Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday VIdeo Overload

I can't even control how many videos I have uploaded...enjoy :)

Callie had her Christmas program at school
Let it Go -
Jingle Bells -
Little Bell -
Rudolph -
Santa's Beard (or something like that) -
Lights on the Tree -
We Wish you a Merry Christmas -

Callie's Christmas Dance Show and Sunday School: - Dance Performance - JFK - unFrozen: A Fairytale Christmas Sunday School Program - unFrozen: A Fairytale Christmas Sunday School Program

Finally - the BIG reveal!
Watch First:
Watch Second:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Growing up too quickly

To the man who drives Bus #24...THANK YOU!

My 4 1/2 year old daughter attended her first field trip with her preschool class today. THANKFULLY, I had my prep and team time during her field trip, so I was able to chaperon!

I was sitting at my desk this morning, thinking about my daughter's first field trip!  I started thinking about all the field trips I have attended as a teacher, as an aunt (thanks Claire for allowing me to attend your Como Zoo field trip back when you were in kindergarten), and as a student!  It is exhausting as an adult - I'll say that!  Especially an adult to young children.  Your eyes are constantly counting kids to make sure they're all there, watching other strangers around you, making sure kids are being respectful and kind.

Then it hit me...not only was my daughter attending her very first field trip, which is SUCH an exciting time, but my daughter was riding a school bus for the VERY FIRST TIME.

That morning, Callie had told me that she wanted me to ride the bus because she was scared, so her daddy and I built it up to be this SUPER cool thing!  "You get to ride with your friends on a big seat, you don't have to wear a seat belt, and there's no car seat!"

Seriously, this is what I'm telling her to get her excited?  We're going to put you on this HUGE bus with NO car seats for your tiny little body and no seat belts to protect you...

It hit me, like a ton of bricks.  My anxiety kicked daughter was going to be riding on a school bus, ON A HIGHWAY, without a seat belt, car seat and without one of her parents.

Mr. Bus Driver, thank you for taking your job so seriously!  Thank you for paying attention to traffic and other cars.  Thank you for taking the time to make sure that the children on YOUR bus, MY DAUGHTER, is arriving to their destination safely.  Thank you for your warm smile as she loaded the bus.  Thank you for the hellos and goodbyes that I am sure you are giving all children.

Thank you for being patient with other children who are testing you.  Thank you for not listening to their shouts, screams, rants or whatever can cause you to take your eyes off the road.  Thank you for seeing those cars that speed past your "Stop Sign" arm and act as though it's not a big deal...IT IS A BIG DEAL...there are children on that bus.  These children are babies to moms and dads all baby girl.

You do not receive the recognition you deserve, so I want to thank you now.  Thank you for having a kind heart, a watchful eye, a quick hand and foot and the knowledge to drive our babies around safely when we cannot be there.

Thank you for opening my eyes to the importance of your job.  To the man driving Bus #24, THANK YOU!  You made my daughter's first bus ride an amazing experience - one she will probably never forget!

A mother who loves her daughter dearly!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

When you need them the most...a friend is there!

It's not new news that I had a major surgery.  It sucked actually.  I experienced some of the most excruciating pain I have ever undergone during recovery.  Josh witnessed this pain and will probably have some of these visions in his memory for the rest of his life (so sorry about that Josh, but thank you for being there anyway and not judging me).  You know, after you have a baby, you have so many family and friends there, ready to help you, doing things for you that may seem little or easy, but are SO helpful and wonderful!

I returned home from the hospital last Thursday.  Within a few days, I was feeling so much pain from the after effects of the catheter and having surgery on my rectum and fear of using it again (to say it nicely).

I can't pick up my children.  This is one of the most upsetting things...EVER.  Carter is really struggling with it and has often cried about it:

Collin wants to be held and carried, Callie does as well - but I can't.  I won't lie to you when I say that I may or may not have lifted them a little bit.  It's the best medicine there is available to me.  Picking up my own child and holding them close to me...feeling them next to my heart.  Their sweet arms wrapped around me, kisses pressing against my lips, which usually takes over the whole bottom half of my face!

Back to the pain - I developed a Bladder Infection.  SUCKY!  I was sure of it - I remember the pain I experienced after giving birth to Callie (I had a catheter for her birth), and this was a very similar pain.

Josh was at work, I was on pain meds, and I needed to get to the clinic for a blood draw.  THANK YOU THANK YOU Sandy Brandon for driving me to the clinic, waiting, and driving me home.  Thank you Melissa Retterath for helping me contact her to call her :)  You are simply a blessing!

Thank you Andy Retterath for driving to Walgreen's to pick up my prescription for me so I could begin antibiotics to fight my bladder infection shortly after they called me to confirm.

