Posted in Health, Jim

Rolling With the Punches

I don’t think we’ve had a year where Christmas with each side of the family happened when it was supposed to in years. This year is no different.

Jim complained early this week that something was in his eyeball, causing vision issues. He called the eye doctor, but only got the answering service and didn’t get a call back. He didn’t complain, so I didn’t give it much thought. Yesterday he complained again and I called the office. When I explained the problem–and that it wasn’t acting like a floater–they said “come in now”. He did.

Awhile later, he texted me that he had a torn retina.


Retinas are terrifying around here. I have a blind teenager, a partially blind/partially visually impaired teenager, and a very near sighted teenager because of retinas. So yeah, retina damage utterly freaks me out. And this is a guy who’s job it is to stare at a computer all day. So yeah. Terrifying.

The ophthalmologist (it took me years to spell that word correctly every time!) called the office that Ethan goes to, which has two retina specialists. They said they would stay for him, because this is a Big Deal.

I met him there, they got him in, examined and took pictures and video and yuck. They INSERTED A NEEDLE INTO HIS EYEBALL with a gas bubble into it and injected it. The hope is the bubble will push the retina back down and then they will laser it today. In the meantime, he first had to spend an hour with his face facing down to the ground and then the next two days (aka today and tomorrow) with his head at a 45 degree angle so the gas bubble will be in the correct spot (cuz it wants to float to the top and the tear is at 1:00.)

We have a follow up appointment at 10am (aka 45 minutes from now) where the doctor will hopefully see that the gas bubble has done its job and he will then laser the retina as well. Then I think we go again on Sunday.

This has somewhat played havoc with weekend plans. The kids’ friends are still coming over tomorrow, but NYE over my sister’s? Nope. Continuing work on the house? On pause. Forced rest for my husband on the couch with a lot of “saved on the DVR and eventually I’ll watch it” stuff to watch? Yes!

He has already noticed an improvement in his sight–he could read “Deer Park” on the water bottle that he was unable to read earlier, so I’m hopeful about today’s appointment. We’ll see!

Posted in Jim

Why I Married A Smart Man

So he could watch Inception with me and explain it to me when I kept forgetting that no, the real people aren’t in the van, they’re on the freaking PLANE.

(sidenote: if you haven’t watched Inception, do so. It will blow your mind. In a good way.)

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Funny, Jim, Kids, School, TV

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I am typing with a cup of coffee in front of me. If you know me at all, you will understand how shocking that is. I am a DIE HARD tea fan. I have a cup every day of my life–cold in summer, hot every other time. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

But I found THIS:

For someone who CAN’T STAND the taste of coffee, but loves caramel, Bailey’s Coffee Creamer in caramel is Ah-MAZING. Now I can have the joys of coffee-strength caffeine without the nasty, awful, rotten taste.

Sorry, coffee lovers. Please no hate mail!

2. Jim left today for a 9 day trip (including drive-time) to Michigan. We are sad. We love him and want him home with us. He does this every year and we are sad every year. I have no clue how mom’s with husbands who are deployed do it. I can barely handle a week!

3. I had the distinct pleasure of sitting through (well, part of at least) my first math class since, oh, about 1990. One of our two cyber kids is struggling in this class, so I am working with them. Did you know I had completely forgotten how to estimate fractions up or down to whole numbers? I DID! I learned it all again two days ago. How DID I live without this skill, lo, these past 25 years as an adult?

4. Pursuant to #3, and I’m not really mocking middle school math like it sounds, but why can’t they teach kids how to balance a checkbook or make up a budget or figure out how much rent they can afford? These are all very useful maths, none of which I personally learned in school. I didn’t learn how to balance a checkbook until my sister taught me when I was 21!

5. I’ve been watching Sleepy Hollow lately. It’s amazing what Hollywood can do to the book of Revelations. As someone who has read it, I’m intrigued (ok, and a little disgusted) by what they can twist around to try and make a television drama. I’m not saying I’m going to stop watching it, but I’m not keeping my Bible open to compare, either!

