About Me

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I am 36 years old and a mother of two beautiful little girls. Kevin and I have been married for 11 years. He is a stay-at-home dad who runs his own business from our home. I am a part-time 3rd grade teacher and have been teaching for 15 years. I live no more than 10 minutes away from my parents, in-laws, sisters, nieces, newest nephew, grandparents, aunts, and uncles... I wouldn't want it any other way!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3 Years Ago Today

Three years ago today...
It was a Friday night
I was 31 years old
I was the mother of a 2 year-old
I was 12 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child
I had terrible nausea and fatigue, just like when I was pregnant with Katelyn
I had worked a full week
I had plans to have dinner with all three of my college roommates
I was driving down Swigart Rd. on my way to meet those college friends when...
I lost control and FLIPPED MY SUV!
My guardian angel saved my life and that of my unborn baby!
This first picture was taken by the paramedics with a polaroid camera. It isn't the best quality photo, but priceless to me. This not only shows how I landed, but look at the rays of light shining right on my car...the light (God's light) encircles my car! I think it is a pretty amazing photo!

I often think about that day. I was so blessed. I could have died. I could have lost baby Kennedy. Kevin could have become a 32 year-old widower/single father. Katelyn could have lost her mommy.


I am so thankful for these past three years, and all the years of my life. I am so thankful that I am here spending my life with Kevin. I am thankful that Katelyn gets to grow up with a mommy. I am thankful for Kennedy. I am thankful that I get to watch my girls growing up. I am thankful for the love and grace of God!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fall Fun Turns Into a Lesson in Parenting

We kicked off the first weekend of fall with a trip to a local orchard to pick apples. Kennedy woke up early this morning yelling, "We go pick apples! We go pick apples!" Both of the girls were very excited and kept asking, "How much longer til we go apple picking?" I think I must have heard that question a good 67 times before we actually left the house today. I even had to set a timer so that Katelyn could watch the hours countdown throughout the morning.
We took Katelyn on her first apple picking adventure when she was just 6 months old. We went again the following summer too. Then, we hit a stumbling block. The orchard we had gone to the first time had closed and we didn't really like the 2nd orchard very much. We wanted to find a really good orchard. It took us until the summer of 2007 to find such an orchard. But there was a problem, all of the local orchards had lost their entire apple crop for the season due to an unusual April freeze. Luckily, all went well this season and we were back on track. This was Kennedy's very first time to go to the apple orchard. We did have a great time together. The weather was perfect, it actually felt like fall. Here are some pictures from our day.

Just to prove that I was actually there when we look back at these pictures years from now...

On the way back from the orchard, Kennedy said that her belly was hurting. Kevin and I thought that it was because she was hungry. She hadn't eaten anything in awhile. Although she really wanted to try an apple, I wouldn't let her because I wanted to wash them first. She kept complaining and said that her belly "reawwy" hurt. We still agreed that she was just hungry. Since we were all hungry and it was dinner time, we decided to stop at a restaurant for dinner. Once we were seated at the restaurant, Kennedy started holding her neck and said that her throat hurt. We told her to drink some chocolate milk (which would later turn out to be a big mistake). I was starting to get concerned because strep has been going around. She sat very quietly on Kevin's lap and wouldn't even let me hold her. Kevin decided to take her on a little walk while we were waiting for our food because he wanted to check the score of the Michigan football game. He came back to our table in a panic and said, "Joey, we have to leave RIGHT NOW!" I didn't even get a chance to ask why before Kennedy threw up ALL OVER KEVIN!..right there in the aisle of the dining room. What I didn't realize at the time was that she had already thrown up in the front lobby and that is why he was trying to get her out of the restaurant so quickly. Oh my goodness! We were just at the apple orchard an hour earlier laughing and having a great time. We never would have tried to go to a restaurant if we had thought that Kennedy was really sick. It never even entered my mind that she might throw up. I felt absolutely horrible for the other patrons at the restaurant. I couldn't imagine trying to eat a meal after seeing someone just throw up. The people were all so nice and told us not to worry about it. They were more concerned about Kennedy than anything else. They didn't even seem bothered and kept eating their food (I don't think I could have handled it quite so well). The restaurant employees were great too. They acted like it was no big deal, but it obviously was.

