Monday, May 31, 2010

Holy Pumpkins! Part Two

I am sure everyone is sick of pumpkins by now...but not us. We woke up this morning to find a monstrous pumpkin plant with itty bitty flowers starting. The heat has been awesome for ALL of our plants, not just the pumpkins but the pumpkins are the most visibly changed in a few days time...observe...

Day 1:

Day 23:

Day 27:

and finally, today, Day 29:

Memorial Day

In between the bar-be-ques and fun times everyone has this weekend, I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on what Memorial Day really means-today ought to be used to honor those brave men and women who've fought for our freedom. In our own families, we have plenty of soldiers to thank-My grandfathers, my grandmother, my father, my uncle, my cousin's husband and all of Geo's grandfathers and his sister and brother in law. Our friend Tommy is currently serving in Afghanistan (be safe Tommy!!) and a few of my classmates are serving; both stateside and abroad. Today, especially, you'll all be in our thoughts. Thank you for all you do, every day, to ensure not only our freedom and rights, but working to secure the freedoms and rights of other people around the globe. May you all come home safe and sound!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Holy Pumpkins!

What does a week of 80+ degree days and lots of watering do for a pumpkin plant??

We've sprouted three new leaves and the plant has started to spread. If you look a few entries down, you'll see what it looked like just a few days ago. Crazy how fast it's growing. Can't wait for some flowers and itty bitty pumpkins to start growing. The rest of the garden is sprouting like crazy, our four different bean varieties are now about six inches high, our peppers and tomatoes, after being picked clean by the robins, have ALL started to grow new leaves and are doing well. No sprouting on the rows Geo planted, but I fully expect by this time next week, we will have itty bitty carrots, radishes, squash, and lettuce poking through. Crazy Geo has already decided to expand the garden next year...and we've JUST started this one :P

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Five-Silly Edition

1. What's the last silly movie you saw?
Men Who Stare at Goats It was beyond weird and beyond hysterical. I laughed more than I have in a long time at that movie

2.What's the last good joke you heard?
I can't repeat it here, but I'll tell you a favorite of mine:
Two muffins are in an oven, one of 'em looks over and says "whew, it's hot in here"
The other muffin says "holy cow, a talking muffin"

3. The last humorous book you read?
"When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops?" by George Carlin. He's funny as heck, offensive (duh) and the whole book made me laugh

4. Favorite comedian?
Please don't smack me, but I love love LOVE Dane Cook. I've loved him since I was in college when he was a total unknown comic playing at three a.m. on comedy central and his show tickets only cost $10. Love him.

5. Do you like silly putty?
Not particularly; it's a mess and hard to get out of the carpet.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pop-a-palooza Part Two

Today's popapalooza post is all about Grandpa's! Geo's so lucky to have two grandfathers still. Both of them are awesome in their own little ways...

Homegrown Grandpa the Great is one of those guys who pretty much knows a little bit (or a lot, in some cases) about EVERYTHING. Gardening question? You bet he knows it. Question on how to build your own heater from bricks you've gotten for free? Not only does he know it, but he can show you the plans to build it. Teach your kids how to say "holy smokes"? You betcha. Is he the family matriarch? You're darn right he is! Grandpa the great is just that GREAT He's a master gardener, Scrabble fanatic, and an excellent example of what a good husband, father, grandfather, and GREAT grandfather look like!!

As for Geo's other grandpa, singin' swingin' grandpa is the best. He's always got a story to tell or a song to sing-and sometimes it's BOTH of those. It's impossible to be cranky around Harvey; I wouldn't suggest trying either or you'll be serenaded :) His never ending faith in God is admirable, his devotion to his family is inspiring, and the smile on his face lights up any room. I have it on pretty good authority that his great grandchildren adore him, as do his grandchildren. We're so lucky to have Harvey in our lives!

Thankful Thursday

Today I am particularly thankful for the cooler weather we're having this morning; the past few mornings when Gabe has gotten on the bus it's been in the 80's; this morning it was in the mid 60's-a welcome change for sure.

