2009 review: Sep/Oct

Welcome to day 5 of our 6 day review of 2009!

September was an interesting month although it turned out to be far quieter than we were expecting. Everyone adjusted to our new school schedule surprisingly well! Praise God for that! Really, there isn't much to say of September and October. Life was busy full of school stuff, homework in the evenings, and not much else. We did start a new tradition this year with taking the kids to Chuck E Cheese instead of trick-or-treating. We were also happy to have my Mom here for that. And the kids didn't seem to miss trick-or-treating. Besides, $50 spent on pizza, drinks, and tokens was a lot less than what we would have spent on just the costumes for the kids.

Important days in September:
*We said good-bye to church friends who moved to North Carolina on the 19th :(
*Yet another baby arrived at the church on the 26th!

Important days in October:
*And another church baby was born on the 27th! (Only one more church baby to go -- thus far! -- and it looks like she'll make her debut early in 2010)

Picture to share from September -- I love the expression on Caleb's face! This was taken on one of our zoo trips.
Picture to share from October -- everyone @ Chuck E Cheese


2009 review: July/Aug

Okay, so it's really day 4 of our 2009 review....so consider today a buy-one-get-one-free day! :)

July....more birthdays! My niece's birthday and our "baby", Nathan, hit double digits this year! And speaking of birthdays, we really got rolling at church with the babies! One was actually born the last week in June (sorry I missed that one on the last post) but he was due in July so I tend to forget he's actually a June baby. July 4th was a good day -- my "BFF" (had to squeeze that in here somewhere) welcomed her 3rd child/1st daughter on Independence Day! I'm so glad they didn't decide to name her Firecracker or something bizarre like that. "Lily" suits her fine and, turns out, Lily is on the top 10 list of baby girl names for 2009! (I can sense Candace rolling her eyes now....) But we weren't done yet! Another church baby was born on Nathan's birthday, the 28th! And did I mention how odd it is that all of us at church had the opposite gender of what our last babies had been? There's one exception -- the other March baby was a first baby so he's obviously not an opposite. Weird, I know....

August -- even more birthdays! My father-in-law's and my nephew's! August was a difficult month for me/us as we decided we were going to try public school this year. Looking back now, half way through this school year, I can really see how that was the right decision for our family.

Important days in July:
*Niece Kaylie's birthday on the 13th; she turned 6
*Nathan's 10th birthday on the 28th

Important days in August:
*Father-in-law's birthday on the 4th; he turned 64
*Nephew Jeffery's birthday on the 20th; he turned 11 (Jeff and Kaylie are siblings)
*First day of school on the 25th

Picture to share from July -- I love this picture of Timothy taken at my niece's birthday party!
Picture to share from August -- new glasses just in time for school! Caleb has since gone through 3 pairs of glasses. Sheesh!

2009 review: May/June

Oops! Missed yesterday....sorry! Tuesdays are always crazy with Timothy's speech therapy. As long as little Miss cooperates, I'll try to get 2 posts up today.

Welcome to day 3 of our review of life in the Stevens Clan during 2009! Today, we're up to May and June! Since John's birth in 2005, May is always a busy month for the Clan! John's birthday is the 5th and Elizabeth's is the 18th, not to mention my mother-in-law's is the 21st! And then throw in Mother's Day and -- voila! -- one very busy month! But I always like the fact that May means summer really is coming and the kids are getting outside more and more and more! I'm sure May will have new meaning in 2010 as we anticipate the end of our first year of public school. June is a good month, too, although not quite as busy. This year was particularly fun. My brother, our only June birthday, turned 30 this year and we were in Tennessee to celebrate with him. It was so much fun to be with family and friends and to be a part of his special day. And don't forget VBS! [Note to self: Don't go on vacation the weekend before VBS starts! It WILL wear you out!]

Important days in May:
*John turned 4 on the 5th
*Elizabeth turned 5 on the 18th

Important days in June:
*Brother Kevin turned 30 on the 13th
*Jonathan and I celebrated our 11th anniversary on the 20th

Picture to share from May -- birthday party cupcakes! (I have to share 2 pictures to show both sets of cupcakes)
Picture to share from June -- our first family picture since Lydia's birth. These were taken as part of my WHOLE family getting together for pictures. We were all in green, my brother and his family were all in yellow, and my parents wore white. THAT was interesting, getting all 9 grandkids together for a picture, especially when the portratit studio was running late and we had a surprise birthday party to get to!


