Monday, July 30, 2007

One Last Picture . . .

This is the end of our pre-church photo session. Emily has had enough and is starting to cry. Anna is wearing the same "what am I doing here" expression she has been wearing all weekend long, and as you can see her leaning away, she had decided to take matters into her own hands by starting to edge away, LOL.

Grandma and her girls

Anna, Emily, and Grace are all wearing their dresses from "Momma Claire", also known as my Aunt Claire or Pilotmom. She was the only Claire who was missing from this party, and she and Uncle Jim were sorely missed indeed!
We were able to take pictures before church. After church, Mom and Dad went out to eat with Dan and Melinda, while we came back home to prepare to take Nathan up to White Sulphur Springs for his week at Camp Caleb. Then Mom and Dad took off this morning, so we are back to just our boring selves, LOL, without even Nathan! I'm hoping to get some projects done this week, since we're not doing school. We'll see how that works out. I'm not holding my breath and expecting big things, though, LOL.

Cute Cousin

Isn't Emily a cutie?! She rode in the swing for awhile and enjoyed it very much. I thought the blue swing really brought out her beautiful blue eyes!

Special Visit

My brother Dan, his wife Melinda, and their baby girl Emily visited us this past weekend all the way from Texas! Emily was just born in January, so this was our first chance to meet her in person! We all thought she was an absolute doll--well, all of us except Anna, perhaps. She was definitely not sure what to do with this new interloper, LOL. She was in a pretty grumpy mood all weekend long, and she gave Uncle Dan the ol' evil eye every time she looked at him. With Emily she was aloof and suspicious, although she did like to pick up toys that Emily dropped and give them back to her. After they all left, she was so happy, so Bob and I said she must be thinking, "Yay, that other little girl is gone--I guess they're keeping me after all!" LOL

Emily is so cute, and there is definitely a family resemblance between her and Anna. She also sports the same bald haircut that Anna has (although Anna has grown some hair in the last 2 months or so), which helps the resemblance. The boys had such a great time with her, entertaining her and making her laugh. Emily gave out lots of big smiles all weekend long (except during some photo opportunities, of course, LOL) and was such a happy little girl! We really enjoyed meeting her!

*Update* Well, Anna was still pretty crabby today. She's also doing other weird things, like taking over 3 hour naps, rubbing her eyes all the time, etc. So there is obviously something else going on, like a growth spurt or allergies or something, and this just wasn't a good weekend for her to have company, even very, very special company!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Roll out the barrel . . .

This past weekend was the annual family reunion for Bob's dad's side of the family. We left Saturday morning and didn't get there until 3:00, but the party was still in full swing! I was still able to get my yearly fill of polka music and kielbasa, although I passed on the cabbage. This was the 10th annual reunion. We've gone to the last 4 I think, and I am still confused about who is who (or would that be "whom"). Bob's dad had 5 siblings, and they all had big families as well. I desparately want someone to sit down and draw out a big family tree for me. Instead, whenever I ask questions, they assume a previous level of knowledge that I simply don't have. ("Oh, that's (whoever). His mom was a (ethnic Eastern European last name) from up near (town I've never heard of). His sister married (someone else I should know but don't), and they had 3 kids. One of them, (another name), moved out to California, got married and divorced, and one of THEIR kids moved back here and married (some other ethnic last name) . . . ." and on and on with no clear resolution or even answer to my original question.) I am hanging in there, however, and I do feel like I am getting to know the people we see every year at this thing a little bit better. Most of them had no idea we had another baby this year, so that was a little surprise, LOL. Hey, we're just carrying on the big family tradition.

We stayed in our usual room at Comfort Inn. This room is the only room in the hotel that has 2 double beds and a fold-out sofa. Of course, that still leaves us 2 beds shy, but this is a big room too, so there is enough room for 2 pack-n-plays. We started staying in this room awhile back, and now we just make reservations for our next trip before we actually leave the hotel. That way no one asks about the number of kids, because it seems like the clerks don't care. I'm not sure what we'll do when Anna grows out of the pack-n-play. Oh well--that's a few years away.

