Medical testing

I’ve made a big post about this at my other blog, but in case you don’t read over there, or don’t want the whole long story of it all, here’s the short version: I had a majorly weird episode last weekend and the doctor is thinking either a) I had a mini-stroke or b) I’ve developed multiple sclerosis. Most likely B, as I’m already taking medications that would cause A to be unlikely and B is a side effect/co-morbidity of the immune condition/medications that I already have. So I’m going back to the hospital for more testing in a week or so (we’re waiting for insurance to say yes to it all).

There will be a fun kid related update tomorrow. 🙂

Books 2011

Books 1-5 posted about here.

There were a couple other books I read before the Kage Baker ones, but it’s been so long that a) I can’t remember and b) I’ve already returned that batch to Steph.  Smile  That’s the way it goes sometimes.


The Sons of Heaven (The Company): The Last Book.  Oh how I cried.  I was really sad to be finished with this series and it seemed to end so quickly in this book, all the pieces coming together beautifully.



Not Less Than Gods (The Company Series): I actually read this one last, as that was where it was in the pile.  It was a good book, but my heart wasn’t in it at that point.



The Anvil of the World: Kage Baker writes fantasy!  Who knew!?  I’ve had this book in my pile for ages, never realizing it was Kage Baker until Steph mentioned she had the rest of those books.  I was a bit confused at first because I really thought for a while that they were in space, not on land, but once I got over that I really enjoyed the characters and storylines in this book, although I did think it felt a bit more like a long line of short stories than one whole novel.



The House of the Stag: I really think this one should have been first in the series, though I did not enjoy it as much as Anvil.  It was harder to get into, with a lot more anguish and suffering than I usually enjoy in books, although I did come to enjoy the backstory of the world.



The Bird of the River: this book follows different characters than the two before it, but we get a few cameos and overall I liked it better than the first couple books.



Percy Jackson and the Olympians :
I read all five of the first series of Olympian books, plus the Demigod Files and the Ultimate Guide books all in one fail swoop, mainly because my eldest child was checking them out from the school library.  I read the first one ahead of him to make sure it was okay, then raced to keep up.  It was the first series we read at the same time together and we really enjoyed being able to share it.  I enjoyed what the author did with bringing the gods & goddesses up to modern day.  I think in some ways it would be much better to read the guide books first, though, so you know more about what the characters and creatures are first (and pronunciation guides for the kiddos, too, as David was mispronouncing things left and right.)


18. Mr. Chatworth (I think) – some weird book about a giant dog.  It looked interesting from the description, but once I found out that this menacing guy everyone was so scared of was a giant dog, I couldn’t read any further.


The Callahan Chronicals: I really enjoyed the first couple books in the Callahan series, but petered out after the second one.  Since I have the omnibus, I feel compelled to read the third one just for completions sake, but I’ll wait until I hit another book lull for that.  That being said, I did enjoy the first couple books.  I love the idea of Callahan’s Bar and it’s helpful band of sometimes-not-so-merry drinkers. 


The Time Travelers (The Gideon Trilogy): I really enjoyed this first book.  The story was interesting, the kids were realistic (which becomes drastically more important once you have kids), and I loved all the historic detail.



The Time Thief (The Gideon Trilogy): also a very enjoyable book, but there were a few problems with head-jumping pov’s.  I didn’t feel like there was quite the same level of historical detail in this one, either.  Still very interesting series and I love that the author pulls no punches with the characters.

Iheartorganizing’s Project Purge: Week 2: The Kitchen

I was a bit nervous to start in the kitchen, as I really didn’t think there was much in there that needed to go after all that tidying I did in January.  Boy was I wrong!


Photo1: In 2009 I only had one apron, that black one from the café I worked at in college.  It was ugly, so I acquired a few more in nicer colors, but soon realized a couple things: 1) lower half only aprons are silly & don’t help at all and 2) You can only wear one apron at a time, so why have a billion of them?  (That last one was the kids art apron, which they never wear these days)

Photo 2: Spare bits of things we don’t use any more.  Those glasses are from our wedding.  They’ve never been touched again.  One was broken immediately after this picture was taken.

Photo 3: These were all hanging on the walls of my kitchen.  They don’t go together well and were just taking up what I like to call “eye space.”  I took down one other picture, but it’s going in the “find another home in the house” pile rather than the “leaving the house” pile.



Not pictured: a pile of papers & shelf full of glass jars that got recycled and a coffee grinder that got tossed because it ceased to work (it should have gone to the recycling center, too, now that I think about it).  Also I’m making up a box of only-for-parties items that can go live in the garage, so I can make better use of the space in the kitchen for things I actually do use a lot (like my muffin pans & cooling racks, which are always impossible to get to).

