Tag Archives: personal

10 Ways We’ve Made the Day Magical Lately

Happy Monday!  I’m just popping in for a quick post this time.  I’m fighting the blues and swamped with things I should be doing, and I thought it might be good to focus on the magical moments around here lately.  These are only ones that I happen to capture on my iPod, which really made me realize I need to start taking more pictures again!

I highly recommend making your own little list up, either on your own blog of for your own records.  It’s a nice way to remind ourselves of the happy stuff.  :)

10 random ways we’ve made a little magic here lately….

1.  Went to the children’s museum.  Multiple times!  I love our annual membership, especially when it’s particularly cold, dreary or boring out.  :)

2.  Helped out at a maple syrup tapping event.  Our family takes part in maple syrup tapping at a local nature camp every year and it’s so much fun (and so tasty — there’s a fabulous all-you-can-eat breakfast feast with real maple syrup from their trees).  My hubby ran the sales table this year and during quiet times he played the dulcimer and taught some other folks to play, and even did an impromptu jam session with some other musicians he struck up a conversation with.  The kids got to play with old friends and we left with full bellies and good memories.

3.  Hugged some trees.  You know we love yarn bombing and it was fun to find these yarn bombed trees.  It’s our goal to do some yarn bombing in our own back yard at some point.

4.  Harvested some walnuts.  You can’t live near Walnut Grove and not gather walnuts, right?  We do a lot of foraging for wild edibles in season, and the kids helped gather tons of walnuts last fall that are now dry enough to start cracking and cooking with.  Alex is particularly fond of helping since it involves hitting things with a hammer.  ;)  He also loves to gather the walnuts all autumn, and personally collects bags and bags to bring to Daddy.  Here’s the instructions for harvesting the dried walnuts, courtesy of my hubby, if you ever want to give it a try.

5.  Did blow painting.  Just make up some liquid watercolors (here’s the recipe we use to make wet or dry watercolors) or mix some food coloring with a bit of water, put it in dropper bottles or tiny dishes with eyedroppers, drop it on paper (watercolor paper and other heavy papers work best) and let the kids blow it around with straws.  Be sure to wear craft clothes and protect surfaces, since it can get a little messy.

6.  Visited an art museum with friends.  Since our friends had connections, we even got a private tour!  This particular museum has free admission for all teenagers, courtesy of a grant, and is free after 5 p.m.  Many museums offer similar deals if they’re not free all the time.

7.  Made recycled treasures.  Check out the awesome knight’s garb that Jack made for Alex!  It comes complete with armor, shield, sword and helmet.  :)

8.  Went to the zoo.  Even my big kids love a day at the zoo!

A red panda being trained, photo courtesy Toria Bayer

Lovely tiger, photo courtesy Anna Bayer

9.  Went snow-shoeing.  Daryl took Toria and Alex to a park event in a nearby town to take part in a naturalist program where they got to snowshoe through a state park.  They loved it, but I’m hoping not to get a chance to snowshoe again for a long, long time!  We got more snow today but it’s melting and I’m really hoping for nothing but mud and grass for a while.  :)

10.  Tickled and wrestled and played.  And a whole lot of silliness and fun.  (Sorry the pictures are such terrible quality!  They are bad photos but good memories.)  :)

And with that, I’m off to make some more fun with my kiddos and drag myself out of the blues.  I have to say, that helped a bit!

Focus on what you want more of, chickies.  :)

I’ll be back soon, even to post something boring!  It’s my new goal! 

Happy Monday!

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On Hiatus

Sorry for my absence lately.  I’m in Florence Nightingale mode for a bit.

My sweetie got a new hip last Friday at the Mayo.

He’s had arthritis since he was two years old, and as a child he was told that he’d be in a wheelchair by the time he was 18.  He lasted a lot longer, but the time came when his hip was too demolished to hold up any longer.

So last week we had a family vacation of sorts in Rochester while the doctors worked their magic. 

