Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Poor Grace

Sometimes I think I blog because I no longer have time to scrapbook, but I really need to remember things.  This is the only way!  Grace has been feeling fine, continuing to take her antibiotics.  Tuesday when she came in from the morning co-op, she showed me some "bug bites" on her arms.  I glanced at them and clucked sympathetically, but didn't pay too much attention because she ran right out the door to play on the trampoline with her Rivendell friends, and I was getting ready for memory work.  But when we actually we doing memory work about an hour later, she was really scratching her arms.  I looked more closely, and there were really a lot of bumps.  On both arms.  And then I pulled up her shirt, and there were bumps all over her torso!  And legs!  Ack!  She definitely looked like she had the chicken pox or something (although I knew that wasn't it, since she's been vaccinated).

One of the other Rivendell moms, Michele, and I quizzed Grace about anything new she might have eaten, and so on, but there didn't seem to be any red flags.  I went upstairs to get a bottle of liquid children's benedryl, and as I was coming back down, it hit me--this looked very much like Drew's dreadful rash last summer . . . after he had been on amoxicillin for almost 10 days, while we were at White Sulphur Springs.  Hmmm . . .  So of course I stopped giving Grace her last 3 doses on medicine, and by tonight, the rash is going away.  I guess she is also allergic to amoxicillin, and I really need to remember to mention these reactions to a doctor whenever it looks like someone else might need antibiotics.

Nathan and Luke are better too--no more fevers--although they are still coughing a lot.  Everyone else seems to be just fine.

And just to see who actually reads these things, I lost my mucous plug tonight, so hopefully that means things will start on their own this time, and sooner rather than later!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Last Days

 . . . of pregnancy, that is.  None of my clothes fit, I've eaten my weight in protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks, almonds, peanut butter, and other protein snacks, I'm uncomfortable no matter what position I'm in, I have used every public restroom within 10 miles multiple times, and I'm irritable!  We're in the home stretch though--my due date (and induction date) is 10 days away.

I had another OB appointment this morning.  As soon as the doctor walked in, I realized I was seeing the one who beats the "shoulder dystocia" drum.  He's really nice--I've seen him before in a few different pregnancies--but that is his big issue, and he didn't disappoint!  He asked if I'd had an ultrasound to see how big the baby was, and then he recommended I get one.  If it showed the baby was running 10 or 11 pounds, then I could get a c-section, since as he likes to say, the only way to guarantee you won't have shoulder dystoia is to have a section.  I said I really didn't feel like this was a 10 pound baby--probably another 9 pounder, but that will make my 4th 9 pounder, and I haven't ever had any problems delivering them.  I didn't really even have any problems delivering Micah at 10 pounds, 8 ounces, other than really having to push hard, which you don't really expect with #8!  Anyhow, I had an ultrasound like that with Anna, and it was off by like 2 pounds, so I am in no hurry to speculate this time!  I told him I was going to just try to go ahead and deliver vaginally.  I mean, I've got all this other homeschooling/college stuff going on, and I am hoping to bounce back quickly, so I don't think signing up for elective major abdominal surgery really fits with that plan, LOL.  I mean, if it happens, it happens, but I'm not planning on signing myself up for it!

I asked the doctor if he would try to strip my membranes, in hopes that maybe I would dilate a little more and avoid a super-long induction, even though I could tell the baby was still up fairly high.  I was right in that she is still high, but he was able to get a finger in and do a very thorough job of stripping the membranes, not that it seems to have done a single thing, as far as any meaningful contractions go.  Ah well.  I have another appointment next Monday, so that will be one more chance to try membrane stripping.  I definitely prefer to be induced when I'm already 5-6 cm, so I'm hoping that will happen, unlike with Drew, where I never really dilated more than 2-3 cm before starting the pitocin.

After the appointment, I headed upstairs for another non-stress test.  The baby surprised me by having moved over to lie on my left side, instead of my right, like most of my last babies have been.  She was again cooperative, so it didn't take too long.  Yay!

