Friday, December 29, 2006

Running Behind

I have a lot of emails to catch up with. I am going to run to the store this morning and hopefully answer them this afternoon. I haven't hardly been online since Christmas and I am running a bit behind! Sorry about that. And, yes, Karen, you have the correct address, thank you and I will write this afternoon!

Blessings,
Me <((>(

Please go leave a comment at this blog!

This is off the pass the torch blog:
My corporate sponsor is raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And you can help. Just leave a comment here, and Empowering Youth, Inc. will donate one dollar per comment.

So far she has 234 comments. They will sponsor her comments up to 500, so please go leave one! It's a great cause. :-)

Thanks!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Chocolate Cookie Bark

I made this as gifts this year for our nurse, speech therapist (did I mention how much we love her??) and our respiratory therapist (whom we also really like!).

It is sooo yummy. I made some for family gifts as well and hopefully there will be a little left for me. ;-)



1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S Premium White Baking Chocolate
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
10 OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

PLACE semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate in separate medium microwaveable bowls. Microwave until completely melted, following directions on package. Add peanut butter to white chocolate; stir until well blended. Crumble half the cookies over chocolate in each bowl; mix well.

DROP spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures onto wax paper-covered baking sheet, alternating the colors of the chocolates. Cut through chocolate mixtures several times with knife for marble effect.

REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour or until firm. Break into 14 pieces. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

updates

Here are some updates for things happening around our house:

1. I passed the 1 hour gestational diabetes test! WOOHOO!!! HALLELUJAH!!
(I have never passed with any of my 4 other pregnancies -- but, then, I didn't know I already have the victory!)

2. I have been having some pain in my upper left stomach area for about 7 years. A few years ago they ran some tests, determined that my gall bladder wasn't working and took it out. However, that did not stop the pain. The pain has been really bad lately, even enough to go to the hospital, so they ran some more tests and they discovered something! (Praise God! I am so tired of being told they can't find anything! And, especially with being pregnant, they were being very cautious about giving me a lot of tests) Okay, so the diagnosis is: h. pylori bacteria which has caused a peptic ulcer. Now I know what to pray against! HALLELUJAH!

3. I have 8 more weeks until my due date. :-)

4. Kaedra had her regular dr appt yesterday.

-She is doing great in everything except gaining weight. She is just so active now that she is off the vent and she is growing taller and taller so she is shedding the pounds. She is the same weight now that she was in August. (She gained more after August, she has just been losing weight a little at a time since being off the vent and being able to be active) Anyway, we increased her feedings even more so that should help. We are looking into buying a heavy-duty blender because she is going through almost $50 of babyfood a week!!!! (mostly in meat) Obviously our budget isn't prepared for that! But we are blessed and God provides ALL our needs out of His riches in glory! (Anyone have a heavy duty blender they don't need?)

-we have clearance not to take her vent with us anymore during the day! She is officially free of the vent while awake!!

-she is off the vent 1 hour of her sleeping time. We are going to see how that goes and then graduate to 2 hour increments. Last night was her first night and she did great! Her sats were 95 or above the whole time she was asleep. Being on the vent didn't change her sats at all. :-)

-last night she was able to not use supplemental oxygen all night! When Tonja noticed that her sats didn't change after going on the vent, she turned off the oxygen and Kaedra did fine without it all night! (we had talked about taking her off the vent at night, which she obviously doesn't need, and leaving her on oxygen - if she needed it. Now we are looking at her having NOTHING! PRAISE GOD!)

-Dr. Carey reduced two of her meds also. One of them we will be getting her off of completely in about 3 weeks!

5. We have no news about nursing. I am assuming we will not have nursing after Dec 31st. We will be moving our bedrooms around next weekend, to make room for Kaedra (and, soon, Ethan) in our room.

That's pretty much it. We have a busy day today, getting ready for Michael's whole family to come here on Christmas day. Tomorrow we will be busy with church in the morning and evening. Michael has to work all weekend, but he does have Christmas off.

Have a very Blessed CHRISTmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thirteen things I plan to do differently for next Christmas

I have decided to start getting ready for next year's Christmas today.

Yes, Today.

I realize it's not even this year's Christmas yet, but I'm not happy about how it has gone! I am going to work to make next year's better! So here are my ideas so far:

1. Make a Christmas organizer section in my household binder (would help if I got my household binder done!)

2. Buy all my gifts before the day before Thanksgiving. (buy some gifts year round, buy the rest of the gifts in the beginning of November)

3. Start a Christmas savings account in January.

4. Have the girls write articles for a Christmas newsletter, all year round.

5. Draw names for our big family name draw at the OU-Texas game next year. See if we can draw names just for kids.

6. Keep a readily accessible list of my Christmas wishes easy for hubby to find!

7. Put away all of our Christmas stuff this year in better boxes and better organized with better labelling in better order (put C1 towards the front of the attic, with the other stuff nearer to the back)

8. Before doing #7, declutter our Christmas stuff this year.

9. Buy a pre-lit tree after Christmas this year, give away our tree and lights.

10. Make a plan to start our advent book on Dec 1st.

11. Plan to make a Jesse Tree.

12. Plan for the stocking idea

13. start making homemade presents in January (keep list)

oops, I need one more!

14. Send packages and newsletters right after Thanksgiving

Thirteen of my favorite things this year

Here are thirteen of my favorite things that happened this year....

1. doing the mystery unit and dinner with the Konos group

2. The video Melanie made for Kaedra

3. getting our pool! & all the family time in the pool

4. Kaedra walking! WOOHOO!

5. The time the terminex guy came when I had mud on my face.

6. finding out I was pregnant.

7. cutting down on nursing.

8. Our new church opening.

9. Britty's birthday party.

10. .Kaedra's birthday (more pics here)

--Now I realize I didn't say Emily's birthday. That's because her birthday wasn't a great day for Michael and I (he went to the hospital with chest pains). But, Hallelujah! nothing was wrong and they let him come home after an overnight stay. However, I was thrilled that Emily HAD a birthday party, I just missed the whole thing! And thanks to Ria for stepping in as "mommy for a day!" Here is my blog about Em's first 5 years.

11. Kaedra off the vent all day!

12. going to the park with Kaedra for the first time.

13. still to come......have to leave some room for some great memories in the next 10 days!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

CELEBRATE!!!

We celebrate lots of things around here. Heck, when my kids get a new freckle we sing "Happy Freckle day to you, ...." BUT, I have BIG news I want to share today so EVERYONE can celebrate! (no no no, I KNOW you already know I am pregnant! that's not it!)

Happy pregnancy to Brandi,
Happy pregnancy to Brandi,
Happy and blessed pregnancy to the Zaaaaannnndddiiis
Happy pregnancy to Brandi!!!

Yes, the Zandi's are expecting their 8th blessing!
Make haste to congratulate her!
(remember, she still lives in California where they think she is an oddity for having more than 2! so let's show her some good ol' Oklahoma support!!)

Works for Me Wednesday - Trillian


I have friends on three different Instant Message Systems: AOL, Yahoo and MSN. My friend, Melanie, introduced me to a great program a few years ago so I can talk to everyone with only one piece of software! It is called Trillian and it can be found at http://www.ceruleanstudios.com/.

I use the *FREE* basic version which is wonderful and fits all of my needs. Now, when I log on to my computer, trillian logs on and I am automatically on AOL, Yahoo and MSN. (you can also have ICQ) My friends don't notice a difference on their side and I don't have to juggle 3 programs to talk to everyone on my side!

