Crazy Christmas week around here. Will update about the holiday and my parent's visit later. For now, I wanted to get a blog out there about 2 things I've discovered this past week.
I love to read. My nightly ritual, in fact. I'm particularly a fan of Christian fiction (like the "Love Comes Softly"series by Janette Oke or the "Mark of the Lion" series by Francine Rivers both of which I've read all of). I've now discovered a series of Historical Christian Fiction and, IMO, it rocked! I'm ready to jump into book 2 of "The House Of Winslow" series by Gilbert Morris. The first book "The Honorable Imposter" was excellent and centered around the sailing of the Mayflower. You should check it out. Easy read, loved the interjection of history (although admittedly I couldn't tell you how much of it was accurate), and a love story to boot (very clean, btw).
And, if you're looking for a cheap way to curb a sweet tooth, here's a great dessert!
1 package of chocolate chip cookies
1 tub of cool whip
Pour milk into the bottom of a bowl. Soak the cookies individually for just a second. In a small casserole dish (like a 1 qt, perhaps (?) -- certainly not anything cake pan size although it would be very simple to double this recipe to fit a standard 9x13 cake pan), layer the bottom with milk-soaked cookies. Then add a thin layer of the cool-whip. Continue layering until you near the top (I think my Mom had 4 layers but I'm not sure). Then add the remaining cool whip and crumble any remaining cookies on top for decoration. Let sit in refrigerator for a few hours before serving and that's it. My personal favorite part of this dessert was actually hitting a chocolate chip from one of the cookies so I think adding mini-chocolate chips to the top of the cool-whip layers would be great although you certainly wouldn't want too many. Or if you run out of cookies, that would certainly make a great topping for decoration. Either way, I plan on adding them next time. Someone said something about it sounding too sweet and I can definitely say that didn't happen.
Happy reading and eating!
And here we sit, exactly one year later. The Lord has certainly stretched me beyond what I thought I could handle with Timothy's breathing issues and hearing loss. But as I sit here this morning, watching him pull himself up to standing by the couch, feeding him oatmeal (he loves the cinnamon roll flavor!), wrestling him for over 5 minutes to get his hearing aid in his ear, listening to him babble and cry, with the realization that he's got a baby sister coming in less than 100 days, I'm amazed at what a difference a year can make, at what strength God gave us to endure what we have endured. And I wonder what surprises are in store for us this next year with a new addition to the family and the drs appointments Timothy continues to go through. If the Lord wills, we'll be blessed to watch John turn 4 (and hopefully be potty-trained?!?!) and Elizabeth turn 5, both in May. And Nathan will hit double digits in July, turning 10. And then the Christmas season will come again, if the Lord wills, and we'll watch Caleb turn 7 and Timothy turn 2, not to mention the multitude of things Lydia will probably go through in her first 9 or 10 months of life. If the Lord wills..... Never have I realized more than this year exactly what that means. And never have I been more grateful.
I wish you all a very blessed Christmas!
December 17, 2008
Ohio--No Change to 08 School Regulations
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,
We are pleased to be able to share good news with you. After the legislatively mandated 5 year review of the regulations governing non-chartered, non-tax supported schools, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has told HSLDA that it will not recommend any changes to the regulation and that therefore the State Board will not be making any changes.
That means that everything stays the same as far as homeschooling laws/regulations in the state of Ohio. It's scary what some families go through in some states and other countries for the "right" to homeschool their children. I pray my children have the same freedoms I do when they're having children of their own!
Then some funnies. Turned around and saw Elizabeth like this the other day in the play pen with a pacifier....
And I came out of the room on Tuesday to hear them laughing hysterically and singing a version of "Jingle Bells" except they were saying "Jingle Buddies". "Buddies" is what they call Timothy. Lo and behold, I find them putting Elizabeth's Christmas headband -- with tiny jingle bells on it -- on the little guy. Perhaps a glimpse of what Lydia might look like?!?! Once I took a picture of Timothy, John decided to get into the act with Elizabeth's green sparkly headband saying he was "Sparkly John-John".
