Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Baking Christmas Treats

Oh my...I have to have put on 10 pounds this month with all the Christmas treats I've enjoyed. I think one of my favorite activities this year was the day of baking we did as a family. We make sugar cookies galore, and they were a touch more healthy b/c we used coconut oil instead of butter. I made a batch of butter sugar cookies just for a comparison, and you could not tell much of a difference as both were delicious. 6 dozen cookies and a few days later, Mat is about to start icing some of the cookies with homemade frosting. Elizabeth is just beside herself with excitement. She's asked Mat a million questions, but the sweetest line was (said with much enthusiasm while jumping up and down clapping) Yay, I love coloring cookies! Usually after a few questions, Mat gets a little short, but he has patiently answered her every question. I think he is as excited about the little cookie decorating project as Lizzy is.

A Month of Christmas

This December has been especially wonderful. It's been a busy wonderful month as you can imagine with two little ones, and here is a brief description of our month:

1. We have developed friendships that will last a lifetime. Went to Legoland with one family, attended a small group Christmas party, went to 2 homeschool Christmas parties, had several families over to our house one at a time, visited friends at their home, and shared long conversations with old friends by phone.

2. Visited Savannah for Christmas...1st Christmas in Savannah ever as we had a previous rule about being home on the morning of Christmas. Sometimes there is just too much to pack in, and sometimes rules are meant to be broken. It was fun to break our rule this once b/c it was a sign of the release of tradition. I find I can get in bondage of the hold of tradition, and it was nice to just go with the flow this year.

3. Visited Vero Beach and stayed there until midnight playing games with friends from the past who will be forever friends. We also enjoyed a nice long walk on the beach (yep, in December and it was perfect). This visit was particularly special b/c we got to visit with not only the couple who we have grown to love dearly but with both of their boys who now live in different states. We love keeping in touch with them and watching as the Lord leads them. What a special time!

4. Made our own Advent calendar from scratch and read scripture that pointed to the birth of Christ throughout the month. I saw Andrew grow in his understanding of Christ, and we all enjoyed this new tradition. Of course, we also promoted family time by doing something fun as directed by each advent card - played games together, read stories, played Wii, at Christmas treats etc.

5. Andrew had his piano recital at the beginning of the month (er end of last month) where he played Go Tell It on the Mountain. That was only the first of many Christmas songs he learned to play. We enjoyed singing along as he played the songs to really get us in the festive spirit of Christmas.

6. We spent an entire day baking Christmas treats. We made chocolate covered pretzels topped with peppermint Andes candies, buckeyes, sugar cookies with coconut oil instead of butter, gingerbread cookies, Ritz bits dipped in chocolate and a mistake which happened to be our favorite chocolate covered graham crackers dipped in chocolate sprinkled with the peppermint Andes candies. I might have eaten a few too many sweets this season.

7. Mat was off several days of this month after working a crazy schedule the first 2 weeks of the month. It's been so nice to have him home, and we had lots of fun times together just living life.

8. We got a new car and a new camera all in one month :)

9. We bought a groupon to ride a boat around Merritt Island, and we enjoyed doing that as a last minute activity since the groupon expires at the end of the month. It was beautiful, cold and breezy on the boat, but our tour guides were equipped with blankets and treats. We met some sweet people on that boat ride.

It's been a delightful month, and we hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas. It's not about the things we do, but the joy that fills our hearts by knowing Christ and celebrating HIM all year long.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rush rush rush...

This year Christmas has been such a wonderful time of sharing time just reflecting on the reason for the season. Andrew has been so interested in learning all the details about Jesus birth...and I tell ya, we've gone deep here. you should have heard me trying to worm my way outta explainin what Mary being a virgin meant. He kept prying, and I kept explaining why it was important instead of what it was. That just got me into a deeper hole as I was saying God was Jesus real father, and Joseph was just his earthly father. Mat helped me trudge through the whole thing. It's fun to see Andrew so interested in details of the Bible.

December usually brings a rush of activities that cause stress and lots of planning and rushing around to do this and buy that. This year has been so different. We did get the kids some gifts, but the kids haven't focused much on their gifts or shopping this year. We are just enjoying being together. I've also found that there is lots of sanity in NOT planning a single Christmas party...or being invited to one. However, that doesn't means we haven't been able to spend time with friends not does it mean that we haven't last minute been invited to parties. The past 3 nights in a row have been spent with friends at lovely parties.

It's been a refreshing season of spending time with friends and family and enjoying the slow relaxing season of Christmas. I think our homemade advent calendar really has helped us this year. Andrew has also been getting us all into the holiday spirit by playing Christmas songs on the piano.

Ahh...the simple last minute plans around Christmas instead of the planned rush has been just wonderful!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Ultrasound

Today I had to get an ultrasound of my heart (no worries - I'm sure everything is fine), and the kids had to come with me. On the way there, Andrew was telling me how excited he was to get to see Jesus in my heart. Of course, that sparked a lot of conversation about faith and how Jesus is so shiny that if we saw him we might go blind. And then we started talking about bright stars and the solar system and how Pluto is no longer a planet but they think there are lots of new planets...but I digress.

I told the technician or whatever he was called that the kids were excited to see Jesus in my heart, and he didn't laugh a single little bit. He said, "Oh, isn't that a faith thing." I don't know that he personally knows Jesus, but he did ask a few questions that made him seem interested at least, and he finally wanted to know where we went to church. He told the kids that maybe we didn't find a man walking around in your mom's heart, but it's clear that she has Jesus in her heart by the way she acts and by the way you as children act. I was blown away that a man who seemingly didn't have faith in Jesus would say that.

My hope is that in some way my innocent child's comment touched his heart. Just maybe one of these days I'll see him at my church.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Andrew is 7!











Seven years ago today (almost to the minute) I gave birth to a sweet 7 pound 6 ounce baby boy. He was perfect except for his webbed toes and the large hematoma on his elbow. We say his webbed toes make him an excellent swimmer, and his hematoma is completely gone.

He has brought such joy into our household. He smiles almost all the time, he has a passion for life, and he loves Jesus. He is a brilliant little boy, an avid reader, he has so much confidence, and he is most often so sweet with his little sister. He is an encourager with his words, and he has such a sensitive spirit. He also feeds off encouragement from others. I don't know what plans God has for my sweet boy, but I know he must have something huge in store for Andrew.

My prayer for Andrew is that he would glorify God with his life. I know people see the strength and passion Andrew has for his life, and I hope they see that it's the strength that only comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

My friend summed up Andrew perfectly the other day. She said that there is always a party going on in Andrew. And she's right. He's always filled with joy and happiness.

I love that huge little boy with all my heart!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In the Spirit of Norway...

Andrew has been reading so much lately. I'm so thankful that we decided to go with Sonlight curriculum this year. Sonlight is a heavily reading based curriculum where children learn through reading both fiction and nonfiction books. This is perfect for my little reader who reads several chapter books daily.

Anywhoo...Andrew finished reading a very thick chapter book about Norway yesterday on the way to our PE class so instead of going home to do more work, I thought...why not just go to Norway to let Andrew see the Epcot version and experience some of the things the books discussed in person. What better way to bring the book to life?! So instead of just heading home, I took the kids straight to Epcot. Andrew, who already had his head buried in another book, didn't notice where we were headed until we were nearly there. He was so excited!

Our trip took a turn for the better when we also discovered that my little fast growing girl was already 40 inches the exact height you need to be in order to ride 2 of the best rides at Epcot. Elizabeth, my little dare devil child who is brave beyond her years, was able to ride Soarin and Test Track (of which I got on video). She loved both rides - not surprising since she is also the same child who dragged me on the Dragon ride at Legoland last week. While I was begging to go home and jump off the ride, she calmly smiled at me and gently encouraged me by saying, "Mommy, you are not going to barf and I am not going to barf. It's going to be alright." She is just the sweetest!

We ended up spending much of the day at Epcot listening to the way Christmas is celebrated around the world as we hopped from country to country. They had life like characters from each country sharing details of their Christmas season. We will now be leaving our shoes out by the front door in hopes that the 3 Wise Men will leave gifts as they pass our door in search of the baby Jesus on Jan. 6. I had no idea Mexico celebrated 3 Kings day. Very interesting stuff!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bestest

Andrew continually blows me away. He has been working away all morning, and he just wrote this:

Sydney is a great puppy. While I feed her, she chases me.

