Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hospital Stay

I haven’t updated since Monday (as you can tell!) because life has been, well, life.

I began school Tuesday. I don’t start my student teaching until next week so I only had classes in the afternoon. While sitting in my first class, I began to have some contractions. Then they were accompanied by cramps, and they were not stopping as the afternoon went on. By the time I got home at 5pm, they were coming closer together and becoming more uncomfortable. I was supposed to attend a lecture series Tuesday evening, but I did not feel well. I told TJ that I was staying home and calling the doctor.

My contractions have never been regular with any of my labors, so of course when the doctor called back an hour later, I could only tell him I was having more than 6 per hour. He thought it was best for me to go to the hospital, so I *tried* to get TJ to move a little faster at putting the boys to bed (it was after 8pm at this point). T.G. was in bed, although not sleeping, but at least she wasn’t crying. While he was finishing up with the boys, I began going down my list of people to call to help with childcare, all of whom are from our church.

The first person I called had sprained her ankle that day and could not walk. No, I didn’t think it was a good idea for her to come here with having to walk up steps and such. The next person on my list I couldn’t reach. I called her house and was told she may be at work (she works a second job at a pottery studio). I called the third person on my list and she was available. I hated to have her come because it was storming so badly outside and she lives across town, but at that point I really needed to get to the hospital and didn’t want to have to go alone or with all of my kids. She agreed to come right away (I am so thankful!)

I went back upstairs to relay the plan to TJ and again talk him into speeding up the bedtime process (they were watching video clips on his laptop- ugh!). I finished getting my bag together and such, and made sure everything was ready to go for Th for school in case I ended up staying. TJ came down and a few minutes later the sitter arrived. Of course, Ta was not asleep (if you know Ta, he is not my best sleeper) so we ended up taking him with us because he was upstairs throwing a fit. Th had fallen asleep already and T.G. was still making some noises but not crying or anything like that.

When we got to the hospital I was put in the triage room for observation. I was hooked up to the monitors and then asked some questions. About an hour later the nurse checked me and I was a little more than 1cm dilated. I was monitored longer and of course my contractions were still very irregular. At about 10pm I was given some water to drink to see if the contractions were due to dehydration. I had to drink 1 liter in 30 minutes. I did, and they didn’t slow any. The nurse came back about 11pm and said that I was staying the night and going to be given an IV for fluids, along with some medication for pain so I could sleep. I was transferred to a room about midnight, and hooked up to the IV line. As soon as the nurse gave me the pain medicine, I was asleep in a matter of a minute or two.

The contractions were still coming very hard and strong, waking me from my sleep periodically. I don’t remember (because of the medicine) what time they finally slowed down, but when I woke at 6am, they were still coming but not nearly as strong or as often as they were the night before. TJ and Ta were sleeping on the couch, so I woke him so he could go home to get Th ready for school, etc. At 8am the doctor came in and checked me, and I was dilated 2cm plus a little more, so I hadn’t made any real progress (it took all night to dilate from 1+cm to 2+cm) so I was able to come home.

But, I was told that more than likely since I keep having contractions with cramping, that with each “episode” I am dilating more and more. So, I asked how I know when to come back to the hospital. The response- when the contractions are so hard/often (which is why I called the doc the night before in the first place!); I feel the urge to push; or my water breaks. I am praying my water will break because with my history of irregularly-timed contractions, they make it difficult for me to know “real” labor vs. “false” labor and once I feel the urge to push, the baby is literally only minutes away from being born and I honestly don’t think I’d make it to the hospital in time (I barely did with Ta!).

There have been some ramifications from our kids by us going to the hospital. Th slept the entire night so the only way he knew I was there was when I wasn’t awake in the morning to take him to school. I found out Thursday night when I was putting the boys to bed that Th woke up Wednesday night and came in my room to check on me. He woke up and was worried that I wasn’t there again. I asked him what he was going to do if I had been gone, and he said he’d go downstairs and call me using the phone number list that I leave out for babysitters (how sweet!). Last night he said he was worried about me because he didn’t see me in bed when he woke up (I was in the shower) so he asked TJ about my whereabouts. He is adamant about coming to the hospital with us next time, and I told him if he didn’t have school the next day, that I would think about bringing him.

