Spring in Minnesota……

I had such hope that spring was on it’s way to Minnesota.  This is our view this morning….I hope we didn’t miss Spring under all this snow!  I certainly could use a few more sneak peaks at Spring! 


April 23rd in Minnesota

The weather is suppose to warm up this weekend so I hope the snow melts quickly, but not too quickly, flooding won’t be much fun either.   I am heading to Northern Minnesota for the weekend, which I think will have even more snow.  The City of Duluth has had over 50 inches of snow in April so far. 

I have a feeling my time in Duluth will include alot of hotel time and room services!  I am sure the snow on Lake Superior will look lovely through the window from under my heating blanket 

Wishing you all a wonderful Spring Day!  If you happen to see Minnesota’s Spring….please send it to my house!!  I want to start planning my garden.

Happy Spring!!


 Spring has not yet reached Minnesota.   We keep getting little sneak peaks of Spring…soon to be followed by snow!  It is April 22nd and is suppose to snow again tomorrow.  I am finding it harder and harder to find the beauty in the newly fallen snow.   This morning I can see grass in the front yard.  Tomorrow it will be covered in snow.  I am ready to feel the sun warming my face!   The robins have returned and are confused, but are weathering our weird weather.


Tommy and I spend time in the morning enjoying the Robins in the crab apple tree.  They are eating last years berries and hoping for spring as are we!!  


Tommy is continuing to enjoy taking pictures.  We discovered this odd looking robin at least we think it is a robin.  He has a odd speckle head and he was pretty mean to the other robins.  Have you even seen a robin like this???



The next day the ducks came to visit to eat some bread we left in the front yard. 

Our weekend was very enjoyable, but much too short.  Tommy, Daddy and some friends went to MN United FC vs. Edmonton game on Saturday afternoon.   MN won 2 to 0.  Tommy loves his soccer games.   We finally found time to even buy Tommy new cleats, which we have been meaning to do for weeks. 

 On Saturday evening, we celebrated Grandpa’s 87th Birthday!


The Birthday Boy!

He enjoyed his requested birthday meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage and his party with family, but was pretty tired and headed right to bed after the party. It brings him so much joy to be surrounded by his family! Certainly the highlight of the weekend.

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Our great nephew, Ryan came over to visit and celebrate Great Grandpa’s Birthday. It was great to see him. We had not seen him since Christmas. He is getting so big!

I just realized we will be having our first Great-Great Niece this year.  My nephews daughter is having a baby….it is amazing how families continue to grow.  Family is such a blessing.

Saturday was our day to run errands, purchase groceries and prepare for the upcoming work week. Seems the work week has arrived so I better get Tommy up and ready for school. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend with your families and chin up, I hear Spring might make an appearance this coming weekend. 



Weekend Fun….

Grocery Shopping Weekend – We shop every other week for Groceries.  I find the less often I am in the store the less I spend!! This is how we feed 4 adults and 1 child for around $125/week.  See our weekly menu for an idea of how we eat.

First Stop……the bank to get cash for our various envelopes for the week. Funds put into the Grocery, the Fun and Grandpa’s envelope.

Next stop….the Library!! I love flipping through books that I read about or hear about. Much better than buying the books or hanging out in Barnes and Noble for hours!This week the following books came home with me…

Ramsey_More_Than_Enough__92910_1354740633_1280_1280 dave_ramsey_book_cover2 imagesCA5C1T1W 9780307339454

9780062207395_custom-a58b589a2dc61b5e2a913e7d5de24450815da2d0-s6-c10 15731876 51BwOS-dHhL

As you can see from the titles, I am still on my personal finance kick.  That seems to be how my reading goes…I have a few areas of interest and will switch between them throughout the year.  Must be my season for personal finances. 


Grocery/Household Supplies Totals

Bread Thrift Store         $ 14.12 (3 loaves bread, 2 buns, 2 hoagie, English Muffins and Bagels)

Aldi                               $ 98.24

Sam’s Club                    $ 82.58  (Paper Products, Corned Beefx2, Banana’s, Protein Drink for Grandpa) 

Walmart                        $ 41.51  (mostly food, but $8.00 for vitamins)

TOTAL for 2 Weeks    $236.45  /$118 per week





What a group….shaking hands over a dead body!  Poor Angel Wood.


