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Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Favorite: Field Trip

This week was just a normal, regular, busy week.  It was actually quite uneventful as compared to the past two weeks . . . no surgeries, no broken bones, no hospital stays!  

My favorite this week was a field trip with Mason's class.  I try to chaperone every field trip, not because I think it's particularly fun but because it gives me the opportunity to spend more time with Mason and Hannah Kate and be involved in their schooling.  Because let's face it.  Field trips are WORK.  One of the "worst" was going to the pumpkin patch with Hannah Kate's class.  There were four kids in my group, two of which were boys who kept running everywhere and leaving our group (and it was so hard finding them because there were so many children running around everywhere) and one who had just moved to the States the day before and did not speak any English.  And it was so hot that day.  Anyway, field trips are work.

But this field trip?  Hands down, the best one I've ever been on!  I enjoyed it so. much!  We went to the Louisiana State Capitol building (we've been there several times before, but Mason absolutely loves it and always looks forward to going) and the Louisiana State Museum.  Not only did I enjoy where we went, but I enjoyed my group.  I just had Mason and his buddy Joshua.  He and Joshua have been in the same class together for three years now, and they ride the same school bus, and Joshua's sisters take dance lessons at the same dance studio as Hannah Kate.  Joshua is one of Mason's favorite friends.

There are four reasons why Mason thinks the state capitol building is super cool:
1.  It's the tallest capitol building in the United States.
2.  You can still see the pencil stuck in the ceiling in the Senate chambers as the result of a bomb explosion.
3.  You can see the bullet holes in the wall where former Governor and Senator Huey Long was shot in the building.  He later died as a result of the wound, and there is still a lot of mystery surrounding exactly what happened and who done it.
4.  You can go to the observation deck at the top of the building and look out over Baton Rouge.

Here are Joshua and Mason in the Senate chambers.
And no matter how many times you go to the top, you always have to take another picture.  It was a windy, overcast day.  
And then we went to the Louisiana State Museum.  I'd never been there before and honestly didn't even know it existed.  I absolutely loved it, and it's going on my list of "must sees" when friends and family come into town for a visit.  As a matter of fact, I want to go back.  We were there for an hour and a half, but that just wasn't enough time to see everything like I wanted to see it and read everything.  We had to do a scavenger hunt and find different items and different people and tell who or what they were.  So, of course, Mason and Joshua were interested only in the scavenger hunt and not necessarily in stopping to read and look at every single little thing.  The scavenger hunt was fun though, and the boys really enjoyed it.

The first floor of the museum is dedicated to the history of Louisiana.  So, of course, you begin with the Louisiana Purchase.  This is the first thing you see when you walk in.  Mason and Joshua are at the bottom right corner so that gives you an idea of the scale of the map.  The lights you see are actually rivers.  It was a little confusing at first because the lights of the Mississippi River from central Louisiana running north were not lit.  But it was still a super cool map.
From there, you go through the Louisiana at War exhibit (which includes a Civil War submarine).  And then there's Louisiana's Waterways exhibit.  There is a huge shrimp boat in the museum.
You can learn about Louisiana's agriculture and crops.  Most impressive is this sugarcane machine thingy that I can't remember right now what it's called, and I'm too lazy to google.  A harvester, maybe?  I have to say I'm always so fascinated by this machine and how it works.
The Sportsman's Paradise exhibit focuses on fishing and hunting.  This marlin is actually a record holder.

The third floor of the museum is all about Louisiana's culture.  This place was a feast for the eyes.  Again, we didn't get to spend near as much time up here as I wanted to.  This is the first thing you see when you walk up the stairs.  I have to say this is a most perfect representation of the state!  
This floor was also divided into several different exhibits: Southeast Louisiana, Acadiana, Northwest Louisiana, Mardi Gras, Louisiana's Music and New Orleans.  There was a Mardi Gras float and beautiful costumes.  There's a dance floor, and you can dance to zydeco or jazz or bluegrass music.  It's just a feast for the eyes.
After we finished our scavenger, we went to the State Capitol Grounds and ate a picnic lunch.  And then I took Mason to get a hair cut!  I didn't take a picture of that though.

Besides the field trip, here is another favorite this week.  I've been enjoying my drive home each day.  The trees are "blooming," and the spring green is so refreshing after the cold, bare winter.  I took this picture about a mile or so away from my house.  
One last thing.  Or three last things.  There are three questions that I'm asked over and over everyday everywhere I go.

