31 October 2008


We all know the beloved story, Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson, but what about Betsy and the Purple Marker, by Beth Grebe? This story begins with a beautiful little girl, who manages to acquire a certain purple marker, from 1 of 2 certain brothers. It is a delightful story, one in which I hope you will share with the little ones in your life. I will not spoil the ending, but I have been brainstorming ideas for pictures for this story. Below is what I came up with so far. What do you think?

Have A Happy Halloween!
ps...i finished the 'twilight' saga, hooray!

28 October 2008

2 Girls + 1 old sheet =

45 minutes of PURE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

peace out!

27 October 2008

My Guilty Pleasure

Before I had children, reading was one of my most favorite things to do (well, it still is). However, since having children, the time I can devote to it has lessened. Considerably.

Recently, I have discovered the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I know, I know, it's in the young adult section, for the love of Lucinda! But, I am a thirty-year-old here to tell you, "It's gooood, people!" Here's why: high school, true love, vampires, werewolves, danger, suspense, romance, action, vampires, werewolves. Did I mention the vampires and werewolves? It doesn't get much better than this. (Okay, so that may be an over-statement...) Anyway, I am currently reading the third in the series of four. WOWZA! That's really all I have to say!

Let me add, I am completely useless when I read. I mean, I still feed and change the kids, but my house is a disaster, and I stay up until, like, 2 in the morning. Come on, I have read almost 1,000 pages about vampires (and werewolves) in the matter of 3 days. Pathetic! I must give a shout out here to a kind, loving, helpful, hunk of man, I call my husband, who allows me to, occasionally, indulge in my beloved pastime.

I was NOT completely comatose this weekend.
We did this:
(as far as the TV goes, Jake and our friend, Danny, did most of it. I supervised, and made sure no one got hurt!)

*Yes, that is Betsy in her skivvies watching
Pee Wee's Playhouse. It is a classic, and thanks to her, Godfather, Tony, we now have the boxed set. Yipee! By the way, click to enlarge...the look on Pee Wee's face is priceless.

*I painted this for our entry. You likey?
I am not so sure, yet.

*We went to a pumpkin carving party, at my friend, Christy's parents' house, but the boys would not stand still long enough for any kind of a picture. Plus, lil' Jake gashed his head open five minutes after we got there, my stinkin' camera sucks and ran out of batteries, and Pete pooped his pants (he does that when he's excited)! I don't know if we'll be invited back next year. But, hey, ya' win some & ya' lose some!

So, see, I wasn't totally useless. Maybe.

PS The movie comes out at the end of November. Alright, have I officially crossed the line? Can you say, psycho-obsessive? Watch the trailer here and here. And, don't worry, I will not get in line the day before, but I might dress up like a "bloodsucker" for the debut. We'll see...

24 October 2008


This is Jakey's 2nd grade class performing at the 2nd & 5th grade fall music program. He is the last one on the right in the middle row. You can totally tell which one he is, right? Uh, no, you can't for shniz, because my camera SUCKS! It doesn't focus, the lighting is always off, and I am constantly wanting to throw it out the front door and onto the lawn. Oh, wait, I found another close-up of my precious, first-born, angel child that is much better...
I must have done something right this time. I can actually tell that he has what seems to be two eyes, a nose, and a mouth, never mind those cute freckles or that endearing gap between his two front teeth. Those are certainly minor details. Here's the real injustice. We got a decent shot of this kid from the 5th grade.
I mean, at least it's focused. This kid is soooo cool it hurts. And I am NOT trying to be funny. I wonder if Seth Rogen knows his childhood look-a-like is running around in Missouri. I'm as serious as I can be when I say that I love a kid with an afro and Pumas. So, to the parents of this ridiculously stylish boy, I have a great picture of your spawn.

To Jake, I am sorry if it seems like we love other random children more than you. This is not the case! We do NOT want you to find another family, even though that is what you proclaimed this morning at breakfast concerning another completely unrelated issue. Who knew a 7-year-old could have teenage angst? It must be the hormones in milk. But, he can still tell his dad to get me a new camera. Wink, wink. He knows what kind I want.

