Thursday, December 30, 2004

I'm Baaaack!

I'm still really busy trying to get things back in order after our trip, but I wanted to let you know I was home again. Yes, we really were gone from last Friday up through yesterday. Ugh. I was ready to come home Sunday morning. When I have time I'll write the whole ugly story. For now I have to go do more laundry.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas Plans

Chris emailed me today finally with a plan for Christmas. He wants to take the boys shopping on Thursday and then go down to his parents' on Friday. He says we will stay overnight at least, and then for as long as he can stand it. I say that's a good plan. We are planning to leave most of the bulky gifts there rather than bring them home just so we can pack them, so it shouldn't take us too long to get out when the time comes.

I finally got the last 3 haircuts done so I can get pictures done next week. I decided to just send cards out late and do the pictures after the rush. They should be cheaper too. I still have to make all my cookies. Last year I didn't do any, and it was nice to take the break. This year I really planned to do them; but as yet they are not done. Oops. With Chris doing all the work on the house at night after work, I haven't had any time to get in the kitchen and do them, because I'm making dinner and watching Levi. Hopefully now Chris can give me a hand.

I don't know how much time Chris is actually taking off for the holidays. He usually takes the week between Christmas and New Year's off, but it looks like he's taking off Thursday and Friday this week, so I don't know if that means he'll work 2 days next week. I have to ask him.

Levi decided to celebrate the first day of winter with his second tooth. He was very cranky yesterday and this morning. I hope that's why. I always worry about ear infections, because how can you know? He hasn't had a cold yet, and I haven't had a real one, but I have been stuffy a few times. You just never know when a baby is going to get one, and they can't tell you when they have it. Ugh. I hope he'll be ok.

Ok, checked with Chris, and yes, he has Thursday and Friday off, plus all of next week. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be pretty warm, as opposed to the frigid temps we had yesterday and will have again on Christmas Day, so I might take the boys out tomorrow too. Today I officially got some Christmas chores done: I mailed a card to my Dad and to my Grandma in Florida, and I baked one batch of cookies. So pitiful, really, LOL. But at least I can say I started!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Friends and Parties

Last Friday Chris and I went to his company's holiday dinner party. His boss has it at his house. Brave man, I would never invited 22 adults here! Well, when we got there I could see why he was willing to do it. His wife has the house decorated so beautifully it was incredible. Every single room was packed with Christmas decorations, plus the outside was done up too. And it was all tasteful and done very well. Chris got a little nervous after we were there a while, thinking this was raising the bar for our own house shopping, LOL. The party was fun, his coworkers and boss are very nice. It was casual, so I didn't have to worry about not having anything fancy enough to wear, and I made an apple crisp, since everyone was asked to bring a dessert. We had our friend from church come over and watch the boys for us, and while Chris was going to try to take Levi with us, I just didn't think his coworkers were really in the mood to have a baby there, so I asked if it would be ok to leave him at home too. Our friend is very good with babies, and it was only going to be a few hours, so I was pretty sure it would be ok. She is magic with getting them to sleep so I figured if I fed him right before I left and was gone only 3 hours, he wouldn't starve and if he got grumpy she could just get him to sleep. As it turned out I was right. We were gone from 5:30 to 9:30, and he was just starting to get grumpy when we got back. He had slept a while and just woken up. So our timing was perfect.

On Sunday we had friends come over to visit that we haven't seen in almost 2 years. They used to live here, but moved out of state a few years ago. Their family lives up here, so when they come home on holidays they try to get out our way to say hi. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. It is always so good to see them. When they were here, and before any of us had kids, we did so much together, we were always doing something. Kids and lives have gotten in the way, and it is sad now that we don't see each other more. But getting together is always a lot of fun.

I made pizza and we watched Spiderman 2, which Chris had just gotten as a Christmas gift from his Sabbath School class at church. After we got the kids to bed, they put on Return of the King, which they had brought with them. We only watched selected scenes, because we didn't want to be up very late. They left this morning before 9 because they wanted to try to see some other friends up here before heading home. Chris waited until they left before going in to work, so he'll be working late tonight to make up for lost time. He also has to make up for the 2 hours he missed on Friday. Oh, did I not tell you about what happened on Friday? Well.....

Friday morning I woke up (still on the couch as Chris had just put the last coat of paint up in our room) and nursed Levi, then fell back asleep with him tucked in next to me. The boys trickled downstairs to watch morning cartoons, and about 8:30 I figured it was time to get up. I felt cold, so I asked Noah to check the temperature on the thermostat; he read 55. Yikes! Oh man, I thought, Chris let the oil run out again. Ugh! So I went downstairs to check the oil level. Nope, we weren't out yet. Hmmm. I flipped the switch on the furnace, nothing. I checked the fuse. I checked the breaker. Nothing. I called Chris and told him to come home and fix it. He had me check a few more times and gave up and came home. He ended up getting all the way inside the furnace, checking all the connections, making sure there was power through it. He couldn't find the problem either. He gave up and told me I'd have to call a guy to come and look at it. I had the phone in my hand ready to dial when he called out to me "don't call!" I heard the heat come on and went to find out what he did. It turns out the 2 year old had climbed up and opened the door on the thermostat, flipped the switch from heat to cool, closed the door again, and pushed away the exersaucer he had used to climb up. He had done all this and left no trace of his presence, so it never occurred to me that someone had messed with it. If you ask me, I am going to be in trouble with this kid, LOL. So phew, no money spent to fix the furnace, but bummer, Chris wasted 2 hours of work to come home and turn it back on.

No More Painting!

Chris finished up the last room last week. He painted our bedroom. We slept in the living room all week, since not only did it smell, but all the furniture was piled up in the middle of the room and we couldn't get to the bed, lol. Levi also slept downstairs, because of the smell, and he wasn't very happy about that. He didn't sleep well at all. I picked a pale green color, but I bought recycled paint since it was half the price, so the tint came out a little greyer than I had wanted. I don't really care, since we're moving anyway, lol. And hey, anything looks better than faded peeling icky wallpaper, right? Here are the pics:

Our Bedroom Before

Our Bedroom After

The carpet in there is still golden yellow, but it actually doesn't clash too badly with the color of paint. I think with a tan or off white carpet it would look greener.