1.  How is Ellie?  Ellie girl is great!  She's not let that cast stop her too much.  She still gets frustrated sometimes at things she can't do, but she has pretty much figured out her limitations and stays within those.  She hasn't slowed down a bit!  She will see Dr. C on April 11 to have her cast taken off and her arm x-rayed.  This x-ray will determine whether the pins will come out, and her arm will be in a sling for a couple of weeks or another cast will go back on for two more weeks.  We are hoping and praying the cast will come off and stay off that day.  This is her on the way home this afternoon after two doctor's appointments (not for her but for me) and trips to two different grocery stores.
2.  How is my eye?  My eye is doing great!  As one of my friends put it, no mo kleenex!  I still have a tube in my eye, but it's not as bad as it sounds.  The first day it felt like I had a rock in my eye.  The second day it felt like I had a piece of hair stuck in my eye.  I can still feel the tube, especially when I look to my right, but it's not so annoying now and actually just seems like a part of me.  I've been able to wear my contacts, and I've been wearing makeup sparingly.  I took a close-up of my eye so I could show you my tube, but I thought better of that.  It was just too close-up, and my fine lines and wrinkles became rather broad lines and wrinkles.  I saw my ENT today, and he released me from his care.  He said everything looks great, and he anticipates Dr. H (eye doctor) will probably go ahead and take my tube out when I see him on April 17.  He also said it appears the surgery was very successful, and I won't require a second surgery!

3.  How do you get your hair to do that?  I'm not quite sure what this means.  It either means, "What in the world are you doing to your hair?" or "How do you get it to be wavy like that?"  The answer is simple.  Nothing.  I'm doing nothing.  Literally.  This is just the way God made my hair to be.  I'd spend 45 minutes blowing dry and then straightening my hair, only for it to not be so straight.  And it wasn't like you could tell how much time I was spending on it because it certainly didn't look 45 minutes worth of anything!  I was so disgusted with it, and I finally decided to stop trying to make it do something it wasn't created to do.  So now I spend about five minutes with a diffuser on my hair, and that's it.  The only reason I do that is so it won't be so wet after I wash it.  It's super thick and takes a very long time to air dry so the diffuser helps it to dry a lot faster.  And that's it.  I currently don't put any product in it because I haven't had time to go to the store and buy my wavy hair stuff.  So that's the story about my hair.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Favorite: The Perfect Ending to a Not-So-Perfect Week

My Friday began at 3:00am.  Hannah Kate is having an asthma flare up, and we had to do a breathing treatment.  She didn't go to school today because we needed to continue breathing treatments throughout the day.  It wasn't how I wanted to begin my day, but that's okay.  I had the perfect ending to a not-so-perfect week.
Seth planned a date night and had reservations at our favorite restaurant for my birthday.  Afterwards we went to a movie.  It was the most perfect night with yummy food and delightful conversation and just being together.

And this was the most perfect ending to our meal: creme brûlée and chocolate sin cake.
Between my eye surgery and Ellie's broken arm, the past ten days have been quite a doozie.  It all still seems rather surreal, even when I see the tube that is currently in my eye and the cast on Ellie's arm.  Through it all, Seth has been constantly at my side, my rock, my caregiver, my friend, my love.  I haven't even had to ask him what to do.  He's just done it.  He's done carpool and therapy and homework and supper and packing lunch boxes and putting hair in a ponytail and laundry and dishes and sweeping and cleaning bathrooms.  This man.  Well, I just love him so much!

And I am so proud of him!  In January he was promoted to be the supervisor of the corrosion department for his company.  His boss walked into a meeting one Monday morning and resigned.  He then said that he wanted Seth to be promoted into the position.  Upper management was in agreement with the decision, and the job was literally handed to Seth.  We had no idea and never even saw it coming!  It was totally a God thing.  He will have been employed ten years this August.  He has worked so hard and given so much of himself and his time to his job.  And finally his commitment and work ethic and dedication has been rewarded.  So he officially assumed his new position in February.

