Have you ever really had a silent night? Last night about 5am we woke up and realized we had no electricity. It is amazing how quiet the night can be when the normal night sounds cease. No refrigerator running, no furnace running, no heater in Kayla's room running...just complete and total silence other than the tick tock of the battery operated clock. There was enough of a moon and lots of white snow to reflect it so that we could see outside and it was beautiful...pristine and white. Granted, by the time the electricity had been off for a few hours the silence was rather overwhelming and the cold was starting to set in, but for a few hours, while the house was still warm and all was quiet it was indeed a silent night...and it was beautiful.

date December 24, 2009

of all the goodies we have made this Christmas. Sour cream cookies (twice), fruit chews, almond tassies, caramel tassies, seasoned crackers (twice), fruit loop bars, dipped pretzels, dutch almond bars. Gee, no wonder my pants seem a little tight this time of year :)

date December 20, 2009

Many years ago, I was 6 years old I believe, my Sunday School teacher gave me this little plastic Nativity scene. It was given to me when we still lived in Ireton and it was always displayed in our house at Christmas. When I grew up and got married it came to my house and has been displayed every year in my house. It has been broken several times over the years, one side is missing and it currently needs to be glued back together now. But the funny thing is, this cheap little plastice Nativity is my favorite of all the Nativity scenes I have (six total) simply because it is so old and something from my childhood. A small connection to where I spent the first six years of my life? Maybe, but I couldn't tell you the name of the person who gave it to me. I think it is mostly my favorite because it tells the story and meaning of Christmas so simply and completely. Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus...the story is there in cheap plastic that has lasted 37 years. Sometimes the simple things are the best.

date December 6, 2009

I look at this picture and it amazes me...I have three grown children! When did that happen? As I sit here typing this the house is empty except for me and my honey. Brian is in Lawrence and Becky is in Vermillion and Kayla is in Laurens. When we first moved to this house it was the perfect place for us...big enough for three kids to run around, a big yard to play in and room to grow. Now when it is just the two of us at home it seems empty and too big. Wow, I never thought that would be the case, especially when all three were home and fighting with each other!
I know my kids are grown or almost grown but it doesn't really hit you until you see it in living color right in front of you. Time flies when you are having fun I guess and time did fly. I could say I wish they were little again or that I could go back in time and raise them again, but I don't wish those things. I loved raising them, and that job is not done. I do miss the babies they were, the first smiles and first steps, but just think of all the firsts I still have to look forward to! The high school and college graduations,the weddings, the grandchildren, the houses they will live in where I can visit, the holidays with their spouses and kids all gathered around. So many things and events I have enjoyed over the last 21 years and so many things and events I still have to look forward to. Yes, it surprises me that they all look so adult in the picture, after all, you don't notice that when you see them all the time, but it is so worth what we have been through and what we have yet to come. Life is good in the Josephson household :)

date December 4, 2009

Gobble gobble up the food is what we did! Thanksgiving was a great day full of good food, good conversation and lots of laughter. Nothing is more fun than getting the whole family together for a day...it is amazing how much laughing and teasing and talking can go on. Anna and Amanda told jokes, Jeff teased everyone, and not a single person went home hungry. It was a good day.

date November 27, 2009

He gets his ears from his dad...one is slightly bigger than the other. He gets his long eyelashes from his mom. He gets his big feet and hands from his Grandpa F. He gets his stubbornness from his Grandpa J. He gets his love of trying new cooking ideas from his Grandma F. He gets his love of books from his Grandma J.
This boy whose hair curls when it gets long, whose brown eyes makes the girl's hearts melt, whose sense of humor leans towards the macabre side, whose intelligence and desire to learn never stops. This boy who helped make kids who were severely burnt forget their troubles for a week of camp, this boy who has had more girlfriends than a mother cares to count, this boy who has dimples when he smiles. This boy who is, was, and always will be a "mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma". This boy is 21 years old today.
My little boy is all grown up but he will always be my little boy. He will always be the one who wanted to "pick our house up out of the dirt and move it". The little boy who was sure daddy could get him the moon because daddy could do anything. The little boy who wanted me to "turn off the switch" on the sun when it was shining in his eyes. The little boy who first drove a tractor by himself at 5 years old. The little boy who could write his name at 2 1/2 years old. The little boy who stole my heart with his big brown eyes and sweet grin.
The day he was born I thought I couldn't love him more than I did at that moment. I was wrong...

date November 9, 2009

It amazes me what my kids have taught me.

I am supposed to be the teacher and impart my wisdom of the world on them, give them the knowledge to succeed in this world, teach them how to do things and how to survive.
Yet I am the one learning from them...they are the teachers.
Brian has taught me about politics. Before his interest in them I simply voted for whoever the Democratic candidate was. I didn't pay attention to who was running or what they were saying. Brian taught me to listen to them, ask questions of their beliefs and theories and then make an informed decision.
Becky taught me how to dress. Somehow I fumbled through wearing jeans and sweatshirts for most of my life. Then Becky became the fashionista and now I can wear skirts and tights and pretty sweaters with confidence. I know how to dress for work and for play.
Kayla taught me about music. I used to listen to music and there were songs I liked to hear and sing. Now I can listen and hear all the different instruments and separate voice parts. I can appreciate the music for what it is, not just how it sounds.
All three of them of course taught me to laugh and love and cherish every second of every day. I knew how to do those things before they came along, but seeing them and talking to them just reminds me how important it is to enjoy every day I am given.

date October 27, 2009

I have been reminded that Becky did this look first...and for those of you who haven't seen the movie, this is the Joker from the last Batman movie (he was insane). I have some really strange kids :)

date October 19, 2009

How would you like to be a little camper during the summer and have this be your counselor? Every week at camp the counselors dressed up according to the theme of the week...this was Brian one night and I am told it freaked out a few of the kids. Freaks me out!


The girls and I went to Des Moines yesterday to see the musical "Wicked". Becky had seen it in Chicago but it was new to Kayla and I. The story is about Glinda the good witch and Elphaba the wicked witch of the west...the witches from the Wizard of Oz. It tells their story before Oz...they met each other in school and in the beginning hated each other. They were roommates and Elphaba could do spells and has green skin (because her mother drank too much green elixer while pregnant with her) while Galinda (she later dropped the Ga from her name) was popular and pretty much in love with herself. They sing one of my favorite songs from the play when they meet "What is This Feeling? (Loathing)" but later become best friends. Glinda even tried to help Elphaba after she became the wicked witch, kidnapped Dorothy and everyone wanted to kill her. There are hints in the dialogue about the Wizard of Oz play so it really ties them both together. In the end you find out a surprise about the Wizard and Elphaba...and the Wizard...he had a huge talking face that was incredibly loud and lite up...it was awesome! The songs are fantastic and the actors were wonderful. I was completely impressed by the scene props too...granted I am used to seeing high school plays, but the props were amazing...the flying monkeys actually flew! One of the last songs Glinda and Elphaba sing together is "For Good" which is the song that Becky and Haley sang at swing show last year...another of my favorites and it was especially neat to hear it sung by professionals in the musical. We had a great time watching the musical and also had some interesting moments on the car ride there and back! It was a great musical and a terrific day for all of us.

date October 18, 2009

Since it has been raining and/or snowing for a solid week now very little has been done in our fields for harvest. Therefore I have a cranky husband and I am getting that way myself. So...here are some good things that make me happy...things to think about and remember when I look out the window at all the precipitation :)