It has all the standard options of Instant message programs like smilies, hiding yourself and away messages and allows you to pick which networks you want to be logged onto (whether you choose all networks or just one is up to you). The only thing I really miss is the Yahoo Avatars, but I can live without that. ;-) Trillian even has some great sounds, if you want them, for the emoticons.

Highly configurable, free and it simplifies my life...what could be better??


Now check out other great ideas at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas pictures

Awesome father

[From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly]
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike.

Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much--except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester , Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs."He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life;'' Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. ``Put him in an institution.''

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. ``No way,'' Dick says he was told. ``There's nothing going on in his brain.''"Tell him a joke,'' Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? ``Go Bruins!'' And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, ``Dad, I want to do that.''

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described ``porker'' who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried.``Then it was me who was handicapped,'' Dick says. ``I was sore for two weeks.''

That day changed Rick's life. ``Dad,'' he typed, ``when we were running, It felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!''

And that sentence changed Dick's life.

He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.``No way,'' Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway. Then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, ``Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?'' How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried. Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii . It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? ``No way,'' he says. Dick does it purely for ``the awesome feeling'' he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together. This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992--only 35 minutes off the world record,which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

``No question about it,'' Rick types. ``My dad is the Father of the Century.''And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. ``If you hadn't been in such great shape,'' one doctor told him,``you probably would've died 15 years ago.'' So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's lives. Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including on Father's Day. That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.``The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, ``is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.''

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hadassah - One Night with the King

I just finished the book Haddassah - One Night with the King by Tommy Tenney (We still haven't seen the movie! Sorry Kim!)

The book is wonderful! It is great to read the story "fleshed out" from the bible, it is a great analogy of our relationship with Christ and it is a great book to remember how we should treat our husbands. The book reached me on so many levels and really resonated in my soul. I have a few quotes from the book that I especially liked and I thought I'd share one with you!

Haddassah (better known as Esther) was raised by her cousin Mordecai. They entertained many Jewish travelers in their house throughout her growing up. One of them was a priest named Jacob. Mordecai asked, "What was it really like to enter the Holy Place, the dwelling of the Almighty?"

and this was Jacob's answer:
"God really does have a presence, do you know? My whole being would throb with this awareness of His person. I thought I could feel His heart. And at such times I was glad everyone else kept their distance, because often I would dance and laugh and weep and shout all at the same time because my chest felt like it would truly, truly burst if I did not. I felt - I felt...well, have you ever seen a young child greet a beloved father after a long absence? The little arms pumping, the little legs churning, the leap into his arms, the tears in his father's eyes? I felt like that. A child so overcome with joy at His return that all I wanted to do in this world was to leap as high into His bosom as I could. And I could feel His tears, too. That 's the wonder of it, don't you see? I could feel His Spirit being fed, His heard gladdened, ..."

I love that quote because I have felt that...have you?

Thank you, Father, for being approachable and for giving us the Most Holy of Holies inside of us, to be with you ALL the time now, not just at a temple built by human hands. Thank you that we can feel this way whenever we take the time to get up close to you.

Medically warped child

For Christmas this year Emily asked Santa for a babydoll with a trach, vent, suction machine and "all the things a real baby needs." Poor Santa just looked at me, very confused! LOL

Also, we were at McDonalds today and Emily got a happy meal. In the happy meal they are giving away these little alien things called an "Iz". She was showing Britty how to play with it and she said "you just push on the mickey button to make it light up and play music." (Kaedra has a "mickey button" in her tummy where we feed her)

Poor Emily, all her points of reference revolve around medical stuff!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Survey

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I agree with Brandi...Eggnog for Christmas, Hot Chocolate for camping. :-) (or snow days!)

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa usually leaves his presents on the fireplace or on the coffee table. I guess he doesn't have time to wrap ours! Or maybe he knows my kids loving seeing them as soon as they get downstairs. :-)

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? On house: All white! (sorry Brandi) I don't like anything blinking on houses. I do like the large one-color colored lights around the edge of the house with hanging white icicle lights...that's pretty. On tree: we just recently switched to colored lights. I don't mind blinking lights on trees, but not chasing lights and I don't like the ones that a whole strand blinks at once.

4. Do you hang mistletoe, and where do you get it? In Oklahoma, there is misteltoe (real, living mistletoe) in about every third tree, so we don't need to hang it in the house! LOL

5. When do you put your decorations up? We try for the day after Thanksgiving, but it depends on the weather, too, and what else is going on.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Cranberry Salad

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: none

8. When did you learn the truth about Santa? the truth? I believe in Santa! :-)

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? it is not a tradition, but we have done it. In fact, last year we opened all the out of town gifts on Christmas Eve. This year we probably won't because we have church on Christmas eve night (as well as morning) and on Sundays we are usually exhausted by the time we get home!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? The girls and I put up the tree while Michael is at work. Brittany and I put up the lights. When Michael gets home we put on the ornaments. I have the boxes numbered in order of what ornaments get put on first. (CO1 - first up, CO2 - second up, etc) We have so many ornaments (and we get more every year) that we have to prioritize! we put up handmade and personalized first, then special ones given by friends that aren't handmade or personalized, then, any remaining ones. We usually talk about our memories of each one as well.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it!

12. Can you ice skate? Is this asking if I can stay in an upright position on skates? Maybe for 5 minutes at a time!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? no

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? spending the Christmas season remembering the "reason for the season" and making memories with my hubby and kids!

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? egg nog ice cream

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Church on Christmas Eve and walking through the lights at Rhema.

17. What tops your tree? An angel. All her lights died, though, so we are looking for a replacement!

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? giving

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Little Drummer Boy (by Bob Seger)

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I like them in small increments. :-)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Shopping

Well I did a lot of our Christmas Shopping last night! Sherria and I went to Mardel's, Toys R Us, Target and Walmart. I love the way we "do" Christmas presents now! I originally got the idea online but I can't find that link anymore, (it was several years ago) so I thought I would share....


We buy the girls 3 presents each. They get a gold present (their big present), a frankincense present (a present that brings them closer to God), and a myrrh gift (a "fu-fu" present - something personal). Since we believe in Santa around here, Santa also brings them a gift and fills their stockings. As they open each type of present, we talk about the 3 wise men and what each gift would have meant to Jesus and his family.



I have noticed several things since starting this:

1. Our stress about what to get the kids and how much has gone WAY down!

2. Their greediness has lessened. They talk about their Santa gift and what they are going to ask Santa for (Santa usually gives them the more fun things that Mommy and Daddy would NEVER think of getting them.), but they don't keep asking us for stuff. They gave us some ideas, but they have been very good ideas!

3. Christmas day is much calmer and less centered on the gifts!

Emily's Artwork


A New Ornament


This is about 3/4 of the way up our tree. I thought "what is that new ornament?" Once I got closer I realized it was Zoegirl!

Ethan Update - 30 weeks

Your Body:

You may begin to feel some significant discomfort now. Weighing more than ever, you may even wonder how much bigger you could possibly get! But your tummy will continue to grow, much faster now than in the previous months, and you’ll continue to gain, about one pound (0.5 kg) a week, for at least the next 6 to 8 weeks. Now that your baby weighs about 3 pounds (1.3 kg) and measures about 17 inches (43 cm) in length, you’re beginning to feel that your tummy will pop if she keeps growing!

