Sunday, April 27, 2008

Plain Air Busy!

Handsome Happy Guy!

What a great face!

I have been too busy to post...As I mentioned before, it is the plein air event this week so I have been out there almost every day this week. I only missed Thursday. :) I plan to try and spend some time each day, as it is a great time to get spring study in for later studio works. Caitlyn and Westley came with me Saturday and though it was a bit distracting, I did an awesome study of a church and some pink dogwoods, though I won't be completing the painting (thus calling it a study!). Today I took Westley with me while Chris took Matthan and Caitlyn with him to church. I started an awesome landscape once I found the location I was looking for. Once I get Westley fed and asleep I can paint uninterrupted for at least and hour and half at a time. Good Stuff.

Westley (as you can see) is growing fast. He is a happy baby just about all the time. The kids are getting a kick out of him as well. He is grinning at everyone now and he will babble if you talk with him. He is also furiously kicking and flailing his arms. I expect he will be a great crawler. He is officially sleeping through the night (for about the last week) and that means we can put him down for the night at 10p and he gets up around 6a (which, by the way is later than we get up!). It is awesome. I think he weighs about 14 pounds!!!

I have to get all my painting gear packed up and ready for tomorrow. More on the Clausens later...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

UP to date

Saturday we hung out and Chris cut the grass, while the kids played outside. Another gorgeous spring day. Sunday we went to Worldview Community Church and really felt like we were back at home. It was nice to be instantly absorbed? / assimilated (aaa the Borg!) into community ... they were excited to have us back. This church is where we went from 2003 after Levi's Table and until Chris was called away to lead worship at Discovery in 2005. Happy to call it home.

After church we went to lunch at TGI Fridays with my brother Josh and cute preggo wife Tammy! Whom by the way is in the hospital as of today... she went into premature labor... after some Magnesium she and baby Gideon are doing fine. Please pray for them, she will be home on bed rest as of Friday.

Monday was the dentist for Paige... She broke a tooth, it just fell out into her mouth and is broken at or below the gum line. It is a large abcess. It seems as though we are looking at 3 new root canals ... with a possible tooth loss/extraction on one of those. And no dental insurance. What is up with this ??? We are still trying to carry COBRA until we can get approved for private insurance we can afford, no easy matter apparently. UGH. Not looking forward to all these medical/dental bills. We have to cover the copays for Westley and then Matthan's surgery too. Financial Strain/Impossibility. Much prayer needed for finances.

Well enough depressive news... Tomorrow is Wednesday and the kickoff of the Augusta Plein Air Art Event. Paige is too excited to go register. She will be going to a workshop on Friday and then trying to attend the Balducci Sunset Paint next week. Should be awesome.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Central US Earthquakes

We felt the quakes listed below. The second one arrived at 10:15 the house rolled and then seconds later the quake hit shaking Matthan and I, the windows rattled and the deck shook and rattled real good. I told him that was it, another earthquake over. He looked at me and said "that wasn't so bad"! What a trooper.

y/m/d h:m:s
MAP4.5 2008/04/18 15:14:16 38.542 -87.913 10.0 9 km ( 5 mi) ENE of West Salem, IL

MAP5.2 2008/04/18 09:37:00 38.450 -87.890 11.6 7 km ( 5 mi) NNE of Bellmont, IL

Awakened by an EARTHQUAKE this morning

At 4:36 we awoke to the windows rattling and the entire house shaking. I kid you not, we thought a tornado was hitting the house, until both kids yelled from upstairs! As we headed up we note that there is not any wind to speak of. We just had an earthquake! A small picture fell off Caitlyn's wall and several books off the bookshelf in her room. The pictures on the walls in the loft are all askew. It doesn't look in this moment like anything else moved, except our house vibrating for about 15 seconds! (The news is calling it officially 20 seconds) Paige felt a light wave of shaking that woke her and then everything shook and the windows rattled, effectively waking the rest of the house for the Rattle! It felt like a two wave quake, a small forequake and then the larger quake wave.

Interesting fact: It is the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Quake. It hit April 18, 1906 at 5:12am.

This is the quake that woke up the Clausens today! Earthquake felt in St. Peters, Missouri.

For info on today's quake ...Check out the link to USGS

News blurb...

