Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quickie Garden Update

This one was taken on the 18th after I had just weeded the garden:

This one was taken today after I did a little weeding.  You know, having a garden brings a whole new meaning/understanding to the expression, "growing like a weed".  And Josh is feeling well enough to help me water!  I meant to get a picture of the pumpkin at the back.  I told him he could stay if he would grow where I told him to--which would be out of the garden box, not in.  So far it is obeying!  Whenever I see a tendril growing toward the middle, I gently fold it under the other leaves going out. 

We have harvested radishes for the second time, lettuce, and spinach.  Some of our lettuce tasted bitter.  We also had some banana peppers, but they had strange black stripes on the sides.  The plants are not looking good at all.  I have searched all over google and can't find an answer to the peppers looking the way they did (I wish I had taken a picture).  I have searched and analyzed trying to figure out if we have some sort of fungus like leaf spot or a bacteria like early blight, but I can't figure it out.  My tomato plants in the raised bed (above) look fantastic!  (Besides really needing to be in cages and away from each other).  The plants in the straw bales--remember these are the same age and all but 3 were started from seeds--look terrible.  So either it's a disease, or there's not enough nutrients.  I've been watering them enough, so they're not too dry.  The straw bales have good drainage, so I don't think they're too wet, either.  I just added grass clippings a week ago, and pinched off the worst leaves, to hopefully minimize spreading of a disease...but there's no change.  They're just not growing.  Today I added a different kind of fertilizer.  ::sigh::

I have some more plants that need to be set out, but I'm out of room.  I didn't want to put them in the straw bales, but I decided that maybe it would be ok if I made a HUGE hole in the bale and filled it with my favorite potting soil.  So I put fertilizer in first, to hopefully get the bale itself going a little better.  Then I made the hole and packed it full of potting soil (I love Miracle Grow).  Then I transplanted my cukes.  It's HOT here, so I think they'll be happy as long as I keep them watered today.  Oh, and they've been outside quite a bit, so they should be hardened off.  If they die, then oh well...cukes are always on sale during the summer and we don't really eat more than 2 a week anyway!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Josh is home!

They didn't let him go until evening, but he came home Tuesday.  We are glad to have him home, but I think he misses his bed.  :)

{First meal after surgery, Monday night}

These pics were taken with Mitch's iPad.  Josh wanted to show off all his "stuff".
 {Hospital socks are normally coveted by Zeke.  ::grin:: Now Josh has his own pair--and they're blue!}
 {Josh has a red finger!  (It's a pulse-O2 monitor)}
 {Josh also has an i.v., a hospital band, and the black band is a security monitor.}
{Enjoying a treat!}

Monday, June 25, 2012

Appendicitis, take 2

Almost 5 years ago, Micah woke me up in the middle of the night with a tummy ache that turned out to be appendicitis.  Now it is Josh's turn.

A couple weeks ago on Sunday morning, both Malachi and Josh (who will be 7 years old at the end of August) woke up vomiting.  We stayed home from church and they both recovered very quickly.  No one else ever got sick, and I attributed their illness to sun exposure.  Yesterday (Sunday) morning, Josh woke up again with a tummy ache and vomiting.  This time was different.  He was in a lot of pain.  He was in so much pain that I was immediately concerned and called the nurse hotline.  The nurse on the phone asked some great questions that I hadn't thought of, then gave me a recommendation to call the on-call doctor.  She seemed so calm and laid back, that I didn't call the on call doctor.  I don't really think he would have said anything different than "wait and see" at that point because Josh's symptoms were not unlike a normal stomach virus.  Oh, and also to keep up fluids.  Maybe I'm wrong, but it was my gut instinct. 

I watched Josh throughout the morning, encouraging him to rest as much as possible.  The last time he threw up was around noon.  He played xbox during the afternoon and was otherwise distracted.  He ate a little mac & cheese for supper.  He seemed like he was getting better, but I was wrong.  After supper, the tummy ache was back with a vengeance.  He was once again on the couch in tears asking if he could just take some tylenol or something.  He began running a low grade temp (100.6 orally).  I decided to take him to the hospital.  I got all the way to buckling him in the car and I was still second-guessing myself.  I said, "Josh you seem like you're feeling a bit better, maybe we should drink some water and get some rest...that's what the doctor will tell you."  He agreed, so we headed back inside to do just that. 