Your Baby:

Your little cherub is starting to look more like a chubby little cherub, growing plumper and cuter every day. Her hair is growing thicker on the scalp and those lashes are lengthening. The hands and feet are now fully formed and baby's head and body are closer to normal proportions. Overall, your baby is beginning to look similar to how she will look at birth—just tinier. To prepare for her big entrance, your baby is now starting to control her own body temperature!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

I actually did a "what works for me" last week on Tuesday, but I didn't post it as such. This week I decided to join the "bandwagon!" WOOHOO!



This is an idea I used to do, pre-kids and then when I only had Brittany. I lost it somewhere along the way and just recently picked up the book with the suggestion again. We have been doing it this week and it has made HUGE changes in our house and our attitudes!

We are spending 5 minutes in each room in our house (I include each bathroom separately and the laundry room here, too) and cleaning the room as well as possible in that 5 minute period. There are 3 of us working in each room so it amounts to 15 minutes of hard work, per room. We have 11 rooms, so it takes us approx 1 hour (with the changing of the rooms) Then we pick one room a day and work on it an hour.

The wonderful thing is, the house looked so much better after only 1 day! On the first day, we mostly got things picked up and put away. After 2 days it was even better! I dusted while Emily picked up and put away and Brittany vacuumed. Today I will finish the dusting and Brittany can get the attachments out and do some spot vaccuuming against the walls and in corners. (Emily will still be in charge of picking up and putting away...esp since most of that stuff is hers!)

The other wonderful thing is: if we miss our 1 hour on the one room (like we did yesterday) it doesn't matter nearly as much, since the whole house is picked up!

The reason this is really working for us, I think, is because in the past we have been trying to focus on one-two rooms a day. The rest of the house was falling apart and not getting attention on the 6 days it took to get back to those rooms. (especially with Emily who is a human tornado and Kaedra who is just learning to mess up the house but is doing very well at it!) This way, the house is ready for visitors at any time and it is getting better every day! I LOVE IT! :-) The girls love it! Both yesterday and today Brittany has said "Isn't it wonderful having a house that's all picked up all the time?" And this is only after two days of 5 minutes a room! It's a miracle! :-)

An unexpected benefit to this is that the girls are picking up more in between cleanings. I heard them say, "Let's get this now so we don't have to waste our 5 minutes." WOO-HOO!

I think we will keep this up during the whole Christmas break and then we will see what we will do after that. So far, this is really working for us!

Be sure to check out what works for other people at Rocks in my Dryer!!

Funny Socialization Conversation

My friend Kim has a funny conversation about socialization on her blog:

Kim's Blog about socialization

Enjoy! :-)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kaedra is "movin' on up"

Kaedra moved up to the 2-3 year old room at church this weekend. It went really well, mostly, I think, because Sherria was in there with her in the morning and Brittany was in there with her for the night service. I am actually not working this quarter so Wednesday nights she won't have one of her family with her. I will go with her and stay until she feels comfortable on Wednesday nights and until I feel comfortable leaving her there, but hopefully she will be doing well soon! The lady that is working on Wednesday nights used to have a trach'd child, so I think she will not be as nervous as a teacher unfamiliar with special need kids and I won't be as nervous as I would be leaving her with another teacher! Kaedy is off of her vent almost all day long everyday, so they won't have to deal with her equipment, just her trach.

There are only two other children in the 2-3s, an almost 4 year old boy and a little girl that just turned 3, I think. So the class isn't very overwhelming and is pretty low-key! I was worried, at first, that she would be in a room full of rowdy preschoolers, but that's not the case! She had a great time doing the crafts yesterday and even ate part of a goldfish! I was also worried she would miss her friends for the few months until they move up, too, but she seemed fine as long as Ria or Britty was there. I am sure she will be thrilled when they DO move up though!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gods and Kings



Just finished reading this book. I really enjoyed it. It is the story of King Ahaz and his son Hezekiah.
It is derived from:
2 Kings 16
2 Kings 18:1-3
2 Chronicles 28:1-8, 16-27
2 Chronicles 29:1-14
as well as Isaiah and Micah

I just ordered the 2nd and 3rd books from the library and can't wait to get them. If you enjoy fiction derived from the Bible, try this book!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Advent Activities

We are doing this advent page from About.com and the girls love it already! :-)

http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/unitssubjhol/a/advent125.htm?nl=1

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Quote from Akeelah and the Bee

This was incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela in the movie but is actually by Marianne Williamson (not one of my favorite people, but I love the quote):

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

Movie Night

We watched two movies today....a big luxury! I had an OB appt so we got school done this morning and the older girls were supposed to go to Grandma's while I went with Kaedy to the OB. Grandma forgot we were coming and wasn't there when I got there, so we all headed over to the OB. Emily was very upset about this, so, to get her to stop crying, I promised we could watch a movie when we got home.

We watched Akeelah and the Bee when we got home. Then we made dinner, cleaned up and watched The Grinch (the Jim Carrey one). The girls were so thrilled to watch TWO movies on the SAME day WITH Mommy! WOWEE!!

I really loved one of them and didn't like the other one at all. Can you guess which was which?

Here are a few clues:
1. I hadn't seen either of them before
2. The one I would consider slightly offensive, was the one I loved.
3. I don't get all the hype about the other one AT ALL.
4. I barely made it through the one I didn't like.
5. As much as I disliked that one, I loved the other one, and can't wait to watch it again!


Okay, the one I loved is: Akeelah and the Bee.
I couldn't hardly stand The Grinch! UGH! I'll take the old one any day!

(And the offensive part of Akeelah and the Bee? Just a little of the language. Brittany and Emily didn't even catch it at all, except the guy spelling out "B U T T" but I thought that was hysterical! Once we get the TV Guardian, it will be a perfect movie!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

For Trivial Pursuit Fans

Michael and I love Trivial Pursuit. We own nearly every edition that has ever come out of the game. Our newest one and our newest favorite is the 80s edition...it is totally tubular! :-)

Anyway, since we love playing so much, the girls have always wanted to play with us. I came up with an idea a few years ago that was really great and then I forgot about it for awhile. I am just getting back into doing it, and I thought I'd share it with you!

I make cards for the girls with the things they are learning in school. I change the categories a little to suit us (and of course, with all our different versions of TP, some of them have slightly different categories anyway)

Here is an example of a card for Britty:
Geography: What is the capital of North Carolina?
Entertainment: What was the name of the team in High School Musical?
History: What was King Tut's real name?
Science: What is photosynthesis?
Sports/Leisure: What game uses a shuttlecock?
Wildcard: What is 11x99?

And a card for Emily:
Geography: What is the name of our county?
Entertainment: What is Diego's sister's name?
History: Who was our first president?
Science: What are the four seasons?
Sports/Leisure: What do you need to play tennis?
Wildcard: What rhymes with room?

If you keep a stack of index cards with your school stuff, you can make a card every day or once a week, or whatever works for you, and you will have enough to play a game when you get a chance! When I run out of cards, or don't have any made, we try to think of the questions off the top of our head. It's not quite as easy, but it still works!

Reader's Digest Article on Will Smith

This is a great article about Will Smith. I am a big fan of most of his movies and I loved reading this article. Now I want to have a chance to just chat with him!

http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=31133&pageIndex=0

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Border Sauce Funnies

I have been collecting these to put on my blog for awhile and finally had a minute to do it...these are my favorite taco bell border sauce sayings:



Friday, November 24, 2006

Prayers for friend, please!

My friend Denise's daughter was viciously attacked by a pit bull today and has a lot of damage to both of her arms including nerve damage to one of them. Please keep Joylyn in your prayers and pray for a quick and complete recovery for both of her arms! We love you Joylyn and we're thinking of you!