I'm thankful for the school year coming to an end so we might actually get to sleep in later than 7 a.m. during the week (I'm not holding my breath though ha ha) and I am *very* thankful for Gabe's awesome teacher. She made learning fun for him and sparked what we hope will be a lifelong love of learning.

Finally, I'm thankful for ice cold diet coke; it's been a godsend these few days when the temps have climbed into the 90's :P

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Updated Garden Pictures

We also have beans sprouting(yay!!) and tomatoes and green peppers started. We're hoping to plant the rest of our plants this afternoon! How's your gardening going?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pop-a-palooza part One

Today's entry is entry one in a series I'll be doing from now until Father's Day called "pop-a-palooza" For those who do not know, we call our dad Pop and the kids call him grandpa pop :) hence the pop-a-palooza title (it sounds much better than dad-a-palooza too)

The first dad I'd like to talk about is Geo's dad-he's a dad, grand dad, and dad in law. He's pretty fabulous. He supports Geo and Gabe's sick sick Chicago sports addictions (Gabe refers to him as "Hawks grandpa" for a reason people...) He is always thinking of others (even when others don't think of him) He has a wicked sense of humor, is devoted to his lovely wife Caren and his family, would give you the shirt off his back (Geo has a ton of them actually) and puts family above all; which in my opinion, makes for a great Dad.

So here's to you Dil-you're super fabulous, you're awesomely wonderful, and we're lucky to have you!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


It's super warm out today so we all played in the sprinkler for a bit...

Aubrey preferred to use an umbrella rather than get too wet...


Gabe, however, preferred to jump right in...


And SarahAnne just wanted to pose for the camera...


Friday, May 21, 2010

Preparing for Battle

We are getting to the hard part of Gabe’s spina bifida. The early years, while tense and filled with worry and grief, were blessedly easy compared to what we’re dealing with now. As a small baby, no one really paid attention to the fact that he wasn’t walking or crawling as fast as the other babies; no one noticed his awful fine motor skills; as far as anyone could see, he was just a baby.

Now he’s six, nearly in first grade (oh my) and it’s becoming more and more evident that Gabe is “different” Watching him on the playground yesterday, smiling, happy, covered in mud and mulch, I couldn’t help but think that he is so amazing. He knows his limitations; he knows what he can do, what he can’t do, and what’s worth TRYING to do. The playground we were at was a “zero barrier” playground; meaning that it’s totally handicap accessible (while I’d disagree with that statement, I will say that it’s MORE accessible than most playgrounds) There were stairs with railings that Gabe could use to get up to the slides, there was equipment on the ground that he could use easily, over all, it was a really nice park. But still, he struggled. He struggled to climb up the rock wall (even the one with “steps” made for smaller children), he wasn’t able to play “chase” with the other kids his age (a huge deal for small kids, they LOVE to play chase) and he was slower on things.

But still…he smiled, he waved, he said hello to people of all ages. He was genuinely happy to be playing at the park, doing his thing, completely oblivious to what his limitations were…or was he? I don’t think he was, I could see it in his face when the kids went to place chase that there was nothing more that he’d like to do than run after them, keep up with them, and not trip and fall when he got up to a good speed. I KNOW that’s what he wanted to do, but he stayed on the slide, smiling as he went down, watching them run off. He watched Bitsy climb up the rock wall seemingly effortlessly as he stood on the ground smiling at her. He’s proud of her for doing what he can’t; in fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve heard him tell her “Good job, Bits, that must have been hard” I don’t know how he stays so positive when most people would be pissed off or depressed about their situation. Lord knows how upset I’d be if I was in his position. As it stands, I get upset when I try to do something but can’t. Even if I know I can’t do something, I still try to do it.

How is it that at six, he already knows more than me? He already knows what his limitations are and how to deal with them? He’s so stoic, brave, and strong in the face of his disability. How has he, in six small years, accepted his fate when even I haven’t? How is he able to be comfortable in his skin, when clearly I am not comfortable FOR him? How’d he already learn which battles to pick? How does he know that fighting his body to write letters and numbers and read are the battles to wage rather than fighting with his body to climb a rock wall?

