Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!


From Our Home to Yours . . .

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


We are pretty much unable to stamp Christmas letters anymore, I guess, because here I am writing out our letter on the computer and about to send it off into cyberspace! Email, my blog and facebook help our family keep up, especially with family and friends on the other side of the country!


Our year has been one of great change. I worked the first half of the year as a substitute TA in an amazing special education classroom. I learned a little bit more of what it means to be a working mom. It also gave me a yearning that if I was going to have to go to work anyway, that I really wanted to pursue a teacher certification in special education. I passed three required tests and started applying to get my masters in special ed. The plan was to get a provisional teacher's job while working toward certification. I'd have five years in which to accomplish this. It all sounded a bit daunting, but it seemed the best option at that time.


School let out for the year, and summer began. I had great plans to clean up around the house and get some more painting done and get some kind of summer job to help tide us over through the lean summer months. There was a lot of catch-up work to do, since most of my free time during the school year had been spent relaxing rather than cleaning! I was running errands that first week of summer when I felt a familiar nausea flair up in my innards . . . Sure enough, one pregnancy test later, I stood in my bathroom not just a little shocked and not just a little flustered. This wasn't part of The Plan. Keith and I looked at each other over the table that night at dinner and started working on Plan B. It has been nine years since our last baby! And here we were, with first baby heading off to college in August and last baby being at that moment weaved by God's hand in my womb! Exciting, scary times!


Because my morning sickness continued pretty relentlessly for the next six months, my plan of continuing to try to get a teaching job pretty much fell by the wayside. As it happens, the fact that God did not provide a job for me when we thought we most needed it was just, in fact, what we needed. I think it would have been detrimental to my health to work.As of this writing, I am nearly 36 weeks and coming to the end of an exciting pregnancy journey. It is WAY DIFFERENT gestating at the age of 44 then it was when I was 35 and taking care of six other busy children under ten! I had it easy then!


Still, I've made due in my old age! If I can't sleep at night, I can catch up on sleep during the day while the kids are at school. By about 4:00 AM, my feet are no longer tingly and my stomach is temporarily settled, no longer rebelling against its existence. I call it my bon-bon life. Sleeping in until 11:00 or even noon, and then going about my very busy afternoon of watching back-to-back episodes of Baby Story on TLC while eating Maltomeal. It's been a rough life!


Now, I've got about two to four weeks to go before Keegan makes his appearance. I think I'll be induced at about 38 weeks (two weeks from now), as baby is doing what the last two babies did before him. He is floating around with his head up, doing water aerobics. The plan, for now, is to go to the hospital before I start labor, so that the baby can be manually turned head down and the doctor can start inducing me. This was the way Konner was delivered. However, there are complications doing it that way that may lead to a Cesarean, which will be an entirely new experience for me.  Still, I'm glad for the options and for the excellent obstetrical care I've received throughout the entire pregnancy.


Now, I suppose I'll need to tell you about what is going on with the rest of the family since, because even though it feels like it right now, it's not ALL about ME!


KEITH continues working at Delta. A year or so ago, he began working in management and is in charge of a group of work-at-home employees. He's learned a lot. At this management position, there's a lot of labor for not as much money, but it is a learning experience and a step up the ladder. We are so thankful for his job in a time of economic upheaval, especially as work-at-home employees are becoming more and more needed in the big corporate world. When Keith is not working, he likes to go to Freys Electronics and other such stores, as well as outlets and Big Lots. He loves to go look at things, and doesn't have to buy anything when he does. He also is the one who takes the birthday kids out for dinner and something fun. We've kind of gotten away from parties and just try to give the birthday kid special attention for his or her special day. Daddy is good at that! And the kids love it. As for time with his wife, we usually try to get in a Saturday morning out for breakfast/brunch at our favorite Mexican place!


KERI LYNN went and grew up on us. Keith and are are equal parts stunned and proud. How did this happen? She turned 18 and then went off to Georgia College and State University, where she is majoring in Early Childhood Education. She has made some great friends already and finds that 11:00 pm is an early bedtime these days. Inspite of sleep deprivation, she made the Dean's List on her first semester which will help her toward scholarship opportunities next year. She now has her own cell phone and manages her own bank account and school bills. Because of her high school GPA, she earned the Hope Scholarship, Georgia's scholarship program that pays for all tuition and some of the books. We are so glad she has so many wonderful opportunities. To top it all off, she has the opportunity this summer to work as an intern in Japan at a wonderful church where she and Kristofer went on their choir tour last year. We are so excited for her!


KRISTOFER (16) is a junior at Newnan High School. He may not have Keri Lynn's study skills, but he can grasp concepts easily. He helps a lot with tech stuff at church. And his favorite class this year has been video broadcasting. He also excelled in English class, where he got a little obsessed with writing poems. If you want your own poem, he'll be glad to write one for you. Just post something on his facebook page! He also just got his learner's permit. We've been so busy lately that the poor guy has yet to get behind the wheel, but I'm sure he'll do fine and not run into any parked cars or anything crazy like someone else might have done in our household when she got her learner's permit.KEVA (14) continues to surprise us with the new things she does. This year, she has become a stripper. She thinks it is great fun to take off ALL of her clothes no matter the state of her pull-up. Fortunately, she usually does this only in her room, as we have made it clear that this behavior is not acceptable elsewhere. I was starting to get really perturbed at her until I realized that this is a normal development stage. I can't tell you how many of my toddlers would try to escape the confines of the house to go run in the breeze in their birthday suits. When you think about it, children must learn how to UNDRESS before they can learn how to DRESS. I don't know how long this developmental stage will last, but I am happy with her progress. This Christmas, I made all the kids slippers, and Keva loves hers more than anyone else. She likes to keep them on for awhile and then she likes to fling them to the winds, laughing all the while. We do all love that girl, despite the messes she might create. She's always up for her specialty -- the group hug -- and she never complains about my cooking. If she doesn't like it (namely vegies), she just feeds it to the dog. That's why Kody is her best friend.


KATHLEEN (13) has blossomed into a lovely teenager. She is now top dog at Madras Middle School as a big eighth grader. She thoroughly enjoys being goofy with her friends. She loves to help cook in the kitchen and has often made dinner for the family when I just couldn't get the gumption up to get off the couch. Believe me, she has been a godsend. Last year, she got a sewing machine for Christmas and has had fun with it ever since, making fun outfits and pillows and whatever else she can think up that doesn't require formal sewing skills. She is quite the designer. I want to see her take some sewing classes to learn how to follow patterns, just to learn how to sew correctly and then I want to watch her fly with that knowledge to make her own designs. She already knows exactly what she wants her wedding dress to look like. She likes to crochet and knit, an activity that we do a lot together while jelling in front of the TV watching chick flicks like Pride and Prejudice. This year, she made a bunch of her own gifts for family and friends. I love watching her develop into a fine young woman.


KYLIE (11) is still a tiny thing. I think she's growing, only because she's grown out of a lot of clothes lately. She's a dichotomy. She loves dolls, stuffed animals and playing house. And she loves football with the neighborhood boys, going to the skate park with her brothers and playing in the creek. She is a fifth grader this year at Northside Elementary. Next year, she'll be in middle school. Yikes! Again, how does this happen!?! She can really talk up a storm if you catch her at the right time. She is always getting invited to people's houses for dinner or sleepovers. She and Konner both seem to be the social butterflies this year. She's always the first to meet any new neighbors and is responsible for quite a few of our neighbors going to our church. We are very proud of her and enjoy watching her grow!


KADE (10) is the male version of Kathleen. The Drama King. When he tells on someone, he REALLY tells on someone. And when he's happy, hungry, mad, hungry, or hungry, he'll let you know that, too. For Kade, it's all about his stomach. He had a special outing with his Dad to celebrate his birthday. He had saved a bunch of coupons, and this is what he planned for his birthday celebration: IHOP for breakfast, a free game at the bowling alley, lunch at Taco bell, dessert at Chick-fil-A, a trip to the Dollar Tree with his birthday money, dinner at Stevie B's Pizza, dessert at Dairy Queen -- all with coupons! He was so excited, he could hardly see straight! When he got home, he said in his exuberant way, "That was the best day EVER!" I made him a cake on his birthday and saved him the last piece and gave it to him a few days later. He took it with glee, gave me a big hug and said, again in his exuberant way, "Thank you, Mom! That was the best cake ever and you saved it for me!" He's also not hard to please when I cook. He likes whatever I make, proclaiming it to be "the best ever!" Someday, he will make his wife very happy, providing she waits for when he's really really hungry and will like anything. That's what I do!


KONNER (almost 9) is coming into his own. He enjoys a good joke and is learning how to tell it. Then, like his Mom, he laughs through the entire telling of it, spoiling it for everyone! But he sure is cute in the telling. I told him the other day that Keegan was going to be born close to his birthday, and he thought that was really cool! This was quite unlike me, who was quite indignant that my youngest brother would have the audacity to be born a day after my birthday! Konner is into all things Star Wars. He also loves his Nerf guns and going to the Skate Park on Monday evenings. He's blossoming in his school work with the help of a mentor.


