Saturday, July 29, 2006

Conversation- its not just what's for dinner anymore

Driving home the other day, I noticed another car passing me in the next lane. Now, before you think I normally drive with my eyes shut, let me add that I was waiting to pull out into traffic and this car stopped right in front of me at a light.

In the back seat, I saw a little boy, about a year old, with headphones on. OK- that in itself looked odd. Then I noticed there were two more kids in the back with headphones on as well. They were maybe 3 and 7.

OK- so what does a 1 year old listen to on his iPod, I wondered. Then, as the car rolled forward, I noticed that there were two video monitors strapped to the seat backs. Ahhhhhh- Nemo was on. In that split second, I also noticed mom- who was alone in the front seat- was singing away to the radio (or going stark raving mad- who knows).

All the way home, it bothered me. There were no signs this was a long road trip, it appeared to just be a day out running errands.

I wondered, was it so much easier to just throw in a video and keep the kids quiet- rather than just talk to them? or let them talk amongst each other, color, read book (or at least look at the pictures) ? The town we live in isn't that big. In traffic, you can be from point A west to point B east in about 15 minutes- 20, tops.

Now, don't get me wrong- I buy into the whole video thing on road trips. If you leave our little city, the next city in any direction is at least an hour and a half away, or more.

But, I'm wondering what you think - have we become so emerged in the electronics age? or... is this just pure over-reaction?

I'm interested to see what you think ... feel free to leave a comment below.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's the Blog Tour Of Homes!! Welcome .. and come on in!


Kick off your shoes, and come one in!

Well, come on ... let's go!

This is the hub .. where everything happens!

In the upper right corner is my "office", right in the mix of things ... since I work FT From home. The recliner was my daddy's when he passed away last year, and is the fav of everyone to curl up in. It's comfy, and full of love :) Our picture windows overlook the valley below us ... right over the pine trees

This is my most-amazing kitchen ~ its my Fav!!!

The kitchen has l-o-n-g counters and d-e-e-p cabinets. Which means it holds alot of stuff! (And that's Wiley. Our super chicken-dog peeking out around the fridge) At the other end is the mud room and door to the back 40 (well, 20 really) ...

This is the kids bathroon ... It is just so cute, I had to throw it in here :) What you can't see, it that the walls are treated in faux-leather and painted blue to look like the sea ... with pink jellyfish all over.

And this .. this is my favorite thing of all!

Our views from atop the mountain .... it's so purty!

Would anyone like some coffee? or Diet Coke?

There's cookies on the counter!

Thanks for coming by~ come back soon!!!!

WOW! I can't begin to believe what amazing guests you have all been. Although more than 200 350 - of you coming by, we've had loads of laughs, the cookies are still going strong, the DC and coffee are holding up well (thanks to everyone for making afresh pot when you take the last cup) and there is not a spec of dust on the carpets!! Soooo, come back agan ANY TIME!!!

To see even more really cool homes .... visit BooMama for all 200+ links to other Bloggy Homes onthe Tour!

Off to see the wizard ... but need to give him a name ...

Well, today is the BIG day!

Today, I go on over to the Emerald City (hospital), and meet the Wizard (new overnight dialysis cycler-machine thingy).

The big, hulking 35 pound machine as big as the doctor's baby scale thingy Wizard will let me re-discover that There's No Place Like Home - because now, I can actually leave home for the whole day - for the first time in 4 months. However, I will be attached to the Wizard for 10 hours a night which means I have to learn to sit still ... something you know I cannot do.

The thing is ... the Wizard needs a name. Something that I can use to become friends with Mr. Wizard. And I'm stuck. Total and complete writer's block. Yep- I, am at a loss for words.

So, I'm looking to y'all for some ideas. The Hulk? The Wiz (ok, nothing that refers to Michael Jackson ...), The Thing, or

I dunno ... can you help a girl out?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tag, I'm IT ??? (or Things I Cannot Do)

Jules tagged me for this .. it took some thought. Not that I don't have things to list ... nuh uh.

I had to pare down the list so I didn't bring Blogger down and incur everyone wrath ... so here goes ...

Things I Cannot Do

I cannot "not" sing along to anything playing somewhere .. I sing in the car, hum in stores, humiliate my family at every possible chance (although I do sing well)

I cannot draw anything that doesn't look like anyone over 2 years old drew it

I cannot make decent grilled cheese sandwiches (I know, utter failure as a mother)

I cannot do a back-dive into the pool

I cannot coordinate things in my house well - not at all

I cannot sit in traffic calmly

I cannot sit still or be quiet or not talk or ... or ... or ...

I cannot stand to see people with their kids not in car seats

Ok, your turn :)

TAG... you're IT!

Leave your comments below and let's get to know each other :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

His Grace Is Sufficient

When you first hear the words "You have ..." there is shock, disbelief, denial. You go through the motions of day to day, and- if you like me- get online and start digging up everything there is to know about "it". That thing you have. Knowledge is power. And power over "it" is all you want.

You tell family, maybe a few close friends when you are ready, then denial sets in again. You can't deny that you have "it", just that it's affecting you in any way. Day to day life must go on and the world will continue to revolve.

When there are kids involved, the walls have to go up even higher to protect them. In good faith, everyone wants to hold them, hug them and tell them everything is going to be all right. I've said the words myself to others. But then they hear you talk at night, behind closed doors, about the things that you don't talk about in front of them. The .. what ifs. The .. how will yous. The .. just in cases. The ... things I want them to remember about me ... But, they trust you and what you tell them .. so words like "all right" don't get used. You are honest, but only as much as they can bear.

They watch you. How they react is based on how you react. Whether they are 2 or 12, it's the same. If you are worried, they are worried. If you are acting ok, they act ok. Which to some degree, I think, is ok and understandable. Where is becomes problematic is when everyone stops talking, and the elephant in the living room gets bigger, and bigger.