My mom told me, from the get go, that Gabe was “given” to us to teach us a lesson; here all along I thought the lesson he had to teach was patience (Impatient? Who me? Nooo) I don’t think that was the lesson I was supposed to learn. Maybe the lesson I have yet to learn is when to fight and when not to. Maybe I need to learn to let go of some of the control and just enjoy myself. Or maybe that’s not it either; maybe like all other things in life, Gabriel is showing me that life is a learning experience; that some days are good, some days are bad, and some days are downright awful…but smiling and playing in the sunshine are always good things to do. I guess we’ll see as time goes on, won’t we?

Friday Five-Picture Edition

Friday five summing up our past few weeks :P






Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: What We've Been Up To

The last week and a half has been busy around the Wit house; we've been gardening, playing, rearranging furniture and all sorts of good stuff. Yesterday at the park, we played on the slides and discovered a birds' nest full of eggs! How weird! Birds have been eating all the leaves off of our plants, but they are strong plants and have been growing back quickly. This weekend we will be getting an owl for the fence and we'll see if that helps. Geo built the most ingenious cages around everything so nothing could get in...but something smaller than the cages is still getting in, hopefully the owl will take care of it. We've had a hawk in our yard for the last week as well-which has been good AND bad; the cat refuses to go outside because of the hawk BUT the ground squirrel population has gone down :) Good and bad :)
Back to normal posting next week, we've got the Michiwits coming in this weekend-enjoy the gorgeous weather!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Internetting Fail

We are currently offline at home for the next week or so...our house had a few electricity surges and it blew our modem-I have another modem, it's just a matter of finding it-if not, I'll have to order a new one-in the meantime we're offline and getting the garden ready for planting...we're looking forward to a nice warm weekend after a weeks' worth of rain and we are going to be PLANTING!!
Love to all...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day to all of you amazing mommas, grandmas, mothers in law, aunties, godmothers, and like-a-mommas :)

Momma's are simply amazing and all of them in our lives are NO exception. Thank you for doing what you do every single day, day in and day out. No paid vacation, no sick time, and no breaks. We're rewarded in kisses, hugs, snuggles, and the occasional homemade card and piece of jewelry :)

I'd like to share my favorite Mother's Day quote with you all to finish...
The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.

And a very very happy birthday to Great Grandma Witkowski! We love you, we miss you, we're so very lucky to have you in our lives! xoxoxox

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Five-Special Edition

Today's Friday Five is all about being a momma...and is actually a ten question entry!

1. What is one thing you wish someone had told you about being a mom?
I wish I would have known, when I had Gabriel, that I was actually in control-not the doctors. I wish I would have known that *I* was the one with the upper hand and I was the one who was supposed to be making the decisions, not them.

2. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve experienced as a mother? I even want to admit this? For you, friends, I will. When Gabe went for his first pediatrician's appt, they told me to take off his diaper so they could get an accurate weight. They did NOT tell me to put it back on; I walked back to the office, set him on my lap and...he had just eaten and he was breastfed-see where I'm going here? The office staff was trying very hard not to laugh as I cleaned up poop from all over my clothes. Six years later, it is still brought up occasionally in that office-the jerks (ok, not really, they're awesome :P)

3. What's been your lowest point?
I battled postpartum depression after having Gabe and that's all I'll say :/

4. What's been the most rewarding?
There's been a lot of rewarding things in the last six years so I'll name a few. Watching Gabriel start to walk at 21 months, nursing Bits for 21 months ( I see a trend??) listening to Gabriel read, seeing how gentle Bits is, and hearing how polite and kind my children are.

