Tag: family

Summer Life

Summer is busy, and summer seems to just get away from us. Day to day chores and obligations mixed in with family fun is what summer is all about. I can’t believe that a month is left. A mere month. I also can’t believe all we have fit in the summer. Family vacation, day trips, a trip to the zoo and relaxing at the pool. This was such an uncertain summer. I had many hours of lost sleep over this summer. A husband laid off and me who had a job only during the school year how was this to work, but it did. We had a great time. We traveled and laughed and played games and the list goes on and on. God will provide was made known to me this past year. Our needs were met. The summer isn’t over. We still have a son’s birthday and a family reunion, county fairs and the list goes on and on. We trusted and we survived and we rose even higher than we ever expected. Our family is blessed with wonderful family and friends that assured us all would be fine. 

A few pictures of family fun

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

Oh to Cook…it sounds so simple

We rent a small house in a small town.  I am a mom that works as many days as she can but overall I am a mom.  What do mom’s do.  They kiss boo boo’s, they wash clothes and pack school bags and COOK.

Early in the month my oven quit on my stove.  I really don’t blame the oven it was the digital display that went out.  Without those magical push buttons there was no way to turn on the oven.  How stupid, why does a simple button need to control all.  Is old fashioned knobs to good for a stove now days.  Stove worked oven sat cold.

We waited a few weeks and got a call that our landlord found another stove and was bringing it in.  I was so excited, it was a used stove but heck I didn’t care.  It was a very nice looking stove but once it got out of the freezing temps of a storage unit, the freezing temps of the back of a truck and into our 68 degree home we discovered there was something terribly wrong.  The stove had such a horrible smell that it burned our eyes and lungs.  It was awful.  Something had to have gotten into the insulation of the stove and it was ruined.  No matter how nice it looked didn’t make up for how bad it smelled.  It was like the worst 24 hours of my life.  The house smelled so bad we couldn’t be in it and I had no way to cook for my family.  It is like a basic instinct a mother has.  To make a meal for her family.  Oh I hate the question, “What are we eating tonight.”  but I feel it is my job, a job I take joy and pleasure in.  It was only 24 hours but it felt like I had failed.  I had a full on anxiety attack the next morning.  There was a smell in the house and I couldn’t even boil a pot of water.  When I called my mom I told her my whoes and then I couldn’t even boil a pot of water.  She has a way to put things into perspective.  One- Why do I need to boil a pot of water at 8am.  Two- this will pass and a new stove will be there shortly.  That afternoon the stinky stove was taken out of the house and the spot sat empty where my cooking vessel should be.

Our landlord was looking all over for a good condition stove.  Saturday I had the idea of going to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  What a treasure trove of items.  I found my stove!!!!  Looking at it I knew I needed this stove.  It was odd I walked around the store and had to keep walking back to this stove.  Called my landlord up and said cancel getting a stove by tomorrow I found one.  This is an old stove it has a vintage look that I love.  There is chrome on the corners.  A green sea glass color on the oven glass window and behind the knob controls.  Yes knobs no digital display to go out on me there.

My heart is happy.  I can provide food for my family and friends.  We weren’t home an hour with the new stove and cookies were baked.  Last night a meatloaf and green bean casserole (were in Minnesota don’t ya know).  Today was a pan of brownies and an egg bake for dinner.  I am sure supper will go back to a chore but for now I am loving it.

My role is fulfilled as a mom.  I am sure many would disagree but it makes me feel like there is a purpose, I know my role and I can excel at it.

My Top Ten List

As I look at the calendar I start to get tense and look back at this past year and I marvel of all the changes that have been made. This upcoming weekend is the Tae Kwon Do tournament when I noticed the crowd was more hushed, I noticed I couldn’t hear a TV, or my kid’s voices.   I am not sure at this moment my hearing dropped or it was slowly dropping and it kind of hit me on this weekend. Either way it has been a learning curve with hearing aids, and accepting this new normal.

I look at this past year and I thought I would make a list of 10 things I have noticed and learned. I was able to get a hold of my audiogram from 1996 when I was 19 years old. I was in college and attending the University of Wisconsin and studying Communicative Disorders.   I had a conductive loss at a 30-35db loss. Which in all reality I could have been wearing hearing aids back then.  I am now 37 and I have a mixed loss that ranges from a 60-90db loss. That is a big difference. Will it change from this point, I don’t know but if it does I know there will be frustrations but I feel I will be better equipped to handle it.

