January 29, 2012

R&R, Day 7

Was it just a week ago we were anxiously waiting for news on Ted's whereabouts, hoping and praying he wouldn't be delayed too much in getting home?!  Time is flying!

We had decided awhile ago that we would have a separate "Christmas" when Ted got home.  He had fun shopping for everyone and finding unique gifts from Afghanistan, and the kids wanted to exchange presents with each other as well.  So we held off on some gifts until this week and planned for Saturday morning to be our Christmas Day together.  That gave the kids time to earn some gift money!  I didn't think of the idea until fairly close to Christmas, so it worked out, but here's how they did it.  We kept an ongoing tally mark sheet on the refrigerator for each of them, and whenever I needed a little task done that wasn't a part of their usual chores, they could earn a tally mark or two for completing the task.  Each tally mark was worth a quarter.

As time went on and I was mentally calculating how much each one was earning (I tried to give equal opportunities to do the jobs), I realized there was just no way they were going to earn enough money to give ALL of their siblings gifts.  So we had a family meeting and discussed our options, and the kids decided that rather than split the money and buy little gifts for more siblings, they would only exchange one gift--Tobin and Arden would buy for each other, and Kenna and Charis would buy for each other, and Lucan and Zaden presumably wouldn't have a clue they were missing anything, LOL.

So anyway, having Christmas on Saturday allowed the kids to do their shopping for each other when they were out with Ted, as Tobin, Arden, and Kenna all had their dates with Dad during the week.  Charis's date wasn't until Saturday night, so Ted took her and Lucan out to do a couple of other errands and the shopping as well.

Everything worked out beautifully!  We enjoyed a fun, leisurely morning that actually almost felt like a real Christmas!  You can see pictures and read explanations of the photos here.  I took a wonderful nap after all was said and done, and Ted got me up to have lunch and finish our Catan game with the kids.  Then he and Charis took off for their adventure--they went to church to meet other kids from Route 5:6 and went to Winter Jam in Columbus!  Thankfully there were enough people that they drove the big bus, so Ted didn't have to drive.  He slept all the way home, apparently!  I think they had a lot of fun together!

Back at home, the boys checked out the new sports Wii game we got for the kids while I ran like a whirlwind around my kitchen, stocking up on some needed supplies after a few days of laziness!  We had our pizza and movie night, and then after Lucan and Kenna were in bed, Stefanie came over to stay at the house while I drove to the airport to pick up Rhonda.  Tobin and Arden waited up so they could see her and played with their new Legos quietly, so Stefanie got to enjoy some quality time with Zaden. :-)

Grandma got to tuck the boys in bed and chat with them awhile, and then she and I visited until Ted and Charis came home.  Sweet reunion!  I know Rhonda is just as happy that we are that her son is HOME!!!

January 28, 2012

R&R, Day 6

Yesterday was a very fun FAMILY day!  It's been a juggling act trying to schedule one-on-one time for each child to have with Ted, but so far I think (I THINK) we've done a pretty good job of balancing our activities.  The timing for various things has just worked out so beautifully; I know God's hand has been guiding us and blessing our time together.  Many people have not only prayed for us to get through the deployment but are also praying for this R&R break, and I can certainly feel those prayers lifting us up!  Special thanks to those who have been part of this journey with us!

So, highlights from our Friday together:

After a late breakfast, I had to run to base to pick up a prescription, leaving Ted and the kids to hardly notice I was gone while they made some serious progress on a Wii game. :-)  We had lunch here at home and then loaded everyone up to go to a surprise somewhere.  It was fun listening to the kids guess where we were taking them...even with the clue that no one in our family had ever gone to this event before and that it was NOT a restaurant, they still made all kinds of guesses that defied the parameters!

A dear couple from our church wanted to bless our family with some money to allow us to enjoy something together.  So we chose an event, Discover the Dinosaurs, that was in the city for this weekend.  I had looked at the web site when someone posted it on our church's homeschool Facebook page, and when I saw the prices, I immediately ruled it out.  Not for our family!  But the generosity of these friends changed all that!

