Leave a comment

Three Cheers for Ear Tubes

Six kids in their beds at three thirty in the afternoon.  My cup of tea is steaming next to me and a cool breeze is blessing my shoulders.  I almost didn’t want to write all of that, and if I was superstitious, I would hunt down some wood to knock on right now.  Half an hour ago, it was pretty much the opposite!  Electric guitar blaring, tears, running in circles.  Hold on.  Scratch the “everyone being in their beds” part.  One just crawled out from underneath MY bed.  At least they’re quiet.  And that’s what mama needs right now.  2017-07-13 14.24.24It’s been a wonderful yet challenging summer for us!  Living in a half-torn-up living area, and lots of doctors visits for Matthew.  This morning was his 10th visit this year to his ENT’s.  It included another tube put in the one ear, which should provide some much-needed relief from a ton of pressure he’s been having!  In addition to the infusions last month, it’s been a lot.  Frankly, it stinks.  Because even though everything looks really clear (yay!) his entire ear nose and throat anatomy is not the way it was before Wegener’s.  It’s not even the same as it was a few years ago!  His body doesn’t have the ability to naturally move mucous from his nose and sinuses to his throat.  He rinses 3-4 times a day with saline just to keep it as clear as possible.  Even then, junk starts to collect, because there is only so much a couple pints of salt water can do.  We take stock in sea salt, and (next to me) the neti pot is his best friend.  We live in exciting times, where super smart people are inventing things and even surgeries he’s had done in the past are more laparoscopic than ten or two years ago!  So, perhaps something will become available in the future to help repair the scar tissue and missing parts in his upper respiratory system that have gone AWAL from this disease.  We are incredibly grateful for the good care of his doctors.  We have been encouraged by them to keep taking our favorite supplements, which target gut health, balance and inflammation, and to stay consistent with an anti-inflammatory diet.  What a gift to have doctors who have the incredible expertise and knowledge as they do, and who also encourage plant-based medicine as much as possible!

2017-07-16 13.23.45-3

Our attempt at a family “us-ie” was almost successful. Accidentally, Betty’s sweet face isn’t there… More practice is needed!

After many many late night classes and studying, I am now a Certified Natural Health Professional.  My goal is to continue to use what God has taught me and is continuing to teach me… through our own health journey, and being a CNHP, to educate and encourage others in their health journeys! 2017-07-26 15.09.47Our four oldest kiddos went to soccer camp last week.  It was wild being a mom of two again.  Betty couldn’t stop saying how “peaceful” it was.  She cracks me up every day!  Like yesterday, when I pulled up to the curb to park.  Parallel parking in Silver Belle is becoming more second nature, but it’s still challenging to line up a 12-passenger van on a city street.  As we got out she said, “Let’s see how you parked.”  Thankfully, I “passed”, because she gave me two thumbs up. “Pretty good!”

Harry continues to melt our hearts into puddles, all over, every day.  At 8 months, he has four teeth now and loves to eat absolutely everything.  Recent discoveries being fished out of his mouth include a mancala piece, legos, an ear bud, a bug, egg shells, rocks, drywall, and spackle.  This does not include the disgusting little bits of food that I never knew existed underneath the refrigerator and dishwasher… until a crawling baby whose favorite pastime is finding tiny chokable bits and pieces wherever his darling chubby fingers can reach!  He loves to wave “bye-bye”, drink out of a straw, make car sounds, bang things together, and call his favorite elephant “Bo-bo”.

Nadine & Elijah start high school in one month.  We all have an element of nervous excitement about this brand new experience!  Now that I’m able to take a break from my classes, it’s time to start school planning for the other three.  Elsie, my resident interior designer, has plans and ideas of making one of the bedrooms into a school room.  This idea is under discussion.  If baby brother would consistently sleep through the night, I would be much more inclined to the idea!  Stay tuned.

Well, my hour is up, and every. single. child. has come to my room.  Haha!  Time to get a celebratory dinner together!  Cheers to big dreams, becoming a CNHP, a new ear tube, and a beautiful life!