I will say that it was not a restful night. There may be plenty of room for 8 people, but there still are a lot of little sleeping noises from that many people. I had to fiddle all night with the air conditioning/fan thing so that it would stay on, but not freeze us out, so that it provided some white noise. Anna woke up at 3:00, and fussed around until 4:00, but fortunately everyone else slumbered on peacefully. Grace woke up at 6:30, but she went right back down after nursing. Anna and I were both crabby the next day, LOL.

Sunday we went out to eat with Bob's parents at Ponderosa. They really like going there, but since Bob's dad can't drive anymore after his latest seizure, they don't get to go out to eat much. Then we all went over to Bob's brother Paul and Sherry's house. They have a nice above-ground pool and a trampoline, so the boys were in heaven. Anna had a good time on the trampoline too. All too soon it was time to head back home. I had been pushing for a picture of the kids with Bob's parents the whole time, but finally we were able to get one right before we left. Even though Grace is sleeping, it still turned out well, so I was glad I insisted. With Bob's dad's health issues of the past year, I don't want to take anything for granted, and I really wanted to get a picture of them with Grace.

We left about 5:30 and made it home by 10:00. That makes the trip sound pretty easy, but in fact, it was another loud trip. The plain truth is that Grace is just not a very good traveler. I've never had a bad traveler before! She hates her car seat, and she can fuss about that for a LONG time without giving up. This makes Anna antsy, and they sort of feed off each other. When one will be winding down, the other will choose that moment to let out a long shrill cry, and that will set the first one off again. Sigh. I am not looking forward to our trip to Ohio the middle of August!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Roosevelt Island

Bob took a day off on Wednesday, and we went to Roosevelt Island, which is in the middle of the Potomac between Arlington and D.C. It is connected to a Virginia by a little walking bridge, and the island is a preserve with quiet walking trails and big trees. Except for the constant noise of traffic from the George Washington Parkway, you'd think you were all alone in the woods, LOL! No, it really is a nice retreat in the middle of the city--and since it is so shady, it was a great place to go on a hot summer day!
In the middle of the island is a memorial for Teddy Roosevelt. It has this big statue of him as well as big slabs of concrete with quotes of his. One is on "youth", another on "manhood", one is "the state", and the last is "nature". There are also 2 big fountains, and the whole thing is surrounded by reflecting pools and bridges. Very lovely and serene.
Although I would have to say that in general he doesn't seem like he was as deep a thinker as say Lincoln, some of his quotes were good. I liked this one on "youth"--I want to see you game, boys, I want to see you brave and manly, and I also want to see you gentle and tender. (Address at Friends School, Washington, DC, May 24, 1907) Yep, that's what I want, too! Also, I liked this one on "the state"--If I must choose between righteousness and peace I choose righteousness. (America and the World War, 1915) Amen!
We didn't pack a lunch, but after we got back to the van, I nursed Grace while everyone else had juice boxes and granola bars for a snack. It was a nice morning outing!
It is at times like these that I wish I could post more than one picture without locking up our slow dial-up connection. But wait . . . change is in the air! Verizon is in the process of installing FIOS cables in our neighborhood, and when they are all hooked up, we are going to go with their all-in-one package, which includes TV, internet, and phone for I think $99.99 a month. Somehow our neighborhood got skipped for DSL and broadband, so this is really our first quick option, other than cable (and we don't like Adelphia). We're pretty excited! We'll be able to wach the funny videos online that everyone talks about! Open up web sites with lots of pictures! Download songs (hey, maybe we'll finally get an iPod!)! The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Grace's well-baby appointment

Grace is looking a little on the serious side because she had her first shots today, poor baby! She's done a lot of sleeping this afternoon, which I hope does not bode for a sleepless night!

