Friday, December 30, 2016

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week...but it's okay

Ever have one of those weeks?  Oh my, have we had one!

On Friday, Justin started a project to pull some warped trim off of the front pillars to replace it, and discovered that rather than replace just the trim, the bottom quarter of the pillars had water damage, so it has become a much larger project.

Gabby was diagnosed with pneumonia on Saturday, and Ellie was a bit out of sorts.

Our Christmas was wished away as we waited for our medical practice to open on Monday, as Ellie grew sicker.  On Monday we called as soon as the office opened, just to find that they weren't open--they took the day for the holiday.  So Monday I took Elliana to Urgent Care and then we were sent on to the E.R.  Justin and the other children stopped by to bring us a few things and to fill my tank with gas, as I have never ran the car below a quarter tank, and I wasn't sure how long it would hold out with all the back and forth I'd done, not wanting to stop with the sick girl.

We were so grateful that all she needed was the same antibiotic that Gabby is taking, at her own dose, of course.  It was a long three hour wait to be seen with a little gal who oscillated between talking about people (directly in front of us) who wear shoes without socks and being weepy and tired.

Tuesday morning, we had an inspector come by to look at some damage that had developed in our wood flooring in the dining room.  It is engineered hardwood, and had some spots that looked like they had gotten wet.  We weren't too concerned until we saw that it was in several spots instead of just one or two.  We found out we have termites...

We've spent much of the rest of the week attending follow up appointments, squeezing in repairs to the posts, and dosing girls with antibiotics, probiotics, and fever reducers, as needed.  And neither Justin or I have slept through the night in over a week.  We are up every night checking for fevers, sometimes staying up as we work to get them back down with medicine and cool cloths.  We are tired.

Then,  tonight I went to load our dishwasher.  I saw some discoloration, and tried to clean it up.  I found that the tub had a small crack in it.  The dishwasher isn't that old.  We purchased it when we moved in, as the one in the house was not working.

I had to laugh.  It's almost Shakespearean, this comedy of errors.  And it is a lot of mess for a week.  But soon enough the medical bills will be paid, the posts mended, the termites gone, the floor replaced, and the dishwasher repaired.  We'll look back and joke about what an interesting Christmas we had in 2016.

I can see through it all--the girls are both going to be fine.  I have thanked God so often this week for the medicines that have brought down high fevers and are getting rid of the pneumonia.  There was a day we would have likely lost Ellie and maybe Gabby too, instead I get to hear giggles and pattering feet.  The termites preferred the floor to the structural supports of the house, so those are intact and I could see the damage to know there was a problem.  Though a great deal more work, Justin can repair the posts himself, and somehow has all but the trim work done around the mess of the week we've had.  The dishwasher, well, I've hand washed dishes before, and I'll do it again.  I just pulled the drying rack out from the top of the pantry, and went on with it.

We have been protected from the worst of it.  I am so grateful.

Friday Funny

Our youngest children have a worship service led separately for them. They learn little catechism songs, and do more repeated songs than the main worship service, so they learn the words well.  The young woman who leads the worship music most of the time, uses some simple call and responses to help get the kids to focus.  The first week Ellie moved up from the nursery to this program, I asked what she learned and she proudly announced, "One, two, three, eyes on me!"  Now she has decided the teacher's name is, "One, two, eyes on you!"


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Here

We had a nice visit with my parents and sister before Christmas.  While we were away, Gabby began to run a low grade fever off and on.  She was tired, but made it through.  We got home on Friday and tucked her and Ellie in to bed, both a little on the sick side.  We were awoken early on Christmas Eve morning, to hear Gabby cry on her way to the bathroom.  I assumed an upset tummy, but she said she had pain in her chest.  After a few quick questions, we decided it was about her lung and not her heart.  She was breathing okay, so Justin sat with her while I started the process to find an urgent care that accepted our insurance, and was open.  No one was at that hour.  We kept a watchful eye, and I left with her to arrive just before the clinic opened.

We were seen quickly--such a blessing!  No flu, but the PA we saw suspected pneumonia and ordered an x-ray.  We were told it was hazy, so we got her prescription for an antibiotic and we went on our way.  Grateful.

Poor Ellie has spent the past day getting more sick though.  Justin set an alarm to get up and check children in the night, as he had the night before, but before it went off I heard Ellie thrashing.  I found her with a slight fever, but very agitated.  In the time I checked on Gabby and got her some medicine to reduce her fever, her temperature had shot up three and a half more degrees.  We fought to bring the fever down with cold compresses, then we finally tried a different fever reducer, as nothing else we did was bringing her temperature down.

