January 2012

Posted in church, Everyday Life on February 1st, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

My blogging style has changed – maybe temporarily, maybe permanently.  It’s evolved, if you will, to meet the growing needs of my family.  I no longer have time to sit down 5 times a week and write about my thoughts, my plans, my stories, my ideas, nor do I have the time to detail my agenda.  With 5 kids now and all of the new things we’re doing (new baby, homeschooling, new career for both Hubby and I, new ministries…), I rarely do find myself sitting down and when I am, it’s rare that a computer is in front of me.  So for awhile, I will just post updates on the members of my family and our lives.  This will still serve as a way to keep in touch with those who read my blog (those especially that I cannot find as much time as I’d like to talk on the phone with because of all the noise in my house – phone conversations are nearly impossible at certain times of the day!), and my blog will also continue to serve as a family diary for us to look back on someday and enjoy together.  Updates:

Family – we began homeschooling last fall, and we still like it.  We’ve had to make some adjustments to our planned curriculum since new little bro Luke (born Oct 7 2011) is quite a happy though demanding handful.  We began co-op on January 9, which is a local program they have here at a church for homeschoolers.  We go every Monday, and each grade level participates in 3 different classes taught by the moms of the group.  Since it’s our first year, I don’t have a class to teach yet – I pulled nursery duty.  Yep – 3 hours every week working in the nursery with my little Luke and about 5 other babies – Luke is the only boy.  My husband asked me how I managed that one (because I LOVE babies!), and I don’t know – lucky I guess!!  Apparently there are some ladies who don’t want to deal with diapers and fussy babies and all that, but for me, there couldn’t be a better job for me to serve at co-op.  My other kids really like co-op.  Beeber (age 3) is in Preschool, and he came home the first week with a “carrot project” – the top of a carrot in a cup of water.  It was supposed to grow some green out the top, but ours didn’t.  He didn’t seem to mind though.  It’s funny because when he handed me his carrot as I was picking him up, I thought it was the remainder of what he had done with his snack until the teacher explained it to me – haha!  Disney is in Kindergarten at co-op, and she really likes it.  Since we’ve decided to homeschool our kids beginning at 2nd grade, Disney is also in public school preschool, and she loves both of them!  The older girls enjoy co-op too; it gives some of the structure of school without all the unnecessary rules and drama, and the classes are taught from a Christian perspective.  I like that the kids are held accountable to other adults besides their parents for their assignments and quizzes.  The Sunday-Monday rush is taxing for our family since we have seven bags to pack Sunday night for co-op AFTER a big weekend spent getting ready for church service, but it’s worth it and we are settling into a routine.  Wednesday sees us leading groups at youth group, and we had a friend offer to take the 3 middle kids to AWANA and they really like that.  Thursday we have Bible study, and as I said, much of our weekends now consist of planning Sunday church service and TRYING to find time to rest and relax.  Overall, we’re busier than ever, but I feel happier than ever – God is so great!  I felt so run-down and was having a really hard time for a few months, but I had some checkups with the doctor and think I got the problem solved.  I feel better than I have in years and I can’t thank God enough!!  Now we just have to get Hubby some more sleep since he is waking with Luke all night, every night AND working 2 jobs, not to mention all of the help he gives me around the house.

The past few months, I’ve learned better to accept the circumstances of life as seasons that are constantly changing.  I’ve also learned to better accept that the way things are now are most definitely going to change in a few months.  I’ve learned to look forward to seeing what God has in store for my family rather than to let the ever-changing dynamics of our lives fill me with fear, dread or worry.  As far as things at the new church, we’ve set up a wonderful childrens ministry, and we have about 20 kids that come every weekend.  This is an AMAZING thing when you realize that the church had 0 kids attending only 4 months ago.  We have been contemplating ideas for a youth ministry (tweens and teens) as well as some other things, and only God knows where we will be with that in a month or two.  As I tried to say, things change so fast that it’s difficult to update it all on my blog, especially when this post alone has taken me a few weeks of having to put it aside and come back to add more later in order to finish it!

Before I stop writing for the day, I do want to share an amazing God story we got to witness this past Sunday.  My husband had been up late most of last week writing his sermon, and there was a pancake supper at church on Saturday night.  I ended up staying home with my boys because I was feeling run down and Luke was crabby and oozing things from places (you don’t really want more details, trust me…  baby stuff).  So late Saturday night, Hubby decided to start telling God in prayer that he needed rest, and I was doing the same.  Sunday morning, I was making my runs for church – I am the designated driver for the childrens ministry.  Many of the kids that come to our church need rides because their home situations are…  let’s say complicated.  Our church is located in the middle of the country about 6 miles from town, so I make 2-3 trips there in the morning to pick up the kids and to drive my own family.  Sunday we saw a man riding a bike on US Route 6; his bike was pulling a trailer that normally is used for pulling children, but his was loaded with supplies.  I wondered if he was homeless or someone who was making a long trek because it isn’t all that unusal to see someone journeying down US 6 – our little corner of the world seems to be on the way to everywhere!  So we see people journeying down 6 from time to time, but not usually in the winter.  On my last run, as I pulled into church, I noticed the man on the bike was also pulling into church.  I got the kids settled, then went out to welcome him.  Turns out, his name is Michealangelo, and he had been on his journey on his bike for FOUR MONTHS!  He’s from Los Angeles, and he began by biking north in California, and then coming out this way headed to New York – because God sent him on this journey.  He saw the sign for our little church on US 6 and decided to stop.  Michael has amazing faith, and he had amazing stories to tell!  My husband asked him if he would share some of these with our congregation, and Michael obliged, even after sharing his concerns about the way he was dressed.  I don’t have the time to go into all of the amazing details of the personal touches that God put on this story – I’ve already burnt the eggs that I was cooking and the house smells disgusting.  But I will sum it up briefly:  Michael’s unexpected visit meant that my husband’s sermon that he had carefully prepeared was not used last week because we were treated to the testimony of Michael instead.  So my husband can rest a little easier this week knowing that his sermon is already prepared.  Also, we’ve been talking in our own family and at church about really living a Godly life and what that looks like; we’ve been trying to make opportunities to GO OUT and serve God rather than just sitting around, doing the same old things for US.  Michael’s testimony reaffirmed these concepts – here is a man who has devoted his entire life to doing what God wants him to do.  He left the life that he knew and WENT OUT THERE and is sharing the Word…  And here I am frustrated because my words are failing to convey the story…  And I wish I could find the links to the info about this guy on the internet.  Hubby found them so maybe when he gets home from work I can ask him and add them to my blog.

