Friday, April 30, 2010


Love is.......

.......a handful of sunshine. Take in daily doses and smile.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happiness in a Box

This is what I'm talking about....

Aren't they just scrumptious?

Nothing is more snuggly than soft, clean, fluffy cloth diapers.

....except, maybe the sweet baby wearing them!

Meanwhile, the slightly older kids have found their own source of boxed up happiness:

Welcome to the "Batcave" (of course)!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Best Banana Bread Ever

While both of my cameras have decided to go on hiatus at the same time (reading as Memory Card Error, though both had been shooting just fine for months, and moments prior), I have been enjoying the opportunity to catch up on the blog. But it is absolutely killing me to go without taking pictures for two weeks!!! Bethany's crawling, Tubby has a broken arm, the weather is gorgeous bringing us lots of outdoor play time, and all three boys were in a fantastic district Jazz concert last night....each of them playing a solo! Can I just tell you that my silly little phone camera just doesn't do our lives justice. But for now, it's all I've got. So I guess, I am thankful for it.

Time out to share this recipe with you. Perhaps I have done so in the past, but if not....SHAME ON ME!!! This is a recipe for The Best Banana Bread Ever, from my most amazing, living-from-their-land-doing-life-right friend Lisa, up in the Middle of Nowhere, Minnesota. This recipe never fails, and I am including variations we have used and absolutely love. I have made this so many times, that I now have it memorized. You may just want to keep a recipe card in your back pocket, because I promise you, when you make this, people will ask you for it!

The Best Banana Bread Ever

*3/4 cup butter, softened
*8 oz cream cheese, softened
*2 cups white sugar
*2 eggs
*1/2 tsp baking powder
*1/2 tsp baking soda
*1/2 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp vanilla
*3 cups flour
*1-1/2 cup mashed, ripe, bananas(about 3 medium sized)
*1 cup nuts, optional

Beat together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth. I cheat here, and throw in my banana chunks and let the beater mash them for me (plus, it is one less bowl to clean!). Add eggs, baking powder and soda, salt, and vanilla, mixing well as you go. Continue mixing well as you add flour. If using, add nuts (pecans ROCK in this bread!).

Variations to die for:

*Pretty in Pink: one bag frozen raspberries, thawed(or 1-1/2 cups fresh---though this seems to be more expensive, and frozen turns out just as well), and almond extract. This makes an extremely lucsious and elegant bread with a pretty pink color in each slice. Perfect for special occasions and Valentine's Day. Fit for royalty.

*Sweet Summer: mashed strawberries(sweetened with a bit of sugar and water) and vanilla or almond(for richer flavor) extract.....nice and freshly sweet.

*Pina Colada: mashed bananas, rum and/or coconut extracts, and 1/2 to 1 cup flaked coconut....tropically fun and yummy!

Pour into 2 regular bread loaf pans. I use my stoneware pans for excellent results every time.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans.

Stand back so that you don't get trampled over by the stampede of family, friends, and strangers coming to devour the goods.


Monday, April 12, 2010


Anemia:Hemoglobin 7.2 (down from an already severely low 8.0 in February....this is NOT good)
Requiring high doses of iron which isn't going well.
Thankfully, Dr.Daddy consulted with a very wise pharmasist who is ordering a special iron suspension which Bethany may actually be able to tolerate to avoid IV remedy.
To make medicine giving even more fun, Bethany also is suffering from fever and ear infection, requiring doses of Tylenol and twice daily doses of antibiotic. She hates it all.
Respiratory Treatments:When you have been through the respiratory wringer since the moment of birth and come out a champ, as Laura has, you can pretty well take control of your own respiratory distress care independently. Even at the age of 6.On the other hand, being only 10 months old, one isn't yet efficient enough on one's own to battle the leftover effects of RSV. She's trying to be like big sis...and gets mad as all get-out when I end up having to help her. Hopefully she will appreciate it someday, when she can see the value and necessity of breathing.
Bone Fracture:

Oh, Tubby. What a trooper. He is taking it all like such a "superhero". He has had very little pain since the soft cast was placed last Thursday. We will be getting an ortho consult and a real hard cast in a few days. As for now, we are happy to report that Tylenol has been discontinued. If anything goes awry, I do believe that Super Tubby could save the day.

Though all is currently under control, good grief, it feels like a regular hospital here lately. And I'm working the 24 hour shift. 7 days a week.

At least my patients are all adorable. That alone will keep me going for awhile. Well, that and coffee. Lots of coffee.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Casting Crowns Concert

Tonight I took my three oldest boys to the Casting Crowns concert at the Xcel. It was awesome. As always. I have been to each of their concerts since they debuted as the opening band for Steven Curtis Chapman several years ago. My friend, Lisa, and I had not even heard of them before that night. They were amazing then. I was instantly hooked. They remain an amazing band now.