PS Regardless of the picture situation, Jake did great, sang LOUD, and had a great time! I love you, buddy!

23 October 2008


Yesterday, you lost your second tooth...

It made me think, "Geez, you're cute!"

You like to dress-up; Spidey, Jedi, Batman.

You push my buttons whenever you can.

Your 6th birthday was in October.

Happy you are when the neighbor, Nick, comes over.

Blueberry-mini-wheats are your favorite by lots.

You help me cook by measuring and getting the pots.

"Bleep" is your newest thing to say,

to edit curse words to my dismay.

Magic tricks you love to do.

You spell all kinds of things until I'm cuckoo.

Loving me, you have a knack.

And I love you to the moon and back.

22 October 2008


I am not usually this careless. The other day, I put the girls down for their nap after lunch, just like everyday. I went into the family room carrying a basket full of laundry, ready to hang out with Petey. I put the monitor on the end table, like always, folded the laundry, watched PBS with my boy, and played a couple of games of Go-Fish. Next, I started my afternoon routine of picking up around the house, figuring out what to make for dinner, etc. I suddenly heard
knocking on a door from down the hall. It was coming from the girls' room. Then, I noticed what time it was, much too late for them to still be napping. I panicked, why hadn't the monitor done its thing? Uh, maybe because it was out of freakin' batteries!!!!!!

How stupid am I?

So, anyway, this is what happens when you don't know that you're children are up from their nap and left to their own
devices because their mother is a complete moron, who doesn't check batteries. I know it's shocking! Please try not to judge me! Just let this be your friendly reminder to check batteries on all electronic devices that may have catastrophic consequences if gone unattended to; your camera on your son's graduation day, your grandpa's pacemaker, AND the baby monitor.

21 October 2008

Just a few tidbits...

1. We're famous! Well, sort of. See why here and here and here.

2. Welcome to Holland by Emily Pearl Kingsley-This is the best essay ever! Read it here. I have never read anything that rivals it in explaining the experience of having a differentlyabled child.

3. This is Rosie & her infamous "B".
You can get many kinds here, Rosie prefers the puppy.
And, after losing 2, they finally
make a three pack, "A Pair and a Spare".
Does/did your child have/had a security item?
Tell me about it in the comment area below.

4. After much deliberation, we are going to have a karate master, Batman, a friendly little skeleton, and a peacock in the house on Halloween. What tricks or treats will be in your dwelling this year?

5. Tonight is Jakey's fall music program at the high school. I hope he does his best and sings LOUD!

20 October 2008

Crazy Aunt Mo-Mo, and breastfeeding?

I saw a newborn in church yesterday, who looked like she had been born the day before that, and it got me thinking of my own lil' guys and gals when they were that age. It seems so long ago; the helpless cry, the wrinkled skin, the sleepless nights, their smell. I was also thinking about my most favorite thing about them at that age, breastfeeding. I know it sounds crazy, so, let me explain.

Crazy Aunt Mo (2006)

To do this properly, I need to tell you about my Aunt Mo-Mo. She is my mom's sister, and the mother of three children, now grown. She has often been caught saying things like, "Oooo, I could be a wet nurse" or "Nothing beats breastfeeding. I miss it so much." or "Hand that baby over here, I'll feed her/him."! Many of you may think this kind of talk is ghastly or disgusting, but she does it all in good fun. Most of the things she says are all in good fun. Honestly, up until now, I've never given it much thought past the giggle these comments evoked. But now that I am done with that chapter of my life, I understand what she means.

Now, I know this topic is taboo for most of you, but I am proud to say I nursed all of my children. It is a closeness that cannot be equaled. It is an empowerment of sorts, to know that you alone are nourishing your babe with the most perfect food ever produced. It is an act that time and progression have seemed to ignore. It is primal and pure, and sadly, fleeting. It is a connection and bond to your child that not one person or thing can duplicate. Their hand resting on your chest, innocent eyes looking up at your face, and you knowing that their need for your body didn't end when the cord was cut. An act that isn't about you or them, but of you AND them, together. Ahhh, that is why it is the one thing I miss most about my sweets when they were infants.

