Saturday, February 28, 2009

2 Birthdays

Sarah's birthday was on the 15th. She turned 8. We originally planned to have a birthday sleepover on the 20th, but her little party guest had the flu so we put it off a week. Last night was the big night! (You may remember this same little girl from last year's birthday sleepover pictures--it's Sarah's best bud Madison...who happens to be the daughter of a dear friend of mine who I've known literally since birth!)
First they sat at the coffee table & ate pizza & opened Sarah's gift.

Then they changed into their PJs & sat at the bar & sang Happy Birthday over a plate full of cupcakes. I LOVE the look on Sarah's face in this one. Larry was standing beside her & was making the song sound silly. The pride & the giggles in her eyes make my heart smile!

Madison brought her Littlest Pet Shop toys & they compiled them with the ones we own. Oh my goodness. It was an evening of a million tiny animals in the girls' bedroom! Savannah even joined in to play!
I know this one is a little hard to see, but the girls made a big fluffy blanket & sleeping bags pallet on the floor & piled up pillows to watch movies til they konked out...sometime between midnight & 1am! They had a great night.

Today is the day we're celebrating King's birthday as well. Yes, our dog. :) Last year, we adopted him on Leap Day (Feb. 29th). Since we won't see that date again for 4 years, we're celebrating on the 28th. We have no idea when his ACTUAL birthdate is, so we're using the day we got him as his birthday! Happy Birthday sweet boy!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

prayer request news

The diagnosis my friend received on Wednesday was confirmed today. Please be in prayer for this sweet family in the days ahead.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

URGENT prayer request

If you are reading this prior to Thurs 2/26 at 1:30pm Central Time, please get on your knees & pray with me!

here's why:
A dear friend of mine received a fatal diagnosis of the baby she is carrying today. She is going to Dallas for a more high-tech ultrasound tomorrow (2/26) to confirm the diagnosis.

Join me and so many others who are praying for a miracle tomorrow at 1:30.

Monday, February 23, 2009

If you don't like the weather.....

There is a saying around here. If you don't like the weather in Texas, just stay for a few minutes & it'll change. That sure seemed to be true this morning.

When I took the kids to school, I noticed the heavy clouds in the sky. It wasn't quite as dark as it appears in this picture (I took it with my phone's camera) but I couldn't help but look at the pretty way the clouds were put together & think "'s gonna rain!". This was about 7:55am.

Less than an hour later when I left for work (about 8:40), the sky outside our house looked like this.

What a difference an hour makes!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Know where I can find a mute hair stylist?

For weeks now, I've been sitting in the driveway of the kids' school where the sunlight is just right at 3pm and picking. No, not picking my nose....picking at my hair. I'll admit it. I'm a picker. If I see a piece of lint on your shirt, I'm likely to pick it off. If I have a zit, I'm going to pick at it. If I see a hair on your head that's out of place & looking all wonky, I'm too OCD to let it just lay there. I will walk over & fix it for you. (& I'm the friend who will tell you that you have food in your teeth or a booger clinging to the side of your nostril! works out for all of us!) But I've been picking at my hair because I've had split ends something awful. I learned to mess with split ends from my big sis. When we were kids, she'd sit on the couch in the sunlight & find split ends & split them. I'm sure at some point I asked what she was doing & she showed me, so I joined in. She has always had super long hair, so it wasn't hard for me to sit beside her & split her split ends for her. And now, I do it to my own hair if I have any dead, dry, yucky ends.

Like most moms, I don't have time for a regular haircut. Honestly, that's why I've never tried any other colors on my hair. While I think it would be great fun to be a redhead, I'd never do it because I know I won't keep it up like I should & before long I'd be a redhead only from the ears down. Yeah, that wouldn't look good. So once every 4-6 months (yes, I really said MONTHS), I find my way to the salon for a cut. Yes, I realize that it's best to cut/trim your hair about every 6 weeks, but really......that'll never happen. Well, maybe when my kids are all out of the house and/or I'm retired.

Now, I realize that many women go to a fancy salon where they are pampered & treated like queens for a couple hours while they have an all-out therapy session with their stylist. They get their hair washed & dried, cut & styled and then have a cup of coffee afterward while they hang out with their (nearly) best friend the stylist. All of this to the tune of $75-150.
I don't do that.

I go to whatever cheap, quick place I can find & sit down for a 10-15 minute cut & then I leave. Period. I've gone to SuperCuts & ProCuts and these days, I'm going to Great Clips. It's 5 minutes from my house. Once I get in the chair, I'm in & out in less than 1/2 an hour. Oh and the best part? I pay less than $20 even if I give a generous tip.
The unfortunate side effect to visiting shops like this is well....the people cutting my hair. Somehow, without fail, I always get the country bumpkin who wants to share a bunch of inappropriate and weird stories with me while she laughs it up & slaps my shoulder like she's told me the most hysterical thing ever.

Today's visit was with a lady whose hair would put Crystal Gayle to shame. She told me the story of her morning as she got ready for work. She went to take a shower & when she came out she walked into her bedroom (naked) and found that her 13 year old son had crawled into her bed while she was in the shower. Of course, they were both shocked & surprised. The boy quickly threw the covers over his head & she retreated to the bathroom. yikes! But really...I don't know this lady at all. WHY did she tell me this?

Of course, I think the BEST chatty hairstylist story is the one I experienced a year or so back at a different place. This lady was yakking away about all her relatives & the most recent family reunion when I cut in to get her to hush. I commented that her perfume smelled nice & asked her what it was. She replied that it was Vanilla Musk, but then quickly added "It only SMELLS like doesn't TASTE like vanilla." OH MY GOSH. Seriously, did she add that because she was concerned that I'd lick her arm to find out? yuck!

So I tell ya what. Sometime around August when I start talking about getting another haircut, remind me to look for this sign in the salon window.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Samuel's ears

Oops....Lisa from Blessed with Grace (see my sidebar) just posted a comment that reminded me of something. I updated on my 4th child (King!) in the last post, but didn't update on my 2nd child (Samuel).

