Tuesday, December 28, 2010

White Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas this year. Some of us were still a little coughy and sneezy, but for a full week all ten of us were home with no practices or classes or meetings to go to at all. Georgia even saw fit to give us some snow on Christmas day. It was so nice to watch the snow come down in the warmth of the family room with a roaring fire.

I'm hoping to get up enough gumption to resume painting. Our living room is still only half painted. We started painting at the end of summer when we had a bit of a break and haven't touched a paint can since. The ladders and boxes and general clutter of it all is starting to really bug me now that I have a few moments to notice it. The Kings are coming for a few days at the end of the week to help us ring in the new year. Maybe I can get Ginny on the painting job with me. Part of me wants to get it done so that I don't feel like a hopeless lazy bum. I have visions of a beautifully decorated home that shocks and amazes all who come through our doors. Part of me then wipes the sleep out of my eyes after the beautiful dream. We've got a long way to go!

With the kids home for the whole day during Christmas break, I've had the feeling of homeschool again. It's nice to have all my chicks under my wing for a bit. But, I've also realized that the house sure does stay a lot cleaner when everyone is scattered to the wind for school or work. Plus now that the kids are older, more of them cook. I have washed so many pots and pans and run the dishwasher to death and STILL the kitchen is trashed! And it's not that the kids don't do their part as well. We run the dishwasher at least twice a day and still we run out of clean dishes! Keri Lynn, in her college wisdom, suggested to me earlier this week that I should get everyone simply to clean up after themselves. Really? I have not thought of this before?

Kristofer is really hoping to get into Georgia College and State University where Keri Lynn goes. We'll see how it goes. The SAT didn't go great, but his grades are okay. I really don't know how it's all going to pan out for him. I do know that he is very ready to be out on his own. He gets a lot more impatient with his siblings than he used to. I noticed the same thing with Keri Lynn when she was at this stage. There is a natural need to move forward and away, to gain independence, to grow up. Sigh. I've got to get Kristofer's senior potrait done soon. He has taken some really great pictures of himself with his nifty camera, but we need to get the cap and gown one done for the yearbook. I'd like to get the whole family photographed over at Portrait Inovations, too. We have very few pictures of all of us in one picture. We make up for it in hundreds of snap pictures throughout each month. Keegan takes up about 95% of the pictures with his cute little self!

Kathleen is preparing to act in her first high school drama. It's a set of three short plays. She has a big part in two of them. She's been practicing her little heart out. It's been a lot of fun to watch her get her opportunity to do something that she has dreamed of doing practically her whole life. I can't wait to see her! She's been trying to keep her parts quiet so that I'll be surprised when I see it!

I'm going back to school next week for a January class. January is going to be a crucial month as I go on the job hunt. Things are still very tight on the job market in education, as with so many other areas. So we're looking at the very real possibility of me remaining unemployed for another semester. The good news is that by the end of Summer 2011, I'll be credentialed. And we'll just have to lean on the Lord some more for providing for all of our needs. He is the giver of all things anyway, employed or not. The fall semester was a great opportunity to do student teaching and to take a couple more classes. It was a busy time, but it was doable. I worked with a really good teacher and some terrific sixth graders. I can't wait for my own classroom!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Natalie Grant-Held-lyrics video

Kathleen will be singing this song in church next Sunday!

Friday, September 03, 2010

One last hurrah!

Last night, I went to my first night class. I've got two for the fall semester along with the student teaching. We got to meet our student teacher supervisors as well, got the syllabi for the class and for the student teaching, and already I'm up to my eyeballs in work. It is definitely time to buckle down and get to work . . . after the Labor Day weekend, that is! One last hurrah!

Keith has this week as vacation, so it's been nice to know that I can leave Keegan with him for some father/son bonding time while I run to take a kid to the dentist or get some groceries. And Keith will still get some bonding time when he starts swing shift in two weeks. That's the week I also start student teaching two days a week. While I'm gone, he'll be home with Little Man. I'm grateful for how our schedule has worked out and grateful to be going to school again, even though the workload is going to be a challenge!

All I can say is that it will be nice to eventually get a paycheck instead of just paying out money for everything all the time! I'm really hoping and praying that I'll find a job during the spring semester.

While Keith is home this week, we've started painting the rooms downstairs that aren't yet painted. We've only been in our house for five years, after all! For several years now, the only rooms that are painted have been my red dining room (that is now an office/game room, and my ELECTRIC LIME kitchen. The lime just doesn't make sense to the casual person who comes visiting. It's such a bright color, but since we hadn't yet completed the color palate throughout the rest of the rooms, people have questioned my sanity. (The fact that my sanity is questioned on a regular basis is beside the point!)

Anyway, we're going with a gorgeous blue in the living room and a kind of orangish/terracotta-ish color in the family room. Since it's an open floor plan, all of the colors really have to work together. I haven't seen the family room color up yet, since we just got started on the living room, but I think it will work. And when I say "we", I of course mean the royal "we", meaning "Keith"! He is doing a great job! It did take some doing, though, finally agreeing on the colors. I had a different scheme of colors in mind when we first got started. And Keith was more than a little taken aback by the ELECTRIC LIME, but I think it has finally truly grown on him.

The painting will need to be put aside today though. Keith will be mowing a friend's lawn this morning and then going to get Keri Lynn from school so that she can "relax" with us and enjoy the Labor Day weekend. Someday she'll have her own car! But for now she's in classes doing what she needs to do to eventually get a job and get her own car!

