Thursday, December 30, 2010
We got here Sunday afternoon around 4:15 , having left at 8:00 in the morning (an amazingly early time for us, LOL). We were worried about snow, which is why we left early, but that turned out to be a false alarm, thankfully. It flurried starting in Cumberland, MD until we got into Ohio, but the road was never bad. We made one stop, for lunch, in Cambridge, OH. I did need to go to the bathroom earlier, but it was cold and snowy, it's a hassle to get everyone in and out, and we were listening to a good book on CD, so I just held out. The book we were listening to was another one by Richard Peck called On the Wings of Heroes. It's about a boy growing up in a small town in the U.S. during World War II, and it was a interesting look at life during that time. We all really enjoyed it, and it certainly made the miles fly by.
Monday the kids were all excited to play out in the snow. My parents only had a few inches on the ground, but it was more than in Virginia or Texas! We had brought a huge garbage bag full of snow stuff, so we got everyone dressed up and out they went. For a few minutes anyway. It was quite cold, and Grace and Emily both had troubles keeping their gloves on, so they were not fans of the cold or the snow. The boys stayed out awhile longer, but the ones who stayed out the longest were Anna and Amy, the Korean girl who is living with my parents for a year, along with her mom, while her dad finishes his PhD back in Korea. They sledded down the little hill in the yard for such a long time!
Dan and Melinda took Nathan, Grace, and Emily for a special trip to Trader Joe's, and then out to lunch at Marion's Pizza. Nathan thought it was good, but too expensive for our family, LOL. Then Dad took Dan and the boys to an AOG party at a local restaurant to watch the USAFA bowl game. The Falcons won, and everyone had more pizza, so a good time was had by all. The Air Force song broke out several times, it was reported! Jonathan was the only boy who decided he didn't really want to go, so he stayed home with all us girls.
Tuesday Dan and Melinda, going for "super-uncle-and-aunt" status, took Nathan and Luke to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3-D. They all enjoyed the movie, although none of them were that impressed by the 3-D part of it. I got a haircut in the afternoon, and then we all went to Youngs for dinner and ice cream. This was the first time Caleb could have ice cream, and he sampled a few flavors, but he ended up getting green apple sorbet, just like old times.
Wednesday my parents took Caleb and Jonathan out to breakfast at Mimi's, to make up for them not getting to see the movie. They thoroughly enjoyed chocolate chip pancakes (Jonathan) and pancakes in the shape of a mouse (Caleb). Melinda and I went mall-walking in the morning, bringing back good memories of my moms' walking group back in Colorado. Then we came home and I made dough for sugar cut-out cookies. I tried a new recipe because I didn't have one I loved. This one . . . well, I didn't love it either, LOL. I had such a hard time making it not too sticky! Even after chilling it for awhile, it was still fluffy, so I added more flour and powdered sugar. That helped some, but the kids had quite a hard time rolling it out. We had to use quite a bit of extra flour as well as helping most of the kids. Ten kids . . . sticky dough . . . tons of flour. I think you can imagine the scene! Finally all the dough was used up, and the cookies were baked. Bob actually called while the last batch was cooking, and I totally got distracted and forgot to take them out. Whoops! Those ones were pretty crispy! After dinner we decorated the cookies. That was another sticky mess, LOL. After much frosting and sprinkles were used, the cookies were finally done, and we could actually clean up the mess! They did taste good--and hopefully the memories were good too!
Today Melinda, Mom, and I went out to brunch at First Watch. After we got home and got the kids fed lunch, we had a little party to celebrate Emily's 4th birthday. Her actual birthday isn't until Jan. 4, but hey--it's always a good day to have a party with all your cousins! They all had princess cupcakes, and then they got to hit down a princess pinata. The boys enjoyed that part, LOL. For our present, I made a photo book on Snapfish for Emily--"My Cousin Book". It had pictures from the time we were all together in July, plus some other pictures of us. It was fun to make! I also got a great gift idea from an old Family Fun magazine. A mom had written in about how she had a big extended family who were all spread far apart, so she got full-length photos of everyone and put the photos on magnetic photo paper, and then cut around the figures. I did this with out family, making a set of magnetic dolls for the fridge. I also typed out our names and put them on magnets as well, so Emily can match our names and pictures. The dolls turned out so cute! My girls really liked them too, so maybe I'll have to make our own set. I got the magnetic photo paper from Amazon. I thought it was a really good idea for family members who don't see each other all that often!
