Archive for the 'family' Category

Projects Shower Down In April!

In the middle of a kitchen renovation, Meagan’s Un-birthday party comes due and Matthew’s bipolar goes completely unstable. Oh the excitement! =/

The kitchen thing is pretty exciting, actually. I’m getting a new (temporary) floor, new sink, new countertop, new cabinet/counter/bar, a couple of new shelves, and I’m redoing the existing cabinet doors…some will be repainted others replaced with super awesome curtains. I haven’t gotten very far yet. The only things done are the sink and the countertop and both of those still need some tweaking. The floor should be started tomorrow, though, and once the floor is done, I’m hoping to get the new counter/bar/cabinet whatchamacallit put in quickly. The painting and curtains will take a little longer, obviously. I’ll post pics (before and after) once I’m done. I’m REALLY hoping to finish this project by Mike’s birthday on the 1st of June.

Other things happenin around here are Meagan’s 13th Un-birthday party tomorrow afternoon, followed by a “Fashion/Spa Sleepover”, and the neverending saga of trying to get Matt’s bipolar stabilized. I saw a little glimmer of possible good news on that front this morning after he took his new dose of his med. He was actually HAPPY, singing even, while doing schoolwork…without a major fight!

Amongst all this stuff, I’m trying desperately to get the house decluttered and cleaned. This is going to be a long-haul project, I know, but it NEEDS to be done. There is just too much STUFF in here!

Of course my crafty project list continues to grow, too. Seems I just can’t find the time to knock any back OFF the list. =( 

Much as I dread it, I guess I’d better get back to tossin junk and doin dishes!


MawMaw is home!

MawMaw, my grandmother on my mother’s side, the woman I wrote  about in my post entitled Our Missionary… Maw-Maw, has been home for almost 12hrs now. These first 12 hours I’m sure have been filled with many tears of joy, lots of laughter, and many embraces. She is just now settling in for what will be a long (eternal) life and celebration with her Savior. She has been reunited with loved ones she’d been waiting decades to see again… her parents, 2 of her 3 brothers, grandparents probably, and 4 of her own dear children.

The last move she went through was quite stressful on her, despite the fact that it was a move she’d longed for for over 20 years, and was quite looking forward to it. The stress from getting everything ready for that move landed her in the hospital for a couple of weeks immediately after getting moved into their new apartment. She rallied though. The Lord saw fit to raise her up again to a level of health she hadn’t had in many years, and was able to spend the next two weeks in her new apartment. Enjoying sitting on the patio, enjoying her brand new cherrywood bedroom suite, and most delightful and exciting… enjoying being able to eat basically anything she wanted (she’d had diabetes for many years, but these 2wks, her blood sugar was remarkably GOOD no matter what she ate) and being back PAIN-FREE. Her back had given her intense, severe, chronic pain for years, but for whatever reason these 2wks in her new apartment she had NO back pain.

This final move that she made today, didn’t take nearly as long to make as the one a month ago. It  did, however, take much, MUCH more time to prepare for. She’d been preparing for this final move for somewhere close to 70 years. She would’ve turned 78 this month, and I don’t know for sure at what age she accepted Christ as her Savior, but I know she was raised in a Christian home and so was being taught how to prepare for the move from earth to Heaven even as a young girl. This final move was different from the one a month ago in another way, as well. There was NO stress associated with this move. Only grace, comfort, contentment, and true peace.

I praise God for being such a gracious and loving God. I praise Him for His goodness, and thank Him for helping my MawMaw get home. I am so glad she’s home! I will miss her here on earth every day, but I take great comfort in the truth that one day… in the sweet by and by… we will meet on that beautiful shore. I’m very grateful that I have someone in Heaven whom I can have a reunion with one day.

I love you and miss you dearly already, but I’ll see ya soon, MawMaw!

Jan-May and then… VACATION!

Jan – SICK

Feb – SICK

Mar – started Mepron, Cipro, and Zithromax, quit rifampin. SICK

Apr- hmm, feeling not so tired, still HURT. Added Plaquenil.

May- hmm, now not very achy, but TIRED.

June- vacation in Arkansas. 9 days/8 nights in Hot Springs, 4  days/3 nights in Ft. Smith… surprisingly FEEL PRETTY DECENT other than the amusement park day.

Now it’s July and I’m still feeling pretty good.  I did have to take a week to recover after vacation, but it wasn’t a hard recovery. I am SO much better than I was 2yr ago!

I can remember being out in the sun for 2hr, just long enough to have a teensy un-birthday party for Meagan in May of 2008 and I literally couldn’t MOVE to get out of bed for almost 2 full days. It was on a Friday, and I was barely creeping around Sunday evening.

