Friday, October 29, 2010


Hey Kate, how was your day?

Well, it was a little rough.  In fact, it seems like everyone has lost their ever-loving minds, to tell you the truth.

No way.  It couldn't have been that bad, could it?  And don't you just love high schoolers?

Well, you tell me.  In fact, let's make a list, shall we?

  1. I was assigned an intern.  Of all the interns that never showed, mine was the one intern who actually did.  On a Friday. At 8:00 a.m.   Note: I have no class at 8:00 a.m.  Insert awkward conversation.
  2. The teacher across the hall from me (a history teacher/coach) did NOT show up today. Nor did he have a sub. Nor did the history department feel they needed to handle his classes. So at the beginning of 2nd period, one of the other history teachers came in to me, while I'm teaching, and said, "Hey, can you just watch Coach So-and-So's class for me? They're in there, just keep an ear out and make sure they're not too loud." EXCUSE ME?  Last I checked, it is never a good idea to leave a classroom full of students all alone. The intern looked at me and said, "Um, does this happen very often?"  I told her I couldn't even talk about it right then.
  3. There was a fight in the girls bathroom during 1st period. Now, don't get me wrong.  I can't list this as a negative, because Sawyer had to go break it up, and did so by screaming at the literal top of his lungs from the doorway, "HEY! STOP THAT S*** AND GET YOUR A**ES OUT OF THERE!"  Apparently the girls were so startled and embarrassed that they literally did stop and come out, and I haven't quit laughing over the idea of this since Sawyer told me that from his classroom, it sounded like twenty lemurs scrapping it out over a bowl of fruit.  I did have to list this, though, as an example of how people have lost their minds.
  4. The teacher down the hall (also history) lets about 10 kids just leave her class every period, and they run down the hall screaming, hitting each other, pushing each other down, etc. until I have to go into the hall and give them all a good tongue-lashing.  On top of that, she also manages to show at least one movie a week.  Hmmmm...
  5. One of my students, a varsity football player, decided that he should get his phone out during 2nd period today.  Note: It is against school policy to do so, and I am required to take his phone and turn it in to the principal.  This is not a surprise. When I attempted to take it, he told me, "No, Ms. Jackson. I'm not giving this to you. It's game day." Um, what? I'm sorry, is it now an option to do what the teacher says?  I promptly wrote him up, while he calmly waited, and sent him to the office with 2 offenses - using the phone in class, and refusing to give me the phone.  The principal will do jack squat about it, especially because the kid is a football player, so I completely wasted my time. But disrespect is disrespect, and call me crazy, I can't stand it.
  6. By the time I got to 4th period, I was expecting a small respite, because it's a small class of all girls.  Of course, that was just too much to ask, as several of the girls came in squabbling about a boy, and the rest attempted to choose sides.  At this point, I told them to shut their mouths, take their quizzes, and gave myself a break.  We headed outside to do their free write, and I sat in the grass, soaking in the sun and the breeze and doing deep breathing activities.

So yes, today really was as bad as it seemed.  Aren't you glad you asked?


Thank you, Lord, for letting us have some fall weather here in Texas.  My hair has been fuzzy every single day this week, and I kept hearing rumors of a cold front.  Well, it finally appeared yesterday afternoon. 

Now, when I say cold, I mean the temperature dipped into the 70's.  (It's amazing the things I've learned to say since I moved to Texas.)  But overnight, I seriously think it may have dipped down into the 40's or 50's.  Nate and I slept with our windows open, and when I awoke this morning I was cozy and my nose was cold.  We almost didn't make it to work - either of us, because staying in that bed was entirely too tempting!

But thank you, cold, and thank you, Friday, both for getting here just in time.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

AHA!!!! It's a promise!

