Tuesday, June 25, 2013

If My Kitchen Table Could Talk

As I was wiping up a spill on my kitchen table the other night, I had a silly thought run through my mind.  What if this kitchen table could talk?  What kind of stories would it tell?

Some of those stories might be ugly- if you know what I mean, but hopefully most of them would be of happy conversations, laughter, and shared meals.

There would be stories of late nights finishing science projects and homework pages.  Stories of meetings with insurance agents, investment brokers, and church presidency meetings.

Stories of game nights with friends and family, dinners with fancy table cloths, china and candle light.  Stories of holiday meals with treats left at place settings, surprise bouquets of flowers placed there on anniversaries.

There might be a few stories of times when a voice was raised at the relentless teasing by a brother, of worries shared as two sat across from each other discussing family matters.  Happy stories of births and sad stories of deaths.

I am sure it has cried big splintery tears upon hearing me complain of the weight of it's chairs and how I wish we would have never bought it (and how the next time we move we are NOT taking it with us!). 

A few stories of the "good and bad" of everyone's day as the dinner meal was shared.  Of planning of vacations to see friends who have moved and a once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit the land of our ancestors. 

If our kitchen table could talk, I hope it would tell of the many prayers of faith and hope that were offered, of a family who was always trying to do what is expected of them, and of people who are trying to do the best they can.

I would hope it would share stories of parties with loved ones, of celebrations for hard earned accomplishments, of plans made for the future.

If my kitchen table could talk, I think it would tell of all these things and more.  But the first thing I would ask it is where did this scratch come from because no one around here seems to have a clue as to how it got there. 

Come on table.  You can tell me.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Best and the Worst

This weekend, I found myself on a roller coaster of emotions. 

It's because of two dear friends and how their lives quickly changed in one moment.

One friend has had a break of a lifetime.  Her talent has been discovered (something that those of us who have known her for years have been patiently waiting to happen).  It has been so thrilling to hear about how her life has been shaken up and all the changes that are sure to come.  All so very, very exciting.

The other friend is living a heart break of a lifetime.  She is going through something that for any of us would be our worst nightmare.  She lost two family members in an instant and has had her life turned upside down by all the changes these losses will surely bring.

These two ladies easily fall into the category of the most amazing women I know.  Both are so talented and beautiful, fun to be around and full of life.  They are two women I admire so much.

I spent the weekend texting one and hanging on every word that she could share with me about what exciting things are happening.  I searched the Internet reading articles that have recently been written about her and just thrilled at the kind things said about her and her talents.  

The other friend, I was only able to send a quick text to, expressing my love.  Instead, I received most of the heartbreaking updates about her loss through news reports.  Each one more devastating than the last as more details emerged.

It's crazy how fast life can change.  How quickly things can come at you whether good or bad.  And it's crazy how many times in one day you can feel so much joy and so much sorrow for people you love.

As I go to bed tonight and say prayers of thanks for the day and the blessings my family received, I will say a prayer for my two friends.  That they will both receive the direction and guidance they need in their lives as they start a new chapter of their lives.  Chapters that are sure to be full of firsts and unknowns.  But because of the women that they are, I know these chapters will be written with so much grace and in a way that is inspirational to those of us who are praying for them and cheering them on.

Friday, June 14, 2013


"Mom, does water beat lava or does lava beat water?"

This is an example of the type of questions that await me each morning.  Ian's mind is constantly thinking and wondering and trying to understand this world around him.  It's one of my most favorite things about him (sometimes drives me crazy though, I must admit).

He has been learning about the different systems in the human body this past month.  Each day he comes home and tells me things he has learned and will recite them almost verbatim.  I'm in awe of how his mind absorbs and retains information (and a little jealous too). 

I love looking at life through his eyes.  Everything is a wonder.  This world his so huge.  In fact he told me that exact thing this morning as I was driving him to school.  "Mom, it's crazy how big this world is" he said.  "I mean, each state feels so big, but then there's the whole world!  You know?"    And then he was silent.  And I knew that his mind was busy again thinking, thinking, thinking.

Nursing school has taught me so much.  I have learned how to help people regain their health through a variety of methods whether through medication administration, through keeping a procedure sterile so as it not introduce bacteria into an already weakened area of the body's natural defense system, or through therapeutic conversation.  But it has also taught me that there is so much that I don't know.  I will never stop learning.  I will never know it all.  In fact when I graduate at the end of the year, I will be just like a 9 year old child, still wondering and trying to understand this new world of nursing.

But Ian's daily peppering of questions reminds me how much fun it is to learn and how exciting knowledge can be. And with him around, none of us will stop learning.  That I can guarantee.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

One Time

You've all been patiently waiting for the annual Wallsburg video and we thank you.  So without further ado, here it is.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 8, 2013


This past weekend, I sat surrounded by my children and snack foods of all different varieties while we watched this.  It was wonderful.  I loved every minute of it.  The only thing that would have made it better was if Erik could have been there with us.  But he was off on a little vacation, so it was just me and the kids.

When Erik is home, I rely on him A LOT to help pick up where I fall short.  And by pick up, I am basically saying that he's a single dad.  While I've been in school, I just can't seem to figure out how to be a mom and a daughter, a wife and a friend, and be the kind of student that I feel that I need to be in order to not kill my patients some day (and that day is coming very soon!).

So Erik is the mom and dad- but not this weekend.  I got to be both instead and as you might have guessed, school took the back burner.  And that was my choice.  I chose to sit and listen to inspiring words and visit with my children and remind myself that there is life outside of nursing school.  How I miss that life!

