Friday, August 24, 2007

When did they get so big?

Seriously. Today I am struck by the fact that suddenly I am parenting two big kids. It's so weird. In my head they are still babies. In reality they are walking, talking, capable little beings. It's just amazing.

Ian spoke his first sentence yesterday. He said "Hello Anna". Well, he didn't say it as much as he yelled it out the window at our neighbor. Simple I know. But significant. In just a few more months he'll be chatting away with Gracie about who knows what. They will be able to have conversations that won't include me. That's just an amazing thought.

The two of them have been playing together a lot more lately. Gracie has decided that Ian is a suitable playmate for the most part, although she still occasionally tells me she wants me to give him back and get her a sister instead. She doesn't realize that siblings are siblings no matter what their gender. I have both a brother and a sister and they annoyed me equally when we were growing up. Actually...... they still annoy me equally!

Gracie is in the middle of her second class at the rec center. This class is a "princess" class. This class of all girls gets together to color pictures of ponies and rainbows, dance with ribbons, and make bejeweled purses and crowns. It's so stinking cute, really! The first week she insisted on wearing one of my dresses I wore when I was a flower girl in my aunt Judy and uncle Bill's wedding. She was the only kid that came all decked out in full princess apparel. The other little girls looked at her with awe, like they were in the presence of a real princess. It was so funny. Yesterday she settled on wearing a dress I bought on clearance after Easter last year. It just fits her now and it looked very nice. Again she was the only girl dressed up! Next week they were all told to wear their princess dresses and they are going to have a tea party. I am going to hit a couple Good Will stores this week to see if we can find something superbly fancy, maybe something with sequins and feathers..............

We also have Gracie signed up for a soccer team for the month of September. I am going to be coaching. It should be fun! Originally I had her signed up to play on Saturday mornings, but then I got the roster and there was a fairly big problem. Gracie was the only girl on the team. Now, if she were older I wouldn't mind that, after all I was one of only two girls in the boys baseball league when I was growing up. I didn't care at all! But for this very first venture into team sports I would like her to play with boys and girls. So I contacted the organizer and said I really needed him to either add girls to our team or to switch me to another team. So we were switched. She also starts swimming lessons the end of September and we will all be taking Music Together classes again this fall. So our schedule is going to be fairly busy.

I have been thinking about getting a little part-time job. I'm kind of torn on what to do. Part of me really wants to get out of the house and do something that requires interacting with other adults. The problem with that is it would require giving up at least one weekend day because I have to work when James can be home, otherwise it's pretty pointless. I don't want to give up weekend time though. The other option is in-home childcare again. Which I honestly don't really want to do either. Especially with how busy our calendar is becoming. I want Gracie to be able to take whatever classes she wants to without having to worry about being home for someone to be dropped off or picked up. I'm weighing my options and seeing what opens up.

So that's the scoop around here. I hope you all have a great weekend. We are going to do a whole lot of nothing I think. It's suppose to be in the mid to high 90's all weekend. That sounds like lay around in the air conditioning weather to me!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another vaccine alert.

From the start this HPV (it is NOT a cancer) vaccine has been really freaky, it's been highly reactive in the short time it's been on the market. I just don't understand how the medical community shrugs this off. I really don't.

HPV Vaccine and Greater Risk of Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) has issued a new report on risks associated with the HPV vaccine Gardasil. Analyzing adverse events reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), an association between Gardasil and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) was found. A statistically significant increased risk of GBS (and other serious adverse events) were noted when Gardasil is co-administered with other vaccines, especially the meningococcal vaccine Menactra.

GBS is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system, and can cause total paralysis. "Our analysis of Gardasil reports to VAERS indicates there was a two to 12 times greater likelihood that serious adverse events, such as GBS, were reported when Gardasil was given in combination with Menactra rather than given alone," said Vicky Debold, PhD, RN, NVIC director of patient safety. "Accepted scientific standards indicate that these findings are statistically significant and cannot be dismissed as coincidence. In particular, the available VAERS data show there was a more than 1,000 percent increased risk of GBS reports following Gardasil administration when Menactra was given at the same time."

