Wednesday, 18 March 2015


Just as I logged in to write, Google popped up a thing for me to search for a domain name and "connect instantly." So I searched for "In the olive grove" and it came up with various versions of "inCambridge" (.net, com, etc). It wanted me to buy a name, so I said no thanks, but why does it think "olive grove" sounds like "Cambridge?" (Insert smiley face that scratches its head.)

We have decided on a flooring for the living room. We may eventually cover the whole house with it; not sure exactly what Bob thinks about that, but that is my "plan." Practicality took precedence over ideals, and we picked out a decent-looking laminate that's only 99cents per square foot and has a 30 year warranty. Yes, real wood lasts a lifetime, but has to be nailed down, and with our circus (I mean, family) it would have to be refinished every year. The laminate will "float" over a thick pad that should absorb noise, moisture, shock, and temperature.

Having made that decision we are starting to trim the living room (window sills and such - of course the baseboard will wait until the floor is in). Bob plans to go tomorrow to a mill in Mulberry to pick up some cedar boards for that project. He kept wanting to buy some at Lowe's, but I finally convinced him to look at it, and a board that costs $8 at Lowe's is $2 at the mill. And when you're getting 30 of them, it's worth the trip (even if you have to dig the trailer out of the mud to use it for said trip).

Yesterday we spent all day in town. This was partly to allow the root killer we poured down the drain a chance to work, and partly to get stuff done. We went to Lowe's, Sam's, two parks, the allergy clinic, and an auction. At the auction we bought a gorgeous roll-top desk, for something like 20% of its original store price. It should replace our old red, sticker-covered, half refinished desk that we've had for 12-15 years (depending on if you believe Bob or me about when we got it). The red desk is very much like the red desk my parents have had my whole life, so in a way I hate to see it go, but the roll-top is definitely a step up.

This week Ruth got her two bottom teeth and learned to sit herself up. She is already showing signs of wanting to pull up, though she is very unsteady on her feet when we hold her in a standing position.

At Lowe's yesterday Daniel asked where we were going, and I said we were going outside (garden center). He looked upset, so I asked if he didn't want to go outside. He said, "No, because I am hungry. I am NOT tired." He is very good at talking about his feelings, and will often refuse to answer a question because "I'm mad!" If anyone cries he will ask them if they are fussy. He's doing this less now, but if I laughed at something he would ask "Are you funny?"

We also bought 2 maple trees. I hope they do well; I've always liked maples, and we need a couple of shade trees.

That will have to do for now. Typing makes my pinky sore. :) I think I need a new keyboard.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

drs and shops

I didn't say anything before, because I didn't know what to say about it, but:

Recently (I think it was before the quick trip to OK) I went to my doctor to discuss a mole that worried me. Its growth was recent, and it seemed to be growing, though I didn't have evidence to prove it. (I'd talked about taking a picture, but never did.) Then it started itching, which is a bad sign, so I made an appointment. I didn't know what the doc would do, if anything. She cut it out, right there in the office, and sent it to the lab. I wondered. I checked my online medical records. I waited. Then got a call that the pathology report "showed some changes" and I should see a dermatologist.

Monday, while I was shopping (more about that later), the dermatologist called and scheduled an appointment for today (Wednesday). So this morning I got up early (after staying up late and getting up 3 times with Ruth), skipped coffee, forgot vitamins, and drove to Springdale in dense fog. Naysha went with me to look after Ruth. Filled out paperwork and went back to the doctor. He asked if I had the report, and I said I though he had it. So they called my PCM, faxed over a consent form, and got the nurse to read the results to them over the phone. I think he said it was a "Dysplastic nevi," but on the mild side. He said it wasn't "pre-cancerous", but was considered a marker for melanoma, so I need to stay vigilant, but not worry.

Seems like the PCM could have called him for his opinion and just relayed it to me, rather than refer me to them for an office visit. Oh, well.

