Thursday, October 23, 2008

senior choir

Grandma's nursing home has delightful entertainment each day. Today they had a Senior Choir come sing for the residents. Enjoy!

last day

Today is my last full day here in Wisconsin. Tuesday was probably the worst day ever. Grandma only had about 3 or 4 hours total during the day where she was not having shaking/pain spells. Joyce and I spent hours at her bedside talking with her, trying to distract her, trying to calm her, and working with the nurses to figure out how to best help her.

Yesterday, she had one episode that lasted 1.5 hours, finally fell asleep, and woke up 5 minutes later totally fine. We also got to go on a car ride to a neurology appointment. It was neat for her to be able to see the outside world. She had a really good day.

Today has been good so far. She hasn’t had PT yet, which seems to be when she gets shaky and painful and anxious. Hopefully she’ll do better as they are trying a new anxiety medication.
It’s crazy that I’m leaving tomorrow. I feel like I just got here. Hopefully Grandma will get better and better…she’s had such a rough time!

Keep up the good prayers!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Last Monday I decided that if Joyce needed help this week, I would take time off to go to Wisconsin to help her. Tuesday I cleared this with my French teacher and Wednesday I asked about the possibility of taking a week off of work. We have been kind of slow lately. Last Friday they had 4 people stay home on call, which is very unusual for this time of year. Wednesday night I talked to Joyce and asked her if she would want me to come, and Thursday night she decided that it would be helpful. So, I spent all day Friday (thankfully I’d been called off from work because of low census) calling my fellow employees trying to cover 36 hours of work. I’d gotten all but one 4 hour shift covered, and my manager said that she would just take me off of that shift and they should be fine.

I feel kind of like Ruth to Naomi. Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! for wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God. I am not a part of their family, but I feel like I am. I hope that I can be helpful. All I want to do is lighten the burden for Joyce, even if it’s only in a small way.

So I made the 6 hour trip up to Mosinee, Wisconsin on Sunday with Mike and Adam. We met Joyce and Ryan at La Crosse, WI for lunch. It was so good to see Ryan. I had almost forgotten what it was like to hold someone’s hand! After switching passengers, Joyce and I drove back to Mosinee and visited her mom at the nursing home before heading back home to sleep.

Yesterday was a difficult day. Grandma has been having tremoring episodes but no one is too sure what they are related to. It is so difficult because she cries and asks God to please take her when she is having one (and she had three of them yesterday). Poor Joyce and I were crying right along with Grandma. It seems to be related to her being tired (whether medicated or not) in connection with physical activity. Ryan gave me the idea to keep her talking about something else during these spells, which I tried and it seemed to work pretty well.

So Grandma seemed out of it all morning and early afternoon, but when she woke up from her nap before dinner, she was totally herself. We did transfers with her and arm exercises and hand exercises and she didn’t shake once. We had long discussions where she would crack jokes and be very lucid. It’s crazy what a change not being medicated makes in her.

Keep up your prayers for the Babbitt/Stanek/Polka family. They need lots of spiritual support right now!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

foo-foo cake

My Goddaughter is turning 4 years old on Monday! I can't believe it! I babysit for her family (6 amazing kids) and the last time I was there, Cecie and I discussed her birthday plans. She informed me that she would like a pink and purple Barbie cake!

So, being the cake-making lover that I am, I decided to make her wish come true! I got a doll cake pan at Michael's, baked the cake, and decorated it with fondant frosting. (Making the dress boddice was the hardest part!)

...Probably the coolest cake I've ever made! I thought Cecie's mom was going to cry when I showed it to her. All of the kids really liked to too. Libbie (Cecie's older sister) is already thinking about the cake she wants for her February birthday. What good fun!

God bless my little Goddaughter as she grows! Keep her safe and healthy. May she grow to love and know You intimately. Jesus I trust in You!

Friday, October 17, 2008

stupid ovaries

So tonight while I was making a birthday cake for my Goddaughter, one of my ovaries decided to explode. Not literally, of course, but in an awful and painful way.

Last May I had an ovarian cyst rupture that was 1/2 the size of my right ovary. It was so painful that I fell to the ground screaming. 2 trips to the ER and over $1000 in medical bills (out of pocket) later, they decided that there was nothing they could do about it.

