July 15, 2007

General Update

Wow, it's been awhile since I blogged. Obviously that means I've been busy! The good news is that the kids and I followed our MOTH schedule quite well this week and got a lot accomplished. The "bad" news is that my schedule leaves very little time for frivolous things like blogging...but that's probably not entirely bad, is it?! I could spend a lot of time reading other people's blogs, surfing the 'net, and of course blogging myself. But then I find myself neglecting important things like discipline and training the children--I end up yelling at them from the office to be quiet and get along rather than getting off my rear end to go and parent them. I was convicted of this and took a little time off, and now I hope to balance blog updates with my other responsibilities. I do have at least an hour and a half of office time scheduled every day...but my business needs to be squished into that time as well as family office stuff like bill paying, etc.

Whew, that paragraph kind of rambled right on with no plan. My "plan" now is to quickly give a rundown of updates while the kids finish dinner (Ted and I are waiting to have a popcorn snack after they're in bed) before the new week starts and I get caught up in other things. So, here goes:

Our house--still on the market, but no nibbles yet. We heard from the paralegal at the attorney's office where we send our rent payments that the bankruptcy file has not moved, so there is no sale date for the house yet. We're not sure exactly what that means other than we don't have to move in the next 30 days. One month down, 23 to go!! (That's how much longer we have in Vegas...)

Kenna--She's doing great. The thrush has disappeared, praise the Lord, and Kenna is now chattering and smiling again. Unfortunately, we seem to be dealing with teething pain. She's been waking up at night again, and I'm not sure whether it's from teething or because she's close to being ready for solids. The other kids began waking at night soon before we started them on cereal. However, last night she didn't seem to want to nurse, so that may not really be the issue. At any rate, I'm hoping to hold off at least until after we go to my Stampin' Up1 Convention. In other news, we seem to have a thumb-sucker...she is finding her thumb with amazing precision these days and prefers that to the pacifier during her waking hours. No rolling over yet, but it's probably going to happen soon.

Ted's job--He finished some rather boring but essential training and will be officially working his new position starting tomorrow. He learned he needs to go to VA sometime soon for a few days. We're liking his predictable hours and the fact that he can ride the bus...saves us a LOT on gas. Overall, I think he gives his job a thumbs-up.

Home school--We will be starting week 8 of our Sonlight core. We're a bit behind in science (just finished week 6) but can probably catch that up. Charis is doing very well with creative writing assignments now that I've begun allowing her to type up a final draft after handwriting a rough draft. She has emailed her friend Hannah one of her assignments, and I think I'll encourage her to email a different friend and/or family member each week so she can enjoy sharing her writing with others. Tobin is doing pretty well with his LA as well. Some days he can't seem to get enough; other days I have to practically sit on him to get anything accomplished. All the kids love the Sonlight reading as well as science. (We're planting bean shoots currently, and Charis is diligently recording each event in her nature journal.) I've been giving Arden his own half-hour of school time with Mommy, and we've enjoyed reading together, practicing writing his name, and working in a shapes workbook.

The Schedule--WOW! Life on a schedule is GREAT!! Now that we're back on track with a new, updated schedule that reflects our major life changes (i.e. adding another child and schooling two children instead of one), life is so much more peaceful around here. I set the timer for a half an hour, and when it dings, we move on to the next activity. I have the flexibility to tweak as needed...some days Charis and Tobin do math simultaneously instead of having their own half hour with me; other days the timer goes in 25-minute increments instead of 30. Schoolwork is getting done, attitudes are much better, behavior is better, and I'm on track (for the most part) with general housekeeping responsibilities. Getting back to our menu planning has also been a huge help in this area.

Running--Last weekend I took some of my business profits and went shopping. I got new running clothes and shoes, plus a stopwatch. Awhile ago I had ordered a Fuel Belt, which I love, so I am all set. Despite the loss of my running partner, I've managed to do quite well. I may start posting my weekly mileage for some accountability. Here are my last 3 weeks' worth of running totals:
* Week of June 24: 8 miles, 3 miles, 3 miles, 6 miles = 20 miles total
* Week of July 1: 3 miles, 7 miles = 10 miles total (This is the week I had the pain from the thrush.)
* Week of July 8: 5 miles, 3 miles, 5 miles, 7 miles = 20 miles total

Business--I'm hoping to get more workshops booked, but for now I'm busy enough with stamp clubs. However, a couple of clubs are ending, so I'm hoping to branch out now that we're settled with Ted at home and our school routine in place. Our Stampin' Up! convention is just around the corner, and I'm excited to get together with my stampin' sisters!

