Sunday, February 28, 2010

Caring Bridge site for Marsha

Many of you have wanted me to keep you updated on Marsha's situation but now you can get it directly from her husband. He set up a Caring Bridge site for her, so please visit her site for updates. She continues to improve!!! Go, God, Go!!! She is not out of the woods, so please keep the prayer going up that this young mom will be able to stay on earth and raise her precious children.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Amazing News!

Marsha, the young mom we have been praying for, is BETTER!! Yes, BETTER!!! She was not expected to make it through the night but she got four solid hours of sleep last night and when she awoke, she felt better. The doctors said her heart is better--and have started talking about what they will do 'tomorrow.' Marsha's children have been able to see her today.

Please keep praying!!

WARNING: Mama Bear Emotions ahead. Delete if you don't want to hear me doing a big fat 'waaaahhhhhh' for my boy.

We got a phone call from Ryan today. We hadn't heard from him for almost two weeks and were concerned. It turns out that he has pneumonia. poor baby was sick and I was nowhere near. He was in the base hospital for two days (or sick bay??--not sure what they call it). Ryan has never been one to complain when he is sick so he didn't tell me much. Jeff was able to drag more details out of him. (I think he doesn't want his Mama to worry) Jeff asked him how he got from having a cold to ending up with pneumonia (as in, why did you wait so long to get to a doctor?). Ryan said that he did ask but the first day he asked they told him it was too late. The next day, he went early and they told him the sick bay wasn't open. Finally, his buddies told him he was going to have to insist, so he did. By then, he had a 104 fever and pneumonia.

He stayed 48 hours in sick bay and got out just in time to join his platoon on field operations--where they go out in the field and sleep in tents, crawl through mud, etc. I saw the pics on F*cebook. I'm thinking that wasn't a good way to recover from pneumonia.

Grrrrr.... I understand that boot camp is supposed to toughen the guys up, yada, yada. However, now he has to try to pass his physical fitness test to graduate. It includes a running portion. He is supposed to take it on Monday. is that possible when you're short of breath due to pneumonia?

Please...if you would pray for him, I would be so grateful. He will need God's help to pass that test. Maybe they will allow him to wait a week? Although with pneumonia, a week might not be enough.

I just want to get my arms around that kid.

Miss Molly's Poem Debut

Our nine year old, an avid reader of Mom's blog, brought home a poem she wrote at school yesterday. I loved it and thought I would share it here, so she can see her words on 'the big screen.'

Love is:

Love is the wind, it makes you feel good
Love is a rainbow--it has pretty colors that are soft
Love is a sail on a sailboat--it guides you and keeps you safe
Love is like the wind--it breezes through me and makes me have a warm feeling.

We love you, Molly girl! You keep writing poems.
In other news, we were notified yesterday that a soldier in basic tr*ining at Ft. Jackson took his own life on Thursday. He was not in Ryan's regiment, but I would imagine that this news has shaken all the soldiers to some degree. Please lift up the family of the soldier, and also pray that those who are Christians would be able to reach out and comfort those who are not.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Heavy Heart --**UPDATE**

UPDATE: Here is a photo of Marsha and her precious kids. Please continue to lift them up. No news yet today on her condition--other than that she made it through the night.

Please take a moment to lift up a precious family who is losing their wife/mom. She is so young and has two children, age 4 and 6. The doctors cannot find a reason, but her heart is giving out and she is not expected to live much longer. In fact, they expected her to go home to Jesus yesterday, but she is still hanging on. I do not know her personally, but she was in an online Bible study I did recently. She has been able to spend some snuggle time with her children the past two days, but as you can imagine, her husband and children need a lot of prayer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olympic Fever

WARNING: Sarcasm ahead!!!

Today, I had a boatload of laundry to fold and thought I would watch TV to distract myself from the amount of time it would take to get the job done.

Obviously, I spent a LOT of time folding today!

Since the Olympics are on, I was hoping for some awesome skiing to watch.

But noooo.

I turned the TV on to see a riveting game of curling.

Curling? Seriously?

Who approved that game for the Olympics? I get too bored to watch it for more than 3 minutes. It's worse than watching paint dry. And what is the deal with the two women with the mop-looking-thingy's, looking like they are scrubbing the ice? I hope I don't offend anyone, but I've seen chess games that were more entertaining.

