Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Science Fair and TKD

Our Tae Kwon Do school participated in a St. Jude's fundraiser. We individually raised money and we did a presentation at the huge mall complex near our house. My kids raised $255 and each did 300 kicks last Saturday. Brittany and Tyler did a sparring demonstration and our instructor broke 100 boards with his hands in one minute.

Tkdmama has some pictures on her site of the event.

In addition to the science fair and Tristan's birthday, we also had a homeschool science fair on Saturday. Another homeschool mom and friend organized it. It turned out great.
Brittany's project was "Can you taste the difference in regular and low fat foods?" She took some regular and low fat versions of Pringles, Wheat Thins, cheddar cheese and chocolate chip cookies and asked 15 people to sample and tell the difference. Only 4 out of 15 could tell the difference of all four.

Timothy and Tyler's experiment was: "Eating metal for breakfast: Can you remove the iron from breakfast cereal." We actually got the experiment from Steve Spangler. We bought Total, Special K, Cheerios, and store brand bran flakes. We actually got some iron from all four. It was the neatest thing!

This is the iron from the cereal. I know there is a glare, but all that dark stuff is iron.

Bethany, Brooke and Tristan's experiment was "Which gum will blow the best bubble." They got to choose 5 different kinds of gum, which is a real treat because they loooove gum.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Love Story

It was 13 years ago today- February 25, 1995- that I was walking down the isle to marry my love, David. We had only known each other for 5 months. He was 22 and I was 19. He was from Chicago, Illinios, and had just joined the Marine Corps the previous April, and was in Alabama, where I lived, for Military Police training. I had been working at McDonald's as a Swing Manager, wondering where my life was going.

On a Saturday night in September of 1994, some friends and I had decided to go to a bar. This was a small country town and, remember, I was only 19, but I managed to get in. After a while, this marine came over and asked me to dance. He was cute, but I told him maybe I would dance later. A few hours later, I ran into that marine again and told him I would dance with him now. He told me his name was David. We sat and talked for a couple of hours, until my friends wanted to leave. He had come with some other marines. (If you don't know what young military men and women do on Saturday nights, they go to bars.) Before we parted ways, he had asked me to the Marine Corps Ball and to his parents house in Illinois for Thanksgiving. Gee, do you think it was love at first sight? He even called me a few hours after I got home that morning to ask me to go out with him later that day. (And, to apologize that he'd had a little too much to drink after I turned him down when he had asked me to dance!) We went to the history museum, and where else but, McDonald's. After all, David had been a swing manager, too, before joining the Corps.

I was wary of marines, Tough-love-em-and-leave-em. But, David was different. He was kind and sincere and I could tell he really cared about me. I went to the Marine Corps ball with him a few weeks later. We knew that we only had until Thanksgiving, and his training would be over, then, he would be sent off to his first duty station. We had planned that I would go to his parent's in Illinois with him for the week of Thanksgiving, then I would go back to Alabama, and we would get married maybe that next summer. We had a great week and I enjoyed meeting his family. And we found out that his first duty station would be Hawaii!

Our plans changed a bit when I found out I was pregnant. Pregnant? That was NOT part of my plans. David knew all along that I was pregnant, but I was in denial for two months and would not actually take a test. I didn't want full confirmation that it was the end of my life! So after Thanksgiving, David put me on a plane back to Alabama, and was terrified that he would never see me again. He thought I would run from him- he wasn't sure what I'd do. After he got settled in Hawaii at the beginning of December, he told his parents that I was pregnant. They were incredibly supportive and ready to help. I finally took a test and comfirmed it. I went to the doctor. I began to accept it. We decided that we'd move the wedding up to February. He'd fly back to Alabama for two weeks and we'd get married there. My semi-depressive state ended and I planned a little wedding and started planning for a little baby. I set the wedding for February 25th (little did I know It was his sister's birthday- Happy Birthday Cassandra! I literally didn't find out until the morning of the wedding when David says, "Hey, it's my sister's birthday today.")

David flew back to Alabama and stayed for two weeks. We got married and had a little honeymoon in the Smokey Mountains. (There's a funny story for another post.) and then he flew back to Hawaii. He had to find us a place to live and I had to tie up some loose ends, so I didn't move to Hawaii until April 12th. He would always joke that he was giving me a three year honeymoon in Hawaii!