The Lord has sent so many blessings our way through this promotion, one of which is that Seth now has more of an office job.  I think there will be days when he misses being out in the field, but this means that he will be home more often and travel less.  Most of his travel now will be to the corporate office in Plano, TX or the home office in Jackson, MS.  He is the supervisor over the corrosion department in Wyoming, but he no longer has to travel there so frequently.  It's because of his new job that he was home the past two weeks.  When he is here, he gets home before the children and I on therapy and dance days.  That means he has put supper in the oven or done whatever I didn't finish to be sure supper is on the table when we get home.  He does bath time while I do homework.  The children really enjoy having him home during the week now.  And so do I!

God is so good!  He has blessed us abundantly, immeasurably above all we could ever ask or imagine!  As difficult as this week was, I can very clearly see His hand and His provision and His protection over us and over Ellie.  He surrounded us with prayer warriors, friends and family, to help carry us through this thing.  He gave us the sweetest, gentlest nurses and doctors.  He made a way for everyone to get where they needed to be and when they needed to be there.  He gave me strength when I had none, peace in the midst of turmoil, faith in place of fear, joy in the midst of suffering and His constant, ever abiding presence.  You know, I just have no idea how people live without the Lord, how people make it through the day without Him!

I will praise You, O LORD,
with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name,
O Most High.
~Psalm 9:1-2


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Our day!

And yet again, it's OUR day!  In case you don't know, I share my birthday with two of my cousins.  Not many people can say that.  I've always thought that one of the most special things about my birthday is that I share it with my cousins.  This was my 4th birthday and Cindy's 21st birthday, I think.  One of my most favorite birthday memories ever is the flowers that Cindy would send me at school year after year after year.  She sent me flowers today, too.  Tulips!  My favorite!  A very bright, very sweet ending to what has been a rather difficult week.
I spent my day doing what I do best, doing what I always do.  I spent lots of time in the kitchen, and it was sheet washing day, as all Thursdays are.  I spent the evening at a ladies' fellowship at my church.

Ellie was feeling much better today and seemed to have a bit of her sassy self back.  She seemed more like Ellie today.  She's sleeping good now, and she isn't requiring as much pain medication.  The swelling in her fingers is gone.  I still can't get over how big her cast is.  She could do some damage with that thing.  And I'm hoping she doesn't figure that out.  I noticed this evening that she was knocking it against the kitchen cabinet.  She seemed to like the noise it made.  Let's just hope she doesn't elevate to bigger and better uses for that cast!  Everyone keeps telling me that three weeks isn't that long.  I'm not quite there yet.

I received lots of sweet birthday messages and phone calls, and I'm ready to go shopping with my generous gifts.

It was a good day!

When I got home from church tonight, I found this birthday card on the table that my sweet big girl made for me while I was gone.  I'm loving how skinny I am in this picture!  And I'm wearing my favorite color, green.
I received lots of lovely, beautiful cards today.  But I think this one has to be my favorite!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

She won't remember. I'll never forget!

Well.  I don't even know where to start.  This has been, without a doubt, the longest week of my life!  It's Wednesday.  It seems like it should be Thursday of next week!

Just in case you haven't heard, Ellie girl broke her arm on Monday evening.  The first question is always, "What happened?!"

We were at therapy.  There's a corner of windows in the lobby, and there is a window seat there.  A lot of kids like to sit in the window seat and read or play.  I never let Ellie sit there.  She's climbed up there a few times, but I always get her down and redirect her somewhere else.  But this Monday I decided to let her sit there.  Someone had donated a bunch of new books, and they were in a basket on the window seat.  She wanted to look at the books.

There's a table and chairs right in front of the window seat.  That's where Hannah Kate and I were sitting.  Hannah Kate goes to the library every Monday at school and checks out a new book.  So she was reading me her new book.  I knew where Ellie was, I knew she was looking at a book.  I was right there.  But I was mostly paying attention to Hannah Kate.  And then Ellie fell onto the floor.  I don't know why she fell.  I don't know what made her fall.  I saw her about halfway down and jumped out of my chair.  In the split second it took me to get to her, she didn't budge.  She landed on her left side with her arm underneath her.  She didn't try to move or get up.  So I picked her up.  She was crying, but it wasn't too bad.  I was looking at her head trying to determine if she had hit it.  It wasn't long before I noticed she wasn't moving her left arm.  It was just hanging there.

