Category Archives: Birthdays

Feeling Sad and Nostalgic Today . . .

Two years ago, I left my very best friend “Annie’s” house for the last time, because we were getting ready to move from Michigan to New Mexico, for my husband’s job. At the time, she and her children lived about two and a half hours west of us, having moved to be near her family about a year after the death of her husband. We had for years, spent our kids’ birthdays together, either at her house or at our house. It was the best thing, too, because she and her children love my kids, no matter what their differences and difficulties have been, and always treated them the same as any other kids, even though they aren’t. That has not always been the case in the lives of my children. Kids can be so mean, once they realize another kid is different, you know?

So anyway, we realized that there was no way we would be able to go there in June for the birthdays of her two oldest, which are two days apart, and since “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” share a birthday in May (being twins, you know), we decided to go and spend a few days at our friends’ home in May, and just do all four of the kids’ birthdays over a couple of days! Over the years, we were often able to visit for 3 or 4 days at a time because we both homeschool.

We did my boys birthdays on Tuesday, the 15th.

My friend is really awesome at making themed cakes. This is what she did for “Mr. Loquacious”, who really wanted a Lego themed party . . .
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For “The Puzzler”, who loves all things Thomas The Train, this is what she made . . .
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Here I am with the kids, waiting for the candles to be lit . . .
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And here is my dear friend, getting the candles ready for the birthday boys. The picture is a little blurry, though!
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My boys, very happy with their the cakes . . .
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Later, after presents, because we ALWAYS do “Pin the something on something”, I had ordered a pin the Lego shark in the water kit and a pin the smokestack onto Thomas set. Here are all the kids with the Lego mask blindfolds on, trying to hit the right spot.

“Mr. Loquacious”
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“The Puzzler”
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“The Batman”
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“The Artist”
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Next up, we have my Friend’s children . . .

“J. L.” . . .
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“L. E.”
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“L. A. ”
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Here’s how they all looked in the Thomas blindfolds . . .

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As always, I had ordered goodie boxes with themed favors, so each kid got a Thomas one and a Lego one!
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So, that was the party for my twins, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the 16th, we had a birthday for “J. L.”, and his sister “L. E.”, whose birthdays are two days apart. Their birthday was chocolate theme. You can’t go wrong there, right? 🙂
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Everyone loved their parties, and their presents!

Wednesday evening, we went to my friend’s church, Midland Baptist Church. While we were there, we got somebody to take one final picture of “Annie” and me.
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The next day, the 17th of May, 2012, we had to leave and go back to Port Huron, so I could get to work on packing and readying for our moving sale. I had done absolutely fine the whole time we were there, but when it was time to leave, the hardest thing was to not cry. And I didn’t, until we were out of sight of the house, then the sobbing started, so I pulled over and sat for about 30 minutes until I was OK to drive.

I miss my friend “Annie” so much. For years, we had been each other’s support system, we both have been raising challenging children, although the challenges were and are different. We always knew we could call on each other if we needed someone to keep our kids when we had to do something. In fact, she kept mine for 4 days when I went for my bariatric surgery in 2011.

We began as unlikely friends, who became very close. “Annie” has been my confidante, my Titus 2 woman in my life. I will always love her, and all of her children, so much, and will never stop missing them.

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Filed under Best Friends, Birthdays, Christian faith, Church, family, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Special Needs Children

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Another Birthday!

So, Tuesday was “The Artist’s” Birthday, and I had spent several weeks seeking out things that went along with his request for drawing materials. REAL drawing materials, artist quality. He noticed that I had bought for myself a set of black sketching pencils complete with one of those kneaded erasers (because I am attempting to learn Zentangle, which I’ll write about in a future post), so I got him a set too, at Michael’s.

Here are a few photos of “The Artist” opening his gift . . .

First, the big box!
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Here are the aforementioned pencils . . .
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And a set of artist quality color pencils he had specifically requested . . .
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“The Artist” also received a variety of sketch books and sketch pads to put his artwork into . . .
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And a book called Cartooning For The Beginner . . .
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Last, but certainly not least, “The Artist” received his much requested Nintendo Eshop card.
2014-02-25 05.04.17, which is now burning a hole in his pocket, lol!