I had some more long, hard contractions with cramping last evening that lasted for about 3 hours. TJ joked with me that if my water didn’t break so I knew definitively to go to the hospital, he was more than likely going to end up delivering this baby at home since this baby has not followed all the other usual signs of labor for me. I think I am going to buy a “Survivor’s Guide to Child Birth” book for him as a baby gift; I have a feeling he’s going to need it!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A New Addition. . . or Two

Again I’ve fallen behind on my postings. So sorry about that, but life with 3 small kids (and 1 on the way!) keeps me busy and on the move.

A lot has happened since Th began school last Wednesday morning. TJ came home with a cat Wednesday night, and that alone has been an adjustment. He (the cat) is 2 years old and really sweet. His name is Rainbow, and his prior owner (a 6 year old girl) must have really wanted a female cat because all of Rainbow’s accessories (cat bed, toys, etc) are pink and flowered. Rainbow is orange with cinnamon swirls on his sides- a really unusual pattern. He came neutered and declawed, and with all his gear, which is why TJ decided to bring him home. We’ve wanted a cat since last spring, but didn’t want to have to pay to have one spayed/neutered or declawed. So, when this opportunity presented itself, TJ couldn’t pass it up. The little girl was allergic to him and despite trying to ignore the symptoms, they were getting to be too much for her to handle. She lives just down the street from TJ’s work so we can bring him by for visits! :)

In other news, we bought another van. We weren’t exactly planning to make a vehicle purchase now, and in fact have been saving our money to use as a down payment on land. We enlisted the help of a friend of ours from church who is a realtor, and found some properties we are/were really interested in. One is a 5-acre tract, another is a 2-acre tract with a pond, and the third is 2.34-acres with a creek on 2 sides. We have been searching and searching and narrowed it down to these, and was close to making a decision (and an offer) before the Lord intervened and directed us to the vehicle path.

With my school schedule, TJ is going to have to take the kids to school 2 mornings per week, meaning I would have to use his car. His car works okay, he keeps it in excellent running condition, but because of its age, it still has some problems. He didn’t like the idea of me being pregnant, in another town, and out in the country, all alone in his car. If something were to happen, I’d be stuck! So, we decided to use some of our savings (that we were going to use towards the land purchase) to invest in a newer vehicle that would accommodate our growing family. He bought a Ford Windstar through auction and got an awesome deal! We shopped around locally before deciding to move forward with this particular vehicle, and we had difficulty finding something in our price range that had low mileage and was in good running condition. The Lord brought this auction our way, and it has turned out great.

We purchased the vehicle Wednesday night, too, and picked it up Thursday evening. TJ brought it to his mechanic on Friday and was told it has been well cared for. TJ spent the weekend cleaning it up and installing car seats, and then cleaned out my van, as well. It is so nice to have a choice in vehicles to drive and now that we bought some more car seats, we don’t have to worry about swapping them or switching vehicles or anything. What a relief!

I did some preparing this weekend trying to get my house in order before school begins tomorrow. I cleaned some, I washed clothes and bedding and cleared up clutter that has been neglected for some time. Friday evening I began to have contractions (that’s nothing new!) only they were different in that I had cramping with them. I’ve had them all weekend, and at my doctor appointment today, he checked me and I am dilated to 1cm already. He really doesn’t think I’ll go past 36 weeks, if I go that far at all. My cervix is still normal, but I have to go back next week instead of the week after so I can be checked again. It was the same doctor who delivered T.G., and I am glad that he is acknowledging the fact that I won’t go to my due date because when I went into labor with T.G., he didn’t believe that I was in labor and was going to send me home when I was dilated to 5cm since I was only 35 weeks along!

It’s nap time now (my last one until the semester ends) so no pictures of Rainbow just yet. School begins tomorrow for me and I have a busy agenda so I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to post again. Say a prayer for Taco as I am a little nervous about the overall health of the baby if I deliver in the next couple of weeks. The doc gave me some statistics and we talked about what would happen upon delivery before 36 weeks, and I feel better knowing what to expect; but, of course, that was all best-case scenarios. I am still scared about lung development (I asked about brain development and he said there was no cognitive difference between a baby born at 34 weeks and one born at 39 weeks) and that more than likely, the only reason Taco would be in the NICU is to gain some weight. I am trying my best to obey Prov. 3:5 “trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding”, but it’s so difficult. . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten

Opening his book last night

All ready to go!

