Thursday, September 19, 2013


Let the fun begin . . . or not. We are now in our 3rd week of school. Landen ended up getting a cold the first day of school, (no big shock there), and was sick before the first week's end. He was really hard on himself about it and feeling down and both Jeff and I decided to let the kids be kids. While adhering to our infection control practices without being overly neurotic about them, we did the best we could all while letting Landen and Olivia be the best friends that they are, playing and laughing and doing most everything together. We had hoped that since Olivia is almost 4 that maybe, just maybe, this time she wouldn't end up catching the cold too, since she doesn't put her fingers, toys or what-have-you in her mouth anymore, but not the case. She ended up sneezy, stuffy and sick 2 days after Landen. We weren't surprised but we didn't beat ourselves up either. After all, it was just a head cold and no matter how many times in the past we have tried so very hard to keep the kids from sharing germs, our efforts have only paid off about once, so we decided to not make a big deal over it. After all, I firmly believe that having the kids share a few germs now and then is far better than having my 6 year old son, depressed and in counseling because he emotionally beats himself up every time he gets sick, thinking it's something he did wrong. Both Jeff and I talked to Landen and told him how much we love him and that we are never mad when he gets sick and that it's never, ever his fault. We told him that some times  in life you can do everything right and it still isn't good enough. Landen knows to wash his hands before he eats and to not touch his face or mouth so it's not necessarily a lack there of that is causing the illnesses. Who's to say a friend won't sneeze right on top of him, and really, how do you prevent that, they are only 5 or 6 year olds, some things we just need to let go and not fret over.

It's been 4 years, Jeff and I have walked this path before and we are learning to let go (somewhat) of things we can't control and focus on those we can. Kids get sick, I've said it before, I'll say it again, it's going to happen. Yes, it's a bit more frightening, well a lot more frightening, when Olivia comes down with something but we also can't live our life in fear or by having the kids think that they did something wrong by getting sick. It's an adjustment, CF is a life changer and even though it still seems that we are overly neurotic when it comes to germs, Jeff and I are getting better.

It's been 12 days since Olivia got sick, 12 days of doing treatments 3 times/day. She was stuffed up and lost some precious weight but thankfully the cold stayed just a head cold and never settled in her chest. Thankfully, she is better now and was very delighted when she could breathe through her nose again yesterday. I hope we can keep the kids healthy for a little while and that they didn't get over this one just in time to catch another.

We're still adjusting to school, it's getting better and Landen is less apprehensive now so that helps. It's scary to send your child out into the world and let them go. The fear of the unknown is daunting and with all the terrible things that have happened in the recent past with school shootings and crime, it makes it even more frightening. Today, when I pulled up to school and saw 3 cop cars parked in front, panic set it. Of course, my mind wandered to not very good thoughts. As Olivia and I walked in, you could hear the whispers and mumbling of what was going on. It was unnerving. Landen's class is usually first to arrive and we are out of the chaos before it even begins but today, we stood there and waited, and waited and waited. I and another mother of a child in Landen's class were both becoming increasingly anxious. Relief set in when I finally saw Landen. Of course it's near impossible to get the truth, or at least accurate bits of information out of my 6 year old, so I didn't get much and Landen never saw the police officers. I later found out that a student was threatening a teacher and the situation "got out of hand" thus the reason for the cops, unsettling to say the least. This is an elementary school, the oldest kids there are at most 9 or 10 years of age, and this happens? Like I said, the fear of sending your child out into the world is scary but as scary as it is, I also know bad things can and do happen anywhere, at any place at anytime. It does make me rethink our choice however of public or homeschooling. . .

So yes, it has been an eventful start to the school year. I am seriously hoping things get better and there is a whole lot less drama going forward. As much as I want to hold my kids tight and never let them go, I know I can't. That scene from Finding Nemo again pops into my head when Marlin and Dory are searching for Nemo and Marlin says: "I promised I'd never let anything happen to him". Dory says: "Hmm, that's a funny thing to promise". Marlin: What? Dory responds: "Well, you can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo". As silly as Dory is, she hit the nail on the head there. A good reminder of why we must let go, at least a little and let the kids go out into the world to become who they are meant to be.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Great Faces, Great Places - Birthdays & 1st Day of School

Whew! We had a busy August as we "unofficially" said goodbye to summer (insert tears) and finished it off with a lot of fun. This will go down as one of our best summers yet. We did so many fun things, from our annual camping trip to trekking on new adventures to many fun places and spending ever so precious time with family and friends, it was grand. So very sad to see it go . . .

