3 boys and a girl...a recipe for pure time to write a book, so I blog

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

A little bit of Catch up needed

Hello all...long has come to my attention that I needed to update the blog since the year is getting away from are the highlights since we last met...
Barett graduated from preschool and insisted on wearing a tie with his cap and gown...kinda brought a tear to my eye(OK lets be honest, a whole lot of tears) thinking in 12 years this will be him leaving for college!

A short 4 days after he graduated, he reminded us all that he is still a little boy and took a flying leap off the top bunk in an effort to place his hot wheels on the fan to make them "fly" when he turned the fan on(with a little help from his big brother). Dave and I had settled on the couch to watch a movie thinking foolishly that we had the boys tucked in bed early and it was a good night to just relax...10minutes into said movie there was a thud, screams of terror and pain that every mother knows and never wants to hear and blood...Again Dave never ceases to amaze me with his inability to handle blood. Kale was crying, Barett was white as a ghost flying down the stairs with his favorite stuffed bunny held to his face...sparing the gory details the bunny masked the 4in casualty of bunk bed-hot wheel flinging fun. Knowing there was no way I could "glue" this wound so close and deep to his eye I called upon (yet again) our go to doc, personal physician for anytime little boy antics(AKA grandpa Dan). My Dad knows any call after 8 and on weekends is never a good I snuck this one in at 758 on a Wednesday ;0)
We managed to get Kale calmed, Laeth awakened and everybody into the car for a trip to Children's ER...Thankfully grandma and grandpa were kind enough to watch the other 2 as we sat 4 hrs in the ER with all sorts of "entertainment". Barett as the evidence shows was no worse for the wear and ended up falling asleep before they were able to suture him...have no fear though, once they strapped him down to the papus board he was wide awake and none-too-happy! With a little daddy loving and 4 stitches later we were on our merry way...chicks dig scars right...and that is how we would start a FUN summer!

Laeth turned 2 in June and is his big brothers' biggest fan...much of his summer was spent trying to do whatever they did, which included using the "big boy bat and helmet" and learning to ride big boy bikes with no training wheels. NO STOP RIGHT THERE...I am not crazy enough to let a 2yr old ride a bike with no training wheels, but he did master the scooter and it is quite entertaining to watch someone so small coasting around the sidewalks with a baseball helmet. He potty trained late summer and prides himself on "doing awesome job" going potty like a big boy.
Kale had a kinda bummer summer not being able to play baseball or do swim team because of his eye surgeries in the spring. Not to be left behind though, he found a new love for all things outdoors and was thrilled and that will be the understatement of the join the cub scouts. He begged and pleaded for weeks to go to Canfields to get his uniform, so one late July Day we did just that. I am certain that the lady who checked us out may still be laughing as he proceeded to strip his clothes off in the store to put the whole get up on. He wore the outfit for a good 36hrs straight before I had to pry it off of him to take a bath...mothers win eventually. He is loving 1st grade and all things boyscout, much to the dismay of his father(Dave dropped out after his first cub scout camp out all those years ago;0)
What else's is cooking in the Sykora Kitchen...?

Well this little chubby cheeked little muffin...and yes the flavor has changed this time around...much to the amusement of her big brothers!

We decided to tell the boys by sending them on a scavenger hunt around the inside of the house and then tying pink balloons to the outside on some chairs. Kale was the most thrilled since he has been asking Santa for a baby sister for 2 years running, Barett was more entertained by the balloons, and Laeth was just happy to be running around chasing the big boys as they hunted down the clues. When all was said and done we sent the balloons skyward to Baka Rosie so she could have a party...
I have done well with the PINK explosion purchases, but cannot wait to put this on her in a couple weeks...yes end of November she is due to make her much anticipated arrival...and now you wonder no more why I have been absent from the blog world.
With these 3 as older brothers, I told Dave she will get a pony for sure if she SURVIVES til she turns 1!
 Biz turned 5 in August and started kindergarten at my old grade school. He just finished 1st Quarter and he is everybit as intelligent as his big brother. He enjoys the challenges of reading and math and is a little sponge of new "knowledge nuggets" everyday.

