Friday, November 4, 2011

I love a great deal!

My mom always taught me to be a bargain shopper.  Anytime we went shopping we would go straight to the back of the the sale racks.  We were cheap frugal!  We were always dressed very well, but we never paid full price for anything!  Still, to this day, I refuse to pay full price for clothing.

I love the JC Penney coupon's we get in the mail that are "$10 off" with no minimum to purchase.  You can literally get something for free, as long as it is under $10.  I never buy jewelry for myself unless I have this coupon.  Every time I get this coupon I get super excited because I get to buy something for ME!  I cannot bring myself to waste money on jewelry, but if it's free...then count me in!  Last night I got the coolest necklace and earring set that were originally $18, marked down to 10.80, and my grand total was $0.85!  What a great deal?!

 I have another coupon for $10 off a purchase of $25 or more.  I don't usually use these, BUT Roger could use a few more sweaters this year, and they have a really great sweater marked from $49.99 down to $24.99, so I will get something small for someone else to get me up to $25 and I will get that $50 sweater for $15!  He is going to look so GOOD!

There is a consignment sale this week, too.  Lauren and I went last night and got some really great deals.  I got the cutest sweater for Ligon for $4, and GAP overalls for $2.  I also got Bethany a Christmas outfit for $3, and some dressy maternity pants for me for $5.  And lastly, I got Ari a pair of Timberland constuction boots for $10 that look practically new.  Later at the mall I found the same boots for $65!  Now, you see why "I love a great deal!" 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pregnancy woes

I am not one to complain when it comes to pregnancy.  Even when I puke for months!  I feel blessed each time I get pregnant.  I have friends with fertility issues, so complaining about being pregnant seems very selfish to me.
This post is more for me to look back on in the future and see where I remember.  It is also to help anyone else who has felt this way, feels this way, or will feel this way in the know they are not alone.

This pregnancy is, by far, the most difficult.  I made a comment on facebook recently that I felt like I was going through post partum depression...and I haven't even had the baby yet!  Thankfully, others chimed in and said that it is absolutely possible to have depression during pregnancy. 

This is what it feels like...
moody, beyond belief...about nothing...and the same time
crying...over nothing...and the same time
anger...over nothing...and the same time
completely overwhelmed...over nothing...and the same time
absolutely intolerant...over nothing..and the same time
feeling like I need to get away from everything and everyone and curl up in a ball until I feel better

It's kind of like the very worst in me is right at the surface.  It is not the typical me.  It is not me at all.  I don't know who this person is.  She comes and goes.  She was here with a vengeance this weekend.  She seems to have taken a vacation today at the moment.

I studied Psychology in college.  It still fascinates me.  Maybe even more now.  I knew depression was real.  I knew it could be chemically imposed.  Hormonally imposed.  I have a new compassion for those who suffer from depression.  I understand the feeling.  The feeling of it being completely "out of control."  You cannot talk yourself out of it.

In the will be worth it.  It always is.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Well Visits...Franklin, Ari, Miles and Bethany, and Ligon, too!

Franklin and Ari had their 8 year and 6 year (respectably) well visits with the pediatrician September 1st.  Franklin weighed 47 pounds (7th %tile), and was 47.75 inches (10th %tile).  He is staying on the smaller side, but following the same pattern he has had since he was a baby.  Ari was 45 pounds (37th %tile) and 46.5 inches (56th %tile).  He has always been on the taller end of the spectrum.  Franklin and Ari have been wearing the same size clothing for quite a while now.  So far, it doesn't seem to bother Franklin (he doesn't even think about it) that he and Ari are almost the same size.  According to Franklin and Ari,the best part of the doctor visit was "getting to pee in a cup."  The least favorite part was when Ari got 2 shots.

