Twelve is the New Sixteen

We did squeeze a birthday in during April.

Scary Baby turned twelve on April 22nd.

The day before Easter is not her favorite time to have a birthday.

Because of course, I took that opportunity to combine the birthday with the holiday. I’m sure that’s what Christmas Eve babies dislike too. Sorry but I like to be efficient.

Scary Baby should be thankful that Easter does move around each year.

She has reminded me several times I have not blogged about her birthday.

Consider this the new birthday tradition:

Must have blog post written highlighting your birthday.

She set the tone early for her birthday requests.

First, she really, really, really wanted to own a viola for 6th grade orchestra. She hated her rental instrument. She needed her own instrument. She would be performing in the 6th grade Honors Orchestra at the end of April and please, please, please could we buy her a viola.

Dad and Granny got together. Scary Baby got an early birthday present.

An extravagant but useful birthday present arrived.

The concert was lovely and I’m sure it’s because of this amazing viola.

Next, Scary Baby got very frustrated when I said I was not going to buy the giant cupcakes at Costco that were too expensive for her to take to school for her birthday treat for 28 of her closest friends. My Easter dinner budget was already high.

Instead I said I would be glad to make homemade cupcakes with ingredients we already had at home. You would have thought I suggested taking in circus peanuts or some other gross candy as her treat.

And speaking of birthday treats…when the heck does that stop? I think 6th grade, right?

Yes, this had to be the last year.

See, I’m a little unclear because the darling twins have a summer birthday – excellent planning to avoid multiple birthday celebrations. The Grunter wasn’t too caught up in birthday treats after elementary school.

This last child just wears me out with all her expectations. Thank goodness she sketched out her cupcakes so I had instructions.

We started with a cake mix and The Cake Doctor cookbook. She probably remembers what page. I don’t.

All food photo credits: Scary Baby.

Except the photos when she’s in the picture.

I did have to amend her plans. We had raspberries not strawberries.

I’d include the recipe but we made this up. Cream cheese, powdered sugar and raspberry jam.

Approximately this much.

I won her over with this change when I said she could squirt the filling inside with a new pastry bag and tip. And she could ice them all herself.

The kid is relentless when she makes a plan.

The clearance Easter sprinkles in the glass jar for $2.00 from TJMaxx secured my cupcake victory.

She declared the homemade cupcakes a huge success and her brother drove her to school so she didn’t have to drag them on the bus.

She caved on Easter Sunday and our Easter dessert served double duty as The Perfect Lemon Cake also became her birthday cake.

Only because I let her pipe the filling for deviled eggs.

And because she got Easter treats…

And birthday presents on the same day.

Everett gave her a swimsuit and we were glad he didn’t prank her and give him one of his old swimsuits.

The darling twins gave her the movie she wouldn’t see in the theater but really wanted to personally own.

Happy Birthday baby girl! You promised you would stay little and it’s just not happening. We all love you to the moon!

Thanks for your patience while having to wait to read your birthday blog post two months late. I’ll try to be on time next year.


It Will All Work Out Momma

When I stress about something, especially if it’s related to The Grunter, he loves to chant his mantra.

“It Will All Work Out Momma”

He’s pretty calm and easygoing most of the time. He definitely takes after his father in this department.

The distractions and daily stresses took over towards the end of April and haven’t seem to let up. That led me to barely getting a weekly Typo Tuesday posted. Thanks for hanging with me in my quiet phase. The family would not agree with the previous sentence.


I’m going to play catch up in the coming weeks here on the blog. Mostly because the blog is now our family photo album so I have to continue to tell our stories even if they are not all chronologically perfect. Go me – look at that flexibility. I will also need to high five myself for showing restraint in not writing some of the stories. Saving for the book. Or when I finally start drinking. Hard liquor.

If I were prioritizing the stresses, the following would be…

Stress #1

The Grunter has had a swollen lymph node that he started complaining about a few months ago. I said “Make a doctor’s appointment.”

This is part of the growing up checklist, right?

  1. Make your own doctor’s appointment.
  2. Go to your own doctor’s appointment.
  3. Call Text your mother.

He finally did all three.

#3 really triggered some anxiety…

“He said he didn’t know if it was a tumor or what. They are doing a blood test and then deciding whether I need to go to a specialist. Also I may have had mono last year.”

The swollen lymph nodes were actually from last February when he was really sick with a cold and swollen tonsils. New blood work now confirms he had mono.