2009 review: Mar/Apr

Welcome to day 2 of our 6 days reviewing what 2009 held for the Stevens Clan! Day 1 -- January and February -- went up last night. We hope you enjoy our walk through this past year as much as I am enjoying putting it together. It's winter break here so I'm home with all 6 kiddos so I can't guarantee that each day's post will be up this early. At the moment, Christmas toys are still new and some of them are still being rediscovered as more and more bags are unpacked and a certain little sweet girl is currently happy in her exersaucer so I have more than 30 seconds to focus on something. So here goes....

March was a great month for the Clan! We welcomed Miss Lydia on the 2nd. She was our biggest baby, weighing in at 8 pounds+. I found out the hard way just how bad those amniocentesis are but it was worth it to know that little miss was ready to be born! We were a little afraid when she failed her hearing test in her left ear and were bummed when we found out I was to be released but that she would have to stay because of jaundice. But, it was good for her to get the light therapy she needed and it gave them a chance to repeat her hearing test which she passed with flying colors the 2nd time around! She's definitely a hearing child -- I can really tell a difference between her and Timothy at this age. She's, of course, 9 months old now (will be 10 months old on Saturday) and just celebrated her first Christmas but that's for a different post!

April was rough. Adjusting to life with a(nother) newborn, trying to jump back into homeschooling (didn't happen), and having surgery made for an interesting month! [Note to self -- if you ever have to have surgery again, even if it is laproscopic, GET HELP AHEAD OF TIME! You're going to need it!] One highlight of April ~ finally getting a van big enough for our new family of 8!

Important days in March:
*Baby Lydia born on the 2nd
*Finding out that a great friend of mine was finally pregnant after 10 years of trying plus getting to take Lydia home on the 6th was a great day!
*Another church baby born on the 7th

Important days in April:
*EASTER! And our church's first Easter Egg Hunt which we're excited to do again this coming year!

Picture from March -- she's (still) so beautiful!!!
Picture from April -- trying to get 6 kids to sit still for a picture is like pulling teeth! Poor Lydia will have to try and forget that her head was cut off in her first Easter picture with her siblings! Oops!


2009 review: Jan/Feb

Welcome to the 6 days of 2009 for the Stevens Clan. We hope you enjoy this walk through this past year as much as we know we will. Blessings to you in 2010!

January and February of '09 were interesting months as I was pregnant with Lydia and began struggling with preterm contractions early in the year. Thanks to "pregnancy fog", I can't remember much else and their aren't many pictures to show off!

Important days in January:
*The 16th marked the birth of what has been the year of babies for our church
*The 29th was Jonathan's 34th birthday

Important days in February:
*My mom turned 54 on the 16th
*Church baby #2 was born on the 17th as was my niece, Hannah
*I turned 32 on the 20th

Picture from January -- big snowfall!
Picture from February -- welcome baby Hannah! You should see her now! She's got the chubbiest cheeks and the most beautiful shade of red hair (my brother's 2nd red-headed baby which is interesting considering he's got brown hair and my sister-in-law is blonde! Me with the red hair has zero red-headed babies!)Coming tomorrow....March and April!


2 year and 9 month check-ups

Timothy and Lydia had check-ups this morning. Here's a rundown:

T: Weighed in at 27 pounds, 34 1/2" inches tall. He's back to the 50th percentile for weight which is great! Our dr thinks his persistent runny nose is likely due to allergies so we're going to give some allergy medicine a week's trial to see what happens. No sign of sinus infection so the only other explanation would be that he's catching cold after cold after cold. He's met all his milestones except in speech which is to be expected. He rec'd his last vaccine (until he's 5, that is), his seasonal flu shot, and his first H1N1 flu "mist" which will have to be repeated in 1 month's time. Otherwise, he goes back in June.

L: Weighed in at 17 pounds, 7 ounces and 26 1/2" long. She's still holding in the 25th percentile for both but that means she's steadily growing which is, of course, good news. Again, likely that her persistent runny nose is a result of allergies because she, too, is clear of sinus infection so we're putting her on a 1-week trial of allergy meds. He was pleased with where she's coming in head and neck control so we're very thankful he doesn't think we need to see the neurosurgeon and/or physical therapists. However, it does appear that she's got some form of lazy eye or a wandering eye so off to Children's opthamology department we shall go! She rec'd her 2nd seasonal flu shot (always have to get 2 when you get it the first time) and her first H1N1 shot (can't get the mist until you're 2) which she'll have to have repeated in 1 month's time as well. Otherwise, she goes back in March for her big birthday check-up. (1 YEAR? GASP!)

