Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Sample of Summer

This week we turned on our air conditioner!  In February, you say? Yep!  We had 2 days of spring weather with temperatures in the 70's and then on Thursday we had a sample of summer! The high was 86*!  

So in shorts and bare feet, the kids did their school work outside, climbed trees and posed for some pictures to prove it was summer in February!

Love those feet and rolly polly thighs.

What is this?  Blossoms on our Bradford pear tree out back.  It's also a picture of a tree in desperate need of pruning.

Soaking up the vitamin D

Pretty in Pink

These are called Shamrocks.  They bloom little pink flowers.  They will be in full bloom in March just in time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

This is my Oregano that just keeps on giving.  I planted this 3 years ago and it will withstand the freezing temps along with the Texas sun.  It sure makes spaghetti taste good! 

I just had to get in a picture of Julia whistling.  She started whistling nonstop about 3 years ago and she hasn't stopped either.  We love her whistling but every now and then we need some silence in the house.  She gladly agrees to stop but moments later finds herself whistling again without giving it a second thought.  It has become a habit (a nice one, I might add).  She can whistle just about any song she pleases.  I'm proud of her since I cannot whistle to save my life!

The wind was having fun with Micah's hair.

Today we woke up to 36* weather and our heater is pumping away again.  It never got much above 50* today.  It's winter this weekend and we are all in jackets but next week I bet we'll hear the birds a singing (along with Julia) and the sun will be shining and just maybe we'll be barefoot!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Creative Ways to Memorize Scripture

This is our first scripture drama that the kids have ever done. We thought we'd start small and work up to something longer and more challenging later.

We got the idea from some friends from church. The Hartman's have 4 children also and they are similar ages. They performed a fabulous scripture drama at a recent Valentine's banquet that our church hosted. I was so impressed! They acted out and recited in unison the entire love chapter found in I Corinthians 13. They spoke loudly, clearly and used drama to entertain and communicate the meaning of the chapter beautifully!

So, since we have been discussing how to respond to one another with kindness and not react defensively when a member of our family speaks harshly, this verse came to mind. We decided to put it to memory and why not teach some drama and communication skills along the way.

Here is what we came up with. Make sure to watch the older kids in the background when the little ones step forward to recite.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Micah is 6 months old

Here are some recent pictures of Micah.  He turned 6 months old on the 16th of February!  You can click any of the pictures to make them bigger if you want to.  Our friend is loaning us his camera so we can decide whether or not we want to buy it from him.  It's a really nice one and we are pretty pleased with the pictures we took this weekend.  We are amateur photographers but they still came out pretty good.

What a goofy kid!

I  love this picture.  Micah is already taking after his big brother.

Precious moments with sissy.

The kids have so much fun with Micah around.  Last  night during family devotions, Micah was up on all fours rocking back and forth, trying to crawl!  The kids were so excited and were rooting him on.

There's the infamous tongue with those big dark eyes!

He is surely teething.  We are anticipating that first tooth's appearance!

He's in the middle of telling you a story.  Can you see it?

I had to put this picture in since I think my husband is so gorgeous in it!  Those huge dark eyes are what I found so attractive about his looks, 17 years ago.  Now all my kids have inherited them. He isn't smiling in this picture but he really is a very happy man. 

See the resemblance?

I'm an in awe at how time flies when babies are young.  A half a year has past already since Micah was born.  Where did it go?  

I am still breast feeding him which is a first for me to have made it this far.  All my other babies were on a bottle by this point.  I love looking at his hands when he nurses.  All the extra creases around their wrists are so cute.  I sing to him at night before bed and he rests his head on my shoulder as if to give me hugs.  It's almost more than I can handle.  

Thank you Jesus for this little guy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm an expert

Today was a most incredible day!  All I can say is, "What an experience!"  Let's see, where do I begin?  

