Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daniel = Laughter!!!

Since Daniel's arrival in 2005 he has been a source of joy and laughter to our family. We waited on God's perfect timing a long time (6 years!) for this little guy. It was worth the wait! He is just so funny and really brings a different element into our family. This video demonstrates just how much fun he is!
video
Isn't he a riot? No lack of confidence in this kid! He believes video cameras were made just for him!!! I don't know what was "All my fault" as he was singing in his song....he never gave me an answer!

There is never a dull moment with Daniel - he is certainly a blessing to this family!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Oh No!

BB - Tuesday (2)
Wednesday (3 - two dead)
Something I have been desperately praying would not happen, happened. The neighbors on the other side of us have bed bugs. When we found out that we had them migrating from the infested house connected to us, I immediately went over to notify them of the situation. I showed them what they looked like and let them know where they hide. I tried to inform them as much as I could. They have been good about checking and had found none.....until a couple of weeks ago. One of the women came over to ask if I would look at her son as he had some type of bite. They thought they were flea bites, but they looked an awful lot like bed bug bites. One of the other women that also lives there (there are a couple of families that live in the house) has an uncle that is a professional exterminator. He went through their house a little over a week ago and confirmed my fear - they had a few bed bugs. They are getting treated. They pulled up their carpets and are getting rid of their beds and purchasing new ones. I am now praying that not too many made it over. I am praying that we caught the majority of them. Please pray that this is where the infestation will end. There are 6 other homes connect in this row. We really need to get this under control so we don't get re- infested. Please pray!

We had our fifth treatment today. While the exterminator was here one bed bug had the audacity to crawl out onto the wall of our bedroom. I was up in the bedroom at the time and yelled down to Andy that there was one on the wall. The exterminator came up and looked and then sprayed our open ceiling. It was the first time he has seen one crawling on the wall since he started treating us last November. While he was here we got the chance to talk about the house next door. Apparently the women that lived there thought the bed bugs were roaches (UGH!!!). When the exterminator went to inspect he looked under one bed and there were more than 300 bed bugs! That is a ton of bed bugs! He had never seen such a bad infestation. Even if the women thought they were roaches, why would they want to live with that many?!?!? Unbelievable!!! I am hoping not too many made it over to the neighbors. I am also hoping they haven't made any harbors. Oh, I am really hoping that they are being vigilant and looking everywhere for hiding bed bugs. Please pray that they take this infestation seriously and do not allow the bugs to take a foot hold. Please pray that all the bed bugs on our block would DIE!!! That we would no longer have to deal with these dreadful creatures!

Look Who's TOTally Cool!!!

My incredibly talented friend, Carisa, has launched a new blog for moms of tots. Daniel has the great privilege and honor of being the first tot to be featured on her new Totally Tots blog! She has incredible things going on over there! If your a mom, or know of a mom, of a tot, encourage them to visit this site. It will have all kinds of ideas for teaching and playing with your tot as well as encouragement for you! I am extremely excited about this blog as it is something I have needed for quite some time. Thanks Carisa, for following God's leading and letting me benefit from it! You are TOTally cool!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Please Pray!!!!

BB - (Monday) 2
(Tuesday) 0 - so far

COMHAR has hired a contractor who is at this moment tearing out the ceilings in the house next door. The last time they did demolition/ construction we had a flood of bed bugs enter our home. Please pray that the efforts Andy put into sealing our side of the wall will not have been in vain, but will block any more bed bugs from entering. Please pray that we are seeing an end to this dreadful time. Please pray that the next treatment, rescheduled for tomorrow, will be the last treatment we need. Please pray for our emotions as they may be on a roller-coaster today. Thanks!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baptism Sunday

Today, we had a baptism service at Cornerstone. It was amazing! 18 people chose to take the step forward in their proclamation of their faith in Chirst. It is the most we have ever had in one service! So many different types of people and from so many different types of circumstances, but all bonded together in one name - the name of Jesus Christ! Incredible!