I had him sleep on the couch near our bedroom, and told him to come wake me if he needed me.  He woke me up 3 times during the night.  :(  Each time he was able to fall back asleep.  When he finally woke up this morning, he was STILL in pain, enough to have tears.  He didn't want to eat breakfast or drink any water.  He was dehydrated.  I quickly got ready for the day.  I was going to drop kids off at church for Vacation Bible School, then come back to get Josh and take him to the hospital, but decided that was too long to wait.  Mitch took the kids to VBS (this was a hard job, I am told, because he had to juggle a lot of little ones who did not get to go to VBS while he tried to get everyone to their right spots).

At the E.R., Josh was sent to a room right away.  There was no "waiting" like normal.  It seemed like every time I picked up my book to read, someone else would pop into the room to ask questions.  The doctor examined Josh, who had consistently been pointing to the left of his navel when people asked him to point to the one place it hurts the worst.  When the doctor pressed on Josh's tummy, however, it was VERY clear that he was most tender in that lower right quadrant where the appendix is.  The doctor ordered a urinalysis, complete blood count, chest x-ray, abdominal x-ray, and an ultrasound.  He wanted to avoid a CT scan.  The urine came back clean but concentrated.  His white blood count was high.  The chest x-ray was clear.  The abdominal x-ray showed a little bit of impacted stool, but not major constipation (Josh just had a "normal" bowel movement yesterday afternoon).  The ultrasound was the definitive moment though.  Before going in, I prayed that we would be able to see his appendix clearly and without obstruction.  They found it almost immediately.  Even I could tell what it was.  Magnified on the screen, it looked like a large carrot!  I know in reality it wasn't that large.  The tech sent for the radiologist to be able to see it in real time.  :)    It took the doctor about 10 min to get back to us and confirm that Josh indeed had appendicitis.

At this point when the doctor offered something for pain, I said yes.  They gave him a mg of morphine, which pretty much knocked him out for the rest of the day (such a lightweight)!  After that, he was more concerned/bothered by his dry mouth than he was about pain.  The nurses assured him he could have popsicles and ice cream when he woke up from surgery.

The surgeon on call happened to be Dr. Oakes, who is a friend of ours from a church we used to attend.  I felt blessed for the second time over (the surgeon who did Micah's appendectomy is also a church many surgeons are there, anyway?).  He was in a surgery when he was called to do Josh's, so we were scheduled for the afternoon.  When he came in the room, the first concern he mentioned is that appendices usually rupture within 18 hours.  It had already been 30 hours since symptoms first began.  He put Josh at the 2nd highest priority for an operating room...not life-threatening, but higher priority than others.  I was grateful.  My little man wouldn't have to wait much longer.  While we waited for the O.R. staff to finish another surgery, Josh and I chatted (though it was really funny since he was drugged up).  Josh said, "Doctors are so lucky."  I asked why.  He said, "Because they get to see all the cool stuff that's inside bodies."  When I told Dr. Oakes, he offered to let Josh stay awake and watch.  Josh shook his head no.  :)  By 2:15 or so Josh was in surgery, and by 2:45 pm I was meeting with the doc in the consult room.  It amazes me how fast they are!

Thankfully Josh's appendix did not rupture.  It was not even leaking.  But it looked NASTY.  The body was starting to wall it off (?).  The doctor wanted to keep Josh overnight for observation and two more doses of antibiotics.  It was almost 3:30 by the time I got to go back and see Josh, and I think waiting for that was the hardest.  He was SO sleepy.  It took him a good while to wake up and answer questions, but the first thing he asked for was a popsicle!  The nurse promised she would get him one when he got to his room, but it was a while to get him moved up to the peds floor and settled in his room.  True to their words, they got him a popsicle pretty quickly.  He finished it off in no time and sucked down a full glass of ice water.  He fell asleep again.  By 6 pm Josh was starting to really wake up and was ready to eat--yay!  He ordered a burger and fries and chocolate milk.  Since he really hadn't eaten since Saturday night (besides a little mac & cheese), I'm sure he was famished.  He perked right up and was quite talkative when Mitch came in around 7 p.m.  Mitch is staying the night with Josh and I'm pulling kid duty at home.  Tomorrow morning I'll get to have a turn at the whole VBS drop-off trick.  Yay!