Last night I decided I had better review the paper work that was sent to me in the mail from the NUERO-ophthalmologist since I had an appointment with him today at 12:30.  As I began reading, I realized I had not done my homework.  The paperwork stated in bold letters; IT IS THE PATIENTS RESPONSIBILITY TO BRING ALL FILMS (MRI, CT SCANS, ETC.) TO THIS APPOINTMENT.  Oops, I didn't check on this.  I assumed since the neurologist referred me to this NUERO-ophthalmologist that their office took care of this for me.  After all, it was their office that mailed me my appointment without even consulting with me, so wouldn't they have sent my test results over also?  I decided I had better call first thing this morning to make sure.  After checking, I realized I had a big problem.  They had no test results and they wanted the actual films, not just a faxed report.  Since I can't drive myself anywhere, this was the first kink in the plans for today.  Rich was planning to get off work to take me to my appointment at noon.  Now we had to leave at 11:00 to drive 30 min. in the wrong direction to pick up my films before turning around to drive another 30 min to Dallas. We did arrive on time, actually 15 min. early to the Southwestern University Medical facility where my appointment with the NUERO-ophthalmologist was.  He is only one of 4 NUERO-ophthalmologist in the area. Why do I keep capitalizing NUERO?  

Well, because the word NUERO in front of Ophthalmologist means this doctor is better, more experienced, highly educated, and I guess, more special of the specialist than a Neurologist or just a plain ol' Ophthalmologist.  It was stated on the walls of the waiting room and he reminded me of this during my 10 min. with him!  He actually said, "I'm an expert".  I'll tell you more about that later.

So. . . when we arrived, we were greeted with valet parking attendants who wanted to park our car for us for $5 plus a tip.  There was no other options so we did this.  Did I mention we took Micah with us?  Olivia had to work today so we found a friend to watch our other 3 children for us and we took off with Micah in tow.  We entered a beautiful building that looked like a hotel.  A woman greeted us in the lobby and began helping us find our way to our destination.  She was very friendly and rode the elevator with us up to the 6th floor, cooing all the time at our cute little guy.   After we checked in we made our way to the Neuro-ophthalmologist's office.  Like I said, we were a little early for my appointment.  We walked into a waiting room full of people.  Surely all these people aren't waiting for the same doctor.  I had heard there were 2 others at this same location.  Wrong!  They were all waiting to see the same doctor and more people kept coming in!  Oh my, this might take awhile.  Well, little did I know.

After waiting an hour, they called us back and asked me a few questions about my condition.  She had me read some letters on the wall to make sure my vision was good in each eye.  Then we were taken to another waiting room where we ran into all the same patients from the first waiting room.  I would estimate about 50 people were in there.  We asked how long it would take and the assistant assured us it would be quick.  We waiting another 45 minutes!  Micah did so well. He entertained and broke the ice with many of the other waiting patients in the room.  Then they called us back and we met the Neuro-ophthalmologist.  He asked me one question.  "Did this come on all at once?"  As I began to explain, he turned away and began writing a few things.  An nurse came in and needed to ask him something so I cut it short.  He ordered a few routine tests be run on me and left the room.  A nurse came in and began testing me for glasses.  She said they wanted to make me some glasses that will help me not see double while I'm waiting for my eyes to get better.  Sounds good to me.  Then she was directed to numb my eyeballs so that she could do a refraction test?  I'm not sure what that was for but it was terrible.  

Kink #2: I hate eye drops and can't cooperate with people messing with my eyes.  She was so frustrated with me. If getting the numbing drops in wasn't bad enough, then she had a tool she was placing on my eye for a few seconds.  After the burning of the drops subsided, I had to let her come at my eye with a plastic looking tool! This took forever and she even needed the help of another nurse. She couldn't get the reading she was hoping for because I kept closing and squeezing my eyes shut. Rich was in the background holding Micah and asking if she needed him to help her open my eye.  She finally got it! I was so relieved.  Next she had to dilate my eyes!  More drops?  Oh, no.  She kept telling me to relax my breathing.  She pried my left eye open and dropped in that cold, burning stuff and then wanted me to calmly sit there and open my right eye for the same procedure while my left eye is still burning and watering like crazy!  I kept saying "Give me a minute" but she had lost all patience with me by this point. She forced my eye open but to her dismay she was out of drops!  This shouldn't be that hard right?  She ripped open another bottle and very frustratedly pried the other eyelid open and practically flushed my eyeball out of my head.  I had dilation drops dribbling down my neck and running down my shirt.  I grabbed a kleenex on the way out as she ushered us out to that waiting room again.  

