Thursday, July 17, 2014

THREE

Miss wise-beyond-her-years turned three on July 16th! More to come…




ONE

Miss happy-go-lucky was a year old on June 2nd! More to come…




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kindness

You may have seen this meme floating around Facebook lately:




Like most things on Facebook, I usually turn a blind eye but this one … this one hits close to home. 

Last February was, by far, the toughest month of my entire existence. With the gift of hindsight, I can now lovingly label it the month of mortality but at the time, it was almost insufferable.

We were at Shawn's first follow-up appointment and had received the worst news possible. I had one question for the oncologist:

"So … just so … I'm not in denial … (tears, sobbing, gasps for breath) … he could die? This could be fatal?" 

He answered:

"Yes."

Immediately I was lost. Having no guidebook for such situations I did the only thing I could think to do, what my instincts were telling me to do. I asked the doctor to give my husband and I a minute and then … I hugged him (my husband, not the doctor). I hugged and kissed him and sat on his lap and held his face in my hands and looked him in the eyes and promised him things would be fine. I wiped away his tears and tried to calm his fears and swore to myself I would never again take another minute of life for granted because it turns out, we are not, in fact, immortal. Guess I have been in denial this whole time.

It was a moment I try not to think about but one I will never forget.

Needless to say, the drive home that night and the days that followed were a blur of insomnia, crying, talking, thinking, hoping, planning, praying. I remember bits and pieces of what actually occurred but a lot of the details have thankfully left me. There's one tiny thing that hasn't though. One very vivid memory that I still can't manage to shake. An instance during this whole God-awful ordeal that brought me past the point of sanity.

It was Saturday, February 8th, shortly after 6pm. Shawn had had surgery the night prior and I was leaving the hospital for the first time in roughly 36 hours. I was heading to my Mom's to see the girls, nurse Ivy and put them both to bed. It was a guilt-ridden trip to the parking ramp because on the one hand, I didn't want to leave Shawn, but on the other, I wanted so strongly to see the girls. I felt like a walking zombie as I made my way to the spot where we'd tediously parked my Mom's Ford. It had taken us a couple tries to get it right because it is a (giant) full-sized truck that takes a tiny bit of finesse to park it in such tight quarters. (Not to mention our minds might have been a wee bit preoccupied.) In the end, after Shawn had gotten out and directed me perfectly between both lines, we felt confident we had done a good job. 

Apparently someone else had thought we hadn't because after I drove the few levels down and was about to exit the ramp, I noticed something on the windshield, or rather under the windshield wipers. I pulled over to the side, jumped down and grabbed the foreign object only to find this staring back at me:




It felt like someone had punched me in the gut and all the air had forcefully left my lungs. Considering everything we had just been through, this should've been a blip on the radar, a non-event, a good laugh but instead, I felt completely the opposite. I felt shameful. I felt like I had done something wrong. I was physically exhausted, mentally numb and emotionally on the verge of breaking down. In the past week I had had to come to terms with the possibility of losing my husband and some asshole thought it was okay to leave this note on my windshield. MY windshield. At Mayo. Because, you know, people are usually at Mayo for happy, uplifting news and events. 

I went back and forth between embarrassment and anger and eventually decided to just hide the note and keep the story to myself as a life lesson learned because up to this point, I was someone who would probably consider leaving such a note. (Maybe not as colorful and to the point, but still.) I was always finding myself annoyed with people, frustrated with strangers, raging at the road and overall being unkind when I thought the situation called for it. Long story short, I am no longer like this. I am, as they say, a changed person. In fact, I often think about the person who wrote this and what horrible place they must've been in to stoop to such an outlet. They obviously could have used some kindness in their life.

I now carry this note with me at all times as a reminder. A reminder of the events of February, that moment with my husband, the mortality of life and the patience with which we should live it.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Celebrating

From the youngest…


To the oldest…


These girls love a certain someone.


And I'm pretty crazy about him, too.


Happy Dad's Day, Mr. DeBoer! We are truly blessed…

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Nine Years

For better or for worse … 









…all the days of my life.
Happy Anniversary, Mr. DeBoer! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Dad

It seems everything happening in my life right now is culminating to make me miss Dad more then ever… if that's even possible.

Maybe because I'm a parent and there are so many things he did that I totally get now. Maybe because I have two girls and every time Shawn refers to them as "my girls," I picture Dad saying that to Mandi and I. Maybe because Mae Mo has a nasty cold right now and oddly the smell of Vicks always reminds me of Dad. I remember he'd always tell us to lay on our side and put the sheet up over our nose to breath in the vapors. It always helped us sleep.

Even little daily nuances or habits like opening the tops of the windows in the house. I do that constantly and he did it constantly. Or he would also always scratch the palm sides of his hands. When I was younger it seemed a bit odd because the insides of my hands never itched. Now they do. Now I know. When I play with Maci, I always lay on my back, put my legs and feet up in the air for her to lay on. Like I did when I was younger and Dad would lift up his legs until I was flying, Maci gets the biggest kick out of soaring and then inevitably, falling back into my arms.