KODY (3) -- our dog -- thinks he's the center of the family and feels that he deserves central attention whenever attention is being given. He barks at whoever comes to the door, whether it be a neighbor who comes daily or, heaven forbid, the mail carrier with a package. He is also quite often a very smelly dog. I, unfortunately, get the brunt of it when we are sleeping in the family room together where I prop myself up for the night on the recliner. Sometimes, I have to banish him to the bathroom just to be able to breath again! Most of all, he is not very smart. We get endless delight basking in his low IQ.


I will be posting a bunch of Christmas pictures on facebook. If you're not already on it, please join SOON and friend request me. I've been neglecting my blog lately because of my low energy level, but I should be back on track again in a few months! Of course, I think I'm forgetting how challenging those first few months of taking care of a newborn can be! Yikes! Keith, Keri Lynn, Kristofer and Kathleen are also on facebook. It's a family thing! Kylie is biding her time until she's old enough.


If you find yourself in the Atlanta area, please feel free to stop by and say hi! We'll make you tacos!


Blessings,

Jackie for our Family

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

27 weeks!

I'm nearly done with my third trimester as I finish my 27th week. I've got a little under three months to go until my January 24th due date. Keegan will be here, God willing, before any of us know it.

Last visit to the perinatologist, showed that the cyst that Keegan has next to his kidney is the same size it was several months ago. It has not grown at all, and the perinatologist was surprised. "They always grow, this is unusual!" In fact, she says that the kidney is almost certainly functioning! We won't know for sure until the baby is born and an ultrasound is performed. What an answer to prayer!

Lately, I've been feeling better. I sleep most nights now in my own bed instead of the recliner. Last night was an exception due to two wonderfully tasty bowls of chili at Wednesday night supper. I knew I would pay for it, and did only minutes after digestion began. But I did manage to sleep well on the recliner, all the way until 5:30 AM when I dragged myself off the recliner and off to bed until 6:37 when my alarm kicked me back out again to get the kids off to school. It's important that the alarm goes off at 6:37, not 6:30 or 6:35. I feel like I'm cheating a little!

Anyway, pregnancy does continue to go well. I am aided by my life of leisure. No work means that I can take a nice long nap in the morning after the kids go off to school. As soon as I hear the bus pull away from our corner, I am off to bed until about 10:00 or 11:00 AM. It's a tough life, I know. Then I get up, make myself some Maltomeal and settle in to watch some TLC. I think I've watched every single Baby Story TLC has ever made, and cried at every last one of them. I also like to watch the Duggars -- Makes me feel that we've got a very small family in comparison!

I'm a little nervous waiting on the results of Tuesday's three-hour glucose test. Haven't had to do that before. The OB had me take a one-hour test earlier in the pregnancy that came out fine, and then (due to my age/weight/blood pressure/family history) I took a second one-hour test that came back elevated. Boo! So off I went for the three-hour. Such fun. Hopefully it will come back okay.

I've finally kicked my caffeine habit. I was motivated much more by trouble with tingly feet at night than possible gestational diabetes. I've LOVED my one can a day cola throughout pregnancy, but when one of my friends told me that she had to give up caffeine to get rid of her Restless Leg Syndrome, I had to think about my own caffeine intake. And I knew that the one can of cola was not helping. Plus, I was starting to not enjoy the cola. It was causing my stomach to sour, so I continued to cut back to about a half can, and then finally none at all. Surprisingly, I didn't deal with any headache issues, so I must have cut back slowly enough. What a thrill.

I'm not completely off soda, mind you. I've been greatly enjoying my mixed drink in the morning of ginger ale and orange juice. If I have to cut back on my sugar, I'm going to be really bummed. There's always hot tea, though. I love a nice decaffeinated tea as the cold weather sets in.

We've had a few colds go through the house, and I'm sure it's going to get worse, but it's part of the whole big family thing. We all LOVE to share our coughs, colds and flus. I took Kylie to the doctor last week and kept her out of school for one day. The antibiotics have kicked her cold out the door. Kade is next on the list. He's got a nasty cough. Since his ears weren't infected like Kylie's, I was hoping he'd kick it himself, but it seems to be getting worse, so I'm planning to take him to the doctor tomorrow. We most definitely will meet our family insurance detuctible -- as if that was ever an issue before!

Last post, I waxed eloquently about joining the YMCA to get back into shape. Boy, was I excited about it, until later on that very day after writing the post. I started thinking about all the people going to the YMCA with all of their germs. Now I'm thinking, maybe I'll just stay home. Since I have been feeling better, I've been getting quite a bit of exercise just doing household chores. I'm a wimp.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The adult child

I hope that Keri Lynn will take this the right way, but I've already grown accustomed to her being gone. It's not that I don't miss her, because I do miss her. I especially miss our talks. We chat on Facebook, but she as yet does not have a cell phone for easy access. (Hopefully that will change this weekend!) Whenever I drive the kids anywhere, I count heads and realize that the reason kids seem so sparse is because one of them is indeed missing. But, I've slowly grown accustomed to the idea of an adult child. She had been moving in that direction for a couple of years under our roof and then slowly slipped off into her own world. And it's okay. In fact, it's more than okay. It's God's intention for those precious arrows to be aimed out into the world to be witnesses for Him.

We still talk. We still have that special mother/daughter relationship that creaks and groans as mother lets go and daughter strikes out on her own. But I know her heart. Her Daddy knows her heart. And more importantly, God knows her heart. And it is with tremendous joy that we all watch her live out her life as God's precious daughter.

I'm a little sentimental today. Mostly because I'm starting to feel better again in pregnancy. I'm sleeping better, so I have more energy. Every household task is not so incredibly daunting. I'm starting to look outside of my own issues a little bit more. I see the kids coming up the pike after Keri Lynn. The girls especially are hugely influenced by her example -- for which I am very thankful. I find that Kathleen comes to talk to me now about teen things that weigh heavy on the hearts of young women. It is my privilege to hear her. I am reminded of a long-ago Focus on the Family program where Dr. Dobson encouraged parents to take the time to listen to their teen kids. In fact, he advised that a Mom's presence in the home is even more important for the teen years than even for the baby and toddler years. I have taken those words of wisdom and stored them in my heart for these amazing teen years. It is astounding to watch them grow.

In fact, I start to wonder, as we struggle with our finances. Here I am, STILL without a job. And not only do I have no job, I barely have the where-with-all to get up in the morning to get the kids to school. I wonder at the timing of the little one growing inside me, a full NINE years since the last baby was born! And as the months go by, and Keith and I creak and groan in our own personal growth, my heart grows more and more at peace. It is all in the LORD's very capable hands.

Also, I am quite hormonal. I cry at everything. It's not sad depressing crying at all. It's just hormonal crying. I cry at weddings on TV -- The latest being the Duggars' vow renewal. (Here I thought it was going to be so cheesy, but I cried anyway!) I cry Every. Single. Time. a baby is born on TLC's Baby Story. I cry when I see someone else cry. I cry in Bible study and at church, when I sing a worshipful song, when I read Scripture. I cry when I type about things I cry about.

Tomorrow, I'm going to my OB check-up. I don't get excited about the OB visits. I look forward to the Perinatalogist visits much more because there's the ultrasound machine and I get a glimpse of Keegan's progress. The OB just tells me all the things that the Perinatologist told them. It's just going through the motions. Half the time, I'm seeing a midwife or nurse practitioner -- neither of which will be delivering the baby. I've only met two of the doctors since starting prenatal care. I'll probably meet more in that last trimester, which is just around the corner! Time has gone FAST!

By the time I get back, Keri Lynn should be getting home for the weekend and the elementary school kids will be home, too. She has big plans that include El Charro's, Dr. Who DVDs and getting that cell phone. Keith finally switched to a pay-as-you-go phone that is working well. We're hoping that it will work for Keri Lynn, too.

I'm having some computer issues, so hopefully this will get to you all. If you're on Facebook (hint, hint), you'll get this in my notes anyway. And there's always the blog, of which I've been neglecting in a major way for lack of energy.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Good-bye, Evil Stomach Bug!

I am SO thankful to be feeling better after a 24-hour stomach bug. I wasn't feeling so well by Saturday late afternoon, and by Saturday night my stomach was roiling and didn't stop until 7:30 the next morning when I finally thought to myself, "I've got to throw up NOW!" I did just that and was finally able to lie down and go to sleep. What a relief!

Keith took everyone but Kylie (who had a cough) and Keva (who needed adult supervision) to church that morning. Both Kathleen and Kristofer sang in a mass choir that morning. They sang "Days of Elijah", one of my favorites. Kylie was supposed to sing, too, but she was battling that cough. While Kylie kept an eye on Keva, I slept off my rough night in my very own beloved bed until about 3:00 pm. Keith and the kids did dishes and foraged for food (we were at the end of our groceries, so when I say "forage" I mean "forage"!)

By Sunday evening, I was feeling better, but Keith was still having to do my usual Taxi Service to take Kristofer to his choir and praise band practice. Then, he stopped by Taco Bell for a dinner run. Kathleen was the main motivator behind that plan. I ate a tostada that thankfully stayed down. It may have not been the wisest choice, but after a lunch of Top Ramen, I was happy to just eat something that I didn't have to cook.

