Thursday, June 26, 2008

All is well...

...with Matthew. Today he went for his 11 year-old check-up and found that test results had come in. He, at sometime in his young life, contracted mono - you know - "the kissing disease". But don't tell Matt that because he doesn't know that that's its nickname! The doctor said he could have had it as early as eight weeks ago or as long as ten years ago - though he has never heard of a one-year-old contracting the disease. He must have contracted a mild form of the illness, however, as we never really noticed anything physically wrong with him. He had complained about being tired a while back, but we just chalked it up to our crazy schedule and late bedtimes at the time. The good thing is is that he is over it and has built up antibodies to protect him from it in the future. The rash apparently "signals" the end of a virus, though we will probably never know which one - it could be the mono or something else. But to say the least is a healthy boy and did very well with his check-up! Thank you all for praying!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Third One Falls Hard!!

Most of the time my kids are pretty healthy. We rarely have to visit the doctors office, but in the past month we have been to the pediatricians FIVE times!!!! May 23rd we took Matt for an infected toe, June 13th to have the toe rechecked as the first round of antibiotics didn't work, June 16th because we thought Daniel had strep - turned out to be Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, June 18th for Sarah's 9 year old check-up,and a culture to confirm HFMD, and today, June 23rd, because Matt woke up with THE MOST HORRENDOUS rash you ever did see! I noticed the rash yesterday, but thought it was the virus (he caught the HFMD thing from Sarah and Daniel) releasing itself from his body - he is prone to that sort of thing. I noticed last night that it had gotten a little worse, so I had him take a Zyrtec as I thought maybe he had an allergic reaction to something. Well, when he woke up this morning his poor face was COVERED and swollen with a rash and it was all over his body! I immediately called the doctor and they thought it could be Scarlet Fever or Fifths Disease.Well, he was the talk of the office during his appointment! All five doctors came in at some point during our visit to see if they could figure out what "it" was. His throat culture was negative for strep, which meant he didn't have Scarlet Fever (did you know Scarlet Fever is a different form of strep? I didn't!) Fifths Disease was also ruled out. They then decided they needed to draw some blood. If you know Matt you can picture the panic that filled his face! He HATES shots and was sure this was going to be worse. We went to the lab that they have right in the office (I LOVE this practice!). The tech was so sweet and explained EVERYTHING to my detail oriented son. He handled it so well! He shed a few tears but didn't flip out like I thought he would! They are currently testing for MONO, Parvovirus and Adenovirus (I have NO idea what the last two are!) We should know something by Wednesday when he goes for his 11 year-old check-up (yes, the 6th visit in 4 1/2 weeks!). Right now we have taken to calling him "Spot"!! After the doctors visit we went to Target to pick up a few things and get Matt a small treat for doing so well with his blood test. We were there for about 30 minutes and came out to find that the car would not start! This car HATES me! It always seems to break down when Andy is out of town (he is at Men-O-Lan on the Teen Retreat). I called Carisa and she graciously came and rescued us! Poor Andy will have to deal with it when he gets home tonight. He believes it's the fuel pump - which I thought we had already replaced not too long ago. Oh, well! Life today definitely didn't go how I had planned. We were supposed to spend a lovely afternoon with my friend Donna and then go to my parents house for dinner and birthday gifts for Matt and Sarah. I just have to keep remembering that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD FOR THEM THAT LOVE GOD. Even though it didn't go the way I wanted it to, God knew how it would go and it is all for the best. Please pray for healing for both Matt and the car!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Third One Falls!

Yes, it seems that Matt has come down with the dreaded sickness, though his started with a headache and his fever isn't nearly as high as Daniel's or Sarah's had been. Sarah recovered rather quickly and is back to "normal". At her well-visit to the doctor yesterday she weighed in at 52 lbs. and is 52" tall! She weighs a pound for every inch! She is in the 10th percentile for weight and 50th for height. Thankfully she needed no shots! She is healthy and she LOVED our new doctors. She saw Dr. Pete, who is female and a resident, and Dr. Lawry, who is a male and one of the supervising doctors. He was great! I loved how he spoke directly to Sarah and asked her questions and then asked me some questions. Neither doctor talked down to me - like our last practice. They even checked her hearing and eyesight - something the previous doctor never did. Unfortunately, I have to take Sarah to the eye doctor as she didn't pass her vision test like they had wanted. She is nine - that's when I started wearing glasses - poor dear! I had really hoped they had inherited Andy's sight. Oh, well!