And of course it happened again tonight. When it happened I knew right away what it was. But the cake for Cecie was almost finished, so I had to hobble around my apartment bent in half checking on the cake every 5 mintes. I eventually called my mom crying and she came over in time to take the cake out of the oven.

As long as I kept myself in a motionless fetal position, the pain would begin to subside, but as soon as I moved, it would shoot right back. But the pain was only severe for about 45 minutes and was pretty much gone by 2 hours.

God bless my crazy ovaries!

Monday, October 13, 2008

busy weekend

On Friday I was supposed to work 7am - 7pm. Around 1pm a co-worker told me that she had gotten a message for me two hours before and had forgotten about it. She said that Ryan had called, his grandmother was in the emergency room again, and that he wanted me to call him back. So I called Ryan over my lunch break and he said that they would be leaving for Wisconsin again. Apparently she had been sitting up in a chair and had become unresponsive/barely responsive after breakfast. Back to the ER.

I felt strongly compelled to go to Wisconsin with the boys but didn't want anyone to think I was a stalker. I just wanted to be there to support the I love them all and wanted to see everyone again. So I asked my team leader if there was any way I could get off work early. She said that I would be able to leave at 3pm. After giving report, I rushed home, packed about 12 days worth of clothes in a bag (Wisconsin is cold, right? but what if it's warm?), and headed to Ames.

On my way to Ames Ryan called and said that the doctors thought Grandma had just passed out and that they may not go anymore. But I decided to keep driving up anyways. When I was almost there, he called back and said they were going. So we all loaded up Jason's van (a cousin) and made the 6-7 hour drive to Mosinee, WI. We finally arrived around 12:30am.

The weekend was full of mixed emotions. It was really good to see Grandma. She was alert and seemed mostly comfortable when we first arrived on Saturday, but by Saturday evening she was having pain/anxiety attacks. Finally she was able to go to sleep Saturday night, but it took a while for her to feel comfortable. Sunday everyone except Joyce was going to leave for home. When we went to the hospital to say goodbye, Grandma was in pain again. It was really difficult to see her like that for me, and even harder for her family.

At the end of the weekend, Ryan decided to stay there for the week to help Joyce. I was so impressed by his generosity. I know he will be a big help!

God bless Grandma Stanek! Continue to help her recover!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

new tv

Last night my dad agreed to go TV shopping with me. I have been trying to get ahold of a TV since I moved into my new apartment, but haven't had success yet. So, we went to Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy. Best Buy's TVs were a bit more expensive, but they had a really good exteneded warrenty, so I bought one of theirs.

Now I can watch HDTV! It is a 36" flat screen 16:9 TV. The screen is matte so I don't have a nasty glare from a light or window while trying to watch a movie (it's always been my least favorite thing about watching TV).

I began my TV career by watching an HD channel of Iowa Public Television. It is a travel/food channel that spurred my interest in traveling again! (As if it was ever gone.) I called Ryan with the request that we go to Tokyo soon!

So I'm creating a places to go list:
Australia/New Zeland,
somewhere in Africa
the desert
the jungle

Any other ideas?

My dad also spent our WalMart and Sam's Club time looking at sports sunglasses that can hold a prescription. I suggested the above goggles inspired by middle school chemistry. He suggested I try on the little red ones. What do you think?


One of the funniest and most amazing people I know is Christina. She and her sister Caroline have a blog and wanted to interview their readers. So Ruth Ann volunteered and so did I!

You can read about me on their blog! Also be sure to read about their adventures! Very good!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

bump on the head

Yesterday I found myself at Ryan's house debating whether or not to go home and use my gym or to use Adam's Malibu Pilates chair and videos. I thought about it for quite some time. The pilates chair was in the basement. Pros: I don't have to leave yet. Cons: There are bugs in the basement, I don't know how to hook up the DVD to the downstairs TV, and I was afraid Ryan would laugh at me if I brought the chair upstairs.

Finally I decided to do some pilates, so Ryan helped me bring the chair upstairs and promised not to make fun of me.

It was a nice workout. At the end, being the good citizen that I am, I made the executive decision to carry the pilates chair to the basement by myself so that Ryan could continue to work. He even asked me if I needed help and I said that I didn't. I picked up the pilates chair, took about 2 steps downstairs, and the footpedal flew up and hit me in the forhead.