Top-Ten-list

  1. Always carry hearing aid batteries with you. I learned the hard way this last week. I decided to leave my bag out in the car after lunch and I was subbing in science. Well both hearing aid batteries went dead. I had about 3 hours of the day left to go with no break to run to the car. Thank God we were watching a movie very little talking and listening had to take place. It made me realize I need to learn to speech read more then ever which will be my number 2.
  2. I hear with my eyes as much as my ears. I need a big boost in speech reading. I can do a word here or there but I need a lot more practice. I lack in this area greatly. Although I have done a few experiments on my own while listening to someone I really do concentrate on their face. I will close my eyes at times and my comprehension really goes down. I need that visual; I need to see it as much as hear it.
  3. Hearing aids are not miracle aids. Yes I really rely highly on my hearing aids. I recently told a friend who is Deaf, I can’t sign proficiently, I can’t read lips for a full conversation. I rely on the hearing I have. I have become great friends with the phonak and starkey hearing aids I own. I don’t have perfect hearing with my hearing aids but they make up for a lot of lost ground.
  4. Ear molds are better then domes. This is an individual thing but wow a big difference for me. I was given domes then got moved to closed power domes in my hearing aids. They annoyed me and I could hear better with my finger in my ear with them. When I bought this up I was told it just took time to get used to. I then went to another audiologist and they told me my hearing loss was to great for the domes and that is why I was having the problem. I was told I needed the ear molds and I sure can tell a difference. What I learned from this, you know what you need. If it doesn’t work for you and you have a finger in your ear, it isn’t working. I will never use domes again. You can change doctors nothing is set in stone.
  5. You are not alone. Family and friends supported me and listened to me but I needed to find someone who understood me. I have found friends and the Say What Club. They understand hearing loss. They can laugh with you and help through the tough times. I urge anyone who is going through a trial to seek out a group that understands. As a fellow SWC friend says you need your tribe. You need the people who walk in the same shoes as you do. Seek them out!
  6. Car radios suck. Ok so I am blunt and to the point. Maybe this again is just me. I try explaining to my husband I can hear the music and the beat but I very seldom can make out the words. I can hear parts of words but it kind of sounds like a broken foreign language. I will keep the radio on I like music but the words nah can’t do it. But I have never been able to really listen to the music and get all the words so maybe this isn’t such a new thing.
  7. I have become to love the assistive listening devices I have. I was very stubborn at first I didn’t want to try these. I felt that I was not profoundly deaf or hard of hearing so I didn’t need these. I was wrong. I use the streamer on my TV a lot. It blocks out everything but the show or movie we are watching. It makes a big difference. I still use the captions but I seem to be more engaged in a movie if I use it. Otherwise I seem to lose focus and I am off doing something else. When we are watching a family movie I need to be involved and enjoy the time.
  8. Keep my family in the loop. My children know when I can hear them and when I can’t. If I say I can’t hear you they are really good at waiting till we are somewhere else and then ask me. My kids understand my hearing aids. My husband will hook up and ask if I want the streamer on the TV or for the music we are listening to. They support me and that makes such a big difference.
  9. Sign language- I know some but I need to learn more. When we are in a situation and I can’t hear my kids I would love to be able to use more sign. Today in church I used sign to my son and we understood each other. I hope another class will be offered soon in my area.
  10. Pimping and blinging my hearing aids have become an obsession. Heck if I can go and see all these fun glasses at the eye doctor why do hearing aids have to be beige or dark brown in my case. I can decorate them and maybe no one will see them but I know they are there and sassy.

So here is my list of 10 things I have learned this past year. I wonder what my list will look like in another year.

The Big Picture

speck pictures

Have you ever seen Horton Hears a Who?  It is a cute book, amusing childrens movie and a question that can keep you thinking for days on end.  Are we just a speck?  Are we just this small part of a big picture?  I have been thinking about this since last Wednesday at my Bible Study.  We talked about how we see the toil and strife that affects all of us.  Sometimes it just seems like we can’t get a break.  That is all of us, we are humans.  But when people say the phrase, this is all happening for a reason, is there a reason- a greater picture that this all works together?

I have a hard time getting my head around this at times.  I have had my share of troubles, sleepless nights.  Wondering how is this all going to work out or will it work out.  I think of the big things in my life now.  I think of jobs, money, my kids, IEP’s, hearing loss, a best friend with cancer, lice and the list could go on and on.  I wonder why there just can’t be a break.  Why people can’t just live the simple life, isn’t that the American Dream?  But then I see how some things that have been a roadblock, a problem can work out for the greater good of our family.  Moving to a town where I didn’t know a soul, heck I had never heard of the town before.  Now seven years later I no longer see this as a problem I see this as home.  I have more “family” than I had anywhere I had lived before.  I am more connected now with a church, school and other organizations.  There was a bigger picture and God knew this and he took care of us.  I can go through this whole list and after time has passed and the fog clears my head from the situation I see that there is a greater picture.  I maybe can’t see the whole thing but things do work out.  Things that we don’t understand can sometimes go into focus.

focus picture

So are we just a speck on this piece of paper of life?  All these things happen around us and to us and we have to trust that this big picture will all make sense.  Do I have the answers, NO.  But I trust in God and God knows ALL.  He knows how all these little things, the highs and the lows we will experience in life.  He knows how it will all work together and I have to try and get my simple human mind to accept that.  I don’t understand why there is hurt, why there are children that die, why mom’s get cancer.  I don’t understand, I don’t see the whole picture but I have to trust God does and he knows what is happening.

