Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday my baby

Here we are at December 20th again. One year ago I went to what was to be a quick prenatal checkup, and because of Noelle's sustained rapid heartbeat, we walked over to the hospital to be induced right away. There ended up being nothing wrong with her heart; her heart rate fell back into the normal range at some point during the labor and stayed there. When asked what could have caused the rapid heart rate earlier in the day, the neonatologist joked that she just must have been ready to be born.

My dad came to the hospital as soon as he heard I was in labor, and stayed the whole time (when it was time to push, he went to the family waiting room). If you knew my dad, you know we had great conversations throughout the day - perhaps what made the labor go so well.

We still had not decided on a name, although Noelle was at the top of our list. My labor nurse was named - - Noel; the first one we had ever met. So, I guess that sealed our decision.

I had the best labor ever, and with the help of the pitocin drip and epidural, it was relatively quick and painless. I still can't believe what our bodies go through to have a baby!

I was so hungry by the time it was all over, and they weren't serving dinner any longer, that my dad went to Panera and brought me back a sandwich. I will forever hold dear the memories of my dad on that wonderful December 20th day.

Happy First Birthday my dear little Noelle. I love you so much.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good news and bad news

Yesterday was difficult for me, because I received both good news and bad.

The good: Trevor was accepted to UTK, which is is first and only choice. He's been checking his status online every day after school, and yesterday it said he was accepted! Yea!! I'm so proud of him.

The bad: Our friend Crystal was told she has an aggressive cancer. She is a wonderful, Christian, home-schooling mom of seven great kids, the youngest of whom is only 6 months old. Please join me in praying for her, that the treatment she'll start today will be successful. Pray for her husband, children, and the rest of her family. She's in for a hard fight, but if anyone can beat this, she can.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

First Steps

Noelle took her first steps tonight! She took one step at church, and then later at home she took two full steps before falling. I suppose she's not officially a walker until she can really walk around, but we hit a big milestone tonight!

She has started drinking whole milk from a baby sippy cup, but still nurses pretty much the same as before the cup. Maybe she needs more? Her favorite foods are yogurt, crackers, Eggos, and Chic-fil-A soup. Oh, and my chicken & brown rice was a big hit with her the other night.

I can't believe she's almost one year old!

Friday, December 7, 2007

More on The Golden Compass...

As I was surfing some mommy blogs, I came across one recommending we read something that Albert Mohler wrote about The Golden Compass. I didn't really know much about Albert Mohler (from reading his bio on the site I see he is Southern Baptist), but I do agree with most of what he says here:

Particularly this exert:

"The Christian faith is not about to be toppled by a film, nor by a series of fantasy books. Pullman has an agenda that is clear, and Christians need to inform themselves of what this agenda is and what it means. At the same time, nothing would serve his agenda better than to have Christians speaking recklessly or unintelligently about the film or the books.

"This is about the battle of ideas and worldviews. While Christians will not celebrate the release of this film, we should recognize the mixture of challenge and opportunity that comes with millions of persons watching this film and talking about the issues it raises. When the movie is mentioned in the workplace, in school, on the playground, or in the college campus, this is a great opportunity to show that Christians are not afraid of the battle of ideas.

"We should recognize that the Christian Church has some very embarrassing moments in its history - moments when it has failed to represent the truth of the Gospel and the love of Christ. Authors like Philip Pullman take advantage of these failures in order to paint the entire Christian Church as a conspiracy against human happiness and freedom."

Monday, December 3, 2007

What Dreams May Come

Last night I had such a nice dream -
I was seated in a restaurant, and the waiter brought me a paper bag of candy and said it was from Lance, and that Lance said it was a clue meant to help me find him. Lance wanted me to go find him right then. Immediately, I had such a wonderful feeling, one of excitement and anticipation. So, I rushed away, and somehow knew that I was supposed to go in the mall and find Lance in front of a candy store. I was rushing through this really large, maze-like mall, looking every which way as I went. As I rounded a corner, I glimpsed Lance out of the corner of my eye, and I knew he had seen me at exactly the same moment. He was wearing this really cool shirt that I had never seen before, but I knew was perfect for him. I was so happy to see him, and he was so happy to see me. We rushed towards each other and hugged & kissed.

I was awakened right then by Noelle, but still retained that amazingly happy feeling. I just felt so much love and thankfulness for Lance. I've felt that way all morning. I'm glad I had that dream, but I don't know why I don't feel this way every day.

A few years ago I had another dream, which was quite different, but had a similar effect. I was in my parents' pool with Connor, who was about a year old. All my family, Lance, and his family were there, too. Somehow it became known to me that Lance & I were not married, and Lance was actually married to a lady named Anne (she was also there, sitting by the pool, looking very unhappy). I said that can't be, because Lance & I have a baby - Connor. I wanted to raise Connor with him; I wanted to be married to him. Lance's sister tried to explain to me that I could never be married to Lance. I was so sad; I was in anguish. When I woke up and realized it was a dream, I was so happy & thankful to be married to Lance. I just wanted to hold him and never let go.