And while I don't have a picture to share -- I thought it was sooo cute to watch Timothy "talk" on the phone with my dad the other day. Nothing more than "Ah" over and over but he was certainly trying to talk. And I think that's it. Busy week coming up! Timothy goes for a hearing aid appointment tomorrow, got to finish up Christmas shopping, and then got to get ready for Mamaw and Papaw's arrival on Christmas Day!! I can't believe Christmas is already here! YIKES! :0
Timothy (L) and Justin (R) in October at a baby shower
But then there's the rest of this post....Nathan....Fever started on Thursday morning (so church friends beware!) but by this afternoon, it was over 103 and he was talking funny so I knew things were getting crowded back in the throat. Indeed, his tonsils were huge! Getting a strep test done was a treat. Nathan may only weigh 58 pounds but it took 1 nurse to hold his hands while I held his head while the other nurse took the test. Then the dr comes into tell us that it is indeed strep throat and tells me I have 2 options for treatment (I'm sure you can all see where this is going....). Much to Nathan's dismay, I chose the faster injection, I mean, option. Took him FOREVER to "get into position", having to have his mp3 player and headphones and having to be promised a milk shake and a trip to the store with $5 (okay, so maybe that was overkill but I was still reeling from holding him down for the strep test). Anyway, now I'm sitting here wondering a few things -- 1, tomorrow night is our Sunday School class' Christmas party and Nathan will be 1 hour shy of his 24-hour no-longer-contagious cutoff (do we take him?!?); 2, are any of my other kids coming down with it and I don't know about it yet (and again, do we take them?!?!)?; and 3, Nathan went to church on Wednesday night as we all did so I'm wondering who we exposed....Here's praying all is well tomorrow! *sigh*
Nathan weighs 58 pounds (25th percentile) and is approximately 53 inches tall (50th percentile) so he's average in height and a little on the small side
Caleb weighs 42 pounds (50th percentile) and is approximately 45 inches tall (50th percentile) so he's average in height and weight
Elizabeth weighs 39 pounds (WOO HOO!) (approx. 40th percentile) and was 43 inches tall (90th percentile) so she's nearly average in weight (finally) and very tall for her age
John weighed only 35 pounds (gasp!) (50h percentile) and 41 inches tall (75th percentile) so he's average in weight and a little on the tall side
And last but not least, Timothy weighed 23 pounds, 14 ounces (approx. 60th percentile) and 28 inches tall (approx. 25th percentile) so he's a little over average for weight and a little under average for height
In case "percentiles" have never been explained to you, let me take a stab at it. We'll use Timothy's numbers. Timothy is in the 25th percentile for height. That means if you measure him up against all other one year old little boys, approximately 24% of them will be shorter than he is and approximately 75% of them will be taller than he is. And for weight, approximately 60% of all one year old little boys will be smaller than he is and 40% will weigh more than he does. The basic idea is this -- you want to be as close to the 50th percentile in both numbers as possible. Okay, bed time now -- must run!
(Caleb helping his dad put together the new bunk beds last weekend)
Also, Leah had commented on our bunk beds in the last post. Well, Leah, the first set came from KMart and we really like them. They're wood and I believe the cost somewhere around $200 (gift from Jonathan's parents). This second set we just put up is a metal set, which we really didn't want to have, but they were free from our next-door neighbor who's girls were getting ready to be in their own rooms. So we have a lovely metal set of bunk beds which cost us nothing! KMart periodically puts their bunk beds on sale so watch the circulars.
Post coming later to celebrate someone's birthday!!
Last Thanksgiving we decided we wanted to start a tradition of our own, one that we could continue whether we were celebrating with Jonathan's family here at home or with my family in South Carolina and/or Tennessee. So we decided that every year there was a kid friendly movie playing, we'd take the kids to the movies on Thanksgiving. Last year, I don't remember what movie it was (I think it was "Bee Movie") but we could only find whatever-movie-it-was at the dollar theater. Turns out the dollar theater had been robbed the night before and has never reopened. So, no movie last year. But, we were succeesful this year! We thoroughly enjoyed "Bolt" and highly recommend it. Good clean, kid-friendly, interesting but not scary, family movie! John's fever was breaking by that point so we had a successful trip. Nathan was the only one that needed a bathroom break and Timothy only got cranky once. After the movie, we headed to Jonathan's family's dinner, ate some very good grub, and then us ladies played Hand and Foot (a card game, not a disease).
