Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A writer

Bennett came home from school and like everyday he emptied his bag.  Everyday there are at least 3 pictures that he has drawn at some point during the day.  They are often of trains, hills, rainbows, various people and of himself.  He loves to draw.  One thing that I have not been able to get him to do is write what he has drawn.  Spelling isn't important, but a label of some sort would be nice.  He had just not been interested.  Monday was different. Out of his bag he pulled 2 pieces of paper.  Both with WORDS!!!  And not just any words.  Cute, lovely words!

'My dad and I do yard work.'

'My mom likes her dad.'

On a side note, writing is very normal for kindergarteners at this stage and I am not going to push Bennett into something.  I want him to be happy and to enjoy writing.  I don't want it to feel like a punishment.  There are so many things he does better than others his own age and so many things he doesn't do as well as others. And I believe that is just how it should be.  He is not others, he is Bennett and we will go at his pace.  We will encourage, support, push when necessary and then celebrate the hard work.  Bennett, I am soooo celebrating your hard work!

Comparatively, it is very interesting how fluid his writing is compared to his brother's.  Bennett's writing is much more the style of his father and I's where-as Harrison's is much more in the style of his Uncle Nathan's!  :)


We don't seem to have birth-days around here if you are under 5 feet tall.  Instead we have birth-weeks.  Harrison's birthday party was on Saturday, but because I am a bit of a pushover, I said I could work Saturday morning because we had someone quit.  Not the end of the world, but I had to do a lot of prep work ahead of time.  And then I let Harrison go on Pinterest to pick out his own birthday cake which meant I needed to make a home-made cake.  Not sure what my thinking was on that decision.  It all turned out fine and we had a great time.  And the cake was even pretty good!

Harry Potter and the Golden Snitch

Ready to make his wish

Saturday was the party and a soccer game.  There were 14 people at the party and then almost everybody joined us for the soccer game; Gpa & Gma, Gpa & Gma, Uncle Ryan and a very beautiful and very pregnant Aunt Kaylee!  What an entourage!  His team even won (first win of the season) and Harrison scored two goals!  Dinner was BLT pizza from Happy Joe's.  Can't go wrong there!!

Proud owner of a brand new bike
Sunday was a trip to the store to buy a new bike!  Harrison was so cute as he picked out which bike he wanted and was very grateful.  Love... After a stop at Orange Leaf for a birthday treat, it was home to ride the bike.  Thank goodness for abnormally warm weather!!  The bike is just a hair tall, but he did great.  He picked out a bike with hand brakes and 7 speeds so the was a learning curve.  He did great.  How can they get this big?

Monday was the actual day.  What eight year old doesn't wake up and watch NFL highlights on a Monday morning?

The day started with M & M pancakes for breakfast, school, and then ended with Jimmy John's for dinner.  It had been a busy day, (like most days) and I was getting ready to leave for work.  Chris was home so I was telling him about Eleanor's day (while Eleanor decided it was time to start fussing), Bennett was showing us some awesome drawings (more about ths in the next post!) and Harrison was bouncing a ball all over, just generally being loud.  So just before leaving for work I exclaimed "I need a vacation on a Caribbean Island, far, far away.". Showing that his talent for quick-witted comments didn't get lost when he turned eight Harrison said: "Um, no.  All you NEED is us.".  

Happy Birthday, wonderful, smart, witty, handsome Harrison.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I broke down and purchased Elf on the Shelf this year.  I have been watching the neat ideas on Pinterest for a year and a half now, but have thought that it was terribly ridiculous the $30.00 price tag that the elf came with.  But... this year I did it anyway.  And it has TOTALLY paid off so far.  The boys and I went to the store a few weeks ago and brought him home.  We took him out of the box and then read the story.  I put him up on the mantel and pretty much dismissed him.  I told the boys I thought it was pretty silly and he probably wasn't real.  Bennett was positive he was real so we named him Stewart.  I don't remember who came up with the name, but it was a hit right away.  Harrison was still a little cautious and was tending to agree with me as to whether or not he was real.  About an hour later I dusted the house.  About an hour after that Bennett yelled from the living room - "STEWART MOVED!!!"  One of the rules about Elf on the Shelf is that you don't touch him.  His magic will disappear.  When I had dusted, I moved him and forgot to put him back where I had originally put him. He had 'moved' about a foot over on the mantel.  We were AMAZED!  The boys talked about it for the next hour or so.  We also had discussions about visiting the North Pole.  The story says that each night when we go to bed, the elf with sneak out of the house and go to the North Pole to report on if the kids were bad or good that day.  I commented that it was awhile before Christmas so Stewart would probably go see Santa and stay for awhile to help build toys, if he was real... :)  Well, wouldn't you know, Sunday morning, Bennett called me at work.  Stewart was gone!

Stewart stops by to check on Harrison
This morning, Bennett the detective spotted Stewart sitting up on the mantel.  I guess he is back.  It is not even December and I can't wait for day after day of Elf on the Shelf fun!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

He who thanks but with the lips, thanks but in part; the full, the true Thanksgiving comes from the heart.  ~ J.A. Shedd

I am thankful for my family.  They are  the best.  Truly the best.  And my mom's stuffing.  Also, the best!

