Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hospital Day 6

It was an absolutely fantastic day today. One I think was due to us. Charlotte was all smiles and giggles.

Lisa Keller stopped by today to give us a run down on all of the things we will have to be careful of upon our discharge. One of the things that was an absolute no-no was mold. And I froze.

"You mean as in she can't be exposed to it at all."

She shook her head vehemently. Absolutely NO MOLD.

Well, crapola. Our apartment is 3/4 drywall, 1/4 mold. Last time they changed our siding, it rained and leaked into the entire west side of our apartment, and BAM! Mold.

So I guess a call to the landlord is in order, and a temporary stay at my parents house until we figure out what's going on.

Tonight Kali is showing us the ins and outs of flushing Charlie's PICC line, and the changing of the dressing, which I referred to Joan at the Belleville Clinic...she just doesn't know it yet. That part makes Kevin and I nervous, so we are trying to avoid it as much as possible. Still learning it though, just in case.

I realized today that I probably hurt some feelings two posts ago, and I think I need to address it here.

My post on Sunday was a totally irrational post. Something I thought maybe my readers would have recognized when they read through it, and something I addressed on yesterdays post.

I was completely out of my mind- something that comes and goes in the hospital. We have REALLY good days, and we have REALLY bad moments. Moments that make you doubt yourself as a parent, and moments that you start thinking must be someone else's life because you can't really fathom how you arrived at this point in the first place.

It is really hard for me to word the way I feel sometimes without hurting feelings, but I didn't want to change anything I had written so that when I looked back at this blog a year from now, I could sort of laugh about how I felt at that moment and think something like, wow, I can't believe I felt that way, it really wasn't that bad.

So I would like to issue a heartfelt apology to my husbands mother, because no, of COURSE I don't really feel like that about you. I plead a moment of temporary insanity that was so insane my own husband booted me out of the hospital room.

We cannot get through this without the support of our families, both who have been so fantastic up to now. And I thank Kevin's parents especially, for the home cooked meal and for coming up to hold a baby who's personality was unrecognizable for a few days, but really just needed the stability of her family.

We should be out of here in a few days, Thursday is starting to look like the magic day; where we are leaving the stability and comfort of this hospital that has been our home, and the staff who has done something for our child that has essentially saved her life...and while I am not sure I am ready to venture out into this new journey, we really don't have a choice.

What we do have, however, is the most fabulous support system one could ever dream of. Prayers and emails from as far as England now; new friends and stories to carry with us, and obstacles that neither Kev nor I could fathom overcoming that we can now put behind us.

Now is the time to move on and reclaim our life. On to having floors so clean you can eat off of them, and bottles of Purell stashed all over the house.

It might never go back to normal-

But it will go back to "us".

God bless.

Kristi Rufener

Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet Lance....

Hospital day 6-

Charlie was feeling a LOT better this morning, and when we made it to rounds I asked for her leads to be taken off. And they were. And I was rewarded with a smiley baby who got to sit in a swing most of the day. Which is her favorite thing ever.

And honestly, a smile from her was like HEAVEN compared to last night, which I was starting to think would never end. It ended up being that her Zofran (for nausea) was discontinued. I'm not exactly sure why, but I wasn't happy when I found out. We had a pretty miserable baby until she finally crashed from exhaustion at two in the morning. And I would like my faithful readers to know that the comment I made about Kevin's parents was half made out of frustration and pure tiredness. You should know that I love them very much, and that this has been an extremely tough time for everyone that has been involved.

So a woman named Sandy stopped by today, and she is in charge of the parent meeting that takes place every Sunday. She wanted to tell us about a family who had come to the hospital today who was in a similar situation as us, and was here for their last round of chemotherapy. I was very interested to meet them, and she told us she would talk to them. She then left, and I didn't hear from her for the rest of the afternoon. Just as I was starting to think that maybe this family didn't want to speak to us, there was a knock on our door. Kevin, being the funny guy that he is, knocked back thinking it was one of our nurses. Of course it ended up being a young lady named Lauren, who wanted to tell us about her son named Lance.

It ended up being a really humbling experience.

Lance is a nine month old chubby happy boy, who has (drumroll please) a neuroblastoma. In his chest. On the left side. That invaded his spinal cord. Starting to sound familiar? The more she talked, the more we related. She is twenty two years old, but she sounds ancient when she talks about her sons cancer. Charlotte and Lance were diagnosed about the same age, and they lay in the same position, which Lauren and I both dubbed the "frog pose". However, unlike Charlotte, Lance was not diagnosed right away. He was a very sick little boy for the two weeks it took to get a definitive diagnosis. They had told Lauren that he had pneumonia, due to the tumor showing up as white space in his lung. He got to the point that he was on a ventillator, and even had a trach for a while.

You would not even know he is the same baby who almost died six months ago.

I cannot wait to see Charlotte as happy as he is.

Bekah also made a friend here named Clare. She is a vibrant six year old with a cute bald head and tiny glasses who smiles shyly every time I see her.

It has been so fascinating to me that some of the sickest kids I have met seem the fullest of life.

Kevin and I have plans in the works for bracelets to benefit Charlie. More info on that later.

Overall I would call today a good day on the rollercoaster ride that is cancer.

I'm not going to say that my mood is going to stay this way, but its days like this that make me realize that yes, maybe we CAN get through this...

