Friday, December 24, 2010

What a Vacation!

It has been three years since we've visited my family in Ohio for Christmas, so we checked into plane tickets in August, they were reasonably affordable, and our trip was planned!

We decided last week that it would be better to drive down to the Cities (where we were flying out, four hours away) the day before and stay over night, not worrying about potential bad weather (we ARE in Minnesota!), by staying at a hotel and paying just a bit extra to leave our car there, we actually saved a good amount on parking. It was a good thing we did. We had a winter storm roll in on our way to the Cities on Monday, delaying our arrival by a good 90 minutes. Then, the next morning, I had a notification voice mail on my cell phone reminding me about our flight departure....almost two hours before it originally was supposed to leave! Turns out, they'd rescheduled our flight, but I wasn't observant enough when looking at the email reminder to notice it. We got to the airport in plenty of time, I showed security my new fancy card that indicated I was the recipient of a joint replacement so that there would be no problems getting thru. Ha! I was still thoroughly patted down....and was informed I will be every time I go thru airport security from now on. Yay.

From there, we went to our gate and waited. And waited. And waited. Our flight finally boarded, and by the time we taxied off, it was just about the original time we were supposed to leave. We arrived at Milwaukee with a few hours to spare between flights; however, we were there for about 30 minutes when I got another voice mail notification that our flight was cancelled. Not rescheduled. Cancelled. Nothing further. I high tailed it to the nearest airline employee and asked what was going on and how we were going to get to Akron, Ohio, that day. They had no clue our flight was cancelled yet! They got on the phone, talked with a supervisor, and told me that our flight WAS cancelled, that they were going to put us on another east-bound flight, and that they'd make a stop in Akron to drop off those passengers. However, the flight wouldn't be leaving until after it was supposed to arrive in Ohio originally. Oh, we would get compensation in the form of a free airline ticket for each of us, yay! No problems, the flight boarded on time and pulled away from the gate...and taxied, and taxied, and taxied. We were then informed that because the winds had changed, they had to move all the de-icing equipment from the other side of the airport, and until it got there and our plane was de-iced, they were shutting down the circulating air inside the would be about 10 minutes. Well, it was longer, probably about 30 minutes. Not really that bad. Luke kept occupied by playing tic-tac-toe and other games with the young man sitting beside him while Susi was busy drawing, and across the aisle, Tony and I talked and snuggled. Then we were off!

About ten minutes into our 54 minute flight, Luke started complaining that his head hurt. He soon started hitting it with his head, then putting his head down on his tray. Having dealt with some probable migraines before, I suggested to Tony that he trade places with Susi to make sure Luke was okay (my leg would have been uncomfortable in that I had a feeling it was leading to something I don't like to deal with.....). I suggested again to Tony that he grab a barf bag and keep it handy, explaining to Luke what to do, if it was needed. Just a few minutes later, barf bag in hand, Luke showed how bad his aim really is. ALL over the place, well, at least on him, the seat, the tray, and the floor in front of him (bulk head row). Tony got things cleaned up as much as possible, while I wiped him down in the bathroom, just in time for us to land in Akron. I grabbed an extra bag as we were leaving, and after our luggage came off, Luke got changed before we piled into my parents' van. He promptly made use of the new bag several times before dozing off on our hour-long trip to my parents'. Once more when we got in the house....and the poor kid was wiped out.

The next morning, Luke was almost as good as new, but my tummy was a bit upset....and Tony was really wiped out. By the evening, Luke and I were feeling better, but Tony had slept most of the day. We were supposed to all drive to PA the following day to share a meal with my youngest brother, but Tony felt it best that our family just stay back, rest, and recuperate. He slept almost the entire day, while Susanna started with a deep cough.

Today, Christmas Eve, everyone seems relatively back to normal. Luke, however, is understandably nervous about flying back to Minnesota then the long drive back from the Cities. He doesn't want to stay in Ohio, though, especially without Daddy and Mama, so he'll be making the trip back with us come Monday morning. I did call my doctor and got a prescription for him for Zofran, a great anti-nausea medicine that he's used before. We don't know if it was from the travel (there are times that even driving home five miles from town he asks me to pull over because he feels "travel sick") or if it was a bug (there is something going around at home affecting the tummy without a fever) or if it was something we ate (Tony thought the chips and salsa we snacked on in Milwaukee tasted a bit off, and Susi is the only one who didn't eat any...and the only one who didn't have queasiness).

Needless to say, our plans for our trip changed some...but we've still been enjoying ourselves. It's been very low-keyed and has involved lots of time with "the cousins" -- my brother, his wife, and their nine children -- as well as my parents...and at times just us. Our plans tomorrow include caroling at a local nursing home...and not much beyond that. Sunday after services, we're headed to my uncle's home in Akron for a big get together, before headed back to my brother's for the night...then the airport Monday morning.

Please pray that our flights are on time, are uneventful, and that all tummies, heads, and everything else have no problems. Please also pray that Luke is courageous during this time as he really is nervous....

Merry Christmas, everyone! Thru this all, we've also kept the focus where it should be...on that tiny Baby born so long ago to bring hope eternal to a lost and dying world. Happy birthday, Jesus!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wow! It's Been Awhile!

Okay, so I've not been keeping up with my blog. I've got countless excuses, but I won't go into them...except to tell you I've been trying to do alot of catching up now that I'm moving around easier!

I still have therapy three times a will pay as long as I am showing improvement, and I'm definitely noticing improvement! I use a stationary bike as well as this leg press machine then another weight machine where I pull weights with my new knee. No big amount of weight, only about 16 pounds, but it's amazing how even that small amount wears me out! My knee really is healing well, and I am so thankful for that. When I'm on it for long periods of time, it starts swelling, but that's still normal....and can happen for at least a year, although most swelling should stop within then next month or so. I still get stiff towards the end of the day and first thing in the morning before I get moving, but that's lessening, too. I still wear out pretty fast, too, but again, the doctor and therapist keep telling me not to expect to be near normal for at least a year.

In other news...we had our third annual Christmas Showcase this past Saturday. Fourteen different home-based party-type vendors participated with lots of goodies -- everything from make up to jewelery, chocolate to alfredo sauce, cleaning clothes and supplements, essential oils and cookware, and of course, Watkins! Our local Kinship Chapter also had a bake sale. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate that well and left the roads pretty snowy in the morning...roads were just getting easier to drive mid afternoon when we were shutting down. Sales were still good, though. So mark your calendars for next year -- the first Saturday in December, St. Peter's Parish here in Park Rapids!

Tony continues to stay busy. He still has baby leaf lettuce growing in one of the green houses! And tomatoes are still producing, just as beautiful as they were this summer! He's also been doing some machinery repair as well as general repairs around the house and farm along with winterizing everything. We hope to start moving into the farm house shortly after the new year perhaps.

