Monday, December 29, 2008

Roommates

Yes, we still have them. Come this Thursday it will be two months that we have been dealing with bed bugs. I am really unsure how much longer I can deal. During the past two months I have been searching the Internet for answers. One website that has been helpful has been Bedbugger.com. There are forums that you can sign onto and ask questions and read responses to others questions. That is where I have found most of my information. One name that has been consistently popping up to help people with their problem has been KillerQueen. He is a pest control operator in NY. All he deals with are bed bugs and he has had tremendous success in dealing with them. He has been toted as being extremely thorough and willing to spend whatever amount of time to help deal with the situation and get it resolved. I sent him a personal message and told him about our situation. He messaged me back with his phone number to call him at so we could discuss things more thoroughly. He talked with me for almost an hour tonight. He was a great wealth of information. He gave us helpful ideas to deal with it on our end, but is very concerned about the empty house next door. He honestly doesn't know how to handle that situation as there is no absolute way of determining the level of activity. If the exterminators have gone crazy and laid too much pesticide, then the bugs will hide until the level goes down and then find a way to get to a host. This makes sense to me as we have seen a cycle. We won't see some for a few days and then we get an onslaught again. The guy I talked with, KillerQueen, is very concerned for our situation as it is difficult to determine whether or not they will truly be gone. All I can do is pray. I know we have many prayer warriors out there. I know God is hearing our prayers. He will answer them in His time. KillerQueen seemed to think we were going to be dealing with this for several more months. I can only pray we will not. I am praying fervently that it will be done MUCH sooner.

I have plans to call COMHAR tomorrow about the situation. They are the owners of the house next door. I am frustrated because the exterminators are only treating our house tomorrow, not the COMHAR house. I know there must be activity over there if we are still seeing activity over here. I know they are going to listen to the exterminator when he says the house is all clear, but they won't be sure. I am going to express my frustration and request that they come over and see my house. See the bites on my boys. See our house torn apart. I am going to start calling them and visiting their offices until this gets resolved. One option is to have them buy our house and everything in it outright. Then we can leave a get a new start. I would willingly leave it all behind to be able to relax and sleep. It would be hard, especially on the kids, but we could get through it. But I feel that is probably never going to happen. So fight we must. Please pray we will win this battle soon. I just want life back to normal.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sleep Tight...Don't Let the....

Well, apparently bed bugs don't take Christmas Day off. Instead of waking up to the voices of excited children anticipating the opening of presents, I opened my eyes only to see a bed bug trying to make a quick escape after having his Christmas breakfast of ME! It must have just fed as it was FAT! I didn't freak as I thought I would. I simply sighed, said "Andy!" and got up. I think my mind is slowly getting used to the fact that these bugs are here and we may be dealing with them for the rest of our lives. The frustrating thing is that Andy and I had stripped the bed and checked every crevice to make sure there were none on the bed last night. Then to find one walking across the sheets, not good. I have no idea where it came from. I called Ehrlich even before allowing the kids to open their presents. Hopefully, they will come out Monday and do a fourth treatment. Looks like this weekend will be spent going through more stuff and packing it up and treating the bookshelves.

The kids had a great morning. They were all so sweet as they patiently waited to open their gifts. Daniel was a riot as after each gift he said, "Thank you mommy! I always wanted that!" Even despite the lack of Christmas decorations, they had fun tearing into the paper and oohing and aahing over everything. They are currently downstairs playing a Wii game Daniel got, "Wii Music". Daniel so loved playing instruments that I thought this game would be a good fit for him. I wasn't wrong! He's a natural.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas Day. We will...despite the bed bugs! We aren't going to let them get us down!

Yes, it's 3:17 am....

and I am blogging. Why? Because my husband is tearing out the ceiling in the entryway. Why is he doing it at this hour? Because on his "tour" tonight he found FIVE live bedbugs and three dead ones. All in our bedroom. One had even made it onto our box spring. He believes that they are still coming in through the wall and since he has blocked their entrance into the living room, thinks they are going up into our bedroom. There are some significant gaps between the baseboard and the wall. The majority of what we are finding are on the bookcases that line the wall butting up against the infested house. At least we are hoping and praying that that is indeed the correct scenario. I guess bedbugs have no respect for the holidays. We were starting to get really comfortable and even started thinking that this thing might be over....but I guess it is not. It is still a waiting game. I will be calling Ehrlich later today (yes, on Christmas) to hopefully set up an appointment for Monday, the 29th. Please pray that these terrible beasts would be gone by the New Year. I would REALLY like to go into the New Year bed bug free.

It's off to bed. The kids will be up bright and early wanting to open gifts. I can't wait to see their faces! I'll have to remember that thought when I am dead tired and they are waking me to go downstairs and open gifts!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Alive and Well

Yes, we are, and so are the bed bugs apparently. I returned home Thursday night and did a "tour" around 1:00 am Friday, only to be disappointed by finding not just one BUT TWO bedbugs in our bedroom. The most discouraging part of it was that I found on ON the bookshelf. I had never found one there before. Today, I decided to take some of the few things that are left on the bookshelf off and I found another live one in a plastic container. I continued looking and found another dead one. I came downstairs to talk with Andy and then found ANOTHER one crawling on the baseboard by the stairs. UGH!!!! We have found far fewer since the last extermination, but I was REALLY hoping not to find ANY! It looks as if we will be calling Ehrlich to come out on the 29th to do a fourth treatment. Maybe that one will be the charm.

Life has been busy since returning home last Thursday. Friday we celebrated Christmas with my mom and step-dad, Bruce. We had dinner together and then had the mad opening of gifts! Thought this year I slowed it down so we could all see what everyone was getting. It was fun, though I think my mom bought out the Lego store! Matt and Sam came away with quite a few sets. Daniel was thrilled with his new remote control car and new Duplo set (Police station). He has to play Lego's with his siblings. Sarah even got a Lego set. She really likes the City series and received the Service Station. I got two new pair of pj's (since my old ones are getting WAY TOO big!) and Andy got his usual Sears gift card.

Saturday was a day at home! We had nowhere we needed to go. That evening we hit Target and Home Depot to get a few last minute things and also things to work on the living room. Tomorrow I'll have to post what our living room looks like right now. It will be nice when it is all done, but I think that will be quite a while.

Today, I took a nap! I can't remember the last time I took a nap on a Sunday! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! I really miss Sunday afternoon naps! Sarah and I then attended the Prayer Pals Christmas Party. I will have to post some pictures when I can get a hold of them. It was great and the Pals were so generous. The kids really enjoyed all that they got. A new thing we are doing this year is canceling Prayer Pals until Kids Club starts up again the end of January! I can't tell you how thankful I am for this! It is a true break from ministry and it means that Andy and I will be home, together, for 6 out of 7 nights! What a change. Carisa and Trish both decided that they needed the breaks as Trish will be traveling a lot in the coming month and Carisa needs to be at home helping with the kids while Frank still recovers from his cancer surgery. I just need the time to keep up with the house and rid it of bed bugs! As of now, our declaration day is February 14th! Wouldn't that be great? I would LOVE it if we could declare ourselves bed bug free on Valentine's Day! Please be in prayer that these bed bugs would go away and that we would be able to fix up the house so as to prevent this from ever happening again. Thanks!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do I Have To?

That is a question I often get from my kids. Do I have to do math? Do I have to clean my room? Now I find myself asking that same question....Do I have to go home to Philly? Every fiber of my being is screaming NOOOOO!!!! I really have absolutely no desire to return. But Andy will be driving up this afternoon and then we will all be heading back to Philly. (I think he realizes if he isn't here to take us home we may never come home!!) We are to return up here for Christmas, but not until next Friday. And then it is likely only for one night. Bummer.

It has been a wonderful retreat. I can't remember sleeping so well in the last few months. Maybe, someday, I'll sleep that well in Philly. Until then I will be counting the days until our return to "our little piece of heaven on earth".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My dream day...

I cannot begin to tell you how much I am enjoying my time here at the in-laws. Yes, I REALLY miss Andy, but I REALLY don't miss the stress of bedbugs and the constant search for them. I REALLY am not missing the loudness of the neighbors and their constant music. I REALLY am not missing the divided focus I have had to live with since dealing with the bedbugs. I was able to give my children my undivided attention with homeschooling...AND IT FELT SOOOO GOOD! I am so enjoying talking with my in-laws and just having fun. OH!! It is going to be EXTREMELY difficult to go home on Thursday. If it were up to me I would stay here right through the New Year.

What also made today so wonderful was the picturesque beauty of the snow gently falling outside. I was sitting in the dinning room with Sarah going over some school and we both looked out the window and just enjoyed the scene. Of course the kids wanted to go out in it, but I did not watch the weather report and brought no snow gear along. Poor guys. They did get to go with PopPop to feed the horses at the next farm and LOVED that. They (including Daniel) were all able to ride in the back of the truck. Daniel thought this was GREAT! They love the horses and especially spending time with PopPop and Grammy. We are all going to hate going back to Philly.

