December 30, 2009

Lucan Videos

For our non-Facebook friends and family!

Spotlight on...LUCAN

Sunday was Lucan's 9-month birthday, so he has officially spent more time outside the womb than in. :-) He's finally settling into a fairly reliable routine after seemingly endless adjustments, but now that I write this, it will probably change again. Recently he's begun waking around 6 or even 6:30 a.m. (after going down for the night around 8:30 or 9), which is a vast improvement over his typical 5 a.m. wake-up calls. I would love it if he would bump his wake time to 6:30 or 7 a.m., allowing me to wake, exercise, do my quiet time, and even shower before having him awake, but for now, I'm trying to enjoy the extra moments with only the baby awake. He often joins Ted and me in bed for our quiet time; when he finishes nursing, he is usually content to sit there grinning at us and playing with our hands or his pacifier until we're ready to take him to the kitchen for the rest of his breakfast.

Speaking of nursing, thank God he is doing SO much better in this area, though (for those who are interested) he's still a one-sided eater, LOL. He's a great eater, too, and he is finally ready to feed himself. He resisted Cheerios awhile back but has recently mastered the art of grasping the little O and shoving it into his toothless mouth. He's added Rice Chex, bananas, mushy pears, roasted sweet potato chunks, and crackers to his do-it-himself menu. I suspect over the next week that list will grow exponentially. I love this stage--it's fun to see how babies react to new foods, and it also keeps them gainfully occupied for a considerable amount of time!

We are now officially in Lucan's Reign of Terror. While he hasn't quite started pulling himself up or trying to crawl up the stairs, it's only a matter of time. He is, however, reaching up, pulling cabinet doors open and banging them closed, and scooting around so fast it's difficult to figure out which room he's in. I may have to get an extra-wide gate and barricade him in the family room for safety's sake. We've done "playpen time" a few times with him, and though he's not a big fan yet, he usually does settle down and plays quietly for 30-40 minutes. Since this is a new development as of a couple of weeks ago, I'm looking forward to incorporating that into our school schedule so I can focus more completely on the older kids without worrying about where Lightning Lucan is.

Lucan's temperament still greatly resembles Arden's at this age. He is smiley, cuddly, affectionate, easygoing, and easy to please. He loves people and usually goes to anyone who wants to hold him, though if he's tired and Mom is around, he'll fuss for me. He is still a "binky" baby, taking his pacifier when he goes to bed as well as when we're out and about and he gets fussy. I'm trying to make sure he doesn't use it when he's awake and at home, but I make sure it DOES travel in the diaper bag to church for the nursery workers' sake!

Lucan has settled into our family just perfectly. We can't imagine life without him and look forward to seeing how he will grow and change over the next year.

Addendum to Kenna's Spotlight

A couple of other things that probably belong on Kenna's Spotlight post...

* Kenna is doing quite well with her potty training, although it definitely seems to be something that she does when she WANTS to. We have indeed cleaned more than our fair share of "accidents," but she does not feel chagrined when this happens, so I suspect she just likes causing us to stop what we're doing and clean up after her!

* She is a huge fan of being a kitchen helper. Whenever she sees that I'm doing something in the kitchen, she runs to get her "tool" (stool), shouting, "I hep you!" I just have to be careful to keep her initiative in check or she's liable to add extra ingredients when I'm not looking!

December 27, 2009

Spotlight on...KENNA

I put myself on a 10-day Facebook hiatus so I could be sure to update my blog and generally organize I'd better get updating, right?! It's time now to continue the spotlight on the kiddos. The older 3 were spotlighted last month, so now it's time for the "li'l 'uns."

Kenna is by far our most jubilant child. Her zest for life keeps us smiling and laughing, and her affectionate personality is a joy to all around her. She has not yet outgrown her "Kennis the Menace" phase, but the incidents seem to be fewer and farther between than they were, say, a year ago. Recent "Ken-cidents" include:

* trying to scrub the potty after she pooped in it...BEFORE flushing.

* smearing "Butt Cream" on her face. (Lucan's diaper cream--that's the brand name!)

* sucking a candy cane down to a lethal point, then jumping with it and stabbing herself up the nostril. (Blood flowed freely...she was pierced for this transgression...)

* turning the tall laundry basket upside down and placing it on a chair so she could climb up and reach the M&Ms on top of the refrigerator.

Kenna has never been one to quietly play with toys, opting instead to get herself into trouble with other objects. However, our little troublemaker is growing up! She has recently become very interested in puzzles, which thrills all of us as she keeps herself busy with the little puzzles we haven't seen in years. (I remember that Arden at this age was doing 100-piece puzzles by himself...that obviously isn't Kenna's area of giftedness, but at the rate she's going, she may be there sooner than we think!) She also enjoys anything with little pieces, i.e. our Bananagrams game tiles, Mancala game pieces, dice from the Yahtzee games...see a pattern here?! We find small objects in strange places...

Another favorite pastime of Kenna's is singing and dancing. She loves attention (no surprise there to anyone who has spent any time at all with her), and she'll turn anything into a stage: an upside-down laundry basket, a toy bucket, the trunk, a chair, a spread-out blanket. She makes up songs and sings LOUDLY, often twirling in circles until she falls over and dissolves into shrieks of laughter. She is quite a little ham and will do anything for a laugh. She jabbers away to anyone who will listen, and listening to her sometimes takes some effort, as her pronunciation isn't all that exemplary!

Kenna is a stellar big sister, cooing over Lucan and making him laugh, keeping small objects out of his reach (while yelling "NOOOOO!"), and bringing him acceptable toys. She loves to crawl around on the floor with him and still seems to think he's the greatest thing since Papa John's pizza. She can often be heard admonishing him, "No, Yu-can!" when she thinks he's doing something he shouldn't be, and it's amusing to see her scramble when he heads in the direction of her toys.

We're just two months away from Kenna's 3rd birthday--hard to believe! She's already as big as Charis was at about age 4! I'll have to measure and weigh her again soon. Kenna is in bed right now, but I think I can fill out some answers for her for this portion of the Spotlight:

Favorite color: Purple (closely followed by pink).
Favorite food: Anything with sugar.
Favorite toy: Currently the ponies she got for Christmas; also anything she can pretend is a phone.
Favorite object: Her "nee-nee," which has been her word for her blanket since before she was really talking. It's a fuzzy Pooh blanket that was given to Charis as a baby and has really become a huge source of security for Kenna.
Favorite activities: Running wild, singing and dancing, giving hugs, watching movies, generally doing whatever the big kids are doing.

December 26, 2009

Christmas Tidbits

1. The song for our neck of the woods was "I'm Dreaming of a Wet Christmas." I woke at 5 a.m. to a howling wind that was knocking our winter welcome sign on the front door so loudly I thought a neighbor had come calling. The little snow that had accumulated was gone, but there was plenty of rain to take its place.

2. Joel and Sarah have given the big kids their own little Christmas trees in past years, so after breakfast they each brought the trees and blankets to the family room. The passing out of the presents included placing their gifts under their own trees. It was cute.