Christopher: I am thankful for a leisurely day filled with good people and good food.

Harrison: I am thankful that everyone is here from Florida and that I am feeling better.

Bennett:  I am thankful for James and Kaitlyn!

One year ago

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom. ~ Unknown

I am thankful for Pinterest.  It may be an unhealthy obsession, but I love it.  It is a wonderful way to gather ideas, laugh and share recipes.  Heaven in my book!

Christopher: I am thankful for the gift of going to HyVee the night before Thanksgiving. (Beth thinks he is grateful for the gift of sarcasm.  Christopher responded "No, really, this is quite the experience!)

Harrison:  If I have to be thankful for something; I am thankful that I got to watch movies all day. (Bennett and Harrison both came down with a nasty stomach virus.  Bennett got over his this morning around 4, but Harrison has not been so lucky.  He misses James and Kaitlyn.  :(  Uggg.)

Bennett: I am thankful for God.

One year ago

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Not what we say about our blessings but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~ W.T. Purkiser

I am thankful that the airlines got my brother and family here safely from Florida.  Let the family week begin!!!!

Christopher: I am thankful for my in-laws being here from Florida.

Harrison: I am thankful for pancake pizza, pancake sandwiches, and taco pancakes.  (They had pancakes and sausage for lunch today...)

Bennett: I am thankful for pancakes!

Miles: I am thankful for a Thanksgiving feast at preschool.  I am bringing the muffins!

Annabelle: I am thankful to go to Mimi's tomorrow.

Rocco is thankful for an orange cup.  He carries it around while he crawls and sometimes throws it and then chases after it.

Eleanor is thankful for Christopher's beard.  She LOVES to pull on that thing!

One year ago

Monday, November 19, 2012


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John F. Kennedy

I am thankful for dry-erase markers.  I love to erase my calendar on the wall and start over.  I fill it in with different colors assigned to the four of us and it just excites me to see all of our activities up on the wall!  Geek!

Christopher: I am thankful for a short work week.

Harrison: I am thankful for P.E. We are learning to play volleyball.

Bennett: I am thankful for outside recess.  I love playing with friends.

Miles:  I am thankful for my remote control car.  It is Finn McMissle and he goes fast.

Annabelle:  I am thankful to get to come to your house.  (Ahhhhh!!)

Rocco is thankful for cuddles, but they don't last long.  Squirmy, little 8 month-olds!

Eleanor is thankful to have her diaper off.  She loves to bring her legs way up and roll into a ball during diaper changes!

One year ago

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Here are the two best prayers I know: 'Help me, help me, help me' and 'Thank you, thank you, thank you." ~ Anne Lamott

I am thankful for jeans.  Jeans and sweatshirts.  Jeans, sweatshirts, and slippers.  Ahhhhhh....

Christopher: I am thankful for one-on-one time with Harrison.

Harrison:  I am thankful that they made Big Time Rush into a spy movie.

Bennett:  I am thankful for Book Club.

One year ago

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Rest and be thankful.  William Wordsworth

I am thankful for the Neipert family.  Neipert Thanksgiving was today and it was wonderful getting together with them, meeting Greyson for the first time (adorable!) and spending time with a pregnant sister-in-law.  Can't wait for that baby!

Christopher: I am thankful I got to see so many of my Neipert family members.

Harrison: I am thankful that I got to play with Greyson.

Bennett: I am thankful for apple pie.

One year ago

Friday, November 16, 2012


Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.  The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

I am thankful photographs.  Don't live for the memories, but cherish them all the same.

Christopher: I am thankful that it is Friday.  Muscatine thanksgiving tomorrow!

Harrison:  I am thankful that it is Friday.  The weekend is almost here!

Bennett:  I am thankful for papers from school.

Miles is thankful for his sister.  Annabelle was sick today and Miles and I had fun, but you could tell he was a little lost without her.  I love their bond.

Rocco is thankful for neck tickles right before his naps.  And Beth loves the way he curls into himself to giggle.

Eleanor is thankful for things that sound like crinkly paper.  She is so intrigued by this sound!

One year ago

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Today is about books.  I love books.  The written word is powerful and meaningful and I enjoy taking it all in.  My book club meets tonight and it is one of my favorite nights of the month.  First drinks with a good friend (Chris!), and then discussion with a good group of people.  I am grateful that I get the opportunity to read and even more grateful that it helps to mold me as a person.  I once read that we all live one life, but a reader is lucky enough to live hundreds.

Christopher:  I am thankful that I got to eat lunch with Bennett at school today.

Harrison: I am thankful that I got to renew my book at the library.

Bennett: I am thankful for school.  I really like my friends.

Miles:  I am thankful for playing games with Bennett.

Annabelle: I am thankful my friend, Payton.  I like her.

Rocco is thankful for cupboard doors.  Open.  Shut.  Open. Shut.

Eleanor is thankful her bottles.  Beth is predicting a growth spurt!