Until next blog,

Kristi Rufener

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hospital Day 5

I really REALLY thought it was going to start getting easier. And it almost seemed to. Until today.

Because today the chemo is starting to make her sick. She spits up a lot, and she poops- and I know what you are thinking. You're thinking big deal, that's what babies do. Well, picture what you think babies normally do, and multiply that by about a hundred, and you will be touching the tip of today's iceberg.

Kevin's parents brought Bekah up today, and she spent a better part of the afternoon on the computer playing games while we volleyed between rocking Charlotte, walking Charlotte, and feeding Charlotte; who has suddenly become a bottomless pit. When we brought her in, she was eating a solid 30 ounces a day. Now, because of the steroids, she is up to 70 ounces a day. That is more than the recommended eight glasses of water for the average adult.

I am starting to feel incompetent. I have the mom guilt- like I failed to protect her, but there is something more sinister creeping up on me and I don't like the way it is making me feel. Kevin's mom (God bless her, I know she means well and she is lost like we are right now) is starting to take over. It feels like she is directing the show, and her wanting to be here for rounds in the morning is making me a little bit uncomfortable. And then I feel horrible that I even have those thoughts, because I know she is doing the best she can.

She made us food tonight, and I realized this afternoon that Kev and I have only been eating once a day. So I heated up the roast she made, and while we were eating it, Charlie had another sick episode that woke her out of a dead sleep, and the food was forgotten about.

She was so uncomfortable that she started moaning- a low, relentless noise that dug into the core of my soul and ripped my heart out of my chest. I cried to Kevin to make him do something, anything, to get her to stop making that awful noise. What could I do?? Nothing. Tylenol, morphine, she gets it and it just comes back when it starts to wear off.

Now she is finally sleeping, for how long is anyones guess at this point. Its like Kev and I are on autopilot, and it feels like we have been in this hospital for years.

I really hate that I can't sound upbeat about anything right now, but this is a hospital FULL of sick kids. I met Claire tonight, who was sitting on her dads lap watching the fireworks. She has cancer- she has been through surgery, chemo, radiation, and lost one of her kidneys... And the worst part is I look at this little girl and think, could that be us in five years?

Being on autopilot makes it extremely difficult to pick up anything the doctors and nurses are really telling you, which wasn't helpful when Nurse Lisa introduced us to Chester today. Chester is a rightfully named dummy, who has a pic line and a port, and is used to demonstrate the flushing of the lines that we will have to take care of when we are home. I have a feeling we will be getting acquainted with Chester over the next couple of days, as this is something we will have to do with Charlie when we take her home.

So without further ado, I give you Nurse Lisa and Chester, the chest dummy.

And I bid you all good night; and lets cross our fingers that tomorrow dad can still get her to smile, no matter how uncomfortable she is.

And of course, as always, thank you for your prayers and thoughts. The only peace I have right now is the knowledge that so many of you (even people who have only heard of us from friends) are keeping us in mind. We are NEVER too busy to thank each and every one of you.

God bless.

Kristi Rufener

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hospital Day 4

Today was okay.
Charlotte seems to be getting more and more uncomfortable each day, though whether that is from the medication or just being in the hospital is anyones guess about now.
Being here is a catch 22 sometimes... you get in good spirits and almost forget you are in a hospital... until you round a corner and there is a child pushing an IV pole with a bare head.
We had Charlie baptized in the Chapel downstairs, and her God parents were Rachel, Michael, Jenny, and Nick. It was absolutely beautiful. Everything went off without a hitch. We had nurse Lisa with us, who was able to give Charlie some morphine (she gets really uncomfortable when she is handled a lot) and then was able to disconnect her leads long enough to get her in her dress and run through the service. Charlie looked like any other normal plump pretty baby in her gown, and I will have pictures up soon.
In fact, everything went so well that Father Klink commented.
"She is a REALLY good baby! Is she this good ALL the time?"
And a small voice immediately piped up in the back row, "NO."
You can just about guess who that was.
Aimee and her sister Caitie stopped up and it was nice to have a bit of normalcy in the craziness that has become our life. We laughed for a while, and were able to just be ourselves, instead of ourselves plus a baby with cancer.
Charlie is slowing going global- I got an email from my aunt today who passed the word about Charlotte's cancer on to her friend Patti, who passed it on to one of her friends. We have people praying for us literally all over the country.
It is times like this that make you realize the power of the human spirit.
It is only unfortunate that it is realized during a crisis.
I am exhausted, as it seems nights are the hardest for Kevin and I.
After everyone leaves and the lights are out, we are faced with the awesome weight of this cancer on our shoulders. We have talked about so many what ifs, and so many coulda woulda shoulda's, that we are slowly running ourselves ragged.
And yet, in the midst of this internal struggle amongst ourselves, we are slowly emerging stronger and stronger.
This horrible thing that happened to our family is bringing us together until we are essentially one person with one heart and one goal.
Just to fight back the chance to be a normal family again.
God bless you all, and I will update soon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

In My World

Joyce finally snagged us this afternoon. She has been trying to connect with us since we got here. And right away she gave us the face.

That I'm so sorry you are going through this it must be awful how sad your baby is so young face.

That's the face we have gotten from EVERYONE here...and I HATE THE FACE.

It makes me feel like they are thinking all of that and just a little of this:

I'm secretly glad its you going through this and not me.

