I Love Spring

I am not a cold weather person and winter seems way too long up here in the Chicago area. When the temperatures start getting up into the 60’s, I get excited. I start taking walks again and planning outings to the park and the zoo.

We got a family pass to Brookfield Zoo again. It was so worth when we had it two years ago and the kids were really wanting to go again. So far, we haven’t had an opportunity to go since we’ve had too many rainy days when I’m not watching Little A. If this pattern continues, we may try to get out there on a day I have him.

(Hmm… I got off of my “Spring” topic…)

Spring brings the flowers and you all know how much I love the beauty of a flower and taking pictures of them. Flowers have so much to them and I enjoy playing with editing the pictures of them, working with the colors and the composition.

Spring means my cats are outside and more birds and squirrels and other animals are roaming around. (The rabbits avoid my yard, so I don’t see many of them.)

I love sitting outside and watching my kids as they run around and swing and make up all kinds of fun and silly scenarios to act out.

and best of all… Spring means summer is coming and I love summer! I love the higher temperatures and being outside a lot.

Health Stuff…

I’ve been having a lot of health problems lately. Some things have come up that are life long and some may not be. I guess I’m putting it up here because I want you all to be in prayer. I’m not asking for a miracle, though that would be nice, but more that I will be His witness while I go through this.

I believe that sickness came about at the beginning, at the Fall. For my non-Christian friends, that is what we call the time that Adam and Eve went against God’s command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. God had created a perfect world, but with their sin, their wrong, they started the world, the universe, and all the inhabitants thereof to slowly breakdown over the years and generations. No matter whether Christian or not, we all will suffer from sickness of some kind at some time. Some people will only have small things like flu and colds and live long lives and die of old age and others, like me, will find out they have something a bit more and have to learn to live with it.

As a Christian, I want to be able to use what I have and show people that no matter what, I know God has me in His arms. I’m not afraid of death because I know I will go to Heaven. I know God is there for me even if I don’t feel well, if I’m exhausted, if I’m depressed, or if I feel like I can’t breath.

I started some of this a few months ago and went on some medication to help me and then when I got the bronchitis, my blood work was off and they found something that may or may not be contributing to the first. (If that makes sense.) When I went in to check on my medications (which are helping me wonderfully) the dr was concerned about something else that I mentioned was going on and she ordered more blood work different from what the other dr did when I had bronchitis. (I have two drs right now.) Those came up with another thing… which may or may not be connected in some way with the previous items. Yes, I know I’m being cryptic, but… well, it’s still kind of hard to think of. My drs both know of the other and though they haven’t shared the info they have as of yet, I plan on having them do that.

I’m not really ready to tell what all is going on with me here. Partly because we need to do more tests and partly because I am still learning how to live with it and deal with it myself. When I know more and am ready, I most likely will give you all more details. Right now, patience is required. We must wait a little while before more tests are done. A few weeks for one thing, but months for the other. It is rough not knowing everything, but I will be okay and get through it all.

Baptism of my Youngest Two

AnnaBeth and Noelle prayed to have their sins forgiven and to receive Jesus as their Saviour last year. We waited a while before having them baptized though Noelle wanted to do it right away. AnnaBeth was really nervous and wasn’t ready to go under the water for a long time and we were thinking we’d have them done at the same time.

A month ago, one of their friends was baptized and Noelle began asking again. I told her that we would talk to the church and find a day to do it. AnnaBeth decided she was ready too now that she was older. When I went into church that Sunday, there was already in the bulletin… “We are scheduling Baptisms for March 27” and how to let them know if someone wanted to be baptized.

I love this church… they sent us “homework” for the girls to do before the big day to make sure they understood what Baptism is and why we do it. The girls enjoyed going through the Bible verses and answering the questions. You could see their different personalities just from their answers. Then, on the Wednesday before, the Children’s Ministry Director and the Pastor met with them and went over it again with them as well as taking them to the baptistry to show them where and what they would be doing. A “dry run”.

