Sunday, December 27, 2009
I will post pics etc. later but wanted to share something that has God continues to press upon my heart. Biblically, the concept of memorials is meant to teach His people to not only not forget what He has done for us (be it saving us from devastation, to bringing us through a trial) but looking ahead and forward, to be grateful for what He did and Who He is and to reinforce our trust in Him. I am sad to think of how many times God has brought me through something that I now cannot recall - not for lack of significance, rather because there have been so many things. This blog and my journals have helped preserve some of those stories, but I want to be so much more diligent, so that our children, our children's children, will have those stories to share of God's goodness, grace, and mercy. So, not to jump the gun, but that's one of my "resolutions!"
More to come about our Christmas...
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Jack bowled like a big boy at one point literally throwing the ball down the alley! Yikes!
Chillin' waiting for her turn.
The kids are counting down the days til Xmas, til Poppy comes, and of course til school lets out for break. Because of the FRIGID temps and poor scheduling, we have missed all of the local parades. Boo! Thus, we have missed all of the opportunities to sit on Santa's lap and get a free pic. So, today was Breakfast with Santa at our elementary school and the proceeds were to benefit the PTO. As you all know we are very tightly budgeted around here, but we thought, well the money goes to a good cause and we might not get another chance for Jeff to help me with the kids doing the Santa pic thing. So for 3 bucks a person, Will and Ryan did not have to pay, Jeff and I got 2 danish and coffee and the kids got 1 pastry and juice or milk etc. At one point Jeff says to EK, "you'd better enjoy that, it is the most expensive donut EVER!" Also you got 1 free pic with Santa, of course the photog pushed for you to buy a "package." I have nothing against this per se, but seriously, a package of Santa pics? No thanks, and don't look at me that way when I turn down the package, because if you want to volunteer your time to do this then that's what it should be, voluntary with a bonus of some people buying extra. Anyhoo - the new header pic is the kiddos with Santa - I realized after the fact that it was a bit rude of me to usurp the photog, but oops I did it anyway. We then "shopped" at the Jingle Bell Shop, merely window shopped though. I told the kids I'd take them to the dollar store later to pick out stuff for each other.
A funny: after a movie tonight, Jack, EK, and Will are horsing around on the living room floor and Jack says, "mom, I've got some fierce in me." Hee hee! Yes you do son!
PS- I colored my hair (again) and here's the result. Dang that red, just can't shake it:)
Monday, December 7, 2009
We've been busy with Scouts, school, Christmas shopping etc. I finally got to visit with my dear friend H. on Fri. What a sweet time that was, just to catch up and enjoy her new addition - no not a baby, literally an addition to their home. Love that girl!!! We should all be so blessed by a friend like her - thoughtful, considerate, and truly caring of her family and friends.
This little man had his 4 month checkup today.
He is a whopping 14 lbs and is 25 in. long! Yeah Ryan! His heart sounds good, but we're checking in with his original NICU doc to make sure we shouldn't be doing any follow-up echos. Poor kid had to get 3 shots and take one med orally, but he did great and since yesterday afternoon is taking 6 oz - up from 5. He still sleeps ALL night, Praise Jesus and Hollerlewya (yes that's the phonetic way of saying it southern style). He is such a happy baby, and thank heavens for that with him being the 4th and all. He goes right along with everyone else and LOVES to laugh at his brothers and sister. And they all love to make him laugh:)
Jack had awesome behavior at school last week - 5's all week, and did well on his tests. We are so proud of his hard work and his self-control. He is trying so hard to keep himself in check. On Sat. he and Jeff took a drive to go check out a car in Siloam Springs. Apparently on the way there and back, he and his dad did some serious talking. Manly stuff including when he would be old enough to get his own car (a Mustang) and move out (Never if his mom can help it.). He told Jeff that "mom would cry when I moved out." Amen son:)
Not sure why both of them have such goofy expressions other than they are my children...
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Now, onto business...
