Wednesday, June 29, 2016

19 Years

We celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary yesterday. We went to the Yaffa Grill (a Meditteranean place) and then went to a grocery store and a Cabela's, a big outdoorsy, sportsman store.  Kevin likes wandering such places, and I wanted to see FISH. And I did. They have a big fish tank with big fish. Fun.

It really seems well nigh impossible that we've been married 19 years, though those 9 kids (the eldest of whom is 16) would seem to indicate it has been quite a while since our wedding. In many ways, it is very hard to remember life before marriage. And yet, it seems like yesterday we WERE married. I remember that day so well.

I feel lucky.  VERY lucky.  I'm kind of a weird person and while I think I'm pretty easy to get along with, I know I am not mellow and being "happy" doesn't come naturally to me. But I am very happy with Kevin. We are best friends as well as lovers, and that is one of the world's greatest blessings.  And sometimes I wonder why we do so well together. Yes, we have our occasional fights and disagreements, but they are rare.  We have the Holy Spirit helping us and He certainly does, but still -- many Christians marriages end.  And ours has not just lasted but has grown stronger through the years.  I am happier now than I was the first year of marriage, and the first year of marriage wasn't bad, though it was difficult.  Melding to someone else isn't trivial, and we spent a lot of time on our couch talking through things that first year.

I know commitment is a big part of it. When we were in marriage counseling with our pastor (in Michigan, which is where we married) he emphasized the need for commitment. And certainly the kids inspire us to commitment as well.  I am very thankful that our kids have grown up in an intact marriage. Plenty of people experience divorce through no desire of their own and of course God watches out for them and their children, BUT it is good our kids know we love each other and that at the end of the day, we'll both be home with them.

One other thing that helped our marriage, I think, is that we both entered marriage without those infamous rose colored glasses on. I've read many a marriage book that said, "You think he (or she) is perfect, but you will find that a few months into your marriage, he (or she) will outrage or offend you and you'll finally see the feet of clay."

Well, it wasn't like that for us.  We were a little older (I was 27 and Kevin was 26) when we were married, and we both had soldiered through difficult things in our lives, and we both knew that relationships and marriage would not be easy. We were right.  It isn't always easy.  Sometimes it is really HARD.  But good things in life are hard, sometimes. We knew right away that we'd experience challenges, so that didn't take us by surprise.

Anyway, 19 years.  I'm so thankful for Kevin. Definitely God's gift to me.

Rose Goes to the Doctor (To Get Her Stitches Out)

The last blog post was about Rose's close encounter with a sharp edge, which resulted in a wound above her right eye and which required 3+ hours at the ER on Thursday night.

Today I took her to the pediatrician to get the stitches out. I anticipated it would be rough, and unpleasant, and difficult.

It was even worse than I thought it would be.

Poor Sweet Rose.  A 2 year old just does not understand why someone would need to pick stitches out of her head.  It is just uncomfortable and irritating and annoying and she HATED IT!  And boy did we hear from her!  We had to hold her down, 4 grown women, and she thrashed and howled while I sang songs to her. That did help.  I talked a lot to her and we had 2 breaks so I could cuddle her.  If you read "2 breaks" ya gotta know it didn't go smoothly. There was one stitch that was tight and the physician's assistant just couldn't get it out (a nurse was holding Rose's head, but she still managed to twitch.)  Finally, the PA called in one of the older doctors, who is long on experience but a little shorter on compassion and warmth.  And this doctor took 30 seconds to get the stitch out. Lesson for the future, go with experience over warmth when stitches are going to be removed.

 When the stitches were out, the PA and the nurse carefully put steri strips over the wound to pull it closed.  They gave me extra ones to put on so when these "fell off", I could put new ones on.

  Would it surprise you to hear that Rose pulled them off during nap time?

  I'm not going to wrestle with her about this.  It is hopeless -- if that girl doesn't want steri strips, she will not leave them on. She's 2.  She's determined.  She's stubborn.  This is not a hill worth dying on.

And really, she looks pretty good.  There will be a scar but I hope the hair in her eyebrow will hide it somewhat.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Rose Took a Spill

   Given how much Miss Squeak LOVES to climb, it is probably surprising it took her 'til age 2 to take a bad fall.  She fell off the computer chair yesterday at 5 p.m., and cut her right eyebrow open.  I picked her up and was shocked at the blood, and after a careful inspection realized she'd need stitches.  So off we went to the local children's ER.  We walked in right behind a boy in a wheelchair who had a bad laceration on the back of his head. The admitting nurse said they have only 2 rooms set up for stitching lacerations, and both were full. So yeah, it was going to be a while. They checked her out right away to make sure it wasn't an emergency or a concussion, and then we spent 2 hours in the waiting room.  All in all, it went fine.  Rose was exhausted and almost frantic in her desire to explore and climb, but we managed.  There were a lot of people with babies coming in; I'm guessing because little babies are supposed to be checked if they have fevers. I don't know.  Lots of babies.