My husband, my fabulous husband, my sweet, wonderful, handsome husband.  Because he knows that it's killing me not to run right now, especially with most of my running buds prepping for a marathon, he made a promise today.  Let's all hold him accountable for this:

I'll make a promise to you. You and I will train for a marathon together after Milo is born. I'll help you. They can all come, but WE will run it together. I'm not sure how that will all work out since we'll have a newborn, but we'll figure it

There it is, in writing.  Now all we need is a good jogging stroller, and we're in business!

Birthing Class #1

Yesterday the school blocked me from my blog, so I didn't have the opportunity to tell you about Nate's and my first birthing class Tuesday night.  Maybe it's a good thing I had a day to process, though...

Because nothing, and I do mean nothing, can erase from my mind what I saw.  It was the first night, and our very first introduction to the class involved over an hour of photos, stories, videos, etc. of horrible car accidents that took multiple lives and destroyed everything in their paths.  I think there were maybe 10 minutes of discussion on child safety seats, and the importance of putting a child in one in the car, but aside from that, I felt like I was taking defensive driving all over again (not that I've ever had to take it...).  At one point, Nate forbade me from even looking at the video, where Sarah McLachlan's "Arms of the Angel" played behind scenes of death and destruction.  I think he felt bad after I was so startled by the video of a man being thrown from his car and run over by other cars on a freeway.  I sat quietly and twiddled my thumbs, wondering if I was in the right place.

And then I looked around me, at the host of bloated, cranky, hungry pregnant women around me and knew that we, indeed, did wind up where we needed to be.  And as Janet told me I would before class, I felt like the hottest (and tiniest) woman there.  My hair was up, but not in a messy side ponytail.  I had cute jeans and a nice shirt, instead of sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt.  I had even taken the time to put in my contacts that morning, instead of rolling out straight from a nap in glasses.  WOW.  It was quite the scene.

Next week pairs the birthing video (EEEEEK!!!!  I'm already in this predicament, with no way out.  Don't scare me like that!) with the birthing unit tour (which I'm really curious about).  I had originally said we'd skip video night, but I really want to see what kind of room I can expect. Oddly enough, our teacher said that this night is her favorite.  I think I'd rather have a home birth than watch this video, but I know we'll end up there, and I'm positive Nate will forbid me to watch this video, too.  And I'm okay with it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tomorrow is a new day

This morning, as I pulled my overhead screen down with extreme force, I managed to hit myself in the head with it, striking myself so hard that I saw stars.  That's pretty much how this day has gone.

I think I should have known better than to come to school when I spent the majority of last night throwing up until I turned polka-dotted.  It's been a while, right?  So imagine my surprise when I couldn't keep my bizarre combination of bean and rice tacos, baby carrots with blue cheese, and cranberry scones to stay where I put it. 

Anyway, I should have stayed in bed, but instead I'm being a good teacher and attempting to go on with my lessons.  Somehow it's not working too well, and I'm just promising my students that tomorrow is a new day.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Side Note:  I have a new phrase that I need to completely eradicate from my vocabulary.  "I just need them to sit down, be quiet, and not talk to me."

This may be the number one clue that it's about time to go on maternity leave.  Too bad I still have two months, eh?

Reality TV

Last night Nate and I both boo-hooed through the most horrible/wonderful episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

The story?  A pregnant woman and her husband, who she dearly loves, buy an old cottage in the hopes of making it their fairy tale home.  Her water breaks, he goes out to do some chores before they leave for the hospital, and he never comes back - he dies of a heart attack.  The hospital sends two ambulances, one for her husband, and one for her because she's in labor.  She gives birth the very same day her husband dies.

HOLY CRAP!  I should have known it was going to be bad when Nate read the TiVo preview of the episode and just said, "Oh NO."  Then he looked at me and said, "Are you sure you want to watch this?" 

I insisted, and we ended up sharing tissues.  WHEW.  And even though it all turned out beautifully, and she got a wonderful home and special projects remembering her late husband, I still managed to cry every few minutes.  I seriously need to stop watching reality tv.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My wonderful husband

Don't read this if you don't want to hear about the most amazing man alive.  Because who on earth has a husband as sweet and thoughtful as mine?