We went out to dinner at a local Chinese place called Tao’s Chinese Bistro, which was quite good, and left enough extra that everyone had more for lunch on Wednesday!

As far as homeschool stuff this week, we were kind of laid back, as I’ve not been feeling well lately. We worked on a couple of review products that I posted about here and here, we did our piano practice (one of these days, I WILL remember to video either the practice or lesson time, or both, and post that), and we went to both Homeschool Park Day and Piano Lesson yesterday. Yes, we are able to go to Park Days in February, and we LOVE that! 🙂

So, how was YOUR week? Why don’t you blog about it, and then link up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, like I’m doing? It’s really easy, just click the graphic below for the guidelines . . .

Write your post, then go here and link up at the bottom of the post. That’s all there is to it! While you’re there, check out all of the other bloggers writing about THEIR weeks! 🙂

As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss another update! And, if you do enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you would! 🙂

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Filed under Birthdays, education, home education, Kids, Weekly Wrap-Up

“N” is For . . .

Number! As in the huge number of things going on around here this week! First, we have the Biblical Music Conference at our church, which began this past Sunday morning, and concludes tomorrow evening. It has been FANTASTIC so far . . . please, go here to listen to what we’ve been learning about!

Tonight, I am singing the special before the message, so I will not be eating the meal beforehand, as the menu tonight is green chili cheese burgers and hot dogs. I’m far enough out from my gastric bypass that I can handle a cheeseburger most of the time, but I just know that if I try it on a night I have to sing, I WILL get sick, so I’m just not taking the chance.

For the meals being served before the evening sessions, I’ve been making desserts. Last night I made cherry/chocolate cake, and today I made my “Totally Bad For You” (aka chocolate/peanut butter) cake. Tomorrow I’m making pineapple upside down cake, plus a casserole for the potluck.

Then Thursday is the beginning of our state homeschooling convention, and I will be attending that Thursday afternoon, all day Friday, and then Saturday morning.

Thursday morning, before going to convention, I need to go to Maurice’s in the mall to return a dress that my husband didn’t approve of, stop at Barnes and Noble to pick up a book for “The Batman”, along with finding birthday gifts for “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler”, and get to the convention. And get lunch in there somewhere.

I need to finish writing a review of an e-book my kids just finished as a read aloud, and get that posted.

And then, there is the never-ending Mount Wash-more . . .

So I have a NUMBER of things going on this week!

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Filed under Birthdays, Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2013, Christian faith, education, home education, Kids

Fret not…

As my closest friends already know, my biggest spiritual struggle is with worry. An old friend back home in MI used to regularly quote the words “fret not” at me…unfortunately, it’s still a major struggle for me.

My husband is struggling to recover from major spinal surgery, and instead of concentrating on his recovery is having to spend much time on the phone with both the surgeon’s office and the administrator of his medical leave. The surgeon wants him to be recovered more before he goes back to work (his incision isn’t even healed shut yet, and it’s only been one month, today, since his surgery), and the administrating company at this point has only agreed to extend his paid leave through tomorrow. So, I am worried primarily about his recovery, because if they make him go back too soon, I don’t believe he will completely recover, making the surgery a waste. I hate bureaucracy so very, very much…

We’ve been trying ever since we moved here to NM to find out how to transfer our guardianship of our adult, developmentally disabled son to a judge here. I made a call this morning to an organization I was referred to by a lady I met at a Scrapbooking day, but the person I need to speak to is out of the office until next week, so I left a voice mail with our phone numbers, and information about what we need. Hoping they can help, worrying, because we are now running out of time to get this done within the timeframe the original judge gave us.

