Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I did visit Julienne last night for a few hours and she was doing well. She is still very weak, but she is coming along. She has developed a cough, they say that is to be expected the more she uses her sperometer breathing apparatus. She does have a phone in her room, although she is not ready to talk on it, she whispers still and she tries to talk normal on the phone and that sends her into a coughing spell. Imagine coughing after you have just had a major surgery in your chest. It is very painfull for her. Julienne only went for the one walk yesterday, I read on her paper that it was a total of 60 ft. She still has her chest tubes in for drainage, pray they are able to take those out soon. The tubes rubbing on her skin is causing some chaffing and discomfort. Continue to pray that she will be able to be up and walking more the next couple days, this really will help strengthen her lungs. When I was there last night her dinner had come although she wasn't in the mood to eat, she did let me help her. She really is lacking strength right now. She is concerned about using her arms too much, they told her if she did she could open her scar ~ that would be enough to worry me as well. Julienne had been in a room by herself when they first moved her out of ICU, another patient needed isolation and they moved Julienne to a room across the hall with a roommate. I was surprised when Julienne said that I could take a picture of her in the hospital bed to post on my blog, but she did! She is looking very good - her color is so much better, it's amazing what having blood in your body can do for you. She wasn't happy with her hair, but I told her that it looked ok and I combed it down before taking the picture. She did tell me not to zoom in, so I didn't with my camera - I couldn't resist with photo editing! Part of me is glad I didn't take a picture in ICU, although it was a sight to be seen. They have all of her IV's out, she had 3 really large ones, one in each arm and one in her neck. Her neck was swollen where they took that IV out, although her arms looked well, if you overlook all the bruising. The ICU nurse told Peggy that many people do take pictures when they come out of surgery, so they can see what they look like, we didn't have the heart to take any. I am glad that I waited until she could smile! God has been so good and Julienne has been blessed with very good nurses and so many that have been praying for her. She still has a way to go, but knowing many are praying it is very comforting for her.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Julienne has been moved to the floor for recovery and is out of ICU - Thank you for praying! Linda has been down with her today and has called and said that Julienne just finished her walk and is now resting! Julienne walked about 25 steps one way and back again! Way to go Julienne! Linda also said it wasn't because Julienne wanted to walk. (I know she was much more comfortable in bed) What an answer to prayer that the walk went well - she is on her way to recovery - its a long road ahead, though she just reached the top of the first hill!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hospital Visit

Tonight I was able to visit Julienne in the Surgery - ICU from 9:00 - 10:30pm. She was sleeping, although when I opened the door her eyes popped open and she said, "Ida, Hi!" Those words were so little but they meant so much! Julienne was talking much more and she remembered that Linda and Peggy had come to visit her earlier today as well as her Dr. ! She is still getting Morphine for pain and has only been moved to sitting in a chair yesterday and today. Tomorrow morning they are going to be pushing to get her up and on her feet. To get her up and moving is so important to allow the lungs to function better. Her numbers are excellent, her blood pressure is up to normal without any medications, they were consistently around 110/59! Her blood pressure before surgery would often be 80/40. They took the bandage off her scar today and it looks really good. The nurse asked how her pain was, and she said she didn't want any pain to come! She is relatively comfortable and doing well. Your prayers are appreciated, and they have been working! Please pray that Julienne will have strength to get up and walk in the morning and that she will soon be moved out of the Surgery ICU. The next time I go, tomorrow, I am going to take my camera and get a picture or two to post! God is so good and He certainly has had his hand in all aspects of Julienne's surgery! Thank you God, for taking care of our Aunt Julienne - all the praise goes to You!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Julienne has had improvement, they think she had something similar to a seizure caused from the anestesia. They did a catscan and there were no signs of a bleed or stroke -Thank the Lord! Julienne did really well today! They took her ventilator off this morning at about 10:00am. She was able to sit up in a chair and she was able to talk a few words. She clearly told me not to cover her legs up - the first sentence she said! That was Awesome and a surprise! This evening when Jason and Peggy made a visit to her, she was able to answer questions for the doctor, she knew her name and where she was. She was able to identify all in the room with her very quiet scratchy voice! God has really answered our prayers! Thank you for praying and please continue to pray for her. Pray that she is able to walk tomorrow and be moved out of the ICU!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Keep Praying!

