.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Eli's First Halloween!

 


I just thought I'd post a picture of Eli in his Bee costume.  Isn't he cute?!?!?!




Eli and Mom  October 31, 2006 (almost 11 months old)


Sunday, October 29, 2006

All About Jack

Tomorrow, October 30th, is my son Jack's 12th birthday.

The nurses teased me about the name we'd chosen, asking me if his middle name was going to be "Olantern".

To tell Jack's story, I have to go back a couple of years before his birth.

The night of my son Clint's funeral, my husband held my hand and in his grief, told me he wanted another son. I was numb.

From January until July 1993, I struggled through life, working, taking care of my little girl and going to grief counseling. I thought the pain and anger would never fade. It did though, and then we were talking again about another baby.

I set up several strict guidelines and decided we should go for it. On my terms...

The baby would be a girl. Since conception had never been a problem, I would be pregnant by August. But, just in case, I had a plan. If no baby was expected by November, we would cease and wait until spring to try again. There would be no similarities to Clint's pregnancy, life and death with this baby.

I know God must have been pained by my lack of trust. I had completely removed Him from the equation. I imagine He was troubled as He thought about His words written in Jeremiah 29:11 and my lack of thought about his plans for my future.

As December approached with only negative pregnancy tests, my plan to wait was put into effect. However, my plan was not God's plan.

I became pregnant in January, while waiting for spring.....with a boy. As an added twist, this little boy was due on Clint's birthday.

This pregnancy was by far, my hardest, emotionally. I had many prenatal tests. The baby would not cooperate. I went back for fetal echocardiograms several times. Finally, he was cleared by the cardiologist.

Jack was born, perfectly healthy, 2 years and 4 days after Clint.

We had our boy. He was beautiful. He still is, inside and out.

I did have one additional lesson to learn about trusting.....

Jack had a heart murmur. A growth murmur, the new pediatrician called it. I stood in her office, clutching my baby son, weeping. I still remember the look on her face. (She didn't know about Clint.) She sent us immediately to the cardiologist. Jack was fine. It was a growth murmur. And he did outgrow it when he was about 6.

There is so much more to Jack's story.

He's not perfect. He fights with his siblings. He doesn't always do his school work or clean his room or complete his chores.

But he cares deeply about people. He cries for his lost friends. His heart is full of Jesus.

He's my Jack!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK!!

Another Birthday At Our House!

Tomorrow, October 30th, is my son Jack's 12th birthday.


 


The nurses teased me about the name we'd chosen, asking me if his middle name was going to be "Olantern".


 


To tell Jack's story, I have to go back a couple of years before his birth.


 


The night of my son Clint's funeral, my husband held my hand and in his grief, told me he wanted another son.  I was numb.


 


From January until July 1993, I struggled through life, working, taking care of my little girl and going to grief counseling.  I thought the pain and anger would never fade.  It did though, and then we were talking again about another baby.


 


I set up several strict guidelines and decided we should go for it.  On my terms...


 


The baby would be a girl.  Since conception had never been a problem, I would be pregnant by August.  But, just in case, I had a plan.  If no baby was expected by November, we would cease and wait until spring to try again.  


 


There would be no similarities to Clint's pregnancy, life and death with this baby.


 


I know God must have been pained by my lack of trust.  I had completely removed Him from the equation.  I imagine He was troubled as He thought about His words written in Jeremiah 29:11 and my lack of thought about His plans for my future.


 


As December approached with only negative pregnancy tests, my plan to wait was put into effect. 


 


However, my plan was not God's plan. 


 


I became pregnant in January, while waiting for spring.....with a boy.  As an added twist, this little boy was due on Clint's birthday.


 


This pregnancy was by far, my hardest, emotionally.  I had many prenatal tests.  The baby would not cooperate.  I went back for fetal echocardiograms several times.  Finally, he was cleared by the cardiologist.


 


Jack was born, perfectly healthy, 2 years and 4 days after Clint. 


 


We had our boy.  He was beautiful.  He still is, inside and out.


 


I did have one additional lesson to learn about trusting.....