So now we wait.  While waiting, I ponder number patterns.  This baby is already being different by being born in September, when we haven't had anyone born from July-October before.  Also, all 9 of my babies have been born on different days of the month--but only in the beginning and the end of the month.  No baby has been born in the teens!  I have kids born on the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 9th, and then also on the 24th, 27th, 28th, and 30th, but no one in the middle.  Isn't it funny how they are clustered at the beginning and the end?!  So if I get induced on Sept. 25, I would most realistically deliver on Sept. 26--but regardless, both of those days are open and fit in my birthing day scheme at the end of the month!  But maybe this baby will break with tradition a second way, and be born early--on a day in the teens!  That would be really different!  I can hope anyway, LOL.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Weird Week of Sickness

Last Saturday Grace started running a fever of about 101.7.  It kept coming right back up as soon as the Motrin wore off, and Sunday she started complaining about her throat hurting, so I started thinking strep.  She basically just laid around Saturday and Sunday, taking a bunch of naps and generally looking dull and sick.  I made an appointment for her Monday for right after my non-stress test, so we hung out at Bethesda together for the morning.  The tech did a rapid throat culture, although I'm not really sure how thorough of a job she did on the swab itself.  The doctor saw how red her throat was, with little white spots on it which even I had been able to see on Sunday, and she agreed it definitely looked like strep.  But the rapid test came back negative.  So the doctor did her own swab (much more thorough), and we waited for the rapid test for that one too--also negative.  They were going to culture the first swab for 24 hours, but the doctor did something practically unheard of in military medicine--she started Grace on antibiotics anyway!  She looked back at her records and saw that the last time Grace had actually been on antibiotics was when she was 20 months old and had an ear infection, where her eardrum ruptured, while we were at my parents' house for Christmas.  So yeah, she's not really in danger of having too much unnecessary antibiotics or anything.  Still, I was so surprised!  So we got the meds and started her on them right away, and by Tuesday morning, she was feeling tons better, and her throat wasn't hurting anymore.  She still had to miss co-op, but hey, she was at least feeling better!  Oh, the 24 hour culture was negative too--so who knows if it was actually strep?  She certainly responded to the medicine though, so I'm not sorry about giving it to her.

I was definitely concerned when Faith, Micah, and Drew all started running fevers Tuesday afternoon as Rivendell was winding down.  Ummm . . . how was I going to get all of them in for appointments??  My week was pretty packed!  But then I realized that they were all just sick in a different way than Grace was.  Drew definitely had some kind of head cold thing, with a runny nose.  I wasn't concerned about that, although it did make him exceptionally crabby.  Faith and Micah didn't really have that, but their fevers weren't as high, and they just didn't act as sick as Grace did.  So I decided to just wait it out, and I was glad.  They were both fine by Thursday, which was good, since Faith had her first little art/science co-op that afternoon.  She definitely didn't want to miss that, and I didn't want to either, since I was teaching the science part that day.  We walked around the church, identifying the different trees and talking about leaves and so on.  It was fun, although very hot and humid.  I was melting!

Nathan started running a fever Wednesday night, which really worried me, since he took the ACT for the last time this morning.  But he went to bed early that night, slept for 12 hours, and was much better Thursday.  He was able to go to calculus as well as cross-country practice.  Bob, Luke, Caleb, and Anna have also been dealing with the head cold thing/allergy thing, with lots of sniffles and sneezing.  No fever though, and Caleb and Anna were well enough to come with me to the commissary on Friday, and Luke ran in a cross-country meet this morning.  I guess Jonathan is the one completely healthy kid!

So far the Lord has protected me--may He continue to do so!  I've actually been knocking things off my to-do-before-baby-comes list, and I hope I can stay healthy!  Today was a surprisingly productive day.  I (and Anna, my helper who loves to organize) put away all the groceries from the commissary (no small feat--$800 worth!), cut up several cuts of meat to freeze to use in various recipes, made a much wider and cleaner path through the garage (did not "clean the garage", however, lol--that was a bridge too far), cleaned out the big van (which hadn't been cleaned since before out big trip to Boston the end of July, and I was worried people were going to start sticking to the floor or something since it was so dirty and crumbly), washed all the newborn girl laundry including carseat covers, cleaned Bruno's cage, and got the guest bedroom and bathroom in the basement in order, in preparation for my parents, who are coming on Thursday!  Yay!  Of course the main floor looks like a tornado ran through it . . . I can't get all 3 floors looking nice at the same time, due to the concentrated efforts of the girls, Micah, and Drew.  That can be tomorrow's list, along with all my Rivendell prep for Tuesday!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

No Rest For the Pregnant!

