Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Long day...but here are our updates

My apologies for this rather annoyingly-long post... This morning started out bright and early with David's dentist appt to get one small filling. It went quickly and easily. Not too long after we got home, we headed back out...we went to pick up a copy of x-rays Abigail had done of her torso last month. We had to take that copy over to her orthopaedic doctor way across town (more about that in a minute). On the way, since we had some extra time, I stopped at Goodwill to see if I could find any good buys on fall clothes for the kids (and we did!). There's a lot of junk there...but also a lot of nice stuff if one has the time to look! Abigail saw the orthopaedic dr today not only for her CP followup (everything related to that looked good) but also because in early June, while Bruce was helping Abigail change her shirt, he noticed that one of her left ribs was very prominent. (good catch, Daddy!) I took her to the pediatrician, who sent us for an x-ray, and the dx came back as scoliosis, so her ped. recommended that we follow up sooner with the ortho (we usually see him in the fall). Well, long story short, Abigail's left leg is significantly shorter than her right leg (as in, almost one inch shorter), which is causing her spine to curve. I have one leg that is about 1/2 inch shorter than the other, but that 1/2 inch in relation to my 72 inches of height is much less significant than Abigail's one inch to her 33/34 (?) inches of height. The plan is to add some more padding in her left shoe, thereby compensating for the shorter leg with the goal of straightening her spine. In the meantime, they will closely watch the left leg growth to make sure that it makes progress and does not worsen. We will implement the extra padding immediately and then go back to see the dr in six months. We are so thankful that the Lord blessed Abigail with a spitfirey, nothing-can-stop-me, determined approach to life, because she sure has a plateful of challenges to deal with! We made it home tonight just in time to wolf dinner, change clothes, and head into church for prayer meeting. Bruce was unable to be there because he has client meetings down by the airport today and tomorrow and was still at the mtg until late tonight. So...on the way home from church, I decided to be spontaneous and so I asked the kids if they wanted to go to the pool at night. Any of you who know us know that we are almost never even up late, let alone out late, so the kids had no idea that the pool was even open at night! They were thrilled with the daring invitation, mesmerized by the pool lights, and had a blast swimming when it was dark outside, not to mention going to bed at almost-ten o'clock! Even though we're all very tired out, I was really glad that we took the opportunity for this special end-of-summer adventure! (Sorry not to have any pictures...I thought the camera was in the car, but I was mistaken...) Now I am supposed to be asleep, but I don't like to go to bed before my husband is home safe and I will go poke around for a while until he gets here. :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunflowers in bloom

My sunflowers are in bloom and they are lovely...the shorter ones have a beautiful russet center and the tall ones are so impressive in their giant height. I got a little carried away photographing them this morning, and here are my favorites...

(by the way, I am six feet tall...)

Only a boy named David and his...slingshot?!

The kids begged to go outside and play David & Goliath first thing yesterday morning, so of course I let them go...When I checked them a couple of minutes later, I saw that they were shooting markers as their stones, David had a scarf for his slingshot, and Abigail -- well...she chose her "slingshot" when I wasn't looking...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fun at Lake Allatoona

Today the kids and I spent the day at Lake Allatoona with some friends. I had never been there before, so I was pleased to discover that it's a really nice place! There is a sandy beach, a very mildly-sloped swimming area, and even a small playground at the edge of the beach, so our kids played wonderfully together in all three areas, and we moms got to sit and chat.

David was busy hopping all over the place as usual, but after Abigail's laundry list of questions, like "Is the duck bad or good? Will he get me? Are there pretend alligators in there? Are there REAL alligators in there?" (etc), she finally waded in and she loved that she could both walk and swim in the crystal-clear water. She came out literally only a few times during the five hours that we were there!

We came home all tired out and a little sunkissed -- a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kid candids

^They're sprawlers!!!

^Abigail reading to Molly while Molly drank my water (quite appropriately, she was reading James Herriot's Cat Stories!). How cute.
(please excuse Abigail's hair; this was in the morning right after she got dressed and she was patiently waiting for me to come and fix it!)

Need rain?

A seemingly surefire way to get rain...on a bright, sunny, hot morning, when the radar looks completely clear, run the landscaping sprinklers for twenty+ minutes and then the garden sprinklers, as well. Water the outdoor flower pots, too.

Then, in the afternoon...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What a way to start your day...

We didn't like waiting in the traffic jam shortly after 8 a.m. yesterday (it made us late for piano lessons!), but when we discovered the source of the problem, our perspective improved. This poor guy was completely across GA 20 -- which is an extremely busy road -- what a grand start to his day...!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Crazy days again...and sneaking in some fun, too!