We had both of the little boys in strollers, which was helpful since it was Lucan's nap time and he seemed content to simply observe from his seat, taking in everything around him!  There was a considerable amount of noise from all the roaring of the animatronics.  The lighting could also be a bit overwhelming.  We were there on a Friday, so there was probably a lot fewer people than there surely will be today and tomorrow, so that did help.  I was thankful that both Zaden and Lucan seemed to enjoy the stimulation and weren't upset by it all.  Truly, I was surprised that there weren't screaming toddlers everywhere, but I suppose those who would have been upset by the scenes were probably ushered to the other side of the convention center where there were bounce houses and other entertainment in a non-roaring environment.

We actually made our way to the other activities shortly after arriving so that I could find a seat and nurse Zaden while the kids did some activities.  Everything required tickets, and at $20 per 12 tickets, it was definitely steep for a family our size!  Again, we were so grateful for the monetary gift we received, as it allowed us to purchase 24 tickets and disperse them among the kids.

Tobin, Kenna, and Lucan chose to go through a ginormous inflatable play area first, while Charis and Arden discussed the best way to maximize their tickets.  They ended up splitting a small bag at the mining station and spent some time "mining" for pretty rocks--I thought they made a very wise choice!  It allowed them to each have a little souvenir to take home plus conserve more tickets!

Kenna and Lucan spent some time digging around the "dinosaur bones" in a sand pit while Tobin did a mining activity as well.  Charis and Arden both had enough tickets left to purchase necklaces.  Arden found a cool obsidian arrowhead, and Charis chose a cut and polished heart stone.  (Later, our sweet and thoughtful daughter took some of her own money and bought a similar necklace for Kenna, just because she wanted to!)

Once our tickets were spent (and it didn't take long!), we went back to the dino scenes and looked around for the answers to the scavenger hunt sheets we got at the door.  That took us through all the displays, and we also spent time looking at a collection of REAL fossils.  So hey, it was very educational, too!

The kids traded in their trivia sheets for little prizes, and then we all agreed we were ready to head home.  It was way past Lucan's nap time, and we had hopes of him getting a nap before we went to church that evening.  We did put him down, but the stinker never did go to sleep!  However, the older kids and Ted and I played a game (or at least started a game) of Settlers of Catan while Lucan was in his bedroom, and that was a lot of fun!  Kenna "helped" Ted play and did a fantastic job of saying "Harumph" when the dice didn't favor Daddy.

In the evening we went to church for dinner, fellowship, and a program that included games and an overview of 2011 with a vision for where God is taking Faircreek in 2012.  It was a wonderful time, though we were pretty wiped out by the end!  We left just a few minutes early, as I needed to nurse Zaden as soon as we got home.  We managed to start a movie with the older kids but then went to bed when Daddy started snoring--loudly!--through the exciting scenes!

For more dinosaur pictures, go to my Facebook album!

R&R, Day 5

Catching up so I don't forget...Thursday was a big day for Ted; thankfully the jet lag is getting better!  We kept him on the go from morning 'til night!

  • Piano lessons continued as normal at the house.  Arden went first so he could be ready for his date with Dad afterward!
  • Arden got to go to the Lego store and shopped (both for himself and for Tobin), then had lunch with Dad.
  • After coming home for a quick drop-off, Ted took Kenna out for her date with Daddy!
  • Kenna went with Daddy to Michael's to shop for Charis's Christmas present.  Then they went to Friendly's for ice cream.  Kenna had only been to Friendly's once before (last June!), but every time we pass there she comments on it and asks when we can go again.  So I thought it would be a fun surprise for Ted to take her there...and yes, she was definitely excited.
  • Back at home, I made two loaves of bread--I'm now using flour from this company and hope to get a wheat grinding attachment for my KitchenAid mixer soon so that I can simply buy the soaked and sprouted wheat berries, then grind my own when I'm ready to bake.  (Cheaper and more nutritional value that way.)
  • Those of us at home also enjoyed lots of Wii time together. :-)
  • I made a big dinner for us to have early since the boys had karate.  One of our favorites:  lemon chicken!
  • Ted took the boys to karate, where they had their first belt test.  Both of them and their friend Logan passed, so they are now yellow belts!
  • While the boys were gone, we girls watched a Christy movie and had hot tea and Stroopies.
  • We got kids in bed at a reasonable hour, and Ted and I had some time to start a movie while I nursed Zaden for the last time.
I still need to get a picture of Arden with his Lego set and Ted!

