Monday, December 28, 2015

Hunecke Family Christmas

Christmas has come and gone and I still haven't blogged about our Hunecke Christmas that was December 12th.  I hope to get the blog caught up over this week!  Things are a bit more laid back the next few days.
We take turns hosting every year and this year, it was our turn.  Which was nice (no travel!) and stressful (cleaning, planning, etc).  All went well though once everybody got to our place.  
Everybody arrived at around NOON on Saturday and the last of my family left at 10 AM on Sunday.  It was short and sweet, but a great time.  
Last year we were in Mankato and we had so much fun going to the Kiwanis Light display I was feeling a little bit of pressure to do something super fun for everybody.   My family is loud and crazy and a ton of fun.  We also may be a tad bit competitive.  Because of the reasons mentioned, I spent the week leading up to our Christmas trying to find Christmas-related games that we could play.  

We made it a battle of the sexes sort of thing and kept track of points.  I also made it kid friendly so they could jump in every few games between playing with cousins to participate as well.

 Chaos in the kitchen.
Here are the games we played:
1.  Snowball fight:  We used giant marshmallows and tried to throw them threw the center of a wreath.  Most ‘mallows through the wreath wins.  Sidenote:  I was terrible at this game.  Super terrible.  The men’s team destroyed us at this.
2. Penguin walk: The object is to keep a balloon in-between your legs (walking like a penguin) and you race wherever you decide.  This was harder than it sounded and the kids loved it.

 Things got a tad competitive...
3. Humdinger: Put a minute on the clock.  Put a bunch of different songs into a baggie.  Like the name implies, you hum the Christmas song and whoever guesses it goes to the front to do the next one.  The women’s team completely dominated this game!  It was one of our faves and I was sorry we ran out of songs.
4. Christmas Catchphrase: This was a variety of Christmas stuff like songs or things you during Christmas time and you had a bunch in a baggie and you had to describe them to your team without saying the words on the piece of paper.  A minute on the clock and whoever guessed it right went to the front to describe it.  Another good one.
5. Candy cane relay: This game was hilarious!  Everybody got in a line and had a candy cane in their mouth.  The object was to pass one candy cane to the end of your line and back again using the candy cane like a hook and no hands allowed.  
6. Family Feud - Christmas style: I found this one on-line (like I did the others) and they had ten questions and we did it like the real game.  Face-offs between significant others, trying to get the steal. trying to avoid three strikes, deciding if you were going to pass or play.  This was definitely a hit!  I highly recommend it.

 I have no words for these outlaws.  Married into the family and they're kind of the three musketeers.  We love 'em.
Games.  Laughter.  Presents.  Way too much food. Memories.  Quality time.  More food.  More laughter.  These are my people and I wouldn't trade them.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The way I see it...

On Monday one of my Facebook friends posted a video of Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing their famous duet, “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.”  I immediately listened to it because I love the message behind the song.
It’s interesting that the song was recorded in 1977 and it still rings true today.  I don’t think that I can be the only one that hates turning on the news these days.  It seems like every week there is another senseless tragedy where more innocent people are losing their lives.
Jenna and Brody are getting to the age where they are obsessed with watching the news.  They get that from Aaron.  The night of the San Bernadino shootings, Aaron wouldn’t change the channel and I wanted to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  Happy stuff, you guys, that’s where my mind was.
Anyway, having a nine and seven year old watching the news is hard.  As a parent, you want to shield them as much as you can, but living in a bubble is just not reality.  I am proud of them that they like to be informed and want to know what’s going on in the world.
I  hate when they look at me and say, “Mom, why would somebody do that?  Why would they shoot all those people?”  Parenting is hard, especially when you don’t know the answers.
Take a moment to read and think about the lyrics from the song:

Peace on Earth, can it be?
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again
Peace on Earth
Can it be?
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can
I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too

Those words are timeless.  The world definitely needs more peace right now.  More caring for others.  More turning off the news and holding the ones you love tightly and focusing on them, but that’s just the way I see it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The way I see it...