The past few months I have been wondering what on earth I am doing here in Philadelphia. There are many days I feel I have absolutely no impact on anyone here. I am not involved in a lot of ministries - not like I used to be. But today I was impacted by one young girl that was baptized. Pastor Bill often gives a bit of background on each person including when or under what circumstances the person was saved. Well, this young girl announced that she was saved during Kids Club when she attended 5&6 year olds. That would have been the time when I was teaching that age group. My heart skipped a beat and my eyes welled up with tears knowing that I had been a vessel for God to bring this young girl to him. WOW!!! Often with the little ones, you never know who you truly impact. God gave me a glimpse of why I am here, to impact lives for Him. Whether that be through ministry or in how I battle bed bugs, I am here to influence lives for Him. To draw them closer to a relationship with Him. It is an awesome responsibility. One I, at times, feel totally incapable of doing. And I really am except for His strength. Thank you, Father, for giving me the opportunity to be a witness for you.


BB - (Saturday) 17!!!!!
(Sunday) 1

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How many more are there?

When we started this journey of bed bugs, I knew they were hard to get rid of. But with most of the stories I have read, when it concerns homeowners, not those living in apartments, they are usually cleared after three or four treatments. We are now going into our fifth treatment, January 27th. We are already up to 16 bed bugs found today. We have literally caught hundreds of bed bugs since November 1st. I knew the house next door was infested, but GOOD NIGHT how many did they have over there?!?!?! You can't possibly tell me they didn't notice these bugs! How many more are lurking in our house? 16 in one day! We haven't caught that many since this all started. I think our max was 10 since just after the first treatment. I am getting tired of dealing with these bugs and with COMHAR dragging their feet about getting anything done. To them the problem is solved - YEAH, IN OUR HOUSE!!!!!! Can you tell I am getting a little miffed? This is getting ridiculous and I can't understand WHY we are still going through this. I know God has a purpose and a plan - BUT WHAT IS IT? We can't possibly do anything else - except move - which if we could sell the house - we would! I went over our finances last night and just this month we have put over $1000 on the credit card to buy materials needed to fight these bugs. The great thing is is that God had the bill covered. He is amazing that way, always providing what we need. I just really wish He would answer our prayer to kill the bed bugs in one fell swoop so we can FINALLY go back to a normal life - not one of seek and find with bed bugs!

Here We Go Again~

NINE!

That is how many bed bugs we have already this morning. I am almost sick to my stomach with the thought. Andy is COMPLETELY frustrated as he has worked so hard these past few days to seal the common brick wall. The only thing we can figure is that these are ones that have walked across the ceiling (between the roof) and are now coming out since it has been opened. I am completely frustrated as today should be an all out cleaning day, scrubbing walls, vacuuming floors, de-cluttering our bedroom, but I have to go to a baby shower of someone I haven't even met!! (Family obligation.) Please pray. I was just starting to feel like we had this a bit under control, but now I am back to thinking - THIS WILL NEVER BE DONE!!!!! How much longer will we have to endure this trial?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Many Faces of Daniel

Sometime within the past day or so Daniel must have gotten a hold of my camera. When I downloaded the photos onto my computer this is what I found.
It cracked me up when he realized what he was doing and started smiling! This photo collage is so him! He just makes us laugh!!! We thank God for him daily!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Incredible Man!!!

BB - (Wednesday) 1 (Thursday) 2
After a day of demolition!
My husband is the most incredible man I have ever met! He has been my human stronghold throughout this whole bed bug ordeal. He has done, and continues to do, so much to protect and care for this family. The past few days he has been really busy with ripping out sections of the ceiling in our bedroom and in the hall.
Our ceiling before
Our ceiling after
It is the next step in our effort to fight the migrating bed bugs. He puts Versabond on the brick, as it works better than mortar, and then fills in the holes next to the joists with expanding foam filler. You can literally see the house next door through the holes next to the joists. When these houses were built they just butted the joists together. They are not really connected, as it is not one long joist throughout the two houses, but they align together. This alignment, however, allows "things" to travel easily back and forth between houses. We are really hoping that this puts a stop to the bed bugs. COMHAR has agreed to do the same thing in their house, but are currently entertaining bids from contractors to do the job. Who knows how long it will be until they get their side done. As you can see from the numbers above we have only found a few. The only one we found that concerns me is Andy found one in the boys room at 3:30 this morning. I am hoping it just came over from the one of the ripped open ceilings. At least it is caught. I hope it didn't lay any eggs.