So… a few days before, to show them how special we see this day, I took them out to get new dresses. We ended up with new dresses, leggings, ruffled socks, gloves, and hats. Some of that would have been bought for Easter anyway… so it wasn’t that big a deal. Easter comes once a year, but we are baptized once in our life.

They were so excited and were up fairly early that morning. They ate breakfast and got dressed and I did their hair, so that it would be easy to work with even after it got wet. AnnaBeth told the Pastor that she was really nervous and a bit scared and clung to him as he dunked her. Little Noelle had to be carried from the steps to the stool for her to stand on. She was nice and loud and we could hear her answers to the Pastor’s questions. The only thing she did that showed it made her a little nervous was gasping as she came back up out of the water. They both did very well and we were very proud of them.

They chose Chinese buffet for dinner after church and we ate there. They received their first cross necklaces while we were there. Gifts from us that we’ve done for each of our kids on the day they were baptized.

So, that was quite a special day for my AnnaBeth and Noelle… my babies.

My Grandma

I have all these little memories of Grandma, but I’m not sure how to put them together. I’ll just write and see what comes.

When I was 8 years old, I twisted my knee pretty bad when my Dad took my snow skiing. My Grandma slipped on some ice and broke her leg not long after and then my cat fell off of a wall and broke his leg. Later, when my Grandparents came to visit, I remember all of us sitting on the couch. I was on one side, Grandma on the other, and the cat inbetween us.

Grandma always told a story about when my sister was born, she brought me a Raggedy Ann doll and how much I loved the doll. Later in my life, she bought me Raggedy Ann books. I really enjoyed those books and the imagination they brought with them.

In fact, my Grandma was really into books. She gave me a lot of books, many of them I’ve read over and over. Little Women, Black Beauty, The Secret Garden. I had to buy new ones for my kids because my copies were too worn out. She loved mystery books and when I got older, she would sometimes pass on books after she read them knowing I loved to read those also.

Grandma was always doing something with her hands. Knitting, crocheting, or cross-stitch would always be around when she came to visit. One year, she taught me how to knit. Another year, she taught me to cross-stitch. I prefer the latter one and still enjoy doing it when I’ve got time. I have a cross-stitch I’m working on now that was from her collection… one she had bought but never was able to do.

Chocolate chip cookies… homemade chocolate chip cookies. I love those. My Grandma made good ones. I think our whole family loves those. She also made some yummy no-bake cookies.

Anyway, like I said… it’s all jumbled up in my mind still, but I wanted to share a little about her.

Wow… So Much Happening…

I knew some things that would happen, but others… I definitely didn’t plan on.

So, back in mid-Feb… I went with Amie and a few of the other youth girls from church to winter camp. Then the kids all got sick, one after the other. Then Jeremy was sick a few days. Then it hit me… and went to my lungs. I had that nasty bronchitis for two weeks and it really weakened me.

So we come to the second weekend in March. I’m still not completely recovered from bronchitis and Jeremy leaves for a programmers conference. I dropped two of the kids off with his parents which helped me out a good amount. I picked them up the next Wednesday and we headed to St Louis the next day. It was a good weekend, but busy. When I got home, I was very exhausted.

Now, we’re up to this last week… On Wednesday, I got a phone call… My Grandma (Dad’s mom) had died in her sleep that morning. (I will write a post on Grandma soon.) The next few days were phone calls back and forth to figure out plans for the weekend. My youngest two were already scheduled for Baptism on Sunday and my in-laws were coming up for the weekend for that. We finally decided that they would still come and I would drive down alone to my aunt and uncle’s on Friday and stay for the Memorial Service and going through my Grandparents’ apartment on Saturday and then come home that night.

I was exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically when I got home on Saturday. I got up on Sunday still feeling tired, but excited for my girls. I helped AnnaBeth and Noelle get ready (another post will come about this event also) and we went to church and then out to dinner. I had a bit of a migraine by the time all of this was over. I took a nap once we got home and finally felt like I was doing better.

