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. :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

The hills are alive....

Tonite I attended the 6-12 choir concert to take photos for the paper.  I'll be honest, there was a part of me that wished I could have just thrown my pjs on and snuggled with my kiddos on the couch.  That being said, I was so glad that I was at the concert!  We got a new choir teacher this year and it was his directing debut and I was very impressed with how all the different choirs sounded.  Kudos to all involved!

You all know, because of my dad, affectionately known to many as "Hummin' Lar," I have a soft spot for music in my heart.  Choir teacher for 20+ years.  I was remembering tonite how on "concert day" he would go through about one container of tums or rolaids.  He was always a nervous wreck.

The other day Jenna and Brody were trying to remember the words from a song from, "The Sound of Music."  That is one of my favorite musicals of all time and if I can teach my kids anything, I hope it is my love of cheesey musicals. ;)  I just can't help myself, I adore pretty much anything by Rogers and Hammerstein.

Music, it's good stuff.  As I always say, my kids will be in choir, unless they're tone deaf. Ha!  I will probably try to embarrass my children by singing random songs in public just like my dad always did to me.  Good times ahead my friends...good times ahead!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Homemade Applesauce

I have had not one, but two friends, give me some apples this fall.  You will get no complaints from this girl on that.  I love apples! That being said, I always know that I like to bake with them, but also make some crockpot applesauce and apple butter (that's still on the list).  They're also an easy fruit to add to the kids' lunches.  

I got a request on my Instagram account after I posted this photo to blog about my homemade applesauce recipe.  Let me tell you, I don't even know if I feel comfortable calling it a "recipe" because it's more like here are the ingredients and add and adjust until it tastes good to you.

Here's what I do:
1. Fill a crockpot with diced apples.  I did a batch where I peeled the apples and I did a batch where I didn't have time for that.  The only difference is the non-peeled apple batch was chunkier.  No big deal.

2. Add 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water to your crock pot.

3. Sprinkle 1/2 cup white sugar over your apples.  Sprinkle 1 - 1 1/2 TBL of cinnamon over your apples.

4. Cook on high for 4 hours.  The apples will get really soft and you will be able to just stir it right up to the consistency of applesauce.

5.  Here's the part where you just do your thing based on your taste buds.  If it's too tart for your taste, add some sugar.  If it's not cinnamon-y enough, add some more. (My tip:  Let it cool for awhile before adjusting the cinnamon and sugar).

6. After it cools, I put them in freezer safe containers and wa-la!  That's it. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Everybody has a story

Today I had to run to the library to take a picture and while I was there I looked around a bit, like I always do.  I am a big fan of libraries and could spend hours there if you let me.  Anyway, I was looking at the papers and there was a little book sitting there and on the cover it said something about words being powerful.  I can't exactly remember.

Needless to say, I was intrigued.  I opened the book and there were a couple of things that people had written down.  One of the sentences was this, "There is no one in the world you couldn't love, if you could only read their story."  Think about that.  I just thought, whoa.  That is so good.  So powerful.  So true.

As the editor at a small town newspaper, I always say that the best part of my job is the people that I get to meet.  As cliche as it sounds, everybody has a story.  I remember some of my favorite stories - a business woman who became goat farmer, a story of two sisters that battled cancer, a foreign exchange student from China, etc, etc, etc.  I LOVE to hear people's stories.  I like to know what makes them tick.

I think sometimes, because of human nature being the way it is, we are too judgmental.  I can admit that I am.  I think something or say something and think, why did I say that? Why do I think that?  I don't even know that person.  UGH!  It's a work in progress.

Everybody has things going on that people don't know about it.  Everybody has inner battles.  Everybody has things that make them the way they are.  If we truly knew these things, do you think we would be more understanding?  Compassionate?  Forgiving?  I think it would be a safe bet that we would.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Good stuff about this week....

