February 19, 2012

In Sickness and in Health

It's hard to believe Ted has now been back in Afghanistan as long as he was here for R&R!  Not much time for blogging lately, which is a bummer, because it also means I haven't had any time to read my friends' blogs, either.  I try to do quick scans on Facebook now and then to see how folks are doing, but my FB interaction is typically limited to letting Ted know how and what we're doing.

So, it's been a barrel of fun around here the last couple of weeks.  Soon after Ted left my nursing problems escalated again; it seemed they never really went away while he was home, so after he left, they just got worse.  I ended up back in the ER with an infection and started a third round of antibiotics.  Sigh.  With that came a referral to the Center for Breastfeeding Medicine in Cincinnati.  My team here on base decided they needed some more expert opinions as to why this keeps occurring.

The original appointment was scheduled for last week.  However, life came to a screeching (and messy) halt when we got hit with a stomach virus. 

Monday night Kenna was up vomiting from midnight to 3 a.m.  Tuesday she lay around the house, feeling miserable and feverish.  Wednesday morning she was feeling great! 

Wednesday afternoon Tobin came in the house (after the one good school day we had) and threw up.  Arden sat down at the dinner table that evening and spewed everywhere.  Charis succumbed shortly thereafter, and each of the three older kids had various levels of "after shocks" throughout the evening until they finally passed out for the night.  I managed to get everyone in bed before it hit me, and I spent a pretty miserable evening and night praying that I wouldn't have to deal with the little ones while in such a weakened state.

Thursday was deemed a movie day, and while the kids seemed to be recovered enough to enjoy camping out and watching movies on a gray, rainy day, I felt awful until that night, when the achiness and chills finally ended.  This was the original date for my appointment in Cincinnati, but I was able to reschedule it for next Friday.

This weekend has been sunny, which helped lift our spirits as I sent kids outside to play and get some fresh air.  I did lots of laundry and cleaned all the bathrooms.  I decided we were probably safe to attend church and looked forward to getting out after being housebound since last Monday.

And then Lucan started crying last night, and when I checked on him, he was feverish.  He and Kenna were both up early this morning with terrible coughs, and Lucan's nose has been running pretty much non-stop.  Since the older three were symptom free, and since they had AWANA quiz team practice after church, I sent them with a friend to church while I stayed home with the younger three.  Even Zaden is coughing and has a little sniffle!  My poor babies!

So we haven't done a lot of academics lately, ha!  But we've done a lot of praying together, and Lord willing, the kids are seeing grace under pressure!  And unconditional love!  Nothing says "I love you" like a willingness to clean up the contents of someone else's stomach, eh?!

February 05, 2012

R&R, Day 15

Whew.  I can't believe it's here--day 15!  Yes, time has gone quickly, but I can honestly say that we truly have enjoyed every moment of the past two weeks.  God has been so good to us!  I didn't want us to spend all of Ted's R&R time dreading the day we'd have to say goodbye again, and we really haven't.  I know there will be some tears tomorrow morning when we drop him off at the airport, but I think we all feel stronger and refreshed as a family.  We KNOW we can do this!  We've been through the hardest part (Lord willing)!  There are only 107 days left--this will be a piece of cake!

OK, maybe not.  But I think...I hope...that this will somehow be much easier than it was May 22, 2011, when we said goodbye, knowing that we wouldn't be seeing each other again for over half a year.  I was incredibly hormonal and facing delivering our 6th child without my husband.  Now...we have a happy, healthy, 5-month-old baby boy!

It's been a good last day.  We had a blast serving in Kids' Street Live this morning with the incredible KSL team.  What a blessing to work with such fun and dedicated servants of our Lord!  Then Ted and I attended our Resolve to Read class, which we hadn't been able to attend the past couple of Sundays because of very late Saturdays for us.  (Instead we just attended the service.)

Charis, Tobin, and Arden stayed at church for AWANA Bible quiz practice, and the rest of us came home and had chili for lunch.  After Ted brought the older kids home, I lay down for a really long nap, probably my last good nap for a few months!  I just don't sleep as soundly when I'm the only adult in the house.  Ted played a final game of Settlers of Catan with the older kids while Lucan and Zaden were napping.

I didn't wake until nearly 5:30.  Before we turned on the Super Bowl, Ted gathered the kids around and we had a time of prayer together.  Very bittersweet, since we were praying for God's strength and help for the next few months as well as thanking Him for the blessings of the past couple of weeks and His grace in bringing us this far.