In our defense, throwing up is not something that we have much experience with in our family. I think that is why it never even crossed our minds, despite Kennedy's obvious clues. Kennedy had never thrown up before tonight. This was the very first time ever for her! Katelyn has only thrown up twice in her entire life. We have been very fortunate in that department.

One would think that Kevin and I would begin to listen to our children. For the record, let me recap all of the times in the past 6 months that our children have told us something that we basically dismissed...
  1. Katelyn kept telling me that she had a loose tooth when she was approaching her 5th birthday. I totally blew her off and assured her that she was much too young to have a loose tooth, she was only 4 years old. I thought it was pure wishful thinking on her part. Sure enough, the dentist pointed out two loose teeth at her next cleaning, which was about a week after her 5th birthday. She even lost both of those bottom teeth shortly thereafter.

  2. Kennedy's broken collarbone. You must remember the story, it was only 2 weeks ago. Well, she told me right away that "it" was broken. I thought she was referring to her arm. After checking her arm thoroughly and noticing that her shoulders seemed perfectly aligned, I assured her that her arm was not broken. Well, I never even considered the collarbone. 2 hours later we were headed to the hospital. As we all know, she had indeed broken her collarbone.

  3. Now today! The poor kid told us that her belly "reawwy" hurt, to use Kennedy's own words. Once again, mommy and daddy thought that they knew best. And once again, we were WRONG!

On a better note, Katelyn said the funniest thing while we were driving home, as Kennedy was throwing up in the car. She said, "Poor Kennedy. First a broken collarbone, then the throw-ups, what next...Diarrhea? A Bad Hair Day?" I actually laughed out loud...the things that girl comes up with!

Katelyn and Kennedy, one of these days your mommy and daddy will actually take your word for what it is. Hopefully, we have learned our lesson.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kennedy's Broken Collarbone...Part II

Since Kennedy only has use of one of her arms these days, it is hard for her to find things that she can do. She desperately wants to swing, go down the slide, play at the park, and go to gymnastics. Obviously, all of these things are off limits until her collarbone is healed. Well, when entertainment options are limited, you do what you can to have a little fun...

We found out today that Kennedy needs to wear her sling for another 3 weeks! We were originally told that she only needed it for 10 days. With 3 additional weeks, that makes almost 5 weeks in all! Here is the worst part, she cannot go back to gymnastics for another 6 weeks...Oct. 25. She doesn't know about gymnastics yet, but she is going to be completely devastated. She cried and moped around the house last Thursday when she had to miss her gymnastics class.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We Have The Best Daddy!

Katelyn has had her heart set on a tree house ever since she was three years old. Last school year, Kevin promised that he would build her a tree house over the summer. As summer started coming to a close, I started to worry that maybe he had forgotten about his promise. But, not our Daddy! He ALWAYS comes through on his promises!

He decided to refurbish a 20 year-old playhouse that Uncle Al had built for Kevin's cousins. We decided to paint it brown and green in order to coordinate with our swing set.
It is a two-story playhouse/tree house. The upstairs walks out onto a deck that Kevin built into the trees. It is a pretty big deck, and that is what really makes it a tree house!
We still need to remodel the inside of the playhouse. Kevin plans on running electricity so that the girls have lights and an outlet for a television. We are going to let the girls have a little creative freedom as to the colors we use on the interior. It has real working windows, but we need to add some curtains once it is painted. In order to finish things off, we are going to add some indoor/outdoor carpet and landscape around the playhouse. I think the landscaping will give it just the right touch.

I must say that I am quite impressed with how it has turned out so far, especially since it is 20 years old! I would have LOVED to have had a playhouse like this when I was a little girl. All of the kids in the neighborhood are loving it! It is the new neighborhood hangout!

