Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Haven Esther is One!

Today was Haven's first birthday! Though I never doubted Haven would make it to this milestone, I never thought she'd be dragging the monitor here!

Haven woke up at 2:00 a.m. with a bad cough and 102 degree fever...happy birthday! At 7:30, when she woke up for the day, she was treated to the traditional Dirks birthday pancake. You can tell from her pictures how yucky she was feeling. A little syrup cheered her right up, though!

We had about 20 kids and adults (mostly adults) over for a lunch time celebration. Haven stuffed herself full of mashed potatoes and green beans and thoroughly enjoyed being the center of attention. After lunch we served her her very own GIANT cupcake. She wasn't to sure until the candles were blown out, then she dug right in. She loved mushing the frosting and eating it by the handful. We couldn't believe how much of her cake she actually ate! Finally, Daddy took her out of her highchair and rinsed her off in the sink.

She was intrigued by all of the presents, but quickly lost interest in the opening and wanted to move on to the playing! Avery helped get them all open and Haddon showed her everything. Haven sat on the livingroom floor for over an hour enjoying all of her new stuff...and the wrapping paper fragments!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Princess Pretty Pictures

Update: Jim was absolutely correct (as he would probably tell you that he is most of the time)...he got some really good pictures of Haven. He even got some AMAZING pictures of Haven. I'm telling you, I don't know how he does it! That guy must have amazing reflexes. He managed to catch all of her split second smiles from that grumpy sitting. Of course, the fact that Haven is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen probably helps Jim with his job some. But, as you may recall from the "Princess Poopy Pictures" blog, she was not the most cooperative little tyke at her session!
As it always is, it was really difficult to choose from so many beautiful pictures, but with Raynell's help I managed to get all the pictures I needed in my favorite poses. She doesn't have to talk customers into buying pictures (the pictures sell themselves), but she's very good at helping us narrow down and choose our favorite poses then decide what we want of each pose. Perhaps she's most gifted at putting together compilations, though. They always turn out to be even more amazing than I'd expected.
I feel sad that Hannah and Addy's early pictures are all from places like Walmart and Sears. We got some good pictures from those places (of course, this is mainly attributed to the fact that Jason and I produce uncommonly beautiful children), but they are no comparison to James pictures. Even Haddon had some pics taken elsewhere. We were familiar with James Photographics by the time he came along, but we honestly didn't think we could afford something of that quality. We were wrong. Looking back I see that we usually spend roughly the same amount on Jim's pictures as we did at the "discount" studios. Have you ever noticed that their special portrait packages are only of one pose (usually a pose of THEIR choice)? You end up spending much more than you had expected in order to purchase some of the better pictures.
Every time we go in to have portraits made, it strikes me how quickly these years are slipping by. I look at the beautiful pictures of my 5 children and am struck by the reality that they will never be this age again. To get a photo that captures the essence of who a little one was on that exact day of his or her do you put a price tag on that?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Objects in Mirror May be Larger than You Thought They Were...