I immediately knew something was wrong with her arm.  So I made the decision right then and there to take her to the emergency room as soon as Mason was finished.  We had 35 minutes left.  She sat in my lap and didn't move.  She wasn't crying, but she was whimpering every once in a while.  I saw her move her fingers at one point so that made me feel a little bit better.  I tried to move her arm, but she screamed when I touched it so I didn't do that anymore.

I was just in a daze.  I never let her sit there on that window seat.  But I did on Monday.  And she fell.  I really don't know what I was feeling as we were waiting on Mason.  I don't think I was feeling anything.

The minutes finally passed, and Mason was done.  So I explained to him and Hannah Kate that I really thought something was wrong with Ellie's arm so we were going to go to the hospital to see the doctor.  Seth met us at the emergency room and took Mason and Hannah Kate home to do homework and eat supper.

The emergency room was full of children so I thought we might be there awhile.  We signed in at 5:50.  They quickly called us back to the assessment center.  It was very obvious that something was wrong with her arm.  At this point, I honestly thought it was her shoulder.  I thought maybe it was displaced or something.  We finished with the nurse in the assessment center and then went back to the waiting room.  We were there only a few minutes before they called us back and put us in a room.  The doctor came in, asked me what happened and looked at her arm.  The next thing I know, they're wheeling a big x-ray machine into the room.  This was the first time during the ordeal that I thought maybe her arm was broken.  But it just couldn't be.

We got through the x-ray, and it wasn't long before the doctor came back into the room. He told me her arm was broken and that it would require a cast.  By this time it was 7:00.  He said they would either put her arm in a splint (I think that's what it's called?), send us home and have us return to the clinic the next day for a cast, or they would put the cast on that night.  He said the pediatric orthopedic doctor would review her x-rays and make that decision.  He was in surgery though so we had to wait awhile.

In the meantime, nurses were in and out of the room.  Every time a nurse or a doctor walked in, Ellie would start crying.  It didn't seem like we'd been there that long, but it was around 8:30 or so when the doctor came back in and said he had bad news.  I just couldn't imagine what in the world he was talking about, and I think I was probably white as a ghost by this point.  He said they were going to have to do surgery to reset her arm and put some pins in.  She broke her humerus bone right above her elbow.  He said the bone is very narrow right there and breaks easily if it's hit just right.

The next hour was a blur of doctors and nurses and surgeons coming in and out of the room.  Ellie was so upset and so exhausted.  Two of the nurses put a splint on her arm.  Two more nurses came in to start her IV.  They gave me the option of leaving the room, but there was no way I was going to leave her.  So they showed me how to hold her down while they got the IV started.  Hands down, that was the worst experience of the night.  The worst.  I just got real close to her face and started singing, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" over and over and over again.  I have no idea why that song.  That was the only thing that came to mind.  I just couldn't think.

Once the IV was in, they started pain meds.  Within a few minutes, she calmed down.  I was trying to make her as comfortable as possible.  I started to take her little tennis shoes off, but she pitched a fit.  She didn't want me to take them off.  So I left them on.  As a matter of fact, those shoes stayed on her feet the whole entire night and even as she was taken into surgery the next morning.  Whenever we get ready to go somewhere, we put our shoes on.  So she knows that when we put her shoes on, it's time to go somewhere.  She knew that if I was taking her shoes off, she was not leaving that hospital and the doctors and the beeping machines and the blood pressure cuff that she hated.  That's why she didn't want me to take them off.  So we just left those shoes on, and the nurse took them off once she was under anesthesia for surgery.

In the meantime, Seth packed an overnight bag for me, and my father-in-law brought it to me while we were still in the emergency room.  Here's my sweet girl while we were waiting to go to our hospital room for the night.
We were finally settled into our hospital room about 11:00 that night.  We had the most precious nurse ever.  Her name was Abby.  Ellie had not had anything to eat since lunch time.  I don't know that she was very hungry, but the nurse quickly brought her some goldfish crackers since we had a few minutes before midnight, after which she couldn't have anything to eat or drink.  She ate all of the goldfish and drank some apple juice.  I really didn't think she'd stay in her little hospital bed, but she did.  I think she was just too tired and too scared to even think about moving.

She fell asleep around midnight and slept pretty good until about 4:00am.  She got very restless and fussy so I asked the nurse to give her some more pain medicine.  That calmed her down, but she never really went back to sleep.  She was so uncomfortable.  She sleeps on her stomach, and she couldn't do that.

