There's Somethin' About Christmas Time!

It's true! Our house has that feeling that can't really be put into words. The excitement hangs in the air like smoke after a firebowl. The food sits out on the counter from morning til night. Cookies, cakes, chocolates, cashews, bark, candies, Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew, and more Mountain Dew!

Yesterday our GREAT friends KRISTI and Peg Walker (HI KRISTI!!!!! I love you!) stopped by with a warm apple pie to share! We sat around the table and gabbed for a long time until more of our family rolled into the driveway! Yay for Grandma and Aunt Keren coming all the way from IA and IL! WHOO HOO! I got to finish the beautiful day with a lovely phone conversation... ;)

Then today I got to have a very special wake-up call, followed by breakfast with two very special girls in my life! There was laughter galore and of course some tears!

Later Father and I took Grammy to run her errands and then went to shop the afternoon away together! It wore us both out! I am amazed at the stamina dad has to shop, walk around, and keep up. We even stopped at Wegmans and just drooled over all the baked goods. So FUN!

Dad and I were reminiscing about our life-long tradition of heading into the woods with an ax and sled, trying to pick a "small" tree, chopping it down, and bringing it back to the house, only to find out it was actually ENORMOUS! (We secretly LOVE enormous Christmas tree's!)

I love my home! I love my family! And I can't wait until tomorrow when MORE come over the river and through the woods....

Oh, and I am anticipating ending the day the same lovely way it began...we shall see... =)

Remarkable!

TODAY is a remarkable day! I am compelled to praise my God for LIFE. For MY life. I am living, breathing, alive, healed, WHOLE, and FREE today. 4 years ago today I never imagined that could possibly be true, but here I stand.

I stand in awe of my Savior. I stand in awe of his deep, intimate, and personal love for ME. I stand in awe of His unfathomable power. I stand in awe of His ways. I stand in awe of the beauty he created from ashes. I stand in awe of Psalm 23. I stand in awe that He is my Shepherd. I stand in awe because HE RESTORED MY SOUL.

I stand in awe of YOU, Jesus. So I'll let my words be few...

Jesus, I am so in love with you...

The National Christmas Tree!




I got to see The National Christmas Tree this past Friday night! I'll admit before moving, I had never even heard of it! But I was invited, and more then excited to check it out! We rode The Metro downtown (which I loved!) and only had to walk a little bit before the tree was in sight.

I think I squealed when I first caught a glimpse of it. To say it's enormous is an understatement! Obviously, it's so big you can't even see the whole tree in the picture. One of my favorite parts were the 57 other tree's surrounding The Big Guy in the middle. I know there are not 57 states in our country, but I can't honestly remember what the extra ones are. One was Portico, Portugal, or something. =) ANYWAY there was a smaller Christmas tree for each state in our country!

Well, as we crossed each "M state" tree I was getting more and more excited to find the Minnesota tree! Once it appeared, I leaned closer to read the lil sign, and what do I see? None other then the sign displaying our very own BACHMAN'S, who decorated the Minnesota tree! I totally freaked! I made my friend take a million pictures of the sign so I could show every one! I was flooded with Bachman's/Patricks memories and my heart was so warmed!
It was a beautiful night with beautiful trees and beautiful lights and beautiful company! I am so thankful that God has given me NEW Christmas memories in my new state! (Fur and I at Bachman's!)

Missing Minnesota

I am missing Minnesota. Quite a lot, actually. It's getting worse and worse as the minutes pass me by this morning. Particularly Minnesota Christmas.

The MOA

I miss walking in The MOA at 6:24 AM every morning and being awed by the thousands of strands of lights dangling so delicately from the ceiling. I miss gazing at them and being mesmerized each day. I miss those moments before the hustle and bustle started at The Mall. Just me and the lights. Every thing was dark except for the little lights. That was the only time of day one could experience such a scene in The Mall.

I miss Black Friday with Matt at 4 AM and shopping in our dorky red matching T-shirts after work.

I miss walking around and shopping in my favorite mall. I miss my favorite stores that only The MOA has! There was something so special about me living so far away from the fam, and getting them presents from THE MALL OF AMERICA!

I miss the enormous Christmas tree on the East side. I loved resting my arms on the railings of level 2 and watching whatever was taking place around the tree that day in the rotunda.

I miss those gigantic red Christmas ball things that were always placed on the lawn on the West side. I miss the gigantic wreaths hung all over the place.

OK. I am starting to cry, so I'm moving on.

Starbucks

I miss my MOA Starbucks. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy at my VA store, but there's something so unbelievably special to me about my MOA II Starbucks. I miss my friends there. I miss our old crew. I miss how horribly stressful and busy it was, but we all did it together. We bonded. We were a little Starbucks MOA II family because no one else could understand how hard it was to work there, but we did. And we conquered every day. Together.

I miss walking in the day of the roll out to a Christmas Wonderland. The red cups, the new signs, the Holiday drinks, all the new retail that I wanted to buy, the ornaments, the mugs, the tumblers, Christmas blend, the Christmas music playing (I like the sleigh ride!!), and how excited I got just stepping into my store. I miss my MOA II people so much.

Great. Crying again.

Our Apartment

I miss Swz, a lot. I miss going for our FIRST Peppermint Mocha of the season, after having waited an ENTIRE YEAR to indulge. I even miss the stupid Chinese food that Swz and Boogz ordered WITH our PM's. Even though I was ticked because I said Chinese food was NOT Christmasy!

I miss our decorating night. I miss Boogz making fun of our millions of decorations. I miss her complaining about watching Home Alone on VHS. I miss our 2 little tree's. I miss Swz almost burning our apartment down by catching my (used-to-be-beautiful) tree on fire.

I miss my Christmas dishes and mugs. I miss my Christmas tablecloth and Christmas candles.

I miss exchanging presents with Boogs and Swz. I miss stockings with Swz. I miss watching "A Boyfriend for Christmas" on VHS, even though to this day, it's the most boring movie on earth, especially since it was fuzzy and there was a buzzing the entire 2 hours. I miss trying on my Puma outfit and dancing around, thus acquiring the nickname "Pumzy".

I miss the gazillions of left overs and amazing cookies that Mama and Grandmama Swz would always send over.

I miss the Holidazzle parade. Once with the Chapmans and the kids almost died of frost bite. And again with Boogz and Swz watching from inside The News Room. (Boogz? Be caught outside in an uncomfortable condition??!) I sat at dinner partly in fear because I knew I was so poor I could not afford one darn thing on the menu. Then God prompted Swz to pay the bill. I will never forget that.

The GC

I miss my GC community all the time. Every week. I miss walking into the room and feeling instantly part of the family. I miss knowing deep down inside that my presence in that place was wanted, needed.