I have talked with Andy several times and he has found three bugs since we were last exterminated. One was dead under the boys bunk beds, one was half alive in our room and the third was quite well on the steps. The one on the steps is frustrating as we thought with plugging up the holes in the wall to the connecting house that would limit the bugs we would find on the steps. We have no idea where it came from. I am still trusting that they will go away. One day they will be gone. I am gaining more peace about the whole situation. These things happen, and they eventually get resolved. Until that day comes I will continue to look and go about life as I need to.

An update on my friends Jeff and Jen. They are dealing with the situation well and trusting God for His wisdom and strength. Jen is healthy and the miscarriage was complete, requiring no other medical intervention. This is an answer to their prayers as they were nervous about procedure needing to be done if it was necessary. Please continue to pray for them as some days will be harder then others. Please also pray with us that God would bless them with another child someday soon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Third time a charm?

Today was our third extermination. They found nothing. No eggs, no harbors, no bugs in our house. But there is still activity in the house next door. These creatures sure are a determined lot! Since Andy has bricked and sealed the wall, we have only found a few, and only one of them was slightly alive. We are really praying that this is the end of the entire deal. They will come back in two weeks to inspect the house next door and, hopefully, declare it bed bug free. There will be great rejoicing in all the land! We are hoping that by February 9, 2009 we can start putting our house back together and live a "normal" life. I don't know exactly what that looks like, but I am hoping! I know that I will still be on the lookout for bedbugs, no matter where I go. But I guess an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If I can prevent an infestation, then life will be that much easier.

On a sad note, friends and co-workers here in Philly, Jeff and Jen, have just suffered a miscarriage. She was not far along in her pregnancy, but far enough to already become attached and love this little gift from God. Please pray for them as they go through the next few days, weeks, and months. God is certainly challenging many of our staff in different areas, but in the end He is asking us to all rely on His strength and knowledge in knowing what is best for us. Please pray for our staff as a whole. That there would be unity and that many of us would take the next weeks ahead and use them as a time of resting in Him.

I may not be blogging for the next few days as I am headed up to my in-laws while Andy tears the living room ceiling out. I am hoping to return home on Thursday. Maybe earlier if he gets through it faster. Please pray that he will have the strength and time he needs to complete the project. Once ministry starts up the end of January, life doesn't slow down until May. I would love for the project to be on the tail end of done rather than in it's beginning stages. Thanks!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pennsbury Manor Christmas and other thoughts....

On our first day of school, way back in August, we went to Pennsbury Manor, the home of William Penn. It was/is beautiful. I would LOVE to live there! We found out that they had a Christmas program. Since August I have been planning on attending. Last night was that night! It was so much fun! We got there around 5:30 pm and didn't leave until 8:30 pm! They had candle luminaries all along the paths, a Mummers Play (a traditional play done on New Year's Eve), craftsman showing their trade,and tours of the manor. The kids had a great time asking tons of questions and learning all kinds of new things. Things like William Penn's favorite drink was hot chocolate - though it was probably tons richer than our version of it, that they loved sugar and made things like plates and mugs out of sugar and used them to entertain people of significance,
Everything on this table is made of sugar, including the white plate. The little white pill looking things in the center are caraway seeds. They have 25-30 coats of sugar on them!!!

and that Hannah Penn was quite a business woman, running the mansion like clockwork. I love history. I especially love living history. It's so much fun to observe.
Matt and Sarah making clover and orange balls, often carried by Hannah to not only make herself smell good, but so she wouldn't have to smell others around her!

After Pennsbury Manor we ate dinner (I really didn't think we would be there as long as we were) and finished up a bit of Christmas shopping. It was so nice to go out and enjoy ourselves. But as soon as we got home we did a tour and found one bedbug crawling around on the floor under the boys bunk beds. We only found one, though. We have noticed a pattern, however. When the temperature gets warmer, we see more. As soon as it gets cold again, we see less. We believe that the temperature of the house next door must be set pretty low. When the house next door warms up because the temperature outside gets warmer the bugs wake-up and are hungry and search for food. One of the people from COMHAR called to let us know the exterminators would be coming again on Monday. We asked him if the heater was on in the other house. He assured us it was, but we asked if he could turn it up to at least 68-70 as anything below that triggers bedbugs to go into hibernation. I doubt anyone even checked, but when the exterminators come over I am going to ask them to check the temp and raise it up if it's set low. I haven't seen anyone from COMHAR even come and look at the house since this whole ordeal began.

As a result of all this bug business Andy decided to start tearing out the living room ceiling last night. He couldn't believe what he found. Two huge holes in the brick. He could see completely into the other house! There were two huge sections of brick missing out of the wall. It was unbelievable! The bugs really didn't have to work too hard at getting over here. He filled in the holes with brick, bought expanding foam filler, and started filling away. We haven't seen any bugs today. We are really hoping that this is an answer to our prayers. Now Andy will have to tear out the ceiling in the entryway to see if there are any gaps in the brick along that part of the wall. I also wonder what the common wall along Sarah's bedroom and the other house looks like. I don't know the bugs have been entering through the wall of her room or coming up the stairs into her room. I don't know what we'll be doing about that. I guess we'll wait and see what we find.


God is good. I know there have been many days in which doubt has reigned in my mind, but God loves me anyway. I just have to determine in my mind and heart that God is in control and will get rid of the bugs when He is ready and feels that I have learned what I needed to learn. I thank God that these bugs are not life threatening. Yes, we may itch, but we will not be harmed by them. They have caused me to get less sleep than I desire, but I have learned that we can live with less clothing and that laundry is SO much easier to keep up with when you have less! I have learned that my kids have a ton of faith and have not been traumatically upset by this whole incident. They have gone with the flow, for the most part, and have also realized they don't need all the things they thought they needed. We all need trials in our lives to grow. This could have been a lot worse (from stories I have read and heard), but God knew (knows) what I can handle and hasn't given me more than that (though on certain days it sure FELT like I couldn't handle it!). I thank God for loving me despite my weaknesses and doubts. I thank God for teaching me many lessons through this.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lessons Learned....so far :)

1. I am not in control, nor will I ever be (Been learning this lesson for quite sometime now).
2. We have far too much stuff.
3. I can ask WHY, cry, and doubt and God still loves me.
4. There is nowhere that is a safe zone, except in God's loving care.
5. My kids have more faith than I do.
6. You can celebrate Christmas without a tree and all the trimmings.
7. I have incredible friends, in-laws, and parents who care and pray for us.
8. I need to train my kids better in keeping a house.
9. God's timing is not my timing and I need to be okay with that.
10. He has plans for me, ones to help, not harm.
11. I need to trust and be content in ALL situations.
12. I still have SO MUCH to learn.

We're All Tired!

This morning Matt and Sarah both slept until 9:00 am and Daniel didn't wake up until 9:30 am!!! I think everything is starting to catch up with them. I have decided to take today a little easy in that we won't do science, but will do reading, math, spelling, English, Writing, silent reading, and music. Sarah will also do handwriting and PA History (a fourth grade requirement). Still a full day, but it's good to keep busy on a rainy dreary day like today!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Discontent

As of late I have been reading and thinking on the book of Philippians. Specifically, chapter 4. My life verse is Phil. 4:13, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." I have been trying to hang onto this verse throughout my life, but especially these last few months. The last month has been particularly difficult. Every day I doubt whether or not I can do this. I am tired. So tired of cleaning everything. So tired of living out of Ziploc bags. So tired of looking (and finding) these horrible little beasts.

But today as I was reading chapter 4, verses 11 and 12 spoke to me. "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Did Paul deal with bedbugs? I am SO not content in this entire situation. I am confused, angry, hurt, frustrated...everything but content. And I certainly haven't learned the secret to being content in this situation. How does one do that? What does being content look like in a situation like this? Am I suppose to merrily smile and cheerfully look for bedbugs and praise God for them? I am so confused. I dread each day. I know I am suppose to "rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps. 118:24), but how do I do that?

We have now been dealing with bedbugs for 36 days. Each day the doubt gets stronger. Doubt that this situation will ever get better. Doubt that the bugs will one day be gone. Doubt that God is even hearing my plea for relief. Everyday I cry out and yet the answer (the one I want) does not come. Tonight we found four more bugs. One was on a Home Depot apron that Daniel was wearing at the time. WHEN IS THIS GOING TO END? I know Satan is attacking. I know he desires this doubt. He wants me to doubt that God can do anything about this situation. My head knows, but my heart is hurting and wanting desperately wanting relief. I need sleep. I need exercise. I need our normal life back. I want to be able to concentrate on ministry without wondering how many creatures are getting through because I am not there to catch them. I want homeschooling to be fun again and not stressed because we have missed so many days and maybe won't complete 180 days by June 30th. How do I walk in faith, without doubt? How did Paul do it?