And Luke and Susanna -- growing like weeds! Susi is wearing a 6x most of the time, and even those are sometimes small on her. She's getting to be a tall girl. Luke wears about a 6 or 7...or whatever he wants to wear! He's got a flat backside, so he sometimes has problems keeping his pants or jeans up, especially when he runs around, silly boy! We continue to home school, and I'm thankful they are quick learners as this fall has not been on a regular schedule for home schooling. Now that I'm functioning better, we'll be going full force after the holidays are over. We do participate in our local home school co-op, and I love watching what they learn. They'll sit down with paints and combine colors to make other colors, talking about hues and tints and primary and secondary colors. They talk about textures and shading and all kinds of things that, as a non "artsy" person, I never fully grasped (or cared about). They'll talk quite a bit about drama and inflection and pantomime and all of that kind of stuff. Then the science stuff kicks in....last week, Luke looked at Susanna and said "My hypothesis is that Daddy kisses Mama on the lips all the time." Quick as a wink, Susi came back with "That CAN'T be your hypothesis because here is no way you can prove that happens all the time!" Okay.....Then there was the whole conversation about Peter and the Wolf and the different instruments and who they represented from the musical drama.

Luke is reading books by himself now and loves to sit and just read Peanuts cartoons. He'll read Susanna's AWANA book to her and work with her on her verses for the week. He's starting to add multiple numbers now and is slowly figuring out how to tell time...the one thing he's realized he isn't good at. And Susanna was thrilled to have read her first book all by herself last week! We've really struggled trying to remember the different letters in the alphabet and the sounds they make....until I started her on Hooked on Phonics. Wow, did she really take off then! And while she still doesn't remember all of the sounds without prompting, she'll sit down with her alphabet "cheat sheet" to remember what sounds each letter makes, then read thru the included books. She still insists she never wants to grow up, though.

We're also working on our Christmas program for this year, Dr. Newheart's Christmas Cure. The kids are doing wonderful, and we're looking forward to performing Sunday, December 19, during our second morning service. There are 44 kids this year! And at least 1/3 of them are first graders! This is also the last year our family is involved with the tiny Nativity, as Susanna is in kindergarten. She was thrilled to get the part of Mary, until she realized she has EIGHT lines to learn!

Well, that's what's going on around here...what's up with you?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Update

Just about a month ago, I had my knee replacement. It's hard to believe...I never realized just how painful pain could be. I never realized how much one surgery could totally drain one's energy. I never realized how much I took walking for granted.

Over the past couple weeks, my knee has been healing quite well and my physical therapist tells me I'm making great strides in my recovery. As I'm typing, I'm sitting cross legged, something he told me he's never seen a knee replacement patient do so soon after surgery, yay! Now, having my leg complely extended is another story.... I learned new words, or at least different meanings for words I already knew. Some of them I don't even remember right now...thanks, meds!

Bending my knee, I can get it to at least 135* or more. Therapists consider it great if one can bend their knee to 120* within the first month. My extension went from 15* to 7* in the past week. The goal is 0*, although that doesn't often happen.

However, with the great strides that I've been making in what I'm able to accomplish, my knee still reminds me there is alot of healing ahead. If I stand on it or walk around for more than 30 minutes, the knee (actually, my leg bone and the new joint) swells up....and I'm in major pain for the next 24 hours or so. If I sit up "regular" in a chair for more than an hour, the same thing happens. It's frustrating, having to do things in little bits and spurts.

I'm also walking quite a bit without my walker (although I haven't been "released" from my doctor yet, so I'm not supposed to!)...and I'm often walking with little to no limp. But...just as often, it feels like my knee is going to buckle on me.

Those who know me know that it's hard for me to just take things easy and go slow. And I often over do it, but I am very greatful to my friends who are still occasionally bringing us meals so I don't have to clomp around and find something to fix. I'm also very thankful for my friend Diane (Hi Diane! I know you'll be reading this soon!) who still comes over once or twice a week to help catch up laundry, vacuuming, dishes, and light cleaning.

It's also been hard not going in to the market ( lately, and especially on Pumpkin Party Saturdays. I miss them! But I also know that if I venture in, I won't be able to help myself with getting busy there and will regret it for days. Thanks, Barb and Andy, for taking care of things so well!

So...please keep up the prayers. And the encouragement. And phone calls. They are really appreciated. While I've made great strides, it's still a long road of recovery ahead. Oh yay.

Please also remember a friend's little girl, Cora (age 5), who messed up her leg pretty bad shortly after my surgery and is in a wheelchair right now. And the long list of others who recently also had knee/joint replacement or are soon going to.

Love ya all!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Hard to believe I've been home almost a week now! Okay, since my last update, here's what's been going on:

I was scheduled to go home from the hospital Sunday afternoon and was really looking forward to it! But I woke up Sunday feeling quite muddle-headed, really out of it. The nurses actually woke me at 8:00 and I fell asleep again only to have them wake me again at 10:00. As I was in the restroom a few minutes later, I started shaking on the right side, first my hand then arm then everything on the right side...couldn't talk without stuttering...and that quickly got worse, too. The nurse got me back to bed and then doctors started coming in. I couldn't stop shaking and the stuttering just got worse where I could barely speak...but I was thinking clearly (albeit wondering what in the world was happening to me). The internal medicine doctor came and told them to get me off all the narcotics and soon after a psych intern came and started asking me all kinds of questions. I fell asleep again, it was around 1:00, and when I woke up about two hours later, the shaking was gone and the stuttering was just about gone....then the head of the psych department came. Meanwhile, they had started me on two different pain meds, Celebrex (anti-inflammatory) and Tramadol (pain). I felt NO pain (still had pain with the narcotics). After a 30-minute or so talk with the psych guy, he told me it was one of three things: medication, anxiety, or trauma. Well, DUH! I asked him if HE thought I was crazy and he told me based on our talk, he believes I'm clearly sane (so THERE!)....and seemed to lean towards the meds.

It was scary...not knowing what was going on, wondering if I was having a stroke or worse. Thankfully, it does seem like everything cleared up when the meds were changed...and honestly, the new combo works much better. So much better in fact, that I overdid it that night. Tony and the kids came to visit, and before they got there, I took what to me was a long walk, sat in the chair for 90 minutes when they were there, then had that leg thingy on that bends my knee for me -- for over an hour at a pretty high angle. No pain...but then the exhaustion hit!

After having a good morning on Monday, the doctor confirmed that I could go home finally...I'd been there for a full week! It was a rough ride home -- 90 minutes in a pretty uncomfortable position but no way to get more comfortable. What I've come to realize even more this week is that this is going to be a loooooong healing process! It was good to be home, familiar surroundings, see the kids, and settle in. Thankfully, going down stairs is easier than going up, and I'm settled downstairs for a few weeks.

