Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Moving on...

Last night my oldest sister took both kids, along with my niece, and they all made cutout cookies. Matt had practice at church, which left me with several hours of an empty house. I took advantage of that and was able to paint 95% of my bathroom. I only have a few spots of "detail" or "trim" work left, although I will need to go over the whole room a second time. I was really happy with the color. It reminds me of chocolate milk. It goes so nice with the new tile on the floor. This weekend we will buy trim and look for either a medicine cabinet or mirror. After installing those, the room will be done.

Over and over the last few days my thoughts have turned to Laurie and Eric, the parents of the children who died in the accident. Especially Laurie. They are living every parents worse nightmare. How can you not be effected when you think of the gut wrenching sorrow they are experiencing? They are in their late 40's...too late to have an more biological children if they wanted to. The last few days we have hugged our kids a little tighter, held them longer and said more "I love you's". I drove a little slower today on the way to the grocery store. Its unfortunate that it takes such an awful tragedy to remind us to do those sorts of things. Friday we will stand in line and pay our respects to Chris and Tori's parents and do our best to express our profound sympathy at their loss. I have chosen to not attend the memorial service the following day. Its simply too hard, and I know that by going to the calling hours on friday, that it won't really be "necessary" for me to attend both. I know that I'll be thinking of them, though. For a long time. Especially this summer when its time to swim again. We can only pray for Laurie and Eric and trust that God will turn this situation into something good.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Today we learned of a tragedy. While watching the noon news, I heard a sad story of a brother and sister who were killed in a car accident. They were only children. I heard the reporter say the names of the children. She mispronounced the last name, but it was similar to a family we know. The camera panned over to the wrecked car and I saw a familiar vehicle. The family was the Claus family. We bought our house almost 8 years ago from them. Through our neighbors across the street, who moved a few months ago, we came to be friends with them. We saw eachother quite a bit in the summer when we would all congregate to swim at our neighbors pool. Laurie, the mom, was driving in a rural area in the next town over. For whatever reason, she made a left hand turn at an intersection and turned right into the path of an oncoming 18 wheeler. Both of her children were killed instantly. Tori, their daughter, was just 7, and Chris, their son was 11. The kids were super sweet and well behaved children. Their parents were very involved and very loving to them. My kids would swim with them several days a week, all summer long. Tori, and my niece, Madyson, were only a week apart in age. A few summers ago, their regular sitter went on vacation, and I watched them for a few weeks. I had no problem at all with them, and they were so respectful and nice. Chris loved this house and told his parents all the time that when he was an adult, he was going to buy this house from us and move back in. He had great memories in this little house. His old bedroom now belongs to our Noah.

When I first heard the news story, because of the last name being mispronounced, I was still in denial that it could be the same family. I called Mary Ellen, our former next door neighbor. She would know, I thought. I got ahold of her right away on her cell. I said, "mary ellen...did Laurie get in an accident this morning?" She said, "Yes, she did. We are driving to Rochester from Corning as we speak. We don't know where they have taken her and the kids, though. Have you heard anything?" I didn't know what to tell her except the truth. I said, (and getting choked up while telling her), "I don't know how to tell you this, but the news is reporting that both kids died in the accident. I'm so sorry!" She said, "no!". We hung up with eachother. After checking the news website I learned Laurie was taken to the hospital in Batavia. I called Mary Ellen back and got her husband Fred. I told him which hospital laurie was taken to. He thanked me and said they would head there right away. They were still driving to Rochester at this point. Fred and Mary Ellen, who are in their 60's, were not only best friends with Laurie and Eric, but were parent figures to them both as well, since Laurie and Eric are in their 40's. Tori and Chris called them Grandma and Grandpa. They spent holidays together, and when Mary Ellen and Fred's son got married, Chris and Tori were in the wedding party. They are extremely close.

Mary Ellen called me tonight at 6:00 pm. She was back in Corning once again. She and Fred gave Laurie and Eric some much needed personal time alone to process their emotions. She said Laurie does not even remember making the turn and has no idea what happened. The kids were killed instantly. Eric was called about the accident and driven by his brother to the hospital. Laurie was treated and released for minor injuries, but had to be sedated because of the emotional trauma. Neither of them are handling losing both their children well. Can you imagine? I cannot. My heart breaks for them. They are really good people. I am concerned most for Laurie as she was the driver. Over and over this afternoon I have prayed to God that He would comfort them and give them His peace. They are not saved. I cannot imagine going through this period, but especially not without God in my life. Mary Ellen's reason for the call was to thank me for letting her know about the kids and letting them know which hospital Laurie was in. I didn't know what to say. She was thankful to have confirmed by me what she suspected, that the kids were gone. She wanted to know that before seeing Laurie and Eric. It was very hard for them, she said, to go back to the house they all shared. Eric spent time with his son's body, but was not able to see his daughter. The Dr's would not allow him to. My heart just aches for these parents. Their family was wiped out in an instant.