One year ago

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. ~ Buddha ( Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

I am thankful for my grandparents.  For most of my life I had taken for granted that people had grandparents in their lives.  I had five great-grandparents until I was 8 and all four of my grandparents until we lost my Grandpa Wilcke in April of 2011.  My extended family has always been around me and hopefully always will.  My grandparents have had a huge impact on my life, from Lucky Charms at Great Grandma and Grandpa Mohr's house to never being able to have a horse because Grandpa Wilcke didn't like them!  Great Grandma Wilcke was a devoted Cubs fan and Grandpa DeBolt was a devoted fan of a chair in the small farm house kitchen where he could watch over my Grandma DeBolt busy-boding herself in the kitchen.  Their love and support has never waivered and I will always be thankful and grateful to have them in my life.

Christopher: I am thankful for soap and those who decide to use it.

Harrison: I am thankful for electronics.

Bennett: I am thankful for sunshine; it makes my cheeks warm.

Miles: I am thankful for playing on the playground.

Annabelle:  I am thankful for my soft leggings and my new boots just like Mommy's.

Rocco is thankful for happiness.  He is such a happy, happy baby.  Today I just couldn't get over how big his smile was!

Eleanor is thankful she can roll over.

One year ago

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Happiness is a warm puppy. ~ Charles Shultz

I am thankful for breakfast.  I really love breakfast food.  Today at sautéed onions and green peppers and then fried two eggs on top of the onions and peppers.  YUM.  I also love french toast topped with too much butter and powdered sugar.  Oh, and sausage links drenched in maple syrup.  And Honey Nut Cheerios with a cut up banana.  Mmmmm, breakfast.

Christopher: I am happy that liquid nitrogen to the face doesn't hurt as much as one would think.

Harrison: I am thankful that we found my hat at school.  Now I can go back to saying I have never lost anything at school!

Bennett: I am thankful for trucks.  Someday I will have one like Grandpa.

Miles: I am thankful that my friends listened today while I was interviewed as Super Star of the Week in preschool.

Annabelle:  I am thankful I get to go home to see my family.

Rocco is thankful for my book-shelves.  He pulls one down.  I put it up.  He pulls another one down.  I put it up.  See a pattern?

Happy Birthday, Grandpa (Greg)!!

One year ago

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~ Marcus Aurelius

Today and all days I am thankful for veterans.  I can not tell you how many men and women I know who have supported our country by joining the military.  They are heroes in our country and should be treated as such.  In my heart, I believe in peace.  In my head, I understand the need for a  country to protect itself.  Thank you for your service to our country, especially my grandfather, Robert DeBolt, World War II veteran my one of my heroes.

Christopher: I am thankful that my beard keeps Eleanor happy.

Harrison: I am thankful for the Hawkeye basketball season game tonight.  I got to watch til half time and they seem to be doing better than the football players.

Bennett: I am thankful for my winter coat and scarf and hat and gloves.  It is cold outside!!

Miles:  I am thankful I get to go to school today.

Annabelle: I am thankful for my dad.  I love him.  He's so funny.

Rocco is thankful for toast.  The boy likes to eat!

Eleanor is thankful for anyone who will hold her.  I get the feeling she was held a lot this weekend in Davenport!  :)

One year ago

Day 11

I haven't failed.  I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. ~ Thomas Edison

I am thankful for all the wonderful friends I have in my life; past and present.

Chris: I am thankful Harrison cleaned the bathroom.

Harrison: I am thankful that I got to clean the bathroom and the toilet.  I have never done that before.

Bennett: I am thankful that my mom took me to Wreck-It Ralph.  I liked this movie.

One year ago

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get. ~ Mark Twain

I am thankful for movie theater popcorn.  I am taking the boys to a movie this afternoon (surprise for them!!) and I can't wait for the popcorn!!  Yum.  Yum.  Now I am wondering if I can drop them off at Wreck-It Ralph while I go see Argo.  Hmmmm.

Christopher: I am thankful for the beautiful weather we are having.

Harrison: I am thankful for Elf on the Shelf.

Bennett: I am thankful for Stewart.  Our Elf on the Shelf.

One year ago

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9

It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.  ~ Unknown

I am thankful for my job at Starbucks.  I have been there for 3 1/2 years and while sometimes, I just want to stay home and have dinner with my family, I am grateful for my fellow baristas, my fellow shift supervisors, and my manager.  They are fun and interesting!  I try very hard to shop local and support smaller businesses, but as a very large business goes, I feel like Starbucks is one of the best.  I am also thankful that I don't have to work tonight!  It throws off my week when I pick up an extra shift and work on different days!

Christopher: I am thankful for food day at work!

Harrison: I am thankful that Mrs. Mathews takes us home on Fridays.  It is always fun to go in her car and talk with her.

Bennett: I am thankful for climbing up ladders.  Then I can slide down the slide!

Miles: I am thankful for my shoes.  They have pockets that open.

Annabelle: I am thankful for my Hello Kitty purse.

Rocco is thankful for his knees.  It may seem like he stands all the time, but to get from place to place he covers a lot of distance.

Eleanor is thankful for the play gym.  She loves to pull on those toys!