They came in around 5:45 to get us ready to go to the operating room.  We were there by 6:30 and were quickly greeted by so many sweet nurses and the surgeon.  He was a young whipper snapper, but I really liked him and had already heard very good things about him from my nurse friends in the know.  Two of the ladies who serve in leadership with me at Bible Study Fellowship are nurses in this OR.  Neither of them were on the schedule that morning, but they both texted me throughout the night to let me know what to expect.  They also contacted their supervisor so the nurses were already waiting on us and knew exactly who we were.  One of them even gave me a hug.

Seth stayed the night at home with the big kids and then got them up and ready for school.  His dad came over and put them on the bus so Seth could go ahead and come to the hospital.  He got there just in time to see Ellie before they took her back for surgery.  I was so proud of her!  She was very scared, and she hadn't liked any of the nurses up until this point.  But she finally let one of them pick her up and rock her.  And then they carried her into the operating room (with her shoes on!), and Seth and I went to the waiting room.  Seth asked me if I wanted to go downstairs and get breakfast.  I hadn't eaten anything since lunch the day before.  I told him that I didn't want to leave the waiting room and that I just needed to sit down.  So I did.  And that was the first time I cried.

The nurses called us when the surgery started.  They called us when it finished.  The surgeon came out and met with us, showed us the x-rays and explained what he did.  He was very pleased with the surgery and said she did great.  It didn't take long at all, only 30 minutes or so.  It seemed like an eternity, but we finally got to go see her in recovery.  She didn't have her shoes on anymore, but she had her feet propped up on the side of the bed.  She was slowly waking up.  The hospital had only a very limited color selection for her cast.  They didn't have pink so we chose purple.  
As she became more alert, she also became more agitated and fussy.  So the nurse brought a chair over and let me hold her.  I don't know how long we were in recovery.  We finally got back up to our room around 9:30 or so.  The rest of the morning was really rough.  Ellie was so uncomfortable, so scared, so upset.  It was hard figuring out what to do, figuring out how to maneuver around the cast and the IV.  Finally I laid my head next to her and just started singing.  I sang to her for 30 minutes or so.  I sang all the songs we've been singing at BSF . . . Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves Me; Good Morning, God; Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus; God Loves Me Dearly; The Lord's My Shepherd; Holy Bible, Book Divine.  She did finally calm down and rest and sleep.  She even snored a little bit. I just kept on singing.  At that point, it was more for me than for her.

When she woke up after that, she was in a much better mood.  She drank some juice.  Some sweet friends sent her some balloons.  She loved those.  The Baton Rouge Police Department came by and gave her a puzzle.  Her BSF teachers came by with a purse full of gifts for her.  She was still really tired though and just didn't know what to do.  Finally I climbed up into that crib with her, and that seemed to help.

We were originally told that we would be in the hospital at least until 3:00 for another round of antibiotics.  She also needed to eat some solid food but hadn't done that yet.  But around 2:00 the nurse came by with some really good news.  Our surgeon had called to check on her and had decided that we could go ahead and go home!

We tried to get her dressed and quickly realized how challenging that was going to be.  Her cast is huge, especially at the elbow where the pins are.  None of her sleeves are big enough to fit over the cast.  So right now she's wearing Hannah Kate's t-shirts.  I went through all of her clothes to see what I could figure out.  She has some sleeveless dresses that might work if the arm hole is big enough.  Otherwise, I'll be whipping up some pillowcase dresses!

By the time we finished the discharge process and went to the pharmacy to get her medicine and got home, it was 3:30.  And I have to admit.  I was plumb worn out.  I really didn't know where to start or what to do with her.  So I took her and got in my bed with her.  She immediately figured out how to lay on my chest but position herself so she could sort of lay on her stomach without the cast being in her way.  I have to say it was the most uncomfortable thing ever for me, but we laid like that until she woke up at 6:45.  We tried to get her to eat something, but the only thing that worked was M&Ms.  And then it was time for the cast signing.  Daddy went first.

Mason and Hannah Kate couldn't wait to sign her cast.