Unfortunately, the first word out of my mouth was one I don't care to repeat. Ryan rushed over and grabbed the chair from me, returning it to its place as I sat on the steps crying. He got me an ice pack and sat with me until I realized how rediculous it was and then we laughed for a long time. I now have a lovely bump right smack in the middle of my forhead with some beautiful purple tinting.

I made Ryan promise not to tell Adam...yet.

My head hurts.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

laundry symbols

I was looking at the bathroom towels today reading the labels and trying to figure out what symbol correlated to which word. I thought I had a pretty good idea, but then thought that if I had to guess I would probably ruin my clothes. is a guide to laundry symbols in case anyone has ever wondered!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

autumn treats


I am really happy right now. First of all, praise God, Ryan's Grandma is doing well. They are going to move her to a rehab center tomorrow where she'll get 3 hours of therapy (physical, occupational, and speech) a day. She has amazed everyone with her progress! Keep up the prayers!

Secondly, I'm happy because I made myself a delicious fruit smoothie. I've been on a smoothie kick lately but haven't quite perfected it. The first one I made was a total disaster. I don't know if you've even seen the "Magic Bullet" infomercial, but I definitely have seen it one too many times. Very cheesy. Veeeeeeeeeeery cheesy. Anyway...they claim that you can create a smoothie for your kids made up of entirely veggies with a banana or apple in it and the vegetable flavor will be hidden. LIARS! I put in about 1/2 frozen fruit and 1/2 frozen vegetable mix (I think it was asparagus stir fry) and it tasted like onion. It was the nastiest thing I'd ever drank, but I made it, so I choked it down.

The subsequent veggie-free smoothies have been better, but I usually just throw all of the ingredients into the blender and then get frustrated when I have to keep stirring and adding juice so everything will blend.

Today, however, being the genius that I am, I first put fresh grapes in and then added the frozen fruits one at a time. Strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry. It worked so well and I only had to stir once or twice!

What a delicious afternoon snack!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


It's amazing what a little break for a date will do for you! Ryan and I have been dating 6 months now and have probably only been on 3-4 official dates. (And I think I'm being generous here.) Usually we are both so busy with school or work or friends that we don't get a chance to take time out for just the two of us.
This past weekend we were going to go on a double date with Adam and Kimberley, but they bailed at the last minute. So Ryan and I spent Saturday night together having fun.
First we went on a walk around the ISU campus. Ryan had several places that he had always wanted to show a girlfriend, so we got a coffee/smoothie and trekked around campus for an hour or two. It was exciting; I felt like I was going back in time to when Ryan was in undergrad. I saw his old dorms and where he ate and played hacky sac with friends.
After our walk we ate dinner a The Cafe. So delicious! I got fish tacos, which I hadn't had in at least 5 years. We were both a little nervous for dinner. I'm not really sure why because we spend at least 3-4 whole days together each week, but I think we felt nervous to have "forced" conversation. Of course there were no problems at all and we had both a lovely meal and lovely talks.
After dinner we went bowling. I had purchased bowling shoes for myself about 4 years ago and have had them in the trunk of my car for 2 years hoping someone would eventually want to go bowling with me. The last game I played (2 years ago) I think I bowled a 67. This time, however, I got 101, 109, and 126! I was pretty excited! The above picutres are Ryan's and my efforts at making intimidating bowling faces...I fail.
After bowling we tried to go to Cold Stone Creamery for some delicious ice cream, but there was some sort of sports team in line so we went to Target in stead and got two boxes of movie theater candy and headed to the dollar theater to see Hancock.

The next day after church we went to Center Grove Orchard with Joe, Ruth Ann, and Roman. It was so much fun! I have always wanted to go to a pumpkin patch/corn maze and was glad to have an excuse to go. (Roman would have fun...) They had a petting zoo, corn maze, pumpkin patch, apple orchard, three little pig houses, hay rack ride (minus the hay), and a lot more that we didn't get to.

Roman liked the three little pigs' houses, but wouldn't got inside unless Ryan and I went in there with him. The corn maze was "4 acres of fun and frustration" that had 10 farmyard friends hidden inside. Ryan and I ran around the maze and found all of them (in about 30-45 minutes, I might add). I also picked out a little pumpkin that I plan to make a delicious pie out of! It was so fun. I felt like a little kid, probably because everyone there either was a little kid or had a little kid.
Here's some fun photos for you to enjoy!

So it was a really good weekend. It pays to take time out of your busy life sometimes to just relax and have some fun with your love.