By this point I had a splitting headache.  We had figured out the routine and knew we would be sitting for another half hour at least.  I nursed Micah to sleep and then we were called back for a visual field test.  This was no big deal but by this time I was ready to be done.  We had been there for over 2 1/2 hours. 

We took our place back in the waiting room after this test.

At this point I began to relive my jury duty days.  You know when you sit for days waiting to see if you are picked for the jury or not with a room full of other people.

After another 30 min. we were called back to see the doctor.  I was so ready to ask him all the questions I had written down.  He looked at my eyes with his little light thingy and said the backs of my eyes look good.  Whatever.  He told me he wanted to do a blood test and make me some glasses that will help.  When I asked what the blood test were for, he responded by saying "to rule out possible causes for this condition." I felt like saying, well I KNOW THAT!  This is when I began firing questions at him since I could tell he didn't want to talk and was ready to check out again.  It went something like this:

Me: "How common is this, I mean, do you see many patients with this condition?"
Doc: " I do this all day long and see all kinds of people.  I probably see 20 or so patients a week with this same problem."  Silence.

Me: " I know everyone is different, but what is the general time it takes to correct itself?"
Doc: " 4-6 months"  Silence.

Me: "The Neurologist I saw said I should switch the patch back and forth to exercise my eyes. ."
Doc: He interrupts and says, " I'm an expert. I'm a NUERO-ophthalmologist and you need glasses. I suggest you listen to me.  I'm an expert. Now I want you to get this blood work done and come back next week. I'm going to help you get better."  

Me: "What are you looking for in the blood work?" 
At this point he was really frustrated with all my questions and began spouting off about 10 different things that, of course, I didn't know anything about. I couldn't even understand him, much less catch what he was saying.  He stood up and so we did too.  My consult with him was over.

They ushered us to check out and they wanted to schedule an appointment for next week!  For what! was my question.  "To monitor your progress and go over the results of the blood work."  My next question was "how long will this take"  To my astonishment, she said 2-3 hours!  "To talk about my test results!" came blurting out of my mouth.  

The receptionist responded by saying that they will want to dilate your eyes again and check your glasses.  The doctor will always dilate your eyes at every visit and she chuckled!

We then went down a few floors to get this blood work done and walked into a full waiting room!  It was 4:00.  We were told we would get right in but we sat for another 1/2 hour and then walked out.  Who needs it!

I think we'll have the blood work done somewhere else and even have the results sent to our favorite family practitioner.  At this point we were delirious with sarcasm about this whole experience. We paid our $5 for parking (no tip) and got in rush hour traffic to go home.  Micah fell asleep in the car after a very long day.

How can a doctor call that good patient care?  I guess because he's an expert, it's a privilege to wait 4 hours to get his condescending treatment for 10 min. 

The only positive result is that maybe I'll get some glasses to get me by for the next 4-6 months. Oh, by the way, he never asked for the films we busted our behinds to get for him.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A.J and Julia's Birthday party

What is this!  I just wanted to post this picture first to get your attention.  This is what happens when your kids grow up in Texas!  Not really. These teeth were actually in the kids gift bags that they received at the end of the party.  Pretty scary, eh?

First, I have to explain that my girlfriend, Jenna Dickson, threw this party for my kids.  I had promised to let A.J. and Julia have a real party this year but when I came down with 6th nerve palsy, I felt it would be too hard.  Especially since I can't drive to purchase the things you need for a party.  Since Jenna loves to throw kid parties, she hosted it and well, did it all!  Thank you Jenna!  

Ok, so this is her house.  A.J. and Julia had already decided that they wanted to have a "prank" party.  So Jenna came up with this.  As the guests arrived, they had to figure out how to find the party.  All the signs said things like, "stay off the grass" or "wet cement".  If they ignored the signs and went to the front door, they were met with a sign that read "Wet paint".  In small print it said something like "go to side gate".  
At the gate was another sign that read "party is cancelled.  We are confiscating gifts in the back yard."  We were all waiting very quietly to see who would do the right thing, which was come through the side gate.  It was really fun watching some going back and forth from the gate to the front door, trying to figure out how to get in.  I'm not sure what was more fun, watching the  kids and their parents try to figure it out or watching Jenna run around giggling because she was so tickled that she tricked everyone!