Leave a comment

Island Love

It’s been really difficult to sit down and write about our island experience.  Words don’t seem capable of conveying or summarizing the depth of adventure it was for us.  I didn’t even wash my hair for a couple of days after we got home, because I didn’t want the sunshine and saltwater to disappear.  There is something magical about knowing the last thing to rinse through your hair is the crystal clear water of the Caribbean ocean.

We weren’t prepared for the wave of emotion hitting us in our gut as the airplane circled the island.

The tears were rolling down Matthew’s cheeks.  We both glanced around the airplane at the six beautiful bodies accompanying us on this epic adventure.  When I stepped out onto the tarmac and was met with the warm tropical breeze, the smell of jet fuel hugged me like an old friend, making me feel immediately at ease.

While getting our rental van sorted out, we saw a nice-looking young man who looked like he needed a ride.  After offering him a ride to wherever he was going, it turned out he was going to the same place we were going!  It later became very clear just how Providential a meeting this was when we arrived at our hotel.  For some reason, our reservation was coming up on their end for only one bedroom and they had no more rooms left.  Our new friend, Will, offered us his room and said he could easily find another room somewhere, but it would be pretty near impossible to find a place for 8 people for the next 10 days.  God bless Will.  2017-02-24 17.05.33The following days were spent playing “Where’s Will”, and we ran into him a couple times each day, somewhere on the island.

When we lived on Roatan thirteen years ago, we spent the majority of our time at the hotel where we stayed.  We visited a couple places, but didn’t play tourist very much.  This time we had a deep bucket list and hit just about everything on that list.  We reunited with old friends, went back to where we used to live, and took in gorgeous views of the island from our fantastic van.

One of my favorite parts was always being together.  Hot and sweaty and often sandy, but always together.

We absolutely adored being able to squeeze Harry’s chunky thighs as we ditched the winter garb for ten glorious days.2017-02-27 16.19.11Another one of my favorite parts of our time there was every morning.  We would wander downstairs to the cafeteria, which was under the hotel.  It faced the ocean, and we would order hot coffee or tea, a delicious breakfast, and simply be.  No agenda but to sip tea and snuggle a baby.DSC_0024

DSC_9884We really enjoyed going to a Gumbalimba Park one day, where we went zip-lining, held macaws, monkeys and more!  I was totally impressed by Betty, who fearlessly zipped her way through the canopy.

A huge highlight for the boys was swimming with the dolphins.  I learned that Matthew has always wanted to do this, so it was incredibly special to watch him fulfil that dream.

2017-02-28 14.55.15

The spaces of our days were spent in the sun, paddleboarding, cartwheeling, climbing, playing, snorkeling, eating, dreaming, talking, and enjoying every single moment to its fullest.

Never did we think this dream of returning to our Island home would come true.  But God knew we needed this time and provided incredibly for us to be here.  Many thanks to Matt’s employer, who made it possible to go.  So grateful, too, for my Plexus business which made it possible to buy passports for 8 and eat for 10 days!  Our trip home was bittersweet.

Processed with MOLDIV

Our not-so-comfortable layover in Texas

We now have our hearts all over the globe.

There is so much more I could write about, but it’s almost April, and I really need to hit “publish”.  We will treasure these memories and are blessed to be able to share a small bit of our adventure with you.

2017-03-04 11.09.25


1 Comment

Memory Lane Colliding With Today

Today I’m feeling nostalgic.  Eight years ago, what was going on?  Well, Jack was five months old and a crawling maniac.  Elijah was into drinking tylenol, and wasn’t quite sure what hospitals were for.

Four years ago, we had recently moved.

Three years ago, we couldn’t imagine life without Betty.

Two years ago I publicly confessed my dislike of showers.  I am also reminded that it’s time for another secret invitation soon.

One year ago, a baby was born.  The pictures into my children’s personalities are still so similar, it is uncanny.

Today, these five keep me overwhelmed with joy to be their mama.