I'm going to work on a little homework, get me and Keegan ready to go, and then go get Kathleen out of school early for a dental appointment. She's actually not getting her teeth worked on, but her lip looked at. A few weeks ago, they removed a cyst thingie on her lip with a laser. It has since grown back, but not as bad as before. We'll have to decide whether or not to just leave it be for now and see if it will go away on its own. It's just in a very aggravating spot, and aggravation is always compounded when you're talking about a teenager!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Still 2010

It is a sign of the times that I had to fix the date in the Subject Box from 2011 back to 2010. It's not that I'm ahead of myself, but that I've been doing a lot of things in preparation for 2011. That's going to be a big year. Kristofer is set to graduate from high school. God willing, I'll have a real job. Keith may be working a different type of job at Delta that will keep him busier than ever. There are just a lot of things up in the air. As usual.

It's Monday this morning. I've already done three loads of laundry and a load of dishes. I've had time to read God's word -- which always puts things in their proper persective. Kids are off to school. Baby is sitting in his bouncer seat beating up on his toys and talking to himself. (He has just caught my eye and may decide that he doesn't want to be in the bouncer seat anymore, but in my arms!) He is such a good natured little guy until he is thwarted in what he wants, whether it be food or attention or a nap.

This afternoon, I'll be going to the high school to meet with Kristofer's guidance counselor. We really need to start putting some plans into action for life after high school. He's not going to be able to take the path that Keri Lynn has taken, in that his grades aren't fabulous. What I'm hoping is that he'll be able to find some kind of work-study program, an internship of some kind, that will help him get his degree and learn some important work skills to get him settled as a working man. It's hard to believe that my sweet little baby boy who told our life story to strangers in the supermarket is getting to be so grown up. He has so many talents with his creative bent. He's also very good with technology. That's why he is so in love with his new camera that he got for his birthday. If you're not on facebook already, then you'll need to be just to see his beautiful pictures. He wants to take a photography class, and I'm hoping he'll be able to take one in college. I don't think he has enough time left to take one in high school.

Look who's seven months!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Isaiah 25:6-9

The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all the peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth.
For the LORD has spoken.
And it will be said in that day,
"Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Job 19:20

Did you know that the phrase "skin of your teeth" originated in the book of Job? Check it out! I never noticed it before!

My bone clings to my skin and my flesh,
And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.

Titus 2:3-5

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prager University: The American Trinity

Back to school

It's official.  I start my Master's program on June 7 -- less than two weeks away!  So excited about this opportunity.  God willing, by the end of next summer, I'll have a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). 

It was kind of surreal finding my way around campus yesterday, at the age of 44, amidst a group of summer school kids, with my baby stroller!  Hahahahahaha!

Look who's four months!

Changing it up

I'm changing the format for my blog just a little.  Less words and more pictures.

There are two reasons why I'm making this change.

The first reason is kind of silly.  I usually send out a group email and then copy and paste it onto the blog, but for some reason the copy and paste feature has not been working lately.  It's very frustrating.   So rather than write it all out over again, I'm going to either summarize or write about something completely different or just post a picture related to what I wrote about in the email!  How is that for flexibility!

The second reason is Facebook.  With Facebook, I've become less faithful to the blog  I write daily on Facebook, sometimes two or three times a day.  Ad nauseaum!    However, the blog still serves a purpose, just as email does.  So I'll continue to maintain these for the time being.   And since my blog is imported to Facebook, I'm writing and posting pictures with Facebook in mind.  Please please join if you haven't already!  I'd love to keep track of you this way!

So that's what is going on with me.  My next post will begin the change.  See if you can see the difference!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kathleen with three of her BFF's!

Suffering for Jesus

As I write this, Keri Lynn is up in the air on the way to Japan!  Woooo-hoo!  She's "suffering for Jesus" in business class.  Poor thing. 

It's a 14 hour flight.  When she arrives, she'll be 13 hours ahead of us (EST).  So strange to think that she'll be on the other side of the world!  Wow!  The privilege of traveling!

The kids are finishing up their second to last week of school, then we'll be heading into summer.  The days are warm and humid.  It definitely feels like summer already.  It's hard not to turn the air conditioning up and up and up!

I'm finishing up the paperwork for my school starting in June.  A lot of the financial aid that I was counting on isn't coming through, but there is one special grant for graduate students that are committed to teaching in low-income/special needs schools.  There are also loan forgiveness programs for teachers, so I'm hoping that it will end up costing fairly little.  It's tough getting more education so that one can actually get a job!  Ack!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baby Dedication Day

The sands of time

Keegan is just a few days short of his fourth month! He has grown a lot lately. It won't be long before he's sitting on his own and eating solids. He enjoys playing with his links, batting hanging toys, eating his shirt, and stuffing his fists in his mouth. When I'm late with his bottle, he declares a national emergency. He enjoys "talking" to people. He's just all around CUTE. Love that boy!

My oldest baby is preparing for her trip to Japan. She leaves on Thursday and will be gone for nearly 2 1/2 months. We are running around doing last minute things. I have been overwhelmed with the way so many things have fallen into place for her for this amazing trip. Funds are pretty much all in. She even got a dog-sitting and babysitting job this weekend that earned her a little extra spending money. Whew! I can't wait to see how the Lord will work in her this summer. And I can't wait to see Hongodai Church in action! It is a wonderful community of believers -- a great example to us here in the States.

The rest of the kids are finishing up the last two weeks of school. We get out earlier than most because we start at the beginning of August. I like the schedule. The summer is a little shorter, but we also get more time off during the school year. The kids are more than ready to get out of school!