Another thing Andy has done to protect his kids is filled in the holes and cracks in the kids bunk beds. When we purchased the bunk beds 8 and 10 years ago, we NEVER entertained the idea of bed bugs. Who knew?? The bunk beds are made of wood and have a bunch of holes where the wood slats join the posts. These are perfect for wanna be harbors for bed bugs. He filled in all the holes with wood glue. If any were in there they are there for good! But more importantly none can harbor in there. This now makes it much easier to check for bed bugs and not worry they are hiding.
Andy has been incredible throughout this whole thing. I would never have made it this far without his encouragement and mental strength. He is even taking a several weeks off from major ministry to be here for me, so I don't have to live this nightmare alone. This is huge for him as he rarely misses any ministry, but he knows my fragile mental state and realizes that until this is truly under control, I can't stay home by myself and stay sane. I have never been so thankful for my husband than I am right now! Please pray for him as he tries to put our house back together (mostly by himself) and figures out what he can do ministry wise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Staff Retreat

BB - (Saturday) 0
Today (Tuesday) 0

Twice a year our staff goes away to fellowship, worship, have meetings, and have a ton of fun! This past weekend was our time away at America's Keswick with our staff family. It couldn't have come at a better time! Andy and I really needed to get away, just to spend time focusing on our children and enjoying our staff family. We had a blast! I so love the people we work with. They are caring, loving, compassionate and just plain fun!!!! They have been uplifting us in prayer throughout this whole bed bug ordeal. Many have wanted to help, but we have no idea how they could do that without risking their own homes. Just the thought that they would be willing to do what they could is comforting.

While we are away we have a meeting each day. During our meeting we share things that have encouraged us during the past year, things that have been a discouragement, things that God is teaching us and goals we have, both personal and ministry. Needless to say, I didn't make it through without many tears. This past year has been the most difficult since moving here to Philly. It was comforting to share with our ministry family what is going on in our lives and what we are learning. Even though we all live near each other, we rarely get to see each other socially. They have all been praying for us, but today the staff specifically prayed for both the Hinson's and us. The Hinson's for the cancer that has infiltrated their lives and us for the dreaded bedbugs that have infiltrated our house. It was powerful. It renewed my strength and faith. It encouraged my heart. It was exactly what I needed to continue this battle. God is so good and I am so thankful for our family here in Philadelphia. Without them, life would be extremely difficult. Please pray for our entire staff, the Curry's, Darrow's, Hinson's, Kliewers, Jonerik, Trish, Jen, Denise, Christine, and Jack. They are an amazing group of people and are incredible servants of God.

While we were there we also had a lot of fun! I learned to play Sequence with Andy, Frank and Jack. I think I frustrated Frank a bit!! I am a defensive player (meaning I am always looking how to block a play) and made Andy and Frank (they were a team) really work for their wins. We also enjoyed swimming and just sitting around talking. I also enjoyed sleeping!!!! I took a great nap on Monday and still slept well last night. For those of you wondering, yes, I did take all the sheets off the beds and thoroughly checked the room for bed bugs. No place will be considered safe until I inspect it! I have learned a huge lesson from having these dreadful creatures. Everyone should check everywhere, no matter where you are going. No place is exempt from having bed bugs. Learn how to check the mattresses, frames, and surrounding areas, no matter where you travel.

I thank God for His loving care of us. I am so blessed with a staff family and time to get away and enjoy their company. Please continue to pray for our situation. Pray for Andy, as well, as he has a lot of work to do this week to continue fighting these pests.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some Good News

Many who read this blog know that homeschooling can be a challenge with my kids. They often put up a fuss about doing school and we have battle after battle about getting the work done. This week has been different. Everyday they have been done by 4:00 pm. It has been great! And there has been hardly any battling when doing the assignments. It is truly an answer to prayer. Life goes much easier when homeschooling goes smoother. Now if only these bugs would be gone, life would definitely be much sweeter!

Look at what Andy got done today with Jared's help:
We have a wall! Andy found a sheet rock called Quiet Rock. It is supposed to be a sound barrier. It won't make the room sound-proof, but should cut down the noise from next door. The neighbors tore out their carpet when they moved in 11 years ago and we hear everything - their phone ringing, their doorbell, even people knocking at their door. We can even turn our TV sound off and figure out what channel they are watching! We are hoping this will help with that and quiet our house down a bit.
Another good piece of news is that COMHAR is having Ehrlich (the exterminators) come on the 27th of this month to treat our house, and the infested house, again and then follow up with an inspection a few weeks after that. This is good news as our extermination contract ended on January 14th. We purchased the materials needed to continue treatment, but it is good that they will come out and we can save ours for future months. We are planning on treating for the next 18 months, just to be certain they will be gone. Having them come on the 27th, however, puts pressure on Andy to tear out the second floor ceilings so he can seal the brick party wall. Please pray that we will be nearing the end of this problem. Please pray that the pesticide will take its effect on the bugs and kill them. Please pray that we will find any lose bugs and prevent them from finding a harbor to build their homes. We need some peace and it needs to come soon. We have no idea why we are going through this, but please pray with us that it will be done. We are so tired and would really love to focus on something else other than bed bugs.

