Friday, July 27, 2007

Back home!


Keri Lynn and I got back home this morning a little the worse for wear! But we are back. Keith picked us up from the airport, took us home and then headed back to work again. The kids were more than happy to see me back -- especially Kristofer!

Keri Lynn is doing well.

Bear with me if I am repeating myself . . .

Keri Lynn did fracture her skull at the back of her head and then the brain bounced off the the back and hit the front of the brain in the impact (like in a car accident), so the front of her brain has some small contusions. In the course of all of this, she was seen by an ER doctor, a neurologist, a neurosurgeon, a cardiologist and the PICU doctor. She had two CT scans, several EKGs, a very cool looking EEG, a 24-hour halter monitor for her heart rate, several bags of IV fluids, and a chance to rest in a hospital bed.

I joined her at the hospital in Miami on Tuesday morning and we didn't leave that hospital until Thursday afternoon. Most of the reason we stayed so long was so that her heart could be monitored. Her heart rate got really low, so they wanted to make sure she was stable enough to go home. Doctors and nurses would look at her heart rate and would ask, "Are you an athlete?" because it was so low. However, one of the doctors did explain that it's common for people with head trauma to have low blood pressure and heart rates for a while, while the brain recuperates.

Now, she just needs to take it easy for three of four weeks while her head heals. We've told her that it's "all in her head". Ha ha ha!

Anyway, yesterday, Keri Lynn and I made a mad dash to the airport after FINALLY being discharged thinking we'd get on a flight back home. Instead we hung around the airport for about seven hours and experienced the "fun" of flying stand-by. We ended up going to a hotel room that night to sleep four hours and then go out on th first flight out this morning. Needless to say, poor Keri Lynn is pretty wiped out today. I'm not exactly Miss Perky myself either.

But we are both grateful to be home and thankful for everyone's prayers and phone calls and gifts and meals. A big thanks, too, to the mission trip leaders who stayed with her through the whole ordeal until I could get there, and for the use of a working cell phone (mine did not work in the hospital), and rides to and from the airport, prayer, etc. A big thank you to our church! We love you guys!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Keri Lynn's update

Keri Lynn was taken to a little hospital in the Florida Keys, and they did tests on her and discovered that she has a fracture at the back of her skull. That's where she hit her head, and her brain jostled to the front of her skull where she has small spots of hemorraging.
Talk about feeling anxiety like a balled fist at the pit of my stomach.

The doctor then went on to explain that they will transfer her to a hospital in Miami where a neurosurgeon can have a look at her. Then, he expects, she'll probably be observed for a few days and then released.

Mike and Cathy are there with her and say she's holding up just fine.

The hospital is arranging ambulance transportation for her now. Then, once we talk to the neurosurgeon, we'll know more about what to do from there.

I talked with Keri Lynn for a few minutes. She's in good spirits but, as she puts it, is "an emotional wreck." Poor baby. I wish I'd gone with my instincts last night and had her taken to the hospital then. I was glad, though, to have the opportunity to talk with her and explain a little more clearly to her about what the doctor told me.

Parenting. Life's biggest adventure!

Keri Lynn's head

Would you all please pray for Keri Lynn.

We saw her off on her mission trip to the Florida Keys on Saturday morning. They drove 10 hours on the church bus to their destination, and that night, Keri Lynn fainted in the hot muggy bathroom and hit her head. Since then, she's been showing signs of concussion.

There are three things that bring anxiety to this mother's heart. One is high fever, another is spurting blood and the other is brain injury. I can deal pretty well with just about anything else. When Konner cut his head a few months ago, I told him to go ahead and play some more, we'd go and get his stitches a little later, knowing that he was fine. However, this business with Keri Lynn sounds a tad more serious.