Grace was 12 pounds, 2 ounces, which is pretty average for us. She measured 22 inches long, but I think she is actually longer than that. The tech did a terrible job at straightening her leg to measure. Everything else checked out just fine! She's a happy, healthy girl.

Happy Anniversary To Us . . .

Wow, 14 years already?! It seems like just yesterday I was posting about anniversary #13! This past year definitely passed by in a blur. In last year's post, I was musing about how this year we would be facing retirement. Well, we still haven't made any big decisions as far as that goes, but I'm sure that will be a topic of discussion tonight when we're out to dinner. It's just as well that nothing has happened on the retirement front, as this year was already filled with lots of changes and adjustments. We had a new baby, and then another new baby, and we also changed churches. Now it's time for things to settle down!

Speaking of dinner, Elizabeth has kindly consented to come over and watch our brood, so Bob and I are going to eat at Cheesecake Factory. Mmmm. It'll be a nice, low-key celebration. It's hard to get too fancy with a nursing baby! Someday we'll be able to go away for a weekend or something . . . At least, that's what people tell me--it's too hard for me to envision right now, LOL.

So we're praising the Lord today for 14 happy years of marriage, and a wonderful family that has come out of our marriage. I never imagined 6 kids when I stood at the altar of Chapel 2 back then!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cool Lego Mom

*Although for some reason this didn't get published until Tuesday, I actually wrote it and thought I published it last night, Monday night!*

Well, I don't like to brag or anything, but today was the second time in 3 days that I was a "cool mom" in the eyes of the boys. The first time, of course, was when I brought home those 4 Star Wars books for $1.00 at the used book sale. Then this evening at dinner, we were discussing Leogs (as is so often the case). Nathan was lamenting their perceived lack of Legos, and I happened to mention that I had a gallon Ziploc bag of them somewhere down in the basement. At some point when I was home visiting my parents, I equally divided up all the Legos in my brother's and my Lego collection from when we were kids. I put them in Ziploc bags, and mine were packed in a box where they have lived while traveling about the country.

This casual announcement was met with much excitement and surprise. You would have thought I had been withholding information about a fortune in gold or something. Nathan volunteered to get up and look for the bag immediately--he "wouldn't mind at all". I told him that what I really needed him to do was clean up the play room in the basement (which is the unfinished area where we also keep all our boxes that never get unpacked) so that I would have room to move boxes around in my search. He was also ready and eager to do this, and after dinner clean-up, he and Luke took off for the basement.

The room was cleaned up, although I realized immediately what box the Legos had to be in--the one clearly marked "Claire's old stuff". After some digging, there it was! The jackpot! The boys carried away the prize and spent the rest of the evening going through it. Ahhhh . . . silence on the main floor for me.

Nathan couldn't believe that I had this treasure for so long and had never told them about it. How could I forget about something as important and valuable as this?! LOL I will say that Lego made some cool pieces back then that they don't seem to make anymore--pieces with hinges, pieces with little wheels, funny heads, etc. The boys were quite entertained for quite a while. I am just basking in the glory of being cool, since I know how quickly that will change

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Week

I see that I haven't posted for almost a week. Hmm . . . what did happen this last week? Obviously nothing too exciting, and frankly, that's a good thing. That means Anna did not break anything or cause too big of a mess. Also, she did not injure herself, another good thing.

And yet I did not have time to post, so that must mean we were just busy. Oh yes, Bob was busy working on a paper for his class the first few evenings, so my computer time was limited.

We did do an entire week of school, something that hasn't happened for a little while. I think we're getting into a good routine there.

We are also on a major campaign to eat down the freezer so that I can defrost it. Then I will be able to go to the commissary just with Nathan while my parents are here next week to restock. (My parents should get here next Monday, and they are coming because my brother Dan and his wife Melinda and their daughter Emily are supposed to come next Thursday!!!!) This means that we have been eating lots of good, healthful things that were lurking in the back of the freezer--things like meatballs, chicken fingers, fish sticks, and pierogies. Also there have been freezer pops every day, so you know this campaign has been well-supported by the troops.