Preteen Christmas Party 2008

Another year has come and gone and Andy did his usual incredible job with the Preteen Christmas Party. This was Matt's first year as a preteen and in his words "It was great! The best party ever!" It was a great party as we had many helpers, most from Trinity United Methodist Church from Mullica Hills, NJ. We had over 50 kids attend the party this year. Each kid was given a Christian t-shirt. Matt was thrilled to finally get a "grown-up" t-shirt! Andy did a nice job picking the color and decal. Each kid was also able to choose a gift - and there were tons to choose from. Usually the boys pick out something sports related and the girls pick out something crafty. There were some really neat ideas in gifts this year, like girls purses filled with girly things (lip gloss, notepad, hair things, etc.). The girls swiped them up right quick! It was a lot of fun to see the excitement of the kids as they took their gifts away. As they left the stage (that's where we put the gifts) they then received a hat and gloves, and new school supplies. All in all, it was well organized, the preteens handled themselves well and we all had a good time. Thanks to all who donated toys, hats/ gloves, school supplies or financially. You really brightened the kids lives with your generosity.

Monday, December 8, 2008

UGH! Again!

The above picture is Matt's arm. The red spots are bites. UGH! Somewhere a bedbug found him. So tonight Andy and I tore his bed apart. We found two! A really tiny one and an adult one. I am freaking out. I am so fed up with this whole situation. We are definitely calling Ehrlich and requesting a third treatment for Monday, December 15th. Wednesday, Andy and I will strip the beds down and steam everything. I really wish we could have done this tonight or tomorrow, but it was late when we found them and Daniel isn't feeling well (a cold). Tomorrow is the preteen Christmas party and there is no way Andy will have time to help me. I, in fact, will be helping him set up. This whole situation is incredibly frustrating. I really thought things were starting to look up. The exterminators treated the beds the last time they were here, and yet these dreadful bugs took up residence in the boys bunk, anyway. Is there nothing that will rid these bugs from our house? I am beginning to believe that these wicked beasts will be with us until we die. Andy is going to be gutting the living room next week and the kids and I are scheduled to go up to his parents house while the job is being done. It is going to be incredibly hard to ever come back home. I just want a peaceful home again. I fear that will never be the case while we live here in Philly. I am struggling, once again, with what our future holds. Something has to give. I can't go on much longer like this.

Sarah had her Kids Club Christmas Party tonight. She had a blast. She was able to choose a gift and picked out a pink volleyball and a pink baseball glove. Such a girl! She was so excited. I am glad she chose things to keep her active, and not more toys. While she was at her party, Daniel and I made cookies (just the Pillsbury snowman ones). He remembered us doing the same thing last year and kept begging to do it again. His favorite part was eating them! He really is a funny little guy. He has a terrible cold right now. Please pray that he would heal quickly. The poor kid is upstairs coughing and I can't give him more medicine for a couple more hours. I need to find a medicine that actually works. Any ideas?
After cookies we watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Daniel felt the need to hold the cat while watching the show. See how thrilled she is?!?! This cat has never clawed or bit Daniel with all he does with (and to) her. She really is an amazing cat with kids!








Did you see it?

This morning we got a phone call from Frank saying the Today Show was going to be doing a piece about bedbugs, if we wanted to watch it. (As if I need to see one more of those dreadful things!) So we turned on the TV and all sat on our sofa and watched it. It was funny, because as Meredith Veira said bedbugs Daniel chirps "We have bedbugs!!!" It was funny, but depressing at the same time. Who wants there three year old to even know about bedbugs! I certainly hadn't planned on him knowing what to look for or even know what they were! If you didn't see it you can click on the video below.

I really felt for this poor woman who has spent over $6000 dollars to get rid of these pests and still isn't sure they are completely gone. That is why she is hiring bedbug dogs to come inspect her home. I have heard of these dogs and even checked to see if Philly had any. They do!!! I am sorely tempted to hire them myself, except that it costs a pretty penny. But is we do not get rid of them soon, I am going to be shelling out the big bucks to have them come. They have a 98% accuracy rating compared to 30% of a human exterminator. I would really love COMHAR to hire them for the house next door since there is no one living there. It would be really helpful to truly riding the houses of this problem. I'll continue to pray and see where God leads!

While Andy was talking with Frank, he shared some great news! All the pathology reports have come back CANCER FREE! They are through with this journey. He will be monitored monthly for a while, but for now he can heal and get back to a normal life, enjoying his family and anticipating the birth of their new child come May. Praise God!

Now if we could only surgically remove bedbugs, life would be so much easier.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

They're Still Here

Yes, we are still finding the little beasts. But what concerns me is that we are finding tiny ones. I mean really tiny. That means they are young. I am beginning to wonder if we missed eggs or if little ones from next door are moving in. They need to eat to molt into the next stage. I am unsure how long young stages can live without eating. I know adult females can live up to 18 months without eating, but I think I read that young ones can only live a couple of months. The house next door has been vacant for more than a month, now. So maybe the little ones are on the hunt. I am just choosing to continue to pray and trust that God is doing what is best for us and will allow these beasts to leave when He is ready. I keep praying that that is soon.

Today, I went into the schoolroom. I haven't been in the schoolroom to work since this whole ordeal began a month ago. It has been a storage facility for all the stuff we weren't sure what to do with. Since I have not seen any bedbugs in the schoolroom we, and the exterminators, felt it was probably a safe room. The room is not attached to the other house and has three exposed walls, making it quite chilly. Bedbugs don't like chilly. If they were in the boxes, the exterminator said they would crawl out in search for food. I spent the day going through the boxes, which are mostly books. I sorted them into give-a-way and keep boxes. I am a book-aholic and really needed to go through them and get rid of a lot. I kept my favorites or those I haven't read yet, but a good many will be going to the used book sale this coming summer. I figure if I ever want to read them again, I will look for them either through friends or the library. I also made the decision, that when I finish with a book, I need to get rid of it. Unless it is an incredibly good one! But if I buy or am given another book, another one must leave the house. It's book control!

An update on the Hinsons: Frank comes home from the hospital tomorrow! He is still in pain, but the doctors have said he is healing nicely. Please continue to pray for Carisa as she has decided to stay with the boys in NC. They need the stability. She will be driving up with her father next weekend. Pray for that trip as it can get uncomfortable driving so long while being almost five months pregnant. Pray for both Frank and Carisa as they both long to be together. Pray that this week will bring continued healing and that by the time the boys and Carisa arrive home Frank will have healed well enough that the boys won't hurt him when they bump or sit with him.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Another Day as a Schultz

When I was engaged to be married to Andy I remember the family (John, Lois, and Andy) telling me about the Schultz curse. It was nothing horrible, just a type of Murphy's Law thing. For example, I can remember we were sitting in a restaurant and nobody came to wait on us, for like 30 minutes!!! Since then, whenever things like that happen it's known as the Schultz curse! They are often overlooked. I suspect it is because they are all so sweet (until I entered the picture!!!! Me and my red-headed sassy-ness!) I was warned before I married into the family that it does extend itself to the spouses!

Well, poor Andy experienced a Schultz curse day. This week are the Kids Club Christmas Parties. At each of the parties each kid receives a Christian sweatshirt or t-shirt. This responsibility has seemed to fallen upon Andy. He orders the shirts, gets the church name silk screened and then presses each decal. It comes to about 12 dozen sweatshirts and 28 dozen t-shirts. It takes a lot of time. Andy decided to stay home from some activities we had planned today to complete the project. He had done some shirts yesterday before going down to visit Frank in the hospital. He wasn't worried as he knew he could get the rest of them done today. That is until he went up to the church, plugged in the press and the press wouldn't heat up. You can't press decals without heat. He was beside himself. How was he ever going to get all the shirts done by Monday? He called around and found he could use a press Monday morning, but that would have been cutting it close and placed a ton of stress on him. He finally resorted to shaking and pounding on the thing (and praying a ton!) when it finally decided to cooperate and heat up. It was at that point he decided that he wasn't going to turn it off until all the shirts were done. He pressed all day and then another gentleman from the church came and relieved him of the last 5 dozen t-shirts. So, Praise God, they are done! Now it's on to seeing whether or not we need to do any last minute shopping for gifts for the kids. Tuesday is our big night! Please pray for Andy as this is one of the most stressful times of the year for him. I can't wait until Friday! Then my husband will be home in the evenings. I like it better when he is home. He hasn't been home much the past month. It will be good to see his face and his helping hands!

With being gone all day, I don't know if any bedbugs infiltrated our house. I am really trying not to think about it. Since being home, I haven't found any. I am trying to think positively. Sooner or later (hopefully, sooner!) they will be gone. I don't think I'll ever stop looking for them, but I hope to never find them again!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Growing Up!

Daniel is growing up! For quite some time I have wanted to potty train him. I know he has the ability, it's just being consistent. A few weeks ago he developed a rash in the diaper area. I knew it was from wearing the diapers and that the only thing that was going to get rid of it was no diapers. So yesterday we started going diaperless. I have found it much easier to train if I just let them run around with any bottoms for a few days. It worked for both Matt and Sarah. Looks like it will work for Daniel as well. He stayed dry and went to the potty each time he had to go. What shocked me today, however, was that he went in all by himself and went poo!!!! I was amazed!!!! He was so proud of himself. As he should be! So we will continue this journey to the end and hopefully by the time we go on vacation in May he will have it down pat!

