Saturday, August 30, 2008

10 Years Ago: Part 2

OK...sorry to leave you all hanging. I knew that I wouldn't have enough time to finish the story and it is a little fun to have a continuation. So I quickly checked into the hospital and they first asked for a urine sample. I was given a cup and I tried to get one. I told the nurse that it was all brown coming out. She quickly told me to forget it and get up on that table so they could take a peek. They determined that the "brown stuff" was meconium and we needed to figure out what was going on. They pulled in a machine and did a quick ultra sound. As you can imagine, they began to sound a little panicky about the baby.

The ultrasound proved that the baby was in a frank breech position. I had no idea that the baby was head up. We all decided that it was best to proceed with a c-section. The baby was starting to appear a little distressed and it was best to quickly stop labor and do an emergency c-section. I had never once even thought that I would have one. I had prepared for labor not surgery. I had taken the classes. I had emotionally geared myself up for the pain and the experience of a natural birth. And yet, that is not how it unfolded.***You can see from the picture that Tally's head was the last to come out. Hope the "real life picture isn't too much for my readers.***

After a quick spinal, I was in the OR and my doctor, whom I had really come to trust, was there to perform the surgery. Chuck was able to be by my side and I was awake and alert to feel the tugging and the pulling of the delivery. Of course I was thrilled and surprised that the baby was a girl. And a big girl at that. 10 pounds 22 inches and the most beautiful round head (no cone shape here). Tally Janae was born with in an hour of arriving in the hospital that morning. Her name was chosen with thoughtful consideration. Tally (short for Talitha from Mark 5) which means little girl. Janae means God has responded. Her name fits her perfectly. We had prayed for the blessings of a child for years and we were so glad that we were blessed with her. And God did respond with a little girl.

As for the beginning of life with a new born...well that will be next (part 3 and I promise that will be all). We didn't have the easiest start. There were some complications of that breech position that I had never even heard of until we were discussing things with an orthopedic surgeon. You would think that I have learned about having things all planned out...somehow my plans rarely transpire (good thing I can trust God for all the details in life).

Friday, August 29, 2008

10 Years Ago: Part 1

I have been thinking about posting about our transition into parenthood (ie: share our story of how we became parents). As Tally's 10th birthday quickly approaches this weekend, I can't help but wonder where the time has gone. It has flown by so quickly. Before I became pregnant with Tally, I was one of those many women, who struggled with infertility and desperately wanted be become a Mother. Those years of infertility were some of the hardest years and most difficult trials of my life. More than anything I longed to become a mom and yet, becoming pregnant was not an easy thing for me. After several tests and months of charting my temperature, my OB/GYN (who was very conservative) agreed to put me on Clomid. Even on Clomid (a fertility drug), I did not ovulate each month. After several months, I became pregnant with Tally.

Those pregnancy months were not the easiest. I was sick almost the whole time and threw up (up to 10 times a day) for over 20 weeks. Yet, I was so happy to be pregnant. I was able to wear maternity clothes (back then it was traditional Mommy wear ~ lots of polka dots and high waisted dresses). Little things like that I had longed to do for years. I spent hours looking at baby name books (we wouldn't tell anyone the names we had picked out). I even gain a bunch of weight and didn't care. I had waited so long to be part of those rights of passage into Motherhood.

I had never given much thought about the possibility of complicated birth issues or any birth defects. I never had an ultra sound (like I said, my doctor was really conservative). I didn't not know if I was having a boy or a girl (life has so few surprises). My due date was September 4th and Labor Day weekend I got quite a few stares as I waddled around a local fair. My doctor really didn't give me the option about inducing labor, he believed it is best to let nature take it's course. I didn't mind. Again, even by the end, I was still so happy that I was able to experience all stages of pregnancy.

