Thursday, September 23, 2010

Miss Livvy's B'day

I was looking at pictures today and realized I never blogged pictures from Olivia's b'day party!  Silly me.  We kept it low key this year and just had some cake and ice cream.  Grandma C., Aunt Amy, and Cousin Alais stopped by after they went to visit Liv's at the cemetery and we sang Happy Birthday and enjoyed some cake.  Afterwards, Zac, the kids and I went to get some ice cream and go see Livvy, too.  This year went so much better for all of us than last year.  It doesn't get better, but it does get a little easier, I guess. 

Brooklyn still thought she should share her ice cream with Olivia!
What a great big sister!

Football!

Jack has officially started football. 

You would think that being the wife of a former football player and coach would make this an exciting time for me.  Let's just say it's a work in progress. 
I went to get Jack from a practice back in August and I was ready to pull him off the field and bring him home.   It was 90-some degrees, the coaches were making them run like crazy, and the poor little guys looked just miserable.  Keep in mind this was all before full pads and tackling.  I told Zac I wouldn't be able to attend any more practices or Jack might have to "quit" the team.  Because Jack lives and breathes baseball, he wasn't too fond of it at first either. 
Luckily, things have gotten better.  I haven't attended any more practices (if so, I just wait in the car).  Games have started and we are all loving it!  Zac informed me that it would get better for Jack (and for me) once the games began, and he was actually right.  Go figure.  Anyway, the Eagles lost their first game (you could tell the kids had some first game jitters) and they won last weekend!  He's been playing defense and has made some good tackles, in my humble opinion.  Jack thinks he is super cool because he gets to wear his jersey to school every Friday and he got to ride in the Homecoming parade.  I'll leave you with some pictures from the first game for your viewing pleasure...
By the way, Zac is helping coach, so he is in hog heaven with all of this.  Many parents have come up to me and expressed their appreciation for Zac's enthusiasm.  He tries really, really hard to get the kids pumped up when they make a good play, but they really just look at him like he's crazy.  Quite honestly, it's very entertaining to watch him jump up and down get all excited.  I guess I do like football.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday, Olivia!

So, I'm a little jealous today that you are spending your birthday with Jesus, but would want nothing more for you.  It's a good jealous.  I'm just going to paint a beautiful picture in my mind of the party you are having in Heaven today.  Daddy, Jack, Brooklyn, and I are going to have ice cream tonight to celebrate your special day.  We are also going to go to the cemetery and I'm sure we'll be singing, so be sure to be listening!  We love you so much and miss you tons every day.  You are never forgotten, not even for a second, because you are implanted in our hearts and minds forever!  Give Jesus a hug for me and be sure to thank Him for the best gift of all!  Hugs and kisses to you, too, Livvy!

Love,
Mommy

Monday, August 2, 2010

Highlights

I really think that I am so far behind that I can't even catch up on this blog, so here are some highlights from the last couple of months:
School:  I finished my Chemistry mini-mester at the beginning of June.  I think that is probably the most intense class I have ever taken.  Keep in mind that I majored in Art and Spanish in college, so I just had to know how to be creative.  In Chemistry, I actually had to think, which doesn't come naturally to me.  I ended with a solid "B".  I also completed 3 online courses at 3 different institutions - Developmental Psych, Abnormal Psych, and Nutrition.  Another round of "B's"  The fact that I can actually say that I am a "B" student is a miracle in and of itself...I'm very proud, not just bragging;)  In a couple of weeks, I start 3 more online courses (Western Civ, Pathophysiology, and Composition II), as well as Microbiology in the classroom.  Once I'm done with all of these in December, I will be ready to start the nursing program at Bradley in May.  All I have to do is get accepted, which I should find out in October or November.  No biggie, right?  We'll see.
Kids:  We celebrated Brooklyn's 6th birthday on June 3rd.  She chose a Luau them for the fam and it turned out really well.  Both kids just finished a great season of baseball/tee ball.  Brooklyn thought the first couple of games were great because she liked getting all dressed up in her uniform.  After that, she was ready to be done.  Jack had his first year of "kid-pitch" baseball.  Saying he loved it would be a understatement.  He mainly played shortstop and pitcher and still firmly believes he is heading for the big leagues. 
Zac:  Being on a 12-month contract, he simply works a lot.  He and Jack did manage to take their annual camping trip with the cousins.  They tried out skiing with the boys, which Jack wasn't too impressed with.  He did, however, love the knee board and tubing.  We celebrated our 10 year anniversary at the end of May and took a weekend trip to Chicago with a whole crew to watch the Cardinal's beat the Cubs at Wrigley (woohoo!).  It was a ton of fun and a much needed getaway for both of us.  We also managed to take a family vacation (see previous post) and returned home last week from that.  I strongly considered staying in S.C., but returning from that heat and humidity made me realize I do like the Midwest.  Besides, it would be kind of weird for me to live there with Zac and the kids living here;)
The house:  It's still here.  No new projects going on at the moment.

