Friday, March 28, 2008
Anna enjoyed the cake. She looked like a disreputable miner, LOL.
Grace also enjoyed the cake, obviously. Good practice for her birthday in May! She thought she was a pretty big girl, sitting up in that chair eating cake!
This is jsut a quick post--tomorrow we drive to PA for a 60th wedding anniversary celebration for Bob's parents. On Sunday, the kids and I will drive to Ohio for a week, and Bob will brive back down here. So I've got tons of packing left to do, and it's already late!!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The jersey finally arrived, and everyone was very excited. Nathan is dying to wear it. Luke was going to wear it on Friday to Bible study, but then he decided he'd save it for Saturday. But he didn't wear it then, because he wanted to save it for Easter. Except then he decided that would be a weird thing to wear (not to church of course, but afterwards) on Easter, so he'd save it . . . Well, finally today he wore it to co-op. He was quite nervous about it, because I think he thought people would notice it and so then he would be the center of attention (bad). There was much discussion about what pants to wear with it. He has no jeans that fit his waist, so sweats it had to be. Finally he decided on dark blue ones, I think because they don't draw attention to themselves. After co-op, I asked if anyone had said anything. "No," Nathan says. 'He never took off his jacket." LOL! He is so much like me. I can totally see myself behaving this same way back in elementary school. But he does like it, and he wants to wear it again tomorrow . . . and Friday to Bible study . . . and next week, if we do make a quick trip out to Ohio . . .
This week at co-op was the last week in the current unit, which is "Jewish Feasts". It has been an interesting unit for the boys, and they have all learned a lot. They covered Passover, Feast of Booths, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashannah, and today they covered Purim. The neatest thing was when Nathan came home after the Passover week so excited about how Christ perfectly fulfilled all the requirements for the Passover lamb, and how his sacrifice was just like that of the Passover lamb. He had never connected those things before, and it was so neat to see him excited about how God had obviously planned everything, even back in Exodus, to point directly to Christ.
Here's a bonus picture of Grace. She placed a lovely chunk of banana in her "hair" this morning--just like a bow! And banana is sticky enough to stick to peach fuzz! : )
Sunday, March 23, 2008
We went to church this morning. I worked in the nursery, and Bob taught children's church, so we didn't hear the sermon. But it is better for people like us, who have heard the incredible news, to be serving, so that others can hear!
After church, we rushed home and gathered up a bunch of food, and then we headed over to the L's house for Easter dinner with 6 other families. There were 37 of us all told, with 23 kids. Well, only 13 of those were 10 and under. It was so fun! There were many arms willing to hold Grace, even though she was very tired, so that was such a nice break for me. Zachary L. was especially gallant, and held her quite a bit at the end.
We had mountains of food, although we had a small army of people, so there wasn't much left! We brought a ham, spinach strawberry salad, sweet potato biscuits, and watermelon. There were also smoked turkeys, courtesy of Ed, sweet potato casserole, potato casserole, cooked carrots and green beans, another green salad, more fruit, whole wheat bread, and a raft of desserts as well. We were all well-fed, and no one left hungry, LOL.
We also really enjoyed the good fellowship. Most of us are Air Force, and then one family had no military ties whatsoever, and there was one token Army family, so there was some ribbing about that. Lots of funny stories and laughter. Like I always say, a fore-taste of heaven!
I hope you all had as enjoyable an Easter as we did!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Luke looks really natural out there. He fell the least, and at the end, when everyone else was pooping out, he and Bob had a big game of tag out on the ice.
Nathan's a pretty confident skater too, although he fell once and hurt his hip. I think he's going to be black and blue there tomorrow! It didn't seem to slow him down much, although he did stop skating earlier than the other boys.
You notice there are no pictures of Jonathan. He did actually skate, but he was very hesitant out there, and one time Nathan took him around, and he fell. After that, he was not too eager to get back out there, LOL.
The girls and I (and sometimes Jonathan) hung out at the pizza place in the lobby, snacking and talking with the other church folks who were taking breaks. It was really fun for me--much warmer and more comfortable than the cold rink, or the cold ice!