First week of April

Monday we had a horrible storm first thing in the morning. DSCN1666 There was some golfball sized hail and lots of thunder and lightning. Greg and I spent lots of time cuddled up on the couch. We also started working on Iheartorganizing’s Project Purge. 🙂

Tuesday all the kids were at school. I visited my rheumatologist (more about that here) and then met my friends E & H for Thai food. They brought me an early birthday present: scrapbooking pens, a layout book, and a nifty cottage mug. 🙂 (How did I manage not to take a photo?!) After school the kids spent time exploring the creek since it was still fairly full of water. p_00170Even Greg went over the fence (he usually stays behind with me) and took a look around. David had his first lesson out of his new piano books & Ben counted out how many songs left in his current book so he can “catch up” (they’re not using the same books, so he’s not really catching up, but that’s how he thinks about it).

Wednesday Greg and I went to the library for story time. p_00172There was a lady there from our local professional ballet troupe and she read the kids Pocahontas, as that’s the show they’re currently putting on. Since the version she read was the Disney version (and therefore mostly romance), the boys all got fairly bored fairly quickly. By the end of the story Greg was the only boy left in the room. We exchanged our books from last week for some new ones and went on home for lunch. DSCN1674After school Ben planned & prepared our snack as part of his scouting electives. We didn’t have raisins for ants on a log, but we did have craisins & dried cherries, so we tried those instead and it worked out well.

Thursday was another all-kids-in-school day, but I was feeling under the weather, so instead of being productive, I stayed on the couch and watched TV and dozed all day (fortunately for me my coffee date friend cancelled that day -serendipity!). It was a beautiful day, though, and the day that my rosebush erupted into blooms.DSCN1675

Friday Greg and I spent all morning playing with his kitchen & grocery store sets, something we haven’t done in ages. DSCN1685Greg made me six kinds of soup (because soup is good for you when you’re sick) and set up a “table” with a table cloth for our meal. It was very fun and something I could do while sitting down, which was great since I was so dizzy. That afternoon my parents arrived back from Germany and so we went over to visit and look at all their photos. Nick and David left for a while to go fishing with Uncle Mark in his boat (which we’d planned before we knew my parents would be up – my dad had been selected to serve on a jury that week, so we thought they’d not be up til Saturday). When they came back we had dinner together at their house.

Saturday we got up and I felt pretty good at the beginning of the day. I was perky and could finally smell stuff again. We went over to my parents house for breakfast and hung out for a while. By the time we left to go back home, though, I was starting to feel weird. Dizzy again, and tingly in my extremities. I went home and took a shower, hoping that would make me feel better, but it didn’t. I tried blow drying my hair, but couldn’t feel if the drying was blowing hot air or not, so I asked Nick and he said it was. I decided that I shouldn’t continue, for fear of hurting myself. The rest of the family got dressed and went on to church. I was supposed to follow along in the second van, but I was getting so confused, I couldn’t figure out how to drive. I called my mother in law to let her know what was going on, so she could tell Nick why I hadn’t made it to church (our phones don’t work out there very well) and laid down to rest. My parents eventually got back to me (they were out buying a new van, which took hours longer than expected, even once they’d picked it out), picked me up, fed me a bit of lunch, and took me back home to rest some more when I couldn’t manage more than a couple bites of toast. Once my in-laws brought the kids back from church (Nick was staying late for Men’s Club), I walked the kids over to my parents house for dinner (frozen pizza, the kids favorite), as I wasn’t sure I should be in charge of an oven. My parents tried to show off the new van to the kids, but something went wrong and the new van wouldn’t start. They spent the evening calling back and forth everywhere trying to get a technician out, but ended up leaving town the next day with the problem unresolved. The pizza, being left to me in the meantime, did in fact end up crispy critters. 😦 The kids ate around the burnt bits and were very sweet about the whole situation.

Sunday Nick made us a nice breakfast at home before running off to work. I was still feeling really weird, so the kids and I stayed home and had a quiet day. The kids were really well behaved all day and mostly kept to themselves, David with his Legos, Greg with his games, and Ben with his book (he’s reading Barthe de Clements “Nothings Fair in Fifth Grade” – which I read as a child).

