Happy Halloween!

It's been a beautiful weekend to celebrate Halloween. Last night, we went to a party thrown by Miss Tina Marie. I laughed so hard, I made my stomach upset. I have some of the best friends and co-workers in the world. THEY ARE AWESOME and a total blast to hang out with.

Today, my sister is letting me tag along with her and her 3 boys as they go "trick or treating". It may be because I'm their aunty and a little bias, but they are 3 of the best boys in the world. I love being able to hang out with them and since they're only 6, they still like hanging out with me:)

Happy Halloween to all the the ghosts, goblins, and witches out there! Happy All Hallow's Eve, and tomorrow, Happy All Saints Day!

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To the me 10 years ago-

We all have those things we wish we could go back in time and tell ourselves. As I'm contemplating getting older, I find there are a ton of things I wish I could tell myself. Or, at least, tell myself to listen when somebody else told me. As more and more teen suicides are in the news due to bullying, this seems more and more important to pass on. I don't know if any teens will ever listen to an adult. Or realize that they are not alone!

First, I would tell myself, "this too shall pass." There will be so many things in life that get thrown your way. You will be overwhelmed. Emotions will drive you to do some pretty stupid and embarrassing things. Give it a week, a month... IT WILL PASS! Things get sorted out; they get done. Things will calm down and make sense. Sometimes we need to work our butt off to get those things done. Sometimes, things fall into place. What seems like the biggest event in our lives thus far, will turn out to only be a blip on our radar of life.

Be nice. I know it's hard! Trust me. I have a temper and an uncanny ability for words to shoot out of my mouth before my brain can process them. Someone smells bad, or has an annoying laugh, a sense of humor that is not funny to you. Or maybe their always in a bad mood. Sarcastic and rude. Smile. Be friendly. Take the time to talk to them, if only for a few minutes. Don't join in on teasing or gossip about them. Believe me when I say that you will be looked at as the better person. You know those votes you get senior year in high school? Like "best smile" and "most friendly"? Those are the labels you should strive to get. Now, I am not saying to be a push over and let people walk all over you. Exude confidence and self respect. Be assertive when it comes to your personal space and well being. But any time you can, be nice.

Dress your age. Shorts that have your butt cheeks hanging out and shirts down to your nipples- Really? On what planet does a 16 or 17 year old look good while wearing that? Heck! What planet should anyone besides a stripper dress like that? No, it does not make you look older. It does, however, make you look like your easy. And trashy. BTW, take a picture and look at it in a couple of years. You'll want to burn it.

Sex. Of course I'm going to bring up sex! Nine out of ten girls I went to school with lost their virginity in their early teens. Nine outta ten regretted it. Any one of my friends that told me it felt good and they enjoyed it, admitted to lying about it later. It hurts. It's awkward. It's embarrassing. And it's just not worth the emotional upheaval it causes. I don't care if you think you love them. You love them and they love you, they'll wait. You can wait. I'm not going to tell you to wait til marriage. (Although, I can honestly say, I wish I would have.) Wait until your comfortable in your own skin, until your so comfortable with that person that you could have boogers hanging out of your nose and not get embarrassed when they tell you. You also have to think about birth control. Teen moms are not cool. I don't care that they have their own show on MTV. It is not what it's cracked up to be. You think your ready to have sex? Are you ready to talk to your partner about it? Are you ready to go and get tested together before you do anything to make sure you're both protected? Girls- use a form of birth control that you are responsible for. And if it says to take it every day at the same time, DO IT! If you can't manage that, how are you going to manage having sex and all the adult aspects that come with it?? Guys- Always, ALWAYS use a condom. It does not matter if your partner is on the pill. There is only one method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy- Abstinence. You know, NOT having sex. Not to mention the array of STD's that can become available to you if you decide not to wrap it. And please, trust me when I tell you that the pull out method is not an effective method. Sex is one of the biggest regrets people have. Try and live so you don't have any.

You are loved. So incredibly much so that you cannot even fathom it. As harsh or out of touch as your parents seem, they will forever be in your corner. They have been through what your going through. They may have twenty or so more odd years to look back on it, but that's why they say retrospect is always 20/20. They do understand. And although they may seem unfair, they are only trying to save you from making the same mistakes they did.

I've had ten years to look back at life at 16. I'm sure when I'm thirty something, I'll look back at my twenties thinking "if only I knew then what I know now..."

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To Buy or Not To Buy!

My digital camera, a Canon Powershot 10.1 megapixel, broke early July. Ever since then, I have been looking and researching cameras, trying to find one I like. Do I want to go with a compact point and shoot? Something a like my Canon? Or do I want to try a D-SLR?

