Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Been Awhile...

For those of you who have been worried about my "post-Colin" depression...I'm ok. Looking back, the stress and emotional agony of his sickness, pending death, and struggling with how to handle it was way worse than the actual "after". I still miss him, but knowing he's much happier and in a better place is a huge comfort. As is having the "boys" filling the physical hole left by Colin. They are everywhere! Although, I do sometimes get my feelings hurt a bit when they'd rather wrestle with each other than cuddle with me, like old man Colin used to. But I suppose they'll slow down. Eventually.

However, I have been feeling a sort of depression for at least the last month. Maybe not depression...more like a feeling of being under water. I haven't had energy. I feel like I'm constantly behind and not getting enough done. It may still be leftovers from the stress with Colin. But I intend to start focusing more on making every day count.

I had a bit of a revelation last night. I've been reading "Creating a Life Worth Living". It's mostly geared toward "artists". And while they were talking about finding a day job that allows you to create, I realized that my "day job" would always be more important to me than my art. I am a wife and a homeschooling mom. That just plain trumps everything else. I realized that even without my creative hobbies, I could live a very creative LIFE. Teaching takes creativity....and between homeschooling and Sunday School, I have ample opportunity to be creative! I've been feeling the urge to put more time and creativity into my cooking...I've been a major slacker in that department for months! And if we actually follow through on moving to a new house (info to follow), redecorating that 70's dream would take a ton of creativity. See, so I really don't NEED to DO anything more with my art. I don't need to market myself, start a business....I can be an artist in the place I am now. Someday my kids will be gone, and then I, too, can move on....

Ok. The house. I'm not giving details...it's way too soon. But this weeked we visited an open house on a house we saw earlier this spring. It's on 5 acres, fenced for horses (not sure if that's a good thing or not?) It would need a lot of work...I'm sure it was a rockstar when it was built in 1970. :) So, price is an issue. As well as the dread of selling this house, moving, etc. But I feel called to the quiet and privacy of the country. We'll see...

Here's a couple of layouts from 2 Saturdays ago. Barry took the girls fishing, so I got some "me" time. Bless that man for knowing when a woman needs some time alone!

And look who joined me on my scrapping table!

These two boys do everything together. Play, sleep, eat.....

I love this picture! Yes, I take more pictures of Zach than TJ. No, I'm not playing favorites. But after 11 years of having an unphotogenic black cat, gray is a welcome change....

No, he's not stretching. He was actually sleeping in this position....

I've developed a couple of nicknames for the boys. Zach is "Fuzz Ball" because, well, he is one. And TJ I call "Junior", as in "Colin Junior". Black cat, white spot......

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Overheard at my house Sunday night....

(Note: Alana has been on a rampage for a couple days about selling our house and buying a farm so we can have horses. So, that is where this came from.)

Alana: Ok, first of all, Erin's room, Mommy's room, and my room...all beige. And downstairs, the green and the wallpaper....gotta go. They're horrible. And Mommy, you need to move all of your scrapbooking stuff out of the office and out to the craft room (our garage addition room that was supposed to serve as my crafting room). That way Tony's room will be office/guest room.

Erin: I hate slashes.

Mommy: (laughs) What do you mean you hate slashes.

Erin: Office. Guest room. They should have their own room. No slashes. :)


Alana: Daddy, you just want a house on a lake.

Daddy: Yep.

Erin: I don't like houses on lakes. They have bad toilets.

Mommy: (totally cracking up now) What do you mean they have bad toilets?

Erin: You know. Spiders and webs and stuff.

Mommy: Oh! You mean outhouses! Erin, outhouses and lakehomes are different. :)

(Daddy had taken the girls fishing to Lake Eau Gallie on Saturday, and both of them refused to go in the outhouse there. :)

Can you tell my girls watch a lot of HGTV? Really, they actually know what their doing most of the time! :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

10 Years Ago Today

I married my best friend. And I'm thankful everyday that I still am...

I'm the first to admit, there are times (and days) that I could just ring his neck! It's those little things he does....and I'm sure you all know what I mean. But when I think about life without him, I realize that it would be those little things that I'd miss the most. I can't imagine my life without him. He's my greatest supporter...he believes in me more than I believe in myself sometimes. And he's a wonderful father. Always making time for the kids....playing ball in the yard, going for bike rides, taking them to the park. He's the best.
We need a new picture...it's been a while! That's what happens when I continutally hide behind the camera!

Yesterday I turned 35. I'm not depressed or anything...afterall, I'll always be much younger than my hubby! :) But it did get me to thinking....I'm like half way through my life. That's kinda sobering. Have I done what I set out to do? Am I doing all I can to live the way I should...to be the woman that my Lord created me to be?

