Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Grandpa and Quinn. I love this picture.
Three generations, after a super crazy windy morning!
What a cutie pie!
My family, my grandparents, my Aunt, and my dad.
Grandpa's plaque. Do you see the flag reflection. It says: Harold L. Mook, Seaman 1st Class, World War 2, by Charlotte Mook.
Kind of a fun picture, the heart was framing the flag.
Love this one, where Great Grandma Charlotte is getting the hair out of Quinn's face. Love it!
This is as close as Quinn can physically get to her great Uncle Gary and Uncle Ken, but their spirit is closer.
Quinn decided to give comic relief to the moment by cracking up laughing, just look at her giggling, timing is everything!
I wish I would have gotten more pictures of our family, but here is Quinn's Great Great Aunt Betty with her and grandpa Ron
Late Happy Memorial Day!

What a wonderful weekend we had. We were at the exciting town of Salix Iowa for a Memorial Day church service, breakfast, and American Legion Program all taking place in the cemetery. As one of my 2nd cousins so eloquently said, we would be dining with the dead. On a more serious note, the service was beautiful, one of the readers was so moved by the world of God, she started crying right there. The 21-gun salute was inspiring, and the high school band was even there to play patriotic music. We were there because my family was in town. My grandparents, my dad, and my Aunt Pam, all managed to get some time off to spend together and wanted to spend it with even more family. My Grandmother wanted to be there for the program in the cemetary, as her parents, grandparents, and two of her sons. Yes, two of my uncles are buried there, one at 11 months and the other in his early 20’s. They both passed away much to young, and I feel like I’m just starting to really understand it. Every time I’m with my grandmother, I hear more storied, and sometimes I think I’ve just barely scratched the surface of the stories she can tell. At the same time my Grandfather can tell stories of his past that are worth a book. My grandmother got a flag for my grandfather stating he was a Seaman during WW2. As we were taking pictures the flag was flying behind us, and we caught the perfect picture of it in the reflection of his plaque.

We also got to see lots of family. I can’t believe I did not get very many pictures of that. We also celebrated my grandmother, and great aunts birthdays. Of course Quinn did not show off, there were way to many folks to pay attention to. She did do better at looking at different people, really looking at who was talking to her, and waving hello to a few folks, like her great great aunt Betty, she also smiled at a few folks, but past that, not much, unless you want to talk about her temper tantrums. Yes! She is learning how to start screaming at the top of her lungs, and knows that within moments I’ll be there to pick her up. I’m not totally sure that is a good thing, rewarding bad behavior, but until I totally am sure she is being naughty, and not just scared, I’ll be there to swoop her up and cuddle up with her.

I am continuing to be more and more thankful for extended family. We got to be with lots of 2nd and 3rd cousins as well as great great aunts and uncles, and I am more and more grateful for these people the more I get to know them. I’m also thankful for how much they love up on Quinn. I was reminded how important family is, and how family does not just mean who lives in our house.

So this weekend reminded me to be thankful for family, thankful for all my family who were willing to protect our freedom by joining the military, and all the men and women who are or have been in the military. I’m thankful for family who I catch sitting and talking with Quinn on their own, and who are willing to jump in and wipe her mouth, or share a story with her. I’m well aware that she is a bit intimidating to some folks, but really she is simply a 4 year old who wants attention and love like anyone else. So seeing my family jump in and love on her warms my heart and I’m grateful for those moments.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Oris, Quinn’s afternoon bus driver pictured here, gave Quinn the award for best rider on the bus! Yeah for Quinn! Also pictured are Quinn’s teacher, Miss Rachel, her nurse Miss Nadean, and lots of Quinn’s helpers, and we are grateful for all of them.

