Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chaos at Night

Yesterday, about the time I would normally post chaos broke out in my house. Our kitchen sink backed up and overflowed. Katelyn and I cleaned up the mess. It's nice to have a daughter that helps out as soon as she realizes help would be nice. I took a look under the sink and quickly realized I would need to call a plumber. It was pretty cool because I didn't know if a plumber would come so late at night-- but they do and the sink is fixed now. Food had gotten stuck in the pipe after it left the garbage disposal and it expanded until the seals burst. In the midst of this Bryn couldn't find her basketball uniform and had a major meltdown. The kind where she becomes an immovable, crying rock. She finally left her "gluey spot" and went to bed. She found it this morning right away. The nice thing about yesterday is only last night was hard-- it was actually a really good day. The kids liked another meal I liked even though it had a crazy name: goulash. I got a lot done at school-- I was even able to squeeze in some tutoring during my conference period. I got a normal pay check again this month. I'm looking forward to Valentine's Day. I'm taking the two single girls in my life, Jadyn and Bryn to two dances. The first one is the weekend before Valentine's and is a daddy-daughter dance at the Arlington Convention Center. Tomorrow I'm going to a friend's house to pick out dresses that their daughters have outgrown. Then I will take them both to the Valentine's Day Dance at my school which is an annual tradition. Jadyn will even have a Valentine at the dance. There is a guy and girl teacher at my school who are married and have a son named Cody that is in the same grade at Jadyn's school. Jadyn and Cody love being with each other and his parents and I have joked about them getting married some day. Yes, I will post pictures of both dances.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Good Very Bad Day

Today has been pretty much been a horrible day. Life has been pretty good lately. I feel like the kids and I have settled into a routine and there is not a day that goes by that I don't feel blessed beyond measure. The level of support, love, and compassion people have for us has been incredible. My kids are awesome and Jessica's family is just as much my family as when she was living. Therefore, I still felt blessed today even while feeling miserable.

It really started with yesterday. Someone gave me the idea of turning Jessica's pjs into pillow cases for the girls. I had already given away Jessica's clothes and shoes which is something I know she would have wanted. However, I have not been able to even open her drawers that have her socks, underwear, pjs, etc. Yesterday, I finally worked up the courage to go through them, but when I opened them up they were completely empty. I didn't remember going through them-- I must have done it in those days that were pretty much a fog after Jess passed away. On the plus side, I do still have a few of her coats that were in the hall closet. Then, I woke up this morning with a text saying that Sharon Whitt had passed away early this morning Sharon was a dear friend of our family and especially close to Jess-- Sharon lost her life to cancer too. As you know today marks three months since Jess passed away and passing away on the 29th is something Jess and Sharon will forever share.

I appreciate your prayers and God bless.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Nice Day Off

It was super nice having a day off. I fixed a couple of things around the house, straightened stuff up, went grocery shopping in the afternoon, and also tried to be lazy. I didn't do too well on the last one as the Yikes squabbled all day and I had to do some policing, but any day where you can stay in your pjs until noon is a fine day indeed.

Bryn said the cutest thing just now as I told her two things to dream about. I told her that she could dream about having a tea party with her favorite Disney character or going to Disney world. She paused for just a moment, tilted her head and said, "That's very Disneyish."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Woo-Hoo No School

I am super excited tonight because school is cancelled due to the icy weather. I woke KK up to tell her she could turn off her alarm and sleep in tomorrow. Her enthusiasm was only hampered by the fact that it was ice instead of snow that caused the closing. I told my Aunt Sandy that we would have coffee in the morning if school was closed and now I'm glad we get to do that. It has been hard to stay in touch with Jessa's friends and family as much as I'd like to because Jessica was the one they called to talk to. Heck even my friends would call and ask Jess for advice on stuff. It will be three months on Thursday from Jessa's passing, I wonder if I'll ever look at the end of the month and not think that? Anyway you can start praying for me now as I know that will be a hard day. The Yikes and I start grief support that day at Gilda's which may help.

As for my grandma, Betty Mcnutt, I copied and pasted the email I got from Ken, her husband.

