Monday, January 28, 2019

First of the year birthdays!

After a wonderful New Years celebration, it is time to get ready for a couple of birthdays! Aubrey's is up first, and he turned 8 years old. I feel bad, as I can never seem to be on top of things to have a big birthday ready for him.  Being that it is after the holidays it seems to always catch me by surprise.  Aubrey wanted to make his own cake this year.  Over the past few years the girls have been in charge of making the cakes.  Now that the littles are not so little, they want to make their own cakes!  So that's what he did.

Turning 8 kind of went to his head....quite literally.  He was thinking that he could handle stopping the hay bale rolling off the pick up truck...all by himself.  There were four of us lined up to stop the hay bale as it rolled off the back of the truck.  It's just how we deal with huge hay bales around here.  Anyways, Aubrey lunged...LUNGED...for the hay bale, and before any of us could react he found himself, face down with the hay bale rolling up on his head! 

He had a nice sized scrape.  I watched him closely to see if he had a head injury.  All seemed fine, until about 36 hours later when I realized he had bruising under his eyes!  Yikes!  His forehead was all swollen up, which I expected, but I was not expecting bruising to show up under his eyes!  A trip to the ER showed that all was well.  Phew!

A handful of days later it was little misses birthday.  Merida turned 5!  I can't believe my youngest is 5.  For many, many years, the youngest was no older than 3.  Merida wanted an ice cream cake, but wait, no a Barbie cake, no,no...a Paw Patrol cake....well, when we went to the store she ended up picking a premade Shopkins cake! 

Merida also happens to be our youngest child to loose a first tooth.  It was a few days before she turned 5 when she was screaming...SCREAMING...that her tooth fell out.  There was blood, but all her teeth were there.  She kept insisting it fell out.  Nope, all teeth accounted for!  She wouldn't let me feel for a loose tooth till later that night.  And, sure enough, she had a tooth hanging by a thread.  Like how did that happen?  When?  All my kids notice a loose tooth way before they are hanging by a thread.  She was terrified she was going to swallow it during the night.  Thankfully that did not happen, and the tooth came out the following morning. 

Flannery made some comments on the amount of drama that went on for the loose tooth (by Merida).  I laughed, a lot, and reminded her that she was the last to be able to speak on that!!!  Flannery would FREAK out whenever she got a loose tooth. She freaked out until it fell out, which unfortunately was always a couple of weeks after she noticed it was loose.  I mean, crying, and screaming!  I started to get anxiety thinking we were going to have to go through that again with Merida. Though that was before she let me feel for a loose tooth, and I thought she was going to follow the same timing as my other children....taking two weeks for a tooth to come out...or even longer!

Homemade cakes by Aubrey!  He had a little help from Merida. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth over sharing cake decorating duty!  Aubrey wanted to do it ALL himself. 

With the kids getting older some of our traditions are mutating.  The birthday sign is supposed to be done the night before, and hung up for the birthday child to see on their actual birthday, as a surprise. The surprise being the design of the sign.  However, Aubrey and Merdia, wanted to be in on the design and coloring of their own birthday signs.  The older girls protested much, as this is NOT how birthday signs are to be done!!!  Change is hard people....hard.

You can barely see the bruising under his eyes.  I assure you it was very noticeable in person!  But you can see his whole forehead is swollen.  And to think that he didn't even have a headache after all of this, just the first night!  No more hay bale tackling for you!

Merida is a total ham when she knows the camera is out.  She insists on posing in at least 30 or more poses, which you must capture each one, AND show her them all!  Taking her picture takes a very, very long time!


Pose 17.  Ha, ha!

Merida asked for the 'cup game', which took quite a while to figure out what she was talking about.  Then I realized it was the punch game that Jed had for his birthday party last year.  Jed's was in the shape and color of a Pokeball.  For Merida we made a cupcake.

She could hardly wait until we could take off the little plastic purse.  Once we got it off she forgot all about it! Oy.  Now she has some little trinkets and paper stored in it.

Although she didn't make her own cake, she did insist of putting on her own candles! 

Monday, December 17, 2018

When they grow up....