The other children, not knowing how ill she had been in the night, woke her with excitement for Christmas morning.  She perked up a bit for presents, but slept through breakfast and stockings.  She has had two more rounds of the higher than we like fevers, so that's been Christmas here.

We are so grateful their illnesses have not needed hospital stays, but it has been a bit of a melancholy Christmas here.  We had plans to have our turkey on Saturday, go to a candle light service, worship with our church on Christmas, and visit with some friends.  Things had to be shifted, including a grocery trip on Christmas Eve, since our turkey wasn't baked and we would be home all day on Christmas, where I oscillated between such gratitude that Gabby was well enough to skip the ER and being upset for the change in plans, which culminated when I gashed my finger on the cart as I was moving my things to the conveyor belt.  I don't even know how I did it, but it stings and doesn't want to close up, an aggravation and pain on top of the other things.  The meringue on my pies went flat.  It hurts to wash the dishes.  I haven't slept through the night in days.  But in the scheme of things, we are beyond blessed.  We are safe; we are together; we have medicine and clean water; we have food to eat.  We were even able to give our children presents, as we celebrate the birth of the Jesus who came to save us from this fallen world, where kids get sick.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Funny: Christmas

I didn't catch the context, which probably made this all the better:

The shepherds can't fly, only the angels can fly.  Well, unless the angel carries the shepherd.  I guess then the shepherd could kinda fly through the air.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Friday Funny

Me to Ellie: My leg fell asleep.

Ellie (reaches over pats my leg): Yeah, it did!

So what does my leg feel like when it is awake?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


When I was growing up, I remember going to summer camp.  The days seemed to last so very long, but in the blink of an eye the week was up.  I'm finding life in these busy days to be much like that--without the hikes and camp food, well except when we're actually camping...

 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: choir, shepherd, and angel choir

Gabby's turn to put the angel on top

Ellie is tickled with the tree.

 The AHG Christmas party began with a story time.

Mama got a night out to go look at the lights, with a few dozen ladies from church (not all pictured here)

Trail Life marched/rode in a parade.  If you squint, Justin is in the back ground, and Nate is in the back of the trailer, with a gray and black striped hat on.

We've had a swirl of activity the past few weeks as outside things wrap up before Christmas. We've had almost all our parties, parades, and play performances.  By the skin of our teeth, the decorations are up, the presents are (mostly) here, and we are almost ready to settle down for the prescribed long winter's nap rest.

But even in the midst of trying to slow down, as a mother there is the packing, the laundry, the double checking to be sure everyone has the same number of gifts, and that none of the important traditions are left out.  There are grades to send to our umbrella school, which means I have to actually tally all those grades I've been keeping and hunt for those mislaid papers that still need marks.

I still need to find the quiet and the waiting in the busyness, because just like camp and last October, the time will be gone.

Hoping that you (and I) find the joy and anticipation of Advent!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Funnies

Katie: What did you see at Target?

Ellie: Christmas trees!

Katie: What color were they?

Ellie: (in a voice that says, "Really?!") Uh, green...

*    *     *     *     *

Fun ways Ellie says words that I want to remember:

Uhd = Ugh

Dede = Katie

Dabby = Gabby

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Got Shoeboxes?

Operation Christmas Child 

Don't forget it is national collection week for Operation Christmas Child!

There are some beautiful stories and videos at their website.  If you've never taken the opportunity to watch videos, here is a short one.  To me though, the best are the stories of the kids who have grown up, who can still tell you exactly what was in their boxes.

If you can't pack a box, maybe you can pay shipping for one of the boxes that was returned without it's shipping payment (you can give online).  Seven dollars can get a box to a child somewhere, so they can see the love of God in a tangible way, plus they get the gospel in their own language.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


 My little man is still growing up.  He refuses to stop for some reason.

He is funny, bright, and athletic.

He has been such a nice companion, always a great tag-a-long with his older sisters and a great friend to the younger one.  Truly a good big brother.

He loves to be outside.

His birthday wish for this year was a walking stick.  He and his dad have started on it over the weekend, but they plan to add a few more touches to it.

I am grateful I get to be his Mama.