Stay tuned! We got the kids all dressed up in their Christmas digs last night at my in-law's and tried to get a decent picture of all 6. We'll post the final result as well as some hilarious "out-takes" soon!



Happy 2nd Birthday, Timothy!!!

Timothy arrived exactly 1 calendar month (a little over 4 weeks) early. He was my only daytime baby! I woke up that morning in pain but didn't think I was in labor. I thought it was a UTI or kidney infection. Imagine a 5th time mother not knowing she was in labor! Pain was too intense to stay home so I called for a sitter for the kids (thanks, Kisha!) and Jonathan called in to work -- what would have been his FOURTH day on the new job! By the time the sitter got here and we got in the car, I realized what was going on. We arrived at the hospital around 7:30 and I was dialted to 7. Definitely baby day! They gave me a special epidural -- they basically gave me medicine in my spine before they placed the epidural catheter that gave more medicine. That was FABULOUS! We chilled until around 10:30, they broke my water, and Timothy was born. I remember being happy to have delivered before lunch -- I could eat! In fact, I got to eat twice. They brought me lunch while still in the delivery room and then I got lunch again after we were moved up to the recovery unit. Funny what we remember, huh? It was to be a tumultuous (sp?) December but we're not going to focus on that. Today we're celebrating 2 years with Timothy, in spite of what we've endured, and are thankful to the One who not only gave us Timothy but has also sustained him and us (as He always does)!

Days after birth6 months1 year18 months (don't you just LOVE that face?)October this year....I love this shot of him!


7 and 9

7 years....
birth1 year3 years5 years
Earlier this year when he lost his first tooth
Caleb is doing great in kindergarten! He's starting to read very well and his writing is good. He's even attempting to sound out words when he writes.


9 months....
Lydia is 9 months old today! Wow! She's showing signs of "army crawling" although she's certainly not doing it full time. She's rolling still but with a purpose now, to get to things she wants. And on Saturday, her first tooth popped through. And she's into clapping her hands!
approx. 6 months
few weeks ago



I keep seeing all these blog posts -- "This is how so-and-so looked last year at Thanksgiving and this is how he/she looks today". Thought I'd see if I could join in the act.... It is always fun, after all, to see just how much your kids have changed in a year's time.

Nathan, unfortunately, doesn't really have a now picture to post. He's not in front of the camera as much as he used to be. :( And Lydia, of course, wasn't here last Thanksgiving (in the technical sense). But, I'll add one of her just by herself because this is my post and I can do what I want....The 3 Musketeers then....Caleb now (with this thing he created)....Elizabeth now (I have NO idea what she's doing!)....John now....Timothy then....Timothy now....
Obviously, those weren't all taken at Thanksgiving but, hey, they're recent pictures (otherwise, what would be the point?)! Our Thanksgiving was good. Little movie drama....we try to take the kids to a movie on most major holidays and we wanted to go to Disney's "The Princess And The Frog" but it doesn't come out for a few more days. Then we though about "Planet 51" but it got a review we weren't happy with from Focus On The Family's website called "Plugged In" (GREAT resource for Christian families! Find it here). So we ended up seeing "Astro Boy" which was pretty good. Then we let the kids oggle from outside the new Lego store in town with a promise to take them back soon when they can actually get in. Next it was off to Jonathan's family's get-together. Traditional turkey affair and it was very good! Hung out there until after dark when I brought the youngest 5 home and Jonathan took Nathan and went with his Dad, brother-in-law, and nephew to go fishing -- in the dark, spitting rain/snow, 40-ish degrees outside, and blowing wind. That didn't last very long! After that, I was in bed by 9! YAY! Today, we've mostly just hung out around the house although I did go to Game Stop and pick up something for a little boy who'll be 7 on Wednesday and then we went back to Jonathan's parent's house for left-overs, leaving Nathan and Caleb behind for a grandson sleepover. John, sadly, didn't get to stay 'cause he peed in his pants today (will it EVER end?). Bathed John, Elizabeth, and Timothy, put Timothy to bed and then played a pseudo-game of Sorry with John and Elizabeth. Next time, we're only going to give them 2 pawns 'cause we lost them about half way through the game. They've been in bed since a little after 9 and Jonathan just finished watching the latest "Indiana Jones" flick. So now it's off to bed! Nothing exciting planned for our weekend but we will be getting a new washer and dryer next week which I am very excited about. Hope to get the tree up tomorrow and take Nathan to get new glasses (LONG story).
How about you? How was your holiday?


