Category Archives: My Chicago family


I’m in Chicago for a visit. I’ve been getting tons of Amy-and-her-kids-time the past two days, and it’s been wonderful.

Jack is such a sweet boy. He has trouble with input and output, but beneath that he’s sweet and smart and goofy. He and Decky had such a great time together. The way they communicate is to wrestle, jump, run and play. They grunt and laugh and yell. They get in trouble. Decky can take anything Jack can dish out, he’s such a gentle giant. And it’s clear that Jack loves him with a mighty love. It was so heart-warming to watch them together.

Livie is a princess – there’s no denying it. She is all about her fiesta dress, her crown with the green jewels, her ba-ba babies. She fights for every scrap of attention she can get, since she’s stuck in the middle of Jack and the twins. She is very creative and loving and smart. She sparkles.

Liesl is a pixie. She has a no-lip smile that pops up easily and frequently. She rolls and grabs and yells out. She knows how to get your attention with her charm. She’s engaging and sweet.

Leia is beautiful and chubby. She has a round round face and body, and she sticks her lower lip out constantly. She lives on the edge – you don’t know what will make her cry. And when she does, she’s hard to placate. But her smile is bright and sunny and well worth the effort to elicit.

Amy and John are goofy. They fly by the seat of their pants. Their house is barely controlled chaos, a subclinical frenzy. Everywhere you look, there’s a baby who needs feeding, a kid that needs watching, another who needs loving. Amy and John must fall to bed exhausted every single night. I don’t know how they manage, but they do. The babies are chubby, the kids are happy, the house is warm.

I don’t get to see these people I love often. I live far away and only get to visit a few times a year. The babies won’t know me when I come back. Each visit, I have to get past Jack’s and Liv’s reticence before I can attack them with hugs and love. It’s frustrating.

But with Amy, we just pick up where we left off. Our movements complement each other and we know each other’s thoughts. It’s hard to leave her. She could use my help with her crazy life. And I could use her – well, for a sister.

It would be so cool if we could live near each other. We could feed and watch each others kids, spontaneously go out and drink heavily without them, just hang out. That’s something I miss every day.

But we don’t get to have that. It’s a big weight I carry.

So I enjoy the hell out of her and her family while I can. Today, we’re going to a hotel to take over the pool with the kids. Tomorrow, I go back to Kansas and miss them.

And that’s how it goes.

Day is done

5am – My mom gets up and turns on the sun. Gets ready to fly to Chicago to see us.
5:30am – Hubby awakens and watches the Lakers win on recorded TV, listens to music.
7am – Bubba and I are up. We eat breakfast, but Hubby can’t.
8:45am – We drop Bubba off at Maria’s to play with Nick and attend Book Club.
9am – Hubby and I have our med refill checks with our doctor. Hubby’s news is great: he’s lost fifteen pounds and his blood work is ‘superior.’ My news is just okay: I have to exercise more, and there’s nothing I can do about the hot flashes. We are both praised for our lifestyle changes.
10am – Hubby and I arrive at the hospital to checkin for his upper endoscopy.
10:30am – The Princess picks Grandma up at the airport and drives her to our house. They buy donuts.
11:28am – Hubby is wheeled back into the procedure room. I visit with my coworkers in ER, make calls, read a book on my nook.
11:57am – Hubby is wheeled back in to the room. His throat has been stretched, but he’s looking good. He doesn’t have to be checked again for three years. They use a different form of sedation this time, so he’s less groggy and recovers more quickly.
12:15pm – We stop on the way home to pickup up Burger King and Bubba.
1pm – Hubby takes a nap. Bubba, Grandma and I head to the store to shop for O’Baby’s birthday presents. Then we decorate the house with wild abandon and lots of streamers. The bird is mildly freaked out by the birthday hat on top of her cage.
4:30pm – The Princess, O’Baby, Dani, Miles, and Koby arrive. The girls help make vegetables while I grill. Bubba and Grandma play with the babies. Hubby rests.
5:45pm – We eat salmon and turkey tenderloin mignons. My table is filled with people I love. Bro has to work and we all miss him.
6:15pm – The babies play on the deck with the hose and buckets. Grandma and I get soaked to the skin while the twenty-somethings watch and laugh inside.
7pm – CAKE!!! Everybody loves cake.
8pm – O’Baby opens the last of his presents and the kids go home. The house is suddenly quiet.
9:30pm – Bubba goes to bed.
9:45pm – Grandma goes to bed.
10pm – Hubby goes to bed.
I am up. The house is quiet. I read some magazines, write a blog entry, read my nook book, and secretly eat forbidden chocolate chip cookies.

