Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Hailey

It is my Goddaughter Hailey's 2nd birthday today. As we celebrate her life, it is hard not to remember her identical twin sister, Mary Carol.

Isn't she beautiful?

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Special Parts of You

Dear Gracie,

It is so easy to get wrapped up in daily life, and not realize how much you are growing and changing. You are no longer a little girl. You are a big girl, plain and simple. But you are also a girl who has Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and sensory processing issues likely caused from your premature birth. Those, like any part of an identity, are just parts of you. Today, I’m focusing on your other parts. It is easy to get lost in the liver and lung issues, not to fail to mention the intrusive sensory issues plaguing you lately. So here goes…this, I hope, will help remind me that you are a person before any other medical diagnosis.

All things “kitty” are very important to you. The collage adorning your wall next to the bed pays homage to your love, love, love of kitties. Daily, you ask if you can get your very own kitten, and daily, I respond with an answer reminding you that our 11-year old cat would be none too pleased. A late addition to your Christmas wish list is surprise, surprise…shock of all shocks…a FurReal Teacup Kitten battery operated stuffed animal. Too bad this is one of the hottest toys, and your mom is currently scouring the world for that particular kitten in hopes of securing it as a Christmas gift. You know in your heart that if Mom doesn’t find it, then Santa and his elves will surely secure your most prized wish gift. Gulp. Better get crackin'!

Suddenly, your love of pink has left your soul. It has been replaced with blue or any other cool color that doesn’t represent being a “baby girl.” You are suddenly interested in my make-up, and you got over your first crush on your male teacher, no less. And now, you’ve moved on to Trevor, who is at the very least your age. Phew! Forgive me if I shudder at the thought of you having feelings for boys. You are, after all, my precious baby and always will be…no matter what happens.

School homework is the bane of your existence. Forgive me if I giggle a little about that. Your intelligence astounds me, and you don’t seem to know how smart you are. I know this fact is lost on you right now, but your mommy grew up with several learning disabilities that were poorly managed. Reading and writing and math did not come easily to me; yet here I am writing today. I love that irony. Your school is a language immersion school. You’ve already mastered that language in reading and writing, and without assistance, taught yourself to read, write, and spell in English. Wow.

You are still learning violin, and complaining about how much practice time it takes. I wonder how many times that violin will go back into the “violin shop” from various parts being damaged. You have no reverence for your expensive music instrument. It is just a violin to you, which goes along side the strewn about Junie B. Jones books you recently discovered and adore. Today, you used your bow like a crutch, and made me just a little bit crazy as you hobbled along your route. Of course, that was after you fell out of your chair at the dinner table…those darn sensory issues. Oops! I’m not focusing on those right now.

Most of all what has recently surprised me is your ability to reason. You see basic cause and effect now, which is, of course, through your eyes as a child, but your 7-year old brain has matured enough to recognize it. I’m going to enjoy watching you catch on to life’s subtleties, though. Your thinking is still mostly “black and white” but you surprise me when you notice a shade of gray here and there. It was particularly sweet when you remembered that not everyone has food on Thanksgiving.

I really could go on and on. I think this letter helped me today. You are not Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency or Sensory Processing Disorder. You are Gracie, and your momma couldn’t be more proud of you and your accomplishments. I can’t wait to witness the next parts of you to emerge.

Momma loves you Gracie girl.

Monday, November 30, 2009

1st Reconciliation

Grace celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time tonight. We're so proud of her. Enjoy some pictures.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Little Poet

With Grace in 2nd grade at our German school, she has really focused on her German writing. Recently, she has been given the chance to read/write in English, as well. Last weekend, she had an assignment to write a poem about a book she read. Here is what she came up with about the book, Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook, by Barbara Park.