Finally my body started getting ready and I started laboring at home. I wanted to shower and get cleaned up before heading for the hospital (I really didn't want to show up looking all worn out). I got dressed in my pre-chosen out fit and was standing in the bedroom when I said, "My water just broke". Chuck stood there and looked at me as all this brown stuff gushed out and he said "That doesn't look like water". The whole plan of looking cute as I showed up at the hospital went right out the window. I quickly changed clothes and ended up leaking "brown water" all over the place as we headed to check in. I even managed to waddle down the hall with my back seat all wet (not looking cute at all) as we hurried to check in.

OK, I did label this part 1. I will be back soon to finish.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Aunt Susi

We have been busy this week with a wonderful visit with my one and only sister, Susan. It is always a joy to get together as we live in different countries and only get to see each other once every few years. It has been 3 years since we last had a visit from her. The girls were beyond overjoyed to have her come. Today we had a little tea party (just us girls). Something she probably doesn't get to do often with her kids (she has 3 boys).

There is something so special about good relationships that are so natural even if it has been years since you last were together. I love those kinds of kindred spirit relationships. I hope my girls have that kind of friendship as they grow.

My sister was commenting on how different it is to be around girls. She says they are quiet, obedient, relational and don't challenge me. Then she said, "I hope you know how good you have it with your girls." What would a boy do to our mix of things around the house? Wouldn't it be fun to find out???

Well, I am off to go and pick up Chuck at the airport. So I guess that will be our mix of boy in to the home for the weekend. =) Oh, BTW, for all those of you who are still praying for Big Daddy to get that job, keep praying. Earl (AKA, Big Daddy) and Sandy dropped by the house on Tuesday just to visit and ask some questions. It was a very surprise of a visit (as I have never met them before and had no idea they were coming) and turned out to be a nice visit. He is still in the running for that job. I told them that we are praying that he gets it (to which Sandy said, "Keep praying".)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Refiner's Fire

I am sure many of you have heard this story before. It has been on my heart lately as we go through the circumstances of our everyday life. I believe that God is refining me to a level like never before. To the point where there is not one part of me that doesn't respond in a pleasing way to our Maker. Needless to say, I am feeling weary and desperate for God to work in a mighty way to sell our home and bring our family together. I know full well that He is faithful and He is sovereign and His will is perfect and His timing is right.

Let this Refiner's Fire story be an encouragement and a challenge to you, as it has been to me. Oh, let Him see His image when He looks at me.

Some time ago, a few ladies met in a certain city to

read the scriptures and make them the subject of

conversation. While reading the third chapter of

Malachi they came upon a remarkable expression

in the third verse.
"And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

One lady's opinion was that it was intended to

convey the view of the sanctifying influence of the

grace of Christ. Then she proposed to visit a

silversmith and report to them what he said

on the subject. She went accordingly and without

telling the object of her errand, begged to know the

process of refining silver, which he fully described

to her.

"But Sir," she said, "do you sit while the work of

refining is going on?" "Oh, yes madam, " replied

the silversmith, "I must sit with my eye steadily fixed

on the furnace, for if the time necessary for refining

be exceeded in the slightest degree, the silver

will be injured."

The lady at once saw the beauty, and comfort

too, of the expression,

"He shall sit as a refiner and purifier

of silver."

Christ sees it needful to put His children into a

furnace. His eye is steadily intent on the work of

purifying, and His wisdom and love are both engaged

in the best manner for them. Their trials do not come

at random; "the very hairs of your head are

all numbered."

As the lady was leaving the shop, the silversmith

called her back, and said he had still further to

mention, that he only knows when the process of

purifying was complete, by seeing his own image

reflected in the silver.

Beautiful example! When Christ shall see His own

image in His people, His work of purifying will

be accomplished.

Author Unknown

Saturday, August 23, 2008

night time tucking in

As much as I love my kiddos, I do look forward to the quiet hours of the night when they are tucked in and I have the house to myself. Part of our night time ritual (when Daddy isn't here to tell them ridiculous stories) includes me climbing in bed with them and snuggling and praying with them. Sometimes I will sing with them if there is time and they ask to do so. Tonight, Tissy requested a song to which she couldn't remember the name of. So, I asked her to remember some of it to see if I could come up with it. All she could come up with was, "it has a G in it" and then she said, "it is the one that says all the things about God". Um...doesn't help too much but I did come up with it.