A.J. and Julia greeted everyone as they came in the backyard, wearing large, silly, plastic face- wear.  I'm not quite sure what else to call it.  The whole theme was pranks so this was just part of the silliness.  Unbeknownst to their friends, A.J. and Julia had stickers that they were sticking on their backs that read "Call me Bob" or " Flap your arms when I talk".  So as they were all hanging out waiting for all the guests to arrive, they were having lots of fun tricking each other by following these directions.  It was all in fun and part of the day so no one got offended.  Thank goodness!

We are missing one Lodi child in this photo but I thought it was too cute to pass up.  Of course, A.J. and Julia didn't have to wear this stuff the whole time.

"You can't say I'm not listening to you!"

Harmony Rohlin, Julia's friend from church.  Her Mom drove almost an hour to bring Harmony and her brother Arthur, to the party.  I really like this picture!

It was a beautiful, sunny day with highs in the 60's.  Who would have thought that January 17th would be warm enough to have an outdoor birthday party.  This is one of the joys of living in Texas

Since it was kind of a backwards party, Jenna had the children open gifts first.  

Julia has so many sweet friends and she loves them all.  She is the most affectionate person in our family and loves a reason to give hugs! Better than the gifts were all the hugs she got to give and receive!

It was fun to see the difference in gifts between the boys and girls.  Girls give dolls and boys give rubber band guns and pocket knives.  
A.J. always wears a smile!

Everyone the kids invited were a brother and sister team.  This is Shawna and Brendon.  It just seemed to work out that way.  

Another great picture!

Next was the cake but this was no ordinary cake!

That's right, you are seeing correctly.  It's a cat litter cake made with a cake mix, Oreos, and Tootsie rolls (melted a little)!  Isn't it awful!  It tasted delicious if you could get past the thought of what you could be eating!

So fun to watch the children discover what it was supposed to resemble.  "Oh! Gross!  That's disgusting!" echoed throughout.

Can he take a bite?

Oh! He did it!

That Tootsie Roll was a little hard to swallow.

Here's the girls team.  The next activity was a game of backwards charades.  The team had to act while one person guessed.  Who do you think won?
Having fun together.

Deep in thought.  Not impressed.

What do you think this is?  You guessed it! Car wash!  Let me tell you, these kids were creative!

Can you see what Kimberly's tag says on her back?  Planting a tree.  Harmony is the tree.

Arthur had a hard time getting this one.  I think it was eating spaghetti?  

Think, think, think.

Everyone had to get involved and they did.  They all should have won an award for great participation!  The girls won but only by one point!

I absolutely love this picture of Alia! 
What is this about?
Well, let me tell you.

The next game was really a boyish game.  The girls were not nearly as amused.  It's called pin the booger on the nose!

First, instead of a blindfold you had to wear these funky glasses.  This is Jenna explaining how to play.

Everyone was given a piece of green gum to chew for a bit.  Then you had to stick it to your nose and be spun around.

And, whala!  There you have it!  Didn't I say this party was unique.

A.J. better close his mouth or he might get someone else's gum in there by accident!

So ladylike.

These glasses made everyone look hilarious!

Putting gum on your nose was, uh, interesting.

Joe here, really needs a kleenex!

Ok, next we broke out the karaoke! The kids were instructed to share a silly song, magic trick, or funny joke.

Seth did a good job showing us his magic trick.

I was impressed with how most of the kids got up in front of everyone to perform something.  Some of the jokes were a little lacking but that's what made it cute.

Of course, the Hartman duo was a hit as they sang a really goofy song that they made up.

Brendon almost couldn't get through it because he was laughing at his own silliness!

Hanging out after the party.  Micah had just woken up from a long nap.  He wasn't sure what to think.

He was so mellow that he sported these glasses without a fuss.

I think I need Jenna Dickson to host and plan all my parties in the future!  This will be a party the kids will remember forever!  Jenna, have you ever thought of starting a party business?  Bet you could make a small fortune if you didn't die of exhaustion first!  Matt, thanks for all the pictures.  They are priceless!

Thanks a million,