Monday, December 28, 2015

Our Plans, His Plans (pt 3)

I tell you, Facebook is the best outline for helping me remember what all went on this past month! Still, there are so many people and things not included in these posts, I wish I could share it all without literally writing a book. The days between Dec 7 and Dec 10 were spent just watching, waiting, adjusting medications, and trying to keep David from biting his breathing tube in half! He hated that thing SO MUCH. Keeping the tube safe was pretty much a two person job, tying to keep fingers from getting bitten. As soon as one of us would get a bite guard in his mouth, he was pushing it out with his tongue. On the 10th, a neuro team came in to assess him. They pinched him pretty hard by his collar bone, to which he tried to yell, "OW!" We were pretty excited over that. His pain response was good, I've never been so happy to see him in pain, haha. It was thought David might need a couple rounds of dialyses, as his kidneys weren't able to keep flushing all the meds and toxins in his body, buy mostly he was physically doing well. I went home for a couple days to see my kids, take care of bills, and upgrade his phone service - because after not being updated the night he was removed from the ECMO, I saw several phone calls from numbers I didn't recognize. It finally dawned on me that David had never updated his phone service from limited calls and data  to a monthly unlimited plan! I laughed so hard at myself. My own phone had been broken, I was using his. Anyway, that morning, during rounds, it was suggested that he be switched from a breathing tube to a tracheotomy so he wouldn't be expending so much energy fighting the tube. I heartily agreed and kind of wished someone had thought of it sooner. It would have been so much easier on everyone! I went home that day, my oldest brother in law stayed with him. I felt bad for my kids, but I hated being home. I just wanted to be back with David. Still, it was good to be with them The first night I was just home with Aidan and Alan. I got some stuff done, then slept. Next day, I got the little kids from grandma's house.They were so excited, we were going to watch a Christmas movie together. We also planned to get a tree, but really, none of us were in the mood, so we didn't. That evening, a I get a call from OHSU. I'm filled with dread, but answer. The nurse says, "So your mister decided to wake up today! I almost didn't call you because I didn't want you heading up here tonight!" So crazy, and no, I wasn't rushing over (the weather in our state, specifically on the coast was awful, so much flooding, roads washing out, etc. she just didn't want me out in the dark on the dangerous roads), but that's where my mind was the rest of the night! I got up there the next morning, though right now I don't even remember who drove me. I have not been driving myself at all. I know I've been too distracted, I've only driven locally. When I got there, he was still intubated, so he could only look at me and make faces. I could tell he recognized me but wasn't completely sure why. The EEG he'd had showed he'd had a couple strokes and the expected shower of tiny brain injuries, but nothing was seen that was irreversible. That meant we'd really have to be patient while his brain both healed and cleared of meds and built up "stuff", which of course was totally fine; he was ALIVE.  Not even an hour later he remembered who I was. He suddenly started squeezing my hand and not wanting my to leave him. Nurses came in to turn him and clean him up a bit as they removed more and more from his body. One of them asked the ages of our kids, and when I rattled of , "23, 21, 15, 12, 10, 6, and 3", David gave me a look of pure shock and panic! We laughed so hard, oh my gosh. Yep, we have seven kids, honey! That became a favorite story spread all over and I still laugh every time I think of the look on his face!  Next day, he was extubated. I asked how his throat felt, he said, "Raw". Then he asked for coffee! That was a no, but they let me give him sponge swabs soaked in water. He loved it, he kept sighing the biggest, most contented sighs. Then he moved to ice chips to test his ability to chew and swallow, then jello. He did great. He also started remembering all those kids we have, heehee.  Next morning, the night nurse, Tim was quizzing him on what he remembered. What was his name, birthday, who was I, etc. He asked, "When were you married? Winter?" "No" "Springtime?"  He seems to affirm, to which I shake my head, no. He asks again, "Springtime?" David, to my hearing says/sings , "Springtime, mumble mumble" Tim says, "Are you singing Springtime for Hitler?" Then they proceed to sing it together! David's nurse is a Mel Brooks fan, what are the chances of that? David hasn't watched any of his movies for a long time, but David is one of those people who can quote movies and apply a song to just about any situation. Okay, I do that part, too. David and Tim spent the morning quoting the movies and singing bits of songs. It was so good to laugh so much!  Over the days, though, I found myself reassuring each nurse that the seemingly random movie quotes and song bits were the "real" David, haha!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Our Plans, His Plans (pt 2)