January 25, 2012

Kenna Says

Kenna, practicing her AWANA section for tonight with Daddy:  "When they saw the star, they were over-cheerful."

R&R, Day 4

Wow, time is ticking away!  But today was the first day Ted did not take a nap, so we are making progress, LOL.  Today's highlights:

  • Breakfast around the table with EVERYONE present!  (Well, Lucan drifted in and out, but that's typical these days.)  We had homemade berry and yogurt parfaits and enjoyed some yummy granola from our friends in India, who sent us a big box as a treat to enjoy while Ted is home!
  • Tobin's day out with Dad--they went to the Lego store with gift card and spending money in hand!  (Grandma J gave the boys gift cards for Christmas.)  Tobin also shopped for a Christmas gift for Arden with the money he has been earning recently for that purpose--we're doing a belated family Christmas probably Saturday morning.
  • At home, I held the other kids off from Wii for awhile at least; they colored and did puzzles; Arden and I played checkers (he beat me soundly); and Charis, Arden, and I played Chinese checkers (Charis won handily when Arden began blocking my brilliant, strategic path).
  • And then we all played Wii. 
  • We ate a healthy lunch (much to their chagrin) while Ted took Tobin to McDonald's as part of their "date."  (Ted passed on McD food and came home to polish off the chicken soup that was leftover!)
  • Tobin disappeared to his room to put his new Lego sets together.
  • Ted took Charis and Lucan out to do some errands.  Charis did her Christmas shopping for Kenna.  (The kids decided rather than spend piddly amounts on every sibling, they would simply exchange one gift--boys with boys, girls with girls.  Lucan and Zaden are blissfully unaware of any such arrangement!)
  • Tobin and Arden played a Wii game from the library while Kenna watched and I prepped taco fixings for dinner.
  • Ted took the older kids to AWANA while I ate my own dinner (was nursing Zaden while everyone else ate) and cleaned up.
  • Lucan got an early bedtime (after stories with Daddy), then Zaden went down for his evening cat nap.
  • Ted and I started a movie together before time to pick up the AWANA kids.
  • Now Kenna is in bed, and the older 3 and I are going to watch American Idol while Ted goes to bed early.

R&R, Day 3

Whew, this was an incredibly long day for me!  Good, but busy.

  • Up early to enjoy coffee and quiet time with my sweetie.  LOVED being able to discuss our Bible reading together and pray with each other in person!!!
  • Ladies' Bible study at church for me, Zaden, and Arden...Z was in the nursery, A in the arcade, waiting for...
  • Lunch and shopping date with Arden!  He desperately needed new shoes and pants, so we hit the BX and found both.  (Woohoo--two pairs of pants for $11 total!)  We also purchased 2 more Wii remotes so we have a total of 4, a very good thing for our family!
  • Lunch in the food court: I brought a salad from home for myself and bought Arden a pizza/breadsticks combo, then treated him to ice cream.  He was sooooo happy and so thankful!  What a delight to be out with that boy!  
  • Grocery shopping in the commissary--Arden pushed Zaden's stroller while I piled stuff into the cart.
  • Home to unload everything.
  • Meanwhile, Ted and the other kids were at home doing some cleaning, laundry, and quality Wii time!
  • After unloading groceries, Charis and I left for her orthodontist appointment.
  • Dropped Charis off at the house so she could join the Wii fest and drove to the farms to pick up eggs and milk.
  • Home...finally...and enjoyed SITTING and feeding Zaden while Ted made dinner.
  • Dinner as a family--lots to talk about together!  So fun to sit around the table and share our "Joy, junk, Jesus" moments from the day!  Then a devotional reading before the kids helped me clean up and Ted took a bit of a nap.  (Darn jet lag!)
  • After getting littles to bed, Ted and I finished watching our Tim Hawkins DVD and then tucked the older kids in bed.
Sigh...no pics from today.  I was hardly home!

