Friday, May 29

How not to shop

Yikes, today was almost quite the experience. I needed desperately to go to Wal-Mart for groceries because we were literally down to ONE cup of milk after breakfast. I generally won't let it get below 1 GALLON at our house since the kids drink a lot of milk. But I did... and at 10:40 I finally decided that I'd had a shower and gotten dressed, all the kids were dressed, and if we didn't leave the house soon we'd be running in to lunch time and naps and I was going to be in trouble.

All 4 kids got shoes on and we piled up in the car. I thought to grab myself a quick drink then decided I'd grab a sweet tea at the McD's at the back of WM once I got there.

That was the mistake.

Pregnant, with 4 kids in tow, 95 degree weather, loading and unloading the car and stroller, pulling a cart, pushing the stroller... I should have had a drink before I left!

I grabbed shampoo and made it toward the back of the store, through the baby section for baby food for micah and grabbed milk at the back of the store. Picked up a cup of popcorn shrimp for the 3 older kids to munch on since it really was pretty much lunch time and I got in line at McD's to get my drink. And I started feeling weird. Hot, all of a sudden, and as I waited there I realized I was about to black out. I sent K and B to sit at a table right near the line and eat their popcorn chicken. Somehow that lack of movement next to me and not having to hold B's hand (as she was insisting) was a little helpful. I just leaned on the stroller, ordered my drink, filled it, grabbed a lid, and considered going to the table without a straw because I felt THAT bad. I did grab the straw, though and then made B get out of her chair so I could sit down- and asked K to grab another spare from somewhere because the table for 4 they'd sat at only had 2 chairs at it.

I hate that feeling of blackness creeping in, especially when I've got 4 kids with me and I'm in a very public place. Better than somewhere isolated, but still... I haven't felt that way in a LONG time. Probably the last time was when I had a fever of 105 and the flu! I sat and drank my sweet tea and the kids munched on their chicken and Micah fussed on and off (mad that everyone but him had something, but goodness, he doesn't eat/drink any of those things so there was just no option there).

In about 5 minutes I felt ok and decided we'd grab the other 4 essentials and go home. I didn't feel wonderful but I no longer felt like I was going to collapse.

Then Mike called me as I was headed out of the store and said he was bringing a friend of ours home for lunch. Very good... so long as the friend doesn't mind that I didn't actually SHOP and we'll be eating PBJ or egg sandwiches for lunch because I didn't think today was such a good day for shopping anymore! (The friend didn't mind and we enjoyed their visit. Brianna LOVES him so she was so happy to see him at lunch time LOL.)

Next time, I'll run back in for a drink before I leave!!

Thursday, May 28

Baby is a...

Keeping the first things first...

Sometimes in the mess of life it becomes scrambled and first things end up being put off as last things and the middle things push their way to first.

No idea what I'm talking about?? :)

#1 GOD
#2 Spouse
#3 Children
#4 Job/Church/ Extended family
#5 Everything else

Yes, #4 is 3 things, but those three often need to be mixed and matched, all given the appropriate amount of time, respect, and availability... but there's no way to say that one should come ahead of the others every time. Job generally comes first, but not at the expense of the others, and vise-versa.

Just a reminder, in case you need it as much as I often do!

Wednesday, May 27

This and that

The weekend was a lot of fun visiting with our friends :) We went to Sea World on Saturday and spent Friday and Sunday just hanging out. They all headed home on Sunday evening. On Monday we worked on the house here and there. Mike mowed the lawn and I attacked the playroom. Kristopher can now have his toys back out instead of in his closet and the little guys toys were switched out with some I had put away for a while.

Emma had therapy (yep, on a holiday) and then Mike and I took up his parents' offer to watch the kids and we went out for a nice evening in Orlando- just the two of us :) It had been a while and was nice to have that time alone. Important, too! Not only that, on our way he found a Visa gift card in his wallet he thought had about $7 on it and when I called in to find the balance it had over $90! So instead of a quick inexpensive dinner that we'd planned on doing, we went to the Cheesecake Factory and enjoyed a nice sit-down dinner together and even brought dessert home for later. It was great to have that time alone.

Tuesday I had a dr's appointment in Orlando to check on the baby's heart. I left home with an hour and 15 minutes to spare and a 45-55 minute drive ahead. I get there with 15 minutes to spare after grabbing some lunch at McD's and pull into the parking lot. Then I realize it's 8 spots, nowhere to turn around, and an ambulance also parked in the only space that is probably usually used to turn around and they're trying to get a young child out of it and into the Cancer Center connected to the cardiac building. This was just the beginning of an awful experience LOL!

I did get out thanking God I'd borrowed mom's van and not brought the big van (Mike forgot to leave me his van and took it to work). I made a 3 point turn in the 1 1/2 lane lot and back out 3 blocks to the parking garage. The only perk to the day was I didn't have to pay the $4 parking at the garage because I had a pass for the cardiac center :)

Then I had no time to eat my lunch and instead walked the 3 blocks to the office, signed in, and waited about 10 minutes. I'd arrived at 1:40 and was in the room at 1:50 for a 2pm appointment. They set me up with a towel to keep the goo for the ultrasound off my pants, laying on the bed with the machine and said the dr would be right in. 10, 20, 40, 50 minutes, and then an HOUR went by. I'd gotten up, buttoned my jeans, gotten my book and gotten comfortable. WHAT IN THE WORLD?

Finally a nurse came in and said "oh, the page didn't work, I'll call his cell phone, so sorry". Um... yeah, that'd be good. 10 minutes later he came in and let's just say it wasn't a great experience. He was knowledgeable and his bedside manner was ok, but he came across as having a need to defend himself and his practice since I see another cardiologist with our other 2 kids.

The highlights of the visit would be when he told me that last week he diagnosed a child w/ an AV Canal and suggested his parents get an amnio as there's a 90% chance the child has Ds... so they did and they terminated. WHY WOULD YOU SAY THIS TO A PATIENT? AND ESPECIALLY ONE THAT YOU KNOW HAS MULTIPLE CHILDREN WITH DS?? Another great point for him was when he started telling me that the perinatologist must not have known what she was doing and seen "this little hole here" (as he shows me on the echo) and I replied with "that's the PFO, that's fine" and he looked at me, shocked that I not only knew what he was showing me on the echo, but knew the term and that it was a good thing... and he thinks that the perinatologist saw that and thought that the child's heart was messed up because of that. Forget that I told him that due to positioning she couldn't see the upper part of the heart. The perinatologist must be incompotent. Of course...

Then there was his highest moment, possibly, when he asked where my daughter's heart was repaired (after being SHOCKED it wasn't by his practice) and went on to tell me how inferior that hospital and team of surgeons is to his team here and statistics and everything else about how much better they are than the people we see.

Hmm... makes me think that someone feels he has something to proove... that he actually is having a difficult time feeling inferior because we see a different set of doctors and went to a different hospital... He knew his stuff. He, I'm sure, is a great doctor. But there's a certain amount of tact that was definitely missing from our little adventure together and I'm glad to say there is no follow up appointment needed!! Baby's heart is perfect! Except, of course, for that PFO LOL (all babies have a PFO in utero to bypass some of the heart and it should close after birth... but 25% of the population has a PFO as an adult and the only complication is that it CAN be the cause of a stroke later on...). So he says at the end "diagnosis... what am I going to write for diagnosis?? Ah, PFO" and with that I said "I'd hope so, if there wasn't a PFO I have a feeling we'd be in more trouble." "True." And that was that. All done with that visit!! (Thank God!)