This morning, after most of the night sleeping in a fairly comfortable position in the recliner, I was able to get Keva dressed and to the bus, and see the rest of the kids off to school before hightailing it right back to bed until 11:00 am. Ah, the life of leisure! Mortgage payments are highly overrated!

I even managed to get groceries today, after such good rest and the end of that horrid little bug. It makes me nervous about the beginning of the flu season. Keith and I have been debating back and forth about whether or not I should get the regular flu shot, let alone the H1N1 shot.

Meanwhile, after that little stomach bug episode, it was made very clear to me that I really need to get into better shape. So tomorrow, I'm heading off to the YMCA to start an exercise program for my weak pregnant self. It's not something that we can afford to do, but on the other hand, it's not something we can't afford not to do either. I think I should be able to get a discounted membership after I fill out some paperwork. And then once I eventually get a job, we should all be able to get the family membership. I have big plans for the YMCA -- with the elliptical machine being the main focus -- not too hard on my crackly knees. Then, I plan to do weights two or three times a week as well. After watching a hundred episodes of A Baby Story on TLC, I'm ready to get into baby delivery health!

I'm 24 weeks now. It's hard to believe that time has passed so quickly for the little one and me, but then again four more months seems like an ETERNITY away! I'm planning on having my Mom and Rich come for the baby's arrival. This is kind of funny, because I never asked anyone to come help before for any of the other babies, since family has always been close by in case of emergency anyway. But this time, I'm not so sure I'll be springing back as easily, if just the pregnancy is any indication. I have never felt so tired as I have these 24 weeks. Everything just zaps my energy in a major way. The perinatologist puts it so "nicely", "Well," she ways, "You're old!" Yes, I am, and feeling older every week! So even though I don't have the major fatigue and nausea of the first trimester, now I've got the extending tummy to deal with. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to see that tummy. In fact, I still kind of get a jolt of surprise to see that tummy in the mirror! "Hey, I'm pregant!" It is very truly a blessing!

I'm off to go make dinner now that there is something to cook. I'm making a chicken & rice soup. I made it last week and it was a surprisingly big hit. Soup is always a big hit for me personally, and it's so nice in this cooler climate. It was 70 degrees this morning. We haven't touched the air-conditioning in nearly two weeks. Soon, it will be time to start up the heat, but for now we're enjoying the few weeks of lovely fall weather before sinuses start flaring up! The leaves are turning, too. The willow tree that I pass on the road to town is already bare!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A little bit of energy

I'm feeling a little better today than I have been these last few months. I don't know if it will last, but I'm enjoying it while it does! I ran a bunch of errands today and just got dinner going. Usually, by now, after doing nothing but being exhausted and nauseated on the couch, I'd be trying to figure out how to pawn off dinner duties to the kids.

So you want to know how long we lasted without a TV? I did mention that it is football season, didn't I? Three days into our forced TV-fast, Keith was so disgusted that our service provider removed the split cable so that the whole system went straight to the Internet, that he went out and got a second split cable. The single cable was doing absolutely nothing to improve our Internet anyway, and now we can hook up our other computer in the family room that Keith and Kristofer have been working on to the Internet as well. We got all of our channels back that we had before and all is well with the world.

So much for saving time! The TV is back! (I'm not complaining, mind you!)

Keri Lynn and I were chatting on Facebook today right before one of her classes. She's upset because she got a 78 on a test where she thought she'd maybe gotten a low A. That's college for you. Good grades are harder to come by then in high school. She's not used to getting a C in anything, so I think she's a little worried that she's not going to be able to keep her GPA up high enough to keep getting the Hope Scholarship. It is a big deal and something to be worried about, but I am quite confident that she'll pull through just fine.

Otherwise, Keri Lynn is doing really well at school. She's met a lot of really great friends and is happy. She's enjoying some independence, a little of it forced because she doesn't have a cell phone and the phone in her room isn't working either, so we depend a lot on Facebook. She even opened up her own checking account. Keith and are are so proud of her. Please continue to pray for her as she builds relationships that will last a life time, and as she lives her faith among a lot of godless people.

I'm supposed to take Kathleen to get her physical some time this week so that she can try out for a couple of sports. She really wants to get on the soccer team. And Kristofer is hoping to get his driver's permit soon. He also put in an application at a grocery store which he may get thanks to a connection I have with a lady that I've subbed with who works there, too. Yay for connections!

Some of you may have seen on the news that Atlanta has been suffering from some severe flooding. We didnt' suffer any trouble and the kids are disgusted because they have to keep going to school when many of the counties north of us have had to call off school because so many roads are inaccessible. It has definitely been WET! Yesterday, it rained all day long. By afternoon, low lands and properties next to creeks and rivers where experiencing some real trouble. Eight deaths are blamed on the flooding so far. Today, thankfully, has been dry and we hope it will hold long enough for these problem areas to dry up a little so that families can go back to their homes. A lot of clean-up to go!

I have been craving chocolate like crazy lately. Last nigh, it got so bad that I got out a Pyrex 2-cup glass measuring bowl, added (without measuring) a bunch of sugar, a bunch of coco and a bunch of butter and stuck it in the microwave. Two minutes later, I took it out, stirred in some vanilla -- and got CHOCOLATE! So it was a little grainy, but it was still chocolate. Maybe that's why I'm feeling better today! I think I'll make some more tonight!

Despite the frequent chocolate cravings, I'm still 15 pounds down as I go into my 23rd week of pregnancy. This is not unusual for me. I tend to gain about 15-20 pounds by the end of pregnancy, but only lose about 10 after birth and then gain MORE after giving birth because I'm so HUNGRY! It has nothing to do with nursing either because I haven't nursed since Kathleen was a baby. I can't because of blood pressure meds.

I got to get back to finish up dinner! Pot pies tonight.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

El Shaddai

Amy Grant - El Shaddai (Live)

[via FoxyTunes / Amy Grant]

Good news/bad news

Our computer and therefore our phone (through the computer system) has been cutting out on a regular basis. It was going out for hours at a time, so I called our Internet provider who sent someone on Friday to come take a look at it. He fixed it, kind of, I think . . . and now our TV is completely cut off.

While many of us are experiencing the shakes, lethargy and general anxiety over NO TV, it actually will end up being a very good thing for us. In order to cut our budget and save time, we cut out our basic TV at the end of last year and suddenly, we had all this TIME on our hands. It was truly a wonder! A few months later, we discovered that since the cable Internet services still needed a cable line, that we got intermittent TV channels on our TV. We could search and find several channels. At first, we had ABC and a couple of country music channels. Then, we lost ABC and got NBC, CBS and PBS along with the country music channels and a Catholic channel. THEN, only a month or two ago, we started getting Discovery Channel, and about three weeks ago, we started getting TLC and a whole bunch of other great cable channels. We were ecstatic and fully fixated on the box in the family room.

Then, the repair guys came. Yesterday. 3:00 PM. Trying to expand the bandwidth of the Internet services, and because we don't technically get TV through them, they changed a split cord to a single cord and now we have just the Internet services, like we're supposed to.

Sigh.

It's especially a sad thing for Keith who is whole-heartedly throwing himself into the football season. He'll have to content himself with going to friends' houses and going to the high school football games, because ESPN is no more. Even I'll miss ESPN because I enjoy watching tennis and golf.

I may find myself having a lot more time to do things like laundry and dishes, though. I've already entered into a deal with myself in which I clean for a half hour and play for a half hour on this fine rainy Saturday.

God must have known this was going to happen, though, because in the mail yesterday, what did we get but a package from Aunt Marcia with a bunch of books, videos and DVDs that she had sorted through while they are doing a massive overhaul of painting and re-carpeting their house. She and Dick have been working so hard on organizing everything, that it makes me tired just thinking about it.

I need to organize.

When the Internet repair guys came yesterday (Yesterday seems so FAR away!), I felt like one of those hoarders on a show we were watching last Saturday on A&E. They can't throw anything away. There are stacks and stacks of things everywhere and they can't seem to deal with it. In some cases, there was serious health risks involved. I felt a little bit like Martha Stewart while watching those shows. It made me proud that we could walk through our house with relative ease. Sure there was the smell of those turtles and the smell of the incident of Keva's diaper from Wednesday night, but surely THOSE smells didn't count. At least I didn't have 119 skeletons of cats found in my garage . . . But even so, as the repair guys went into my room, I cringed because that's where Keith and I dump anything that we just don't know what to do with yet like bills, computer stuff, and hobby things. It's embarrassing, and I never let anyone in my room if I can help it.

However, today, I'm taking a stab at actually working on a few piles -- 10 minutes at a time, anyway. That's as much as I can handle. Then I'm off to another project. Martha Stewart, I may have a ways to go, but I'm coming for you! Now that I can't watch Baby Story all day long, or Jon and Kate plus 8 (which depresses me anyway), or Fox News (which depresses me even more!).