First, I want to say, I loved everything about my Canon except for the size. It's not a camera you can stick in your purse for a night out on the town. Let's be honest. That is when some of the best candid pics of you and your friends happen! I wouldn't bring it out for fear I would break it or lose it. And where the heck would I put it? I can't leave it around my neck while I try to dance! I loved the speed, ease of use, and different functions that it had built right into it. I've used it on all sorts occasions and rarely come out with a bad shot.

Pretty much the reason's stated above are the reasons I would go with a compact point and shoot. Then I found out I would have to choose between an ion battery or double a's. No way on Earth would I be stuck without a way to recharge my camera fast! How many times have you been out sight seeing and your camera dies? I wanted the double a batteries so I could pack spares and not miss a shot. Of all the models I've looked at, Nikon wins hands down. But even that compared to what I had paled in comparison.

Looking and SLR's, I'm lost. I want to be able to use all the functions my new camera has. Would this kind be to hard to figure out? Would I need to take a class just to work my camera? I am not one of those people that can read something and understand it right away. I do much better if someone shows me how to do it and explains things simply. I'm not an idiot. That's just my learning style. I'm an amateur photographer. I like to take stills, poses, and candids. I love taking funky and unique pictures. This type of camera would allow me to do that. I think I need to go camera shopping and try the camera's "hand's on" to see if this would fit me.

The camera that is winning in my mind is the newer version of the Canon Powershot that I had. I already know how to use it. I love that fact that the LCD screen is variable. It has all the functions I want and it takes great pictures. It sounds like it should be a no brainer. I am one of those people that need to research big purchases and know I'm getting the most for my money. Until I feel confidant in that decision, I'll keep debating.

With a new camera, I want a new photo editing program. I want one that can do all sorts of cool stuff and really enhance the pictures I take. I was looking at one online and really liked it. Until I seen the price. $699!!! I don't even know if I'm willing to spend that much on a camera, let alone software! So, any suggestions for an easy to use, reasonably priced program would be appreciated!

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The Unknown Grandfather

Today my grandpa, Elmer Becker, passed away. I am sad that he died. Not because he was a great man whom I will miss, but because I never got to know whether he was a great man or not. I've never met the man.

My grandma and him divorced long before I was born. Family stories go that he was a drunk that had no problem raising his hand to either his wife or his children. I grew up hearing my dad's story about when his dad threw him out a window for putting too much ketchup on his plate. When I lived in Cold Spring, I found out more about him. The man who owned the store where I rented my first apartment knew him. My grandma and him owned a gas station/bar in town. He said that both of my grandparents liked to drink. My grandpa did have a temper, but when he was sober, he was a good man. He told me a story of when a man fell into the river and my grandpa went in after him and pulled him out. I guess my grandpa lost his shoes in the process!

I know that everyone has a past and most include things that we may not be proud of. I don't judge this man I never met. I feel empathy towards him for not getting to know the kind of adults his kids turned out to be. For never getting to know his grand and great-grandkids. I looked him up a couple of times and was going to contact him. That's when my aunt told me she had and that he did not want anything to do with anyone. He had remarried and had kids with his second wife. That is the only life he wanted to be a part of. I took her statement at face value and didn't press the issue. Now I don't have the chance. I would like to meet my 1/2 aunts/uncles and any cousins I may have. If only once, so that I can learn more about this man that helped create my dad. I would think that they would want to meet my grandpa's "first" family.

I'm going to keep an eye out for his obituary. Since I never got to see him in life, death may be my only chance.

I don't want my kids to ever have a grandparent die not knowing them. I've seen it to often. Now I'm living it. I don't ever want them to go to a funeral thinking " I didn't even really know this person." I am incredibly fortunate that I was close to the grandparents I've lost thus far. Not that I would wish to lose them, but that I don't have any regrets of not knowing them. I spent time with them all. Helped care for them when I could. Really talked to them and got to know them as a person. Not just (excuse the way I'm wording this) "old people" or ancients. They were all young once. They all have a story to tell. They have been through everything we have, are, or will go through. They are the keepers of the past, full of wisdom. Sometimes, they are our biggest role models in this thing we call "life".