Listening to Kayla practice her bass clarinet for All State auditions.
Knowing I get to take my girls to see "Wicked" on Saturday.
When Brian calls just to talk and update me on his life.
Talking and laughing with my co-workers...they are quite a bunch!
The cool weather...means I get to wear all my favorite sweatshirts.
Snuggling under homemade quilts with my honey.
The smell of pumpkin pie baking in the oven.
Watching all 8 of the cats come running into the garage in the morning when I open the door...they are hungry!
Knowing Brian may be coming home in two weeks...after being gone for two months.
Unexpected emails and phone calls from friends.
Knowing that eventually the harvest will happen, God will stop the rain (after all, I remind Him every day that it needs to stop!) and in a very short time I will be wishing for rain instead of snow!

date October 15, 2009

Please welcome to the field the Marching Chargers under the direction of Drum Major Kayla Josephson....sounded really great from the loudspeaker! Today was Algona Band Day and the L-M marching band was one of the contestants. Sadly though, to put it in Kayla's words, it was an "epic fail". Some of the kids didn't want to be there and it was pretty obvious...but the drum major was fantastic! :)

In my opinion if a kid is going to go out for an extra-curricular activity, such as band, then they need to give that activity the attention it deserves. If these kids don't want to be marching then why are they in band? Granted I am used to Kayla, who gives 150% in band so I can't compare the other kids to her, but still! Why ruin something for everyone just because you don't really want to be there? Kayla was pretty disappointed in how the band performed, as I am sure were some of the other members. I think if you are responsible enough to join then you need to be responsible enough to do your part to the best of your ability at all times.

Anyway...they performed 6 songs...all from the band Queen. There are only 27 kids in the band so they weren't terribly loud, but they did sound good anyway. The marching was a little sloppy, but they looked sharp in their uniforms! It was fun to watch Kayla leading them...she had to make up a salute and did a great job of it. She also conned Becky into coming home to "watch" and then got her to go on the field and set up her stand :) (Becky then conned Haley into helping her too!) We watched the other three bands competing against the Marching Chargers and I wasn't all that impressed with the first two...but the last band was really good. They played three of the same songs that L-M played...crazy coincidence! It was a little chilly in the stands, but fun to watch. Unfortunately they will not be competing next year so this was our last chance to see them. We had a good time and Kayla did a super job!

date October 3, 2009

Things I have control over:

The cleanliness of my house
Whether or not my bed is made in the morning
What I watch on television
How I spend my free time
How I spend or save my money
The people I choose to spend time with
How I spend my life

Things I don't have control over:


I have the right to tell them what I want them to do, but they have the right to do what they want, even if it is different than what I want. All four of them are adults (or darn near to it) and are perfectly capable of making their own decisions...and mistakes. The only control I have over these people is my ability to pray for them in whatever way and for whatever reason I want to. I have the control to pray that God will give me the strength to accept the decisions they make. I also have the control to love them, regardless of what they may or may not do. What more control do I need? None.

date September 27, 2009

"It must be so quiet at your house now that you only have one kid at home, and really quiet when she is away!"


Just this afternoon I had the washer and dryer going in the office, the dishwasher going in the kitchen, the television and vacuum in the living room and the air conditioner was cycling on and off.

Just because your kids leave doesn't mean the house will be quiet! Just a different kind of noise will fill it :)

date September 12, 2009

Brian was down with the flu...not just any flu, the H1N1 flu. University of Kansas had 197 diagnosed cases as of Wednesday and Brian was one of them. Nothing was really done for him, he was just told to stay in his room and rest until he felt better. Once the fever broke he was no longer contagious so he was happy to feel better for the weekend. He had to miss classes and email all his professors for assignments so at least he had homework to do once he started feeling better.

Becky is still in the "finally free from my parents" stage of college life. She doesn't call home, she doesn't stay home for very long when she comes to visit, which Kayla hates. I remember Brian being the same way the first few months he was gone to college...now he calls home frequently and visits are longer and more talkative. Becky will get there, she just has to spread her wings a little first.

Last night was the first night for Kayla to be the "front man" for the marching band...a.k.a. the drum major. She has been practicing her salute for months and even figured out how to twirl a baton. I asked her how the band performance was and was told "amazing" so apparently everything went well. I am looking forward to going to Homecoming to watch her...and of course take a lot of pictures!

date September 5, 2009

Kayla is 16.
Kayla can drive by herself.
Kayla is a junior in high school...the 11th grade.
Kayla is taking Basic Comp, Spanish III and Chemistry.

All of these are simple facts about Kayla. Yet I am unable to wrap my brain around them. How in the world did this happen? I can look at her and see she is grown, I can listen to her talk and hear that she is grown. Yet I find it impossible to believe that it is reality.

Now I am not saying this just because she is growing up. I honestly have a difficult time with these facts and realizing that they are indeed facts. Yes, she is the baby of the family, so that may be part of it. Yes, she is the only child living at home so I tend to "baby"her more. But in my head, while I know she is older and wiser and well on her way to leaving for college in a few years, I cannot make myself understand how this all happened so suddenly. I understood when she was 15 and in 10th grade and driving with a school permit. I understood when she had to be taken everywhere she wanted to go. I understood when she was taking English, Spanish II and Biology. Why can't I understand that she is now a year older and more advanced? Why do I struggle with this so much this year? Why suddenly now? Why?

date August 28, 2009

Today is my mom's 70th birthday. Having two daughters of my own I think I have a pretty good understanding of the relationship between mothers and daughters. I am lucky enough to say that we are past the stage of her really being the authority figure in my life, she has now moved to the friend figure. Granted, if she tells me to do something I still do it, but now it is more out of respect than just the fact that she is mom. I find it hard to believe she is 70 as she sure as heck doesn't act her age...which is a good thing. The past years she has had some hard times, some good times and some questionable times...but through it all she has been my advisor, my chauffeur, my doctor, my cook, my bank, my #1 fan and my rock. I love my mom and hope to celebrate many more years with her. Happy birthday mom!

date August 26, 2009

We got Becky all moved into the dorm at USD today...she had to be there a week early to start marching band. She had a lot of stuff to take and suprisingly it all fit! She seemed a little nervous about all of it, but I am sure once she makes some friends and gets involved she will have a great time. She went to the bookstore and got most of her books, there were two that weren't in yet so she will have to go back in about a week to buy them. The worst part of her day was parting with the money to buy the books! Dan and I took her for a little ride around the town so she could get an idea of where things were and she will have to walk around campus to find where all her classes will be. It wasn't too hard to leave her behind, she was ready to put all her stuff away and didn't need mom and dad in the way...so now we are a three person household...crazy!

date August 25, 2009

Got Brian all moved into his dorm yesterday...took us 7.5 hours to get there but only 6.5 to get home. Apparently I travel faster without Brian! His dorm room is big compared to normal dorm rooms, he is on the 7th floor and has a nice view of the campus. The main building where he will be having most of his classes is quite aways away, so he will have to ride the campus bus or drive and take a chance of finding a parking spot. In the time it took him to walk into the dorm, get his room key and find his room he met 4 people...no worries about him making friends! He is excited to be there and anxious for classes to start so that made leaving him a little easier...although I don't like that he is so far away. Thanksgiving break can't come soon enough for me!

date August 18, 2009

Hail can be a powerful thing. Dan and I went to Wall Lake to see what damage there was after the hail storm the other night and it was bad. Bean fields that you couldn't even tell were supposed to be growing beans. Corn fields with nothing but stalks left standing and open ears of corn barely hanging on. Even the weeds in the ditches were stripped and bent over. Almost every house in town with windows facing west had plywood over where the windows used to be. A metal quonset had so many dings in the west side it looked like someone had purposely taken a hammer to it and made a pattern.