End of September...Dave and I ventured to New Orleans, leaving the boys behind, for a wastewater conference that Dave had to attend. Hello Shopping. It was the last week my OB would allow me to travel so I took full advantage of the opportunity to explore the big Easy. VERDICT: Nice place to visit, great people, fun shopping, swamps scary, cannot say that I would EVER want to be on Bourbon St. for Mardi Gras. A normal Saturday was enough for me, these 4 eyes have seen alot, but after Bourbon St. there are somethings better left unseen...

Well that is all for now...I will attempt to do a better job at updating and do promise to post pics when Miss Sassy Sykora arrives later this week...month...:0)

Monday, March 12, 2012


There have been moments in this journey of motherhood that have brought me to my knees. Before having kids I would not have considered myself all that emotionally attached to anything...then they came along.
I remember when Kale was born the feeling of overwhelming fear, joy, pride, and apprehension. Afterall, he was SOOOOOO tiny and helpless and somewhere and for some reason God thought Dave and I were up to the challenge of being the people to guide him in this world, teach him, protect him and above all love him.
In that moment six years ago I never could have imagined that someone that small could rattle my emotions and make me dig down deep to find the strength and faith to do all those things. Loving him has been the easy part, some days I feel like the rest of it we, correction more I fall short. I have always maintained I didn't see my self capable of murder until I became a mother. I would do anything to keep my kids safe and protected from the evils of the world, but I have come to realize that even with the best of intentions, there too I fall short. 
 I thought I was doing so well, kids are healthy for the most part, rarely sick, no cavities, meeting all their milestones developmentally. Life is good. I got them to their doctors appointments on schedule, shots given, tolerated and all is well. Then, mid January we were out to breakfast and I noticed a red spot on Kale's left eye as he was looking out the window. Let's be honest he has his mother's temper so I figured it looked like a little burst blood vessel, nothing to worry about. We watched it for two weeks, afterall we had an appt with his eye doctor in about that time...wrong choice, though looking back I don't think it would have made a difference, or that is what I tell myself.  Instead the red spot had grown bigger and raised....GREAT. I called the eye doctor and he wanted to see Kale that day. Long story short after being referred from a pediatric opthamologist to a another specialist, 3 weeks of steroids, loss of vision in his left eye, and growth of the red spot, we were scheduled for surgery to remove the mass March 9th. First case that morning. No one really knew what the mass was other than "we think it is scar tissue and most likely not cancerous, but we won't know til we remove it".

For the first time in his 6 years I was scared. The chances of the surgery working were 60% and 90% recovery of his sight if they could remove the entire mass. The surgeon performing the operation had perfected the technique of using an amniotic membrane to graft to the portion of the white of the eye that he would be removing. 10 surgeries like it done in the world and this doctor has done 4, but never on anyone as young as Kale. Put simply, our little boy's eyes and sight were in this doctor's hands and there was nothing I could do to help him.

 As his mom and a nurse I stressed about it from the moment I heard her would be going under the knife again. The two other times it seemed so different, we knew the cause and surgery was the solution. This had come outta nowhere and the after effects were so much more permanent and heartbreaking. I told everyone, losing your sight in one eye at 60 is an inconvenience but a 6 it is a disability for the rest of your life. Kale took it like he always does, happy go lucky and with a smile on his face. His biggest concern was that they were going to take his "whole eyeball out"-which he thought might be pretty cool...BOYS!
 Last Wednesday, my last day of work for the week, Dave called me Thursday morning to tell me Kale had woken up at 330am screaming his ear hurt and had a fever of 102.3!!! When I got home I right away called school to tell them he wouldn't be in, called the surgeon's office to see if he would still go ahead with the surgery? The next 4 hours I was on the phone with his pediatrician, anesthesia at the hospital, and the surgeon. After it was agreed that as long as his pediatrician would clear him for surgery and start him on antibiotics, we were a go for surgery in the morning. That was noon on Thursday. Between my nerves and his ear pain I got an hour of sleep that day, only to wake up at 430 the morning of his surgery because I could not go back to sleep. I packed his bag with blanket and scruffy dog, prayed a rosary and had a convo with my grandma to watch over him and guide us to the best result...she has been known to work a few miracles and in life we swore had the gold phone to God.