So I thought I would turn over to Fox News. There is usually something interesting on that channel. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but President Obama at the "Bi-Partisan Health Care Summit."


I watched it because there was nothing else to watch. It became obvious that nothing new was being said by either party, but a whole lot of grandstanding was going on.

Here's a newsflash for you senators...we ALREADY know what both sides have to say. As for you, Democrats, we aren't 'too dumb' to understand your ideas, as some of you have said we are. We understand you perfectly. We just don't agree with you. I know that comes as a huge shock to your enormous egos, but you might want to consider getting over yourselves.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pictures of Ryan!

There is a F*cebook page for Ft. J*ackson, and today I found some pictures of my boy! It was so amazing to see him. He is the guy on the far right. This was taken as they exited the gas chamber (hence the guy in the front, losing some body fluids).

There was another photo of him being fitted for his uniform. It cracks me up because he refused to dress up for anything when he lived at home. He wouldn't even wear a shirt with a collar. Can't wait to see him standing tall and proud in his 'dress up clothes.'

Ryan, far left, wearing the super cool glasses the army gave him. He is not allowed to wear his contac lenses in basic tr*ining.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Toddler Tantrums

Just so you know that it's not all sweetness and light around here, I will give you a glimpse of what happens, at times. Zoey had Kate put on quite a show the other day. It was so bad that I eventually went to get the camera. Sadly, it's hard to tell by the photos the intensity of the weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth and stomping of feet.

It all started after we left a restaurant that was handing out balloons. Obviously, we could not take eight balloons home in the car, so I made a deal with the kids. We would take four and they had to share. They all agreed.


We got home.

Zoey and Kate could not grasp the concept of sharing their balloon. First Zoey threw a fit because Kate wouldn't share. Me, weary of hearing about the stupid balloon all the way home in the car, and who was and was not sharing, told Kate to hand it to Zoey for a minute. Kate had to take her coat off anyway, for Pete's sake.

Kate grudgingly handed it over, took her coat off with uncharacteristic speed, and then both girls disappeared.

Seconds later, loud wails erupted from Zoey. Kate had repossessed the balloon.


In a moment of parental exasperation, I strode over to Kate and said, "OK, neither of you are getting to play with this, since you can't share." And I took the balloon away.

I was unprepared for the intensity of the hysteria that followed. Oh.My.Word. It was so ridiculous. They were screeching and kicking their feet on the floor. Jeff heard them screaming and he was out in the garage! Taylor pulled his ear phones out and came to check it out. It was hard for him to avoid smirking.

I must admit that it was so loud and absurd that even I busted out laughing. This only increased their rage.

They were told that they needed to take themselves up to their rooms and get in bed for naps, since they couldn't control themselves and were acting in an unacceptable manner. They continued their loud chorus of Hysteria up the stairs, which is when I decided to get the camera.

Kate was tiring, and could only manage a loud, fake moan-like cry

Zoey was still quite torked over the unfairness of the entire situation

And the irony of the whole thing is this: The house we are renting has a very high ceiling in the family room. It goes up two stories or so. Guess where the balloon ended up? SaraGrace also lost her very cool, princess balloon that I bought her at the hospital last week. We now have a balloon graveyard in our family room. Sad.

I'm thinking the Princess mylar balloon might be up there until summer.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Eat Your Hearts Out , Olympic Ice Skaters

Friends invited us to join them at the local ice rink today for some skating. I took the four oldest girls and oh, we had fun!
That is, after I got over the shock of the entrance fee...and that it did not include renting skates.

Jillian and Molly had tried skating once or twice but for Chloe and SaraGrace it was a new experience.

SaraGrace was petrified at first. She lurched onto the ice clutching my hand and the boards. Bless her heart for trying but she would not let go of me. Well, this was going to be exhausting.

She let go of me just long enough for me to take this picture. She was having a blast!

As I was pondering how long my back would hold out--or worse, how long before she pulled me down in a heap on top of her, I spotted some kids with a highly sophisticated training tool.

I had to have one. Nothing but the best for my little girl.