One benefit (?) to the pain I had in the hospital and problems with medications is that I was authorized to have home health care, so a therapist comes in three times a week and I have three nurse visits over the first two weeks I'm home. That isn't usual, so I'm very thankful to have it.

It's been a very humbling week for me. I didn't realize just how traumatic this would be to my body physically. While I don't have alot of pain any more, each day is getting better, the simplest things wear me out beyond exhaustion. I've been in tears many times because walking to the bathroom, a very short distance, makes me so physically tired. A few days, I've had to get lunch for the kids, and being on my feet for ten short minutes makes me hurt and tired beyond belief. The kids have been fairly understanding through this, but it's hard on them, too. By Thursday, we were all ready for a break, and I thank God for my home school friend Sara who called to see what I needed. I told her I need my kids out of the house, occupied, distracted, something! So she brought her twins (right between Luke & Susanna's ages) over the next day along with lunch. The kids went crazy, and she helped my dear friend Diane who had come over to help with house keeping. And overall, the kids have been doing well, trying to help, make me feel better, things like that. My first day home, Susanna spent two hours painting my nails...with literally 15 different colors. They're quite interesting.... She also loves to rub lotion on my feet and give me "foot massages." She's my "ice" girl, getting ice packs when I need them, and Luke is my "foot boy," helping put my foot on the couch or pillow when I can't lift it. They love to get me things to drink, and when I'm on my feet getting meals for them, they'll bring the food over to me since I can't get it myself.

My poor husband. He's been trying his best to keep up with general things around the house along with everything at the farm. There are times we go several days with dishes piling up in the kitchen...I can't walk without the walker, and I can't stand/move for any length of time, so I can't get the dishes stacked or unloaded from the dish washer. With my limited movement and the walker, I can't even get into the laundry room! Luke has been complaining that he's running out of clean underwear!

When Diane came over Friday to help clean, she took one look at my kitchen and said "well, I guess I'll be starting on the dishes!" Then she turned around and said "and the laundry as well!" She got so much accomplished, and between her and Sara, the house (or at least the basement...although I'm sure upstairs is good, too!) looks so much better. That helps me relax more, because I go crazy looking at the things piling up in the kitchen and on the carpet..then get up and try to do things and end up even more worn out! I'm also thankful for my in-laws who have done some grocery shopping for us, and my dear sister-in-law who brought McDonald's for us...and got some birthday presents for the party the kids are going to. Another sister-in-law brought me Chinese food today, yum!

Yes, I now realize my limitations, and I am going to push to the point of where my therapist thinks I should...but not beyond. There is no way I want to go thru knee surgery again any time soon!

I am thankful, too, for those who have been providing meals for us. Between three suppers brought to us each week and friends every once in awhile dropping by with lunch, it has really given me relief as I don't have to worry so much about taking care of meals for my family.

On a totally different subject, I am so thankful our pumpkin parties have been doing well. Last week, we had a record turn out for a non-MEA weekend (MEA is a weekend in Minnesota where all the schools are closed for three days; it is our busiest Saturday of the year). This week was even better. I ache wanting to be at the market, helping with the pumpkin parties, talking with customers, seeing my kiddos working in the wagon ride skits (yes, both of them are in the skit this year!). I miss seeing Tony playing the banjo, launching the pumpkin propeller, and just the crowds in general. But again, I am very thankful God provided us with such excellent employees. I started crying today when I talked with Andy Thompson, thanking him for all his work. Between him, Barb Melheim, Bria Wolff, and Joy Haataja, they've been keeping up with everything at the market, especially on Saturdays. Kelly Schanelic has been doing his usual wonderful job in the concession stand. With them working, I honestly am not worried about how things are going, if things are falling behind, whatever. They've been keeping up with everything wonderfully! And Tony has a great crew in the back, too.

Sometime in the next week, I'll try to start uploading some photos that have been accumulating over the past year. I'll also try to post photos of the lovely flowers I've received from my in-laws Paul and Lori, Al and Carla, Beth, and my friends Barb and Diane. We've got quite the collection going downstairs! Susanna has informed me that any flowers I don't want, she'll gladly take for me...and when I'm tired of the balloons, she'll gladly take those, too!

Thank you all for the continued prayers. Keep 'em coming...they're valued, treasured, and needed! I'm also not able to get emails right now as our main computer with the emails are if you send me an email and don't hear back, you'll know why!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Where things are now....

So Tuesday Tony, the kids, and I showed up at Sanford South (formerly MerrittCare) in Fargo so I could have knee replacement surgery. Pain had been pretty bad for quite awhile, leaving it close to impossible for me to walk at times. Surgery went well, and the nurses said that for ones, Dr. Nelsen did a very straight (but long!) cut. I was pretty out of it for most of Tuesday, but then the femoral block they did to numb the leg wore off about 3 a.m.....oh, the agony! I used to think I knew what a 10 was on the pain scale. Believe me, I had no clue! They gave me morphine and a few other things that helped some, and I did a bit of PT Wednesday morning, but then they gave me a second femoral block....and couldn't get the pain under control for the rest of the day. I had some major problems going on for almost all of Wednesday and most of Thursday, but they finally found the right combo of meds for me -- oxy cotin and percoset....but it knocks me out! I did find out though how effective it is....when I woke up at 3:00 am today to use the restroom -- no one wanted to wake me up to give me pain meds (she's sleeping peacefully!), so I had nothing in my system when I got up, OUCH!!!!! It took quite a bit of time to get the pain under control again!

Today, however, has been better. I've learned how to get into and out of the car (believe me, that won't be happening much for awhile!); walked about 100 feet (HUGE accomplishment!), did my therapy, and YAY! took a shower. All before noon. And I am exhausted.

I'm frustrated. How am I going to handle this when I get home? Just going to the bathroom takes everything out of me (haha). There are times I just cry from the are the kids going to be able to handle that? I can't even get UP to go to the bathroom by myself, because I can't lift my leg by myself. When they took out that second block, the front of my leg, from knee to ankle, went numb. They assure me that happens, and everything should be back to normal by bed time tonight. We'll see. Meanwhile, I honestly can't lift up my leg, even a fraction of an inch by myself.

People have asked about the food. It's surprisingly good. I can order whatever I want from the menu whenever I want. I had raspberry fritter french toast for breakfast this morning with crispy hashbrowns, yum! Yesterday, I had talapia with citrus butter, scalloped potatoes, and green beans....and for supper, I had toasted cheese with a tossed salad and oven-baked french fries. Earlier today, I had roast beef and gravy, some more of the really yummy scalloped potatoes and green beans. Oh, and for dessert, I alternate between lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and rainbow sherbet (which is a delicious night time snack! I'll have to have Tony pick some up so it's waiting for me at home...). Other options available are chicken alfredo, just about any kind of sandwhich you can imagine, several kinds of soup, roast turkey, hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, mandarin chicken salad, southwestern chicken salad, lasagna, stir fry, rotisserie chicken, and much more. Breakfast options include many kinds of hot and cold cereals, alot of fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, cinnamon or caramel rolls, build your own omlet, scrambled or fried eggs, eggs benedict, biscuit and gravy, and even more. So the food is actually quite delicious! isn't home cooking :(

It's been kinda lonely here. We live two hours away, so I haven't expected Tony and the kids would be able to visit. My good friends Chuck and Judy stopped by, though! They surprised me on Thursday. "Brownie" on Wednesday, but I didn't get to see her as I was getting the second block put in. i've had some phone calls, although there are times i'm just not retaining what I'm hearing (sorry!). Flowers from my dear sister-in-law Lori arrived to my room about an hour after I did.

