Fixing Miss Michelle’s stinky feet!

At work today…I wasn’t just a teacher. (Not that anyone is JUST a teacher…) I was the baby teacher, one year old teacher, two year old teacher, three year old teacher, lunch lady, and office personnel. I worked in many different rooms and wore many different hats. It was a bounce around the center kind of a day.

Our center has been hit with the cases of the nasties that are going around. Us (and sooo many local schools) have been hit with strep, stomach flu, Influenza A, and a ton of other nasty colds and sicknesses. If it is not one thing…it’s another. I can’t even tell you how many EXTRA hours have been put into extra cleaning. We’ve been doing everything possible to keep it at bay and at least keep the staff from getting it. Alas, the holding pattern is over. The damn has broken. We have had at least 2 teachers out sick every day.

Those of you who work in daycare know what kind of chaos this can mean for the remaining staff. Especially if there is no one available to take their place. We had two teachers and our secretary out today. Luckily (although I feel guilty saying that) we had a few kids out today too so we are able to do some adjusting and make the day work! Voila!

This just meant that I was the jack of all trades or the woman of many hats today!

During my brief stint in the two year old room today, the kiddos were playing with tools. They were fixing the other teacher. He told them to “Go fix Miss Michelle.” And there came the swarm of small children towards me asking what they can fix. My creativity failed me and I asked them to fix my legs/shins because of my shin splits and my wrist that is oddly sore after my am run. The kiddos decided that in order to fix my legs they had to stick their tools down my boots. I warned them that their toys will be stinky because I have stinky feet. This prompted an immediate…

“Fix stinky feet!!”

Which of course turned into all of them saying and soon they were chanting it and using all sorts of tools to attempt to fix my stinky feet…

I don’t know if it worked, but at least they tried!

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One small step, one big change

So, when I signed up to do the “run the year” 2018 in 2018 all year long running challenge…I don’t know what I expected.

Let’s be honest, I had run a few 5k but was by no means a runner. After November’s events, I needed something. A goal. Something to push myself. Something to look forward to and challenge me. So, I did an impulse sign up. Probably an emotional one

Yes, I am running it with 3 other women. We are running as a team. While it does not require all miles to be split evenly…I still feel pressure to do my part. 2018 split for ways is still 504.5 Miles in a year. That’s running 1.4 miles every day. Not an easy task for me.

But….I’ve been running little by little almost every day. And when I logged into my run the year page to make sure my miles were being logged to a pleasant surprise! I had achieved a new milestone bib!!

Seeing that gave me a wow feeling and then I realized that while I did signup for it…I didn’t think I could actually do it. I’m one month into my year and I already have 1/5 of my share done. What a feeling that is. I CAN do it!!!

What I am trying to say is, sometimes things are hard. Sometimes they are harder than you actually anticipated. You may doubt your ability to do something or just yourself in general. When that happens…STOP. Stop and take a deep breath then do two things…

1) Remind yourself that you are stronger and braver than you think!

2) Do your best and forget about the rest!

The second is actually something I tell my students. As long as you try your hardest and do your best, that is all that matters. You may not always win. It may not always work. But there is “success” in failure. You’ve successfully learned one way not to do something and now can create new ways to try again. Or…you can sit back and think… “I could have just given up, but I pushed myself as hard as I could for as long as I could and I definitely did my best.” There’s pride in trying. There’s achievement in trying. There I not I’m quitting.

Besides, you may just fool yourself!

Minneapolis, MN travel advice needed please!!!

Alright peoples!

Hubby and I are Minneapolis, MN bound mid-April for some silly fun shenanigans! We are going to turn it into an early 10 year anniversary celebration!

Looking for some suggestions on places to go and things to do. Nothing too crazy. It’s just a weekend. We will be out there on a fri night for dinner and then will be coming home Sunday afternoon. Not a ton of time. So maybe something fun to do Saturday night. A few simple yet fun things to do during the day.

Thanks blogging world!

The Only Girl…

Back in October, BigSki has given up having a birthday party with friends to go on a vacation. It was a vacation complete with first airplane rides and beach fun and body surfing! No more than an extended weekend, but amazing none the less!