One year ago

Thursday, November 8, 2012


The sun lay like a friendly arm across her shoulder. ~ Margorie Kinnan Rawlings, South Moon Under

I am thankful for my friend Shannon and her little boy Hudson.  They come over for lunch on Thursday's and we are so grateful to have them.  Hudson has had a tough 18 months of life and is struggling with wanting to eat.  We were having mac and cheese and he was having some puffs.  He kept reaching for Miles' plate so I got him some of his own.  He didn't eat any, but he played with his spoon and tried to get some on his spoon and tasted his spoon that had sauce on it.  Shannon was so happy.  I can't imagine the struggles and joys that she goes through on a daily basis, but am blessed to be part of their journey.  

Christopher: I am thankful for Shepherd's Pie.

Harrison: I am thankful for Harry Potter.  It is a GREAT set of books.

Bennett: I am thankful for Douglas.  I am glad he still loves me.

Miles:  I am thankful that I get to be Super Star next week.

Annabelle: I am thankful for my house.  It is red.  I like that.

Rocco is thankful for his Dad.  Just ask him.  He will say 'Da. Da. Dadadadada. Da.'

Eleanor is thankful for Harrison.  Everyday when he gets home from school he gets her out of her car seat and sits on the couch holding her propped up on his knees and legs.  Today he pretended she won a cage match and he lifted her little arms in victory saying 'And the winner is... EJ!'  Yesterday he blew raspberries at her and she blew them back at him.  She is very lucky to have such a great big cousin!

One year ago

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mimi for President

It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought. ~ Aristotle

I am thankful for yogurt.  I just really like yogurt.  And granola.  Yogurt and granola make a really good combination.

Christopher: I am thankful we don't have a president named Mitt.

Harrison: I am thankful that Obama won and we got donuts.

Bennett:  Me too!  I am thankful for donuts!!

Miles:  I am thankful that Barack Obama won last night.  He gets to be our president for four more years and then somebody else gets to be president.  AB ~ "Like Mimi.  Mimi will be president for four more years."  Miles ~ "MIMI?!?!  Maybe..."

Annabelle: I am thankful for my baby brother cause I love him soooo much!

Rocco is happy that he can pound his hands on his high chair tray and send Cheerios flying everywhere.  Beth however...

Eleanor is thankful for the backs of her eyelids.  She has slept so much today.  Hope she sleeps tonight.

One year ago

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. ~ Cythia Ozick

I am thankful for the right to vote.  I am proud to have attended Iowa State University, the college of women's voter activist Carrie Chapman Catt and I am proud that the education of my parents and the education of my school helped to develop me into the educated, independent, informed voter I am today.  Men and women have long strived for the right and privilege to vote and I did so today in their honor.  Thank you.

Christopher: I am thankful it took two minutes to vote today.

Harrison: I am thankful and excited for my first indoor soccer game tonight.

Bennett: I am thankful I got to vote with Mom today.  I wish she would have filled out ALL of the ovals.  (I predict great Iowa Tests of Basic Skills for him!)

Miles: I am thankful that my dad picks me up after lunch and takes me to school.  I just like him. :)

Annabelle: I am thankful for my shoes.  I love them.  (The girl loves shoes!)

Rocco is thankful for toys, i.e. ~ the ottoman, the dining room chairs, the tv stand, random shoes lying around.  Toys.

Eleanor is thankful for the exer~saucer.  She loves that thing!

One year ago

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday, Monday. La, laaa. La, la, la, laaaa.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. ~ Charles Dickens

Today I am thankful for for Bennett's wave.  When I come around the corner to pick them up for school, I just melt every time I see Bennett wave at me.  He smiles with the happiest smiles and waves the tiniest, happiest wave.  It makes me feel so warm and loved.  Don't get me wrong, Harrison waves too.  But, unfortunately, it is one of those waves that says 'I am a little too cool to be waving at my mom, but I missed her so I will give her a quick show of recognition.'

Christopher: I am thankful for beef stew.  I sure hope Beth turns the leftovers into Shepherd's Pie...

Harrison: I am thankful for my new shoes and that I learned how to tie them.

Bennett: I am thankful for this bag of candy.  (BTW ~ If your child got too much candy trick-or-treating, it is rotten to send that excess candy to school in cute little candy bags for the other kids to take home.  We have ENOUGH candy!!!)  :)

Miles: I am thankful that I get to go to Little Ninja's tonight.  Caden will be there.

Annabelle:  I am thankful for my mommy.  I love my mommy so much. (If only you could have heard her say this.  So sweet and with such adoration!)

Rocco is thankful for bananas.  He loooooves bananas.

Eleanor is thankful for her daddy.  I know she missed him this past week!

One year ago

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful day 4

All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot. ~ Dr. Suess

I am thankful for my alone time the past 2 days.  The boys packed up for a trip to Davenport to see Gpa and Gma and Uncle Ryan and Aunt Kaylee.  Chris got to attend a surprise birthday outing for his friend, Scott and because I had to work this morning, I choose to stay home.  While I missed seeing everyone, I was glad to get out of the house and run some errands by myself and I was elated for some quiet, uninterrupted time to read!!  But now, it's 6:15 and the house is still empty and quiet and I am ready for a little noise (they should be home any minute).  I will probably regret saying that by 7:30 when we start getting ready for bed... but I miss my boys!

