All posts by Kim

Catching Up

It’s hard to know what to write as a follow up to Vicki’s last two posts.  Clearly, there has been weariness, confusion, and sadness as they have journeyed through the process of planning their future. On the other hand, there has been relief, hope, and joy as well.  Or maybe that’s just me.  But, in all seriousness, it has been very difficult to see Conrad and Vicki (and their three beautiful daughters) hurt and experience the uncertainty and tension they have experienced.  It’s never easy to see loved ones hurt, but the intensity of the past several weeks and months surprised all of us.  

I’m sure there was surprise for many of you as well.  And following the surprise, I’m sure the very first question that came to your mind was, “But, what about their blog?  How can they be global sisters when one lives in Michigan and one lives in Ohio?”  Good question. It’s a question we haven’t yet answered.  

Because so much time has passed since my last post, I shall resort to bullet points in order to hit the highlights of the last two months. 

  • In early November, all three of our boys had surgery to put tubes in their ears.  It worked out well that all three needed them at the same time because having three separate surgery appointments was too much for me to handle logistically.  We are old pros at the tube thing (this was Conner’s 4th surgery and the 2nd surgeries for both Rylan and Greyson), so we knew the drill and the morning went very well.  It helped tremendously that Jon’s parents, Jake and Grace, were able to assist.  The boys loved having them there and it meant each boy had someone to snuggle with post-surgery. 
Boys in Beds
Jake with Rylan, Jon with Conner, and Grace with Greyson.


  • Over Thanksgiving weekend, we went to Goshen, IN to have our family Christmas with my mom.  We had such a nice time.  I don’t know if you all are aware of the fact that my mom is an artist when it comes to sewing/crocheting.  This is something I did not inherit – Jon is the one in our family who sews on buttons.  I find it confusing and tedious.  Regardless, here are some of her creations that were wrapped for Greyson under the tree:
The twin-size quilt she made for Greyson. Each piece is appliqued onto the fabric. I know so little about quilting that I’m not even sure I described it correctly. It is so detailed and amazing no matter how she did it.


Monkey Hat
A sock monkey hat for my monkey.


  • The month of December was busy. We baked. 
Monster Cookies
A HUGE batch of monster cookies…


Grandma Gascho’s Peanut Butter Blossoms and my soft molasses cookies (my Dad and father-in-law’s favorite cookie)…


Grandma Gascho’s thumbprints…


  • We had Christmas with our boys.  It has been so fun to see Conner grow and mature to the point where he can’t wait for us to open the presents he purchased through his school’s Santa Shop.  I made him keep everything a secret from me, too. I told him I wanted to be surprised by everything he got, not just my gift.  Imagine my delight when Jon opened his gift.  In Conner’s words, “Dad, I knew you didn’t have any Christmas socks, so I knew these were for you!” 
Jon's Socks
Be still my heart…and then laugh until you cry.  Because that’s what I did. 


  • We had Christmas with the Leichty family.  Greyson got some great toys, but he was most fascinated with the baby doll set his cousin, Elin, got.  He loved nurturing the little thing.
G with babies
“Aw, drink your bottle, baby…”


  • On the Monday after Christmas, I got a phone call from Jon that I wasn’t expecting. “Hey – Darrin (his brother) just called to say that Dad fell and he’s on his way to the ER by squad.”  We were terrified to learn only an hour later that there was bleeding on his brain and he was being flown to OSU for emergency surgery.  We were told he may not make it all the way there because the bleeding was so significant. You can imagine our relief and joy when he not only made it to OSU, but the surgery was successful and all signs are pointing toward a good recovery.  We have been back and forth to OSU many times over the last month.  We are so thankful that Jake is doing as well as he is. You can read the full story here. 
He was attached to so many machines.


Jake EEG
Hooked up to wires that monitor brain activity.


G and J
Greyson making sure Grandpa’s head is healing okay.


  • Because we knew that Jake was stable and moving forward with his recovery, we were able to enjoy a weekend with my Dad and Teresa at Splash Village for our family Christmas.  The kids loved being at the water park and as always, they were thrilled with the gifts they received.
Ninja Turtle
My Dad and our Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.