While he gave up having a big birthday party with friends, I did promise him a sleepover. Our October was booked, beginning of Nov was busy. We were planning for early December. Then my brother passed and we were busy with that and then Christmas and holidays and so many shenanigans. The never ending cycle of madness!

So, here we are….end of January having a sleepover that was meant to be for a birthday back in October. Yeah…bad mom.

I told him 2-3 friends. I contacted the parents directly to keep there from being any drama at school over invites and such. The excitement of this weekend has BigSki asking me almost every hour if his friends could make it.

Only 3 more days till my sleepover!

Only 2 more days till my sleepover!!

Only 1 more day till my sleepover!!!!

Yay!!!!!!!! My sleepover is FINALLY today!!!

Other parents out there…ya feel me….right?!?!

Then I start getting messages from one of the parents saying their son wants to come over NOW.

Ummm…not ready yet. Ha ha.

I told them I’d let them know if we were ready early. The. I had BigSki begging me to let them come over early.

Can they come now?

How about now….

Mom….when can they come over? Aren’t we ready YET?!

The time came and so did the kids. We had four 3rd Grade boys in the house as well as my 2nd grader and my husband. That’s a lot of boys. 6 males and little ole me was the only female.

Energy was high, Volume was loud, sports & video games were at an al time high (for our house) and fart jokes reigned supreme!!! It was a man’s world and I was stuck in the middle of it all!

Ok…it wasn’t so bad. I grew up with two brothers….I’m a tomboy myself. I wasn’t worried. Hubby was a little worried that we didn’t have any activities planned. I just laughed.

It went sooo smoothly!

Play w/ our new basketball hoop

Dinner (chk nuggets and fries of course!)

Wii sports and other fun party games

Root beer floats

Popcorn & Lego Batman from our cozy sleeping bags on the floor!

See…..EASY! Hubby was so pleasantly surprised he said he’d do more sleepovers again anytime! 🙂 BigSki was thrilled to hear that and is already thinking of who he wants to have next!

While it went smoothly with no issues, I don’t know if I’m ready for all the big kid sleepovers yet. I don’t know if I can handle my baby being so BIG.

What do you do when your kids have a sleepover? Do you plan anything special or just let the kids do their own thing??

**Other than the memes which were found on Pinterest….the rest of the photos in this post are my own. Please do not use without permission. Thank You!**

S-more S’mores please

When you end you weekend waterpark Christmas with a little something extra!

We stopped at HuHot for dinner on the way home. If you’ve never been, it’s fun! It’s all you can eat and is a unique buffet! Basically you grab what veggies you want and meats and sauces and put them into bowls. Then take them to the grill where these guys move around a circular grill cooking your meal and putting on a show! Flipping flippers and banging them away on the grill to their own beat. Leave a tip…they bang the gong!

While my kids aren’t fans of anything saucy…they loved watching the guys! It was lots of fun!

But the BEST part…..

Making s’mores at the dinner table with our own marshmallows and chocolate and Graham’s and even…..MINI FIRE!

Seriously…look at the pure joy in those kids faces! ❤️

Not your Average Christmas

When it’s comes to Christmas and holidays…I tend to dread them a bit. Why? We have a very large family. Hubby’s parents are divorced. So just between our parents, we have three Christmas celebrations already. Don’t even get me started on cousins and grandparents. Holidays are stressful. Who gets to see us day of and who has to wait. Many Thanksgivings have been spent cramming all 3 houses into one day. Can you say stress?While Christmas isn’t totally figured out, we do have a little bit more of a handle on certain things…which helps. It also helps that my mother n law and step father n law started a new tradition. With them each having 3 children and many of us being married with kids in the way…it made sense to do something different. Instead of gifts, we went to the Dells after Christmas (usually Jan) for our Christmas celebration & gift from them!

When BigSki was 3 months old (and the only grandchild) we had our first Christmas in the Dells. I’m sure almost everyone who has heard of Wisconsin has heard of the Wisconsin Dells! Heck…I ran into people from out of country who had heard of it! Water park Capital of the World!! Needless to say…it is not a dull Christmas! We spent time swimming and playing and doing water slides. We took turns fighting over who got to snuggle and float the lazy river with my itty bitty baby!

9 years later….our family have changed and grown just a bit….