3. In an effort to encourage Kenna to stop backsliding in her potty training efforts, we bought her two packs of big girl underwear. She was so excited she immediately went to the bathroom and put some on. Since I had wrapped each package separately, she later went to the bathroom to change to a new pair...or so we thought. Turns out she put ALL SIX pairs of underwear on at the same time, as we found out later!

4. Charis was so excited to give the boys the gifts she had bought them--light sabers! She spent $11 of her own money in addition to the amount we had budgeted for the kids to shop for one another. I was glad to see the boys were so appreciative...not so excited to see what objects in the house they will break with their new weapons of mass destruction.

5. My gift from Ted: tickets to see Wicked when it comes to our area next spring. To help pass the time, I plan to read the book first. Can't wait!

6. Lucan was a bit nonplussed by all the extra stuff in the family room. He sat on my lap during most of the unwrapping phase, either playing with my Santa troll earrings or sucking on the ear of his new rabbit from Grandma J.

7. One of Charis's favorite gifts was a "new" pair of rollerblades! She has outgrown her roller skates and has wanted blades ever since trying them at homeschool skate day. I found these for $10. They are adjustable for sizes 2-4, so they should last Charis awhile, since she is barely a size 2 now. No, I am not ashamed to purchase used items for Christmas presents! As I told Charis, it allowed us to get additional gifts for her rather than paying $100 for a new pair of rollerblades. She heartily agreed it was a good deal. I love having a thrifty daughter!

8. Once the boys opened their Mega Blocks King Arthur ship set, we pretty much lost them for the rest of the day. Ted, too.

9. One of my favorite gifts--the picture Charis drew and watercolored for Ted and me. It's the two of us, as you can clearly see by Ted's hair!

10. I also had an "awww" moment when I read the poems Charis wrote for each of us on the back of our picture--click on the image to see a larger version of it, and you should be able to read the words.

December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Getting ready to open stockings! (Kenna is using my stocking...Mom doesn't get stocking stuffers anymore, LOL, and I'm behind in purchasing stockings for our latest additions...thankfully Lucan slept through this portion of Christmas morning, so didn't know he was missing out!)

Breakfast--yummy casserole from Debi's family recipe files.

Kenna got some ponies from her brothers (aka Dad--who gave up on having Tobin and Arden actually shop for their sisters and picked out the gifts himself--see post below!)

Tobin holds up the ship kit we got for the boys.

Arden shows off his new Star Wars figures.

More to's time to watch the new Veggie Tales Christmas DVD with the family. :-)

Preparing for Christmas: The Ideal vs. Reality

Making Christmas goodies.
THE IDEAL: Mom and all kids old enough to stand gather around the kitchen island, taking turns adding ingredients and mixing with the gentle sounds of Christmas music floating in the background. Kids take turns licking the beaters and/or spatulas without dipping into the actual mix, waiting patiently for treats that are baked, hardened, cooled, or otherwise ready for actual consumption.
THE REALITY: Mom referees fights between the 9-year-old and 2-year-old girls over who pours in which ingredient. Seven-year-old boy begs to play computer games. Six-year-old boy asks 97 times to sample cookie dough. All four children bicker about who gets to lick more batter. Pouting, whining, and stomping drown out the Christmas songs buzzing merrily in the background. Mom has had it and sends all people under 4.5 feet tall OUT of her kitchen.

Enjoying a break from school.
THE IDEAL: With no schoolwork to take up precious moments together, the house is clean and organized. Kids and parents enjoy sitting around the table working on puzzles and playing games together.
THE REALITY: Somehow the house is dirtier and less organized than ever. Game and puzzle pieces are lost. Kids wrestle on the furniture, chase each other with pointed objects, and wake the baby from every single nap. No two kids ever agree on which game to play, so Mom grits her teeth, breathes a deep sigh, and heads to the kitchen to clean and cook...again. Boys are banished to the backyard multiple times. Toddler is put in bed for an extra-long nap. Sulky 9-year-old disappears somewhere to bury her nose in a book.

Christmas shopping.
THE IDEAL: With spending money from parents, kids enjoy shopping for each other, learning about the joy of giving.
THE REALITY: Dad takes Tobin and Arden to the store. "Boys, we're shopping for Charis and Kenna. I don't think they would like Star Wars action figures. Boys? Boys! No, we are NOT buying Transformers for your sisters. Stop--no, come back here! BOYS! Put that back right now and come HERE! Oh, fine. I'll pick out 'your' gifts to the girls."

Bringing gifts to neighbors.
THE IDEAL: The whole family goes around the neighborhood, singing carols in 4-part harmony on front porches as we deliver perfectly packaged goody bags filled with delectable treats.
THE REALITY: No one is home when we make our rounds, so over a 4-day time period, we send kids out the door one at a time (rather than bundling up the whole crew again), hoping to get rid of 7 dozen cookies before they end up in our own bellies. Better yet, we ask people when they'll be home and they show up at our doorstep--do-it-yourself Christmas cheer!

Kids learning to give to parents.
THE IDEAL: Kids decide they want to make Christmas presents for Mom and Dad, feeling excited about giving back to those who do the most for them.
THE REALITY: After being disciplined by Mom a few days before Christmas, the 7-year-old goes to Mom's stocking, where earlier he had joyfully placed several drawings that he had painstakingly created, retrieves said drawings, rips them to shreds, and loudly stuffs them in the trashcan, making certain that Mom notices her empty stocking compared to Dad's stuffed one. (Sigh.)

Enjoying Christmas Eve.
THE IDEAL: The family enjoys a traditional meal together before heading to church for the Christmas Eve service.
THE REALITY: Only 3 out of 6 people like potato chowder, so Mom scrounges up some leftovers that the younger ones will actually eat. The baby is fussing, so Mom changes a massive poopy diaper while the carrots scorch on the stove. The boys wrestle and spin out of control next to Mom and baby, and the 7-year-old swings his sweatshirt around over his head, whipping Mom in the face in the process. Mom feels like the Grinch as she bangs around the kitchen, calling for people to come and help because we're running late for church. Bah, humbug.

Going to church for the Christmas Eve service.
THE IDEAL: The family arrives on time and enjoys a special time of singing and celebrating Christ's birth.
THE REALITY: The family slides into the few remaining seats (which happen to be on the front row) right as the service begins. Earlier disagreements melt away as we hold hands, wink, and smile at one another while singing Christmas carols and listening to special music. Dramatic Scripture readings juxtapose Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. Our hearts are full as we remember the reason we celebrate Christmas--because Jesus came to overcome all the ways we fail to reach His (and our) ideal standards. His ideal--holiness. Our reality--sinfulness. His ideal--salvation offered through His sacrifice on the cross. Our reality--hope and life eternal with our acceptance of His sacrifice. Thank you, Jesus!

An ideal Christmas Eve continues as we read "The Night Before Christmas" on our way back from church. A dozen Krispy Kreme donuts ride along with us as we head to our local fire station to wish firemen a merry Christmas and say "Thanks" from FairCreek Church for serving the community. We find a quiet station and get a quick tour of the garage before heading home. New jammies are waiting for the kids, their first Christmas treat, met with great excitement and much petting as they stroke their fuzzy sleeves.

Kids are tucked in and prayed with by 9:30 p.m. Parents are asleep by 10:00, dreaming of an Ideal Christmas Morning.