Bethany and Miles had their 9 month (she'll be 10 months on Sunday!) and 5 year (respectably) appointments yesterday.  Bethany weighed 16 pounds and 13 ounces (10th %tile), and measured 29.75 inches long (90th %tile).  Oh, to be tall and skinny like her!!!  She got a flu shot, but that was it yesterday.  It was nice to have an easy day for her.  She barely even cried when she got the shot.  Miles weighed 40.5 pounds (48th %tile), and was 43.5 inches (61st %tile).  He was in the normal range for Iron, but the very, very low end, so we need to increase his iron intake over the next year.  It was suggested that we buy Flintstones vitamins with iron.  He went to the allergist a few months ago because of a terrible reaction to a wasp sting, and because of the testing they did (9 little shots!!!  Ouch!) he is terrified to go to the doctor.  Actually, he is terrified of nurses because the nurses did the testing at the allergist.  Much to his dismay, he got 2 shots, which he said "they didn't even hurt" and he was "fake crying."   He could have received as many as 5 or six, but we declined the flu shot since Bethany was only getting her first and it is a live vaccine and we also declined the chicken pox shot because it is another live vaccine and she will not get that shot until her 12 month check-up, and we lastly declined the pneumonia shot.  Everyone will be getting a flu shot when we go back in 30 days for Bethany to get her second flu shot.  Shhhhh...don't tell them!  Miles will get his chicken pox shot and one other when I take Bethany for her 12 month well-visit.  That should be fun!...two kids getting shots at the same time!

I had a quick check-up yesterday for our newest little guy, Ligon, yesterday, too.  I was 22 weeks pregnant on Monday.  I am doing well, except for being dizzy off and on, so I am going to boost my liquid intake/trips to the bathroom, and protein.  Other than that, Ligon seems to be growing well, he is active, and his heart rate is great!  Grow, Ligon, grow!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Conversational tangents

Anytime I get one-on-one time with my kids I consider it a wonderful blessing!  They love it, too!  Our time usually consists of them talking, and talking, and talking!  They love the fact that they can talk without being interrupted, and I have their undivided attention.  The conversations usually go in tangents because they want to talk about everything!  It is always enjoyable and very cute!

Last night I took Lauren's friend home and then decided to leave Lauren there to spend the night.  So, it was just me, Franklin and Bethany.  It was his chance to talk!  And boy, did he ever?!  He talked about wanting to be spiderman when he grows up, and Miles, too, so they could save New York.  I asked him why New York needed to be saved and he said, "Because of Venom, of course!"  Well, of course!  He talked about our recent trip to Disney World, and the scary Haunted Mansion, and about spending time with his best friend and cousin, Levi.  And then the conversation moved to Bethany, and this is how it went:
Franklin: Mom, is it possible that Bethany is a boy?
Me: No, Franklin,  she is definitely a girl!
Franklin: Maybe she just hasn't grown her part yet.
Me: *laughing hard* No, she would have grown her part while she was inside me if she were a boy.
Franklin: Well, I don't know. I think it's possible.

I'm still laughing!

Good news...followed by bad stuff...but it's okay

Wednesday morning we received an email from our landlords.  They have agreed to allow us to stay in their rental home until July 15th.  That is a HUGE answer to prayer!  We are grateful!  We told them that we would remove as much as we could from the house, so it would not looked cluttered and they agreed that they would prefer that we do that.  So, this weekend we will be busy packing and decluttering!  I LOVE decluttering!

I was elated at our good news.  I was excited, too, because we were going to a friends house for lunch, play time, and for me to look over her homeschool curriculum.  I got everyone loaded into the hot van.  Lauren couldn't get the portable dvd player to work, so I was untangling cords and replugging everything and still could not get it to work.  I told the kids we would listen to music instead.  So, dripping with sweat and ready to turn on the air, I put the key in the ignition and ....nothing.  We had a dead battery.  I unloaded all of the kids, called our friends with great disappointment (especially for Lauren because her best friend was going to come home to spend the night), and called Roger to let him know what was going on.  We were all bummed.  Then, back to good news...a friend from Roger's work told him about this place that will send someone to your home to replace the battery!  That was great!  In the end, our friends came over, ended up staying for dinner, we had a blast, Lauren's bff got to spend the night and everyone was happy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Up and downs