On Fridays, Nate's whole office gets to leave early - this Friday, he left at 2:30.  What would most men do with an extra hour and a half before they had to pick up their wives from work?  Head to the driving range?  Sit on the couch and veg for a while?  Maybe grab some lunch or spend some money on themselves?

Not mine.  He pulled up to pick me up from work with a grin on his face and a sheepish admission.  "Baby, I went to Hobby Lobby, and I spent a little bit of money."  I was just delighted that he had bought something for himself, but I should have known better!

He picked up an awesome vintage-looking train and truck for Milo's nursery, and we both exclaimed about it for a minute before he said, "That's not all," and opened the glove compartment, revealing a hot pink bag.  "This is for you."

I opened the bag and found an amazing purple headband, which I immediately put on (and boy did it spruce up my crazy ponytail...).  "There's something else in there."  I pulled out a gorgeous, huge ring, just the type that I love, and immediately went on and on about how sweet he was and how there was no way he had to do that.

"Well...  that's not all, either..."  He pulled out a Motherhood Maternity bag with an adorable dress and a gorgeous shirt, both for me (obviously).  How on earth could I be so spoiled?  Because my fabulous Nate definitely responded, "Well, you know how much I love to spend money on you." (sigh)  Perfection.  I should have a rough week more often.

Or not.  I'll just smile and enjoy having such a wonderful man.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Do you ever want to walk around and tell the entire world, "SHHHHHHHHHH"?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fashion Disaster

Today was a bad day, and I'm blaming it entirely on my outfit.  I hated it to begin with, but I wore it anyway, and I'm certain it spoiled everything.  Or maybe it was the lack of makeup and the horrible messy-bun hair?  Either way, I found myself feeling just plain pissy all day long.  Here I was, trying to switch things up and wear something different from my usual dress and boots, and it went horribly awry.  So why bother?

My theory is that if I could just find enough cute dresses to wear every day for the rest of my pregnancy, I might be able to pull off a much better attitude on a daily basis.  Because finding pants that actually stay up, with panels that don't itch, that correspond with tops that actually cover my growing tummy but don't swallow me, is getting to be more than this little fashionista can handle. 

I went to the trouble to pair an ironed (now that's a feat in itself) dress shirt under a short-sleeved sweater, with dress pants and a pair of flats.  But then there was the tummy problem, so I added an undershirt tucked into the pants (which was more than a headache every time I went to the bathroom).  I spent most of the day pulling my pants up and my shirts down, and by lunchtime I was hot, itchy, and starving. 

One of my students literally told me, "Ms. Jackson, you look plain today."  Plain?  Excuse me?  I may have been accused of a lot of things, like over-using glitter and sparkles, but I have never been called plain.  My feelings were mortally wounded, yet all I could do was sigh and say, "Well, I feel plain today."  Keep in mind, blech, uncomfortable, and irritated much more accurately described how I felt, and I almost told her that, until I realized that I was the teacher and she was the student (look at me still being professional).

I used to love a challenge, but these days, I'm just too darn tired to care.  So you may see me in the same gray or black dress every single day until Milo comes, or the same pair of Nate's old boxers that I wear every night with the largest tee-shirt I can find.  Repeating outfits.  (shudder)  It's a pregnancy necessity.  All I know is that I'm mentally filing today's outfit in the "NEVER AGAIN" category. That is, if my pregnant brain can keep track of anything...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The day that just wouldn't quit

Just when I thought today couldn't get any more exciting - or trying...  Someone threw up.

More specifically, someone in my class threw up.

Even more specifically, someone in my class threw up on her desk and all over my floor. 

And now I can't stop gagging.  Don't get me wrong - I immediately sent the ill student to the nurse and took my whole class next door to the empty room.  But when I think about heading back into my room for the next period, I literally can't hold my lunch down.  I start gagging just walking down the hall toward the classroom.  What's a pregnant girl with an extremely sensitive gag reflex to do?