I remember when I was pregnant with Nathan, back in Colorado.  He was due on July 2.  I had been tutoring my neighbor in chemistry and college algebra, but I was done with that.  I had also been volunteering with "Right to Read", an adult literacy program, but I had stopped tutoring there as well.  My weeks during my last trimester centered around my wonderful moms walking group, which met Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.  That left Tuesday and Thursday mornings for doctor appointments and trips to the library and commissary.  I also had to cook (measly amounts of) food for Bob and me, and do our (measly amount of) laundry.  Afternoons I spent down in our basement, eating Dole Fruit N Juice bars, since it was warm in Colorado in June (although not humid!), and we of course didn't have air conditioning.  I played with our big dogs, read books, and did the crossword puzzles my mother-in-law would send me.  What a life!

My last few weeks of pregnancy no longer look like that ideal, especially this pregnancy, LOL.  Right now I have a to-do list a mile long, and I am desperately trying to get everything done before this baby comes!  Thursday, after some school with the girls, my morning exercise, and a quick, early (low-carb, of course) lunch, I took the girls to get haircuts at Great Clips.  Anna started mentioning wanting a haircut after Lily C. got 27 inches (!!) cut a few weeks ago, and now she looks adorable with a little bob.  After we received our elementary yearbooks from last year on Tuesday, Anna fixated on a little girl in Jonathan's class, who also had a cute little bob, and from then on she mentioned haircuts approximately once an hour.  The girls all did need at least trims, but hadn't wanted any for awhile, so I figured I needed to strike while the iron was hot.
After haircuts all around, we had to stop at both Target and Office Depot, since I failed to get enough dividers and 1 1/2" binders for the 4 boys when I was getting school supplies at Walmart a few weeks ago.  And now Walmart looks like a plague of school-supply-eating locusts went through that section, so all you can get is spiral notebooks with weird covers and folders.  Target was the same, but fortunately Office Depot came through.  I bought 7 packages of dividers, so hopefully that will do, LOL.

We went rushing home because Luke and I needed to sign on to a virtual class orientation for a writing class we signed him up for back in March, when it sounded like a good idea.  Now he is just auditing it, since he has so much on his plate, but we needed to know how to access the recorded lectures, since the live class meeting is during his Spanish class.  While coming home, Luke called to ask if we were in fact going to be home to log on, and also to let me know that the USAFA admissions department had called with a "question about Nathan's transcript".  This led to much slightly panicked wondering on my part, as I tried to figure out what they could possibly be questioning, and if I would even be able to answer their question, whatever it might be.  I hope and pray they won't blame Nathan if I totally screwed something up!  Yeah--that was stressful.

After getting onto the orientation, I called the admissions department.  The question was where we took the classes we had listed as "AP" on our syllabus--at a school?  I was able to tell them that the classes were taken at Rivendell, and that all the teachers had approved syllabi with the College Board, and that I had listed each teacher in my course descriptions, so they could search the teacher's names to make sure they were listed as approved AP teachers (because you can't call a class "AP" unless you have the official College Board approval for your syllabus).  So that was actually an easy question to answer, but I was SOOO glad that I had gone back and listed every teacher and where the course was taken on the course description document for Nathan.  I need to go back and do that on the official Rivendell document too.  USAFA admissions is apparently on the ball with this stuff.  Whew!

Then Anna and I had to leap off again, this time to an eye doctor appointment for her.  I thought she had last been seen a year ago in April, but (whoops!) it turns out it was 2 years ago!  Her farsightedness is all gone, but she does have some astigmatism, so she is getting a different pair of glasses.  She has been complaining of some letters blurring together when she reads, especially small print, so hopefully the new glasses will be just the ticket to help her be able to spent more time reading.  The eye doctor did say something interesting.  She said that kids who play outside a lot tend to have less decline in their vision, maybe because they are focusing far away more, or maybe because of the effect of the sun's rays on their optic nerve.  So she recommended lots of outside play time for Anna.  Sounds good to me!