Thursday, March 20, 2008
A few weeks ago, a friend of Michele's inspired me to put my commissary list on the computer. Before, I would always spend forever organizing my list into the order (as best I could remember) of the aisles in the commissary. It was a real pain, but it was certainly better than wandering back and forth trying to get all the items on my list. This time, I had already made a list of 3 columns of most of the things I might normally get there, plus blank spaces for me to write in meats, cereals, etc. I printed one off, circled what I needed, and voila! I was good to go! How nice is that! I should have done this a long time ago!
After we got home from the commissary and unloaded everything (notice I did not also say "and put everything away", LOL), I started on the second part of my big shopping day. This involves meal prep for future meals. I start browning ground beef and putting it in quart-size ziploc bags to freeze. I browned a little more than 9 pounds, putting 2 pounds per bag plus one smaller bag that we'll use for tacos. We never seem to eat 2 pounds of taco meat, LOL. So that's 5 future meals right there. While I was browning, I also cooked up a bunch of boneless chicken breasts (4 packages, I think--they're pretty cheap at the commissary). I just put all the breasts on a big 10x15 pan, sprinkled them with Mrs. Dash, and cooked them at 350 for about 35 minutes or so. Then I chopped those up and put them into 4 bags to freeze as well. Usually this is also when I thinly slice beef for stir-frying and put it in a ziploc bag for marinading in the freezer, but there were no beef stir fries on the menu plan for the next 6 weeks. (Although that sounds good right now, LOL) I also try to put some chicken breasts in Italian dressing or some other marinade to freeze before grilling at some point down the road. This is all tiring, and it does take a bit of time, but it really does save so much time later on, like when I'm deciding what to have for dinner at 4:00 in the afternoon! I haven't been very successful at "once-a-month cooking plans" or things like that, but this is a good compromise for me.
So now you know my secrets for meal planning. I'm sure they aren't anything new and original, but maybe someone will benefit from some little nugget!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Usually we get ours printed from Sams, but I had a bad experience there today, so I'm looking at other options. I uploaded 15 pictures last night to Sams and ordered them printed with the 1-hour option so I could pick them up today. Usually I choose the 2-3 day option, which means they are sent away for processing. I'm not sure if that is the difference. Anyhow, when I picked them up today, the pictures were not good at all! The bottom part of them was cut off! It was really obvious because you can just see the top part of the date stamp, but you can tell from the pictures themselves that they are totally off (people's heads are cut off, the bottom of cakes are missing, etc.). So I went back by myself tonight to see if they could correct that, but the guy showed me their computer screen, and the pictures looked exactly like his screen. He said he could only print off what his screen showed. The thing is, MY screen doesn't look like that--all the pictures look perfectly normal, even when I go back and look at them in the album on samsclub.com! So I'm not sure what the deal is, but I am definitely not happy.
Any other options out there?
Friday, March 14, 2008
**Update** The cake is a Piraka named Vezok, and you can read all about him here, at the Bionicle Encyclopedia. I'm sure you will all rush over and increase your knowledge level right away!!
The cake was met with mixed reviews here at home. Nathan, always the encourager, said it was "really pretty good". Luke, ever the perfectionist, allowed that he didn't think anyone else could have done better, so it was okay. More of a "you did the best one could expect" reaction, LOL. I reminded him that I had said it would be really hard to make anything Bionicle, and he said, "Lesson learned!" LOL! I guess he won't be asking me for anymore of these particular cakes! At Bible study, however, people were impressed, especially the McC boys, and now there is just a little chunk of the middle left.
To make the cake, I baked a 9x13 cake, as well as 2 pyrex bowl cakes. The larger bowl cake sat on top of the 9x13, which I trimmed in the back to make the sort of correct shape of the head. Then the smaller bowl cake sat on the back part of the 9x13 to make where the Bionicle pieces would connect the head to the rest of the body. The spike out the front is a graham cracker that I gently cut in the shape of a spike and stuck way into the cake.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
After a complete week off of school last week, we started back up Monday. Things were sssslllllloooooooowwwwwwwww. Even Luke took forever! Today was also very slow. This is why we never take vacations, grumble, grumble. Just kidding! We are getting everything done, though, so if they want to still be doing their stuff at 5:00, then hey, whatever. Just as long as my part is done way before then!