So I asked another mom, herself the proud owner of said tool, where she had procured it. She said that her pre-teen daughter had decided it was beneath her to use such an item, and offered it to me, free of charge.


Here is SaraGrace trying it out.

Oh yeah, baby. These crates worked like a charm. She leaned over on them and took off like a shot of lightening.

OK...that was a slight exaggeration, but she did start skating very fast. She was so thrilled with herself. After an hour or so, she grinned up at me and said, "Mom, I think I'm starting to get da hang of dis!" Swoon...she is so cute.

And my Chloe...oh my goodness. She started out by hanging onto the boards, but before long, I turned around to see this....

"Look, Mom, no hands!"

I hadn't been skating in years and it felt so good.

For awhile.

And then my knees started to creak and groan. I'm sure it had nothing to do with my age. It was probably the rental skates. My pretty white ones were no longer useable. Who knew that putting them away with some moisture on them would rust them out?

I mean, really, how uninspiring are these?


We had a wonderful time and it was a great way to close out our last day of winter break. I am so blessed to have such sweet girls to spend time with. I have no cute pictures of Jillian and Molly--they turned out awful. I guess we'll just have to go skating again...

Take a Peek

A friend of mine is having a give-away on her blog, Quilt-n-Mama. Go take a peek!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I Got Nuthin'...

...worthwhile to say. We have been just hanging around the house this week, staying up late eating popcorn while watching the Olympics, and sleeping in. Not too exciting for a blog post. When all else fails, post a photo.

Jeff returned this afternoon from Mexico, where it was cold yesterday--and where there was no heat in the buildings, so he got chilled to the bone. He is happy to be home in his nice warm house.

Speaking of house...we have been house hunting lately. We are currently renting the home we are in, and it is time to find something to buy. We have looked and has been quite discouraging. We have somewhat...uh...unique needs. I have been praying for a long time that one house would just stand out from the rest...and I think we found it this week. Yay! We are waiting to see if everything will work out but it's looking promising. I am so ready to do some nesting and can't wait to plant flowers (when it gets warm), paint the kids' rooms a color besides beige, and just feel at HOME.
And now for a thrilling, toddler triplet, potty training update.

I am happy to report that Jake, Kate and Zoey are all doing well--during the day. Jake is still wet in the morning, so he is the only one still wearing pull-ups. Their next goal is to learn to wipe.


Seriously. I have instructed them to tell me when they are 'done.' This was necessary to prevent a premature summons to the bathroom, requiring me to stand there gagging on the stench while they finished the deed.

Now they have the courtesy to wait. Oh...except for Jake who experiences the occasional dingle-berry.

So...I normally hear, "I'M DONE!!!" That is my signal to hold my breath and come and wipe their bums. Which of course I do with great love and admiration for what they have been able to accomplish.


It would seem that certain little people like to sneak off the toilet without summoning a parent. The little people in question are not yet skilled enough to cover their tracks or destroy evidence. Several times in the past week, I have discovered underwear with crusty stripes. Hello?! Underwear is NOT toilet paper. What did you think would happen when you didn't use any?

I know you are ALL thinking that Jake is the culprit.
Not this time.

He was falsely accused today though. He got up from his nap and came over to cuddle with me on the couch. Something reeked. I assumed it was him. So I asked him,
"Jake, did you poop?"
"I poop on da toiwet."
"Did you wipe?"

Lucky for him, his are the kind that often don't need toilet paper, even though I use it anyway. I checked him out and he was clean, so I don't know from whence the stench wafted.

I'm sure this is all too much information, but it's late, I've been cooped up all week with a house full of kids and frankly, Poop Happens a lot around here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Belated Chinese New Year photos...

I did eventually get the little girls to pose in their CNY silks. They were happy to oblige.

Jeff has been in sunny, warm Mexico this week. All the kids have had the week off for winter break. I'm not bitter...I'm just sharin' my testimony.

We got about six inches of heavy wet snow yesterday so our sledding hill was back in business. I planned to just take photos, but Jillian begged, pleaded, and pretty much wouldn't take no for an answer about me joining them on the slope. I did get some pictures taken before I was required to join them, however.