But anyway, it was a magical Sunday, and I am thankful that I got to be a part of it!  I will leave you now with a little update about my little Luke – he tried his tot wheels for the first time in January.  He likes it, but only for short periods of time.  He is a grown up little guy in a baby’s body with a baby’s attention span.  He loves to stand, and practice walking ALREADY even though he is not yet 4 months old.  He also loves to watch other kids in action – his sisters and brother and also the kids at co-op and at youth group.  WOW – I really have to blog more often!  Once I got going, I had so much to say but not enough time to say it…  sorry that I was kind of all over the place, but that’s the price I pay for sitting down and trying to do this with all these kids running around and my many tasks to accomplish!  Until next time…

 

lukes first time in tot wheels.mov

Little Luke Likes Lights

Posted in Kids on December 4th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thought I would post a quick little update about our youngest child who is growing so quickly that I don’t know if we can call him our “new addition” any longer!  Luke James is almost 2 months old, and among his likes are being held, listening to music, and looking at lights.  He’s been especially impressed by the colorful lights on the Christmas tree.  These things are common favorites among many almost-2-month-olds, but Luke is a very special baby – he has been able to hold his head up for a few weeks and is extremely alert for a baby his age.  His VERY FAVORITE thing to do in the whole world is to be held like this while his little hands open and close and his eyes bulge as he takes in the world around him:

Luke doesn’t sleep well at night, but we aren’t really surprised because none of our 5 kids were very good sleepers as babies.  But Luke doesn’t sleep much during the day, either – he takes about one good nap per day about 3-4 days per week.  And by “good nap” I mean him sleeping for over an hour without waking up.  Actually, I thought of the perfect way to describe Luke the other day: he is an intense baby.  He wants what he wants when he wants it, and he’s not shy about asking.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that he is a disagreeable baby, and he is very smiley.  He’s just very demanding, and since he is always awake…  well, you can understand why my free time is down to almost none and the blog posts from me remain infrequent.  Especially because he demands to have 100% of the available attention, whether it’s eye contact while playing with him or using both hands to feed him – he is not a fan of a multi-tasking parent.

He’s already able to play – he loves looking into the eyes of people who play with him, and he especially likes to exchange baby talk with “goo” being his favorite word.  He loves when his sisters and brother play with him, but it’s hard to tell if he has a favorite yet.  Christopher is 3 and Luke’s only brother, but he doesn’t play with him often – it seems like Christopher is afraid of hurting Luke, and he also seems shy about talking to him or playing with him.  Disney likes to hold Luke (she’s 5), but she loses interest in a matter of minutes.  Taylor is almost 12, and she enjoys Luke’s cuteness, but she is too busy with a life of her own to spend a lot of time with her baby brother.  Sammie stands out as the remarkable sibling.  7-year-old Sammie just adores her baby brother; she’s always asking to hold him, and she doesn’t soon grow tired of it.  She plays with Luke, asks how he’s doing, expresses interest in his activities, misses him when she’s gone, and loves seeing cute pictures of him.  I’m looking forward to watching their special bond strengthen even further as they grow up together.  His brother and sisters love their baby brother in their own ways, and any time Luke does something new, he is crowded by an admiring entourage that can rival that of most celebrities.

Luke also really likes baths.  He smiles like crazy the whole time he’s in the bath; he’ll even throw out a couple of “goo”s and “gaa”s and doesn’t seem to notice that he sounds different when his ears are under water.

Luke is also the tie-breaker in our family – we have 3 brown-eyed people and 3 blue-eyed people.  Two months old is too early to tell what color a baby’s eyes will be, so right now we don’t know which “side” will win.  It’s interesting also that our 2 blue-eyed kids are left-handed while our 2 brown-eyed kids are right-handed.  Will Luke be a tie-breaker in only the eye color category or will he break the mold and be a blue-eyed righty or a brown-eyed lefty?

Even with his intensity, Luke is a wonderful baby and it’s been nothing but a pleasure so far to get to know him as his personality develops – I wouldn’t change any part of him or anything about him, no matter how far behind on stay-at-home-mommy-work I am!  Here he is wearing the adorable camouflage hoodie someone got him – it’s so cute!  And here’s an interesting bit of culture clash for you – where I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, Luke would wear this and we’d be trendy.  Here in the woods of rural Northwest Ohio, I put the camo hoodie on Luke, and we heard no fewer than FIVE comments about hunting and him being a little woodsman  🙂

How Hubby Saved Halloween

Posted in holidays on November 2nd, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , ,

October is normally one of the busiest months for our family, and that was true before October 2011 – the month that saw us being blessed with a new baby, starting homeschooling, and Hubby starting a new job/career all at the same time.  There are so many fun fall and Halloween events and activities that we like to do this time of year; we didn’t even realize exactly how many until this year when we had to scale it back a bit.  We skipped the corn mazes, the pumpkin farms, and all the haunted attractions this year.  We did take the kids to the mall for the trick-or-treating there, and it was lots of fun even if there were 50 times more people than last year – there was a line circling the perimeter of the entire mall!  Not a problem, seeing as how we live near the smallest mall I’ve ever seen and the line was continuously moving – as I said, lots of fun!