Christopher: I am thankful for a fun-filled evening with friends at Jersey Grill.

Harrison:  I am thankful that I got to see Uncle Ryan and Aunt Kaylee.

Bennett: I am thankful for my two day weekend.

One year ago

Saturday, November 3, 2012


I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.  ~ Woody Allen

Today I am also thankful for laughter, just like Woody Allen.  I have a wonderfully funny family and they make me laugh on a daily basis.  From my mom and he inability to tell jokes (A giraffe walks into a bar and says ~ I've got the high balls!  NOOOOOO!!  Mom, it's 'The high balls are on me!') to my dad and my brother's ability to remember every line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  My own boys are becoming comic genius' themselves.  Bennett likes to lock doors and watch people run into them and Harrison loves to tickle my feet and laughs uncontrollably that I HATE THIS!!  Laughter makes for a happy life and that is all I want for myself and my family.  To be happy.

Christopher: I am thankful that I am going to see my mom and dad.

Harrison: I am thankful that we are going to Davenport.

Bennett: I am thankful that we are going to Grandma and Grandpa's.

Thankfulness one year ago

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thankful take 2

The children have been a wonderful gift to me, and I'm thankful to have once again seen our world through their eyes.  They restore my faith in the family's future.  ~ Jackie Kennedy

Me: I am thankful for Harrison.  He is caring, kind, GREAT with the babies and loves to learn.  I couldn't be more proud of my fantastic boy.

Christopher: I am thankful for a 3 day work week.

Harrison: I am thankful that we did blog writing today. (Nothing new today, but here is a link to the classroom blog ~

Bennett: I am thankful for slides.  I can go fast.

Miles: I am thankful for Legos because I like them.

Annabelle: I am thankful for my new coat.  It has flowers and purple on it.

Rocco is thankful for the French.  His own kissing style is modeled after theirs.

Eleanor is thankful for jumping boys.  Bennett and Harrison like to jump up and down in front of her and she giggles every time!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


It's that time of year again and I couldn't be happier.  I love the thankful season.  It feels good to be grateful for something on a daily basis.  I feel overall that I am grateful for what I have and I look forward to having a great excuse for documenting what my family is grateful for as well.

Me: I am thankful for my love of cooking.  And the Pioneer Woman.  Maybe.  Butter...

Christopher: I am thankful for a Dunkin' Donuts in Des Moines.

Harrison: I am thankful to be studying maps in school.  I love learning all of the states.

Bennett: I am thankful for recess.  I will probably be thankful for recess tomorrow, too!

Miles: I am thankful for Barack Obama.

Annabelle: I am thankful for Barack Obama signs.  Mommy has one, you have one, I like them.

Rocco is thankful for Eleanor's forehead.  He must think that it tastes REAL good!

Eleanor is thankful for rolling over.  Today I set her on her tummy to go get Rocco and I when I came back she was on her back!

Past thankfulnesss

Friday, October 12, 2012


Harrison 'wrote' a poem in the car yesterday.  He was in the back and he exclaimed "I wrote a poem!"  He then recited it for me and I wrote it down in my phone.  He also wrote on his educational profile at school that he likes non-fiction and fiction books and poetry.  What an intellectual I am raising?!?!

The leaves blow
The pumpkins grow
The jack-o-laterns glow
It's fall! It's fall!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Set for the day

My child is my child.  It's really amazing to step back and look at all his mannerisms and quirks.  They are his, but they are not his alone.  Case in point ~

Me: I am going to jump into the shower and get ready for Bennett's soccer game.  Your clothes are laid out on the couch.

Harrison:  Uggggggggg...  Maaaaaaannnn...

Me: What?

Harrison:  I pulled up the ottoman, got the iPad, I have my book and the remote.  I have all my pillows and a cozy blanket!

Me: Is that where you expected to spend your day

Harrison:  YES!  I'm all cozy.  They Hawkeye's play and I've got my book!  I forgot about Bennett's game!

Me:  Sorry bud.

Harrison is a planner.  He will go with the flow most times, but when he makes a good lounging day plan, he wants to stick with his lounging day plan!

Monday, August 20, 2012

State Fair 2012

It was State Fair time again.  We strapped on our feed bags and headed on over.  First stop - CORN DOGS!!!  I know that not everyone is a fan of corn dogs, but there has never been a better tasting corn dog than at 9:30 in the morning, just minutes after arriving at the fair.  Good eats!

The first Saturday of the fair is usually the busiest, but it was the only day we could work into all of our schedules.  It was also Drake University Day so we got to see Spike and get some cool Bulldog swag.  One thing that helped being in all of those crowds of people was the weather.  Gorgeous!!  82 and sunny.  What a perfect day.
This is an annual picture that I take every year.  It is a fun spot outside of the Ag Building.  They are seriously cute!

The fair is not the most fun for everyone.  But I love it!  The food, the photographs, the CRAZY people watching.  I just love it.

