Happy Birthday – Slice of Life

Today my son turns 8!

I can hardly believe it.  I still can remember the day he was born.  I was overdue and was scheduled to be induced on a Monday. My parents from Minnesota decided to come out early. As a little back story, they weren’t able to make it for the birth or short life of our son, Aidan, so they were determined not to miss any future births of our children.

My parents unexpectedly arrived at my house on Friday evening.  Throughout the evening as we talked, I just couldn’t get comfortable.  Finally later that night, I figured out I was in labor.  My doctor wanted me to take a bath at home and relax for  a bit.  Instead, we told her we were coming directly to the hospital. I don’t think she believed I was truly in labor.

My husband rushed through red lights on our way. Since it was after midnight, the only open door into the hospital was the ER.  I don’t think the ER staff believed me that I was truly in labor. They took their sweet time. Even asked if I wanted a wheelchair.  And we slowly made our way up to the maternity floor.

I don’t think the nursing staff on that floor believed I was truly in labor.  Instead they had me get changed and asked for a urine sample, which I nicely gave.  I was hooked up to monitors and put into the bed.  My husband kept prodding the nurses to check me.  They took their sweet time.

Finally they checked me. “Oh, um, what time will the doctor be here?” The nurse who was getting the infant stuff ready asked if she could do her rounds on the other babies. “Um. I think you need to stay here,” she was told. “What time is the doctor getting here?” the first nurse asked again with a bit more force.

Yes. Finally someone believed I was truly in labor. Finally the doctor showed up. She checked me and told me to push. A full twenty to thirty minutes probably passed from when I entered the ER doors to when Kory was born. No drugs – even though I told my mother I wasn’t going to have my baby “old school.”

After Kory was born, my parents and some friends arrived. I remember our friends had made sure to stop by a local store to stock up on chips and goodies for them to have in the waiting room. We all laughed, and my dad offered to move our car that was parked in such a funny way in front of the ER doors.

At my six-week check up, my doctor said, “Well I am glad I got there in time to catch your son.”

Of all the things I have been through with having kids, I’m thankful for short labors and deliveries! I think Kory’s was around four hours looking back.  Aidan’s was six from start to finish even with being induced,  and Cade’s was about that too. Let’s just say with Cade, my doctor told me at what point during regular appointments that I should demand to go to the hospital. Don’t hate me for short labor and deliveries – it truly has been God’s way to bless me with everything else we have had to go through with pregnancies and births!

And I’m so thankful that Kory was born healthy and strong. He continues to inspire me. He continues to surprise me. He makes me laugh. He makes me cry tears of pride and fear. He makes me a better me.

I love you Kory!  Thank you for being a part of my life! And happy birthday!

I’m posting every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

It’s Monday – What are you reading? June 18

Today I’m focusing on my son’s books for my It’s Monday – What are you reading post, which is hosted weekly by Teach Mentor Texts.

As a little background, my son just finished second grade and has struggled with reading.  He has been in vision therapy for the past few months with three more months to go through the remaining sessions. You can read about the specifics on his reading and vision therapy on an earlier blog post:  Vision Therapy.

We are half way through his recommended vision therapy sessions, and I’m noticing huge improvements this past week. And thanks to my real-life friend, Maria, for continually recommending books of possible interest. This week we found a match.  His interests met the joy of reading! Instead of begging to take a sketch pad or a gaming system with him in the road, it is now, “Mommy, can I take my book?”  My son, who has struggled with reading, is now reading on his own. In the car. In waiting rooms. On drives with friends.  BOOKS!  He actually is reading BOOKS!

I am so proud of him and so thankful for the books he has read this past week.  I’ve been having him write the names and titles of his books, so he can work further on his handwriting, which has significantly improved with his vision therapy sessions.

So here is his list for the week!

Missile Mouse books by Jake Parker and Lunch Lady books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka


The Broken Deer – Slice of Life

I pass this deer on my daily outdoor walk.  One of his antlers is missing.  His paint is chipped. He is broken.

“Why does his owner keep him? Does she not realize he is broken?” I quietly mumbled to myself the first time I noticed the fake deer.

The second day of my walk, I checked every tree on my path to find this deer.  I couldn’t find him.

The third day, I found him.  “He is broken. He should be thrown away,” I thought to myself.  

“Wait. What do I keep that is broken?” I asked myself.

Chipped dishes sit in my cupboard. Torn towels sit in my bathrooms.  I still grieve over broken friendships I doubt will ever be repaired.  Broken promises by others bounce in my head.  Tiny holes are in some of my shirts.