I have never taught him about prepositions (though he did memorize something about prepositions in his Classical Conversations school) or how you put a comma in the sentence that starts with a prepositional phrase. However, he did it, and he told me, "I learned that from reading books."

I told him he was the bestest, and he said "that doesn't make any sense." We discussed that you can't be better than best so bester or bestest don't really make sense.

I will say that the school days aren't always perfect, but I think Andrew is getting the best education that he could get with the options we have at our disposal. Plus, I get to enjoy watching him learn and make discoveries!

Also earlier, he gave a huge man burp that smelled like garbage directly up my nose. He asked me if it smelled like I was in the middle of a landfill, and my reply was "why yes yes it does." That's what I get from sitting across from him while he does school.

Piano Recital

Andrew has been taking piano lessons since we moved to Florida so...about a year and a half now. He's very talented, and he really enjoys it. My parents gave me their piano when we moved to Orlando, and I love hearing Andrew play on the same piano I use to use when I was a big older than him. It could use a little tune up, but for the most part, that piano has stayed in tune even through the move. Ahh...and as I type the young Beethoven just sat down to play some Christmas songs...smile!

Last night he had his second piano recital. Oh was he nervous. He practiced his recital song over and over until he had perfected Go Tell It on the Mountain which is what he chose to play. However, he remembered how nervous he was last year at his first recital...so nervous that he wore his pants backwards and forgot how to play Up on the Housetop until I gave him the music to read. Last year, he was persistent, and everyone told us what a brave, persistent little man we had.

This year, it was only fitting that he nearly wore his pants backwards...again. I helped him get straightened out before we left this time though. We didn't arrive very early so he wouldn't be sitting there letting his nerves get the best of him, and we found that he was #2 to play his song...big sigh of relief.

When it was his turn, he went straight up to the piano, took his time getting situated, and then he played Go Tell It on the Mountain from memory beautifully! My favorite part wasn't the song (although he did a great job). After he played, he stood up and smiled his great big adorable, melting Andrew smile that only he can smile. In that smile, you could see all the way down to his big heart, and I know I wasn't the only one moved by this smile. He stood there with such joy and pride in his accomplishment, and boy was I proud to be his momma! That boy is a rare gem, and I know God has big things in store for that little boy.

He was so glad to play at the beginning and get it out of the way so he could sit and enjoy all of the other songs.

After the recital was over, we enjoyed a bunch of different Christmas treats we had all taken to share. Our treat was delicious, but you can't go wrong with chocolate covered pretzels with a peppermint Andes candy type crushed topping...delicious!

We went to a very late dinner to celebrate b/c it was Taco Tuesday after all...and on the way there, Andrew interrupted Mat and I in a deep conversation to say, "I rushed my song a little bit, and I took a deep breath while I was sitting up there and said to myself, slow down." Then he apologized for interrupting me and Mat talking. Mat and I were blown away. In that little comment, he shared that he was looking at a way to improve on his past accomplishments. He was mindful that he can always do better even though he recognized that he already did a great job. I don't know if you can understand that, but more than playing his song well, more than just doing what it took to get by, he wants to find a way to make himself better than he already is. He has such a great attitude, and I'm so proud of him.

Mat said Andrew's speech was in true Hathaway style, and I agree. I'll try to post pics of his recital, and get them up here when I get a chance. He looked adorable...even though his sleeves and pants are a bit short. We had a very difficult time trying to find clothes in his wardrobe that actually FIT. That boy grows too fast. I need to go get him at least one nice outfit that will fit him, but hey, at least his pants weren't backwards!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good Morning

Today started with a little visit from a precious 3 year old girl. She rushed (all too early) to my bedside, and said "Good Mawning, Mommy." She rushed away, but quickly came back to say in a loud whisper, "I love you!" That little girl has me wrapped. She has been such a challenge these past few months as she has learned how to be 3. I think turning 3 is much like going through puberty...at least it was like that at our house. I'm thankful for the sweet times I am now sharing with my little girl especially after going through the tantrums that have filled each and every day for 3 months. Thank you, Lord, for my sweet little Elizabeth. She is a constant blessing to me. Thank you for the precious relationship she has with her big brother too. It is such a blessing to watch the two of them together, and they bring my heart so much joy! Now I gotta get moving b/c Lizzy is asking me "Mommy, can I do cool (school) now." So off to play teacher I go...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

10th Anniversary

This month has gone by so quickly that I didn't have time to catch my breath! We have had some very busy days, but they have been great days filled with fun and excitement as we anticipate the holiday season and all the fun it brings. We can't wait to enjoy Thanksgiving with friends, and we have lots of visits from friends to keep us very busy over the next 2 months!

I would be remiss to mention that today is my 10th wedding anniversary. As I think of all the things I am thankful for during this season of thanks, I am MOST thankful for my husband. We have been together for 14 years (4 dating and 10 in marriage), and I hope to share many more years together. I think of that Bible verse that says something like We love Jesus because he first loved us. I think that's what I love most about Mat, he knows everything about me flaws and all, and yet loves me just exactly the way I am. He doesn't try to change me. When I'm upset, he listens carefully to understand what is causing my grief, he encourages me, and he is there to share my joy. I love that man!

We are finally settling in here after nearly a year and a half. I'm so thankful to have sweet people in my life to share fun times together. Living in Florida has been an adventure.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Insanity

I've been overwhelmed with SO MUCH going on in life. These past couple of weeks have been a blur, and for the most part, I'm thankful that there aren't many specifics I remember.

We started school on August 1. That means we have completed 14 out of our 36 weeks and nearly 70 out of our 180 days of school. My math may be off (cause my noggin hurts so bad right now that I want to vomit), but I tell ya that so you can understand that the routine has started to make us all a bit wonky. We need a break from the norm, and Thanksgiving cannot come soon enough.

My brilliant little man has started daydreaming. My precious little princess has started screaming, and I...well, I'm grasping at just about anything to keep us sane for the next couple of weeks before the break.

I've changed up our routing majorly this week in effort to keep the sponges soaking in all the wonderful things they need to learn. It's helped some. There is still daydreaming and shenanigans, but we have had a much better week. In fact, I was thrilled when we started the day out with some laughter and lighthearted fun instead of shouting and arguing.

Andrew and Elizabeth were running and got a little tangled up and took a big fall. Lizzy knocked her head on the concrete and caused us some concern, but it turns out that she really is made of rubber...at least that's what we have said apparently loud enough for a certain 3 year old to hear and get confused about. Today when I asked her if I could kiss her noggin (which now just looks like a rug burn with a teensy scab) she told me "no b/c it's all better now. It's just that rubber thing." But she did allow me to kiss her sweet little cheek after we shared some giggles over her cute rubber head.

Then, Andrew took great delight in telling me that Lizzy didn't wake him up for once. He said, "usually I just lay there biting my tongue so I don't yell at Lizzy for playing with all my toys." When Lizzy heard that, she shouted "no No NO, Andrew don't bite your tongue b/c it will hurt." Andrew and I giggled at her desire to prevent Andrew from pain, but who wouldn't giggle after hearing a sweet little girl with her high pitched squeaky little voice shout a sweet warning to her precious big brother. And don't you just love her new fascination with saying the word b/c in every sentence. Until now, her the part after the b/c didn't make any sense, but today she put it all together to tell me 2 very adorable stories.

Then, on the way to physical therapy, Andrew shared his smarties (that he got at school...er well our co-op) with Lizzy. Lizzy held up the last one that Andrew was willing to share and shouted, "I'm gonna give this one to Daddy." A full minute went by (during which time I was thinking how to coerce Mat into eating the candy), and then Andrew said, "Aww...Lizzy just eat the whole thing." Apparently, holding the sugar candy proved to be too much temptation for the 3 year old, and she started to nibble around the periphery of the small candy re-wrapping the tiny few bits of sugar that remained to still give to her Daddy. Upon her brothers request, she shoved the rest right into her mouth with a smile.

Today, I'm thankful for the insanity that homeschool brings to our household. There are days that I would like to hide in the closet, drop my kids off at the fire station or let them play in the street, but the few sweet things make every single bit of the craziness worthwhile. And now, while you may be thinking that my threats sound like something I'd do, remember that I'm the crazy hyper-paranoid mother that doesn't even let my kids go to school more less let them outside out of my sight in danger for 2 seconds. I love those two kids, and I am so thankful to get to watch them grow daily. I love seeing their ah-ha moments, cuddling them when they get hurt, and watching them play together. Their insanity makes me whole b/c it's what I've been called to do!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cupping

I got a back injury during our car accident a few months back, and since then, I've been under the care of an orthopedic doc who has kept me in physical therapy for several months. I believe I'm finally starting to feel some relief, but there are still 2 quite "sticky" sore spots.