I needed to take three pills a day for seven days...and they tasted funny.  I had 2.5 solid days in when I received a phone call from Dr. Nace himself.  He informed me that my urine culture was actually fighting the antibiotic they put me on, and I needed to switch to a different antibiotic.  No wonder it felt like I was peeing out needles still...I still had the infection!

Thank you Josh for picking up my new medication after picking up our kids from daycare and school.

I owe a few people some thank yous!  I am going to work on my actual thank yous, but you are my friends, you are the ones that have been there for me!  I thank you for that:

Kyle & Brenda Bendson - Thank you for the wonderful send off to surgery!  The balloons, diet coke and chocolate are exactly what I needed during recover :)  You know me too well!  My kids loved the balloons as well!  When I got home on Tuesday, Carter came flying at me all excited - it wasn't for me :)

Josh and Mom - you waited for me during surgery.  You sat with me while I was waking up and made sure I was okay.  You were there when I needed you, and you were there for the kids when I couldn't be, because that kills me.

Mom McRae - Thank you for sending me the beautiful flowers that I do not want to die - they're GORGEOUS!  Thank you for checking in on me and I look forward to your visit this weekend.  Thank you in advance for your help - I know you will be incredible, because you always are!

Jenny Compton - thank you for coming over the night I came home!  The treat bucket you gave me was delicious and I loved your company!  Even though I was extremely loopy and couldn't stop moving my legs from pain, thank you for coming over!

Lisa Denzer - thank you for coming over that same night!  You delivered a meal to us that I thought was delicious (I'm sorry you didn't think so!)  I'm glad Ava could come with and I'm glad to have you in my life!  You have continued to bring us delicious meals, and I cannot thank you enough.  The kids have loved them and it has been a huge help to our family.  Cooking is the last thing I want to do right now - hopefully that energy will be back next week!

Evelyn & Chris Napton - thank you for the pizza and the DELICIOUS Smore's pizza - I'm a little upset you introduced our family to this, because we LOVED it and may become addicted!  I'm sorry the play date didn't work out for Callie to visit, but I really appreciate the offer!  Darn Sunday events and activities :)

Dad - Thank you for driving down on your day off to hang out at our house and play with the kids.  I know the kids were excited to see you, as well as myself!  I love the plant you gave me, and it's still alive!  Elsa has not eaten it and I've remembered to water it :) :)

Melissa Retterath - OMG - you have been so helpful!  From helping with my clinic appointments, medications, driving Callie to dance AND getting Sassy Strawberry - to the AMAZING treats you delivered for myself, Josh and MY MOM!  You are more giving and thoughtful and we are so blessed having you in our lives.  You are great friends and I hope to one day repay your kindness.

Lindsay Sorenson - WINE!  You brought WINE!  I can't wait to drink wine again!  The meal you provided us with will be enjoyed next week - thank you for your kindness - and for putting up with Callie and the boys dragging you around our house, showing you everything, and encouraging a playdate!  We need to get on that :)

Nicole Sorenson - HOLY. DELICIOUS.  My kids inhaled the Tendermaid sandwiches you made!  They were very good!  Turns out Carter likes pickles, because he ate the entire container!

Carrie Allen - you are and always have been an incredible neighbor, but I think of you more as a friend!  My kids adore you, and you are so wonderful to them.  Thank you for the best homemade chicken noodle soup I have ever had!  Also, thank you for the delicious homemade apple dumplings dessert!  DELICIOUS!

MOM's Group - thank you for the gift certificate to Pizza Ranch!  I think we are going to attempt to venture out next week sometime...we shall see :)

Alyssa Sahli - THANK YOU for coming down to Austin to spend an entire day with me!  I loved going out to lunch with you (thanks for driving me around all day) and our arts and crafts session :)  Reminds me of college days :)  Dinner was slightly crazy, but it was still fun and I am so glad I had another wonderful day with you :)

Kirsten Nelson - thank you for being my long term sub!  You and I have such similar personalities and care so much about our students were the perfect fit!  Thank you for the phone calls in the morning so I can hear my students yelling "HELLO, WE MISS YOU!" - I miss you all too :)  Thank you for taking this incredibly fun, energetic, inquisitive group of students and encouraging their development!!!

Josh - thank you for going the extra mile EVERY SINGLE DAY!  From sun up to sun down.  You have gotten the kids ready and out the door for school/daycare (although I am happy I started getting up to help out - it makes me feel needed), driving the kids everywhere, picking them up, helping prepare the meals our friends have delivered, bath night, bedtimes and for making sure I am taken care of as well!  The first 3-4 days of my at home arrival, you were incredibly on top of my pain medication!  Every three hours you were ready with new meds.  In the middle of the night, you got up and made sure I took my meds!  Thank you for being so caring in my recovery.

