31 October 2010


I am almost 40. I have one grey hair that I have finally decided to stop pulling out and let it grow. My hands are wrinkled and my skin isn't as elastic as it once was. I have crows feet, a deep set wrinkle between my eyes, bags under my eyes, dry cracking skin and the list grows.

But there is something interesting that I have noticed over the last few weeks. Let me tell you HOW I noticed it first.

I have a 'new to me' phone. It has a camera and unlimited data and texts....oh what fun. So of course I have been taking pictures of myself (get your minds out of the gutter!!!) and sending them to my lover. And as I take picture after picture after picture to get just the skinny beautiful perfect no double chin stringy hair right one I have noticed that my NOSE IS GETTING BIGGER!!!! Seriously! I have noticed it in several pictures. I can take the crows feet, the grey hair, the cracked hands the droopy skin.....but my nose? Growing?! This is making me rethink the whole nosering thing....why would I draw unnecessary attention to the schnoz!



My grandmother, who just turned 87, was in the hospital a few weeks ago with chest pain and trouble breathing. Test after test after test finally showed she had some blockage in her heart and she needed a few stints put in.

This past Thursday she was feeling terrible and her chest was heaving as she tried to catch her breath. The doctor told my mom to take her to the ER.

As my mom rushed around getting Nanny's things together, Nan called to me.

"Julay (Nan is from Alabama and has a very thick southern accent), will you get my little green bag off my table please?"

so I say sure and go get what is her makeup bag. Here she is, my 87 year old grandmother with a pulseox of 90 just had two stints put in a few days earlier and she needs me to get her lipstick so she can look presentable to go to the ER.

26 October 2010


8:30pm: Evy comes down to inform me that Nora stuck her tongue out and Evy asked her not to and she did it again.

8:31pm: Nora comes down and says.....I stuck my tongue out on askident (lisping her 's').

8:32pm: Papa delivers the spanking....


Oh, please don't fret....all of my children are present and accounted for, no one is missing in action. I am referencing the Minneapolis Institute of Art in my title. (oh my goodness!!! I did it! I put a link on my page. yes, i know it's not rocket science, but yippie! I've never done that before.)

For months I have wanted to take my mini herd to MIA. We were almost there once, my courage was high, getting everyone dressed and ready. All in the van, ready to go, things start going downhill......(anyone with children knows what the '......' means here) soon everyone was crying, including me, so everyone out of the van, back inside. I didn't think it would have been a wise choice to go. I know, my discernment is remarkable.

So this past Saturday, dreary and wet and Sean was hunting, I said 'Today is the day." I wanted to get out of the house and MIA is free so the planning began. Snacks, diapers, water, stroller, duct tape...no, just kidding, we didn't bring any water. A few minutes before we left Sean called and said he was on his way home and I told him what we were doing, and since I was pretty sure going to an Art Museum wasn't on his list of the top 10,00o (according to him) things he wants to do after sitting in a deer stand for 4 hours I gave him the option of coming or staying home and thankfully he said he would go.
Successfully all in the van, driving to our destination, the questions start:
'Is this the museum with the boat you can drive?' 'No.'
'Is this the museum with the dinosaurs?' 'No.'
'Is this the museum with the big things to climb on?' 'No.'
'Is this the museum with the musical stairs?' 'N0.'
'Is this the museum where Jake had his birthday? I love that museum.' 'No.'
'Is this the museum where we can dress up and pretend we......?'
'No. No. No. No. We are not going to either museum of which you are speaking. As a matter of fact at our museum today we just walk around and look at stuff and you can't touch anything!!!'
'oh...yes mom.'
I am please to say that we ALL had a marvelous time! For the first time in an Art Museum I was very pleased with the way the kids acted. And surprisingly we only had two snickers from Evy because Mr. Winky was present on some of the sculptures and one 'Hey Mom, look at his buns!' from my quiet little flower Nora (which of course the sculpture was in a room with a vaulted ceiling and marble everything and it echoed like crazy).
The kids loved it and I can't wait to take them back!