Monday, December 13, 2004

My Baby Is Still Perfect!

Levi had his 4 month check up on Friday. He weighs 15 lbs 2 oz, and is 25 1/4 inches long. It sounds big, but actually he is slightly smaller than most of his brothers were at 4 months. He was sooo good for the doctor. He even laughed and giggled when the dr examined him, instead of cry, like most babies might with a stranger. He is perfectly on track for development, which is better than the other boys were. He likes to stand if you hold him by his hands; he is grabbing at everything and bringing things to his mouth to chew. The doctor was suitably impressed by his tooth :-) He watches everything and plays with his hands and feet, and seems to respond to his name. It may be the way we say it, though, it definitely sounds different than his brothers' names, so he is probably reacting just to the difference in sound.

He got 4 shots again :-( but he did really well, of course. 10 minutes after they were done, he had already forgotten. I asked the nurse not to put bandaids on them this time; she only has regular kids' bandaids, not the little round ones, and last time it took 2 weeks before I could even pry them off his skin, and they still left a mark, I just didn't want to go through that again. She was surprised and wanted to know what I would do about the bleeding; I told her I'd just hold the gauze to them and put pressure on until the bleeding stopped. That's what I did, though she thought I was crazy, lol, and it was only maybe 5 minutes and he was fine. And no bandaid gunk! Definitely worth it in my opinion.

I really really really like that doctor and the office. It is so nice there, and once again I had barely any wait. I am so used to having to sit in the waiting room for 40 minutes or more, and then another half hour in the exam room before I even see the P.A. It took only 45 minutes from walking in the door to walking out. I am so sad I will have to leave!

I left Troyer and Noah to play in the waiting area this time, while I took the other 4 boys back. The rooms are so small, and last time they argued and it got so loud so quickly in that small space. I figured 8 and 10 are old enough to wait together. They did fine, and it was much better with 2 less kids whining about how there were no good toys in there, lol. Of course the 2 yo thought the rolling stool was the best toy in the room, lol.

The only other incident of note is that Micah pooped while we were in the exam room. Do you think I had any large size diapers in the diaper bag I brought? Of course NOT! lol They were in the other bag that I left in the van. This office keeps a nice basket full of diapers on the cart with the baby scale, so the nurse offered one to me, but the largest size they had was a 4, and Micah is between a 5 and a 6, so we had to just wait until we got back to the van. Ugh, it was a smelly one. I feel bad for the other people in the office, lol. They must think I am a bad mom for letting my kid stink, lol. I will be happy when Troyer is old enough to send back out to the van for the other bag. Although I guess when he is, I won't be needing to change diapers any more.

I also had a doctor's appointment this week. Back in October my ob's office called to tell me my pap came back abnormal and I needed to come back in in December to have it redone. At the time I swear I was told that this is common for post partum paps, but when I went in the doctor said no, it is usually caused by an infection. Of course I was worrying some between the phone call and the appointment, but I figured the dr would reassure me at the visit, since I was told on the phone it was probably nothing to worry about; but he wasn't very reassuring at all. He didn't test for infection, which I thought was odd, since that is supposed to be the reason for the occasional odd cell. Anyway, now I have to wait 4 more weeks to see if this has resolved itself; I hope so, as it sounds like the next procedure for testing doesn't sound so fun.

I forgot to ask the dr about my prolapses, and if they could be the cause for the pain I've been having. I used to think it was tailbone pain that I got when my 4th baby was born, but lately it has been getting much worse and seems to be more muscular than bone. I'm sure that being so overweight is not helping, nor is spending so much time in this computer chair! lol Sometimes it even bothers me after laying down, which is counter-intuitive to the pressure-on-the-butt theory. Of course I can't help but wonder if the is some connection with the pap results. My crazy brain throws up visions of odd lumps growing in the wrong places. I'm sure I'm fine, but I'm one of those people who can't help worrying. Not quite to the level of hypochondriac, because then I'd be sure there was something dire wrong with me, but still wondering if there might be.

I should update you on how the work is going on the house. I don't have any new pictures, which is mostly why I didn't write anything last week. I like to be able to show the transformation. My sister came out to visit last weekend, officially to help with some work, but really because I wanted her to see how nice my house is starting to look. She came without her kids, to the boys' disappointment. We had piles of bags and boxes everywhere, and there was just no room for her kids,. We had such a nice time, though. She helped me take some bags to the Salvation Army, and then watched the boys so Chris and I could take a van load of stuff to the storage unit. She was going to help me go through some stuff to sort into pack/donate/toss, but we really only got through a small section in the basement. She helped me bring some stuff up onto the deck for another trip to storage. but the dumb place locks up at 1 pm on Sundays, so we weren't able to make a second trip there. It's been raining and drizzling since then; I hope the stuff on the deck is ok. We have them up on a pallet, so the rain isn't touching anything directly, but it is humid and I am just worried for the stuff. We would have taken it over this weekend, but it rained and snowed, so it is still sitting there.

This past weekend Chris started work on our bedroom. It is the last room he is going to paint. That leaves just 2 rooms he didn't do. I am sure this room where the computer is should get painted, but at least the other rooms look good. Our room is going to be a light green color. I hope it is pale enough. The boys' room turned out a bit darker than I had planned, and now I am worried that the green will be darker too. Well, maybe even dark it will still look good. We'll find out! Chris just finished the priming last night. We had to sleep in the living room because the Kilz stinks so bad. Poor Levi isn't sleeping well down there. He does so well upstairs in the bassinette, so I thought if I brought it down he would still sleep ok, but it didn't work. He hasn't slept in it at all. He slept in my lap and on my shoulder part of the night, but right now he's asleep on my shoulder while I type. Hmm, maybe I should say Poor me, lol, as I am the one who only got 3 hours of sleep.

I don't look forward to today; Mondays are always rough here, but today half of my stuff from my bedroom is out in the hallway while the room gets done; I am going to have to chase the boys out of the stuff all day. Ugh. And meanwhile get the laundry done. Double ugh, lol.

Monday, December 06, 2004

First Tooth!