Earthquake rattles Illinois

  • Story Highlights
  • Magnitude 5.4 tremor strikes southern Illinois at 4:36 a.m.
  • Quake is centered 127 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri
  • There are no immediate reports of damage
(CNN) -- A magnitude 5.4 earthquake, centered 127 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, shook southern Illinois at 4:36 a.m. (5:36 a.m. ET) Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There were no immediate reports of damage, according to USGS spokeswoman Jessica Sigala.

The epicenter of the earthquake was about 3 miles below ground and 41 miles north-northwest of Evansville, Indiana.

People as far north as Chicago and as far west as St. Louis reported feeling the quake, Sigala said.


The quake is believed to have involved the Wabash fault, a northern extension of the New Madrid fault about 6 miles north of Mt. Carmel, Ill., said United States Geological Survey geophysicist Randy Baldwin.

The last earthquake in the region to approach the severity of Friday's temblor was a 5.0 magnitude quake that shook a nearby area in 2002, Baldwin said.

"This is a fairly large quake for this region," he said. "They might occur every few years."

Baldwin said the USGS revised the quake's magnitude from 5.4 to 5.2.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Knee Slapper!

Waving Happy Boy!
Grumpy Boy!

White "Elton" Bear

Matthan "Rock Star"
Matthan "Walk Star"!!!

Surprised by the Camera !


Today was great. Awesome weather. Matthan saw Dr. Otis this morning and was released to walk! He even began gimping about without the walker this evening. (of course, before his bath he told us his hip was stinging ... tomorrow he will not do as much!) Fabulous.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Gorgeous Day

Precious Sleeping Westley
(arm in midair!)

I found my fist!

What is this tummytime stuff?

It is another gorgous day here. Sunny and 70. We plan to head outside in a bit, Matthan is moving about a bit with the walker and Westley loves the sunshine! More pics later in the day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008



Birthday Cake by Caitlyn

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Look Alikes? Twins? Brothers ?!!!

Westley at 7.5 weeks!
Matthan at 8 weeks





Matthan with Daddy!

Westley Laughing at Mom!
Westley Smiling at Daddy!

There will never be any denying that they are brothers! You can see the subtle differences in Noses and Foreheads... but that is about all right now. :) Chris is caught up in laughter at these pictures and I am right there with him. Two peas in a pod!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Long Day at the Hospital

White Bear had some surgical work done! Matthan asked for him to have the head cast in the recovery room and then the nurse gave him a "matching" leg bandage.

Matthan & White Bear post-surgery

Mommy & Matthan pre-surgery

Matthan had his surgery this morning. We got up early and headed over arriving at the surgical center at 6:30a. He went back for surgery at 8:30. Dr. Otis came in around 10 and showed us the pictures of his new improved hip with K-wires in place. I think it looks cool. Dr Otis mentioned that he needed to stay and get a total of 3 doses of IV antibiotics. We worked it out that we would stay in the surgical center until 7 pm to get the medicine and then head home! I went back into recovery with Matthan while Chris took care of Westley. We were back in his room by 11am. We spent a fairly quiet day in his room, Chris ran down and grabbed us food & drink as needed. We were able to head home just after 7p. We both had a bowl of cereal for a late dinner. Matthan is currently watching a movie (he napped today) and then will be carried up to bed. Dr. Otis says he can move about as he wants to with a walker for the next week and then bear weight as comfortable for him after that. Usually they keep them off the hip for 6 weeks, but as we know, Matthan is not the normal case here. He is much younger than anyone they usually see with a slipped growth plate and it is a stable slip so weight bearing early should be no problem. We will see how cooperative he is about walking much less using a walker.

Today was long for all of us. Caitlyn came home from school and fixed herself dinner and waited for us to get home. Westley was a champ, napping well and eating well and generally smiling for everyone. Matthan was wonderful, he has the sweetest spirit and was a complete trooper for all the doctors and nurses today. He was very brave and tolerant. He is currently a little grumpy from the pain meds but it passes once we finish them and switch completely to Ibuprophen later. I should add that all the staff was wonderful to us. Chris & I made it through just fine! :)

We thank everyone who prayed for us, we felt the peace. All things considered it was a good day with no extremes and no surprises. We thank God for every second of it and praise His name.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Surprise Birthday


So this evening Matthan comes downstairs and informs us joyfully that "today is White Bear's birthday". He turned 9 today. For any who don't know, White Bear is a tiny stuffed animal inherited from Caitlyn that Matthan sleeps with every night and brings to us in the mornings to snuggle. This bear has gone through at least one surgery with Matthan and tomorrow he will go through another.