Being more intentional
The holiday season is upon us and it’s always such a crazy time of year with everything.  I always feel like before you know it, Christmas is here and gone and we’re sitting in January wondering where December went.
I have yet to buy a single gift.  I have yet to finish my Christmas decorating around the house.  I have family coming December 12th for Christmas (we have work schedule conflicts) and I have yet to come up with a plan for food, sleeping arrangements, etc.
I don’t want to stress out about these things!  I say that every year and I try my best, but I always get caught up in the season and it’s gone and I’m stressed before you know it.  
This year, I would like to make a plan and set a goal.  I want to be more intentional with my time this month. I want to not just wish for the weekend.  I want to watch, “Home Alone,” on a Thursday night because that sounds like a fun thing to do.  I want to bake a batch of Christmas cookies when the kids get home from school because they would enjoy it.  I don’t wan’t to wait for and wish for the weekend all month.  That’s what makes the time go by so incredibly fast.  
I’m going to make an honest effort for my family to not let the calendar control me this month.  I want to make every day special - for them and for me, but that’s just the way I see it   

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Our turkey day craft

Maybe we should alternately title this, "Jamie's attempt at being a crafty mom!" 

Here's what happened:  We got about seven inches of snow on Friday afternoon/overnight into Saturday morning.  Jenna and Brody's basketball games got cancelled and Jenna  begged me to do a "project."  I thought we could make something for the Thanksgiving table at Grandpa and Grandma Burdorfs.  I quickly consulted pinterest trying to come up with an idea (what did we do before pinterest?!).

I liked these cute little turkey name place cards.  We improvised a bit on how to do them and what supplies we used, but I think they turned out pretty well.

First off, Jenna painted some wine corks brown.  "Conveniently" I had a bunch stashed in a drawer. ;)   
 Then,  Brody and I shaped the pipe cleaners, while Jenna cut out the beaks and whatever that red thing on a turkey is called.  I did the hot-gluing of the eyes, beak and feathers. 
Next, I found some wooden grilling skewers stashed away in my pantry, so I cut those in half and stuck it into the top and then just hot-glued the construction paper onto the top of the skewer.  Wa-la!
 It was a little time-consuming, but we think the finished product is pretty cute and will look great on the Thanksgiving table!
Here's what you need:
1. Wine Corks
2. Brown Paint
3. Googly eyes
4. Pipe Cleaners
5. Foam sheets (for beak)
6. Wooden Skewers
7. Construction paper
On a side note, I have to ask for some prayers and happy thoughts for Blake.  His tacro and creatinine were just slightly higher than normal, so we have to redo labs Monday morning.  Please pray for a smooth draw since last Wednesday was a nightmare and pray for those numbers to where they have been.  Thanks friends!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Blake's MRI

I had posted on Facebook a couple of week's ago that Blake had to have an MRI on his heart.  On one of his yearly ECHO's they saw some bright spots that they weren't sure about and wanted to "cover all their bases," by doing an MRI. 

On November 6th, Blake had his MRI.  He had to have anesthesia because there was no way he would sit still for that amount of time.  Getting him to sleep was harder than I thought it would be.  I told Aaron my "mom moxie" that I had built up from all those crappy months in the hospital had faded away.

They started by giving him something through his G-tube that would make him sleepy.  The next thing I knew they moved the chair over that we were sitting in and told me to put him in a bear hug and they held the mask on his face until he was completely out.  Despite the fact that he was sleepy, he fought them and I just hated it.  I left the room with tears in my eyes, because who wants to go through that as the mom for their child?  Poor Blake.

The test went fine and when I saw him in recovery he was not a happy camper.  They had put two iv's in his hand and he didn't like that so much.  Anyway, after about two hours in recovery we were able to head home.