  I keep starting this post, but all the exhaustion has been catching up to me and I just can't think enough to type. I mean, the hard post is already written, haha! Now is a good time, though. It's almost 8:30 and all my kids are upstairs, sleeping. The exhaustion has apparently caught up to them, as well. The three younger ones never sleep this "late".
  Back to our story, It looked like David had a shot at life again. I wasn't saying anything for a few hours, until they did another echo around noon. I was beginning to feel joy again, and I wasn't going to spread that only to squash it again if things turned out to be not as good as we hoped. Over on facebook, his mother left a comment announcing his death. I was so shocked and angry, astounded she would take that upon herself before I confirmed he was gone. I confess I'm still dealing with mounting "mother in law issues". Because it was a comment, not a status, my hope was that it would go unnoticed. Of course it didn't, and goodbyes and condolences came pouring in. What a frustrating few hours, and of course it's small and petty compared to David actually living, but it's the small things that tend to eat at me. David was improving, even the bleeding at his wound sites were healing. I was able to make the happy phone calls, though those were surprising emotionally taxing to make. Such a bumpy emotional roller coaster ride. David was returned to Patient Status, rather than Organ Donor. I still have the paperwork, and just last night told him I have it if he ever wants to look at it (at this point, he does not, but had been marveling at how close he was). David was still unconscious, paralyzed, and cold. Being on a paralytic and being kept cool was to protect his brain, our big concern from this point on. The miracle of even his heart healing was spreading through the hospitals. I think I said in the last post that we were in Doernbecher's because of the ECMO machine being there. That meant David had staff from two hospitals, his nurses came over from OHSU, heart doctors from OHSU, ECMO from both, people were being trained to use the new one for OHSU. I remember being a bit alarmed at how ill stocked the unit was, they were constantly looking for supplies, not always finding them them. I don't know if one nurse noticed my face days later, but she said, "They aren't set up for adults over here, the bandages and things are all tiny, for the kids." A-ha!!!! That makes sense, and my already befuddled state of mind wasn't allowing for much thought outside of immediate needs and wants, so I hadn't put it together myself. By evening Friday, December 4, Dr Gelow ran into me in the cafeteria, covered in goosebumps again and said, "His heart is still healing, we're planning to remove him from the ECMO on Monday. I just still can't believe it." This was good news, but still scary. What if we got to this point, but his body couldn't take being off the machine? I let family know.  Over the weekend, David was allowed to physically start "waking up" and was tested to see if he would respond to stimuli. December 5, he moved his right leg a couple times. The doctors would run a pen up his feet, and he tried to pull his legs back. He was responding to being pinched and poked. He scrunched an eye when a good friend spoke to him. Those monitering his ECMO repeatedly said he was definitely aware when I was just in the room, and how cool they thought that was. Monday, December 7 would be David's 44th birthday. Everyone wanted to come see him again and gather for his birthday. Removal was expected for evening, possibly next morning, as he was an add on for the day's surgery. Family was on their way, we were in David's room, when his nurse gets the call (I think it was only around noon) that they were ready for him, now! Surprised, the staff scrambled, packing everything up, hugs and encouragement given. I was invited to continue using the family laundry room and showers at Doernbecher's (the buildings are connected). Dr Gelow, who was off that week, was so excited, she still came in for the surgery.  We waited in the family waiting room for a while before heading over. The ECMO lady that day was wheeling the machine back and let me know that at that point he was doing well. I got a phone call soon telling me the same.  We headed over and let everyone know the surgery was going to be earlier than planned. We waited...and waited...and waited. It was getting so late, I was encouraged by family to call back and see what was going on, but was so nervous at that point that I just  didn't want to call and find out he was still in surgery. Eventually I did call, and was told to come back by myself.  Two women I'd never seen before were with him, hooking him up to an EEG. They didn't know anything about how long he'd been back there, or anything else. I could see he was alive, and it looked like that was all I was getting that night. Really, though I was kind of a wreck, that was good enough. I let everyone who had a long drive back home know. We were all frustrated that nobody ever came to update us, but we'd also seen several families coming through. Our best guess was that it turned into a crazy night in the ICU. Emily and my oldest niece, Naomi, had come to stay with me that night.We spent an uncomfortable night in the waiting room, my poor, hugely pregnant sister getting the worst of the uncomfortable chairs, sweet lady! My skinny niece curled up and seemed to sleep rather well. Oh, the good ol' days, haha. Next morning, I head back to David's room, hoping I might recognize his nurse for the day. I enter his room and it's actually my favorite nurse, Red-haired Jenn! (We had to differentiate, his first four nurses those two first days were Jenn, Jenn, Ken, and Jenn. Three different Jenn's!) I hugged her so hard and told her about the weird night of no updates, and that we thought the night had gotten crazy, to which she nodded and said it really did get crazy.  After that we just shared how excited we were that David was doing well, and our hopes for a healthy brain. My sister and Naomi went home that day, I began a routine of going between David's room (where cell phones needed to be shut off) and the waiting room to post updates and check messages. We entered a new phase, and it's one I'm still a bit stunned over; in the best way!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Our Plans, His Plans