So now I'm pretty much done packing up, except for last-minute stuff tomorrow morning. I doubt I'll get up anywhere as early as I did when we left Virginia--I'm hoping we can get out of here by 9:30! We do want to get back so we can go to the L's annual New Year's Eve party, so we will be motivated to get out the door! Wow--hard to believe 2010 is already done! We're looking forward to what the Lord has for us in the new year!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I have really wanted to be able to go back through and find particular posts by the tags I have given them, as opposed to trying to remember what month it was I was writing about a certain thing! So now if you have a question about, say, gestational diabetes, you can click on that link and see all my posts on the subject! There's also a search function so you can search my blog for a term. Hopefully these things will be improvements. Maybe more will be forth-coming! We'll have to see how motivated I am . . .
And sometime hopefully in this next year, I am going to make my blog into a little book and get it printed off. Blurb.com is one site that does this sort of thing. I love to go back and read old entries, since I have usually forgotten all about the little things the kids did 5 years ago! A little book would be like a family diary, and I think it would be a fun thing to pass down.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
This morning it was SO nice to have breakfast totally done! All we had to do was take the lid off the crockpot! It was good too--I'll post the recipe when I have more time. And the cinnamon rolls were delicious too! I let them rise the second time in the fridge overnight, then cooked and frosted them this morning. Very tasty!
We ate after the kids had opened their stockings. I try to get them something to do (Michael's dollar bins are a great place to find little crafty-type things), so the boys put together these little cars while the cinnamon rolls were cooking. Then we opened presents after I showered. The boys were very excited to receive bows and arrows from my parents, and Bob later took them out to an empty field not far from us to let them shoot into a box filled with wrapping paper trash! Other than that, they got a Lego Creationary game from us, as well as a book for each of them, some cool spy-type toys from Aunt Melinda and Uncle Dan (and Aunt Melinda's mom--thank you, Barbara, for finding and sending them!!) and some Legos and assorted things from each other. The girls were very excited to get a dollhouse from my parents, which Bob will hopefully be able to assemble this next week! We gave them a little shopping cart, which they are already enjoying playing with, and a Little Mermaid bath toy, and the boys got them some little things from the dollar store. It was fun stuff, and not overwhelming, so that is a good thing!
I took a nap after present-opening. I stayed up too late last night! What I was doing was finishing wrapping a few last presents, and I realized there was one last video that I had ordered, and I knew it had arrived--where was it?! I looked very thoroughly through my closet, and I couldn't figure out why the video wasn't with the other books that had come from Amazon, because I knew I had seen it with them! I must have looked for 30 minutes, growing ever more frustrated, when finally it occured to me that maybe I had been really organized and wrapped the video already. I went to bed at that point, but this morning, there was the video, under the tree! Good grief! I would have saved myself time by not wrapping the crazy thing early, and just doing it on Christmas Eve, if I am going to waste 30 minutes looking for it! I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere . . .
This afternoon I spent busily packing because the kids and I are driving to Ohio tomorrow, Lord willing, so see my parents, as well as my brother and his family, who have driven up from Texas. There is supposed to be a big snow storm here in D.C. tomorrow, so I am hoping we can get out early and not have problems from it. Please pray for our safety! Bob will be holding down the fort here, but we're only going to be gone a few days. So with that, I had better sign off and get to bed so that I am not too tired to drive tomorrow! Merry Christmas!!!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
So at around 1:00, he came to me and asked if his eyes were swelling up. I told him they looked red. He also said his throat was hurting. A little while later, his eyes were definitely more puffy and watery, and he said the "lump" in his throat was bigger, making it hard to swallow. I gave him a chewable benedryl pill, figuring it was an allergic reaction. He took a second pill not long after, and he laid on the couch for a few minutes. I had a chiropractor appointment at 2:15, so I was preparing to leave and drop Nathan and Luke off at the L's on my way, so they could play Wii with Amanda. I kept checking on Caleb, but the benedryl were not really stopping the reaction at all. His eyes were really puffy and red, with bumps around them and his mouth. More worrisome, the lump in his throat was getting bigger, and he was having trouble swallowing, along with some wheezing. Fortunately, Bob was home, so he ran Caleb over to the closest ER, which is about 5 minutes away. We didn't give him the epi-pen, but I was prepared to. If the hospital wasn't so close, we definitely would have.