You notice small things first ... no blow ups, no tears, no "will you die?". They stop sleeping so well, eating patterns change, they spend more time with you. Their grades may shift abit. They don't want to go out, then they don't want to stay home. They become "too" helpful. At school teachers worry. Every little thing becomes "I think they are struggling with your condition". But, it's their way of coping and face it, they're teenagers -.

You want them to never leave your side. You want to treasure every look, every fight, every word that is spoken. Pictures become more important. Memories more distinct.

Sometimes, all you want to do is just talk to someone about what is going on- just to say it, hear it, know it outloud ... most times, you don't. I'm not a drama queen, by nature, nor do I find pleasure in gossip. I'm a hit-it-straight-on kind of gal. Friends are to be treasured and not used for my own gain. Words like "dialysis, transplant, no available related donors, possible rejection, death" can be pretty unnerving. Absolutely. The thought of not seeing my kids graduate, marry, and start families keeps me awake at night. Absolutely.

In a quest to provide support, some can become too overly concerned that you are living some semblance of a normal life. They tell you that you are not dealing with things, simply because you don't live in the bad-to-bad moment-by-moment reporting mode. They can struggle when you choose to celebrate the fact that you are here and living in the moment. Honestly, do any of us have any assurances of tomorrow here on earth? A life-threatening condition is simply that- threatening. Threats can be overcome and conquered.

The things you appreciate most are the little things. "I'm praying for you", "Here's a hug", "you look really good", "How can I help" ...

I cannot fathom looking someone in the eye and asking them to donate a part of their body to me. It seems selfish. The what's ifs drive me crazy- what is someone in their family needs it later. What is they get sick, have an accident, whatever, and need that kidney. What if - what if? How can I bear that kind of responsibility? And then I'm racked with the guilt of - what about my kids? Don't the deserve a mother?

In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Paul says "... I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me, but he said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness'..."

Are we less faithful when we plead to God to just make it better, heal me now, take this from me, why me? I truly don't think so. God created me in His image, and the Bible tells us how He gets angry, how His heart breaks, and how He loves ... just to name a few things. Which I believe means that He understands when I worry, and when I stray from believing this will ever go away - because He knows that in my anger, self-pity and need to be 'normal' sometimes, I find that I only find peace when I get back to basics and turn it all over to Him again. And He is there, arms open on bended knee. He holds me, strokes my head, and tells me He loves me.

And that, no matter what, He is there and in control. Somewhere out there is the kidney I need, if that is the path God chooses. It's pre-ordained and done in His book. Now, it's the timing. Not my time, God's time. And as my husband says "Patience is a virtue, and I am not a virtuous woman". So, I bide my time praying for the donor, the family and the teams that will be involved in this process. That God will make something good out of this for all of them- those whose names I know, and those I don't know yet.

In closing, I want to say Thank You to all of you who have found your way to my little blog and offer up your prayers and simple words of support. I am dumb-founded at the way God has provided each of you at the just the right moment, with just the right thing I needed to hear. It's precious, and just another daily reminder that he is our Jehovah Jirah, Provider, Abba Father.

I'm truly humbled.


Several of you who have visited the site know someone who needs a tranplant of one kind or another- and have emailed to ask what criteria is for considering live organ donation. This is what we have been told are the basics for kidney donation:
  • Minimum 18 years years old, maximum is preferred between 50-60
  • BMI of 30 (body mass index)
  • No history of high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, kidney stones or urinary track infections
  • Overall perfectly healthy - they have to have a legitimate reason to take a perfectly healthy organ out of a perfectly healthy person
  • Anyone who does donate, and at a later time requires a transplant themselves goes to the top of the list, per the requirements of UNOS. There is more information on all forms of organ and bone marrow donation on their site.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Something old, something new ....


I have to do a full shout-out to Jules , who is fully and completely responsible for my beautiful, over-the-top site makeover ... and ... for helping me start to better understand this thing we call bloggy-world :)
Of course, I fear she think I'm a cyber-stalker now, as my questions are a-flowin'

Not only does she do amazing design, she is a comic ... she was gentle in letting me in on the "Secrets of Paula Deen" and frankly, someone I love to "mirl" or at least "tirl".

You will also notice that we have reverted back to the original title (and matching URL) of the blog Living in Grace, just to keep everything consistent, which I'm told is the proper thing to do ... and being a good Southern native ... I strive to be proper.

So much to learn, so many new and unexpected friends have been made.

I know Jules would love to hear if you like what she did with the place!

(ok, and so would I! - teehee)


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Scenes from the Mall ....

Taking my daughter clothes shopping has never been easy.

When Kati was 4, my folks came to visit and bought her ooddles of cute "two piece to a hanger set" outfits.

I got a call one day at work, and J. is on the phone- totally exasperated - and Kati is screaming in the background. Was there blood ... was there exposed bone ... had he called 911 ...


J.: Talk to your daughter

K: <sniffle sniffle hiccup hiccup>

Me: What's Up?

K: daddy wants me to wear the purple flowers with the purple shorts and they don't match

Me: Honey, purple flowers and purple shorts match - its ok to put them on. Do it for mommy, ok?

K: Nooooooooooooo - they din't (she couldn't say didn't) come on the same hang-ore ....

So, from then on - everything matching went off the hangars at the dressing room, before they hit the sales bag.

Flash forward to age 13.

K: So, how do you like the capri pants mom ... dad?

Me: Well, they look kindof tight in the back .... honey?

J: They're gross. Take em off.

Brother: You look like a hobbit from middle earth Kate.

K: But, I like them .... <sniffle sniffle>

I'd love to hear some of your own "Scenes From A Mall" ... your comments always make my day!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Great news on Gwyn!