This weekend Levi got his first tooth! I wondered if it would break through the gum before he turned 4 months old, that was when Troyer got his first tooth, but it did, so now he is our current record holder for earliest tooth! And for those who are wondering about nursing babies with teeth, he has stopped biting now that it is out; they bite more while they are teething and their gums are sore.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Boys' Room is Done!

Chris finished up the boys' room this week. I can't believe how different it looks! Actually, he's not completely done; he is going to paint the closet doors and he missed the spot on the ceiling where the light is. But whew! Look how great it is!

Here is the pic of it before, so you can compare them next to each other:

Now to get some curtains.... lol

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Living Room Pictures

Just a quick post to show you what Chris did in the living room. He painted the walls a muslin color, and added a small trim to the tops of the walls to hide the gaps where the ceiling tile doesn't quite meet the tops of the walls. The people who lived here before us apparently didn't know how to cut them, lol.

Living Room Ceiling - Before

Living Room Ceiling - After

And a shot of the west wall. It seems so bare with no pictures up; I have always had a collage of photos of the boys above the tv unit.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Just a Quick Post

Today is my last day of vacation, with the 4 oldest boys down at their Grandma's house; they will be home tonight. Chris and I did a bunch of work while they were gone, including getting into their room and painting. It isn't done yet, so no pictures yet, but it looks soooo good already! I can't wait to take pictures and post them. I do have a picture of the trim in my kitchen, which I got to finish. I really like how it turned out.

I also have some pictures of my living room I need to upload so I can post them. Maybe later today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Swimming Lessons

This fall I decided to sign the boys up for swimming lessons. I had gotten an email that the Y was going to have homeschool sessions for swimming. Normally Chris wouldn't agree to something that costs so much ($50 per boy), but after this summer's incident with Samuel in the pool, I think he realized it would be a good idea if they could all at least keep their heads above water if they ever fell in. So for 3 weeks in November they had swim classes, twice a week. Noah and Samuel I put in the beginner class, polliwog, and Troyer I put in the next level up, guppy.

They finished their last class last week, and they did really well. The instructor wrote up "report cards" for them and gave them all nice comments about attitude and effort. Unfortunately they didn't have any opportunities for extra swim time, so they couldn't practice, and so they didn't graduate out of their levels. I am going to sign them up for 3 more weeks in December. They had a really good time.

Caleb and Micah really wished they could go in too! There are floor to ceiling windows in the lobby that you can see the pool from, and I had the boys out there while the older ones swam, so they could watch. There was also a teen center with pool table, foosball table, ping pong table, air hockey, and a racing car arcade game. I also brought crackers and candy to bribe them to stay good, lol.

On the last day, at the end of class, Samuel left the pool to go to the bathroom and cut his toe on the door (pulled it open right across his big toe - Ouch!). It did bleed so they bandaged it, but it meant he couldn't get back in the pool. Good thing there was only about 5 minutes left to the class, so he didn't miss much!

This weekend Chris brought the exersaucer down from the attic. It might seem a little early for it, since Levi is only 3 months old, and I think the instructions said the baby should be 4 months, but we gave it a try anyway. He loved it! He has even been able to push with his feet and swivel around. We are not sure if he is doing it on purpose, and he can't steer yet, but he likes the turning!

Micah wanted me to take his picture showing off his cars. He's such a cutie, LOL

Saturday, November 20, 2004

2 Years Ago Today

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my mother's death. She died of endometrial cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes a year after she had a hysterectomy. She had the hysterectomy because she had unexplained bleeding and she had finally convinced her gynecologist to remove her uterus after numerous d&cs over several years. No one knew about the cancer until the surgery. When her doctor came to talk to her after it was over she told her Oh by the way, there was a 6 pound tumor in there. Excuse me, but how in the world did she miss that during all the exams my mom had been to? Anyway, she advised my mom that it was entirely contained within the uterus and all removed. She probably didn't need any follow up treatments, just the usual annual check ups. My mom had heard horror stories of radiation therapy and was very glad to be told she didn't need it. This doctor told her she could consult with an oncologist if she wanted but probably didn't need to. You didn't need to tell my mother twice. She pretty much treated it as if it had never happened once she got home. In fact, none of us even knew about the tumor until almost a year later.

I have to say, I hold quite a bit of bitterness towards this doctor for advising my mom not to follow up on it. But she is not the only one to blame. At her one year check up, my mom passed with flying colors. Of course, they were checking for spread in her abdomen. Soon after that she developed a big problem with what she assumed was her asthma. She went to her regular doctor and he began a series of prescriptions to treat the asthma, but it kept getting worse. It never occurred to him that it wasn't asthma. Also, a few months later, she developed a horrible pain in her lower back. Her doctor told her it was arthritis. He began a series of prescriptions for pain meds for that, none of which even touched it. It didn't occur to him that it wasn't arthritis.

About 4 months after her 1 year check up, my dad had to take her to the emergency room because she couldn't breathe. It turns out that the cancer had spread to her nodes in her neck, which caused fluid to be trapped around her lungs, which compressed them so she couldn't breathe. They had to do emergency surgery to drain the fluid, which gave her relief for less than a week, when she could already notice it building up again. They decided she needed to have an operation to seal the membranes around the lungs so that no water could get there at all. This basically involved blowing a powder into that membrane to irritate it so it will scar and adhere to the lungs themselves. Sounds painful? You bet. She was miserable. Meanwhile the cancer was still having a heyday in her body. She needed to start chemo, but the recovery from the lung surgery was supposed to be 7 or 8 weeks at least. She started chemo after 4 weeks.

Needless to say, she was in horrible pain. She still couldn't breathe properly, and now from the chemo was throwing up constantly, even though she couldn't eat. She could barely get out of her chair. From the day in August that she was first admitted to the hospital to the day in November when she died, she had never set foot in the upstairs of her house again. She had a rally in October, after 2 chemo treatments, and we were all encouraged, but her doctor and she both agreed that the chemo was too hard on her and she needed to wait a bit longer for another treatment. Well, within 2 more weeks, she was worse than when she started. At her last appointment with him, exactly a week before she died, he told her it was too late, and all they could do was make her as comfortable as possible. At that point they still thought she'd have a few months left.

