Saturday, December 29, 2012

Flu and Holiday Weekend

Awwww.... nothing like the holidays, pretty lights, presents, AND the flu. Phooey.  This has been medicine central as I have alllll of my medicines along with giving all the kids medicine for their fevers. It never gets all the kids at the same time. Its more like a domino effect.  Thankfully its been super relaxing the last few days and we've just had time to kill and heal.  Juliet so far has escaped any sickness and I pray it stays that way!  ;)

I lost four chickens and one bunny so far this winter. The kids are pretty sad about it. We are animal lovers and take it hard when even a silly chicken dies.  Even though we had a heating lamp it was still too cold for them. Thankfully Chickenbutt (name of our oldest egg laying hen) is big enough to create her own warmth.  We went ahead and moved our remaining bunnies and chickens inside. It also means we have to light more candles.  These are not good smelling animals.  Have you ever heard of a fragrance called Le Stablês?  Just kidding. 

Anyway, we are looking forward to the New Year. A little hesitant because of the president that is remaining but God is still on the throne!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Soft Hearts for Christ

Wow, we had a fantastic Christmas and I so hope you had one too! We always see Charles' family on Christmas Eve and my family on Christmas day. It works out awesome. Ryan was the star in the play at church and.... omgosh.... he was AMAZING. I always knew he was a good actor at home but he blew us away on the stage. They are putting together a DVD for me so I will show you when I get the chance.

We have this week off from homeschooling and I am so happy for the break. So, so happy. Its no piece of cake having to homeschool.  Along with homeschooling we have our daily Bible studies and sometimes I wonder if anything is getting through to them. However, at church I've been noticing how much they go to pray at the alter in response to the message.  Then my heart is glad. I know kids can be self conscious and tend to worry who is watching them. Picture shows Ashley (in pink) praying with other girls. The other picture is of Caleb. Then one of Chaz and Kyle (two little guys in blue) at the alter. So sweet!

Juliet is keeping me up most of the night.  The reason she has such bad sleeping habits is because her crib is in my room. I don't let her fuss because Charles has to get up early for work. Soooo now she is a super light sleeper. LOL.  I love that little stinker even though I'm more tired because of her. She is so worth it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Growing Babies and Nerve Blocks

Juliet is all over the place. She started crawling just before 7 months and now that she is 7 months she's standing. That is wild! I have to lower her crib mattress today because she pulls herself up in her crib (like in pic).  I usually wake up each morning to her squeals and giggles while she's looking at me. She's such a sunshine. Anyhow, she's getting a saucer for Christmas.  Thank goodness!

Thank you so much for all your notes of well wishes!  My head hurts nonstop now and I just try to get used to it. It gets worse at night. I guess maybe I do need to get that nerve block done in my head but I'm just chicken about it. I met a lady today that has kind of the same issue and had it done too. She had it done several times and said it hurts. However,  it'll help. Blah ..... I don't really want to think about it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Meeting with a Neurologist

I'm so grateful I finally got to meet with a head specialist today. No more doctors just blowing me off telling me its all in my head (no pun intended).  The Neurologist knew exactly what was causing my pain.  He said its Occipital Neuralgia.  Treatment is medication for the nerves in my head, laying on a heating pad at night, and rest.  If that doesn't work I'll get a nerve block. Basically a shot given in my head several times. Ohhhhh, I hate even thinking about that. I'm supposed to rest yet I lay here at 2am with no way to lay my head that doesn't cause pain. I can't lay on my face so I'm just dealing with it. Ohhhh man.... just want the pain to be gone. I still have questions about my joint pain and thyroid issues but I need to just take one issue at a time. I want to be my old self again and active. These darn medicines make me tired all the time.

Anyway,  the good news is we are so excited for CHRISTmas!  Are you?  Don't forget to reach out to someone who is alone for the holidays. We picked someone this year who is about to get some goodies and a present. They have no family anywhere and I'll bet it'll bring cheer! 

Pictures: we borrow pets from our neighbors to cuddle and then send back at the end of the day. Tee hee.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Everyday Challenges and A Time for Giving

Each day certainly has their joys and their challenges.  We start our day off with Bible study.  As much as I wanted to discuss the subject of giving, we had to switch it to contention.  Even during the study, lately I've had to break up arguments in the middle of it. We've been studying Ephesians 4:29-32. Well, it feels like I'm getting nowhere with them although I really hope I am. I am trying to keep the Scriptures alive in my kids hearts throughout the day. "Lord, please tell me I am getting somewhere with these stinkers." 

