Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I know there are many, many people out there that have been checking and checking my blog ... just hoping to read more about the events in the Shaker Shack. Well, let me tell you there are some amazing stories to be told. Last Wednesday (6-20-07), Gary left for Mexico to bring Victor home to his family to be buried next to his father. It was full of experiences that I hope I will never have to discover, but am so glad that Gary was able to. I'm going to be posting pictures of the adventure, but for now, I'll give you just a preview of what took place. First of all, we learned that Victor's family lived in a very poor, very scary place called Neza that was actually the dump of Mexico City run by gangs. Luckily, Victor's brothers (garbage truck drivers ... that were actually horses pulling garbage bins) were one gang, and Victor's in-laws (Federali's) were another. Gary was protected every time he stepped foot outside of their humble home (which was actually a garage). Secondly, we learned that it was tradition to place the body in the home for a couple of days before burying it, so that the family could properly mourn. So, as soon as the casket arrived at the home, there was much weeping, wailing, screaming, crying and literal passing out (the mother). In this small home, there were at least 50 people standing around mourning during all hours of the day and night.

Unfortunately, the "bathroom" was just a few feet from the casket. The "bathroom" consisted of a small area for the toilet with no lid, no flushing of toilet paper (just a garbage can next to the toilet filled with dirty, stinky, T.P.) and ... only half of a door. The door had rusted off at the bottom and at the top, there was only a strip in the middle. So while 50 of Victor's relatives were crowded near the casket, Gary had to go to the bathroom, and he couldn't bring himself to do it in front of his newfound Mexican gang.

Luckily! Gary's buddy, Mike Ferrin, who accompanied him on the adventure, had just finished off a bottle of Gatorade! Mike left the room, Gary seized the opportunity and figured out how to relieve himself without bothering the mourners. This became the routine that would save the Americans from utter loss of dignity throughout the week. So the first lesson learned ... always bring an extra bottle of Gatorade to replenish those electrolytes, and later to collect them!

Monday, June 18, 2007


Matthew was the ultimate Father's Day gift twenty years ago! This week he will complete his teenage years and move into his twenties. Matt is serving in the Orlando, Florida mission and we are so proud of him and excited for the things that he is learning as well as teaching. We miss you Matt! Have your best birthday EVER!

Love, Your Shakers

Father's Day 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hard Week -

It's been kind of a crazy week and I just know that everyone is waiting and waiting for a new post! My goal for this whole blog thing is to try to keep it light, a good read, somewhat entertaining, but light. Well this week has been extremely heavy and I guess some of my posts aren't going to be as upbeat as others. One of our dearest friends, possibly Gary's best friend, was killed in an accident at work on Saturday. He was in a ditch that they were working in and it caved in on him and he died in Gary's arms. Victor was the hardest working man we've ever known and just a great guy. He has worked at Gary's side every day for about four years and he is really going to be missed. So in times like this you try to find the positive, right? Well the positive is that you learn the value of life when someone loses theirs. The kindnesses of true friends come flooding through and the comforter comes forth in full force. We've felt every bit of this in our home. Saturday I was talking to Jake as we were rushing around trying to figure out what to do about all the sadness. I was making sure the house was ok while Gary and I were gone and I asked Jake if everyone was getting along with each other. He said "Mom, I don't think we're going to be fighting for a long, long time." Isn't it great how even the children can sense their gift of life and respect it more during a time of reevaluation. There has been a peace that we really haven't had for awhile in our home. Gary doesn't want to be alone so I found all of the kids piled into our bed Saturday evening keeping him company. This morning I woke up to my sleeping boys on the family room floor who typically have to keep their distance. Kacey has found a new appreciation for her Dad as we both thought that it was him who was killed when we were first told about the news. So this is my positive side of a tragic event. We mourn the loss of Victor, but we are grateful for the reminder of what we still have.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Excuse me?!

I've been a parent for a long time now, twenty years! Just when I think I've heard it all, I stand corrected and am amuzed yet again by the fruit of my loins. Last night, Kacey and I had an enjoyable evening at Enrichment where we did our fair share of beautifying the earth with hot glue guns, Modge Podge, rhinestones and staple guns. Oh yes, we signed up for it all. It was an evening to spend with our girls and it was time well spent. Girls, girls, everywhere girls ... from ages 1 to 100. This gathering got me thinking. Rarely have I ever entertained the thought of wishing I had another daughter because Kacey and I just don't need more of that around, but we do like to visit it. So we had our fill of the estrogen filled cultural hall and we made our way home to the testosterone levels that we are used to.