I took Troyer and Noah out to see her on Tuesday, and had Micah with me, because he was only 6 months old. She was able to hug them and talk to them. She let Noah scratch her back, that was his special favor he always did for Grandma. During our visit, she decided that she needed to go back to the hospital to be more comfortable, so I was there when the ambulance came and the men carried her out. I kissed her and waved good bye, and told her I'd be back in a few days with Samuel and Caleb, who hadn't come. As they drove off, my dad and I hugged and cried; we knew she wouldn't be coming home again.

Even so, none of us suspected that that was the last time she'd be conscious. She got settled in her room at the hospital and they medicated her, and within hours she was barely able to communicate. By Wednesday morning my dad called me to tell me the doctors said it wasn't going to be long. I called Chris and told him to come home, I was going back out. He was home in less than an hour but it seemed like forever. It took 4 hours to drive there, and it was endless. I got to the house and no one was there! I needed someone to take me to the hospital, because it was downtown and I had no idea how to get there. Dad and Aimee were out making arrangements for her. Finally they got home and Aimee and I got in the car and drove to the hospital. On the way Dad called Aimee on her cell phone to tell her that the hospital had called. Mom was gone. I was so upset, I had really wanted to be there at the end. I only missed her by an hour. We got to the hospital and met some of Mom's friends from her church. They had been there praying with her when she died. I am glad she was surrounded by her good friends. We went in and said good bye, and signed the release form, and went home. We met her doctor in the hallway on the way out, and he had a look of shock on his face. He really never expected her to deteriorate so quickly. He was probably the only good doctor she had through this whole ordeal. I am steaming mad at all the others who pooh-poohed her symptoms and ignored her.

That year Thanksgiving was not as bad as you would have thought. Since a lot of family was out for the funeral, they stayed for the holiday as well, and it was nice to all be together. Last year Michelle had Thanksgiving at her house, and Aimee and her family, Chris and I and the boys, and my Dad were all there. It was crowded and noisy but it was nice to be together. This year none of us will be together. Michelle wanted to do dinner again, but Aimee's dh wasn't keen on doing the drive again (it is 7 hours for them to get to her house), and my dad decided he didn't want to drive either. He moved to Florida 6 months after Mom died; he claimed that now that he was retired he could come up and visit us in the summers when it was too hot down there, and stay down there and skip winters. Well, it seemed kind of far to us, and he had never mentioned Florida before Mom died, but whatever, it's his life. Of course all his plans to visit have gone out the window. He has not been north since he moved 18 months ago, except that Thanksgiving dinner last year. This year he is not even going to come for that. He has never met his newest grandson, and I guess it doesn't matter to him. He's not a baby person, you know. Can you tell I am bitter about this too? LOL

To make matters worse, this year since we are in the midst of trying to move, Chris isn't even going to go home to his parents for dinner. He wants to stay here and work on the house. I can understand, and I am going along with it, but it means that it will only be the 2 of us and the baby and Micah for Thanksgiving. The other 4 boys are going to MIL's for a week so we can work on the house. I don't think Chris is thinking about what this time of year means to me, or maybe he doesn't realize how I feel about it. He hasn't asked, that's for sure.

So, except for my beautiful Levi, this year pretty much stinks. I hope Christmas will be better.

Anyway, I want to say, "Mommy, I love you. No one loved me as much as you did, and I miss you. I hate that life is so unfair."

Here are some pictures of her:

Her high school graduation photo, from 1959

Mom at Christmas time in the 80's

Mom and Dad dancing at my sister's wedding

Mom with my nephew Danny

Mom's portrait for her church's directory, only a year before she got sick

There is a beautiful picture of her from her wedding, but it was too big to scan. I am a bit distressed that I don't have more pictures of her. I am hoping that they are in some albums that I already packed.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Busy Busy Busy

Sorry to be so long in updating, I have been busy. Last weekend Chris and I went through the house and gathered up a whole room full of stuff to pack away and put in storage. One room looks pretty good now, but it has hardly put a dent in the rest of the house! Yikes.

The three oldest boys have been taking swimming lessons at the Y this month. I thought they were doing really well, but they got their evaluations yesterday, and none of them passed into the next higher class. :-( They got good remarks and their instructor likes them, but their skills weren't good enough to get into the next class.

MIL is going to come up and get 4 of the boys next Tuesday. She will keep them for a whole week, through Thanksgiving, and bring them back Monday. That gives Chris and me a whole week to pack up more junk and hide it in the storage unit, lol. I sure hope we get done with this soon!

Another reason I have not been able to post lately is Levi. He is 3 months old now, and such a cutie, but he is already teething! Poor guy, he is not even old enough to hold a teething toy. He sucks on blankets and clothing, and has already gummed me a lot. Ouch. He is very cranky, but there is not much I can do for him. Luckily he is alternating sleeping a lot and waking, so sometimes I can sleep with him and get a good rest, and sometimes he is sleeping in the day and I can get a lot done around the house. Twice now he has slept for 8 hours!

Here is a picture of the boys' room. We took out the second bunk to make the room look bigger. Right now they are sleeping 2 to a bed. It is working out ok, for the most part. There have been a few squabbles about blanket sharing, and Micah's diaper leaked this morning so poor Noah had to sleep on the floor to avoid getting wet. But mostly they think it's fun.

In this picture you can see how the paper is crumbling/peeling at the edges and in the corners. I think Chris wants to paint it, but I don't know how well the paint will stick. There's a lot of patching he has to do in here too.
Ain't that paper pretty? What you can't tell in the picture is that part of the flower print is actually silver and only shows up with the light on it. I suppose maybe it was better looking before it faded, but it sure isn't something I would have chosen. Then again, it beats the pink in the dining room at The Big Yellow House! LOL

We still haven't finished the kitchen, and it got cluttered up again in the meantime. Ugh. I was looking forward to having that look good, lol. Chris started patching in the living room last night, so I guess that is the next paint project. He painted the play room last week. He made a big deal out of painting the ceiling; I'm not sure why he painted it at all. Oh well.
So there is a brief update, I'll try to be better!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Just wanted to show you Caleb in his cowboy hat. It's his new favorite. It used to be Noah's, but Caleb claimed it. There are a pair of boots that go with it, and they are Caleb's size, so I guess they have to be a set. Noah got them to wear in his aunt's wedding; he was the ring bearer, and her wedding had a western theme. He was so cute! He wore a tux with the hat and boots. Samuel didn't really like the boots at all, and he never wears hats. So the boots have been sitting, waiting for another boy to love them. Their wait is over!