5. Describe a mommy moment that transformed you so much so, you will never forget it nor are you the same since?
There's been a lot; but one that sticks out in my mind is after watching Gabe being mistreated by a well known, well respected doctor, I realized that I was in charge, that *I* was the one responsible for Gabe and how he was treated and I haven't let anyone treat him poorly since-he gets the best or he gets nothing at all (Bits too, but medically speaking, Gabe will see the best doctors and therapists we can find, regardless of distance or cost because HE deserves the best)

6. Are you more relaxed or paranoid since becoming a mother?
Yes :P

7. Did you plan on becoming a mother or were you taken by surprise?
Both; we wanted children from the day we were married (actually, even before then we knew we wanted kids) We were pleasantly surprised when we found out we were expecting both of them

8. Were [or are] you close with your mom?
Yes I am, my mom is amazing. She has the ability to put things into perspective for me when no one else can. She's been through everything with me and always been there cheering me on and cheering me up when I need it. She's also been known to lay down the smack when I need it as well :P

9. What family tradition do you want to pass down?
Hmmm...let's see. This year we started two new ones that I really want to keep going. The first one is Christmas movies every night for about two weeks before Christmas. Watching a different Christmas movie every single night leading up to Christmas got us relaxed at the end of the day along with excited as well.

We also had a grandma and grandpa Wit sleep over on Christmas Eve and it was AWESOME having them there on Christmas morning. Watching Geo jump on the bed to wake his dad and step mom up yelling "Santa was here" was priceless.

10. If you could start over, what would you do differently?
Nothing; it's easy to say, in retrospect what things were mistakes and what things I *should* have done, but I wouldn't be the mom I am today if I hadn't made those mistakes. It's a learning process and I'm still learning-I expect I'll be learning for a long time to come too!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Favorite Child is...

(In honor of Mother's Day...)

Dear Gabriel,
You, my dear sweet boy, are my favorite. Why? Because you made me a mother, you taught me what unconditional love was, and you make me a better person. You have struggled so much, from the get go (even while in utero you struggled)and yet always keep a smile on your face and a kind word on your lips. My hope for you is that one day you'll have a child who is as sunny dispositioned and easy going as you are; you have been a complete joy from day one. We waited for you for a long time and have treasured every moment with you.

Dear SarahAnne,
You, my darling girl, are my favorite. Why? Because you taught me that love isn't shared when you have a second child-it's multiplied. Because you constantly keep me on my toes, you are my sing songy, lovey dovey little momma. You were my redemption, you showed me that my body did NOT fail me as a mother, nor did it fail you and Gabriel. You have challenged every single thing I thought I knew about children and being a mother and I am a better mother because of it. My one hope for YOU is that one day you'll have a child who is a spirited and sassy as you are; you drive us crazy one moment out of frustration and crazy out of love for you in the next. You, my Bitsy girl, are my "best"

Thankful Thursday

Today I am especially thankful for our AWESOME support system! We have the best network of friends and family continually cheering us on and cheering us up when we need it most. Thanks so much--you know who you are :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Old Pictures

I came across this photo yesterday (thank you Greats!)and immediately fell in love...It's Geo with his dad and brother and I think it's one of the best pictures of the three of them I've ever seen :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Finding Our Niche

I grew up in Farmville, USA. Our little town was literally surrounded by fields-corn, sugar beets, etc etc. Lots of farmers and farms. Lots of fresh produce, fresh milk, honey, and home grown (for lack of a better word) meat. My grandmother once served us a 28 pound turkey that she raised herself for Thanksgiving dinner. Fresh everything, it was wonderful.

I moved to a "big" city to go to college, then to another "big" city area (Chicago-land) after school. I loved being in those areas; lots of things to do, places to see, always someone to hang out with. Then we had Gabe-and yes, it was still fun and we were able to expose him to a lot of culture and we definitely had access to the best doctors around (thank GOD for that) wasn't the ideal environment for raising kids (at least in Geo and my opinions)

We had Bitsy girl and knew we a)needed a bigger place and b)wanted to be out of the "city" We moved out to teeny tiny Maple Park and fell in love. Yes we are farther from things, but we know everyone, they know us and it's peaceful out here. Right now it's a little past dusk and it's silent other than the occasional car passing by the house.

