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Friday, November 22, 2013

Adoption, Debt, and Ethan's Birthday!

Even while in Ethiopia meeting the boys, we knew we wanted to adopt again.  We would have been out of debt last year probably if it hadn't been for the many, numerous repairs we had to do to the house.  Ok, that being said, Aaron wants to get completely out of debt before we turn in our adoption paperwork and get on the waiting list. 
It just seemed impossible that we would get out of debt anytime soon. No matter how hard we try, and it is going down. By the end of this month we will have paid down $4200 since August, but so much to go. 
Without going into it too much, we have decided to get our paperwork done ASAP and get on the waiting list. I really, really need to have it done by Jan 14, because the notary at our doctor's office notary expires then. That would mean having to go back to the doctor to get this filled out again, which is ALWAYS a big ta-do.  I am hoping to have it done by the first week of December.  I have almost all of the papers filled out and ready to go down to the bank to be notarized.  We are waiting for our 3 referrals to be done and I told them that I would like them by Thanksgiving.  Nothing in our dossier can be dated after our cover page is notarized. Once everything is perfect, and I mean perfect, we will send our notarized cover page to the capital to be state certified.  Then we can get our stuff sent in to the agency.  The prediction of a referral of a baby girl is approx. 9-10 months. Of course, that could speed up or slow down. Plus, that will give us 9-10 months of paying off more debt.  And fundraising and applying for grants. 
We had a grand total of $38,000 of receipts for our adoption fees for the boys (100% worth it)  Plus I would guess 2000-4000 in stuff we did not get receipts for. 
Now with Ethiopia, we should only have to make 1 longer trip, which should shave about $8000 off those fees.  And if we only get one child this time (haven't 100% decided yet) that would shave another $8000, which brings my estimate down to $22,000..  Wow, I hope that's right.  Anyway, before you freak out about the fees....
#1 These children have a soul.  Souls are worth it.  Most people here spend more on a stupid, non-eternal vehicle than they are willing to spend to help a soul.
#2 Should people like social workers who do your home study, agency workers who match you with a child, help you with your paperwork, pick you up in country, etc, airlines who get you across the world and back, etc.  Should all these people do this for free because adoption is a good thing?  They deserve to be paid too.
#3 If you were to birth a baby here in the US, I can about bet that your hospital bill before insurance would probably match an adoption.  So adoption is kind of like having a child without health insurance. 
On a different note ...
Today is Ethan's 3rd birthday.  He is excited.  We are having a party for both he and Seth tonight.  Yes, I am that Mom that takes shortcuts  and cheapcuts when having parties. I will admit it. So, in order to make it easier for me around the holidays, we are combining the parties.  Seth's birthday is on 12/23 and Ethan's is 11/22.  So, Aaron's parents and my mom are coming over for supper and cake tonight and presents.  That's it. 
I went to 3 stores last week looking for some kind of toppers to put on cupcakes.  Thomas the Tank Engine for Ethan and Spiderman for Seth> Could not find anything, so I finally looked in 4 different places in Walmart.  Finally went to the cake section and asked the lady where to buy them. She asked how many I wanted. I said 5-10 each. She sold me 12 cupcake toppers of Thomas and 12 of Spiderman for .88c a dozen. So I bought some cheap cakes and white icing.  And the girls have spent all morning decorating cupcakes. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Debt Paydown

Well, since we started our budgeting and paying off debt, we have paid off approx. $3300.  Since August.  Not as much as I would like, but better than adding to debt, which seemed like we were doing before starting our debt snowball.
I hope to pay even more each month. When we started, on top of our debt, we also had went into the hole in July pretty badly.  I was cancelled 5 days in a row, AND we had to pay out around $1400 for home study and USCIS.  So, it took at least a month to recover from that, then start paying down debt.  Finally, in the next few months, IF we don't have unexpected bills, I can really start putting most of my paychecks toward debt.
For instance, I went to the dentist last week.  And found out I had two small cavities and needed a cap on a tooth.   Thankfully, I was able to pay cash for it today, but that's  $400 I couldn't pay to debt like I had hoped to. 
I was cancelled from work yesterday, but should be able to work tomorrow and Friday, unless the census goes down again.
3 days working a week, plus homeschooling is hard and I know that Dave Ramsey would probably tell me to get a 2nd job, and I am tempted, especially when I get cancelled a lot, but I really don't think I could do it. Thankfully, we are making good time with our school days!  I am hoping to get to at least Day 90 by the end of the year!  And if we happened to get done early, I could maybe work a 2nd PRN job for a while. However, usually census is lower in summer and I get cancelled even more. We'll see with holidays taking up some of our school days.
We went camping last weekend with our Sunday school class.
We had a great time.  It was cold,...Lows in the high 30s.  High of around 61 on Sunday.  I had budgeted for the camping trip.  I am tempted to not do anything fun until the debt is gone, however, with 5 kids, it isn't really fair to them to completely take away good times, so I choose to do the cheapest possible.  Camping is pretty cheap!  I did have to buy some more sleeping bags.  We had sleeping bags for all 7 of us that are supposed to keep you warm down to 30 degrees.  And they work. I was not cold at all once I got into the sleeping bag at night.  Now getting out of the sleeping bag in the morning when you could see your breath was a different story....
However, the girls slept in a tent directly across from ours.  We put a boy on each side of us and whenever we woke up through the night (which you do a lot while camping) Aaron or I would reach over and make sure the boys were warm, they stayed warm and slept good too.  It was a great weekend.  I love being outdoors. So that was our cheap family vacation this year. Our class talked of doing it again in the spring, so our next cheap vacation should be even cheaper, since we have all of the equipment needed, and all we should have to pay for next time is the campsite and food.

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's not rocket science, but do libraries figure their fines...

I will back up a month or two.  We started going to a larger library about 3 months ago. If you homeschool, you really need a good library... At least we do and we depend upon it heavily.  We nearly go past this larger library every Monday on the way to our Co-op, so we take a slight detour on the way home and stop by.  
Back in the first week of October, we went to the library.  I knew that I had not brought all of our books back that we had checked out our last trip.  So as we were checking out, I asked the librarian to renew all of our books.  She said "your books aren't due until October 21, do you still want me to renew them?" 
I told her "no" because I knew we would be back before that date and didn't worry about it.   Fast forward to Oct. 15th, 8 days later,(because they were closed for a holiday the 14th.)  I go to check out and the librarian tells me I owe $8 in fees.  I am dumbfounded about how in the world I could have racked up those fees when just the week before I was told I didn't have any books due until the 21st.  So I paid and then asked to talk to the manager/main librarian etc. 
I told her that I specifically remember the conversation of the week before and how I didn't have any books due until the 21st blah blah blah. I went over the whole thing of how I tried to renew, but was told I didn't need too (come to find out, I had about 6-8 books that were due ON the day the librarian told me I didn't need to renew).  I could tell that the librarian thought I was just a lying loser instead of someone with a legitimate complaint.
She did refund my money, but pretty much acted like I was an idiot and indicated that from now on the money would not be refunded because I should renew online.  I left feeling dirty and lowdown when I wasn't the one who made the mistake!
Ok, so at that point, according to them, all my books were renewed, I didn't have anything due until 3 weeks from that day, which would be tomorrow! 
This morning, I was a good little library patron and looked up my stuff online to renew all of my books, MYSELF, like I was told to do, thinking that all of my stuff was due tomorrow.  Well, there in front of my were 8 books due on the 28th that the library web site would NOT let me renew. So I go in there today and come to find out, I had books due last week, that they told me, AGAIN, they had renewed and would not be due for 3 weeks instead of 2 weeks.
So, I paid my >$10 fine and I am really mad because I know that I can't be so stupid that I can't figure out these library fee schedule. It seems so simple when I read it, but apparently is so complex, that I can't seem to figure it out.
One other reason for going to this library.  I had crazy high fees at the other library closer to us.  Could not figure out how they were going up so high when I had been renewing and paying small fees.  I have not been back since, but back in the summer or before I paid such a high fee I don't want to say it on here.   I couldn't get a straight answer where it came from etc.  I supposedly renewed everything for another 3 weeks.... Then I sent the girls in alone less than 3 weeks later and my fee was now 30$ . I haven't been back. I don't trust them. How in the world can I not have books due, yet somehow rack up 30$ of fees.????? 
See, apparently this complex math just flies over my head.  Is it just the county I live in??