He has now been on the steroid nasal spray for 5 days. So far, no change. He is STILL saying that his ears hurt every day. Today he was upset about something else (namely, having to clean his room...oh the horror!) but while crying over that, he started holding his ears saying that they hurt. I have a feeling that, with the fluid already in there added to the tears he was crying & snot it was producing, there was probably extra pressure in there & it probably did hurt!

I talked to Larry tonight about the fact that I am almost ready to take him to the after-hours place tomorrow just to make sure this hasnt' progressed into another infection. I realize that the ENT told us they were not infected on Tuesday when we were there, but he also told us that there was fluid on both ears, which of course could very quickly BECOME an infection given Samuel's history. It makes me worry about how long we let the fluid sit there with him complaining of pain because at any point, if it becomes infected, he could have a burst eardrum very quickly. And without an otoscope at home to check his ears every day myself (I had one in the past but it died a while back), it's hard to know when they move from hurting to REALLY hurting. Ugh. Since we have an after hours place we can go to for the cost of a doctor's office copay, we might do that tomorrow afternoon if he seems to be MORE in pain than he has been.

We're giving him antihistimines (trying to dry up the fluid) and tylenol/motrin for pain, but we've been doing that for over a month now, which worries me for his little liver!! Thankfully we have had some days in there that he complains less & we skip the medicine on those days. But I hate to leave him hurting the rest of the time.

yuck. Being a mommy is hard work!

So that's where we are!

King update; Blue & Gold 2009

First, an update on King. (this is an old picture, but definately shows the level of LOVE we have for this sweet old dog of ours!)
The vet is 99.9% sure that King has something called Cushing's disease. It's a malfunction of the adrenal system. Although his current haircut (umm...butcher job!) looks terrible, I'm glad we had it done or we might've never been able to see his big belly's lopsided shape--the whole reason we went looking for what is wrong! Basically, a benign tumor on his adrenal gland messed w/ his body's production of cortisone. When his body went into overdrive producing extra cortisone, it caused a bunch of symptoms. One of those is the big pot belly. From what I've read, lots of older dogs have it. Some may go undiagnosed, though, because some of the symptoms mimic things that dogs do in the normal aging process & pet owners may mistake symptoms for regular aging. You can read more about it here if you'd like to learn more. Anyway, the big thing is that it's treatable with medicine! The doc is waiting for 1 final bloodtest to come back before determining which medicine is needed to get this under control. We will then take all the results back to our regular vet & let him find us the best price on it at local pharmacies. (It's a people-medicine, so we'll be able to get it at Walgreen's or CVS, etc.) My mom also did some reading about Cushing's in a natural remedies book & found that, at least in humans, you can also treat Cushing's with a variety of vitamins & homeopathic things, so we might give that a shot as well if the vet says it would be OK. I figure he will be OK with it, assuming there isn't anything that would be HARMFUL to a dog. After all, at this point, if it's not HARMFUL, why not give it a shot? I guess we'll see!
Tonight was Samuel's Cub Scout Blue & Gold ceremony. Here he is, in uniform. Doesn't he look nice?
The Blue & Gold is the annual awards ceremony for Cub Scouts. It's always so sweet to see the little guys receive their awards....and then watching the 2nd year Webelos bridge over to Boy Scouts is pretty cool. It always makes me tear up when I see them bring out the bridge for the boys to walk across. I know it's a rite of passage that I never went through myself (heck, I was never even a girl scout...I thought they were dorks!), but it's exciting to see the little ones promote up to Boy Scouts! Sam will be there in 2 more years!! Samuel is finishing up his year as a Bear, so tonight he got to pin me & he received several awards (patches). Way to go little man!
These are all the Bears in our pack. (Samuel's the only one in khakis so it shouldn't be hard to pick him out!)

We tried to get a shot of him pinning me, but the picture turned out bad. When I got back to the table, Sarah took a picture of the mother's necklace/ribbon I wear for the Blue & Gold each year. The new pin is at the very top.

One last picture....mama & her little Bear cub!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Today makes the 3rd day of Samuel using the nasal spray & he's still (almost!) crying daily about his ears hurting. The ENT did say (on Tuesday) that he has fluid on both ears right now, so I'm sure he's got an earache in both. I feel bad for him but we've done everything we can do --- antihistimines to dry up the fluid, eardrops & Motrin/Tylenol for pain, an entire month's worth of antibiotics. Poor kid. I'm almost ready to call the ENT & say "forget the spray, just put in the tubes & give this kid some relief!"

Today is the day we find out what is going on inside King. I'm a nervous wreck. I feel like I've dropped off my 4th child for serious medical testing & I'm not there with him to hold his hand, err...paw. I know he could care less if I'm there, but I'm sad because I want to be there & see the Xray & ultrasound screens while the test is happening. I want to pet him & talk to him while they're working. Ugh. I guess the heart of the matter is that I'm a total control freak & I don't want someone else petting him during tests.......I WANT TO BE THERE! I'm nervous about what they're going to find. I'm stressing about what it will mean for us decision-wise tonight. Yuck. Can you say "crappy day"?

Thanks in advance for the prayers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Samuel's ears--update

Today we had the ENT appointment. First they did a hearing test. The lady audiologist was SO much more informative than any of the other audiologists we've seen before. She did some new tests that he's been too young for until now. All in all, right now his hearing is not HORRIBLE but he is out of the range for "normal" hearing. He has some mild loss. However, she said that she'd like to re-test him in a few months because he has fluid in his ears today & that would affect the results. She said that if she gets the same (or similar) results from him after we get rid of the fluid, she will give us a letter to put on file for him at school stating that he does have some mild hearing loss & needs to be considered educationally 'at risk'. It doesn't mean he'd be moved to a special ed. class, but his regular teachers would need to make some moves for him to be seated nearest to them so he can hear them! Since we've always known that he has a little bit of hearing loss, this is no great shock or surprise to us.