After Jeff returned from Sturgis from the motorcycle rally, we headed back out to the Black Hills just a week later for a family trip with my younger sister, her family and my mom. It was a short trip but we packed in as much as we could in the 3.5 to 4 days that we were there and were happy with how it all turned out.

To break up the 10+ hour trip we headed down to Grandma and Grandpa's house and spent the day with them and then headed to Jeff's sister's house to spend the night. We so appreciate the hospitality that Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Jennie and cousin Aleah showed us while we spent time with them. My kids are still talking about how clean Aleah's room was. I'd like to say they both have picked up a thing or two from the visit and now keep their own rooms nice and clean, but that's not the case. While Olivia does a pretty good job of keeping her room clean, Landen on the other-hand is too busy being a boy and making messes so his room, not so much. I absolutely adored this sign and the time Aleah took to make it for us, too sweet.

The next morning we packed up and kept on our way. We made a quick stop in Chamberlain to get a few pictures with the Missouri river in the background. 

These were our best scared faces and being the chickens that we are, we did not venture down the path to see if we'd encounter any poisonous snakes.

Once we arrived in the Black Hills, we headed straight to SDSM&T to the Museum of Geology. Landen was so looking forward to seeing the dinosaur fossils (beings his current career of choice is a geologist) and both kids enjoyed the rocks they purchased as a parting gift from the gift shop. 

The hours upon hours spent in the van and the visit to the museum proved to be enough excitement for one day so we headed to our cabin for check-in and all crashed early. 

Day 2, we started out with a road trip to Sturgis. I had never been there before so I was anxious to see it and pick up a few rally t-shirts (on clearance!) as a souvenir. It was so not busy in Sturgis and Jeff said it looked very different from just one week prior during the motorcycle rally. 
From Sturgis we headed on over to Deadwood. We walked around for a bit and took in some of the sites but it was so blastin' hot that day so we were all glad to get back in the van to the ac. We did manage to snap one photo of our time in Deadwood however . . . 

Next on Landen's "to-do" list was to go trout fishing. To be sure we were able to catch a trout while on our trip, we headed to Trout Haven where Landen got his catch. Olivia was tuckered out and fell asleep in the van on the drive there so her and I waited while the boys fished and it took all of about half an hour. We fried up the trout for a snack and it sure was tasty!

Day 3, my mom and sister arrived so we were excited to do some activities with them. We started out with a trip to Bear Country, it was so very cool and we had a lot of fun . . . the kids were excited to run around with their cousins, Mason, Matthew and Emma.

After Bear Country we headed back toward Deadwood for lunch and then we were off to explore the beautiful hills and try to find some more trout fishing. While we didn't have any luck catching a trout, we saw some very beautiful areas of the country, dipped our feet in the frigid waters of Spearfish Creek and just enjoyed the phenomenal scenery. Spearfish Canyon was by far my favorite, what a beautiful place that is. 

Day 4, we went to Mount Rushmore and then spent a few good hours at an outdoor waterslide park that has been around for a very long time. In fact, both me and my younger sister Amber went there when we were kids. After the waterpark we decided we should head back toward home as we had one travel day and Jeff had work the following day and Landen had kindergarten orientation so it was a pretty big day that I did not want everyone to be overly tired for. We made it to Grandma and Grandpa's house by midnight and crashed about the minute we walked in the door. The next day we headed for home.

Goodbye South Dakota, we had a very fun time and saw some very beautiful places. We'll definitely have to make a trip out there again in the future.

Over Labor Day, we headed up to Grandma and Grandpa's lake place to celebrate birthdays. Aunt Em, Makayla and I all have birthdays in early September and Olivia's is the 1st of October so for the past few years it's worked out really nice to celebrate over Labor Day for one last hurrah up at the lake before everyone's schedules get crazy busy with school and illnesses seem to lurk their way back into our home. This year was super fun as well. Both Makayla and Olivia are fond of the Disney princesses ever since our unforgettable trip to Disneyworld in February and had their princess attire to prove it. They were pretty princesses indeed . . .