Granted this was technically JUNE, but we left on the 6th, so it was real close to right at 2yr later. We drove to Hot Springs, which alone would have done me in 2yr ago. Then most days we were out and about all day. We spent a day walking around Little Rock. We played mini-golf (yes in the sun!). We spent a day and a half walking around Hot Springs. We spent a full day at a science museum, and another at an amusement park (again with the sun!), and then at the END we camped for 3 days and 2 nights!! In between there were lots of smaller museums, lots of shops/shopping, lots of swimming, and all kinds of other stuff!

We got back on a Thursday afternoon. Friday I went to Mom’s and spent the day there. I was in church Sunday AM and PM both!! (First AM service I’ve made it to in about 6mo!) I did, however, spend the next week (which happened to be VBS…no I did NOT volunteer this year) sitting in my recliner, “recuperating”. =)

Aside from being VERY exhausted and moderately swollen after the amusement park (no sunburn, as I wore a big floppy hat), and the HORRID night I had with my eyes protesting the WAY too chlorinated pool at the hotel, I came through that vacation unscathed!

There is absolutely NO WAY I could have done any of that 2 yr ago. Truth be told, when Mike and I first started talking about maybe doing a vacation this year back in Feb, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do anything at all besides stay in the bed at the hotel. We decided from the get-go to take Dad’s old wheelchair with us so that I could maybe at least do a museum or two. Ended up the only time it was used was as extra seating when we were camping!

I thank and praise God for that vacation and the memories we were able to make with the kids. We didn’t end up with very many GOOD pictures, but we sure did have a lot of fun. The kids got to go to a water park for the first time, and they both rode a roller coaster for the first time. Actually they rode ALL the coasters… some more than once! I didn’t ride anything except the mini-cars and the log flume; mostly I was the pack mule (the kids got souvenir cups, and then after several, several dollars spent on a game on the midway they each got a stuffed animal with a Magic Springs t-shirt on it), but that was ok, because I didn’t care to ride anything. I just wanted my kiddos to have fun and be ‘regular kids’ for awhile.

I must admit, I did spoil them rotten while we were on vacation, though. Hey! Who says you can’t spoil your own kids for short intervals of time? *wink*

They got little souvenirs nearly every place we went. I spent more $ on things that I would normally never have spent so much on. I bought things I would never have bought at all. Each kiddo had almost $50 in spending money to start with (mostly from helping a neighbor down the street, but they each got a 10 spot from me for helping clean the house before we went), and even after they went through all of that, I still kept buying them stuff. LOL

I know as a kid we never had that kind of spending $, and whatever $ we DID have, any and ALL souvenirs came out of that. Once it was gone, it was gone. Looking back I don’t mind so much, but I know at the time I thought it was  a rotten deal, and it made me feel all the more poor and made me worry all the more about our financial situation at home.

I spent so much partly because of that, and partly just because I LOVE  The spending $ on kids. In the 2-3 weeks before we left Mike kept expressing his concern that we would have enough money to even GO on vacation, let alone do anything once we were there.

The kids are so different! Meagan was never bothered. She just trusted we would go and we’d have fun. Really she was only interested in a pool and coasters anyway. We didn’t tell either kid what we were going to do, but she knew I’d promised one night in a hotel with a pool, so she was happy. She wasn’t even all that concerned with having spending $, though she certainly would have changed her tune had we gone and Matthew had $, but she did not!

Matthew on the other hand… he’s so much more mature intellectually that he was near panicked by the end of the last week before we left. He was in tears many times, worried about whether we would even get to go. Right up until the day before we left he wasn’t *really* sure we were going on vacation, despite my assuring him over and over that yes, we had the $, and yes we would get to go. I couldn’t get Mike to keep his concerns out of eyesight or earshot of the boy, so it didn’t really become real to him until  we were there at the hotel. Poor kid!

We did have a bit of behavior problems with Matt a time or two. Mostly because he was SO excited to be able to swim in a pool that he didn’t want to go do anything else. He wanted to be in the pool all day every day and sometimes got upset when we said no to swimming because we were going to go somewhere.

The kids did most of the ‘doing’, but then that’s because momma has been pretty well an invalid for the last 3yr and daddy is such an old geezer. LOL They got to do some unique stuff, though. We let them ride up to the tip top of a mountain tower on Hot Springs Mountain by themselves. They rode all the coasters by themselves, of course, too. They even “virtually” rode a coaster in outer space! In one of the shops, the got to ‘mine’ for gemstones and keep what they found. They shopped all on their own lots of places, and Mike and I pretty much followed them around the science museum where all the exhibits were interactive. They rode bumper cars several times, and played a bunch of different video and midway games. They also got to ride go-carts. Matt wasn’t quite tall enough to drive (so the guys had a cart together), but Meg was.

