Tuesday, 18 December 2012

I'm talkin' 'bout the weather

My local weather info can be found here. I was hoping to find a similar graph for other areas, but apparently the Tulsa office does this chart just for its area. 

I did work up this info for Waco, TX:
It indicates that this year, Waco has received more precipitation than we have, though our average is about 14 inches more than theirs. So yeah, drought.

Monday, 17 December 2012

on a roll

I feel like I tend to look at things differently than "normal" people do... Why not embrace the weird?

We've all heard the slogan, "Keep Christ in Christmas." Now, I'm not an idiot; I understand what people are trying to say (retain the religious significance of the holiday), and without going into history and true religion and all that (because I enjoy Christmas as much as anybody)...

The other day when I saw that for the hundredth time, the thought popped into my head, "Why not let Him out?" First, just as a funny - kinda like saying "Keep the Dog in the Crate!"

But then I got to thinking about it, and it does seem that many people really do want to keep Christ in Christmas. If they can go to church that once per year, sing a few moderately religious songs and feel vaguely sentimental or proud, then Jesus has served His purpose. I actually knew a woman who would say "Thank you, Baby Jesus" when something went her way. Babies are cute and safe, and it's a neat story about the shepherds and the wise men... Just don't go into all that "Lordship" business; keep Him in Christmas; that's where we like Him.


I feel like I should write a bit more about yesterday's post. Not a retraction, because I do believe what I said, but a disclaimer, because I believe so much more than that.

First off, I do really believe homeschooling is the best, if not only legitimate, choice for education. But it was wrong to imply that all children would be safe if they stayed at home. Of course there are accidents, murders, robberies, and even misguided SWAT intrusions of homes. But at least a parent who was there with his child could honestly know that he was doing all he could to protect his child, instead of hoping that someone else did.

Also, the world as we know it is a sad, sick place. Yes, God made it "very good," but sin entered, and then death, and it just went downhill from there. We are ALL 'evil' - not just those who go out and start shooting at people - and the only way to eradicate evil is to be wash it away in the blood of the Lamb. The dude in CT let go of self-control; I do the same multiple times in a day. His loss of control resulted in death, whereas mine results in obesity or hurt feelings or what-have-you. The difference is in kind, not degree.

The only way any of us can have any sense of joy or happiness is through God's graciousness towards us (saint and sinner alike). He gives good gifts to point us towards Himself.

It is only when we accept the drawing of God and yield ourselves to His will that we can be, not safe, but secure.  We know that all things work together for our good, and nothing can snatch us out of His hand.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


My attention span seems to be getting shorter. Maybe it's just that I have to cram a whole week's worth of thought into one quick post.

I found my dream house. Can't really put my finger on why, but I just LOVE this house. http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-36023545.html

Also, the shooting in CT. It is so sad, and if I stopped to think about the individuals involved I would be overcome with grief. But I don't want to do that, so... Everybody has a "solution" to the situation. Get rid of guns. Arm the teachers. Pay the teachers more. Have all schools on 100% lockdown at all times.  Yep, people are making impassioned pleas that our schools become even more like prisons. (google "schools like prisons" and see what comes up - an article I read not long ago is interesting if not concise: http://americanvision.org/6523/the-story-of-two-buses/ ) And my favorite, "hug your children."  Taken all together, it reminds me a lot of this song that we recently discovered and are learning to sing.

Because everybody is upset and wants "somebody" to fix it, but in the meantime they're going to go right on teaching in government schools, and sending their children to government schools, and "supporting" government schools (whatever that means). They can't be bothered to keep their own children safe, but continue to say "they" ought to do SOMEthing to make it better.

Anyway, today is baking day and I'd better get back in the kitchen.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Great minds...

Just checked Wil's Flickr and saw that he'd done his old apartment in PS. A few days ago I made up an economical dream house in 3D Architect. And then learned how to take and save a screen shot.  SO here ya go.


Just a few observations.

I never had flannel sheets growing up, but when I married, Bob insisted on flannel for the winter. I can see why. They don't have that shocking cold feel upon first climbing into bed, and snuggle closely throughout the night.  Anyway, our OLD sheets simply disintegrated last week, so when we were at Sam's club we bought a new set. I was going to link to the product, but they aren't on Sam's website (they are bad about that). Anyway, these sheets are AMAZING. So soft, and warm, and just everything you could want for cuddly comfort.

On the other hand, I haven't been enjoying them as I should be, since Daniel still isn't sleeping well with his new teeth.

I've discovered a blog called hugs and cookies that features an amazing-looking new ooey-gooey recipe every day. Will try one for Bob's birthday this week.

Things my mother forgot to warn me about: Beware of vacuuming when fresh out of the shower. No, not because of moisture and electricity, but because the uncombed hair just might flow onto the floor behind you as you crawl under the Christmas tree in search of a power outlet, and some unnamed young person just might have left the power switch on, so that when the plug is inserted into the outlet the vacuum comes on, makes a funny sound and begins to stink while you simultaneously feel a not-so-gentle tug on your scalp. Oh, yes.

50* is just about perfect for working in the garden. I've weeded, laid some path, raked, and spread manure this week. Winter is definitely the time for major works.

Elijah stayed dry for a whole day, so, as promised, we bought him underwear. Even went  the extra mile and got Angry Birds underwear (Riah is jealous). I have heard the word "underwear" about a zillion times every day since then. He does good until it comes time to do a bowel movement. He gets frequent showers now.

Braum's butter is much better than Sam's butter. Sam's is dry and waxy and isn't much cheaper.

Can't remember the other stuff.

In light of my sleep woes, I thought I'd share this verse.
Pro 27:14  He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

pictures from last Saturday

 Daniel was feeling his teeth with his tongue.

 Elijah fell into a hole under the leaves and decided it was fun, so everyone else jumped in, too.

 This lady shares Bob's last name. There's no record of relation, but I think they look alike.

This was as we left; the signs had been set aside after the main event. I just liked the placement.

Friday, 7 December 2012

still here

but mostly brain dead. Daniel is still working those teeth. Tuesday night was the worst, not average, but still ... I was in bed for 9 hours, and was awakened 5 times during that stretch.

I wanted to do a detailed post called "Why I don't like Apple" about how we got pictures onto the iPad, but I don't remember the details any more. Something about iTunes being Bob's default even though it says it isn't and he tells it not to, and discovering the iCloud, and going to set up the cloud on his PC where it said he already had an account, but had to change the password, and then still didn't work because you have to set it up on the iPad first, but it wasn't on the iPad even though Apple website says it is, and finding out we had to upgrade something first, which Apple says automatically upgrades, and then realizing we had to upgrade the OS before it would upgrade itself, and then losing all our apps, and then finally activating the cloud only to find out its only option is to automatically sync ALL the pictures and music every time it's turned on (and Bob has thousands of pics and songs on his PC), and then finding out we have to use iTunes anyway, and it only works if the iPad is plugged in, and then when we selected pictures it tried to do all the music, too! Still haven't got the cloud to work, but have been able to get two photo albums onto the iPad to show people who don't have a home computer.

Don't remember the other posts I've thought of doing.

Why doesn't anybody sell red Christmas lights? All the local stores are out. Finally found some on Amazon, and some organic popcorn. Which is also important because I learned how to make caramel popcorn that is fantastic. Thanks to a free Kindle book of popcorn recipes.

Went to a civil war reenactment that was fun, and I took some snapshots. But it's bedtime so I won't try to upload any now. gotcha! Maybe soon.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

less busy, more tired

For the record, we didn't get any info from Riah's tests. They all worked fine, but for whatever reason the doc just talked to us for a minute this time, and said he'd look at the tests over the next few days, do more research, and call within a month. I did find out later that the insurance approved the tests, but not an "office visit" so that may be part of it.

We raised $260 at the bake sale. That allowed us to buy 1 of almost everything we were interested in from Christian Aid Ministries gift catalog: a goat, seeds for an acre garden, milk for an orphanage, Bibles for China, emergency food for a couple of families, trees for Haiti, and a cleanup bucket for a Sandy victim. :-) Having read (this week) an excerpt from Mere Christianity about charitable giving, I'm glad we already had this done. I hope we are able to do more.
As to why we went with CAM over World Vision: for 1 thing, check out the salary of the CEOs. Next, read the little "disclaimer" in the gift catalogs. CAM says "contributions are tax-deductible and are used as specified." WV says, "Donations will be used to provide assistance where it is needed most within that category or to address a similar need."(Emphasis mine). Maybe it's just me, but when I go through and pick out the best gift that I want to give, I think it should be what I picked out. But we like CAM's focus on Bible teaching as well as their extremely high percentage of money to the projects (made possible by their whole operation being volunteer).

Other news... I'm tired. Oh, and Daniel got his first tooth the day after he turned 4 months. Woke up at 4:30 yesterday (he and I). Again today, but Bob got up with him so I could rest. I was a little hyper yesterday and I think it scared him so he really wanted me to get some sleep.

Okay, it's bed time! TTYL.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


I had several intentions in the last week or so, but have been very busy. We've had something on the calendar almost every day this month. Evenings are traditionally my quiet time, but Daniel is needy then (cluster nursing to prep for bed, and no one around to help soothe him) so, while I can browse or play games on the computer, I can't type very well.