 


Jack had a heart murmur.  A growth murmur, the new pediatrician called it. I stood in her office, clutching my baby son, weeping.  I still remember the look on her face.  (She didn't know about Clint.)  She sent us immediately to the cardiologist.  Jack was fine.  It was a growth murmur.  And he did outgrow it when he was about 6.


 


There is so much more to Jack's story. I couldn't possibly tell how much he means to me in a hundred of these posts!


 


He's not perfect.  He fights with his siblings.    He doesn't always do his school work or clean his room or complete his chores.


 


But he cares deeply about people.  He cries for his lost friends.  His heart is full of Jesus.


 


He's my Jack!


 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK!!


Weekly Review #1

 


Here's my very first review post.  This was detailed in an earlier post (see previous post of Oct 22).


 


1. Spiritually, I have made a stronger commitment to prayer this past week than I have in a long time.  Doesn't it feel good to pray for the people in your life?  Even the ones you don't know personally?  It makes you feel so strong. 


 


I also began reading the book "Victory Over The Darkness", by Neil Anderson.  This is already proving to be an excellent book. 


The main lesson I have taken from the reading this week is so simple, so basic. 




  • You don't feel your way into good behavior, you behave your way into good feelings.

I told you it was basic!  I have been struggling with realizing my own self-worth and ability to homeschool my children.  This speaks to me, telling me that I must behave as  the intelligent, kind-hearted, accomplished woman that I truly am.  I can not say these things and "be" these things.  I have to "act" accordingly, in order to feel this way!  I look forward to additional lessons to be learned through this book and through my daily Bible reading.


 


 


 


2. Our family time was spent mostly at home this week.  My husband hasn't been feeling well, having caught the bad cold that has camped out in our home for the past 3 weeks, slowly spreading from member to member.  I'll be so glad when everyone is healthy again!


 


Tim has also been very busy with work the past several weeks.  As a photographer, this time of year is our "busy" season, to say the least.  He was still able to make the kids' last soccer games and take them to the mall.  I've been pretty much staying at home with the baby until he gets his first RSV shot of the season.  That is scheduled for next week. 


 


Overall, we had a good week, in spite of illness.  We always seem to have a good time.


 



 


 


3.  Our school week went smoothly.  The boys are working hard to really get those math facts down.  We are using LLATL for everyone.  This has been a bigger hit than I expected.  Each of the boys is required to read from a book list daily.  I have mixed in science, history, art appreciation, biograpnies  and more fun-type reading.  Right now they are reading from The Boxcar Children series and The Little House series.  Both of these boys read well, but hate to read.  I'm trying to incorporate a few easier reads in with the required books to give them a break.  We usually work in Saxon Math, but this week we have just concentrated on facts drills.  This is something in which both boys are weak.  (It's not a marathon....it's not a marathon.)


 


My highschooler has a very tough schedule this year.  She is moving ahead, but is struggling with organizing her work and managing her time.  Something to really work on....


 


My Kindergardener is doing very well with CLP Math and 100 Easy Lessons.  We are using Five in a Row and just started "How To Make An Apple Pie And See The World".  I *love* this book.  We have been to Italy and remembered "Papa Picolo".  We are now in France and remembering "Madeline".  It amazes me how much is retained using FIAR!


We made butter this week in a baby food jar and spread it on bread.  The fact that he ate it and liked it----PRICELESS!  (He is extremely picky about "mouth feel" in his food.)


 


We had a great week!


 


I see several areas that need work, and some that just need a stronger commitment.


 


We will begin severely limiting video games and TV this week.  This should be interesting....


 


 


Until next week~


Friday, October 27, 2006

Confessions of a Food Network Junkie

I love to watch Food Network.

This is kinda funny since cooking is not something I enjoy. I'm just not very good.

I married a man who grew up in a single parent home. His mother worked hard to support them, so she didn't spend much time making gourmet meals. This arrangement has been a great bonus for me, or a huge downfall, depending on how you look at it. Why make a five course meal if your husband is equally happy with a one pot dish?

But the thing is, I *want* to be a great cook. I want to have fun in the kitchen. I'd love to bring all the kids in, cooking together. (We do this on occasion, but it just doesn't come natural.)

So, I watch Food Network. A lot. I've learned a lot from watching Food Network.

