Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Go Candi!

We were so thrilled on Monday night to watch our friend and fellow church member Candi Schmieder speaking at the Democratic National Convention. Seriously - how crazy is it that our friend from small-town Iowa was addressing thousands of people in the convention hall, and millions at home watching?!? We were bummed to see that CNN did not show her speech, but instead had their political team discussing things. Argh! However, we were still able to watch her speech on C-Span. Here is a link to read the 3-minute speech that she gave. Go to http://www.demconvention.com/candi-schmeider/ to read the speech. Even though the website says that you can watch the speech, the video is of Ted Kennedy's speech. (I've been told that you can go somewhere online and see the speech, but I have yet to find it...) Candi was in the group of speakers that were right before Michelle Obama. Here's what the convention hall looked like when Michelle spoke - just to give you a little flavor for what a big deal it was for Candi to speak there...

Candi was heavily involved in campaigning here in Iowa, and she had the chance to meet Barack and Michelle (yes, we are totally on a first-name basis with the Obamas!) Candi and her daughter introduced Barack at a rally that we went to in Williamsburg back in late December. So we can say that we were in a room with only 100-200 other people, including the (hopefully) next president of the United States. Ummmm, you can't tell my bias, can you?!? Regardless of your political point of view, though, you have to admit that it is rather incredible that she was asked to speak there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last Monday Meredith, Jesse and I went to the pedestrian mall in Iowa City to play on the toys and in the fountain one last time before Meredith started school. The toys and fountain are right by the public library, so I thought that we would play there also. We've been to the library quite a few times this summer, but we never had enough time to just stay there and play in the fountain and on the play equipment. So I decided that I better take Meredith there before the end of the summer and the end of her carefree pre-school time.

Meredith had a great time playing in the fountain - plugging the water holes, spraying herself, and running through the water. She was especially thrilled that she could wear her swimsuit in the middle of town when she wasn't even in a swimming pool!

Jesse, on the other hand, threw his first public tantrum! I thought he would like to put his hand in the water and get wet because he loves using the garden hose to get wet at home. Something set him off, though, and he wouldn't calm down for anything. He wasn't interested in either snack I brought, his drink, sitting in the stroller, pushing the stroller, sitting on my lap, letting me hold him, or any other tactics that I tried. So unfortunately we had to cut our morning much shorter than anticipated, but I know Meredith still had fun while it lasted!

Meredith is a Kindergartener!

Well, the day has finally come when Meredith starts kindergarten. I know it's a cliché, but it seems like just yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital!

Meredith is the child that can easily sleep in the morning until 9:00 - if I let her. And the bus will come every morning at 7:11...um, can you tell that we had our work cut out for us?!? Ever since baseball has been over, we have been slowly but surely moving Meredith's bedtime up and moving her wake up time forward too. Today I woke her at 6:30 and although she wasn't too happy to get up, she wasn't mad either. And by the time she got dressed and ready and downstairs to homemade pancakes that Kent had made, she was actually smiling. Now we'll just see how tomorrow morning goes!

Meredith was all smiles as she got off the bus this afternoon at 4. She said that she had a great time, although it was very hard for her to pin down her favorite thing for the day. One thing she was especially happy about was that they had 3 recesses ("We get 3 recesses every day, Mommy!") and that they didn't have to sleep during nap time. ("It's rest time, Mommy, not nap time!") She said that she can't wait to go back tomorrow, so I guess she had fun!

I think Meredith's backpack matches Riley's - it's High School Musical. (I think it's so funny that High School Musical is popular with everyone but high schoolers - but that's another subject...) Meredith's shirt was also high school musical. Meredith was convinced that she needed High School Musical socks to complete the ensemble, but I put my foot down and we got socks that match the color, but not HSM!

Kent's Health Scare

So most of you know that we had a scare last week with Kent. For the previous week he sometimes had the feeling as he was going to sleep that he was going to pass out. Then on Friday, he had the feeling during the day...and it just kept getting worse. He went to the doctor, and they sent him straight to the Emergency Room at the hospital in Iowa City.

He had all sorts of tests done: Cat scan, MRI, blood tests, etc. Everything came back looking really good. At first it seemed frustrating that we didn't know what was causing the problem. However, we were very very relieved to rule out major issues like a tumor, stroke, etc.

Kent had his first overnight stay in the hospital for observation on Friday night. (I guess he probably stayed overnight in the hospital when he was born, but he can't seem to recall that stay...) By Saturday morning the neurologist came by and released him. Since the doctor couldn't find any evidence of a problem, he treated Kent with anti-anxiety medication. It was, as the doctor said, "A shot in the dark," but at least they are trying something. Kent will go back to the doctor on Friday morning and maybe we'll know more then.

