Archive for the 'kids' Category

Crazy, not lazy, May!

So it’s been a crazy busy May this year. Praise the Lord I’ve been healthy enough to handle it!! Last May I was doing good if I could get two or three chores done a week and was hoping beyond hope that I’d be able to survive our upcoming trip to Arkansas.

This May was so different. Granted the last 5 or 6 days of the month I spent doing a lot of sleeping, but nothing compared to last year or the 2-3 years before, for sure! I think I was just zapped because it’s been SO crazy busy…and it was ‘my time of the month’. Blech!

So what’ve we been up the last few weeks? Well, I got the new (temporary) floor down in the kitchen, three shelves hung in there, and a new cabinet/countertop installed. Of course, the icky old red laminate countertop from the 70s was replaced with white stone tile and the shallow sink replaced with a deep one, but props for those have to go to Mom and Dad. Actually, everything but the floor needs to, really. LOL I just helped hold boards in place for the shelving. I know. Hard work there, right?

Then there was the biggest cleaning the house has had since I first crashed with the Lyme. I don’t mean cleaning like scrubbing walls, baseboards, ceiling fans, and the like, though. Nope. I just mean getting STUFF put away and trash OUT. Oh, and laundry either washed or put in hampers. Yes it was that bad. No I am not proud of that fact. =/ So while the house did get “tidied”, it wasn’t really a “cleaning”. That is still to come. Soon, I hope.

Then there were the doctor appointments. We had 4 dr appts in 4wks! Matthew had a routine follow-up with the endocrinologist, and two visits to the pediatrician to try and get his bipolar meds adjusted. Then Meagan had to go and get strep throat again…. which she gave to me. Nice. Then I got a cold just as I was getting over the strep. Nice again.

My best friend/adopted sister has started a new business. Quite the entrepreneur she is. This is not her first endeavor at being her own boss and bringing in extra income for the family; just the first one since SHE crashed with Lyme. What’s she doing? Selling high-end cosmetics…wholesale. Selling LOTS of it. LOTS and LOTS. Like 5-figure orders, we’re talking! How does that have anything to do with me? Simple. She got in over her head because the business didn’t just bloom, it BURST almost over night. She needed an extra set of hands to help count, sort, package, and tend to her youngest (just turned 5yo). She was doing all that *and* all the emails (tons) and phone calls (even more tons) and overseeing another daughter’s homebound school and trying to get all the regular mom stuff done, too. Overwhelmed much? YES! lol

We’ve just about got her set up and ready to go, though. Well, I say that. I haven’t actually even started getting her new software set up yet, but at least I’ve got her convinced she has GOT to get some. (Seriously. Trying to keep track of thousands of dollars worth of orders on pieces of scratch paper and post-its just is NOT efficient!) I’m also getting a website set up for her to direct her customers to in order to see what she has available.

In the meantime, I also helped…or rather TRIED to help my older ‘niece’ with her Algebra. I was all like “Oh sure, I’ll help her. No problem!” And then I was all like “ummm I have NO idea how to do this”. We did, however, have an absolute BALL trying to figure the problems out. To our credit, between the two of us we DID get things figured out. It just took hours and enough laughter that we were seriously sore at the end of the day. We had fun, but I’m not so sure I should be ‘tutoring’ in Algebra anymore. LOL

After that adventure, we had the end-of-the-school-year awards ceremony for Meagan’s school. This kid makes me so proud! She comes home with handfuls of ribbons and other awards every year. Of course I’d be proud of her even if she didn’t, but it’s a Mom’s job to brag on the kids! =) She made mostly As with a couple of Bs all year long. Silly girl got a paper report of all the awards she had already received throughout the year and was shocked and excited when she saw that the tea towel she embroidered for my birthday won first place. She couldn’t remember bringing home the blue ribbon, so it was like winning all over again! LOL

After that I spent several days making a kitchen ‘unit’ for a ‘niece’s birthday present. It has a sink, cabinet under the sink, and then a dishwasher (with countertop). I had all the plastic canvas and almost all the yarn I needed, so aside from time the only cost for this bday gift was 50 cents for a clearanced set of dishes approximately Barbie sized, $1 for a gift bag, and the $2.58 I spent on a skein of gray yarn (of which I have almost the whole thing left). Not bad at all!