December 21, 2009

More Christmas Pictures

My sweet girls in their Christmas dresses! (Charis's was on sale, and Kenna's came from Goodwill for two bucks. Woohoo!)

Arden stares with glee at our 201 Dipped Gingersnap Cookies...and this doesn't include the 6 dozen we made for deployed troops!

Let it snow! Charis and Kenna bundle up for a morning of cold fun!

Santa Ted!

December 19, 2009

Operation Gingerbread House

The homeschool skate day this month included a "Make and Skate" activity: making gingerbread houses! Each family was supposed to bring graham crackers for building their structures (or, for those who wanted to go the easy route, pre-made houses), plus candy to share. Several moms made icing, which we scooped up as needed. We "cheated" and used a pre-assembled house. Charis, Arden, and Kenna were the main decorators, since Tobin was too busy spending his quarters on video games to care much about the creative venture. Actually, Kenna was more interested in eating the house embellishments than decorating!

Apparently I do not have a photo of our completed house, but it won a "Most Beautiful" ribbon. :-) Every structure won a ribbon of some sort.

Anyway, the next day we pulled out our leftover frosting and candies, and I turned the kids loose with some graham crackers. They had a lot of fun building their houses (and eating pieces of them along the way!). I think next year we'll just skip the pre-made house and make our own out of crackers! Lots more fun, and definitely more edible, in my opinion.

Here are a few photos from our view more, see the Facebook album here.

December 12, 2009

Christmas at Home

This year we'll be staying put for the holidays, and I'm so glad! There has been no rush to get decorations up, though everything is pretty much in place now. It's always fun seeing our years-old decorations in a new and different house. I try to add some handmade things to the mix each year, depending on what Stampin' Up! is offering in the holiday mini-catalogs. But mostly I try to enjoy moments with my ever-changing kids. I love the traditions we've begun and new ones we pick up along the way. Here's a smattering of snapshots from our house as we entered the season of celebrating Jesus' birth.

November 30: This night we simply dragged out the Christmas boxes in preparation for decorating. Arden got silly with the stockings. :-)

December 1: Hot cocoa and Christmas cookies! (OK, these were frozen blobs that I bought from a kid doing a band fundraiser...I just baked 'em, but they were yummy!)

December 7: First snow we've seen accumulate here in Ohio since we moved here. The boys thought it would be great fun to slip and slide on the trampoline--great fun, that is, until cold feet drove them inside! Silly boys!

Kenna braved the cold for a few minutes, but we spent longer bundling her up than she actually spent outside!

This group of decorations is by our front door. Debi made the beautiful picture at the top. I got it last year during our ladies handmade gift exchange/holiday tea, which was lots of fun!

Christmas countdown, one of my projects this year. Charis put the ribbon on all the numbers. :-)

The mantle in the formal dining can see the Christmas countdown along with some of my Decor Elements blocks. The numbers for the countdown are in the small snowman box on the left.

Our beautiful Christmas tree, delivered to our front porch December 7!

Cheap-o red ornament from Walmart made prettier with the Flurry Decor Elements. :-)

Ornament made with 3 scallop circle punches and elements from the Pretties Kit.

December 11, 2009

The Back Story

So I've had problems off and on with my back over the years, nothing huge, just seemingly normal stuff--pinched nerve, sore shoulders, etc. As a mother of 5, I kind of figure it goes with the territory. But it seems that the last few months it's been really bad; about every other week I've dealt with pain severe enough to take over my life for a few days at a time. The locations are the same: right shoulder blade, with nerve pain that reaches up to my neck and head, and across my lower back.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving I did a vendor event. I had pretty much no success with reaching new contacts for my Stampin' Up! business, but on the plus side, I met a chiropractor and his assistant/office manager. A brief evaluation showed that my shoulders and hips are not aligned. Since he was offering a special on initial exams and x-rays (normally $170, free with a $20 donation for a needy family at Christmastime), I went ahead and signed up for the evaluation. I went in the Monday after Thanksgiving; Ted got off work early to come home so I could be kid-free.

This past Wednesday I went back to go over the results with the doctor. Unsurprisingly, I have problems, LOL! Everything is out of alignment. I really appreciate the approach Dr. P has; he truly wants to help people function at their best level, and he is very understanding of the limitations of schedule and income. (Tri-Care does not cover chiropractic care, unfortunately.) I got my first adjustment then and there, which was good, because I felt some lower back pain coming on as well as the now-familiar tightening of the muscles between my shoulder blades.

The next day I was in extreme pain--and I mean PAIN! Dr. P said that people have different reactions to treatments; some feel just the same, some feel worse, some feel better. I'm not entirely sure that the adjustment is responsible for all the pain, since I was feeling it "coming on" the day before. I have a feeling I would have been in pain regardless. But yesterday was a very difficult day, and I confess I was in tears a lot because I hurt so badly. It didn't help that Tobin had awakened us at 2 a.m. after having a nightmare, and I hurt so badly that I wasn't able to get back to sleep after that.

Today the pain is somewhat lessened, but I'm sure it will be at least a few days before I can move without being conscious of every nerve in my lower back and legs. In the meantime, Ted and I are trying to decide our best course of action--we know that chiropractic care is worth it for overall health, but we also want to be good stewards of our time and money. The office is a half-hour drive away from our house. (Leave it to me to find a doctor on the other side of town!!) And each treatment is $40, with a slight discount for coming in monthly. The recommended plan of course would have me coming in very frequently, but we just can't justify that expense right now.

At the same time, something must change, because I simply can't live like this anymore! I hope to get back to "normal" soon and begin exercising regularly again. I noticed a correlation between not exercising and having frequent pain, and I know I need to get back into my strength training and stretching.

December 09, 2009


Lately it seems I've only jumped on the computer to check email (waiting for stamp club orders or messages from my hubby), do a super-quick Facebook check, or search for something specific online. I haven't read friends' blogs in ages, and I obviously am not keeping up with mine, LOL. I haven't even read Charis's latest blog entry!

Charis and I had a busy day yesterday. We spent most of it preparing projects for her craft fair--she had decorated some golden ornaments on her own beforehand, and she had also put together some paper ornaments. But everything else was done ON Tuesday, and the sale was that night! (The sale was supposed to be items made by kids, and it was through our homeschool group.) If you'd like to see her projects, you can go here. She sold $33.75 and chose to donate $26 of her earnings to the Sonlight OneVerse project. Friday is the deadline to donate so that Sonlight will match the funds, so if you're reading this before then, please consider buying a verse for the Meetto people!

Aside from frantically putting together crafts, we've just been plain busy enjoying the season. I did have a stamp club last weekend and a party Monday night for the club hostess, who wanted to invite some other friends over, so that kept me busier than I wanted to be this time of year...but hey, I need the sales. :-)

We got our Christmas tree delivered this year. The farm that sends us our weekly Happy Box delivered a ginormous tree for $40! It's bigger than any tree we've ever had! It arrived on Monday, and we just decorated it this evening. I'll have to take some pictures tomorrow. (I'll also have to arrange some ornaments tomorrow when the kids aren't looking, heh...some are clumped rather oddly around the very lowest branches! Thanks, Kenna!) The tree is beautiful and smells just like Christmas. I love the ornaments that Charis made (or embellished), as well as the ones I've made this year. I'll have to take close-up pictures of those, too!