Walk softly, and carry a big stick!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Unit Study and Friday Funny

We've made some great progress on our history/literature curriculum (Tapestry of Grace, year one) this fall.  I honestly meant to slow it down a bit as we got into the kids play practice, but we just kept trucking along.  So I was looking through the girls' AHG badge book and found one that would be helpful for Kate to have before she moved up--Survival, Search, and Rescue.  It is a badge that builds on lower levels, so even at the level the girls are currently in, we had to do some major foundational work from the lower level.  She wants to work on it at camp in the future--they have to build their own shelter and sleep in it one night, but it required all the lower level requirements (understandably when you're talking about something like staying out overnight with only what you packed).  We spent a chunk of the week talking about the 10 Essentials for survival, rescue teams, Ready Packs, what a Backcountry Trip Plan is (even made up a skit to show to younger girls), and talked about emergency plans.

Ellie found this very interesting.  Here is her plan, if she gets lost in the woods: "Go to the grocery store, pick up lunch, throw food in the woods, and eat it."

It was a nice little break in the fall before we get back into the ancients, here between the Assyrians and the Babylonian Captivity.  It gave us a great reason to be outside for a whole afternoon too, now that it is starting to cool down for the fall here in the South.  Before I turn around, it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  I'm glad we took a week to do something a little different, a great  unit study.


Saturday, October 29, 2016


I started to write an update on what life was like here in September, but I turned around and we're at the end of October!  We are in a busy season of life, but I'm not sure that it's going to become less busy anytime soon.

This fall has brought the return to our regular American Heritage Girl meetings.  I'm still treasurer, so handling the beginning of the year dues and the the fall fundraiser funds have filled up corners of our days.  We've been on a fall camp out with the troop, which was fun.  I'm helping with the Operation Christmas Child event again this year, but we are helping our charter church with a packing party this time, so it isn't our usual one night of busy.  I'm assisting one of the older girls plan the event as part of her level award project.

We also found a Trail Life troop for Nate to join.  This organization was formed with input from the founder of AHG, but the organizations are definitely different too.  Nate loves hanging out with the guys.  He's never had anything that was entirely his, so this is great for him.  I took him this past week, as Justin was out of town, and it was lots of motion, noise, and activity.  They had a nice lesson about character within their patrol time, that we were able to reinforce at home, met up with some fellows who were learning about how to behave around a camp stove, and joined in prayer with the rest of the troop.

Kate, somehow, has reached the age to join our church youth group.  I'm not sure when that happened!  She's been able to do a few activities with them so far--a trampoline center, a retreat, and soon a Halloween party.  She loves hanging out with the girls, especially a daughter of a friend of mine who passed away this summer.

The three older kids are working on a play again this fall, this time it is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  They love being out with their friends and working on the project to pull it all together.

Justin's been working on his tenure process.  He also took students to a chemistry conference to present their work.  His days are quite busy.

As for me, I've been up to my eyes in teaching three munchkins, driving them to and fro, and maintaining the house.  I even stripped the back deck and stained it this fall.  Who knows what project I'll get into next?  Maybe I'll tackle the railings on the front porch!

Hopefully it won't be so long between writings again, but no promises!


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

9th Birthday

My second daughter is nine today.

She is bright and sweet.  Full of fire and fun.

She makes us smile and challenges us.

She's not so little any more.

She loves to read and dance.

She loves AHG.  And had the most service hours for her unit this summer!

She's a care giver.

 Happy Birthday!


Monday, September 26, 2016


 My Kate is eleven today.

She is so tall and willowy with those big brown eyes.

She's developing her sense of humor, and learning the fine lines around what is funny and what is not.

She's bright and capable.  She's become a big help in the kitchen lately.  Sometimes she will fix a meal entirely on her own, but she can also take over for a few minutes if something pressing distracts me.

She loves to be with people and is thriving in her AHG troop.  As a third year Explorer, she is getting to take on some new things, like assisting to plan a special event, which is a joy to her.

She is a planner, a schemer, and dreamer.  She loves to read, especially Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket.  And still enjoys Shakespeare.

She often gives away what she has.

I love you, even if it isn't really fair to call you munchkin any more!


Sunday, September 25, 2016


My little Ellie is now three!

Though she can't quite show you with her fingers.

She sleeps in a big girl bed, in a room all by herself now.

  Our small group has taught Ellie that The Birthday Song can be loud!

 She is mischievous and sweet, full of opinions and snuggles, and loves people.  She still has some of the fun toddler speech (like burp-day, instead of birthday), but more and more she is communicating well with others, putting together full and more complicated sentences.

 She loves dolls and Minnie Mouse.

