Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It is Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas...

You know how sometimes things sound like a really good idea? Then you put them in practice and halfway through wonder, "What on earth am I doing???" Well, that was a good description for today.

It started off innocent enough. We kind of got up at our leisure. The kids were just "starving" and had to eat a little breakfast while I worked on baking pumpkin muffins. Then thirty minutes later, they were ready to eat pumpkin muffins too.

While child 4 settled in to watch a little Sesame Street, I took the opportunity to start working on my project.

THE project.

See, for Christmas, we like to give gifts to our kids' teachers. Okay, I will admit, I usually take the easy way out. Gift cards. The problem is that Joshua has multiple caregivers. There are a few "regulars" but I don't feel right excluding anyone. However, I really wanted to express how thankful we are for their care of our son. I wanted to do a little lunch but they all eat at different times. So I decided to bake/make snacks so when it was their lunchtime, they would have some treats.

It started off a fairly small list. Then it grew. And grew.

The menu? Peanut butter apple dip/apples. Homemade salsa/chips. Sweet Cereal Mix. Peppermint Bark. Sausage Balls. Cream cheese/flavored sauce/salsa. Mint Chocolate Chip brownies.

The good news is that it is stuff I can make ahead of time. The bad news is that it is a lot of work when I really need to be wrapping presents. But in the end, I cannot put a value on what these ladies do for our son each day. He has just loved school and blossomed there. So into the kitchen I went.

Unfortunately I was also washing, drying, and folding clothes during that time. We have a lot of baskets to get taken care of before the weekend. And the carpet guy was coming to our house. Had to pick our oldest up from swim team practice. Lots of supervising of the girls who were in charge of cleaning their room. And then there was the youngest. I was so hopeful when he got up. He had an appetite. He was energetic. And his cheeks were flushed. Darn.

As the day continued, my little patient got whinier and whinier. His cough also deepened; it hurt my lungs to listen to him. And by the time I put him down for his nap, his fever had started going up.

So after waiting for him to sleep a bit, I went to the computer and put in a request for an appointment.

That was not something I was expecting to do today!

Within fifteen minutes or so, we had an appointment for about an hour later. Thankfully child 4 was not in a deep sleep. His cough kept him awake. I hate to wake him up when he is sleeping. Unfortunately, child 3 was sleeping deeply. And she is not the easiest person to wake up. Needless to say, there were dark clouds for a while.

Still, we managed to make it to the doctor's office in time, on time. And within just a few minutes we were called back.

Child 4 usually loves going to the doctor. I had a feeling this appointment would be a little different when the nurse asked me to take off his shoes so she could weigh him. His reaction? LOTS of crying, "I don't want to take my shoes off!" She wrote down 28 as his weight but I don't really think it was an accurate reading. He wouldn't let go of my neck...I was trying to peel him off, etc. It was loads of fun. (Sarcasm inserted :)

The little wait in the waiting room was just a tease for the wait in the exam room. Now, mind you, I had all four kids with me. Mark couldn't get away, and it all happened too quick to get some help. We were put into this tiny room with an exam table, two chairs, and the doctor's spinning stool. That and a few books and pamphlets, that is it. I did hear complaints (from the kids, not the staff) but overall they did well. It was just tiring. For me anyway. :)

After what felt like an eternity, we got to see the doctor. He was concerned that our little guy might have the flu. So he ordered a flu test. They came in quickly to swab it and I was all smiles. At least until the nurse said, "Okay, we should have results in fifteen minutes..." FIFTEEN minutes? Me and the four in that tiny room for another fifteen minutes?

Somehow we survived. I don't remember much about that time; I think I am trying to block it from my memory. :) I am sure it involved a lot of questions/answering.

The only semi-good news was little guy's fever had risen to about 102. That isn't good news. But it slowed him down considerably which probably saved me in that wait in the exam room.

After 15 minutes, the nurse stopped by to let me know that he had tested negative. We also got a prescription to deal with an infection that seemed to be brewing in his lungs. And then we headed home.

I literally ran Child 4 into the house, met Mark briefly (passing off Joshua), then grabbed my grocery list and headed out the door. I had some of the ingredients for the Project, but not all.

An hour or so later, I got home just in time to "tag" Mark in our tag teaming as he headed out the door with Child 1 to go to the grocery store. I quickly got to work putting groceries away as
well as working on dinner for the remaining crew.

After dinner, I gave the kids permission to watch a Christmas movie. I hate to use the DVR as a babysitter and really don't very often. But our little guy was just not feeling well and was VERY clingy. But for whatever reason, today he was all about the movie. So he settled right down.

Once the kids were in bed, I started working on The Project.