Lucan is getting better...for now. He seems to make progress and then regress. For those who don't know, I took him to the doc on Friday, and he was diagnosed with RSV bronchialitis. (If that's how you spell it.) On Thursday he was refusing to nurse, but he has been doing much better, praise the Lord. His appetite is nearly normal, or at least, was pretty healthy today.

Speaking of nursing, Lucan is following Kenna's MO and officially stopped nursing on my right side. This has been a struggle since he was about 6 months old, just the same age as Kenna when she started heavily favoring my left side! She also quit my right side altogether around 8 months old. We were at my parents' house in WI for Thanksgiving when I tried for the last time and decided it was just not worth the stress. He has been a left-side-only eater ever since, and I am fine with that!

Arden lost his second tooth last night, and we think he swallowed it, because it is nowhere to be found. The tooth fairy has given up the element of surprise and simply forks over a dollar whenever a tooth is lost around here anymore. Both of the lost teeth came from the bottom, and both of them fell out AFTER the permanent teeth were already growing in behind. I'm hoping this doesn't cause difficulties later on...?!

Tobin's latest obsession is drawing his own Star Wars comic "books." He has spent an extraordinary amount of time doing this. I love that I can tell (mostly) which character is which, even though they are all very similar-looking stick figures. He colors them in, so Yoda is pretty easy to spot, LOL.

*****************'s been so long since I blogged, I nearly forgot to write about Charis's experience with Oz: The Musical. It was a GREAT performance! Very cute script. We ordered a DVD and will look forward to watching it with Charis, who didn't get to see anything at all other than the part she was on stage for. She was an adorable Munchkin and really enjoyed her experience.

This coming weekend I have a stamp camp that I'm doing with my downline, and after that, I have not scheduled a THING!! I hope to take and post more pictures, as we're taking school slowly and enjoying other activities, like games and holiday baking. Hope everyone else is enjoying the season and finding some special, quiet moments with the Savior.

December 02, 2009

Back Home

Whew, so much for catching up on my blog while we were in WI, LOL. We had a wonderful visit with my family, and I'm uploading pictures to Facebook right now. I'll post the links for my non-FB friends and family.

After a yummy dinner in New Glarus on Friday, our family headed back to Mom & Dad's house to put tired, cranky kids to bed and try to get some rest before our road trip the next day. The cold Kenna got was starting to make its rounds to the rest of us--poor Lucan got it then and is still dealing with crusty eyes and an equally crusty/runny nose. (OK, the rest of us are still dealing with headaches, plugged noses, coughs, etc., but it's just infinitely more pathetic when a baby is ill and doesn't understand why he feels so rotten.)

Our return trip passed pretty quickly--we made it here in about 8 hours, including stops. We got back early enough that I was able to hit the grocery store down the street while Ted and the kids unloaded all the stuff from the truck. We had frozen pizza (well, we cooked it first, ha) while watching Disney's version of Robin Hood, since we just finished the book on the road, part of our Sonlight reading.

Ted went to church Sunday to play guitar while I stayed home and tended sick kiddos and did laundry. It was a gorgeous day, so I did get out and go for a nice long walk, a nice change since it had been quite cold in Wisconsin. (Tobin even made a snowman on Thanksgiving Day!)

WI family pictures: Click here.

Thanksgiving celebration pictures: Click here.

Monday we started our school routine again, and it went more smoothly than I would have expected after being "off" for over a week. Tuesday evening started a run of 9 evenings in a row where some or all of us need to be out of the house. A quick rundown of our schedule so you can understand why I won't be blogging or Facebooking as much, ha!

Tuesday: Charis begins rehearsal for Oz: The Musical.

Wednesday: Leave the house at 4:30 to get Charis to rehearsal at 5; drive back across town to meet Ted for dinner; swap vehicles and take the boys to AWANA, then drive back across town to get Charis and return to church to pick up the boys, then home.

Thursday: PE in Kettering in the afternoon; Oz dress rehearsal in the evening.

Friday: Stamp club in the afternoon; Oz performance in the evening.

Saturday: Stamp club in the morning; Oz performance in the evening--with a sitter at home for Kenna and Lucan while the rest of us actually WATCH the show.

Sunday: Church in the morning; progressive dinner with growth group in the afternoon/evening with babysitters at home for the kids.

Monday: Stampin' Up! workshop in the evening.

Tuesday: Charis and I do a homeschool craft fair in the evening.

Wednesday: AWANA and growth group.

Thursday: First night at home in over a week!

Friday: Stamp camp prep at Charity's house.

Saturday: Stamp camp.

Sunday: Let the rest begin...

November 26, 2009

We Interrupt the Spotlight for a Brief Update

Spotlight on Kenna and Lucan to come, but for now I hope to catch up a bit. I'm writing from my mom and dad's house in Wisconsin, the first time we've been here in 6 years! Last time we were here, we were celebrating Thanksgiving with a one-month-old Arden. Hard to believe it's been that long since we were here!

Last weekend was very full. Friday evening we hosted the first meeting of a new family-integrated community (or small group). There were 5 families all together, all of whom were part of the Visionary Parenting class we did this fall at church. We plan to meet once a month beginning in January for a potluck dinner, fellowship, and a devotional that includes all the kids (there are at least 18 kids in our group). So we packed everyone into the house and enjoyed one another's company for almost 3 hours. Ted commandeered the gathering to announce that my birthday was Sunday, so everyone sang to me and we had birthday cake. :-)

Saturday I did a vendor event for my Stampin' Up! business along with a downline member. Unfortunately, the investment so far seems to outweigh the results, but we'll see what happens. I do have a couple of leads; one lady seems eager to schedule a home party after the holidays, so hopefully that will come to pass. It was a long day, and I was happy to get home to a clean house and a completed family picture wall, thanks to Ted and Charis. (To clarify, the boys helped with the clean house, but not the picture wall!) This picture wall is one of the last tasks that needed to be done to finally be unpacked/settled! I love the way it turned out, though now that we have everything up, Ted and I are wondering why in the world we ordered 8x10s instead of 10x13s of our recent family pictures, so we may end up re-ordering those. (Thankfully the prices are good!)

Sunday morning I was treated to some hand-stamped birthday cards--even Ted stamped me a card! He and my ma-in-law went in together to get me a beautiful and comfortable office chair with a mat for my stamping area. This is something we've talked about getting me for a long time but never have. I am happy to have it! Charis gave me a nice watercoloring of a turkey she had made, along with a cute hand-made turkey card. (I should take pictures to post on here later, or maybe I'll have her put them on HER blog!)

After our pancake breakfast, we attended the early service at church, a good ending to our missions emphasis that has been going on this month. I had hoped to get a nap after lunch, but I should have known that wouldn't happen...after being gone all day Saturday, I needed to sort and organize my bags and get things packed up for our trip to Wisconsin on Monday. It was a beautiful day, so I thought I'd get out of the house a little for a short run to clear my head and be able to focus on what I needed to do. Unfortunately, about 5 minutes into the run my knee started to hurt. This is the same knee I injured while running a little over a year ago, so I immediately stopped and walked home. Sigh.