Mom - thank you for coming down and taking care of me, my kids and even Josh!  You did so many loads of laundry and I am happy to report the clean clothes are STILL folded on top of the kid's dressers!  It is going down, because they are wearing these outfits :)  Every girl always needs her mommy, and you were there for me!  Thank you!  I do apologize for running out of wine...but thankfully I have a wonderful friend who came to your rescue :)

I received so many get well cards, get well messages and get well texts from family and friends.  Thank you for taking your time to show you cared.  Your friendship shines through and I really value it!  It means a lot, and you are also showing my children what true friends are really like, and how they are there for their friends in times of need :)

Today, our dog Elsa had surgery as well - I like to say that we had the same surgery!  Mine was called a hysterectomy, while hers was called spading, but basically the same thing :)  I drove her to the vet, because our vet is 1.25 miles away and I hadn't been on any pain medications.  My very good friend, Jenny, unfortunately hurt her foot really badly over the weekend.  Although she attempted work earlier this week, she needed a day of rest.  We both felt great, but both needed to just SIT.  She invited me over for a movie and it was the best afternoon :)  Thank you Jenny for your company!  Thank you for the amazing conversations, watching one of my favorite movies, and for being sappy with me about our incredible marriages, but wanting that "falling in love" stage back - dang you Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson!!!!  Oh the planning of our husband's man dates :) Hahaha

I have so many incredible blessings in my life and am so thankful for all of you - I felt the need to remember this - remember your help, your caring and encouraging words!  Thank you for keeping me company when I am BORED OUT OF MIND!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

"I Love You" are three words with a lot of meaning...

When Josh and I were engaged, we participated in a book study together during our premarriage counseling class.  We chose to read the book, The Five Love Languages.  We have raved about this book to many other couples!  It helped us look at each other on a whole new level and helped us learn how to focus on the way we perceive love!  We participated in the "Love Language Quiz" when we completed the book, and found that we had the SAME love language; however, we spoke different dialects.

Almost six beautiful years, three spirited children and two pets later, Josh and I still question each other's Love Tanks, and reference this book.  About a year and half ago, after the boys were born, Josh and I wanted to take the "Love Languages Quiz" again, to see if our Love Language was still what it was prior to marriage.  We were both SHOCKED to discover that our love languages had changed!  I couldn't believe it.  I figured this was something that stuck with you your whole life!

In 2008, Josh and I both shared the Love Language "Physical Touch" as our spoken language.  We spoke this language in different dialects.  Josh spoke his more sexually, where I spoke mine  in the cuddling, hand holding sort of way.  The last time we took the quiz, my physical touch language was towards the BOTTOM of my love language list!  NO WONDER I hadn't felt like Josh was speaking my language...he wasn't!  He would try - oh he would try so hard, but I kept pushing him away...I didn't want to be touched!  It was at that point that we realized, YES, our love language CAN change!  Think about it - we have three young children, all demanding our attention.  Twin babies (now they are 2.5 years old) who were in my arms wonder I didn't want to be touched...

I loved it when Josh was doing dishes for me, or folding laundry, but I didn't realize, until after we took the quiz again, that "Acts of Service" was my "new" love language.  To this day, I feel Josh's love when he helps out, when he takes care of us.  I feel a sense of relief that it is one less thing that I need to do around the house.  I still enjoy holding hands, having him hug/hold me, but there are times when I really truly - DO NOT - want to be touched!  If you have little children, you can completely relate to this!

Now let's turn our focus on LOVE - REAL love!  Knowing you are loved!  I came across my book, The Five Love Languages book this summer and recalled hearing he had written a book called, The Five Love Languages of Children.  He as in Gary Chapman!  I thought, I should probably start reading this so I can really show my own children how much I love them and how much they mean to me.  We started our search for the book - why I didn't order it online is beyond me!  I would search for it, forget about it and move on.

There were times throughout the year that Josh and I would try to determine which love language our children were based on the information we already knew from having read the book for ourselves - with an adult focus.  There were so many things that would come up and we would figure "That is Callie" or "This is definitely Carter" and "Yup, this is Collin!".

I finally came across this book at Barnes in Noble last month.  Seriously - I should have ordered it online!

This book is a VERY quick read, and I highly recommend it!  The recommendation in the book is to begin determining your child's love language when they are around the age of 5+...knowing mine are all under the age of 4, I wasn't sure how this book would help me better understand HOW my children feel love.  