On Thursday, we got the boys' Stanford Achievement Test scores in the mail. The boys did great--whew! That's always such a relief! Then of course my perfectionistic tendencies take over, and I obsess about the categories where they missed any questions at all, LOL. Shockingly, they both did fine in spelling! (I think Nathan is a good guesser, LOL.) Actually, the section they both did worst in was "Word Study Skills", and they got almost identical scores. I'm not totally sure what the questions were like, exactly, but it was phonetic analysis of vowels that seemed to be the issue. It was just funny that they both had problems with that, since they have such different styles of learning, reading, etc. I would have expected one to do good, and not the other, or something. Interesting.

Bob took Friday off, and I was able to go to the Northern Virginia Home Education Convention for a few hours in the afternoon. I only went to shop, and I did buy a few things that I knew I needed and knew I wouldn't be able to find at the used book sale that was Saturday. I bought a copybook for Nathan from Memoria Press, since he still has terrible handwriting, and I bought Story of the World 4 from Peace Hill Press. In fact, Susan Wise Bauer herself was at the PHP booth, and I got to talk to her!! She answered my questions personally! A red-letter day for me, LOL--a brush with celebrity in the homeschool world!

I went back to the convention on Saturday to go to the used book sale, and I was very happy with what I came home with. I got a Daily Grams book for Grammar review, as well as some little workbooks that work on paragraph writing and outlining, which I want Nathan to start working on. I got a Kingfisher History of the World, as well as a neat book called Words That Built a Nation--A Young Person's Collection of Historic American Documents. I got A Case of Red Herrings, which is a critical thinking book, and a Mindbenders book, which has those great puzzles that you have to use a grid to solve. Nathan is going into the Logic stage, and these sorts of books are what SWB recommends to develop critical thinking skills before starting formal logic in 7th grade. The Mindbenders book has already been a big hit. Actually, before the convention I had gotten out my Critical Thinking press catalog to peruse so I would be familiar with what to look for, and Nathan and Luke started solving the puzzles in the catalog! That was helpful because it gave me an idea of what level book I should buy (and I was thrilled to find one used!). Bob is a great problem solver, and I've always enjoyed those logic problems as well, so it seems reasonable that the boys should also be good at them!

I also got a bunch of fiction books--books I've wanted the boys to read, but that our library doesn't carry, like Rolf and the Viking Bow, The Children's Homer, and By the Great Horn Spoon. I just LOVE buying books at used book sales! They can be so cheap! I also won the hearts of the boys because I found 4 Star Wars books for $ .25 each. Oh well, the dessert along with the meaty stuff, LOL. I came home with my pull-along bag stuffed to the gills. A successful shopping day!

So there you have it--highlights of the week. And now it's time to head off to evening church.

Monday, July 09, 2007

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever"

This lovely object d'art is what art scholars call a "Chia Shrek". Who was the person of classic taste that bestowed such a work of art upon us? Why, my brother Dan! He received it himself as a gift at an office white elephant exchange (if you can imagine giving away such a treasure), and then he regifted it to the boys for Christmas 2 years ago. We brought it home from Texas, and it languished in its box until the Spirit moved or something, and we decided to "grow" it a few weeks ago. I must say 1. this picture does not do it justice, and 2. it looks nothing like the box picture, where Shrek was covered with little plants with short stems and big leaves, such that the picture did indeed resemble Shrek.