Before I jump into the rest of this explanation, I need you to know that my physical therapy is NORMAL, and I've been to a few different physical therapy places. I think I've had some pretty great healing experiences, tried some good old tried and true techniques which are just a series of target exercised to promote flexibility and strength into the injured areas.

But today was different. I had my sticking spot sticking a little more than usual though it always sticks. So a couple of the physical therapists starting discussing any treatment that would give me relief. And they came up with ONE that they had not yet tried.

Cupping. It's an ancient Asian treatment that involves suction cups. It doesn't hurt at all, but it leaves you with giant circular hickies for lack of a better description. They explained the process to me, showed me pictures of it being done to another patient, and asked my permission to try this method on me. I read further that a celebrity just had it done, and you can read further or see pics/video footage of it here:

http://www.mindbodysoul.tv/health/cupping.html

All I can say is WOW! Why haven't they tried this before? and Where can I buy suction cups like this? The therapists were super excited that I agreed to this therapy b/c it's fun to watch and see the results, and the results are AMAZING. I feel no pain or stick in the part where they treated me today. Yes, there are a couple large red circles on my back, but I don't care b/c the relief exceeds the strange looking circles.

Don't knock it til you've tried it! The only negative feedback I have is that where you get the procedure done makes your back feel so good that you start to feel the other little tight spots and just want more!

So I end this by saying if you ever get the opportunity to be CUPPED - GO FOR IT! You will love it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't Rush These Years







I often find myself saying, "it's just a phase" or "this too shall pass." More than anything I don't want my children to be grown up, but some of the challenges that each stage brings make me wish away the bad phases...only to find something bad in the next phase too. So I've started focusing more intently on all the good in each phase. And here are some of the memories I have over the past couple of months:

Elizabeth and Andrew are tight. I used to be so bothered by the arguing and fighting, but now I'm seeing how much they rely on each other. Lizzy has a big girl bed, and instead of coming to me when she wakes up, she rushed in to wake Andrew up. There were a couple of times that he got annoyed by her jumping on his bed to wake him up so we decided to put a baby gate on Elizabeth's door to confine her in her room until I got her out...only to find that Andrew would wake up and rush to Lizzy's room, pull the baby gate off the door and play with her or even snuggle together in her big bed. Their love for each other is strong. They hold hands all the time. I've caught them a couple of times when they didn't think I was watching.

I also found the sweetest thing...Andrew kicked his shoes off at the front door, and Lizzy places each of her shoes inside of Andrew's shoes. I found it ironic...it's how she views her brother...as her big protector. I snapped a pic to remember.

Right now, Lizzy is in time out in her room for some ugly behavior. She is screaming her head off, and it reminds me of how she screamed her way through the store so much so that everyone in the store was giving me looks of pity which quickly changed into looks of hatred b/c they couldn't believe that I was on the phone while my daughter was screaming. I had to make the call, and my friend was so calming and quick to the point so our conversation could end. I got off the phone and scooped screaming Lizzy up. She melted into my arms and told me she was so sorry. She just wanted MY attention. She's just struggling to figure out the right way to get attention.

Andrew has such a sensitive heart. You can tell he bears the weight of the world on his shoulders at times, and yet, he is so full of joy that his joy becomes contagious. I love that happy little boy! One day, I was upset by something, and while I didn't say a word, Andrew sensed my discontent. He came over, loved on me and gave me encouragement the way another adult would do - not a 6 year old boy. He has an old soul and he is filled with love to the brim. His ugly actions cause him grief in a way that requires no further discipline. I'm so proud that he is self reflective, and he has a desire to love others.

Elizabeth has trouble going to sleep. She honestly requires little sleep. She's always been my bad little sleeper. Everyone at my house sleeps more than her :( Last night was one of those nights that she was still laying in her bed after 11. I went in her room, prayed with her and we sang songs and snuggled. Had I not gone into her room to spend that time with her, I would have missed her singing the full ABC song in such a beautiful voice that it melted my hear...and it was further proof that she's so stubborn that she's been holding out on me! She is learning the things I teach her!

And the other day when Lizzy had a tummy ache that caused her such pain that she screamed for an hour, it humbled me and warmed my heart when out of no where Andrew got down on his knees and prayed for his sister. Shortly after, Lizzy's tummy felt better, and we got on our knees thanking God for healing her little tummy.

Finally, I have to brag about my little genius. We've had some complications with Andrew's health. It's a long story, and we are still finding answers so no need to be concerned right now. The pediatrician (whom I love) was worried about Andrew's eyesight so she gave him a quick exam by having him tell her what letters were on a doctor form across the room. He read the words instead of telling her the letters, and the words were gigantic doctor words that I could barely pronounce. Andrew blew the socks off of us when he read each word perfectly. I was so proud of him, but I wasn't surprised. He can read better than me. The doc herself called Andrew brilliant and used words like genius to describe my son!

I love my two little strong willed ever so difficult children! I wish I could just freeze them the way they are right now!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Contractors




Andrew is killing me these days...with laughter. He comes up with the funniest stuff.

I just caught Andrew staring at me the other day. When I looked at him he said, "I just can't stop staring at the most beautiful mom." I think he's trying to butter me up for something, but I'm loving it.

We got home from church this morning. I had a bad morning, but I was doing a good job of not letting it affect my relationship with my children. I didn't act like I was down or anything, but my intuitive son sensed the situation and asked me about it. He then encouraged me in the sweetest ways. He hugged me, patted my hand, and just built me up with encouraging words. He is going to be a great husband some day. That boy is golden, and I thank God for him!

Today there were also contractors at our house working on a shower repair that has been a headache at our rental house for longer than 5 months. They are a couple of good ole boys, and I love spending time with them as weird as that sounds. You'd love them too if you met them. They needed my help with directions, but I was busy on the phone so Andrew helped them. He (and all of his 6 years) gave them clear directions to the closest Lowe's, and then he asked if they planned to eat lunch while they were out. He gave them all kinds of suggestions for restaurants near Lowe's. I was so proud of him, and the good ole boys were impressed. When they left, they rescheduled a return visit, and Andrew was so kind. He asked them not to do a good job fixing the shower so they would come back. Even Andrew enjoys their company.

Every once and a while, I have to brag on my children. I know I do a lot of complaining about their strong personalities, but it's those strong personalities that make them the kids I love so much!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Raising Children in an Age of Technology

I know this post is going to be a bit controversial. It's controversial at our house, and I know it must be in so many places b/c I see it happen daily.

A few months ago, Andrew made a comment about seeing me on the computer a lot. I didn't like the idea of him seeing me on the computer and making the comment so I made a change. I still use the computer. I haven't done anything crazy like NOT be on Facebook. I just try to make the most of my day WITH my children and let them know what I'm doing on the computer. I also allow my son (and daughter) to participate with me on the computer as much as I can. Often, I hop on to find information, directions, coupons, write an email or get a lesson plan. I can include them in most of those things.

However, we live in an age where you can look around and almost always see someone talking on their phone or looking at their iPad for some reason. I personally dislike smart phones b/c I think hours can be lost just looking at them. Come on...we all have friends who get a text in the middle of a conversation, or someone looks up something while eating dinner or takes a call while you are visiting with someone. What's worse is that we are raising our children and years are passing by while we "look" at our phones.

What are we teaching our children by doing this? That our technology is more important than they are. Our technology is more important than a lot of things. Our technology has even taken the place of real relationships. We no longer have a need to think for ourselves. We can just pick up our technology and text Mom for the answer to even the simplest of things. We can look up information no matter where we are, and when we are in a predicament, instead of figuring out a way to get ourselves out of predicaments, we call on someone to rescue us.

I've seen this time and time again. Our young people are in danger of falling prey to technology. I've seen this in 20 year olds, I've seen in in teenagers, and I want to figure out a healthy solution to help my children use technology. I don't think it's realistic to grow them up in a technology deprived household. There are so many good uses for technology, but I hope that I can teach them to respect people first and use the good minds that God has given them to be free thinkers before they go rushing to someone else for answers.

