Monday, December 28, 2009

Birthday Cake!

It's hard to believe that I have a 9 year old! And yet, on a daily basis I am reminded that my beautiful daughter is, in fact, getting older and more responsible... and also opinionated. :o)

She requested that I make her a special birthday cake this year. Now, I do not in ANY way pretend to be a cake decorator. BUT, I make an effort to get my kids the cake they want for their birthday, but also one that won't break the bank. The only way to accomplish this is to make it myself (store-bought cakes are soooo expensive!).

R told me that she wanted a 3 dimensional Barbie Doll cake this year. Since I had never made one before, I researched online and got some ideas. Then, R and I got together and drew out a design on paper. And finally, I frosted and decorated those ideas onto the cake.

This is what we came up with (and remember, I am NOT a professional)...

It isn't the greatest job in the world, but it sure made a very happy 9 year old! :o)
And the others really enjoyed eating my creation. :o)

They did get a little sadistic about it, though. I think Jay and B enjoyed cutting it up a little too much. Ha ha. :o)

Poor, legless Barbie. :o)

R told us it was the best birthday EVER! Why? Well, not only did she get to keep the Barbie Doll that had been her cake...

She also got an ipod!!! She was so thrilled! What a fun birthday! :o)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A New Home - A New Beginning

Due to the fact that baby C was in the hospital and Jay was with us instead of with the moving truck, Charles (Jay's dad) ended up driving to our new house in Ohio all by himself.

Did I mention that we had never seen the house before we moved here? So, we really had no way of telling Charles how to get here or what to do once he got here. What a strange situation we found ourselves in!

Thankfully, we have a truly wonderful new church family who understood the difficult circumstances, and were there to make everything run as smoothly as possible. They got the key to the house from the landlord, came in and did some cleaning, helped Charles get here (and even let him stay the night at one of their houses).

And most impressive of all, they unloaded the truck, got all of the beds set up in the bedrooms (complete with linens), and started unpacking various boxes for us, setting the kitchen up and even buying tons of food to stock the cupboards and refrigerator, so we would have things to eat for the first few days.

When we (FINALLY) arrived to our new home, we came in to find all of the furniture set up, all of the beds ready to sleep in, the kitchen completely unpacked and ready to use, and best of all...

The ladies of the church set up a beautiful Christmas tree for us!!! What a sweet sentiment! What's more, they also thought about the kids...

A brand new sled and candy for each of them! :o)

Best of all, the kids woke up the next morning to several inches of fluffy white snow! So, of course, they immediately set out to get some use out of their new gift!

Jay and I really began to feel truly loved and appreciated at this new church. A brand new beginning for the RichFam. :o)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Snag in Our Plans

We hit a very unexpected little snag as we were moving from Florida to Ohio.

We were stopped over at my parents' house in TN (letting the kids celebrate Christmas with the grandparents while Jay was busy driving the moving truck to Ohio). I noticed one morning that baby C had a vey "gunky" eye. Being a mother of 4 youngsters, I thought I knew what the problem was. I figured she had pink eye, and planned to take her to a local pediatrician to get some eye drops.

However, after calling several pediatricians in the area, I was told that they would not see us on a one-time-only basis. So, I took her to a walk-in clinic. However, they also informed me that they would not see her, this time stating that they would not see anyone under 1 year of age. My only other option was to take her to the ER at the local hospital.

Once there, the nurses took baby C's temperature and noticed that she had a slight fever. Due to the fact that she was only 2 weeks old, they informed me that the standard procedure was to transfer her to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and admit her for a few days while they ran a battery of tests.

I was in complete shock! I mean, I only needed to get some eye drops for her goopy eye! And yet, there we were, en route to Vandy. I called Jay to let him know what was happening, and he immediately left his dad (who would be driving with the moving truck and all of our belongings to our new house in Ohio all by himself now), and changed his route from South Carolina to be with me and baby C at the hospital. He drove for 20 straight hours - from FL to SC to TN - before he finally met up with us at Vanderbilt.