A much needed quiet day at home after church.  Planning on cleaning a bit, blogging and reading!  Have to prepare for a busy work week.  Even found time to sneak in a LONG nap!


Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!!




Catch Up: June 2012, update

2012 – Joyful Noise Concert – 1st time going and we had a great time!! We plan to attend in 2013!


joyful noise 2012


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Joyful Noise – Toby Mac

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Joyful Noise 2012 – Toby Mac


bridal shower

Bridal Shower for Amy – Amy with her Mom and Mom-in-law to be


father's day

Happy Father’s Day to all the Coyan Family Fathers!  What amazing guys! Welcome to the club Bob Miller.  You are in very good company.

june kaleb


Our Nephew, Kaleb graduates from High School

More June Highlights:

  • Soccer – St Croix Cup – Woodbury June 1 -3rd
  • Joyful Noise Festival – Blaine Sports Center
  • Amy’s Bridal Shower
  • Paul and Jen Weekend Get Away to Redwing for the night!
  • YMCA Camp – this summer Tommy stayed at the YMCA while we were at work. He is not a fan of the YMCA camp.   

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

Be Blessed,

Catching Up: May 2012 Highlights

  I am behind again, that is one fact that never seems to change.  Since I don’t scrapbook,  I have tried to record our lives on this blog with tons of pictures.  And once again I am terribly behind.   So bear with me while I try to get caught up once again!!!   Here are some highlights from May 2012.



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Josh and Tommy ran the TC Kids Marathon at Como Park – May 19th


Tommy at MCS field trip to State Capitol – May15th   

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Battle Creek Field Trip – May 31, 2012


May 26th – Blessing Ceremony for the Nuss Family – amazing ceremony, great friends!


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Family Photo Booth Picture from Nuss Family Blessing ceremony.

Tom and Mom dance

Dancing the night away with my son, Tommy.  He loves to dance.


More Highlights from May:

  • School Field Trips – Pirates Exhibit at the MN Science Museum,  Patrol Picnic, Tour of MN Capitol, Battle Creek field trip to collect water samples. 
  • School Events – Culminating Event and working at Culver’s for School fundraiser.
  • Soccer – played in the Soccer Round Robin in Chisago City on C2 Team 
  • Financial Peace University – presented on the panel and have decreased our debt by $ 30, 447.34. 
  • Josh’s 24th Birthday – went to Manitou Station for drinks and appetizers.  Funny moment – Tommy being stealth to get a candle. Mom freaking out thinking it was a real candle and he would get burned. 
  • Bonnie’s 50th Birthday
  • Lots of fun and dancing at Nuss Family Reception, ending up in cracked ribs for me! 
  • Wedding Planning starting for Josh and Amy’s Wedding – met with the caterer, K & J Catering to decide on menu.


Wishing you all a wonderful day!

Be Blessed,


A Catch Up – Update: March and April

Yes, I am posting out of order. Sorry!  I didn’t want to forget the highlights from March and April, but I felt the need to blog in the present as well.  I needed to live in the present and appreciate our current blessings.


Hubby and I had started trying to go on a date once a month.   Josh and Amy have been great about watching Tommy so we can occassionally go out.  We have not gone out each month, but we continue to work towards that goal. 

In the 2011-2012 season at Lakeshores Players, we were able to see 3 plays.  

Something's-Afoot-Web2 Laura-Logo-Web Nerd-Logo-Web

The Nerd was great fun to go to as my friend’s son was performing in The Nerd.  It was the debut of Micah Cortes and we were there for it!  He is such a talented young boy.

In June we went to Redwing for the evening…for out date night and even stayed overnight.

March the weather was very nice and we went on an outing to the Chutes and Ladders park, now called Hyland Park Area in Bloomington.  The expansion opened on June 8th so I would like to return and check it out.   I need to make a point of planning more outings before the summer is gone!



 Tommy and Amy


While at the park we discovered they had Geocaching in the park.  We checked out a GPS and went hunting for loot while exploring this new park.  A favorite family activity for sure!



