Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Dear Blog: March 2017

Dear Blog,
March was a really busy month for us. Sooo many things! Here are just a few of the highlights:


The first big event was for this guy. He received his first new knee! 

Just as Dean was being wheeled into surgery, I got a call from Angela's school. She told them "My ammonia is too high. I need to go to the hospital."
Umm what? We fixed her liver already! But there was that aspiration pneumonia back in Feb. 
So much to the annoyance of Dean's surgeon, I left that hospital, drove to Angela's school, picked her up to bring to the UofM Children's hospital, where we discovered she was right! Her ammonia was elevated. WHY???? Why when we had already fixed her liver? I brought her home where
a friend met me to stay with her, and I was back to Dean's hospital just as he was being moved from recovery to a room. WHEW! Still...we were going to need to investigate this ammonia business. 

Last month I got my Sous Vide. I started eating steak 
almost daily. LOL Let me tell you, these are THE MOST AMAZING steaks! 


My dear friend, and author, Barb Althoff published a sign language book last year.
She was getting ready to publish the second and had several of
her former students help with the photo dictionary at
the back of the book. In this pic, Axel is signing "calendar". 

Working on our scrabble wall. 
Since I am queen of unfinished projects, I'm hoping
to have it completed by February 2018. ;-) 

Angela, back in the hospital to discover the reason for her high ammonia. 
It was discovered the patch put in 11 months before had opened a bit, 
allowing too much blood to escape from her liver. That means it couldn't get
filtered correctly, causing her ammonia to go up again. From here we 
scheduled another repair that would happen a few weeks out.

Dean and his twin brother Dave 
celebrated 60 years on this earth! 

Some days the hallway time-out spot was 
a  high traffic area. 

That medication distribution system
that I put together last month? Done! 
It is the most organized cabinet in the house. 

Kat is always nearby to keep my company.

See! Always close. 

Angel and Axel attended a performance
by Highland Friendship Club members. Just above
Angela's head is our good friend Katie, who was 
in the performance. 

I joined the rest to world waiting
for April the Giraffe to have her baby. 

March was a busy month. 
Thankfully Audrey was well rested!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Dear Blog, February

Hi Blog!

Can you believe it? Three posts in a row. I'm on a roll! In my attempt to catch you up on our life, here are February 2017's highlights:

Me, February 1, 2017


He wasn't sick. He had a pre-op exam in preparation
for his first knee replacement.

Axel celebrated his friend Daniel's birthday.

Amos had a pre-op exam too.

He had been with us 18 months at this point. We thought
his front tooth was just missing. Then one day, it came through! 
At 12 years old!

We picked up Axel's tux. He was very pleased with how
he looked. 

Male bonding moment: Helping Axel dress for the prom.

So handsome! 

These two, ready to go!

For the first time in all his parenting years,
Dean was in charge of doing valentines.

Amos had an MRI, ABR (hearing test)
and got his teeth cleaned. 

We had a few warm days, thrilling Asher
who likes to spend his spare time high
up in the trees. 

Cat continued to nap.

Angela had a dental emergency. 
Note her horrible color? Something is brewing...

I discovered cooking with the Sous Vide method.
BEST.STEAKS.EVER!

Remember that bad coloring? 
She had aspiration pneumonia again. I had my suspicions about her swallow
and this confirmed it. But why? Why now?


I decided to white-wash the brick
in the living room! I loved the look once it was done,
but I will never take on that type of project again. LOL

Rain in February. Amos LOVES rain!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Dear Blog, January was busy

Dear Blog,

I know it was a long time ago, but I'd like to catch you up on the past year. I mean, I've left you in the dark for so long, and so much has happened. Here are the highlights of January, 2017:

Me, on January 1st, 2017


Kat the cat (who joined us in August 2016) was usually found
keeping my neck warm. This is her favorite place to lay.

My extended family celebrates Christmas in January.
This year we were only missing two of our boys! Rob and Aaron
weren't able to join us. We missed them! It was great to have nine
of our kids together at one time! 

Audrey finally learned to smile for the camera! 
(sadly, this skill was short-lived.) 

Angela got her dress for the
upcoming Tim Tebow Night To Shine prom.

And Axel picked his first Tuxedo! 

Angela and Axel spent a lot of time with friends,
attending dances and other great events.

Axel took a cooking class where he learned
10 different ways to cook eggs! He really enjoyed the class. 

Axel was really busy this month, and played 
adaptive floor hockey too!

I made another attempt to get our 
medication distribution system under control. This one 
finally worked. 

Angela enjoyed another season with her
adaptive cheer team. 

These boys...So handsome!

These two waiting for the bus. Audrey is not 
a fan of being bundled up.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dear Blog,

Dear Blog,

Do you remember me? We've really been strangers the last couple of years, haven't we? A short visit here and there, coffee in hand, then off I go again.

I can't tell you what made us grow apart. Maybe it was our busy life? I mean, that would be totally expected given we have 6 active kids in the house, right? I'm pretty sure most of the reason is related to chemo brain, and my own inability to keep my thoughts organized, or to even keep the thoughts at all since my attention span is exactly zero now.

Don't think I haven't thought of you often! Oh yes, I have 50 or so blog posts in draft form. Yes, I came to visit but couldn't quite make it through the door to talk to you. I have had plenty of stories to bring you, I just can't seem to get them into written form. I try. I fail. I walk away.

I miss you, my blog friend. I miss pouring my heart out to you. I miss telling you the adventures of our kids, and our family. I miss telling you about the milestones that have happened, and there have been many!

As 2017 comes to an end, I want us to try again. Will you take me back? I can't promise I'll be perfect, but I'm going to try my best. 

Friday, October 06, 2017

Breast Cancer - Awareness and all that

October is Breast Cancer awareness month. It is also Down syndrome awareness month, which we celebrate all month long here. But breast cancer? Yeah, not celebrated quite so much.

In the next few posts (because I intend to write a few. Getting them posted may be a whole different thing. LOL) I am going to tell you about my true feelings about breast cancer, where I am mentally and physically. These posts may give you the impression I am a survivor basket case. Before you read any further  I  need you to know I don't spend my days wallowing in a pit of "Oh my God,  I had breast cancer. Poor me!" It is just here with me. Every day. Every single day. This month I'm going to show you why. 

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Seeing change: First Day of School Pics

I love looking back at our annual back to school picture! So fun to see the changes in our family. Some of the changes are bittersweet, like the loss of our pets, or a move. Most of the changes are fun to see, like addition of pets (if only I could get my cat to "stay") or kids!

First day 2008


First day 2009


First day 2010

First day 2011

First Day 2012

First Day 2013

First Day 2014

First Day 2015 
(also known as the year Amos was new and wouldn't stay turned around! LOL)

First Day 2016

And FINALLY!!!!
FIRST DAY 2017