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 early...you'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 up...it 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 himself...so, 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!!

Lazy Weekend

I must say, if one has to get sick, it's best if it happens during a time when one has few obligations. Thank the Lord our whole family has been sick during a time when Ted could be home with us! This weekend hasn't been very fun, but we're getting through the fevers, coughs, and runny noses as best we can. We all stayed home from church this morning. Ted could have gone--he's pretty much over this--but as he rightly said, I wouldn't have been able to get much rest home alone with 5 kids, most of whom are also sick. Charis doesn't have a fever anymore, just a bit of a headache, but the younger ones are definitely in the middle of this. I woke with a temperature of 100.4, which was lower than last night's 101.8. It's down to 98.5 now, and it's been several hours since I had any medication, so I'm hopeful that I'm also getting towards the end of this. I just have a plugged nose and basically feel like I've been run over by a truck.

The worst part has been seeing the little ones feeling so rotten. Kenna went from skipping around and singing "E, I, O" at the top of her lungs yesterday morning (she just learned "Old McDonald") to sitting on the couch with glassy eyes, a red nose, and a blazing fever by mid-afternoon. And poor little Lucan has a fever and has slept pretty much non-stop, waking only to nurse a little, get some cuddles, and go back to sleep.

The jury is still out on whether Charis and I will leave the house tomorrow as planned for our tour of the Longaberger Homestead. That was to be Charis's birthday outing, though she doesn't know it yet. Now that my temperature seems to be getting back to normal, I have some hope that we can still go...I've already paid for it, and though I'm sure we can still get our baskets, I'm not sure that I'd get any refund if we don't go.

October 09, 2009

Oh, Yay

Yup. I got The Crud, too. Hit me like a ton of bricks this afternoon. The kids and I met Ted on base for his building's Oktoberfest. Great food, fun music, amusing hats and lederhosen--perfect for a throbbing headache. Still, it was very fun to watch Charis and Kenna holding hands and dancing to the music. I didn't stick around for long; Lucan had his 6-month check-up today, so we had to split to get over to the hospital and still got there late. I took Tobin along, since he was complaining the whole time we were at the Oktoberfest. I told him to sit in the waiting room and not move, which worked out well because he got to watch Tom & Jerry cartoons while Lucan and I did our thing.

Lucan is doing great, as I knew he was. He's not a super big guy--17 pounds, 26 inches. His head circumference is somewhere about the 11th percentile. I can't remember the height and weight percentages and don't feel like getting up to find the paper, so you'll have to be content with knowing that he's in the bottom half of the spectrum. I'm guessing this is because he expends so much energy trying to figure out the whole crawling thing. He is doing pretty much everything BUT actually crawling, and it's rather amusing to watch him maneuver around the living room. Look out, world. Here comes Lucan!

By the time we were finished with the appointment, I was more than ready to come home and go to bed. Ted had stayed with the other kiddos to watch some of the Oktoberfest events, so I had no idea when he'd be getting home. What are the chances of pulling out right in front of him at the traffic light when I turned out of the base gate entrance?! I don't know, but he followed me home. :-) The timing couldn't have been better...I nursed Lucan a bit more, then went to bed for about an hour and a half.

Ted made our pizza tonight, and we piled on the couch and watched the Dreamworks movie about Joseph. It was pretty good. That has got to be one of my all-time favorite Bible stories, so it was interesting to see how they brought it to life. The kids are in bed now, and I'm hanging in there until time to feed Lucan one last time. Then I'm hitting the sack. Thank the Lord we don't have anything planned for tomorrow!

October 07, 2009

Remember When Being Sick Was Fun?

Remember when you got sick as a kid? You got to stay home from school, cozied up under some blankets either in bed or on the couch. I loved this--I usually had a pile of books nearby to pass the time, and sometimes I even got to watch television. Mom would bring me hot soup or crackers and hot tea, and I got to eat off a TV tray. She would feel my hot head with her cool hand and give me love and sympathy (and sometimes medicine, blech). I could sleep whenever I needed to, and I knew Mom and Dad would take care of me.

Did I ever think about what I should be doing instead of lying around? No.

Did I ever try to do chores while feeling horrible? No.

Did I ever worry about all the work piling up for me that I'd need to do when I returned to life as a healthy person? No.

Did anyone ever expect anything from me other than whining or complaining? No.

You know where I'm going with this...being sick as a grown-up is simply rotten. No one has nearly as much sympathy for your plight as Mom did. And as a sick parent, you not only have to take care of yourself but also figure out how to shepherd the little 'uns around without them getting sick too. And heaven help you if you AND they are sick at the same time.

Yesterday Ted came home early from work with some flu-like symptoms. He went straight to bed and pretty much stayed there until 4:00 this morning, although he did emerge for a light dinner and a nap on the couch. Last night my head started hurting, and it's still aching this morning. I'm hoping it's just from exhaustion (and, let's be honest, a fair amount of stress) and that I'm not coming down with anything. As nice as it sounds to crawl into bed and catch up on some rest, it just doesn't seem feasible with 5 young charges. I encouraged Ted to stay home from work today--he's still struggling with a headache and feeling woozy. There's no need to be sitting in the office feeling horrible, especially with the swine flu scare going around. I hope he can rest and recover amidst the chaos that is our typical school day.

And I hope I don't get whatever he's got. 'Cuz let's face it--it just ain't the same being sick when you're the Mom.

October 02, 2009

Club Projects

For my club members to see what they're making this weekend...since I can't yet post to my business web site because I haven't figured out how to resize the pictures on my new computer!!

Scrap Club members will make this layout (or whatever they want with their supplies, LOL!)

Stamp Club members will make a version of the following project, a card or gift-card holder using Designer Series Papers, plus the Big Shot die-cut card below.

Sorry, I don't have a picture of the bonus project...which is for those who order $40 or more this month.