The Family

TODD
July 30, 1966

Todd and I met via dating website.  Yes, folks the Internet.  December 31, 2004 he placed an interest in me on my profile.  The next day I logged in with every intentions to close my account.  I had decided that I was done with the dating scene and made up my mind that I would be boy friendless until Noah graduates.  I was fine with being alone mentally by then so much different then a couple of months after I left my ex April 23, 2003.  I had a few bad boyfriends and this dating website, I found more men only wanting one thing not a relationship.  I logged on to the site and read over the new fellows that peeked interest in me.  When I came to Todd's there was something there.  His profile was not the usual building a male ego, his was more down to earth.  He claimed his love for his girls.  There was not a picture of him but I thought, well I could at least have a strong possibility of a friend out of this.  Someone that I would be able to converse with through the Internet that had the same principals as a parent that I do.  I responded back.  We soon started to communicate at first by email.  I felt like a school girl giddy and anxious for my next message.  It is so funny the day I mentioned this to one of my co-workers I came home to read an email from him stating he felt the same way, as if it is the modern version of passing notes in school.  "Check yes or no if you like me."  We definitely connected.  We soon graduated from email to instant messaging.  Our first date was January 15, 2005.  I was so nervous.  I knew I was falling for this guy but what if he did not like what he saw.  We shared our feelings about meeting one another then inside my next email he stated this: "A diamond with a flaw is worth more than a pebble without imperfections.  You are my diamond."  Our first date was perfect.   In April 2005, I relocated to Iowa City to be with him.  I know, it was a major risk but I truly believe one knows when it is right.  It was right in so many ways, including a job.  I was working with a temporary service because I had lost my job in August 2004.

Our love for one another continued to grow even through challenges we met with our children. We did not blend as easy as the Brady Bunch did.  For the most part we are past those issues with our children, occasionally a bump regarding it every now and then in the road. We were married July 26, 2008.

Todd definitely completes me.  I have never met a man that looks out for me as much as he does.  He makes me laugh and he has told me way back in 2005 it is his goal to make me laugh every day, he has pretty much met that goal.  He has a temper from time to time but no one is perfect.  He is against physical violence and I admire him for that.  I think he has the perfect facial profile.  I find him amazingly attractive. He has a huge heart although he feels that he has become numb from his job. I am sure he does see a lot of the bad side in people with working 9-1-1 dispatch but he still has a huge heart.

Todd has amazing strength.  I mean amazing, he will pick up heavy boxes and lug them on his shoulder as if they were pillows.  When we moved my piano from Des Moines, he mainly lifted the piano his self into the truck.  A friend was helping but he did have the strength in his wrist due to an accident he had a few years prior.

Todd adores his girls still.  It is been rough for Todd not to help enable them but he is standing his grounds from time to time now, in order for them to move in the right direction. He is great with my boys as well.  He is an excellent role model and will only step in when needed with my boys as I with his girls.

Family means everything to Todd.  He is close to his mother and sister.  His nephews and nieces as well. His relationship with his father is non existent but from what I hear, that is his father's doing.  Todd just does not put effort any more.  I have never met the guy but from what I heard I would recognize him if I ever saw him on the street.  I guess Todd looks just like him.

Todd has great work ethics.  He works hard to make sure we have what we do and extras.  He is a very intelligent man.  I have never met a man as smart and level headed as he is.  He enjoys playing poker. He loves just about all sports.  He is a huge Cubs fan and Hawkeye fanatic.  He loves football but hates home games for the Hawkeyes due to the hardship it creates for him at work.  One year for my birthday Todd signed us up for Ballroom/Social Dancing.  He did this when he was not fond of dancing his self but wanted to do something special for my birthday, however he fell in love with dancing.  It is our special time.  Todd loves to garden as well.  When he has an interest in something he does a lot of research because he wants to do it right.

Todd does everything in his power to make me happy. He makes me feel like a queen.  I look forward to growing old with him. Oh, we do have our problems from time to time but we work through them.  I think our previous marriages we learned what we did wrong and what we want.  We do not take one another for granted or advantage.

I am so grateful he found my profile and peeked interest in me.