I'm bummed because I asked Mitch to bring my camera up so I could get pictures of Josh...which he did, and I did get pictures...but then I forgot the camera at the hospital.  So they'll have to wait until Josh gets home.  I hope that Mitch and Josh are able to get some sleep tonight at the hospital.  I hope that Josh continues to improve rapidly and will be discharged in the morning.

I am so thankful that Josh is feeling better.  I feel so guilty that I didn't just take him in on Sunday.  But it could be that he wouldn't have been "sick enough" yet and we would have been sent home.  I feel bad for the pain that Josh had to endure all those long hours.  I'm so glad he is healing now, though.  Before I left I asked him, and I had already asked many times today (as a test of his pain level), "Do you feel like you're ready to go home and ride bikes now?"  And for the first time he said, "Maybe."  Such a trooper!  Josh was absolutely amazing today.  He was such a charmer, and everyone loved him.  Even though it was obvious he was very sick, he was very quiet and calm.  I'm thankful that God kept him safe and surrounded him with a caring and competent staff.  I'm thankful that God helped Mitch and the kids at home.  I'm sure it was crazy here.  It was sweet to come home and kiss all their faces tonight. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's About Time

I have been SOOOO busy! Even now, I don't feel like I really *have* time to spare to sit down and blog, however this weekend I got to go to the Munsinger Gardens with the kids and friends and I wanted to share the pictures.  Mitch and Micah were away camping in the Boundary Waters.  They had a great time!  Our friend Bryan (Devona's brother) shares a love of photography.  Eden's best friend, Anna (his niece), was over for a sleep-over, and she also shares a love of photography.  Thus, a photographic outing was born.

 {Caleb and Obi watching the water pass under the bridge}
 {Malachi and Josh goofing off, Malachi REALLY needs to go potty!}
{Obi just chilling}

{Checking out the river}

{Our crazy group}

{Obi, the artist...see the marker all over his arms and legs?}

{Bryan!  He got some REALLY great pictures with his canon, which he graciously shared with me}








{This bush that always reminds me of my mom}

{Obi, Anna, Eden, Tirzah}

{This car happened to arrive just as we were leaving, and it immediately garnered a lot of attention from people passing by.  The lighting was pretty much perfect from my angle, and I couldn't resist raising my camera for a couple shots.} 

After we were done at the gardens, we took the kids to the playground.  It happened to be the annual Juneteenth celebration.  It didn't take long for this cute little guy and another sweet little girl to swarm Obadiah and offer to help him play on the playground.  The little boy asked what his name is.  I said, "Obadiah."  He replied, "Obadiah?  That's what they keep calling me at the doctor's office!"  I asked, "What's your name?"  He said, "Obi."  Ha!  I wanted to find his mom, but there were SO many people around that it was pretty much impossible. 

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Free Ebook: Light of Eidon

I was helping Micah shop for free ebooks on Amazon so he could read from his iPad when we stumbled across this gem.  Many free ebooks on Amazon don't have reviews, so even though they may be categorized as "religious fiction" that doesn't mean that we want to read it.  ;)  Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock has been around a few years and has plenty of good reviews.  I flipped to the first negative/critical review which says, "I hate being tricked into reading about Jesus."  I knew right away it was a book we wanted to read.  The review still brings a smile to my face!

Light of Eidon is the first book in the Legends of the Guardian-King Series.  It is set in a fictional land during a time similar to our middle ages. The protagonist is a prince who is the fifth-born son in his family with no shot at the throne.  Feeling rejected by his brothers, and worst of all his father, he leaves the family and joins a religious order as a novitiate.  The book begins as his 8-year novitiate term is over and he is about to take an oath to join the Brotherhood.  It wouldn't be much of a story if everything went according to plan, now would it?  Very quickly a mystery unfolds.  The story accelerates to be a page-turner that makes it hard to put down.  It is packed with adventure, action, conspiracy and mystery.  There were several times where I thought I had the story "figured out" and knew where it was going, but I was wrong.  I love it when I can be "gotten" like that!