January 23, 2012

R&R, Day 2

Jet lag is a major downer.  But we've managed to enjoy at least being together despite the exhaustion!  Today's activities included:

  • Hot tea and a quiet time before kids woke up...Ted made me tea. :-)
  • Breakfast made by Ted (scrambled eggs with sausage)--it somehow tastes better when someone else cooks for a change!
  • A relaxed morning with kids playing or reading while Ted updated his laptop in hopes that it will work faster once he goes back overseas
  • A trip to the chiropractor--aaaaahhhh!  My neck and right shoulder blade had so much tension, and I can't even express how much better I feel now!
  • An oops moment when we started to drive on base for a couple of errands only to realize Ted had left his ID at home...so much for that!
  • A trip with Tobin to return overdue books to the library and Kroger for some much-needed produce
  • A much-needed nap for Ted while kids played Wii and I did some laundry and kitchen work
  • Dinner with the girls and Lucan while the boys attended karate class
  • Haircuts for all the boys (except Zaden!)--our family barber is back now!
  • Cuddling on the couch with my sweetie watching the latest Tim Hawkins DVD
  • An early bedtime for ALL of us!

Ted reads a newly buzzed Lucan a bedtime story.

Sweet Moments

Moments like this, at any other time, would be taken for granted and considered "normal."  But when Daddy has missed the first 5 months of Zaden's life, these are precious times, indeed!

January 22, 2012

R&R, Day 1

Highlights from Ted's first day home:

* Sunday morning pancakes and strawberries, a tradition that just isn't the same without Daddy!
* Attending church today and being overwhelmed by the love and support from our church family
* Watching Zaden's face light up when spending time with Daddy
* Lots of snuggles and stories on the couch
* Eating a family favorite lunch (pulled pork, squash bake, garlic green beans, almond flour biscuits) and sitting around the dining room table--not the kitchen table (which only seats 6), where the kids and I normally eat
* Boy bonding time watching the football games
* A 3-hour nap for me!
* Stove-top popped corn for dinner (coconut oil + sea salt = yum!)
* More cuddles on the couch
* Evening nap for Ted, still trying to adjust to a new time zone
* More cuddles on the couch while watching American Idol with the older kids

Waiting for Daddy!

So ever since Ted notified us on Thursday that he would be on a flight from Afghanistan to Kuwait, we've been on pins and needles waiting for his arrival!  We didn't have much communication from him during the duration of his travels, but we did learn that he was going through Germany to Atlanta and finally to Dayton.  His scheduled arrival time was 5:36 pm on Saturday.

I was guardedly optimistic about this time, and the kids were doing happy dances all throughout the day.  I hadn't planned anything at all for Saturday, not knowing exactly what would be happening.  I was pretty much useless all day, although I did get one load of laundry finished and made 4 dozen banana muffins.  Other than that, I spent my time reading, playing Wii with the kids, checking flight statuses online, and wandering aimlessly around the house, picking up random things while not being fully engaged in any sort of cleaning project.  The kids were delighted to have such a distracted mom, as they ended up spending 98% of their waking hours in front of the television, first watching Animaniacs DVDs from the library, then playing Wii, and later watching a movie.

When the phone finally rang and I got to hear Ted's voice for the first time in a number of days, I was first relieved to hear he was stateside, but then disappointed with him that plans seemed to be changing.  Atlanta was pretty much shut down due to poor weather, but his plane had needed fuel, so they stopped in Alabama, where they waited on the plane for 2 1/2 hours before getting refueled. 

We next heard from him once he arrived in Dallas, where they had been rerouted because of the situation in Atlanta.  He sounded SO exhausted!  But the good news was that once he had cleared customs, he was able to get on a direct flight to Dayton.  New expected time of arrival: 10:55 pm.

By this point it was close to dinner time at our house.  I had originally planned for us to have snacks in the afternoon and then eat dinner as a family at Cracker Barrel after we picked up Ted, since we had eaten there the day we took Ted to the airport when he left for his pre-deployment training in New Jersey.  Obviously this plan was going to have to change!  Thank goodness for Trader Joe's frozen dinners, LOL.  We enjoyed orange chicken and rice, and then, since the kids were driving me cuh-razy, I sent the boys to my neighbor Chris's house to borrow some movies. 

They took a vote and settled down to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and by the time that was over, it was time to pack up and head to the airport!  I had decided not to worry about the late time and to just take everyone along.  I mean, really, how often do you get to welcome your dad home from a war zone?!  The good thing was that Lucan had napped from about 3:00 - 6:00, so he was definitely recharged and ready to go!  Zaden, as usual, was on his perfect little schedule, so it was no problem getting him ready to go.  We started the Suburban and let it warm up so I wouldn't have to kill myself chipping off a half inch of ice from the windshield!

