Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009!

WOW! What a difference a year makes! I vividly remember last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It was a nightmare and one I don't believe I will ever forget! Christmas Eve was wrought with finding a bunch of bed bugs and staying up into the wee hours of the morning catching them and then Christmas morning we awoke to find one of the horrid creatures crawling away from me on our bed - very obvious that it had just had its Christmas feast on either me or Daniel - or both! It was horrible! I now sit here in my beautiful new living room with the Christmas tree lit and beautifully decorated and the stockings hung on the stair banister. Such a contrast to last year - where the walls were gutted and there were no decorations for Christmas. I am SO THANKFUL that a year can make such a difference. I am so grateful for all that God has given us and brought us through. As I look back on the past year I have learned so many lessons and have truly grown to appreciate life without bed bugs. They just took so much away from us - namely time with our children and a ton of time from my husband as he worked relentlessly on getting rid of the bugs and renovating the house to try to protect us from further infestation. It has made us appreciate our time with our children and has helped us to look forward to getting back to a somewhat normal life - playing with our children and getting into a routine where Andy isn't ALWAYS doing something on the house! It will be so nice!

Today was a great day! It was fun to hear Matt and Sarah explain to Daniel the "rules" to Christmas day in our house! We had to remember that he was two the last time we had a traditional Schultz Christmas. Our main rule is that I go downstairs first and light the tree and make everything pretty and get the camera ready to snap pictures. Daniel thought this was ridiculous - but Matt and Sarah have been doing it this way for 10 and 12 years and insisted we continue! He complied! We also each open a gift one at a time and look to see what the other has gotten instead of a mad gift opening.
Daniel loving his new "blue" automoblox - he loves these cars!
The kids can then see what the each has gotten and ooh and ahh over them - Sarah does a really good job with this and really encourages Daniel in appreciating what he got! They all had a great morning and got way too much - but they each loved what they got.
Matt's new ripstick - Andy's idea - so not mine! Pray he doesn't break anything!
They will be busy for days investigating their new toys and playing with everything!
Sarah enjoying her new Anne of Green Gables Series! My favorite when I was her age!
We went to my mom's for dinner tonight and had a great meal of ham, ziti, asparagus, and my favorite 24 hour shredded roast beef! I ate way to mu ch and the baby has been protesting his lack of room! It was great to see my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Ray, grandmom Ruth, Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Doug, and my cousin Mike and his three girls! There were a lot of kids running around! It was a great time together with family.

I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas Day. I have loved this day and have really focused my attention on just how thankful I am to God for his indescribable gift - His Son - and all the trials He has brought me through this past year. He is so good - even in the bad times! Praise God!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Let the Gift-giving Begin!

Today was the first day of gift-giving! We went to my mom's house and the kids were spoiled once again! My mom is a gift giver and loves to shower gift on everyone. This year was no different and the kids loved each of their gifts. I actually have some photos!

Here is also a preview of the livingroom! We have our tree up and the kids loved decorating it! They looked at each of their ornaments as if they were new since they didn't get to put them out last year. Some they had even forgotten about! It was a sweet time and I love sitting next to the tree in the late evening relishing the fact that the bed bugs are gone and praising God for bringing us through one of our toughest trials.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh Goodness!

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I have last blogged! Life has gotten out of hand! But things will hopefully be settling down! And I will be able to return to blogging regularly! Andy bought me a new computer for Christmas! YEAH!!! So, hopefully, I'll be able to get photos up regularly and my computer will cooperate with life!

Though I say life will hopefully be settling down - I know it's going to be turned upside down in just about 7 weeks! That is when the latest little Schultz boy is due to arrive. I do have the comfort of knowing that it is only 7 weeks as the doctors won't let me go past my due date with having the diabetes. I have begun non-stress tests twice weekly - so driving has become a routine. I have to admit I enjoy the quiet time! I go first thing in the morning and return in time to do school with the kids. He is being very cooperative with the testing and I am usually only hooked up for about 15 minutes! He is an active little dude - I am hoping once he is out he will settle down! At my last ultrasound they determined he weighed about 4 pounds 9 ounces. That put him at the 50th percentile - right on target! I have been feeling great - though I am getting more tired.

Our house is coming along - Andy is almost done with the living room! I will post pictures as soon as it is complete - hopefully by this Saturday. We really want to decorate for Christmas since we missed out on it last year! I think if I wait any longer to put up our tree Daniel will explode! He has been begging for the tree to go up - I really want it to go up too!

Life continues - and I am so thankful for all God is doing in our lives! So many blessings He has given!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hopefully, some good news!

Last Saturday the neighbors returned with an exterminator! I am so happy that they are attacking this! But in talking with them they said they were really treating for a bad flea problem and hadn't seen any bedbugs in a few months. I am hoping they were being upfront with us, but I am not confident. Andy talked with one of the brothers that really owns the house, but doesn't live there and warned him how important it is to to stay on top of this if they did have bedbugs. I am hoping that he took the warning to heart.