After a very long wait, we got results via My Chart and read through them.  Nobody ever called us, but it looked like, reading between the lines with all the doctor speak, that his heart function is just fine and they will continue to monitor him on a yearly basis. 

That was great news!!  Blake acted fine, but there's always that part of you that is nervous because it's his heart.  Exhale of relief!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Happy (belated) Halloween!

A very belated Happy Halloween to you all!  Halloween this year was different.  We had my Grandma June's funeral on Saturday morning in Hastings.  After the funeral and luncheon, we headed back to Mankato for trick-or-treating.  Maddox's birthday was supposed to be on Saturday, but we had to push it back until Sunday. 

Anyway, I tried my hardest to get a theme out of my four just one more year.  No dice.  I thought I was close in getting them to be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they all copped out on me the week before Halloween.  I was picking my battles and just going with it.  Without further ado, here are the Burdorf family's costumes for this year...

Brody - FBI Agent
 Bowen - Spiderman (same exact costume Brody wore last year)
 Jenna - Farmer
 Blake - Buzz Lightyear

 My four.  Typical chaos.
 Jess, Mitch, Carter and Baby Carson.
We sort of didn't realize that the adults were also supposed to dress up, so we made do.  Jess and I ran to Target and literally grabbed the last costumes they had - flapper costumes.  Justin and Mandy had these gorilla costumes laying around, so that worked for Aaron and Justin.
 Jess, Mandy the Maleficent and me.

 This is what happens when we try to get a group kid photo - the gorillas, aka dads, causing a ruckus.

 Justin, Mandy, Maddox and McCoy
 McCoy was the custest monkey ever.  Seriously ever.
While it wasn't a traditional Halloween, we all agreed this would probably by the Halloween our kids would be most likely to remember because they all go to be together.  It wasn't the most ideal of circumstances, but I think the kids had a blast and I'm thankful they could make those memories.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The way I see it...

*I apologize for not writing anything the past few days.  After I wrote my Monday column, I received word my Grandma June had passed away.  I've felt uninspired to write much on the blog.  Here is the newspaper column I wrote for this week's paper. 
 A Tribute
 I've told you before that sometimes I leave the office on Monday afternoons with a big hole in this spot of the paper. I have no idea what I'm going to write about come Tuesday morning, but so many times, there's something that happens on Monday night that hits me like a shot between the eyes that says, 'this is what you're supposed to write about it!'
Yesterday was no exception. Shortly after leaving the office I got a call from my dad telling me that my Grandma June, who has been in hospice the past month or so, was struggling for every breath she was taking and he didn't think it would be much longer. A little after 7 PM last night I received a text message from my dad that she had passed away.
I spent part of the night thinking about what I would say about her. My grandma? She has been a faithful subscriber to the paper ever since I landed the job as editor. Grandma June would sometimes send me a quick email to tell me what she thought about my column that week.
I don't know how to sum up an almost 90 year life in one newspaper column, so I can tell you things that come to mind when I think of her. She grew-up on a farm in Minot, North Dakota. She lost her mother very young. She loved iced tea and always drank it out of the same glass. She is a breast cancer survivor. She worked for Hennepin County for more years than I know. She made store-bought lasagna every single Christmas Eve. She kept candy right by her t.v. The same kind, gumdrops, for all of my 35 years. She crocheted.
I was the first born grandkid out of seven. My grandma had three boys. I was the only girl for a good long time. Do you see where I'm going with this? That's right, it's safe to say that I was one of my grandma's favorites.
No matter if I was 7 or 17 or 27, we could always talk and talk and talk some more. There was never a struggle for conversation. When we were little, the four oldest of us grandkids got to stay for a week in Minnesota with my grandma and grandpa. It was something we always looked forward to – swimming , going to the Science Museum, riding on a ferry on the Mississippi River and whatever else she came up with.
As I got older and became involved in activities, my grandparents made the three hour trip to Armstrong a lot to cheer me on in volleyball, basketball and softball. In 1998, they made my Uncle Tim drive them to Des Moines for the state basketball tournament in a blizzard. No way were they missing that!
Softball though, had to be the most special for them. With my dad coaching and me playing, it was a cool thing for Grandma to see us both out there. They made that trek so many times. They would go uptown or to the grocery store and everybody knew them by name. It always meant so much to me that they would be there in the stands.
We bonded over things like books. I remember I was up there visiting and I told her how I had wanted to read, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” by Mitch Albom and we drove to Barnes and Noble and bought it, just like that. I read it and then she would. Since then, she has bought me every book by Albom.
My Grandma June crocheted countless baby blankets for people, including my own four babies. She tried relentlessly to teach me how to do it and I could never get the hang of it. I guess we'll put crocheting in the same category as sewing!
I'm going to miss her. I used to call her every trip home from Iowa City to check in. We head down on November 6th and it will be strange not to catch-up with her.
My grandma was strong. Smart. Hard-working. Quick-witted. Protective of her family. She loved her kids, grandkids and completely adored her great-grandkids. You never had to guess where you stood with her, she would just tell you. I appreciated that about her. I know she's looking down from up above reading this. It's hard to think about her not being here, but it's comforting to know we have her to look out for us. Rest in peace Grandma June and thank you for always being one of my biggest fans, but that's just the way I see it.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The last 36 hours...