So listen for that voice, just like Horton heard from the Speck.  God is there for all of us and he cares about each one of us even if we are just this tiny speck in his universe.

Fun, Faith and Family

The past week has been an experiences of fun, faith and family.  I have decided to do this blog post a little different.  I want to tell the story of this past week through pictures and few words.  I think a central theme is water.

This past Thursday my dear daughter, Greta, decided to be baptized.  Greta was baptized as an infant but she choose to make that decision herself and I couldn’t be prouder.  She is becoming a wonderful young lady and she spoke with pose and intelligence.  A friend of mine took these wonderful photo’s and I am in wonder of Greta’s smile.  It was truly an experience for our whole family.

Greta Baptism water Greta Baptism

The very next day we travelled to my hometown across the state of Minnesota.  I grew up on the St Croix river which has experienced a lot of flooding this past spring.  So many things are under water and parks and homes are flooded.  We took some time this past weekend going to different areas on the river taking pictures and just enjoying our family together, laughing, and taking pleasure in watching all the baby ducks and geese.

flooding HudsonHudson, Wisconsin if you look out beyond the kids you can see the picnic tables and benches.

stillwater bridge bridge closed greta and the stillwater bridge

These pictures were taken in Stillwater, MN.  As you can see the water was quite high and the bridge is closed until this water starts to recede.  I have seen this area flood before but it gives you a whole new outlook on the power of water when you see it.  Driving around I saw childhood friends homes that had water up to their door and I am sure in their homes.  Just a sad site.  I have to laugh at the picture of Chad and the bridge closed sign.  Chad doesn’t want harm to come to anyone but he has a running joke that he calls Stillwater, Snobwater.  The size of the boats on that river I have a hard time dispelling that name except I grew up there and we didn’t even have a rowboat.

flooding beanies

This picture is the Marina and boat landing by my parents house.  This establishment is owned by church friends of ours and horribly flooded.  This is usually parking lot out to the dock you see you in the middle of the picture.  My heart is heavy when this is their business and this is happening to them.  I hope the river starts going down soon.

The rest of the weekend was very special to me.  My grandmother died this past fall and it was her job to keep the family together and get them together for life events.  Saturday afternoon my mom and aunt planned a party at the park, again at the river.  My sister and her family were there and my cousin and his family were there.  It was so nice to visit and see family again.  Family is so important to us all.  They were the first one in our corner when we were small and will be the last ones to be with us at the end.  It was a great picnic where we all made some great memories.  One special memory was at the same park many many years ago,  probably nearing 30 years ago.  At that picnic my grandma and grandpa were both there and we played a softball game.  My grandpa died when I was Greta’s age so yes a nice memory to think of again this weekend.

I hope you are all enjoying your summer and making some memories of your own.  It was a wonderful few days of faith and fellowship of the water of baptism.  It was fun with family taking pictures around the St Croix River.  It was family who we were able to have a meal with and make memories with at the park.

 

 

 

Letter to my Daughter

100E2245My Dearest Daughter-

Today we had your 11th birthday party.  We had so much fun getting this planned and what a wonderful day.  I just had to write down my emotions and feelings of why you hold so much of my heart.  When I first held you honey you made me a mommy on Mother’s Day week.  You have always been a joy in my life for the last 11 years.

You have always been a girl to be on stage.  Since you were a little girl you loved to sing to us all and perform for all of us.  My heart is so happy that you want to sing for God now.  You are just growing up more and more everyday.  With the activities you want to partake in your general attitude of life.  I am glad to call you my daughter.

Today you had all your grandparents around you and they love you more than you can ever comprehend.  Today at your party you are so gracious and so happy with every gift you receive.  I am so happy that you appreciate anything given to you.  There is never a comment that something should have been bigger or better infact your comment today was, “I am spoiled and I am just so excited for every gift I received.”  I love that you would be happy with a paper bag is that is what someone thought to give you.

Today when you were swimming in the pool with your brother you are just so good with him.  I know brothers can be annoying but you are also best friends.  You are so good with your brother.  I know he can be a handful at times but you are his biggest defender.  You would beat someone up in an alley if they said something against your brother.  I love that your love for him is that great.  He has a built in superhero as a sister.  You two have love between each other I could only dream siblings can have.