The new trick is sliding down the hill without a sled...kind of a body sledding thing have to lie down on the hill to slide down, not just flop down at the top and expect to go anywhere

Jakie is so little...he is the essence of cuteness as he tries to walk around in the snow

SaraGrace, the child most likely to embarrass us, was absolutely cracking me up. She grabbed my hand as we climbed the hill and said, "Let's rock and roll!" I don't know where she heard that, but leave it to her to come up with a saucy remark. Once at the top, she looked down and announced, "Get out of my way, Bub." No clue to whom that statement was directed.

It didn't take long for me to realize that I am woefully out of shape and I huffed and puffed after going up and down the hill a few times. Dang! It was so much fun, but after awhile I could not ignore the pounding in my ears and had to take a break.

The snow here in New England is different than the Midwest. It's generally not as cold here, so the snow is wet and sticks to the trees and bushes. It's so beautiful. The sun was shining on the trees today, making the snowy branches sparkle like diamonds. I tried to get some photos--which didn't do the scenery justice, but I'll post them anyway so you can get an idea. If you double click on them they will be larger.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Recently I stumbled on a new blog called, "Through the Lens of Worship." The idea behind it is to take your camera outdoors and use photography as an act of worship to God. Today, I decided it would be a good time to try it.

Shortly before I headed out to the woods, I received an email from a close family member saying that his cancer was back. Last week had come news that my brother-in-law's cancer was not responding well to medication. And my worry about Ryan deploying increased this week for reasons I won't go into. Yes, it was time for some worship.

Taylor babysat so I could take a walk. I grabbed my camera and off I went. I walked awhile just taking photos of things that caught my eye, praying for my family members and hoping to experience God while I was out there freezing my butt off. Just keepin' it real...

As I walked deeper into the woods, it got darker as the trees blocked the sun. I started talking to God and telling Him that the path I was on in life seemed darker recently, just as the path in the woods was getting darker. I told Him that I was in the valley again. "Look up," I felt Him say. "I am here. If you continue to look at the darkness of the pathway, you will not see Me."

So, I looked up. I'm smart that way.

If you look at the photo, you will see that the path is not illuminated by the sunshine, but if you look up into the treetops, you will see the warm glow of the sun.

I continued to walk slowly, trying to look up without tripping and breaking my ankle on the uneven ground. As I came around a bend, I saw something that quickened my steps.

The sun was dipping closer to the pathway! I instinctively started to pick up my pace and almost run toward the dappled light shining through the trees. I wanted to see if it would touch the path. I wanted to stand in it's warmth.

Sure enough, the light beams touched the path and I was able to stand in them. "Thank you, Jesus," I breathed, "for hugging me with these sunbeams. Then I decided to turn around to see the source of those sunbeams. I saw this:

And I felt loved. Enveloped. Connected to the One who loves me.

The sun was setting and I was getting numb from the cold, so I reluctantly left the spot. The path got dark again and I told God so. And He gently reminded me that life is like that. The path we are on sometimes gets dark and cold. At other times, it is warm and full of light. We go in and out of peaks and valleys. But if we look up, He is always there.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1, 2

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Xin Nian Kwai Le!!

Xin Nian Kwai Le! (Happy Chinese New Year!)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wish I had some cute Chinese New Year pictures of the girls in their Chinese silk outfits to post but we were running late for church and then the little girls went down for naps as soon as we got home. Maybe I can dress them up again tomorrow and post.

We went to lunch with a family from church and enjoyed a yummy Chinese buffet to celebrate! Tonight Jeff and I are going out to a Valentine dinner with our marriage class from church. It's ye olde two-fer birthday/Valentine day dinner out. What a rip! haha My mom and I both have February birthdays and lamented the timing. I guess it would be worse to have a birthday around Christmas, though.

Ryan called last night! Jeff answered and couldn't hear him at all. It was a horrible connection. He asked if Ryan could call right back but Ryan said there was a long line for the pay phone. Jeff was so sad when they hung up. About an hour later, the phone rang again. Ryan had gone to the back of the line and waited his turn to call again. Wah...if that doesn't bring tears to his mama's eyes.... The good news was that there weren't many guys waiting any more and he was able to talk for about 15-20 minutes!!! So awesome! I love that boy!