So, I guess that hits most of the highlights.  I'm *hoping* to put together a "picture post" in the near future, so it's very possible that I may come up with some more highlights once I go through the pics...stay tuned!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hello...

Is there anybody out there?

Pink Floyd, right?

I know, I know. You thought we'd dropped off the face of the earth. Again.  So sorry about that. I just finished up my summer classes and am officially a "B" student for the first time in my life. More on that later. We've obviously been crazy, busy around here, but right now we are finishing up our family vacation! We are heading home tomorrow from South Carolina! We've been staying with my bestie, Nicole, and her fam. It's been totally relaxing and hot and beautiful and hot and fun and hot. I really am going to try to keep up once we get home because there is so much to tell (obviously). So, here is a preview of what's to come.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The perfect day.

We had an absolutely perfect day.

Well, except for our trip here,

but that's a whole other story and we'll get to that later!


We started off our day going to church and Sunday school. Then we came home and started digging.


My parents and my grandma were able to join us and helped out with the planting...We got some special little trinkets to put on the tree, too!
Livvy has her own little tree, with lots of little angels hanging from it, and some cute things to surround it!

Grandma gave us this little turtle, too and it fits perfectly!


We ended our afternoon with a trip to the cemetery to take Livs a pinwheel and some flowers.
We all said our favorite memory and thanked Livvy for everything she's done for us!


But...in between the tree planting and the cemetery visit...


this happened:

That's my mom.

My dad went out to get some lunch for everyone, and Zac, Jack and my mom were playing baseball. Zac, being the fair guy that he is, hit a pop fly to my mom. She caught it, lost her balance and next thing I hear is:

"Get some ice! Don't look at it, Connie! We're going to the hospital."

Zac swooped my mom into the car, I took off, Jack took over in the house and called my dad so he would meet us there and we were off.

She broke it pretty good. They splinted it up for the night and she goes in tomorrow for surgery around 2:00. Luckily, she's not in a lot of pain. I kept telling her this was a great distraction for us today, and where would I rather be on this particular day, but in a hospital!

Zac felt pretty bad. I was thankful it wasn't Jack that did it, because he would have felt HORRIBLE.

There is a reason it happened today that we may never know...but it sure did give me some good blogging material!
I also have to apologize for the pictures. I lost the battery charger for my "good" camera, so I've been using my old one. It seems to have a big blurry spot in al the pictures...makes me crazy, but obviously not crazy enough to actually search for the battery charger!

Olivia Grace


One year ago today, we said good-bye to our sweet little girl. She taught us so much about life and love and truly fulfilled her purpose here on Earth. As much as we miss her, we thank God for everyday for the time we did have and for the lessons she taught us. We have a full day of tree-planting planned for Miss Liv. I'll try to take lots of pictures and post them later.

In memory of Olivia Grace Chatterton (Aug. 27, 2006-May 23, 2009)

video

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chemistry

Chemistry is no fun.
Be glad I didn't blog about it yesterday, because it wouldn't have been good. I worked on my homework until 9:00...and started at 3:00. Ugh...
Today went much better. I actually understood most of what was being talked about. It's definitely good that I am doing this mini-mester thing because I don't think I could handle a full semester of this. It's great to be able to say that I only have 10 days of class left!
I was a bit nervous going yesterday, and you could probably say I wasn't very well prepared. I had no calculator (I had no idea Chemistry involved so much math!), I had no pencil (which made my errors very difficult to correct), I got lost trying to get out of the building, and when I got home, Brooklyn started referring to me as "college girl" instead of mom. She's spent too much time around her father!
Anyway, this "college girl" is going to stick with it. As discouraging as yesterday was, I'm actually enjoying having all this important stuff going on!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beautiful!

Check out what the delivery man just dropped off at our door...


A beautiful flower arrangement from Grandpa and Grandma C.
And in the midst of uploading the flower pictures, I found this beautiful picture of the kiddos at Easter! I know, I know, that was months ago, but I never got around to that post!
Thanks, Rod and Sue! They're beautiful!

The Big News!