I was scurrying around the house putting all of our crafty clutter away from the aforementioned event, when I heard what I heard. I can honestly say I've never heard these words uttered, nor do I think they'll ever be said or heard again ... so I just had to blog them! Are you ready? This is what I heard Kacey EXCLAIM to her larger yet younger brother. "Keaton! Stop using my tampons! They're almost all gone!" Yes, you read it correctly. So you'll understand that for a second I stood there questioning my hearing and then immediately went to investigate what I thought I heard. Sure enough, there was Kacey standing there with the blue box in one hand and a whole lot of attitude in the other.

My eyes instantly directed themselves toward Keaton and I didn't even need to ask ... he quickly began to explain. Apparently, while we were off using a staple gun, Keaton got a pretty bad bloody nose. One of his friends introduced him to a highly absorbent solution which happened to be right there in the bathroom cabinet! I'm sure he and his friend were feeling quite pleased with the fact that they had stopped the bleeding and that they had gone where few men had ever gone before. I thought that the looks on mine and Kacey's faces would have convinced Keaton to have feelings of regret, therefore giving me the satisfied feeling that this wouldn't happen again. However, the grin on Keaton's face did just the opposite. All it did was make me stand up straighter and realize that my parenting is far from over. So I guess I've got another hundred years to go before I've heard all there is to hear, but this little exchange of words between Kacey and Keaton confirmed my peace with having only one daughter. I can truly say that arguing over tampon theft is probably not something I'll have to deal with on a regular basis. However, if it happens again, I'm pretty sure that Kacey will know how to stop the bloody nose on Keaton ... which she will have caused.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Mooney Boy's First Trophies!

It seems like years since my boys were in T-Ball, but this week I got to pretend I was there again. Mac & Julie had a committment to attend a wedding on the same night that Chet and Nic were to receive their very first trophies marking the end of a successful season. So it was Aunt Awesome Karen to the rescue! Mac loaded my car up with carseats (because I simply hate that part) and we were off to the baseball diamond for the thrilling awards ceremony. Here they are (the Tigers) marching onto the field as they heard their names announced over the microphone!

... and here they are with trophies in hand as they proudly walk off, Chet sneaking me a glance.

Boston was a bit bored during the reading of all the names ... many, many names - but it was nothing a sucker wouldn't take care of!

He loved his sucker!

Chet and Nic ... pleased with their season and their trophies.

You have to love this age of "athletics". No competition and no expectations except some good ole' fun ... and it was! Congratulations boys!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Modern Miracles!

I would like to talk today about modern conveniences. We live in the most incredible time period ever! For instance, what I'm doing right now. I'm sitting here tapping on cubes with letters on them, the letters are appearing on a screen before me, my words are about to be posted for all to see and I didn't even get up! In order for me to even be able to see this screen that I am typing onto, and really function at all, I place a simple pair of comfortable glasses on my nose which instantly cure my poor eyesight. Or if I choose, I can dab a small soft flimsy little circle directly onto my eyeball and again be given the blessing of good vision without wearing the glasses at all. Who thinks of these things?! Oh, I'm getting a little warm, so I'm going to just flip a switch on our wall, which begins the rotation of a fan over my head and immediately begins to cool me off. While I'm sitting here, my laundry is being washed and dried for me in the other room. I load the clothes, pour in some soap and push a few buttons instructing the machines how I would like my fabrics cleaned and cared for ... then I walk away. Our lives truly are blessed by these modern day conveniences. They're miraculous!

Right now I'd like to show you a picture of one of my most favorite miracles. It's called the Vivelle dot.

A few years ago, I had to have a hysterectomy (a miracle in and of itself). I had a complete hysterectomy losing my ovaries and every other female organ that I wasn't using anymore. It was necessary and I welcomed the decision my doctor made. However, as I lost these parts, I was placed into surgical menopause bringing on a new list of concerns. Now I am receiving no estrogen which creates some of the most crazy things a woman can experience. The thinning of bones or Osteoporosis, mood swings, hot flashes (which I've learned do not respond at all to the ceiling fan), did I mention mood swings? Anyway, a multitude of things were placed on my plate as soon as the ovaries were removed from it. However! Thanks to this little ... and I mean little! Vivelle dot hormone patch - I'm completely normal! Well, I'm as normal as I was before the hysterectomy. I place this little patch on my tummy, I change it twice a week and that's it. I think of the poor women of years ago who, first of all, didn't even have the option of a hysterectomy and suffered for years with their diseases of womanhood. Then, once the surgeries were performed they had the mood swinging hot flashes under those long dresses! This is my little miracle.

We truly live in the most incredible time period ever. The conveniences and literal luxuries that we have are endless. I know that I was placed here on earth now because I wouldn't have handled the historic hardships very well ... at all. I'm grateful for everything I have and I'm grateful to all those who came before us that devoted their genius to our future. Now I'm going to go stick last night's dinner into a little box over my stove, push a few buttons and enjoy a nice hot meal. Life is good. What are your favorite miracles?