There is something compelling about the group. Not only are the musical compositions original, engaging, and downright of fabulous musical and lyrical quality, but the messages are pure. Strong, unapologetically focused on the truth in God's Word. Convicting. Wonderful. Worth the listen.

Hands down my favorite group. And it has been so great to share them with my boys. I have taken Alex and Michael on separate occasions. This year, I traded in the idea of two higher priced tickets, and instead purchased four to enjoy with all three boys at once. We were a bit farther away than our typical seats located in the first section from the stage (ok, maybe we were about as far away as possible while still officially sitting in a seat), but the sound was just as good, the message just as amazing, and the evening a beautiful success. Though the biggest boys have moved on more to the likes of "Christian screamo" music for daily listening, this was truly a fantastic night shared with my big boys. I can't wait until next time!

Easter 2010

(Sunday April 4)
He is Risen.
He is Risen Indeed!

This Easter Sunday, we awoke, praised God for the gift of Jesus and eternal life in heaven with Him someday.

We searched for Easter baskets.

And hidden eggs.

We got all spiffed up in the tub, and donned our Sunday finest.

We went to church and sang our hearts out in worship.

We came home and celebrated this glorious day with the people who matter most in our lives....


We ate. And ate. And ate.

Searched for more eggs.
Found lots of eggs.
Celebrated Bob and Alex's birthdays that are coming up in a few days.

And simply enjoyed a splendid Easter Sunday.

Happy Easter. God Bless you all.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Daddy's Birthday

Somewhere sandwiched between kid birthdays, broken limbs, school events, concerts, and illnesses, Daddy had a birthday. I think Bob and I feel similar about our birthdays....we can't avoid 'em, but for crimeny's sake let's just have 'em and be done with 'em. Or maybe that's just me.Thankfully, we had had a little extended family celebration on Easter Sunday(which I have not even posted about yet, either) for both Bob and Alex. On that day, we had "cake"(homemade cinnamon rolls---Pioneer Woman's recipe, to die for)....and Bob's mom brought him his favorite chocolate brownies with mint frosting, presents, and even a Spongebob pinata that my mom had brought. And tons and tons of food, of course! That day had been a gorgeous day, the kids spent some time running around outside, finding eggs, eating candy, and generally just having fun. It was a great day of celebration.

Today was great too. But much more mellow. As he was at work all day, we thought about all the things we were thankful for about Daddy: going to work every day to take care of us, playing silly games, buying fun toys, and always having enough love to share with everybody, to name just a few things. The kids made birthday signs and hung them on the walls.

Daddy grilled a yummy dinner. Hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, guacamole, salsa, chips, dip, yummm.....everything good about grilled dinners! Daddy opened presents. Though he has already been using his big present for a while now....a Nordic Track Treadmill. Which Bob and I put together, all on our own...and it works! Apparently it is really cool. It calculates all your miles, steps, calories burned, etc. And it can be programmed via Google maps(I think it is Google), and it will incline and decline accordingly to whatever real life path you plot out. I think that Bob is currently planning on jogging to Duluth. I can't wait to give it a try someday(if my ankle ever gets better).

Alex and Jonny have been using it as well on almost a daily basis---they received Pokewalkers(pedometers) as part of the latest Nintendo DS games on the market. They get special items and such in the game based on how many steps they take in real life. Who says that video games contribute to childhood obesity? Between this new DS game and the interactive necessity of the Wii, my kids are doing quite well in the "working out" department!

Alex finally got to open his presents tonight, too. James MacDonald the first night, a night in the ER the next night. What a nice boy to be able to wait so patiently.....especially when it is for new high tech toys to be had!

Happy Birthday, Daddy! We love you!

Tubby's Broken Arm

Well, well....I so hate to admit this, but, Bob was right. Ohhhhh, it is so hard to say that out loud. But to be fair, with all the times that I "win" on differences of opinion, I really ought to give him this one this time. So again, Yes, Bob was right.
The trampoline debate has been on ongoing thing since we moved to this house seven (!) years ago. We both agreed that they are dangerous, and that our kids are not ever allowed to be on one unless we were physically present to supervise. That meant no trampolining at friends' homes with or without an enclosure. Our kids were convinced that we were the meanest parents on all the earth.

As many of them have gotten older, a trampoline began to seem like a possibility for us. The kids would love it, and it would be fabulous physical therapy for the girls. It would also provide some energy management for some of the more active boys in our home! We would certainly get an enclosure, rules would be established, and rules followed, and our kids would finally get the chance to live like "normal" kids in our community. Against his better judgement, Dr. Daddy Bob agreed, and on a whim, ordered a nice one online in the fall of 2009.

The kids only had a few short weeks to use it in the fall before the snow covered the jumping surface. But while possible, they had jumped on it almost every single day. That trampoline was getting some good use! When the snow melted this spring, the trampoline was one of the first things to get some attention again from the kids. Every day. Because it was fun, and it was good for them.