18 October 2010

235 out of 243!

Saturday I ran my very first 10K.
As some of you may recall I ran my first 5K a little over 3 months ago. So with no training, me and all my logic decided it would be a good idea to do this 10K (which is twice as long as a 5K for those of you who weren't homeschooled).
At 9am in a huge group of people, there I was FREEZING, with a touch of nausea, ready to embark on 6 miles of a little road running and a little trail running, which I've never done before. It was beautiful! The first 1.5 miles on the road was a perfect start. The corn fields had been harvested and the black dirt was plowed up and the dried corn stalks were mixed in with all that blackness. There was one part of the field that looked like big black rolling waves and I was running so I was able to pass by slowly and take it in. It was gorgeous. Once in the woods I was surrounded by lots of trees (I know, there is my public education 'creative writing class' coming through). Most of the leaves had fallen, but I still thought it to be just brilliant. The sun was shining against the blue sky then the browns and golds were varied with every once in awhile RED! It was maybe red sumac or red berries that hadn't been eaten yet or just a red leaf on the ground. Trail running is awesome as there was just so much to see as well as so much to think about. Most of my running has been on the treadmill so having to look for rocks, mud, branches, or roots was a great distraction! I ran with a friend of mine, who was the instigator of all this 10K stuff. She was kind enough to 'trot' through the course with me and walked when I needed to and talked with me to help keep my mind off how much my knee was killing me!
Overall I was tremendously pleased with how I did. The first three miles were great and I didn't think I would have too much trouble there. Mile number 4 was a little tough, my knee started to hurt, which was a surprise and disappointment so I walked a little. Mile 5 was tougher and I walked a little more. Last mile sucked! (sorry public school coming through again) I walked/ran the first 1/2 of the last mile and gave myself a pep talk about how many children I have birthed into this world without pain meds and then ran the last 1/2 mile across the finish line....never knew my legs could be so heavy until last Saturday.
So I was 235 out of 243 runners. A few days before the race Bug was terribly concerned and asked me if I was going to win. After I regained my composure I said I didn't want to win, but I didn't want to be the last one. Well, I wasn't!
Thanks Marty! I hope you will want to do this again next year, it was fantastic!

11 October 2010

Reason #5

Nora was just telling me her plaint regarding a certain homeless family-soup eating scenario in which there was only one mother, namely Evelyn, and Nora would like to be a mother as well (my children often play that they are homeless orphans....this time they were a homeless family making soup).

She told me "I asked Evelyn in a kindless way". Now I thought about that and said, you know she's probably telling me the truth.

Reason#5 Why I love being a Stay at Home Mom: at 3 in the afternoon my children get to play they are homeless......i love the irony there. Or do you think this is their passive aggressive way of telling me to take them out more?

Blue Eyed Smokus......

This is a cup of fries. Not just any cup o' fries, but a cup of fries at the new Twins stadium. These fries probably cost around, I don't know $10!! (probably not that much however, you know what I mean.) But here is the power of 'FEE'. These were free. Who do you know that can get a cup of fries for free at a stadium?

So I said to Sean, I would love a fry. And that is exactly what I meant ONE FRY. So he asks the woman at the counter if he could have 1 fry slip into his steak sandwich basket. And hocus pocus, blue eyed smokus.....here is my free cup o' fries.

This gift is not only limited to Sean. All the other Fee brothers, and Mother, and Father have this magic. Truly, they could probably sell snow to an Eskimo. There are times when I love it, see above. And then there are times when I think there should be lessons learned that aren't, but I'm probably just jealous, slightly impressed with their charisma (or really impressed).


So I have been feeling the need to write about my family, see last entry. Don’t fret, I do not have some terminal illness which is causing me to publicly express my love for my family. I am feeling very stable, for now, and these entries are not my ‘note’ before the big ‘goodbye’. I have just been inspired by a few photos and wanted to share them with you.
Now on to my dad. Keith Lloyd Van De Walker. His birthday was September 29th and he turned a young 69...isn’t 69 the new 49??