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Busy Days, Summer Nights

This summer had hit the ground running and is not about to stop! At the end of May/ beginning of June, Kenny and I were lucky enough to take an Alaskan cruise. Kenny's brother, Scotty, shared a suite with us; His parents and uncle were in the suite on one side of us and his other uncle and aunt were on the other side. Our balconies opened up so all three were joined. A couple of weeks before the cruise, we were called and offered an upgrade from a mini suite to a large suite with 3 times the normal size balconies. Of course, we didn't say "No"! Along with the upgrade came the mini bar completely stocked and free of charge for the first round of items, canapes delivered daily, free flowers, corsages and boutonnieres on formal nights, free Internet on the ship, no waiting lines, and free in room movies! It was incredible and probably a once in a lifetime opportunity! Those suites are otherwise too expensive for these working Joe's. The sights in Alaska are amazing. When you are a Minnesota girl born and bred, you don't see many mountains or glaciers in your daily life. The cold temps, however, were no stranger to us:) We went on a whale watching tour and got to see Humpback and Killer whales, sea otters, and sea lions. We also seen bald eagles and various other birds of interest. (Sorry, I'm not good with names!) Not to mention mosquitoes the size of my pinkie nail! I am very glad for opportunities my life has brought me. Traveling has been one of my dreams since I was little and I have been blessed to not only travel "the states", but also many countries. That being said, I liked Alaska; I'm glad I was able to go and see it; But I can honestly say- Once was enough for me!
The rest of June went a little slower then the rest of the summer will go. Scotty celebrated his 35th birthday. My cousin-in-law's wife turned 30. My cousin-in-law and bff's fiance turned 31. I helped at Glencoe's days by selling food one weekend. I threw a baby shower for a co-worker. And, of course, Father's day. My Dad came to our house for the weekend. My present to him this year was a car care package and a "coupon" for a free car cleaning and car wash. My dad was a mechanic by trade and one of the things that always comes up when we talk is car maintenance:) We grilled out and had Kenny's parents over to celebrate Father's day. I am very grateful for my father-in-law. Any time we have a question about the house, vehicles, or problems, we know we can count on him to help fix them. An example? I found a hole in our cedar siding when I was leaf sucking around the house. Big Kenny, as I call him, came over and helped my Kenny fix it. We had called out a company to fix it, but they never got back to us with an estimate. We don't have to ask for help with him. He just offers, or does it. I don't think Kenny knew the value of the father-son relationship he had with his dad until the last couple of years. I think that is true of most kids, though! You don't realize what an asset your parents are until you're older. Unfortunate, yes. But at least the realization comes before it's too late.
What a very busy month July has been. July 3rd, we helped my sister's fiance celebrate his 40th birthday. It was so fun to have all of us sister's complete with kids there to celebrate.
John's 3 kids from his previous marriage were also there. Even though John and Jeni have been together 6 years now, it took me until this party to realize these three great kids are apart of our family. The triplets love them to death. They love the triplets. I come from a blended family. I have a half brother and sister. We were raised together and I never think of them as half, nor do I introduce them as so. People often wonder how they got blonde hair and no freckles, so I end up explaining it. But other then that, I never feel like they are any less my brother and sister then my full blooded sister is. That is how Alex, Nick, Chris, Megan, Michael, and Janelle feel. I'm sorry it took me this long to figure that out. They are good kids. They call my Aunty Nicki and I am proud to consider them among my family!
Then there was the 4th of July. It is one of my favorite holidays. I love to grill. I love to spend all day outside. I love to watch the fireworks while listening to patriotic songs. I am PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!!! I was planning on spending this year alone. Kenny had to work. My sister's were both going to other places. My friends either had to work or had other plans. However, within 5 minutes I had a ton of people to celebrate with. First, both my sisters decided to come to Waconia with their families. Then my cousin-in-law called to join us. Then her brother, sister-in-law, and niece came, too. While holding our spots, my parents-in-law called and invited me to sit with them. It turned out to be a great day with great people!
This past weekend, my "niece", Sylvia, celebrated her first birthday. What an incredible girl with an incredible family. Her birth mom, and birth aunt and family made the trip to spend the day with her. How amazing her adopted parents are to let us all be a part of her special day. They are two of the biggest hearted people I know and I thank God every day for them. I have a bunch of pictures I would like to post, however my camera is broke so I cannot upload them:(
Next, we have a camping trip planned. Every year, Kenny's family gets together and goes to Becker's Resort. This year, we are bringing my oldest nephew with us. I have been excited for this all month. I love camping. I love how relaxing it is. Every year, this is the only vacation we take where we can take naps, read books, and generally be lazy. I love it! I'm looking even more forward to it bringing a 9 year old. There is something about going camping with kids that brings back all the magical memories of camping trips I took as a kid. The wonder of the outdoors, watching the stars, spending the days in the pool and the nights around the campfire. I have so many things planned. I hope Izaac has as much camping with us and I have imagined for us!
Kenny's cousin's graduation party is also this month. I have to work, so won't be able to make it. The weekend after that is my niece's 2nd birthday party. I am uber stoked for that. She is a little lady and I love being able to spoil her with cute clothes and princess stuff. After 9 nephews, I needed a little girl!
August doesn't hold much reprieve for me. The triplet's celebrate their golden birthday the 6th. Their party is on the 7th. They are so lucky to have summer birthdays so they can have pool parties:)
The weekend after that is my father-in-law's birthday and the Carver county fair. I doubt I will be able to get off work to help him celebrate, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to the fair after work!!! I love the fair. I love the food, the booths, the games, and the rides. My facility is close enough that I can bring residents there and get them treats such as mini donuts, kettle corn, and funnel cakes. Any Midwestern knows, fairs are a highlight of the summer and not a single person I know doesn't have childhood memories of the fair.
Later in August is my sister's 30th birthday. She does not want to have a party so I will have to figure out some way to help her celebrate this milestone. I refuse to let it go be unnoticed:) After that, summer will slowly slip to fall. Life will slow down and before you know it, the holiday season will be upon us. I hope you all have a safe, sun and fun filled summer!