You know, when I agreed to teach high school, it was mostly on the assumption that high school students don't require the level of nurturing that younger students do.  For example, they, in theory, go to the restroom on their own, blow their own noses, and at least make it to a trash can when they feel sick to their stomachs.  I'm starting to wonder, though, if the only difference is that high schoolers have the capacity for making much larger messes.  And let me say this.  The day one of my kids pees or poops his own pants will be my last day teaching high school.

Either way, I have to be finished with this post or I'm going to be the one making a mess.  And I still have one more class period to go.  Wish me luck.


Just a thought first thing this morning...
Today was the first day that Nate literally had to give me a boost out of the car.  I don't know if I was just plain exhausted or if I'm really getting that large, but the push on the booty definitely helped.
Is anyone else thinking it's way too early for all that, though?

Monday, October 18, 2010

A yay kind of day

Well, we made it!  The housewarming party was a huge success on Saturday night, and I have to say, it's all because of Nate.  He's a party-planning genius, so if you're in the market for an event planner, let me know and I'll put you in touch with him.  He handles details and pressure like no one I've ever seen.  It's a skill I am sadly lacking... but then again, I'm the girl who quit my interior design degree when I realized that I abhor details of any kind.  It's what makes Nate and I work so well together, though.  I'm a big-picture kind of girl.

So we celebrated the success on Sunday with free tickets to the Texans vs. Chiefs game, and it was awesome!  Don't think I'm a nerd when I say this, but the highlight of the game for me was that President Bush, Sr. was the honorary referee and called the coin toss.  I was completely amazed, and probably because now I can say I've seen him twice in person - once when I interned at the 2004 Republican National Convention, and just yesterday.  On top of all that, we sat in the crazy fan section of the game, where everyone dresses in crazy attire and screams choice words at the refs, and it was a back-and-forth game that the Texans ended up winning in the last minute.  By the end, I could literally feel the concrete under me shaking and my eardrums vibrating.  Milo slept through the entire thing.  Either that, or he was just completely still because he was waiting for the final score with baited breath...

I went to the doctor this morning and only gained a pound in the last two weeks.  Thank you, Jesus.  I'm as healthy as a horse, and Milo is perfectly positioned head-down.  And now that the housewarming party is over, I can completely focus on the fact that our baby shower is coming up November 6, and I absolutely can't wait!  Could things get any better?  I mean, really? 

Happy Monday, everyone!!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Third time's a charm?

Tell me one thing.  What does this photo look like to you?

I have been in baking H. E. L. L.  The whole mess started on Thursday night.  We went shopping for hours for Chad and Tree's housewarming party, and I still had a batch of pumpkin scones to make when we got home.  Needless to say, the recipe turned out to be a low-fat one, and the scones were so disgusting I'm struggling for words to explain.  I am now a firm believer that scones require gobs of butter, sugar, and fat, and that they are no longer a healthful breakfast option.  The whole batch went straight into the trash, and I was left with no head start on my baking (and there's tons of it, mind you).

Fast forward to Friday night, where, after a loooooooong day of school, Nate and I ended up shopping for hours again, after which I was supposed to do a ton of baking.  I was tired, irritable, and ended up stressed about money and baking and life in general...

I spent a good thirty minutes or so trying to roll out some sugar cookie dough for little musical note and guitar-shaped cookies.  Why on earth didn't anyone warn me that the darn dough would stick to everything, including, but not limited to, my counter, the rolling pin, my hands, the wax paper, and the cookie cutter?

I finally threw the cookies into the oven and began gathering supplies for some orange muffins.  After a few minutes, I realized that the kitchen smelled like it was on fire, and I opened the oven door to a.) a giant cloud of smoke, b.) some sort of leak in the oven that was filling the bottom with a white substance, and c.) penis cookies.  Some evil gnome must have sneaked into my oven when I wasn't looking and switched out all those adorable little guitars I had worked so hard cutting out with phallic symbols.  Now tell me what you would do?  (hint: I'm pregnant, so you can imagine how I responded...)