Fortunately Kent hasn't had any big episodes where he feels like he's going to black out since last weekend. When he first started the medication he seemed quite out of it, but his body has now adapted and he seems to be handling the medication better.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers and help during last weekend. In the Emergency Room Kent expressed concern over where our kids were. It was so wonderful to know that my family was taking over the care of them - it was one less thing to worry about!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brian & Julie's Wedding

As I'm looking at my pictures on my computer I came across these really cool photos from Brian & Julie's wedding that we went to in April. As you can maybe see from the last picture, Kent was one of the groomsmen. The wedding was in Cleveland, and after the wedding, we all rode around in a hummer limo and stopped at different places to take pictures. Here are a few...and yes, that is the Cleveland Browns Stadium in the background of the first picture!

The happy couple!


On Monday Kent, Meredith and I went to Adventureland, which is an amusement park in Des Moines. It was our last hurrah before Meredith starts school next week. I can hardly believe that she will be in kindergarten, but that's another subject for another post. We had a great time in Adventureland. The problem was that apparently a lot of other people had the same thought that we had and the park was really crowded. Usually the rides for adults have long lines, but the little kids rides don't. On Monday, the lines for every ride were long. But Meredith got to ride all of the rides that she wanted to. Kent and I didn't get to ride on any adult rides, but I was OK with that. We went on a water ride and all got soaked. As soon as the ride was over, Meredith announced that we had to go on that ride again!

We Miss Baseball!

I just downloaded pictures from my camera to the computer, and realized that I never posted anything about the baseball team's last game at state in Des Moines. IMS played in the semifinal game against North Sentral Kossuth. NSK won the game 6-0. IMS played good, but they were just playing against a really good team. It was a disappointing loss - especially when they were so close to the state final. But on the other hand, it was so awesome that they got that far. IMS' final record was 31-2, which broke the previous record for number of wins. Overall, it was a great season, and while there were many moments where we missed Kent and his presence at home, we still had a great time. Here are a few pictures from that semifinal game against NSK.

In this last picture, you can tell that it was very foggy that night. But in the distance you can just see the gold dome of the Iowa State Capitol...that was cool to see it in the background.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Grandpa Beachy

As I sit here at my computer, I have a heavy heart. My Grandpa Beachy passed away this afternoon - well actually, yesterday afternoon since it is already early Wednesday morning.

My Grandpa was the final living grandparent that I had. He has been living in a nursing home for I think 2 years now. Up until not quite 2 weeks ago, he was living in a somewhat independent room in the nursing home. He could come and go as he pleased, drive his car when needed (even if his kids thought his license should be retired) walk himself to the dining room for meals, etc. Even though he was 92 years old, he has been in pretty good health. This summer, however, his health has been declining. On July 25th he was moved to the skilled nursing area of the home. So he gave up a lot of his independence for more nursing staff and supervision. He went to the hospital on Sunday afternoon, and that is where he passed away.

As I grieve for Grandpa, I can't help but think that I'm not only grieving for him, but for the loss of his generation in my family. I have been blessed with being able to know all 4 of my grandparents. They were all at my high school graduation, all but my Grandpa Litwiller were able to attend my wedding, and both Beachy grandparents met and loved Meredith. But I now feel bereft without that older and wiser generation of grandparents.

There are so many memories that I have with Grandpa...here are just a few...
- Countless winter vacations in Sarasota: the 2 most "famous" memories are from a trip when I was Meredith's age. Grandpa was going to the "loafing bench", (the loafing bench was the local hangout for the retired men to sit and watch the world go by) and he told me to tell Grandma where he went. When Grandma asked me, I told her that he went to the place where they make bread. On the same trip, Grandpa asked me why he couldn't wear a pretty sundress like I had. My reason: Because grandpa didn't have any hair! Later on I remember lots of time spent at the shuffleboard with Grandpa and Grandma, breakfast at Der Dutchman, and lots and lots of card games.

- Countless summer Sunday evenings spent in Kalona - we'd be at either Grandpa Litwiller's or Grandpa Beachy's, and then would run through the back yards and across 2 streets to go to the other Grandparents house. (We would do the same thing in Florida too - since they lived close there also.)

- There was always something special about being able to watch a ballgame with Grandpa in the basement of their Kalona house.

- Whenever you would visit them in Kalona, chances are you would find Grandpa in his den watching sports.

- Getting Grandpa to talk about how things used to be, or tell us stories from his life.

- Seeing Grandpa hold Jesse as a baby, and more recently, chuckle at something Jesse or Meredith said or did. Jesse obviously won't remember his Great-Grandpa, and I don't know if Meredith will or not. But I will remember and cherish those times.

Those are just a few of the many memories. I'm posting some pictures of Grandpa and Meredith. Last Wednesday we visited him in the home and my mom got some really good pictures of the kids and Grandpa and I. I'll post those as soon as I get them from her.