37 and counting

In 35 minutes, it will be my 37th birthday.  I have always enjoyed having a New Year's Eve birthday, but this year will be pretty subdued.  A few friends and family over for dinner and Wii.  Maybe a board game or two, some New Year's Rocking Eve.

Having a December 31st birthday has always make me feel like every new year is truly brand new.  A new age to begin the year.  I finished the last semester with 2 As, an A/B and a D.  My goal for 2010 is straight As.  Now I know that I can get As, I just need to work a bit harder on the papers.  

Every year, I also vow to lose weight.  Sigh.  For ten years now I have vowed to change my eating and exercise habits. Every year I get heavier. 

I think grades are enough for this year.  Everything else will be buttah.

For our gathering tomorrow I am crock potting a roast and trying a new recipe for potato soup.  With half and half.  And buttah.

MMMMM, buttttterrr.  

Another appliance meltdown.

While attempting to do laundry the other day, the dryer wouldn't turn on.  My dad has taken out all the obvious trouble makers and still can't figure out why it isn't working.  So, today was a laundry mat day.  I got so very lucky!  My friend, Emily, went with me and we escaped without kids!!  Instead of being a chore, it was a relaxing chill time with a friend.

Now, I am researching dryers.  I have never purchased one on my own.  My ex husband bought the set we had in Florida.  This house had a standard model that was available when we were building.

Any help or clues or tips would be muchly appreciated!!

Christmas Day 2009

First, Let me start off with what is really important.  I got new pots and pans!!  I have used the same ones for ten years and now I never have to again!!!

Ok whew, I just had to share that joy.  Check out my dad's shirt.  It says "does this suit make me look fat"

Thank you, Aunt Jenn for the itunes gift cards and the beautiful shirt!

And can we talk about this adorable Yule Log cake my mom made.  Check out the meringue mushrooms and the tiny chocolate mice!

Jack has been asking for a "baby bike" and lookie here!!

The big boys were over joyed with their big present.

Now comes the time for laziness and joy.  I hope your Christmas day is filled with love, family and the reason for it all, Jesus.


Weather alert means early presents!

We are due for an ice storm over night and my parents may not be able to join us Christmas morning soooo, the ham is in the oven, side dishes are prepped, Jack is down for a nap and I am off to shower.

Christmas is coming early to my house!!!  The kids are so sad (dripping sarcasm)

Just in case it wasn't noisy enough...

....I think we should add a full drum set.

Hand me down hearing aid

A wonderful blessing arrived at my house in the form of two ITE (in the ear) hearing aids.  They are hand me down made for my father, who chose not to wear them.  I took them today to a local hearing aid dispenser to see about getting them reprogrammed for my specific hearing loss.

First off, the lady tell me that they are too big for me.  I disagreed saying I had put them in my ears and they felt fine.  After a few hours of wearing one and the soreness in my ear I must admit she is right.  This place, as well as others in town that I have called, do not service or reprogram this brand of hearing aid.

She did put a good battery in the left and said to give it a try as is.  I didn't realize I was missing so many tiny sounds.  Paper rattling, items in my purse brushing up against each other as I search for something, the click as I turn on the turn signal in the car.  And it was indeed much easier to carry a conversation in a car full of energetic noisy kids.

There is a company here in town that has a branch in Lansing that can reprogram this brand, Micro Tech.  This is Michigan and Lansing is NOT a short drive in the winter weather.  I have to decide if I can tolerate the fit before I make the drive and pay them money.  I dunno if my ear canal will stretch eventually to accommodate the aid or if I am going to have to try another much more expensive route.  As it stands, my ear is getting sore so I have been trying one hour in, ten minutes out.

We shall see!!

Fur babies!

Today was big surprise day.  After a crazy drive in some snowy conditions the kids were loosing their mind with curiosity  Every guess under the sun was made, but none were right.  Then we arrived at a strangers house to see this!!  The sweetie we had driven all that way for!!

