Monday, June 25, 2012


We just celebrated our one year anniversary of Blake coming home from the hospital a couple of weekends ago.  It has made me think a lot.  About so many different things.

One of the things that I think has helped our family tremendously is the fact that we have accepted Blake's medical issues and problems from the beginning.  Aaron and I had a talk after finding out the severity of things at our 22 week ultrasound.  We decided that we had two choices and we chose to be positive.  

If we didn't stay optimistic, our life would be hell.  No question about it.  We would dwell on the why me? Why us?  Why are family? And all of that other stuff that goes with it.

Guess what?  Those aren't the kind of people that we are.  Does Blake's kidney disease suck?  Yes.  Do I wish I could go through this for him?  Yes.  Do I wish I could protect him from the pokes and prods and hurt?  Yes.

These ups and downs though, they are part of our life.  I'm not going to lie and say I'm always super happy.  Blake had a hole in his catheter right before Dam to Dam.  I headed down to Iowa City at 9 PM and cried a good chunk of the way.  I hate our family being split up like that.  

I remember one time Jenna asked me why God would give us a baby that had bad kidneys.  I told her that I just didn't know.  She responded with, "Because he chose us mom.  He chose our family to have Blake."  I think about that so often.

I'm a quote person.  When things get rough I remember them.  The first one is, "God never promised it would be easy, he just promised it would be worth it."  So true.

The second is, "You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it."  We can do this. And we know that.

When I see this... makes all the ups and downs worth it.  His cute smile.  His giggles.  His snuggles. I love my little man so much!  

As for Jenna and Brody.  I don't think we could ask for a better big brother and sister.  We are always truthful with them and tell them what's going on and why.  They probably know more about dialysis than any other four and six year old out there. :)  I know that in some way, all of Blake's siblings are going to be better people because of his situation.  

We are currently creeping ever closer to transplant weight.  No testing has been done yet, but we will keep you all up to date on that.  In the meantime, we just need to keep this boy healthy and growing.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

54th Rose Festival

State Center held it's annual Rose Festival celebration last weekend.  It's three days of FUN, but a lot of work for me with my job.  Running around taking pictures, pictures and more pictures!  

Friday night is a BBQ competition and other activities going on.  Unfortunately but fortunately this rained Friday night.  Unfortunately because it put a damper on activities.  Fortunately because we really needed the rain.

I thought I would grab a picture from last year's Rose Festival of the twins in the stroller.  This was the day Blakers was discharged from the hospital. 
And this year's photo.  WOW!  Isn't the growth in the first year of life amazing?!  I think it's so funny how much they used to look alike and now how much they don't.  
 Anyway, the kids put on their rain boots and we headed out.  Aaron was umpiring, so it was just me, four kids and my camera Friday night.
 The rose garden was pretty, despite the rain and I couldn't resist a picture.
 Friday night Grandma and Grandpa Burdorf came down, as they always do, for the festivities.  We hit up the petting zoo before the parade at ten.
 Bowen was FEARLESS.  He loved all the animals.  Aaron and I turned our backs on him for two seconds and it was long enough for him to stick his hand in a pile of donkey poop!!  AHHH!!  That kid.  Shortly thereafter, Aaron had a goat jump up on him that must have jumped in the same donkey poop and got it all over his shorts.  Awesome.  The good news is we only lived two blocks away and so he ran home and changed.

 We ran into "Grandma Sara" uptown.  We love her and miss her now that she's over by Cedar Rapids.  Bowen had fun walking around with her.
 This was the first year the kids did the pedal tractor pull.  They didn't place or anything, but I think they both had fun!
 We have a one room school house in town and every half hour they were holding a spelling bee.  Jenna wanted to do it, then changed her mind.  I literally, being the nice mom that I am, drug her to the front.  Sometimes that child needs a nudge!!  The teacher explained that words would be given to students based on their grade levels.
 When all was said and done, Jenna was the last one standing against the other seven kids.  Yes, Jenna who didn't want to do it won!!  She is a good speller and I knew she'd be fine!  She got her name on the board and a bottle of root beer for her efforts. :)
 Sunday we headed up for wristband day at the carnival.  The kids had been talking for two days about how they wanted to ride the horses.  By horses, they meant the merry-go-round. :)  Pure happiness...
 And flying pigs...  I love those big smiles!
It was hot that day and afterwards we headed to Tropical Sno for a treat.  Grandma Linda had given the kids money to stop and get something.  The perfect end to the 54th Rose Festival. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weekend Summer Fun

We were all actually home this past weekend!  Ok, well on Saturday at least. :)  We definitely kept busy on Saturday and Sunday.  

Saturday morning we got up and headed to the Berry Patch in Nevada to pick some strawberries.  By "we" I mean Jenna, Brody and our friend, Mary.  It was crazy busy!  We got a ton of beautiful berries to make some freezer jam with.

