Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Eve

Since Keith works every Christmas, our family tradition is to celebrate as a family on Christmas Eve. The plan is to have dinner, go to our church's Christmas Eve service, then home for gifts with just the six of us. This year, we invited my parents to come to dinner before all heading to church. However, the snow and ice caused the service to be cancelled, so after dinner Nana and Pappaw headed home and we opened gifts.

We got a few pictures under the tree, but none of them turned out very well. Too much going on. Each child got a favorite gift...Will's was a hard to find F-15 model airplane, Charlie's was his own DS- which he had to "earn" by learning to read, Katie Beth's was a new baby doll- which she named "Baby Gung-gung" (who knows why), and Jack loved his new Thomas the trains!

After opening gifts we tried for another picture under the tree, but it was simply too chaotic. Jack is so on-the-go he was a smear in most of the pictures.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rare White Christmas in Fort Worth

On December 23, the kids were in shorts and short sleeves shirts, enjoying the 70 degree temps. It was beautiful and sunny. The next day was completely different! Christmas Eve morning it began to snow. We had snow in the forecast for most of the day, blowing snow to be specific. The ground was so wet that it would melt as soon as it hit. But a few hours later, it began to stick, slowly at first, but gradually more and more. By mid-afternoon, the ground was white. It was beautiful! Keith got off work at 3:00pm and his normal 45 minute commute took an hour and 40 minutes. My dad had to park at our house because he couldn't get up his driveway. (They live directly behind us.) Our Christmas Eve service at church was cancelled because it was simply to dangerous to be out on the roads.

By 6:00 pm, we had several inches of ice and snow on the ground. We even had snow drifts, which never happens here. Keith was supposed to work Christmas morning at 7:00am, so the company offered all the people working A.M. shifts hotel rooms close to the airport. Keith tried to go, but literally couldn't get out of the driveway. We even have skid marks where one tire got through the ice, but the other 3 still couldn't get any traction. We put salt on the driveway, but still no luck. He ended up calling to tell them he wouldn't be able to come in, which he HATED to do, but there really wasn't a choice.

The next morning he and the boys got up and took pictures of the snow and had a snowball fight. This was the first true White Christmas in Fort Worth since 1927. We had snow flurries in 1997, but nothing stuck that time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bird Tree

The kids are out of school, which means we need to have some sort of outlet for our energy or we'll all go crazy! This morning, I found out that Home Depot was giving away their remaining live Christmas trees. I decided we should make a "bird tree." I figured they probably look like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree by now, but for free...I could go down and look.

When we got there, I was pleasantly surprised. The trees still looked really good...shedding needles, but looking good. I got a 6 foot Frasier Fur, which had been $37 and literally walked out with it. They even trimmed the base for me, which is good because Keith was working. On the way home, we pulled over beside the median and picked up a dozen pine cones. We also stopped by Dollar Tree for some popcorn. We got it home and put it on our front porch.

During naptime, I got everything ready for the boys to make pinecone feeders. They had them done before I got a picture of them working. They enjoyed rolling them in the peanut butter and birdseed. While we waited for them to dry, we started making popcorn garland. This project started well, but they lost interest pretty quickly. (They had a great time EATING the popcorn though.)

Once we had enough done to put on the tree, we started decorating. Will and Charlie are looking forward to watching the birds enjoy their Christmas dinner. And I have to say, it turned out to be a pretty fun activity, and cost less than $10, (the majority of that was birdseed, which I now have a LOT of!)

Jack's first hair cut...

I am so far behind on blogging!! I keep thinking that I'll sit down and do a power post, but it still hasn't happened. I'm assuming late is better than never so here goes...

Jack got his first haircut Dec 14. I loved his long hair and baby look, especially since this is my last baby. But, I was getting tired of the comments, and Keith was way past ready, so into the barber we went.

The boys have all had their first haircuts at Cool Cuts 4 kids, so I wanted to keep the tradition with Jack. I took him alone so that I could take some pictures. He loved all the trains to play with and that he got to watch Thomas the Tank Engine while they cut his hair. He never cried and sat really still. Even though I've done this twice before, I am still shocked by how much older they look when it's all done. He walked in a baby, but walked out a little boy. (And his mommy shed a tear...) Lots of pics, but they were just too cute. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Decorating the tree...