Last week it was fun to see what they came up with to amuse themselves, since we didn't have any new library books, and I wasn't feeling like providing anything creative to occupy their time. One thing they rediscovered was a book on making paper airplanes,which they recieved for Christmas a few years ago. They made all the paper airplanes in the book and had various trials to determine the best design. They also spent some time watching the military channel, and so a whole new interest in World War II has opened up. Since we are heading into that time period in Story of the World, that was timely. They also played some games like Yahtzee, which is great because Caleb and Jonathan can play too.
Grace has started just standing up by herself in the middle of the room. She must have super strong thighs, because she'll just be squatting there, and then she'll straighten all the way up! She will stand there a little bit, but so far she has not showed any inclination to move her feet.
Anna is finally saying more words (understandable ones, even!). I will have to say that none of my kids have been any sort of early talkers, although Anna did babble a lot more than the boys ever did. Right around 2 is when they finally start saying more words. I love to hear her say the boys' names. She calls Luke "Ducky". It's so cute! She's great with the "n" sound, so she says "Na-nan" and "Jon-na-nan" quite clearly. She has a harder time with Caleb's name. I can tell that's what she's saying, but it doesn't really sound like Caleb, LOL. And of course she's got "Dacie" down pat.
So that's a brief run-down on what we've been doing, non-sickness-wise. Tomorrow is that dreaded pilates class, unless someone else gets sick between now and then . . . could happen . . . .
Monday, March 10, 2008
And then at bedtime, we noticed that Jonathan had a big piece of gunk in the corner of his left eye . . . . . . . . Sigh. I really couldn't believe it. At least we already have antibiotic ointment for eyes, so we put that on last night. This morning I washed all his and Caleb's sheets and pillowcases again. He won't be able to go to co-op tomorrow, and I really am hoping I don't have to move my pilates class again on Thursday. The people in the office are really going to think I am totally just afraid of the class--I mean, what kind of a family could possibly have pinkeye for 3 Thursdays in a row?!
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Aragorn's Laundry Mountain Speech
"I see in your eyes the same mountain that would take the heart of me. A day may come when this laundry pile of mine overwhelms me, when I forsake clean towels and break all scoops of soap, but it is not this day. An hour of soiled shirts and dirty pants, when the laundry room comes crashing down, but it is not this day. Today, I fold! For all of the children in my house, and for my dear husband too, I tell you I will sit, and fold my laundry!"
Friday, March 07, 2008
My position of choice over the past few days. Nice. But I really had no choice, as I could not bend my finger at all! The swelling now is down such that I can bend it a little.
I left at 9:30, and when I got to Bethesda and was getting my temp, etc. taken, the lady who was doing all that warned me that there were people who had been waiting "since 3:00" to be seen! This surprised me, as I didn't actually see anyone else waiting in the waiting area, but I looked sad and went into my tale of woe--I have 6 kids (6 KIDS?!), 4 of whom have strep and pinkeye, and we've spent the last 2 mornings at the Fairfax Clinic, and my husband's TDY, and I just didn't think I could go back again in the morning, blah, blah, blah . . . The lady said well, she didn't think it would take ME that long to be seen; she just wanted to give me a head's up, but she recommended jsut going out there and waiting for a little while and seeing what happened. Well, yeah, that's what I had planned to do, LOL. I guess she was trying to weed out people who didn't really need to be there?
So I got called back at 11:30, after only an hour of waiting. Whew! The doctor was really nice. She looked at my throat and agreed that I had strep based on all the pussy stuff back there, and she was surprised the other doc had prescribed Bactrim as well. She said my finger was way past that. She asked if I had been soaking it, and at my completely blank look, asked if the doctor had even mentioned that? No. He hardly even looked at my finger, much less give me any positive things to do about it! She had to lance it and drain it, and let me tell you, that was one of the most painful things I have ever had done. Remember I can't let anything touch it, since it hurts so badly, even a bed sheet. The actual lancing wasn't too bad, but then she squeezed the pus out. Oh. My. Word. I thought I was going to vomit. I almost passed out. The room spun, and I saw stars! Really--give me childbirth any day. She kept talking but everything was all blurry and buzzing. Eventually things cleared, but I had to lie down as soon as she left to get my discharge papers written up! She started me on Zithromyacin, gave me tylenol with codeine for last night to help me sleep, and gave me more motrin. I was home by 1:45. Thank you Elizabeth for staying up so late for me!!!