She is the one in the red shirt in this pic from a few years ago.

Pics of girls playing

For some reason I can't get my film loop to post on this blog tonight. So, to see our most recent pics, including Kaedra's first ride on a trike and her first trip to a park, click here.... http://invite.filmloop.com/x?9lX/KvM/GTmfXN9/dOzq9k0KqSyx8CXK

Ronald McDonald House

Well one of the things I was thankful for this season was the Ronald McDonald House, so I can use that as my Thanksgiving post. ;-)

The Kansas City RMH is very very nice. It borders on amazing. I was not expecting anything like it. It is a cross between an apartment building and a dorm. We had a large room with two double beds (the kind that you can "dial" your sleep comfort level), a desk, a rocking chair (Thank you Lord!!!! (I specifically asked Him for one!)) and a nice sized bathroom. We were on the third floor, which also had a shared small sitting area where you could play games or do a puzzle.

On the first floor there was a large kitchen with 4 different work station areas - each with a sink, dishwasher, stove, oven, toaster and microwave. There were two large refrigerators and a huge pantry that were all fully stocked. You are invited to use any of the food to make whatever you want, whenever you want. They also have different charities that come in every night and make dinner for everyone. They also had two large grills on the patio that you were free to use. (they also had private pantries for each room where you could keep your own food and refrigerators to keep personal food)

They have a living room area with a TV, 4 computers, and tables to play games on. They had a few sitting areas where you could chat with people, if you wanted. On the basement level, they had a ping pong table, fussball, pool, a workout room, crafts, a large toy area, another TV with kids videos and laundry facilities, if you needed them.

It is a very secure building...you are only allowed in and out with a special computer coded key and noone is allowed to walk around without a special hospital-style band that you can't take off until you leave. It is also very clean and well kept. It is really a very, very nice facility.

However, one of my most favorite parts of the Ronald McDonald house was the Ronald Mcdonald Living Room in the hospital itself. When Kaedra was in surgery we were invited to go into the "living room" which was a series of rooms and a kitchen which were set up like a nice house. (it sort of reminded me of a nursing home) There was a TV in the main room and a small table in the kitchen. People cooked meals at lunchtime and dinnertime for the people waiting there and they also had a small frig and stocked pantry as well. There were a few small rooms that you could use to nap in between 11am and 5pm and for overnights in between 7pm and 9am. I used the rooms for both purposes! They let you use the rooms on an "as needed" basis overnight and they determine how important it is for you to be there, before they determine who gets the rooms. I just barely eeked in because Kaedy was doing so well!

Anyway, Michael and I were so grateful for the RMH and the RM Living Room and all they did for us. It is a WONDERFUL charity and it was such a blessing for us. It was so nice not to have to worry about where we would stay and what we would eat for the whole time. What a weight off our minds! They do ask for a small donation ($10) per night, but wow! do you get your money's worth! We are collecting pop tops for them, if you could, please save your pop tops and give them to us, we will get them all to them! (we were already doing this through 4H, but now we are REALLY on a mission!) Thank you so much!!

Here is a link to the opening of the KC RMH http://www.rmhc.com/rmhc/index/news/events/kansas_city_house.html

Sunday, November 19, 2006

We're Baaaaaack!

We are back from Kansas City. Kaedra's surgeries went well...the tubes went in her ears with no problems and her rods were each expanded one notch, making her approximately 1cm taller (at least on one side). She was in ICU for almost exactly 23 hours and we were let go straight from there. Hopefully next time she won't have to go to ICU at all. (she was just in there since she is a "vent baby.") She was feeling great within 4 hours of the surgery and would have been up and running around except they had IVs in both of her feet, so she had to be confined to our laps or the crib. She wasn't too thrilled with that, but she was more patient than I expected. They gave her pain meds for the trip home, so she slept most of the 4 hours. She was thrilled to be home again, especially to see Emily who she repeatedly hugged and kissed for about 30 minutes. (to the delight of Emily, of course, who was just happy not to be getting hit!)

The trip went well, no problems. The Ronald McDonald house was very nice and such a blessing. They are definitely our charity of choice now, especially after having used their services. I will probably blog an entire blog just on that, so I'll leave more info for then.

Thanks for the prayers!

Ethan Update

It’s official—you’re starting your third trimester and well on your way to delivery day!

Your Baby: As growth continues, your baby weighs in at over 2 pounds (1 kg). And because his body is more developed, measurement no longer goes from rump to crown, but from tip to toe—about 15 inches (38cm)! Your baby can suck his thumb now, which is actually a good thing! It helps calm him, while also helping to strengthen jaw muscles and encourage the suckling reflex. Your baby can even cry now, but you won’t be able to hear him.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Adios

Well, we are on our way out of town in the morning. Kaedra has two appointments tomorrow, two appointments on Thursday, including an MRI, and her surgery is on Friday morning. We should be back Saturday afternoon if everything goes as planned!

Please keep us and Kaedy-bug in your prayers for the next few days. Sherria and Britty are going up with me tomorrow and coming back on Thursday night. Michael is coming up on Thursday night and staying with me til we come home. It is going to be a busy few days and I am nervous about the Ronald McDonald house. I have never stayed there before and just don't know what to expect. I guess my biggest worry is my "morning" sickness since we can't have any food in our rooms. (The reason I am up right now is because I am feeling sick and have to eat. And it's 11:15pm. Nowhere near morning!) Just pray for EVERYTHING to go well, please!

We do have internet access at the Ronald McDonald house, so I will hopefully be able to update y'all. If not, I will call Brandi and she will update you. :-) Besides I need to call her on Thursday for Tori's B'day! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TORI!!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

New way to teach long division

Britty has been struggling with long division for 2 years. She is really good at math, but gets very confused when it comes to long division! It is frustrating for both of us. I decided to take a few days off of "regular" math and just spend time on division. I researched a different way to teach it, and I found a COMPLETELY different way - one that she likes and it works great!!! It takes all the guess work out of the equation (lol) and that is the main thing that was causing Britty problems.

The new way is called Double Division.
Here is the web site http://www.doubledivision.org/

Check it out! I am even using it, now, although I can do some of the steps in my head, so it doesn't take quite so much paper or time. :-) Britty will probably be able to do more in her head, soon, as soon as she gets the hang of it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another controversial health issue

I promise, I am NOT looking for these issues. They just keep ending up in my lap.

This is an article about keeping severely disabled children small to help their caretakers. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15517226/from/ET/

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Kaedy's Birthday Cake

Apple Bundt Cake - DEEEEEEEEEELIcious!!!
This was great as a b'day cake, but would also be good as a breakfast bread.

Ingredients:
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts
Confectioner's sugar
2 cups diced, peeled apples
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Directions:

To Make Filling: Combine the diced apples, 1 tablespoon white sugar, and cinnamon. Set filling aside.

To Make Cake: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat 2 cups white sugar, oil, orange juice, vanilla, and eggs at high speed. Stir in sifted ingredients. Fold in nuts. Pour 1/3 of the batter into a greased Bundt or tube pan. Add alternate layers of filling and batter, ending with batter.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Remove cake from the pan while hot. Cool the cake, and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. (I forgot the confectioners' sugar and we didn't miss it at all!!)

Kaedra's actual birthday

Monday, November 06, 2006

Kaedra b'day party pics!

Quality of Life debate

Quality of life: This is a topic near and dear to our hearts.

Before she was trach'd, our doctor was told that he should think about taking Kaedy's case, because "it probably wasn't worth it."