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I am strong. I am opinionated. I am right. Yes. I see your point. I understand where you're coming from. However, you are still wrong. Arrogant? Yes. Some call me a bitch. Others call me a role model. I know what I want, how I want it, and when. I have never needed your approval. I may bend, but I will never break. I don't apologize for what I believe. I don't try to be "politically correct". I don't waver in my stance. I am me. Beautifully me.

I am graceful. I am tact. I am empathetic. I am caring. I am fiercely loyal to those I love. My sisters are my backbone. My friends, my ground. I cannot stand tall without them. I am a good person with a good heart. My self worth is not dependant on your perception of me. I do my best in whatever situation life brings to me. I am proud. I am worth my weight in gold.

Those that know me, love me. Those that don't, wish they did. I am not perfect. I will never claim to be. I come from a long line of independent, courageous women. I strive to live up to them. I have learned that you really can't judge a person until you've "walked a mile in their shoes". What you may perceive as perfect, isn't. What is flawed, is not.

I am humble. I am honest. I am human. I am dependent on saving grace. I need love. I am a worthy companion. I am a wife, a sister, a best friend. I am me. Beautiful me.

No matter the face I wear, it is me. All me. 100% me. I AM ME!

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Sick Days

If I had one of those magnets on my fridge that says "Today I feel..." and then you have to find the face that matches your emotion, I would look for the one with the ice pack on the head and a thermometer in the mouth. I don't get sick often. I get headaches, migraines, the occasional cold or 24 hour stomach bug. But I rarely get knocked on my butt sick as I have been the past few days.

Yesterday, I called in sick to work. Me. I NEVER call in sick!! I like my job, I like my paycheck, and my conscience forbids me to call in when I'm not sick to have a fun day. (Even though I want to so bad at times!) I knew after being up all night coughing, blowing my nose, and feeling like a sumo wrestler had taken up residence on my chest, that I would not be able to go to work. I called in and then called the Doctor. I found out that I not only have a sinus infection, I also have a bronchial infection! So I am taking an antibiotic and got some prescription strength cough medicine, which has not touched my cough that is now giving me pounding headaches.

I am not the type of person to lay around all day doing nothing. Especially when I will be going on vacation shortly and have a million things on my "to do" list that need to be done. But I have not had the energy to do anything but lay around and catch up on the Discovery Health, Documentary, and History channel programs. Not to mention, eat mint chocolate chip ice cream for my meals when Kenny isn't home to make me chicken noodle soup!

I was able to find a girl to work for me today (Thanks a ton, Ruth!) so I didn't have to call in sick. Tomorrow is my scheduled day off seeing as how I have to work the weekend. Please, pray for a speedy recovery so I can be ready to take on the world (or at least stay awake for 8 hours) on Saturday when I have to go back to work. :)

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Finally, after weeks of clouds and rain, it's SUNNY!! I'm so glad to have the weekend off so I can enjoy some much needed R&R with my hubby. We're gonna grill and just sit outside soaking up the sun. It is fishing opener this weekend, so we thought about taking the boat out for the first time this summer. Who knows if we will, though. The lake gets super crowded! I hope you all have a great weekend!

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Spring Cleaning

Before I start my spring cleaning, I thought I would jump on the computer. Procrastination? Oh yeah! But I swear I will start cleaning right after this blog. Unless I decide I need to check my email and facebook just once more! LoL:)

I really like the feeling spring cleaning gives me. It's a fresh start. Letting out the old, stale air, and bringing in the fresh, fragranced air of SpRiNg! Feeling like I could eat off my floor... (feeling- not doing! I do have a dog!!) I like to declutter after the long winter. It's just a refreshing feeling.