Have you ever had a dream that made you thankful?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

10 Year Anniversary!

Wow - today is our 10 year wedding anniversary. Yeah!! We seem to be too busy with little kids to do much to celebrate. I did get Lance some candy yesterday, and tonight we're going to watch a Netflix movie together after the kids are asleep. The day wasn't too special, as I pretty much just kept up with Connor, Noelle, and April (she spent the day here). But, there are many couples who cannot be together on their anniversary, so I am very thankful that we are together today.

There was a little excitement, though. While I was upstairs nursing Noelle, Connor came bursting in (he knows he's not supposed to do that, but I guess he couldn't restrain himself) to tell me I got flowers! After I got Noelle down for her nap (yeah!!!), I came downstairs expecting to see these flowers I heard about, but there weren't any. I asked Lance about it, and told him what Connor said, but Lance said that there were flowers delivered to our neighbor and Connor saw them out the window. (Lance was very convincing, because although it is our anniversary, I believed him.) But, poor Lance, April didn't quite understand what he was trying to do, and she started asking him, right there in front of me, "can't we show them to her now?" Lance was like, "what?" trying to act confused, because there weren't any flowers in our house, you know. But April persisted, so Lance gave in and had me close my eyes while he led me to my computer desk where he had the flowers waiting for me. There was the little note on the bouquet that said "Happy 10th Anniversary!" and a very sweet card from Lance that started "For the Love Of My Life..."

Poor Lance. The one time during the day I was unable to come to the door was exactly when the flowers were delivered, so that part didn't go as he planned. But, you know what? I will probably remember it better the way it actually happened.

I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. He is gentle, loving, and strong in a way that is perfect for me. He always lifts me up. He is a great father. He also keeps me laughing. I could go on, but I'll leave it at that. I hope for many, many more years with him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Innovative Definitions

I received an email with these cleverly made-up definitions, and thought I would share the humor with you all:

"New" Words:

Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.

Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it's a serious bummer.

Decafalon: The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you

Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

Alternate meanings for common words:

coffee: the person upon whom one coughs.

flabbergasted: appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

abdicate: to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

esplanade: to attempt an explanation while drunk.

willy-nilly: impotent.

negligent: absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

lymph: to walk with a lisp.

gargoyle: olive-flavored mouthwash.

flatulence: emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

balderdash: a rapidly receding hairline.

testicle: a humorous question on an exam.

rectitude: the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

pokemon: a Rastafarian proctologist.

oyster: a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

Frisbeetarianism: the belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

circumvent: an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mary B's Parker House Rolls

I must blog about the showdown we had on Thanksgiving Day -

Sister Schubert's vs Mary B's Parker House style yeast rolls.

I thought they were both delicious, but everyone else voted for Mary B's. Cody observed that Mary B's had more of a buttery taste that caused him to choose hers. So, I thought I would share with you, just in case you are shopping for some frozen yeast rolls and wonder if Mary B's can compete with Sister Schubert's.

I went searching the web for a photo of Mary B's, but couldn't find one. I did find a blog post where someone was raving about Mary B's Dumplings. I might have to try those next!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas Giveaway

There's a nifty Christmas giveaway contest going on, but hurry & enter because the deadline is tonight at 10 pm EST.

Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a nice Thanksgiving we had this year. My mom went by herself to Memphis to visit her parents, April stayed with us, and Cody & Nick stayed home. I had Cody, Nick, & Andrew over for dinner on Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday! My mom was back in time to join us on Friday, and we finished off all the leftovers from Thursday.

Here's what I fixed for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday:
Mashed potatoes
Turkey gravy
Green beans
Shells & cheese
Parker house yeast rolls
Grapes & oranges
Celery with cream cheese
Cinnamon baked apples
Vanilla ice cream
Pumpkin pie (Mom's homemade from homegrown pumpkin!)
Brownies with fudge icing

It was delicious! Andrew brought the ice cream, and he also rented some movies for us to watch after dinner - Spiderman 3 for all, and Ocean's 13 for the over 16 crowd. Friday after dinner, we all played charades - something Cody, April, & Connor had never played before. It was fun having the family time.

It was good that we experienced this holiday in a slightly unusual way, so it wouldn't be so obvious that my dad was gone. My mom needed a break and a chance to visit with her parents. With all the kids here, I didn't have a chance to think about much else besides kids, food, & cleaning up.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I need what???

Wednesday I went to the dentist. I really like my dentist (Dr Mary Beth Peaks), and the visit was going very well until the hygienist told me we really should schedule the root canal I need. WHAT??? I was in shock, and told her so. The hygienist I normally see has never mentioned this to me, nor has the dentist. I asked which tooth, and she showed me. I asked her to describe exactly what needed to be done, and she showed me, using the Xrays and a little model. Oh my, I was trying very hard not to cry. I couldn't believe I let my teeth get so bad. I always had great teeth, but with each baby, I end up skipping the occasional morning or nightly flossing and sometimes even brushing! I really couldn't understand why I was scheduled next for some surface treatment that included that tooth. Why bother if I was going to have this other thing done.

So, I said go ahead and remove what's currently scheduled and let's make an appointment for the root canal. The way she described it, the longer I waited, the more painful it was going to be. She kept trying to do the rescheduling, but the computer wouldn't let her. I sat and watched her try again and again. Finally, she nonchalantly said, "oh, you're right. I was looking at the wrong Xrays."

"What??" I wanted to make sure I understood what just happened correctly. "You mean you were looking at the wrong Xrays and I do NOT need a root canal after all????"