Anyway, back to the box we got from Aunt Marcia. There were a ton of movies that the kids just loved! They watched about four of them last night alone while I read one of my favorite books that came in the box, too. Daddy Long Legs. It was fun revisiting it. I had it finished by dinner time. I think I'll send it with some stuff I need to mail to Keri Lynn.

So thanks, Aunt Marcia, again for a box of goodies. It was perfect timing and is helping us get through the post-TV detox!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11 while gestating

May we all remember this important day in our nation's history. I've been watching a lot of 9-11 specials on TV off and on all day today. The kids, too, when they got home from school. We didn't let them watch too much of it in previous years because they were so young, but now that Konner (the youngest) is eight, I think everyone can handle the traumatic events of this day eight years ago. The little boys especially ask a lot of questions, since they have no memory of that day. Kathleen remembers it only because her trip to Disneyland with Grandma was canceled that day!

This afternoon, I went for a "normal" OB visit. How about that! No special tests, no hoops to jump through . . . just a regular visit! Keegan kicked the baby doppler. And my blood pressure was good. I have another regular visit scheduled in four weeks, just like any other pregnant woman. Of course, I have a visit to the perinatologist in between, but I'm practically giddy with the whole "normal" visit thing!

After my "normal" visit, in which I asked a bunch of questions about flu shots, pain medication for restless leg syndrome (the strongest stuff I can take is Tylenol PM, and I'm definitely going to try it!), and, um, constipation, I dropped by the perinatologist office next door to see if the final results of my amnio had come in yet. And it had!

First of all, last Friday, they called and said that the baby is NOT affected by the Kell Antibody. I was very relieved about that. No more extra tests for Kell for me for this pregancy! Yay! Then, today, I found out that the baby does NOT have any genetic abnormalities. No Down Syndrome. And Keegan is definitely a boy, genetically speaking, which of course we already knew from the way he flashed us in ultrasound.

The perinatologist told me, "You don't know HOW happy you are that the baby is not affected by Kell!"

Maybe I do. I don't know. But I had a feeling that it would be okay anyway, given that the last three pregnancies had absolutely no signs of Kell activity either. Surprisingly, the Down Syndrome thing was causing me more anxiety, given my age, even though I only had something like a 4% chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome anyway.

The doctor and I had a whole mini-appointment right there at the check-in window. I asked her about the flu shot (Get the regular flu shot, wait on H1N1 until CDC gives it's final recommendation for pregnant women), and I asked her about special permission to use Advil for Restless Legs (she gave me the same answer as the OB -- RATS!) All in all, it was a rather merry little meeting. There were a half dozen patients there in the waiting room, and there I was as happy as could be about the amnio results. I felt kind of bad later, because most go the the perinatologist for fairly significant problems. I wanted to announce to them, "Don't worry, I still have my blood pressure issues! I'm not out of the woods either!" -- just to make them feel better. : )

And so here I am . . . gestating . . . with no job on the horizon. Please pray for us as we make some big decisions. We need to get some more serious financial counseling as to how to proceed from where we are. However, lately, I've been starting to think about my trust in the Lord and His provision, or rather the lack thereof. I've been so anxious about the job that I've neglecting many things. Financial pressure has a way of making a person fold into herself. It's a paralyzing feeling. At least that's how it has affected me. Yet, the Lord has provided miraculously in so many ways over the years. All my life. All Keith's life. Why can't He do so now? Why do I fret? It's foolishness.

In the midst of it all, is a little one growing inside me. A miracle after a nine year hiatus. He's moving around staying very busy in his place. That movement is my favorite part of pregnancy, especially now when there is room to do the acrobatics. I feel blessed. Thank You, Lord!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hosea 2:14-20

14"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
15"Then I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope
And she will sing there as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16"It will come about in that day," declares the LORD,
"That you will call Me Ishi
And will no longer call Me Baali.
17"For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.
18"In that day I will also make a covenant for them
With the beasts of the field,
The birds of the sky
And the creeping things of the ground
And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land,
And will make them lie down in safety.
19"I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
20And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the LORD.



* Note that in verse 16, "Ishi" means husband and "Baali" means
master.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The 80th!


Happy birthday, Stan!  What a milestone!

Surely you know that I'm not exactly the most promt person by now nor the most organized!  So, yes, your birthday was last week, but it doesn't mean that my heart isn't thankful for who you are and what you mean to our family. 

Thank you for getting down on your knees early every morning to pray for your family. Throughout his growing up years, Keith remembers running down the stairs to see you doing just that.

Thank you for praying for Keith, for reading God's word to him, for speaking to him of spiritual matters, for showing him how spiritual things relate to everything in the world.  He passes on those insights to his own children.

Thank you for praying for Keith's family now.  I am the beneficiary of such wealth and so are our children.  They know about Papa and his faithfulness to his God, to his family and to his church.

Keith was on the phone with Keri Lynn last weekend.  She'd had a rough start to college life, and was about to go to bed, when Keith asked her, "So where are you going to church tomorrow?"

This is the very question that you asked Keith in his young adult years as he began to make his way in the world, "Where are you going to church tomorrow?"

For we do not forget our heritage.  We do not forget our love for God, the Creator of the Universe, the Savior of the world.

Thank you and happy 80th birthday!

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Keegan!"

Lots of news.

We took Keri Lynn to college yesterday. Bittersweet to leave our daughter on her own. Life is going to be pretty drastically different for her for a while, but I'm confident that she will settle in well and enjoy some brand new independence.

I didn't even cry, at least not until Keith and I had driven away and Keith said, "We didn't pray for her. We need to pray for her now." And he did and the tears flowed down my cheeks. May God bless you, sweet girl.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed to get kids on their way to school. I was tired from the emotions and traveling in August weather all day yesterday, so I signed agendas, gave out lunch money, helped Kade with some last minute homework, and as soon as everyone was out the door, headed off to bed to squeeze in about an hour and a half more of sleep before going to the perinatologist for the long-awaited amniocentesis.

Turns out that the doctor postponed the amnio because the lab required more amniotic fluid than the doctor was comfortable removing at 16 weeks. She will do it in another two weeks, but wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to terminate a pregnancy if results came back positive for Down Syndrome or anything like that. I guess 18 weeks is too long for a conventional abortion. Ick!

Anyway, I said that absolutely I would not terminate a pregnancy and to wait two more weeks was fine. Two weeks makes a huge difference in development. Two weeks ago when I went in for a blood pressure check, the baby was lower in my abdomen and a lot smaller. Now the top of my uterus is at my belly button already. This is exciting news! This means that my belly is not ALL fat anymore, it's baby, too!

Instead of the amnio, the doctor did do an extensive ultrasound. That's when I found out that the baby is a BOY! So now I know I'm carrying Keegan around. And Keegan is very busy. He was moving all over the place. The technician was having to step it up to get measurements. Also, at this point the doctor sees no markers for Down Syndrome. We won't find out for sure until the amnio is done.

As for the Kell antibody, the reason for the amnio in the first place, there are as yet no signs of Kell problems. But that doesn't usually occur until the end of the second trimester and into the third. However, if the baby proves desensitized to Kell, then that will be a mute point.

The biggest news, though, with this office visit is that it appears that one of the baby's kidneys does not function. There is fluid collected in his little body that is probably urine that somehow got clogged up. As the doctor puts it, "And that is why God made two kidneys." Apparently his other kidney works just fine because the amniotic fluid is at normal levels.

I looked at her questioningly, and asked, "Does that mean that amniotic fluid is pee?"

"Yes," she said, "After seven kids, you didn't know that?"

"Um, no," I said, "No wonder it's yellow!" (This I know from previous amniocenteses.)

So we will continue to monitor the cyst and see what happens with it. I have no idea what this means for the long haul, but everything else looks good. His heart looks healthy as well as blood flow to his brain. And he looks SO CUTE! I'm in love!

And other news . . . Kristofer turns 16 tomorrow! I can't believe it. I guess I should since he's been taller than me for several months, but I'm in denial. Keith is getting together a paint ball war for Kristofer and two of his buddies to celebrate his birthday.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

And they're off!


We sent the kids off to their first day of school yesterday. It's always odd starting so early in the school year here in Georgia, but starting on a Friday was even weirder. Now I like getting out early in the school year, though. We also have a lot of week-long breaks throughout the year. All in all, I like the schedule. But even more odd this year, was that Keri Lynn stayed home while the rest of the kids got on their buses.

Once everyone was away, I yawned and stretched and went back to bed! This getting up early in the morning is for the birds! I wasn't sure if I could just plop right back to sleep, but before I knew it, it was 10:30 AM. So I got to be a lazy bum for one more weekday!

I'd rather be a lazy bum for many more school days, but that would be bad. It's kind of important that we pay our mortgage, so my job search continues. If I end up working as a substitute, which is looking more and more likely, then Keith is going to need to get a second job to make ends at least be able to wave at each other.

I've not totally given up on a teacher's position, but it is just not looking real good right now. I was talking to a teacher over at Kristofer's high school, and she was saying that you never know what will happen. Teachers leave all the time -- their spouses have to relocate, there's a death in the family, illness, etc. While I would never wish ill on anyone, I'm just praying that I'll be in the right position at the right time. At least substituting is still available to me. The county has cut back so much that substitute teachers are not even being newly hired, let alone provisional teachers!

