Monday, August 31, 2009

No balloons???

Hasn't anyone found a balloon yet? They can't still be flying...can they? If we don't get any comments, I'm just going to have to assume that Olivia got them all!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Positively Perfect!

I can't imagine a better celebration (unless Olivia was here with us, of course). We had the most unbelievable day, and I just had to share it because I want to remember it forever.

I started out so sad in the morning. Just really missing our baby girl. I said a few big prayers asking for strength and peace for the day, and God sent that to me right away!

Mom and I took balloons and bagels up to the PICU. It was so great to visit with everyone and know that each one of them was missing Olivia yesterday, too.

Brooklyn and I spent the afternoon at my parent's house...just piddling around (a.k.a. keeping me distracted!) I took some flowers and a balloon out to the cemetery. We picked up Jack, came home, and waited for Zac. When he got home, the four of us went back out to the cemetery. This was the kids' first time out there since the burial, so I was a little nervous about how they would react. It was a beautiful experience all around. We sent some balloons up to Olivia. The kids loved that. We watched them fly away...some higher than others. We also attached a little note to them so if anyone finds them, they'll *hopefully* leave us a message on this blog! I don't think they'll make it very far. I'll be surprised if they make it the 10 miles to Brimfield! The note really weighed them down, but it will be fun anyway.

We all stood around Olivia and said some of our favorite memories. Before we left, Jack suggested we sing Happy Birthday to her. Zac and I lost it, Brooklyn sang her heart out, and Jack barely made it through before he took off to the car. (Don't worry. I had the talk with him that's it's okay to be sad)

We went out to dinner and went for some ice cream and came back home. My parents came over around 8:00 so Zac and I could go back up to the PICU and visit the night shift. We took a box 'o coffee and some donuts to help them get through the night and had an entertaining visit.
The perfect ending to a perfect day. And just what we needed, too. Gee, I hope Olivia had as good of a time at her Heavenly Birthday party as we did for her here on Earth!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

Dear Olivia,

Happy 3rd Birthday, baby girl! It doesn't seem quite right that we aren't able to be with you on your birthday. We miss you terribly, every single day. We can only imagine the amazing day the Lord has planned for you today. You wouldn't believe the number of people that are thinking of you on your special day. You've even gotten quite a few cards for your birthday! Have the best birthday ever, Livvy. We love you so, so much.


Mom, Dad, Jack, and Brooklyn

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A few small things.

It's been a pretty rough day today. I'm not looking forward to seeing how tomorrow treats me.
We have a few special things planned for Olivia's birthday tomorrow. First thing in the morning, my mom and I are going up to the PICU to deliver balloons to all of the kiddos and some treats for all of the staff. I've put together a special flower arrangement and we're planning on taking that out to the cemetery. Tomorrow evening, we are planning on taking the kids out to the cemetery for the first time since Olivia's burial. We are hoping to send some balloons up to Olivia - the kids thought she would love that. Then Zac and I are going to head back up to the PICU to visit the night staff...they never get visitors. They might just deserve some snacks, too. So, just a few small things for us to do here on earth to celebrate the almost 3 years we were able to have Olivia.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Picture Day.

Only choose the battles you know you are going to win.
It's picture day at the grade school today.
If Brooklyn thought she looked beautiful, that's what's important, right?
Should be an interesting picture...
Her outfit by itself would have been fine. It's just the hair and the shoes that left a little to be desired...Pink plaid Converse, Blue plaid shorts, an electric blue shirt, and a blue plaid headband with stringy hair???

Monday, August 24, 2009


I just realized the blog hit 150,000 today! That is absolutely insane! It seems as though the blog still averages about 200 hits a day. Now, I'm sure that's some of you checking constantly to see if I've posted anything new. Fortunately and unfortunately I don't have as much to blog about. Anywho...thanks for being a part of our lives via the blog! Happy 150,000 hit day!