6.  Just watched THIS and howled for 15 minutes straight. Warning: Not kid friendly.

7. One of the advantages of having older kids? Neater pumpkin carving! We didn’t get pumpkin guts all over the table OR all over them! WooHoo!

Posted in Jim, Marriage, Vacation

Lemons into Lemonade

I have lived nearly 45 years within easy driving distance of the Philadelphia historical section and have never seen it. That was my driving force in planning my 18th anniversary weekend this year. I had it all planned out–seeing Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Seeing the Liberty Bell. Visiting all sorts of historical sights and learning more about them.

Perhaps you’ve heard, though, of our government shutting down, including the national parks, of which many of the historic sites in Philadelphia are a part? Yes, I thought you had.

My plans were in place until early this past week and then BOING! I turned away from them and made new ones. Friday night we drove to South Street. We stayed at the corner of 4th and South, which I would never, EVER do again. IT WAS SO LOUD!!! We’re from the suburbs where there are noise ordinances and if someone breaks it we get to call the cops. And sleep. Philly? Notsomuch.

Saturday morning, after a late rising, we had breakfast at Milk and Honey . YUMMY! We walked up to the historical section of Philadelphia and walked past many things that were closed and some that were open. We chatted with a security guard who told us about the slave quarters that were outlined because he worked where he worked and overheard the speech so often he knew it to share. We spoke with a hammered dulcimer musician, in colonial costume, who was handing out maps with places that were still open circled. Jim bought one of his Christmas CD’s. We went to The Constitutional Center. Learned a lot and had a great time in the air conditioning. For it being early October, Philadelphia was actually quite hot.

We walked to Elfreth’s Alley, which is the oldest continuously-lived-in neighborhood in our country. And this is where it gets cool. There was a truck in the middle of the alley and a carpenter was coming out of #116. He left the door open and I peeked in. I motioned for Jim to peek too. He did. The carpenter saw us and asked “would you want to come inside and see?” HECK YEAH!! So he showed us around. #116 is actually two houses, back to back, that were built by two brothers. The current owner has had it gutted and completely joined together. The interior wall between the houses is gone and there is now only a fireplace in the middle facing each side to show where the wall was. We saw where the slaves would have lived. We saw the upstairs–going both up and down spiral staircases. Swoon!

After our impromptu tour, we did the official tour a few doors down. Nice, but not nearly as neat.

Taxi time!

The Franklin Institute was next and, in my humble opinion, WAYYYY overpriced. We wanted to see the Spy Exhibit, so paid an extra fee. The exhibit was interesting and informative, but not worth the amount we paid. The institute itself was a lot more for kids than I remembered. We grabbed a pretzel to tie us until dinner, having skipped lunch.

Taxi time!

Our dinner was at the Marrakesh Restaurant. Oh Em Gee. The food was AMAZING. 7 course dinner. Great atmosphere. Pretty decent service. Fun interaction with other people eating there. I could devote a whole post to the food. Suffice it to say, if you ever get a chance to eat there, DO IT. But don’t eat lunch. And wear stretchy pants. And pace yourself, because whoa, when Jim and I left we felt sincerely overstufffed and in some discomfort. And we brought our fruit and pastries (courses 6 and 7) home!

I just want to throw out a hello (and a punch) to the guy next door who decided that he had to follow his drumming muse at 10:30 and 11:30 PM.

Today we just had breakfast out at Sam’s Morning Glory Diner. The biscuits were MAMMOTH and I again brought food home (Bacon!) instead of feeling uncomfortable. We left the city a little after noon.

All in all, one of our best anniversaries. We spent some serious time just being a couple, instead of Mom and Dad. We got to do a little part of Philly, eat some amazing food and experience some new things (parking his truck in a tiny parking garage was sure interesting!) together. And it never, not for one moment, felt like we were “settling”. We’ll just go visit the historical sites another time.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Jim, Kids, School

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Although we are still 5 days away from spring, the weather is already starting it’s-southeastern-PA-it’s-careening-wildly-back-and-forth. In the past week we have had sunny and 60’s (which was incredible) and high 30’s and raining (which wasn’t). Today, high of 51, cloudy and windy, is pretty typical of this time of year. It’s like winter is fighting with spring and we’re not quite sure who is going to win.

