Monday, November 02, 2009

Wrist Watch....

During a Monday night soccer practice on October 5th (ok, so I am a month late here...), Jake fell and sprained his wrist. He was in some pretty bad pain. Three weeks of wearing a splint, sitting out of P.E., popping tylenol (there is another story for another day), xrays and visits to the doctor, he was finally on the mend. Though it was his right wrist that was hurt, he was able to still do his school work, play soccer (though no more time in as keeper) and practice the trumpet, so all was not lost.

Jake was just getting done with his splint as Josh was trying out for the basketball team. In fact, one afternoon he asked to have a friend over to help him practice, since Jake still wasn't able to shoot a ball yet. Josh made it through the cuts and made the team!!! We were so happy for him! The day after tryouts, Josh called after school to let me know he had arrived home safely. He asked, "Did the school call you today?" No, they had not....why??? Well, apparently he was playing basketball in P.E. and fell, hurting his wrist. Oh no...not again! I rush home to take him to convenient care. We sit in their petri dish/waiting room (did I mention the flu is sweeping through town) to get xrays. The films are inconclusive, and we have to wait to hear from the radiologist. In the meantime, he is splinted and sent home. The doctor calls with the results...which are inconclusive. Which means a visit to my old friends in the orthopedic surgery department.

The ortho department does more xrays and concludes that he has a hairline fracture :( Yes, my boy is in a cast. Any guesses on what color he picked??

He will wear this cast for three weeks, then will be re-evaluated. They are optimistic that he will be healed by then. Until then, he is allowed to play in P.E. and in basketball practice as much as he can tolerate. He hasn't been in much pain at all, thankfully.

Happy Halloween....

Halloween did not pass without being recognized at our house this year! The boys carved pumpkins the weekend before. We have always had trouble with the squirrels eating the pumpkins, but I didn't want to go to all the trouble of treating the gourds with pepper to keep them away. Well...for some odd reason, the squirrels LOVED Jake's pumpkin, but didn't touch Josh's!

Then, Oct. 30th, Jake headed to a church Halloween party. We decided his regular costume might be too creepy, so we threw together this one in about 20 minutes....he looks a little like Bryan Adams....Saturday came, and it was a busy, busy day. Basketball practice, errands, and preparing for trick or treating filled the day. Then, at 5:30, the middle school group showed up and I unleashed them on the neighborhood....

the gang

Josh as Elwood Blues (but looking a little like an Amish thug)

dead dude in a coffin

The gang raided our area, then headed a few blocks over to invade the neighborhood of one of the gang members. The boys had a great time, got tons of candy, and sang Christmas songs to the people they got candy from. Middle school boys are just weird!

P.S.I even got in on the act....and took my inspiration from the book series I completed this summer....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mark Schultz

O.M.G! DH gave me tickets to see my favorite Christian artist for our anniversary....and tonight was the concert! We had the most amazing seats--front row center. The show was amazing!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

He's 11!

Yes, once again, momma sits here lamenting the passing of another year with her little boys. However, they are not that little any more! My baby, Jake, is 11. The day before his birthday, I joked with my coworkers that "eleven years ago right now, I was in some major pain!" All kidding aside, I remember holding Jake, shortly after he was born. Since he had been born via C-section, I had to go to recovery before I could really have any time with him. The fleeting moments in the delivery room were not enough. I unwrapped that little wiggly bundle of blankets and checked him out head to toe--and declared him perfect. I wasn't too far from wrong, either. Over the years, he has astounded me with his intelligence, talent, caring and sense of humor. While no one is truly perfect, Jake, again and again, demostrates what a terrific person he has turned out to be.

My favorite moment of his birthday this year was waking him early to dash off to Dunkin Donuts for a surprise breakfast run. He has always been a coffee fan, ever since Grandma Gabhart used to make the boys her "special coffee"-- a little coffee, lots of milk, and lots of sugar. After ordering my coffee, for the first time ever, I ordered him a cup too--double cream, double sugar, and half decaf. Walking back to the van, with his coffee cup warming his hands, he looked at me and said "thank you mommy" in the most sincere voice I have ever heard. That made it all worth while...Jake learning to enjoy the small, precious moments in life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quick update