If I'm honest, I often forget to pray when someone goes wrong. I also rush to my phone to text my friend about the situation instead of fall to my knees in prayer. I know I need lots of prayer to teach my children, and I need lots of prayer so that I can model the behavior that I want them to have in the area of technology.

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Already???






Wow...this year is flying by. Even Andrew said, "Mom, the years go by fast!" Our days are fun, full and so busy! I'm ready for some relaxation, and I'm already dreaming of our next vacation. However, it couldn't be more beautiful in Florida. The temp is finally starting to drop, and we have a nightly routine of opening the windows. I love it!

The kids are doing great. Elizabeth gives me a run for my money daily. She has the potential to be the most darling little angel and a demon all in a matter of seconds. I tell everyone that I can handle boy drama way better. I joked with a friend today that I would leave Elizabeth at her house, and she said that she'd get thrown in jail...oh, how I can relate. There are times I'd love to ring her little neck, but I'd never do that. She is just so precious. I need to find a good preschool for her or something - time where she can be away from me, independent, and build her self confidence. She is SO shy! I wish money grew on trees so I could really do that!

I have learned some things about Andrew recently:
He is a self starter and easily self motivated. He has a drive to be the best at all things, and he gets frustrated when he doesn't do well. You can really see that in his education and his sports and especially in his piano. I have to temper his competitive nature - even when he's just competing against his own self. I see so much of ME in that child recently, but don't tell his Daddy I said that. He is also one heck of a soccer player. He's aggressive in all the right ways and his skill level is increasing to make him a great little athlete. Others are noticing Andrew's athletic ability as we've overheard numerous complements. That has just made Andrew's little heart soar (and mine too!).

I love these days, and I just want to freeze time exactly the way it is. I don't want my kids to get any bigger, and I'm starting to realize just how quickly these "child days" last. Our newest adventure is playing hide and seek as a family. It's so much fun - try it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Tummy Bug



Disclaimer *not for the faint of heart or those who dislike bodily fluid discussions.

We have had a touch of the tummy bug going around our house. It started with Elizabeth and passed to Mat & Andrew. For the most part, it's been so mild that we've continued with life at a regular pace. I just thought maybe we ate a little too much spice or foods that were disagreeable to tummies. I'm made of steel with a decent immune system so I typically don't share bugs with my family. I honestly thought nothing of this tummy bug until Andrew made a few pleas for me to take him to the doctor - something I NEVER hear from Andrew. It accumulated to the point where Andrew would sit on the potty with a trash can in front of him, but he never used the trash can. Until last night when he yelled, "Mom, get the trash can." I said, "You won't need it, baby." And then he sat back really far on the potty and proceeded to throw up on the same potty with which he sat with nary a drop on him or outside of the potty. Then he hollered, "TOLD YA!" at me like with as much attitude as if he were 100% healthy and the before mentioned incident had never even happened.

It send me over the edge...with giggles. I couldn't even stand upright b/c I was beside myself with laughter. I had to get Mat, the much more sympathetic of the two (and praise Jesus I have him to temper me), to take care of Andrew who after he lost his supper seemed 100% rearing and ready to go. I did make him shower quickly and go to bed a bit early, but he's been up and totally fine all day today.

I find the tummy bug to be an interesting little booger. It rears it's ugly head at the most peculiar of times and vanishes just as quickly. My children seem to suffer with it quite a bit especially poor Andrew. I wish it would go away and never return.

We're laying low today to give our tummies a little extra rest, and we hope to be back to our regular routine again tomorrow. In the meantime, Lizzy is doing her best to make our lives difficult with her "spunky-tude." She brings us a lot of laughter and a lot of grief all in that one little bundle of 3 year old that she totes around with her. She's currently sleeping, but she has been taking all her clothes off and putting them on her baby doll starting with her shoes. Then she proceeded to wash her hands, clothes and everything else in the bathroom with half a bottle of soap - the kind that's hard to come off (Thanks Bath and Body Works), but you can't say that the bathroom isn't spotless now!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Monday - sing it like the song

Mondays are likely my busiest day of the week. We rush around from one activity to another fitting school in somewhere along the way. I've often felt like I'm going crazy on these hectic days. I call Monday our "extracurricular day." Here's how our Mondays look:

Physical Therapy - Mat and I have back to back PT so we can trade off the kids. We get up extra early to rush out the door prepared for the day. Mat and I both love going to PT, and the kids don't mind it either. We are both healing up nicely as a result of our hard work!

Piano - Andrew has piano lessons right after lunch. He has been taking lessons from a dear friend of mine (who has also taught piano for over 30 years and is a fellow homeschooling Christian lady - love her!!) since June of 2010. He's doing will, and I'm constantly amazed by his passion for it and his talent. One of my favorite times of day is listening to him practice.

Art - Andrew is taking a class from a mom. He sketches and paints and learns all about art from an expert who teaches classes in our area. She also homeschools her children, has an art degree, and she is a sweet Christian lady who is a part of one of our homeschool groups.

Soccer - As if we didn't have enough on Mondays, we have a late soccer practice from 6:30 to 7:30. I honestly LOVE this time of day b/c it's a little cooler. I put Elizabeth in childcare at the YMCA while I sit watching Andrew practice with a book in my hand. It's one of the few times I get to read, and I thoroughly enjoy sitting in the sunshine reading while my boy gets his exercise. He has quite a competitive streak, and he scored his first goal on Saturday. His coach even admired his competitive aggressive nature on the field and his sweet encouragement on the sidelines.

We were all prepared to enjoy show and tell time with a homeschool co-op every 3rd Monday, but for now, that's a little much. We do still fit in quite a bit of school between all our Monday activities, and Andrew just loves his fun filled days. Makes Mondays something to look forward to instead of something to anguish over. And after all our learning today, I still had time to do some laundry, play some games with the kids, pack up some dinner, and sit down to write this blog post!

I love Mondays!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September Update



Several people have lovingly asked how we are doing, and I realized that it's been a while since my last update. I'm never really sure how to answer the question either b/c so much is going on. I struggle between being completely overwhelmed to being at peace. I know that in spite of our challenges right now, I have complete JOY! So as bad as circumstances may seem or as overwhelmed as I may be, I have a peace that passes understand and full joy.

With that being said (and hopefully you understand that we are really OK), I can give a truthful update without sounding complain-y or depressed.

Here goes starting with Elizabeth. She is a mess. She's been transferred into a big girl bed complete with brand new Hello Kitty bedding (it looks like Pepto threw up in her room and it's just adorably pink). However, our little struggling sleeper who hates to sleep at night and has struggled with waking up multiple times is now waking up anywhere between 4am and 6am daily without going back to sleep. She's waking up her brother too so we are all a little sleepy 'round here. She is currently struggling with a tummy bug which I'm sure that the mothers of the children she exposed in preschool today will not enjoy hearing - I swear I didn't know until we got home from school when Mat randomly took her temp and found her to have a low grade temp. Sharing germs is a real friend winner too I tell ya :( She's got a very moody personality. Her highs are fantastic, but her lows are difficult to manage. There is never a dull moment with that little princess. Last night she got bit by a little boy at church. When the teacher told me, I honestly laughed. I said I didn't believe in Carma, but it serves her right after she bit all those kids a little over a year ago when I worked at Golds nursery. The teacher was shocked that I laughed, but she told me Carma is a bit Biblical - what you reap you will sow.

Andrew - the boy is brilliant beyond my understanding. He certainly gets his smarts from his Daddy. He has mellowed out quite a bit (from the parental standpoint). He's still his strong willed, passionate, intense & hard core self, and while we struggle with his mouth getting him in trouble ( b/c he doesn't understand when it's appropriate to quit talking at the point of disrespect), he is a fantastic, self-starting, fiercely independent learner and avid reader that brings joy to those he comes in contact with. I couldn't be more proud of my son. Yes, we have our minor challenges with his strong will and mouth, but he has such a big heart that I think he honestly does learn from his mistakes and does what he can to be the best boy.

Mat - He is currently in his 2nd month of physical therapy at a great rehab facility not too far from our house. He is a tough cookie, and he's intense about his exercises. He often runs 4 miles before PT, and the trainers think he's a little over the top exercise wise. Intensity kinda runs in the fam - kinda a theme around here! He's working hard to overcome the pain, and they are helping him recuperate. He likely won't have feeling back in his knee so some of his injuries are lifelong. At least its numbness and not painful! He's been super busy with continuing to get things fixed and settled. It's been a huge job, and he's been working full time, taking care of repairs, and being a fantastic dad at home. In my book, he's a superstar. He stays so positive no matter what hits us.