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Will a dog ever work out?

I was working last Wed.  I work 7a-7p, which really means, I have to clock in at 6:45 and don't clock out until 7:15pm.  My cell phone has terrible coverage in the hospital and normally I can only get text messages in the breakroom, near the window.  I don't carry my cell phone at work anyway, it stays in my purse. I happened to put it in my pocket around 7pm for the drive home and was sitting at the nurses desk waiting for the other nurse to give report when it vibrated.  Aaron had sent me the following text message "Chloe (our dog) is loose in the church parking lot."
For a split second, I was wondering why in the world Aaron took Chloe to church with him.  He hates the dog.  I tried to call him and remembered that he had already gone into class by that point.  I figured that somehow the dog snuck into the car and no one realized it until it was too late to turn back and make it to church on time.  I found out later that I was right.
I left work and decided to head over to the church building on my way home.  Long story short, Natalie and I stayed for a while after until the parking lot cleared out looking for her.  Never found her, but we did tell a few lingering people that we were looking for our dog and described her.
I thought we'd never see her again.
Well, Friday afternoon, I was working again and Aaron calls me to let me know some people at church had found her and taken her home Wed. night and just found out we were looking for our dog.
They had already taken her to the vet, when they thought she was a stray.  So Aaron told them I would pick her up on Saturday.  I was so stressed out and a little depressed. Why, because I knew that I would owe these people money for a vet bill, plus I was already going to have to pay to have her fixed next month. I didn't have the money budgeted for that and I was sad to have to pay out more money. I wasn't mad at them for taking her to the vet, I was just mad at the situation.  Ugh!
Long story short, I called the man who had Chloe Saturday before I headed to his town for some other errands to see if he was going to be around.  He said he was coming to our town and would bring her by, so I agreed to that. He also said that his wife just loved Chloe and if we ever needed to get rid of her, they would take her.
I got off the phone and asked the family if they really really wanted her. Of course, no one really cared. So I called him back real quick and told him to keep her if he wanted. He was so excited and offered to pay me for her!
While on the phone I remembered that I had prayed about whether or not to keep Chloe just the week before. She bit Ethan, didn't even break the skin, but did leave indentions.  I had no idea what happened and could not get the full story from Ethan
"Ethan, why did Chloe bite you?"
Ethan "because she did"
Went round and round with that for a while.  So I couldn't blame her for biting him if he fell on her, or pulled her tail, etc.  But if she had just bitten him for no reason, it would probably happen again. I feel good about giving her away, but sad that I don't have an inside dog anymore.
Aaron told me Sunday "I'm glad you cook better than you raise dogs"  something like that. It was funny. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Weird sickness.

Lots has been going on here, although I seem to be in a funk for the last week or so.  Feeling sick off and on.  I am starting to think that #1 I ate some soy protein and didn't realize it or #2 the egg whites I have been eating for weeks is catching up to me.  I have been miserable.
I wasn't feeling too great Friday at the end of my 12 hour shift, came home and went to bed> I was having real bad heartburn, chest achiness that comes with my real bad heartburn.  I went to 2 soccer games Saturday, feeling pretty sick.  Nothing helps a nauseated belly better than sitting in full sun for over two hours... I felt horrid by the time soccer was over...
Aaron was at Madelyn's game 30 min. away, while I had Natalie and Hannah and thank goodness, Mom watched the boys.
I had the abdomen aching, whole body aching like I do when I eat soy.  And nausea.  YUCK!  I ended up still feeling bad on Saturday night and called in sick Sunday. I felt only slightly better Sunday and was thankful I called in.  I might have been able to make it 12 hours, but probably not.  Aaron took the kids to church and ended up coming home after class before church because he was feeling sick himself, which led me to believe I had a touch of the stomach bug, and I had given it to him.
I felt pretty well Monday. I was happy and thinking that I was over whatever it was.  I was cancelled Monday because of low census, so I didn't have to work that day either. I went ahead and signed up to work Tuesday, hoping to make up for days missed. However, they cancelled me Tuesday too and I am sooo glad. I felt great that morning.  Aaron and I took the kids to the library, then to the park. After about 1 1/2 hr at the park, I felt so sick, I couldn't wait to get home. Came straight home and went upstairs and alternated between lying in the bed feeling sick and sitting in the bathroom feeling sick.  So achy.
I felt fine Tuesday morning and ate egg whites that Aaron made for my breakfast.  Then after lunch, I felt horrid for a few hours Tuesday. I would have had to have come home early if I had went to work.  I was sick! No vomiting. It is the strangest symptoms. 
I woke up this morning, feeling pretty well. Excited that I was finally over it. I felt good, but was a little worried this afternoon that although I had not eaten hardly anything, I had no appetite and was not real hungry.  Still, no worries.  I had to make brownies for 40 people for a dinner at church tonight and had to deliver them by 5.  I got them done and Natalie and I went to church. I dropped them off at 4:30 then went straight to Aldi.  I got about 3/4 way through Aldi and started feeling horrible again. So nauseated, stomach aching, awful. I was like "hurry up, Natalie, I have to get home"  Ugh, then of course the 20min. drive home. I went straight to the bathroom and took some pepto - yuck!.  Sat upstairs for a while feeling like vomiting again, aching all in my abdomen again, then came downstairs about 30 min. later.  Aaron had brought in all the groceries and sorted it all in the pantry.  he's so sweet.
So he took all the kids but Hannah to church while I lied on the couch with a heating pad wrapped around my abdomen and Hannah and I watched Duck Dynasty.   Finally, I had enough pain and aching. I took 1/2 a lortab I had leftover from a root canal and about 20 min later, I was feeling sooo much better, hungry all of a sudden, and was able to eat supper. It has worn off now, and I barely ache, so it isn't over, but much better. 
This is my life with soy protein (and possibly eggs?  I can't think of anything I have eaten that could have had soy protein in it, I am always reading labels. ) 
Oh well, when I do slip up and eat soy, I am usually sick off and on for about 2 weeks, so this is following that pattern. Normally, each time I feel sick it lasts a shorter amount of time.  Hopefully, I won't get sick at work on Friday.
Aaron has had a weird schedule since the govt. shutdown.  Working some one day, nothing the next. Who knows.  I hope he at least gets paid for what he worked during the shutdown. That is why I have been trying to get all 3 days in each week at work, since Aaron may not get paid for a while.  So, we have stopped paying extra on debt and only been paying minimum until Aaron starts getting a paycheck. It has been nice seeing Aaron more each day. I love being with him, although he is a worker and doesn't like being at home all day. He has washed so much dishes, laundry, I think he is ready to get back to working. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Soccer games, Co op, and Sunburns