Before and After

I finally got a good shot of the hallway, so you can see what an improvement the new paint is!



Science Fair

On Friday, our homeschooling group held a science fair. Troyer, Noah, and Samuel did a project on rainbows and prisms. Chris was supposed to help with most of the project, but he was so busy that he waited until 2 days before it was due to get started. Unfortunately that meant that he and I did way more work on it than the boys did. We taught them as we went along, but they really only did the coloring on the poster.

We had some cool experiments/demonstrations to do; they worked better at home than at the fair though. I think the favorite was shining different colored lights together to see what colors they would create when combined. Light is opposite of pigment, so some of the kids were pretty surprised.

Friday, October 29, 2004

One Room Down, Many More to Go

The bathroom is done! Chris finished up painting the trim this week, and I (finally!) found some curtains for the window. It was tough trying to find some. I went out yesterday and had a hard time finding any curtains at all that weren't floor length drapes. But today I got lucky and found some with green in them. I wasn't sure the green would match the trim, but figured I'd take them home and see, I could always return them if I had to. Well, I am so happy, they match great! I have to say, to me they look more like kitchen curtains, and since I already have ivy in my kitchen, I am afraid of there being a little bit of ivy overkill in the house; but hey, that was the only pattern with green in it at all. (Well, ok, I skipped right over the all green curtains that were too frilly. Waaaay too much ruffle.)

I decided to go ahead with a green stripe in the kitchen, and that is looking really good too. I am doing it in just acryllic paint, but it is a half inch wide stripe, so it doesn't matter. I think it helps make the two tone colored walls look like they are supposed to be that way. I will post a picture of that once the stripe is finished.

Chris power washed the deck yesterday and today. It looks really nice, except now it really should be sanded and sealed. I don't know if he is going to do that.

He also rented a storage unit in town today. Now we can start packing up stuff for real, because we have a place to hide it all. I have only been making sad little efforts at decluttering because I didn't want to have boxes sitting all over the house. I just knew the boys would get into them and unpack them for me, and lose stuff or break it.

The plan is for Chris to finish painting the stairs and hallway this weekend. I picked a very light yellow color, because the carpet is a dark rust color. I wanted something bright but there isn't much that goes with rust, lol. And we are NOT going to replace the carpets! I will post a picture of the hallway once that is done, too. That will leave us with just the living room and family room/play room to paint and declutter, and we will be ready! I am getting kind of excited. I suppose I'll get over that very quickly, as soon as I have to keep the house clean for showing. Ugh. LOL

Friday, October 22, 2004


Here is proof that at least one of my kids is clean ;-)
Micah having a bubble bath

I guess it is also proof that my tub is not reeaaaalllly clean LOL.

I took some pictures this week, because Chris, over at the Big Yellow House, took such a beautiful shot of her street, and I wanted to see if my neighborhood was as nice. I think it would be, if it would just STOP RAINING!!! Here are some pictures:

Down our Street (yes, that is our house with the front porch 1.5 feet from the road)

Back Yard (see, we make up for the front yard by having a great back yard!)

It really is pretty here, when the sun is shining; it just so happens that that is not so often :-( Something about the mountains here trapping all the clouds in our area, or something. Bleh.

I was going to try to repost all the stuff I lost last week, but I just lost my momentum with that one. I don't even remember what all it was about, except a 1 am poop blowout, followed by a 2 am puke fest by the 6 yo. Oh, and Chris worked late all last week, and on Thursday, which is Survivor/CSI night (ok, so now you know how low my tv standards can go, but hey, I balanced it out with the CSI!) he had called to promise that he'd be home to put the boys to bed at 8. Ok, perfect timing. Well, at 7:45, the 8 yo, 6 yo, and 2 yo locked themselves in the bathroom and broke the knob. Joy. I got out screwdrivers, I got out nail files, nothing worked. Finally I resorted to a hammer. No good with that one either. It was 8:15 and I was fuming, Chris was no where to be found, and the boys were still stuck. Micah had pulled down one towel bar and the curtain rod. Let's just say that the knob became Chris' head as I pounded, LOL. Finally he came home, and I gave up and went down to watch tv. Of course the boys were out in 5 minutes. It seems I was using the wrong size screwdriver. Oops. Oh well, now the knob is ruined and we have nothing on the bathroom door to keep it shut. We will be replacing the knob, but with something easier to get open, LOL. In the mean time, we have not a peephole, more of a peep window. It is exactly at Micah's eye level, so when I'm sitting on the pot, I hear "See you Mom! See you!" LOL

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I Have a Spare Minute

literally; Levi is asleep, lol. I thought I'd post a quick picture of the wallpaper in our hallway, so you can see why we are painting over it. This is the paper that was here when we moved in, and aside from the boys peeling it in spots, and gouging out a nice hole under the window, we haven't changed it. I guess we were just waiting until the youngest was old enough to not destroy it before we bothered putting any work into it. Now we just want it to look nice enough that it won't scare away home buyers, LOL.

Also, in that huge post I lost the other morning, I mentioned that Levi is smiling and giggling now. I tried to get a picture, and this was the best I could do:

Each time I tried to get a picture, he'd get a startled look on his face and ruin the picture, lol.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Aaarrrgghhh!!! I wrote out a whole long post this morning, and the site went down and lost it!!!

so now I will have to rewrite it. No idea when I will have time to do that.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Too Tired (or would that be Lazy? lol) to Type

I can't believe it's been a week since I've written anything. Levi has been very much in a Don't-Put-Me-Down mood this week, and it is too hard to type with just one hand. So what has happened since last Friday? Well, Chris got the kitchen painted. It looks pretty nice. It's the wrong color, but hey, it still looks nice, lol. I had wanted a white, but not a bright bright pure white. We looked at paint chips and decided that they all were so close, just choose any one of them. Well, he went and just bought a can of Antique White. Hello, that's cream. Very yellow. Not white at all. Ugh. Oh well, it still looks better than fingerprint-and-macaroni-and-cheese-and-Cocoa-Puffs-white, LOL. Now to declutter.....