They came home with so much loot! Gemstones and games, and toys, and trinkets, and even t-shirts from the science museum. And jewelry! Oh the jewelry! Granted Matt didn’t care much for this aspect of the trip, but even he got a few pieces. These new-fangled “silly bands” things? I bought a pack from an overpriced toy store for them to split. Even had some glow-in-the-dark ones. (They also got an overpriced Travel book of games there.)

For Meagan and I, probably the highlight of the trip (ok, for Meg it was prob the pool and the coasters, but this was definitely 3rd!) was a jewelry store called Charmed! in Hot Springs.

I first saw it because it was next to a Cato store which I wanted to stop in and look around in having never been to a Cato store before, and having some spending $ of my own. (I made up about 10 pairs of culottes for my best friend’s oldest girls just before we left.) I saw the sign and thought “oh boy, keep Meg outta there! I’m sure everything in there is outrageous!”

We went to Cato and I tried on several skirts. I settled on a beautiful white linen skirt (size 10!!) and a very pretty hot pink plaid belted shirt. Under $30! Not too shabby! When we came out, Meg begged to go to the jewelry store. I started walking that way ONLY because past the jewelry shop was an ice cream parlor and I thought we might get ice cream.

As we got close to the door, though, I noticed a sign in the window that said “all jewelry $1”! My next thought was they were either going out of business or else it was a junk 99cent kind of store.

Wrong on both counts! They had the CUTEST stuff! All kinds of different styles, and a fair amount was completely metal-free! I ended up buying several pieces for Mom, a couple for Meg and I, and Matthew bought each of my best friend’s 3 girls (he has a crush on the middle one, ).

They also had grab bags for a dollar that had either 2 or 3 pieces of the $1 jewelry in them. A LOT of the pieces were actually SETS, too. Not just in the grab bags, but throughout the store. Like a necklace and earrings, or 2 bracelets, or earrings and bracelet, etc. Meg and I were hooked. We went back I think 3 more times and in the end we bought several pieces for each of us and Mom, as well as a couple of pieces each for my best friend, her sister, their mom, and their 5 girls. Oh, and about 25 grab bags all together! LOL

From the grab bags, we picked what we wanted and then once we got back and handed stuff out, we let my friends got through and pick out what they liked for themselves and the older two girls.

All in all we had a blast, and Mike has even said that he thinks we ought to go camping for a night or two at a time more often throughout the summer.

Like I said before, the first week back the kids had VBS from 7pm-9pm. They spent most of the next week at Mom’s, and stayed at a friend’s one night. Then Monday am (it’s Wed night now), they left for summer camp up in Oklahoma. They’ll be back Friday afternoon sometime. Busy summer for them so far!

The only bad news since Jan is that my Lyme doctor is retiring at the end of this month (July). This is a very scary proposition, since the next closest specialist is WAY out-of-state. I may be doing a lot better, but my symptoms are by no means completely gone. I am not well enough to stop antibiotic treatment, and yet I may not have a choice once I run out of the prescriptions I currently have. I pray that I don’t relapse much or very quickly once that happens. Relapsing is inevitable, but hopefully I won’t be as bad as I was 2yr ago for a long, long time. Regardless, I thank the Lord for the last couple of months of feeling mostly ‘back to normal’. I’m so glad, too, that we were able to go on vacation during this period of relatively good health.

The Gifts of Christmas 2009

Well Christmas is over. Even New Years is over, actually. I’m so lax about getting this blog updated it’s not even funny.

We here at the Casey residence all had a very blessed Christmas. I do believe we were ALL more than pleased with our ‘booty’, and except for Mike gettin a cold and missin one of the get-togethers, we all had great visits with family. =)

As much as I love seeing extended family and spending time talking and laughing with them (and we did plenty of that) while enjoying num-nums (I had WAY too much of that!), I’ll be honest and say it’s not my favorite part of Christmas. My favorite part is giving those I love good gifts. I absolutely LOVE to give and end up going way overboard most years. Ah well. I love it! =)

I love thinking about a person, thinking about their likes and dislikes, their personality, their habits, hobbies, and tendencies, as well as their strengths (and weaknesses… like chocolate, for instance! hehe) and desires, hopes and dreams… basically every thing I know about them, have deduced about them, or picked up on from conversations with them or their loved ones… and then putting all that personalized information into the search for the *right* gift. Of course, there are times when I can’t seem to find just the *right* thing and so I have to ‘make-do’. Too, there are some instances when picking out and making a very personal gift like that is just not an option.