Mom Jen guided her a bit at first, but Grace really took to the is her 1st poem ever:

Junie B. Jones got new mittens
They were soft like kittens
On pretend horses, she like to ride
"Somebody stole my mittens," she cried

Her teacher sent her to Lost & Found
Where she hoped her mittens would be safe and sound
The mittens were not there
So she went back to sit in her chair

The next day at recess, she looked over the playground
But they were no where to be found
Inside the school, the mittens Junie did spy
The Pink Fluffy Girl tried to hide

But finders keepers
Losers weepers
Is not a rule
In the school

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Laternenacht 2009

Laternenacht is a tradition at the girls' school. In Germany, it is the feast of Saint Martin, who gave clothes and food to the poor. Laternenacht is translated as Latern Night. The school held a food drive, and the culmination is Laternenacht where the kids sing traditional songs about fall and their laterns which light the night during a processional.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency and the Flu

Grace has come down with the flu, just which virus it is...I don't know.

I'm betting that many parents of children with Alpha-1 have questions about how to treat their children when they have illnesses. Hey Alpha parents out there in cyberspace! Is this a concern of yours?

My oldest baby girl, Gracie, is sick, sick, and more sick right now. Recently, we decided to switch both Grace and Meghan to Dr. Jeffrey Teckman's care. He indicated to us that we should only be using Tylenol to treat run of the mill childhood infections. Upon hearing this, we began following his orders.

But now, Gracie is going on almost day 3 of high fevers. Has anyone else noticed that Tylenol doesn't last as long as ibuprofen?

Since Alpha-1 in children is a genetic disorder of the liver, I also want to be careful of how much Tylenol we give Gracie right now. It is fine line between using Tylenol at correct dosages to treat her fever, but also hard not to imagine accidentally inducing Tylenol toxicity in her liver if we give it to her too often. Perhaps I'm a bit more of a worrier than the next Alpha-1 mom or dad, but these are things I've been mulling over today.

Even though Grace currently has a flu virus, I still want to get her annual influenza vaccination. We were told Grace and Meghan should not have the flu mist because it is live virus. So that is bad news from my kids' perspective as they already detest shots, but the flu shot contains dead virus. When they are both healthy again, I'm taking them in for their shots. I hope to be able to get them the H1N1 vaccine, too.

Anyone else out there consider these issues? Let me know via a comment. Thanks.

Stay healthy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hey Grim Reaper! Buzz Off!

To quote my future sister-in-law, Sarah, who so eloquently said, "Hey Grim Reaper! Buzz the he-- off!"

In September, my cousin Diane lost her precious one-year old daughter, Abigail, in a horrific choking accident.

My brother-in-laws' office announced it was closing, and he may need to move my pregnant sister and nieces and nephew to Minnesota next year.

My mom was diagnosed with skin cancer near her collar bone, and the biopsy report came back indicating they weren't able to remove it all with the surgery.

Grandma Lindamood passed away from a heart attack last week.

Today, Uncle Gary was diagnosed with an advanced form of colon cancer, and his prognosis doesn't look too good. Also, Uncle Mike had a stroke, but it appears he may recover with time and patience.

Grim Reaper! Buzz off!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Grandma's passing was a sad reason for a reunion, but it was a reunion nonetheless for my mom and her siblings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

RIP Grandma

June L. Lindamood, 85, of Decatur died Thursday October 15, 2009 in Decatur Memorial Hospital. June was born on September 26, 1924 the daughter of Ruffus and Irene (Van Meter) Cook. She was a member of Wilmington Chapter No. 176, Order of Eastern Star; Wilmington Court No. 13, Order of Amaranth and was Worthy Matron in 1969. She was co-owner and bookkeeper of Lindamood Sheet Metal Company in Wilmington. During her time in Wilmington She was a member of the First Methodist Church. In her younger days she enjoyed playing golf at the Braidwood Recreation Club. She Graduated from College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, IL. She also worked as a CNA in Wisconsin. She married Eugene W. Lindamood on July 5, 1943 in Atlanta, GA he preceded her in death on February 3, 1999. She is survived by her sons, Kenneth Wayne Hobbs Sr. of Decatur; Gary Lindamood of Wilmington; David Lindamood and wife Shelia of Macon; daughters, Sherry Childress of Surprise, AZ; Susan Kurzer and husband Robert of Scottsdale, AZ; Joy Lindamood of Decatur; special cousin, Robert Bradley; nineteen grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; and her pets, Little Pug, Ellie and Midnight. She was preceded in death by parents, husband, two sons, Marc Lindamood and William Thomas Lindamood II, two brothers and one sister.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Freaky Deaky

"Mom," Meghan whispered as I chatted with my sister on the phone.