FIVE hours later I arrived back at the house.

Today was relaxing, if you can call 4 kids, 2 school runs, and a lot of work with Reece's Rainbow, 2 calls from hospitals for billing and thinking one was a scam because they were both the same hospital and couldn't figure out why there are 2 separate bills... and being woken up by the bug man during the 5 minutes I actually got K to settle down and be quiet. Ok, maybe it wasn't so relaxing... But I was at home a lot of the day so that is nice.

Tomorrow I go back to the perinatologist and MAYBE just MAYBE they'll be doing another echo and we might get to peek and find out whether this little one will be sporting more pink or blue in the fall! Waiting for the Speech therapist for Emma and Micah to get here... One of these days soon I'll get another adoption update up, so much going on I desperately need to update on families!!

Sunday, May 24

Reach out...

This week our family is grateful for how God's plan has come together for our friend and we are thankful that he is headed home this weekend as his family takes a second step of faith.

Adoption isn't a clear-cut experience. Seeing photos and a small write-up of a child is one thing, but bringing this 'stranger' into your home and making him your son is a whole different thing. Most of the time the families that adopt through Reece's Rainbow come home and after a period of adjustment, the family and child experience their "happily ever after". Not without trials, since these children all have special needs and, well, they're KIDS :) But families find their 'rhythm' and their joy and their family makeup is a wonderful gift from God.

Occasionally, though, the child and family do struggle after coming home. Especially if the child has "hidden issues" such as additional syndromes, major medical issues, or attachment issues. Autism, another 'hidden' thing in institutionalized kids, is another kicker. And sometimes the going gets... well, TOUGH.

After a year home with their new son, our visitor's family knew that things were not falling into place as they should and that each day continued to be a struggle. Instead of throwing in the towel and saying "this isn't what we signed up for", they reached out for help from others that have "been there" and asked for help. I have the utmost respect for this family for asking for help when they needed it! Not that this family would turn to this... but a lot of abuse of adopted children comes from families not reaching out when they need help and simply trying to do it on their own. Reaching out when you need help is the best way to receive the help both the family and child need to work things out!

It's not easy to say "I can't do it" or to say "I need help" or even more so, to say "I'm scared." This family reached out and in response received the help that they needed to get some distance, some perspective, some training, some much needed rest, and an opportunity to have a fresh start with their son. When they may have thrown in the towel, they now have support set up for when he comes home and are prepared to deal with all those things that before were 'surprises' and instead are 'understood'.

During this month of respite our little guy's family has made their home into an environment that will better accommodate their son as well as help them in their daily lives to have less stress due to his special needs. They've sought counseling since before the respite time and will continue to do so once he is home. They've taken some time to be a husband and wife and some time to re-connect with their other children and set up their family environment knowing that their son will be returning to them just as he left them, struggles, trials, and all. And now they feel more adequately prepared to deal with it all.

What I want to make most clear here is that if someone needs help, there should be no shame or guilt in looking for and accepting that help. We all need reminders of this in our everyday lives. Whether it's in regard to our children, our habits, our lifestyles, whatever... when someone reaches out for help, don't turn them away saying they must have been wrong to be in that position, or that you wouldn't seek help in their shoes...

Luke 10:30-37

In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Friday, May 22

This weekend

We're transitioning back to a family of 6. Please pray for us, for our little buddy whom we will miss, and for his family who is so excited to have him coming back home!

Thursday, May 21

Have I really given it my everything?

Have You?



This is what it's all about. Not about what we think we can handle. Not about what we know we can do. Not about what won't be hard. Not about what won't take more energy. It's about giving it your everything. Stepping out in faith. Knowing it might hurt, and doing it anyway. Just in case you were wondering what was on my mind today :)...

Here's the lyrics...

The Motions by Matthew West

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break
At least I'll be feeling something

‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something

‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

‘Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without your all consuming passion inside of me

I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?

Take me all the way
(Take me all the way)
Take me all the way
(‘Cause I don't wanna go through the motions)

Take me all the way
(Lord, I'm finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me

I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?
Take me all the way
(Take me all the way)
Take me all the way
(I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)

Take me all the way
(Through the motions)
Take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions

In the kitchen:

Kristopher is on a chair at the table getting hand sanitizer.
Emma is sitting on one side of the chair on the floor.
Brianna is standing on the other side of his chair.

K: Patience please, you need to practice patience.
B: no no no no no,
K: You will get your turn, but you must wait, patience my dear

Hmm... I guess at least he's paying attention?

In case you're wondering, everyone wanted some hand sanitizer and he apparently was the keeper of the bottle... go figure... :)

Change is in the air!!

SUMMER IS HERE!

Maybe not officially on the calendar, but at our house it is!

First off, the every-day rains have set in (tho right now they're ALL DAY not just in the afternoons like they will be soon.... but we do need the rain!).

Second, yesterday was Kristopher's last day of Pre-K!

Today will be Emma's last day of "regular" school but she will continue to have her teacher come out to the house one hour a week during the month of June for Extended School Year (ESY).

Last week ended Kids' Adventure Days (KAD) at our church, which is like a Mom's Morning Out program that Brianna and Micah both attended 2 mornings a week. My kids missed the last week (Brianna 2 weeks) because they were sick :(

And the 'real' end to the school year comes on Monday when Brianna and Emma both have their last day in public school. Brianna's K-3 class is having a 'water party' that day and Emma has two therapies that she'll go to.

In addition to all of the different schools finishing up for the summer, our little visitor is headed home this weekend.

So... the busyness of our home is about to be cut down dramatically in so many ways all at the same time. I always look forward to the summer break, but this is the first year that any of my kids have had "real" school outside of just KAD, so this year even moreso I'm anticipating the wonderful lack of schedules for most of the week and just having a few therapies for Emma and Micah that will continue for the summer.

Micah will have his OT eval tonight... which we know he qualifies for... so he'll probably have 30 minutes a week at the house for OT when that is set up. He will continue with his 30 min of ST at the house as well and Emma piggy-backs her private ST on to that since they're already at the house so we don't have to go to the Center for hers. Then Emma will have 2 PT sessions each week for 45 minutes each. Most of these will be at the center, but our PT will be coming out periodically to keep up Micah's services, so when she comes to the home for him, she'll also see Emma at the house.

I'm also looking forward to a long weekend in Minnisota in a few weeks and our church summer "daycamp", Summer CHAOS that will kick off in mid-June. This is what we do in place of a VBS type of program and this is the 5th year we've done it. I'll try to make a separate post about it soon, it's a GREAT program that has been a lot of fun!

Tuesday, May 19

Warning:

Do not say to a little boy whose clothes and diaper were just removed "now go to the bathroom." He might. Right there on the floor.