It’s been an exciting week! We have had additions again, and a few endings as well. It was Quinn’s last week of her first year of school. Her teachers have gone above and beyond figuring her out and helping her be successful. I’ve heard from lots of folks, how her classmates love her and play with her, and again that is due in part to her teachers modeling for her classmates, along with the fact that she has some good friends there. What a great year we have had with school, when we made it there. Thank You to Ms Rachel, Ms Joni, and Ms Nadean (Quinn’s nurse) for everything they have done, and also to her therapists and para's, who have also worked so hard to help us out. The good thing is that we will be back at preschool next year, and the plan is to have Quinn’s same teachers and therapists (I hope), and I’m overjoyed to have that be the same. It’s kind of hard to figure Quinn out sometimes and so having the same people working with her, will just be wonderful, along with the fact that we have it good right now, so I’m thankful we will not be changing anything. Well one big change is that her classroom, teachers and all will be at a different building, because Riley is growing so much, Headstart is moving to a different school with more space, so we are thankful to the Riley school community, for supporting us this last year.
Yes, she has her pants on in this picture, but you get the idea! We have to keep things clean for our blog! :)
Our new addition is Quinn’s bath chair / potty-chair. In fact on Wednesday after we had it all adjusted, Chrissy told me that Quinn went potty on her potty chair, over the toilet, four times that day! Wow! Not to get to graphic, but she did both 1 and 2 through out the day, to keep it PG. YEAH! You go Quinn, and thanks so much to Chrissy for getting everything adjusted so it’s just right for Quinn to use. Quinn is even doing a good job standing up for Chrissy to get her pants and briefs off, before she sits down. That is a really big deal, because as she keeps growing, that will be a huge thing for her to do! Quinn being the stinker she is, has also figured out how to get out of things. Chrissy and Quinn were working on head control, and Quinn was getting tired, so she signed that she had to go potty, but she did not go, we are thinking she just wanted to stop doing her head control exercises. You go Quinn! Good job figuring out how to get out of doing your exercises. On that same note as I’m giving out thanks, we love Chrissy, she can still get Quinn to do things before anyone else. So not only to end out the school year with Quinn feeling good, and doing well at school, we are so thankful for Chrissy! Quinn is continuing to be successful because of Chrissy’s love and knowledge! Phew, we have got it good!

Talking about having it good, we had possibly our final “Quinn’s House” meeting this afternoon, before we start digging! It’s been a long process getting ready to dig, but as we have had new folks step up and share their talents with us, we have continued to change a few things here and there to make the house more and more adaptable, so I would rather take it slow and get it done right the first time. I’m getting better and better at being patient, and at the same time, I’m getting excited about sharing our home with so many folks and feeling the love as we build Quinn’s house. It’s going to be a very exciting summer! It's fun seeing Greg, our Home Builder (not architect) getting excited, and having amazing the experience is, God is good.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


one of our flower pots.
Quinn on the swing outside, giggling away!
Quinn and Stacie using the eye-gaze machine.
Here you get a good look at her neck brace, she just uses it sometimes. Pretty Cute if you ask me!
What a week! Well, being totally open and honest, I probably should not even admit this, but I think I figured out why Quinn and I have been so sick for the last few months. There has been a funky wet dog smell in our apartment, not overwhelming, but that funky smell, and I’ve tried everything to get rid of it, and it honestly, it did it does not seem to be coming from the dog, I’ve washed him and washed him, and still could not get rid of the smell. Well, finally I had that smack my forehead with my hand moment. I opened up our humidifier to see that it was full of mold and grimy gunk! It was so gross, and the whole thing went directly to the trash. To think that it was purposely pushing all that horrible stuff into the air, instead of a fresh mist. I look back and think how in the world did I miss that as long as I did, but thank goodness, I got it figured out, finally. The last few days walking into the apartment has been great again! Smells good! I seriously feel so bad that our family was breathing in that gunk. GROSS and how bad for us was that. I don’t know if I’m just making it up or what, but Quinn and I have been sleeping better, and breathing better, and John was never sick or complained of anything the whole time, so I’m glad I can close the book on that illness and gross container of sludgy mold.