Surgery was tricky.  His femur splintered when they inserted the artificial hip so they had to wrap it with cable, and then his pelvis was so disintegrated that they had to put part of his femur behind the new hip to build up the space.

Leave it to my hubby to keep the Mayo on their toes.  ;)

He came through great, though, and as soon as he was back in his room he asked for a phone so he could call and wish his dad a happy birthday.

We’re home now and we’re all helping out while he recovers.  He is doing wonderfully, but because of the complications it will be a little longer recovery. 

Lucky for us, winter is a little slow around here anyway.

Oh yeah, and we have sick kids now, too.  Never a dull moment.

I might be a little quiet for a while.  I’ll be back soon. 

Go make some magic and come back in the comments and tell me all about it! 

See you soon!

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10 Things That Make Me Happy

I have a lot to feel happy about right now.  I’m happy to be back to blogging and yapping with you lovely people!  I’m also happy that Victoria is doing so much better right now.  She’s recovered from the latest surgery very well and the pain has been much more manageable during the recovery.  Lovely people from all over have sent heartwarming little cards, letters, craft projects and pick-me-ups.  The rest of us are finally over our various illnesses and it really seems the clouds have lifted.  Victoria will have another round of tests in 3 months to check on the cancer but we’re optimistic, and we’re doing what we can to keep her super healthy in the meantime.

Here’s a few other things that are making me happy lately…

  1. Baby feet. 
  2. Siblings who still like to play together.  
  3.  New herb gardens even though I didn’t get a chance to plant a veggie garden (yet) this year. 
  4. Puppy kisses. 
  5. Glamour photo shoots in the back yard. 
  6. My bulletproof roses
  7. Kombucha mother shared from a friend so we can start a new round of flavored concoctions. 
  8. Kids who love nature and photography. 
  9. New parks and places to explore together.        
  10. You.  Thanks for all of the comments, well wishes, prayers and encouragement this month.  It really means a lot, and every bit was appreciated.

I’m hoping to be back in the swing of things soon. 

Now, who’s up for some fabulous messy fun?  I hear international Play in the Mud Day is coming soon……  ;)

 

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A Little Update

Thank you for all your kind words about Victoria.  It’s meant a lot to our family.

I thought I’d post a little update on how she’s doing but I’m not sure I ever posted much information to begin with so here’s a super short recap:

Victoria had surgery on May 2nd to remove a lump that had been below her ear for over a year.  A doctor and specialist had told us that it was “nothing” but we finally pushed for it to be removed and another doctor agreed it was best since it was growing larger.  The surgery was a parotidectomy, since the lump was sitting on top of her parotid (salivary) gland. 

She had a difficult recovery, with a lot of pain and pretty severe swelling on the side of her face.  At her two week recheck, the doctor informed us that a biopsy had revealed a rare type of cancer of the parotid gland instead of the benign cyst he was expecting.  He said he was optimistic that it had all been removed, though. 

Last week, we went to an oncologist who specializes in cancers of the ear, nose and throat who told us that the surgeon had removed the cyst in a way that was dangerous since he hadn’t known it was cancerous (basically, you want to take extra all around and “ink” it to help determine if there is more anywhere and be sure you got it all).  She also palpitated the site to see how Victoria was healing. 

Within about an hour of the appointment, Victoria was in a lot of pain and by that evening she was in excruciating pain, sobbing and shaking with a high fever.  We rushed her to the emergency room, where they gave her large doses of pain medicines and IV fluids to no relief.  She spent the night in the hospital and in the morning we rushed her back to Sioux Falls to the oncologist’s office.  Victoria’s oncologist was now in Aruba, so another specialist saw her and immediately admitted her to the pediatric ward of the local hospital.  She had a severe infection where she’d had the surgery (it’s likely the infected area burst and spread during the palpitations the day before).  They did emergency surgery that night to deal with the infection, and she was released from the hospital on Sunday.

