Sunday, November 29, 2009

Twins birthday party






My girls had a great time at their birthday party. Most of the time, my girls want the same things...they both wanted cinnamon rolls for breakfast and spaghetti for dinner, for example. It makes it very easy to share their birthday that way, since I let the birthday person choose breakfast and dinner for the day! This year though was a bit more challenging than others. One of my girls wanted to invite friends to her party, and the other wanted to make sure their grandparents were in town for their birthday party...We were able to compromise and do both, at least to some extent, by letting people know we would be doing an impromptu birthday party with just a couple days' notice when we find out when their grandparents will actually be in town.

Overall, their birthday party was a success. We did a scavenger hunt to find their presents with 8 clues. At each clue there were things to put in treat bags for each of the children. I was surprised that the children were not really interested in getting the treats until they were all done with the scavenger hunt.

The girls also didn't want to have a princess castle cake this year...I found that I was actually a little bit sad! As much work as they are, it is something I do for them to let them know they are special, and to see my girls getting too old for that kind of fun is slightly bitter sweet. They are growing up. They are 9 years old now -when did that happen?! This year, instead, they wanted an ice cream cake...specifically, they wanted an Oreo ice cream cake. So, I got to try my hand at making an ice cream cake! It was fun to try something new, and I think it was a success!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The last week...














Wow! It has been a really busy week for us! We started off getting some black corduroy to make skirts for the older 3 girls for their choir performance.

We also made 2 ice cream cakes for the girls' party, which happens to be today. This included making royal icing and trying our hand at making roses and leaves. I think they turned out pretty well for being our first time trying on our own!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with Chris' family. Our children did a great job with their play at the annual Pence Talent Show. His parents have been in town since Wednesday, and we have enjoyed spending lots of time with them. They spent Wednesday and Thursday with us, then left on Friday morning to spent the next 2 nights with their other kids and grand kids, to split their time up somewhat evenly. They will be leaving tomorrow morning to pick up their next load.

I have also been working hard on Callie's stocking...she will fill the last hook that we have available. I still have some work to do on Brianna's (adding in the fuzzy white fringe), as evidence in the picture of every one's stockings!), and need to get Callie's done for this year. Then I get to take next year off from making stockings as Justice will not be old enough yet.

As is our tradition, we went yesterday to get our tree, I put the lights on it last night, and the girls were able to decorate it this morning. Ashley did the best job putting all her special ornaments in order according to when she got them this year...we were surprised at how long it took the twins to put theirs in order! Fun was had by all! We incorporated one of the holiday family nights with this, learning how God choose us, as we were choosing the perfect tree.

With most of the Christmas things up, and most of the boxes put back away, it is time for me to focus on the birthday party that is taking place this afternoon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The last couple of weeks...







It has been a very interesting last couple of weeks around here. We have not had Internet for about 10 days, so there have been no online updates on anything! We finally got our 'move in' picture taken at our new house...I try to get pictures right when we move into a place and as we leave a place to show how much they have grown while living there.

We are pleased to report that Brianna has recovered, and is feeling much better now! She is glad to be able to rejoin all the fun and excitement at our house!

Callie had a very successful eye surgery, and other than her eyes being really read, and looking like she has 2 black eyes, she is doing great! All of the redness and bruising are just cosmetic and do not bother her at all. The results of her surgery are nothing shy of a miracle in my book! She has better balance, is trying to stand more, is finding new ways to do things (like pushing a stool up to the couch so she can climb up by herself - something she didn't have the balance to do before surgery!). We are thrilled with the results!

Anna, Bailey and Ashley have been hard at work for their upcoming choir performance on Dec. 7th. They are very excited about it!

I have been hard at work on Callie's stocking. I am almost 1/3 of the way done, and while I won't finish to display it very long this Christmas season, it WILL be done by Christmas! Today I am starting to make the older 4 girls a skirt that will work for their Christmas Choir performance. I am also working on collecting the last of the Christmas addresses to send out our Christmas cards.

We are busy getting ready for Christmas at our house...getting things cleaned and ready for Christmas decorations to come out and making presents for people.

Today we took the afternoon off to go to the Children's Museum. Everyone had a great time - right up until our younger 3 kind of lost it from lack of a nap! We were just getting to do our art project, when they started falling apart, so we brought it home to complete...that is what the older 4 are doing now (after Brianna took a nap in the van, she will be ok until bed time!).