I have most definitely been known to multi-gift, especially to family friends. Last year it was fudge. This year I was going to do fudge and/or banana bread, but ended up sick just before Christmas and running out of time for the other projects I had going, so I didn’t give to any of the friends this year. =*(  Maybe I’ll turn it into A “love” project and hand out goodies at Valentines. =)

As I was saying, we all had a blessed Christmas. I felt good about most of the gifts I was giving (only a few ‘make-dos’), and I did get most things finished. Then, to make it even better, most of the gifts I gave seemed to be well appreciated and admired. YES! =) I love puttin a smile on someone’s face that way! =)

To recap my projects so I can give an update, here is my list from the 18th of Dec…

  • sew Coast Guard patch onto knit hat for Mike
  • make Christmas candies (candy melts/molds… painted details) for Meg to hand out at school
  • display case of Coast Guard memorabilia for Mike
  • stain/seal display shelf for Coast Guard hat
  • sew ‘sleep sack’ out of queen and throw sized blankets
  • sew matching dresses for Meagan* and the 18″ doll she is getting for Christmas (I have the doll’s dress finished)
  • sew blue snowflake dress* for the doll
  • crochet quitar for the doll
  • crochet poncho* to match one I made Meagan a couple of years ago…for the doll
  • crochet Santa hat*, scarf*, and mittens* for the doll
  • dye and embroider 2 sets of 5 tea towels (red w/ whitework snowmen)
  • change name on Mike’s childhood stocking to Matthew*
  • sew jingle bells on the stockings Meme made the kids*
  • make fudge for giving away and taking to get-togethers*
  • coat choc. sandwich cookies in white almond bark and sprinkle red/green berries/leaves on top*
  • crochet backpack for doll*
  • hang garlands*, window clings*, wreaths*, and lights*
  • finish getting ornaments on the tree and setting out decorations
  • wrap a bunch of Christmas gifts*
  • clean house
  • do about 5 billion loads of laundry (ok, not quite that many, but close!)

Of those, I got almost everything done, believe it or not! I didn’t get the house as clean as I wanted nor as much of the laundry done as I’d hoped, but the living room was ready for Christmas morning festivities, and the rest of the house wasn’t TOO horrid. Of the projects themselves, the only ones I did NOT get done were:

  • make fudge for giving away and taking to get-togethers*
  • coat choc. sandwich cookies in white almond bark and sprinkle red/green berries/leaves on top*
  • crochet backpack for doll*
  • sew matching dresses for Meagan* and the 18″ doll she is getting for Christmas (I have the doll’s dress finished)
  • crochet Santa hat*, scarf*, and mittens* for the doll
  • I also only got 4 of the 10 tea towels finished in time for the gift exchanges. Luckily they were for generic gift exchanges at church and my grandmother’s. I took the set of 4 to one, and Mom had an extra gift for the other, so it was all good.

    The kids both had a great Christmas! Meagan absolutely adores her new doll, whom she has named Samantha, and she got a lot of other neat things that thrilled her no end, too… a scooter, black boots, lots of gift cards and $, a bunch of clip-on earrings, some pjs, a couple of video games, and a case for her guitar to name a few. Matthew was squealing over his collection of costumes (Transformers, Batman, Spiderman, and a ninja outfit) and had a good pile of other goodies… he also got a scooter, a pair of black boots, and a bunch of gift cards and $. Then there were the 3 video games, a cordless drill, a cowboy hat, a fuzzy blanket, some jeans, a couple of puzzles, a bunch of sodas and snacks, 16mi walkie-talkies, and a Bionicle. They carefully tithed off all their $$ and then had fun going shopping.

    Mike ad I had equally good bootys, but perhaps the neatest gifts we received were from God Himself. On the Wednesday before Christmas, our church had a gift exchange, and in the middle of it, someone handed me an envelope from an anonymous giver that contained a crisp $100 bill! That gift was straight from God, through this kind, big-hearted, generous, anonymous soul. I thank them both from the bottom of my heart. That cash was much needed! God didn’t stop there, though. A few days after Christmas we received a card in the mail from a family member that held a check for another $100! Again, I thank both God, from whom all blessings flow, and that special family member from the bottom of this grateful heart. With those two gifts, I’ll be able to keep my doctor’s appointment this week instead of having to put it off till another paycheck comes in.

    Well that about sums things up, I guess. I have a lot of clean-up to do, of course, and a few more projects  (ALWAYS! lol) I want to get done, but things have settled down some. School started back yesterday, so things are as back to ‘normal’ as they get around here.

    Updates, a surprise, and some great shopping deals!

    Thought I’d give an update of both how Rachel (the new bunny) and our cats Samson and Delilah were getting along, as well as an update on Mom and Dad’s new house. Oh and some other stuff, too. lol

    Yes, it’s another one of those mixed posts with a little bit about a lot. Some sort of planned randomness, I suppose. hehe

    The three animals are all doing just fine. Well better than fine, actually. We put the rabbit cage on the floor in the living room temporarily. We can leave the cage door open all night while we sleep or all day while we’re gone. The cats watch the bunny and LOVE to lay right up as close as they can get to her in the cage, but they don’t ever actually go up TO her. Rachel, on the other hand, will go up and sniff the kitties if she wants (and if they don’t jump backwards which is the norm), but mostly she just completely ignores the kitties. She (Rachel) is loving being able to explore instead of being in that little cage 24/7 and she’s also quite pleased with the first change we’ve made to her diet/litter/habitat/etc. In this case it was making timothy grass available to her at all times. Oh boy does she love that stuff. And of course she gets a chunk of carrot or apple once a day, too.