2. My youngest, Catie, just turned 10 on Wednesday. That blows me away. The triplets are 11 1/2. How did we get here?

3. We are counting down the days until spring break. 12 day. Oh, the joys of SLEEPING IN. 7:00 is just a magical time to get up, don’t you agree? Especially when it’s compared to 5:30.  Oh, and the 12 days is for the local kids. Ethan starts Friday afternoon, but the rest of them don’t start until the following Wednesday. Can I tell you HOW MANY TIMES we have explained to them that just because he has a longer spring break and different in-service days, EVERYONE has 180 days of school!! ACK!

4. Mid-term grades came out for the middle schoolers. One of said children is not doing especially well. This somewhat cements MY opinion that doing cyber school in the fall is the best way to go. Whether Jim is on board or not, I’m not sure. We haven’t seen much of each other this week with him working so much.

5. About all that work, I’m not complaining. Mostly. It’s just an adjustment to have him working outside of the home when he’s worked FROM home for quite a long time. And he had to work OT on Wednesday, which, if you look up at #2, was Catie’s birthday. It’s the first time he wasn’t home for one and it was actually quite emotionally difficult for me. But short-term sacrifice for long-term gain, right? And being able to pay the mortgage and buy groceries is surprisingly satisfying!

6. Although I am not Catholic, I found myself praying about the conclave. I prayed that the man they chose would truly love God. Pope Francis, what little I’ve heard and read, seems very humble. I hope for some good changes within the Catholic church–especially in relation to the sex scandals and cover ups.

7. Catie has been growing her hair out to donate to Locks of Love. I just read on their website that the hair needs to be 10″ (I thought it was 8). We measured and has still has 3 inches left. Which means months and months of arguing about the knots that are in there every morning. Oh, goody. I know it’s for a good cause, but wow, it’s not fun in the mornings!

Posted in Change, House, Jim, Kids, Me, Money, To Do List

We Made Us Some Goals, Yes We Did!

I can hardly believe it, but Jim and I actually talked about and decided on some goals for 2013. That’s still hard to say. I was JUST getting used to 2012!

Finances: 1. Cut debt in half. 2. Save up for vacation in August.

School: Decide about cyber school for Bennett & Laura by May.

Church: Find a new church home.

Vacation: Go to Beaver Island, MI in August.

Dog: Get her some training!

Family: 1. Go through Cleaning House together and do what it says. 2. Fancy dinner at home once per month. (dress up and use company manners)

Kids: Cook at least one dinner per month. (I’m sure we’ll come up with more for the kids, but that was just what we came up with yesterday)

Tina: 1. Go through the recipes I’ve bookmarked and either make them or delete them. 2. Do Friendship outgrown sale in spring. 3. Hopefully find a job until the summer. 4. Read 2-3 non-fiction books (I’m not a big non-fiction person, but I want to read Cleaning House and Vertical Church). 5. Find local women’s bible study 6. Visit Celebrate Recovery now that they have an official SA small group.

House: 1. Finish painting den/office and move the furniture in. 2. Put wallboard on other side of basement and paint. 3. Build wall and closet on playroom side of basement (along concrete wall). 4. Fix drywall and paint hall bath. 5. Fix drywall and paint master bedroom (we’ve lived here almost 13 years and it’s never been done!) 6. Fix closet organizer in MBR closet (needs a section taken out so we can hang longer things). 7. Fix backyard fence where it fell down. 8. Pour concrete apron in front of garage going over to the front porch.

In the interest of privacy, I’m skipping Jim’s.

It’s a lot, isn’t it?! It is to me, too. The kids don’t know about their yet. And I haven’t started reading the Cleaning house, although it’s a 12 month project so I’d better get on it.

I’m excited about 2013, aren’t you?


Posted in 7 Quick Takes, House, Jim, Sick

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I’m writing while slightly dizzy. This is not a fun way to type and I fully expect to go back to my couch once I’m finished.

2. My normal response to getting sick is to take the first day and baby myself. I sit on the couch, rest and drink lots of tea. I do this every time and it seems to shorten the severity and length of sickness.