They got him right in and gave him an epiphenephrine breathing treatment, as well as starting a steroid IV drip. Then we all started trying to figure out what possibly could have been the problem. The weird thing is that the reaction didn't start with him eating something. There was no tingly mouth, or any other warning symptom. Pecan is one of his highest allergens, and he accidentally ate a bite of a cookie with pecan in it back in August, but he right away had a tingling tongue, so he didn't eat any more, and he took a benedryl. That stopped the reaction pretty immediately, and all he had was a bit of an upset stomach. This was such a more violent reaction, and to have it come on just out of the clear blue sky was very unsettling, to say the least.
One other possible factor is that yesterday he spent the day at a friend's house. The friend has 2 cats and a dog, all of which Caleb is allergic to. Last night he told me he needed his inhalers because he was wheezy, and he had to take them twice. He does have a pattern of having more severe food reactions whenever he is having some environmental reaction--like he's already sensitized, so everything is worse. Still, this was a lot worse . . . and with no clear trigger. Scary.
Anyway, he is doing fine right now. We have to make an appointment at Bethesda tomorrow (and hopefully get the ER visit cleared with his PCM and Tricare), so we'll see if they have any insights. I'm not holding my breath though! We're praying for no more excitement tonight, LOL. He looks fine, albeit very pale, with circles under his eyes! Here he is showing off his IV bandages.
In other news, this is the first picture on our new camera! Our other camera, which we got 5 years ago this month, has been having some problems, so we knew it was about time to get another one. I really wanted another Canon PowerShot, since our last one is so easy to use and has been remarkably faithful. So that's what we got--a PowerShot SD 1300. Last night I got it out of the box and charged up the battery so we'd be all ready for Christmas. It works fine, and it is nice that I am already familiar with the buttons!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
But there was this one time . . . It was Tuesday after dinner, and I was trying to get Grace to try something new. There was a big fort-type thing in the middle of the park, with a bunch of climbing ropes and other things to do on it. I told Grace to go climb on that thing for awhile, along with Jonathan and Anna. Faith was pretty tired, so I went up a few steps, holding her, and watching the other 3. It wound around in there, so it was hard to see exactly where everyone was. Soon I saw Anna climbing back through the ropes. Breathlessly she told me that Grace was going down the waterslide at the top, and "she is really scared!" I assumed she meant Grace was sitting at the top of the slide, not wanting to slide down, but I really couldn't get up there, with my pregnant self having to climb on ropes, holding Faith and dodging water. So I hollered to Jonathan to go see what the problem was with Grace and tell her to come back down the way she came. Next thing I know, I see Grace come around the bottom of the structure, sobbing away, sopping wet! She had indeed gone down the big orange slide, and she was NOT happy about it one bit! She kept talking about the scary slide she didn't like, that she "accidentally" slid down, LOL.
When we got to the room, however, I was very pleasantly surprised by how big it was! It was actually 3 rooms--one room with a queen size bed and attached bathroom, where Bob and I slept, along with Faith in her pack-n-play; a second bedroom with 2 queen beds where Anna, Grace, Caleb, and Jonathan slept, and a third sitting room with a fold-out sofa where Nathan and Luke slept. There was also a hallway with a counter and a microwave and small fridge, as well as a second bathroom! VERY spacious! Since we had more than 5 kids, we haven't stayed at a hotel where we all actually had a bed!
Monday was a really fun day because the other 2 families in our Rivendell co-op were also there. The boys had a grand time playing together! Here they are all getting drenched by a big bucket that pours out thousands of gallons of water every 5 minutes or so. Notice my girls are nowhere near this. They were all terrifed of the big bucket, and they steered a wide berth around the whole area the entire time, LOL.The waterpark was really nice, albeit really hot and humid. They keep it at 84 degrees year-round in there, which is great if you are exiting a water slide, but not so nice if you are pregnant and trying to relax by reading a book! I had to keep dipping my feet in. When the girls were down, I had to be right there with them, but sometimes Bob would take them up to the room (they were definitely "done" with water much more often and quickly than the boys!) and I could just relax. The boys just sort of did their own thing, with me trying to keep a vague idea of where they were always. The lifeguards at all the areas were super-vigilant.
I was able to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I read the whole thing during the 3 days we were there, which tells you how much wonderful time I had for relaxing and reading! So nice! I really enjoyed the book--I thought it was very well-written, and it told the story of a volatile time in our country's history, but not in too harsh or idealistic a way.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I ordered a ton of chocolate from an online place, and that arrived early this week. So Wednesday and Thursday we spent making peanut butter cups, more peppermint bark, and more butter toffee. I always think it won't happen, but every time it does--after spending a day in the kitchen dealing with chocolate, I truly have no desire for it. Of course, that only lasts a night or so, LOL.
