Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chocolate Covered Almonds

A local store, Fresh Thyme, has dark chocolate covered almonds.

They are...incredible. They are SO good.

When we bought a lb. the first time, I ate them all in one day.  I kid you not. They were in the cabinet and oh, it was so easy to just grab a few, and then grab a few more.  At the end of the day, they were gone and I felt slightly sick.

So Kevin, being the sweet, wonderful, loving husband that he is, came up with a PLAN. We buy chocolate covered almonds.  We put them in little baggies.  He HIDES them somewhere.  And every day that I ask for them (no more than once a day), he gives me a bag.

Win win.  I get my almonds. I don't get sick.

Thanks, honey.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


I full intend to write a post about last weekend when I have pictures downloaded.  My parents were in town and we had a great weekend together.

But let me talk about FLUIDS now.

Rose has been a little sick for a few days now (I think she's over it now) and we had several diaper malfunctions.  I'm thankful I'm a super experienced mother now and can clean up a mess with relative calm. Poor girl.  Like I said, she is better.

We went over to Kevin's mom's house on Sunday.  She gave us some Diet Pepsi and Kevin was carrying it outside when the box gave way. One pop can fell, broke open, and started a geyser which was aimed perfectly at me as I walked ahead of Kevin.  Yes, my backside was thoroughly sprayed with Diet Pepsi before my 46 year old reflexes prompted me to dive out of the way. We laughed about that all the way home.  I sat on an old blanket that was providentially in the car.

More seriously, our sweet Sarah has been having a week of nosebleeds. She had a massive one last Saturday night. In retrospect, I should have intervened more directly but it was the middle of the night and I was out of it.  I did call a nurse hotline and we talked about how to get it stopped.  Sarah was very determined that I NOT apply pressure and that was what needed to be done.  It finally stopped, after THREE HOURS.  I took her in on Tuesday to the pediatrician and a blood draw showed her hemoglobin was low.

Yesterday morning she had another nosebleed.  I was told by the pediatrician that anything longer than 10 minutes warranted an ER visit because her hemoglobin was low.  We went to our local Children's ER.  The nosebleed stopped before any treatment was necessary but I stayed to make sure her hemoglobin wasn't dangerously low.  She is still low but not badly so.

The ER doc said gently that we need to work on the whole pressure thing.  Sarah had 3 more nosebleeds yesterday and Kevin and I applied pressure and sure enough, they stopped quickly.  Sarah does not like it but we were able to convince her to sit still for it. I should have been firmer last weekend and yesterday morning, but she was flipping out on me.  Yeah for Daddy!  He was firm with her and now she is getting used to pressure.

There is a very inflamed, disturbed vein in one part of her nose and it keeps breaking open. She doesn't have leukemia or anything serious, she just has a sensitive little nose, probably due to allergies.

The recommendation is that we see an ENT and talk about possible cauterization of the offending vein (or whatever it is.)  It does involve full sedation so while it is a minor operation, it is still SOMETHING. We are praying for clarity whether that is a necessary next step.

I'm excited the whole "apply pressure" thing is working.

All this drama made yesterday, in particular, tiring. I'm so thankful I don't have any kids with serious, ongoing medical challenges.  It is very exhausting.  I was anxious and stressed yesterday over nosebleeds. They obviously are SOMETHING.  But compared to seizures or cancer or severely broken bones, fairly minor.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Birthday and Boonshoft

Joseph turned 12 this week. We went to a fairly local museum, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

They have a small zoo.


A cute pizza delivery truck to climb on.

There was a new exhibit on butterflies.  No living butterflies, but a maze with lots of butterfly facts.  It was fun.

And, he's 12!  Wow, has he grown.  Where has the time gone...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Books on Missionary Life

I spent 3 years of my childhood in Bolivia, South America, where my parents served as missionaries with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Since I WAS a child, I of course look at it all from a child's perspectives. There were some totally awesome things about being a missionary kid, and some hard things as well.  That's true about most things in life -- there are great things and challenging things.