I sent M and B toward the bathroom in their birthday suits then got our visitor undressed and sent that way and went to get Emma out of her highchair when the above exchange happened. Thankfully, Mike was home AND it was on the tile :) The 4 little kids enjoyed a quick bath and I felt like I was running an assembly line washing faces, heads and fannies! But hey, they were all clean when we were done and my back wasn't nearly as done-in as when I do them one at a time!

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Want to know the difference between a good morning, an ok morning, a difficult morning, and a really hard one??

A good morning only dry cereal is spilled/thrown. An ok morning liquid spills but doesn't get on any people. A difficult morning is when the spill gets a kid dirty (and we have to start over dressing). A really hard morning is when you're trying to get out the door for an appointment with 4 children and one of them takes her cup, holds it above her lap, turns it upside down and watches as it gulps its way out of the cup, down her chest, all over her lap, chair, and the floor.

Guess which one was today?? :)

Our morning

Yesterday I got a reminder call that three of the kids have ENT appointments this morning. Oops, that one hadn't made it to the calendar! Ah, well, thank God for grandma's (and other forms of babysitters...) because my mom came with me +4 kids .

Short version, everyone behaved, Brianna needs surgery (adenoids removed and new tubes), Micah still has 2 ear infections and is now on antibiotic ear drops in addition to the oral anti's he's been on for 5 days already and he goes back in 2-3 weeks to recheck, and Emma's tubes are sitting there but non-functional but she has no fluid or infection so we'll leave her be and pray she's outgrown the need for them!

Tonight we have some young families coming over for our monthly-ish dinner get-together. I haven't done any prep work and I'm not sure I'm going to :) We're doing a "pasta bar" and I'm boiling pasta and others are bringing, chicken, sausage, sauces, veggies, etc. and each providing a drink of some sort. A simple fun way to get a bunch of families together and spend some time with each other!

Sunday, May 17

The art of husbandry...

We've been married for almost 8 years now, and I have to say first that yes, I'm just as much (and MORE) in love with my husband today than I was 8 years ago and even 11 1/2 years ago when we first started dating :)

Now, that was the preface to the rest of the post...

This dear, sweet, loving husband of mine was watching TV on Hulu.com on Mother's Day and ever so kindly called me over to watch some clips he thought were funny. Though neither of us like this TV show because it is both rude and, well, not something that we agree with, this was in a list of "Mother's Day picks" on Hulu and we watched the one minute and 16 second clip, thought "well, yep, kinda funny, and yes, that's why we don't watch that show" and went on with life. (posted below)

But this morning... well, let's just say Mike was trying to make up for not being around at all lately and when he was around- not being particularly... helpful... with the kids this last several days. I hadn't complained, much... (does putting Brianna on the bed and turning the light on at 7am and telling him "4 kids are up, goodmorning!" count as complaining?) but he somehow realized that caring for 5 kids, several of whom were sick and grumpy and had faucet noses and myself being pregnant, a bit more tired than usual, and not feeling on top of the world myself for a few of those days, well, it's a lot of work!

And so he got the grand idea that I could go take my shower this morning since he didn't exactly have to RUSH out the door to be back up at the church by 10. I took him up on that and even thanked him for it because that meant, of course, that he was going to get all the kids dressed while I was in the shower, right?

Um... right... Did I set out clothes for them? Nope, here's where to find clothes that will fit each kid. And off I went.

So, he comes in while I'm showering to ask me where to find shorts for the girls. I tell him again, bottom drawer of the dresser or on top of the dresser. I get out of the shower and I see Emma in Brianna's capris. Isn't it a bit, HOT for that? And, how did you fit her into 18 months pants? Did they fit over her hips? (she wears smaller size shorts, but pants and capris she wears a 2t or 3t)

Then Brianna comes out of her room. Wearing LONG PANTS? It's 95 degrees out here. Long pants are only worn if there's no possible way to wear shorts and capris really are only for days that the shorts are in the wash (oh, wait, that's mine-- the girls have plenty of shorts ;) ).

It ended up that he "couldn't find shorts". So we walked into the bedroom, opened the bottom drawer, and found it filled with shorts- way more shorts than I believe are necessary, in fact, to the point that I should go through them and figure out which ones will really be worn and thin it out a bit. But regardless, there were plenty to choose from. "I wanted jean shorts and couldn't find them." So on top of the dresser we go. Jean shorts for Emma, Khaki for Brianna. Quick and easy. Hmm...

We changed the girls (hey, at least he stuck around to help change them, right?) and I reminded him that if he was trying to find a way for me to not ask him to get the kids dressed again, his plan wasn't working... in fact, I think he just needed more practice! We both laughed it off, glad that 4 of the kids were dressed (one was eating... again...) and he went to take his shower :)

Ok, now I'm posting this clip here because it sparked the entire conversation and was too funny considering the circumstances. But I will say I don't like this show, don't watch this show, and if you think you might be offended, well, practice some self-control and don't watch it :)


Saturday, May 16

Red and yellow...

Yes, we live in a pretty wooded area. No, I don't like when wildlife tries to mess with me :)

Tonight the dog was barking in the garage and Mike went out to find this:


I didn't take this picture, I stole it off the Internet. Mostly because although I will photograph half-dead opossum babies, I don't enter the garage when there's a snake in it!

Thankfully, as the rhyme says "Red and Yellow, Kill a fellow, Red and Black a friend of Jack". And this is a KING snake, not a CORAL snake. Our first Christmas here there was a coral snake on our playground area though, so you can never be too careful.

In fact, several years ago when my parents lived here they found their cat under the dining room table playing with a snake. My dad caught it and put it in a trashcan and called Animal Control. That one was a Coral Snake. IN. THE. HOUSE. The cat was fine, smart kitty she is, but the animal control lady wasn't quite as bright. She looked at my parents said "this isn't a coral snake, it's a king snake." Having lived in this area for a long time, my parents protested and said they were sure it was a coral snake. Smart animal control lady reached into the trash can bare handed and picked it up and put it in her bag and was on her way.

If I remember correctly, it wasn't much later that my parents left the neighborhood and found that the animal control truck was parked just a few houses down. The 'finding out' part I'm not quite so sure of the timeline, but essentially the lady got a few houses down and realized that she was wrong-- that was, indeed, a coral snake, and she'd been bitten. She stopped at a neighbor's house and called 911. She was taken by ambulance to the hospital...

My parents were contacted by our local news crew and I felt pretty bad for the rather unintelligent animal control worker that made a mistake that would certainly cost more than a bite... but be a lick at her pride as well.

Anyway, Mike looked up the snake on the Internet before he decided to go out there to get rid of it. What, he doesn't trust his wife? Ah, well, can't be too safe I suppose...

Except that instead of catching it and tossing it away or killing it, he checked the Internet and the snake got into a crack in the concrete and as I type this is still in my garage. Poor guy is going to be up all night keeping the dog happy because she KNOWS it's in there and will likely bark incessantly several times overnight.

And it kind of freaks me out to know I went out there barefoot in the dark to feed the dog just about 30 minutes before the snake incident... even though the snake IS safe... I don't do snakes!


Ha, that makes for a lot of blogging in one night!!

Yesterday at the park...

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Spaghetti pics!

And guess who's OFF THE BOTTLE?!?!