Me - I have been struggling in many different areas. I still don't feel well from the wreck, and I'm in my 3rd month of PT. I have lots of headaches and setbacks related to whiplash, and it isn't helping that I have an auto-immune disease. I have lots of inflammation and issues that cause me not to sleep well. I think most of my struggles recently have been a result of sleepy-ness. Between the Sjogrens and headaches and Lizzy waking me up super early in the morning, I've gotten so little sleep that sometimes I don't know how I can stay awake during the day. I'm also struggling quite a bit with relationships. I think that of everything going on I can normally cope well with the business involved, but when you toss in some hurtful friendships/relationships, I'm done. The stress gets to me and causes further pain.

Our highlander (and only car right now) broke down while Mat and I were in physical therapy last night. Fortunately, we drove separately and all piled in the car Mat has been allowed to borrow from his Mother's husband's mom (we call Aunt Sis) who lives in Orlando. We even made it on time to Awana after making the decision to just leave the highlander in the parking lot until this morning. On our way to church, Mat and I were discussing how God has provided for our ever need and most of our wants too. Still, I have such little faith that I continuously get anxious about something like our car breaking. It gave me great comfort this morning when a sweet lady (who had no idea of my situation or struggles) reminded me that nothing we are dealing with comes at a surprise to God. He knows our challenges and struggles - not only that, he has a plan and a purpose for our life. I can have joy knowing that even when I forget about God's provision, he hasn't forgotten about me! How can you not have JOY knowing Christ loves us!

And then I just praise Jesus knowing that his strength is made perfect in my weakness. If God is for us, who can be against us?

So that's how we are doing in a nutshell. Life has been tough, but we have each other and a wonderful support system of loved ones who continually encourage me with their kind words and care for our family. Thank you for loving on my family! You guys are the best!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

God is Bigger


We received bad news yesterday. Our house was appraised $23K less than what we needed to break even on the sale of our Dacula house. We are disappointed, angry, and sad. For whatever reason, I feel embarrassed to share this news, but I feel that there are so many of our friends who have been praying for us. We owe it to you all to share what is happening as a result of your prayers.

I feel like I need to justify that we did things the right way. We didn't buy out of our means, and we even payed over the monthly minimum house payment each month. We follow the Dave Ramsey plan - although we could have done a much better job. We made the mistake of putting our plan on hold through the move, through the accident, and through all the things that arose in between the two events.

I know there are gonna be some of you who judge us. Some of you will take this info and share it as a source of gossip or spite. But I hope you take this away in your heart:

(yes, sing the tune from the popular Veggie Tales song)
God is bigger than the boogie man.
He's bigger than our finances or all of our future plans.

I am a planner by nature. I get more excited about planning a vacation than the actual trip itself. I love to set goals and watch as they are met. This plan of owning a house in Dacula indefinitely is NOT my plan. My plan includes a successful financial future for myself and my family. It doesn't include the additional $1200 in monthly expenses of the $800 that it took to fix the a/c in a house that we don't live in and can't sell. It certainly didn't include a bus accident or (and yes, I'm going to mention this) losing money on an unsuccessful business in Georgia or the bad relationships that arose out of that situation. And they certainly didn't include being estranged from my family in Lilburn to the point that we don't ever speak. None of those things were in MY plan. But they were in God's plan.

I know that God has plans for me, for my family, and for our future. Often, what I think is best isn't the BEST that God has in store for me. I have seen that over and over again with the most recent testament being that we didn't get the house in Orlando that we wanted and now it's in foreclosure (some of you have seen that story on Facebook). And God has provided for our every single little teensy weensy need along each step of the way. I have stories and stories to share of his provision and the good that came out of waiting for God's best.

That doesn't mean that I'm not upset about the house. I am upset along with a slew of other feelings that come with the disappointment of not being able to sell the house. I guess there could still be a miracle. And just so you know, we are likely going to do research into renting out the house. We'll see what God's plan is. And we will wait with the Joy that we can find through Christ Jesus.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ft. Jackson Event


I wanted to let you all know of a really cool event happening in Savannah at the end of August. Ft. Jackson in Savannah is holding a special event where they will fire authentic old artillery along with fire works. They are also hosting a low country boil and having a silent auction. It's free to attend this event, and there will be a fee for food. We are planning to go so maybe we'll see some of you there!

http://www.chsgeorgia.org/home.cfm/page/Calendar/Date/2011-08-01/Event/472.html describes the events mentioned above and
http://www.chsgeorgia.org/home.cfm/page/OldFortJackson.htm
gives more information about Ft. Jackson in general

Old Fort Jackson Auction & Low Country Boil
Date(s): Saturday, August 27, 2011
Description: Old Fort Jackson Auction & Low Country Boil
Old Fort Jackson
6:00pm - 9:00pm

This annual fundraiser for Georgia's oldest brick fortification and National Historic Landmark includes a silent auction, music, a low country boil, and programs for kids and adults.

Free admission
Food and concessions available to purchase

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cheese

We are in our 3rd week of 1st grade. I'm using Sonlight this year in addition to A Beka, Classical Conversations, and Singapore Math. We have had a lot of fun.

Yesterday was a super fun day. Andrew and I learned about the various foods in other countries. There was even a recipe for "lassi" an Indian specialty drink so we made it...and enjoyed it. I found out from a friend from In Touch Ministries who heard we were making lassi drinks when I posted it on Facebook that yesterday was the 65th Anniversary of India's independence from English rule. It was very fitting that we had lassi drinks in honor of India's Independence Day! She also gave me her favorite lassi drink recipe which we plan to make soon. I love how Facebook connected my friend to the lesson I was teaching Andrew - and we learned more as a result. I also love that I have friends from all over the world!

That night, we planned a cheese party. We wanted to taste cheese from all over the world so we got the idea to just go to the Publix deli. Our plan was to purchase like 2 slices of several different cheeses from different countries and have a little cheese sampling party at home later. However, when Wanda from the deli department of Publix found out what we were doing, she got excited and allowed us to sample SEVERAL different kinds of cheeses from all over the world for FREE! It was so much fun! Andrew and Mat loved the Gruyere from Germany (a very smokey bacon flavored cheese in my opinion), and I loved the Boar's Head Baby Swiss so we bought some of each and had them on our sandwiches last night for dinner. Andrew also loved the black cheddar from New York. We also bought some cheese like Brie from France, authentic Mozzarella from Italy, and Feta from Greece which we haven't yet had the chance to taste b/c it got late on us.

What a fun experience that I would highly recommend to try - even if you don't homeschool. The children thoroughly enjoyed it as did the adults!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Burdens

This summer has been rough, and it seems like the constant turmoil will never cease. Every day we face new challenges and disappointments. I am reminded of this verse today:

John 16:33

New International Version (NIV)

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

and this one:

Psalms 55:22

22 "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."

I am certainly glad that I serve a God will great big shoulders b/c my shoulders can no longer bear the weight of my burdens.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Elizabeth Update


We went to the doc yesterday, and I promised to give an update. However, we don't have any real answers yet. I am so excited to have found a pediatrician who is very thorough and kind. Her staff was also very kind...even in spite of Elizabeth missing her nap and acting like a little two horned monster.

Here is what we know:
Something strange showed up in Elizabeth's lung during the MRI. So the radiologist asked for a doc to follow-up with another x-ray or CAT scan. We have already given Elizabeth several x-rays so rather than rush to put Eliz through more radiation, we are going to double check the x-rays that we already have, but rather than check Eliz's spine, we are going to carefully check her lungs. The x-rays aren't with the radiologist anymore so I have to go to 2 different docs to get them and drive them downtown to the radiologist. This time the radiologist is going to talk directly with our new pediatrician to discern whether or not we need additional x-rays or the CAT scan as suggested. Eliz is NOT acting like she has any type of sickness now. She is even more rambunctious than usual...and giving me quite a run for my money :( It's a good thing she's cute.

We don't know:
What the problem is still remains a mystery. It could be that during the MRI Eliz wasn't taking a full deep breath thus relaying a "problem" in her lungs. It could also be that since Eliz was a preemie, her lungs weren't fully developed. Or it could mean that with all the RSV, bronchitis and other illness Eliz had as a baby, her lungs were damaged. At this point, we have NO idea. And since she isn't exhibiting any signs or symptoms of pneumonia, we are not gonna just dope her up on antibiotics.