Please continue to pray for our Aunt Julienne. Her replacement surgery went over without a hitch - Thank God and thank you for praying! It is going to be a long night for her and also for relatives. At 8:00 this evening, she had a small set back, they said it isn't too much to worry about the first time, however the second time she will need to have some tests done. ~ Her heart is doing exactly what it should ~ Praise God! Please continue to pray for her throughout the night and into tomorrow for recovery. With her set back tonight they are going to keep her breathing tubes in overnight, she was going to get them out sometime tonight. As of now they are keeping them in to the morning. Thank you all for praying and please pray that the recovery will go well and set backs won't come Julienne's way. Please pray for her comfort and healing in this time as well! God is Good!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Please Pray for Julienne today! Her open heart surgery is this morning at 7:00am - she will have both valves replaced Mitral and Aerota (sp). We thank you for the many prayers many have said. Please continue to pray ~ I will post more as I get updated - possibly throughout the day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hitch Hiker!

Grandma Kanellis was so kind to stop by today with a hitchhiker she picked up on the side of the road! I know, it's hard for me to believe too! Not only that she would pick up a hitch hiker, but that she would bring the stranger to her daughter's house where her innocent grandchildren live! She came while I was diligently doing school work with Logan, Morgan was quietly playing and Lucy and Ethan were both taking naps! Key word - WERE! Tanner went crazy barking waking up my sleeping Lucy and disturbing my quiet Ethan. I let the 3 older kids come out and check out Grandma's Hitch Hiker - the Snapping Turtle!
Grandma found a snapping turtle crossing the highway and thought the kids would like to see it, considering it was small she brought it over. The kids thought it was awesome!

They love to see creatures and check them out. It took many tries, Logan finally was brave enough to hold it for a minute so I could get a picture of him. Morgan and Ethan were happy holding it in a bucket and just touching him on the shell. Me - well, my job is to take pictures! Oh, and the turtle has a nice home by the Cedar River now, thanks to Grandma!

Play time!

This past weekend, was a weekend on a mission. There was one small window of opportunity to take some pictures of the kids and this was it! I went to Postville this weekend, to help Jason's Aunt Julienne get some things around her house fixed up and put together. She wanted to get some of her house in order before coming back to the University to have surgery this coming Friday. I installed some braces in her closet, put up new curtain rods and fixed some curtains for her. As well as some general cleaning. Julienne and I had a good time getting things fixed up at her house on Friday. I had taken Grandma Violet, Morgan and Ethan to work with Peggy to play bingo with the residents and Lucy and I were able to spend the afternoon helping Julienne. Saturday, was the canoe trip in Bluffton and Sunday was church and a short time to take it easy and play. Lucy was wandering around in her diaper and her favorite shoes to wear at Peggy 's house and she was being a big cheese! Morgan and Ethan played Uno with Aunt Peggy while Charlie kept checking their game out. Me, well I was just taking a few pictures and watching them play Uno. It was really relaxing! On Monday, I was off to help Julienne get a couple last minute things done and run some errands prior to leaving to Iowa City. I was able to get the kids dropped off at a sitter's and get Julienne to the hospital. We got her all checked in and settled, before I called it a night and left the hospital at 8:30 to get home by 9:00pm. I was pleased to be able to help and I am so thankful to have the flexibility of homeschooling, so I am able to help when there is a need to be filled. I also appreciate the friends that have helped with my kids in this time. Please continue to pray for our Aunt Julienne, she is having open heart surgery Friday to have her Mitral Valve Replaced for the 2nd time, the first time was 45 years ago. Please pray that God will guide the surgeons hands, and the metal valve will be able to removed easily. Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Canoe Trip!

Saturday, Jason and I were able to go on a canoe trip with our church group. Thanks to Aunt Peggy and Grandma Violet for watching Morgan, Ethan and Lucy all day! We had a really good time. I was able to meet up with the bus in a small town up near Postville and ride the rest of the way with the group. The Upper Iowa was just beautiful! There are gorgeous bluffs and trees lining the shores.
The water was down quite abit due to lack of rain, but we still had a really good time! I was very pleased that we never tipped our canoe, we are not strangers to getting soaked when canoeing! It was so nice not being soaked on the ride home!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Praying for Julienne

Please pray for Jason's Aunt Julienne. She is scheduled to have open heart surgery on September 25, 2009. The procedure is going to be very tidious and possibly very long. They are removing a metal valve that was replaced 45 years ago. Without surgery, her valve is destroying her blood with every beat of her heart. Please pray that she will have peace between now and then. Also pray that this is all being done in God's timing and pray for her family. Much of her family is not speaking due to inheritances in the past. Please pray that God may bring her family together in this special time in her life. She has concern about being placed on the heart/lung machine as well as wondering if her heart is strong enough to come back from surgery. Please pray that God would be with the doctors. Thank you ahead of time for all your prayers ~ they mean so much to many! To the world she is just one person, to our family she means the world! We love you Julienne!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Where's Waldo, err, Grandma Linda?!!?!!