I heard about a congressman on the news who wants to pass legislation to move Halloween to the 4th Saturday in October because it’s safer for kids and easier to work around school if trick-or-treating is always on a Saturday and earlier in the day.  Some lady they interviewed for her opinion on the street was against it; she said that would be like moving Christmas to make it more convenient.  Umm, not even close in my opinion, but I won’t go there.  My point is that the area in which I live always schedules the Halloween stuff on Saturdays anyway – I guess we’re ahead of our time here in rural Ohio, haha.  This year we had 2 Halloween parties and our trick-or-treat on Saturday October 29.  Except we found out during the mall trick or treat (which was on Tuesday night) that baby Luke is a homebody – he gets really fussy when we try to take him places, especially if it’s outdoor places, and yes, we do bundle him up.  Saturday was a very big day for all of us because Hubby’s and my lack of sleep finally caught up to us.  We began the day on a very grumpy note, and everything was very hectic as we tried to get our work done at the church and ready the kids for the Halloween festivities.  We made it to the first party – the community Halloween party they have at the ice rink (no ice of course).  We had tons of fun as usual, and we even got on the hayride before the rain came and before the line got too long.  But Luke decided he was finished with the Halloween party before we were.  No sticking this baby in a stroller and feeding him on the go like we did with the other 4 kids; he just won’t have it and voices his complaints loudly.  Luke is our fussiest baby; the others were all very adaptable babies – in retrospect, I guess we were spoiled.  We are a very busy family, so either us scaling things back for Luke or trying to get him to adapt to our busyness will be interesting.  He can go from what I call ‘zero to screaming’ in a matter of seconds, but don’t get me wrong – he’s oh-so-incredibly cute and lovable.  It’s just that his idea of a good time is being held and cuddled – constantly.  Which also explains my lack of blogging lately – while I am feeling better after being sick most of the pregnancy and am recovering well after the surgery, I am not a very successful one-handed typist.  There really isn’t a choice between cuddling a cute baby or blogging, now is there?  So anyway, I took Luke to the car while Hubby finished up at the party with the other kids, and we decided to put off trick-or-treating until another day and do it in a nearby community that had scheduled it on Sunday.  We also decided that Hubby would stay home with Luke that evening while I took the other kids to our other planned Halloween party.  We went home and tossed a couple of frozen pizzas in the oven for a quick dinner, but wouldn’t you know by the way that Saturday was going – we burnt a pizza and only the kids got fed.  At least our evening plan worked out – I went to the party with the 4 older kids, and we all had a blast.  Luke actually let Hubby catch a nap while we were gone too!

Sunday we drove the 10 miles to the town where we were going to trick-or-treat, but we quickly became confused – no one was out; it was like a ghost town.  Hubby stopped at a gas station and found out that the trick-or-treating was from 3:30-5.  We had readied ourselves and arrived there ready to trick-or-treat from 5:30-7.  Apparently my lack of sleep had impaired my ability to read the time correctly in the newspaper.  I can’t beleive I did that – I had checked the paper probably about FIVE times throughout the week to make sure I had the right time, day, and place.  And I had misread the information each of those FIVE times.  So my genius Hubby made us a plan.  He stopped at Walmart and picked up 2 huge bags of candy – at full price I might add, which was hard for him.  He loves store clearances and sales, and it’s a testament to how much he loves his family that he bought all that candy at full price knowing that it would be half off in just a day or two.  But anyway, we got the candy and stopped at the dollar store and bought each kid a flashlight.  We drove over to the park, and Hubby hid the candy all around the park and then we let the kids loose with their flashlights and trick-or-treat bags to find it.  They loved it!  They said they liked it even more than trick-or-treating, and we even got an unprompted handmade thank you card later that evening from 7-year-old Sammie – and I quote, “I love wat we did today”.  I should add how great the kids were in the car as we tried to figure out what was going on with the trick-or-treating.  They were all in their costumes and ready to go, and then mom and dad starting driving around aimlessly.  When they found out they wouldn’t be trick-or-treating after all, there was not a tear, not even a protest.  Just a few questions and much patience as they waited to see what we would do instead – they are AMAZING!

I think I have some video of the kids at the mall, but other than that, things were way too hectic during our Halloween celebrations to take many pictures or video.  We have our wonderful memories though, and those of course are priceless.

Here’s a picture of my kids dressed in their Halloween costumes on the day they arrived in the mail from Grammie.  11-year-old Taylor was a pirate, 7-year-old Sammie and 5-year-old Disney were princesses, and 3-year-old Christopher was Superman:

So How’d It Go?

Posted in health, Kids on October 17th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Overall, so much better than my fears were telling me it would go.  I had my second cesarean section on Friday, October 7.  Boy was I nervous beforehand!  I figured I would write out the details, just in case we decide to do this again I can look back at it and know what to expect.  So I warn you, if you’re squeamish about medical procedures or just plain not interested, then skip the post.  But if I can make just one person feel more at ease about their impending cesarean, even if it’s future me, then it’s worth writing this all out and sharing the details.