    Mom and Dad were finally able to close on their house last week. They got the keys either Wed or Thurs, I can’t remember. On Friday she got hold of the city to turn the power and water on and was told they couldn’t because their meter base was not in the proper position. It was ‘red-tagged’ and they were going to have to get and electrician (licensed and registered to work in the city) to put in a new meter base and weatherhead and whatever else that stuff requires.

    Since then we’ve been working, working, working on all the different little projects (and 1 big) that Mom and her crew wanted to get done before they move in, as well as trying to get hold of an electrian. We’ve just about finished painting both boys rooms. J’s is in gray with black trim and 2 big horizontal black stripes all the way round, and R’s in a butternut squash soup/puree color with gold glaze on top and American barn red trim. Both are looking really, really good!

    We’ve also been painting the pantry. It somehow got missed when they whitewashed EVERYTHING when they put the house on the market. It was pretty icky! =( So, we’re painting. Right now it is a very light shade of tan, actually closer to coffee with a LOT of cream in it, and the shelves are the palest of pale blues. It is so pale it is almost white. Her pantry is a big pantry, but it’s not walk-in and there’s not a light, so she wanted light colors. Tomorrow we’ll be texturing the walls with the blue, a hot pink, and a hot orange; and the shelves with the ecru(?), the hot pink, and the hot orange.

    Also we’ve done things like install a carbon monoxide detector (haven’t gotten the smoke alarms up yet), replaced all the locks, put up the American flag, installed a new shower head and toilet seat, and tried to get all the windows open after having been painted shut with the white paint, and who knows what else. My brother M (28) got one to open but his elbows popped the glass and shattered it. Praise the Lord he had only 3 teensy, teensy little nicks! Last time one of my brothers broke a window (J) he fell through and got cut up bad. I think he had 22 staples altogether.

    So the window was replaced. The big project is getting Mom’s new kitchen flooring in. It’s a roll-out vinyl. Well, she went to putty up the slight cracks and holes and what-not in the existing flooring so they wouldn’t transfer through to the vinyl and she discovered the old self-adhesive tiles were actually peeling up. So we had to take that layer off. A friend came over to help and she started scraping stuff up and didn’t stop with the first layer. She pulled up ALL the layers down to the plywood subfloor (now covered in icky, tarry glue). Now it’s all gotta come up to make stuff even… which means there’s been a LOT of floor scraping/tearing out. =)

    Today an electrician came out (in answer to Mom’s and my own prayers) that was able to get the job done today in like 1hr. He had originally thought it would take 4-6hr! All that’s left before we can have light to work with in there is for the inspector to come out in the morning and then the electrician to connect something or another; it’s supposed to take like 5min.

    Now, another topic. J is turning 17 tomorrow (Wed), and I decided since his room is kinda car garage themed to get him a garage nuts/bolts/etc holder. One of those with like 5 million little drawers. All they had was metallic blue so I just got through painting it gloss black. Then I went to Tractor Supply and bought a bunch of weird little hardware things. Then I went to WalMart grocery shopping (more on that in a min) and got him some Snickers bars and a Bag of chicken nuggets jerky (though that won’t fit…). Everything will be stuck in one of the drawers. I’ll probably throw some things in from around here, too. Mom’s getting him a peg board. How cool is that?!

    Matt was going to go shopping with me tonight. On the way out, he spotted a kitty on our porch. I stepped out and it started coming towards us. It came right up to me and rubbed and asked to be petted. She was soooo skinny. =(   No collar of course. She had to be starved, but we’d been out of cat food for 3 days! =( Go figure! The twins ate up a big ol’ can of pink salmon until I could get to the store (tonight) but now there was nothing. She was sooo pretty and sooo loving and sooo hungry, I begged Mike to let me keep her.

    He said yes!! =) She’s  gray and white. She has a white face, chest, belly, and both her front legs and the most of her back legs are white. She has the the gray back end and a little on the top of the back legs, back, tail, and the top of her head and ears. She has a very light pink nose and the prettiest pale green eyes ever. Also, she has like a thin line of black outlining her eyes so she looks like she’s wearing make-up! LOL We brought her in and the kids fed her some lunch meat until I could get back from the store with kitty num-nums.