Meanwhile, baby C and I got settled at the hospital, where doctors and nurses quickly hooked her up with an IV, and began drawing blood for the long battery of tests. The biggest shock of all was learning that they were going to do a spinal tap on my precious 2 week old baby to test her for bacterial meningitis. Hearing her screams as they did the spinal tap was the most heartbreaking sound in the world!

Thankfully, my wonderful friend, Tonya (who lives in Nashville), was able to be there to hold my hand and offer some wonderful words of encouragement, since Jay was not able to get there in time. It was really nice to see her after many years of living so far away from each other. And what a blessing she turned out to be, too! She and her husband, Brian, took our younger 3 children to their house to play with their 5 kids, and kept them all overnight, feeding them, buying them gifts, and completely spoiling them for us! It's just so amazing to me how your true friends are never far from your hearts, even when they are far from your house. :o)

We were told baby C must stay at the hospital for at least 48 hours, until the blood test results could come back. Then, as long as all of the tests were negative and everything looked good with her, we would then be permitted to leave, and continue on our way to Ohio. Which is exactly what happened. And, do you know what that goopy eye thing turned out to be? A clogged tear duct, perfectly harmless and completely normal. Something that will eventually clear up on its own. (sigh).

Oh well. God had His reasons for keeping us there longer than we anticipated. It is just so incredible to think about the whole situation and how God's hand was evident throughout it all.

It "just so happened" that baby C ended up going to Vanderbilt - one of the best children's hospitals in the world. We "just so happened" to be in Nashville where all of my friends and family live (and also so I knew my way around the area). My friend Tonya "just so happened" to have that entire week off of work, so that when I called her to help, her schedule was completely clear and she had nothing standing in the way. There are so many "just so happened" things that occurred with this situation, that it is unfathomable to think that it was anything but the hand of Almighty God, making the whole situation as easy as possible for us.

Praise the Lord! :o)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Moving Day!

Two weeks (to the day) after baby C was born, we moved out of the Sunshine State.

FINALLY! We have told ourselves for TWO YEARS that living in Florida was merely temporary. A stopping point on our way to better things. Unfortunately, God had other plans.

We arrived in Florida under some severely tough circumstances and, although we never really felt at home there, we know we were placed there for a reason. We made some wonderful friends, grew stronger in our relationship with the Lord, and grew closer together as a family. Florida ended up being a place of healing for our hurting family. And getting the green light to move away told us that God thought we had done enough healing, and that it was time to start focusing on other things.

So, we packed up and headed north towards our new home in OHIO! My mom was with us, and she drove the kids and I to her house in TN (so we could celebrate Christmas), while Jay stayed behind and loaded the moving truck. Then, he and his dad took a different route, through South Carolina to go straight to the new house.

However, we ran into a little snag along the way... which I will write about in the next post. :o)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Playing Catch Up

WOW! I just cannot seem to find time to update my blog lately!

Let's see... my last post was about the birth of baby C. Since then, things have been pretty hectic here in the RichFam! I will try to post all of these in the order they occurred in, but there's no telling, so... I hope you like reading! :o)

When baby C was 5 days old, my friend (and fellow homeschooling mama) Mandy, of Giggles to Grace Photography, did a newborn photoshoot of baby C, for FREE as a gift! And what an amazing gift it was! She is so very talented! Here is a sampling of the pics she did for us...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

She's Finally Here!!!

After months of seemingly endless waiting, we welcomed our newest daughter into the world. She was born on Friday, November 27th, 2009 at 6:12PM. She weighed 7 lbs, 11 oz and was 20 inches long.

I was scheduled to have an induction on Nov 30th, but shortly after dinner on Thanksgiving Day, I began experiencing contractions. They lasted all night long and didn't go away, so I started timing them. By 10:00 on Friday morning, they were 5 minutes apart, so we made the decision to go into the hospital.

