Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Home Again

We're back! Here's what we were up to the last few days of our time in Ohio. Saturday we packed up everything and took it all over to Amy's house, where we stayed for the rest of our time. Jason was out of town at a big trade show, so it was just us mommies and 6 little boys and 1 little girl! We had such a fun time over there. The boys really got to be comfortable playing with each other, since we spent 3 days there, and Amy had fun dressing Anna and playing with her. Anna was very unsure of Amy's fat orange cat, Pumpkin, who has to be the most unthreatening cat on the planet. At first she was terrified, but she eventually settled down into alert watchfulness, as she kept her eye on him, never turning her back to him while he snoozed ferociously on the back of the couch. Each night after the kids went down, Amy and I stayed up late talking and eating ice cream.

We had been planning on heading back home Monday, but it looked like the weather between Ohio and D.C. might be not so good, so we held off until Tuesday. It was nice to have the extra day! Bob was busy at work on his take-home exam for one of his classes, so even he agreed that an extra day would be a good thing for him!

We left yesterday at 9:30, and we got back here at 6:15, after an uneventful day of driving. The weather was nice, which makes it easier to get kids in and out of the van, so I was glad we waited. We started out listening to Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry (yeah, the funny one) and Ridley Pearson, because it got rave reviews both on Amazon and on the Well-Trained Mind board. I think it is a good book, but after finishing to the first CD (out of 7!), the boys just weren't that into it, mainly because well, nothing really good happens to Peter and his fellow orphans in the beginning, but lots of sort of bad stuff does, and it was a bit depressing for their tastes. I figured I will get the book out of the library, and Nathan and I can finish it on our own, and we moved on to Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary, an altogether different sort of book--very "safe", LOL. It was a good choice though, because Caleb and Jonathan really got into it.

Books on tape really make the miles fly, and they are always my top recommendation for keeping kids entertained on long trips! My other tip is "snack bags", where I put little individual servings of various snacks in a quart Ziploc bag for each boy. Then when I announce they can have a snack, they can all pick what they want out of their own bag--no handing tons of stuff back and forth, which is hard when you are the only adult! Usually I include stuff like a fruit roll-up, little snack-size baggies of pretzels, teddy grahams, and M&Ms (the M&Ms usually get eaten first, LOL), raisins, a dum-dum pop--some special things that they don't get very often. Then they also amuse themselves by deciding what things they will eat in what order. Each boy gets a water bottle too, but they know that we don't stop very often, so they have to not drink it all really quickly!

So it was a great trip, but it's nice to be home. I did bring schoolwork for the boys, which they did (Nathan: "The only thing I don't like about Grandma's house is that we still have to do school here."), but now it is time to buckle back down into our regular routine--for a few more weeks, anyways, until the new baby comes. Yep, I'll be in single digits come this weekend--9 weeks left! Wow. I have another doctor's appointment on Friday, and I'm planning on taking my 3-hour glucose test on Monday. We'll see how that goes. Did I mention that I ate tons of ice cream on this trip?! Oh well--it was worth it!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Happy Feet

Yesterday I had a new experience--a pedicure! One of the couples in Mom and Dad's OCF Bible study is PCSing next week, and as a going-away party for Christa, some of the ladies got together and had pedicures. Mom and I were invited, but I really dithered around about going. I've never had one before, and it just seemed like such an extravagent waste of money, especially in the winter when no one even sees my toes! Finally I decided to go figuring that as a pregnant woman, my feet deserve a wee bit of pampering.

Wow! I was so glad I went! I had so much fun. Four of us sat in puffy massage chairs--that made it worth it right there for me! A 45 minute back massage, and not just the cheapo "vibrating" massage! The chairs had basins of hot water at the base that we soaked out feet in, with little foot stools to put our feet while they were worked on. To be honest, I didn't even really pay much attention to what was actually done to my feet, since I was busy visiting with the other women. But I will say that the whole experience was incredibly relaxing, and my feet were incredibly happy when I got finished. Then we all walked next door to Starbucks, where a few other ladies were waiting who had not chosen to have pedicures, and we visited for awhile longer over coffee (well, I had hot chocolate, LOL). It was such a nice afternoon.

I don't think this will ever by any means become a regular part of my routine--I just could not justify the time and the money! But I do recommend it is as a very fun way to spend an afternoon with good friends!

You may be wondering where the kids were during this afternoon of pampering. Grandpa stepped up and watched everyone. Isn't that great?! They played Risk and Chutes and Ladders, as well as watched a video. One thing Grandpa has introduced them to this visit is John Wayne and his classic cowboy movies. You can imagine how great especially Jonathan and Caleb think this is. John Wayne is definitely Jonathan's new hero, LOL. He's galloping around the house again. Never a dull moment . . .