 We got to the hospital, checked in and they were ready or as ready as anyone can be for Kale and his hyper 6 year old self. Unfortunately, they only let one of us back in pre-op so Dave sat in the waiting room with my dad while Kale and I watched cartoons and he sat SOO STILL for 12!!! eye drops. (This is the child I had to chase down at home to get 1 drop in...) The doctor came by and said he anticipated about 45minutes to an hour for the procedure. He warned us ahead of time that the pain with this would be more intense than his previous eye surgery...that I could handle, I was prepared from the horror of last time, and as a mom/nurse I was prepared to be liberal with the pain meds and had some big hitters in my arsenal(all OK'd with his medical team...I was not going to be caught off guard again.) Anesthesia came and showed him the mask and "balloon" they would use to put him under and like only my Kale would say, he told them, " I can count to a hundred and blow up that balloon, no problem, better than Barett!" With a kiss and a hug holding back tears, they took my baby boy away.
 Dave, my dad and I sat in the waiting room for the next two and half hours (it was only supposed to take 45min-1hr). Needless to say I was panicked, thank God for my dad and his calming nature, I may well have peeled the wallpaper off the walls and walked holes in the carpet. Finally when the surgeon came out, he told us that it was more difficult than he had anticipated, but he was able to remove 100% of the mass and did not have to remove any muscle(saving another surgery down the line)! I was able to go back to recovery and snuggle contain him and take out his IV. His eyes were both bandaged and he refused to open his right one even after they removed the bandage from it. After a Popsicle and a few blood pressures, we were on our way home for everyone to sleep.

 I hit him with pain meds right when we got home and Kale and I crashed for a good 4 hours. When he did wake up it was more pain meds and snuggling for him to listen to a movie(it was more comfortable for him to remain bandaged with both eyes and the doc was OK with that. Bedtime was smooth with no brothers to bug him and he slept til 8am(a feat in itself) the next morning.

 We met the doctor at his office at 930am and I have never been so nervous. He had told me that if Kale was to regain his vision in the left eye, we would know by that morning. Kale did the honors of taking off the patch and shield and wasted no time reading the top line of the eye chart. I mean to tell you I have not cried tears of joy like that since this little man was born. Baby steps is the name of the game now. He will hopefully regain his sight back to his previous nearsightedness, but the plan is for that to be a SLOW process.
The pathology came back today and the mass was indeed scar tissue, making the SLOW healing that much more important. Though no one really knows how or why Kale all of a sudden developed scar tissue 2 years after his last eye surgery, the best guess is he had an insult to the old incision...a grain of's fingers...vigorous rubbing of the eye...who knows! Whatever it was, he is now on steroid drops every 2 hrs around the clock for the next six months so the tissue heals slow and correctly...sounds like fun right?

Out of all of this I have learned strength and patience...from none other than the Bravest little boy I know.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Looking for some sunshine

OK, I know it has been awhile, our computer has a virus and truthfully I have been OK with not fixing it. I wrote the following post 2 months ago now more as an escape and healing for myself. Feel free to read or not, but I have been meaning to post it for a while. Sorry there are no pictures, one day I will get the stupid thing fixed.

Since I wrote this last post Kale turned 6 and is loving life. We hit a hiccup in his battle against the evil eyes and he is scheduled for surgery this upcominmg Friday 3/9. It is intense to say the least so any prayers would be most appreciated. I pormise I have found some sunshine and plan to keep a little in my pocket. The following post is painful for me to read now, but reflects so well, I feel, how those 31 days rocked me to my core...