Anyway... The children continue to be unbearably cute. Bob and they are building the playhouse (finally!) as a project for Bob to photograph for his current class.
I went to the building for a suitcase and found all my mending that I'd packed up last year. Taryn sewed on some buttons and now I have two new shirts! Also found Azariah's suit coat (but not the pants) which now fits William.
Riah's MRI and EKG is Wednesday; we are hoping for good news (or at least a lack of bad news).
I've been baking almost every day for the bake sale next week, filling the freezer with cookies, cupcakes, pie crusts...
Made 3 kinds of strawberry preserves and a batch of apple butter.
Went to Crystal Bridges museum (with two other homeschool families!).
Bought a cape dress for Taryn and Naysha, and a new jacket for me, at a yard sale. Elijah says Taryn "looks like a Midnight" (Mennonite). Haha. She will have to figure out the bun to be authentic.

Wil, I still have your post on Obama in mind, but haven't looked at it any more. I doubt I'll be able to change your mind on the subject, and it really doesn't matter anyway.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

one more thought

The other thing I had in mind yesterday was the VA, which also reminds me of the military retirement system.

Preface by saying how very grateful I am that Bob can stay at home and live on his USAF retirement and his VA disability checks. He probably could work at some jobs, but he wouldn't live very long if he did (if I didn't kill him, he would eventually wear out from pain, stress, and all the extra medications necessary to combat the pain and stress).

But it's SOOOOO dumb!!! Sarcasm and over-reacting here.
Okay, Bob is going to college on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which is handled by the VA. They pay the school so much, and they pay us a little for books and housing (half rate on housing because the school is online). Well, a while back Bob took a 6 week break from school, and the school didn't notify the VA, so they paid us the housing for that 6 week period. Now, it seems logical and efficient to me for them to have simply withheld the following 6 weeks' allowance and it would all be even and fixed.  But being a government entity, they: sent us a letter saying they'd overpaid us and would contact us soon about the repayment options. A month later they sent a letter saying they'd decided what to do. We could write them a check, call to set up payment plans, or call to say why it would create a hardship for us to pay it back. Then it said if we were to receive future payments we should do nothing, and they would take the money out of the future pay. So that's what we did (nothing). Then a month later they sent another letter saying that since we hadn't called or paid, they would start withholding from future payments (duh!) and that would start in January. THEN a month later they sent YET ANOTHER letter, saying that our "indebtedness" had been reduced by so much, and the rest would be paid off the next month. Huh. To add to all this wastefulness (their time, my time, the postage and paper and filing of copies and updating the records), EACH letter contains 3 pages of how to contact the VA and what to do if you think their ruling isn't fair. I guess this is their way of combating the problems of veterans not getting the help they need or deserve. Anyway, I just think the whole thing is silly.

And then another thing about military retirement is the healthcare. For one, didn't they used to promise free healthcare? Maybe that's just for the retiree (not family); in that case, he can get it if he wants to go to the VA hospital. Anyway, we pay a monthly premium for health insurance for the family. In return we get to pick (from a short list) a Primary Care Manager (regular doctor) whom we can visit for preventative care once a year and for any issues that come up, with a $12 "copay" at each visit. Except, so far I haven't been able to get the children seen, but that's another story. I have generally been happy with Tricare. Today I am fussing about the rate increase.
We recently found out that our annual rate will go from $460 to $539. Granted, that is what some people pay per month; my gripe is actually with the wording in the announcement. The official USAF retiree newsletter says "The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2012 allows for the annual increase of TRICARE Prime enrollment fees for most retired beneficiaries based on the annual cost-of-living adjustment." Well, our COLA for this year is 1.7 percent. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Tricare is going up by far more than 1.7%. I guess I should be glad that the price increase doesn't equal our whole COLA (it's only about half). sigh.

I'm really not an unhappy person, honest. Stupidity just bugs me, and I enjoy getting to blare my opinions in this way.

Friday, 2 November 2012

random thoughts

I'm still (or again) undecided on my choice for President. In Arkansas we are not allowed to write in our choice. The people on the ballot are: Obama, Romney, Johnson (Libertarian, former Governor of New Mexico), the Green Party candidate (Jill Stein), and the Socialism and Liberation Party candidate (Peta Lindsay). I'm not voting for Obama or the Green girl or the S&L party. So that leaves me with Romney and Johnson. I know Johnson won't win, and am inclined to vote for him just to "stick it to" the Republican party for the way they cheated Ron Paul out of his hard-earned place at the national convention (and hopefully send some sort of "message" about appointing a left-leaning candidate). But then, Romney is closer to being pro-life than Johnson is; could I really vote for someone who thinks it's okay to kill people who cannot live independent of  medical devices? But then Romney thinks it's okay to kill someone if their father is a rapist... But his running mate doesn't think so... And Romney isn't all about limited government and personal responsibility (ideas which I think are central to the USA as we know it), but I think he would do better than Obama is doing on many fronts, and (as I read on a blog the other day) better IS better. So anyway, I'm still waffling.

Daniel picture:
On a lighter note, and one on which I'm sure we can all agree, Daniel is gorgeous.

10 commandments:
At church Wednesday there were only 14 people (7 adults and 7 children, if you count Taryn as an adult), so it was pretty casual. We are on the 10 Commandments, and Jesse went around the room asking people if they could name one. When he called on William, William responded, "Thou shalt not drink." Laughter erupted, and I was glad William isn't as touchy as Riah was at that age. In his defense, we had just been talking about the election and the possibility of Madison County going "wet."

We went shopping Tuesday and bought $400 worth of groceries (including diapers). Wednesday and today I've been cooking and prepping for the freezer. Put up 12lbs of chicken breast (trimmed, sliced, marinated - one set cooked for dinner), 20lbs of leg/thigh quarters (boiled with garlic, apple cider vinegar, and salt in water) which made 20 cups of cooked chicken and 12 qts of bone broth (more or less), 14lbs of ground beef (some just divvied up and frozen, 2 kinds of meatballs, breakfast sausage, and some cooked in water with onion which made 2-3 qts beef broth). Also made muffins for breakfast this morning and washed a bunch of dishes (2 DW loads each day plus a bunch of hand wash).

I used to think the broth from boiling chicken was a sort of by-product, and even started baking my cheap cuts for cooked meat to use in casseroles. But then I started reading Weston Price's work and learned of the value of a good bone broth (boil the bones for 24 hours to get all the minerals out), and so now I'm making broth on purpose and the meat is the "extra" part. :-)

bake sale:
Last year for Christmas we gave money to World Vision based on their gift catalog. This year we will give through Christian Aid Ministries for reasons I won't get into here. But we want to do more, so we've decided to hold a bake sale to raise money to send. We will be at Walmart the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Should be fun.

Monday, 29 October 2012


Uncle Fred shared this on Facebook, and I think it brought up some good points. Please note, this is NOT to say I support Mitt Romney or that he hasn't done anything wrong or stupid.

Add Libya to the list.
Question....will you delete this?

A. Raymond Hansen
From my friend Murray N Brown Jr - this is a good read on "When"

This is long, but so worth the read! PASS IT ON!

Looking back thru the past 4 years, many "Whens" pop up. Read them all to better understand where we are going as a country….

WHEN - he refused to disclose who donated money to his election campaign, as other candidates had done, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he received endorsements from people like Louis Farrakhan, Muramar Kaddafi and Hugo Chavez, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - it was pointed out that he was a total newcomer and had absolutely no experience at anything except community organizing, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he chose friends and acquaintances such as Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn who were revolutionary radicals, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - his voting record in the Illinois Senate and in the U.S. Senate came into question, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he refused to wear a flag lapel pin and did so only after a public outcry, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - people started treating him as a Messiah and children in schools were taught to sing his praises, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he stood with his hands over his groin area for the playing of the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he surrounded himself in the White House with advisors who were pro-gun control, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage and wanting to curtail freedom of speech to silence the opposition, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he said he favors sex education in kindergarten, including homosexual indoctrination, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - his personal background was either scrubbed or hidden and nothing could be found about him, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - the place of his birth was called into question, and he refused to produce a birth certificate, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he had an association in Chicago with Tony Rezco - a man of questionable character and who is now in prison and had helped Obama to a sweet deal on the purchase of his home - people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - it became known that George Soros, a multi-billionaire Marxist, spent a ton of money to get him elected, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he started appointing White House Czars that were radicals, revolutionaries, and even avowed Marxist /Communists, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he stood before the Nation and told us that his intentions were to "fundamentally transform this Nation" into something else, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - it became known that he had trained ACORN workers in Chicago and served as an attorney for ACORN, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he appointed cabinet members and several advisers who were tax cheats and socialists, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he appointed a Science Czar, John Holdren, who believes in forced abortions, mass sterilizations and seizing babies from teen mothers, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he appointed Cass Sunstein as Regulatory Czar who believes in "Explicit Consent," harvesting human organs without family consent and allowing animals to be represented in court, while banning all hunting, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he appointed Kevin Jennings, a homosexual and organizer of a group called Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network as Safe School Czar and it became known that he had a history of bad advice to teenagers, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he appointed Mark Lloyd as Diversity Czar who believes in curtailing free speech, taking from one and giving to another to spread the wealth, who supports Hugo Chavez, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - Valerie Jarrett, an avowed Socialist, was selected as Obama's Senior White House Advisor, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director, said Mao Tse Tung was her favorite philosopher and the person she turned to most for inspiration, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he appointed Carol Browner, a well known socialist as Global Warming Czar working on Cap and Trade as the nation's largest tax, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he appointed Van Jones, an ex-con and avowed Communist as Green Energy Czar, who since had to resign when this was made known, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - Tom Daschle, Obama's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary could not be confirmed because he was a tax cheat, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - as President of the United States, he bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he traveled around the world criticizing America and never once talking of her greatness, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - his actions concerning the Middle East seemed to support the Palestinians over Israel, our long time ally, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he took American tax dollars to resettle thousands of Palestinians from Gaza to the United States, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he upset the Europeans by removing plans for a missile defense system against the Russians, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he played politics in Afghanistan by not sending troops early-on when the Field Commanders said they were necessary to win, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he started spending us into a debt that was so big we could not pay it off, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he took a huge spending bill under the guise of stimulus and used it to pay off organizations, unions, and individuals that got him elected, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he took over insurance companies, car companies, banks, etc., people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he took away student loans from the banks and put it through the government, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he designed plans to take over the health care system and put it under government control, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he claimed he was a Christian during the election and tapes were later made public that showed Obama speaking to a Muslim group and 'stating' that he was raised a Muslim, was educated as a Muslim, and is still a Muslim, people said it didn't matter.