Summer storms can be rough. All those people with damaged homes will have to wait until their insurance companies can come assess the damage and then get them a check before they will be able to have glass to look out of instead of plywood to look at. The farmers are worse off than anyone, the crops are destroyed in the field and no amount of crop insurance is going to cover what could have been a great harvest. But money is not the only thing the farmer is losing. It is not even the most important thing they are losing. The farmers are losing the joy and satisfaction they would get from harvesting a crop they worked so hard to grow. Not many farmers I know are in the business just for the money, they are in it for the love of tending the land and growing the crop and then harvesting all their hard work. One summer evening weather came and took it all away. Amazing the power of the sky.

date August 14, 2009

Brian, almost 5 years old, was disappointed. His mom went to the hospital and brought home a baby sister. He already had one, why did he need another? A brother would have been preferred. Becky, 2 1/2, was pretty much oblivious to the whole situation. Mom and Dad, 26 and 32, didn't care if this baby wore blue or pink hand-me-downs, they were just happy it was a healthy baby. Sixteen years later everyone seems to have adjusted to the new addition.

Kayla Jean, born at 4:45 pm, approximately, the doctor forgot to look at the clock when she was born. Weighing in at a whopping 9 pounds 3 1/4 ounces and 20 inches long. Exactly one pound bigger than her brother and over a pound bigger than her sister. From the moment she was born Kayla was the quiet one, seldom cried. Little Kayla, who wouldn't talk to anyone but her mom until she was 3 years old...except to say "cracker please" every time her daddy was eating them.

Kayla at 16 is still the quiet, shy one. But she is also the wild, loud one when the situation calls for it. Kayla at 16 is the total band nerd playing 3 instruments and wanting to learn more. Kayla at 16 is still the baby of the family and always will be. Kayla at 16 is the image of her Grandpa Josephson...if you are going to do something do it perfectly or don't bother to do it at all. Kayla at 16 is timid and boisterous at the same time, shy and outgoing, self-conscious and egotistical. Kayla is a wonder of life...Kayla is Kayla.

The little girl who didn't walk until she was 16 months old now runs in cross country. The little girl who was too shy to talk to her preschool teacher now is involved in speech. The little girl who would eat almost anything could now live on chocolate. The little girl who had one best friend in elementary now has lots of friends to hang out with. The little girl is now an almost-grown girl.

Kayla was, and still is, a mommy's girl. A near constant shadow following me. But she has grown into a person who has skills and interests different than mine, she still follows me and still wants to be around me, but at 16 she is her own person. A wonderful, talented, gifted, skilled, beautiful person who leaves a lasting memory with everyone she comes in contact with. This quiet, shy little girl now has the courage to do more than she ever thought she would be capable of. Music is her life and someday she wants music to be her career.

There were times that I made mistakes while raising Kayla. There were times that I thought things couldn't get better than they were at that moment with her...but then they did. There were times I thought that things couldn't get worse with her...but then they did. At all these times my thoughts were the same...God gave me this child to raise and until the day He calls her home again she is mine to love and take care of and I will do the very best I can while I have the opportunity. That counts for all three of my kids...while I have them on loan from God I will take care of them best I can. Kayla may be nearly grown at 16, but as long as I am around she will always be my little girl. My quiet, shy, outgoing, loud, incredible little girl. Sweet 16...sweet memories and sweet times to come.

date August 6, 2009

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Jon and Kelly's house on the lake of Lost Island. We were there to celebrate the 70th birthday of Nola. The whole family was there...Linda, David, Jacob (Jonathan had to work), Marc, Les, Mindy (and boyfriend Rusty), Devin (and fiancee Jacqulyn) and of course all of my family...although Brian could only be there for a couple of hours since he had to get back to camp. We spent the day just being lazy and watching the waves on the lake..and eating lots and lots of food. The kids went tubing behind the boat and swimming in the lake. It was just a day of relaxing and celebrating the big birthday. Kayla decorated a cake...her new passion when she is not playing one of her instruments :) It was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

In the morning I got the chance to see a friend I have not seen since we graduated high school together...24 years ago! We met in the park at Albert City and spent a couple of hours catching up with each other's lives. She lives in Cedar Rapids now and has two kids ages 16 and 19...but they now live with their dad in Lebanon. It was so nice to talk to her somewhere other than Facebook :)

date July 26, 2009

Brought Kayla home from band camp, or as we affectionately call it, nerd camp, on Friday night after a week of being a band nerd. She is proud to admit she is a band nerd and had a great time at camp for the week. She learned how to "circular breathe" which means she can breathe in while blowing out at the same time...pretty impressive! She also got to go to a music museum where they had a trumpet from a Beatles movie and a guitar that Johnny Cash played. Her days were filled with practicing and music classes, including jazz improv which she was not a big fan of. She took her trombone, clarinet and bass clarinet so had no shortage of instruments! Her roommate for the week was a very nice girl so it was good they could get along so well. Dan and I went on Friday afternoon to pick her up and see the final concert, which was very impressive...you have not heard music until you have heard "Love Potion #9" played by a string orchestra :) Next year's camp is already being planned and Kayla is already planning to go...band nerd for life!

Dan and I had interesting happenings both on the way to and from the camp however. After we dropped Kayla off on Sunday we were headed home when she called to remind me I had forgotten to give her spending money and she had to buy her supper that night (the rest of the meals were provided) so since we were within 10 miles of Vermillion we turned around to go back. Got about 2 miles out of town and some idiot turned right in front of us...Dan took some rubber off my new tires! Then on the way home Friday night we hit a large raccoon and cracked the front bumper/grille of the car. Oh the troubles we had for our little band nerd :)

date July 20, 2009

Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning we had a thunderstorm and apparently it got quite windy as well. Blew the gas barrel over and into the oat field...the barrel was empty so we didn't lose any gas, but if it had been full maybe it wouldn't have blown over!

date July 12, 2009

Not much new or exciting in my life, but thought I should update anyway. Had a nice weekend over the fourth...went to see the parade in Storm Lake and then spent the afternoon with Shari and Nick walking around looking at all the vendors and watching the cardboard boat races. Didn't see any fireworks this year...I told Dan we must be getting old because all the kids went off on their own to see fireworks, we didn't have to take them!

Becky has been staying very busy with work, works almost every day. She seems to like the job most days, but it sure wears her out. I think her favorite day is payday...but who doesn't love that day? Brian is having a good time at camp, has made lots of friends and even one "special" friend. He usually comes home on Saturday nights just so he can sleep in a real bed, but I have been busy every weekend so haven't had much time to visit with him. Kayla has been hanging out up at the lakes with Fred every weekend, last weekend she went on a 25 mile bike ride and actually enjoyed it! 

I hear from Eli every now and then, he can't tell me the exact date he is leaving for Iraq, but I have a general idea...and it makes me nervous. He left base the other night when he wasn't supposed to and got in trouble, along with a lot of other guys. Boys!

Next week we take Kayla to band camp for a week at USD, she is very excited! We also are celebrating some birthdays this month...Brenden is today, Ila is the 20th, Nola is the 25th, Eli is the 27th and the wedding anniversary for Keri and Chris is the 23rd. Lots of things to celebrate :)

date July 7, 2009

Independence Day. The Fourth of July. The one day a year everyone thinks about their freedom and hopefully thinks about the people who gave it to them. But why do we limit it to once a year?

I will be honest, before I personally knew someone who was protecting my freedom I only thought about it once a year...as the military walked past me in the parade...and then forgot again. It wasn't something that passed through my mind, was really of no importance to me. Sure, I saw the yellow ribbons tied on trees, the yellow ribbon magnets on the backs of vehicles, the flags in people's yards, the blue star banners in military member's homes...but to me it was just decoration. Now however, everything has changed and I am doing my best to make sure everyone understands the importance.

