Thursday, March 29, 2007

How a One-Year-Old Amuses Herself

First, she ensures that Mommy is sufficiently distracted. Then she climbs onto the coffee table by way of a conveniently placed chair. Next she proceeds to empty an almost new box of Kleenex--one of the big boxes is ideal. After all the kleenex are out of the box, she goes ahead and shreds several for good measure, eating whatever pieces strike her little fancy. Then she tosses several largish shreds around and on the floor to complete the effect--hey, it's like snow! Voila! Fun in a box! See how proud and happy she is! What a stinker!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Anna is One!

It's hard to believe, but Anna turned 1 today! Wow, a year goes by so fast! Here is what I posted last year about her birth, in case you feel the urge to reminisce. We just had a small party here at home for her, with our neighbors down the street joining us for cake and ice cream. I was thrilled to make a PINK butterfly cake--no weapons at all, LOL! Anna was not a big fan of the cake at first, but after I sort of smooshed up her piece for her, she did eat it all, along with some strawberry sorbet. She is definitely feeling better today, thank the Lord!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Reading Aloud

I am a huge proponent of reading aloud to your children. I've read all the books about why it's such a great idea. I was faithfully read to as a child. In fact, my dad went TDY quite a bit, and often he would read aloud a (long) book onto a tape for my brother and I to listen to each night before we went to bed. So obviously reading aloud was an important part of my childhood, and it's been an important part of childhood for my kids too . . . until this past year.

The honest truth is that after we finished Farmer Boy, I had the best of intentions of starting another book. I even picked out Swiss Family Robinson. And then we just never started. Usually we would read over lunch, but with Anna needing more lunchtime attention, that was hard. And after lunch, well, reading aloud made me verrrrrryyyyy ssslllleeeeeeppppyyyy (yawn). It just wasn't happening.

Then there were a few threads on reading aloud on the Well-Trained Mind board. Several ladies suggested books on tape. Well! I had never even considered using them for anything other than car trips! But I could see that this might be a good temporary solution to my troubles! I immediately went to the library and got out Alice In Wonderland, and we've been listening to a lady with a delightful British accent read as we eat lunch. This means that I can eat my lunch while feeding Anna and still have the benefit of hearing a good story. It's been working out great. I really do enjoy reading aloud, so this isn't going to be the permanent way we do read-alouds, but it is getting us through this physically tiring time for me. And this way I can feel good about reading little books to Caleb and Jonathan in the evening, which has been all the reading aloud I've been getting around to!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

" . . .the cute one"

Nathan had his last Upward basketball game today. His team remained undefeated, and I must say that Nathan's ball handling skills dramatically improved over the course of the season. I was sitting next to another team mom this morning, and she asked which one was my son. I pointed out "the short blonde one", and she said, "Oh! The cute one! My daughter--she's 9--she always says to me, 'Mom, he's sooo cute!' " LOL! And so it starts already. Where's my big stick?! : )

Bob stayed home with Anna this morning. Her fever is not coming up as often, and she is eating a little more, but she is still pretty sick. She also is having diarrhea, so that doesn't help anything. She is still up for an hour, then napping for 2 or 3. It's like having a newborn! I guess it will just be a slow road to get over this thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Sick Baby

We spent the day at the doctor today, literally. We left the house at 9:15 and got back home at 2:45. What a day. Anna is really sick. She started coughing a bit and being somewhat snuffly on Tuesday, and then she started running a fever yesterday. She didn't eat much yesterday, but she did drink bottles last night and this morning. Her fever was up pretty high when she woke up at 3:15 AM, so I went ahead and made an appointment this morning. Her ears were fine, but her chest is congested and she is wheezy. They did a chest x-ray, which was fine, and a complete blood count, which was elevated but not extremely so. Getting the blood was not easy, especially since she really isn't THAT well-hydrated right now, but due to my fervent prayers I am sure, they finally were able to strike a vein. Anna did not really appreciate the intrusion and the poking around, but really she did pretty well and didn't protest too terribly much--a sign of how sick she is, unfortunately. Right now the doctor thinks it is respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and so we really have to watch her over the next few days to see if her cough and congestion get worse, and of course, that she doesn't get dehyrated. She's just not herself , and she definitely looks sick--very pale. Not her usual happy, perky self!

I would just like to say that the boys did really well, even though we had to wait around so very long, and we didn't have lunch until 3:00. Nathan and Luke read books to the little boys so I could focus on Anna, and there was hardly an complaining--at least until about 2:00, LOL, and by then I was beginning to think we were never going to be able to leave, so I was right there with them. Bob even had to make a special guest appearance at the clinic because I wasn't allowed to go back with Anna for her x-ray, due to the pregnancy, and she obviously couldn't go back by herself, LOL. So it was a real day of family bonding.