Upon communication with the leaders of the mission trip, we decided to wait out the day to see how she was doing, and it appeared that she was better. On the trip are the youth pastor and his wife, the executive pastor and his wife, another parent, and the driver. Everyone's been keeping an eye on her. She rested all of Sunday, but was still feeling nauseated by the end of the day. Today, Monday, she's still nauseated all though feeling a little better. That's not good enough for me. By now, she should be pretty much up to snuff, but she's not. So two of the leaders are taking her to a nearby medical facility that 1) accepts our insurance and 2) has scanning equipment. I will feel much better once the doctor takes a look inside that noggin of hers.

The two leaders that are taking her are the executive pastor and his wife. He was just recently involved in that horrible accident involving the mission team in Honduras. He himself suffered a bad head injury and came home with his head shaved on one side and stitched all the way up his head. Poor guy! So I find it kind of humorous that he's the one driving Keri Lynn to the hospital for her head trauma.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Camp Sonshine

The pool. Each camper undergoes a test on the first day to determine if they can swim at the end. Kathleen and Kylie both passed, but Kade didn't. This turned out to be fine with him because he fell in love with fishing.

Here's little Kylie in line for the diving board.

I didn't quite catch all of her in the jump, but you can tell how athletic she is! She told me, "Mom, I'm too scared to dive in. I just jump off." Little does she know that I'm the biggest wimp ever when it comes to swimming -- I've never been off of a diving board at all.

The little fish comes up for air.


Kathleen was happy to find her goggles right in time for camp. She likes going off the diving board feet first, too. This time, though, she was involved in a giant whirlpool down at the smaller pool.

Here's Kade with some of his fishing buddies. Konner and Daddy are to the right. With the lake level down low, the fish were easier to catch.

Look at him just dangling off the rock without a care in the world.

A view of the lake. It was such a pretty day, but really humid. Sweat was just dripping off the ends of my hair.

The kids' counselors and staff. They were great! On the first night, Kade's counselor asked him what he liked most about the day. Kade proceeded to tell him every single thing he'd done, then he turned over and went to sleep!

Oh, the fun of hooking squiggly worms.

Konner and Daddy try their hand at fishing.

Nineteen years . . . where has the time gone?

The new chapel with AIR CONDITIONING! Yay!

Campers were awarded various clothespin awards throughout the week. Kathleen won The Stephen Spielberg Award.

Kylie won The Cold Shower Award, A Team Player Award and Pick on Your Counselor Award.

Kade won Mud Man Award and The Go to Sleep Award.

The boys watch Keith skip a rock across the lake. They told him the record was 32 skips. Hmmm.

When we found Kathleen, she kind of looked at us in a I-don't-know-you kind of way. Her favorite part of camp is the pranking. The boys and the girls, supposedly under careful supervision, play pranks on each other. The girls had the best prank this year, though. They wrote a love letter to themselves "signed" by the boys, put it in their mail, and when the "received" it, called across the cafeteria, "Thank you, boys for the love letter!"

Kathleen with some of the 19 girls in her 5th grade group.

Kade in the cafeteria.

Kade back near the lake that he loves.

Relaxing at the lake.

Lunch time! We had taco salad and beans.

Kade made a great friend with a kid who's father is camp director.

The kids got their mail and special treats delivered in these cups. Keith and I wrote letters to each of the kids so that they'd each get one every day at camp. Camp mail is so fun. When we came to visit them on Thursday, however, Kylie said that she didn't have time to read her letters and Kade (who doesn't read yet) didn't have time for a counselor to read them to him! Good grief! So much for mail!

Kylie at her bunk bed.

Kylie's cabin, believe it or not, was pristine compared to the boys' cabin.

Towels and bathing suits rarely got dry between the humidity and the constant use. Sunscreen and bug spray were imperative!


And since Grandma would kill me if I took pictures of her in emergency earlier this week, I'm posting the latest picture she emailed to me a few months ago. Currently, her health has improved some and she's back at the health center in her retirement center. She desperately wants to get back to her apartment, so we're praying that she'll be able to get back there and enjoy some independence once again.

