Life as we know it

Our family adventures


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July 31

July 31, 1993, my dad went into heart surgery to replace an infected valve that had been placed the year before. As a 12-year-old, I knew we’d been told of risks with the surgery but I can’t say I understood. I remember playing around the house that day and seeing our van pull in the driveway in the afternoon, with my brother Jon driving. I thought that was weird, but didn’t understand the connection until we found out the awful news a few minutes later that Dad had made it through the surgery but then his blood pressure bottomed out as they were closing up.

So much of what happened afterward is fuzzy now 20 years later. But I remember that night sitting curled up in the brown chair in the corner of the living room by the front door. Other people were around but I remember feeling separated, by myself, though I know I wasn’t. I don’t remember who was there, but I remember someone put on the Beatles and I remember crying as “Let it Be” played. It was late and someone sent me to bed.

That song still reminds me of that day and it did especially this morning when it came on my ipod without my realizing it would. I listen to my ipod and read while pumping and had started playing one of the Beatles Greatest Hits albums yesterday. Today the song played during my first pumping session of the day and I stopped reading my book and cried a bit. I guess I could call it some kind of sign.

I can’t believe its been 20 years.

Things happen in life the way they’re supposed to, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I have no doubt he’s met his grandchildren, but I wish he was here to meet them in person. I wish I could have grown up with my Dad. I wish my baby sister and youngest siblings had memories of him. I wish my own memory of him wasn’t fading so I could tell them and my kids about him. I wish I wasn’t starting to have occasional fear of something like that happening again in my family.

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Picnic Point

I’ve been meaning to post these pictures forever, it seems. Between blogging all about vacation and other things, these got lost. Two Saturdays ago we took a little hike out to Picnic Point. I love this area… its so pretty and its only a short hike. I got some nice pictures of scenery and nice pictures of our family! It was hot and Allie didn’t like walking all the way… so we were very glad it was only a short hike. But it was definitely a workout. After the hike we had a nice family lunch at Panera. I love those weekend days where we have nothing else going on and can just get up and just pick an activity.
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Fast Feet for Families

Saturday my sister Johanna and I ran the Fast Feet for Families 5K in Janesville. Our other sister Jeni was supposed to run with us, but it turned out she couldn’t miss a Saturday morning class. We still haven’t done a 5K all of us together even though we’ve been trying to do this for several months now!
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It was nice the weather was about 10 degrees cooler than it had been all week, but it certainly wasn’t cool! This was a really small race, I think they said they had 100 runners. It had some small race issues, it started late and the course was long. But it was a great choice because parking was really convenient and it wasn’t crowded, which made it a lot easier for Dada and the kids to come!

My splits tell the story here: 11:15ish in the first mile, which was a big downhill, 12:45ish in mile 2, which was relatively flat, and 14:something in the last mile, as it was going up the big downhill from the beginning. It was an out and back course and they must have put the turnaround out a little too far. I’m not sure I would have signed up if I’d see the course profile beforehand!

The first 2.5 miles actually felt a lot more comfortable than I expected. It was hot, but it helped going downhill to start and it was a secluded road with plenty of shade. I walked through the two water stations but ran the rest. Unfortunately then I hit the big up hill. I ended up alternating walking and running until I finally got to the top of the big hill.
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My garmin beeped 5K just before 39 minutes and my official time was 40:54. It still isn’t my worst 5K ever, and pretty good for a long course with a huge hill at the end and super hot!
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Johanna finished a couple minutes behind me. I think she said her time was 44:something.
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Allie and I walked up the road to cheer on Aunt Johanna. Allie had a lot of fun cheering for me and Johanna.

I don’t really love small races, but this one was good because of the convenience for handling the kids. They ended up going back to the car and reading books while I was out running. It didn’t bother me that it started late and it was kind of a bummer that it was long, but I certainly wasn’t expecting a PR! I did get a great shirt and they had a TON of food! Homemade treats like cupcakes and brownies and stuff, and doughnuts! I grabbed a bunch and shared it with Dada and Allie and still managed to eat too much.


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Five months old

The last month went by in a blur because of vacation. I almost managed to forget that Peyton is five months old today! He still doesn’t smile for the camera, but I got this sort of smile on July 4.
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I’ve done rice cereal three times now and I think he’s starting to understand what this is about… he ate a bit more and kept grabbing at the spoon. I could tell he swallowed a good amount and decided to end the feeding when more was falling out of his mouth than being swallowed. And he protested when I took it away!
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Peyton got visibly bigger in the last few days. I gave him a bath last Sunday and when I put him in the bath Thursday night, he looked way bigger! I thought I was imagining it, but when I put him in the car seat on Friday morning it was the same thing! He hadn’t been in the car seat since Monday. I noticed tonight how big he looks in the pack ‘n’ play! He was up twice last night, three times if you count the fact that he up and fussing before 7 this morning. I’m guessing that is related to this visible growth and I hope it doesn’t continue! It was quite a shock to be up feeding at 4 this morning.

A month late: At 4 months, Peyton was 14 pounds and 24.75 inches. That put him in the 16th percentile for weight and 26th for height. His head circumference is 16.3 inches, 34th percentile. We had his four-month appointment right before vacation, so I didn’t get it in here at that time. I was surprised at how small he still is. He’s on a good growth curve. Its just kind of strange because Allie was pretty big from the start (though I just looked at her growth charts and she’s actually on the smaller end now).