But, this is also what happens when you have a sister! Everyone loves to hold Ryan:)
We even made time to bust out the Christmas decorations and get the house all prettied up! Funny, in the pic I am noticing a spot where I didn't put as many lights - oh well. The kids enjoyed hanging the "instruments" as Jack kept calling them. I didn't even have to go back and "fix" that many as I have in years past. Tomorrow we will light the first Advent candle and begin our scripture reading as we strive to stay focused on Jesus' birth. Note the cockeyed star - Jeff hasn't trimmed the top for me yet, so we're just saying it represents our family: a little off-centered but really shiny!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sun after church the kids were outside playing when Jack came tearing into the garage screaming. He and EK had found some old bottles in the dirt over where they are making a path in the woods. In typical kid fashion, they decided to smash the bottles against a large stump. The glass shattered for the most part, but one piece apparently ricocheted and Jack sliced his finger pretty good. Oy Vey! This kid. Jeff put some butterfly bandages on it and we're hoping it will heal up without a trip to the Dr. The lesson that came out of that was about not leading someone else into sin. You see, initially, Jack insisted that he had cut his hand on a rock and turned to EK who was running in behind him, to back up his story. Being the super sharp and intuitive mom that I am, I immediately realized that there's was a story full of holes and when confronted, they folded like a cheap tent. Thankfully it didn't require an inquisition to get the truth out of them, but again, we had to discuss being truthful. And, this time, we had to make sure they both understood how strongly the Bible speaks to leading another to sin. Just another day in Paradise:)
Last night I got to have some girl time with my 2 sweet friends - Love those girls! God is so good to give me other women to share this journey with. We commiserated over how difficult parenting can be; when you care so much for these children and want to leave a godly legacy, there is just so much to do each day!
***Sidebar Ella-Kathryn just came in to go potty then proceeded to pee all over herself! Good grief! Well, that rug needed to be washed anyway:)***
Tomorrow we'll have dinner with Jeff's family, drive around the square down in Fayetteville to see the lights, and then hopefully get our tree on our way home. This year it will be a smaller tree than years past, but that's ok, it's just a tree. We thought about not getting one at all and just using the little artificial kid's tree that was mine as a child, but the kids were really bummed about not going to get "our tree." It's a big production - we all pile in the car, head to Lowes (no tree farms around these parts), I make Jeff pull out the ones I like, shake 'em and turn 'em around til his arms are killing him, then after the kids have run 10-20 laps around the garden center, I will finally pick "the" tree. Ah, traditions:) So, we'll see, but I think the plan is to just go smaller this year, but still get a live tree.
Today the kids and I will take a walk and start collecting our naturals for decorating: pine cones, branches, etc. and we'll make our plans for the decorations. I do love this time of year but there is still that noticeable void. Jeff's co-worker/friend with whom he had gone hunting, called on Monday to let us know his mom had died. My heart breaks for him - I know that mixed feeling of being glad that you were there for the last moments and yet unbelievable devastated to know that your mom is gone. We will, as always, count our blessings this Thanksgiving, but also pray for those who are in mourning, hurting, and sad. Pray that they will find the hope that is ours in Christ!
Friday, November 20, 2009
The happy carvers.
Yesterday I got to have Thanksgiving lunch with Ella-Kathryn and then today I went up to school for round-up ( a great program in which they talk about character traits like honesty, kindness etc and then each class takes a turn presenting some kind of play/show to exemplify that week's trait). This week it was Jack's class and they did a Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving play - very cute, and sweet Jack was precious when it came to his line; he sounded so shy and reserved and it melted my mommy heart. Will was perfect and Ryan slept almost the whole time - a major blessing because Jeff had class and couldn't be there. Later, Will, Ryan, and I picked Jack up for lunch, a la McDonald's (yuck, but it was his choice) and had a mom and her 3 sons date - so much fun and they were all so well behaved!