I went to Franklin Mills Mall today with Daniel while Matt and Sarah were at VBS. This sickness didn't really hit Matt until he was at VBS. It was a nightmare! I REALLY need to find a stroller that is higher than our current umbrella stroller. He has figured out that he can place his feet on the ground and "walk" with the stroller, going anywhere he pleases! This does not make for a pleasant shopping experience! He really needed pj's and Carter's, Osh Kosh and Children's Place were all having their clearance sales. He finally tired out by the third store as I kept holding the stroller at an angle so he couldn't reach the floor with his feet. I think my arms got a great workout! I also purchased Sarah some pj's. She has been longing for nightgowns. Do you know how hard it is to find nice, non-characterized, nightgowns? Carter's had ONE! So I got it for her. She was thrilled! I also purchased the kids shirts for their portraits that I hope to have done sometime this summer. I purchased brown polo's for the boys and a light blue peasant shirt for Sarah. They are going to look great! Matt wishes the polo's had light blue stripes, and so do I, but I couldn't find any. I'll have to keep my eyes open to see if I can find them before the pictures are taken.

We have another crazy busy weekend ahead. Tomorrow we all, except for Daniel, have dentist appointments. UGH!!! We are then spending the night at Andy's parents and attending the Stahl Pottery Festival Saturday morning. We then have to head home to attend one of our teen girls', Melissa, graduation party. We can't miss that! She is Daniel's "Lissa!" She watches him every Tuesday night so that I can help Andy. I am going to really miss her this fall as she heads off to college. Please pray for a new person to watch Daniel and some other young children of the people who attend our Bible studies or help out with clubs on Tuesday. She has been such an incredible servant and will be very difficult to replace. Daniel will miss her terribly as she plays with him and loves him so much.

Sunday Andy heads of to Camp Men-O-Lan for the Teen Retreat. He returns Monday evening. I will be visiting my friend Donna and enjoying her company while our nine children play together (she has six - three boy and three girls!). Then Tuesday will come and I will only have 6 weeks of summer vacation left! It isn't nearly enough time to get this house in the order I desire, but I am making small dents. One thing I have learned is that I need to concentrate on "sections" and not look at the whole - which can be incredibly OVERWHELMING! I have been conquering our bedroom and am almost done! I'll post a picture when I am. I should have taken a before, but I would be MORTIFIED for anyone to see the condition it was in!!!

Well, I am off to pack!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy 9th Birthday, Sarah!

Today is my girl's 9th birthday! Yup, the day after her big brother's birthday! I love having them so close together. I think they do, too! But the poor thing has spent the entire day laid up on the sofa. She awoke with a fever that has progressively gotten worse. I believe she has the same virus Daniel has, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. She is constantly hanging on him, so I am not surprised that she caught it! I just didn't think she would come down with it on her birthday! She was well enough this morning to open her gifts, but hasn't really played with them. Matt was sweet and set up the tea party pictured above. He wanted to do something that she would love, and unfortunately wasn't up to enjoying it. She has sat on the sofa, watched a few movies, took a nap, and eaten some jell-o. I feel bad for her but this thing just has to run it's coarse. Hopefully, she'll feel better soon so she can enjoy the rest of the week!I can't believe she is nine! I remember when I was nine! It's funny to think back and remember what I was like and compare her to myself. She is definitely much more outgoing than I was at that age! She is more athletic, eats better, loves life and loves to talk - so different than me at that age! She is an avid reader, though - just like me! I am so thankful to God for this girl in my life - she shows me everyday how to live life to its fullest. She is not afraid to share God's love with anyone and I so admire her for that! Please pray that God would richly bless her this coming year and heal her body of this virus.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy 11th Birthday, Matt!

I can't believe Matt is 11 years old! It just doesn't seem possible. I can remember the day of his birth like it was yesterday. It is hard to fathom that we really have only 7 more years of influence, before he goes off to college. It makes me pray all the harder!!! I am extremely grateful to God for this incredible boy he has blessed our family with. I know of no other kid like Matt, and though we may bang heads at times, I really like who he is becoming and the glimpses of the man he is going to be! An example is how patient he is becoming with his little brother as demonstrated in this photo. H e let Daniel help open his gifts - which pleased Daniel greatly!

Apparently, turning 11 has been weighing on Matt's mind as well! This afternoon, at 4:38 pm, the time Matt was born, Matt and Andy walked in the door. Matt was so upset! He had to leave the VBS program going on this week to give me a hug before he turned 11! He didn't want to turn 11. My thinking is if he is THIS upset about turning 11, what is he going to be like when he turns 40 or 50?!?!? I am SO praying for his future wife! We talked for awhile tonight and I think Matt just has a fear of growing up and being independent. Matt likes to be in control of things and the older he gets the more he realizes that things are not in his control. We have been praying and trying to teach him that God is in control of our lives and NOTHING goes on in our lives without Him knowing about it! I realize that he will eventually grow up and hopefully mature in these areas. Please pray for him!