To be fair, Dan and Melinda also gave the boys a Bionicle set that year, vaulting them into "most favored aunt and uncle" status, a position they kept after giving the boys Walmart gift cards this past year. We are also enjoying another one of their gifts currently, the Star Wars Cookbook, which they gave Nathan for his birthday. We made Skywalker Smoothies yesterday--the book says, "Luke definitely has the Force on his side, but sometimes he gets an extra boost from these scrumptious smoothies." I think "Wookie Cookies" are next on the agenda, followed by "Princess Leia Danish Dos". Luke is interested in making "Darth Vader Dark Chocolate Sundaes--"Some speculate that Darth Vader was lured to the Dark Side by these Dark Chocolate Sundaes." Other recipes in the book include Hoth Chocolate, Han-burgers, Obi-Wan Kebabs, Boba Fett-ucine, and Wampa Snow Cones. The book is filled with pictures of the food, with toy Star Wars figues posed beside them. Pretty funny! At the front of the book are cooking rules. They start: "The calm, perceptive mind of a Jedi warrior will enable you to prevent most mishaps in the kitchen. Use it well and follow these general guidlines." I wish I had some Jedi warrioers in the kitchen! Apparently Jedi cooks "clean up as they go along".

At the end of the book are some stickers with sayings like "Use the fork, Luke." and "Eat this you must. Help you it can." We've gotten a lot of laughs from this book. Now Nathan has the second Star Wars cookbook on our wish list at Amazon.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Chocolate and Friends

Yesterday was another big day! after our late night, we got up and left at 9:30 to drive up to Hershey, PA to meet up with friends. My best friend Amy (in the blue shirt) and her family were camping there with Julie and her family. Julie is another old friend who went to Dayton Christian and also to Cedarville with us. It was so fun to see Amy and Julie and spend the day with them!

We went to Hershey's Chocolate World, which was very, very crowded and loud. We ate lunch first, and then we went on this cute ride through a simulated chocolate factory to learn about how chocolate is made. It was very interesting, and just as I was saying to Amy and Julie, "They ought to pump the smell in here to make it realistic", then sure enough! It started smelling like chocolate! YUM! I could have ridden around smelling that for quite a while longer! At the end of the ride, everyone got free samples of Kissables, those little candy-coated kisses. Bob mentioned to the lady that Caleb and Zachary couldn't have chocolate, and so she gave them Twizzlers instead! That was nice. The best part was that this all was free! Nothing else was, that's for sure, LOL. It was a very commercialized place.

After the tour, the kids went though the "Factory Works" line, which we thought would be something sort of hands-on and educational, but in actuality was a commercialized gimic to get you to buy expensive small boxes of Kisses that your children had packaged and otherwise bonded with ($5.00 a box!). We had to pass on that. Then the others went in to see a 3-D animated show that was $5.95 for adults and $3.95 for kids 3-12. We decided that was just to steep for a 30 minute show for our big family, so we went outside and found the Hershey Museum, a little walk away, over by the entrance to HersheyPark.

The musuem also was not free ($7.00 for adults and $3.50 for kids 3-12) but Bob got in free, being active-duty military, and we could stay as long as we wanted! Plus, it was very quiet in there, and after the noise and crowds of the Chocolate World, I was really ready for something quiet. The museum was very interesting, and ironically, it was much more hands-on than the Chocolate World. We got to see and handle equipment from the old factory, read what workers from long ago said about the factory (for example, it was really hot because they could never open any windows--they had to keep bugs out of the chocolate), and learn about how Kisses got their names (it could be from smooching sound that the depositor machine made when a glob of chocolate was dropped out into the Kiss shape). There was an old-fashioned candy shop set up, with display cases that Mr. Hershey used in his shop. There was an exhibit about HersheyPark and its history, with a nice video to watch while sitting in a roller coaster car. There were items from Mr. Hershey's house, and an exhibit on the school he and his wife set up for orphan boys once they realized they would never be able to have children of their own. Mr. Hershey seemed like a wonderful man. There was also a discovery hands-on room for kids where they could try on clothes from the Victorian era, play in a pretend general store, cook in a Victorian kitchen, etc.