The day of my scheduled cesarean, the hospital told me to arrive at 5:30 AM.  Hubby and I set the alarm for 4:30 and got there a little early so we could visit the hospital chapel and pray together.  Thankfully, Grandma had arrived in town the night before and had our 4 kids at her hotel.  The first nurse we asked did not know where the chapel was in the hospital, which I found strange, but then again, our local hospital is undergoing major expansion and renovation, so I guess that’s the excuse I’ll let them have for the fact that their chapel (when we finally found someone who knew where it was) was just an empty room.  No matter because God listens where ever you are, so we prayed together and went back to the maternity ward where they began to prep me for my surgery.  They put an IV in, which didn’t go very well.  Seems I have great veins in my arms for drawing blood (the  blood techs always ooh and ahh over me and my veins, which makes them weird in my book), but in my hands, not so much.  Getting IVs is always very painful for me, and it bruises up my whole hand.  This day was no exception.  It hurt a lot, and they had to give me 2 holes before they got it right.  Then the nurse comes and tells me that because of the combination of it being my 5th baby and the fact that I had to have a blood transfusion last time that they were going to have to give me a back-up port in my other hand just in case.  So they start doing that, and that one hurts even more.  Next thing I know, I have a golf ball sized lump in my hand – “The vein blew” the nurse told me.  I don’t ever want to hear anyone tell me that something carrying blood throughout my body “blew”, and I still haven’t googled that one to see what it is because it sounds so nasty.  And at this point, I’m near tears thinking that if things are going wrong already, what will happen when they cut me open?  But they finally got my second IV port in, and then after the insertion of the catheter (not a big deal and I will spare the details), I was ready to be wheeled off to the surgery room in a wheelchair.

Luckily I had taken the c-section class at the hospital, so the cold sterility of the operating room did not alarm me, and I also knew that my Hubby had to wait outside until certain preparations were made.  On our way into the operating room, I saw the backup doctor, and he was talking to himself in the hallway in kind of a strange way.  He is known for being a bit different, so it didn’t really worry me, especially since I knew my regular doctor would be there also.  Besides, Dr. Strange delivered my 3rd child, and she was the easiest delivery I had.  I will spare details for what happened next; it’s a bit personal – if you really need to know how they prep a patient for a c-section then take a class at your local hospital.  Then the anesthesiologist came in, and my heart sank when I realized it was the same lady who gave me my epidural during the birth of baby #4 – the epidural that never worked.  She gave me my spinal, and it pinched a little, but much less than an epidural, not really a big deal at all.  My legs started to get tingly, and I was really starting to panic big time.  I kept asking the anesthesiologist if everything I was feeling was normal, and she was so nice and reassuring.   They had a blood pressure cuff on my arm which kept going off every few minutes, and they also gave me oxygen in my nose – I felt very well cared for.  They let Hubby in, and he and the anesthesiologist (so tired of typing that word, think I’ll just call her Dr. Drug from now on) sat by my head the whole time.  Dr. Drug said that they would test me to make sure that I was numb before they did anything, but guess what – they didn’t.  I brought this up to someone after it was over, and they had a good point – they probably tested my numbness but didn’t even tell me about it.  Since it was working, I didn’t feel the test, so they proceeded.  Duh.  It’s just that I was so nervous about the numbing not working after what happened with my epidural; you can’t blame me for being concerned.

The next thing I remember is the tugging and pulling, which is also something for which the c-section class prepared me.  But it was actually much less unpleasant than I had panicked it would be.  It’s just that it seemed to take forever.  They said it would take about 1-2 minutes and according to Hubby, it took 4 minutes.  If you ask me, I would say it took 15 minutes.  The whole time I could hear the doctors talking and I kept asking Hubby what they were saying because I was panicking about the health of the baby and the fact that I was lying there sliced open on the table.  He said they were just discussing their techniques.  My Hubby kept looking down there, past the curtain, and I kept wondering how he could do that – if it were him lying on a table sliced open, I don’t know that I could look.  But then again, I don’t think it was like surgery looks on tv – I was picturing a completely open body cavity, but that’s a different kind of surgery.  I guess that’s why there was all that tugging and pulling.  So anyway, finally Hubby says that the baby is out, but I don’t hear crying, so I begin to panic even more (notice a trend here?  I am a worrywart, in case you haven’t noticed).  But both people seated at my head tell me everything is fine, and then I hear the baby (Luke James) cry.  I feel so relieved, and I can’t believe it’s over.  Except it’s not.  They clean up the baby, and they hold him up in front of my face for about a millisecond, and then they take him out of the room along with my husband and probably about half the staff that was on hand.  At some point, I don’t remember when, but I’m pretty sure it was after the baby was born, Dr. Drug held up a little vial and says, “I’m going to give you this.”  She puts it in my IV, and I find out later that it was Duramorph, a form of morphine.  I’m wondering now if this is something they give all their c-section patients (those who are not opposed to medications), or if I got the “panicking patient” special.  At any rate, after the morphine, my memory gets fuzzy, but I do remember lying there getting sewed up (still not feeling a thing below my chest).  My complaint was that it seemed to take FOREVER because I had nothing to do but lie there, and all I could think about was seeing my baby.  I even got envious of my poor husband, because here I had just gone through this surgery and now HE was getting to spend all this time with the baby and I hadn’t even barely gotten a look at him.  They should really think about putting a tv in there or something…  or would that distract the doctors?  Best not to think about it, I guess.  I had to keep talking myself out of looking at the ceiling because it was reflective, and I could see a little of me and a lot of red there – they ought to fix that too; I would bet that no one wants to see themselves getting surgery.  But finally they were finished, and a few of the staff people worked together to lift my helpless body onto the  gurney for the transport back to my room.

When I got there, there was Hubby with the baby, all excited to see me, and then I finally got to hold our new son.  And he was (is) so incredibly beautiful.  The rest of the day was wonderful.  Slowly my legs began to work again, and I could not believe it that I had absolutely no pain!  It did not resonate with me that I was on drugs.  I did feel kind of loopy, but I didn’t really think much of it and enjoyed the euphoria of having a new healthy baby and the relief that the worst part was over.  Weather-wise it ended up being a terrible weekend to be stuck in the hospital – it was 80 degrees out and sunny, and the grandmas took my kids to the zoo on Saturday, so I had to miss that, but at least they got to go.  When I was released from the hospital on Monday, it was still very nice out for a few days, but I didn’t feel up to going outside and by the time I did, Northern Ohio fall weather was in full swing and I’ve been cold ever since.  Oh well, such is life, and my Hubby had perfect advice when I was bummed about missing the beautiful fall colors (it was amazing how different our neighborhood looked with all the leaves on the ground after just 3 days!).  He said, “There will be plenty more color-changing seasons, but there are only so many baby seasons.”  What a wise, wonderful man!