That isn't quite the end of the story, though if you have even read this far, you are wondering, "Why on earth does she keep talking?"

Mark was at a Razorback game. I sent him an e-mail asking him to pick up a big bag of Christmas m and m's. A few minutes later, I sent another e-mail requesting a box of Rice Chex.

Shortly afterwards, the boys came home. And Mark had in his hand one bag of m and m's (not Christmas ones). I asked about the Rice Chex. He hadn't received that message due to a dead phone. (or so he says :)

So in a few minutes, he (Mark) was heading out the door to get me a bag of Christmas m and m's. He also had orders to bring the Chex cereal home.

A bit later, he walked back in the door with a bag of Christmas m and m's. And a Chex cereal...just not the one I wanted or needed.

He is a good man. He really is. I am very grateful. Without too much protest, he turned around and went BACK to the store to get my right Chex.

Unfortunately when he came home, he pulled into the garage like usual. But not usual was the fact that the door hesitated when it was going up for Mark's truck. And then it got stuck. It didn't want to go anywhere. He had to get our vehicles OUT of the garage (so we would be able to drive tomorrow without a broken door in our way) and use his hands to pull the door down. We are calling a door company tomorrow. Gotta love unexpected expenses.

So that was the day in a nutshell. Cleaning, laundry, running the dishwasher FOUR times, cooking several appetizers/desserts, feeding children, playing chauffeur, playing nurse, etc...all in the day of a life of a mom! (Tomorrow's agenda? Delivering all of this food, a friend spending the night with child 2, and baking/decorating cookies for Santa.)

Hope your day was full of good smells and lots of smiles!

PS If I usually send a card to you, it isn't that I have dropped you from "the list". We are just going to be late on cards due to our missing cards...going to have to go another route...AFTER Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fa La La La La...

Whew! What a day!

Why do they call it a Christmas vacation? I am not on vacation over here. :)

So far we have had a morning obligation each of our three "vacation" mornings, which means setting the alarm. Just for the record, I am NOT setting it tomorrow!

Today we got up and got started on breakfast. The doorbell rang. Uh oh. Every one of us is in our pajamas. I would have been tempted to ignore it, but as soon as the door bell rings, my little angels run to the door to see who it is. We have windows on the sides of the door, so we cannot hide the fact we are home, especially when noses are pressed against the window out of pure curiosity!

I cautiously opened the door to find a couple of young men standing there. They were the carpet people. We got new carpet about a year and a half ago. We love the carpet. We just don't love the fact that it is ripping away at our "transition" spots (by the tile), leaving staples exposed. I think we have all stepped on them a time or two. Anyway, I knew the carpet guys were coming, at say...4-6 p.m. It was maybe 9 a.m. at this point. I think they felt bad; they had been told to come as early as possible which is funny since the carpet place had actually called Mark Friday to confirm the afternoon appointment. I think someone was having fun with me! I invited them in, warning them we were all in pj's. I am just thankful I was wearing a decent pair, not some of the threadbare ones that I have had forever. :)

Those poor guys. I think they felt really bad about the carpet. But there was not a thing they could do about it. They left promising that they would have the supervisor call us. I will give them all credit; we had a phone call within an hour.

Then we had a little time to work on cleaning and organizing. Finally we left for a bit so our house could get cleaned. We had the wonderful opportunity of visiting with my mom and my aunt, uncle, and grandmother. (My aunt and uncle are visiting, a special treat!) After our usual time slot, we drove back home. At that point, my kids thought they were "starving". Unfortunately, when we drove home, our house was STILL being cleaned. So we drove around for a bit until we got the "all clear". We returned home for lunch.

As we were working on lunch, the doorbell rang again. It was just one of those days. This time it was the termite inspector, about thirty minutes early. Again, I invited him in but warned him it was lunchtime.

It was about that time that I realized our youngest wasn't feeling top notch. He has been coughing and had a runny nose, but today he had a fever too (slight). I made his whole lunch which he didn't touch. After a little bit, he just asked to go to bed. (It was about two hours after his normal school naptime so he may have just been tired) He proceeded to sleep for about three hours. When he got up, his fever had gone up. Thankfully he perked up as the night went on. He didn't eat just a bunch for dinner, but he did drink some and ate a little. We will see what tomorrow brings.

After dinner, I took child 1 out shopping. This year we had the kids "draw" names to buy for one sibling. We are footing the bill, though they have a set price and can get only ONE gift with it. The rules may change as the kids get older. Last year we just had the two older kids exchange gifts, so this is new for them. (It just happened to work out that they all drew out someone else's name on the first try!)