After I pulled out the cookies and screamed for Nate, he realized that I had left the sugar tub on top of the one burner on the stovetop that has a pipe straight into the oven (And why on earth would someone set a sugar tub on the stovetop in the first place?  Again, I'm pregnant...).  The tub had melted, leaking plastic and tons of sugar straight into the stove.  Needless to say, after we turned off the oven and cleared out the smoke, I promptly sat in the middle of the kitchen floor and began to sob (I'm sure you guessed already).  In the meantime, Nate had spotted the cookies and proceeded to laugh for at least 30 minutes straight, snapping photos and sending them to all his guy friends.

After locking myself in the bathroom to weep it out, I finally just gave up.  I mixed up my orange muffin mix, threw it in the fridge, and went to bed.  And here I sit on a Saturday morning, after trying for 45 minutes to clean out my oven, with a mountain of baking to do and no oven in which to bake it.  Because, that's right, most of that sugar melted to the bottom of my oven and has now become one with it.

I guess that will teach me to assume that I should be the official baker for any sort of party, although I'm hoping this whole experience is earning me bonus points in heaven.  It surely isn't helping me win any favor with Nate.

And it will definitely teach me about making guitar cookies...  Just a word of advice - I'd skip the guitar-shaped cookie cutter.  Unless you're baking for a bachelorette party.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sneak Peek

Okay, just so you know, there's a really good chance that what's hiding in here...

 ... could look a little something like this...

IT'S ME!!!  A rolly little pumpkin who looked just like my dad.
I can't wait to hold my little Milo and see what he's like.  I already know that he likes volleyball and his daddy - he's active as can be when he's around both.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he's already learning to tune out my voice, even when I'm singing at the top of my lungs first thing in the morning.  And I'm hoping that he doesn't pull the 4 a.m. "play with me" wiggling after he's born...
But no matter what, he's bound to be pretty darn adorable.  I mean look at his mommy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maya Angelou Day

A few quotes by a very wise woman - Maya Angelou.  I used these in one of my classes yesterday and had to let most of the students out early to clean themselves up in the bathroom - they were all bawling!  Choose your favorite and tell me which one it is and why.

  • I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

  • I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

  • I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.

  • I've learned that "making a living" is not the same as "making a life."

  • I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

  • I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.

  • I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

  • I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

  • I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.  People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

  • I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

  • I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

All Points Bulletin

Well, here's the exciting news.  Last night, I had my very first real, true craving.  In fact, it really felt like an emergency.  Milo and I wanted, no, desperately needed, ice cream.  What else? 

So Nate and I set off on a late night (9:00 pm) ice cream adventure to Sonic, dressed in our pjs and me giggling in delight.  A cold front was breezing through and the night sky was completely lit up with lightning.  Even had we come home without ice cream, I still would have enjoyed myself. 

And we got the ice cream - a butterfinger and M&M blast for me, and a banana split for Nathan.  I went to set his down in our double cup holder, and he said, "No, baby, not there...  For that very reason."  Yes, I dumped the banana split into the cup holder, managed to save some of it, and then laughed all the way home despite the mess I was about to have to clean up.  Good for Nate - he already has someone to whom he can tell, "I told you so," with frequency.  I'm a good lesson for him in child-rearing.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Road Trip Part 2

Guess what?

I'm stalling.  Biding my time until I can actually force myself to figure out what on earth my kids are doing today.  That's right.  I waited until the last minute, and now I'm down to the wire with 30 minutes and a very sparse lesson.  (sigh)  Truth be told, I'm just not feeling it today, but I need to get my act together before I see a single student...

But while I'm doing that, let me tell you about Part 2 of my road trip.

After the funeral and luncheon last Wednesday, Jen, Ann, and I hit a few Rockford stops, the first being Grandma's house, which seemed completely empty without her.  Being the only knitter in the family, I got to take some of her precious needles and yarn, which made me feel good.  Grandma would have loved for me to have these things, and I even found some blue and white baby yarn to make something for Milo.  I'm going to consider it her blanket to him.