Dear Friends:

I am sorry that I have not got back quicker on updating on Betty's heart valve replacement. I have been busy in traveling back and forth to Harris Hospital in Fort Worth and spending time with Betty.

Her operation was last Wednesday. It lasted about 4 hours and she was in recovery overnight. She remains in Intensive Care.

She was making good progress until yesterday when she developed severe pains in her right side. It has been diagnosed as Gallbladder infection which, for some reason, sometimes follows heart surgery. They are fighting it with antibiotics. Hopefully it will respond, but if it does not she will have to have her Gallbladder removed.

She is in good spirits, thinking positive, and anxious to get home.

I don't have any idea when she will be released.

We want to thank all of you for your concerns and prayers.

Ken McNutt

Monday, January 26, 2009

Back to Gilda's

I think we have a new favorite family meal-- chicken with yellow rice. It took less than ten minutes to make and everyone got seconds. I also got a cookbook from my friend Kim which is pretty cool because she collected recipes from friends and bound it together for me. The greatest thing is that it says who the recipe is from so I can know who to thank or blame for how it turns out.

I'm still straightening out medical bills. It's hard because a lot of times there billed wrong and a lot of the medical offices close at 4:30. Still just this month I've paid off three hospitals and the ambulance rides. One of the hospital ones felt great-- I was billed for $1500 but it should have been $500 and it felt great to not to have to pay the extra thousand. I was taking out the max out of my paycheck to go into a medical account and so far I've been able to pay everyone from that.

Gilda's Club called me today which was super nice. There is a grief support on Thursdays that Jadyn and Bryn will be able to go to. They will have to make an exception for me to go to a grief support program at the same time because they are already in the middle of the materials. I'll stay them on Thursdays regardless, but please pray I get in. I told Jadyn and Bryn about it and Jadyn was super excited. When I told her that it was for kids that had lost someone they loved. She said, "I lost someone I loved" pause "And she had cancer!" The Yikes were helped a lot by Gilda's before and I'm hoping that they'll get the same support in the next leg of their journey.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rocking it Out

Tonight we went over to my friend Kyle's house. Kyle and I have gone through the same journey. His first wife, Melissa, passed away from cancer. It's been almost four years now that Kyle called me up a few weeks after I found out Jess had cancer and also a few weeks after his wife passed away. He has helped me in my journey with dealing with cancer. It was cool because I got to talk to his wife, Tiffany, while Kyle did grill repairs. Kyle's girls are the same age as Jadyn and Bryn and watching Tiffany with their girls made me aware of how much they will need a mom (Katelyn too). Of course I'm not ready for that yet_ but it did give me hope for the future. After dinner (Kyle got the grill fixed), Katelyn and we grown-ups played Rock Band. That game is so much fun, and we had a great time over there. It's good to have friends like them. Kyle and I talked about doing a Daddy-Daughter dance through the city of Arlington with our girls the weekend before Valentine's Day. It's a little bit pricey but I think the Yikes will really like it, and Jess always wanted me to do it. By the way, I forgot to mention KK got all A's again-- she got her report card Friday. I'm going to look into going to grief support at Gilda's during the interim waiting for our appointment with the Warm Place. Betty McNutt is doing well-- she's walking and there was talk of moving her out of ICU today.

Talent Show Pictures

Bryn and I dressed up to do "Itty Bitty"

Jadyn doing "Hop Around the Clock" with her friends

I had an incredibly fun time doing the "Itty Bitty" with Bryn and the other dads and daughters. I didn't find everything I needed at the store for Jadyn, but a few of the moms helped me out. She ended up looking very pretty. I was proud of Jadyn too as her dance with her friends had a lot of moves. If blogger cooperates I'll post a couple of pictures I took with my phone tomorrow. After the talent show today I went to a memorial service for the husband of one of my friends from Gilda's Club. We are still a family even though I have only been once since Jess passed, and it was great seeing some of the other members supporting our friend there. This afternoon Jadyn had a basketball game. Tonight I had a soccer game (which we won) and KK went to a dance.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Eating Breakfast

I just got a text from my Aunt Jacque. She said Betty was in a recliner and eating breakfast. I'll continue to keep you posted here.

