Monday, December 29, 2008

A couple of days before Christmas some friends dropped by. It was Sam and Jean! They had a box of 10 big plastic candy canes filled with chocolate kisses. One for each of us. She had a cute new haircut, I noticed. They only stayed to chat for a few minutes.


Sam and Jean are very special people. We go to the same church, but we didn't know them at all until they began showing up at our house with boxes of food every month last year after Ralphie was born. Each month would bring another visit and more steaks and other goodies.


Sam was a helper in Rose's Sunday school class at church. Jean was a public school special education teacher. She would bring me many bags of school supplies for the kids each Fall.


Together they were foster parents. Several sets of kids have come and gone over the past year and a half that we have known them. One time they took our older kids and their kids out for a night at the amusement center. Another time they took our younger kids and their kids to the zoo together. We had a barbecue at their house last summer.


We hosted a birthday party for their foster daughter at our house this Fall. At 14 years old, it was her first real birthday party! Jean and I and this girl went to a women's event at our church this Fall, as well. She was a very troubled girl, but they were not afraid of her. Jean just wanted her to know that someone loved her.


Sam and Jean have both had more than their fair share of health issues. I couldn't even count the number of times that Jean had to be taken to the ER. She almost always had a cheerful attitude though.


Jean suddenly passed away yesterday. We were all very shocked and don't even yet know what happened. I know Sam is going to miss her like crazy. My consolation is that she was a devoted follower of Christ and she shared my love for unwanted children. She taught me much about giving. We will miss her but are happy that she is now completely healed.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

First Christmas - Well..sorta

Here is some footage from today, Ralph's first Christmas at home. Last year he was in the hospital with adenovirus - a nasty case of pneumonia. It's also his first gift opening experience as he spent his 1st birthday in the hospital as well.

video

We took over 300 pictures today. There are some funny looking ones, too! Why is it that I never see a double chin in the mirror, but there it is when someone takes my picture?

Merry Christmas to you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ralph

Well it is Christmas eve and it looks like we will be sharing Christmas together at home this year! In fact, we won't be going anywhere tomorrow. If we stay in PJs the whole day - that's even better!

We've been trying to convince Ralph for a long time that standing and walking are good things to do. He seems to be getting the idea, finally! Check this out:

video

You may notice that he is digging in and walking on his heels. Not good. He doesn't get to see his PT for a couple more weeks though.

You may notice that he is not wearing his cannula. He has developed a habit of chewing on it! I do my best to keep it on during the day and try not to stress out about it. He does quite well at keeping it on at night, which is when I monitor him anyway.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Way too funny!! You gotta watch this!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Cleaning and purging day!

We had a little cleaning party today. My laundry room was getting ridiculous! Plus, Grandma Linda is coming for Christmas. I'm not sure if I can live up to her standards with eight children in the house. But, we hope to avoid grossing her out!



So why should I mop the floor when I have the "A" Team? Four kids, each with a washrag, can make quick work of the kitchen and dining room floor! They are also expert at wiping down doors, window sills and baseboards.

I sorted the huge pile of clothes and stuff that my helpers pile up in the laundry room when they don't feel like putting it away where it is supposed to go. One bag of trash, one bag to Goodwill, one laundry basket for the consignment store, one box to store for Ralph and one box of baby girl clothes and a ton of clothes that the kids forgot that they even had! Seriously, my kids have way too many clothes! This purge is long overdue.

I boiled 5 pounds of potatoes and started the beans for tonight's chili. The potatoes should make enough hash browns to last all week. Now my legs are shot! I'm going to chill out on the couch for a while.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Problems? Not me.

My attitude is nearly completely adjusted thanks to Christine. I live an incredibly comfortable life. Maybe that has been part of my problem.

It is very easy where I live to forget about the kind of suffering that exists in the world. I have to face it, and look at it, and let it change me. I have to do more for God's children and less for my selfish self.

I can easily become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems in the world. I could easily do nothing because I wouldn't be able to make a difference. But it is not my job to save the world, is it? That has already been arranged. It is my job to love God and love His people and do what is right.

Do you need an attitude adjustment as much as I did? Then pop on over to Christine's blog and check out the video of Sam and Esther. (If I could figure out how to post it here I would.) It may change more than your attitude.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'll take a little cheese with my whine.

I'm having problems. It feels like someone powerful is opposing me. I can't get anything done. Does that mean I'm doing something right? Or something wrong?

I just wanted to make a quick shopping trip yesterday. I promised Rose a trip to the dollar store a few weeks ago when she go some tooth fairy money. So my plan was to go when she got home from school at 4pm.