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002

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Edited to add, for Joann, I didn't actually cook dinner... My parents, after spending FOUR HOURS at our house helping out (Mom emailed this morning and just said "we'll be there at 10:30!" I didn't actually ask but I won't turn down an offer like that!) they then went to their church fundraiser dinner and brought us by spaghetti dinners all around. THANKS MOM AND DAD AND ROBERT!!

Before and After

This is the 'before' photo, but it's also the after... It's before I cleaned it, after the tornado hit :)  There was a step ladder in the one "open" place (over where the picture frame is now thrown) which I moved to show the disaster behind it... The bins (on the right) were also all knocked over, but they'd been fixed too.

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And after... after an hour and a half cleaning anyway :)  Ready for company! 

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YAY!

I feel accomplished! :)

My parents and my brother came over today. Mike was gone all morning, but my brother finished pressure washing the pool deck, my dad did some major weed pulling like taking vines out of the 'island' of trees separating our yard from our neighbors, and my mom watched the kids and helped with dishes and laundry.

What did I do? I locked myself in the back bedroom and CLEANED IT! It is now ready for company, AND the kids can get to their toys again :) It hadn't been touched since it was destroyed and it hadn't looked too great before that, so this is a HUGE improvement.

When Mike did come home he brought burgers and fries for everyone and we all took a break. Then I tackled the master bedroom and bathroom! It was LONG overdue! Now all the laundry is done (well, washed anyway), dishes are clean, and the only rooms left to clean are the kids' rooms and 2 bathrooms-- all of which I can do with the kids hanging out next to me and really they get done pretty often. It was the two rooms that the kids don't really go in that I couldn't get clean with 10 hands "unhelping" :)

Maybe I'll post some pics later... if I can take pics before anyone "gets to" those rooms! You know... when I have time... after bed!

No excitement today

Yesterday we made it out to the park for a while though. Mike made it home for a few in the middle of the day so that was nice. Today is a HOUSE day. My parents and brother are coming over because they love us :) My brother's going to finish pressure-washing the porch (the pressure washer needed repair about 3/4 of the way through it when Mike was doing it and now it's fixed, but Mike is busy). Mom is going to help some around the house and hopefully I can get the GUEST and MASTER bedrooms at least a little more under control. VERY hard to do with 5 little ones under foot, and the guest room I can't even touch at nap/bed time because it will keep kids up (Micah naps in there and it shares a wall with Bria's room). Not sure what Dad's doing but bushes were mentioned. Off we go...

Pictures of the park... eventually...

It was bound to happen

With the amount of hand sanitizer I've been using each day, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I ended up with some in my eye...

I guess alcohol isn't THAT bad for the eye, right?

(please tell me I'm not the ONLY one!)

Friday, May 15

I just booked a flight

to go visit my sister in Minneapolis!! And... I paid a total of $80 :) LOVE American Express Reward Points. If you're in the Twin Cities area, I hope to have a meet-up while I'm up there. E-mail me if you're interested in a mom's dinner one night!

WOW!

Ok, I don't share videos that aren't of the kids... that often... but WOW! I love it!!



Thanks Shelley for sharing! This commercial played during American Idol... turned down for the Super Bowl, but YAY for AI for approving it!!!

A better night!

Last night our only wake-up call was around 10:30 with Micah needing the breathing treatment that Mike, um... forgot, when he put him down for bed (I went grocery shopping as soon as the kids were all ready for bed). So midnight I got to go to bed and it was 6:30 before Emma started honking (coughing) in her bed and Micah fussing to get up in his.

Not too bad!!

Today Micah's nose is not nearly as runny, but Brianna's and Emma's are. He's on a strong anti, eye drops, and neb treatments... I guess all that together is doing a pretty good job. Bria's just on an anti and has been for a LONG time, but still has the goober nose. And Emma's not medicated aside from OTC stuff but other than a cough and runny nose she seems to be faring pretty well.

It's Friday, I have no plans for the weekend including today, and the kids are generally in good spirits, so I'm hopeful for a good fun weekend. I was thinking maybe we'd all go do something fun, but... then Mike reminded me this morning that he has a FAITH conference this weekend. Tonight, tomorrow until lunch, then tomorrow afternoon and Sunday morning. He'll be home about 2 hours while the kids are up on Sat and then after nap time on Sunday. And that's about it...

So if we do decide to go do something fun, it will be a solo mom trip with the 5 kids. But if we do, it needs to be something that will STILL be fun as a solo mom trip with 5 kids! :) With the 3 that need a stroller it's not so bad, I have a triple stroller and we're pretty mobile that way. But adding in a 4th that needs "containment" and help with walking around, well... it makes things a bit more difficult to get out on my own. And being prergnant takes away the comfort in just using my sling or hip carrier for any longer trips (tho I'm thankful to have them back- they were loaned out- and I'll definitely be using them for short outings!).

Any ideas? I was thinking maybe the zoo, it's closeby and I think everyone would enjoy it. Or maybe a park, but Emma and Micah aren't quite able to enjoy the park as much as the older kids so we generally don't stay a really long time. Hmm... we'll find something fun to do!!

** On a side note, plans are confirmed and my little visitor will be headed home next weekend. We are so thankful for this time with him and for the work that God has done this month! Praise be to God the perfector of ALL things! Maybe some day I'll figure out just how to share our experiences with you, but we really appreciate all the prayers that have been provided for both our families during this time and for those of you that have trusted us without questioning anyone's motives and supported our situation through kind remarks and prayer. We are blessed to have such a great group of people that care. Thank you!

Thursday, May 14

Keep the list short- REAL life

A few days ago in the car, Kristopher and Brianna were in the third row with their usual exchange of "she touched me, she hit me, she's touching my chair, she picked her nose, she's gonna get boogers on me, she keeps looking at me" all the while egging Brianna on to get an even bigger rise out of him. And yes, half of that is said through laughter from Kristopher- but he really is mad about it! LOL

The drive from church to home is just over 10 minutes and we'd just picked Kristopher up from school. Five kids in the car. Kristopher is the only one that talks much. Of course the other kids have some words (some of them) but Kristopher carries the conversation and sometimes likes to fill in the blank silence with his own narration of events.

But the kicker that day was this: "Mom, when Daddy gets home I'm going to tell him all the bad things that Brianna is doing."

Yikes. Really? Is he keeping track? (wouldn't surprise me)

And then it made me think... where did he get this idea?

Some days, at the end of a long day... when Mike walks in the door and says "how was your day" and finds Kristopher in time-out for the fifth time in 30 minutes because he's not listening again or he's not paying attention to what he's doing and someone got hurt, or, or, or... then sometimes Mike gets to know just why it is that dinner's not even been thought about, there's still Kix on the kitchen floor from breakfast, lunch dishes on the table including a cup or two of half-full milk cups, the younger kids aren't wearing pants since their last diaper change was in a hurry and I didn't put their shorts back on (but yes, it's time for another diaper change) and the family room and porch look like not 4 or 5, but maybe 20 or 30 children have been let loose including overturned children's chairs, the TV running recorded Little Einsteins and me sitting in the middle of it all not having showered that day, hair thrown up in a rubberband and thinking "thank God this day is over... Mike is home..."