Tommy was happy to find thea cache…and the one by the pine trees wouldn’t allow itself to be found, which sure bothered Josh. 

Other highlights from March:

  • Pampered Chef Party – Josh and Amy had a pampered chef party at their house.  They had a good turn out and were able to get alot of fun things for their kitchen.  I of course found more things to buy…I love pampered chef as does my hubby.
  • Financial Peace – guest hosting – we continue to be involved in the Finanial Peace program at our church.  We hosted the class while the leader was out of town.  It was alot of fun and it always gets us excited again and making progress.  While our progress has slowed a bit with summer childcare and the wedding expenses, but we are very determined.    
  • Dr. – released me after a post surgery exam – lifting restrictions were removed.  Life is back to normal – sort of.
  • Girls Day Out – Shopping and Supper at Jake’s Grill – went shopping with the girls in our family and they helped me to find my dress for the wedding.  Though I am second guessing my choice right now.  I will probably do a bit of altering to the dress and hope to find a wrap or something. 


Geocaching with the boys: We had such fun geocaching that we decided to take the neighborhood boys geocaching around White Bear Lake.   It was fun once they figured it all out. 


Tommy, Andrew, John and Danny


They found it!

School Spirit Days:


Look like your hero day……it wasn’t hard for Tommy to look like his hero, Dad It still makes me laugh just looking at them!

  • Magnuson Christian School Auction – we once again were involved with the auction set up and computers.  It was a busy time, but we enjoy assisting with this wonderful cause as a family.  Josh and Amy are wonderful to help and attend the auction with us.  Since it is a semi dressy sort of event, I thought it would be a good time to get my hair styled.  Sort of a test before the wedding.  I received alot of compliments so I think I will have my hair styled at Sun Bear Spa the morning of the wedding.
  • MACMH – Paul Conference – I went to the annual Children’s Mental Health Conference in Duluth for work.  I volunteered at the conference and spent my free time listening to audio books and cross stitching in my room.   It was good to just have some time alone.  For the first time ever, my hubby’s conference was at the same time!  ARGH…so Amy stayed at the house with Tommy and Grandpa.  She is such a life saver and a wonderful additon to our family! 
  • Sleep Apnea – hubby finally decided to see a Dr about his sleep apnea.  Seems his roommate at the conferenced mentioned he stopped breathing about 40 times each night. 
  • Soccer Starts  – Tommy is playing soccer again this season with The White Bear Lake Soccer Association.   He has had a good season and is playing defense again, but has started being the goalie as well.   He is a good athlete and it is so fun to watch him play. 


Tommy – Our Soccer Player!

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

Be Blessed,

Jen C

Update: A return to blogging….

Hello – remember me??? I used to be that lady who blogged about her life almost daily. Last night I was looking at old blog posts about my little guy as a baby . He was looking at the posts with me and really was having fun hearing about his time as a baby. I loved reading old posts about his baby years. That is what this blog is to my family, a virtual scrapbook of the ups and downs of our lives.  I have come to terms with the notion that I will never be a scrap booker. Therefore, I blog and the thoughts and memories of my years raising our children will never be lost and I can revisit them whenever I want.

As you may have notice, besides posting my menu every two weeks, I have not been blogging regularly. Why you ask?? Life just got too difficult – too much going on in our lives. I am starting to feel like I am finally starting to get a handle on things.

The holiday season was very difficult for my family and filled with loss. My Father in Law(FIL) came to live with us in September, which has been very good. I just adore him.

My mother in Law (MIL) was residing in memory care. We were last able to bring her home for Thanksgiving. Christmas was bittersweet to say the least. We were unable to bring her home due to some skin break down that made it painful for her to be in her wheelchair. This was very hard on everyone. We all went to the memory care unit and celebrated Christmas with her the best we could. It was still difficult for my MIL.

Shortly after the New Year we started hospice services and my MIL passed away on January 10th.  The staff notified us when she started to deteriorate and we all rushed to spend the last hours with her.  I arrived first and sat with her, stroking her hair and chatting to her. The chaplain and I were with her when she passed away. I am glad I was able to be with her, but am always wondering if I could have done more. It was a difficult time for our family and we are all starting to adjust to the new normal.