We are still finding bugs. We saw John, our exterminator, today as he dropped off bed encasement's that we ordered from Ehrlich. By ordering from them we were able to save over $200! I can't wait to get them on! It will help with the peace of mind thing. While John was here he was telling us he just came from a home that had to have four treatments to get rid of their bedbugs. They were finally cleared today. They were pretty infested. He said we caught our much earlier and that will be to our benefit. It is next door we need to be concerned about. He did assure us that he would be going over and inspecting the neighbors house to give it the all clear. I have to trust that he will do a thorough job. I am praying extremely hard that these little devils will die, never to return! I know I am driving Andy crazy trying to figure out how to seal our house from next door, but I guess it's impossible to completely seal row homes. I hate the feeling that I will never truly feel comfortable in this house again. I feel like I will always be looking for something. I dread when the new neighbors move in. I can only hope it is quite a while before that happens.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Beautiful Sleep!

Last night I went to bed before midnight! I have not done that since this whole ordeal began. Before the ordeal I was making myself go to bed by 11:30 pm so that I would be better rested for the school day. Then the bugs came and I have been staying up as late as 3:00 am. Most days I have been functioning on four hours or less of sleep. I believe this is one of the main causes of my crazy emotions. I decided last night that I just needed to go to bed and let the pesticides do their work, hopefully. I thought I would twist and turn for a few hours, but I laid down and don't remember anything until about 8:00 am! I purposely didn't set the alarm clock so as to sleep as long as I could. It felt good! Even the kids slept in until 8:00 am.

We haven't seen any bugs today. I am not even going to begin to get my hopes up. I'll keep looking, keep cleaning, and keep the clothes in plastic bags probably at least through mid-January. It will take a lot of convincing that these beasts are gone. I am systematically going through things to make sure there are none hiding. Yesterday, the kids and I went through all their stuffed animals and I made them get rid of a good number of them. The only ones they were really allowed to keep were their Webkinz. Don't feel bad for them, they each (Matt and Sarah) have at least 20 of them. Of the other stuffed animals they were only able to keep about 10. They got rid of a lot! They have become stuffed animal junkies. No More!!! From now on the rule is if one comes in, another goes out. We have to have some animal control around here!

Tonight is Andy's second to last Teen Club. The club Christmas parties are all next week. Monday is Kids Club 7-10's, Tuesday is Preteens, Wednesday is 5&6's, and Thursday is Teen Club with a Christmas Theme and all the regulars get t-shirts. I will be glad when next week is done and my husband will be home more. It is in the talks to start gutting the living room. Andy was thinking of doing it the week of the 14th. If that is what we decide to do, the kids and I will go live with Andy's parents for a few days. It gets to be a terrible mess with the gutting. There is dust in the walls that's almost 100 years old! We weren't planning on doing this until next year, but with the bug situation we have been thinking it would be better to do it sooner rather than later. Our exterminator said that whenever you seal the walls it's best for pest control. The joists of these houses are all connected together, making it easy for critters to travel from one place to another. Andy is hoping to cement the common wall and seal it to try to prevent bugs from coming over. Of course, the whole wall, from basement to top floor is a common wall, so it's a little hard to make sure it is entirely sealed. He has already done the wall in the dining room. Of course, these bugs are incredibly small, so if there is the slightest opening, they will find it and come in. He is trying to be super meticulous. I guess every little bit helps.

I just wanted to thank everyone for praying. It has been a tremendous help. Please continue to pray that these dreadful beasts will be gone forever, never to return!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Proverbs

Did you ever notice that in the word Proverbs is the word verb. The definition of a verb is "A verb is a word that does an action, shows a state of being, links two words together or helps another verb." (Can you tell I drill this into my children's heads?) Did you ever notice in the book of Proverbs there are a lot of actions we should be taking or a lot of state of beings we should be in? For the month of December I have taken to trying to read a chapter a day from Proverbs. Today was chapter 3. It was a difficult passage to get through. There are a lot of verbs....keep, bind, trust, acknowledge, fear, honor, etc. The most well known verses from this chapter are verses 5 & 6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." The whole trust thing is a little tough right now. I have no idea what God is doing. Why is He allowing these pests to invade our home? Why is He taking so long to get rid of them? Why all this expense? I don't even want to see the water, gas and electric bills this month. I don't understand. I am trying to acknowledge Him. Trying to trust that this is all for something.

Two verses that really spoke to me, however, were verses 24 and 25 "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared." Right now, my sleep is anything but sweet. I suspect that is due to my lack of trust and huge fear of sudden disaster. I need to trust God. That He knows what He is doing, that He has my best interests in mind, and that He will give me the strength to do this. I am far from doing this. Please pray that I would find the confidence in the Lord that I need to finish this task.

I already woke up this morning with tears in my eyes, dreading this day. I dread all the days. I dread all the work that is involved, the feeling of being held hostage in my own home, and the feeling of no end in sight. I dread that there is no escape. It will be a month on Friday that we have been dealing with this problem. How much longer will this go on? I need to trust. I am trying.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How do you know?

I completely lost it today. By 2:00 pm the bug count was up to 10. I am tired of the disruption this is causing. I am tired of doing at least 6 loads of laundry a day, tired of cleaning everything everyday, tired of inspecting everything I or my kids touch, tired of going on "tours" (as we have affectionately started to call them) to see if there are any bugs around the house. At the finding of the tenth bug, the neighbors starting to blare their music, and telling Matt for the hundredth time to his math, I lost it. I could not hold back the tears any longer. I called Laurie in total frustration. My question to her? How do you know when it is time to quit? Maybe God is telling us our time in Philly is up. Maybe all that we are going through is a sign that it's time to leave. The diabetes would be easier to handle with proper room to exercise and eat better. The stress level would drop dramatically if we were to leave the city. The kids would have the room to run around and get the exercise they need so that they would go to sleep better. Best of all, the bedbugs would not be there.

Needless to say, Laurie talked me through it with her wise words. She understands. She knows how hard it is to live here. She understands the desire to leave the stress and chaos of this life. She was so helpful, like always. She doesn't believe that God is telling us to leave. When rationality set in I believed she was right. It doesn't make any of this easier, but I have to trust that God knows what He is doing and isn't giving more than I can handle, though it sure feels like I am slowly drowning. This is much easier said than done.

On a good note, Frank made it through the 5 hour surgery. They found no physical presence of cancer and the lymph nodes they removed looked good. They were also taking care of a bladder problem, but found none to take care of. He is in a lot of pain, however. Please pray that he would heal quickly and that they would be able to regulate his meds so the pain can be alleviated.

I'm starting to...

lose it. I just found two more. I am unsure of how long I can keep going. I just want life back to the way it was, where I could focus on homeschooling, normal house cleaning, and the kids. I am so tired....

I am starting to look at single dwelling houses.

The Total is...

up to four already. I found another in our bedroom and the fourth I just found this morning in a plastic WalMart bag!!!! I am beginning to get discouraged. These things can hide ANYWHERE and I am so afraid I am going to miss one. If I miss one I'm afraid well be done. I have absolutely no confidence in this pesticide that they have been using. We have only seen a few dead ones - MANY more live ones. I feel like we will be dealing with these dreadful things for the rest of our lives. One disturbing thing I read in an article about bedbugs is that if you haven't delt with them yet, you will within the next five years. They are becoming that prevelent. Our exterminator says he is dealing with more bedbug infestations than ever before. He had another customer this week a few blocks away. They really aught to have support groups for bedbuggers. Of course, then you risk spreading/ catching the bugs. Oh, well. I am hoping someday I can look back on this experience and laugh....though I don't expect that to be anytime soon. I read a comment on-line yesterday that someone wished we could black market DDT as that was the only thing that was actually killing bedbugs back in the 40's. Bedbugs were almost irradicated back then. I had to laugh at that comment because I have thought the same thing!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's not over...

UGH!! I just went on a "tour" and found two bed bugs, one in the boys room and one under our bed. I am really trying to not let Satan get a foothold on my thinking and emotions. It is really difficult to not start thinking that this will never be over, that I will live in torment with these dreadful creatures, that I will be spending all my waking hours (which are many right now!) hunting down bugs so that they don't over take the house and eat us alive. Please pray that I will think positively and that I will trust God for this whole situation.

Extermination Day

Today was the second treatment. It is hard to express how I feel. I am on pins and needles. I am afraid to hope. It's like I can't breathe for fear that this will all come crashing in like a huge wave. I know the minute I see one, I am going to lose it. This is so hard. I am really trying to trust God in this whole thing. This is His house. He can do with it what he wants. He knows what I am going through and He does care. I am trying to put all my cares on Him and not worry about the outcome. If this is what we are to deal with He will give us the strength to do it. When He is ready, this trial will be lifted. I continue to pray that it will be over soon.