We have lots of room to move; the kids can do whatever they want (within reason, of course ha ha) in our yard. They are helping Geo and I put in a garden, which, if anyone was wondering, is about 100 square feet. (Compared to our sixteen square foot garden last year, this is ENORMOUS) We've got pumpkin plants growing like crazy, we're battling birds eating our peas (damn you robin! don't make me let the cat out!)and I can dry a load of laundry in a few hours on the line that smells like fresh air as opposed to bounce. We're considering getting some chickens and maybe a rabbit or six two in the future.

We are in a good school district, we have a great library, and we not only KNOW our neighbors, we LIKE our neighbors. The kids are comfortable here, we are comfortable here. We've found our spot; our niche if you will. We feel like we're finally home and it's a good feeling. I am so glad we found where we are supposed to be while the kids are still young; we're home and glad to be here :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

More Garden-y Goodness...

This time in the form of *gardener* photos.

We've decided against raised bed gardens because a)I keep adding things that I want to grow and we're going to rapidly run out of bed space and b)they are pricey to build and we are at the tail end of paying down a BIG debt and don't have the cash to spare. We were going to rent a rototiller and till up a patch of the lawn but reason b strikes again :P Geo decided we should do it by hand; we started (and by we, I mean, GEO) busting up the grass today and the kids and I started getting the dirt free of weeds and grass chunks. I have pics of all of that and after the garden is completely dug up, I'll post before and after pics; however tonight I want you to see who the real hard worker in this family is...

Here we have farmer George (oddly enough, George MEANS farmer in Greek) working hard at breaking up the land...

Annnnnd here are the other three Witkowski's dinking around when we should have been working...oops :D



And there you have it; Geo is the worker of the bunch and we are the play-ers :)

Gardening Fun

Yesterday we planted our hills of pumpkins (six plants in total, though we'll see how that goes, one or two may be pulled out to let the others grow stronger) and today we planted peas. We had peas started in pots in the kitchen that we transplanted and then we planted another pack of peas from seed; my hope is that we'll be able to harvest peas for a longer time by doing it this way. The second set of peas is two weeks behind the first set, so hopefully that'll make a difference when it comes to picking them. Without further ado some crummy pictures of the pumpkins and peas! (he he)



Saturday, May 1, 2010

Keep Your Damn Pity to Yourself.

I am participating in "Blog Against Disablism Day" which you can find more info about Here

Time and time again, when we explain to people the nature of Gabe's disability, we hear "I'm sorry" or some variation of "I'm sorry" You know, after six years and some odd months of hearing it, I'm used to it. I'm used to the "oh poor you" looks when we leave a doctor's office or the school or library play group, etc etc. I get it, you're sorry. You don't know what else to say or do, so you apologize and you pity us.

Newsflash: We are NOT sorry that Gabriel is the way he is; we don't wail and gnash our teeth because he's sooooooo disabled We don't sit around mourning what could have been and what might be. We are TOO busy being parents of two active children who both work and try to maintain some semblance of a social life to worry about how Gabe's life could have been. We've gotten over it, why don't YOU get over it too?

Instead of saying "I'm so sorry" when I tell you he has spina bifida, how about "Damn that must be rough" Or "you must be tired of constant doctor's visits". Or anything, really, other than "I'm sorry" (and also fyi: Saying "well he doesn't look disabled" is a great way to get a punch in the nose. DO.NOT.SAY.THAT. Strike those words from your vocabulary; I don't give a rats patoot if you don't "think" he looks disabled. He IS, trust me on this, you telling me he looks "normal" isn't reassuring, it's annoying.)

Keep your pity for things and people who NEED to be pitied; who deserve to be pitied. Gabe is too busy being a crazy six year old obsessed with the Blackhawks (and Red Wings Grandma Deb lol), mustangs, the cat, school, and irritating his little sister to be bothered to dwell on what he can't do. Trust me, it doesn't bother him to have spina bifida 99% of the time, so quit letting it bother YOU.


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