We also stopped at Beef-a-Roo for cheddar fries.  If you've never had them, I can't even begin to describe how fatty, unhealthy, and divinely delicious they are. And, of course, we stopped at Mary's Market for breakfast pastries and coffee (don't worry, just for Jen).  Were it humanly possible for me to pack up the whole restaurant and bring it back with me, I would have, because we are completely lacking something so lovely here in Lufkin.

And then it was off to Elgin to see Grandma Marilyn.  I couldn't wait to see her, especially since I was feeling so extremely sentimental.  And my feisty Grandma didn't disappoint.  She served us pizza on Chicago Bears plates, with Chicago Bears napkins, and our drinks were, of course, also served in Chicago Bears cups.  Oh, it was a feast, indeed, and Grandma even packed up a cup and some napkins to send home for Nate, who is a die-hard Cowboys fan.  Reminder:  3 weeks ago, the Bears beat the CowboysIt was definitely a high point for me, considering I was raised a Bears fan and rarely see them win.

Grandma thought I looked adorable pregnant, and after a thorough check, including lifting up my shirt to get a good view of my butt, decided that I'm not gaining weight anywhere but my stomach (and my giant bust).  I got the seal of approval, which felt pretty darn good.

After an amazing evening visiting with Grandma, we hit the hay, only to awaken at 5 a.m. Thursday.  Yes, the long trip back was about to begin.  Sarah, Bryan, Mikey, and the girls decided to sleep in Thursday and start the drive around 1 (Let me also mention that they thought they could still speed and beat us home, and continued to taunt us about it until Bryan finally got pulled over and issued a ticket.  I don't want to say, "HAH!!!" or anything, but...).  Jen had to be back for work on Friday, so it was imperative that we leave.  However, it was NOT imperative that we drive straight through without stopping at an outlet mall on the way back through Illinois.  That's right, around 10 a.m. we saw it, and an angel choir and the voice of God compelled us to stop, where we shopped our little hearts out for about 2 hours.  It was a completely worthwhile and necessary trip, especially since we were such troopers all the rest of the way home.  We made it back by 1:30 a.m. on Friday, and sleep has never felt so sweet after a week of going practically without it. 

Yes, I stopped every two hours to "fully empty my bladder and walk around for a few minutes" as my doctor instructed.  Yes, I was completely uncomfortable and itchy a majority of the way home (and the weekend after we arrived).  Yes, I spent the entire weekend crying my eyes out after I was able to be still for a while.  And yes, I am completely and utterly glad that I went.  Even though my students gave my substitute such a fit that he told on me to my department head.  But that's another story for a completely different day.

And now I'm off to my lesson plans, which I have 15 minutes to get under control.  Glad you're not a teacher?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Road Trip Part I

You're probably asking yourself about the ROAD TRIP.  Well, that is, if you have nothing better to do than keep up with my life and my blog and the promises I've made on said blog. 

It all began with a message on Jen's answering machine, a tinny, mechanized voice:  "Wut time shoood I be read-ee to go?"  My brother Mikey successfully sent a text to Jen's land line, which resulted in the funniest joke of our entire trip, Jen repeating the text in her best Midwestern robot voice at all hours so we could get a good laugh.  It got even better when my brother continued to text the answering machine while we were on the trip, leaving such gems as, "My bottom is covered in flax-seed," and "My Jen-et-als (see earlier post on Jen's new nickname) are swollen" for Jen's husband.  I can't remember the last time I was so delighted with technology, and poor Mike Dant just wanted to know why he was being prank called by all of us.