When we saw the doctor, he said that Samuel's 5 or 6 infections in the past year is enough to "qualify" him for another set of tubes. However, he wanted to try ONE MORE THING before we do surgery. He prescribed a steroid nasal spray for us to use daily for the next 2 months. If it works, it will shrink any inflammation in his eustachian tubes & make the fluid drain out. We're not 100% sure if there is any inflammation, but if there is, this should help. The doctor said we may very well end up doing tubes anyway, but we're going to give this a shot. We go back in 2 months (April 17th) to make the decision on what to do.

I'm ready for my baby's ears to stop hurting. He tells us EVERY day that they hurt. :(

Monday, February 16, 2009

a tiny update on King's situation

When we adopted King from the rescue group last year, we met 2 ladies. One lady (D) was the liason between the group & us. She was the one to come to our house & meet us. She inspected the yard to make sure we had a fence, a dog house, etc. She met us at the place where King was being boarded when we met him the first time. The other lady (L) lives in the Dallas area & has been King's financial help from day 1. Even before we ever met him, L had an investment (both financially & emotionally) in him. She paid to have his leg fixed a few years ago before we had him.

When we adopted King, D & L were both so sweet & helpful. They have kept in touch over the course of the past year always checking in to see how King is doing. It's as if he is a member of their family & they're keeping up with him.

Today I emailed both of them a link to the previous post. Within a couple hours, the two of them had begun talking & cooking up a plan to help us. L is paying for a visit to a local vet on Friday so that we can get a second opinion, some xrays & ultrasound of King's belly. We don't intend to start any lengthy, expensive treatments on him if they find something seriously wrong. But we hope to figure out what is going on inside his tummy & figure out how to keep him most comfortable. With this sweet blessing, we'll have a bit more definitive answer about what's going on with our big sweetie. (and of course, if there is a simple problem with a simple treatment, we will go forward with that!)

Thank you L & D!!!

King's spa day...and some news about him

As I'm sure you recall, we have our dog King. We adopted him last year from a rescue group in Bullard, TX. We have absolutely LOVEDDDDDDDDDDDDD having him this year. He cured all of Sarah's dog fears. He is SUCH a sweet old dog. He's quiet (unless someone he doesn't know comes into the yard). He is calm (he is about 1/2 crippled from an old injury so he can't jump). He is slow & good natured so walks with him are relaxing & gentle, you don't get pulled down the street!

We've known ever since we got him that he's old & overweight and arthritic. The doctor noted some lumps you can feel on under the skin in several places at his very first check up. Honestly, we know that our years with him are limited. But we don't regret adopting an old dog in the least. He is the PERFECT dog for our family.

Today we had him groomed for the first time. Well, hang on.... It was the first time it was professionally done. I cut his hair myself last summer to cool him off, but since winter began, we haven't cut his hair because we didn't want to have a popsicle puppy in the yard! Spring has begun (sort of) around here, so we decided it was time to get his very long hair cut. He had some mats that needed to be cut out & he was dirty (again, no outdoor baths in the winter...brrrrr!). We only bathed him once over the winter on a warm day. So today was it! Our vet's office has a new groomer on staff. We took him this morning & checked him in for a day of beauty. He got a bath, got his nails trimmed, got his hair cut...the works!

This is a pic I took in November or December to give you an idea of the "before" look. We knew that the groomer would have to cut a lot of hair & leave him quite a bit shorter, but we really didn't expect the outcome we got.
Here he is after!

He's not bald like this picture appears, but the hair on his body is a lot lighter colored than what you see on his head, so it looks like he is!! In reality, his blonde body hair is only about 1/2 to 1" long all over! Whoa! Talk about a surprise!

He does appear to feel better. He's got a little bounce in his step that he didn't have this morning. So, while the look is a little shocking, he seems to like it. And after all, hair grows back, so we aren't mad....just SURPRISED!
And as for the news.....
When we got there to pick him up, the vet called us into an exam room to talk privately. He said that the groomer noted King's big belly. It's hard to see in this pic (above) but King does have a big tummy. With the much longer hair it was hard to tell, but one side of his belly is a lot bigger & sticks out further than it does on the other side. We've always seen a big belly & thought he was fat (and he is!), but never thought anything else was wrong.
The doc said that his big uneven belly moves out of the "big fat dog" category into an "abnormal, something is wrong" category. He said that if he didn't know we were already treating him with a monthly preventative for heartworms, that would be his first guess. But we are treating him monthly & he's got a negative test (recently), so that's not it. He said that his next guesses included a tumor or a heart problem. For either thing, we would have to consider the idea of whether or not to pursue treating it. With an older dog like King, you have to make the choice between treating him (which means spending lots of money on tests & possible surgeries) or just letting him live out his days. With a little puppy, you'd want to consider how many more years of life he might have if treated. With a 10 year old dog, that is not as much of a concern. Obviously if he were in pain or suffering, you'd have to consider putting him to sleep as well. For now, King does not appear to be hurting or suffering in the least. Larry & I have already talked about what we should do & the decision is made. We will let him live his life & love him as long as we can. If he gets to a place where he's uncomfortable & hurting, we will have him put to sleep.
The doc said tests (xrays & ultrasounds) would somewhere in the neighborhood of $400-500. If he has a heart problem, he'd be put on a pricey daily prescription medicine for the rest of his life. If he has a tumor, you'd run into $500-1000 for surgery & medicine to determine whether ir was cancerous or not...and then thousands for cancer treatment if it was malignant. Either way, we can't afford to go to that extreme. He is the greatest dog in the world, but he is, after all... a dog.
We are a little heartbroken this afternoon. The kids were with me in the exam room so the vet was speaking as coded as he could, mostly just discussing xrays & ultrasounds & bloodwork and not really delving into the diseases too much. But he made his point clear. Something's wrong & we have to make a choice about whether or not to treat King. The kids did "get" that something's wrong, but didn't really understand the whole conversation. And that's just fine with me. When we got in the car, Savannah asked a question about whether we'd spend a lot of money to "fix" King. I told her we probably could not & that we'd put him to sleep if he started hurting & feeling bad. She stuck her fingers in her ears & said "la la la la" so I know she "gets" it a little more than the other 2 kids. We didn't discuss it at length because the kids were more excited about discussing King's new 'do than whatever might be wrong with him. We talked about his short hair & moved on from the sad conversation.
:::sniff, sniff::: I wuv you, sweet Kingy Boy!