My Father in Law is doing well, but I worried about him alot through this all. But in some ways he held it together the best due to his amazing faith. He is a remarkable man.

In Loving Memory of Jane Coyan :


Jane – 40th Wedding Anniversary

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Dick and Jane – 50th Wedding Anniversary

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Dick, Jane and their children – 52nd Anniversary


Our Family – January 14th, 2012

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The Coyan kids and their Dad!    

Other Happenings:

Our oldest son, Josh bought a townhome and moved out of our home on Christmas Day. It made for a weird Christmas. I did much better emotionally with his moving out this time, but I still miss him very much.

On December 29, I was seen by the Urologist due to some bladder issues I was having. He scheduled a bladder surgery for February 15th. The recovery was more difficult than I anticipated. I took 8 days off of work, but did work some from home.  I really wasn’t able to do much else.  I should havetaken more time off following surgery, but took time off following my MIL’s passing and didn’t have enough time on the books. So between the passing of my dear mother in law, Jane, Josh moving out and my surgery – life has felt a bit overwhelming.  But luckily, we have a wonderfully supportive and loving family and together we make it!

Pictures from November 2011 – February 2012:


Tommy’s Angel Costume for School Christmas Program

mom and Tom

 Christmas – 2011


Josh, Amy and Tommy the first time stepping into their new house.


The Happy New Homeowners!


Happy New Year – Welcome in 2012 with family.

I hope to blog more in the very near future about what our family has been up to so far this year.  This post was a bit of a blogging block for me as it made me so sad to write, but yet I didn’t want to skip over this time in our lives either.  It was a real time of loss and I can really feel as I write this blog.  But, life is good and we are so blessed by our wonderful family.  The ups and downs are both parts of this wonderful life and worth documention!  I am sure Tommy will remember his Grandma, her kindness, her love of M&Ms and her willingness to share with him.    Tommy was amazing with his Grandma right to the very last moments of her life.  That is what I will never forget, the patience and love of my son, Thomas George for his grandma. 

I hope to get some more posts up summarizing the past few months…..I am back and I am a blogger again!  Wonder if I have any readers left!  

Blessings to you,

Jen C

Week in Review: October 22nd



Hello Friends – another week has whisked by in the Coyan house.   I can’t believe how quickly the weeks go by or the years for that matter.   My baby, Tommy will be 10 years old next week!! 

Last weekend was pretty busy.  Saturday, Josh, Amy and I went to the Twin Cities Book Festival.  It was my first time going to this festival.  While it wasn’t geared to bloggers, I did meet a number of new authors.  I purchased two books from a new author and will be reviewing those on my book blog, Reading in WBL.    You can check out my blog post about the Festival on my book blog.  It was fun to attend and I hope to go again next year. 

Sunday, Tommy sang in church with his Wednesday night, Kid’s First group.   I had a nominating committee meeting for a bit in the afternoon.   We cleaned up around the house and made an early supper so we could go roller skating.   We skated at Saints North with Tommy’s school as a family event/fundraiser.  Tommy loves to skate.  I decided not to skate this year, since last year I bruised my tail bone and could not sit for weeks!  OUCH!   

My work week went buy with little excitement, which is good.  I did feel like I accomplished alot.  I worked extra hours so I could have Friday off to complete some needed things.   Paul and Josh were busy at work with the student computer buy back. 

Tommy was off of school on Thursday and Friday of this week.  Thursday, he went to work with Daddy and stayed at the daycare on campus.  Thursday night, Tommy stayed over night at the neighbors and spent all day Friday with them.  I can’t believe how much I missed him on Thursday night.  He was able to go skating with the neighbors during the day.  He has some pretty sore legs from all the skating he has done this week. 

Friday, I woke up early and got started on my weekly menu.   I then went and purchased our groceries for the next two weeks.  I am still trying to figure out our grocery budget now that we added a new member to our household, my father in law.  I tried to just increase our weekly grocery budget by only $20/ week, but am still tweaking our budget to meet everyone’s needs. 

After grocery shopping, my father in law and I went to his apartment to work on getting everything moved out of the apartment.  My sister in law met us there and we went through most things.   Once my other sister in law goes through the remaining items, we will box up what is left and donate it.   We are suppose to be out of the apartment by the end of the month.   There will be still be cleaning to be done as well.   It is great to have alot of help to get this overwhelming project done as a family. 