I believe that the pediatrician is being very thorough, and she will not stop until we have all the right answers. I am very thankful to have found such a diligent, caring pediatrician. We have certainly found some amazing docs since the accident, and we are praising God for his provision.

I have cancelled any further appointments with the pediatric ortho doc (who has been completely wonderful) until we have further answers on Eliz's lung condition. I will follow up with her once we know more details about Eliz's lungs in case we need to revisit some bone issues - which at this point the MRI has revealed a clean bill of bone health!!!

Keep praying for answers, and pray for my sanity as we drive all over the place getting the right care for all of us!

And a brief update of the rest of us:
- Mat's wound has completely healed!
- Mat sees an ortho doc next week to find out what's wrong with his knee - speculation of a torn meniscus.
- I am in my 5th week of physical therapy and seeing small bits of improvement already!
- The Highlander is back in the shop for the 2nd round of fixing b/c we were very disappointed in the first fixing. We are currently driving a BRAND NEW GMC Acadia as a rental.
- We have not purchased a 2nd car for Mat, but we are borrowing a very nice Honda from Mat's mom's husband's mother who also lives in Orlando and has been very generous to lend it to us!
- Our house in Dacula is currently on the market! We are waiting on an inspection and appraisal, and we are heavily praying that it's appraised for what we are selling it for!
- Mat cracked a tooth & gets it fixed Thursday.
- I get braces Thursday of this week.
- I am going to an arthritis doc, and we think I have osteoarthritis and sjogrens. Further tests are being run to check the diagnosis :(
- We have had a flood in our bathroom (again) so repair guys have been here for a week trying to solve the flooding problem. SOooo glad we are renting!
- And as if we don't have enough chaos in our life, we are starting school MONDAY!

Shewee...that's a list. But our spirits are all positive, and we are so thankful for God's constant provision!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

MRI Results for Elizabeth

Holy cow, I'm reeling a little bit from the news we just got. Many of you know that Elizabeth had an MRI last week b/c she's been complaining that her back hurt ever since the accident. There was a bruise on her back and continued pain that made her fall to her knees crying out in pain. So 6 needle pricks later b/c the nurses had such a difficult time finding a vein in my dehydrated little princess, Eliz was put to sleep and given an MRI of both her thoracic and lumbar areas.

Today I got the phone call that the results were not clear. In fact, they didn't show any back injuries at all. They showed that Elizabeth has had pneumonia all this time! I immediately called a NEW pediatrician, and we have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow at 3:15. Her pediatric orthopedic doc is forwarding the MRI results to the pediatrician so she can get a good look and diagnose it.

I honestly don't have any experience with pneumonia. I do have experience with a loving heavenly Father though. I know that He may very well have used this accident to get Elizabeth the treatment for her pneumonia that we would never have known she had if we didn't follow up with the complaints of her back hurting.

Right know, we are still suffering through the inconveniences of getting the car fixed, finding another car, going through physical therapy, having tons of doc appts, plus we are still seeking treatment for Mat's knee and praise Jesus that his wound has nearly completely healed. However, I would go through all this inconvenience to get treatment for my daughter for a problem that we wouldn't have known about if we didn't have the car accident.

I'll update you all on the doc visit tomorrow. I never thought I would hear that she had pneumonia, and I'm kinda blown away by all this. We serve an awesome God!

An not so Typical Date Night

I have been listening to happy sounds all morning. With all the craziness in our lives this summer, there has been only a few random stay at home do nothing moments. Today, we have a few hours before our first doctor appointment (and it's even non-wreck related!), and I am sitting here with a smile on my face and a happy heart.

Last night was date night. Each of us took one child out and treated them to a very special evening. All morning the children have excitedly been sharing with the other all the events of their evening.

Mat took Elizabeth to Magic Kingdom where they road a ride of Elizabeth's choice (happened to be Pirates of the Caribbean - who would have thunk???). Eliz is a daredevil. She loves spice, but she won't admit it. She loves scary, but she wants a hug. Mat said he had his arm behind her, and she grabbed it, wrapped his arm all he way around her, and clung to it for dear life in the dark of that ride. Then they headed to Main Street Bakery for a sweet cinnamon roll treat. You should see the smile on her face that Mat captured in the photo of them eating. I'll try to post the pic later.

Andrew...well, let's just say that I treated him a little extra special. We enjoyed American Idol together. It's a show that we never watch, but this season started during a very busy time at the Sports Complex. Mat was working so Andrew and I made AI OUR special show. We watched every episode together, and we voted along the way. From the very first audition, Andrew loved Scotty. He was a die hard fan, and he voted for him, cheered for him, and most of all, he loved every second of Scotty on TV. So when I found out the American Idol Tour was coming to Orlando, I decided to pay the ridiculous cost to take my sweet boy to the Amway Center to watch the show. I had a little prompting from another AI fan, Robin, who told me that children Andrew's age often go to the AI Tour (she knew from past concerts she attended).

I didn't tell him until we arrived, and to say the least, he was speechless. He didn't have a reaction at all b/c he was in shock. I've never seen him that way. I even made a sign that said, "Scotty's #1 Fan!" and hid it from Andrew until we arrived at the Amway Center.

Needless to say, Andrew thoroughly enjoyed his evening, and I did too. We sat way up high which in the Amway Center is extremely steep. I've never seen such steep seating in my life. When they asked us to stand up, everyone in our section remained seated for fear of tumbling down the isle...every single person. It was actually kinda nice to stay seated! The kids did a great job singing, but by far, Stefano stole the show. He even took off his shirt, but we mostly liked his "show" that he gave while singing (and not the stripping part tho all the ladies did go crazy). He's going to be a famous actor one day. Mark. My. Word. Scotty and Lauren and Haley too...ok I'll throw Casey into that good category too. They were our favorites all along. We couldn't hear James very well, but he was also one of our fav rockers!

Now, a day later, we are a little tired for the late night, but the kids are enjoying each other and enjoying just being home. Right now, Andrew is reading a book to Elizabeth. It's a precious sight, and I'm going to enjoy it with them.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Elizabethisms

Ok...so I actually remember a few of the sayings from the day, and I wanted to post them before I forget.

Elizabeth has been drinking out of a big girl cup (aka normal plastic cup) while we are at home, but I've been packing a sippy cup for the road. Today, I packed an older princess "Bobby" (her name for her sippy cup), and said Bobby was all chipped and old looking. Elizabeth (who dislikes being called Lizzy now and promptly reminds me when I call her Lizzy that her name is E-Liz-Abeth (her break up of the syllables of her name is all too cute) told me with these exact words "Mom, my Bobby is all screwed up." I was tickled, but I also chastised her for using inappropriate language. Wow, the things 2 year old pick up and repeat!

We were on our way to watch the new Winnie the Pooh movie when Eliz (my preferred nickname since she now tells me not to call her Lizzy) found out we were meeting one of her favorite friends named Laura. Laura seems to be a difficult word for Elizabeth to say so she calls her Allah. Anywho, Eliz immediately became concerned about how she looked when she found out we were meeting her friend, and she said, "Mom, my hair is a mess. Do you have a hairbrush to fix my hair and make it like yours?" I told her I didn't have a brush, but she did want me to use my fingers to fix her doo.

So on this same car ride, Eliz asked me to tell her of there were "vellors" on my computer. I was so confused. I asked her if there were flower on my computer, and she said NO. By the time I finally figured out that she was saying "letters" she was shouting the word vellors at me in frustration. Poor thing. She's trying so hard to communicate.

Meanwhile, Andrew was reading one of his chapter books quietly. I just went to the library yesterday, and he's already completed at least 3 of his new chapter books. I'm talking serious reading. He asks if he can take his books with him everywhere. Now all he needs is some glasses and a pocket protector. Poor smart little guy. I gotta say, he teaches me something new that he's read about every hour. He is going to be a genius like his Dad!

And to complete the day, Eliz hurt herself slightly while I was in PT today. She then got upset with me b/c I took the object with which she injured herself away from her. That brought the tears, and she screamed...and went a running to her big brother for support. All the PTs thought it was absolutely adorable how Eliz ran to her big bro for her support, but I was irked. She ran to Andrew to "tell on me." Little punk! Love her, but she's still a punk!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sweet Memories

I try so hard to write down the cute sayings my kids concoct. That is often challenging b/c usually the kids say the craziest things while I'm driving, and my memory is so bad that I simply forget when we arrive at our destination.