Everyone is very excited because we heard that Chris' parents will (hopefully!) be coming home sometime tomorrow.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Night - Thanksgiving









Tonight we started off with a family work project at the Everett Street Feed. The girls had a wonderful time and served with such cheerful attitudes. We talked about how when we serve others, we are serving Christ. We talked about what kind of offering we would want to bring to Jesus at the street feed, either our leftovers, or our best.

We came home and talked about how blessed we are! How great it is that our hands and our eyes work. How great it is that God gave us bodies that can do so much...to demonstrate this we tried to eat dinner with no eyes (blindfolded) or no hands. It was great fun to watch everyone as they did this...While blindfolded, Anna thought she got spaghetti with her fork, but ended up hitting herself in the face with her garlic bread! Or when I tried to get my garlic bread without using my hands and chased it until my nose was in my spaghetti!

After talking about how blessed we really are, we talked about a 1/2 full water bottle. Anna and Bailey saw it as 1/2 empty initially, Ashley, Breezy and I said it was 1/2 full. We related it to contentment. Focusing on what we HAVE makes us feel content while focusing on what we LACK makes us feel discontent. We let the girls draw pictures and write down the things they have that makes them happy, and the things they don't have that make them sad.

Many of the family nights in the holiday book only have 2 activities...which worked out great tonight for our tired girls.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Secrets Abound...


This picture really captures today at our house...normally we are very open and share everything together, but today, here are some of what I have heard...
"Mom, don't look, I am making Christmas presents and want you to be surprised!"

"Don't come downstairs because we are practicing our play!"

"Don't show anyone our picture because we want them to be surprised." We took Christmas card pictures today...and let me be the first to say it is easier to take a picture of 6 children (this year), than to take a picture of 5 children and 7 puppies (last year), lol! Last year, I never actually sent out the Christmas cards, so here is the picture that we ended up with.

Gone are the days that they NEED me to help them put things together or pull things off...how short a time it really is that they are small. It goes by so fast!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting back to normal





Tonight, we decided that we needed to just enjoy being a family together...so after dinner, we pulled out yahtzee, enjoyed some apple crisp together (recipe below), and had a great time!

Brianna still took a lot of my time today as she is still not feeling well. We have found the site they did the spinal is really painful for Brianna...it is taking a lot out of her to deal with that, and she is still spiking fevers every few hours...hoping and praying that she is feeling better tomorrow!

Cinnamon apple crisp is made fresh sliced apples, cinnamon, and buttery topping mixture.
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients:
•6 cups thinly sliced apples
•1 cup granulated sugar, or less if apples are sweet
•1 cup all-purpose flour
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•2 teaspoons baking powder
•1 egg
•cinnamon (1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
•1/2 cup butter
Preparation:
Place peeled and thinly sliced apples in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle sugar over apples. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; add egg and mix well until crumbly. Sprinkle flour-egg mixture over the apples; sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.
Melt butter and drizzle over top of apples. Bake at 350° until apples are tender, and top is browned, about 35 to 45 minutes. Serve hot or cold with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brianna is home!








I am very pleased to report that Brianna is HOME! She is so glad to be here! Right after getting home, she tearfully told her sisters her tales of woe from the hospital. (Being on an IV, getting poked multiple times, the spinal, blood draws, tests and proceedures, Mom being gone, and not being allowed to see her sisters...it was quite the story!)

The bad news in all this is that she is still sick! They have rehydrated her, given her antiviral meds, monitored her vitals and monitored her for more siezure activity...everything has looked just fine...except that she is still spiking a fever now and then. We were told that everything we did prior to going into the hospital was perfect, and to keep doing that now that we are going back home. We now know that she DOESN'T have swine flu, regular flu, spinal menengitis, and a handful of other really bad things...she just has a virus, that happens to have hit her really hard...

Thank you all for your prayers. It has been a very long couple of days. I am hoping to get a little more sleep tonight than I have the last several, but it isn't looking good with Brianna still feeling sick! She is 101.3 right now with meds...the ER said to come back if she gets worse again. We are REALLY pushing the fluids on her...hoping and praying she doesn't get dehydrated again.

The pictures today are of Justice and Callie as we first got to the hospital (we all had to put on masks), and Brianna now sleeping in the living room, right behind me on our couch. She actually looks happy and peaceful! What an awesome praise!