WHEN - he set into motion a plan to take over the control of all energy in the United States through Cap and Trade, people said it didn't matter. (Not in place yet, but by Executive Order he took the power to control it all [this parenthetical thought is mine]).

WHEN - he finally completed his transformation of America into a Socialist State, people woke up--- but it was too late. Add these up one by one and you get a phenomenal score that points to the fact that Barrack Hussein Obama is determined to turn America into a Marxist-Socialist society. All of the items in the preceding paragraphs have been put into place. All can be documented very easily. Before you disavow this do an Internet search. The last paragraph alone is not yet cast in stone. You and I will write that paragraph.

Will it read as above or will it be a happier ending for most of America?

Don't just belittle the opposition. Search for the truth. We all need to pull together or watch the demise of a free democratic society. Pray for Americans to seek the truth and take action for it will keep us FREE. Our biggest enemy is not China, Russia, North Korea or Iran. Our biggest enemy is a contingent of politicians in Washington, DC . The government will not help, so we need to do it ourselves.

Question....will you delete this, or pass it on to others who don't know about Obama's actions and plans for the USA , so that they may know how to vote in November, 2012 and the ensuing years?

It's your decision. I believe it does matter. How about you?

WHEN - November

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Daniel rolled over today, from his back (which he generally enjoys) to his front (which he generally hates). He did it 4 times, each time faster than the last.  He had rolled from front to back a while ago (at less than 1 month) but hasn't done so recently.

We have a rabbit again. Mr B came back to the country today to live in Serenity's newly remodeled pen.

Ah, another thing we did last week was go walking in Lost Valley. Well, some of us did. Some of us stayed in the parking lot so we could run to the toilet every 5 minutes. ahem. All of us enjoyed the Fall colors and the resident Elk of Boxley Valley.

Bob is having a great time with his ColorMunki that he had to buy for his photography class. Every time he restarts his computer he has to re-register it (just about); it turned his whites to grey; and to calibrate the printer and paper it took an hour, used massive amounts of ink and paper, and the results were less pleasing than what Bob achieved by downloading a ready-made profile for some other paper/printer combination. But the instructor insists that it's better than relying on one's eyes. It just IS.

Monday, 22 October 2012


I remember that I was really wanting to blog the last week or two.  I just can't remember about what.


There was a trip to Oklahoma for my niece's birthday. I was in charge of the trip down; we left at 8am and didn't stop. I drove, and after we got to I-540 south of Fayetteville we stayed on Interstates. Drive time was just under 3 1/2 hours. We had a nice visit with my parents, brother and family, and sister and family. Little brother didn't make it up from Texas.
On the way home Bob was in charge. We left about 11, stopped at a garage sale and ate in Seminole. Took I-40 to just past the Arkansas line, then turned up the AR 59 to AR 220, to I-540. Funny thing is, Arkansas state highway 220 wound its way for a few miles and then turned into an increasingly narrow, steep, windy, and bumpy DIRT ROAD. Yep. There was the occasional highway marker, so we knew we were still on track, but it was kinda iffy anyway. We crossed a picturesque creek (I stopped and Bob pictured it), and eventually found ourselves in Devil's Den State Park. It was raining at that time, though, so we didn't stop there. Did a little shopping and ate in town. Made it home about 8pm.




We've had a tummy bug.


I really can't think of anything else. William is 5 now, and Daniel is almost 3 months. Elijah is almost 3 years, and has really become independent as well as quite the talker. Life just doesn't stop.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Wish List | VisionForum.com

Wish List | VisionForum.com

I made a wish list at Vision Forum. There are lots of new things in this year's catalog; something for everyone.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


The breakfast at Best Western at Pearl (near Jackson, Mississippi, airport) DID have a nice breakfast. They kept it stocked, and made sure we were full before packing it up at the posted closing time. Make your own waffles, yogurt, fresh fruit, some egg-type substance, and sausage and ham, plus cereal, toast, coffee, milk, and juice. The orange juice was disgusting, but the rest was decent.

At Super 8 the cinnamon rolls were nice, but for waffles they had thawed out Eggos. Other than yogurt there was no protein. They also worked hard to keep the counters stocked.

We had let our chickens free-range while we were gone, and when we got back one rooster and his three hens were missing. No sign of foul play, but no sign of the fowls, either. :-( The extra rooster from that pen is still here, but he's very lonely now.  I think we should give him some of the girls from the other pen.

We got everything dry, finally.

Yesterday we had a hot dog roast with two other homeschool, dresses and headcovering families. :-) That was an adventure, with 19 children ages 13 and under together in one place. Each of the mothers had a newborn boy with her, and the men were talking politics and religion, so the children got to have lots of fun playing tag and hide and seek. Ella received the only reportable injury, as she bounced into the business end of a hot dog roaster that William was carrying, and scratched her bottom eyelid.

Today is Riah's birthday. We weren't quite prepared (no balloons, and pink candles), but so far things are going okay. Bob took Riah and Ced fishing this morning while I made the cake and the chicken noodle soup for lunch, and the girls cleaned house. Now they are playing and I'm typing. :-)


(Yes, camping, in Canaan's happy land. - Sorry, inside joke.)

I've had cabin fever for a while. Bob and I got to talking one day about taking a trip out East to see some Fall colors, but Riah overheard us and inputted that he wanted to see the ocean, and we realized the Fall break at Bob's college would almost coincide with Riah's birthday, so we let him have input.  To sum up, we decided to go to Pensacola, Florida. Bob's uncle lives there, and it seemed a reasonable driving distance, and there's a Navy base there with a campground.

Oh, yes.  We went camping. 

I booked the tent site on base (the National Parks website hinted at tent camping at the Fort Pickens site, but the website was SEVERELY lacking in information, so I went with the Navy). I booked a hotel in Jackson, Mississippi.  We bought moving blankets at Harbor Freight for $6 each, to use as padding under the sleeping bags (the cheapest made-for-camping pads were $20 each). I looked up things to do in Pensacola, and printed out directions from Google maps. What could go wrong?

Well, our first official stop was at the "Welcome to Louisiana" sign for a photo op; as we posed, Ella stepped in a fire ant pile.  Daniel doesn't like the car seat, so every time he woke up we stopped to feed and change him. We forgot to lock the garage, after Bob bought a lock and specially adapted it to fit. Taryn had to go to WalMart for a personal item that she didn't think to pack. We ran out of tissues. It rained. And rained. And RAINED.

The first day we were 11 hours on the road, what with Daniel and toilets and tissues and gas and dinner. Bob drove from Little Rock to Pine Bluff; I drove the rest of the way, since driving hurts his knee. That put us at our hotel in Jackson at 9:45 pm. We checked in, made our beds, and slept. We stayed at a Best Western because reviews said they had a nice breakfast, and we figured it was worth a little extra. Beds were nice but firm, everything was clean and working except the shower drained slowly. Interestingly, the room A/C actually cut off when it got cool in the room. I've never stayed in a hotel that did that.