After that we headed home to get Aaron and the twins and headed back to Ames for some serious grocery shopping.  I realized that we hadn't done a really big shopping trip for about a month, which would explain why we had no food in the house. :)

It was hot over the weekend, so one of the the things we picked up for the kids was this slip 'n slide.  Fun for hours.  For both big and small kids alike. :)

 The twins liked the water as long as they were in control and it wasn't spraying them.  Also, Blake has his onesie on to cover his g-tube and dialysis catheter underneath, in case you were wondering.  I'm so happy that it's ok for him to play and get wet!

 Sunday Aaron had to umpire a couple of games in Des Moines, so the kids and I stayed busy.  I finally bought some flowers at the farmer's market Friday night and the kids (all four!) helped me plant them.
 Bowen thought the dirt tasted good too.  Stinker.
 After the babies laid down for their naps, Jenna and Brody helped me make the freezer jam.  They were excellent helpers.  Jenna helped cut up the strawberries and Brody mashed them up.

 Six containers of freezer jam.  There is nothing like that stuff.  It tastes so fresh and yummy.  I caught Brody eating it with a spoon the other day. :)
 How about these two cute little monkeys?!  Man, they are getting so big so fast.  Last week they turned 14 months!  It's so fun to watch them learn new things, but it makes my heart sad that this is it for babies at the Burdorf house.

 BOWEN (sidenote:  holy cow is that Brody in the picture above!!)
It was such a nice weekend!  We are hoping for many more of these kinds of weekends this summer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dam to Dam

June 2nd was the day I had been anxiously awaiting and training for.  Dam to Dam!  I don't know what made me want to run a 20K (12.4 miles).  Maybe it was peer pressure since a few of my friends did it.  Whatever the reason, a couple of months ago I had a great five mile run, came home and registered.  From there I followed a 12 week training schedule for a half marathon.  Well, I did the best I could with my crazy life/hectic schedule!

My alarm went off at 3:30 AM on Saturday morning.  That is not a typo.  EARLY.  Anyway, we made it to Des Moines, loaded the buses, got dropped off at Saylorville, waited in line for over a half hour to pee and pretty much the race was starting as we approached the 8,000 other people waiting to start the race.

It was a cool race!  I was nervous about the large number of people, but it didn't bother me at all.  Probably because I was running so slow I always had my own space!  One mile led to another, which led to another and so on.  Until mile 9.  Nine was the most I had ever trained until.

Luckily, some of the ISU Dance Marathon students were running and had put up some inspiration in the form of miracle kids and family posters along the route.  Guess whose family was just after mile 9?  Yep...ours!  It was so cool to see everybody's face when I needed it the most.  Aaron and the kids weren't able to come down in person, so getting that little boost was awesome. :)

From mile 11 to 12.4 (the end) was the longest 1.4 miles of my whole entire life.  I kept thinking where in the heck is the end?  How much farther do I have to go?!  I think I'm going to die, but I refuse to walk when I'm this close to the end!  That was my goal, to run the entire thing and...I did it!!!

I felt utter relief when I crossed the finish line.  When I got handed my medal, it was all worth it.  I didn't run it fast.  It wasn't pretty.  But I did it.  I'm so proud of myself for that.

Danielle Toyne watched the kids on Saturday morning because Aaron was umping.  She helped them make me these signs you see above in the collage.  It made every single step worth it.  I think it was the best part of my day. :)

I have to give a big shout out to my running friends - Jay, Scott and Lisa - who helped keep me motivated.  You guys ROCK!  And especially Aaron, who watched the kids so I could do the necessary training.  Love that guy and I know I couldn't have done this without him. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I don't really ever write anything super personal about myself on the blog.  Hmmm...not sure why, but I always seem to post stuff about the four kiddos or Aaron and sometimes I talk about how I'm feeling, but not often.

I never shared with you about my journey to be a healthier and better me.  In the middle of January, I just had a moment.  I can't describe it, but I just felt like I wasn't the best me that I could be.  Your health is so important!  Like a lot of moms, I was taking care of everybody else and not myself.

So, in January, I decided to watch what I was eating way more.  I also started being more physically active by running or walking with my family or even playing the Wii.  It all made a difference.  I downloaded an app to my phone called my fitness pal (it's free!) that helped me track my calories and by doing everything I mentioned above I write this post 37 lbs. lighter than I was in mid-January.

It's amazing what that does.  I'm happier.  I feel better about myself.  I have more energy.  I'm more confident.  I'm healthier. My heart and lungs are so strong right now.  I feel like I'm in better shape now than I was back in the day when I played ball year round.  Seriously.

Anyway, this new me thing in 2012, made me sign up for a 20K on June 2nd.  That's 12.4 miles, just short of a half marathon.  You never know what you can do until you try, right?!  That athlete that I used to be wanted the challenge of trying to achieve this goal.  Last Saturday...mission accomplished. :)

I will tell you more about my run in my next post. be continued...