Here the boys are learning about planting food.  I can't believe I am raising city kids.  Never did I dream this is how they would learn about farming.  I do my best with my gardening and taking them back to the farm, but the fair does offer some great inter-actives when is comes to agriculture.

We decided to do the Sky Ride this year.  We always let the kids do the Giant Slide and NEVER let them do the midway, but the Sky Ride is always a maybe.  It's expensive, a tad scary and it takes planning on to do a round trip ticket or a one-way ticket.  Oh, the decisions!

Happy Iowa State Fair!!!!  Thanks Greg and Pam for a great time!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Morning Person

Harrison gets up in the morning.  Every morning.  EARLY.  He is usually up sometime between 5:45 am and 6:30 am.  I have to be careful when I get up so as not to 'draw' him out of bed.

This morning - Memorial Day - he slept in!  7:22 am was the wake up time.  This was after staying up past 9:00 pm the last 3 nights.  He could have slept in a lot longer!  So this morning I asked 'Couldn't sleep-in anymore?' and he responded 'It's 7:22!'  I commented that I didn't think that was really sleeping in and he came back with 'Well, Dad does.'

Poor Christopher.  Poor, poor Christopher.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Interview with a 5 year old

I am copying the idea of this post from my friend, Kari.  She is always full of great ideas and we were pregnant with our 5 year olds at the same time.  Her first little guy's birthday is April 26th.  We weren't 'friends' at the time of our pregnancies, more like acquaintances.  But we have become great friends since then and our boys are pretty good friends when they get the chance to hang out!

Here goes!!

What is your favorite color?  Every color in the world, but not dark green

What is your favorite toy?  My helicopter

What is your favorite fruit?  Grapes

What is your favorite vegetable?  Pickled onions

What is your favorite tv show?  Phineas and Ferb

What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Mac and Cheese

What is your favorite thing to wear?  Hard pants (AKA - jeans)

What is your favorite game?  Wii bowling

What is your favorite snack?  Graham crackers

What is your least favorite thing to eat?  avocados and regular onions

What is your favorite animal?  Lions and polar bears

What is your favorite song?  Snowman song

What is your favorite book?  Polar bear book

What is your favorite candy?  Chocolate egg

Who is your best friend?  Brock

What is your favorite cereal?  Rice Krispies and Lucky Charms

What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Play on the big wheel and play on the playground at my school

What is your favorite drink?  Lemonade

What is your favorite holiday?  Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Pillow pet and Douglas

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Toast with honey

What do your want for dinner on your birthday?  Chinese

What do you and Mom do together?  I like to plant in the garden with you

What do and Dad do together?  Wrestle

What is your favorite sport?  Golf

Where is your favorite place to go?  Snookie's

What make you happy?  Ice Cream

What makes you sad?  People who are hurt

What are you really good at doing?  Toe-touching at soccer

What is your favorite movie?  Polar movie (IMAX - To The Arctic)

What do you want to be when you grow up?  Farmer with my friends.  They will live on my farm.

This was a lot of fun!  Hope I remember to do it again next year!  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I have another story about little boys and their differences. Thankfully this one is 'cleaner!'

Bennett is a cunning little trickster. Miles, as his mom calls him, is an old soul. He's sweet and thoughtful.

Yesterday while getting ready to go out the door to preschool, Bennett mandated that I go out first. This was a little odd, but Bennett is also the type that enjoys bossing others around when given the chance. I was picking my battles so I just let it go on as he stated. I went to open the door and was STOPPED! It was one of those running into a wall type stops. The door was locked. Bennett laughed and laughed and laughed. I chuckled, unlocked the door and ushered everyone out. As Miles was passing me he smiled and said, "Bennett's such a crazy goofball." And he meant this in the most endearing sweet way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Same Roots - Different Trees

My children are different. Very different.

Bennett is my thoughtful child. He truly wonders about things and asks great questions. Mostly - "Mom, isn't it great that you can drive? I'm not tall enough." or "Mom, isn't it interesting that that the TV turns on with a remote. I mean, how does that work?" Harrison is my to-the-point, overly-mature child. Me - "Harrison was is 4 x 3?" Harrison - "12" Me - What is 3 x 4?" Harrison - "Mom, I'm over that. Can we do something challenging?" Very little gets by him without a quick-witted response.

Case-in-point, on our way to Starbucks yesterday:

Bennett - Mom, isn't it weird that we were babies but now we are not. How does that happen?

Me - We eat good food and our body grows.

Bennett - Mom, how did you get me out of your belly?

Me - (Thinking, thinking, thinking) I pushed really hard.

Bennett - Oh. (Pause) (Pause) But where?

Me - (Shit!!! Why is this HAPPENING?!?!?!)

Harrison - It was her butt-hole. It's the only hole down there.

Me - (O.M.G!!!!) Umm, well... It was my vagina.