The next day, Sunday, they were back at the house (they haven't been sleeping there as one of the kids had a bad reaction to either a bite or the pesticide being used). There was a ton of trash on the curb. I got worried again! But they said that the stuff was from the basement. There was also a hot water heater among the trash. They apparently had a broken hot water heater and it leaked and had to toss a lot of stuff from the basement. This sparked an idea in my head. Back in the beginning of October (I think) our basement flooded - big time! It hasn't done that since we had the outside pipe replaced in August of 2008. I was baffled as to where the water was coming from as it was coming in at a pretty rapid clip. The reason the basement flooded is that our sub-pump failed to click on. Once it click on it sucked up the water and for the next couple of weeks it continued to pump water out. Andy was in a quandary - where was it coming from? We were ready to call the water dept when all of a sudden it stopped and everything became dry. I am thinking the people next door had no idea their hot water heater broke and it literally poured water out for a couple of weeks before they discovered it. I do not want to see their water bill - we had a lot of water in our basement! I am hoping that was the issue and we can put our basement back together again. We'll give it another couple of rain storms before we do that!

Baby Schultz is doing well, but, unfortunately, my sugars are going up. It is likely I will be on insulin for the last 10 weeks of this pregnancy. I have been trying to watch what I have been eating, but I get so hungry at times! I am determined to try and limit this weight gain. I have gained 20 lbs. so far - far less than I did with the others - but I still have 10 weeks - that could literally be at least 10 more pounds! I am trying to exercise everyday and now really trying to watch what goes in my mouth - but it is all easier said than done. I will be losing this all as soon as he is born! I am anxious to start my Biggest Loser DVD's and especially Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred. I also can't wait until we set our Wii up and I can start using the Wii Active. I am determined to lose the baby weight by my 41st birthday in May! And then continue on my weight loss journey throughout the summer. Hopefully, I'll have a very cooperative baby!

Thanks for all the prayers. I am still working on being able to download my photos. Andy got his new computer up and running - now I only have to find the time to sit down and put in all the software and download the photos. Maybe next week!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Worst fear confirmed

Today I discovered what I have been suspicious of for the past few days to be true. About two weeks ago our neighbors, the Hispanic family that lives on the left side of our house, had put a bunch of furniture and mattresses out for the trash. At that time I questioned Andy as to whether or not he thought they were dealing with bedbugs. He thought not because there were also toys and some other things mixed in. He felt they were just cleaning house - the mattresses were pretty old and worn looking. I wanted to believe him. I wanted to trust that our neighbors would talk to us - as we had to them - about their problem and warn us. The past few days the neighbors house has been dark. I have heard no voices through the walls. I have heard no music or anyone banging on their door. Today another neighbor who is close to them was hanging out on her steps, so I asked the question that has been plaguing my mind - did the neighbors leave their house? She said yes, for the last two weeks. My next question - "Did they leave because they have bedbugs?" She looked at me sadly - as she has known of our situation and all we have gone through - and said "Yes." She was just as upset as I that they kept their situation a secret from us. She doesn't understand - nor do I - since we were so forthcoming with our situation and constantly trying to help them be aware - showing them what bedbugs look like, how to search for them, what things they can do to get rid of them, etc. I do not know how bad their infestation is. I am praying all we have done to our house will prevent them from returning. Just when we were starting to put things back together we get this news. I am unsure of what to do. We haven't seen any evidence that they have come back, but just knowing that they are a wall away is already starting to drive me crazy. I can't deal with them again. Not with expecting a newborn in just 12 weeks. I can't do things, as big as I am getting, like I did last year at this time. Please pray with me that all the time and effort Andy has put into this house will do the trick in protecting us from a new infestation. Please pray that something will be done to the house next door to rid it of its bedbugs. I do not believe the neighbors are going to do anything about the situation. I believe they are hoping that if they stay out of the house long enough, they will just die. I have told them before that is not the case - they can stay there for up to 18 months without a feeding or move onto the next house - which hopefully won't be ours. But the fact that the other neighbors are in jeopardy is frustrating. If we can't get rid of them on this block we will run the risk of them coming back sometime in the future. Please pray that the houses on our block will get rid of these pests so we can all have a peace of mind about our homes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One year....

That's how long it has been since we discovered we were dealing with bedbugs. In so many ways this past year has seemed an eternity and yet it has gone by quite quickly. I was just reading some of the posts from last November and how I was dealing with things. I am so glad that time is over. It has been five months since we have seen any evidence of the nasty little creatures. But the experience has certainly changed us. We still look at every fuzzy or piece of lint on the floor as if it were a bedbug. We still check the kids beds and ours. We still haven't moved everything back into the house that was moved out. We are still praying everyday that the bedbugs are truly gone. I don't know if we will ever relax about them - maybe that is a good thing since they are on the rise and can infest anyone from anywhere.

We are still recovering both financially and house wise from the effects of these wicked little creatures. Andy has been working hard to get the house finished, but with working alone it is a slow and long process. He finished the hardwood floors this past week and they look gorgeous! I am finding however, that it makes the kids seem louder as things echo terribly. I am hoping an area rug and furniture placement will help soften the sound!

One year later things look a bit different - thank God! Our house is much emptier - for which I am very thankful. We are expecting another little miracle - another thing for which I am extremely thankful! I view this little person as a promise from God that we are truly done with the bedbugs as I specifically prayed for this little person before he was conceived and asked God NOT to give him to us until we were done with the bedbugs. I find it amazing that we got pregnant in May and haven't had any evidence of them since that month. Our God is a loving and caring God and answers prayers in a mighty way. So join with me today - even though it is not Thanksgiving Day yet - to give thanks to our great God for His mighty work in our lives. Strengthening us this past year, teaching us, blessing us, and carrying us throughout the toughest times. I am so thankful I serve such an amazing God.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life keeps going!