Light of Eidon is also an allegory.  It is quite possibly one of the best allegories that I have ever read.  Since I love J.R.R. Tolkien, I tend to side with him slightly on his opinion of allegories...they can be problematic.  Too bad Tolkien couldn't have met Karen Hancock.  :)  I am currently reading along with my Church's Bible Reading plan and we are smack in the middle of 2 Chronicles (chapter 32-33 today).  Since I just finished Light of Eidon, the story of the kings of Israel has a pulse it never had before--it was like I added a little salt.  I connected with Scriptures in a different way.  On the other hand, having a good basis of Scripture--which I firmly believe is inerrant and factual--was a good rock to stand on while reading this fantasy novel.  It's easy to get caught up in a good book, especially when that book is a good reflection of the One Good Story.  Elise Fitzpatrick says in "Give Them Grace" that every story is a retelling of the One Good Story, just that some stories tell it more closely than others.  Since I have read that bit, I have been filtering everything I read through this lens and it has been really interesting to perceive.  Light of Eidon is a beautiful retelling of the Gospel and how it touches the lives of not only the protagonist, but of nations.  This book is suitable for Christians, and especially for non-Christians--though some might react like the negative reviewer on Amazon, "I hate being tricked into reading about Jesus."  Though that's not a bad thing.  Seeds are still planted.  This book focuses not on the coming of the Messiah.  That has already happened long before we enter the story.  It is set in a world that has many different religions.  Which one is right?  The religions presented in Light of Eidon have similarities to religions in our world today. 

This book is not, however, appropriate for the younger crowd.  There is a lot of fighting and blood.  There are descriptions of decapitations, sores, descriptions of evil, etc.  I know that readers will be limited by their own imaginations in "seeing" these things, but it's still words and it still reaches into the heart.  There is also a thread of romance in the story.  There is one scene that made me squirm in my seat, and before I knew where it was going I was worried it would ruin my ability to recommend this book.  If stories of romance cause you to falter in purity, then you may want to pass this book up, or at least commit to skipping those pages (it is not long).  It didn't go where I thought it would go, and it was a lesson that is useful for teaching.  But I still recommend it with reservations.  I recommend it for mature teens and adults.

I don't know how long the book will be free on Amazon, so check it out soon.  We were able to pick up the next books in the series at our local library.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

I enjoy checking on my plants every day.  I water them, and sometimes I stop to pull weeds.  But I'm always checking things out. These pics are from Monday night.

 Some things are going really well, and others are not so well.  The tomato plants are all doing amazing now.  I can hardly believe it!  The okra that I transplanted is not doing well.  :(  I lost several plants and the ones that made it are still barely hanging in there.  I can't wait to see new growth.  I had a thought today that when I transplanted them, I should have transplanted them deeper into the soil.  I may try watering them more often to see if that helps.  At least they're not dead yet! 

 My marigolds have bloomed at last!  I grew FLOWERS--I actually did it!!  These are the ones I started indoors.  They look great.  I have planted marigolds all around the perimeter of the garden and they are coming up and looking good, but they have weeks to go before they get to the point where they'll bloom.  Right now I'm in the stage of don't-mistake-it-for-a-weed.

 Mitch brought home 3 corn plants he had started in his classroom and I transplanted them in the garden.  They were doing well until I noticed one day that something--a rabbit most likely--had cleaned off two of them nearly down to the dirt.  I was disappointed!  But they are growing back.  I didn't realize that would happen.  I'm quite amazed.  To discourage the critters from coming back to snack I have mended the holes under the bottom of the chain fence where they preferred to enter...they can still get in, but it seems to have deterred them for now.  I also planted some corn seeds to accompany the lonely 3 plants, but I think that only 2 have come up. 
My first crop of spinach and lettuce is limping along.  It's laughable.  I am holding out hope that perhaps we will get a salad out of it!  The radishes are growing nicely...I pulled a tiny one today, not much bigger than a grape, so they need to grow a little longer.  I started a second crop of all these, but I wasn't very conservative with my seeds...I dug a ditch and threw them now I have to thin them as they come up.  But they are coming up (they're in the rows in the bottom of the picture).

