Tuesday, February 19, 2019

February Marches On

I think we are all a little tired of winter.  We have had a cold week with a little ice, a little snow.  Nothing too dramatic. But neither are we desirous of going outside and playing. It is rather nasty.

Having said all that, there are ways that winter is pleasant because we are "stuck on the house" and I feel less pressure to get out and do exciting things. Because doing exciting things with the Horde is no easy thing :-).

I am feeling burned out so this week we are taking a little time off of school.  We will not be idle, as there are some projects that need dealt with -- specifically, I will focus on the children's clothing and shoe needs for the upcoming spring and summer.  It is always a mixture of hilarity and irritation to go through the children's drawers, because inevitably the children manage to mix up clothing so that my clothes appear in Daniel's drawer, and that kind of thing.  So we'll get all the clothes back where they belong, remove clothing that is too small or too big and put it away in the basement, and figure out what must be purchased.

I love our local Once Upon a Child.  What a blessing it is for the younger children. The older 4 are all adult sized now.

Joseph is almost as tall as I am, and almost certainly not finished growing. And Isaac. Isaac!  I still chuckle a bit as I peer up at my much taller son.

Kevin and I went on an exciting trip to Home Depot yesterday to look at counter top materials. We are going to replace the aging and imperfect counter top in our main bathroom. Naturally it is a weird size so we'll have to custom order it.  Oh well.

And now, a couple of pictures.


Rose continues to be adorable and, at times, loopy. And dramatic.  And strong willed.


Lydia got her hair bleached. This is step one and I don't have a picture of step two, after she dyed it blue. It looks great.  I have decided to go crazy and get my hair bleached as well.  I haven't ever done such a thing.  Well, age 49 is a fine time to start. I won't go all blondish, I am just getting streaks.

It'll be fun!



Sunday, February 10, 2019

Orthodontia


Isaac has braces now!  He is our 4th child with orthodontia.  Our orthodontist is a very nice man, but I'm sure he had an avaricious gleam in his eye the day we first met him.

Not really, he's very nice.

Anyway, yep, orthodontia for Isaac. We have a genetic predilection for overbites.  We aren't as concerned with the cosmetic issues, but the overbite means that the kids in question might well have their teeth wear down prematurely and/or have jaw trouble.

A long, long time ago, Naomi was 7 years old and our dentist at the time recommended she see an orthodontist. We consulted with 2, including the practice we are using now.  This practice said no, wait. She doesn't have all her adult teeth in. Actually, at that point, she had NO adult teeth in. It made sense to wait.

The other orthodontist recommended immediate orthodontia.

We decided to wait.

A dental technician gave us kind of a hard time about it.  I pointed out it was expensive and we had 6 young children and she said we could pay in installments at most orthodontist offices.

Which is true.  We could have. But we didn't want to.  We had 6 kids at the time, now we have 9 children. We REALLY don't want to go into debt for orthodontia unless we felt it was a medical necessity, and it wasn't.  

We've saved up through the years and have been able to pay cash for all 4 kids, though in Isaac's case we delayed a year because we were saving up.

So all this is to say that while we obviously put a priority on getting our kids' teeth fixed, we also realize this is a "first world issue" to some degree.  We are blessed in many ways that we have access to good medical and dental care. We also need to be wise not to put ourselves into debt about something which is GOOD but not VITAL.  We would, of course, go into debt if a kid had an appendix out or some other problem that would kill the child if it wasn't addressed. Of course we would.  But for orthodontia, it made sense to wait.

Oh, as an added aside, it turns out Naomi is missing her wisdom teeth and 2 of her 12 year molars and none of that was obvious when she was 7 years old. It is very good we waited on treatment for her because her particular situation was complex and unexpected, and her current treatment takes into account her missing teeth.



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Warm Spell


After last week's crazy cold snap, followed by snow on Friday, this weekend was quite a pleasure.  Temps jumped into the 60's!  Seriously. It felt like we could frolic around outside in our bathing suits, though we didn't of course.