You have all heard of Where's Waldo right? Well, similiar to that we are wondering where Grandma Linda is. It is such a valid question, we have not seen her for a long time now.
I have searched through my pictures for the past year and they have her at our house ONE (1) time and that was when Grandma Violet and Aunt Peggy were here.

I would love to have recent pictures of Grandma Linda with the kids. I haven't gotten clearance to take them to Rockwell so they can spend some time with thier Grandma whom seems to be MIA! Can Grandma Linda not see how distraught her poor grandchildren look, without seeing her for more than a month now. I hope if any of you out there see her, you let her know her grandchildren miss her dearly! ~Unfortunately I am Sorry there is no cash reward!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bread Making 101, Finished Product

Finally, as the day draws to an end, so does my baking. I have successfully & independantly completed 7 loaves of bread today! Some are flatter than others and some are smaller than others. A couple look great! I have gotten the Morgan, Ethan and Lucy stamps of approval! Logan I am sure will approve of it too, he just has to finish his math paper. Jason will probably like it too, even if it isn't the best he's ever had. I thought it turned out rather well, if I say so myself. I don't know what I will do for dinner for the kids tonight, it may just be bread, I am all "kitchened" out! Mission Accomplished!

Bread Making 101, Part 4

OK, so I have done most everything like I should, I do believe. I just went to preheat my stove to 350 degrees and took the loaves out that were rising in there. That was a mistake. Three of my pretty loaves fell! I guess I will have some flat bread and some not so flat bread, as well as small bread and bigger bread! Consistency? I am not too sure what that is all about! For the next however long it takes, I will be baking bread. I had planned on going to a volleyball game at 4:30 today, I don't think I will be able to make it. I have no idea how long it is going to take to get all this pretty bread to bake. Check back later, make sure I was paying attention and didn't let it burn. For now, 3rd grade here I come!

Bread Making 101, Part 3

Okay, I have let it rise for the 2nd time! I did leave, and run to Wal*Mart - I seem to visit there frequently! I came home to find that my dough had risen nicely, so I thought. Morgan was sure to tell me, "Oh Mama, Aunt Peggy's bread doesn't get that big! It looks like a huge muffin!"
I just laugh at her, knowing that it is probably ok. So, now onto putting Crisco in the bread pans, Morgan opts out of this, she doesn't want to get that yuck on her hands. I am putting Crisco in the pans, and I ask if Aunt Peggy puts flour in the pans too - I didn't pay attention too well. Morgan says, "No Mama, she only puts the crystal on it." I say, "Crisco on them?" and she says, "Yes, whatever it is called, but you could put flour in there too if you want" So then she is so kind to say, "Aunt Peggy's bread is always good, I hope yours will be too." I just love my kids. Someday I may be able to be as good as Peggy, but for now I just have to keep trying. (I love you, Peggy! )Jason was in the kitchen with us for awhile and took a picture of us. He was proud of me, for being so ambitious and trying something new. He even told me that it smells like his grandma's bread. Then he continued on to tell me that maybe I could learn to make some other things that his grandma makes. For now, its only bread. The loaves that I have made look really small, however they are in thier pans rising. We may have bread by the end of the day - I can't promise Jason that he will have any prior to going to work in two hours. But we will have bread sometime today. For now, I have school to do !

Bread Making 101, Part 2

Ok, so its been a while? Has my dough doubled? That is a good question! I can't remember what it looked like when I got it away from the kids. Now, did I make a mistake, by not covering it for it to rise? It seems awfully sticky. I don't handle stress well, am I sounding stressed, I feel stressed! I can't let Morgan know that I can't make bread as good as Aunt Peggy. Oh, how I wish I was at Peggy's, even if she has a snake infested house! She would know what I need to do!