Alright- Here I go!!!

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Growing Roots

From the time I was 10 until I was 20, I moved 15 times (that I can recall at this moment). My family averaged 8 months in one place. No one in my family was in the military during that time, either! We were just nomadic by nature, I guess. I planned on continuing in that path as an adult. When I moved from the St. Cloud area to the suburbs of the cities, I only planned on staying around a year or so. My next stop was to be Chicago. Why Chicago? No idea. I think I liked the idea of the Chicago style pizza all the time!

But, here I am. Living in the same house, same town, same state 5 years later. I finally feel like I'm putting down roots. I recognize people in the community. For anyone that has NOT lived in a two-horse town, or the same town/area your entire life, that is HUGE! I feel at home in this town. I care about this town. My house is my home. And there truly is "no place like home". This is not all roses for me, however. In my nomadic nature, I get bored being in the same place for so long. The four walls that make up my house feel confining at times. So, I go to Menards/ Home Depot and buy some paint, couch covers, new pictures for the walls, dig up and plant different plants and bushes, put in a fence... Much to my husband's dismay!

Kenny lived in the same house in the same town his entire life. He left for four school years while he went to college. When he graduated, he bought a house that now we both call home. At the end of September, he will have lived here for 7 years with the only changes made are the ones I have done. To say he doesn't like change is an understatement. In fact, it took a year for me just to be able to put a fresh coat of white (not yellow, blue, purple, or any other color) paint on the bathroom walls. I think he only said yes because there was mildewy stuff that had stained the wall above the shower! My undertaking of the basement redecorating was started when Kenny left for work so he couldn't tell me no. :)

Along with calling a place home, I've found that I really try and maintain relationships with people. In the past, when I moved, I didn't keep in touch with very many people. My unofficial motto was "new place, new people". Not that I intentionally did that, I just didn't find the time for them. I'm trying harder these days to keep in touch with the people I care about. Of course, facebook, email, blogging, and the internet in general helps with that. So if your one of the people I try to keep in contact with and meet up with once in awhile, know that I am consciously trying to keep you in my life. I will, however, only try so hard. If you constantly don't make time for me or say "I'll get back to you" and never do, you're done. I don't need more friends on facebook or a phone full of numbers I never hear from. Trust me, I do know how absolutely crazy life can be. I also know that the things in life that matter, you have to make time for.

I don't know if I'll be in this house in this town 5 years from now. I can't imagine moving too far. After finding this sense of community, I don't think I'll want to pull up roots any time soon.

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It's My Party...

...and I'll cry if I want to. Tonight I am throwing myself my very own pity party. Sounds fun, huh?

I'm feeling down and really disappointed in myself. (Just an FYI- NO this is not a cry for help, just some writing therapy!) I'm sure we've all been there. Fell back in to some old (bad) habits, let our self go, just been sailing through life without any advancement. That's where I am tonight.

I feel like a failure. There are so many things I've done to try and better myself. But old habits are hard to break. I feel like I let myself get out of control. Not that I'm running around doing dangerous things or the likes. But I'm tightly wound and a control freak. I don't like when I feel as if I'm losing control of my emotions, my actions, my wants. I don't like when the dark side of me rules my choices. When you know that you shouldn't do something, but you do it anyways.

I know I'm being vague. But along with my disappointment in myself comes embarrassment in my choices. Just a side note, I'm not doing anything illegal!!! One of the things I'm disappointed in is my bad choices when it comes to eating. My yo-yo dieting. I overindulge in things I shouldn't and I've let my body pay the price. Besides that, I lack all motivation to actually exercise! I joined a gym a couple years back and worked out everyday for a year. I felt GREAT!!! I made the time for myself and really felt fit. Then, I lost motivation.

So tonight, I'm going to regroup, recharge, and re-prioritize. I'm going to get back on the path I need to be on.

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Prayer List

I don't have much time to write (or sleep, eat, spend time with my loved ones, read, etc), but I want to put this out there before I hit the hay. This past month has been very difficult for some people that I'm close to.

My friend and co-worker, Ana, gave birth to a baby girl today. June Marie was 8 weeks early. Ana suffered from preeclampsia and had an emergency c-section today. The baby girl weighs 3lbs, 7 oz and is expected to be in the hospital for 4 or 5 weeks. While she is breathing on her own, she has an I.V. in that is giving her total nutrition. In a week or so, they plan on switching that to a feeding tube. She has to stay in an incubation like chamber and only 2 people, besides mom and dad, can visit her a day. This situation is not only hard because of the numerous problems that can arise from being premature, but also because the mother's health is compromised. And of course, money is always an issue. Ana will have to take more time off of work then planned and drive more than an hour each way after she is discharged from the hospital to see her daughter. Of course, no amount of money matters when it comes to your child, but it adds more stress to an already stressful situation. Please pray for this new little family. For health, reassurance, peace, and safekeeping.