Today it is warm but very very wet.  I believe tomorrow is supposed to be warmer, and still wet.  Lots and lots of rain.  The water tables are probably high because snow melted and now days of rain.  We live on a hill and never get flooded; I hope others are as blessed.

Friday the temperatures will plummet and the winds kick up, though nothing as bad last week!  Lows in the teens, though.

Today I get to stay home all day, which makes me very happy.  The last few days have been busy!  Monday I worked much of the day then went to the chiropractor. She beat me up in a very healthy way. It hurt a lot, but I feel much better today than I did on Monday.

Yesterday I helped a friend with cleaning (just for an hour or so) and then went to Sam's with Rose. Kevin's new job means he has less flexibility with his schedule, so I'm doing more shopping. Not a favorite activity of mine, but I'm thankful for the money to feed our family. So thankful.

Kevin has been toiling away at our taxes.  He's very detail oriented and he can figure out stuff that makes me want to scream.  We have a somewhat complicated tax return this year with college expenses coming off, and an investment that didn't pan out.  He thinks he finished it all up last night, which is great.

Naomi and Lydia are doing well in school.  Naomi wrote an art history paper and got 100% on it :-).  She has a heavier load than she's carried before (17 credits) and I encouraged her to focus on her computer classes and not worry too much about art history.  As I've said to both girls, we don't expect straight A's.  We just want them to learn, and work to the best of their ability.  So far the best of their ability is almost straight A's, but I don't want them to be obsessive about grades like I was at their age.

I am reading through the Gospel of Matthew and was struck by this passage this morning:

Matthew 6:22-23 English Standard Version (ESV)

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
How can the light in a person be darkness?  I'm not a theologian but my thinking is that someone can be focused on a particular belief which is actually wrong.  I mean, people can believe something very firmly, and base their lives on that belief, and be WRONG.  Most of us in this country would say that the 9/11 hijackers were totally wrong.  I have no doubt they died in what they believed was the glory of jihad, and found themselves in Hell for the murder of thousands.  And yet, they were clearly very committed to their cause in that they killed themselves in the attacks.

It's a warning to me because...culture is so very powerful. We grow up believing something is true, and yet it may not be true.  Slavery in the South (and in the North, earlier) wasn't just accepted, it was embraced in our country.  And I'm not an expert but I KNOW many white slaveholders claimed that it was "better" for the blacks to be enslaved, that they liked it!  That they were too simple and stupid to take care of themselves, so it was better that they were slaves!   RIGHT!!!!  Someone wants to be enslaved, to have their children torn from them, for them to be denied an education, to be beaten for real and imagined mistakes or errors, to be fed and clothed and housed poorly.  And yet, I have no doubt many of those people truly believed that slavery was good and right and better not just for the whites, but for the black slaves.

Ick.

So yeah, it is important to cling to something beyond ourselves.  The Bible is my guide, and the Holy Spirit is my source of wisdom.  Of course, there are those who point out (correctly) that slavery was not condemned in the Old or New Testaments, and that is true!  And I don't quite understand that, but it seems to me that the Lord was focused on the heart instead of on changing the Roman culture.  Slaves were encouraged to not worry about their freedom, though they should take a chance to be free if they could.

But here is the more important thing. We should always focus on the 'harder' thing for us.  The slave owners in the South would point at the Scriptures that said that slaves should obey their masters. They ignored the following:
Galatians 3:26-29
26So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.   

Clearly, we are all one in Christ. Therefore, no one should treat his brother in Christ poorly.  A slave owner who truly read this and absorbed it would treat his slave as a brother. There was no such thought in the American South, where there was such horrible racism.  I don't believe slavery was quite the same in Roman times as slaves (while often treated poorly) were often highly educated and sometimes freed and adopted as sons of the master.   