Somehow we got ready for our vacation and managed to hit the road by 8 a.m. on Monday. Our travels were pretty smooth for the most part, though Kenna decided to whine and yowl the last hour. We figured out the problem after we arrived--she had a fever. :-( She's almost over whatever it was that was bothering her but is still pretty pathetic and whiny, especially when tired.

It's good to be back in 'Sconsin, but I must say, my parents' house seems to have shrunk, LOL. But we're managing--we knew we'd need to be prepared for kids waking up at night and going stir crazy during the day. Sure enough, both Kenna and Lucan have been waking up each night, and the boys are driving us crazy during the day!

We woke up to a white Thanksgiving this morning! It's been cold and rainy (and snowy) the whole time we've been here. We're looking forward to getting out of the house tomorrow when the whole clan goes to New Glarus for the big family gathering. It will be our family, my brother and his family, my mom's twin sister and husband plus their three kids and their families...and possibly more people as well. I can't wait! Lots of folks, lots of food, and we'll be eating in their little church's fellowship area, with a gymnasium right there for the kiddos to run around while we old folks catch up! Mom and I have done some baking today--she has made her famous apple pies and is working on the pumpkin pies. I made two recipes of Rose's famous chocolate pecan pie. Tomorrow we'll make some casseroles in the morning before making the drive.

And I guess that catches me up a little here. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

November 22, 2009

Spotlight on...ARDEN

Since Arden is snuggling with Ted on the couch as they watch football, it seems appropriate that I begin this spotlight by noting one of Arden's current obsessions: football. Tobin has absolutely no interest in sports; Arden LOVES sports. Yesterday he and I had a long conversation about football and his aspirations (to play for either the Broncos, Bengals, Vikings, Packers, or Saints). He is so into the game that Ted and I are thinking perhaps we'll let him play on a team next year. I'm not so sure I'm ready to enter the sports arena with our kids--mostly because of the time involved--but I think it's important to encourage them in the areas where their passions and talents lie. So, if current trends continue and his interest doesn't wane, we may very well have a football player in the family.

When he's not playing with his football out in the backyard, Arden can often be found hiding in my bedroom with his Legos. (He has to find a place to play where Kenna can't come steal his pieces!) He got a set for his birthday and has played with it nearly every day since. (Thanks, Ski!) He and Tobin also enjoy playing with various assortments of toys--army men and Legos are a popular combo. Having studied castles and the Middle Ages in our recent school readings, the boys also have been building various castle/knight scenarios. And of course, playing superheroes remains a favorite pastime as well.

Aside from fun stuff, Arden continually displays a passion for other people coming to know Jesus. I love listening to him pray for our missionaries and for the people groups we study who need to hear the gospel. I know God will use his tender heart for His glory. He is a loving, affectionate guy and quite sensitive. But he also loves to tease, especially his younger siblings!

Right now Arden and Tobin are just about the same height--I think Tobin may have a half inch on his younger brother. But Arden definitely outweighs all the other kids! He is one solid dude. He has slimmed down as he has stretched out. It amazes me how different our kids all are--though Arden and Tobin share clothes, they definitely do not have the same body type at all. It's so fun to watch them growing up! Unfortunately, though, they aren't listening when I tell them they need to stop growing!

In school Arden is clipping right along in the 2nd grade math book. (He just turned 6 and is in what we are calling first grade.) Like Tobin, he also has learned all his time tables. His handwriting is improving significantly, though he still has to think about letter formation. But he is getting better! He enjoys reading, though perhaps not quite as much as his older sibs. I'm afraid some of the Sonlight reading is going over his head--he's much too wiggly and uninterested much of the time. But I hope he's absorbing some of it anyway, and I'm sure he'll get it when we go through it in a few years with Kenna!

And now, for the Arden interview:

Favorite foods: Pizza, chocolate chip cookies
Favorite toys: Legos Star Wars people
Favorite activities: Playing football
Favorite animal: Tiger
Favorite color: Red
Favorite subject: Explode the Code (the phonics workbook series we use)
What I want to be when I grow up: A football player.

November 17, 2009

Spotlight on...TOBIN

Those who know and love Tobin are already aware that he is 110% BOY!! From playing Star Wars with foam light sabers to building and crushing Lego structures, from sword fights to wrestling on the furniture, he seems to have an endless supply of energy. Thankfully, he also truly loves to read, and this keeps him quiet when I need him to settle down. :-)

In school Tobin is buzzing right along with math. He just started the Gamma book from Math-U-See, and I expect he'll breeze through the first part of it quickly, since he also knows all his times tables from the aforementioned Timez Attack game. I truly believe that Tobin could learn ANYTHING if it is in computer game format. He is definitely our media boy--anything with a screen mesmerizes him. It's a bit scary, frankly...I suspect we will battle an addiction to gaming with this one! Thankfully he is also extremely social and loves playing with his friends in the neighborhood and at church.

Anyway, back to school. This year I've seen him grow in leaps and bounds with his writing skills. He does his language arts and seatwork activities with no complaints, and he has even started to enjoy creative writing. He is currently writing a mystery book--no surprise there, since that's one of his favorite genres.

His passion for reading is amazing considering he is only 7 1/2 years old. He recently completed Stephen Lawhead's novel Hood, one of Ted's and my favorite books from one of our favorite authors. Last year his reading project was the Lord of the Rings trilogy--he still hasn't made it through the whole saga, but he did make it through the middle of The Two Towers, the second installment. His library stack right now includes books from the Magic Tree House series, the 39 Clues series, The Adventures of Ordinary Boy, and the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, as well as a few Curious George books. :-)

Like his father, Tobin is a major history buff. He amazes me with the knowledge he brings to our reading each day, informing me he read about So-and-So or Such-and-Such in another book and filling in extra details that aren't included in our school reading. I love that he gets so excited when it's time to read history--I certainly never felt that way when I was his age! My love for history has developed AFTER graduating...which is just one reason I wanted to homeschool our kids with Sonlight! Since Tobin is quick to inform me when things get BORING (according to him), I'm sure school will be a constant flow of mesmerizing entertainment, ha!

Though we still have our spiritual battles involving our impetuous firstborn son (one night saw him raging at us and screaming threats to run away when we sent him and Arden to bed without dinner), he has definitely grown and matured in many areas. I'm pleased to note that I am starting to see glimmers of altruism shining through the self-centeredness. He has genuine concern for other people's salvation, if not their well-being, LOL.

Favorite foods: Ice cream, chicken pot pie, ice cream cake.
Favorite toys: Star Wars Legos, army men
Favorite activities: Playing Lord of the Rings and Fortress America with Dad
Favorite animal: Lion
Favorite color: I think it's black.
Favorite subject: History
What I want to be when I grow up: An army man.