But, Chipper got done with wrestling practice at 4:30. So now the plan was to pick up Chipper and take him to the dollar store with us and then come home.

But, Chipper had a camp out this weekend. He needed to be packed and up to the church by 5:30. So now we had to go home so that Chipper could pack quickly and we would take him to the church and then go to the dollar store.

We get to the church at 5:30. No one else is there. So we wait. And wait. People start to show up around 6. All the time we are waiting, Rose is in the back seat asking me when we are going to go to the dollar store.

As Chipper got his gear out of the car I suddenly thought to ask him if he packed his medication. No? No. I don't have time to run home and back before they leave. Chipper borrowed a cell phone to call dad at home.

If you know Chipper, you will know that I should have called myself. For some reason he gave me the impression that I needed to go home and get the medicine, so I went. When I got home, dad was gone. He HAD brought the meds up to the church. I. Give. Up.

I give up. It is now 6:30, I still have to cook supper. I told Rose we would go in the morning. She was fine with this because grandma Connie was having the little kids over to her house last night.

We did go to the dollar store today! Rose had $1 to spend and it was a very hard decision to make. I was going to run by the grocery store, but ran out of time. Surprise, surprise.

Oh, while I'm complaining...Ralph is so attracted to my computer that he keeps ripping keys off. The "o" the "c" and the "2" and really messed up. I put them back on, but they are all crooked and don't work right. Grrrrr. I suppose I'll have to take it in for repair, $$$.

Also, I have carpal tunnel syndrome ONLY when I am pregnant. I'm going a little nuts that I can't feel my hands most of the time. Three more months of this seems like forever.

The doorknob fell off the front door.

OK, I'm done.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gold nuggets to share

I've been putting off posting for a couple of days now. I DO have stuff to share...I'm not sure why I'm not exited about sharing it. I guess maybe sitting in front of the Christmas tree this time of year makes me want to treasure some things up in my heart.

Here are a few of my treasures.

It has been so cold here. Single digits early in December is out of the ordinary. But, I'm so thankful to have a furnace and hot water. I've heard from some families traveling in Ukraine right now that many places have no heat and no hot water. Winter is not even technically here yet!

That makes me think of the precious orphan children in Eastern Europe that I've been praying for. Are they suffering from the cold? On top of malnutrition and lonliness? It is enough to bring me to tears and to my knees. I feel so small and helpless. Only God can make these things right, so I go to him.

On a happier note, I feel so privileged to have introduced a new friend to Reece's Rainbow last month. She did not know that this Down Syndrome Orphan ministry even existed. Now her and her husband are planning to adopt a little girl from Eastern Europe. Wow! I'm so humbled that God would use me this way to rescue one of his little children.

I was hopeful that I could announce that we would be pursuing the adoption of a child with Down Syndrome from Eastern Europe this year. It is quite obvious to me that God is leading me down this road. The whole idea of adoption is a picture of God's love for us. A more perfect kind of love. If you really want to know how I feel about this read the Reece's Rainbow blog post on redemption here.

God has other plans for me this year it seems. While I've been pining away for a child on the other side of the world He has been creating new life in me! James and I are expecting a new baby in March. I've been treasuring this secret for awhile. We are led to believe that this baby is a girl! Rose is quite excited as she has prayed for a little sister for some time now.

This time last year Ralph was in the hospital with pneumonia and we were bidding the year 2007 good riddance! This year has come and gone like lightning. There were some scary hard times, and I've learned a lot, much like the year before. I'm looking forward to 2009 as a new challenge, another mountain to climb. Oh my...I better quit this. I really need some sleep!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

What have I done?

I borrowed this meme from Melissa at Multi-tasking Mama. Sounded like a fun way for my readers to get to know more about me. I enjoyed learning the things about Melissa!

It’s just a way to give your readers a little more insight into your life and what you have done! Enjoy! Feel free to borrow this and let me know if you do so I can come read yours! The things in bold are the things I have done and the things I have in red are the things I would like to do:

1. Started your own blog (I actually am in the process of helping a couple of other people start theirs, too.
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (school bands count right?)
4. Visited Hawaii (someday!)
5. Watched a meteor shower (piled the kids in the truck at 3 am for a drive in the country so we could see it better)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (yes, but you can't outgive God)
7. Been to Disney World (as a young child - we've not taken our children)
8. Climbed a mountain (I didn't make it to the top - does this count?)
9. Held a praying mantis (ewwww!)
10. Sang a solo (a couple of times too many - now retired)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (I'm a Kansas girl - never been on the sea.)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (does knitting and sewing count?)
15. Adopted a child (someday! This is high on my priority list.)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (no, but I floated past it in a party boat)
18. Grown your own vegetables (yumm! looking to expand the garden this year)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train - I've heard about those overnight trains in Ukraine!
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked (SCARY!)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (honey, would you call in for me?)
24. Built a snow fort (LOVE the snow)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon (running sucks! cycling rocks!)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (I saw the most incredible lunar eclipse in Arizona back in hmmm...1997?)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (I love the sunrise after you've been driving all night)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (Always interesting to see a horse and buggy hitched up)
36. Taught yourself a new language (Russian anyone?)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (why am I NEVER satisfied?)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (I want to but I freeze up)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa - I have a friend in Ethiopia who has extended the invitation.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (with Ralph, several times)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (They have triple features at our drive-in, if you can stay awake that long!)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (several actually, some successful, some not so much)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (Oh my gosh! Just ask my poor mom. I had to be the top seller every year. Hundreds of boxes to deliver.)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason (Too impractical)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (yikes - doesn't that involve needles?)
65. Gone sky diving ( no stinkin' way)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (snort! Wish I had a nickle for each one.)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (my stuffed mouse Topo Gigo for one)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (no, but I was born in the Land of Lincoln)
71. Eaten Caviar (unfortunately)
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square (actually I was walking, no time to stand around)
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (Best thing that could have happened at the time)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (I've got big bones! LOL)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (yes, my own motorcycle, too!)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (you can't even imagine - unbelievable)
80. Published a book (I have a lot to say - just don't know if anyone wants to hear it!)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (ordered a chocolate brown Dodge Ram truck once)
83. Walked in Jerusalem (I'm so jealous that my hubby gets to go to Israel next year)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (a real flattering, not, picture of me taking a breath while swimming in a race)
85. Read the entire Bible (can't get past a few of the books)
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I've had a deer butchered on my kitchen island - does this count? No, I didn't personally kill it.)
88. Had chickenpox (while pregnant with Chipper! Have you ever seen chicken pox scars on top of stretchmarks? Not pretty.)
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (am I weird that I want too?)
91. Met someone famous (a few while working at the Marriott - the Judds, Dick Clark)
92. Joined a book club (I'm very jealous of people who have time to read)
93. Lost a loved one (Grandpa - just last Spring)
94. Had a baby (a few, LOL)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (God forbid!)
98. Owned a cell phone (when I'm out, you are out of luck!)
99. Been stung by a bee a wasp
100. Read an entire book in one day (I remember those days.)

As you can see, I'd love to do anything that involves travel! What have you done?Just copy & paste and bold what you have done & un bold what you haven’t.Have fun with it and if you want, comment with your link to your What have you done? post!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More turkey? Nope...

This time it is a 7lb Honeybaked ham and potatoes that turned up on our porch! The UPS man must think we are really hungry or really crazy.

I can feel the love.

A Punk Coward?!

Thank you to http://www.raisingjoey.com/ for posting this excellent interview with John C. McGinley, aka Dr. Cox from Scrubs: http://raisingjoey.com/?p=1767.



I've known for awhile that John has a son with Down Syndrome, but I didn't realize how much I liked him until I read the interview. He has a lot of good things to say, but the part of the interview that stood out to me was where he outright calls a popular award winning film director a punk coward. See if you can guess who!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just in Time for Christmas - Dark Knight for Christian Parents

The movie The Dark Knight came out on DVD this week. My dear friend Eileen, a gifted writer and literature teacher, has written an essay about the movie that she wishes to get into the hands of as many Christian parents as possible.

If you have teenage children, chances are they have either seen the movie or bugged you to let them see it! Would you be surprised to hear that the Gospel message is contained in this dark movie? Read what Eileen has to say, discuss the movie with your children and decide for yourself. Here are excerpts of a note that I received from her today:

Just a note to let you know that I have posted my essay (tome?) about The Dark
Knight on my blog at http://lochinvarguides.blogspot.com/.
It is entitled, “Neopaganism Meets Christianity in The Dark Knight” and concerns
what I perceive as the Christian allegory underlying the movie. The essay
ended up being quite long, so I have entered it in my blog in five blocks:

Part I: What Hath Ledger Wrought?

Part II: The Protagonists

Part III: The Antagonists

Part IV: Man

Part V: Bibliography


In Him,

Eileen/Mom/Mrs. C.

Lochinvar Guides
http://lochinvarguides.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

9 words never spoken

I almost forgot to mention the most amusing part of my Saturday with James:

My husband dragged me to a Pampered Chef party!