What do you do?

What do you do when you wake up in a coughing frenzy (did I mentioned I caught the kids' crud?) only to realize it's 2 full hours until you can take more medicine? May I submit my list for your contemplation? GREAT! I was going to anyway....

1. Try to contain the coughing before you wake the dead.

2. Realize that severe coughing plus bladder muscles weakened by giving birth 6 times means you now have two problems (there, Candace -- how's THAT for TMI? hee hee!).

3. Change clothes.

4. Try a cough drop.

5. Try propping yourself up in bed 'cause you cough less when you're sitting upright as opposed to when you're lying down (why is that?).

6. Write this entire blog post in your head, intermingled with trying to will yourself back to sleep.

7. Pray for sleep.

8. Drift off but then wake up with another coughing fit, albeit a more minor one.

9. Get excited when you squint at the clock and think you see 2:48 which means you slept for 2 hours and can now take more medicine.

10. Put on your glasses to get up to go take more of said medicine only to realize with your glasses on that the clock really says 12:48 and you only drifted off for 20 minutes, not 2 hours.

11. Give up!

*sigh* At least Lydia slept through the night last night, as opposed to the night before when she was up between 11 and 2 screaming her head off. Once I struggled my way to 2:10, I figured "Close enough!" and took more medicine. Finally drifted off well around 4 and slept okay until 7:15. I think I pulled a muscle in my chest from so much coughing. Here's hoping for a better night!!


Answered prayers

God's answers prayers -- in fact, I'd be willing to go as far as saying God still performs miracles, especially miracles that beat modern science. Want proof? I offer 2 stories from the past week. In this first story, while they're some of our closest friends, I don't have permission to use their names on the blog so I'm only using their initials....

M & K were married at almost exactly the same time Jonathan and I were married on June 20, 1998. In fact, if one of our groomsmen hadn't been attending our wedding in Tennessee, he would have undoubtedly been at M & K's wedding here in Ohio because he knew M from work. M & K dreamed of a large family -- larger than mine, even (which I did not dream of, per se)! They got pregnant very early but sadly suffered a miscarriage. They were pregnant again within a very short period of time and in early May 1999, they welcomed a beautiful baby girl, F (my Nathan was born in July of that year). I met K while at a Pampered Chef party when F & Nathan were about 18 months old and we've been great friends since! K baby sat my kids while I worked from September 2002 until June 2005 and she's had my kids during various maternity/pregnancy hiccups and even during a few of my kids' births. During all this time, their desires to have a large family seem squashed as they were never able to get pregnant on their own after F was born. It broke my heart to tell them I was pregnant FIVE TIMES when I knew they wanted more babies so badly! K was eventually diagnosed with PCOS (google that when you've got time). Even with meds, they were still unable to conceive and were just about to give up. That is, until March. Lydia was born on a Monday -- March 2nd. I was discharged on Wednesday the 4th but Lydia stayed because of her jaundice, remember? Anyway, while I was having a melt down on that Friday the 6th because I had planned to take Lydia home and the doctors had just told me I likely wouldn't take her home after all, I got a phone call from K asking me if I was sitting down. Immediately my heart started pounding hoping that she was going to tell me what I thought she was going to tell me, which she did! She was pregnant! Why am I telling this story now? Because M, K, and F welcomed baby boy J into their arms just a few days ago in the wee hours of the morning. And what an answer to prayer he is! I can't wait to meet him but haven't even bothered to call to go over because of all the sickness going on here at my house.

But, wait! There's more!