Support our troops is easy to say, you hear people shouting it from the mountain tops every single day. But how many of these people are actually doing it? There is a yellow silicone bracelet around my wrist that says "support our troops". I put it on the day Eli left and I will take it off the day he comes home. But does that mean I am supporting him? I now have a 445th Transportation Company t-shirt that I wear a lot. But does that mean I am supporting the troops? Supporting the troops means more than just "advertising", it means praying for them, even if you don't know a single person serving. It means sending them cards and letters and packages because they are in a war zone and don't have the comforts of home. It means asking the parents and families and friends that were left behind if they need your help. There are so many ways to support our troops. Even though looking at a picture of Eli makes me want to cry, because I know he is in a dangerous place, I support him by sending him jokes in emails, by texting him funny things that happened today, by mailing packages and letters and most importantly, by praying for his safe return. I also help by supporting Becky, who Eli worries about, and if Eli is worried he may not be paying attention at a crucial time, and no one wants that to happen. I can't tell him we miss him here at home, he knows and doesn't need reminded...yet one more way I am supporting the troops.

I am a member of GAP online (Go Army Parents) and they had a super web link today. It really made me think, and I think everyone should read it. Go ahead, support our troops...365 days a year!

date July 2, 2009

I became a fan of ISU when I was in high school. At that time it was referred to as either ISU or University of Iowa and ISU was easier and faster to say, so I was a fan. Now I care who wins though :p

My mom was 11 days from her 27th birthday when I was born. I was 9 days from my 27th birthday when Kayla was born.

Kayla is the fourth generation girl to be born in August...my grandma, my mom, me and then Kayla. I tease her that she has to have a daughter in August some day.

Becky and Kayla are the exact same age difference that my younger sister and I are.

I am terrified of grasshoppers.

Because of this fear I refuse to mow the lawn...even though we use a tractor the grasshoppers are still visible when I mow and it freaks me out.

I was once bitten on the rear-end by a dog. However, my school lunch ticket was in my back pocket so the bite didn't hurt me.

I used to see Dan driving his pick-up to Laurens when I was on my way home from babysitting in Laurens. I thought he was cute. I also thought the lifeguard at the Marathon park was cute. So that summer I decided I would date one of them. The lifeguard turned me down and the rest is history :)

I put a lot of miles on my car because I enjoy taking evening rides with Dan.

I would love an indoor cat, but both Becky and I are allergic to fleas.

I seldom sleep past 5am. I lay in bed awake because I can't get back to sleep.

When I was younger my bedroom was always a disaster area. Now that I have a home of my own it drives me nuts if it is a mess.

At last count I had over 50 angels. There is at least one in every room of my house.

My angel collection started when Brian made a ceramic angel in third grade.

If Brian had been a girl his name would have been Sarah. I didn't like that name anymore when Becky and Kayla were born.

I did the "string and pencil" test when I was pregnant with Brian. It said I would have a boy and two girls. Freaky how it was right.

I love the show CSI and also CSI New York but I hate, hate, hate CSI Miami.

I read two blogs online of people I have never met and I will never meet, yet I read their updates daily.

When I was in elementary school I spent the night at a friend's house for her birthday. I, along with the other party goers, put sleeping bags over ourselves and tried to fool the birthday girl's mom that we were someone else under the bags. It didn't work :p

I wore the same prom dress my junior and senior years. Becky has had four dresses and Kayla has already had one, and she isn't even a junior yet.

Stupid people annoy me. Insensitive people annoy me. Smart-alec people annoy me. Snotty people annoy me. I am not easily annoyed.

When Dan had his brain surgery he didn't recognize me when I came into the hospital room after he was first awake. He claims he did.

I love thunderstorms and hailstorms as long as they don't cause any damage.

I would do anything for the people I love. Be it my family or my friends...love me and I will love you back. Treat me right and I will do the same for you. Crap on me and I will hold a grudge for a long, long time.

I have a very bad temper. Dan has a very bad temper. The two of us made Brian who has the worst temper of all...although I blame it on the Josephson men genes.

When I was a teenager I had a huge crush on Shaun Cassidy and Rick Springfield. I had a poster of each of them and I kissed it every night.

I worry every day about my kids...all four of them. I also worry about Dan every day, and my parents.

I wonder if anyone will read all the way through these and think I am nuts :)

date June 26, 2009

It is hard to let go of a child. You spend at least 18 years with this person, teaching them right from wrong, teaching them respect and honesty, teaching them to walk and talk...and then they suddenly stop talking to you...about the important stuff in their life anyway...and walk right out of your life. It is a hard transition to make.

Two years ago I watched Brian walk into his fraternity house as I walked back to my van...leaving him in Ames was the hardest thing I had ever done. I no longer had access to his life, not that I had a lot before, but at least I saw him every day and had some sense of what he was doing. When I arrived home that night I realized I no longer had any idea how Brian would be spending his days or with whom or even where he would be hanging out...and that hit me like a brick wall.  I had lost my son...or so I thought. After I got over the drama I realized that I was exactly where I was supposed to be in life...I had raised my son and now I had to let him be independent. Not easy, but I had to.

Now I am on my second child leaving me. This one, my first girl, is going to be harder than Brian was. Becky has always been more open about what her life involves than Brian ever was...but since Eli came along that has changed too. Now I have to question Becky if I want to know what is going on, she doesn't come to me and tell me what she has been doing and what she has been saying. Now that she has a boyfriend everything is a secret...which is understandable, they deserve their privacy. I know this and I respect this...but it is so hard to deal with. I worry about all my kids, but now I worry the most about Becky, simply because she is so secretive about her life with Eli. In just 2 short months it will be Becky that I am saying good-bye to at college and leaving behind...it is going to be even harder than leaving Brian.

In two years Kayla will be leaving for college and I will be an "empty-nester" as they say. I am looking forward to spending time with just Dan and me, but I am going to miss my kids. I guess it is supposed to make it easier to let them go when they act like they want nothing to do with us as they become teenagers and get their own lives...but it doesn't. I miss talking to Brian and I miss knowing what is going on with Becky. I know I am an over-protective mom and I know I expect too much of their lives to be public for me...but that is just who I am, I can't change anymore. I will keep asking questions and keep prying into their lives for as long as I am around...no matter how old they get. I love my kids and letting them go is the hardest job I will ever have to do.

date June 17, 2009

I have had several people ask why I took all reference to Eli off of my blog so I thought I should set the record straight. So many things run through my mind when I think of Eli it is hard for me to put it all down. First and foremost I think of him as Becky's boyfriend, the love of her life, possible future husband...the list goes on and on. But I also think of him as one of my own kids...just one more trouble-making teenager to keep track of :p He is also a grown man who is fighting for our freedom in a war zone...and he is also the true son of his own parents, who I barely know. I think the reason he has captured so much of my attention is simply because he paid attention...first of Becky's boyfriends who actually cared that she had parents! Also, this is the first boy that I truly think Becky loves...the others she may have thought she did, but it wasn't true love, this time it is different, I can see it.

There is a fine line between caring about Eli and going too far...especially when it comes to Becky. To her he is her boyfriend and really has nothing to do with me, so when I text him or email him it is hard for her to understand that I am doing those things to Eli, not to her boyfriend. The relationship that they have is totally separate from what I feel for Eli and Becky as separate people. I see them as a couple, but I also see them as two separate kids that I love. Once in awhile I step over the line and then all heck breaks loose! I have been known to talk to Eli about Becky and their relationship, which she absolutely hates, so therefore I no longer do that...what goes on between them is between them and no one else. But, I still have feelings, for lack of a better word, for Eli and I refuse to stop caring about him. I hope to someday call this child my son-in-law...early to be hoping for that, but he is a great kid and he and Becky are great together. It is rare to find an 18 year old who has the maturity that Eli has, and both he and Becky have big plans for their future...both alone and with each other.