    She’s in my room for now. I got her a small litter box and a pink collar when we went shopping. We put food and water in there and the poor thing keeps eating. She’s still a kitten, old enough to be weaned, but not grown yet. I’d guess probably about 3-4mo old. She’s in my room for now because Lilah was hissing at her. Not Samson so much. I figure we’ll introduce them all slowly and so she is locked IN my room and the twins are locked OUT. I’m not overly worried about Lilah. She hissed at Samson for a couple of days after he got back from the vets. Of course this is a new kitty altogether, but I think they’ll all get along great.

    At Wal-Mart I shopped and shopped. I’d worked hard at planning this trip (about 3hr worth)  because I was going to get some GREAT deals. Here’s my break down…

    *Savings due to price matching with other stores – approx. $28.60 (I don’t remember the original price on a couple of things, so I estimated them)
    *Savings due to coupons$36.55

    Total savings – $65.15 !!

    Here are a few of my favorites…

    • Ziploc container packs – on sale at IGA for $1. I had 5 cpns for $1.50/2 and 2 cpns for 55c/1.  So I paid 25 cents ea. for 10 packs, and 45 cents ea. for 2 of them.
    • 1 subject spiral notebooks – on sale for 1 cent (limit 3) at either Office Max or Depot. So I got 3 for a total of 3 cents.
    • Candy bars (Snickers, Twix, Dove, 3 Musketeers) – on sale for 2/$1 at CVS. I had 4 cpns for $1/2 and 1 cpn for BIGI. That gave me 8 free, and I paid 25 cents ea. for 2 of them.
    • Luzianne Tea – on sale for $1 at Diamonds and I had 2 cpns for 60c/1. I paid 40 cents ea. for 2.

    Talk about GREAT deals! Woohoo! I was so excited. I did got over the groc budget for this week by $19, but I’m going to take it out of next weeks. I could NOT pass up deals like this! lol

    On Curtains and School, Mostly School

    The curtains were one of my latest blessings. After the kids and I got back from camp (GREAT time, awesome preaching, nine saved!!), my mom and I went to Lowes. She needed to do some looking and pricing at stuff for her new house (flooring, appliances, etc). When we went in they had some curtains on sale out on the sidewalk so we went and looked. They were nice, but the prices were fairly steep (for me, anyways) even after the discount.

    About 3hr later (I was on a motorized cart or I never would’ve made it!), we were done and headed for checkouts. We’d found some marble tiles and each picked out 2 (at $1.50 ea) to use as cutting boards. Right in front of the checkouts were the curtains. We were waiting in line and kinda looking at the curtains while we waited and the cashier told us they were 90% off what they were marked. Our jaws both dropped and then we dropped out of line and started going through them more carefully.

    When it was all said and done I got curtains for the living room and the master bedroom. A total of 5 windows. Two sets of panels on the living room windows (one blue, one white), and panels and valances for in here in the bedroom. Original retail price of $525 and some change. I paid (after taxes) $30 and some change!

    WOW, huh? =)

    Ok, on to school. This coming year’s schooling has been a subject of prayer for me for months now. Years ago, I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that I was supposed to homeschool the kids… and I did. Occasionally I would contemplate putting Meagan into a private or public school, but each time after prayer and closed doors, I realized it just was not supposed to happen.

    Then the year before last, right before school started, our pastor offered Meagan a scholarship to our church’s school. After a crash course in prayer (because there were only a few days to decide before school started) and asking the Lord to let Mike make the decision that God wanted him to make… Meagan ended up going to the private school.

    That first year with Meagan in the church school and Matt at home promised to be very exciting and it did turn out that way, but in a much different way than I anticipated. Because of my health quickly deteriating and Matthew’s behaviors/moods/etc (brain symptoms) also getting worse and worse, the homeschool was a big bad flop that year. We didn’t get done anywhere near what I wanted to. Both our lives were miserable because of the frustration and stress. It became evident by the end of the school year that I could not homeschool the following year. I was too sick to deal with it.

    So, Mike made the decision (again… HIS decision) to send him to the church school (out of our pocket) if they would take him. For many reasons we didn’t/don’t want our kids in the public school system… not even for a year or two. Also, Matthew’s anxiety was such that we knew he could not handle going to a public school. We weren’t sure he was even going to be able to handle the church’s school, even though it’s only 2 adults and about 15 kids big.

    Matt started antibiotics treatment right at 4wks before school started last year. The week before school he attended a short ‘class’ on movie-making at the local library for a couple of hours a day. We anticipated having to not only force him to go and to stay while we left him, but also that he would stay in a corner, scared and unmoving the entire time. Prior to antibiotics this is exactly what would have happened. We were determined to make him go though, since it seemed like a good transition to having to go to school for the full day and also be expected to focus on things or face consequences for not doing so.

    We *did* have to force him to get into and then out of the car. However, Mike said that he sat down at a table and didn’t make a scene or say anything when he left. When it was time to pick him up, he actually thanked us for making him go. He had a blast and couldn’t wait for the next day.