I started looking back when our kids first began to talk.  I wanted so badly to hear them say to me, "I Love You", but now I look back and think to myself, 'Why did you force that?  They didn't know what love was.'   They didn't know what they were saying.  It meant so much to hear those sweet words come out of each of their mouths "I wuv wou" - Oh how I will always cherish them!  Looking back now, I kind of feel bad, because to my children, they were three little words that hadn't developed any meaning yet.

THANKFULLY, Josh and I show love to each other and to our children.  It started the first day we met them.  Holding them, kissing their "straight from the womb" bodies, counting and kissing their 10 beautiful fingers and 10 beautiful toes.  Rubbing their little fuzzy hair, kissing the top of their precious head.  Speaking to them in the sweet, high pitched voice!  Holding, cuddling, carrying, soothing, etc... That is love, this was how we showed our children we loved them from the moment they were first born.

 Left: Callie
Below: Collin 
Right: Carter

Did they feel that love?  Did they know that the eyes looking down at them, holding the, protecting them loved them more than anything in the world?  Would do anything to protect them and keep pain from them?  I sure hope so.  I believe God spoke to all of us that day, shared that bond together, taught each of us what Love really is!

Now that our children are a little older, young human being with attitudes, desires, wants, needs and the obsession for candy and treats - do my kids KNOW that I love them?  Am I speaking to them the way they interpret love?  Do they go to bed every night feeling comforted knowing they are my everything?  Have I succeeded as their mother for the day in giving them a full heart?

There are five love languages you can speak to your children and to others.  I am not writing this FOR the book.  I am simply writing this because I have been thinking about it, and I have the time to blog right now (recovering from surgery gives you a lot of time to read and reflect!).

1. Physical Touch
2. Words of Affirmation
3. Quality Time
4. Gifts
5. Acts of Service

Physical Touch - there is so much in here that Josh and I already do with our children, but the major, key points, will affect us when our children are older.  Things that I never would have thought about as a parent raising a growing child.  One reaching middle school and high school.  Our kids LOVES to snuggle - all of them!  Collin prefers to snuggle his favorite pal Max (stuffed dog) and Elsa (our German Shepard).  Callie LOVES snuggling on the couch with us, but soon loses interest.  Carter LOVES to snuggle as well, but prefers to be carried and/or held.  This video is of Carter REALLY upset because I can't pick him up due to my surgery.  He has really been struggling with this and has often called Dr. Nace "mean" for doing this to me.  Poor boy - I hate seeing him sad for THIS reason.

Words of Affirmation - The key part from this section that REALLY stood out to me is something that I FINALLY caught myself saying to Collin.  You see, Collin is a biter.  He bites Carter all the time and is very quick to become upset. The other day, Collin started crying because Carter took something away from him.  I was sitting back watching this entire thing unfold, waiting for Collin to bite Carter out of revenge and anger.  Instead, Collin came running to me, crying.  He was so upset.  Without realizing what I was doing, I praised Collin for coming to me and telling me what happened.  I praised him for not biting Carter!  I then asked Collin if he'd like to go talk to Carter about taking the shovel from Collin.  It was at that moment that I realized how much this meant to Collin.  His eyes lit up, he willingly talked to Carter about the shovel, and he was calm.  I hated myself after I reflected on this moment - so many times I jumped down Collin's throat, yelling at him for biting or hitting.  I had never actually praised him for coming to me and discussing what had happened.  Was I creating a bully out of him?  Was I the one making him continually biting, because it was "to be expected?"    Then I thought about Carter, constantly being coddled and held, felt bad for because he was always the victim of being bit.  What image am I giving Collin?  Am I showing more love towards Carter than Collin?  It kills me thinking about this, but at the same time, I am so thankful that I am realizing this NOW, when they are 2.5 year old, and I can make these changes.  It makes me wonder who else is going through this - who else shows this towards their children without realizing it.   I know I have done this to Callie.  I try so hard to be conscious of EVERYTHING I say to Callie.  She is a sponge.  She is so intelligent and so insightful.  She takes EVERYTHING to heart.  If I try to speak to her about how her words affected someone else, you can actually see the moment she realizes the pain she has caused, because she immediately begins to cry.  She's 4.5 years old and she has such an empathetic heart that it sometimes makes me feel bad that I am not a better role model to her.  I remember watching the Miss America pageant with her this year, her daddy and I were making comments on the contestants during the swim suit phase of competition.  Callie said to the both of us, "That is not nice to say, they are all really pretty!" - Oh my goodness, Callie, you are so right!  These girls were all gorgeous with perfect bodies.  Who am I to talk, 31 years old, stretch marks all over my stomach, cellulite on my legs and rolls on my stomach.  Who am I to talk?