The next person on my list is also a co-worker. Her sister has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and needs to have a lumpectomy done. This has obviously been a very emotional and trying time for this family. Breast cancer is a horrible disease. Ask any woman what their greatest fear is and I would bet you that a large amount would be breast cancer. After all, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. Please pray that the surgeons can remove the cancer, the doctors can treat the cancer, and that her recovery is smooth and quick. Please also pray that the Holy Spirit can fill her sister, her, and their family with peace and healing.

There is a person I know that will remain anonymous due to nature of this problem. His/her teen daughter is dealing with depression, thoughts of suicide, and cutting themselves. This poor girl feels worthless. She's teased and bullied in school. She has had to be admitted to the hospital twice for extended stays because of this. I cannot tell you how close to my heart this issue is. Writing about it brings tears to my eyes. NOBODY should ever feel like they are better off dead! This girl is an amazing, sweet, generous, beautiful girl. Please pray for her. Pray for self-confidence, pride, worth, happiness... Pray for the bullies that make her feel this way. That they will know what the consequences of their actions are, how they can bring someone down so low. Pray for her family. That they can surround her with love. They can have the strength to do what is best for her even when it's hard. That they can be understanding and non judgemental of her, support her.

I know the power of prayer and I trust in the Lord with all my heart. I ask that you pray with me for these people.

“Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon His God.” (Isaiah 50:10)

American Girl

I was so excited to go to the Mall of America with Kenny today. We shopped at the store "American Girl". I LOVED American Girl when I was little. For those of you that don't know, they are dolls based off of historical fiction books. My favorite girls were "Felicity" and "Addy". In the summer of '95, I worked my butt off to buy a Just Like Me doll with red hair and brown eyes. In those days, (like it was forever ago!!!) The dolls had to have bangs and no freckles. Walking around today, they had all different hairstyles and freckles! Talk about being jealous! I told Kenny that if we have a daughter, I will spoil her with "American Girl" dolls! I can't wait to go back and buy my doll (which I still do have) a new outfit and get her hair done at the doll beauty salon they have there:)

We went to the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" 3-D. It was a great movie. It's one of those that as soon as it comes out on DVD, I will buy it. Kenny said it is his new favorite movie. I was worried I wouldn't like it after all the hype it received, but I was dead wrong.

We stopped at Game Stop before we headed home and found a game for the wii that I had wanted and it was on sale! Mario and Sonic Olympic games. It's 12:30p.m. by my clock and we just finished playing it. It was great. Kenny kicked my butt on most things, but I still cleaned him out on a few things:)

Our anniversary was perfect. One of Kenny's and I first dates was to an arcade. I knew it was meant to be between us when I seen we both had the same ducky bathroom sets! We are two grown kids. Our time together is spent shopping for toys, playing in arcades, and being adult children! A saying comes to mind when I think of us. "Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional."

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2 years!

Two years being married to Kenny have flown by. I know I don't tell him enough how much he means to me, how much I love him, and what a great person he is. But he means the world to me. And I love him so much, I feel like I'm going to burst at the seams with it! As for being a great person, you just have to know him to know the truth in that statement. Happy 2 year Aniversary, Kenny:)
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36 hour days

I'm going to apologize right away if my writings tonight don't make any sense! I have had a very busy week and my brain officially shut down about eight o'clock this morning. I worked a regular eight hour shift Monday and Tuesday. (For me, that shift starts at 2:30 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m., in case your wondering.) By the time I get home, unwind, and visit with my husband, I don't get to sleep til about 1-1:30 a.m. I then worked a double shift on Wednesday, punching in at 6:15a and punching out at 11p. This morning, I again had to get up early (at 7 a.m.) to go to the Shriner's Circus with my three nephews and my sister. Tomorrow, it's alarm clock time yet again so that I will be awake when my friend Rhea drops her little girl, Sylvia, off at 8:30 a.m. for me to watch until around 3:30 p.m. Just typing all of this makes me tired!

For anyone that knows me, they know I LOVE SLEEP!!! I can easily sleep 10 to 12 hours a day and be perfectly fine with that. I'm one of those people that dreams a lot. There is not a night that goes by that I don't have at least one dream, but more like three or four! And I usually remember them well. My dreams are amazingly vivid, and can seem so real that I wake up mad at Kenny for doing something in my dream! (Sorry Kenny) So these past few nights, when my shut eye only averaged 4 hours a night, were very difficult for me. I wake up looking forward to going back to sleep!