Today, a friend is coming to visit and will be here until Wednesday. I hope he’s okay with my house as it is. It’s not all that messy, but it isn’t really clean either. I don’t really have the energy to do much and I needed to get the kids to do a bit of schoolwork this morning before he arrived.

Anyway… so I’ve been really busy. I am hoping to have a bit of time to just relax soon. May have to wait until June for that though… after dance recital.

My St Louis Weekend

Wow… it was quite a whirlwind of people for us.

We drove down on Thursday after Little A’s mom picked him up and got down to my sister’s house a little after bedtime. We walked into the house and there was my baby nephew sitting in his bouncy seat to greet us. I love the smiles that little guy gave me. Then the rest of the family except my toddler nephew came and attacked us with hugs and talking and laughing. The little girls all got so very excited. It was hard to get them all to settle down and go to bed that night.

In the morning, we talked about going to the zoo. I couldn’t really walk around the zoo much, but she had some free tickets for the train which would have worked nicely… if the weather had cooperated. It decided to rain… and not just little drops, big pouring drops. We went with our alternate plan… St Louis Mills Mall. I LOVE THAT PLACE! The play area is like an indoor playground. All of the kids can play on it. They played Spy and danced on a little stage on one side of the play area and all kinds of things. It was so great. Then the mall itself is built so that you don’t have all these hallways to walk down. There is only one hallway that goes around in a big circle… well, I guess there’s two hallways since there’s one that goes down the middle so that you don’t have to walk the whole way around to get to a store that’s on the opposite side of the mall if you don’t want to. Amie and James wanted me to walk around the mall with them after a bit of playing. They wanted to see what was there.

That was a long walk. We walked a quarter way and stopped to rest and let me catch my breath, then another quarter…. and so on until we got back to the play area. I think I needed exercise like that, but it wore me out. We were there until around 3 or so.

The rest of Friday afternoon/evening was spent at Jill’s house. The rain had stopped, so the kids were outside playing. I mostly rested. Rob and Jeremy grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for us to eat. Mmmm… The adults settled down with a movie after the kids went to bed. We watched “The Blind Side”… a very good movie. It was my first time seeing it and I enjoyed it. I slept pretty well that night.

On Saturday, most of the day was spent letting the kids run around outside. I helped Jill clean up some of the house while there were no kids inside to distract or walk through the piles of dirt/cereal/crumbs we were sweeping up. Nine kids (well, eight… we won’t count the five month old baby) make quite a lot of mess.

Saturday late afternoon, we met with Jeremy’s brother Andrew Read at our favorite Mexican restaurant. He introduced us to his fiance, Betsy. It was really nice meeting her and getting to know her a little. After we left and were on the way home, the kids discussed what they thought of her thoroughly and by the time we got back to Jill’s house, they had decided they really like Uncle Andrew’s choice and can’t wait to be able to call her Aunt Betsy.

After getting the kids into bed, I took off to have a girls’ night out with my best friend, Michelle! Woohoo! Brownies, M&Ms, Dr. Pepper and Christian Bale in “Newsies”… oh yeah… good times. Lots of talking, lots of laughing and giggling, a bit of crying and serious talking, and hugs. It was what a good girls’ night out should be.

I didn’t get much sleep that night because we had to get up early for church on Sunday morning. We were going to see some friends from college. Aaron is pastoring a church in O’Fallon. I got a text that morning that Melody was sick, so we’d miss seeing her, but we’d see Aaron and the girls. It was so good to see him and hear him preaching again. Afterwards, the kids all went out to the church playground while we sat and talked a bit.

We drove around O’Fallon a little just to see how much it’s changed since we lived around there and stopped at Bandanna’s BBQ for lunch. That is Jeremy’s favorite BBQ place, so it was good to stop and have a yummy lunch before our drive home.