Bennett - (Deer-in-headlights-glossy-eyed-confused-stupor)

Harrison - Oh yeah. (Pause) But, like, it was probably still a pain in your butt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lymphoid Nodular Hyperplasia

Lymphoid Nodular Hyperplasia. There is a term for everything. And this term is used to describe why Harrison has had periodical, painless bleeding in his colon. This is the best possible out-come as this is a growth related condition. I can't find great information online about this condition. It seems to be quite rare and of course, most things online scare the bejesus out of me so I will trust Harrison's doctor. It will go away just as quietly as it came. I wish I could describe the sense of relief. I wish I could describe how lucky I feel. The cells in our body are amazing little machines and almost any random thing can happen to them. We (Harrison) are truly grateful that this was our diagnosis.

Lymphoid Nodular Hyperplasia is a swelling of the lymph nodes surrounding parts of the colon. This swelling is common and painless. There are no apparent causes of this condition. Random luck for a 6, 7, or 8 year old. As the lymph nodes swell, the inflammation irritates the colon causing it to sometimes bleed. Just a great way for our body to remind us that it is in control. 'I am your body and I will randomly cause you distress, just because I can!!! I am all powerful!' Thanks, Harrison's body...

The prep for Harrison's colonoscopy was almost as horrible as I imagined. I imagined kicking and screaming, not wanting to take the Go-lytly and then spending hours in the bathroom, laying on the floor with stomach craps followed by sitting on the toilet. You know what I mean, it's what you have all imagined...

I put Harrison on a liquid diet starting on Saturday. He had scrambled eggs and water for breakfast. Nothing else. He had Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup for lunch. I let him have 1/2 of the noodles that he would regularly have. After that he was able to tell me when he wanted to eat and I let him eat whenever that was. He had the choice of lime, sugar-free Jell-O, chicken broth from Campbell's Chicken and Star Soup (a few stars got mixed in, just because...) and G2 lemon-lime Gatorade. He was on this diet from Saturday around 3:00 pm to Sunday around 4:00 pm. He had to take a laxative at 12:00 pm on Sunday to help the process start. At 5:00 pm on Sunday we started the first 32 ounce dose of Go-lytly. I mixed it with 32 ounces of the Gatorade instead of water, thinking it would taste better. I can only imagine that it did, but it still tasted pretty bad. Harrison cried and cried and cried for an hour and a half. It was heart-breaking and comical. Here are a list of my favorite quotes. Some were used more than once.

"NO! This is done. I don't have blood in my poop. I am going to watch tv. NO!"
"OK. This is it. I'm having a meltdown here."
"Now I am freaking out! Freaking out, MOM!!!"
"You are my mom! Don't let them do this to me!"
"I am soooo mad at myself. I am not brave and I need to be."
Again, it was heart-breaking and comical. He was supposed to drink the 32 ounces in one hour and I was worried that he wasn't going to get any of it in. But, we (Chris) were able to get him to drink it (he did throw-up/gag 3 times) and we were done. Until midnight... When we had to do it again. Ugggg. Luckily, all of the awful things that I imagined happening in the bathroom never happened. He went to the bathroom, but I truly believe the liquid diet I put him on worked magic. There was never any discomfort in that area of the prep. Thank goodness.

I had worked at Starbucks Sunday morning (got up at 3:00 am...) so I was a little tired after skipping my usual Sunday nap. I went to bed early with the expectation of getting up at midnight to give Harrison his next round of Go-lytly. So when I awoke at 4:30 am, I panicked. "I AM A HORRIBLE MOTHER!!!!!!!" I rushed to the living room and found Harrison sleeping on the love seat and Christopher sleeping on the couch. I shook Christopher awake and he sleepily told me that he had given Harrison his does at midnight and he took it just fine and finished in 45 minutes. No tears. No drama. Drink. Sleep. Done. How did I sleep through that?!?! Seriously...

We had to be at the surgery center at 7:30 am. Greg and Pam came to watch Bennett. Harrison was in a GREAT mood. I do not know what brought it on or why it was there but it was more than welcome. I like to think I am a pretty relaxed, easy-going person, but I was a little on edge (especially after sleeping through his midnight dose!) and his gleeful attitude was just the medicine I needed. Intake at the hospital was a breeze. We played some Sorry and then they wheeled a Wii cart into his room and he played that for awhile.
Dr. Slovan came in and he was wonderful. He was great with Harrison and Harrison asked him some great questions like "Who is going to see the pictures of my butt?" and he answered with the ease of someone who knows how to work with all types of kids. We were pleased. His anesthesiologist was even better. His name escapes me now, but I will find it and write it down because he was great. He made Harrison laugh and told him exactly what to expect. Then he suggested they sing 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. I could tell they were going to get alone wonderfully! After it was all done, Dr. Slovan told us Harrison did so great. He was calm and even giggled a couple of times while they were prepping him for the procedure. And then he reminded us not to call him Harry. I can only imagine Harrison telling everyone that he doesn't enjoy that nickname! It is so comforting to know that the doctors and nurses treated him like the great little (big) boy that he is and not just another patient. I am forever thankful and grateful.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


