Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Part 2 -- The Not-So-Fun Part

We'd hardly pulled out of LR, when Charlotte started complaining of a stomach ache. We thought she'd probably just eaten too much and jumped around too much, and weren't too worried. Then just before Conway she threw up. Big time. We stopped and cleaned her up and I thankfully had some sheets in the car (new ones, too! ugg).
We got back on the road and made it almost another 20 minutes before she threw up again. I think at this point we knew we were in for a long drive. :( She threw up every 20-30 minutes the entire way home. By the time we reached 540 and the last leg of the trip, we just decided to keep driving and just get home. We were out of towels, sheets, blankets, and nowhere was open since it was Thanksgiving. Poor girl. She was so miserable. She couldn't even get to sleep before she'd throw up again.
We got home and got her bathed and tried to clean up the car. We got Madeleine & Harrison settled in bed and tried to make Charlotte as comfortable as possible. But, she just kept throwing up. We tried to give her 1/2 tsp of gatorade, but that kept coming right up too. She got to the point where she was throwing up stomach bile (gross, I know) over and over. She was asking for drinks but she'd immediately throw up even just one tiny piece of ice.
About 2a.m. she started getting a little lethargic. I know she was so tired. And she hadn't gone to the bathroom since we'd left LR. So, I ended up taking her to the ER. Thankfully we were pretty much the only ones there. We had a wonderful guy nurse who was very good with her. The only other ones there that night was another kid with the same thing as C. Apparently the stomach flu was going around big time! The tried several times to get some Zoloft down her so she wouldn't have to get an IV. It took some trying and letting her throw up more, but finally it too. And, within 30 minutes she was happily drinking some Gatorade. :) 
I'm so thankful that they kept trying and were able to avoid an IV. She was dehydrated and miserable. But, by the time we left, she was keeping fluids down and feeling much better! And, they sent us home with a prescription in case anyone else got it. We got home about 6 and within the hour Madeleine was up with the stomach bug. It was a long day at our house.

Then on Saturday morning, I woke up with it. Matt headed to fill the prescription and by the time he got home, he was on his was down. I called my mom and she headed up to help out. We'd never have made it without her. Matt and I were sick all day Saturday and still not feeling great on Sunday. I'm so thankful she was there to help out so we could rest.

This was quite a bug! It took my mom down when she got home and it was a week before Charlotte and I had our appetites back. Needless to say this will go down as the Thanksgiving we all lost weight!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving -- Part 1 (The Fun Part)

We had a very interesting week of Thanksgiving around here. The week started with Harrison getting a very mild stomach bug on Sunday night. We'd planned to go and spend Tuesday/Wednesday with Matt's family, but decided to change our plans and stay home a bit longer, just to be sure that no one else came down sick. We were all just so sad that we had to change our plans, but we truly didn't want anyone to get sick from us.
By Wednesday morning all was still well around our house, so we packed up and headed to LR late that afternoon. The kids were soooo excited to see their cousins! It was a fun-filled evening full of catching up, good food, and my favorite Mounds Bars. :)
Thursday morning the kids played and we cooked. Charlotte even got in on the action this year and helped a bit in the kitchen.
 Madeleine and Rhea took a turn trying to break the wishbone and it got pretty animated!  

 Thanksgiving dinner was, as usual, sooo yummy! Charlotte got to sit at the little kid table...
 then there was the "big" kid table.
 After dinner, the kids decorated cookies.

It was a great, perfect day! The kids had such a blast visiting their cousins -- and everyone got along so well, which made it even better. :) We headed home that night. I had volunteered to help work the Arkansas/LSU game on Friday morning at our school. But, as it turned out, that didn't exactly happen.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I have so much to be thankful for this year. But, right at the top of the list are these three. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Have you ever seen a turkey?

Last week Charlotte's preschool had their Thanksgiving Program and Feast. It was sooo cute! Her class sang several songs, among them "Have you ever seen a turkey?" and she's been singing it daily since then. I wonder if I'll ever get it out of my head! :)
Here is the program. 
 She was so cute when she finally noticed me! A lot of the kids started crying when they saw their parents, but Charlotte got the cutest little smile. She did the motions to part of the songs, but then after she saw me she just smiles and stared at me. I think she was worried that I was going to leave her again!

 After their program, the parents went back with the kids to their classroom for a "feast." It wasn't exactly the most traditional feast -- chicken nuggets, mac n' cheese, fruit, but the kids ate it really well! They had decorated the table that morning to get ready.
 Charlotte's artwork at her spot.
 Charlotte was sitting by her little best friend at school -- Whitney. Her mom and I exchanged number so the girls can have a playdate soon. Yay!
 And, there were yummy cupcakes for dessert!
 I'm so thankful for my sweet and sassy girl!
Charlotte has had such a wonderful year so far! I am so thankful for her school and her teachers. She love Ms. Britton and talks about her a LOT! And, she has learned so much already this year and is so happy there. She looks forward to going those days and is full of news on the way home. I love that she is having such a good experience here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Last Week

This last week has been one of the hardest that I've ever had. It has left my heart full of ache and left me more physically tired than I've been in months. And, that's saying something.

