Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 26

I am very thankful that God sent His son to Earth. I am thankful that we get to decorate a tree with lights, to remember that Jesus is the light of the world, and with ornaments that point my children to fun memories as a family and to God himself.

I am thankful for creating individuals who have made things such as the Adornaments, where we get to talk about a new attribute of God every few days throughout December. I am thankful for plastic nativity sets (of which I have 3 different sets now)that my children can play with, and I have no worry about them breaking, and act out the story of the humble birth of our savior, reinforcing the importance of Jesus coming to earth.

I am thankful for different times, seasons and holidays, when we are specifically able to look at a particular part of God's word and celebrate just how great a God we serve!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have been so busy, that I have not been able to get the blog caught up! I am hoping by the end of the weekend, to have it all caught up on all of our festivities!

We started prepping for Thanksgiving on Wednesday.

MIL made some wonderful pies, sweet potatoes, Anna made no bake layered oat bars, I made a turkey w/carrots and potatoes and gravy. We also made and/or brought decorations for April (DH's sister) to use to decorate the tables. She did a great job pulling off all of Thanksgiving!

We had a very small crowd for Pence standards...There were only about 24 people there. Yet we ended up with enough food as if every were coming, lol! (That would be closer to 60 people!)

We had a craft table, and a game table. We also had a bean bag toss. I got to teach my nephew how to juggle bean bags (something he was really getting the hang of by the end of the day).

With a much smaller crowd, we had a much smaller talent show. The girls were disappointed that I was only allowing them to do one thing...but it was so short, that we let them do things they hadn't polished, like Ephesians 6, and Philippians 1 as far as they could. The older Anna, Ashley and Brianna also played pieces on the piano. Anna and Bailey played sax and flute.

After the talent show, it was time for Uncle Gerard to play piano while we sang songs. Callie appointed herself the official conductor. She stood (or sat when she got tired) and moved her hands around while we were singing...then we realized that she was actually pretending to play the piano, lol!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 25

I am very thankful for my job. I get to stay home, taking care of the most amazing children ever..
I get to be the one to dry their tears and celebrate their accomplishments

I get to encourage them in their weaknesses and push them in their strengths.

I get to watch their wonder and amazement as they learn about all this world has to offer along side them, always bringing what we learn back to God and His Word.

I get to hold their hair back when they throw up, and hold them when they are down.

I get to read them stories, play pretend, see their creativity, and laugh with them everyday.

I get to kiss their owies, hug them, hold them and pray over them.

I truly have the best job in the world, and I am so thankful for it. I appreciate all of my children for their individualities and I praise God that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by an awesome God, who loves them more than anyone can imagine.

I am so thankful for my job, day in and day out...even when I have sick, injured, whiny children, it is my privilege to take care of them!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 24

I am so very thankful for new life. Next month, I am so excited to celebrate Chris' cousin's baby girl at their baby shower. What a privilige that God would allow us to be part of His creation of life. What an awesome responsibility God has bestowed upon parents to train up the children God gives in His ways, according to His Word.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 23

I am very thankful for my MIL, and all the hard work she has put into helping us get everything organized and sorted! She is an amazing organizer, and is able to make it look easy to completely transform a space! What a blessing to have such a wonderful, loving, Mother-in-law!

And I certainately couldn't have hand picked a better grandma for my children!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Injury Update

*This post was written yesterday, but I forgot to publish it.

Today, we went to the doctor for Bailey. She had a set of x-rays that showed the alignment of her radius is off slightly...but within the ok parameters for her age (it should fix itself over the next few months - God is so good!) and she will not need surgery to better align it.

While we were there (Brianna, Bailey and myself), the doctor asked what Brianna did. I explained what happened and that the front desk said there was no way to get her in today...the doc thought that was crazy to have us come back on she looked at Brianna, too! What a blessing to get it done in 1 trip instead of 2!
Brianna was a bit too excited to be getting a she skipped down the hall, happily singing, "I get a ca-ast, I get a ca-ast!" She is now sporting a short cast, while Bailey is keeping her full arm cast for the next week and a half. Then both of them get checked out again. Bailey is hoping for a short cast at that time, which will make playing flute and piano a bit easier!