The soldier who hadn't gotten any mail, has now gotten nine letters!!! He was shocked! Since then, two other soldiers came and told Ryan that they are not getting any mail and wanted to know if "your mom's friends" would write to them, too! Don't you love it!?! He is going to write down their names and send them to me, so when I get them, I'll let you know. Thank you for writing to Nicholas! I think we will be 'adopting' some of them for Family Day and Graduation because their families won't be able to attend.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Home and Getting Back to Normal that is ever going to happen at our house. But normal is boring, right?

SaraGrace is healing well. She is milking it for all it's worth, but that's okay. She is all about drama. She likes to be carried around because her leg hurts, but she is getting braver and moving around now. Boredom can be a good motivator. She is still in control, barking commands at the little kids to obey her. haha

Katie has been quite sympathetic and it's so cute to watch her hover over SaraGrace. She does want everyone to remember, though, that she also had surgery.

Kate: Whipping up her shirt to display her scar, ' had dat hawt tudgery, too!'
Zoey: "Me donna hab tudgery on my wittle foot."
Jake: "Me had tudgewy on my hands!"
Jordan: "I'm gonna have surgery on my ear."

Yes, if you visit, you will hear it all.

We postponed a birthday dinner out until SaraGrace is feeling better. A very sweet friend called and offered dinner, so I didn't have to cook! (Thanks, Kim!) And my sweet hubby stayed up late the night before making a homemade cheesecake--it's my favorite that he makes every year. It's actually a cherry cheese pie made with sweetened condensed milk--I love it.

He saved it and brought it out after the little kids went to bed so that I didn't have to share! Yummy!!!

He also gave me a funny musical card that the kids have absconded with, so I'm sure it will soon have a dead battery. The song was 'Can't Touch This,' and now Jake is boogieing and singing, "You can't totch dis." You just haven't lived until you see the boy perform.

I am so blessed!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Morning Update

After getting a lung scan, it has been noted that SaraGrace's artery is now pumping twice the amount of blood into her lung that it was prior to receiving the stent! WOOHOO!! The veins and vessels in that lung are much smaller because they have not been receiving the blood they were supposed to have been getting. However, they are expected to grow now that they are getting more blood. In time, it is hoped that the 32% blood flow will increase (Normal is 45. She was at 19 before the stent was put in). The biggest and most awesome news is: she might not have to have open heart surgery when she needs her valve replaced!! If her current one holds out long enough, there is new technology that enables them to replace a valve using a cardiac catheter!! I had read that they were starting to use this for adults but not yet for children. Apparently, they have now developed a valve that can be used for some kids if they are big enough. The cardiologist said he can't promise it for SaraGrace, but she is definitely a candidate! Such amazing news as we had always been told she would need two more open heart surgeries to replace her valve as she grows. The technology for heart defects is improving at such speed. I have hope that Kate will be able to benefit as well.

She is quite anxious to get out of here and get the IV out of her hand. It's itching and driving her nuts. Thank goodness for Disney princess movies to distract her or I think we would both be a little nutty by now. The meals in bed didn't have the same luster as they did prior to experiencing them. Smile.

We both slept fine last night--thanks to being able to have a private room (another WOOHOO!). We are on a cardiac floor so most of the patients are tiny babies who don't necessarily know the difference between day and night.

A snowstorm is headed our way and school was canceled for Taylor who can now babysit when the girls are dismissed at noon. That made life much easier as Jeff was trying to figure out how to come and get us and juggle the kids. A friend was going to help out but now Taylor can handle things.

First wheel chair ride--and she had the energy to flash a smile for the camera.

The nurse just came in with the golden discharge papers, so we are busting out of here as soon as Jeff gets here. YAY!

Oh and thank you for the birthday wishes from some of you...yes, today is my birthday and I'm now on the downward slope toward 50. hahahahahahaha

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

She's Already Done!

The doctor just came out...SaraGrace is all done! She did well and I should be able to see her in a few minutes.

The balloon procedure was not done--they had to put a stent in instead. Her artery was kinked and twisted, so a balloon would not have held it open. The doctor thinks this will be able to keep her artery open for a few years. The stent is a metal tube that they put in place that keeps the artery open. So amazing what they can do in the cath lab!! I am so thankful that she didn't have to have her chest opened up to get this done.

