Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Thank you, Jesus, for coming to us in the form of a baby. Your only purpose was to save us. What a wonderful gift.
We love you, Jesus. Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Once again, I marvel

Once again I'm marveling at God's wisdom.
Last year, at this time, I was heavily pregnant.
Christmas Eve would make me 37 weeks.
Due to a blood clotting issue, my doctor induced me at 37 weeks with Emily. We assumed the same would hold true this time.
I have always wanted a Christmas baby. I cannot imagine a better Christmas gift than a new baby.
I was so excited. This might finally be the Christmas babe I'd dreamt of.
And why not? If the doc induced me right at 37 weeks before, surely she would this time.
I knew no doctor would want to work during the holidays if they had a choice, but I still held out hope.
Except, part of me was nervous about having a Christmas baby. I told Matt that part of me really wanted a Christmas baby, but part of me was terrified. What if something was wrong with this baby? What if this baby passed away? I didn't want Christmas to forever be marred with that memory. Or the memories of open heart surgery.
I knew. Deep inside, I knew.
I look back and I marvel at God's wisdom. I can celebrate Christmas with nothing but the memory of being pregnant. Joyful memories of life within me.
You see, memories of NICU stays and open heart surgery days...they stay with you. Even if your baby goes on to be healthy, those days, they haunt you. January 11 will come, and I will remember the events of that day. I will vividly remember the feelings, seeing her for the first time, the swollen baby, the vent, the incision...all of it will come rushing back.
For Christmas though, only sweet memories linger. I am so grateful.
Thank you God, for always doing what is best for us, even when we dig our heels in and think we know better than You!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sweet Memories

Years ago, sixteen to be exact, Matt and I had no money.
We were blessed enough to have family with friends that allowed us to stay in their house, rent free, as long as we were fixing it up.
We were also blessed enough to have family that was doing all the work for us.
We were lazy. I look back at that moment in time and am ashamed. We complained about the house. Complained about people being there early to work. We were selfish.
This post isn't about that. Thank goodness for forgiveness, so we can move on from there!
At that time, we didn't have a washer or dryer. Once a week we would head to the laundromat(I can't believe we used to get by doing laundry once a week. ONCE!! Now I do several loads each day!!). The laundromat was in a strip mall type building. Next door was an arcade. We would load our laundry into the washer and head next door. We would play games. We each had our favorites, but we would always go back to a game that had cars side by side. We would race each other. Matt would beat me every single time. We would laugh and have a great time. We didn't have much money, so we would only play a few games. I will never forget the days of racing Matt.
During this move, all of our belongings are in storage. The only things we brought are the things we could fit in the back of the van, and in Matt's car. We didn't trust the movers with our TV, so it rode in the backseat of Matt's car. We figured there wouldn't be much to do, so we brought Guitar Hero with us.
Matt and I have spent so much time playing the Beatles Guitar Hero. Sometimes just us, more often with the kids. We still laugh.
It brings me back to those days, sixteen years ago, when it was just he and I, racing each other, every week.
Our lives are so much fuller now. So much better. But those are still sweet, sweet memories to me.
How I love that man, more and more every day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Just some random thoughts and goings on.

~I turned 35 on Saturday. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. In so many ways, I still feel like a kid. However, in others, I feel ancient. My hair is getting more and more gray, almost by the day. I like to think it is from wisdom, and all that we have been through. I'm not sure when to embrace it, and not feel the need to pluck it or cover it up. Matt says now, my mom says when I'm 75. At least we all know what she does! ;-) I also keep thinking about the fact that if I was pregnant, I would be considered Advanced Maternal Age. Advanced??? Am I really THAT old??

~Church last weekend was really, really good. It was the week of the Christmas program. So many people were involved, and they even invited Collin and Zachary to be shepherds, and for Emily to be a sheep. They were so cute. They also invited Matthew and Dillon to do a reading. Matthew declined, but Dillon did it. Afterwards, everyone was so friendly. We stayed for the fellowship meal and had a really good time. We are pretty confident that we've found our home.

~The kids started pathfinders and it seems like it will be a good fit. This next weekend the group is going out visiting. Saturday evening, we will drive to Cincinnati and go to the nativity event at the Creation Museum. I'm excited and hope it is a good opportunity for the kids to get to know the other pathfinders better.