I miss leading the children's Christmas program. (Even though I know it wasn't the most spectacular, and I KNOW Gretchen will BLOW that program out of the water this year!) I miss them ringing their bells. I miss Ronsi's bells going flying across the room and the horrified look on her face. I miss Tori knowing EVERY word and being so proud to sing the loudest.

I miss Eric leading Christmas songs with 19 disclaimers per song. I miss Gretchen's sugar cookies. I miss Jamie's sweet potato casserole.

I miss my GC family.

HOME

I've been mulling this all over in my mind for quite awhile. And I realized as I was drying my hair this morning that I miss my HOME. I miss my own home. I had a friend ask me the other night if I felt like I could come back to my current house and just unwind. I do feel at home here, I do feel at rest here, but what it comes down to is, it's not my own.

I miss my home. MN was my own. God established me there. My own home, my own church family, my own friends, and I miss it so much. (Yep, crying again.)

Thank you God for some of the most difficult and yet some of the best years of my life in my beloved Minnesota, my own home.

I love you all.

Enjoy Minnesota Christmas just a little bit more for me.

While You Were Sleeping

Hi Father! This post is especially for YOU! Peg was clicking pictures while we were waiting for your surgery to be over! This is what we do for hours and hours while we wait...and wait...and wait...I think you had the easy part! You were fast asleep! ;)

Update: Dad got all 59 (YES! 59!) staples out today! His stitches, too! YAY!
This is the screen I've mentioned in previous posts. Dad had a special code so we could watch how his surgery was progressing.
Big Mel and Johnny Cakes. Absolutely thrilled to have their picture taken! This is in the first family waiting room- the NICE one!

Aunt Cynth and I Facebook stalking! Her famous line of the day, "Why can't we just STAY in this room?!"


My amazing mother. Cool, calm, and collected. I get teary-eyed just thinking about the strength our God has given her. I hope I am half the woman she is some day.



This post is especially meaningful because it gives such an amazing up-close and personal look at the incredible PEACE that God washed over us while we waited for my dad to get out of surgery. How else, but through Jesus, could you explain our looks of peace and contentedness? Prayer is powerful and effective.
Pictures are worth more then a thousand words.

Bethie Update

Beth informed me last night that her little niece Mikayla, has been diagnosed with epilepsy. She has been having siezures and is understandably upset. Mik won't be able to ride her bike, eat chocolate, go swimming, and obviously other things. Please keep her and the family in your prayers. Thanks!

For Bethie

Beth (Brown) Wagner left me a voicemail tonight asking for prayer, and if I would post this. Her little niece, Mikayla, daughter of Steve and Alicia Brown, had some serious tests done on her brain today. The doctor has requested they come back immediately tomorrow morning. Please pray for the family! Thank you!

Dancing for JOY!

He's HOME! I am praising God today that my dad made it safely home! The trip from Philly went very well. My dad slept great the night before, and I quote from him, "Drugs are a wonderful thing!" HaHa! Indeed.

Thank you so much for praying for their safe return. My mom said she could FEEL every one's prayers.


I heard an amazing message on prayer last night, and I am still mulling it over in my mind. I am still wondering why God chose to answer our deepest prayers and bring my father through his 3rd open heart surgery. I am wondering if God was glorified through this situation. I hope so in the worst way. I am wondering if I would still praise God if the outcome wasn't what I had prayed for. I can only hope, and pray that it would be.


For now, I rest in thanking my Heavenly Father for my earthly father's life! My heart is so thankful that almost every Christmas song I hear brings me to tears. My heart is so full of awe and praise of my mighty God that I can hardly sing without choking up.


Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!


We are dancing for JOY that my daddy is HOME!! =)

Check us out! (Thanks Katie and Chuck! I laughed so hard I cried!=)


http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/Ld7bswVOo5TPUD3eJhYn



Almost Home...


We are PRAISING GOD today! Thank God with us! My dad was released from the hospital early this morning. He came back to my aunt's house (where we've been crashing for almost 2 weeks!) to settle for the day.
PLEASE PRAY tomorrow morning (Monday)! My mom will be driving dad, and my grammy back home. Pray for managable pain during the car ride, no pukes, safety, and good weather! I know my mom is nervous about the trip. I think they probably all are. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive. We will certainly all rest easy once my dad is back in his own home! He can't wait to get there, rest, and heal by his massive Christmas tree! We are rejoicing!
Today has been quite an emotional day. When I said good-bye to my dad, I just crumbled into his arms and wept. I feel like I have "Post-Traumatic-My-Dad-Had-Major-Heart-Surgery-Stress-Syndrome". BUT, I am thanking God my dad will soon be on his way home! And soon, we will ALL be together for Christmas!
THANKS FOR PRAYING! Please pray tomorrow morning, too! THANK YOU SO MUCH!


Day 11

Today is dad's 11th day in the hospital! Yikes-O. He is just "chomping at the bit" (says my mother) to get out of here.

Yesterday was a ROUGH day. I said everybody's Thanksgiving prayers must have fizzled out for Black Friday. It was certainly black for my dad. He was pukey ALL day. The pain was pretty bad on top of that as well. Once night fell, so did everything he had eaten that day. (IF you catch my drift.) Many of the nurses, the PA, and the head medical doctor all came in. They were worried, we were worried, dad thought he was gonna die. For cryin' out loud!

Anyway. Today things are much calmer. Dad is resting better, and feeling better. No pukies to report. We even had visitors, which always lifts our spirits! He has gone for his walks, and is now sleeping.

Mom and I are ready for a snack.

Thanks for praying, and continuing to pray!

THANK YOU from my DAD!!!

From our hospital to your's...oh wait! I hope no one else reading this is in the hospital! ;) Seriously, we have had so much FUN reading your comments!

When I first blogged, I had hoped for 15 comments for my dad. When I checked periodically, the number kept climbing. I was getting more and more excited as Thanksgiving day came closer. When I finally suprised my dad with his blog post, there were 113 comments! Whoa baby!

THANK YOU all so much for your sweet messages! As I've been reading them to my dad, there's been laughter, near tears, "aw's", stories told, and definite over all encouragement! What a priceless gift!

Thank you for participating and sharing your sweet love with my dad and family!

I am humbled and overwhelmed by your kindness to us today! With blog comments PLUS Facebook comments, we had over 130 responses!! WOW!

THANK YOU!


video

Happy Thanksgiving Father! =)


This year, my daddy will be celebrating Thanksgiving from his lovely hospital bed! My mom and I will be spending the entire holiday with him, and my family wanted to do something special.

Please post a THANKSGIVING greeting to my dad! You can tell him anything you want. Whether it's why you're thankful for him, that you're praying for him, an iside joke, that you love him, or whatever you come up with on your own.
I am going to read all the posts to him sometime on Thanksgiving day! I know it will blow him away!
We are so grateful to all of you who have been praying for my dad! We are all humbled and overwhelmed by God's faithfulness to us through you.
Today we are THANKFUL for our loving God and THANKFUL for you! For those of you who know my dad, as he would say, "Our hearts are full and overflowing..."