I have the unique position of being a mom to adults, teens, a tweener, school aged, and one about to exit the preschool age...along with being a grandmother.  One minute I may be playing dolls, or admiring lego creations, the next I am putting my grandson down for a nap, and then the next....helping to plan a wedding.  Yes, a wedding.  So it seems that the doll days are very much done for some of my girls...ok, most of them!  And now we have a room full of talk and excitement about colors, food, and guest list.  Phew!

Don't worry, there is no date yet, nor has there actually be a proposal!  I know, I know, you are probably thinking then why are we planning for a wedding.  Well, the plan is that once there is a proposal that the wedding should take place no longer than about 3 months later.  I don't make the rules!  Just gotta follow them :-)  

And so it is, that there are now Pinterest boards to be scoured, food choices to decide, photographer to be sourced, flowers, venue, and so on and so forth.  All done between younger children yelling and running.  Teens that need the latest kpop album.  And lets not forget to keep an eye on any little tidbit of crumb or paper on the floor....because if we don't the baby will!  

I had the privilege of doing a photoshoot of the said couple.  It's funny to think that I remember first meeting him, as Merida, who was not 18  months old at the time, took an immediate liking to him.  She didn't go to just anyone!  We actually took a picture of her sitting on his lap because it was such an astonishing sight.

Moira and Adam's relationship has not been picture perfect (though, whose is?). But this has given them time to dig in deep and learn.  I can honestly say they are much better prepared for marriage than I was.  They strive to put Christ as the center, and all decisions based on the Word of God.  

I might not have any details to give, but I do have pictures! 


Friday, November 16, 2018

Party time!

  We have had many years when friends were few.  There were times when friends were made, and we then had to move.  But along the way a friend here, and a friend there were gained...and kept.  Over the years we've had a few parties.  And in the recent past couple of years the party planning, decorating, and food prep has been in the hands of the girls.

  It's been a while since we've had a party that wasn't a birthday party :-)  So this Halloween was the talk of the house.  Even though it was the *girls'* party, the boys were pretty eager to help out!  The boys spent a couple of days getting the outside ready. Cleaning up, chopping some wood for the bonfire, and power washing the porch.  The girls were busy with decorations, and food....and of course costumes.

  The boys decided to go for some store costumes, as did Flannery.  Everyone else put some outfits together with what they had.  We did a little photo shoot, though Jeremiah, I and the littles took off to our church's Fall Fest so I was not able to get photos of all their guests as they hadn't all arrived.

  It is a blessing to see a house full of wonderful teens.   Teens that you can leave at home and know that all will be well while you are away.  We came home to everyone either playing board games or hanging out in the kitchen snacking.  Unfortunately the bonfire did not happen.  The wood would not catch fire.  That did not deter them.  They just changed plans.  Instead they hung out on the trampoline telling scary stories.

  The littles had a blast at church.  Lots of food and fun.  A hay ride and games were a huge hit with the kiddos.  The evening ended with trunk-or-treat.  With only about 10 cars I was surprised to see my kids come away with more candy then they have ever received going door to door!  Since we have started detoxing I didn't want the kids to be eating sugar on a weekly basis, so they got a good handful...or two...and then they traded it all in for a new toy each.

  What really warmed my mama heart was when we got home and the bigger kids didn't ignore the little kids :-)  I know it can be a bummer to have your little siblings running around when you are trying to have a big kid I was relieved when they were included, at least up to a point.  We tried to make sure that the littles didn't come in and take over!  Ha, ha!

Saoirse was going to be Black Riding Hood, as we didn't have a red cape.

But that quickly changed to a vampire sort of character.

Flannery was going to be this cowboy cactus-bee-butterfly-cat kind of character, but she decided to just go with the cowboy cactus.

Merida was supposed to be Minnie Mouse, but her costume went missing that day.  It ended up being in the closet...the one behind the photo 'booth' that the girls set up for the party!  We found her costume the next day.  So she went with what she was last year...a cat.

Kristi was a butterfly back from the dead.  The one that you either killed by accident, or get revenge.  They have some imagination!

A close up of Saoirse's makeup artistry :-)

Heidi was a sorceress.  We thought adding the cat in as a prop was the finishing touch.

Aubrey was Picachu.  As soon as he saw this costume he insisted he HAD to have it. 

Even Loki got in on the dressing up :-)  Not sure how much he enjoyed it, but he did look festive!

