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!

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. :-)


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.


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


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

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 and the girls love it already! :-)