And because we never leave a man behind it turned into bonus kitten day.

They are very skittish at the moment and loving being together in the pet carrier.  I have them in the family room so they can adjust to all the noise and movement.  We know AddyMae is a girl, but Artimus I am not sure of. I just can't get her to hold still to confirm.  The vet will find out when they go for the snip snip!

Merry Christmas!!!


I have a secret

It's more of a surprise really.

It could be considered a major Christmas bonanza of a gift.

But, don't ask me for any hints because I am not giving any.

First Band Concert

My 3rd son, Skyler, had his first band concert since beginning band this fall.  I must say he is one handsome boy!!  He did really well and I am so proud to finally have a band geek in the family again!!

I am one hot mama

After seeing the "mom" in this facebook ad, I realize I am one gooood looking lady!!

Lights, Camera, Sillies

Facebook strikes again!

College Band days

Cool Aid

 Some of you may know that I have had a slight hearing loss in my right ear for about 15 years.  I have always passed the hearing tests and it was just an annoyance.  In the past few years, it has gotten harder to understand people when I am not looking at their face and VERY hard to understand others when there is a lot of background noise.

My Intro to Communication Disorders and Sciences class required us to get a hearing screening.  Mostly to give the audiology students live bodies to work on.  Well, I failed the screening.  Surprisingly, my right (bad) ear passed and my left ear failed.  That was weird.  They referred me to the campus clinic and today I had that appointment.

This was the most thorough testing I had ever had done.  First, I failed the tympanogram in my right ear.  It wasn't even on the chart.  That shows a negative pressure issue, eusctachian tube related.  Then we did the traditional hearing testing, including speech recognition and bone conduction testing.

Hearing loss is catagorized in three ways.The headphones portion of the test checks your conductive hearing and can show a loss in the function of parts of the outer or middle ear.  The bone conduction tests the function of the inner ear because it bypasses the outer and middle sending vibrations via the skull.  Loss here is called senorineural.  If you show loss in both mechanisms it is called mixed hearing loss. 

At the end of the testing, the results show that I have mild mixed hearing loss.  This means it is time to get a hearing aid, at least in my left ear.  I had told her that I was going into speech language pathology and while she did not discourage me, she did say that I will need an aid in order to work effectively in the field.  She also said that my loss would get greater over time, but probably slowly.

From hearingaidhelp.com
A mild hearing loss may cause you to miss 25-40% of the speech signal. Usually this results in problems with clarity since the brain is receiving some sounds but not all of the information. Symptoms of mild hearing loss include problems understanding someone farther away than a normal distance for conversation, or even up close if the background environment is noisy. Weak voices are also difficult to understand for people with mild hearing losses.

I am thinking I need a flower print one, no?


waking, shopping, homeworking, laundering, garbage removing, researching, vacuuming, disciplining, nail clipping, hair flattening, rocking, singing, baking, boiling, sauteeing, shredding, pouring, driving, planning, computing, yelling, bribing, matching, freezing, thawing, scrubbing, stirring, hugging, snuggling, soothing, praising, praying, walking, dancing, dressing, undressing, throwing, rolling, editing, writing, copying, changing, wiping, washing, dusting, opening, closing, sleeping,  monitoring, reporting, phoning, texting, photographing, emailing, clipping, curling, shaving, rising, shining, accessorizing, mopping, drying, tickling, cooling, fixing, lighting, raking, dragging, packing, drinking, eating, chewing, chatting, sharing, loving, laughing, cuddling, resting and done

See you tomorrow.

Look what we made!

Good thing I bought that new hot water heater!!


I got the coolest email from a classmate when I emailed her asking her how she felt about the test.

Hey Monica, my computer is a little retard for getting messages; who

knows, maybe it's just me.

In regards to the test, oh my gosh! I think I have a learning

disability with receptive and expressive language. I read some of

those questions over and over in order to get the meaning ,and then it

tokes me for ever to answer them.