So, here we are thirteen years and seven kids later. Obviously, it wasn't the end of my life. It was the beginning of a wonderful journey that God was taking me on. David was a Christian, and although he was definately not living as he should at the time, he prayed earnestly for me. I did give my life to Jesus the following August. Praise God that he used our sin for His greater plan. And praise God that His plan is so much more awesome than what I though I wanted- or didn't want as the case may be. I'm still madly in love with this man, who always tells me what a great wife I am, and what a wonderful job I'm doing, and how beautiful I am. We've been through so much in our 13 years together.

Happy Anniversary David, you are the love of my life!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Tristan turned three today. He is such a funny kid. We are always cracking up over his antics My kids are obsessed with birthdays. I try to make their birthdays special since that is a day that they get attention all their own. Tristan asked for a Wiggles, Barney, Cookie Monster, Dora the Explorer (which he calls "Dora to the Explorex"), Blue's Clues birthday party. So, we had Sesame Street and Dora decorations, a Blue paw print cake, and a Blue scavenger hunt. He was happy.

Make a Wish

Tristan's Birth Story
Tristan was due on February 12, and of course, as usual, that day came and went. David had been in some sort of panic mode and had been taking days off from work "in case" I went in to labor. I think he was using me as an excuse! :) So by the 9th day overdue, David was running out of vacation days he could take off and my back hurt miserably, so very reluctantly I agreed to induce. (Although, I actually felt really well the rest of the pregnancy and didn't get my usual feel sick all day for the first three months thing.) My water was also getting a little low. They couldn't get me in until the morning of the 23rd which was the 11th day overdue. If we hadn't forced him out, I don't know when he would've decided to finally arrive.

We got to the hospital at 6 am. and by the time (they took their precious time) we got signed in and all the paper work taken care of it was 8 o'clock and time to start the IV antibiotics which I needed because I had previously tested Group B strep positive. They like for the antiobiotics to be administered for four hours before delivery so they didn't start the pitocin til maybe 10 am. I had decided to go ahead and get the epidural. I also had a doula for the first time. She was very nice, but it was really weird having someone just sit there til I needed something. I started to feel pain in my abdomen because the epidural didn't take on one side, so they turned it up, which of course, made me throw up. The throwing up speeded things up because after only an hour of feeling contractions, Tristan was on his way out! At 1:49 pm we had a Tristan at 9 lbs. 7 ounces and 22 inches. This was my 5th vbac. After delivery I was too nauseous to hold him so they gave me some anti nausea medication. This birth had way more interventions than I prefer, but at least everything worked out fine. We had a gread midwife who has just retired after delivering babies for 25 years. She's a Christian woman and prayed with us after the birth.

The recovery went well although Tristan had jaundice when we left the hospital. They wanted us to come back the next day, which was Saturday, to have him checked out. So we hauled all the kids back to the hospital (40 minute drive to the hospital with the midwives), and had to go back on Sunday as well. I was soooo exhausted and was very thankful that his bili levels had gone down on Sunday, so we didn't have to go back over there. I had a ton of breast pain because of some mastitis I'd had with Brooke. I was in (a lot!) of pain for a good six weeks, at least, when I nursed, but I was determined to nurse, and it all worked itself out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tasty Thursday

Meatloaf Marinara Sandwiches

1 meatloaf
mozzarella cheese
pizza sauce
2 T. mayo
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1T. parmesan cheese
Thick sliced sandwich bread (Pepperidge Farm or the like)

Your ingredients will be more or less based on how many sandwiches you need to make. Also, after you mix up the meatloaf, and instead of shaping it into a loaf, you can just shape it into patties and stick them in the oven. It takes less time to cook.
Preheat a tabletop grill. (Think George Foreman) Assemble your sandwiches in this order. bread, mozzarella cheese, 2 teaspoons pizza sauce, meatloaft, more mozzarella cheese and then the other piece of bread.

Combine the mayo, Italian seasoning and cheese together in a bowl. Spread half of the mixture over top of the sandwiches. Place the sandwiches, coated side down on the griddle and spread mixture of top of sandwiches. Close the grill- they are done when bread is toasted

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Last Tuesday was Thomas' first birthday. I had meant to post this then. He was his typical Thomas self- didn't like his cake, didn't like his present, tore his bib. But, we love him.

Thomas's Birth Story

This pregnancy was much different from the others. I was throwing up everyday for at least two months. At least it was during summer break from homeschool. Finally (!) I started to feel better just in time to finish up the college distance ed. course I was taking. I actually had a lot of energy throughout the rest of the pregnancy, despite daily nosebleeds and heart palpatations. (Those weird pregnancy symptoms!) Anyway, I was due February 2, Ground Hog's Day. That day came and went. No surpise, since I have been overdue with all seven.