I was recently made aware of a program available at a college south of where we live. It's a Master's Program that starts full time for the summer, continues at night through the school year and then finishes up full time through the next summer. I'm hoping to get into it this summer, starting June 7! God willing, by the end of next summer, I'll have my Master's in Special Education and be employable. Not that there are any job offerings right now. Our county, as are so many counties, is cutting the education budget like crazy. But eventually, they'll need to start hiring again. And I'll be ready!

We've been struggling mightily with me out of work completely all this last year and that pesky mortgage still due every month! But our bank is at last working with us with a loan reconstruction. Please pray with us, that all will work out in a beneficial manner for us and for the mortgage company. We love our house, but we are prepared, if we need to, to downsize. God is so very gracious to us! There has never been a time that our family's needs have not been met!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Keegan's normal sleeping position with hands up at his head

I've got sunshine!

Yesterday, along with the dreariness of a rainy day, Kody was sick and threw up three humongously gross piles of vomit on the carpet and breakfast room floor. Since I was overdue for a trip to the grocery store, did I have any paper towels? No. Napkins? No. Did I want to use some old towels? No. Did I want to even deal with the vomit? No!!! So I got Kristofer to at least get up the main disgusting part of it by scraping it onto some cardboard box pieces. (At least I think that's how he did it. I didn't stick around to find out!) Instead, I put Kody in the bathroom and went back to bed after the kids left for school. Then, when Keith got home, I told him about the mess that was now increased by yet more vomit or, as it turned out, diarrhea in the guest bathroom where Kody stayed all day.

This mess prompted a trip to the store to buy a STEAM CLEANER! Our third since our move to Georgia! We wear them out, you see! Anyway, it had been a couple of years since we'd had a working steam cleaner, so we were very excited to put this one right to use! Keith got a ton of hubby brownie points taking care of the dog mess.

Now we've got to deal with the turtles. It appears that both of them have FINALLY kicked the bucket. I actually feel kind of bad for them, even after all of my fussing about their stinkiness. With all of the excitement of having the baby, we've been neglecting them. I think they died of lack of water. Poor things. Turtles don't bark or make themselves a nuisance when they need water like Kody does. I think from now on, we will avoid all things amphibian and reptilian.

Today, the sun came out again. My heart lightened along with the weather. This winter seems to have been exceptionally cold and long -- others agree with me, so I know it's not just my hormones talking. It was warm enough today to even go for a walk! I am SO looking forward to spring. We've been in the 60s all week, and it has been heavenly!

I got a ton of stuff done today because of the sunshine -- a lot of phone calls, laundry, dishes, and desperately-needed organizing. But I didn't get to the grocery store like I had wanted to. So, Keith picked up some McDonald's chicken sandwiches and McDoubles for the hungry mob. (We only serve the very best of nutrition here at the Johnson household.) Only, I really wanted some chips and salsa. Badly wanted. At the urge-of-crying wanted. In fact, what I really wanted to do was take the whole gang off to El Charro's, our favorite Mexican restaurant, but it wasn't going to work with Keith's schedule. So, he surprised me and brought home some chips and salsa along with McDonald's. Chips and salsa have never tasted so good!

Keith has been scoring some very excellent husband points lately.

Daylight Savings Time is coming once again. I get so depressed when I have to wake up an hour earlier. It takes a good couple of weeks to get used to the time shift. It's just not natural! I guess I am not a morning person AT ALL! It seems like we just got back to Standard Time!

Keegan turns seven weeks tomorrow. He is growing like a weed. Maybe it's all the rain and cold. Nothing to do for him but eat and grow and fill his pants and eat and grow some more. He is already wearing 3-6 month clothes and becoming more and more animated. He makes us all into ridiculous sounding fools when we're around him because we'll do anything to make him smile and coo at us.

Sometime next week, Keegan should be wearing 12 month clothes, or maybe 2T. Good grief, kid!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Baby shower time!

Out of the sick bed

I am thankfully feeling better this week after a whopper of a cold. Since Keith was working on Sunday, I opted to stay home with the kids and relax before going to the baby shower instead of going to church. This worked out well. Keri Lynn was home from college to attend the shower and needed the sleep-in time, too, I think!

At the shower, we were blessed with an abundance of diapers and wipes, baby clothes and gift cards. The food was delicious. The fellowship precious. Thank you, ladies, for such a lovely time! I am posting pictures on facebook!

Today, I'm trying to pick myself up out of the sick bed to get life back in order again. I still have a bit of a sinus headache from all of the congestion I had, but I'm definitely feeling much better. I'm not sure if I had a touch of a flu or just a cold since the symptoms came on fairly quickly and left fairly quickly, too. Usually, when I do get a cold, it sticks around for a couple of weeks. With this one, I started sneezing for a few days, felt better and then was walloped by the coughing and congestion that followed. But that lasted for two days and suddenly I was feeling better again. I'm not complaining, mind you, but it was odd that it moved in and out like that.

So far, Keegan doesn't seem to have gotten it, for which I am very grateful. He gets some congestion and and a little bit of sneezing, but it's nothing worse than what he's gotten since he was born.

Speaking of since Keegan was born, I realized, as we watched the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, that the games have taken up more than a third of Keegan's life to date! I had great interest in the games for the first week, but because the most interesting events were shown later, I got really tired! So my interest level died down into the second week. The Olympics began to drag on and on. And how must it be for Keegan when it seems that it's all that has ever been on television!

Exciting things on tap for today:

1) Laundry

2) Laundry

3) Dishes

4) Laundry

5) Attempt the excavation of my bedroom

Keith bought three sets of laundry sorters from Costco -- one for the boys, one for the girls and one for Keith and me. The kids are enjoying the novelty of these wheeled organizers. Kathleen looked a little like a hotel maid as she brought her clothes over to the laundry room yesterday.

