All Hollows Eve

We had a wonderful time celebrating the 'spooky' holiday. Kate played a beautiful, non-red headed Princess Ariel.

I tried really hard to get Kate to let me 'dye' her hair. I bought the beets, made the puree, the whole nine yards. In the end, Kate wanted to just be herself.

Isn't that what we all strive to be? Our full, authentic, genuine selves. I'm pretty proud that at 3 she's more worried about being authentic than she is about being like someone else. This kid of mine never seems to miss a thing.

There is no better place to be genuine than with your family. The family that wraps you in their arms, even when you look like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams.

Family that will rally with you to make a holiday extra special so you won't forget a moment. They forgive you when you're insensitive. Laugh at you when you need it and help you keep it all together on the days when you feel like you might just break.

The best part is, the family probably doesn't even realize they are doing it. It's just the bi-product of being near those that give you peace in your soul.

Being your safe place. Protecting you from harm and guiding you down the right path.

You might need to ride on them once in a while. Sit and rest so you can face your troubles.

Always loving, always caring.

Even when you don't see eye to eye. Family is there.

We started the day as a family, saw some family for a quick visit, spent the afternoon with family, talked to family on the phone and longed for the family that wasn't with us.
We thought of BigDan and Kathy celebrating their first holiday as a married couple after their impromptu wedding on Thursday. We thought of Grams far away in Texas and wish she could be sharing with us. We thought of all of you that come here to our little bit of the interwebs.
From our family to yours, may the holiday season that has just begun bring you lots of love and laughs and may we be fortunate enough to get to spend some of that time with you.

*Uncle Matty, how is it that we did not get a picture of you with Katie? This is a crime. I apologize.*


I put on my crown

Auntie Blue (aka Kara) had a special request for her birthday this year. She wanted a fondue night.
Let me tell you fondue night at the Witt house is not for the faint of heart. It has literally brought grown men to their knees. That might have been from over eating but, whatever. It still counts.
When I do fondue, I DO fondue. All out, no holds barred, copious amounts of food, drink and circuses.

I don't do fondue nearly often enough. This is probably why.

Even though fondue night is always a wonderful time, fondue prep-day... mmmm... not so much. No joke, about half way through fondue day, I swear I'll never do fondue again.

But by the time, everyone has arrived, and the table is ready, all is almost forgotten.

Any fondue elitist knows that you must start with a cheese fondue. I almost always do a pub fondue and a traditional cheese. Bread, veggies, apples... all covered in cheese. Oh baby, it's heaven.

Then you move on to the real business. Some call it the oil fondue, I call it meat.

Lots and lots of meat. This platter is what I serve per couple. Tonight there were four of these on the table. Two kinds of chicken, two kinds of pork, two kinds of beef, shrimp and tonight, we had shark. There are delicious potatoes, sauces (a few of mine are famous), mushrooms, tempura batter and onions.
It's really ridiculous.

By the time the dinner has arrived, you're loosening your jeans, praying for mercy and somehow begging for more.

Now, dessert is the real creme de la creme. Three types of chocolate. Tonight was a white chocolate, a semi-sweet/milk chocolate combo with a little peanut butter and a semi-sweet/milk chocolate combo with some amaretto.

Cheesecakes, pound cake, marshmallows, fruits. All washed in your favorite chocolate combination. How in the world can that be a bad thing?

A lesser person might opt to just do a fondue dessert. But not in this house. In this house we believe that if you're going to wear a hat you need to own that hat and rock it out as best as you can.

Happy Birthday Kara Katherine. Next time, we'll cut you off after the first glass of wine you lush.

Brandoo the Queen of Fondue

PS - I do accept bribes, should you want to be included in the next night of fondue fun. :)


I got to use the big knife

And now we sleep....


Lets stroll a little further

Come along we're going to continue our time travel. Stopping at all of Kate's Halloween experiences.
Here she is 2008. A cute little penguin. She absolutely loved trick-or-treating. Even if she didn't love her penguin hat.

Adding to her hat misery was the 75degree temps. We won't be seeing that this year.

That brings us to 2007. A beautiful Indian princess. A custom outfit made by Grams. Along with her custom made Indian princess outfit she was sporting her first cold.

At just shy of six months old, she was full on miserable.

It's unbelievable to look back at these photos. Not only has Kate grown so much but our family dynamic has changed even more. I'm so glad we had these moments. These happier, easier times. But come Sunday when we're out there freezing our butts off, I'll be glad for those times too.

Oh and I should mention. Scott's hearing test got postponed. He's still got this head and chest cold. Attempting to assess hearing loss with a stuffy head is probably not a good idea. We spent the morning carving pumpkins instead. Way, way better time.


Wordless Wednesday

Nothing is ever truly wordless for me. Heck, I even talk in my sleep, or so I'm told.
In honor of the rapidly approaching holiday and because I'm very sleepy here's a little something to whet your appetites for Sunday.

Halloween 2009 - a beautiful butterfly

Things seemed so hard then. If I only knew.
Serves as a good reminder that things can always be worse.

Live in the moment.


Little this, little that

Commercials about tampons, upset stomachs and bras crack me up. Seriously, I laugh at the poor people doing those commercials every time I see one. But then, in this economy, they are probably elated to have a job of any kind. Hell, I would sell lipstick to Sarah Palin for the right price. Take what you can get.

Speaking of commercials and politics, I'm over the election. It canNOT end soon enough. The state of Illinois is in such horrible trouble and these idiots think that being tattle tales is going to solve the problems. I think not kids. Even my 3 year old has figured that out.

I ate a pound of crab legs at dinner tonight. I'm so fappy (fat and happy) I could expire. A wonderful dinner to honor an amazing woman. We miss you 'Grandma' Alice. Don't worry Sweetie, the soup was cold.