Please pray for this sweet family!

I have a whole list of blogs I check on every night. (many of them are listed on the right side of this page) A month or so ago, someone linked me to this blog. I've been reading it ever since. It's the story of Brian & Angie O'Niell. Brian is dying from a brain tumor. Angie is keeping up the blog, trying to keep people updated on Brian's condition. They have 2 young boys. It's hard to read. It will make you cry. But I hope it also causes you to drop to your knees & pray 1) for them, 2) for the health of your own family.

I've said it before & I'll say it again. Cancer is a nasty vile beast! Thank you, Lord, for allowing my own family to go another day without it!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sarah is 8!!

On June 29, 2000 I found out I was pregnant for the 3rd time. I wasn't thrilled. I wasn't immediately excited. I was in shock. After all, baby #2 turned 3 months old on that same day. Surely the test was wrong. Since I had just had a baby, certainly my hormones were still out of whack & THAT's why the test was showing positive. I took 3 pregnancy tests that day. I took several more over the course of the next week. All in all, I think it took about 10 of them to convince me that I REALLY was pregnant. (Yes, I was not economical, but I needed it for my sanity!)

The phone calls began. The first one was to my OB/Gyn. I needed to cancel the birth control appointment I had planned & schedule an OB visit. We had to call family members & close friends to share the news & listen to the reactions of shock & giggles over & over. True, it was sweet news, but it was almost embarassing to listen to the questions that were asked from our closest friends & family. "Don't you know what causes that?" "I guess we need to buy y'all a TV for your bedroom...sounds like you're bored & need something ELSE to do." After all the teasing passed, our family and close friends were thrilled for us & let us know that they'd be there to help & support us. And help us they did! With babysitting offers & food & fellowship & shoulders to cry on, they were really there for us during the pregnancy & beyond.

The months passed quickly. Before we knew it, it was February 2001. On the night of February 14, I drove Savannah (4) & Samuel (10 1/2 months) to my parents house. I would be induced the following morning. It was just about 2 1/2 weeks early, but due to the fact that Samuel weighed 9lbs & had to be delivered by C-section [something we wanted to avoid doing again, if possible!], we were making the choice to deliver Sarah a little early. I was already dilated to 3cm, so we knew it would not too hard of a delivery. I dropped the kids off with my parents, took one last picture with Samuel sitting on top of my pregnant belly, and left to drive home.

I cried most of the way home. After all, how was I possibly going to ever function with 2 babies under a year old? I mean, I realize that people with multiples do it all the time, but my 2 babies would be far enough apart in age that their napping/feeding/diapering schedules were bound to collide. Would I ever sleep again? How would I go to the grocery store with three itty-bitties in tow? They would both be using bottles to eat. Could we put them on the same type of formula? Would I get their bottles mixed up if it was a different kind of formula? How would we pull this off? The concern & questions was exhausting. I was in a total panic.

I had spent most of pregnancy feeling a little ambivalent about this new baby. I was really enjoying Samuel's babyhood & now, this "intruder" was going to change all that. I felt like I was never able to really indulge him the slightest bit because I knew that we would have to break any bad habits early to make room for baby #3. I had not been able to let him sleep in our room (or bed) much at all because I knew that before long, baby #3 would take over that spot & we couldn't have 2 babies in our bed. Honestly, that was a really tough one for me. I love sleeping with my babies part of the time & when we couldn't do that with Samuel, it was sad.

All the emotions of the pregnancy...the shock in the beginning, the fear & nerves, the ambivalence, the all came to a head that night on my drive home from my mom's house. I spent that 30 minute drive in tears. Not long before pulling into driveway, God gave me a Scripture.

Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on
your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Wow. I felt like I had been knocked off my weepy pedastal & reminded to just trust God to handle things. I pulled into the yard, blew my nose, wiped my tears, pulled up my big girl panties & decided to get myself together & go have a new baby! :)

On the following morning, we drove to Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, TX & checked in about 7am. I was having contractions, but not painful ones. I have an irritable uterus, so I have Braxton Hicks contractions with all my pregnancies from about week 16 on. When they hooked me up to a monitor, the nurse seemed surprised that I wasn't feeling (hurting!) from the contractions I was having. About 9am the doctor broke my water. We waited an hour & then started pitocin. By 11am, I was having really good contractions. And by "good", I mean true labor contractions. I refused to lay in bed & do nothing while I labored. I'm one of those crazy pioneer women who don't do drugs or pain medicine for labor. I wanted to be up & moving around, walking down the halls or at least around my room. SOMETHING other than just laying in bed. Luckily, the nurse was accomodating & said to do whatever felt best. I sat in a rocking chair for a while, talking to whomever came to visit. (Sorry folks, it's been 8 years, I don't really remember who all came!) I sat on a ball for a while & rocked some. I walked around the room & sang along to the praise music I had brought with me. At around 12:30, my doctor came over to check on me and another patient. She checked my cervix. I was dilated to 6 or 7. Birth didn't appear to be imminent, but we knew I was getting closer. I was getting uncomfortable but it was still tolerable. My doc left & told the nurse to call her when it was time. She went down the hall to see her other patient & ended up getting held up in that room for some reason. Of course, I'm sure it is because God knew I was "this close". Over the course of the next 30 minutes, I went from 6 or 7cm to 10cm. Sarah's heartrate dropped & we panicked at the idea that I could possibly need another emergency Csection (like I had with Samuel). It turns out that her heartrate didn't actually drop much....SHE DID! The monitor just reached a point where it couldn't pick up her heartrate because she moved down into the birth canal. The nurse came in to put on a scalp electrode & we realized I was ready to push. Funny thing...just about that time, my doc stuck her head back in to tell them she was going back to the office. Instead she told the nurse to call & tell them she was staying to have a baby. :) At 1:36pm, after just a few pushes, Sarah Deanne Reeves was born weighing 7lb 8oz.
All in all, I was in labor for just about 4 1/2 hours. The pushing stage (which had always been my longest stage of labor w/ the other kids) lasted 10 minutes versus several hours! I pushed 3 or 4 times versus a hundred times. It was truly the simplest & best birth ever!