The last month has been a blur of tears of which I cannot seem to find an end. 3 days before Christmas my family very unexpectedly lost my Baka (Croatian for Grandma).  I wrestled and continue to do so whether it would have been easier had I seen it coming, but I don't think anytime would have been an "OK" time to say goodbye to hands down the greatest and strongest woman I have ever known. My Uncle Joe said it best when he said " she was our lighthouse, no matter how far or where we went in life, all we had to do was turn to her and she led us home". She lit up not only my life but the lives of my boys. I have tried in the days since to look for a ray of sunshine, a good, something to set my mind at peace...what I've come up with have given me only moments, but I wanted something that would last. I struggled in the moments after she passed with most of my family at her bedside to understand why? My grandma was a woman of deep faith and I know her time with us was cut short to join and enjoy her eternal paradise in Heaven, but how in the world could I explain that to my boys who had loved her and loved on her that Sunday, only 4 days before she died? And then it came to me, I never knew either of my grandfathers, let alone great-grandparents...Kale and Barett got that for 5 years. That was my sunshine and the best Christmas gift, better than any I can, would, could or ever will put under the tree. Her love was deep and infectious. She loved the boys and they loved her, and for that I am grateful. That she got to be part of their lives if only for a brief time, their lives will forver be filled her love. 

Like I said,Christmas was a blur, it felt more like going through the motions, but we had to make it special for the kids, that is what Baka Rosie would have wanted. The toys were in no short supply and the spoils of 4 Christmases clutttered the house longer than I care to admit. Then came strike 2, Dave's Grandpa Frank had a massive heart attack, landing him in the cardiac ICU with a bilateral pneumonia and buying him an implanted pacer/defibrilator. He is doing well and thankfully on his way to recovery.  One would think that was enough for one family for a while, but alas the black cloud of whatever the hell keeps raining...

This past Monday our phone rang at 1030pm, never a good sign or happy call, especially as of late. My aunt was sobbing into the phone that my cousin Aaron had been found dead in his apartment in Colorado. First I had no idea that he had moved to Colorado, he was just over my house for the Husker game 2 weeks ago...this cannot be happening!!...what happened?....was my brother Andy with him?...does Andy know?...the answers were few and the tears were many. My first instinct was to drive to Colorado to get my brother no matter where he was. Aaron, Tom, and Andy were the 3 amigos, brothers, cousins, but most of all best friends. It didn't surprise me that he had gone to Colorado. When Andy had moved there, Aaron begged him to take him with him and even would drive out to visit whenever he could. A blizzard in the mountains and a little fatherly psychotherapy kept me here. My brother flew in the next day as we waited for answers, of which there are still very few. Again I find myself looking for sunshine. This time it came much easier. Aaron was with Baka Rosie who had loved him and mother henned him since he was a baby. He is a peace, and though his antics will be missed, my life and those he knew are better for the brief time we had
him in it.

I think myself to be a person seeing the glass half full, always looking for the silverlining no matter how long it takes me to dig to find it, there is good in everything and everyone. My grandma taught me a lot of things but the one I will carry with is God only gives us what we can handle and apparently this is it. So as I look for sunshine, I say Rest in Peace Grandma and Aaron, I know you are watching down on us

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shelf elf's 1st strike

In our house Christmas is a BIG deal...partially because I make it one:0) I love everything about the holiday; the smells, the lights, the trees, and yes even the snow(comm'on who really wants a brown Christmas?!) Tradition since Dave and I have been together(10 years for those who have lost count) has been to decorate the night of Thanksgiving after feasting on turkey all day, not the greatest plan as years past would remind us, but tradition none the less. This year I decided to break from tradition and while the boys were all gone in Colorado, I decorated the whole house myself. Yes the tree was a bit to lug up the stairs all by myself, but after an hour and a half worth of problem solving and a little refresher in physics levers and pulleys(thank you Mr. Termuhlen) I got the tree up the stairs and assembled in quick fashion, complete with lights and ribbon. The stockings were hung by the fireplace topped off with some lighted garland and fuzzy Christmas animals from grandma and grandpa Halm.