This is a kid who has never had a stitch. A cold and/or sore throat is about as sick as he gets.

Next appointment is with a specialist and I attended with him.

I could have gone my whole life without hearing a doctor say…

“We need to rule out lymphoma.”

Three times.

Everett ~ before drugs

This is my way too small tribute to every mother out there who has had to fight the “Big C” battle alongside their children.

Because I know you prayed it would be you and not them.

I can only imagine that there is just one thing worse than battling cancer yourself and that would be having to watch your child battle it.

The good news for us is that our pumpkin is fine. His post-op appointment was last Thursday and the pathology report was all good.

Everett ~ after drugs

“It Will All Work Out Momma”

These words from the baby I was pretty sure would kill me during childbirth. He’s right.

It will all work out. It almost always does. He’s helped me to see that.

And it’s always a milestone when you can embrace a life lesson from one of your own.


One Special Lady

I’ve written about her before.

She was a looker.

As they say back in Indiana. 😉

I wrote about her in 2008…

She’s the only Grandma I’ve ever known as my mom’s mother passed away when I was just six months old…

…Imogene is funny and spunky and I have always loved spending time with her. To get to spend one-on-one time with her is a sheer delight for me.

She got such a kick out of riding in my bright blue VW bug.

In May of 2007, on my way home from the Black Hole, she was exactly what I needed and it was my honor to take her bra shopping (oh, the funny story of that shopping trip) and then to Gray Brothers for her favorite meal.

The next year, I got to go back and spend more time with her and we had dinner once again at Gray Brothers.

So glad I documented our visit here.

…words cannot describe what it meant to me to get to spend the afternoon with her and take her out to dinner.

I convinced her I could pick her up the next day so she could enjoy another meal with 6 of the 7 Kivett siblings who were all gathering at another local cafeteria.

She simply beamed through the whole meal. She loved them all so much.

In January of 2009 on my long road trip to the frozen Midwest tundra, I was so glad I got to visit again. It was such a gift that there was no ice in Indiana because I was able to take her on a car ride back past the farm and we got to visit with my Uncle Jack and Aunt Peggy at their house.

Treasured memories…I could go on and on.

I saw her for what would be the last time with darling twin Wizzy in July last year.

We brought her butterscotch pie from Gray Brothers and when I showed her the picture of her in front of that blue bug that I carry in my wallet, her face lit up.

Then she winked and giggled, “We had some fun, didn’t we?”

She passed away Saturday morning.

She is being buried this morning after 95 vibrant years on earth.

May she rest in peace knowing how much she was loved.


Veterans Day 2010

No endorsement of any agency or politics – just a tribute worth watching. Taking 5 minutes of your day remembering those who give so much more to fight for our freedom…

Sending blessings to all our veterans and their families,


Quiet Sorrow

Forgive my silence.

PhilBillPaul’s younger brother passed away very early this morning after being at home in hospice for just over two weeks. He fought a very courageous battle with liver cancer.

Phil is on his way to Texas tomorrow.

Please keep him and the whole family in your prayers.

If you feel compelled to do so, I know he and Granny will read every comment left here…


Teen Drivers

Best 30 second commercial I’ve seen in a long time.

Whether you have teens who will be driving soon…

Or you’ve lived through teaching your teen(s) to drive…

Did you catch your breath like I did?


Side note: I hope it wins awards and they play it in some primetime slots! When I went to look for the commercial online to show PhilBillPaul, I discovered “The Dad” is the real-life father of both the 6 year-old and the 16 year-old girls in the car. Very sweet.

21 in 2010

Just a little stroll down memory lane with some random pictures I found over the weekend cleaning and organizing one of our rooms…

Your first year made motherhood look too easy.

Surrounded by girls by your second year, you adapted well as evidenced by the hot pink tights you are wearing in this photo.

More girls and thank goodness you were fine with my desire to have you coordinate with your darling twin sisters (and your cousin).

So maybe the color coordination thing was an obsession.

Looks like I might have let you finally dress yourself. But yet another girl…did I not have any friends with boys?

In the early years, it really worried your dad about how much you liked girl clothes and the dress-up box.

I told him not to worry, you would outgrow it.

Oh wait, that’s you at the beach last month.

Happy 21st Birthday!

I hope you can look at that print I gave you on your birthday a few years ago and you will always remember…

“There has never been a day when I have not been proud of you, I said to my son, though some days I’m louder about other stuff so it’s easy to miss that. ” –Brian Andreas

Happy Birthday my firstborn miracle.