Monday, November 16, 2009
I am amazed that Ryan is such a great baby. Because of some random stuff this weekend, we got off schedule by an hour and so last night he took a bottle at 8 instead of 7 so this meant I could either stay up until 11 and give him one more bottle before I went to bed, or I could try and see how long he could make it, maybe til 5? Well let me tell you, that little man slept until 5:45, and probably could have stayed in bed a bit longer if Will hadn't been having a temper tantrum in his ear! I already miss his night waking simply because when he would stir for his bottle I would unwrap him from his swaddle he would just smile at me like I was the best thing he could imagine seeing at 3am. Oh how I love that boy! People keep commenting on how big he's getting and they're absolutely right. He's in 3-6 month clothes now (I switched over after his 3 month checkup) and he takes at least 5 oz at each feeding. I miss nursing him, but I know that he is growing so well now because of the formula. It is hard to feel time surging so quickly ahead. His hospital stay seems a distant memory and yet when I look at pics from that time those emotions are right there under the surface. Yet, I am overjoyed to see him grow, smile and laugh, watch his brothers and sister, find his hands, and sleep like an angel:)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Jack got to pose with one of the real Bumblebees (from Transformers)- of course he wanted to know if he could drive it!
Jeff and Will in front of some big truck that is supposed to be a brand new toy item this year. Kind of looks like the old Tonka trucks to me? I'm sure there is some new marketing spin on it this year though.EK got to pose with Barbie, or a reasonable facsimile thereof? She was very nice, totally misspelled EK's name "Ella-Aathryn" as if that were a real name? I thought she was a bit scantily, read sluttily, dressed. She was wearing black fishnet stockings. At a kids event. And she looks all of 17. Come on people. We can do better than that for our girls! More on this topic later...
Friday, November 13, 2009
I picked up the kiddos from school and then we hit Wal-Mart our own selves for some movie night necessities - pizza, root beer, and powdered donuts for the morning. Normally I make our pizzas, but I couldn't muster the energy tonight. As of right now, all are tucked in bed except for Ryan who is talking to me from his bouncy seat. He and I are going to settle in on the couch for a movie of our own.
I was sad to have missed seeing my friend H and her kiddos AGAIN today. They are all recovering from the swine flu and with Will's horrible cough, I just didn't want to chance giving them his cooties. Poor kid sounds terrible, but seems fine other than that. No fever etc. but still. He covers his mouth about forty percent of the time - not a good enough average to be around people with recovering immune systems! Alas, maybe I will see her next year:) Instead of visiting with her, I spent the day cleaning. I mean deep cleaning. I'm doing a room a day in an effort to get it all done before it's too cold to open up the windows anymore. I'm running out of time! Oh well. I just get so grossed out when things get too dirty around here. and with two indoor dogs and 4 kids, well, it gets dirty pretty quick! Wish me luck getting it all accomplished, and pray for Jeff as he tries to bag his first deer!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
On another note, Dad is up in NJ visiting the fam there. Another blessing there, in that he is so close to all of them and the relationships they have will continue on even while we all miss Mom. I have yet to go "home" and wonder what it will be like to walk back through the door where she spent much of her childhood. To look across the lawn where her engagement photo was shot. To eat in the dining room where so many of our holidays were spend laughing and yelling (hey it's NJ people!) To know that each room holds a story that I find myself reaching for in an effort to not lose everything she shared about herself. This is the hardest part right now. I will start to remember an anecdote that she told me and then lose the thread. I want to call her and say, "Hey what was the name of that place you worked at the summer you lived at the shore and ate only soup and drank only iced tea?" Completely insignificant to the big picture, but damn it if it doesn't make me angry that I can't remember. And worse, is this leading to me forgetting more about her. The important stuff? We are such sensory beings and I will never forget her hands - they were freckled and she hated her nails because they were so fragile and tore easily - but they were always soft to me. As I child she used to pay me (and my sister) to brush her hair, so there is a smell memory of her hair. Her laugh. Her cough. I just wish she had written an autobiography for me. But I know that there are so many here who can fill in the blanks for me. Her mother, her sisters and brother, my dad. These people can remind me of the details. but the important stuff, her love, caring, and humor, I will dig them up and keep them swirling in my mind so that I never forget.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I was very encouraged by his weight gain - he's now 11lbs 12oz - a gain of 1 pound, 6 oz. Go Ryan! He eats about 5 oz every 3-4 hours and often goes 6 hours at night. In fact I need to go wake him right now because he hasn't eaten in 5 hours! I need to get a pic of the back of his head too because he's worked himself a perfect little bald circle. Poor baby!