We arrived in plenty of time...I had planned for us to get special passes and go through security to meet Ted at the gate.  However, I neglected to update my plan with the change in arrival time, and security was closed!  So we simply sat in an area across from the ticket counter and waited.  I nursed Zaden, the kids played "football" with Lucan's stuffed dog, a pair of socks, and a scarf, and the kids took turns chatting with Grandma J, who kept us updated as to the plane's progress since she was watching online.  "Now Daddy's in Indiana!  He's crossing into Ohio!  He's a quarter inch away from the airport!"

It was rather quiet at the airport at that time, which was just fine.  The girls had made signs to hold up, and we made our way as far up as we could go without crossing the red line where the security guard sat.  Finally...FINALLY...after 8 months...we saw Ted walking toward us!  My tall, handsome, exhausted husband was finally HERE!  I captured the reunion with the kids on video, then gave the camera to Charis, so the latter part of the reunion video is sideways, because she turned the camera.  Still, it's pretty sweet. :-)

So, here we are!  I didn't think to ask anyone at the gate to get a picture of all of us.  I think Ted and I both felt a little awkward about making a scene...there weren't tons of people around, but everyone who WAS there was definitely watching our large family!  I saw a lot of smiles, but no one talked to us, and I was kind of in my own little happy bubble.  So the idea of getting a family picture never even occurred to me!  I took this one of Ted with all the kids once we got to the parking garage.

So, he's finally here, for 15 days, anyway.  But I suspect those 15 days will be most memorable!

So Faithful

Eight months ago today we drove Ted (and his weapons and his ginormous deployment bags) to the airport.  The year loomed before us, along with a considerable amount of fear, uncertainty, and worry.  I remember going to church immediately afterward and sitting in the front with my friend Shirley, weeping my way through the song list.  Every song that was picked that day was just what I needed, and I truly meant every word.  Right now, all I remember is that we sang "Blessed Be the Name!" 

(And as a side note, I've learned over the years that the sweetest times of worship are when we're going through hardship and STILL sing, whether a literal song or a lifesong, an offering of worship, a sacrifice of praise.  Sometimes simply praising God truly IS a sacrifice--a sacrifice of our pride, our selfish desires, our agenda.)

Today, we are 2/3 of the way through this deployment, and Ted is home for 15 days of R&R.  Once again, the songs at church were so meaningful!  Before we even left for church, I was thinking of how faithful God has been.  And one of the songs we sang was "Faithful God" by Josh Helms.  It's my new favorite song. :-)

So I'll close this little post with the lyrics.  I pray others will find this to be true for themselves!

Faithful God
Josh Helms

Closer than a brother, truer than a friend
Through valleys and mountains, the beginning to the end
For every failure, and every victory,
In every battle, you've been faithful to me!

Victorious, my redeemer
Glorious, brilliant dreamer
Faithful God, you have been faithful to me
Majesty, filled with wonder
Lavishly clothed in splendor
Faithful God you have been faithful to me

Author of redemption, creator and king
Before I drew breath, you were thinking of me
My past is forgotten, my future's secure
Faithful God, I am faithfully yours

Victorious, my redeemer
Glorious, brilliant dreamer
Faithful God, you have been faithful to me
Majesty, filled with wonder
Lavishly, clothed in splendor
Faithful God, you have been faithful to me

And as sure as the sunrise pierces the night sky
You will be there, you will be there
And as sure as the mountains, reach for the heavens
You will be there, you will be there

Victorious, my redeemer
Glorious, brilliant dreamer
Faithful God, you have been faithful to me
Majesty, filled with wonder
Lavishly, clothed in splendor
Faithful God, you have been faithful to me

January 19, 2012

The Saga Continues

For those who have been following my nursing woes, I have a new update...I truly hope we're getting to the end of these updates!  This morning I actually printed out a timeline to take to the doctor, which looks like this:


From the beginning, cracked and sore nipples due to poor latch.  Then, for 4 weeks we used a Supplemental Nursing System until Baby learned to suck properly (through October 2).