Back to my recovery in the hospital, it went fairly smoothly, although I did have a lot of pain starting Saturday once the morphine wore off.  The baby was up all night on Friday, but I didn’t mind at all because I just wanted to be with him.  I haven’t watched tv in years, but over the weekend, I watched countless episodes of 3’s Company, Roseanne (forgot about the one where Becky gets into the liquor cabinet, haha!), and Everybody Loves Raymond – you know, shows from when tv was actually good.  I learned about the Prohibition era from PBS, and I also learned that there are conspiracy theorists who believe that there really isn’t gold in Fort Knox – hmm, that’s something to think about I guess.  Luke slept a full 5 hours on Saturday night from 1:30-6:30, and so did I since no one came for my blood until 6:30.  Last time I was in the hospital, I seem to remember them coming for blood every hour on the hour which made it really hard to sleep, but then again I had a lot of complications last time including the need for an emergency cesarean and a blood transfusion.  Sunday night, little Luke decided he wasn’t going to sleep again, and I woke up from my 45 minute nap that night feeling terrible – achy and lots of other pain, and chills because of a fever I was running.  Not only that, but there was a mean nurse who informed me in a not-so-nice way that I was over my limit of acetaminophen, which meant I was not allowed any pain medicine.  That really ticked me off; partly because of the way she said it, and partly because no one had given me any indication that this was a problem.  Had they warned me that I was getting near the limit, I would have declined some of the meds offered to me to avoid this.  Actually, all of the other nurses had been telling me that I should stay ahead of the pain.  They specifically said not to wait until the pain was really bad to take the meds otherwise they wouldn’t work.  The staff must have known I was upset because at 11pm Sunday night, my doctor called my bedside phone personally and reassured me.  And my doctor is the one I credit with my smooth delivery and quick recovery – she has been 1000% better than my previous doctors in every way throughout this process, and for that, I am so thankful.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been resting (probably not as much as I should have, but I have 5 kids now, who can rest with 5 kids in the house??).  Hubby has been amazing at taking care of me AND things around the house, but he also started a new job 2 days after the baby was born, which leaves him with 2 jobs, taking care of the 4 kids and me AND waking with the new baby at night as he likes to do.  My mother did a ton of laundry while she was here, and I’m just now starting to do laundry again a week and a half later, so that helped a lot too.  People from church have been wonderful about sending meals for our family, and that has been incredible.  Not only that, but we also have frozen meals that people sent and that my husband’s mother made while she was visiting for when our meal delivery runs out.  It’s been crazy, but we are managing, and a week and half later, I’ve been out and about and back in the real world.  I still have pain, but nothing extreme, and my 600mg ibuprofen works pretty well for that.  There are 2 complications I had that I was not expecting; one is worthy of a blog post all its own and I’ll get to it next time.  The other is the return of my backaches.  I’ve had a sore back since high school; I worked fast food and had to pop a Doan’s before every shift to make it through.  There are various things that I think caused it, but what does that matter now.  The strange thing is that during my pregnancy, my backaches disappeared.  Most women find new backaches during pregnancy, and mine disappeared.  I didn’t think much of it until I get home from the hospital and experience my back pain again.  This is discouraging because I know the incision pain will go away with time, but the backaches seem to be getting worse, and I have no guarantee that my back will ever feel better.  I guess it’s something to talk to my wonder doc about in my 6-week follow-up.  I already had my 1 week follow-up with the doctor, and she said my incision looks really great and my body is healing well – for that I am thankful.

Baby’s healthy, 4 big sisters and brother are healthy, I’m getting healthy, and Hubby is healthy (even if he needs much more sleep – praying for that to come soon) – what more can we ask for!  Life is good; God is great!

And oh yeah…  everywhere little Luke goes, he has a constant crowd of admirers.  If it wasn’t so sweet, it would be annoying because hey, when is it MY turn to hold the baby?!?  😉

Luke James

Posted in Everyday Life, Kids on October 11th, 2011 and tagged , , , , ,

Our 5th bundle of joy arrived on October 7, 2011.  His name is Luke James, and he was born at exactly 8 am, weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and was 19.5 inches long.  He is healthy and a very happy easy-going baby.  He seems to have his days and nights mixed up though, which I suspected based on his movements when he was still in the womb.  We are enjoying him immensely, and so are his 3 sisters and his brother.  I am recovering from the c-section pretty well, and I will write more about Luke’s first days at home when it doesn’t hurt to sit in a chair for longer than 10 minutes.  I would love to put up a hundred pictures of gorgeous little Luke, but my bunny chewed my camera cord, and I can’t get any pictures off my camera.  I hope to have this situation remedied soon, but I depend on Hubby for all my tech-related needs, and Hubby is exhausted staying up with the baby at night, taking care of me and the kids during the day while also keeping up with his responsibilities at both of his jobs.  It just seems mean and commanding of me to place more demands on him now, so I will have to somehow be patient about the picture taking and sharing.  I wonder how long I can last; Luke is one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen!!!