~Friday, I took the kids to a new homeschool drama group. It is mainly for teens and they are just starting out. They did a fall follies and will be putting on Annie Get Your Gun in June. It seems like a really great group. Since it is for the teens, I think we may take Collin and Zachy to another group that is having auditions in February. It seems to be more of a children's theater.

~Things keep coming up with the house. Things we didn't expect to be dealing with, and while we are working it all out, it sure has taken the joy out of buying a house. We are still set to close on the 23rd, but time will tell if that happens.

~The medical care here is..well..I don't know. First, I took Matthew to an appointment with his PCM so we could get a referral to the ophthalmologist. They quickly informed me that at this base there is no continuity of care. What this means is that every time we are seen, it will be by someone new. In our case, this doesn't fly well. We need a doctor who is familiar with everyone. I don't know what to do about this. But wait, it gets better. I talked with the cardiologist's nurse today about what to do with Zachy's phone monitoring, and about whether or not the kids need to be seen right now. She scheduled them and asked why they were being seen. I told her they both had TAPVR. She asked me to spell that, and then when I told her it was initials she said she'd never heard of it. I had to explain what it was. OK, I know it isn't common, but she is the cardiologist's nurse for heaven's sake. This has me more than a little worried!! The good news is, there isn't much of a wait for appointments and they will be seen on Wednesday. Wish us luck!

~In all, things are going well. I'm still struggling with being lonely, but that should improve soon...I hope.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Where do I belong?

I feel totally alone.
Since we have moved I feel lost. I realize it's only been a couple weeks, but it's still lonely.
My natural tendency is to turn to the Internet. Over the years I've been a part of several different Email lists and message boards.
They have ranged in topic from trying to conceive, to miscarriage survival, to due date clubs, to homeschooling, to heart groups.
Only now, I don't seem to fit anywhere. I fit everywhere, and yet no where.
And it's lonely.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


This deserves it's own post.
This morning, the kids and I were having worship.
We were talking about easing one another's burdens.
I asked Zachy and Collin if they knew what a burden was.
I was surprised when Zachy said he did.
He then told me he had heard a song about it.
I was mentally wracking my brain, trying to figure out what song he could possibly be talking about, when he started singing.

"I fell in to a burden ring of fire...."

Oh my goodness, I cracked up. All I could think was that this would have made a GREAT Reader's Digest story!

The post that has no title

Tonight probably isn't the best night for me to be writing.
I'm a bit down tonight.
There's actually a whole entry I'd love to write, but I can almost hear people's thoughts. Unless you've walked in our shoes, there is no way you could understand, so I don't even think I'll bother trying to explain it.
I just want to write it out. I guess the old fashioned paper journals still have their place. There isn't anywhere online that I feel safe. Too many judgements can be made, and it just isn't worth it.
Instead, I'll write about Ohio.
It's weird.
I know I said this about Texas too, but it just is.
It's hard to imagine Ohio ever feeling like home.
So far, we've visited two churches. The first was way too big for us. No one talked to us, and it was just..blah. The second holds more promise.
It seems, though, that people around here just float from church to church, and in fact some have told us that that is what they do. They go to whatever church happens to be having something fun going on. Apparently, this particularly applies to the youth.
The only problem with that is that we want to have a home. We don't want to go here and there.
It's strange too, the whole area has one Pathfinder club. We took the older boys to the meeting on Tuesday and it seems to be OK. It's just so bizarre to us to have one choice. I mean, if we don't like it, there is no where else to go. Same with Adventurers, but we haven't tried that out yet. In fact, I think there might be a meeting this Sabbath. However, it's supposed to snow on Sabbath, several inches. It's been so long since we've driven in snow, that we are both a little hesitant to drive the great white in anything slick. We are worried that a van that heavy will just slide around like crazy. So, we'll see what we decide to do.
I'm feeling pretty lonely right now.
Matt has started back to work. His whole section moved up here, so he is working with all his old friends, and nothing but location has changed for him.
I am so very glad I have six children. I know that has made this easier for them, having each other. I know they still miss their friends, but they are all fairing quite well.
I'm trying to put a happy face on for them, but this part is hard. It takes awhile to get used to things, and to meet people. It doesn't help that people here don't seem all that friendly. Everyone seems so hurried, and that they don't have time for you. There was one lady at pathfinders that may be a potential friend. *sigh* Who knows. Time will tell. And it will get easier, I know this. It will just take awhile.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.
I hope this Thanksgiving finds you all with grateful hearts.
We have so much to be thankful for this year.
The biggest thing we are thankful is the love of a kind and loving Father, who cares about even the smallest details of our lives.
We are also thankful this year, for our newest addition. How different this Thanksgiving could have been, had things not gone well. So many parents are going through the motions this year, as they try to cope with life without their children. Children who were taken far too soon by CHDs. My heart hurts for them, and even though I have so much to be thankful for, I can't help but feel sadness for all of them. I cannot imagine how they must feel tonight.
All of the children are thriving and happy, for that, I am thankful.
We have arrived in Ohio, and are in our temporary lodging. We will be here through the holidays.
It is comfortable here, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Best of all, it's warm. We've quickly learned it is quite cold in Ohio.
We've tried to make it homey here and have put up some Christmas lights for the kids, outside. We are the only people here who have lights, but that's OK.