Th started Kindergarten today! He didn’t get to bed last night until 9:30pm, but I wasn’t too concerned because he fell asleep yesterday afternoon for about 1 ½ hours after we got home from swimming. I gave him his book, and he loved it! He couldn’t wait to read it.

This morning he woke up eager and ready to go. He quickly dressed and ran downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, he brushed his teeth and combed his hair, and was happy he had some time to watch “Curious George” before we had to leave. I did okay with my tears while we were in our neighborhood, but as soon as I hit the main road, I got teary-eyed. I tried not to let my emotions show, but apparently I didn’t do such a good job. Th asked me why I was crying, and I just told him the air was blowing in my eyes and making them water.

He was full of questions on the way to school, and was getting more nervous the closer we got. He didn’t want me to walk him inside, but I insisted just to ensure he knew exactly where his classroom was. He relented after making sure Ta and T.G. weren’t staying. When we got to his class, he stood in the doorway for a moment, turned and looked back at me, and then went inside to greet his teacher. After receiving his instructions from her, he put his lunch in the refrigerator and hung up his bag. Then he came over to hug and kiss me. I know he’ll do fine; he just wanted to get the day going. For all of us, the fear of the unknown is the worst kind of fear. He knows tomorrow it will be all over and he’ll have nothing to worry about.

As I was leaving his class and walking back to the van, I saw several friends of mine and they unknowingly helped me to keep from crying like a baby. It was nice to talk to them for a few minutes, and many of my fears dissipated. I know TJ and I made the right decision with this school, but of course not having Th in my care for an ENTIRE day is difficult for this control-freak of a mom.

We left a few minutes later, and on the walk down the sidewalk to the van, Ta piped up, “I miss Th.” Then, on the drive home, he asked if we could swim today. I explained to him that I had some things to do around the house, but I would set up the rocket sprinkler later for him. His reply, “No, I don’t want to do the rocket sprinkler without Th.” My heart was again heavy but I know once preschool begins, he’ll get back into a routine without having Th around all the time.

Well, I am off to attempt to clean a little bit while I only have 2 kids to contend with. T.G. is not feeling well (she’s been running a fever since yesterday afternoon) and neither child has been sleeping well. If they get too fussy, I may have them take a little rest in their rooms. I didn’t sleep well last night either (not that I have been!), and have been awake since 4:45am. I am definitely going to take advantage of a nap today! I only have a few days left before I begin school and my nap time ends! :(

*I am thankful for the Montessori school and the teachers assigned to work with Th.*

Monday, August 18, 2008

Time Flies!

I haven’t updated in a few days but we’ve been busy. Saturday morning I got up early and T.G. and I left the house to run some errands before a friend of mine from church came over with her kids. I had asked her a while ago to paint a border on my chalk board (like back in January when TJ got the stuff to make it) but because the board wasn’t made, she obviously couldn’t do it. In the meantime we had asked my MIL to paint it, but she rarely comes out here and when she does visit, it would be difficult for her to paint because of the kids (just so you know, I don't mean that in a negative way. I'm simply saying we usually go to my inlaws instead of them coming here.) As it so happened, my friend’s husband is going through some financial struggles (he is an accountant for a real estate company- with the bad housing market, his hours have been cut in half) so I mentioned it to her again, offering to pay her a small fee. She offered to do it for free, but I couldn’t allow her to spend the time and materials on it for nothing. It took her about 2 hours, and it turned out SOOO cute! I love it! Plus, her kids entertained my kids for a little while, allowing TJ to get some stuff done outside while I supervised the kiddos playing.

Saturday evening we went out to supper with some other friends, and then went back to their house to play games and watch the Olympics. We had such a nice time. They are Christians, too, and at dinner, without being asked or prompted or anything, my friend’s husband prayed for our meal. This was the first time we have been out with them, so we weren’t really sure how they would handle prayer before the meal. We pray at restaurants, so TJ was prepared to say the blessing for us all. It was a nice surprise to have my friend’s husband pray.