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Here in Ohio

Obviously we have been having too much fun to blog! It was quite an adventure making it here, although more for my parents than us. They did get stuck in the Charlotte airport over night on Tuesday, Feb. 13, reliving all the times we spent the night at military terminals such as the one at Clark AB, the Philipines, when we were bumped off of Space A flights. Ahh, the memories. Some I am sure are better off not relived! So they flew into Dayton Wednesday morning, my dad dug out their car from long-term parking, my mom drove home, and my dad got on a plane to fly to VA via Atlanta. He got to Atlanta just fine, but his flight to Dulles was first delayed, then canceled. He was put on another flight, which was delayed . . . and delayed . . . and delayed. We were very seriously worried aobut him having to spend a second night at an airport in a row! but after heavy-duty praying, he left Atlanta about 8:10 and got in to Dulles at 10:00. After some more excitement, where he couldn't find his suitcase (it turned out that the equipment wasn't working right because of the cold) he was able to have a solid night's sleep at our house in an actual bed.

We left at 9:15 the next morning, and really the drive out was anti-climactic. The roads were fine, the kids were good. We listened to Ben and Me as our book on tape. We made it in time for dinner. Whew! Finally!

Friday Amy picked me up and we went on the Faircreek women's retreat. Her mom was the speaker, and she spoke on "Transformation--Becoming like Christ through worship, humility, and suffering". It was an encouraging time of renewal as well as catching up with old friends. One thing we all did was bring something which signified transformation in our lives. I brought a little scrapbook that Amy made for me detailing our friendship over the years. It starts with the awkward junior high and high school years, goes through college and our both getting married, and ends with us as mothers. If that isn't a transformation, I don't know what is, especially when I think about how having a big family and especially homeschooling were not even remotely on my radar screen as life possibilities for me back in junior high and high school! What is so neat is how Amy has been there through it all with me--everyone should have a friend like that!

While I was at the retreat, Grandma and Grandpa did the babysitting duties. Even though it was freezing cold and even snowed 4 more inches on Saturday, the boys all went outside and played for over an hour both days! Grandpa unearthed an old sled of Grandma's from the basement, which was a huge hit. They built snow forts too--I'm so glad I brought all the snow gear!

We've been busy the other days too--we went to the base chapel on Sunday to show Anna off to all Grandma and Grandpa's friends. We spent Monday at Amy's house, since Zachary and Jaconb had a holiday from school. They played in the snow there too, as well as with Zachary';s impressive Playmobil collection (TWO castles as well as a pirate ship!) and Jacob's Thomas the Train table. Fun was definitely had by all, LOL. Tuesday was Ladies' Bible study at Faircreek. They are going through Beth Moore's Daniel study, and the video we watched on Tuesday was so excellent. It makes me want to do the whole study!

So there is a long update for all of you who are dying to know what we are filling our time with here in Ohio! I know, fascinating stuff! It's been such a nice vacation for me so far, not having to do any cooking! The only fly in the ointment is that Jonathan has mysteriously started waking up at least once, if not 2 or 3 times a night. He just starts crying loudly all of a sudden, waking me out of a deep sleep. I have to scramble to put on my sweats and run down to the basement so he doesn't wake up the other boys, and then take him potty or deal with whatever his issue is (sometimes he can't tell me anything that is wrong). In the morning, he doesn't remember waking up at all. Let me tell you, I've had enough of that! Very frustrating, and hopefully a short phase. I need more sleep, not less, especially on vacation!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The best-laid plans . . .

Today has been a frightful day, weather-wise. Lots of snow and freezing rain. Originally I was going to drive to Ohio tomorrow with the kids, but yesterday my dad called and offered to fly here on Wednesday so he could drive with us if we waited until Thursday to go. That sounded like a good plan, but the only sticking point is that Mom and Dad aren't actually home in Ohio yet--they left Utah today to fly home, but well, the weather is crappy in Dayton too, as well as in Denver, which is one of their connections. So it is looking right now as if they will be stuck in Charlotte, NC, for the night. Then they will try to get to Dayton tomorrow morning, Dad will attempt to dig out the car and get it started so Mom can drive home, and he will turn around and get on another airplane to fly here. That is the NEW plan anyways, and we'll see how that one pans out. At least Thursday appears to be a better day for driving as far as weather goes.

As if the weather wasn't enough to deal with today, my doctor called with the unwelcome news that I failed my 1 hour glucose tolerance test. Grrr. I have never failed one before, and I feel like such a loser! I guess that harkens back to my school-day sensitivities. Although I took the test almost as soon as we got back from Colorado (where we ate like we were on a cruise), and right after my birthday (which was filled with cake and brownies, LOL), I really wasn't that concerned. I thought my faithful exercising would keep that beast at bay. Obviously that did not work. Sigh. The only problem is now that I will have to take the 3 hour test right after we get back from this trip to Ohio! Nothing like having that hanging over your head every time you think about Young's chocolate-peanut butter ice cream!