Our lives have been full of ups and downs since we moved in December.  Here is how life has been (as I remember it, anyway!)...
Ian got an ear infection, so I got him to the doctor quickly to get him on meds before we moved.
We left Florida December 15th, and woke up to a terrible ice storm in NC the 16th.  Roger and Franklin had already left to meet the movers at our rental home (they were stuck in NC, too!).  My MIL, Frances, and I got on the road in our 15 passenger van with our other four children and me due to have Bethany in a little less than two weeks.  The roads were scary!  Roger called and told us to get off the road because they were watching cars and semi's slide off the road left and right.  After a few hours he called again and told us to go back and find a hotel.  Thankfully, we found a great mall with a very nice hotel in the parking lot and stayed for the night.  We had fun at the mall walking around and watching a movie.  We bought some clothes to go swimming in the hotel pool, too.  We had a great time!  The next day we hit the road again and couldn't wait to make it to our new/temporary home.  Roger called as we were driving and let me know that he was having problems with the movers and that we were going to have to make the family room the master bedroom.  Wait!  What???...lose connection...ughhh!  When we finally arrived at the house Roger was very frustrated with the movers.  At one point they threatened to throw everything in the street and drive away.  They put almost everything in the basement(the basement is ground level), which put us in a terrible jam.  Roger was able to carry the bunk beds and crib upstairs and set them up, but I was too pregnant to help him carry anything else.  We called one of our new pastors and asked if someone could come help us carry everything else upstairs.  In walks Rusty!!!  A BIG man with a caring heart!  We could not have done it without him and his two sons!
On Sunday we went to our new church for the first time.  It was love at first visit!  Ian woke up with a rash on his torso, but we weren't too concerned.  Sunday night Ian woke up in the middle of the night vomiting and with a fever.  Monday evening we had dinner with the Dys family from our new church, but left Ian home with Frances.  On Tuesday Ian's fever was higher and he was vomiting again, so I decided to take him to the doctor.  Keep in mind, he had been on antibiotics for 8 days at this point, so it was odd for him to have a fever.  Problem...the pediatrician did not want to see him because he was not an established patient.  I explained that we had just moved there on Friday, and didn't know what else to do.  They decided to go ahead and see him that morning because they were concerned about him.  I took him to our new pediatrician who said that he still had an ear infection, and his glands in his neck were swollen.  She sent him for bloodwork and ordered a different antibiotic.  As I was waiting for his new antibiotic the ped office called and said that his white blood cell count was really high and that I needed to take him to the emergency room to be admitted for testing.  There I the middle of Rite Aid...big pregnant...tears streaming down my face...and so many kind, compassionate strangers telling me everything would be okay.  We got to the hospital and they did another round of blood work.  This is no easy task!  Ian has terrible veins!!!  His white blood cell count went from 33,000 to 48,000 in a matter of about 4 hours.  It should have been no higher than 12,000.  Panic set in!  They were calling in an infectious disease oncologist. of my greatest fears.  Once again, tears were streaming down my face and I was very afraid.  I needed Roger to get there!  They were running numerous tests and nothing was coming back positive, so they decided they wanted to do a spinal tap.  "Wait a second!  He doesn't have any symptoms of spinal meningitis.  Why would we do a spinal tap?"  "Just to rule it out."  "But he doesn't have any symptoms!  No, let's wait until tomorrow."  "Well, I don't recommend waiting, but okay, we'll do it in the morning."  When we finally got to our room (after midnight) the nurse told us that there would be no reason to do a spinal tap because they had already started him on IV antibiotics, so the test would not show anything.  