Sunday was spent at church and resting. TJ and I didn’t get home until after midnight on Saturday, and then I had to take our sitter home, so it was close to 1am before I got to bed. I have been having difficulty sleeping, and Friday night was up until close to 2am. I was exhausted when we got home from church yesterday, but I needed to clear off my bed before I could nap. I had piled up clothes and bedding for Taco. I put the sheets on the crib mattress and got the bumper up, the mobile put together and hung, and then placed all the clean clothes back in the crib for storage until we get a dresser. I laid down about 2pm and didn’t wake until almost 3:30pm. That was a nice, well-deserved break! When I woke, it was time to get supper going and get ready to head back to church.

Today was spent ironing clothes (yes, I used the infamous iron!) for when I begin my Field Experience. I hate ironing, and although TJ does the ironing for me if I ask him, I just figured I had the time and might as well do it. So, I got all of my dress clothes ironed and ready-to-wear for school. I also ran some more errands and picked up some shorts for both T.G. and Th on clearance. Each of them only had 3 pair of shorts that were nice enough to wear in public! :)

Th had Open House night at his school so we went and saw his classroom, met his assistant teacher, and some other kids in his class. The school staggers start dates, so for the first week, only the kindergarten students attend. Then, next week, the 4-year-olds begin, and the week after is when the 3-year-olds begin. Th is very nervous about beginning a new school with new kids, which is understandable considering he has spent the past 4 years at the same preschool. Although the teacher changed each year, he still knew all the teachers and most of the kids in his class. He doesn’t know anyone this year, the school is obviously much bigger, and more is to be expected from him. I know he’ll do fine, and I’m glad it will be only the kindergarten students the first week (as there are only 6 kindergarten students in his class). I have a surprise for him tomorrow night that I hope will cheer him up. I love books, and my kids love books, and we give books as gifts to most everyone we know. I bought him a book, called “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn. It’s about a mother sending her son to school for the first time. We’ve read it before, but maybe because he owns it, he’ll remember it on Wednesday when I kiss him goodbye.

After Open House, TJ and I took him out to dinner (his choice- Ryan’s) and then we went shopping for a dresser. We finally agreed on one AND purchased it. It’s sitting in my garage waiting to be assembled. We’ll see how long it takes for that to happen! LOL! (just kidding, T).

Tomorrow we are headed to the pool for one last summer swim. I also have to go the pottery place because Th is having his birthday party there. He needs to pick out the piece that he wants to have everyone paint. He is looking forward to his party, and after we pick out the pottery piece, we can decide on a party theme. He is considering a cowboy theme, but he can’t decide between that or a construction party. Oh, to have those types of dilemmas as the sole focus of my life! :)

*I am thankful for opportunities to spend time alone with each of my children. Their personalities are so different and unique, and one-on-one time affords me an inside look at the individual child, focusing solely on his/her needs.*

Friday, August 15, 2008

A New Day. . . & A New Perspective

As I lay in bed last night thinking about and replaying the day in my mind, I realized I have been taking my children for granted.

Instead of wishing away these days of fighting, arguing, and them coming to me for their every need, I need to be thankful for them. The fighting and arguing means my children are able to communicate their wants and needs to others, unlike some children. By them coming to me for EVERYTHING, they are unknowingly telling me they trust me and know I will meet their needs, unlike some parents.

The Lord really worked on my heart last night before I was able to fall asleep, and I am so thankful that He was able to use His Word to rebuke me and teach me.

Today is going to be a better day!

*Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. ~Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)*

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rough Week

I am having a rough week. As my pregnancy progresses, the first day of school for both Th and myself looms closer, and the reality of my situation becomes clearer, I am becoming more overwhelmed with all that needs to be done. The problem is, I have a limited supply of energy and it's difficult for me to spread it out. I either exhaust myself with the kids and am too tired to do what I need to do, or I exhaust myself completing my tasks that I am too tired to deal with the kids. Today has been the worst in a long time.