I took Daniel to the doctor today and discovered he has Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease! It sounds horrible, doesn't it? It is a virus and will just have to go away on it's own. His throat is SO red! He still refuses to eat anything, but is drinking more. Please pray for this to clear up quickly as I am afraid he will waste away to nothing before too long!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

I know many other women in the world "think" that their kids have the best father in the world - but I happen to "know" that I do! He is everything a kid could want and need. He is caring, loving, fun, and yet firm. But best of all he is a Godly father, teaching and training his kids in the ways of the Lord. I am extremely thankful that God lead me to such a fine man and even more grateful to his parents who raised him to be the man he is today. It is my prayer that my sons' future wives will be as thankful to me as I am to them. He's going to hate the picture, but he is on his computer with all the good pictures - mine only has a few. Oh well!

Poor Daniel is sick. He has been running a fever since Saturday, but tonight it just seemed to get worse. He keeps telling me his tongue hurts. So I checked out his little tongue and could see nothing wrong with it. I believe now, however, that he is meaning his throat and just doesn't know the correct word. I think it is off to the doctor tomorrow (AGAIN!!! For the third time in three weeks! The last two times were for Matt's infected big toe!). I believe he may have strep throat. Poor Matt is disappointed about his birthday being interrupted by a doctor's visit, but I will plan some special outing for later in the week - maybe a movie. Please pray that Daniel will heal quickly.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Where have I been?

Every year I look forward to this weekend. Why? Because it is the SEARCH homeschool conference! In May, I went to the CHAP conference with Andy. I love that conference because it is a time to get away with my husband - and no children! I love this conference for it's speakers and used book sale. I also get to attend this conference with my friend Donna, who I don't get to see nearly as often as I like. This year was a special treat as I was able to take my friend Carisa along. She has just started homeschooling, so this was her first one to attend - and she loved it! You can see her write up about it on her homeschooling blog.

The main speaker was Todd Wilson. He runs Familyman Ministries and is the funniest speaker! Funny, but so good. His words really spoke to my heart and have renewed me for the coming year! I was also able to hear Ginger Plowman. I have read her book "Don't Make Me Count to Three!" and loved it. It was so nice to meet her in person and tell her how much I appreciated her book. I also bought her "Wise Words for Moms" as I definitely need work in that area. She pointed out so many things I say that tear my kids down instead of building them up. The whole conference was such a blessing! I bought several CD's to listen to throughout the year as I get discouraged. I'll just pop one of those babies in and get my second, third, fourth, etc. wind as I need them!

It is HOT. I really hate living in the city when it is hot! I am currently in my schoolroom and have the AC going. It is the only room I feel legitimate about putting the AC on. My schoolroom in mostly windows and with the sun shining in it gets to 100+ degrees. In order to cool it down to a reasonable temp I put the AC on. So, after the kids go to bed and I am hot I escape here! There's a ton of work to do anyway, I might as well enjoy it! I have to turn Sarah's portfolio into Willard Elementary on Monday. I turned Matt's into Jones Middle School last Wednesday. What an interesting meeting that turned out to be! I really feel bad for these counselors that we have to turn our portfolios into as they really have NO IDEA what to do. I had to clarify some things for him and he did his best. I hope to get Matt's portfolio back on Monday or Tuesday. It makes me nervous when they have it so long. They tend to lose things and his office looked like it might get lost!

It will be a busy week this week as Matt and Sarah have birthdays (16th and 17th respectively). There is also a group from Weddington, NC coming in and doing an afterschool VBS program. The nice thing is is that they are feeding all the kids dinner each night as the program is to go until 6:30 pm! Matt and Sarah will miss Monday, but should probably be able to go the rest of the days. They really enjoyed last weeks Afterschool Club. They earned points all week. Matt and Sarah were neck-n-neck all week, but Sarah pulled ahead for the win. She was so excited! Matt handled it great and even congratulated his sister for her win. They both did very well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Pool is COOL!!!

When we bought our house it came with an above ground pool. Over the years I have often thought of taking the pool down so that we could have land to play on. The pool takes up most of the back yard. It would be great to have a swing set to send the kids out to play on - but on days like we have just had - we are EXTREMELY thankful for a pool! The kids have been in it non-stop since Monday. AS a result, Matt has been SOOO tired! It's good for him to be tired. His mind doesn't shut off very easily at night, but for the past three days he has been drifting off to sleep very fast!Another highlight of the week has been a group doing an after school program in the afternoons from 3:30-5:30 pm. On Monday I had to literally kick Matt and Sarah out of the house to go to this program. They have been getting too comfortable staying at home doing basically nothing! When they came home they were so glad they went! They are really enjoying the group and the different educational activities for which they earn points. As of today, Matt had the most points and Sarah was in second place. Matt is excited. But he is Matt and is doing only the work that he has to to get the most points. He is funny as he comes home each day and tells me the kids running the program are just like me as they keep telling him he could do so much more! Maybe one day he will realize his full potential.