This was from Grandma Lynne today :)


Gwyn is doing much better ... the fevers finally broke ... and in less than 10 hrs she broke out in measles all over ... so on top of the congenital neutropenia ... the seizure disorder and sepsis and her kidneys not being able to keep up ... she was one really sick kiddo. She will be comming home soon now that she has stablized ... the doc said she probably broke out inside first. Basically as he put it with the neutropenia every thing that she gets is magnified a hundred fold because her immune system is so compromised. So to expect frequent repeats ... they are looking into ways to boost her immune system ... will have to see what the genetic specialist says.

She is eating a little bit and drinking on her own now ... so each little bit is a major step in our eyes. I did get a little sleep

Thank everyone on the prayer chain for all the support and prayers ... they have been deeply appreciated and needed ... There were several times there I thought we had lost her ... she was so sick and so weak ... we have definately been getting little miracles each hour!

Have a good "day off"!


Update on Baby Gwen..

Wow- so many of you have emailed about Baby Gwen. I know the family is so appreciative.

Here is the latest, in layman's terms ...

Gwyn had surgery Tuesday so they could do a full spinal tap, in a desperate effort to find the root cause of the seizures. If I get it all right, here is what they found:

1) She has a "malaria" type virus. It's biological, but not actually malaria. There is some long, medical name for it I don't remember. When her immune system goes down, it flares up and causes the seizures.

2) She has an immune issue, that currently cannot be controlled - so #1 flares up and #2 cannot control or fight it.

3) There is some level of something that needs to be at 100, in order to control her seizures and they cannot get her past 53.

4) She will not eat, take a bottle. She is on IV for nutrition, and Grandma said she is paper thin, gray and weak.

At least now, I think, they have information they can use to treat her. But, I'm not sure.

I haven't heard anything over the last 48 hours. I Will update here once I do, and I know they all covet your prayers.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Matter of Perspective ...

So, I mentioned yesterday that we had survived several dry lightning strikes without a fire. Yeah. Smart thing to say. Commit to. Put in writing. Oh yeah.

Anyone guess where this post in heading?

You got it. The GREAT FIRE EVACUATION OF 2006!


An hour or so after I posted those immortal words, J. and I were in the living room talking, and he gets abit distracted. Of course, that happens alot when I'm yapping on, so I really thing not too much of it. But, He looks out the picture windows and yells "Oh my gosh!" and runs out the door. What did I say?

In the meanwhile, we are all looking around wondering "what the heck?" No deer, no bunnies, no wild turkeys. Alas, on the ridge in front of us- there is some smoke ... actually alot of smoke. And flames. Really big, orange, ugly, menacing flames.

Now, we live in paradise. We have 20 acres on a mountain, covered in pine trees- beautiful, tall, green, combustible pine trees. It's really neat- except when you see really big, orange, ugly, menacing flames on the ridge across from you. And between us, and the aforementioned blaze, are acres of really beautiful, purple waves of grain. Combustible grain. Ah- paradise.

So, me being the cool "72 on the nerdie scale" that I am, thanks Sarah, I hop online to check out the fire reports for a location. Nothing. But - we have really big, orange, ugly, menacing flames.

So then, I start into full mommy-crisis get-the-important-stuff start-with-the-laptops- so-we-can-still-work mode and we start packing.

The kids were great. J. was out with the binoculars seeing what was going on, and while we listened to the roar of water-choppers going back and forth to the Yellowstone River behind our mountain, we packed and prayed. Hard. Fast. Without ceasing.

This kids ran next door (about 1/2 mile away) and came back with the report that the neighbor's dog was behind their glass door- ok, I can break the glass, leave a note, save the dog and worry about it later. Check.

We grabbed the photos, important papers bag (I highly recommend this to everyone - we throw all the important papers, birth cert's etc in a bag that everyone knows to grab in this situation. An old trick my dad used, but his was my old cardboard toy chest), we packed Bunny and Mooch- the kid's lifelong fav stuffed animals, Jonathan's fav baby blankie (I won't give the name here, he is 12 ya' know), Kati's spoon collection, Grandpa's knife collection he gave Jonathan before he died, some precious knick knacks, and a beautiful stained glass clock a dear friend gave us along time ago.

Oh, and the necessities- bathroom stuff, clothes and shoes.

In under 20 minutes, we packed, loaded and were ready to go. And the rest could just burn.

It's amazing how things can seem so irreplaceable, but can be given up in a second. I walked around and looked at shelf upon shelf, in drawer after drawer, and grabbed the things I considered heirloom for one reason or another. And most of it was things made by small hands with big hearts.

And the first thing Kati grabbed was our Family Bible. The one you keep with all the special things recorded. The first thing. Wow.

In the end, and it was awhile in the making, we were safe. We watched the trucks of our local Volunteer Fire Dept. go away, one by one and the choppers fly to other fires in need of their services.

We left things packed and at the door, just in case - and the kids slept on the floor in our room last night.

We've been abit weary today- but safe. And in our home. And everything looks a little different now.

I'm reminded that this was a fire drill. A very real one, and that others nearby were not lucky. Over 530 equivalent square acres have burned around us in Billings in the past week and families have lost everything. And had only the time to grab the kids and the keys.

So, stop. Look around your at your cluttered floors, stacked up dishes and piled up laundry. Be thankful that it's there to clutter, stack and pile :)

I never really felt the value of a home before now, I think. I'm a nomad at heart.

But tonight, I can honestly say - There is No Place Like Home.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Thursday Thirteen .. I hope!

Thirteen Things about My Week This Week

1. I figured out the mysterious "Bloglines", as in "I've added you to my Bloglines". Ok. Stop laughing, I may be a 72 on the Nerd scale, but I'm a 2 on the blogging scale. Either way- Bloglines are the best!

2. I figured out Bloglines Notifier. Ok - enough humiliation.

3. We planned out meals for the next two weeks and saved $100.00 on the grocery bill! We don't plan- we "free-shop". Throwwhat'ss good in the cart, and sort it out later. Very fun - very expensive.