Olivia is still all about the Little Mermaid Ariel, she is by far her favorite princess and Olivia is thoroughly enjoying all the Ariel toys she received for birthday gifts. It's been nice to have new things to keep her entertained for the past few days now as her big brother Landen is at school every afternoon . . . 

Jeff and I tossed around our options regarding school between homeschooling or public school. While I honestly don't believe there was a right or wrong choice to be made, it was still a tough decision to make, another one of those robbing Peter to pay Paul choices. The biggest benefit of homeschooling would be the lack of exposure to every illness under the sun that kids pick up in school. The downside, lack of social interaction. So after much going back and forth, we decided beings Landen is so shy and doesn't have any close friends besides his sister and cousins, and is such a homebody, that he needed to be able to go out in the world and try to make some friends of his own. So, that brings us to the first day of school, ugh. How is it that I went from having a sweet baby boy to cuddle and hold in my arms which to me doesn't seem like that long ago to now having a 6 year old who is in kindergarten? I still am having trouble wrapping my head around this. Landen went to daycare for just 2 short months when he was a baby before I was able to quit working to stay at home and raise him. He's been here with me, day in and day out ever since. I don't think it's fully sank in yet, beings we are still in week one but it's going to be a huge, huge adjustment for me to not have him here at home with me so much this year. Preschool wasn't bad, it was a couple hours 2 measly days a week, but kindergarten, it's a whole new ball game. It still just breaks my heart that he has grown up so fast. As sad as I am to see him grow, I know that it is what it is, it's how it goes. It's rewarding and heart wrenching all at the same time to watch the kids grow up so quickly right before my eyes but I'm so very blessed I've had the past 6 years with him all day every day, I am beyond grateful for that. Now as he and I adjust and he starts a new chapter in his life, I couldn't be more proud, albeit teary eyed, to see how he will grow and excel this year. 
First day of Kindergarten - 2013. At least he was smiling before we walked in the door!

While Landen was at school, Olivia and I headed out to find him a gift for being a big kindergartner now so we decided on some legos. We bought him the coolest set that is a 3 in 1 house set, you can build it and take it apart and build it again 3 different ways. When I saw it, I knew it was perfect for him as he loves to recreate his lego sets. He's had it for 24 hours and has already built it the 3 different ways. The gift definitely put a smile on his face!

Landen and Olivia are so different. Olivia would run into school without looking back with no problem, she's independent, a go-getter and absolutely loves doing new things with new people. Landen, is the opposite, he's more reserved, quiet and a real homebody. His first day was tough, I shed quite a few tears while he kept it together. He tried so very hard to not cry as we dropped him off, he gave us a backwards wave, for what I believe was fear of looking at us and tearing up. I'm not sure who it was harder on, mom and dad or him. If it was Olivia, I'd say it was harder on us because of her personality but with bud, it's hard to say. Needless to say, I and I'm sure Jeff too, were so glad when it was pickup time and we got to bring Landen back home. He didn't have too much to say about his first day, I'm sure it was overwhelming and the newness of it is most terrifying but all in all it seemed to go okay. My heart broke a little when I later went through his backpack and found the papers he brought home. Each student was given a sheet that said, "On my first day of kindergarten, I felt ________." Landen wrote "sad" and drew a face with a frown. (insert more tears). 

I am happy to say that today was much better for us both. Knowing what to expect after the first day I'm sure was a huge help. I hope he has a great year, full of fun and learning and making a new friend or two. Olivia is still getting used to not having her best buddy around to play with in the afternoons. For the past two days we've had some errands to run to keep us busy and help pass the time but once we don't have as much running to do, I'm sure she'll be asking more than she currently does, "Where's Landen"? We'll have to do some fun girly things in the afternoons and I'm most thankful that I have one on one time to spend with her now too like I did for the first 3 years of Landen's life. 

That sums things up from here, time is flying, lots of changes going on around our home and it's sure to be an eventful month. We'll see how it all goes. . . one day at a time.