Isn't it horrible that I think like that?

So anyway, Joyce rounded Kevin and I up, and took us to the family counseling room. She asked what brought us here and I told her the whole story including my car dying the day before. Because basically I was going for the whole "Kristi's Life Is a Literal Shit storm" angle.

And she slaps down some pamphlets in front of us and starts going over them. And in less than five minutes I am completely overwhelmed.

They are grants we can apply for that will reimburse us for medical expenses. And she is explaining the different types, and I am getting a little teary eyed because, hey, this is Kristi. I never ask for handouts, even when I really need them, and here they are being pushed in front of me. I am just barely holding on when she puts a particularly colorful one in front of me. On the cover is a picture of a plump, laughing child, and there is a shooting star in the left top corner.

"This," Joyce says quietly. "Is the Make a Wish Foundation."

She goes on to explain that when Charlotte is two and a half, she will get the chance to fulfill a wish- for instance, Disney world, with her whole family. Just because she is sick with a life threatening disease. And I am all wrapped up in the whole spiel when suddenly it hits me like a ton of bricks-
The reason this is all so appealing is because MY daughter has CANCER.
And everything from the past two days is slamming into me at once, and I feel like I am sort of slipping into this catatonic state, and when I come out of it, Joyce is directing us back to our room and Kevin is saying WOW over and over.
We just get settled in and my phone rings. It's Patrick checking in. Co-worker Patrick. My favorite Peter's on the planet Patrick.
"I have some news for you."
And Kristi, the sarcastic bitch that she is even now in the face of a CRISIS (That was a Joyce word, crisis) spouts out:
"I'm not fired, am I?"
And Patrick laughs and says,
"No no no. Actually, I wanted to let you know that we are using your PTO, and when that runs out Bill got you approved for forty more paid hours of leave. And in the event you have to be out longer than that, he MIGHT be able to get you more."
And I am speechless. Who's supervisors do that?? Who goes out on a limb like that? I thank him the best I can with tears running down my face, even though I want to say more all I can get out is how much it means to me, and that they have already done enough, and Kevin and I are so grateful. And I am figuring out that grateful is a very under appreciated word.
And then my mom calls, and I tell her and she chokes up and tells me that Brandon Hendrickson and my dad are actually putting together a benefit ride in our honor.
I can honestly say that in all my time on the planet this is not the path I would have chosen for my family, but now that we are here I am SO grateful (see, there is that word again) that we have the friends and family that we do.
They are here, all around us, in our time of need, in my world.
And even if there isn't a God, or a Heaven, I have NEVER felt more surrounded by angels than I do now.

Thank you to EVERYONE who is following our story, who has said a prayer, made a phone call, even just took ONE SECOND to think about us this day, because I can assure you it makes a difference.

Bless you all.

Behind Bars

I haven't brushed my hair in two days.

My coffee sits untouched on an adjustable bedside table beside a Vogue magazine and a pink stuffed elephant that says Lil' Peanut.

Today started as a good day.

I was in high spirits, having decided I could be one of those other moms on this floor that was along behind her kid as he scoots down the hall on a foot powered bike. She smiles, even though he is wearing a mask to protect him from infection while he is on chemo.

I can do that, right? That's easy enough.

I feel like I have been inducted into some strange cancer society where you learn words like Zofran, (an anti-nausea medication), or platelets (her white cell count, which is going to drop in the next few days and we will have to limit her visitors so she doesn't catch something she can't fight off).

So back to me starting my morning in the right direction- I had decided we should get Charlie out of her "sick room" and out for a walk. And I thought maybe we could walk to the cafeteria in the other hospital (they are all connected here). And the nurse says she doesn't think that will be a problem. So she comes back immediately with a nice stroller, and I am bouncing Charlie on my knees and talking about going for a walk.

Then her nurse comes in and says she is more than happy to let us walk up and down the hallway, but we can't leave this floor. I ask why, and she says because of the extensive monitoring she is on. In case her breathing changes, blah blah blah. I don't hear much of it to be honest.

She leaves me with a lump in my throat. We are prisoners in this hospital.

My husband gently offers to put her in the stroller and walk with me, but I forget myself and snap at him.

"I have NO DESIRE to walk the fucking fifteen feet of this floor!"

And I put Charlie back in bed.

Because that's what we do here. Everything is in cycles now. This is her Dex cycle, this is her sleep cycle, this is her feeding cycle. You are either holding her, or rolling her a towel to train her legs to be back in their normal position.

You are either talking to doctors who's names you can NEVER remember, or you are sitting around waiting.

You family and friends remind you to eat, and everything tastes the same.

You forget you have another child, and the guilt that she has slipped your mind consumes you, until you realize that in THAT guilt you forgot the one that is in the hospital right now, and then THAT guilt consumes you.

11:45 today- she drinks her contrast solution, and they cath her.
2:45 today- she has a bone density scan.

She has to have morphine before I can pick her up.

Her stomach protrudes where the tumor is pressing- and my God, how come I NEVER noticed it before???

Sun up- sun down- She will lose her hair. Her feet are tight like she has rubber bands around her legs, and I am fascinated by the perfect imprint my thumb leaves on her leg.

We ask questions that I can't remember in five minutes, I accidentally fall asleep and no one wakes me when the doctors come by.

I am livid the rest of the day and force myself to stay awake because I know no one will wake me if they come by again.