Time to get back to work!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life of leisure

It is such a privilege to be able to write down what has been going on the last few weeks. Email, blog and facebook have replaced my scrapbooks. I can look back at them and remember the precious moments of life. Thank you all for letting me share with you!

Keegan is a month old now. I can't believe how fast time has flown by. It was just moments ago when I sat on the couch watching TLC Baby Story episodes, my stomach swelled and ready to have a baby, wondering if that time would ever come and even if I would survive! And now, here I am with Little Man experiencing the outside world and thriving. At his one month check, he weighed in at 10 lbs, 14 oz, (78%), 23 inches (92%), and with a head circumference of 38 1/2 cm (57%). Since birth, he grew two pounds and two inches! All is well.

He likes to swing his arms and legs around like he's going somewhere. He occasionally smiles -- and that lights up his whole sweet face. He smiles and coos when I bring his burp cloth to his lips. And when he drinks his bottle, he makes a big production out of it. He drinks very leisurely, as if he has all the time in the world, and -- in reality -- he does. It doesn't matter if it's 5:00 in the morning or 3:00 in the afternoon, he's going to drink four ounces in about 45-60 minutes. He also enjoys being out and about in the house with all of his brothers and sisters. He's already spoiled because he knows that if he cries, someone is always around to pick him up and take him around.

I have to lock my room when Keegan is in his crib sleeping or Keva will come right in and touch and squeeze him. She loves to sneak in on him. Kody does, too, but he usually stays at the door's threshold hoping for permission to come in, too. Keva and Kody are quite the duo.

As I type this, I am trying to get over a pretty nasty head cold that I've been fighting since Monday. It started innocently enough with a lot of sneezing. But yesterday (Friday) was the worst, with a lot of miserable coughing and sniffling. Today, I think, I feel better. I just really need the weather to warm up! We are in the 20s at night and in the 40s during the day. I spend a lot of time holed up in my room where it is the warmest! This weekend, though it's supposed to get into the 50s with some sunshine. I am really ready for spring to come!

Tomorrow, after church, is my baby shower! I've gotten so many lovely gifts already, that I feel kind of weird having a shower, but it's coming anyway! Keith will be picking Keri Lynn up from school tonight so she can be here for tomorrow's festivities. Kathleen and Kylie are looking forward to coming, too! I'm just hoping that I'll keep up a better trend. I do feel a little better today, but I'm nursing a sinus headache. Blick!

Now what to do about breakfast? I guess I should grab something to eat while Keegan is sleeping. And I suppose I should also get dressed. The life of leisure!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Keegan's impersonation of "Bill the Cat"

Keegan is three-weeks old!

A very unusual day today. We have a Snow Day. No school. A perfect way to ring in the Winter Break week! This is great for me because I don't have to wake up with the kids to get them off to school until Feb. 22. Less sleep deprivation! Yay!

It's been snowing since about 2:00 this afternoon. So beautiful and COLD! All the kids, except for Keva and Keegan, are off at friends' houses either playing in the snow or hopefully sensibly holed up with their friends staying warm!

Keva is in her room right now so she will stop going around opening up all of our doors to the outside. Also she's there so she will stop sneaking into my room to pinch Keegan! I've been spending most of my time in my room where the temperature is about 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. I try to keep the thermostat at about 65, but that makes the family room and living room at about 55 and the bedrooms at about 75. Needless to say, I've been spending a lot of time in my bedroom! And in the closet, where Keegan's room is. Keegan's "room" is the warmest room in the entire house!

Keegan is currently napping. He is already three weeks old! I can't believe it. On the other hand, it feels like he's been around a lot longer than that, mainly because I'm sleep deprived and everything is a little fuzzy!

Every day, I continue to feel a little better. I've now dropped 30 pounds since Keegan's birth. I'm hoping to start in on a good exercise program as soon as I am physically able in order to keep the pounds OFF. I've been wearing all of my regular clothes again. This is so nice, since I had a very limited maternity wardrobe! Also, because I still have to watch my blood sugar, I'm working on a food schedule where I eat smaller more frequent meals. This is tricky because I've always eaten basically two big meals -- lunch and dinner. However, I feel much better and my blood sugar levels are much happier if I actually eat a small breakfast and a bunch of smaller meals. This has been my Grandmother's call to action for YEARS, so here I am at last following her advice!

We've gotten a lot of meals from neighbors and church family. I haven't had to cook since I've been home from the hosptial! When we haven't gotten a meal, I've either ordered pizza or we've eaten leftovers. There's one more meal that Ginny froze while she was here that I'm planning to use for dinner tonight, then I'll have to dust off the pots and pans and see if I can remember how to cook!

Keith called from work this morning to say that he'll be spending the night at a local motel paid by Delta to make sure he gets back to work tomorrow morning because of the weather. This means he won't be home to build a fire, but he may be getting some good overtime! He's been having to work more and more weekends these days, but we feel blessed that he has a job at all.

Keegan calls. He thinks he's hungry again.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


I'm having a time trying to find a routine in a non-routine season of life! I'm tired and sore and sometimes headachy/nauseous. But Keegan is cute, and even when he wakes me up at 4:00 in the morning, I get such a big kick out of his bright eyes and sweet concerned expressions that I can't be upset about sleep deprivation. Plus, since I'm not working, I get to rest during the day whenever Keegan is resting. It's a nice treat for as long as it lasts.