It just so happened that I saw an ad in the paper yesterday for clinical trials for a new acne product, and it happens to be run by this same dermatologist's office. So I signed Taryn up to be screened to see if she's bad enough to qualify.

This week is a Rhea Lana sale. Children's consignment, done every couple of months. That's where I was Monday, with all the girls and Daniel. We got Taryn's allergy shots, went to Sam's, then to the sale, where Taryn locked the keys in the van. Bob took the boys to change the oil in the car (free changes for life at the lot where Zach bought it) and was at an auction when we discovered the key problem. So he came to rescue us, about a 40 minute drive across Sunset/412 in evening rush hour traffic, but wasn't too put out since the auction was unbearable anyway.

At the sale I found 8 dresses and 4 pajamas for Ruth, 4 dresses and 3 tops for Ella, 4 pair pants for Cedwryck, a dozen books, an Exersaucer for Ruth (she loved it! - stood in it and cackled the whole time we were waiting for Bob), and a Fisher Price barn for Daniel. I was going to save it for a gift, but he saw it and was insistent on having it. All for $148.

Today, as the Dr wasn't far from the sale, we went back. Got a couple of pants for Riah, some toys for Ruth, and 5 brand new card games; less than $20.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

quick trip

Saturday night I learned that my favorite cousin on my mom's side was in Oklahoma visiting my aunt who had had hip replacement. Since I hadn't seen this cousin in about 18 years, I immediately started scheming.
The long and short is that we left home after breakfast Monday morning, drove 4 hours (with only 1 stop for lunch) to my parents' house, where we stretched and visited for 30 minutes. My sister arrived, and she, Bob, T, N, Ruth, and I got back in the car for the 30ish minute drive to Aunt's house.

In short, it was worth it. Cousin had her 18 month old with her. We visited for about 2 hours, then back to mom and dad's, where BIL and nephews joined us for supper. Played chicken foot dominoes after supper, then sister's family left and the children went to bed.

Had a nice chat with dad, then we went to bed.

They had to work today - Tuesday - so we made our own breakfast, straightened up a bit, and came back home. Had to drive through rain and dense fog on the way home, but it was warmer than it has been, so no ice.

I feel really good about the trip. Cousin connected easily, and I felt closer to sis than I have in a long time. I'm writing as quickly as possible because Ruth is waiting to go to bed. Also I think it's appropriate to the topic of a mad dash down the hill to Ok. :)

Sunday, 1 March 2015


Just when I was getting back to the blog, we rearranged furniture and disconnected the computer. but it was not for naught. :)

The living room/addition has been drywalled, taped, mudded, and painted - primer and two coats of white. While we were at it, I also re-painted the hall, most of the dining room, and painted the rest of the dining room for the first time - 3 coats over the paneling. So we are now gleaming white everywhere, and back to the new normal.

Bob also installed some light fixtures, but I don't know if they show up in the pictures.

mostly after. we have ceiling fans now, too.

Sunday, 22 February 2015


Yes, more house construction!

Bob's friend the professional drywaller needed some help with a job he was doing (tearing down a rock fireplace), so asked Bob to trade work. Bob helped him 2 days, and then he came over here and helped with our drywall/sheetrock. We've had the sheets up for quite a while, and Bob had started covering the screws recently, but the last few days work has proceeded at an immense rate. In preparation for the mess, we unplugged the computers and moved them away from walls, so I haven't been on a computer since, oh, Tuesday? Anyway, they got everything tapes and mudded, and textured the ceiling of both dining and living room Saturday morning. Tomorrow they will texture the walls.

And after that we get to try to clean the mess. Oh, the mess! And start painting while we have the furniture moved and covered.

Last night Ruth decided not to go to bed. She just was awake, playing and talking, until 1:15. So I got in bed, and then she woke up at 2. And 4, and 6, and 7:30. So my two cups of coffee are barely keeping my eyes open today.

Oh, speaking of coffee, we tried a new brand, and it is without question my favorite (unflavored) coffee. We got the Peru version at Sam's club for a lot cheaper than on the website. It has a complex but very smooth flavor, with no bitterness or bite. I hope it's something they continue to sell.