I really like the exterminators that have come, John and Micah. They have been honest with us and haven't tried to give us false hope. They said that our bugs aren't "typical". They aren't behaving properly. That's what I said in my last post...they aren't following the rules! With this, however, John believes that they are all migrating from next door. Typical behavior would be that they would find a comfortable place to live, stay there, feed, and be easy to find. Ours are everywhere...the stairs, all three bedrooms, living room, upstairs bathroom, and upstairs hallway. John believes we have been aggressive in not allowing them to find safe harbor. I sure hope that is true. In the meantime, John says we will probably still see some and that if by December 10th we are still seeing them we are to call and they will do a third treatment December 15th when they do the house next door.

On the plus side, my entire house is CLEAN! I mean deep clean! (Except for the basement - that's going to be done when this whole ordeal is over!) I am planning on making an eight week rotation in which every room gets a deep clean. I am also making lists of jobs for the kids to help me out. I have realized that I can not do this by myself and I need to train them to be helpful. They will not like this, but they will learn to do it. I have been horrible about keeping up my house and am determined to do better. It helps that there is less stuff here. I am looking at what else I can get rid of! I am on a mission!

I know this is a long post, but just one more thing. Frank, our co-worker and friend, goes in for surgery tomorrow. He is having half of his abdominal lymph nodes removed as a preventative measure against the cancer. Please pray for the 4-6 hour surgery and mostly that they will not find anything unexpected. Pray for Carisa as she was asked by Frank to stay in NC with her parents and the boys. This is going to be tough for her, not being at his side. Frank's dad came home with him and will be helping him through the surgery and hospital stay. Pray also for quick healing as he will have a 16 in scar.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Extermination #2

Tomorrow is extermination #2, and our "last" scheduled treatment. I am doubtful that the second treatment will be the final one. We have caught more than 50 since the first extermination. That, to me, is not a decrease in activity. I am fully expecting to have to get a third treatment. I found another live one today. I had a pile of beach towels on our heater (we have the tall cast iron coil radiators) that I hadn't gotten around to putting away. As I was doing that task today, I found one. So all of them now have to be washed and dried on HOT! Then I will pack them away. The most frustrating thing to me is that everything I have read says these bugs want to be close to a host and will come out to feed at least every three to five days. Our bugs aren't following the rules!! I have found some in the most unlikely places and it makes me nervous that some of these will be left behind and not die. I would never have imagined treating my coupon bag or the pile of towels. IT IS FRUSTRATING!! What ones am I missing? It is really making me crazy. Please pray as we get exterminated, that it would be effective and that we would not miss any. Please pray that the evil little creatures will come out from hiding and DIE!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Do bedbugs...

take the weekends off? After a horrendous Tuesday and Wednesday and a few on Thursday, we really haven't found anymore. I think Andy found one today. It was this way last weekend, too. We are all getting quite tired of the routine of plastic bags, things packed away, and no Christmas decorations (except for our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!). The kids are starting to get grumpy about the whole situation. Which tends to make parents grumpy. Please pray that this will end soon. As of right now, declaration day is January 26th. That seems like an eternity away. I am hoping we can hold out that long before going bonkers!

Yesterday and today I have been deep cleaning the kitchen. I have pulled everything out of the cupboards, all the baskets down, and pulled everything off the shelves and cleaned. I also decided which Longaberger baskets I will be getting rid of and thinking of how to scale our personal inventory down. I am REALLY trying to become a minimalist! Not such an easy task. I didn't even go out for Black Friday. I am trying so hard not to buy things that we just don't need. I double and triple think on every purchase. I am also hoping that this will help with our bottom line. Not that we were very frivolous, but I wouldn't think twice about purchasing a book for the kids, or an educational toy. But now I am taking advantage of the library more and seeing if friends have the educational item to borrow. I think the scaling down will take quite a while, but I feel good with what I've accomplished today. The only reason I am thankful for bedbugs is the whole push to down-size life!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wanna see?

I decorated for Christmas when we got home from our Thanksgiving festivities. Here it is....

I am unsure if we will do any decorating this year while dealing with bedbugs. I can't risk packing one away only to resurface next year. We'll see.

Thanksgiving 2008

Like Daniel's shirt? That's how I feel right now!Our decision to stay home instead of sleeping at the Schultz' proved to be a wise one as we caught many bugs again. It was unreal. A few of them were little. I was up until 3:00 am, then could no longer take it and crashed into bed. I even found one before we left this morning. I left the house praying that God would protect our house and not let them invade.

We left the house around 10:30 am and at the last minute I grabbed my coupon bag. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to get up there and I like to do something while in the car, so I decided to clip some coupons. I was happily clipping when I pulled out a grouping and there it was....a small bed bug. I thought I was going to lose it. I was so upset. I made Andy pull over and I immediately dispatched it, first squishing it and then opening the door and escorting it out of the car. Panic mode set in. Here we were, going to my favorite place in the world, and there was a bedbug tagging along. UGH!!!!! We were only a short distance away from the Schultz' and as soon as we got there I unloaded the entire bag and found another. Andy went and got some Ziploc bags and I bagged all my coupons and the bag I carry them in. We checked all the kids thoroughly as well as ourselves and then entered the house. Andy's parents are so wonderful. I only had one minor melt-down and they tried to reassure me that this would end someday. I am so tired of dealing with these beasts. I am starting to become extremely doubtful that this will ever end. There are days when I feel like this is how life is going to be from now on. I am losing hope. Nothing is safe from these bugs and we keep finding more. All I keep asking is "When will this end? What point is there to this trial? Why must it go on so long?" I know I can do all things through His strength, but I am tired. My house is a wreck, my kids are not being focused upon causing them to go hey wire, school is suffering, and I can't sleep. Please pray that I would trust God to do what is best. If that means more bugs, then pray for the strength to handle it.


We went to my mom's house after the Schultz', where we celebrated Thanksgiving #2. We had fun there, too, stuffing ourselves with more great food. I don't believe Weight Watchers will go well this week! I'll have to exercise double for the next five days in hopes of breaking even!


All day I have been concerned about the bugs overtaking the house while we were gone. We haven't seen any yet. Andy is touring as I type and I am praying he doesn't find any. I can't wait until Monday when the exterminators come again. Please pray they bring something stronger that will put an end to these retched things.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Look!

Do you like the new look? I LOVE it! I didn't have any idea how it would look as my incredibly talented webmaster friend, Carisa, did it for me as a surprise! She is so cool! It is so nice to have friends that know how to do these things as my brain is just not able to comprehend these things! THANK YOU, CARISA!!!!

We decided not to risk our house, or Andy's parents, to bugs. So we will be heading up to Schultz farm in the morning and enjoying a Thanksgiving lunch and then we will head to my folks to have a Thanksgiving dinner. I am trying to plan what I will eat ahead of time so as not to overdue it! I was disappointed this week as I gained 2 pounds. Not planning meals and lack of exercise has done it's damage. I am back on the horse and am writing everything down and will get back to exercising this Saturday. I am done focusing my life around 1/4 inch bugs. I need to get back into a normal routine and life as it once was.

Now it's off to make pumpkin pies! I so love pumpkin pie! So do Matt and Sarah! I hope and pray everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Battle Continues

After beginning to feel comfortable over the weekend we have had a resurgence of the nasty bedbugs. It is completely frustrating. Last night alone we caught 10 more. It makes us worried about our plans for today. We were to go up to Andy's parents and spend the night, but we are concerned that if we are not here we will be overrun by tomorrow night. We are frustrated because the exterminators told us it takes 7-10 days for the pesticides to take effect. Today is day 9 and there is an increase in pests, not a decrease! It makes me worried about what the house next door must look like.

I was really looking forward to getting a good nights sleep tonight. But I guess that will have to wait for another time. Someday this WILL be over. Someday my house will be back in order. Someday

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

UGH! Starting the count over!

Yes, I found a live one last night, actually early this morning, around 1:00 am. It was on the carpet in the boys room. It was a little one, too. I am disgusted. I am really hoping that it didn't hatch over here. I am praying that we, or the exterminators, haven't missed a nest somewhere. I thought we were on the rebound and would soon be able to get life back to normal. I was even contemplating getting out some Christmas lights this weekend and doing a little decorating, but now I really don't know what to do. I guess we'll just wait and see. December 1st can't come soon enough! Please pray with me that the second extermination renders ALL bedbugs incapacitated permanently! The new date for declaring our house bug free is January 20th. It seems like an eternity until then. The day will come when we are bug free. I just have to be patient and wait on the Lord. Waiting is NOT one of my strong points!

Please continue to pray for the Hinson family. Frank is scheduled for surgery December 2, 2008. It is a 6-12 hour surgery. Please pray for the kids, especially, as this is proving to be a bit difficult for them, being shuffled from caregiver to caregiver. Kids thrive on routine and their lives have been anything but routine as of late. Please pray for Frank and Carisa as they make some other decisions about their family and the surgery.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day Two

So far, so good. I am not willing to say they are completely gone as I am afraid it will jinx the whole thing. It's been two days since we have seen a bug. Tomorrow I will be changing sheets and carefully inspecting the beds. I truly hope I don't find one. I am just now letting myself get comfortable in my house. I am hoping that by January 15th, 55 days from yesterday, I can put my house back together and forget this whole incident occurred.

