Sunday, December 30, 2012

Two years.

The week of Christmas was the two year anniversary of what I like to refer to as the doctor's appointment from hell.  In case you're new to the blog, you can read about it here.  I thought about that terrible day two years ago and I thought about it last week.
 It's a hard thing to fully explain to people what that day was like.  How our whole world felt like it was crashing down around us.  It's hard to explain to people what our life is like with Blake.   Our good friend Emily Morgan asked me if I had ever read, "Welcome to Holland." I hadn't so she gave me a copy.  It's the BEST metaphor for what our life is like.
Welcome To Holland
by Emily Kingshy
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to
try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to
imagine how it would feel. It's like this.......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to
Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The
Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You learn some
handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.After months of eager anticipation,
the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later,
the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland".
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy! All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy!"
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there
you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible,
disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new
language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would have never
met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced (or faster-paced) than Italy, less
flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your
breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills.
Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy
coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful
time they had there. And the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes ,that's where I
was supposed to go. That's what I had planned." And the pain of that will never,
ever, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.But if
you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never
be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
Isn't that amazingly written?  It's so true.  Life isn't terrible with Blake.  It's not what we would have ever expected, but we have adjusted.  It's not bad.  It's harder, for sure.  Look at the alternative.  There was a 90% chance he wasn't supposed to be here.  Sometimes, I let myself try to imagine what would have happened if that a-hole of a doctor would have been right.  That Blake wouldn't have made it past birth.  It is unimaginable.
Blake is who he is.  I have adjusted to this life.  Our family has adjusted.  You know what?  I think we are better individuals and better as a family because of Blake.   I thank God for this wonderful blessing named Blake every single day. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Burdorf Christmas

On Saturday morning, after packing and packing and packing some more, we finally headed out to Sioux City for our Christmas with Aaron's side of the family.  The roads weren't too terrible and we made good time.  
We ended up having to finish up some shopping on Sunday and just hung out and relaxed.  We played the game Beat the Parents on Sunday night.  Have you heard of this?  I hadn't, but it was pretty fun and Jenna and Brody even got to play.

On Monday morning I met my college friend, Kristin, at Caribou Coffee.  First, I adore Caribou and always make a point to get a coffee there when I'm in Sioux City.  Second, Kristin and I hadn't seen each other for FIVE years!  Two hours later, I think we were pretty well caught up. :)

We have definite traditions at the Burdorfs.  Christmas Eve we go to church and when we get home, we take family pictures!  It's a must.  Here is the best of the bunch...
Jenna and I took a "girls picture" before church.  We tried to do a picture of the boys, but Bowen wasn't having it.  And, don't be afraid friends, your eyes aren't deceiving you.  That is me.  In a dress.  I think it's the first time I've worn one for Christmas since about...1999...haha!
 Aubrey and Blakers had some fun writing on the white board.  They were pretty cute!
 After the family pictures, we all change to some comfy clothes and make supper.  Supper is yummy appetizers like Aunt Jill's Rotel Dip, Aaron's man candy, my cream cheese wraps, a veggie tray and a meat and cheese tray.  We don't starve, let's just say that. :)
 These three monkeys were so stinkin' adorable in their Christmas pjs, just playing in the middle of the kitchen floor completely oblivious to the chaos around them. 
 Grandpa Frank spoiled us with some really good beer! Some Leinenkugels.  He enjoyed some along with some man candy.
 Present time!!

And, guess who found my empty beer bottle?  Yep, Mr. Bowen...
 Having boys = trucks
 Photo bombed by Blake!
 Jenna was so excited that Santa brought her a Furby!  I can't decide if I think they are cool or creepy...
 Bowen liked Cousin Addy's sparkly boots
 We played cards.  Lots of cards.  I love that!  Grandma Linda taught the youngsters to play UNO, so many games of that were played. 
 Addy was a lean, mean winning machine!
 During the games of UNO, Adam and Aaron were SUPER excited to do the dishes. ha.
 Since the guys did the dishes Aunt Jill and I decided to join in on the UNO fun. 
 And then, it was a two hour marathon game of Phase 10.  Aaron ended up winning that.  Sorta.  We sort of cheated to get the game over with!
 I think Santa did really good with this gift.  The kids are loving it!  Popcorn, m&ms and movies. 
Here they were watching a little 'Home Alone,' on Christmas night.