Four other ladies from WCA and I went to Tulsa to attend the A.C.E. Christian Educator's Convention. We left Sunday afternoon and spent the night Sunday night before attending the all day conference on Monday. The hotel we stayed in was very nice, but the make-up mirror in the bathroom was awful! It was a magnifying mirror with a lighted circle around it. Who can resist such a mirror? Before bed, I turned on the light and gazed in intently only to be shocked and horrified at what I say therein.
I was surprised to find that my eyebrows were not as well groomed as I thought they were. I immediately found my tweezers and spent several minutes trying to rectify that situation. Unfortunately, my eyebrows were so unruly that hand strength and attention span became issues and I gave before my brows were properly tamed. Next I noticed that I have quite a collection of crows' feet that I had previously been blissfully unaware of. When did I get those? My ever-problematic freckles tauted me, standing out even more than usual under magnification and proper lighting. And, were those zits? It's just wrong to have to deal with wrinkles AND zits! I left the bathroom struggling with my self-esteem. Melinda, Laura, and I agreed that we should NEVER look in such a mirror, it's too revealing! I would, frankly, rather not know about all of my facial flaws. Ignorance is bliss.
My temper often serves as a lighted magnification mirror for my personality flaws. I'd rather walk around unaware of my many faults, but my temper highlights those shortcomings to the point that they are not only obvious to me, but also to anyone in the near vicinity. My oh-so-revealing temper got the best of me today and shined a spot-light on some of my less attractive attributes. I can be walking about (perhaps just shopping in Walmart) when suddenly my tempter begins advertising my selfishness, meanness, and self-centeredness. Emotional eruption on aisle 5...clean-up crew needed. That's not to imply that my temper isn't a flaw in and of itself. Believe me, I understand that it is. I only mean to point out how much it magnifies my other sins (that I prefer to believe do not exist). It amazes me how I can be so concerned about superficial things like wrinkles, blemishes, and stray hairs and, yet, remain so unconcerned about things that really least until they blow up in my face and announce themselves to the world at large. It doesn't actually make them larger, just harder to ignore. Why worry over a few stray eyebrow hairs when my temper is sitting on my face like a giant Neanderthal uni-brow? And, yet, even as I choose to ignore my own sins, I often point a critical finger at other people's flaws. Physical beauty cannot stand up against such spiritual ugliness. The Lord can groom me, though. His Word will pluck, prune, nip, tuck, and cleanse until (eventually) I shine in His beauty. May He be at work in my life, this log in my eye didn't bother me until I noticed it and now that I know it's there it has become excruciating!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Princess Poopy Pictures

I have been waiting for Haven to get over her respiratory "thing" before having her one year pictures taken, but after a month with no end in sight I gave up and scheduled pictures for today. Unfortunately, I ended up having to rush around before pictures because of a mini-crisis at school that required my attention half an hour before her portrait session. We still made it in plenty of time, but I had to dress her in her picture outfit there at James Photographics. The outfit was new, but thankfully fit since I hadn't bothered to try it on her beforehand! We even managed a complete outfit change without a whine or complaint.
As soon as I got her ADORABLE outfit on her, it was her turn, so I took her into the studio. Jim had a beautiful fall background with brightly colored leaves on the floor, pumpkins in the background, and rustic props. I set Haven in the little bench with high anticipation. She loves Jim! They flirt with each other every Sunday and her little face lights up when she sees him...usually. Today, however, Haven decided to be a stinker. As soon as I set her down in the rustic little bench she balked. Jim got out a smaller seat for her, but she was not to be appeased. We tried the floor to no avail, then pulled in a little apple basket turned over for her to pull up on, but she just was dead set against cooperating. I finally took her shoes off, thinking that maybe they were hurting her feet. No change.
Poor Jim. He has more energy than the three most energetic people I know (besides him) put together, but I think Haven wore him out! He pulled out all the stops trying to get her to smile. You've never heard so many funny noises coming out of a grown man's mouth! He shook all his funny toys, made all manner of strange faces, and even let me sit right next to her. I was hot and tired just watching him work. I can't even imagine how many calories a day that guy must burn!
My friend, Jim, is an excellent photographer. That's not even a biased opinion, that is an undeniable fact. I was discouraged about the sitting, but not Jim. After looking through the shots he'd taken, he seemed pleased. He even told me that he got some "beautiful" pictures (no thanks to Miss Haven). So, just remember, friends, when I present you with Haven's latest pictures and you are oohing and ahhing over them...they are less a testament to her beauty than to Jim's skill! That man works hard for his money.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother

I've heard it said that our parents know how to push all our buttons...after all, they installed them! No doubt that is meant as a humorous observation, but it is fairly true, nonetheless. Nearly daily since I became a mother almost 15 1/2 years ago I have wondered what mistakes I am making that will affect my children for the rest of their lives. What "buttons" am I installing? What will stories will they tell their spouses and children about me? What will they tell their therapists???
Parenting is the most important job in the world and, arguably, the most difficult. Not only is each child different, but each parent and each family is different. There are very few hard and fast rules of parenting. It starts at birth...will you breast feed, or bottle feed? Lay your baby down on side, back, or tummy? Pick her up or let her cry? Walk or rock? The daily decisions seem endless and sometimes insurmountable. With our first child I worried even in her infancy what I was doing to "mess her up?" When the second baby came along I faced decisions squared, but at least I had less time to ponder all of my shortcomings as a mother. Now I have five children and the decisions I am called to make run the gamut from car seats to driver's ed. Not only has the laundry increased exponentially, but so have the daily decisions I make regarding the parenting of these precious ones that have been entrusted to me.
I wish I could say that I do my best, but the truth is that often times I'm not doing my best. Sometimes I'm lazy or selfish or tired or grumpy. I worry that they will grow up and only remember those times. I hope not. I hope they remember how I made them whatever kind of birthday cake they asked for every year (I still remember my mother baking me a strawberry cake for my 3rd birthday at my request). I hope they remember how we took walks and talked about important things almost every spring and summer evening. I hope they remember the times we laughed so hard we cried. I hope they remember "Dirks Idol" and "Fear Factor, Dirks Addition." I hope they remember putting ornaments on the tree and lights on the house. Instead of remembering the times I was frustrated with them over homework or snapped at their insistent questioning, I hope what they remember most about their childhood is how much their mother loved them.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Naked infront of a Crowd

Blogging, for me, is about the writing process and about letting you get to know me a little bit (or a lot) better than you do. It's a window into my soul. It's about transparency. But, the thing about being transparent is that it's scary. The more people know you, the more they can hurt you...intentionally, or otherwise. My blog is not an invitation for you to fix me. I am not broken. I am a rock.

Things that are better than being thin (not necessarily in order):
*Having a husband who thinks I'm beautiful!
*Having 5 beautiful children.
*Knowing Christ and being His new creation.
*Being fit.
*Being smart.
*Being funny.
*Having joy every day.
*Being debt free.
*Having good friends and being a good friend.
*Being surrounded by people who love me.
*Being healthy physically and emotionally and spiritually.
*Being respectful.
*Being thoughtful.
*Being tactful.
*Being kind.

If you don't happen to like it, pass me by!~

Sunday, October 5, 2008

How do you EVER get well in the hospital?