I stayed an extra day to have my tubes tied after Sarah's birth. We brought her home on February 17, 2001 & began our life with 2 babies & a preschooler. While most of that first year is one big blur, looking back on it now, I can't IMAGINE doing things any differently. Samuel & Sarah are the best buddies. (They might not tell everyone that, but they ARE!) They've never known a day without each other. When Savannah goes away to camp or to spend the night with a friend, Samuel & Sarah play together and sleep in the same room (sometimes the same bed!). They adore each other. Their sweet relationship has always touched my heart and made me smile. Sure, we put up with a lot of crazy looks & unusual questions for the first couple years. We still get asked if they're twins a lot.

As time as gone by, I've learned (over & over & over again!) that God is in control & knows EXACTLY what we need in life. And I most definately need my sweet Sarah. I can't imagine my life without her. She is the most gentle spirited, kind hearted, tender & sweet little girl. She is the child that you just give a dirty look to discipline. She is a bundle of tears & weepiness if she thinks someone is upset with her over any little thing. She is the most compassionate & loving little girl I've ever met. She prays for her friends & for strangers & just about anyone who she feels needs it. She worships God with her little hands raised without the slightest inkling of care about what anyone else thinks. She is absolutely precious!

Happy Birthday my sweet girl! You are just what this mama needs. I love you, baby!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sat Feb 14 was a busy day!

At 9am, Samuel had basketball at the YMCA. We were there til about 10:10 & then headed home. We all did chores around the house & ate lunch.

At 12:15, we left again. Larry had a 1:00 appointment to give plasma at the local plasma center. (They pay you to give after all!) We decided to go with him because we had several places we needed to go afterward. We figured "this can't take too long, right?". Larry told me ahead of time that there was a kid's room in the building where we could go sit & wait for him. I was picturing a place like a doctor's office waiting room with some toys or a TV w/ kiddie shows playing. We waited with Larry in the regular waiting room til it was his turn to go back to the donation area. While he got his pre-donation physical, I took the kids & headed for the "kid's room". We spotted the door & went in, only to find that there were 2 other ladies in the room with a few other kids. There was a little table, some toys, a TV, a giant shelf with tons of toys & games & puzzles. There were baby beds, baby swings & bouncy seats....essentially it was a full day care all in one room. Wow. I was impressed. Not many doctors' offices have this much stuff to entertain the kids! When I realized that the 2 ladies were trying to engage all three of my kids in playtime, I noticed their badges & matching scrubs. They actually worked for the plasma center as babysitters for the children of people who had come to give plasma! I think I audibly gasped as it all sunk in & I started backtracking, trying to explain what I had come in expecting to find...not realizing that this was a 'babysitting' area. Suddenly I realized that my kids really didn't belong there. This was for people who didn't have another adult present who could watch their kids while they gave. But what would they do in the sterile, quiet waiting room for an hour if they didn't play in this room? They had intentionally NOT brought toys or books or anything because we were expecting to play in the "kids' room". Oops. I sat down at a table with Sarah, thinking that I'd just play games w/ the kids & do puzzles & stuff til Larry was done....and then 1 of the ladies in the room commented to me that I couldn't stay. The kids were welcome to stay & play if they wanted to, but I wasn't supposed to stay with them in this room. umm...ok. Talk about feeling awkward. By that time, Samuel had found a little friend & was playing checkers with him. Sarah was engaged with some sewing cards & wanted to stay with Samuel. I was torn about what to do. I mean, if they went to the waiting room with me, they would get bored REALLY fast & end up annoying me & everyone else to death. At least in this room, they were occupied & having fun. I had no idea how long we'd be there. I decided to let them stay & play for a little while but figured I'd come get them in a while. After all, there's no need for these ladies to babysit my children when I'm just sitting around reading magazines in the waiting room! I made Savannah come with me to the waiting room. She had 2 thick books she was reading, so I knew she'd be occupied w/ those. I assured the kids that if they got bored or just wanted to come to the waiting room with me, they could do so at any time. It was 1:10 when I signed the kids into the childcare room. About 2:00, 1 of the childcare worker ladies came to the waiting room w/ Samuel. He wanted to ask me how much longer it would be. We checked with the lady at the front desk & she told us Larry had "just" gotten would be at least another hour. :::gasp!::: I was a little stunned at how long this process was taking & was really wanting to go pull the IV from Larry's arm & say "let's go!". After all, we NEVER allow our kids to stay in the care of a complete stranger and here I was doing just that! I was feeling really uncomfortable with the whole thing, but before I could comment about that to the childcare lady, she & Samuel disappeared around the corner. I went over to sit down by Savannah & think through what I ought to do. Would it do anyone any good for the kids to come sit in the waiting room? Were they enjoying their time in the childcare room? The whole thing was just weird....but honestly I was enjoying the quiet time to read a magazine & they seemed happy. I tried to set my mind at ease that these women were HIRED to do this job by a public health entity, so surely they are well-trained & certified in CPR/First Aid. (see how I was justifying things in my mind?) I kept agonizing back & forth for about 10 minutes before I decided to go peek in & check on the kids. Savannah held my purse & keys in the waiting room while I did. I went in & found Sarah working feverishly on a Valentine's Day project for me. Samuel was performing a puppet show with another kid. Hmm.....they were REALLY doing great. Nothing seemed amiss in the childcare room. No crying babies. No snotty-nosed kids. No fit-throwing toddlers. Well, maybe this isn't SO bad after all. I asked the ladies "Are you SURE it's ok if they're in here?" I told them I felt guilty about leaving them to be cared for when I was out in the lobby just relaxing & doing nothing. They assured me it was OK & not to worry. :::sigh::: So I went back to the waiting area to finish my magazine (I read it cover to cover!). About the time I shut the back cover, Larry approached the desk & was done. WHEW!!!!!!! I probably looked like a marathon runner the way I took off for the childcare room to get the kids out. Boy...I don't do well with situations like that.