This is the lunch cycle where all of the parents on this floor line up for free food from the Ronald McDonald house.

This is rounds- where all the doctors stop outside your door and talk about your child like you aren't standing right there in front of them. Like she just a number in the statistics of cases they get a year.


The number of cases that are diagnosed nation wide every year. That's how rare this cancer is.

And then the oncologists who come by to tell me the rare side effects of chemo- how it can cause blood pressure dips, how it can cause another cancer, but not to worry because these are just the RARE side effects...


Isn't her cancer rare too?

Then telling me the side effects are rare really doesn't make me feel any better.

Eat, sleep, cancer.

And this is our life right now, in this hospital prison, on makeshift beds, in our makeshift world.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Long Night

Kevin and I are here at the hospital.

Charlotte has a Neuroblastoma in her chest, and I have tranquilizers.

The blastoma is about the size of a fist, and it is pushing on her spinal cord which is causing the paraplegia in her legs. It is also resting against her heart, but luckily that isn't causing any problems. I will have pictures to put up on here as soon as I get them, but for now the crappy description I just gave will have to be good enough.

This is a cancer that is highly treatable, according to the four hundred and fifty doctors we have seen so far, none of them whose names I can remember. She started chemo at two a.m. this morning.

We are poisoning our baby to get her better.

I cannot describe to you the feeling of hearing your four month old has cancer.

There is a little bit of guilt- like I should have been home instead of going back to work. There is anger, and it is often misdirected. Right now it is my rage against God for doing this to a baby. And don't try to tell me there is some big plan for her, because you can kiss my ass and she could have done great things without cancer.

Then there is helplessness. I have no choice BUT to poison her with this chemo in the hopes that she will get better.
There is the sense of loss- that she is losing the chance to be a baby before she barely even began.
I am alone. And yet not alone. My husband is here. My mom is here. And I am alone.

And when you are alone, the things that go through your head are horrible.
Did I do something to make her deserve this? Why isn't it me?? I could have handled it if it were me.

And...what if she never walks? Or uses her legs?
What if after all this is done she isn't the same baby?

Just a week ago she was so healthy and normal.

I brought a healthy happy baby into this hospital, and they gave me a sick one.
They gave me this baby with cancer who is hooked up to all kinds of IV's and monitors.

And her legs flop around. I call her froggy, because that is what it reminds me of.

And despite everything else around her...

Froggy is still smiling.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

UW Childrens Hospital

I am typing this in the computer waiting area of the American Family Childrens hospital. In this place, everything is about time.
Ten minutes ago I placed my daughter in the arms of strangers to be put under for an MRI.
In two hours, we will be paged to come see her in recovery.
They won't put her IV in until she is sedated, which made me sigh in relief.
For right now, that is about all I know, but I will be back to update when we hear the results.
Keep us in your thoughts.
And just as a reminder to all of my friends, PLEASE do NOT call us at this time. We are busy talking to too many doctors to stay on top of phone calls. Don't think we are being rude, we just need some time to digest all of this, and would appreciate some privacy.
Kevin and I will be in touch as soon as we know anything.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I feel like I am in an episode of House, M.D.

We took Charlie in yesterday, and immediately my doctor said she didn't act like a normal baby in the sense that she doesn't move her legs at all. He felt up her spine, and made sure her range of motion was normal, and that all checked out fine.

He said, "Could she not be moving her legs because she is lazy? It's possible. But it's not probable."

He gave it to us straight. The two main things we worry about at this time are Spina Bifida Occulta, and spinal cord tumors.

And he is sending us straight to a neurologist to have some tests run. And he put a rush on it. So we should be meeting with him/her this week.

Not sure when we will get actual answers. But I will keep you posted. It all feels so surreal right now. I'm not sure if I should be at work, or at home... I already feel guilty like I should have been home anyway and maybe I would have noticed it sooner... I don't know.

My hope is that in a few weeks I can look back at this blog and be like, wow, I can't believe I was so freaked out for nothing...

How sad is that?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Diagnosis Unknown

My mom says, "Take a deep breath, and don't worry until you have to."

Which is always easier said than done when it comes to your children.

This Friday I noticed that Charlie wasn't moving her legs.

And I don't mean a kick here and there, I mean wasn't moving them at all.

She has adopted the frog pose, as I call it, where she lays on her back and her legs are bent at the knee and hang out to the side. When I pick her up they are completely limp. I know she has feeling, because I tickle her feet and they twitch.

She also no longer tries to prop her head up when she is on her tummy.

As the weekend wore on, it annoyed me more and more and I tried putting her in the jumperoo, and tried coaxing her into standing up. Nothing. They just hang there like two limp doll legs.

So I called the clinic this morning and they set an appointment for her this afternoon.

But not before the nurse called me and ran down the symptoms and then was completely startled. She told me that none of this can be explained by her being simply lazy or too heavy to pick her head up.

In fact, the word she used was serious. This sounds serious.

And now Kevin is bawling, and I am a mess at work, my stomach hurts.

Where are the days when all I worried about was the weekend?

I want to go back a month and have my happy, strong baby back.

I cannot handle this. Not now.

Maybe not ever.

...What am I going to do?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Are YOU Obsessed???

