Sunday, December 27, 2009

Perfect Pairings Psalm 89:4

Psalm 89:4

 ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’”

In this case, one of Grandma's offspring provides a mighty nice "throne".  Wonder if she was naughty or nice this year?  I'm betting on nice.

Bet Baloney's got some more Perfect Pairings for today.  Have at it!

Friday, December 25, 2009

An Unexpected Christmas

This wasn't the Christmas I had planned on.  In fact, I had really lowered my expectations, because I knew the Captain would be out flying.   Dad's health had definitely been on my mind and I really hoped he could be back home for Christmas. Mostly though, I wanted the girls to have a wonderful Christmas despite all that. 

Along comes what is being dubbed the Blizzard of 2009 and that pretty much seemed to snow in or sweep away the rest of our meager plans.  Christmas Eve Candlelight services at our church were cancelled - always one of my favorite Christmas traditions, and a long day spent with my parents didn't seem too practical in light of all the snow that kept falling and falling and falling. 

Instead, we had our own Christmas Eve service in front of our fireplace.  Each girl got to pick out a song to perform.  Marissa played "The Little Drummer Boy" on her viola.  Maren chose "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and we read a story about a boy stranded at an airport (appropriate, yes?) along with the Christmas story.  Then we sang "Silent Night" and passed around the candlelight.  The girls loved it.  Maren thinks we should do this every Christmas.  I agree.

Dad got home on Wednesday, about a half hour before the snow started falling.  He sat down in his chair with a big sigh and a look of contentment on his face.  There's no place like home and it was good to see him back there again.  Good to see him with a little smile on his face, watching all the craziness his grandchildren are so eager to provide.

I have really enjoyed the down time with the girls.  They have played so well together and it has been fun to actually spend some quality time with them.  Played a little, OK, ALOT of Wii, played in the snow, ate too much, and laughed ourselves senseless as we watched Harry frantically try to find the tiniest patch of grass in which to relieve himself.  Does not take much to entertain us. 

So all in all, it has been a good Christmas in many unexpected ways.  It has been relaxed and unhurried and this all due to circumstances beyond our control and our frantic planning.  It was better than expected.  I find that God does that a lot in my life. He is always better than I expect.  Merry Christmas to you!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Have Christmas...Will Travel

We have always had to be a little creative with  the time and date of celebrating Christmas with my side of the family.  This event took place on Sunday, the 20th. You would think that with all of us living in the same small town this would be a simple task.  It is always more complicated than it first appears.  Add a pilot and a nurse and the various extended families to the mix and we just take what we can get.

This year we had to be a little creative with the venue as well.  Dad was in the hospital.  Couldn't do Christmas without him.  Since he couldn't come home to be with us, we moved the party over to him.  Have you ever celebrated Christmas at your local hospital in the cardiac rehab department?  As you will soon see, it makes for some pretty interesting pictures.

It all started traditionally enough.

Adult table.

Kids table.  Yes, we like it like that.

Adults partaking.

Kids partaking.

Kleyton partaking all by himself.  Kleyton takes a little longer to partake than the rest of the kids.

We also had the toddler in the traditional velvet Christmas dress.

Hi Lizzy.

Don't you look just like your momma?  Beautiful.

From there we moved the party, and an awful lot of presents to the cardiac rehab room at the hospital.  Otherwise known to me as "work".

Sheesh.  Think there are enough presents? And look, Charlie Brown forgot his tree again.

Here's the man of the hour! Hi Dad!  Glad we could join you!  That's my older brother Don.  We used to tell people we were twins and they would believe us.  I think we could still get away with that.

Here's the gang.  Like I said, it makes for an interesting picture with a crash cart and treadmill in the background.  We told the kids that if they didn't behave we would get out the defibrillator or make them run a mile on the treadmill.


Everyone had to tow the line.  Even toddlers in velvet Christmas dresses.

What is up with these two?  Feeling the Christmas love?  We are marking the date on our calendar and will check back with Nate and Tanya in 9 months....

Even after 12 years, The Captain still wonders what he got himself into.

Actually, he got himself into a wicked game of Twister.

You are in big trouble, Honey!

And Nate, so are you... that left foot on red will get you every time.

May not be your traditional Christmas in some ways, but yet in many ways it was.  We were together for a few hours, we took a break from our crazy busy lives just to hang out over some good food and a couple games of Twister.  And Dad was there.  Dad was there.  Words cannot express.