I've enjoyed reading many missionary books through the years.  During the last month, I've read three great missionary books.

The first is "Captured" by Carolyn Miller.  Carolyn and her husband and young daughter LuAnne(age 5, I believe) were captured by North Vietnamese forces at the end of the Vietnam War. They spent close to a year in captivity. It wasn't an incredible awful experience as they were quickly recognized as non combatants.  But still, captivity in the jungle as POW's with a small child was pretty rough.  It was interesting to me to read about the mixture of the mundane with the spiritual. The reality is that almost every life has plenty of mundane, irritating moments.  Miller and family had lots of battles with ants and wet beds and trying to cook food and trying to keep clean. One thing she specifically commented on was the joy of throwing away their clothing when they were released as their clothing was very worn.  But in the middle of their daily struggle for survival were many God moments, when the Lord guided them and encouraged their hearts, when He answered prayers. They were released eventually and reunited with their 3 older children, who had been in school in another place.

I read 2 other great books by Kim Abernethy, entitled "In This Place" and "In Every Place". These are  incredibly REAL missionary books about a missionary family serving in the 1990's and 2000's. I've read books where the missionaries seemed to be floating on a spiritual high where the struggles of daily life didn't seem to weigh them down at all.  Those never seemed very realistic to me.

Kim is incredibly open about her struggles.  She and her husband and (eventually) 3 children served as missionaries in Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Jamaica before returning to the United States to work in a college campus ministry.

They had not one, but TWO, traumatic evacuations during their missionary life.  The first was in Liberia, when a rebel army effectively chased them out of the country on short notice.  Following that, they went to Ivory Coast to minister to Liberian refugees.  Kim and her husband nearly had a nervous breakdown after less than a year of ministry, because the needs were so great and the living situation so difficult.  They had a 2 year stint in Jamaica where they were renewed, then moved to Ivory Coast. After a few years there, they were chased again by another uprising.  Seriously, dudes, that is RARE in missionary life nowadays.

I'm guessing Kim's books sound depressing, but they are not. She mixes humor into her prose, and she also has a great many POWERFUL spiritual insights.

I am not someone who likes traveling all over. I love my roots, I love my grocery stores. I love living in the same house for 10 years.  The missionary life does not appeal to me, though I hope that if we are ever called, we'll go with courage.

But regardless of our earthly journey, we can learn from those living in different circumstances.  These are inspiring books.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Our girl is 9!

Our sweet Angela turned 9 this week!  

Joseph turns 12 this coming week.

We are entering into the season of birthdays.  2 in August.  1 in October.  2 in November.  3 in December :-).

Happy birthday, dear Angela!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Health Update

6 months ago, I went in for my biannual diabetes check and discovered my A1c had popped up from 5.6 to 6.1.  I honestly wasn't surprised as I'd been more laid back about eating the previous 3 months, which is what A1c measures.

My doctor wasn't very disturbed.  An A1c of 6.1 is quite reasonable for a diabetic.  On the other hand, I'm only in my 40's and have already been living with this stupid disease for 12 known years.  One of the difficult things about diabetes is that I could be racking up subtle damage for decades before real, obvious problems show up. I don't want that.

So I looked over my life and saw two basic issues.  Too much dark chocolate. Not enough metformin.  The latter is the oral medication I use.  I kept forgetting it at dinner, though not breakfast.

So yeah, for 6 months I've been cutting back on dark chocolate and taking my medication more faithfully and my A1c was back down to 5.6 as of last week.  So that is good news.

I've gained a little weight.  5 lbs, to be exact. That isn't a huge deal except that I'm not someone who gains weight readily.  AND, I've been on Lexapro, my anti anxiety med, for less than a year.  Weight gain is common on Lexapro.  It is NOT a big deal, but I am just keeping an eye on it. As the doctor said, I don't want to be up 5 lbs every 6 months from here on out :-).