The reception the night we got home was all that I could have hoped for and more. The light in the boys eyes made the blisters, splinters, and sciatic pain all worth it. Laeth lit up and would not stop pointing. He tackled the bears on the fireplace and proceeded to pull all the ornaments off the tree...thanks...Kale and Barett immediately opened all the cabinets looking for the shelf elf because in their eyes, he was the one who had done all the decorating. If you are not familiar with the shelf elf, he/she is a watchdog for Santa and very vigilant and busy in our house. The shelf elf watches the house during the day to see who is naughty and nice and then reports back to the northpole at night. In the morning, the shelf elf returns, but never to the same spot, to watch again. Since our house is so busy and at times naughtier than most, we have a shelf elf for each of the boys. Kale named his S.H.S(Santa's Helper Snitch.) Barett went old school rhyme time and named his Melf the Elf.

Though the elves whereabouts occupied them momentarily, Kale and Barett were more concerned about their trees. You see, everybody has a tree in our house, even the dog(the puppy Christmas tree), and obviously the biggest one is mine! What this means is that I get the main tree and each of the boys has their own to decorate however they would like. Well, Kale and Barett wasted no time in hauling out the ornaments and decorating each of their trees, Barett with anything he could find(old keychains from Dave's collection were a favorite). Kale opted for a more nostalgic approach and took out all the ornaments Dave's mom and my mom had given us. Laeth was content to leave his tree as is with the lights and the pointing.

Today became a treat because half of the lights on the tree went some this would spell disaster but to me it was a chance to let Laeth help rebuild what he was so intent on dismantling in the first place. So off to Walmart and 500 lights later we were back in business.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Rocky Mountain Turkey

Turkey Day this year was supposed to be the Halm Family getaway-our first family vacation in 15 years...that ws until mom got sick and landed herself a lovely stay in the hospital for a week. Plan revised slightly, the boys and Dave set out early Wednesday morning for the great rocky mountains. I was left home to work and flew out early Friday morning. Turkey day alone was not so bad or alone for that matter. I got the house decorated for a surprise when the boys came home and since Dad stayed back to be with mom, I got some good father daughter bonding time in.

Friday when I had finally arrived the boys were ready and roaring to go out on the mountain. So we signed them up fro ski school, visited Loveland pass and enjoyed some snowy mountain air. Friday night in the middle of a heated game of pool, the power went out to the whole house...not such a big deal at home but up in the mountains when it is 10 below and you are sharing a house with 15 other people it becomes a bit hectic. Thank God for my smartphone "little flashlight app" and a wood burning stove. We enjoyed some laughter and bevarage around the fire. When the power finally came back on at 2am it was lights out for everyone.

Oh and did I forget to mention the dogs...Rigger and Marley

Saturday the boys got dropped off at ski school and Dave, Laeth and I headed for the other side of the mountain to see what we could see. Wind blowing, snow falling, it was a beautiful mountain day.

After a jaunt into the mountains we stopped back at the mountain house for a quick bite to eat and warm up before heading to pick Kale and Barett up from ski school.

At the end of the day Barett loved ski school so much that he refused to take the skis off let alone leave without them. We had a small bargaining session at the base of the mountain for Christmas presents. Overall they both did awesome and cannot wait to hit the slopes again. I suppose we will be hitting the ice hill of Crescent in the very near future to buy us some time until the next ski adventure.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

3 days

When you are a mom of boys everyday life is filled with super heros, swords, toads, farting noises, and other grossnesses too terrible to mention. I am amazed daily by the new "matieral" of conversation between my boys and how they have somehow managed to begin the training of their baby brother. Laeth has become quite the big boy with an attitude and personality to match. The days of doing things for him are coming to an end quickly as he wants to do everything by himself just like his big brothers. Lately it has been refusing to sit in his seat at the dinner table in favor of trying to bogart either Dave or my seat when one of us gets up. He is cute which most days is his saving grace and the fact that he is the baby...

All of this would lead me to the brink of losing my mind this past week as Dave left for three days and I was in piloting this parenting voyage solo for the first time since school started.

Wednesday morning I felt up to the challenge...Friday night I was begging for mercy, a glass of wine, and a handful of Advil. Don't get me wrong the boys were not THAT bad, just the combo of chaos that ensued made me thankful that it was only a temporary thing.