My children are very insightful individuals, very caring, very honest and very loving.  I do not want to do anything to jeopardize this.  I need to encourage it and help build it!


Quality Time - Oh boy does every toddler speak to this love language!  I can't tell you how many times I have suffered the "In a minute" or "Let me finish this one thing" or "I'm making dinner" - I'm not perfect, nor will I ever be.  I can; however, make changes in myself so I speak of quality time with my children vs. just "time".  My kids do help with dinner often, but maybe not often enough.  Maybe I need to start involving my children MORE in dinner preparations.  I am notorious for saying, "Let me finish this one thing, THEN I will come play _____ with you."  Do I always go back over and play that one thing?  No, I will be honest, I don't.  Sometimes, I am too tired to pretend to be one more princess.  I am too tired to pretend dig one more hole.  I am too tired to build one more lego tower only to knock it over.  Oh my goodness, what is my problem?  Why am I too tired?  Is it from working all day, because I love my job.  Is it from using my imagination time and time again?  Because let's be honest here, my kids have AWESOME imaginations and I need to make sure that I am helping these imaginations grow and develop in a positive light.  I can't squash them.  I'm not trying to put myself down here, make myself look like I never play with my kids, because I do, but this book is helping me realize some faults I have, and the areas I can grow as a mother.

Josh and I are very good at keeping eye contact with our kids in both positive and negative situations.  We want our children to know we are listening and that this is serious (whether positive or negative).  We include our kids in activities around the house whether it is cooking, cleaning, repairing, folding laundry (which results in REfolding laundry), setting the table, doing the dishes, and taking care of our pets.  

Gifts - If you walked into our house, you would think our kids are 100% completely spoiled.  Yes, that might be true.  Our kids have a TON of toys.  Many of these toys have been given to our children from family and friends.  There are times when Josh and I wonder if people think we have absolutely NO money, so they feel the need to GIVE to our kids, but then we realize that they are just being generous and know that our kids will appreciate these gifts.  At least that is what I like to believe.  My big AH-HA in this section of the book, is something Josh and I do all the time, but we need to be more cautious of what we are doing.  You see, we buy toys when they go on sale.  We don't give them to our kids.  Sometimes they are saved for later gifts (Christmas is huge) or saved for times when they have been "earned".  We do a lot of sticker charts in our home.  Sticker charts for eating new foods, finishing a meal, eating vegetables, picking up toys, sleeping in own bed, going potty on the potty, pooping and actually wiping on their own...remember these are for the kids, not Josh and I (wink wink).  Once they have "earned" a certain amount of stickers, usually an amount that is established together, a prize is earned.  Josh and I like to think of it as a way of teaching our children that things are not just "given" to you, but you have to earn things.  We have to work to earn money.  If I want new boots, I have to buy them with money I have earned.  Same thing for our kids.  If you want a new toy, you have to earn it during the "off times" - all other times would be a holiday (Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, etc...)

This book points out that the "earning" of gifts is not actually a gift at all.  That is teaching my kids to work for something.  The happy balance would be giving our kids a gift just because.  This we do, but not often, at least I don't feel we do.  I guess, maybe we do give them clothes, new shoes, etc...My kids get excited over any gift - it could be a pencil!  I just would hate for my kids to look spoiled, act spoiled or seem spoiled.  They are such loving individuals who are hopefully growing up to know the difference between gifts and earnings.

Acts of Service - Oh boy, this is the one that Josh and I have felt is Callie to a T, but after reading this book, I'm not sure.  I have yet to determine which Love Language best represents each of our children, but I have an idea (one I will not be sharing on here until after Josh has read the book and we have discussed this together).  You see, Callie has a very solid routine.  Every morning she wants her breakfast: waffle OR peanut butter toast, milk and a show.  All the time.  If, at anytime, you tell her one of these items is out, she will be upset.  That is caring for your child.  Callie is not old enough to operate the toaster and use a butter knife unattended.  Therefore, taking care of my child includes providing her with these items.  Collin and Carter need the same assistance, and if you tell Carter that breakfast is in a few minutes, it better be in a few minutes - that boy wakes up HUNGRY!  This section talks about the difference between acts of service and basic parenting.  From the moment we found out we were pregnant, we were on full time job duty.  We will have this full time job duty for 18 years, but will have some extended periods of time several years after.  Take my mom, for example.  I am 31 years old - 13 years after I moved out of the house, my mom STILL comes to stay with me and help around the house, with meals, laundry, and taking care of my children while I recover from surgery.  FULL. TIME. JOB.