You know the saying, "We make plans and God laughs"? The bible version might be, "The mind of a man plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9). Well, we planned for this Christmas to be a really great, full of fellowship Christmas. We'd been working on the kitchen, and although it was taking us longer than we'd hoped, it was coming along. It's always been the grody room, old floors that never felt clean, cupboards that always smelled old, no back door. Although it still wouldn't be considered a dream kitchen to most (we still have no dishwasher, haha!), it was "us" and we were loving it. We were rearranging the other rooms, touching up paint, determining what could and should wait for after Christmas. This year the house would feel more "finished", we were excited to decorate and have PEOPLE over again. I was beginning to get a little antsy, David got a tummy bug in mid-November. He needed quiet and rest, so I had to hold off on projects. I'd tell myself, "It's okay, so I go over a bit into December, once I can make noise again, it should go quickly." By the weekend of the 22nd, he's having pain just breathing, so we go to the ER. They test to see if he's possibly having a heart attack, but all the tests come back clear. He got a prescription for a bacterial infection in his guts. He gets in with his regular doctor a couple days later, where his blood pressure is perfect, cholesterol is great, everything looks good. His tummy is getting no better, so the doctor tests for C-diff, and it comes back positive. David is allergic to penicillin, so he had been given clindamycin, which unfortunately allows C-diff to flourish. Fortunately we have a medical health savings account, because the medicine for it was $588!! Yikes! I don't know what we would have done if we'd had to pay for that on our own, good grief. By November 29, his guts were feeling better, but his lungs were still hurting when he breathed in cold air. He was staying huddled up on the couch, with a heater going next to him. He was feeling bad enough that I tried to get him to go back to the ER, but agreed to wait if he was able to get an appointment with his doctor the next day. I remember looking across the room and an unbidden thought came into my head, "If he dies, we'll be okay." I believe the Holy Spirit prepares us that way at times. I have had similar experiences before, but I still felt appalled at this one. Come Monday morning, he called and got an appointment for 3:00. He made some other calls, watched tv, ate the yogurt he needed because of his antibiotic. I was figuring out which projects lying around the living room I could finish, when he sits up, throws up his bit of yogurt, turn red and just looks at me. I rushed over to him, asking if we need to go the hospital or should I call an ambulance? He just looks at me, unable to speak, so I called 911. As soon as I ask for an ambulance, his eyes become fixed and blank and he's out. I'm realizing his heart has stopped, his breathing has stopped the operator is asking questions and even as she's asking if I can pull him onto the floor, tilt his head back, etc., I'm realizing I have no choice but to start chest compressions. I absolutely don't want to, I want the medics to do it, but I have to. I was remembering a conversation with David not too long ago, he has CPR training through work regularly and was telling me how  breaths are no longer given, just compressions. Just keep the blood moving. The operator said to just keep going until help arrived. I was only partly relieved when help did arrive, they still had to do four rounds of CPR before they could even get him loaded onto the ambulance. I called my parents to come and get the kids, my wonderful neighbor and childhood friend came down, she had been hoping the ambulance wasn't for us, but then waited with me. I called David's work and let them know David had just had a heart attack. I don't remember who else I called, I know there were more calls. Jeni's wife, Dawn drove us to the local hospital, where I was told the helicopter was being readied to take David to OHSU. David's brother, Robin, met us there. David was stable at that point, but clearly only barely so. We go home, get a few things, my dad then drove me to Portland. His brothers are there, we just wait for him to get out of surgery. When he finally does, a rather grim doctor explains they've done everything they can, he had a 100% blockage on his left side, they put a stent in, but that side of his heart is dead. The rest is barely moving. They are going to put him on a machine, called an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) that will pump and oxygenate his blood while allowing his heart and lungs to rest, the hope being that his body will heal enough to be able to figure something out. Because the ECMO has been used primarily on children, we'll be heading over to Doernbecher's and staying in the PICU. So much of that time has turned into a giant blur, but family and friends came in, Facebook was beneficial for once and the news and prayer requests were shared around the world! David's brothers stepped right up and took care of me. They cared for our kids. I could write a book about how wonderful they, their wives, and kids are! David's coworkers have been amazing, they immediately began collecting money for us, sending gift cards, good thoughts, plenty of prayer.  