On February 21, 2007 NVIC had expressed concern about the safety of administering Gardasil simultaneously with other vaccines because the manufacturer (Merck), the FDA and the CDC had not provided evidence to the public that co-administration was safe. (1) On March 12, the CDC published recommendations for Gardasil use that acknowledged a lack of evidence that Gardasil can be safely administered with other vaccines, while still encouraging physicians to co-administer Menactra and other vaccines with Gardasil based on assumption of safety. (2)

NVIC is calling on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to issue an Advisory and amend its March 12 policy by alerting the public that Gardasil has been associated with 15 cases of GBS and an increased risk of GBS and other serious adverse event reports made to VAERS when the vaccine is administered simultaneously with Menactra and other vaccines. "The precautionary principle dictates that good science should precede CDC vaccine policy recommendations," said Barbara Loe Fisher, NVIC co-founder and president. "Parents have a right to expect proof of safety and not assumption of safety before new vaccines, like Gardasil, are given simultaneously with other vaccines to their children.

To view a copy of NVIC's report on HPV vaccine (Gardasil) safety, go to To report a vaccine reaction, go to
1) Vaccine Safety Group Releases Gardasil Report: Calls on FDA and CDC to Warn Doctors and Parents to Report to VAERS, February 21, 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Early Release 2007; 56 March 12, 2007:1-24. SOURCE: National Vaccine Information Center

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pictures, and lots of them.

I actually had more but the photo card and computer are acting up so I will have to do more later if it will all work.

Anyway, in no particular order (I'm afraid to try to move things around!)

Here we are at the Douglas County Fair:

Here's a beautiful rainbow that appeared right as we got to the fair. We were getting ready to go in to watch the rodeo. It was so huge and so bright, the picture doesn't do it justice at all!
Here's Ian sleeping, which isn't all that remarkable except that I had moved him from the car to the couch. This is something that NEVER happens. My kids don't stay asleep when I move them. Since it happened this once I had to get photographic evidence!
Here's Chris when he came to visit for a little while before he took James off to the Cubs game. I figured I'd show you what he looks like when he isn't hidden behind a bush!
The next few are from our camping trip. The first couple are from the very top of the mountains. We took a 4x4 road up from our campsite. It took us about an hour to get to the end of the road which was a uranium mine!! It was very cool. If we didn't have kids with us we could have easily hiked to the crest of the mountains there. It was so beautiful!

This is the view back down from the top. We were camping wayyyy down in the valley there.

These last few are just of our campsite. We went with our friends Desiree and Adam and their 3 littles; Spencer, Sophia, and Claire. It was so fun to camp with friends. The kids were occupied the entire 2 days and had a blast! The creek in the photos ran behind our campsite. It was a great sound to fall asleep to! We stayed at a small camp ground in the Pike National Forest. It was remote, but not really remote enough. The first night we didn't have anyone around us which was great, but the second night we had a couple people close to us. I think next time we will look for somewhere even further off the beaten path. When I camp I like to pretend no one else in the whole world exists.......

Monday, August 20, 2007

Interesting information on the vaccination front. I really hope that Congress does the study comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. I think that it will really help bring things to light about mainstream medicine in general.

Stunning New Survey Findings

A recently released survey indicates a strong correlation between rates of neurological disorders, such as ADHD and autism, and childhood vaccinations. The survey, commissioned by Generation Rescue compared vaccinated and unvaccinated children in nine counties in Oregon and California. Among more than 9,000 boys age 4-17, the survey found vaccinated boys were two and a half times (155%) more likely to have neurological disorders compared to their unvaccinated peers. Vaccinated boys were 224% more likely to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and 61% more likely to have autism.

For older vaccinated boys in the 11-17 age bracket, the results were even more pronounced. Vaccinated boys were 158% more likely to have a neurological disorder, 317% more likely to have ADHD, and 112% more likely to have autism. Complete survey results are available at Generation Rescue commissioned the phone survey. Data was gathered by SurveyUSA, a national market research firm, which surveyed parents by phone on more than 17,000 children, ages 4-17, in five counties in California (San Diego, Sonoma, Orange, Sacramento, and Marin) and four counties in Oregon (Multnomah, Marion, Jackson, and Lane).

The survey asked parents whether their child had been vaccinated, and whether that child had one or more of the following diagnoses: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), or Autism. The phone survey was chosen to mirror the methodology the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses to establish national prevalence for neurological disorders in their national phone survey.

J.B. Handley, co-founder of Generation Rescue, whose son was diagnosed with autism says, "The phone survey isn't perfect, but these numbers point to the need for a comprehensive national study to gather this critical information."