Friday morning we had our co-op ice skating party. This is always eagerly anticipated by all the boys, and Nathan was able to go as well. Last year the kids and I were in Ohio for it, except for Nathan, who was back here helping Bob and my dad get our house ready to sell so we could PCS to Guam . . . ah, what a difference a year makes! The year before that, Caleb got a lovely goose egg almost as soon as he set foot on the ice. Thankfully, we had no such incidents on Friday! Everyone had a great time, even Anna, who got to ice skate for the very first time! Christine watched Grace and Faith for me, and I drove her boys. She let Anna borrow a pair of strap-on double blades. Those were amazing! Anna was so confident in them! She steadily plugged away, around and around the rink. At first the boys took her, and then several of the girls who are a little bit older were around her like a bunch of mother hens! She had a ball. Christine, Bob, and our Polish friend Ania all said they learned how to skate with those same kind of double runners. They are such a good idea!
Friday afternoon I baked a bunch of Andes mint cookies for a cookie exchange this afternoon with some ladies from church. The exchange was a lot of fun. It was a smaller group of ladies--only 6 of us--but sometimes smaller groups are nice because you can really get to know people more deeply like that! I took home a bunch of cookies, and now there are only about 10 left. They were all delicious, and we have a bunch of eager samplers here at home!
This morning we had a workday at our church with our little junior high co-op families. We were only there for a little over 2 hours, but we really got a lot done! The menfolk all worked outside for the most part, cleaning up leaves and stuff like that. We ladies worked inside deep-cleaning the baathrooms and kitchen, as well as the nursery, and Christine and Theresa bagged a ton of bags for the food pantry Christmas service, which is going to be tomorrow. The younger boys eventually came inside and helped us wipe down baseboards and walls. After we were done, we went out for pizza with the McCs. Our 2 families demolished 4 16-inch pizzas! There was none left over!
So now you have an idea of why I haven't had time to blog at all! Next week promises to be busy as well, but then things should settle down the week before Christmas.
Monday, December 06, 2010
The only problem was that I was not very vigilant in monitering the kids' food intake. Usually they are pretty self-regulating, but not this time, LOL. We had stopped for lunch at Chick-Fil-A around 11:30, but when we got to Bob's parents' house, his mom was ready for us to eat again. So we fixed plates of ham, pierogies, vegetables, and other stuff, but no one really ate too terribly much because no one was hungry yet. By the time 5:00 rolled around, people were getting munchy again--and that is when Jane and Terry came in, bearing dozens of delicious cookies! Yum! Soooo . . . leftover chicken and ham--or chocolate turtle cookies and oatmeal M&M cookies?! Obviously the choice was easy, LOL.
We left around 8:00, and I recognized that ham at 2:30 and cookies at dinnertime would not do the trick for me, so we stopped at Wendys on our way to the hotel and got hamburgers for everyone. We ate those at 8:30, and then the kids were bouncing off the walls for a little while we we got the pack-n-play, sleeping bags, and fold-out sofabed set up. We all went to sleep at 10:30.
And then at about 11:40, Bob and I awoke to the very unwelcome sound of someone throwing up. It was Jonathan, who was kneeling over his pillow (well, the hotel's pillow--whew!) and really letting loose. Ah, lovely. It was actually a huge blessing that he threw up all over the bed, instead of the carpet. We bundled up the mess, and Bob took it down to the front desk. He brought up 2 blankets and some sheets, and Caleb and Jonathan slept on pallets on the floor between the beds. We all went back to sleep . . .
. . . until about an hour or so later, when Jonathan appeared at my side again and said he needed to go to the bathroom, because he still wasn't feeling well. Okay. At least he didn't need me. But around 2:00, Grace started whining around. I took her potty and then sat on the floor with her for awhile. Eventually she went back to sleep without anything happening . . . until 3:00, when she tossed her cookies (HA! I crack myself up!). She has had plenty of practice vomiting, so she easily made the trashcan. I tied that up and set it by the door, moved the other trashcan over by her sleeping bag, and went back to sleep . . .
. . . until about 5:00, when Nathan leaped out of bed to go to the bathroom. In a fit of prescience, he grabbed the trashcan by Grace's sleeping bag on his way to the bathroom, and he ended up needing both. Great! Now both trashcans have vomit in them, and I started searching our suitcases for any extra walmart-type bags we had around. Fortunately I did find a few.