**UPDATE**

Hubby devised a way to transfer my pictures using my ebook reader – genius!  So anyway, here is a picture of swaddled Luke at 1 day old:

Running Out Of Steam

Posted in Kids on October 1st, 2011 and tagged , , , , , ,

To quote a funny movie, Drop Dead Gorgeous, “I’m like, due or something.”  That’s the response that’s been popping into my head whenever my husband wants to make plans for our family.  I am 38 weeks pregnant, and I don’t feel like doing anything.  I just want to lay in bed, get up to eat, then lay in bed some more.  And I do sleep when I’m laying down, so I must be tired and needing the sleep.  But this is weird for me.  I haven’t been bored in years, and now I feel bored, not because I have nothing to do but because I don’t feel like doing anything.  It’s so annoying!  There is so much to do around the house to get ready for the baby, and I don’t feel like doing any of it.  On top of that, I feel badly not having the desire to entertain my 4 kids, but luckily they’re very good at self-entertaining and their oldest sister has been amazing with spending fun time with them every day while I rest.  But I don’t remember feeling like this with my other pregnancies.  I do feel tired, but this lack-of-motivation-to-do-anything thing is getting old!  Then again, this is the first pregnancy I’ve had being in my 30’s.  Maybe that has something to do with it?

One Foot Out The Door…

Posted in church on September 20th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Changes abound!  So many things happening that I can’t keep up writing about them on my blog.  It seems like every time I sit down to relax, I’m doing something with the kids – playing board games, homeschooling, doing puzzles, cuddling while we watch home videos together…  Mommy and kid time is so much more important than blogging, of course, so I’m not losing sleep over it…  but I do miss blogging, and I know I will miss having a chronicle of these days for future reading.  I was just looking back at my blogs from the past; looking to see how I felt after my cesarean 3 years ago, hoping to maybe find some tips for recovery this time around.  It was so nice to read about what was going on in our lives at that point, the challenges we were enduring, how the kids were growing, what they were doing, that kind of thing.  But these days, if I have a kid in my lap, there is NO extra room to have a laptop nearby!  As of Friday September 16, I am 36 weeks pregnant – home stretch for sure!  While my belly is not bulging nearly as much as it did with my previous 4 pregnancies (I’ve actually LOST weight since July, but dr said baby is growing fine and that’s what matters), I am looming large these days, and the seemingly most mundane of tasks is an effort on my part and seems to take me forever.  I am blessed with an awesome Hubby who has really stepped up around the house to keep us running despite the craziness and challenges that a 4-kid household brings.  Very Honorable Mention goes to my oldest daughter who has also been amazing lately with her willingness to help.  She has gone above and beyond, not only doing everything that is asked of her but also coming up with her own ideas to pamper pregnant mom, following through with these ideas, and also excelling in our newly designed homeschooling program.  A few weeks ago, Taylor surprised me with a manicure/pedicure, and she even kept going outside to check on the little ones while Mom’s nails were drying.  The other day, she came up with the idea and made me breakfast in bed.  Her emotional and spiritual growth lately has been amazing to see, and hopefully I will have the time to blog about the lesson in forgiveness that she taught our whole family.

So how is the homeschooling going for us?  If you remember, we began homeschooling our two eldest this year – 6th and 2nd grades.  Many people have asked how it’s going, so it’s time for a formal update on the blog…  It’s going GREAT!  Thanks for asking!  We began with a very planned out schedule, but we’ve found it necessary to be more flexible.  We’ve also tweaked our planned curriculum here and there and attended our first homeschooling book sale and picked up some things to supplement our curriculum.  All normal and necessary parts of the process, and we’ve seen the kids become closer with each other and us their parents, all while getting to watch them learn new things up close.  I can’t wait to jump in as a full time homeschool teacher, but my patience is being tested since I have to wait until I recover from my planned cesarean in October.

Now for the big news: a few blog posts ago, I wrote about many doors opening for our family.  We were still determining at that time which paths to explore, and our prayers have been answered; the paths whittled down to an almost definite road.  Loonnngg story made very short is this: my husband was offered a job as a pastor at a local church, and he accepted.  This means that we will be, in effect, switching churches.  Talk about something that came out of the blue!  There is nothing about our current church that I don’t like, and I had planned on going there for years to come and raising our kids among our church community.  But, as we all too often learn, God has plans for us.  And who am I to argue?  I KNOW His plans are so much better than any road map I could have drafted for myself and my family.  So now comes the transition to the new church.  It’s a much smaller church, so among my husband’s and my first duties will be to acclimate ourselves into the new church environment and create a children’s ministry.  It will be challenging but also extremely exciting.  My husband has one final meeting with the regional governing board of the church to finish out the interview process, but everything we’ve been told by the elders of the church is that this is just procedure.  So, last Tuesday, I sadly gave my notice to my friend and mentor that oversees my 2nd/3rd grade girls Sunday school class.  Oh, how I will miss those kids!  I’ve known them and watched them grow for a year and a half now, ever since I had them as 1st grade students last year.  But as I said, who am I to challenge God’s plan?  While this all happened so suddenly in our lives, the chain of events and circumstances that led up to my husband being chosen to lead this church was so obviously orchestrated by God that there is no need to doubt whether it was meant to be, nor is there need to go into detail about exactly how it happened.  I will just say how much we KNOW that it was meant to happen, and that will guide me in the future if I ever begin to have fears or doubts in my own abilities to fulfill His work for me.

October 7 is when I am scheduled to have the baby, and 2 days later (while I’m still in the hospital) is when my husband is to spend his first Sunday at our new church.  As soon as I feel up to it, I will join him there, and our kids will follow as soon as we set up our children’s ministry.  That leaves me 2 Sundays to teach my current Sunday school students, or possibly just one if I decide to go and meet more of the congregation at the new church before I go into the hospital.  I may have one foot out the door, but I’m walking into a whole new world.  Because it is the world that God has designed for me at this point in my life, I could not be more excited!!!