Salvation Belongs To Our God - Crystal Lewis (Exodus)
Salvation belongs to our God
Who sits upon the throne
And unto the lamb
Be praise and glory
Wisdom and thanks
Honor and power and strength

Be to our God
Forever and ever
Be to our God
Forever and ever
Be to our God
Forever and ever, amen

And we the redeemed shall be strong
In purpose, and unity
Declaring aloud
Praise and glory
Wisdom and thanks
Honor and power and strength
And now my kids are tucked in and the house is quiet. Night night.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I am ready for nasty Fay to go away!!!

Who would have thought a tropical storm would be such a problem. I thought we were not even going to be hit with this storm, and then (dun dun dun....) Fay came a knockin' on Thursday. And she showed up with some attitude. We have had solid rain and wind for the past few days. More than I ever expected. We had prepared the best that we could have, but you never know how the storm will unfold. By now I feel like Fay has outstayed her welcome.

Even though we had drained the pool several inches, we ended our day yesterday bailing out a few more inches. We were being threatened with having the pool overflow and come into the house. We lost our power for a little bit yesterday and we were not able to pump out the water with out the electricity.

We have had 3 unexpected water issues in the house/garage/guesthouse. It is so hard to know how to handle these things with out Chuck around. I really feel unsure of what to do and how to handle it. I plan on getting a friend help me next week take care of what ever needs to be done.

With all the wind and rain we had 4 trees fall. Not bad. We have already gotten one down and taken care of. Maybe the rest can be dealt with when Chuck comes home next week. There is also a LOT of debris in the yard. We spent several hours cleaning up branches and junk in the yard. Pine needles everywhere.

I got a call this afternoon to let me know that someone wants to see the house. They are coming on Monday. So now I know that I have 2 days to clean this place up from Fay and get it show ready. I am thankful that someone didn't show up today to look at the place. It would NOT have shown well today. As always, it is such an encouragement to know that someone wants to come see the place. I was just feeling like no one would be looking at houses when a storm is around. It was just the encouragement that we needed.

Just a quick update on my dad and his surgery. He is recovering well and I want to thank you all for praying for him. It has been so hard to be far away when something like this takes place. Hopefully he will head home from the hospital sometime in the next few days. Then he will have months of a slow recovery.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

favorite games

This is the first of a few favorites post. I have been thinking about our school curriculum as we start a new school year. Amazingly this is our 4th year of homeschooling (man, time does fly). There are some things that we have used for school that I would use again, and a few that I wouldn't spend money on for a second time. I think one of the biggest challenges for schooling is to find out what kind of a learner your child is. Whether you homeschool or not, it is a great way to help your child learn the most information and in the easiest way possible. So far I think my kids are hands on and visual. And that has helped us determine what programs and curriculum that we use.

Regardless of the learning style, I am all about having fun while you are learning. I have a pretty good collection of games and hands on learning that we use a lot. I have invested in some of these to use for school, fun and tutoring (I also tutor each week). These are some of my favorites.

These small and very affordable games are one of my TOP favorites. Sherlock and Monkey Memory are memory games. Catch the Match is a observation game and Number Chase is a math game. All need some skill (rather than just luck) and are enjoyable for all ages (maybe 6 to adult). I have ordered them from Timberdoodle (link is HERE) and also found them at a local teacher supply store. You wont find them at TRU or Target. I also like that they are small enough to travel with. We have played them while waiting for a table at a restaurant or in an airport.

This is my collection of Hot Dots. These are boxes of cards that are in different categories. We have some phonics ones, math, states and capitols, money, telling time...They require a special Hot Dot pen to choose the right answer on the card and it lights up and makes noise depending on if your answer is right. I also use these for school, tutoring and time filler for the car or other times like that (you can make the pen silent for quiet places like church).
My only disappointment with these is sometimes the pen thinks the answer is wrong if you have it on an angle rather than perpendicular. You get used to it and quickly adjust how you push the pen down. I also got these at a local teacher supply store and I have ordered them from Rainbow Resource (link HERE). I only bought one pen and I make the kids share.