Nathan threw up again around 6:00, and Grace threw up again at 6:30 and again at 7:30. I felt like the night would never end, and Faith did her part to make it even longer and less enjoyable by randomly crying out throughout the whole night. I think things were just too restless for her to get in a good deep sleep, but of course, every time she cried out, Bob and I went into full wakefullness mode as we tried to figure out if anyone was throwing up. It was definitely "the night that would not end".
At 7:30 I told Grace (and Anna, who had gotten up to go potty) to just go back to sleep, and thankfully everyone slept until 8:45. We had planned on going swimming and then heading back over to Bob's parents' house for awhile before heading home, but we were so ready to just be home (and definitely out of the hotel room, LOL). So we ate breakfast and packed up, although we couldn't actually leave the hotel until close to 11:00, due to people still having digestive issues. I was quite worried about the drive home, and it was snowing outside, making weather a concern as well!
We stopped back by Bob's parents' house to pick up the presents we had left there the night before. We didn't want the kids to come inside, in case it was some kind of virus (although even then we were thinking it was simple "eating too much sugar"). So we loaded up the van--and then the van wouldn't start up again. Yes, the battery was drained! I could not believe it!! Thankfully, Bob's dad had jumper cables, and he and Bob were able to jump it. Still--crazy van.
So we were able to leave around 11:30, and pretty much no one (who had not been feeling well) ate anything on the way back except for some bananas Bob's mom had sent with us. The rest of us ate trail mix, but we didn't stop for any fast food--that was not an appetizing thought, and I don't think I'll be eating at Wendy's again for quite awhile! Praise the Lord, no one had any issues on the way home. I was worried because we took the turnpike, which has service plazas only every so often, so there was the potential for great disaster! And the weather, although snowing and blustery, also did not cause any problems. Whew!
So we made it home yesterday afternoon, and the kids all played with their new toys. And then we all went to bed early. No one woke up at all in the middle of the night, and everyone is feeling much more refreshed this morning! Nathan, Jonathan, and Grace definitely have what I would consider the weakest stomachs of all of us. You can bet I will be much more careful about watching what everyone eats next time! Balanced meals at regular times for all! It was certainly a trip we will never forget! Seriously though--I have dealt with more vomit in these last 3 months than in the entire rest of my life! What in the world?! I am ready for this phase to be done!
Friday, December 03, 2010
This is my second ultrasound at Bethesda, and they do their ultrasounds differently even than other military hospitals I've been at. First they take me back, with my very full bladder (are military hospitals the only places anymore that even tell women to drink 24 oz. of fluid at least 30 minutes before the scan?!), and the tech performs the scan in pretty much complete silence. He did tell me he was taking measurements (duh!). Towards the end, he asked me if we wanted to know what we were having. I said yes, and he told me it's a boy! I was right! As an aside, I know the whole thing with heartrates is an old wives tale with plenty of exceptions, but for my kids, the lower rates (140s) have been boys, and the higher ones (160s) have been girls.
Then we take a little break. I go to the bathroom, and he gets Bob. I think if there were problems with the scan, then he would get a doctor at that point. Then he does a short little scan basically showing stuff like hands, heart, boy parts, and he prints off some pictures. Then he shows everything to a doctor to get the final okay, and we are done. I did ask if the baby was measuring right for my due date, and he said he was measuring a little over 22 weeks. That actually lines up with my first due date, just going from my LMP numbers, but the first ultrasound is more accurate as far as dating purposes are concerned, so we'll go with that. Besides, I would rather have a later due date, and maybe go a bit early (or right on time), without any pressure for induction.
So everything looked good with our little guy, praise the Lord. He was kicking and waving his little arms around. So cute! As my friend Lisa just said last week after her ultrasound, it's so nice to know who's in there!
I definitely don't take a healthy baby for granted in this fallen world. I follow the blog called Bowen's Heart , about the new baby son of the lead singer for Sanctus Real (who do that really neat song "Lead Me"). Bowen has a serious heart problem, which they discovered at their 20 week ultrasound. Matt Hammit's insights have been powerful and moving over the past 3 months, and they have a long road ahead of them. Feeling my baby kick reminds me to pray for other babies who are not so healthy.
So now we move on to names. Here is our naming algorithm again: Biblical first name, and no repeat initials. So we've used up A, C, F, G, J, L, and N. I made up a little list, but so far nothing has really grabbed me. At least we have about 19 more weeks to think on it!