Thank you for your prayers! I can't wait to see the little peanut. I'm hoping she comes out of the anesthesia without becoming a grump.

I asked if she was going to set off the metal detectors at the airport and the doctor laughed and said no--the detectors aren't that good yet. Good to know that she won't be setting them off when we are trying to get our family through security on the way to Disney. Seriously...aren't you glad you won't be behind us? I pity the poor soul who is.

SaraGrace is now in surgery

The doctor just came and found me...told me they are still prepping her and she will undergo the procedure now. She did pretty well this morning...had some tears and moments of fear...but was trying so very hard to be brave.

At one point, she looked at me with big tears in her eyes and said, "I don't want to be brave anymore." Awww...poor sweet thing. I told her she didn't have to be and that I would be brave for both of us. She allowed me to distract her and the nurses let her pick a prize out of the bin. She chose a Disney princess writing tablet and pencil. So cute. She sat on her bed and drew a castle (with little flags on the turrets and everything!), a princess and a road. She put lots of detail into it--even the yellow lines on the road.

They finally came and gave her the 'koolaid cocktail' which she drank without fussing. She's not fond of medication, so that was pretty huge for her. She got soooo loopy. It was actually a bit disturbing for me to see her with her mouth hanging open and her eyes half shut--but still fighting to stay awake and looking anxious. She would smile, though, when I would squeeze her hand and tell her I was there. They let me walk back to the door of the cath lab, and then I had to say good-bye. She wasn't crying, thankfully.
So now I'm sitting in the waiting room...the cath will take 2-4 hours depending on what they end up doing. They won't know until they're in there.

My computer must have suffered some sort of cardiac arrest because it absolutely WOULD NOT connect to the Internet. Jeff can usually get me on, but he is at home with the little kids. Thankfully, when I went to ask someone how to get on, there was an I.T. GUY who just 'happened' to be standing there. He offered to get me on and then proceeded to spend 40 minutes of his time working on my 'very slow, non-responsive' laptop. Oh...and he was Chinese. I was SO grateful that he kept working on it--and when I kept apologizing for monopolizing his time, he said he was happy to help. Thank you, Jesus, for sending an IT guy just when I needed one. Now I am afraid to shut my computer down in case it will become 'unresponsive' again.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Insert Clever Title...

Obviously, I can't think of a title for this post...

First of all, I just want to tell you that it soooo blessed my heart that at least 15 of you wrote to me asking for the address of the soldier in Ryan's platoon who wasn't getting any mail. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when he hears his name at mail call. I did give Ryan a heads up--but told him not to say anything to his friend until after he starts getting mail. I suppose it won't be as exciting to get mail from a bunch of old ladies as it would be from some cute 20 year olds, but better than nothing, huh? Some of you even wanted to write to Ryan as well, and that just made my day. THANK YOU!!

SaraGrace's appointment went so well today. I should have you guys pray every time!! I was dreading what would happen when we had to go to the lab because she absolutely melted down the last time we were there. I am talking, hysteria to the point of ridiculous.

Today, she walked into the room, climbed up on my lap and pushed up her sleeve!! I couldn't believe it! She hid her face when the needle was going in, but she didn't cry. That was the only poke of the day, and she handled it well. They ran lots of tests and it took about five hours, but everything went well. The doctors assured me that they do many of these procedures and have a back-up surgical team ready if needed. They are hoping that the reason for the blood flow problem is constriction that they can fix with a balloon procedure. It should take about three hours--five if they have to do a stint instead of using balloons, but that is unlikely.

When we were leaving, SaraGrace said, 'Dis was da best day ever! I got to be with Mommy all by myself.' Too cute. She is kind of excited about staying overnight in the hospital, having a 'slumber party' with Mommy, and eating dinner in bed. Me? Well, I'm not looking forward to the slumber party, since slumbering is rather difficult in a chair, but it's only one night. And I do totally LOVE having those alone times with my kids, even if it's in the hospital.