There is a boy. He is seven and wonderful. His name is Harrison and I don't know what my life would be like without him. Harrison is constantly challenging us, amazing us, and mystifying us with his wit, intelligence and personality. He loves to read while in school and is reading at an amazing level for a 1st grader. We are constantly amazed at what he can read and how he retains and understands the information and stories that he reads. Reading at home seems to be a challenge. He thinks there are 'better' things to be doing. We have reading time before bed and I encourage reading on the weekends, but the 'books' he chooses are usually magazines or Hidden Picture Puzzle Books. While it has been a bit of a struggle, I have caught him reading some books I have set out to see if he notices them and that has been a treat. He just seems to be a 'do it when I want to, not when you tell me to' type of child. I am sure most children subscribe to the same mantras!! He is 4 feet tall and 47.5 pounds. This means he is right on for height and very skinny! Harrison loves to do math (probably his favorite thing, actually), likes all kinds of food but prefers shrimp, and is great at board games. His current love is Blokus.

Some recent stories about Harrison include:

While lecturing James, Harrison, Bennett and Kaitlyn about not arguing about who has seen The Smurfs movie and who has not, Grandpa stated that they were done talking about it and if he heard anything about The Smurfs movie again, the perpetrator would have to sit out for a while. He asked if there were any questions. Harrison piped up: I don't have a question, but I have a comment. Grandpa couldn't help but laugh and say go ahead. Harrison said "You're talking about The Smurf's movie." Grandpa decided that Harrison is #1 - a smart-ass and #2 - pays too much attention at school.

I fixed the kids lunch one day. Mini bagels and cream cheese, Go-gurts, and bananas. Bennett had said that he would like a blueberry bagel and a plain bagel. Harrison wanted 2 plain bagels. After receiving said bagels, Bennett decided he didn't want the blueberry bagel. I gave it to Harrison who was already done with his plain bagels. He ate a bite and decided he didn't like it. I was a little tired of this and tore off a chunk and saideat it anyway and gave a chunk to Bennett and said the same thing. I left the table grumbling about how I didn't want bagels for lunch. Harrison decided to impart some important knowledge. "Mom, welcome to my world. You don't always get to do what you want or eat what you want. Welcome to MY world."
He is the ultimate child who wants to be the adult and tries to act like it in so many ways!!

A more somber story about Harrison is a recent health scare we are going through. I am sharing this in the blog simply because this is also a type of baby book for my kids. I want to remember what was happening and what we were feeling at the time. Honestly, I am not too concerned for Harrison's health at this point. I am more concerned about his worrying anticipation and my fear is that he will dwell too much and get way too nervous.

The story is that Harrison came to me a coupleof weeks ago and told me there was blood in his poop. I said let's go take a look and he told me he had flushed. Ugg. We talked about how he was feeling, what it looked like, if it hurt, etc. and decided that if it happened again, he would get me before he flushed. Time went on and nothing. And there were and are no other symptoms. No belly aches, no headaches, no anything. He is a very healthy 7 year old. Then, seemingly out of the blue, it happened again. I went to look and sure enough, it is in his stool. Luckily we already had a well-child doctor visit scheduled for the next day so I didn't have to call and make an appointment. Our doctor is fabulous! She is just one of the best. She was rightly concerned, but very reassuring. I brought up the 'c' word and she assured me that was not possible. Children get cancer, but not there. I am sure there is an explanation to go along with that, but both Harrison and Bennett were in the room and neither one of us wanted to talk about that in front of them. Again, she is amazing! She agrees that Harrison is very healthy, but that something is wrong in his colon. Basically, she believes that he has a polyp in his colon. This is not very common, but it does happen. I honestly didn't ask a lot of questions. I realize this is Harrison's body, but I want all the information and then I want to decide what information Harrison gets and when. Dr. Truesdell sent us to the lab to get a blood work-up and sent us home with a bowel movement collection kit. I am so excited about that! The blood draw was not fun, but Harrison did really well. He was nervous and scared and shook like a leaf throughout the whole thing, but the nurse, Betty Jo, was amazing and she talked so great with him. Afterwards he commented that it only hurt a little when the needle was going in and not when it was in there or when it was coming out. He was just scared and couldn't stop shaking. The doctor called later to tell us his blood looked great. This basically means there are no hidden pathogens we aren't seeing and that her initial assumption of a polyp is looking correct. Next step is to do the collection of poop (YEAH!!) and send it in to get tested. We saw the doctor on Friday so we are unable to take the sample in until Tuesday so we are waiting to do the collecting until Monday or Tuesday. After that we will see a pediatric GI specialist and after that Harrison will probably have to have a colonoscopy. During the colonoscopy, they would take the polyp if that is what is going on and then hopefully we would be all done.

Again, I am not really worried or freaking out at this point. There just is no reason to do so. Harrison has said that there was blood in his stool again and he kind of had a breakdown of his own about not wanting this to happen and not understanding why it is happening. So we are going to do a lot of being thankful for what we have and a lot of down-playing what is going on until we really know what is really going on. I have told Harrison that it doesn't do any good wishing this wasn't happening because it is and the best thing we can do now is deal with it in a positive and hopeful way.

Here's a super sweet photo of Harrison after he completed his birthday present this year. He was so proud to do it all on his own!