Friday Jonathan was off again so we decided to conquer 2 big projects. #1 was setting up a new set of bunk beds in the kids' room. We already have 1 set of bunk beds in that room with Nathan on top. Caleb, originally on the bottom of the 1st set, now resides on the top bunk of the new set. While we're waiting on 2 new twin mattresses, John and Elizabeth's toddler mattresses are in a T shape on the bottom of the new set and that seems to be working out. Very, very crowded in there now but, hey -- what's a growing family to do?!? We also got down the Christmas tree and other decorations. Tree went up Friday night; other decorations went up last night.
Saturday we had decided to take the kids to the zoo to see Wildlights. Elizabeth already had plans to spend the night with her cousin Kaylee and her grandparents. So when they called and said they'd like Elizabeth at 5, we decided the zoo was out since it would just be getting dark around then. Off to COSI, we decided, but stopped to get lunch first. That's when we saw that Caleb was acting awfully weird. Yep, his turn with the virus that Nathan and John had already had. So, back home we went after lunch. I went to the store to gather cookie making supplies for next week's cookie exchange and did a little Christmas shopping. Dropped Elizabeth off, ran to Target for another few minutes of quiet Christmas shopping, then home to watch Wall E with the boys.
Yesterday was church but, of course, Caleb was sick and Tiimothy was still sick. John still was questionable so I stayed home with those 3 yesterday morning. Went last night but only because I had nursery and the kids (Nathan, John, and Elizabeth) needed to get to choir, if at all possible with the Christmas programs coming up. With Timothy still no better today, I decided we needed another visit to the dr and turns out I was right -- another sinus infection and this one is worse than the one he had a few weeks ago. So we're going to start with a 10 day set of antibiotics, a different one this time, and if that doesn't work, we'll go for the full 20 days. John's still got a runny nose but Caleb's fever broke yesterday. That leaves Elizabeth, me, and Jonathan....
Please pray for us in a few specific areas:
#1 -- that little Timothy will be able to get well so that we might not have him in and out of the drs office all winter
#2 -- that my drs appointment on Friday will show that I'm holding stable
#3 -- that we would be able to find someone to come in and help me a few days a week with the youngest 3 so that I can work with Nathan and Caleb on getting school done (any volunteers?). School is really suffering around here and we are prayerfully considering what step, if any, to take next.
Now for what you really do want to know, Timothy is doing much better. I won't go into all the details but we did make the decision to put him on the steroids and after only one dose, things are already greatly improved. Still not out of the woods yet and now, with him being on steroids, we have to be careful not to expose him to anything extremely yucky as steroids weaken the immune system.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
1 -- "We're still in an observational period" with Timothy's ortho dr, his words exactly. The curve in his spine isn't any worse but still there and his 12th vertebrae isn't developed as it's supposed to be but isn't any worse, either. So, we go back in May for another set of x-rays unless he starts having trouble with being hunched over after he learns to walk.
2 -- Okay-but-not-great is how I would explain my OB visit today. Weight still under control, sugars looked good, and blood pressure was okay. They're watching me closely for some headaches I've been having and they want me to start keeping tabs, so to speak, on when I have them and the heart racing I've mentioned earlier -- what am I doing when either of them happens? Where am I? Am I physically exerting myself? Those kinds of questions....right now, it appears the heart racing is part of pregnancy and the headaches are stress/tension. As for my "zipper" (cervix), things are a little interesting, although no need to panic (yet). Cervix length for this stage of pregnancy, to be considered "normal", should be somewhere between 3 and 4 cm (or 30 and 40 mm). 3 weeks ago, I was 3.8cm and today, I fell to 3cm. While still considered normal, #1 three cm is the bottom border of normal, #2, I shouldn't drop below 3 cm anytime before 30 weeks or so (a full 8 weeks away) and #3, that's a "significant change". What happens if I've "fallen" again on 12/5 when I go back? Well, that will depend on the numbers and all the other things, like is my zipper starting to unzip. Still no guarantees -- they really can't predict with 100% accuracy when a woman is going to go into labor. I may stay at 3 cm for the duration of the pregnancy, although that's highly unlikely, especially if we make it past 30 weeks or so. These numbers are just a caliber of where things stand overall and monitoring them closely will hopefully help us to predict when we're headed for trouble so we can do something proactively. As for holiday travel, since I'm "on the border" and have had a "significant change", if we had to call Christmas today, then it would definitely be a no. Maybe, just maybe we can reevaluate things at the next appointment but that's unlikely. We're going to owe my side of the family 2 or 3 Christmases in a row once we're done having babies! :(
Well, let's see....oh, that's what I was going to mention -- did you see the new pic at the top of the blog? (If you use Google Reader or any other RSS feeder, you'll have to actually log onto our blog to see it). Not bad, considering all the effort it takes to get 7 people looking in the same direction, especially when 4 or those 7 are 5 and under! And I usually can't stand pics including myself but this one ain't half bad.....I guess that's it! Stay tuned for the big reveal this weekend!