Life is plodding along. We returned from Williamsburg, Va through rain the entire way home. It reminded Andy and I of our drive home from our honeymoon (we stayed in Va. Beach and Williamsburg). It poured the entire way home then, too! I still felt lousy on Sunday so I went and taught my Sunday School class and then came home and slept! It was great! The kids and Andy didn't get home until after 4:00 pm as there was a lunch after church and then soccer for the kids! I so enjoyed my time of rest - I think it made an improvement on my health! I felt so much better on Monday and we were able to continue on with school. I am really trying not to miss any days and build up as many school days before the baby arrives so we have a good cushion. Pennsylvania requires 180 days of school - today is day 53. I am hoping to have 85 days in before Christmas break. Then I will only have 95 days of school to fit in by the end of June - though I prefer to be done the end of May - before Memorial Day. I find it terribly difficult to get anything out of their little heads after Memorial Day. We'll see how the new baby fit in with things - I am praying for a VERY happy and content baby.

Matt seems to have FINALLY caught on to the fact that school needs to be done everyday. For the past three days he has been finishing his work on time and getting through the day with a mostly good attitude. I can't tell you how thankful I am for this! Hopefully it will continue. Life changes next week as the kids and I are being evicted from the house! Andy has to polyurethane the floors and being pregnant, I can't inhale the fumes. So we leave Sunday afternoon and won't return until November 2nd. I am really praying that this is the last time I have to leave the house due to renovations. I am tired of leaving. Tired of packing up the kids and doing things solo. I am extremely thankful that Andy's parents are willing to tolerate us for an entire week - I know it isn't easy with three loud and busy kids! But they are so good to us and hopefully it won't rain and the kids will enjoy the fresh country air for a week - as well as stomping in the leaves and enjoying some extra freedom. Daniel will be in heaven - he loves being at Grammy and PopPop's house - he loves the country.

I am still working on pictures. I hope to have time tonight after the kids go to bed. I am going to attempt to use Andy's new computer and see how things go. We'll see! Thanks for continuing to pray for us. Please specifically pray for our nerves as we are approaching the one year mark since we found out about our bed bugs. It is getting nerve wracking thinking you see one and praying everyday we never see another one again! It has been five months since we have seen one or had any bites, but just this past Monday, trash day, our neighbors had a ton of furniture and beds out for the trash men to take - we haven't been brave enough to ask if they found any - I am hoping it was only a fall cleaning!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Williamsbug, VA

That's where we are at right now. We purchased a special three day/ two night deal at Sam's Club for an incredibly cheap price. Andy and I love it here and the kids enjoy it as well, so we thought we would take a little vacation and count it as school since this years history is American History. The kids have been learning much about the revolution and even heard the Declaration of Independence read allowed today. We have been talking to people non-stop to discover the differences and similarities between our current life and life in the 18th century. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time we have been here so far, except for the fact that I feel miserable with a head and chest cold. It has also been miserable weather - rainy (it POURED yesterday!) and cold. But the kids have been troopers and have been actively seeking people out to talk to and ask their questions. I have a ton of pictures, but I'll have to wait until I get home to upload them onto a computer that will read the CD-ROM that came with my camera. But I will post some.

We are here one more night/ day. I am REALLY hoping that the weather will get better and it won't rain tomorrow. It isn't looking hopeful. Please pray for the ride home and that it would be uneventful!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I have been absolutely horrible about blogging as of late. Life has been busy. Andy has been crazy busy sanding the wood floors we found underneath the carpets we pulled up last week. I have been going crazy trying to keep the dust level down. I am extremely thankful he is cleaning up the floors and getting them beautiful, but at the same time I am SO READY for this work to be DONE! I just want my house to be put in order and for the NOISE to stop! It seems that noise REALLY bugs me with this pregnancy. I get easily irritated at the beeping of the construction vehicles at the end of the street - the sander is driving me crazy - and my children's non-stop talking is really starting to grate my nerves! I am so thankful when 11 pm comes and it is QUIET! I keep reminding myself this will not last forever and we will get done - I just can't wait until it is DONE!

I will be able to take pictures come next week when I get my new camera! I called Best Buy today to check on the status of the repair on my camera I gave them almost two weeks ago and they said I was approved to get a NEW CAMERA! I guess it was the actual camera itself that was the problem and not me after all! They didn't have a report as to what was wrong with it, but when I go to pick out a new one on Monday maybe they can tell me so if it was my fault I don't do whatever it was I may have done, again. I think I will use Andy's new computer to download pictures and upload them on the blog - just in case it was my computer that may have infected the camera. My computer has been doing weird things and I really need to clean it up - I just need to figure out how to do that! I so want to be a techie - and I am so not one!

Baby Schultz is doing well. He had a heart study this past Thursday and everything is looking great! He weighs approximately 1 pound 6 ounces already! When I think I still have 17 weeks to go I keep praying he won't get overly huge. Daniel was 9 pounds even, Sarah was 8 pounds 9 ounces and Matthew was 8 pound 5 ounces. I don't have small babies! I am hoping this one is no bigger than 9 pounds. I have been terrible about exercising this week and really need to get back into it on Monday. I have been staying up far too late cleaning things - trying to keep up with the dust. I will get up early on Monday and get back to the gym! My goal is to do the elliptical for 60 minutes at least 5 days a week. Something I have been sadly lacking!

