Angry Teens…ergh…Birds I mean

I’ve lost my middle child.

Angry Birds Space released yesterday.  In my family this is an epic event.  I am proud to say I was the first to download it and play it.  I beat probably twelve levels.

My middle child, Jon (the computer geek/track athlete), spent most of the evening venting that he had to delete things of his ITouch to download it.  Brian (the hubby) jokingly told him it was time to sell the ITouch.  I think it was actually an offer to help him upgrade to one with more memory.  Jon didn’t appreciate his dad’s humor.

 Jon just wanted to play Angry Birds Space.  He’s been talking about the release of this game since he heard about it.  He’s beaten all the previous versions at least ten million times and can tell you where every treasure or bonus is.  He is our personal go to when we can’t beat a level.

He has a slight video game obsession.  We swore for the longest time his Nintendo DS was permanently attached to the end of his arm.  It can’t be true since he was able to switch his DS with his new Nintendo 3DS with ease.  And he can interchange that with the ITouch…and occasionally the Wii…and sometimes his brother’s XBox when Jake isn’t looking.

And when he has a new game to play he gets very irritated if you bother him about trivial things like dinner – or bed – or track practice – or school (gasp!).

So, for the next two weeks I have officially lost my fourteen-year-old.    I look forward to having him back to himself – pleasant, happy – and able to help me beat levels in my own Angry Birds Space game.

I Soooo Want One of These!

I love being a track coach.  I have never enjoyed doing something so much in my life (other than being a wife, mother and writer).  But it can get really hot in the summer, especially being a throwing coach in the middle of an empty field with no tent.

So when I saw this on Bucket List Publications blog – I soooo want one!!

I wonder if the club would let me expense one…


….doubtful but I could wish!


As I’ve stated before, it’s that time of year again.  But this is an entirely different time of year.  It’s the time of the year to address the white elephant in the room in our family.  For most of the year we go on as a normal All-American family with busy schedules for both the parents and kids.  But come about March we are always starkly reminded.

We have a sick Mouse.

Mouse was a nickname given to Alex when she was a baby.  She didn’t cry.  She squeaked.  And it was about that time we noticed something wasn’t completely right with our daughter.

She was always a spitty baby.  But at one she went from spitty to outright vomitting.  It would happen every three weeks like clockwork.  She would start out her cycle like a normal toddler for about two days.  Then she would become less energetic.  She would sit on the floor of the playroom at my mother-in-law’s daycare and watch the other kids play.  She didn’t have the energy to play with them.  It broke our hearts.

And at the end of three weeks all hell would break loose.  She’d start vomiting.  Then she would just lay there in her crib and stare into space for a few hours.  Then magically she would pop up and demand something to eat, usually mac and cheese.  And the whole three week cycle would start over – and over – and over.  She had to be hospitalized once for rehydration.

I argued alot with physicians.  If I didn’t like one, I’d find another.  Finally, a year and a half later I found a caring, wonderful doctor, Dr. Bishop at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, to look at her and run tests.  He diagnosed her.  Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.  The bad news – she was the youngest case he had ever heard of and didn’t know how to treat her.  He gave her medication but predicted it probably wouldn’t work for long.  He was right – it lasted three months.  However in the meantime I did research of my own and found that the foremost authority in CVS was in Chicago.  Dr. Bishop transfered her to Dr. Li in Chicago happily.

Dr. Li examined her and took her history.  It took three hours during which Alex happliy played “catch me if you can” with the giggling receptionists.  He confirmed the diagnosis and prescribed her meds.  They worked.  Within a couple weeks she was a normal child for the first time in her life.

Having CVS in our lives has been a roller coaster.  We have good stretches.  We have bad stretches.  Alex has been hospitalized six times.  It’s rough on the boys – it kills them to see their baby sister suffer.  They have become overly protective – more than standard brothers would be.

But if it did anything, it turned my baby girl into a fighter.  She makes no excuses for anything.  She tackles things head-on and makes the most of the opportunities she’s given.  And, other than a pill she has to take at night and a new regimine of aromatherapy to help her sleep, she is a completely normal nine-year-old.

This time it started with one specialist, the neurologist, cancelling our appointment and rescheduling it for the following week.  That call followed a long white knuckled fours hours praying that Dr. Li (who is now in Milwaukee) could squeeze us into a full schedule booked into September.  Thankfully prayers were answered.  We go to Milwaukee to see them both in June.

Then the entry forms for the CVS 5K run/walk for a cure arrived in my e-mail inbox.  We talked and started making plans to participate.  I even came up with a name for our “team” (the five of us in our family) – The “A” Team.  For Alex’s team.  Sort of hokey but it works…

And with the start of spring begins the storm season.  Violent storms are Alex’s primary trigger – the stress gets to her.  She weathered the first thunderstorm well with unusual spunk cracking one liners the entire time.  That’s my girl!

We will weather this time of year as we always do – as a family.

Betsey – meet Ali

Tuesday Ali went to the optometrist.  It seemed a pretty wise move after she completely flunked the eye test at the pediatrician (can you read line five??  Live four??  Line three??  Tell me you can read line two.  Line One??  Can you read Line One??)

And yep…she needed glasses.  So after meeting with the doctor we went out to look at frames.  Grandma Paula (Brian’s mom) works for the eye doctor so she met us to help us find a pair.  And since Grandma works there she became the center of attention. 

We tried dozens of pairs.  Alex was in seventh heaven.  But in the end only one pair stood out.

Betsey Johnsons.  A $225 pair of Betsey Johnsons.  For a nine-year-old.

They are super cute!

Today she got the call she has been waiting for – they arrived!  She couldn’t stop bouncing up and down until we arrived to pick them up.

She’s still getting used to them.  And she quickly learned, as we were all curled up on the couches sipping milkshakes and watching “Captain Amercia”, that taking them off doesn’t make the scary villians go away.  They are still there – just a little blurry.

So Betsey Johnson…meet Alex.  A nine-year-old with alot of style. ❤

It’s that time of year again


With spring just around the corner (thank goodness!  I am not a winter girl!) it’s just about time for track season. 

The fellas have already started practicing for high school – with a senior and freshman I am looking for a good used cloning machine.

But soon club track will start.  The whole family gets involved.  The kids compete, I (and starting this year Jake) coach and Brian plays sports parent.

This year started with a trip to St. Louis so Jake could take his USATF Level 1 Course.  He  dutifully spent three days in a classroom.  The rest of us played.

We went to Budweiser to see horses, the manufacturing process and free samples of beer.





Jake was able to escape…so we all went to the City Museum.





Where, of course, my kids get into the ball pit and start a dodgeball fight. *insert exasperated sigh*

Then Sunday we visited Union Station – a historical site/hotel/mall.





Other driving through a massive snowstorm to get there and another to get back home we had a great time. 

And Jake passed his test!…just in time to get handed his coaching duties for the year.