There would have been some pictures from today, except for the fact that when I got my camera out, it had a dead battery. urgh.... Instead, I will post a photo that I took of her on Sunday as she was leaving for church. My mom had sent some Disney light-up Tinkerbell shoes. They were on sale and too big, but my Mom knew that SaraGrace would have fun with them. She didn't know that SaraGrace would want to wear them to church. Jeff was utterly mortified but I convinced him to let her wear them. She's only six. How many years of your life can you get away with wearing green glittery light-up shoes that are three sizes too big? Not many, I'm thinkin,' so go for it, sweet girl!

This close-up doesn't really show the inch between her heel and the back of the shoe, but trust me, they really ARE three sizes too big.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Ryan called, and....

...I answered it!! Woohoo, I was able to talk to my boy!! For a whole five minutes! Jeff let me have the whole call to myself. Ryan sounded tired--and not too talkative, but then I realized that someone was standing there timing the call and told him to get off after five minutes. I guess it's kind of hard to be chatty when someone is standing there listening to your every word. So I asked lots of questions that he could give short, simple answers to.

It was sooo good to talk to him. Thank you, Jesus!

In other news...SaraGrace's cyst-thingy went down and is now flat! Thank you for praying!! There is a little white spot on it, though, so I think it should still get checked out for infection. She is extremely happy to have that thing not bugging her anymore. She and I will be getting up at the stinkin' crack of dawn to go to the hospital for pre-op tomorrow. Groan. I am so not a morning person.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

As I already mentioned, SaraGrace is having a heart cath on Tuesday and is going in for pre-op testing on Monday. Two days ago she woke up with her mouth all swollen. It looked like someone had punched her--minus a bruise. So odd. I thought she maybe was having an allergic reaction to something since her eyes seemed swollen as well. I had to wait a day to get her into the doctor and we went yesterday. By then, her upper front gumline had developed a lump the size of a pencil eraser. The doctor shook her head and said she'd never seen anything like it, and thought it was a cyst. Their office tried mightily to find an oral surgeon to take care of it before the scheduled heart cath, but to no avail.

I contacted her cardiologist and the plan is to try to have someone see her when we go to Children's Hospital on Monday. Hopefully, someone will be available. Or MAYBE, it will dissolve by then. We can pray for that, right?! Meanwhile, she is being driven mad by the thing in her mouth. It's always something....

In other news....

Ryan has busily been writing letters this week! Several people have emailed me to tell me they received one. I am rather shocked, since Ryan would rather scrub a 100 toilets than write anything has never been a writer. Some have shared some of the things he wrote, and it became apparent that he wrote different things to each person--not just writing the same basic letter to everyone. He is doing better, basic training is going better, and he is hanging in there. He needs to trim 2 minutes off his running to graduate, though, so we are praying for that. He survived the gas chamber--although one of the guys in his platoon hurled all over the Sargeant! Ewwww.... He has overcome his fear of heights and has gained 8 pounds while losing clothing size. All that buff muscle must weigh a lot! He is going to church and reading his Bible. In one of his letters to a friend here, he said, 'How is my family doing?' It was so touching because he knows that his friend has visited us a few times to 'cheer us up.' It could just make me cry thinking that he asked that question. wah.

One really sad thing he mentioned was that there is one guy in his platoon who never gets any letters from home. He almost cries at mail call because there is nothing for him. He has been going to church with Ryan, but Ryan doesn't think he is a Christian yet. We are going to write to him. If any of you feel led to do the same just contact me and I will give you his name and address. It breaks my heart that one of our soldiers has no one to care for him. (I know this is not rare, unfortunately.) If you have a heart for orphans and are not in a position to adopt, here is a wonderful chance for you to 'adopt' someone! Your letter(s) might just make an eternal difference in the lives of men like these....

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Who's on First?

I'm certain I date myself by mentioning the "Who's On First" comedy routine by Abbott and Costelo, but hopefully, you have heard of it. I'm convinced that the idea for their famous routine came about after trying unsuccessfully to have a conversation with a toddler.