When we left the plasma center, we went to the mall. Sarah got a gift certificate from the store in the mail this weekend for a free Build-a-Bear. Tomorrow is her birthday & the store sent a card to kids who've registered in the past who has a birthday during President's Day weekend. What a treat! She took some of her own money (from Christmas) to buy clothes & accesories for her animal. She brought home "Cinnamon", a floppy-eared rabbit with a red & white valentine outfit. Very cute!

We left the mall & headed for Walmart. Several weeks ago, Savannah's Nintendo DS button stopped working. It's a "flipper" button (for any of you with a DS, you'll know what I'm referring to). It's not used on ALL games, but it IS used on several that Savannah loves to play. She bought the DS for herself about 18 months ago and she was just devastated when it quit working. We called the company about getting it repaired & figured out that we could mail it to them (at our expense) & have them fix it (about $90) and then they'd ship it back. Between shipping it & paying for the repair, we could pay the same amount & get a whole new DS. And if we got it repaired, there's nothing to say that the other flipper button (or some other part) wouldn't die next week. We decided it was the wisest choice for her to buy a whole new DS instead. We told her that we'd help her buy it after we got the tax return. (We got it on Thursday.) And so, today we got the new DS.

Before we got out of the store, a friend from church called & told us that she'd got us a heart-shaped pizza for supper & wanted to bring it over! Wow! And so...after a long day of busy-ness, we were treated to a yummy supper!

This morning, we were discussing how blessed we are in so many regards. We have lots of friends, we're all healthy, we have a home. A friend from high school has just found out that his younger sister has a pretty extreme case of cancer. She's only 28. You know...every day that we live without cancer is pretty huge. It seems like these days, we ALL know someone who is battling with cancer at any given time. And so, if we make it a single day without being personally stricken, it's a miracle! Anyway, in discussing all these things, we were reminded of how blessed we are.

And tomorrow, we celebrate another little blessing. Sarah will be 8 at 1:36pm tomorrow.
I will post her birth story tomorrow afternoon. Good night for now. And happy valentine's day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fireproof (the movie!)

Our church hosted a marriage date night tonight. We watched the movie Fireproof & were given an oppurtunity to renew our vows at the end. It was a sweet night, even if my 12 year old sat in there to watch the movie with us. (There was only childcare available to younger kids.)

As far as the movie itself, well.... here's my take on it.

It was ok. I mean, as far as a comparison to secular movie goes, it was awesome. No PG13 (or higher!) stuff to worry about. My 12 year old sat there with us through the whole thing & did just fine and I wasn't concerned about what she was being exposed to.

But as far as the hype this movie got, was just OK. I'm sure that's not a popular opinion & I may take some heat for that, but it just didn't move me. And this is coming from the girl who cries when I watch commercials, some episodes of kid shows & cartoons, when I read books. Anyone who knows me well knows I am a big sap & am easily touched. This movie just didn't do it for me. And I can't really pinpoint why. I mean, I sob through lots of sweet love stories...but this one didn't do that.

There were funny parts. My dad & 2 of my Brothers-In-Law are firemen, so I can totally see the fire station humor being real, of's always a little more crude IRL. The nurses at the hospital were funny.

There were sweet parts. I did shed 1 tear (seriously...ONE) during the moments at the end when things work out.

There were sad parts. Watching the marriage crumble & their

I like the idea of the Love Dare book and can certainly see how it would help save a marriage.

I guess what it all boils down to is that I'm not in a place in my life/marriage where any of it really hit home. We've been there in the past on so many of the issues that were part of their bad marriage, but from the very beginning of the movie, I was wearing my marriage counselor hat & thinking "wow, he could've handled that differently..." or "she really needs to watch her words". I guess I've been married long enough, read enough marriage books, and spent so many hours on my knees for my marriage & hubby that I could see where they were going wrong from the get-go. That's not to say that Larry & I have it all together, but honestly we have a REALLY GREAT marriage and are each other's besttttttttttt friend. I would swim across the ocean & fight off sharks with my bare hands to be with him & I know he feels the same way about me. We both work hard to please and take care of each other so the movie didn't hit home for us.

We mostly sat there snuggled up watching the movie & just enjoyed the quiet dark room where we could hold hands & whisper to each other now & then.....but we could've done that at home.

I do think that married couples should see it b/c I can't say that it'll hit everyone in this same way, but didn't do anything for us. It was alright, but nothing phenomenal.

Ok, the flaming arrows can begin now. :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What a morning......

I live on a highway that has been under construction for close to 2 years now. Until July, it was on the OTHER side of the highway, so it didn't bother me much, other than having to dodge the orange traffic cones if they got knocked over & out into traffic. But that all changed at the end of the summer when the construction was completed on the other side of the road & moved to our side. Ugh. What a mess. Between the mud & the gravel & the giant potholes & (sometimes!) closed off roads that prevent me from getting out of the neighbhorhood & onto the highway, it's a yucky mess ALL the time. My van has been to the carwash more in the past 7 months than it has in its lifetime, I believe. It's constantly filthy. This morning was one of those mornings when I wish I knew a bunch of cuss words. Might've made me feel better. ha ha!

The construction crew tears up the road then smooths it out......tears it up & smooths it out...back & forth. Today was a "tear it up" day, I guess. There are 3 streets that I can take to get out of my neighborhood. This morning, I tried my usual route, but the street was blocked off with a big pile of dirt. :::sigh::: I backed up & went to another street. Again...big pile of dirt. Grrrrrr! I went to the third (& final!) street. The same mound of dirt was there. By this time I'm getting mad. I need to get to work & I can't get onto the highway! What am I supposed to do??

