It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Individual Fun Goal - Laura

Last week, I met one of my Individual Fun Goals!





I blogged a For Real Post about my trip that you can read by clicking HERE.

Otherwise I spent the time breaking in new booties that retaliated with a vengeance, ate delicious,  fattening foods, viewed beautiful art, socialized with Michael's co-workers, mastered the metra system, read books, watched Beauty and the Beast, was overwhelmed by the International Housewares Show,  and laid around relaxing.

Obviously it was marvelous!

Some of the places I visited included:
Do-Rite Donuts
Eggy's Diner - ALWAYS worth the wait. Order the Breakfast Poutine. Do it.
Pizano's Pizza
M Burger 
Shake Shake
Billy Goat Tavern 
Blick Art
Art Institue 
International Housewares Show (the real reason we were there...not to just eat as it appears)

Yeah, we ate at three different cheeseburger places because it is on the list of foods that most of our kids don't enjoy. And yes, we ate a lot of food. Did I mention it was marvelous???



Friday, March 17, 2017

For Real - Chicago Trip Edition









For Real - It is 9:45 on a weekday morning and I am in a hotel room bed drinking coffee and eating doughnuts from the second highest-rated shop in Chicago. (It is only a block away so it is automatically my #1 rated.) it feels ridiculously luxurious.

For Real - I love being in nature. I love the sound your shoes make on the paths while you crunch your way from the tent to the cinder-block and cement public restroom just as dawn and my bladder awakens. YET, last night and today I have my ninth floor windows open so I can easily hearing the honking horns, rumbling "L", the sirens, and the woosh of tires in the puddles of melting snow. I couldn't get used to these sounds and I wouldn't want to live this way but I am enjoying them. 

For Real - Due to the way we traveled, packing space was limited. My husband was a little dismayed when he saw how many books and magazines I packed anyway. (Tucking them under my clothes on my side of the suitcase. ) 

For Real - I love the Art Institute even though it is always uncomfortably hot. The people watching is just as pleasurable as the art. The wonder of seeing something in person that you studied in a book is always going to be there for me. 


For Real - I don't know how to respond to the beggars and homeless on the corners and in doorways. I feel helpless. I feel guilty. I feel shocked. 


For Real - The older I get and the more I travel, the more I am ashamed that I only speak one language. I barely know how much I am missing because of this deficiency. 


For Real - I had to do some of the things my husband usually takes care of because he was out of town before me. It was humbling to "walk in his shoes". I have a new appreciation for all that he does for us without us asking nor expressing our appreciation. 

For Real - I miss my kids and wish I could share some of my experiences with them. Sending a picture via text isn't the same. I hope they understand how much I love them and view them as interesting people. I look forward to the future when I can move to a place of deeper friendship and less parent/teacher. 

For Real - My 8th grade history teacher (Coach Sinclair) sat idly by at a kitchen table while I chased down an escaped flopping fish who was squirting blood from its headless body. My friends grandmother shielded the cheesecake with her body. I was responsible for clean up. Yeah...I'm not sure what I ate, drank, or saw yesterday that created that dream! 

For Real - I had a little over an hour for lunch with one of my oldest friends. We can go deep quickly even with months between visits. I'm so thankful for her in so many ways. One of the most important being that she is so much like one of my daughters. Because of our years of friendship over so many seasons of life, I have been able to understand how and why my daughter is feeling and behaving like she does. They cry the same way and for many of the same reasons. Even though decades, race, and language separate them, I see Erica in Stacey. I see Stacey in Erica. 

For Real: I set goals of what I would accomplish on this trip even though I said I would be flexible. But I feel like I'm not cheating because I didn't actually write out a list. 

For Real - I'm so happy to be away from our puppy. I'm not a puppy person. When someone says they want a puppy, I think they must be hugely negligent. I try to keep this unpopular and rude thought in my head but sometimes it slips out my mouth. People are offended. My opinion remains unchanged. It's slightly uncomfortable. Life goes on. 

