Monday, November 4, 2013

There's No Place Like Home

Here are the rest of the pictures I took of the house.  Some areas are still a work in progress.  We have lived in Champaign almost 3 months now.  Some days it feels like so much longer....other days it feels the opposite.  Our kids are starting to learn their way around town by the same routes we take.  They know when we're turning down the street to our house.  They know when we're turning down the street to Nate and Lina's house.  And they know what landmarks to look for on what roads.  It's cute.
Front Porch...I LOVE FALL

Office/Play Room

Formal Dining Room

Kids' Bathroom

Guest Room/Nursery in Progress (gonna hang those windows on the wall as a "headboard")

Master Bathroom

Master Bedroom

Kitchen (I'm wanting to paint those stools black.  Should I go for it?)

Lawson's Room (still a little bare!)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Glimpse of Home

Found a few pics that I took awhile back of the new house....I'll post these now, and finish taking the rest this week!

Front Entry

Half-bath on main level

Living room, right off eat-in kitchen

Looking back at entry. Office is through the french doors and kitchen to the left behind the couch
Well, that's all I have so far.  I think I took these pics during nap time one day and then never finished the project!  More to come!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Secret Lives of the Fischers

There is a lot of information that I have wanted to share with friends in recent months, but haven't had the time or energy to do so.

So I decided I would do it this way.  Get all the information out there at once.

We had been living in Champaign for about 3 weeks when I got the opportunity to take a weekend visit to Ames with some friends while Brandon and the kids stayed in Illinois.  I had a great weekend and returned home Sunday night to a family that seemed just as happy and healthy as when I left them.

Turns out, it was that weekend that Brandon started having headaches.  They would come and go, but never fully be gone.  As the days went on, his headaches got worse and he started having other symptoms too.  He had aches in his neck and shoulders and a tingling sensation that went from the base of his neck up into his forehead.  He got adjusted, but that didn't help.  In fact anything we tried did not help, and the symptoms were becoming harsher and would stick around longer.  They stopped "coming and going" and just stayed.  His symptom list grew and grew and with all these health issues, it really started to affect his mood and ability to be the father and husband he wanted to be.  He felt sick to his stomach, his limbs would tingle and go numb, he would feel dizzy, and the list goes on.  His days were spent sleeping and resting as much as possible.

His boss, who has brain cancer, told him that those were the same symptoms he experienced when he first found out about his illness, which caused a little worry in Brandon's much so that once he started looking into his symptoms, he decided to go to see a doctor about getting a CAT scan.  Insurance actually called for an MRI, which is more "powerful."

He got his MRI on a Friday and we were told the results would be back within 3-5 business days.  That weekend was a challenging one as Brandon battled thoughts of cancer and what that would mean for his growing family.  I did not let myself think the worst as it could have been a number of things causing his symptoms and it would do no good for me to worry about something so unknown.

The following Monday, Brandon got a call that the MRI results were back.  Now, we weren't expecting a call till Wednesday at the EARLIEST, so hearing back from the doctor so quickly made Brandon fear the worst.

Turns out, they did find a mass in his brain called a Cavernous Malformation.  It's a mass of blood vessels that have been formed incorrectly and something that he has most likely had since birth.  These blood vessels can be prone to leaking (bleeding on the brain) or they can go on undected with no problems for an entire lifetime.

Brandon was referred to a neurologist and a neurosurgeon to discuss the details of the diagnosis and the treatment moving forward.

His boss gave him the following week off of work as he started on a medication that would most likely take a week to get adjusted to.  And boy, it sure did.  I'm thankful Brandon got to spend some rest time at home where he was able to sleep and let his body adjust to the medication.  It's actually an anti-anxiety medication.  As Brandon looked into possible causes for his symptoms, it made him stress to the max and create even more sickness.

There is no treatment for the cavernous malformation, other than brain surgery to remove it.  After speaking with the neurosurgeon it was determined that we would wait till next year to have another MRI and if it grows, then we will probably move forward with surgery.  Brandon was told he had to take a few things off his "bucket list"- like skydiving or power lifting (jk!)- anything that would cause lots of extra pressure on those blood vessels.

Now we're on the other side of this whole ordeal, which lasted for about 6 weeks, it's nice to be able to take a deep breath and thank the Lord for bringing us out of that trial.  Brandon is off his medication and we are starting to function as a family again, not a mom taking care of the kids and her sick husband.  I'm so thankful to the ladies in my MOPS group who lovingly brought us meals as a way to ease the burden as we were waiting for answers about all the symptoms that were affecting Brandon's entire body.