Sorry I haven't been blogging as much as I used to. I am hoping to get better at it again. Thanks to all who have been praying for us despite my lack of communication!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Yes, that is me crying that today is our last full day of vacation. It's back to Philly tomorrow. I have so enjoyed the peace and quiet, the beautiful finished house and the no-stress life! Now we go back to our totally chaotic house, stress-filled life and noisy neighborhood. I REALLY have no desire to go back. So I plan to enjoy our day today by going to the beach, sitting in the sun and watching the kids enjoy the sea and finishing my book.

Yesterday was a very cool day so we went to the mall and bought the kids new shoes and some winter clothing. Daniel is in LOVE with his new Sketchers! He has done nothing but praise his new sneakers! They light up a VERY BRIGHT GREEN color! You could spot him a mile away in the pitch black! He is going to LOVE wearing these sneakers up at PopPop and Grammy's in the dark! He is very pleased! Matt and Sarah also got new sneakers - but they don't light up! What was shocking was that my daughter - who is ten - in only one size smaller than me!!!! The child has huge feet for being so young! Matt is already at a 11! Andy is a size 13 - I guess Matt will be there in about two years at the ripe old age of 14! After that I told him he would have to start wearing shoe boxes lined with duct tape!

I am off to the beach!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vacation 2009

Well, this years beach vacation has been our most interesting one yet! We arrived Saturday to cloudy conditions, but MomMom was prepared and had a Lego kit for each kid to enjoy during the late afternoon. We had a great meal together and then sent the kids to bed early as we knew our day would start off early with the excitement of going to the beach.

Little did I know that our day would actually start off at 6 am with Daniel crying he had to get sick to his stomach! He was sleeping in a double bed with Matt and it kind of freaked Matt out - he doesn't do so well with other people getting sick! I rushed in their room, whooped him out of the bed and ran him to the toilet where he did get a little sick. The rest of the day, however, you would never have known he was sick. He ate, ran around the beach like a nut, and was just his crazy self. We even went to the boardwalk that evening and rode rides, ate some funnel cake, and some caramel popcorn. He was fine. I put him to bed with me as Matt was still a little freaked by the episode. I was glad (well kinda!) I did as at 1:30 am he totally lost EVERYTHING! All over me! Gross! I am so glad I don't get squeamish with these kinds of things. So I woke Andy up from his bed and we stripped the bed, Daniel, and cleaned up the entire mess. Poor Daniel was so upset. But we got him settled down and he quickly fell back to sleep for the rest of the night. I watched everything he ate on Sunday and made sure it was the blandest diet with absolutely no sweets - tough to do with the grands around! But he seems to be over whatever it was he had!

So far we have had three beautiful days at the beach! Sunday I was even at the beach for 5 1/2 hours - and I didn't get ANY sunburn! I was so proud of myself! Monday I spent another 5 1/2 hours - no sunburn and Tuesday I spent 4 1/2 hours there - again no sunburn! I have been vigilant about the sunscreen! I am also happy to report Daniel is also sunburn free - he is my kid that burns the worst of the three. Sarah is looking like a little brown girl and Matt's freckles are popping out like crazy!

You may be looking for photos, but unfortunately I won't have any for awhile. For some reason or another my new Canon SLR camera won't take pictures. I have only had it for about two months and it won't work. I am so upset. I did bring our little point and shoot, but once again my computer won't recognize the camera and I can't download the photos. So now my camera and my computer are down - so frustrating! I need to read more about these items and figure out how to solve these issues.

Today was an overcast day, but we drove down to Cape May and had breakfast at McGlades - great food, large portions and on the beach! We even got to see dolphins swimming around in the ocean! We then walked around the shops and I did a little Christmas shopping for Daniel. I am almost done with him! I want to be done all my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving as I think I will feel too huge to do any shopping after that!

Baby Schultz seems to like the beach. He has been kicking up a storm and seems to get the hiccups a lot! Sarah is still mourning the fact that it is a boy. She sees all kinds of cute girl things and really wishes we could be buying them for her new little sister. I keep trying to encourage her that her little brother will be cute and we can buy some really cute things for him, too. Right now, I believe our friend's little girl, Lily, will be receiving a lot of cute things for Christmas to help us get out of our girly mode and into boy mode!

Vacation is going well. We are really enjoying our time together as a family and are relaxing tons. I am so thankful we have three more days!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Out of here!

In just about an hour we will be leaving for vacation! I am so excited! I am hoping to get much reading and game playing done while away. I have my camera and I think I have figured out the computer issue with uploading my photos so I hope to have many pictures of fun in the sun! Please pray that this vacation would be restoring and relaxing as ministry picks up as soon as we get home! Thanks

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I know, I know!

It has been far too long since I have blogged - but so much has been going on! Life has been flying by and even now I don't have enough time to write all I desire to!