Now we're back home, we've eaten lunch, the boys are playing outside, and Anna is napping. Whew. Please be praying for her to get over this quickly!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Nesting in a Black Hole

I'm starting to feel the nesting thing kick in--I want to be organized. Saturday Bob took the boys to Nathan's basketball game, Anna napped, and I cleaned all the detritus from the play room. I also worked on the paper morass in the kitchen, making some headway there too. It was a good feeling. That good feeling was all but overwhelmed by the realization that things keep going . . . missing. Little things. Not terribly important things. But things that niggle at the edge of my brain all the time, taking an inordinate amount of brainpower as I try to imagine where they could be. Things like . . . the atlas that used to live on the bookshelves in the study. This was one of your standard huge road atlases that you might keep in your car. In fact this one used to live in our car until we got a newer one, and this one moved inside. I use it actually quite a lot when on the phone or looking stuff up. I love maps. And it has disappeared! Where could a huge book like that disappear to? Makes you wonder, doesn't it.

Another missing item is a ring and nipple for Anna's bottle. I have exactly 9 rings and 10 nipples, and now I have 8 rings and 9 nipples. Again, this might not seem like a crisis, but . . . where in the world could it have gone to?! It's driving me nuts! It's a red ring, by the way, in case it shows up at your house, LOL.

Another inconsequential thing is a folder Nathan made during the Greek unit at our co-op. This is really unimportant, except to an irrational pregnant woman who was filing papers away in notebooks and realized Nathan didn't have anything representing all the great Greek stuff I taught him during that unit. I won't tell you how much time I spent looking for that Saturday night. It wasn't pretty.

So you can clearly see from these examples that there is some sort of plot going on here, something subtle enough as to not raise a big alarm, but just annoying enough to make me really go crazy. It's just hard to nest when you can't find all the little twigs you need. Sigh.

So here I sit, eating ice cream and blogging. Christine called a few hours ago to see if I could teach tomorrow at co-op for her. She's teaching the character part to the K-4 and K-5, and I am supposed to teach that next week, so we just switched. That all sounds fine except that I am having a very difficult time coming up with anything to do on the spur of the moment. The unit is on architecture, and so I thought something about how our words can build up or tear down would be appropriate. And maybe if I had a little more notice, I would be able to come up with something great! As it is, I hunted around for one of my character story books so I could find a good story on kindness or something and . . . you guessed it . . I can't find the book. Now I'm at a standstill. Maybe more ice cream will help.

*Update* Now I am NOT teaching tomorrow--whew! Christine called back to say that Joel really isn't sick--he is having an allergic reaction. While that's not a good thing per se, it does mean that he can go in the nursery tomorrow, and she can teach. So I dodged that bullet. Of course, by this time I did find an appropriate Maxi and Mini Muffin story, and even a coloring page, so I am set for next week. Unless, of course, I lose my folder . . .

Friday, March 16, 2007

Pregnancy Hormones Run Amok

I had a doctor's appointment today, which went fine. The kids all went over to the McC's house, which made them very happy, so on the way to pick them up, I stopped by the healthfood store to pick up more of my toothpaste. I have to use toothpaste without sodium laurel sufate (the foaming agent) in it, because otherwise I get terrible cankersores. I love Dr. Burt's lavender mint toothpaste--no SLS, and it tastes good. There are no major brands without this substance in them. Anyhow, there was none on the shelf, so I asked when they would be getting more in. The lady said Burt's Bees has discontinued it. Discontinued it?!! Oh No!!!!!!! What am I going to do? I was so upset; my stomach dropped, and I got a little teary-eyed there in the store. I did start crying when I called Bob to tell him the bad news. Maybe I'll have to buy the recipe from Burt himself and start making my own, LOL. That sounds like something I have time for. Sigh. The third trimester is not a good time for unexpected changes. Now, after a tragedy like this, I am supposed to cook dinner?! LOL

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Anna's New Skill

Anna has mastered climbing the stools in the kitchen, so now she can be at counter level. Obviously she is pretty proud of this feat! A whole new world of things to get into has opened up for her! So now I have to make sure no cups with water are near the edge of the counter. Or knives . . . or glass bowls . . . Yes, I really could have waited for this particular milestone! Anna is such a nosy Nellie who always wants to see what is going on, however, so I'm not surprised that mastering the stool was a bigger priority than walking. She can tell that a lot goes on up there on that counter, and she has very vocally wanted to be in on it! Now she can. It would be helpful if she would also master getting OFF the stool, but that has not happened yet either. Ah well.