Yet I hold onto all these broken things.  I’m not too different than the owner of this broken deer. I hope someday she or he will be outside when I walk pass this deer.   “Why do you keep this deer?” I can then ask them.

I will look for this deer each day I walk outside and let him remind me that I need to let go of some broken things I hold onto too tightly.

What broken things do you need to let go?

I’m posting every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

It’s Monday – What are you reading? June 11

It’s Monday and time to post what I’m reading, which is hosted weekly by Teach Mentor Texts.

My boys and I are still making our way through Fake Mustache.  We all find it so enjoyable, and we are savoring each chapter instead of rushing through it.  I did buy The One and Only Ivan, and my youngest is begging to listen to me read about the gorilla. Not until we are done reading about Fako Mustacho.

I’m still working through Brain Rules.  Honestly, the book has become more about quickly reading/scanning it for anything interesting.  The biggest thing I have gained is that exercise helps our brains work better, which would explain why writing inspiration always hits me in the gym, pool, outside walking, outside working in the flower beds, etc, etc.

I also started back into The Barefoot Sisters Southbound.  I started this book awhile ago but lost interest.  It is about two sisters who hike the Appalachian Trial barefoot. True story.  I picked the book back up after a couple friends of ours starting hiking the AT this spring.  I need to ask them if they have heard about the Barefoot Sisters.  As I read the book, though, I find myself wondering HOW the book was written. Was it more reflection after or did they journal through their journey?  I’m going to have to research that a bit more.

I’ve also been reading through  7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess with a group of ladies from our church.  Thanks to Facebook, we all have been able to discuss the book and how we can apply the book’s premises to our own lives. It is a faith-based book that emphasizes living more simply and purging our life of extras to allow more room for living out our faith. I actually forgot I was reading this book until I realized it was time to read the next chapter.

What are you reading this week?

Teachers Write! – Describe a Specific Place

As part of the writing prompt for today’s yesterday’s Teacher’s Write, we were encouraged to pick a place and write a description of that place. Here is my paragraph(s) written within the two minute time frame and then additional time to rewrite with more details.

The prairie grasses stand tall in the deep road ditch. They gently sway with the wind. A hidden treasure waits. Wild asparagus. “I found some, mom. Over here.” The mom rushes over while pushing away the dew-filled cattails. Her two siblings run toward her. More wild asparagus for supper.

She can almost taste the tender stalks melting against her tongue. She sighs, though, realizing that before the asparagus can be cooked, they all will have to be checked for wood ticks. She runs her hands over her arms and legs quickly just in case she can feel one trying to crawl into her skin now.The thought makes all her muscles cringe even more than usual after pulling the fresh vegatables.

The siblings get ready to cross the gravel road. First they look to the right. Dust billows in the distance of a few short miles. Is it a green tractor moving between fields or the large slow orange road plow making its daily trip to even out the gravel that gathers into ruts? Maybe it is one of the fast-moving semi trucks moving livestock or grain for the farmers. They hope it isn’t the semi truck. It kicks up so much dust. Dust that will cover the laundry hanging out to dry in the yard. dust that will hang in the air as if in slow motion as it returns to the ground.

They will wait until the dust-maker passes before attempting to cross again. Finally, One more look to the right. Grandpa is checking his mail box. The wind across the prairie muffled their high-pitch excited screams to get his attention. Instead of waving at them, he turns around, shuffles through his mail, and disappears into the grove of trees that hides his driveway and protects his homestead.

Maybe they will walk down to their grandparents later today. They know a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies waits for them.  Their dog barrels out from the slough that sits in front of their grandparents grove of trees. She is barking nonstop. Her growls mean she is mad. She never growls like that at the kids. Her coat is drenching wet. She must have gotten into another fight with a muskrat. She will probably win the battle later tonight and drag the wet carcass in front of the house.

They look to the left. They see a farmer drive his tractor across his field. They are glad it is the smell of fresh black dirt that floats through the air instead of the manure from the farmer’s livestock being spread to fertiilze the soil.

They run across the road, losing their balance here and there as they go across the uneven gravel. Laughter of the children erupts. Their arms swing. Their heads are pointed toward the sky. The wide open sky that tonight will be as black as black can be and full of endless stars and a large glowing moon. If they are lucky, they just might see the northern lights ripple through the sky.

Home. Our destination across the gravel is my childhood home.

View from my home in Minnesota:

The prompt started with writing for two minutes. Then taking a minute for each sense. I was amazed at how much I still needed/wanted to write when my two minutes were done. I actually didn’t set the timer on my phone for one minute per sense. I just started to rewrite. I know more work can be done, but for now I am pleased with my description and I think I might be able to fit it into my WIP.