I lost my patience so many times because it seemed like every time I got the kids occupied with something and proceeded to start my work, they would start to fight or argue or someone would get hurt or someone would destroy the other's track or take his/her toy or look at the others the wrong way or any other possible thing you could think of to cause me to stop what I was doing to go handle the situation. I spent more time walking between my bedroom and the playroom than I did doing anything else. My lower back is killing me now from all the walking I've done today! :)
Plus, since I didn't have any energy, I didn't feel like going anywhere, which is always an open invitation for the kids to argue and fight. I tried to send them outside but I was afraid the neighbors would complain from their fighting:

"Ta! Stop it! That's MY shovel!"
"No! I got it with MY own money!"
"No you didn't! You don't even have any money! Now give it back!"
"Yes! I have money. Mom! Tell Th I have money!"
Crying. More crying. Even more crying.
"Mom! Ta hit me."
"Th hit me first."

That's when I can't take anymore and just want to cry myself.

I can't wait for this weekend when TJ is home to help occupy them. As much as I have to do before the first day of school, I will be glad when I have a reason and purpose for waking early and leaving the house by 7:15am. As it is now, we wake early but we don't leave, and the longer my kids are together, they more they fight and argue!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Field Experience

I received my assignment for my Field Experience. I will be in a Special Ed classroom at a brand new high school in the next town, about 20 minutes from my house. My first day of class begins Aug. 26, and I have to report to the high school on Sep. 2. I will go there every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30am-11:30am. I then have to rush back to the college for class at 12:30pm. I guess I'll be packing my lunch on those days!

I am excited about starting this new semester, but at the same time, I am extremely nervous. I am taking 6 classes total this semester, and with the arrival of Taco, it's a bit overwhelming. I have been asked often (too often!) why I am even taking classes this semester, and the answer is simple- the classes I am taking are only offered during the Fall semester. If I don't take them now, I have to wait an entire year. I am at the point in my degree where I have to take these classes now, called the Field Experience semester, and then finish up with my full-time internship (student teaching) in the Spring. If I take a year off, I have to begin paying back my student loans, it prolongs graduation by a year, and it will be more difficult to get back into the routine of taking classes. Even by having the summer months off, I have to discipline myself to better manage my time; I can't imagine how lazy I would be after having a year without classes! Plus, to be honest, I just want to be done with school.

I have been working on this degree for so long (since high school), although at this particular college for 5 years. I am ready to move on to bigger and better things, and figure out a new "normal" for our family (currently "normal" is mommy and daddy taking classes and doing school work in between loads of laundry, dishes, nap and bed time, in the car, etc.) I want the ease of not thinking about that. I want to be able to fully enjoy my days (and nights!) without having assignment deadlines looming over my head. I know TJ feels the same way, and I am amazed that, come December, he will have completed his Master's Degree in such a short time (14 months of full-time courses). He is completing his final 2 courses this semester, beginning next Monday.

I have been asked if I would have made different choices in my life regarding school decisions. Yes and no. No in that I still would have joined the Air Force out of high school. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and although I didn't always think so, I am so thankful to God for allowing me to follow through with that decision. I really needed to get out of Ohio, and the Air Force is the only way I could have done so. I can't even imagine what my life would have turned out like if I had stayed. Despite what some may think, friends and family greatly influence a person's life, and I was surrounded by a ton of friends and family. Once I left Ohio, I was more removed from situations and better able to see the big picture. As an aside, my sis and I often talk about that. Now that she's moved away, too, she sees what I see, and neither of us ever wants to move back. Not that we don't love our family, but there is so much drama and chaos when so many people with various opinions get involved in something. Plus, if I had not joined the AF, I would not have met TJ, or the many friends involved with Special Olympics, and my life would be completely different.

The changes I would have made would be to take more classes while we were still in California. I took many classes there, but I would have made a greater effort to complete even more before having kids. TJ was able to finish his entire degree while we were there, and although I wouldn't have been able to do that because of my major, I could have worked harder to complete my Associates degree while we were still there instead of doing it once we moved to NC. But, hindsight is 50/50 and having kids and taking classes has only made me more determined. Well, that and the fact that some family members said I'd never be able to complete my degree and be a mom to young kids at the same time. It's difficult, but not impossible, especially with a husband like mine. The Lord has really blessed this endeavor for me by providing childcare, money, everything needed for me to go to school. If it wasn't God's will for my life, I would have faced many obstacles and road blocks.