The last few days I’ve been busy doing some research. Matthew had an interesting ‘episode’ last week in which he had MAJOR problems getting to sleep 3 nights in a row. Why? Because his “toe felt funny”. Yes, seriously. The first night he was at my mom’s and I only heard about it in passing the next day. I picked up on the fact that he had cried some, but it sounded more like he missed me than anything else. At least that’s what my mom insinuated. I stayed at her place that night and he said it felt funny again. No tears and he didn’t seem to be in real distress, so I chalked it up to him being overtired and/or trying to stall. The third night we were back home and it happened again. This time he did cry. A lot. Also he admitted that it took everything he had to NOT cry the night before. There was nothing wrong with his toe physically. It just felt “funny”. It didn’t hurt, it wasn’t red or itchy, nothing like that. Just the way his toes were touching each other “felt funny” and it bothered him so much he literally was in tears because of it. Then the light bulb went on! He was fixating on the ‘funny feeling’ because of his OCD. We’ve known for years that he has OCD tendencies, and have joked that he has OCD many, many times. Never before, though, had his quirks interfered in his life in a major way. I explained to him what I thought was going on and he asked what to do about it. I told him there were medicines that could help. (I highly suspect that one of the meds he was recently taken off of had been treating the OCD to a degree…and now that the med is gone the OCD is coming on full force.) He was oh-so-ready to go to the ER. Right then! That’s how upset he was over this. He did NOT want to think about his toe, he did NOT want it to feel funny, he was tired (and admittedly so) and just wanted to go to sleep but he couldn’t quit thinking about it. The “funny feeling” was driving him crazy. Really.

After explaining that the medicine isn’t a ‘rescue’ med like his asthma inhaler, but a ‘maintenance’ med like his Singulair, I took him into my room and we laid in my bed while I read to him. I really was wishing I had some Ativan to give him, but since I didn’t (and I was certainly NOT taking him to the ER for an OCD ‘attack’) I thought trying to get his focus off the funny feeling toe and onto ANYTHING else was about the best thing I could do. Thankfully it worked. I can’t remember now what search terms I thought of while laying there holding my breath that the poor kid had finally managed to fall asleep, but I got up and came in here to the computer.

Whatever it was I looked up, it led me to a series of workbooks written by a psychiatrist. I ordered three of them on the spot. The names of them are: “What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD”, “What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Problems with Anger”, and “What to Do When You Grumble Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Negativity” I have no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit led me to these books. Matthew needs these SO much! I pray that he will cooperate with me in working through them and that he will actually put into practice some of the technigues they teach him. From what I gather they are all based on cognitive-behavior therapy techniques that he would get if he were to see a psychiatrist or therapist for these challenges of his. Since he is NOT willing to go to someone else, this is truly a God-sent alternative. There is even a workbook for anxiety. I thought about buying that one, but really his horrific anxiety (disabling in all seriousness) is a thing of the past thanks to antibiotic treatment for the Lyme. There are a few others in the series as well, but for now I’m uber excited to see how these can help him.

All that research also led me (later, after I’d already purchased the 3 workbooks above) to a book/workbook set similar to this series only written specifically for bipolar! It’s in my shopping cart at Amazon waiting for the next payday!! The name of it is “My Bipolar, Roller Coaster Feelings Book”. PERFECT! If I had any question about sending Matthew to school versus keeping him here at home, the Lord just answered them clear as a bell! My only ‘regret’ is that Meagan will be home during the day for the next couple of months so finding “Mom and Matt Therapy Time” will be a bit more difficult… just as we’re getting started. Go figure! LOL

I’ve also been putting together a unit study on Isaac Newton for Matt. He took an interest in the laws of motion and wanted to know who figured them out. Not so ‘coincidentally’ Isaac Newton was a Christian who had bipolar disorder! Brilliant! I haven’t spent a lot of time on putting the unit together, but I did just order a biography from the Sower Series (Christian based) on Newton. That led me to looking at other science stuff since he doesn’t have a formal science curriculum this year. I found a couple of things I want to get, but not a huge hurry on those. THAT led me to researching English curriculum.