Last night, after Tommy went to bed we watched the movie Bride’s Maid.  A very funny movie, though a bit inappropriate at times.   Definitely not a Tommy movie. 



In Our Kitchen This week……….

Recipes this week that were a hit with my family. 

Pecan Crusted Fish

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups finely chopped pecans (used pampered chef grater)
8 fish filets
1 Tablespoons chopped Shallots
4 tsp Butter
1/2 cup wine
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Cup Orange Juice
2 tsp dijon mustard

Place egg and pecans in separate bowls. Dip fillets into egg, than coat with pecans. Place in a greased cookie sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, saute shallots in butter until tender.  Add wine.  Bring to a boil; cook for 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by 1/2.  In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, Orange Juice and mustard until smoothed; stir into wine mixture.   Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Serve with fish. 

Herbed Green Beans

1 lb. fresh green beans
4 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. minced onion
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. minced celery
1/2 c. minced fresh parsley
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, or 1/4 tsp. dried
1/4 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. salt

Trim ends of beans, cut diagonally into 2 inch pieces. Cook in 2 inches of water in a covered pan for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain and keep warm.
In the meantime in a skillet melt butter and saute onion, garlic and celery and cook for about 5 minutes. Add parsley, rosemary, basil and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Just before serving, toss the green beans with the herbed flavored butter.

Coyan Cafe is how we make leftovers exciting in our house.  We make a menu for the evening meal by listing each item we have as leftover.  My youngest son, Tommy plays waiter while I am the short order cook.  We serve each item until we run out.  Our restaurant guests always make comments similiar to “Hells Kitchen” and the need to return food to the kitchen.  It is fun and we use up all the leftover in the fridge.   A great way to make my family excited about leftovers!

Slow Cooker Chili  – a family favorite.  It is chilli weather in MN!  

A new family favorite – Loaded Baked PotatoSoup and Cheese Pull Aparts

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

4 – baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
4 – cups milk
2 – cups chicken broth
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
12 – slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 – cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 – 8oz container sour cream

Bake potatoes in the oven or microwave. Scoop out the inside of the potato and set aside. Cook bacon in the oven while the potatoes bake at 350 degrees until crispy. Crumble and set aside. Melt butter in a large pot over medium low heat. Stir in flour to make a roux. Cook about one minute stirring constantly. Gradually pour in the chicken broth and milk while stirring. Turn the heat to medium and cook the soup until it starts to thicken. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, bacon and cheese. Stir well and continue to heat for about 15 minutes allowing the flavors to blend. Mix in sour cream until well blended. Serve immediately. Garnish with green onions, additional bacon and shredded cheese.

Cheesy Pull Apart Bread

2 – 7.5 oz cans refrigerated biscuits
8 – oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 – tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp oregano (optional)
1/4 – cup melted butter or margarine

Cut each biscuit into fourths. I find that this is a lot easier if you use scissors. Mix the shredded cheese, garlic powder and oregano in a large bowl. Add the biscuit pieces and toss to coat. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and pour in the biscuit mixture. Do not smooth out the lumps the lumpier the better for pulling apart the bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes then cover with foil and bake a additional 10 minutes. When done drizzle with melted butter and serve.

Optional melted butter can be added just before placing the foil over the bread and baking the additional 10 minutes.



Book blog happenings ……….

Post about the Twin Cities Book Festival

Review – Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Review – That Day in September by Artie Van Why

It’s Monday! What Are you Reading??  post

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!!  It is a beautiful fall weekend here in MN, which should allow us time to get outside and clean up the yard the before the snow flies.  



Week In Review – October 13th, 2011



Last week, I worked 42 hours in four days, so I had Friday off. YEAH. I did not do much on Friday. I was just too tired.  I did go shopping and bought some work clothes. Saturday morning we headed over to my In Laws apartment to get the last of my FIL things. We cleaned out a lot of stuff, though there is still a lot left. My SIL is working on cleaning out my MIL’s things. We have to be completely out of the apartment by October 31st.