Coke

Dad has been having another positive day of recovery! He went for another "long" walk, which is wonderful. After heart sugery, the lungs can get filled with fluid, especially when sitting in bed all the time. Walking is necessary to get the circulation flowing. My Dad is determined!

My mom got him a Coke today and said he's been talking quite a bit. He also ate a good amount of lunch! This is also a praise because for the past several days, we've just been spoon-feeding him about 3 bites of jell-o. Yay for real food going down, and staying down! Mom bought him an electric razor so she could shave him, too. Yesterday my dad was joking with the nurse about him being "good lookin'". A sure sign he is starting to feel a little bit more like himself.

We find so much joy in these little steps of progress. Seeing any glimpse of my true Dad is so refreshing! He's still got a ways to go in the hospital, but we want him to be completely OK before he's discharged.

His surgeon stopped by at one point while mom and I were out (We were ticked we missed him!). Dr. Bavaria reminded my dad AGAIN how difficult and SERIOUS the surgery was. I kinda got a little ticked and said to my Dad, "Why can't the guy ever say any thing POSITIVE?! We KNOW how serious it was!!" I think it's just upsetting to be reminded how serious my Dad's situation is.

WE THANK GOD FOR THE AMAZING PROGRESS THAT'S BEEN MADE!

What an incredible week for Thanksgiving to take place for our family!

Speed Racer

Praise the Lord! Dad developed a bit of a fever today. He knows that walking helps a fever go down, so he said, "Let's go for a walk!" Mom and I looked at each other like "Is he for real?!" We are so impressed with his determination and strength!

Dad walked all the way down the hallway and back. In the midst of the pain and everything, he pushed himself to do it! Go Dad! We are so proud of him!

SO VERY PROUD!!!

We also had some more visitors today which lifted dad's spirits!

PRAISE THE LORD!

Thanks God!!!

Thank you God for all those who were praying for my Dad last night!

God answered all of your prayers! We are so grateful to all of you for CRYING OUT TO GOD for him! Dad is thankful, that's for sure! He had a good night, according to the nurse, and my dad agreed. This morning we walked into his room to find him standing up! He had "bathed" himself (part of his PT) and walked to his bed. Wonderful progress!

Yesterday Dad had requested Starbucks coffee (of COURSE!) and so mom and I went there first thing this morning for him. (We just happend to need stuff, too.;) When we brought it in, mom told him it was decaf, so he didn't want it anymore. HaHa! :)

The pain is still present, but he is definitely able to rest much better. YAY! THANK YOU for praying! It really means so much to my dad, and to my whole family. I know I say that all the time, but boy do we mean it.

Cry out to God Tonight!

It's Saturday night, November 22. As mom and I were preparing to leave the hospital tonight, we were making sure my dad had everything he needed or wanted. We kissed him, and told him we loved him. Right before we walked out the door he said:

"Tell people to pray."

Us: "Ok. We will."

Dad: "Tell them..." (LONG pause, it's hard for him to talk.)

"CRY OUT TO GOD!"

Mom burst into tears and we went rushing back to his bedside. I asked my dad if he wanted us to pray over him right then, and of course he did. Mom grabbed his hand, I rested my hand on his leg, and CRIED OUT TO GOD for my sweet Daddy.

The pain is so bad right now for him. He told the nurse 10/10 and that's WHILE he's on a morphine pump, perkaset, AND motrine! I can not even imagine!

From my precious Dad's healing heart to your's,

Please CRY OUT TO GOD for relief from his pain and suffering tonight!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Strawberries!

This post is something that is just over-flowing from my heart. I know this whole ordeal is completely about my Daddy, but God is still taking care of me in such special ways! I am amazed by that! I thought it might be cool for those of you faithful readers to hear the neat ways that God is specifically watching over my every need, and even wants.

Most of you know this crazy "diet" that I've been on for almost 2 weeks. I am proud to say God has given me the self-control to stay ON the wagon for this whole time. I am so thankful for that! It's been extremely difficult to eat the way I need to right now in this hospital situation.

One night I was absolutely CRAVING strawberries. (Which I am allowed to eat!) The next day my mom and I went on our routine Starbucks visit. It was cold, the wind was blowing, and we just put our heads down and plowed down the block. All of the sudden I looked up to see one of those Philly fruit carts. I hustled over, and what do I see, but a whole little baggie of strawberries for only $2! It was the ONLY baggy of strawberries there! I almost jumped up and down! I took them to Starbucks and they were delicious! Thanks God! How cool is that?! I've been back to that same cart every day and there have never been strawberries again. I asked the lady about them one time and she looked at me like I was crazy! God knew that the strawberries would just make my day and He gave them to me!

There have been many more instances like that, but that's the one that keeps coming back to my mind. Another reminder of God's deep, intimate, personal love for ME!

I had my own special visitor today, too! (Thanks again, Roomie!! You're the BEST!) That really lifted my spirits. Dad had visitors too, but I had stepped out and missed them. Bummer.

Dad is sleeping well right now. They are still trying to handle the pukey-ness. He has a fever on top of it. He asked us to call the nurse because he wanted to go for a walk! I was AMAZED at this. He can't even lift his hand to put a spoon in his mouth, but he remembered that if he went for a walk, it would help his fever. Talk about strength.

I am so proud of my dad! He's such a fighter.

The walk really wore him out (from his bed to his room bathroom and back) and caused more pain, but he is determined. Wow.

Thank you for praying! We appreciate your continued prayers more then we can express!

Praise God for the strawberries in our lives!

Regular Room

My dad is in his regular room now. We are thankful because that means he is progressing well! They also took out 2 of his 3 drainage tubes this morning, which is more positive proof of his progression. Taking out those tubs is really painful. It gives me major creeps to even think about.
Every one on his level of the hospital is either here for heart or lung surgery recovery. They all drag along these drainage tubes behind them wherever they go. The body just fills up with fluids during surgery and they drain it, I guess. My dads hands are hugely puffy. He always looks at his hands like they're really bothering him.

One part of my dad's suffering is naseau. (sp?) He's constantly feeling sick, and many times actually does throw up. They are trying to get that under control, but nothing has really worked yet.

He does seem to be resting better this afternoon then he had been.

Thanks for praying!! We appreciate it so much! And if my dad could speak well enough, he'd certainly thank you himself!

The Pain Continues...

Well, we're halfway through the afternoon and making our trip to Starbucks. (Thus the wireless.) So far today, my dad has really had a rough morning.