Chris worked late nights all week, so we didn't get any further with painting. He has to meet with some coworkers on Sunday, too, so no painting then either.

On Tuesday I had to run to the store, and on the way home I went through the drive through at McDonald's and drove back to the park. Levi slept the whole time, and the boys had a great time eating at the picnic tables and playing. It really is a neat park.

Today I took the boys out again; we finally made it back to the WalMart portrait studio for Noah's portraits. A month ago I took him out, but there was a power outage at the mall that ran up and down the whole street, so all the stores were closed. It took this long to get back, lol. This time, though, I had all the boys with me, and it was raining out. That didn't seem too promising, but I wanted to get out of the house anyway. It turned out to go pretty well, the boys were very well behaved. I didn't much like the photographer, but you get what you pay for, right? I think the picture came out nice. We did some more shopping, I found some stuff for the boys for Christmas already, drove over to the Super-WM and did grocery shopping, came home with loads of junk food (Halloween is too much temptation for me! lol) and crashed on the couch. Maybe next week I will get something done?

Noah 8 years old

On Wednesday Levi turned 2 months old! Today he is 9 weeks old. Wow, that went fast. Today he had a milestone. He has been hinting at a smile for a few weeks now, but today was the first time he looked straight at me and smiled in response to finding my face! :-) He also cooed at me, that was his first coo. So exciting! This week also saw his first official poop blow-out, yuck. In fact, he had 4 of them LOL Today Troyer was holding him when he did it; yuck it was a mess. I have done a lot of wash this week ;-)

Friday, October 08, 2004

Levi's 2 Month Check Up

Short Story: Levi is 12 lbs 6 oz, and 23" long. He got 4 shots, and is now napping peacefully.

Long Story:

Just wanted to give the stats on Levi. He was scheduled for his 2 mo check up for next Friday, but I got a notice in the mail yesterday that I needed to reschedule. When I called, they rescheduled for this morning, yikes! I hate having to drag all the boys out on such short notice like that. This was our first visit to the new doctor, so I had to make sure we had time to find the correct building, and to fill out forms when we got there. Of course it was a fight to get the boys all dressed and fed in time; Micah in particular thought it was a great game to run around the house with no shirt or shoes on and missing one sock. This with 5 minutes to get into the van. I also wanted to get a shower this morning, and I had to be bad mommy and let them all run around the house screaming and fighting, and Levi crying in his bed, just so I could have clean hair. I just couldn't stand the thought of the doctor's first impression of me being dirty, kwim? Well, I should have been happy with dirty. The boys were not so good for this trip. Caleb was worst of all. He has been very whiny lately, and disobedient on top of that; take that and put it in a tiny exam room with 4 other boys and a baby, with one toy for them all to share, and you get chaos! I was so embarrassed about not being able to hear the poor dr.

I should say here, that we found the building fine, walked right up to the desk and checked in, and as soon as they were done copying his insurance card and getting information from me (I didn't have to fill out any forms!) the nurse was ready to take us back to the room - NO waiting! Wow! And after she did the basic weight/height measurements (Levi is 12 lbs 6 oz and 23 inches long), it wasn't more than 5 minutes before the doctor came in for the exam! What? Not 45 minutes??? LOL And he was very nice. I am almost sad we will be moving in a few months and not be able to go to this office anymore, lol.

Anyway, there was one of those beads-on-wires type toy, big enough for them to share, in the room, and a basket of books. Of course they all had to fight over the one color of beads rather than each claim a color. Caleb screamed and cried and pinched his brothers' hands. Ugh. I put him in time out and he cried some more. Ugh. Levi had to get his shots today, and Caleb cried during that too (I can't blame him there!). Then it was time for check out, and I promised Caleb we'd weigh him on the way out, to see if he weighs enough to get out of his harness on his carseat, and use a seatbelt with just the booster. (He does, he was 40.7 lbs!) They fought over who would get weighed first. Then the boys needed to wait for me to check out and pay the co-pay. Again, they were antsy and picking on each other, and Caleb was screaming that Samuel was whispering in his ear. Ugh. Finally it was time to go back to the van, and Caleb wanted to hold my hand, so Micah just walked off. I told Noah to hold his hand for me, but Micah ran from him and ran all the way down the sidewalk. Yikes! I find it very scary to see my 2 yo running away near cars! I ran after him, with Levi in the infant seat slung over my arm, and caught him, but he wasn't happy about the firm grip I kept on his wrist! Even worse, there was someone parked right there, sitting in the car talking on their cell phone, watching the whole thing. All in all, I found the entire visit embarrassing. I was not a good example of a TOK mom in control of her well-behaved kids, LOL. I yelled in the van, and when we got home Caleb had a mandatory nap. I am still not feeling much better.

A Day At the Park

Yesterday was a beautiful, warm and sunny day, so I grabbed the boys and we went to find a nice park. I had a few in mind I wanted to check out that we hadn't been to before, so I let them pick. On the way to the park, we passed by the fruit farm that has a life sized wooden tractor out front. It is there just for the purpose of taking pictures, and I like to do that each fall. They have a bunch of their pumpkins out front too, but the pumpkins didn't make it into my pictures.





We drove past one playground and decided it was too crowded, so drove down the road to the next one. This is a park not far from our house that we have driven past many times, but have never stopped at. From the street you can't really see much more than the ball fields, so I didn't know what to expect in terms of play equipment. I had thrown the boys' scooters and skateboard in the van in case there wasn't much to do; as it turns out, it is a great park! Lots of climbing equipment and slides and swings. Even better, we had it all to ourselves :-) There was also a nice paved path all the way around the playground and playing fields, so we went for a walk. Well, I walked, Levi was in the sling, and the boys scooted ;-)

Micah was a real trooper and pushed his tractor all the way around. He was pretty hot by the time we made it back.