I've been back and forth in my mind about whether or not I'd blog about this. It's something personal to us, something we've done not for anyone to see or know about, but because we felt called to serve. And, yet, someday I hope that our children will read this. I hope that they will remember and maybe be better able to understand the what and why of the week we've just had.

So, to begin, I have to back up. It all started many months ago. I was sitting in a PTO meeting and we were talking about some needs at our school. The topic came up about how many kids in our school simply do not have enough to eat. This wasn't something I didn't know. I knew this. But, in that moment, it just hit home to me. Kids go hungry. Kids that I know. My kids friends. And, I knew that I needed to do something -- even just for one family.

Matt and talked and then I followed it up by talking to the principal at M's school. The idea was for us to take a meal to a family at her school each week and develop a relationship with them and mentor them. This process eventually led us to getting to know the L family -- a single mom with 4 kids under 8.

Over the past few months, we've taken them dinner one night each week. We've played with them and had some of them over to play at our house. I've done my best to listen to the mom and mentor her -- just giving suggestions of how to get homework done, establish a routine, etc. It's certainly been slow going. I've learned a lot about how the government works in helping families, and learned that she does not exactly move at my pace. We live in 2 completely different worlds that are only mere miles apart.

Tuesday night we went to take dinner over there as usual. I arrived to find her sick and on the couch. The little ones were running the place and the older 2 were just coming off the bus from school. I pick up a bit, checked on her and got dinner settled. I left there and called Matt, asking him to come home as quickly as he could so I could go back over and help her get the kids bathed and in bed since she was ill. As soon as Matt got home, I headed back.

When I got over there, I started to clean up and wash dishes. I discovered that there wasn't any hot water and she told me that their gas had been turned off. The apartment was quickly getting colder as night set in and the first grader already had a terrible cold.

So, I offered to take the oldest 2 (that are in school) home with me. I didn't have room in the car to take any more that night. She could take care of the baby and I told her I'd be back in the morning to get the 3 year old for the day. So, after more cleaning and picking up and vaccuming, I left with A and V in tow. We got home and got them fed, bathed and homework done. Then we managed to get all 5 kids in bed for the night.

Matt and I talked that night about what to do and we decided to offer to keep them the rest of the week while I tried to get their gas turned back on. I offered the next morning when I went to pick up T and was quickly taken up on my offer. I spent the day getting the 3-year old, T, bathed and cleaned up before taking her back home.

I had to go by the school to get the paperwork filed so that I could pick the kids up. While I was there I talked to the counselor about the situation -- she refered me to their social worker. I called her and she stared to work on getting their gas/heat turned back on. When I picked the kids up from school that day and told them that I was going to be keeping them for the rest of the week -- well, you would have thought it was Christmas morning. Excited doesn't  beging to describe it.

They thrived in our home last week. They never once complained about doing homework or studying for tests. They went to bed quickly. They loved sitting down to dinner with us around our (very full) table. Thursday night, V asked Matt just before dinner "You mean we get to do this again?" Matt asked her what she meant and her reply was "We get to sit down and eat dinner and tell about our day?" Something we take forgranted as routine was pretty special to them.

They are sweet, sweet children and we truly loved having them here. However, it was 5 children under 8 in our home. I spent an hour each night just doing baths while Matt rotated them through homework. I washed loads of towels and clothes each day. It was a busy week.

Friday came and after picking them up from school it was time to take them home. When I had dropped them off at school that morning, I found V standing in the hall outside her class, tears running down her face. She told me that she didn't want to leave. That just about broke my heart.

Their mom was very excited to see them and their gas had been turned back on. It was hard to leave them knowing that we were heading to dinner and back to our nice cozy home. Last week was one that changed me. I have always been thankful that we have a nice, safe place to live and food to eat. But, after last week, I have felt a gratitude that I've never before known.

Because, my life could have been different. I am thankful for parents that valued and encouraged education -- something that can never be taken from me. I am thankful that they instilled the drive to work hard in my. I am thankful for my mom that modeled for me the importance of keeping a clean home and having good, nutritious meals on the table. I am thankful that I had a good, solid male role model in my life in my dad. His example lead me to know exactly what I was looking for in a husband. I am thankful that I found all of that, and more, in my Matt. I am thankful that he works hard and supports us in a manner that I can stay home with our kids. I am thankful that we have more than enough to eat. We have more than a nice, warm home -- we have a very nice, warm home.