MATTHEW 

















May 10, 1990

My how time has flown by. I can remember the first day we brought Matthew home from hospital. It was the day before Mother's Day. Now, he has lived on his own for close to 2 years. I'm excited that he will be moving back to Iowa City and transferring to the University of Iowa. I am in hopes that I will get to see him a little more often.

I couldn't have had an easier first child. Other then not wanting to sleep, he was the perfect baby, so happy. He would allow me to sit and read to him before he reached his first birthday without grabbing for the book. He seemed to take things in from the moment he was born, so inquisitive. His Father and I could take him any where with us and he would be so good. The only time we had problems with him as a baby was when he would have ear infection. He was very unhappy then.

At the age of 3 Matthew became a big brother for the first time to Joshua. It was about a year later that he became a typical child, where he would have to be told more then once to do something. He had such a bond to his baby brother. When he was 6 1/2 he became a big brother again to Ethan and one more time when he was 9 1/2 years old a big brother to Noah. Matthew always looked after his brothers. I know he will always watch over them as well. All four of my boys and I have had a special bond. Matthew and I could sit up and talk for hours. He trusted me with everything.


Matthew always had an interest in music. Matthew started school in the Des Moines District and the earliest you can start playing an instrument was in 4th grade. It
was in 3rd grade that he had his heart set on playing the violin. His Father and I realized how much love he had for music and when it came time in 4th grade we purchased his first violin. Matthew seemed to be a natural at playing. After a few weeks, he was advanced to a higher level and started to play 1st violin. His instructor would tell me constantly how she felt that Matthew would thrive with private lessons as well, she thought that he had talent and felt he could be taught so much with one on one lessons, unfortunately, we were expecting another and private lessons were out of the question. He played in the Elementary Southside Orchestra. I thought that they did an outstanding job. The Summer before 7th grade, in the Gifted & Talented Summer School program, he took a music composition class. He taught his self how to play the keyboard and whenever we were at my Mother's he would sit at my old piano and pluck away. Due to other things going on in our lives Matthew chose to give up orchestra and the violin in 9th grade. We moved to Iowa City right after 9th grade was completed. He found his passion again to play with talking to Kera, now his oldest step-sister. He wasn't able to sign up for orchestra in 10th grade because he had to take classes to get caught up with the Iowa City School District, however 11th grade he once again picked up his violin and played, this time he played 2nd violin. Iowa City, City High's orchestra is outstanding, not like any other high school orchestra. They have won 3 Grammys, they are a full orchestra. Matthew's graduation present from me was to help with the cost to for him to go with the orchestra group to Europe, where they played 4 concerts. I am so happy that I was able to help him with this wonderful opportunity.


The year Matthew graduated was the beginning of a 2 year rough patch in our lives. It was hard for him to spread his wings and fly. He felt that in order to do so, he had to have total Independence, leaving his brothers and I entirely. Thankfully he realized how important family is once again and he came back into our lives. It was a very long 2 years and my heart ached for him tremendously. I am so happy that he is back. I'm very proud of Matthew. He is very independent and has grown to a wonderful young man. Matthew has such a bright future and I hope he is able to go far in life. He was accepted to the University of Iowa's Chemical Engineer Program as well as the Honor Program.

JOSHUA 



May 14, 1993

Joshua is my second born, I had complications during his delivery and had to have a neonatal specialist to bring him back to us. His coloring when he was born was a deep purple/blue and he had an underdeveloped reflux muscle. Due to this condition, whenever Joshua was fed, he had to sit in an upright position for nearly 30 minutes in order to keep his food down. I did not feel that I made the proper bonding with him while he was a baby; I think this had a lot to do with it. Joshua had other problems as well at first; he had to go to the doctor

Joshua has always been very active at the age of two he started to roller-skate. He tried to keep up with big brother and always wanted the spot light. He would do just about anything to make people laugh, he loved to entertain. He played baseball and soccer, but loved soccer more. For a few years, he played soccer year round. He and his brother were very much into Cub Scouts and he was always so competitive with Matthew. They reminded me of Kramer and Miles off ‘Frazier’ the way the two competed.