I don't have much time these days, since my students are starting TODAY and my classroom still has so much work to be done in's a summary:
  • I finished the Harry Potter series! Loved it...was one of the best reads EVER! Watched the first movie...but finding it hard to fit movie time into our busy schedule. Plus, when do I ever sit in one place for more than 2 hours??
  • Jake attended 6th grade orientation yesterday. Is it really possible that my lil red-headed baby is in middle school?? (Next I really that old??)
  • Josh has finally adjusted to his braces. In a few weeks he will get the bottom ones on, and that will require yet another adjustment period. Now that his mouth is not sore, he has no complaints.
  • School starts in my district TODAY! I am ready in some ways, but soooo not ready in others. But, no matter how prepared you think you are, students have a way of keeping you on your toes.
  • Josh and Jake are dogsitting for their Grandma's dog for a our house. Gracie is going to LOVE this, hahahaha! Poor thing will be exhausted when young Bella heads back home.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My summer goal....

is to read the entire Harry Potter series. When Harry first came on the scene, my boys were much too young to get into it. As they got older, I thought maybe they would get interested, but, alas, they did not. I, however, was intrigued when I saw the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry (Jake's end-of-year field trip). So....I set out this summer (post homework-ectomy recovery) to read all 7 books. I have not seen any of the movies, so I began on this journey blind...which is the best way to begin (ALWAYS read the books before you see the matter what story is involved). Now, I have finished book 6....and I am itching to start on number 7....the last in the series. Give me a week, and I will be done...and ready for the movie marathon!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Dells- version 2009

Once again, we headed up to Wisconsin Dells in late July for a lil fun. Our usual partners-in-crime joined us, hosting us for a couple of days before hitting the resort...while at their house we rode 4-wheelers, went to Camp Phillip, and visited their church...

Camp Phillip... where we played disc golf, bankshot, ate dinner, and watched on outdoor concert.BankShot


Monday morning we headed to the Dells...Deer Park, Jet Boats, and Tommy Bartlett. I love the Deer Park. It is amazing how tame the deer are, and there is something special about having such beautiful animals eating right out of your hand :)

The weather was a little cool, so the Jetboat ride was chilly, but tons of fun. As expected, we got soaked! The driver was very good, mixing humor and interesting information about the river with some pretty exciting spins and stops!

We went through the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory for the first time. I don't know who enjoyed it more...the kids or the adults! There were tons of hands-on science activities, which were entertaining and fascinating all at the same time.

Next was the Tommy Bartlett Water Show. Oh my...the things those kids can do on skis! They were amazing! After intermission and one of the biggest ice cream cones I have EVER seen, the land portion of the show began. My favorite part was "Dave the Horn Guy". He could play almost anything on the bulb horns attached to his suit....I was in tears I was laughing so hard!

And that was all on day one....more to come :)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Reflections on the City Museum

On July 3rd, we hung out at the City Museum in St. Louis. If you haven't been there, you are missing out on one of the most mystical, fun, eclectic, exciting places around. I literally could wander around that place for hours. As always, the boys had a great time, and this was DH's first trip. He did some climbing in the Monstrocity and seemed to enjoy his visit.

that's him in the red shirt
We took in the rooftop, which is new this year. There is a ferris wheel on top of the building, a splash pond, and a 40 ft slide. The landing at the end of the slide is quite end abruptly on some pretty rough concrete, which took the skin off both of my elbows and one ankle. I think they need to really re-think that part...
The boys really liked the ball pit in the bottom of the Monstrocity...I think the weather prevented them from enjoying it before...
They recently added a large pencil to the skatepark. It really works....and yes, in case you are wondering, I did test it out. I guess if you really know me, you already knew that ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

What does a former grad student do now that she has no homework?

Well, granted, it has only been a week into summer, so it's not like I have had much time to do anything. But, I do have a few projects going....
  • Repair the bathroom wall. Yes, this is the bathroom that sucked every free moment from me two summers ago. Apparently, it is NOT a good idea to install the towel bar right in the same spot as that nasty seam in the drywall, the seam that took me a week to get it just right...(had to break out the drywall mud)
  • Learning how to eat a "bland" diet. Again, a reoccurring tummy problem sent me to the ER, where they wanted to remove my non-existent gall bladder. So, right now, the goal is to calm my digestive system to see if the mystery inflammation can heal. Google "bland diet"....have a lil pity on me ;)
  • Learning to use Microsoft OneNote...which I have been told will help organize my lesson plans and stuff at school )if you have ever seen my'd know why I need organizational help...) Why didn't I know about OneNote when I was doing my NBPTS portfolio??
  • Reading...I have only one Jodi Picoult novel left (It's her new no rush) and I just checked the original Harry Potter out at the library.