She loves knock-knock jokes and cracks up, despite the fact she hasn't quite gotten past, "Knock, knock," and the answer of, "Who's there?"  Her giggle is infectious.

 She has those cute bouncy curls.

 She's learning to pray, and answers questions like, "Who is in your Sunday School?" with, "God."

Happy Birthday to my funny, sweet, curly headed Ellie-Bean.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Funnies

Kate: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Ellie: Three!

*     *     *     *    *
 The boni room = the bonus room

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Friday Funnies

Justin was telling a story about some grad students, after a party, make a mess of (his) the first year grad student office one night:

Justin: There was crayon everywhere.  It took me forever to get it off my desk.  I didn't even try to get it off the wall.

Kate: It sounds like a bunch of two year olds!

Nate: Except the two year olds couldn't get up that high.  [thinking] Unless the drunk people picked up the two year olds and let them color on the desk and walls!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Funny

Ellie: I have dat? (whipped cream)

Me: No, that is made with milk.

Ellie: Oh, it has dairies in it!

Monday, August 29, 2016

End of an Era

I remember pouring over all the baby items when we finally learned we were expecting our first baby.  Travel systems, gliders, the crib...

We settled on a pretty wooden crib that we could purchase a matching changing table for.  The table held all of the pretty quilts, bedding, spare wipes, diapers, and bath things, as our first little house didn't have a linen closet.

I remember ordering the crib excessively early.  I was so excited.  I knew we wouldn't need it for months, but I was so glad to get it.  Justin put it up the bedroom beside ours.  The house had originally been a two bedroom, but a previous owner had converted the attic space to two more 'rooms,' though they had neither closets nor doors.  We, of course wanted our newest addition in the room next door.  The light would shine through the two windows, filtered by the trees.

We left that house when Kate was only one, and still using the crib.  We moved it to Alabama, where is sat in a huge room.  She slept in it night and naps...long naps in those days!

Justin was granted a professorship the following fall, and we followed his academic dreams to Kansas.  We set the crib up, this time with Kate's help, to receive a new little baby.  Gabby slept there for nearly two years, just like Kate, when she was moved so the crib would be ready to hold yet another little one.

Nate actually slept in it very little in that house, taking quite some time to sleep through the night, but when we moved to Tennessee he had a nice little room where he slept in it every night.  We were only in that house for a year, giving ourselves time to look around and purchase a house that we could love and call ours.  We set the crib up in a room for him again, and I teased that he would stay in it until he climbed out or went to college.  I didn't make good on that promise, but he did stay in much later than his big sisters.  When we moved him out, for whatever reason, we didn't immediately take the crib down.  It had become part of the background of the house.

Then we found there would be another little one to join our family, and she was able to sleep there too.  Over the past few weeks, we've moved Ellie to a big girl bed, and the crib has finally, almost exactly eleven years from the day we put our first little baby in it, served it's usable life.

So Justin took the tools and pulled that crib apart one last time, but not before I got pictures of the little teeth marks, and scratches that remind me of the little people who have slept there, even if they aren't so little anymore.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Harry Potter

NO Spoilers

I was a bit late to the Harry Potter game.  I was never against the books, like some in Christian circles are, fearful of witchcraft and all, as I saw the same fear with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which are the opposite of antithetical of Christianity, catch my double negative.  I just was busy starting college, getting married, teaching in a field away from where those fit in.

The year I left teaching, we moved far away from all of our friends, and had no family close by either.  Kate was only one, and took long naps in those days.  I was bored and lonely.  My sister recommended I pick up the books, as  they could fill at least some of those hours.

I checked them out one by one at the nearby library, and read books The Sorcerer's Stone through The Half Blood Prince in quick succession.  I had to wait only for the last book to come out a few months later.

Over time, we've introduced the books to the older three kids.  We had a detailed plan of releasing them one book at a time, but as they grew, specifically Kate, she seemed ready for them more quickly than once a year.  Add to that Gabby was getting teased by Kate, who knew more of the story, and we ended up getting audio books, again from a library, and listened to them all.

They teach lessons about friendship, loyalty, that being a smart girl isn't a bad thing, and the value of self sacrifice.

When The Cursed Child came out, I insisted the kids let me read through it first, knowing that our original wizard friends would be all grown up, but I didn't find the content to move beyond the issues that one might have with the original books.  There is mention of an adulterous relationship (no details given) that I had to explain.

I found that the rich details of scenery and of character development are missing, since this is a play.  And I missed that.  Of course if you're seeing it in a theater, all those things will be on display for you.  The book also read extremely fast because of that.  I was able to read it aloud to the kids in four days, none of them long sittings.