Still Here… Somewhere

Posted in blogging on May 22nd, 2011 and tagged , , , , ,

Realizing I haven’t blogged in awhile, I’ve been trying to think of something to write about.  I have plenty of material; I just don’t feel like writing for some reason.  Plenty of material, not plenty of time is part of the reason.  I’ve even started a few drafts, but at least one ended up being a laundry list of complaint about my dogs’ behavior and other things that have been stressing me lately, and I don’t feel like publishing it.  After all, Walmart complaints are fun, tongue-in-cheek ways to vent about how I feel ripped off after shopping at Walmart, but when I write huge rants of real life complaints I annoy myself, so I can’t imagine my readers’ feelings.  Plus all the complaining doesn’t ease the stress, nor does it help me fulfil the main purpose of my blog – which is giving my family a virtual diary of our lives while the kids are growing up.  Sure, it shares the information, but I want their reading experience of our family blog when I’m gone to be a good one, not something like, “Hey – I DO remember when mom was stressed all the time!!”

So I wanted to drop a quick line to let it be known that I’m still here, still a part of blog world, still interested in posting blogs.  My kids are not any less cute these days, nor my life any less busy or exciting…  just much more stressful, which kind of puts a damper on my creative writing spirit I think.  I’m hoping maybe that will change here soon…  if not this summer, something tells me I might feel  better in October or November with less of the negative pregnancy symptoms and more of the ‘new baby joys’ to focus upon.  Can’t wait!

Windy City White House

Posted in Travel on November 13th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Windy City White House” is more of a reference to our visit to the Windy City rather than a blog post about the recent election – it’s over and done with, and although I won’t talk much about the outcome, I am happy to not have to hear about it on the news anymore.  While in Illinois, my mother-in-law kept talking about what huge news it is that Obama was elected and how his pick for Chief-of-Staff, Rahm Emanuel is a fellow Chicagoan – making it a ‘Windy City White House’.

But back to our family – it’s my blog, after all.  We scheduled an early Christmas with our family in Illinois this past weekend (the early Christmas theme is something that seems popular with tangents.org bloggers), and overall, it was great.  There are a few reasons we decided to do things this way – 1) We’re sick of the hustle and bustle of opening our presents from Santa and then rushing off to Illinois on Christmas Day  – add to that having the flu during this trip twice and UGH.  Best to travel before flu season.  2) My daughter was off school Friday for parent/teacher conferences 3) We wanted to beat the rush and other travelers.  Overall, it was a really great decision, although the trip was last minute, and so we did forget a few of the presents which we’ll now have to send.  We left Ohio on Friday morning and after a bit of traffic-sitting (of course), we got to my grandparents house about 40 minutes past schedule.  But no matter, they’re fully aware of the traffic problems plaguing their area.  We were treated to a delicious lunch of my grandma’s sloppy joes (love ’em), and the girls got to open presents.  My grandpa gets tired really quickly, and so we didn’t stay too long there, and then it was on to our hotel.  My husband uses hotwire.com and got us a suite at the Sheraton for $49 – a nice price for the area.  When we pulled up to our hotel, we were pleased to see it was the same hotel where we spent our wedding night – that was a nice surprise.  My mom and my sister brought her two boys over for some swimming, and we all had a blast even though their indoor pool was chilly.  Luckily, I had thought to turn up our room’s thermostat so when we got back to the room we didn’t freeze, although it was quite crowded trying to get 10 hungry people changed out of bathing suits and trying to order pizza at the same time.  It was a suite, but it was probably the smallest suite I have ever seen, and we had 6 little kids and 4 adults in there.  My mother and sister wisely decided that they couldn’t wait for the time it would take to get pizza, and they got something to eat on the way home.  That was a good idea because my mom had to get up early the next day and didn’t want to be out too late.  They know their area well enough to realize that pizza delivery on a Friday night would take over an hour – and they were right.  My poor kids were starving and I had to raid my diaper bag.  I found a little bag of oyster crackers and two small bags of peanuts, so I divied everything up 3 ways (Survivor-style) and it quieted them a little until the pizza came.  Overall, the kids were kind of spastic all day, especially my oldest for some reason…  My husband blames the tension of the Chicagoland area, but then again, he hates it as much as I do.  We love seeing family, just wish we could visit them somewhere else!

Saturday morning we were up bright and early to meet my mother-in-law for breakfast at Uptown Cafe in Arlington Heights – the place has the best eggs benedict in the nation.  And I know this because way back when, before we had all these kids, my husband and I used to travel constantly, and one of the things we would look for was good hollandaise sauce.  We never found any that came close to Uptown Cafe’s.  And the owners remember us – we used to go there a lot when we lived in the area; I was pregnant with my first daughter.  They are surprised every time they see us because we usually have a new baby or two.  After breakfast, we went back to my mother-in-law’s house, and I felt badly for dropping in on my husband’s sister and her family without any notice.  This is one of the details that was overlooked in the last minute planning.  But it was ok; I didn’t have my gifts for their 3 kids, so I’ll have to send them.  But our kids had lots of fun playing together, and it’s important to me that my kids know their extended family, especially since a lot of hatchets have been buried over the years on this side of the family.

Next, it was time to see our good friend, the author of the sublife blog on tangents.org.  It was great to see him, especially on his own turf, but he’s right in his blog – there really wasn’t much time for chatting.  The kids wouldn’t have allowed us to just sit and talk peacefully, and we wanted to take them somewhere fun, so we went to an overflowing Chuck E. Cheese.  After waiting in line to park, I realized that I hadn’t seen our camera since I took a picture of the kids on the luggage rack at the hotel that morning.  Sound familiar?  Yes, I have terrible luck with digital cameras.  And worse, this one was not mine – I had borrowed it from Jamiahsh for the trip, so I was sick about losing it.  Luckily for me, it turned up when we got home though – YAY!  I was especially upset because I knew that I had put it in my diaper bag – I really thought someone had taken it.  Pessimistic of me, you’d think, except that we did have our tokens stolen from our table at Chuck E. Cheese with my husband less than 5 feet away.  Takes all kinds to steal game tokens from little kids, doesn’t it….  at least they didn’t also steal my digital camera.  We got lunch at a Vienna Beef hot dog place in Arlington Heights called Jimmy’s – highly recommended you get real Chicago-style beef sandwiches and ‘dogs if you’re in the area – YUM!