We are taking a break from school.  Kids are outside, and I just ate lunch. It is still pretty humid and hot here today, but thankfully, our yard is full of trees and the shade they provide makes it a little cooler. 
We had a great day at co op yesterday. The way it is set up, each mom can leave their children every other week. I had planned on staying every week, since
#1 We are too far from our house for me to drop the kids off and go home. 
#2 I could go shopping, but we have no money just to go shopping for the fun of it.
#3 I really don't know the area well at all and what to do there. I actually take our GPS every time I go since we drive close to a big city.  If I were to come upon a wreck or detour, I would be totally lost without it.
Anyway, yesterday, Farrah (the mom I went to college with)  told me to leave the kids and get some time alone.  She needed me to finish the kindergarten class for her at 10:50, her daughter had a doctor's appt.   So I left and went to a library about a 1/2 mile down the road. I happened to bring my coupon stuff and ads from Sunday, so I found a table and sat down. I had uninterrupted coupon time for over an hour.  And it just happens that Kroger is having a good sale where if you buy 5 of a bunch of stuff (mix and match) each time you buy 5 of them you get $5 off.  I had lots of coupons for these things too, which made them even cheaper.  I am working 3 days in a row this week and had scarce amount of food, so I went ahead and went shopping last night.  Got home around 9:15pm.    I think the total before I gave them my Kroger card and the coupons was $260 and the total afterwards was around $171.  Hopefully that will last until next weekend. We will see. Of course I already see things I forgot, like coffee creamer and diet cokes, you know the essentials.
I had a dream last night that someone gave us an anonymous check for $99,000.  Oh well, it was a nice dream.  I was going to pay off our debt AND completely pay for our adoption, plus some leftover.
Natalie had 2 soccer games Saturday, Madelyn had one and Hannah had one 30 min. away.  Aaron almost always goes to the away games and I stay here with the others. He came back and was able to watch most of Natalie's 2nd game and most of Madelyn's game. Long story short, I was at the soccer fields from 10:00 until 1:00pm.  I applied sunscreen TWICE!  However, my pale, pale skin and 2 applications of sunscreen was no match for the sun.  I got a rather small patch of burn on my shoulder, but the worst was the tops of my legs and fronts of my shins.  Whew it was bad.  Still hurts to take  a shower and to touch.  The first day, anytime I walked or squatted, I think the skin over my legs stretched and hurt so bad.  So much so I really felt awful Saturday night and all day Sunday> don't know if it was related to the burn or not.  And this explains why I appreciate the beauty of the beach and God's oceans, but I do not enjoy going there.  It seems I cannot go there without coming home with a miserable burn, no matter how much I apply sunscreen. And...who likes to put lotion all over her body multiple times when you are hot and sweaty.  Give me the mountains and shade any day.   Thankfully, mom watched the boys during Natalie's first game, I left the big girls at the soccer fields and went the 3 miles to pick up the boys and come back and they sat with me during Madelyn's game. I ended up taking them home during the last quarter of Madelyn's game. We were in full sun and I was really not feeling well already.
Madelyn took all these pictures while they were outside a few minutes ago.  Painting the driveway with soapy water.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our new Co-op is going well.  We have only been twice, because we did not meet on Labor Day.  The girls really seem to enjoy it and I think that since they are making friends, they won't be so forlorn about stopping the other co op.  Madelyn is the oldest kid being in 7th grade.   I taught the kindergarten and below class last week with a helper.  I think there were 9 of them. They were all well behaved.   Seth and Ethan both go into the kindergarten and preschool class and they have really enjoyed it too.  There are some cute little children there that the girls love playing with.  I am so proud of how my girls take care of little ones.
We are still working our debt snowball.   I really want to use the adoption agency we used last time.  This agency will be closing in the next year or two when it finishes the adoptions of all those who have signed up with them.  So I am really wanting to get the debt paid off within a year.  Without Aaron going on a fire, I just don't know if we can do it. Aaron makes a lot of extra when he goes on a fire.  He considered going on a marking detail.  If he did this, he would be gone about 16 day.  2 days travel there and back and 14 days straight of 12 hours shifts. Which would make extra money.  But we roughly figured out how much extra he would get and it is not much more if any more than I would make - working my 3  12 hour shifts a week.  In a perfect world, I could do my 3 12 hour shifts AND Aaron could go on a marking detail and we would make even more. However, we are in the midst of soccer season, which means someone is practicing every Mon, Tues, Thur, and Fri, from 5-7pm and sometimes 1 hr on Sat morning.  Now we are starting games some evenings and Saturdays.  Bad thing is, each game day, at least one of the girls plays in a different city, which if Aaron was out of town, would be impossible for me to be at one game and at the away games at the same time.  Soccer ends at the end of October.
Soccer also poses a dilemma for me getting hours in a work.  I normally would work Saturdays, but can't when the games start up.  Which makes it even harder to get my 2-3 days in. I have been considering getting a school day in on Saturday afternoons.  Since I won't be working that day.  I could also get a school day in on Monday afternoons too, after co-op. I do count co-op as a school day.  Don't know yet.  But I am not real stressed about it, since this is the very reason we start school in the summer time.  We are already on day 33.
I have not done so well on the grocery part of my budget.  I was so proud because the first 4 weeks we did this budget, I only spent $570 on groceries and our goal was less than $600.  I think I went over by only $5 the next two weeks and maybe $10-15 after that.  However, we still have 8 days left in our 2 week budget and I only have $25 left to spend on groceries and I really, really don't think we can make it on that.  I kept wondering how I did so well the first month. I figured it out... I had a freezer with lots of meat in it and lots of food in the pantry when we started, so in a way I started out very well stocked.  We have really pared that down now and so it is getting harder and harder. Especially with me working 3 days a week this month.  Easier meals means more expensive meals.  I really need to bulk up on casserole meals and then everyone can just eat leftovers while I am at work. Oh well, I will try not to beat myself up too awful bad... Even with going over budget by $5-$25 I think I still saved on average at least $300 month on groceries.
I did sign up for Dave Ramsey's   I don't do the budget on there since we do 2 week budgets, but I do keep up with our debt snowball on it. It is pretty neat and calculates, with using only the debt snowball and not any extra payments, when your debt will be paid off.  That should change as you put in different extra payments. Right now it has us getting our debt paid off in Dec. 2016 which is way to far away. I am still shooting for next summer.  We'll see.  We did manage to pay $2000 off in August!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Found dog!

Don't I feel silly.  The last time I saw Chloe, we had come home from Mom's this morning.  That was around 9am.  So we just went outside to take a walk and I was getting some bug spray out of the van.  I opened the door and here comes Chloe.  She had been in the car all day.  She's lucky it was a cooler day here in Alabama. Very happy!

Something is fishy or we have terrible luck with pets.

When we moved into this house a little over a year ago, we brought our dog Princess, who looks like a yellow lab mix, and our 3 cats - Cotton, Lily, and Calico.
Cotton and Lily hate each other (even thought they are mother and daughter).  So as soon as we moved in, Lily moved to the woods behind our house and I see her about once a month scurrying through the woods. Cotton and Calico liked each other and hung out on either the front or back porch together all the time.
Then  about 5 or 6 months ago, I went to the pound in search of an inside dog.  Princess will NOT come inside without us dragging her while she shakes in fear.  So we found this cute little pug mix and named him Frodo.  He was not a puppy and such a sweet dog. I loved him.  Then one day he was outside and we never saw  him again.  Don't know what happened to him. Saw no trace of him, he just disappeared.
I waited a month or two and we went back to the pound and got a dachshund mix puppy and named her Chloe.  She has been more of a pain due to her scratching doors and whining at night. Thankfully we have a 2 story house with a basement and when she is in the basement we can't hear her in our bedroom.  I love that dog too.  And I haven't seen her since 8:30 this morning.  Which doesn't sound bad except that every time we open the door, she comes in, then if we open the door she shoots out, back and forth 100 times a day. Always ready to go in or out. 
About a month ago, I worked 2 days in a row and didn't notice until the end of the 2nd day that I hadn't seen Cotton or Calico.  Who normally are under my feet trying to trip me whenever I go in or out of the house. And 2 of Cotton's kittens had died, probably of dehydration/starvation.  One was still alive and we tried to save it with no luck. 
Never saw a trace of either cat. 
I don't know what is going on, but it is weird.
Princess is still here.  Lily has made an appearance a few times since her rival Cotton is gone.  I don't know.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Camping and Co op