I'm going back to school. That's right folks. Starting tomorrow, I will again be a student.
Zac decided that I need to do something productive with my life that will have some sort of retirement plan so he can be done at 55, or something like that. So, I've enrolled in a classes at ICC and I start Chemistry tomorrow. It's a 3 week mini-mester that I will do every day all day until June 7. Then I'll take 3 online classes this summer, Microbiology in the fall along with 3 more online classes. Once I complete those, I'll be on track to start the nursing program at Bradley (if they choose to accept me ;)
Bradley has a 2nd Degree Nursing Program for people who have a Bachelor's degree in another field (mine being art and Spanish...not much you can do with that). It's a 15 month program that will begin in May of 2011 and I'll be finished with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing in August of 2012. I'm really excited about the whole thing. A little nervous to be going back to school starting tomorrow, but excited about the fact that I will be a nurse within 2.5 years.
Growing up, I always wanted to be a nurse, but life took me in a different direction once I got to college. I'll be the first to admit that I spent my college years focusing on the social aspect and finding me some good husband material. I accomplished both of those things, and now it's time for me to actually apply myself in school!
Although it was a childhood dream to be a nurse, I do give all of the credit for my future endeavors to Olivia and the nurses and doctors in the PICU. Caring for Olivia made me realize that I absolutely love being able to take care of people in a medical capacity. The nurses in the PICU completely inspired me everyday with their knowledge, compassion, and overall care for the patients and the families.
So, as I embark on this new chapter, a special thanks to our sweet little Olivia, and to the nurses we've been touched by. I'm so glad that our God has blessed us in such a way that we are given second chances and that he puts people in our lives that give us direction and a new purpose. It's so fun to see His plans unfold!
Well, that's the big news around here. If I need help with my Chemistry homework, I'll let you know... :o)

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010

Let it be known...on this 14th day of May in the year of 2010...we are officially the proud owners of one, yes, one home.
WooHoo! Zac and I went to Macomb today and signed all the papers. We had a celebratory lunch, made a couple of quick stops, and made our way back to our one, and only, home.
If I were being totally honest with myself, I would say it was a little hard to sign those papers today. My eyes started to well up a couple of times. I totally wasn't expecting that, since we've been waiting a year to sell this thing, and I can't even go near the place without having an anxiety attack, but it was a little difficult.
It's been a week of mixed emotions, though, and I anticipate that it will continue for a while. Mother's Day was bittersweet. I had a great day with the kids and it was a wonderful weekend altogether, but there was that one little someone missing. I took some purple flowers out to Livs and we visited for quite a while. It was nice. It always is. We are quickly approaching the one year anniversary of her Homecoming to Heaven, which I imagine will be a bittersweet day, as well. What more could a parent ask for...Olivia is in Heaven, she's happy, she's complete, she's with Jesus. Sure, we would love to have her here with us, but only for us. She's not missing a thing here. We are just missing doing those "things" with her. Completely justifiable selfishness, really.
Anyway, it's a big week coming up. I have some big news to share one of these days (no, I'm not pregnant...remember Zac is out of commission in that department). Ahem. Anyway, I'm saving it for a post of it's own and it's something I'm really excited about. Hopefully, I can take the time to actually keep up on this silly old blog. I hate that I'm so sporadic with it, but it is what it is, I guess!
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The 13 Calories

Entertaining story...Brooklyn just walked in from school. I asked her to tell me one thing she learned today. They happen to be learning about the American flag. It has 50 stars for the 50 states and 13 stripes for the 13 calories!
God love 'em!

Odds and Ends

The excitement of getting an offer on the house is dwindling. The inspections went okay, but the buyers want all of the basement windows replaced, a new electrical box, and GFCI outlets put in the bathrooms, kitchen, and outside (whatever that means). Ugh. We're talking thousands of dollars here. Zac wants to say "not a chance," but we really, really need to sell this house! They are getting some estimates from electricians this week, so we'll see where that goes. Oxygen concentrator, feeding pump, pulse oximeter, plus all of our everyday stuff? I would love to tell them that about all the things we had plugged in and running in that house and we never had a fire, but I doubt that will go too far.
Otherwise, all is well here. We are definitely enjoying the weather. We all had a great spring break with lots of play dates, a trip to the zoo, movies, and sleepovers. It wasn't too hard to get the kids up and moving yesterday, since they are both such big fans of school.
Zac and I went back to Macomb on Friday night to see the school musical. They did "The Music Man" and it was a good performance. Ben (our pastor's son in Macomb) had the lead and he did an awesome job. We got to see the whole family, which was awesome. They are awesome people and were one of my really significant connections to Macomb. We didn't go to the house. Driving by was good enough for me. We did make a stop at Jackson Street Pub for dinner (love that place) and stopped by to visit some friends, too.
I'm obviously still trying to play "catch up" on the blog. I haven't forgotten about Easter, I just want to find some pictures to put along on that post. Until then...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mommy Conference