The ride home was uneventful – the kids slept most of the way, thank goodness.  We did manage to stop and get me my crave case of White Castles, and so our car reeked of steamed onions – thank goodness we weren’t pulled over or we may have gotten a ticket for disturbing the peace.  Maybe I wouldn’t have stopped if I’d known what White Castles would do to a 2-year-old’s diaper.  I tried to deliver some to my friend Carol who graciously pet sits for us, but for some reason, she neglected to pick them up.  My husband says that not everyone likes White Castles.  We picked up the slyders (as White Castles are known) in Dolton, Illinois; not the best area, but it just off the expressway so we made it unscathed.  Ironically, something made me talk about Dolton just before the stop; I was telling my husband how it’s gotten to be a really bad area and that I knew a family that had left there in the ’80’s because it was getting so bad, so imagine it now.  Then we saw a sign that said “Dolton Bowl” right across the street from the White Castle, and we laughed at the irony.  But overall, a nice trip, especially considering the area where we had to take it.  One positive thing I will say about the area is that they have excellent food.

Three quarters of my kids on the luggage cart: 

Saturday Slobber

Posted in Kids, Travel on August 17th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, school starts on Tuesday, so for one last summery hurrah, we ventured over to the coastal cities in Ohio on Lake Erie for some fun.  First stop was the African Safari Park in Port Clinton, which is really more of a drive-thru zoo than anything having to do with Africa.  They do have zebras, giraffes, and camels, but most of their animals hail from North America.  It’s always an extremely fun experience, and we try to go every year.  Since this summer was very busy with the new baby and all, it didn’t occur to me that we hadn’t gone yet until I struck up a conversation with a really nice elderly couple at a restaurant the other day.  When I asked where they were from, they replied, “west of Cleveland”, so that got me thinking about the Safari Park in Port Clinton.  On the way home from the restaurant that night, I said to my husband, you know, we haven’t been to the safari park this year…  An idea was hatched, and there we were on Saturday with 6 of our closest friends.

Saturday morning was almost like a one-act play with all of us standing there on our front porch, trying to figure out who was going to ride with whom; we were trying to find the best way to do things to be as economically (and environmentally) friendly as possible…  We ended up taking just 2 cars for the 12 of us, and then once we got to Port Clinton, it was like musical chairs (cars) once again while we tried to figure out how to position everyone to get the most bang for our buck, so to speak, since the safari place charges by carload and by individual…

So anyway, after a stop at Cheese Haven In Port Clinton – and now I have to go off on yet another tangent because Cheese Haven is SOOO good and totally worth a stop if you’re in the area.  And what I mean by “in the area” is anywhere up to 100 or even 1000 miles, depending on how much you like cheese.  They have so many varieties, along with fresh jerkies and beef sticks and other yummy treats.  We stopped there to get our lunch of corned beef sandwiches – and they have the best corned beef sandwiches, yum.  Unfortunatlely, I was not wlling to take 4 kids into the cheese store to run around, so I was stuck in the car with the kids, but my oh-so-thoughtful hubby talked the worker into making me a sample bag (which they’re not supposed to do, you only get the free samples if you go into the store, but hey, I was stuck in the car), AND he made my sandwich for me – how sweet 🙂

Ok, tangent aside…  now we’ve arrived at the Safari Park, and it is SO crowded…  Makes me think twice about going there again next summer unless it’s near their last weekend of operation like it was when we went last year…  I mean, I just can’t stand waiting in line to go to the bathroom, of all things…  Waiting in line is not much fun at all, but when you’re waiting in line to do something as necessary and as unrewarding as going to the bathroom, it’s really annoying.  So, because it was so crowded, it took us forever to get through the drive-through zoo part; although not as long as it took the other vehicle in our caravan because they were stuck behind an obscenely slow white van the whole time…  So while we got out of the drive-through section, they had barely just begun…  But the whole park is a really cool place; even more so if you don’t care about the vanity nor cleanliness of your car since there are some rather huge creatures (including deer, elk, elands, buffalo, zebras, giraffe and longhorns) who drool, head-butt, lick, slobber, and basically invade your car as your drive through their habitat.  I think you must truly be an animal lover to appreciate the place since you come out filthy…  This was the first time we had been there in our new car, but I’m happy to report no major damage, that I know about, at least; but what’s this about driving our car through a pond, jamiahsh?!?

We’ll get to the bottom of that later…  when you come out of the drive-through part, it’s time for the walk-through zoo section, and there they have monkeys, macaws (military, not green-winged as the sign said), ocelots, warthogs, alpacas, and tortoises; not to mention rides for the kiddees: ponies and camels.  I noticed that they had 2 camels for riding; one was resting while the other gave the rides.  But interestingly, one was a Dromedary and the other a Bactrian camel, the difference between the two species being mainly in how many humps they had…  My daughters rode the Dromedary (1 hump), and they really seemed to enjoy themselves – I wonder if riding the Bactrian (2 humps) would have been any different?  I was envious because I’m no where near the 125 lb. weight limit, so I’ll probably never get to ride a camel…  After that, we got to check out an animal show, ironically titled “Laugh With the Animals”.  It was ironic because our host for the show was so dry – she had the audience doing everything but laughing…  It was a fun show, though, and something that we hadn’t yet done at the park in our previous visits.  Overall, an interesting day…  as it is anytime you have 12 people on an outing together!

If you liked reading my synopsis of the day, check out my fellow tangents.org blogger and get Jamiahsh’s take on the whole thing.  I’m going to take a lesson from him and blog this in 2 installments…  got to leave the readers craving more, so they say!  Check out my next post for a full summary of our visit to a year-round haunted house – Ghostly Manor in Sandusky, Ohio!  Until then…