I miss my best friend. I haven’t seen her since May, when my kids and I visited her for a few days before we left MI, and had three birthday parties in three days, for my twins and two of her kids. I miss getting to spend time with my best friend. I know it will never again be like it was, being able to see each other fairly often, even though we lived 2 1/2 hours apart. Now, it’s about 1700 miles, and several states. I miss having someone to talk with, who understands my life. I miss my other friends, the ones who were there to get together with me for just fun get togethers, even if just to go out for girl’s time… I’m lonely, and I feel like maybe I’m just being selfish.

I miss taking piano lessons, but I had to leave my piano behind when we moved, and we haven’t been able to replace it. I even miss practicing!

I am weary.

Lately, I’ve been very stressed and anxious, and am trying to give it to the Lord, but I have such a hard time leaving it with Him!

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” Psalm 37:7

This is SO hard for me, the whole “fret not” thing! I do not do well with the whole “just in time delivery” concept, it makes me very anxious. I guess the only thing I can do is keep trying, but it’s just so hard…

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Filed under Birthdays, Christian faith, family, health, scrapbooking

New Journeys!-

It’s been a long time since I posted anything, I can’t believe how time has gotten away from me! However, I plan to try and be so much better about frequent posting now. I’m in the midst of a brand new journey. My husband’s job was transferred, so we have moved across the country! I’ve lived just about my whole life in Michigan, but he was transferred to Albuquerque, NM, so that necessitated  a BIG journey!  

Mike’s last day of work in MI was June 28th, 2012, and the following morning he left for Albuquerque. His first day to work in Albuquerque was July 9th, so he wanted to get there and have time to find a house for us to rent before beginning work. He made it there by July 1st, which was considerably faster than he should have done it, given that he also needs spinal surgery. It would have been so much easier on him if he could’ve taken a longer time with more overnight stops. We reserved a room for one week at a Super 8 in Albuquerque, and he was able to move out of it before the end of the week, having found us a BEAUTIFUL home to rent!  

The children and I did not leave until July 30th. I am a consultant for Close To My Heart (http://lorimoffit.ctmh.com), and had pre-orderered my fall/winter catalogs, which were not shipped until July 12th, so we had to wait. That turned out not to be too bad of a thing, because I needed every minute I could get to get our life packed up and ready to move across the country! In fact, I finished up the packing the morning of July 30th, while waiting for the moving truck to arrive! 🙂

It was very hard, that last month, basically living as a single mom, while trying to pack, have a moving sale, plus add in how hard it was as each week went by, another goodbye either was happening, or getting closer. Before Mike even left, the kids and I went to my best friend Charlene’s for a few days, it would be our last time to celebrate our ks birthdays together. So in the 3 days we were there, we had on one day a party for my twins, whose birthdays are May 1st, and the next day a party for 2 of her kids, whose birthdays are in June. I was just fine, until it was time to leave for home. When we said goodbye and hugged, it felt like it would be the last time (and it will be, for a long time), I began to cry. I forced it back, but when we pulled out of the driveway and got to the end of the street, I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I sobbed for at least the first half hour of our trip home. Charlene and I have always been such an important support system for each other, and now it’s pretty much impossible for either of us to take care of the other one’s kids if needed. She kept my kids when I had my bariatric surgery, for example. I have hope that they will be able to come and visit us sometime within the next year, I miss em all, so much, and so do the boys.

When we left on July 30th, we stretched our budget as hard as we could to enable the boys and me to go up north (in MI) to spend two days. I wanted that, so we could spend time with my mother’s  only surviving siblings and their spouses. They are all in their 80’s, so I’m fairly certain this was my last time to ever see them alive. 😦 I’m so thankful that my husband felt strongly enough about my doing this that he also made sacrifices in order that we could go. We really enjoyed our time there, we spent time with my aunts and uncles, and my Uncle Jim took the boys out in his truck for 2 or 3 hours and showed them all kinds of things, and took them rock hunting. The kids got to watch Uncle Jim use his machine to polish a piece of rhodonite that is shaped like a heart, and make a necklace out of it for me. My Uncle Leon made me a beautiful bird house which will sit on a post made from part of a slender tree trunk. We also went to Torch Lake, where I spent just about every weekend with my family during my younger years, so that my kids could have one last time swimming there.