I started contractions on Monday morning maybe around 5am. My last few labors had gone fast so we were expecting a quick trip to the hospital and a girl. All of our girls have been born in the a.m. and all of the boys have been born in the p.m. (We also don't find out the sex of the babies until they're born.) The contractions were strong, but not enough to make me head to the hospital. I like to stay home as long as possible. Once you get to the hospital they practically tie you down. So noon came and went, and the kids knew it was a boy. The contractions were definately getting stronger by about 1 pm, but I still didn't feel like I was "there" yet. Brittany was timing all the contractions and they were all around 7-8 minutes, but sometimes there were 11 minutes in between. Finally, at about three, David said, "Let's just go!" It's a 40 minute drive to the hospital. There are closer hospitals, but this one is the only one with midwives.
So, we drove to the hospital and the contractions were 3-4 minutes by this point. You know, the can't-walk-moan-through-them kind. They get me set up in a room and check me out- about 8cm. "Why is this taking so long?" I keep asking all day. This is my 7th baby- don't I at least get to have it over with quickly? Apparently not. Thomas has other plans. Thomas is doing gymnastics in my abdomen. The little stinker wouldn't stop moving-and man- did it hurt! They went ahead and put in the IV despite my puppy dog eyes asking them not to. (Darn those hospital policies!) I had already sworn off epidurals. They never take on one side, and I always end up throwing up. Towards the end I thought that maybe that was a bad idea.

The midwife arrived, and I had never met her before. She was fairly new to the practice and I hadn't had any appointments with her. She was very nice, and capable, but now I can't recall her name. Probably around 5pm-maybe a little later- I was complete and ready to push. I was so ready for it to have been over a looong time before then. I was holding onto David's hand so hard that my IV came out. (I told them I didn't want it!) Thomas was literally turning around and around, and finally came out facing sideways, screaming before he was completely born. (That's been his attitude ever since.) All 10 pounds 2 ounces and 21 and a half inches of him.
It wasn't over yet. The placenta just wouldn't detach. So the nurse and midwife kept pushing on my stomach (ouch!) and after an eternity it finally detached. Then I had to "message" my abdomen because I didn't get the pitocen in my IV (since it had come out) so my uterus would start to shrink back. David said that this was definately the best birth so far. I guess he meant that everything just went really well, and I seemed to "bounce back" quicker since I didn't have any drugs. By the way, this was my 6th vbac.

I want to give God great praise in the birth of Thomas. Not only was the cord wrapped around his neck, it was tied in two-yes, two- true knots.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tasty Thursday

Chicken Enchiladas

8 flour tortillas
2 T. butter
1/2 c. chopped onioin
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 4 oz. can green chilis
1/2 c. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute butter and onoin in a medium saucepan til tnder. Remove from heat and stir in half of the olives. the green chilis, sour cream and soup. Mix well. Set aside 3/4 cup of this mixture. To remaining sauce in pan, stir in chicken and 1/3 cup of the cheese. Divide the mixture evenly into the 8 tortillas, roll each one up and place seam side down in casserole dish. Combine the reserved soup mixture and milk. Pour over tortillas. Bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with reamaining cheese and olives before serving.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday Musings

After last Friday's Tae Kwon Do graduation, I am officially a blue belt. Only 4 more to go til black belt. Someone took some pictures and emailed them to me, so I posted them on the sidebar. Brooke and Bethany graduated also, but there weren't any good pictures of them. :( Brittany, Tyler and Timothy did what was called a "midterm". They had to learn a form and will have to do two more midterms to make their 2nd degree black belts. That will take over a year. Brittany is wearing a red top- that means that she is an instructor trainee. You have to accumulate so many hours and you will become a certified instructor. (You must be at least 12 and a black belt.) Tyler is wearing a blue top which means he is a junior instructor trainee. It is the same kind of program, but you are under 12 and a black belt. I however, don't want to become an instructor right now. I teach stuff all day every day and it's nice to just zone out and be told what to do for 45 minutes!
Anyway, there are two other homeschooling moms that take the class with me and they are in the slideshow. I think we are collectively (and maybe affectionately) known as "the moms". So, for 45 minutes on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, and for sparring on Friday nights, we are stepping waaayy out of our comfort zones to jump, spin, kick and punch. And that's just getting the kids ready to go to class.
Just kidding. :)
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