Well then, seems like the result of a long or difficult day of my own... weeks later... might be playing out in the 'list' that my son wants to keep for his Dad about what his sister has done.

So our conversation went like this:
"Kristopher, you don't need to share what Brianna did wrong with your dad, do you know why?"
"no, why"
"because Brianna's already been told no, and she's stopped. Not only that, but when we get home, Brianna will get out of the car and go down for nap, and you will go inside and finish your lunch and have a rest, and when everyone wakes up, we will all have a nice time playing together. So in 5 hours when Daddy gets home, this will be something that's long gone and we want to start fresh when we can."
"ok"

And that was it. A good reminder for me, keep the list short. Start fresh when you can...

Sleep is over rated

7:00- bedtime for 3 kids minus Kristopher and Micah
breathing treatment for Micah (then to bed)
short video for Kristopher and time with Mom and Dad
8:00- check on boys to make sure they're asleep
8:30- send Kristopher off to bed
9:30- sit in with Brianna, her antibiotics are keeping her awake and she was upset and tired but unable to sleep at this point
12:00-get woken up to go to bed, sleeping on the floor in the girls' room is way over rated when you're pregnant
1:00- get Mike to do something with the dog that's frantically barking at some nighttime animal
1:45- I don't remember what needed attention- dog again? But I got Mike to take care of it :)
4:00- Listening to bang.... bang.... bang.... on the monitor. Sure it's nothing but still it's keeping me awake, I venture to the boys' room to find our friend wandering around the room banging things, WIDE AWAKE.
4:10, 4:20, 4:30, 4:50- get little boy back to his bed and to do so quietly without laying there giggling and waking up the other kids
5:15- get up and move Emma away from the side of her bed. She's somewhat awake and rocking and hitting her head on the rail
5:25- repeat procedure with Emma. Realize she's congested and that's probably why she's not sleeping well.
6:00- listen to Micah waking and requesting food (isn't it a bit early for that?) and ignore it for a few to see if he'll go back to sleep
6:30- didn't last too long, M's at it again.
6:45- up and at 'em, I hear 4 voices. I wonder why our friend is still tired? Oh, yes, his early morning romp... he's getting up too!


Thankfully I was able to lay back down after every one of those interruptions.

One day soon my kids will be well and not need me in the middle of the night. Before we know it they'll be old enough that they don't need mommy to snuggle them or calm them.

And then I'll miss the nights where I was able to comfort and rock them. I'll sleep when the kids are grown :)

(though amazingly I do feel pretty rested even with all the interruptions last night. Weird, but nice :) ).

Wednesday, May 13

Micah has Pneumonia

Yep, after being up until 2am doing nebulizer treatments because Micah wasn't breathing well, then sleeping a hint here and a hint there on the couch while comforting the boy that still wasn't breathing great and wasn't a happy camper on the beanbag next to me... I got pieces and parts of sleep over the next 3 hours, maybe an hour total in small increments. At 5 I brought Micah to bed and he was doing ok.

Then Emma started banging around in her crib. I kicked Mike out for that one around 5:15... and again at 5:30. She'll konk her head on the crib side when she's trying to go to sleep and she's rocking. At 6:30 Kristopher was up, our friend was out of his bed (in his bedroom), and Micah was crying. So there wasn't much sleep for me yesterday.

Brianna went back to school today with just a runny nose. Her fever, ear infection, and goopy eyes have cleared up and she's been on anti's for 5 days. This thing has been going on for 8 now! Poor thing!

I took Emma, Micah, and our visitor to the pediatrician. An hour and a half later Micah's got 3 scripts... a strong antibiotic, eye drops, and more albuterol for the nebulizer. Poor thing, he has pneumonia, two ear infections, and an infection that's coming out his eyes, nose, and ears all at the same time :(. His sats are usually 100% and were at 94. The thought was to hospitalize him, but they decided to try again and by then he was screaming and his SATS were up to par :) Crying does good things for your SATS! So we got to come home and we'll fight it out here.

Emma and I laid on the couch and watched Kung Fu Panda while Kristopher watched it for 'rest time' and all the little ones are sleeping still. Emma's a bit run down as well and has a green boogy nose. So she didn't go to therapies today either. I hope hers doesn't progress as much as the other two's have and doesn't sick around as long either!

Please pray for Micah, we want to treat at home as much as possible, but also need to know when it's time to bring him back in if it's necessary. He's prone to pneumonia but doesn't usually have all this with it :(

Tuesday, May 12

Micah's not so happy

 

Yes, I wash his face.  20 times that day.  Before dinner even.  This was after dinner.  This kid is GOOPY :(029

Little boys

The three little boys in this house keep me very busy! And yet I love each one of them.

The youngest of the crew, Micah, is very sick right now. He looks like he's been punched in the eye, poor little guy... His eyes are draining, nose is draining, and it's all he can do to not wipe snot all over his entire face using the backs of his fists... Why? I don't know, but he must have itchy eyes or something because the poor little guy is miserable. Fever has gone down though, but his ear is still a bit gross. Along with the rest of his adorably miserable face. I hope he feels better soon!

The 'middle boy' is our little visitor. He's a sweet little guy, and let me tell you, he is SMART! He sets his mind to something and he's going to figure it out. Not only that, but if he gets caught in it (since for some reason his things he really wants to figure out are generally not things he's supposed to be doing... such a boy LOL), he will then figure out a way to do it and 'get away with it'! For instance, he's been trying since day 1 at our home to get out of his bed. Not a big deal, except, well, I shared earlier about what he got in to when he's not in bed and not supervised... So yes, we close the boys' bedroom door now so that when he gets out of bed he is safe, as is our home :). We 'fixed' the problem and he was no longer able to lift the wooden bedrail to get under it. Now we're not sure how he's figured out how to get out of bed, but he IS! He was out this morning, out after nap, and he has gotten out of bed twice tonight too. But that's not all! The first time he got out of bed he was so excited! So he ran right out of his room and right out of the hallway and right into ME! :) I was waiting :) Back to bed! The second time he decided to quietly play in his room! I'm pretty sure he was in there playing for some time before I noticed the nightlight flashing and put him back in bed again (he was mesmorized by the light! No worries, it's kid-proof and actually PART of the outlet cover!). Smart little guy... the bedroom door gets closed after he's aslee. You know, so I can tell he's asleep IN BED!

And my oldest son, sweet Kristopher, he is really trying today! I'm SO GLAD! Some days I think wow, he's got SOME ENERGY and there's just no way for hm to go anywhere or do anything without finding a way to get into trouble. But today... He played with K'nex at the dining room table, played with Playdough at the kitchen table, and cleaned them both up after playing with them! Then, since he'd had a good day I suggested at about 4:45 that if he could clean the playroom up before Daddy got home, I bet Daddy would bring just him out for a special pizza dinner at Pizza Hut with his 'coupon' from school (except our Pizza Huts don't ACCEPT those things, so why do they do Book It at schools here???). I honestly didn't think he'd do it. I thought, well, he's going to be mad when it doesn't happen after he goes on the porch and plays. Maybe I should have just taken it as a good day and let him go out with Mike to eat. I didn't supervise, but did remind him a time or two- "are you cleaning up? Dad's on his way home!" Would you know... when Mike walked in the front door, Kristopher was putting the last 5 ball pit balls into the pit and had cleaned up all the toys! I am so proud of him! So, coupon use or not, they went out for a nice pizza dinner while E,B,M and little man and I had waffles for dinner and they all got a nice warm bath and PJs.