Sunday, we ran all our errands and went grocery shopping. I have decided I need to come up with a way to fit these tasks into my week. I hate giving up 2-3 hours of my weekend every two weeks to buy food. While we were gone Grandpa fell while walking outside. Josh and Tommy saw him so were able to go to him and help him. Another scrap, thankfully he was fine. It always makes me nervous to have him go for his walks.

This week has been busy as well. Tuesday, my book group,” Wine, Women and Words” met. We discussed “Still Missing” by Chevy Stevens.  The book received missed reviews after having already read an abduction story this year,  Room by Emma Donoghue.  It is always a great time to be with friends. Two of the member recently had babies so I was able to enjoy those sweet new little lives. What a great group of mothers.

Wednesday, we were all going in different directions it seemed. Amy picked up Tommy and took him to Wednesday night programming at church with her. Amy is interning at our church with Children’s Ministry. Josh took the confirmation small group he is teaching to PINZ. It sounded like they had a great time. Paul and I went to the movie “Courageous”. Not great acting, but a powerful message. Courageous was produced by Sherwood Productions, who also produced Fireproof. I highly recommend this movie.

Courageous Movie Trailer:

My favorite quote from the movie:

Adam Mitchell: I don’t feel like I started well. I want to finish well.

Isn’t that how it is sometimes, we look at our past and think “I don’t feel like I started well” . But we can all finish well. It certainly does take courage to do so, but life is full of second chances. I have my second chance and I sure do plan on finishing well.

Casting Crowns – Official Movie Video

Great song…..great movie.

Tonight we hade Tommy’s school conferences. He needs to put his Harry Potter book away the first time he is asked and listen.  Hmm….sounds familiar.     4th grade is a huge transition for him and a bit of a struggle with the added responsibility.  His teacher suggested we buy him a dated assignment planner.   So I guess we will try that and see if he writes in it.   

 Friday, my other book group, Books and Babble is meeting. We will be discussing “Stormchasers” by Jenna Blum. I am still trying to get the audio finished of the book. I have about 4 more hours left. The author is originally from MN and was going to be in town. She had agreed to stop by our book group, but she ended up being at the MLS convention in Duluth longer than planned.

My reading has been really reduced lately. I really need to renew my commitment to making more time to read. I have been neglecting my book blog as well. So I really need to focus on getting some book reviews done. Both of my book groups are selecting their reading schedule for next year so I am getting excite about the new titles.

Saturday, Josh and I are planning on going to the Twin Cities Book Festival in Minneapolis. I hope to see a few authors present and check out all the venders. Josh made me up some great business cards with my book blog on it. I am looking forward to the experience, I have never gone to a Book Convention before.  I am looking forward to the new experience.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!  


Monthly Family Update and Thoughts of Gratitude –

       Hello??  Hello???   Hoping there are still some faithful readers out there reading my rambles.    I know I said, “I am going to post at least once a week”!  Well, life and work keeps interrupting me.   Just to give you an idea of how busy I have felt lately, I have not read a single book since August!   If you know me, you are finding that hard to believe.    It is true.    My life has mostly been busy with good things, but busy none the less. 

     Last time I posted was Labor Day Weekend and I was busy with some organizing projects.    After a very busy July and August it felt good to bring a small amount of order to our home.    July was busy as my MIL was injured at her assistive living facility during a transport and was hospitalized.   After hospitalization, she went to transitional care at a very nice nursing home.   Love that place!   It was determined by the team there that she really needed to have memory care services.     So the hunt was on to find a nice memory care bed not too far away from the family.   On August 16th she moved to a Memory Care Center.   I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the time I spent with my MIL at music therapy and saw her singing and alert.  It brought me to tears.  

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     September was busy with the start of the school year.  Tommy started the 4th grade on Sept 6th.   He has had a pretty good start of the school year, but is struggling with the new level of responsibility required of him.   The first week of school I had to run him back to the school each evening due to forgotten homework.   Argh….this week has been a little better.  Lucky for him he goes to school at our church and there is frequently activities going on in the evening so we can get into the school.   I have noticed he is getting a bit more self-conscience and sensitive about things as well.    