Snaps from California

Rich, Mom and me at Mom's work right before we hopped the plane to go back home.

In Mom's cubicle was a picture of Kristofer that he had emailed to her. He guffawed when he saw it! "She actually printed it!" He thinks he looks really goofy in that picture!

Cousins: Kristofer and Keri Lynn with my sister Beth's girls -- Danielle, Christine and Darlene.

I took a bunch of pictures of Beth's girls and couldn't pick just one -- they were so cute!

There's Beth in the middle.

And again. "Say 'Pepperoni pizza'!"
I was sorry not to get Connie and her kids in these pictures. I didn't think to get my camera out until the day that we left. Send me some pictures, Connie, and I'll post them!

A murder in the neighborhood

Someone came by with their ATV and killed our mailbox. I feel like maybe I should have outlined it with chalk and put yellow police tape around it. Poor thing. Doesn't it look sad!

Unlikey Partners

This picture cracks me up -- The kids caught these two unlikely partners and put them in temporary captivity. "Let's take a picture of them! Mom, can we borrow the camera? Will you put it in your blog?"

Friday, July 20, 2007

Vacation Flurries

And so we flow into the last weekday of Keith's vacation. Boy, what a week it's been.

Early Monday morning, I took the three campers to church to put them on the bus for Camp Sonshine. Kathleen, Kylie and Kade all went this year.

When I got back, Keith and I took the entire day (thanks to the great babysitting efforts of our eldest children) and celebrated our 19th anniversary. We ate brunch at Cracker Barrel (Keith LOVES Cracker Barrel), we saw two movies, stopped by a few stores, and we stuffed ourselves silly at the Golden Corral for dinner. All in all, it was a relaxing day. I do love that husband of mine. I think I'll keep him.

Then, early Tuesday morning, Keri Lynn and Kristofer accompanied me and we left to California to visit my Grandma -- Thank God for flying privileges. She is 90 years old and her heart is failing. The timing couldn't have been better for this visit, with Keith on vacation, three of the kids at Camp Sonshine and Keith only having to watch out for Keva and Konner at home.

I hadn't seen Grandma in a year, so it was good to see her and talk with her. I don't know if it will be the last time we talk here on earth, but the moments were sweet. When the Lord does decide to take her, she will leave a big hole. She was in emergency when we came, so we could only see her one at a time. First I talked to her for about an hour and a half. I cried a little, but kept it together as best as I could. She did most of the talking!

Then, Kristofer went in. All of his life, she has always come right up to Kristofer, whenever she's come for a visit, and stuck a shiny state quarter or half dollar in his hand and closed his fingers over his newly acquired treasure. This time, he brought a quarter of his own. He put it in her hand and closed her fingers over it. (May I say at this time that I'm glad it was just one-at-a-time visiting because I would be just standing there SOBBING at that point.) Kristofer came back out to the waiting room shortly after with a soppy face of his own.

Then, Keri Lynn went in and stayed a lot longer. She says Grandma had her crying through the whole time. (Hmmm? Wonder where she gets that from?) When I saw her face, when she came back out, I had to compose myself once again. I DID NOT want to go back in. I was emotionally spent and not ready to say good-bye, but some things one just can't back away from no matter how cowardly one is!

So Grandma is more than ready to see the Lord, but she'd just as soon skip any of the painful part of getting there. In fact, she'd be happy if we'd just all get raptured up together and she wouldn't have to die after all. Wouldn't that be something!

Anyway, whether the rapture comes or not -- which is another entirely different pet subject of mine -- we all need to be ready. Grandma reminded me of how she wakes up each morning and gives her day to the Lord in prayer and scripture reading. She also told me that she prays that each of my children will be strong warriors for the Lord. In fact, she's told me every single time that I've ever seen her or talked to her on the phone that she prays for us "morning, noon and night." It got me to thinking that I often take it for granted, but really shouldn't! How thankful I am for that godly heritage and for the intercession of a grandmother on behalf of my family.