The good news is that she’s healing very well from this surgery and she’s in much less pain.  She had her stitches removed yesterday and the surgeon told us he looked at the pathology report from the initial surgery and the cancer does seem to have been removed well (there were clear margins all around, meaning that the extra that they want was there).  She will have a special type of CT scan in three months to look for more cancer.

Victoria is still on antibiotics and pain medication, but she’s getting back to her usual self.  She’s pretty weak and things like chewing still cause her pain, but her spirits are much better.

(If you’d like to send her a card or pick-me-up, you can at:  Victoria Bayer, PO Box 304, Westbrook MN 56183)

The cancer is a very rare type and it tends to be very slow growing, which is good news.  Victoria’s surgeon has another young patient who had the same type of parotid cancer and has been doing well for two years.  We’re optimistic right now about the cancer, the surgery, the infection and her medical team.

Meanwhile, every other member of our family has been sick this month too.  We’ve had coughs, colds, flus, an eye infection, a respiratory infection, fevers, stomach pains, allergies, sore throats, headaches, lost voices and general exhaustion.  We all finally seem to be getting better now that the worst of the crises are over.  We have high hopes for June!

I’ll be back soon.  Thanks again for all your sweet comments, thoughts, prayers, letters and words of support.  :)

~Alicia

 

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A Smallish Break

Some of you may know that our daughter Victoria was back in the hospital this week.  She had a couple of very scary days with a lot of pain and another surgery, but she’s back home again now.  We are in limbo with her cancer diagnosis (the latest news is now cautiously optimistic), but her most urgent medical needs have all been met and we’re getting her the best care we can.

This has been a rough month.

Right now I’m focusing all of my energies on taking care of my kiddos and getting our lives back in healthy, happy places all around.

I’ll be checking in off and on, but I’m taking a smallish break from A Magical Childhood while focusing on family.

I’ll be back soon.

Kiss your babies, count your blessings, and don’t forget to add a little magic to the day.

~Alicia

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Dear Baby…

Photo by Victoria Bayer

Dear Baby,

You should be here in a little over two months now.  This seems like the longest pregnancy in history, but there’s still so much to be done to prepare for you.  We thought we were all done with babies, after all, and our life is so crazy and chaotic even when there aren’t babies on the way.

I am having such fun feeling you get to know the world inside my belly.  I love your hiccups, your knocks, your flips and turns and random jabs.

I wonder sometimes what you must already think of us.  We are such a noisy family!  Day and night, you must hear the shrieks, shouts, teen and tween music, arguments, laughter, children’s shows, ball games, read-alouds, tears, talks and general mayhem.

One minute it’s Mama reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins, the next it’s a cackling four year-old, then it’s Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga and then a tear-filled tirade about LEGOs or terrible sisters.

It’s a far cry from the classical music and baby books that your grandmother once told me to play for my belly.

Baby, you are coming into a crazy life. 

It will be noisy.  It  will be messy.  It will be chaotic. 

And it will be fun.

You will be doted on by two big brothers, two big sisters and two tired parents, not to mention friends and family.  You will get messy kisses, silly presents and the world’s most diverse lullabies.

You will be loved.

I can’t promise as much classical music as your grandmother would have liked, but I can promise loads of love and silliness and people who will always fight over who gets to hold you next. 

You are thumping around in my belly right now, poking and flipping and doing some sort of general busyness.  You seem to be a busy little girl, which will probably suit you well in our family.

I can’t believe my luck in getting to do all of this again.  I can’t wait to met you, little one.  There are so many kisses waiting for you.

Prepare for a noisy but laughter-filled life. 

We love you.

~Mama

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On the Banks of Plum Creek (Once More)

Long time readers probably know by now that my family lives near Walnut Grove of “Little House” fame and that my girls have acted in a local outdoor play (The Wilder Pageant) about the Ingalls family’s time in our area since they were little.

Anna started acting in the pageant when she was four years old!