Looooooong story short (and it was a very long, 2-day story), our road trip up involved 1 caravan of 6 adults, 2 kids (3 months and 3 years old), 2 cars, one two-hour stop at Bob Evans, and a hotel stay in West Memphis completely devoid of any hot water (Jen worked it and got us our room for free).  It also involved endless streams of tears and countless burts of hysterical laughter, at least 100 window-cracks for my farting younger siblings, and at least three times that I thought Ann might hit Mikey for reclining his front passenger seat so much he was practically sitting in the back. 

It also involved one very cranky seven-months pregnant woman (oh wait, that was me) shifting around and around, trying desperately to get comfortable after 9 hours in the car.  Jen overheard a hilarious phone conversation between Nate and me. I'll describe it the way she heard it, with only my voice.  "Oh, the car ride is okay.  I'm just uncomfortable.  You know how I get itchy when I'm tired."  (long pause)  "No, baby, I said itchy."  I'll leave you to fill in the blanks.  Needless to say, I might have gotten my feelings hurt had Jen not been laughing so hard...

We drove from 6 p.m. on Monday to 3 a.m. Tuesday, stopped, and drove from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 9 p.m. Tuesday, when we finally arrived in Rockford, IL.  Tell me how an 18-hour trip managed to take us all that time?  Besides the Bob Evans stop?  We had originally intended to make it for Grandma's visitation from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday (which at least a thousand people attended).  Definitely didn't go quite as planned, though, which I'm understanding more and more is how life in general works.  But when we finally arrived, we were greeted by our delighted cousins, warm beds, cool weather, and one happy dog named Gus.  It was good to be "home" in Rockford (Jen and I promptly begged our husbands to let us move back, to which they both replied, "If we're moving anywhere, it's NOT going to be to Rockford.").

More on the trip to come...


Saturday, October 2, 2010


Well, my friends, I did indeed abandon you for a week.  With a sad reason.  My precious precious Grandmother, my dad's mom, passed away last Saturday, and I didn't even have the heart to write.  I've been in survival mode for the past week, and I know it's about time to snap out of it...  But I'm truly heartbroken because Grandma was my last link to my dad, and if he couldn't hold my Milo Jay, I was determined that she would.  For some reason I was positive she would be okay, just for that reason.  My only comfort is how many times my cousins reminded her that Milo's middle name was Jay after my dad, and how happy she was every time they talked about it.

My grandma, known as DoAnn, GG, Grandma Geiger, Grams, etc., was one of the kindest and most influential people I know.  Nothing could stop her, nothing could get her down.  She loved knitting (as do I), purple, and people.  She cared so much about individuals with special needs that she was the person responsible for bringing Special Olympics to Northwest Illinois, and our family grew up helping and loving these people just for her.  No one was a stranger to her.  In fact, I think that she knew just about every single person in Rockford, and I could never go anywhere without being recognized as "one of DoAnn's girls."

When my dad, her first-born son, died, she filled in the gaps for me.  I always remember seeing Grandma in the stands when I was cheering at basketball games.  She was there at every luncheon, every award ceremony, every extra event where I needed a parent.  She lived close enough for me to walk to her house, and we spent so much time with me just curled up on her sofa, while she knit away at a blanket, or a hat, or a lighthouse sweater (wink), asking me an endless stream of questions about me, the family, just about anything.  I remember going to coffee with her at Mary's Market, and how any time we were together she said, "What a wonderful little party."

Grandma also said what was on her mind, no beating around the bush.  The first time Nate met her, he was her date to a wedding that I was in.  As the husky bridesmaids filed down the aisle, she loudly remarked to him, "Well, those really are some corn-fed girls, aren't they?"  Nate had no choice but to love her, as we all did.  You never had to wonder what Grandma was thinking, and you never had to wonder if her intentions were pure and filled with nothing but love.

My siblings and I road-tripped up to Illinois for her funeral.  It was an 18-hour drive full of delirium and laughter, and I'm sure I'll have plenty to say on that another day.   But for now, I'm examining my life, wanting to make sure that I measure up now that Dad and Grandma can both keep an eye on me and see what's going on.  I feel like I should be helping more people, saying what I mean, and wearing a lot of purple.