Several times in the first few weeks we were told that Kaedra would probably not make it, and, if she did, her life would never be good. We were told she would be a dwarf, that she would never be able to breathe on her own, that her scoliosis was so severe she would not be able to walk, etc, etc.

My favorite comment, though, was made by my darling hubby. Kaedra was two weeks old and we were at a "round table discussion" with all of her doctors, nurses, speech therapists, respiratory therapists, etc. Michael asked when we would be able to bring Kaedy home and the doctor in charge told him "You have NO idea what you are getting yourself into." Michael had a flash of anger and told him, "You're right, we should just sell her." Everyone but the doctor laughed nervously but I think it gave them a reality check....what was our alternative?

From the moment she was conceived, we were in for the long haul. We don't care what that long haul consists of.

A few months later there was talk of institutionalizing her. I can't tell you how much it broke my heart to hear that there were even institutions that would take babies like Kaedy - that they would not be home with their families!

Today is her two year birthday. If you have met her, or even if you have seen her pictures, there is no question that she has a spectacular quality of life. She is the happiest child I have ever seen. She loves everyone and loves to be the life of the party. And, even before she was off the vent for most of the day, she was able to play and climb and go to church and make friends and all the other things that make a child's life good! Now she is talking, she is off of the vent almost all day (yesterday was 11 1/2 hours!), running around the house and getting into everything!

Looking back, it makes me sick to think that medical people didn't think her life was "worth it." Our doctor has mentioned taking her to see those doctors, but, to be honest, I don't know if I can stomach it. Maybe we will send them video. ;-)

Anyway, this is the article that got me to blogging on this. There is a big debate going on in the UK about euthanasia for babies with no quality of life.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,,1940510,00.html

Here is a quote from the article: "The college says the Nuffield's working group should "think more radically about non-resuscitation, withdrawal of treatment decisions, the best-interests test and active euthanasia as they are means of widening the management options available to the sickest of newborns"."

Think of this: Kaedra was once considered the "sickest of newborns."

Happy 2nd Birthday precious girl!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Great news story!

Try this link first
if it doesn't work...
Click here and go to the videos
Watch "Miracle Baby gives Quadripilegic Hope at 41. Of course I am bawling,
so grab your kleenexes first! :-)

Hallelujah Festival and Kaedy's first Haircut

update

We've had an eventful few weeks, here are some updates:

Kaedra updates:
1. She is off of her vent almost every day, almost for the entire time she is awake. She seems to have "off" days every once in awhile, where she won't come off as well, but on the whole, she is usually off.
2. Because of the above, she has been very busy finding all the non-child-proofed areas of the house.
3. She grabbed a curling iron and burnt her hand last Friday night while we were getting ready for a Hallelujah party. The girls went to the Hallelujah party (thanks to Ria!) but Michael and I stayed home with Kaedra and her hand hurt her all night long. :-( She was MUCH better after about 24 hours.
4. She is actually putting food in her mouth. She started having her own plate again (for awhile she would just throw her plate on the ground) the night Ashton brought dinner and she wanted her own fork to go with it. She speared her food that night and was so proud of herself. Since then, she has been putting food in her mouth and tasting it. She really seems to like ketchup and ranch! LOL. Anyway, it is GREAT progress for us, we just need her to chew and swallow now!
5. Her talking is taking off by leaps and bounds! We have been working to get her to transition from sign language to the spoken word and she is learning more everyday. We are working with her speech therapist, and we are going to be doing a program called "Target Words" (I think that's what it is called).
6. Her 2nd birthday is Monday! I can't believe she is already 2! She is acting like a toddler more and more everyday. She is such a little girl! She loves to run up to Daddy when he gets home and yell, "Daddy!" and he picks her up and she hugs him. It is the cutest thing!!
7. Her surgery is in Kansas City on November 17th. We need to be there the 15th for doctor appointments. She is scheduled to have her ribs expanded and tubes put in her ears. They are considering it day surgery so she will be released from the hospital 23 hours after her surgery.
8. We heard a rumor that they are doing the rib surgeries in Oklahoma City now!! This would be WONDERFUL for us! We are doing some more checking into it, although we will obviously still be going to KC for the upcoming surgery.
9. One of our nurses left for a better job, so we are without nursing on Wednesday and Sunday nights now. My first time "working" it was this Wednesday and it didn't go too well. (and neither did our Thursday day, as I was a walking zombie) Prayers there would be much appreciated! I have commissioned my angels to go and get nurses for Kaedra, so I am expecting a call from the nursing agency at any moment saying they have one or two!
10.Kaedra had her first haircut yesterday...Ashton came and did it. I will post pics on a separate post.

Brittany updates:
1. Brittany is going on a mission trip in July! She is so excited! It is an 8 day trip to Nuevo Laredo and they will be putting on a VBS for the children down there. She has wanted to go on a mission trip for years and she is finally old enough! (and this is our church's first kids' trip anyway) I wish I could go with her, but with the new baby and Kaedra still needing mommy, this year won't be the one I chaperone. On the way home, they will be stopping in San Antonio and going to Six Flags.
2. She is such a sweet, wonderful, smart, funny young lady. I can't believe how much she has grown up. The two of us together - we end up laughing and laughing and having such a great time. We went on a date a few weeks ago to buy her new clothes and it was sooo much fun! And she is a big help around the house, too, and with Kaedra. In fact, besides Michael, Sherria and myself, she is the only one who can fully take care of Kaedra. (well I am not counting the nurses!)

Emily updates:
1. hmmmmmm not much to update with Emily. Her personality is showing more and more and she has tendencies of a drama queen. We are working hard to curb those. Anyone have any ideas? I have never had a child like that, so I am unsure what to do (besides pray!)
2. She is doing kindergarten, but not very regularly. It is a good thing we homeschool, because she is not ready for a sit down and listen kind of day yet. She needs a little more freedom in her day, which works well with being at home. She is doing fairly well with her reading, but she is just not all that interested in learning yet. I hate to stop reading to her, but maybe she needs incentive? LOL.
3. On the positive side, she is very sweet and cuddly and loves one on one time. And, as long as Kaedra is not beating up on her, they play well together and that takes up most of their days.

Ethan updates:
1. no updates on Ethan! But there hasn't been anymore spotting or cramping, so that is great! I am just thanking God that sickness has been taken away from the midst of me. Hallelujah!

Michael updates:
1. The silly retail season has started, so I see my hubby less and less all the time. His store is doing great, though! Drug Warehouse closed across the street from him and his store bought all those prescriptions. He has seen a HUGE increase in profit since they closed and they are talking about his store going 24 hours. He wishes they wouldn't, because it will affect our bonus, but once it got going, it could do really well.
2. Of course he is THRILLED about having a boy! I had to laugh because last night he asked when we were going to put Ethan in school so he could play football. (sound familiar, Alison?) I told him Ethan could play for the Jaguars (a homeschool team) but he said he wants him to play for the "big" schools! LOL. He was just joking with me, so it was very cute.
3. His boss is going to let him have Friday & Saturday off of the week of the surgery! I will have to go up for a few days without him, but he can come up Thursday night. HALLELUJAH! Thank you Lord!!

Kahri updates:
1. hmmmmmm any updates with me? I don't think so! Besides everything that is affecting everyone else and mentioned above, my life is the same, I guess. I don't want to "trip on my lip" so I have to be careful what I say! I will just say, "I am an overcomer by the words of my mouth and the Blood of the Lamb." I got to go back to church last Sunday and I was soo happy to hear the Word and be among all the great folks at church! It was definitely uplifting. :-)

Monday, October 30, 2006

a Halloween joke for you!