My finger is already much better. It doesn't throb anymore, and the swelling has gone down quite a bit--I can even bend it some! What a huge relief! I am so thankful we live in a country with effective medicine readily available.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
As it turns out, Luke, Caleb, and Anna were all positive for strep, and Anna also has an ear infection. Jonathan was sad that he didn't need any medicine--feeling a little left out, LOL. Hopefully now that they all are on antibiotics, everyone will start really getting better.
My finger is still very red, swollen, and painful. There definitely hasn't been any improvement, and I would actually say it is worse, as it seems like it is swollen further down my finger now. I have no fingerprints because it's so swollen! I can't stand to have it touch anything, which makes it hard to keep with with dishes and the massive amounts of laundry that we produce. Since I am allergic to penicillin and am also nursing, there aren't a whole lot of antibiotic choices for me. I know the sulpha drugs are slower-acting, but I am really ready for some improvement here! The nights are the worse because it just throbs, and I can't let the sheet or pillow touch it. Maybe tomorrow it will be better . . .
Tomorrow will be better, since Bob gets home then! He is supposed to land at 4:00. Yay!
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Today I did make an appointment for Nathan and me at the clinic. What finally made me go in you ask? Well, last week I had a hangnail. And on Saturday I started putting neosporin on it, as it was getting infected. It was a case of "too little, too late", however, and by yesterday the finger was swollen, red, and very painful. I have to wake up at 6:00 to call and make an appointment, but I was glad I made the effort--by morning, the poor finger was hugely swollen so that I couldn't even bend it, and I about went through the roof if anyone touched it. The boys said it looked like a hot dog, LOL. Good thing we're not a crass family, as it was the middle finger of my right hand! And since I had to go in, I decided I may as well have Nathan be seen as well.
I had quite a time getting to the clinic. Sometime in the night I guess, since my eye was bothering me so much, I must have rubbed at it. Anyhow, when I woke up, I realized that it was scratched, so my vision for the right eye was a blurry teary mess. I was a little aftraid to make the big journey to the clinic on the Beltway, as both eyes would start watering fiercely at times, but the Lord kept us safe. I don't think I even changed lanes though!
My appointment was first, and after getting over his astonishment at the sheer number of bodies in the tiny exam room, the doctor prescribed antibiotics for my finger, and an ointment for my poor eye. I could not wait to get either one, LOL!
Nathan's doctor did prescribe an antibiotic ointment for his eyes, and she did a throat culture after I asked her to. She said she didn't think it would be positive, and I said I didn't either--I was sure he had the same sore throat/pinkeye thing that I and the others had, but I just wanted to make sure. Nathan was the only one who ran a temperature. You guessed it--the rapid test was positive. So now I am totally wondering if I and Caleb actually had strep as well. My throat is still a little sore, but Caleb's is all better. But I didn't think to ask my doctor for a culture, and frankly the thought of getting another appointment and driving there tomorrow almost makes me cry. All told, our trip today took 3 1/2 hours. Now I am pooped, and my eyes are both killing me! One girl is down, the second will soon be as well, and I will hopefully be able to take a nap. I am so ready for this week to be over!
Monday, March 03, 2008
Hey, I'm going to try to post a YouTube video! This is the wrong season for it, but I tell you, this is exactly what our shopping trips are like! We've heard every single one of these comments many, many times, LOL. I'm quite impressed that they got all their kids to say their lines at the right times. Don't be expecting a music video from us, however. This family may call themselves the "Von Tone Deaf Singers", but I think we would win first place for that title, LOL. All except for Anna maybe. You can't understand her words, but she seems to be able to carry a tune, so we can usually tell what song she is singing. Anyways, fun video! (And you can tell we aren't doing school today, can't you? I have nothing better to do than sit around, find funny YouTube videos, and figure out how to post them!)