OK, I'd better close here...it's apparently story time! Hope this little update will tide everyone over until later!

July 06, 2007

A Kenna Montage for Grandma

My mom informed me that she NEEDED some new Kenna pictures, so here goes!

A day at the park...this was when Kenna was about 3 months old.

A star is born!

Playing with big brother Tobin. (3 mos.)

Playing with Daddy. This was taken just a few days before we left for our Idaho trip, so about 3 weeks ago.

For those who have not yet met Kenna in person, you have to know one of her unique features is her toes. First of all, they are shaped and sized like all other J children's toes--long and skinny. But, unlike her siblings, her first two toes point in nearly opposite directions! It's hilarious! You can fit your finger in between those toes, and they almost never entirely relax...even when she's sleeping they're still spaced out. It's good for many a giggle in our family.

Kenna wants so badly to sit up on her own! She's only 4 months old now, but every chance she gets she sits with our help and looks around, fussing and doing baby crunches when we lay her back down. It's so funny to watch her trying to sit up on her own...it truly looks like she is doing stomach crunches! Her neck is so strong, and I can't believe how well she is pulling up. It won't be long...

Kenna was enjoying her tummy time this morning!

O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing...

Kenna is a tongue-sticker-outer, as seen in these pictures dating back to May!

Nursing Update

Praise the Lord, it's good news this time! I am almost completely better, and I'm sure that by tomorrow I'll be able to hit the road, getting my long run in for the week at least. Here's the story...

On the 4th of July I was still having quite a bit of pain. I spent a half hour in the shower and continued taking Motrin and applying heat packs. Of course it was a holiday, and since it didn't really constitute an emergency, I wasn't able to be seen on base. I continued to think it was a plugged milk duct until that evening when I spoke with a lady who had had one before, and we decided that it didn't really sound like that was my issue. I did suspect that the thrush had something to do with what was going on, though, which just made me all the more irritated that Kenna and I weren't BOTH treated at the same time from the beginning.

Thursday morning, when nothing had changed, I called and got an appointment for 9 a.m. (That's quite amazing, really!) Debi came over to watch the kids--the timing worked out perfectly as I had just finished nursing Kenna and was able to leave all 4 at home. The kids watched a movie, Debi played with the baby, and all were happy. Meanwhile, I was being seen by a different doctor who ended up rolling his eyes at the fact that the previous doctor only gave me Nystatin cream and didn't give me Diflucon (which Debi had recommended in the first place). So I am now taking one pill a day for 4 days. By yesterday evening I had already noticed a huge difference--I was only slightly tender. This morning it's even better, so I know the doctor must have been on the right track to determine that it was bacteria from the yeast that was causing the pain. Yay--no mastitis!!

There was a slight fiasco trying to pick up Kenna's prescription, which had indeed been put through into the system, though no one had called me back on Tuesday to tell me so. When I got to the window, we realized that they had ordered the bottom cream, NOT the oral medication, though I had clearly told them the thrush was back in her MOUTH. So I spent a half hour waiting for them to try to contact the doctor by phone, then finally walked over to the pediatric clinic myself to get things rolling. The nurse I had talked with on Tuesday came out and thoroughly apologized for the mix-up, and once I got back to the pharmacy, they red-flagged it and I was out of there 5 minutes later. Whew!

So, now Kenna is back on her oral medicine, I am taking a yeast-killing pill, and presumably we can put this whole yucky situation behind us very soon!!

July 04, 2007

A Fond Farewell...