Second story -- if you're a blogger and follow other folks' blogs, you may have already heard of baby Stellan. Stellan's mom, affectionately known in the blogging world as MckMama, was told that her son likely would never be born alive, due to a dangerous heart condition where his heart goes into SVT which stands for words I can hardly pronounce, much less spell. It basically meant that, while in utero, little Stellan's heart was beating over 200 beats per minute. Miracle #1: he arrived -- healthy -- in October 2008! And for the first four months of his life, he seemed to be SVT-free. But, alas, the SVT reared it's ugly head again and since then, little Stellan's heart has had many episodes of SVT, many times ending up in the hospital clinging to life. They've had a terrible time getting the right meds for him and have often changed meds around. It's mind-boggling to read this little guys journey! And, just a few weeks ago, he ended up having a terrible SVT episode, one where he celebrated his first birthday in the intensive care unit. This past week, he flew to Boston to see his specialist where they planned to admit him on Sunday, wean him off his meds, and perform a surgery called an ablation this morning (another one for you to google!). Stellan had an ablation earlier this year but it was unsuccesful. They were not wanting to try another one until Stellan reached 40 pounds but with this last episode of SVT, they felt they were out of time. Sunday morning, while waiting to be admitted, his heart went into another stubborn episode of SVT. His mother literally watched his heart stop beating at one point and blogs that she "[thought] to myself, "Am I watching Stellan die?"" As a mother, I can't imagine! So, his ablation was moved up and was performed yesterday instead of today. They didn't really know what to expect but were hoping to "kill" the bad part of Stellan's heart. It was risky, at best. He could have ended up with a pacemaker or worse.... But, yesterday, God heard the many, many prayers of His people and Stellan's surgery ended up being what MckMama calls "A Home Run"! They hit a lot of bumps in the road but just moments ago, they were taking little Stellan off the vent that was helping him breath since his surgery and he has been SVT-free all night long, meaning they can be very optimistic he'll never have another SVT episode!

We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Sure, I don't know this MckMama or her family personally but I don't have to know her to celebrate along with her. Because, just like her, I'm a Christian, a wife, and a mother. I do know what it's like to watch your child lay in a hospital bed even though I don't know what it would feel like to wonder if they were dying. Timothy's never come close to that. But, I can be thankful right along with her and our good friends cuddling their new son -- thankful that GOD HAS HEARD and answered!


It's not croup

So if you saw Candace's comment on my last post, then you know that it turns out Elizabeth and Timothy don't have croup after all. They have strep! I am totally blown away by this! The in-office test was negative. The only reason our pediatrician decided to do a strep test was because Elizabeth had a gigantic lymph node in her neck which is a sign of infection. But since the in-office one was negative, they sent us home with the diagnosis of croup. However, protocol says that they send off all tests that are negative to a lab to see if anything grows overnight. Sure enough, Elizabeth's test grew strep! He didn't test Timothy but since Timothy was having some breathing issues with whatever-it-is-he-has, he decided to put him on antibiotics with Elizabeth. This was the call yesterday morning around 9. I needed to go to the store to get their meds and a few groceries so I went to get dressed after calling the in-laws to tell them they had been exposed to strep (they had watched the kids for us on Thursday night). When I came out of my room, Jonathan meets me in the hall -- "Smell John's breath". I'm telling you, it made me want to hurl! He's had this one other time and it was a sinus infection so off to the dr I went with John! John does have a sinus infection and, even though he didn't do a strep test on John (he clearly needed antibiotics anyway), he said John had the gigantic lymph node, too, so we're assuming John has strep. That leaves Nathan and Caleb. Nathan has cold symptoms and appears to catch strep rather easily so I have a prescription laying in wait for him. Caleb is struggling with allergy stuff right now, at least that's what we're assuming. I'm carefully monitoring these 2 for any new symptoms or fever. But, for now, I'm off to church -- alone! :(