Today it is even warmer and sunny, but Levi is cranky from his shots, and I am cranky from the office visit, lol, so the boys will have to make do with playing in the yard.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Sore and Tired

On Sunday I knew I was going to have to go out and do a big shopping trip. I told Chris this, and he said he wanted to go out first and pick up paint, so we could get started this week on at least one of the rooms. Yipee! So I said sure. He took Troyer and Noah with him. It turns out that he decided that since Troyer turned 10, it was time for The Talk. Yikes! Already??? I wasn't so sure Troyer even wanted to hear it, he always yells and covers his ears when I mention girls at all, LOL. It turns out they were gone for quite a while. When they finally got home, Noah couldn't wait to tell me all about it. It was really embarrassing, LOL. My electrical engineer husband of course described it as being like "plugging in a cord into an outlet" LOL. So Noah told me how gross that was and he didn't think he'd want to "plug it in" anywhere, but then his imagination took over and he started suggesting other places to "plug it into" and I just didn't know what to say! LOL *Sigh* I don't think *I* was ready for the talk!

Anyway, it took them a while longer than I thought it was going to to get back, so I didn't get started on my shopping trip until after 4. I took just Levi with me, and this time I remembered the sling! It was getting really old having that carseat take up room in the cart when I was just carrying him on my shoulder anyway, and it was hard to push the cart with one hand. I am glad I remembered it! We stopped at 3 stores, and he was wonderful through all 3. He stayed awake through the first 2, but didn't cry at all. I did have to nurse him in each parking lot, before I strapped him back in his seat, but at least he wasn't crying while I was checking out! He did get a little cranky at Super WM, the last store, but it was because he was tired, and as soon as I got him to sleep, he slept in the sling for the rest of the trip. I think my brain also fell asleep, because even though I had a list in my hand, I kept skipping items and having to go back for them. I think I lapped the store 3 times, because they put things like light bulbs and shampoo on the opposite side of the store from the groceries. Ugh. By the time we got home, he was seriously hungry for more than a snack in the back seat, so Chris unloaded the groceries from the trunk while I sat down on the couch to nurse Levi. Holy Cow, my feet were SORE! I was out a total of 5 hours, most of that time with the extra weight of the baby strapped to me. It must have been quite a workout, because my leg and butt muscles are still sore today. I also spent more money than I should have. Because Chris was so late, making me have a late start, the bank branch that actually opens on Sundays was already closed, so I had to use my debit card instead of cash, which I prefer. I was also buying some clothes and bins for starting to pack up the house for painting, but those things don't come out of the grocery budget, so I wasn't paying attention to the total bill. Oops. When I got home and added it up, I found out that now I only have about $35 for the next two weeks. Good for milk and peanut butter, I guess, LOL.

Not surprisingly, after being rocked to sleep so wonderfully all evening, Levi was prepared to be awake for quite a while. That's ok, I thought, the price to pay for him behaving in the store, I didn't mind. I watched some tv, then got on the computer for a while. I really wanted to drop into bed, because I was so worn out from carrying him everywhere, so I was waiting for him to drop off to sleep. He would keep nodding off while nursing, but wake right back up again when I tried to lay him down. Finally I gave up at 1:30, when he was asleep on my shoulder, and took him to bed with me so I could get some sleep. We had gotten home at 9, so he had been up for 4 1/2 hours.

He slept for 2 1/2 hours, until 4 am. I had hoped for more, but didn't mind getting up, as maybe he would go back to sleep in the bassinette and I'd get some more sleep. Well, guess what? He wouldn't sleep. He would fall asleep on my lap, but as soon as I even tried to get out of the chair, his eyes would be wide open again. Ugh! Finally I got him to lay down, it was 6. Chris was already up and in the shower. I knew that it would only be a half hour or so before Micah and Caleb were up and bothering me, waahh. But worse than that, do you know, within 20 minutes Levi was crying? He just would not sleep alone. I laid in bed and cried myself, LOL. After 5 hours of power shopping with that baby strapped on, and then getting only 2 1/2 hours of sleep, I was going to have to get up with the rest of the boys and start the day. My feet *still* hurt, and my butt hurt from sitting in the chair most of the night, and now my stomach hurt from not enough sleep. I had Chris bring Levi to me in bed, and I nursed him until he fell asleep, but it was not until 7 am! The boys did get up, but they were really good about going down and watching tv and getting themselves breakfast so I could rest in the bed. It wasn't a deep sleep, but it beat getting up.

Of course, being a Monday, I knew it was going to be a bad day. Mondays are laundry day here, plus it's a fight to get the boys back into school work after 2 days off, and I had a lot of cleaning up to do after a weekend, because I usually put things off. I was right, and Monday lived up to its reputation, LOL. By the time Chris got home I was getting a second wind, but I was still sore and tired. He so nicely offered to make dinner for me, and I was able to get a little more laundry done. There is a lot I didn't get done, though, so I will be playing catch-up all week.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Field Trip

On Friday morning, our homeschool group went on a tour of the local EMS station. Our group has mostly large families, so it was pretty crowded. Only 7 moms, but 29 kids! Since I had Levi in August, I am now the second biggest family in the group; one mom has 8 kids (she just had a baby in August too!), two have 5 kids, two have 2 kids, and one mom has one. For as large as our group is, though, they are very well behaved. I think my boys were the worst behaved there, lol. A few times I was thinking what an appropriate place to bring them, so when they hurt each other, they can get care right away! LOL

We started with a little talk in the meeting room, then a tour of the inside. It is not a big station, so it was a short tour, LOL. The boys were really looking forward to the ambulance tour anyway. Somehow Noah thought they were going to get rides, whoops, lol. The paramedics did strap a few kids to the back boards to demonstrate how to stabilize a body, but my boys didn't want a turn. I asked about getting some of those systems for my house, for after I finish cleaning the house and they are trying to follow behind me and mess it back up ;-)

Finally they all got to have turns going inside to look at all the equipment, and the EMT gave out purple latex gloves. They were a big hit!

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Happy Birthday Troyer!!!!

My oldest son turned 10 years old today! Wow I can't believe I have a child in the double digits already! I am just not old enough! ;-)

For his birthday today, he got to watch all the tv he wanted (he is a tv junkie, in spite of the fact that we only get 1 1/2 channels!). He watched the usual shows, but this time didn't have to bargain for them. His favorites are Arthur, Zaboomafoo, Between the Lions, and CyberChase. PBS just started showing George Shrinks in the afternoons, and he likes that one too. These are all kind of young shows for him, but we don't get Nickelodeon or Disney (I am *not* crying over that!) and these are semi-educational, so I am happy to let him watch them. Hey, he isn't picking Barney or Jay Jay or Caillou, LOL.