It's Friday night.  Aaron is at the football game taking photos for me for the paper and I'm home with the four kids watching a Harry Potter movie.  We decided we didn't want to take them out in the cold.  When I was thinking about what I should write about tonite, I thought I might do a recap of the week at our house. 

Here's some good stuff that happened at the Burdorfs:

1. Jenna and Brody started basketball last Sunday!  They both play through the Upward League in Marshalltown and have for a few years.  Coach Dad is the coach of both teams, so we'll see how that goes. ;)

2.  On Tuesday, the twins and I delivered Meals on Wheels.  I've done it once before and when they asked for volunteers at church, I knew I wanted to help out again.  It was great to see how much the older folks liked seeing Blake and Bowen!  We signed-up for a couple more days this month and I  look forward to it!

3.  Aaron reffed three nights of volleyball.  It seems like the season just started, but tournaments have rolled around.  Time flies!

4. I learned how to drive a tractor this week! I have never ever driven a tractor before and it started off pretty bad, but I figured it out pretty quickly.   I did tillage three days this week for a couple of hours each time.  I couldn't do it all day, but I enjoy the quiet time and listening to the radio station that I want to listen to! ;)

5. Brody got a 100% on his spelling test (Jenna doesn't get hers back until Monday, but she feels confident about it).  Man alive, I wonder how many hours we will have practiced spelling with our four kiddos by the time they are all done with school.  Ha!  It's a nightly routine.  Also, Blake and Bowen got to make applesauce at school and informed me it was really good.  

6. A weekend with not too much on the schedule - yahoo!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Words of Wisdom

This was supposed to be "Words of Wisdom Wednesday," but instead, it's "Think about it Thursday."  Ok, that's dumb, but because of that crazy-long school board meeting last nite, it messed up my plan for a blog post.  

Here's a random assortment of quotes and sayings that I like.  Maybe one of them will strike a chord with you.  Enjoy!

 I always need this reminder...

 Really like this one.  Makes you think...
 Definitely taking this one to heart...

And at the end of the day.  THIS is what's important....

For Wednesday....

I know, I didn't post on Wednesday.  The school board meeting I had to cover for the paper went 3.5 hours (!!!), so I ran out of time.  I'm counting this.

I'll post something later today!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I'm exhausted today.  Today saw my 4:25 a.m. wake-up call to work out.  A morning with the boys that included preschool story time and delivering meal-on-wheels for lunch.  I drove a tractor for the first time and even got to run it all by my lonesome.  Crazy, I know.  Tonight it was outside play with the kiddos and then I got everybody inside and chaos ensued.  Aaron is reffing, so I'm single parenting tonite.  I had Jenna and Brody working on piano, one playing, one doing theory.  In a matter of an hour, it was chaos.  Piano, somebody needed a band-aid, two games dumped all over the floor, another one was hungry, something was spilled, and I heard, "mom, mom, mom..." coming from all directions.

So here I am, thinking, crap...what am I going to blog about?!  I'm sitting in my chair and this is what is currently happening. the Democratic debate on CNN.
Drinking...water. pjs.
Feeling...overwhelmed with the disastrous state of my house.
Wanting...a maid!
Needing...more time in my day.  Or possibly a glass of wine.
Thinking...about everything I need to get done in the next 24 hours.
Enjoying...the peace and quiet.
Good night friends!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Family weddings

 I love a family wedding, don't you?  It's the perfect excuse to get your entire family together and just have so much fun!

Here's the thing, I was spoiled growing up.  All of one side of my family lived within eight miles of me.  Eight miles!!  We saw our cousins and aunts and uncles all the time.  We got together for Sunday dinner.  We played at the farm.  It was the best sort of way to grow up.

Now, we all live far apart.  I'm realizing that my kids won't know that kind of childhood that I had and it makes me sad.  We are three hours away from everybody. :(  I honestly don't see that changing any time soon.

But anyway, back to the wedding.  My cousin, Brett, and his new wife, Abby, got married back home in Bancroft in August.  EVERYBODY was there!  It was awesome to talk and catch-up!  