So, Aunt Mo, you can add me to the ranks of breastfeeding nostalgics the world over. Of which, I think you should be the president. *

*Please keep in mind people, this was tongue in cheek. I do not condemn those who do not choose to breastfeed nor do I condone nursing children large enough to ASK for breast milk for their birthdays or Christmas, as seen here.

That's a whole new topic, for a whole new day...

18 October 2008

Happy Birthday, Kate!

Miss Kate Jackson is my feisty little niece. She turns four today, and I hope all of her wishes come true.

Hope you're having fun camping, Kay-Kay!

Have a great weekend!

17 October 2008

Coming in December, to a mailbox near you...

One can never be too prepared, so I got the Christmas card thing out of the way. Isn't it delicious? You can make a purrrty one, too, with the help of customer service angel, designer extraordinaire, Sara Luke. Check out her stuff here and her blog here.

FYI: For added suspense, this is not the final product.

16 October 2008

The First Worst Wait of My Life.

MPS. What's that you ask? I didn't know either. I can't blame you if you don't. So, I will tell you, and then you can say, "At least I learned something new today." MPS stands for mucopolysacharidosis. It is a genetic disorder that has several types. Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) and related diseases are genetic lysosomal storage diseases (LSD) caused by the body's inability to produce specific enzymes. Normally, the body uses enzymes to break down and recycle materials in cells. In individuals with MPS and related diseases, the missing or insufficient enzyme prevents the proper recycling process, resulting in the storage of materials in virtually every cell of the body. As a result, cells do not perform properly and may cause progressive damage throughout the body, including the heart, bones, joints, respiratory system and central nervous system. While the disease may not be apparent at birth, signs and symptoms develop with age as more cells become damaged by the accumulation of cell materials.

After we received some urine test results, we were told that there may be some cause for concern. The doctors told us that based on the findings from the urine sample, MPS was a possibility. In order to rule it out, Betsy had to get a x-ray of her entire body. Apparently, individuals with MPS have skeletal abnormalities. If her x-ray had any discrepancies, they were certain this is what our sweet girl had.

First, we encountered the wait for the x-ray. If memory serves my correctly, it was about a week. And what does any sensible idiot do in that week? She googles anything she can on MPS. That sounds smart, right? And what does any sensible idiot dwell on after googling MPS? The same words she read over and over on nearly every web site she found; "life expectancy is late teens to early twenties". Now, I don't know of anyone that would read something like that and not think the worst. There is no amount of, "don't worries" or "it will be alrights" that can erase the thoughts I had the ensuing days. Who thinks, when they begin there family, that these things actually happen outside of fiction and here say? Maybe the Eternal Pessimist, but even she seemed to be thrown a curve ball on this one. My mom, at a loss, who knew?

The x-ray day came. It was a nightmare. My little baby, she was about 10-months-old, lying there, crying on a cold table. The whole thing took about a half-hour. When they said a x-ray of her entire body, they weren't kidding. For it being the least invasive procedure she had had, it was certainly the most painful for me. As we packaged her back into her seat and got into the car to head home, all I could think about was a world without her. When I first learned of Betsy's developmental delay, I thought about how she may never walk, drive, have a job, get married, have children. But this, this was too much. Now the thoughts were of no Betsy at all. Who cares if she never drove a car, or worked in a cubicle, or gave birth? I certainly didn't. To have her (period) was the best gift God could give me.

Next, came the wait for the results. This took a few, long, endless, butt-dragging days. The call came, and the news was phenomenal! It was absolutely negative!

With perspective, I think, if this is the worst...God has blessed me with an excessively great life. In writing this, I also realized that I have to keep reminding myself that a fulfilled life does not always mean getting a license, landing a great job, making gobs of money, wearing a white dress and veil, or even creating new life. It is from within and above. Betsy may never know God the way I do (in a cognitive/intellectual sense), but I know that He loves her. I also know that she must feel His love in a way that you and I may never know in our earthly life. He has made her special. His gift to her is LOVE. Love that knows not of judgement, or race, or bias. It is pure, unconditioned, and full. In essence, she is the most fulfilled individual I know, and she is only 4!