The next day we started off by getting lost. Bob found me on the map and cleverly directed me back to the route. Bob drove the last leg of that trip, from Mobile, Alabama, through Pensacola, and onto the base. We finally found the camp site 10 minutes before they closed (only to find out there is a "host" who lives on site and can check you in at anytime). We stopped by the bathhouse and then set up our campsite. Boy! It was hot and humid! It didn't take long to set up the tents, but by the time we did we were all wet, with rivers of sweat down our faces and shirts. It was getting dark fast, so we knew we wouldn't make it to the beach that night.
We went for supper at the Navy Exchange (sort of a mini mall), arriving 20 minutes before they closed. The pizza guy agreed to make us a pie, and Bob and I got all the food that was left at the Chinese place, for a nice discount. But the janitor was putting chairs up on the tables and had turned all the trash bins against the wall so there was no place to throw things away, so we took our food and ate at the smokers' tables outside. While we ate, hundreds of Sailors came up to the NEX to go in, only to find it was locked, and then to stand around and wonder what there was to do here.
From there we went to the base gas station (the one without diesel, as the road to the gas station with diesel had big "NO Unauthorized Personnel" signs up) and got a gallon of milk, a bag of ice, and car floor mats to use as welcome mats for the tents (the whole place was sandy, and we'd noticed other campers had door mats). Then we went 'home' and tried to build a campfire in the dark while fighting of mosquitoes and sweat. I'd read that the lows would be in the lower 60's, so brought blankets and sweats for everyone. We didn't use the blankets, and those who wore their sweats wished they hadn't. It was warm, HUMID, and still all night.

The next day we had our breakfast of cereal, got into our swimsuits, and walked down to the beach. Sugar-white sand, as advertised. Nobody on the beach. Clean... We set up our umbrella and lawn chair (for feeding Daniel), and the stroller so that Daniel was in the shade. Bob waded out to test the undertow. Finding everything satisfactory, he called the children out to him. They were all too scared to go! There is a sort of ledge right at the edge of the water, so if you are in, you're in to your waist. But it stayed at waist level for a long ways after that. Anyway, we got the children in, and then we had fun. Elijah wouldn't swim, but played in the sand, so we took turns staying with him while the others swam. Some learned to snorkel, some learned to float, and we all got nice and salty. We stayed almost 3 hours, and then went back to camp, stopping to rinse off on the way. Bob called his uncle, who agreed to meet us at Joe Patti's fish market (the second most popular attraction in the area). So we dressed and headed into town. We toured the market and then drove out to Gulf Breeze for lunch at a Mexican place. After lunch we went to Uncle's house where he showed off his tropical garden (while Bob took Riah back to the restaurant to get his camera). He has bananas, satsumas, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, papaya, and blueberries. We visited for a while, then headed toward camp. Stopped at Walmart for a new lantern and some supper and bottled water. Made a nice campfire, ate, and went to bed early. Uncle gave us some waterproof spray to coat our tents with, and I got that on about 15 minutes before it started to rain.

That night I got a little spray on my face, but everything else stayed dry. The next morning it was rainy, but everyone we had talked to told us that Florida had frequent, short showers - just keep going and it will clear up in a minute. So, we decided to go to the barrier island, and check out the National Seashore at the Fort Pickens site (which I'd read was nice empty beaches, and Bob thought Uncle said was a good place to spot dolphins - Cedwryck was especially excited about getting to see a dolphin). We realized that the road to the park was lined with parking spaces and paths out to the ocean, so thought we could save $8 and just go there. The waves were boisterous, and when Bob checked, there was a decent undertow. He let each child go to him in the water, one at a time, but no one wanted to let go of him, as they could feel the pull of the current. By the time they'd all gone in, his knee hurt from bracing against the surf. No dolphins in sight, of course, so we went on to the National Park. We drove all the way to the end of the island, walked out on the little fishing pier (which actually points into the bay rather than the gulf), and stopped at the visitor center on our way home. No mention of dolphins anywhere. Lots of ants on the sidewalk. Bought a pirate map in the gift shop. We had a con-fab, and the one thing everyone wanted (more than dolphins on the Pensacola Beach pier, more than the Naval Aviation Museum, more than ANYthing) was to go swimming again. We thought the beach near our camp was nicer than the one on the island, so decided to go back there. Storm clouds gathered. Back at camp we headed to the ocean as the storm really picked up. It hurt to stand there, with the rain and sand pelting my  legs. Bob and some children got into the water briefly, but the waves were nearly as high as they had been on the gulf, and I couldn't lay Daniel down because of the rain. As it really started pouring we made a run for the bathhouse. We sat on the bench in the shelter of the bathhouse for a while, realizing that even if we could get dry and changed, it was too late to go the the museum anyway. In a break in the rain, Bob brought the van up to the bathhouse, where we unloaded it under the overhang, and began sorting and packing within the shelter of the laundry room there. He was worried about the state of our camp. So the next rain break he and I went back to the camp to discover that our tent was completely flooded.  Water standing on the floor; my pillow wet through; a puddle in the baby bed... So we started packing.  We squeezed out the blankets and sleeping bags as much as we could, but when we folded up the tent it held all the water inside.  I spread a tarp in the back of the van, and we started layering the stuff, wettest on the bottom. Then back to the bathhouse, where Taryn had folded all our newly-dried clothes, to shove in the rest of the stuff and people. And away we went. We made it to the far side of Mobile before stopping for supper, and then into Hattiesburg, Mississippi to spend the night at a Super 8.

The children liked it there, but I was a little frustrated about the rate. Anyway, the beds were soft and dry. Tuesday morning we tried to eat the whole breakfast bar, and were finally back on the road by 9:30. Bob drove through Jackson (not quite as scary in the daytime, but still very big-city with all the highways merging and exiting, and part roller-coaster ride with the terrible state of the road), Then I took over and made it up to Little Rock before Bob got nervous about me driving in town. He got us up to Conway, where we had supper, and then I took it to Ozark, where we got fuel. It was getting dark, and I guess Bob was nervous again, because he wanted to drive on home. We made it home at 10:30pm. Phew!

Monday, 10 September 2012


It's times like this I wish I could REALLY write, instead of just throw words on the screen. oh, well.

We are planning to take a little trip - camping - to the coast. Haven't seen the ocean in two years, you know.  Bob had the brilliant idea of letting Serenity the dog stay at MIL's house while we were away. She has a large fenced yard, two big dogs, and it would be nicer than a kennel. So, every so often when we go into Springdale we will take Serenity with us and drop her off at MIL's for a few hours, to get used to it.

Friday was one of those times.  Serenity was excited to go with us in the car, as always. I leashed her and took her around to the gate; she was pulling the whole way. Once in the gate I let her go and she ran around to the back porch, where the other dogs were barking through the patio door.  I cheered her on, glad she appeared comfortable there. When I turned to leave she followed me back to the gate, and jumped up on the fence with her front feet. This worried me a little... When I went back to the car, she went around the house to the fence on the other side, closer to the driveway. Last time we left her, she had stayed in that spot almost the whole time, so I felt like things were okay. She again jumped up on the fence, and Bob began to worry. Then she paced around a little and looked very pretty and classic German Shepherd. We waited a little bit to see if she would try to get out, but she went back to the porch, and I saw the neighbor's dog come out to say hi (she'd played with it a while last visit), so I figured it was okay. Anyway, we figured the more we hung around the more she'd want to get out after us. So we went shopping.

A new Cabella's sporting goods store opened in Rogers last week, and we wanted to check it out. It's HUGE! (Like Bass Pro Shops). After a couple of hours we left and were on our way to WalMart when MIL called Bob's cell phone. Serenity had got out of the fence, hit by a car, and was being transported to the nearest vet.

We arrived at the vet to find a wet and damaged dog on a table, wrapped in blankets to dry and warm her (it had been raining). They hadn't begun an exam yet, and talked briefly about the options. We said to sedate her and take x-rays. She wasn't moving anything at the time; they said she hadn't moved her back legs at all.  When I started talking she lifted her ears up, so I know she was aware that we were there. We got the children in and settled before another storm broke. They gave Serenity a shot, and took an x-ray of her back and of her pelvis., then called us back to look. I knew when the nurse called us that it was bad news. She was holding back tears as she showed us the x-ray that showed Serenity's back was broken. There was nothing to be done but say good-bye.

The children came in one at a time and petted her or said "bye" or looked at the x-ray (all except Taryn). The oldest three cried quite a bit, as did I, MIL, and MIL's friend who had been on her way over for supper and stopped by the vet. Soon it was all over.  We requested the body, to be buried at home, and they bagged it for us; Bob loaded it in the van and covered the bag with a tarp we had.

wow. I keep getting mental images of her standing in the middle of the highway, hurt and confused.  I try to comfort myself by thinking that she couldn't feel anything because of the broken back Don't correct me if I'm wrong. 

The children were surprisingly hungry, so we went on to eat, then finished our shopping, arriving home about 10:30. Saturday morning we had a funeral in the field, burying her next to Tiger.

We are mostly okay, but occasionally it will hit me or Riah that she's gone.

I'd like to believe that she's wrestling with Tiger once again, now that they are both beyond our world of pain.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Can't remember

I know there were things I wanted to write about this week, but I don't remember much of what they were.

Yep, I'm still averaging 6 hours sleep per night.

Bob had a beginners photography class in our home on Tuesday. His cousin's wife and her sister came, and two ladies from the Mennonite church.  The cousin's daughter was supposed to come, but couldn't make it, as were another cousin (whose husband got sick), and the cousin's wife's boss (who got a migraine).  Anyrate, it went pretty well and I think they all learned something.  He wants to try a more in-depth series of classes in October.