Jeni began a gofundme, which brought in more help. Accepting money is weird for me, but I know we'll be needing it and I know all who have helped are happy to do so. At some point, my sister was able to join me and stay at the hospital for a couple days. David was hanging on, some things improving, others deteriorating.His lungs were doing better, but he developed Compartment Syndrome in his left calf and was beginning to get it in his other calf and forearms. They had to make an incision to relieve the pressure. He was on blood thinners to prevent clots from clogging the maching, so his wounds constantly seeped blood. He received many bags of blood. His feet were bruising, his skin becoming increasingly pale. He looked awful by Wednesday. Thursday, December 3, he randomly lost blood pressure. He was given calcium and it improved. Later in the day it became clear his body was failing. The doctors said if he was disconnected from support, he would be gone in a couple minutes. If we left him on, he would be gone a couple days. I trusted these doctors and could see they spoke truth. If David was going to die, we wanted to help others, we had had that conversation before and he was a registered donor. The family all came in to say their goodbyes, some to David, some staying in the family waiting room to just be together during this time. I explained to the kids that daddy was dying, but it wasn't something God was doing to be mean to us. God loves us, even when He allows hard things to happen.  We would miss him here on earth, but would see him again when it was our turn to go to heaven , which would not likely be for a good long time. That he would get to see their brother and other two siblings we know to be in heaven.  Little Mia came in and told daddy goodbye, she was going to miss him and she loved him.  That about broke most of the staff. Geez, that about broke me. We met with the donor team, where Dr Gelow, one of the heart failure doctors cried, too. She was so heartbroken for us and our kids. She apologized for being unprofessional, but I found I preferred seeing genuine sadness to a doctor unmoved. Everyone was so amazing, they were so professional *and* caring. We filled out paperwork, the family left, my sister staying with me through the night. David would be kept on support while donor matches were made, I would notify the family when he was truly gone. The morning of December 4, I stalled a good bit on my goodbyes, staying in the waiting room as long as possible. Finally, I was as ready as I was going to get. Emily and I went to the PICU, rounded the corner to see the team in front of David's room for rounds. I stalled, not wanting to walk through that this morning, though I had been sitting in the other days. I could see I needed to hurry and go, the voices were extra quiet this morning, they were shooting me funny looks. I appreciated their sympathy, but was trying to hold it together until I could leave. I was hoping his body wasn't doing too much worse, I wanted him to be able to help other people. Emily and I hurried through the group and sat in the back of his room until they were done. I did get back up to go thank the team for how wonderful they were, how relaxed they had made me, how good and personable they'd been to David, I just appreciated them all so much. They all nodded, smiled, and looked funny. I went back to my sister and waited.  Finally, Dr Gelow and Dr Hagg (his other heart failure dr) came back, Dr Gelow sitting next to me. She says, "I can't believe I'm saying this, but... his heart is healing." I'm momentarily almost angry at having potential hope dangled in front of me while trying to grasp what she is saying. They, being so careful and thorough, were doing an echo in the morning. Dr Gelow checked it and called down to see if this was even the right heart. She said there was no medical explanation, she knew we'd had people praying, and even the previous night I had several people messaging me that they were repeatedly wakened through the night, feeling pressed to pray for David. She said the heart he had that morning was now one she could work with, and to ask everyone praying to send a double dose for his brain! I'll stop there for now, this is already long and my kids really do need mom today. I will add, this Christmas may not be what we planned, but it really is the best Christmas, and astoundingly full of fellowship!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Getting there!