The girls went on vacation with Aaron's parents to Pigeon Forge last weekend.
After this was already planned and hotels booked, our class at church decided to go on a camping trip about 3 hours away.  We decided to just take the boys camping and let the girls go on their vacation.
We had a great time. Aaron and I used to camp back when we first got married and lived in the mountains of NC.   We had not camped together since I was pregnant with Madelyn 13 years ago. 
We had a great time.  Pretty cheap vacation.  And now that we have camped with kids, we want to do it again.  It wasn't too bad.
The worst part was that it started raining at 9:30 Sat. night and rained almost all night.  Therefore, all of our stuff was muddy and wet. 
I think that our camping buddies from church also set a record.  Apparently, the campground doesn't have a limit on the number of tents on each campsite and they managed to fit 11 tents on 3 campsites.  We only had 2 on ours.  It was pretty crowded, but soo much fun getting to know everyone.
The boys did wonderful. I guess they were so worn out that they both slept great the first night, all night long.  We had 12 Boy Scouts as neighbors.  Not good.  #1 they took our soccer ball from our camp and we finally got it back the next morning when we saw it at their campsite. #2 they all got up at 6am and were SCREAMING at the playground next to our campsite.  Not just playing, but screaming, constantly. After about 30 min. one of the ladies with them finally told them to be quiet, and of course, they weren't.  BOO to this Boy Scout troop! But even the Boy Scouts didn't wake the boys up.  Then they took a 4 hour nap in the tent on Saturday afternoon. We let them sleep, thinking we would be up late Saturday night.  But then the rain came at 9:30 and everyone went to their tents. Even with the long naps, the boys went to sleep pretty quick.
The worst part was trudging to the bathroom every time the boys needed to go.
At one point, Ethan had hardly drank and Aaron had just taken him 15 min. before.   Well, we were eating lunch with our friends who shared our camping spot.  Ethan and Seth were sitting in their lawn chairs eating (Ethan apparently can't handle sitting at a picnic table with not back, since he fell so much we banned him) So Ethan comes and says he has to pee. Seemed like each time the boys got bored, then all of a sudden they have to pee. So I told him to wait, I would take him later.  Well, a few min. later I look over to Ethan sitting in his chair with a very concentrating look on his face.  I said "Ethan, what are you doing?"   He said "I'm Peeing".  And sure enough, he peed a river.  OOPS.
And the boys also got their first yellow jacket stings.  Ethan got it first right under the eye and started screaming.  Aaron saw him flick the bee away so he knew what had happened. About the time I picked him up, Seth got it on the back of the ear.  So he commenced to screaming. It wasn't funny that they got stung.  The funny part was that Seth's ear swelled up so big it looked like a cartoon ear.  unhuman.  Ethan's eye swelled some, but not near as much as Seth.
We went to our new co op yesterday. I think it went well. I also think as it grows and expands, it will get better.  I will probably write more later, but right now I am wasting dishwashing time.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I exercise.  I know by looking at me, it is hard to believe, but I actually do.
I do it for health and  I do it so that I will be healthy for my husband and children.
I would do it to lose weight, but apparently that doesn't work for me.
For instance, a few months ago, for at least 6 weeks straight and it might have been longer, I walked/ellipticaled/exercised for 1.5 hrs a day at least 4 days a week.  Not one pound lost!  Not one!  However, towards the end of that 6 weeks, my triglycerides were down 30 points from a year ago.  They aren't really high now, but they were slightly elevated before.  And that was my only abnormal lab.
I had been doing the MOVE series off .  This is a website I LOVE!. 
Joining a gym is out for us.  It costs too much money and I just don't have 2 hrs a day to devote to driving there, working out, extra shower, driving home, etc. and I know I just wouldn't want to leave the family every night to go work out, IF I could even fit it into my schedule.
I saw an article about a month ago and I don't remember where, so I can't link to it.  But it made a point that cardio is good, but you have to have weight training to build muscle to lose weight.   The article also said that if you go to a gym, the overweight people are trudging along on the ellipticals, treadmills, etc, while the ripped, thin people are on the weights. Hmm!  He did have a point. 
And when I was thin in college, I did lift weights, (in addition to playing every intramural sport, running, and going to the fitness center almost daily)
There is  a section on Daily Burn that is call Tactical Body Weight Training or TBT. Aaron had been doing these, but I hadn't.  It is an intense workout where you use your weight as the weight to build muscle. I have been doing it at least 4 weeks.  I could tell a difference in my arm strength after two weeks.  I can really tell a difference after 4 weeks.  Have I lost weight.?  Why no, of course not, that would be too typically human to exercise and lose weight. I have to be atypical.
But I do like feeling stronger.  My legs have always been my strongest.  Seriously, before I even started this I could do 10 squats with Aaron on my back.  And carry Aaron on my back up the stairs without breaking  a sweat.  ( I know, weird ways to occupy ourselves) He weighs 155.
But I can tell a difference with my legs too.
A huge plus that I was not expecting...
About a year ago, my calves, ankles and feet started swelling.  not too bad, and probably not even enough that a person that didn't know what my legs looked like before would notice.  But I noticed. It would be really bad after working 12 hour shifts. I know some of that is normal, to swell a little.  My doctor went ahead and did an Echocardiogram to rule out heart issues.  Heart was normal!  So she put me on this little diuretic pill. Which I did not want to take, but I do.
It was dependent edema, caused by gravity.   For instance, the week I had bronchitis, my legs were the smallest they had been in months. no swelling at all because I had been in bed and not on my feet.
Well, back to the benefit of this weight training exercises... I started noticing that my ankles and feet were smaller.  All this building of calf muscles is promoting better circulation in my legs and I have even skipped my pills a few times because I didn't need them. Soon, I expect I can throw that prescription away!
All this to say that I am sore.  I had a weird 2 day summer cold last week, couldn't exercise, then I worked 2 12 hr shifts, which exhaust me, had a headache one day and was just plain lazy another, which all ended in me skipping a week of TBT.  I started back two days ago. I hadn't lost all my strength, but OH am I sore.  But it is a good sore, that perhaps I will work out today.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Aaron and I have a ministry out of our own home.  It is to raise our 5 children to be on fire for God.  To be more than church attenders and good people.  Our ministry is to school our children.  Our ministry is to raise as many children as we can.  Children who would have no hope without parents and a family.  I have realized that part of this ministry is to pay off our debt so we can adopt again, which requires me to work a lot.
At this time in my life, I have a lot going on. I realize that we could all say that. 
I have 5 children. 
I am homeschooling these children.
We are starting to get full swing into fall soccer.
And back to our ministry.  We both realized that with all this debt hanging over our heads....leftover from the adoptions, house repairs, and our car...that we can't adopt again or help any more children until it is gone.
Why, because I would have to work even more if we added more adoption debt to what we already have.  Probably full time, which I could get in 3   12 hour shifts a week, which leaves me exhausted for the rest of the week.   And very stressed out and irritable.  Aaron and I dream of how nice it would be for me to only work 3 days a month ( which is my minimum) and be home the rest of the time.  With time and mental energy to relax and enjoy life instead of stressing so much.  If we get rid of this debt I and fundraise for the next adoption, I should be able to work minimal hours.
Here we are to the point of all this...
I don't need another thing to stress about.  I don't need another responsibility.  And when I tell you nicely, that I don't want that other responsibility, don't ask me to do it again.  And when I tell you nicely again, that I am not taking over that other responsibility, don't call on a Saturday, put my husband on the spot (who was there BOTH times I said no) and wrangle him into doing it, thereby wrangling me into doing it.
Do you realize that I have 2  45 min sections of time every week, that I can sit down, listen to a Bible lesson, with people my own age, and mingle with Christians my own age and NOT have a child in my lap or trying to get my attention and distract me from worship and study.  THAT IS IT!  1.5 hrs a week for this if you count Wed. night and Sun. morning . 
Unlike all the retired people at church, all the people whose children are teens and can take care of themselves for a few hours, all these people could easily have friends over to their house for uninterrupted chat time or Bible study or supper.   We can't!  And I am not complaining that we can't.  I love a big family.  However, esp. on Sunday mornings, that 45 min that I sit in class without interruptions, after getting 5 kids ready for church and driving 20 min. is such a blessing to me.
And someone wants to take that away from me.  Ahh!
I know that it isn't as personal as I am taking it, but AHHH!!!.
So Sunday morning, instead of looking forward to going to worship and class, I had to pray and bite back bitterness and irritability.
That apparently, you can't politely tell anyone no.
I don't like this position I have been put in.  Someone asks nicely.  I, knowing that while we are paying off this debt, I am stressed to the max, that I can't handle 3 year olds on Sunday morning and I really do need that 45 min. class. So I tell him no.
The next week, because the teacher is late again, perhaps not showing up, he asks again, I tell him no again.
And then 2 weeks later, he calls the house on a Saturday, asking Aaron to fill in the next day, and being put on the spot, Aaron says yes. 
I don't know how to say NO again without being rude.  And I feel mad because I have been nice twice and he won't take NO for an answer and I know that next time when I am rude, then I will look and feel bad, when if he would just take NO for an answer I wouldn't be put in this position.
Seriously, what makes you continue to ask the person at church with the most kids to teach over and over when they say NO?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Got my 12 hours in on Friday and Saturday.  The pickings at home for meals were scarce and didn't leave much choice. However, Aaron looked on the bright side and said that it was easier to not have many choices and to just cook the minimal food that was there.  When you see firsthand what other people have to eat just to survive in other countries, you realize you have no right to complain when there is plenty of clean, fresh food you can eat, you just may not get to eat what you want to that day.  Anyway, I had a grocery list that was going to send me to Aldi and Kroger, since there were a few things on my list that are unavailable at Aldi. Like rice milk, kale, and a few other things.
I remembered that Kroger had sent me some coupons in the mail. I dug those out and had a lot of coupons for things that were on my list including free eggs and peanut butter, and other things that were cheaper at Kroger with these coupons they sent. So I ended up going at 8pm last night when I got off work. The girls went with me and we got home about 9. I was feeling pretty good when I left the house, but was feeling pretty awful by the time I got home.  But I survived.
I had a small list for Aldi, so Aaron agreed to drop me and Natalie off on the way home from church, go get gas, then come back and pick us up and go home. This was very hard because we are always starving.  But we all had a cheese stick on the way home to get us by until lunch.
I am proud of myself with our new budget.  I added the food up today, as we put it in the cart, knowing that I had $75 left in our 2 week budget for food.  We even put some items back because I really didn't want to go over.  But, alas, I ended up spending $77 today.
We started this budget almost 4 weeks ago. Our goal is $600 total in groceries every 4 weeks (we really do 2 week budgets, so $300 every 2 weeks)  I ended up spending around $575 on groceries - $270 the first 2 weeks and $305 this past 2 weeks.  That includes paper products, cleaning products, etc.  It can be done! 
The girls are leaving Thursday with Aaron's parents to go to Pigeon Forge.  I know they are going to the Titantic museum. Not sure what else they have planned, but I am sure they will have a great time.  I think I will try to get 3 school days in this week before they go.  We are on day 20 I think.  So we have somewhat of a headstart.  That will give us a  buffer for sickness, me working, vacations, etc.
Think I will go back to bed. I was in bed for a while and couldn't sleep. Now for a 2nd try.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