Usually I'm the one who is saying goodbye as we move to a new base...I have now experienced what it's like to be on the other end of things! Sarah, my dear friend and running partner, moved to Texas the week before our family left for our Idaho trip. We've known for months that the B family would be moving, though the original plan was that they would be moving to the Denver area for Ken's job. We decided that was an appropriate place for them to live, since we'd be able to see them every time we visited Ted's family. However, God had other plans, and within a month everything changed...they made the decision that Texas was where Ken would work, their house sold within 48 hours of that decision, and the flurry of activity began! We had a girls' night out (which is when this picture was taken) and a goodbye party, during which we presented the B family with housecleaning gifts (a collection taken to get their old house here and new house in Texas cleaned for them) and a scrapbook album filled with pictures and notes from friends. And then they were gone!

We've been able to chat this week, and I've learned that they are settling in quite nicely and enjoying their new home (and pool!!). I am definitely happy for them, because it was so obvious that this is part of God's plan for their family. So how can I be sad?! I will definitely miss Sarah and her whole family. Our kids became sibling-like, complete with tattling on one another and hitting each other. :-) They loved playing together, and I know they'll enjoy being pen pals and keeping in touch. (Tobin already wrote TJ a note informing him that Charis was making a trap for the boys!!)

Sarah was the first friend I made in Las Vegas. We met 2 days after our family arrived from Maryland when I attended a home school meeting. (I had looked at the info for the group online before we moved.) Little did I know that she was the one I had emailed as a contact from the Sonlight forums when I was browsing. I found a few posts by "Vegasmom," her user name, and noticed from her signature line that her 3 kids were about the same ages as my 3. We exchanged a couple of emails, and I thought perhaps I'd contact her after we got settled. At the home school meeting, Sarah did the icebreaker and mentioned something about using Sonlight...when I noticed her last name, I realized she must be the person I had already contacted! We connected at home school events over the next month, but it was in October (2005) when Ted was TDY the whole month that we began to get to know each other better. I have to credit Ken for helping us get a closer friendship started, as he encouraged Sarah to call me, knowing my husband was out of town.

And the rest is history! We chatted on the phone several afternoons a week, helped keep each other accountable in many ways (from running to staying on a schedule to doing our quiet times), got together at numerous parks, shared many a meal that included macaroni and cheese, and so much more. We do plan to keep running "together," at least sharing our progress and working towards running a marathon together someday. And I know we'll be able to catch up by phone and email here and there. But I already miss getting together!

So, Sarah, here's to you and to our friendship! I love you and miss you tons, but I'm so thankful God brought us together to share the last couple of years as friends in the same state! You've encouraged me, cheered me up, let me vent, laughed and cried with me, introduced me to more wonderful people, helped me fall in love with running, and paved the home schooling way for me by being one core ahead of our family in Sonlight! You've enriched my life, and I hope and pray that I've done the same for you.

And now you can print off this post and put it in your scrapbook, because it may be the only "letter" I'll be able to write for you without getting all mushy and teary-eyed! ;-)

Nursing Woes...Again

I have never had so many problems with nursing. I've had more problems with Kenna than with all three of the others combined. As you may remember, we had 8 days of utter frustration when Kenna was a newborn not wanting to latch on unless we had experienced an hour's worth of screaming first. Once we got past that, things were fine.

Then Kenna got thrush. We treated that (why, oh WHY did I not demand that the pediatrician give me something too?!) only to find that as she got better, I got worse. I had to make a separate appointment for me to go to Family Practice, see a doctor for all of 2 minutes, and get cream to treat myself. OK, OK, so I was a little lax last week when we were in Idaho, but I got right back on it as soon as we got home.

Now Kenna's got it again. Unfortunately, there isn't a refill available for the prescription she had, and of course it's all gone. I called the pediatric clinic yesterday for a phone consultation, and after 3 separate calls and 2 people taking notes, I still don't have any resolutions. Last I heard they were going to try to get a doctor to sign off on the prescription so I wouldn't have to drag all 4 kids out for an actual appointment. I was busy getting ready for a stamping event last night, so I didn't realize how quickly time was going by until it was 5 p.m. and I realized I hadn't heard anything back from the clinic. And of course today is a holiday, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to hopefully get some resolution.