"That's right," she said. "You don't need it at all. I was looking at someone else's Xrays."

I wasn't the least bit angry with her. I was VERY happy that the computer had some sort of checks built in and wouldn't let her schedule the root canal needed on one Xray for another person. I also felt like I had been given another chance to save my tooth!

I floss and brush with renewed energy now. And I've added an extra little thank you into my prayers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bath Time Fun

Connor & Noelle love to take a bath.

On a side note...

Noelle is doing very well going to bed now. My new routine with Noelle flows like this: dinner, bath, PJs, dark room, soft music, nursing, crib. She is doing so much better falling asleep. I think all kids are different and you have to find what works best for your baby (and family). Connor did okay with co-sleeping, and I thought I would never be a cry-it-out mom. Noelle was simply not getting enough sleep when co-sleeping with me, and neither was I. I somehow survived the week and a half of long cry-it-out nights. I learned that going in periodically to lay her down or pat her back just prolonged the agony. Every time I left she got mad again. So, for us, leaving and not coming back is the only thing that worked. She is now doing very well going to sleep. Tonight she had 20 minutes of crying, but most nights she cries less than a minute before falling asleep. Yea!

Now, back to my bath time topic...

Tonight, Connor was having fun in the bathtub serving us his make-believe refreshments. He loves to make up his own names for the pretend drinks he was serving us. Our favorite was something called "chance-a-ray" and we said no-thank-you to something called "bum-chocolate."

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happy Halloween everyone!

Connor went trick-or-treating dressed as the original Spiderman. Here are a couple of photos of before & after.
Noelle was still a little congested, so she stayed home, helped to hand out some candy, and was asleep by 7:30. Poor Trevor was sick in bed all afternoon and evening.
We didn't have as many trick-or-treaters as we thought we would have, which means we have a little too much candy left over. Mmmm... frozen Reese's cups...

Friday, October 26, 2007

What to blog about first?

I have gone weeks without blogging, and now that I have a chance to post something, I don't know what to talk about first. Maybe I'll just give a few highlights:

Bad news: Test results show that April has lupus. It is a genetic type of lupus that has caused her kidney damage. Please pray for her and for my mom. More about that later.

Good news: I have been so stressed out over trying to get Noelle to sleep in her crib, what with the lack of sleep and heartache of listening to her cry it out. Finally we seem to be reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. She was asleep tonight by 8:30 pm, and only whimpered a bit when I laid her in her crib. Of course, watch this be an anomaly... but still - I'll take it.

Interesting news: We piled in our new minivan and took a road trip to Albuquerque this month. We visited Lance's family, and took in the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and a challenging corn maze.

Concerning news: Have you heard about the new Nicole Kidman movie coming out called The Golden Compass? I haven't researched this on my own yet, but I've been told that it's based on a children's book series by atheist author Philip Pullman whose purpose in writing the books is to "kill God." Evidently the movie is very mild and can trick parents into thinking it would be okay to let their children read the series.

Local news: Don't miss out on the current Just Between Friends consignment sale at the Camp Jordan Arena. It's happening right now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Name Tag

Keri tagged me for this, and I have been trying to come up with something ever since. Describe yourself using each letter of your name:

L oves to hear my children laugh
A wake way too often during the night with baby
U sually running late
R eally enjoys hiking
A lways tweaks recipes

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Don't miss the All About Kids Sale

Don't miss the All About Kids Consignment Sale this week!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Progress report on April

I am happy to report that April is doing well. She is not in any pain because she is on lots of medication. I was able to talk to my mom a little more about the situation, and I was also there when the doctor came in, so I was able to hear what he had to say. I feel I know a little more about her situation now.

Today they went in and took cell samples from three different areas of her left kidney. The doctor knows she has some type of nephritis, but he needs to know what type in order to treat her. The theory about strep infection causing the deterioration of her kidneys is still a theory, but not an absolute. He said we may never know the exact cause, so now he's focusing on how to treat her.

Because so much protein and some blood cells are leaving her body in her urine, the doctor thinks that has caused her lack of physical growth over the last 6+ months. Those of you who know her have noticed how thin she has gotten. Hopefully once the doctor gets the results of the biopsy, he will be able to treat her so her kidneys heal completely and begin functioning fully again. Then she should start growing!

The tissue samples were sent to Vanderbuilt, so we won't know anything for a week or two. April is not to do anything strenuous for a week, and nothing where she could fall or have an impact for a month (like no sports, climbing, bike riding). There is a risk of bleeding after an impact.

Thanks everyone for your prayers!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prayer request for April

Please pray for April, my adopted little sister, for she is undergoing a kidney biopsy this Friday. She is only 9 years old and has had many difficulties already in her life, most I could not have even imagined when I was that age.

A few months ago my mom took her to the pediatrician for a routine physical which was required before church camp. Her urine had unusually high amounts of protein and a little blood, and she was immediately referred to a specialist. The specialist has spent most of the time since then running many tests (April is very tired of having her blood drawn), only to still be a little puzzled as to what is causing her kidneys to function so poorly, and how to treat it.

I think the current theory is that at one time April had a strep infection that settled in her kidneys. She does not have the strep infection now, but it seems her kidneys have suffered permanent damage. I think the biopsy will help the doctor determine what can be done to help her.