I found the characters were true to themselves and the story, though much more brief than one of the original books, was good.

There were some great lines.  One of our favorites would be a horrible spoiler, so I'll not share it, but the next favorite at our house has been, "Rubbish.  Beautifully put but beautiful rubbish."

So all in all, a good story, even if it was a little threadbare.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

One of Those Days

Life has been crazy busy.  Though that seems like it is just life at this point too!  It has had a bit of extra crazy.  We're getting settled into our school year.  I've been running full speed ahead into our American Heritage Girls year, which means budgets, training meetings, planning meetings, parent meetings, board meetings, and getting paperwork together.

Cue yesterday...I'm working on a flier for the fall camp out, printing all sorts of forms,  creating worksheets for school, answering emails to a lady I met at training about how our troop handles various administrative things (as their troop is new), teaching, and I go to throw in some laundry.  Run it.  Go to move it, and find wet clothes in the drier...from Saturday.  I guess I did just ask her to move them, not run it.  Ugh.  Pull those out, go to move the jeans, but those only ran as a small load (as the gal who moved the whites was running a single dress on gentle on Saturday), so now I have two loads to rewash...

There is the gnashing of teeth over math x 3.

I picked up a pork tenderloin on sale this week at the store.  20 minutes the online recipes said (2 different places).  I thought it seemed awfully short, but the internet says so, so it must be true!  Dinner was 30 minutes late.

I run to the bathroom, and find the toilet stuffed with toilet paper...  Roll empty.  I guess we were due.  We've been the parents of four toddlers, and this was a first for us.  It didn't unclog with a plunger, so hopefully Justin will get it cleared later today.

We've had this kind of day before.  And I'm sure they will come again, but hopefully not today!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Friday Funny

Nate: (to Ellie) You have the most beautiful pimples.

Kate: That's not very nice!

Nate: (looking confused) Why not?

Me: Dimples.  He means dimples.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Funnies

According to Ellie:

Your heart is beeping!

aints = ants

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Drop Out

I went out the other night to attend a meeting.

I come home, after the littles (and the not so littles) are all in bed.  I hit the button on my garage door opener a few times.  It doesn't budge.  I get out and try the keypad.  No luck.  I called Justin, thinking he could open it for me from inside.  He answers, "Oh that must be part of what happened."


I pull out my bag and head to the front door, where he meets me.  He leads me to the kitchen where I see the things that belong under the sink strewn about on towels and paper towels.

Justin had walked out to the kitchen while I was gone to find puddles of water on the floor.  He opens the cabinet and finds standing the cabinet, the basket for the dish towels, the tool box, and the bucket of cleaning supplies.  He starts emptying it and the entire garbage disposal falls out of the sink.

He had to turn off several breakers and disconnect the dangling disposal from the power source and dry everything out.  All while I'm obliviously in my meeting, and while I chatted for another 15 minutes after it about future plans and home school tutorials.

Honestly, we've joked about replacing it since we moved in--it was loud and shook the whole kitchen when it ran, but now is not the time we would have picked.  In the past two months we've made three trips to Ohio for family business, replaced the tires on Justin's car, replaced the alternator on Justin's car.  We've replaced the handle on the shower in our bathroom and replaced the mechanism in the toilet in our bathroom, as it was leaking out the hole for the flush handle...really.

I am awfully thankful that aside from the tires Justin has handled all those hours of repair work.  And all of those things have been fairly minor repairs.  And are all repaired now.  We have a friend that calls his home Pandora's House...I think I understand right now!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Funny

Me: How do you think our book ends?

Kate: Did it win any awards?  If it won an award, someone dies.

*     *     *     *     *

I don't think she's ever going to forgive me for Bridge to Terabithia...

Thursday, June 23, 2016


With the help of a date calculator, I found that at this point in my life, I have known my husband half of the days I have breathed.  Every day after this is more--we will have spent most of my days together.  Admittedly it took a few more days to become 'us.'  But 6,885 days ago, I met the man to share my dreams, father my children, and love me.

Here's to another 6,885 days!

 Engaged (1998)

 Wedding (1999)

 My graduation from college (2001)

 friend's wedding (2002)

 Baby Katie (2005)

 Little Gabby (2008)

 Welcome home Nate (2009)

(Feb. 2010)

(July 2010)

4th of July (2011)

 Baby Ellie (2013)

Vacation (2015)