I can't believe that Little Man will be two weeks tomorrow. This time two weeks ago, I was strapped to a hospital bed trying my hardest to give birth to a kid floating up near my ribs. The hardest part of that particular labor was when nurses kept trying to get blood samples for various tests. I still have bruises up and down my arms from that!

Kylie, Kade and Konner will be coming home from school soon. The first thing they want to do when they get home is to hold the baby. "Where is Keegan?" "Can I hold him?" Sometimes I hold back because he's sleeping, but most of the time he's up by then and ready for some play time. By 6:00 pm, he's conked out from all of the attention he gets in the afternoons!

Keith has tomorrow off and will go see Keri Lynn to help her with some laptop issues. Any excuse will do, though. He loves to drive over to see her at school, even though it's a rather monotonous two hour drive to get there. I remember when my own Dad would come and see me at Biola. He didn't have a car at the time, but took the bus to see me on his day off. We'd usually eat lunch at the cafeteria and get caught up on things that were going on. I love that Keri Lynn has that Daddy time. So important to a growing young woman's maturity.

Someone from church is bringing a meal tonight! Yay! Love those meals. I even have a few more meals that Ginny prepared and froze while she was here for a few more nights. We also got a bunch of food from a family that moved out of the neighborhood -- they were cleaning out their freezers and wanted to know if we'd be interested in their extra food. Ha! Would we? Let me think a half second. Let me give you a mental picture of my wee baby birds with their mouths open. "Yes, extra food would be just fine, thank you very much!"

Three ladies from church are also planning a baby shower for me and Keegan! It's going to be Sunday, February 28, 2010 at the Warehouse, the youth building at our church, from 12:30 - 2:30. If you already attend our church, then you'll probably be getting an E-vite, but if you don't and you'll be in the area, and you want to come, let me know and I'll give your name to one of the ladies in charge of the shower.

It has been the time of many blessings. A friend has come around for several hours every day this week to help clean house. Can I tell you how lovely the smell of bleach is? The carpet and wood floors have never looked so clean either. And the laundry is nearly all caught up -- which is frankly rather a miracle in and of itself. It has been a big boost to my spirits and one of the reasons I felt so great on Tuesday. I then did a bunch of my own laundry that day and promptly felt TERRIBLE the next day. Too much stress on my stomach muscles, I guess. I keep forgetting that I still need to take it easy.

One of the biggest tricks these days is getting to bed at a decent time. I am quickly getting used to being able to fall asleep by about 10:00 or 11:00 pm in my very own bed (not on the recliner), but Keegan has other ideas. He likes to leisurely drink his bottle from about midnight to 1:00 and then he's up once more usually before morning. This actually is not a horrible schedule for a newborn, but I know I can do better if I schedule him more carefully during the day. BUT, I'm so groggy from the night, that I catch my Z's while he is sleeping right through the next bottle feeding schedule! Argh!

Last night, I woke up to feed Keegan and was just starved! Keith had gotten us some pizza at Papa John's last night while the kids had Wednesday night supper at church. He got one pizza for him (pepperoni, sausage and bacon) and one for me and Keva (mushroom, olive and pineapple)! It was perfect! All it needed was some anchovies! Well, last night, I had another piece of my pizza at about 5:00 am. STARVED, I was! In fact, while I'm typing this, my mouth is starting to water again. It may make the perfect quick lunch. Bye!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Getting back into a routine

Keegan is already 11 days old! We are getting into somewhat of a routine, as I try to find my own routine after so many months of not being able to sleep until the early morning hours and then sleeping until noon.

Last night, I actually had some chili and then was able to go to bed without the use of Tums! It was amazing and so wonderful and so comfortable to snuggle into my nice warm comforter and just fall asleep! This is discounting a certain short person who needs to eat a few times a night, but this is still infinitely preferable to the other option!

I was feeling really good coming home from the hospital last week, but my body still has had some adjusting to do. I needed to once again get used to my regular blood pressure meds. This has caused headaches and some nausea.

Then, there's the meds I've been taking for gestational diabetes. It is not known yet whether I will still need to deal with diabetes post pregnancy, but I still need the medication to control it, so I'm not hopeful that it will go away. On the more positive side, it does help me eat healthier. Too much sugar makes me feel yucky.

I also have a little bit of an opening at the incision site where the stitches tore at a stretch mark -- the skin was just too thin. So, I'm also on antibiotics to prevent infection.

I still have some of that lovely Percocet left. Man, that's good stuff. But it's starting to give me a bit of a buzz when I used it whereas before it just helped mask the pain. So maybe I might not need it so much anymore.

I feel like a drugstore.

Keegan, however, is doing great. He has upped his bottle intake from barely 2 oz. to a "whole" 3 oz. He's still a pretty sedate eater compared to other siblings, taking time to burp and watch the many faces all peering at him at any given hour of the day. He gets a little bit of a break from his popularity during school hours, but then explodes into activity as soon as kids start dribbling home. He loves the attention, though. He's very alert, staring right back at all of his loving subjects.

Kody watches over him carefully and wants to sniff and lick him, but we are giving Keegan some space for now from dog love.

Keva knows there is someone to reckon with as well. She came up to him one day last week and stroked his shoulder with two fingers, all sweet and loving. She walked away and then came back and stroked his shoulder again, then, in typical Keva style, gave the little brother a pinch! So now we know where she stands in regard to that pesky little brother!

