Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Still Sick, But Not Terrible

Well, I'm still sick but I'm not worse.  In fact, I woke up this morning feeling quite peppy, which was good as I had to run off at 7 a.m. to get my biannual bloodwork to check my A1c levels. For those not "in the know", A1c is a measure of average blood sugar level over the last 3 months.

Right now I have a headache and oh, I'm tired.  I'm hiding in the family room with the 2 youngest while Naomi (who made dinner) feeds the older 6 plus herself.  Yeah for Naomi!

We have exciting news. We think.  The neighbors are selling their house and moving to Arizona.  This week, they came to an agreement with a homeschooling family with 6 children!  Definitely very exciting to have a big family moving next door. The "we think" is because we know sometimes weird things happen with buying and selling.  We came really close to buying a house once, and it fell through. But it looks like it'll work out, which is great for our old neighbors AND our new neighbors to be.

That's about it. I am really hoping I feel totally well in a day or 2, but I'm thankful not to be too sick.  I'm not coughing.  My breathing has mostly been Ok though I've had to use albuterol a few times.  I hate albuterol. It makes me feel all shaky and weird.  Oh well, I'm thankful that it exists when my lungs tighten up.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Wee Bit Sick, Lads and Lassies

I have a long and illustrious history of getting sick last in the family, but today -- yes, my friends -- today Kevin and I are sick the kids seem mostly well.

What's with that?

I'm not too bad but I am resting as yesterday I felt like my breathing was off. I used albuterol and felt thoroughly shaky and weird afterwards. Ugh.  But so far I'm doing Ok with ye olde lungs.

I took a long and intense nap this afternoon, which was nice.

I'm letting the kids have way more screen time than usual.  I am hoping with plenty of rest and relaxation that I can recover quickly.

Lots of people in the area have gotten really sick with something respiratory.  A few have ended up at the ER.  There have been hideous discussions of pneumonia and breathing problems and all kinds of rottenness.

So I really hope and pray I'll get over this quickly and easily.

Cute Kid Pictures

Sensei Wu




Mommy and Rose

Sister-sister bonding on the kitchen floor

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Quiet Week

It was not a particularly exciting week, which is a good thing. Families here and far have been stricken by a variety of illnesses.  A couple of large families we know have been hit with a nasty stomach bug. The wonderful teacher who assesses our children got so sick with something respiratory that she had to go to the ER.  So we are thankful for being fairly healthy.

Kevin and I have been extra tired, so we may have some little thing, but all in all we are well.

The weather was very odd this week. Temps soared into the low 60's.  In January.  Crazy, but we did enjoy being able to run around outside without any bugs biting us.

We've been thinking about replacing our Mazda MPV minivan. It is a ripe 17 years old, which is distinguished for a vehicle. This is also the minivan that took the brunt of the first accident I ever had in my life, back in October.  It still drives fine, but it has a nasty dent in the back.

We're eyeing a Chrysler Pacifica.  It is a new model for Chrysler, and one of the higher end versions of it has a bunch of safety features we want in our next minivan. Also, and Kevin is super excited about this, the middle seats fold into the floor.  We both have back problems, and it is hard on him (I never do it) when he has to pull out the seats to transport something in the back of the minivan.

Unfortunately, since it is a new model, there are not many used ones around and the ones that are used are still quite pricey. We're going to save up some more before taking the plunge.  If we can make the MPV keep working until fall, the new Pacifica will come out and the 2017's will likely drop in price.

It'll be nice to have a new vehicle. I've never been very enthusiastic about cars, but I admit the new safety features are wonderful. The red Mazda 3 has blind spot monitoring and it really is awesome.

Naomi and Lydia are taking Spanish again, in a nearby town. We continue to enjoy having a teen driver. Lydia is working on the class portion of driver's ed and will likely get her temps in the next few months. Then we get to start all that up again, the 50 hours of practice driving including 10 night hours.

I finished my Star Wars fan fiction this morning.  It was really a lot of fun.  I am not someone with traditional hobbies like playing instruments or crocheting or knitting. I adore reading. And rather to my surprise, I discovered I really enjoyed writing fiction. I mean, I used to, 20+ years ago, but I still enjoy it. So we'll see -- I have another plot bunny floating around in my head and may try to put it down soon.

That's about it.

Oh, we had one minor lament recently. Kevin is working on our taxes and  we no longer get a child tax credit for Naomi since she turned 17 in 2016 :-). But we still get a deduction.  Those are different things.  I didn't know that 'til this moment, when Kevin corrected me. Can you tell I don't do the taxes?

Rose is Adorable

This is for all those Rose fans out there...

Yes, she did indeed push the laundry basket next to the wooden side table next to the table so she could climb up on it. And did. This kid wants to gain altitude.

It was lovely this week with temps climbing into the low 60's. So we went outside and played. Here, Rose is removing gravel that she threw into the wagon some weeks ago.  Very helpful.

And this is a montage of one of her daily tantrums.  Life just does not conform to her will sometimes!

Wrapped up like a burrito.

Miss "I've got the attention span of a gnat" spent 15 full minutes playing with this pan while I made cabbage rolls. It was awesome.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

This Week

Kevin had a business trip this week. He left on Tuesday and will be here late afternoon today.

He went to Florida.  He loves the ocean and his work was literally on the ocean. He and his coworkers were looking over some corrosion test studies.  I find corrosion, especially salt water corrosion, to be fascinating. One of my undergraduate projects involved salt water corrosion and I remember that our group decided copper beryllium alloys were probably the best solution.  Ha. I know that means nothing to people reading my blog.