The biopsy is schedule for 1pm Friday at TC Thompson's. They will keep her over-night. Please pray for peace for April & my mom. Thank you!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How smart are you?

Finally a test that makes me feel smart!
(Inspired by Virginia)

How smart are you?

Try it out - I dare you!

Enough with the screaming already!

Noelle is currently in a screaming phase (at least I hope it's a phase). When she wants attention, or she's unhappy about her situation, or she wants something to eat, or she's very excited, or just when she feels like it, she screams. She screams so loudly that my ear drums hurt. I try to ignore her or to give negative feedback, because I want to discourage it. But, of course, when a baby lets out an ear-piercing scream, people stop & look. So, she gets attention. And I'm worried that will encourage her.

She is adorable, though. She's trying to crawl, and it's so cute. She is good at rolling, and pushing from the crawling position into a sitting position. In getting into a sitting position, she has to have her weight on her arms while she scoots her legs up. So, soon she will be crawling. She doesn't have any problem getting something she wants, and somehow moves all over a room.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Chicken & Cheese Enchilada Casserole

Chicken & Cheese Enchilada Casserole

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tortillas (I used the low carb, high fiber ones)
1 can Progresso Chicken Cheese Enchilada soup
1 pkg sliced Pepper-Jack cheese

- Cook the chicken in the oven @ 350, covered, for at least an hour (I put them in still frozen, and cooked them for about an hour & a half)
- Leave the oven on when your doing the next steps
- Take each chicken breast and quickly shred it - with a fork - in a big bowl
- Open the can of soup, pour it over the chicken, mix it together
- In a round or square pan (I used the same one I cooked the chicken in), layer a tortilla, some chicken mixture, & cheese. Repeat until you're done. The way mine ended up, I had a top layer of cheese, tortilla, cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, @ 350, for around 20 minutes - you just want all the cheese to melt.

Now, this is a little spicy, even the soup itself, so use a milder cheese if you prefer. Trevor, Lance & I could have eaten more than I fixed. Both Trevor & Lance couldn't stop saying how much they loved this. Lance said, "this is a keeper; fix this anytime." Trevor agreed. Usually Trevor is not that excited about anything I fix, so it made me very happy to have him rave about a meal I fixed (so I thought - I must share this on my blog!).

I like many things about this meal - 1) there are very few ingredients, 2) since you're just cooking the chicken until it can be shredded, you have a lot of leeway on the initial cooking time, and I need that with my kids, 3) it is tasty & spicy, 4) it is low-carb, high protein, high fiber.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Consignment Sales

I first stepped foot in a children's consignment store in Connecticut, where I went in search of maternity clothes and left with all I needed plus a car seat and some baby clothes. Here in Chattanooga, I was a little disappointed in the local consignment stores (okay, to be fair, I've only been to the one on Hixson Pike near Ely Rd.). Then, some very nice friends at church let me know about the local semi-annual consignment sales. The first one I attended was the Jack & Jill sale at EastGate Mall, and I was hooked! I bought the bassinet and infant swing I needed, and lots of cute baby girl clothes. I think I'm even more excited about them since I have a cute baby girl to dress! I don't see why I should spend $30+ on an outfit when I can spend $5 or less and it looks the same as after I wash the new one.

In an effort to help me keep up with when the sales are, I have added a section to my blog (on the right) where I have links to the sales' websites. A few are coming up soon, so check them out! Oh, and if you know of any that I have not listed, please let me know and I will add them.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A father's love

I hope you all have read Lance's latest blog entry about Noelle. My first thought after reading it was that it was a bit too sappy. But, the more I thought about it, the happier I was that he wrote it. I think there is a special love a father has for his daughter, and our culture does not really encourage men to write about it. I know my dad loved me so much, and not that I need it, but I would really treasure something written by him about me. So, all you dads out there, I encourage you to write periodically about your children, and how much you love them. Keep it somewhere safe and they can have it after you're gone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hip Hip Hooray!

Three cheers for Trevor & my grandfather!

Trevor returned safe & sound from his mission trip to Africa. Sounds like it was a success on many fronts. I am glad that they were able to reach out to those who are sooooo much less fortunate, and at the same time be mature enough to be touched deeply by the African children's great joy and faith in the midst of poverty. I can't wait to hear more. Hopefully I can post a few pictures soon.

My grandfather (mom's dad) was scanned yesterday and all his cancer spots are gone! He has just finished about 5 rounds of chemotherapy. His battle with cancer over this last year has been painful, but nothing short of miraculous.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Slipping into the past

Something I'm struggling with right now is the way my dad is slipping into the past. He's becoming part of history. I know this is how it works, but it's difficult to process.

Thinking of family members who are alive is so different from thinking of ones who are not. It's like when I finish a really, really good book and I don't want it to end because I want to know more about what the characters do after the final words. My dad's book is over, and it ended so suddenly, without a nice wrap-up. Like someone snatched it out of my hands while I was in the middle of reading it.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Big Baby

While still precious in every way, Noelle is a very big baby (just like her big brother Connor was)! She went for her 6 month well baby check-up this week, and weighed in at 18 pounds 1 ounce, and measured 26 inches in length. That is 80th percentile for weight and 50th for height. She was perfectly healthy in every way.