Mr. Hershey also had an extensive collection of Indian artifacts, including some relaly nice headresses and outfits. There were items from tribes in all different parts of the U.S., and there was a hand-son station there too, where kids could feel wolf pelts, use a pump drill to make holes in wood, try on snowshoes, and also try on Indian leather clothes.

So we really enjoyed the museum. The kids did a scavenger hunt that they were handed when we went in, and so they got little dollar store rings and coins. They were thrilled with them, of course. We did stay about half an hour longer than we needed to because while we were in there, a torrential downpour began. I wondered if we would ever be able to get back to our car! Fortunately it did eventually stop, so we were able to meet up again with the others, who had been souvenier shopping after their show.

We were very happy to find out that we didn't have to pay for parking (free for 2 hours, then $8.00 for 2-4 hours, and then $11.00 for a day--yow)! We think it was because of all the rain, since the parking is also for HersheyPark, which had to close the rides because of the thunder and lightning. We drove just down the road to the campground where Amy and Julie were camping. Although it was sprinkling, we decided to make it work there for dinner. Julie's camper has a little stove, so she boiled hotdogs for the kids and cooked steaks for the grownups. By the time everything was ready, it had stopped raining, so we had a lovely dinner. The kids ate first, then they ran around and played while the adults ate. Grace took a nice nap on the bed in Julie and Tim's camper. Anna wandered around getting watermelon juice all over her outift, which was already soaked from her falling down on the wet ground. It was so much fun to be able to catch up with Amy and Julie.

Unfortunately, it was 8:00 all too quickly, and I nursed Grace before we headed home. Grace and Anna were pretty much shot from 2 days out of their normal routine, and so they cried . . . well, just about the entire way home. Did I say "cried"? I actually meant to say "screamed", because that's a more accurate description, LOL. We had been listening to Johnny Tremain, a very fitting book on tape for around the Fourth of July, wouldn't you say, but we had to turn it off because we could not hear it at all. We made it home a little before 11:00 and got everyone down before collapsing into bed ourselves.

We've been taking it easy today. Nathan and Luke rediscovered a book on making paper airplanes that my mom and dad gave them awhile back, so that was what they spent the morning doing. I slept in until 10:00. Ahhhh. Anna took an early nap. Now the boys are outside. Unfortunately I have just discovered that the garage door where the van is parked is mysteriously not working, so tomorrow might not be so relaxing, LOL. I guess we are not supposed to go anywhere else for a few days!

Fireworks From the Iwo Jima Memorial

We went downtown to the Iwo Jima Memorial to watch the national fireworks on the Fourth of July. We went with our friends the Ls as we did 2 years ago. The weather played a bit of havoc withour plans, but it all worked out.

We were supposed to leave at 5:00, so we went to Ed's parents' house, where the Ls were, right at 5:00, but there was all this serious weather west of us, and we weren't sure where it was headed. We didn't want to be driving in it, so we hung out there for awhile talking with Ed's folks. Ed's brother, an airline pilot, made paper airplanes for the boys and Amanda to fly around, which amused them greatly. Finally we left about 6:45, and I was very afraid that we wouldn't be able to find a good place to watch, especially once we heard that the Iwo Jima area had never been closed, as the Mall was. I was afraid a lot of people would have left the Mall and come over to the Iwo Jima.

It was very crowded once we got there, but fortunately we were meeting some other friends, Brian and Angela, and they rode the Metro in. They were able to save a really nice big area for all of us. Whew! We brought our usual large amount of food, but since we didn't really get settled until 7:30, it seemed like we hardly had time to make and eat our sandwiches, much less fruit, cookies, etc. So we ended up with a lot of extra food.

We really enjoyed the fireworks. There were some new things we hadn't seen before, like fireworks in the shape of a huge star, and some in the shape of Saturn--a big ball with a ring around it. Cool! We were worried that Anna would totally freak out because she's in a weird phase right now, where she has decided to be frightened of all sorts of things, like the vacuum, swimming pools, women who cover (like Muslims), etc. But just to keep us on our toes, she was completely blase about the loud booms and the bright lights of fireworks. Go figure. But it made for an easier viewing experience, LOL.