Tomorrow — O’Baby’s party at the park, which will include many many people from all sides of the family, friends and innumerable babies. The forecast: 94, sunny, humid with possible storms.

Hmmm…brainstorming alternate plans. Sleep will come eventually.
Glad this day is done.


Today, I cleaned and baked and tried to keep my boy occupied and entertained.

Being with Bubba all day is draining, mostly mentally. I know he needs a certain amount of high-intensity physical activity daily, but I think boredom in general just messes with his mind. He and I start bickering, we both cop attitudes, and we usually have to spend a little time apart to cool down. We don’t fight, but we do get on each other’s nerves. It’s going to be a long summer. Thank goodness for golf camp (x2 weeks), tennis lessons (x1 week), and swim lessons (x2 weeks). At least those will get us out of the house.

Baking and cleaning just isn’t fun for Bubba. And a game of frisbee catch wasn’t enough for him. Luckily, Hubby took Bubba out to hit some golf balls after work. And I got Bubba a net to hit golf balls into so he can practice his swing. That should help.

Tomorrow will be crazy. But we’ll all be busy and occupied, AND I get to see my mom, which is going to be great!


O’Baby turned two-years-old today. It has been two of the best years of my life. He has been a miracle in more ways than one. He is a gift. One I will always be so grateful for.

Tomorrow, we have cake and dinner at our house for him. I can’t wait.

No excuses

We’re all busy. I’m no different. Perhaps more lazy than most, but that’s about it.

How about an update?

Bro is out playing poker with his boss and coworkers. Hubby is in bed. Bubba is in bed. The Dog Concussion Grenade has gone off. Even the bird is asleep, or at least quiet.

I’m hoping O’Baby is asleep. I took him and Bubba and Nick to the pool today and did my best to wear them all out. It rained most of the time we were there, and that was good and bad. Good: we had the pool mostly to ourselves. Bad: You can’t get a cold wet baby warm and dry with a cold and wet towel. We ended up shortening our visit, and returning home to play.

Bubba enjoyed his playtime with Nick, then went to baseball practice. He should sleep well tonight.

I made a nice dinner. Locally-grown clean steaks on the grill, kashi, and every vegetable I had sauteed with garlic and salsa. Clean, baby. Makes me feel good.

My carpets need shampooing – bad. The rain that has been saturating us for the past forever days is making things tough on us. There is bright humid sunshine one second, then pluvious downpours the next. Then it gets really hot and starts the cycle again. I’m done with that nonsense.

Tomorrow is O’Baby’s two-year checkup. And Bubba and I plan to go to the local farmers market. He’s really into the organic food lately – he even ate some blueberries right off our bushes this morning! Without CoolWhip! And declared that they were pretty good!

Thursday is O’Baby’s second birthday. I have a hard time believing that this giant presence in our lives has only been around such a short time. Conversely, I have a hard time believing that two years have passed so quickly. He is a joy and a miracle and a daily blessing.

Friday, my mom flies in for a visit. We are all really really excited to see her! The Princess will pick her up from the airport, because it will be a crazy day for our family. Hubby and I have quick doctor appointments at 9am, he has an upper endoscopy at 10am, Bubba has a book club meeting at 10:30am, Mom’s flight gets in at 10:30am. After Hubby takes a good long nap, The Princess, Koby and O’Baby will be coming over for dinner to celebrate O’Baby’s birthday.

I can’t wait. I love it when it’s busy and crazy around here. The more people, the better. I sometimes just like to sit and watch all the people I love moving around the house, laughing and eating and talking. It’s the happiest I get.

Hey – thanks for checking in. I’ll try to be a little more timely with my updates.

Baby steps

When Dad came up for breakfast this morning, he was not wearing his ‘heart patient’ bracelet.

He walked with O’Baby and me to pick Bubba up from school. And made it.

He made wise food choices all day, resisting unhealthy snacks.

He cracked open a diabetic cookbook, and even read a little of it.

He tried new things.

He went to the casino.

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.