Joshua was great at soccer and it surprised me very much when he chose to give it up to try his hand at track. He did well with this and earned some medal his first year. While in junior high, he became fascinated with drama and tried out for large group speech his sophomore year. He had several parts in “The Bible in 30 minutes or less” It was a cute little skit and they made it to districts with it. His Junior year, he made a smaller group of 3 boys “Mere Mortals”. This skit went to state and made honorable mention at all-state. Joshua had a great Bronx accent and I would hear people discussing this in the audience. He has several friends that produce short films for festivals that he acts in.

Joshua not only loves to perform and make people laugh but he loves to sing as well. He is in the Concert Choir, 4th Avenue Jazz (Swing Choir), and Manachoir (selected all male choir). The past 2 years, he has tried out for the Spring Musical. His sophomore year he had several small part in “Evita”. Joshua was also running in track at this time so several small parts seemed too many. His freshman year, he chose to give up sports and concentrate on the Spring Musical and tried out for some parts. He ended up with the role of tree number 3 and one of the Ozians and Winkies. He plans to try his hand in Drama next year in the fall.

ETHAN 



November 1, 1996

Ethan is my third child. He ended up being the only baby I was able to experience breast feeding. I think every Mother should be blessed with this experience. It is such a wonderful bonding, do not take me wrong I do love my older two boys, but this is such a magical moment between Mother and child that no one else can have. Ethan's brothers fell in love with him right from the start, how can anyone not? Matthew would take pride that he could hold him with out Mom having to sit right next to him as Joshua had to have. Joshua loved having someone younger around that he could speak for and boy did Joshua speak for Ethan. I worried about Ethan because he was 3 and rarely spoke. I had his hearing tested at 2 due to my concerns and his hearing was normal. As soon as Joshua started Kindergarten, Ethan finally began to talk because brother was not around talking for him. My blue eyed baby was such a great nature baby. So loving and cuddly. It was as if God knew that I needed something to cuddle and love in my life. Ethan would try to follow me every where, the only time he did not succeed was when Joshua wanted him. I was fortunate to become a sort of a Stay At Home Mom with Ethan. I worked part time at late night in order to be home with the boys during the day. Although I gave up sleep, it was so rewarding to be home with the boys.

As I stated, Ethan is very easy going. He is my most introverted child. He would enjoy playing with his brothers however Ethan would rarely interact with other children his age. Whenever he was in the nursery at church he would not play with others. It was not that he did not get along, he just did not play with them. He may be sitting on the floor or at a table playing with a toy and when another child would come over to play with him, he would just sit there for a few seconds and look at them. It was not an angry look, it was just a look, do I know you? It would only be a few seconds and then he would quietly get up and move to another area to play with something else. He did play a lot with his a cousin that is only 28 days younger then he is. The two were very close and very competitive with one another. Carlos, his cousin was in his pre-school class and we noticed this was a mistake because this is the age that Ethan was finally starting to reach out and make other friends, but the two thought that they could not share friends. They fought a lot in class, it was that time we knew the two boys could not be in the same classroom when they entered elementary.

While we lived in Des Moines, Ethan started Cubs Scouts just as his older brothers did. I was not as active in Cub Scouts when he started as a Tiger Cub or as a Wolf. We moved to Iowa City the following year and the pack he was in here in Iowa City for his group was very disappointing. They had no leadership and unfortunately my plate was too full trying to change to working days once again, new city, and an entirely new relationship (blending families) that I did not think I could take on a den for Cubs Scouts as I did in Des Moines. I did not have the energy to put into it. I wanted whatever little energy I had to go to the family. Ethan did not mind that he was not in Scouts any longer or at least he never told me he minded.

Ethan did try soccer a few years. The poor child had a rough start here as well, unlike his older brothers. His coach for soccer the first two years was the type of coach that winning was everything. This is very sad when they were only 5 years old and were suppose to be learning the basics of the sport. He was more into tournaments and wanting star players that he barely taught Ethan anything and also rarely played him. He did try the sport once again when we moved to Iowa City but I think the fact that he did not know many people on his team, he quit after two seasons. In 4th grade Ethan participated in a Chess tournament and came in 4th place. He was so proud of his trophy. Last Spring, Ethan tried out for track. I was proud that he gave it his all but he has chosen not to continue with it this next Spring. He feels it is not his knack.