October 29—Blocked milk duct on the right side.  First experience ever in nursing 6 children.  Milk blister appeared; after popping it with a sterile needle (I know! Sorry!), milk was able to flow through and block resolved after about 11 hours.  (Note:  All issues from here have been on the right side, same spots.)

November 2—Blocked milk duct; resolved within about 6 hours. 

November 21—Blocked milk duct; resolved within 3 hours.  Milk blister reappeared and was sore/tender during Thanksgiving week.

November 28—Another block; resolved within a few hours.

December 1—Blockage, ending with infection.  Went to ER and was given a 10-day supply of antibiotics (started with an A…Augmentin?).  Relief within hours of taking the first antibiotic.  Took all medication as prescribed.

December 2—Appointment with Dr. Noya.  Said milk blister should resolve with use of antibiotics.

December 5—Met with lactation consultant because the milk blister was still not going away.  Hot compresses, Epsom salt soaks recommended and followed. 

December 8—Small lumps in breast; tender but not painful.

December 9—Horrific vaginal yeast infection.  Called the hotline, and a doctor (I think the one I saw in the ER?) prescribed a one-time dose (400 mg) of Diflucan over the phone.  Lumps still present in breast.

December 10—Noticed the lumps in breast were gone.  Added a 3-day yeast infection OTC treatment on my own because symptoms persisted, although not nearly as bad as initially.

December 12—Skin of milk blister broke apart (on its own) while nursing.

December 14—Appointment with Col. H-V, midwife, for assessment.  Cultures taken; no yeast present.  Nipple cream prescribed—use sparingly.

Used cream sparingly for a couple of weeks; milk blister got much smaller but never disappeared.  Stopped using the cream when it seemed there was no pain, discomfort, or potential issues.

January 8—Blocked milk duct again, this time closer to the nipple instead of back farther in the breast.  Took 15 hours of work before it finally went away.  Following this episode, the milk blister reared its ugly head again and became more and more tender.  Began using the nipple cream again, along with hot compresses and an Epsom bath here and there. 

January 18—Another blockage after a lot of tenderness where the milk blister is.  Called LC, who talked to the midwife, and was told to see my PCM.  


So, Dr. N saw me this morning, and after going through all of this information, he has put me on a new set of antibiotics, plus given me two Diflucan doses--one to take about a week from now, and one to take when the antibiotics are all gone.  (I also went by the Vitamin Shoppe on the way home and stocked up on probiotics and will take those alternating with my 4 doses of antibiotics each day!)

In addition to the medication, he ordered an ultrasound, which, by God's grace, I was able to get done today instead of having to come back.  Great news!  First, I didn't have to get a mammogram--hooray!  (Although I'm supposed to get one two months after Zaden is weaned because of my family history.)  Second, neither the tech nor the radiologist see anything of concern, just greatly dilated milk ducts (which, presumably, the medication is going to address).  So, no abscesses or cysts or anything else weird.  That was a great relief!

Will you please pray with me that this issue will be resolved once and for all?  Thank you!  I feel that after all this I should be made an honorary lactation consultant!  I do hope that God is using all these trials to refine me and make me more like Jesus.  I often don't feel like it, more often complaining and asking "Why me?" and "When will this end?" instead of "How can I give You glory?" and "How can I let You be my strength?"

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."  James 1:2-3

January 14, 2012

Charis's Tender Heart

For AWANA this past week, Charis had an assignment to write a pretend letter to a missions agency asking for a job.  Her finished product blessed me so much and brought tears to my eyes, and with her permission, I am sharing it here for others to see as well.

Dear ______________,

My name is Charis [last name]. I am writing to you to ask for a job as a missionary. I have always wanted to lead other people to Jesus. I know that it will be hard work and, in some cultures, possibly dangerous, but I feel strongly that God is calling me to do this.
Some of my good qualities are that I am: determined, trustworthy, perseverant, cheerful, compassionate, friendly, responsible, loving, gentle, generous, and dedicated.
I think I would make a good missionary because I am always ready to help people. I can guess what people are feeling most of the time so I can share their joy, comfort them, stand by them, and sympathize with them.  I shine God’s light and spread His word wherever I go. I feel very sad when people sin, and I pray for them constantly. I have led some of my friends to Jesus already, and I am eager to lead more. I know I am young, but that doesn’t matter. 1 Timothy 4:12 says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I am confident that I would make a good missionary. It has been my dream for years, and I would be very disappointed if I didn’t get the job. However, if that is the case, I would know that God has a bigger, better plan for me.
I hope you will consider me for the job. Please contact me as soon as possible. I eagerly await your reply. Thanks in advance.