I guess the first major thing that is happening in our lives is that we are expecting a new little Schultz sometime the end of January. This came as a bit of a shock - though I have always desired another, I never thought it would happen. Since finding out about our little joy it has been a roller coaster of emotions! Because of my age and diabetes I was immediately sent for ultrasounds and Dr's. consultations. At first they believed the baby's umbilical cord was abnormal - instead of having the normal three strands (2 arteries and 1 vein) - mine only had two. Well this made a stir in the medical community as this condition "can be" an indication of Down Syndrome. Well since I already had my age and diabetes against me they started to become more insistent that we go for the genetic testing. A long time ago Andy and I had decided that we didn't really want to go that route with any of our pregnancies, but the Dr's. became so irritatingly insistent we decided to do it and deal with the results. As it turns out the results came back negative and my chances of having a child with a chromosome problem are very slim. I will admit that the whole idea of having a special needs child (not that it still can't happen) through me into a bit of a tizzy. God once again was showing me he is in control and will be with me no matter what the outcome is. I have never felt such peace before a medical test - that whatever the result were it was God's will and He would lead us in His way. God is good - all the time! I had an ultrasound yesterday and it was discovered that the umbilical cord is actually NORMAL!!! Now whether God healed the umbilical cord or the first tech read the ultrasound - I don't know. I believe it was God causing me to rely on His strength for whatever outcome was to be!

During yesterdays ultrasound we also discovered that we are going to have a boy! I REALLY thought it was going to be a girl. I was absolutely convinced it was a girl. Sarah cried when she was told it was a boy. She so longs for a little sister - she is tired of living in a house full of BOYS!!! But she is getting better about the idea of another little brother. She is insisting that we adopt a little girl so she can be guaranteed a little sister! We'll have to pray about that one!

Other big news is that the work on the house is really progressing! I moved all the clothes back upstairs and even moved my books back into my bedroom! This was nerve wracking as I was always afraid that maybe one bug slipped into one of the boxes and has been hiding. But so far - no bugs or bites. We continue to pray each day that we are really through the trial of bed bugs. I hope to have some pictures uploaded soon of the great progress that is being made - but my computer is doing weird things and not allowing me to upload anything. The CD-ROM drive isn't working either - I really need to save up and get a new computer - but the house needs to come first!

Please continue to pray for us as we continue to put the house together and as we prepare for another little family member. Life is never dull!

It's late and I need to head to bed. I will post photos and write more later!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Oh my goodness! Life is flying! So much has been happening I haven't had time to take it all in! We have been extremely busy - but it has been good - well, mostly!

Last Thursday we were given the most wonderful blessing - tickets to see "In the Beginning" at the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster, PA. Tickets there can be pricey and for our family of five it would cost us well over $100 to go - something that is not in the budget! The kids really had a great time and the play was really well done! Daniel was a riot the entire time - talking and asking questions. We really need to work on his theatre etiquette! But he really liked the angels and animals that were in the play. He really seemed to understand all that was going on as well.

After the play Andy had to run out to Breezewood, PA to speak at a missions conference. So he went west from Lancaster and we headed east. On the way home, however, we ran into huge traffic (lovely rt. 76!) so I broke my goal of trying not to eat fast food for the entire month of August. It was almost 5 PM when we hit the traffic and I knew it would be at least an hour and a half before we got home. So I said to myself - do I sit here in traffic and get frustrated over my children's whining about being hungry and wanting to go home or do I stop at the lovely King of Prussia Mall and get us some dinner and wait out the traffic? Guess what? The mall won! They also have a Lego store that the kids love to look around in. So we spent the hour and a half in the mall eating and looking and then headed home with no traffic in our way. Sometimes we just have to do what is less frustrating. But I am proud to say that we made it an entire 13 days before we ate fast food! I thought that was pretty good! And I am keeping up the goal for the rest of the month. It has been a bit difficult - especially when I haven't gone grocery shopping in almost two weeks! But I have been making dinner every night and lunch as well. I really need to come up with some new recipes. I can't wait until fall and cooler weather when I can start making some soups! They are so delicious!
Since Andy was in Breezewood, I decided to take the kids to the Philadelphia Zoo Friday afternoon. I called my friend Carisa so that she could endure the torture with me! I love the Zoo - I just hate it during the months of May, June, July and August when all the crowds show up. It was a lot of fun, though! Daniel just loves the animals and especially loved spending time with his friend Ky.
Saturday Andy took Sarah and Daniel up to his parent house to spend some time in the great outdoors while I stayed back and prodded Matthew to get his school work from the past week done. We have decided this year that Matt will not go anywhere or do anything until ALL his school work from the week is caught up. He is the great procrastinator and it has been really bad this year. He finally finished up his work at 8 pm that evening and then we headed up to Andy's parents. While traveling up my eyes really began to bug me. The lights hurt them and my left eye burned like crazy. I am sure it looked like I was bawling my eyes out by the time I arrived at the Schultz'! I went to bed, hoping that would alleviate the pain in my eyes. I awoke around 1:30 AM with even more serious pain and a pounding headache. I debated for an hour about whether to go to the ER or not. I have never been to the ER for myself since Andy and I have been married. So when I woke him and told him I needed to go to the ER he knew I must be in pain. Let me just say how good God is as we were at the Schultz' and didn't need to wake anyone to come watch our kids AND the ER was not crowded at all - I went right back in and was seen within a 1/2 hour! So unheard of here in Philly where you could wait hours before being seen! So what was my problem? A corneal abrasion - a scratch on my eye. Boy are they painful! But I got some eye drops and the eye is no longer a problem! The biggest problem is not being able to wear my contacts! I HATE my glasses. But it's only for a few more days!

