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.