The English curriculum we’ve been using the last couple of years is really frustrating for Matt. It spends a lot of time on diagramming (which I can’t help him with because I never learned how to and it makes NO sense to me whatsoever), and just is so technical! He really struggles with it, which has been confusing for me because Matt is me ‘language’ kid. He has always been super fascinated with words and phrases and languages. He likes to know where the words/phrases came from, and just goes giddy over puns of any kind. He likes playing with words and even with accents. When he was little bitty and first started getting interested in words and what-not and then picked up reading and spelling almost instinctively I felt sure I had a writer in the making. Sadly he hates writing for now, and as I said he struggles in grammar, usage, and mechanics.

I think I may have found some answers to these problems, though. I’ve learned that the area of the brain affected by bipolar includes the area responsible for executive functioning. Long story short this makes writing difficult for him. He might have tons of ideas in his head (and he does) but getting them out onto paper is more difficult. I’ve found a curriculum for grammar, usage, and mechanics that does NOT use diagramming at all, and I’ve also found a writing curriculum that looks very promising given his unique challenges. These too are in my shopping cart awaiting next payday. LOL

On top of all that, Mike’s 64th birthday was yesterday, though honestly we didn’t ‘do’ much to celebrate. I sent him to the chiropractor and then stuffed his belly full of pork chops, fried eggs, and cheesecake. Fix ‘im up and then clog ‘im up. haha The rest of this week is busy with getting Meagan ready for teen church camp… that is provided she gets her chores caught up and we can find the funds to send her! Then next week (with Meg at camp…?) we’ll be getting Matt ready for church junior camp the following week. And sometime in the next two paydays we have to buy Meg some new uniform shirts for school.

We had to replace a tire on the van in amongst all this, too. Oh, and we also bought a new auto-injection device for Matt’s shots. I still need to purchase the rest of the fabric for the kitchen cabinet curtains, too. Lots of ‘extra’ expenses the last few and next few weeks!

At least we won’t have to buy 3 more tires for the van. My best friend’s dad (and Mike’s high school classmate) just gave us two nearly-new tires that will fit the van. That gets 3 of 4 replaced, and I’m pretty sure that one of the existing ones is still in pretty good shape. =)  I’m constantly being surprised by the ways in which the Lord provides for us!!

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!

Back-To-School (and other stuff)

It’s Back to School time here. At least, for the females in the house! Meagan’s school (through the church) starts tomorrow. Matthew (homeschooled) won’t start until after Labor Day.

Something new this year, though. *I’m* going back to school, too! Not just as a teacher, which wouldn’t be anything new, but as a student!  I’ve enrolled in a 3yr bible college, taking 1.5 credit hours a semester. It’s called Faith Baptist Institute, and you can learn all about it here. It’s administered via DVD through our church. There are 12 students in our class. =) *We* went back to school last Monday, the 16th! 

There’s something really cool about that date… I remember when I first started high school, as a freshman, school started on the 16th. I remember because that was the year my brother, James, was born and he was exactly 4 days old when we snapped a polaroid of his chunky little cheeks for me to take to school to show him off to my friends. So I started high school on Aug 16, 1992 as a 13yo and now here I am FINALLY starting college on Aug 16, 2010 as a 31yo. How cool is that?

I’ve actually been preparing for ‘back-to-school’ for lots of girls this summer. First I made a bunch of new culottes for Autumn and Ashlin (my adopted nieces) before we left for Arkansas. Then I bought school supplies and got my registration taken care of. Last week, of course, I went back to school, and then the rest of the week I spent making and mending culottes for Kylie (another adopted niece) and letting out uniforms for both her and Meagan.