I have a few other possibilities that I want to explore. First is finding a position in a Christian private school. The pay wouldn't be nearly as good, but working in a Christian environment would be wonderful. The other is tutoring in the evenings or weekends to supplement substitute teaching. We'll see. As always, God has it all in His very capable hands.

This coming week will be a big one for us. Keith and I will take Keri Lynn off to college on Thursday. I am not looking forward to that one bit, and Keith is in worse shape than me. Thank God we have so many ways to communicate, and of course she'll be home for breaks. We'll use Facebook primarily until we can afford to get Keri Lynn a cell phone. Currently, with our job situation, we're down to Keith's phone that he uses a lot at work.

On Friday, I'm going in for the amnio to see if I have to have further testing on the Kell antibody. I suspect that the baby will be unaffected by it, and then it will be pretty much a matter of keeping track of my blood pressure. At the end of 15 weeks, my jeans are starting to feel uncomfortable. My belly fat is starting to round nicely into that lovely muffin affect further up on my stomach. Sigh. I really need to start walking again. Now that I'm feeling better, there is really no excuse. The heat is tough, but I don't have to walk for every long in it to get some results! And in a few months, the weather will start turning cold again. It's always hard for me to imagine that it will EVER be cold again in the summer and then in the winter I wonder if the sun will EVER shine warm again.

The house is quiet this morning. Five of seven kids are out at sleep-overs. I think it's the last hurrah before school really gets into gear! Monday begins the big crackdown on TV and video games so that time can be used for studying and getting to bed at a decent hour. We've all really enjoyed a lazy summer. It was good timing for me because it would have been difficult to work during the last two months.

I still need to conquer some major laundry. A few of the kids do their own laundry, and a few of them TRY to do their own laundry when I nag them. The result: Still a lot of laundry left. And worse, now there's all that laundry that I stuffed in the guest bathroom back at the beginning of summer when the dryer broke down. It's STILL there. Maybe we really don't need it that much since we managed the entire summer without any of the clothes, but I guess I'm still going to have to deal with it anyway.

I came up with a laundry plan! I'm set up a little TV in the laundry room doorway, where I can watch DVDs while I work. Right now I'm watching Mrs. Paulfry at the Clairmont. It's a cute movie and I've gotten quite a bit done there in my Inner Sanctum. I figure I have some quality laundry time coming all the way until October when my washer/dryer warranties are done. Then, I may need to start taking laundry over to a nearby lake or river to pound them on the rocks because you know my machines are going to break down early November.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Good-bye, July!

Can't even believe that today is the last day of July! How did that happen? That means that school starts for the kids next Friday and move-in day for Keri Lynn is the Thursday after that.

We finally told Keri Lynn that we changed our minds about her going to college. We have the perfect solution for her! She can still learn all there is to know about early childhood education by staying home and helping take care of the baby! It's PERFECT! We don't have to say good-bye or miss her or anything! She only laughs and shakes her head and thinks all matter of silly things about her parents. It's getting to be that I can hardly stand the thought of her going away, but this is what we've been working for all these years -- to send her off into the world as equipped as possible to meet all of life's challenges. We are so proud of her!

Everything is all squared away for Keri Lynn for school. She has her school card that gets her everywhere she needs to go on campus, her parking permit for a car she doesn't have yet (we're planning on using it when we come for visits for now), her textbooks are pre-ordered, she's made contact with her roommate. It's all kind of exciting!

I've started getting to bed a little earlier and getting up a little earlier so that my body won't be in complete shock when school starts. It's still going to be painful for the first month!

I've been working like a dog to get all of my paperwork and stuff done for acceptance into University of West Georgia. I had been dragging my feet on this, thinking that I could just tell the schools that were interested in hiring me that I was in the process of applying, so I wouldn't necessarily have to start classes in the fall. Well, as it turns out, schools can't hire me in a provisional teaching position if I'm not officially enrolled in a school to get certification. So now I'm scrambling to get the rest of the last items checked off the check list. Official transcripts -- check! Immunization report -- still working on that. Where DID I put that pesky immunization record? And I KNOW I haven't had a Tetanus shot in the last 10 years, and CAN I get a Tetanus shot while pregnant? Still making calls to figure that out. All these little details take time to iron out and now I'm feeling foolish that I didn't get more of it done over the summer. But then again I was not feeling at all well through June or July. Thank goodness I'm starting to come out of the first trimester when the nausea starts to go away!

Still, I'm applying at all the counties near our county in hopes of snagging an interview. The plan is to get through the interview process without saying anything about the pregnancy until the end when it's time (hopefully!) to sign papers. Then, I plan to say, "So in the interest of full disclosure and because I want you to know that I am trustworthy, I have a little glitch . . . " And then proceed to tell them about the baby. Then it will be up to them to determine how desperate they are to place me as a special education teacher! Such fun!

I will be having the amniocenteses done in two weeks. This is the big test that I've been waiting on pins and needles for. It will tell us a ton of information, from the sex of the baby, to any genetic problems (like Down Syndrome -- I have a 3% chance of having another baby with Down Syndrome) to whether or not the baby is sensitive to the Kell antibody. If the baby is not affected by it, then that will eliminate all of the usual fun tests that I went through for the last three pregnancies. That is an amazing and absolutely new test that wasn't available before! Whoo-hoo!

My blood pressure remains relatively stable. My feet swell sometimes as the day progresses, but we are in the hottest part of summer. I keep cranking up the air conditioning when no one is looking. And I adore going to the OB because they keep the offices like meat lockers for all of the hormonally challenged ladies coming through.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Fire Part 01

We Christians let too many things slide because we don't want to repent. This is convicting. It's a message to Christians whose lives aren't much different than those who don't go to church.

The Fire Part 02

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Friday, July 03, 2009

Pray for Kate McRae

Would you please pray for this sweet family.

What are we going to do with her?!

Keri Lynn went on a Rebellion Rampage yesterday. I'm pretty sure her Grandma helped her. I was completely innocent in the activities. Really.

The three of us went out to El Charro for a Mexican lunch. (Keri Lynn's idea) So yummy! When I go eat Mexican, I get the salad, but I know I'm still pushing it with my salt intake! So maybe I was a little rebellious, too! My swelling remains down, though, and my blood pressure has been steadily making its way back to normal. Not there, yet, but it's getting better!

Anyway, back to Keri Lynn and her rebellious ways.

She had been talking about donating her hair to Locks of Love again. This time last year, she got a cute cut. Alice happened to be in town for that, too, so the three of us got to enjoy the experience. When you give to Locks of Love, they need at least 10 inches of hair, and since Keri Lynn's been keeping her hair a little shorter this year, it was going to end up being a drastic cut for her. She finally decided, in the end, to just go ahead and pay for a cut because it would have been shorter than she wanted. She still ended up getting it shorter than she's worn it since she was 10. In fact, it reminds me of the way I used to cut the girls' hair the way I liked it. Now they have their own ideas! I love her new look! And since this time I didn't cut it, she loves it, too! Very cute.  

So after the haircut, we made our way to Big Lots. We were all sitting around testing the couches there, when Keri Lynn says, "I think I'd like to go get my ears pierced! You said I could when I turned 18," she said with a gleam in her eye.

Let the record stand that Keith is the one not terribly excited about the girls getting their ears pierced. I think it looks nice, but I've backed him up since it's not a crucial issue for the girls to have unpierced ears. Keith also doesn't like short hair, so it was going to be the double whammy for his oldest daughter -- short hair AND pierced ears?!? So I had Keri Lynn call her Daddy to get permission. Later he said to me, "Well, I knew YOU had not said NO or she wouldn't be calling me? What was I supposed to say?"

Off we went to Claire's, the place for all fashionable accessories. Alice paid for her ear piercing kit as a birthday present. So sweet! The whole "free ear-piercing" thing, I discovered, is a thing of the past! There may be signs saying that the ear piercing is free, but only if you buy the ear piercing kit, which costs a lot more than it did when I got my ears pierced at 18. Good grief!

And now Keri Lynn is looking just as cute as can be! She was already beautiful, but now she's all stylish and ready to go off to college. Sigh! It's nice to be able to go out with her during these long summer days, and it's especially fun to go off with her on a Rebellious Rampage!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Plans and trips

We've got definite dates for our trip to California. If all goes according to plan and we can get on our plane, we'll be there from Wednesday, July 8 through Wednesday, July 15. On July 16, I've got not one, but two doctor's appointments, one to the perinatologist and the other to the OB.

While we're there, we're going to try to fit in a trip to the Observatory and to the Getty. One of the things I like most about Georgia is that it has all these amazing beautiful trees, yet one of the things I like least about Georgia is that you can't see anything from anywhere. There are no wide open spaces, except for maybe Stone Mountain! Maybe that's why I like to go to the top of Stone Mountain so much! But in L.A., there are lots of places to go up and look out! I like that! So while the Getty might have all these amazing art exhibits, I'm more interested in taking the cool tram ride up and looking out over the city!