I have a hard time letting people I love go...and it is no different with Eli. When Brian first went off to college I was devastated,  I missed him so much and called or emailed a lot that first month or two. It took me awhile to get used to the idea that he was grown-up and on his own and didn't need me anymore...well not need me as much anyway. Although I was only around Eli for six months I got pretty attached to this boy, and when he tells me he refers to me as "mom #2" it didn't help my attachment issues. I think it is hard for me to let him go without contact because I know he will be in danger when he gets to Iraq. But, for the sake of family unity and happiness I have stopped texting and emailing him...I will let him come to me. Therefore, I also took down some of the things on my blog that referred to Eli...just easier that way for everyone. 

I will support my children until the day I die, just as my parents support me no matter how old I get. I wear an ISU MOM t-shirt because I am proud Brian went to ISU. I will get a Kansas t-shirt and a USD t-shirt too, because I am proud to brag about my kids...lucky for me Becky and Kayla will go to the same college :). I wear a yellow "Support Our Troops" bracelet for Eli and I have a dog tag with his name on it that hangs on my keychain. No matter what, I will support my kids...be it the three I am a "real" mom to or the one, two or three that I may some day be a mom-in-law to. No one will change my mind on this, I just have to learn to not cross the imaginary line that makes others uncomfortable. I do not, nor will I, apologize for loving Eli as my own son...but I will keep it a little quieter for the sake of my daughter, who comes first.

date June 12, 2009

My boy has gone and left me :( Brian is gone to camp and has no access to his phone unless it is a Sunday afternoon when he has a day off. I am so used to being able to call him whenever I get the desire to, this is hard on me! I am really missing him...didn't think it would be this big of a deal. The worst part of no contact is that I don't know if Brian is enjoying his new job or wishing he had applied somewhere else. I got a text from him (at midnight!) a few nights ago asking me to send painkiller for his ankle, but that is the only contact I have had since he left. He will be home for a day next week before he goes to Kansas for orientation so I am looking forward to hearing all about camp then...but he hasn't had any kids yet so I will only hear about the training he has been doing...I am very anxious to hear how he likes having campers to take care of! My boy is gone for months and I am feeling lost without him...who figured this would happen?

date June 10, 2009

Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor our country's veterans and those we love who have died. Dan, Kayla and I went to the cemeteries yesterday and left flowers on graves...little blue carnations for Dougie, pink roses for Grandma Uthe, red carnations for Grandpa Falkena. There are other graves near these three...family members that I never knew...a grandpa who died before I was born and a grandma who died before her son, my dad, was even married. We also visited the graves of Dan's family...his father, his grandparents, his great-aunts and great-uncles...even distant cousins who were gone long before Dan's parents were born. We left flowers there as well...a small token of our remembrance to them. Some of these graves have flags flying proudly beside them...veterans of past wars still being honored for their service.

Why do we only honor our loved ones who have died one day a year? Don't we remember them all year long? I do...I remember Grandpa Falkena always smoked a pipe and had lemon drops in his top dresser drawer. I remember Grandma Uthe always kissed me when I came to visit and always had LifeSavers in her purse. Funny the things you remember...

I think every day should be a day of honor and remembrance for those that serve or have served in the military. There is no job as hard as fighting a war, or training to fight in a war or knowing someday you may be called to do those jobs. I think we should remember the families who lost loved ones to war, the families who are supporting a loved one currently fighting and the families who are dealing with the soldiers who have come home in a different condition than they left in...be it physical or mental. No one likes war, but we should all remember the brave men and women who fight, or have fought, for our freedom and support them more than just one day a year. We should also remember the loved ones who have left us...after all, they are the ones who helped mold us into who we are today, without them, there would be no Falkena or Josephson family. We owe a debt of gratitude to our families, both living and angels in heaven.

date May 25, 2009

How far can you lead someone into the lake before they drown? You know how to swim. You are with someone who knows how to swim. This person wants to go into the lake, in fact, their heart's desire is to spend their life in the lake...yet the farthest they have ever been is wading up to their knees, and the water was too cold. Now you lead them in and they get to their knees and are okay with it. So you take them a little farther and they seem a little anxious, but still okay, after all, they can swim, they have just never had to. The farther you go, the farther they follow and eventually they are over their head in the water...and they love it. But, they still have doubts on whether or not they can swim enough. So you shout encouragement to them, you give them life vests that you have used and are well worn, but still work. Then, just when you think everything will be okay they go under. They flail, they thrash around, they claim they are alright, but you don't believe them...so you try to help. But instead of helping, this time you just push their head farther under the water. So how far do you go to help them? When do you just swim back to shore and let them either learn to trust their swimming ability or drown? How much is too much and how little is too little? Is there a cutoff?

Another example. You are going skydiving...you have done it lots of times and are confident in your abilities...you have been doing it for years and know what mistakes can be made and how to fix them. But on this trip you are taking someone who has only skydived a few times, and those times were filled with fear and near-misses. But you are sure you can help this person because you are a pro at skydiving. Yet, when the time comes and you push this person out of the airplane you wonder if they remember how to open their chute. Did you tell them so many things that they will forget the simple one of just doing what comes naturally? Will they get scared and remember all the bad things that happened the last time they went? Did you tell them enough that every time is different and this time they just may land on the ground, in one piece, where they intended to land? Or do you just hope for the best and continue on your jump? When you get to the ground and this person is not there, do you look for them? Or what if they are there and they are upset with you because you pushed them out of the airplane? Do you try to convince them it was worth it and they should spend the rest of their lives jumping out of airplanes?

When do you just step back and let these people learn on their own? Is there a time when you can look at them and not wonder if they need help and you just might be the person to save them? What if your trying to save them makes them drown faster or makes their parachute not open...no matter how hard you tried? How do you just step back from these people, people you love, and not try to help save them? 

date May 21, 2009

Tomorrow will be the first time in 14 years that there will only be one Josephson child enrolled in school at L-M. Today was the last day of Becky's high school career so now only Kayla is left. Brian was the "lonely only" for his first two years of school, but when he started 1st grade Becky started preschool...and she has had a sibling in school with her the entire time. One of the many woes of being the middle child I guess! Now only Kayla will be left to leave the lasting impression of the Josephsons on the school.

date May 12, 2009

I was reading a friend's blog and she had a post on "Why We Blog" requesting others to tell why they blog...well I can't pass up a challenge so here goes!

I blog to tell my family what is going on at my house. Granted, my parents only live 6 miles from me, but sometimes I get so busy in my day to day life that the little things get forgotten, and sometimes it is the little things that matter the most. I also have other family members that live farther away so they get to hear all the little details too...makes them feel like they are not missing out on anything. 

I also blog for my friends. In this busy life it is hard to get together with friends and find out what is going on, this way I can read their blog, they can read my blog and we all can stay caught up with each other. I also know that, although they don't admit it, my kids read my blog to see what I write about them. Now, even my daughter's boyfriend reads it...and since he will soon be in Iraq I hope it makes him not miss home so much.

But, I have to admit, I mostly write it for me. I have so many thoughts going through my head and so many things going on I have to write them all down just so that I can go onto the next thing.  I am far from a good writer, but for the people who read what I do write it is good enough. And that is good enough for me to keep doing it.

date May 11, 2009

Do you ever open your mouth and say something and then wish you hadn't? Lately that seems to be something I am doing a lot. Tell me some news and I will say something stupid in return. I vividly remember being told more than once when I was little to let my brain engage before I opened my mouth...I really need to start practicing that again :p Sometimes life hands you lemons and instead of me making some tasty lemonade I have been lobbing the lemons back at the head of the person who handed them to me...but now I am going to make that lemonade, add some ice and sit down with my family and friends and enjoy the times we will have. Think before you speak and life will be good...there is a reason silence is golden!

date May 10, 2009

Life at the Josephson house has been a roller coaster of emotions and adventures this week...one wild ride!