Last night, for whatever reason, all of our kids were getting along fabulously. All of them. All 8 of them. As naturally tends to occur, the kids ended up in the backyard on the trampoline during dusk, just before bedtime. Nothing new, nothing strange, pretty routine....with the exception that tonight, the two oldest boys were out there as well.

Bob and I were inside with the baby, and we could hear them squealing with joy and giggling like crazy through the open window for quite a long time. As the clock neared 8pm, we began to hear whiny complaining....again quite typical for kids whose bedtimes were quickly approaching. Within minutes of the whiny onset, the kids began parading inside, clunking up the stairs, through the house, and blaming each other for this and that.

Or so we were assuming......

Alex came in carrying a crying Thomas who was complaining about his left arm. He was a bit hysterical, obviously tired, and we could barely understand what he was saying. Alex informed us that Thomas had landed on his left arm, and then began crying. The big boys had thought it would be neat to see how high they could make the little ones "fly" if they all jumped at the same time. Apparently, Tubby can fly 3 feet up into the air. Laura thought their ride was "awesome!" Tubby? Not so much.

Upon evaluation, it was quite apparent that something did NOT look right with Thomas's arm, right at the elbow level. Was it broken? Or just dislocated as so many of our other kids had problems with when they were young? Bob couldn't tell for sure, and nothing but an xray was going to be able to make that decision.

Alex drove as I carried poor little Tubby to the ER. He was in such pain, and movement of any kind was so awful to see for him. Our ER was fairly calm, so we were seen rather quickly. Tubby's arm got grimaces from almost everyone who saw him, indicating that indeed we had made the right decision to bring him in. They prepped him, iced him, gave him an IV, as Tubby finally fell asleep, crying, as I continued to hold him and sing "You Are My Sunshine". Within an hour of injury, my sweet little boy was given an IV dose of Morphine. Poor dude.

Once the morphine was on board, they wheeled Thomas to xray. The images were excruciating for him, even with pain meds. He cried with each movement, but couldn't open his eyes. To everyone involved, it seemed quite clear that this little boy's arm was broken.

Reading the xrays, the doc thought otherwise. No break was seen, so he was wheeled back to xray in order to get comparison studies of his other arm. More images, more pain. He was now totally awake, and very much not happy about his plight. Upon compare, things still looked fine. We were told he just had a bad bruise with muscle tissue damage, and the dent in his arm(probably caused by his jacket sleeve buckle) could have bruised the bone as well. They wrapped him well in an ace bandage, put his arm in a sling, and sent us home with a giant Snoopy balloon and to bed by 10:30pm.

Tubby was tucked in next to me in bed, and didn't move a muscle all night despite Bethany's typical antsy antics. When he awoke in the morning, he began to cry more. The pain was just so much. It just didn't add up.

I received a phone call from the ER doc shortly after I returned from driving the kids to school. Upon review of the xrays with the radiologist, a break was found in the upper ulna, reaching into the elbow space. Finally! The whole scene now made sense!

They had us return to the ER for splinting and soft casting. Poor Tubby winced as his arm was carefully moved about. Laura distracted him with Batman toys. A very kind ER doc an her Australian accented assistant wrapped that little arm up well. Soon enough, it was tucked back into the little black sling around Tubby's neck, and he was good to go.

And there you have it. Tubby broke his arm. On our trampoline.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Math Riddle

What do you get when you take this:

Minus this:

Plus this:


You get THIS:


The Post Without a Topic Title

It's yet another beautiful day to be outside. Laura is beginning to ride a bike. Melissa's old bike fits Laura perfectly this year. And it is perfectly pretty and pink, looking nearly brand new! Getting those pedals to go in a forward direction is trickier than one would think. But with a little practice, she'll be riding well in no time.

Tubby could spend all day riding around on his Batman "bike". He drives it so well, both in forward and reverse. And of course, he is the envy of all the little neighborhood boys. I especially like how adorable he looks as he rides with his cool Batman shades!This little guy just LOVES Batman. None of our other boys ever got into superheros before, so this is kind of a fun new thing for all of us. So, for Thomas, he plays Batman outside, Batman inside, and Batman made out of just about anything(these are made using my Cricut, and he played with these for days). At our house, it is common for him to say, "Batman saves the day!", followed with a whoosh sound.....which is apparently Batman flying off to his latest rescue.

And while these guys play, I have been taking down Christmas lights. I have clocked 17 hours so far. Sad thing is, one can barely tell the difference. There are so many lights!!!! My friend Colleen came by one day to help for a little while...thank you! It seemed to make some measurable progress having two of us removing Christmas decor from the yard. My hostas and daylilies appreciate being uncovered,too! But seriously....holy cow.....this project is going to take me all.summer.long. Well, with my ankle yet unstable and swollen, hockey remains out of the question for this spring. I will just have to make my yard my exercise routine for now.