4. The house got finished- unpacked and organized and cleaned (for the moment). In Bach family time, that is 6 months off the world record.

5. My teenage daughter has become very lovey-mommy. Now, she loves me, but she's 13. "Nough said.

6. We have lived through 4 dry, lightning storms with no fires. Considering we have 300 square miles burning nearby- that's a good thing.

7. We haven't fully had to pack the cars up for evacuation - yet - per #6. But we are really good at practicing!

8. I may be getting closer to getting on the transplant list. Found a new hospital, and could be on list by Halloween!

9. I've slept. Really good. All night.

10. I spent an hour on my Works for Me Wednesday, to have Blogger eat it.

11. I woke up to 6 beautiful bucks, with their fuzzy antlers, eating outside our kitchen window the other morning. And couldn't find the digital camera.

12. We rolled down our driveway, which is scary-steep and 1/4 mile long, with no engine on, creeping with the emergency brake - just so we didn't scare a couple of yearling deer who were grazing on the hill. And watched them laugh at us -- a Land Rover is really hard to miss when it rolls by you.

13. I met new friends and found great encouragement through reading how others are doing, through my Bloglines. And that is a wonderful thing.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Urgent Update on Baby Gwyn ----

Hi everyone,

I just this got fast email update from Lynn, regarding baby Gwyn - it sounds like we are really needing to hold them up fast ...

I just got a call a few min ago ... I have to hit the road ... baby Gwyn has taken a turn for the worse ... and I have to get there ... will fill you in later when I know more ... lots and lots of prayers please especially for the strength to accept what ever God's will is in this ...

I will update as I hear ....

Monday, July 17, 2006

My First MeMe ...

I'll take this as a tag since I saw it on Mombo, and most of you don't know me very well, yet. And I hope I'm not breaking some unwritten meme code in doing this -- eeeeek!

      Accent: Somewhat Californian, with Southern thrown in, mainly when I'm mad. And yes, to an extent, I was an original Valley Girl - right time, right place.

      Bible Book that I like : Revelations

      Chore I don't care for: anything outdoors when it's over 70

      Dog or Cat: Dog

      Essential Electronics: Laptop, Wireless card and Wi-Fi

      Favorite Movie: Princess Bride (Wuv, twue wuv)

      Gold or Silver: Gold

      Handbag I Carry Most Often: small, black leather day planner. I gave up purses when the kids were old enough to carry their own stuff

      Insomnia: nahhhhh

      Job Title: Call Center management, home-based

      Kids: 2

      Living Arrangements: hubby, two kids, golden retriever

      Most Memorable Moment: giving birth to my daughter after 6 miscarriages

      Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: set the kitchen floor on fire with a paper towel I stuck in the toaster (hey- the pop tart was really HOT!)

      Overnight Hospital Stays: ok- too many to count, but the most memorable was in Scotland while on a Teen Missions trip- and the hospital looked like WWII bombers would take it out any minute

      Phobias: the dark

      Quote: "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving
      safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! What a ride!"

      Religion: Foursquare

      Siblings: 1 half-sister, 1 half-brother who passed away

      Time I Wake Up: I"m becoming a night own again with the kids on summer break- so 9-ish

      Unusual Talent: I can belch on command- thanks Sandy!

      Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: okra. O-K-R-A. okra.

      Worst Habit: I'm a klutz

      X-rays: nowhere has gone un-"rayed" - see item last - rofl

      Yummy Stuff I Cook: Christmas - I make my killer Prime Rib with homemade horseradish. No one can touch it. (I mean - they love, they really touch it)

      Zoo Animal I Like Most: monkeys - I relate.

    So that's me! And if I had a clue had to tag someone ... I would! So, if you're here -- TAG, you're it (feel free to 'splain all this to me in comments)

Urgent: Need All Mommy Prayer Warriors!!

Gwyneth is the grand-daughter of a friend, Lynne. Her parents are Aaron and Rebecca - Aaron is in the service, and I believe about to be shipped back to Iraq.

Rebecca is almost 2 (October) and has been having Grand Mal, Petite Mal and Myclonic seizures. This has been an ongoing issue, although I'm not sure of the root cause. If I remember everything, she lost her ability to speak and they taught her sign language which she picked up very quickly!

She is back in the hospital, in San Antonio, and the tests are not encouraging for many reasons. Based on her current size and weight, surgery is not advised, but there may be no options at this point.

Please be praying for God's Grace for everyone involved, including the Dr.'s and medical teams around the country who are tag teaming in the treatment of this little angel.

Thanks to everyone. I will update as I hear more in the coming days.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

When (the sad) Truth is Revealed (and humiliates you)

I am nerdier than 72% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Sarah did a Nerd Test, and challenged us all to do the same. Sooooo, now I feel really nerdy. Mid-rank nerdy, to be exact. ( I made it blink -- soooooo cool!)

I have NO idea how this happened.

I'm a critical thinker, analytical and data driven. I tear things down mentally, but don't ask me to put something together physically. I am most proud when I have less then 10 pieces left over, once I'm done ... and before I look at the instructions.

I'm creative, with words, but not art supplies. My kids both bypassed my artistic ability somewhere around the age of, uh, 2. They have my mom's ability to take empty ding dong wrappers and a toothpick, and make something to sell at a bazaar for $20.00, after which it's put behind glass to protect it's increasing value. My favorite thing about crayons growing up ... was eating them - or putting them all out in the sun in a pile (after chewing off the wrappers, of course) and letting them let into a big colorful lump.

In high school, I was in cheerleading, ASB, drama and choir and sang the National Anthem a few times here and there. I loved English in any form (hey, that's where all the cute smart boys people were) and got through Chemistry with my only grade under an A because the prof took pity on gave me credit for trying. I never met an Idiotic Table of Elements I ever understood. And I blew things up to the point where I couldn't get a lab partner. I still cook the same way ... alittle of this, alittle of that. One of my growing phrases around the house is ... go ask your dad .. when it comes to anything scientific.