You’d think that would’ve been the end of it, but nooooo…. Our bible class (actually 3 classes, but we only meet 1x week, and do all 3 in one night) met again tonight and then AFTER that (and we don’t get out till 9:30pm) I had to mess with MORE uniforms. Not for any nieces or nephews or even Meagan, but for Meagan’s DOLL – Samantha! LOL

Ok, so I didn’t HAVE to, but I had promised Meagan I would make her a uniform skirt back several months ago, and she really wanted it for the first day of school. I just finished it before I sat down to type this post up, and when I snipped the last threads and looked at it, I realized I messed up the pleating HORRIBLY!! =*(

Not in the pressing of them. That I could’ve fixed. In the sewing. I don’t know how I managed to do it, but the front pleats are not quite centered correctly (well, neither are the back ones…they are actually worse), and then on top of that the front and back pleats don’t even come close to matching!

The design of the skirt is such that it has a center solid ‘flap’ with 2 pleats on either side. Well, in the front the center piece is the correct size, and the pleats are just fine, except the whole thing is off-center. In the back, though….!!! The center section is at LEAST half again as wide as it is supposed to be, if not double! I don’t have a clue how I managed that, since I marked the pleats on both the front and back at the exact same time and in the exact same places (I marked one off the other, so I know they matched).

I feel like such a dunce and am so totally NOT happy at ALL with the final product, obviously, BUT it is going to remain the way it is. I can’t stand even thinking that, but it’s got to. For one thing, to undo all the stitching it would require to get back to the point at which I could rearrange the pleating, would take a couple of hours at least (which I don’t have). It would actually be much simpler and quicker to just start over from scratch. Problem with that is I have no more fabric! Last year she switched to wearing just skirts for her school uniform, so I just took the top of the jumpers off instead of buying new skirts. That’s how I had the fabric. She only had two jumpers, and it took almost every bit of both pieces to make the skirt for the doll. All that’s left is the skinny bits that came down from the shoulders and met in the front at the waist to make a V.

So, Samantha will just have to live with a VERY asymmetrical (and not in a fashionable way, either) school uniform skirt. Somebody doesn’t like it, they’ll just have to learn to deal, ’cause I’m not spending any more time or effort on a skirt for a DOLL! lol

I’m still not even done with the back-to-school sewing, though, believe it or not. Tomorrow I need to make said doll a blue uniform shirt! Plus, I think all but *maybe* one pair of Meagan’s 458 pairs of culottes need mending. *sigh* If I’m feeling real frisky or insane, I’ll probably end up making Meagan and her doll hair scrunchies out of the scraps I have left.

In other news… =)   Mike went to church with us last Sunday am. He came to Sunday School with me, and left towards the end to come home and get the Strong’s Concordance. He tried to start/have a conversation/question with my SS teacher between SS and worship service. It didn’t work out so well, though, since my SS teacher is also the music director and he was already running late getting up to the podium! LOL

So, instead, he agreed to let him come by Thurs eve (before he had to leave for work) and answer his questions and talk then. Marcy, my best friend (and adopted sis!), came by and picked the kids and I up and we went to her place while her hubby came over and talked with Mike! This was so totally a work of God. Not even 6mo ago when Marcy and I brought up the idea of David coming over and talking with him, Mike had said there was no point, it wouldn’t do any good, he wouldn’t do it.

Then, THIS week, Mike came to Sun pm service with us! =) He’d actually told me last week (before the first time he came) that he would attend with us on Sun am for 2-3mo to see if it would make any kind of difference or help at all with Matthew’s attitude/respectfulness/discipline. So this week was sorta kinda a cheat. lol In the morning when it was time to leave he bailed saying he was just too tired and not up to it, but that he would go with us that night (which, of course, he did).