random kitty picture

So busy. So many projects "almost", but not quite finished. My camera broke (dropped by who knows), followed by a block getting dropped on the screen of my phone (while kid listening to music on it was putting blocks away). Sooooo, no pictures! I didn't mind the camera so much, my phone actually took better pictures, so hopefully the screen can get fixed soon. We're in the middle of doing the second "half" of our kitchen and I'm so excited! We have an old/new window and an old/new door!! They should be in this weekend, and hopefully I'll remember to use hubby's phone to take some pictures. Our downstairs is feeling like it's going to look "finished" soon and I can hardly wait. We started up with school yesterday, we will be doing a light week this week, as David has next week off. We will hopefully finish up the downstairs and have a day trip to Portland planned. Chuckie Cheese (birthday request from Feb and April) and Ikea (heeheehee!!!). I still sneak in and read other blogs here and there, but haven't taken the time to post anything myself. I had just figured out how to from my phone, too. Ah, well, it'll all happen eventually. No hurry. I cut out a quilt for our bed yesterday! I picked up two old quilts at Goodwill recently and one is a twin sized dresden, and I realized how easily it could go together and look nice, so while at the fabric store, looked and the quilting notions were 40% off, so I got an acrylic pattern, cut out shapes and assembled the pieces while watching a couple movies. I sewed up a couple this morning, I'm pretty excited. I've got one window shade mostly finished, I'm not sure how I'm liking it yet, but the brackets went missing, so it's not actually up yet. I'm doing roman shades, but am trying to avoid having seams across it, so I just used rings, which makes it a little wonky for raising and lowering. I'll fiddle with it a bit more. I like it when it's raised and it's pretty decent lowered, just a fiddly process.  Like I said, so close, but not quite there yet, haha!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Finished Dress!

Yay! I finished a dress for Mia! I started this in the spring, hoping to have it done by Fall, and I did. I wanted something to work on while taking Emma to her first Bible Camp. It is this pattern, which has long sleeves. I had planned on adding them, too, but when I tried it on Mia first, I love it the way it was.  I will likely make another with sleeves, I still like it that way, too. That first picture is pretty wonky, she was moving so fast, she's translucent, haha! I plan on making a white shift for her to wear under it, but it will be cute with warm tops and leggings, too. In the meantime, it's surprising nice to wear in the hot weather we've been having, too! I love getting projects finished.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Scrap Wood Chalkboard

This was the first year we had this

this was the second year

I'm trying to find and post all the projects I've completed, photographed, and lost! I really need to organize my pictures, but WOW is that a huge job! I made this chalkboard a few years ago out of a twin headboard/footboard David had made into a bench. We never got around to finishing it, we did leave it outside for a year in the very wet weather we have here, and I ended up with some wood to play with, so all was not lost! The board itself is just a plywood scrap, painted with chalkboard paint. I know "everybody has one", but I really love it. I love having changeable "art". I have lost the other pictures, I'll add them later if I find them. Last year, I did a verse in the shape of a tree, like this. For winter last year I wrote a winter poem out. I've enjoyed the deer head for the spring and summer. Really, that one can work anytime I'm either uninspired or just busy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Amelia's Nightgown

Just a quick one. This was one of those eternally lurking, never finished projects. I cut this nightgown out for EMMA, when she was around 4. It was from fabric gifted to me and I had a very limited amount, so of course I managed to lose one, single bit of cuff. Once in a while I would find it, put it somewhere, find the nightie, not be able to remember where the cuff piece was, and so on. I gave up when Emma got too big, anyway, but was pretty bummed about it. The cuff piece seems to have disappeared for good, so, having Amelia, I decided I'd just figure something out. She saw it and started wearing it right away, unfinished, haha. Last week I finally cut the cuff down and just finished the sleeve like it was bias tape. Perfect and FINISHED!! I love it. I recently scored a roll of heavy cream colored flannel for some winter nighties for both girls.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Busy but Fun!