We were driving to PT the other day when the kids saw a convertible mustang with the top down (in the rain I might add). Elizabeth said, "Mom, that car looks Good!" I *dislike* her calling me mom, but it was just too cute that she was expressing interest over a convertible already.

Today, we went to story time at the library. Lizzy had been freshly bathed and had two piggy braids. She even snookered me into putting makeup on her cute little self. We were a bit late (meaning on time), and the room was already packed with children. Somehow my 2 managed to creak up to the front middle of the room where they sat like little angels. Andrew kept putting his arm around his lil sis, and she just stared up at him with eyes full of all the admiration she felt for her super hero big brother. At one point, Andrew invited her to sit in his lap which she gratefully accepted. All the adults in the room were watching my perfectly identical angelic children with awe. It was a super proud mommy moment! I wish I had more of those!

Andrew is full on devouring chapter books now. I have a precious friend who allowed me to borrow her Sonlight curriculum - for those of you non-homeschooling friends, Sonlight is a very expensive heavily reading based curriculum. I would never have allowed myself the luxury of purchasing it myself, but God made a way for me to share it with my friend. Andrew is so excited about it that he already started reading the books. He finished 1 1/2 (and they aren't shabby lil chapter books either) already, and I've caught him snooping through the rest. He will read books like the Wheel on the School, George Muller, and Heidi in addition to OH about 30 other books including some classics. I'm very excited about our school year.

Elizabeth whips out the ABC's and 123's often to "show off" a bit whenever Andrew and I start spelling something so she can't understand whatever it is we are talking about. I have got to get a video of her doing this b/c it's just too funny to see her all upset and roaring (with gusto expression) her alphabet. It's quite comical and always gives me and Andrew a good laugh. That girl is full of spunk. I say spunk b/c it's not just passion...there is something way to sassy in her attitude to simply say passion. She is a full on mess. She jams all the time, and in the car, I promise she just asked me if Blake Shelton was singing. ...and for all you readers who are interested in celebrating her birthday very soon with us, she wants a PINK Bible and Hello Kitty bedding for her new double bed/big girl bed. She has told us all a thousand times to make sure we remember.

I'll try to do a better job of remembering (er at least writing down) their cute sayings. They quotes come all to often, and you would all get a kick out of the way they talk. I know kids say funny stuff all the time, but my kids have a way of making their -isms very original.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lizzy and the Ortho...

Elizabeth has been seeing a pediatric orthopedic surgeon since the accident. I'm pretty sure we found the best on in Orlando. She's been carefully following up with me, and she is very watchful of Elizabeth. Eliz seemed fine at the accident site, but she went home with a friend and started complaining of back pain. She ended up with a large bruise on her mid/low back area, and she didn't sleep b/c of the pain. We got a referral to a great doc who took x-rays and specializes is situations like this with children. She spent a great deal of time with Elizabeth watching her, poking on her, and talking with me. After a couple of these visits, she believes that Eliz needs to follow up with an MRI of her spine. B/c of the length of time it takes to get a spinal MRI (and likely b/c of Lizzy's age), they will need to sedate her for he test. After the MRI, we will need to follow up with the ped ortho doc. We are praying that NOTHING shows up on the MRI. I hope you will join me in praying for a clean MRI. If there is something there, it could cause growth issues.

I'm concerned. I'd be lying to tell you differently, and here is why: Yesterday, she slightly bumped her back while I was working in her SS class at church, and it caused her to scream in pain. Today I ran over her foot with a door, and she said ouch. The girl doesn't cry unless she's being dramatic. She never cries b/c she's in pain. She's complained incessantly about her back being hurt from the "car wreck." I think she may be acting dramatic or copying me, but the doc confirmed that we just can't be sure. I'm so thankful to have found such a thorough doc!

Update on our June

I haven't been on the computer much in the past few weeks, and that would b/c I haven't been home much. And the time spent at home has been filled with chores. But with half of the chores done, I wanted to take a sec to tell you about how things are progressing this summer.

The wreck was I don't know 5 or 6 weeks ago now. Mat's wound is healing up nicely, and he has returned to work. He still has a couple of much smaller holes in his leg, but he can get around better. He is still experiencing discomfort now clearly in his knee. The ortho doc says that we will have to do an MRI on his knee after his leg wound has completely healed. There is suspicion that a torn meniscus is the source of the pain, but we will only know further once the MRI is done. He can't walk around much without get a very swollen knee, and he limps by the end of each day. He has to ice it and just take it easy for a while...which is a challenge for someone as active as Mat. He is doing fine following doctor's orders, but he is frustrated with the length of this ordeal...as we all are.

I am super sore myself. My hip hurts like fire, and my neck isn't doing well either. I'm on pain meds, I have physical therapy 3 times a week (which doesn't seem to have helped at all at this point but I'm still hopeful), and as if that weren't enough, I have arthritis, tremors and I'm getting braces on Wednesday. Could this summer get any more exciting?

I'm so behind on all the things that I need and had hoped to get done during my summer break. I had hoped to reorganize my school room, change Lizzy's room from a baby room to a big girl room, and get our book shelves under control. A portion of each task has been accomplished at least.

We still have our super helpful Amy here with us for the next few weeks, and we had hoped that she could babysit the kids so we could go on a date. Our dates have consisted of hospital stays, doc visits, and physical therapy trips. We're still hopeful to get to go on a date before the summer is over!

Now we have had a bit of fun. We had one pool day this summer - well, Amy, the kids, and I did while Mat sweated on the sidelines. We also took Amy out last night for a super special birthday dinner at a Downtown Disney restaurant. And...Amy, Andrew and I went to Animal Kingdom for a couple hours a week ago. We've also watched lots of Netflix movies recently. My goal before the summer is over is to visit a beach or go to a waterpark...both attainable considering Florida summers last longer!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Progress and Healing

It's been nearly 4 weeks since our car accident. I can honestly say that it's been the busiest time in my life, and I'm ready for a breather. While that won't happen for a while, I can tell ya that Mat had a great report from the surgeon yesterday. The wound is healing nicely. He is able to start walking a bit though he has to use a walker, and he only has to have the dressing changed once instead of twice daily. Currently, a nurse is coming over twice daily to help with that, but tomorrow Mat is going to learn how to change the dressing himself - and it's totally disgusting! The surgeon believes it will take 4 weeks for the wound to heal completely. We meet with the infectious disease doc next week, and then we'll go from there. In the meantime, Mat has to lay low and recover, but he is working from home.

Elizabeth and I also had follow up appts from the accident last week. Lizzy seems fine, but the doc isn't ready to dismiss her yet. We have been instructed to watch specific things, and we go back to the ped ortho doc in 2 weeks to get her rechecked.

I start physical therapy Friday - 3 times a week for a month. I have been sent to a neurological doc for tremors I've had since the accident, I have to get further blood work, and I will likely have to get an MRI - will be assessed during PT. I'm not gonna lie, my hip is hurting and my neck doesn't feel too hot either. I've been taking muscle relaxers, anti inflammatory meds, and I got a sweet painful shot right in the sore spot.

Our highlander is at the body shop being repaired this week. I have a rental (I'm getting spoiled with a mini van for the week), and they hope to have the car ready by Monday. When I dropped the car off, Andrew was with me, and the manager of the body shop knew Andrew and Mat so he was taking extra good care of us. The car should look like new when we get it back! We have this great body shop that posts pics of the progress on-line so we can see the repairs step by step.

It makes me tired to even think of all the doc appts and arrangements I will need to make over the next month, but I am so thankful that everyone is alive, home and really well off after all the insanity lately. I'm ready for some boring days :)

Thank you all for your prayers, for all the meals, the encouragement etc. I haven't had to think of planning meals since last week, and it's been such a blessing!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mat Came Home Today

First off, THANK YOU all for praying, caring and loving our family. It has been a very difficult week. I'll tell you a little of the back story so you can understand where we are today...