Some days I'm amazed at the children that God has placed in my home for me to have some impact on...and for them to impact me. Whether it started before their birth, at a year or 5 old, or whether they're just here for a time with us. God has blessed us abundantly and these three little busy boys are such a blessing!

I have had some questions about our visitor and here's what I'm comfortable sharing right now...
  • This little guy's parents are not local to us so they don't visit with us and haven't seen him since he arrived, but we do e-mail back and forth every day or three and they are in touch with everything that's going on in his life.
  • No, we are not adopting him, and no that is not his situation :)
  • Yes, he will likely return home and we have a general idea of a timeline
  • Yes, there were more questions than that, and no, I'll not be sharing those answers right now :)

Maximizing Nap time...

You know what that is, of course...

It's when you start putting kids down for naps based on how long they sleep. The 2-3 hour napper (that still sleeps at night therefore is allowed to sleep that long... Micah) goes down first. He gets lunch first, he goes down first, he usually gets up last!

And the 90 minute napper, he's the one that won't go to sleep if he's had a longer nap than that, our little visitor, is soon to follow him and when that 90 minutes is up we go in for a very gentle waking. To ensure the afternoon still goes ok :)

Then last to go down to nap is the child that will sit and play in her bed for about 45 minutes and then might take a 45 minute nap after that... usually... and so she can play while the other two are getting situated and get to be the last in bed for nap time. That would be Brianna.

Then Emma, who doesn't nap, gets the last round of lunch, and often times after the other kids are napping, because that way, look at that! all four little ones are contained for a time!

Kristopher watches a movie and does art projects usually... can't complain, he's generally good at nap time ;)

Monday, May 11

Sick sick sick and, sick...

Last Friday (a week and more ago) our little visitor got a thick goopy nose for a few days. It cleared up with just some nasal spray his mom had anticipated and sent along.

Monday Brianna started in with the nose. Then goopy eyes. Then a low-grade fever. Then a draining ear. She went to the ped on Thursday and is on anti's for the ear, but it's likely all viral other than that...

Saturday Micah started. Nose. Eyes. Fever. Ear. I've been doing drops in his ear but will probably call tomorrow to see our REGULAR pediatrician as soon as she has an available appointment... the dr we saw with Brianna is not one that I care to revisit. Already knew that, but... she was on the day we needed to get in.

And yesterday Emma's nose started to run. No eyes, no fever, no ears, but I'm afraid all that might not be far off for her either.

Last night I woke several times during the night with a very sore throat. It's tolerable during the day, I'll live, but man, that's 5 out of 7 of us AND...

Brianna has still been running a low-grade fever on and off and this would be day 7. Micah's on day 3 and no sign of improvement. Emma's getting tired today, hoping she's not on her way down. And me, well, I have 5 kids and a 6th that is requiring even more of my body than those 5 are, I can't get sick!!

So that's where we've been, what we've been up to... aside from the regular runnings of life, we've been wiping boogers, doing saline spray and nasal aspirators, ear drops, antibiotics, and all that fun fun stuff. We've not done any therapies or school outside the house since last Monday except for Kristopher, and last week Micah went. And none of the little ones are going back to school tomorrow either. This week is the last 2 days of the tues/thurs morning program Brianna and Micah go to... looks like they just might miss it all...

I hope this runs its course quickly!!

No news is...

not necessarily a waste of time :)

The way the baby is sitting, it was very hard to see the heart. The bottom portions of the heart were all visible and very clear and look good! But the upper portions she could only see the septum in and out of view. So... Doesn't mean that there's an issue (again, it was a bad position to see the heart) but it does mean she couldn't determine one way or the other whether the top of the heart is formed correctly.

We'll go back in 3-4 weeks to meet with both a prenatal cardiologist that reads fetal echos and the perinatologist again. We'll do both these appointments back to back at the women and children's hospital in Orlando and see the same perinatologist that we saw today.

And... the baby is a...

SURPRISE! Yes, the baby's gender also was not visible! LOL Little jellybean wants to keep to themself for now!

We got to chat a lot with this team of four ladies as they did the ultrasound- two are from the hospital that we were at (a little more local than Orlando) and two are the 'traveling team' that does the ultrasounds and interpretation from the Orlando team. So in one meeting, we got a chance to share our testimony with two hospitals!!

As we were leaving I pulled out pictures of our kids from my purse and, of course, gave them each my card with Reece's Rainbow's info on the back and our 4 kiddos' pictures and my email contact on the front. Both groups of ladies asked for more cards and I promised to bring them by later! They often have mothers that they give prenatal diagnosis to and to have a personal contact aside from the Orlando DSA is always a good thing... and someone they personally have met- even better. So hopefully the DSA doesn't mind my sharing as well and of course I'll send parents on to them as well!

This is just one more way that God has used these kiddos of mine to open the hearts of some doctors and maybe, just maybe, one day I'll get an email from someone semilocal that is struggling with their own diagnosis of Ds and needs an encouraging ear :)

Now we get to do it all again in about 3-4 weeks with a different set of hospital folks and also a pediactric cardiologist. No worries about the heart... but please do pray that all is well and this is just the opportunity to build stronger relationships with more doctors that help parents with prenatal diagnosis!!

Ultrasound

Today at 10 I called to reschedule my ultrasound and fetal echo... They scheduled it for June 3rd, at which point I'll be 25 weeks. The echo should be done at 18 to 22 weeks. I found this out today. I'm 22 weeks! So...

I'm on my way out the door, at 12:30 we'll have our ultrasound!

Any guesses on gender?? If baby is showing, we'll get to know :)

Saturday, May 9

Happy Mothers' Day!

If your day starts with tiny voices, tiny bottoms, and cleaning faces, you might be a mother...

If you consider the choices between a shower and a quick lunch (yes, noon is the time for showers, right?), you might be a mother.

If you choose the t-shirt of the day based on the one that most hides the snot when it's wiped on your shoulder, you might be a mother.

If you've been peed on, pooped on, wiped someone else's runny nose, cleaned up vomit and held your own in, and still smiled when it all happened in one hour, you might be a mother.

If your medicine cabinet consists of tummy meds, little noses spray, baby pain reliever, and a large bottle of adult Tylenol, you might be a mother.

If you think that "Johnson's" is the scent of choice, for baby and yourself, you might be a mother.

If you firmly believe that there are 5 staples to everyone's necessary diet and that they include 1- chicken nuggets, 2- mac n cheese, 3- peanut butter and jelly, 4- hot dogs, and 5-crackers, you might be a mother.

but most of all...

If you find that your heart moves outside your body because it belongs to a little person... or two... or three... or more... you are most definitely a mother.

Happy Mothers' Day!

Friday, May 8

Yay for blueberries!