BigSki is no longer a baby and is now the oldest of 7 kiddos! Their ages range from 3 to 9! Not a big gap!

We are now a big massive group of the parents, 3 married couples, one engaged couple, and two “singles”…one of whom brought their significant other. 13 adults total. Then the seven grandkids. Quite the house full!

We’ve gone from staying only one night to a weekend. We’ve gone from renting a little condo at the resort to a huge cabin! We no longer big and do a gift battle of random stupid cheap gifts, but a battle over our own homemade gifts! As our Christmas has grown…so have we!

I love our homemade gift exchange battle thing! We set a price limit and sometimes a theme and everyone makes their own gifts. We’ve had homemade wine, homemade Kahlua (me), pallet wine racks, Birthday hanging things, a coffee cup/wine glass rack, beer bottle plinko, bird feeders, etched glasses, and more! Every year the gifts get more creative and inventive! Hubby made the custom etched glasses this year. I made a handmade rice heating pad, rice hand warmers, and some essential oil roller bottles with some homemade blends! Mine wasn’t one of the most creative ones, but I’m not a big sewing guru so….I certainly busted my butt on them!

This year we ended with some homemade bird feed things (bird seed wreath lookin thing made in a circle jello mold) and a wooden ninja phone/tablet stand!

The battle is always fun! I love seeing what people come up with and sometimes it’s surprising what gets fought over. Lots of yelling and lots of laughs. It’s good we are in a cabin now because we are loud!!!!!

We even had an added bonus this year! My sis n law made us ornaments with our faces on them!!! Like for real….

This is sooo me…well before I chopped all my hair off! She had it made before then! I love it. So fun! I’m a big mombun rep! 😆

<<<<<<<<<<
eople that we have a Christmas in the Dells at a water park in January….they usually think I am crazy! Who waits till January to celebrate Christmas? Who does it at a water park? That is not Christmas! Well…it is to us!

We may not get to go on as many slides as we used to.

<<<<<<<<<<
more time watching kids swim and have less free time than we used to.

<<<<<<<<<<
t be any cute babies to battle over holding like there used to.

But….we still love it!

We love it and so do the kids!

<<<<<<<<<<
rate Christmas a unique way? What is your favorite unusual holiday tradition?

***All photos in this post are my own! Please make sure to ask before you share and don’t forget to give credit back to me if you use any!***

School Spirit is wearing me down

Last week was school spirit week.

What is Spirit Week? It’s a week of dress up days. Each day has a different theme and you use that theme to plan your outfit accordingly for that day! Basically, you play dress up all week! Growing up, I remember Spirit week leading up to our pep-rally as awesome and fun and good times. We loved dressing up and having fun with our friends. I remember spending hours trying to figure out the most awesome thing to wear! Then there’s the pep-rally! So much fun! I looked forward to it all year!!!

This year is the first year my boys school had Spirit Week. They had a pep rally, but none of the week long fun leading up to it. When I heard they were doing it, I was so excited! The kids are going to love this as much as I did! Then, I saw the list of dress up days.

Monday- Fave college sports team day

Tuesday- Fake an Injury Day

Wednesday- Professional Day

Thursday- Superhero Day

Friday- Blue and White Day

Minus Monday & Friday, all I see is way to much effort.

Monday….We have lots of Wisconsin Badger gear because of my brother Mike so…done. (Bad mom forgot to take a picture)

Tuesday…. Fake an Injury Day. This one I wasn’t a big fan of. Number one because my brother was handicapped. Number two because I don’t think it’s appropriate to make light of injuries. It’s teaching them that it’s ok to make jokes about people and their injuries…that it’s not important or hurtful. Number three…. because I don’t see why we need to teach our children to fake anything. Why teach them that faking an injury is ok? Needless to say….is a rough patch, But…I’m not about to let them down. I searched all over for different things they could use. LilSki ended up using an brace from when he broke both bones in his arm last October. I ended up finding some gauze wrap stuff for BigSki for his arm.

The part that REALLY got me was the kids that had beautifully done makeup to look like shiners or stitches. Time and care and extra effort put into special bandages and steri-strips. The kids looked great. Their injury looked fantastic! All I could do was look at my kids with their bandages arms and wonder if I should have tried harder. Then I remembered I was late for work and off I went.