So all in all, it was a rather discouraging day. We shall see what tomorrow brings . . .

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Connections to the Famous

Hey, I share a birthday with a famous writer! There I was, reading the "Family" section of the Washington Times this afternoon, when I started reading this article about Jay Bakker, the son of Jim and Tammy Fay. When I finished, I glanced at the byline on the bottom, and it was by Brian Orme, who is the husband of Jenna! We all went to high school together at good old Dayton Christian, and then on to Cedarville for college. He's a pastor now, as well as a writer of newspaper columns. I wasn't expecting to see a familiar name in the paper today! Too cool!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

28 Weeks

So I'm at 28 weeks now. I had an appointment on Wednesday, and my glucose tolerance test on Friday. Everything seems to be just fine, but it's really hard to actually think about having another baby. I think that's because, well, I already HAVE a baby, LOL. Anyhow, I'm starting to feel tired and blah, and I feel big and awkward--you know how it is. On the Well Trained Mind general board a lady posted yesterday about how she also was at 28 weeks and pretty much feeling the same as I just described. Another woman responded with her story, which gave me quite a different perspective on the last trimester of pregnancy and was a real inspiration. Here is what she wrote:

Almost 4 years ago, when I was pregnant with #3, I had a 19 mo old and a 35 month old. My pregnancy wasn't going well, and I was tired, on yucky meds, stuck in bed, my house was dirty, my kids wanted more of mommy. I felt rotten, and in moments of weakness wished it "could all be over" and I could "fast forward".

My baby was born at 28 weeks and 3 days gestation, after my water broke. When I saw him in the NICU with a vent down his throat breathing for him, all sorts of wires and IVs on his tiny 2 lb body... I would have done *anything* to get my old tired, pregnant body back. At that moment, I recognized the miracle in each and every day of pregnancy. Each day matters. I'll never get to finish that pregnancy, to feel a third trimester enormous belly, or have an excuse to finish off 1/2 a pizza. To nurse him. But you will.

Exhausted means you're using calories to grow a baby. And each day that you provide for him/her in utero is a *gift*. Nesting means you have hormones pumping wildly through your veins allowing you to make a home for baby, by instinct alone. Commitments mean you are healthy and able to carry out all sort of tasks, and grow a human at the same time. Like a superhero. Don't wish it away. Love this time and your ability to create life. Craddle your belly and sing him or her a lullaby. 28 weekers can hear you, I promise. They can open their eyes, and "cry". They can grasp objects in their hands, and hear music. They are soothed by mom's voice. You may not see your baby's personality as much I saw my son's at 28 weeks... but if you could you would be *amazed* by what a baby at that gestation can do. And by how much more they need.

I pray for many of us that will never get that third trimester, that you see through my story how beautiful, special and *important* those last weeks are. Hang in there. I wish you a big, beautiful, healthy screaming 7 pounder. :)

ps - My miracle baby will turn 4 on May 8th. He's perfect

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Well, I thought that today we would be right back into our routine, but alas, we are all suffering the effects of a trip, specifically, some head cold/virus thing. I told you that Caleb started being sick while we were still in Colorado, and he was still running a fever and being really snuffly even this morning. He and Luke both woke up around 7:00 crying and fussing, so I gave both of them Motrin and told them to go back to sleep. Luke slept until 9:30 and seemed to feel better, although his fever came back up in the afternoon and he still is coughing. Caleb slept until we woke him up at 12:30 (gasp!), and he seems to have turned a corner! Jonathan started running a fever and coughing this evening, though, so it looks like it's one of those things everyone is going to get. Bob and I just have colds, so Bob stayed home from work today, which allowed me to run to Walmart to get Sudafed. While at Walmart, I noticed the big display of "Airborne" medicine and wondered if it really works. I mean, it seems like such a crock, but there is something about being on airplanes that makes everyone sick, and maybe just the psychosomatic effects of the medicine could be helpful in warding off viruses! Who knows. In the meantime, not much is getting done around here. Tomorrow HAS to be laundry day though, no matter how everyone, including me, feels!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We're Back!

We flew out last Thursday, landing in a big snowstorm in Denver. The kids were great on the airplanes, but it ended up taking us 2 hours just to drive out of Denver, not to mention all the way down to Colorado Springs, and that car ride was long! The saving thing was that our rental van had a DVD player, but it was a sign of how tired we were that we could not figure out how to make the sound come through the speakers. So Thursday night was "silent movie night". Of course the next day, after a good night's sleep, Bob pressed a button, and voila. Sound!