About the time I was getting aggrivated, I watched a big truck drive down the bumpy, torn up road & drive across the pile of dirt, onto the highway. Hmm....all I could figure out was 'if he can do it, I guess I can, too!'. I was very hesitant because the piled up dirt looked too deep for me to cross, but when he drove across it, it packed down flat & I figured I'd just follow him & go out the same way he did. Yeah, well......that didn't work. Apparently my tires didn't exactly follow the ruts his tires made & voila.....I was stuck. I was high centered on this huge mound of dirt.

Between being mad, embarassed & frustrated, I was in no mood to deal with a smart alecky construction crew guy. When he drove up on his bulldozer thing, I motioned to him that I didn't know what to do. He motioned the same back to if he was just going to drive off & leave me stuck like that. He got down out of his tractor thing & came toward my van. I tried to open my door to explain what happened & realized that I couldn't! I was trapped. My door wouldn't even open b/c the dirt was so deep! I rolled down my window & explained that all three streets were blocked & I came out the only way I could see to do so, following a truck that seemed to have no trouble getting out. He made some smart remark & I just eyeballed him. Honestly, at this point I was at his mercy. I couldn't get out of my van. I can't move the van forward or backward. I'm STUCK. When he didn't seem to offer any help, I picked up my phone & said "I guess I'll call my husband to bring his truck & chains to pull me out." Finally, he stepped up to the plate & offered to have some of the construction guys come down with some chains & pull me out. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Within 10 minutes, a handful of men pulled up, approached the van with big chains & decided that, rather than towing me out, they would just push me out. There were 5 or 6 of them, so I put it in Reverse & hit the gas while they shoved me back over the pile of dirt & onto the flat, torn up roadway.

I was directed to drive about 1/2 a mile down the road to the high school driveway to exit my neighborhood. Umm...yeah, I would've thought of that automatically when I left my neighborhood. Seriously, if they expect people to do that, they need to put up a sign or have a flagger to point you in that direction.

I was so frustrated, but thankful that these big gorilla-sized men were there & able to get me out of a jam this morning. As all those people drove past this morning, out on the highway, I couldn't help but wonder how many were pointing & laughing at that "stupid woman driver". Talk about humiliating! Still, I am irritated with all this dumb construction & ready for it to be OVER!!!!

I was only about 15 min late to work. And of course, when I walked in the first thing I did was drop my purse into the trashcan. (accidentally of course!)

My bad morning was cured when all my sweet students began to arrive, Valentine cards in hand, psyched up about our cookie decorating party & all the candy & cards they would receive before the day was over! I got lots of hugs, bunches of chocolate & sugary treats, some bath goodies & a Sonic gift card! Yum! As the day went on, things got better, but let me just say....... if tomorrow (Friday the 13th!) is anything like this morning, I may just go back home & get back in bed!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

3 years ago today (part 2)

Yes I realize that yesterday's post had this same title.
But three years ago TODAY was awful, too.
Two days in a row, less than 24 hours apart, I lost 2 people. (and in turn, gained 2 more)

You see, 3 years ago today, my brother in law was drinking & driving and had a wreck, killing his wife in the process. Larry & I were sent to the hospital to check on her condition & found that she had just passed away shortly before we arrived. In the most surreal situation of my adult life, I went in with my husband & some of the pastors from our church to identify our sister in law, sign paperwork to allow the funeral home to retrieve her body. We called family members to let them know that Kelly had died. And we came to realize that we would be adding 2 children to our family. You see, just a few months before her death, Kelly had asked Larry & I if we would consent to taking her children & raising them if something were to happen to her. We agreed, but never dreamed it would ever happen.

I was still mourning my sweet Lisa's death from the day before.....and here I was trying to swallow the fact that another important person was gone. Kelly & I didn't have a real close relationship, but we emailed frequently & always talked during family get togethers. She was a sweet lady and while I am sad she's gone, I'm most sad that her children will grow up without her.

Eight days after her death, A&K moved in with us. It's hard to believe that it's been 3 years now.

Monday, February 9, 2009

3 years ago today

I've been trying not to think about it all day. But I can't erase the impression of that day. You see, three years ago, one of my best friends died. I have lots of really close friends, but few earn the right to be called "best" friends in my book. Lisa was one of those.

Lisa was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 38 weeks pregnant with her son, Aaron. The OB immediately induced labor & got Aaron delivered so that they could start treatment. For most of Aaron's first year of life, Lisa was in & out of the hospital, trying to beat this nasty disease. She went into remission only to relapse shortly after Aaron's 1st birthday. This time the fight was more brutal. She had a bone marrow transplant after chemo & radiation. She faught long & hard and again went into remission. With leukemia, you're never considered to be "cured", but as far as the doctors could tell, Lisa had won the battle against leukemia by late 2005. While cancer wasn't her daily battle any longer, all the lasting effects of chemo & radiation & multiple surgeries strained her body to the limit. She took a handful of maintenance drugs every day to keep her body functioning. She was doing well, although some days feeling more miserable than others. And then it happened. On the morning of 2/9/06, she went to the ER with a septic infection & a clot in her leg. Her body could not handle the strain any longer & Lisa went to Heaven about 4:30 that afternoon, leaving behind her three young children & beloved husband. Lisa had just turned 30 one month before.

Sweet Lisa, you will never be forgotten. I love ya girl & miss you so very much. I know you're resting in Jesus's arms today, but I sure wish you could be here for one more conversation, one more hug. See you when I get there!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Full day!

This morning, Samuel left bright & early to go out of town with his buddy "C" from church (& school). C's birthday is coming up, so as a fun way to celebrate, his parents took him & 2 friends to a very cool place in a town a couple hours away. This place has an indoor water park, a giant arcade, loads of cool things for 9 year old little boys to enjoy. Tonight, I texted the mom & asked if everyone was having fun. She said yes. I told her to tell Samuel goodnight for us. His reply... "okay". ha ha! Goober! (Of course I'm not going to post details til after he's safely back home tomorrow afternoon!)