Let's see... what is she doing right now?
She is making more and more sounds, she is sitting in the highchair (where she loves to eat her favorites - fruits), she is sitting briefly without support, she is squealing to get attention, and she is a mommy's girl. She is very used to her mommy being around all the time, and doesn't much like anyone else to hold her (or for her mommy to leave the room). When she's in a good mood, though, she does love to play with her daddy. Connor makes her smile most of the time, laugh sometimes, and cry sometimes when he is just too much. When she is playing with something special and drops it, she starts crying until we hand it back to her. She loves to shake rattles and bang things, but sometimes she accidentally bonks herself in the head or face, and that makes her cry. She still hates tummy time, although she can go a full minute or two before the protesting begins (this is better than the few seconds she used to go). She spends a lot of time in her exersaucer, which is how mommy gets to do laundry, and cook & clean in the kitchen.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Noelle & Connor

Here are a couple of photos of Noelle in the family baptism outfit - my grandfather wore it, my mother wore it, I wore it, and now Noelle wore it! These pictures were taken on May 29th.

And, here's one of Connor -

Credits & Thanks go to Amber on the photography.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What's your anagram?

This site allows you to enter something, like your full name, and it creates an amusing anagram.

I had to try it. My name anagrams to
'Hardier, adult old woman.'

And, that is exactly how I feel these days.

So, what's your anagram?

Happy and Sad

I am often asked how I am doing. You probably are frequently asked that also, as it is a very common question to ask and be asked. But now, the people asking me really do care how I am doing (not that they didn't before), and the question is asked with more feeling and emphasis. It is hard for me to answer, because I know what they are asking (How are you coping? How is your grief? How can we help?), and because there is not a simple answer. Some moments I am just so sad. Other moments I am happy. I have many, many things to be thankful for and be happy about. Wonderful memories with my dad make me so happy, but also make me cry because... that's it -- the end has come to making memories with him. What I have is what I have.

I am mentioning this because I think I will start blogging about both the happy and the sad, the funny and the painful. If it becomes too much, I will stop; but I want to see if it will help me. Not only to communicate with you all, but also to have this little journal to be able to look back upon myself.

So, prepare yourselves for the unexpected when you check my blog. You may read about something happy with cute baby pictures, or you may read something entirely different. To some extent my blog has already become that way, so perhaps this entry is my way of explaining it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

I have thought a lot about what to write today.
I think I'll keep it brief.

I am so thankful that I had a dad who:
Loved me unconditionally;
Instilled a strong work ethic in me;
Taught me to turn to God and His Word in times of distress.

What I am missing the most:
Daddy laughing so hard during card or board games with us that tears stream down his face;
Daddy dancing and acting silly in the kitchen;
Daddy telling stories that made everyone laugh;
Watching him play with my children with complete enjoyment;
Seeing his smile, hearing him say my name, being hugged by him.

I love him so much and I am so proud of him. Someone said to me: "I heard about your father's promotion to Heaven" and ever since, that is how I view it. I can't wait to see his smile again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The First Roelle

There was much rejoicing today, as Noelle rolled over for the first time! From her tummy to her back. We documented the roll, so you can see her cute chubbiness in action:

Is she adorable or what?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Mom My Ride

I suppose this is in honor of Lisa's new minivan. Julie showed me this video a few months ago and I've been meaning to post it here so you all can enjoy it. It will mean the most to those of you with children.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Cutting Teeth

Well, Noelle's first little tooth has appeared - her bottom left. Not the whole tooth, just a little white dot. But we can feel and see it. I tried to take a picture just now, but she was too tired. We knew she was acting like she was teething for the last two weeks, and we tried to feel her gums every time our hands were clean, but tonight was the first time we felt a tooth! Lance was the discoverer.

Noelle has also started eating. She's been eating for about a week now, mostly pears and sweet potatoes. She is a great eater. I have just started mixing in a tiny bit of rice cereal. With Connor, I remember when he was so interested in watching me eat, and I felt he wanted to eat, too, but the doctors were big on waiting until the 6 month mark. When Connor finally turned 6 months, he would not eat. When he was 7 1/2 months, I called his pediatrician to ask if I should be worried that he refused to eat, and they sent over a speech therapist and an occupational therapist (in case there was something wrong with his tongue or mouth, I guess). Those nice ladies determined that he was actually advanced orally (he could make so many sounds), but he did not like the texture of baby food or cereal. They offered him a Cheerio (I was worried he would choke on it), and he loved it. He ate Cheerios for a while, then slowly started eating baby food (he never ate the baby cereal, and still doesn't like oatmeal). As you can tell by his plump baby pictures, there was no chance he was malnourished.

Well, Noelle's doctor is less strict about the 6 month mark, and said I could start solids any time between 4 and 6 months, whenever I felt she was ready. Right around 5 months old I noticed her showing the same interest in my eating as Connor had when he was around the same age, so I decided to start. She loves to eat! She is not averse to cereal texture. It does not seem to hamper her nursing, either.