An update on my dryer - the third one is working and will hopefully keep working for many years to come!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sad Day!

Back in March I blogged about how very excited I was to be blessed with a new washer and dryer. We have had then exactly 70 days today when my dryer decided to display a fault message - apparently something with the motor. I was totally frustrated!!!! I called Fisher & Paykel and they gave me the number of a dealer who repairs the dryers - but it would be Monday before they could come out and see it! I have a ton of laundry to do - I couldn't wait that long! So I called Sears, where we purchased the dryer, and they told me to bring in the old dryer and they would replace it! Andy ran over and got the new dryer and put it in. Only this one isn't working either! It's tumbling, but not drying. UGH!!! I really liked this appliance, but if it is going to break down after 70 days, what am I going to do? I am hoping that the third time will be the charm and we will get a good one tomorrow morning. Otherwise, I am giving up on Fisher & Paykel!

A funny comment was made by Matt today. He said "We should start school again." I almost fell over! We have only been done with school for three weeks - we still have about eight weeks to go! I have been bad about coming up with a summer schedule, so they are getting to the bored part already. I hope to have a firm schedule in place for Monday. Life is just too busy and I am really trying to get my house under control. That mostly means getting rid of things. There is a huge used book sale at the homeschool conference I am supposed to be attending next weekend. I am hoping to get rid of a bunch of things there - mostly books. We'll see. I am really trying to limit the buying we do and utilize other sources like the library for books and movies. My goal is to limit our spending as much as possible and begin teaching my kids about living within their means. Don't get me wrong, we live within our means - we have no credit card debt or anything like that. I would just like to live more simply. I see the effects of having lots of "things" on my kids and I am not happy with the results. I hate being tied to "things" and my prayer is that God would teach us how to live without things and learn to love one another more.

Monday, June 2, 2008

First day...

of summer vacation! Yes, we have been done for three weeks, but with traveling all over the place and getting portfolios completed we haven't really had any free time at home. So, today was our first "official" day home on vacation. This morning I went over to the Darrow house and evaluated their three kids! They did great! After spending three hours talking with the kids and Laurie I headed over to McPherson Library to register Matt and Sarah for Science in the Summer. It is a great program that the kids have been involved with since they were entering second grade. I believe this is the last year Matt will be eligible for the program. Next year he can be an assistant since he has participated every year. We'll see what happens with next year.

When I came home I was greeted by three happy faces! I had given each of them a TO DO list and they were quite proud that they had completed several of the items. My goal today was to help Sarah clean her room. That meant going through all her toys and getting rid of broken items and put all the other toys in their proper place. It has taken us two days, but I think we did a great job. I'll have to post a picture tomorrow. We are trying to scale down things and Sarah is my hardest child to give things away. So, in an effort to help her I have created a spreadsheet listing her toys. We are going to check off each day she plays with each toy and at the end of August we are going to see which toys are her favorite and which ones she can live without! Hopefully she will see the positive way life can be when we scale down.

Tomorrow I start working on the living room. We have purchased a gas fireplace in an effort to help heat our home without oil. We have only saved $1500 for oil next year and at the rate prices are rising it won't be enough to purchase what we need. So we are installing a gas fireplace. It has been a dream of Andy's for quite some time, now we have an excuse to install it! I need to clean out the entertainment center and the bookshelves and do some rearranging. The sooner I can do that the sooner Andy can do some work on getting ready to install the thing. We usually don't turn our heat on until mid-December so he has some time to get it all together - he just hates to be pressured.

Andy has been gone since 1:00 PM and isn't back yet (it's 11:00 PM). God Squad started up this evening and he always get a bit stressed with the start up. Tomorrow night is Family Night, so he'll be out the door bright and early hitting the food bank to have food for the evening. He also does most of the set up and starts cooking the food. Pray for him as he feels totally unprepared for the summer since we were gone so much. Pray he would schedule his time wisely and be able to focus on tasks that need attention and enjoy the work God has given him - not see it as a chore to be done.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wii Fit!

This is the coolest game EVER! My birthday was the beginning of May and my mom got this for me as a gift! We were finally able to set it up today and we all think it is a hoot! I love the fact that it helps you set up a goal and helps you figure out a realistic time frame to lose the weight. I only wish it had a calorie counter and food journal right in with it - maybe in the future! If you get the chance to get this program I highly recommend it!

On to other news - everything starts up again this week - God Squad, Kids Club and Teen Club. Please pray for Andy as he gets into the swing of the summer. It looks like it will be a wild and crazy ride! We have many groups coming in to do ministry as well as some of our additional activities for the kids like Reading Rocks and Extreme Team. Please pray for safety, fun and most of all the Holy Spirit working in and through us and all the volunteers that come to help this summer.