I had a blast at the circus today with Nick, Alex, Chirs, and Jen. I have never been to the circus before and I don't really care for clowns. Pennywise, from Steven King's "IT", ruined it for me! It wasn't about the show, though, that made the day. It was the realization of how lucky I am to be able to take part in these activities with my nephews. I was able to go to "Disney on Ice" and "Thomas the Tank Engine: Under the Big Tent" with them this past year. I know there is a reason Kenny and I haven't been blessed with children yet, and this is it. I get to spend time with, spoil, and dote on the children in my life right now. If I had one or two of my own, I wouldn't have the flexibility to do this stuff. God truly does have perfect timing. Anyway- back to the circus! I've seen the bears that ride bikes and motorcycles in the movies, but I never thought they actually would at a circus! It was so cute... especially the girl bear's outfit:) The elephants looked worse for the wear and it made me wonder if the animal activist's were right to boycott them in captivity. It was amazing watching the acrobats and gymnasts. There was a guy that did the closing show that incredible. He rode in a wheel (think- hamster wheel) connected to a pendulum. There were a couple of close calls when he almost fell off, but I choose to believe they were a part of the act to make us think he was doing "death defying" acts! I really hope he was for his sake, anyway!

Tomorrow, I get to babysit one of my favorite little girls and someone I regard as family. Sylvia is, for all intents and purposes, my niece. She is a very special little 9 month old beauty. Sylvia was adopted at 3 months by two very good friends of mine, Rhea and Mike. However, I was blessed to know her as Friday when she was only a few days old. Mike and Rhea adopted Sylvia from my (half) sister's half sister. Confusing? I know. I come from a very blended family! Reba became pregnant at 15 and made one of the most mature and hardest decision of her life. I honestly cannot say I would have been able to do what she did, and for that, she has my utmost respect. She decided that Sylvia would have a more thriving environment with someone else. As I said before, God has perfect timing. Rhea and Mike were just starting to consider adoption as an alternative to starting their family when Reba started thinking about "giving Friday up." ( I really don't like that term. She didn't "give her up". She did the most loving thing a mother can do... she did what was best for her baby regardless of her wants!) Kenny and I approached Mike and Rhea one evening with the intent of bring this subject up and of this very special girl that needed a loving home. The road was not and still is not smooth for this all to happen. The adoption is in it's final stages and, hopefully, by Sylvia's first birthday, will be official. Prayers on the matter are deeply appreciated! We love the time we get to spend with her. Kenny is infatuated with her and every time we see her or are able to babysit her, Kenny is in his glory. There are many reasons I'm madly in love with my husband. This is one of them. He is astounding with children. Especially our many nephew's and nieces!

When I got home from today's activities, I planned on taking a nap. The day was to perfect to warrant such a thing. My Jeep needed a good cleaning after the long winter and Chowzer needed a walk. I dusted, washed windows, and vacuumed out my vehicle. I was only able to go around the terrace with Chowzer. Tomorrow, I may need to break out the pressure washer. I might cave and go to the car wash, though! It's a lot easier:)

My days have seemed like 36 hour days. I give big kudos to all of you who have children, work, school, etc. to fill your days. I don't know how you do it without being exhausted every night when you go to sleep. I pray that you have restful nights, alert days, energy to conquer what you need to, and the wisdom to know what can be put off or cancelled all together!

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Christ Has RISEN!!!

I wonder how many people actually think about the meaning behind Easter... What does the word "resurrection" mean to you? Do you look forward to this holiday thinking about the beginning of spring, baskets filled with chocolate, bunnies, and pastel dresses? Or do you think about promises kept, salvation, eternal life? Easter is my favorite holiday. More meaningful then Christmas. After all, what importance would Jesus' birth have without the life giving sacrifice of His death?? It is the fulfillment of scripture.

The older I get, the more I cherish the thought of Jesus, Lamb of God, the ultimate sacrifice. Maybe it's because I'm closer to death, more in need of His saving grace. Or maybe it's because I truly know my sinful nature and the need for atonement. Maybe, yet, it's because I'm so thankful we have the chance at eternal life, eternal families. Some people think I'm suicidal when I talk about my hopes for "death". I am not afraid to die. Sometimes, I'm darn right giddy at the thought. What greater reward for life then to die and be BORN AGAIN in Christ?! The homecoming I will have. The homecoming you will have! Those moments here on earth that are so perfect they bring tears to my eyes, that is what heaven will be. The joy, peace, contentment you feel. It fills you from head to foot. That is what it will be like ALL THE TIME!!! Can you imagine? We have that to look forward because Jesus died on the cross for us. He was buried. Three days later, HE ROSE AGAIN IN FULFILLMENT OF THE SCRIPTURE! It was a promise kept. Saving grace in it's truest form...