So there you have it.  That situation was one that was hard to talk about in the midst of it, especially when we didn't have any answers.  But now I can see how that trial was used to truly deepen Brandon's walk with the Lord, and our relationship to each other.  We are so thankful that the diagnosis was not "worst case" and it's nice to have answers to our questions.  Brandon is doing well now, with a few tough days mixed in.

So for those of you who have been wondering what's up with the Fischers?  That's what has been going on behind the scenes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A First....

Well previously I had posted that we experienced a "first" when Brandon's family was here and I was going to save that story for another day...

Friday morning Brandon's brother Brian and his girlfriend Megan were here.  The kids and I had just finished breakfast and I had just changed Lawson's diaper.  Knowing the trash truck was coming soon, I asked Lillia to run the dirty diaper out the curb with the other garbage.  She happily took it out there for me and ran back inside to exclaim about her success.  With her feet going a little too fast, she tripped and fell in the living room, hitting her head on the soft, leather ottoman.  I thought she was fine, but there were instant tears.  And then blood.  LOTS of it.  I thought maybe she had a bloody nose or mouth...but it turns out she managed to cut her eye/eyebrow on the ONE TEENY TINY hinge that stuck out just slightly more than the others.  The ONLY non-soft spot on the whole ottoman.

So I quickly moved her from the carpet to the kitchen and grabbed a towel to try and start to control the bleeding (and if there were any blood drips they would end up in a place that was easy to clean up and not on our cream colored carpet).  Thankfully Lawson was reading books in the other room, so I wasn't worried about him walking into this mess.

After controlling the bleeding a bit, Lillia and I ran upstairs and yelled for Brian to help.  He was SOUND asleep, but once he came to the bedroom door he jumped into action to go be with Lawson while Lillia and I got some clothes on....because it was obvious, she was going to need some stitches.

Getting ready to leave for the docs office
Brandon met us at convenient care and we were quickly taken into an exam room.  After getting Lillia all cleaned up the doctor ended up gluing her injury (which I think was a better option than stitches, especially considering Lillia squirmed and cried just for the glue!) 

We left the office with a few stickers, a purple bandaid, and instructions to keep a bandaid on and not let the glue get super wet for the next week or so.

All patched up
It's been almost two weeks since our first trip to the doc for stitches (almost).  Lillia's cut is looking better and she got to go back to swimming lessons this week! 
A look at the healing injury

I'm thankful I didn't have any family pictures or 4 year pics scheduled!  :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013


It's hard to believe, but we now have a 4 year old!  Lillia's birthday was October 3 and she got to celebrate it these past two weekends with family!

Her request was to have a rainbow birthday cake.  That's all she wanted.  So, I obliged and made her a rainbow birthday cake without artificial food coloring.  I followed a tutorial from here.  But instead of making individual layers, baked all the colors together and it turned out cute.   

 The first weekend in October my mom and grandma came to town.  We had fun shopping, going to the Farmer's market, celebrating Lillia's birthday, and going to the Apple Orchard!  Come back soon you guys!  And Lillia loves all her new clothes!

The second weekend in October, the Fischer clan came to town and once again, we had a fun, full weekend!  A first happened that weekend, but I'll save that for another post!  And here is Lillia and Papa helping her read a card during her second birthday gift opening!  We loved having everyone here...especially on the mornings that I didn't have to get up with a little boy and change his morning diaper! ;)  Come visit us ANY time! 

 Happy Birthday to our Lillia Paige!  We love you so!

Monday, September 30, 2013


Things we've been up to recently:
-Saturday Morning Farmer's Market
-Toddler Story-Time at the library
-A visit to the local Apple Orchard/Pumpkin Farm
-Lots of walks and trips to the park
-Mom's Morning Out
-Taking Lillia to swimming lessons
-Celebrating Brandon's 30th Birthday!

Other Stuff
-I am now 23 weeks along in my pregnancy
-Lillia turns 4 on Thursday!!!!
-We have family coming this weekend and next weekend and I couldn't be more thrilled!
-Lawson will be 21 months old tomorrow!
-I started buying a few Christmas presents already!  Anyone else?
-Thirty-One's Fall Catalog is fantastic!  Take a will find yourself wanting to place an order!  (And then call me and I'll get you set up!)
-Panera's Autumn Squash Soup is the BEST!!!!  I just discovered it last week and am DYING for another bowl!  It's just that good!  Go out and get yourself some today!  You won't be disappointed!