We went to our new Co-op meeting yesterday at one of the member's houses.  It was at 1pm about 40 min. away.  But even at 1pm and the boys missing their naps, they did real well. The house was very big and plenty of space for the 25+ kids to run around and play. There was a play room right next to where we were meeting where I told the boys to stay and they did real well.  Only slept for about 20 min. on the way home, so they got to go to bed at 8pm.  They don't normally stay up much past 8pm, and surprisingly, Ethan wasn't too whiny.  We didn't leave until 4pm and because of rush hour traffic, didn't get home until after 5pm. 
I am terrible to always 2nd guess myself.  I feel confident in this change, however, I don't want to really get into the reasons for it with everyone that asks me. I think this will work out well.  The girls seemed to enjoy playing yesterday.  It is just so hard to leave old friends.  Myself included. I started thinking yesterday of the few moms at our hold Co-op that have adopted, or are fostering and how nice it was to talk with them each Friday. There, I do it again, start 2nd guessing.  Like Aaron said, the decision has been made, go with it.
The girls have struggled with it too.   I reminded them that when we changed churches a few years ago, the girls were upset.  And for a while really missed the old place, but soon enough, they all at some point, made it a point to tell us that they were glad that we changed. 
We only did one day of school this week. I planned to do 4, but Tuesday, I ended up working 7-4.  Yesterday, I really didn't want to rush around before we went to the meeting and today, I think we will enjoy the summer a little and go to the splash pad before it storms this afternoon.  It has rained a lot this summer and that means a lot of inside time.
Seems like it is always time to go to the grocery store.  Ugh!  I might go today, if I can work on my list at the splash pad. I am working 12 hours the next two days, so I can't go then. Then we get into Sundays, which are sooo busy. Aldi is on our way home from church.  About 2 miles from church, about 15 miles from our house, so it takes up all afternoon to drive back after coming home and eating, then back home again, then back to church again.  Perhaps, if I have my list ready, Aaron would be willing to stop on the way home from church. Bad thing is, we are all starving by the time church is over, it would be hard to have to stop at the store.  We'll  see.  We went through 7 boxes of cereal since the last grocery run.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Saving money on groceries!

I was so sleepy after working 2 12 hr. shifts that I went to bed around 9pm last night. I could hardly stay awake. Of course that meant I was up at 5:45am.  I am also fighting allergies/cold/ or sinus infection. Not 100% sure which.  I woke up stopped up yesterday morning and my head was clogged all day. I  took a Claritin this morning and I am starting to feel slightly better.  Natalie was having a leftover "I didn't drink enough water" camp stomach ache and was lying on the couch alternating between moaning and sleeping before church, so we decided to stay home.
Actually, we took advantage of the no tax on school supplies and went to Wal-Mart to get her something to help her stomach get back to normal and I went ahead and spent my $50 I had budgeted for school supplies this week. I hope I got enough for the whole year.  You can get a lot of school supplies for $50.  Walmart is pretty empty on Sunday mornings.
Not much else planned for today other than church tonight and the older girls have a devotional afterward.  Hoping my head will clear up enough to do my exercises.
I also wrote the checks for the rest of the bills due in this 2 week budget.  Since Aaron got paid yesterday.  Looking at the bright side, I have enjoyed this challenge of staying in the budget.  I am such a nerd.
I am spending SOOOOO much less money on groceries. I don't even know how much I was spending before, but I am know that I am saving at least $200 a month, possibly up to $400 a month.  .
This is by making a detailed menu of 7 dinners and desserts, making a detailed grocery list from this menu, adding breakfasts and Aaron's lunches to the grocery list, shopping at Aldi and only getting what is on the list.  I make the "hard" dishes on the days I am home.  Normally, I would buy a lot of premade, processed food, easy to make for Aaron while I am at work. I save the easy dishes and leftovers for Aaron to make or cook. He can follow any recipe if he wanted, but his goal is easy and the least amt of time in the kitchen. I love to cook, so it works out good that way for us. I also take all leftovers for my lunches at work.  I have to take a lot, since I leave the house at 6am and arrive home at 8pm at the earliest. Even eating in the cafeteria at work at a discounted employee price adds up.
Aaron went to Aldi with me Friday.  He was amazed that the full grocery cart was only $151.  I am too lazy to do a price comparison, but guess that I probably save about $50 shopping there when I fill up the cart. The bad thing about Aldi is that they don't carry everything.  For example, rice milk, I have to go elsewhere.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Bit of Irony