Last night she was laying on the sofa with Seth.  I came through with a load of laundry.  As soon as she saw me, she got upset again.  So I got her and was going to lay with her.  But she walked over to the stairs, pointed up and said, "Bed."  I asked her if she wanted to go night night, and she kept pointing and saying, "Bed."  So I took her upstairs and put her in her crib.  She slept good until about 4:00am.  By that time, the pain medicine had worn off.  So I gave her some more and put her in my bed.  And do y'all know what my awesome husband did?  He got up and got the kids ready for school.  I wasn't at all expecting him to do that because I knew he had a really busy day ahead and needed to get to work.  I'd set my alarm clock so I could wake up and get them ready.  But he beat me to it.  And I have to admit it was such a relief to not have to get up yet.  Ellie tossed and turned a lot but slept until almost 10:00 this morning.  She didn't want to get out of the bed, but I finally told her she had to.

She had a good day.  She hasn't eaten very much.  She wasn't very active.  She preferred to sit in one spot and play with a toy.  She's getting used to the cast, getting used to having only one arm and hand that's mobile.  She won't do anything at all with her left arm or hand right now.  She stayed at her MawMaw's house for a couple of hours this afternoon so I could go grocery shopping and pick up the big kids at school.  By the end of the day, I could see some of her spunk coming back.  

Bath time is the most difficult thing right now.  We still haven't quite figured it out.  And everything takes a little longer, getting her in and out of her car seat, helping her eat and pick up her cup to drink, even just picking her up.
Looking at her with that big ole cast that weighs a ton, I still just can't believe it.  I can not believe it.  The past two days seem like a dream.  A really bad dream.  Had this happened to a mommy friend of mine, I would reassure her and tell her that it wasn't her fault, that it was an accident, that everything is going to be okay.  And all of those things are true.  But I have a really hard time taking my own advice.  I feel like this is all my fault because I let her sit in that window seat.  I don't know why I did.  I guess I was just honestly too tired or too distracted to fight that battle.  We spend so much time in doctor's offices and therapy offices these days that it's just so exhausting trying to keep her entertained and obviously safe.  For just a moment on Monday I let myself go to the place of "if only we didn't have to do therapy," but the Lord so quickly and so graciously took that thought away to bring me to a place of peace and trust in Him.

When we were in the emergency room, I quickly texted our family, our church prayer line, my prayer partners and my Bible study group.  I honestly didn't spend a whole lot of that time myself in prayer.  I didn't have a lot of words to ask the Lord.  I just wanted Him to protect Ellie and to give the surgeon and the nurses wisdom and precision during her surgery.  Except for the nausea that settled in the pit of my stomach and still hasn't quite left me, I just felt numb all over.  But the prayers of my people carried us through this.  All of the encouraging words and texts I received were such a sweet relief for a weary soul.  All of those prayers from our family and friends were what got me through this.

Ellie will wear the cast for three weeks and then we'll go back to the orthopedic.  He'll remove the cast and x-ray.  If he likes what he sees, the pins will come out that day, too.  If not, I guess we'll cast again for a couple of more weeks.  Either way, we are trusting God and thanking Him already for complete healing and protection over Ellie.  I always knew she would be the one to break a bone.  Of course, I always hoped that would never happen.  And I certainly never imagined that it would happen to her at the tender age of 20 months.  But the truth of the matter is that she won't remember this.  And for that I'm so thankful!  But I can tell you one thing.  I'll never forget this!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blame It on the Time Change

This whole springing forward and losing an hour of sleep?  I am not a fan.  NOT. A. FAN.  Ask me again when it's time to fall back, and I'll tell you how much I enjoyed my extra hour of much needed sleep!  But LOSING an hour of sleep?  That's certainly the last thing I need right now.  Yes, I realize I could plan ahead and go to bed an hour early.  And I did plan ahead.  But going to bed an hour early?  I don't have time for that!

I feel like I got hit by a bus.  Or a plane.  Or a train.  Or something!  I do enjoy driving home during the last minutes of daylight instead of in the dark.  And I do enjoy feeling like I still have more time at the end of the day when we finally make it home.  But I would enjoy much more not having to sacrifice an hour of sleep to get it!

Mason was so confused on Monday morning.  It was pitch black dark when they got on the bus to go to school.  At first he thought I woke them up at the wrong time.  And when we got home last night at 6:15 like we always do, only it was still daylight, Hannah Kate was excited that it "didn't take as long" as it usually does and wanted to go outside and play.  But we still had to eat supper and do homework and all of this by 8:00 bedtime.  Mason asked to go outside, too, thinking that because it was daylight, he had some extra time.  And he was not happy when I told him he couldn't go outside because we still had homework to do.