Back to "Normal"

Ben Franklin said, "Fish and visitors stink in three days."  Well, I think it depends on what visitors you have!  We thoroughly enjoyed having the H family stay with us this past week.  I think Jen and I were mutually encouraged by each other's faith, and the kids learned a lot from playing together as well.  Kenna and Lucan will be so lonesome next week without playmates Robby (5) and Abby (almost 7).

We just shared our last meal together, as Rob and Jen loaded up their things and headed home to some beautifully refinished floors, one more project crossed off their house to-do list before trying to sell it next year before moving.  Lucan is now down for a nap, and the older boys are playing at a friend's house, and it is quiet indeed!  It was fun having a friend here to share the week with me; I almost forgot what it was like to have adult conversation on a regular basis, LOL!  My computer usage was extremely minimal, and I also enjoyed that--though I missed out on seeing what people were up to on Facebook, I was more than happy to take some time to make coffee or tea in the afternoons and sit and visit with Jen.  It's so wonderful to have friends to share one's walk with Christ, and to be able to talk about parenting and other issues that we all face was very encouraging for us both, I think.  I also enjoyed a bit of freedom to run errands or do what I had to do without kids tagging along.

We actually did manage to get through some schoolwork last week, too, which was a pleasant surprise, as I set low expectations and didn't figure we'd get much done.  But we nearly completed a week's worth of core readings, so that was a bonus!  That puts us close to finishing week 8 of our curriculum, and since I was hoping to get through 18 weeks before Ted comes home after his year away, I think we're pretty well on track for that to happen.  We have approximately a week left before his R & R time, so perhaps we can make it to the halfway point, which is actually a quarter's worth of work in normal school terms!  But given what we are experiencing this year, I'll take what we can get done!

January 09, 2012

House Guests

This week we are enjoying the company of the H family, who is living with us while the floors in their house are refinished!  They also homeschool two children, ages 5 and 7, and both are very fun and energetic.  They all "moved in" last night, and the kids have had a blast!  I was thankful they came yesterday so Jen was able to help put little ones to bed; I was fighting ANOTHER blocked milk duct (slightly different area this time) that didn't fully resolve until just before I went to bed at midnight.  Sigh.

Anyway, thankfully I woke feeling MUCH better this morning, and things still seem fine on that front.  Jen took her kids plus Kenna and Lucan to a metro park this morning, then out for lunch and to church with her for a service project.  It was wonderful...Charis, Tobin, Arden and I curled on the couch and did Sonlight reading for nearly two hours!  It felt good to focus on my older kids and get some schoolwork done without so many little interruptions.

In the afternoon Jen and I enjoyed coffee/hot tea and conversation; it was so nice to be able to visit while the kids played!  And boy, did they play HARD!  They were all starving (apparently!) all day long and VERY ready for bed by time evening came...that was quite apparent in their behavior, ha!

Jen made a yummy chicken and black bean soup for dinner, and then I went to get some groceries.  I'm headed to bed as soon as I can write up the assignment sheets for my school kids so they can get work done at church tomorrow while I attend our first Bible study session of the year, Beth Moore's new study James:  Mercy Triumphs.  Can't wait!

January 06, 2012

Planning Our Getaway

So in roughly two weeks Ted should be en route for HOME!  Only for 2 weeks, but still.  We've spent the last 8 months apart (with one week together between training and deployment), so as you can imagine, we're just a TAD bit excited.

We're trying not to plan TOO much, but some things simply must be scheduled, starting with our number one priority--our own time away without the kids!  Rhonda will be coming for a few days in the middle of Ted's R&R time so that she can spend some time with him plus help babysit the kids so we can go away for a night.