I forgot to post about this earlier.
I had mentioned that we were changing home school co-ops and one of the reasons was because the girls hardly got any of their classes that they wanted.  The reason I knew this was because the Co-op had sent out the list of classes that had filled up on Monday (our sign up date was Tuesday morning).  Most of the girls' 1st and 2nd choices were already full. 
Like I mentioned before, I am terrible at making the final decision to stay or leave somewhere. I finally emailed both the new co-op and the old one. 
Less than an hour later, Madelyn got the mail and in it was a letter from our old co-op, with a list of the classes the girls got in.  And come to find out, Madelyn got her first choice in classes, Natalie got her first choice  in classes. Poor Hannah got 3rd choice in all her classes. So that wasn't a good excuse to leave anymore.
However, I had already sent the emails and I feel good about the decision still.  I am glad that I sent the emails before getting the mail though, because I would have really second guessed myself.

USCIS Fingerprints done

Aaron took work off today and Mom watched the 3 kids at home while Aaron and I drove to Birmingham to have our fingerprints done for USCIS.  We were only there about 10 min.  and we were done, ready to drive the 1.5 hrs back home.
Getting our USCIS fingerprints done is exciting, however a little depressing seeing how we have so long to go before affording this adoption.  But there could always be a miracle and someone pay for our adoption or somehow we pay our debt off real, real quick.

Aaron and I then went to Aldi, where I only went over by $1 on the groceries for the week.  I can make up for it next week, since we are doing 2 week budgets. Aaron HATES to go to grocery stores, but he was sweet this time with minimal irritation :)

Oh yeah, the other day when I went over all the repairs in the last year, I forgot about having to replace our hot water heater and buy all new tires for the Montero.  :(.  I knew there were things I forgot about.

I never did get finished going through our old file cabinet.  Maybe tonight.  I haven't felt real great today, so I may just lie around tonight. Working 12 hours the next two days!  Money, money!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Pictures, Changing Co-ops

Thought I would add some updated pictures since it has been SOOO long since I have added pictures of the kids.  Pictures on in birth order. 
Natalie and Hannah are at camp this week.  Madelyn chose not to go, so we have enjoyed spending alone time together this week. Something that does not happen much. Of course the boys are here, but they nap and go to bed early, so that leaves time for Madelyn and me.  She wanted to go shopping for clothes yesterday. I had to remind her that clothes were not budgeted and for a long time, we will only be buying necessities.   She is ok with that. 
We got up early and dropped the boys off at Mom's house so that Madelyn and I could go pay for our car tags today.  Last day to do it.  Madelyn kept asking me while we waited in line.  "why couldn't you just pay it at the first of the month?'"  I kept answering "because I put it off" she would ask again like I didn't understand her question and I would answer again like she didn't understand my answer.  Finally I told her I just now got the money. 
Today my plans are to sort through our filing cabinet and get rid of things we don't need, and make a few new folders.  BORING! I also plan to do my exercise.  Of course, like usual, I have not lost any weight, however, I can really tell how much stronger I am.  Mom kindly offered to let me leave the boys at her house until lunch.  It has been nice and quiet here.
She just spent 10 days in TN at my brother's house watching his kids while he and his wife went on vacation, and the boys have really missed her.  Ethan asked me almost every morning "is Grandma here?"  Mom came home Sunday and then rode with me to take the girls to camp.  All the kids went and Aaron got a quiet afternoon in the house. It was cute because I think Ethan said "I love Grandma" at least 20 times on the way there and back. 
The kids go to a homeschool co op here. We have been going to the same one since we moved to AL in 2007.  It is a good one and I don't have anything bad to say about it. It is huge with over 180 families that meet each week for different classes. I have not taught the last two years since we got the boys. Truthfully, between homeschooling and work, I really, really don't have the patience and time for it. I am already overwhelmed sometimes.  I am not complaining, I agree with their policy that if you are a teacher, then you get to sign your kids up first for their co op classes.  Well, since I don't teach, by the time I sign up, many of the classes the kids wanted to take are full.  This year being the worst.  I don't know what classes my kids made it in this year, but I know that 5 of them were full before our sign up time.  And the kids will be disappointed.  And I have been considering changing co ops at some point anyway.  And I think this will be the year to do it.  No sense in driving 35 min. each Friday to attend classes that they don't want to go to without any of their friends. Their friends can spend the night once a month and they will see them more then than the 5min. between classes and 15 min. at the end of co op before we leave.  I have found a co op that is just starting this year.  A friend I went to college with told me about it. It is the same distance away and it is affiliated with the same religion we are. You only have to commit to teaching a class every other week.  I just think it is a good time to leave. 
Aaron just asked me on the phone if I have signed up yet (deadline is tomorrow)  I told him no, even though I have made the decision, I have SUCH a hard time leaving one thing and moving on to something new.  Even if I don't like where we are, even if I am excited about the new thing, just saying the words and telling the people we are leaving is so stressful for me.  Aaron readily agreed that I did have a problem with that.  HA!  He knows me so well.  I have not told the other girls yet since they are at camp. I dread that too, but I also feel good about this change.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Change in Plans

Before we adopted the boys, we became debt free, other than our house.  Now, the debt free lasted about a week because that was what we were waiting for to send in our dossier.  It was very hard to wait until we had no debt, but I am glad we did.
We moved into this house about 15 months ago and oh the repairs we have had to do.
*Cleaned out septic tank
*Replaced collapsed sewage lines to septic tank.
*Replaced plumbing for downstairs clear to septic tank (because it was leaking into the garage)
*Replaced upstairs AC when it died
*Replaced section of ceiling in boys room, when leaking AC caused it to collapse (day after we  moved  in)
*Replaced dead microwave with cheapest one we could find
*Replaced fridge that died the day after we moved in (went to look at refrigerators at Lowes with the kids when we came home, Hannah telling me the boys ceiling was in the floor...not a good day)
*Had to buy a lawn mower for new yard (our 15 yr. old one died)
*Bought a new bed because our mattresses were so old that Aaron and I could barely move every morning, our backs hurt so bad.
*Still have not replaced our dishwasher that stopped working about 4 months ago
*And one of the biggest expenses a few weeks ago, had to spend many, many thousands to replace the AC downstairs. 
* $1,600 to our social worker and USCIS for our new adoption.

Needless to say, we still owe on a few adoption loans, have to pay for the AC, have to pay off the rest of our van, plus some credit card debt.  UGH!  I am too ashamed to say what our total owed is.

Truthfully, I was a little irritated that Aaron was wanting to wait again for us to be debt free.  Well, he said other than the house and car.  So pretty much we will get our fingerprints for USCIS this week, but plan on sitting on our home study and adoption paperwork for a LONG time, or perhaps a SHORT time if some miracle happens.

I have always felt the burden of paying off the debt myself, since, most of the time, the amount of hours I work, is how much we can pay to debt.  So I had to schedule time to work around everything else I do and truthfully, it was overwhelming, depressing, and stressful.  It seemed impossible to pay off debt when after a few month of paying it down, an expense would come that would shoot it right back up to where it was and now with our new AC, almost increase our debt by 1/3.