But I have a feeling that sleep is something I'm going to be doing a lot of during the next couple of days.  The last time I had any kind of anesthesia was when I had my wisdom teeth out in 1996 or 97.  It was "laughing gas."  I can still remember the nurse asking me every few seconds if I was still awake, if I could still hear her.  And then I didn't hear her anymore.  The very next thing I remember after that is laying on the floor in the hall at my house.  I think I fell when I was trying to walk to the sofa.  It took me two days to "wake up."  So this promises to be interesting.  That was a long time ago, and I'm sure anesthesia is completely different now.  But considering the fact that Benadryl totally knocks me out, it's quite possible I'll be sleeping for awhile.

I'm not excited about the anesthesia.  And I'm definitely not excited about the breathing tube that I found out will be down my throat (since the surgery will involve one of my major airways).  But I know all will be well.  My sweet Bible study friends prayed for me today, and I've already received several encouraging texts from them tonight.  I have the best prayer warriors ever!  I'm just a little more concerned about my people than I am myself.  I know that they, too, will be fine.  My rockstar husband will make sure they are ready for school on time, prepare their lunches, pick them up from school, take Mason to therapy, do homework.  But still.  Those are things that I do.  That's what I've been doing for four years now.  So it's a little hard for me to "let that go" for a few days.

But I made Seth a checklist for the next three days and gave him lists of important phone numbers and reminders and such.  And I talked to Mason and Hannah Kate tonight at bedtime about what's going to happen the next couple of days.  And then sweet Mason prayed for me during his prayer.

All of the laundry is washed and almost folded.  The pantry and refrigerator are full.  I think we're all as ready as we can be.  We do covet your prayers this week . . . for a successful surgery, quick recovery, patience, an extra measure of strength for Seth, understanding and peace for the children.  And we are thanking our Lord in advance of His perfect healing, provision and answer to prayer!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

March Madness

Hello, March.  How are you?  I'm so glad you're here!  We celebrated by taking family trip to the zoo on Saturday.  What a really beautiful, really fun day!
We took pictures at all our favorite spots, the pictures every time.  The tigers were riled up today.  They were pacing and roaring.  I think it scared Hannah Kate a bit.
Mason was most excited to get an up close and personal with the alligators.  This is the first time we've ever seen them out of the water and this close to the fence.


This little mess had a great time!  She explored and walked and ran nearly the whole way around the zoo.  We had to put her in the stroller towards the end though because she got really tired after we played on the playground.
And, of course, Hannah Kate wanted her picture taken with the pink flamingoes.
It was such a warm day, too, and a nice change from the unseasonably cold and sustained periods of freezing temperatures we've had this summer.  The kids even complained about being hot when we left.  So we took them to get an ice cream.  It was 80 degrees on Saturday.

But March, what happened?  This is what my yard looked liked today.




In case you don't know what you're looking at, the limbs of my crepe myrtle were wrapped in ice.  Icicles were hanging from the top of the trampoline.  For the third time since the end of January, we were iced in.  The interstate was closed, the bridges were closed.  We topped 35 degrees.  And that was it.  The average for this time of year is 70 degrees.

Besides the fact that it was just really cold (and now I'm seriously wishing we'd have installed heated floors in the bathrooms when we built our house, but who does that in south Louisiana?!?), it was no big deal.  School was out today for Mardi Gras break.  Seth is working out of town this week so he didn't get stuck in it like last time.

March, please come back!  I miss you already!

So we have gone from 80 degrees to 35 degrees in three days!  And if this weather is not crazy enough, we've had another interesting turn of events.  About nine miles from our house is a canal with a swing bridge.  The bridge has to open for tugboat and barge traffic.  This is the way we go to school so we have to cross this bridge to get to school, as do the school buses.  Friday night a barge slammed into the bridge, causing significant damage.  One side of the bridge shifted about six inches, the concrete was knocked off of the pilings down to the wire and the swinging mechanism was obliterated.  So.  Obviously the bridge is closed.  And it will be closed for quite some time.  This means we can not go that way to school anymore.  We have to go the long way around, which includes driving down the interstate.  The really long way around.  