All in all, it was a really good trip.

I have a lot of friends down around St Louis that I haven’t seen in such a long time. I really hope that in trips to come, I will be able to meet up with them.

Bronchitis Conquered!

For a while there, I wasn’t sure whether or not I was getting better. I felt better initially as the antibiotic took care of some of the things that were making me feel bad, but then I went for a while just feeling tired and very out of breath. I kept needing a lot of sleep, was unable to talk for long, and couldn’t eat much. I wasn’t feeling like I was making any progress in feeling better and I was starting to think I ought to go back to the dr.

Today, I woke up feeling so much better. It was wonderful. I could talk for a while without needing to stop and catch my breath. I was able to stand on my feet and walk around more today. It is so nice to feel like I’m finally starting to be free of this ailment that has had me down for the last two and a half weeks.

For this, I am very thankful because we already had a plan to go to St Louis, starting tomorrow afternoon. I am looking forward to seeing my sister and her family, meeting up with Jeremy’s brother and his fiance (I like saying that…), and seeing friends. We’ll be coming home on Sunday afternoon/evening. I am glad I will feel better for this trip and not so worn out and out of breath.

Downside to Being Offline

Now, I know I’ve said the ways of how I’ve enjoyed being offline more since I pulled myself away from chat and Facebook. I’ve found so many other things to do… but I’ve also found a bit of a downside to it as well.

While Jeremy was gone to Pycon (whatever that is… I don’t understand when he tries to tell me) I found that I was really lonely. I used to get onto chat and talk to people when he was out of town. Now, I wasn’t sure what to do. I read some and watched a movie, but I was so much more lonely. It was really, really hard.

Another thing I’ve found… people tend to put things on Facebook and expect that you’ll see it there. I used to be like that. “I put it on Facebook, didn’t you see it?” Now I make sure that the people that I think need to know things get e-mailed, texted, or if it’s really important I will call. It also makes me feel like family means nothing… when I feel like I’m the last to know things because I’m not online anymore and so I don’t get some big news and then later I find out through another source and not the person who should have told me. Does that make sense?

Anyway, it’s been a little weird to be offline more often, but I think in the long run, it is good for me.

Very Sick

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t been up to it. Last Tuesday, I started feeling a bit out of breath around 4, but I didn’t seem too bad otherwise. I couldn’t catch my breath no matter what. By 6, it concerned me because I could tell I wasn’t getting enough oxygen when my fingertips started tingling. Jeremy took me to the hospital. I told them that my kids had been sick and that I thought that was the reason I was having trouble. They put me on extra oxygen which helped with the tingling. Since I had no other symptoms though, they didn’t think so and after doing a ton of blood work, chest x-rays, and a chest ct scan, they decided it was my gallbladder and sent me home with instructions to see a dr and get an ultrasound on my gallbladder.

On Thursday, I went to the Dr. By that time, I had more symtoms. A headache and sore throat, but still no fever. He actually listened to me and after looking at the results from the tests at the hospital, he wondered why they came up with the diagnosis they did. He said they didn’t do all the bloodwork they should have or they would have known it wasn’t the gallbladder. He ordered a few more bloodtests to re-check his results and diagnosed me with severe viral bronchitis. He said if I didn’t get a phone call from him on Friday that it meant the tests he ordered just confirmed his diagnosis. He didn’t call, so that’s what it is. He said he was a bit worried about me because of how bad it was. He gave me an antibiotic. He said he knew it wouldn’t help against the virus, but because my body’s immune system was so drained, he was thinking that there was probably some bacteria taking advantage and attacking me as well, making me worse. The antibiotics would take care of those and let my immune system focus more on the virus. He also told me to stay at home and rest until Monday. If I wasn’t feeling at least a bit better by then to come back on that day.

Since then, my head and throat are no longer hurting, but I’m still having trouble breathing and getting a deep breath in. We’ll see how I am in two more days.