    He literally hasn’t had a problem with anxiety/social phobia since! So, the next week starting school was no problem whatsoever, thank the Lord!

    Anyway. Over this last school year, with both kids in the church school, we’ve all made progress in every area of our home-life, including in our health.

    I am doing MUCH better physically, emotionally, and mentally than I was a year ago. I do still have enough physical problems that my doc still considers me ‘disabled’, but I can oversee things being/getting done from my bed or the couch on a bad day. Mentally my brain is back. By the end of the last year Matt and I homeschooled, I couldn’t think or focus or work anything out. I couldn’t even figure out how to score a math worksheet using the score key (answer sheet)! It was that bad. Now? Not only am I back to reading (a lot) and understanding, my brain is functioning almost back to 100%. I occasionally have some short term memory or word retrieval issues, but I can not only score a math sheet, I am back to doing complex math problems in my head.

    Matthew, too is doing much, much better. In the last year, his doctor has made several med changes and adjustments and so he is now and has been for many, many months being treated for Lyme, as well as some of the symptoms it has caused for him. He is on medication for depression (which helped a lot with his behavior) and ADHD (which brought him the rest of the way). His behavior and attitude now is completely different than before. He’s no longer ‘difficult’ (and that was putting it mildly to be sure!). Now he’s no more of a behavior problem than an average 10yo boy. He’s even pleasant to be around! LOL

    He’s been talking about wanting to go back to homeschool, and of course I would love to, as well… but I only wanted to do so if it was God’s will, and not just our will. Thus the praying… for months.

    Over the last several months, not only has it become more and more evident that we are supposed to go back to homeschooling with Matthew, but I also prayed and asked the Lord for the same thing/s I had each of the last two school years. I asked that He would help me know where each kid should be schooled, and also help Mike to know. I asked that He would give Mike guidance and wisdom as well, and let him make the decision concerning school that the Lord would want us to make.

    Mike and I have, of course, been discussing the schooling issue for months. Around mid-June, he made his decision. Matthew would be homeschooled.

    Then a couple of weeks later our pastor said something that led me to believe that the church was considering sponsoring Matthew’s tuition to the school as well as Meagan’s.

    I went back to prayer and also back to Mike. Now I was doubting whether we (Mike, and then me following his decision) had made the right decision. That’s where it’s been for the last month or so. It was becoming more and more evident, more SURE, more peaceful-if-you-will, that yes we had made the correct decision, and that through this possible offer, I may need to stand up for myself/family/the Lord, and politely decline.

    It came to a head Sun night. Pastor told me they had decided to pay Matt’s way. As nervous as I had been about talking to him about the schooling (and I had been and had been praying for strength and guidance and the whole 9 yards because I suspected what was coming for a couple of weeks at least by then), all my nervousness disappeared.

    Looking back I know I could have stated/explained a couple of things a little better, but overall I think I did ok. Pastor told me that “where the Lord leads, there will be peace” (which I had felt for weeks, if not months, already about homeschooling, but none whatsoever about sending him back to the school) and to keep praying… which of course is what I had planned on doing, and have done and will do. He also told me he would be praying also.

    I kept praying as I had been and talked to Mike about things again, letting him know the church had offered to pay Matthew’s way. In spite of the ‘free’ price tag (well as ‘free’ as Meagan’s is, there’s still uniforms and what-not), Mike still feels we should do what’s best for Matthew, and he stills feels that is homeschool. So… again Mike has made the school decision (with help from the Lord, whether Mike realizes it or not!), and again I am following.

    Why isn’t Meagan supposed to be homeschooled anymore? Well, honestly I do not know all the reasonings God has. I just can’t know them all. I can say, though, that Mike and I have always had doubts about homeschooling Meagan (not Matt) and have often done the whole circle through options thing with her. Until our pastor’s offer a couple of years ago, we’d always had to stop at homeschooling because we had no way to afford any other option.

    The kids are very different. They’re both very intelligent, but their personalities and learning styles and so much more are just vastly different from each other. Meagan has leadership potential in a big, bad way. She needs to be around other people ALL the time. She also needs to hear from someone other than me to get her school work done and done properly. She slacks off much too much with me, regardless of how strict I am. Matthew does better with his studies if he can work alone at his own pace, not just in broad terms, but in smaller ones as well. If he gets interested in a particular subject’s lesson, for instance, he wants to soak up as much of that subject right then as he can, so he’ll work further ahead in that subject that day and maybe not even get to the others. That’s ok, though, because then the next day it might be a completely different subject. He has no problem getting ‘enough done’ over the course of a year, he just doesn’t like to do a little of everything all at once like Meagan does. Also, he doesn’t have to be around people all the time, in fact just the opposite. He needs more alone time than Meagan. He’s certainly not devoid of social interaction and won’t be, but he needs time to himself more often and longer than Meagan. He might be ready for an all-day field trip with tons of friends and other kids one day, but another day he may just need to be alone most of the day. That is how he thrives.