Wednesday- Dress like a professional day. A professional what? A professional whatever-you-want (that’s appropriate for a Lutheran school that is) to be.

Meet my little professionals…

BigSki’s request to be a writer didn’t shock me. However…LilSki’s desire to be a scientist did. Alright google…whatcha got. I pulled up the google and looked up “kids scientist costume”.

Lab coats and goggles made a frequent appearance. Well, I didn’t have any of those an no way to get/make something like that in time so….new strategy. The kids got a “Tasty Science” kit for Christmas which has some test tube thing in them so…score! I tried to get him to go with a “mad scientist” look. Like the professor from the movie Flubber after an invention exploded in his face.

I’m talking spiked hair, goggles (swim ones cuz that’s all I got), and maybe some black smudges on his face. No dice. So, I made due with what I had and he looks pretty cute! Maybe not scientisty to some, but it’s all I got!

Thursday- Dress Like a Superhero Day!

Now this is a day I can get behind! I am all about the positive themes! Plus, I have to avenger obsessed children and a whole hoard of hero Halloween costumes! This one we got covered!

We got LilSki as Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy bringing his new baby Groot with him because…when is Rocket every really without Groot! They are best buddies! Face it…I wanted to have a mom win by letting him bring it to school! Not often mom gets the win in our house! BigSki I was hoping would go as Starlord since we have that costume as well and it would complete the theme, but Alas…the boy is Batman obsessed (can’t say I blame him…he’s my fave super hero too) and HAD to go as Batman!

I was all for a nice easy day that didn’t require running around to look for something, make something, or improvise!

Friday- Blue & White Day/ School Spirit Day

Another somewhat easy one! Just wear school themed clothes! We bought the kiddos new gear for Christmas with BigSki starting basketball! So, that’s what we did! I also used an old blue eye liner pencil and wrote on their faces with it! Team name and for BigSki I drew a basketball and #5 (his number) as well!

Sadly, another “bad mom” moment…I forgot to take a photo! Honestly, we had Spirit Week and were packing for a weekend away for our final Christmas of the year so I got distracted and forgot. So here’s a pic of me sporting school colors in support of my boys!

Spirit week is over. While parts of it were fun, I am glad it is. It showed me that while I want the kids to dress up and have fun…I am not one of the pinteresty moms that is going all out making special outfits/costumes for their kids. I’m the mom that helps them find it, but encourages the kids to do it themself. Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m encouraging independence and self motivation/creativity/reliance. Who knows. But I will say that while I LOVE Pinterest and have made many meals and some homemade things from there….I will never be a Pinterest mom.

***THE PHOTOS OF MY CHILDREN ARE MY OWN! The quote meme at the end I, myself, made for this post. But…the kids scientist photos are courtesy of Pinterest and the Flubber picture is from google and obviously not my own! Flubber is a great funny movie and if you haven’t seen it I recommend it! ***

Run the Year…a year long challenge!

After everything that happened end of last year….I needed something. Something to look forward too and plan. A challenge.

One of my son’s friend’s moms is a running fiend. Like…trying to run races in every state…multiple races a month…running fiend!! She was telling me that she is doing a different kind of race…a year long challenge. It’s called Run The Year!

This last year I have been doing more running. I ran 3 5k races end of last year alone! I’ve run maybe 5-10 races in my whole life and half of them were last year and most have been in the last 2 years.

A run for troops! 5k for the adults and a 1/4 mile for the kiddos!

Thanksgiving Day 5k run!!! No kiddos!

5k Run through Holiday lights. This was the day after my brother Mike’s funeral. A friend got me a button so I could make a button of my brother to wear when I run!

So, I thought it would be an interesting challenge. Why not?

What is run the year?

Basically you run 2,018 miles in 2018. The challenge started January first and obviously goes till December 31st! You can run it as an individual or you can do it as a team. As an individual you would have to run like 5 miles per day. I’m not quite to that level yet. For the team, you can have up to 4 people on it and each person’s miles ran contributes to the team’s total. It doesn’t have to be an even split either. But…it ends up being like 1.4 miles per person per day.

While I’m all about a challenge…let’s start a little smaller! Best part…I can sync my tracker with my Fitbit so I don’t have to actually log any miles! It does it all for me…cuz let’s face it…I would totally forget to log my miles!