Bread Making 101

I have this wild hair to try and make bread with the kids today. This is a first for me! I have always left the bread making to Grandma Violet and Aunt Peggy. I sort of helped the last time we made bread with Peggy, but really not too much. My kids were up awfully early this morning - before 7:00am to be exact (I am not so much a morning person) maybe because I told them last night that we were going to make bread. They have helped Peggy make bread a few different times over the past 6 weeks, so, they are nothing short of bread experts - they were full of instructions. Anyway, we managed to get it mixed, and now it is rising, well I hope it rises. I will keep you posted throughout the day with how this experiment is going. Jason was more than pleased that I was going to take on this task! I am praying this all turns out ok... as Morgan has already told me Aunt Peggy makes better eggs than me, I have to try to redeem myself and make bread atleast as good, if not better than Peggy! Hahahahahaha!


Why has it suddenly felt like we are being attacked by crazy creatures? Really, have any of you had multiple things invade your space over the past week or two? Yesterday afternoon, Jason and I were going to chop wood, fortunately I was very tired and decided to stay inside with Lucy and Ethan while they napped. God knows to keep me away from wild animals (I don't mean my kids this time). After the kids had woke up, I was getting Ethan ready to go outside so he could have a tractor ride and just at that time, I noticed there was some commotion outside. I asked about it only to find that Jason had run across an angry possum, sleeping the day away in the middle of the wood pile. Jason was taking the wood off the pile to split it and suddenly noticed that at his waist was an angry possum hissing at him, inches away! Jason took care of the narly looking creature, but before getting rid of it, we had show and tell with the kids. I also thought of my wonderful blog readers that you may like to see what I seen!

I am so thankful that I was not chopping wood this time, as I actually enjoy splitting the wood, with the wood splitter, not a wedge and ax! I think I would have died had I come across this nasty looking thing! He was rather large!

Friday, September 11, 2009

School, School, School

I knew my adventures over the summer would be coming to an end and they have officially ended! The kids and I started school yesterday, like a good parent I took first day of school pictures ~ someday they may make it into a book, or maybe even off the computer, for now they are making it onto my blog. Morgan, who is now 6, is starting 1st Grade and couldn't be happier. The curriculum that I have chosen to use starts Cursive Writing in 1st and Morgan is very anxious to get started so she can learn to write cursive. Logan, who is now 8, almost 9, is starting 3rd grade, he is also eager to get started. I am very fortunate, on most days the kids are very willing to get to thier schoolwork. Ethan will be doing some preschool books, although I am not going to do to much with him, he is a smart little guy and I don't want him to get bored in Kindergarten next year. For now, I have 2 days done and 146 to go! Not that I am counting down or anything.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oh My Garsh!

Well, that is what I heard when I was getting Ethan a shower! It was loud and I knew something was wrong when Granmda said, "Oh My Garsh!" Her favorite saying! I instantly thought I would come out of the bathroom and find a bloody child coming in the door, that is how distressed her saying was. I did not find a bloody child, or even a hurt child. I came close enough to see a snake on the kitchen floor, thankfully on the other side of the counter from where I was! I jumped back and screamed, Logan was going to come in the house, changed his mind and shut the door and Grandma Violet, jumped up and got the broom to try and get it out of the house ~ the broom had to work, since they don't keep a garden hoe in the house!

In the mean time, Morgan was going to come in and Logan had run to find the garden hoe, Ethan was wrapped in a towel, from the shower he was having, Lucy was in her playpen screaming from the commotion that woke her up, I was calling Peggy to let her in on the news that I just knew I couldn't keep from her, and Grandma was digging for the snake in the pantry. The snake got scared and slid under the door into the pantry once he noticed Grandma Violet was a coming after him! By now Morgan is on the couch in the living room, screaming and crying, Lucy is still in the crib, I am in disbelief on the phone with Peggy, Logan is going - Get It Grandma! Get it! and Ethan is streaking because he wants to see the snake. I send Logan and Ethan to the bedroom to help get Ethan some clothes and Morgan has calmed down some, Lucy is still screaming in her playpen and I am looking for my camera to get a picture. I wish I would have grabbed my small camera to video tape it, it would have won funniest home videos for sure! I watch as Grandma is getting after it with the broom and ice scraper that Logan found, the garden hoe was unfindable in the frenzy, and watch the snake slither across the floor towards the door, atleast he wants to get back outside. Grandma had pulled everything out from the bottom of Peggy's pantry and is tripping over things, I am getting worried that she's going to fall and I will have to help her and still have the snake in the house. The snake was not finding his way out as easily as he had gotten in! The kids are still watching and I have to send the boys back in to continue adding clothes to Ethan, they had a good start but he still wasn't decent. Grandma finally got the snake out to the patio and she is after it with the ice scraper and isn't going to let it get away. She gets him and he is still wiggling all over creation while she has him pinned under the blade and she looks at me through the window and tells me she needs something to bash over its head, she suggests a hammer. I had seen there was a hammer on the golf cart earlier, wondering and still wondering why it was there in the first place and gave that to her and got back inside the house to look out the window. Now the three older kids and I are watching out the window while grandma clobbers the snake over the head with the hammer and Lucy is still screaming in her bed. The kids rush outside to see the dead snake and I too, go out to take a picture of the thing! YuCk! Finally Lucy gets rescued from her playpen and I get everyone else showered and the rest of my things to the car, rather in a haste to leave the snakey house that I once felt comfortable in. I called Peggy when the snake was dead and some of the excitement was over. Grandma and I left the snake on her patio for her to see when she came home from work last night ~ we didn't want to get rid of her new houseguest before she had the chance to meet him. I have never been so happy to leave Peggy's house in the past month as I was yesterday!