So, as you can see, I will not lack for things to do, even after the homework-ectomy.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

a few laughs....

OK, admit it, it's funny when other people mess up. Check out for page after page of chuckles.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The last grade post....

I just got my grades from my last semester of grad school....I finished with a


Friday, April 10, 2009

Boy Versus Food

Thanks to a co-worker, I discovered a new sandwich place. This is no ordinary sandwich shop, however. It is reminiscent of the show Man V. Food (check out the link if you have never seen the show.) The sandwich shop, located on campus, is called "Fat Sandwich Company". DH and I checked out the menu online and decided to give it a try.

The boys were intrigued by the "Build Your Own" option, choosing hamburger, chicken fingers, pizza bites, french fries and ketchup.

We were treated to entertainment while we were there. A college student came in and decided to attempt the "Big Fat Ugly" challenge. He was unsuccessful, but was in good company. The manager told us that they have had made 160 Big Fat Uglies, but only had 2 people succeed in consuming the entire thing in 15 minutes. This young man wasn't even able to finish half the sandwich.

Definately an adventure!

Friday, April 03, 2009


My cap and gown arrived yesterday :)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Medical Terminology

-ectomy: Surgical removal

I feel like I have had a homework-ectomy. I looked forward to finishing my portfolio, and the relief of not having so much homework, but now I am dealing with the pain after the "surgery". Specifically, I feel like a part of me is missing. I have defined myself as a grad student and a National Boards candidate for so long, that I feel like part of me is missing. I'm sure that I will eventually come to terms with it, but, right now, I feel like I am having a personal crisis.

Friday, March 27, 2009


National Board portfolio shipped. One hour massage. 'Nuff said

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The hand of God

Often, you hear about being caught by the hand of God in a figurative sense. Yesterday, a friend was caught by the hand of God, but in a very literal way. This friend was trimming branches from a tree. When he tried to un-tether the ladder from the tree, the ladder fell, and this man plummeted 25 feet to the ground. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance on a backboard. (His wife was taken to the hospital, too, since the ladder hit her on the way down.) After running tests, the doctors determined that he had come out of his fall with no injuries, not even a single broken rib. That, my friends, is what happens when you are caught in the hand of God.

A quote....

"It's not about waiting until the storm's about learning to dance in the rain."

Beautiful Spring Weather

Today, the weather is absolutely gorgeous! The sound of the bop-bop-bop of the basketball on the street out front has begun. The boys have dug out their shorts, and the bikes have emerged from their winter home in the garage. I even wore sandals for a bit that is something to celebrate!!

DH and the boys are going to clean the yard, which will provide some much needed quiet time for me to work. The deadline is coming quick....the portfolio has to be postmarked by March 31st. It will be done...there really is no other choice. I have printed the forms to accompany my writing, and am pulling together entries into final drafts. Today I will also assemble my documentation for my professional development entry. So much to do...

I am trying to find little things that make me keep my spirits up as I persevere to the the screensaver of the little pug licking the screen clean (I have named him Otis), a package of yellow Peeps, organizing a closet in my free time, making stuffed pizza to please DH, and wearing my sunglasses inside. It's the little things....

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Memorial Service

Today was the memorial service. It was a beautiful, funny, poignant, inspirational event. I was honored to be asked to sit with the family. It was almost like a reunion, many friends from the past had come to pay their respects.

I just left my friend's house. It is quiet there. All of the funeral preparations are over. The family has headed back home. Her other boys were in bed. We sat there, she in her pajamas, I in my sweats, expressing to each other how we felt about each other. We are a funny pair, neither one real comfortable with baring our souls. I told her about how sweet it was that her family thanked me for being such a good friend to her. But, as I explained to her, I couldn't be any other way...she was the other half of me...and often, the better half. You know how twins are? They can finish each other's sentences and feel each other's pain. It's like that with me and Tracey. So, to reciprocate, she told me about how she has told her boss again and again, how she will never have another teacher to work with like me. How she and I could take one little idea and expand and modify it to teach the children we were charged with. It was her way of telling me I am special to her. And, as I sit and reflect on it, tears roll down my face, thankful to have her in my life.