Continue to pray for me. I battle with discouragement...not knowing how in the world we'll be able to handle things at home. We're going to need ALOT of help, not just meals and light cleaning. Help with the kids, I'm going to need help with every day things that I didn't expect I'd not be able to do. I'll be house bound for awhile -- even therapy will be coming to me for awhile. Pray for me, for pain and for me to heal quickly...but pray for the kids, too, that they'll be able to deal with all the changes that will be going on, that they'll be able to handle seeing me when I'm in pain...or when I'm zonked out. Pray for Tony that he'll be able to handle things, too, on top of all the farm stuff. And...DON'T LAUGH!...pray that I can get to the bathroom when I need to without too much pain!

Thank you all for your continued prayers. Please understand when I don't process other things you tell me right now. There is so much I'm trying to take in right now, and it's difficult. I know so much other stuff is happening, but I can't focus on it right now. It is hard enough focusing on one minute from the next with this healing and therapy. I can't handle much other stuff right now.

But on that note....I do want to say BIG congratulations to Tony's dear niece, Mary Joy, and her husband Jim, on the birth of their darling daughter earlier today! Paul and Lori are officially grandparents, and my in-laws are great-grandparents!!!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

So What's Going on NOW?!?!?!

Right now, I'm with my family in a hotel room in Fargo, about four blocks from Sanford South Hospital. Tomorrow I need to be there by 8:30 a.m. to be prepped for surgery...I'm finally getting a total knee replacement. It's hard to explain what the past few months, and especially the past couple weeks have been like. I sympathize much more with those who are in chronic pain. It is so hard to describe....I think of God's promise to us that in Heaven we will have a new sorrow. And I think that's part of why many of us go thru what we do -- so we don't get used to these broken down, sinful bodies we currently have.

For about the past week, if I stood for more than 5 minutes at a time, I was in agony. And last week, I was put to the test many times. Tuesday afternoon, I discovered our refrigerator stopped refrigerating (is that a word???). With as busy as Tony has been getting everything ready for the pumpkin parties, he realized he wouldn't have time to deal with it, so we called the local appliance shop Wednesday. It only took several calls before someone came out...the next day. It was pretty much shot as were several things inside that we didn't get transferred to his parents' fridge in time. Thursday, I also cleaned about a bushel of tomatoes and stuck 'em in the freezer so I could can spaghetti sauce after I'm back up on my feet. But...being on my feet cleaning them did a number on my knees. Friday I was in such pain my only plan was baking the cookies we needed for our first pumpkin party....after a long, hot soak in the tub to soothe my knees. Instead, I made the mistake of going into the kids' room for the first time in more than a week. YIKES! Two hours later, I headed back down, anticipating that long soak. I literally crawled in...only to hear a knock on the door ten minutes later. The new fridge that Tony picked out was being delivered without the promised call from the store warning us the men were on their way out. Rushed out of the tub, pulled out the condiments and bread that was left in the old refrigerator, cleaned off the top of it and all the kids' artwork hanging all over it...and they hauled it out...and I saw the floor and wall in the open space. So I got that cleaned up just as they brought the new fridge downstairs. After they left, it took about ten minutes to get the things into the fridge...and about 30 minutes to clean up the dirt, mud, and leaves from the delivery guys (okay, you know you would've done the same....regardless of the pain you were in!). But I also knew there was no way I was physically up to baking cookies now...and it was 4:00. Made a few calls, then prayed about it, and thank God the lady who runs our church kitchen, Theresa Henderson, was available and willing to bake cookies for me last minute!

I don't think I moved much after that except to finally crawl into the tub again...but when I checked email before falling into bed (about 1:00 a.m.), there was an email from one of my employees that she wouldn't be able to work the next day because she was sick. We were already short-handed, and I'd been hoping that I'd be able to be in just a short while, make sure everything was running smoothly, show the radio broadcaster around (we had a live feed our first pumpkin party), then head home...or at least sit for the rest of the day. Not to be! But...God once again provided with an employee who called me at 8:45 a.m. and said she could work all day! But then...our guy who runs the concession stand never showed up....he forgot about it being the first pumpkin party! So we were again short-handed, and except for about 15 minutes, I was on my feet all day.

I literally couldn't get out of the van when I got home with the kids Saturday evening. I cried, slumped over the wheel, for about 15 minutes before I had enough strength to get inside and collapse. Every bit in me was in agony. Even today, more than 48 hours later, I still hurt. Thankfully, though, I had a great massage Sunday afternoon by a local massage therapist, and my chiropractor worked me over good today. Needless to say, I am really looking forward to surgery in the morning!

During all this, you can tell the kids are unsure about everything that is going on. I've explained best I can what is going to happen, but I don't think their minds can quite grasp it all. Susi especially has been very antagonistic, horrible behavior, very aggressive. Luke has been chewing on his shirts. I do have to say, as I was slumped in the van Saturday crying, Susanna couldn't stop apologizing...made me wonder what she had done that she felt she had to keep apologizing! We have been listening to alot of praise music, and that's been helping us all. And Susi continues to entertain us while singing "Today is the day, You have made! I will rejoice and be glad in it! I won't WORTHY about tomorrow...." giving me a good chuckle :) Luke continues to be quite popular at home school co-op....there are usually several kids who clamor to sit by him, and I am meeting more parents who say "so YOU'RE Luke's mom!" And I think I mentioned before about Susanna's friend Jordan whom she introduces to everyone "This is Jordan. I'm going to marry him!" Good grief. What am I in store for????

So for now I'm going to sign off...get a good night's sleep...get ready for my new titanium knee. I'll try to update as soon as possible.....I can have my cell phone and laptop after surgery, not that I'll be doing anything with them for awhile afterward! Tony and the kids will head home after I'm in my room, and God willing, I should be released to go home sometime on Friday. And before you all start sending me comments, let me assure you....I WILL be taking it easy after surgery. I'm not planning on doing much beyond therapy and whatever the doctor tells me to do when I get home. I have a friend who will be coming in a few hours each week to do basic cleaning during October -- floors, bathroom, whatever needs done. And many others have volunteered to help with that, too. Our ladies' group at church has arranged for at least three meals a week for the first three weeks...and others have told me they're going to bring things by, too. I was hoping to get a few casseroles in the freezer this afternoon, not thinking we'd need to leave until tomorrow morning, but surgery was scheduled earlier than I there's nothing extra in the freezer, but I do have lots of home-canned goodies waiting, too! I am not allowed to drive for 4-6 weeks...and I won't be. I won't be at the pumpkin parties until at least our big one, October 23...and I will not be there if I am not up to it...and won't be there for the whole thing regardless.