That's all I got for now.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

the end of an era?

Well, as three of my 100+ "friends" noticed, I recently quit Facebook. I figured I had enough other ways to waste time online. :D Really, it had got so frustrating, trying to see what people actually had to say. On the final straw day, I had a news feed that consisted of the most recent hour, and then a jump to 2 or 3 days previous. And anyway, even if I could somehow convince the algorithm that I want to see every single thing that every one of my friends originally write, but none of the shared "photos" (most of which are simply text saved as jpeg to make it more sharable) or comments that they make on non-friends' posts, it still wouldn't do me any good because people don't share useful information anyway. And if I try to enter into an actual discussion, or provide an alternative point of view, they just delete or block or unfriend me.  So there.

In other news, the children keep getting older and cuter. And I get more forgetful and Bob gets more tired and painful.

Today I drove my 15 pack, rear-wheel drive, diesel powered van uphill on ice. In the dark. It took a little longer than it should have, but at no point did it go backwards.

Taryn is 16, still no license (but soon!) and is going to the Mennonite youth group. She went through (is still in?) a Bill Gaither music video watching stage, and decided to get more serious about her music. We've started her on piano lessons, and she is even going through the 4th grade English book with Naysha in case she decides to follow Bill's advice and go to college. Well, it's a start.

Naysha is sad because she is only 12 and Taryn is growing away again. But she is beginning to take on the world in her own way. She is studious, hardworking, and dedicated to the task at hand. She's started teaching Elijah his letters and thinks teaching is a possible career choice.

Riah is as himself as ever. He's grown a lot, and has been eating constantly so that we fear another spurt. His heart won't take many more growth spurts before requiring surgery.

Cedwryck has matured a lot since losing Gena dog last year. He's also focused on getting a puppy. He and Naysha watch dog training videos, measure the prospective  yard, and read and watch videos on breed characteristics.

Ella may be softening a bit.

William has learned his alphabet, but made no headway with reading. He still knows his times tables to 12 and is working on division, having mastered carrying and borrowing. A few nights ago as they were settling in to bed, Elijah asked William the time, then an addition problem. Then he told me, "William is my calculator." He still likes puzzles, too, but like most smart people, doesn't like to have to work at things.

Elijah is starting to grow up. At 5, he still has many traits of a 3-year old. He is very affectionate and tender-hearted. He is making an effort at schoolwork, but when Bob tried to get him to write the number 2, he would make it perfect 10 times, and then just make some completely random mark on the paper and declare he couldn't do it! So I sent him to puzzles and blocks for a few days. He is great friends with Daniel, and anybody else who will play with him. He cannot think what to do by himself.

Daniel is still Mister Personality. He wakes up every night and goes to the girls' room, and announces happily the next morning that he slept with Naysha. He insists on being sung to every night, selecting his favorites from our hymn book. He's developed tremendously with his language, but still needs work with some pronunciations (says t for c most of the time, though he has no trouble with c in general) and assigns gender-specific pronouns willy-nilly. He also doesn't quite get past tense, and will say "I did throw" instead of "I threw" and "I am" instead of "I will." He often sounds like an ESL speaker.

Ruth is a joy. She rarely fusses, and is affectionate, vocal, and mobile. She has said "mama" distinctly several times, and sings to herself (or along with others) frequently.

I have quit ice cream in a desperate attempt to lose some weight. I won't do anything crazy while breastfeeding, but am looking into severe diets for afterwards. My size has gone from inconvenient to downright embarrassing. But I still feel alive and in touch and healthy mentally and emotionally. Well, the mind does slip some when given only 5 hours of sleep per night, but I manage to wake up happy and hopeful rather than otherwise.

So now we are all caught up, maybe I can get on with blogging.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Ruth birth story

I can't believe I've waited this long to write this. She's 2 months and a week old, and I've forgotten the details already!