    It boils down to that, I guess. Meagan was surviving in homeschool, but not thriving. Matthew is the opposite. They both could/would get a good education in either place, but they’re only going to THRIVE in one or the other.

    More about diabetes…type Mike!

    When I was at Walmart the other day, I spotted a little pocket edition of Diabetes for Dummies. I bought it on the spot!

    I read it tonight and already feel so much better informed about our latest ‘cross to bear’.

    Over the years we’ve acquired more and more medical conditions and so I’ve had to learn how to manage several different things. I’m no expert by any means, and I’m DEFINITELY not a doctor (though for the first 20yr or so of my life I planned on being one), but I do feel reasonably ‘versed’ and capable handling:

    • asthma
    • allergies
    • eczema
    • subcutaneous injections
    • nebulizer treatments
    • precocious puberty
    • growth hormone deficiency
    • colon cancer (my Dad was the not-so-proud bearer of this and the following conditions)
    • dehydration
    • ileostomy
    • bowel obstruction
    • chronic diarrhea
    • fistulas

    Last year (2008) we officially added ADHD, depression, and anxiety to the list. All of which I’d suspected and so had really been managing for many years, just at a more relaxed level and with no help from the medical community.

    We also added me into the mix. For the first time ever I started trying to manage/care for ME and my diagnoses/conditions. That also added new ones to learn…

    • chronic Lyme disease which actually encompasses several different strains of infections and several different deficiencies
    • hypothyroidism
    • intra-muscular injections (though I made Mike give them!)

    And the diagnosis/condition/area of study of the year?

    • High blood glucose

    That would be Mike’s and as I said before I’ve just begun this new crash course in medicine.

    Just tonight I learned a few basic facts about both type 1 (not Mike) and type 2 diabetes, as well as the period before full-blown diabetes begins, which is known as prediabetes. I think Mike’s blood glucose levels put him into this category (prediabetes), but I’m not entirely sure, because the doc did not tell us his actual level. He just said it was “a little high”. We haven’t been able to start testing at home yet, either, so I have no #s to judge by.

    As I’ve had to do with every diagnosis/condition to date, I’m having to educate myself (and my family), because of a failure on the parts of the doctors to do so. However, I have to give credit where credit is due! My Lyme doctor has done the absolute best job of educating the patient and/or family out of all the doctors (and that’s MANY) this family has dealt with in the last 10+ years. Unfortunately I did not meet my doctor until after I had already done a ton of research/learning on the TBI (tick borne infections) and the management thereof. In fact the research I did helped lead me to him.

    Back to the diabetes. =) Tonight I also learned a little bit about how we will need to manage his condition, and how I’m going to need to help him change his diet and lifestyle.

    A couple of specific things that I can do to help are to change the type of butter and oil I use in cooking. I’m also going to try and get him to switch to wheat bread and to cut back on the amount of sugar he uses in his coffee! I have a couple of ideas about exercise, too. I’m thinking about maybe taking evening walks as a family on days he doesn’t work.

    I’ve also decided to invest in a couple of books to help with this particular condition. I’ve never really purchased (though I have read some) literature for most of the other things we deal with. I did purchase a couple of things on life-threatening food allergies when we first started that journey because it meant such a huge change in thinking and looking at things. One thing I bought was a cookbook. It was invaluable back when we were dealing with multiple food allergies.

    This diabetes type Mike… whether it’s prediabetes or full-blown type 2 already… means another huge change in thinking and looking at things. And like the food allergies it means I need to re-evaluate my grocery shopping and cooking habits. That is why I bought the books before, and that’s why I’m doing it again. =)

    I’ll be getting me a diabetes cookbook soon, as well as the expanded version of Diabetes for Dummies (unless I find another general diabetes book that is more highly recommended).

    Now that I have my own set of the Oxford Medical Textbook, I’ll also be reading the pertinent sections in that, too. (Of course!)

    I’m actually getting a little excited… as I always do… because of all the new learning. PLUS, I’m already seeing signs of better health in Mike because of the new medications (he mowed a LOT today and tonight told me he did fine-didn’t get real fatigued- and still wasn’t tired), AND I’m seeing signs of potential health/life improvements based on the things I’ve read so far. It’s almost like anticipating a new baby, I guess. I’ve felt the same with every diagnosis we’ve gotten.

    We get the diagnosis and pretty soon afterward it hits me… Once we get this under control and are managing it fairly well, we should enjoy vast improvements! It’s kinda exciting to think about just how much better that person might get to be feeling/acting/functioning once we get the newly diagnosed condition under control!

    I count each new diagnosis as a blessing for that very reason!

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