Call me! Stop in and visit (but don't wait for someone to answer the door...I'm not climbing the steps to let you in!). Send me some mail. Take my kids for a few hours -- they'll need to get out of the house! But most of all, please keep me and my family in your prayers during this time!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Update! What is going ON with me???? (This is for you, Chuck!)

I've mentioned my good friend Chuck in the past. I love him and his wonderful wife Judy more than words can say...they're some of the sweetest people in the world. However, they are not on facebook (as many of my other dozen or so readers are), so they've not been keeping up with my quick and more frequent notifications that are easier to post on facebook! So...Chuck reminded me last week that it's been awhile (okay, two months) since I last did an update. Here goes!

Through out the years, I've had occasional problems with my knees. I remember as a scrawny, less than 100-pound teenager (wow, how things have changed!), my knee giving out on me on vacation and my brothers refusing to stand anywhere near me in photos because my legs were so bruised up. Well, my knees have finally given out. Starting in early July, actually during our county fair (which was during my last post!), my knees really started giving me problems. There were times I could barely get out of bed, let alone stand or walk much. I cannot even begin to describe the pain I've been in. I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic specialist who took x-rays and told me his wife's knees were worse than mine, and while knee replacement would have to be done, I was pretty young to have it let's get a cortisone shot, take four Motrin three times a day, and see my primary care physician to prescribe something for the stomach problems that would result. Oh, and get a custom knee brace made. That really infuriated me....yes, I'm young (well, compared to Chuck -- I LOVE YOU, CHUCK!!!), but did he even realize the pain? Did he realize that there are steps all through my house and that there is no getting around going up and down them several times a day (I mean ten steps going down from our bedroom to the dining/living/laundry/bathroom and six steps up from our bedroom to the kids' room which is sixteen steps from the dining/living/laundry/bathroom to the kids' room!)? Did he realize that I am on concrete pretty much all day when I'm at our market...which is pretty much where I am for 9 hours Monday thru Saturday from mid-May through the end of October? Did he realize that my bones not aligning and my knee cap shifting all over the place might not be as bad as his wife's, but it is a HUGE problem when my knee feels like it is going to bend...the opposite way that it is supposed to? And that I could feel my leg bones poking into my knee and my tush? to get a second opinion from an orthopedic in Fargo. Dr. Nelsen took one look at my x-rays and didn't even do movement tests on my leg...he told me he wanted to schedule me for full knee replacement as soon as possible; partial knee replacement wasn't an option, and he wants me off my feet as much as possible before then, the damage is so bad (yeah, like THAT'S going to happen...although I HAVE slowed down!). And seeing how I have NO cartilage in either knee and both legs don't have proper alignment, I will need to have both knees fully replaced. However, he is hoping that by doing the left knee right away (September 28), I can buy 2-5 more years before the right knee has to be replaced. His comment was that I am young to be having this done, but he can't begin to imagine the pain I'm going thru, that yes, I could delay surgery with cortisone and pain killers and a leg brace by MAYBE a year, but is it worth going through all that to delay for that long? NO WAY!

I have found that I tend to work through the pain and distribute it through my body without realizing it. A couple weeks ago, I finally broke completely. My entire body hurt just to breathe. I honestly wanted to die it was so bad. After sobbing for almost an hour, I called my dear friend Nicole who used to do massage...and she told me she would come over the next day and massage as needed. So, even though she had a friend visiting her from Florida, this dear lady came and did an almost two hour massage. I finally realized how long I'd been carrying the pain all over -- and have limited as much as possible what I am doing now.

My husband, God bless him abundantly!, has taken on many of the house hold chores on top of all his farming. And last Thursday he decided it's been too long since we've had cinnamon rolls at the market to sell (I've not made them since the end of July!), so he volunteered to make them for the Labor Day weekend. I'm still convinced it was partially selfish reasons since not only haven't we sold any...he's not had any to eat! I made up the dough and explained what needed to be done, and this sweet man went to work! At the end of it all, he thought maybe we should be charging more than what we are....but those rolls were GOOD!

Luke and Susanna have also been doing more things around the house. They already do so much to help out, but they're doing even more. Other than putting in the laundry detergent, they do all of the laundry -- putting things in the washer, transferring to the dryer and turning it on, and even folding and putting away the laundry. They continue to set the table and clear it off, help (sometimes) with making meals, and cleaning up. But yet, there are still things that don't get done and it bugs me...because I physically cannot do them and Tony doesn't have time to do them, and it's beyond Luke and Susi. So, if you ever stop in and visit, ignore the dirty floors that haven't been swept, vacuumed, or mopped for awhile -- I hired someone to come in last month and do them, but the daily wear and tear, especially with two little ones, a big one, a market to run, and the countless other things that need to be done, well, it isn't the cleanest place.

One of the many things I have learned through this all is an understanding of why some people are so difficult to be around when they're in pain. It is so easy to just snap and yell at people, only because the pain can be unbearable. And I've found myself doing that at times...but quickly pray that God helps me change my attitude. Because, I've learned, it IS a choice on how I'm going to deal with the pain I'm going through -- am I going to take it out on those around me? Or am I going to grit through it and realize they have no clue what I'm dealing with? And when it gets to be too bad, when I can't deal with the noise of kids or looking at the messiness of the house...I just go to my room for awhile, spend some time praying, reading, sleeping, or calming down by listening to music. I also know what I am going through is NOTHING compared to many, many other people out there....and I have no clue how they can deal with what they have to deal with. It has made me even more compassionate to what others are going through. After all, I see some of my friends -- one who has a two year old twin with a severely broken leg while she herself is pregnant...and has four others as well to take care of; one whose 10 month old baby is barely over 12 pounds and the doctors are doing countless tests to see what is wrong; others who are dealing with problems I cannot even begin to fathom, not just medical and physical but personal issues surrounding family and others. I see someone else who is close who is also young for the heart problems they are going through and the family supporting this person emotionally. And good problems are so minor!

Meanwhile, I'll update when I can...there are so many fun things going on with the kids -- like Susi who loves to sing "Today is the day, You have made! I will rejoice and be glad in it. I won't "worthy" about tomorrow, trusting in You today...." My kids continue to lighten each day for me (usually). Luke is reading and spelling and continuing his love of math. Susanna is more and more of a drama queen (good and bad!) each day. And Tony, ah, my Tony. He continues to rub Susi's feet when she plops them in his lap...and my back when I finally crawl into bed after wearing myself out enough where I can fall asleep without tossing and turning from the pain.