Keith decided that I was getting too much attention, so he got his truck stuck in the mud in the backyard, after bringing home some firewood for our cold nights. The boys were all down there trying to help get the truck out, and so was a neighbor. I was worried that one of the little kids might get hurt, but it was Keith that I really needed to worry about! He had a car jack that he'd put in place to help get the truck out, and somehow, the handle came loose or something, and hit him right across his eye. He went to urgent care and got six stitches on his eyelid and treatment above and below his eye. The next day, he went in for a CT scan to make sure there was not any further damage. We are VERY grateful that he didn't damage his eye or cause himself brain damage!

Aside from the drama, we've been enjoying the many blessings of friends and family as we welcome Keegan to our family. Gifts have been pouring in, along with meals! Yum! I've even had some help with housework, which has been a HUGE blessing. So I'd like to take this time to give a BIG THANK YOU to all of you! I'm trying really hard to get some real thank you cards out, but I wanted to express my thanks this way, too. I am so touched by the joy that is shared for and with us. We are truly blessed!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Update -- Keegan is 1 day old!

If you tend to be a little squeamish about medical stuff, you might want to skip this email. If you're a mom yourself, you might be rather interested. : )

We arrived at the hospital on Thursday at 6:00 AM as scheduled. Since we'd been at the hospital last week, there was hardly any paperwork to do, just signatures for all the procedures and possible procedures.

We started off very hopeful that I'd be able to deliver vaginally. Keegan's little stubborn head was DOWN, so there was not even a need for the version! So, right away, I was given an IV to keep fluids moving, my water was broken and cervix stripped (so fun!), a catheter put in (so special!) and the epidural started. This was the first time I'd received an epidural without already being in labor. The anesthesiologist had to do it twice because the first one hit a blood vessel. While he was doing it, I felt very fuzzy headed; I could have just laid down right then and there for a little nap. Fortunately, that cleared away and the epidural started its important job. I laid back down in that Oh, so comfy hospital bed knowing I was in it for the long haul.

Pitocin was started soon after that.

The nurse discovered that there was meconium (baby poop) in my amniotic fluid. The OB told me not to worry, that it's actually quite common. So I tried not to worry.

I started slowly dilating. Not unusual for me. By late afternoon, I was at about four. I was getting a little discouraged, and was expecting the OB to call off the induction and go for the c-section, but she surprised me and said that baby looked good, things were progressing, and we could go on.

A monitor was put on baby's scalp and inside my uterus to more accurately keep track of heartbeat and contractions. Except the nurse ended up accidentally stabbing herself with the scalp monitor instead. So I had to agree to give a blood sample to prove that I didn't have AIDS. Otherwise, she'd have to take a month's worth of very serious medication to counteract the possibility -- hospital policy. The only thing was that I had no blood to give! It's always hard to get blood from me even under the best of circumstances, but after already being poked and prodded for blood to set up for labor, the nurse had to literally get blood from my FOOT! This actually ended up working out very nicely because my feet were partially anesthetized from the epidural! So she was able to get her blood sample, all the while apologizing for causing me more pain! I'm happy to report that I do not have AIDS. : )

Anyway, I buckled down for more labor. The contractions didn't hurt, even as I headed toward five centimeters, but the sitting and laying only on my back for what amounted to 18 hours sure did! I don't know if my rear end is ever going to be the same again!

Finally toward the end of those 18 hours, Keegan's heart was starting to show signs of possible problems. He was not technically in distress, but his heart was dipping with each contractions and not coming back up like it should, AND he was no where near the birth canal. Even though he was head down, he was still floating up near my ribs. I think my uterus was just too tired to contract the Little Man back down to where he needed to be.

So the doctor finally called it. It was time for my first C-section. It was a little surreal getting wheeled off to the operating room. The lights were so bright and everything was bright white and blue. It looked a lot like a scene out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I kept expecting Umpa Lumpas to come on in and sing me a song.

Keith was brought in right as they began surgery. He stood and watched most of the procedure. I was glad to be behind the curtain myself. They had to do a lot of pulling and tugging to get Keegan down to the incision. "Lots of pressure" was quite an accurate phrase. At one point, the nurse watching over me said, "It's going to feel like an army is stomping on your chest." And it did.

The OB said I have the most elastic uterus she's ever seen. I'm special, I guess!

Just minutes into the C-section, I got the privilege of hearing Keegan's first cries. Apparently he had a TON of meconium all over him. So did the placenta. He had kept quite busy in there waiting to be born! Poor guy. I didn't get to see him for at least 10 minutes while they endeavored to clean him up and do a quick check on his overall health. But then I did get to see him and was so surprised that he didn't look like my other kids much at all. He did look like Keith, but just a little.

Keith agreed and told me what I hadn't been able to figure out immediately, "He looks like your Dad!"

Ha! How about that! That means he looks like me! Kylie looks quite a bit like my Dad, too, but being a girl makes it not as obvious. It will be interesting to see how he develops.

We were all also very interested in finding out how much he weighed, given that more than a week ago he was measuring 8 lbs, 8 oz on the ultrasound measurements. Turns out the ultrasound wasn't too far off. He topped the scales at 8 lbs, 13 oz and 21 inches long -- the biggest Johnson yet! By about three ounces, but still a pretty big boy. He looks pretty mature for his age. I think he was just as ready to be born as I was ready to have him born!

Nurses then whisked him off to the nursery for further care. Keith went with them and watched as they sucked out more meconium out of his stomach. Poor guy! They checked his blood sugar levels and all looked pretty good there. They even gave him an ounce of formula which he promptly threw up, probably given that he'd just had his tummy rinsed out. Then, he was brought back to the room where I was recovering. It was so nice to see him so soon after the c-section, knowing that he'd not had trouble with breathing in the meconium or any other serious thing that might require the NICU.