It also survived last week's windstorm with No damage! Thanks for making it so safe and secure for the kiddos Daddy...We Have The Best Daddy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Katelyn The Heart Breaker

Kevin may have his work cut out for him being the father of two little girls. Although Katelyn is only 5 years old, there have already been two little boys with crushes on her. Now Katelyn is completely oblivious to all of this. She would be absolutely humiliated if she knew how these boys felt about her. The first little boy who had a crush on our Kate was on her soccer team last spring. I must be as oblivious as my daughter because several parents, including David's mom, had to clue me in as to what was so very obvious to everyone but Katelyn and me. David would always come over to Katelyn after a play and tell her what a great job she had done. After the game, he would hang around and just keep telling Katelyn what a great game she played. Whenever Katelyn had an injury, David would actually leave the field to come make sure Katelyn was okay. I know, how could Katelyn and I miss those obvious signs? We just didn't put it all together at first. We never did tell Katelyn what was going on because she probably would have quit soccer right then and there due to being so embarrassed.

The more recent crush is from Tommy next door. Not only does he live next door, but he and Katelyn are in the same kindergarten class. They have been friends for a couple of years now. While playing dodge ball in the backyard this weekend, I heard Tommy say, "Hey Katelyn, if I give you this ball, will you marry me?" Katelyn's quick reply was, "NO!" When I told Tommy's parents about the little proposal that had just taken place, they laughed and said that he is always talking about marrying Katelyn when he grows up. They said that his older brother and sister laugh at him and tell him that Katelyn doesn't want to marry him. Tommy's parents said that he just tells his brother and sister that he's going to win Katelyn's heart one day (how sweet is that?).

Here is a picture taken a couple of months ago... I thought it was a perfect fit for this post considering the recent marriage proposal.

Like I said, Katelyn really doesn't pay attention to any of this. As adorable as I think it is that these two little boys have crushes on my daughter, I am NOT the kind of parent who thinks it is cute or appropriate for little kids to have boyfriends and girlfriends. So, I do not plan on mentioning any of this to her.

If this is any sign of things to come, Kevin is surely going to have his hands full protecting his girls from all the boys.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Broken KenBear

In my previous blog post, I mentioned how I love having so many kids in the neighborhood for the girls to play with. Well, when you have that many kids playing together on a daily basis, it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt, really hurt. Well, that someone just happened to be Kennedy this past Saturday evening. She ran behind an eight year-old girl who was swinging. Kennedy got knocked down, but I didn't think anything of it. Of course she cried and told me that her arm was broken. I assured that she was going to be just fine and that she was not broken. I gave her hugs and kisses and a glass of milk. In Kennedy's eyes, milk fixes just about everything.

After her milk, Kevin lifted her up to put her in her booster seat. When he lifted her, she screamed with pain. We thought it was unusual, but still didn't make too much of it. For the next two hours, she just sat on one of our laps. She was extremely lethargic. I was starting to get concerned, but it was getting close to bed time. So, we decided to put her to bed and told her that she would feel better in the morning. When she laid down, she just about came unglued. She screamed and was in obvious pain. She wasn't holding her arm, she was kind of holding her neck. I decided that it was time to take her to get checked out. She put her hands down to help scoot herself off the bed and screamed again with pain. Kevin picked her up and put her in the car seat for me. He decided to stay home with Katelyn, who was very worried and upset. Since it was after 8:00 PM, Children's Urgent Care was closed, so I had to take her to Children's Hospital Emergency Room. They checked her to make sure that she was not in shock because she was so lethargic and shaky. She wasn't in shock, just in pain and scared to move.

Since it was a Saturday night, the ER was extremely busy and very under staffed! Although lethargic, Kennedy would lift up her little head every once in awhile and whisper a question like, "Are hospitals nice? What are they going to do to me in this room? Can you stay with me? Where are we going now?" Three hours and a couple of x-rays later, we had our diagnosis...Fractured Collarbone.

Bless her little heart. Kevin, Katelyn, nor I have ever had a broken bone and now our baby girl has a broken collarbone. Since they cannot put a cast on a collarbone, she just has a snazzy new dinosaur sling that she has to wear. Also, collarbones heal faster than broken arms, so we were actually fortunate. She will be in the sling for about 10 days.

