WARNING: Emotionally Distressed


It’s safe to say that I’m ready for 2014 to be over and it’s only the second week of March.  While our year started with both of our grandparents in the hospital, it has increasingly gotten worse on the home front.  After Ben’s grandpa passed, other sicknesses arose and there’s the never ending winter it seems that there was really no end in sight for not so good news.  That was until last Friday when my mom sent a text saying that dad had a fall at work, his boss was picking her up and they were on their way to Froedtert.

Seeing news like this as you’re about to walk into a meeting it heart stopping.  How was I to sit and concentrate when I have my dad to worry about?  Without explaining myself, I kept my phone out and in touch with my mom the entire time.  All while trying to pay attention to what I’m sure was a very important insightful meeting.  Finally, when mom told me dad had broken his leg and needed surgery, I about lost it right there in the middle of a Google session.  I politely, while holding myself together, asked if I could leave and headed to pick up Henry.  While I wasn’t rushing to my dads side, I couldn’t sit there any longer.  It was giving me serve anxiety.

Most of the next few hours was a lot of uncertainty.  Found out that dad broke his femur, needed surgery and was in a ton of pain.  I kept in communication with both my mom and brother, whom were by my dad’s side.

Saturday afternoon, Henry and I made the trek to visit dad.  It was mostly an unplanned visit, so stopping to get lunch for my mom and brother with a hungry one year old, juggling food, stroller and a diaper bag, in an unfamiliar location made me frazzled.  My dad was still in surgery when we arrived.  This was partially alarming to me as it had been well over six hours.  We sat and waited for what seemed like forever.  Luckily, Henry is quite the kid to put a smile on your face when it has a frown.  Not to mention, my brother can make the kid laugh like no one else.

My brother has an awesome beard, be jealous

My brother has an awesome beard, be jealous

When my dad came back, it was really hard to look at him.  He’s the strong, hardworking, outdoorsman of our family.  In my 26 years, I can’t remember one time when I saw his strong guy physique shattered, until this weekend.  A rod in your leg and gaping wound will do that to a guy though.  Due to extreme swelling they weren’t able to close the incision, so he was hooked up to the vacuum to get the excess fluid and blood out before another surgery to close him up.

Though he was out of it, I know he was happy that we were there, even had a few jokes to crack. You could tell that Henry wanted to climb up in bed with GRANDPA.  Dad had a sore throat from the tube being in it, but he still managed to try and get a few of Henry’s favorite squeals out.  Even helpless, the man still knows how to make Henry smile.

We went back to visit yesterday.  Dad was in better spirits.  Henry was all over the hospital, wanting to visit every last patient.  Luckily, he’s cute so the nurses were easily won over by his smile.  Due to the severity of the break and wounds, he ended up having to get blood transfusions. It wasn’t something he was happy about, but knew it was the best of the two options.

Ready to take care of GRANDPA

Ready to take care of GRANDPA

There was another surgery today to help close the wound.  It was mostly unsuccessful as they could only get the 46 centerimeter opening down to 14 centimeters.  This now means that yet again, dad will go under on Wednesday to see what more they can do.  If unsuccessful again, they will do skin grafting and he’ll be in the hospital even longer.

I’ll admit that I’m scared.  It makes me beyond sad to see my dad so helpless.  I get scared knowing that he’s going under again.  Three surgeries in less than a week is no walk in the park for anyone. The tole that it will take on his body will only add to the expected six month recovery.  My heart aches for him.  I fear he’ll never be the same.  I pray that he’ll be back building some new project, cutting endless piles of wood and shooting something big, in no time.

While my dad may have ‘just’ broken his leg, it’s so much more than that. The femur is one of the worst bones to break.  My dad is not a young buck, so the healing process will be a bit longer.  To put into prospective, my grandma broke her femur in December and just got out of the hospital. Granted, she’s 93, but it just goes to show that breaking your femur is no walk in the park.