There are also other things going on -- I took Luke to the ER a couple weeks back with bad stomach pains. Even the doctor thought it was appendicitis and ran all kinds of tests on the poor kid. Thank God it wasn't, but she did run tests for four different tick diseases. Again, thank God they came back negative, but we still don't know why his blood count is off in many different areas and his lymph nodes are swollen (since January).

We're getting ready for pumpkin parties -- and a live feed from Q-FM for our first one on Saturday, September 25. And yes, I'll be at that one, but I'll be MIA from at least the next one and possibly/probably more beyond that. I'm learning to not only set limits on myself but to actually follow those limits!

Here's how you can help. Pray. I know that many of your prayers are what is helping me deal with what I'm going through already. Pray for the pain to be bearable, for a successful surgery, for a quick recovery (good will take a year to be fully recovered! although much less than that before getting around...but we're still talking serious time for recovery), pray that I don't push myself beyond what I should, both before and after surgery. Pray for the transitions that we'll be going through as we're also preparing to move into the farm house. I know God will provide for what we need, meals, child care, etc., through all this...He always does -- but pray that I'll not be freaking out with impatience as things get lined up for surgery. And pray that we can start our homeschooling and not get to off kilter thru this all!

And you know what? Another reason I love Chuck and Judy so much -- they've been through joint replacements, through major health obstacles, through so much...and Chuck still gave me his cell phone number with the admonition to call him whenever I need help! Oh, buddy, I appreciate you more than you know...what an awesome and genuine gesture that is....because I know you mean it! (wanna come over and scrub my kitchen and bathroom floor? I'm KIDDING!!!!)

So meanwhile, tomorrow is the annual canoe trip down the very crooked Straight River to LaMae's house...I'll be at LaMae's (unless I over do it at the market tomorrow...there are only two of us working the Market Monday and Tuesday), but I won't be canoeing. I'm gonna miss it!

I'm off for now...gotta work on payroll for our awesome employees and work on cleaning up the desk. Again, I'll update when I can, but it's hard to sit at the desk and type now. I have my laptop downstairs, but the keyboard has a mind of its own! I start typing things out and - poof! - it disappears!

If you're in the Fargo area September 28-October 1, pop in to Sanford South University Hospital (the old MeritCare on University) and tell me hi! They anticipate a 3-day hospital stay with surgery.

And there you have it......

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recent Observations Around Here...

  • Papa and Grandma arrived Tuesday afternoon, yippee!
  • We still have our Christmas cards hanging up.
  • A certain 6-year-old lost two bottom teeth in the past month. We're hoping the front top teeth don't even become loose until AFTER sweet corn season is done!
  • Children dressing like twins involves not only wearing the same thing on the outside, but both of them wearing boys' white briefs. Even though one is a 6-year-old girl.
  • God's blessings and goodness are so good....all the time.
  • No matter how tired you are, snuggling a child will bring a smile to your face
  • The strawberries this year taste better than I've ever had before
  • My Christmas window cling-ons are still up
  • Somehow, my 6-year-old is a whizz at math. He rattles off number problems almost faster than I can figure them out (2 and 2 is 4; 4 and 4 is 8; 8 and 8 is 16, 16 and 16 is 32, 32 and 32 is 64....3 and 3 is 6; 6 and 6 is 12; 12 and 12 is 24; 24 and 24 is 48; 48 and 48 is 86 -- okay, I know that last one is wrong, but he just hasn't figured out about carrying the 1 -- and this is all 100% self-taught)
  • My 5-year-old is motivated to work simply by reminding her that Papa and Grandma are coming and does she REALLY want them to see her room looking the way it does???
  • My husband will eat anything put in front of him. Almost.
  • The fair is incredibly busy this year....and it only opened yesterday!
  • God has blessed my husband with the wonderful gift of being able to grow just about everything; the other night for supper we had: our own chicken, our own baby-greens lettuce with our own strawberries sliced in; our own asparagus; our own tomatoes with our own basil (okay, the basil is grown by me), fresh mozzerella, and olive oil. It was delicious!
  • There aren't enough hours in the day...but even if there were more, I'd have 'em filled with too much to do!
  • God is too huge for my puny mind to fathom...but He loves me and spoils me! (Have any of you seen Rob Bell's "Everything is Spiritual? Or Louie Giglio (sp?)'s "The Awesomeness of God"? WOW! Blew my mind! Gave me a totally different concept of God!)
  • Watching fireworks with children for the first time is a great thing....even sparklers bring great delight!
  • A half dollar left under the pillow leaves greater joy than a dollar.
  • My little girl is growing up too fast.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Birthday Winners!!!

Okay, so I didn't post this on my birthday...I was busy celebrating with Tony and the kids...and recovering from the week before. All this baking of cinnamon rolls and sticky buns for the Market and farmers market is sucking all the sleep from my Thursday and Friday nights! But...Tony and the kiddos made up for it Sunday with a great birthday lunch at Khan's (Mongolian barbecue, yum!) followed by birthday "cake" (one left over 8x8 tin of rice crispies from the farmers market they put candles on) and, drum roll please....Tony cleaned up the dishes left over from all my baking the day before! What a sweetheart! I also got a gorgeous candle and a lovely compact brush...that Susanna thought would be hers because she picked it out...for MY birthday. I think not!

And today, two of my sisters-in-law, Beth and Lori, along with my niece Carrie took me to lunch at Seven Seas, the new Chinese restaurant in town. And other than the local German restaurant, that's about as ethnic as you can find for food here in Park Rapids! But there are some other great restaurants.

Oh, I'm getting off the point. But that's okay, since not too many people obviously have been reading my blog!

Here are the winners of Watkins' AWESOME new garlic pepper grinders:
Lilly -- first person to post a comment
Brownie -- June 3 winner
Amanda -- June 5 winner
Dorothy -- June 7 winner
Precious Grandma -- June 9 winner
Shannon Olson -- June 11 winner
Karen Overly Warnick -- June 13 (my birthday!) winner!

Congrats everyone! Please email me your address at to receive your prize! Of course, if you want to just stop in and see me and collect your prize that way, you're welcome to do that, too! I'll try to shoot you each an email, too!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Watkins Give Away!