This week was Christmas and it was not an option. Both Monday and Tuesday I pushed through the sick and wrapped and celebrated and didn’t baby myself. Which, honestly, I would choose to do the same if given the choice.


Wednesday and Thursday I paid the price for “pushing through”. It wasn’t a matter of sitting on the couch. I laid there, sometimes asleep, sometimes resting, sometimes watching TV. I didn’t do it up in the bedroom because I could sort of still be a parent on the couch. I coughed. I sneezed. I blew my nose. I didn’t stand up a lot because, as I mentioned, I’m dizzy.

3. Today I am feeling a little better. I took a shower (much to Jim’s relief), but was exhausted from that. I got breakfast and am now blogging (see my committment to you all?!) and will go and rest again. I’m determined to clean some of the house because, allegedly, I’m hosting Christmas with my family tomorrow.

4. I say allegedly because I was supposed to do that the day after Christmas. Except a) I was really sick and b) we had a wintry mix, which is not conducive to my father driving. And we’re due for snow tomorrow. So I’m holding the idea of Christmas dinner rather lightly.

5. I know I posted about what we’re doing in the basement just a few days ago, but I want to take a second to brag about my husband. 17 years ago I married a contractor. He went out and built things or fixed things or remodeled things. Soon after we got married he decided he wanted to go back to school and get his degree in Computer Science. I, being rather short-sighted, didn’t like that idea because I wanted to have children RIGHT THEN. He wisely kept on with his idea and went and got his degree. Which has provided us with a home, food for our table and other wonderful things.

However. Thankfully, he still possess those skills of a contractor. Which allows him to work on our house (which, unfortunately, constantly needs it!) He took a bare-bones basement and put up a wall and completely changed how it looked. Can I paint? Sure, and I have done it a lot in our home. But Jim can take nothing and make it  something, which just amazes me. So, yes, I’m grateful for the IT degree and all it entails. But I’m also thankful for the contracting skills, cuz they’re just really manly. 😀

6. We are playing Christmas music right now. I know it’s after Christmas and the radio stations have gone back to their regularly scheduled playlists, but I really love Christmas music. According to my iTunes, I own 609 Christmas songs! Everything from I Want a Hippopotamus to about 9 versions of Carol of the Bells to O Holy Night. I adore Christmas music! (speaking of, I Want a Hippo just came on!)

7. I honestly can’t think of one more thing to add, so I’ll just say I hope you are enjoying your holidays and are more healthy than my family is!

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Jim, Kids, Pets

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. So, Um, Yeah. Hi! I know it’s been a long time and I know I don’t have many excuses. But Hi! I’ve missed you.

2. Speaking of missing, my husband is up at Lake Michigan this week. We have survived six days and still have four left. It’s been….ok. The kids haven’t been awful, nothing has been scary, but it’s definitely different without his presence. HOWEVER, on the silver lining side, he took the dog with him, which brings me to #3.

3. I am a cat person. I have a cat, Floyd, that I love dearly and would spend much time with curled up with and listening to him purring and hugging him and loving him and calling him George. Unfortunately, I am a cat person who owns a dog. For almost 8 months now. Until this week, I guess I hadn’t realized just how much she has dominated things. The house is way more peaceful, Floyd hangs out in the living room with us, I don’t worry when people come to the door because there’s no one barking….etc. I really am just a cat person.

4. Tonight Bennett is going to a dance at school. My 11 yr old, somewhat socially awkward son. I was so surprised that he wanted to attend. He doesn’t want to dance, but “go and hang out with guys.” I actually believe him. None of them have “discovered’ the opposite sex yet, thank the Good Lord.

5. With Jim away, I’m leading worship on Sunday. I sat down yesterday to come up with the worship set and had what I think was the easiest time ever picking not only the songs, but also their order. Almost like God was directing me. 🙂

6. In our on-going dental saga, Ethan has now had two dentist appointments at two different offices (same practice) where he wouldn’t open his mouth. Given his age, the fact that he’s never had a mouth x-ray (so who knows what might be going on!), we will next be going to a surgical center where they will put him under general anesthesia. They will clean his teeth thoroughly, take whatever x-rays are needed, and then drill and fill whatever cavities he might have. While I’m very happy we have this as an option, I’m rather distressed that we even need to talk about it, let alone do it. For many years he was ok (not great) with going to the dentist. Now for some unknown autistic reason he is freaking out.