We had to go out shopping to get icing and cake supplies, because he chose to have a homemade cake instead of a bakery cake. All the other boys chose a bakery cake because they want the toys on top; Troyer designed his own cake and created the topper. We also had to pick up dough for pizza. I didn't have enough money to buy take out pizza (we went to McDonald's twice in the last 2 weeks, so bye bye money, lol), which he really wanted, but he was happy enough to have homemade. I also got some wrapping paper, and some milk. We got home in time for him to watch more tv, and I got to work on the cake.

I have to say, I think the cake turned out ok. I didn't have the right size decorating tool for writing, so I had to abbreviate and leave out his name, but he didn't mind. He made car forms out of clay, and saved foil wrappers from way back at Valentine's Day, lol, to wrap them in, and then drew up the Finish sign and taped it to straws. The roadway is chocolate sprinkles. Much tastier than black icing, if you ask me! All in all, it is certainly not a professional job, but he is soooo proud of it, and if he is happy then that is what counts :-)

I made 3 pizzas, because most of the kids will only eat plain cheese pizza, but Troyer wanted pineapple on his, and Chris likes pineapple and olives, and I like mushrooms. I decided to make some of each and make everyone happy. Yum!

The cake tasted even better than it looked, and then Chris had a surprise, he had stopped at DQ on the way home and gotten 2 Treatsa Pizzas. Double Yum! Of course by now no one was really that hungry any more, but there is always room for ice cream, lol.

Next Troyer got to open his presents. He had a theme this year, in that most of his gifts were Muppet stuff. He loves Kermit the Frog and The Muppets. He got The Muppet Movie on DVD (we have it on vhs but the dvd has all the extra interviews and stuff), a Muppet computer game, a Muppet beach towel, and a CD of Muppet songs from the tv show. He also got a Thomas DVD (yes, he still likes to watch Thomas the Tank Engine. This makes Micah very happy!) and some Ninja Turtle bubble bath. His aunt got him a stuffed lemur that looks a lot like Zaboomafoo, that was a big hit; and his other aunt got him a Bionicle, also a big hit.

After all the gifts were opened, we listened to some of the songs on the CD and then it was bed time. Chris actually let me take a picture of him and Troyer together, and it turned out great! There are precious few pictures of Chris anywhere that don't have him making faces or trying to hide, lol.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Blog Wandering

I have spent the last few days wandering through blog-land, reading strangers' blogs. I just followed a link from one, and followed a link from that one, and so on. It was pretty fun! Usually I don't have time for that sort of thing, but this weekend Levi was just on a weird sleeping (non-sleeping?) schedule, and some of my regular bloggers were away for the weekend or just not updating, so I had time on my hands. I must say, though, that I feel so inferior now! Not only is my writing style nothing to shout about, but I can't do the fancy stuff I've seen on the other sites. I haven't even figured out how to do the list of links yet. I know I know, once I stop procrastinating I can figure it out pretty easily; I just haven't felt like putting the effort into it.

It is really neat to be able to read about other people's daily lives and thoughts; some of them make me feel grateful for the pretty easy life I have, others just make me laugh, and sometimes I can even identify with a particular experience. Mostly, though, I think it helps me see my own life in a different perspective. As a SAHM in a somewhat rural setting, I can get kind of isolated and start to get bogged down in the annoying things in my life. For a while a few years back, I got so bogged down I became depressed enough that it affected my family, and it took a year or two of talking with a therapist to climb back out of it. It feels funny to admit that, but at the same time, I am glad that was all it took, and that I didn't need to take any medications, so it didn't affect my pregnancy/breastfeeding cycle. It also helped after the sessions stopped, because I can still use today what I learned then.

This period now, post-partum just 6 weeks out, I find myself coming closer to that edge again; add to that the stress of my dh's new job, plus having to move, and homeschooling 3 kids. I am sleep deprived and most likely nutrition deprived too. I have too much time to think about how fat I am, how messy/dirty my house is, what a bad job I'm probably doing teaching my kids, and all that kind of stuff. I think at least 10 times a day about how I am going to get into shape (I've been saying that for 15 years), how I am going to take better care of myself (like try to shower every day or at least every other day, and get dressed every day), and take better care of the house (should I consider it a victory that I have a laundry system that is still working for me? LOL) .

But surfing around and reading others' experiences, I see that lots of people are going through similar trials, and lots of them are going through much worse. I can laugh at a story about a trip to the store with all the kids, or about a big mess a toddler made, because I've BTDT. It makes it easier to laugh at myself when it happens to me.

I'm finding it hard to come and post here, because I feel like I can't write as well as others, and I don't have any fancy stuff in my posts or in my sidebar. I'm pleased with myself for just getting pictures on here! lol But I am also somewhat inspired too. One of these days I'll get it figured out.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Murphy's Law?

We went out yesterday, were gone for the whole day, from 7 am until 9:30 pm. So what do you think happened? One of the roofing guys FINALLY called me back!!! But was I here to take his call? Noooooo. Aaarghh!!!!! Luckily he gave me his cell phone number and I was able to call him today. He is going to come over on Sunday to look at the damage and see how much needs to be done. Let us hope we have good weather again next week!!!!

On Tuesday the boys were out playing in the yard until dusk. Samuel and Micah, as usual, attracted all the mosquitos. Samuel got quite a few bites on his face. On Wednesday morning his eyelid was swollen, and we figured he'd gotten a bite on the lid. His bites always swell up more than normal, but they usually don't bother him and they go away fine. We weren't really too worried about it. Well, today it was worse! Plus, there is no center to the swelling where the bite would be. I can't figure out what happened. He says it doesn't hurt, just itches a little when he touches it. He is really good at not bothering it. I hope I don't need to worry.

I got extra lucky last night, because Levi slept!!! He was up a lot, but kept going back to sleep in the bassinette, so I actually got some sleep last night!!! Wow, I wasn't expecting it. I even got a shower this morning; good thing, too, since I have my 6 week check up tonight. Wow, Levi will be 6 weeks old tomorrow, already! That went fast!