Now Arden and Ted, the diehard football guys, are watching the Super Bowl.  The other kids are in the basement watching Animaniacs.  Ted is preparing apples to make crockpot applesauce to go with pancakes in the morning, and I--finally!--have at least posted the highlights of each day we've had together.  I've hardly been on the computer at all this past week, which is just fine! 

I'm so thankful for these past 15 days.  Many people have been praying for God's blessing on our time together, and I can really tell.  Any number of things could have happened to create dissension and discord among us, but give God glory!  Ted and I have had wonderful conversations; we have reconnected physically, emotionally, and spiritually; and by God's grace, we have not had any "couple drama!"  The children have all responded well to Daddy being home--aside from the first day or two of them always coming to me to ask if Daddy could do something, they have adjusted very well to having him here and responding to his authority.  Ted has stepped back into his husband and dad roles extremely well.  It has been a joy watching him interact with the children and seeing them enjoy his presence.

So if you were one of the dear people who has been praying for us for our time TOGETHER, not just apart, thank you!  And thank you to all the ones who have been praying us through this year, this journey.  The growth we've experienced is something I wouldn't trade for anything.  But I still can't wait for Ted to be home for good!

R&R, Day 14

  • Up and at 'em early!  Kids' Street Live rehearsal at church starting at 9 a.m.!  It was so much fun to get to do this together again!  
  • Charis had a birthday party to attend right after we were finished.  Ted dropped me off at Kroger on the way so I could grab some fresh produce.
  • While Charis enjoyed the party with her friend from AHG (they went horseback riding!), Ted and I played a different version of Catan with the boys.
  • The one thing Ted wanted to do while he was home but hadn't yet done was go to Young's, so we ended up sending him there with all the kids but Zaden.  I stayed home and enjoyed a nice, quiet dinner plus worked on getting my business tax info together for Ted.
  • We put the littles to bed somewhat early and let the older kids have a reading night so Ted and I could watch Courageous.  Wow!  It's good!  "I laughed, I cried...it moved me, Bob!"  (Veggie Tales line there.)  I'm glad I waited to watch it with Ted.  If you haven't yet seen it, GO GET IT AND WATCH!

R&R, Day 13

  • Ted took Kenna and Lucan to base to run some errands.
  • I put the older kids to work!  We did a thorough cleaning/organizing of the library and family room.  I also cleaned all the bathrooms.  I know, not very exciting, but life continues even during hubby's R&R!  The dirt doesn't take a break even if we do!
  • The original plan was for Ted to take the older 4 kids to homeschool skate day; however, as we were talking about it, the boys really were not that interested in going after all.  We decided since our time together was limited, we'd stay home and enjoy another game of Catan.
  • Ted went back to base for "First Friday" to hang out with some folks from his old squadron for a couple of hours in late afternoon.
  • I made homemade pizza and salad in preparation for our family pizza and movie night!
  • We watched a newer Veggie Tales (The Princess and the Pop Star) and an Animaniacs DVD, both from the library.
  • Three words:  Stove top popcorn!  Mmmm!

R&R, Day 12

  • Piano lessons for the older kids in the morning--I'm afraid they weren't very prepared!  There has been a severe lack of routine around here lately, LOL!
  • Ted left mid-morning to enjoy his 60-minute massage, Christmas gift from his mom.  (We checked into doing them at the same time, but the place where she got the gift cards doesn't do couples' massages.  Bummer!)
  • I prepared things for the babysitter, my friend Charity who came over to watch the kids while Ted and I went on a lunch date.
  • Zaden got to go out with us again, since he was going to need a feeding while we were out!
  • We went to our favorite Indian restaurant and met our friends Lt. Col. L and his wife Genae and enjoyed a wonderful lunch and conversation with them.  Jason will be deploying to Kandahar in August, so you can just imagine the info flying from Ted's brain into his!  
  • Ted and I then went to Half-Price Books and puttered around there for a little while...
  • ...then went to the Family Bookstore, where I finally picked up a planner as well as the movie Courageous.
  • Catan again with the kids!
  • Ted took the boys to karate, and a friend picked up Charis for American Heritage Girls.  Kenna and I hung out for some good girl time, since Lucan didn't nap and went to bed early!