And only 1 guess on what the baby is? You guys are no fun! :( 9 more days to go!
Ha -- I'm having too much fun with this!
Okay, so seriously, they did do an unexpected ultrasound today. However, that was just to verify the hearbeat, not to do a full blown ultrasound. So they didn't look very hard or long but they did make a GUESS. BUT, not wanting to cause any confusion, I think I'll just keep this guess to myself. Everyone only has 14 more days to wait. I think you can handle it!
Otherwise, things looked surprisingly "normal". Blood pressure was normal, weight down 2 pounds (yipee!), cervix length was normal and everything is thick and closed, as it should be. Fasting blood sugars have been high so they've put me an a pill called Glyburide which wasn't a surprise. I can't get it filled until tomorrow because of insurance and I want to take it when I'm sure Jonathan will be here in the mornings. I have to take it at bedtime and I have fears of it causing my sugar to drop too low so I want to make sure I have someone here to get me help should I need it. Pray that the medicine will do its job but not work too hard and cause me to get sick. I don't want that for me, certainly, but I don't want to scare the kids in any way. Go back in 3 weeks, unless something happens. And of course the big ultrasound in 2 weeks. Anyone want to make a guess as to what you think they told me the baby is?!?! Could be fun.... :)
But I didn't say it was MY baby, now did I? (excuse me while I laugh outloud....there, I'm better). Okay, so seriously, it is a girl but seriously, it is not my baby (meaning we just don't know yet). My brother and his wife found out yesterday that they're expecting their 3rd little girl! Kinda hoping for a little boy since they plan on this being the last one but they are thankful for a healthy mom, healthy baby. As for me, I'm seriously planning on hearing the opposite at my ultrasound....just assume it's a boy and be surprised, that's my philosophy.
Onto more good news -- my liver enzymes are down, completely in normal range! BP not a problem (at least for now). Everything thus far seems okay. Having a hard time adjusting to the diabetic diet but it's mostly because of the food we currently have in the house and the fact that we're midway between pay days (and yes I realize I should have already been following the diet so please refrain from yelling at me over that one). Can't really go buying a whole new set of groceries so I'm trying to do what I can. Monitoring my BP here and it's been normal. I am beginning to suffer from those side pains I've had in the past. With John, I was plain ol' miserable! Thanks be to God for answering prayers, I didn't deal with them too much with Timothy but if the drs are right and it's muscle fatigue, then it stands to reason I'll have them more with this baby because my body has had zero time to recover between pregnancies. I was expecting them but I am highly disappointed that they're already starting and I'm only 17 weeks. :( Also with being with a new dr/new hospital, I'm afraid if I complain too much they'll start running a bunch of tests that reveal nothing and I'm already spending enough time at that place!
In other news, first day of "preschool" with Mrs. Candace seemed to be a hit with Elizabeth and John! Thanks, Candace, for taking this on! The kids had a great time and are looking forward to seeing you again in the morning!
My appointment today went smoothly but took a dreadful amount of time! :( Poor me? Think "Poor Candace" at home with 7 kids! Anyway, not-so-great news right up front -- blood pressure way high. Drew some blood to check my liver enzymes to compare with the levels they drew back in August. If they're going up, we might be in some serious trouble.... Good news, though -- cervix measured over 4cm (40mm)!! Dr. Iames said "Normal with a capital N!" And as his resident said "Stay boring!". Glucola test was dreadful but yielded a result of 193. Thankfully, Dr. Iames was merciful and said that was close enough to 200 to declare diabetes without the 3 hour test! Can't tell you how exciting that is! So then I ran around meeting with the dietician and the diabetic clinic's nurse. Normally, I would have come back on a different date to do that. I thought it would be better if I could get it all done in one hit and they were very accomodating. The diabetic clinic's nurse, Cathy, is scratching her head and was really wanting that 3 hour test. (WHY? It's not like it's going to yield a different result!!) This is her point -- Normally, a placenta doesn't start excreting (sp?) enough hormones to cause gestational diabetes in a woman until around 24 weeks which is why the glucola test is normally given around 24-28 weeks. So that's why she asked me to have my A1C drawn a few weeks ago. Her question -- if my A1C was 5.5 (a perfectly normal result which should indicate that I don't have type 2 diabetes) then why am I testing positive for gestational diabetes early (now being only 16 weeks)? To her, something doesn't add up. I'm with her and wouldn't quite frankly be surprised to learn that I have type 2 diabetes. However, her answer certainly doesn't lie in that 3 hour test! We already know how my body reacts to the 50mg of glucose (sugar) in the drink I drank today. There's no possible way it would act differently with the 100mg of glucose they give you to drink with the 3 hour test. The question really is -- do I have type 2 diabetes? How do we find that out, if the answer doesn't lie in my A1C? I have no idea! I'm sure they'll come up with some other test(s) to do on me when I go back. That's one bad thing about going to a university hospital....they're blood suckers!