I think we’re about ready to start packing away the 3-month clothes and get out the 6-months. All of the 3-months still fit, but it gets pretty tight to put his arms in the sleeves and he is getting a little tall for some sleepers. I had wanted to do this today but naps took a large part of the afternoon (for Mama too!), so maybe tomorrow or just gradually this week.

He’s grabbing more and playing with toys more. He’s more interested in the toys that hang above him on his activity mat. He rolls tummy to back, but it still looks like he’s not doing it on purpose. I think he’s trying to roll back to tummy. Sometimes when he’s on his back he arches his back and almost rolls onto his side.

I still use the swaddles for bed time, but leave his arms out. He still kept his arms in on vacation, probably because he was so exhausted. But a few times after vacation I tried to put his arms in and he wouldn’t keep them in. So I just went with it. I guess its not a big deal, but it reminds me that he’s growing and won’t be a baby forever.


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A festive fourth

We spent the Fourth of July in Kirkwood, Mo, a St. Louis suburb about a half hour away from Grandma and Grandpa Durso’s new house in Festus. Kirkwood is a cute little town with an Amtrak station right in the middle. We met Aunt Julie there and watched the train come in.
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Baby Peyton was very festive in his stars and stripes hat. He also was wearing a onesie denoting his first Fourth of July. He and Aunt Julie were the only ones of the group who were dressed in red, white and blue that day!
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Allie had her aunt Julie wrapped around her finger. Aunt Julie shared her lipstick with Allie. So glamorous!
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After the train was gone, we went to lunch at one of the few places open that day. Apparently in small towns, everything actually closes for the holiday! Who would have thought?

One place that was open though was The Magic House, the St. Louis Children’s Museum. We really enjoy Madison’s children’s museum, but The Magic House is awesome! Its huge too. We didn’t get there until about an hour and 15 minutes before it closed and it was a shame we didn’t get there earlier because there was so much we didn’t get to see.
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They had a mystery area where Dada and Allie took a secret passage through the fireplace. I didn’t go because I had a very fussy Peyton in the carrier, who I was trying to carry around and get to fall asleep. Luckily he did go to sleep, or else this museum trip wouldn’t have been so fun!
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One of the biggest hits of the museum was the Star Spangled Center, an area with exhibits about all three branches of government and a lot more. Appropriate, given the day!
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They had a replica Oval Office, where we all took turns making important phone calls for the President. Allie looks very serious here… could this be a foreshadowing of things to come for her?
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We also went to the Supreme Court. They had robes you could put on and the speaker, which Allie enjoyed. There wasn’t a gavel though.
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There was a construction zone that we walked through a bit. Allie wore a hard hat and supervised for a little bit. 135
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The museum had two wings and this musical thing was in between them. I would have liked to explore this part more!
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Of course, Dada found the football!
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After the museum, we drove around a little bit and got some ice cream on our way back to Festus.
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Peyton wasn’t too interested in the ice cream. He slept a lot that day because he was really exhausted by this point in the trip. But Allie sure was interested! She chose her ice cream for the color… I think this was some kind of berry flavor. She ate a bit of it and then shared the rest with Mama and Dada.
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Julie, Grandma and Grandpa hung out with us at the hotel for a little bit. We decided since both kids were exhausted to head to bed early since we were getting on the road to go home the next morning. That early bedtime didn’t happen though… we should have just stayed up!
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Bring on the food

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We got rice cereal last weekend and were waiting for a good time to try it. When I got home from work we decided tonight was the right time! Peyton’d had a bottle about an hour before, so we figured why not go for it? I think he knew there was something big going on.
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I don’t know if the cereal itself or the spoon was a bigger surprise to Peyton. Well, really it was breast milk with a teeny amount of cereal… but Peyton could tell the difference!
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He actually seemed to like the cereal. And he also seemed to understand how to eat off the spoon. He didn’t push the cereal out of his mouth too much, though some did dribble out over his chin.
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I don’t know how much he actually ate… it was painful to see 2 ounces of breast milk mostly dumped down the drain, especially as my freezer supply is dwindling. I think he actually would have eaten more than we gave him, but he proceeded to spit up everything he’d eaten. It really was only a few spoonfuls anyway.
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Allie had really been excited about giving Peyton rice cereal. It was a little bit difficult to feed Peyton because Allie wanted to help. I gave her the rules, and she actually did really well!
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I think we’ll try this again!


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Happy birthday Daddy

I love looking back through all these old pictures. A few years ago my mom and my sister scanned every picture we had and put them all on thumb drives for each kid. Among them were old black and white photos of our dad growing up. Or at least, I assume these are dad. Can any of my family members confirm this is dad?
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Of course we joke about Dad and his beer (I do remember tasting it at a young age and not being very impressed), and it looks like Grandpa was the same!
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In the pictures of me and our family I wish I remembered more of what was going on and why they were taken.
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I do remember the shirt Dad was wearing in these next two photos. I remember as a kid thinking it was so old and ugly. Yet he’s wearing this shirt in what seems to be a disproportionate number of the photos I have!
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Dad would have been 67 today. I realized a couple weeks ago its been 20 years since he died.
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Happy birthday Daddy!
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Today is bittersweet. Its also Monk’s eighth birthday and the day Doug proposed seven years ago. But I’ve been thinking most about my Dad recently.

I’ve been thinking of him a lot in the last few months. Back in November we got our Dodge Journey and we got it using Dad’s greensheet discount through Chrysler. And in February I gave birth to Peyton Dennis Durso. I decided a long time ago I wasn’t going to name all my kids after other people. The only namesake I was going to have was naming my first son after my Dad, and I fulfilled that promise on Feb. 20.