Actually, I watched Food Network.
Three days ago, my husband switched our cable connection to basic cable. (He is not a TV person.) He said that we all watch too much TV.

Food Network is not a channel included in the basic cable package.

I know he's right. Too many cartoons. Too many questionable channels to see while you are flipping away. And way too much Food Network.

So....

What are my chances of getting private cooking lessons from Rachel Ray and Bobby Flay?!?!?!?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Tribute To My Son

Fourteen years ago, I was in labor, awaiting the birth of my second child. The nursery was complete, decorated in a blue and mauve floral pattern.
My daughter, 1 1/2, would be sharing her room with her new baby sister.

Or so we thought.


At 1:51 pm, our son was born.


At least the floral print was blue...



I remember my Dad telling me that my family was now complete-a girl and a boy.



The following afternoon, our pediatrician came to give the baby an exit exam so we could take him home. She heard a murmur.



She told me that most murmurs were innocent, but she wanted a cardiologist to check him out, just to be sure.



The next afternoon, we met Dr. Stuart Birnbaum. He drew a picture of our son's deformed heart and called it the most complicated anatomy he had ever seen. Thus, we began our journey into the world of CHD.



Our son was moved immediately to NICU for support during his wait for heart surgery.



His diagnosis: HRHS: TA, TGA, COA, ASD, VSD



He was missing his tricuspid valve. His aorta and pulmonary artery were switched. He had a narrowing in his aorta. He had two holes; one between the top chambers and one between the bottom chambers. His right ventricle was hypoplastic, or very small-nearly nonexistent.



Over the next nine weeks, there were many highs and lows. Two closed heart surgeries; two pacemaker implant surgeries; almost going home; pneumonia; staph infection; sepsis; organ failure; and finally, removal of life support.



I remember it like it just happened. Can it really be fourteen years ago???



I remember the sadness, anguish, numbness, and yet, strangely, the lifting of that incredible weight I had been carrying during those weeks...



Those nine weeks were some of the very longest weeks I've lived. I learned a lot about myself during that time.



I can. I am strong. I will remember-always.



I am the person (and the mother) I am, not because of his death, but because he lived!



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY CLINT!
James Clint Schaffer
10/26/92-1/2/93

A Tribute To My Son

 


Fourteen years ago, I was in labor, awaiting the birth of my second child.  The nursery was complete, decorated in a blue and mauve floral pattern.
My daughter, 1 1/2, would be sharing her room with her new baby sister.   Or so we thought.


 


At 1:51 pm, our son was born. 


 


At least the floral print was blue... 


 


I remember my Dad telling me that my family was now complete-a girl and a boy.


 


The following afternoon, our pediatrician came to give the baby an exit exam so we could take him home.  She heard a murmur.


 


She told me that most murmurs were innocent, but she wanted a cardiologist to check him out, just to be sure.


 


The next afternoon, we met Dr. Stuart Birnbaum.  He drew a picture of our son's deformed heart and called it the most complicated anatomy he had ever seen.  Thus, we began our journey into the world of CHD.


 


Our son was moved immediately to NICU for support during his wait for heart surgery.


 


His diagnosis:  HRHS: TA, TGA, COA, ASD, VSD 


 


He was missing his tricuspid valve.  His aorta and pulmonary artery were switched.  He had a narrowing in his aorta.  He had two holes; one between the top chambers and one between the bottom chambers.  His right ventricle was hypoplastic, or very small-nearly nonexistent.


 


Over the next nine weeks, there were many highs and lows.  Two closed heart surgeries; two pacemaker implant surgeries; almost going home; pneumonia; staph infection; sepsis; organ failure; and finally, removal of life support.


 


I remember it like it just happened.  Can it really be fourteen years ago???  


 


I remember the sadness, anguish, numbness, and yet, strangely,  the lifting of that incredible weight I had been carrying during those weeks...


 


Those nine weeks were some of the very longest weeks I've lived. I learned a lot about myself during that time. 


 


I can. I am strong. I will remember-always.


 


I am the person (and  the mother) I am, not because of his death, but because he lived!


 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY CLINT!
James Clint Schaffer


10/26/92-1/2/93


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Making a commitment...


I am making a new commitment to post every week about three things.


