It Builds Character

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Lucky 13

Hard for me to believe, but my boy was born 13 years ago today. Now go ahead and tell me that this is not the cutest little angel who ever lived.

But time flies and kids grow, and here's my boy today, 13 very short years later.

He's such a good kid--I don't know how we got so lucky. Happy Birthday, Buddy. We love you very much!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One year anniversary

Friday August 1st is the first anniversary of the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis. I can't believe it's been that long already. They are rebuilding another bridge in its place and it's getting close to being done. It was supposed to be finished in December, but now it sounds like it'll be ready in September.

When it first happened, it didn't seem real. I think that's because I didn't hear about it until a few hours after it happened. Jason and the kids and I had gone out for dinner, and when we got home, there was a message from my mom, just making sure we were ok. Huh? It didn't make any sense. I called her to see what she was talking about, and she told me the 35W bridge had collapsed. It seemed so impossible and outrageous, that my first question was, "Were there people on it?" Uh, yeah, it was rush hour--6pm.

As the anniversary approaches, the local media are reporting on it and telling peoples' stories. The more I hear about it, the more I realize what a tragedy it was. It's not like I thought it was no big deal, but I think that because I have only seen the wreckage in photos, it seems less real.
After it fell, there was no getting near the bridge, even if you wanted to. I’ve crossed that bridge hundreds of times, but without seeing it myself, it hasn’t fully sunk in.

But then I found this story in the local paper, the StarTribune. Check out this link. The first thing you’ll see is footage of the bridge actually falling. A nearby company’s security cameras caught the whole thing. When that footage is finished, there’s a picture of the entire bridge, with numbers on it. The numbers correspond to the names over to the right. If you click on the names, there is video of that person as they tell their story of how they survived. Or, in some cases, they talk to the spouse who has been left behind. Incredible. These people haven’t completely healed physically or mentally, and for most, it will be a long time until they do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

There's a new blog in town

I have received a special request from a very special person in my life. A girl who, just four short weeks ago, was preparing to have surgery to drain a cyst in her brain. My daughter, Catherine, has started a blog of her own, and wants me to make an announcement to you all so that she'll get a little traffic over there.

You'll find her here. Just a couple of notes about the site...the name. No idea on this one. I asked her about it, and she said that there was a bag of Fritos on the desk when she was setting up her blog. Secondly, her name. She calls herself "Kathryn" on her blog. I think she figured that as long as she was spelling it differently, she isn't really using her "real name."

So if you want to make a 9-year-old girl really happy, stop by and say "hi" to her. She has posted quite a few pictures that she's taken with an old digital camera we had laying around. I just love the narrative that goes along with the pictures. Each picture she has posted is a completely new post, so I think she already has a couple of pages, so be sure to check them all out. I hope you'll get some enjoyment out of seeing the world through her eyes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Funny kids

So Sharkey left today. JP flew in from Philadelphia so that she wouldn't have to drive all the way home by herself. And knowing her, she would have fallen asleep while driving long before she hit the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. Alex, Catherine and I drove to the airport as well, so that we could see JP for a couple of minutes before they had to take off.

As usual, Alex had a tough time telling them goodbye. I think this time was especially difficult because Sharkey stayed with us so long, and we were getting used to having her and Maggie around. Quite a few tears were shed by him, which of course, resulted in tears from Sharkey.

We saw them off, then headed home. About a mile from the airport, while Alex was still pretty upset, it started to rain lightly. Alex said, "I think Mother Nature is mocking me!" We all had a much needed laugh at that.

Not a minute later, Catherine said, "Dang! I was gonna ask JP for fifty bucks!" I think he may have spoiled her a bit too much at the Cheese Festival a couple weeks ago.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Surgery update

Just a quick post to give you an update on Catherine's surgery. We got to the hospital about 5:45am and got her checked in. We had to wait around a little while with a bunch of others who were scheduled for surgery as well. There were lots of little kids, and even a few infants. I can't imagine being those parents. So we finally got called back to the little room where they were going to have her get changed and get everything prepared. Instead of giving her one of those horrible gowns to wear, they gave her pants and a shirt, so that was nice.