Last night Katelyn's school played mine in basketball. The winners were the girls' teams from Boles and the boys' teams from Young. My cousin Corbin plays for the boys at Boles and although he played a magnifent game, I'm glad he lost because I he would have been constantly reminding me who won this year's rivalry.

The girls talent show is this weekend which for me meant going to Walmart and Target last night trying to find stuff they need for it or already had but now lost. Bryn and I are still practicing our moves for the daddy-daughter dance for "Itty Bitty.". I'm excited the talent show tomorrow morning- it should be another good one this year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Betty Update

The heart surgery for my grandma, Betty McNutt, went well. They replaced her heart valve with a mechanical one. I took the kids up to see her tonight, but we didn't get to see her. We showed up during the hour and half they don't allow visitors at night and they didn't allow children under 12. Given a choice between seeing her and the surgery going well, I'll take the surgery going well. Her health is still a concern, but a big praise for her being able to have the surgery and it being successful.

I had a great time in Philly. I spent six years of my childhood there but I haven't been back since college. Some things like how good soft pretzels and cheese steaks taste haven't changed. Other things were different like the rebuilt elementary school I went to. The snow was absolutely beautiful-- I miss it already. The best thing was the people I got to see: friends and family-- I appreciate people opening up their homes for me to stay in.

Betty Jean McNutt's surgery

My grandma's heart surgery is scheduled for 11 AM today. Details to follow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Philly Again

I really enjoyed the snow today- that is until I realized that the weather was going to delay my flight by two hours That meant I would not be able to make it to Houston in time to make the last flight to Dallas. The worst thing was that we are not going to be able to go to The Warm Place in the morning for our intake meeting. When I called to reschedule, the soonest appointment was March 17th. I don't have much of an update on Betty except that I know they were running tests today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

betty update

Just a quick note for an update on Betty McNut, my grandma. They're not sure if she is healthy enough to have heart surgery. Please pray that she is.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So far this trip has been everything I hoped it would be. I'm staying with my Uncle Jeff and Aunt Sue and they have three boys. My stepmom and sister Hannah also are here as they are on their way back to Maryland from visiting friends in Ohio. Hannah is probably the gentlest person you will ever meet but I have definitely seen a different side to her playing shoot-em video games with my cousins. It hasn't been as cold as I thought it would be here because it hasn't been that windy and since I love to eat I have definitely enjoyed their well stocked house. I'm enjoying my time without my dad "hat" but I keep thinking I need to bring my girls up here- maybe next time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Long Time Coming

This trip today has been a long time coming. I love my three girls dearly and love spending time with them, yet this weekend is going to be a nice break. The idea of me taking a trip just for me first came up last year around my birthday, but Jess getting sicker made me decide to postpone it. I've already hurdled two potential obstacles: I woke up with my alarm (even at dark o'clock) and I made it safely to the airport. Now all that is left is to get on the plane, think warm thoughts, and enjoy Philly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One Day at a Time

About a month ago, I accidentally knocked the radio dial on my alarm clock to a country station. I kept meaning to turn it back but didn't. I kind of like it now though and don't plan on changing it back-- the songs remind me of stuff going on in my own life and the music is growing on me. This morning the first words I heard some country star singing were "take it slow." Sometimes I wish I could hurry up and get my life back in order, but it has definitely been one piece at a time for me. My Aunt Jacque sometimes sends me a text that reminds me to breathe. It's funny because every time she sends it I realize I'm holding my breath stressing out over something and so I just let it out and relax. I realize that today has enough trouble of its own, so why focus on what I can't do yet? I like taking one day at a time. I can relate to a lot of Jeremy Camp's early songs when he lost his wife to cancer and I like what he says in his song," One Day at a Time":
One day at a time I will walk this road I've traveled so far
One day at a time well I know I will carry on
One day at a time I can see you took my life this far
One day at a time I will take this faith along

All this hope I breathe is given by the hand that carries me
Until I'm complete and I'll take all I will
To understand this plan you have for me, for me

I've been shut up shut down held out held down
In ways I never knew I would
But I can feel your fullness in my life
Well I've been burned out broken torn out torn down
In ways I never knew I would
But I can feel your fullness in my life

one day at a time

One day at a time I will take these words you've given me
One day at a time I will rest in knowing you
One day at a time I will share this gift you've given me
One day at a time I will walk these valleys through

And all I know is that I see
How much my heart is longing to be cradled by your side
Yeah, I'll give all I can
To one day soon be held by your hand, by your hand


In all these things I will press on, yeah
I'll be with you I know it won't be long

[Chorus Repeats]

Goodnight to you all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

If I Follow Your Advice, No More Messed up Rice!