Becky has one week until she graduates...one week! We are trying to work on getting the last minute things done for the party, but she just plain doesn't care...Eli left a few days ago and she won't admit it, but she is pretty sad. Then yesterday Eli and I texted a few times and apparently that was more than he talked to her, so that wasn't good either. He now calls me mom and she is not crazy about that...I love it, but it is a little weird for Becky. So much emotion between Eli leaving and the last days of high school and the graduation ceremony...crazy, crazy, crazy.

Yesterday I got a call from Brian, he was planning to come home last night but while in Ames his car suddenly quit and wouldn't restart...right on the main street of town naturally. He had his flashers on and a car with a friend of his stopped behind him, but the car behind that did not stop...so technically Brian was the cause of an accident. Luckily no one got hurt, but Brian's car had to be towed and by the time he got done in the emergency room with his friend the tow place was closed for the night. Not a good day for any of them!

I, of course, am nothing but calm during all these calamities...if only that were true. With graduation only a week away I am feeling the stress of getting everything together for a party of 150-200 people and the thought of Becky graduating makes me weepy too. I thought I would be fine with Eli leaving, other than being sad for Becky, but I have grown to love that kid and it is like I am sending one of my own to war...which makes me weepy too.

But among all this stress there is a bright spot...Becky has decided to go to college at the University of South Dakota instead of Loyola in Chicago. This means she will only be three hours away instead of eight...when she made that announcement she made me very happy. Not only is USD much closer to home, it is also much less expensive for tuition...which means less she will have to take in student loans. Brian is still moving farther away, to Kansas, but he will still only be five hours away so that is not bad either. Both of them will be happy where they are and that makes me happy.

So I am guessing until I am settled with Becky graduating and moving to college, Brian moving farther away and until Eli is home safely again it is going to continue to be a wild ride at my house...but together we will make it through!

date May 9, 2009

I have been working at the same job for 20 years, with never a day off. Never a night off for that matter! My experience includes nursing, maid services, psychiatrist, chauffeur, mediator, photographer, healer of broken hearts, advisor, ATM machine and teacher. In other words, I am a mom.

Nothing changes you like becoming a mom. I remember when I told Dan we had a baby on the way, and I remember thinking it would be no big deal because I had done a lot of babysitting, I had years of experience already! At the ripe old age of 22 I became a mom and realized I knew nothing! Brian was quick to teach me however, and I learned what mattered and what didn't. The bottle isn't warmed up? No problem, he'll drink it cold. The pacifier fell on the floor? No problem, wipe it off and stick it back in. The blankets never stay on at night? No problem, put him in a blanket sleeper and turn up the heat a little. Little things turn into nothing when you have a baby, and the more babies you have the more relaxed you get. By the time Kayla came along she was lucky I didn't let her raise herself :-)

While you may learn that little things don't matter, you also learn that being a mom is the single hardest job you will ever do. You will spend hours feeding, changing diapers, potty-training, singing the ABC song, watching cartoons and Sesame Street, tying shoes and picking up toys...and that is just before they are old enough to go to school. When school starts you suddenly become the chauffeur, driving them to all the after-school activities, driving to all the concerts and shows. You begin to wonder if you live at home or at the school. Then, before you know it, they are graduating high school and moving out to college. Where did the time go?

Through the years you go from being the mommy who can heal the boo-boos with a kiss to the mom who makes cupcakes for the birthday celebrations at school to the mother who cheers at the ball games and school plays. Over all these years you also watch your child go from the little one who loves all their classmates to the middle schooler who loves their best friends and hates the opposite sex to the high schooler who hangs with the friends but has someone special to love...and it isn't you anymore. No more do you hear what happened at school, there are friends for that. No more do you hear about who your child likes this week, that is private and not for mom to know. If you are lucky you will get a tidbit here and there, or you can pry some information from a sibling, but by the time your kids are high school age they have taken secrecy to a new level...and you are out of the loop. But, this is exactly how we want to raise our kids..they have to able to be independent and not rely on their parents. We raise them that way, but that doesn't make it any easier when it happens.

I was blessed to have three beautiful, talented, intelligent children. I am almost done raising all of them, but I will never completely be done with their lives. Someday I hope to have three more children to love...a daughter-in-law and two sons-in-law...but that is a few years down the road. I even hope to someday expand to a whole other generation...grandkids. I think I will make a super grandma...spoil them rotten and send them home! But, even if I end up with only my three kids I will be happy...I have the best job in the world and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

date May 7, 2009

Contrary to the way this blog looks lately I do have children other than Becky! Just because of all that has been going on with her lately she has been the focus...and keeping me busy. But...Brian and Kayla have being doing things too...and of course that keeps me hopping as well.

Brian is busy with his last few days of classes...in fact his last day is today. He has been working on getting everything done for Kansas too. I told him he was old enough to do all the work that is involved in enrolling in college, since I did it all before it was time he found out what is going on. Boy did he find out! Housing forms and deposits, enrollment forms, financial aid...the list goes on and on. He went to Kansas for a visit last month and loved the campus and town so he will be happy there...where it is warm and not snowy! This boy is solar-powered and does so much better in warm weather...and while Kansas can get cold it is not as cold as Iowa. Even though he is gone from Ames I will still root for my ISU Cyclones!

Kayla is just working her way through the end of the school year...which now goes to June 2nd because of all the snow make-up days and missed days for state basketball. She will soon be doing semester tests and then have May Term with Sioux Central...which she is not looking forward to. She signed up for Forensic Science for May Term and is now wishing she would have chosen something else...but there were no music options so that was her choice at the time. Luckily one of her friends is also in that class so at least she will have someone to hang out with. Next week she is going to help Grandma J. decorate cupcakes for graduation...her May Term class last year was cake decorating so she has experience!

Life is forever passing by fast...that happens with kids I am told! I am looking forward to summer when everything slows down and I can go home in the evening and not have a school function to go to...but until Kayla gets her driver's license I will still be going home and playing chauffeur. The joys of summer!

date May 6, 2009

In three days Becky will have her heart broken. In a month she will have it broken again. In three days Eli leaves for a month of training and instructions. In a month he leaves for Iraq. So Becky has to say good-bye to him twice. It is going to be tough.

Becky and Eli have dated for six months. This is their second time around, they dated a few years ago too. Eli has become a fixture at my house. If he isn't there when I come home from work he will be there before the evening is over. Eli is 18 years old...age-wise he is a man, mentally he is a man...but to me he is just a kid. A kid who is going to war.

I have known a few people who went to Iraq. I know their names and their faces, but they are not a part of my life. This time it is different. This time it is someone I have grown to think of as part of my family, someone who is the most important person in my daughter's life. This time Becky is going to suffer.

Spring is graduation time, Becky is getting ready to leave high school behind and move onto college and start her independent life. But I know Eli is never far from her thoughts. She is excited to graduate, but she is also hoping that Eli will be able to get leave and come watch her walk across the stage. She is excited to move to Chicago and start college, but she is also hoping Eli will get to come home for a week in the summer to visit her. It is hard to move on with your life when the person you want to be with is in danger in a war zone.

I have had many people ask me if I think Becky and Eli will stay together through this next 14 months. I don't have an answer for that. My best response is that they are going to try...what more can they do? Becky can't go to Iraq to be with Eli and Eli can't go to Chicago to be with Becky. No more will they spend the evening on my couch, always some part of them touching the other...legs side by side, holding hands, her head on his shoulder. Now the best they will get is the sound of their voices over the phone.

Both of these kids have a lifetime of adventures ahead of them, be it together or thousands of miles apart. I can't see into the future to tell the outcome, but I know what I would want to see if I could. I know what they want to see in the future. But most importantly, we all want to see Eli come home.

date May 3, 2009

Fourteen years ago I went to Laurens to register Becky for preschool, and met up with two other moms from Marathon who also had daughters going. We talked and decided it would be a great idea to carpool with the girls, that would be handy for us busy moms and save gas money. That was the beginning of haleyashleybecky...the three little girls who grew up through school together as best friends and are now graduating together as best friends. 