Good Bye Kansas, Hello Illinois (Part 3)

We've been in our house not quite 2 months and as of last night, every box is unpacked and put away!  After Lillia and Lawson came to join us from Omaha, the progress slowed down a bit!  We had their rooms all set up for when the arrived and they haven't really skipped a beat!  I have asked Lillia if she likes living in Illinois and she says she really likes our house, which makes me glad!

I am feeling more helps to have all our decor up around the house and I'm no longer wondering where certain things are or if they are still packed up.  The next big thing to tackle on the to-do list is yardwork!  The landscaping is TERRIBLE and we have lots of weeds!  And once this task is complete, I will feel like we have truly made this house our own.  (Not sure if this will be on the fall list or the spring list, though!)  I wish I had my camera and could upload some pics of the rest of the house, but it got left in Ames on a recent trip, so that will have to wait.

We are getting into a fall routine and learning our way around town.  I joined a MOPS group and am looking forward to making some friendships with moms at the same life stage as me.  Lillia started swimming lessons and is getting more comfortable in the water each time she goes.  And every Thursday morning I have a mom's morning out...our new church offers this service, free of charge!  I drop off the kiddos at church and then have 2  1/2 hours all to myself!  (I usually just go back home and clean house!)  They enjoy going to class and telling me all about it when I pick them up.

 So, that about sums up the move, now that we're settled!  We love to have visitors!  So come and see us and we'll show you a good time!  We've found a great Mexican restaurant that I'm pretty sure will become our version of El Azteca!  ;)  And a nice little Thai place that is just scrumptious!  There's always something going on in town, and always fun shops to check out.  (Bonus.....we're about 25 miles from a Tanger Outlet Mall!)  So let me know when you'd like to book a room at the Fischer B&B!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Good Bye Kansas, Hello Illinois (Part 2)

This move to Illinois, although meant to be a short term thing, is more difficult for me than the last one.  We are MUCH further from our family and friends and I feel more isolated.  We got used to being able to go home (either to Ames or Omaha) for weekend trips and we loved having visitors as often as they came!  Here, we're not going to enjoy the frequency of either of those things.  It's almost 6 hours to Ames and almost 8 hours to Omaha....can't just decide to be spontaneous and have Brandon take off a few hours early from work to be to either place by supper time!

Thankfully we do know one couple here in Champaign, which helps me a lot!  Nate and Lina have been a great help to show us around town and help me not feel so alone.  I don't know what I would do without Lina here!

But I already miss things.  I miss certain stores that I loved shopping at....I miss certain restaurants that we frequented in KC....and I miss certain people too!  I asked Lillia if she liked living in Illinois and she said she missed her Olathe house and playing in the basement.  Our house in Kansas had a finished basement, here it's unfinished and not really set up yet.  She doesn't like going down there (partly because it's cold on her feet, which can easily be fixed by putting on socks!)

So, this move is harder for me.  But I know that it can help refine me.  It's a good move for our family, for Brandon's career.  It's answer to prayer for Lina, for God to bring a good friend into her life as this is a challenging move to Champaign for her too.

So, if you're going to Trader Joe's or Super Target or Jason's Deli, think of me, and be thankful you have that where you live.....because those are just a few of the establishments that are missing in my neck of the woods!  (Katie Euken, how do you do it.....with NO Target in Muscatine?!)

Back to the move itself.....

We surprised the kids in Omaha and stayed for a few days and got to enjoy time with the family.  Even Brett and Caitlyn came for a visit!  We taught Lawson how to eat sweet corn and he loved it!  :)

After spending a few days in Omaha with the kids, we were finally cleared to close on the house and we made the LONG (to us) drive to Champaign. 
My parents stopped on their way home from a family wedding in Michigan and helped for a few days.  We were so grateful for their handy work!  Then they left us to it and we tried to make quick work of unpacking boxes and getting as much done as possible before the munchkins returned!

The first room finished was Lillia's room.

And we've slowly been making progress since....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good Bye Kansas, Hello Illinois (Part 1)

It's been 3 weeks since we moved into our new house in Illinois, but it's been about 4 weeks since we moved out of our Kansas house!  We had a few bumps along the way, with our closing being delayed and being "homeless" for about 5 days, but thankfully it all got worked out.

