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.