Quinn has her new collar and really seems to be liking it. She has had it on a few times already, one of them being with Stacie, while she was working with her computer and eye-gaze machine. If Stacie asks her a question, she can look at the right box, and it changes color. It's very cool! It’s so fun to see her working so hard to figure out what to look at, to make work. When I got there they had already started, and even though I try to sneak in, Quinn is to quick, and saw me, and started clicking “good-bye” and looking at Chrissy. What a little smarty! I have to say she was exhausted by the time we left, and was like a little pot of wilted flowers in the backseat. We even ran into a friend, who had not seen Quinn for a while, and Quinn did not make the best impression, as she was ‘wilted’.

She also had a fun night with Chrissy, and Jodi, a friend of mine, was there and had a mission to get Quinn to talk, and I believe the harder someone, especially someone Quinn does not really know, wants Quinn to do something, the less likely she is to do it! She makes me out to be a fibber more often then not! I’m glad there are a few of us that Quinn does work for, or I might think I’m going crazy some days! Well, I could go on and on with that statement, but instead I’ll end with the fact that it is crazy how fast we take our health for granted. I was feeling better and did not even realize it, but sure do complain and feel frustrated with I feel sick. I took the humidifier working for granted, and that did not turn out well, and that reminds me that I need to be thankful for the small things, not just with Quinn, but life in general. In fact we have planted a few flowers in pots on our deck, and they are lovely! Mom brought our swing back to us from storage in her basement, and having the patio set up and working, is such a nice space. Quinn is loving swinging on the swing and breathing in the fresh air, and the weather has been lovely, so we are thankful for that as well!


an extra: I'd had this typed when we went to therapy, and Quinn worked so hard again. With just Diane's support on Quinn's elbow, Quinn fed her baby doll, and herself over and over with applesauce. It was so fun to see her all smiles and working so hard! Oh, I needed that wonderful moment more then I thought I did! I love Quinn so so so much! What a great afternoon!

yet another extra: Last night was unusual, Quinn wanted to cuddle with me instead of dad. This never happens, and she even started crying, she wanted me! Now John knows how the rest of us feel most of the time. Now I can come back and read this to remind myself that sometimes Quinn choose to be with me instead of dad. Either way is fine with me, but it's nice to be wanted sometimes! :)

Friday, May 13, 2011


Here are Quinn, Alexis, and Amelia. I walked into the girls all playing on the couch, and they were having so much fun!
Here is Quinn working on my mothers day card! Do you see the pony tail holders? They help hold the marker so if she lets go, she can get a hold of it again.
Here is Quinn in the hammock, and she loves it! She however does not love the bright sunlight, she burns so easy, so Chrissy and Annette figured out a sun block with a blanket.
Kiara, Chrissy, and Quinn were relaxing on the hammock, and Alexis wanted to get a picture! How fun!
Wow, today Quinn is a month away from being 4 and a half.

Another week went by, and I’ve got more stories! Sometimes I think, what if nothing really happens this week, what will I write about, yet, we seem to always have stories!

This week, Quinn got measured for a neck brace, again, the first one was to big, we (as in Chrissy and Quinn) go in to get fitted again, and hopefully it will work this time. We will not use it all the time, as Quinn is getting stronger and stronger, but it will be so nice for her to have it when she is in her walker, sometimes so she can see, and really focus on the walking, or when we are coloring or focusing on using her hands. I’m looking forward to it.

This last weekend my mom came down to help me repack up my room, as we will be moving back into our school. Last year at this time we were packing to move out, so our school could be worked on, and now we are getting ready to move back. So as an art teacher, to say I have lots of packing is no lie. In the evenings we all got to play together, and it was great! I stopped at the doctor again and got a new antibiotic too, and it’s finally helping, so I’m glad mom was here to help get our whole life back in order. I tell you, I know how Quinn felt, when she was so miserable, because I had the same thing, and I finally feel myself feeling better, and am so grateful to feel good, and have Quinn feeling good! FINALLY! So thanks mom for helping us out! In fact John and I got to go out Tuesday evening and check out some of the parade of homes, here in Lincoln. Grandma and Quinn had some quality time together. I think the thing I figured out with the parade of homes, is that, I’m going to be grateful for everything in our home. Everything in a house adds up fast, when it comes to price, and I’ve got good taste, as my favorite house was the most expensive! I also learned I love maple flooring, and accent tile! I’m also coming to terms that my long list is going to have to be shortened! So I’m going to have to keep praying! We signed more paperwork for loans this week, so we are getting closer to building. In fact we were going to start digging at the beginning of this month, but after a few more adaptive changes, we are still waiting, but getting much closer. I’ve got a stomach ache after signing all the loan papers, but it will be so worth it.