Piano Man never seems to be played as much as it does in April. Or Spirit in the Sky. I had a bit of a dizzy spell at work last Thursday which initially I chalked up to low blood sugar. I went to the bathroom to steady myself a bit and the first chords of the most recognizable song started on the radio followed by Norman Greenbaum's voice. It was eerily comforting and I smiled at myself in the mirror thankful no one else was around to interrupt my moment. Then there's Jim Croce, CCR, Lobo…

It's funny, I'll graze through photos I have of Dad from time to time but it's very rare I hear his voice. Until recently. Tammy converted the home videos they had of us to DVD and then gifted them to us for Christmas. So when Sheena was up visiting for my birthday, we popped in a couple to watch. Aside from the fact that we were stellar awesome at all things (Ha!) one other thing stood out. There was Dad. He was on some of the videos. For some reason it sort of surprised me to see him. Then during one basketball game clip, I made a basket and his voice boomed on the screen, "Good job, Kali!" I cried. He loved watching us do just about anything and was always, always, always encouraging. And proud. I totally get it now.

I will never ever forget his voice. I will never forget his smile. Every time I can't sleep at night, I think of him. I've always battled insomnia and when I was younger, I would sheepishly go knock on his door, I'd hear him crawl out of bed and then we'd go to the living room and stretch. I didn't know it at the time but we would even do up-dog. I think Dad could have really gotten into yoga. Physically for sure (hello handstand), mentally maybe, spiritually … you never know. I like to think so.

With daylight savings time going on, Maci and Ivy go to bed when it's still pretty light. As we did with Maci, we've taken to draping Ivy's curtains with Dad's quilt to help keep the sun out. I like to think he gets a kick out of watching her sleep. She's pretty entertaining that one and she looks just like I did when I was a baby. He would have loved that. Then there's Maci. My first born. She's still rocking the crib but any day now we'll get to transition her to a big girl bed and I'm actually looking forward to it because it will be in a bed Grandpa Miller built. And I'll get to tell her that and show her that and then I'll get to tuck her into it every night, right before we say our prayers. The prayers Dad taught me to pray…


Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Team

I started this blog entry a few days before Shawn's first follow-up appointment at Mayo. Before the bottom dropped out. (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/shawndeboer) I was intending to tell the story of what's been going on in our lives lately, but I never got that far. Ironically, I think what little I have, is even better. 

**

Children can be consuming. They absorb time, money, attention, space and especially love, en mass. And while they're earth-shatteringly amazing, it's equally important, I think, to remember how these tiny little creatures come to exist in the first place. In Team DeBoer's world, it reads a little something like this:

Boy meets girl…
girl ignores boy and pretends he doesn't exist…
girl then spends the next year chasing after boy until he finally agrees to go out with girl…
boy and girl date, then marry, then move to Minnesota…
boy and girl buy a house and a hound, and shortly thereafter, decide to pull the goalie…
after seven years of dating, six years of marriage and five-and-a-half years with just a dog…
a child is born. 
It goes so well that just a short time later, another child is born and the rest, as the cliché goes, is history. 

Shockingly simple. While my family's story can be cutely, albeit crudely, summed up in seven lines, it's important to emphasize how it all began: with a boy and a girl. Literally. Shawn and I were just kids when we started "going out." (That label always slayed me … going out. Out where? We couldn't even drive. Well, I could, but still. Where the hell were we going to go? Casey's General Store?) We've grown up together, we've endured a lot together, we love each other now more then ever and I can confidently say, we still genuinely like being around each other. It sounds like I'm surprised because sometimes I am and I even say so to Shawn. I think we're a bit of an anomaly and that makes me smile.

From being kids to having kids, one thing has been constant, we've been a team. A team of two…

**

While I don't particularly care for Valentine's Day and all the hub-bub that follows in it's wake, I will honor it's existence in that I will take the time to say a few extra "I love yous" to Mr. DeBoer today. Today, tomorrow, the day after that and the day after that and so on and so on…


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sisters

Random thoughts and a bath.

This child … I must come up with a nickname for her Hasidic-Jew-meets-Danny-Zuko-hairdo. I've never seen anything like it and it is the best.


Big sisters are so helpful. I don't remember what Maemo was saying here but I'm sure it was nothing short of reassuring. My heart literally swells every single time they interact. No matter the occasion, Maci plays the quintessential older sister and Ivy the adoring, smiley younger sister. It is pure entertainment just to observe.


Especially when things like this happen…



"X" marks the Ivy.


Sometimes I swear they're almost the same size, which bodes well for their relationship. It will be interesting to see where they end up. Maci has sprouted like a weed recently but she's still pretty petite. Ivy is anything but petite.



Attack of the sasquatch!



The end. :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Christmas

That foofy Valentine's Day is a comin' which means it's time to recap Christmas.

This year, for the first time, we went to Lights in the Park: "St. Paul’s Phalen Park is transformed into a fantasy of lights and color. More than 50 larger-than-life holiday sculptures and animated displays bring the season to life." Basically for 10 bucks, we got to experience the likes of the Hollidazzle parade from the warmth of our SUV. We even let Maci bounce from her car seat up to sit on my lap, front and center. We took our time, listened to the CD of local artists we bought at the gate and took turns naming our favorite displays. Maci was delighted and it was priceless just to watch her reactions. We were able to capture some on video, however, the best photo we got was with our iPhone, behind the windshield. It's not much but it's something to remember the experience by … although it's definitely something we'll do again, especially because I'm pretty sure Ivy schnoozed through the entire thing.


