stuff...I don't even think about it most of the time.  So, baring my soul for countless people to see...yeah, it was a little hard.  But I really love what Alise is doing there.  She's reaching out to people that feel otherwise very alone.  Love it!

I was talking to a MOPS mom about my post and I was telling her how hard it was.  I said, "While this stuff is part of who I am, it doesn't define me."  Wow, who know I could spout something like that!  Especially while cleaning up my registration table!  :-)  Anyway, she later sent me a message on FB continuing our conversation.  She said that it's what we do with the bad stuff that defines us.  "How we make our experiences meaningful through the choices that we make.  It's our choices that define us."  Exactly! She also sent me a couple of quotes which I absolutely adored!  Let me share them with you!  "I have had dreams, and I have had nightmares.  I overcame the nightmares because of my dreams."~~Dr. Jonas Salk (developer of the polio vaccine)   The other one is more widely known, said by a lovely blue fish. "Just keep swimming."

Then the other night, my jaw dropped to the floor and I KNEW that I had to write this post.  I was watching was about this man who shot and thought he killed his partner and took his name...anyway, at the end of the show, Jorja Fox's character was talking to a co-worker and said, (and I'm paraphrasing here) "All the bad stuff that happens to us does not define us.  It's what we do with it that does."  (Rich thought I had went completely around the bend with my jaw dropped.)

This message is so important to learn.  There are so many bad things that can happen to a person.  They would build nothing but psych hospitals if we let it all get to us.  We have to use this stuff as building blocks and become stronger, not let it be used as cannon balls to tear us down.  Christ made to ultimate sacrifice and used it for good.  I want to be more like Him.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

Today is Nicholas's 10th birthday!  My big guy hits double digits today!  Wow!  I can't believe that he's actually 10!  In honor of this, I am going to give you the pregnancy and birth story!  Don't worry, nothing too bad here!  :-)

I found out that I was pregnant shortly before the 1 year anniversary losing our first son, Christian.  I wanted everything to be completely different with this pregnancy, so we openly prayed for a girl.  We decided to find out what we were having even though we didn't with Christian.  The tech placed the wand against my stomach and it was immediately quite obvious that we were having another boy.  Ok, so, not quite so different. That's ok too.

I was due on November 22nd.  My birthday is the 8th and Rich's is on the 27th.  I joked my whole pregnancy that I didn't care when he was born, just as long as it wasn't on MY birthday.  That was MY day, he wasn't allowed to have it!  I was scheduled for a c-section on Nov 15th.  That was just fine!

Around 4-5 months along, my blood pressure started creeping up.  I had preeclampsia with Christian, so I knew what this was all about.  The doctor put me on shorter days at work and I was to take it easy.   In October, I started having protein in my urine so I was sent home with a big jug to do a 24 hour urine protein test.

On Tuesday Nov. 7th, 2000, I had a doctor's appointment.  My blood pressure was lower than it had been, but we got the results back from the protein test.  It was higher than my doctor was comfortable with.  He told me that I was going to have this baby by the end of the week.  I was ok with that.  That was long enough to get family there (we lived 5-8 hours away at the time) and it would be after my birthday.  He told me that he was going to contact a high risk doctor for a consult and would do whatever she said.

By the time I made it home, my phone was ringing.  The nurse on the other end let me know that I was going to have a baby the very next day.  ARGH!!!!  That's my birthday!  Because of the late timing, the c-section was scheduled for 7pm.  That means a whole day of NOT EATING!!  Do you know what happens to a pregnant lady when she can't eat??  It's not pretty!

My parents traveled all night to get there in the morning.  We went to breakfast at Denny's where I drank Sprite (clear liquid) while they ate, ON MY BIRTHDAY!  Anyway, we were all really nervous.  Everything had been fine with Christian until I went into labor with him.  So, we were all going to be on pins and needles even more so until we heard that tiny cry.

The day before had been election day...the famous election day that we still didn't know the results from. Lots of talk about that and then, of course, there was an emergency that pushed back my surgery.  When it was finally time, I walked into the OR and climbed on the table.  Got my spinal block and laid back for the beginning of the ride of my life!  With Rich by my head, there was some gentle pressure and tugging.  Then, all of the sudden, the tiniest little sneeze I have ever heard!  It was the most beautiful sound ever!  "Was that him?" Followed by a rather angry cry!  He was cold and it was way too bright out here and he was letting us know of his displeasure!

I got to see him and then they took him to the nursery to get him cleaned up and weighed, so daddy went with him.  While lying there with the biggest grin on my face, the doctors were talking about the election and the fact that they stayed up until 1am watching the news coverage.  It was after 10 pm by this time!  Hope he slept in!  Anyway, I started feeling something against my leg.  I asked the anesthesiologist, "Should I be able to feel them against my leg?"  He looked up at the team, "You might want to hurry."  NOT GOOD!  I am certain that my blood pressure went WAY up at this point!  Everything went fine though, they got me closed up and on my way.

I didn't stay too long in the recovery room, I was already starting to regain feeling and my little guy was starving!  :-)  (That hasn't changed much either!)  On the way up to my room, I felt like I was going to get sick.  Now THAT is not a good feeling...lying on your back, just having had major abdominal surgery and about to get sick.  I did get sick and for some time afterwards, I continued to get sick.  So sick that they decided that I was having a reaction to the pain medication that they put into my spinal block.  They gave me some Narcan to counteract the medication.  I thought I was in some pain before that...WOW!!!!  There is NOTHING like that!  They gave me some other medication to help with the pain, but I had finally stopped throwing up.  Nicholas had eaten and was passed out!  Getting born is hard work!

The past 10 years have been so full of joy that I can't even begin to describe it.  He is such a smart, funny, sensitive, caring child.  I am such a blessed mommy!  Thanks for sharing your life with me, Nicholas!  I love you!