The message in church today was one I really needed to hear. The title of the sermon was "Ungrateful". It really got me thinking about my ungratefulness. I was/am incredibly ungrateful about this entire situation, not really even thanking God for the fact that we caught it early. I just didn't want to deal with the trial at all. How selfish of me to think I should be spared trials that are hard! I was humbled today to be thankful for trials that stretch me to the point of submission to God's will, not my own. This whole experience has opened my eyes to the fact that I still struggle with being here in Philly. I thought I had gotten past that. I thought I had given myself fully to being apart of this ministry and supporting Andy in all he is doing here. I was wrong. I am still fighting God's will for me and my family. I have no desire to be here, but I am thankful that God is still working in my heart and life. I am also thankful for the bugs as it has allowed me to evaluate life here in Philly and what needs to change in my life and how to go about changing.

Tomorrow Andy is speaking at Salem Christian School's chapel. We will all be heading up there with him. We will then visit with Andy's parents for a short time and head home. I had really wanted to get back into the swing of things this week, but it looks like that will have to wait until December 1st. We aren't as far behind as I thought we were, so I think we'll be okay. Yes, we'll still have school to finish when we get back from vacation in May (I had planned it so we would be completed), but we have until June 30th to finish the year. Life happens! We will get through.

Thanks for praying for our situation. Please continue to pray as we are still a bit on edge and trying not to get too hopeful, too fast! Please pray that we will be patient and wait for God's timing for the whole situation.

One day at a time....

Today was the first day in about three weeks we have not found a bedbug. I do not know whether to rejoice or be nervous. My mind is thinking "Yes! Finally!", but my heart is thinking "They are hiding and we are never going to get rid of these little beasts." My prayer has been that if the poison isn't working that God would allow the bugs to be seen and we would find them. We continue to do hourly rounds, looking at the ceiling where we believe is their main entrance, looking up the stairs, looking in each kids bedroom, in the hall and into our bedroom. This is something we started three weeks ago in our effort to find the bugs before they found a home to nest. I am taking each day as it comes and truly hoping that this is coming to an end.

I didn't sleep well at all last night, maybe getting two hours of sleep. Between being anxious about the bugs as well as my husband at the all-niter, proved more than my brain could handle. I then got up early to take the kids out to breakfast with my mom so that Andy could have some peace and get some much needed sleep. We then went to the King of Prussia Mall. The kids were thrilled as they have just opened a new Lego store. It was pretty cool - so many different Lego sets. The kids each had money saved and they each purchased a new Lego set. They should keep them occupied for a couple of hours anyway. I was able to finish up some Christmas shopping and enjoy a great day with my mom. It felt good to relax and not stress over these ridiculous bugs.

Andy had a great all-niter. A total of 64 people ended up going. The kids had a great time bowling from 12-3 am and then they all went back to the church and played either "Extreme Dodge ball" or watched a movie, "Prince of Egypt". Andy had fun, and slept until 2:00pm! Tomorrow will be my nap time!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I was....

starting to relax about this whole bedbug thing as we had found only three today, one was dead, and two were mostly dead (they had a little life left in them). Then I found an incredibly active one on the sofa!!!! I so hate these creatures. I am having a hard time thinking how these creatures could bring glory to God.

We called the exterminator and asked why were finding so many. He explained the stuff they use is something that the bedbugs take back to their nest and infect the nest, hopefully rendering them all incapacitated. This was not something I had read about. I am going to research some more and see if they can't just lay down the poison that kills. He said it would be normal to see activity for up to 10 days after the treatment. They will come December 1st and do the entire treatment again. As far as a third treatment, if they see any activity next door they will come over and treat our house automatically. If they don't but we see bugs, we are to call them and they will come and do a third treatment.

Last night was horrible as I confused my poor husband out of his mind. I had gone to bed thinking about these wicked creatures and inevitably dreamed about them. Sarah had come in and woke me up enough so that I was in the in-between state of dream and awake. I started hitting Andy and telling him there was a bug under the bed. I was panicked and he went to get the flashlight to look under the bed, all the time thinking "How can she see under the bed?" I finally realized that I was dreaming. Daniel then came in and decided that he needed to sleep in our bed. It was an interesting night. Poor Andy though. He has a nutcase for a wife!

Andy has his Teen Club All-Nighter tonight. Who knows how much sleep I'll get. If I'm not sleeping well with the bugs, I know I won't sleep well without him here. He'll be home at about 5:30 am. I guess I'll be pulling an all-nighter as well! Pray for their safety.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's only....

1:30 pm and I have already found 6 bedbugs. Only one of them was dead. I had hoped that the pesticides they sprayed on Monday would have started working by now and that I would only be finding bug corpses instead of wriggly legs. I am going to call the exterminator and ask when we should start being concerned. When they were here they said we should start seeing a decrease in activity almost immediately. Since Monday we have found 20 bugs. I don't consider that a decrease in activity. Another issue that has me concerned is the fact that we are getting two treatments, while the house next door is getting three. My fear is if there is no third treatment here, then anything alive over there will travel over here, with nothing to prevent it from doing so. I am going to e-mail COMAR and ask them to consider giving us a third treatment as well, so that I will have more peace of mind. If they do not I am going to ask Ehrlich how much the third treatment will cost and probably pay for it. It will be worth it for my peace of mind.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Phantom Itches

I have been experiencing these all day. I am the point where I am almost terrified of leaving the house for fear I will take one of these dreadful beasts outside and infect some other poor soul. But I had to go to my ABC class (diabetic class) tonight and also to Weight Watchers to get weighed in. The whole time I was out I was nervous one would craw out of my clothing and everyone would scream and go into hysteria. I know it is utterly ridiculous the path at which my thoughts are traveling, but I so do not want to be the reason for someone else having to deal with this horrific situation.

Andy ran up to his parents house today to spray their house for bedbugs, as a safety precaution. I am not sure we have infested them, but we are taking no chances. I have no idea how we will handle Thanksgiving. We usually sleep over, but I am a bit freaked out that there may be a chance of having a hitchhiker. Yesterday, I caught eight of the little beasts. Today it is four (so far). I am so ready for these beasts to be gone. Can you tell I'm tired of the little devils?

I am not the only one dealing with desiring life to go back to the way it was. I would really appreciate it if you could pray for the Hinson family. Frank and Carisa moved here to Philly on March 5, 2002. They have been an incredible asset to our team, not to mention a great source of joy to Andy and I. They are great friends and really help us in so many ways. November 3rd, Frank went to the hospital in pain. He had surgery November 4th, in which they removed a kiwi sized tumor. He has since been diagnosed with testicular cancer. He is currently awaiting blood test results to see if the cancer has spread to his abdominal lymph nodes. If it hasn't invaded he will likely have surgery to remove the lymph nodes. If it has invaded he will have to undergo chemotherapy. Something he does not desire to do. Please pray with us that it will not have spread and he can remove the lymph nodes before they become infected. Please pray for the whole family as they deal with this horrible disease. Their boys are 6 and 2 years old and don't fully comprehend everything that is going on. They just want their daddy to be like he was. Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And now...

the car won't start. There goes $450. We just got it back last Thursday. I know God is teaching us something.

High and Low

Yesterday was E-day, extermination day. Sunday evening we took the kids up to Andy's parents to spend the night and then we came home and started packing everything from the closets and bookshelves, so that the exterminators could spray everything. I was up until 6:00 am. I slept until 8:30 am and the exterminators were here at 9:15 am. A crew of three men came in and started steaming the mattresses and spraying insecticide along all the baseboards and ceilings. They also dusted all the electrical outlets and light switches. Their was good news. They found no "nests" or clusters of bed bugs. The only one they did find was between Andy's and my box springs (we have a king size bed with twin box springs underneath. They treated the box springs well and also the furniture downstairs. I was really beginning to feel good about the entire situation. There was light at the end of this horrendously dark tunnel.

After the exterminators were done, I went up to pick up the kids. I stayed for about an hour and then gathered their things (very limited in what they took and all clothes were in a sealed plastic bag). We hit a few stores on the way home, including Atlantic Book Warehouse. The one on rt. 309 is closing and they were having a sale. I went in telling the kids were weren't going to buy just because it was on sale. We would look. The books were only 25% off so the sale wasn't great. But while I was looking I found this:
It was just lying there innocently on a pile of books! I have been looking for this book for 6 years! It is out of print and people on http://www.half.com/ want $25-$55 for the thing! And they are ex-library copies! I only paid $4.75! I have needed it to almost complete the books needed for Before Five in a Row. I now only need Yellow Ball. I did the program with Sarah when she was three and was hoping to start the program with Daniel in January. Yellow Ball is a book available at our library, but My Blue Boat is something I had to borrow from a Florida library last time! I was on cloud nine....until I came home.