So the past couple of weeks I've been scouring web sites, trying to find a B&B.  Things just were not really coming together; either it was kind of a lengthy drive, or a little on the pricey side, or already booked.  So I finally just made a reservation at a nice inn on the recommendation of a B&B owner who was booked.  I found that I could get a luxury suite with king-sized bed and a jacuzzi for $99.  That seemed like a great deal!  But I was rather disappointed that it wouldn't be a B&B experience...we'd be on our own for meals.  Still, a jacuzzi!

Well, last night I got a voice mail from a soon-to-be B&B owner.  I had called the location to inquire and was told that they were in the middle of selling the place!  They took my name and number, but I wasn't sure whether to actually expect a call back or not, and after a day or so, I just booked the aforementioned luxury suite.  After reviewing the voice message, I decided it wouldn't hurt to call the new owner today and see what she had to say.

I am SO glad I called!  We had a lovely conversation.  She is a believer in Christ also and purchased the B&B partly for ministry opportunities!  We will be her first customers (and the only ones that night), so we will have the place to ourselves.  She wanted to give us a special deal because of our unique situation, so she is only charging us $75!!!  She offered to go and get us dinner if we want to order out rather than go back out after checking in, and she said we could stay as long as we want on Monday.  She even offered to let Grandma and the kids come and check the place out on Monday--there are 3 acres and a barn to explore!  She didn't even take my credit card info over the phone...it was really a God-directed opportunity for us both, I think.  Of course there will be a nice breakfast spread for us, plus fresh fruit and snacks.

Because of the set-up...she offered us access to the other room, which is adjoining...I actually think we will take Zaden with us.  I was a little concerned about trying to pump the whole time we're gone.  But if he can sleep next door to us, we can still enjoy couple time and I will be much more comfortable while we're away from home.  Plus, it will give Ted some extra time with his new son whom he has yet to meet as of right now!  Zaden is such a sweet, easy baby that I think it won't take away from our couple time at all to have him with us.  And hopefully that will make things easier for Rhonda, who will be home with the other 5!

I'm deliriously excited!

January 01, 2012

A Week Off

I LOVE the week between Christmas and New Year's!  The last week of December 2011 was a great time of catching up on sleep, eating leftovers, being lazy, reading, playing games, and enjoying my kids.  We did manage to keep up with laundry and at least a minimum of cleaning...having a new Wii game was great motivation in that department.  I have to confess I've gotten into the Wii craze myself; I hadn't really played anything since last Christmas when we first got it!  But it's been a blast to have the kids take turns playing something with me.  Now, we just need to get two more "Wii-motes" (as we call them) so we can do 4-player games!  Ted is looking into that so hopefully we can surprise the kids with that when he comes home for R&R in a few weeks.

I feel as if I hardly even did any cooking last week, since Denise sent me home from our Christmas Day feast with so many leftovers!  I think I did make spaghetti one night, and we did a crock-pot pulled pork (which also has lasted a few days) and homemade pizza for our movie night.  I'm not looking forward to having to figure out what we're going to be eating for the next week or two!  Time to get out the pencil and paper and get back to menu planning!

Now that I think of it, we didn't really go anywhere or do much of anything besides be lazy and play, ha!  The day after Christmas we did go to my friend Erin's house for a couple of hours to visit and play.  Then on Friday my friend Claire brought 7 of her 8 kiddos to the house to visit, as they were in Ohio for the holiday.  It was great fun to catch up with her.  We saw each other in the summer, so it was neat to see how the little ones have grown...and how her oldest son is looking and sounding more like a man than a boy now!  Time is flying!

For our movie night on Friday we watched an Animaniacs DVD from the library.  Oh, so much fun!  The kids hadn't seen any of those cartoons before, but they quickly became fans, and now they are singing the theme song loudly with me whenever we think about it.  We look forward to watching more together.  It brought back great memories of my college days, when Megan and I would walk over to Maddox dorm to watch episodes with Jenny, Kim, Natalie, and Penni.  Oh, the good old days!!

Considering it was December, we also had some pretty good weather last week--mostly sunny days with the temps in the 40s or 50s even.  I was just starting to think that maybe we'd get away with a mild winter, but today the temperature dropped while we were in church, and it has been terribly cold, windy, and rainy all afternoon.

So, it's back to...reality?!...tomorrow.  I have a dentist appointment in the morning, so I'm not sure how normal our day will really be.  Then again, I feel as if we don't really HAVE normal days around here anymore anyway!