Yes, it is true. And those are 9 words I never imagined that I would say. My poor old can opener has not been opening cans very well lately. He HAD to have a new one. My mini-server's handle fell off a long time ago. This is his favorite fried egg turner for our little cast iron egg pan. I ordered him two new ones! To be completely fair, it WAS a come and go party so he didn't have to sit through a presentation or anything. But really!

He found a Pampered Chef catalog in the waiting room at the doctor office a few weeks ago and poured over it. He asked me if I was sure I didn't need anything! So when our neighbor had this open house over the weekend, he dragged me across the street before we did ANY other shopping.

I just wanted to share a little chuckle with you.

Yummmm! Warmness.

Thomas: Mom, what's that stuff called that you're cooking?

Me: It's called soup.

Thomas: What kind?

Me: Potato and sausage.

Thomas: Oh! I like that kind.

Me: What do you like about it?

Thomas: I like the smell and I like the taste of it. And I like the warmness.

Busy weekend

Time is just whizzing by! I don't want off the ride, but I might enjoy it more if it wasn't going so fast.

James and I had a date of convenience Friday night. This is how it went - Wesley needed a ride up to Hillsboro for a banquet with a friend. It's too far to make two trips in one night so we told Richard that he was babysitting, then James and I set out to deliver Wesley and we made a date out of it! There is a nice little Mexican restaurant in this little town and not much else, unless you consider Wendy's or Sonic date-worthy. We had a nice dinner. It wasn't like the mouthwatering food we had in Arizona, but not bad for the mid-west. Then we closed down the local Alco. I guess you could say we "did" the town!

Saturday was interesting. My sweet friend Mary offered to babysit my children, all of them-even Ralph, all day long - 11:30am - 7pm!! She did this for several families that day as a Christmas gift. My only dilemma was whether to go home and sleep all day or go Christmas shopping. So what do you think I did? Shopping of course!

I had a long list of errands, tasks and gifts to buy. James and I went together and knocked off a good portion of my list! It's pretty incredible for me to spend any time with him at all much less two days in a row. We wasted a lot of time browsing and thinking and revising our gift ideas for the kids. It was a good time.



Sunday was also a busy day. After church I had furniture to move and vacuuming to do. You see, we promised the kids that we would for sure put up the Christmas tree today. Quite a project. Many of my ornaments are things that the kids have made over the years. Some are ready for the dumpster! The sequins are gone, the popsicle sticks have come unglued and such. The only really nice ornaments are from my quilting group's Christmas party ornament exchange! This year's party is next week - not to be missed!

Isn't this young man getting to be rather tall?

Ralph was an angel the entire time! I was worried that he would be messing around with the tree a lot. He hasn't even touched it in the past two days! Leroy on the other hand...

Big kids helped little ones spread the ornaments out nicely. I put on the hooks!

All done! By the way, how to you keep shirts on your young boys? I am forever requesting that they please put on a shirt! Now everyone was ready to watch the movie Prince Caspian. A fun way to end a busy weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More turkey!

We got two more turkeys today! One is from a mystery friend and one is the one we ordered for ourselves. Yikes! The freezer is full! We should invite some friends over for a turkey feast.

Ralph had a follow-up appointment today. His lungs sound perfectly clear, isn't that great? The thimerasol-free flu vaccine shipment arrived this week so Ralph got his flu shot today. He's been on a waiting list for the mercury-free version.

Can you believe that the mercury-free stuff is not widely available for babies and children? If you don't know to ask, you would never know what your child is getting. Of course, I had to sign an insurance waiver. This is so the doc's office can charge me $60 if my insurance company declines to pay. Whatever.

Since Ralph has been sucking up more oxygen than usual, we had to go to the home health office to pick up some extra tanks this afternoon. Some of you know how I feel about this screwy outfit. Every time I deal with them I ask myself why I haven't yet switched to another company. Today was no exception.

I called this morning to make sure I could pick up 10 tanks. They recommended that I come to their downtown office, since it was closer to me. I told them I would be there at 2pm. I got there at 2pm. No tanks. Apparently someone had to go pick them up at another location and she wasn't back yet. We (me, Wes, Thomas, Leroy and Ralph) waited for 40 minutes for her to show up. Since I had to be home before 4pm to get kids off the bus and get Wesley to work on time, I didn't get to finish all my errands. I didn't have a choice of whether to wait for the tanks or not - we were out at home.
This is the same company that called me last month here in Kansas because they had an order to deliver tanks to me in Tulsa. Oh, they also thought my name was Connie. This is the same company that can't figure out how to file an insurance claim from the information listed on my insurance card. Somehow the hospital and doc's office can. I don't know how many times I've called them trying to get them to file a claim. Then they had the nerve to send our bill out for collection! That's been taken care of, but we still get an automated phone call from them EVERY day.