 


1.  My Spiritual Life


I find myself letting my time of devotion to the Father slip.  I am confessing here and now that I have let my quiet time become nearly nonexistent.  I'm sorry, Lord!  I repent of this weakness.  Trying to do it all under my own power is impossible.  I need you leading the way!  Without a doubt, my struggles come from within....


 


2.  Our Family Life


My dear husband spends a lot of time with our children!  He takes them (and their friends) on outings as often as possible.  Movies, bowling, the mall....you name it.  They are always on the go!  We also do quite a bit as a family and since we have a teenager, we even get to do things as a couple! 


 


 


3.  Our School Week


I just want to see it in print!  A way of reviewing the week in my head and seeing each child's successes, strengths, weaknesses.   This will keep me from getting caught off guard by a failed test.  I'll know where they are before they get to that point. 


 


 


 


So, that's my plan.  I want to use this blog as a tool to witness my own growth through this process.


 


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ten places I'd like to visit

Everyone should have a dream. Not just dreams of what to do in life, but dreams of places to go and things to see. Without your dreams....well, you know what happens.

Jesus died so that, through Him, we have life--an abundant life! If you take a moment to think about that, it could really change your life. The most devout Christian should meditate on this thought daily. It really is true that you have not, because you ask not.

I am really talking to myself here. There are many days where I really struggle with making time for Jesus. So, my goal is to strive for that quiet time and make it a reality....every day!

Sorry, I kinda got off my topic there. Anyway, here are ten places I'd like to visit before I leave this Earth, in random order:

1. Venice, Italy

2. The starting line of the Iditarod in Alaska

3. The finish line of the Iditarod in Alaska, when the winner crosses

4. Eastern Australia

5. A real Hawaiian luau-after seeing the islands from the air

6. Paris, France

7. America, from coast to coast, in an RV with my family (taking at least a year)

8. The Western coast of Mexico

9. The Winter X Games or Olympics-or both

10. The tomb of Jesus and all the places he lived and walked

Friday, October 20, 2006

It's birthday season!

October means birthdays in our family. This was discussed just this week on the FIAR boards (a homeschool group message board/website). October babies mean New Year's celebrations!

In our family it starts on October 5. That was my grandmother's birthday and the most popular birthday in America, due to the timing link to New Year's, I guess.

Then October 7 is my BIL's birthday and October 17 is my aunt and uncle's birthday. My brother's is October 21. Then my sons': October 26 and October 30. We continue on with my brother's son on November 4 and my other son on November 7. All of these boys had October due dates. Pretty amazing.

Then we finish up with my baby son on December 6 and my husband on December 11. This has nothing to do with the New Year's celebrations, but I didn't feel right leaving them out.

After discussing this on the FIAR boards, we determined that there is a definite pattern to birthdays. They almost always count back (9 months to be exact) to some type of holiday, a birthday or even a tragedy.

I just thought this was really interesting.

Baby, It's cold outside!!!

Okay, so maybe 52 degrees is not cold to you. Just two days ago it was nearly 90 degrees! My 5 year old got dressed to go outside. Shorts, t-shirt, sandals. Not today! He came back with pants, socks, sweat shirt and a knit cap. That's more like it...

I'm thinking that might have been it for the hot weather for a while.

Do you realize it is only 9 weeks before Christmas?!?! The holiday rush will be on us in a very short time. Life will get crazy and the commercialism will threaten to steal your joy.

Take a moment right now to take a stand:


Keep the season real....JESUS is the reason for the season!

Don't forget to tell everyone you know, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Don't give in to the Happy Holidays pressure.

Take the time to make real and meaningful memories.

Monday, October 16, 2006

What's up with that?!?

I sat with my teenager and two of her friends a couple of nights ago, discussing some pictures I found on our computer. The pictures were just not right. Nothing dirty or disgusting, just not right. Over the top EMO, in my opinion.

We talked about the what, why, and where behind the pictures. "We were bored."
"We were trying to recreate something that we saw on Myspace." Yada, yada, blah.

So, I asked if it was okay if I emailed the pictures to the other girls' mothers.

"NO!!", in unison. However, it was okay with them that I had seen the pictures because "You're cool". Cool or not, it was time for a lecture!