If you know my dad, he’s a hands on always on the go type of guy.  A lot is about to change for our family.  It’ll be months before he’s crawling on the floor in his underwear coercing Henry to do lord knows what.  The family vacation that my parents surprised us with for Christmas, may now be postponed.  There will be lots of family dinners to help out and give my mom a break from her new duties as a wife (ones that she never imagined when she said her vows 30 years ago), helping out with things my dad used to do (David joked we’d learn to find joy in yard work) and keeping my dad’s spirits up in the process.

At the end of all of this, I know it will have brought us all closer together.  As David said, it’s time to unite as a family.  Not that we aren’t, but it has a whole new meaning now.  Times like these remind you to put the selfishness aside and do what you have to for others.

I wish I could be at my dad’s side all day long.  To help him when he needs it, read him stories, keep him company and hold his hand when he gets scared.  For years my parents took care of me and did those exact things.  Now my inner Soetenga (or Aunt Claudia as I like to say) wants to come out and do all that I can. While it may not be humanly possible to help as much as I need, I know my emotionally unstable self can always pray, a lot.  There’s a reason for everything.  Having a hard time seeing what that is right now, but someday it will all make sense.

Even though I’d love to wish 2014 away, there are some great things happening (babies being born (not mine)) that I have to look forward too!!  We have a long road ahead of us, but I don’t doubt for a single minute that the thickness of our skin and blood won’t be able to get us through it all.


Reinventing ME


Last year for lent I emailed Katie to tell her I was giving up pregnancy.  She responded with something along the lines, “is this for real or have you just had enough?”  Well, it was true, I went into labor and had Henry on lent last year.  Best thing I ever gave up 🙂

While I’m not Catholic, I feel the need to give up things for lent to prove to myself that I can live without certain items.  This year however, instead of giving up pregnancy, I’m going to focus on Reinventing ME.  You might ask what does this mean, but really I’m not quite sure.  I just know the last time I reinvented myself it was to become a mom.  Now that I’ve been at this gig for one year I feel even more confident in myself as a mom and person.

Recently, I’ve had an eye opening epiphany that what I think is important, really isn’t.  I find that a lot of what I think it important can be too materialistic or vain.  Not necessarily who I am, but who I’ve become. Since I’ve survived the first year of motherhood, almost four years as a wife, and twenty six years as myself, it’s time for change.  My main New Years resolution was to do more for myself and find inner happiness.  I can honestly say that I’m well on my way to doing that, but theres so much more I want to do for myself and my family.

To be honest, a lot of days I don’t feel all that grown up.  Sure I have a family, a house and a job, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a grown up.   I still spend money like an irresponsible teenager, have terrible eating habits and spend more time social networking than I should.  Lately, it’s just become to monotonous.  I feel like a lot of who I am and have become is holding my family back from being the family that I truly see us being.  I want dinners at the table, a new house, go to church often, family vacations, grow my blog, movie nights, more babies, dinner parties, etc.  Sure, I have a lot of that now, but our life is so fast paced that there really isn’t that time to breathe.  Or is there? Am I just picking and choosing what’s important? I decided that now is as better time than ever to start fresh. Find what’s truly important and make it work.

Yesterday, I did something that hasn’t been done since my freshman year of college.  I paid off our credit cards (not too shocking, it happens monthly), cut up the one that I have memorized and cancel it.  All of this for no reason other than I’m a one click shopper.  It’s SO easy for me to store my credit cards in my accounts, find something I like and then click order completed.  It’s RIDICULOUS! My family members often joke that UPS will never go out of business because of me.  My closet is FULL of clothes that I NEVER wear.  I also own tons of shoes.  Instead of ordering something new everyday (really I have a problem) why not create new outfits out of what I have.  Hopefully we’ll see an increase in our bank account and comments will stop being made about me and the UPS man!