I am seriously worried that she will not be walking by the time the new baby is born, a mere 7 weeks away. She has really shown absolutely no interest in walking, or even really in standing alone. She can stand alone, but she doesn't stay there long before she's down on her knees, crawling away. I think she feels she's quite a good crawler, and she can keep up with the boys that way, so why learn a new skill that will slow her down for awhile until it is mastered?! At least she's not my first baby, with a second coming so close. I do have plenty of helpers to hold her if need be while I deal with the new baby. But it would be so much nicer if she was walking, or at least standing confidently . . .

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Praying for your husband

Several posts ago, Bob commented on how incredibly busy he is right now. Here's a refresher: he's taking 2 master's courses (with all the inherent projects, tests, and assignments), he needs to replace the garage doors (whenever we get approval from our HOA, grr), taxes need to be filed, he just finished his 2 year relicensing process for real estate, he just got a listing and so needs to do all that paperwork, we'll be having another baby in less than 8 weeks or so . . . it just goes on and on. As a praise, he did pass his physical today (yay!), and he has also decided to stop doing Bible Study Fellowship and instead be a part of a new men's group at our church. This only meets every 3rd Saturday, and frankly I think anything our pastor leads is going to be a very good thing. They're going through a systematic theology book.

All that to say, I've been really trying to pray consistently for Bob. We also have a lot of big decisions regarding retirement and our options there, and so far God has not emblazoned any answers on the lawn or anything, so that is another area for prayer. Two years ago at the Ladies' Retreat for our old church, we got a list if things to pray for our husbands each day of the week. This is what I've been doing for Bob, so I thought I would share them again, in case you might not have been reading my blog way back in February 05 (gosh, that seems like such a long time ago!).

Sunday: That he might become a holy man, a man of prayer, mature in the Lord, growing in his knowledge of the God. (1 Thes. 5:23, Col. 4:12, Eph. 1:18-19, 3:16-19, 6:18) That he might daily seek God with all his heart, walking in the Spirit moment by moment, growing in his dependence on Him. (Ps. 119:1-2, 27:4. Prov. 3:5-6, John 15:5)

Monday: That he would learn to take every thought captive, to not be confused into the world's thinking, but to think spiritually. (2 Cor. 10:5) That he would learn not to depend on his circumstances for happiness, but on God alone. (Hab. 3:17-19)

Tuesday: That he might have new strength in the midst of his busy schedule, and that the Lord might infuse him with His strength. (Eph. 3:14-19) That his self-image might be a reflection of the Lord's thoughts toward him. (Eph. 1:17-19, Rom. 12:3, Ps. 139)

Wednesday: That he might become a called man, not driven, with well-thought-through and prayed-through goals in life. (1Cor. 9:24-27) That the Lord might give him wisdom to lead his family physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. (Eph. 1:17-19, James 1:5-7)

Thursday: That he might stand firm against the schemes of the devil, and resist Satan in all circumstances. (Eph. 6:10-18, James 4:7) That he might not be deceived into unbelief and sin. (Gal. 6:7)

Friday: that the fruit of the Spirit might be exhibited more and more in his life. (Gal. 5:22-23) That he might learn to love as God commanded. (1 Cor. 13:4, Rom. 12:8-10)

Saturday: That the Lord might protect him, guarding his course. (Prov. 2:8) That he might learn to manage his time well. (Eph. 5:15)

Friday, March 09, 2007

The A-Wing Fighter Cake

Well, here it is, although you can't really see much detail in the picture! I chose this picture so you could see the Lego model and its box, in case you (like me) have no idea what an "A-Wing Fighter" is supposed to look like in the first place. The gray things on the sides are actually prezel rods frosted gray, and they are the "laser cannons". I used Oreos on the back as the engines. While the boys were quite pleased with the darker red color, since I used "burgundy" gel instead of just plain red, what we did not count on was the fact that it was not "no-taste red", which is what we usually use for red. And let me tell you, it tasted! Blech! Good thing there wasn't really much of it, LOL. Luke was quite happy with my efforts, and now, after Bible study, there remains only the part around the cockpit, so everyone else liked it too!