I've gotten myself quite the little routine going now that both kids are in school. They are still in the "excited for school" stage, so they get up, get ready, and are on the bus by 6:55. I lazily drink my coffee, read the paper, and go shopping. I really may need to get a j-o-b if I keep this up. Either that, or make Zac get a second job!
We had a really good weekend. It flew by. I've been painting like a mad woman. Olivia's room/the den/"my" room is done. I have one coat left in the downstairs bathroom. Then it's off to our bathroom, the kids' bathroom, our bedroom, and the toyroom. The kids said at this rate, I should have the whole house painted by next year!
Saturday, we went to a 40th b'day party in Macomb. Zac really misses it there. He's happy here, but hasn't quite gotten to "know" the people like he did in Macomb. Jack also was ecstatic to play with friends. Brooklyn was clingy, so we spent a lot of time together, which was good. I have a hard time going back. It's strange that we lived there for 3 years and I just didn't get the chance to become close to anyone. There are still so many people that Zac worked with and talked about that I have never even met. I'm going to make an effort to make sure that doesn't happen here. in the morning and in the afternoon! The hospital has a quarterly memorial mass at the chapel for patients that have passed away at St. Francis. Yesterday's mass remembered Olivia, along with so many other people (including a couple of her neighbors from the PICU). It was a beautiful service and it's really a nice way to offer support, too.
I have one funny story to share from Saturday night...
Jack: "Can I go Ding Dong Ditching with some of the boys?"
Me: "What is that?"
Jack: "I don't know. Something on their bikes."
Me: "Go ask your dad."
Zac: "Sure"
About 10 minutes pass.
Jack: "I found out what it was. You go up and ring people's doorbells and then run away. But, I didn't do any of it. I just watched."
We both give a stern look.
In the car on the way home, he brings it up again.

Jack: "You know Dad used to do something just like that when he was little."
If you have any idea where Zac lived, you would know he would have to ride his bike miles to get to another house, and most likely it would be a relative's house.

We both give a confused look.
Jack: "He did, and he would even leave flowers!"
Me: "Jack, that was on May Day. That was a nice thing."
Jack: "Oh."
I think we all learned something - no more Ding Dong Ditching...unless you leave flowers!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I got the kids off to school this morning! They were up are roaring to go.

The rumor in the neighborhood is that the bus comes a little before 7:00. The list at the school said the bus comes at 7:12. I was planning on taking the kids anyway, but sure enough, the bus came by a little before 7:00! We'll have to see how that all works out.On our way to school, the kids didn't say a peep. I said they were awfully quiet back there and Jack said he was just a little nervous about going to 2nd grade at a new school.

Brooklyn (always having to be one-up on her brother) chimed in with, " I'm not nervous at all, Mommy."

They both went in with no problems! They are riding the bus home from school, so we'll see how that all goes.

Oh...and here is the cute new purse Brooklyn and I made over the weekend! I'm going to be stylin'!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weeks in review...

I figure I better get one semi-decent post in before the big day tomorrow. That's right, folks. Summer's over. School starts tomorrow. The kids are super excited. We spent some time today talking about what a great summer it's been. We've done so much amazing stuff, including a few zoo visits!

A few weeks ago, I made mention of visiting the Peoria Zoo (a.k.a. Glen Oak Zoo). We had my nephew, Alais, with us and met up with some friends, as well.

Jack and Brooklyn absolutely love little Ava. Jack is especially good with her. Why is it that they can be so sweet to other people's children, but so mean to each other?!?

The new Africa exhibit was nice. It's really added a lot to the zoo.

I'm not really one for taking pictures of animals, so I really just posted the one of the tigers at the top to document that we really were at a zoo.

I don't know what the fascination is with climbing on animal statues, but it always seems to be a highlight for our kids.

Last week we made the trek to the Niabi Zoo in the Quad Cities. We were supposed to meet up with a bunch of friends from Macomb, but completely missed them until we were getting ready to leave. So, that was kind of a bummer. We did pick up some friends in Galesburg to take with us, so that at least appeased us all.

See what I mean? The kids just go around posing on animal statues. I mean they are cute and all, but I just don't get it. Anyway, after Niabi, I brought the kids home and went back over to Galesburg for a Girls Night Out. We had great food and entertaining conversation, as usual.
We finished out the week with a round of mini-golf and another playdate, which brings us to the weekend.
The boys went on their annual camping trip while Brooklyn and I stayed here and did girly stuff. Jack's cousin named the campsite "Camp Freedom" because they were allowed to do whatever they wanted. So, if that tells you anything, they had a great time.
Brooklyn went with her cousins to an end of summer party at their school. They had a blast. Face painting seemed to be the biggest hit. This was done on Friday and I had to pretty much force Brooklyn to wash it off before church Sunday morning.
Brooklyn and I also did some sewing. We made a new purse...I'll have to post a picture cute.
Today - the last official day of summer vacation - took us to Fun City in Burlington. My parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, Jack, Brooklyn, and myself took off this morning for some swimming, bowling, arcade play, and go-kart racing. What a way to end the summer! Fun had by all.
So, tomorrow is the big day! The next post should be Back to School pictures! The kids are excited about their teachers. Brooklyn knows a couple of kiddos that will be in her class and Jack has met 2 people that will be in his. Should be a great year! Stay tuned...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Crazy times.