Jon and G
Jon shielding Greyson from the huge bucket of water.


3 boys
The boys loved the frog tongue slide…


G down the slide
…as evidenced by the fact that they went down it approximately 1,113 times.


As you can tell, it was a full season of our lives with many ups and some downs.  However, God’s faithfulness through the difficult times and the laughter we experienced through the good times helped us stay grounded and grateful.  

Vicki and I are going to have a talk at some point to decide what to do with this blog.  For now, we’ll assume some people still want to check in even though our journey may be less exciting with both of us stateside.  But, something tells me we’ll still find stuff to write about.  Let us know if you come up with a more fitting title.  Sisters Gone Global just doesn’t fit anymore.  And, for admittedly selfish reasons, that realization may or may not have led me into a happy dance.  

Birthday Hits and Misses

We’ve celebrated two birthdays in the last few weeks.  Conner turned 6 on October 24 and Greyson turned 2 on October 30. Conner was especially excited about his birthday and he woke up early that morning and went outside to find me as I was stretching after my morning run (I know…I still can’t believe it myself. Me?  Run?).  He walked up to me in his jammies and curled onto my lap for a big hug.  My heart melted as I held my sweet baby boy who is growing rapidly before my eyes.  He looked up at me with his sweet, angelic eyes and said, “Mommy, you forgot my birthday banner.”  Awesome. I was off to a great start. 

I decided to make up for it by granting his wish and providing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cake.  How hard could that be?  I did some searching on Pinterest and found a website that provided a TMNT stencil to use on an iced cake.  Brilliant idea.

Looks easy enough, right? {Source}

 What the “Alpha Mom” suggested on her website was to sprinkle green sugar on the cake to make the turtle’s head…it was a great idea.  But, I decided to go a step or two further because I had already forgotten his birthday banner.  I had some catching up to do. However, I forgot that you need cake decorating skills to go a step or two further.  My experience started out like this:

Off to a good start…

The problem is that I made pumpkin cake (which was quite delicious, in case you were curious) and the cream cheese icing I used doesn’t act like royal icing…it doesn’t harden.  So, this lovely, helpful, stencil came off of the cake like this:


At this point, I started to kick myself for trying to be fancy even though I know that my gifts are in baking and not crafts/decorating.  You all know how I feel about crafts.   So, I panicked and tried to clean up my mess, while trying to preserve the head of the stupid adorable turtle.

I totally should have stuck with Alpha Mom’s idea.

 I had to leave well enough alone.  This was something only Jon could fix.  He’s the real cake decorator in our house, anyway.  I need to just face that fact and embrace it.  When he walked in the door that afternoon, we said the customary “hello, how was your day?” etc., but then our conversation went like this:

Me: “Um…honey, I need you to fix Conner’s cake.”

Jon: “What’s wrong with it?”

Me: “Well, I saw this idea on Pinterest…”

Jon: “This conversation just took a terrible turn.”

He knows me so well. 

My fix-it, jack of all trades man went to work.  

So focused.
It was starting to look like a real TMNT!
This is one of the many reasons I need Jon in my life.

He saved the party and Conner was so happy.

“It’s what I asked for!”

He loves his turtles…even though we’ve never let him watch a single episode.  Until he turned 6.

“Wait…I get to actually watch it?!”

Overall, it was a successful day.  And yes, I put the banner up for his birthday party.  He was thrilled.  

The moral of the story is…know your limitations.  When Greyson turned 2 only six days later, I knew to stay within the scope of my abilities.  

Same birthday cake, but I got smarter with the decorations.

And, most importantly, he was just as excited.

“A tractor!!”

Next year, we’re having oreos. 

A Rough Patch (relatively speaking, of course)

We’ve had some ups and downs in the Leichty house over the last few weeks.  We’ve been busier and under more stress than usual.  A few of the reasons are highlighted in the following lovely bullet point list…because I know you’re all dying to know why I’ve been grumpier than normal. 