But today, Monday, which is always test day, the reality of nursing school hit me square in the face.  Today was a pharmacology test.  It was on cardiac drugs and drugs of the peripheral nervous system.  Drugs that apparently I should have known a little better than I did when I sat down to take the test.

Today I got to experience what it feels like to be the majority of my fellow class mates.  I'm usually one of  the top scorers on our exams and I get to hear them complain about how hard the test was and how unfair the questions were.

I wasn't complaining about my score though.  I fully expected to do poorly.  And I outdid my expectations.  Quite nicely in fact.  It was bad.  But I felt like it was worth a good test score to spend that quality time with my children. 

The memories we made this weekend are more important to me than how well I know those cardiac drugs.  As nurses, when we have questions about medications, we use a handy tool called Medscape to look them up.  So no worries, I'm not going to kill your mother when she comes to the hospital with heart issues. 

We're all going to be OK. 

A few semesters ago, I think my score today would have made me question whether or not I should be a nurse.  But I realize now that I must have grown up a little bit because it didn't affect me as it probably should have.  This weekend I realized that there is more to nursing school and that every once in a while you have to put it on the back burner and LIVE.

So this weekend, that's what I chose to do.  And it felt so good!

Besides, there's always another Monday and another test.  And Erik will be home tomorrow.  So it's all going to be just fine.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Missing Sister

It's been one week since Nicole left for college.  We are all missing her like crazy.   She left a big hole in our home and in our hearts that we can all tangibly feel.  

Surprising to me though, is how much Ian misses her.  He's just so in his own little world that I thought for sure he wouldn't even notice she was gone.  I could not have been more wrong.

He asks about her every day- wanting to know when he gets to go to Snow to see her.  He never forgets her in any of his prayers.  But sweetest of all, is that he sleeps every night with a silly little unicorn that she gave him as she was cleaning out her room.  It was something she got for a Halloween costume last year, that I'm sure she was just going to give to D.I.
Tonight as I was tucking him in, he hugged the unicorn to his chest and said, "Nicole's memories are in here".

And how right he is.  Her memories are in that silly little unicorn and in every nook and cranny of this house.  We sure love and miss her- more than I think any of us realized we would.  Thankfully, we have texting, face time and silly little unicorns to help us feel that she's not so far away.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Summer to Remember

As I was nearing the end of last semester and gearing up for the upcoming Summer Break, I had many expectations of what "my summer" would be like.

We would take 5 vacations, at least one of them would be a cruise, a camping trip or two, visit some national parks, a trip to see our friends, and spend lots of time as a family just enjoying each other's company and making all kinds of happy memories.

I knew that at the end of summer vacation, our world would drastically change.  Nicole would be leaving us for college, probably never to live under our roof full time again, and I would be heading back to school, full time, until Summer rolled around again.

As the first week of Summer approached, we had ONE vacation planned.  This brought a slight panic to my heart because I know us well- if it's not planned in advance, it probably isn't going to happen.  

As things turned out, Erik had a few business (or hemophilia related) trips that needed to be taken (San Francisco, Las Vegas, Oklahoma), and it was decided that it was now or never to take his dad to Norway- something that Erik has wanted to do for a long time.  There was Hemophilia camp that would take 3 members of the family for a week, a scout camp for Isaac, a 6 day trip to Bear Lake for Nicole with friends from Student Government, and an Ambassador retreat for her to meet her new college friends and finally, youth conference for Isaac.  

And then to top it all off, we decided to sign up Ian for football.  Something that would completely suck what was left of our Summer right out from under us.

There is now exactly two weeks of Summer Vacation left and as I was laying in bed this morning thinking about how different this Summer ended up from what I was hoping it would, I was surprised that I didn't feel disappointed.  

True, I spent most of those weeks without one or more family members with me, and true we only went on one family vacation, but looking back, it was such a wonderful time for me to slow down, get things organized around the house, spend some one on one time with each of the kids, and even a run away with Erik.  We didn't make tons of 'family time' memories, but so many special memories were made that will carry me through until next Summer.

I feel so fortunate to have been the one who got to be with Ian during the first time that he got to play tackle football.  I was the first to see him in full gear and was the one who heard, "Mom, thank you SO MUCH for signing me up for football!" And that smile, oh that smile, when he runs to the sideline all sweaty, to get a drink.  I got to be the first to see that.

 I was so lucky to get to sit by Nicole's side as she organized and held a clothes sale to raise money for college and then got to be the one to take many shopping trips with her to help her spend that money as she bought items to furnish her dorm.  I also got to be the one to hear all the stories after her dates with good friends and guys that made her excited about the possibility of marriage some day.

I got to be the one to pack Isaac for scout camp- making sure he had everything from a fishing pole and sunscreen to underwear and a warm jacket.  And I got to be the first to hear all of the stories when he got home- oh man those scouts!- and to hear about the new friend he made.  And I got to be the one who watched him grow right before my eyes.  I swear he did!

I was the one who got to be here everyday when Erik face-timed me from Norway.  I got to "see" little bits of Oslow and Bergen through the small camera on his iPad.  I was the first to see the tired joy on his dad's face as he enthusiastically talked about "tromping" through the streets of Norway.

I was the one who got to wash all of their dirty clothes when they retuned from all of their fun trips and activities.  I could tell that the dirtier the clothes were, the more fun they had had- and that made me smile. 

I was given the time to redecorate rooms in my home, clean out some dusty corners that haven't been touched in a LONG time, and dejunk.  I even had enough glorious time to read 5 books!

It wasn't the Summer I had envisioned.  But I think it turned out exactly as it should have.  I got to be here.  I got to be in my home.  I got to be with my family.  I got to be present.  

Those memories will carry me through the next year and will bring a smile to my face when I'll need one most.

It was a Summer I'll cherish forever!