So a few weeks ago, I went to my annual "mommy conference." If you live in central Illinois and are a mom, you've most likely heard of Hearts at Home. This was my 7th year of going and, again, it didn't disappoint! It is the best weekend ever and I look forward to it every year. My friend, Nicole and I decided to try it out when our kids were 9 months and 6 months old, respectively. We haven't missed unless we had just given birth (Nicole) or were at a wedding (me)! They offer little sessions on parenting, marriage, spiritual growth, etc... You get to pick your top ten and they assign you to 3 or 4. This year, as it turned out, I went to my sessions on Friday with my sister and Nicole did hers on Saturday (since she has to fly in from SC and everything). I also had a prior engagement to attend on Saturday. We still made a great weekend of it.
I ended up attending a class on Sibling Rivalry, Living Life After Loss, Living with Less so your Family has More, and Growing Weeds out of Trees (about raising kids). I loved them all and can say I took a little something from each session. I was super excited that they were offering the Living Life After Loss session, although I went in very anxious and left feeling sad. It was rather depressing, which I suppose it should have been, but I was hoping to feel a little comfort and can't say that I did.
Anywho, it always gives me new ideas and refreshes me for at least a little while. Nicole brought her friend Kathy and we stayed had a great girls weekend. We ate some good food, had some great talks, and slept in beds with no kids! Can't wait until next year!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Woohoo! Yippee!

Zac just called. We've accepted an offer on our Macomb house! Woohoo! It's been on the market for a year and it's finally our turn! How nice will it be to have only one house payment? Ahhh....
There will still be some hoops to jump through, but what's new. Inspections, financing, etc... It sounds like closing won't be until May, but that's right around the corner! We'll keep you posted on this one!

Monday, March 29, 2010

No excuses.

I have absolutely no excuse as to why I've been on vacation from the blogging world. Pure and simple...I've just been plain lazy. I have a ton to blog about, but I'm not going to overwhelm you in one post, thinking that maybe if I say I'm going to break it up into numerous posts, I'll actually do it!
So, today I'm dedicating the post to my employment, or lack there of.
I've been "laid off" from my babysitting gig. The dad worked for a company that is now extinct, so he's staying home with the "twinkies" until he finds another job. If he gets lucky enough to find one soon, I may be back in business. Otherwise, I'm back to enjoying my freedom.
Along the same lines of employment (sort of), we still have our two houses. Without the extra income of babysitting, Zac and I have gone to a semi-strict budget. I've been spending lots of time coupon hunting and going a little crazy on trying to find deals. It's been fun so far, but I don't expect it to last. I had one great grocery shopping trip that saved me a ton of money, but the next one didn't even come close. It's a lot of work, too. But...I'm always up for a bit of a challenge. Anyway, we had a second showing on the house in Macomb yesterday, so we are praying big that something comes of it. Our renters are moving out this week and Zac and I are going to the Macomb house on Friday to clean it up a bit and see what if there is anything that needs any attention. I'm looking forward to spending the day with Zac, but I sure am dreading going back to the house. Last time we were there, things just didn't go well for me (emotionally, I mean). So, I'll continue praying for peace and hope that things will go better this time!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Still kickin'

Yes. We are still alive. Although, after a weekend with the flu, I was beginning to wonder if we were going to make it. Brooklyn came down with it at Grandma and Grandpa's house on Saturday. She is such a tough cookie, though. She trekked right through it. I woke up about 2:30 in the morning on Sunday with it. Jack ended up with it Tuesday night. It was all fairly short lived, but icky, nonetheless. Zac has stayed clear of it. So far. We need to keep it that way, as he doesn't handle those things well!
Watching the "twinkies" everyday has definitely put a damper on my computer time, so I do apologize for being MIA for so long. I do have, however, a new found respect for all parents of multiples. My goodness. It's hard work! Feeding, burping, playing, feeding, changing, burping, playing, changing, napping, changing, feeding...well, you get the picture.
I have been having some mixed emotions lately. Here in a couple of days, it will mark the one year anniversary of Olivia's last day at home with us. She went in for a routine platelet transfusion on Mar. 8 and was admitted for the last time. It's going to be hard to think about those days, but there are so many significant "bad days" that I hope don't overwhelm me. I think keeping so busy with the babies will definitely be a good distraction.
Anyway, another feeding awaits me. Just wanted everyone to know we are still alive and kickin'!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Working girl.