Three weeks ago, a Friday night to be exact, we were having a wonderful time visiting with friends from Atlanta. We were playing at Epcot. Mat met us there right after work. It got late, and we went home. Andrew, who usually rides home with Mat, hopped wearily in my car and nearly fell asleep. Lizzy was in the car with me, and we rode home around midnight with Mat following behind me in his car. We were half way home when we (me, a car in front of me and Mat in his car behind me) had to stop for a bus to make a turn. Another bus plowed into Mat's car and send a chain reaction of crashes. It was horrible! Mat immediately went to the ER after walking out of his car nearly untouched, his leg was pounding and slightly bleeding. He seemed pretty ok although he was in shock, and his car was crushed beyond recognition.

My car seemed to transfer the force to total the car in front of me. The kids were screaming, and the whole place was immediately in a flurry of activity. There were tons of people there immediately to help, and the paramedics were there in maybe 3 minutes. They checked us out, and sent Mat to Celebration. Andrew and I followed in another ambulance about 3 hours later when he started to scream with abdomen pain. The 3 of us got full x-rays. We were sent home and told to follow up with the doc.

We thought everything beyond the whiplash was fine except for the major bruise on Mat's leg. He limped for a few days, but he seemed to be getting better. He had a check up, and the doc said Mat was healing. However, Lizzy was having back spasms. We are still following up with her at a pediatric orthopedic specialist, and I'm going for follow ups too.

Then this past Sunday, Mat's leg started really hurting again. By Tuesday, he couldn't walk, and he was going to get it checked out. He checked himself into the ER. He had an infection, and the report went from being there overnight for observation to being there for several days. He ended up having surgery, and by Thursday night, the night I asked you all to pray so heavily, the docs felt sure that Mat had MRSA. It seemed rather grave to be honest. There was tension in his room and the nurses and docs were very serious.

They ran further tests to see the extent of the infection, and we found out that Mat has a generic staph infection rather than MRSA. It's been drained, and they left a big hole in his leg so that the wound could heal inside out and continue to release the bad bacteria in his leg in the process.

Mat came home from the hospital today. We have a little bit of a road ahead of us. He has to have a nurse come twice a day, he can't walk (although he can get around a little with a walker - which we are giving him heck about), and he has lots of antibiotics and follow up doc visits in the few weeks to come. But he is alive!!!

God certainly has provided, and he knew this was going to happen before it went down. Mat walked out of his little car alive! God protected Andrew from being in the back of Mat's car during the accident. Amy is here helping us with everything especially the kids, and I'm still reeling at how God sent her in just the exactly right timing. Our friend have been so helpful and encouraging. I could go on and on about God's provision.

Keep praying! Mat can handle the pain of the injury, but it is horribly painful when the bandage has to be changed and packed. We have to make sure that we don't introduce any further germs to the wound, and we will have to go back and forth to doc appts for a little while. His spirits are up, and we are so excited to have him home! Mat's work is even sending us food via Mat's favorite chef!

We certainly don't understand whey we had to go through all this, but we hope that God receives all the glory. Just looking at the car Mat walked out of makes us praise Jesus!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mat's in the Hospital

This week has been a roller coaster. It seems like every time I go to the hospital there is more bad news. So here's the story:

The infection Mat has is bad. They drained it in surgery, but they are very concerned about it. They are running more tests to determine the type of infection (they are thinking MRSA) and to see how far it's spread.

He looks horrible, has no appetite, and his spirits are very down. They say all this is treatable, but then they put him in a quarantine like situation. The kids can't see him, and adults have to wear special clothing to see him.

We have friends offering to help, and I'm going to find a cleaning service to come and sterilize our house for the time he comes home...if you know of one of those type of services, please pass the info on to me.

I'm tired, the kids are scared, and Mat is scared...ok...I'm a little scared too. But I want to say that God has provided for us every single itty bitty step of the way. He sent our friend Amy to live with us for the summer starting this week. Our very dear friends "happened" to be in town this week for vacation, and they have spent time with us praying and loving on us...especially Mat! Our precious neighbor with children the same age as Andrew and Lizzy is taking great care of our children, and Mat's mom is coming in town tomorrow....and the blessings go on and on!

Please pray and encourage us. We serve an awesome mighty and powerful God who isn't surprised by any of this...and please remind me of this when you see me :)

Genny

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Sweet Little Devil Princess




Elizabeth is the roughest toughest girl on the exterior. She rarely cries because she has been physically hurt. However, she is a complete softy on the inside. She cries b/c her feelings have been hurt.

Today was no different. She was playing rough with her brother and driving me mad. I thought that I wouldn't make it through the morning, and if I did, I thought that she wouldn't. We both made it through. I let her and Andrew play in the tub together - after she peed on the carpet, and I'm pretty sure the boogie man entered my house while they were bathing. The screams in the bathroom likely cause the boogie man to exit the house before we exited the bathroom.

After the kids hopped out of the tub, got dressed, and got their hair done did (always a serious chore with the curly tops & tangles no matter how much conditioner I use), I got to rock Lizzy. We prayed, and I told my sweet girl about how I wanted her to love Jesus first and foremost. I told her about how we sin (like she did all morning long), but that Jesus came as a perfect man so that we didn't have to be - and can't be at that since we are depraved. I explained that Jesus died for us, and she added that she was so upset by the bad men hitting Jesus and pushing him over on his way to the cross. She remembered the stories!!! I was thrilled. So we got to talking about the only way to spend forever with Jesus was to ask him to be in our hear and a allow him to be a part of our life. She said she wanted to do that, and in the sweetest voice she said, "Jesus, please come live in my heart."

I know she's super young, and I'm not very sure she knows quite what all she asked means. I do know that she understood the simple way I explained salvation, and I know that we will continue to teach her the ways of Christ. What an exciting and awesome moment I shared with my daughter today! She is a very special and precious little devil princess!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Being a Mommy


Yesterday was mother's day. A day to celebrate being a Mommy. And while I do love being a Mom, I find that it becomes more challenging the older my children get. I'm currently experiencing the terrible 2's with Elizabeth, but that doesn't compete with the challenges that I have with Andrew. He's becoming so much more aware of the world around him.

I want to be there to protect them. I want to prevent not only their bodies from being harmed, but I also want to protect their hearts. I'm finding more and more that I am not in control. It hurts my heart immensely to see one of my child get their feelings hurt. I find more and more that I need to be on my knees for my children, AND I need to be there to hug them and encourage them when they do get hurt. I can't always prevent the hurt, but I can certainly be a good band-aid.

I pray that I will always be sensitive to my children so that I can be a source of encouragement to them no matter what hurts them...even if it's me. I also pray that they will turn to their heavenly Father first.

Being a Mommy is the most challenging AND rewarding gift of all!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ECOSafari
















Today we (my family minus Mat) woke up early and drove across Florida to go to Florida ECO Safari. During the ride over, Lizzy was trying to harass her brother by whispering (b/c she knew she'd get in trouble if I heard her) "boobies" to Andrew. He kept asking her to stop at which she responded by repeating the word at least a hundred times...or quite possibly a thousand. I pretended not to hear her as I giggled from the front seat. Then when it became necessary for me to get involved, I had to force a firm tone free from giggles to get her to stop. Try saying "stop saying boobies" with a straight face.

We (our home school group) got to ride on a huge safari truck for over 2 hours. We learned about animals and nature. We saw some tiny and some gigantic alligators. We watched a sea otter play in the water - adorable! We saw lots of cows and wild horses with their babies. The baby animals were just the cutest. The weather was just perfect....not too hot and just the right amount of breeze! The safari was far away, and while it was pretty wonderful, that most wonderful part was that Lizzy had a dry pullup all the way there, the whole time on the safari AND on the long ride home. Wow! I was so excited that I stopped at a store on the way home and bought her choice of a treat which was a beautiful bunch of sweet smelling flowers (oh, and some pink goggles).

Andrew and her have been at their antics. If you read my facebook, you saw the following 2 posts:

1. We were just sitting at the dinner table eating dinner and conversing so nicely. Then Andrew said, "Daddy, you're the best. At first, I thought you were gonna be kinda lame, but you're the best."

2. Now my children are pretending to work at a restaurant, and they are cooking me things. Lizzy is writing down the orders and making Andrew deliver them to us. She is also requiring payment, and when Mat told her he didn't have money, she told him to wash the dishes.

Since Andrew has officially finished kindergarten, we have taken a more relaxed approach to home schooling for the summer....and the kids are obviously enjoying the little bit of freedom. I'm mostly enjoying their antics (so far), but other at other times, it's just a good thing that underwear still work even when you put them on in-side-out...and yes, I'm talking about my own.