After more discussion on both sides, I was satisfied with the results of the conversation. I know they see my reasoning and I do understand their position. They now know what I think is unacceptable.

So, I let it go after a strong talk.

Because...I'm cool like that!

Curriculum Overload!!!!

 


How do you keep from thinking about changing your curriculum?  There are just so many choices! 


 


Do you have hard and fast rules? We will use xxx until the end of the semester then reevalute, or, do you just stick it out for the school year?  Are you a curriculum hopper or junkie?  Are you tempted to switch when the wind blows a different direction?  Do you always remember to pray first, or do you jump, then pray?


 


I'd love to hear opinions on this subject.


 


 


Staying on Course...

 


It's been a while since I've updated my blog here.


 


We have managed to stay on course with our studies.  What a praise!  It's so easy to get distracted by everyday things.


 


Last week we were on Fall Break.  I was not planning a break right now, but we live in the city, in kid-busy neighborhood.  Sometimes it is easier to go with the public school schedule than to go against it.


 


This weekend we've dealt with illness that is spilling into our school week.  Read alouds and Math will probably be our main schedule this week. 


 


But, you know what?  You can learn alot by just reading and talking about it!


 


So that's what we'll be doing until everyone is healthy again.


 


 


Sunday, October 15, 2006

When I grow up

I want to be an artist.

I love everything about art. I love the way clay and slip feels on the wheel, even though it has been a very long time....

Funny, since I really do not like dirt on my hands at all.

I love having multiple colors of dried paint on my hands and a paint brush in one hand and one between my teeth....

My dream house has a studio in it. Large windows with white, gauzy curtains blowing. Full of light! Funny, since my house now is very dark and neutral....

I love sitting at a loom, weaving different colored yarn in and out, back and forth, even though it has been a very long time....

I love having black fingers from drawing with charcoal and oily fingers from pastels....

When I grow up.....
Did you know that a stay-at-home-mom doesn't grow up until her kids grow up?


So right now, I may not have the time or space to do all these things that I love so much on the scale I would like. BUT, I am doing them all the same.

Just recently I helped my 5 and 8 yr olds paint color wheels. We learned about primary colors and complimentary colors. We mixed and mixed and mixed the colors and then painted pictures.

Teaching shading and perspective is a big deal! Children love to draw. Well, most children. They really love it when you draw with them, showing them how to make something look "not so flat".

They love to use different things like charcoal and pastels and markers and acrylics.

So, maybe I am an artist.....after all!

City or Country?

Where would you choose to live?

I think it would be great to live out in the country with some land for the kids to roam. They could have animals. Maybe not a working farm, but something smaller.

That would really fit into the whole homeschooling thing. The things you could learn each day living off the land....

BUT, I hate dirt! And I especially hate animal "stuff". I can't stand to get dirt on my hands. Not even to plant flowers. Yuck.

Maybe in the city, in a highrise. I could get everyone together and walk to the park, the library, everywhere. Hmmm...

How about on the water? A lake, the ocean, a river. How cool would that be?!?! This would be my choice, without a doubt. Of course, I'd have to allow God and the six other people in my family to voice their opinions....


If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

About the name.....

You are probably wondering what it means. All that and a box of rocks?!?!?!

Well, I have a habit of comparing things to a box of rocks. Ya know, like, dumber than a box of rocks; more hard-headed than a box of rocks. Something like that.

I use it for animals, objects, and yes, sometimes people. Mostly unspoken. Not good.

I am usually talking about myself. This is also not good.

So, I have to remind myself that I am not comparable to a box of rocks. Because I have Jesus, I am ALL THAT! You may not think so, but He does.

That makes me All That *and* a box of rocks. Because I'm hard-headed like that!

Learning to blog....

This blog is obviously a work in progress. I have a blog on another network, but this place has a totally different setup procedure. It's like starting all over; learning new things.

I need pictures. I have tons of pictures, just not many with me in them. I *hate* having my picture taken!

I have random thoughts and not many people around to listen to my ramblings. (Little kids do not count! And my poor husband....)

I'll get it. I might need to bang my head on the computer desk, but I'll get it.

If you are reading this, please be patient!

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