I finally moved my peppers outside.  This time I focused agressively on the "hardening off" process and the transplant went off without a hitch.  I think the peppers have been the plants I babied the most this year...I feel very protective of them.  I planted them on Saturday and they still look great.  It had been 7.5 weeks since I started the seeds.  I lost count, but I think there are 6 or 7 bell peppers.  I also have 4 banana peppers that were a gift from Marilyn.  One of those plants has a pepper already forming.  ::squee::

 Tragedy has befallen my cucumbers.  I started out with so many nice plants.  I lost four in the transplant.  I lost 3 more that I "saved for later".  That left me with just two plants, and after a tough start they were showing new growth.  Then I found my strongest plant broken.  I think it's done.  What do you think? 

Lastly, I just love my little oak trees.  I think I love them more now that I'm not worried they will suddenly die over the winter.  They sure do grow slow, but I am excited about the little patches of shade they now throw.  I get excited about the new shoots of leaves that I see growing from the branches.  And the kids can no longer push them over with their toys.  Can you believe that several years ago when I first got these trees, they could practically ride over them in the cozy coupe (the car on the left)??  =D

(This was a "scheduled" post, meaning I typed in one day and scheduled it to publish on a later date.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tirzah's Hair

I thought I should post some pictures of what I finally did with Tirzah's hair after Malachi cut it.  It took me a long time to decide what to do.  It was very, very short where he cut it (like buzz-cut short) in places, but the longer pieces from the other side of her hair sort of covered it up a little.  So I thought about not doing anything, and just waiting for it to start growing back out some.  Besides, it was always standing up in weird directions and looking wonky anyway (as it has since she was a baby).  In fact, if after looking at the pictures you are wondering if I have made any improvement at all, just return to this post from a good while back.  I didn't really want to take her in to a stylist because I didn't know what I wanted.  I thought someone might be able to suggest something, but then that didn't necessarily mean I would like their suggestion.  Knowing that I wasn't going to be agreeable on this subject, I decided not to do anything until I knew what I wanted.  ;)  The days here have been hot and humid, and I noticed that some of the short pieces of her hair were curling quite a bit.  Finally on Sunday evening I realized that she needed a short-all-over haircut like Zeke's and that it would all curl up and be "ok".  Eden lamented, "I hope she doesn't end up looking like a boy!"  Oh Eden spoke my heart.  But what could I do?  I went with it.  I did it myself (I've been cutting Zeke's hair for years and aside from occasionally cutting it too short, it looks ok).  Yes, it may look no different than a boy cut, but at least she's wearing girl clothes.  :)  And it will grow out evenly, and whatever you may say I think it at least looks better than it did before.  Here are the results!

This was "Before" but just after Malachi had cut it.  Her tears are more from my stern words than from sadness over having her hair cut.  She actually asked Malachi to do it.  Grrr...

 (I got some hula hoops for phy ed time, and Tirzah loves them.  She can actually spin it around herself, which is a great first step!)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Malachi's 5th Birthday

Malachi turned 5 years old!!

 {Caleb and Malachi}

 Malachi's birthday was this past Saturday.  While I finished baking his cake on Saturday afternoon, Daddy took some of the kids to the Splash Pad at Lake George for some fun.  As soon as I could, I joined them so I could get some pictures.  It was great to have my camera out!


 {Malachi, the birthday boy!}


Tirzah LOVED the merry-go-round.  Eden reported that Tirzah stayed on it nearly the entire time at the park.  Mitch offered to spin the kids, so before long a whole crowd of children had climbed on.  This was ridiculously funny.  It made me tired just watching him!

We picked up pizza on the way home.  We had supper, then Grandma Marilyn and Grandpa Paul came by to have cake and bring Malachi a gift.

Malachi is a sweet boy with an adorable smile.  He can't wait to start school.  He's one smart kiddo!

Malachi also 
~loves to eat carbs
~doesn't love veggies, doesn't even like them!
~sleeps in his own bed at night, finally!
~tries to do everything Zeke and Josh can do, from screen time to riding bikes
~can do almost everything Zeke and Josh can do, but his bike does have training wheels
~is a big cuddle bug
~still sometimes starts crying and can't seem to stop on his own
~has 8 silver teeth and has turned our entire family into avid flossers because of it!
~has taught me so much more than I ever thought I needed to know

I am so thankful for my Malachi!  What a blessing and joy he is to our family!