Therapies went well, Quinn is getting better at driving! She is also doing better opening and closing her hands. Alexis helped Diane with Quinn’s therapy this week, and she was great! I tell you what, I could take her home with me. She is such a sweetheart, and really knows how to play with Quinn and inspire her.

Amelia, Alexis, Chrissy, and Quinn spent a lot of time together this week, and I think Quinn loved every minute! She did not take any real naps, not more then 20 minutes, because she did not want to miss out on anything. That home was busy each and every time I stepped through the door. Pure love and amazement is found there! In fact they had a slumber party one afternoon and watched the old Sesame Street video’s and cuddled. How much fun!

On another note, we want to send out our prayers to John’s parents, as his Grandmother passed away earlier this week. I have to say, I hope to go the way she did. Over the weekend she celebrated mothers day, she still lived in her home, and was doing very well. She went into the hospital on Monday, and passed away on Tuesday. At the same time with how fast that was, I can’t imagine how hard of a time her kids are having. So I’m praying for them. Along with that, John went down to Superior to spend time with them, and help how ever he could. So he called home in the evening to talk to us, and sing to Quinn. The first night, as he was singing, Quinn loved it at first, then her whole mood changed, and she started sobbing! I think she was so tired, and she missed dad, so, I scooped her up and snuggled in with her, and within 10 minutes she was sound asleep! I tell you what, snuggling with Quinn is one of my favorite things. She is such a good snuggler and loves to smoosh into you!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!

We hung around home today, taking naps and cleaning, as we are still trying to get over our colds. We did have some fun with the camera though. It's fun to see Quinn get into having her picture taken. I think we took like 300 pictures! What a fun evening!

Happy Mothers Day to all the mom, and want to be mom’s, and friends of mom’s, who care for our kids! Happy Mothers Day to all the I hope to be a mom, women. Happy Mothers Day to the I don’t know if it being a mom is in the cards for me women. Happy Mothers Day to all the Dad’s that help fill a mothers role. Today is one of those days that is so lovely for some and so hard for others at the same time. So to all of you, I pray you are blessed with a day where you can find peace and love yourself for who you are.

I still think back to the years that I wanted to get pregnant so badly. I remember staying in bed all day one mothers day crying, wishing I could have the opportunity to be a mom. So to you women who are hoping to be a mom, I pray for your wish.

I am thankful to know the mom’s like me, who have children with special issues. I have gained insight from you. I have learned I’m not in this on my own, I see that our kids are just kids, first and foremost, and we are so lucky to have them. It’s not always easy, but still, I’m grateful to see more love then frustration, and more thanks, then aggravation. Thanks to all you mothers.

In my case, I am thankful for Quinn for so many reasons. I think most importantly I am thankful for the small things. I’m thankful for not taking any “I love you” for granted. I’m thankful for every step Quinn takes in the walker. I’m thankful for every hello wave I get. For every cuddle, and for every new morning. I’m thankful for the hope we have, and not knowing what the future holds, finding peace in the present is something I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with, rather then planning the future, but I’m getting there, and I know I am a better person thanks to my amazing daughter! Quinn, I love you so much!