Think about potty training: when your infant is in diapers, they are not going to change themselves.  FULL TIME JOB!  That is the duty of the parents.  As your child is learning how to use the potty, FULL TIME JOB!  That is the duty of the parents (and the amazing daycare provider Jessica!).  As your child has mastered potty training and is able to go on his/her own, the parent is still supervising and making sure hands are washed - FULL TIME JOB!  Now, my daughter is 4.5 years old.  There are so many times that we will be outside playing, she will run into the house, use the bathroom, and come back outside.  I'm not there.  I'm not hovering over her making sure she did her everything.  I can trust that my parenting and practice has been instilled into her and she is doing what she needs to do.  I can ask her if she flushed, if she washed her hands, if she used soap and if she turned off the light.  That is STILL full time parenting, BUT she is more independent.  Callie had MANY struggles with her stools and constipation.  This poor girl had a ton of tests done, used Miralax everyday for two years and had many, many tears over pain.  She can do this on her own now.  No more medicine, no more constipation.  She can wipe on her own; HOWEVER, there are times she asks for help.  Am I belittling her if I help?  Am I showing her that she never has to do this on her own?  NO - this is something she can do on her own, but let me tell you what, this girl feels LOVE from her parents when we help her with this.  Strange thing to write about, strange thing to admit, but it's true.


When the boys are outside playing and their favorite dump trucks "dump bucket" falls off, because it always falls off, they need help putting it back on.  Taking the 10 seconds to get off my butt, put the bucket back on and smile is showing my boys that I love them and care about them SO MUCH MORE than giving them a sippy cup of milk.  Helping Collin find Max before bed, helping Carter get situated in his bed with his overly large kitty cat on top of him, and helping Callie arrange all 75 of her stuffed animals that sleep with her at night so everyone is there and happy...that is acts of service.  That is not going to make or break my children developmentally.  This is not going to ensure a healthy lifestyle if my kids do or do not have these needs met.  But it WILL show my kids that their mommy and daddy love them so much, because we took the time to help them with these tasks that mean SO MUCH to them.  Clipping the buckle on the bike helmet, helping put a shoe on, helping get a car out that is stuck under a bunch of others - all acts of service.


If you have not heard of this book, I am going to highly recommend it to you.  Don't ask to borrow ours, just yet, because Josh is reading it next!  It's a fantastic book that helps provide great insight into yourself as a parent and your own children's basic needs...the need to FEEL loved.  I love my children more than anything imaginable.  I believe I have shown my children how much I love them, and I believe I have done so in their Love Language.  I know I'm not perfect.  I know I have not shown this every time and sometimes I have spoken against their love language, but I am growing and learning!!

Here is an AWESOME link to see what Love Language your children are!

To fully understand these, you'll want to read the book :)

Friday, September 26, 2014

McRae Five will remain five!

Last year, in June 2013, Josh and I knew our family was complete.  As Josh went into the clinic to have his surgery, I said  a little prayer for him and his little swimmers.  Knowing this was it, I still felt comforted knowing we have three beautiful babies who provide us more entertainment than we will ever receive anywhere else.

Back in February, I started noticing I was having some "female" complications.  I remember calling my mom around 11PM one evening almost in tears, "MOM, my insides are falling out!"  I was shocked and scared.  I didn't know what was going on.

I made a Dr. appointment soon after only to hear the news... "Yes, Cori, your cervix is falling out."  I will be honest, it was not something I was expecting to hear at the age of 30 (remember, back in February).  I tried a few different "options" throughout this time to try and "fix" my problem.  All of which were still leaving me uncomfortable and it did not solve anything.

I wasn't until this summer when the embarrassment set in.  I would be out running and would have to "shift" my body to keep it in place.  Jumping on the trampoline was absolutely not happening...I don't feel that an explanation is needed!  A laugh too hard, an unexpected sneeze, a bad cough, running, yoga, jumping, wresting with my kids, etc... you name it, I had issues!

Thankfully, in August, I had made another appointment to find answers.  It was at that appointment when it was determined that I would need to have a hysterectomy to really truly "fix" my problem.

Here's where I am at....It is Friday evening, September 26th, two days after I underwent major surgery.  Major to say the least - I had no idea how serious this one was going to be.  I knew, going in, that I was going to have TONS of "parts"  removed.  I knew I was going to be put under for surgery.  I knew I would need six weeks to recover.

The pain that I have been in, I had no idea!  I was not prepared for the amount of pain that I am experiencing. My Dr. is seriously one of the absolute best, as well as his nurse!  I was in wonderful hands and knew that this surgery would be top notch.