Then, when she says good-bye, she always says, "See you here, there or in the air" How perfect is that? So, Grandma, to you I say, "See you here, there or in the air!" What would we do if we did not have the gracious love of our Lord?!

After the visit with Grandma, we headed back to Mom and Rich's place, for some family fellowship. Mom cooked up an extravaganza of food. Connie did the serving of young ones and the clean-up. Beth came later after work. We all talked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. I was so tired, though, by the end of the evening, that I was ready to just fall into bed and sleep for a hundred years. I was physically and emotionally spent!

But morning came along with God's new mercies, and we had a few hours to hang out with the kids' cousins, Grandpa Rich and Beth. I took pictures that I'll put on the blog -- hopefully soon. And before we knew it, we were back on a plane heading back to Georgia.

It's the oddest thing to wake up in Georgia one morning, in California another morning and in Georgia again the morning after that! Keith was happy to have us safely home. Keri Lynn walked in and told him, "So, I see the house isn't burnt to the ground." And Keith said, "I'm glad you have such high expectations of me."

Then, on Thursday, we went off to see the Camp Sonshine people for lunch and a tour of their activities. All were glad to see us, but didn't appear to miss us one bit. In fact, Kade saw me and said, "Hi, Mom!" with food tray in hand and walked right on by to go sit with his group. I had to track him down for my hug! What is this world coming to?

Keith went fishing with Kade after lunch. The camp has a 10-acre lake. It's down a good five feet because of the drought, but because it's so shallow, it's easier to get the bigger fish. So, the kids have been catching fish left and right. Keith tried to add to the total, but Kade beat him to it, and caught himself a 14 incher -- his third fish! Whoo-hoo! Way to go, Kade!

Meanwhile, I watched the girls in the pool. Kylie the Fish was jumping off the diving board along with all of the big kids. Kathleen was practicing a new swimming technique. I kept an eye on the lifeguard to make sure he was keeping an eye on everyone else! Yikes, what a job!

In a few hours, I'll be on my way to go pick up the campers and we'll begin Decompression. They'll have to deal with boring home with its boring rules and chores. Poor things.

Keri Lynn leaves tomorrow morning for her missions trip to the Florida Keys. She's really looking forward to her time there. The group will be mainly working with migrant workers' kids. I was worried about her taking the digital camera with her because it's so humid and she'll be doing a lot of snorkeling and swimming. Someone suggested she use a waterproof 35mm camera and then when she gets home get the pictures transferred to a disc in digital form. I didn't even know you could do that! You got to love technology.

Now, I'm off to the laundry room. I've been avoiding it all morning, but the dirty clothes are STILL there.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Family Table

We will start our family dining tour in the breakfast room. This table is our pride and joy. Keith got it at an outlet store for $20! He even asked the sales clerk if there might have been some mistake, but he said no, so Keith snapped it up before we even knew for sure where we would put it. As it so happens, I think it fits perfectly in this space. The chairs are bar heighth, and each chair was more than twice as much as the table!

We do MANY MANY things at this table:

1) Eat, of course. You may notice that there are eight chairs and our family consists of nine members. This, however, is not usually a problem, because we have spill-over space to the bar and to the couch. Keith works well past dinner time most weekdays anyway, so dinner is usually as informal as breakfast or lunch.

2) The first hour of the home school day. Here we pray, read from the Bible, memorize scripture, then go on to a group session of history and/or science and a bunch of flashcards. To the right of the picture, on the wall, is a dry erase board to help with lessons.

3) Various art projects. There are several spots along the table that have paint marks, nail polish, nail polish remover, scratches, and the invariable sticky spot from the latest meal.

4) Games. Many a card has flown around that that surface. Many Monopoly games. Many Risk games. And even some poker. (SHHHHH, we're Baptists, we're not supposed to play card games, let alone poker . . . )

5) Pictures. Because this is our home's hot spot, I take a lot of pictures right at this table. If you see the electric lime background, it's here!