Thanks for your comments-- I never knew there were so many ways to make rice! I have no excuse now if my rice comes out soggy or crunchy. I had staff training after school and our home group (bible study) tonight so we ate out tonight at Boston Market. This time we're doing the book Boundaries which I think is going to have an impact on all of us. Bryn had another nightmare last night and I found her snuggled up to me in the morning. Jadyn woke up early and wanted to snuggle between us at about 5:30. That lasted all of ten minutes because she is such a wiggle worm. Next week, we start the Warm Place. This week my kiddos at school are taking exams-- its been a great semester at school. I truly teach at a great school because of who works there and the kids that go to school there. I'm heading to bed-- I've been tired lately but sleeping a lot better.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Worn Out

I tried to make rice again with the Sweet and Sour Chicken I made this time, but there was a lot of water left and it came out soggy. The chicken part tasted really good though. If making rice is going to be like watering plants I might as well give up now as I've killed every plant I've ever gotten by over/under-watering it. I knew I would have a busy week going into it but I didn't anticipate how much it was going to wear me out. Tomorrow we are eating out. It's not even ten yet but I am super sleepy, so I'm going to bed. Right now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Easy Chicken

I made another meal tonight-- woo-hoo! It was called Easy Teriyaki Chicken which recipe I like much better than Super Complicated and Time Consuming Teriyaki Chicken which I hear is quite tasty if you have the time and patience to make it. Easy Teriyaki Chicken tasted good but next time I'm cooking the rice longer because it was a little bit crunchy. I actually wrote out the meals through Thursday on the calendar. It makes it nice because now the girls no longer have to ask what's for dinner-- they can just look on the calendar. Well they'll be able to do that at least when I make something they already know what is like hamburgers. We've got a jam-packed week and then off to Philly for me. Jessica would be be so proud of me because I actually wrote out the schedule for the Yikes this weekend and I bought travel size stuff for me. Simple things yet things I've never done. Bring on the trip.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Show You Care

Awhile ago Jadyn's Girl Scout troup gave toys to Mission Arlington's Christmas store. It's a pretty cool thing because struggling families can shop for presents without having to pay for any of it. Jadyn gave one of her own Christmas presents to give so I told her I would buy her something later. Today Jadyn picked out what she wanted a Care Bear named Pink Power Bear that has the breast cancer symbol on its belly. Jadyn was confused by the bracelet that came with it however. The bracelet says, "Show You Care." She wanted to know why she should care about breast cancer. Why should she like breast cancer? When I told her that we should care about people who have breast cancer she got super excited. "You mean this bear represents mom?". she asked. When I said yes (thinking to myself that "represents" is a word I didn't think she knew) she was really happy.

The Yikes did a great job of playing basketball today. Jadyn's best play was slapping the ball out of the hands of a girl on the other team and then making a basket. Bryn had practice at the Y and almost made a basket.

We went massive grocery shopping tonight. Actually it would have been normal for any other family, but I only normally only pick up a few things at the grocery store. We were at Target so I got some clothes that the Yikes needed and filled up the rest of our cart with food.Jadyn looked at all the food and asked if I had enough money to pay for it. Actually I had some gift cards to Target but I still found the question funny. A big thank you goes to Kari who has bought our groceries up to this point.

Next Weekend

What a difference one word makes-- I've already gone back and corrected it but I should have said "next" weekend instead of "this" in my last post. I'm leaving next weekend on my trip not this one. It may have just been wishful thinking on my part!