  They finally got us back, then we had a wrestling match while a nurse applied a numbing cream to the cut.  Another 20 minutes, and 3 professionals marched in. They wrapped her in a sheet and then put her in a velcro strait jacket of sorts. I was so glad we went to a Children's ER because they are set up to keep upset toddlers still.  Of course she hated the entire procedure, but she couldn't flail her arms and legs around.  10 quick stitches later, and she was unwrapped and in my arms.  We got home at 9:30 p.m.

  Stitches come out in a week or so.  I need to watch it for infection and keep it clean, which she doesn't appreciate. But all in all, it went as well as could be expected.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day Pictures

By the time we attempted a picture from oldest to youngest, Rose was NOT happy :-).

Saturday, June 18, 2016

New Picture at the Top of My Blog

I finally put up a new picture.  It doesn't have me in it, but everyone else is in it.  I have a great family.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Summer is always interesting for us.  I mean, we don't go off and do a LOT of exciting stuff, but it is warm and the pool is open and we aren't doing normal school.

You'd think the end of school would make life simpler for me and it does, but when I'm out of routine I feel a little weird. I'm thinking through school for next year and trying to spend more time with the kids.  I love schedules and I'm out of schedule. So I'm working on being calm and praying for wisdom about how to best use my time.

Daniel turned 4 in May and Rose turned 2 this month, so our babies are growing up.  I do feel a bit odd about it.  Rose is still so much a baby, yet she isn't. She isn't a little baby. She is talking more and more, can climb stairs (though she's still wobbly) and is generally maturing.  It is all good, but it does feel strange as we move inexorably forward into a season without very small children.  By her next birthday, she'll probably be potty trained and we'll be done with diapers.  I won't miss that. I think.

She's also getting crabby about taking naps. Seriously kid, you just turned 2.  I'm not ready for you to stop taking naps!  And she really isn't either, as the days she doesn't nap, she is horribly crabby by 6 p.m .

The kids have been swimming a lot.  The pool isn't amazingly warm (upper 70's) but the kids are tough and don't mind. I mind. I've not been in the pool yet this summer.  I hope soon to start working with Sarah on learning to swim. Most our kids learned how to swim around age 5/6.

This morning Angela and Miriam went out to swim. They came trooping back in almost immediately to announce that "a small animal" was floating dead in the pool.  I will freely admit that I have my phobias, and floating dead things (bigger than insects) freak me out. Yuck.  I didn't even go out, but Naomi and Isaac did. It was pronounced a dead skunk and they got rid of it. Poor skunk. We had a live skunk in our pool 9 years ago and it swam for hours before Kevin finally got tired of trying to help it out, and just flung it out of the pool.

Kevin's mom has been hard at work clearing out parts of her house now that she is retired and has more time.  She came across Big Mouth Billy Bass, which was a crazy mania a couple of decades ago.  Billy Bass sings 2 songs (including Don't Worry, Be Happy) while flapping his tail and moving his mouth. Needless to say the little ones are ecstatic.

I'm visiting a chiropractor frequently these days as my neck and back have been rather a mess.  The chiropractor I'm seeing is very firm and very quick but she's done miracles in 2 weeks. I am faithfully doing some core exercises too as I really need to improve my strength.

Speaking of, time to do my exercises.

Fun Hair

Our 2nd daughter, Lydia, is really good at braiding hair. A few days ago, I was actually lying/sitting still for a while and she started braiding my hair. It was relaxing and fun and when she was done, I had 11 little braids, tight braids which stayed together.  Mine tend to have little hairs sticking out. I don't know how she does it.  Strong fingers.

Aw, relaxation.

Cute little braids.

  I didn't remember to take a picture of my hair the next morning after I took out the braids, but suffice it to say that it was all foofy.

Lydia braids her own hair similarly almost every night, to get the cute foofy look.  Isn't she a gorgeous girl?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

King's Island Day

King's Island is a fairly local amusement park. Every year, my generous company provides tickets for one day of fun.

Sunday was the day. We had fun. The weather was mostly good, barring one downpour for about 20 minutes, when we hid out in a store.  Other than that, it was rides and food and lots of pop.

I was with the Sarah and Daniel most of the day, and I had the camera, so there are lots of pics of them.

We all wore orange so we could count the kids frequently.

Rose stayed home with Grandma, who read to her and fed her and generally gave her a day full of one on one attention.

So another King's Island Day passes for our family.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Naomi has her driver's license!

  Naomi took and passed her driver's license exam yesterday!  We have a newly minted driver!!

  It is exciting and a bit nerve wracking to have a new driver.  But she will do fine -- she is a cautious driver and we've spent many hours on the road practicing.  It is just normal, I guess, to be nervous when setting a child loose for the first time. She went on 2 solo trips yesterday and both went great; the second she had to negotiate an accident scene and did so with aplomb.

  The picture was staged, just so you know. The little guy in the helmet and his older sister just wanted to climb in the car for the picture.  Naomi didn't drive the littles anywhere as they don't know how to be quiet, and we require that siblings in the car be quiet while Naomi is driving.

  Actually, Daniel (age 4) is about as bad a backseat driver as he possibly could be. Last week, I drove him and Sarah to the eye doctor and he kept saying things like, "Look at that car!  We're going to crash!"


  Many congratulations to our eldest for her hard work to get her license.