We also plan to hit the beach, too, of course, and my Mom's pool! I'm wondering what California summer is going to feel like after these muggy Atlanta days.

One thing I absolutely have to do, with the help of a few of my children, is to WASH CLOTHES! We literally go from one emergency load of laundry to the next to survive and we really just need to put nose to the grindstone and get that laundry done. I think I'm going to have to go through clothes again and cut back on unnecessary clothes. There's no sense in washing extra clothes!

Meanwhile, Alice has made it safely to our home for a visit. She will be here for the next week. We may end up going on a plane trip back to California together! All depends on flight availability. We plan on hitting thrift stores and also going to Keri Lynn's college for a tour. It's been cooling down just a little, so hopefully that trend will stay!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Keri Lynn has updated her blog!

Check out her newest posts -- Link to Twilight Sky at my blog list!

Apples are delicious

We had a fun weekend with our friends, Paul and Holly, and their son John. The Z's are missionary with JARS, the stateside part of Wycliffe. Kristofer instantly scooped up John into Video Game World. We all had a nice lazy weekend, or at least Holly and I did. Keith had to work on Saturday, as is his usual schedule these days, and Paul was busy tinkering around the house finding things to fix. The most important thing he found to fix was my recliner. I'd broken it several weeks ago so that it would not recline, but he cobbled a bunch of pieces together and I now have my recliner back. This means that Keith can get his recliner back! Everyone is very happy.

We stayed up so late watching a movie on Saturday night that we decided to play hooky from church. (We are a bad influence on the Z's.) After getting up late, we got lunch ready for the kids and then we married adults went running off to eat at El Charro's. Keri Lynn cried that she was an adult now, too, so I had to qualify "Married" into the lucky ones who got to go out!

Later, the guys went off to go do whatever guys like to do. They were going to drive up north to pay homage to Frey's and Harbor Freight Tools, but it was too long of a ride for the time remaining. Holly and I came home and we watched the video Persuasion, a version that Holly had not seen before. It was nice to relax and enjoy good company in air conditioning. It has been VERY hot.

Best of all, we were able to send the Z's off with The Little Apple. This little item has been making the rounds back and forth between our families for years as a practical joke. It's a little plastic apple that morphs into an apple person with arms and legs. I think we got it in a pile of hand-me-down toys from somewhere. If I remember right, Paul made some disparaging remark about the poor little apple, and we tried to pawn it off on them. The Z's discovered it in their luggage somewhere over the Netherlands (is that what you said, Holly?)on their way to Cameroon. And they managed to mail it to us in a nice little anonymous package from Holly's sister's address in the United States. This time it made its way back to their home in Paul's suitcase. We are very pleased with ourselves. : )

As far as my health goes, my blood pressure is still elevated but more controlled. It's going down little by little. And the swelling in my feet is gone. Yay! No more Elephant Foot Mom! Now I'm noticing more of the usual symptoms of pregnancy -- nausea (if I eat too much or too late in the evening or if I haven't eaten enough), fatigue, and a lack of coordination.

Keith's Mom is scheduled to fly in from California sometime tomorrow evening. She'll stay for a week, then we'll probably all come back to California with her for our summer visit. We'll stay with Mom and Rich. We are looking forward to seeing family and friends! Keith will work for the first part of the week, but he should be able to come for the last few days we're there when he has vacation.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Perinatologist

I had a great visit with the perinatologist yesterday. The doctor was calm and knowledgeable. She deals with people like me all the time, so didn't have any trouble upping my blood pressure meds, adding a water pill, and talking about my rare Kell antibody issue. My perinatologist in California had only seen two cases of Kell, and I was the second one. This doctor has seen many and has even done a couple of inter-uterine blood transfusions that turned out well.

I asked her if I was still okay to pursue my teaching job. Could I work as a pregnant 43-year-old? She said, "Sure!" without any compunction at all. Did she expect my pregnancy to go as my other pregnancies had gone? Would I be more likely to have a c-section? What if problems came up at delivery with my hypertension? She expected everything to go just fine, that we would get my blood pressure under control. I told her what had happened with Konner who decided typical Konner independent style, to turn head up in the last week of pregnancy. The little darling. The doctors went ahead and did a version, where they manually move the baby's body back down head first, and then induce labor to avoid c-section. She said that my OB doctors will do that. Apparently the others around don't, so I'm lucky. I was really happy to hear that and she thought it made perfect sense to avoid a c-section. A c-section wouldn't be a terrible thing, but it would make life so much easier to avoid one.

It was just so refreshing to hear upbeat answers to all of my worries and anxieties. I feel very comfortable with her and with my OB doctors in general.

Today was the last day of VBS. Kathleen had us stop by the grocery store after VBS yesterday to go get some candy for her "Peeps" with her own money that she's earned from babysitting and dog sitting. She spent $20 bucks on candy! Yikes! But I thought that was so sweet of her!

When we got back from VBS today, we set to work on cleaning up a very messy house in preparation for the Zwierzynskis to come for a weekend visit. I haven't cleaned since we've been home from school. I was so impressed with Kade and Konner when they finally discovered what was stopping up the vacuum cleaner! It's working once again. So, unlike the beginning of summer vacation, all three breakdowns -- the dryer, the dishwasher AND the vacuum sweeper -- are all working once more! Whoo-hoo!

Things aren't even remotely close to being company clean, but the Z's are sweet understanding people and know that I've been a bit incapacitated. In fact, Holly facebooked me and said to just point her toward the laundry room, my natural nemesis, and she'd work on the laundry for me! How sweet is that? I told her that I couldn't have my guest doing my laundry for me, but maybe we could sit around with our feet up and talk!

Then next week, I will begin in earnest to call around about possible teaching jobs. I now feel confident to pursue it again. Should all go well with the baby, we'll work out a schedule where one of us can be home with the little one. It's a whole different world for us these days!

The kids are very supportive. Kylie has started saving her money to get a really nice gift for the baby. So far she has a dollar! She's got big plans and can't wait for the baby to make its appearance!

I think what is cracking me up the most about this pregnancy is the huge interest in the baby's name. So go ahead and throw in some ideas if you want. Most everyone knows that all of the kids' names start with a "K", but they also have "L" middle names. Keri Lynn, Kristofer Loren, Keva Laureen, Kathleen Lace, Kylie Louise, Kade Logan and Konner Liam. A lot of names get nixed because they sound too much like one of the other names. I have a boy's name in mind, so I'm pretty sure the baby is a girl.

I'll know by the 16th week when we'll have an amnio done. It won't be for genetic testing but rather for the Kell issue. A new test is now available that wasn't available back when Konner was born where they can test amniotic fluid for the baby's sensitivity to the Kell antibody. If it's desynthesized, then there will be no worries regarding Kell and no further testing will be needed. The doctor believes that my other kids were all born Kell desynthesized, and that's why they didn't have any problems. If the baby is synthesized to Kell, then I'll have to undergo extensive ultrasound and amnio tests to make sure the baby is okay throughout pregnancy.

Since I'm having an amnio done anyway, I'll also be able to get the genetic information. I'll be able to find out for sure whether or not the baby has Down Syndrome. I have a whole 3% chance of that. And then, of course, I'll be able to find out the baby's sex, which has always been exciting to discover before birth!

Now to go feed hungry children. I'm surprised that Kade is not pounding on my door.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's true!

So, I had an ultrasound today to confirm a due date . . . of a baby . . . that, if everything goes well, is supposed to arrive sometime in January.

Yep.

#8.

I'm 43. By January, I'll be 44. I was officially of "Advanced Maternal Age" when I gave birth to Konner, but now I don't really buck that label. Things are a little different now days than when I was under OB care last. Now, I can get my prenatal vitamins over the counter. My OB has really cool examination robes that leave a little space for dignity. Ultrasound pictures are sent via email. I did all my paperwork on-line. If I have odd questions in the middle of the night, I can go on-line and ask! It's like I've been transported into the role of George Jetson's wife.

For all of you interested in the baby stats, I'm just nine weeks along. I only found out half way through the first week of summer vacation earlier this month when I started feeling kind of nauseous. It occurred to me then that it had been awhile since my last period. In fact, it had been QUITE a while. But with everything going on with Keri Lynn's graduation and end-of-year general excitement, I forgot about it. So I swung by a pharmacy, picked up a couple of pregnancy tests, came home and -- WHAM! -- got a positive result.

Oh, yeah.

Since then, I've spent a great deal of time finding a good high-risk pregnancy doctor, adjusting to changes in my blood pressure meds, and dealing with the heat of summer. It is HOT in Newnan! I've also had two kids out of the country, and now VBS. In short, my house is a complete and total disaster because I don't have energy to do anything, plus I need to keep my feet up a lot.

We told the kids tonight. All the girls are thrilled to pieces. Konner is excited about not being the baby anymore. We know from prior experience that once you tell the kids, the rest of the world knows, too. So we called our parents who, I think, all took it pretty well, considering. : )

As for Keith and me, we take God at His word that children are blessings. We have not done anything to prevent pregnancy throughout our marriage and look what He has given us! We thought that we might indeed be done, though, with the lag time, especially after Kylie, Kade and Konner came in such quick succession, but that was not God's plan. Strollers, Pack N Plays, changing tables have been ancient history, but should God decide to continue this little life that is only about an inch long, then we'll be breaking out that kind of equipment again.