There is a new show on A&E called Obsessed about people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Here is a short description about the show:

Intense and highly personal, A&E's true-life docuseries Obsessed examines the lives of everyday people impris- oned by unmanageable, repetitive behaviors and sometimes debilitating fear. Whether it is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Hoarding or a variety of phobias, the unscripted series gives viewers a chance to see first-hand how an obsession can radically affect a person's life.

Here is a sample of the people they have had on the show:

Nicole has to control what her mother and brother's hands do. They can't be loose, they must be together, clenched, or hidden, or she goes into a severe state of panic. Nicole has an aversion to "soft touch" - but only with her mother and brother. When her mother touches something "too lightly," Nicole is compelled to touch it with great force, hit it, or plug her ears. In addition, whenever her mother makes a "K" sound while speaking, Nicole has to make a hard, repetitive "K" sound to counter the softness of her mom's "K." These obsessions make it hard for her to be as close as she'd like with her family and really limits the amount of time they can spend together. The last time the three of them were together in a room (aside from holidays) was years ago. Nicole also pulls out her eyelashes. She says the pleasure of this act sends a rush all over her body, but the immediate guilt afterwards is devastating. She is reduced to tears because it isn't "normal."

At this point, Nidia's OCD runs her entire life. Unless she's asleep, she is engaging in rituals of some form of another. She washes her hands upwards of 50 times a day, to the point where the skin is cracking. She limits her food intake to minimize her bowel movements, and when she does have a bowel movement, she spends hours in the shower administering enemas and cleaning herself out with a toothbrush. She doesn't stop until she bleeds, which is how she determines she is done. On two occasions this resulted in hospitalization and she required blood transfusions to save her life. Once out of the shower, she covers herself from head to toe with body sprays to minimize any odors she may give off. Mat has become an unwilling participant in her OCD, as he feels he must be present for her shower ritual in case something goes wrong, letting her know when it's time to get out because she has the tendency to zone out while performing her ritual. Nidia rarely leaves home so as not to be too far from her bathroom. She cleans her dog, Bubba, to excess, brushing his teeth and wiping his anus and paws multiple times per day. Her inability to work has caused financial strain, and her exhaustion and fears of leaving the house have limited her social life and resulted in a complete lack of intimacy with her husband. Mat is on the brink of leaving Nidia because as much as he loves her, he can no longer handle the stress of it all.

Before you get freaked out, let me tell you that while these are the extremes, OCB (obsessive compulsive behavior) is REALLY common. Most people have it, in fact.

Here is mine- something that until now only my husband and a few really close friends know about me.

If I get a drink of water out of the faucet with a GLASS, I HAVE to rinse the inside and outside of the glass THREE times, in a clockwise circular motion, otherwise I WILL NOT drink out of the glass.

The funny thing is, this rule only applies under certain conditions...such as:

It has to be a GLASS- not plastic, or a mug, or anything else.

It has to be water running out of the faucet- getting a drink out of the fridge doesn't count.

It has to be ME getting the drink- I don't care if my husband gets me a drink and doesn't rinse the glass.

What are YOUR OCB's????

Kristi's Ten Guilty Pleasures

Since my life has been pretty "happy mom in the suburbs" lately, I am going to pick a random topic to post about. Kristi's Ten Guilty Pleasures- some little known things that I like to do to wind down, which brings me to number 10:

Bubble baths.

I don't care if it is 90 degrees outside, I will make it work. There is never innapropriate time for a bubble bath. And I don't mean a five minute soak that started as a bubble bath but turned into me changing a screaming baby, I am talking about a 45 minute bath where you may have to add more hot water.

Number 9:

"Sampling" a candy at the grocery store.

Okay, so it might be a little illegal, but I KNOW everyone does it even if I am the only one that will admit it. My personal favorite is the Jelly Belly isle- I might not be a big alcohol drinker, but you show me someone who doesn't enjoy a margharita jelly bean, and I will show YOU someone who needs a surgical procedure to remove their head from their nether regions.

Number 8:

Smelling flowers.

Go ahead, make fun of me for saying something so cliche, but it's true. There is something immediately calming about shoving your face in a bunch of flowers and inhaling deeply- as long as you don't snort a bee.

Number 7:

Laying in bed. For no reason. Not to nap, not to get frisky, just strictly to lay there under the blankets because it is comfortable. My friend Sarah and her fiance bought my husband and I Egyptian cotton sheets, and it has been a small obsession of mine ever since.

Number 6:

Going for a walk with my hubby and my kids. That's all. Nothing clever or witty to add on to it. Just plain ol' fashioned walking.

Number 5:


In my public blog.

I like to go back and read about how hilarious I am. But seriously, I am funny.

Number 4:


In my private blog.

I like to piss and moan and gripe about my innermost pet peeves.

And if you haven't been invited to that blog, well, you are probably the topic of discussion for the day. Sorry.

Number 3:

Shopping. But not hardcore Ineedtodropsomemoneyfast shopping; the kind where the only money you spend is likely on a coffee or lunch, and the rest of the time is spent browsing and making a mental wish list. (And even that is getting too expensive for me now...)

Number 2:

Talking to my friends.

I have a solid foundation of friends that I talk to on a regular basis that have been my friends for a VERY long time. Over half of my life. Okay, so I am only 23, but I think 10+ years is still impressive.

And lastly, Number 1:

Reading books.