When he told me he’d start coming to church with us, I almost fainted! When he said he’d KEEP coming, I thought for sure I would have a heart attack! I didn’t get my hopes up, though, because… well… this was MIKE coming to a BAPTIST church we were talking about.  I wasn’t going to hold my breath, ya know. Nor was I going to truly believe it until I saw it… which, praise the Lord, I did!

I thank the Lord that Mike is giving this a go! It’s a HUGE blessing and borders on being miraculous, really. I’m so proud of him for following through thus far! =)

Speaking of being proud of him… I’m also one proud puppy over the way (and the length of time it took) he got our busted hot water heater replaced with a brand new one. Especially since it required running a new electric line (it’s direct wired to a breaker, not plugged into an outlet). We were only without hot water for about a week and a half. MAJOR improvement over the 2 years it took to fix the ginormous holes in the floors so the bathtub could be put back in the bathroom! LOL

In other, other news… I am officially without a Lyme doctor again. Mine retired the end of last month. =(  I’ve already started running out of different meds, which is not cool. It is totally not cool, because running out of them, is leading to symptoms flaring back up. =(  First I ran out of Mepron, right about a month ago. Within a week, I was having bad headaches again, as well as night sweats and muscle cramps and bone and joint pain. Prior to running out I had NONE of those except some mild joint aches in the morning when I first woke up. After he added the Plaquenil to my mix, I was feeling almost human again. Well, really MOSTLY human. I did great on vacation and was doing just as well until the Mepron ran out.

We took a weekend trip down to Austin a couple of weeks back (after I ran out of the Mepron) to see my very talented cousin, Scott, perform in the Zilker Musical. This year’s presentation was Annie, and Scott got to shave his head bald and play Daddy Warbucks! LOL The play was GREAT, but *I* was not.

We left Friday and were supposed to camp. We didn’t, though. When we got to the campsite (around 12am) it was soooo covered in brush that Mike decided it would be far too dangerous. So off we went to find another campsite. We drove around Lake Travis on back roads that went UP and DOWN and curved around so much they literally had switchbacks in several places for like 3hr! Then we drove around some more for another several hours. All the campsites were either full or locked, so we ended up parking at a WalMart at about 5am to try and catch a couple of hours of sleep before the campgrounds opened back up.

The driving seriously MESSED ME UP! It wreaked absolute havoc on my central nervous system. I was sooo dizzy and off balance and edgy and I don’t even know what all. My CNS was just so irritated!! When we got to the campground, I could barely walk. I was soooo sick and weak! Then after we pitched the tent, we attempted to sleep until time for the play. I couldn’t. The heat was unbearable.

My muscles in my leg and back were cramped up so bad by the time we got home that I couldn’t straighten my leg at all. I was stuck in bed for 3 days! This after a 2 night trip. We were gone for 10 nights when we went to Arkansas and I didn’t have any problems at all and didn’t need any recovery time!

Then last week, after church on Sun and class on Monday night, I was stuck in bed all day Tues. Too sick to move. I’m backsliding, or relapsing, or whatever you want to call it so quick it’s not even funny. =(

I don’t know what I’m going to do. Hopefully I won’t get too much worse before we can figure out what to do about a doctor.

YIKES! It’s almost 3am now. I guess I’d better go take my meds and climb in the bed!

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.

    Missing church…

    It’s Sunday morning, and it’s not looking like we’ll make it to church.  Admittedly, I did wake up late, but that’s not the problem. Both kids’ asthma have been giving them fits.

    Matthew’s been having problems with his all summer long.  I’d taken him in a couple of times earlier in the summer, but since I know the drill, I just did the medicatin’ at home.  I’d taken him in in the hopes that the doc would add his Advair back in.  No go, so we just put up with the inhaler or nebulizer several times a day.  A couple of weeks ago, I had to take him in because of the rage issues were getting BAD again.  We were supposed to go back in 2wks for a med follow-up (we upped his Strattera to 60mg).  The next week I took him in for his asthma because, well, we were both tired of him not being able to breathe well all summer.  Thankfully, this time the doc said to add the Advair back in.  So he was getting better.  Notice I said was.  The last two days, he’s having troubles breathing again.