The last 36 hours have been, you know.  The kind of time where you shake your head and wonder if it's time to head back to bed already.

Yesterday, Aaron's fuel pump went out in his car. 

This morning, Blake greeted me with a complete and utter blow out that was on his pillows, blankets and close to every square inch of him when we were already running behind on the morning.

Aaron just walked in the door.  Why is that bad?  He was supposed to be reffing a tournament volleyball game tonight and had to pull over a couple of times to throw up.  He called the state and said he couldn't make it.  Aaron is currently asleep upstairs. 

Finally, and most importantly, I got a call from my dad that my Grandma Hunecke isn't doing well.  Despite being on oxygen, she is struggling for every breath.  If you could could send some prayers our family's way, that would be much appreciated.

Perspective.  Sometimes I need it more than others.  A fuel pump can be fixed.  You can get over being sick.  The precious gift of a life well lived?  That will most definitely be harder. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Texas Forever....

If you are a fan of the show, "Friday Night Lights,"  then you know that saying/motto is from that show.  This show is...extraordinary.  I started to watch it on Netflix right after Blake had his transplant and after two episodes I thought, I can't watch this without Aaron, he will love this show!

Fast forward to the end of the summer and we binged watched all five seasons of the drama.  This show didn't get a huge audience when it was on NBC, but it is so, so good.  You watch this show and you can't help but fall in love with Dillon, Texas.

"Friday Night Lights," would imply it's a show about football, which it is.  But, don't let that stop you from watching because it is about so much more. The show centers on football coach Eric Taylor and family, along with his player's lives. The show uses Dillon, Texas to address so many different issues like family and relationships, school funding, racism, drugs, abortion and just dealing with life and all of its ups and downs. 

I adored the characters of Coach Taylor and his wife, Tami.  Their chemistry and marriage portrayal was spot on.  They just balanced each other perfectly. I could also maybe also relate just a little bit about the things you go through being a coach's wife. ;)  Plus, there are way too many other characters that became my favorites that I just can't name them all.  

Coach Taylor though, he was good stuff.  Sometimes a father figure.  Sometimes a sarcastic a$$.  Sometimes he'd ream somebody that needed it.  
Sometimes funny... 
 Sometimes so serious and spot on...

Ya'll (I can say that since I'm talking about a show set in Texas), this is the best show that I've watched in a long, long time.  Do yourself a favor and go watch it.  
And remember... TEXAS FOREVER.
(If you have time, here's a trailer from all the seasons.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The best of intentions...