*Home* on the Farm

The kids and I went back to visit Peggy and Grandma Violet again over Labor Day. The kids absolutely love coming to this special place, it is truly an oasis! Jason came for his 3 day weekend to spend with us and help Grandma and Peggy get some things fixed up around the farm. There was so much going on, I really didn't get lots of pictures of all of the things we did, although I got lots of pictures of a few things we did! My first goal / project was to finish Lucy's quilt and we did! I was able to get the squares cut and all sewed together relatively quickly, thanks to the kids being at Grandma's while Lucy was napping at Peggy's and I was able to work on it alone! The kids all can use the sewing machine now, some quick projects take a little longer now. Lucy's quilt is absolutely awesome! It went together very well!
I got pictures of it in the process and none of it completed ~ I am in shock myself, to think I let that happen. After I got the quilt put together, Grandma Violet, Logan and Morgan all worked on getting it tied and it looks great!

I still will have to get a picture of it. (It is currently packed away in my van along with everything else that involves a week away with myself, 4 kids and a dog!) I have a lot to do today! Back to the farm, after the quilt was finished, Jason came up and spent the weekend with us. He worked on the tractor that he recently brought to the farm and spent the evening cleaning gutters and doing some odds and ends around the houses. On Sunday, we went to church and Kent and Katie brought thier family over to spend the day with us.

Jason and Kent bush hogged a ton more paths throughout the land and scraped a place for a big bonfire ~ there were a couple couches, mattresses and some other large items that needed to be taken care of, the guys enjoyed this chore.

Monday, Peggy and I were able to get a lot of things loaded in my van and taken to Goodwill. When we got back to the house we went on a long walk on the farm and this time I brought my camera. There was much to see, including an underground bees nest. Logan and Morgan both had bee stings, Morgan on her arm and Logan on his belly - right by his belly button, they were both screaming! I just took a picture and Jason just smiled! ~ It was quite the scene there for a few moments.

Other than the bees, the walk was nice and it was neat to see so much of the farm that I had never seen before. We got back to the house and just rested on the patio, Peggy and I were totally spent!

It took all we had to walk the front part of the trails, it is mowed down, but the path is still very tall grass, it is certainly not an easy walk through the park! We ate dinner and Jason had to pack up and come back to Cedar Rapids, for work on Tuesday. The kids and I stayed an extra two days, I was able to take Grandma to a couple doctor appointments Tuesday morning and I was able to take Julienne on a few erronds in the afternoon. Thankfully Julienne was able to come home from the Hospital on Saturday and was able to spend Labor Day with us! Tuesday while Ethan and I were with Julienne, Logan, Morgan and Lucy stayed back with Grandma at Peggy's house. Logan was checking out the corn crib and found some *old* bikes, you know the ones I mean, with the banana seats! He dragged it out and pumped up the tires himself and was able to ride it around the farm Tuesday and Wednesday before we left. He was very proud of himself and he had every right to be. There is no way I would ever even go in the corn crib, and I certainly wouldn't dig out an old bike. This worked out well, Logan was able to give Ethan rides on the bike because of the "big seat", & Saturday Peggy had gotten a bike out of a different building for Morgan to ride. The kids really had a time with the bikes! Next time I will have to bring Ethan's bike for him, the ones there are too big for him to reach the pedals. Monday night the kids were in bed and asleep by 8:30 and on Tuesday night they were asleep by 8:00!
This life style certainly wears them out, but they love every minute of it! Did I mention there was a snake in Peggy's house Wednesday while I was rushing to get the kids showered and on our way home? That story and pictures are for my next post!