Yesterday we left the house at 9:30 a.m. and didn't get back until 5:30 p.m. In that time, we saw a new neurologist for Abigail (she is monitored for her CP). Good report there; this was a new dr and we liked him; he thinks we are doing everything we should be for her and so we will see him for another check-up in four months.

Next we visited my sister-in-law (who got to go home today! ...the baby will stay in the hospital for another week or so).

Then we went to Pearle Vision because Abigail's prescription has changed again, but in both eyes this time. They were very gracious and let us replace both lenses at the warranty price instead of full price -- wow!!! We have been really pleased with their customer service thus far and this is just another reason why!

After that, Abigail had 1 1/2 hours of OT, during which David and I drove a couple of miles down the road to visit a great store, Homeschool Hangout. I got a records book that I wanted as well as a workbook for Abigail and a few reading books for both kids to share. It's a great store in many ways -- atmosphere, inventory, "networking" potential, reasonable prices, knowledgeable staff, etc. (I must admit that it was also rather nice to be somewhere where our education choice was the norm instead of the eyebrows-raising exception!)

Today was a fun morning -- despite the fact that I got up early to start a new exercise routine (blah)! -- we went early for piano lessons and then Danielle and I took our kids to the library for their summer's-end puppet show. Afterwards we ate a picnic lunch in the atrium and then let the kids pick new books.

When that was done, we jumped in the car to head down to Scottish Rite to have Abigail's leg brace adjusted (it was digging in terribly, which is a normal side effect of a growth spurt -- as her foot grows, the brace has to be reshaped in some places to allow for the new fit -- it's great that her left foot is experiencing significant growth!). While we were there, Abigail complained that her HA wasn't working...after changing batteries twice (which didn't help), the sound quality was still affected, so we headed to another part of the campus to see RaDora. While we waited for her for a while (since we weren't on the schedule!), I figured out that the problem wasn't the HA itself, but a buildup of wax in the ear mold RaDora cleaned it in their ultrasonic cleaner and it's all better. She also gave me a cool little tool that will allow me to clean it out without her help next time.

And now we're home. We're all anxiously awaiting dinnertime so that we can eat and go to bed! What a week so far...I think we need a long winter's nap!

This is my life!

Today I shall be witty, charming, and elegant.
Or maybe I'll say "um" a lot and trip over things.
--seen on a facebook 'bumper sticker'

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend visit from a dear friend

My friend Jessica came and spent the weekend with us. We had such a nice time -- she brought her two middle sons (her husband very kindly kept the oldest and youngest and let her make the trip up here!), so our boys played together and we got to sit and talk and (yes, Mom) knit.

We spent a lot of time together when we were growing up -- my dad always called her his "other daughter" -- but this was the first 'sleepover' we've had as adults!

Thanks for making the trip up, Jess...I miss you already! (when are you guys moving up here, hmm?)

Here are some pictures from our weekend...

Frankie & David...
I wonder why they both have guilty looks on their faces?!

Sitting by the pool and knitting
(she got a lot more done than I did, of course...!)

Rylin (who is giving me a dirty look because I told him that at my house, kids who don't stand nicely for a picture have to eat dog food for dinner...he wasn't sure whether or not to believe me!!! :-) ), Frankie, David, & Abigail at the pool

The boys taking an ice cream break
(they played so well together -- it was great!)

Jessica brought a craft for the younger kids --
the boys sat still for a few minutes,
but Abigail, Jessica, & I sat for quite a while and had fun with it!

Saying goodbye -- Jessica & crew headed for home
and we headed for church yesterday morning

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

One year with a "new" heart!

It was one year ago today that Bruce's heart was successfully implanted with the device that corrected his heart defect. In the past year, the enlargement has reduced from "gross" to "mild", and we have all been thrilled to see his energy level improve and his cheeks looking rosy again.

It is truly impossible to put into words just how thankful I am for God's gift of my precious husband's diagnosis, successful surgery, and return to health.

Thank you, our merciful and loving Father, for Your care for us...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Train Stop Shirt Dress GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

I have discovered a blog (thanks to another blog I read who mentioned it first!) by a very creative woman who makes lovely girls' clothing. I really enjoy looking and feeling inspired, and she does regular giveaways as well. To enter the drawing, you just create a link to her latest on occasion, you will see links like the one below on my blog, because I'd love to win at least one of these lovely outfits for Abigail!!! Train Stop Shirt Dress GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

(see? Isn't it lovely?!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Welcoming our new niece

The McKee family welcomes Audrey Elizabeth,
who was born to Chris & Eugenia yesterday morning.