I wanted to also give a special thanks to Uncle Stephen, who so bravely took my baby, with no diaper bag, no milk for him, and no way to actually give him back! Thank you so much! And Aunt Susan, who was so thoughtful to stay with me and Brianna at the hospital, and who was thinking clearly enough to ask some really great questions about WHAT the drs were doing and thinking! (And who really helped me just being there, especially during the spinal tap - I wasn't sure I was going to make it through that one! I even felt a little light headed and weak as I was leaning into Brianna talking her through it...)

We would appriciate continued prayers for Brianna to actually get better, for this not to spread through the rest of the family, but especially for Justice to not get it due to age, and for Callie to not get it because of surgery next week.

As for the questions, and comments from the last post...my milk supply could be better, lack of keeping myself hydrated, taking the time to eat and stress have NOT helped it in the least, but we are working through it!

And for the record, it has nothign to do with insurance that prevented us taking Brianna in sooner. We would just prefer to treat her at home. And we did, until it becamse too much for us. A fever of 105, while really high, and something you wouldn't want to have continue too long, is not likely to cause brain damage by itself as per the ER dr. I have learned a very valuable lesson in all of this about how much fluid to push on my sick children! Also, we deal with high fevers anytime anyone gets sick around here...it is genetic (according to my ped), and he is well aware of what my girls do, so when I call, to get dosing into for alternating tylenol and ibueprofin, he is good with it. Brianna is my only one though that has fibril seizures, and I am not sure I will EVER truly get used to that! Fortunately, she gets sick very rarely! (Leave it to my little actress to do it thoroughly when she does though!)

With my 8th load of laundry ready to go into the dryer, my 4th dishwasher load of dishes ready to be loaded and run, and my dining room ready to be swept, I am going to go finish my chores so I can try to get some more sleep...it really is amazing how quickly things back up around here!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Please pray for Brianna!

Sunday morning, Brianna woke up at 3:30 am with a high fever, after having a fibril seizure, and was slightly delirious. She continued being sick and having high fever all day, and had one other seizure that we know of..

Today, we were really hoping she would be feeling better, but she seems to be getting worse. She no longer has the strength to sit herself up from laying down, the meds are only bringing the fever down to 104.8, and she is very restless when she is sleeping (startling and saying she is scared), and is delusional.

I called the pediatrician Sunday to see about max meds doses she can have, and got permissions to alternate between tylenol and Ibuprofen. Which seems to help yesterday, but isn't seeming to today. The pediatrician's office called back to check on her, and thinks she probably has H1N1, and wants me to take her to the ER as her fever is just going up higher and higher with meds and they think she needs some intervention. 105 degrees is the point they will automatically admit her. I am waiting to hear back from the dr I talked to yesterday who was in agreement that taking her in yesterday would be potentially exposing her compromised immune system to more illnesses.

Please pray that she gets better on her own and doesn't need to be hospitalized. Also pray that no one else gets this!

Thanks for your prayers, and I will try to post updates here.

This comes at a particularly bad time for us as Callie is supposed to go in for eye surgery next week...

UPDATE: Breezy's temp is 105.2 AFTER ibuprofin 40 minutes ago, dr recommendation is to go to ER at Children's hopsital ASAP. Chris is trying a couple other things at home first. They are thinking it could be another kidney infection or H1N1, or ??? and want to get her really hydrated as soon as possible.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Please pray!


I know I said that this blog would be about our family, but this is a need for prayer from the body of Christ...

This is Gavin Owens. He has been on my prayer list for about 2 years now. He has Mitochondrial Disease. His parents knew from the start that this little guy wouldn't live very long. He is now 3 years old, and in the last hours of his life. Please pray that he would stop fighting. His mom and dad have had to do what no parent should ever have to do...they had to sign a do not resuscitate order for their little son. His body is unable to recover from this last episode. They thought his passing would be quick and peaceful when they removed the bipap that was acting as a ventilator 2 days ago...but Gavin is still fighting, even as I write this. He is trying to breath on his own, even with his lungs full of fluid, even with his body retaining so much fluid that he is unrecognizable to his 4 year old sister, even with with O2 sat in the 40's...he is still fighting. Please pray for this precious family. That Gavin would find peace, that his parents, Adam and Karen, would feel God's arms around them and a peace that surpasses all understanding as they let their son go to their savior, that his big sister would be able to mourn in her own way and find peace and understanding.

you can read more about his story at http://www.gavinowens.com/

Thanks for praying.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Family Night on Obedience

Justice was able to reach out, grab a toy, and bring it up to his mouth for the first time tonight! Because it was during family night, I had the camera ready and was able to get pictures of it!

