I am not a stress eater. In fact, when I'm very stressed I tend not to eat.  So I'm guessing feeling more mellow about life has resulted in an increased appetite.

Lexapro continues to work quite well for me.  My doctor and I talked about cutting my dose as I have been more tired and there is that pesky minor weight gain...

And then I went home on a Monday morning, got here at 8:30 a.m., and had an insane morning with the little ones that nearly drove me around the bend, even on Lexapro.  So yeah, I'll stick with my current dose 'til Rose is calmer.

Her latest crime?  Dumping salt.  She loves dumping water and now has discovered the joys of dumping salt. THAT GIRL.  I love her.  I love them all.  But I'm going to just say it, she's a Terrible Two. And a Tiny Tornado of Terror.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

I Officially Like Texting

I was worried a bit about texting.  I have lived without a Smartphone, and texting, for all my life. My concern was that it would sort of "take over my life" in that I would hear the phone beep at me and feel like I had to find out who was contacting me.  In actual fact, I keep my phone in my purse and I hardly ever hear it.

AND, I was right.  There are people out there who really like to text, and who text often, and having a Smartphone makes it easier for me to stay in touch. I like that.

I will say the whole lack of a keyboard is still annoying but I'm adapting.  I understand why texts are usually pretty short.  Usually no one bothers with a bunch of niceties.  Questions and comments are short and to the point. Because there is no keyboard.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Coon, and School, and Rosie OH MY

I could "bless" you with a picture of the dead raccoon lying on our lawn right now, but I'll spare you.

It's enough to say that I was lying peacefully in bed last night at 10:45 p.m., JUST drifting off to sleep, when 2 shotgun blasts shattered the nighttime peace. I came downstairs to see a dead raccoon on our lawn, and Kevin striding around with the shotgun, searching for the 2nd one that had got away.  Which he didn't find.

So 2 are dead now, 1 remains.

  Last Friday, I turned in our Notice of Intent to the post office. This is required by Ohio law, informing the local school district that we will be homeschooling.  It includes a general plan of curricula for the year, plus assessments of the kids from last year.  It was intimidating the first year but now it is old hat.  So...anyone reading this who wants to homeschool, trust me -- it isn't hard.

And Monday, August 1st, was the first day of our new school year.

And this week we are doing...math, and spelling, and Bible reading.

 That's it.  I find it way easier to gradually slide into our full curricula instead of trying to start at full throttle.

  There have been some math bumps, as most of the kids took off a couple of months from math. I need to work with Angela on her basic multiplication facts, as she doesn't remember them.  That's fine.

  Next week we'll add another subject or 2.

  Naomi and Lydia start a Spanish class in 3 weeks.  It is taught by a homeschool mom and they'll be driving off to a local town 1 day a week to attend class.

  Naomi starts a college English class that same week. So, things will really ramp up at the end of August.

 I'm doing a few science lessons with this glass bottle and balloons.  Since the bottle is rigid, I can do fun things with hot air, cold air, vinegar and baking soda, yeast, etc. and the balloon will inflate or deflate depending on what is happening chemically/physically.


Daniel startled me this week by blending 3 letters to form a word.  He is very young to be reading.  And he isn't really reading in the sense that he doesn't even know the letter sounds yet. But when I sounded out m and a and t separately, he blended them correctly and said "mat".  So maybe he'll be an early reader.  He also recognizes his name and his siblings' names. (And by the way, I was working with Sarah at the time, and he piped in.)

And Rose, dear precious Rose.  She got her fingers caught in the front screen door a couple of days ago when Sarah was leaving the house to feed the cats and the door slammed shut on her hand.  I was pretty worried she might have broken her fingers but we figured out quickly she just had some cuts.  I bandaged her up (which she didn't appreciate) and kept the wounds clean.  Thankfully, little kids heal quickly.  She looks pretty good today.

This is her idea of fun. She LOVES to be outside, and she loves dumping the cats' water.  She was actually standing IN the cats' water bowl for this morning, and then she dumped the bowl.  She's busy.