Books of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Any topic, any author, they are my ticket to faraway lands and distant times. I have been Chinese, Hispanic, rich, poor, a slave, a millionaire... I consider books to be one of the MOST important parts of being the human species. What other creature on Earth has the creative capacity that homo sapiens do?

So if you can't get ahold of me, and I'm not blogging, you can bet you will find me in the bathtub, reading a book.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You Are Here....

...which means you read my blog regularly, which means you like it, which means you like me, which brings me to this:

Thank you!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not Me Monday...

This is called a Not Me Monday post, in which I am supposed to mention that it was not me who taught my daughter how to use the toaster, and it was not me who received a picture message of two poptarts that were so black I had to actually ask my husband what the picture was.

I am also not supposed to mention that it was not me who was in such a hurry to change my grunting daughters diaper that I ended up catching poo in a baby wipe with one hand while shoving my six year old out of the way with the other. And it was DEFINITELY not me that succumbed to pizza peer pressure instead of making something healthier for supper, just because it was convenient.

It was also not me that let my six year old choose her summer school classes, and it's not me who laid the responsibility of carting her around with her father and grandmother.

It's not me that had chinese for lunch three days in a row last week after complaining about not having any money.

It's not me who was disappointed after reading the newest book from my favorite author, and it's not me who was also a little upset that she paid extra to have it shipped right away.

And it was definitely not me who was laughing at my four month old who kept pouting every time I fed her pears and went, "MMMMMMMmmmmmmm!".

It was not me that sat with the baby while my husband did laundry yesterday by himself.

...but it IS me that laid awake last night and thanked my lucky stars for my beautiful family.

Bekahism: On Working

Who would have known that sometimes a six year old can have more wisdom than Buddha?

Everyone has those Sundays where you don't feel like starting the work week the next morning. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job, I just happen to love sitting at home with my family more.

So I was admittedly a little bit in the dumps last Sunday as I was not in the mood to get up at 5:30 AM the next morning and leave the comfort of my bed where my husband, who is always toasty warm, was curled up around me, and my baby was snoozing soundlessly with her little puffy sleep face etched into my head.

"I really don't feel like going to work tomorrow."

And my husband gives me that apologetic look like he is saying hey lady, I would trade places with you any day. (Though I don't buy it. I think he LOVES staying home with the baby and playing mister mom.)

And Charlotte grins at me which tugs on the heartstrings a little anyway.

But Bekah? Not her. She is looking at my quizzically like I just said the stupidest thing she has ever heard.

And I am gearing up for a Bekah type solution.

"Then don't go to work, mom."

And there it is!

How simple was that?

I can always count on her to point out the blatantly obvious.

By The Way-

I gave Twitter an honest shot for the second time now, and I just can't do it.

That bird has obviously flown.


I need to lose weight.

No really. There is money involved. We are having a biggest loser type competition at work, and the winner gets to claim all of the entry fees ($10 per person). And I want it. Bad.

So I am going to be starting the C25K (couch to 5K) program on the 22nd, and before then I am going to stock up on all the crap I just love to eat before I cut it out completely. So I ought to be almost 200 pounds before this thing starts.

The couch to 5K is a program designed to get you 5K ready in 9 weeks- in that time frame you should be able to run that distance without stopping. And anyone who knows me knows I have ALWAYS wanted to be able to run. Couldn't in high school due to the boob factor- I used to be an E. But thanks to a reduction, I am now the proud owner of a couple of large C's that should be just a bit less restrictive.

Speaking of knowing me, anyone that does also knows that I L O V E my breasts now. Seriously. They are like an obsession of mine. I KNEW I should have been born a man.

So I will be putting updates on here when my program starts to let you know how I am progressing, and expect me to be strung out when I start hitting that calorie withdrawal.

Ahhhh....learning to 5K in the land of wheat grass and rice cakes. Yum.

They really should have started this competition in January. On February 11th I miraculousy managed to shed 25 pounds....of course it was all baby, but hey, no need to play the blame game.

Friday, June 12, 2009

70th Post Survery

Get your brains moving!

"Thought Provoking Survey" by courcoo

Question Your Answer
1. Are people essentially good or essentially bad?

People are a product of their nature. They are essentially reacting to their environment- be it good OR bad.

2. When lots of things go wrong at once, how do you react? What goes on in your mind?

I am usually stoic, but want to make sure I am heard. My brain instantly prioritizes- what is the most important issue at hand.

3. What are some of the most important lessons you've learned about pain in your life?

No matter how much you love someone, if it's not reciprocated NOW it probably won't be later. And no one lives forever.

4. If you could sum up your philosophy of life in a few sentences, what would it be?

Your children are the legacy you leave on this Earth- raise them the way you want them to carry on.

5. If you had to explain why the world is the way it is to your children, what would you say?

See number one.

6. Do you believe things always turn out for the best?

Maybe. (Google the chinese story about luck)

7. What are you the most proud of about yourself and your life?

That I never became a statistic when I had my daughter at 17. My husband and I both worked extremely hard for what we have.

8. Do you procrastinate a lot of the time, much of the time, or not much at all?

Admittedly, a LOT of the time... I don't put it off until it is a problem, but if it is something I don't enjoy I WILL put it off as long as possible without getting in trouble...

9. What risks have you taken in your life? Have you avoided any?

I am actually NOT a big risk taker. I have avoided plenty of risks. I buckle my seat belt EVERY time.

10. Are you usually on time or late for appointments?

Early. Good things happen to those who arrive before schedule.