November 14, 2009

Catch-Up Week

Ahhhh. I can't believe it's Saturday already. My perfect plan of spotlighting one child per day of the week failed miserably, LOL. But we had a good week. My Facebook friends may have seen that I declared last week "Mommy Mental Health Week." We did only the bare minimum of school. In addition to reading our wonderful Sonlight books, we:

* Went to the Super Playground on base for a picnic lunch.
* Invited neighbor friends over to play and then had them stay for an impromptu lunch and more visiting.
* Enjoyed a day off with Daddy--and Charis and I did her belated birthday outing. Nothing fancy...just got hair cuts, browsed a craft store, ate lunch at Chili's, and spent our B&N gift cards. (Yikes, Rhonda, I FINALLY used my gift card from my birthday last year!!)
* Cleaned the house in preparation for hosting missionary friends this weekend.
* Soaked up lots of sun while enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.
* Welcomed the C family, missionaries to Colombia, as they came into town for our church's missions conference.

Also, during the week, I caught up on paying bills (ugh, not fun, but needed to be done), prepared for a home workshop on Thursday night, met with some downline gals to plan our holiday stamp camp in December, and looked for ways to use up the produce from our Happy Box. :-)

So, it was a busy but fun week, and I'm sad the weekend is already half over. The C family arrived for dinner last night, and the kids pretty much ran wild all over the house, thrilled beyond measure to be reunited with Jackson, Makayla, and Avianna, whom they had met in person a couple of months ago when Scott and Laura were in town for a bit and came over for an evening of dinner and fellowship.

Today Scott went to the Ohio vs. Iowa football game, and the rest of us went to the Super Playground on base again. The kids had a blast--well, they were having a blast from the moment they awoke at 7:30 a.m. (We were actually amazed they slept in that long!)

Scott will be preaching at church tomorrow, and then they'll be out somewhere for lunch. I foresee a nap for myself... Then the C family will spend one last night with us before moving on to other activities on Monday. We are so thankful for the chance to fellowship with them.

November 09, 2009

Spotlight on...CHARIS

I'm way behind on life in general, so it stands to reason that my blog has been neglected of late. Rather than try to re-hash what our family has been up to over the last couple of weeks, I decided to take some time to spotlight each of our sweet kiddos this week. Today is Charis's day.

A recent highlight for Charis has been her re-entry into the world of drama! I took her to an audition for a local youth theater production a couple of weeks ago, but she wasn't selected for any parts. This, I felt, was actually a good thing, since the rehearsals would have eaten up three days a week and performances will run December 4 - 13. Additionally, all the main parts likely went to older kids (they wanted ages 8 - 18), so it would have been a lot of time and effort with little return.

So, though she was a bit disappointed, Charis took the results in stride and continued on her merry way. Last Friday, I nearly threw the paper out without looking at it, but I ended up flipping through the Life section and saw on the last page that there was an open audition for Oz: The Musical, and that they would be casting about 100 local kids to be Munchkins or flying monkeys. Charis and I looked at the web site, and she decided she'd like to try out. Since I had a stamp club meeting Saturday morning, Ted took her downtown for the audition. They put the kids in groups of 18 to teach them some choreography and part of a song, then had them perform in groups of 6. Nearly 200 kids auditioned over the course of the weekend, and Charis was one of the ones who made the list!

We're very excited for her opportunity to get some experience and have fun doing something she loves...without having to spend so much time in rehearsals! There will be 2 rehearsals plus the dress rehearsal the week after Thanksgiving, and then the performance weekend. I think we can deal with that!

Charis continues to enjoy her piano lessons and has progressed really quickly. She is teaching herself a number of songs from my old piano books, and I love hearing her play hymns and Christmas carols while singing along very loudly. She enjoys going to music rehearsal with me or Ted and has made quite an impression on the other members of the worship team. I can't wait until she can perform in church someday!

In school, Charis is learning division and has picked up on this very quickly. I attribute this partially to the fact that she learned her multiplication facts so well (thanks, in part, to Timez Attack). She has recently begun writing more on her own and has completed some fun creative stories. She has asked--and I have agreed--to have her own blog so she can share her writing with others, and I hope we can set aside some time before too long to set this up. For those who are interested, we can give you an invitation to her blog, as it will be private.

And of course, Charis stays busy with her own crafty creations. She spends way more time in my stamp room than I do. :-) It's always amazing to see what she comes up with!

And now, a few last tidbits about Charis:

Favorite foods--Chicken pot pie, spaghetti pie, lemon chicken, yum!
Favorite colors--Red, white, and blue
Favorite animal--Horse
Favorite activity--Oh, boy. Crafts, singing, and spending time with my family.
Favorite subject--I think it would be language arts.
What I want to be when I grow up--A seamstress.

November 07, 2009

Farewell to a Dear Friend

A beloved friend has said goodbye to life in this world, victim of one too many beatings. Though we mourn her passing, it is now time to recognize the contributions she made to our family. A helper and support through the long days and wee hours of the night, with us from the moment we brought our first newborn home until recent days, we bid a fond farewell to...

...the Boppy. May she rest in peace.

November 03, 2009

Harvest Festival

The weather warmed up a bit on Halloween, allowing us to get to church for the Harvest Festival without bundling everyone up. Lucan had had a good nap in the afternoon and was pretty good-natured throughout the long evening. We first enjoyed an hour of family worship time--it was fun to watch Kenna sitting with the big kids on the floor, doing the motions and trying to sing along with the songs. Then there were games, bounce houses, nachos, a hayride and bonfire with s'mores, and way more candy than any one family needs. Which reminds me...I need to make appointments for us all to see the dentist...

Kenna Funny

Kenna walked in on me when I was going to the bathroom and declared, "Mommy, you have blue pull-up on!"

Shhh. Don't tell. ;-)

October 28, 2009


October 27 was Lucan's 7-month birthday! Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.

October 25, 2009


God is awesome.

Whenever I get in a funk, He pursues me and gently shows me His glory in a way that brings my eyes to Him instead of myself. And sometimes He just overwhelms me with His goodness.

After a cold, rainy, blustery day during which I felt I wasted precious time away from my family, I was feeling a little blue. (A long day after only 5 hours of sleep probably contributed.) But my outlook improved dramatically during our evening of fellowship with a family from church, Aaron and Jennifer and their 4 sweet children. Aaron is one of the pastors on staff, and he and Ted had the opportunity to visit while Ted was out here house-hunting in June. Ted felt a connection with Aaron and had been wanting us to invite their family for dinner. We finally set a date but ended up rescheduling twice because of our illness. So yesterday was our time to get together. Normally I would not have planned to host a family on the same weekend as a squadron function, but we figured we'd rather go ahead than have to postpone it anymore. Besides, I really didn't have to do much for the squadron party other than show up with one little craft.

And I'm so glad we had the D family over last night! We had an absolutely wonderful time of fellowship. The kids played together well (they have 3 girls and one boy, ages 4-8), and we enjoyed getting to know Aaron and Jennifer. We also got to hear about Aaron's recent missions trip to Cuba--we knew other people from the church who went as well but hadn't really heard any reports yet.

We couldn't believe over 3 hours had gone by when they were loading up the van and getting ready to go. We're already looking forward to our next chance to get together with them!