Dad and I had a little bit of a rough start, but I’d like to think we have recovered and have a good relationship.
He has been married to my mom, Delores, for close to 50 years…..Wow (Greg is really old!!)! He grew up and still lives in South St. Paul, Minnesota. He has had lots of different jobs over the years - some not so great, but I think he is most satisfied with what he is doing now. He has his own insurance agency and is helping lots of people save money!
Over the years and many bits of advice there are two things that have stayed with me.
1. Always tithe. Before you spend any money, always take out your 10% first. Ever since my first job, working at The Limited in downtown St. Paul, I have taken this advice. I feel the Lord has blessed me richly for being faithful to Him in this area. Thanks Dad for this morsel.
2. Don’t wish your life away babe. Well....this one is a little harder for me. I think I will struggle with this forever, but it has proved a great challenge to me when I hear those words come out of my mouth "I wish I.....".
I’m not sure if those are the ones that he wanted me to take to heart, but those are the ones that have stuck with me thus far.
Besides verbal gems shared with me there were also nonverbal expressions that have impacted me and how I view my home and the things that I own. When I was growing up we had several people come and live with us. It could have been as simple as college students passing through, or friends of my brother taking some time off from school, or something as ‘sticky’ as a divorced man in need of a Christian brother to extend not only a loving hand, but a place to live food to eat and an ear to listen. Our home was always ‘open’. My parents were, and still are offering their place to anyone in need. I love that mindset. I pray that when my children look back on their lives that they can recall all the people that shared their home and food and were considered family.
I love you Dad! Thank you for your generous heart and loving attitude towards others. You have been such a great example to me and pray that I can pass this along to my children.

01 October 2010


This is Nanny (Nina Pauline Jones). My, on Wednesday, 87 year old grandmother - and she did give me permission to share her age.

She is an amazing woman. She was married at 14 to Marion Franklin Jones. She had Carolyn at 16, Carl at 17, Delores at 19, then ‘took in’ Brenda at 36 (who was later adopted into their family). They lived all over the south moving from state to state, where ever Grandpa Jones’ job took him. At 50 her husband of 36 years died from a brain aneurysm. She has never remarried....or at least not yet.
A few years ago she fell and broke her hip which started a ‘care rotation’ with her children. The 'rotation', or shall I say tour still continues even though she has recovered from her injury. The Nan tour starts in South Carolina with Carolyn from November to February, then to Carl in Seattle from February to May, finally home to Alabama with Brenda for May through August, and to my parents house August to November. I don’t think she likes it very much since she is only truly home for such a brief time. I, however, LOVE IT!!!!!
Most of my life consisted of Nanny living in Alabama and if we wanted to see her we would all load up in the car with our doodle boxes (the 70’s/80’s version of DVD player sans the TV screen and the ability to watch a movie) and drive for 18 hours. So to have her a mile from my house three months of the year is one of the best things about summer. Sitting and sewing together, chatting, drinking coffee and eating cookies, watching cooking shows….these times to me are so precious with her and I will cherish them for all of my life.
Another reason I love that she is here is below:
The time my kids get to spend with her. Here they are talking and getting the green beans from my mom’s garden ready for dinner or supper or whatever one might call the mealtime in the evening. They will actually have first hand experiences and stories to tell their children about Nanny. A relationship with their great grandmother that will be remembered with joy and seen as blessed.
So Nanny, we love you so much. I am tremendously thankful that the Lord has seen fit to have you here so I can spend time talking with you and laughing with you and listening to you share stories and learn how to cook from you, my Nanny is an unbelievable cook!, and sit quietly with you and help you and enjoy you and love you and be able to have my relationship with you grow more intimate as I grow older.
This is really a wish turned reality to have her here. When I was young I frequently would say how much I wished Nanny lived here. And now she does and I love it.
Love you Nan!