Before I got married, my dad bought me a Peugeot 506D and taught me how to fix everything on the engine, and was so darn proud to sit out and watch me work. I got married to a mechanical guy and promptly forgot.

I love computers, call routing and things like that -- and digging into data and researching things is like a bone to a dog for me. If you ever need to know something about anything- let me know. When I was diagnosed, and had to choose a transplant center, I could recite 5 years of statistics for the Top 20 transplant centers in the US. It was fun :)

My 12 year old was on the team that won the Montana State 1st Annual FIRST Lego League Robotics Grand Championship Directors Award this year, so maybe I'm a nerd once removed.

Well, maybe I am a nerd. It took zero-point-no-seconds to go take the test when Sarah posted it. I even went so far to look up "HTML for Idiots (me)" to see how to do a strikethrough- as in strikethrough and blinking text. However, I can't figure out why, after I clear my cache, my blog sidebar codes are wrong on Firefox in one place, and a different place on IE - but looks fine on Preview regardless.


Of course, Sarah, I never had my picture in the paper -- so who really is the bigger nerd?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

When does it just stop?

It's amazing how you're trotting along, and WHAM! The rug gets pulled out.

This is shaping up to be quite a week we are heading into. And I'm not feeling up to be the one to keep the pieces together. I think I'm just tired. Plain, flat out- inside and out tired.

I'm losing my ability to walk around for any length of time. It's so frustrating, but the anemia from the kidney failure is getting worse - and I'm starting to feel it. I'm just- tired. Bone weary tired. If things don't improve, I have to schedule twice monthly visits into town, to sit in the Dialysis Unit (yuck) and get an IV (double yuck) of iron.

Honestly, I've prided myself (maybe the problem) on how well I've felt since this started. The team kept saying "Oh - you will feel so much better!" - But, I didn't feel bad, so how could I feel better? Now, I'm just pooped. And I jsut don't like talking about this much to everyone. I'm sick, I know it, but I don't need to talk about it every minute. Which makes me feel guilty. And more tired.

Which also means my darling daughter has unpacked most of the house and organized things to a rather scary degree - while I watch. And fell guilty.

I think too much lately about my own mortality. I'm assured and at peace about where I'm going - I not at peace about when. I'm a mom. I have kids, I want to hold my grandkids. I want to drive my husband crazy for at least another 40 years. I'm selfish.

It's also rolling up on the first anniversary of my daddy's passing. That is hard. Painfully hard. In a way, I'm glad he is not here to see me sick, because these are congenital issues. But, I wish he was here, just to be here. (ok, gotta take a break ...)

Anyway -- stress is just accumulating. They say the things that cause stress the most are moving, death, new jobs, health issues, divorce. Well, in the last 17 months we have lost two grandfathers, moved 4 times (including back and forth to dad's during hospice), started dialysis, a new job but thankfully- my marriage is still strong. But, I'm a walking ball of nerves right now.

The financial burdens of dialysis are starting to stack, while we wait for the insurance and Medicare argue over who is going to pay what, and when -- while the hospitals sends lovely reminders about the unpaid $5000.00 training. And we haven't yet seen the bill for the first two months supplies that have come and gone. The thought of what transplant and post-transplant are going to cost, as well, are beginning to loom.

I'm the organizer, the scheduler, the keeper of the keys ... and I'm just not up to it right now.

I know everyone didn't pop over here to see me fall apart. Maybe there is just something cathartic about putting pen to paper and being honest. It makes it real.

But, I'm hoping you can stick us all on your list of things to pray about for abit.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Momma!

Today is my Momma's Birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA!

Sooo ... at 7:30am (her time) I gave her a call, and gave her the first present of the day.

Now .. you need to understand a few things. Momma has two dogs- Maggie and Tucker. Two mopheaded dogs - Shih Tszu's - who bark incessantly about anything, a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.

Her answering machine is in the kitchen ... and so are the dogs.


Her machine: Blah blah blah


Hi babies- its meeeeeee!!!! Bark bark -- come on Maggot, Tucker! I know you can hear me-- love you! Maggie Maggie Tucker Tucker poochie poochie


I hang up. My work is done. 500 miles away, the dogs are now running around, going crazy, barking and barking and spinning around. So, now -- we just wait for mom to get home. hehe

About 10 minutes later, mom calls back. Leaves ME a message.

Hi Kel, this is mom. I was in the shower when you called, and got out to hear the dogs fussing and barking - so I had to go in the kitchen and calm them down (she hates that. H.A.T.E.S that).

Well, I was on the way out the door and saw the light blinking on the machine so hit the button, and Guess What? It was youuuuuuuuu. So NOW ... the dogs are all riled up again after listening to your message!

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me.

Love you too! Call ME back- but please, don't leave a message if I'm not her. Please. (ok, so its rather hard to type in the actual level of sarcasm in her voice)


First Annual Bloggy Tour of Homes!

BooMama's First Annual Blog Tour of Homes is happening Friday, July 28th!

We'll be there ... will you?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Lightning and thunder and rain ... oh my!

Today has been - well, one of those days.

When you live in an area that has extraordinary rain storms all summer, it makes outdoor activities, well- interesting.

Today, we anticipated the delivery of our long awaited brand-new, bright and shiny- storage shed! (on the edge of your seats already, aren't-cha!)

Delivery drivers call- we're on the way! YEAH! Sun's out!!! YEAH!

They come- they deliver - they leave.

With the second box.

The one with the walls.


So, call the delivery drivers cell phone- sorry ma'am, no box.

Call the delivery driver's boss's cell phone. I got The Box. Wrong truck.

So, we wait. Clouds start to roll in. Wind starts to blow.