R&R, Day 11

  • We enjoyed a lazy morning together as a family...this picture shows Arden voluntarily reading to his younger siblings.  He is such a great big brother!
  • Charis had an orthodontist appointment shortly before lunch, so she and I went out together for that.
  • Afterward, I took her to Walmart, as she wanted to shop for a few craft supplies.  We also picked up a birthday gift for a party she was attending on Saturday.
  • Then we had a girls' lunch out at one of our favorite cafes.
  • Ted and the other kids were enjoying some quality Wii time together at home.
  • It was so gorgeous outside that I ended up going for a 2-mile run, my first run in at least 10 months!  I loved being outside and exercising, but my body really protested and let me know I am NOT as young as I once was...it took me 3 days to recover!
  • During Lucan's nap time we set up the Catan board!  So fun to play as a family!  (Kenna played as Ted's helper and said "Harumph!" when things didn't go well for him!  So cute!)
  • We fed the kids dinner and loaded everyone up to go to church and dropped off the older 4 for AWANA.
  • Zaden and Lucan went with us to Chipotle, where Ted and I ate our dinner and laughed at Lucan's silly antics.
  • Then we went to the mall so we could get Lucan's "Daddy bear" (from Build-A-Bear Workshop) a new voice recording, as the old one had been played to death.  Lucan was delighted! 
  • We had enough time to let Lucan play in the play area awhile before going to pick up the kids and heading home.  It was so weird to be out with only our two youngest children...reminded me of when we were young parents with a tiny Charis and Tobin!

    R&R, Day 10

    • Ted got up EARLY to take Rhonda to the airport!  It was a short but very fun visit, and we are so thankful she was able to come spend some time with Ted and allow US to spend some time away!
    • Zaden and I went to my ladies' Bible study (which has been fabulous, by the way--love Beth Moore's new study on James).
    • Ted put the kids to work UN-decorating the house...when I came home, Christmas was GONE!  And the house was CLEAN!  What a blessing!  (OK, I did ask him to take down the decorations, but he definitely went above and beyond the call of duty!)  The house somehow looks bigger now that the tree is gone and the furniture rearranged, LOL.
    • The older kids went to PE with friends in the afternoon, and the boys played with their friend Justin afterward.
    • (I'm having a hard time remembering how we finished this day, but I'm pretty sure it involved playing Wii and Catan with the kids!)

    R&R, Day 9

    • We slept in just a bit, waking around 7:30.  
    • Oh, what a wonderful breakfast!  And the best part was not having to cook it, LOL!  
    • Ted and I also enjoyed coffee and blueberry scones for a mid-morning snack with our quiet time.
    • The owner allowed us to stay as long as we liked, so we had a wonderfully relaxed morning with lots of uninterrupted conversation. :-)
    • We packed up and left around 2 p.m.
    • Enjoyed lunch at a favorite Mexican restaurant.
    • I got a 60-minute relaxation massage, my mom-in-law's Christmas gift to me, while Ted and Zaden ran a couple of errands.
    • The original plan was to meet Rhonda and the other kids, who had been at the Boonshoft Museum, at Chick-Fil-A for an early dinner before the boys had to head to karate...
    • ...However, when I called Rhonda to tell her to go ahead and order for her and the kids, since Ted and I had such a late lunch, she and the kids were halfway to Cincinnati, having missed their exit to get back home!
    • The unexpected detour finally ended, and Ted and Rhonda took the kids to CFA after all, leaving me a bit of peace and quiet at home.  (Boys missed karate, but it was fine!)
    • Once everyone was home again, we enjoyed an Oreo pie from Ritter's as a birthday treat for Grandma J (whose birthday is Feb. 6) and as a special treat for Ted, since he loves Oreos!
    • After devouring some chocolatey goodness, we played a game together before putting the kids to bed.

      R&R, Day 8

      • Sunday!  Grandma J was here, so we all attended church as a family--second service only, since Ted and Charis got back so late from Winter Jam.
      • Lunch together, and then Ted, Zaden, and I made our escape!
      • We arrived at the Ohio Barn B&B in mid-afternoon and met the new owner, who made us feel at home and gave us the run of the place.
      • I enjoyed a nap while Ted and Zaden had some quality guy time together. :-)
      • My friend Eilene had brought us this lovely basket of goodies to take with us so we wouldn't have to worry about dinner arrangements and could instead just settle in and relax.  So we did!
      • Had a lovely, leisurely evening together.  Zaden did very well sleeping in the other room in a pack-n-play, so we got a good sleep, too.