All this because (excuse the cheesiness) two people fell in love.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bedtime Stories

Last year I was actually organized enough to have some studio pictures done of the girls for our Christmas cards.  That didn't happen this year or in most years past.  I just take whatever pictures I've got and make it work.  However that turns out.  The Captain says we need to have a family shot done and he could be right.  If he finds a date that we are all home, makes the appointment, picks the clothes, fixes the hair....on second thought. Anyway, one of these years it may happen.

So the other night after the girls had their baths we all ended up on our bed.  The Captain was gone, and this ending up in our bed thing after bathtime actually happens quite frequently.  So after sniffing their hair a time or two, I got out the camera with the intent of getting a Christmas card shot.

The Dutch actually have a word for what happened next - woest (sounds like roost with a w) and that's the only word I can think of to describe them.  They were woest!  I think it translates to something like furious or crazy.  Yes, they were furiously crazy.

It all started innocently enough....

but steadily went downhill from there.

We had to add Harry to the mix...

...and then some props.  I think every Christmas card should have a picture of children reading the newspaper.  So festive.  And because they thought the prop idea was so clever....

.... the giggles started....

and just kept a coming. Finally we have...

rabbit ears (reindeer antlers?)....

jazz hands (?) and blank stare ...

silly faces....

and ultimate silly faces with nostril exposure...

and lastly, after
much ado about absolutely nothing....we got this.

Ahhh. Does this Momma's heart good.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Perfect Pairings James 1:2-4

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything...

I'm quite sure that somedays Sweet Marissa considers it a trial to have a pesky little sister around, but there is alot of pure joy involved too.

You know what to do.  Head on over to Baloney's for some more Perfect Pairings.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Christmas Things...

One of the things I really like about Christmas is the memories that come with it.  When decorating the tree or pulling out Christmas decorations, you can't help but think of Christmases past. 

Our tree seems to be a pretty good representation of The Captain and I 's life together.  It's always fun to take a little walk down memory lane while decorating the tree.

Of course, we have nurses.  Any sort of ornament which loosely or directly implied the nursing profession seemed to be the going gift for me for a time. This is one of my favorites.  I got this from my college roommate and dear friend Amy whom we called "Suer".  If you look carefully this nurse has "Bear" inscribed on her hat and that would be what Suer called me.  The meaning behind this is a whole 'nother post entirely. Pretty sure it had something to do with too much alcohol.

Here's another one.  Good thing I have patients, because I really don't have too much of the other kind.

And then of course, we have airplanes, actually lots of airplanes.  My mom was on a huge airplane ornament buying kick for her favorite son in law (also her only son in law, I might add). And she got a little carried away, me thinks.  I think I may have added a plane or two also.

The girls actually love putting the airplanes on the tree.  They sort of zoom them around a bit and find them a nice safe branch on which to land.

See what I mean?  This one's coming in a little high and I think there is something wrong with his landing gear. Watch out!

The next one is also one of my favorites.  I always like a little shiny with my Christmas ornaments.  That one looks like he's busting through the trees without a care.

Hallmark actually carried a series of airplane ornaments over the years when the Captain and I were first dating and then eventually married.  I think that is where Mom's weird obsession first got started.  They admittedly had some really cool and detailed ornmants in the series though.

Speaking of dating and marriage. Did you know the Captain and I met on a ski trip in Breckenridge Colorado?  Yup, we sure did.  I thought he was sort of cute.  He had applied his sunscreen  on his face all haphazard like and was burnt in areas and completly white in others. He looked like he really needed my help.  He also had nice eyes and a nice butt and I beat him playing cards on the bus ride home.  It was a done deal.  So this one reminds me of that time. Yup, and that is pretty much how I ski to this very day.

And moving on to marriage, it wasn't long after being married that I wanted a house of our own.  Begged, pleaded and whined for a house that first year.  Seemed so important to me at the time.  Now I think I was being a little impatient as mentioned previously.  So, the Captain cleverly bought me this house.  Good one, Honey.  So much better than the meat thermometer. Sweet boy.

 And you know what happens after love and marriage right?  Yup, the baby carriage arrives.  We have a large portion of our tree devoted to Christmas ornaments that the girls have made and brought home from school or church.  Love them. All.  We have angels and snowmen and reindeer.  Reindeer seem to be a popular theme in that age group.  But they always make me smile. Do you see our tree skirt in the background of the snowman with the crooked smile? That is also one of my favorite Chrismas things.  The Captain's mom made that for us one Christmas and it's nice and big and she is the seamstress I will never be.