Wow!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Back from Japan!

Keri Lynn and Kristofer made it safely home from Japan late Saturday night. It was a hugely impactful trip for them in that they got to see the Church of God in action. Hongodai Church welcomed them with open arms. If you haven't gotten a chance to go see the pictures from the trip, there are literally hundreds of them off of our church link http://fbcnewnan.org/ The whole time they were there, our church prayed fervently that they would have no rain. It's the rainy season in Japan yet they had several outside venues where they would be performing their concert. One morning there was some rain, but people still came, and by later in the day, it had cleared, and remained clear for all the rest of the concerts. Lee Chitwood, the music pastor that took them on the choir tour, was telling me today that it's been raining like crazy since the day the kids left to come home. We are very thankful for this answer to prayer!

No sooner were the kids home, then we started VBS. Keri Lynn is helping with the third graders. Kristofer is doing his tech stuff for music time. Kathleen is helping with the kindergartners. And I just kind of hang out with Keva and "direct" things. Okay, I'm just the taxi service, but it's still fun to be there with all of the energy flowing all over the place! Keva didn't even come with me today because Keith had the day off. I left her to hang out with Dad so that I could be free to help if there was a need. I did so some directing preschool kids to classes, but that's about it. The rest of the morning was mine. Tomorrow, though, I'll have Keva with me, so we'll be sure to hit all of the singing times (which she loves) and hang out a little at the playground, if it's not too hot. Maybe I'll get some crochet projects underway.

It is HOT, HOT, HOT today and all this week. I guess summer has come full force. I'm cringing at what our electric bill is going to be and wondering why we had to buy a house with big ceilings! Oh, the pain!

We got Keri Lynn's financial information in from GCSU and she's good to go! She has the Hope Scholarship, Georgia's scholarship program that pays for tuition and most of the books as long as she maintains at least a B average. She'll need to work through the Work Study program, but I think she'll be able to handle that perfectly well since it is tailored for students. She's especially excited about starting school now that she's decided on her major in Early Childhood Education. She wants to go back to Japan and teach English!

Keith's Mom will be coming to visit us sometime next week and through the July 4th weekend. We're looking forward to seeing her. We'll take one day, She and I and Keri Lynn, to go tour GCSU. We think she'll be just as impressed with the school as we were! That is, if we survive the heat! Whew!

I have not yet heard from the Jehovah's Witnesses ladies that came to my door. I'm disappointed. BUT, I did get a response from Gray under the post where I wrote about it. Thank you, Gray, for responding! I hope to have a very meaningful dialog on the subject of who Jesus is.

I've got a few June pictures up on Facebook if you haven't seen them lately. June, thank God, has been a little bit quieter than May.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pizza goodness



Are you salivating yet?  You should be.  I made this delicious cheesy goodness with two Pillsbury pizza crusts, one spread on the bottom and the other over the top, and in between all the cheese, spaghetti sauce and pepperoni we could handle.  I thought we ought to have enough for everyone especially with three kids gone and Keith at work, but the kids were so excited about it that they invited three neighbors to join in!  There was still enough!

Keri Lynn and Kristofer are still in Japan. They will be coming back late Saturday night. I go to the church website where there's a link to a Flikr photo gallery to check on the latest pictures. If you want to see what they're up to, go to http://fbcnewnan.org/ and right there on the home page on the left side there's a box that says Georgia Student Choir USA. The choir could not travel under a religious name, but the Lord has opened up opportunities for them to sing in public venues like parks and ticketed events. They are also going to be singing at a public school -- please pray that the opportunity continues to be opened as the Japanese are very concerned about swine flu and the kids have only been in the country for a week. Both Keri Lynn and Kristofer are also part of the smaller singing ensemble, so they've been exercising their voices a lot. They've also been exercising their legs. They've been doing a lot of walking to and from the train to all their various destinations. All of the kids are doing great, though. I think they are all taking in the experience!


Yesterday, I got a chance to chat with Keri Lynn on Facebook. Sometimes we chat when she's up in her room at her laptop and I'm in my room on my laptop -- I know, I know . . . sad! But this time she was all the way on the other side of the world and we were chatting on Facebook! No change in wait time or anything. It was great to hear from her and ask questions about their trip. She sounded really good.

After I got off of the computer, I was getting ready to get dressed for the day, when Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door. I decided years ago that if Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses came to the door, that I would do what I could to speak to them about Jesus. After all, I was home and people were willing to come to MY door to talk to me about faith issues. What could get better than that? So I invited the two ladies in, still in my pajamas and my hair a mess, but they said they had people waiting in the car and would I take some of their fine literature.

And this is how most of the conversation went at my door:

"You know, I don't agree with what you believe about Jesus."

"You don't? What don't you agree with?"

"Well, the main thing," and here I took a deep breath and dove into the heart of the issue, "is that you don't believe that Jesus is God."

"We believe he is the Son of God, that he saved us from our sins . . ."

"But you don't believe he's God."

"The Bible says that he's the Son of God, that God gave him the power to save us from sin, and that he now sits at the right hand of God the Father."

"The Bible also says that Jesus is God. In fact, Jesus Himself claims that He is God."

They had their Bibles handy with all of the verses talking about Jesus being the Son of God, the first creation, that he asked God permission, etc, etc. Most of the verses were in their own translation, though, where a few key words could be changed for their benefit. And I countered with the time that Jesus claimed to be I AM (John 7). (There are plenty of other times that he claims to be God, but that's the one that stuck in my head as the most prominent.)

"I really don't see how you can get around that. Jesus said I AM. He was crucified for that. The Jews were so angry at him because He claimed to be GOD!"

They threw some more scripture at me that they thought supported their point, but for that one argument, there was no answer. Jesus said it. There is no denying it. He died for it. He conquered sin for it. He rose from the dead for it. Is it not an AMAZING thing, that the Christian faith is the only faith in the entire world wherein GOD Himself sacrificed Himself for us? All other religions have US doing the sacrificing for god. Even Jehovah's Witnesses. Especially Jehovah's Witnesses. They are constantly working toward perfection, constantly trying to be good enough to eventually get to heaven.

It is my belief that talking with people involved in these false religions like Mormonism and Watch Tower is very easy. It always comes down to Jesus and who He claims to be. You either believe it or you don't. It still doesn't change who HE is, though. And it is a privilege to be able to speak of Him to those who are seeking.

The ladies at my door finally had to leave but not without asking if we could have a Bible study together later. Perfect! I thought. I gave them my name and phone number and said I could meet with them any time. I'm sure they have their own Bible studies ready to go, but so do I! After all, if we're studying the Bible, Ive got the HUGHEST advantage EVER. That's why it's important for us as Christians to be studying and learning what the Bible says so that we can be ready to have an answer. It's all there in that Book.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Nail care

Keri Lynn and Kristofer left early yesterday morning with their choir to Japan. They are hopefully sleeping like babies right now after a VERY long flight to the other side of the world.

Kylie is on vacation for the week with a neighborhood family. They are in South Carolina -- a little closer than Japan.

That leaves us with FOUR kids. That's it. FOUR.

Yesterday was Keith's day off, so he whisked the little boys away for the morning and then came back and Kathleen and I went off for some girl time. We ate some lunch out then used a nail salon gift certificate I'd gotten from school for my substitute work there. Toes and nails now are gorgeous. Kathleen got each nail done in a different neon color and all of them covered with white polka dots. She's THRILLED! And it looks really cute on her. I got mine done in a much more sedate monotone color. I love it. We decided that we could seriously get used to getting our nails done on a regular basis.

I'm very excited about this afternoon. The repair guy is supposed to come. Machine parts are waiting for him. And HOPEFULLY he'll get the dryer going in this one visit. It didn't take me long to get seriously annoyed with line drying. One of the projects today is to unearth the dryer from underneath mountains of dirty clothes so that he can actually get to it! I better get started on that soon. Times a wastin'.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Summer time

I've got a hundred contingencies for the summer, all centered around whether or not I'll be employed. It looks unlikely that I'll get a job for the summer since I'm not a teenager, so I've started making unemployed plans.

One of the plans is to exercise. I've walked two days in a row now. I know many of you have heard me before and are rolling your eyes, but should I remain unemployed, I have no excuse but to continue on my walking plan. So far I've walked 45 minutes each day, but my plan is to move it up to an hour. Shouldn't be too hard. I'm not pushing it, just trying to enjoy it so that I keep doing it. I have got to get into better shape because currently I'm walking around like I'm 83, not 43.

A second set of plans involves finally cleaning up my bedroom and painting the living room walls. I'm a little frightened by this because the jobs look impossibly hard to me at this moment. It's a matter of Just. Do. It.

The third set of plans revolve around travel. We'll try to make our yearly summer California trip to visit family and friends. And I also want to make a trip to visit the Kings in Florida. Thank God for Delta flight privileges! And maybe, just maybe, Keith and I can get away for a bit for our 21st anniversary in July.