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling nearly normal. I was finally able to drive the car & managed to get the kids to school, the mail stamped & mailed at the post office, and the milk & bread purchased at the grocery. Of course, I spent all that time also fielding phone calls from the various doctors offices that were finally calling me back (I’d left messages over the course of the weekend asking for advice). The rheumatologist didn’t think it was a drug-reaction or an RA related event, even though he’d specifically mentioned numbness & tingling being a possibility at our appointment earlier in the week. My primary physician wanted to see me “right away” but didn’t have a hole in his schedule until today, which the nurse thought was all right to wait since I was feeling okay by that point. Greg and I spent the rest of the day doing our quiet little Monday things: tidying, dishwashing, laundry, watching movies, the usual. The big kids came home and had a snack before David ran off with his friend on bikes, riding through the neighborhood. Once he and Nick arrived home (within moments of each other, so I was surprised into not taking a picture of David arriving home), we had a bbq picnic outside (another one of Ben’s elective’s for scouts).

Iheartorganizing April Challenge: Week 1: Entry & Living Room

I’m following along with Iheartorganizing’s challenge to purge 30 items in thirty days. Jen urged us to start in our entry way & living room the first week and purge just 7 items in the first seven days. Well, I got excited. Love a little challenge. I got up to seven items in the entry way really fast, so I bundled a group of lost mittens together into a hat to count as one item, then left the rest of the stuff there as individual items.

Here’s some stuff I purged:

The hat full o’ mittens:

A pink fluffy wrap I wore once seven years ago:

The itty-bitty Alabama backpack none of the kids took to:

The plastic bag carrier some well meaning person bought me:

…and finally a broken wind scroll, a well-used box that’s broken inside, a pretty old tea tin, and a floppy hat no one wears:

Now on to the kitchen! 🙂

(ETA: I can’t get the photos to work today, so I’m putting links and leaving it be as I am running out the door right now)

Last week of March, first weekend of April

Finally, a bit of quiet.  🙂  First, this photo still cracks me up:

It was Ben’s idea. 🙂

Monday we had a quiet day, recuperating from the week before. That’s what Mondays are for, in my opinion. We played around and put away laundry. Greg and I Bedazzled a shirt:

Even Nick got in some play time with the kids (after no one showed up for scouts, there was free time):

Tuesday was pretty boring as well. The kids all were in school, so I did some organizing and cleaning that I hadn’t gotten done the week before. Piano lessons were had and David was assigned the last pieces in both his lesson & performance books.

Wednesday we had a coffee/playdate with our friends Molly & Clive (& Mrs. Stephanie, too, of course). I always cherish our time with them. It’s nice to have a friendship where you feel safe & cozy & loved all the time & feel like you are cherished for your you-ness just as much as the children cherish each other. I mean, I have other really good friends that I love and that love me, too, but this friendship encompasses the children as well as the adults into its cozy center and I just love that. 🙂

That afternoon Greg and I spent in the garden, watering plants one by one, checking their progress, and then showing the big boys when they got home. We spent some time weeding & reading.

Thursday Greg and I got to playing in the morning before school, one of those play sessions where you are so very focused on your play that you don’t notice time passing AT ALL and pretty soon we looked up from the castle that we were building and realized that we were totally late for him going to school. I could swear that not ten minutes had passed since we started playing, but it had been an hour and a half since we’d spilled out those blocks. So much fun! I took him to school, then spent the rest of the day doing useful stuff (what stuff? who knows!). That night instead of having leftovers (Thursday is leftover night, whee), we bought dinner from a local fancy asian place that was having the proceeds for that night go towards helping pay for medical bills for one of Nick’s coworkers.

Friday morning I got up to a sick David, so we cancelled our fun plans for the day (we were hitting the music store, the book store, and having a playdate at Sonic with Greg’s long lost friend Tucker). We stayed home and umm, did at home stuff. Nick spent the afternoon donating plasma and I did eventually make it to the music store to buy David’s new piano books (and a clarinet solo for me!) David, after his first flush of yucky feelings, spent the rest of the day feeling perfectly fine.

DSCN1625Saturday morning we got up and headed over to Nick’s parents house for a family brunch. Lots of yummy food & drinks were had by all. We discussed Nick’s parents upcoming house renovations (they originally thought they might build a new house, but instead they are going to renovate the one they have, which will mean that they won’t have to divide up the land later and won’t have to rent out the house) and came up with some good new ideas for the addition. The cousins all had fun playing together, climbing trees, running around the pasture, and loving on the baby cows (they are tiny and cute). That afternoon we went on to church, and spent lots of time afterwards visiting with friends and making plans for committees we’re on.

Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning I heard yelling from the kids bedroom. “VOMIT!” and then “David’s throwing up in his top bunk!” I went to investigate and discovered that not only was he throwing up, he was throwing up against the wall. It was SO VERY GROSS. I had to evacuate not only David, but also Ben, and clean up both beds, make up places in the living room for them to sleep, and wake Nick up to drag the mattress out to the patio for cleaning.

So Sunday morning I woke up grumpy and painful (from all the scrubbing), but my sweet, sweet husband had gone out to the grocery and came back by the time I got up and he brought me flowers.

Then he went off to work (yes, again on a Sunday, he’s crazy busy at work lately), while I tended to kiddos. David was once again feeling fine by about 10am, so we went outside and pulled weeds in the garden for a while before coming inside to get ready for Greg’s friends birthday party. We went out and got a present, then came home to drop off the big kids with Nick, who was finally home, before Greg and I moved on to the party. The party was super cute, with a bug-and-flower theme.

We spent the afternoon & evening finishing getting ready for the upcoming week. 🙂

Next to last week of March

I’ve gotten fairly good at putting things off lately, like this blog post.  I was going to start it on Monday last week, but the pictures weren’t up yet, so I was waiting on that.  Then when I finally posted the photos, I realized that I had 101 other things to do, so I did those first.  At some point so much time had past that I thought, enh, why bother.  But yesterday I complained to a friend that she hadn’t updated her blog lately and her responses were so close to mine for not blogging that I laughed long and loud.  So here I am, blogging.  Yay.


The next-to-last week of March was busy, but that’s really normal these days, right? Greg and I did a lot of stuff with the school, but we also had some fun time on our own, going to the big park on the south side of town and walking some of the trails & bridges, then playing afterwards, and also going to the McDonald’s with the fun play area (using coupons a friend gave us).  I also got to visit my favorite local baby and her mama for an afternoon.


It was Texas Public Schools Week, so our PTA did Muffins for Moms one day, Pancakes with Parents another, Donuts for Dads a third day, and also a program with the 1st & 2nd graders.  Since I’m one of the PTA volunteer regulars, I went up each day and helped out with various things.


We had a bit of a kerfluffle, due to some miscommunication about what the events really entailed (the muffins & donuts were for parents ONLY, due to some bizarre regulations about offering kids free food at a competing time a federally sponsored free food program was being offered) and a lot of parents and kids went away from what was supposed to be a positive event with bad feelings in their hearts, which made me really sad.  (Also, I had baked 9 dozen mini muffins for the event and had to take most of them back home with me.)  One good thing, though, was getting to tour all the new library books the school ordered from the last of their grant.  So many beautiful books!  Also, both of my kids won door prizes from my having gone (one new book each!).

The 1st and 2nd grade program was nothing but pure delight, though.  Ben was a soloist (one of 6, but only he and one other girl had really long parts), and an actor (clownfish #3), as well as singing and dancing with the rest of the kids.  We had to make him a clownfish costume (most of the other parts there were costumes already made up for, but the clownfish were on their own, costume-wise) and he looked really really cute.  🙂  He did a great job singing, dancing, and acting.

Oceans of Fun end song
Afterward, Pa took us out to dinner at Taco Bell while Nana skeddaddled off to teach her class (which she’d postponed an hour for us: so thanks to her and her students!).


The next day we spent getting ready to go camping.  We picked up the boys from school and headed on over to Martin Creek Lake State Park and spent the weekend camping with some of our friends from church. 
Most of the kids from church were there, so the kids had a blast.  David got to spend both night in the Boys Tent (the other kids stayed with us).  We took the kids on nature walks around the lake and got to see an electric plant up close. 
It was really windy on that side of the lake and it made the waves and wood really interesting.  The lake was quite a lot down on water as well, so there were lots of shells everywhere.  We collected a bunch of pretty ones to take home.  We had a church service in one of the open air cabins, listening to the sermon from our regular service over the internet (lovelovelove technology) while the kids made crafts at our feet. DSCN1386 It was a really nice weekend. Entire photo set can be found here.

We came back Sunday afternoon and unpacked.  Nick went off to work for a few hours while the kids and I went over to Ben’s best friend’s birthday party. DSCN1585 It was a fabulous party, one of those big Hispanic neighborhood/family/friends parties (one of the kids asked the birthday boy if he knew everyone there & he said “I don’t know.  I think some people just saw the balloons and came on in.  It’s a party! The more the merrier!”).  There was a pinata bigger than I’ve ever seen and a man stood on the roof to pull it up,down, & around so the kids had to really work to hit it. I really wish now that I’d taken Spanish as my foreign language so I could speak to more of the people there. This party was a great end to a very busy week! 🙂