Month of Luke

We've been celebrating Luke's 8th birthday for a few weeks now. His actual birthday is Feb. 27, which was the day we drove back from Ohio. Unless you count listening to Henry Huggins and snacking all day to be a celebration, that particular day wasn't filled with birthday cheer. But a few days before, we all went to Young's where we had ice cream, and Luke received some great presents, like a kit on making balloon animals (we've tried a few, and believe me, this is not as easy as those clowns make it look, LOL) and a gift card for Barnes and Noble. He also got a set of Star Wars figures, which made the ride home go a lot faster for him and Nathan! We went to Barnes and Noble the next day so he could pick out his books. The gift card was for $25, and he and Nathan had a great time selecting which books, including tax, would maximize the value of the card. Finally they picked 4 books (Star Wars of course, since I would never buy those for them, LOL), and the total price came to $24.45, due to their careful calculations. Hey, there are adults who can't figure out things like that! Luke was especially thrilled because he got the remaining $.55 in change.

Last night we finally had his special birthday dinner, since we made a huge commissary trip on Wednesday. This is the first time since the beginning of December that we have gone, and let me tell you, the ol' pantry was getting pretty bare! He requested Aunt Amy's lasagna, which we all enjoyed, except for the fact that I forgot to get tomato paste at the commissary and had to make a special trip to the little store down the road. Grrr. We spent over 2 hours and $800 on groceries (I told you it was a huge trip), and I forgot something for a meal the NEXT day! But I digress . . .

Due to my glucose test preparations last week, I didn't feel like making a cake, so we're bringing his cake to Bible study tonight. Luke wanted a Star Wars ship, so we decided on the A-Wing fighter because it looked to be the easiest. We still have the box from the Lego model they got for a present one year, so that is what I will go by. We'll see how that turns out. And I think that tonight will be the final celebration of this 8th birthday!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

* Big Sigh of Relief *

The doctor's office called this afternoon to tell me the results of the glucose test. When I realized it was the receptionist, and not the doctor herself, I was pretty hopeful, and she said that my results were normal! Yay! I will certainly keep exercising like a madwoman, however, and keep late night ice cream parties to a bare minimum, LOL. But I don't have to take a nutrition class and learn how to prick my finger and test my blood several times a day. Wahoo!

Monday, March 05, 2007

I'm Alive!

Well, I'm sure all of you loyal readers will be relieved to know that I did indeed make it through the glucose test with no problems, and in fact it was not tramatic at all, proving once again that your mind can really psyche you out by only concentrating on the worst case scenario. There were a man and a woman working at the lab today. The woman was quite skillful; the man not so much. Of course it would happen that he drew my blood 3 out of the 4 times, but while he inflicted more pain, he still got the samples with no problems. They both were able to even got a sample out of my bad right arm, so it turns out that even scarred veins heal themselves! Who knew?! I guess it has been over 5 years since that disasterous time while pregnant with Caleb when the techs could not get any blood out of that arm, and I have not let anyone try since then, so I haven't had any new data to go by. What a relief to have that over and done with! I felt fine throughout the test. Now we just wait for the results.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Worries . . .

Tomorrow is my 3 hour test (have I mentioned that lately? LOL!). I'm dreading it, quite frankly. When I was pregnant with Caleb (#3), I passed my 1 hour test just fine, but then several weeks later I spilled some sugar into my urine at a routine appointment. Since this was at Wright-Pat, big teaching hospital that it is, their immediate response was to send me in for a 3 hour one. (In a historical footnote, I was scheduled for it right after 9/11, but the base was closed so I had to come in a few days later. The base was still on super-tight security, and it took almost 3 hours to get to the lab--I left the house at 6:00 and started the test at 9:00. Nightmare right there.)

Anyhow, back to my current fears . . . you may know that I had some blood clots in my right arm right after we got married, and because of the catheters, etc. to deal with them, I have substantial scarring in the veins of my right arm, and so it is practically impossible to draw blood from there. When I had the last 3 hour test (where they draw your blood once before you start, then 3 more times after you drink the stuff), the techs had a progressively harder time finding a place to draw blood on my left arm. By the time they were trying to draw the last vial, 3 hours later, they could not get anything. Believe me, there is nothing so aggravating as having people poke around your veins when you have had NOTHING TO EAT for 12 hours except a huge load of nasty glucose drink! I was very jitterly and nauseaus, which I never am during blood draws. Finally they had to resort to calling an "expert" from the big inpatient lab upstairs, and he got the sample with no problems, probably due only to my fervent prayers. My poor arm was bruised for weeks.

Tomorrow however, there will be no expert on hand to be called if there are problems! So I am praying that the person will be able to get the blood samples needed with a minimum of poking and fussing. I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Big Day for Nathan!

