Sunday, October 28, 2012

A rough October

I'm ready to leave October behind! At least one of us, and often all 3 of us, have been sick this entire month. It's pushed me just about past my breaking point.

Gus was sick as soon as we got home from Corn Festival. I didn't feel well but thought I'd kicked it by going to bed early and getting some extra sleep. About the time I felt I had outsmarted that one, Maria was sick. We thought Gus was feeling better and then Maria got even sicker and I started to get sick. Then the last couple of weeks all of us have been sick. We took Maria to the Emergency Dept at Christ Hospital a week ago today and they admitted her. She stayed there until Thursday.

In the meantime, I just feel like I get more over my head every single day and it's really wearing on me.

On top of that work has gotten super busy and we're down by 2 team members out of 5 recruiters. We've been down more like 3 out of 5 with me sick and trying to hold down the fort here for everyone else, too. I hate not pulling my weight and I certainly haven't been.

Now I'm so far behind in absolutely everything that I wonder if makes any difference to keep one foot in front of the other and soldiering on.

Yes, I know we're extremely blessed. I shudder to think where we'd be without Maria's mom helping out so much with the baby. My sister and niece came up one evening this week to watch Gus so I could work more. Lots of people have been lending their moral support. My employer continues to be patient as I have personal issues to handle.

Please keep praying for us and sending us good energy so we can see our way to healthier times! As my best friend tells me, "The darkest hour is just before the dawn."

And while I'm complaining, thank God there are only 9 more days until the election. I can't stand living in the premier battleground state!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Corn Festival 2012

We've been beyond busy and are just now barely getting ourselves caught up to this crazy life!
On Saturday, Sept 22, we had our Building Blocks Walk and it was a lot of fun plus a huge success in adding money to Gus’s fund. By the way, Gus’s fund is now over 100% complete! They are taking it down from the Building Blocks site any day now so their other kids can get their funds going, too.

We cheered on the folks for the 5K

Gus was happy in his wagon

 Then on Sunday we loaded up the truck, trailer, and van to head for the 64th Annual Grundy County Corn Festival! Corn Fest is a pilgrimage we look forward to attending every year. I grew up in Morris, IL, now a town of population 12,000. Now, let’s get one thing straight. Corn Festival is NOT about eating corn. It’s a harvest festival where we celebrate the crops being harvested and put up for the year. The entire town and many members of the surrounding communities all get into it. Every pole in the downtown area is wrapped with stalks of corn. You couldn't possibly attend every single event involved.

We were the first family to descend upon my parents’ house. Maria and Gus went out to Goose Lake Prairie State Park for some walks while Christi was working.

Red tail hawk

Alligator snapping turtle baby

 As the week went on we were joined by 2 of my 3 brothers, all 4 of my sisters, a brother-in-law, and a nephew. My youngest sister, Brenda, and my family each put our RV’s in the driveway to make room for the others in the house.

The real start of Corn Fest is Wednesday. Our adventure began listening to the Madrigals under the Taste Tent. I sang in the Madrigals group in high school and it has to be my favorite singing experience.  

Madrigal Group of 2012 singing at Corn Fest in their Corn Fest garb

Madrigals in December 1991 about to perform for one of the annual Madrigal Dinners. I'm to the left in the green dress with the gold bodice

We went on from there for the pork chop dinner under the Farm Fair tent, played on the tractors, then walked around downtown briefly before having to head home and put Gus to bed. 

Pork Chop Dinner under the Farm Fair Tent

BFF and Gus's Godmother, Adrienne

Gus wore his green shirt with a tractor on it for Corn Fest outfit #1

Thursday we volunteered to go fetch my brother Dan from the airport, enjoyed visiting with family, took a huge walk to and through Gebhard Woods State Park, and returned to the Farm Fair tent for pork chops and chicken because it’s THAT good! Gus insisted on playing on the tractors again. We just got a quick walk around town again before having to get our tired boy to bed. 

Gus's Day 2 Corn Fest outfit

Friday we went south of town to the Log Home Festival. There are all kinds of vendors out there selling a little of everything from antiques to handcrafted items to baked goods and pumpkins. Do you see a pumpkin you like in the patch? 

Corn Fest Day #3 Outfit

Gus took a 4 or 5 hour nap that afternoon before we headed downtown for the Corn Festival Queen Parade and Coronation, some of the live music on a couple of the stages, and watching the Magic Show where my mom was one of the volunteers.

 After putting Gus to bed, we handed off his monitor and went out to play cards with friends. Gus gave his Grandma and Uncle Pat a rough night while we were out killing each other in a wild game of Crazy Uno.

Hi Dave, Danielle, and Brady - We missed you guys!

Saturday started bright and early as we went to watch the Josefik boys run the toddler trot and to cheer my dad and sister on in the 5K. Dad won 2nd place in the “Over 70” age group! Not bad for a guy who turns 83 in November!

My dad is in the Cardinals hat and my sister is rockin her plaid sneakers

 The flea market North of town is our traditional Saturday morning venture. Again, there’s a mixed bag of stuff at a gazillion vendors. We picked up some books and toys for Gus on the cheap plus Gus and Damon Sloan’s son, Philip, got to play in the dirt together for a while. Lunch was steak sandwiches from Mr Ribeye. To my Cincinnati friends, this is a REAL steak sandwich! Imagine my excitement to see that so many places in Cinti sell steak sandwiches only to crash and burn in horror upon discovering the Cinti steak sandwich is just a ground beef patty.

Mr Ribeye's Steak Sandwiches!

While Gus napped I joined some of my family downtown to see my mom’s prize winning quilt on display at the hobby and handicraft show, and to tour the art show. Then it was home to have a family dinner including my parents’ homemade spaghetti sauce from their garden ingredients.

Saturday night we headed into town for a train ride, to get Gus away from the scary fireworks that were down by the river, and then we took an awesome stagecoach ride. Gus squealed with delight through the entire ride. It had to be his favorite Corn Fest thing to do.

Weeee! Driving the train!

Sitting on the tractors is still his favorite thing to do

Day 4 Outfit is his John Deere shirt so we had to get a pic on the Deere tractor!

Maria stayed behind to pacify Gus for bedtime while I went out and joined friends for more card playing. My BFF and I may have been up until 5 AM!

Sunday we bid adieu to all my siblings and headed downtown for the big parade. Mommy Maria toured the photo show while Grandma and Mommy Christi walked Gus into town so he could catch a quick nap. The petting zoo was fun and a calf sucked on Gus’s toes!

Lion’s chicken dinner is a must for the meal before the parade. Then on to the 2+ hour parade with friends and my parents. Gus did great and made it all the way through without freaking out over the noise.

Oh, and this was supposed to be his "save the best for last" fabulous Final Day 5 outfit but it was too hot to put him in long sleeves and long pants! 

We wrapped up Corn Festival 2012 with one last stagecoach ride.

Even with all that fun there were many events we missed such as the big carnival, most of the bands, the 4-H meat auction, and we did very little walking around downtown which meant we missed seeing a lot of the folks we had hoped to run into. We’re looking forward to next year already!