This year I am seeing my blessings through new eyes. And, more than anything, I am thankful that I am and always have been surrounded not only by people that love me, but more importantly by those that love Him.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

We were pretty busy around our house the weeks before Thanksgiving!
Harrison came home with the Family Turkey Project. We all worked on this together and he was so proud of it! I have to admit I was kinda hoping that they had phased this out since Madeleine was in kindergarten, but no luck. :)
 They also had a Thanksgiving Feast at their school. Only Kindgergarten dresses up & Harrison was so excited about this! They'd been working on their costume all week long and I'd been hearing about it each day -- I was excited to see his hard work when it came home! The kids wanted to buy their lunch that day and did which was a first for both of them.  They both ate turkey, dressing, potatos, green beans, rolls and pumpkin pudding cups (bleh!). They have been begging to buy their lunch all year (or in Madeleine's case years) and it was so easy that we might just do it more often! :)

 I made loaves of pumpkin bread and sent it to Charlotte's teachers. Madeleine & Harrison's teachers got some as well because the PTO did loaves for all the faculty and staff!
 It looked like I was opening a bread shop! Ha! My dining room was covered -- all 48 loaves! Thankfully, I didn't have to make all of it, but I did make 21 loaves. That's what happens when you're the PTO Teacher Appre Chairperson and have a great idea, I guess. At least my house smelled amazing by the time I was done!
 Madeleine got her first try at makeing cinnamon rolls! She was a great helper and we made 7 pans! Yum!
 I love baking with her and I love that she wants to help!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fun at the Park

While today is cold and rainy, we've had some gorgeous fall weather this year and have taken full advantage of it! On a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, the kids and I took Daddy to our new favorite park. It was an absolutely beautiful day and we had the place to ourselves. We stayed most of the morning before heading to lunch. Such a perfect way to spend part of our Saturday!
They love this rope ladder/bridge. It's pretty cool! Poor Charlotte thinks she can do it too and always gets stuck in there. Matt thinks we need one for "time out" at the house. Ha! :)

 Before leaving we had a rousing game of chase! I think the kids lasted longer than Matt & I!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fall Parties

While Charlotte was off on her big adventure, I was able to go to both Madeleine & Harrison's parties. I'm so so thankful for this time that I got to spend with each of them. In the past, I've been to Madeleine's parties with 2 littles ones in tow. And while that was fun, it was especially nice to be able to spend some time one on one with them.
Madeleine's party was first. We combined both 3rd grade classes and had a fall carnival outside. It was such a beautiful day! We had 8 games for them to play and buckets of prizes for them. Each student went home with a bag full of goodies. 
  Finding a needle in the haystack.

 Bean bag toss.
 The kids played games and grazed on the mountains of sweets and snacks we had for them. Then they headed inside for a pizza party lunch -- backwards, I know, but late morning is the last break time her class has for the day. I got to stay and have lunch with her before heading up to Harrison's class for his party.

I (thankfully) only had to bring something for this one. The planning was up to someone else. :)So, I got to sit back and enjoy the time with my boy. They started out by painting pumpkins. It was also hat day & Harrison had just taken his hat off for the first time, thus the crazy hair.
 Then they decorated masks.

 Dance party!
 They ended the day with some snacks and sweets. This is Harrison with his best bud Jude. They are such sweet boys and not a day goes by that I don't hear about Jude. Crazy enough, Jude's dad & Matt actually played ball together at HU. And, his mom & I are involved in PTO together and tried and tried last year to get the boys to be friends with no luck. But, then came the first day of school. And, Harrison came home telling me all about his best friend Jude. It certainly made my heart happy!
 This is his other best friend -- Owen. There is a group of about 5 boys that do everything together. And, according to his teacher, they are all so sweet and nice. :)
It was such a fun day for me to spend with my two big kids! I'm thankful for this time one on one with them!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Weekend in Little Rock

We traveled down to Little Rock a couple of weekends ago so that Madeleine & I could go to Sugar's first baby shower. It was also the perfect time to pick Charlotte up after her "big adventure." I sure was glad to see my baby and I think she was pretty happy to see us too!
It was a book shower and Madeleine & I had a blast picking out the perfect books for babyD. We chose a bunch of our favorites -- it was funny to see them fresh from the store all nice and clean and not sticky! Ha!
The shower was hosted by one of my moms oldest and dearest friends and her girls. They were like our second family growing up and we spent countless hours playing at their home. So we girls had a blast catching up and remembering all the fun times we'd had there long ago. :) And, of course, Ms. Kathy always completely outdoes herself.
Here's a picture of the table. We had chicken salad sandwiches, fruit tarts, marbled brownies and yummy roasted pecans.
Since it was a book shower, she'd filled a table with antique books. Such fun!
After having some goodies to eat and watching Sugar open lots of cute books (I seriously got some cute Christmas ideas for Charlotte!) -- they had a fun craft for us to do! We made/stenciled onesies and bibs for babyD. It was so simple and easy and even I could turn out something cute. I won't even mention the adorable ones that some of these very very talented ladies did -- if only I had that kind of talent! This was definitely right up my crafty girl's alley. I think Madeleine did four or five of them!

This was mine and I'm quite proud of it!
The rest of the day on Saturday was spent hanging out at Mimis' house. Matt took Harrison and Charlotte to Searcy to see Grammy & Pops for the day. When they got home, "just the boys" went out for a special dinner to a fun train restaurant in LR while the girls stayed home and had pizza.

At one point the kids got to playing in Mimi & Grandad's closets. They came out looking like this:
And, this:
We relaxed that night and the kids colored....
and Matt caught up on some sports.
Sunday after church we celebrated Mimi's birthday. The kids were so excited to give their cards to her. Harrison showed off his new writing skills with his card!

It was such a fun weekend! I'm so glad that we were able to go and have such a fun weekend of celebrating!