    Meagan, on the other hand, did fine all summer, but once school (and running laps) started up again, so did her asthma.  This last week she said she was needing to use the inhaler after PE every day.  Thursday evening she was coughing (the dreaded asthma cough) all evening so when we got back from a revival service, I hooked her up on the neb.  Then I hooked her up again.  Friday after school was basically a repeat.  Friday evening I had her add the Pulmicort to the Xopenex.  After that treatment, she was still real tight, so I had her do another Xopenex.  She snuck off to bed right after, but I highly suspect she needed yet another round of the Xopenex.

    Yesterday was more of the same.  So this morning, after I woke up late, I had to get both kids on their nebs.  That was 40min ago.  Meagan *says* she can breathe better and doesn’t need a second round, but I haven’t actually listened to her yet.  (I need to find my el cheapo stethoscope!)  Matthew finished his and then went and sat on the pot for 20min.  Now I need to go and start the pill-taking coercing/forcing.  No telling how long that will take, but considering the church service starts in 19min, I’m not optimistic about making it. =(

    I’m not very happy about that, either.  We are having a guest preacher today, and he’s good.  VERY involved with spreading the gospel over in Israel, and I was looking forward to hearing him this morning.  Ah well, hopefully we can at least catch the evening service.

    A couple of big ALIVE blessings!

    I wish I could come up with titles that are *actually* cool.   Oh well.

    A few days ago, a good friend of mine and her husband offered me their old computer. Everything on it worked, they just got a new one. Of course I said yes, please! and thank you so much! =)

    It works great and in fact is what I am typing on right now. It’s going to be SO much more convenient for me to use this one during school and other times, also, than the one in the bedroom!

    Samson has taken to climbing up on the desk when I’m sitting here and snuggling. He climbed up just a minute ago and is now laying on arm as I type. LOL

    So there’s the first alive blessing. It’s an alive computer, vs. my dead computer. LOL

    The second blessing is also alive, but in a different sense. This blessing doesn’t cost as much as a computer, nor is it as big. However, it does eat, poop, and sleep!

    It is a sweet little brown and white lop-eared bunny! =) This blessing is why I have this post listed under “God’s Guiding Hand”…

    See, with Matthew homeschooling again, I was wanting to get him involved in something outside of the house and also outside of the church school. I know he can go up for P.E., and I think it’d be wonderful if we could go up for chapel, as well. The two of us could/can even go along on the field trips for school events, too. The things like mini-golf, tennis, music festival, etc. Only problem is, he can’t compete. Last year he took 1st place in a lot of the singing events, as well as bible memory verses, woodworking, and I think tennis, too!

    So for this year I was looking at getting involved with one of the local homeschool groups or the co-op or something. Granted they all cost an arm and a leg, but still… I wanted him to be IN something, and he is definitely NOT a sports kid. (The medical problems make it pretty rough on him that way. I mean, he’s still the size of a 6yo for one thing.) Boy scouts was also a given NO! They’ve changed the way they do things so much in the last 2 or 3 decades, and not for the good if you ask me.

    Today I got a phone call from a woman at church. Her granddaughter stayed with her last year (and was one of Meg’s good friends) and they had put her in 4-H and bought her a rabbit. The granddaughter had to move back to her mother’s this summer, and the mom said no to the rabbit. Well, the grandmother kept the bunny for awhile (for the other, much younger, grandchildren), but decided that it was just a little much for her, and also not so good for the bunny as she wasn’t getting the attention and play she needed.  She said she’d tried to offer it to some of the elementary teachers for a class pet, but no one was interested.