Katelyn has been such a wonderful big sister during this ordeal. She is such a natural little mother. She has been doing everything she can to help Kennedy feel better. She tells Kennedy jokes, does silly dances, makes silly faces, draws pictures for Kennedy, brought Kennedy down blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals, and she even shared her favorite lovey...Snuggles! She has such a good heart and really loves her little sister (and Kennedy loves her too!) On a side note, Kennedy earned a toy for becoming officially potty-trained this pasat week. She chose a toy that had two little horses because she wanted to give one of the horses to Katelyn. It is quite endearing to see the love between the two of them.

Here's our little broken KenBear sporting her new sling...

This was taken the morning after the accident. Kennedy's pouty face was real, Katelyn's, not so real. She wanted to make a sad face to show everyone just how sad she is for Kennedy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Our Neighborhood

I love our neighborhood! We have so many children for the girls to play with...including my girls, there are 10 kids that play together daily! Luke and Andy live right next door. Andy is in kindergarten this year, just like Katelyn. Our other next-door neighbor has 5 kids! Tommy is in Katelyn's kindergarten class and their twin girls, Annie and Ella, are in Kennedy's preschool class this year. Their older two children, Claire and Kevin, are in 2nd and 3rd grade and are great playmates for Katelyn too! Then, we have Eric, who is two houses down. He is like the "neighborhood teacher." He is the oldest boy in the neighborhood (9 years old) and all of the kids look up to him. He is such a good kid and a great role model for them.

I must say that one of the best characteristics of our neighborhood is that we are a "No Fence" neighborhood. As the name implies, none of the yards have fences around them. It is not that we can't have fences, it is that we don't want fences. The kids are all free to run back and forth between the yards. Since all four of the houses with kids are right next door to one another, the kids have four backyards to play in! You wouldn't believe the fun these kiddos have. There are three large play systems, a butterfly house, sandboxes, playhouses, a soccer net, and now a tree house! This doesn't even begin to touch on the abundance of bikes, cars, scooters, basketball courts, balance beams, and everything else these kids share from their garages. There is an understanding around here that all of the kids are welcome in all of the backyards, even if one of the families isn't home. Everyone is so great at sharing and welcoming the kids!

One of the favorite activities this summer has been catching butterflies. All of the kids have butterfly nets and bug houses. Eric set up a large butterfly house this year where all of the kids could release their catches. There were several chairs in this butterfly house. The kids would just hang out in there talking and playing while butterflies fly all around them...so clever!
Here are a few pictures of the kids playing together and just hanging out.

We are truly blessed to live in such a nice neighborhood with wonderful friends!

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Day of School

All of my blog entries seem to have the same underlying theme...my babies are growing up way too quickly! Well, this entry continues with the same theme because today was the first day of school for both girls... Katelyn started kindergarten and Kennedy started preschool!

Luckily both of the girls separate easily from Kevin and me. No tears from our girls, just sheer excitement and big ol' smiles.So, here they are (in all their cuteness I must add)...

Here Kennedy is in her classroom. She walked through the door, went over to play with the kids on the carpet, and never looked back (except when I asked her to look at me for this quick picture before I left).

This is Katelyn with one of her kindergarten classmates. Two of her best friends are in her class this year. She will get to be good friends with this little guy soon too as Kevin watches him on Friday mornings this year.

Katelyn rides a bus to and from school every day. You should see the look of pride on her face when she gets off that bus...she is so proud to be one of the "Big Kids."

Katelyn has never been one to tell us much about school. This has always surprised us because the girl talks nonstop around here, just not about school. She LOVES school, but has always been one of those kids that doesn't like to talk about it unless she brings it up. Now Kennedy is the complete opposite! She came home from her first day of preschool and filled our ears with every detail of her day. She showed us the movements to a song they sang, she sang the snack time prayer to us, she told us about finger painting, and about all of the toys she played with. I think Kennedy told us more about her first day than Katelyn has told us in the last couple of years.

I am so happy that my girls enjoy school so much. I hope we all have a wonderful school year!