Looking forward to making some more wonderful Christmas memories this year.  Here's hoping for the same for you and yours.

P.S. My Dad was transferred back to the local hospital.  He is still really weak, but glad to be closer to home and his family.  Thanks for all your comments and support and, of course, your prayers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I got to sleep in my own warm bed last night. I had spent the previous two in Omaha, NE, in a hotel near the University of Nebraska Medical Center with my Dad who was transferred there last Monday.  After a questionable and abnormal CT scan, it was decided Dad's gall bladder and liver needed a little more looking into. Words like cancer, abscess and surgery were strewn about and we had to get things in order.

Glad to say that we got a "better" report yesterday.  No cancer, no surgery - just more antibiotics for a long, long, time.  Granted, Dad is still "a very sick man", but after having to take a look at the cold harsh alternatives, we can't help but feel like we eecked out another miracle.

Spending any amount of time at a rather large hospital gives you new perspective. No matter how bad you think you may have it, you don't have to look very far to realize there is someone who has it much worse.  What about the little boy having breakfast with his Dad, his little face all puffed up in response to all the steroids he must have been taking.  And the little girl with the feeding tube and oxygen getting a stroller ride with her brother from her nurse. What sort of  "treatments" have these little lives already had to endure? And Dad's roommate Willie, who had not one visitor the whole time we were there.  None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. He just moaned and groaned his days away - all by himself.

You find yourself abundantly thankful for odd things.  Like cell phone technology, fax machines, and the Internet.  For phlebotomists with steady hands and good aim named Gabriel (how apropos). For a room at the end of the hallway with two recliners being "stored" there, just outside Dad's door.  It was Mom and I's own little waiting room. We were grateful for nurses named Taylor who had the youth and endurance to work a near 24 hour shift in the middle of our first big blizzard of the season. We were thankful for the sun shining in all its frigid parhelial excellence the day after a longer day and night of howling wind and white out conditions. Thankful for the timing of the surgical and GI residents meeting in the elevator having apparently ignored the "siempre discretus" sign who were talking about "this really nice gentleman with primary sclerosing cholangitis" and how the wife of said "really nice gentleman" happened to be riding along in the back corner.  We had more questions answered in that short elevator ride than in the first 24 hours there.

And in the counting and recounting of Dad's colorful and varied medical history to the first, second and third year resident and finally the attending physician, we also noted God's stellar track record of faithfulness and provision over the past 28 years. I am a firm believer in a good prayer chain. I am a firm believer in HIM. So is that "really nice gentleman with primary sclerosing cholangitis" who may actually get to come home today.  Thank you Lord.  Thanks for putting in all into perspective. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Perfect Pairings 2 Corinthians 13:12

2 Corinthians 13:12

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

This would be the holy hug version.

There's more Perfect Pairings over at Baloney's. Check 'em out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Yesterday was my blog's one year birthday.  I was planning on writing a fun little post and maybe doing a little give-away of some sort.  If you read this blog and leave comments, you know your chances of winning would have been pretty good.  Like one in two, or at the most one in six.  Alas, this did not happen.

I have enjoyed my little blog over the past year.  Even if I had no faithful readers, or no sweet comment makers, I would still do it.   It has been a good blessing reminder, cheap therapy and a way to gather those memories I just don't want to forget, but know I would if left to my frantic mind. I like blogging.

So here I am blogging, sitting beside my Dad's hospital bed.  We have been here once already this fall. It all started with a diagnosis of H1N1. This sparked a flare-up with a chronic liver disease and septicemia, a long run with home IV antibiotics, with this all compounded by the end stages of Parkinson's disease.  Nothing is ever easy with Parkinson's.  I can't help but feel a little like David. My soul is downcast within me.

Since my Dad was forty four years old, his grasp on good health has always been a tenuous one.  What was thought to be a simple gallbladder flare-up turned out to be a diagnosis of primary sclerosing cholangitis, which means the bile ducts to Dad's liver are narrowing and hardening.  This can lead to infections and blockages and potentially a liver transplant.  Dad was on "The List" to receive one and actually got paged twice with a match, but he turned it down. Twice. At the time, he was feeling too good, had farming to do, and a family to raise. That is sort of the pendulum on which you swing with this disease.  When things are good, you're doing just fine.  When things are bad, well, it can be really bad.  Since the diagnosis of Parkinson's about 12 years back, he decided he no longer wanted to be an entry on "The List".  I can't say that I blame him.  Miracles that they are, organ transplants are still nothing to be taken lightly.