Jeff is still fighting a bad head cold, but is off to scout out the hunting grounds tomorrow and then will actually hunt next weekend. I'm super excited about the possibility for some free meat. Times are very lean around here right now as we struggle to make ends meet and still pay all of our hospital bills. We are trying to remember that this is just a season of time and it will eventually be over - it just seems to loom ahead of us right now. I am praying for provision and to not be consumed with worry/fear as I see so many fall prey to that in these tough times. I also don't want have a pity party every day! We have so much to be grateful for, Ryan's health especially, and I know I need to focus on those things. I know we are never with out God's grace and mercy, and even when we struggle here on earth, it is all part of our walk - to trust and have faith that he loves us and has only good planned for us.
Monday, November 2, 2009
My 3 Sons!
Halloweed 2009 - that cow costume has to last one more kiddo!
Jack had asked me why I didn't hold him anymore. It made me think about that poem in which there is a line about not knowing when the last time you will hold your child, hold their hand in the parking lot etc. So true. I picked him up and told EK to snap a pic. He's not that heavy, but I know that I will blink and he will have grown far too heavy for me. Oh my. Then EK wanted a turn, so I happily obliged. It is incomprehensible that Jack will be turning 8 this Jan. We were watching some home movies last weekend and it was so funny watching Jeff and I parent ONE child. Hah! If only we had known! Man-to-man defense was the plan even after EK came along. Now we are totally doing zone defense and I have to laugh because sometimes other kids wander into our zones and they just get pushed along with the tide! Welcome to the Simpson family, no we don't need to know your name, just keep it movin' and keep your hands to yourself, and no screaming unless something is broken, or your bleeding (and we qualify this in our house to mean copious amounts of blood, no wimpy hangnails), or a limb is stuck in something (and no fingers and toes do not count as limbs, just pull hard enough and eventually that thumb will come out of the plastic train). Speak kindly to one another, ask forgiveness if you've done something wrong, respect each other and our things (no we're not made of money), and be a light for Christ wherever you go. Nuff said.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Jack wrote an apology note to the little boy he clocked. It is very sweet and he even attached an extra envelope with some loose change. That's my boy. If the letter doesn't work, try to buy his forgiveness! Oh dear. There's a "discussion" in the works about that one.