Complicated stuff, and I need to get the kids moving on school. But the important thing for me is to keep asking for wisdom from the Lord about what is actually TRUE as opposed to what is cultural.  Because sometimes the culture is right, and often it is wrong.



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Family Pictures

We finally got everyone dressed and lined up and took some awesome family pictures!!


Boys


Littles


Kevin and me


Girls!


The whole clan


Children in birth order.  As someone pointed out, we are no longer stair step.  Isaac is almost 6 ft. 2 inches tall now!



Update on My Weight

I said months ago I would update on my attempt to lose weight.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Finally, in my late 40's, I am experiencing the reality known by most of you, that losing weight is hard!

So yeah, I haven't really lost weight.  The last 7 months were crazy anyway, of course, with the miscarriage and the hysterectomy. I gained weight during the pregnancy because we did have a baby and a heartbeat there for a bit.  Then I had surgery and lost some weight, because I felt lousy for awhile.

Now I'm hovering at 158 lbs or so.

I am 5 ft. 8 inches tall, so that is not an unreasonable weight at all.  But except for pregnancy and post partum, I've always been less.  Like the most I used to be was 145 lbs. So when I look in the mirror, I look a bit heavy to my own eyes.

Does it matter?  I think the answer is a resounding NO.  But for all that I disdain our culture and its obsession with thinness, it does bother me sometimes at some visceral, unconscious level until I whack myself upside the head (figuratively) and run through the truth.

I am a child of God Most High.

I am loved.

My shape and size do not reflect at all my value as a human being.

My goal should always be to treat my body like a temple of the Holy Spirit, which it is. So I should attempt to be healthy without being obsessive.

I have improved my stamina and general health a great deal in the last 6 months. Post surgery I was a weak mess. I am now literally running up the stairs.  Like really. Running.  Me.  Stamina.  Awesome.

So I will not worry about my weight.  Now if I gain 10 lbs in the next couple of months, that's a problem. Because if I get too heavy, it really will affect my health.  I am diabetic already and being significantly overweight would probably increase my insulin resistance.  But probably that won't happen. I've been coasting along in the upper 150's for months now.  It seems to be my new normal.

I am content, and am thankful for my body which came back from surgery.

And I'm thankful to the Lord who watched over me and kept me safe through the ordeal of the pregnancy last year.  God gave me some awesome doctors and I live in a time and place with excellent hospitals and safe medication. Kevin and the kids took amazing care of me. I'm thankful.


Cold and Wind

Like much of the country, we are in the midst of a major cold snap with wind as an exciting addition.


Sub zero temps


With lots of wind

Our cats are outdoors so we have two little tubs on the front porch, protected by blankets and a chair and a table for wind blocks, and we are heating up hot packs and putting them in the tubs. So they'll be fine. Also, their water bowl is heated.

They'll be fine.  They don't get along perfectly so putting them in one room inside might result in blood. Seriously.

It is kind of weird when it is so cold and the weather winkies are exclaiming about how it is a super cold snap etc. etc.  They closed Clark State today, which made us happy.  Naomi has an 8 a.m. class and the thought of her out driving in brisk winds and such cold was unnerving.  All the local schools are closed as well.  Kevin had to go to work.  It is chilly in his office but mostly fine.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Snow and Ice


We were supposed to get a LOT of snow yesterday. Well, most of the morning the temperatures hovered around 33 to 34 degrees, so we just got lots of cold rain.  Finally, the temperatures dropped to allow freezing rain for a couple of hours.  Then it got colder still, and we got some snow, probably 4 inches.

Oh, did I mention the blizzard like winds?

The result this morning is that we have drifts and ice and it is beautiful.  And the temperature is 12 degrees now and will be in negative territory tonight.

I just feel chigger eggs or whatever produces chiggers dying out there, which makes me happy.

Other than that, its too cold.

But it is beautiful.  And our house is warm. I am very thankful.