So, frustrating day...wonderful evening. :-)

And this morning started out so much better...I'm so thankful for God's mercies which are new every morning. For one thing, sunshine!! For another, Ted and I woke up early enough to have our hot tea and quiet time, plus pancakes, plus get everyone ready for church early! Ted played guitar this morning and took the girls with him to rehearsal, and I followed with the boys after nursing Lucan. Our "Visionary Parenting" class was amazing--very good fellowship and ideas along with the teaching time. We've been attending since the last Sunday in September (aside from our sick day), and we're finally feeling like we know the other folks in the class. We only have another 1-2 sessions left, but we may form a small group community. Ted and I have done a lot of parenting classes, workshops, books, etc. But it always seems that God shows us something new and challenges us in a new way no matter what we're doing. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be in a place where we can receive encouragement and support from other believers in a more intimate setting. Between this and our growth group on Wednesday nights, it seems as if Ted and I have been able to plug in just where we need to be at this time.

Then the church service was also amazing! Awesome worship time, wonderful teaching--I just can't wait for heaven. :-)

We had a quick lunch at home (extra spaghetti pie from last night!), then packed everyone up to go to Col. H's house for the Halloween party. Shane and Denise don't have any kids yet, but whenever God blesses them with children, they will be amazing parents! They LOVE to host gatherings, and they LOVE kids. They went all out for this party, and the kids had a blast. Since we don't really go out of our way to "do" Halloween, I appreciated that there wasn't anything yucky, just lots of good fun. Charis helped me put together a little pumpkin project, and we brought stuff to add to the card-making venture. Kids decorated bags for their goodies as well. Then there were a couple of games, a pinata, and lots of sugary stuff to eat and drink. It was so gorgeous outside, too, a perfect day for a fall party!

All in all, it's been a great Lord's Day! My time of rest isn't quite over, but I do need to start thinking about our school week, making checklists for the kids and getting my mind in school mode. I hope the good weather holds so we can get out and do some fun things!

October 24, 2009

Wasted Time

Today has been one of those days when I feel like I've been spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. I was up until midnight last night--I had a blast with some of my downline members doing a shoebox swap and visiting. It's been awhile since I had some good girl time! Charis did the projects with us, and I provided 2 projects for everyone to make instead of one. After the ladies went home, it was nearly 10:30, and I needed to get Lucan to nurse one last time unless I wanted to get up in the middle of the night. He was sleepy, which meant a really good, long nursing session. I decided to watch one of the webinar tutorials on the new My Digital Studio from Stampin' Up! so I can finish my certification program by the deadline of the 31st.

So, when all was said and done, I was crawling into bed at midnight next to a snoring Ted. Four hours and 57 minutes later, Lucan was crying to be nursed again. Sigh. When he wakes up at that time, he's pretty much ready to be awake for awhile, so I watched another webinar (I've been procrastinating on this, can you tell?) in the kitchen (love my new laptop!) while doing dishes and keeping an eye on Lucan, who was rolling around and eating his toys.

The goal was to leave the house by 8:40 a.m. so I could be at the commissary right at opening time to get the groceries for the next couple of weeks. Charis had planned to go with me, since I needed to stop by Michael's on the way home to exchange something and she wanted to use her birthday money.

Well. I pulled up to the gate and realized my military ID was not in my wallet. Some frantic moments later, Ted confirmed that I had left it in my pants pocket from when I had taken Lucan to his check-up, the same day I got hit with the flu. I pretty much came home and died to the world that day, and obviously I haven't been on base since!

So. On to Michael's instead of grocery shopping in the early hours before the mad crowds hit. The good news is that Michael's is absolutely NOT crowded on a Saturday morning, but I don't particularly enjoy browsing around there for very long. I tried not to rush Charis, but all I could think about was that I had to go home, get my ID, and head back out again!!

Charis was relieved to not have to do the grocery shopping with me and escaped to the basement where she happily worked on her new projects from the craft store. I drove back to base, where it seemed that every active duty and retired person within a 50-mile radius was doing their grocery shopping. Sigh. So, not only did I waste all that time making the trip twice, but the actual shopping took probably twice as long because of all the traffic in the aisles and waiting in line to check out.

This afternoon has been exciting...putting away groceries and cleaning the house, LOL. Then I tried watching a video for the parenting class Ted and I are taking at church--we were assigned to each watch one geared toward "fatherhood" and "motherhood." Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time trying to get the video to load only to find out that it wasn't working--not on the laptop, and not on Ted's Linux computer. More wasted time. Grrrr.

But we do have something fun to look forward to this evening: We're hosting a family from church for dinner tonight. I'm looking forward to the fellowship, although I'm exhausted and ready for a day of rest...but tomorrow is full as well. Our squadron is having a fall/Halloween party at the boss's house, and I'm providing one of the crafts for the kids. (That's what I worked on early this morning after my kitchen duties!) Ted leaves early for church to play guitar with the worship team, so it is looking like it will be a loooong day, and I can already tell Monday is going to come way too soon!

Sigh! I hate it when weekends seem to slip through my fingers, especially when I woke up so'd think I'd be feeling like I accomplished something after being up for almost 12 hours by now! I'm praying God will renew my energy...I definitely am in need of His strength right now.

October 22, 2009

A Day with Kenna

Welcome to a typical day with Kenna, during which you may find her...

...stripping paper off the crayons, a new addiction that may eventually require intervention...

...slathering anti-itch cream on herself and then trying to wipe it up with every single tissue in the box (bad Mommy for letting Charis keep the cream in her bedroom)...

..."helping" prepare Lucan's cereal...

...or finding and cuddling a worm.

Ah, the simple joys of being a toddler.

Birthday Time

It's that time of year again, time for our fall birthdays! Charis is now 9 years old--her last year of a single digit age. Arden is 6. We had a "fall family fun" party again and invited new friends and neighbors and had a blast. There were 4 families who were able to come. It was a low-key event, since we were coming off two weeks of flu at our house. Certain things had to give...instead of hot apple cider, we had juice boxes and water bottles. Instead of making iced pumpkin cookies and a homemade birthday cake, we bought the least cheesy-looking fall-themed cake we could find at Sam's Club. But no one cared--everyone was too busy jumping on the trampoline, decorating a pumpkin, eating potluck dishes, or getting to know someone new. And that was the whole point. :-)

To see more pictures, you can go here.

October 16, 2009

Quick Update

Well, we've ended the week fever-free, thank God. Charis's rash was pretty much non-existent today, although she did find a small spot that itched on her side this evening after not having any rash problems since yesterday. But since her fever had disappeared by yesterday morning, I haven't been terribly concerned; the cortisone cream and children's allergy medicine seemed to keep it in check.

Lucan's fever has also been gone since yesterday, though he's still having a lot of drainage that needs cleared out before he can nurse. Thankfully, though, he IS nursing. We've had two sessions today that haven't been as great...but the other times he has nursed well on both sides. The times he hasn't nursed well, of course it has been my right side that he rejected; I don't know if there's a whole lot I can do to restore the milk on that side, but I'm trying with the pump!

Kenna has continued to deal with her nose issues as well, which includes chapped skin under her nose and on her cheeks from wiping snot all over. But she was considerably happier today than yesterday, though she did have her moments.

So, all in all, we are almost on the other side of this. Everyone else is pretty much back to normal, praise the Lord!