I remember taking them to preschool and they would sit in the back seat and have "screaming contests" to see who could be the loudest. They were always together in, and out, of school. Birthday parties at each others houses, playing t-ball together in the summer, telling secrets about the boys they liked, spending the night together so they could torment all the brothers (7 between them!).

These three grew through the years of fingerpainting and play-dough into the years of first crushes and getting their ears pierced. They made it past the drama and awkwardness of middle school and into the drama and romances of high school. They stuck together through boys, siblings, other friends and even a few fights. These three little girls grew up into beautiful women who I am proud to say I claim as my daughters...all three of them. I may have only given birth to Becky, but Haley and Ashley have claimed my heart as daughters too.

The three little preschool girls are now on the edge of going out into the world and taking it by storm. The years flew by and I know they are ready, but the question is...am I? 

date April 28, 2009

Gorgeous prom couple...

date April 25, 2009

I have been doing some thinking lately and have some questions...please feel free to post answers!

If you are raised to attend church and believe in God but don't attend church every Sunday after you are grown does that make you less of a Christian? (no, just going to church makes you a Christian just like being in the garage makes you a car...you gotta do more than attend)

Is someone who professes their love of God and openly displays it more of a Christian than someone who loves God just as much but just doesn't proclaim it loudly? (no)

If you raise your children to love God, take them to church regularly, have them baptized and confirmed and then when they leave home they don't go to church, does that make you a bad parent? (no, children have minds of their own and need to make their own decisions)

Does the person who regularly reads the Bible know God better than the person who does not? (nope, God comes to everyone in different ways, don't have to read the Bible to understand Him)

Does God answer every prayer? (every single one, not always as fast as we might like or always with the answer we might want, but He does answer)

Are the sins of your children a direct result of your parenting? (nope, again, children have minds of their own)

Do you have to live the "perfect" life in order to go to heaven? (I have asked to be forgiven for my sins, so I will go to heaven with my very "imperfect" life)

Can you raise your children to become the person you want them to be...i.e. a worshipper and follower of God? (you can try!)

Just some questions I have been thinking about lately. I, obviously, put my answers behind each question, but I would love to have the opinions of others. Are my answers wrong or misguided? What do YOU think?

date April 24, 2009

Little things. Life is made up of little things and sometimes life is just too short to let those little things matter. 

You make a mistake and it affects no one, that is a little thing that needs to be let go. 

Your child does something stupid, they learn from their mistake and don't do it again. Little thing that needs to be let go.

You say something you wish you wouldn't have, you apologize and mean it. Little thing that needs to be let go.

Life is a measured number of years and filled with mistakes, regrets and just plain stupidity. No one knows how long they will be on this big marble we call earth, but while we are here we need to let the little things go. Putting others down to raise yourself up is no way to live, let the little things go.

date April 23, 2009

You live your life in a way that you hope will set a good example for your children. You live your life in a way that is comfortable for you and those around you. You live your life in a way that makes you happy. But once in awhile, your life doesn't  go the way you planned it and that is when "angels" step in to help. I truly 100% believe in angels. Not just because I have a collection of over 100 figurines of them throughout my house, but because I have seen, and felt, more than once, their presence in my life and the lives of those I love. To me angels can come in "ghostly" form where you just feel them around you or they can come in human form. When we lived at the house in Marathon I had the drudgery of doing dishes every night and while it may sound strange, I often felt the presence of my grandmother...as if she were watching me from the kitchen door. I have not felt that since we moved to Albert City, but I know she is still watching over me. I have had human angels help me lately when I needed it, they stepped in and gave me support in many ways. Even my kids have angels watching and helping them...Brian and Becky had a successful trip to and from Kansas, angels watched them while they drove and made sure they were safe. Last night Becky's boyfriend, who will be 8 hours away at an Army base when she graduates, told her he is going to try to get leave so he can come home and be here for her ceremony and reception. He is being her angel, even if he doesn't know it and I pray that angels will keep him safe while he is away for 20 months, and help Becky get through that 20 long months too. 

Angels come to us in our weakest moments, when we are on our knees and see no end to the troubles or torments we are experiencing. Angels also come to us when our joy is endless and we can't imagine being happier or prouder. Angels are all around us, watching, loving, helping and guiding...we just have to let them into our lives. You can be a skeptic and not believe, but they are still there. Some you can see, some you can't...but all are welcome in my life...and for those that can read this, and you have done something to help me or those that I love, whether you know it or not, you are my angels, and for that I thank you.

date April 16, 2009

Eighteen years ago a little girl entered this world, screaming and yelling and making sure everyone knew she was there. To this day, she loves being the center of attention.

My Becky, my first daughter, my first little one to dress in the frilly clothes and pink tights, the first to buy the headbands and barrettes for, the first for the little black Mary Jane shoes, the first to potty-train while sitting down!

I vividly remember when Becky was born, her little hand on her shoulder so labor was slowed down. I remember the weight of her when the doctor first put her in my arms and how she looked so tiny, but felt so heavy.

Growing up Becky was always the giggly, silly, laughing one. She could say some of the funniest things and not even know she was being funny. When asked what her name was, at age two, the response was "Sissy Grin"...I called her Sissy and Dan called her Sissy Grin because she was always so happy. As a little girl Becky was always smiling...except when her brother picked on her! Becky wanted to be the center of attention and had no problem with the spotlight, in fact, she craves it.

Although Becky is the epitome of "girl" she also has the strength and grit to be a farmgirl. Becky has learned to drive a tractor, throw bales, sort and load pigs, work on machinery and build buildings. She can go from full make-up to full pig manure in minutes without the blink of an eye.

Never before has there been someone quite like Becky. She is smart, beautiful, accomplished, determined and ready to take on the world. Her dreams are big and she has the motivation to achieve them. Never again will there be someone like my Becky, when God made her He broke the mold. Eighteen years flew by in a heartbeat and I have enjoyed every one of them. Watch out world, I am turning her loose on you and no one will ever forget meeting or seeing or hearing about Becky...she is going to take over and make the spotlight wish it could shine as brightly as her.

date April 9, 2009

You know the saying "God never gives you more than you can handle"? Well, I am beginning to doubt that. This last week has been a roller coaster of emotion and things that are causing me stress. I know I always tell people that no matter how bad your life seems there is always someone worse off than you...and I know that is still true for me, after all, I have a roof over my head, a car to drive and a family who loves me. But sometimes, it is tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel and not think it is a train headed straight for you.


By popular demand, (okay it was one person, but a girl can dream can't she?) I have been asked to blog about the t-shirt quilt I made for Becky. This quilt, the result of four years of high school t-shirts, was the easiest quilt I have ever made, and also the hardest. The pattern was simple, but the memories all these shirts brought back made it tough to work on. My kids are not the kind of kids who just go to school and don't get involved...if there is something to do chances are one, if not more, of my kids are involved. That means t-shirts for almost every single one of those events...hence the huge quilt with 30 shirts, and some extras we didn't use!

I am having a difficult time with Becky graduating and moving so far away and spending so much time with all her t-shirts just reminded me how much I am going to miss her. I struggled when Brian left and two years later I still miss him like crazy. It will be hard to let Becky go, but for me part of letting go means making a quilt they can take with them to remind them that mom loves them. What better way to feel the love of your mom when you are far away than with a quilt that she made? Brian's wasn't a t-shirt quilt, his was made from fabric with guitars on it, but the thought was the same...."stay warm, stay safe and remember I love you".