*I am thankful the semester is beginning again. I am close to finishing, and that is a GREAT feeling!*

Monday, August 11, 2008

What Size?

I hosted a baby shower for a friend of mine on Saturday, so Friday was spent preparing for it. During the shower, TJ took the boys to Carowinds and T.G. stayed home with me. It turned out really nice, and was actually very relaxing even though I was on my feet most of the day.

After the shower, I questioned TJ about his school load this week (this is his final week for the summer term) because I need him to help me move furniture, get boxes of clothes, etc. He looked at me funny, and I gently reminded him that we are having another baby in less than 2 months, although odds are in 1 month. He sort of went into panic mode and, while I went grocery shopping with Th and T.G., he rearranged the bedroom furniture, set up the crib, rummaged through through the attic and brought all the boxes down that I needed, and vacuumed the bedroom after moving everything. I was shocked that he managed to accomplish so much in an hour and a half!

So, I spent today washing clothes for Ta and packing up his size 24month/2T clothes. I will do the same tomorrow for Th, although he doesn't have much that needs to be washed, only what was purchased new for school (Ta had 3 boxes worth of clothes that were being stored in the attic so I had to wash all of them). Then, Wednesday I'll do the same for the new baby, although for the time being the clothes will be stored in the crib. We need to get a dresser, and we went looking tonight, but we did not agree on anything. TJ offered to look on the Internet for something. I don't care as long as I have a dresser so I can put the baby in the crib when s/he comes home from the hospital.

From being on my feet all day Saturday and again today, my lower back and hips are bothering me. Once I sit down, it's difficult to get back up. My hip feels like it goes out of socket, and I have to limp the first few steps I take until my hip adjusts itself. I took a bath tonight to try to ease some of the pain, but it only made it worse. I am going to take some Tylenol and head to the couch for a few minutes before bed.

I probably won't post tomorrow, so have a great week!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Power of Prayer

This week’s Bible study topic is on worry and prayer. The Lord has answered (as He always does) a major prayer request in my own life that I would like to share. It may seem simple or not a big deal to some, but for me, it has been one of many huge boulders weighing heavily on my mind since the end of last semester.

I shared awhile back about all the scholarships I received this year for school. I am attending this last year of college free of charge- meaning my tuition, books, and childcare (both preschool tuition and babysitter charges) are covered for both semesters all by scholarship money. That alone was a huge blessing, and definitely unexpected, but much appreciated.

Beginning last April when I registered for my classes, I began searching for childcare for 2 afternoons per week during this upcoming semester. I used a sitter during the spring semester and wanted her to continue this fall. However, she had not made her school schedule and did not know her availability. I waited. And waited some more. I asked her again in June, and she still did not know her schedule. I began to pray about the situation. I had just been notified of the scholarship money, so I knew if the Lord was taking care of the financial aspect of my schooling, He would take care of all the details. But, I am a person who likes to plan, especially since I am having a baby early in the semester. I like to work out the details as much as possible. I kept praying, and asked her again at the end of June. Still not sure of her schedule. I asked another sitter that I use on occasion and she was not sure of her schedule. So now I have 2 possibilities but neither can commit to anything. I just kept praying, and when mid-July came, I reminded myself that the Lord was handling the situation. I had made it through 8 semesters already, and He would see me through these final 2.

Tuesday I called one of the girls. She had made her schedule, but because she, too, is taking 6 classes, she was not comfortable committing to babysitting on a weekly basis. She would prefer to babysit on school holidays (my college and the public school do not align on their days off) and breaks, and for date nights and such. I understand. My kids are a handful, and committing to 2 afternoons per week for 16 weeks is a huge undertaking. I am thankful that she was honest with me and felt comfortable enough to tell me the truth rather than not getting back to me. But, I really began to panic as I start back to school in less than 3 weeks. TJ and I have been praying like crazy for our childcare situation, and this morning I received confirmation that the sitter who kept the kids last semester is able and, more importantly, wants to continue to do so this semester. YEAH! Thank you, Lord!

Now all of the details have been worked out, and if the Lord would have answered this prayer back in April, or even June, I would have missed out on these past few months of fervent praying.