Another example of God's greatness is the fact that while Andy was taking me to the ER he noticed that the brakes on the car weren't working very well. He asked if I had trouble with them on the way up - I didn't. With my difficulty in seeing on the ride up the last thing I needed was a car issue! Later that morning Andy discovered that the brake line had corroded and there was a huge leak of brake fluid. God allowed me to drive up safely and for Andy to take me to the ER and back home safely. He is always looking out for us!

Sunday was Andy's home church Sunday School picnic at Milford Bible Camp. The kids had a great time swimming and playing games and eating lots of treats! I had a great time talking with people I don't get to see very often and catching up on all their lives. I really miss our home church - it's such a great little group and so full of faith! I really enjoy the times that I get to spend with them.

After the picnic we headed home in a borrowed vehicle from Andy's parents. We are hoping to get our van back later this week.

So that is what life has been like here! Crazy busy! But God is so good to us - in all things! What a wonderful God we serve!

Monday, August 10, 2009

One down, two to go!

I am going to put it into writing - though it scares me to death to say so - but I am officially declaring our house bed bug free. It has been 12 weeks since we have seen a bed bug or have been effected by their bites. We have searched the house over and over again, have continued to spray once a month, have sealed with caulk every nook and cranny in the closets and baseboards, and prayed daily to be relieved of this trial. I believe God has brought us through. Though I don't think we will ever truly be as relaxed as we once were, I am attempting to get back to "normal" life. That includes putting our clothes back into our bedrooms and putting colorful sheets on the bed (we have been using XXL Ziploc bags to store our clothes in the basement and white sheets for the past 10 months).

Sarah's room was the first one done. We went to Ikea and purchased two Expedite shelving units to store her clothes. I am done with dressers! After our experience with the bed bugs I have decided I will likely never have another dresser in my house again. To many places for bed bugs to hide. It is much easier to see things when they are out in the open! This will be a test in organizational skills for my kids as I am requiring them to keep their shelves of clothing neat and orderly. They are 12 and 10 now and are more than capable of doing the task. They like that they can see what they have to wear and don't have to go digging in the drawers anymore. I like that I just have to stack the clothes in their respective cubes. It's much easier. Sarah is pleased with how her room looks though is begging for us to paint her room purple. I am not a fan of pink or purple and have been standing firm in not painting it, but we have been putting purple accents everywhere, so she is content for the time being!
I am hoping to have the boys room put back together this weekend. It will be nice not to have to run to the basement every time I need something, though I do believe running all those stairs has helped with my weight! Matt will be thrilled to not have to dig in his bag for clothing as this has been a huge bother to him. He is a boy that is easily frustrated and this has been the trial of his young life so far. He will be the most thankful of all of us when this whole thing is done.

Andy has been plugging along with the living room and has it almost entirely taped and spackeled. It is going to look so nice when it is finished. Ministry is closed for the next six weeks, though he will fill his time up with camping trips for the kids and other extra ministry opportunities. He is taking the mornings to really work on the house to try and finish up the work so he can go into the fall focusing on ministry and not having to divide his time in a million different directions. I am so thankful that he knows how to do things like this, otherwise it would have cost us a small fortune to fix our house. Andy has saved our family thousands of dollars with his knowledge and ability. And our house is going to look incredible! I am so excited for Christmas! I am going to deck out the entire house as a celebration of the completion of our trial and enjoy the many blessings that God has given us through this situation! Please praise God with me and thank Him for bringing us all through this war, a little beaten and bruised, but whole and with hearts that are eternally grateful for His loving compassion and grace to see us through! I really don't know how people live through life without our Father's help!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reading Rocks 2009

Today was the Reading Rocks culminating party! It was GREAT! I can't imagine doing this without the help and support of so many of you reading this blog - and many that don't! I have a faithful crew who help me gather supplies and donate money so that we can provide the kids here in Kensington with school supplies. It not only blesses them, but also their parents, who in these difficult financial times often have to choose where their money goes.

The kids had a great time. We started off with sharing a meal with them while a slide show of pictures taken throughout the month flashed up on a screen. They love seeing themselves! Afterwards they were all handed a certificate of participation including how many points they earned this year. Matt, Sarah AND Daniel all earned points this year and did very well!

Then the choosing began! Each kid is allowed to choose their backpack and thanks to some great deals and wonderful donations they had quite a selection - over 80 backpacks to choose from! They were then handed a bag of school supplies that included 1 binder, 1 pack of loose leaf paper, 2 spiral bound notebooks, 5 folders, 2 packs of pencils, 1 pack of colored pencils, 1 pack thin tip markers, 1 pack broad tip markers, 1 pencil sharpener, 1 white glue, 2 glue sticks, 1 ruler, 1 pack of pencil top erasers, 2 pink erasers, 1 pair of scissors, and 1 pack of index cards! It's a lot of stuff! They really don't need to get a thing to start school with! It is such a blessing!

The kids were then lined up for the yearly photo and released to their parents. It is an amazing program! I am glad I am apart of it, but was kind of glad to see it end this year. I am tired! It's a lot of work, but so worth the effort! It is such a blessing to see the kids grow and learn and get excited about school! Thank you to all who have helped me throughout this summer to provide for these kids! And thank you God for all your wonderful provisions!

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Day of School!

Today was our first day of school. Don't feel bad for the kids....they have had off since April 30th! They had their three months of vacation - actually one month more than I had intended! But life was insane and I just wasn't ready to start.