That morning, Bob was standing on a chair to dust something, and somehow he lost his balance and fell.  Instinctively (he didn't even know he'd done it) he reached out for support, and managed to pull the display cabinet over, too.  It made a big crashing sound, and we just knew all our valuables we shattered. In fact, I was holding my breath expecting the glass cabinet doors to shatter all over Bob and the living room.  The children screamed or cried. Bob rolled away from the (surprising lack of) carnage and demonstrated that he wasn't damaged.  I calmed the little ones down a bit, got Elijah to bed for his nap, and came back to the findings that nothing seemed to be broken, but we didn't have the key to the cabinet.  Bob and Taryn tried several things, and finally managed to pick the lock so we could take all the stuff out, clean the cabinet, and put everything back. Turns out one of the legs was broken off, so we just took off the other legs, too, making the cabinet shorter but more stable.

Daniel weighed in on the Wii on his 1 month birthday at 10.5 pounds. That makes him more or less equivalent to Elijah at birth. Daniel is more stout through the chest, but less fat on the chin and legs.  He hasn't been letting Bob hold him much, but otherwise isn't hard to please.

I was reminded (by a "friend" on Facebook) about the T-Tapp exercise program.  I've had it bookmarked for a couple of years on my laptop; I looked at it some more and made an order. She's supposed to cure knee and back pain as well as help tone and all the other things that exercise will do.  Anyway, it arrived yesterday, and this morning I checked out some of the routines. Looks promising; the hard part of course is actually doing it.

I also made my first ever order from Walmart.com; found it very easy to navigate the site, and appreciate the 97 cent shipping and the ability to pay with Paypal.

We are planning a little trip on our anniversary, which should be a lot of fun if we aren't rained out (planning to camp).

That's all I've got.

Oh, yeah, also a little gripe:
Don't misunderstand me, I am grateful for the military benefits that we enjoy every day. Bob's retirement and disability are enough to keep him at home where he can rest when he needs to.  He's going to school for free, with the occasional bonus pay (I could gripe about the way the pay is handled, but that's not my point today).  We might have been able to scrape together for a community college class, but there's no way we could every pay for the Art Institute of Pittsburgh on our income without the Post 9/11 G I Bill.  There are occasional benefits, like getting to stay on base when we travel (nice apartment for the same price as a cheap hotel), and some people consider the BX and the commissary as benefits, though last time we checked, prices weren't better and convenience was worse there.
Then there's the insurance. Again, I am grateful for the rates (our annual enrollment is lower than some families' monthly premium), and I'm usually very satisfied with the coverage. We've never had a bill rejected by Tricare, or a referral or prescription refused. So it's really a tiny gripe.  When Daniel was born he had a certain amount of a "grace period" that wasn't specified, but I assume is 10 days. So, within a week of his birth, Bob and I drove down to south of Fayetteville to a little National Guard outpost in order to register Daniel on DEERS (Defense something something system) - so the military knows that he is Bob's dependent.  But the office was closed for a week (told you it was a little outpost).  So we came back the day they reopened and had no hassle getting him enrolled in DEERS, in spite of not having his birth certificate back yet (here you have to send off for one in the mail, and wait 4-6 weeks to get it). Then we could sign him up for the insurance. So I dug up the proper forms from the website, printed them, filled them out, and mailed them off (can't enroll online). THEN they sent me a blank form (page 3 of 7) saying I hadn't done that one the first time. So I filled it out again, used another stamp, and waited some more. THEN we finally got his enrollment letter in the mail, with a start date of 1 OCTOBER. Hello?? Don't most doctors require visits at 2 weeks, (some at 1 month) and again at 2 months? He'll be 2 months plus a week before he can go for his first checkup!  If we were doing vaccines his schedule would be all messed up. Never mind if he gets sick! I guess if we were worried about him we could cover an office visit ($150 or so?), but a lot of people can't. We happen to be situated to suffer very little from this stupidity, but it shouldn't be like that to enroll an newborn, and wasn't when we were active duty. So that's my rant for the day. And thank God Daniel is healthy.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


Twice this week we were surprised to find things on our front porch.

One morning we slept in a little bit, and when we woke up and went out to do chores we found a nice little assortment: a boys under shirt, 2 pair of boys socks, a sack of egg cartons, and two cantaloups (we ate one and it was the best we've had this year).

Then the day we were in town, when we got home there was a box of Pampers on the porch. Upon investigation we discovered a UPS delivery sticker indicating they had been ordered from Amazon and sent to us on purpose.

I have my suspicions about both donors.  If you are reading this, thank you!
Children's funnies for today:

Bob identified a smell as coming from the Butterball Water Plant. Cedwryck asked why anybody would grow such a plant.

We went to Academy Sports and Outdoors store, and there were several deer blinds out front. The children started talking about the deer stands, when I tried to make a funny and said, "I think that one is a deer 'sit' - see the chairs?" Then they spent the next 5 minutes correcting each other that it was called a "sit" and not a "stand." I finally got the attention back and was able to have some read the label on the thing, to show it was indeed called a "stand."

When dinner time rolled around and we were still in town, it was suggested that we go to Golden Corral (an American-style buffet) since it was the family night and children's meals were discounted. As Ella has requested this restaurant for her birthday dinner next week, we teased her by asking if this would count for her birthday.  She didn't like that idea much, but Elijah started in about how he wanted to go there. Somebody said it could count for Elijah's birthday (not until November).  The rest of the night Elijah was convinced it was his birthday.

On second thought, those last two were parent's funnies more than children's.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Daniel pictures

I asked Bob to email me some pics of Daniel, and this is what he chose. :-) I have a feeling there's something wrong with that sentence, grammatically, but can't tell what. In my defense, last night was pretty close to typical (not that we have routine yet), and I slept from 11 to 1:30, and from 3:30 to 6:30, and from 6:45 to 7:45. Actually that last bit was a bonus that isn't quite typical. Saturday night I had a total of 4 hours' sleep. So my brain isn't exactly tack-sharp. I am, however, still able to remember orders at McDonald's for all 8 of us (Bob orders his own food), special requests and all.  So I'm not completely hopeless.

Anyway, the pictures.

And more words. Bob took these in his garage studio. The blue awake picture was taken at 1 week; the others were at 12 days (or thereabouts) and he was sound asleep the whole time. That's my hand in the bottom picture; the blue and white blanket was a gift from MIL. And I think that's all the explanation needed.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Daniel Birth Story

 To tell Daniel’s birth story, I thought I’d paste in my Facebook updates to give a basic outline, and then fill in the details.  I hope you don’t mind.

8pm July 24: “Checked into the hospital because of dilation to 4cm. Pray for us to stay calm and carry on.” Got 7 “likes” and 4 comments.

10:30pm: “Dilated to 5 and have the water broken.” Got 10 “likes” and 4 comments.
About 2am July 25: “Bored.” Got 3 comments.

5am: “Fixin to kick it into high gear. Getting pitocin, an I v, and some pain meds. I'm worn out, sickish, and hungry.” Got 4 comments.

7am: “He’s here! 6:44am. 8lbs 8ozs. 20". What a relief! He's hungry, and so am I. :-) thanks for all your prayers.” Got 23 “likes” and 22 comments.

10:40am: “Whenever I get comfy I dream I'm in labor. :-) Daniel is so sweet and quiet. Poor guy was awake all night, too.” Got 6 “likes” and 4 comments.

3pm Shared a picture of Daniel.

July 26, 6am: “Finally got to sleep at 3:30; up and ready for the day at 5:00. I don't understand people who stay in hospital to rest.” 3 likes, 4 comments.

6:30pm: “Finally made it home about 4:30. The children were very excited to see us, and Elijah was especially anxious to have his brother Daniel get out of the van. I'm exhausted, but it gives me joy to see them love each other.”

July 27, 8:30 am: “Good morning world! I'm up to 10 hours of sleep for the last 3 days/nights. It can only get better, right? Right?”  4 likes, 9 comments.

Now for the details.

Mom came over from Oklahoma on Thursday to stay with us and help with childcare and housework, so I could get on with the baby-having business.  I really felt I could “go” at anytime, and was relieved to have her here. So of course nothing happened over the weekend.

Tuesday afternoon I had my 39 week checkup, and Bob and I went in to Rogers alone for that. Bob met my doctor for the first time. I had lost 2 of the 5 pounds I’d gained in the previous 2 weeks, bringing my final weight to 7 pounds less than it was at conception. (I had lost 10 pounds in February, then remained constant up until the last 3 weeks of pregnancy). I was dilated to 4 cm (it was 2.5 2 weeks ago), and soft and I don’t remember how effaced. So we talked it over, and as my doctor was leaving the next day for the rest of the week, and I was otherwise all set, we decided to go ahead with an induction that evening.

In the meantime (it was 4, and we were to be at the hospital at 7) we checked out a bakery that had a real German pastry chef, then went to a book store for something to keep us occupied, then to dinner.  By this time I was feeling bad – very stressed, possibly contraction-y, and sick to my stomach.  I tried to eat, knowing I’d need my strength, but I just couldn’t.  Bob had some of his food, but then he started getting anxious, too, so we just quit trying to eat.

We got to the hospital (Mercy, in Rogers) at 7pm and finally found our way to the maternity ward. The nurse was expecting us, and was read up on my birth plan and some history. Turns out she’s from Ireland, and trained as a midwife in Scotland in the 70’s. Anyway, the doctor was supposed to come in at 8:30 (allowing time for my blood count results to come back) and break my water to start the labor.  It was 10 before she showed up. While waiting, we played “Set” (which we’d bought at the bookstore) and walked around the maternity ward.