Anyway, while everyone else's children, some of mine included, are graduating college, job hunting, planning weddings, and getting mortgages, my Betsy will be tromping around Italy with her Grandpa (he promised). The wind will be blowing through her hair, the sun shining on her face, she will be laughing, and, no doubt, getting free gelato for that infectious smile. What could be better than that?

And that, my friends, was the WORST wait of my entire life.

that is NOT Jake and I kissing in the corner, although, it would be nice if it were

Man, if I wasn't married!

So, Jake II (second from the left in the back row), played flag-football this fall, and I couldn't help but think that his coach was rather good looking. He is also a snappy dresser, I might add (love the Army shirt, hooah!). You may not agree, but it was hard for me not to stare. Luckily, I snapped this picture at the last game, and now I have permanent eye candy to look at whenever I want.
Shhhhh, don't tell Big Jake.

15 October 2008

One more thing...

You certainly are NOT President Bush, Senator, and we love you even more for FINALLY saying it!

P.S. Cindy, do you ever not look fabulous?

Nighty-night, y'all.

A wonderful day in August...

I am no Martha Stewart, but I do aspire to be like her. She's rich, famous, a good cook, and the cutest convicted inside-trader I've ever seen. She can throw a party together in a pinch, loves animals, and is a killer decorator. I hope Betsy's 4th birthday party would have made her the least bit proud.

The theme was taken from a super charming invitation from Sarah Jane Studios. Her illustrations can be found on stationary, calendars, prints, and buttons in her Etsy shop. (For those of you who are not familiar with Etsy click here. It is a bazaar of all that is good from artisans and designers. Who doesn't love handmade things?)

I attempted a homemade meringue cake. Doesn't it look magical? It didn't taste so magical, but the aesthetic was there. Hey, Betsy loved it! We had an ice cream cone pinata, and I dipped pretzel rods in chocolate, and sprinkles, and sealed them with a little sticker from Sarah Jane that matched the invites. Tres cute!
Sometimes I can ruin a beautiful day like this thinking about nonsensical things. That morning, I was thinking about how Miss Bets doesn't have the social ability to make school friends to invite on her special day, and how unjust this was. This, of course, is pure silliness. By that evening, when the house was full of family and family friends, I thought about how lucky we are, and more importantly, how lucky she is to have such wonderful people in her life. It truly was a wonderful day!

p.s. I, in no way, aspire to be a convicted inside-trader. Now, a cute, convicted inside-trader, maybe.

14 October 2008

The Clan

the fab four

I guess I should introduce the rest of my beautiful family.

I will start with my husband, Jake. I have known Jake since 1995 (high school), married him in 2000, and had a child with him in 2001. Whew! I feel like I have known him forever, but am still finding new things to love about him everyday. From 2001 to 2007, we created four little humans. We always wanted a larger family, and Jake would agree to have about 20 kids, but for now, all is right with the world. He works at his parents automotive shop, and provides beautifully for us all. He is a hard worker, and the true definition of a family man. He loves God, his kids, muscle cars, football, drag racing, dogs, and me.

Jake II, our first bambino, was due on our first anniversary (6/3/00). He came at the end of May, and he has been a joy ever since. He is a pleaser like his dad, and a perfectionist, like his mom. Of all the things he could inherit from me, I am not pleased this was the trait he got. He looks like my dad when he was a boy, and has lots of cute little freckles. He loves books, sports, drawing and telling stories. He is getting to be such a big boy, I don't know where the time went. What can you say about a little one who just wants to make you happy?

Pete came in October of 2002 (we work fast). He was a big boy, 8 lbs. 6 oz., and for some unknown reason, I decided on a natural delivery with him. Maybe my frustration from the pain somehow genetically encoded itself into him because he was a pistol from the beginning. He demanded to nurse constantly, I obliged. He demanded toys and table food when the time came, I did not always oblige. He spoke in 2-3 word phrases from the time he was 15-months-old, usually to demand something. He continues to demand, and push the limits of all who cross his path. He is a lot like his momma. I don't know what to say about that, except with his demands come a surprising generous and loving nature. Crazy, right?