As if that weren't frustrating enough, it would seem that I now have a plugged milk duct. I noticed yesterday in the early afternoon that I was tender on my right side. I thought it was because Kenna hadn't really nursed well on that side--we noticed earlier that she would only nurse well on the first side when she was dealing with thrush before. So I tried nursing her again about an hour later. I felt a bit better, but I realized I was getting really tender. Immediately I began praying that I would NOT get mastitis...I had that once with Arden, and it was terrible.

I've been starting Kenna on that side...I took a hot shower last night...I've been taking Motrin...I've been putting hot packs on it...and I guess I'll just have to keep trying. I may even start pumping in between Kenna's feedings, which are about every 3-4 hours or so. Next time she nurses I'm going to try a different position.

It's so utterly frustrating! I had planned a 6-mile run today since Ted's off work, but there's no way that is happening. Sigh. I just pray this will resolve quickly and that it doesn't develop into mastitis.

Our 10th Anniversary

I can hardly believe a whole decade has gone by since Ted and I were married. June 28th is our actual anniversary date, though we celebrated a couple of different times. On June 10th we got away for a nice date. I treated Ted to dinner at the Top of the World restaurant, a revolving dinner experience at the top of the Stratosphere tower. The dinner was absolutely fabulous. We got the three-course meal for two and each had a different soup. Mine was some kind of creamy carrot concoction that was wonderful. Our main course included steak, twice-baked potatoes, asparagus, and dinner rolls, and our dessert was the famous chocolate Stratosphere--a white chocolate standing tower with mousse-filled goodness in the top portion. Yummy! Our attendants were interesting. The "main" guy (whatever he's called) had a thick accent (not sure what kind) that made me feel like Steve Martin in the Father of the Bride movie--you know, the part where they're working with the wedding coordinator and the ladies can understand him perfectly, but the dad just sits there thinking, "Huh?!" I had no idea what our server said for the most part. But another attendant had a nametag on that showed he was from Budapest, and we struck up a nice rapport after Ted thanked him in Hungarian when he served us our main course. After that, he kept coming back to check on us and chat a bit...I think we made his day by telling him about our experiences in Hungary!

After our meal we went outside for a look around. It was super windy up there but neat to see. Inside the restaurant we had rotated almost all the way around, watching the sun set over the mountains and picking out familiar landmarks. (Oh, so THAT'S where the famous Little Chapel of Las Vegas is!) Outside we watched the crazy people doing the rides--no WAY would you get me on any of those things! Then we took our 37-second elevator ride back to safe ground (our ears popping all the way) and decided to look for a movie to see since we don't get out much these days. We chose Ocean's Thirteen, a fun flick since we had enjoyed Ocean's Eleven.

On our actual anniversary we were knee-deep in Commission activities (more about that in a later blog post); however, we did arrange for an informal vow-renewal ceremony on Saturday morning, June 30. We were out at the Bruneau Sand Dunes to say goodbye to the students, pose for staff pictures, etc. Chas, the camp pastor and a friend of ours that we've known since about two months after we were married, officiated for us. We had him read Philippians 2:1-11, the passage that our dads read at our wedding ceremony, and he spoke a little bit. I read something I had written in the van on the way to the Sand Dunes (nothing like planning ahead!!), and Ted spoke on the fly--we both played to our strengths. :-) I do wish I had what Ted said written down, because it was so beautiful, but you'll just have to be content with taking my word for it.

It was very cool to have the teens stay to watch. Some of them are from broken homes, and we hope we were an encouragement to them that lasting marriages can happen in this day and age. We're still young enough to be considered somewhat cool, but 10 years is a great milestone to celebrate!

We had a nice cake back at the church after we had finished the clean-up duties and had lunch. Ted was good, and for the second time he refrained from shoving cake up my nose. :-)

So, all in all, it's been a great month of celebration for us! Here's to many more decades to come!

Blogging Blitz!

OK! I'm back in town and am going to do my best to spend the next 1/2 hour cranking out a few blog posts!

I'm glad my last post sparked some discussion...I'm not going to dwell on it here, but I thought the article was interesting. I love how teachers (yes, home school teachers included) are so willing to share their opinions! :-)