I had a little too much fun taking my photo for the other blog. My poor basement might not ever recover from the paper mess.

Our house is still standing from the outrageous winds that have been tearing through here. We have all of our lawn chairs and most of them are still even on our lawn. Bonus!

Scott's cold continues to worsen. I'm dreading this cold season. Wondering if this cold will have an impact on his hearing test on Thursday.

I'm getting excited to do a full three course fondue extravaganza for Kara's birthday on Saturday. It's been far too long since I've done up the fondue action. I'm known as Brandoo the Queen of Fondue in some circles. It's never been done before but, this latest foray into the delicious world of at home fondue will be photo documented for you fine folks. Stop cringing.

I'm overwhelmed by the amount of love I get from all of you on a daily basis. I read each and every comment, email, text, facebook message. I wish I could find the words and the right way to tell you all thank you properly. You lift my spirits, and hold my hand even if you don't know it.

Kate's going to be Ariel for Halloween. I'm seriously thinking about dying her hair red using beet juice. Does this make me crazy?

I need a trip to my special place. A quick escape from reality. My place where I can sing at the top of my lungs, cry as hard as I need to, work until my body aches, and find that piece of my soul that has somehow gotten buried inside me.


The Things I Love vol. 1

I think everyone has things in their life that they really love.
I'm not talking the big things. Not the husband, not the kids, not your friends, your house, your car or your job. Of course we all love those things and those things are very important but, I'm talking about the little things.

The things that make it so when you get some crappy news during the day you can still, at the end of the day, find a way to smile and say "eh, it's not so bad".

In no particular order here are a few of the things in my life that make me smile.

My kid asking her grandpa to turn her car seat box into an airplane.

She was the pilot her Pillow Pet her co-pilot. She would talk to the tower and land on runway 23456. I should have named her Amelia like I wanted.

Snacky Sundays. Get out all the snacks you have and eat with wild abandon.
All this food was for this past Sunday's Bears game. I should mention that this was for four adults and Kate.

Also included in the above photo was a new dip that I tried out. It's a must have for the football season. Go here and make it yourself. You'll be glad you did.

Beautiful 70degree temps in late October. So gorgeous that we got to play wearing t-shirts at the park.

A miscellaneous box of gourds that my Aunt Karen (aka Unc) sent. All dirty from their garden and smelling like fall.

Stem cell testing, DNA studies, and modern medicine. I can look into these beautiful eyes and know that she's safe from VEDS.

A card with a present just for me from an unexpected source.

Funny cards in the mail that make Scott smile.

Starbucks with a dear friend that starts off as a grumpfest about my crap Monday morning and ends with laughter, love and smiles.

A phone conversation with my Grams that makes me feel so loved it's like she's right here hugging me and not all the way in Texas.

These may be trivial things but they give me the strength I need so I can push through. When I hear the beginning of an upper respiratory problem for Scott or when I sense that time is moving too fast, these things bring me solace, comfort and slow me down just enough.
It's nice to have the little things.


A Sunday Story - by Katherine

There once was a man and a woman. She was a beautiful princess and he a handsome prince. They met in the woods and fell in love. The came home and made dinner.

They ate so much they got hungry and decided to take a nap.

After their nap time, they had a baby. They all snuggled around the television to watch some football.


Does anyone else think I'm going to have a serious problem when she starts dating?



I'm out of poetic, meaningful, things to say. I've got a bunch of things bouncing around my brain and none of them is particularly nice. The thoughts are not mean per say but they just aren't really helpful.
As Thumper's mama always said "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". So I'll be taking her advice tonight.

Happy first birthday Baby Ryan! Thanks for letting us share your special day with you. Sorry I sucked it big time and didn't take a single photo at your party.


Boys Night

There are five boys, men really, sitting in my living room right now. They enjoyed dinner together with no females in sight and have now settled around the tv to watch one of Scott's favorite movies Tombstone.
They usually partake in some friendly card games, tonight Scott was just too tired to sit at the table. So the boys rallied, and rather than cut the night short they adapted their plans. This would be why these guys are Scott's family.
Brothers for life.

I've never witnessed such a strong bond between men. This tight knit group has been together well... forever. Nothing has broken them. They survived high school, being apart for college, starting careers and starting families.
These guys have sat with me in the SICU on the darkest of days, they've brought me food, they made me laugh, they let me cry and they helped me bring Scott back.
I know it's hard for them to see their friend failing. It's hard for all of us. How does one go about wrapping their brain around who Scott was versus who he is now? There are no more all day fishing trips, no more late nights at the bar listening to music, or going downtown for a concert. The basketball jerseys have been hung up and the drum kit has been silenced. But these guys, they remain.
They don't love Scott for what he could do, they love him for who he is. They are family, in the purest sense of the word.

Thank you boys for loving Scott.

Oh, and don't forget to take out the garbage before you leave...


The Little Things

We tend to think of life as a series of big moments.
Weddings, graduations, house purchases, births, deaths.
I think it's the little things that make up life.
I spent the day surrounded by little things. Little things that make difference.

Without the details we couldn't build.

Without laughter we wouldn't know sorrow. Without loss we couldn't know love.

All of life is about setting a strong foundation. The base that you build on is more important than what you build.

I've been knocked to my core, had my world shattered, watched my life crumble before my eyes.
I've thought "How can I go on?" "How can I move forward?"

The answer is simple... take all the pieces, pick them up and rebuild again.
Brick by brick, laugh by laugh, tear by tear. Put everything together again.

You rise up and do what you have to do to get back to the business of living.

Take time to check your details. Without them you'll fail.