11. In what areas of your life would you say you are the most irresponsible(finances, health, returning phone calls)?

House Keeping. Good gravy I am HORRIBLE at that.

12. Do you consider yourself sensitive to other people's feelings?

Empathetic more than anything. I don't usually get "sad" for people, but I DO help them rationalize about the situation. I am not good at crying- I like to confront problems HEAD ON instead of crying about it...please note that I am NOT putting down anyone that does cry, however.

13. What kinds of things do you feel are inherently wrong, and what wouldn't bother you?

I feel that people who think their religion is THE religion are a big problem. It doesn't bother me if you worship a banana, but don't push your beliefs on me.

14. Do you think all is fair in love and war?

Not at all. If you are scummy enough to go after a married man, karma will catch you. And love is all about karma.

15. Are you a saver or a spender?

Both accordingly. I LOVE to shop- when I have the money to spend.

16. What is compatiablity to you?

Compatability to me is someone who "gets" you, and doesn't try to tweak you to match them just right.

17. If you were in an argument/disagreement with a friend/spouse/family member, would you most likely be the one who yields, withdraws, compromises, wins or resolves?

I would say resolves. I am a huge problem solver. And I NEVER go down without a fight.

18. If you inherited a large sum or money and could afford to live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Would else would you do with the money?

As sad as it sounds, I probably at this time would stay within a 30 mile radius. I love where I am right now. The rest of the money? I have a couple of friends I would love to share it with, and the rest would be saved.

19. What foods do you enjoy, and what are your feelings on eating healthy?

Pasta, and seafood. I have a problem. Eating healthy?? I love it! But I am too lazy to keep up with it.

20. Do you believe in the saying, "Forgive and forget"? Why or why not?

I don't. I don't think you should EVER forget- if a dog bit you, would you forgive? Maybe. But I hope to God you wouldn't be stupid enough to stick your hand in its face again. Or you deserve to get bit twice.

21. What book has changed your life? Why and How?

The Secret. Read it, and you will understand.

22. Do you think education is essential?

Absolutely. Have you noticed my steller grammar and spelling? I wasn't born with that.

23. What are your ambitions for life?

Right now while I am young and my kids are young, I want to be home. I hate missing those milestones. But at the same time, I love my job and want a healthy competitive career. Most of all, I want my family to be happy. And I think that's where we are now.

24. Do you see change as good or detrimental?

Absolutely detrimental. Could you imagine going through life with the same job, the same haircut, the same friends, the same everything?? Who could handle that??

25. There is a person begging for food, would you ignore them or give them some money for food?

Money. Hands down. If they spend it on booze, that is their burden to carry, not mine.

26. Do opposites attracting ensure relationship success----your thoughts.

For sure. My husband and I can be polar opposites, and it just works. Yin and yang. We balance each other out.

27. You really like a person, do you look them in the eyes or twiddle your thumbs and look at your feet?

Eyes. I find that it throws people off. I want everyones first impression of me to be, "Wow, she is not easily intimidated..."

28. You meet the parents for the first time and they disagree with something you are very passionate about, do you agree with them or keep quiet respecting their opinion?

I jump in with both feet and give my side of the story. Its something my father in law likes about me. We are both very passionate people, and always have a respectable argument.

29. Who is the most important person in your life? Why?

Me. If I'm not happy, how can I expect anyone around me to be? I want to infect happy.

30. Is there someone who can make you angrier than anyone else in your life and how do they do that?

For SURE! My sister. Because I KNOW she has more potential then she thinks she does and it drives me BONKERS to no end!

31. What bores you? What never bores you?

Routine bores me. I can't handle a 9-5 mailroom job. My kids never bore me, however. They keep me young.

32. In order, what are your three strongest interests?

1. Foreign Countries (China, Japan, etc.)
2. Children
3. Art

33. What makes you feel loved?

Hugs. Can't get enough hugs. In fact, when my now husband hugged me over four years ago, I fell for him all over again...

34. You spill mustard on your plain white t-shirt at lunch, do you rush home to change it, use a shout-wipe to clean it, or ignore the spot and wear the shirt?

I am going to one up you...I will put a sticker over it. It doesn't bother me. I'm human. And I hate doing laundry.

35. Someone offers you a million dollars to read a long list of books in one year, the person is sure to include books that are opposite your general tastes, would you take them up on the offer?

Definitely! I LOVE books! And I always finish them whether I like them or not...coincidentally, I haven't actually met a book I have disliked.

36. You are pregnant or your wife is pregnant, do you want to know the sex of the baby or be surprised?

Surprised. Every time I have had to find out- the first time I wanted to know, the second time my husband wanted to know. Is it going to be a surprise next time? Probably not.

37. What is your number one pet peeve?

POOR GRAMMAR! Its like nails on a chalk board to me!

38. Would you date an atheist?

Yes. As I mentioned before, religion doesn't bother me unless someone tries to push it on me. And I would love to converse with an athiest- I find it fascinating, just like I find any religion I don't know about fascinating.

39. Could you go a week without brushing your teeth?

No. Gross. Fuzzy teeth are not cool.

40. Someone confesses a wrong against you, you respond how?

It must not have been bad enough to merit much attention from me, but if it is bad you can bet I will let you know exactly how I feel about it.