One more new favorite is Wrap Ups. I got these for math (flash cards are not as hands on but the same idea). The idea is that you wrap the string around the plastic card to answer the math facts and check the back to see if your answer is right. I have looked at these for years and finally bought some recently. It was a huge conformation of how "hands on" my kids are. I have also used them for tutoring and they were a huge hit. The kids don't really realise that I am sneaking learning into their fun games.
Again, you can get these are your local teacher supply store and Rainbow also sells them (link is HERE). I look forward to adding some more of these into our collection.

I will share some other schooling favorites in some following posts. I have a few blogging friends that are new to homeschooling this year and I hope that you find encouragement and inspiration as you take off on this adventure.

Monday, August 18, 2008

home sweet home

We are back from our little trip. I really wanted to post while we were there and time just slipped away. I am trying to process my thoughts about our time there. It really was a good visit but it also was a bit of a weird week. The day we got there I found out about my dad's concern about his heart and that put a bit of a damper on the week. Since I am on that topic I will ask for prayer for him. He goes in early tomorrow (Tuesday) for major (quad or quin) bypass surgery. I am feeling distant and like there is nothing I can do to help them out. And feeling so badly that my dad has to go through this. Praying for a speedy recovery and that all goes well.

OK, on to some details about our time...we had such fun. It was so great to see Chuck just thriving in his new work environment. He just fits there. It is so great to see him so relaxed and confident. It is wonderful to see his co-workers so glad to have him there and see him make great contributions. I look forward to sharing more about the company and some of the neat things that they are involved in.

We had a wonderful time exploring the town. It has such a quaint and classy atmosphere. There is an old town square that is steeped in history. I look forward to learning all about the civil war history. We have never lived in an area like this before. I hope we are close enough to the down town to enjoy it.

We also loved this old factory building that is now a shopping area with cute stores and restaurants. On Saturday mornings there is a fantastic farmers market in this parking lot. What a great resource. We didn't buy much but we sampled plenty of goodies.

We were able to check out some houses on Saturday afternoon. The style of houses are very different there and there is a colonial feel to a lot of them. As of right now we have no contract on our home so we can't look all too seriously. It is good to get a feel for the area and try and figure out what kind of a life style we want to do this time around. Not sure we can recreate our country life that we have here.

As I finish up on an update of our time I have to share a picture of the MOST unusual thing that we saw in the yard of one of the homes. Even if this home was my favorite (which it wasn't), it is a HUGE deal breaker and I can't imagine it will be easy to sell.

Yep, that is a grave yard. With very old headstones. 17 and 1800's. Even so, to have that right in your yard is too high on the creep factor for me.

We had a slight change in plans to come home. My neighbor called and asked if we were ready for the possible hurricane Fay. Nope. Had no idea. After a few seconds to talk it through, we decided to pack up and take off that afternoon and drive straight home. Chuck came with us and he is flying out first thing in the morning. I really wasn't up for driving home in the rain. Hopefully his flight takes off before the rain and wind hit our area. The 12 hour trip was long and we made it home at 2:00 am but we are here and ready to crash after our whirl wind trip.

(again, please pray for my dad and his surgery tomorrow)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

700 miles later...

We made it. The past few days have been full of sitting in the car and driving to see Chuck. We had to make a few pit stops along the way. I was able to swing through our old town and see the chiropractor (totally a good idea). We also stopped off about 1/2 way to see my friend Christy. What a great time we had visiting and letting the kids play. And of course, had to stretch our legs and get some letterboxes on the way too. All in all, it was an uneventful trip. No major fainting or getting car sick and the only tears were when Tally was starting to lose a loose tooth (I pulled off into a rest area, kept the car running ran back there, pulled it out and told her to swish her mouth out and spit and we were back on the road in less than 2 minutes). It is good to be here and explore Chuck's world and experience what life has been like for him for the past 4 months (can you believe we have been living in 2 different states for 4 months???)