And some of you may remember the drama around Victoria and her “crazy hat” last year (she’s wearing another crazy hat this year, much to the dismay of that same girl!).

The girls are now in their 7th year in the pageant, Daddy is in his sixth, and this year marks Jack’s first year in it.

Last night was opening night, so Alex and I headed out with Grandma and Grandpa to see the show.

Here’s a few pics of my wonderful actors and the show.  :)

(Apologies for the terrible quality of the photos!  I was using Victoria’s fancy camera and I really only know how to point and shoot!)

Back stage

Before the show

Jack got a little distracted by seeing me and the audience (over a thousand!) at first but then got into the swing of things

The Ingalls Family arrives

Reverend Alden (my hubby) leads a prayer

Jack was just too quick in the potato sack race for me to capture him!

Victoria and Daddy (I mean Reverend Alden) help erect the church

Jack (in back) prepares to roll some hoops during the church raising

Trying to burn out the grasshoppers during the plague (thousands of oyster crackers are blown into the air as grasshoppers!)

Those rotten Oleson kids ;)

The reverend says a few words in the Christmas scene (Jack is on the far right, the girls are hidden from view)

The exciting fire scene!

In the second half, my hubby plays the mayor (at the first city meeting of Walnut Grove)

I wish I knew how to use Victoria's camera! Anna did Irish step dancing and was in the middle of the front (in blue)

Victoria (in green with the hat) dances with Laura during the town social

Jack dancing

Anna dancing (in blue)

Jack hanging out with the other boys during the adult dance

Jack and Anna stand with their families at the end, as Laura tells what became of each family (the Olesons moved to California and Willie was blinded playing with firecrackers)

Taking a bow

My actors on stage afterwards

And being silly...

Jack, Alex and a pageant buddy

Signing autogaphs and meeting the audience

It was a great start to the new season.  :)

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A Little Madness

“You’re only given a little madness.

You mustn’t lose it.”

- Robin Williams

It has been a kind of wonderful week here. 

There’s been the usual messes and meltdowns and stresses

BUT

I seem to finally be done with “morning” (all the time) sickness

(yay!)

and while a new set of pains has replaced them,

I am getting my energy back

and spring is just too wonderful

to waste

not feeling pretty fabulously happy

(especially when the sun comes out).

I am now about 21 weeks along

and feeling lots of pokes and wiggles. 

Victoria is working on getting belly pictures. 

In the meantime,

here’s a few pictures of happy madness here lately…

Happy weekend!

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A Heartbeat!

Most of you know that we got some very surprising news in early February that we were expecting.

I had been doing my best to see myself as pregnant but not necessarily as having a baby, because with my history of miscarriage (and my age) I knew there was a high chance of something going wrong.

That said, nothing seems to have gone wrong so far!  And yesterday, all four kids got to join their daddy and me at the doctor’s office and listen to the heartbeat.

Wow.

There may have been just a few happy tears.

This baby thing might just be happening after all.  :)

Which means we might have five children next fall. Five! Yowza!

This week, my horrible morning (and afternoon and evening) sickness seems to finally be coming under control, so I’ll try to post a bit more regularly again!

I’m also going to try to get the living room in order, start all my seeds, do more crafts, clean off the window seat and try a fabulous sounding healthy chocolate truffle recipe, but in all honesty I really don’t care! As long as I can keep us in healthy food, cuddle with my kiddos and not be too violently ill, I’m calling it good. :)

Fingers crossed…

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We’re Back!

We’re back from our road trip to Florida.

It’s a bit of culture shock to be back in snowy Minnesota.

I had kind of hoped it would have magically turned a little spring-like while we were gone, but no such luck!

Lucky for us, we got so much sand, sun and smiles that it should carry us through for a long time.

Here’s a few pics…

And a few more…

I’ll be back tomorrow with something fun to share.

For now, I’m still very very tired (something about the combination of first trimester and four children!) and have a date with a nice soft bed.  :)

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