I feel as though I've accomplished what's most important. I've created a marriage that brings me joy, security, and partnership. And from that marriage, we've been blessed with wonderful and beautiful children. So, yes. I've really accomplished all that is important.

I admit, changes are needed in my life. My weight is out of control, and brings me sadness much of the time. I certainly would like to simplify the physical aspect of my life...less clutter and stuff. More time for God is needed. And I always feel that I need to improve my parenting and teaching.

But at 35, I'm happy. Confident with my life and who I am. Still learning what needs to be improved...and what needs to be accepted. But happy. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Life

I felt that after all of the death and depression I've been carrying around lately, it seemed about time I focus on the present life I do have...and maybe even the future. Honestly, it's pretty difficult not to think of new life and fresh beginning with "the boys" (as I've affectionately dubbed them) scampering around our house. I've got TJ and Zach's routine down fairly well: play, eat, sleep, poop, play, eat, sleep, poop (repeat endlessly). Wow! Those boys sure go through food and kitty litter!

Usually fall is my favorite time of year...a fresh start. Even more so for me than in January. I love the season itself....the cooler weather, apples, pumpkins, spices, and gorgeous leaves! I even managed the new school year with the "back to school" shopping trips (I'm a sucker for brandnew notebooks, folders and pencils!)

Well, the ordeal with Colin kind of took all the air out of school starting...in fact, I'm fairly impressed with myself for managing with it at all! But now it's time to refocus. The girls and I have already managed to install a schedule of sorts. While I'm working in the morning, they tackle their "folder work", handwriting, spelling practice, math, and do their reading time (45 minutes for Alana and 30 for Erin). When they're done, Dad or I go over it with them. When I'm done working, I'll work with them one at a time....Erin with her phonics (and Abeka Language starting in October), and Alana with Language and Latin. That usually takes us to lunch, which hopefully Daddy has managed to pull together! After lunch we do Bible and then science or history. So far, it's working ok. I admit, I'd LOVE to not work. But I know it helps Barry with the financial burdens. And it really is nice to be able to accomplish something every day. Lord knows, the dishes, laundry, school work and housework is NEVER done!

I love this picture! To me, this is what homeschooling is all about...Alana working on her Latin vocab on my bed with Cassie, Zach & TJ.

I managed to squeak out some new layouts this weekend....only because it was rainy and I was urged on by some magazine calls (hence the all winter look!)

Easter Snow?

Skake Break

Winter Beauty
Snow on Easter?

I know, I know...the blue and pink color combo sure gets repetitive! I told Barry that from now on, each girl will need 5 different winter coats so I can spice up my winter layouts with a bit of variety!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I did manage to distract myself with a couple of layouts this past weekend. I received a box of new pictures from Winkflash last week, so I felt a bit inspired! However, I did mangage to scrap some oldies, too. This first layout documents Erin's first haircut. The photos aren't that great...the the looks on her face are priceless! Pure Erin attitude!

This from our trip to Como Zoo on for our family fun day in May.

And this one is of Erin and her bf Claire. They are so cute together!

Life After Colin

We brought home Colin in February of 1998. I actually can't believe I waited that long after buying our first house that summer. I missed having a pet. Barry wasn't all too thrilled about the idea, and Tony was nervous...he had never had one. We got him from the Mondovi Humane Society...we picked him out at PetCo, were they do weekend adoptions. For the entire half hour ride home, Colin said nothing. But as we came over the hill into Mondovi, a Colin Raye song came on the radio, and Colin started "singing". Hence the name, Colin.

I've been thinking this week about the most difficult events that I've dealt with in my adult life. I believe the top ones are giving birth (twice), watching Chewy get hit by a car and killed (while very pregnant with Erin), the loss of Barry's mom, making the decision to homeschool, and the ER visits my kids made. Maybe it's because this one is so fresh, but I believe this one tops the charts. Not only did I lose my boy, and suffer the weeks of providing hospice care, knowing he could go at any time, but then I had to make the decision to take his life. I prayed like mad that God would do it for me, peacefully in his sleep. But no. I was forced to make the decision to take the life of one that I loved. I pray that I never have to do it again.

About an hour before Dr. Margaret came to the house, I stopped working and forgot about school, just to spend some quality one-on-one time with Colin. He wasn't in the mood to cuddle, so we watched birds and squirrels out the window, and I took him outside where he loved to explore and eat grass.

The vet called to ask if I still wanted Dr. Margaret to come? Yes. She'd be a little late due to a surgery. Then Colin drank a bunch of water...a first in a few days. I asked God, "Are you trying to tell me I'm doing the wrong thing? Should I back out?" Immediately, Colin vomited up all of the water. No. I had to go on.