Juliet is crawling!   She just turned seven months which has always been the month they crawl. Here is the hard part... Juliet no longer is happy to be in her safe playpen. She wants the freedom of the house. Well, with all these kids running around its not so safe. Although there is always someone watching out for her, there are still little things she can put in her mouth. This week I am buying her a walker.  All my kids loved them and they eventually learned how to easily glide around safely.  :)

Recently I had an MRI done of my brain and it came out totally clean.  Hmmmm.... well, the doctor I was discussing it with kept referring to the pain in my head as a regular headache. I kept correcting him that I'm not getting those kinds of headaches.  It kept really talking down to me and treating me like I was an idiot.  Oh my goodness. Just talking to him made my head start hurting and I wanted to just get out of there. He's not an expert of Neurology so I tried to just let it roll off my back. I tried to explain to him that it shouldn't be normal to have pain just brushing my hair or even just touching my head. It can't be normal that I can't lay on my side because it'll cause my temples to hurt. He just shrugged his shoulders at me. My goodness, it was frustrating.    Its frustrating just to talk about it. Onward ....

My brother-in-law was heading deep into Mexico to see his family. The poor here in America is rich in comparison to where his family lives.  I had been discussing with the kids last week about reaching out to the poor. Over and over in the Bible it talks about reaching out to them. Well, we just happened to have watched a Duggar episode on DVD about them going into El Salvador.  The kids were sad and shocked by the conditions there. That day my sister-in-law called me up last minute to tell me about her husband's trip and asked if I had any donations.  Did I? Sure!  We ran around the house with only an hour to find stuff to give away. Somehow we found enough children and adult clothes to fill up a huge black bag. I added a bag of cloth diapers and another couple of bags of toothpaste and other hygiene products.  Ohhhh, if only we had more time. I emptied half of my clothes closet and went through things as fast as I could. I know its a dangerous trip for Juan to make to his family.  He missed them greatly and doesn't get to make the far trip very often.  A couple of years ago his family was in a flood and it broke our hearts that the news didn't even bother to cover it. Anyway, I'm so happy he got to make a visit and bring a small U-Haul of basic necessities. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Laundry Love and Baby Steps

My mom has been washing a lot of my laundry since I haven't been feeling well. One of the pictures shows my dad carrying my boys pants to his house to be washed.  Amazing!  That is such a blessing. At church our pastor prayed for me and I've really noticed an improvement.  I still get tired quick but I'm not in as much pain and my thyroid seems to have improved. It doesn't feel swollen.

I've gotten behind greatly on the house because its harder to keep up with less energy. I have to remind myself over and over (and over and over) that its about raising my kids.  Its not about a perfect house (its never perfect anyway) . Oh, the battles in my mind are constant and tiring.  I guess if I'm gonna be dealing with this stuff I'm gonna have to simplify my house even more to keep up.

The kids have been so cute. Juliet is barely starting to crawl. She her dad every morning while he's getting ready for work. They have their own conversations going and she gets so excited.  Yesterday she leaned over to give me a kiss.  Oh man, I'm the luckiest lady on the planet!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Taking My Herd and Tired Body to the Mall

December 5th was our 14th wedding anniversary.  It was a Wednesday. Not only was it a church night but we didn't have sitters anyway.  Charles brought home these beautiful flowers along with a present.  His card and words were amazing. He makes me feel cherished.  ;)
By Saturday I just felt worn down. All this up and down stuff with doctors, trying to keep up with the house and homeschool,  it was just harder than usual.  Usually I am just packed full if energy and rarely ever sit down. I have to stay busy and love to. Now, I'm wiped out pretty quick and have to take rests. It's okay, just different.  My mom has just been amazing. She has been picking up our dirty laundry and taking the kids places to let me rest. I know it's not easy for her and she is disrupting her routine for me.

By Saturday I just desperately needed to get out. Charles took us to the mall. We played games, rode a theatre roller coaster, ate at the food court with my dad, and walked around just having fun looking at everything.  At one point I couldn't take it anymore, found a corner, and just sat down on the floor. I was completely exhausted and couldn't do it anymore. Everyone waited till I got back up and then we had some more fun. ;)   It was such a wonderfully great night and much, much needed.
7 month old Juliet wearing a mask. :D
My dad came and hung out with us
Caleb holding my hand

Watching the coins spin around

Inside the "roller coaster theatre"

Friday, December 07, 2012

Destressing With 7 Kids

I hate to admit weakness. I hate writing about it. I lay here in the darkness listening to Juliet trying to soothe herself to sleep. She is overly tired and fighting to stay awake. I calmly from across the room tell her its okay, hoping it will settle her. I hear three year Caleb in the kitchen having a late night snack of Tortillini soup. I lay in the dark to destress as the doctor ordered me to.