They come - they deliver - they leave.

Houston- we have walls.

Winds only up to, maybe 10 mph and its only a light rain - what the heck. Let's build a shed.

We build.

We build.

Winds are up to 30 mph and the rain is, uh, heavier. Bigger. Wetter.
The thunder rolls, and the lightning strikes.

We build more.

Heck, only the struts and digital camera I'm holding are the real dangers.

Winds are maybe 45 mph and we trudge on.

In the end - the Post Office has nothin' on us.

Through rain, wind, through thunder and lightning.

Footnote ... winds are now up to about 60 .. and those boxes blew down the driveway (about 1/4 mile) with the kids chasin' them -- and our pine trees are bending at, well, an unbelievable angle ... so- should this be my last post ...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Southern Hospitality ... and other things we don't have in Montana

BooMama is hysterical. I recently found her blog, and can't get enough it. Mainly, cause she speaks straight off the hip, straight from her heart- with her tongue planted firmly in her Southern cheek.

I was reading this post, and realized all the things I missed about Louisiana and plain ole Southern Hospitality.

Here is a quick bullet list:

* Y'all going to The Wal Mart?

Now, in the south- its' not called WalMart. It's THE Wal Mart. Three words. Not two. Everyone goes to The Wal Mart for everything.

* Chittlins are on sale at the Piggly Wiggly.

There is something fun about just sayin' "Piggly Wiggly". I shop at the Piggly Wiggly. We need to go to the Piggly Wiggly. Piggly, wiggly, piggly, wiggly. Cracks me up. My grandpa owed the Piggly Wiggly in Alexandria, LA a long, long time ago. Not sure, but I think that makes me a piglet. Piglet Wiglet. heehee (ok technically, a sow .. but, what fun is that... )

* Need go ta da Winn-Dixie.

In the north - its the Winn DIXIE. In the south .... emphasis on the WINN Dixie.

* Miss Kelli

Miss or Ms is on the front of every name and it is so precious and endearing. Every time I'm on the phone with someone "from home" they say Miss Kelli, and I melt.

* Miiiiiiiisssssssss Kellllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Ok- that is a personal favorite. We lived in a small parrish (county in bog city terms) and everyone shopped at The Wal Mart. No matter when we went, I heard that shrill, loud loving greeting from several of my co-workers across the store. The Wal Mart store--- the kind that was s bog a two city blocks. Frankly- it drove my husband and kids crazy, and they would driver me 50 miles, over the state line to be "alone" with me sometimes.

* Humidity

There is something sick and wrong about missing such steaming, hot air- that leaves you dripping wet after a cold, icy shower. But hey.

* The Waffle House

For those of you that have never been in a yellow-roofed Waffle House- you will never know the sheer thrill of havin' your order yelled to the cook, by the waitress, in Waffle House-ese ... to the delight of everyone in the place.

They greet you in every Waffle House with Howdy, Welcome or Good Morning .. and you can get their Famous Signature Pecan Waffles, or just a plate of your hashbrowns Traditional; Scattered & Smothered (Onions); Scattered, Smothered & Covered (Onions and Melted Cheese); Scattered, Smothered, Covered & Chunked (Onions, Cheese and Ham); Scattered, Smothered, Covered, Chunked & Topped (Onions, Cheese, Ham & Chili; Scattered, Smothered, Covered, Chunked, Topped & Diced (Onions, Cheese, Ham, Chili and Diced Tomatoes).

* Food. period.

Creole, crawfish, jumbalaya, real fried chicken (sorry Banquet and KFC), black eyed peas, grits (well, that one is for the hubby), cornbread, anything just plain ole homemade.

* People.

Flat-out, hand down. People. Ain't no place like it- ain't no place. period.

Ain't NO place like home.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Erma Bombeck was right ...

When I was pregnant with Jonathan, my second, I had a planned c-section on Tuesday. We went to the hospital, got all hooked up and they said "You're in labor". Well, cool. I'm here, let's have a baby. Wellllll, what they didn't say was - you in pushing labor and have a kid crowning down there. Ready to see the world. So we got in, sliced open the momma and heard "Oh".

Ok- when you're pregnant, laying on a table, waiting for "now you're going to feel some pulling here in a sec", you don't know what to think, when all you hear is "Oh".

And when the next few things you hear or sortof Indian-Chinese-English yelling, it tends to put one on edge.

Turns out, our son (who turned from our second perfect little girl to a boy somehow in the last two weeks of the pregnancy) had decided he was coming out NOW ... and wasn't waiting. Soooo, long story short- 2 OB/GYN's - one a pushin' and one a pullin'- delivered him through the pre-ordained c-section.

Now, I love my son. Don't get me wrong. But, Kati was a preemie. A c-section preemie. All pink and purty and perfect. He. Was. Not. To be kind, the kids will take their baby pics and compare, only if they agree that no newborn pics are allowed in the drawings :)

Jonathan sat at 4 months, crawled at 5 - walked at 7 and talked at 11. And had a sister only 14 months older. (So those of you with two that close together -- forget the "once the baby turns one, its all better" thing. Ha! We anticipated his first birthday, expecting everything to just be perfect in the house. Ha!) ... but I digress.

While we were in the car, we only knew Jonathan was asleep because it was quiet. Even when coloring, playing with toys - he talked. It was naptime when we heard "Momma, i wan mo juice pleeeeeeeee" ... and then nothing. Silence. And little bumsch was out, head first into his chest.

For the first few years, my mom tried to soothe me with things like "oh, all those incessant, continual questions he asks is because he's curious honey" and "you'll appreciate all of this when he gets older honey" and "I can't imagine where he gets this honey" and ... well, you get the picture.

Then, we mom went on a road trip with us. She and I took the kids, in our minivan, down the Oregon coast to Southern California.

Day Two. About 7am. Maybe earlier. Mom is driving first shift.