I was checked and told that I was 3 1/2 cm dilated. Then, I was told to walk around for 2 hours to see if I was progressing. Afterwards, I was 4 1/2 cm dilated, so they decided to let me stay. YAY! :o)

(Here is R, crossing her fingers, hoping this is it!) :o)

I got settled into a room and immediately asked for an epidural (after the traumatic birth I had with H, I was not about to give birth again without one)! I got the most amazing anesthesiologist, who gave me the best epidural I've ever had. I went through the entire rest of my labor without any pain at all.

(Here's the proof... I am right in the middle of a contraction... happy as can be).
Jay and I even went on Facebook and gave updates during the labor process. And, we got to watch the Auburn/Alabama game, too! All without a single bit of pain! Woo Hoo! :o)

As soon as the football game ended, my midwife told me I was ready to start pushing. I pushed one time, and out came our daughter! It was the best, easiest birth EVER!!!

(Here I am, right after the delivery... still feeling really good!) :o)

Welcome to the world, Little One. :o)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Kids and Clutter

I don't know whether it is the fact that I am at the end of my pregnancy and venturing into the "nesting" mode...

or the fact that we have been packing up the house in preparation for our move to Ohio and there are boxes all over the place.

Either way, though, it seems (to me) as though the kids have been purposely trying to make MORE clutter than ever before!

They are like little tornadoes... leaving massive amounts of MESS behind everywhere they go. It is quite honestly beginning to drive me completely bananas. Why, oh, why can't they just pick up after themselves???

I was thinking this very thing, and getting very overwhelmed and frustrated one day, when I saw a beautiful poem on a friend's blog, and knew providentially that I was meant to see it.

One of these days (and all-too-soon I'm sure), I will no longer hear the "pitter-patter" of little feet clomping through my house, wreaking havoc wherever they go. I will no longer have muddy, chubby little hands leaving dirty smudges on everything they touch. I will no longer scream out in the middle of the night because I have stepped on some small, annoying, and PAINFUL toy that was left in the middle of the floor. I will no longer have little people with big imaginations, pretending to be pirates and mermaids in the bathtub, while pouring water all over the bathroom floor. And I will no longer take my shower interrupted, with the presence of dozens of bath toys at my feet, while hearing tiny little voices gleefully telling me to draw pictures for them in the steam on the shower door.

I needed to be reminded to take a breath in the midst of all the clutter. To overlook it and instead, see it as a sign that there is the presence of beautiful life inside my home, innocently playing, without the fear and worry that comes with adulthood. I need to be reminded to love the wonderful chaos inside my home... clutter and all.

Hope you enjoy the poem as much as I did...

"The Toy-Strewn Home"
by Edgar Guest

Give me the house where the toys are strewn,
Where the dolls are asleep in the chairs,
Where the building blocks and the toy balloon
And the soldiers guard the stairs.
Let me step in a house where the tiny cart
With the horses rules the floor,
And rest comes into my weary heart,
For I am at home once more.
Give me the house with the toys about,
With the battered old train of cars,
The box of paints and the books left out,
And the ship with her broken spars.
Let me step in a house at the close of day
That is littered with children’s toys,
And dwell once more in the haunts of play,
With the echoes of by-gone noise.
Give me the house where the toys are seen,
The house where the children romp,
And I’ll happier be than man has been
‘Neath the gilded dome of pomp.
Let me see the litter of bright-eyed play
Strewn over the parlor floor,
And the joys I knew in a far-off day
Will gladden my heart once more.
Whoever has lived in a toy-strewn home,
Though feeble he be and gray,
Will yearn, no matter how far he roam,
For the glorious disarray
Of the little home with its littered floor
That was his in the by-gone days;
And his heart will throb as it throbbed before,
When he rests where a baby plays.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Little Hymn Singers

Jay and I decided several months ago that we were going to teach our children some of the old church hymns. It occurred to us that (sadly) today many churches are getting away from these beautiful songs, which are so rich in theology. So, during our Family Bible Times each night, Jay reads from the Scriptures, we say prayers, and then we sing a hymn.