I made Chicken Florentine last night. KK was at a basketball tournament, so it was just me and the Yikes at dinner. Bryn I think had the best comment about it, "Dad, it looks kind of gross, but it tastes good." Both the Yikes are it.

Jadyn has her first basketball game today. Her team is called the Shooting Stars and this year they have stars on their basketball socks. Bryn has her first basketball practice today. I don't know the name of her team yet, but I'm sure it's something that will strike fear into the hearts of her opponents.

I fell asleep last night in my clothes last night and didn't post; I think I need to shoot for posting earlier :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Looking Forward to the Weekend

For once this week I am looking forward to tomorrow. I had benchmark testing this morning in preparation for the kids taking the TAKS test, staff training after school, and now I am just plumb wore out. All three girls have basketball stuff going on this weekend but that's about it. I am may not be much of a planner but I am planning on relaxing this weekend. Bryn slept through the night last night, but fell asleep before 8:30 in our living room chair so I didn't get a chance to tell her two things to dream about. She was super sweet about me taking my trip next weekend. She asked me who was going to tell her two things to dream about. I told her that someone else could do that when I'm gone, but she said no one else could come up with such good things to dream about. I guess she doesn't realize two things: 1. I will still talk to her while I'm away-- that's what phones are for
2. this week I have been using ideas from other people for her dreams. I'm going to have a great time on my trip I'm sure of it, but I will definitely miss my girls. I think the last time I was gone from them was when Jess was stuck in California and I flew out to be with her.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Made it Through the Day

Woke up this morning. Saw Bryn was in my bed. Thought about how she was doing so well. Prayed she'd do better tonight. Prayed that I'd remember to tell her two things. Carried Bryn into the kitchen. Walked into Jadyn's room. Heard her alarm going off. Wondered how she slept through it. Carried Jadyn into the kitchen. Fixed them breakfast. Fixed myself breakfast. Put the breakfast stuff away. Thought about how Bryn couldn't find a pair of pants to wear yesterday. Answered the phone. Looked at a text on my cell phone. Looked at the medical update on my phone. Prayed for me friend that had the medical update. Prayed for her family. Took a shower. Answered questions from Bryn while in the shower. Answered questions from Jadyn while in the shower. Got dressed. Answered the door bell. Saw that someone had tp'd our house. Prayed the police would catch them next time. Saw it was my friend Al at the door. Listened to him offer to clean up the tp-ing. Thanked God for Al. Signed Jadyn's folder. Signed Bryn's folder (I hope I did at least). Grabbed a hot pocket for lunch. Said good-bye to Katelyn. Dropped the Yikes off. Drove to my school. Did before school duty. Stopped kids from going inside and wandering the halls. Chased a kid down that said she was just needed to use the restroom and then bolted upstairs. Told her she had to go back outside. Told more kids they couldn't go inside. Let the one kid with a pass inside. Opened the door for the kids. Avoided the stampede of kids. Checked my box. Told kids where to put their project that was due today. Listened to a teacher tell me to remember to pack underwear for my trip. Laughed. Thanked God for colleagues that care about me. Ran off copies of the quiz. Went to team meeting. Talked about student of the month. Ran off copies. Entered grades. Planned lessons. Read emails from parents. Emailed parents. Emailed the principal. Went to a classroom to check if a student had actually done the work he was supposed to. Went to OCS to tell a kid to do his work. Saw he had his head down when I got there. Talked to him. Noticed he had his head up when I left. Started class. Told the kids to put their their heading on the paper. Told them again to do the same thing. Told them to put the title on the paper. Told them again. Looked at students paying attention. Looked at students not paying attention and their bank papers. Played a CD of Anne Frank. Talked about what they had listened to. Told them to draw pictures of what they had listened to. Noticed that class was almost over. Thanked God for great kids this year. Taught more classes. Went to lunch. Called my sister Sarah to wish her a happy birthday. Taught more classes. Talked to students after school. Entered grades. Went to the bank. Went to pick the Yikes up. Thanked the Yikes for drawing me pictures. Went home. Got a ladder and finished cleaning up the toilet paper. Fixed a gutter. Made tortillas with the girls. Wondered if they would ever look like my moms. Ate them anyway. Thought they tasted great. Watched the girls eat them. Ate dinner. Cleaned up. Did homework with Bryn. Did homework with Jadyn. Read the Yikes a good night story. Told Bryn two things to dream about. Called family in Portland, Oregon. Got on Facebook. Said "hi" to KK when she came in from her basketball game tonight. Listened to her talk super fast because she was super excited from being with her friends. Posted on the blog. Whew. There's one part in the movie Marley and Me where that dad talks like that and it reminded me of my day today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No Nightmares for Bryn