Its next to impossible with a larger family and no older kids. I love this season of my life and never wish my kids older. Sigh. Why do I have to constantly take breaks and lay down? I try to ignore my head, hot flashes, and the lightheadedness I feel. I like to pretend I'm my normal active self. I try to ignore the fact that a string of tests given by a Neurologist is ahead of me. I don't want to pee in a jug for 24 hours and then lug it into a crowded office.  I just want to wake up each morning like I always did, have Bible study with the kids, homeschool and then do chores. I love to cook, find new meals to make, and enjoy running around and playing games with the kids. I don't want to have consequences from just taking care of my kids I adore.

No matter how hard my days can be at times, I love every minute and never wish anything away. Having so many kids makes my work load so much harder but I would never trade it for anything.  Yes, I deal with attitudes,  rebellion, arguing, and laziness.  I tell them every single day we will fight against these things and never give up. Its in all of us and I tell them "there go I but for the grace of God."

If I cry, get upset, or stressed, I feel blood rushing to my head. Its the weirdest thing but I don't know why it does that. I wish I could know sooner but it seems to take so long to get seen by a specialist. 

My friend holding Caleb
I've been really sad about a friend moving away. The doctor told me to avoid anything stressful. Well, she is in a very stressful situation and it kills me that all I can do is talk to her on the phone. I feel like my limitations were causing me to abandon her. Even talking about this makes my head feel tight again and my throat constrict. I feel like a bad friend right now having to only talk to her and pray.  I know prayer is a lot but I hope you know what I mean.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Better Day Than Last

Yesterday was a great day!  I'm taking nerve pain medicine and so the pain has really gone down.  I woke up yesterday feeling fantastic.  I was excited to attack my house. Man, one day of not cleaning can make a house fall apart when you have a lot of kids. First we had Bible study with the kids. It was extra long because we were picking out a new character quality to study. I had one picked out that had to do with being content with what you have. That is until I looked up and saw all the kids arguing on the couch. Okaaaay, so I went ahead and picked Meekness vs. Anger. Yeah, that was more like it. We spent some time looking up scriptures and reading a story about dealing with anger. Then we read two chapters out of the book 90 minutes in Heaven. Wow, what an amazing book!  This guy had died for a whole 90 minutes.  Think about it. Its on record that he was dead for an hour and a half. The fact that he is fine and not a vegetable is a miracle in of itself.

The rest of the day we worked on our chores and then homeschooled. We are usually done by 3:30pm every day. Trust me, although we've been doing set chores for several years, it doesn't mean I don't have a battle. Especially when we are coming off the weekend where we are busy doing stuff. They get out of their routine quick and it can be a battle to stay consistent. Its completely worth it to fight for it every day. Laziness comes quickly and I have to battle it with my kids constantly.  Some people tell me they give up on their kids because its too much of a battle. Believe me, I know.  I've battled my kids for several years.  However, I can't let them get away with laziness because some day they will have to have jobs and/or their home to care for. It will do them an injustice to pave them an easy and lazy street. Laziness is in all of us, I was probably a true case a decade ago. I finally figured out that I was a grown woman and no one was gonna pick up after me. It was either sit down and wait for the house to clean itself or start pushing myself to be a better housekeeper. Back then I didn't have old enough kids to start helping with the chores. I'm glad I fought the battle long ago on myself so I could train my kids properly.  My poor mom, she tried so hard to get me to learn this but I was so stubborn.  Back then I guess I thought when I got married the house would come equipped with robots to clean.

Last night my neighbor asked if I could help her get her medicine.  We take the same kind. She also needed me to take her to Home Depot for some stuff she needs.  Yeah!  I love that store.  I prefer that place over going to the mall. While there I bought some plants for my backyard. The garden is my favorite area to go and always calms me down if I'm feeling any stress.
Well, today we are working with the kids to make a fire escape plan. Its about time we talk about what to do in case of a fire. I don't know why I took so long to do this, it just didn't occur to me before. So now is the time.  ;)
Pictures: Kyle and Juliet, Ivy put glasses on her baby sister

Monday, December 03, 2012

A Strange Sunday

What an interesting day it was!  Saturday night I went to bed at a good time. I had ran around that night helping my sick neighbor go shopping and also get her medicine.  I went to bed as soon as I got home and after I kissed the kids goodnight.  I never heard Juliet wake up but I did wake up in the middle of the night because of intense pain. I hesitantly went ahead and took my Neurotin medicine.  I didn't want to take it the night before because I wanted to wake up easy in the morning for church. Well, I had too because the pain got too bad in the middle of the night. Mercifully, I fell back asleep and slept hard.