However, I didn't expect for the summer to start out as it has. Our dryer decided to stop actually drying. It spins and cools forever, but that doesn't do us a lot of good. Keith brought home a very nice set of lines to dry clothes out on the deck, except it's been literally raining ever since he installed them! Ack! At least the repairman is coming on Tuesday. I got parts for the dryer just today in a weird case of Service Preparedness. I keep looking around for the hidden cameras. I think I'm starring in some Candid Camera episode.

The vacuum is not working properly either. The dog hair has pretty much overtaken the entire house. That and the smell of those turtles. But I don't think I have to worry too much more about the turtles. Keva is trying to kill them off. She got a hold of Krush and hurled him onto the floor where Kade found him, like a bad episode of Starsky and Hutch (my age is showing). He came running over to me where I was working hard at Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, "Mommy! Mommy! Krush is DEAD! Look, he's bleeding!" It was very sad. I took a good look at him and he was in fact bleeding and his bottom shell was cracked nearly across, but there were signs of movement where his head had gone into hiding, so I told Kade to go ahead and put him back into the tank, where Krush has been ever since acting as if his body is not nearly cracked in two. I also had to look up turtles to find out if they actually do bleed. For some reason, I didn't think they did. I thought maybe the blood had to do with the turtle snapping at Keva or the dog, but turtles do in fact bleed. There you go.

Oh, and the dishwasher decided to leak. It took us a while to figure out why the floor in the family room was getting wet. We thought maybe some pipes had burst from upstairs, but upon further discovery, that of actually USING the dishwasher, found that more water gathered in that spot, on the opposite side of the wall where the dishwasher was. (We should write our own mystery novels. Truly.) Anyway, we immediately stopped using the dishwasher, or at least thought we did, but the dishwasher duty was Kade's earlier this week, and he did not figure out that the reason that the carpet was completely pulled away from that part of the floor had anything to do with the dishwasher. So he ran it again. Who knows how much mildew and mold we have now! We do not have a warranty on a dishwasher, so we're going to have to wash dishes the old fashioned way for a while. I forgot what a pain that was! But I'm remembering now!

On the bright side, the weather has been really nice. It's been rainy but not too hot. The kids have been making the rounds of sleepovers and mooching the poor neighbors. Some days, I don't see them all day long. They come back a little tanner and dirtier. Here's hoping that the service repairman actually fixes the dryer on the first visit!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The new 'do

Winding up the school year

Today at lunch, I participated in a end-of-year celebration with the school staff where I've been working since December. We all were treated to lunch at the Texas Roadhouse. Very yummy. Nice company.

Just a tiny little embarrassing incident. Why, oh, why does this happen to me?

We had salad with all kinds of goodness on it, drinks, peanuts, warm bread while waiting for our choice of chicken or steak to arrive. The food came. We swapped stories and enjoyed the camaraderie.

And a piece of steak got stuck in my throat. Not Heimlich Maneuver stuck. No, just swallowing stuck. As in have-to-cough-it-up or get-it-down stuck. I could still breath, but the pressure in my throat was intense as I tried to look and act normal while the ladies around me talked and laughed. It's happened before. I think it's a hernia problem. Mostly, I just sit still for a while, and maybe walk around and the food goes down and all is right with the world again. Other times, I've had to make a quick exit to upchuck the renegade piece of food. This time, it all came up in one quick messy glob of saliva and phlegm all over what was left of my lunch and on the table and in my hand and on my seat and lap. Uh-huh. Right there in front of everyone. I was mortified! Simply mortified.

I wasn't so much worried about Kelly and Jenna sitting across from me. After all, we spent the better part of our lunch time each school day talking about poop consistency, regularity, vomit, snot and ear wax. No, it was the poor teacher next to me who doesn't have to deal with that kind of stuff on a regular basis, who didn't finish her own lunch after I threw up all over mine. She said that it was no problem, that she wasn't bothered, but still . . . Sigh!

This just goes with the whole way I've been wrapping up the school year.

On Friday, the last day of school, we (Kelly and I -- Jenna was at the State Special Olympics) wore our "WII Rock" T-shirts. The administration has been pushing for good test scores and attendance with a drawing for a WII and for shirts with "WII Rock" on them. All the teachers and staff got them, too. Only we all thought it would be pretty funny for the end of the year to cross out the first part of "WII", leaving just the "I Rock". Kind of catchy, right?

Except for the part where I passed the principal in the hallway.

She was not pleased. It did not honor school spirit and she said she would appreciate it if I would take off the offending X covering the rest of "WII Rock".

I did, quickly, and was completely mortified that I'd just gotten into trouble by the principal. A person who I hope will someday give me a good recommendation for a teaching job. Oh, the humanity of it all!

On the brighter side, after lunch I took myself off to get a haircut, with hopes of getting something sassy for the summer. I love it! It's always nice to get someone who knows what they're doing when cutting hair. She lifted hair in all directions and snipped and cut like crazy to give me a nice cut that will be perfect for summer time. And it will also ease my poor wounded humiliated spirit!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer! Wheeeeeeeeee!

Today was the first official day of Summer Vacation. I could seriously get used to a life of leisure! Got up at about 9:00ish, put in a load of laundry, made breakfast, got Keva up, ate breakfast, took the kids to the neighbor's pool for a relaxing time in the sun, kids got their first summer sunburn, kids played in the sprinklers on the lawn (YAY for no drought restrictions!), I skipped off to the grocery store, we ate dinner at 8:50. Yes, the life of leisure.

But I really need a summer job! And I'm hoping to get that teaching job by the start of the new school year. It's going to be an interesting summer, and I'm hanging on tight for the ride!

Things are getting dicey around the house, too. Keith was off today and has been fiddling with the strange wet spot that started appearing in the floor next to the bar. We think there's a leak either in the pipes from the dishwasher or from the shower upstairs. Either way, it's not good.

Then there's the tiny problem of our dryer breaking down. I called our beloved warranty department today and the repair guy can't come until June 11. I told the poor guy on the other end of the phone, "You have GOT to be kidding me! June 11? As in ELEVEN days from now, June 11?" I've got a number to call in case someone cancels their appointment. I could then grab that spot. I'm not too hopeful, though. Looks like I'm going to have to look into a clothes line and clothes pins. At least it's not the washing machine. If it had broken down, we would have officially qualified for a brand new machine according to the warranty. But it has been washing steadily ever since the last major breakdown episode. That one still makes me shudder! Dirty clothes in bathtubs and sinks . . . wringing . . . sweating . . . not really getting anything clean. I am so thankful for that washing machine!

Keri Lynn is now in Jamaica. You'll be able to see pictures/updates on our church's website soon. http://www.fbcnewnan.com/ We're missing her here at home while she's "suffering" for Jesus in Jamaica. Today they were going to a famous falls to swim and have a relaxing day, and then they'll get to work helping kids at a school for the deaf. I can't wait to hear more about it.

As soon as she gets back, she has a whirlwind Sunday of singing at church, last minute packing and off along with Kristofer to the Japan Choir Tour. They are both thrilled to be going and have been working hard on fundraisers and singing all year. The main thing, though, is that they have to STAY HEALTHY. It's difficult to travel internationally with the Swine Flu scare. The Japanese are being extra careful. If anyone on the airplane lands with a fever, they will quarantine that person and the 30-40 people around them for up to 10 days! And seeing as the choir tour is only 12 days long, this would put a real damper on the schedule!

Please be praying for our family at this time, particularly for the missions trips the kids are on or will be on soon, and also for my job situation both for the summer and for the new school year. Also for Keri Lynn's preparation for college. I can't believe I have a high school graduate!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Someone make this ride SLOW DOWN!

Life has been steaming down the tracks like an out-of-control freight train. Busy, busy, busy. Kids are having all of their end-of-the-school year stuff. Keri Lynn is getting ready to graduate! Sniff. I've been applying for teaching jobs.

And still there are the bills, laundry and dishes. They don't go away! No matter how hard I ignore them! Ack!

Keri Lynn just has a few more days of actual classes. Next week, she'll just be going to graduation practice, and the rest of the time she's planning on sleeping in and resting for graduation, trip to Jamaica and trip to Japan. Exciting times!

In the midst of all of this, while I'm ignoring bills, laundry and dishes by playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, Kathleen comes up to me, "Mom, you got to teach me how to knit."

She explains that she has promised a friend at school to teach her class how to knit. Has she ever knitted before in her entire life? She has, if you count the knitting loom. But really, she just knows how to crochet. I taught her how to cast on and how to knit, and she has been working her rows rather well. By the end of the week, she just may be ready to teach that class how to knit.

I've also been ignoring bills, laundry and dishes by watching Doctor Who seasons back to back over two consecutive weekends. No wonder I'm not getting much done. But it's been fun!

Our weather has not decided to stay warm yet. We've had some days in the 60's lately. And had to pull out sweaters a few times. What is up with that? It's May, Mr. Weatherman!

Summer is kind of a blur right now as far as what I'm going to be doing for work. I'm hoping for that perfect job to just fall into my lap, but somehow, nothing so far!

Time to get kids to bed!