A man was walking home alone late one foggy night, when behind him he hears:

BUMP...

BUMP...

BUMP...

Walking faster, he looks back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him.

BUMP...

BUMP...

BUMP...

Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him

FASTER..

FASTER...

BUMP...

BUMP...

BUMP...

He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him.

However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping

clappity-BUMP...

clappity-BUMP...

clappity-BUMP...

on his heels, the terrified man runs.

Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, the man locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.

With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.

Bumping and clapping toward him.

The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of Vicks formula 44 cough syrup!

Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...

and,

(hopefully you're really ready for this!!!)

The coffin stops!!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tadpole's gender and name

Drumroll please.........

okay, I interrupt this announcement to mention how I found out what gender Tadpole is: I had to go to the doctor on Tuesday and they did an ultrasound on me to make sure everything was okay. Everying IS okay and they couldn't find the source of the bleeding. They think it was a burst capillary from throwing up so much or an ovarian cyst that burst. Anyway, the ultrasound tech was able to tell the sex of the baby this time. So......are you ready??

Drumrull commence again, please.......




..




....




.......




..........





................




We are proud to announce we are adding a son to our gaggle of girls! Ethan Michael Lynn is reading two days ahead of schedule on the u/s, so his new due date is Valentine's day.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Kaedy-in-a-box

okay, wind the box up, hear the music in your imagination




POP! Goes the Kaedy!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Girls posing

Kaedra "eating" dinner!

Easier way to get child??

Since this pregnancy has not been a "walk in the park" in terms of fun, I am excited to see that there is maybe another way I could get a little boy.....




Unfortunately, I am not very good at these "claw" games, so maybe it wouldn't actually be easier....lol

(btw, you can click on the pic to read the story...which was actually terrifying for the grandma)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm a snapdragon...no, it's a good thing, really..


I am a
Snapdragon


What Flower
Are You?




"Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Homeschooling on Dr. Phil

http://localhs.com/scuttle/2006/10/great-school-debate.asp

Read this "lovely" article on how Dr. Phil covered homeschooling and breastfeeding on his show.

Brittany's re-connection

When Britty was 5-6 she had a friend named Hannah that she just LOVED. She even named her dolls after Hannah. Hannah's family and our family ended up not being involved in the same things the next year or any other year until now. Friday night she went to a Jr. High Game Night and guess who she went with...Hannah! Here are the two of them:


as a side note, I got to reconnect with her mom, too, whom I love dearly! We are really looking forward to getting to know this family better over the years!

Sharing the good news of others

my friends, the McCrackins, got the news today that their adoption went through so they are going to be on the way to Korea to pick up their little boy later this week! They already have one little boy from Korea: Colton, Kaedra's boyfriend. ;-) (It's okay if I say that when they are so little! LOL) Now they are on the way to get Braden and we are so excited for them! HALLELUJAH!

I have been praying for this family and this little one, Noah Steven: http://noahsteven.blogspot.com/. Check out their blog, he got to go outside yesterday! HALLELUJAH! I remember when Kaedra first went outside... What an exciting day! (Noah has been outside before, just not for 11 1/2 weeks) Please join me in praying for them, regularly!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My restful weekend

Well I have been on bed rest this weekend due to spotting and cramping. My doctor has put me on rest for a whole week. I am not good at this, but I am trying to be a good patient. I kept myself busy ALL day today with one of Brittany's Nancy Drew computer games. I highly recommend them for a day of rest. I barely noticed the time going by! LOL

I will write more tomorrow, I am off to bed now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My own response to my "solutions" post

I opened my bible to psalms this morning and these verses jumped out at me...

The Lord is my glory and the Lifter of my head....He sustains me. Psalm 3

The Lord has set me apart for Himself. Psalm 4

I am surrounded with favor as with a shield. Psalm 5

The Lord is my stronghold, my stronghold in times of trouble,
I know His name and I put my trust in Him
For He does not forsake those who seek Him. Psalm 9

I sing to the Lord, because he has dealt boutifully with me. Psalm 13

And I am like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
and I yield my fruit in its season,
my leaf does not wither and in whatever I do, I prosper. Psalm 1

When your hut's on fire....

My dear friend Susan sent this to me after reading my last post....

WHEN YOUR HUT'S ON FIRE

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small,
uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Everyday he
scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he
eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect
himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little
hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had
happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief,
and anger. He cried out, "God! How could you do this to me?"

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching
the island! It had come to rescue him! "How did you know I was here?"
asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they
replied.

The Moral of This Story:
It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we
shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives.... even in the midst
of pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut
seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons
the Grace of God.

P. S. You may want to consider passing this on, because you never know
who feels as if their hut is on fire today.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Solutions?

So, we have an issue that has come up against us...I will get to what it is in a second. We have been calling different people in charge trying to come up with solutions. These are some of the ideas that we have received:

1. get a divorce, still live together, but have Kahri get on welfare.
1a. same as above, but also claim Kahri as a live in nurse.
2. move to a different state
3. have Michael step down from his position and take a lesser paying position.
4. have Michael quit his job and get a completely different one.
5. work out a series of benefit concerts.
6. put Kaedy's name on a jug and have people contribute to a "Kaedra fund" at local Walmarts.
7. have more kids so you can claim them(okay, I can HONESTLY say that this has NEVER been a reason I have considered for having more kids)


Aren't these lovely "solutions?" They were all given to us by supposedly intelligent people who were being serious at the time!

So the issue we are up against? Our insurance is changing as of Jan 1st. Neither of the two choices we have for new insurance will take care of our nursing needs (not to mention other of Kaedy's needs). One of them will only pay $1000 maximum per month in nursing and the other will pay 80%. The first one would cover not-quite two days out of the month, the second - if we are only responsible for 20% of our nursing, that will still be approx $3800 a month! Add the lifetime max to the equation and Kaedra will only be able to have a few more rib surgeries. We are applying for a program called TEFRA for supplemental aid with Kaedra. I was told the other day, by someone from the county health office, that Kaedra seems far too healthy to qualify for that. She actually said, "you will do a lot better if Kaedra could be really sick on the day they come out to meet her!" She stopped just short of suggesting poisoning! (JK...well, sort of) We were originally told that our insurance wanted to institutionalize her because it would be cheaper. Now we are being told, because she is too "well" to be institionalized, we can't get government aid.

The "solutions" I listed above? They are from Michael's employer's health insurance dept, our nursing company, the county health dept and the insurance companies. Some of them (namely "solutions" 1-4) were named by more than one source!! YES! We got told by TWO different people to GET A DIVORCE!!! All four mentioned Michael taking a cut in pay so we could qualify for Medicaid. I can't count how many times people have told us to move to a different state so we could qualify for more state aid. "You just need to get yourself below the poverty level." Hmmmmm and all this time I thought we were trying to get people OUT of poverty!

Okay, I am closing my mouth now.

Hallelujah!!

I am an overcomer by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of my testimony!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

One Night with The King



Coming to theaters on Friday, Oct 13th

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

PLEASE READ!

If you have sent me mail in the past month, I have managed to lose it. Jeff Mitchell - if you read this, please email me again. I don't have your emails or your address. Anyone that is waiting for an email from me, please try emailing me again! I had to re-load Windows and, for some reason, it chose to back all my info up to 9/9/06. In between then and now, I have nothing....

Thanks!