I woke up Sunday morning to my sweet husband bringing me coffee in bed. That was wonderful but the next part was odd. I tried to sit up but the exhaustion just engulfed me. My hands shook as I reached for my coffee cup.  Darn medicine. My husband then said "No way are you going to church. We are staying home."  I begged and pleaded and even tried to stand up.  I quit after I ran into our bedroom door frame.  He laid me back down and I sighed with frustration.  We had already missed three services. I told Charles I needed to be there.  I then explained that we are leaky vessels and I can feel the difference when we haven't been for awhile. After I laid in bed forcing myself to stay awake an hour, I then asked if I can go. I felt more steady and tried to prove it to him. When he wasn't looking I fell over a couple of times but I jumped back up so he wouldn't change his mind.

It's easy to take your health for granted when everything is going good. When you feel like your body is betraying you, you start thinking about things more seriously.  We made it to church and I made it in safely holding my husband's arm. The praise and worship today just really meant a lot and I so enjoyed singing praises to God. He is our saviour and our healer. I know that if God could heal me of life threatening illnesses before, He could heal my body now. Once we sat down to hear the service I grew sleepy again. I leaned my head on Charles to listen with my eyes closed. The room spinned less that way. The next thing I knew was I woke up to the end of the service.  I sat up with a start and said, "what the heck?"  I missed the whole sermon! (Turns out, when you first take the medicine Neurotin, it takes a bit for your body to get used to it.  My reaction to the medicine was just a one time thing.)

Charles led me up to pastor for prayer. He asked the details of the pain and then prayed several prayers with me. He prayed for my throat and my head. As he laid his hand on my head very lightly, pain just coursed through the veins in my head. It was so weird. I instantly went from barely being able to stand up to completely being steady. Wow!  So what did we do after that?  We asked if my parents wanted to go to lunch.

After we got home exhaustion hit me really fast and I passed out hard. I had to miss the night sermon but my head isn't hurting as much. I'm hoping and praying for a complete Healing.
The doctor said I don't have hyperthyroidism but I do have thyroiditis. He said there is a possibility I have temporal arteritis and autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself. I am being sent to a Neurologist and Endocrinologist for further testing.

Please pray with me for a complete healing.  I love taking care of my family EACH AND EVERY DAY.  They are my joy and it breaks my heart to have to miss even one day with them.

Pictures: Charles, my dad, and Ryan at restaurant.
Juliet discovered cotton candy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Doctors and More Doctors

Blogging today should be interesting since its from my phone. ;)  Yesterday I went into a place to get a head and thyroid scan. Three different doctors disagree about issues I've been having. For about a year now I've had pain on both sides of my head. If I touch it then my head will hurt all day. I couldn't even roll over on my pillow at night without having pain. One doctor said it had something to do with the arteries being inflamed.  Another said no way because that doesn't happen till people are in their 50's or older. Another issue is my thyroid.  One doctor says I have hyperthyroidism but another says its only subclinical. Meaning, doesn't need to be treated.  I am only having minor symptoms of it. The lady who scanned my neck said my thyroid is indeed swollen and an artery next to it inflamed. Is there any correlation between my head problem and neck problem?  I don't know.  I just hope I get answers soon. I have to make appointments with a Neurologist, Endocrinologist, and a Cardiologist. Yay for me. Pooey.  It has to be done and I'm just praying its all an easy fix.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So Much to Be Thankful For!

Wow, you never really realize how much you love your hobby till you don't have it for awhile.  The internet isn't at my fingertips anymore.  It's fine with me but I do love to write.  I've loved to write since I was a little girl.  Although I can't blog as easily anymore, I look forward to when I can.  :)

Thanksgiving was WONDERFUL and I was able to do it because of the medicines the doctors gave me.  Turns out, I have hyperthyroidism but they think it's only subclinical.  They don't know because the levels go up and down and I have to get more testing done.  For a year now my head would just hurt terribly and the doctors can't seem to agree why it is.  I have to see a Neurologist, Cardiologist, and a Endocrinologist.  Eek!  I'm getting an ultrasound done on my thyroid and also a CT scan of my brain.  Should be fun.  Anyway, I was feeling terrible till they gave me steroids to reduce the pain in my head.  I don't know, in case there was an inflammation. 