So instead of getting to school in 20 minutes, it'll take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.  I don't even know how long it's going to take the buses.  To miss the horrible traffic and get the children home before suppertime, it was decided that the kids who live on this side of the canal will dismiss school early at 2:15.  Dismissal is 3:20 so they'll miss over five hours of instruction a week!  This is a really bad situation, and there is just no good way to do it.  Fortunately, it won't affect us much.  Well, it does, but we're just already used to it.  I already pick the children up from school on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for therapy and dance.  So I'll continue to do that, and they will be able to stay the whole day without missing class time.  We've also decided that I will pick them up on Thursdays and Fridays now because we don't think it's a good idea for Mason to miss that much school that he's still responsible for.  He continues to do so well this year, and we don't want anything to jeopardize that, especially this late in the school year.  I certainly don't mind doing this, but it's the very long way around, and my Ellie girl will just have to spend even more hours in her carseat than she already does.

It's inconvenient.  It's costly.  It's time consuming.  But there's nothing we can do about any of it.  And we're so close to the end of the school year.  It's just going to be a very interesting ending, I guess.

Today really was a good day though.  I had a really great, really fun conversation with my cousin.  Miss her!  And I got to talk to my bestie, too.  Miss her lots!  Today is also my parents' 41st wedding anniversary.  FORTY ONE YEARS!  That's such a rarity these days.  It's so special to me that my parents and my parents-in-law have been married for a combined whopping 92 years!  That's a lot of love and promise and commitment and sickness and health and good times and bad times.  But I'm sure they'd tell you it is worth it, and they wouldn't change a thing!

I've spent a lot of time today just thinking about how blessed we are, how much I enjoy my time with my family and these little people the Lord has given us.  The sweetest times have been our family prayer and devotion times.  We say the blessing before every meal we eat together.  I always say the blessing at breakfast time because my sleepy heads aren't quite awake enough.  At supper time, Mason and Hannah Kate take turns.  This is a big deal in our house.  I have a hard time keeping up and remembering whose day it is so that's their responsibility.  And if they don't agree or can't remember, someone gets upset.  But most of time time it works out.  And at bedtime, we read a passage of Scripture from the Bible each evening, and we all take turns saying our prayers.  Everyone says a prayer.  But, again, Mason and Hannah Kate take turns going "first."

I also love these little prayer and devotion times because I just never know what's going to come up or what the kids are going to say.  We talk about our day, and I give the kids some reminders and instructions about the day ahead.  Mason will spend the next two days going on field trips.  Tomorrow isn't necessarily a field trip.  It's a trip to the bowling alley and arcade for the kids who won awards at the district science fair.  He is so. excited.  He told me tonight when I tucked him in that he would probably sleep with his eyes open just like he did in 2nd grade the night before a field trip!  So, just for kicks, I asked him how in the world he knows he slept with his eyes open.  And he was so seriously explaining this to me!  It was just the funniest thing.

One of the things I'm really loving right now is Ellie's "prayers."  After we all get situated around the supper table, I'll ask, "Whose turn is it?"  Either Mason or Hannah Kate will raise their hand and say, "Me!"  Yes, we require our kids to raise their hands before speaking at the table!  No.  Not really.  I think this comes from school.  Anyway, about two weeks ago we were going through the same routine, and Ellie yelled, "Meeeeeeee!"  I turned to look at her, and she had both hands in the air!  The same thing happened again at bedtime that night when I asked whose turn it was to say prayers first.  This has commenced every night since then, except now she doesn't even wait for me to ask.  She starts yelling, "Meeeeeee!" as soon as I put her in the highchair or as soon as we gather together on the bed.

One night last week we all sat down at the table.  I looked at Ellie and asked whose turn it was.  Here she is with both hands in the air: 
And then when we tell her to bow her head and close her eyes for prayer, she puts her head down and usually covers her eyes with both hands. 

So sweet!  We always stop and give her an opportunity to pray.  We are trying to encourage her to say, "Thank you, God." and "I love you, God," but she usually gets really shy and just keeps her head bowed.  You know, the prayers of children are always so heartfelt and genuine and sweet.  But let's be honest.  They can also be quite interesting and, at times, even funny!  I can't wait to hear Ellie's prayers one day.  Because I'm sure hers will be all of the above!

These are some good times for sure!  Just when I think it can't possibly get any better, it does!