Because you will have to sit for half an hour in the ER waiting room even though you have doctor's orders and aren't actually an ER patient and SIT you will, no matter how ill you are because the room is solely furnished with armchairs. Then, for reasons unknown, the staff will have you WALK down to lab to have your blood drawn even though you've actually been admitted as an outpatient. By the time you get back to the ER you will have to pee, but will be so tired that you'd rather wet yourself then walk to the restroom. When the nurse calls you back he will want to chat with you and apparently doesn't take the hint from the blanket you are holding over your face or your barely whispered replies that you have the worst headache you've ever had and aren't exactly in the chatting mood. Finally, he will cover you with a heated blanket (ahhhhh) and leave the room so that you can get some rest, but will return in a nano -second to start your IV. Unfortunately, he will want to give you a mini-lesson on IV fluids and equipment and will also need the lights on high during the whole process. When he finally leaves again (after anchoring the IV with approximately 3 miles of medical tape which you forgot to tell him you were allergic to) and you begin to relax, the drunk and belligerent man in the hall will stand outside of your door and argue with hospital staff until security removes him after a brief (but horribly loud) scuffle. After a brief moment of sweet silence, the nurse will return and give you the news that you have a "massive" infection and are being admitted as an in-patient. Then he will tell a couple of jokes to try to cheer you up, but eventually gives up and throws another heated blanket over you while telling you that he'll be back in a minute with your antibiotics. He's actually back in about 5 minutes during which time you kissed your husband goodbye and assured him that the kids need him at home more than you need him at the hospital. Upon his fully lighted return, he hooks two bags of IV antibiotics to your IV pole, then giggles about having forgotten the tubing. Once again, he disappears for a few minutes only to return humming with the misplaced tubing and proceeds in hooking up the promised antibiotics, then he's off again. Before you can drift off, another nurse-type person arrives and asks you for your name and birth date, then loads you in a wheelchair and takes you to the third floor by way of the most fluorescent lighting possible.
Ah, the room! You may think that you will finally be given the pain meds that the doc promised you a full two hours ago at the start of this process, but you will be wrong. First, the nursing staff will try (unsuccessfully) to talk you out of your street clothes and into a gown. Finally, they will give up, but rest is still a long ways away. The admitting nurse informs you that she has some questions to ask pages of questions. She is not kidding. At least she kindly turns of the offensive overhead lighting and only switches on a mild side light to see her questionnaire by. After providing fully informing the admitting nurse about your personal workout habits, grooming habits (why do they need to know how I prefer to clean myself and what time of day I generally do it????), drug and alcohol usage, bowel habits (size, shape, texture, and frequency), and answering every other question they could think of (including whether or not your illness is causing you stress), you will then be shown a chart consisting of a series of happy faces and asked to point to the one that most indicates how you are feeling. Actually, not all of the faces are happy. The first face is happy, then the next four faces rapidly decline in mood until the last one is bawling. You'll point to the spot in between the last two faces (hint: where's my pain medication???) and sign in three places, then that nurse will finally leave the room after complimenting your shoes. You will try to drift off to sleep, but the mattress is rubber, your IV is throbbing, the pillow is plastic and sounds crinkly under the casing, and your head hurts so badly that your own heartbeat is agony. Finally, the medication nurse will arrive with your morphine. Unfortunately, morphine does not knock you out and by the time the meds nurse leaves it is well after midnight. You look at the clock at twelve forty-two and your last thought before finally succumbing to sleep is that at least you will get to sleep in.
At one twelve you awaken abruptly to the most horrible noise imaginable that seems to be coming from your bathroom. You realize that you have to pee in the worst way, but you are afraid to go in there and since your head doesn't make you want to die for the first time in twelve hours you don't really want to move. Finally, the noise is identified as vomiting. Forceful, LOUD, manly vomiting that is, in fact, coming from the room next door. When it seems to subside, you will wrestle your IV pole into the bathroom and pee in the hat someone has placed in the toilet. As soon as you slide back into bed, the vomitter is re-visiting his bathroom. His is very sick. Since you can't sleep through his heaving, you pray for him. He throws up for hours almost continuously. In between praying for him, you consider calling the nurses on his behalf, try to listen to what the people in his room are saying, and wonder why they aren't helping this poor man. At shortly after three a nurse comes in to check on you and you request more pain meds since the pain has become (once again) blinding. She brings you a wet washcloth for your eyes and says she'll be right back with some Tordol which your doc has ordered. Apparently right back means thirty-five minutes (or two heaving bathroom trips for my neighbor...ugh), but she finally shows up and hooks up the Tordol. At four fifteen you conclude that Tordol is medical jargon for "worthless." The man next door is moaning pitifully and you want to feel sorry for him, but really you just want him to be quiet now.
The next thing you know, your overhead light is being flipped on and someone entirely too perky is chirping "good morning!" It is the lab and it is 5:40 a.m. Someone has decided that more of your blood must be collected and that the best time to do this is at the crack of dawn. You surrender your non-IVed arm while holding the IVed one over your eyes. Your head hurts so badly you cannot think. When she leaves she forgets to turn off the overhead light and you ring the nurse asking for more pain meds. After an agonizing twenty-three minutes, she arrives with more morphine. Twenty minutes after that injection you feel well enough to get up and fill up the potty hat, but once in the potty a wave of nausea hits. Fearing that you will regale the man next door with your own heaving, you lurch to your bed and try to let it pass. Somehow you doze, but awaken at seven when they bring your breakfast which you quietly refuse, then ring the nurse for anti-nausea meds. Those knock you out...blissfully OUT, but your doctor arrives at eight o'clock to inspect your breast and inform you that you will not be going home. You cannot keep your eyeballs open, but that will not stop him from thoroughly checking you over (he is, after all, a wonderful doctor and would do no less). The day is a blur. You sleep all day, only waking to urinate (why must they pump you so full of fluids???), answer the nurses questions, turn away food, and ask for pain meds. At some point you realize the man next door is no longer moaning OR vomiting. Is he dead?
The next day they tell you you are still running a fever and cannot go home. They try to talk you into more meds, but you know if you take them then you will also need more nausea medicine and you'd really like to just tough it out on your own. Every time you doze off today, someone new comes in your room to wish you well, draw your blood, or tell you to rest. The nursing student needs to know when your last bowel movement was and if it was small, medium, or large. Compared to what? You actually eat lunch! You are so tired that you know if you don't go home you may die of exhaustion. You recall celebrities being admitted to "rest," but you know they cannot be resting in YOUR hospital!