The first time my Dad was hospitalized, when I was 12 or 13 years old,  I  remember tentatively asking my Mom if Dad was going to die.  She honestly answered that she did not know.  From then on, that question has hovered in our house from time to time - always sneaking around and never quite leaving the premises. It became a room in our house with the door firmly shut, no one wanted to go there, but you would still press your face to the peephole to see if you could see anything inside. The only thing scarier than the known is the unknown, right?  What would it look like, how would it feel and when would we have to go in there?

In turn, I became a nurse, my older brother became a pharmacist, and Nate, the youngest keeps things balanced with his goofy humor and optimism.  Really, Dad has done remarkably well, all things considered.  We have a lot to be thankful for.  Dr. Zetterman, Dad's doctor, turned good friend, in Omaha always called Dad his miracle patient.  I think he is right.

So, here we are wondering.  Is it time? I only know that I will not have to go there by myself and for that I am grateful.  Like David, I need to finish the verse.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God. Psalm 42: 5-6
Did I mention this blog is good therapy?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How Lovely Are Your Branches...

We're lucky enough to have a small Christmas Tree Farm on the north side of town.  After the beautiful Thanksgiving weekend we had here, we were also lucky to find one tree standing on said Christmas tree farm.  Seemed like every car or truck I saw in town that weekend had a tree poking out of it somewhere. But find one, we did.

Here's the Captain, saw in hand, ready to take down that Charlie Brown tree looking mighty white pine we chose. Those girls cheered him on and appropriatly yelled their "Timber".

Then the nice farmer comes by with his tractor and flat bed with hay bales to sit on and gives a nice ride around the farm and back to the barn where they serve hot cocoa and shake out and trim up your tree for you while you wait. The girls loved the hayride.

Can you tell?

I think it's a new record for us.  We had our tree bought and up on the 30th of November.  November,
People.  Talk about shock and awe.

It's a little puny isn't it? The memories? Huge!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Do you ever wonder about those little security "psuedo-words" you have to type in when you leave a comment on someone else's blog?  Sometimes they make me laugh and sometimes they make me look over my shoulder to see if someone is in the room with me, and sometimes they make me completely erase and revise the comment I was about to write.  Like some sort  of freaky prophetic sniglet.

I think my most memorable one was when I was accepting a pseudo-friend on Facebook and the security word was unfriend and the next day she was arrested for attempted homicide. Naaah, but isn't that sort of weird?  Usually these quasi-words just bear a vague resemblance to a word and they aren't the real thing. They really want to be a word, but instead get cast off into the gutter of blog comment world. Is unfriend a real word? I think it  probably is in this world after Facebook.

Can you define and use these "pseudo-words" in a sentence? ( These were all security words I have typed in over the past few weeks. Really.)

tivipro:  (noun) a person well adept at watching, operating, and channel surfing on TV. I am married to a tivipro. He is not a tiviamateur, he is a tivipro.

pangaser: (noun) painful and malodorous gas pangs you get after eating a large Thanksgiving meal.  My tivipro has pangasers.

wonsi: (noun) that irritating eyelash that gets stuck in "one's eye", leaving only one eye useable and the other watering profusely. No, I am not crying, I have a wonsi in my left eye.

throppe: (verb) the act of regurgitating a small amount of one's stomach contents into one's mouth only to have one swallow it again because there was no better options of ridding oneself of it.  After smelling the pangasers of her tivipro she thropped.

Well, you get the point.  Have you had any strange or funny word security situations?  Or is it just my weird and slightly paranoid self?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Perfect Pairings - John 14:27

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Oh, to be a dog lying in a puddle of sun...*sigh*

Go check out Baloney for some more pairing perfection.

Friday, November 27, 2009

In Defense of Thankfulness...

I guess it's time to decorate this blog for Christmas. I am feeling the pressure and had to decorate something, right?  Seemed much less daunting than getting out the Christmas decorations for the house.  Also, we were not allowed to play Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving in our house, and I do love me some Christmas music so what better way to enjoy than making a new playlist? Old habits die hard.