Soon after he left, Larry went to a funeral & went to retrieve my Valentine's Day gift. Remember how 1 of the diamonds fell out of my wedding ring a couple weeks ago? He got it fixed for me! I am so thrilled! I was feeling pretty 'bare' without it! Since he gave me my gift, I wanted to go ahead & give him his as well......although it doesn't compare to my ring! His gift was a fun one, something that I knew would make him smile & that he would enjoy wearing to work (at the church office!) one day this week. He may take some teasing for it, but I know he'll secretly love it! What do you think?

(In case you can't see it in the picture, it has the "superman" logo shape in the middle & it says "Captain LOVE". tee hee!)

My dad came over to assist Larry in a couple of home repairs that he wasn't 100% sure how to handle. I love seeing the 2 of them working together. I think my dad's pretty great. He's just about every topic under the sun...and he's funny. Since Larry is both of those things, it's a hoot to watch the two of them do projects together. When they were done, Larry & I moved onto another project.

You see, a few weeks ago, we both noticed a tiny little black mark on the bathroom wall next to the tub. It was down low, near the baseboard. Neither of us thought much of it....til the black mark grew bigger. Uh oh...mold! We decided that we needed to take the panel off the back of the plumbing for the shower & see if something was leaking inside. So today was the day. We took the panel off & found that the inside of the panel was moldy, too. Great...there was definately a leak! This is that wall w/ the plumbing exposed. (taken from the reflection in the mirror because I couldn't get a good angle on it otherwise!)

We looked at several things & realized that it was not coming from the area exposed by the panel. It was coming from the shower head plumbing...up higher...hidden inside the wall. :::sigh::: So out came the bigger tools & with just a few minutes' time, Larry had cut away a bigger chunk of the drywall to reach the upper plumbing area....of course, it was still hidden behind a board (see it in the pic below?), but we could get to it.Sure enough, when we turned on the water to the shower, water started going everywhere! Yikes!!!

As it turns out, it was nothing serious & it was quickly fixed. Just some new white plumbing tape stuff (I can't remember the real name for it) around the pipe that comes out of the wall into the shower & the whole thing was fixed. Unfortunately, you wouldn't be able to get to that from the front side of the shower, so it took a little work to reach it from the back & will take a bit of work to put it all back together, but at least it's done.

We've got a fan pointed into the hole in the wall for now, making sure it all gets dried out before we put things back together. With work, church & a couple of nights this week already taken up with things, it may be next weekend before my bathroom is back in order, but that's's fixed & functioning. That's all that matters.

....oh, and Captain Love fixed it! Awwww! My hero! :) (said in my best amazed wife voice....can you hear the "oh James!!!" voice from the James Bond movies?)

Super Bowl Sunday

Yes, I know.........I'm way behind. I figured it's better late than never. Right?

Last Sunday, Larry & the kids and I went to my parents' house for the Super Bowl. Remember, we are not a sports-watching family. I didn't even know WHO was playing til the day before when my sweet BFF told me! (thank you Kathy! She & her family are big sports fans, so I knew she'd know!!) The family & I have spent the past couple of years at my mom & dad's house for the Super Bowl because, after all, they have the big screen TV. It's the ONE game per year that Larry & my dad actually watch. Well, aside from the ones being played when Savannah's in the band. I zone out & chat with my other children and friends during those games, only diverting my attention to my child entering, playing on, and exitting the field with her French Horn. :) Anyway, this year, I took the chips & dips. Mom and dad made burgers for us. Samuel & Sarah helped Grandma make a fruit pizza for us all. Yum. It was a great night!

The finished product! It was yummy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ok, Ok...I get it.....

This morning, I opened my devotional book & the day's entry was calling "Walking by Faith". The scripture was Hebrews 10:38. It says "The righteous shall walk by faith." I looked that verse up in my Bible & saw that 3 or 4 others were referenced....each one stating "Trust in God", "Walk by faith, not by sight."......ok, Lord....I get it.

Then I got into the car & turned on my new worship CD that I bought last weekend & whammo....this song:

Here are the lyrics for those of you who can't see the video:
Beautiful Lord, Wonderful Saviour
I know for sure, all of my days
are held in your hands, crafted into your perfect plan
You gently call me into your presence
guiding me by Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord to live all of my life
through Your eyes
I'm captured by Your holy calling
Set me apart, I know you're drawing me to yourself
Lead me Lord I pray

Take me, Mold me, use me, fill me
I give my life to the Potter's hand
Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter's hand

you gentlly call me into your presence
guiding me by your holy spirit
teach me dear lord to live through your eyes
i'm captured by you holy calling
set me apart, I know your drawing me to yourself
lead me lord i pray

Repeat Chorus

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Writing a new chapter

Remember that book I've mentioned before that I'd like to write one day? The one I'd like to title "That Was Not Part of the Plan"? The one whose overwhelming theme is God's control...not mine? It appears, lately, that I am beginning to compose a new chapter for that book. I'm not going to get into the details of the struggle I'm working through right now because it's pretty personal, but suffice it to say, when fear & doubt & questions cloud your mind, it's easy to lose sight of The One who is in control. This morning in church, our worship leader led us in a song & the chorus said "I pour out my praise to the One who never ceases to amaze me."


How many times has He amazed me? Even in just the past couple of years...throughout all my adult life? The reminder that He will show up & amaze me all over again was so very needed today. Thank you, Jesus. I'm sorry that my silly little mind ever wandered from the fact that you are so AMAZING.

As I stood & sang this song, I closed my eyes & focused my heart of Him....His character....His promises. I was reminded in my spirit that He inhabits the praises of His people. So if I'm praising Him, He's there.....with me......holding my hands....embracing me. What a reminder to praise Him through my circumstances, no matter what those circumstances are!


He is in CONTROL!

He wrote the end of the story, so it's already worked out.

Everything is already His, and after all......He's got the whole world in His hands. (remember that song from VBS?)

I don't know if anyone else needed to hear this today, but I know I did. Have a great week & be blessed!