While cutting up my credit card is just a very small (actually HUGE) move on my goal of reinventing myself I feel refreshed already.  A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders just by doing that. I’ve unsubscribed to ALL shopping emails, made us eat dinner at the table as a family last night and spent far less time on my phone after work.  I also have been getting up at 5am again, am working on a healthy eating style for our family and am truly contemplating a “make older”  (that’s a hole different post)!

I’ve told my husband none of this.  My inability to change is something that he has brought up many times in our relationship.  He even mentioned it this weekend while we were away.  It’s time, really it is.  For the record, we have a great relationship, albeit odd at times, but truly wonderful.  I know with letting go of stupid things, putting other things first and taking a little time to smell the roses, it will be out of this world.

I don’t anticipate this is a change that will happen overnight, but with spring coming, maybe coming, why not start off on a great note.  Take the next step to a new and better you!



Henry Turned ONE


After a year and a half of blogging, I’ve finally reached my 100th post!! This is cause for celebration in itself.  Luckily, this post happens to be all about the BIG Birthday Party.  I couldn’t have planned this better myself, if I had tried (really I didn’t).  I’ve spent days thinking about how I’ll lay out the entire party, so I’ve decided on a series of posts. First, we’ll start with the party and then I’ll go back and focus on the details.  How I made it all come together.

For those of you know know my obsessive tendencies, know that I’ve been planning this party for months, okay maybe almost an entire year.  Katie, put the brilliant idea of having an Olympic Themed party in my head, and  there was no turning back.  I’m almost mad I didn’t think of it myself.

The drawing board was easy, thanks to Pinterest, and the decorations were easy to execute thanks to Carol (whom watches Henry during the week).  The woman is a creative genius!  She’s bound to make me one too! More on that tomorrow.  Now let’s focus on the big day itself.

Saturday, we celebrated Henry’s first birthday with all our closest family and friends.  We rented out the Town Hall in Rochester for many reasons.  Mostly, the thought of all those people in our house during winter makes me panic.  That’s far too much cleaning in one weekend.  Plus our house really isn’t that big for 60+ people (yes, my sons first birthday had as many people as a small wedding).  Also, we have a decent size immediate family, plus a great group of friends.  We knew there’d be a large attendance (a little conceded are we) and wanted everyone to enjoy themselves.  Nothing worse than attending a party where there’s no where to sit and you’re walking on top of everyone.

With the help of Ashley, Nate, Grammy Tami and Ben, we got all the cooking and prep work done on Friday.  Alice came Saturday morning so we could do all the set up.  Henry was still under the weather from his birthday pneumonia diagnosis, so I wasn’t worried when he decided to nap for 3.5 hours the day of his party. Again, sleep makes moms crazy!

Party started at 2pm and guests were arriving on time.  Ben and I were in full mode of greeting our guests, but making sure we were enjoying ourselves too.  We had the food (thanks to our moms for helping out with making things) ready to go when people arrived, party buckets for the kids, a few games, and an inviting atmosphere (or that’s what I like to tell myself).  There was lots of socializing and laughter.  I tried to converse we all the guests, sorry if I missed any of you.

Henry stole the show when we sang Happy Birthday and he started eating the cake with his face.  It wasn’t until presents that he started to meltdown, he hadn’t had a nap outside of that long morning one, but once we realized he hadn’t eaten in awhile (oops), crisis was averted.

It really was the most perfect day.  My vision was completely executed. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  Ben and I were so blessed that at all the people who came to celebrate our little monster.  The kid sure is loved.  People helped to clean up, take loads of stuff back to our house and truly warmed our hearts throughout the entire day.  I’m the type of person that can usually find something wrong with everything I attend/do and to be honest, there was nothing wrong with this day.  It was special.  Henry knew it.  People were loving on him left and right.

Party Guest Fun!

Who doesn’t love a million pictures of the birthday boy eating cake?!?


For those already asking, yes I am already starting to plan next years party.  Doing things small and quaint just isn’t my cup of tea!