I couldn't get the other boys to break from the group to get individual shots.  Here are all the littles.  Jed as Bonnie, and Jonah as Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy's.

Everyone decided to jump in to do a dab, or three.

Katie and Merida.  Katie was a fair maiden. 

Moira and Adam were trying to find a great couples costume idea, but they couldn't find one.  So Moira decided to be a deer, and Adam was a lumberjack. Adam's mom had made him this yarn beard and I wish I had gotten a picture of it, it was really cool!

Isabella dressed up as a student from Hogwarts and Liam was Harry Potter....a *very* cute Harry Potter if I do say so myself!


Friday, November 02, 2018

Running Barefoot Through Fields of Blue

Once upon a time, in a beautiful land where the skies were a brilliant blue, the grass an emerald green, and where the children ran barefoot without care....ehhhh, scratch that.  I'm definitely in a land where the skies are a beautiful blue (Carolina blue for that matter :-) ), but grass is nowhere to be found.  The children, well they do run barefoot without care.  There is some sort of physics law that has to do with all things reverting to chaos.  Yup, that's where we are at.  We do have green, but it's all weeds.  Like 6 foot tall weeds.  And, no, I'm not joking.

The past couple of years have been trying.  That would be putting it lightly.  But amidst the storms there have been breathtaking breaks in the clouds where the sun seems brighter than it normally would.  That certainly helped to get us through those dark days.  The kids have been asking to go through the blog, to look at the pictures, to read the stories.  There are a lot of missing stories for the past two years. For good reason.  It was not the time to tell them.

We have battled a slew of illnesses.  I am sure you have all seen that theme here on my blog....illness this, illness that. Diet this, supplement that.  Health has most certainly alluded us.  Black mold was found in our house, which we got rid of, and for the first time in years we had a winter that only had one case of the sniffles.  Amazing to say the least.  Unfortunately there are some signs of weakened immune systems here as we head in the winter of 2018/2019 that I am very much hoping have nothing to do with any possible mold hiding out.  Only time will tell.

Then there was the year of separation in our marriage.  It was very much needed.  Still a long ways to go in the marriage department, so a work in progress.

Then there was the horrible car accident, that took a good 6 months of our life.  However the ramifications have lasted much longer than that.  I was finally ready to get back to life this summer (a year after the accident), when we were hit with whooping cough!  And I had a lovely stint as an alternate juror on a murder trial.  We were blessed with a reduced membership to an aquatic center, due to Moira being an employee.  The first summer in NC, in a VERY long while, that we had access to a pool.  We went multiple times a week.  Thankfully whooping cough isn't as horrid as it is made out to be IF....please NOTE the **IF**.... you are taking very high levels of vitamin C.  And then we had the wonderful blessing of making it to NY for my youngest brother's wedding. We had not been to NY in 14 years!  The last time we were there, Saoirse was only 9 months old!

And then we had another amazing blessing, that was of course first met with rough seas.  Our first grandbaby was born this past February!  Isabella had a rough pregnancy.  As in morning sickness all 9 months.  A few scares along the way thrown in for good measure. But at the end of it all was a precious baby boy.  His name is Liam Jeremiah.  He is now 8 months old, and the star of the show around here.  The months that followed his birth were very difficult.  There was a stay in the NICU, then horrible, horrible nursing problems. Those issues were solved three months in with a tongue and lip tie revision.  Isabella exclusively pumped for three months!  Now they have a strong nursing relationship!  There were a few bouts of thrush, and some horrid dental issues.  Isabella was plagued by horrible, horrible heartburn, that literally rotted her back teeth :-(  On top of it she had to get her wisdom teeth out.  It's been a rough ride for those two.

Having older children has made things easier and harder all rolled into one. Flannery was blessed with her first job at Krispe Kreme.  Having to drive her back and forth, Moira back and forth, and Saoirse to any events was taking a bit of a toll.  Thankfully with another vehicle added to the mix that has made things a bit easier.