Dr. Margaret was wonderful. She patiently explained everything to the girls. After giving him the shot that would just put him to sleep, she waited outside. I held Colin in my arms as we all said goodbye. I honestly felt my heart breaking into a million pieces. I'm crying now, again, but know that I need to relive it to heal. The girls cried, but it helped us all to know he was going to heaven. Then she came back to give the final shot. I swear that even when she confirmed he was gone, I could still feel him purring. He was like that...patient and happy. He was also proud and strong...very strong. And I hated to see him so sick and weak, unable to enjoy his last days.

We buried him in the garden, where we can visit when we miss him. And we will. I must say, the kittens, Zach and TJ are doing well to fill some of the emptiness left by Colin. There's new life here bouncing off the walls...and knocking down plants...and keeping us awake.... But life is good, especially after death. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.....

So, in honor of my boy, Colin, one last photo tribute. These pictures were taken on his last day.

And here are the youngens, already pals with Cassie. She's such a loving and patient dog. Well, except for walk and dinner times......

And thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. During the rough times over the last couple of weeks, I was reminded about the great friends I have, and how much you mean at times like this. Thanks!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Creative Escape

With all that I have going on in my life right now, I'm so thankful for the passions, abilities and gifts to escape to. At night, I enjoy escaping to another time and place through Christian historical fiction (I'm currently reading a Tracie Peterson series). And when I have time, I dive into my scrapbooking.

I did this layout a couple of weeks ago for a challenge on my friend Jenn's blog (she's my best buddy I've never met! She's under the big skies of Montana, and I (Barry, too!) can't wait to visit her some day!) Check out her blog...and Etsy store. She's super talented!


And these two layouts I managed to do this past weekend. They may not be my best work, but it sure was fun to get back to it!

Kitty Update

Ok, first on Colin. We brought my little man home on Thursday of last week. Honestly, I was prepared, and waiting for him to die the first night. Before we took him home, Barry and I got a hands-on lesson in giving Colin his "treatment". We, as a team, have to squeeze saline out of an IV bag through a needle injected into his back. It takes about 10 minutes. Fortunately, Barry and I work pretty well together and have been pretty successful. Most of the time Colin takes it very well. On other days (like today) he's ..... not so happy about it!

I'll admit, I'm handling this whole thing the worst out of everyone in the house, including Colin. I never know when he's going to go. As soon as I think he's really bad, he'll turn around and act "normal". Not truly "normal," but maybe not ready to die. So, I still have no idea how long he'll hold on. I do know that he's not eating enough to improve, though.

And just because we like to complicate things around here :) on Tuesday we brought home our new little boys, Zach and TJ. They are about 4 months old...they were found in a ditch, and have been raised at the vet. They are sweet little things! Very cute. Of course, we ARE talking about kittens....duh!

We are trying to do this correctly, so for now, they are living in Alana's room. I will keep introducing Colin to their scent, and like today, take him into "their" room, while they are out of it. Colin laid eyes on the boys today, and was NOT a happy camper. So, we need more time. My goal is to not send Colin into a downward spiral. I've accepted that he'll be leaving us soon...I just don't want to be responsible for sending him over the edge. In the meantime, the boys are in a much better place than they were before, so all is good.

So, this is Zach. He's much bigger than TJ. He's so soft and fluffy!

And this is TJ. He has a white spot on his chest...and his tail is more gray than black. And don't ask Erin what TJ stands for...it stands for TJ. :)

So, I am now officially, the crazy cat lady!!!!!

First Day of School 2008

Well, ready or not, here we go!!! The girls have officially begun 1st and 3rd grades. Wow...that makes me really old (nevermind that we just sent Tony off to his Soph year at U of M)!

For those of you who have an interest (sorry to those who don't), this is what the girls are studying this year:

Math: Erin, Horizons, Grade 2
Alana, Abeka, Grade 3

Spelling, Handwriting, Both

Language, Both

Latin, Alana

History, Story of the World, Both

Science, Abeka 3

After reading "The Well-Trained Mind," I've decided to try my hand at the Classical Method of homeschooling. Basically, what sets it apart from other methods is that they study Latin (which may be dead, but can have a huge affect on their ability to master not only English, but other languages as well) and in history, we begin at the beginning. Normally, in Elementary school, they would have "social studies" and start first in the child's community, then state, then country, etc. We are starting the "story" of our history at the beginning. This week, we're talking about how the people 10,000 years ago were nomads, and then began farming in the Fertile Crescent. And they built walls around their villages and cities...like Jericho.

Anyway, hopefully I've organized myself enough to keep my head above water...at least for a while!

These are pictures of the girls on Tuesday, our first day of school, in front of their school (that would be our house!)
(Yes, Alana looks a bit funny...she has a bad cold and her sinuses are horendous!)
And with Colin (we've been taking a lot of pics of him lately).