After we were done picking out new glasses at Walmart, we rushed home again.  I grabbed a quick bite of left-overs, and then Nathan and I drove off to first drop Luke off at cross-country practice, and then to continue on to Ft. Myer, where there was a West Point admissions briefing at the Officers Club.  That turned out to be interesting.  The briefer was an Army major assigned to West Point, but in charge of admissions for the southeast region.  He was a really good speaker--funny, self-deprecating, had good stories, etc.--so he was very easy to listen to.  Plus, he looked a lot like my cousin Pilot!  We knew a lot of what he had to say, but he did bring out some interesting differences.  West Point mainly bases their decisions on essays and ACT/SAT scores, even for public school students.   We went up and talked with him afterward to ask him a question about letters of recommendation, and I told him about how USAFA wanted the course descriptions, called me this afternoon, etc.  He laughed and said that USAFA had 6 people doing his job, and he didn't really look at any of that extra stuff.  We were also able to talk to someone who works with our Congressional representative on his nomination committee, and he had some good info about that process.  Nathan also got to meet his military admissions liaison officer, and it was good to put a face to that name/voice.  He was very nice and helpful.  So just meeting and talking with these men was very useful, so we were glad we went.  I will say that I stuck out (ha!  I'm so punny!) like a sore thumb as I waddled around, getting up to pee several times.  Definitely no other pregnant moms were there!  Nathan and I didn't get back home until around 10:15, and then we worked on some stuff for his nomination packages.  He's getting ready to send all that in on Monday, so we are coming down to the wire!

Friday morning I had to drive to Bethesda for both an OB appointment and a non-stress test.  On Wednesday it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes to get there at 10:00, so this time I left a little before 8:00 for a 9:20 appointment--and of course there was very little unusual traffic, so I was there in plenty of time.  You just can't predict!  The appointment went fine.  The doctor scheduled me for an induction starting Thursday night, Sept. 25, although she did say that if my glucose numbers weren't "tightly controlled", then they would still induce me a week early.  She checked my cervix, but I'm just 1 cm and still high, which is probably how I've been the whole time, LOL.  I couldn't get another appointment next week, so I won't see someone until next Monday, Sept. 15.  Hopefully my numbers will stay fine.  They've been good ever since we got back from White Sulphur Springs.

Then I headed up to the prenatal assessment clinic for the non-stress test.  Baby was not quite as cooperative as she was on Wednesday, but it didn't take too terribly long.  She is hard to keep on the monitor , though, as it seems all of mine are.  That alone makes me dread an induction, where there has to be continuous monitoring.  I have hold the sensor thing at a certain angle to keep her on, and whenever she moves around, it's all lost.  So the tests are not all that relaxing for me!

I had to go up to the pharmacy then and pick up more glucose test strips.  I ended up waiting over an hour before I went up and asked a tech who had a minute before he called the next person to his window.  It turned out they had totally skipped over my number, so I waited way longer than I should have had to!  I did finish my book though.  I didn't get home until after 1:00 (and I was STARVING), so it was a long morning.   And I still had a chiropractor appointment at 2:45, so I wasn't even home very long, just long enough to eat lunch and do memory work with Jonathan and the girls!  After my chiro appointment, I stopped by the library to pick up some more books for me to read during the non-stress tests.  I got some murder mysteries, which hopefully won't take up too much of my ever-diminishing brain power.  Then it was home for a quick dinner, then off to Bible study, where Nathan picked up the last of his letters of recommendation (thanks, Tim!).  Afterwards, we came home and worked on the last of his essays and got him ready for this morning, where CAP had set up a time to practice interviewing and to give feedback on essays for cadets applying to academies or ROTC.

So finally I fell into bed around 11:30.  This is definitely not the relaxing time of my first pregnancy!  No fruit n juice bars either, which is a bummer.  Those are really good!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

New School Year

So most things have started up now, so I thought it would be good to document what we're doing for school this year.