    Then she thought of Meagan. She and her husband decided that they would really like to give it to Meagan (and Matt, too) and so she called me. At first I was going to politely decline, but as she told me the story of this rabbit and how they came to have her, I became convinced that not only did I want to take the bunny (I knew the kids would want to, of course), but that I SHOULD take the bunny. As she talked more and more about 4-H and this bunny (registered, ready to breed, they had a cage and had just bought a 6mo supply of food for her, and it was all coming with Miss Rachel) I became more and more convinced that this was of the Lord.

    I just kept thinking about what all the kids do in 4-H and how PERFECT it was for Matt – the great animal lover. I thought to myself  “WHY didn’t I think of this myself?”  Of course the answer to that is simple… I did, years and years ago back when Matthew was way to young to join. As he grew older and it became apparent how painfully shy… paralyzed with anxiety, actually… I knew there would be no sports, no scouts, no clubs, no co-op or summer classes, no anything. I never gave any of those a second thought for him. For Meagan, yes. We tried girl scouts and got a lousy troop, and as it was the only one she could join, we quit.  I started to have her be a Juliette and do the scouting ourselves, but she didn’t want that, she wanted PEOPLE! LOL

    Anyway. I really got the impression that this phone call, this suggestion, this offer was from God. So I said yes and we made arrangements for the bunny to be brought over this evening. After I hung up the phone, I called Matthew in to the computer and we looked up the 4-H online and I tried to explain to him a little of what they do. At first he kept telling me he was not interested, no thanks, etc. – even though he totally loves animals, and had already asked me if we could study/do woodworking and electronics (which 4-H also offers) this year in school. I kept talking, though, and once he realized that #1 it is not just for homeschoolers, #2 ALL the kids (incl. the teens) do not get together for a meeting, they’re broken up into groups, and #3 that if he raised, showed, and SOLD an animal, he would get to keep the $$…. he immediately changed his tune. LOL

    He said, “I’m in. Sign me up. I wanna raise a calf!” and when I told him no, we couldn’t do that. At least not this year, since we live in the city and can’t keep one here, he asked, “Well can we move to the country then?” HAHA

    Then I had to go through all the explanations and so-forth again, because Meagan wanted to know so she could see if she also wanted to join. The selling point for her was being in a parade. LOL

    So both kids decided they wanted to join. I’d already decided it was something we should do; as I said the timing and ‘perfectness’ of the phone call and idea was very clearly the work of God’s guiding hand.

    Next thing I did was to call the local 4-H office (actually our local Ag Extension office, but I didn’t realize that at first) to get info on the program… how to sign up, what it costs, etc. The woman I spoke to, there, was SO kind and helpful. She knew exactly what I needed to know and she guided me through to find the online registration form, and gave me phone #s of the women who run 2 of the clubs, as well as date and time and location of the first meeting for each. The only other thing I needed to know was cost, not that I was worried, because by this point I was sure that this was something God wanted for the kids, so I knew He would provide, but I still needed to know so I would know how much to bring to the first meeting.

    Well, before I could even ask, the woman on the other end of the phone said something like, “And everything is free, there’s no charge for any of the meetings, so you can go to as many meetings and clubs as you want…”

    I was so shocked! I had no idea 4-H was FREE! I mean, I realize there is cost involved if you’re raising an animal or doing a project or need to bring supplies, but that is the same with ANY club, organization, etc. This is GREAT!! Absolutely perfect! Not only is the club geared more towards things my two are interested in than any other, but it’s also cheaper than the other things I was considering.

    I wasn’t just completely settled or sure about the other options. I knew they would work, but none of them really said THIS IS IT! to me, if you know what I mean. 4-H, however, does. It did even before I knew what it would cost, that’s like a big ol’ bonus to me. =)

    Thank You, Father, for answering my prayers. I’d prayed that You would help me to know what to do with this school year and that if there was something You wanted for Matthew (or Meagan, too!) to have for this school year that I didn’t know about, that You would show me and then provide a way for them to have it, and You did just exactly that. I had not even thought of another computer, much less joining 4-H and having another animal, but You had. You wanted this for the kids, and You showed me and provided a way. Thank You, Father, for this wonderful gift You’ve given the children (and myself)!


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