I whispered back, "Meghan. Mommy is on the phone. I'll talk to you after I hang up."

"But Mom," she whispered again. "Cole loves me, and I love him."

This caught my attention quickly, but a wide grin emerged across her thin face as she coyly turned to leave the room.

From the girl's room, I could hear Grace yelling. "Meghan! Meghan! Did you tell Mommy who I love? 'Cause you weren't supposed to tell! You weren't supposed to tell!"

As I wrapped up my phone call, I spoke into the air toward the hallway. "No Grace. She didn't tell me that. She said she loves Cole."

"Oh. Okay. Annnyyyywwwwaaaayyyyy, 'cause I love Trevor. He is so cute, and can run really, really fast. I love Trevor. He plays with me on the playground."

Meghan joined in, "I love Cole. He kisses me."

As I walked into their room, I asked, "Where does he kiss you Meghan?"

"At school, on the playground, Mom."

"Uh. I meant where on your body does he kiss you, Meghan?"

"On my cheek, Mom. I love Cole."

Grace added, "Trevor is so cute. I love him."

"Is he in your class again this year, Gracie?"

"Uh huh. He's in my class."

As I rubbed my forehead, I observed, "This is freaky deaky. I can't believe my baby girls are telling me who they love at ages 7 and 5. Freaky deaky!"

Saturday, October 03, 2009

1st Library Cards

Today, the girls proudly obtained their first library cards. I smiled as they each carefully printed their names on the cards. :) Also notice that they each got their hair cut yesterday.

Monday, September 28, 2009

All the Little Ants are Dancing...

On the car ride home from Christian Formation class, Meghan observed while listening to Dave Matthews Band's song, Ants Marching, "Mom, I could really tap dance to this song." LMAO

If you don't know the song, it is available on You Tube here:

Monday, September 14, 2009


Okay, I've been coming to terms with the fact that Grace is growing into a full fledged girl rather than little girl. She has recently rejected most things Disney Princess, and now would rather wear any color besides pink or purple. These things haven't upset me so far. Although, I keep thinking she is growing up way too fast for my liking.

Today brought a moment I would have put off for forever though. I know this happens. I know it is part of adjusting to changes within her growing body, but can a mom get a long, deep, sullen sigh please?

(Insert sound of deep exhale here.)

At dinner, Grace picked at her baked beans which she normally devours. I wondered what was up, but we've never had to encourage Grace to eat. She naturally eats with pleasure, which is in direct contradiction to her younger, way too skinny, sister, Meghan.

"Grace, what's up? Why aren't you eating your beans?"

As she let out a melodramatic sigh she said, "My bumper is too big."

I had my "aha" moment and searched for the perfect thing to say. "Uh Grace, you have a perfect beautiful body honey. Your bumper is like mom's and dad's. You are beautiful. Did someone tell you that at school?"


She eventually finished most of her baked beans, and we moved along into other dinner conversation topics. I was inwardly feeling sad that body image had suddenly appeared into Grace's existence.

Later on as I was tucking her into bed, Grace let out another long, melodramatic sigh, and said, "Mommy, I don't like how my face looks. There are other kids at school who are cuter. And my body doesn't look so good."

(Okay, now note the sound of Jen's mama heart being stabbed and bleeding everywhere. Once again, I searched for the perfect thing to say, and came up a so-so answer in my opinion. And, yes, I know where Grace gets her melodramatic notions. ;) haha)

"Gracie, you are incredibly beautiful honey. I love your long legs, beautiful blond hair, perfect skin, and gorgeous round like an apple bumper side." I goosed her backside and brought on a giggle to lighten the mood a bit.

"Everyone has something that they don't like about themselves. Like me, for example. I've never really liked my legs very much since I was young, but it is important not to think about what we don't like. It is important to remember all the really great qualities we have like being kind, having respect, liking math, learning German, playing violin, and being a really great daughter and sister. Does that make sense?"