 And, then it got interrupted by a flying Blake...
 And a daddy versus three boys wrestle fest.
 We had a great four days in Sioux City!  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa for letting us disrupt your quiet lives with all of our chaos. :)

Here is our Christmas 2012 family photo.  We hope your Christmas was just as merry as ours!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Card 2012

Merry Christmas from the Burdorf Family! 
Every year, despite the fact that it causes me stress, one of my favorite things to do is design our family's Christmas cards.  I did this year's twice, because after completing the first try, I realized another option where I could add MORE PHOTOS!  You know me, I love photos, so I kind of redid the card.  I have issues, I know.... :) 

Anyway, Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  
Wishing you all happiness, health and much hope in 2013!
Inside Left

 Inside Right

Friday, December 21, 2012


We got our first major snowstorm in about two years here in Central Iowa.  It was GREAT!!  We here in State Center got about 13 inches and the wind, it was a whippin'.  Aaron and the kids didn't have school on Thursday or Friday, so Christmas break started a little early.

The thing about the snow is...Jenna and Brody LOVE it!  It makes me smile to see them smile about the snow.  Even though it's pretty cold out, the kids go out for short spurts and then come into warm up and then head back out.  At the end of today, I finally bundled up Blake and Bowen and took them out too.  They seemed to enjoy it.

Here are some pictures from our afternoon outside...
I just like the sun and the trees and the snow in this one.  Beauty of winter!
 The kids tried to "sled" down the hills our neighbor, Jon, made from his tractor. 

 A timeout to take a picture with the mom.  I think I had as much fun as the kiddos in the snow!
 I just realized looking at this picture that Brody has two stocking hats on.  Nice...
 The twins were kind of obsessed with the shovel.  And, Blake's mitten kept falling off!  See cold, freezing hand below. :)
 Blakers, looking adorable...
And Bowen, who loved the snow.  He was a miniature Brody toddling around...
 Was digging the black and white.

All four kids!  Looking at the camera!  Was this my lucky day?!  Probably. :)
 And...we're done here.  Cold hand.  Snow in the face.  It was fun while it lasted!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The way I see it...

I was all set to write this week’s column about fun Christmas stuff.  And then, Friday happened.  I tried as hard as I could to think about anything else to write, but I just couldn’t do it.  The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is just consuming my mind.

Friday night, my husband and I headed out for some Christmas shopping and we talked about what had happened at Sandy Hook.  Although it was nice to have a night out without the kiddos, it didn’t feel completely right.  I felt like I should be at home squeezing on my four kids.  It didn’t feel right that I was buying presents, when a town had been completely shattered.

When we got home we turned on the news and watched.  Tears just rolled down my face as we listened to the news reports.  My husband is a teacher.  My dad was a principal.  My mom a guidance counselor.  I have young school age children.  What happened in Newtown would be a nightmare.

I’m one of those people that puts myself in the position of those people affected.  They interviewed a priest from a church who said they had to tell a little boy that his sister didn’t make it.  The little boy’s response was, “Who am I going to play with now?”

In that instant, I pictured my little boy saying that about his big sister.  Those words from that precious little boy just haunt me.  After that, I had to go to bed because I couldn’t take any more.

Saturday morning I woke up and Jenna was watching the news!  She is very much a little adult like that and it’s not unusual for her to watch the news.  I had to talk to her about what happened a little sooner than I had hoped.  She admitted that it kind of freaked her out.