  • Nathan is taking calculus at the community college.  It seems that he has a good teacher, so hopefully that will continue going well.  His class is the same time and days, and is right next door, to Isaac's math class, so that has been really nice.  They can even carpool and only get one parking pass!  Nathan is taking AP literature, AP world history, and AP macroeconomics at Rivendell, as well as anatomy & physiology.  He's doing an Intro to Java course through, and he is really enjoying that so far.  He is also going to take physics from, so we'll see how that goes.  All he has to do now is actually start the course!  Right now he is pushing to get everything all together to mail in all the nomination packages next Monday.  He also is hoping to take the CFA (fitness test for the academies) next Sunday, which is the last big thing for his academy application.  Then it will be on to ROTC applications . . .  Hopefully he will be less busy after Christmas!
  • Luke has an incredibly busy year for a sophomore.  He'll be taking the 3 AP courses at Rivendell like Nathan, and he's also taking AP Spanish through  That was not something we were really planning on at all, but then Christine found out about the "AP International Diploma program", where you have to take AP classes from all these different areas and score a 3 or higher on all of them.  By taking AP Spanish this year, he'll only lack AP biology, which he should be taking next year.  So that is going to be crazy, because the AP language tests are really weird.  Luke is also taking A & P from me, as well as an Intro to Computing class at Potters, and Algebra 2 at home (although Christine is going to help keep accountable by giving him dates to turn in tests!).  He's not looking forward to this year!
  • Caleb has hit the big time--he is now at Rivendell on Tuesdays as well!  He has life science with me, as well as logic, literature, and history.  He'll also take Latin with me on Wednesdays, and he's doing Algebra 1 with Christine and Daniel McC.  This year will be a lot busier for Caleb than ever before, but I know he can do it!  
  • Jonathan has one more year left at TNT, but he is also taking lit and history at Rivendell on Tuesday afternoons. Since we're restarting the 4 year cycle with the ancients this year, it made sense to go ahead and include him and Lily C., both of whom are 6th graders.  He'll also be in the Latin class on Wednesdays.  He's doing CLE math, language arts, and science this year, so we'll see how that goes.  So far I like it, and it's nice to have the smaller "light units" to work through, instead of a bunch of big texts.  He and Caleb are both going to take an art class over at Christine's house this semester once a week, and they both are really looking forward to that starting up.  I'm so glad we live close together!
  • Anna and Grace are also using CLE this year, but just for math and language arts.  I started them back in July, which turned out to be good, since we're not getting much formal stuff done together during the week, with all my appointments.  They can both work independently, though, and they are zipping right along through the light units.  We haven't done much memory work, character stuff, or even Story of the World, like we usually do during our school days so far though.  That should get better after the baby comes. Three more weeks . . . They are starting up gymnastics again on Monday, which makes them both very happy!
  • Faith is definitely getting the short end of the stick, as far as dedicated school time, right now before the baby comes.  She needs the most hand-holding, since she isn't reading incredibly fluently or anything, and I just haven't had the time.  She's got a good head for math and phonics, so I am sure she will leap ahead once I have the baby and don't have to spend so much time exercising and driving to and from Bethesda.  In the meantime, she helps keep Micah and Drew occupied, as they fuss over duplos or whatever the other person is playing with, LOL.  She is going to do a special little co-op Thursday afternoons with some other 4 and 5 year olds, focusing on science and art.  I'm leading the first science lesson next Thursday afternoon, on trees.  I think she is really going to enjoy the time socializing--she is such a little social butterfly! 
So that's an overview of school for us this year.  It definitely gets busier and busier as the kids get older!  We'll see how the juggling goes, especially once I add a nursing newborn to the mix.  That's the thing about having a baby in September--you have the baby, and you still have practically the whole school year starting down at you!  What terrible timing!  Thankfully I don't have to do it on my own--the Lord is my strength, and he has also provided wonderful friends to walk this path alongside us!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Weekend Retreat

We spent the weekend at White Sulphur Springs.  My parents' OCF/chapel group had their annual retreat, so we joined them.  It was a lovely weekend, as usual.

Saturday was a beautiful day, weather-wise, and the kids ran around all over the place.  The girls and little boys did some bowling, and then Anna, Micah, and I had to use the bathroom, so we headed over to the old hotel.  Afterward, Anna and Micah were playing on the wagon in front, and I got to thinking how we always used to get a family picture taken on the wagon.  I think the last one we have is when Grace was a baby.  At that point, I was determined to get a family wagon picture this year.

Of course, the weather was not so cooperative on Sunday.  It rained right after lunch, and then Drew was really crabby, so I put him down for a nap.  Then I walked the girls and Micah down to the rock-climbing wall in the barn.  Eventually all the other boys showed up at the climbing wall, so after the rock-climbing was over, I hiked back up to the new hotel to wake up Drew and track down Bob.  We drove back down because I was dripping with sweat, lol.  It was still humid up in the mountains!  I was very happy to get my family wagon picture.
After the picture, we poked around the old hotel some.  The boys remember staying there, but the girls don't really remember it much.  I of course have fantastic memories from my summers working up there, so it has a very special place in my heart!

One of the other couples from the retreat was looking around too, and the husband was flipping through an old scrapbook out on the coffee table.  On the very first page, he was surprised to recognize Bob!  And then we were both surprised to see that a picture of me was right below it, from a different year!  So fun!  My friend Emily (the one on the left in the picture) said she put the scrapbook together, so we'll just say she was inspired to include our pictures like that!
When we got done, Nathan and Luke were involved in a game of horseshoes, but during a break, I was able to take a picture of all the boys (not that I could get them all to look at the same time).  I have to treasure times when everyone is all together, because I know those times are going to be rarer and rarer!
So we had a wonderful weekend, which made it all the harder to come back today and jump right back into our 2 co-ops, which kicked off today.  I'm sure heaven will be like White Sulphur Springs, just with no looming threat of school!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Week of Appointments and a Ceremony

I had the best of intentions of taking some pictures to put in this post . . . but it didn't happen.