     The weekend of 9/10 we had the school picnic to kick off the new school year.    After my MIL went to memory care and it became evident that she would need to have that level of care, my hubby started to be concerned about his father.   He wasn’t sure how his Dad would do alone.  His primary function for the last few years had been taking care of Mom.    So we decided to ask my FIL if he would like to come live with us.    He said “Yes” so we started putting that into motion.  

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My Father in Law (FIL) – Dick C

    On Sept 16th, my wonderful FIL came to live with us.   We had workmen in that day to install shower grab bars and health alert system into our house for him.  The entire family helped to move over the items he would need immediately.   

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Lisa with Grandpa

     The weekend of Sept 23rd, my hubby, Tommy and I went to Wisconsin Dells to my cousins wedding.   We stayed at the Wilderness Resort and really enjoyed the water parks and relaxation this trip allowed us.   The Wednesday before we went Tommy started on the Health Home/Healthy Kids research project so he had to wear a monitor for the researchers’ the entire time we were there. 

     Being so busy, the month of September seemed to have sped by.   I had to take a few days off in September, which always gets me behind at work.   I feel like I am still trying to catch up on visits and paperwork at my job. 

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    The first weekend in October was a weekend of celebrations!   On Saturday, Josh’s best friend, Charlie got married.   We enjoyed a wonderful outdoor ceremony, reception and wedding dance.  Tommy loved the dance and had a great time dancing!  The entire day made me think about how our family would be celebrating the marriage of Josh and Amy.   It made it a bit real that my son would be getting married.   I didn’t cry until the mother/groom dance.    That totally did me in.   Sunday we had a party with all family over to celebrate Erik’s 19th birthday as well as the other September birthdays.  

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September Birthdays:  Steve, Chrissi and Erik

    Now with all the moves behind us, I feel like I can see the light at the end of this month.   Today and the next two days, we are having a ramp installed at the backdoor of our home to make it easier for my FIL to get out of the house independently.   We have continued to rent my in-laws apartment for the month of October to give us this month to get everything moved out.    That seems to be the last big project to be completed, which I hope to start on this Friday with my SIL’s assistance.  

    It has been a blessing to have my FIL living with us.   He has the most laid back attitude, is kind and so funny!   You would not believe the zingers that fly across our dinner table between my hubby, BIL and FIL.    Tommy has enjoyed watching football with his grandfather most evenings.   Tommy’s homework assignment the other day was to write a gratitude statement.   Later that night, I saw the statement and he had written about how grateful he was for his grandfather.    So being a multigenerational home has been a win –win situation for our family.  

    If you just read this and you are saying to yourself, I don’t know how she does it or the various other things people seem to say to me daily, let me explain.   While what you read seems very busy and it is…..I hope you can see how incredibly blessed I am.   My personality is such that I am most comfortable caring for and helping others, which is why I am a social worker.   It brings me joy and fulfillment.  Being this busy means, I have a family that I love and want to take care for.    I also have a family that is always there for me whenever I need them.   I always have companionship and assistance in my home.    My life is full and wonderful and I would not change one thing about it.   Hope you are able to count your blessings this day as well.  

Blessings and Joy,

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Jen C and her handsome hubby.


Thank You, Lord

 Lord, thank you for this sink of dirty dishes;
      we have plenty of food to eat.

Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry;
      we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds;
      they were so warm and comfortable last night.
      I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom,
      complete with all the splattered mirrors,
      soggy, grimy towels and dirty lavatory;
      they are so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs cleaning.
    It has served us faithfully for many years.
     It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers
      for two or three meals.

Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely
       must be cleaned today;
      It has baked so many things over the years.

The whole family is grateful for that tall grass
      that we all enjoy the yard.
     My kids are healthy and able to run and play.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says
      You have richly blessed my family.
      I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl
      when the alarm rings,
     Thank you, Lord, that I can hear.
      There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light
      as long as possible,
     Thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising,
     Thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise.
     There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic,
     when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short,
     my children are so loud,
     Thank you, Lord, for my family.
      There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like
      the pictures in magazines 
     and the menu is at times not balanced,
     There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous,
     Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work.
     There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day
     and wish my circumstances were not so modest,
     Thank you, Lord, for life.