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!


Jackie for our Family