After all our things got packed up in the big moving truck, Brandon and I cleaned up the house, making it sparkly for the new owners.  I looked just like I remembered it did when we first walked into it 2 years ago.  However, the outside looked a bit fresher with a new paint job and some updated landscaping.

Then it was time to leave the keys and drive away for the last time.  We had no where to go, since we were no longer closing on our Illinois house the next day, so we decided to have a "date night," even though we were both grubby from cleaning and sweating.  But hey, we had no kids!  So off to get Thai food and see a movie we went! 

Turns out we ended up going to Omaha the following day, as our closing was delayed yet again.  So we got to spend some unplanned time with the Fischers and with the kiddos before the craziness of starting a new life in Illinois began!  More to come....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Before the big move....A {little} Fischer update

We've been having fun filling up our days before our big move from Kansas to Illinois!

The first week of July we traveled to Nebraska to see the Fischers, make an appearance at a family reunion, and go to Island Oasis Water Park in Grand Island!  We had a fun time and sure tuckered out the kids!

A few days after returning home from Nebraska my mom came to town for a few days.  We went swimming in our neighborhood pool, ate out, got ice cream almost every day, and took the kids to Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead.  We had a great "last horrah" with gramma in Kansas!

Then the Fischers came to town for their last Kansas trip!  Once again we went swimming, ate out, enjoyed ice cream, and went to the farmstead.  What fun!  The kids (and I!) took a long nap after all our company!

Now we are about 2 weeks away from moving and are trying to take advantage of the time we have left.  We plan on going to the pool and spending time with friends as much as we can.  Hard to believe our time in Kansas is quickly coming to an end!  But we are looking forward to the new adventure that is ahead in Illinois!

And, if you're still reading this post....
What do the following have in common?
-I unashamedly admit to eating cookies for breakfast
-I have to take a nap almost every afternooon
-I am in bed by 8:30 almost every night
-And as of a few days ago I can't button my favorite pair of shorts (probably from all those cookies)

Have a guess?  (You're right!)

I am 12 weeks pregnant with baby #3!  Due the end of January.

So we will have three babies, born in 3 different states!

Now to just get over/past this all-day sickness.....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Here We Go Again....

I started this blog about 2 years ago, hoping to give a little glimpse into our world as we were preparing to make a big move.

Well, that's happening again.

Brandon has a new job with John Deere and we're heading to Champaign, IL.  It's a short term gig, expected to last just a couple years.

This is bittersweet as it's a lot further away from our family and friends, but it's a great opportunity for Brandon and his career.

These past few days we spent in Champaign so Brandon could go to his new office for a few meetings and we could do a little house hunting.

In the mean time, our house went on the market.  And I feel so blessed to say that after going on the market Wednesday morning, we accepted an offer Wednesday evening!  So, our house in Olathe is SOLD in just a day!  Praising the Lord for a quick sale and great price!

Now we're waiting to hear back on an offer we have in Champaign.....

So, in a month or so, our time in Kansas will come to an end as we start a new chapter in Illinois.  But, here's hoping, that it gets the Fischer family one step closer to the goal of being back in Central Iowa!

And because you can't do a good blog post without a's a belated Father's Day Pic!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Our Month of May

The month of May flew by.....can't believe it's JUNE already!  Here's a few highlights:

-Lawson turned 16 months on May 1
-Brandon and I took a trip with some friends up to Minnesota to celebrate Kiley's 30th Birthday!  The kids stayed in Ames with my family and had a blast!

-We enjoyed celebrating Mother's Day with Brandon's parents in St. Joseph, MO.  It was a perfect meeting point where we ate a yummy lunch and then went to a local park where we played and even fed some geese!


-When we weren't traveling on the weekends, we found ways to fill our time during the week.....Lawson found a new hiding spot for hide and seek.....

-We went to Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead and had a fun time checking out all the animals and having a picnic lunch! (I included the link to our trip to the farm last year)

-Over Memorial weekend we went to Omaha.  We took a day to go to the zoo and put our new stroller to the test!  The rest of the weekend was filled with good food and family fun as all the brothers and their significant others were home! 

And now it's June!  Lawson is now 17 months old and is saying SO MANY WORDS!  Lillia is well over 3 1/2 years old and is such a little mom.  We are loving the "summer" we have been dealt so far and are looking forward to it warming up a little so we can venture down the street to the pool!