Later that morning Jenna wanted to give us her present she had made at school.  On the card she had written, “Mom and Dad I love you so much.”  I just started to cry again, thinking of some card that was probably unopened that was made for a set of parents that lost a child.

Maybe it sounds terrible, but I tried to avoid the t.v. over the weekend because my heart was just aching.  Sunday night after the kids went to bed Aaron turned the news back on.  Again, the waterworks started as they read the names of the children and school officials that had been lost in this tragedy.

Then, my husband read a story on twitter about how one of the victims was a twin boy.  His twin sister was safely in another classroom.  That did it.  Can you even imagine?  I just can’t.  I went upstairs and kissed my sleeping kiddos and said a prayer of thanks that they were safe.

Christmas is less than a week away.  It seems to have taken on a whole new meaning this year.  It’s not about the gifts under the tree.  It’s about family.  It’s about spending good quality time with your loved ones.  It’s about telling them that you love them often.  It’s about showing them that you love them.    I’m going to do my best to keep things in perspective for the rest of the holiday season.  Less stress and more hugs from my babies.

Merry Christmas dear readers, may your days be merry and bright and filled with the ones you care about the most, but that’s just the way I see it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas time!

Christmas is just a week away as I type this.  I'm not sure that I'm really ready, but Dec. 25th will come regardless if I'm ready or not! :)  We've been keeping busy around the Burdorf house trying to get in the Christmas spirit.  

One of the things we've done is start a new tradition.  Since the kiddos are always asking me how many days are left until Christmas I went to the library and checked out 20 children's books about Christmas and wrapped up 10 for Jenna and 10 for Brody.  And then, I wrote numbers on them from 10 to 1.  Each day they get to open a "new book" to read.  They LOVE it!  They get so excited to see what their book of the day is.  
A little story time.  Bowen is a cheeseball!
Jenna's first book was "Bear Stays Up for Christmas." I love those books.
Another activity around our house is a little crafting.  Every year I like to make an ornament of some kind with the kids.  Every year we pull them out and put them on the tree. This year, I just found these cheap wooden ornaments at JoAnn Fabrics. 
The final products.  Jenna, Brody, Aaron (yes, I made him do one!) and I all did one.  Next year, I think the twins will be ready to start participating.
Sunday Aaron went to Ames for a couple of gifts and Blake prescriptions, so the kiddos put together a Grinch craft with my help.  The Grinch song is one of their favorites and Jenna likes the "real" Grinch movie and Brody the cartoon.  Here they are with their final products.  The mean faces were their idea!  These two crack me up!
Can you really have the Christmas season without a church program?  I think not.  Ours was a crossover between "The Night Before Christmas" and the story of Jesus' birth.  Jenna was a mouse and Brody a shepherd.
Singing some songs.  Brody looks enthused, doesn't he?!
Jenna in deep concentration... She had four sentences in a row.  She practiced all day.  Can you say oldest child perfectionistic tendenencies?!  LOL...I can relate!   She spoke slowly and clearly and messed up on one word, but kept her composure and corrected herself.
Afterward, I told her I was proud of her and she said, "Mom, you couldn't see it but my eyes were all watery because I was so nervous!"
'Tis the season to do some baking!  Here's my easy treat that everybody loves.  What you need: 1. Pretzel 2. Rolo 3. M&Ms.  That's it.  350 degree oven and bake the rolos for about 3 minutes or until just soft.  Take them out of the oven and put the M&M in the center. 
Star cookies are my FaVe!!!  I just put this picture on here because Brach's took the recipe off the package last year and it was devastating to me!  Now, if they pull that stunt again I have record of it on the blog.  :)
Aaron captured this photo of the boys.  Love, Love, Love!!!
And, I'd really wish this would happn...
It's Christmas!  I was born in Minnesota!  Raised in Northern Iowa!  What else can I say?  I dig the white stuff for the holidays.  They are saying maybe Wednesday or Thursday.  *Fingers crossed*

Are you ready for Christmas?  Are you feeling the holiday spirit?  I sure hope so!