Sadly, he thought that the nurses were trying to kill him. He was terrified. He was on such high dosages of drugs that it made him think crazy things, obviously. Thankfully, God worked it so two dear friends were in the ICU with my dad during that time. It would have been difficult for us to have seen that. At least we were able to be prepared for what we were about to see.

The pain is still absolutely horrible. He can barely move without just about going through the roof. Even a tiny burp is excruciating. It's very sad to see. We wish we could do something to help.

The good news is, my dad's progressing well. His heart is doing well! The pain from breaking his ribs, the inflamation, and finding the correct pain killers has made this process just awful.

More good news is that he is most likely being moved out of the ICU today! He should be in a regular room by tonight. That means his process is going well. We are very happy about that.

Lastly, by this afternoon dad was genuinely aware of us, and able to talk a little. He felt terrible for thinking the nurses were trying to kill him and kept apologizing. It was just a very sad scene! We're thankful that he is coherent!

Please continue to pray that his intense pain subsides! Especially when he moves rooms, that will be awful! Getting into a wheelchair alone is an enormous task! Please pray that his heart continues to heal well and the pain subsides!

Thanks a million for your PRAYERS, posts, comments, texts, calls, and encouragement! It all means so much!

So MUCH Pain!

When mom talked to the ICU nurse this morning, the nurse asked if my dad had a low pain tolerance. This, of couse, was hard for us to hear because we know that my dad actually has a very high pain tolerance! My mom informed the nurse of his past 2 heart surgeries and kidney stones. Since they now know that dad does have a high pain tolerance, they were able to better determine that he is in an incredible amount of pain!

Please pray for the pain to subside! We haven't gone back to the ICU yet today. We are still waiting for one of my brothers to arrive and then we'll all go together.

Other then the pain, my dad is doing well. That is great news! We just ache for him suffering so much. It's incredibly difficult to see him like that. He can not talk very much, and when he looks at us the pain in his eyes is almost unbearable. Sometimes it's hard to stay in the room.

THANK YOU for your continued prayers for my dad and my family. We can still feel God's peace and His rest in our spirits. We never cease to be amazed each day at how much The Body is wrapping their arms around us. A wonderful woman brought us a home cooked meal last night and that meant the world to us!

Thanks for praying, and I will post later today if I get a chance. (More then likely since I haven't gotten my coffee yet and NEED to go to Starbucks!;)

Throw-up

Mom and I were just in dad's room. We watched his chest moving, and it seemed a bit alarming. He was getting sick, and ended up throwing up. I can't imagine the pain of throwing up with all ribs being broken, along with the heart just having had been opened up. Mom and I left the nurse to deal with it and are back in the lounge with internet. The ICU is packed and there is no place to sit. We are feeling pretty tired and emotional. It's hard to see the man you love most in this world suffering so much.

To clarify from my ealier post, we are praising God they went in through his ribs. Though it is the most painful, going back in through his previous scar from his first 2 surgeries would have been incredibly difficult. They already went back through the scar tissue last time and doing it a third time would be a lot more complicated. Though it's a bad thing, it's the best scenerio for my dad!

Someone visited my dad while we were out, and we are disappointed to have missed a visitor! But, so thankful for the sweetness of the person to stop by!

He's OUT!

I feel terrible that I was not able to update you after dad's surgery was over. Our family waiting room closed at 9PM, and we got shifted to the ICU waiting area where there is no internet available.

Dad was in surgery until around 9:30 PM or 10:00 PM last night. It got to be really hard for us waiting there at the end! Finally an ICU nurse came out and we were allowed to go in and see him. It's always such a sad sight. And it's sad to me that I can even say "it's always" becasue of how we've been through this before!

It was a very difficult surgery. (That cracks me up when the doctors or nurses say that. What heart surgery ISN'T difficult?!) They ended up going through my dad's left ribs (EW.) and working on his heart that way. They cut all his ribs, so his incision is rather large on his left side. It looks like a shark bite! For those of you who know my daddy, that will be his "famous" line from here on out! HaHa!

We are absolutely relieved that it's over! The weight that we carried feels so much lighter today. God's peace completely surpassed all understanding yesterday, and it was the most amazing experience. We could all FEEL your prayers in a hugely tangible way. What an honor.

We thank you for praying!

I would ask that you PLEASE continue to pray! This first time I visited my dad this morning, the few words he uttered were "Pray. Pain. Wow." Oh it just breaks my heart that he's in that much pain. They say cutting through the ribs is the most painful heart surgery. He has his own pump for the pain medicine, but he's still suffering. Please pray for the pain to subside to he can rest easy. There's still chances for stroke, for the heart not to function properly and other risks, so please keep praying!

My dad is such a fighter! We are amazed at his strength even now. Last night after his surgery, though he was completely knocked out, the nurse said he had been trying to fight through the anesthesia to wake up! My mom and I chuckled to ourselves. Of COURSE my dad would be fighting!

For the rest of today mom and I will be sitting in the ICU waiting area. We have already met other families in there, heard some stories, prayed for others, and it's very sad. Every situation in the ICU is extremely serious, so we are watching for ways for God to use it!

Right now we are at Starbucks, where I am able to get internet. Once we go back over there, I can not update as frequently. I will do my best to keep posting! Once he's out of ICU, then I can update more regularly!

Again, THANK YOU from my whole family for praying for us. We are overwhelmed and blessed beyond blessed that you would choose to pray for us.

Praise God with us, and keep praying! We are blessed beyond blessed to be loved by such a gracious, loving and FAITHFUL God. I am carrying this song with me...

"Faithful one. Faithful to the end. Faithful. My true and gracious friend. You are faithful. FAITHFUL."

7:45 PM

The LONG wait is turning longer. My aunt just said, "Ok, it's starting to creep." We're getting a little restless.


Dad's been in surgery for 4 hours and 15 minutes. We have no updates, and do not know how much longer it's going to be. The family waiting room is slowly emptying out as their family members are done. We'll probably be one of the last families to leave.


I just saw a surgeon walk in and my stomach flipped, but he wasn't dad's.


Still waiting...
My Mama's getting anxious. So am I.

6:30 PM


Apparently our update nurse was off at 5PM, so we will no longer hear updates until dad's surgery is complete! It's only been 3 hours since his surgery started, so we have a ways to go.


I just got back from the hospital "cafe". For those of you who normally follow my blog: I am getting tired of salad, chicken, and plain coffee. Sigh. That was a completely selfish sidenote.


Moving on. Most of my family/friends here waiting with us are getting pretty exhausted. We are all in good spirits, but it's been a long day! I can't wait until the operation is over! We are feeling God's peace and His mighty presence!


Thank you for praying!