Ever heard of the 5 love languages? They are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. I definitely feel like my strongest love language is acts of service...that is how I let people know I love them, and how I best receive love from others. Tracey is the same way. Which is why we don't need to hug or share sappy words to know that we care about each other. We show it through doing...driving her somewhere, loaning me her computer, etc.

Sigh...I believe it is time to rest.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Basketball Banquet

Tonight was the Urbana Tigers Basketball Banquet. The special guest speaker was Bruce Douglas, the former basketball player (and uncle to our coach). I think maybe some of the dads were more excited about meeting Bruce than the kids were, LOL!

Josh received the award for "Most Coachable"...which means that he was the one who did exactly as he was instructed at all times. You know Josh, always out to improve his game!

A little side story....

You remember the post about how wonderful Josh's coach is?? And how absolutely sweet and precious Coach's girlfriend is?? Well, today was Jackie's birthday. Paul did a beautiful job making it special for her, even though she had to spend the evening at the banquet. Check out this picture and just guess what she got....

and she said "YES!"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rest in Peace

My dear, dear friend, who I have been privledged to call my best friend for about 9 years, lost her son yesterday. This wonderful woman is grieving the loss of one of the four boys she adopted many years ago. She opened her home and her heart to four boys with special needs, but now there is a empty place in that incredibly large heart. Please pray for her and the three boys as they learn to do life without one of their own.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

One step closer...

I am getting closer....I am beginning the last of four entries for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards portfolio. Now, that does not mean that I am done with the other three entries. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I will pour over each entry repeatedly to make sure that every single word choice is correct. So, I would not go as far as to say that I am 3/4 done...

I spent a little time purusing the Illinois State University website last night. I found out how to order my cap and gown, where I can order graduation announcements, and that they actually have processed my application for graduation. I feel a little like a bride preparing for her wedding...what do I wear?? How will I let everyone know about my good news?? And what songs will I play at my party after?? What kind of food will I serve??

OK, back to reality....graduation is months away, and this portfolio HAS to be postmarked by March 31st.'s back to writing I go....

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy Birthday Josh!

Twelve years ago, I was laying in a hospital room, marveling at the miracle that lay in my arms. It had been a long nine months, wondering, "Would this one make it?" We had lost our first baby very early in the pregnancy, and I was scared that something would go wrong with this one, too. But, after several reassuring sonograms and a very active little guy moving around, I slowly came to realize that not only would this baby make it, but he was a strong one.

Now, he is twelve. Daily, I am amazed at the incredible human being that developed from that little jelly bean-shape on the sonogram screen. He is smart, he is funny, he is talented, and, best of all, he is a good person. While I do think his daddy and I have something to do with it, I also think that there is something innate in him, something that placed by God's hand, that allows him to know right from wrong, and how to be a good friend. Something that makes him the Josh we all love.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday....

to me :)

My beautiful roses amid the chaos of my desk...thank you Ken!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I spent the evening at a Pokemon tournament. Yes, you read that correctly. I always considered myself a nerd....but now, I realize I have a long way to go to achieve true nerd status, LOL! The boys enjoyed it, and it was not too painful, as one of the boys' friends and his dad went, too. At least I had someone to talk to who also had very little understanding of the whole Pokemon experience (though he did admit to having played a few times with his son).

Next time, however, I will bring a book...cuz without something to do, I might actually learn a lil about the games...and I am not sure that is something I really want! I prefer to remain ignorant of the whole process.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Problem Resolved

Well, the three year warrantee on the laptop paid off. Apparently the warrantee company did not want to pay for yet another round of repairs, as they decided to "junkout" the computer (which was 2.5 years old). This means that they gave us back the original purchase price of the computer to apply toward a new computer.

Soooooo...... last night I tore out to Best Buy to pick out my new machine! I had two friends (thanks John and Shawn!!!) consulting on the phone and together the three of us decided on a pretty Dell. (OK, I'm not sure that a laptop can be considered pretty, unless you count those freaking awesome red ones that were wayyyyy out of my price range.) But, it is black, shiny, and it actually works!!!! To me, that is the absolute defination of pretty.

I am spending the next few days getting programs loaded so that I will be ready to go when the semester starts on Monday....did I mention this is my LAST semester???? YEAH!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Computer Issues

Once again, the laptop is off for repairs :( More posts will follow once I have more consistent computer access.