Kati is coloring and Jonathan is up, bright-eyed, bushy tailed and 5. We're in the Giant Sequoias National Park. And Jonathan is being "curious" with grandma.

"Why are the trees so tall grandma"

"Why does the glitter hang on the trees grandma (we were in the early morning mist)

"How come we can't stop and climb the trees grandma"

Grandmaa ....

Grandmaaa .....

Grandmaaaaaa ....

And my mom, pulls over the car and says "Jonathan. If I hear ONE. MORE. QUESTION ..."

And I smile.


I smile, I turn and blink my purty lil' eyelashes and say, oh so sicky sweet "But momma ... he's just being curious! He'll be sooooo smart when he grows up, You just don't appreciate how s.m.a.r.t. he is at this age".

Frankly, I was lucky I didn't get left to enjoy the early morning mist and the great, big, beautiful trees at a more intimate level.

Seven years later, we still have to tell him to give it a rest, cause he moves, talks, sings, runs, rolls, wrestles, hugs, squeezes - and then gets up for breakfast.

And I wouldn't change him, or take the sleep, for all the trees in great, big beautiful world.

So -- for those us you with young'uns that keep you moving. It's tiring, it's exhausting -- and soon, you will only enjoy that energy in emails, phone calls and holiday visits.

Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born.

-Erma Bombeck

Friday, July 07, 2006

Driving home today, from yet another lovely session with those fun-loving phlebotomists at the hospital, I was listening to the radio. Dr. Now-Go-Do-The-Right-Thing Laura to be precise.

A mom called in, upset and wondering how to deal with the fact that she was jealous of the time that her husband spends with their kids. They were like, 7 years and 9 months or something... but I digress.

Long story short, she worked full time out of the house building her career - while her husband worked less hours and did the Little League coaching - bathtime - bedtime thing.

Sounded familiar. Way too familiar.

I was the product of a home where my mom had a full time job. Me. Her first outside job was when I was 16.

When my kids were growing up, hubby and I worked opposite hours. I worked days, he worked swings- and the kids were in daycare for maybe 2 hours a day while I was driving in and he was driving out. I ended up getting fast promotions, fast money and took better and better jobs - that took us from California to Oregon then within Oregon to Arizona to Oregon to Louisiana to Montana. Did I mention my kids are only 12 and 13?

They have been to 5 or 6 schools, homeschooled for two years, and left friends behind all over. Although incredibly smart and gifted, my daughter had gained a love of travel and experiencing things while my son has gained a huge resistance to change. But, I made really good money and had a really cool title.

Hubby retired (at 44) to be the stable thing at home FT with the kids as we saw the USA. He became the homeschooling dad, and started what I affectionately called "Camp Fun Daddy". That meant, the kids liked to spend more time with him, than their cranky, tired, over-worked, highly paid and decorated, professionally written up and lauded mom. I was jealous, moody and had no desire to own that this was my fault. Never. N.E.V.E.R. Not MY fault.

And then, my dad got sick.

April 25, 2005 I got a call. Dad was sick. Cancer. Terminal.

God provided an exit out of my current contract, our house was put on the market, everything went into storage and we were on the road before Memorial Day. Back to Oregon.

The four months we spent with Dad were priceless. They were rough, emotional, fulfilling, tearful, draining, exhausting- and amazing. My dad had a thing about others. His legacy was to populate heaven. To educate. You can see that in my Father's Day post below.

And a really amazing thing happened. When we made the decision to come home to Billings, I was offered a job at just 20% of my set-in-stone "going rate" and I took it. Without hesitation. Cause I finally got "it".

Now I work from home. Full time. With my husband. All day long. And see my kids. All the time. And I am happier, and more fulfilled and my marriage is stronger, and I'm now a FT staff member of "Camp Fun Parents". My dad's final gift. Given with all his love.

My daughter and I now hang out and have fun. My son and I do more things together. I see them grow, go on every field trip, pick them up from school (taking them to school is just way too early now- LOL) and break up their fights. And I love, cherish, adore and thank God for every one of them. I don't miss the money, enjoy a different kind of stress, but still enjoy the industry that I have spent years in. God is Great.

It took me a really long time to realize what so many of you never even considered "not" doing.

I'm now part of the "Stay at Home Mommy" club.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Why Today is SOOOOO Cool!

Thirteen Things about WHY TODAY IS SOOOOOO COOL!

1…. Final Word Today: On August 1st, I'm changing things in the dialysis department! I will no longer be on manual exchanges every day, tied to a chair 4x a day for 45 min at a time, every 2 hours.

2. I will hook up to a machine at home for 10 hours a NIGHT and then be FREEEEEEEEEE all day long~

3. I will no longer have cap off after an exchange and yell RUN to the family so we can get to the car, load up, get to town, shop at top speed (I have a 12 and 13 year old - enough said), find the fastest line (which promptly comes to a dead halt, like magic), run to the car, throw everything in the back (more eggs and bread have lost their lives since May 8, 2006), raise back to the house within 2 hours from takeoff, hook up, drain, fill and yell RUN and out the door and and ... whew! ... I think you get the idea ... did I mention it takes 20 minutes each way with NO traffic just to get to town?

4. At $2.86/gallon for gas, I may be able to feed my kids again - without all the one-stop / home / another stop / home - errands style ... just kidding mom ... they eat ... and they love that mac 'n cheese ... hehe

5. I will lose 7 pounds, overnight - hehe, because I will no longer carry 7 pounds of dialysis fluid in my belly 24/7 -- cool. cool. cool. cool. c.o.o.l.

6. I will be able to take loooooooong , relaxing day-trips with my family this summer!

7. I will lug a 30 lb machine to CA, in my carry-on ... both ways ... up hill ... in the snow ... on business ... twice a year and LOVE IT!!!