I haven't posted many pictures lately. My son, Richard, has been hogging his camera! Here are a couple of cute ones:



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Unwinding

Ralph is doing quite well. I'm not as good.

I didn't realize how much sleep I missed over the weekend until it hit me on Tuesday. I still feel hungover today! I need a good 12 hours, uninterrupted, to unwind properly. One good thing about St. Francis - the macaroni and cheese is the best!

We got another package from Honeybaked Ham Co. today. Steaks! My husband's company gives out a voucher for a turkey, or a comparably priced item, from Honeybaked Ham to their employees as a holiday gift. Apparently some folks thought it would be a good idea to send in their voucher and have the turkey, or other item, to us! So far we have received a huge cheesecake, a turkey and now the steaks! What a nice bunch of folks, huh?

Today I'm signing Chipper up for String Fling. This is an orchestra festival in January that I attended when I was young. Things have really changed in the last 25 years. Did you know at his school they don't challenge for chairs anymore? For me, much of the incentive to practice was to challenge the person ahead of you for their chair. If you played better you get to move up one chair. Are these teachers trying to make wussies out of our kids?

Wesley and dad went hunting today. It was opening day of rifle season. I know that Wesley was hoping to fill up our poor freezer even more. Too bad they didn't see anything.

Monday, December 1, 2008

An hour? What a joke!

So, Dr. K said we'd be ready to go in an hour. She wrote instructions in Ralph's progress notes to discharge him. Then the attending physician writes the discharge orders. Then we get to leave. Right?

Right.

God bless the persistent nurses who kept reminding him, and reminding him, and reminding him that we were still waiting for discharge papers and prescriptions. Have you ever met someone who was a little too focused? Someone who couldn't multi-task to save their life? Men!

Mental note to self: residents begin a new rotation on December 1st. Attending Dr. may be preoccupied. Be prepared for dumb questions and long waits.

By the way, Ralph's cultures came back positive for para-influenza virus, AKA croup!

So we got home at 4pm. Four hours later than I had expected. It's OK. We are here, life is good.

I managed to clean up the front room and rearrange some furniture so we have room for our Christmas tree. The carpet is appalling! I'll rent a carpet cleaner later in the week. If that doesn't help, I may be in the market for an area rug. I am re-instituting the "remove your shoes and wash your hands" rule upon entering the house. Don't forget it! Can't be too careful, can you?

Thanks for all the prayers! Ralph is not 100%, so don't stop now.

11 am

I just saw the doc! We'll be out of here in about an hour!!! I really like Dr. K. She always seems very reasonable to me and I can tell that she trusts me. Phew!

Is it really Monday already?

I was looking forward to putting up the Christmas tree over the weekend. Maybe even putting some lights on the house, shhhh! Now it is Monday and the kids are back to school. I'm still sitting in a hospital room with Ralph and I'm sure the house is wrecked.

I'm really hopeful that he will get to come home today. His sats were very good all night long, but then he was getting breathing treatments every 2 hours. His sats are good unless his nose is plugged up. I was trying to clean his nose this morning when he got another bloody nose! Then I noticed he was breathing through his mouth a few minutes ago so I cleaned his nose again. Another bloody nose!

The nurse says that lots of kids do that here because the air is so dry. I just hope this nose business isn't the thing that keeps us here another day. It is 10:30 am and still no doctor, not our doctor anyway. But you can surely tell that it is Monday! This morning we have seen a medical student, 2 student nurses, one nurse in orientation, Ralph's nurse, resp tech. and the resident! I like the weekends because it is so quiet up here.

Another medication snafu this morning! The nurse brought in Ralph's 7 am meds and asked me if I want his lasix pills crushed or what. Pills? She said they were in his medicine box. I sent her back to look for the little brown glass bottle of liquid lasix. Grrrr.

I asked our day nurse, because she is the one that I totally trust, to check out his medicine box and let me know what is going on. She said that I can request that the medicine bottles be brought to me so that I can draw up the doses! Wow! I wish I had known this 3 or 4 days ago. I'm so uncomfortable with other people in charge of his medication. It turns out that the pills are, indeed, his. They were sent up from the pharmacy because they didn't know that he had home meds here. But, pills?

I'll update after I see the doctor. I certainly hope that today is the day we get to come home. I'll let you know.