On another note, as a mom/wife/friend/fill-in-the-blank-role, there are some days where I am like, "yeah, I totally got this thing nailed down. Dinner is planned and prepped by 10am, clothes are washed, dried, & put up, house is clean." Then there those other days when I think, "Children services are coming. Today. To take my children away from this pit of devastation and filth. My husband will surely be leaving me today, because he has seen me in sweats and no makeup for the 3rd day in a row and I don't remember the last time I showered." There, I said it. Sometimes I honestly cannot remember when I last bathed. Gross, I know. But in my defense, sometimes I did manage a shower, I just can't recall it - I check to see if my towel is wet:) This mommy-brain is sometimes sharp as a tack, recalling facts and characters from novels I read eons ago in college. I can do the NY times crossword puzzle, in pen, up until Thurs (they publish them from easier to more difficult as the week goes on, so thurs. is when they get too hard to do in pen and I switch to pencil and usually don't finish it). I can read an article in the paper about the latest economic summit and truly get it. Then there are the days when I call my children by the wrong names, we eat PB&J for lunch and dinner because I haven't planned a thing, and the dogs get to eat hard-boiled eggs and goldfish because I again forgot to get them more dog food. What I really long for is a day somewhere in between those two. Mostly on track and planned, but with some wiggle room for a spontaneous lunch invitation, or to snuggle with Will and watch a movie at nap time. As with most of us, balance is elusive. God wants my heart to be at peace regardless of my circumstances and as our time with Ryan in the NICU showed us, we can be joyful in all circumstances, but peace seems even more challenging. Can I feel calm amidst the storms of parenting? Can I rest in His word, knowing that even when I play out the "worst-case-scenario game" He is who He says He is - now and forever? I'm trying! Those days when all feels balanced are glorious. But I think that what God is really teaching me is that even the off-kilter days are glory-filled too. I just have to look a little harder:)
Friday, October 23, 2009
We talked with Jack this morning and at the end of the day there doesn't seem to be anything that precipitated the punch. He just got worked up in the assembly, perhaps the boys were being annoying during the program, perhaps they were rough-housing and the Aide missed it; nevertheless, our boy was wrong, he knows it and will be doing some "time" for the crime:)
Prayers are needed - Ella-Kathryn developed a fever this afternoon. I new something was up because for the past 3 days she has become weepy in the afternoons and cried actual tears telling me how sad she was about GG and how much she misses her GG. So upset in fact that we ended up busting out the home movies just to "see" her. We are treating the symptoms for now and will take her in to the clinic tomorrow. Hope it's not the piggy flu, but all signs point to the oinker. Pray for Will and Ryan especially, to stay healthy in the midst of all this. The rotten part is that the kids and I were all hanging out on my bed this afternoon, watching home movies and for the better part of a half an hour, EK was all up in Ryan's face. Good grief!
No special reason for this pic other than he's so stinkin' cute. He's wearing his new kicks from his grandparents - they're baby hi-tops. Too much! Love this boy:)
Monday, October 19, 2009
Ryan had his weight check this morning and did great! He's up to 10'8" - and I mean, when else in your life are people going to cheer you on for GAINING weight? I so wish someone would do that for me - heck the way I'm holdin' on the these baby pounds I oughta have a whole cheering section!
I digress...shocker, I know. Anyway, Will and Ryan and I ran a slew of errands and then made it home in time for nap. I'm thinking of one my own self. We have community group tonight and our sweet babysitter, Miss T, will be coming to take care of the kiddos. She's wonderful and they love her - Will never makes a peep when we leave, a true testament to his fondness for her! I will be sharing my testimony tonight, ugliness and all, so pray for me. Jeff is giving his too, and I think this may be his first time. A testimony virgin if you will - pray for him especially. Not his cup-a-tea. Our CG leader is awesome though and gave his last week - totally transparent and I think set the stage for the rest of us to do the same.
OK, so I'm thinking that nap is a great idea - more later...
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Will walking around, sans pants as is all the rage with toddlers these days. He looks half scared/half like a mini-frankenstien. What's up with that?
Ella-Kathryn, still sporting her 80's pink eyeshadow from a bday party, listening to some tunes on her ipod whilst awaiting dinner. is it just me or does she look stoned?
Jack in full riding gear, going nowhere soon though because we've had rain 11 out of the past 14 days. UGH.
Well, I am deep into my housewifery today. Just unloaded my 5th load of laundry - I suspect that the little people in this house are changing clothes several times during the course of the day because they don't think that I have anything to keep me busy:) Sweet them to think of me...
Unfortunately, I am one of those people who cannot think when there is clutter covering every flat surface of my home. The giant hairballs rolling across the living room like something out of a western, simply push me to the edge of distraction. Our poor Border Collie, who thinks he is a house dog and only now has the desire to heard small children around our small home, is molting. At least that's the only reasonable explanation I can come up with for the amount of hair that he is shedding. I really must figure out a way to stuff pillows, sew wigs (black and white hair, perfect for the Halloween season, no?), perhaps weave a tapestry depicting our families triumphs for the year? Suggestions? It seems so dang wasteful to just vacuum it up and throw it away.