This is one family night that I was really waiting for as I have a child who struggles with obedience...not sure if this got through to her or not, but she sure had fun, lol!

There was also a sale on Pomegranates today, and I thought it fit well into our lessons, so before we really even got started, I had them doing an activity that they had to listen and obey to complete, to get all the seeds out...they seemed to have fun doing it, too!

We started talking about what it means to obey, and that no matter what, they were to obey Daddy...who told them they were to stay behind the umbrella, regardless of what I told them...

Meanwhile, I was trying to entice them out from behind their covering. I was promising them things that they would really like, such as a horse, candy, stickers, etc. When one of them WOULD come out, I would throw consequences at them (stuffed animals, while telling them a punishment for disobedience, such as going to bed early, spankings, no dessert, etc).

Next We talked about WHY rules are important. I handed out dot to dots. All of them were meant to make the same shape (star). But I only numbered 2 of them 5 dot to dots that I passed out. The others just had random dots that the girls had to connect to make something. We talked about why it was easier to use the ones with numbers, and how important rules are to the end result. We talked about household rules that we have, and why we have those rules (mostly to keep them safe and respectful to others). We talked about how sometimes, rules do not make sense at the time, but that it is important to the end result, we read through Joshua and the Israelites at Jericho, and how they must have felt to have such strange directions (walking around the city)...


Finally, we had a demonstration of following directions to get to a special location. We started off NOT following the directions that the girls read, which took us to some one's driveway...then we went back home and started over, this time we did them the RIGHT way...which led us to Denny's for Hot Cocoa! Everyone enjoyed that part!

In the end, it was another very successful family night! What a blessing to be able to teach God's truths in such a fun, meaningful way!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today...







Mmmm. The smell of baking pumpkin bread has filled the house. The girls really enjoy baking, even Callie had fun making the bread!








The twins are practicing their recorders for choir today.




Ashley and Brianna are playing pretend with the buttons...Ashley can truly play pretend with ANYTHING!



Callie finished helping make pumpkin bread (it was her first time getting to be a special kitchen helper - it went well until she fell off her stool! Then Brianna was glad to step in and take over!), and is now taking her nap.
Justice is taking his morning nap.


The laundry is going. The dishwasher is running. Everyone knows where their shoes are to go to choir in about 1/2 hour.

And everyone is getting anxious to try the pumpkin bread when it comes out of the oven!
What a blessing to be able to be a stay at home mom and homeschool my children to enjoy all of these things going on!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More attemps at pt for Callie & dress-up

Jenna is sick again today, so we have no physical therapy. Which is good because the van is still having trouble...apparently, the alternator that Chris replaced was just an effect of the problem,and not the cause...he is now thinking it is the rectifier and is working on that today...hopefully we will have a way to get to choir on Thursday and homechurch on Friday!




I found out yesterday in my half dozen phone calls to try to figure out the pt issue for Callie, that while Monroe has nothing to offer us, it is ok, because we are not in their district! We are actually in Sultan school district, and they DO have a contract with an agency that provides home care for the birth to three program! We are still sad to say good bye to Jenna (next week), but glad that Callie will continue to receive pt. We might even be meeting our new pt on Thursday.
It has been very interesting have to deal with 3 different school districts. When we started with the birth to three program, I only dealt with Providence Children's Center, never directly with the school district...so this has been very eye opening to me! Did you know that all 3 of them have 'homeschool programs'? And that none of these district offices have ever heard of independent homeschooling? And that most of them didn't know it was LEGAL to homeschool outside of their programs? And they ALL asked about accountability? I have had the opportunity to educate these educators about the law, and why I do not want to be part of their programs...not one of them knew that if you were part of their program that you were a full time public school student...

I am a bit concerned about having a district official make a home visit...mostly about their impressions of what is or is not going on. Being independent homeschoolers with 6 children, and not wanting to participate in 'all we can to give Callie the best opportunities' (aka: developmental preschool)...we are really outside the 'norm.' Fortunately, they do not have time this week, so it won't be until at least next week! Maybe by then they will forget about us, lol!






I have been told that girls clothes are more fun than boys' clothes...but after 5 daughters, I am having so much fun with boy things! Today everyone tried on their picture clothes as they have their Christmas pictures coming up in just 2 weeks...the day before Callie's eye surgery...so that her eyes look better than they will after surgery! here's pictures of our dress up session. There are extra pictures of Justice because we really are having fun with the boy clothes!