October 14, 2009

Pictures of My Happy Place

OK, so actually these are photos of my basement stampin'/scrappin' room. And don't get too excited...I tried to position the camera so you couldn't actually see my messy desk and tables, LOL. When things are more orderly, maybe I'll post pictures of the whole room! But for now, I wanted to show off my latest Decor Elements frenzy, a combination of the Ginormous Flowers and whatever the butterfly set is called. I love how the colors coordinate and just really brighten up an otherwise dreary set of walls. The "Live for the Moment" element I actually applied incorrectly, ahem. I was supposed to put up the line underneath the words, then peel away to leave behind the dots. I thought the DOTS were supposed to be taken out, and painstakingly pulled them off the sticky sheet before applying the whole thing to the wall. It didn't dawn on me until much, much later that the actual image has a dotted underline. Oh, well. My way emphasizes the statement much more dramatically, LOL.

The first picture is the little walkway leading into my office, and the other two are actually in the room.

It's Still Going...and Going...

We're not quite out of the woods yet. Charis's fever has been pretty persistent, and Kenna's went back up today. Lucan's fever is low-grade, but aside from a few smiles a couple of nights ago, he has been one sad little dude. When he's awake, he's fussing unless he's on my hip in motion, and the last few feedings have been quite stressful for me as he has resisted nursing altogether. It's been a trend over the last few weeks that he prefers to nurse on the left side and will only nurse on the right side if he's very sleepy and it's offered first OR if I hold him as if I'm nursing on the left. Unfortunately, he hasn't wanted either side since this morning. He did take a few ounces I had pumped from his bottle this afternoon, and he did eat some cereal with breast milk. But I'm hoping this isn't a trend that continues. He also didn't nap well at all and spent most of the afternoon fussing, so perhaps that contributed.

It's a bit alarming, because I had nursing troubles with Kenna. I really didn't want to go down this path with Lucan. Hopefully he'll be back on track after he recovers from the flu.

So, between Lucan's fussiness and feeding issues and Kenna's clinginess as she vies for Mom's attention, it's amazing I've been able to attend to the older ones at all. Poor Charis has had to fetch her own medicine on more than one occasion! In addition to the flu, she is also dealing with a weird allergic reaction that started yesterday afternoon with what looked like a few bug bites on one thigh. Then she found more red, itchy bumps on her belly, followed by her back, and also on the opposite leg. The bumps keep moving around, and there are even some on her face now. I remember Ted had something similar to this when we were in Nevada this past spring--it drove him CRAZY! We've been putting the anti-itch cream on plus giving her some children's Benadryl, which is helping somewhat, but how frustrating for her to have to deal with both issues at once.

After all this, I figure God owes us some great weather and an incident-free birthday party on Sunday, LOL! Seriously, I AM praying that we have wonderful weather and a completely healthy family so we can share a fun day with friends as we celebrate Charis and Arden's birthday. We're planning another "Fall Family Fun" event, which I'd be looking forward to a lot more if I knew for sure I'd have the energy to clean up and actually prepare for the party without having to care for sad, sick little ones along the way.

October 12, 2009

Wiped Out

Whatever this virus is, it has run rampant through our whole family. I think both Ted and I thought it would run its course in a couple of days and things would get back to normal. Um, no. Not even close. Ted tried to go to work on Thursday, but his boss sent him home again that afternoon. Friday he did go to work, but he wasn't feeling his greatest--thankfully we had the Oktoberfest for lunch, and we all came home after Lucan's well-baby check-up. (Ironic, as you'll see in a bit.)

By the time we got home on Friday, I was well into the throes of this thing, and all I could think of was how glad I was that Ted was home for the holiday weekend. The older boys started experiencing the symptoms on Saturday, as did Kenna. We made the decision to all stay home from church and made arrangements for someone to fill in on the piano for me, since I was supposed to fill in for another pianist who was away for the weekend.

So we made our way through Sunday amidst fevers and sad, sick kids. Charis alone seemed unscathed, having mentioned a headache a few times, but obviously it wasn't too bad, since she spent most of the day doing various art projects. I personally had hoped to get some stamping projects done, but I think I had about a one-hour window of time I felt somewhat human. During that time, a rather perky Charis helped me finish assembling a stack of 25 birthday cards for The Sharing Org, and then I was pretty much done.

Meanwhile, Lucan was sleeping a whole lot, definitely feverish and not nursing as much, but enough that we weren't too concerned (yet). Tobin was sleeping off and on on the couch the whole day, Arden stayed cuddled up with Ted during the football games, and Kenna sat around glassy-eyed and quiet during her non-napping hours. We got everyone to bed early, then woke Lucan to nurse. He was flaming hot, so I took his temperature, and it was 103.5. We gave him Tylenol and checked him again 45 minutes later, and nothing had changed. Since I had just talked with the pediatrician on Friday and had been reminded that fevers over 101.5 needed to be checked out, I called the nurse hotline and gave the info on our situation, then waited for the on-call doc to contact me.

Meanwhile, we put Lucan back to bed, not knowing how long it would take them to call back. Around 10:30 we got the call, and after a conversation with the doctor, Ted got dressed again and headed out with a rather disgruntled Lucan. To make a long story short, poor Lucan was definitely dehydrated--there was a traumatic experience with the catheter when they tried to get a urine sample--and they hooked him up to an IV. By the time Ted woke me at 2 a.m. to nurse Lucan one more time, he felt much cooler, and it seems his fever has been either gone or low-grade ever since then. And thankfully he has awakened on his own to nurse more frequently, though not as long as usual...still, I think he's getting enough milk now, and I'm just grateful that he seems to be all right.

So this morning my fever was back had been down to 99 most of yesterday. And Charis also had 101.5 temp, so our scheduled tour to the Longaberger Homestead for her birthday outing had to be called off. Sigh.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on whose perspective you're looking at), the older boys seem to be totally cured. While this is great news for them, it's a nightmare for those of us who have been having to put up with them pinging off the walls! We've tried to send them outside to use up some energy, but we also don't want them around other kids yet! Poor Charis has spent most of the day on the couch, unable to fall asleep, but not feeling like doing a whole lot aside from the times she gets some Tylenol in her system...then we see glimpses of our sweet little sunshine.

Believe it or not, we did do school today. I felt I didn't have much choice, since Tobin and Arden were obviously feeling fine, and I knew that if they weren't channeled in some kind of direction, they would drive us all crazy. They did their morning independent work and "funvelopes," and then we all did Sonlight reading on the couch after a light lunch. I took a 2 1/2 hour nap this afternoon and woke up just as wiped out as when I fell asleep, my temperature back up to 101.5.

Ted says that today is the first day he has really felt like, about a full week, unless you're one of our energetic male offspring! If that holds true for me, I've got a few more days to survive and then I should be golden for next weekend--just in time to clean my house for the birthday celebrations, LOL.

October 11, 2009

Time for More Pictures


With friends at the park: Kenna, Arden, Samuel, and Charis. Samuel and Sarah and their mom, Sidra (pronounced SEE-dra), are some of our wonderful neighbors. I'm so thankful we live close to them!

Sidra and Sarah.

Sarah and Kenna.

Before leaving for the Oktoberfest...Arden got a good picture of me with Lucan and wanted his picture taken with Lucan, too. I'm glad he did! What a cute shot of the brothers!!