Well, I meant to post these pics long before now, but it just hasn't happened. Just a few pics of us decorating our tree. Each year we move a little bit away from chaos and a little bit towards fun and managable.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's been a big day

This morning, as the boys both got up to pee at 6:30am, Keith came back to bed saying "It's snowing outside." Of course, my response was "Yeah, right." It wasn't until the third time that I finally believed him. After getting up to look at it, I had to rush to the computer in hopes that they had cancelled school, or at least delayed the start...but it was not to be.

It was beautiful coming down and even stuck in the grass for a few hours. I felt bad that the boys didn't get to go out in it at all. It sure made decorating for Christmas a lot more fun! Thankfully, our new heating/ac system, although not completed yet, was at a stage where we could run the "emergency heat" all night. (We had no heat the night before except for space heaters. It actually wasn't that bad.)

Then, after lunch, Keith went to pick up our new rugs for our new laminate floors. They look wonderful! We decided to go with a light green color because there is already so much brown in the room. I think it really lightens up the room and I like the way it divides the two parts of the room and still provides good high traffic areas. I am LOVING my new laminate, so much easier to clean!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My heart is filled with thankfulness...

~I am thankful for Keith- my husband, protector, best friend, handy man, provider, and wonderful father to our 4 kids.

~I am thankful for sweet friends who, although we may be seperated by miles, are never more than a memory away and I know I can call on day or night. They are truly my sister and I am blessed.

~I am thankful for 4 wonderful, healthy, funny, sweet, mostly-obedient, children. They have made our quiver full and my heart overflow.

~I am thankful for wonderful parents who have been married over 42 years and are an example to me of sacrificial love, commitment, and a servant's heart.

~I am thankful for a great church who intentionally is striving for Godliness. Each time I'm around this group of godly people, I am sharpened.

~I am thankful for extended family- brothers, in-laws, cousins, aunts, uncles...they are a pleasure to be with and an encouragement.

~Most of all, I am thankful for God's redemptive grace in my life. That He should love me and call me His own, redeeming me with His own life. Hallelujuah, What a Savior!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Calling all prayer warriors!

This adorable little boy is named Andrew. He is the third son of my best friend Crystal and tonight he needs your prayers.

Today he sang in his preschool Thanksgiving program and was having a blast. At noon, Crystal put him down for a nap, at which point he said he couldn't get his pants off. When she tried to help him, he began projectile vomiting and had a grand mal seizure. Crystal, being a former PICU nurse, called 911. He was taken to their local hospital, where they realized he was more serious than they were prepared to treat. He was transported to Huntsville, Alabama, about 30 minutes from their home, to the bigger hospital. Although he has been conscious, he has not been responsive. He will cry and his eyes are open, but he doesn't react when you put your hand in front of his face.

I talked to Crystal's mom about 7:00 and the last she heard he was still having seizure after seizure, even though they had started a dilantin drip. They talked to Crystal about putting him on a ventilator, even though he was still breathing and she asked that they go ahead in case things got worse.

As of 8:00 tonight, the news is better, but still not good. He is stable and has stopped seizing, but is very drugged. His CT scan, toxicology screen, and blood work are all clear...which is great news, but still leaves the question "Then what is it?" He is starting to fight the vent, which is a good sign, so they are hoping to start weaning him tonight and disconnect it as soon as possible. The neurologist will begin his full work up in the morning.

Please pray for God to make Andrew's brain rest. Pray that there will be no lasting effects from all the seizures. (One of his seizures lasted 30 minutes!) Pray they will find the cause quickly and that it will be very treatable. We are thankful that we serve a mighty God! We are reminded that everything comes from the Hand of the Father...good and bad...Nothing happens except that God's hand has done it. No tragedy, no inconvenience, no blessing, but all are from God.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Hive" got 'em!

Yesterday afternoon I experienced something new. Keith and I went on a date to look at some carpet samples. (That's not new, but more on that later.) When we got home, I noticed that I had 3-5 red dots on my thigh and on my arm. I assumed they were scratches or bites or some other small irritant that my fair skin seems prone to show. I headed out to get Charlie at school. By the time I had picked him up, the 3-5 spots on my upper arm had grown together and were now a blistering welt the size of a quarter. I thougt, "Oh no, did I get into poison ivy somewhere?" I still had to pick Will up, but now I was starting to itch. I knew better than to scratch, but it was hard. By the time I got home, my upper arm welts were now softball size with another one beside it tennis ball size. I took a shower to wash off anything that might be on my skin. That's when I noticed the welts on my stomach. I decided I should go to the urgent care center since my doctor's office was already closed.