For those of you with children, those who know children, or those who have ever seen a child, you know that the hours of 3:00-bedtime is actually the "witching hour." This is the time when their blood sugar plummets, they become despondent and lose their ability to think rationally when told that dinner will be served in mere moments and thus they will not truly starve.to.death. It is also the time when homework must be completed, because in our house, you do what you've got to do, in order to do what you want to do. Period. We've tried it the other way around, allowing for some play time prior to homework, but trust me when called away from playing to begin homework, the Oscar will always go to Jack Simpson. Jack is super-creative, imaginative, funny, and so many other awesome things. But when it comes to schoolwork, oy. It seems that 9 times out of 10 we have to get to this horrible place where Jack is crying and I am praying non-stop for self-control. I actually told him to get out of my face the other day after 15 minutes of our back and forth. This is why we don't homeschool people! It's a vicious cycle and yet, when we get past this point of him not really trying, he usually gets it and is finished in a jiffy. Yes, we try all sorts of different ways to present the material, but most of it is so black and white and has to be done according to the teachers methods that he was already taught in school, so there's little to be done other than just gut through it. I hate it for him. I hate seeing him struggle so much. The good news is that he does care about it, even if he sometimes says he doesn't, and that he is a smart kid. So smart in fact that sometimes he simply blows us away. At the dinner table the other night, we were discussing forgiveness and I posed the question: When is it hard to forgive someone? Jack said, when I'm mad, sometimes I am so distracted by my anger that I don't think that they need my forgiveness or that I want to give it to them. WOW! So, enrollment in Jack Simpson's Seminary will begin next Monday...
To end, when talking about God and his "superpowers" we then turned to what we wish our superpowers could be. Jack - laser vision. My dear, sweet, precious, darling, daughter - a coat made out of guns. Nuff said.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Anyway, he did great and despite my nausea and pleas to slow down (he was barely giving it any gas), I managed to sound super supportive:) Thank you very much. We'll see how well my ability to cheer on my son's death wish sport continues...
Ella-Kathryn came home today with a sore throat, no fever though, and after getting motrin and watching Bananas stand-up comedy, she was ready to go back! That's my girl - she didn't want to miss gym! Bless her:)
For more fun Ryan news, he was mis-weighed AGAIN. At his first Dr. checkup after discharge, he was mis-weighed and luckily I had been paying attention so they re-weighed him and even though he still needed to pack on some pounds, at least he hadn't lost. Then we go in Fri cause he's got himself his first cold and sounds like a little piglet at night, and the nurse says he weighs 10'14" - hot dog! Not so fast! Mon. was his official 2 month checkup and the nurse says, 9'6" and I'm all, no way, and she's all yes way. I complain, they re-weigh and sure enough, boo-boo on the other nurses part, he does not weigh 10'14". He's only in the 10th % so we're back to trying to force him to take more formula at each feeding. UGH. Then, not 15 minutes ago, I get a phone call asking if I've taken him in for this hearing test. Um, no, I was told it was done in the NICU a month ago. Well, they have no record of it. Okey dokey what do you want me to do about that? So, four phone calls later, some nice medical biller at the hospital is "looking for the record and will call me back." I know you can't see me, but as we speak I am blue for holding my breath for that phone call. You see, after dealing with Jack's hospital stuff and now Ryan's, I know better. These people are all in on some cruel joke. It's called: let's see how for we can push these poor lay people until they snap and go postal on us. Medical jargon, misc. billing, unanswered phone calls - I'm working myself into a frenzy even as I type! I should have just told the lady, "well he cries when the dogs bark really loud, does that count?" How's that for a redneck hearing test!!!!
Seriously, we had great care for both of our kiddos, but the insurance racket in this country is enough to drive me to the bottle. Well, who am I kidding, a paper cut is enough for a glass of wine, but they really do drive me nuts:)