Monday, October 09, 2006

ACK! They're BACK!


This is one of those fashions that should have quietly disappeared. Don't get me wrong, I wore them all the time in the 80s and who knows, maybe I will have a pair in a year or two...(ya never know...) but I will HAVE TO laugh at myself!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Obviously my exit

We passed through Peculiar, MO on the way to and from Kaedy's appt. I wonder if anyone got the irony of our van (with the license plate peculyr) going through Peculiar! We did!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Kansas City update


Well, we are home from our trip to Kansas City. I'll get to the important details first, and then I'll fill in the details.

1. Kaedra was accepted into their program
2. Her surgery is scheduled for Nov 17th
3. We loved Dr. Price
4. The hospital is beautiful and created totally around children.



The trip took almost exactly 4 hours from the time we got on the Creek Turnpike to the time we parked at the hospital. We did not have much traffic, only a few cases of construction, and we didn't have to make any stops on the way. It was difficult to find the actual hospital because there was construction on all around it, but we did, eventually, find it. Kaedra was upset to be taken straight from the car seat to the stroller, but she got to get out and play in the waiting room.



We met with two doctors and the nurse in charge and we liked them all very much. They referred to Kaedra's case as "tricky" which was funny to us, because we see her as so normal! I think we forget the intricasies of her "condition." LOL! They compared her to our internet friend Collin Langston who was (I think) their second patient. Kaedra is now their 16th VEPTR patient. What a difference that is, rather than being one of a couple hundred! They asked about her development and I told them what I tell anyone that doesn't know her: She is a normal two year old with a lot of heavy equipment! She pretty much showed them that, the whole time she was there. She walked around, played, flirted, giggled, was shy...all the normal toddler stuff!

After taking some xrays, all in all, the appointment was about 1 1/2 hours. Here is some of the other info we got:

1. Kaedra would be admitted into and discharged out of ICU. (we are thrilled about that. We had a horrible experience "on the floor" in San Antonio. Also, we were never allowed to leave her in San Antonio. Not that I am saying I want to leave my baby, but I want to feel safe going to the bathroom, which I didn't, in SA. At least the people in ICU are used to dealing with vent dependent patients.
2. You are not allowed to sleep bedside, but they do have a dorm outside of the ICU with beds and a community bathroom. You can be with your child 22 hours a day. (there are two hours of shift change where you can't be there)
3. If the dorm is full, they have fold out chairs in the waiting room.
4. The Ronald McDonald house is right next to the hospital and is free. It is also newly renovated and is BEAUTIFUL! The doctor told us they had suites and when we drove around the outside, it looked like an upscale apartment building.

I don't know what option we are going to use yet. It will depend somewhat on who goes with me. Kaedy is never alone at home, except maybe a minute or two when she first wakes up in the morning or after nap. And she is not used to being in a crib except when asleep, so I can't imagine leaving her there by herself for long. My friend Tarry is looking into going with me, Sherria has offered, and Brittany really wants to go - so we have a few options. Someone HAS to go with me, because I can't drive without a helper in the seat next to Kaedra (in case she becomes disconnected, she needs more oxygen, etc, etc) But where we stay will depend on who goes, what we decide to do about sleep, and what we feel about the unit.

Time to eat dinner and watch "Hoodwinked." I will finish this later!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One of my favorite worship songs

You are Holy....
sung here by Michael W. Smith

Cool Site

I got this from my friend Kim's blog and it is a really fun site!

I've been using this site called Judy's Book to find great new restaurants and other local stuff based on reviews from real people. The site lets you swap local finds with people you know, so the more friends you have, the better it works. I'm enjoying it and I think you will too, so come join me at Judy's Book.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Our upcoming trip to KCMO

We are getting ready for our trip to Kansas City, MO. For those that don't know, we are trying to get Kaedra changed from the San Antonio hospital to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City because it is closer and has less patients.

We are leaving Wednesday morning with Brittany and Kaedra (Emily will be visiting with Michael's mom) and driving the 4 hour trip. Our appointment is at 2pm at the new hospital, with the new doctor. All of the records have been sent and received in KC already, except for that last xray which we are taking with us.

We are believing that they will accept Kaedra into their program and that they will get her in for surgery this month. Michael's last day of available vacation is Oct 31st, so we want to get her in before that.

Please join us by agreeing that we have favor with the doctor up there and that they schedule Kaedy as soon as possible. I will update y'all as soon as I know more!

Crockpot Applesauce

Here is my favorite recipe for crockpot applesauce:
3 pounds apples (Granny Smith work well), peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Put everything in crockpot.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours,
mash with a potato masher
add 1 tsp ground cinnamon at end, if desired.

Most recipes tell you to put water in. DON'T DO IT! Our applesauce always ends up way too runny when we add water. The water in the apples is enough all by itself. If you like chunky applesauce, like we do, just use the potato masher a little less....if you like it smooth, mash more or you can even put it in a blender.

Apple Pecan Crumble Pie

Got this from the Washington Apple Page
It was really great! Even for those that don't like Apple pie that much.

Directions:
Pastry for one-crust 9-inch pie
6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and thinly
sliced
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
Crumb Topping (recipe follows)

Crumb Topping
In small bowl, combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. With pastry blender or fork, cut in 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter until mixture is crumbly.


Instructions:

1.) Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry, trimming edges.

2.) In large bowl, combine apples, pecans, sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and mace; toss well to blend. Transfer apple mixture to pastry-lined pan.

3.) Prepare Crumb Topping; spread evenly over apple filling. Bake pie 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

Kaedra

Here are some pics of Kaedy at church this weekend. One of the pics is with her friend, Lynnsey.





Apple Pickin'

The big girls and I went to Livesay Orchard this weekend. We had a great time and picked a bushel and a half of apples. We are going to have lots of applesauce, applebutter, apple pie, apple bread, apple cake, apple cookies (do I sound like Forrest Gump and his shrimp yet?)





Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things that I am looking forward to
(in the near future)

1. Leah Michelle Exum, my friend's baby, who is scheduled to be born one week from today!
2. Braden McCrackin, another friend's adopted Korean baby, is coming home in the next few weeks!
3. Going apple picking this weekend and making lots of apple goodies!
4. Getting Kaedra's surgery scheduled for October and getting it done!
5. A Hallelujah barn party for my 4H & group where the girls get to dress up, Michael is coming!, and I will get to meet and get to know fellow group-ies better.
6. Spending time with Kim B. at the next meeting!
7. Going to the state fair with my girls and Michael (if we get a babysitter for Kaedy) and hanging out for the day! (Sherria can you bbysit on the 7th?)
8. Getting ready for Christmas with the girls
9. Seeing Facing the Giants
10. Finding out if we are having a boy or girl
11. Michael having vacation in October (whether or not Kaedy has surgery)
12. Kaedy's 2nd Birthday!! WOOHOO!
13. Kaedy being off of her vent and eating by mouth! HALLELUJAH!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Zoegirl

Update on Zoegirl

Our new cat is doing great! She fits in with our family just wonderfully. Michael is absolutely smitten with her, which is so cute, since he isn't a "cat guy."

(he tolerates them because he thinks I am a cat person. Which I'm not. I don't think? My mom always said "cat person" like it was a bad word, so I have never thought I was one. I know I like two types of cats...ragdolls and Maine Coons, of course, but I don't like cats across the board. Okay, I am going to say I am NOT a cat person. I don't think...)