When I saw you leave early I thought, "Wow, this was a breeze for

her!" Whatever you think on how you did on the test, I believe that

this is certainly the right profession for you. Your face beams with a

sense of accomplishment and you just seem to love it.

Good! We need the best SLPs out there, and you will top them all!
I was so surprised and actually blushed reading an email.  She is a sweetheart for sure!
Have a great weekend everyone.

You just won't believe it.

  1. Water pump blows up while driving tearing off the serpentine belt
  2. Repair for above item costs $565
  3. Two classes missed while waiting on repair
  4. One son bites another son hard enough to draw blood
  5. The police visit my house after the biter calls them claiming that I beat him.
  6. Police give said son a reality check
  7. Said son falls off the porch breaking the growth plate in his leg.  No, I didn't push him
  8. Flat tire
  9. I miss makeup test due to flat tire
  10. Spare rusted to bottom of van requiring my father to leave work and drive 30 miles to rescue me
  11. I fail a hearing test
  12. Different son gets sore throat and fever requiring a 5 A.M. ER visit and antibiotic.
  13. Halloween canceled
And this was just since this past Sunday.

To blog or not to blog

I have been blogging for 9 years.  I have loved it.  It seems I have no readers anymore and perhaps anyone that needs information from me is my friend in Facebook.  I am considering dropping the blog.

Any protests?

KISS was at my house today

Elijah and Skyler were invited to a 70s themed birthday party.  I think I did a pretty darn good makeup job.  They won the costume contest..lol

Jack counts

7 planes, 3 days, 1 funeral

What a crazy trip.  I have just taken a tour of insanity via hysterical laughter and tears.  Everything was going well until they canceled my last plane on Friday.  I had to spend the night in Dallas and pray the plane in the morning would get me to Nana's funeral on time.  Saturday morning, I board the earliest flight to Ft.Smith which should put me on the ground 40 minutes before the service. 

After about half an hour in the plane still on the ground they make us get off the plane.  We head to another terminal for a different plane and I am trying to maintain some semblence of calm.  This plane is due to land at 10:20 am.  Her funeral begins at 10 am.  The wonderful staff at the funeral home stalled and the people gathered to honor Shirley Kittel were patient and kind.    I land at 10:35 and we get there at about 10:50.

Her service was short and sweet.  There were only a few people outside of immediate family in attendence.  That made me sad.  She was such a strong vibrant woman.  She is just at that age where most of her friends have already passed on. 

When it was time to leave, the funeral director (amazingly compassionate man) asked if we would like Nana's ashes (in the red box on this table) delivered to us with the flowers.  I asked if we could just take her with us.  I told them, "I wasn't afraid of her when she was alive and I ain't afraid of her now"

I snatched her us and out the door we went.
After gathering at my cousins house for social time with great food we went to visit Mike's grave.  I hadn't seen his headstone yet.  We brought Nana with us.  Why you wonder?

Let's just say that the two peas on a pod are once again together.

When I arrived at the airport this morning and found out my first flight was delayed, I knew I was in for another great travel day. 
After racing for my connecting flight, there was no room on board for my carry on bag.  Under the plane it goes to be retrieved at the baggage claim in Chicago.  I had to leave the secure area, wait for my bag, get back in a 30 minute line to endure security again.   At this point I could have fallen down temper tantrum style and not been embarassed.

The last flight was mostly uneventful and the drive home was good.

I would endure the same trip again in a minute to avoid missing her service and the fellowship with that side of the family.  I would still rate the trip a complete success.  It was great to be able to be a part of Nana's celebration. 

I am a content woman.

Nana's obituary

Such a beautiful lady, please feel free to sign her guest book.


Today I had to do something that placed me firmly in adulthood and responsibility. I am 36, the mother of four children. I have owned and sold homes. I have been married and divorced. I was still not prepared or old enough for this.