To celebrate this happy day, we went to a local ice cream shop "Paul's Donuts & Ice Cream". Matthan had a scoop of chocolate with rainbow sprinkles, Dad had a German chocolate (um duh) with peanuts and Mom had a banana split (root beer had caffeine, sigh) and Caitlyn being lactose intolerant had a cherry sprite. A good time was had by all, even White bear!

We thank you all for your prayers covering the surgery tomorrow. It takes place at 8:30 CST.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunny Day

Watching the Rowing Teams
Caity having some flying hair issues

Hanging with Dad at water's edge

Oh what a beautiful day... it is sunny and 70 something. I love Springtime. My magnolia bush is in full bloom and the hyacinth smell fantastic. We took the kids and went to Creve Coeur Lake today for a long walk. The highlight for the kids was stopping at the shores of the lake and throwing rocks in with Dad. Too funny... cardboard box syndrome. (you know, the cardboard box the toy came in is hours more fun than the toy... ) It was a great day for a walk outside (albeit a bit windy by the lake) then we all came home to play outside (bubbles and ring toss) for the rest of the afternoon while Dad went off to play some music with his guys.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Caitlyn holding Westley ~ Beautiful!

Caitlyn successfully got Westley laughing for the his first time. He has been smiling at Mommy and then Daddy since 4 weeks old. He just started at 6 weeks to smile at Caitlyn or Matthan. Very cool for everybody. We thought it was about time we posted a picture of Caitlyn holding the baby! It is wonderful to see my happy children together.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Anniversary of the ending of a Life...

Narcissus transplanted from Mom's house
Not blooming yet, but soon...

Hyacinths are Blooming

Matthan's Birthday June 2006

Christmas 2006

Kid's Corsage for MeMe

Tribute of Flowers for Mom
Blowing Kisses
A Slow and Sad Farewell. (This is todays headline on our St. Louis Journal)

This is a hard day. I miss my Mom, the kids miss their Meme. There have been a lot of hard days since last April 2 2007... you expect the birthdays and holidays to be hard. But in my case cooking is difficult, no dinnertime goes by I don't miss her ... my habit was to call her while I was cooking. It has been that way since I moved out of the house. I really called a lot when I moved to California in 1988 and we just kept it up. She expected me to call her every week and I did. I got in the habit of "just stopping by so you can kiss your grandbaby" when Caity was a baby and we kept that up with Matthan as well. If I was in the neighborhood, we dropped in. Some of the best visits were when we just dropped in late afternoon for a kiss. In spring, summer and fall we could always count on a quick "walk" through the backyard to see the latest flowers, plants, birdfeeder or yard art she had out.

The day Westley was born was way hard... this was the first time that my Mom was not there after one of my babies was born, she did not hold the new baby and gush with pride nor did she have the chance to and make the "looks" comparison to one of my siblings. (Caity looked like Uncle Josh and me and Matthan looked like me). By the way, Westley looks the most like Uncle Josh too, but only when he is sleeping... awake he looks like my baby pictures. He has the Dalton Children chin and I think he may have my nose. It saddens my heart that he will never know her except by our memories.

Springtime for me simply drives home the fact that Mom is no longer with us.

The Magnolia tree is planted and will bloom over the summer. This is my remembrance /memorial for her. The Narcissus Paperwhites (that Mom transplanted from Moner's house to Windbrooke then to Ross) are transplanted now at my house and thriving. There are small flamingos throughout my yard and house to simply remind us of her color in life. Did anyone else know how sick she was of them?! How funny it was that it became her trademark ... not a one of us who knew her can ever see a flamingo without thinking of her. How about string patio lights and large yard art?! If it was obnoxious and might annoy the neighbors, then put it up where they could see it, why not. If they didn't like it or you didn't like it, too bad. That was true of so many things.

Today I just want to say thanks for all the life lessons and thank you for being my mommy.

I Love You Mom ... XOXO
~ Steel Magnolia
~ & the Icing on the Cake

Cancer SUCKS!
~It stole a life we held dear
leaving us with only our memories!~