Hmmmm...  And then the next morning...  His white blood cell count had come down a little, so they decided not to do a spinal tap.  And then the following morning...his white blood cell count was back up, so they wanted to do a spinal tap again.  Thankfully, they consulted with the infectious disease doctor who said there was no reason to do a spinal tap.  In the end, Ian spent four days in the hospital.  It has been assumed that the terrible infection in his throat was causing his white blood cell count to go up, even though it was a viral infection.  He was not getting any better in the hospital.  The antibiotics were not doing anything because the infection was viral.  We were ready to go home!  I wanted to be home with my family Christmas morning, so I convinced the doctors to let us leave.  We got home Friday night, Christmas Eve, and spent Christmas with a terribly sick little boy.
Sunday night...Ari and Franklin woke up in the night...vomiting.  Nooooooo!!!  Roger woke up Monday morning feeling very sick.  And it all went downhill from there!  Lauren and Miles got sick on Tuesday, I got sick Tuesday evening and then Frances and I were both sick on Wednesday...and I was scheduled to be induced on Thursday.  Oh my!  I went to bed Wednesday night feeling awful and was up all through the night.  Roger asked if I would cancel the induction, but I really didn't know what to do.  I wanted to get labor over!  The hospital called at 4am and told me to be there at 6:30am.  I decided I would go ahead and do it.  I didn't feel well during labor, but I felt better than I had the day before.  Bethany arrived Thursday evening (I still need to write down her birth story!), and we felt like things should get better from there.
Ian got better and then worse, and then better, and then worse...over and over.  When Bethany was two weeks old we took Ian to get tubes in his ears.  We hoped that would help.  It helped his ears, but not his throat.  He could not get rid of the infection in his throat completely.  Finally, I took him back to the ENT for a check-up and told him we needed to do something else.  He had been on four different antibiotics and a steroid in 4 weeks and he was still sick.  The only thing left to do was to take out his tonsils.  Ian was the youngest patient our doctor had operated on for tonsils and adenoids, but it seemed to be the only thing to do.  Ians tonsils were so bad that they were literally falling apart and the ENT had to be very careful while cutting them out.  Ian breezed through surgery and mostly through recovery and is finally a healthy little boy!
Our house situation...
We have had a terrible time finding a house we want to buy.  We are looking for something very specific and don't want to settle too much.  The house we are renting was put back on the market in March, which we agreed to in our lease agreement.  In April they got a contract on the house and we were told we needed to be out May 15th.  In the meantime, we found a house we want to buy, but cannot move in until July.  So, what do we do for 6 weeks?  Good question!  We found a house to rent for 3 months, but as Roger got to the house to sign the lease agreement the owner was in the backyard shaking hands with another man...he had just sold the house!  We had movers ready to come on Wednesday to move us into the house.  This was a Saturday!  Once again, I was panicked!  We wanted to talk to the buyers of the house we are renting to ask if we could rent the house from them until July, but no one would let us speak to them.  When the house was inspected they found problems with the foundation. It was up and down for a while, but in the end, the contract fell through.  Now, the owners have given us until June 15th, but we cannot move into our new house until July 15th.  What now?!  We have no idea.  Roger is going to talk to our landlords and plead for one more month.  As for me...I just cannot wait to get into our new house and finally get settled!!!!  Bethany is 5 months old and I have still not been able to nest! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Comparing the Arctic and Antarctica