3:45 PM

I haven't seen my dad since my last post. After posting, we circled my dad (some family and friends) and one of dad's friends prayed. Hello tears. I decided to embrace the tears. All too often I try to hold myself back from crying. Maybe it's me trying to be strong. Maybe I don't want my dad to see me so upset. But today I concluded it's good to cry. I let the tears fall as I gripped my dad's hand with both of my hands and his friend cried out to our loving and powerful God.


Before they wheeled him away on the lovely gurney, I leaned down and hugged and kissed my daddy. We held each other and cried. It's a helpless feeling to watch my mom follow my dad's gurney down the hallway to open heart sugery. But, there is peace. Explanation? Our God, and all your prayers! There are people praying all over the world, and we couldn't survive without them. THANK YOU to all of you who are praying!


After the first time we said "good-bye", they called my mom back up for another hour with my dad. After my mom said "good-bye" for the second time, we all went to lunch, and then to Starbucks, of COURSE. We just returned to the family waiting room.


They have a huge screen TV that is updated every half an hour with details of dad's operation. His surgery didn't begin until 3:30 PM! That means dad will be under at least until 8:30 PM tonight, maybe later!


When I came back on and saw 12 comments, it just made my heart soar. It brought so much peace. It really means the world to my family and to me to know people are continually praying!


It's a hard day. It will be a hard night. Visiting him in the ICU is almost unbearable. No sense worrying. I know that, I just want to express.


And so we wait...

11 AM

They OR people are about to come get my dad. It's about 11AM. So, that means the surgery will be underway in the next couple of hours. The surgery will be around 6-8 hours long. It's different every time.

Dad met with the surgeon this morning, and he informed my dad that they will be going in through his side, instead of cutting open his original scar. We are glad about that!

I am getting close to tears, so that's all I'm gonna say for now!

I will try to keep you posted as we know things.

I am thankful for God. I am thankful for His love. I am thankful for His peace.

The Day Before

I am all packed. I am ready to go. I am waiting for relief to come so I can leave for Philly/NJ! (Relief for the babes, I mean!) Chail and I had a fun day of running errands and getting things done so Auntie can leave today! (Ok, I am going to stop talking like a KG teacher now.)

My dad checks in the hospital today at 3PM. They are going to do some testing, get his cumodin (sp?) levels worked out, and make sure he looks spify in his gown. We still do not know what time the surgery will be tomorrow! I will do my best to post as often as I can.

From my whole family, we all appreciate your prayers so very much! We can all sense God's presence and feel His arms around us. There are trying times.

THANK YOU!!

video

Chail and I sent this to Grandpa's phone this morning! =)

Here We Go...

Hello everyone!Thank you for praying for our family! Thank you for praying for my precious daddy and his heart! My dad has the most giving, forgiving, loving, and huge heart out of any man I know. It hurts my own heart to watch him go through yet another physical heart surgery. It seems ironic to me that the man with the purest heart I know has had to have so many physical heart operations. I 100% wish I could go through this surgery FOR him. I would if I could. I guess God has chosen for my dad to endure this, and to learn things that I will never know.

We, as a family, are praising God that Dr. Bavaria will be his surgeon, officially! He has performed my dad's first 2 operations, and we feel confident in his skills. We are so overwhelmed with God's goodness in the insurance approving this, and allowing it all to take place. It has been a looooooooooooooong process for my parents. But, here we are.

This Wednesday, November 19, the surgery will officially take place in Philly, at The University of Penn hospital. We have no idea what time, or how long he will be hospitalized. Each surgery, the recovery has been longer.

We ask you to pray. Please pray. We value your prayers more then we could EVER express! My mom and I always bring colored 3 x 5 cards and write names/messages for my dad and put them up in his room as a reminder of the power of prayer and the power of The Body. We desire so much to reach out to other's in the hopsital as well. Praying with and for other families, other patients, and those that are going through similar situations is a huge ministry!

Please pray for my dad. I can not fathom how hard this is on him. There are so many aspects that are hard about this. He needs your prayers in an enormous way! Lastly, I will be frequently updating my blog during the surgery (if we still have internet access in the special family waiting room). You can check this for the latest info.

THANK YOU THANK YOU for praying!!!

With LOVE from our whole fam =)

As always, I am showing our lil love with his Grandpa!!


Day 4: Life as an Addict

You think I am kidding. I am not.

Hi. My name is Abby and I'm a bread addict.

For quite awhile now, one of my dear BFF's, Caleb, has been talking to me about my diet. He has been concerned about my "issues". You all know my issues. Why try to hide it? It's the facts of life, people. Along with him my mom, brother, and sister-in-law have voiced concerns. Fine. So...coached by Caleb, I decided to TRY a new diet (not a lose weight diet, a change-what-I-eat diet) It all started on Tuesday. I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into!

No bread. No unatural carbs. No sugar. No yeast. No gluten.

This eliminates almost my entire normal diet. I am now consuming lots of protein (mostly meats/eggs/nuts: I am not a meat-girl), vegetables (I've always hated vegetables), and a select few berries. (of which I had been WRONG about ealier today and just about had a melt down when I found out I could not, in fact, eat cranBERRIES)

Unless you've tried it, you have NO BLESSED clue how DIFFICULT it is to give up bread. That takes away my morning bagel, lunch sandwhich, and probably the worst of all, my lattes and coffee with flavored creamer. BAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH. I can not consume soy milk. Eventually I am going to try to introduce dairy back into the picture and see how I do.

No pizza. No pasta. No cookies. No cake. No lattes. No creamer. No grapes. No apples. NO NOTHING. AHHHHHHHHHHH.

I have literally been going through withdrawl. It's absolutely terrible. I get shaky, I get panicky, and boy do I CRAVE. I become evil. I become cranky. I just want to EAT MY BREADS. I'm an addict through-and-through.

The good news: so far, the issues have been minor to NONE. (amazing!) And I have lost 4 lbs! HA! That was a pleasant side effect! (Or a disgusting tribute to how much bread products I consume!) It's been worth it to see how this helps. I still have a few more days until my first complete week is done, and we'll go from there....

So yay. I have a lot more respect for recovering alcoholics.

Daddy

The ridiculously long drive TOGETHER from MN all the way to PA!
Father put together all my new furniture when the fam visited me here over Labor Day! He can build or fix ANYthing!

I miss my Daddy. I wish I could see him before his surgery. I wish that wasn't the next event that was bringing us together. It is what it is. We're pressing on. One day at a time...

BBC Basketball




I'm Gonna be a Scarf

I am feeling very much like a knitted scarf lately. God is taking seemingly very different pieces of yarn (themes, if you will) and weaving them all together. At first glance, the yarn (themes) do not seem to match, or go together at all. But, as I reflect on all these colors of my life that He's weaving, I am continually reminded that I am finite. My mind is finite. My heart is finite.