After looking at loads of houses, and praying a lot, we put an offer in on a house we loved. After negotiating all day, we have come to an agreement, and we will be closing on December 23. We are so excited to be homeowners! And yet, it is a bit scary! If something goes wrong, it's our responsibility! YIKES!! We love the house though, and could see our family there. It was the biggest house we looked at, and the least expensive! Can't beat that.
Here are a couple pics from the realty site.

I'm baking pumpkin pies, and Matt will be making a cheesecake. We've boiled the eggs. Tomorrow, we'll celebrate all we are thankful for, and know that all our blessings come directly from our Lord.
May you be richly blessed this Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I know, I know..I left you hanging on the cruise entries. But see, something is happening. Something major.
We are moving.
What's that you say? You already knew we are moving? Oh. Well then, let me just's happening NOW!!
We've been planning this move for well over a year and it is impossible to believe the time is now!
Our house is all packed up. Tomorrow the movers come and load up our furniture, and we leave on Monday.
It's all so bittersweet. I'm excited for a new adventure, and at the same time so very sad to be leaving our friends behind.
All of this to say...I can't do the rest of the cruise entries right now, because the computer is packed up, with the pictures! So, when we get there, and get the computer set up, I'll get back on it!
For now, try not to miss me too much!
Oh, and just because y'all need to know...Nannie has started taking several steps. She'll be a flow blown walker before long!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day Five ~ Dinner with the Captain

On day five, Matt and I woke up wondering why it felt like we were still moving. We looked out the window and didn't see an island. We were scheduled to arrive at Grand Cayman early in the morning, but we didn't see it. We thought maybe it was on the other side of the ship. It was hard to tell what was going on, because the water was pretty choppy. We finally turned on the TV and saw that we were, indeed, still moving. Apparently, the weather was too bad for the ship to dock.
This was a huge bummer because we had been scheduled to do a pirate ship excursion. The kids were really looking forward to it.
Instead, we ate. HA! No, actually, the pics from the first entry that didn't fit anywhere, most of those came from day five. We spent lots of time at the arcade, and the kids went and did their programs.
Later, we did a scavenger hunt, which we did not win! BOO!!
We also found a karaoke booth. This booth was so cool, and tucked away in a corner, so it was deserted. We spent hours just singing our hearts out together. It was so great.
Then the time came to get ready for dinner. I have to say, the idea of having a formal dinner with the captain unnerved me. We had bought the kids all matching Jamaican shirts, it was the best we could do.
We met with Brett at a bar before dinner for drinks. The kids were excited because they were told it was all on the captain, so they got to have virgin daiquiris.
It was then time to head to the dining room.
The captain's table was right in the middle of the room, and it felt like we were on display. Especially, when the captain made his grand entrance...all eyes were on him..then us. EEK!!