Today started off with a BANG. I sprang out of bed to the sound of Emma SCREAMING. This little one doesn't cry much, so her crying like this was obvious something was VERY wrong. I got to her bedroom and found her standing in her crib on the side by the wall with her arm caught between the crib and the wall. She couldn't stay up well, couldn't get her arm out (stuck above the elbow) and was obviously scared.

I brought her out to the couch and held her for a good 10 minutes before she started to calm down from the manic cry she was in and start to use her arm to play. She was fine, but it shook her up for sure.

I'd been up at 5 to help Kristopher get to the bathroom since he decided to lay in bed and cry half-awake instead of get up himself... and he'd woken Micah as well. I moved Micah to the guest room playpen and he was happy as a clam to go back to sleep there (he naps in there so it's familiar turf for him).

So after freeing Emma and calming her I went to get Micah up. I'd heard him stirring around in there but happy. I went to open the door and it didn't quite open all the way. Then I looked at Micah and realized he had a kids' Memory game, a book, a few random playing cards, and a puzzle in his playpen. Nothing that he could actually REACH (the playpen's moved away from all surfaces because Emma has LONG arms and uses that playpen occasionally... until she started climbing out and falling anyway...). It wasn't but a second later I heard it. From the closet. A little BOY!

Yes, my little visitor friend managed to get out of his bed (not sure how still), out of his bedroom (must have been left open at the 5am visit?) out of the kids' room hallway where generally there's a gate closed (again, left open at 5am?) and into the guest room (see a pattern? I guess I left them ALL open!) and of course, he closed all the doors behind him. He tends to do that :) Needless to say, that room is now TRASHED! But yes, it is baby proof... it's all toys/books/empty bins and such that are in there, they're just a little more... liberally placed now. :) And our little friend is not at all malicious to the other kids, so no worries there-- the boys are usually in the same room anyway. Just, well, not THAT room!

So... little man went back to his bed for a few minutes to know that he needs to wait for us to get him out of his room. At least that is the point I was TRYING to make... not sure if it worked or not. I got the other kids up and went back and got him up too and we all started our day :)

We had a lazy morning, a little later breakfast (not 7:00am!) and got dressed after playing for a while around TEN THIRTY! YIKES! :) Then lunch for everyone and naps for 3 of the kids. After naps Mike's mom came over and I took my little friend and we went to Wal-Mart to get groceries, food for a bbq on Sunday, and some crackers and cheese for a baby shower I'm going to tomorrow. I think I got everything... I hope. When we finished I called Mike and he got off a few minutes early to come home.

And we went BLUEBERRY PICKING! We just brought the 3 kids that walk this time. Two on three in rows and rows of blueberries was enough. The stroller would have been tough to get around and I'm sure the two that stayed with Grandma had more fun with grandma then they would have in the stroller anyway :)

But we had fun! Kristopher LOVED it! We were there about an hour and he didn't want to leave. Brianna was doing great picking out the blue ones when we'd show her a cluster of berries and she'd pick them and put them in the bucket. Our little friend, well, to say he didn't 'appreciate' the experience would be an understatement. He wasn't very happy about the entire encounter. We aren't leaving him with anyone, though, and we wanted Kristopher and Brianna to get to go pick... so he came along! He survived :) So did we... it was one hour of our lives and though he didn't enjoy it, it was still worthwhile to the rest of the crew and he was giggling in the car by the time we were going home... so I'm sure we're forgiven! LOL Plus he does like blueberries... :)

I just finished eating a bowl of blueberries floating in milk with just a bit of sugar. YUM. And my fruit salad on Sunday will be laced with blueberries. And I think some blueberry cobbler is in the near future!

All in all it was a good day. Emma and Micah had a good time with Grandma (and Grandpa came by too) and our little friend had some good one on one time with me at the grocery store, and Kristopher and Brianna had a great time picking blueberries. Kristopher got to finish out the day with a project and a movie in our bed and went to bed LATE! 9:40!! His usual bedtime is 7 or 8 :) He loved every minute of it!

Wednesday, May 6

Slacking on the blog

but keeping up with life!!

And that's really the important part, isn't it?

A few days ago our visitor got a little runny nose and it stuck around for 2 days but he was active and fine, no fever and away it went.

Yesterday Brianna woke at 5am and had a runny nose and low grade fever all day. This was after I'd gotten to bed around 1am because of other kids. I WAS TIRED! :) Today the kids started waking at 6 (still early!) and Mike got up with them until 6:45 when I rolled out of bed. Brianna stayed home yesterday and today and will be going to the doctor tomorrow. Tonight she has evidence of an ear infection. I should have realized that with the low-grade fever but... didn't even cross my mind. She has tubes (or did at least- I hope she still has them in!) so ear infections are rather 'obvious'. They usually cause some drainage early on. But it also means you can't use OTC ear drops for pain... she'll need the ones that are safe for tubes. I'll be calling in the morning.

Mike took K and M to school on Tuesday so I didn't have to get everyone up and going in the morning... though they all were up and going until Brianna threw up mucus... Poor thing. Wednesday I called Bria's school to let them know she wouldn't be there and I also canceled Emma's school therapies. I think we all needed a good day at home and we only ventured out to pick up the kids at lunch time both yesterday and today.

Tomorrow looks like we'll be canceling Emma's PT session if we can't get in to the doctor's office early. Now to call mom to see if she'll keep Emma so I don't have to bring all 3 kids with me to the doctor... :)

Monday, May 4

Just a little bit of beautiful

Don't you wish you could sleep like that?

005

Our busy days...

Here's a bit about our busy days. It's not so much go go go from start to finish, but it's definitely a new atmosphere the last week and a half!

Our days are starting around 6:30 but before that time anywhere from 3:30 to 5:30 Micah is waking up and fussing for a bit. Today it was 3 and again at 3:30 and I finally got up and went to quiet him (or see if anything was actually wrong) and he was fine. I laid out on the couch for an hour then went back to bed. He was fine, just woke and felt like fussing!

At 6:30 or so Kristopher comes to our room and says good morning. Except today, when he decided instead to let our little friend out of his bed. When we hadn't exactly 'set up' the house to be ready for him yet. Luckily I was walking in to the room right at the same time and was able to 'catch' them and close the bathroom doors and such :). Kristopher also showed our little friend how to lift the ladder to the bunk bed and get out of bed that way! So last night as I sat down to eat a delicious lamb dinner (brought over by Mike's parents- THANKS!) by myself... after I'd fed all 5 kids, dressed them in PJs and got them off to bed... I heard a "whack, giggle, slam" and then had a little boy running into the family room giggling! The whack- the ladder falling back against the bed... giggle would be little boy... and the slam was him closing the bedroom door behind him! I'd left the baby gate open by the bedrooms so he bolted right out... right to where I was sitting :) He got sent back to bed with a verbal reprimand and he stayed in bed after that. He realized it wasn't such a good idea. Mike will be fixing that issue with a bungee or a screw he said :)

So... when the kids are awake they get clean diapers and clothes... x4 and Kristopher either gets a shower or goes straight to get dressed. When everyone's dressed we move to the kitchen and all eat breakfast together. Usually it's cereal but sometimes cinnamon rolls or eggs or toast or... whatever :)

While the kids eat breakfast I usually try to get the dishwasher unloaded and sometimes re-loaded if I have time. On school days I sometimes don't have time and I make lunches instead.