By 4:00 AM, one of the nurses came in, "I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that there's a room ready for you finally in post-partum! The bad news is that I have to draw one more sample of blood! I PROMISE it will be the last one!"

After much poking and prodding and puncturing and bruising, she finally had to take it out of my foot (third try!) I literally had no blood left, I guess. I said, "Don't worry. At least if a vampire ever comes after me, I'll be safe."

Keith went on his way back home to rest, and I went to post-partum to do the same. It was HEAVENLY to be able to sleep on my back without anything sticking in or out of me (except for catheter and leg thingies keeping my blood circulating well)and just sleep. HEAVENLY. I also didn't need any Tums to sleep either. The nursery took the baby through the night and into the morning, since I couldn't get out of bed until I was walking.

When Keith came in the afternoon, he brought the baby out from the nursery and fed him and burped him and changed his diaper. Meanwhile, I took that long trip over to the bathroom for my first big walk. It was made a lot more painful than usual because my uterus was contracting in a mighty way AND I had diarrhea. (Every new mother has a contracting uterus. It doesn't usually hurt for the first baby, but for every subsequent baby, it hurts more and more . . . labor pains in reverse!) The c-section incision pain was secondary to the cramping. I was quick to get my pain medication! Oh, yes I was. But I survived and ended up sleeping very well on the second night at Hotel Piedmont.

Today, I continued to make sure I was walking and drinking and resting (according to OB instructions). I've learned how to order meals from the cafeteria. Breakfast consisted first of all of a bowl of prunes! I may have had to deal with some very uncomfortable diarrhea the night before, but it would be nothing compared to the OTHER issue that could arise if I didn't take precautions!

And I got very happy news about visitor restrictions. Just this Thursday, the day I got there, they restrictions have been lifted. H1N1 has been waining! This means that the kids got to all come over to see the baby and hold him. Keva stayed with Ginny to make it a little easier for all involved, and then Ginny came later to sit and visit and hold and feed the baby. It was a very nice relaxing day.

Keith also brought me the laptop, knowing that I'd be quite happy to be hooked up to email and facebook again! Yay! I hadn't known that he'd been keeping updates on facebook for me, except for that last one. It was a kick to read them all and see everyone's comments and concerns and prayers and elation. What a joy it has been to share this experience with friends and family all across the country!

I'll be here at the hospital through Monday. That should give me enough time to do the harder recovery. Keith goes back to work on Monday but should be done in time to bring Keegan and me home. Ginny leaves on Tuesday. It wasn't one of her regular visits, but it sure was nice to know someone was there for the kids, especially Keva! Thanks so much Ginny!

And thank you so much everyone for so many well wishes, meals, gifts. We are so blessed by our dear family and friends!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lisa made us a cake!

Baby Update -- I'm 39 weeks at last!

I was supposed to go to the hospital today to have the baby, one way or another, but through a series of events find that I'm having to wait until Thursday, the 21st. I just about broke into tears when the doctor told me that, but held it together, got a hug from Keith and headed home to regroup. While I sat on the couch later that afternoon, I watched footage of a Haitian woman in labor in the makeshift tents in Port-au-Prince, and decided that maybe I was feeling just a bit too sorry for myself. I am now very thankful that I have easy access to doctors, the hospital, my own refrigerator, water and shelter. I am blessed!

So now I look toward Thursday morning. I'm actually kind of enjoying these last few days of quiet freedom. The kids are home on a three day weekend, even Keri Lynn. Everyone has been a big help with the basic maintenance. They don't exactly jump around doing dishes and laundry at the drop of a hat, but they do help when asked without too much complaining!

We've had some baby things trickling in from friends and family. Such fun! We got a used stroller and car seat from my friend Lisa. Kylie, Kade and Konner were all fighting over the chance to run the stroller all around the house -- they've never been on the driving end of a stroller before! Lisa also made us a delicious dinner that we very much enjoyed today after church. It came with a birthday cake for Keegan. So cute!

Keri Lynn goes back to school tomorrow evening. With the exception of the time she'll be here for Keegan's arrival, she'll be gone quite a bit after that. I miss her already and she isn't even gone!

Kristofer, Kathleen and Kylie all participated in a mass choir festival on Friday and Saturday. Then this morning, they sang five of their six songs in church. I wish I could have been there, but once again I had a late night, finally getting to sleep at about 4:00 AM and sleeping until noon. Not exactly a hard life, but I do miss a lot of productivity during the day. It will be weird to get back to a normal bedtime routine, or at least as normal a bedtime routine as one can have with a newborn!

Keith starts his second week of vacation this week. Then on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on Keegan's whims, Ginny will come to help for a whole week. She shifted her time by a few days to accommodate our revised schedule. She'll help get kids on the bus, organize meals that are coming in and even cook some meals to freeze. I am very thankful!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

38 weeks, two days

I finally pegged someone down at the OB office that my date to go to the hospital is indeed Sunday, the 17th. FIVE DAYS! WHOOOO-HOOOO! I'm not anxious or anything. At all. Nope.

The plan is to go in, get an IV and epidural in place, have the doctor turn the baby's head in the proper direction for birth and have the baby! If there are any complications, the staff is on stand-by for a c-section.

I've been experiencing some swelling in my legs and feet in the last 24 hours, so I'm trying to take it easy. This is hard because I'm trying to tidy things up for when I'm gone to the hospital. Still, the kids are available to order around, and that's exactly what I've been doing. Keith just told Kristofer and Kathleen that they need to do dishes every night for a while, including the never-ending pots and pans that need to be hand washed.