However, Aaron is working on the budget with me. We are setting goals of how much to spend on certain things.  It is a challenge to try to spend the least amount as possible.  It is a challenge to only buy what you need, not what you want.  But since we are working on it together and I don't feel like it is all up to me (who was failing miserably), I am actually excited about getting rid of this awful debt. I am excited to think about how much money it will free up each month. I am excited to think that when we do adopt again, I won't have to work all the time.

Perhaps Aaron will get to go on a detail.  When he goes he is normally gone for 16 days. We miss him, but it is a blessing because he usually brings home 4-5 x his normal pay with all the over

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Much Better

Well, I am feeling much better since my post last week.  I am not as weak. I actually worked 3-7 on Monday. Bad thing is, I still cough a lot.  But the cough sounds much better.  I still get out of breath easily.   I am working 12 hours Friday and Saturday, so hopefully that will get me back in the routine of working and being up all day.
I still have done nothing for the homestudy. 
Here's the deal...
We still owe money for the last adoption, plus we owe some money on the credit cards.  Aaron and I want to get all of that paid off before we start again.  We will go ahead and get our homestudy done, but as far as starting with the agency, which will be an automatic bill of $6000 + we want to wait until we are out of this debt.  Once we do pay off the debt, Aaron's goal is to get $7000 in the bank, so that we can pay the first part of the adoption in cash.  Do you see how this adoption keeps getting pushed farther and farther away...???
Which is really sad to me. I have been trying to work as much as I possibly can, but the days that I can work are few.  I can only work 12 hour shifts on Thursdays, every other Friday, and Saturdays.  I work 3-7 on Mondays, and I could probably work 7-11pm on Tuesdays, but that would #1 put me driving home 30 min. around midnight and #2 put me finally going to sleep after 1am.  I have done it before and will probably do it while we aren't doing school.
I wish I could work fulltime, just until this debt is gone....  
And depressingly enough I missed out on a lot of money last week when I couldn't work. 
I had to remind myself today that God knows which child He wants in our family and He can make the financial situation turn around to time it just right.
So, seeing that our debt isn't decreasing as fast as I want combined with me being sick = me feeling too depressed to work on tedious paperwork.  However, it has to be done next week because we do have a timeline if we are going to use the same social worker, which we are and we want to.
The girls are starting soccer. I think Hannah has been to one practice and Madelyn has been to two, even though it started a few weeks ago.  But it has rained or been very cold for practice or Natalie has missed a few times for her cold, but maybe the weather will turn warm and stay that way. There are 6 weeks of Saturday soccer games.  Which also is another day that I can't work unless I miss a game.  What to do??
On a good note....
We only have 22 days left of school that we HAVE to do.  There is a good stopping point in our curriculum in just about that amt of time, so I think we will get to that point, stop for a little bit, then start right back up.  June is busy with Madelyn and Aaron flying to Ethiopia, so we may just take that whole month off.  Looking forward to days where all we have to do is find something fun to do to keep us occupied.

Friday, March 22, 2013

New dog, bronchitis and homestudy

We got a new little dog a few weeks ago. He is so cute. I have been wanting an indoor dog for a while.  Mainly to alert us if someone were to try to break in...give me a chance to get the gun.  We went to our local animal shelter and found a tiny little Pug mix. He is around 2 years old. We named him Frodo.  He has worked out really well. He had a few accidents in the house at first, but other than a couple of vomiting episodes the last 2 days (he does not do well with human food)., he hasn't had an accident in the house for a while.  At first the girls would take him out on the leash, but now I just open the door, let him go and he will come back barking when he wants back in.  I think he has lived in a house before.  At night, I put him in our cat carrier and he stays in there all night without whining.  I am too afraid to leave him out all night.  I might find lots of accidents if I did.
I have been miserable this week.  I felt fine Saturday.  Worked a 12 hour shift, came home and was wonderful. Last Sunday, I woke up and felt a little tired. I already wasn't planning on going to church because Aaron had to work and all 5 of the kids were snotty.  By lunchtime, I was sooo tired. I took a nap and when I woke up I was soo achy. My temperature went up to 100.8.  Now I know that is not much of a fever.  However, I have not had a temp above 99something since college.  16 + years!  I don't know if other people feel this way, but any time my temp goes above my normal, even it if is barely 99, for some reason, my knees and calves ache so bad.  I can hardly stand it.
So from Sunday afternoon until Wed. morn, I ran a 99-100 temp, which made my legs ache awful. I finally broke down and took a few doses of ibuprofen, even though it tears my stomach up.  Alternated between lying on the couch with a heating pad on my legs and taking hot bathes.
I had to call in for my 3-7 shift Monday.  Natalie and I went to urgent care Tuesday because she had it too. I believe I have bronchitis and I even started taking a stronger antibiotic today.  The same thing they gave Aaron for his back in Feb.
Long story short, I had to call in for Thur. and Fri both 12 hour shifts.  I don't think there was any way I could have worked this week.  I have been so weak. I had the grocery list done since Wednesday and finally today, I ventured out. But even then, Mom came and stayed with the kids so Aaron could drive me and push the cart at the grocery store. I have to constantly sit down to rest.  Yuck! I hate this.  
Finally tonight I am feeling one iota better and may be seeing the light at the end of this sick tunnel.
We met with our social worker last Friday.  Since I have been sick, I have done NOTHING for our homestudy. So maybe this week I can get to working on it. She will come again sometime next month to meet with us and take a detailed tour of our house. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Application Is Filled Out!

Happy news!
I got up early this morning, like 5:30 am early, with Aaron, so that I could fill out our application to adopt before the kids woke up.
Yes, you read right, we are starting the adoption process again. I am excited.
I have everything except a recent picture of all of us together. I know some were taken over Christmas, but I guess it was with everyone else's cameras but ours. So, hopefully I will remember to take our camera to church tonight and have somone snap a picture of all of us together, stop and print out a copy and then the application will be on its way.
Right now, we are planning on a baby girl, which is what we originally were planning to adopt when we started in 2007.  Of course I say "planning" because, who knows if God will steer us in the other direction in the next few months.  We "planned" on asking for a boy and a girl last time, up until a day or so before turning in our paperwork. Then we ended up changing to 2 children either gender and you see we got the boys.  So hard to choose the gender of your child. So very hard.  But like last time, there are more people on the waiting list for girls, so most likely, if we put either gender, we would end up with a boy.  So if we want a girl, we really have to put down girl.
I am hoping that by Spring of 2014 we will either have been to court, or maybe even picked up our little girl. Of course, with international adoption, time lines can speed up or slow down at any time. 
This adoption we will have to fund raise. I don't see any way around it, so I am researching and tossing around ideas with Aaron.
Oh what a wonderful thing to have most of the adoption paid for and not have to come home, adjust to a new family member, 6 kids, AND have to work extra to pay off adoption loans.

Also, Aaron and I signed up to go to the Orphan Summit 9.
It is close this year, in Nashville, and since it changes locations every year, I knew that if I didn't sign up, I would be disappointed for missing one so near to us.  Imagine going to a conference where people love orphans the way you do. Where Christians unite for the purpose of orphan care and support.  I can't wait!

I also started following a blog of some people that run an orphanage in Kenya.  The same religion as we are. I was so excited. We have also been emailing back and forth and  it was exciting to encourage someone who is doing what I always wanted to do.   They are from a church a few hours away from here and they attend with a lot of people that I grew up with.  Neat!