Mike usually turns up around this time from his shower and I have my chance at the shower and a few minutes of 'peace'. :)

Then we're usually out the door for prek drop off- Mike with Kristopher and me with the rest of the crew (on some days my mom comes over to keep E and M so they don't have to ride along).

Each step along the way we've added one little thing- both baby gates must be closed at all times, and the gues room/bath have to be closed! :) We have a little explorer that likes to go in rooms and close himself in them. My door stoppers have come in but I haven't installed them yet!

Also, when going to and from the car I have to make two trips, one with Emma and one with Micah. Kristopher and Brianna will walk and Brianna's good about going straight to the car now so that's VERY helpful! Our new little friend requires a hand-holding or a hand on the shoulder to get where we're going a lot of the time or he'll go sit in the grass :) Luckily he's not TOO quick and even if he starts to wander there's plenty of time for redirection!

In the morning while some kids are at school there's always Emma, 2 days Micah is with me, and our little friend stays with me as well. Some days we've gone grocery shopping, some we come back home and play a bit, and some we've had other things to go to like a doctor's appointment or therapies.

Around 11 I do a run of diapers, shoes, and head out the door to start preschool pickup. We usually eat with Mike at the church and even with a 5th kiddo this has still been doable :) Today we ate up there with all 4 little ones while waiting to get Kristopher and they were all very good!

When we get home around 12:30 or 1 the three youngest go down for a nap while Kristopher and Emma play, watch a short movie, or work on a project. Hence my ability to blog right now :)

I've been waking our friend up from naps 'gently' by turning on lights and waiting for him to come around because he was h aving a harder time falling asleep at night when he slept his nap as long as he wanted to. He's done better with that :) :). Micah will pretty much sleep out a 'full' nap and then go to bed good at night as will Brianna... within reason.

In the afternoon the kids have a snack, play, sometimes we go to a therapy and grandma comes to keep K, B, and M while I take E and our friend with me. Unfortunately, our playground has ants right now and our lawn people didn't receive my last payment... sent a while ago... so we're waiting for them to schedule the May treatment to get rid of the ants! So we can't go out to the playset right now :(

We eat dinner around 5:30 and when Mike is home, we all sit down and eat together. When he's not... I feed the 5 kids (3 or 4 of them requiring some degree of help) and then I eat after bedtime :). By 5:45 or 6 we clean up dinner, get baths in for 4 of them, pajamas on, teeth brushed, stories read, prayers said, and a little more playtime between these things since it takes some time to get through 5 kids one at a time! Then around 7 or 7:30 they are all headed to bed...

Except Kristopher.

We've decided to let him have a little extra playtime and special one on one time with us as well as letting the two younger boys get a jump start on sleep before Kristopher goes to bed. He's been sitting in my bed with me and watching a movie for about an hour. Sometimes with the special treat of popcorn and water :). It's important for him to have some extra one on one since he's probably the most affected by our friend's arrival. But he is doing great with everything and this seems to be working well! Of course... last night it was just the treat of 'staying up' because I decided to sit down and eat my dinner about the time he started his movie. He didn't mind so much tho!

By 8:30 everyone is in bed, hopefully headed toward sleep!

Yes, we keep busy. Yes, some days I'm tired :) Yes, I love every minute with the kids (ALL of them!) and NO, I wouldn't change it for the world :)

Saturday, May 2

Time for a POOL DAY!

Before we got in..

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Kristopher jumping in :)

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After the pool the little ones went in the playroom (which overlooks the pool) to play while everyone else was getting out

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Then a yummy "energy" lunch!

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Email goofup, Hotmail, and other things...

My email goofed up. I thought there was a major problem, full mailbox or something like that (though it didn't seem to be that full). Basically, everyone on my email contacts that had contacted me in the last week or so got sent to the blocked senders list!

So if you've emailed me in the last 48 hours or so (since around 3pm on Thursday afternoon) and I haven't already replied to your message, I didn't receive it!

Please resend! Sorry for the inconvenience!!

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Hotmail- I got it working with my Outlook 2003 and was able to move the folders that are older but I didn't want to just delete and make them local on my computer. Much better :) Now my account on Hotmail is much cleaner. Yesterday I'd tried this and couldn't get it to work... until I sent a message from Outlook, then it ALL WORKED :) Yay :)

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We spent the morning in the pool today. Kristopher, Emma, and Micah LOVED it. Our visitor loved it for about 30 minutes then was done. And Brianna wasn't so sure about it, but didn't want to get out either... She just wasn't really excited about being in the water like the other kids were.

The pool is 79 degrees, which still feels COLD! LOL We're going to install a solar heater shortly. I think that's why Brianna and our friend weren't so excited about the water. Compared to the 83 outside it didn't feel warm AT ALL. And none of the little ones are really active enough in the water to warm themselves up. Emma and Brianna were both pretty cold by the time they got out, but it didn't bother Emma even a little bit! She just loves the water :)

Friday, May 1

Hotmail- can you archive?

Anyone know if I can download old messages to take them off of my hotmail account without losing them? I tried setting it up with Outlook 2003--it says they're compatible. But it's not actually sending/receiving as it should, so that's a wash.

I thought surely I could download an archive of old messages... but I can't find any option like that.

Any experience?

We survived :)

And not only that, 4 of the kids were great while we were there! Isn't it amazing how sometimes people say "you shouldn't adopt children with special needs, it will take so much away from your typical son" and yet all 4 of the children with Ds that are in my home right now required less attention and intervention than the one 5 yr old boy that has no chromosomal issues? Hmm... interesting, isn't it?

Of course transitioning is hard, and that likely comes in to play at some level, but the fact that we were in an environment where he thought he'd get away with it is the real reason for his disobedience. He's a smart kid. He was pulling a trick and got called on it!

So, the meeting itself... We decided to go ahead and replace Emma's wheelchair with a much less-structured chair that supports her current needs without the 'extras' that she needed 6 months ago which are in her current chair. We are SO GRATEFUL that we were given the one we have now because it has been wonderful for her while she learned the new skills she now shows! And I'm so glad that we weren't trying to purchase a chair for her 6 months ago because with it only being replaced every 3-5 years... we would have been "stuck" with a larger bulkier chair (which we originally needed but don't now). For instance, she now sits well and can hold her head up for long periods of time, so good head support isn't as necessary.

We've decided on a Quickie Mighty Lite. Some of the features:

Chest 'vest' or harness (because she likes to "lay" on her own lap instead of sitting up and can easily get out of an H harness to do so)
Tray for therapy
10" wheels that are easy to maneuver but not easy to REACH
Transport ready (meaning if in the future she takes a bus to school she can ride in her wheelchair)
Compact folding (almost like an umbrella stroller, but the 10" wheels and the footplates will still be somewhat wide-- no pieces to take off though)

The surprising part... insurance should approve it in a month or so and we should get it within a month after that! So... by the end of June we may have the chair in our hands... what wonderful timing that will be since the current chair is quite a "heft" to get into our van and as my pregnancy progresses... well... a lighter chair will be a blessing I'm sure :)