I’m super excited because we are 14 days in and I already have 47.13 miles logged! 47 miles of my team’s current 112.35 total! That’s just under half the miles! I’m rocking this challenge out and am super proud of myself!! Maybe next year I can do it solo!

On top of the 2018 in 2018 challenge….I also made a goal to run one 5k per month for the whole year! Crazy? Maybe….but Andy and I enjoy 5k runs!

Today was our first race of 2018.

Our traditional pre-race selfie!

It was for our local zoo! For those who don’t know or don’t remember…I live in good ole Wisconsin and the run was an outdoor run…in a glorious 3 degrees. In other words….it was flipping cold out! You’re jealous, right?

The best part…there was like a 70/80 year old man who was running….IN SHORTS….WITHOUT A SHIRT!!! I wish I had taken a picture because it would have been a great “Only in Wisconsin” meme! I had thick leggings, two long sleeve shirts AND a sweatshirt on and this guy was in shorts and shirtless. Just the thought of it made me that much colder!

It was so cold that there were times I felt like my lungs were wind burned. I may need to invest in some sort of a face mask if I continue winter running in Wisconsin. (If any runners read this and have suggestions, let me know!) For running in such cold and just getting over being sick…I’m happy with my results. I finished in 36 minutes! No, that’s not fast. But fast isn’t how I roll.

These two memes that I found on Pinterest fit me and my running style to a T. For me, it’s not about speed. While beating my previous time is a bonus…all I care about is crossing the finish line. And I did that!!

Traditional finish line selfie!

Our Traditional Selfie at the Finishline!!

With it being a run named after a Gorilla…I kind of expected bananas at the finishline, but there wasn’t any. However, I cannot complain about the wonderfully warm and deliciously creamy tomato soup that a restaurant called Mo’s brought in! Sooo good and it completely hit the spot!

After the run we went into a few of the inside exhibits! My favorite was being the 4 month old baby gorilla!

Soooo stinking cute!!! I could have watched these two for quite a while!

It was a great day and a wonderful start to our 2018 race season! I’m hoping all races this year go this well or better! And the best part….

I got to run with my brother again! I’m thinking I am going to wear the button in memory of him for every race this year! A little tribute if you will!!

I’m going to end this blog with a question for any runners that may read this….Do you have any favorite races? How do you choose what races to run? What is your favorite race length?

**Memes courtesy of Pinterest! Run the year banner from their website posed with a link to the site! The rest are my own!**

One moment can change everything

This post is going to be a hard one to write and quite possibly…a long one. I’ve had quite a few people ask where I went and then why I deleted all my posts. For some things…there are no words or explanations. For others, there are far too many words that will be so difficult to write.

It has been a tough year. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad. There have been tons of ups, but the downs are so heavy and hard that they are the most memorable. It’s like there being a glimpse of sun in the sky before a dark rain cloud moves in front of it. You can see the sun shining on other areas and know it’s there, but the rain cloud is preventing you from enjoying it.

Thanksgiving started like any normal thanksgiving. Too much food and not enough stomach. Wondering why I didn’t put on my favorite pair of LuLaRoe leggings and one of my Carly dresses instead of uncomfortable jeans that were now making me feel very fat. I was on the way to Thanksgiving number 2 of 3 when I received a text message from my dad. They decided to have our thanksgiving on Friday to make things a little easier and had gone out to brunch with some cousins.

My brother, Mike, had enjoyed some green bean casserole (one of his favorite thanksgiving foods) and it just didn’t go down right. He barely ate after that. On the way home he told mom and dad he was having a harder time breathing and felt like he was choking. The plan was to take him to a clinic, but Mike told them to go to the hospital. Between the expressway and the hospital (less than a 10 min drive) he stopped breathing and lost consciousness. Due to his disability they kept going and drove right into the ambulance entry and got the ramp down and wheeled his wheelchair right out of the van and into the ER. The ER immediately bagged him and got him breathing again quickly.

So, here I sit having a message from my dad saying they took my to the ER because he stopped breathing and went unconscious from choking.

Texting him back….no response.

Texting mom….no response.

Calling dad….no answer.

Calling mom…..no answer.

Desperately trying to get more information. Something. Anything.