Member's Meeting

BB - 5 (all alive)
Tonight, we held our church members meeting. It is absolutely amazing how much this group has grown. The room in which we hold it was almost bursting at the seems. God is doing amazing things within our neighborhood. I just looked around tonight at the different faces and praised God for being involved in this ministry. Over the past few months, I have so desired to leave. I hate all the struggles that we have and are continuing to deal with. But then I look at the faces of the members of our church and think "They have struggles, too." Some of them I know and am amazed at their testimony in the midst of it all. It is good that they see we deal with struggles, too. I only hope I am handling it well enough to point them to our loving heavenly Father. It would be extremely easy to run away - it's what I want to do. But God has not opened that door.

Please continue to pray concerning Andy's involvement in ministry the next few months. We are still finding a number of bugs. My mental state at night is always on the edge. I am getting more and more nervous at handling this thing on my own, especially when Andy is gone at night. We have been finding several bed bugs in places I am just not tall enough to reach and to have to wait until he comes home to retrieve them will drive me CRAZY!!! Please pray that we make the right decisions and more importantly, that these dreadful creatures would just die and never return!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm trying....

BB - 1
Bite - Andy (1)

so hard to not lose it. I continue to feel as if I am holding my breath. I haven't posted for a couple of days because I am desperately trying to refocus my attention. Just when I feel I have a little bit of a step forward, I get pulled three steps back. Yesterday we didn't find one bed bug. I was beyond thrilled. I just kept thinking "only 54 more days to go". But, alas, we found one tonight. It is looking more likely that Andy will be tearing out a section of the ceilings in the second floor so as to try and seal the common brick wall. I am getting weary of all the things that still need to be done. I wish it were all done. I wish someone could tell me that by this date we will be free of these dreadful creatures. But no one can do that. No one can even guarantee that we will never see them again. We won't even be absolutely sure for 18 months that they are completely gone. July of 2010!!!! UGH! Never in my life would I have thought that this is something God would have put me through. I am not strong enough......but I know in my head He is. I am trying to trust. I just have to keep trying.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Progress

BB - 5 (4 dead) (yesterday) - none so far today
Bite - 1 (Daniel)

This past weekend I spent almost all my time in the basement. My whole house is an entire mess, so I decided to start from the ground up. I TOTALLY cleared off the game/ Little People shelf. I went through the games and Andy and I decided which one we were keeping. If we ask our little people, they would keep the whole lot! I took a TON of stuff up to the church Thrift Shop. It felt so good to get some of that stuff out of there! I also steamed the sofa we have down there. It is a This End Up piece that Andy was given from a friend years ago. I steamed it because I found a bed bug crawling out from under it a few days ago. I didn't want to take any chances that there were any eggs laid and would be hatching. It took about 2 hours to steam the entire thing! Andy then sprayed the shelves and sofa with pesticide to kill any if they happen to crawl around down there. I am not quite finished with the entire basement, and probably won't be until we get rid of the bed bugs, but I am doing my best to get things out of the house and to de-clutter our lives. As we play with the games we will decide if they are our favorite or if we can live without them. If we can live without them - then off they go!!!! I am really getting addicted to this de-cluttering thing! I will be adding pictures later. My battery died and it is currently recharging :-)!!!