8. I will read more books in bed.

9. Because of #8, I will give more books to the library once read, rather than have to beg hubby not to throw them out - cause I will get TO them now!

10. I will be forced to rest, in bed, at night and may get some actual sleep (instead of staying up til 2am on the 'puter)

11. I will be a nicer person, thanks to #10. Sleep-deprived ain't a pretty color on me.

12. I will not drink Diet Coke. Yet. But I will. Count. On. It.

13. I. Will. Live.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

How Will You Be Defined ...

Throughout life, words define us.

When you're a baby ... breast or bottle, sitting, crawling

Toddlers ... potty-trained, teething, walking

School-age ... Gifted, average, class clown, shy

Adolescence ... cool, accepted, nerd, jock, rah rah

Young adult ... single, married, college-educated, roomie

Adult ... successful, fulfilled, renter, homeowner, hippie, mom, dad, "such and such" generation

Today, my word was MartCart.

For various reasons, I won't bore you with, I chose to bite the bullet when we went to town and used one of those electronic carts at the store. The ones with the big baskets on the front. The ones that only sad, pathetic people ride in -- or at least, that is what I discovered.

When you are a MartCart-er, people stand back, step aside and look at you with "pity eyes". They shake their head, lower their eyes and you can clearly hear them, in their heads, saying "oh so young, to be so sad and pathetic". Really, you CAN hear them ....

But you know what? I'm not sad or pathetic. I made a choice.

I could walk around the huge store, and be completely off my feet and miserable for the rest of the night, completely ruining our family plans tonight to climb up the hill to the bunkhouse and watch fireworks. OR ... I could sit on the cart, ride around absorbing pitiful looks like a sponge while smiling sweetly, and thoroughly enjoy my family tonight.

I chose my family over my own comfort.

Today - the 4th of July - it's important to remember that our country was defined by men who chose freedom for their familes and those who came after, over their own comfort.

Others have done the same -- through the Civil War, the Wars of the 20th Century, Iraq, Flight 93, the Emergency Response crews of 9/11 and others - people have chosen to be defined by what they choose to do, over what they prefer to do.

We all have choices. Whether pre-ordained, or man-made.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Thousands chose to be defined for the freedom we have today.

When the going gets tough ... what will define you?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

SO ... did I mention ...

By the end of this musing .. you will feed sooo much better about whatever happened to you today ... promise. Guaranteed. No boubt a-doubt it!

So ... did I mention ....

So, it all starts about 1am this morning. I wake up cause it's so hot ... can't breathe hot, in the bedroom. Quick check, half asleep -- fan's on, windows open, cold yummy breeze coming -- and I'm hot. And shaking .. chills .... darn! I hate chills.

Crawl out of bed, and look for the thermometer.

So ... did I mention we just moved?

Off I go .. I'm crawling around - in the dark, cause I have yet to memorize - in the daylight - where the light switches are, let alone - in the dark.

I fall over some boxes, step on a cat who promptly reminds me how unpolite that was and kick the wood stove- but find a lightswitch. Flip and ... dark.


Ok- dining room. There is one in the dining room. Grabbing the chair backs one by one, cautiously making my way around to table to the wall --

Nothing. No switch.

Kitchen -- a switch! Oops- garbage disposal. Ahhh - light!

Now -- for the thermometer.

After 40 minutes of stumbling around, clawing through boxes- success! And I confirm my biggest fear - fever. 101. Geesh --

So, pop some Tylenol grab some covers and try to sleep. Yeah, right.


So ... did I mention ...

This huge ruckus wakes me up- again --- screeching ... hollerin ... screeching ... more hollerin ... feet pounding .... claws grabbing for traction on the wood floors ... more hollerin ... doors slamming ... and there goes a black streak of fur followed by hubby with a death ray coming out of his eyes.

Seems our local herd of wild turkeys were out on the front walk and "feathered up" at the cat sitting in the window- which scares the cat, who jumps down and kicks off the hubby's head- who's sleeping (was sleeping) under the window sill, who runs after the cat in full "half-asleep stumbling blindly without his glasses" mode through the living room. She was saved purely because she could fit under Jonathan's bed -- and hubby couldn't.

After that ... I finally just give in and get up.


So ... did I mention ...

We have lived "in the country" now since about 2001- but we have lived "in the country" with "city - through the pipes, no questions asked, turn on the faucet and Lordy Mabel, we got liquid refreshment" water.

No longer - now we have a "cistern". If you're not familiar with a cistern, its a big tank sunk in the ground that doesn't fill up with water magically. Man. You have to pay attention to the level and call someone to h-a-u-l your water in a big truck and then fill'er up! Well ...

Hubby gives up on remodeling the bedroom wall with the cat, goes to make some cofee in the kitchen and sees this flashing light on the water tank console in the laundry room. OHHHHHH - that's what that's for .. I say .... rather increduously. Hmmm .. interesting! I'll have to remember that the NEXT time I see it ....

Oops --- we have an inch and a half of water left according to the magic stick that you put in the hole to tell you how bad things really are. Since Jonathan was the math whiz, we go to him to see how to figure out what the formula is for volume of a cylinder -- so estimate who can still get a shower today.

After 20 minutes of hilarity in arguing over "v= somthing" I sweetly look at my hubby and say -- "I know, I'll take a fast shower first ... then you can jump in. If the water runs out, you'll know we didn't have enough for two!" Death ray eyes again - wonder if the cat has room for me under that bed ... Geesh -- ya try to help ...

Well, with showers to take, things to do and it's a holiday weekend ...

oh, did I mention ... it's Sunday morning on a holiday weekend ... I'm calling water services and finally beg, plead and cajole someone to coming in tomorrow with 4000 gallons of water, at premium price I'm certain.

Mental note -- watch the light. Red light -- bad. Causes lose of humor in male-matrimonial partner.

I'm sure today will get better.

It can't get worse.

She hopes as she runs to hide under the covers