It has been interesting to watch the kids shop for each other. The first to go a couple of nights ago was child 2. She was shopping for her little brother. We went on a Saturday night before Christmas to Toys R Us. Can you say "crazy"??? She investigated almost every possibility. She checked everything twice. She also discovered the price scanner and had to "scan" anything she could find. Somehow she had missed the rule on "one" gift, so she was trying to get as much for the price limit as she could. Once I explained the rule yet again, she settled on something very fast. It was funny; she doesn't have much of a concept of prices yet. There were a couple of items she pulled up that were 70 dollars or more...she was shocked when I told her how much they cost. (That was WAY over the price limit)

Mark took child 3 shopping on Sunday. I will admit, we simplified things for her a bit. I had some ideas of what her sister would like so that narrowed down her choices. Now let's see if she can keep a secret before Thursday night!

And tonight was child 1's night. I was pretty impressed. He was buying for child 3. I asked him if he had any ideas, and he quickly named three things that he thought would be good gifts. And he really had a good feel for what she might want...he has been paying attention more than I had thought!

Tomorrow night, as long as he feels up to it, is the youngest's turn. I have a feeling his shopping experience will be different. He is so ready to go though. Every night he has asked, "I go shopping, Mommy?" So hopefully he will just be excited that he is actually shopping. I have a feeling his gift will involve us holding out a couple of items and letting him point to one. :)

Well, not the most exciting post (not that they usually are) but that is all I can do for today. Still, I have gotten in three posts in about 24 hours, so I am pleased with that! For now, I am off to bed... I am ready to sleep and hopefully sleep in!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

On This Day in History...

Okay, I started this last night, and I got the title typed. Then I just tuckered out and headed to bed. So it should actually read, "On Yesterday in History". But I don't feel like changing the title now.

"This Day" refers to the 19th. The 19th seems to be significant to the Cloud family for a couple of reasons.

You see, two years ago, on December 19, we brought home our fourth child. After a week long stay (which felt like much, much longer), we returned to the USA with our Guatemalan son in our arms. Our family was and is complete (as far as we are concerned...God may have His own plans). It was such an emotional day. We had been in Guatemala for a very long week. Our son was a complete delight UNTIL bedtime. Then he was awake every couple/few hours. That is hard in itself (and totally not necessary for an eight month old but a habit he had developed in his foster home). In a hotel, it is even harder to deal with that crying, run on little sleep, etc. It was a very expensive trip (on top of the other adoption expenses); flying at Christmas on very short notice plus hotel stays during the holidays are rather pricey. It was of course just a week away from Christmas, so throw all of that stuff that needed to be done into the mix. Plus we missed our kids like crazy. We hadn't been away from any of them that long. We were actually supposed to be home on the 18th but unfortunately our little guy's visa was a complete mess (errors) and we had to wait an extra day to get it fixed. Oh, how I cried when that happened! But finally on the 19th, early in the morning, we boarded the plane, landed in Houston, where child 4 became a citizen (as soon as his feet touched the ground...that was at McDonalds in the airport I think), then finally landed in Northwest Arkansas. One of my favorite memories was walking out of the security section of the airport to find my parents and our other three kids waiting for us. We were finally together. Sigh.

December 19, 2008, had a totally different meaning to me. That was our last day of school before Christmas break last year. That was also the day that Mark ran home to get something for me for school and found "uninvited guests" robbing our house. They actually ended up only getting away with a couple of cameras, an MP3 player, and a little cash (one camera was returned). Unfortunately what I feel was taken that was much much more valuable was the sense of security. I couldn't sleep for weeks on end without waking up over and over, hearing sounds, etc. We have a security system now and that has helped a lot. However, there is still a distrust (in both the integrity of mankind...like how your Christmas card/pictures might get stolen off your front porch) and a leeriness of our legal system. For instance, on Friday, our last day of school, it was actually the 18th, but I found myself on edge all day, waiting for my phone to ring. We had our Christmas singalong assembly at school. It was hard to sit through...last year I cried through the whole thing (had just found out the news). What bothers me even more though is the effect it had on one of the kids. The others don't seem to be aware or really that affected. But for our oldest daughter, her world was rocked. And I hate that. It has to happen in life. I just wish it hadn't happened so soon for her. We don't talk a lot about it, but if it ever does creep into our conversations, she is usually the one to bring it up. It is still very much in her thoughts and fears which just crushes me as a parent. I feel like I failed her. It was my job to keep her safe and secure. And I didn't. :(

This year, and this will be another post, December 19th was the day we finally were able to celebrate our oldest's birthday (since we had food poisoning on his actual party day). I am not sure I want to find out what December 19th holds next year...


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ends and Odds

I was trying to think of a new title for today. I think I have used Odds and Ends before, so I thought I would switch it up today. :)

Here are Random Thoughts of Reba...scary, huh?