One good thing about last night is one of my favorite TV shows returned last night - 24! I watched it as I steamed! It is all the Hinson's fault that I like this show. I never used to watch it until they kept talking about it, and then I borrowed the DVDs and was hooked. I have never actually watched it on TV because it always comes on when I am trying to put children to bed. I would always wait until it came out on DVD and watch the entire season. But since we now have a DVR it is easy to record it and then watch it later. I tried to record it before with a VCR, but I would always forget to put it in the schedule and then miss a show. If you miss a show, you can get easily lost. Now the DVR records the entire series for you - no remembering! There are only three shows that I absolutely love to watch: NCIS, 24, and Stargate Atlantis. I know, I'm such a geek! Those are the three shows I record and watch, usually while I am cleaning something in the living room or basement. I don't think I ever really "sit" to watch anything. Maybe when this whole thing is done I'll get that chance. My dream is to sit and watch something while doing a cross-stitch! I am so itching to want to do a cross-stitch. Maybe by the end of this year!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Incredible Husband

BB - 8 (yesterday)
BB - 2 (so far today) + 3 (2 dead) = 5

There are no words to truly express how grateful I am for my husband. During this whole dreadful ordeal he has been my constant supporter and has listened to me cry, get angry, question, complain, etc. and has done amazing things to the house to try to protect his family. I know he is as tired as I am, yet he continues to move forward and figure out new things he can try to rid our house of these bed bugs. Without him I would never have gone as far as I have in this problem. He has even given me permission to escape the house if it ever becomes too much. He would stay behind and fight the battle himself. Isn't he sweet? I hate the thought of abandoning him. I am glad I have a partner with whom I can fight this battle. I have said it since I met this wonderful man that he has been an incredible example of Christ to me - sacrificing so much and loving me regardless of myself.

I had been praying, fervently, that God would allow us not to see any bed bugs after January 9th. It seems that God is choosing not go that route. Yesterday, we found 8 bed bugs. The most distressing part of those 8, however, is that three were found in the basement (1 dead). I fear the cat, or the kids, are dragging them down there. Today, I am cleaning out the basement and preparing for Andy to spray it down with insecticide. I am also moving the cat up stairs (her food and litter box are in the basement). I really DO NOT want bed bugs in the basement. I fear that if they enter there we may never get rid of them. The kids are also required to wear sneakers from the time they wake up until they go to bed. I think their footy pj's and socks attract the bed bugs and since they have to go to the basement to get their clean clothes (they are stored in XXL Ziploc bags) they may be dragging the bed bugs down.

Today we have found 2. The most distressing part of this is that one was found in the upstairs hall closet. In that closet the brick to the common wall is exposed and we fear that maybe they are starting to migrate over to our house via the joists on the second floor. It looks as if the ceilings in our bedroom, the upstairs hallway, and Sarah's room may have to be ripped out so that Andy can seal the holes to prevent them from coming over. Please pray for Andy. He needs help. He can't possibly do all this construction on his own. Clubs start in just two weeks and there is still so much work to be done. I have been praying and wondering if there is any way that he may be able to take this semester off of ministry and just totally focus on the house and this problem. Or maybe just take enough time off until the problem is gone. I am getting very nervous about him being gone so much in the next couple of weeks. It is tough for me to handle my emotions about this situation when he is gone - especially at night. Please pray that we would find the right answers and figure out how to rid this house of bed bugs once and for all.

My sweet friend, Carisa, called up last night and invited Sarah, Daniel, and I to go with her and her son, Kyler, to Franklin Mills Mall. She knows how I feel about staying at home without Andy. Andy and Matt attended the Boys and Men night at our church last night. They left at 6:15 pm and didn't return until 10:30 pm. That would have been an incredibly long time to be home alone with my dreadful companions (bed bugs, not kids!). It felt good to go out and spend some time with her as we really haven't seen each other for more than two months due to both of our situations (her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer Nov. 3, the same time we found out we had bed bugs. He is on the mend and cancer free!). I am so thankful for friends who love us and pray for us! I am thankful for all of you, some whom I have never met, who pray for us regularly. Praise God from whom all blessings flow - I know I have many and I am really trying to focus on them. One of them is that by the time we are done with these bed bugs, my house will have been completely renovated!!!! How cool is that!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Great News!

BB - 3 (1 mostly dead)

I had a doctor's appointment today to check out my sugar and triglyceride levels. I had great news. Back in October my triglycerides were 943 (WAY TOO HIGH!) and are now down to 143. My sugar level was 9.2 (AGAIN, WAY TOO HIGH!) and is now 6.2 - almost perfect! So, the combination of meds and weight loss have had a good effect. The doctor was pleased and encouraged me to "keep doing what you're doing". The only down fall to the whole visit was my blood pressure was slightly elevated. There was probably a reason for that, however.