It seems as though we've been trying to pack in as much as possible in the last days before school starts. I have no idea where last week went. Tuesday we had visitors from South Carolina! My best friend, Nicole, stopped by with the kids on her way to Galesburg. Wednesday we trekked on over to Macomb for one of Brooklyn's friends half-birthday party. We had a great time. Jack had a friend there, too, so everyone had fun! Thursday, I have absolutely no clue about. Friday, I painted a wall. Saturday, Jack went to his first birthday party here in Dunlap. We had a fun dinner with some of Zac's co-workers that night. Sunday, Zac and I went to see Rent over at Eastlight in East Peoria with my sis, bro-in-law, and cousin. Today I took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese for a "back-to-school treat," did some shopping for Jack, bought a TV for our room, and that brings us to now! I know, I know. The excitement of it all.
I have some more painting to do, but I've decided to hold off until school starts because the kids really want to help. Tomorrow we are hitting Niabi Zoo in the Quad Cities and having a Girls Night Out in G-burg, Wednesday I'm hoping for a playdate, Thursday the kids are going out to lunch with G-ma and G-pa for a "back-to-school treat" and Brooklyn has her Kindergarten Open House, Friday, the boys head out for their annual camping trip...
Gee. I think it will be kind of nice for the kids to go to school. Hopefully things will slow down a bit!
Anyway, you'll have to forgive me for the lack of posting. We've obviously been busy.

Monday, August 3, 2009


I've really been struggling these last few days. I don't know if it's just the month itself, or if it's just one of "those times."
I've decided to blame it on the whole month of August. There are so many things I love about the month, and so many things I don't care for.

Things I don't like about August...
1. The kids are going back to school.
2. Brooklyn will only be gone half day.
3. Olivia's birthday is in August.
4. Zac is back to working full days and into the evenings.
5. Summer is coming to an end.

Things I love about August...
1. The kids are going back to school.
2. Brooklyn will only be gone half day.
3. Olivia's birthday is in August.
4. Zac is back to working full days and into the evenings.
5. Fall is almost here!

Do you see why I'm torn? We obviously can't get rid of the month of August. It's going to come around at least once a year.
I miss Olivia terribly these past few days. Maybe it's because her birthday is at the end of this month. Maybe it's because life has been slowing down and I've had more time to think about things. Maybe it's because I feel like I have too much time on my hands (we haven't had this clean of a house or laundry done for this many consecutive days in years, if ever). Maybe it's because I'm tired and haven't been able to sleep for days. Maybe it's because it's a "normal" part of a grieving process. Or maybe it's just because. Just one of those sad times with wonderful memories that we get to keep with us forever. You can't say that about many things - forever is a really long time. So, here's to August. I hope we can be friends again sometime soon;)

Wonderful Weekend.

We had a really great weekend. Zac left Friday night to head to Macomb and prepare for his 2nd Macomb to Peoria St. Jude run. He ran with his sister, Amy, again, and was also joined by a good friend from Galesburg. They had a great day for the run. The cooler temperatures and drizzle had to of felt pretty good. The kids and I went downtown around 4:00 to try to catch them coming in, but missed them by about 15 minutes. So, we hung out with my mom and some of the other runners and watched the other teams come in. It was amazing. The number of people that ran, volunteered, or simply cheered on the runners was overwhelming. The Macomb satellite raised $115,000, which contributed to the over $5 million that the entire run/telethon raised for childhood cancer awareness and research!

My mom was so energized afterwards. She said it was one of the best things she's ever experienced. Zac said it was an emotional one this year. For obvious reasons, and because they did the whole run in memory of Olivia and in honor of Wesley - a cancer survivor that was actually able to run it this year for the first time! Their t-shirts even had their names on it. It was just really awesome.

We saw a lot of the nurses from St. Jude, the Pediatric Intermediate Unit, and even one of the PICU nurses that ran one of the satellite runs! Can't wait until next year! extend that wonderful weekend into today, there's a new addition to the family! Zac's brother, Ty, and his wife Jenn, gave birth to Hannah Lynn Chatterton today at 2:42 pm (Florida time). She weighed in at 6 lbs. 10 oz. and 19 inches long. The kids are so excited to have a new cousin and keep asking when we get to meet her! So, welcome to the family, Hannah! We love you guys!