My mom taught me a lot of things when I was growing up, but I have to say the one that means the most to me right now is that she taught me to sew. When my kids were little I made most of their clothes, just like my mom did for me. As they grew, and outgrew having mom make their clothes, I found a new way to give a little of myself to them...quilts. Nothing feels better than watching your child climb into bed under a pile of quilts that you made for them. Living in an old drafty farmhouse it is often cold, and knowing that I am helping them stay warm means a lot to me. My heart melted the day Brian came home from college, with his graduation quilt tucked in beside his dirty laundry. He told me he slept better with the quilt because it was the warmest blanket he had. Nothing prepares you for the time your son, that little boy who is now a man, thanks you in his own way..and doesn't even know he did it. Quilting is my therapy...bad day at work...work on the quilt, nothing on television worth watching...work on the quilt, feeling sad that your kids are growing up too fast and moving away...work on the quilt to send with them. Many years ago my mom had an old, old quilt that she had made when I was a little girl. She was going to throw it away because it had gotten torn and tattered. I took it because it represented so much to me...I remembered a lot of the fabric in the squares from clothes I wore as a child, and just the fact that my mom had made it made it special to me. I hope someday my children will look at the quilts I have made for them and feel the same way.

I can look at every single shirt on Becky's quilt and remember every single event it represents. I know Becky can too...and now she can look at them and remember every single time I told her I loved her and wrap herself in my love even when she is far, far from home. As the magnet on my refrigerator says "Blessed are the children of the piece makers, for they shall inherit the quilts".

date April 5, 2009

Chicago was awesome! We got there about noon on Friday and found our way to the hotel with no problems. The college is about 9 miles from where we were staying so we left early since we didn't know how long the traffic would take us to get there...ended up being about an hour! We took interstate most of the way but then ended up in the main streets of Chicago on the way to Loyola and drove through some really interesting neighborhoods. One block was all Jewish businesses, the next was Greek, then some Indian, some Pakistan and a little bit of Chinese. Got to the college, parked in the parking garage and made our way to the new library building. Gorgeous! Built right on the lake with two sides made of glass, the view is awesome. Becky had her interview for the big scholarship and then we had the reception with the president of the college. Tall round tables set up all around the room, several tables of food and lots and lots of people! The girls and I hit the dessert table first, Dan tried most every table and discovered he does not like sushi! Being a catholic college and a Friday night there was of course no meat served, the food was interesting to say the least! After listening to a couple of speeches Becky decided she had enough and we went back to the hotel...stopped to eat at Denny's on the way.

Saturday was our day to explore the city. We went to Navy Pier first, parked about two blocks away in a parking garage...on the 11th floor! Cold and windy day, downtown is a definite wind tunnel. It was fun to walk around Navy Pier, saw a botanical center on the top floor and lots of little shops everywhere. Took some pictures of the lake and the big ferris wheel. After we went back to the car (and paid our $14 for parking!) we drove around downtown to see the sites. Since it was so cold we didn't get out to explore, but did see the Bean in Millennium Park, the Equitable Building (where Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper) and lots and lots of cars and people! No patience for Chicago people, if the light turns green and you don't IMMEDIATELY move you will be honked at! Some of the streets go underground under the buildings, that was cool to drive through. Saw a mime on a street corner, a homeless person and a dog tied to a signpost. Also saw a HUGE statue of the American Gothic couple, that was pretty cool. The girls took lots of pictures, although it was so cloudy we couldn't see the tops of most of the buildings. In the afternoon the girls and I found a mall and did a little shopping. On the way back to the hotel we even drove through a cemetery because they had some interesting headstones and you know how that fascinates me! Took a picture of the mausoleum and also one of the columbarium...which I have no idea what it is. (The dictionary defines it as a place for public display of urns).

Saturday night we had a Scholars Night at the Museum of Natural History. We got a fancy meal and were give free rein to roam around the museum. It was amazing and I am sure if everyone's feet hadn't gotten sore from so much walking we would have stayed even longer. Displays of animals...huge elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, whales, bears...you name it, they had it. Better than going to the zoo because you could stand right up close and see how huge these animals really are! The food at this event was more plentiful than the night before and we had fancy sit-down tables. It was a fun night!

Sunday we went back to the college and of course it was snowing and even colder than before! The lake on Friday was a beautiful blue, Sunday it was gray and had big waves...but still beautiful. Becky checked in and we went to see the dorm she will be living in. Nineteen floors and enough beds to house the entire population of Albert City! We could have gone on a tour of the campus, but it was snowing and so cold Becky decided we should just call it done and go home. We had already walked around most of it Friday anyway. 

Becky loved Chicago and the campus and after seeing it I feel much better about letting her go there (like I had a choice in the matter!). The campus is small and closed in, the only time you even see the city is if you walk between two buildings that border the street, and the one building is mostly offices so she won't be doing that often. The train makes a stop on campus so she has transportation if she needs to go somewhere. Everyone was very helpful and talked alot about security, so she will be safe. Seems like a good college and I am sure she will get a good education there, plus it gives me four years to have excuses to visit and see more sights of Chicago! All in all we had a good time and Becky is anxious to move there.

The pictures are of the girls at "the beach"...taken in the museum. For more photos you can check them all out on Facebook or www.snapfish.com (let me know if you need details about how to work snapfish). I was pleased with how well the drive went and whenever we had somewhere to go it seemed that the traffic wasn't very bad. I guess they saw the Iowa license plate and felt sorry for us! We also did the three days "on the cheap"...between the hotel, gas, shopping, parking fees and food we spent less than $400...not bad for the big city!

date April 1, 2009

One of the buildings at Loyola...for more pictures and details you will just have to wait until I get time to put them on here!

date March 30, 2009

Luckily it blew away from the house instead of towards it!

date March 27, 2009

After posting about Becky making it to All-State I felt it should also be noted that both Brian and Kayla have also been to All-State. Brian went to large group All-State speech when he was a sophomore in high school...he played a "country hick" in a part that was written specifically for him! Kayla of course went to All-State band a few months ago by playing her bass clarinet. I truly am the mother of three "over-achievers"...and proud of all of them!

date March 21, 2009

It has been a busy last few weeks, culminating in the triumph of Becky and speech. She has been doing individual speech for the last month, performing Storytelling by telling a slightly different version of Cinderella and also doing Original Oratory by writing her own speech about what you learn in high school. At district contest she got a one on both so she advanced onto state competition last Saturday. At state she had three judges for each thing and got a one on her Storytelling from each judge and on her Original Oratory she got two ones and a two...which made her rather upset! But yesterday the nominations for All-State were announced and BOTH of Becky's things made it! She will perform her Original Oratory and be honored for her Storytelling but not perform it. It is a big honor to make it to All-State and an even bigger honor to make it in more than one thing. As far as I can remember back this is the first time a "mixed one" (two ones and a two) made it to All-State. It will be a crazy time when we go because that is also the weekend we go to Chicago for her college visit...nothing like a four day weekend!

date March 17, 2009

Yesterday morning I got up, took a shower and then when done turned the water off...or at least tried to turn it off. The hot water handle in the shower would barely turn, took both hands to get it shut off. I showed it to Dan, he figured the handle was just breaking and we would have to replace it. After all, the shower is old and normal wear and tear would do that. Okay, no big deal, I can afford to fix a shower handle, or even the whole faucet if necessary. Then last night Becky took a shower, when she was done she came to me and said there was a problem. I told her I knew about the shower handle and she said no, it was fine (weird!)...there was no hot water at all! What?! I went to the upstairs bathroom sink and tried that, sure enough, no hot water. So I went downstairs to the kitchen and tried there...no hot water. I told Dan, we went down to the basement to check on the hot water heater and make sure the breaker in the fuse box hadn't been tripped...no such luck...the hot water heater wasn't hot so it has died. Granted, that heater is old, old, old...but still! So today Dan is going to check into it, we are hoping it can be fixed with a new heating element because we cannot afford a new hot water heater right now. One good thing about it though...fastest shower Becky ever took!

date March 6, 2009
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