We studied the Arctic a few weeks ago and this week we began studying Antarctica.  Today we were discussing a comparison between the two areas.  This is how it went...
Me:  Remember...Antarctica is at the South pole and that is where penguins live.  The Arctic is at the North pole and that is where...*Franklin interjects here****"Santa Claus lives!!!Hahahahahah!!!

He is a little too quick sometimes!!!  I'm glad he can crack himself up!  We had a great laugh and then I had to settle everyone down, so we could get back to school!

A discussion on hair dye

Lauren:  If I had blonde hair I would dye it red.  (she has brown hair, btw!)
Franklin:  Why don't you color your hair?
Lauren:  Mom says I can't until I grow up, move out, and have my own family. (hmmm...I don't remember this!)
Franklin:  Well, boys don't even dye their hair.
Lauren:  Yes they do!!!  They dye it pink or blue and spike it.

Sometimes I wonder where they come up with these things!  I love listening to their conversations!

Friday, April 1, 2011

She cries...No one comes.

A beautiful baby. 
A beautiful, brand new baby.
She is placed in a crib.
She cries.
No one comes.
She cries until she is worn out.
Eventually she is fed and possibly her diaper is changed.
She is sleepy.
She cries.
No one comes.
Eventually she cries herself to sleep.
She awakes.
All she wants is to be held.
She cries.
No one comes.
Many weeks pass.
She wants to eat.
She wants to sleep.
She wants to be cuddled.
She cries.
No one comes.
Months pass.
She no longer cries.

This is the life of many orphans.  Babies speak to us through crying.  It is how they tell us they are hungry, or tired, or that they just need to be held.  If their cries are always ignored...eventually they will stop crying.

In the first 24 hours of Bethany's life she would cry for no reason other than wanting to be held.  Of course, I gladly obliged!  I could pick her up and she would immediately stop crying.  Even now, at 3 months old, when she gets sleepy I pick her up, she cuddles into me and goes right to sleep.  It has made me think a lot about orphans.  I am not exaggerating when I say that babies lay in their cribs and eventually forget how to cry.  I realized this more when my 8 year old came crying to me recently because she had hurt herself.  Many 8 year old orphans hurt themselves, but shed no tears, and go to no one for comfort...because they don't know how.

How do I know this?  Because I have seen it!  I have seen it through a friend's children who were adopted from Eastern Europe.  They would get hurt, but they wouldn't cry and they wouldn't seek to be comforted.  It was the same for Nastia, the orphan we hosted last Summer.  In the beginning, we were strangers to her, so I could understand why she wouldn't come to us for comfort if she stubbed her toe.  But over time, I could see that going to someone for comfort was actually uncomfortable because it was not normal for her.

Why would I write all of this?  Because I want you to think.  I want you to think about the millions of orphans around the world.  I want you to do something! someone else who is adopting...pray...
                             because God wants you to!

If you have any questions about how you can adopt, or how you can help someone else adopt, or how you can support an orphanage please leave me a comment!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why does God allow pain?

Why does God allow pain?  The answers often seem so trite.
"No gain."  Really?
"He won't give you more than you can handle."  Well, why give it to me at all?
"Because it draws you closer to Him."  One would hope, but sometimes it makes us bitter.

I don't have all of the answers.  I can only share what God has taught me.  And, He taught me a big lesson last week.

And, so the story goes...

It was Wednesday night.  Last Wednesday night.  All of my children were sleeping blissfully in their warm, comfortable beds.  I was thinking about the day and how happy Ian had been.  This poor little guy has been so sick the past three months with terrible infections in his throat, so it was wonderful to see him SO happy.  He had been dancing and singing and jumping and playing.  It was so good to see him so happy...and healthy.  I was standing in the kitchen talking to Roger when I broke down crying.  Of course, he asked what was wrong and this was my reply, "I feel so guilty."  You see, I had watched my little guy be happy all day and he was oblivious to the fact that I...yes myself...was taking him to the hospital the following morning and allowing people to put him in terrible pain.  How could I do this to my child?  Why would I allow someone to hurt him?  He is too little to understand.  Are we sure this is best for him?  Do we have to put him through this?  In the end, I knew this was best for him, but I still didn't want to do it.

And then...God showed me that it is the same for tough circumstances in our lives...for painful moments in our lives.
Why would God allow people, or circumstances to hurt us?  How could He do that to us?  Are we too "young" to understand?  How could this possibly be what is best for us?  Do we have to go through this?

I understand that getting tonsils removed pales in comparison to tough circumstances in life, but it was through Ian's surgery that He taught me that sometimes pain is necessary to bring us to what is good.  Ian's tonsils were so bad that they were literally falling apart.  It appeared that he was finally getting healthy, but, in reality, he was still a very sick little boy.  He needed to go through the pain of having his tonsils surgically removed, so he could get to what is without this terrible infection...being truly healthy.