A day for the record books

Today has been a day for the record books. What kind of record, you ask? How about the how-fast-can-children-drive-their-mother-to-want-to-commit-herself record.... Oh yeah. One. Of. Those. Days. Elizabeth, who's been sick since Monday, had been up several times in the night coughing but was seeming to at least feel better. However, with that cough, I wasn't going to chance sending her to school. Fight #1 -- she WANTED to go to school. Ugh. Almost gave in but I called Jonathan and he said that with her complaining yesterday of an ear ache and with our kids' high pain thresholds where ear infections are concerned, he wanted her taken to the doctor. After I got home from dropping off Nathan and Caleb and called for an appointment, I realized Caleb had left his homework folder at home. Loaded the 4 back into the car and all the way there, I was contemplating -- "You know, the handbook says that we have to take stuff to the office if the school day has already started but with Caleb's classroom having a door that is right by the parking lot, should I park and drag everybody into the office or just park in front of their door and leave everyone in the van to run it in?". I opted for the follow-the-rules option and was in the process of dragging everyone out of the van. Carrying Lydia is the problem -- carry her in her carrier and my hips hurt, carry her in my arms and my hips hurt, not to mention I'm usually trying to hold Timothy's hand nor how difficult it is to get the stroller out. I knew I'd only be out of the van 5 minutes at most so I could tough it out, right? So, here I am, nearly halfway to the office when Caleb's teacher yells at me from their door telling me I should have just ran it up. AGH! I was okay with that.... Shouldn't be complainy, right? Back home we go. Things were relatively uneventful until after I picked up Caleb. Got some lunch which was kinda gross (Burger King had way overcooked nearly everything). Then, just moments before I was going to put Timothy down for his nap, I smelled it. Someone was in the hand sanitizer. Didn't really bolt out of my seat. After all, it couldn't possibly be Timothy. I had cleaned off the edge of the kitchen island last week after I realized he could reach the edge. But, oh no -- somehow, someone left the hand sanitizer somewhere within Timothy's reach. He's sitting on the floor, a few drops of sanitzer already on the floor, his hands obviously coated in it. When I call his name, in the middle of my firm "That's a NO NO", he wipes his sanitizer-coated-hand right across his lips. He ingested hand sanitizer. Back of the bottle states it clearly -- "If ingested, call poison control or seek medical treatment immediately". Called the dr...."Call poison control", they said. Poison control says to watch him for signs of drunkeness. Google that sometime -- "toddler ate hand sanitizer". Turns out, hand sanitizer, when ingested by children, can cause alcohol poisoning and it only takes about 3 squirts to kill a toddler. Fantastic! Fast forward to 3:15 when I'm trying to get everyone in the van for Elizabeth (and Timothy's) doctors appointments. I wasn't thrilled about having to take all six of them to begin with so my mood probably wasn't the best. But then comes Caleb -- holding a hand full of pills that I've never seen before.
"Caleb, where did you get those pills?"
"They were on John's bed," he says.
March (stomp?) out to the van -- "John, were you playing with these pills?"
"Where did you get them?"
"I got them from Crapaw's house last night."
Seriously, when he says "Grandpa", it sounds more like "crap-paw" -- funny!. Called father-in-law -- "Missing any blue and yellow pills?" Sure enough. They were Trilipix -- a high cholesterol drug of my mother-in-law. You've GOT to be kidding me?!?! First the hand sanitizer and now high cholesterol pills!....The doctor's office visit was pure torture -- in this tiny little room that had to have been 110 degrees, with 6 kids, 2 of whom were trying to make and fly paper airplanes. And, then surprise -- our pediatrician had a resident shadowing him and he was going to exam them both first. Resident didn't fully understand Timothy's history (I didn't have him there for the sanitizer -- I had him there because of his stridor/cough) so it was forever explaining things to him. He leaves, 30 hours later our doctor finally comes in but I can barely hear him over the now crying Lydia and the 2 boys still trying to fly paper airplanes. He looks at Elizabeth and thinks that, despite the resident's opinion, she might have strep. So then we had to wait for a strep test. I'm pretty sure my skin was crawling at that point. No strep for Elizabeth -- looks like she and Timothy both have a case of croup. Since Elizabeth is starting to feel better, she should be all better by the time the weekend's over. We're watching Timothy more closely both because of his health history and the fact that he hasn't been sick that long so he might actually get sicker before he gets better. Had some dinner and I'm headed to the grocery store soon. And I'm leaving the fighting, crying, coughing, whining, extremely LOUD children behind me with my husband. Someone say a prayer for him.
And that, my dear friends, if you've hung on long enough to read it all, is today's dose of what-it's-like-to-raise-6-kids! Not for the faint at heart, huh?


Kindergarten pictures are in!

ElizabethCalebDon't you think he looks just like this kid from the movie Jerry Maguire? Hee Hee!Their class picture....loved this picture 'cause it's got everyone's names printed on the bottom. I remember having to try and tell my Mom who was who in all my school pictures as a kid.


Pictures to share

We decided to take the kids to Chuck E Cheese this year in lieu of trick or treating. My Mom's visit just so happened to coordinate with trick or treat night....Here's the gang!Caleb's still scared of Chuck E....Today was the halloween party for Caleb & Elizabeth's class. John got to go with me. Here's the 3 of them talking to each other....My MIL bought Elizabeth some lip balm from Avon not realizing it was tinted. I think Elizabeth was going for the Ronald McDonald look....And I just love this picture of Timothy that Jonathan took. I have no idea what he's doing but I find it hilarious!