So the SAME DAY I get myself this wonderful Maine Coon from the SPCA (for a mere donation), I see an article on Google News about these new allergy-free cats. Have you seen that??? They are ridiculously expensive! But, I guess if you ARE a cat person and you are allergic, then they are the pet for you! It reminded me of the Cats and Dogs movie that was out a few years ago. They have some cool cat facts on their site and I can't copy and paste them here. So, if you ARE a cat person, or if you are a cat person in denial, you may be interested in them.

Here is a pic of Zoegirl. As you can see, I got her a collar. It is purple with rhinestones and it has a painted bell. Yes, I have gone soft. She is my first girl cat, so I am spoiling her rotten. (but I'm not a cat person, right?)

Fasting

I am on a fast.

Now don't freak out, I am not endangering the baby and this has nothing to do with eating.

I just noticed I am spending a lot of my time reading fiction lately. (more than usual) It's actually because a lady at church suggested an author and I love his writing - Robert Whitlow. But too much of a good thing can be bad. soooooo......

I am fasting away from fiction for right now. This will give me more time to read some good non-fiction I have lying around and more time to just study the Bible.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What we do know, and what we don't

Well, we had our ultrasound this morning. And yes, I had a full bladder this time. Praise God!

Okay, we know:
1. there is just one baby
2. this baby has all of its ribs!! WOOHOO!
3. this baby has a perfect spine!! WOOHOO!

We don't know:
1. Whether we are having a boy or girl


We have to wait 8 more weeks for another ultrasound, so, for now....we know we are having a baby...and a baby with all of its ribs and a perfect spine, Hallelujah (I know some people count fingers and toes, but we count ribs and vertebrae...funny how your priorities change!), but that's all folks. :-)

Monday, September 25, 2006

The straw that broke the camel's back

Or, in this case, the dryer....

Our handyman came and fixed our dryer last week. It had been broken for a few days before he came and we were SO excited to get it up and running again. Two loads after he left, it broke again.

It took him an ENTIRE week to get back out here (I don't even want to get into that story!) and he finally showed up a few minutes ago. He goes into my laundry room, takes the back off of the dryer, does something, replaces the back, shoves the dryer back in and it works fine.

What was this magic that he did?

THERE WAS A PIECE OF WICKER BASKET STUCK IN THE FAN!!!!

It kept me from laundry the whole week!

Although most people would be happy to not have to do laundry, it isn't fun when it is piling up and you don't have a way to take care of it. (we tried hanging clothes outside, but it rained on and off, so they weren't drying very quickly in the humidity...actually they were drying at the same rate they were getting stinky and moldy.....UGH)

So now I have a week and a half worth of laundry to catch up on and I am trying to decide on whether or not to go to the laundromat.......
pros: I could get 4-5 loads done at once, I could be ALL THE WAY DONE!
cons: I have to leave the house, I have to carry all the laundry, and I have to keep busy while they are washing. I may take Britty and get a start on tomorrow's school since I have my dr appt in the morning.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Let's try this again

After giving up my sweet kitty last week (to a wonderful family, willing to work on his "problem"), I decided not to completely give up on the cat population. I went back to the drawing board, aka GOD, and asked for exactly what I wanted. I started searching in Petfinder for a young, female, housetrained Maine Coon in our region. I came up with a couple, although they had some VERY cute adults. But I knew that God gives me the desires of my heart, so I didn't give up. He led me to look at the Bartlesville SPCA and I found an adorable kitty that was not listed as a Maine Coon, but definitely had all the characteristics. I called and they gave me the necessary info and we all piled in the car and took a family trip up to Bartlesville. She is definitely as Maine Coon as she could be, without the paperwork, and she is a doll!

So, we brought her home and we have her in our room while she gets acclimated to the new surroundings. I am proud to say that she has already used her litter box! WOOHOO! She also kept Michael and I up almost all night playing with our toes. (sounds like Tempe) We haven't introduced her to the dogs yet, but we will do that later today.

So, without further ado, here is our newest member: Zoegirl





These are the pics they had on the SPCA website advertising her, we haven't taken any of our own yet.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Britty's in the money

Brittany got mail today....

We weren't expecting this at all, but she got a CASH prize for winning second place in the Wagoner County Fair. Yup! WOOHOO!!!! My little girl won some money!!!

Okay.....ya ready to hear how much?

$1.50

WOOHOO!!!! YIPPEEE!!!

I told her not to spend it all in one place, but that may be hard. LOL

She decided to give it all to church. :-)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Now I never have to leave....





Well, it's official. I can get comfortable here in Oklahoma.

The only thing I have really missed from NM is the green chile. It was major culture shock to come to a place where when you say you want a chile cheese burger, they put texas type chili all over your poor patty!

I used to be able to:
go to any fast food place in NM and ask for green chile on my burger,
call Pizza Hut and ask for green chile on my pizza,
Have green chile or green chile sauce in nearly every eating establishment,
go to the grocery store and pick up a few more green chiles, in case my bushel ran out before the next chile season.
The grocery stores also had my favorite chile, Hatch Green Chile, canned and on the shelf, for any chile-emergencies. (which can be frequent, when you have grown up eating green chile on EVERYTHING! If it wasn't sweet, I had green chile on it. I even had powdered green chile for my popcorn!)

After I had already been acclimated to the large deficiency in the Oklahoma cuisine, my ex sister in law came and stayed with us (from ALB). I took her to Ron's and paid NO ATTENTION when the poor thing ordered a chile burger. She was as shocked as I was when she got her burger covered with beans and texas chili. She was a really good sport, though, and didn't send it back. (like I had a few years earlier!)

One of the times Michael and I went to visit Albuquerque, we picked up a bushel of green chile. We rode all the way back from Albuquerque with it in the car, making our eyes (and mouths) water. I never did finish that whole bushel before our freezer gave out and I lost a few pounds of the chile.

Well, now the deficiency has been repaired! My sweet friend, Susan, who also hails from NM, told me that the store in Coweta (my new favorite grocery store...read earlier post) had NEW MEXICO HATCH GREEN CHILES! Reasor's also had them, even a little cheaper. I dropped in on her, unexpectedly, and got to smell her roasting the wonderful things!

The next day, I went to Reasor's and picked up several pounds. I was so excited to see them that, as you can see, I took pictures of them and the sign! A customer came around the corner and just stared at me. He said "is there something special about these that you need to take a picture of them?" So I told them how wonderful Hatch Green Chiles were. He just nodded and left, shaking his head. To him, I am obviously not a native Okie. But, with NM Green Chiles making their way here, I may never have to leave. :-)

Ultrasound

I forgot to update about my ultrasound on Monday...or lack of one.

I got back home from Tarry's house (after the power outtage) at 3am. We all got up and got ready to leave the house early, but, in our rush, I ended up really sick. By the time we got in the car, I had nothing in my tummy. I knew I was supposed to have a full bladder, so I drank 20oz of water, thankful I could keep it down, and hoping it would be enough.

We got to the appt, had a bunch of Kaedra's ventilator's battery issues, finally got her plugged in and not beeping and the lady said my bladder wasn't full enough. She said it was 1/3 of the size it needed to be. She also said she wasn't going to suggest for me to drink anymore water because she "didn't feel like being thrown up on that day." As you can see, she wasn't very friendly, or else I would have asked if we could just "take a peek" at our baby. Oh well.

Anyway, we are now scheduled for next Tuesday before my regular OB appt. This is one of those times when I am really questionning my decision to go to a new doctor. I love my new doctor, don't get me wrong, but I loved having an ultrasound every appt at my last doctor! I was very spoiled. :-)