Rylee and Maddy both cried at hearing the news. Their friends were gone. I was proud of Rylee when she told Maddy, "Its OK Maddy, one day we'll see them again in heaven!" She's right, of course. In the meantime, I'm trying to get past the numbness, shock and grief. My kids lost their little friends, and I feel, even if just a portion, the pain of our friends. Matt and I both cried over the loss. But, we also sought our kids out and gave them long hugs and reminded them about how much we love them. I prayed to God to not allow me to take any risks when I drive. I don't want to ever have to go through the sort of pain our friends are going through. Jesus, be ever so close to our friends...

Friday, February 15, 2008


Yesterday we had our new windows installed. The workers are back again today to finish the project up. Not only did we get new windows, but other improvements were made as well. In total, we got 7 windows replaced, including a huge picture window in our living room. We do have more than 7 windows in our house, but they were replaced either just before we moved in 7 years ago, or 6 months ago when we remodeled what is now Rylee's room. We paid just a bit extra to have the mullions in the glass instead of just plain glass. We also replaced a very beat up storm door, replaced the flashing on the peak of our roofline that blew away in a windstorm a few years ago, had a programmable thermostat installed and more insulation added. Even though they are still not done, the difference could be felt almost immediately. In the past, I would guess that our heat came on a couple times an hour, at least. Yesterday, after they finished the last window, it did not come on for 3 hours! They also provided us with 12 new CFL bulbs. We have been switching over to these as our regular light bulbs died. I'm hoping to see a noticeable difference in our utility bills in the very near future.

I have to say its really exciting to have these improvements made. Our old windows were about 50 years old, and literally caused the "wind" to blow through our house. As far as cosmetically, its a 100% improvement...its really not hard to beat broken windows and chipping, pealing paint!

We have been fortunate the last two years to slowly be able to make improvements to this old house. It definitely makes it feel like my house is beginning to reflect more of my style, instead of the previous owners. Its exciting to have made significant improvements in just about every room. I hope in the next week to finish up our bathroom upstairs. It really only needs about 1 days work, but for whatever reason, it has not happened yet.

In short...improvements rock!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Back again...

After several weeks absense, I am back again. It was mostly not by choice. First, I had a terrible upper respiratory/flu virus. I was so ill I was in bed for almost 4 days. I wish to never repeat that! It was tough having two young ones at home and being pregnant while feeling so sick. I must say that I was so thankful for some of the independence Rylee has exhibited. While in bed, she was able to start movies, get her and her brother fruit or cereal for breakfast, pop popcorn in the microwave for a snack for them, get drinks, etc. I think my most thankful moments were when she fed our chickens for me in the bitter cold day after day while I was barely able to stand and move. What a big help she really was. The kids behaved pretty well. I was not able to watch Brock or Jesse like I normally do, but sometimes that just happens. What are you going to do? My mom was great and watched the kids while I went to the Dr's, waited a few hours for a prescription, then even stayed and watched them so I could rest. She made dinner twice for us. Two ladies from church heard I was sick and each made us dinner. It felt really good to be taken care of. Even after the worst of the symptoms were over, I was surprised by how little strength and energy I had for another few days. It was a full week of not feeling myself.

Just a day or two after I returned to normal, Matt had knee surgery. Because of his sensitivity to general anesthesia, they were not able to remove a few "floating bodies" that they originally planned to, but were still able to scope his knee and really clean it up. He is off of work until monday, so we have enjoyed having him home. He feels pretty good and is not even using crutches right now, but is not allowed to drive until next week. The first few days after surgery when he was mostly laid up and had to keep his leg up and iced were a little tiring for me. But, he healed very quickly and is almost back to himself.

In the midst of all this, our little guy, Noah, turned 3 years old. We celebrated his birthday, along with my mom and aunt's birthday (they are twins) as well as my adult niece's birthday. Noah is young enough he doesn't care that he shared his party with the rest of his family. We all had a good time. I hosted the party here and it was a good excuse to really clean the house well. I still have some things I want to do, but I've been able to keep it up the last few days after the party ended.

Yesterday we worked on Valentine's for friends and family. The kids liked that a lot and it felt good to do something fun and crafty. Tomorrow we have our new windows installed...finally! I'm excited to see the finished project, even if it does mean that today we have to take down all our window treatments and move a few things in the basement so they can also add some insulation. I hope to see the new improvements reflected in our utility bills soon.

I'm 31 1/2 weeks along now. I'm feeling big. The baby has hiccups often and is really on the move. I love feeling its pokes and rolling over. I'm getting more and more excited about meeting the little one. My midwife appointments are starting to get closer together, and on this next appointment I will meet the practice's other midwife, who I hear is also great. It will be good to have met both of them so if there is an emergency and my midwife is not able to be there for our delivery, her associate will be there, and she won't be a stranger.

Made by Lena