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My dearest daughter you have given me such joy this past 11 years I can’t wait for the next decade and see what is in store for us and what new adventures we will have.

I love you so much and keep loving the Lord and life.

Love your Mommy.

 

14 Years of Togetherness

14 years….wow that is a long time.  We are getting close to the amount of time that I will be with Chad longer than with my parents (almost 16 with dating).  14 years ago on the afternoon of April 8th I married Chad.  We had a nice simple afternoon wedding.  We had a small reception in the church hall and we were off to our hotel in the cities by 5pm.  I watch the TLC show, Four Weddings and I am shocked but the amount of money that is spent on a wedding.  Ours was simple and completely done by us.  Would the majority of people be able to accept a wedding like ours? Would they be able to deal with homemade centerpieces and beautiful flowers in mason jars? To me that day was magical.  I get remorseful at times and wish I would have had a big wedding with a dance and the whole shabang but you know what, I enjoyed our day.  I am not a center of attention person and our wedding had DIY, family, friends and fellowship.  It was our wedding and I will always cherish it.  

Now I am a bit of a superstitious person.  Ok more than a bit, if something bad happens at 10am on a Saturday for years from that day I still will get apprehensive at 10am on a Saturday because that could happen again.  We are almost done with our 13th year and for that I can breath a sigh of relief.  I hate the number 13 and year 13 had a fair share of things I would like to forget and move on from.  To start off our 13th year Greta, Henry, and myself were throwing up all night long.  My poor husband was stripping beds, washing floors and washing buckets on our anniversary.  That showed real love.  Chad got a serious leg infection that was down right scary.  Doctor visits, meds, and lots of prayer got him better but his leg is still not at 100%.  I became hard of hearing this year.  It is a new normal for me and I feel I am adjusting much better now than a few months ago but still a shock.  I crashed the only vehicle I LOVED and totaled it.  I had my first trip in an ambulance this year.  My beloved Grandmother died this year.  Just a lot of things I am glad are behind me.  With all that being said there was plenty of good also.  Henry started school and as much as he didn’t want to go to school he is doing great and loves it.  Greta is at the “big” school now and she is doing great.  Her empathy for people grows everyday and I love that about her.  We got to go on a family vacation this past year to Wisconsin Dells.  It was a few days of family fun that we made a lot of memories.  

What will this new year bring for us?  I am sure there will be changes that is what life is the ever changing.  The simple act of breathing and living will bring growth and change.  I hope this will be a year of good changes, maybe careers, kids activities, my faith growing stronger.  I want this to be a year of memories with my family and personal strides we can all make.  

14 years I love Chad and the family we have made.  It sure hasn’t been a path of roses but we have made a path through the vines of thorns and discovered the roses on the way.  

Don’t You Dare Throw Those Scissors

Image

 

Ok so maybe this picture is a little drastic but I felt like this yesterday afternoon.  Yesterday was a crazy day at school, one that I hope not to repeat anytime soon.  I am a substitute teacher at our local school.  Now that is a hard job in many ways.  One big one is just earning the respect from the kids.  I have noticed lately that respect has gone out the window.  Maybe we were like that when I was young but I would have never dared laugh in an adults face or talk back to them.  It just wasn’t done and you didn’t do it.  I don’t feel like I am that old (in my 30’s) what has happened.  

So I am at school for the whole day and from hour one it just did not go as planned.  The kids were crazy.  Maybe spring fever, lack of respect, or just the kids themselves.  They were body slamming each other on the tables, they were throwing scissors across the room, they were fling kernels of corn (I was in the Ag room).  It was nuts!!!! That is an understatement.  This all happened by 2nd hour.  Wow this day is going to be long.  

Now to anyone that has hearing loss knows that background noise is not your friend.  It masks speech sounds or at least for me it does.  So in this Ag room there are shop noises, LOUD fan noises, high ceilings, just lots of industrial noise.  I need to concentrate to the max in there and then add this behavior on top of it EQUALS stressed.  The day was crazy but luckily ended much better then started.  The last couple hours were much better than the start of the day.  I don’t think I could have handled 8 hours of that amount of crazy.  

I was emailing my mom throughout the day yesterday, in between classes and during lunch.  She had written she wished there could have been a video of the craziness of the classes she could watch.  I just laughed and said you could have probably seen the gray hair forming on my head.  

Luckily my family could feel my mood last night and were huge helps to get dinner done and cleaned up.  We were all in PJ’s by 6:30 and watching a movie.  A good nights sleep and a day with my husband today has been the perfect prescription.  Out to lunch and a little grocery shopping.  

Now tonight my son has a TaeKwonDo test.  A whole different kind of stress.  A kind of stress that will cause me tears but only because I am so proud of all my little guy has accomplished this year.  

On to a fun family weekend.  No big plans, just time together.  No one better be throwing scissors.