I am continually reminded that He is infinite! Some times, that's all I need to know. Other times, I am awoken in the night, fearful of the unknown. Still other times, I find myself curled up in a ball, crying on the floor to my God for answers. In the end, I am going to be the most beautifully, wonderfully crafted scarf, and I truly believe that. Ironically, once I am a scarf, that is when I will finally see my Savior face-to-face.

This is the moment I can not get out of my head lately. What if He says, "Depart from me. I never knew you."? The thought makes me tremble in fear. But what if, my Savior says to me, "Well done MY good and faithful servant!" That thought brings me face down on the floor, dying to cling to his feet at this very moment. I can not imagine meeing my Savior face-to-face. I simply can not fathom.

I long for it though. Oh how I long for it.

I rest in Romans 10:9-10. "That if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be SAVED. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are SAVED." =)

Happy Birthday GiGi!

What my mom wants most for her birthday...we all love you, Mother! Happy Birthday!



video

My Favorite Lil Guy in ALL the World!


Yes. You're seeing right! I took this with my phone...we're laying on the couch. We do this every day. He turns his face and I lay my face next to his, and we just snuggle. I finally got a picture of it with my phone! :0) Am I the luckiest Auntie in all the world, or what?!

Dreaming is THE BEST!

I am so excited tonight, that I do not think I am gonna be able to fall asleep! (Hopefully my "sleepy tunes" playlist on my new, hot pink, nano will help! And yes, to you, and you know who you are, who abhor playlists...YES. I said it.)

Yesterday, I took my lil Punka for a walk to Hallmark. Ah...bliss. I just adore that store. It was close to 80 degrees, I was in my capris, and t-shirt, and Hallmark has out their Christmas stuff! I was just lovin' life in my hot weather, and Christmas combo!

Anyway. That's besides the point. While I was there, this sweet Hallmark lady followed Babes and I to the section of cards we were browsing. She literally could not resist his cuteness. I mean, who can?! One glimpse of that dimple, and it's all over with...

We got to chatting, and I end up informing her that "Heck no! He is not my child!" HaHa! I got to share with her how I am spending my life this year. She proclaimed how amazing that was, and the words just flowed out of my heart in my response, "It's the best job in the world!" And I was beaming from ear to ear. She grinned back at me and said, "Yes. Yes it is!" I left the store feeling high on life, and just resting assured that I am EXACTLY where God wants me.

Tonight, God brought this larger then life, NEXT dream job opportunity my way while I was at a party. I have been scowering the website, reading info, and already calculating my application, who I can ask for references, etc.

Right now, it's an opportunity. I am beginning my hard-core praying about it...but I just can't help but be SO FREAKING EXCITED that this job really exists, and that I could actually do it!

His Eye is on the Sparrow!

As I write this, I am listening to an old spiritual singer belt out “His eye is on the Sparrow”. And, as I write this, I know HE is watching me! I feel that power, and it brings such peace!

I realize this letter is long over-due. Such is life! At this very moment, my dad is officiating the memorial service for my Aunt Priscilla. Her loss obviously grieves my heart for many reasons, but today, I ache because I am not there to celebrate her life with my family. My dad’s request was that he would clearly share The Truth of The Gospel, as most in attendance would not know Jesus as their Savior. I can’t fathom not having Jesus…My Grammy was able to fly out with my Aunt Cynthy for the service!

My dad’s surgery is tentatively set for November 19th in Philly. It’s a sticky situation, because of insurance- blah! His insurance only wants to cover his surgery with a Scranton doctor (no offense, but no thank you!). And we obviously want his surgeon who is nationally known, and has already opened up my dad 2 previous times (Umm…EW.) from Philly. Please pray that Dr. Bavaria is allowed to perform the operation! We love Dr. Bavaria!

Lastly, I quit Starbucks today. Holy Yikes. It came down to the fact that I know it’s the right decision. I won’t go into all the logistics, but I completely believe this is how God is leading me. What’s next for me? I have no clue. I know that my priority is my sweet baby nephew Chail through June and as for extra income before then? No idea! I do feel compelled to crack down, and finish my book. That, I know. But that is very scary to me, as well!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU all for praying for my family and me! You, His body, are being used to be His hands and tangible touch as we strive forward together. My entire family wants to express our deep gratitude for those invaluable prayers and your unending support…

Love you all so much!

7 Things

7 Things You Probably Do Not Know About Me

a.) when i get really nervous, or excited, mostly nervous, my teeth chatter uncontrolably (like when normal people are cold)

b.) i absolutely love wearing a new outfit, and absolutely hate when people say "is that a new outfit?"

c.) i love my nose ring SO much that i now want to get my face pierced

d.) there are many times in my life when i feel that i love certain people so much it hurts, and i want to cry, and i start breathing really hard

e.) i ADORE libraries

f.) sometimes i have this thought, while staring in the mirror, "what if God doesn't really exist? what if i don't really exist? who am i? what are people?" and i get really, REALLY freaked out

g.) i hate being smothered in a conversation- i hate being made to tell a story that i did not want to tell

101

i thought i was gonna die these past few days. on thursday, i felt soooooooooo tired all day.

i put the babe down for his first nap, and went downstairs to get a start to my day, and all i could do was lay on the couch. the next thing i knew, it was almost 3 hours later! philly, (sleeping next to me on a chair), chail, and i were all out like lights for that whole time. as i began to drift back into awake land, i heard chail begin to cry. i stumbled up to his room, fed him, played with him, etc., and then put him down for nap number 2. pretty sure his auntie took nap number 2 as well! this time, with philly curled up with me on the couch.

the day continued on like this. each time i woke up, usually with same lame re-run episode of "sabrina the teenaged witch" and that dumb talking cat on, i felt worse. i kept scolding myself for being so lazy. "what is your problem?" finally, after about 8 hours, i decided some thing must be wrong with me.

i put chail across the room from me, and he played so sweetly by himself for over an hour til his parents came home. i layed lathargic on the couch, with philly always by my side. sista finally called, and said they were gonna be late because they got a flat tire. (it's not my place to tell you how, but it's funny! haha!) sigh.

when she finally arrived, i pretty much spent the next 3 days in bed, or on the couch- with philly always by my side! she was so sweet to me, always sleeping next to me, always by my side, always a comfort. i'm not a dog person, but this pup has won my heart over like no other! i couldn't believe it.

today, i am finally feeling better! did i mention in the midst of my illness i had to get up at 4 am to work an 8 1/2 hour shift? some times i want starbucks to die.

good-bye temp of 101! i'm back, and ready to face the world again. or maybe not...i actually like not doing any thing but watching tv, and not feeling guilty about it...

my teacher

i have been struggling for 3 days now as to what i want to SAY to you for your birthday. remember when i first heard my theme song for the year? my john mayer song. i listened to it over and over and you watched me add motions and dramatics to my new favorite song. well, today, i am going to say not what i NEED to say, but what i WANT to say.

there are so many avenues to our roommate/frienship that i could cover. but today, i am going to focus on those things that you have TAUGHT me.