So we land here.  Still in some chaos.  Behind on many levels and in many ways.  Time running out to find a way to get to the root of Jedidiah's issues.  And like I mentioned early, signs of weakened immune systems.  It was back to the drawing board.  Plans were drawn up, and we've just begun implementing the plan.  I'll have to share another day.  The plan was not made till after I had a bit of a meltdown.  Because, let's be honest, chaos is messy.  In our case, very messy.  Figuratively and literally.  And so as a plan was being created I decided that I would attempt to get out at least once a week to try to make art out of the chaos. For me that would mean photographs.  My kids do a good enough job making art messes in the house, I didn't want to add to that :-)

Hula hoops that have seen better days.  Though we spent a lot of time poolside, not a lot of time was spent in the yard.  It's time to pick these guys up and get moving!

See, weeds *can* be pretty!  Actually there are a lot of weeds that are powerhouses of nutrition and healing.  Just one of the many, many....many weeds in our yard.  Our neighbor's goats have been getting out and hanging in our yard.  Who needs a mower, when you have goats.  We need to get some goats of our own...we miss ours greatly!

Chains.  These in particular are chains to lock up the front gate.  But figuratively I would say we were being bound by a lot of chains mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  With God's help all of them will be broken!

Another beautiful parting of the clouds was Moira's re-dedication baptism, and Jedidiah and Aubrey's baptism this summer.  Jedidiah wrote this on the foundation of our house.  Fitting.  Jesus needs to be our foundation!  When he's not....the house does indeed fall.  Thankfully He is still in the business of miracles. Houses can be rebuilt, and rebuilt on a proper foundation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

jed and  aubrey  zzombe 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Years!

Wow, 2017 was something else!  We did things differently this year.  It's always been just us celebrating here at home.  I think one year Isabella and Moira hung out with friends on New Years, but other wise, it's been just us.  This year we celebrated with our church family.  We rung in the new year with board games, running around (for the littles), and food.  About 30 minutes before midnight we did some praise and worship.  It was a wonderful way to start the new year. 

Not wanting to miss out on our traditions of pot banging and change rattling, I brought those things along!  I also brought many a bottle of sparkling juice so that we could clink glasses (or in this case red plastic cups) at the top of the hour. 

It was a great time! 

Happy New Years from our family to yours!

Our whole gang along with Isabella's significant other, and the girls' best friend who is family :-) 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

How life can change in an instant!

**This post is kind of disjointed.... and I am sure you'll understand once you read it.  One day I may be able to pull myself together to put it all 'together', but today is not that day :-)**

Things got busy after my last post (waaaay back in April).  It was the typical end of the school year busy.  I got a planner so I could make some plans for our summer.  Plans that totally went out the window in a split second.  In June we endured one of the 'parental nightmares' that one worries about when they have children.

It would be much, much too long to go into the very odd details that led up to our nightmare, maybe one day I will share those.  But, make no mistake, what took place was a spiritual attack on our family.  The scripture that says that satan comes to 'kill, steal, and destroy' has never been so real to me before June 6th.

Two weeks before June 6, three of my girls, Moira (17 at the time), Flannery (15), and Saoirse (13) were on our way to the homeschool graduation ceremony.  We came to a stop at the 4 way stop sign not a mile from our home.  I looked right, and there was a car waaaaaay way out, and on my left another car was approaching.  We got to the stop at the same time, and though I was in the right to go, the person was not giving me a sign that they acknowledged that.  Needless to say it took a bit more time to negotiate the stop than anticipated.  I always, always, always re-look before proceeding through a stop sign....**except** this time.  The car that was far off in the distance was RIGHT there as I started to go through the intersection.....they did not see the stop sign and were flying through.  I slammed on my brakes, and they screeched and turned hard to their right to avoid hitting me.  Thankfully we were spared a would have been a t-bone hit!  Both Moira and Flannery were on the side that the car would have hit.

I was shaking for a long while afterwards, knowing just how serious that car accident could have been.  My girls were on their phones oblivious to what almost happened. A few minutes later, being ever so grateful that we escaped such a serious accident, I told the girls that we needed to be thankful that their lives were spared.  They didn't quite 'get it'.  And so I explained the seriousness of the near t-bone accident to them.  Unfortunately, two weeks later, those same two girls were going to find out first hand what I had meant.

The girls met up with friends and their older sister for a movie.  Isabella was supposed to drive them home from the movie, but she was feeling very sick and needed to leave the movie early.  So their friend was going to drive them home instead.  They called me to let me know they were going to stop by the park to get pics of the sunset.  A little while later I realized that the park they were going to actually locks their gate at sunset, so I called them to let them know they needed to leave the park asap.  They already had and told me they would see me soon.