On a bit of a downer note, my Dad is going in this morning to investigate how much blockage is going on in his heart. Looks like one way or another it will be some kind of a procedure. My heart is heavy and concerned and I would appreciate your prayers for him.

We are also still praying that Big Daddy comes through with an offer soon on our home. Laying it all at God's feet and trusting His will and plan for our life. I will try and post pictures soon of our time here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


It just seems that my mind is full this morning. Making it difficult to rest and sleep. When ever this happens I start to wonder ...

if there is someone that I should be praying for. Wonder how Misty is doing (HERE). Wonder if I should be up getting things off my"to do" list. Wonder if our life will settle into normal. Then this morning, I started to wonder how long this stage of waiting to sell and move will last. Wonder how I am going to plan a birthday party for Tally that doesn't scream "my life is too chaotic right now to do better than this". One of my biggest struggles about moving again is doing the bare minimum for birthdays and holidays.

Wonder if we will like a new town. Wonder if we will make friends easily. Wonder where we will find a homeschool group and if it will be a good fit for our family.

how long we will have our life dominated by the whole moving process. (It was almost a year ago that I was feeling these same type of early morning, mind full, type of thoughts (HERE). Here I am doing it again. Trying to wrap my brain around moving again. Tired of having God ask us to do difficult things. Again, I am reminded to lay it at the Father's feet and just rest. Rest in knowing that He is in control and desires the very best for me.

The girls and I are preparing to go and visit Chuck next week. And truth be told, I think that the idea of this causes me stress. Chuck's parents just got here yesterday to stay here at our home while we are gone (a very thoughtful and generous thing). But traveling by myself on a little road trip is new to me on my own. And I am such a homebody, it is takes me out of my comfort zone to leave home on any kind of trip. I know we will have a good time and it is worth the effort it will take, it just feels like I have a lot of loose ends right now. Good thing I have blogging to help me sort out all my thoughts. I know the truth, but this morning, my feelings have me wondering.

Friday, August 8, 2008

an evening on a waterfront park

Last night the girls and I headed out to find some more letter boxes. We drove to a neighboring town to hunt down some in a library and on a water front park. One of the things that I love the most about letterboxing is that it takes us to place that we wouldn't seek out on our own. It was a beautiful evening and by the water somehow the humidity isn't as terrible. If the sun hadn't been going down we could have stayed for hours. Since blogging is my new form of scrapbooking, I will include lots of pictures again.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Garden update

Last time Chuck was home we spent most of our time working in the garden. We had gotten most of our produce out of what made it. I guess the season is really early because we are so far south (there are times I believe we live in the tropics). We had such a great time watching the garden grow and produce and thrive. And then, as the season became sooooo hot, and the bugs swarmed in, it wasn't such a joy to be out in the garden. It became over grown and full of weeds and ants.

We decided to keep what was still thriving (the peppers) and get rid of the rest and start new. As our biggest goal here was to keep it "pretty and quaint" for perspective buyers. I spent about a week pulling out what was left and when Chuck got home we worked our tails off (in the hot sun mind you ~ nothing that jumping into the pool fully clothed didn't take care of) to get it ready for that last open house.

My idea was to go for a butterfly garden and try and keep our cost down. As for the butterflies, we got to see one come to life (see his chrysalis on the fence). When he came out we watched him dry his wings while we worked that morning. It was just beautiful.

We are so careful not to spend money on a home that we are just getting ready to sell anyway. I was able to move some plants from other parts of the yard and fill the beds with mulch. It looks clean and cared for, yet low maintenance. I also had the idea to sink these logs/stumps into the ground for a climbing area for the kids. Again, just using what we have and reusing as much as we can.