Do you ever think, I'm going to go to bed early tonite because I'm exhausted and really want some extra sleep?  I did that exact thing last nite.  Aaron was reffing and I stayed up long enough to talk to him on the phone and I tried to read my book and stay up to wait for him, but my eyelids had other plans.

I get up at 4:25 AM four to five days a week to workout.  I love the early mornings!  I have a great group that makes me want to get up and go hang out with for an hour.  That being said, holy cow is it hard to stay up during the week.  As in, 9:30 PM is late for me.  I feel bad when people text me a question at about that time and I don't respond because I'm sound asleep.  I'm just not a night owl.  I like to get up and attack the day (or that's what I tell myself anyway!).

Anyway, back to last nite.  I went to bed early, like I had planned and all was going well until 3 AM when Blake's feeding machine ran out of feeds because neither Aaron or myself had gotten up to take kids to the bathroom and refill it.  Aaron stayed asleep (I have to give him credit, he usually does the kiddo night duty) and I took all three boys to the bathroom.  I got the feeding machine ready to go once again and snuggled back into bed.

Then, it was like Mr. Blake thought that it was morning, despite the fact that it was clearly dark out.  That kid needed the closet light on.  He wanted a different blanket.  He took it upon himself to go to the bathroom by himself and stomped his way back upstairs.  He did something that made his feeding machine beep again.  Aaron and I were calm at first, but you sleep deprived parents out there know how it gets.  You get to the end of the rope and end up saying things like, "For the love of God can you please just go to sleep?!"  And then you add an ultimatum, " If you don't you're not going to be able to go to the apple orchard for school tomorrow because you're going to be napping."  Cue Blake's tears and there you have it, he was back to sleep.

Not my proudest parenting moment, but considering I wasn't able to sleep much between 3 and 6 AM, I'm not feeling that bad about it.  I did sleep like a rock from 6-6:30 AM and had to deal with my burning eyeballs all day.  That's Jamie code for - you're tired woman, go sleep already!!

Sometimes the best of intentions just don't work out.  It's 7:58 PM as I'm finishing this up.  I have plans to be in bed by 8:45 PM and I'm not even a bit embarrassed to tell you that.  Maybe the second time will be the charm.  Sweet dreams...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Green 5K

Way back in August, we went to North Liberty to participate in the Green 5K, a 5K that promotes organ donation.  It was two years ago at that run that we met Steph and family for the first time ever.  It was two years ago that we were anxiously awaiting her testing to see if she would get to be Blake's donor.

For obvious reasons, this run is near and dear to our heart.  It literally was a life-changing day for us.  Not only that, but the guy that is in charge of the run received a kidney from his mom.  Before the race, he always talks about his mom and about the life he's gained because of organ donation. I cry.  Every time.  Every single time.

I look at Blake and I think, they didn't think he'd make it past birth and look at him.  His life that's he's gained because of Steph's gift.  Getting to do normal kid stuff.  I can't put into words what that feels like.  Blakers is my little inspiration.  I love this pic that Steph happened to get before the run.
They have a Garden of Life.  Pictured are living donors, deceased donors and recipients.  They each say a little something about the person on the sign.  Again, it is way emotional for me.  
 The race itself wasn't too pretty.  Aaron and I were S-L-O-W, but we did it and that's the main thing.  Our friend, Jay, ran it too, but he's super speedy and I think he finished third or something really good like that.
 One of the things I like about this race is they do kids races based on their age.  Bowen LOVES to run and he was super stoked to do it.  Blake has this thing where he hates to be the center of attention, so he didn't run.  Bowen won his age group!  So did Brody!  And Brody did it with one foot.  Seriously, isn't that the strangest picture ever?!
Jay and his buddies
 All the kids were given medals and ribbons after their races.  Yes, even Blakers got one.  Probably because he's so cute!

I snapped this photo of Steph and Blake when we got back to the house.  I love how much Blake loves Steph.  I love how he knows he has Steph's kidney.  I love that we are all bonded for life. :)