  • I’ve been working more hours.  Every fall and spring our mental health board sends a therapist into nine high schools in two counties to talk about mental health issues in teens, specifically depression and signs of suicide.  I have been asked to take over the program, so I have been going with the current coordinator over the past few weeks in order to learn the ropes and officially take over in the spring.  This means I am leaving the house much earlier and, therefore, Jon is taking the younger boys to the sitter earlier (who, by the way, was sent to us directly from the Lord Jesus).  The new schedule (or lack of it) has had its rough moments since my kids like routine as much as I do.  However, it’s been good for all of us to be stretched.  At least, that’s what I tell myself when I hear my crying children leaving the house with their daddy because all they want to do is stay in bed.  
  • I have owned my Grandma Gascho’s fabulous 1995 Chevrolet Lumina since she died in 2002.  I have been so thankful for this car over the years, especially since Jon is the one who has the pleasure of driving it to and from work.  This past week, the transmission was making some funny shifting noises (or thuds), so Jon took it to our cousin, Dave, who is the best mechanic for miles around.  Jon told me what the problem is, but it’s strange:  as soon as my husband starts to talk to me about the insides of a car, I feel my eyes dry up, glaze over, and I start thinking about stardust and unicorns.  So he has to break it down like this:

The car made noises, so Dave had to do this in order to fix it:

Car on lift
She’s a beauty, ain’t she?

 There’s a part underneath the engine that is supposed to look like this:

Lovely motor mount
Black and silver things.

Unfortunately, the Lumina’s looks like this:

Gross motor mount
Greasy and gross looking thing that used to be black and silver.

Gotcha. Now it all makes sense.  

  • Last Tuesday, Rylan had minor surgery to remove some cysts from his chest and belly button.  He has had the cysts since he was born, so we figured we should have them removed before he gets self-conscious and refuses to walk into a locker room without a shirt.  Here’s what he had removed:
Nip Cyst
Cyst #1

 We used to tease him about popping his nipple. This definitely came back to bite us when he kept asking the hospital staff, “Are you here to pop my nipple?” The poor kid.  That’s not right. 

Belly Button
Cysts #2 and 3

Apparently, it was a buy one belly button and get two for free deal when he was born.  The doctor drew on his torso…

“I don’t like when the doctor draws on my belly. It’s hateful.”

He sniffed some bubble gum gas, they taped his eyes shut (that makes me squirm when I think about it), and they removed the mostly superficial cysts.  We’re all glad that’s over.

smiling popcicle
Popsicles make everything better.
  •  Conner has had a significant history of ear issues.  He has undergone three surgeries so far in his 5.75 years: 2 surgeries to get tubes, and 1 surgery this past March to remove his second set of tubes. This past Sunday, he started complaining of ear pain that reached down his jaw.  We always know what that means, so we planned to take him to the doctor Monday.  Our plans were validated when he woke up Monday morning with his ear looking like this:
Ear Crust
This is actually Greyson’s ears with a similar infection. This isn’t your standard ear wax, folks.

We took the poor guy to the doctor and discovered that he not only had an ear infection in each ear, but his right ear drum had ruptured.  So, we’re going back in a week to check his hearing and discuss plans to possibly insert a third set of tubes into his dysfunctional ears. My kids are becoming pros at this surgery business.  

  • On Monday evening Rylan came down with a fever and ear pain of his own. We took him in Tuesday morning and he also had an ear infection.  Super. 
  • And last, but certainly not least, this happened:
G black eye
Angry eyes

It’s what happens when a little boy’s face meets a hard, oak bench.  And yes, I know it should have been iced.  Do you know how hard it is to keep an ice pack on an almost-2 year old who has a goose egg like that on his face?  Let me tell you, it’s like trying to put socks on a screaming squirrel.  

It’s true that these events aren’t hugely significant on their own, but when they all occur in the span of 2 weeks, it’s a little much for this mama.  But, it’s been a good 48 hours – no one has been injured or sick.  Maybe we’re on the upswing.  Or maybe it’s the calm before the storm.  Or maybe this will be the story of our lives for the next 18 years because God has blessed us with 3 beautiful boys and a Lumina who are healthy and beautiful over all (beauty is in the eye of the beholder for the Lumina, I realize).  But whatever it is, we’ll take it and be thankful we’re only dealing with minor injuries, ear issues, and broken cars.  Jon won’t be able to break it down for me if life gets any more complicated.  And we can’t have that.