Thankfully, as I mentioned before, he is amazing. It wasn't long before we were totally at ease.
Dinner was great, and afterwards we headed to our room to digest our food.
After awhile it was time to head to the flowrider.
This was an amazing pool with water shooting 35 mph to create a wave affect in which people could surf. They closed it for an hour for us, which was just one more amazing thing they did for us!
There were height restrictions and we had measured Zachy previously. He was tall enough..or so we thought. We didn't take into account that he had his shoes on!!
He didn't clear the restriction and he wouldn't be able to participate. Talk about breaking his heart.
The three eldest, Matt, and myself all tried out the boogie boards. The boys all took to it very quickly.

Let me just tell was hard. One time was enough for me.
Zachy sat and was so, so sad. It killed me.

He decided to ask if he could at least stand in the water..and then, the most amazing thing happened.
Sam, the guy in charge, took Zachy to the bottom of the hill, sat him on his lap, and shot up the hill with him.

Zachy was THRILLED.

I cannot tell you what that moment meant to me. They did this just to make one little boy happy. Sam and Brett did it over and over, just to see him smile. Amazing.
The big boys all did some cool tricks and all tried standing up, but preferred the boogie boards.

After we were done with the flowrider, we had a little girl to take care of. She ran around the whole time while the boys played, and we took her swimming afterwards.

We then headed to our room and were greeted by elephants.

And off to bed we went.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day Four- Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Day Four brought us to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We had been advised by the excursions people that Jamaica wasn't really a family friendly place, so had planned to stay on the ship.
Except, remember a few entries ago when I told you the captain invited us to dinner? Well, it was on formal night, and we had nothing formal to wear. We had planned to skip formal nights in the dining room.
We decided to venture off the ship to try and find some decent clothes for formal night the next night.

Jamaica was not fun. The people harassed us like crazy. The kids have said if they never go back to Jamaica that will be just fine with them.
We did a bit of shopping, took a picture of a Bob Marley statue, and headed back to the ship.

Once on the ship, Emily and Natalie fell asleep, so Matt and the boys all headed out to do the rock climbing wall.

They all got suited up, but unfortunately, it started to rain a bit so only Dillon and Matthew got to climb.
After dinner we had priority seating at the ice skating show. We sat right in the front and enjoyed the awesome show.

Afterwards, we got to stay and the skaters came and talked with us and took pictures. They were all so nice. I think it must be a prerequisite to be nice to work on a cruise ship, because everyone we encountered was just great.

I'm sure there was more arcade time, though I'm not sure. I just know we were out late, every night. Enjoying the stars and just being on the ship.

We headed to bed, and were greeted by swans.

Doesn't that bed look so comfy? It was. I wish it we owned it. We were rocked to sleep as the waves were getting a bit bigger. Yet another great day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day Three- Labadee, Haiti

On day three we were in Labadee, Haiti.

This is an area of Haiti owned by Royal Caribbean. They have a water park in the ocean, zip lines, and a roller coaster/bobsled type thing. As I mentioned before, the captain arranged for us to have roller coaster tickets, which was so nice of him.
It was really hot that day, and we had quite a walk. As soon as I put Natalie's hat on, she buried her face in my chest and fell fast asleep. We walked and walked until we found some seats in the shade of the coconut trees.

While Natalie I and rested, Matt took two boys at a time to the ocean. They swam and snorkeled.
Beside us was a splash pad, so Emily and the other two boys played there.

Once Natalie was awake, she played there also.

Then we all headed to the roller coaster.

We had a great time on this thing. You were pulled up by a chain, like a roller coaster, to the top of the mountain. You then went on a track, but you could control the speed by using the brakes. You rode all the way down the mountain. You could see the ocean, the ship, all over. It was so neat.

After we rode to our hearts content, we experienced the local people. I know they were trying to make a living, but people yelling for our attention and just bugging us to buy their stuff was not my cup of tea.
We bought a few things then headed back to the ship.
After we rested a bit, we headed to our first dinner in the dining room.

It was so amazing. I could eat there every night!

It was then time for the Drew Thomas Magic Show. Drew Thomas was on America's Got Talent and he was simply amazing. The show was so entertaining, and we all had a great time. I think it was our favorite show.

Matt was called up on stage to help with a trick that we still don't know how he did. It was crazy.

Waiting for the show to start.

After the show we went to the arcade and played some games, then headed to bed. We were met with bats...WEARING OUR SUNGLASSES!!

It was another great day!
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