I had to sign an authorization to cremate my Nana. I am her next of kin. After the paper was faxed to me, I couldn't look at it for a while. It was just too much. The paper is, of course, very detailed for liability reasons. It is technical and clear. And ugly ugly ugly.

I had to read it. I can't sign something legal and foreign without reading it. I feel weird everytime I think about it.

Next step is deciding if I can make the trip for her service.

Grieving again

Nana Shirley joined her son, mother, sisters and others in heaven earlier this evening.  I know I am happy for her.  I know it is silly to cry.  But, its just too soon.  I haven't recovered from Michael passing. 

I will be a big girl tomorrow.  I need to cry and cry hard now.

Camp or Treat


My nana is in ICU and they are talking about moving her to hospice.  We had all talked about the fact that she might not be long behind Michael because they were so close.  Monday will be exactly three months since he passed on.  I am having a hard time with it even though I know that death will be a great victory for her.  I don't know how to put into words the way that I feel about it.

Quick background.  My mother and Mike are my biological parents.  Nana is Mike's mother and my biological grandmother.  My mother married Lee when I was 10 and he adopted me when I was 13.  Lee is my dad.  No blood required.  Mike and I really developed a relationship in the past ten years.  His passing hit me harder than I would have expected.  Nana has always been very special to me.  She took me in during my rebellious year and loved the rebellion right out of me.  I will always be grateful to her. 

If I am honest, I am feeling a huge hole.  They are the last of my blood on my paternal side.  I do have a cousin, Kim, and her family, but I haven't known them very much and we just don't stay in contact.  I really don't want to lose my Nana.  It would be selfish of me to pray for her continued life.  She hates her current state.  The frustration on her face as she struggles for words pierces through me.  She can no longer walk and her social life is non existant without Michael. 

I just want her to be happy.  She has been a rock for Mike over the years and a constant positive in my life.  She deserves release from her broken body and mind.  I hope she will rally if that is what she wants right now, but I am ok if she wants to move on. 

In a totally not related comment, Glee is about as over the top dramatic as it gets....and I can't get enough.

IFSP 6 month review, great news!

Today was Jack's six month review for his Individualized Family Service Plan.  His speech therapist met with us and went over what his goals were, what he has accomplished so far and where we go from here.  I was hoping we could begin some therapy specifically for his eating and drooling issues.  I was a little worried  that he would no longer qualify for services because of his improvements.  I KNOW that he still has serious issues, but I don't quite understand that testing processes.

BUT, I shouldn't have been worried.  He is still behind his peers, but they didn't even test him this time.  It was just a "let's see if what we are doing is still ok" session.  The biggest victory was getting the addition of occupational therapy to the mix.  I am thrilled about this.  The OT has observed him twice and offered up advice and exercises, but now it will occur officially. 

Another excellent event is that the therapists are seeking an in-service in PROMPT therapy which is directly related to Apraxia!!  Jack's therapist even included a quote from the inventor as part of Jack's IFSP. 

Today was a good day.

Speech progress

Up for 1, Down for 2

Catching up

Hello everybody!!

We are still here, alive and kicking.  I knew life would get busy with me back in college, but I was shocked by how busy.  Every single night, I am fighting to stay awake to get things done.  My body is really reacting too all the movement.  For many years now I have couch potatoed all day while the big boys were in school.

I am earning my grades with my entire body.  Within the first week I had an ingrown toenail.  The following Tuesday I discovered it was infected and went for antibiotics.  Who could imagine that such a tiny area of the body could shut down your ability to walk?

Speaking of walking, I am doing a lot of that.  This campus has the worst parking for commuter students.  Its insane how far the parking garages are from the classroom buildings.  I literally cried the first day.  I wasn't prepared for the amount of walking.  I have gotten much better with it and have discovered a few short cuts.  My endurance is already improving.