I didn't get to post anything last night (I am sure you were waiting with bated breath). I thought I would. I had been productive all evening working on school projects. Then I settled down to watch a little t.v. with my hubby while I cruised the Internet. Unfortunately, somewhere in all of that, I fell asleep. (Happened again tonight while I was in the bathtub) Such is this time of year...

Today was school party day. Fun, fun! The kids were asking first thing this morning when it was. I kept saying, "At the end of the day..." Finally we got there. We did some creating with ice cream cones/frosting/sprinkles. Then I moved them over to the rug for a game/book exchange. While there, one of the kiddos looked up at me and said, puzzled, "Is this our party?" I guess that it wasn't everything he expected and more. :) (I try to have fun with the kids but still keep it fairly structured) In the end, I think they had a good time. We sugared them up really well anyway. And they all went home with some goodies. When I got home, I got to relive three different parties, again complete with goodies and stories of lots of sugar!

Speaking of goodies, I have been quite blessed this year. By party time, I had a desk full of presents and treats from my students, including a gift certificate to feed my sushi cravings, a cute pair of ladybug slippers (my nickname growing up was "Ladybug"), a warm throw, an ornament, some chocolate, and much, much more. I am thankful for a sweet and generous group of students and parents who shower me daily not only with gifts but with support, encouragement, and love.

I still hope to write a whole post in honor of our now 11 year old son. I have tried a couple of times to write one but I end up getting emotional and stop.

Speaking of our pre-teen, we hope to have our son's birthday celebration this weekend. I think he is ready to open some presents!

Do you remember the "Christmas card" rejects I posted the other night? Well, after all of that picture taking (which is enough to make me want to pull my hair out), finally designing a decent Christmas card, going through the order process, etc., I think our cards are missing. I have been tracking the package, eager for them to arrive so I could send them out at least a few days before Christmas. Today when I checked the tracking, I was rather surprised to learn that the package had been "delivered". I am not sure where it was delivered. It is not at my house. So, either it was delivered to another house OR it was delivered to our house and someone stole them (we had a flyer in our door today, so we know our front porch has had visitors). I cannot imagine that they would be much use to anyone else, but I guess a crook wouldn't know that from looking at the outside of the package. Either way, the pictures are not in our possession. So it looks like we may be going a different route with our Christmas cards this year! (I am not really flippant about it; I hate that we spent money for something we never got. And once again, I wonder if we were robbed...that would make three times this year in some sort of fashion. But at the same time, I am really tired and know that I cannot do a thing about it at this point in the game.)

I don't think I have mentioned much about gift giving since my "Toning Down Christmas" post. Let me tell you what my saving grace has been with the gift thing. A spreadsheet. I have always kept lists but they weren't very organized. What would happen was around Christmas when I would finally get to wrapping I would realize that one child was getting more than another child. So I did a lot of last minute shopping to "even" things out (and often for random gifts that were really there just to even out the number of gifts, not because it was a really "wanted" item). This year I made a spreadsheet, actually several. I even made one for books which we (Mom and Dad) always get the kids. I have been filling it in as I go shopping. I even change the color once something is bought. It sounds so simple but it has helped me SOOOO much. It has given me a focus when I go shopping. It has also stopped some "impulse" buying. If it is not on the list, then I probably don't need to get it. I am hoping this one little step will save me a lot of stress!

I really should get some sleep. I still have one more day of school. Then it is "break" (if you can call it that) for two weeks! Yippee!


Sunday, December 13, 2009


I am in a funk.

I don't know why.

I have no reason to be.

But I am in a funk.

I think a huge part of it is that I have had some kind of stomach bug (or I am hoping that is all it is) for a week now. It is getting better but I am still not quite back to feeling like myself. (This is aside from the horrible day we all had on Friday which I still believe was food poisoning; I promise I am a very thorough cook...it pains me to even write those words) So I have been pretty much homebound for three days straight now, with one little run to the store yesterday where I promptly felt sick again.

Another part is that I missed two days of school last week. I don't remember the last time I missed two days (they weren't in a row which actually felt worse). I have SO much to do this week at school, including finishing up assessments that I didn't get to do last week. Plus, that is where I get more of my adult interaction (even being with kinder. kids all day) than most places, so I am severely lacking that. It makes me feel "out of the loop".

I had gotten on a fairly good exercise jaunt (though short lived) until this stomach bug. Now I am going to have to start all over again. Ick.

You would think I would be losing weight dealing with stomach bugs. No luck. I feel bigger than I ever have in my life. Ick again.