I sat there for an hour and a half and by the time I saw the doctor, my torso was about 90% covered, my back was about 60%, my upper legs were about 50% front and back and the inside of both arms were almost solid. (only 3.5 hours after I first noticed the spots.)

Turns out...the official diagnosis is... "You are allergic to ....


Wow, that took years of medical school. The doctor said we may never know what caused it. I got a steroid shot in the office as well as some oral meds. He also wants my to start carrying an epi pen, just in case whatever "it" is closes my airway next time. We'll see...

This morning I woke up and it was completely gone! I've had nothing all day...until I got ready to take my shower tonight. That's when I noticed these little red dots again. It's NOTHING like yesterday, but I guess I'll be starting the oral steroids. I called back to Care Now and they said this can last up to 4-6 weeks! Are you kidding me? I started to remind her they only gave me 21 days of steroids. So if I'm a little emotional, angry, start growing facial hair, crave food at all hours of the night, etc...it's not me...it's the steroids talkin'.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A big day for Charlie...

Today, Charlie reached a new milestone and with that, began a new journey. This new journey takes Charlie another step away from me and into a whole new world for all of us. It also is testing my faith. Today was Charlie's first day of "real" kindergarten at a local public school.

This decision was so difficult to make and we wavered MANY times! Homeschooling was going well, but I could tell that there was so much more he needed. Keith and I talked and prayed and got counsel and talked (and of course, I've cried.) I don't feel like a failure with homeschooling, but for Charlie, I think he simply needs more than I can offer. I found out that the school we are slated to go to is full for kindergarten, so we have to go to the overflow school, which happens to be the best one in the district and the one I had really wanted to go to. We wondered if God was beginning to open the door. I met with the lower school principal at Covenant on October 29. She was so helpful and gave great suggestions. When I told her some of my concerns and hopes for Charlie, and that we were considering starting him in public school, she whole-heartedly agreed. It was another step of confirmation for us. Then, last Monday, Keith and I took Charlie back to Scottish Rite for the results of his testing he had done in August. We were there over 2 hours. The results of his test again showed that he needs more than I can do. He shows signs of dyslexia, but is too young to be able to tell for sure. They agree that there are some definite delays and inabilities to do age-appropriate behavior. For instance, he has no phonemic awareness, meaning he can repeat words, but it's all one sound to him, not a first, middle and ending sound. This has to be in place before a child can learn to read. This is one of the markers for dyslexia. They suggested that we check into Child Study Center and get their recommendations. We mentioned that we were considering public school for him. The lady from Scottish Rite was so sweet. She said, "We see hundreds of homeschoolers each year and for many of the kids, it's the perfect situation because the parents can tailor the education to their child's needs and implement our programs more easily. I have no problem with homeschooling and would never suggest that you change. However, if you are already considering moving him, in this situation I would highly recommend it." Keith and I had the confirmation we needed. So on Tuesday, I went to Blue Haze Elementary School and picked up the enrollment packet. On Wednesday, Charlie and I went back to turn in the paperwork and met with the principal to give her a heads up. We both agreed it would be best for him to start on Monday.

So today was the big day. He was excited and kept telling Will, "I'm going to my new school." He has to be there at 7:30am and we were able to walk him in today and meet the teacher, Ms. Mayer. She was very welcoming and assured us that she was there to help and not to hesitate if we had any questions or concerns.

The Lord has paved the way for us. Had we not chosen to homeschool, he would not have been able to go to Blue Haze. I found out that the principal goes to Normandale Baptist Church and his teacher goes to Grace Baptist Church. I gave the teacher a note this morning letting her know that we believe God has picked her for Charlie and that we will be praying for her and for the class this year.

I can hardly wait to hear how it went!!

Stonecipher family outing

This past weekend was the second annual Stonecipher Family getaway. We made our second trip to McKinney to overnight together and have some family bonding. The place we stayed has a half-court gym, a giant game room with ping pong, pool table, etc.. and best of all, an indoor heated pool. (You can guess where the kids spent most of their time. Although we didn't get much sleep with all of us on the gym floor, we had a wonderful time. I love that my kids are growing up getting to spend time with their cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents!

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Monday, November 2, 2009

More partying!

On Friday, we had Will's friend party at Pump it Up. Our kids don't have school in the morning, so we opted for an early party, 9:15-11:15am. I was called the day before to confirm all the details.