My Other Family

Checked out for a week but checking back in.

So many things to talk about, so little time.

I left unexpectedly last weekend to see “My Other Family” as in the one I don’t live with.

One of my uncles in Indiana passed away. Uncle Bob was just a month shy of 84 and I have written about my cousin Sally here. His wife, my Aunt Jane is my mom’s sister.

Wizzy was kind enough to cancel her 4th of July plans and jump in the car with me and help me drive to Indianapolis and then on to Chicago. She earned her darling twin moniker for being so willing to be trapped with me in a car for endless hours upon hours and then be trapped bond with extended family–most of whom she hadn’t seen for about ten years.

It was a poignant 4th of July service as my Uncle Bob was a Marine as were his two sons.

I can’t resist another opportunity to post my favorite picture of Sally’s family.

Sal: Was this in the slideshow?

Oh, the fun family things I could write about.

Oh, the fun family things I must refrain from writing about.

Uncle Jack and I did have a nice conversation and he wholeheartedly agreed with me about Tiger Woods.

I have discovered I have at least 3 more relatives reading the blog and we already know how Junebug feels about my writing so I’m going to exercise some self-control.

For now.

The Trivial and Mundane

I’ll catch up this week on blogging and life and The Bachelorette. It was a tiny bit stressful to not watch the Monday night show until Thursday night when we returned home.

My only comment from last week’s episode especially since it’s old news.

Jake is a bigger tool than I even thought possible.

Thanks to those sweet people who checked on me and for being concerned. For those who didn’t miss me…well, you aren’t even reading this, are you?


25¢ Milestones

Busy weekend. Busy week.

It’s that time of year with end of school activities. Don’t get me started on how much can be crammed into the last few weeks of school.

Scary Baby is almost done with 5th grade and will go to middle school in August.

Not possible.

But true.

I took this picture a few months ago.

The Grunter started his quarter collection the same year Scary Baby was born.

He was missing 2007’s Wyoming.

It was only fitting that she complete his collection by finding the last quarter he needed.

A decade of milestones.

Surely worth more than a quarter or two.



The Leaving

Last week I said to PhilBillPaul,

“I hate it when they are home. I hate it when they leave.”

Their leaving last week caused a wee bit of stress.

Understatement of the year.

Stress that only parents can understand. And even then, some of you don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe because your darlings haven’t left yet.

The darling twins are now gone for five months. I’m equating this departure to a semester abroad. Except they are in Arizona. So I guess it’s a semester out west. 😉

They will thrive and shine. They will be fine. Because we have prepared them for life in ways I’ve seen many of their peers are not prepared. For that, we are grateful.

We know they are equipped with life skills and life lessons. Even though they choose not to use those skills here at our house.

Roger Leroy sent me this text tonight just as I was about to write this…

“You not sharing any life lessons lately is bothering me.”

Funny kid.

I don’t like the blog pressure. Funny thing about the blog is that when I don’t write, people worry.

Sweet, kind people who wonder if something is wrong.

A few emails. A few phone messages.

As if my silence might indicated that my feet have been dangling dangerously close to the edge of The Black Hole.

Or that I may have set a personal record and taken xan*x three days in a row.

Side note: I’m not spelling the drug name out any more as it seems to attract spammers offering me all kinds of interesting pharmaceuticals.

I’m fine, fine, fine. I promise.

I’ve just been really busy doing some blog design work in between recovering from the holidays and spending quality time with the family.

I do miss them when they aren’t here. I really do.

Since this blog is really my online family photo album and my personal therapy, I’ll share this tiny glimpse of what I don’t and won’t miss…

Photos compliments of Scary Baby because I couldn’t bear to look again.

Oh yes, that is my precious little blue bug (that Wizzy is in the process of buying) and that is where a passenger is suppose to put their feet.

Why yes, that is chocolate milk and orange juice. And marinara sauce on the floor mat, I think. For the record, in an attempt to make me feel better, Wizzy did say it was OPT…Other People’s Trash.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I did cry. And scream. A lot.

Another proud week at the Humpfreeze.

Note to darling twins: I did refrain from posting pictures of your room (again). Or your laundry. Where Dad found a clean stack of clothes still folded in the bottom of one of your hampers tonight covered with dirty clothes you left here. Nice.

Just want to keep it real.

Where is that prescription bottle?


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