Our social worker is coming over Feb. 22.  She said it will probably take 2 visits to get our homestudy done, so I am hoping that we will have that done by the end of March.  Once our application is accepted, we will get a "client" page with our agency and then we can pull up all of the documents needed to complete our mound of paperwork, called the dossier.  Once the dossier is complete along with our homestudy, we will send it to our agency and officially be on the waiting list.
Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Feeling Better, Can we stay well?

I am feeling much better, my sore throat gone. I am back to doing 3 miles a day either on the elliptical or Walk Away the Pounds or usually a combination and some yoga.  Aaron is back at work this week, so he is much better. Sadly, his antibiotic, which seems to have cured him of the bronchitis, makes him nauseated.  But, only 3 more days and he should be back to himself. My boss texted me, wanting me to let her know what days I could work on the next schedule. I am almost scared to sign up for too many...will we be well?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tired of being sick

My throat started hurting 10 days ago.  I went on antibiotics 6 days ago and I still am weak, coughing, drainage, and hoarseness.  It is better than it was.  I was waking up and could barely squeak out a noise until lunchtime.  Now it just requires much effort to have a conversation. 
Not to mention poor Aaron. He had an upper respiratory infection the first week in January and missed a week of work, very unusual for Aaron. He has to be really sick to miss work. He got mostly better.  Kept a cough originating in his throat and then started running a fever again on Friday.  Ran a fever all weekend. And his cough had moved back to his chest.
So yesterday, much to his misery, he had to call into work again.  Today too.
I got him an appt. at 3:15 yesterday with our regular doctor.
After finishing school with the girls and getting the boys to bed, mom came over after she got off work so I could take Aaron to the doctor.
I dropped him off and headed to CVS. 
I got so many good deals. Using ECB, CVS cash, and coupons.  I spent a total of around $43.
For that I got:
6 - 12 packs of Pepsi products
3 - Suave body washes
3 - Suave kids shampoo/conditioner
1 - Tresemme shampoo
1 - Tresemme conditioner
1 - Dove body wash
1 - 6 pack of Dove bar soap
1 - Dove deoderant
3 - Axe Body wash
1 - 12 pack toilet paper
1 - 6 pack paper towels
1 - Cover girl bottle of makeup
1 - Cover girl powder
1 - Caress body wash
4 - 32 oz Gatorades
I think that is all I got.  I got one load, took it to the car, locked the car, then came back and got the rest.  About the time I got done with this, Aaron had texted me that he was almost done.
I felt bad because traffic was bad and it probably took me 10 min. to get back to pick Aaron up while he waited outside feeling horrible.
But he survived and now has bronchitis again.  He said the doctor listened to his lungs and sent him straight to the chest xray. He still feels horrible today and is sleeping on the couch right now. His bed for the last 4 nights since he breathes better propped up. 
Thankfully, his prudence in not using his sick days is that he has so many sick days built up that he could take off a long time and still get paid.  It still eats at him to stay home. Unfortunately when I call in sick I get a big fat zero!.  That is the bad part about working PRN.  You don't work, you don't get paid, you don't accumulate holidays, etc.  The good part about working PRN is that you only sign up for what you want to work, you choose your days, you get paid more because the company doesn't provide you benefits. It all works out, but it is depressing that I had to take off 2 days last week.
I am working 3-7 Thursday and I hope I have the energy for it.   Plus 12 hours Saturday.
I was so sick of being in the house, that yesterday, it was so pretty out, I took the 4 youngest kids for a walk around the block.  It was 1.3 miles and my legs were weak the rest of the day.  Now before I came down with this throat infection I was walking 3 miles a day and doing some mild yoga for about 25 min. a day. And now a small walk about wears me out.  Bummer.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

winter of sickness

I am not complaining, I even dread typing this, for fear it will backfire on me, but so far no stomach virus.
However, starting in late October, Madelyn came down with a sinus infection that turned into bronchitis.    Then a few weeks after that, she ended up with what I think was the flu and pretty much lied in bed for 3 days then laid around for another 4-5 days after that.  She has since had another respiratory virus. 
Aaron was sick almost a month ago with some kind of virus, upper resp. infection.  He finally went to the doctor and got on antibiotics.  I think he missed a whole week of work, which is very unlike him. He really has to be sick to call in.  His cough has never left and last night he started running a fever again. His temp is 101.2 tonight.  Just achy and coughy.  Now I am wondering if he has the flu. He and Madelyn were the only ones not to get a flu shot.  Madelyn missed hers because she was sick.
I started feeling bad last Sunday.  I worked 12 hours Monday, but felt terrible and was lightheaded and weak all day. This gradually got worse. I had to call in sick Thur. and Friday. My throat has been killing me and I am so weak.  I went to the doctor Thurs. No strep, but he said it was some kind of throat infection. I have been on antibiotics for 3 days and I still don't feel much better.  I stopped feeling worse, so I guess that is something.  I can barely squeak out words in the mornings especially when I first wake up. Mom called earlier and she was like "Karen, is that you?"  She said I sounded like a man.  Oh well.
Maybe we will all be on the mend soon.
I was doing so good exercising every day and eating better and now that has gone to the wayside. Looking forward to starting back again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bad Blogger

Wow, I have been a terrible blogger.  I think it was October that I even wrote anything. 
Just chugging along with work and homeschooling.
I am excited that were are around day 95 of this year.
Homeschool co-op started back after the new year and the girls are very excited. It is nice for me to get to talk to some friends too. 
Aaron signed up to go back to Ethiopia for another mission trip this summer.  June it is. I am excited for him. We are also very, very likely going to send Madelyn with him. The main thing I worry about is her being able to shower without accidentally drinking the water.  When we took the girls in 2011, our bathtub had a hand held shower faucet. I would make the girls sit in the tub, tip their heads back with a towel over their face and wash their hair, making sure none of it splashed into their faces. They weren't allowed to talk at all during this process. Then I would pull their hair back away from their face or braid it so that they wouldn't accidentally get a wet hair in their face and get sick.  It worked, no one got sick while there.   She is too old for Aaron to help her in the shower, but I think he could at least let her lean her head over into the tub dressed and wash her hair. Then bathe later.  I hope she gets to go.
We also have a meeting set up with our social worker next month.  Planning to start with our homestudy again.  I am hoping to get done with all the paperwork by April, May at the latest.  Ugh! I dread filling out another dossier.  Which means doctor's appts, and all that mess.
I am excited. At this time, we are planning on asking for an infant girl and I am hoping be done with this adoption by spring of 2014. But who knows.. you can't depend on much in international adoption, but we can depend on God!
I worked 12 hours Sat, went to church Sunday morning (had the toddler nursery, with 3/4 of the babies crying), came home, ate lunch, then went to a baby shower.  Came home again for about 1 hr, then turned around and went back to church.  I took everyone except Ethan, who has a nasty snotty nose and Aaron volunteered to stay with him. After church , Aaron met me at Panera Bread and picked up the kids so I could eat with some ladies from our Sunday morning class.  I got home around 8:30 Sunday night. It was a good time.
Then I worked 12 hours Monday since Aaron was off work. 
I felt horrible at work Monday and let me tell you, 12 hours on your feet, feeling horrible, makes a long, long day.  I feel even worse today. My throat is killing me. I keep having episodes where I am lightheaded, weak, wobbly legged, etc.  I don't feel sick enough to go to the doctor, but not well enough to work either.  Or read for school. We skipped that today, since it hurts to talk.
I even had Mom come over and watch the kids so Aaron could take me to the grocery for our big trip. I normally do it alone, or sometimes with the kids, which I don't like to do, but I was too weak and lightheaded to go alone and I know Aaron would have balked at the list and coupons I had clipped if I had tried to send him by himself. 
We were  low on food.  Natalie rejoiced when we walked in the door "yeah! we have food!"  I guess they had gotten to the bottom of the barrel while I was at work.