Okay, because I am feeling guilty for not updating my blog as often as I should.....

because I have a new URL for my Watkins website (check it out at -- catchy, isn't it?)....

because I want to see if anyone is still following my poor, neglected blog...

and because I absolutely LOVE this new product...(Garlic Peppercorn Blend # 00533 Enjoy the fresh flavor of gourmet pepper with our new peppercorn grinders! These grinders have a unique design that will catch your eye and please your palette. Filled with our top-quality peppercorns, these disposable grinders are convenient and easy to use – just twist to grind. Enjoy the taste of freshly ground pepper on all your favorite foods, naturally! -- contains sea salt, peppercorns, garlic, onion, parsley, and oregano, YUM! There are also three other grinders available...look on my Watkins website under "Pantry" then "Grinders")
I am going to give away some of these brand new garlic peppercorn blend grinders from Watkins!
Here are the rules:
1. You must leave a comment on THIS blog (not just the facebook posting -- the blog link is
2. Tell me what you would use this on. We used it steaks, baked potatoes, and asparagus...oh, wow!
3. One entry per person, please.
4. You do not have to order anything to win, BUT if you DO order something thru my Watkins website or via email (if you live locally), you'll get an extra entry for every order you place.
5. Since I will be mailing/delivering the grinder myself, it doesn't matter where you can enter! However, if you want to place an order, I'm sorry...but Watkins only delivers to US and Canadian addresses as well as APOs.
I will give away a grinder to the first person who posts and one every other day (odd days, including today) until my birthday.....don't know when that is? Better get hopping! Know when it is? DON'T POST IT! (you have more than a week to enter starting......NOW!). Enter early and you'll qualify for every single will be picked from every entry posted thru the day I draw...
Check back in a few weeks to see a list of winners...if I have your email address, I'll contact you....otherwise, you'll have to contact me with your address.....
And seriously, folks, I don't expect there will be lots of entries, so you'll have a good chance of winning.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Life is CRAZY!

We had an early start to Spring this year, weather-wise, and it has caused my life to go on fast-forward....we opened our market early this year ( because everything was growing so quickly....and had slushy snow and freezing temperatures on opening day!

I'm still trying to catch up on getting everything ordered and in for the market, even though this is our third week open. I have our summer schedule drafted out for the employees...but have yet to share it with them!

And surprise, surprise! Home school takes more time than I'd planned, too! We had a flurry of co-op year-end events -- choir performance at the year-end celebration and graduation, picnic, rushing to finish US History and Science binders, and we've still got lots on our recommended reading list!

Awana finished in the midst of all this, too, and we had the year-end awards/ice cream party that everyone enjoyed.

The weather, after that first nasty week of cold, has been beautiful, and with everything else that really needs to get done, I took a break today and planted flowers at home -- a few more irises, wallflower (yeah, there really is a flower with that name!), alyssium, Jacob's ladder, bell flowers, snap dragons, salvia, dyanthus, fuschia, and a few others whose name I can't think of right now (they're really pretty though!). Also have lots of herbs in -- a whole bunch of cilantro (since I discovered a great salsa recipe consisting of just tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and whatever hot pepper you want to put in -- whirled in the food processor...YUMMY!), rosemary, and thyme. I have basil seeded but still have to transplant it. Now I just have some shade plants for the planter outside our front door and the sunny, sandy spot along the driveway to finish up -- along with our little home garden (tomatoes, onions, and orange watermelon are waiting to be transplanted, radish, carrots, and peas seeded. That'll wait until next week :)

Still trying to find time to do our big annual update on the market's website, guess I should at least do an update on the front page, hm? It does let everyone know we're open! And...Carter's Red Wagon Farm Market is on facebook -- follow us on there! It's quicker to update that with what's available and events coming up.

I did find time to pay the bills on Saturday...but still have to stick 'em in evelopes and mail them! Oops....

And again, in the midst of all this, there were extended family things, too. My sister-in-law Lori threw a lovely combined birthday party for all her sisters-in-law in the area...since four of us have birthdays within five weeks of each other. We also sadly said goodbye to Tony's sister Rita and her family as they headed back to the Philipines.

Tomorrow Luke and I head out to the Cities for a two-day sales trip for Greenstar -- the company I represent here in Minnesota whose products we buy (ALOT) for the market -- jams and jellies (pure fruit, sugar, and pectin!), salsas, snacks, Amish-made noodles and sauces, etc. I'll be making about a dozen sales stops during those two days.

It's also graduation time! And we make a point of trying to get to open houses of current and former employees (who invite us, that is!) -- this year there are eight former employees and one current employee graduating. Wow. Time sure does fly!

I'm also trying to keep up with my Watkins business, making scattered calls when time allows in the evenings and sometimes during the day. No parties scheduled for a few weeks, just because there is no time on my schedule to do any! But sales are going well, and I'm thankful.

On the farm, Tony has been crazy busy planting -- corn, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, and more. We've been picking and selling our own lettuce (several varieties) this year as well as asparagus. Thankfully, the frosty weather a few weeks ago didn't get any strawberry blossoms -- we should be having an early year for those, too! All of the calves have been born -- and all have survived, yippee! And if he doesn't do enough already, Tony has ventured into the chicken business with a friend. He has assured me that there are no eggs to collect (I love fresh eggs, but I don't want to go looking for them!) -- they're raising only pullets to fatten up then butcher and sell. Anyone want to put an order in for some fresh chicken now? It'll be ready in about a month or so....

I'm not even going to tell you about how horrid our house is...other than let you know I'm blogging right now rather than folding the five overflowing baskets of laundry that has been waiting to be folded for at least a week. Well, it isn't going anywhere! And the kids know where to go when they need clean clothes -- just this morning I overheard "I don't have any clean underwear!" "Luke, just go downstairs and get some from the basket." I'm a horrid mama, aren't I? It'll get folded tonight...I have to get some clothes packed for Luke and I -- and they're all in the baskets! (Plus, I have three hamperfuls of laundry to wash...and those full baskets of clean clothes need to be emptied so they can be refilled!).

I did get the kitchen floor swept last night...after Tony cut Luke's hair. Luke was happy but sad. He wants to grow his hair for Locks of Love to help the people with cancer who don't have any hair...but his hair was pretty long and is very thick...and full of tree sap from when he and Susanna tied their babysitter to the pine trees on Saturday. It's also tick season, and my boy loves crawling through bushes. Need I say more? He decided after it was cut that too much was cut off (I'll post pictures soon) -- and he wants some glued back on.

And my conscience is bugging me. I gotta go fold clothes. Or fix supper (okay, reheat left overs). Life is crazy busy...but I'm thankful for it!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Peter Pan -- Opening Night

One of the "stars" of the show

Christy...a little mermaid

Mother, Wendy, Nana, Michael, and John

aaahhhhh!!!! The Crocodile!!

Wendy and some of the Lost Boys and Peter

The mermaids, Peter, and Wendy

The pirates!

The indians

Indian maidens
The show was incredible. The children did an AWESOME job! I'm eagerly awaiting tomorrow's performance ... and hope to get a better picture of MY Indian as well as Tinker Bell, who had a stupendeous performance. These kids were incredible.
If you're within driving distance, join us Saturday at 1:00 at Faith Baptist Church -- adults are $3, kids are $1, children 5 and under are free.....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Susanna's Tea Party

Susanna is having a tea party and you are invited! She has created a special menu of tea as well as cookies made with chocolate chipmunks.