I like all my classes and teachers. Here is a quick overview:
Holistics-Choices in Living
This might be an easy class if I pay attention.  Some of it is no brainer stuff and the papers required are only two pages double spaced.  I have had two quizzes and aced them.  I am waiting for a grade back on the first project.
Intro to Communication Disorders and Sciences
This is my first required class for the SLP degree.  I really like this teacher, the class only holds about 50 students and its a beautiful building.  I have a few things turned in for grades but haven't gotten them back.  The bummer is the book store didn't order enough books and I am one of those without one for now.
Sociology-Non-western World
I also like this teacher and why people act the way they do fascinates me, so I think its going to be good.  He seems to be serious about grades though so the tests might be difficult. There are 200 students in this class, its HUGE.  But, he still gives us plenty of time for discussions.  No grades in this one yet.
Music Appreciation-Jazz/Pop
I love this class so far.  I know music so some of the questions on the first test were cake for me, I didn't feel a need to study too much.  Once we get into more jazz specific questions, I will need to work harder, but I still think I am going to be good.  The cool thing is the book came with several CDs showcasing some of the most popular cuts from across the history of Jazz.  Good stuff!!

It's also staying around 70 degrees or less here, so fall is coming!!

My facelift

I got a facelift!

Ok, really the blog did. My friend, Sleep Goblin, has done it again!

I gots the blues....for homework

I am actually truly too busy to blog!  I hate that.

I am listening to my homework for music appreciation and it is totally great music!  I knew I kinda liked jazz and the blues, but I had no idea how many variations there are.  It's crazy!  Last week finished up good.  I am getting used to the walking, but I have miles to go, literally.

The kids are great and the laundry is piling up.  My mind is scattered about, kind of like this post.  But we are doing pretty darn good.

I hit some very decent yard sales yesterday and got some cool educational things for Jack, lacing beads, another peg board.  We are heading to a friends for dinner in a hour or so, but I just wanted to say hi to everyone!

Things I have learned thus far

1.  I really am the oldest fattest student in all my classes. 

2.  The 3 block walk uphill from the parking garage to Sangren Hall is twice as far as it looks.

3.  The classrooms in the health building are plush, like I wanna move in plush.

4.  College boys are still hot, only now they can be a felony or at least a moral dilemma.

5.  The Western Michigan University campus is huge.  I had to turn on my GPS to find my way out at one point.

6.  I am going to do well in all 4 classes.  Unlike that one goth girl who slept.

7.  Walking downhill the 3 blocks back to the parking garage is just as hard on the calf muscles.

8.  The word "like" can be used in a sentence 5-10 times without your peers loosing track of what you are saying.  The elders in the room, however, will be utterly lost.

Night friends!!

Too cool for school, nah, just cool enough.

I am off to be educated again..wish me luck!

Do you know where the truth is?

I have spent too much time lately wondering how much of what we are hearing lately about the government is propaganda and how much is truth . I am getting emails daily, forwards, from family and friends claiming some very disturbing things. Does anyone know where to go for the facts? I sure don't. I serioiusly want to develop an opinion about the current situation, but I can't. I refuse to believe any of it at face value and the media can not be trusted to report the truth.

I worry because I know that I might be required to discuss the situation or even write a paper on aspects of it in the coming years for classes. I know that I could BS my way through a paper claiming to be on one side or the other, but I don't want to do that. I want to know what is going on up there in Washington. Don't you?

On to less controversial topics, our family friend and her daughters were over tonight for food and fun. The kids play so nice together when I can get Jack to actually warm up to them. He acts like they are strangers for the first few minutes....every...single....time. I know he has the ability to remember people because he remembers us when we leave. He remembers my parents even if we haven't seen them for days.

Is he shy? I dunno. Even once we warms up he plays cautiously. He does NOT like to wrestle around. He does not like to sit with bodies touching. He needs a space bubble like I have never seen. With family he isn't like that. He will sit cuddled up and waller all over his brothers. So I guess I won't worry.

Is it just me or is Joel Osteen creeping up on a mullet?

2nd Birthday Pictures

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