I suppose the only other news we have is that Trevor made 3 A's and a B on his report card this semester. The numerical grades were 97, 97, 94 & 90. We are very proud of him. He's been helping my mom out a lot these past few days, doing lots of yard work and some house cleaning. We're proud of him for doing that also. Next year he will be a senior in high school; I can't believe how fast time flies!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Twister Yoga

Connor is at the age where he wants to try to play all the games we have in our game cabinet. We have games from our childhoods as well as when Trevor was younger. Some Connor can play, like "Don't Wake Up Daddy" and "Don't Break the Ice." Most he's way too young for, but the interesting ones are those we tweak to make them more fun for him. So, in "Connect Four" we play until we have put all the chips in, and then find and count the ones in a row (no winner or loser). In "Battleship" we make some really cool designs with the red & white pegs. What we played a long time today was Twister. Connor would spin and I would do what the arrow landed on (right hand on blue, left foot on yellow, etc), until I fell. Then I would spin and Connor would do the mat work. I highly recommend it to you all; I got some great stretching and strength work in - just like yoga! Next time we play I may put on some peaceful music and dim the lights.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lost & America Idol

My posts have been too serious - how about some fluff?

I can't believe they have the season finales of both Lost and American Idol on at the same time tomorrow night! I like to watch both shows, so I will be recording Lost and watching American Idol live. I remember last year when the power went out in our area during these same finales (Lance was watching an NBA playoff game). Neighbors were outside, and everyone was so upset about missing American Idol; I was the only one on our block watching Lost. Scott & Donna "saved the day" by buying the episode on iTunes and letting me watch it on their laptop (thanks!!).

Who are you rooting for on American Idol? I was hoping Blake & Jordin would be the final 2, although I also liked Melinda and LaKisha. I think Jordin should win, but I like Blake the best (and have all along).

And do I have any fellow Lost fans reading this blog? I think the last couple of episodes have been very exciting - Jacob??? Have you seen him? I didn't even know they flashed an image of him in that dark cabin until I read about it (and saw it) on an online message board. I am in the camp of people who think he's from the Black Rock (19th century clothing), and perhaps Richard is, too (he also had on old-fashioned clothing when he encountered young Ben in the jungle). And I don't think we've seen the last of Locke, do you?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Turkey on my mind

- and not the Thanksgiving dinner kind.

Perhaps my mind is seeking some sort of diversion (you would think my family could provide enough), but I am astounded by how many times this last week that the country of Turkey has come to my attention. I have not been seeking it out, but it has come up nonetheless.

First, I regularly read the Six In The World blog ( because I think it is fascinating reading about this family's adventures as they spend a year traveling the world. Their current postings are on their stay in Turkey, and I have enjoyed hearing about the people, culture, politics & history. Both the family's posts and some comments left by others have brought up the country's current struggle between secular and Islamic controlled government, and the history behind it.

Second, I was emailed a very disturbing story about three Christians who were tortured and killed by Islamic extremists two weeks ago in Turkey. Here is a website showing their pictures and telling a bit of the story (

Third, both yesterday and today Yahoo news has had headlines regarding some serious political battles between those who want to uphold the country's constitutional mandate that the government remain secular and those who want the country to be controlled by Islamic parties ( I find it very interesting that the Turkish military has warned that they will do what is necessary to defend the constitution, ie. defend secularism, but both the US and the EU have warned Turkey's military to not defy their civilian leaders. So, in essence we are telling them that if Islamic extremists are elected and appointed by the elected, they must allow it. Our separation of church and state is upheld by our courts, not our military. Turkey does not have that luxury.

I feel that what is happening in Turkey is very important. Turkey is surrounded by Islamic states, and is in the midst of an internal battle to become one or not. Christian missionaries and converts were tortured and killed by young men who said "We did this for our country" and "We did it for our religion (Islam)." Finally, I cannot help but make the connection to the fact that the seven letters John wrote in Revelations, during a time Christians were oppressed and persecuted, were to seven Christian churches, all in modern day Turkey.

Monday, April 30, 2007

4 Months old already!

Noelle is a healthy four months (and 1 week) old. She went for her checkup Friday, and weighed 14 lbs, 9 oz, and was 24 3/4 inches long. That charted her right at the 50th percentile for height and 75th for weight. I followed the advice from many friends and her doctor, and gave Noelle some infant Tylenol 30 minutes before her shots, and every 4 hours until bedtime. Boy did that make a difference! She was not fussy like last time, and we sailed through the day and night.

Now that the weather is so nice, Noelle & I enjoy getting out for walks, so any of you who are local, let me know if you want to meet one (late) morning for a walk!

One day we'll get around to taking pictures of the rest of us, but Noelle is the most frequent object of the camera because she is changing so much! Here's a current picture of her:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Fear Not

What is death? What happens after death? What exactly happens immediately after we die? How does God answer those questions in the Bible?

As you can imagine, I have been thinking a lot about the topic of death. A very dear relative of mine attends First Presbyterian Church (PCA) of Jackson, MS, and amazingly they are currently doing a special series on this very subject. They have something called podcasts of this series on their website, and I have been listening to them. They are so wonderful.

Here is the link:

As of today, there are three sessions posted:
1) What is Death?
2) What Happens After Death?
3) What Happens When Christ Returns?

The second session - What Happens After Death? - was as if God heard my questions and sent this message just to me. I wish everyone who has ever lost someone could listen to this. It has made me so happy for my dad, for where he is, for what he is experiencing right now.

Listening to these podcasts is as simple as going to the link and clicking on one of the the mp3 files. It will play for you right over your computer. You can also right-click on a file and save it to your computer.