A Very Thankful November day 22

I am so thankful for the insight my husband has, and the way he actively leads our family! We had a situation recently where our children were repeated reciting the Lord's prayer before meals rather than a prayer of their own. I am so thankful for the head of my household, who is willing to step in and say God wants relationship, not religion to our children. Who is willing to take the time to explain things. Who sees opportunities, even in prepared lessons, like our family nights, to teach directly what our family needs! What a blessing it is to have a man such as this!

It is our hope that our son(s) may be like you when they are grown, and that our daughters would find husbands like you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 21

I am very thankful for our homeschooling law in Washington State. I have had the opportunity to look into the laws in other states, and really, ours is good! Even living in a very liberal state, we have a lot of freedom and wiggle room. We do not have a suffocating, or stringent law. We only have to do 3 things. 1.) File Declaration of Intent to Provide Home Based Education each year. 2.) Standardized testing each year of compulsory attendance. 3.) Keep and maintain immunization records.

This week, as we complete our standardized testing, we will do so very thankfully for our freedom to homeschool!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And another...

Another broken bone, that is. This time, on Brianna. Chris and I went out on Saturday to get a new piece of furniture to house all of our homeschool things...the more we have homeschooling, the more important good organization is...and it is something I seriously lack in - but that will be my next post, now back to Breezy, lol!

While we were out, she was climbing up on a child's chair, and it, somehow, went out from under her (this is the same child, who without tipping her chair, can make it fall over at the dinner table, or can fall off of a chair just sitting on it...)

She hurt her arm. Grandma and Grandpa put ice on it, and had her sit to read books to her. She was clearly hurt. I just wasn't sure how badly. It can be really hard to tell with Breezy as she has a flare for the dramatic...I suspected a real injury though. Had there been a great deal of swelling, we would have gone in right away, but there was almost NO swelling whatsoever.

She asked to sleep in our bed. We agreed. Biggest problem,she didn't sleep. Tylenol didn't seem to touch her pain. If anyone moved, she was hurting even more. Serenity came in bed to nurse (then normally stays for the rest of the night)...but Brianna kept moving her from one side of her to the other. Either she wants to lay next to the parent Seren is closest to, or Seren hurt her arm...the result: NO ONE SLEPT.

By morning, I had decided she definitely needed to have it looked at...

The nurse who was getting her checked in, asked how she hurt her arm. She answered, "I, um, was standing on...a...chair" (trailing off and voice going up in pitch like a question, while looking at me!) "Oh, wait, no, that's not it." (She stops to think, then continues.) "Oh, right, I was standing on a chair and I was holding a blanket in my 2 arms, and then, [tears start] I don't know what happened, I didn't mean it, but I..." (By now, she was was only understandable to me, and that didn't last beyond was just uncontrollable crying and unrecognizable words.) The nurse turned to me and asked what happened. I answered that she was standing on a chair, it went out from under her and she fell. She says she hit her elbow first, but her wrist hurts.

I really didn't like the fact that she STOPPED her answer and tried again - as if she were making it up...I was already concerned about being there for the 3rd time in 2 weeks with potential broken bones!

Sure enough, she broke it! She now has a temporary sling, that we are not to take off (except that somehow, it has managed to unravel 4 times today!), until we see the ortho doctors.

The doc we had was awesome! He loved that we homeschool, and had a big family. He was irritated that we had to answer several questions about abuse allegations (do you feel safe in your home? How did the injuries happen? Was there a single person in your family who caused all the injuries? Was there a single person outside the family causing all the injuries? Did all the injuries occur in the home? and several others, but you get the idea...). He was very apologetic about it, and assured me that it is just procedure, that he can't get rid of them before we answer them. He was even answering them on the computer before I was answering them out loud. What a blessing to serve a God who was able to go ahead of us and pave the way like He did!

Now, we NEED to avoid all injuries for at least the next month, when these 3 will clear from their system, lol!

Haven't we gone over some sort of injury quota for the year at this point? Praying and hoping that we have no more injury, illness, or other tragedy in the coming weeks, months, or even the next year!