In the weeks preceding Ruth's birth, my blood pressure was up and down - mostly up. So at my 38 week check-up my doctor and I decided to induce labor.

Bob and I took the family to church Wednesday night, came home and tucked them into bed, and once Daniel was asleep, headed to the hospital. I checked in at 11:30, and though they expected me earlier, my room wasn't quite ready. Since I'd tested positive for Group B Strep, they wanted me to have a full course of antibiotics before starting the pitocin. So they hooked up the IV, on my right wrist (I should have spoken up, but didn't - my left arm works better, and I hate it on my wrist), and started the drip. I was also given a sleeping pill that almost helped. Bob spread a sheet on the couch and pretended to sleep.

Four hours later they put on the second bag of antibiotics and started pitocin. Nothing exciting happened for a couple of hours, and then the Doc came in and broke my water. There was an immediate change, but she left right away and I *knew* one simply doesn't go from 4-10 in 20 minutes, so asked for pain meds. They gave me a shot of something and I settled in to relax with it and wait. Except, it made not an iota of difference in my pain level. I called for something different, and after the nurse called the doctor she reported that I had to wait an hour. 

At the end of the hour I knew my time was about up, but really wanted a quiet minute to relax before delivery. I felt the tension in my body and knew I wasn't open mentally, even if I was physically. The nurse wanted to check me before she'd give me anything, but I didn't want to be bothered. I argued and pleaded with her, and she just kept badgering me about getting "checked." She had to know where I was before giving meds - I told her I was 9.5. She said meds before delivery make baby sleepy. Well, newborns tend to sleep anyway, so I said "I don't care!" After a good 20 minutes of back and forth she finally got the doctor back in (doc works a family practice in a clinic adjoining the hospital).

I had a clear moment and explained that I knew I was close, but couldn't relax and open up. She then explained that baby has difficulty breathing if born on meds, so HAD to verify my status - crossed her arms and said "there's nothing I can do." Of course I was ready, so she got all business-like and said, "Let's have a baby!" She informed me that my pain was on account of Ruth pressing against my pelvis, and the only way to get relief was to get her out.

I was laying on my right side, and amidst my cries and groans the doc and nurses (half-dozen at least, seemed like) pestered me with questions, and finally decided I could deliver on my side. (I did with Elijah, after all.) So they supported me and I gave a push, but it just didn't feel right. So I said, "I need to move" and rolled over. Then the pestering again about did I want the stirrups or not, so I went ahead and pushed her out. They all oohed about how pretty she was, but I had my eyes closed (crying). Finally got a peek as Ruth was laid on my stomach, but the cord was pulled tight and caused some irritation. I tried to let the doc know so she could pull up some slack, but she apologized and did nothing. Bob got some pictures, and cut the cord while I was (partially) cleaned up. Doc said I could have more meds now, to which I laughed. Adrenaline finally kicked in and I felt no pain, but they said it would make me happy or sleepy, so they gave me some anyway (I agreed to it. I must say, looking back, that they were careful throughout to keep my wishes in mind and to not do anything without asking first). I never felt the effects of the second dose, either.
After the excitement slowed down I started begging to have the IV removed, but they had to wait for this and then that, and wanted me to keep it 24 hours, but I did finally get it taken out that afternoon. The nurses were kind and considerate during my stay, coming in together to check on us so interruptions were minimum, and only taking Ruth for a couple of minutes when necessary, explaining why and for how long. But I didn't rest well for all that, the bed being uncomfortable, Ruth awake, and my mind unsettled. I kept calling her Daniel! So, while I wanted to stay longer when Daniel was born, I was ready to go home by morning this time. There was the usual delay about getting the paperwork and the wheelchair, etc, but we were finally on our way. We stopped on the way home to buy stuff for Riah's upcoming birthday.

When I wrote this on my computer (duh! - I mean in Word, not online), I had a nice, mushy, introspective closing paragraph. But since that's not my style, I won't include it here. :P