Then Flannery called me and let me know they were grabbing a snack and getting gas.  In the past the girls were not on top of letting me know when their plans had changed, so I was glad that she called me to let me know.  About 15 to 20 minutes later, when I realized they should have been pulling in, the phone rang.  I saw it was Flannery's number, and in my head I was thinking....ugh, if they changed their plans again, I am going to go crazy!  I wish, wish, wish that I could have gone crazy, instead I picked up the phone and Flannery was sobbing, yelling that there was an accident.


I knew it had to be bad.  Flannery doesn't cry.

I screamed for Jeremiah, and seemingly at the same time screamed into the phone, Where's Moira, where's Moira!?!?!!

Flannery sobbed back, she's in the car....she's not responding (Moira was not responding)


Where are you!??!?!!

She says she doesn't know....wait, we're at the white house with the purple shutters.

I scream to Saoirse to watch the kids, and Jeremiah and I are out the door running.

I drive there....another crazy story in itself.

They are only 3 miles away.  I come around the small bend and over the top of the small hill I see a ton of lights...those big lights to make the dark look like day (it was 9:30 at night).  Fire trucks, police cars, lights, cars, people....lights

oh my God where are my babies, where is Moira?

Then I see the car.  Oh my God, Lord help me, I cry out.  I can't do this, I can't do this.....

The back car door is smashed in and Moira's head is lying over the window area where the glass was blown out.  (she was t-boned) Oh my God, I can't do this.  All the while I am running.  Running as fast as I can.  I want to be there for her and at the same time I am petrified to look.  Jeremiah got to her first (we got there right before the EMS crews did....though there were bystanders, one who was a nurse, and someone else there that were trying to help). Flannery comes out of no where.  She is crying, sobbing, hugging me tight.  She is freaking out.  Their poor friend who was driving just kept repeating I am so sorry, I am so sorry (he didn't see the stop sign and ran it....with the other car coming at them going 55-65mph).

Now at this point the gracious Lord gave me strength from above.  I told Flannery I had to see how Moira was, so she went and sat on this small hill where some people were trying to get information (the cops?) about what happened.  I run over and see Moira move an arm.


My heart was beating sooo fast. I start praying out, really loud.  But I knew we weren't out of the woods by any means.  Was her spinal cord effected?  Is she bleeding?  She wasn't responding to us, just moaning.  By then the EMS crews arrived. They got her out on a board.  I rode in the ambulance to the hospital (soooo happy we have a level one trauma unit near by...30 minutes away).  About 5 minutes from the hospital one of the EMTs told me she was responding.  Praise you Lord.

I had been praying that all internal injuries would stop bleeding.  I knew she had to have internal bleeding.

It was a very long wait in the family waiting room, waiting for them to transfer her to the trauma unit, waiting for the initial CAT scans.  Oh God the wait.

They bring us back, and she is awake, aware, but in a TON of pain.  The nurse or doctor tells us that she is stable, but in serious condition.  She lost her left kidney, the renal artery had over extended, and the blood supply couldn't flow through.  We were told had it extended any further it would have ruptured and she would have been dead on scene.


She had 3 broken ribs, some lacerations on her lungs and her spleen was really bad off.  Out of 4 levels of injury for the spleen, with 4 being the worst, she was a 3.  Basically her spleen was mush, and that mush was being held together by the spleen's casing, which was lacerated as well!  Her regular doctor told me recently that with the lacerations she had she should have bled to death.


She also had bleeding in her brain.  We waited a long 4 hours for a repeat scan to determine if her brain was still bleeding or not.  Thank the Lord it wasn't.  Basically my prayers for the internal bleeding to stop were answered.  By about day 5 or so I noticed something wrong with her right wasn't tracking with the other eye.  A VERY long story made short, she had damage done to her third cranial nerve.  An MRI was done, and it was determined that the damage was done in the middle of her brain.  Basically though no one part of her brain bled a lot, there were a lot of parts of her brain that had bled, or were bruised.  Weeks after she was released from the hospital it was determined that there was also nerve damage done in the back of her eye.