You have all been introduced to Miss Betsy. She continues to surprise us with her accomplishments. She started walking around her 4th birthday, and recently acquired a talker from school. This is a machine that she can use to talk for her, since her cute, little brain can't seem to make the words she desperately wants to speak. She is super happy, super loving, and super huggy.

Rosie is the newest addition to our family. She came last March, and is named after her grandma (the Eternal Pessimist), who is named after her grandma. I had a repeat c-section, and a very nice four night stay in the hospital with her. She is a woman who knows what she wants. As independent as she would like us all to believe she is, she is very addicted to two things, me and her blankie or "B". Every woman needs something, and I am happy to offer my services to her. She is a climber and a runner. Her motor skills are superior to her verbal skills, although, in the last several months, she is not lacking there either.

We also have a lil' dog, Chopper. I do not think it is chaotic over here, because I don't know what it's like otherwise. My mom often jokes that she never would have guessed I would have had this many children, let alone, in that amount of time. She saw me as a career woman. "Hey lady, I am a career woman. I am in the business of rearing the future!" And as my dad would say, as long as they turn out to be contributing members of society, and DO NOT still live at home, you have done your job.

I guess time will tell...

13 October 2008

Betsy's Story

The whole reason I think I am blogging is to connect with other mother's like me. I am in a dark place lately, and am only slowly seeing the light. In August of 2004, I gave birth to my third baby. A beautiful girl, our first girl. She came via c-section (another first for me) because of her breech presentation. She weighed a healthy 7 lbs. 7 oz. She had great apgar scores, all in all, a normal Cesarean delivery. We named our sweet girl, Betsy Jane. I felt high on life. Each and ever birthing experience is quite spiritual, and this was certainly no exception. I was relieved to put an end to a pregnancy riddled with severe morning sickness, complete with iv fluids because I could stomach nothing else. But it was all worth it, at that moment in August, when they placed her healthy, little butt in my arms.

The following months were a blur of nursing, two active toddler boys, nursing some more, and reflux, yet another first for us. When Betsy was not quite 4 months old, I started noticing little things that bothered me. She made no attempts to move; no head movements or rolling attempts. She also didn't appear to have reflexes that many new babies have. She would smile, but did not visually attend to anything. I said something to my husband. "Don't worry, all babies are different." I didn't buy it. Next, I approached my mom. "Well, I was going to mention something about her eyes. I think you should talk to the doctor." Ah, the Eternal Pessimist, she's always good for a spoonful of reality.

At the 4 month check-up, my fears were not put to rest, but rather I was told the DOCTOR would make Betsy an appointment with a pediatric neurologist. The doctor left, after handling me with the utmost care, and when he returned I was told the neurologist would see us in 2 weeks. Fast forward through the second worst wait of my life (more on the very worst later), the neurologist confirms there is a significant delay. "I propose some initial tests that I would like done as soon as possible. Can you drive down to Children's Hospital this evening to get started?" Whoa, slow down!

What followed was months of diagnostic tests and questions about my pregnancy (including about 3,678,878,293 people asking me if I drank or used drugs while pregnant. Uh, no and no). We saw geneticists, eye doctors, orthopedic surgeons, the neurologist. It was a whirlwind to say the least. Every procedure included anesthesia because of her low tone, even her MRI. And at the end of those months of testing, Betsy had no diagnosis.

Betsy is now 5, and still has no diagnosis. (Well, technically, it is static encephalopathy. This is a catch-all term, much like, cerebral palsy. Click here to learn more.) The good news for us is that she is healthy as a horse. She attends special school 4 mornings a week, and receives occupational and physical therapy (OT and PT), speech therapy, and individualized classroom instruction. More importantly, she has her family. We love her and support her, and celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small, with her. She is special, no doubt, and we rally around her in a way that is normal to us now. She IS the odd girl out, but in the very best sense.

12 October 2008

House of Grebe.

I love playing with new ideas, making things I see and like as cheaply as possible, and reusing anything I can.  I've tried to make our homes cozy and inviting, and places that my children will make many memories in.

(boys' rooms & bathrooms coming soon)





Our previous home, or '1000 square feet of heaven' as I liked to call it, was constantly evolving, and changing.  But we loved it so.









more coming...