41. You are told to gather a duffle bag of items for an extended stay on a secluded island without any modern conveniences or contact with the outside world, what would you bring?

Books, a diary, a couple pens, and a laptop. Sorry, but I would HAVE to talk to my family.

Please enjoy, and repost in YOUR blogs with your answers! I can't wait to read them! HAPPY FRIDAY!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bekahism: When You Gotta Go...

Bekah had to pee on the way home from school a few days ago. She REALLY had to pee.

"Grandma, I really gotta pee."


"I'm going honey. We are almost home."

She is wiggling uncomfortably in the back seat.

"Well, can't you go ANY faster?? My dad goes like one hundred, and you're only going forty..."

She was going twenty three.

And no, my husband does NOT go one hundred with her in the truck...

In fact, he told me just last night that the truck tops out at ninety seven...

Wait a second...
How does he know that?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If You're Bored...

This Saturday, come to Starion Financial in Middleton for The Big Event! We will be giving out free Culver's ice cream, and there will be karaoke and a giant inflatable bounce house for the kids. It's a great way for us to market ourselves as Middleton's newest community bank, and we will have a fantastic time doing it!! There will also be fireworks at 9 pm, and all of this is FREE!! So grab your family and come to Middleton. Kevin, the kids, and I will all be here!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bekahism: What's In A Name?

"Mom, can I change my name?"

I peer up at her from my book.

"What would you change it to?"


"Linda, huh? When you're 18."

"Did you change your name?"


"Why not?"

"Because I LIKE my name. My mom gave it to me."

"Oh...Did you give me my name?"

"Yep, sure did Bean."

"Well, okay, maybe I won't change it."

Me getting teary eyed here...

"Because I gave it to you?"

She pauses for a second, and then looks up at me.

"No...Because my friends already know my name."

I tell ya, that girl sure can kill a mother daughter moment.

Tweet on Twitter?

Tut Tweet, My Sweet?

In an ongoing effort to keep up with the times, I am now the proud owner of my very own Twitter page.

Does that help me understand it? Not exactly. I am trying to figure out why people would be more interested in five second blurbs instead of reading my highly intellectual thoughts in my blog... But who am I to judge? I certainly don't want to be casting any stones around my LCD...

My first update is available here:


But don't expect to be wowed, because as we all know I am a person of NOT so very few words, and trying to sum up what I am up to at the time in a sentence is an absorbing task... So much so, that my update should probably read something along the lines of I am deciding what to tweet...

And tweet? What the heck is that anyway? If you are a Twitter user, you "tweet"... Well, I guess I would rather do that than be a twit.

If you are ever doubting your parenting skills, consult your six year old.

She has pretty much summed up the reason for living.

"Mom, I don't even want to have babies."

"That's fine, bean. You don't have to."

"Yes, I do."

"You do?"

"Yes. That's what girls are for."

Feminists, eat your heart out.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Should I pray for money?

Its getting tight now where it wasn't before. Any night we would have given up and ordered pizza is turning into a webetterdiginthecupboardandseewhatwecandigupevenifitisspaghettiosagain.

We were rained out of our money making weekend, so we essentially blew $400+ on paper, ink, and gas to drive down to Day at the Drags and drive back the next day when it was raining. And then my aunt emailed me to tell me she isn't going to put in that new concrete driveway she had been talking to my husband about. So there goes another grand. Honest to blog. Frickety frick frick.

At least the weekend wasn't a total loss. We DID get to camp out in a tent Friday night, my hubby and our friend Aimee. Even if it WAS only 50 degrees outside by 3 am and the hubby went on a blanket run to our neighboring tent where his friend was sleeping. He was met by a foreful HELLO when his friend heard the zipper moving.

And I did drink a little, and sing some karaoke.

And now we get to do it ALL OVER AGAIN on the 15th of August.

Word to your mother.

Pray to Jeebus for money? I think I will pray to the lottery God. No offense, oh holy heavenly father, but I don't think the winning pick 5 numbers were EVER mentioned anywhere in the good book.

Can you believe I honestly have NO SISTER IN LAW DRAMA right now?? This is SO GREAT people. Its like holding your pee for 24 hours before you finally grab onto the back tire of the truck, squat, and let the piss out!

All together now:


And if you need an explanation as to where I was going with that, you are on your own buster.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bekahism: The Weekender

It's been a couple of days, and I am getting harrassed about it.

But the way I see it, who wants to read a blog about not having anything to blog about? (Say that five times fast!)

Day at the Drags is this weekend, and I am revved up (pun intended) and roarin' to go! Three quarters of my time spent there is taking pictures, but on the plus side I have the best seat in the house. I am at the wall, twenty feet away from these awe inspiring machines. It is always a blast!

Even though I had this horrible dream about my dad wrecking his truck. And the worst part is I woke up before I found out if he survived or not... Talk about a cliff hanger! I hope it wasn't one of my famous premonition dreams.

I can't believe that for the first time I have nothing to talk about! Me! Big mouth!

My daughter Bekah spent the night with her friend Brooke at grandmas house last weekend, and apparently they had a great time. So much fun that my mom informed me that Bekah wished Brooke lived with her AT grandmas. And now I know why she feels like that:

"Mom, can we go to the park?"

"Not tonight, hon. It looks like its going to rain."

"Aw, mom! Why not??"

"Because, I'm your mom and I'm mean sometimes."



Thanks, Bekah.