I was putting the kids to bed when Matt said his elbow itched and upon closer inspection they looked like bug bites. I immediately went into panic mode when he said they had started itching THAT MORNING! He woke up at his grandparent that morning. Had I not been cautious enough when taking them up there? I immediately called Andy's parents and asked them to bag up all the bedding. Lois said she would put it outside until she could get to it. She has an insane work schedule this week. After getting the kids in bed, I started putting everything into a bag to take downstairs to wash when I found a little beast on Sarah's jacket. That was all it took for Satan to take control of my thinking, throw me into a pit of despair, and become depressed with the possibility that I had infested my in-laws house with bed bugs. I called them up crying and apologizing for what I may have done. I am still crying. After feeling so good about the situation, I am back into obsession mode. I am consumed with the thought of bed bugs. I am weary to the point of tears. I think it has hit me so hard because I view Andy's parents home as a safe haven. A place of refuge from all that is ugly in this city. A place I can go and feel welcome and loved and secure in the midst of this chaotic life. I do not want these little beasts to invade my place of refuge. They have already invaded my thoughts and home.

Lois and John are two of God's greatest blessings in my life. It is killing me inside to think I may have brought this plague upon them. Please pray with me that there are NO bed bugs up at the Schultz'. Please pray for me to really trust God in this situation. I am still struggling with the why of this whole situation. I just want this to be done and be able to live comfortably in my own house without fear and worry.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

E-day

Tomorrow is E-day - extermination, evacuation day! I am so ready. Well, not really ready for the actual event as there is still much to do. I am ready for these little devils to be gone! Please pray with us that this extermination will be successful and that we can stop hunting down the little buggers. Please pray that we can get back into some kind of "normal" routine. School has suffered greatly. The kids have suffered from lack of discipline and schedule. They are currently up at Andy's parent to spend the night. Andy really wanted me here during the extermination procedure so we could both know what they were doing and I could state EXACTLY what I want done. I have done a lot of reading on these pests and know that certain things NEED to be done to have a successful evacuation. Please pray that I would stand up for what needs to be done, but at the same time be loving and kind. I tend to get a little over zealous and my red-headed temper shines through! I am nervous about this whole thing. I just so want this to work and for this trial to be over. I know God is in control. I only hope I have learned the lessons I needed to learn (I will post more on this tomorrow) and we can move on.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Good News!

Yes, there is some, finally! Our van is back home! After not having it for more than two months I cannot describe how freeing it felt to be able to hop into the car and go where I needed to go! My husband's only fear was that I would not be returning! If it had been last week he may have been correct in that fear. But I am beginning to handle things better. I haven't cried for two days. My brain is finally realizing that this will go away. It may take awhile, but these bugs will be gone if we are vigilant in our fight with them.

I think the turning point in my thinking was purchasing these:

I know it seems crazy, but after I purchased these (over $100.00!) I felt like I had a plan of attack. Before, everything seemed so overwhelming. I now know what I have to do and follow the plan until we are completely sure we are bug free. How long is that? From what I have read I can't be sure until 55 days after the last bite or sighting. Females can live up to and sometime over 18 months, but if there is a food source, they will come out and eat. They prefer to eat every three to five days. I am praying that we can begin counting around December 1st as that is the second date of extermination.

I have been learning many lessons through this. Namely, I don't need things. I like things, but the things were starting to make me weary. They were taking a lot of time to keep up. I didn't realize how much time, until now. Time I should have been spending with my family, and more importantly, with my Father. I am feeling much better about this trial. Please pray with me that I will continue to put into practice all those things that I have learned and not get lazy and fall back into old habits.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1,2,3,4,5....

That's how many bugs I have found today. Tonight there were three on Sarah's bedroom floor. I fear that they have found a new entry point that we don't know about. I keep praying that God is keeping my eyes wide open to spot them BEFORE they do any propagating. I am so ready for them to be gone. I am so ready to stop looking at everything and inspecting it for bugs. I honestly don't believe I will ever be the same person again. Paranoia has set in and it's to the point where everything looks like a bug. Please pray with me that these nasty little creatures will not have laid any eggs and if they have that the exterminators will have gotten every last one of them. Please pray that COMAR has done the right thing and thrown every last stitch of furniture out of the house next door and that all new things will be brought in when they decide to put people back into the house. Please pray that I will be able to get through this without going stark raving mad!

Pray for the kids as they are starting to feel the effects of mommy's craziness. I have not been able to truly focus on their education or spend any quality time with Daniel. Please pray that life would be able to return to normal in the next few weeks.

Sleep Tight.....

Yeah, that is the funny saying in our house right now. At least the kids think it's funny. I would just be thankful for some sleep. I have not been sleeping, but trying to go through EVERYTHING and packing it up to be stored away for the next two years. I am learning daily that life is not about things. I never thought it was, but things sure were nice. Now I don't want anything to come into this house. After the stuff is in storage for two years we won't even know what we are missing. And hopefully all the bugs will be DEAD. I have wanted to go through our things and s-l-o-w-l-y get rid of items. Now I am being forced to do so. I know in the end I will be incredibly thankful for these little devils as my house will be eliminated of all clutter and I will think two, three, or even four times before purchasing something to bring into the house. The hardest part of all this is the kids things. They are mourning losing our things. But I think this is going to be such a good lesson for them to learn - hard but good. Daniel is already being such a trooper! He and I took a huge box of toys (all cleaned and clear of bugs) to St. Christopher's Hospital on Monday. He was so pleased with himself. I was pleased even more with his generosity. He understood perfectly what he was doing and really wanted to do it!

I am desperately trying to be thankful in all things. There are many times throughout the day in which depression and discouragement settle in and start taking over my thinking. But I am trying to think positively - that one day these bugs will be gone and I will sleep again.

Extermination is set for Monday. COMAR wants us to sign a wavier form before they give the go ahead. We are uncomfortable with signing it as everything I have read says it takes 2-4 exterminations to rid a residence of these bugs. Andy talked with a laywer and wrote up something he is comfortable signing, but we haven't heard whether or not they are going to accept it or not. Please pray that we have caught the bugs early enough that the first extermination with get rid of them all! Otherwise I guess we'll be paying for a 2nd, and possibly third or fourth extermination.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Answers

I am looking for some. I am still struggling with the mess that is my life right now. I am at the point where I am just angry. I am so tired of always looking for bed bugs, tired of cleaning EVERYTHING everyday, tired of not being able to do life "normally". Just when I think we have a handle on this bug thing, things get worse. Tonight, as I gave Daniel a bath, this is what his poor body looked like.

Apparently, he had a guest during nap time and this is what he was left with. I changed his sheets, steamed his bed frame again, and made sure everything was sealed. It is so frustrating. I feel so bad for my boy and his itchy body. The good news from today, however, is that COMAR has agreed to pay for our house to be fumigated along with their house. Hopefully this will take place sometime this week. Please pray that this will be the end. I have been reading horror stories on line of people dealing with these dreadful creatures for up to three years!!!! I will not do that. I will toss everything into a pile and burn it before I deal with them that long. Well, it's off to pack more things away.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unbelievable

If you haven't read the below post, Struggling, read that first to understand this one.

Last night was unbelievable, unless you were living through it. As I was getting ready to go upstairs to head to bed after a VERY long day dealing with bed bugs, I happened to look at the entertainment center a certain way and spied a bed bug. It was definitely God showing me this bug because they are almost the same exact coloring of the entertainment center (reddish-brown). There was also a white plastic bin sitting on top of the stereo speaker that holds Daniel's V-smile game. I found SIX in that bin! I then pulled the speaker away from the wall and found several more along the baseboard, wall, and carpet. We thought they were coming from the baseboard. As we looked up towards the drop ceiling, however, that is where we found MORE!!!! They are coming in through some kind of hole between our house the house next door in the ceiling. I was up until 4:15 am spying them and trapping them with tape. We are keeping them as evidence that we are getting them. We must have caught about 40 of them. And that is only what we saw. I can't even begin to imagine what the house will look like in just a week or so if something is not done.

As I suspected, they are migrating. I am not up for the task tonight. If more come how are we ever going to get rid of them? What about Christmas decorating? I can't pull things out knowing they may get packed up again with bugs on them. We have plans to call the health department tomorrow as COMAR is a business and has a responsibility to keep their facilities clean and bug free. I have no idea what they will do. As of right now I am going through each item we have and packing it away. We will be taking it out of the house. We are going bear bones. The entertainment center is getting tossed in the trash tomorrow. The fireplace will not get put in until this issue is resolved. Thankfully our house is still a comfortable 72 degrees and we haven't had to turn the oil heat on. This whole thing has just been such a mess. I am still struggling, but know that it was God that pointed out what we thing is the entry point to these little beasts. PLEASE PRAY that we will be able to eradicate them QUICKLY. Before they start laying eggs.