I haven't quite caught the "holiday spirit". Yes, I know the true meaning of Christmas. We talk about it daily at our house. It just doesn't feel like Christmas to me. I don't know if it is the weather. Or that we changed a couple of "traditions" this year. I am actually more on top of gift buying than usual (thanks to a spreadsheet I have going), but maybe I have been too practical and not "holiday' enough. And maybe I haven't had the quiet times I need lately because that requires more concentration and attention than I have been able to give. I don't know. I just hope it catches on in the next week or so!

Mark and I have had little together time. For some reason when he is feeling sick, he doesn't feel very lovey dovey. :)

I am a little stressed about finances. I am trying to be somewhat careful with gifts and all. And we have so many asking for help for different charities; we are trying to help where we can. But at times it is all overwhelming especially with the economy. And I feel that though I doubt it is near to the effect some others have.

This has been a tough year, more for friends than for me. But it hurts my heart watching those I love lose those they love.

And realizing I have to have a dental checkup in just two days and have not been flossing which will be QUITE evident, which makes me feel like more of a failure than I felt before.

All that adds up to Reba in a funk.

Uplifting huh?

Even in the funk, I can recognize a few things that are precious to me though...

  • like waking up to the youngest singing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" (probably to JoJo his stuffed monkey) over the monitor this morning. We didn't even know he knew that song.
  • like when child 3 is playing with her cars and trucks on the floor next to me and out of the blue says, "I love you, Mom."
  • like when child 2 crawls up into the chair (really a one person chair but we make it work) to sit next to me as we watch Madagascar.
  • like when I get a text from a friend/co-worker letting me know that she can be at my house in my moments to bring us whatever we need (the day we were so sick).
  • like when I hear our oldest talking to Ribby the II. That boy really needs a dog. (I don't...he does)
  • like when my husband brings me pizza, a coke, and cotton candy for lunch. (I have given up trying to eat around my stomach bug. I am going to feel sick either way, might as well eat good stuff)
  • like when child 4 tears across the room in horror as an alligator snatched up a duck on Madagascar (a bit of of horror and humor mixed together) all for a hug.
  • like when we all stay up a little past our bedtimes to watch and laugh with Madagascar (a movie on a School Night?) just for fun and because we can.

I know there are many other things that I treasure. Some days I just need reminders. Now if only I can get out of this funk...


Friday, December 11, 2009

Man Down! Man Down!

I need to add about three "men" (or women or girls) to that count.

I have been feeling a bit ill all week. But it hasn't been bad enough that it has really stopped me, just slowed me down a bit. Then child 4 was sick on Wednesday. But that passed fairly quickly. If only that had been the end...

I am a deep sleeper. But for some reason, I can always sense the presence of a child moving in our room during the night (which is very rare around here). Sometime in the wee hours of the night/morning, I "felt" one in our room. I sat up as I heard the words, "Child 3 just got sick in the hallway." At that point, I was feeling worse than before, so Mark got up to take care of her. (If child 1 hadn't alerted us, I am not sure that she would have let us know until this morning) About that time, he started feeling bad. Uh oh. However this morning, we woke up thinking at least some people would be raring to go. Well, one person. Both of the big kids started complaining about their stomachs, and things went downhill after that. The only person who seemed to feel well...child 4.

I try to keep the youngest with me if I am not in school. I feel guilty otherwise. But today when Mark said, "Should he go to school?" I said, "Yes" right away. I didn't think any of us had the energy to watch him or try to keep up with him. I am thankful for that decision. We all dozed on and off all morning and other than trips to the restroom, we were completely immobile. I kept the t.v. on most of the day (a very rare thing around here), but nobody even seemed to notice or care what was on. Mark was a trooper. He got out, took child 4 to school, delivered pretzels and Sprite, and did some work. He came home partway through the day pretty ill but got out for one more meeting and to pick up child 4.

So here we are a few hours later. Child 3 seems to feel good though she is running a low grade fever. The older 2 do not have fevers, but we are keeping their food intake to a minimum. Mark is possibly the sickest. He has a fever and has slept most of the time since getting home. I am eating lightly (starchy foods which sound good to me) and maintaining with just an occasional fever, LOTS of body aches, and a slight headache. The youngest...well, he is going ninety to nothing. Of course, I think he is enjoying taking full advantage of the situation...he knows that it will take us a while to get to him. :) He has had some sweet moments though. He keeps saying, "Daddy not feel good, Mommy?" And this morning he just hugged my neck for a long time.

We had a lot of plans this weekend. We were supposed to be at the Square to eat pizza and walk around looking at the lights tonight with one of child 1's friends. Then tomorrow morning, child 2 had a ball game, Child 1 had a swim meet AND team pictures, then we were going to have our family over for a birthday lunch. Tomorrow night, Mark and I had a Christmas party to attend. In one fell swoop, all plans gone. I am hoping one of us feels well enough to take Child 1 to his team pictures tomorrow. Right now, that isn't a huge possibility. But we will try. :)

I am attempting to quieten things down (mainly the two little ones) with a video. It isn't working. :) I see an early bedtime for all of us...