I bought my niece a book

I bought my niece a book.

Buying her a book is not a new thing or a thing worthy of a blog post.  What is worthy of a blog post is that my niece is not like everyone else.

Her ribs are flared out instead of following the normal path.  Her body moves a bit differently than everyone else’s.  She has a “giddy up in her hitch” as we say. Her body can’t tolerate as much action as the rest of us can.

A lot more is physically different about her than every other 4-year-old.

When I see my niece, I see a beautiful child who works harder, endures pain longer, laughs louder, smiles brighter, and is just full of more life than a lot of adults I know.

I see a little girl who runs as hard as she can to keep up with others – especially my boys. A little girl who dances beautifully as her ribs and legs flare a bit differently in her leotard. A little girl who also acknowledges when she reaches her limits and needs to rest or use a stroller. I see a little girl who endures medical tests, treatments, surgeries, and doctors. I see a little girl who can inspire so many people – if they just allow themselves to see beyond her age.

She and her younger sister have a long road ahead of them.  They both have been diagnosed with Morquio Syndrome/MPS IV Type A.

My sister explains it best in that the body is missing or does not produce enough of a specific enzyme. That missing enzyme is what breaks down the natural long sugars that the body produces. The unbroken down long sugars build up in the body causing skeletal abnormalities and can lead to problems with vision, hearing, and the heart. It is a progressive condition with no current cure. Currently, clinical trials are underway for an enzyme replacement therapy. My nieces are in the process of becoming a part of these clinical trials.

The book I bought for my niece is  Willow by Denise Brennan Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan.

I first noticed the book because of the title. It is my niece’s first name.  Willow.

I bought the book because the reviews and description said the phrase “except Willow” occurs throughout the book.  I wasn’t sure what to fully expect, and I had the book shipped to my house first.  That way I could read it and “approve” it for my  niece’s sister’s sake.

This simple book left me with tears in my eyes.  I won’t share with you the details of the book. I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you!

My prayer is that as Willow goes through life and hears things such as “except Willow” she will have an even greater impact than the heroine in this story.

So Willow, keep being “except Willow.”  Because you are special. You are inspiring. You are brave.  You are resilient. You are my niece!

I’m posting every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

Making Time for Writing – Teachers Write

This summer I have signed up for a virtual summer writing camp called “Teachers Write.”  I know – it probably sounds silly right. I mean, I am a freelance writer.  I get paid to write. I shouldn’t struggle with writing. But I do when it comes to myself.  I can be handed a writing assignment with a list of contacts, a sentence or two of what to cover and create a 1,700 word article. Yet, I can’t get my own (book) ideas to go from my head to my computer screen.

As a homeschooling mom, I don’t get my time to write for myself. If I have a writing assignment, I do what ever it takes to make the time.  If I want to write for myself, it gets pushed aside. I have been teaching my son for three years now. He just finished second grade, and I’m so proud of his progress this year.  This past year, I also taught writing classes within our homeschool co-op. It was a wonderful time teaching homeschool kids who come together for two eight-week sessions through the school year.  The best part is that my real-life friend Pamela taught an art class that coincided with the writing class for the second half of the year.  The kids created their stories through words and pictures. It was amazing!

Today is the start of camp. And the first “assignment.”

Make a writing plan for your summer and for your school year.

What you found that you might be able to cut out of your schedule or cut back on to make time to write. Now that school is done for us, I should have more time to write. But having the time and taking the time are two different things.  I need to set an alarm in my phone to remind me to write each day. Or maybe I can only watch shows on  on Netflix if I write first.

When you’ll be writing each day & for how long.  I have a hard time setting a time limit for writing.  Maybe it will only be five minutes one day. Another day it may be 20 minutes. Some days I might struggle with writing. Another day the words may just flow. I just want to write. As long as I write even if it is just one sentence at a time. I have been thinking more on making an editorial calendar for my blog as well.

Where you’ll usually write. My office. My kitchen table. My outdoor patio. I’m not stuck to only writing in one place.  As long as I have a laptop or an iPad, I can write.  I can’t write with pencil/pen and paper. Well, I can. I choose not to write that way.  I should start to carry a pad of paper around with me for those times I think of things but don’t have some sort of device with me.  I will have to think on that more.

Who you told about your plans.

I guess by sharing on my blog, I’m sharing with the world. It is sort of like posting my dailymile exercise posts on facebook and twitter. Someone will see them. Someone will hold me accountable. Someone, I hope, will ask “why haven’t you posted any workouts lately?”  Is it too much to hope the same thing happens if I slack with blog postings and writing?

And now to make it all happen!