Dr. Nace removed my cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, patched my bladder and my rectum.  If you seriously stop and think about everything that took place during this surgery, there was a lot going on down there.  No wonder I am in so much pain.  He left my ovaries so I can still go through natural menopause (gee, how wonderful!)

Is this too much information for you, as a reader?  Maybe, but this is me - this is who I am.  I write my thoughts, I am open and I am honest.  I have amazing friends who have been here for me as well as my wonderful family!

Jenny and Lisa, you two were at my house the night I came home, and gave absolutely no judgements to my constant movements while I attempted to find comfort.  Mom, you came down for surgery and again the next day to take care of me and do about 1,000 loads of laundry as well as pick up around the house!  Josh, you have been simply amazing!  If it weren't for your memory, I would be completely off on taking my pain meds!  Thank you for staying on top of them and helping me find comfort through the pain.

There are many, many benefits to this wonderful surgery I under went, and I am continually reminding myself of them to get through these painful days:
1. no more period for me ... EVER
2. my cervix won't fall out anymore, meaning I can continue doing all of the activities I had to stop doing
3. no more bloating
4. no more major mood swings
5. did I mention no more period, because that's AWESOME!

There are some downfalls as well:
1. I can't pick up my kids for 6 weeks...6 weeks :(  That is so unbelievably hard.  They can sit on my lap, and I can snuggle them, but no picking up.
2. I am experiencing excruciating pain
3. honestly, I am terrified to poop again
4. there will never be an accidental McRae (could be a positive as well)

Like all of my blog posts, this is a journal for me.  Some people do them privately while I chose to post them.  I'm 31 years old and I just had a Hysterectomy. I just experienced the most painful surgery I have ever undergone (5 surgeries total in my life) and of all of this...the absolute WORST which I cannot explain...

I gained weight.  WHAT THE HELL???  They removed parts of my body and I GAINED weight?  It has to be the IV's, water intake or the fact that I am terrified to poop!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Today was not the outcome I expected...

Today started out as any normal day...only difference was Collin had a slight fever.  At first I thought it was the onset of a cold, but after seeing him with his hands in his mouth all day, I knew it was teeth.  His fever never reached more than 101.

We had plans to attend a picnic with our friends tonight and there were going to be so many kids there!  Knowing he had been improving and I figured it was his teeth - we went!

What an incredible time!  There were 28 kids there!  Our good friends Melissa and Eric organized the entire thing!  We barbecued, played at the park, played with bubbles, etc... great time!  Collin was starting to feel very warm and just wanted to be held, so after quite awhile, I decided it was time to go before he may have gotten sick.

On the drive home, Callie was talking up a storm!  I got to the corner of 9th St. and 12th Ave. - about to turn left to go home...instead I looked back at Collin and saw his eyes rolled into the back of his head - veering off to the right...  I immediately said, "OH SHIT...SHIT SHIT SHIT"  I turned to the right to head to the hospital - I knew it, Collin was having a seizure.  In a panic, I pulled over right in front of the fair grounds - across from the trains...I got out - and opened his door.  His lips were blue and his head was bobbing - eyes still rolled.  I immediately called 911 while trying to get him to come back.  The clock said 7:20 - I remember that.

God has an incredible way of working!  You see, Josh was picked up from the park by our friend, Jason.  They had their championship softball game...I had all the kids.  As I was on the phone with the emergency line, my friend Megan pulled up behind me.  I kid you not - her white car looked like angel wings, and she was in the front seat - and I will always remember the look of concern she had on her face, but that of "I am here for you - it's going to be okay".  Before I knew it, our friends Ryan & Melissa were pulled over, and my friend Laura with her family.  Everyone stopped.  About 4 minutes - maybe not even that - the ambulance pulled up.  I remember looking at the paramedic (her name was Jessica - she was amazing) and said, "Please take him, please help him".

While in the ambulance, picture happy mom was holding Collin and fighting back tears.  The paramedic got him stable and told me to take some pictures of him - said I would regret not having them down the road.  So I did...

Megan and Melissa had already pulled Callie and Carter out of the car - I went into the ambulance and my friends, my amazing friends that God placed in my life and put them at this spot at this very moment, took care of my other two kids.  They called my husband (whose phone was dead!) - Megan called a friend of hers that she knew was at the softball fields and told her to get Josh...Megan then broke the news to Josh in the most calm manner!  Ryan drove my car to pick up Josh -Melissa followed in her car.

Collin finally came out of his seizure in the had lasted between 3-5 minutes.  Scariest moment of my life.  I told the nurse in ER - I've always known I love my kids more than anything, that I would do anything for them at anytime, but I didn't realize the depth of my love until this very moment...when my heart was literally RIPPED out of my body and all the love I had was draped over Collin as he sat buckled up in his car seat.