P.S. I originally thought we might have food poisoning because we ate chicken last night. All of us ate it except for the youngest, the only person who doesn't feel bad. But with the other symptoms, I am leaning more toward a virus now. I can only hope this is short-lived. :)
P.S.S. Please pray for the Crumby family. Tomorrow they bury little Hannah Grace. :(

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Own "Snow" Day

Well, after a long and tiring day, Mark made it home around 1:30. He was in Milwaukee for a business trip. He was supposed to be home around 6 I think originally. However, it didn't take long for his first flight (which went to Chicago) to get canceled. Somehow he ended up on a bus (with the airline's help) and made it to Chicago in time to catch a flight home. Unfortunately, there was a HUGE snowstorm, and flights weren't leaving quickly if at all. Every time the phone rang, my whole body tensed up because I knew it was another delay. At one point, Mark told me that they had de-iced the whole plane and were just waiting for a flight attendant to show up. One did but for whatever reason decided she wasn't going to work after all, so they had to wait again. In the meantime, the plane iced up again. Finally a flight attendant was in place, they boarded the plane, and another de-icing took place.

In the meantime, we had a lot of fun watching him get interviewed by WGN while at the airport. That was an unexpected treat.

I did ask him later why he mentioned his laptop, not having pajamas if his flight was canceled, etc, but no mention of desperately trying to get home to his wife. He assured me that he had mentioned me, as in, "I am trying to get home to my wife. She has been with our children a little too long, and I need to relieve her." In that case, I am glad they edited it out... (Just for the record, I was handling things fine. I have not been feeling well, so it had been difficult at times to keep up with the demands of four kids while battling that. And I was struggling with being in two places at once with basketball and swimming, totally different directions. But I really handled things well (I thought).

So by the time Mark made it home, I had had a little "catnap" and was wide awake. Then I of course had to share every thought and occurrence from the last two days (which really seemed more like a week :). And the next thing I know, it is around 2:30, and we were just drifting off to sleep.

I had been debating about whether I should stay home since I hadn't been feeling good (I didn't feel like I was contagious and wash my hands a BUNCH of times a day), just to recover (hopefully). I had decided I had too much to do and just would have to charge through it. Well, that would have happened, even on four hours of sleep, had I not found the youngest with food particles (from dinner) all over his bed. (The worst part is I had been so excited he had finally eaten ground beef for dinner the night before...he rarely touches meat. He had even had two helpings. I regretted that later :) Suddenly, I had no choice. I had to stop, even with too much to do. So, while Mark took the others to school as little snowflakes swirled beautifully in the sky, I stayed at home with our little patient for our own little "snow day".

As for child 4, well, we are taking it slow with food and such. And NO milk for him. But otherwise, he seems to be feeling pretty good. He has not slowed down one iota. He has been talking a mile a minute and has been into as much as he is always into. So hopefully his is short lived (moreso than mine!).

You would think with all of this time at home, I would have gotten a lot accomplished. My to do list is certainly long enough. But I haven't. I have done a few things (like change the patient's sheets and put away some things from the store) but I have also had moments to just rest. However, I have not napped which is what my body really wants to do right now. I am hoping to go to bed a little earlier tonight (and after running errands this evening, I should have no trouble being tired) and get back on some kind of schedule...maybe. :)

Hmmm, I think I had a few odds and ends to share.

Oh, at one point today I was painstakingly taking our little guy's bumper pads off (yes, he is still in a crib and I will keep him there as long as he wants to be there...I like that he is confined :). I don't think I have ever untied them. It was a long process. At one point, he asked if I was changing his sheets. Before I could even respond, he said, "Thank you, Mommy. Thank you." He does have some sweet moments!

I do hope all know (which makes it sound like a lot more read than actually do :) that the whole "Hazardous to Your Health" post was mostly tongue in cheek. :) I truly do find my kids to be a blessing, though they really do like to interfere with my exercise plans. Trying to put me in an early grave, no doubt...

Last night before bed, the kids prayed. I was very touched to hear child 3 pray for Ms. Bonnie and her heart to feel better this time of year. That surprised me a little since we hadn't seen Bonnie recently. I also was touched to hear Hunter praying for the Crumby family as they deal with their loss. Very sweet. You have to love a child's faith!

I am trying to figure out a way I can run all the errands I need to this evening without actually being out in the cold. I do not do well in cold weather.