"Uh huh. I guess so," but she didn't sound too convinced.

"Are you sure that no one at school said something mean to you or noticed something about you today? If they did, we can talk about it."

"No, Mom. Nobody said anything to me."

"Okay honey. I just want you to know that I remember how it felt when I was little too. I even have some days where I don't feel good about my body, but I try to remember all the good things about me instead so I don't feel badly. It is hard work to remember those things especially when I have hormones making me feel strange. Your body is going through changes now as you get older too, and those hormones, we talked about, can sometimes make you feel sad about yourself or other people. The trick is to talk about it with Mommy or Daddy, or you could write it down in your journal.

(As I ran on at the mouth, she appeared to be listening, but I feared I was loosing her. I decided to say what I had to say and then hoped to reiterate it in other conversations.)

Okay, Mom's going to stop talking now. If you want to talk about this more tomorrow, we can. But first I'll share a last piece of advice with you. I always feel the lowest right before I go to sleep. Sleeping will help you feel better and let your brain recharge itself. I bet you'll remember all of the really great things about yourself in the morning. Okay?"

"Okay, Mama."

So I think the conversation went okay, but geez! Already? She is barely 7. Eeek!

Monday, September 07, 2009


As I watched Grace glide down the sidewalk on her new scooter, I heard our neighbor, Max (age 6), say, "Hey Grace! Wanna play house?"


I know it was all very innocent, but gulp! ;)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

First Day of School

The girls went back to school today. Grace is beginning second grade, and Meghan is in her last year of kindergarten. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Smart Man

Yes, these lyrics are for a cheesy pop song, but they inspire me today.

Wonderful by Gary Go

The person that you were has died,
You've lost the sparkle in your eyes,
You fell for life; into its traps,
And now you wanna bridge the gaps.
Now you wanna bridge the gaps,
Now you want that person back.

And all your ammunitions gone,
Run out of fuel to carry on,
You don't know what you wanna do,
You've got no pull, to pull you through.

Say "I Am"
Say "I Am"
Say "I Am Wonderful"

Say "I Am"
Say "I Am"
Say "I Am Wonderful"

If what you've lost cannot be found,
And the weight of the world weighs you down,
No longer with the will to fly,
You stop to let it pass you by.
Don't stop to let it pass you by.
You've gotta look yourself in the eyes and...

Say "I Am"
Say "I Am"
Say "I Am Wonderful"
Oh, you are.

Say "I Am"
Say "I Am"
Say "I Am Wonderful"

Cause we are all miracles,
Wrapped up in chemicals,
We are incredible.
Don't take it for granted, no,
We are all miracles.
Oh, we are.

Say "I Am"
Say "I Am"
Say "I Am Wonderful"
Oh, you are.

Don't take it for granted, no,
We are all miracles,
Wrapped up, yeah, we're wrapped up.
Oh, we are wonderful.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lift Off

On August 6th, Grace had her 1st big girl bike ride lesson (also known as training wheel free) with big sister, Kesa. Way to grow Gracie.

Meghan showed off her tricycling skills, too.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"
I awake from my stupor
Find myself gliding
Across the carpet
To your bedside

Before I've even registered
I'm awake
At an hour fit for the dead
Your soul calls my sleeping
To awake

Blinking I subconsciously
Arrive to rescue
My baby girl
Bringing love and peace
And comfort

"It's okay, Megsy."
Filling your sleep
With subdued dreams

Kissing your
Soft, sweet cheeks
Stroking your
Silky locks
Hoping I've succeeded

In tucking
you back in
In grabbing those
scary dreams
And taking them far, far away

In helping you to know that
You are loved
Have no dreams to fear
That your dreams will take you
Far, far in this life

Sleep my baby girl

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My More Cowbell Moments

Blue Oyster Cult at the Wisconsin State Fair...enjoy! I laughed so much during the performance. Rudy Sarzo, the bass player, is from Quiet Riot and White Snake.

...and this ladies and gentlemen is the COWBELL player hiding behind a speaker during Don't Fear the Reaper. I think I prefer Will Ferrel's version to this kid hiding out. haha