At 9:00, we arrived at Pump it Up, as scheduled to get everything ready before the guests arrived. To our surprise, the door was locked. We stood outside, in the cold, for almost 10 minutes waiting as our guests begin to arrive. Thankfully Keith was with me because we had our 4 kids plus 2 more kids to wrangle on the sidewalk. I called the reservation number and talked to a lady who confirmed our party and said she would call me right back. When she called, she let me know that she had had to call someone else in to open the building and that it would be another 10 minutes. By this time, all my guests have arrived, many with their other children, so we are all standing out in the cold. Finally at 9:30, a girl arrived to open the door and start the party. I felt sorry for her, you could tell she wasn't supposed to be at work and had just gotten out of bed. I apologized for getting her day off to a running start, but she was really sweet about it. The girl who was supposed to be there finally showed up at almost 10:00. Apparently she had slept through her alarm. They did compensate me some for my trouble, which was much appreciated. The kids did really well and had a blast playing on the sidewalk and in the building. (Only later did I realize I never got any pics of us outside. ARGH!)

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Will's 8th Birthday
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Celebrating Will!

We celebrated Will's birthday for 3 days straight. He didn't seem to mind.

Keith had to work the evening of Will's birthday, so we opened gifts before he went to school. He got a snorkel set and a fishing pole. He can't wait to use them both.

With no time for donuts, we enjoyed some fresh apple bread a friend had made for us the day before. YUM!

I took cookies up to share with his class at lunch. They had classroom lunch, so it made it really fun to just be with his group. Many of these kids have been with him for kindergarten, first and now second grade so they are sweet friends to us. His teacher had a ribbon for him to wear that said "It's my Birthday." I thought that was really sweet. I'm so glad that he's still at an age where he likes to have me in the classroom and lights up when I come in.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Will!

It's hard to believe that 8 years ago today, I was holding my first born son in my arms. I was so thrilled that he was here, healthy and a boy! Keith named him "William", which is Keith's first name, and "Dale", after my dad. Since day one, he has been a sweet, compliant child.

He is SO smart and nothing gets by him. After our recent trip to the caverns in Alabama, I was telling my parents about it. I was saying that the opening is supposed to be the largest cave opening in the world. Will chimed in and said, "Yeah, it's 126 feet wide and 25 feet tall." I looked at Keith in disbelief. I guess he overheard the park ranger and retained the information. I don't even remember them telling us. And that is just how he is, his brain is a little sponge and soaks in everything and can then recall that info. Amazing!

He loves soccer, baseball, school, his siblings, and mashed potatoes. His favorite toy is by far Legos! He spends hours every day building, rebuilding and modifying. One of his birthday gifts was a Lego set for ages 8-14. He sat down and had the entire 407 pieces built correctly in less than 40 minutes...by HIMSELF! He was so proud and so excited that he immediately took it apart and did it again, this time in about 25 minutes. I think you get the picture.

God, Thank you for my wonderful son Will and for the blessing he is to me. My heart rejoices over him! Please continue to work in his heart and call him to be Yours.

Will, Happy 8th birthday! Mommy and Daddy love you so much and are so proud of you!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I should never plan a party...

Last month I planned a joint family birthday party for Will and Charlie. The day before the party, we passed Hand, Foot, Mouth around our family and had to cancel the party. I rescheduled it for today, surprisingly, everyone could still come. Well, of course, Jack started running fever Thursday night. I figured it was a reaction to his vaccines early in the day. Friday morning, Keith had to wake him up at 8:30am and his fever was still high. He laid around all morning and even let me rock him for a hour. Sure enough, I took him to the doctor and what-do-ya-know, it's the swine flu.

So again, we have cancelled the birthday party and had to reschedule it. Jack started Tamiflu last night and is feeling great today. No fever since last night, appetite is back up and he is running with the big kids. Hopefully no one else will get it, although I'd rather us all get it now than spread it out for the next 2 weeks.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Katies

Before leaving Fort Worth, I got matching outfits for the girls. The last day, we dressed them up and did a little photo shoot. It was the most animated the girls had been with each other all weekend. (we know now to do that on the first day.) After I got a few good shots, I told them they could go play, but neither one wanted to leave, so we just sat and played with the camera.

Girls, can you give each other a hug? Ok, or a kiss is fine too...

I hope this is the next generation of BEST FRIENDS!