     Oh my goodness, have we been busy!! I've loaded only a "few" pictures because I just can't fathom going through the gazillion I have, ugh. Or posting said gazillion! David and I had our 16th anniversary (that means 4 more years until England!!) at the end of June. For Mother's Day, Scott had gifted me a dinner for two at the restaurant he cooks at. We cashed in on it for anniversary dinner ('Cause I'm cheap like that, hahaa!). Holy cow was it good! I had deep fried albacore and it was so amazing that David regretted his burger, which was good, but the fish was so AMAZING. Scott cooks at a Pub (at least American style), and they have daily beer samplers they give you when you sit. I don't even remember what kind they had that day, but I really liked it, and had it with dinner. David does not like beer, but tried it anyway. He looked at me and I said, "It tastes like beer, right?". It all tastes the same to him! So funny. Root beer, on the other hand, he is very picky about!  After dinner, we went and watched Inside Out. Without the kids. They absolutely did not believe us when we told them, but we really enjoyed the movie! We weren't really in an adventurous mood, it's been so hot here (for us), that it was nice to sit in a dark, air conditioned building!
     At the beginning of July, my brother and his family came to visit for a week. They stayed at my parents', but for once we actually got to see them every day they were here. It was so much fun! David and I took them to our favorite "nice" restaurant (this is Astoria, the restaurant is nice, but people dress however they feel, so it's not unusual to see some dressed up, or some coming in from shopping or the beach). My SIL is mostly vegetarian, so I was hoping this place would have some good options, and they did not disappoint! I tasted some and we were both stunned at how good it was. I was glad, I'd be so bummed for her meal to not be good. Afterwards, we took them down to an arcade that a local man opened with his collection of vintage arcade games. And a Tardis. We didn't know about the Tardis, we haven't been there for a while.  They have a few free games that are changed every so often, Jess (SIL) bought a bowl of lemon meringue ice cream, and again, YUM!!

They got to meet Alaina, who is crawling and getting huge.

We all went to a 4th of July parade, which was so much fun to do with them (even though the parade is really pretty lame). This particular parade is really mostly work vehicles, but they throw out candy, so the kids still like it. They filled their buckets!

Watching my nephew is crazy. He looks so much like his dad, who I was nuts about. I was 8 when he was born and was wanting a brother SO BAD. He was so cute, but I'm afraid I definitely spoiled him a bit too much. Abel is completely adorable. Emma and Kira took to each other immediately and were pretty inseparable. I loved it, I only wish they'd move up to Oregon! They live in Utah, which is too far!

Abel snuggled up with Uncle Dave for the fireworks...and fell asleep before they started! He was wiped out. He never flinched when they did start.

 We had a wonderfully full and fun week with them. The day they left, we met at the beach in the morning. I love when we get there and there are giant "puddles" the kids can play in without worrying about undertow and such.

Kevin made Castle Grogan

                                                         Jess made an awesome dragon.

The week ended too quickly, though I was thoroughly physically shattered by then! I took naps the next few days, which I usually only do when I'm pregnant or sick! We have all been missing them like crazy. 

We are still in the middle of a million projects, but here are a couple bits to share. I chopped down our two wooden stools and a small table that has had many jobs in our house over the years. It's a little tricky to make a room into a sewing/play/eating area, but I think it's getting there. I do envy people who have whole rooms to devote to play or entertainment! Or crafty/sewing. We still have to put molding and baseboards into the kitchen as well as new plates for the switches, but again, we're getting there!

  Yesterday I decided to make up a quick sundress for Mia. She picked the fabric from my stash, and funny enough, it's all from goodwill. I'm not crazy about the peach, it's from the late 80's, early 90's. Some sort of cotton/poly blend that was popular then. I remember disliking it back when I worked at Fabricland in high school. Still, it's at least pretty enough, it's just the feel and drape of it I don't care for. She loved it, and that's all that really matters! She prefers to just be naked in the heat we've had, and we are fortunately on a dead end, but still. if I can find something she likes to keep on, that's a very good thing!