Just prior to my visit, people from COMHAR came to inspect the house with the exterminator. I started to express my concern and grief and one of the men made the fatal mistake of saying, "I understand." WRONG!!!!! He in NO WAY could possibly understand what we have been through the last two months unless he has actually LIVED in my house. I offered to switch residences for a month, but he declined the offer - I wonder why?!?!? It seems they are listening a bit better, however. While I was at the doctor's Andy brought them into our house and showed them what he had found with the joists and how he filled it in. They have agreed to do the same thing on their side of the house, only they are going to take it a step further and do the upstairs as well. I have to mentally prepare my brain for this event. I am fearful that this will only drive MORE bed bugs into our home. But I have to realize that I would rather them be driven OUT of the walls to die then to stay there hibernating for up to 18 months (that's how long females can live without a meal!) PLEASE pray for me as I mentally prepare for the onslaught that may occur. We still haven't come to a conclusion as to how extermination is going to be paid for, but Andy and I have been told we should start contacting our state and city representatives. I had never thought of that and wish I had about a month ago. Andy and I have decisions to make as to whether we are going to take that route. We don't want to be fools and let this go on any longer than it has too, but we also want to settle this as calmly as possible. Please pray that we would make the proper decision. We want to follow God's plan, not our emotions. Thanks for your prayers - they are the reason I am still in Philadelphia. I would leave in a heartbeat if given the opportunity - but God has another plan for my life - one I never dreamed of, but I know He has a good plan. I just need to trust Him.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Poor Daniel

BB - 4 (2 dead)

Our poor boy is sick. He has been running a fever, though I couldn't tell you what it is because in all our chaos I can't find a thermometer. But I know it's up there. He has been sluggish all day and has hardly eaten anything. My poor baby. I so enjoy all the cuddles that come with his feeling lousy. He often comes to me and says "Hold you, mama". I love it. Motrin has been doing the trick, but as soon as it wears down, he is a poor sick little guy. Please pray that he would get better quickly. It's so sad when he is sick.

Matt had a better day today, but he has an incentive. Friday night is Men and Boys night at church. He had a blast there last year and REALLY wants to go this week. He knows the rule however. If school is not caught up, no activity. He worked pretty steadily today and will, hopefully, do the same tomorrow. He could be caught up by the end of school tomorrow. The next incentive is the staff retreat. I have had them scheduled as days off, but if he is not caught up he will take work with him. I'll have to figure out other incentives for the rest of the year.

I see the doctor tomorrow for my three month check up with the diabetes. Pray that the numbers are good and that things are in order. I feel terrible as I haven't been able to exercise for weeks. With the living room being torn up and constantly looking for bed bugs and doing things to keep them from invading things, time has been short. I REALLY need to get back to it. As of tonight I have lost a total of 21 pounds. My goal is to lose another 20 by May 8th, my 40th birthday! I can't do that unless I exercise. I'll have to dust the elliptical tomorrow and start using that! I can't wait until the weather gets better and I can take the kids out for a good brisk walk. I finally was able to get a jogging stroller for $10! Someone gave a pretty decent one to the church thrift shop and I snagged it! It is a true answer to prayer as Daniel can't walk around with this one like he does with umbrella strollers. Come spring Matt, Sarah, Daniel and I will be walking EVERYWHERE! I am so excited!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Matthew

BB - 6

Our poor first born has been cursed. Matthew is an intense kid. Everything he does is intense. He has pretty much been that way since birth. He gets that from his father. He also has an incredible temper. He really ought to have fiery red hair. Everything sets him off. Unfortunately, he gets that from me. Today was an intense day of school. Matthew just has days where he doesn't get the fact that school is a necessity. The choices he makes are poor ones and we just can't seem to help him understand that he is making bad choices. He tends to blame others for his choices. "If my sister wasn't here, I would get my work done." "If you wouldn't keep telling me to get my work done, I'd be able to focus and get it done." It goes on and on.

Today, Andy and I sat down with him and really tried to help him gain some understanding. He is an arguer and really tries to argue his way out of things. He's pretty good at it too, but Andy is much better. I get lost in the circle of it all at times. Please pray for our poor boy. He struggles with a ton of things. His brain is much too old for his 11 years. He is currently struggling with his assurance of salvation. Andy went through the same thing. His parents spent countless hours talking him through it all. It looks as if we will be doing the same thing. He is so smart, but at times just can't understand the simplicity of things. He will get it. Please pray for him as he goes through this struggle.