Next we come to the bar. This picture shows it overlooking the family room. There are four chairs, and usually five people who want to use the four chairs. Kids often use the bar for a quick snack or for breakfast. When company comes, they like to sit at the bar.

Because we are not the most disciplined family in the world, we watch way too much TV. So the bar allows for eating and watching TV at the same time . . . I know, I know! AND, the sink is on the other side of the chairs, right at the corner of the L, so I can wash dishes and watch TV, too! I love that! It makes washing dishes less mind-numbing. (Not that watching TV is exactly brain food, but you know what I mean.)

The bar is probably my favorite feature of our house. Here, I can invite company to come and sit while I finish preparing a meal or wash a few dishes. It just feels homey.

Here we have the trash can at the end of the bar. We are having the worst time with the trash can as of late. Our dog likes to pull things out of it. We felt that we had outsmarted him by buying the cool trash can with a lid, but he eventually figured out how to nose his way past that barrier. Then, we tried lining the trash can with a huge garden-sized black bag and using the excess liner at the top to cover the lid. This also worked for a while, but Kody eventually figured out how to get past that, too. Now we have to use some kind of weight to cover the dang thing. And still I have tons of trash littering various favorite dog spots. Keva is of no help at all because she likes to take things out of the trash can to give to Kody. It's not just a little irritating. Kody is sinking down in his preferred-status. I don't care how cute he is.

Then there's the dining room. There used to be eight chairs, but two of them broke at their legs -- the furniture is not top of the line. Anyway, we've used the dining room a grand total of maybe eight times in the nearly two years we've been here. It's the one room in the house that stays relatively neat all the time. I never thought in a million years that I'd have a house with a breakfast room AND a dining room. When I want to see what the carpet used to look like in the rest of the house, I go to the dining room and take a nice long breath of relaxation! We haven't finished painting the rest of the house yet, but this room is slated for red paint. My girlfriend bought us a housewarming picture, a drawing of a tower, with scripture reading, "He is my strong tower." I love it.

Go check out Lori's link at Glass Half Full for more posts on the family table. Thank you, Lori, for a fun idea!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trip to Downtown Atlanta

A peak into where the senate meets

Looking down from the fourth floor of the Capital dome . . .

. . . and looking up! Keri Lynn was unimpressed because there were no beautiful pictures painted on the dome ceiling like in Washington D.C. The rest of us uncultured folk were impressed immensely.

The floor at the foot of the dome.

Who's kids are at the top of the stairs? Are they singing "I think I'm going to like it here"? Is that from Annie? Oh, no! They're MY kids! Get. Down. From. There. Now!"

After I took this picture outside of the Capital Building, I went inside and saw the same picture with the same angle in one of the displays. Aren't I clever! (If I do say so myself.)

The kids hang out with Jimmy Carter.

A statue of Thomas Watson. I don't remember what he was to the state of Georgia, but I did very much like the following quote . . .

" . . . Democratic institutions exist by reason of their virtue. If ever they perish, it will be when you have forgotten the past, become indifferent to the present, and utterly reckless as to the future."

Jessica and Keri Lynn

Gordon, the first governor of Georgia, and a handful of kids

Lady Liberty and seven kids who, God willing, will never take her for granted.

Keri Lynn at one of the entrances into the Underground Mall.

Kylie Louise -- can a kid get any cuter?

Kristofer is going to be turning (gulp) 14 next month! Ack!

Mr. Cool Dude

The girls enjoy the fountain.

Dan and Jess

Kathleen with Uncle Danny

Do they look like they've been enjoying their vacation? I think so. And they deserve it, having been teaching all year. Danny taught his very first class of Kindergartners and Jessica taught a combo class of gifted 4th and 5th graders.

Kathleen tries on some of those big sunglasses that are so popular right now.

Are we in San Francisco or Atlanta?

Kade wouldn't mind driving this one off the lot.

The boys