The doctor came in, stripped my membranes to encourage the fluids to come around the head, and broke the water. It was mostly a trickle, and I was still able to walk around once we monitored the baby for a few minutes.  I alternated between trying to sleep (to no avail) and walking around the ward to try to get things moving (to no avail). I had the occasional contraction as long as I was walking, but that was pretty boring and I was tired and my hip hurt so I would quit and go back to bed.  After a time in bed my legs would get restless (this happens when I’m overtired and can’t sleep) and I’d need to use the toilet, so I’d get up again.  All this time I was getting anxious again, and my stomach was quite upset.

Finally at 4am I asked for the nurse, who asked for the doctor, and we discussed things and I decided that if I could have some medication to help with the discomfort and anxiety, I’d take the pitocin, too. That entailed an IV, of course, which was one thing I really didn’t want, but it was my choice, and the only way to get things going. The nurse started the IV in my left forearm, but went through the vein (Bob said the needle nearly came out the skin again) so pulled out and tried again on my right wrist. She missed there, too, but not as dramatically. So she called another nurse, all the time saying how she was normally the one they call when others can’t get it in.  But the second nurse got me started on the back of my left hand, and though it was still painful to have that thing stuck in my body, at least it was over. My nurse was going to “wait until the pain got bad” before starting the dope, but I insisted that it was part of the deal and I wanted it now. Meanwhile Bob and I played another round of “Set”. When the medicine hit me it nearly knocked me down, and I conceded the game.

It was now just after 5am, and labor started in earnest. I lay down in the bed and tried to find my happy place. It was only about 45 minutes when I couldn’t handle it any more. Every contraction was accompanied by a sharp pain in my lower right abdomen. So I asked for more pain meds. The nurse got the doctor, who wanted to “check” me first, and I was too incapacitated to tell her to skip it.  Anyway, I was dilated to 7 at that point, and she approved my request for more medication. She also suggested the nurse turn down the pitocin a notch. I hadn’t thought of that. By the time the doctor left and the nurse had made her adjustments, I got to thinking about what they’d said, and suggested the pitocin be turned off completely, as labor was going with no threat of stalling out. The nurse complied with that request without calling the doctor again.

20 minutes later I was once again pulled from my restful state by increased discomfort and the very clear feeling of Daniel’s head descending with each contraction.  After 2 or 3 of those I knew it was time for action. I called to Bob (I was laying with my back to his chair), but he didn’t answer. (He was in the bathroom). I called again, he responded, and I said “It’s time!” The next thing I knew Bob and the nurse were both by my side, so I thought my message had been received. Turns out that Bob hadn’t heard me, and the nurse just happened to come in at that time. Apparently the monitor had not picked up any contractions in the last hour, and the nurse was worried that I wasn’t getting anywhere, so had called the doc in to check me again. That, or Daniel had already moved beyond the monitor and she was trying to re-establish the heartbeat.  At any rate, they were helping me turn over to get into position for a check, and I was trying to tell them things were ready, and the nurse was prodding at me with the monitor, and suddenly the contractions were nonstop. 

I don’t know how YOU are when in labor, but when I’M having a contraction I don’t want to be touched or talked to or ANYthing. Bob has finally figured this out, and was very supportive of my needs.  Anyway, in the middle of all this pestering I finally managed to say, through clenched teeth, “Can you STOP for a minute so it will quit!?” It did get quiet for a minute, and several hands backed up, and sure enough, the contraction eased up. Then the doc was able to get a look and declared she could see the head, “without doing anything” and I should start pushing.  So they pulled the stirrups out, took away the bottom of the bed, and helped me get situated. First thing, my left calf cramped, but a nurse helped with that and it went away (though it was stiff the next day). But now my contractions were putting tremendous strain on my left hip. I managed to say something about it, and they started with the questions again: did I want to move this way or that way, did I pull on my legs when I push, where did it hurt, and of course, the incessant trying to find the heartbeat with the monitor thingy. I responded to every question with a moan or grunt, and Bob translated for me. He really did a good job of supporting me and trying to keep me comfortable. The doctor tried to respect what we wanted, but sometimes she just couldn’t help herself.

Well, ready or not, here he came.  I opted for a slow steady pushing technique this time, as that seemed to be all that I was capable of. Even then, I seem to remember crying and saying, “I can’t.” But for all the tears, Daniel made it out just fine. When his head was delivered the doctor noticed that he was wrapped in his cord, so it was cut then, before the shoulders were delivered. The placenta followed almost immediately behind Daniel himself, without any pushing or pulling. And it was all over but the crying. Daniel was placed on a blanket on my abdomen, and rubbed briskly with another blanket until he was crying and mostly clean. I didn’t get the weak shakes this time, for the first time ever.

(Pardon the interruption to the narrative, but it’s now over 2 weeks later, with very little sleep on my part, and the details I wished to capture have eluded me.)

The rest is gravy, as they say. He was my 8th child, born after 8 hours of “labor”, weighing 8lbs and 8ozs. 20 inches long.  8 on the 5 minute AGPAR test. He was able to stay in my room for everything except his hearing test and circumcision. Bob went home for a nap, then brought the family up for a visit. Thursday he came back just before lunch, and waited with me for the pediatrician to come do the circumcision (he was going to do it early in the AM, but had to do an emergency C-section instead). We finally got all the paperwork and everything done, and were able to come home.

Elijah’s reaction to Daniel was a little surprising for us. Elijah was (is) a great Mama’s boy, very demanding of my time and attention, so there was some concern. But he took up with Daniel right away, calling him “my Daniel” and “my baby brother.” When Bob came home without us, Elijah was very concerned about me and Daniel. He hugs him and holds him, and declares that he is cute.  He is very pleased to see that he is “bigger” than Daniel; his protection instincts show plainly.

Anyway, I guess that’s all I’m going to get into this story. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

new stove

Well, folks, the old much bemoaned stove/range/cooker is dying, and Bob says it's time for a new one.

Do you know how many cooking appliance options there are out there???? Like a zillion! The old unit is 36" wide, where the standard size is 30". I want a "double oven" which either limits or adds to my options, depending on how you look at it.

As far as I can see, after much research, my real choices are: a 36" cook top and a double wall oven; a 36" range and a single wall oven; a 30" double oven. For, as crazy as it sounds, the wider ranges have fewer options. We shopped yesterday, and found a 30" double oven that will accommodate my large skillet, my large pot, and my large saucepan all at once (as if I were making spaghetti with a side dish). It is the GE 30-in Double Oven Convection Gas Range (White) Model #: JGB870DETWW We've ruled out the cooktop/double wall oven option as it would require extensive carpentry and electrician skills before I'd have anything usable. Then there's the large range/single wall oven option. We are considering the Premier 36-in 6-Burner Freestanding Gas Range (Stainless Steel) Model #: P36S148BP and something like Frigidaire 30-in Convection Single Electric Wall Oven (Stainless-Look) Model #: FGEW3065KF

I hope the links work; sometimes Lowe's is a little finicky, but you could google the model number as well. At any rate, we've found another appliance store that has slightly better prices than Lowe's, plus an online option that is quite a bit cheaper, but more about that later - I've just jut up Lowe's links for ease of comparison.

So, what I need to know now is, which option will work best for me? I know you can't answer that, but perhaps by talking about it I can get a better idea myself. And maybe one of you can give some insight. As I see it, there are pros and cons both ways. If I get the GE single unit, it will be about $500 cheaper. I will have a gap in my cabinets for a few years until we have new ones made. It will be "plug and play" as the gas and electric requirements are the same as what we already have. There is only one item to keep paperwork for, buy a warranty for, etc. Both ovens are self-cleaning, and the lower has a convection option. The racks are nice and heavy; it has some cool options like a built in meat probe/thermometer, timed and delay baking, etc. It's white, which matches my fridge and dishwasher, and is easier to keep clean. This particular unit has non-electric controls for the top oven, so it could still be used in a power outage.

If I go with the other option, it'll cost more. I'll have two sets of paperwork, two warranties to buy, two companies to work with (if needed). But I'll also have two "work stations" for multiple cooks. I'll have more space on the cooktop, and all the burners are the same size so I don't have to guess at my pan configuration. I'll also have considerably more total oven space. I could buy one unit at a time, thus spreading out the cost and the hassles. The range would fit neatly into my existing space and existing gas/power outlets. However, we would need cabinet work and a new electric breaker for 240v power to the wall oven. The wall oven is self-cleaning convection, has some nice features like timed bake, add-a-minute button, keep warm button, heavy-duty racks (one of which can be divided for tall items), etc. But the range is pretty basic (manual clean, conventional, no timers). That could be a good thing, as the burners have a lifetime warranty and the whole thing can be used without electricity if needed. The other (probably biggest) drawback is that no one has a display of this range, so we would be buying it sight-unseen. We can find a few pictures online, and read reviews, but that's it. One thing NOBODY talks about, but is a daily issue for me, is the grates sliding around while cooking. I can't go to a store and push on the grates of this range to see if they'll slip out of place or not. I don't like stainless steel as a finish, but couldn't find a 36" range I liked in a white option. I could get a white wall oven, but it seems like the two ovens should match each other. With two units, if one turned out to be a lemon, I'd still be able to use the other while waiting for repairs.

hmmm, what to do? Any experience with any of the brands mentioned, or insight on my options as given is appreciated. Please don't give me more options, as I'm already overwhelmed.