I have pictures of our living room. It is going to look amazing when it is done. It will be awhile, but it will be worth the wait.

At the top you will notice BB - 6. For those of you that didn't read yesterday's post that is how I am going to tell you if we are still finding bed bugs. Today we found 6. That's a lot. Still praying they will be gone REALLY SOON! Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, January 5, 2009

First Day Back!

The last two months of school have been almost non-existent. My mind was so consumed with bed bugs that it was hard to focus on anything else. I had decided over the break that my focus needed to return to homeschooling properly. That meant full days of school, accomplishing everything on the list. So yesterday was spent planning, organizing, and finalizing plans for the week. It felt good to put my energy towards something other than bed bugs!
I woke up early and showered and got ready for our day. Problem was the kids were still sleeping when I was ready! Andy and I had to wake them up at 8:00 am. This put Sarah in a bad frame of mind for most of the morning. Matt, however, had a great morning and accomplished much of his morning work. Then they decided to flip roles for the afternoon. Sarah had a great afternoon and Matt didn't finish his work. Oh well! It felt good to me to do history and health and to spend time with each kid with their various subjects. It helped that Andy stayed home today to continue working on our living room. Daniel was his little helper today. I could hear Andy laughing at all the things Daniel was trying to "help" him with. We still did tours throughout the day and did find one on the steps, but we really tried to keep our focus on the kids and their schooling.
On that note I really want to be trying to focus on other things on this blog. I have decided that at the beginning of each post I will put this: BB - 2. That will let everyone know if we are still finding bedbugs (BB) and how many. Today we have found 2, so far. One was found early this morning when Andy was going to bed (around 4:30 am), and the other this afternoon after lunch. I also called COMHAR today to find out what they were going to do after January 14th when our warranty with the exterminator runs out. I thought I handled myself pretty well in expressing just how horrific this whole situation has been. Dan, the guy that seems to have the most compassion for us, is planning on talking with the higher ups about the situation. They truly believe their house is bug free. I truly believe it is NOT! I believe they are going to fix the house up, move people in there, and then we are going to see all the bugs return. I have asked them to come out and inspect it with the exterminator. I would love to go in there and help, but am also afraid that I may drag more into our house. We'll see what happens. It's all in God's hands.

One of my New Years goals has been to read to the kids before bedtime. It is something I had really gotten away from, even before bed bugs! So far we have read every evening. We are currently reading "Inkheart" by Corneila Funke. It is a great book! We are really enjoying it. I chose it because it is coming out in the movie theaters the end of this month. I am usually a stickler about reading the book first and then seeing the movie. We then discuss the difference between the two. It makes for fun conversations. I was really glad we read "Bridge to Terebithia" before we went to see it as I was totally not expecting the ending it had. We are all excited to see "Inkheart" the movie. It should be amazing!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

"I've Lost My Dream"

The other night Andy found Daniel wondering our hall upstairs. When Andy asked what was wrong he simply stated, "I've lost my dream." He always has something very interesting to say. I love his perspective of things. He then came into our bed and snuggled down, holding my hand to sleep. He is my sweetest child. He is a hugger and a hand holder. I'm so glad God gave him to us!

Since that night those words have rung in my ears. I've lost my dream these past two months. My dream of homeschooling well this year. My dream of getting my house in order and organized well enough to have people from ministry come over. My dream of enjoying my family by playing games and reading. My dream of enjoying the holidays with Daniel really remembering this year and being a true little person. Real dreams as I have not been sleeping well. So many others I could list. So many of my dreams, lost. But maybe that is the problem. They were my dreams. Obviously, God had a different dream for me this year. I am just finding it incredibly difficult to accept His dream. I don't know what point and purpose there is to this exercise. Earlier today I went over to the Hinson's and spoke with Frank's mom who is up visiting for the week. She was so funny! She was telling me how this is a test of patience and I have earned that star. She is amazed I am still here. Frankly, so am I. So many days I have wanted to just leave. So many hours I have to physically force myself to stay here. If anyone were to offer me a house - I would be gone! But no one has offered us a house and though every ounce of me wants to leave, my husband does not feel that same urge. So, I stay. I need to learn to accept the dream of my heavenly Father, and put my dreams aside. Please pray with me that I would live His dreams for my life and lose my own to Him.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My Constant Prayer