Putting it into examples:
I have had three miscarriages, losing four precious babies.  Yes, God allowed this pain.  It is still painful.  So, how can this be good for me?  Why would He allow me to go through this?  I do not know completely.  Somehow, He works all things together for our good.  I do know that I am much more compassionate and understanding when a mom loses her baby to miscarriage.  I know that God is sometimes silent, but always present.  I know that He knows what is best for me and I need to trust Him...even when I do not understand.  I see each child as a miracle and I am amazed each time I deliver a healthy baby...and completely grateful.

Praying for those who are going through the bad, and wondering where the good is:
A couple in WV who recently lost their baby when she was only 24 weeks pregnant.
My friend, Rachel's, brother and sister-in-law who lost their baby recently, just a few weeks before the due date.
My sweet cousin, Robin, who is grieving the loss of her 34 year old husband who tragically died last week...and her three precious children, who are missing their daddy.
My friend, Stephanie, who is going through treatments for cancer while trying to be a wife and mommy.
My on-line friend, Tesney, and her husband who flew all the way to Russia for a second time to adopt their little boy with Down Syndrome, but were refused by the judge.  And so, Kirill sits in a mental institution with no person to love him.

Where is the good in these situations?  I have no idea.  BUT, I know God is there...He knows their journey...and even when we cannot see the is there...somewhere.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

HE can move the mountains!

We received an email yesterday reminding us that in our lease agreement the owners of this house can put it back on the market...effective today!  Yes, we remembered that!  It went on to say that our lease is up April 15th.  Yes, we remembered that, too!  Except, we thought we had agreed to a possible two month extension.  Guess what?  It's not in the contract!!!  Yes...we have one month to: find a house, pack this house, close on our new house, and move. 
At first...I wanted to SCREAM!!!  Okay, so maybe I did panic...okay, so maybe I am still a little panicked.  BUT, God brought us here, He has a home for us, and we are learning that He can move the mountains!  Pleasssssssssse Lord...move this mountain...quickly!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A "sort of" trip to China

We are studying China this week and next week in school.  My kids have been intrigued by China for the past year, so they are super excited to finally get to study this country.  Roger works with "Lucy" who is from China, so he asked if she would be interested in joining us for dinner to tell us about her country.  Thankfully, she said she would be happy to come!
We had SO much fun!!!  She was so sweet!  She answered all of our questions and taught us some Chinese and wrote "The Lord's Prayer" in Chinese for Lauren and then read it for us, too. She also brought gifts from the last time she was in China.  She was such a sweetheart!
I made orange chicken with white rice and sesame chicken with noodles.  Lucy said it was good!  She also told me about a Chinese market close by and offered to go with us to try some new foods.  I think that would be a great opportunity!  This was a great evening!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Indoor BBQ?

I was sitting downstairs feeding Bethany, Ian was taking a nap, and the other four were upstairs playing.  Lauren came bounding down the stairs yelling, "MOM!!!  Come upstairs FAST!"  My first question is typically, "Is someone bleeding?"  She assured me that everyone was okay, but I needed to come NOW.  I got upstairs to her bedroom to find Miles strapped to a chair (not in a hurtful kind of way!), and this is what had me almost literally rolling on the floor...Ari was laying on her bed on his stomach, wrapped in a pink blanket with his head up and a whole apple in his mouth.  Lauren declared, "We're having a barbecue!"  It was SO FUNNY!!!  Okay, so maybe you had to be there, but it was totally funny to me at the time!  I wish I could have made it back up there soon enough with my camera!
These kids keep life funny!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm baaaaack!!!

I haven't blogged in almost a year and I've missed it!  I have some things on my mind that I need to get on a page, so I am coming back to blogging.  I'm going public for a while and we'll see how it goes.