My heartfelt wish is that you set aside time to listen to this short series. I promise it will be worth it.

Friday, April 6, 2007

A Sudden Loss

Most of you who read this blog already know that last Wednesday I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my dad. All the sadness and troubles I've experienced previously in my life cannot compare to this. He was so young and healthy. He had so much energy and life. I am still in shock. The waves of intense sadness and grief still wash over me. I love him so much and miss him so much. He has left a huge, gaping hole in our family, as well as our church and his office.

I am so thankful that I moved back to Chattanooga in August of 2004. My main reason for moving was to be near my family, but I never dreamed something like this would happen. I am so thankful that I got to spend so much time with my dad, and that he was able to spend time with us. Here are some wonderful pictures of my dad with Connor when Connor was just a year old, at the Hamilton County Fair. As you can tell from the pictures, my dad thoroughly enjoyed showing all the animals to Connor.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fire Ants Invade

We have battled fire ants (in many spots) in our yard ever since we moved here about 2 years ago. This weekend they decided to come into our house! Of course, we have had other ants in our house before, and after some treatment with Terro they quickly disappeared. These fire ants are not interested in the Terro nor in fire ant bait. [As as aside, Lance folded a little piece of paper and taped it over the fire ant bait, so our dog wouldn't be able to easily lick it but the ants would still crawl right through the bait. After checking out that situation, Connor described it as the ants going into the tent and pretending they're camping and eating the poison. We thought that was very perceptive and creative of Connor.]

By last night, the ants were so bad that they were crawling along every "line" in our kitchen and breakfast areas: along the floorboards, along the grout lines in between every tile on the floor, along the doorstep areas, etc. Some even ventured outside the "lines." Connor was bitten several times last night on his heel. It was a nightmarish situation for me, because I do not like bugs, especially not in my house! Especially not aggressive biting fire ants in my kitchen!

Now, compound the fire ant problem with our air conditioner ceasing to work yesterday. And, Lance had soooo much business work to do, especially involving phone calls that ate up his time. So, last night as I lay in bed (with all our windows open for the cool breeze), I could not sleep. Blessed little Noelle slept a record 10:00pm to 5:15am, but I only slept 10:30pm to 12:30am. The rest of the night I could not get the image of crawling ants out of my mind. I tried to pray without ceasing for peace. I tried remembering my blessings and how we were safe and sound and the ants were not the worst pestilence or problem in the world. I tried doing some extra hard Sudoku puzzles that usually help me fall asleep. Nothing worked.

Well, this morning we called the air conditioning repair man and he will come Thursday. We called the pest control people and they will come tomorrow. Lance has dedicated his day to our two problems, and has helped quite a bit. He discovered the problem with the air conditioner (a water pump is not working) and can do something to get our air conditioner to work. He would like to try to fix the problem, and if so we can cancel the repairman's visit, so that is what he's working on now.

Also, Lance came up with a creative way to reduce the volume of ants in the kitchen. We were getting nowhere with killing them one by one with a tissue, and Windex seemed to only temporarily stun them, so Lance started getting them with tape. He uses fat heavy duty masking tape strips, picks up many ants at a time, folds the tape on itself to trap and smash them, then tosses the strip into the trash. We still have hundreds of ants, but I am able to go into the kitchen again. I do have a wonderful husband.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

New Noelle pictures

Here are some current photos of Noelle. She wore the green outfit that was Connor's in honnor of St. Patrick's Day.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dutch Butter Cake

Last night was International Night at Connor's preschool. Each class chooses a country (usually a child or parent is from the country) and the class learns about the country, makes crafts representing the country, the sponsoring family displays things from the country, and they serve food and drink that you would eat in the country. It was so much fun to visit each classroom and taste the food and see the interesting pictures and things. Each child gets a little passport (with their picture in it) that gets stamped at each "country."

Connor's class choose The Netherlands, as his friend's father is from there. Our job was to make Dutch Butter Cake and bring it in. We were given the recipe and it was so simple and so delicious, I thought I'd share it. I like that it is very easy to do with children. (As you can see by the ingredients, it is not low carb or low fat.)

Dutch Butter Cake

1 Cup butter
1 1/3 Cup sugar
1 Egg
- Mix well
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- Mix well
2 Cups flour
- Mix well
Pat into 2 round cake pans
Bake 18 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cool websites

I have found a couple of websites where I have recently spent a bit of my time, and I thought I'd share:

Time waster: has all these crazy quizzes you can take. I don't know why they are so addictive, perhaps because they are really short and I feel I can take just one more, or perhaps because some of them are so bizarre I want to know how I'll do on them.

Useful: has the nutritional info for all kinds of foods, by brand or by restaurant. I just read about this site in Newsweek. I have been wanting to find a place to look up how many calories (and fat, carbs, protein, etc) are in particular food items we buy at fast food or sit down restaurants. I know that some of those delicious meals in nicer restaurants are swimming in butter and/or cream sauce, and sometimes wonder just how bad they are for me. Now I can find out.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A tough week

Boy has this been a tough week for us. As I posted earlier, Noelle was miserable on Wednesday because of her vaccines. She really cried like she was hurting all day and into the evening. She did not nurse well because she would repeatedly stop nursing to cry. I suppose that the decrease in nursing along with my increased stress caused me to come down with mastitis on Thursday morning. I spent a good deal of the day in bed racked with chills and then with a 103.3 degree fever. Lance had to take care of Noelle and Connor. I'll spare you all the details, but today both Noelle and I are much better. In fact, Noelle was better by Thursday morning, and she has done just fine enduring my illness. Because of my decreased milk supply, she is nursing VERY frequently, which means less sleep, but I am very happy and thankful for how well we are doing. However, now Connor is congested and has a bad cough. I suppose if it's not one thing, it's another.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Those shots hurt!