For Real - I gave up soda (that is pop or coke to some of you) for Lent. Not a big deal at home but for some reason, when I travel, I really want soda. Especially with breakfast. I haven't figured any of this out. 

For Real - It is time for us to buy a new mattress. I really think that Michael should consider letting us get two full-size beds instead of the queen-size we have now. This once was a joke after we ends up in a hotel room in Vienna that had two single beds. But last night we each fell asleep reading in a different bed. We both slept great. I laid (Alone) in bed this morning enjoying being near my husband but not too near my husband thinking of ways we could make this work in our current master bedroom. I shouldn't have brought it up this morning. I probably should not have immediately followed that up by sharing the dream I mentioned earlier. He isn't really a morning person and had yet to have his coffee, so I may try again later 

For Real - I rode the metra for the first time by myself yesterday. I felt like a grown up. I felt capable. I also felt like I was exposed to a lot of germs. 

What is something For Real about you? 


Thursday, March 2, 2017

What I Read in February

This year I have set a goal to read 75 books.

Click HERE to see what I read in January. 

In February I read these books:





  • Sense & Sensibility (The Austin Project #1) by Joanna Trollope
  • The Ship of Brides by JoJo Moyes
  • Susan Creek by Douglas Wilson  *School
  • The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult  **Book Club 2





  • Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
  • The Girls with No Name: The Incredible True Story of a Child Raised by Monkeys by Mariana Chapman  **February Book Club
  • The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight
  • Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organs by Giulia Enders
  • Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner





  • Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life by Queen Noor Al-Hussein
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare  *School 
  • Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk by William Duisinberre
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck



Book I most enjoyed this month: Travels with Charley

Book(s) that still has me thinking about it: Travels with Charley and Leap of Faith and Gut and Small Great Things  (yeah, I know. I need to move on...but there were some really stretching words in these books!) 

Book that I would discuss with my kids: Gut

Book(s) that I will never read again: The Girl with No Name (and no I will not read the sequel) and Slavemaster President

Books that I gave up on and didn't finish: None

Books that I had previously read: The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Pearl (and sort of Sense & Sensibility because this was a modern "re-make")

Books that I will read again someday: Travels with Charley, Gut, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Blue Parakeet



I may have joined a second book club...okay, I did. Actually in March, I am reading three books as part of Book Clubs or Discussion Groups. That wasn't a plan it just happened...and it makes me happy! 


Have you read any of these books? 
I'd love to hear what you thought of them!

What did you read in February? 
Anything you would recommend? 


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Family Goal: Build a Fort and Sleep in It


This weekend we completed one of our family fun goals. Now this one wasn't new to us, we have been doing this one for years!


Not really the kind of event we can take good pictures because it is so dark. What you can't tell is that we are all wearing our coordinating Team Robey shirts! 


Because of our experience and now the size of our family, we have learned a few things: use mattresses on the floor, make it big enough for everyone to move around in, build the fort around the tv, don't eat a meal in the fort (only snacks), water bottles only, and finally and most importantly, it doesn't matter what it looks like to anyone else but only what it feels like to be inside.

This year we went old school with our movie choices: Disney's Heavyweights (one of my little sister's favorites!) and Harry and the Hendersons. Some of the older girls stayed awake and watched another movie but I can't tell you what that was and neither can Michael or Jo because we fell asleep.





Thursday, February 9, 2017

Post Surgery Update

We visited the surgeon last week.

We fully expected to be released from physical therapy because Stacey has accomplished and exceeded all the goals set for her.

We were released from PT...
 as long as she continued to work at home. 

Scans, pictures, and video were taken.

Observations were made.

People were consulted.

We were presented with three options for the future...
two that involve serious surgery.

We were giddy with joy when he said that he didn't want to make any decisions until next year and he would see us then!!!!


May 26, 2016     v.       February 3, 2017. 





Stacey's healing is amazing. God has created our bodies in such a way that I can't help but praise Him! 

We are so proud of the hard work AND patience she has put into this so far. It is a lot for anyone to take on but especially someone who has undergone so many life changes in such a short time. 





Know that the LORD Himself is God; 
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; 
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 
Psalm 100:3