No nightmares again for Bryn last night-- tonight was the first night she didn't ask for two things to dream about-- she may ask tomorrow (and I of course will tell her two things) but I see that is a good sign that she wasn't dreading going to bed. I appreciate your prayers for her.

Thanks for the suggestions for things to cook-- several people put down potatoes so I'm going to pick up a bag of them and give it a shot. Tomorrow night I plan on making tacos with homemade tortillas-- I think if I can get the thickness right they'll end up tasting good.

I'm taking a trip soon just for myself. I do a ton of stuff with my girls but this time they'll have to have fun without me. They're staying with friends so they're just excited as I am about me going. They also think I'll bring them back something... and they're right. Jess was the list person in our family who made sure we packed everything we were supposed to. You can post things you think I'll forget in the comments.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I should ask for help more often-- there were a ton of great ideas for Bryn to sleep well posted under comments. Tonight I gave her a choice of dreaming about making a dessert or flying on a magic carpet ride. I also appreciate your prayers-- they help too.

I had a good first day back, but today was a rainy, cold day. Kind of gloomy. The Yikes had fun pulling off icicles and eating them though.

Bryn asked me yesterday what she should do with a bag. I asked her what was in it. She looked in it, looked up at me, then stuck her whole head in it and her muffled voice answered my question with, "my head." She cracks me up.

You did such a good job with ideas for Bryn's dreams that I thought I try another one-- easy to make dinners that kids will eat.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back to School Tomorow

I think this may have been the fastest Christmas break ever. I had planned on writing all of the questions for a bible study I'm leading in our home group over the break, but it didn't happen. Since we didn't go to church because of our sick Bryn (she's feeling better now)I spent the day furiously reading and typing and I've at least got the first month down now. Over the break, I had a great time with my girls-- I am going to miss not seeing them the whole day tomorrow.

I don't feel ready to go back tomorrow. The great thing is my kids at school are awesome this year though so I'll probably have a great day. We're also reading the play Anne Frank which the kids also get into every year which makes it easy to teach.

Bryn is still having nightmares. She crawls into my bed most nights. Every night I give her two things to dream about which at least calms her fears about going to bed. I've said unicorns, care bears, rainbows, princesses, snow men, Rudolph, dolphins, castles, and friends. Any other ideas?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Exciting trip To Friends' House

Sorry for not posting yesterday-- no big reason-- just didn't get to it.

Yesterday, some of KK's friends came over accompanied by one of their big sisters. They brought gifts for the Yikes which they very much appreciated. Then, we all had the biggest marker fight to date with whiteboard markers which could be best described as... colorful.

Tonight we were planning on spending the evening with friends, but Bryn's tummy had other plans. She threw up. Thankfully Bill and Tricia are the sort of friends that treat such happenings as no big deal and as of writing this we haven't yet been banned from their house. Jadyn is going to stay there for a bit, but the rest of us are watching The Parent Trap at home now.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Jam Packed January

I was looking at the calendar for the month at it is already pretty full. We go to our intake meeting for the Warm Place on the 20th. The Warm Place is grief support for people who have lost a loved one. Jadyn and Bryn's basketball seasons are starting and KK's basketball season doesn't end to the end of the month. I'm planning a trip this month just for me. Jadyn is in Brownies and the Yikes will both be getting ready for the talent show. Whew.

KK and I watched Billy Madison last night together after midnight. I think we talked and laughed our way through the whole movie. She is a lot of fun to be around. Tonight we're going to do the same thing with Happy Gilmore.

I hope you have a Happy New Year.