Next up was the girls' school Christmas concert. I managed to record almost the entire show on my DSLR, until the battery died, literally moments before Santa handed Maci her present. #parentfail In any case, as one might guess, the concert was the cutest thing! I'm pretty sure neither of them sang, but what does it matter when you have reindeer antlers and/or furry white boots? Again with the iPhone photo…


Then, of course, there was the visit with the big guy. It needs no explanation. In this case, the picture is worth every one of it's 1,000 words. Yin and yang.


I'm pretty sure this doesn't follow chronologically but somewhere along the lines, as is the tradition in our house, we ventured out for the DeBoer family Christmas tree! (I mentally picture Chevy Chase each and every single time I say that.) It was the coldest day we had had up to that point and our moments outside were bundled up and brief. This year Maci Mae picked out the tree and the hubby cut it down. While the awesome volunteers of Hampton Hills Tree Farm shook, wrapped, hoisted and tied down the small but mighty pine, Shawn took Maci to check out Santa, his sleigh and his, um … mules. (The reindeer must've had the day off.) Her feelings against Santa held strong but as per usual, she was enamored with the "horses." It's pretty much what she talked about the whole way home.

That night we got the bad boy up in the house but I believe it wasn't until the following weekend that we actually had time to decorate it. This being Maci's first year helping we weren't sure what she'd think but we knew she was big and bad into an "I do!" phase so we figured, at the least, she'd adapt. And adapt she did – she was a pro and was very proud of herself every time she hung an ornament, right beside each other. It very vividly reminded me of one of the first times Ty helped decorate the family tree when I was growing up and after he hung red ball by red ball by red ball, Dad took a picture and told the rest of us we were not to move them or rearrange them in any way because that's where Ty wanted them so that's where they were going to stay. It took some strength to shut off the OCD in me (then and now) but I left every single one where she put it because that's where she wanted them so that's where they were going to stay. And it did nothing but make me smile. In the end, we had the cutest darn tree you ever did see with the cutest ornament clusters this side of Ruggles. I can only imagine what another year and another little helper will bring…






Christmas Eve rolled around and while we had hoped to take the girls sledding, like we did with Maci last year, it was just too darn cold. We did get in some Grinch-watching and present-opening though so it wasn't completely without it's tradition. After the girls discovered their Christmas jammies, we fancied up and headed to church. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, we did not get a photo of the girls in their outfits so I'll just have to record it here: they both wore grey sweater dresses with pink stockings. No, they were not identical … but they did coordinate. My favorite part about this service was and always is when we sing Silent Night. There is something simply magical about a mass of people, faces lit only by candlelight, singing in unison and at the end, a cappella. Without fail, it always leaves me in tears. Good tears …


I know the photo above is blurry but Maci's expression is spot-on. And while the eldest Obi-Wan went the conventional route of opening, our youngest Jedi was apparently just banking on the force … of her gaze. And you can't see it but she dawned her Star Wars onesie just for the occasion.


Christmas morning! The girls were up, like clockwork, around 6am and we groggily made our way to the living room and the chaos that was Kris Kringle's visit. There were half-eaten cookies, empty glasses of milk, stockings full of stuffers, an art easel, a sled, a tunnel, a tent … it was awesome madness. We slowly but surely made our way through Santa's gifts and to the beautifully wrapped boxes under the tree. Even though this was the first year we feared fairness, the only little comment Maci made was declaring (not necessarily negatively) that Ivy was opening a big box and she was opening a little box. She claimed everything as hers anyway and Ivy enjoyed the wrapping paper more then anything else so it all worked out in the end.








It was a very relaxed day as we had plans to go absolutely no where. We watched some Toy Story (for Mr. Potato Head context of course), napped, ate, played games with Gma and Papa and really soaked in the complete and utter lack of a schedule. Nothing like a fireplace, family and fuzzy jammies to help you celebrate your first Christmas as a family of four!



Friday, January 3, 2014

Someday…


…my house will be clean again.


…laundry will not contain garments soiled in bodily fluids.


…I'll be able to stay up later then 9pm and sleep in later then 6am.


…we'll have "fun money" again.


…I'll have more clothes that don't have holes then do.


…we'll have more then five minutes to eat.


…I'll get the trim of those last two windows painted.


…we'll finish that basement.


…the girls' imagination will occupy them for hours at a time.


…I'll have time to exercise.


…we'll create those photo books.


…I'll learn to operate my camera to it's fullest potential.


…we'll pay off those student loans.


…I won't have to time anything around an electric pump.


…the girls will be able to do their own hair.


…I'll get through all those Real Simple magazines.


…everyone in our house will sleep through the night.


…everyone in our house will be healthy at the same time.


…I'll blog more often.


But for now, for now I'll enjoy these people. Two tiny people I kinda really love, ironically created by two not-so-tiny people I kinda really dig as well.


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