I also know a number of wonderful mom’s who don’t have their children with them anymore! To all of you, I am amazed! I am humbled, and I am honored to know you. I don’t understand God’s plan for us, but I am a believer. I don’t understand why we are given the path we are given some days, but I do believe we are given the ability to overcome our obstacles. I think of my Grandmother who has lost 3 of her 5 children. Before I was a mother, I understood that it was a hard thing to have lost 2 uncles, and 1 aunt, but I did not really have anything in my life to compare it to, so I simply could not understand. Now I still can’t totally understand what that experience is, but after having Quinn, and after almost loosing her, I understand how strong women are. So to my grandmother, I am honored to be part of your family, and seeing you so strong, yet humble, so loving of your kids, who are with us, and who are not. I have learned so much from you, and am so grateful to have you in our lives. I think of you and pray you have a blessed day.

To all the mothers out there with healthy children, congratulations! I hope you find the joy in the laughter, the smile in the spills and messes, the joy in new dance shoes and karate clothing. I hope you grab up your kids tight and love them to pieces. How lucky you are, and what a blessed day this is for you.

To my mother, who has always made me feel like I’m so important to her. Who has shown me what hard work is, and how to do without. To my mother, who has shown unconditional love and total support through my good moments and not so good moments. To my mother, I can’t say more then I love you, and am so fortunate to be your daughter. Thank you!

I’m so thankful for Quinn, as well as my 250ish other kids, who I hope will take just a bit of me with them as they go on in their lives after elementary school. We had our Zeman fine art program this last Thursday and it was wonderful. For the last few years, we have a chorus concert as well as an art show full of 4th and 5th grade art. Every year, I get butterflies and hope it all goes well. Every year, I think, I’ve got myself together this year, I’m not going to cry as I watch our 5th graders, thinking how this is my last chance to see them on stage. Then I think back over the last 6 years I have had the opportunity to teach them, and learn so much from them. I think of the special moments we have, and the tears start flowing. Goodness, part of me thinks, get a grip, and gain a bit of control, the other part of me is thankful for who I am and accepts the tears, I have some amazing kids, and I’m lucky to push some of my momish moments onto them. I hope they leave my classroom with a bit more creativity, a love of the arts, but most of all, a sense that they are worth so much and have so much to offer the world.

I better close this up and get to bed, before I get any cheesier! Goodness! I do want to end with prayers for a few mom’s who have kids in and out of the hospital right now. I know that they are spending times this mothers day with kids that are not feeling great and I pray that their day can be calm and peaceful with lots of love and hugs and grace. I’m praying hard! I’m stealing a quote off one of their pages.

“As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible.” ~ Ruth Bell Graham

So fortunate to be Quinn’s Mom!

Friday, May 6, 2011


I love seeing Quinn and Amelia playing and talking together! Sometimes I think Chrissy has the best job in the world, watching theses kids, while other days when they kids are struggling with colds or other issues, she works crazy hard. How lucky we are to have her. Well, Quinn is going to have an exciting week, because Amelia is going to be at Chrissy's most of the week, so Quinn is going to get lots of time with her, which I know she will love, but I'm curious to see if Quinn gets upset that she does not have Chrissy to herself a little bit. We will see how good Quinn is at sharing the entire time.
We are growing! Quinn went from her small walker to the next size up. Wow, what a difference. I'm looking forward to getting outside with Quinn and walking walking walking. Right now being in the apartment, we have almost all carpet, and it's hard rolling the walker on the carpet, so I'm thankful the weather is getting nice, so we can be outside walking. Quinn loves to move and wants to do it, but with anything in life, we need to practice, and so outside we will go.Just look at those long legs! Blue wanted to be in the picture too, as you can see.

Fun story for the week: Quinn has been in a mood where sometimes she does not want to talk to me. Nice hun! Well, we had the best morning on Thursday! She woke up with no coughing or anything. It was a nice calm morning, and so we just layed there and cuddled for a bit! I've got to get my Quinn cuddle time. Well, I looked at her and said, Quinn I love you sooooo much! and she replied right back, I love you so much! Wow! I love to hear her talk! Especially after her no talking to me stint, and so that just made my morning! What a girl!