Moira's right eye was not able to stay centered, and it would wonder off to the side.  Also her lid would not open all the way, just half way at most.  She had extreme tunnel vision as well in that eye.  This made walking very, very, very difficult (aside from the immense amount of pain she was in).

Basically, it is a miracle that she is alive.  She spent 4 days in the ICU, about 10 days on a regular floor and about 10 days on the rehab floor.

Our summer was spent in the hospital and then since we returned home it has been just doctor appointments and rehab.  It was slow going at first.  We had to buy a baby monitor for her room since she couldn't get up unassisted.  Thankfully she came home with no needed equipment.  In the early days of the hospital she needed a walker to get around.  It was very disturbing to see my once vibrant girl, who did cheer leading this past year, using a walker to move around :-(

***This post has been sitting here on Blogger in 'pending' mode for about 2 months. There are so many stories that go with what happened during this time.  I think I stopped writing it because it really could be a book!  We were so grateful the immense amount of help we received from family and friends.  I could not imagine walking this road alone!  It was long, it was hard.  And praise God it is almost over!  I say almost because there are a few things we are waiting to heal.  Her right eye has improved so much.  She has control over tracking, she no longer has tunnel vision, and she can open her eyelid all the way.  At this time she still has some lost peripheral vision.  A recent MRI scan showed she has a mild bulging disk in her spine.  Looks like we may be signing up for more physical therapy!  She just had her last physical therapy two weeks ago!  And now we need to go back to work on this disk.  I am not happy to have to do that, but it will sure beat possible back surgery for her in the future....and so "GO" we must!

We have some funny stories of the things Moira did or said while on pain meds.  We have stories of worry and tears as we didn't know what the outcome was going to be with her injuries.  We have stories of perseverance, and stories of wanting to throw in the towel.  But above all we HAVE a story, one that ends with Moira living her life like she was used to.  She is back to school, and back to work.  She hangs out with her friends, and loves to go shopping, and do makeup. 

Now, granted, Moira was the one badly injured in the crash, but Flannery didn't escape scott free.  She was spared any apparent injuries at the time of the crash.  But a few weeks after the crash she was complaining of extreme fatigue, hard time concentrating, and lights and noise were bothering her.  We took her in to her doctor who didn't find anything wrong.  But then we spoke with a therapist who said that it is possible she had a concussion that did not present itself at the time of the crash.  It took a couple months for those symptoms to disappear, but she is back to normal.  As a matter of fact she said she wanted to drive today!  Both girls have not wanted to drive since the crash.  Moira doesn't have any memories of the crash, but her body must remember as she does have anxiety at lights.  But now both girls are ready to get back behind the wheel....I'm just not sure if I'm ready for them to do so :-) 

In the ICU, getting a visit with her big sister.  She had to have that neck brace on for 3 days before they determined she could go without it.  It was a very long 4 days in the ICU.  I know that is not a lot of time, but when you are in it, it seemed forever!

Not a good picture, and I am sure Moira will want to kill me for posting it, but this was during the very hard, hard days for her. You can see the pain on her face.  It took so much out of her to sit up and 'do life'.

We made it a point to decorate her room.  Some balloons, some lights, and some pictures from home.

This was during rehab.  Jeremiah and I took turns staying with her for 24 hours.  When it was switch off time we would sometimes bring the kids for a visit.  Lights and noise were very hard for Moira to deal with.  I assure you there is nothing quiet about our family!  So visits were short.

Moira got to have a few hours out of the hospital with her therapists. She got this pirate cake pop since, well....she was in the habit of looking like a pirate during this time.  The eye patch made it easier for her to walk since it helped to block the double vision.

Moira just getting home, for good!  She had her "Independence Day" shirt on, that they give to all the 'graduated' rehab patients.  It was literally only a couple of days till July 4th, so we joked that that was the most expensive Independence Day shirt EVER!

Here she is, finally able to read, at one of her doctors visits.  All week long it was therapy and doctors visits.  So. Many. Doctor. Visits.  So thankful she was alive, and able to actually go to doctors visits, don't get me wrong!!  It was just a trying time to be sure.

Moira, Saoirse, and Kristi just a couple of weeks ago.  I have other pictures, but these were the ones I could get off of my current computer. 

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