Turns out they had no signal. I wasn’t eating. Wasn’t drinking. Nothing. I needed to be ready to leave at a moments notice. I’d have left already if I’d have known what hospital they were in. Finally I got a response saying he was ok. Just running some tests on his lungs and wanting to do a scope thing to make sure he wasn’t aspirated. (Like my technical jargon?) So, they were keeping him.

Happy Thanksgiving.

So, I headed over to mom and dads house to grab a few things for them and headed to the hospital. My In-laws were all great and helped take the kiddos for me since the hospital was an hour from home and I’d be back late. I was told I didn’t have to go, but damn it….I wasn’t about to not go. I’d been panicking for hours at this point. I needed to see Mike.

When I arrived, I found out Dad went home and would be returning early in the AM. Mike was awake. He definitely looked tired, but his sense of humor was still there! Oh, what a relief. I hung out much later than I should have, but the huge weight of worry about him had lifted from my shoulders. While I was still worried about my baby brother (28…almost 29yr old baby brother) and wanted him to recover fast, I felt happy and almost light knowing he made it through ok and was in good hands.

Black Friday I worked in the AM. (I swear, we may be the only daycare in Wisconsin open on Black Friday.) As soon as I was done working, I got my kiddos and some stuff and we were on our way back to the hospital. The boys were worried about their Uncle Mike! We got their and their smiles to see Mike sitting their smiling back at them was priceless. They adore him! My brother J and his girlfriend were their with her dog Rex too. Mike loves dogs. Having Rex there and sitting with him and doing tricks was a highlight! We were happy to know his oxygen levels were good. They were going to do the bronchial something medical terms scope in the morning and if all was clear…he’d get to come home!

So…My brother J and his girlfriend, and I left with plans to takeover mom’s thanksgiving dinner making so that we could have it ready for when they got home! After all, They all still didn’t have their thanksgiving dinner yet! I arrived bright and early! The scope-thingy came back clear! No fluid or anything in his lungs! All clear to come home!

While the Turkey was cooking, I took the kids to a nearby town parade. Hubby was hunting and his dad lives in that area so, we’d get to see him. It’s kind of a tradition. Cold, but always a good time. Mom and Mike arrived home while we were at the parade and waited for us for lunch. I felt bad that they waited for us, but we were ready to devour when we got there.

Poor Mike looked exhausted from his procedure. He sure was happy to be home and finally getting his traditional Thanksgiving meal. Eating seemed to be a chore. He kept coughing and coughing. Mom turned to Dad and mentioned his Cough Assist machine (which was at his apartment a few hours away and with his disease it is a wonderful machine that helps him clear phlegm and stuff when he has a cough) and Dad immediately got up and left the dinner table mid meal and left to go get it. After hearing the story multiple times of Mike’s ER trip and how he stopped breathing, Mike’s coughing worried my youngest LittleSki (7) who turned to me and said, “Is Mike dying mommy?” I looked at mom then the panic in my brothers eyes and prayed that he didn’t hear that. I tried to quietly console him, but Mike’s coughing did not stop. He was still looking at me, but he said to mom “It’s happening again.”

My mom told me to call dad and tell him we were taking Mike to the hospital. So, I called him and told him, but then I turned to mom and said it would be better if we called an ambulance. He lost consciousness last time and since my parents live in the country it would take twice as long to make it to a hospital. So, we called 911 and told Dad to come back. J (who is an EMT) said they have a tool in the ambulance to use to clear airwaves when choking. He quickly improvised and grabbed the turkey baster and started working to clear his airwaves. He was getting some stuff and it seemed to be helping. I remember the sights and sounds like it was just earlier today. I remember gripping the phone and praying over and over. Then, Mike stopped responding and breathing in a split second.