And then, once I decide WHAT to buy, I have to decide WHERE to buy. From the local small-chain store where the lady was very kind and helpful, or from an online store where I'll save two hundred dollars or more (plus tax)? Do I value service and the American Way, or the lowest price (which is the new American Way)? ugh. Well, thanks for listening. I hope to get this sorted soon.

Monday, 18 June 2012

The days of Elijah

Yes, that's a title of a song. But Elijah is being so cute that I just had to make time to write about him.

Yesterday was Father's Day, and the children all got up early to make breakfast and decorate the living room. When they were ready for Bob to get up, they gathered at our bedroom door and sang "The Little Birdie" song, (which goes to the tune of Hush Little Baby)

A little birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped up on my windowsill
He cocked his eye and said
"You are a little sleepy head"
He flapped his wings
And away he flew, saying
"You'll be late for Sunday School"

This morning Elijah came to our door and called, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" I saw that Bob wasn't ready to speak, so I asked what he wanted. "Daddy!" Bob then answered, and Elijah perkily replied, "I'm a bird!" I laughed all the way to breakfast.

Also, as shared on Facebook, the other day we were talking about wasps, trying to reach an agreement on what was the proper name of the particular bug flying around. Elijah firmly decided what it was - a "dirt nauberd". :-D

He is still mostly sunny in disposition, but occasionally gets upset. This usually results in loud whining more than actual tears. When I try to hush him, he will look up at me and say, "I'm crying!" and go right back to his boo-hoo sound.

Did you notice that everything he says ends with an exclamation point? It's true. He's very confident in himself.

Hope you enjoyed.

Friday, 25 May 2012


I'm so tired! Okay, I don't deceive myself into thinking anyone except my brother reads this anymore, and I know it's all my fault. But I need to have some way of keeping tabs on myself, and If I put the link on Facebook somebody might come over and check it out.

A week or two ago I actually wrote out a post in my head, in real time, as I tried to sleep one night. Aren't you glad I didn't share that? Mice, trips to the bathroom, coughing, ....

To keep this one short, I'll focus on the last two days.

Yesterday Bob and I went to bed at 12:30am and got up at 6. We finished packing, took showers, and sprayed the house with IGR and sprinkled it with Diatamaceous Earth. I've seen a couple of fleas, and we want to nip that in the bud. Then we all got in the car and drove to Little Rock, where Riah had a Cardiology appointment. We'd been in the car about 20 minutes when we got the first cry for a bathroom. We stopped at McDonald's for a frappe and some water, so used their toilets. Then we were on the way for real.I'm sure we stopped again, but can't remember, and Bob is reading his schoolwork so I don't want to ask him. We made it to LR in good time, but needed to fill up the van and have lunch. We exited the interstate and drove past three gas stations that didn't have diesel. Then two more. Realizing that this strategy wasn't working very well for us, we first went to McDonald's to eat and use their free wi-fi. After many foiled attempts at searching, I finally found a website devoted to the lowest gas prices in a given town, and was able to pin down a station a few blocks away. It was the only place in the city with diesel, apparently. So we scarfed down our sandwiches, filled the van, and made it to the hospital just in time.

Riah and I went in, and Bob took the others back to the Central High School park. Riah weighed in (in kilos and centimeters, so I made no mental note of the numbers), did a quick EKG and then an ECHO (sonogram). Then we talked with the doctors. Riah's aorta has grown a tenth of a centimeter. His blood pressure is great, he's doing fine all around. But they still think surgery is imminent. They haven't got his record from the UK, so they are just going on what they've seen these two visits. They considered ordering an MRI, but since it is a lengthy process and wasn't an emergency, they thought it best to just schedule one for his next visit in 6 months. I was too brain-dead to think to ask what they could get from an MRI that they couldn't get from the ECHO, so I will have to call or do some research. I''d rather avoid the radiation if it's not absolutely necessary. The doctors both Indian and have pretty strong accents, but the first thing the younger one said was that Riah's accent had changed. He was speaking more properly 6 months ago. :-) Anyway, he told me the name of the surgery that they are considering, but I didn't catch it at all (will have to try to look that up, too). It involves replacing his aortic valve with his own pulmonary valve, and then putting in a transplanted pulmonary valve (from a cadaver or animal). When I heard that phrase my mind started reeling. The reason for this is that his own valve will grow with his body, but whatever is replaced won't, so every 10 years or so he'll have the pulmonary valve re-done, and it's easier to work on the pulmonary than on the aortic side of the heart. Either way, very freaky stuff. But we were left with instructions to keep him as normal; play and work as any other boy; no medications or other special care.

Bob came back to pick us up, and his knee was hurting, and it was hot. We tried to think of something to do, and were driving across the Arkansas River when we spotted a submarine! So we turned down to the riverside. The Maritime Museum was closed for weekdays, but we looked around for awhile anyway. After a thorough examination of the sub, the barges, the 2-man gun, the turtles and the snake, we were quite warm and thirsty. I suggested we head to the mall, where we could eat and walk around in the A/C, so off we went. After a bathroom stop I was shopping in Motherhood while Bob and the children played/rested in a seating area in the center walkway. Long story a little shorter, Elijah fell and hit his face on a coffee table, cutting himself just beside his right eye. The children all freaked out when they saw the blood, and William was afraid Elijah would die. As Bob went to "Guest services" to ask for a first aid kit, I got a Tylenol out of the diaper bag. Ella asked who was it for, and I rather sarcastically answered, "Who got hurt?" Elijah, not understanding my tone, tried to help me with my question. His answer? "William" was hurt. :-) Sweet boys, so concerned about each other. We cleaned and patched him as well as we could, and walked around a bit more before eating in the food court. When he started bleeding again, we headed out to stop at a drugstore for better bandages. By the time we got there Elijah was asleep again (he was asleep every time we stopped that day, so never did get a proper nap).

The shopping center with the drugstore had a playground, so we let the older children play while Elijah slept in the car. But it was still hot out, so that didn't last too long. Went back in the store for bottled water and ice cream. Then we went back to the river where we walked across a ridiculously tall bridge and watched the sun set. The big public park on the south side of the river was closed in preparation of a big even this weekend, so we had no facilities there. Anyway, about dark we headed back out of town, to our hotel in Conway.

We would have stayed on base, in a nice 2 bedroom hotel suite, but they were booked up. So we stayed at "America's Best Value Inn" at $50 per room. I only booked one room, as there was no policy about numbers or children or anything on their website. There were two queen beds, and lots of room on the floor. The beds weren't great, but I've certainly seen worse, and everything worked and was clean. The boys slept in their sleeping bags; the girls shared one bed, and Bob and I had the other. It took Elijah a little while to fall asleep, as he kept worrying that he'd miss a chance to eat. Every 2 minutes he'd pop up and say "finished sleeping!" But we finally all got our rest.

Today, we finally all woke up. We had breakfast in our room (cold cereal, plus some doughnuts from the hotel lobby). Bob got online and checked out his new class which starts today. He had to post a biography today, so he got that done before we left the hotel. Then we were free for the day. Still feeling parched from yesterday, our first stop was the grocery store for more water. I got a case this time. Then we drove up to the next town in time for lunch. We ate at Bonanza, which smelled nice and wasn't too expensive. But the buffet was severely limited, and most of the children didn't like most of what was on offer. We eventually got full and made a very circuitous route toward a marked highway, heading to Petit Jean Mountain state park.

On the mountain we stopped at several lookouts, the car museum, and the visitor center. After one lookout stop, Riah declared, "THIS is a vacation!" We all had a good time, and Bob is interested in going back in the Fall. It was nearly dinner time when we got back down the mountain, so we stopped in the next down to eat. We were getting pretty tired by then, so came straight on home (after just one more pit stop). Got home about 9, swept and vacuumed to clear the Diatamaceous earth. Then unpacked the car and headed for bed. Well, some of us - it's 11:22 now and Bob and I are still up for some reason. It does feel good to get that all of my mind.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

back online

Well, those who aren't on Facebook (or don't pay attention) will be wondering where I've been. My computer has refused to turn on for a week. Before that, there was some user-interface problems. But now I'm back online for real (but no promise of tomorrow). So, I'm glad to have my computer. I was almost glad to have the iPad as a backup, but it is so incredibly limited. People who only use those things (or a phone) have no idea what they are missing. While I was "gone" Blogger changed the setup. I hope it all still looks right on the other end. I really have nothing new to say except I'm happy to be back.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

quick hello

I had my sonogram on Tuesday, and baby looks like a boy. Everyone groaned when we saw that... Not that I don't love my boys, but it would be nice to use those ruffly dresses again. Also there is the task of choosing a name - we've had our girl name picked out for almost 5 years now.