Last night, I wrote up a list of people to call before and after birth. I still haven't packed my bag yet. Need to do that, considering Keegan might foil all the plans and come on his own earlier. I've been experiencing mild contractions for a couple of days now. Saturday night was the longest stint, with contractions every 10 minutes for about six hours. I knew from experience, though, that it was nothing to call the doctor about. I have particularly poky labor until I finally reach active labor, then things tend to move along quickly.

Keri Lynn went back to school on Sunday. She is enjoying seeing all of her friends and is excited to be back in a routine, especially since she doesn't have any early morning classes. (She is her mother's daughter, after all.)

Kristofer skated through his first semester of his junior year with fairly easy classes. This semester is a whole different ballgame with physics and geometry as the two big classes on his plate. He's going to have to really study on a regular basis!

My friend Ginny from Florida is coming up on the 16th to help with the home front for a whole week. And since this weekend is also a holiday weekend, Keri Lynn will probably come home to see the baby then, too, since she doesn't have to go back until Monday night. She'll be only sibling old enough to come and see the baby and actually hold him. The rest will have to be happy with looking at the baby through the nursery windows. Kathleen is unhappy about this, but the rest of the kids really don't care!

I was really pleased with the change in hospitals after Keith and I talked it over with the perinatologist. The second hospital is a lot closer and able to deal with my various issues with ease. If for some reason I do end up having complications because of my blood pressure, then I'll go to the first hospital further away. However, I feel good and all of my levels (sugar, blood pressure, weight are all under control).

Thursday, January 07, 2010

37 1/2 weeks, but who's counting

Wow, I've messed up on writing the year several times already. I could chalk it up to PBS (Pregnant Brain Syndrome), but I do have the same issue every year.

I went for my regular OB appointment yesterday. I actually saw the SAME doctor that I'd seen for the previous two appointments. That's so nice when you go to a big practice. Anyway, I tried to convince her that I really needed to be induced by the 38th week, which was a scant four days away. But she informed me that hospital policy does not allow elective procedures like that to be done until the 39th week. I was slightly deflated, but not so much as to be crushed. There is still plenty to do to get stuff ready for Keegan's imminent arrival.

So the plan is to go to the hospital on January 17, at the beginning of my 39th week, get an IV and epidural, turn baby's head the right direction, and start inducing labor! However, if there are any complications with this, I would be prepared for an immediate c-section. There are a lot of variables involved with doing this. In fact, a lot of doctors don't care to do it at all, but I'm a good candidate in that my uterus is all stretched out from having seven other children. Plenty of room for moving baby.

What I'm worried about is that I'll start labor before the scheduled version/induction. Once I start contractions, then the version (where baby is turned in the right direction) is not an option, causing too much stress on the uterus. I'm not hopeful that Sumo Keegan will go head down on his own as he has been head up the ENTIRE last trimester. I can see him on ultrasound sitting in there like a little Buddha, legs and hands crossed, sitting straight up, little head at the top of my belly. But if I do have a c-section, that will be okay, too. I'd just rather avoid the recovery time of a surgery like that.

Over all, though, I'm feeling good. I've gotten used to my life of bon-bons (without the bon-bons), wherein I don't get to sleep until at least 3:00 because of stomach acid and tingly feet. Something kicks in around 3:00, and I drift off into a mostly comfortable sleep on the couch's recliner. Then, I get up at 6:37 to get the kids off to school and climb into my actual bed until about 11:00 or noon. Not too bad, all in all. My blood pressure has been steady and pretty much normal. My blood sugars have been pretty much steady, too. When I get up from sitting for any length of time, it takes a good couple of minutes before I can actually move from that spot as muscles, joints and bones settle into place. Oh, the fun of the last month!

I've kept busy ignoring the dishes and laundry. I've been knitting instead. The kids do pretty well picking up the slack, but only when Keith or I get onto them. I have a vision of actually getting caught up with the laundry before D-Day, but I think it is only a vision. Sigh.

Keith and I were planning on having the baby sleep with us in our room for the first few months at least, but now we are seriously considering converting the master closet into baby space. It's big enough to be its own room. It has ventilation/heating and a door to close on fussy baby when he needs to sleep but isn't quite ready to do so immediately. And he's close by for late night feedings and cuddling. Now that I have one more week to wait, it is actually giving us more time to put the plan into action, because there's this tiny little problem of finding homes for all the STUFF that is in the master closet right now! We do need to organize it anyway, so this is a great incentive to get it done! I'm kind of happy about this little idea that sprung out from nowhere!

My Mom and Rich won't be able to come after all to help when baby comes, and I will miss them, but my friend Ginny from Florida will be coming that week instead. Since she and her kids come often for visits, she knows the routine and how to get around the kitchen and which kids can do which jobs. So her focus is going to be on helping with the running of the household.

Keith has a two week vacation starting Monday! This is so nice coming from his two week Christmas vacation! And this will be especially helpful should Keegan decide he's coming earlier than the 17th.

I guess I'm in a little bit of shock that the arrival date is so quickly approaching. I keep having this silly fantasy that I'll be able to sleep through the night again, but I keep reminding myself that this is not so! But, it is temporary! If he's like the other kids, he should be sleeping through the night by six weeks to two months. But then there's that thing about little ones that they like to get up EARLY whether it's a work day or a weekend or holiday. It doesn't seem to matter to them! Now that will take some getting used to! But that's okay, too, as I've learned (after many years of early mornings) that it is not a permanent situation! Trying to get my college girl up, for instance, before noon while she's home on vacation is another thing entirely!