I miss Kevin because I love him, but I also miss having the other parent here.  We've done fine without him, but I'm tired.  There are things he does every day that I had to remember to do. And in the case of the dishwasher, which he always starts right before bed, I remembered Tuesday night but not last night. So right now the dishwasher is running, which means our whole routine is off because usually it is done first things in the morning, and Joseph and Sarah and Daniel empty it.

And last night, an opossum was eating our cat food outside.  No Kevin, no shooting the possum. I do not shoot animals.  I suppose it sounds mean to shoot the possum, but we do not like coons and possums hanging out on our front porch with our cats, especially given that they eat our cat food. But I'm a wimp about guns. I can shoot one but I sure don't want to.  (Yes, we are very careful with our guns, given we have many children.)

I recently read a book called How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana White.  It was cheap on Kindle and I like organizational and decluttering books.  White's book was interesting to me, mostly because it did not apply.  She described herself as a slob. She is super creative and very project oriented and before she figured out what worked for her, her house was a disaster state 95% of the time.  Like, really bad.  So she came up with what worked for her way of thinking.

I'm so different. She says some people are Normal people, and she is a Slob.  She is hilarious, by the way.  I am a Normal person. I am probably on the end of being compulsive about routines and schedules in some ways, though 9 kids have broken me of some of my fastidiousness. I've never been great about dusting, which is actually a big deal as many people in the house have dust allergies.

Anyway, fun book to read and it helps me realize how differently some people think.  We have 9 kids. Not all will approach housework the same way Kevin and I do. He too is methodical and organized.

The other amusing thing in my life is that I am writing a Star Wars fan fiction.  I used to be a big Star Wars fan, then felt God telling me to drop it for a season that lasted 20 years or so.  Then God told me recently it was Ok to watch the movies and read Star Wars fanfiction.  Fanfiction, for those not in the know, is stories about various movies, books, computer games, etc. written by fans. They are posted on online forums and of course no money is made.  I decided  at Christmas break to write a story set in the Star Wars universe.  It is an interesting thing, fanfiction. Since the characters are set and the world building is already in place, it is easier to write because the author doesn't have to come up with all new characters and settings.  In addition, there are lots of fans out there so the stories already have an audience.  So the writing is easier, and the stories actually get read. And reviewed.  I've been writing away and lots of people are actually reading the thing. I haven't written fiction in a long, long time so it has been fun. I used to write for fun, but life has been busy.  Let me assure you that writing my Ph.D. thesis wasn't nearly as fun, though way more practical.

For those few who might be interested, here is my fanfiction:


Some of our daughters also write fanfiction, though for different genres.  Miriam writes Undertale fanfiction, and Lydia is well known in the Ninjago fan sites.

Of course, the sad reality is that some fanfiction is R rated or worse, so one has to be careful when reading stories.  The site I use allows readers to filter what is on their list.  I went with the teen rating as there is violence in my story. You know, lightsabers.  Violence :-).

That's about it.  I would also like to take this blog opportunity to say that our 3 younger children are a lot of work.  They are like a barrel of monkeys some days.  In a good way.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pouty Face

EVERY morning, Miss Rose and I have a disagreement about the necessity of having her diaper changed.  Check out that pouty face!

God knew what he was doing that toddlers are much smaller than parents. So far, I've always won the argument (in the midst of significant wrestling and squawks of toddler outrage.)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Musings on Christmas Vacation

Kevin has only today and tomorrow off and then he goes back to work.  We will be having a couple of young ladies over tomorrow (friends of Lydia and Naomi) and then we buckle back down on school again.  Winter is often a good time to get a lot of school done, because we're not as distracted by outside activities.  In winter, mostly I just want to stay home :-).

We have had a really nice vacation!  It has gone better than usual.

To be honest, this time of year, while thrilling, is also tiring.  3 birthdays plus Christmas is a lot of excitement, and sometimes excitement is hard on me and the littles.  That, and I freely admit to being someone who thrives on schedules.  Being out of routine is hard for me.  Having Kevin home is great but also requires some adjustments since (sadly) we don't have him around all that much during the week when he is working.

So past years, I felt unsettled off and on throughout Christmas break. This year, I rarely felt that way.  I think that Lexapro (my anti anxiety/anti depressant) is a major reason.  I tell you, I never knew normal people didn't deal with the kind of anxiety I've coped with most of my life.  Now I'm a big believer in the "puzzle" view of emotional/mental issues.  That is to say that I believe problems like mine are best solved through working the issues from different angles.  Medication wasn't the only answer for me.  20 yearsa ago, my anxiety was far more severe, and I have improved tremendously through prayer and emotional healing.  I'm glad I was able to manage life quite well without Lexapro when I was getting pregnant every 18 months or so, because I preferred to avoid meds while pregnant if possible.

But yes, Lexapro has helped.  I am way more mellow.

Another interesting facet to this vacation is that Kevin didn't tackle any major projects. There are always things to do around here. In fact, we have a new counter top for the boy's bathroom upstairs that has been sitting in our garage for months.  Ordinarily, Christmas break is the perfect time for Kevin (who is incredibly handy) to tackle such projects. Unfortunately, Kevin injured his right wrist 3 months ago and it has not been improving.  This break was a good time for him to take it really easily, and that meant that he didn't do any major projects. He also visited a specialist last week, who gave him a cortisone shot. We hope that he'll improve rapidly.

3 birthdays and Happy New Year!