Unfortunately we were sitting in front of a long-haired twenty-something year old man who thought he was the cleverest and wittiest cool dude of them all, and so he blathered on and on and on the entire show. He wasn't not exceptionally profane--just a few of the more mild cuss words sprinkled throughout--but he sure was inane and annoying. It was especially annoying because you could tell he thought he was just. so. cool. and that we should all be grateful to be getting this free comedy show. His girlfriend was beside him, and she laughed loudly at all his jokes, so I guess someone thought he was funny. True love.

We made it home a little before 11:00, proud to be Americans, and proud that we didn't lose anyone yet again in the huge crush of people walking along the streets in the dark.

A Patriotic Family

Monday, July 02, 2007

Two months already?!

Grace turned 2 months old yesterday. Wow, that is hard to believe! She's getting so big. She smiles a lot, but we have a hard time capturing that on camera. By the time it finishes all its flashes and whatnot, she is no longer smiling and is back to looking perplexed and serious. I think you can see that she is of the "big eye" baby model--like Luke and Jonathan. She's doing really well with her sleeping, going until about 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning.

In this picture, she is sitting in the Bumbo baby seat that her Uncle Dan and Aunt Melinda got her. She's technically a little young, but she has a really strong neck, and she enjoys sitting in it a lot for a few minutes. I can't wait until she can go longer in it because frankly I have never had a baby who hates being on her back as much as Grace. This even includes her car seat and bouncer seat. She definitely wants to be sitting upright.

Actually all the kids are enjoying the Bumbo seat. Anna sits in it quite frequently, and even Caleb and Jonathan can still fit their scrawny little bums in there. Nathan and Luke like to wear it upside down on their heads, like a cartoon Spartan war helmet. I wish we had gotten one earlier!

Unfortunately, I won't be able to tell you Grace's 2 month stats for quite a while. Non-military types won't understand this crazy system, but when I called back in June to schedule her 2 month well-baby appointment, they told me July's appointments hadn't been released yet, and to call back in a week. So I did that, and then the only appointments that were left were on July 17 at 8:00, 8:30, and 9:40. I snagged the 9:40 one, since there is no way on God's green earth we could get there any earlier with traffic. Even 9:40 will be a challenge--we'll probably have to leave about 8:30. Grr. Anyhoo, it will be more like a 2 1/2 month well-baby appointment. But I can tell she's healthy and growing!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

"Oh, Anna . . . noooooooooooooo"

Anna had a busy week this past week as well. She started off the week with a bit of a bug. Mainly she just ran a little fever (which isn't so bad--kind of takes the edge off, you know?), but she did throw up a few times Monday morning. Fortunately my reflexes were in fine form, and I managed to whip her off the couch and over a trash can each time, thus saving our nice couch from yuckiness.

Tuesday evening she was up on her stool in the kitchen, and she managed to turn the microwave on for some uncertain but very long period of time. I was on the computer, and when I got off and wandered into the kitchen, I smelled something and noticed that the microwave was on. At about that moment, it turned off, so I opened it, letting out a ton of stinky smoke. Some tiny piece of ham or something that had fallen off a plate had become a smoking lump of carbon, and the microwave was blank. I was so worried that she had totally fried the thing, but after about 20 minutes, it did come back, so I guess it was just overheated. Thank the Lord for safety switches like that! When I asked how come no one had told me the microwave was even on (since 3 of her brothers were in the kitchen), Jonathan piped up that he had in fact told me that Anna was pushing buttons on the microwave. Unfortunately, Jonathan pretty much chatters all day long, usually about Star Wars, so I guess I just tuned him out. whoops! I told him that for IMPORTANT stuff like Anna pushing microwave buttons, he needed to come touch my arm to make sure I was REALLY listening, LOL.