A Very Thankful November day 20

I am so very thankful for my children's attitude of thanks! So today, I turn it over to them!

Anna: I am very thankful for a family that loves me very much. And that I don't have anything broken and am not sick.

Bailey: I am thankful for my mom and dad. I am thankful for my sisters and brother. I am thankful that God sent his son to earth. I am thankful for my sewing and flute...even though right now, I don't get to do it.

Ashley: I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for a nice home and my grandma.

Brianna: I am thankful that I get to spend time with Mommy on a date! I am thankful that I get to buy something for not sucking my thumb!

Callie: I am thankful for my Sarah (Sarah is Callie's doll)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 19

I am very thankful for the ability to walk today! Having a daughter who works so hard at this, I do not take this for granted.

I have now had 2 injuries that have made it diffecult to get around. So I am even MORE aware of this - especially after not really walking for the last couple of weeks!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finding the perfect spot and staying busy

The twins are taking their annual standardized tests today. To do so, means to find the perfect spot to be comfortable, and be able to think the best.

It also means having the energy to think through all 10 tests that make up the complete battery. Callie, J and I made cookies for them, trying a new recipe, to keep their strength up and their brains turned on! You can probably read the recipe in the book I took a picture of. Everyone really enjoyed them except for Chris, who thought it was an odd combination.

Sadly, there are questions in this year's test that I wouldn't be able to answer. Several of the spelling questions, and some of the study skills are beyond me. I am a terrible speller, so that is no surprise. They are asking about library card catalogs...isn't that obsolete info now? Don't most people just use their computer to find such info? My girls had never seen one, and I had to tell them just to guess on those questions!

The science section also had an area I didn't like...they were asked to look at the picture of an animal, and then decide which of the 4 options it evolved, last I checked that was a THEORY...yet in these tests, no mention of it being a theory was mentioned at mention even of it being a belief. I have talked with my girls about it, and why we disagree with it.

While the twins have done their tests, the middles have been working on keeping the littles quiet...or at least relatively so! They had a great idea to take them out in the (very wet) falling snow...but the littles lasted about 3 minutes before feeling cold and wet.

Then they brought them in to play pretend, build with blocks, and color. They have done a great job entertaining the little ones while I have proctored the tests and taken a couple turns with them, too. (I also have Seren as the middles just are not big enough to watch her effectively...)

While I had the littles, we baked the cookies and made lunch (trying to keep them quiet and separated from the twins.

Then it was nap time...the middles are excited to just get to play. They are also excited about the twins finishing as we get to do an art project at that time...they are on their last test, now.

Since it has been in question...

I have had several people ask if I am actually staying down. Or if I am actually staying off my foot (and no, now I am not, since I have permission to put some weight on it)...

Here is what I have accomplished, in daily pictures over the last week (minus the weekend, when I didn't work on it).

And now, I am a year ahead of myself on making stockings! This means I have at least the next 3 years off (since we are not yet expecting). What will I do with all the time I won't be putting into making stockings?

A Very Thankful November day 18

I am very thankful for my rights and freedoms as an American! Thank you to all those who are fighting, have fought and have given your life for my freedom! I pray that God would bless you and your family in a very special way for your selfless act of protecting our country and its people!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy Premie Awareness Day!

Today, as I reflect back over my preemies (I have had 4 of them)...I think about the miracle that they are. The joy of having them in my life. The gratitude I have that doctor's have come so far to help even tiny little ones survive.

I think of the mother's who's babies didn't make it. I grieve for them. I can not even imagine the heartache they feel.

I think back to my smallest preemie, Callie. At just 3 pounds, 5.7 ounces, she looked so tiny and fragile...especially with all of the monitors, leads and wires all over her. I know far smaller babies have survived and thrived, but the first time I saw her, I was amazed at how tiny she was! My next smallest baby was over a pound heavier than Callie, and looked hearty and sturdy in comparison.

I remember laying Sarah (now Callie's doll) next to Callie in her bed...and how much bigger Sarah was than Callie. I remember the sound of the machines, the smell of the hospital all over my baby, the way the world would just stop when she would have the strength to open her eyes and look around, even if only for a few minutes.