We choose one hymn per month, and sing it every night. So far, the children have done really well with it! They are very fast learners, and have already mastered about 9 of the old hymns! I am just kicking myself that I only just now thought to record them singing all of these beautiful songs! :o)

Last month, we learned "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". This was a particularly difficult hymn to learn (even for us adults!!!). But, by the end of the month, all of us had learned it... including little H. :o)

This month, we chose a slightly easier hymn, "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus". It is only mid-way through the month, but all of the kids (yep, even little H), have it mastered already.

I am so proud of my Little Hymn Singers! :o)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Is this October???

What is wrong with these pictures?

I have no choice but to chalk it up to the fact that we are in Florida - the "sunshine" state. It seems so strange, though, when I hear from loved ones all across the country who are in sweaters, and coats, and drinking hot chocolate and making soup to keep themselves warm. I must admit, I am a bit jealous of them.

Nevertheless, as the saying goes, "when in Rome... er... Florida..."

Happy "Fall"!!! Ha ha. :o)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kiki Strikes Again!

I'm telling you... I'd sure like to know where in the world all these frogs are coming from!!! I mean, in my earlier posts, I sort of joked about it being akin to an Old Testament plague. But now, I'm not so sure I'm joking anymore. This is just too weird!!!

This poor little frog didn't stand a chance under the weight of our 20 pound feline. I know it is kinda hard to tell from the pics, but this little guy was only about the size of a quarter. I tried to put another object in the picture next to it, but the only thing I could find was an old, broken cell phone that the kids use as a toy.

Eventually, though, as I was cleaning up the flat, dry carcass, I realized you would be able to see it much better against the white paper towel than the dark wooden floor. And then, I stuck my thumb in the pic, so you could see just how small this little guy was.

Poor frogs. They just don't stand a chance in this house against Kiki, the Ginormous Fat Cat. I just wish I knew where they were coming from, and why they are choosing MY house!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Plague of Frogs

Okay, let me first begin this post by reminding you of our last encounter with this particular plague in our house. (click on the link to read about it).

So then, last night, as Jay and I sat in the living room watching TV... (okay, fine. we weren't really watching TV. Jay was in his chair snoring, and I was busy doing lesson plans for the kids' homeschool), I kept hearing the "thump. thump." again. I looked up in the light fixture, where the last critter had somehow trapped itself, but there was nothing there.

Eventually, I went to bed, thinking that it must be the refrigerator making some sort of dripping noise or something...

But... nay, nay!

This morning I awoke to the sight of Kiki the Cat, laying on a blanket the kids had left in the living room floor. This is not uncommon behavior for Kiki, since she is an extremely overweight, fat lazy cat. Her favorite pastime is sleeping... and eating, of course.

This time, however, Kiki did not look like her normal, comfortable, lazy self as she lay on the blanket. There was a gleam in her eye that I had not seen before. Nevertheless, I don't like her laying on the children's blankets, so I tried to make her get up.

She refused.

This is highly unusual behavior from my normally compliant kitty. But, I finally got her to get up... only to notice that something had been underneath her, and that she would not venture far from it.

Here she is, in her "conquering" pose...

I quickly realized that the "thump. thump." I had heard last night was not the refrigerator. It was another episode of The Plague of Frogs.

Yes, my sweet, docile, declawed kitty had become a predator in the night.

Here she is with her "kill"...

And here is a close-up of the carnage, all squished (yuck) - flattened under the weight of my 20 lb feline...
Definitely not something I wanted to wake up to this morning! And certainly not something I wanted to find on my daughter's blanket! Yuck!

Soon after Jay came to the rescue, and disposed of the "present" she had for us this morning, Kiki went back to doing what she does best...
I suppose I should be glad that my fat, lazy cat is finally trying to earn her keep around here. Good job, Kiki! But, no offense if I think twice before letting you lick the kids when they're loving on you! :o)