  • Monday Micah and Drew had well-baby appointments.  Technically Micah turned 3 on April 9, and Drew turned 18 months on May 30, so let's just say I wasn't early with these, LOL.  They were another thing I had all summer to do, just like the tea party!  Fortunately I was able to get 2 appointments together before September.  It was very good to get that out of the way!  Both boys are healthy.  Micah is really big for someone in our family--84th percentile for height and weight.  We NEVER see those numbers!  Micah is also still remarkably uncooperative.  He started fussing as soon as we went back to get weighed and whatnot.  The tech said, "I haven't even done anything yet!"  Yes, well . . . that's our charming Micah.  He did NOT get a lollipop at the end, LOL.  Drew was in contrast very cooperative, so that was good.  He's also bigger than average for us--the 44th percentile.  Fortunately, Drew was the only one who needed shots.  He wasn't happy about getting them, but it was a lot less stressful than if it had been Micah, I'm sure.  Grace tagged along as the designated big person helper, and she did a great job.
  • Wednesday I had another OB appointment, followed by my first non-stress test.  The appointment went well.  I saw yet a different doctor, and this one was quite unconcerned about how my fasting numbers are once again hovering right over the cut-off of 95.  It just underscores how different each doctor's assessment of "reasonable risk" is, because I think the doctor I saw last week would have already put me on pills at night.  I'm expecting that at next week's appointment, though.  The non-stress test was fine, although it took longer than it could have, since the baby always sleeps in the morning (after being wide awake all night long, dancing on my bladder).  Finally it was time for my mid-morning snack, and she eventually woke up enough for her to move and have her heartrate go up and do what it needed to do.  The only bad thing is that I have to go back not once, but TWICE a week for these crazy things.  I do not envision having a very productive month of schooling with the girls, with all these trips to Bethesda looming each week.  Less than 4 weeks to go . . .
  • Yesterday I had another chiropractor appointment, and then Nathan and I drove out to a centrally-located high school for our county for his driver's licensing ceremony.  Virginia is apparently the only state which does not just give the teens their actual driver's licence once they finish all the requirements.  Instead, they get a piece of paper saying they can drive, which is valid along with their learner's permit, until they go to this ceremony and get their actual license.  Nathan got the letter back in the end of May, but he was scheduled for a ceremony in June, while he was at PJOC.  So I had to call to get him a different date.  We had sort of assumed there would maybe be 50 people there or something, but when we drove up to the high school, the parking lot was full like there was a home football game or something, and there was a solid mass of people lined up starting at the door and wrapping around the building.  We joined the throng of teens and parents, and waited outside for 15 minutes to file inside.  I was melting, but really it could have been hotter.  Thankfully I didn't have to desperately pee or anything!  Inside the auditorium, a judge talked for a bit, and then the county prosecutor, and then the judge came back up for awhile.  What they said was actually quite good and sobering, about the privilege of driving, and how devastating it is if you are the one who harms or kills someone else because of bad decisions.  It was more than just the standard "you're going to die because you are a risky teenage driver" spiel.  Also the judge really stressed how the parent is the one who determines who can drive, and if they ever feel like the teen is not living up to whatever standards they have decided on, even attitude-wise or chore-wise, then it is the responsibility of the parents to take away the license.  After about 45 minutes of talking, the deputies started dismissing the auditorium 2 rows at a time to go to the back, where there were 4 tables set up, divided alphabetically.  There you waited in line, and eventually the clerk handed the parent the license after the teen turned in their learner's permit and piece of paper.  It all took approximately forever, and then we had to wait for awhile to be able to get out of the parking lot!  It was good and all, but the thought of having to do that 9 more times is rather unsettling.  We saw several families we knew, and we sat behind one lady.  Her youngest (out of 8, I believe)  is the same age as Nathan, and he and Jake were in TNT together.  So now she is all done, whereas I am just starting . . .
  • And speaking of starting, this morning, Bob took Luke to the DMV at the Pentagon to take his learner's permit test, which he passed with flying colors, not missing any questions.  So it all begins again--first the parking lot, then the neighborhood, then the rest of D.C.!