I was lucky enough to have Easter off this year. I was able to spend Saturday at my Aunt Heidi's with a small part of the family. I brought my nephews, Alex, Nick, and Chris, with me. It was a good time of fellowship for my family. Unfortunately, it was also the first real gathering since my grandpa joined the ranks of saints. I will swear I felt his presence sitting around the table with us. I could see him. Shoulders slightly hunched, glasses on, coffee in a mug between both hands with his wedding band gleaming. I could hear his Swiss/German accent. This was the perfect time to contemplate the meaning of Easter. Without it, I could kiss seeing my grandpa ever again goodbye. This holiday reminds me that, no matter what, we will be reunited again.

The kids all got to hunt for Easter eggs which my aunts Heidi & Kristie, my cousin Hannah & I filled and hid. It was so funny to watch one see an egg and run for it and all the other kids would follow to see if there were more in that area. It was great to see that one of the older kids would find an egg and offer it to one of the younger kids that didn't have as many eggs in their baskets. I have a truly wonderful and thoughtful family.

Today, I was able to spend Easter with my sister and her family. We had another egg hunt followed by a scrumptious meal. Then we played Mario Party 8 with my nephews. They are really good gamers. It doesn't matter they are only five. They will kick your butt at these games! Then we went to Kenny's aunt Chrissy's for a bit. Most people were gone by the time we made it, but we got to visit with a few. It's hard to try and divide your time fairly between two families, but we do try our best. Especially because both Kenny and I work weekends and holidays!

Easter evening is winding down. I'm at my computer, blogging, and Kenny is at his playing video games. We are very blessed with all that God has given us. We pray that our family and friends feel His blessings this Easter. Happy Spring and hope the rebirth of all the things around you inspire you!

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April Fools!

April is becoming one of my favorite months. Not only did I marry the man of my dreams on April 12th, but two of my favorite men were born into this world in April. My grandpa, Hans Stoeckli on the 12th and my grandpa, Gordon Kersten, on the 23rd. Although both have gone home, they are never far from my thoughts. Both have influenced me in ways beyond imagination.
My grandpa Kersten is the reason I am in the health care profession. He taught me what it meant to be a caregiver. He steered me to be an advocate for the elderly. I did not know my grandpa until I was 9. He died when I was 19. Ten short years I had him in my life. Yet they were ten of the most important years of my life.
My grandpa Stoeckli is the definition of a gentleman. I remember staying with him and my grandma a couple days out the year when I was going to and from camp with my Aunt Lisa. He was known for dropping the ladies off at the door. Be it at church, the grocery store, the mall, etc. You had to call when you left from your house to go to his. You had to call when you made it home again. "Drive safe, Toots." I've heard that come from his mouth more than any other phrase. When staying with them, he was constantly asking if there was anything he could do. Did they have the food/drinks you liked? What would you like to do? Is the room okay? How about the bed? He is what I based my criteria on for a husband. I was lucky enough for him to meet the man I married and get his approval.
I met the man I was to marry in April. We started dating in May, and married three years later on April 12th in 2008. My husband is AMAZING!!! He compliments me in every way possible. Where I'm high strung, he's lax. Where I worry, he's calm. I'm a spender, he's a saver. I'm a doer, he's a planner. I married my best friend. He's seen me at my worst. Although I know he doesn't like me that way, he still loves me. He's let me mature, let me immature, let me fail, set me free... He has been a rock. He's let me set down a foundation and given me room to grow. He has not judged me. I know I don't deserve him. My heavenly Father gave him to me and all I can do is thank Him everyday.
So, what is the April Fools, you ask? While others are playing jokes and pulling pranks today, I'm thanking my lucky stars that April has come around again. Not only is it the first day of April, it is also Holy Thursday. The celebration of the last supper. If you KNEW you were going to die very soon, How would you want to be remembered?? Unlike Jesus, we don't know when our last breath will be taken... Live today like it will be your last.

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My life- as a wife, mother, sister, caregiver, daughter, career woman- uncensored.


Liberal Catholic. Working mom. Chronic pain warrior. Opinionated introvert. I speak fluent sarcasm. I'm married with two kids- a girl and a boy. My son was born with Spina bifida, hydrocephalus, Arnold Chiari malformation, and bilateral club feet. I may blog about food, politics, religion, medical updates, or our life in general.

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