I suppose I should go. I had more to share but those thoughts escape me right now!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Goodbye, Little One

Little Hannah Grace is now in heaven. Thank you for the prayers for her the past few months. Please continue to lift up the family as they deal with her absence. I have no doubt that she is is happy and healthy and loving life where she is. I also have no doubt that her parents are aching in a way they never imagined they could ache. It is hard to fathom waking up one day knowing that you will not be feeling those chubby arms grasp your neck any more. Please pray for them any time you think of them. They have a long lonely road ahead of them, a road many of us have not traveled.

I am sorry this is so short today. Mark is out of town and I am on my own again this morning with the kiddos. Yesterday there were some rough patches but we got through. I don't think I have mentioned but I am a little on the ill side. It has not been enough to keep me in bed but I am not feeling myself. I am hoping today is much better.

Okay, my dumb alarm is chirping at me. I have to go.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

In Her Usual Flair

I wish I had pictures of the kids from the morning. They all looked adorable (in my very unbiased opinion of course). Child 3 had on this cream colored dress with taffeta (I think, I really don't know much about fabrics). It looked just precious on her. She almost looked like an angel.

Our family went forward today to light the advent candle during the church service. I don't know how or why we were chosen, but we were. I was feeling kind of ill and kept wondering if I should head home, but in the end, decided to stick it out. We sang a few songs, then it was our "cue". So we walked forward (note: The youngest did not. He was in the nursery. Had he gone, he would have started yelling, "Don't touch, Daddy. It is hot!"). The kids were well-behaved. They stood still as Mark read the Bible verses and said a prayer. Then we had a little issue with the lighter actually lighting the candle. (Mark had asked me to do it but I had declined, suspecting it would be difficult!) It finally did lit then burned out later. Not sure what that says about us. (On another humorous note, the "topic" for the advent candle..peace. In a house with four kids, we know NO peace. :)

When we walked back to our seats, Child 3 was right in front of me. She daintily walked down the steps until she was two or three steps from the floor. Then I saw those little arms swing as she jumped out and down to the bottom. She did land on both feet. There was a chuckle in the audience.

All in her usual flair...


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hazardous to Your Health

I wonder sometimes why children don't come with little warning tags. You know, you see them on refrigerators, medicine bottles, cleaners..."May be hazardous to your health..." I thought about this today as I was attempting to exercise. I don't really care to exercise. I can think of a lot more things I would much rather do (like eat or read a book). But it is a necessary evil, especially since having gone through two pregnancies and deliveries...my body has never been the same since. (I am sure I could somehow blame the other two also like all of the eating I did when I was stressed waiting for those adoptions to finalize. :) Anyway, so I am trying to exercise during the day rather than in the dark of the night when my muscles are screaming that they are tired and would rather be in bed. My children are happily playing around the house, making all kinds of messes. Then I turned on the t.v. to start my workout. (I have been working out with my own "personal trainer" on Wii Active; it truly is a workout!) Suddenly I had an audience. They abandoned all toys, all books, etc. and came to watch me "perform". Then they started asking questions like "Why is the sky blue?" as I am trying to exercise. Then the youngest just has to hug my leg. Oh, and the tattling, the non-ending tattling between the girls. All I wanted to do was something healthy for my body. Instead I got distraction after distraction. See, hazardous to my health.

Just in case I haven't built up my case enough, here is a little more evidence...

  • Remember my swollen ankle that lasted for weeks? I tripped over a little toy bowl at the bottom of our one stair (that leads to the garage).
  • I constantly step on Cheerios.
  • I was climbing a little chair to put a gift away out of view when I hit my leg (close to my foot) on the chair. I now have a coffee cup size bruise on my leg. (In case you don't see the connection, the gift was for the kids...)
  • My hands are so dry they are almost crackly. That is because I wash my hands all of the time after wiping faces, changing diapers, scrubbing heads, etc.
  • I have a cut on my finger (required a Thomas the Tank Engine bandaid) due to the lid of a can of pumpkin when I made pumpkin muffins for the little child who I know LOVES them. (Okay, I have to be honest on that one...I love them too)
  • All of the missed sleep due to staying up late to accomplish all of the things I cannot accomplish when little people are still up
  • The strained voice from saying all day, "Does that really concern you?" or "Whose shoes are in the middle of the floor?"
  • The frostbite (not really but sounds good) from getting out of my nice warm house to drive a few towns over to get out in the frigid temperatures just so my son could see one of his friends in the Nutcracker...again.
  • The tired fingers from blogging which is the only way I will ever have any record of what we are doing in our lives (like watching The Nutcracker again)
  • The bruises on my forehead from banging my head against the wall as I once again explain why we take showers every day
  • The broken heart that we moms have every time our children get hurt from the ugly parts of life
  • The sore knees from the constant praying for our children, their little personalities (and quirky traits), and their futures.
  • The many colds I have caught thanks to the germs of those little people running around
  • The high blood pressure when I look at my just cleaned kitchen floor and see a large puddle of sticky juice from a careless kid
  • The strained neck from turning around in the car as we travel to hand dropped items, break up arguments, and explain again that we are NOT there yet.
  • The wrinkles on my forehead from wondering if my child will always tell lies with a straight face or ever be able to sit still for more than three minutes apart or from guilt that I can never seem to get it right
  • The half brushed hair because I am too busy brushing and fixing the hair of others
  • The burns on my hands from the times I had to shut the oven door quickly before curious little fingers touched the hot door
  • The overflowing heart from the love that keeps growing and growing and growing