Catching up

Lots of drama in the Stevens household lately.... Between Nathan, Caleb, and Elizabeth, I've been to our optometrist as well as the vision center at Wal-Mart a total of about 10 times to either get glasses bent back into shape (Elizabeth's), get nose pieces adjusted (Caleb's...several times), get screws tightened and other various adjustments (Nathan's and Caleb's), and to eventually order 2 new pairs, 1 for Nathan, 1 for Caleb, because theirs REALLY broke. Nathan had his pair from last year as well as the year before which turned out to be a good thing. He's wearing last year's pair while waiting on his new ones to come in but on Monday, he lost that pair which not only made him late for school but left him wearing the pair from 2 years ago which left him with a headache. (Did you follow all that?) 2 hours of cleaning out from underneath the bunk beds in their room and we finally found them.... Caleb was given a back-up pair while waiting on his new ones to come in. Today, they were broken. *rolls eyes* So, back to the optometrist we go! And then there's the mysterious appearing crack right down the middle of the van's windshield and Jonathan's driver-side backseat window "falling" and having to be duct taped up....Really? Must it be SO interesting around here?

The kids all have had at least 1 illness this fall. A few weeks ago, John and Caleb ended up with wheezing/breathing trouble. Steroids for a few days an antibiotics for Caleb (ear infection), and things cleared up nicely. John went down with something yesterday but at the doctor's office today, there was no wheezing or any signs of infection or flu. Doctor said maybe croup, probably just a virus, and that he'll either get sicker (start of an ear/sinus infection or strep) or he'll start to turn around by Friday. He was being so loving to Lydia today, talking and cooing at her. I turned around just in time to see him caressing her little bitty face with his germ infested hands.... I think we all know where this is headed! Ugh!

Everyone is still doing beautifully in school! We've got parent-teacher conferences coming up in 2 weeks! Stay tuned!

Timothy's speech therapy is going wonderfully well....when we're there. (Hee hee!) Missed his 3rd week because he was sick and missed last week because his hearing aid went missing. RE
ALLY missing. Thankfully, insurance covers ONE AND ONLY ONE replacement aid which saved us $1500. On Tuesday, they gave him a loaner hearing aid while his is on order. Before we got home, it went missing in the van! 10 minutes of panic but it was eventually found and I called immediately and ordered a new critter clip which came today. Critter clips work for hearing aids the way pacifier clips work for pacifiers, in case you didn't know....

We recently took a trip to COSI on a day off from school. Jonathan took a vacation day and went with us and we were joined by Candace and her kids. Our Lydia and Candace's Lily are 4 months apart. While we had them laying on their blankets on the floor, at one point, Candace walked away to handle something. I had THREE people stop to say something about my twins.... WHAT?!?! (See pictures below.)

Other than that, we're hip deep in preparations for the arrival of my parents o
n Monday. Dad will only be staying for a day but Mom will be staying for a little more than a week. We're taking the kids to Chuck E Cheese this year instead of trick-or-treating with them ($50 at CEC is a lot cheaper than $20 EACH for a costume, don't you think?). I'm looking forward to a Halloween party with Caleb and Elizabeth on Friday the 30th at their school. I miss parts of homeschooling but I like being a school-room mom! Got to help dish out ice cream last night at their school's open house. That was fun except right when my shift was about to end. I was dishing up some ice cream and was feeling VERY warm and started coughing. I'm not sick (but I'd swear, except I don't, that I have allergies) but sometimes, when I get warm, I go into coughing fits that are hard to get out of. Thankfully my replacement was right behind me but she had to interpret my body movements 'cause I couldn't talk. It was embarassing to walk away while hacking away. Yes, I did "cover my cough" but still....

Finally, some pictures for you....
The exersaucer has come out of the attic for the last time....
It's been so sad to pack away baby things!Caleb created this....I personally like his CrAzY eyes!Timothy on our recent trip to COSI
(caught him illuminated!)
The boys doing their traditional hide-in-the-lockers thing at COSILydia and Lily -- look like twins to you?Caleb sitting in his seat in his classroom at schoolElizabeth in hersThem with their teacher