I vividly remember screaming his name. I remember digging my knuckles into his breast bone like I learned in CPR because it’s painful and should get a response. I remember slapping his cheek and when that didn’t work watching for breaths. Everything from this point on is partially vivid and also half blurry. I don’t know if I blurred it myself or if it was because of my fear and adrenaline. I can’t tell you when I realized that my children were still in the room, but the moment it hit me I screamed at my brother’s girlfriend to get them out and keep them out. I remember my mom and J moving him to the floor. I remember grabbing my mom’s phone to call Hubby who was hunting in the woods behind the house over and over. I remember him texting me on my phone and barely being able to type something like “come quick and get the kids” I remember the EMTs coming in and him immediately getting a tube and the squeezy breathing bag thingy. I remember my brother taking control and bossing the other EMTs around. I remember running outside barefoot looking for something the EMT needed. I remember J started CPR. The EMT was getting some stuff going and Mom was doing the air bag breathe squeezing thing. J was doing compressions and the EMT was just about to take over. Then mom started shaking and tearing up and I told the EMT she was not ok to be doing that. So, he took over for her. I remember telling J I’d take over compressions and the look he gave me was that of disbelief. He asked if I was sure. No, but I’d be damned before I’d just sit here and do nothing when I was trained on what to do to help. So, we switched.

In CPR certification class they warn you that you may feel ribs crack and that if they don’t crack you aren’t doing it right. That comment meant nothing till I went down for my first compression and felt it myself. I cringed inwardly and immediately felt like I was hurting him and needed to stop. Then, training kicked in and I got my head in the game. The comment in class was nothing to prepare me for it in real life.

I counted aloud and kept tempo by singing over and over in my head the tune “staying alive”. Yes….the old disco song. J and I switched after my two mins. I don’t remember when Hubby came and got the boys. I know I sent the kids out and didn’t let any of them back in the house. I remember hugging him and thinking he smelled wonderful like the woods. I remember telling him to get them out of there now. I don’t remember them leaving. I barely remember J’s girlfriend being there. I know she called a bunch of J’s EMT friends for him. I remember the sheriff showing up and me kicking mom out of the room to talk to her. I remember each and every turn of compressions I had. I remember the paramedics arriving and knowing one of them. I remember watching them hook up and IV and were talking Meds.

I don’t remember when my Dad got back, but I will never forget the look on his face as he stood there watching. He was ghost white and his knuckles were gripping the counter so tight. He wouldn’t sit down and listen to me. He wouldn’t leave the room. He didn’t look good and I was sooo worried he’d faint or something worse. I remember telling Sam (J’s girlfriend) to help keep an eye on him. I don’t remember seeing mom. I didn’t look for her. I was too focused on Mike. The AED was hooked up. No AED shocks advised. More compressions. I remember two of my brother J’s EMT friends arriving. One even got down and helped with CPR. I remember hugging one and making a comment about how going this long with no pulse or anything can’t be good and how he didn’t look at me but hugged me tight. One more round of CPR. Then J’s friend that was helping with CPR found a pulse. Someone else confirmed it. They got the stretcher in and him on it and to the ambulance they went.

J’s friends helped Sam and I clean up Thanksgiving dinner and the EMT/Paramedic garbage. Dad packed a bag and was going to drive himself down, but I made J and Sam go with. I said I wanted to check on the kids and I’d be down. I was talking to Hubby about how they were dealing when I got a text saying he wasn’t doing well again. We hurried and dropped them off at Hubby’s mom’s house which is a mere few blocks away. We were in the car on the way down when I got a “Doing CPR again, hurry!” Text.

I lost it. I shouldn’t have waited. I should have rode down with Dad and J and Sam. I should have worried about the kids later.

Should have….

Should have….

At this point I was happy Hubby was with me because I lost control of my emotions. All the should haves I could possible have thought of were going through my head. I should have stayed home instead of going to the parade. I’d have had more time with him then. I should have left with them. I should have done this. I should have done that.

I got another hurry text. Hubby was going to drop me off at the door then go park. I was running into the building when I saw my mom’s best friend/my brother’s god mother. I told her I was told to hurry as I ran past her so she’s understand. Sam had someone ready and waiting to take me in. I heard Gin behind me complaining to the desk people about why she couldn’t be let in. I didn’t care. The guy walking me in was moving slower tan molasses in January in Wisconsin. I was half walking ahead of him. Noooo sense of urgency. I wanted to SCREAM.

I couldn’t tell you what the hall looked like. Or the room I walked in to. But….I can say that I knew before I saw. As I walked through the doors of what I am assuming was the triage room….I saw a group of people walking away from a curtained area sweaty and exhausted and not happy. I was too late.

