Category Archives: Family

Health News from Kayla

A guest post from Kayla…

It’s my turn to share health news. I’m ok. I’m at the start of a long journey, but honestly, I feel good in a lot of ways. This is going to be a long post. And if it feels really twisty and turny, it’s feeling about right.


I always have been described as a little delicate. Not sickly, necessarily, but always overly sensitive and a little uncomfortable. It’s hard to pinpoint when I progressed from being delicate to being sick. It’s been a rough few years. Losing Dad, and his illness before, was awful. That time overlapped with my husband and I trying to conceive. In fact, I had surgery for endometriosis on the same day Dad had his lung surgery. From there we lost my dear friend-cousin Jody. I had my son in January 2020.

I eventually noticed that I never got better after we started trying to conceive back in 2018. I never quit feeling tired after my first trimester of pregnancy. The carpal tunnel that started in pregnancy lingered on and was joined by joint pain and unrelenting fatigue. I suddenly couldn’t remember the last time I exercised or watched a TV series with Spencer or cooked a great meal.

This all came to a head earlier this month, but I didn’t know it at the time. I noticed a “bug bite” and mentioned to Spencer how strange it was that I had them on both arms and that they were in clusters. They were gone by the next morning.

The next day my leg blew up with what I now understand were hives. I was in such pain and so concerned that I considered going to the emergency room. My sisters told me to try Benadryl first and the welts suddenly disappeared.

From there I had hives every day. They started small and through the day became completely painful. I would hold off on Benadryl until I made it through my work day, then take Benadryl, and they’d disappear.

Meanwhile, every allergy I ever… Continue reading

Hanging with the Hankens

I had a few days that I was going to hang out with Kelli’s family (our oldest daughter) over the weekend.  Sunday we were going to a family picnic.  Monday we were going to power sew a quilt we’re making that will be featured in the 30th Anniversary edition of American Patchwork and Quilting due out next year.  Then Tuesday she was going to take Georgia to the dentist and school shopping.  I was going to watch the boys and then depending on how things went, she might go right home or hang out for a bit.

So here’s a little recap of how all of that went.  We made it to the picnic on Sunday.  Here’s a picture of me and three of my siblings.  We missed my oldest brother Jule.  Pictured right to left is my brother Jim, me, Judy, and Jay.  Yes, we all have “J” names…and my maiden name was Johnson.  I’m the youngest.  Judy is the oldest and the boys all land in between.

There is a 16-year age gap between Judy and me.  I often say I don’t remember Judy at all before she dated her now husband George.  I was 3 1/2 when they got married…4 1/2 when their first child Jody was born.  That’s how it is that I was always much closer to my niece Jody than I was to Judy even though she is my sister.

We didn’t have a big turnout for the family picnic but I’m starting to learn that it might be okay if that happens.  I ended up feeling like I had a chance to visit the people who were there a little better.

I like to pick on my older siblings some…My hair is the least gray.  I’m the from-scratch cook.  I’m younger.  You know, all of those kinds of things.  I pick on them now as I was the one who was always picked on when I was young.  Fair trade maybe, I don’t know.

Truth is, I’m lucky to have them and I very much enjoy all of their company.

After the picnic, we drove back to my house.  We just hung out and stitched.  This is what stitching looks like with little ones…and dogs… Continue reading

Last Week: Visitors, Kids and Tomatoes

Last week was a week filled with visitors.

Kayla and Jasper were here for two overnights.  Jasper was all about watering my flowers.  Kayla discovered that she loves having a wand for watering as Jasper can control that a little better.

I had a blog reader ask if there was anything special I do for my flowers.  I use Jack’s Classic Petunia Feed.  You can find it HERE.  I use it once a week on any planter that had Supertunia’s in them.  I use regular Miracle Grow once a week on the rest of my flowers.  Other than that, I water regularly…in August that means about every 36 hours.

Kayla was making… Continue reading

Reunited: A Swing Set Story

Do you remember my story about my swing set?  Last year thanks to Kalissa’s quick fingers, she scored me a swing set for $300 on Marketplace.  My boys, Buck and Karl along with Craig and one of my childcare dads, put it together for me.

Today I’m going to tell you a recap about the swing set and then tell you a funny story about it.  First, the recap.  You can read the original post HERE.

The set from Marketplace had been damaged in a wind storm so it took a little finagling to get it up working and I wanted it modified so that I could have an extra swing put on it.  Here is what it looked like when I bought it.

Buck and Karl borrowed a trainer from a friend of ours.

Then they put it together.  It took a full day with all of the guys working.

The kids have loved the swing set.  I love it…I don’t love mowing around it and the weed eating but the rest, I like.

When I bought it, the owner kept one of the slides.  There is one that is supposed to go off the back.  It’s 14′ long and needs to work on a 10′ deck.  I priced one out and it was $800 if I could find one in stock.  Shucks.  That was too much.

Over the last year, I looked and looked at swing sets on Marketplace trying to find a slide for it but never found one.  It’s really fine without it but part of me wanted that slide.

This is what the original set is supposed to look like…

Can you believe this set lists at $5579??  See that big slide to the left in the picture?  That’s what is missing.

The kids played on the play set without the slide.  Buck boarded up that area so kids couldn’t fall out that hole.  It was really okay without the slide.  BUT…

That was the recap…now for the funny part of the story… Continue reading