I feel so much weight lifted off my shoulders because of this answered prayer, but of course I still pray that Taco’s birth will be as smooth as Ta’s and T.G.’s in regards to getting back into my routine for school. I will be taking 6 classes this fall, the most I have taken at 1 time, and I am nervous how everything will fall into place. I know Taco will arrive when the Lord is ready, and not one minute before, but I just hope that while I’m in the hospital, I don’t get too behind in my classes. Thankfully TJ is great about having a laptop ready for me to use while I’m there, and as long as I have my books, I should be okay. I am just praying that Taco arrives earlier in the semester instead of closer to my due date only for my peace of mind, but again, it’s the Lord’s timing.

In October I have to begin praying about childcare for the spring semester as I will be doing full-time student teaching beginning in January. The younger kids will attend preschool 5 mornings per week, and hopefully I can find someone willing to watch them in the afternoons for a few hours (or perhaps 2 people to split the week). As I’ve done in the past, I am just taking it one semester at a time. The Lord will work out the details. . . and worrying about tomorrow only causes me to miss out on what's happening today.

Philippians 4:6 (NIV) - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

*I am thankful for the opportunity to approach the Throne of Grace and present my cares to my Lord whenever I desire.*

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

All I Want for Christmas. . .

is my 2 front teeth!

Th lost his tooth! A friend of ours from church offered to pull it for him (that kind of stuff gives me the heebie-jeebies) and surprisingly, Th agreed. She got a paper towel, had him look out the window, and in a matter of seconds it was out. Th never flinched! He was so excited, as were TJ, Ta, and I! He got a drink of water and ran into the bathroom to look in the mirror. He was so proud, and smiled big at everyone he passed in the hallway. He couldn't wait to get home from church tonight to put it under his pillow for the tooth fairy. He also spent most of the church service feeling the gap between his teeth with his tongue. He looks so cute with his toothless grin!

*I am thankful for friends with stronger stomachs than mine-- and the opportunity to witness my firstborn's first lost tooth.*

Below is a picture (please ignore the mustard on his face- he had just finished eating a soft pretzel)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ohio Recap

We’re home after a long week touring Ohio and visiting family. Our trip was nice, although it started out hectic because we were in and out of the car so often. Last Saturday we went over to my dad’s twin brother’s house (my uncle) to visit with his family. My cousins came over and all the kids played together.

Sunday we went to the Akron zoo. It has been 10 years since TJ and I were there last, and it’s changed a lot. It’s a small zoo, but they have animals that the zoo by our house doesn’t have, so the kids enjoyed it. It has been remodeled and it’s really nice. We left the zoo and the kids napped when we got back to my mom’s. When they woke, we went to eat at my favorite Akron restaurant- Swenson’s. It’s a local drive-in franchise that has been around for over 70 years. In the past, males were car hops and females worked in the kitchen. Because of EEO laws, I think that’s changed, but the food still tastes great and we eat there every time we are in Akron.

Monday we woke, packed up the car, and drove 2 hours to my dad’s apartment in Columbus. Since we arrived around lunch time, we decided to go to McDonald’s for lunch so the kids could play a little bit and stretch their legs. Well, my dad gave TJ some wrong directions and we ended up driving down a one-way street—going the wrong way! I was screaming for TJ to turn around because he was going to continue driving into oncoming traffic. I’m still not sure what he was thinking! He pulled into a driveway and turned around, thankfully without having a head-on collision!

We ate lunch and went to my dad’s. Ta napped, T.G. played, and Th, my dad, and I headed to the grocery store. When we got back, we headed to the pool. After swimming for a little bit, we ate supper and then walked around the pond to look at the ducks before getting the kids ready for bed.

The next morning, we fed the ducks and headed to my cousin’s house for the day. We had a blast! The boys were in heaven playing with my cousin’s kids (Austin included), and I had a little break because my cousin’s 3 daughters entertained T.G. We swam, ate, played with the animals, watched the snake eat a mouse, watched a movie on the big screen, swam some more, ate some more, and visited with more family. By the time we got back to my dad’s Tuesday night, the kids were exhausted. They went right to sleep, which was nice for TJ and I.