Today Sarah and Daniel started school. Matt had been invited to a last minute sleep over with some of his friends. One of his biggest complaints about starting school is that all his friends are off from school and he never gets to spend time with them. So I am TRYING to be flexible in hopes that this will make him more flexible and cooperative. We'll see when he has to do school tomorrow. It was actually kind of nice just working with Sarah and Daniel. Sarah is very easy going - most of the time (she complained major with the reading today!) and Daniel was just so excited to do school he couldn't wait! It was a very pleasant morning! Tomorrow will be the real test when I throw the third one into the mix!

Here are some pictures of Daniel and Sarah enjoying their school!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ocean City, NJ

I am not a huge fan of the beach, but since we have had kids, it is the easiest vacation to take. My children LOVE the beach - but they also don't burn nearly as easy as I do! This week we had friends who were vacationing there and had invited us down for the day. So yesterday we took a day off from our crazy schedules and went to the beach! It was great. For the first time ever we could just sit and watch our kids! Daniel is a sand monster and is quite content to play in the sand for hours on end. Matt and Sarah are getting big enough to go into the ocean by themselves while we keep (along with the lifeguards!) a watchful eye on them. It was a great day! The only thing I regret is being brain dead and forgetting to put sunscreen on my right foot - I got the left one okay - but the right one is burnt to a crisp. It hurts! I am hoping with the help of a ton of aloe vera gel that it will heal quickly!

Here are some pictures of our day! I forgot my nice camera and had to make due with our old one that we leave in the car in case we forget a good one! At least I had a camera!
Daniel with his Lissa! She has watched him since he was little!

Matt playing in the sand with his friend, Morgan.

Daniel making his yearly sand angel! It is almost the first thing he ever does since he was about 2!

Sarah and Daniel playing with the sand. They get along really well - she is his buddy!My little sand monster! He is always covered with sand from head to toe!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Who will marry me?

I am sitting in my bedroom waiting for my most adorable four year old to fall asleep. We have a door that connects our rooms so he knows I am in here. Every now and then he comes up with a zinger of a question. Tonight's question was "Who will marry me?" Why is he thinking of marriage at four? I have no idea. I never know what is going on inside this kid's head! He is very unique! I decided to let him continue and see where it would lead.

Daniel: Who will marry me when I get older?
Me: You're only four - you have a lot of time to worry about that?
Daniel: Will Eliza marry me? (One of our coworkers daughters - she's 12!)
Me: I don't think so?
Daniel: Do you think Lili will marry me? (Another coworkers daughter - she's 3 months!)
Andy jumps in: Would you like us to arrange something?
Daniel: Yes! I would like to marry Lili. But don't make me while I'm still little - when I'm big!
Andy: I will have to talk to her parents.
Daniel: Okay - I like Mister Carisa! (Have no idea why he calls her that when he calls all other women he knows Miss!)
Me: I am laughing on the floor! Why is he so concerned about this?
Daniel: Is Lili promised?
Me: What do you mean?
Daniel: Is she promised to me?
Me: We'll pray about it!

He is so funny! Why he is thinking about marriage at the age of four I'll never know. But he is. We didn't even go to a wedding or talk about marriage today! It reminds me of how important it is to pray for their future spouses. If I could arrange a marriage between Lili and Daniel I would do it in a heartbeat. She is a sweet girl already and I love her family. But since that isn't really done here in the states, I will pray daily for my kids future spouses!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Ever since I have lived in Philly I have always considered myself extremely blessed as far as finances go. We have never gone without anything to eat. We have always had the money to pay for things that we've needed - and even extra to pay for some fun things. I actually consider us to pretty rich compared to others that live in our same neighborhood - even though we qualify for the WIC program and LiHeap. I look around our neighborhood and see kids without proper clothing (especially in the winter), families that need food, and people that can't pay their bills. Many are struggling just to keep it all together.

Today we were shocked by a gift from a family that we know (it was supposed to be a surprise/ anonymous gift but we happened to catch them in the act). It was a significant amount of money. They wanted to help us put our house back together. I know this family doesn't have a lot. I know this family deals with health issues that strain them at times. And yet they sacrificially gave us (people who have never had to deal with what they have dealt with) a gift that could help them out a bunch. I haven't the foggiest idea of what to do. Do we take the money and thank them or do we give it back and say we really appreciate the offer, but we think you need it more? I don't want to take away the blessings that God will bestow upon them for giving so sacrificially - but neither do I want to put a financial strain on this dear family. I am humbled.

This whole experience has truly caused me to pause and think about how I spend our money. I have been trying for this past month not to buy anything frivolous. I also spoke to Andy about a goal I have for August. Summer is the worst time for me and cooking. I hate cooking. I CAN"T STAND COOKING! It seems pointless to me that I spend all this time cooking and it gets eaten in like 20 minutes! I am not an imaginative cook and I don't cook exciting meals. I don't really know how to cook except for a few things some of my friends have taught me. Now if you want great cooking you need to eat at the Hinson's. Frank is an incredible cook and uses spices and everything! I wouldn't even know what spices to use! So when it is hot or our schedule is crazy I resort to fast food or pizza. I know - it's terrible. But I really hate cooking. So my goal for August is to not buy any fast food for the entire month. I am going to make up a menu for the entire month so I have what I need on hand to cook and know exactly what we will be eating each day. It is going to be hard. Friday is usually pizza night and pizza here is pretty cheap. We can get a large pie for $6. (I know you can make it cheaper - but my pizza's always taste terrible!) But instead of doing it every Friday we are going to only do it twice. Please pray for me. I REALLY hate cooking. I REALLY hate planning meals and I REALLY hate going to the grocery store! Ask the Lord to work in my heart in this area and give me a desire to do this for my family. I am hoping the money we save from doing this experiment can be used to bless another family like we have been blessed today.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Camp Sankanac