Kate: Mommy, Jake got my shiwt thoaking wet. (Jake got my shirt soaking wet.)
Me: How did that happen?
Kate: Jake did it.
Me: I know that Jake did it. But how did it happen?
Kate: 'cause.
Me: No...tell me how it happened.
Kate: Jake did it.
Me: Yes, I know. (Then trying a new tactic) Where were you when Jake did it?
Kate: My shiwt is thoaking wet.
Me: (totally exasperated) I KNOW your shirt is wet and I know Jake did it, but what were you guys doing when it happened?
Kate: blank stare

At this point, Taylor, who apparently can hear what's going on around him while having his headphones stuck in his ear, snorted and said,
"Why do you bother? It's like talking to a stump."

For some reason, his comment struck me as hilariously funny, which was a good thing because it diffused the situation. I eventually figured it out on my own. Jake and Kate had been goofing around in the bathroom and Jake was 'washing' something in the sink. He managed to soak Kate's shirt.

I'm just glad he was using sink water and not dipping cups into the toilet. Yes, that has happened in the past.

And speaking of potty stuff...the other night Chloe and SaraGrace were playing and came running into the kitchen dressed like this:

Not sure exactly who they were pretending to be but Chloe introduced her little sister as her 'sidekick.' SaraGrace, ever resourceful when it comes to costumes, used a pair of underwear for a mask since we only have the mask that Chloe was wearing. I actually thought it was kind of ingenious that she used the leg holes for her eyes. Unorthodox...but it worked. And it was a clean pair. (I KNOW you were wondering...)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Disney, baby....

SaraGrace's Make-A-Wish trip to Disney has been approved! We got a very fun surprise in the mail this week...her "Wish Kit." So fun! She is beside herself and dreaming of seeing her favorite princesses at Disney. We are scheduled to go mid-April, and let's hope the South is done with their record breaking cold weather by then! We are still overwhelmed that we are getting this trip. So thankful for all who are making it possible.

I am so glad she has this trip to look forward to. Her heart catheterization is scheduled for Tue., Feb. 9th. She doesn't know yet. She freaks out so much that it is just kinder not to tell her until right before it occurs. The anticipation of any medical procedure sends her into a flurry of worry. She does know that she will be spending half a day at Children's on Monday for all the pre-op testing. That brought some tears and, "Are they going to poke me?" I honestly don't know--but I'm guessing they will probably have to poke her for something.

She organized a ballet show yesterday with the little kids and as I watched her twirling around it was hard to believe that she has anything wrong with her. She looks totally healthy. I'm so thankful that her doctor did the test and caught the problem!

She dressed all the little kids up to 'do ballet.' Then they all commanded me to 'picture' them. I was happy to oblige.

Katie-bug twirled softly and demurely

Zoey twirled with energy and exuberance

Dude! Don't be letting your big sister dress you up like this! It's serious blackmail material.

Jordan had a bit more self-respect than his little brother

Boot Camp for Mom

The missed phone calls would have been comical if they had not been so important to me. I started to realize that there must be a reason that it kept happening. I believe that God does nothing by accident and I started to wonder what He was trying to teach me in this situation--my own little Boot Camp from God.

I mean, really, how could it happen three times? How could my son be gone for a month and I had not been able to speak to him even once? There had to be a reason that God was allowing it.

The first verse that came to me is one that Paul wrote. Honestly, I don't like the verse. It's kinda one of those scary, please-don't-ask-this-of-me verses that I tend to try to avoid.

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings..." Philippians 3:8

Um, well, actually, I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to suffering. I really try to avoid it if possible. But obviously, God was trying to tell me something.

He had already reminded me a few weeks ago, that He sent His Son to earth and had to watch him suffer, but now He reminded me of something else. He invited me to come and share something with Him. I was invited to remember His suffering many years ago.

There was a day when He was separated from His child who was needing comfort. As Jesus hung dying, on the cross--at his most critical point of need--God had to turn His face away from the sin that the Son carried for those hours. They were separated--and for both of them, I believe it was excruciating.

The Father must have longed to comfort His Son.

The Son certainly longed for the Father's comfort. Indeed, when considering the cross before Him, He was in so much agony that His sweat was like drops of blood.

But it was necessary for them to be separated for that time to bring about a greater purpose--the salvation of all mankind.

And so this week, my invitation was come and share Christ's suffering on a much smaller scale. I am very thankful that my pain is far less than God's was and that I can safely trust Him to take care of Ryan when I have no access to my son.