Wednesday, we left to begin our trip to Albuquerque. We stopped in Holland MI to see my Aunt Carol and went to the Lake MI beach and supper with her. That was so fun! After that, we spent the night in Portage, IN, which is just outside of Gary, IN.

Then it was on through IL., on our way to St. Louis, MO, where we spent the night at the Hampton Inn, which was a lovely gift from my cousin Anne. She met us there the next day and took us to the arch, where we went through the museum, and then went to the top of the arch, as well. We had an early dinner together at a very good BBQ restaurant, and then after our goodbyes, the boys and I headed for Republic, MO, where we spent one night and then spent a couple hours the next morning with my cousin Ed and his lovely wife Demara.

After Republic, we headed for Owasso, OK, which is right outside of Tulsa, and spent the night with an old friend and his wife, Chip & Sheila. Had a wonderful time with them, the boys LOVED their pool, LOL! Wen we left there the next morning, it was to head through Oklahoma City, where we met up for a late lunch with a friend from a Christian Unschoolers yahoo group. That was fun, we’d never met “in person”, only online. We met at a cool place called City Bites, good subs for the kids, and a good salad for me. It was wonderful meeting Deanna, she is as nice in person as she seemed to be online. :-).

From there, we headed to Amarillo, TX for our very last night on the road, where we found a lovely surprise. Our room at the Super 8 was a SUITE, for less than the cost of the little room we had in the Super 8 in Portage, IN! The lady at the desk said it was the only Super 8 like this in the whole country, and the only reason we were there was because the one my husband had stayed in in Amarillo was full up, LOL! It was very nice, and for once we didn’t need to use the inflatable sleeping bags for the twins! 🙂

Our last day on the road, we decided to take our time, as we needed to wait to arrive until after Mike got out of work, because I did not yet have keys to the house. I forgot that we’d be crossing into an earlier time zone again when we crossed into NM, so when I realized we were now an hour earlier, I decided to kill time by finding somewhere for a late lunch. We got off of the expressway and found a nice little diner on historic Route 66, In Santa Rosa, NM. The food was very good, and plentiful, too. Even on the little kids menu the portions were good size, and there was a taco meal on the kiddie menu as well, which was something new for our kids. They loved the place, especially the decor, very much what would make you think of Route 66. Everything was freshly made, even the salsa for the chips they brought us was homemade, and excellent!

After that, we headed to Albuquerque, and my introduction was driving on I40 through the city during rush hour. Not very fun at all! We arrived at our new home about 10 minutes before Mike got there from work.

We love the home we’re renting. We will rent for at least the next couple of years before even thinking about purchasing a house again, so it was important to find a house that was right for us. We homeschool, so five of us are here even during the day, so we need space to be in. It’s all on one floor, which is nice, and there is plenty of space for people to spread out and be alone when they need or want to. It has a very open floor plan, which is also quite nice, makes it seem so spacious! We have a good size main bathroom, and also a master suite, with our own full bath and large walk in closet!

We got involved right away with a local unschoolers group, and have attended every park day since the second week we were here. The boys really like the other kids in the group, and I like the other moms.

I am still working on finishing the unpacking, and we need to buy a freezer, some bookshelves, some storage shelves for the garage, and furniture for the front living/dining room, but things are coming along! Now, if I can just get used to the much higher altitude here, that will go a long way toward helping me have the energy to get it all done!

My PLAN is to try to write something here a minimum of once a week, maybe more often if I have anything of any interest to write about. I’m hoping that getting used to this new life, and homeschooling, etc, will be plenty interesting, and that I’ll actually remember to get on here and write about our life!

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Filed under Birthdays, family, Kids, Travel

Getting closer!