Camp Sankanac is a place that is near and dear to my heart. It was the place that was an incredible retreat for one week to me each summer from the time I was 7! It is the place where I met my Lord and Savior and met great friends that carried me through the year to the next summer. When I was old enough I worked there as a counselor. I even went as a counselor for one week the summer after I got married! I love it there! I would move there in a heart beat. We have even thought about trying to get positions there - Andy would be a great maintenance man - I would love office work!

Today I had the incredible privilege of taking MY daughter to Camp Sankanac! I can't believe it! Another generation enjoying camp. What an incredible testimony it is to the camp that generation after generation gets to enjoy this God loving camp! It is my prayer that she has as great a time as I did!

She is in the Cayuga cabin - one I wasn't in as a camper, but was a counselor for that cabin. It is a light week at camp, so there are only five girls in the cabin. She has two counselor - Little Blue and Gelati (they have nicknames - their real names are Stephanie and Dani). The theme this week is Medieval Games. She will be a princess this week! After she passed her swimming test - with flying colors! - they have carnival games in which she could earn beads to create an initial bracelet. It was a great idea to keep the kids busy and help get them involved in an activity. By the time we left she was excited and ready to be part of the cabin of girls. Please pray that she would have a great week. Please pray that she would learn a lot about God's love for her and that she is indeed a Princess of the King of Kings. Please pray that she would make friends and that she would relax and be herself. Please pray she would not get homesick! I am so excited that she is sharing a part of my life that I loved so much - it is my prayer that she would love it just as much!

Matt will be doing Basketball camp at Philadelphia Biblical University this week. He hates going away from home overnight, but he thinks he can endure a 6 hour day camp. I think it will be a good activity for him - he loves basketball and needs to put his energy somewhere!

Please pray for Daniel! He will be quite lonely in the coming days! He relies heavily on his brother and sister as playmates! I am thinking I will be starting some preschool activities with him. It will keep us both busy and hopefully get him into a bit of a routine before I start homeschooling the other two in two week!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Daniel!

I can't believe he's four! And he is officially potty trained! That in itself is a miracle! I really didn't think it would happen by the time he turned four - but something clicked with him this week and he is now completely out of diapers during the day! I still put one on at night, but he is starting to stay dryer. I imagine the nighttime training will come along soon.

Friday was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a. If you dress up like a cow, you get a free combo meal! All five of us went for dinner and only paid 28 cents (Matt wanted cheese on his sandwich)! It was a lot of fun! Afterwards we went to IKEA, right next door, so that Daniel could play in their Play area since he is officially potty trained - but they were closed! He was so disappointed! It is something he has wanted to do for so long! We will definitely have to go back so he can enjoy it as a reward for accomplishing his potty training!

As a treat for Daniel's b-day we went to Rita's. Daniel loves water ice! He asks if we can go almost everyday! When we came home we sang happy birthday while he blew out the matches on the cupcakes! We call them ghetto candles - I ran out and forgot to pick some up - he didn't seem to mind! He is such a great little guy! God has really blessed us with his presence and he really lights up our lives with his laughter and humor! Thank you, God, for Daniel! Happy birthday, sweet boy!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Who would think that this cute face could be so incredibly stubborn! We have been trying to potty train Daniel for several months now - and he has been extremely stubborn about the entire situation! He will be four in just 6 days and I believe it is high time he used the toilet for his business. Matt and Sarah were not nearly this difficult. I believe that Daniel understands perfectly what we are telling him - he is just refusing to do it.

Until yesterday. Yesterday was a breakthrough! We went to my mom's house so that Matt could mow their lawn. I told Daniel to use the bathroom (he is in underwear during the day), but he refused and not long after had an "accident". I have to say I was a bit upset. I treated his act as an act of defiance. As a result he was not allowed to participate with the family for a few special things. He was not pleased! But it finally seemed to make an impact because I saw a clue that he had to go "#2" and I stuck him on the potty - kicking and screaming! You could really hear him half way down the block! But not five minutes later he managed to go and was quite pleased with himself. Again, today I noticed one of his clues and again put him on the potty kicking and screaming and even faster than yesterday he managed to go again! Again, he was pleased with himself. So we may be on an upturn! Please pray that he would continue to go on the potty and behave like the 4 year old he will be soon! Pray for us as we continue to work with him in this area of his life!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Birthday Party!

The Birthday Crew!

Yesterday, July4th, we celebrated the kids' birthdays with a family party. Matt and Sarah's birthdays are in June and Daniel and my nephew Sam birthdays are in July. So we usually have one party so that we aren't getting together every week as they are all within four weeks of each other!

The kids had a great time and it was nice to see everyone. Here are a few pictures!

Matt still doesn't mind matching his little brother! I think that's great!

Daniel can't wait to dig into the ice cream cake! Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! Our favorite!