On a totally different note, Big Daddy and Sandy came back again today to see the house again. Looks like it is at the top of their list. They spent a lot of time here (we were out for the day) and they were having fun imagining what their stuff would look like here. Thanks for the prayers. Keep praying he gets that job.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We are praying that "Big Daddy" gets a job

Last week I got a call saying that we were going to have someone look at the house on Saturday. As soon as I got this information, I just had such a peace about this showing for some reason. With Chuck gone it was up to me to get the place "show ready" for Saturday morning. I mowed the yard and cleaned the house and we were ready to run our weekly errands and be out of the way so this family could see the place. For some reason, I asked if our realtor could come and be here for the showing (something I never have asked before).

Later I heard that this family really likes the place. They were here for 2 hours and had all their questions answered (good thing our realtor was here). I was also able to get the scoop from her about the showing. Here are the details and how we are praying. The guys name is Big Daddy (yep, that is what he goes by) and she is Sandy. He is up for a contracting job (from Anheiser Busch I think) in the next town over and if he gets the job he said he would put an offer on the house. So, needless to say, we are praying everyday that Big Daddy gets this job. To be totally honest, I have such a peace about this one. I am trusting that this is our buyer. And if not, than I am trusting that God has something better in store for us. It is so neat to see how God is working and all that we are learning through all of this.

So, join us as we pray for Big Daddy and Sandy. Wouldn't that be awesome if God worked through Anheier Bush and Big Daddy? What a great story to tell. =)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Let's see if I can follow my train of thought ?!?

Sometimes I wonder what makes me tick. I guess I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to "make" the girls some night gowns. Let me explain myself just a little bit here. It all sounds so easy except for the fact that I have no sewing pattern for this. What got me started on this? Let's see if I can follow my train of thought.

A few weeks ago, I got my mom's sewing machine that I begged off of her. It arrived via Chuck one weekend when he was coming home (my folks left it with him earlier this summer) and after I convinced him he could check it as luggage. It fared well on the flight and only a box of pins escaped and were EVERYWHERE when we opened the box. So with the newly acquired machine, I have been eager to get to creating. After scanning at the pattern books at the fabric store, I was not inspired. I really wanted something cute and to be honest, easy. When I was folding some laundry the other day, I noticed these long slips that I got from this company HERE, seemed easy enough to copy. The girls often wear them to bed at night as night gowns. I thought I could make these for them. All I needed was a little material.

We were in Walmart the other day (which as a side note, I hate that store and only go about 3 times a year, avoiding it like the plague) and I thought I would pick up really cheap fabric to to TRY my idea out on. I didn't want to waste expensive fabric on these nighties just in case they were terrible. So the girls each picked out a color of gingham and we were off.

I figured yesterday afternoon was as good as any time to get to work on my idea. All the while I was wishing I had just settled on a pattern and not thought I could imitate some designer and come up with something out of nothing. Well, aside from looking a little bit like a hospital gown or maybe a feed sack dress, they turned out pretty cute. I added bows after I was done to add a little pizazz.

Now all I need are some good pattern ideas and I will be off to creating a new wardrobe for the tween girl. As I have stated before, finding clothes for these little ones is getting hard (HERE). I need some ideas on where to get cute patterns. Any tips for me (and all those other readers)?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Basic Bread Recipe

I have mentioned before that I make our own bread and I wanted to share the recipe that I use to make it. (Click HERE to show pictures of the pizza and milling the wheat.) Lately I have accidentally let the bread rise a little too long and that has resulted in the bubble at the top. It doesn't hurt anything, it just doesn't look as pretty. I use this basic bread recipe for bread, pizza dough, cinnamon is pretty universal.

1 1/2 cups of hot water
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
2 t salt
1 egg (optional)
2 T lecithin
1 t gluten (optional)
4-5 cups fresh milled flour (approximate)
1 T yeast

Combine water, oil, honey, salt, egg. Add lecithin, gluten, 2 cups flour. Mix thoroughly. Add yeast and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 2-3 min in my Bosch ~longer in kitchen aid.) Shape and let rise until double. Recipe makes 2 loaves.

350 for 25-30 min for bread (a little shorter for cinnamon rolls and pizza)

For the cinnamon rolls I roll out the dough, use 1/2 stick of butter melted and spread over the dough. Then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.