Throughout these last two months I have awoken, spent the day, and gone to bed with the same prayer on my lips: Father, You are mighty and strong and able to do abundantly above all we ask or think. Please, Father, remove these bed bugs from our home. Help us to return our focus to You, our family, and to ministry." This event has been such an incredible roller coaster of emotions. One minute I can be feeling a bit of relief and even not think about the dreadful things. But more often than not, my mind is ALWAYS on THEM. I believe it is beginning to affect me physically. I am constantly anxious, to the point where I can't even bear to go upstairs for fear I will spot a bed bug. When Andy isn't here I have to literally force myself to go and look for them for the sake of my children. Every time I do find one I have to remind myself to breath so as to not completely lose it. Today we have found two very live ones. One was in my daughter's room which we hadn't seen any in in weeks. The other above the door to my boys room. At this point we have no idea how they are getting into our house as we believe we have sealed the walls between the infected house and ours. I am praying that they aren't hatching in our house and these are the result of that.

A big concern at this point is that we are to be attending our yearly staff meetings in a couple of weeks. It is an event we look forward to each year. The kids get to play with the other staff kids for three days! We get to socialize with the rest of the staff and have fun (something that doesn't happen as often as I would like even though we only live a few blocks from each other. But this trip requires us to be gone for two nights and three days. I am struggling with whether or not we can really be going. We can't really be leaving our house for two nights with all these bugs running around. It will be life giving them a license to infest. I believe one of the reasons we haven't be "infested" like normal bed bug hosts is that we have really kept on top of them. If we continue seeing them for the next two weeks I can't go. It wouldn't be any fun as I would constantly be thinking about these dreadful creatures. Please pray that we stop seeing them this week. We have gone as long as four days without seeing them. It would have to be at least a week of not seeing them for me to be even remotely comfortable with leaving the house for that many days. Please pray. We are due to leave January 18th and come home on the 20th. Please pray that the bugs would be gone by January 9th, if not sooner. If we see them after that date it is going to be a struggle for me to go. Is that a lack in faith that God can protect my house from bed bugs? I don't know. I have found out through this whole situation that I don't know much. I have been through a lot of different struggles, but I don't think any of them have rocked my faith in God as much as these tiny little bugs. I know there are many out there praying for us, and I am very thankful to you all. Please continue to pray that this trial will come to a swift end.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! 2009!

WOW! Another year has flown by. Where did it go? I love this time of year as I try to figure out where my life is at and what I have yet to do. This is a big year as I turn 40!!! I can remember as a kid thinking it would be FOREVER before I got to that age....now it's here!

This Schultz family decided to spend the day with their little bed bug friends. We have found about 15 since the extermination yesterday. Two on the boys bunk beds. We gave the kids a choice and they decided to stay in. They didn't even get out of their pj's. They decided the best day we could have is if we stayed in all day. With the exception of Andy running out and going to the bank and post office and my running to the library and grocery store, we were home. Tonight we ate pizza, watched two movies: Horton Hears a Who and Journey to the Center of the Earth (3-D version, which they LOVED!), popped popcorn and started reading "Inkheart" by Cornelia Funke, aloud. It was a great night. We put Matt and Sarah to bed around 10:30 pm and they crashed. I recorded the ball falling for them so they could see it later today. They have never made it to midnight! They try, but never make it!

So what do I hope to accomplish this year? I haven't thought through everything but a few are:
1. Read aloud to my children at least four nights a week. (I have gotten away from that!)
2. Continue my weight loss. My goal is a total of 60 pounds by the end of the year. Only 38 pounds to go!
3. Continue to organize the house. Because of our bed bug situation, this has been a continuous project. Hopefully we can get rid of these pests and finish the project.
4. Matt, Sarah, and I are going to read the Bible in One Year. It's something Matt has wanted to do, so I decided we are going to do it together.
5. Devote more time to prayer. I truly believe that this is the ONLY way I am surviving this ordeal. God is giving me the strength I need each day to face these dreadful creatures and keep sane.

Those are just a few. My list will become more extensive later today as Matt, Sarah and I sit down to write down what we would like to accomplish and look at last years and how we did! I think it's fun to see Matt and Sarah and their reactions to what they thought they could do and what they actually did.

I hope you all will have a very blessed 2009. May you see God's hand in your lives and live to serve Him all your days. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting and loving us through your prayers. We definitely wouldn't be here without them!