I woke up on Thursday morning, took my medicines, had my coffee, and got to work on making my favorite meal of the year.  Thanksgiving meal!!!!!  Oh, what a joy that day is to me. There is just SO much to be thankful for. The kids and I studied about pilgrims for several days and we put lots of study time into the character quality Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness.  The food was amazing and we invited some friends over.  My mom and I pretty much have it down pat as to splitting the menu down the middle.  She cooks some of the meal and I cook the other half.  Together we make some dreamy food.  :)

We had tables set up with white tablecloths and everyone had to write on it what they were thankful for.  Definitely a tradition we are gonna keep up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Friends Rather Than Circles

My dad and Juliet (6 months)
Getting ready for Thanksgiving is exciting!  Today the littles ones and I headed to the library to check out some books on Pilgrims.  I'm not sure how accurate the stories are but it's a start.  This week my husband asked if we would focus on the meaning behind Thanksgiving so they understand that it's more than the yummy food they see. 

My mom and Ashley
We are incredibly blessed to see family that lives in town all year around so we really try to focus on inviting people that maybe don't have family around.  Many people have family that lives out of state and can't see them for the holidays. Well, it's nice to gather some together and make it as family-like as possible.  :)  I hear, and I'm sure it's true, that around the holidays people can really struggle with depression.  I would be pretty sad if all my family was far as well.  I remember very well living in my own apartment when I was single and having no one to celebrate with. 

My husband and I making lunch for friends

Ryan, my 11 year old, got the main part in a Christmas play and we are practicing like mad to get the lines down.  Wow, he has a lot!  I'm nervous for him and I'm not even in the play.  Ryan wants me to practice with him constantly but I'm not able to.  I have an idea though to make a recording of everyone else's part but leave a blank for him to listen and then insert his lines when he's supposed to. That way he can practice and practice.  LOL.  Sometimes I can practice with him, at least once a day, but he wants to do way more.  I don't blame him, he has a lot to remember.
Charles with my dad and friends from church

I got kind of in a bad habit of always inviting the same people from church over.  It's okay to have close friends but not if it's closing out other people.  Charles and I committed to inviting people over after Sunday at least 2 out of the 4 Sundays a month.  One of the Sundays we have a ministry to new visitors at church.  We make meals and serve it once a month at church.  the kids are really into it and love helping make food.  It's such a blessing because it forces me to come out of my shell and meet new people.  It's opened doors to getting to know others and not be tempted to stick in my own click.  I've never liked clicks because I felt like circles tend to look like they are closing other people out. 
Adella (left) made some killer salsa!
My kids can fall in the same habit of inviting the same kids over.  I seriously need a bigger van because it's pretty often that we'll invite several extra kids to our house every Sunday.  Yesterday we had to bus home 10 kids total so we need to upgrade! LOL.  No matter how many new friends have over though we keep tabs on our kids' very best friends.  Yep, if they have a Facebook we even check those out.  :D
Ryan's best friend Georgie

The difference between making friends and making circles is friends open their arms up to more and don't get jealous when another friendship is made.  Circles only close other people out.  The kids are learning to reach out to others rather than always stay with what is familiar.  :D
New friend Abigail and Juliet

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ballet Recital 2012

Well, my girls are done with ballet for the season.  :D  They did well!  I was a little worried they would be nervous in a big theater with lots of people but they just smiled really big and did great!  They did more tap than ballet so I decided that they are done for now until we can find a place that is strictly ballet.

We had to drop the girls off backstage and then wait an hour before it even started. Since it was just Charles and I, we considered it to be a little date!  We checked out the lake....
The art museum...
Saw some interesting art...
One of my favorites below.  Death of a Popsicle.
After a bit we headed back into the theater to watch the girls...
(Below) Looking up at the balconies from my seat....
Ashley came out first and she was so brave!  A lot of the girls were following her because she remembered her moves well.  :)
Ashley far left
Then Ivy went next.  She was more nervous and a bit embarrassed but she was super proud of herself when it was all finished....
Ivy far right

After they finished they walked hand in hand....

We checked out the new beautiful bridge nearby...
Got a picture with daddy....
Then mommy.....
Then with brothers....
It was a good night!