In Washington, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has been advocating for such a survey. Co-sponsored by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the "Comprehensive Comparative Study of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Population Act of 2006," or H.R. 2832, was introduced on June 22, and would require the National Institutes of Health to complete this research. From 1983 to 2007, autism rates have climbed from 1 in 10,000 children to 1 in 150 children, a growth rate of 6,000% (boys are significantly more affected by neurological disorders, accounting for approximately 80% of all cases). ADHD currently affects 1 in 13 children. In the same period, the CDC's recommended vaccine schedule more than tripled. The simmering debate over the cause of childhood neurological disorders shows no sign of cooling, but no study had ever been done to look at unvaccinated children.

Lisa Handley, co-founder of Generation Rescue, adds, "Everyone working with autism wants to identify the cause so we can focus on treatment and prevention. A national study like HR 5940 could help end this debate and focus all of our resources on helping our kids. Its time has come, and we hope Congress will choose to put our children first." Visit for more information and to see complete survey results.

Friday, August 17, 2007

We have been BUSY!!!!

It's been nuts around here. I want to put up pictures but I don't have time today. We are going camping this weekend and are leaving in just a few hours. I think we are pretty ready, but I need to clean the house up a bit!

The last couple weeks have been crazy. James went to see the Rockies play the Cubs on Thursday and Saturday night. Friday night we went to the Douglas County Fair and Rodeo where we watched cowboys do all sorts of cool stuff and the kids rode the rides. Saturday we had a birthday party to attend for one of Gracie's little friends. Monday we went to the Botanical Gardens where we met up with Brandi and Adri and Brandi's nieces. Tuesday Bingo got neutered and we had to drive to the other side of Denver to get it done since I refuse to pay $200 for something when I can get it for $40. Wednesday we met with our mortgage broker and signed papers for our new 30-year fixed mortgage! Yahoo!! Yesterday Gracie had her first princess class at the rec center and today we are headed up to the mountains.


I promise to post pictures when we get back, I'll probably do a few posts of pictures from all the fun stuff we've done.

I hope you all have a great weekend!!!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another blog added to the blog roll!

Prelude to A Book is written by Joe, one of James buddies from high school, and now a husband, dad, and lawyer. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed reading what he has to say! I hope you will go and take a look!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Happy Birthday James Darling!!!!!
You are a wonderful huband and a great daddy!
Here's looking with excitement at what the next 31 years will hold.
I love you!
Chicago at last!!!

While visiting my Chicago we always stay with my dad in Palatine, which is where I grew up. He and Helen have transformed their home and property into a wonderful little oasis and it's a great place to visit. They have a pond with fish and a train that Ian just loved, as well as dogs and cats and a huge's basically a kids paradise! Here are some shots of us hanging out:

Day one in Chicago Gracie and I traveled to the west suburbs to see Kim and Marilyn and new little baby Ben. Kim and I met at LLL when Marilyn was just a couple months old and Gracie was still in my belly. They moved back to Chicago this spring. She's a great mom and a great friend, I miss having her here. We had a great time with them, the girls played and played, Kim and I talked and talked, Ben slept and was so nice.

Day two we ended up going north to Cary to visit with James family. He has an aunt and uncle that live in Cary and a grandpa that lives in Barrington. It's always nice to visit with them when we are in town. We were also lucky that James cousin Emily and her boys were also in town from Vegas for a visit, so we got to see them. We had chicken for lunch and the kids played and the adults talked. It was a very nice visit. The kids loved the piano!

Friday we really didn't do much of anything, we decided to just hang around the house and relax, then we had my reunion dinner on Friday night. It was very nice to see everyone again and I had a great time talking and catching up with everyone. Here's a picture of James and I at the dinner:

The kids gave my dad and Helen a run for their money while we were gone and Ian was still up when we got home at 11:30!!! But everyone survived and James and I went out for the kids bedtime for the first time ever (Well, except when I was in the hospital having Ian. But that wasn't really very fun.)