         Wednesday was supposed to be easy, pick the boys up after school and then home...oh wait there was swimming lessons, no big deal...oh and then Kale's fundraiser pickup for school and you had to go into school to pick it up....oh and it snowed that yucky snow that really isn't snow but more like slushy rain, and Laeth has taken to hating anything to do with his carseat and lets just say it's gonna be a long winter with the apparel required and the Laeth man. Thank the heavens for the nice PTA dad that lugged all of the boxes out to my car as my sweet child with horns decided to pull anything he could get his chubby little hands on off and chuck it in the snow....not even 12hrs into this solo thing and I could tell it was gonna be a long 72. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a morning person, so when Thursday morning rolled around and I had to get Kale to school by 8:15, Barett to preschool by 8:30 and the alarm didn't phase me until 8:00...we were in some deep business. Lunch packed the night before(thank God !!), Kale couldn't find his book for library day, Barett lost a shoe, and Laeth refused to keep his socks on...GREAT! So needless to say we were late...something I HATE....I got over it long enough to shop, do some 4 loads of laundry and wrangle up some "fun" dinner. After school we ran a few errands and the boys were over the moon since Friday was teacher in-service day...I now know why parents world wide dread these days...I made an executive decision that night to let them take an extra hour before bedtime 9pm seemed reasonable for bed. In our house the bedtime routine we call the "B's"... Bath, Brush your teeth, Books, and Bed. Most nights it is pretty easy and well respected...that night didn't go so well. After aking, telling, pleading with them to go to bed for atleast 20min and settling into the couch to watch a movie(they had been quiet) Kale broke my peaceful lounging with a scream of terror and panic I have never heard out of any of my children..."MOM COME QUICK HURRY, BARETTTTTTT THERE IS BLOOD EVERYWHERE!!!!"

I am pretty sure I made it up the stairs in 2 long strides to find Barett clutching his mouth with both hands and blood streaming between his fingers, white as a ghost straring at his hands, Kale hysterically crying, and believe or not, not a drop of blood on anyone's pajamas or the floor. OK so the nurse in me went to work...Kale to his room, Barett to the bathroom to figure out the source of this blood letting. I will spare you all the details as it left me amazed at my stomach strength. The short of it is that somehow in his "playing so mom can't hear me" antics he managed to make himself a blow hole in his chin. Thankfully all is teeth remained in place. After a quick call to our personal doctor on call 24-7(grandpa) I was relieved to find a trip to the ER and plastic surgeon would not be necessary(this time). Thank God because had I needed to wake Laeth up there may have been some alternate blood shed. Well after that little "ordeal" Barett insisted he needed Daddy.. GREAT!!,.of course, why not!? I have no way to get ahold of him, not to mention that previous to this I had prided myself on my 100% injury free single parenting.(Kale split his head 2x on Dave's watch and Barett lost that tooth while I was in Colorado) After some mommy TLC, packing with gauze, and a slowing of the blood loss he finally calmed long enough to let me lay him down in our bed with a towel on the pillow. I thought Kale had gone to sleep, however when I went upstairs to check on Barett, I found them both alseep with Kale spooning his little melted my heart.

Friday morning everyone was bright eyed , Kale at 4am, not my idea of sleeping in on a NO SCHOOL day. "OK", I told myslef, "Dave will be home in less than 24hrs, just get through today with no new holes in any of the boys". We ran some morning errands and then landed at my parents for a solid 6hrs, wound up isn't so bad with grandparents to disperse the energy. They eventually laid down for naps and I crashed for an hour on a comfy old and familiar couch. Funny how I felt like I was in highschool again, though I don't remember 2 a day swim practice kicking my arse as bad as parenting boys. Dave came home late afternoon and I had to eat humble pie and acknowledge the tarnish to my OK tradeoff to having to put them to bed, it was a DADDY night, mommy was off the clock for atleast 2hrs;0)
    I love my boys but the teenage years to come ...I feel Barett may be bionic by then...