She was a healthy 6 lbs 1 oz and 18 inches long,
a wonderful size considering her (scheduled) early arrival.
Eugenia made it through the surgery without complication
and we are very thankful for the Lord's care of both of them
throughout this whole ordeal!

Visit to the dentist

Yesterday we visited the dentist -- it was just a regular check-up for David, but it was Abigail's very first time at the dentist (and no cavities!). Thankfully, she was very brave for the whole helps to have David (who is a trooper about anything), because Abigail watches her big brother and follows his lead. It also helps that she has grown up a lot in the last several months. She handles things much more maturely than she did not too long ago. (Well, okay, most things. She had to have some nasty stuff removed from her ear canal at the ENT yesterday and she screamed bloody murder the whole time! In her defense, though, it was the end of an exhausting, physically taxing day...and she is still having some residual pain from that outer ear infection, so I'm sure it hurt a bit, too.)
In the way of big news for David, the dentist noticed that he has two loose teeth (bottom center)! He got his teeth so late (first tooth the week of his first birthday) that I assumed he'd lose them late, too, so I haven't been looking for it, but lo and behold! ...another sign that our little boy is no longer little!

We had hearing checks yesterday, and both kids were mostly stable with some improvements. Good news, especially after last month's big drops.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy birthday, Jessica!

Happy birthday to a friend who's been in my life for a very long time...
unfortunately, I don't have any good 'blackmail' pictures from the olden days
(they're around somewhere but I'm not sure where!),
but since she is coming to visit me this weekend (hooray!),
I will have some new ones to share soon.
Happy 30th birthday, Jessica!!!
Love you!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Congratulations, Caleb!

Congratulations to my brother Caleb, who was recently promoted.

He is now an Assistant Manager at the Lake City, Florida, Sherwin-Williams store!

Congratulations, Caleb -- cover the earth! :-)

At left: Caleb by the infamous paint shaker at his first store...he and it had some very messy adventures together!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Blooming in Georgia

Our yard is full of beautiful blooms right is a mini-tour:

Passing on another skill

Last week my niece came over for her first sewing lesson. Her little sister is scheduled to be born this Wednesday, and Anna really wanted to make a receiving blanket for her. We had taken a trip to the fabric store a few weeks ago, so now we squared up the fabric and finished it with a rolled edge.

Anna was an eager student and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time...she even got bit by the sewing bug and didn't want to stop, so she used the leftover fabric to make two little doll blankets, one for her and one for her sister Olivia, so that they will match the baby.

It's exciting to see the next generation delight in her discovery of one of the domestic arts!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The canning of the beans, part 2

Well, not long after my post on Friday, Abigail marched up to me and asked if she could help me can beans, so I set her up with her apron and a chair and gave her the job of swishing the beans in water to clean them up for me. She did that happily for a bit and then asked me to teach her how to snap them, so I showed her which end to snap off and she helped for a good while. Welcome to the succession of bean-preserving women, Abigail!

On that note, I also called my grandma to share the "I can them just like my mother did" discussion, and she affirmed that yes, she too cans them just like her mom (my great-grandma) did, and she also has vivid childhood memories of her mom's mom helping as well, so I know that Abigail is at least the sixth generation to learn the process! My grandma shared the memory with me in detail and I could just see great-grandma and my great-great-grandma sitting outside in the shade of a big old tree, aprons on, white and red enamelware bowl between them, snapping beans...

Here are a couple of pictures of a new generation performing the same task:

We have 24 quarts canned now!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A time-honored tradition

Today I am canning always make me miss my mom -- I used to stand at the sink and help her snap when I was growing up -- but in lieu of the enjoyable conversation and laughter of two women working, I am trying out a podcast my mom listens to regularly, CraftLit, where each episode includes the reading of a chapter or two of a book.

My mom and I had a chuckle this morning as she gave me a tip for the canning process and I pointed out to her that of course, that was how I did it already, because I can beans just like my mom did...and she pointed out that how did I think she canned? -- just the way her mom did! Abigail's not into helping with this task quite yet, but in a few years she will become part of the generations of women who have "put up" food for their families, and hopefully she will learn the joy and wonder of being a part of an age-old tradition!

Below are a few pictures of the process...

Cleaning, culling, and snapping the beans into pieces

Some of the tools of the trade

A load (seven quart jars) in the canner Finished product (this was the first load I did, the day we left for Florida)