7. 5 weeks until Thanksgiving. I don’t think I’m cooking this year, which is a relief. I don’t mind doing Christmas ham (all you’re doing is reheating!), but my turkey often ends up not cooked enough or done two hours early.  This also means just 10 weeks until Christmas!

Posted in Jim, Kids

Anniversary Weekend

Jim and I just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. Because Jim’s mom ROCKS and was willing to watch the kids for the WHOLE WEEKEND, we went away to the Poconos for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Our house was in Albrightsville (a tiny dot on a map in the middle of nothing), but we spent most of Saturday in Jim Thorpe, PA. It was originally called Mauch Chunk (Mock Chunk), but renamed Jim Thorpe after a famous athlete (that I admittedly had never heard of).

We had a FABULOUS time. It was terrific being just the two of us. I love my kids–really and for true–but 48 hours without them and only talking to my husband was amazing. In less than 10 years that will be us full time.

That will be very weird. I’m going to have the whole “empty nest” thing happen to all four children within two years of each other. Very, Very weird.

Anyway, it was great to recharge our marital batteries and just be Jim Husband and Wife instead of Mom and Dad. If you have kids and have a hard time getting away (which believe me, I understand!), I urge you to find ways. Your marriage with thank you.

Posted in 7 Quick Takes, Jim, Job, Kids

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I dabbled in karma yesterday. Or, to put a Christian spin on it, I did to others as I wished that they had done to me: I visited a friend on bedrest. I HATED bedrest. I came down in the morning, waddling the whole way, got breakfast and then laid on the couch. All. Day. Long. Until it was time to laboriously climb upstairs to bed at night. I was so lonely and bored, words cannot describe. So the instant I learned about my friend on bedrest, I immediately emailed with “I’m coming!” because, really, I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

2. Speaking of worst enemies, here comes my big toe dipping into politics for a second. There has been a LOT of cheering about Osama Bin Laden’s death this week. Which, honestly, saddens me. Are we so inured to death from the media that we cannot mourn a real human being dying? He was a child of God; Jesus died for him. The fact that he didn’t believe is something to be sad about. We KNOW where he is, and I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, either. Ok, except for Satan. He IS my worst enemy. Yes, bin Laden was the mastermind behind much evil. Yes, he deserved to be brought to justice for what he has done. But the cheering and outright gladness for his death is over the top.

3. Switching back to normal life topics, what is the deal with sticking tongues out? I am constantly hearing “MOM! Catie stuck her tongue out at me!” I’m sure I did it at that age. But, oh brother, am I ready for this particular stage to be done with.

4. We had to have “The Talk” with Catie this week. One of our neighbors’ children has been talking about sex in a very inappropriate way. I talked to his father who talked to him, but unfortunately the damage was done. She and I sat together and went through Book 2 of God’s Design for Sex. Her comment? “Euuu!” Let’s hope she keeps that point of view for many years!

5. Jim’s been working for two months now, but we are still definitely playing catch up with finances. We had some debt before all this started and only added to it, as well as having to borrow money from family. It’s going to take some time to dig ourselves out of the hole. In the meantime, other than our special Friday night pizza and cheap movie, we’re not doing anything extra. I can’t WAIT until we are out of debt and finally able to save some money again!

6. Pursuant to #5, he was able to convince the New Hampshire people that telecommuting made a lot more sense for them financially. It was costing them upwards of $1000 each time he went up. So he’s been home for two weeks and we are very grateful to have him at the dinner table each night, as well as to help put the kids to bed. Splitting the parenting burdens makes things ever so much easier!

7. I’m surviving The Upgrade. I’m still finding my way around everything, but each day gets a little easier. There are still things that need to be loaded on–I keep finding new needs when I go to use a program and there’s a “You Need to Load XYZ to use this”. But, in the end, it will be easier and faster and better and I’ll be glad I did it. I’m just not there yet! 🙂