Mom and Dad saw me and I just walked right into both their arms and J joined in too. We stood there in the middle of all the chaos and equipment and cried as a family. I felt like mom and dad were ready to collapse and was thankful for J’s arms in the mix because I knew we could help them together. I don’t know how long we stood there. It could have been seconds. It could have been minutes. I don’t know. There could have been more doctors and nurses running around for someone else. I don’t know.

You know in the movies where they show a character living through something in a soundless kind of slow motion. That is exactly how this felt. My life was moving in a soundless blur. I don’t remember hearing my family cry, but I remember their bodies shaking under my hands in our hug so I know they did. Maybe I was blocking it out or maybe my own sobs were too loud. I don’t know.

I remember them ushering us into a room where we could sit and mourn this loss together. I remember going to get Gin and Sam from the hallway. I remember Gin looking at me…searching my face for some sign of good news and all I could do was cry and shake my head. I don’t remember walking to her or her walking to me, but I remember the hug. The tight “hold on because you feel like your world is falling apart” hug. I remember her sobbing “No! No! No!” Over and over.

I remember telling myself that now is the time to cry and tomorrow will be the time to be strong. They’re going to need me, I need to be strong for them.

I have no idea how long we stayed in that room. Eventually they brought Mike into the room for us to say goodbye. I remember telling stories. I remember tears and laughter. Our pastor came and said some words.

It’s amazing because right there in that little mourning room, we came to terms with what happened. I’m sure many would have been upset or angry or sad, but we were able to find peace. We were able to find comfort.

*We realized that if this had happened when he was in his apartment alone we’d have worried that he was scared or in pain or that it was slow and horrible.

*Him coming back to us on Thanksgiving gave us extra time with him we otherwise would not have had.

*He was Home with family. We know everything that could have been done to help him was done.

*If mom and dad would have been alone, it would have been worse. Or if mom had been in the car driving with this happening in the back of the van. J and I were there and able to start CPR.

*If he hadn’t have gotten his pulse back to make it to the hospital, we wouldn’t have found out it was a clot or some other heart defect. J would have always wondered if he could have done more and now he knows there isn’t. His heart was done.

Plus, when he was Diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy…we were told he wouldn’t live to 20. He made it to 20 and then some. So, we essentially got about 9 or more years than we ever though we’d have. That alone is a huge blessing. He left us while he still had an amazing quality of life for his disease. It was his time.

While saying goodbye isn’t just hard…let’s be honest it down right sucks….these things make it a little easier to deal with. They give us the extra peace we need to keep moving forward.

Now, while I’ve come to peaceful terms with his passing, I am having one heck of a time. I’m not sleeping well. When I do sleep I wake up in cold sweats or crying. I’m reliving the sights and sounds of doing CPR on my brother. I’m reliving cracking his ribs. The image of him on the ground with a tube in his mouth and shirt cut off and AED strapped up to him will NOT leave my mind and it’s haunting me. I haven’t talked to my doctor yet, but a few people are saying their guess is PTSD or depression.

So, why did I delete all my posts? Why did I disappear? Now you know a little of why. This is also the reason I am writing again. I need an outlet. I need a way to get things off my shoulders that I have a hard time telling people. So, essentially I’m prescribing myself with writing therapy. I can write what I need to write and whether or not someone reads it is up to them. Who knows…maybe what I’m going through can help someone else. Even if it’s just knowing they aren’t alone.

He needs a man butt…

Today at work I had a different class than normal. I am sooo not opposed to a little variety to spice things up a bit! Keeps things interesting. Not that there is ever really a dull moment when you work with kids all day every day!

We were finishing up one activity and getting ready to move into another one, so I pulled out what I call small blocks for the kids for transitions.

So, here I was sitting on the floor of the classroom. I made multiple flowers, a dog, a cat, and a guy with a hat. The kids were so excited! Happy teacher moment! Yay!!! So, here I was putting together a snowman for another child when the little guy I made the guy with the hat for sits next to me and starts putting another block between the guys legs. Curiosity obviously got the better of me so I asked him what he was doing.

“I’m adding a man-butt. He really needs a man-butt because all boys have a man-butt.”

Hmmmm….is that what they are calling it now a Days?

Good thing I hadn’t just taken a sip of coffee…it would have come right back out!