Wednesday morning we again packed up and drove 2 ½ hours to my aunt’s house in Cincinnati. We ate lunch when we arrived (no driving the wrong way down a one-way street!), then right away jumped in the pool. After swimming for a little while, we crossed the creek and headed to the barn. My uncle met us out there with his tractor, so the kids got to go on a “hayride” back to the house. My aunt and uncle used to have horses, sheep, and chickens, but now they don’t have any animals except raccoons, deer, and a dog. My uncle explained the old horse pasture is now being farmed for hay. However, the kids still enjoyed walking around the barn, seeing the old farm equipment and animal tack. Ta helped my uncle pick some veggies from the garden, and rode the tractor back to deliver them to my aunt. It was really cute how Ta attached himself to my uncle. My uncle is a big guy (he reminds me of Santa Claus), and Ta is usually shy around strangers, especially large men. But, because my uncle is a “farmer”, Ta was in heaven! He loves tractors, animals, farms, etc. He wants to be a farmer when he grows up, so this week, as he’s helped my uncle, we’ve affectionately called him “Farmer Ta”. He loved it, and was disappointed to leave.

Thursday we drove across the Ohio River into Kentucky and went to an aquarium. It was neat for the kids to see the city and the big bridges connecting Ohio and Kentucky, and all the boats on the river. They’ve never seen a paddle boat before, so they enjoyed just sitting and watching the boats load and unload at the docks. The aquarium was fun, and lasted all day.

Thursday night my cousin’s kids came over to spend the night. With her kids and mine, we had 4 boys ages 7, 6 (almost), 4, and 3. They went night swimming, which was fun, and camped in the living room together. Friday we went to a park in the morning and had lunch at McDonald’s. When we got back, we spent the afternoon swimming, playing, and riding the tractor. My cousin and her husband came over after work, and my dad’s ex-girlfriend and my other cousin also drove from Columbus to see us. My uncle grilled supper for us, and we swam and played volleyball after eating. The boys were sad when it was time to say goodbye, and hopefully it won’t be another 4 years before we see them again.

The last time I saw most of my cousins and family was at my grandma’s 90th birthday party 4 years ago. I of course saw my grandma Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, but she is not the same. She suffers from dementia, and she does not remember anyone other than her husband (who’s been dead since I was 5) and her children. It was difficult for me because I’d try to talk to her but she had no idea who I was. I showed her pictures of the two of us from several years ago, and she recognized herself and me as being with her in the pictures, but she didn’t know who I was. She literally is in her own world. She just sits and hums to herself quietly. My aunt kept telling me not to get upset or take it personally, and I don’t, it’s just hard to see her like that. She was so vivacious and alive and full of spunk, and now she is quiet, reserved, and not at all like I remember. In some ways, I don’t know if I want to see her again only because she’s going to get worse. I don’t want to remember her like that, and I don’t want the kids to remember her in this condition. Instead, I want to remember the spunky gal that spoke her mind at any given moment- that’s who my grandma is!

That’s our trip in a nutshell. I was able to catch up on laundry and unpacking; however, I need TJ to find time to rummage through the attic for clothes for Taco, T.G., and Ta. Plus, I need him to rearrange the furniture in my bedroom to better accommodate the crib for Taco. He's been busy finishing a project for grad school, and we're busy the next 2 weekends. Hopefully he can find time during the week so I can begin to prepare for Taco's debut. Delivery day is fast approaching!

*I am thankful for the opportunity to visit with family.*

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Mommy & Me

We’re home! I’ll have another post at a later time detailing the remainder of our trip. For now, I am excited to share some news- Th has his first loose tooth!

It began bothering him while we were away, and then on the drive home, he discovered it was wiggly. He is so excited, and he just had to call someone on the phone to share his news. However, he now refuses to eat anything that’s not soft or easily swallowed.

He starts school in 2 weeks. I took him school shopping yesterday afternoon between church services so I could take advantage of the tax-free weekend. I picked up actual school supplies a couple of weeks ago, so yesterday was for clothes and shoes. It was just the two of us, and we had a nice time. He is getting more vocal on his likes and dislikes regarding the clothing he wears, so I think he liked having an opinion on the clothing we bought. On our way home, we stopped and got a milkshake to make our afternoon more special.

I can’t believe how quickly he is growing up- way too fast for me! *sigh*