They ran several tests on Collin - mostly blood work...his fever in the ambulance and at the ER was 100.4 degrees.  That is ONE HUNDRED POINT FOUR...barely a fever...I think that is the temperature schools send kids home at...why did he seizure?  Why did this little fever cause this???

I will say this, I have never been so pleased with the Mayo Clinic in Austin's ER than I was tonight.  The nurses were amazing (they usually are), but the Dr. we had was suburb for an ER doctor in Austin!  He was so patient, so kind and spoke to me knowing I was freaking out inside!  I could not be anymore pleased with the care Collin received!

When Josh did arrive, I had Callie's sandals still, so he was carrying both Callie & Carter!  Carter's reaction was priceless.  He was rubbing Collin's back, saying "Collin sick".  Josh eventually drove them home where Kathleen & Jacob met him to babysit for us!  I chuckled, because the last time those two were babysitting, we had gone into labor with the boys :)

Eventually, when we went home, Collin was sleeping and sad.  Carter was sleeping on Kathleen, because he had refused to sleep in the bedroom without Collin.

Which, Carter now says his first swear word..."Oh Shit" - great...I guess under the circumstances I can't beat myself up too much :)

I know this happens to others, I know tons of people have been through this themselves or with their own children, but the moment it happens to your own child, you own flesh and blood, your heart stops beating and you feel as if your world is coming crashing down.  At least that is how I felt today.  Seeing all the support flooding in from my friends there, in front of the fair grounds, or seeing the continuous texts flooding my phone - it was God, putting these friends in my life to help put my heart back into place!

With that being said, THANK YOU and Praise the Lord!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Austin's Track & Field Event

This is always such a fun event, and I am so happy that we were able to participate again this year.  The boys will be of age next year, but boy did they want to join in now :)  Callie was so brave and so confident this year!  She participated in every event like a champ :)  She's so grown up compared to last year - it's crazy the difference a year can make.  If you want to read about any of the events from last year - here is the post: Track and Field 2013.

I love that EVERYONE is a winner at these events.  Sure someone can say, "We're not teaching kids how to be good 'losers' and we shouldn't teach all kids that they'll win all the time"...but you know what - I like that they do this!!  I like that they have young children/kids participating in events that they would not do otherwise (where else would a 3 year old have the opportunity to participate and compete in a 50 M dash - or 200 M dash?  Where else would my four year old daughter have the opportunity to be on a relay team of girls she doesn't know!?  I love this!  I love that the community of Austin puts on this event twice every summer (the first one this year was cancelled due to our torrential downpours).

Callie and her friend, Ella!   These two girls have been friends since they were babies :)  They love seeing each other and we love seeing them together :)

I love seeing Callie's friendships and how she reacts when she sees her friends!  Clara, Callie & Ella found each other quickly!

BOOM they BOTH won :)

Sweet form Callie!

Maybe a future track star!?

Here she is running her 100 M Dash!

2nd Place Baby!!!

Collin wanted to run so badly - he looks like he is stretching here!

Lexi found Carter and he was sure happy :)

Softball throw was up next...after she put a step into it, she did awesome!

Callie & Ella hanging out with Brady :)

Cheap entertainment

Clara ran in the 400 M run (5 years +) so we sat and cheered her on  :)  
We then went and cheered on Aurora :)

The boys wanted to run so badly, so I jacked three "participant" ribbons off the table and had a mini race for the boys!  Grafton (Ella's brother), Carter (red) & Collin (blue) ran :)

What's a race without ribbons :)  They were SO EXCITED!!!

Yeah for Collin, Carter & Grafton!

Callie gearing up for the 200 M Dash


This mom soon ran on the track next to her daughter :-/ but Josh and I promised we would not let our inner competitiveness come out this early in her career!

3rd Place - way to go peanut :)


Snuggles from my boy :)

LOVE these two!

Ah - benefits of two - I have two cheeks :)

Callie and her Lexi :)

Callie and her good friend, Aurora :)  She was so happy to see her :)

Beautiful sunset!

Just when we thought Callie couldn't run in any other races, we heard there was a relay race for ages 3+ - thankfully these nice girls let Callie join their team :)

She led off the group in the 4X100 M Relay :)

Getting ready to hand off her baton :)

Great hand off for her first time :)

UGH - these two kill me with their love for each other!

Their team took 2nd place :)  Way to go girls!

Team picture :)  One thing I love about these track meets - meeting new girls, trying new things, building confidence and exercising :)

Until next summer - we'll keep practicing and we can't wait for the boys to participate next year!!!!