Bottom line -- no signs of preterm labor. Exactly what we wanted to hear. Repeate cervical length scans every 2 weeks; level 2 ultrasound (gender time!) on 11/14.
*apples, peeled and cored (I used an apple wedger to make wedges but I'm sure you could even chop them), approx. 6-8 medium (I used golden delicious)
*1/4 c butter
*1/2 c brown sugar
*1/4 t cinnamon
*1/8 t nutmeg
Melt butter in skillet. Add apples then add sugar and spices. Saute' 15-20 minutes 'til done!
And it was just as simple as it sounds. Now the only thing missing is some ice cream!!
First, Timothy's hearing aid evaluation has been moved to this Wednesday. Long story but I'm happy with the earlier appointment.
Second, I've talked with the preterm labor clinic today about my suggested course of treatment. Starting this Friday, they will do what's called cervical length scans. Not a pleasant experience but necessary to make sure we do everything we can to keep this baby in where he/she's supposed to be for as long as possible! Imagine a zipper -- we want the zipper to be nice and long (4 cm would be a great result; 3 cm is acceptable but not necessarily a good sign; 3.5 cm is average) and for the zipper to completely zipped up, not starting to unzip at the top (very bad!). Depending on my results on Friday, this will be repeated either in 1 to 3 weeks (and always on a Friday). Pray for a good result this week most importantly for the sake of the pregnancy but also so I can keep my sanity by not having to run to the drs office all the time! This week, they'll also be doing a Glucose Tolerance Test. This is the test that will tell them whether or not I have gestational diabetes. Expecting a bad result there. And this may sound like a weird request but pray that it's either really good (like less than 150) to where they'll either declare me not diabetic (unlikely) or they'll tell me I can repeat the test in a few weeks OR pray that it's really bad (like 200) to where I'll have the diagnosis. That's for 2 reasons -- 1, I avoid the awful, awful 3 HOUR test and 2, the earlier I know I have it, the more I can do to keep things under control. They will not be doing an anatomy scan this week so don't expect any boy/girl news this time. They will be doing that in 2 or 3 weeks, depending on when I have to come back for another length scan. And last but not least, I will be beginning progesterone injection therapy. More than likely, that will start 11/1 or so and a nurse will have to come to my house once a week to administer the shot. Thankfully, though, my insurance will pay for the shots and for the home nurse.
That's it for now!
As for being on the move, that's not just referring to everyone seeming to be a little better today! Timothy has officially started moving, not a up-on-all-fours kinda crawl but what we like to call the "army crawl". I'm almost certain all of my kids crawled like this first. In fact, I'm almost certain 1 or 2 of them never crawled the conventional way but I can't remember which ones that might have been. Put him down by the couch yesterday while I was making dinner and about 20 minutes later, he was in the kitchen. Put him down in the living room after dinner and turned around and he was down the hall. We've tried to get him to do it on carpet and he can move but he definitely doesn't have the speed he has here on our laminate flooring. I'm awful at posting videos (and taking them in the first place) so you'll just have to imagine him moving in your head! :) Sorry! And for anyone keeping track, he's officially 10 months old, as of Monday. His buddy Justin is 10 months old today. I know....WOW! (That means we're almost half way through the pregnancy! Yikes!)
Dr. Tedd Tripp author of "Shepherding A Child's Heart"
The video series The Case for Kids covering this material cost $99.95 but Tedd and TheResurgence.com are giving it away! This is only session one and two of the complete seminar, but I believe more is to come.