I used to worry a lot about Ethan for several reasons. 1. He would not interact with his peers that much. 2. He is the pickiest eater I have ever met. 3. He does not have a lot of self confidence in his self. I hate hearing him talk about how smart his older brothers are and that he is stupid. Nothing is far from the truth. I have been very lucky to have 4 smart boys, he is just as smart as the other two. He just is not as competitive as his older brothers.

Ethan is currently at one of the ages I believe is the hardest in a child...caught in between being a kid and teenager. The battle with hormones and junior high, let's face it, it is right down cruel at times. Ethan is still very sensitive but is starting to come out of his shell and show a dry sense of humor just as his older two brothers and I have. Ethan used to be Noah's best friend but Ethan is growing up and like his brother's prior to them, he just does not want a younger brother tagging along.

Ethan has always enjoyed taking care of younger children and playing with the babies when he had to go to the babysitters. His younger cousins all adore him. He is a very nourishing person and looks out for our cats too. It is hard to believe that next school year Ethan will be entering High School. He does not enjoy snuggling to me as much any longer but I can always count on an "I love you" and a kiss from this one.







NOAH 

 
November 13, 1999

Noah is my youngest and fourth son. I had the pleasure to stay home during the day with Noah until he was nearly 3 years old. I loved this. He is a go getter and always on the go. Noah was early by 4 weeks and he did not have the ability to suck when he was born, it would take him an hour to drink 1 oz because he could not suck out of a bottle. All my children had jaundice when he was born, Ethan and Noah both had to have the UV light treatment at home, but Noah was the scariest and nearly had to be hospitalized with his because of the fact he was not eating as much to rid the billirubin from his body, but he managed to pull through with out going to the hospital.He has always thought he is older then he is. Noah has been my only baby that never had the need to be hospitalized before his first year, matter of a fact he still has not. I also think Noah was the healthiest of all of them his first year as well, less colds and all. I think not being in a day care or babysitter helped a lot. He hates being the youngest and will not let his brothers get the best of him.

The first two years of Noah's life was a challenge keeping him clothed. He loved to run naked and free. Our doors in our house would not latch tight and there were many times I had to run after a naked little toddler in the front yard or back yard. It did not matter where we were either, he would try to strip at church as well. He grew out of this once the boys and I moved in with my Mother. I think he found the basement was cooler then our house was.

Noah loved to eat things that the other boys never did. It was easy to eat healthier during the day because he loved salad and veggies. While his brothers were at school, the two of us would work out with Elmo in the morning and in the afternoon we would do some other aerobic exercise videos. I loved being home with the boys and wish I still could be home after school with them. Noah's first time going to a sitter was after I left their Father, he was 3 years old, however it was for only 2 years of his life for when we moved to Iowa City Todd was home during the day for the boys. While we were in Des Moines and we had our dog Jordan, I would sit for hours watching Noah and Jordan play. I truly felt that Jordan thought that Noah was another dog. Noah would crawl around with Jordan. I found him often eating the dog food out of Jordan's bowl with Jordan, and some afternoons, when Noah felt like a nap he would crawl into Jordan's kennel and sleep next to him. It was a very sad day when we had to put Jordan down. He was everyone best friend and very loved.

Noah may be the youngest of my brood but he will not let the others out do him or be left behind. Noah has always been 9 years older then he is because he thought he was the same age as Matthew. He loves to play with friends, Math, Science, computers, Legos, play systems, and Pokemon. Noah does not like to play organized sports. He always enjoyed his older brothers playing but when it came time for him to play, he hated the practices. He would be happier with just a play date with his friends. Noah loves attention and will do nearly anything to get it.

I love how Noah has a such self confidence in his self, sometimes a little too self confident. Once Noah told me, "Mom, when I was looking into the mirror I noticed something. Man am I cute!" I love his spirit. Noah has so much more growing up to do, but I will enjoy the days I have left of him being in elementary school still. I am in no rush to see Noah grow up. I love the stage he is in right now.