Struggling

In one word, that is where I am. Emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually. I am tired. I feel like I did 14 1/2 years ago when we moved here to Philly. I DO NOT WANT TO BE HERE! When we first moved here it was for a two year internship. Honestly, it was that hope of only being here two years that kept me going. Well, obviously, we decided that God wanted us to stay. So, stay we did. But these past four months have been a struggle for me. July was the car problem which is still unresolved. We have been without a car for two months. August was the water pipe leading to the street costing us over $3000. September was finding out my triglycerides were through the roof and I have type 2 diabetes. This past Monday was finding out a dear friend and co-worker has cancer and what it is doing to their precious family. This past Wednesday was finding out that our neighbors, a COMAR house, is infested with bed bugs. We have since found them in our house. I have spent the past three days washing, cleaning, washing, steaming, washing....you get the picture. COMAR sent an exterminator to the house yesterday and they recommended a full treatment which will cost $1000-$1200. COMAR has not said they would pay for it. COMAR has moved the two women from the house next door and is now gutting the house. This will cause two problems. The bed bugs will no longer be able to hide and they now have no hosts on which to feed. Meaning they will travel to find hosts. Which means they will travel over here where there are five fresh hosts to be had. I am overwhelmed. Even after all the cleaning and steaming (it is the only thing that will kill eggs if they are laid), we still found two live bed bugs. I have heard stories of how difficult they are to get rid of. I am not up for the battle. What if we never get rid of them? I cannot spend 24/7 cleaning and searching for bed bugs.

Homeschooling has already suffered greatly this past week with Matt only getting 5 math lessons and 1 English lesson completed. With all that has been going on his focus has been completely lost. Thankfully, Sarah has managed to keep up. I am at a loss as how to handle everything. I understand God is in control and has a purpose and a plan for all things, but I honestly cannot fathom what purpose and plan there is in having bed bugs. So, there is my life. I keep thinking that many of the above issues would never had happened had we not lived here. I know that my thinking should not be following this path. I know that Satan is getting a good stronghold on my emotions and thinking. I am struggling. I don't know how to pray as I just really want to go home and Philly currently does not feel like home. Please pray for us all as we deal with things. Pray specifically that my heart would be changed and I will once again feel the love and desire to live where God has called us to live.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our Date!

I am back fresh from our "date" and it was WONDERFUL! I had forgotten how nice it is to eat and have conversation without needing to do something for someone! We went to Applebees and had an incredible meal! I had gotten a gift card from our rewards points from our credit card (which we pay off every month). So our meal didn't really cost us anything!

After dinner we went to the Neshaminy Mall AMC Theater which is one of the few theaters still showing "Fireproof". Let me just say that it is THE BEST movie I have seen! I LOVED it! It was such a perfect movie to see for our anniversary. The company that made the movie is the same one that produced "Flywheel" and "Facing the Giants". But this movie has outdone them all! It really should be a required movie for all engaged and married couples. It really got me thinking about my relationship with Andy and how we can improve our communication and marriage. Go see it if you haven't!

Tomorrow is the first Saturday in months that we have absolutely NOTHING to do! I am making my checklist of things I want to get done. The first thing on the list is to get summer clothes put away and winter ones out! My poor kids have been living in the same two shirts and jeans for a couple of weeks! It's just been so crazy and with having to turn over THREE children, the task gets daunting sometimes. I am recruiting both Matt and Sarah to do their own turnover this year in hopes that they will be trained to it in the future. I believe Andy is going to get the dining room ceiling up! YEAH!!! It will be 6 months on Monday since we have started this project and we are both anxious for it to be DONE! Hopefully by Thanksgiving. Hopefully...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

15 Years!

Today, Andy and I celebrate 15 years of wedded bliss! I really can't believe we have been married for 15 years. It doesn't seem that long. I guess when you have such a wonderful husband as mine, the years just fly by! He is truly my match in every way. God gave me an amazing gift when he put Andy in my life. Never could I have imagined in my wildest dreams of being so happy and content with my marriage. I see so many other people hurting and suffering from poor decisions in their marriages. Usually ones that cost them their marriages. It breaks my heart. I am so glad for a faithful and caring husband. It truly is a blessing from the Lord.

So how will we be spending our anniversary? I am taking all three kids to the doctor for their flu shots (actually flu mist!). I also have a doctors appointment. A follow up to my diabetes diagnosis. (I have since returned and according to his scale I have lost 13 pounds since 9/25/08!). Andy will be spending his evening with the teens at Teen Club. Such is the life of a youth worker! We are planning on going out to dinner tomorrow night. It will be fun, though the kids can't understand why we aren't taking them! We seldom go out without them. This will be good for them to see!

So thank God with me today for such a special guy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I can do all things...

No, I am not admitting to being a supermom. Believe me, I am far from that description. If you only saw the state of my house you would understand. No, what I am referring to is my life verse..."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. I have loved that verse for as long as I can remember. I quote it each day as I deal with my children. I have hung onto to it as a life savor during those particularly stormy times. It is only by Christ's strength that I am able to really do anything.

As of late, however, I haven't been feeling as if I can do anything. I am really amazed at how this whole diabetes thing has hit me. I am usually not one to dwell on things and just try to push through them. But just the word makes me cringe. Everything has changed. From how we eat to what I do with my time. I think the biggest challenge has been cooking. I have NO IDEA what to make. I like the food I make now! It's very hard for me to change my diet or add variety. I didn't have the greatest diet growing up. But when I had kids I started realizing we needed more nutrition. I have changed as the years have gone by, wheat bread instead of white, more chicken instead of beef, 1% milk instead of whole, etc. Now the big change is adding more fruits and veggies. The fruit isn't hard, but the veggies......that's a whole different world! I did add asparagus this past week. So we now eat broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and asparagus. Thankfully the kids love salads, especially with spinach. But what else is there? I refuse to make brussel sprouts, YUCK! I think I need to figure out how to cook squash. But I am at a loss as to what other things to add to our menu.

I know God is teaching me. It's just that I really hate change! It seems too hard. I like comfortable. This is not comfortable. But I know that with His help, I can do this. It may take a while, but I can do this. A result of my diet change has been a loss of 10.6 pounds since September 25th. He is showing me that this is possible everyday. Please pray for Matt and Sarah as they are finding this a bit difficult. I have removed almost all of the candy in the house and am replacing things with fruits and veggies and more healthy snacks. They will get use to it. I will get use to it! Soon, we hope!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Only TEN weeks away!

That's how long until Christmas! Isn't that just crazy! And the weeks will fly! I am already done shopping for Sarah, and mostly done for Daniel. I haven't a clue what to get my 11 year-old! I know what he wants, it's just the fact that the older they get, the "toys" get smaller and the prices BIGGER! I am searching the ads to find the best deals. I'm sure his mind will change a thousand times before I finally settle on his gift.

Since it is only ten weeks until Christmas, that means it is only EIGHT weeks until the Preteen Christmas Party. You will notice I have placed a Candy Cane link on the right side of my blog. Every year we host a party for at least 50 preteens. Each child receives a Christian t-shirt and a gift. If you are interested in donating a gift, you can click the link and get some ideas of what we think are appropriate gifts. The link will list gifts in all age categories as we host three parties: 5&6's, 7-10's, and preteens. Any gift would be appreciated! If you have any questions you can leave a comment at the bottom or e-mail us. Please pray that we would be able raise the necessary funds for the party. Many families are struggling this year and are seeking help where they can to help make Christmas a special time for their kids. Please pray that we would be able to reach many of them for Christ in the coming weeks, as attendance is a big factor in being invited to the Christmas party.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Life goes on!

My brain is on overload! Last week I was to have a doctor's appointment with the "woman" doctor and had to reschedule it. When I did that I scheduled it for today, COMPLETELY forgetting that my dear husband would be away on his God Squad retreat! UGH! I really didn't want to reschedule it again as it is difficult to find appointments (I lucked out with today's, the next one wasn't available until Nov. 25th!). So, armed with my portable DVD player and some Backyardigan DVDs we headed off. I bribed the older two with a movie afterwards. I was so nervous about leaving them in the waiting room. But they did great and when the nurse took my blood pressure it was only 100/70! I thought for sure it would be soaring! I also have lost 2 more pounds since last Wednesday. I have to admit I am feeling a bit better, more energy. I don't think I have mentally come to the realization that this is a life time change. I keep hoping I will be able to get off the medication. But God is working in me that maybe this isn't a "short term" thing. I am praying that I will be able to take care of myself so that I don't have to deal with so many of the complications that come with diabetes later in life. More so, I believe that this is trust issue with God. He is asking me to trust him with my health and telling me to get myself in gear. I am trying.

After the doctor we went to the movies and saw "Beverly Hills Chihuahua". It was just as silly as I thought it would be. Sarah and Matt loved it. They giggled and laughed and had a great time. It was a nice diversion from Andy's absence. The rest of the day was spent running errands and coming home, eating dinner, and off to bed. Andy came home around 9:00 pm and of course, Matt and Sarah were still up listening for the door. They were excited to see him. It's good he's home. I really hate being a single mom - even for 24 hours! It is just so much easier with two! I thank God everyday for such a wonderful husband and father.