Monday was the state mandated achievement test for the three oldest. Naysha was very nervous, but came out all right. We won't get scores for a while, and I'm not expecting much this year, to be honest. Though we are getting better. I got to chat with some folks I knew, including one gentleman that was a family friend when I was quite young. Mom and Dad, he says "hi." A lady talked me into going out for coffee with her, and we met up at the coffee house downtown. That was a new experience for me, and I enjoyed it a lot (the drink and the chat).

Thursday we went to Green Forest to pick up our beef. It was butchered at http://dasbutcherhaus.com/, which is Mennonite owned. In addition to the beef, I got a pair of gloves that look like they might last more than a week. Bob asked what they do with the skins, as he's been wanting to try tanning. They sell the skins for $35. Our steaks and roasts were vacuum-sealed, and the ground is in little bags. We didn't get the soup bones, but I didn't want to go back and ask about it. We did get liver and tongue, which I'll give to the dog. I picked up a business card for a greenhouse, so when we finished packing the meat, we headed across town to the plant nursery.

The nursery was in the backyard of the butcher. He has a large Amish-style house (complete with two-story add-on, just like in the movies). Several women worked in the greenhouses, and were courteous enough, but it was when Mr himself came out that we got the questions. Where are we from? Do we go to church with Dan? Why are we out in Green Forest? It's nice that even though we don't conform to the costume, we are recognizable as kindred spirits.

Today Bob took SSon to have his wisdom teeth removed, and this evening he grilled burgers for our supper. Yumm.

Sometime this week was also managed to take a trailer load of cardboard, and two old mattresses, to the city recycling center. All the potatoes sprouted in the garden, we have eaten 3 strawberries, and we planted some green beans. My iris have begun to bloom, just as the tulips and daffodils stopped. We bought the lumber for the children's long-promised playhouse, and if we ever get a clear forecast we will start staining it.

So I guess we had a pretty full week, and no wonder I feel unprepared for Resurrection Day.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Testimony time

Well, I missed my chance to testify at church tonight, but I do want to publicly give thanks to God for keeping me.

At church there is a gas meter in the parking lot, which has been surrounded by railroad ties and landscape timbers to keep people from running into it. We usually park next to this enclosure. This morning we were a little close, and when I put Elijah in the van after church and went to get into my seat, I stepped on top of a railroad tie. It rolled out from underneath my foot; I grasped at air and fell on my bad hip, hitting my head against the gas line. I suppose it would have been easy for me to have suffered a concussion; at least I could have sprained my ankle. But I got up and walked away with only a bruise on the top of my foot. So I am thankful for my well-being.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

March (Right?)

I am very tired. My first thought for the date was February,but that can't be right because we've already planted some garden. hmmm.

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that we finally got a price on our 1/2 beef that we are buying from a guy at church, so we went ahead and bought a vanity for our master bathroom. Remember that project? We opted for a small vanity, so we still have room to turn around, and got a medicine cabinet mirror to put our stuff instead of the drawers in the larger vanity. Bob set it up today, but hasn't hooked up the water yet. Looks nice. I am excited about having my own space to wash up and brush my teeth.

The beef? Should come to something like $1.50 per pound, and that includes T-bones, ribs, and Ribeye steak. For Grass-fed beef, which demands a premium in certain markets, when 80% lean ground beef at the store costs at least $2.79 per pound. I'm pretty excited about that. With the cheap chicken from the Tyson store ($28 for 20 lbs), we should be able to eat even more meat than before. It's easier to fix meat without sugar than it is bread. ;-)

Though I must say, that tart the other morning.... Rolled out a pie crust, topped with a mix of cream cheese, egg, vanilla, and just a touch of honey, then topped that with peaches canned in 100% juice, and a few slices of pie crust on top... It was VERY nice.

Our sweet tooth has been declining, and I'm so glad. I've even been able to say that a dessert (on a magazine cover, or store shelf) looks good, but I don't want it. We ate at Western Sizzlin (a buffet) the day we shopped for the vanity, and I had one 2" square of no-bake cheesecake, and was perfectly satisfied. Oh, and I shared it with Elijah.

So now I've come back to the vanity it all goes together and makes sense, right? Good night.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

I have to blog AND think of a title?

We did buy a freezer last week. We got the 21 cubic foot Frigidaire from Lowe's. They had 10% off major appliances, plus they always give 10% off to military/veterans. They were offering free delivery, which we tried to turn into a cash discount but they wouldn't (it has happened before), but we still felt like we got a good price. I used the new shelf space to organize my frozen goods and make room for ice trays. Then there was the 20lbs of chicken we'd just bought. Yesterday I made a triple recipe of fresh tomato soup, divvied it up and put it in the freezer. Our cow will be butchered this Thursday.

Saturday we went for a drive and ended up in Eureka Springs just in time for the St. Patrick's Day parade. The children enjoyed the parade and caught several strings of Mardi Gras beads. Bob got some pictures for his class. Elijah got scared of the noisy motorcycles and wanted to "sleep" on my "shoulder". Overall it was a good day.

We have worked further in the garden, and have planted broccoli, leeks, and strawberries.

Bob's new college class is somewhat of a breather for him, though frustrating at the same time. The instructions are rather vague, and the instructor only comes into the class once per week to give copy-and-paste responses to all the students (with few variations), and grades half-way through the following week (though she indicated she grades the day of the assignment). I realize that she's a person and has other things in her life, but the instructor post is obviously a part-time job and it is difficult to work with.

Ella's appetite has finally picked up, and she's starting to look healthier. Today Bob bought a pair of jeans that are a few inches smaller that what he had been wearing. So I guess the diet is working, in spite of our frequent lapses.

It's been warm, but it's raining now, and I need to go close the windows.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

good times

Today we actually did something interesting. :-D

Last Sunday's paper had an article about upcoming events at Pea Ridge National Battlefield, and by much deductive reasoning and searching of websites I was able to discover the times and locations for the events. (I'm so proud of me!)

This morning, in downtown Bentonville, there was a reenactment of a skirmish that occurred on this day 150 years ago, very close to the spot on which it occurred. The days following saw larger battles fought in Pea Ridge (but the national park service doesn't allow reenactments in the parks).

So this morning we quickly did the chores, had toast for breakfast, and took off to Bentonville. (It's about an hour's drive.) Of course, the main street to the town square was under construction, so we had to take a detour, but that led us to a parking lot from whence we walked to the square. The side we first approached had a podium set up (you know that means the platform, right? I looked it up) and a small band of men in Union uniforms were playing and singing. The street was roped off, so we found a spot just behind the rope and waited for things to start.

(Riah had to go to the bathroom, so I took him inside the courthouse for relief.) We weren't there long when a group of children, led by a multi-pierced middle aged woman, squeezed in front of us and sat on the curb. When Bob went to the end of the street in search of a better view, the children got pushed a bit and ended up not in a good position. We were also in the shade, and it was pretty chilly. So we moved across the street to the sun, and the children mostly sat on the curb like all the other children there. (According to one of the speakers, there were 2000 children from the Bentonville school district. There weren't a lot of non-school people there at all.)

Some people stood up on the podium and gave speeches that we couldn't hear much of, and then the lectern (which appeared to be a substantial piece of furniture) rolled off the podium and fell on the legs of a little girl who was sitting there. (Yes, the lectern had castors!.) She appeared to be 8-10 years old. Several adults rushed over to her and the speaker asked for paramedics. Some men in uniform showed up, but we couldn't tell if they were police, firefighters, or EMTs. After several minutes they got the girl to her feet and she limped away.

Then the show started, on the other side of the square. We heard gunshots, saw smoke, and some soldiers on our side ran over there. The speaker gave a narration, but we couldn't hear him. We stood there and tried to pretend we were civilians at the time - we wouldn't have had any idea what was going on, just hearing the shots and distant yells. Eventually the fighting came to our side of the square, but as we were at the end of the street we mostly saw the backs of the soldiers. Anyway, we enjoyed the performance. From what I have gathered, the Union had taken the town prior to this fight, and the Confederates were trying to liberate it, but were unsuccessful. The later battles at Pea Ridge are considered the greatest turning-points of the war West of the Mississippi.

When the show was over we walked across the square to the Sam Walton/WalMart museum. It was pretty nice, if a lot of propaganda for WalMart. They had some neat looking toys and candy in the cafe and gift shop, but we didn't stay to look.

Then we drove to a nearby city park, where we had our picnic lunch. One school group (ages about 12-14) was occupying the playground, so we just played in the grassy area by our picnic table.

Then we turned toward home, stopping at a Tyson outlet store that I'd just heard about. Mostly they offered breaded, flavored, or pre-cooked meat, but at the end of the freezer there was boneless skinless chicken breasts - 20 pounds for $28. So we got a box of that.

Then we passed the home appliance store, so Bob did a sort of U-turn into a gravel area on the far side of the road. As he was waiting for traffic to pass, a policeman pulled into the turn lane and gave him a dirty look. Sure enough, he turned around, too, and followed us to the appliance store. He stopped Bob for "improper use of a lane" - he said we were blocking traffic (but we weren't - a semi went past us). Anyway, he saw that Bob had a clean record and let him go without a ticket.

We went into the store and looked at freezers, and then we came home to put the chicken in our freezer and decide where to put the new deep freeze we will buy.