Yep. That's me.
Today was my first day of watching the twins. It was more of a trial run, with my "official" start date on Tuesday.
It went surprisingly well! I was a little nervous. I knew I could handle one baby, but two? I had some great helpers! Jack and Brooklyn were here all day celebrating Abe Lincoln's b'day. They were both amazing with the babies, Brooklyn especially. They couldn't get enough. Brooklyn would go play for a while, but would be sure to tell me to holler at her when I needed her help. Both kids would randomly start talking about how cute "they" were, which did throw me off a couple of times. (Brooklyn and I were changing the felt pads on the bottom of the dining room chairs so they would quit scratching up the floors. I thought she was talking about how cute the felt pads were??? After a confused look, she explained that she was talking about the babies! Ahhhh, silly mommy)
The babies were great, which obviously helped, too. Baby V loves to sleep and she seems to be extremely content all the time. Baby C loves to talk, loves to watch Brooklyn dance, and he loves to be held (which is good, because I kind of like to hold babies, too =o) It's so fun to have babies in the house, and to know that I don't have to get up for any midnight feedings! It's also great to finally be able to get Zac to quit nagging me about what I do all day! All in all, a great first day on the job!

So easy to please.

It happened today.


The kids and I were sound asleep in our bed this morning. That seems to be happening a lot lately. Our small queen-sized bed with 4 not so small people in it makes for really bad sleep for everyone, but I wouldn't change a thing. It normally starts out just the two of us, but kids just seem to migrate in at random times throughout the night...

I digress.

So, the kids and I were sound asleep in our bed this morning. All of a sudden we all wake when we hear Zac gasp and tell us to look out the window. There they were. About 9 deer in the field (soon to be houses) behind us. Ever since we moved here, that is all I wanted. I just knew it looked like the perfect place for some deer, but never saw any. My mom *claims* she saw a deer out there one afternoon, but I never saw it, which means it doesn't count, even if it was there, which I really don't think it was. (No offense, mom!) So, I ran down to get my camera just to have solid proof of these beautiful creatures that were practically in my backyard. Now, keep in mind, I rarely drive at night during any time of the year in fear of hitting a deer. I panic when I see them anywhere near a roadway, even during the day. They are pretty much my nemesis, yet this was just amazing to me.

I really wasn't a sheltered child. I grew up in a small farm town. I can honestly say I had never seen a "wild" deer until I met Zac who lived in the middle of nowhere. I mean, we hit that deer in November, and it was the first time I'd been present for such an incident. Who knows why I'm so fascinated by this, but it is kind of nice to know that it really doesn't take too much to excite me! I'd say I'm pretty easy to please.

It was sad, however, at dinner when we said our "highs, lows, and thankfuls" for the day. My high part was seeing the deer. I made the comment that it was a dream of mine that had come true. Jack turned to me and started telling me it was all just a dream, in one of those, you know, hypnotic voices. Good thing I took that picture, even if it didn't turn out too well (I didn't want to scare them off, so I didn't use my flash or open the door =o)

And yes, I know, I'm pathetic.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I am so sorry!

How rude am I? I'm such a slacker.

Anyway, my parents went to the Gulf Shores for the month of January to take full advantage of their retirements. Every time I talked to my mom, she would go on and on and on about how beautiful it was and how much she wished we could have made it down. I finally got sick of being jealous and booked a flight for the kids and I to go down. Zac had class that weekend, so he was stuck here. We left Thursday morning and stayed through Sunday and helped pack up and drove back with them. The kids had a great time. The highlight was probably the Go-Kart place. It was huge, had an enormous arcade, and we had the whole place to ourselves! The weather was a bit warmer than here, and the beach was beautiful.
It was an interesting trip home. It was about 14 hours of driving time, and we had about 8 stops before we even made it to the interstate. We weren't quite on the same potty schedule, but once we got that under control, it was a pretty smooth ride. The kids aren't normally the best travellers (like we pull out of the driveway, and they wonder how long it will take to get to Walmart...which is about 4 miles away) but they did awesome! It was a great time and we can't wait to go again next year!
Okay - in order to just get this post up, I'm putting the pictures in no particular order. I'm sure there is an easy way to do it, but I've never figured it out. You'll just have to imagine what order they all go in!


Game face...







Grandpa time...

Cartwheels...




Seashells...

Sandcastles...

So close to the beach...about 50 steps off the elevator!

Amazing sunsets...
We did miss daddy...
Big waves...
Grandma time...