I realized while writing this post that I did a horrible job of taking photos of all the family we were visiting with. Good grief, I have a couple pictures of my dad and that's it......none of anyone else. Shame on me!!!!! So to all you family people, please make sure I take out my camera and take some family pictures next time we see you guys!!!!!
We headed out of Chicago early on Saturday morning and drove to Lincoln Nebraska. We stopped once in Iowa somewhere and visited a very cute little city park. We walked around for a bit and then got back in the car. Again, the kids did just awesome and took 8 hours of driving without much complaint at all. We made it back to Denver the next day around dinner time.
All in all it was a great trip and James and I were totally amazed at how well the kids did. There were no major meltdowns in the car, they traveled and played and watched movies and slept great. It has made us very happy knowing we can now attempt road trips without fear!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

I had a very vivid dream about Sarah last night, the kind of dream that you would just swear was a real event if it were not for the fact you know you were asleep. When I woke up this morning I realized that today it has been 9 months since the accident and it is a Monday, which is the day of the week it happened on. So I e-mailed Drew to say hi and let him know I'm thinking of him and the girls on what I am sure is a very tough day. The anniversaries are so hard, I wonder if it ever gets any easier.

Here's a picture of Sarah, Maya, and Abigail. It was taken the night before she died, obviously she had no idea she was in the last 24 hours of her life. I haven't shared any photos of her yet but since this blog is private I figure it is safe to do so.

She was a truly beautiful person. I am so glad I was lucky enough to be her friend.

Now everyone go hug your lover and your babies and be thankful you have today.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I just added a blog to our blog roll and I really think you all should go check it out. It's Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Brandi introduced me to this blog a couple weeks ago and I am addicted, it's a wonderful blog with fabulous pictures that give insight into ranch life. And also Ree is really very funny!!


Thursday, August 02, 2007

The journey continues.....

So, in Sioux Falls we stayed at a great hotel. I highly recommend it if you are in that area. It was the Best Western Ramkota. It had an awesome indoor kids pool with a water slide and fountains and stuff like that, as well as an outdoor pool and room service that was very affordable. Which was a good thing because when we arrived at 8pm we hadn't eaten dinner yet and I had been promising Gracie all day that as soon as we got to the hotel we could swim!

One of the kids favorite activities in hotel rooms was playing with the phones. I believe they were so impressed by them because they had never seen such a thing before. We do not have a land line phone at our house, we each have our own cell phones and that's all. Every hotel we stayed in we had to disconnect the phones because the kids were just plain obsessed with them. From Souix Falls we went to the bustling metropolis of Galesville Wisconsin, a town where they try to get you to believe the Garden of Eden was. Apparently back in the day a traveling preacher made some really interesting calculations and said that indeed the Garden of Eden was right there in Wisconsin on the banks of the Mississippi river. Here's me and the kids with a statue of the aforementioned preacher:

The local greasy spoon restaurant that we had breakfast at was called The Garden of Eatin'. Clever, eh?

So, I'm sure you're asking how in the world we ended up in the Garden of Eden? Well, we were there to visit Chris, one of James oldest buddies. He's there finishing up his summer internship for seminary. Here's the only picture I took of him:

I know, it's a great shot! He's walking across a suspension bridge that is held together by duct tape and rust. It was very bouncy and fairly scary. Here's a shot of James and Ian in the woods across the bridge:

We had a great time in Galesville, we ate at a supper club that was right next door to our motel which was really cute. Afterwards I sent the boys out for some guy time while I put the kids to bed and then had some much appreciated quiet time reading magazines outside our room door. Until the sun went down and I started getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Then I went in the room and sat in the dark wondering what I was going to was pretty boring. I turned on the tv for a minute but the light made both the kids squirm around so I decided to shut it off. So I did what anyone in my position would do, I opened a Bacardi Silver and sat on the bed in the dark enjoying the quiet and then I went to bed. James came in awhile later having had a great time with Chris.

The next morning we headed out for our final destination. We decided to stop in the Wisconsin Dells for our mid-day break.

We ended up in this little Bavarian square where we listened to a clock tell us the story of the Pied Piper. It was kind of weird.Then we decided to go to the Wisconsin Deer Park a petting zoo of sorts where you can mix with the deer and feed them crackers. It was really pretty cool!! Here's a few of the best shots:

This is of course not a deer but a goat. Oddly enough the number on this photo ended with 666. I just wanted to share that.

And finally, later that afternoon, we made it to Chicago!!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

You Are Not Prissy

You're the furthest thing from a princess - and you probably stay far away from any princess types you know.
You have an easygoing approach to living. It doesn't take a lot to make you happy.
And when life requires it, you're ready to get your hand a little dirty.
There's no problem you're too prissy to tackle!