Being a preemie mom means so many things. It first means that you do not get your baby all to yourself for as long as God intended. That is such an important time to be forming a bond with baby! You do not get to experience the discomfort to a point where you are ready to do whatever it takes to get this little person OUT.

Then it means facing all of the unknowns. While there are generalities on how a baby at X weeks will do on the outside, each baby is so different! Until the baby is on the outside, there is no way to indefinitely assess their lung development and overall maturity.

Next, you have to walk out of the maternity ward, through the hospital and to your vehicle, without your baby. Leaving a baby in the hospital is heart wrenching, even if they are healthy and expecting to do well. Having to say good-bye and walk out that door is one of the hardest things I have had to repeatedly do.

Then you get to come visit baby. You get to hear or read the reports from the nurses who are caring for your baby rather than caring for her on your own. Another difficult part of NICU life.

Once the baby is finally able to come home, there are other questions...what might their condition look like? Will there be any lasting effect of prematurity?

It is a hard roller coaster to ride emotionally and physically...but well worth it! I look at my preemies today, and I know I would do it all over again, the hard days and the easy ones, to have them here now! To all of my preemies, Anna, Bailey, Brianna and Callie, I love you lots and lots!

If you want to read the details and see pics of Callie's early days, you can click on the tab at the top.

A Very Thankful November day 17

I am so thankful for my twins and FIL who have really managed everyone during this time of me recuperating from my broken ankle. I am also thankful for the body of Christ, the church! What a blessing to have family and friends who are willing to step in and help, filling in the gap when someone lacks! This is what the body of Christ is all about, and it starts with family!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 16

I am so very thankful that my children have never gone hungry, and that they do not know what true hunger really is.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 15

I am thankful for laughter! What a blessing to hear my children laughing and playing! A merry heart really does doeth the body good like a medicine!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good news; Not as good news and Great news

First the really good news:
The break in Bailey's arm is not at all going to effect her growth plate. The break has great alignment. It is indeed, only in her radius, not her ulna, which will help to keep the good alignment.

Now the not so good news:
Because of where the break is, they had to put a full arm cast on her so she doesn't rotate the bones while they are trying to heal. She should only need this long of a cast for 3 weeks. She goes back on Dec. 2nd (1 week before the big concert) to have a shorter cast, just on her fore arm, put in its place.

She is still working to play her flute for the concert. We will be speaking to Mrs. Riley on Thursday to see if that will be possible for her. She will definitely be able to play flute with the short cast on, but can she get adequate practice in before her concert is the question!

I was surprised by the amount of swelling in her arm still, but otherwise, it looks pretty good!

Anyone who sees Bailey, she would love to have you sign her cast! As you can see, she has already started collecting signatures. :) As a side note, I will mention that to get this rather odd picture of Bailey's cast, I had to sneak into her bedroom, take her arm out of her covers, and take the pic in the dark - unfortunately, the flash woke the twins. Their question struck me as funny...Bailey asked, "Is this for the blog?" Kind of funny that they know I am interrupting their sleep to get a pic I 'need' for the blog, lol!

The great news:
I was told that I am able to put *some* weight on my foot, as long as I have ZERO pain. As in, I can stand with my foot down, take a few steps here and there, drive, etc! I am so excited about this! It makes life seem more doable. I might not be able to go up and down the stairs a bunch, or carry babies, but I can switch laundry over, make meals, and do dishes! Oh, and we can now get Callie to pt on Wed., and the older 4 to band/choir on Thursday! :) I will need to be in the boot for another 3-5 weeks, but this is a great first step! I was very excited to get to make dinner tonight...though my ankle is a bit sore now, so I hope to really take it easy tomorrow...

God is good, all the time!

A Very Thankful November day 14

I am thankful that God's mercies are new every morning and that His promises can be trusted!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Very Thankful November day 23

I am thankful for new life! More than 7 billion of us on the planet, each made in the likeness and image of God, each uniquely knit together in our mother's womb by the Author and Sustainer of Life, Creator of the Universe for the purpose to Love Him bring honor and glory to His name.