Maybe Christmas decorating would seem less of a task if I hadn't gotten up at 3:30 AM this morning to accompany my mom and little brother to the Black Friday festivities. (It was all Nate's idea.) We were more the  gaping and curious on-lookers. I am sure we looked wimpy, pathetic and lost to the true lunatics shoppers out there, but we had a fun time with a few memorable moments (watch out for those Target muggers, Mom...) and I got to have a nice peaceful breakfast with Nate and Mom and tell me how often, if ever, that happens.  I am thankful.

So don't you think Thanksgiving is getting a bum deal these days?  The day after Halloween we get Christmas whispered into our ears and let the shopping begin.  It is hard not to get caught up in the hoopla. Christmas seems to get shoved down our throats instead of being savored and enjoyed. So, before we go there, I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and I want to give Thanksgiving its due.

I am thankful for a daughter who writes me stories, leaves me momentos, and gets teary-eyed and sentimental at the drop of a kleenex.

I am thankful for another daughter who loves her black high-heeled Christmas shoes, eats eggs and bagels for breakfast, and who gives the sweetest hugs and kisses around.

I am thankful for God's healing for both my Grandma and my dad.  Dad had a scary bout with H1N1 this fall. It was doubly good to have them both sitting at our Thanksgiving table this year.

I am thankful for a pastor and his family and all they have done for our church and for our family.  This is especially true in light of the fact that they have accepted a call from another church and will be leaving in January. And yes, Marissa gets teary and sentimental every time she thinks of losing her wonderful piano teacher. Why does it sometimes take a loss to fully realize how grateful you should have always been?

I am thankful for our friends and families both near and far.  Grateful that both the Captain and I were raised in loving homes.  Blessed be the ties that bind.

I am thankful for a hubby that somehow gets me and still puts up with me. And what other Daddy can give such fantastic after bath airplane rides and listen to "Party In the USA" 100 times a day after Marissa gets home from school?  TLA Honey!

I am thankful for God who has such a remarkable plan to redeem us and adopt us as HIS very own children.  How amazing! Thank you Lord!

So the list could go on and on and it probably should.  One day should not contain our thankfulness, but we shouldn't forget that one day either, as it seems so easy for me to do. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hope for Spring

Our weather here in NW Iowa has been ridiculously nice this November.  October was a little dicey, but November, well couldn't ask for better.  And in my mind, that just means less winter to endure and that is a good thing. 

Soooo, we got rather adventurous one weekend and planted some tulips.  I have never planted a tulip in my life and being of Dutch heritage, there must have been some sort of genetic mix-up in my DNA that has made it so.  Also lacking in my DNA is the propensity to garden.  I am a farmer's daughter. My mom likes to garden.  My grandma has one of the greenest thumbs in the tri-state area.  I got nothing.  The Captain thought it would be a good family bonding time.  Turns out it was.

Here's the Captain looking all Iowa farmer-ish.  Don't think my Dad ever wore sweatpants and sneakers when he farmed, but then again we're talking tulips and not field corn here.   I think it is totally appropriate to plant tulips in sweatpants.  A new day has come. 

If I were famous and I needed more money and more endorsement deals, I would create my own scent and call it Iowa Black Dirt.  Love that smell.  As long as it doesn't mix with Iowa Cow and Hog Poop.
  That scent is just a bit overwhelming.

We had to do some negotiating for job positions.  I did design and layout and was the roving candid photographer.  The Captain did the prep-work, refereed, and became the official bulb planter expert.

  He then passed on his skill to Marissa.  They got so good at it that for the last few bulbs, they could remove a whole bulb-planter full of dirt at the appropriate depth of 6 to eight inches, in one fell swoop.

 Miss Maren got a little frustrated with the bulb planter ( though not without lack of effort or determination and much whining and tears) and finally gave in to being the color coordinator. We had yellow and pink tulips and she handed out the appropriate alternating color to the hole diggers and would help drop the bulb in pointy side up and fill in the dirt.  She is a great color coordinator. Note the pink shirt with the frilly pink bow.  She dressed herself that morning and said " Mom, do you think this is too boyish to plant tulips?")

Here are some things I learned that day:

Enjoy every single minute of your children being this age.  Time goes too fast.  Even Iowa winters.

Just say no to crack.  (she is gonna hate me for this one day)

And any gardening task can be accomplished with a little fun and cooperation.

Who knows, maybe next Spring we will actually plant a garden. We'll have to see how the tulips come up.  I'll keep you posted.