Nathan is playing Upwards basketball for the first time this season, and today he scored 2 baskets! He was so very excited--they are his first baskets! His team has one really tall guy, and a few boys who have obviously played several seasons and are pretty good, so I don't think the team has lost yet (unlike his soccer team, which lost every game, LOL). By the time Nathan scored his first basket, the score was 14-4, and so his teammates kept passing Nathan the ball until he finally scored. It was very sweet, and a reminder of why I like Upwards--they really do emphasize everyone participating, as opposed to winning. The tall guy kept rebounding all through the game and passing the ball to whatever other shorter, less basketball-favored kid was around him so he could take a shot. I think the end score was 30-12 or something like that. But Nathan felt like he contributed!

In other news, we now have one working garage door again! A few days after we left for Ohio, Bob called to say that the door where I usually park the van was not going up--the motor was spinning, but nothing was moving. He looked inside the opener, and some white pastic gear thing was broken, so he ordered the new part. The directions were pretty complicated, but then he ran into someone at work who happened to have changed out that exact same part on his opener earlier, so he talked Bob through it all! Bob started on it last night and pretty much finished it, but then as we were admiring the door going up and down again, we noticed that something wasn't right with one of the pulleys--it kept going off track. So Bob realized we needed new pulleys as well, and he went off early this morning to Home Depot to get those as well as 2 new doors. He got the doors, and the pulleys, and he replaced the pulleys, so our one garage door now goes up and down smooth like butter! We are waiting to put the doors themselves up because we aren't sure about them--they have little windows along the top, and we realized that no one else in our whole neighborhood has windows on their garage doors. So we called the HOA people, and they said they needed to approve the doors, since they are different. We should hear back in a few days. If they deny it, no big deal--we'll just get the doors without windows. Neither Bob nor I have my heart set on these, but Bob got them for the same price as the door without windows, and you know we can't pass up a bargain! In the meantime, we have one garage door working!

My morning was spent at a big consignment sale for children's stuff. We don't have any good consignment stores around here, but twice a year there are several huge consignment sales at local churches that I like to go to. Last Fall I even consigned some stuff myself, and almost everything sold! I was looking for a new infant carseat, which I did find. Ours is 8 years old and showing its age, so we thought it was time to upgrade. I bought a Graco that is not quite 3 years old and in great shape. I'm looking for a Graco double stroller too, which I think this car seat would fit into. I have to really find a bargain though, because we actually have a double stroller--the problem is that it is also 8 years old, no infant carseat fits in it, and the back seat is not higher than the front, so no one wants to ride back there because you can't see. Plus, it is incredibly heavy. They have made big strides in stroller development in 8 years! I didn't find a double stroller at this sale, but there is another one at the end of March, plus I'm keeping my eyes on craigs list. I have also realized that we need more crib bedding, since we got rid of Nathan's old set several years ago, after Caleb didn't need it anymore. It was also showing its age! I didn't find any today though. I did buy a few maternity shirts and a few things for Anna.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The ice storm that keeps on giving . . .

So we had a big snow/ice storm right before the kids and I left for Ohio. Our driveway and front walk simply do not get ANY sun at all during the winter, so the ice just hangs on, melting when warm and then refreezing. This has caused some major problems this time around. For one, we now need a new garage door because the Pathfinder slid on the ice in the driveway and ran into the door, breaking it. And then today we got a registered letter from the Post Office saying that our mail man slipped on the ice by our front door while delivering a package on Feb. 16 and will probably be suing us. How lovely! This is really stressing me out, with the glucose test on Monday and now this lawsuit threat. The mail man "sustained bruised ribs and was also given prescriptions", and any claim will include "special damages (medical bills, etc.) and general damages (pain and suffering, inconvenience)". Sigh.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

This answers all my questions . . .

Here is part of an interesting article in today's Washington Times called Ice Cream Induces the Arrival of Stork.

Want a bun in the oven? Then go have a big bowl of ice cream. Add a little whipped cream, too. Harvard University announced yesterday that drinking whole milk and eating high-fat ice cream appears to benefit women who want to get pregnant. Skim milk may not be baby-friendly: The study found that women who dutifully ate two or more daily servings of low-fat dairy products each day increased their risk of ovulation-related infertility by a whopping 85 percent. An extra serving per day increased their risk by another 11 percent. Women who scarfed down a single serving of high-fat dairy food every day actually reduced their risk of infertility by 27 percent. The study lauded ice cream in particular: Women who ate the genuine creamy variety two or three times a week reduced their risk of infertility by 38 percent.

So I think we can all draw some conclusions about this unexpected pregnancy, LOL. I am sure I was faithfully eating ice cream last August--I had to keep up my milk supply, you know. Here is the shocker at the end of the article, however:

Dairy products may play another role in pregnancy. According to research published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine in May by Dr. Gary Steinman, an attending physician at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, women who consume animal products -- specifically dairy -- are five times more likely to have twins.

Whew--I guess I've been lucky these past 6 times!