Please dress in princess outfits...and be prepared to eat small animals.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Look Out, Boys!

At the breakfast table this morning:

Susanna, who wanted some jam on her toast, handed the jar to Luke and, with a little simpering smile, said, "Luke, you have such big, strong muscles! Would you please open this jar for me?"

Whoom! Chest puffed out. Smile wider than the Grand Canyon. Arms thrown up and fists clenched in typical strong-man pose and Luke flexed those big, strong muscles.

Again, with that simpering little smile, Susanna reached over and squeezed Luke's wrist, yes, wrist, as she gushed, "Oh, Luke, you are SO STRONG!"

Whoom! Chest thrown out even further, smile completely engulfs face. "Yes, Susanna, I AM strong! I can open this for you. EASY!"

Twisting and turning. Grimacing. Muttering, "I think I need a can opener." Mama trying to stay out of it but feeling the pain. Reaching over and loosening it as he takes a breather.

Luke finally gets it open with a smile. Susanna....."You're my HERO!"

Look out, boys. She knows how to manipulate!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Luke's Jesus Meeting

For those who didn't see my facebook statuses earlier tonight, Luke called a family meeting tonight so we could talk some more about "Jesus and God stuff." He asked each of us when we asked Jesus into our life. He has also suggested a kids room where kids need to learn bible verses before they can go play. Talked Susanna into giving some of her carefully hoarded and guarded Easter candy for snacks (he gave up a lot of his, too), and he's running around saying he's a pastor kid and wants to tell everyone about Jesus every day! He got everything ready at the table -- got out chips and snacks and games (but ended up putting away the games so we could "just talk"), and had Susanna get out the rootbeer. He then gave everyone a piece of paper for notes, with "Name" written on each one and we were to write down our "real" name.

Here are some of the questions/topics/things that happened.

We started off with everyone taking a turn praying. When it was time for Luke to pray, he prayed "now I lay me down to sleep...."

He then asked each of us to recite our favorite verse and tell us why. Susanna started and said "Parents obey...I mean CHILDREN obey your parents in the Lord!" Reason? because God wants us to! Luke's verse? John 3:16 -- because Jesus was born in a manger and if you believe in Him, He'll throw you up in heaven. Susi chimed in, "but not right away, He'll wait until you die, first!" Whew! I was glad for that clarification!

Our next assignment/topic was to draw God. I told Luke I didn't know what God looks like, and Susanna smugly said that she did and was going to draw Him. When I told them that the Bible says that if we see the face of God before we go to heaven, we will die, Susi, without missing a beat, said "Well, I don't know what God looks like, but I think He has a beard!" Our new assignment was to draw something from the Bible. Luke drew Peter and John in a fishing boat and proudly pointed out the motor on the back of their boat. Susanna matter-of-factly told us that Peter was a sinner in the past even though he was God's disciple. Daddy drew Jesus calming the storm, I attempted to draw a lamb, and Susanna drew an angel with eyes all over him.

Our last topic, before painting volcanoes for tomorrow's history and science class (I'll be talking about Hawaii to our co-op class) was baptism and who has been baptized....and who wants to be baptized. Luke and Susanna have decided they want to be baptized...and Luke told us what baptism is and why we should be baptized (because Jesus died on the cross). Tony clarified things a bit for him.

Ya know, I sometimes wonder what kind of job we're doing as parents. How much is sticking with the kids. I had lots of reassurance in several of the sessions I sat in at Mache -- suggestions and advice from the "experts" are things we've been doing. There were many other things that I learned that we'll be putting to use, but tonight was just that extra reassurance....yeah, my kids are learning and retaining and wanting to tell others about God.

On the other hand....Tony found Susanna stomping around in manure at the farm today. Why, when it's so stinky? "Because I like to smoosh!"

I love my family!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Watkins original Gold Medal

I headed to Rochester for the annual Mache conference (MN Association of Christian Home Educators). Looking forward to attending Friday and Saturday....but I made a side trip on the way...going about 45 minutes past Rochester to Winona, home of the Watkins headquarters. I was priviledged go have a personal tour of the offices, the manufacturing plant, and the museum. Wow! It really was incredible. JR Watkins bought the land and built the original building in 1911 for what was then $3.5 million, sparing no expense. There are beautiful stained glass windows, marble all over, and they had state of the art technology all over. Watkins was one of the first companies ever to use computers, to have high end office equipment, etc. And yet, while JR spared no expense, he was also cost conscious, and the company continues to be. Last year, they upgraded the extract equipment -- what they use to bottle and label the extracts -- the line can now do 90,000 bottles each day....up from the 30,000 it used to do....on the equipment that was replaced...originally installed in 1942!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Whose Child IS This?!?!?!?!

So tonight at supper, out of the blue, Susanna starts on one of her stories. We never know if they are true (like the frog in the bathroom -- TRUE!!) or imagined (I remember when I was at Disneyland and saw all the Disney know, when I was still in your tummy...." -- IMAGINED!! although I had been to both US Disney parks several times...before we were even married) or half and half (way too many options to choose from)....but this one, I'm still laughing!

Mama, when we were at the Blakes (cousins) on Saturday, I did something and they told me I had to take a time out on the couch, and I DID but...but....Mama, (with a look of total confusion and lack of understanding on her face), Mama, the cousins don't LIKE having their tushies peenched! And they told me I had to sit on the couch and then Aunt Rita said well we'll ask David and Uncle David said that I had to! But Mary hit me when I peenched her tushie, so she had to sit on the couch, too, but for NINE MINUTES!

I couldn't hold a straight face. Neither could Tony. And that set Luke off, too...while Susanna continued to look perplexed over why someone wouldn't want their tushie pinched (even though she hates it...but it doesn't stop us from...okay, I won't continue that sentence. You all might think she got the idea of "peenching" tushies from us or something!). I did manage to ask through my laughter and almost tears, "Um, Sus, are you going to peench any more tushies?" "Oh no, Mama!"

But I give myself credit. Before bursting into laughter, I did issue a stern warning that tushie "peenching" is ONLY for people in the same family.....

And I still don't know if this is true, imagined, or half and half. I'll have to call Rita in the morning.....

My Final Hawai'ian Sunset....

It was incredible seeing these sunsets...God's creation is marvelous!

The Dolphins

These are photos from the dolphin tank at the next-door Hilton...VERY cool!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Carmen Mir

our group, Deb Jay, me, Keith and Karen, Annette and Adrien


Adrien and Annette

Barb and Clem Birch, gold executives

Karen Hagen
Steve, our travel agent, and Lynn Zielke from Watkins who arranged this all!

The Hagen Group, Adrien and Annette, Deb Jay, me, Karen and Keith Hagen


Keith and Karen Hagen

Sunsets and Signs from Around the Island