Well, for all of my thinking about how it would be too long of a wait between my last consult when I received my surgery date and the actual date, it’s suddenly almost here! Of course, it was a long time to have to maintain the 20.2 pound weight loss, and of course I was not able to do it, so now I’m working on getting the last of it back off. My surgery is the 27th, with my weigh in on the 26th, and I’ve got 6.1 pounds to go, but I think it’ll be fine. I had more than that to lose a little over a week before my scheduling date and did it. All fast food is out of my life, and I’m buying a Ninja blender from Sam’s as soon as I can afford it, so I can make my own slurpees with my Crystal Light and protein powder. I like the Ninja because it’s not too large, and has several different functions. The one I will use for this crushes and shaves ice.

So, this past Monday was my oldest son’s birthday party. His actual birthday is on the 13th, but there was a museum exhibit he wanted to go to during his party which ends this Sunday, so we just did the party early.  For his party food, he chose chili dogs, chips, koolaid, and the chocolate/peanut butter cake for which I was a finalist in the Flint Journal Bake Off in 1995 (I think it was that year!). I pre-planned for myself so as not t self sabotage myself. I bought a Dole Salad Kit, & some individual sugar free jello cups. I determined ahead of time that I would have one chili dog, no chips, no cake or ice cream. Instead, with my one chili dog, I had salad, water, and for dessert I had my sugar free jello. And The following night when the kids wanted cake for dessert, I again did not have any. Yesterday was MY birthday, and I went to lunch at Olive Garden, where I had water with lemon, a stuffed mushroom appetizer, and the soup & salad special. No dessert. I asked Mike (my husband) if he and the kids would just please finish up the cake after their lunch while I was gone, though, because otherwise I might well have given in to temptation.  They had Dijourno’s Pizza for supper, and I had a salad with pecans & multiple kinds of berries in it. So really, two birthdays, and I did great, I think.

Today I ordered part of the protein powder I will need for the week before surgery (when I will be on clear liquid diet only, with protein powder for the first part of the week), and the month or so after, from unjury.com. I ordered the unflavored so I could use it in anything. I will have to order more, but couldn’t afford (today) to order all that  I will need. I ordered 4 cannisters, and will need at least 8 or 10 before being back on regular foods completely. I will need to take in at least 80 grams of protein per day.

I’m also re-reading the binder full of information I was given at the first meeting I went to about the surgery. Every time I read it I see something I missed the first time, so it’s a good thing to do.

Now that the actual date of surgery is so close, i’m feeling excited about it, and nervous about it, too. I’m not looking forward to that week before surgery, but I’m so looking forward to after!

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Filed under Birthdays, health, weight loss

Busy Day

Tomorrow (Saturday May 8), my twins are having their birthday party, the first one since they’ve been with us, because they hadn’t yet been placed with us for adoption at this time last year, so I did my grocery shopping today, which means the only shopping tomorrow will be to pick up their Disney Cars theme cake from Kroger (they make a very good cake, and all our boys have been able to find any theme they really wanted in the book at the Kroger bakery).  Their birthday was actually a week ago, but the friends with whom we always have our children’s parties could not be here last week, so we’re having it tomorrow instead. I just finished printing coloring pages of all the main characters from the Cars movie for all the kids to do tomorrow, plus business card size Lightning McQueen for them to use for the “pin the Lightning McQueen on the Mater” game.  The weather isn’t very dry, so instead of playing outside we’ll do the game, coloring pages, and we’ll play the Cars movie. My husband will be cooking burgers and hot dogs on the grill though, he usually puts the grill under the carport.  I think they’ll have fun, I got Cars theme decorations, tableware, & favor boxes with Cars theme things to put in them.

On another note, while shopping today I bought a pedometer and a small food scale, to go with the Complete Food Count book I bought the other day, so I’m ready now to get going on my food and exercise log that I have to keep for my bariatric program. My blood sugar levels have been much better lately, and I’ve found an online source (thanks, Leslie!) for protein powder that allows you to order samples of the different flavors, it’s http://www.unjury.com, so I’ll be doing that too, probably this weekend.  I’m going to check out the library for some exercise DVD’s that will make exercising fun, too, because I’ll be much more likely to actually do the exercise then.

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Filed under adoption, Birthdays, family, health, Kids, weight loss