Poor little Noelle went in for her two month checkup today, and received three shots and an oral vaccine. I'm not sure which is hurting her the most, but she is so pitiful. She has mostly cried, slept or eaten since the doctor visit. Her cries are so heartbreaking, because I can tell she is hurting. Sometimes she just whimpers. She doesn't seem to have any fever, but the area around where she was pricked is red. I can't tell if it's swollen because she has such chubby thighs already. I will see how she does overnight, and I may call the doctor tomorrow if she is still crying in pain so much. Please pray for her.

On the positive side, she was deemed perfectly healthy at her checkup. She weighs 11 pounds, and is 22 inches long. She was adorable for the doctor, and showed her happy, smiling personality off. This was before the shots, of course.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Noelle at one month

Here are a couple of pictures of Noelle at around one month old. She really is a good baby. She loves playing with the musical chimes toy you see in the top picture. Every day she gets a little better at her motor skills.

Friday, January 26, 2007

End of the Spear

I just finished watching the movie called "End of the Spear" last night (during a 3 am feeding). What an awesome movie. I wanted to see this when it was in the theaters, but I never made it. That's probably for the best, since I shed so many tears watching it last night. The tears weren't of sadness, just overwhelming emotion. Then, at 4 am, when Noelle was back asleep, I could not fall asleep. The movie is much more than the brief description on the DVD case, and more than I expected. What enormous faith those Christian missionaries had. Faith seems too small a word to describe it, as they risked their lives doing what God calls all of us to do. The risks the wives took affected me the most, as they supported their husbands, then risked the lives of their children as well as their own to complete the mission their husbands began. I don't think I could do it, yet that question lingers within me.

If you haven't seen the movie, I highly recommend it. It is not for children, as there are very violent scenes.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Noelle's Checkup

Noelle went for her one month checkup today (she's 5 weeks old). She weighs 9 lbs, 3 oz, which is exactly what Connor weighed at birth. She is 21.5 inches long. She is pretty much exactly in the 50% percentile for both height and weight. The doctor said she has a very small amount of jaundice, but nothing to worry about or even to do anything about.

She goes back next month for several vaccines. I can't believe that they give a 2 month old so many vaccines, but her doctor was very good about assuring me that it will not tax her system at all.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Four Things About Me

Things you may or may not have known about me.....
(If you have a blog, consider yourself tagged!)

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. IT Manager
2. Buyer/Planner
3. Forecast Analyst
4. Inventory Analyst

B) Four movies I would watch over and over:
1. The Notebook
2. Dragonfly
3. Life is Beautiful
4. An Affair to Remember

C) Four places I have lived:
1. Chattanooga, Tennessee
2. Knoxville, Tennessee
3. Memphis, Tennessee
4. Trumbull, Connecticut

D) Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. 24
2. Lost
3. The Office
4. Monk

E) Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Greece
2. Grand Canyon
3. Hawaii
4. Carlsbad Caverns

F) Four Websites I visit daily:

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Liz Lovely's Cowgirl cookie (
2. dark chocolate truffles
3. avocados
4. carne adovada

H) Four places I would like to be right now:
1. Asleep (anywhere) for over 4 hours straight!
2. Hawaii
3. Hiking through canyons in Utah
4. Exploring some Mayan ruins

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Noelle is growing...

Noelle is 3 1/2 weeks old and now weighs about 9 lbs. She is nursing now! I am so glad that I kept trying. As you can tell, she gets plenty to eat.

Connor & Noelle

Here is my favorite picture (so far) of Connor looking at Noelle. He really loves her.
The first thing he asks when he comes in the door or wakes up is "where is my baby sister?"
He wants to sit by her, and he put a stool next to the changing table so he can watch every time we change her diaper. When she cries, he sings to her.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Noelle Elise is born - December 20, 2007

This is Connor meeting his baby sister Noelle for the first time. We are in the hospital, and Noelle is a little less than one day old. I think she looks a lot like Connor did when he was a baby. She's just a little smaller (she was 7 lbs 15 oz, 20.5 in; Connor was 9 lbs 3 oz).
My labor, delivery, & recovery with Noelle went better than with any of my other kids. We left the hospital when Noelle was 24 hours old. I drove her to the pediatrician's office the next day.
Because her face was bruised during delivery, her doctor was worried about jaundice. This is why I had to take her to the doctor when she was 2 days old. Her bilirubin level was high, her weight was low, and I was instructed to supplement her with formula until my milk came in. I did, she thrived, and now our only problem is that she prefers the bottle to nursing. I pump and she always gets my milk, and I try to nurse her at almost every feeding. She is improving her nursing skill, and although she screams and protests occassionaly, I usually do get her to nurse.