Posted in 7 Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Another week…ZOOM..come and gone. Jim was on vacation from his job (I say that because he worked at home instead) and invested a lot of sweat into the current plumbing problem we are facing. When whomever built our home, the plumber they hired was less than, well, good. He cut through our 2×8 (should have been 2×10) joist to run the pipes for the master bathroom toilet., leaving just a few inches. The toilet sits right on top of this joist. NOT GOOD. Right now there’s a huge hole in the kitchen ceiling and it’s down to rotted subfloor in the bathroom. We’re sharing bathroom digs with the kids and that’s–shall we say–interesting.

2. Pursuant to #1, I’m continually grateful that Jim was a contractor for years before we got married.

3. The contractor is coming over this afternoon to nail down the particulars, like a date and actual amount. His “we can reduce the bid enough for you to afford it” bid was still $10,000 too high. We even told him what the bank was giving us. ::rolling eyes::

4. Our local elementary school is doing their semi-annual clothing drive. It’s a win-win-win situation: We get rid of unwanted clothes and toys. The PTO makes money.  The clothes go to Africa for those who have far less.

5. The time with my friend yesterday went very well. We did seem to pick up right where we left off, although I haven’t seen her in four years, and it will likely be the same amount of time until I see her again. She serves in Western Africa, which isn’t quite the quick drive from Pennsylvania! We went to Panera Bread (yummy!) and I had my new favorite drink, a caramel latte.

6. When I went to bed last night I was honestly “talked out”. I visited with my friend (1 1/2 hours), my mother (2 hours), my mother in law (1 hour, although that included a dr appt) and my old neighbor (phone for 1 hr 45 mins). That, People, was  a LOT Of talking for one day! (And that doesn’t include the regular stuff with the kids and Jim!)

7. I stopped taking the Byetta. It didn’t work nearly as well this time around and I just couldn’t make myself do the shot every morning, especially knowing it was not something I HAD to do. I’m still stable at the 10-12 lbs lost from the last go-around on it in 2009, so I’ll be happy with that.

Have a happy weekend everyone! Snuggle your kids and spouse and spend some time in the sun if you can. Vitamin D is good for you!

Posted in Change, Family, Me

Seasons of Friendship

I’m meeting an old friend today for coffee. She and I were very close a long time ago; she was even a bridesmaid in my wedding 15 years ago.

10 years ago she left for the mission field. Almost 9 years ago I had a whole passel of children. The friendship, without careful tending, changed.

I’ve prayed about this time together. I don’t want it to be awkward or uncomfortable, but I’m aware that it might be. She and I never had that “pick up where you left off” kind of friendship. (Aren’t those nice?) We might fumble for things to say outside of the “tell me what you’ve been up to” layer.

I used to have many close friends.  In high school there was a group of four of us (we called ourselves the four mouseketeers, yes, we were silly). Through Facebook I keep in touch with two of them, but am only somewhat really in touch with the third. In college I had an extremely close friend. Unhealthily close. Eventually I had to stop being her friend because I couldn’t handle the drama anymore. That was hard. I had another friend after my children were born–she also had triplets and was such an encouragement to me. At some point she stopped answering my calls. I’ll never know what happened. That was hard as well.

Currently I have several good women friends, but no CLOSE friends. I just remarked to Jim yesterday that he’s my best friend. And that’s not a bad thing. But let’s be honest. There are just things you can talk to with a woman that hubby has no desire to talk about!

I do believe that there are often seasons of friendship for women. We have friends when we are single, different friends when we are married but have no children, and still other friends when we add little ones into our lives. There are sometimes very special friends that are lifelong–that transcend the seasons. My mother has been friends with someone for almost 70 years. Wow! Now that’s amazing!

You know what? If I had to pick someone other than my husband that I’m closest to, it would be my mother. I talk to her almost every single day of my life except weekends when we’re just so crazy around here. Other than when I was a teenager and we fought a lot, she and I have been fairly close since I was in college, and especially so since I’ve had children. There hasn’t been and won’t be a season to our friendship. She’s one of the reasons I wanted to have a daughter so badly–I wanted to be adult friend with her. And now I have two!

How about you? Do you have lifelong friends or do your friendships have seasons?

Posted in Birth Story, Connor, Kids, Me

Close to Home

I just finished Karen Kingsbury’s Summer, the 2nd in a series of 4 books. I sobbed my way through the final chapter, where a woman gives birth to a baby girl, only to lose her a few hours later due to a birth defect. She and her husband knew the baby would die, but chose not to abort and they got to spend those few precious hours with her as a result.

Very close to home, People. Very close to home.

When we conceived quadruplets, EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR told us to “reduce” i.e. kill two of the babies so the rest had a better chance. Due to their positions, Bennett and Connor would have been the ones chosen to die. We lost Connor 10 hours after he was born. Bennett is still with us 8 1/2 years later and I cannot, for one moment, imagine life without him.