I crocheted a front for a pillow, just a quick, mindless crochet. I will sew that up today and toss it on Owen's bed. It will look great with his quilt. Have I posted his quilt? I don't think I have. My mom made him a beautiful chevron quilt. It is a dark blue with multicolored chevrons, which are actually snakes. My mom hates snakes and actually stuggled with the making of it at times - that is how much she loves Owen, heehee.

I'm not even sure which trip to the beach this is from, I just love it. I don't think there can be too many pictures of sunsets, there's something different about all of them, though sometimes it's hard to capture exactly what the difference is. We have busy times still coming, though it's mostly driving on our end. Emma is getting ready for bible camp, Alan is going to be helping out at our county fair again, then he's off for bible camp. I was not a camp kid, but am so glad we're able to send these two who are. It's not cheap, but then again, for food, lessons, supervision, and all the fun they have, it kind of is. Alan plans to work there when he is older, which I am excited about, he'd be great at it!

Friday, June 19, 2015

23 years

Me, 19 years young in my gorgeous 1992 stylish maternity wear!

My 18 month old giant baby in Wurzburg, Germany. 

Opening his present, I love that smile! 

Good grief. I've been a mother for 23 years! What a crazy mixed blessing motherhood is. It's all I wanted, growing up. Sadly, I rushed into marriage to achieve it, without the benefit of some time to grow myself. One of my goals as a parent is to provide an environment that allows my children that growth while at home, enough to make wiser decisions upon reaching their own young adulthood, whether that be more schooling, working, or even their own young marriages. Mostly, that they will have confidence in their relationships with God, that they won't feel like they're on their own in the decision making. That we are encouraging to them in going after their own dreams, in cultivating their own skills. That success is not about the money. There's no big "moment" in life that will solve all your problems or make you suddenly happy. You get to choose to be happy along the way. If we actually trust God, then we don't stress about the stuff we already have no control over. We take care of the stuff we can, and enjoy the rest. At least enjoy each other through the rest. I stumbled and struggled a LOT with Scott and Rachel; I learned a lot, too. I have wonderful relationships with both of them, and am so grateful for that.  I am just so grateful that God even gave us so many wonderful, healthy kids. I pray I do Him even a little bit of justice by them.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Family Barbecues

        Good grief, have we been busy this past month! I'm fairly overwhelmed, too many projects going, no single room "finished". I've felt pretty down about it a few times, but have to just get myself reoriented and focused. I still need to make a new, complete list of projects so I can start crossing them off. I think it would help to see what is actually being accomplished along the way! On the upside, we've had some beautiful weather and a couple family celebrations, so that's what I'm posting today. My dad's 65th birthday was the 8th, so the Friday before, my family went over to my parent's house for a barbecue. Rachel and Alaina even came up, which of course, was wonderful. My parent's have a beautiful property, about 3 1/2 acres. Perfect for shooting bb guns, which I loved to do (and was pretty good at) growing up.
      Last night, my sister's kids were all in town to celebrate one of their cousins (on my brother in law's side) graduating nursing school. When that party had wrapped up, we all met up at my parent's house again for another barbecue. It was so much fun! Rachel and Alaina came up again, though Scott has had to work both times we've been over there. "Grandpa 2" (guy in camo coat, bottom set, right middle) and "Meemaw 2" (in glasses, middle pic, middle row of bottom set) also got to come over. Kenny (Grandpa 2) was a road deputy, and had worked during my dad's time as a State Trooper. He and his wife have become great friends with my parents, and another set of grandparents to my kids (hence the "2" in their titles). They loved spending time with my kids and my sister's 12 kids, they're all such sweet and fun people! Alaina instantly fell in love with my oldest nephew, Samuel, which was adorable. It's so crazy to see how grown everyone has gotten. This May, Anna has been officially leukemia free for two years!!! Emily and Craig have been on a cruise this week, and the family will be reuniting at some point today, which will be so good for her very little ones. We look enough alike, that they kept getting caught off guard, calling me "mom", especially as it got darker and the kids became tired. (they got to say goodnight by phone, the top middle picture of the bottom set shows little Tirzah, giving mom and dad a kiss goodnight!) Still, I'm so glad they got to go be alone for a week, it's not easy to get alone, especially when you're pastor's family, and a large one at that!! They've done a wonderful job, though. Such an awesome family, anyone who meets them, falls in love with them.