KERA 



September 27, 1987

Kera is my oldest step-daughter. I remember the first time I met her; she just picked up her dress for her Junior Prom as was so excited. She was radiating and glowing from excitement. I was invited to City High’s Dessert Concert and this was my next visit to Iowa City. Her father told me that City High has won 3 Grammys for their Orchestra but my mind did not comprehend clearly what he meant. Matthew played in several orchestras and I always thought they did a good job but when I went to this concert I was blown away. This was an entire new level for high school orchestra. They were a full orchestra, wind and percussion as well as strings. It was if I was listening to a group of adults playing. It helped a lot that they did a cello medley of The Beatles, my favorite band of all time.
The boys and I moved in towards the end of her junior year. It was not an easy transition but Kera has matured a lot and I think at times she even enjoys the boys now. With respect to the girl, 4 boys all at once and just as respect to the boys they all had adjustments with a new gender to live with. Life certainly gave us challenges.
Kera has a strong work ethic and one year while she was a full time student at Kirkwood Community she was working two jobs to make ends meet.
It took a while for Kera to realize that her Father was happy being with me and that we were good for one another, but once she did life was much better. I expressed to both girls right from the start that I was indeed not there to replace their Mother, which is something that was not needed because they had a one. However, some day I would be honored to be considered a friend. I feel that with Kera we made it to that stage when she moved back into our house in 2008. Kera told me that she did not understand why I treated her with respect when she was awful to me but she was grateful that I did not give up on her. It felt great listening to this and listening to her tell me that she knows that she can count on me no matter what, I am there for her any time.
Kera can be a very emotional person. She wears her heart on her sleeve but at times she is quick with her tongue. I believe that she will grow more and will lighten the tongue and think a little more before she speaks. She is all about making changes for the better and I am very proud of her growth she has made. I just wish Kera would protect her heart a little more, maybe I am a little more cynical for everything I have been through, but I see men taking advantage of her because she does wear her heart out there
Kera has recently graduated from La James Academy for esthetics's and passed the Iowa boards. Her ambitions since her visit the summer after graduating is to live in Florida. This is still her plan as soon as she receives her license in the mail and has enough to move their. She has scoped out the area she wants to live and there are so many job opportunities for her there. I am very proud of her for not letting something get in the way of her dreams. I just wish her dreams were a little closer to Iowa but she has to go where her heart is taking her. Who knows, it may be a place for Todd and I to visit as well someday. When the day comes and she does finally move, I will miss her humor. She has her father’s humor. Miss Kera is not lady like in several ways. She is who she is and if you do not like it well then she does not try to be a phony person just for you to approve of her. However she is a beautiful young lady, who is very much into dressing, make-up, and hair. I enjoyed listening to play her violin at concerts that I went to. I miss listening to her and Matthew play and I can see why City High’s Orchestra has won actual Grammys.



EMILY 



   
November 14, 1990
 
Emily is my youngest step-daughter.  She was the one that I worried about accepting me the most when I first met her.  Todd felt that she would have more of a hard time then Kera.  I do not know his reasoning but I was so very nervous when meeting her.  My first time to Iowa City, she had a volleyball tournament in Cedar Rapids that I went to as well.  She played for the Iowa City Rockettes.  I have to be honest, I did not know anything about the rules other then elementary P.E. class and we only played it maybe 3 times.  My first impression of Emily was that she had a beautiful smile and she looked very much like her Father.  She was so into her friends just like a typical 14 year old should be. 
 
 
Emily is very introverted and it was very hard to get to know her.  I think although Emily may have not showed it emotionally, she had the hardest time with accepting change.  I say this because she kept it all bottled inside.  She would blow once in a while to the boys or others but if someone would tell their side she would think about it and if it was reasonable, she would apologize or see the other side of the coin so to say.  I think high schools years were very rough on Emily.  She had so many changes all at once, it was as if her entire world changed over night, and literally it did within just a year; her parents divorce becoming final, a new girlfriend with children moving in, her friends moving on with out her.  Friends were everything to her, I think she thought that was the one thing she would always be able to rely on and when they started to exclude her, she had such a horrible time with it.  My heart ached for her at that time.
 
 
Emily is still trying to find her way, in many ways she has matured so much and other ways she is still treading along.  She loves to spend time with her friends.  I think this is still the most important thing to Emily. She has such a huge heart and is very sensitive although she puts up a tough exterior.  What I can tell her self esteem has taken a beaten, therefore she does not have much self worth.  I just wish she would see what she really has to offer and go for her dreams.
  

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