We finally found a high-risk pregnancy specialist who saw things our way, namely, NO THANK YOU WE DON”T WANT YOU TO KILL OUR BABIES! and things smoothed out from there, until the babies were born prematurely at 25 weeks.

Reading through this fictional character’s experience brought everything back. Holding Connor, saying good-bye, seeing Jim hold him and watching as his little life went to heaven.

I prayed this afternoon, thanking God that Connor would never have to experience all the junk down here that we have to–all the political messes, racial stuff, hatred, worry, anger etc. He’s living out a perfect life with Jesus. And someday–some blessed, wonderful day–I will get to meet him.

Karen’s book said this: Life is God’s to give and God’s to take.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes Friday

1.  I’m writing to you with the beginnings of what is promising to be a not-so-fun day health-wise. My throat is on FIRE and my stomach is not so very happy either. We’re having a notary come at 6pm for signing all sorts of documents. I’m hoping in the next 11 hours that things improve.

2. Yes, a notary. We’re “closing” today. That’s in quotes because we’ve lived in this house for 10 years now, so it’s not like we’re buying a new house. The contractor originally said he would break ground on the addition the 2nd or 3rd week in May. We’re hoping to pin him down to a real date by this weekend.

3. I finally finished working with the client! It worked out to be two months, going over 1-2 days per week (usually 2), working 2-3.5 hours at a time. All totaled, I worked 29 hours there. It seems like much more because we stretched it out, but it was fitting it in around her schedule, my schedule and those crazy snow storms we had in February.

It felt wonderful to have her say “I don’t know that I have anything else we can do!”. We accomplished so much!

4. Ethan’s behavioral therapist was over yesterday. She’s the one that works with us instead of with them. We spoke to her about Bennett and his “quirks” and she agrees something is probably going on. So one of the things on my “to do” list today is to call her agency and set up testing for Bennett. For so long we’ve paid attention to the REALLY LOUD squeaky wheel. Now that he’s getting some oil, we’re having a little time to pay attention to the others, and Bennett’s issues are starting to stand out. We’ll see.

5. Last movie night we watched the Eddie Murphy version of Dr. Doolittle. Um, hello! I’m guessing Hollywood thinks that the “A word” for bottom is now ok for little kids! Yikes! Thankfully it completely sailed over their heads. They still think the “s word” is stupid and the “d word” is dumb! 🙂  I love having innocent kids!

6. Craigslist is awesome. Seriously! If you need something for your home, check it out. I got an ETHAN ALLEN loveseat for…are you ready?… $75!! Now, it stank to high heaven, but we’re having it recovered anyway so it didn’t matter. And it matches the style of our current hand-me-down EA couch (also getting recovered). Jim and I are going out on Monday to pick out the upholstery fabric. Can’t you picture how much fun that’s going to be?! 🙂

7. I just found a podcast series called Cooking in the Dark, where they prove that “you don’t need sight to cook tonight!” I’m listening to it right now. They’re making Kaluha brownies. Um, YUM! You know, I have to say that having a blind son has opened up a whole world of things out there for the visually impaired. It’s amazing. Just google “braille” and see all the stuff that comes up!

I agree with Jennifer–where in the world did April go?

Posted in Change, Me

DVR

I hate change. Seriously HATE change. Of any kind. It makes me twitchy.

So when Jim suggested a couple of years ago that we do the DVR thing instead of the VCR thing, I rolled my eyes. It came with our DirecTV system, so it was in the house, but I kept using the VCR.

UNTIL!

At some point I caved. First it was just the ease of automatically taping every single time a show was on. Now it’s taping shows and watching them at a later, more convenient time, fast forwarding through commercials and boring parts. An average 1 hour program shrinks down to about 35 minutes.  And American Idol? Fugetaboutit! I pause the live show at the beginning, start watching about when it would be 1/2 way through, doing the same fast forward thru commercials or skipping the singers I can’t stand(!), and end up watching the ending about the same time as the rest of America.

So, if you are on the fence about the whole DVR thing, I HIGHLY recommend it!

Posted in To Do List

Inspiration

The family across the street gardens. Seriously gardens. Their home is beautifully landscaped and they have a three-TIERED vegetable/fruit/herb garden that they toil many an hour away at.

Us? Not so much.

I kept seeing that garden, though, and wanted at least SOMETHING to pick mid-summer, so I phoned my sister and hied myself to Home Depot. This afternoon I:

1. used that long-handled metal rake thingy and got a lot of weeds out of our garden.

2. used the short handled three prong thingy and loosened dirt in two of the four squares in our four square garden (my sister gardens, which is the only reason I can even use “four square garden” in a sentence).

3. planted 6 live lettuces. planted a bunch of lettuce seeds.

4. wet down one of those thingys that you plant seed in to grow before the ground is officially safe to plant in.

5. tore off the netting instead of actually reading the instructions and only tearing back the top of the netting (L on forehead time!)

6. planted a bunch of flat bush beans, cilantro and cucumbers in the peat moss stuff.