We took some family pics in the beautiful Catholic church in Bancroft.  In related news, how had I never been to this church before?!  It is gorgeous!
The Roman Family
The Justin Huneckes
The Burdorf Bunch
The Knippels (p.s. Jess has actually had her baby - lol!)

 You guys - this church though!  Breathtaking.

 My Aunt Jeri and Uncle Steve wanted a picture with all of their great nieces and nephews.  It was kind of a cluster.
 The whole kit and caboodle.  Unfortunately, Grandpa Beadle wasn't feeling up to making it to the wedding.  Otherwise, this is the whole Beadle clan!
 The beautiful bride, Brett and my Uncle Brad.
 Steve and Jer
 Somebody took my dance partner...
 We're kind of a rowdy bunch, I'm not going to lie. ;)
 I just love these people.  I can't wait until the next family wedding.  No pressure though Oz, no pressure...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The way I see it...

Blake Scare
Blake had labs a couple of weeks ago.  Everything went as well as could be expected with the accessing of his port and drawing blood.  They took a lot of blood and I hate that, but there was a lot of labs that needed to be done.

About two hours after our nurse left, she texted me his creatinine (kidney function), which she always does.  She said it was 2.1.  Normally at Mary Greeley it is 0.6 (which is 0.4 at UIHC).  Let me tell you, that might not sound like a big difference, but I assure you that it is.  0.6 is beautiful and right where we want it.  That 2.1 number means Blake's kidney is functioning at about 40%.  That's terrible, obviously.

As is my personality, I went into total panic mode.  I texted Aaron.  I made a mental list of all the things I would need to pack for Blake and myself.  I was trying to figure out what I would take for food and drink.  I was mentally figuring out the week and how I would get Bowen to and from preschool.  I was thinking of what they'd do when we'd get to Iowa City - re-access his port, draw labs again, ultrasound on his kidney/bladder, probably a biopsy on his kidney and they might give him some steroids thinking his kidney was in rejection.

YES, yes I know that I may have a problem, but I've been down this road before and I feel like a seasoned veteran.  For the record, Aaron was all calm and reassuring and saying he didn't believe it because Blake was acting fine.  I kept thinking, how would we know?  You can have problems with your kidney and not have a clue about it!

Anyway, just to be sure, I called over to our intake nurse and left a message.  She called me back.  I explained the situation and asked her to double check his creatinine.  I could hear the rustle of papers because there were so many labs drawn she couldn't find the sheet with that number.  What felt like a couple of days later, she said, "I have no idea where I got that 2.1.  His creatinine is 0.6."

I admit to you that the amount of relief I felt consumed me and I did indeed cry some happy tears.  The nurse was apologetic and I assured her as long as she was wrong, I didn't even care.  I think that little episode took two years off of my life.  Whew!  I guess it goes to prove that sometimes, mistakes can turn out alright, but that's just the way I see it. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Football Saturday!

Admittedly, football is not my favorite sport.  You all know I'm a summer blood sort of girl.  That being said, there's something about fall rolling around and my boys getting older and the sport of football.  I kind of sort of really like it. 
 This is really the first year that Brody has been really into football.  He wants to play catch and practice snapping the ball all the time. And I mean ALL. THE. TIME. 
On Saturdays, the kids know that it is "Hawkeye Saturday" at the Burdorfs.  This particular Hawkeye Saturday, we are spending the day at Jess and Mitch's house to meet our new nephew, Carson. 
 Lots and lots of catch and running routes was happening in the backyard.  The sun was shining and it was a perfect temp.  I think it's safe to say that Uncle Mitch might have been worn down. 

 These two are just a tad bit competitive with each other!  It's mainly Jenna's doing, but Brody doesn't like to back down to bossy Miss Jenna.

 Carter is getting so big!  And of course, in true family form, loves his Hawkeyes. 

 Posing like the big boys.