When I say "Yesterday's Big Accomplishment", maybe it would actually be more accurate to say "Yesterday's ONLY Accomplishment". Caleb and Anna were the only kids who even got dressed yesterday, a fact which was remarked upon time and time again by Nathan and Luke. They couldn't believe they were eating lunch . . . eating dinner . . . etc. still in their sleepers! I guess I've been a stickler or something. It never occured to me that not getting dressed would be a red-letter occurance, LOL.
Bob got off to the airport this morning for his week TDY. I sent him off with plenty of food. This is a sort of compulsion of mine. I can't stand for any of my loved ones to be without food on a journey. Maybe I'm secretly an Italian mama or something? That's why there is a permanent snack tub in the van, and whenever we go anywhere there is a possibility of getting stuck in traffic, I always bring a water bottle. The only thing worse than being stuck in a car without food is being stuck there without water, I always say! (Well, not really. But I live that way!) Whenever someone has to go the the ER, I always pack granola bars and other snacks to tide them over, and when our whole family flies, I practically bring a covenience store, it seems. I've searched my memories, and I can't recall any instance where I was trapped without food or had to go without for a number of days. Maybe I've blocked the memories . . . Anyways, I sent Bob off with a huge turkey and spinach sandwich, a baggie of pretzels, a cheese stick, 2 zucchini-chocolate chip muffins, and an apple. No way I'm letting my man wither away on a hostile airplane, LOL.
Today is scheduled for a "getting well" day. No school. We'll just read aloud or something. I'm hoping that tomorrow some contingent will be able to still go to co-op. Right now Luke and Jonathan have never been sick, and Caleb is pretty much better--just a little matting when he wakes up, but nothing during the day, and his eye isn't red anymore. Nathan still looks like a puffy-eyed racoon, and he is still running a fever off and on, so I'm saying it's pretty unlikely for him. We'll see what tomorrow brings . . .
Sunday, March 02, 2008
I got to Elizabeth's house a little before 7:00. I was the first one there, and it was so nice and quiet. Ahhhhhhh. I brought some scrapbooking stuff and actually finished several pages before Christine and then Dawn came. We snacked on chips and dip (using Amy's good recipe, which was a hit) and talked.
The other women came back from the conference aaround 10:00, and then we brought out the rest of the snacks--a trifle, brownies, veggies and dip, strawberries and chocolate fondue . . . yeah, we were living it up, LOL! We talked and laughed for awhile, culminating in the decision to play the game where everyone tells 3 statements about themselves, 2 true and 1 false. THat was a lot of fun, although I was battling this head cold and had a stuffy head. I could not think if ANYTHING remotely interesting to lie about. I went last, and hemmed and hawed around for awhile. Eventually I came up with 3 things, but they weren't my best work. I went to bed at 12:15, and others stayed up and watched a movie until 2:30. I enjoyed an uninterrupted night of sleep until 8:20 or so, when I realized I'd better get up if I wanted to say goodbye to Elizabeth, since the conference was starting up again at 9:00! Dawn, Christine, and I had a leisurely breakfast, including Elizabeth's homemade cinnamon rolls, and then Christine and I stayed and talked until 11:30, when I realized I needed to get home before Nathan's basketball game!
Back at home, Bob was dealing with more sickness. Caleb and Grace still have pinkeye, although it hasn't been a very gunky, nasty deal. But every morning, they wake up with their eyes matted shut, and each one has had the virus spread to their other eye. Nathan also was running a fever when he got up Saturday. We gave him some Motrin, but still sent him to his game, since the season is almost done, and he really wanted to play. He even scored, so he was very happy he didn't miss!
My eye has also been bothering me, so I guess I have pinkeye as well. It mainly bugs me at night, when it waters and gets a little gunky, but it's not too bad. This cold I have is another story, however. I have a stuffy head and a sore throat, and naturally Bob is going TDY next week for the whole week. Oh well, we'll survive. He let me just stay in bed this morning, in an attempt to fight it. Anna woke up with her eye gunky, as did Nathan, who is still running a fever, so needless to say, we did not make it to church. I'm sure everyone there will be thrilled when they find out we did not expose them to all our various diseases and plagues, LOL.
Bob's not feeling 100% either, so we're praying he doesn't get sick during the TDY. Maybe getting away from this house o' germs will be just what the doctor ordered! We really haven't been sick at all this winter, so I guess we are due.