Laid down on the floor of the living room and promptly fell asleep. Apparently gardening makes one tired!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes Friday

Happy Friday everyone! While this is usually my favorite day of the week, today is going to be more than a little busy with working and cleaning, so I’ll reserve judgment until it’s over, if it’s ok with you!

1. Topping our list is the Home Appraisal. Our Realtor, back in November, appraised the house for a certain amount. We figured it was reasonably accurate and based how much renovations we could afford on that amount. Well, the home appraised for $15k LESS, which gives us $13k less in funds to borrow. This is not good. I was on the phone yesterday afternoon calling two mortgage companies that offer “renovation loans”, where they look at the value of the house AFTER the reno when they figure out what they can loan you. There’s also the option of taking out a home equity loan on top of the 1st mortgage, but man, we JUST got out of all the debt other than our mortgage and I so really do not want to go back IN!

1A: Edited to note that our loan officer called the appraiser and had her add another comparable that they found, which upped the amount on our home, so we’re back to business! Whew!

2. I just discovered the most adorable website, called The Daily Squee. Oh, it just makes you SQUEAL, and Ooh, and Ahh! I highly recommend it if you are feeling grumpy. In fact, I’ll be hopping over there shortly, as I am currently afflicted with that emotion!

3. Bennett and Laura’s gifted testing is finished. Neither one made it. I’m completely fine with that…my attitude about gifted has always been: if they make it, fine. If they don’t, fine. Now we’re just waiting for Catie’s to be done. I have a feeling she’s going to qualify, but again, if she doesn’t it’s no big deal.

4. Friday evenings have morphed into “Pizza and Movie Night”. Depending on our budget, it’s either DiGiorno Ultimate (the closest thing to take out in our opinion) or real take out pizza and a family-style movie. It’s so much fun having the kids be older now and able to watch so much more. Last week was Willow (remember that one?!) and this week is Dr. Doolittle (Eddie Murphy version). Sometimes I find a great one in the $5 bin at WalMart, sometimes it’s a borrow from a friend or family member and sometimes it’s the library. The only downside is that Ethan is completely uninterested. Sigh.

5. Speaking of, Ethan and I had a good time up at Hershey. It took me less time than I remembered to get there (1 hr 10 minutes instead of 1.5 hours), although the ride of accompanied by “are we almost there?”. Dr. Williams was, as always, friendly and welcoming. Ethan was, as NEVER, compliant and cooperative! Our homework for the next six weeks is to give him 4 goldfish (and the like) before each meal and snack to get him to chew more and more. On May 25th we’ll go up again and see if there’s any progress. I fully expect to need to stay there for two weeks in August. And because it’s only two weeks, I’m really ok with that. We can handle two weeks!

6. I’m working again today. It’s been two months at this clients, but it’s a pace that we both can work at. I’m not sure when I’ll be finished–that’s up to her honestly–and I have no clue where I’m going to find another client after her. I really struggle with PR!

7. We’re having two families over tomorrow. Each has four kids. 6 adults and 12 kids total. In our little house and it’s supposed to be cold and rainy. Yikes! Thank goodness we have a basement!

Posted in Christian, God, Me

Faith Without Works is…

not worth a whole lot, according to James.

Have you ever had God continually put something in front of you–in all different forms–to try and get His message across? Yeah, that’s been happening a lot to me lately. Specifically, how does my being a Christian actually affect the world?

From where I stand (and apparently, God since He’s poking me), not a whole lot. I’m raising my children in a godly home. That’s important. Very important, and I’m not denigrating that in any way. But I can do that and have an impact on my world, as well. I have 2 months left until the kids are out of school. I’m working a few days/week right now and the other days do have things in them, but nothing that can’t be moved around.

So as of tonight, I’m going to start looking around at where I can make an impact. Because otherwise, well, what’s the point?

Posted in Cleaning, Hershey Feeding Clinic, House, Sick, To Do List

Day of Rest

Jim has a stomach thing and my allergies are really acting up, so we both stayed home from church. That’s actually a Very Big Deal for us, being that we comprise the leadership of both worship teams. I can’t wait to hear what the elders chose to do for worship time.

Having a fairly eventful week here:

Monday is lunch with my mother and sister (which I don’t get to do nearly enough).

Tuesday Ethan and I are trekking up to the Hershey feeding clinic to see what’s in store for him. Tuesday evening the appraiser is coming over to figure out an amount that she thinks our home is worth and then give it to our new mortgage company. We’re hoping it’s the same amount our realtor thought, because if it’s less they won’t give us all the money we want. That would be BAD.

Wednesday and Friday I’m working

Thursday is a dentist appt and I’m really hoping for no cavities.

Saturday we’re having a get together here with two other families that each have four children. 18 people in all.  All the adults like each other and get along and have a wonderful time together. We started doing this last summer and are trying to make it a semi-regular thing. Fellowship ROCKS.

In between all the above I’ll be cleaning and doing laundry etc. Especially cleaning! Having people over is GREAT incentive!