I am sure there are many more but time is limited. Do you have any warnings to add?


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eating an Elephant...

It has been REALLY quiet on here recently. I keep trying to figure out if I said or did something offensive. I don't usually get a lot of comments anyway, but it has been even quieter than usual. Of course, maybe some of you (or the two of you or however many are there right now :) are dealing with some of the same issues as me...such as...

Sometimes I wonder whose list is longer...Santa's list of good little boys and girls or my list of things to do in December.

It is overwhelming at times.

A dessert for a Christmas party tomorrow night. Basketball game Saturday morning. Swim practice Saturday. Send out invitations to family for one child's birthday lunch. Nutcracker Saturday night. Church on Sunday. Chili lunch and dessert to take to church for missions meal. Life group Sunday night. Assessments in the classroom (first semester is about to end...). Endless loads of laundry. Endless emptying the dishwasher. Another trip to the grocery store to stock up for the week. Mark goes out of town, meaning early to rise for all of us. Blogging. Reading blogs. Prayer needs. Exercise. Our son's music program for school. More basketball practice. More swim practice. Wrapping presents. Ordering gifts. Taking pictures. Creating a photo card. Writing the Christmas newsletter. Sending out Christmas cards/pics. Buying Secret Santa gifts. Homework (for the kids). Signing papers and folders. Charities asking for help. Paying bills. Putting up the little tree. Facebooking. Maybe sleeping...if time allows. And that is just for the next week (and doesn't include all necessary events).

The list goes on and on.

It is overwhelming.

It can also suck all of the joy (sorry, I could NOT think of a different way to put that that was quite so effective) out of my season.

Instead, I am having to pick and choose. I sometimes am going to have to say "no". And I will need to take it one day at a time. I will need to keep my eyes focused, because if I look away for even one second, I will sink WAY down in the water.

I love the way a friends says it. "It is like eating an elephant...eat one bite at a time."

That is what I am doing. How about you?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Live on Your Knees

I rarely do two "calls to prayer" right in a row, but today I have one more request for prayer for little Hannah Grace. Her family has decided to take her off the ventilator this Sunday. I cannot imagine what a difficult decision that must have been, but over and over, the doctors have confirmed that it is the decision to make when they are ready. Please understand...turning the ventilator off is not choosing to let their precious daughter die. It is choosing to remove the support of the ventilator then letting God show His will. He may show Himself in a BIG way and touch her little body and heal it in a miraculous way. I believe He does that. Or He may choose to bring her on home. Only He knows. I am just praying for His will (though I throw in a LOT of votes for the first option). Please say a prayer for her and for her family in the next few days. I do believe people can "feel" the power of prayer of others. And right now, between that and a strong faith, I would imagine that is what is getting her parents through each day...

PS I will try to write more tomorrow. I am still wanting to share a little about Blind Side and the thoughts/feelings it provoked about adoption. I just need to start that BEFORE 11. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


One more quick post...

I have mentioned Bonnie several times on here. (I would covet continued prayers for her as she enters the first Christmas without her husband Thomas here) I have also mentioned Hannah Grace. Just about three months ago, little Hannah Grace was not feeling well. Her parents took her to the doctor and learned that she had a diagnosis of leukemia. Unfortunately, since that time, she has had some complications, mostly involving strokes which have affected her brain. Now Hannah Grace is on a ventilator and sleeps much of the time. Her parents are treasuring their time with her which appears (at least to the human heart and eye) to be coming to an end...at least here on earth. All that to say, Bonnie and Hannah's mom were co-workers and are still friends. Bonnie just visited Hannah (and parents) and has offered a lot of support and encouragement to Hannah's mom. Well, today, Bonnie's daughter Caroline shared something with Bonnie. I cannot tell the story right, so I would just encourage you to read Hannah Grace's website to see the conversation. Just know it gave me chills (and brought tears to my eye). Sometimes I am not so sure that God doesn't give children views of Him that we don't see...