Friday we went to the mall and got pictures taken at Kiddie Kandids. This may seem like an odd way to spend a day, but I have always been so happy with Kiddie Kandids, and believe me, it is no small feat to get a good picture of all the kids at one time. So whenever we are in Colorado, I try to get pictures taken there. It took awhile, but we did get some good pictures, including some of just Anna. Now I can wait another year and a half before worrying aobut more pictures!

Saturday was the funeral, and it was a beautiful service. The funeral home did such a good job with Nana's body, and she literally looked 20 years younger--like I remember her when I was in high school or so. In fact, I later heard Caleb say to one of the boys, "Didn't Nana's shell look pretty?" We had been talking about how we would just see her "shell" because what really made Nana "Nana" was already in heaven with Jesus. Anna was wriggly, but the other boys were pretty good during the service. Afterwards we went out to eat at Nana and Papa's favorite German restaurant, Eidelwiess.

Saturday night we met Anthony L. at USAFA and watched an Air Force hockey game. That was a lot of fun, even though Air Force ended up losing in overtime. I miss being able to see good college games so cheaply! We enjoyed catching up with Anthony, but it seemed so funny to see him there as a cadet! He fit right in though.

Sunday we did not even attempt church. Instead we had a leisurely morning of exercising and then the boys swimming. We met back up with everyone to eat at another favorite of Nana's, Souper Salad. And then we had a great Super Bowl party back at the hotel! Another benefit of living in Colorado--the game started at 4:00 and ended at a quite reasonable hour!

Monday we did some shopping, and I started the laborious process of trying to stuff everything back into our suitcases. Unfortunately our hang-up bag broke earlier in the trip, so we had to buy a new one of those at the USAFA BX.

Tuesday we finished stuffing the suitcases and drove back up to Denver on a beautiful day, quite unlike the day we landed! The weather really was gorgeous the rest of the time we were in Colorado. Boy, I never get tired of looking at those mountains and that incredibly blue sky. Ahhh. But that's why Amy gives me a Colorado mountain calendar every year for Christmas!

Anyhow, we dropped off the rental car, and the boys said a sad farewell to the DVD player (I think that if you asked them, that would be the highlight of the trip for them, LOL). We used a skycap to check our luggage, a first for us. It's so hard to spend the extra money, but wow! What convenience! We ended up having 9 things to check, and it really was a hassle trying to move that pile of luggage around, so I think it was money well-spent! Our plane took off at 2:30, and the flight went just fine, but when we landed in Cincinnati for our layover, it was in the middle of a big snowstorm. Hmmm. Praise the Lord, our connecting flight was NOT cancelled, as many were, but it was delayed quite a awhile. We were supposed to take off at 8:00, but it was around 10:00 before we left, after sitting on the runway waiting to be de-iced for a LONG time. Anna was wiggly (understatement), although thankfully not loud, and once we did take off she fell fast asleep. Caleb had started some cold thing 2 days earlier and was running a fever, so he was bit fragile too. Fortunately he also fell asleep. At least he wasn't the ring bearer for a wedding, right Dan and Melinda? LOL. Must be something about air travel for him . . .

So we landed here at Dulles at 11:00 in the midst of more snow, and Elizabeth came to pick us up in our van. I can't tell you how nice to was to see her and not have to dig out our car in long term parking! She told us that our friend Christine had left us a meal in the fridge, and Bob exclaimed, "Oh no! She saw our messy house!" I said something about how I needed the hotel maid service at home because it doesn't take long to get used to that. Imagine our surprise when we walked into a totally clean house! Elizabeth and Lisa and their girls had cleaned up our house for us! What a great birthday present! And Christine's meal included a cake, so my birthday (which is today) was well-celebrated! That was just such a blessing for me. It was so nice to be able to fall asleep last night and know that there was nothing pressing to do upon waking. All the kids slept really late this morning, which was good since it was 12:30 before they were in bed! Tonight is still going to be an early night, however.

I am so glad we were all able to go. It was really wonderful to spend the time with my parents, and my aunt, uncle and cousin. Bob joked that it was like a cruise, since we had a big breakfast every morning at the hotel, and then we would go out to favorite restaurants for lunch and dinner! I so enjoyed the break from cooking and cleaning, and it was just a relaxing time. We all have good memories of Nana in Colorado Springs, so it was very fitting that we could all meet there and have such a good time together. And I am SO glad we didn't try to drive all that way in this crazy winter weather! Flying was well worth it!

Now we can relax for a week . . . and then the kids and I drive out to Ohio for 2 weeks (Lord willing and weather permitting, LOL!)!