You can see that she was in pretty good spirits. She was really amazing the whole time--she was really brave. She did have to fight back tears a few times, but she was so great. There was some patient advocate person who came to check up on her, and she brought in surgical caps for the 3 stuffed animals that Catherine had with her.

When it was time for her to head into the
operating room, they let me go along with her. I had to dress in the whole surgical get-up--hat, mask, booties, jumpsuit. We made our way into the operating room, and that was by far the worst part. She started to fight it when they went to put the mask over her face to put her to sleep. So she was crying and trying to push it away and yelling. Of course, I was also bawling at this point as well--I hated seeing her so scared. After about 90 minutes, the surgeon came to the waiting room to let us know that the surgery went great, and they didn't run into anything unusual. There was a possibility that they might have to put a shunt in if the cyst didn't drain very well by itself, but luckily, they didn't have to resort to that. Jason and I were able to see her shortly after that. She was still very groggy, but she opened her eyes and the first word out of her mouth was a very weak "Mommy." She never calls me mommy anymore, so that made me a little teary as well. She started to cry and when I asked her why she was crying, she let out a pathetic little, "I don't know." Must have been all the drugs.

We were originally told that she'd be in the hospital for 2 days, but we were actually home by about noon today. She's been eating soup, soda crackers and fruit, and has just been laying on the couch resting. Her head has been hurting her a little, but she's been taking Tylenol for that. She's still a little emotional, but I guess that's what happens when you get all drugged up, get your head drilled into, and then have nurses wake you up every hour to shine a flashlight in your eyes.

We'll take the bandages off tomorrow, and she can shower and wash her hair
on Sunday. (She said I can't blog the pictures of her with the bandages on her head, so I won't. But I'll post them on Flickr. What? It's not my blog!) I think she'll be as good as new in no time. Thank you all for the prayers, good thoughts, emails, and presents. It's wonderful to know there are such wonderful people out there who care and take the time to check on us.

And now it's bedtime. I've been awake way too long in the last 2 days.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just kill me now

A few weeks ago, Alex told me that his class was planning to take a field trip and asked if I could come along. He said they would be going on a bike ride from Welch, MN to Anderson Park in Red Wing. He said it's about 10 miles. Wow, 10 miles on a bike that I haven't ridden in years is going to practically kill me, but I told him I'd go along.

So for the past few days, I've been complaining to everyone at work about how this bike ride will be the death of me because I'm so out of shape and hello? TEN MILES ON A BIKE???

Tonight I found out some great news regarding the bike trip tomorrow. It's not actually 10 miles. It's 10 miles to the spot where we stop for lunch, then we bike the 10 miles back to where we started. TWENTY MILES, PEOPLE! It's been nice knowing all of you. Please remember me fondly.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

We have a date

It's official--we have a date set for Catherine's surgery. Thursday, June 19. We don't have a specific time of day scheduled yet, but they're going to call me back and let me know. I have limited information on the surgery itself, other than they're scheduling 90 minutes for it, and she'll be in the hospital for 2 days. I asked the nurse practitioner that I talked to, how long her recovery at home will be, how long Jason and I will need to stay home with her. She seemed a little confused by my question at first, and ended up giving me an answer of 3-4 weeks. Obviously, I've never gone through something like this before, but 3-4 weeks seems like a long time to me, but I guess we'll see. Jason and I can both take time off, and I can work from home as much as I need to. Plus, it doesn't hurt that one of my bosses is my best friend, and completely understands that kids come before work. Also, Sharkey and JP are coming to help out, so that will be great.

We haven't told Catherine that we have a date yet, because if she knows too far in advance, she'll have too much time to think about it and get freaked out. We'll wait till the date is a little bit closer. Thanks to all of you who have offered prayers and good thoughts for our family. They are very much appreciated. Between Sharkey and me, we'll keep you up to date as much as possible when the time comes.