So thankful for new life in the Pence family, as one of Chris' cousins and his wife are expecting their first baby! We are excited to celebrate the upcoming birth of their little girl next month, when they are in town for their baby shower!

A Very Thankful November day 13

I am thankful for a reliable vehicle! The more I drive my bus, the most I love my bus.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Proverbs Family Night #1

In Proverbs you will find, wisdom of every kind.

First we talked about the importance of following directions. We did it with crafts, and everyone had a lot of fun! We do not get out craft projects nearly often enough!

The projects turned out so cute!

Then we talked about the deception. We had each child in turn attempt to count toothpicks...while everyone else shouted out numbers trying to get them to lose count. Anna was able to count 100 toothpicks without getting sidetracked!

A Very Thankful November day 12

I am so thankful for opportunities to teach my children in a practical way to put others before themselves!

I am thankful for Samaritan's Purse, and the work that they are doing, and the ways that we can tangibly help!

See yesterday's post with pictures of everyone packing their boxes and all the fun things we found to put inside them!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Samaritan Purse's Operation Christmas Child

We packed our boxes today! I am so glad that I felt the need to do our shopping more than a week ago for our boxes...'cause it wouldn't be happening now! God is so good, and it is just another example of how He orchestrates all things for the greater good!

Here are Anna and J packing their boxes. I think they did a great job making boxes for 2-4 year old boys as J really enjoyed playing with everything as they packed!

Here are Ashley and Brianna, packing boxes for a 5-9 year old girls. We made sure to include some of the school supplies we always have on hand, like scissors, pencils, paper, and crayons; along with some fun things for them to enjoy! Then they colored the first picture in the coloring book and wrote a note to the girl who will receiving the box they have packed.

I love to see the differences in my children. For example, Ashley knew she had a limited space to work with in her box, and wanted to get only the very best for the girl who will receive this box. Brianna on the other hand, wanted to give her girl Everything...and consequently, her box is practically busting at the seems - but we got it all to fit, just barely!

Callie was the next to come do her box. She also wanted to color a picture for the little girl who will get her box. When asked what she thinks the little girl will like best in her box, she replied, "All, all, all, all of it!" with great enthusiasm!

Bailey came in last. She was much more excited about getting her box packed and ready before breaking her arm. Now she is in a lot of pain (even with pain meds), and overall, not feeling well. She did color a picture for her child (a 2-4 year old girl), and carefully packed the items she picked out in the box.

A Very Thankful November day 11

I am thankful for Laughter. It makes a merry heart, which in turn, does the body good like a medicine, according to Proverbs. I believe it!

Even while staying down, in pain, healing from my broken ankle, laughter makes me feel better! Just to hear my children playing and laughing lifts my spirits!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oh, No...

I wasn't there. I didn't see. But I knew it was bad even before I saw her. I could tell by her cry.She got up to my bed, (where I was resting after having broke my ankle on Saturday...) I looked at how she was holding it. She explained how she fell on it. The pain was too much for her to move it. There was an odd feel to her arm as I ran my hand down over it. I was pretty sure at that point that it was broken.
Since I am unable to drive, Chris took her to the walk in clinic (her normal pediatrician had no openings for this evening). They took x-rays and found her radius is cracked and she sprained her wrist.
And now we are waiting for a specialist to call for a follow up to determine if she needs a cast or if the splint they put on is enough. Then to follow her to make sure Miss Bailey heals up ok.

For now, things just got a bit harder. With both Bailey and I needed to rest and heal, Anna is needing to really step up to help a lot (which she has done fabulously tonight!) It is not known if Bailey will be able to participate in her first band concert on Dec. 9th or if she will be able to play piano for our Thanksgiving talent show, while she is sad about these things, her more immediate concern is the pain and swelling. By bedtime tonight, she was really uncomfortable and needed to take some Ibuprofen.

Bailey is our first child to break a bone.

Please pray with us that this is our last injury for awhile - at least until we heal up a bit!

Thank you, My Love, for taking the pics of Bailey at the walk-in clinic. And thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this. Love you lots!