On Thursday night, Anna walked on the base of our torch lamp in the family room, sending it crashing over and shattering the shade into a bazillion tiny shards of glass while I looked on impotently as I nursed Grace. Sigh.

Friday, we went to Target to buy a new lamp as well as some new shoes for Caleb. While we were looking at shoes, I was distracted, and Anna (who was in the back of the cart) stood up and reached for a shoebox and fell out of the cart. This is what led to the attractive shiner she is sporting in the picture on top. Usually I buckle her in the front and put Grace's carseat in the back, but who knows what I was thinking then?!

Maybe next week will be a little less eventful for her (and me).

A Prayer Request

Back in May, I mentioned in a post my friend from church, Christine, who is expecting her first baby. She has scoliosis and so can't have an epidural, but she is fine with that, since she was raised in Germany where something like 90% of the women give birth naturally. Well, her due date is Tuesday. Things are going just fine. The head is nice and low, and she's about 1 1/2 cm dilated, and 50% effaced. She had an ultrasound last Monday because her doctor thought she was big, but the baby looked fine and normal sized. You would think that the doctor would then just let things go as they happen, but no, not here in Virginia! The doctor wants to induce her on Friday. Not for any good reason--just because. When Christine reminded her of that fact that she could not have an epidural if things took a long time, or if she didn't handle pitocin-induced contractions very well, her doctor said, "Well, labor hurts with or without pitocin, so that shouldn't make a difference." Umm . . . wow. That's a pretty darn uncaring statement to make, and frankly I wonder if this doctor has ever even SEEN a woman deliver naturally, much less one delivering her first baby after an induced labor.

I think the doctor is setting Christine up for a c-section, to be honest. We talked a long time about possible scenarios, but Christine is like me, pretty nonconfrontational, and it's really hard for her to tell her doctor that she doesn't want to be induced. I'm afraid that the labor will take a long time, and that she'll be too tired to push effectively. It takes a great deal of mental concentration and focus to deal with contractions naturally, and it can really get tiring and painful, especially if the doctor keeps ramping up the pitocin if you don't dilate according to their neat little schedule. A first baby usually means oh, 1-2 hours of pushing, which is exhausting even when you haven't labored all day naturally! What is up with these Virginia doctors that think that inductions are the best way to go?! I have never been anywhere where they are pushed as much as I have heard and experienced here. Ridiculous.

Christine has another appointment on Tuesday. Please pray that she will be able to clearly voice her concerns to the doctor, and that the doctor will be receptive to hearing them. But most of all pray that she will go into labor on her own before Friday!

Not to worry . . .

I wanted all of you to know that we are all alive--the clone trooper cake did not get us. We've just been busy cleaning, and so I haven't had time to blog. The reason we've been cleaning, of course, is that we have people staying with us. That is what it takes to move us to real action these days, action beyond just picking up and vacuuming the parts easily observed. So now I can relax in the fact that the house is clean. Well, mostly. We did amazing things in the kitchen--the desk has never looked so empty! Our bedroom is a disaster area, however. Funny how that works! The study looks clean, but I know that is an illusion. Beneath the quiet surface of books lies a dormant volcano of papers, ready to erupt, strewing chaos all over the main floor as soon as we do anything in there like school. Obviously there is more work to be done, LOL. But we have more company scheduled for the end of July, so we have big plans.

We are having 2 girls stay this week with us. They are part of a volunteer crew of people from Southern Baptist Seminary in Loisuville, KY, who are coming to work on our church this week. Our church was built in the 1850s, and so it is a quaint little building whose maximum capacity is about 90, comfortably, with a lot of wasted space at the front (a second platform behind the preaching platform, for example). We are tearing up some of the wasted space and doing some rearranging inside to make it fit more people with doing anything structural. Should be nice when it's all done!