~you've taught me how to live out loud for Jesus, (although i still won't wear Jesus socks or slippers!) especially at work.

~you've taught me how to be a true friend, and to love unconditionally.

~you've taught me the beauty of cities 97 and the great hidden music that is out there.

~you've taught me how to work through difficulties and what forgiveness looks like.

~you've taught me how powerful, important, and gifted we, as women, are.

~you've taught me that one absolutely must start off every sunday morning with a good cup of coffee.

~you've taught me to value myself, and to believe in my own gifts and abilties.

~you've taught me how to enjoy a sunday, even if football is on all day!

~you've taught me how to make my own choices, and stick by those choices.

~you've taught me how to heat up vegtables in the microwave...oh wait. that's DISGUSTING.

~you've taught me how to burn pre-made cookies in the oven.

~you've taught me the how to have a home.

~you've taught me how to laugh at so many things in life!

~you've taught me the value of education...oh wait. i still HATE school.

~you've taught me that Jesus loves democrats AND republicans just the same.

~you've taught me how to say to boys, "what the HECK are you thinking?"

~you've taught me how to be others-centered.

~you've taught me how to pursue God, and live life together with a 2 person little family in 202.

~you've taught me how to kill spiders...oh wait. i won't go near spiders with a ten foot pole.

~you've taught me how to make stupid looks at the camera when i am feeling ugly.

~you've taught me not to say "i'm ugly. i'm fat. i'm gross." while looking in the mirror.

~you've taught me it's completely ok to consume 5-6 cups of coffee and shots of espresso every day.

~you've taught me what a loyal, faithful, loving, amazing friend looks like.

~you've taught me how to wear high heels with baller shorts.

~you've taught me how to distinguish between black, extra black, partly black, thin black, or dark black lines when doing graphics.

~you've taught me that to be on time is to be 45 minutes early. oh wait. i don't agree with that at all!

~you've taught me that i could never have asked or imagined that God would give me one of the best roommates and one of the best friends ever...even though we'd never be friends outside of God...right?? :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWZNIKKI!!

I LOVE YOU!

9.8.08

hi! my name is swz. my birthday is on monday, september 8. i would love it if you would post all kinds of loving, sentimental, mushy comments about me to really make my day special!

NERVOUS!

there is no other way to describe me today. i felt like a 5 year old starting school for the first time. tonight was my first shift back at sbux after an entire month off. not only that, it was my first night working at my new store. yikes. you'd think, after almost 5 years in the company, that starting at a new store would be no biggie. not true. it's a biggie. same song, same dance, but with all new melodies and all new steps. it's like going from being the big shot on campus your senior year of high school to being the freshman loser in college.

when luke 'n trisha got home, i was ready to bustle out of the house (i was ready way early, of course!) and was trying to avoid them. luke asked me if i was tired and my eyes filled with tears, i almost lost it, so i just mumbled "no". then sista asked me if i had food for supper and i welled up again and just mumbled "yay...see ya!" i was so teary-eyed walking down the steps. then, God did some thing pretty cool. my phone rang halfway to work. i was not going to answer, until i looked down and saw that mark (my moa 2 manager) was calling! he didn't even know it was my first day back! sweet thing! i pretty much burst into tears, and felt better all at the same time. good 'ol mark!

i mean, who wouldn't be crying if they had to leave this face behind?! i told chail all day that i'd much rather stay with him. i'd look into his sweet lil eyes and just well up with tears at the thought of going to work! little does he know his auntie is crazy!

it's not really being separated from my babes that bothers me, i guess it was the big change of a new store. i really miss my MN peeps. i really miss the moa. i really miss my familiar life that i loved. and i really really LOVED this past month of NO work! on top of that, i loved the past week and half of the perfect job of nannying chail.
anyway. my first night at bux went very well! thanks to those that were praying. wow. i felt it, for sure!! i have a good vibe about the situation! it's good to "get out" and experience more of VA then i have before.
i am going to bed tonight relieved and at rest that my first night is OVER and it went WELL! whew.

Week One

i don't think gretchen had any idea what HUGE gift she gave to me when she so graciously presented me with my very own digital camera! (or maybe she did....) it's just been a blast for me to own it. i love capturing moments and being able to keep those moments forever, while sharing them with others!
my first week in VA is officially complete! and though i am well into week 2, i can't help but share some snapshots (literally! haha!) of week 1. i am still continually amazed that i get to wake up every day, step my foot onto the pretty hardwood floor, and oh, i'm at work! taking care of chail has got to be the best job i've ever had! i love him to pieces and bits and probably kiss him 10,000 times a day!
the picture above was taken at clyde's! my first night out with my "new" friends! actually, i've known both mandi and heidi from previous life situations. so SO COOL how God does stuff like that! these girls (and cherith, another friend) have really made things so much easier for me as i get involved in the new church here, and try to meet people! we had a blast!

my fam came to visit for the long weekend! it was the first time we've ALL been together for a holiday in quite awhile. this was taken at austin tex mex, and was phenominal! the manager accidentally almost got in one of our pictures, so he gave us ALL free desserts! super good food! i was able to show the fam my soon-to-be starbucks after supper, too.

father spent MANY hours putting together my new bookshelf (it's huge and beautiful and amazing!) and my new desk (which i was DYING without!) i am continually amazed at how MUCH my dad knows. he can seriously fix ANY thing, and put together ANY thing! my room is now completely unpacked, organized, and i can finally start settling in. whew! i haven't had "my" own room in quite awhile, so it's a greeeeeeeeeat feeling! pictures of my new room soon-to-come!


we also went to a phillies game in DC. there were more philly fans then nats fans! i have never experienced the commorodity between sports fan quite like yesterday. we rode the metro downtown, and that's where we began coming across other phillies fans! of course we all smiled at each other, and the boys made comments. the nats fans attempted to trash talk, but they were so out numbered it never mattered. plus, if you know any one from philly, you know all philly team fans are obnoxious! i found myself strutting around all proud that i had a phillies tee on, matching the boys. it was a blast! my mom took the pictue, that's why she isn't shown here. trisha decided to stay home, and we definately missed her. it was kinda funny to just be the 5 of us again.
so, bring on week 2. we'll see what it holds!

Welcome!


i have a wonderful announcement to make! my very dear friends, nate and emily miller, are now blogging! they are referred to on my side bar as "nate and m". as you know, i am a big advocate of nicknaming my friends, and so we get "m".

anyway, nate and m are officially on staff with campus crusade on new york campuses! so, my blogging click, give nate and m a shout out- we all know how those first few weeks of blogging go. can feel kinda lonely at times. :) haha! i am cracking myself up at the halarity of the blog click. i love it.

WELCOME NATE AND M! LOVE YOU GUYS!


(nate is on the left. it's the only picture i have of him on my computer!!)

Gripped...

there is so much going on in my life right now. gracious! but acutally, come to think of it, grace is playing quite a theme in the pages of my soul. by God's grace i am living day-to-day very well.

every thing in my life is just about 100 % different then my life just a few short weeks ago. normally change is extremely difficult for me. and it's been an up-and-down winding road thus far, but as of this moment, i am in awe of God's grace in my life. He's showing me so many things i can't even being to write them all.

i would like to point out that:

1. "gripped by the greatness of God"- james macdonald- is a phenominal book! whoa.

2. it's 80's here all the time and will be for a couple more months. i can not even being to describe the deep joy that overflows from my spirit when i can wear a tank top and shorts EVERY day- even after the sun goes down.

3. i am going on a retreat with about 300 other people my age in a few weeks! i am excited to hopefully make some new friends!

4. i still have a full week until i have to go back to sbux!

5. there is a baby blanket, baby toys, and a baby "sheepy" blanket at the end of my bed...this tells you what my life is right now!

6. minus working at sbux next week, i am living one of my dream jobs!

7. i am sooooooooooooooooooooooo in looooooooooooooooove with chail my heart literally hurts some times!

8. i stink at taking pictures...i am posting my best work!

9. colbie sings on jason mraz's cd and ROCKS.

10. i have finally gotten around to the new coldplay and am likin' it.
11. babies never smile for the camera.

12. i am tired and my day starts early.
chail LOVES his jungle gym thingy!

he also loves his rain forest swing!

Nice to FINALLY Meet You!

after four and a half more hours of driving, the first leg of my journey to chail was finally complete. i parked my car, jumped out, and had to tell myself NOT to run to the house. luke and philly (their dog- philadelphia teensy) greeted me at the door. i then rushed down the hallway, around the corner, and there he was. the sweetest, most beautiful, most precious baby i have ever seen in my life. sista (trisha) was feeding him, and as i looked down at his lil face, i couldn't stop the tears from pooling. she handed him over to me, and he threw up on me. it was the first time in my life that i truly did not care to be thrown up on! i have kissed him, hugged him, squeezed him, and gotten teary-eyed more times in the past day and a half then i can count. i love my lil chail...more then i can even begin to express.


Party!


berbers threw a "welcome back/going away" dinner party for me tonight. it was delicious! she cooked it all herself, and the other girls brought salads, drinks, and desserts. yum-o! we had a blast!! my friend, cynthia, was also there but she had left before we remembered to take pics. love these girlies! :)

A Little More Vaca

On the boardwalk! Guisippe's...mmm-mmm good!
PRE-tan, as you can see!

Firebowl at home on the back deck!



Johnny cakes 'n i!


Mother, father, n' i!





My dear friend, katelyn, from highschool- we went to red lobster- to die for!





Furs Reunite!

Fur 'n Husband Fur stopped by to visit me! YAY!
my whole fam has been hooked on the olympics every night! here's a shot of johnny cakes!
i've done a lot more, but keep forgetting my camera! :( another highlight of the day, my friend jamie took my mom and i out to frezno's for lunch! MMMM!!! classic NEPA eats. we had a blast!

Vacation!

some fun snapshots of my happenings...you can blame gretchen for the camera if you think i'm going nuts with pictures!





sweet, adorable baby garrett! my bf's lil son!

katie 'n i...she made me blueberry pancakes 'n coffee!
mother 'n i got our nails done...mine are the pale piggies on the right!
me 'n grammy getting our desserts for our olympic opening ceremonies party!
gram made blueberry cobbler, mom made coconut cake!
both were FABULOUS. chuck would love them. i'm getting fat.
mother 'n i watching the oplympic opening ceremonies! we're the only two that lasted til the end! wasn't it AMAZING?!











Babies Every where!

it seems as if the theme of my life is babies! yesterday, katie brought over little garrett (i'm going over there for a pancake breakfast tomorrow- pics to come!) and today amber and i went to visit her niece, marie. oh my word. what a DOLL! you can see for yourself.

mom and i have been organizing, going walking, out to lunch, laundry, chatting a mile a minute, etc. yesterday grammy, mom and i went target shopping and to the farmer's market. we had a blast! the three of us (and my dad!) are having an opening ceremonies olympic party tomorrow night, too. grammy is bringing blueberry cobbler. MMM!! i decided we all have to contribute a food from a different nation. :) last night johnny and his friends joined my friends and i watching the batman movie. i loved it!

there are moments of sadness, for sure. overall, right now it's just NICE to be on vacation. to not have any responsibilities, to sleep in, to relax...and to JUST BE. oh, and BTW, i haven't showered today, nor have i actually done my hair one time since being home!


22 Hours

I have arrived. I’m pretty sure father and I had the road trip of a lifetime. It sure felt like a lifetime! We really had a blast! Lots of talking, music, food, etc. Once the nighttime hit though, so did the roughness.



our drive began about 7:15 am, after a pancake-filled breakfast with fur. (thanks fur! you know how i love my pancakes!) we cruised out of the cities, and then MN with KTIS. at one point, i found much security in the fact that KTIS was still playing. still familiar. still my morning friends. i got teary-eyed when we drove by my beloved MOA.




(my mini guitar hero from boogz 'n swz! thanks girls- again, knowing what i love!)


we arrived in WI at around 8 or 8:15 am.


stop #1- 9:45am


stop #2- 11:25am


stop #3- 11:30 am- woops. not sure why we stopped again there...but the stop involved a very large pink elephant with glasses and a massive cow. gas was 3.79


WI also has pretty windmills!


we arrived in IL at 12:45 pm



stop #4- 2:12 pm, starbucks lunch/gas- 3.39 with ethonal- NO batteries at the gas station for me to buy so i could play my mini guitar hero! :(





we proceeded to drive down the highway when father realized he lost his wallet. we pulled over and did a quick search. he then hauled the car back onto the highway, did an illegal uturn and just about killed us flying back to the gas station. the wallet was under his seat the whole time.



back on the road again at 2:56pm


IN- 3:56pm, this is where i read all my sweet cards.




the time changed at 5:53 pm



OH- 7:08 pm


stop #5- 7:38 pm- gas 3.79


stop #6- supper at panera, starbucks then i started driving through the night...



i drove from 9pm until 5:17 am tuesday morning. i obviously stopped journaling after that last stop. and i obviously started going nutty around 1am. the only nap i took during the day was about 10 min long, therefore, was awake for 24 hours straight. i didn't know that was physically possible. never in all my life have i been awake for that long.



22 hours, 2 minutes, and 1, 190 miles later....we made it. it was most certainly the roadtrip of a lifetime!