This year we decided not to do Awanas.  The little girls were disappointed, and all on her own, Nadine initiated starting a “girl’s club” with Elsie & Betty, where they will memorize verses, do crafts and study the Bible together.  She has it all planned out, and I’m excited to see her organize something like this!  Tonight she even sewed a little vest for Elsie to wear during club.  She will be starting her first steady babysitting job tomorrow, and is also involved in a Bible study/horse club with girls her age.
DSC_5255-2 2014-09-14 16.25.15
Elijah has definitely hit a new phase of life.  Between moodiness, possible changes going on in the voice department, and a little more moodiness, he is growing up… and sometimes that can make one unsure of themselves.  One thing is for certain: that boy can play the piano!  Only three weeks into starting lessons, and he is already grasping it in a remarkable way.  I’m really proud of him.  His musical talent doesn’t only lie in his fingers.  He memorizes songs like no one’s business.  In his own words: “I know this song like I’m breathing.”  He also knows how to tell jokes and make us laugh.
DSC_5198-2
In looking back at pictures, I noticed that Jack is still wearing the same orange shorts he wore about three years ago.  He keeps growing taller, but his waist stays the same.  He can more often than not, be found upside-down.  Today I gave him a chair to carry out to the trash, since it had broken beyond repair.  Not too long after that, I found him, armed with spindles.
DSC_5201-2 DSC_5248-2 DSC_5238-2DSC_5261-2
Yesterday he came up to me and asked, “Mom, has my voice changed?”  I told him, no.  He said, “Oh, good.”  Then Elijah piped up: “We already talked about that, Jack.”  His reply: “I know. But not with Mom.”  He also asked me if I could see any hair on his chest yet.  I hugged my little boy with the smooth, beautiful face and feet as big as my own, and wanted to bottle up his boyish ways forever.  When I asked him to vacuum off the front porch the other day, I noticed the sound of the vacuum was going on for a lot longer than the task required.  I peeked outside to see him doing this, using the front door as a mirror:
DSC_4982-2 DSC_4985-2
I love the dirt under his arm-pits and the sweat and grime covering his body.  He is one-hundred-and-fifty percent boy.

Elsie still likes shoes, still likes to work hard, and is still enthralled with hair.  On Sunday night, she came downstairs after being tucked in and asked if she could “tidy up a bit.”  I thought about it for about a half second.  She proceeded to pick things off the floor, put them away, sweep the kitchen, wiped this and that, and made a huge difference in the outlook of the downstairs.  She voluntarily pulled out each of her baskets and folded all of her clothes just perfectly before putting them all back.  This girl is my inspiration for organization and cleanliness.  She is also a singer, and often sings Betty to sleep at night.2014-08-29 17.08.49
Betty loves to learn.  She can read, “I am Betty.”  She often adds an “H” somewhere in her name, because she just loves to write H’s.  She can also sing entire songs, and I am amazed at her memory.  Don’t be fooled by the frilly shirt and patent leather shoes.  This girl can climb.  In fact, the entire time she climbed the eight-or-so-foot fence, she sang: “I’m a climber, I’m a climber…”  Yes, yes, she is.  September Phone Photos1
It’s been awhile since I put together a sleepy collage.  I love to sneak pictures of my beautiful babies when they’re asleep.  Just looking at them is making my eyelids droop.  The only one who sleeps pretty much the exact same way every night is Nadine.  One morning, Betty came downstairs and giggled, “Mama, Elsie’s head was on my tummy when I woke up!”  They are so funny when they sleep.
Phone Photos14

 


Leave a comment

Home School in High Speed

Have you ever wondered what it is like for our family to homeschool?  It is difficult to capture, but I did my  best.  One morning last month, I secretly set up the camera to record my five diligent students, hard at work.  This does not include the living room, where someone else was working for a while, or the mayhem that is also called “lunch”.  Yes, I ruffle my hair sometimes when I’m getting tired.  Look for it.  So, here you have it, in high-speed.  ONE day in our life.  Every day is different, so maybe I’ll do another video in the future.  I hope you enjoy!


3 Comments

School Room Makeover

It’s been about a year since I gave a little tour of the downstairs of our home.  The past month has been full of much rearranging, as we attempt to utilize our space in the best possible way.  I’ve been waiting to post pictures when it was “perfect”.  Then it hit me how this will never happen, so it was time to just take pictures.  The biggest change is that we switched the living room and school room around.  As you walk in, you are greeted into our cheery school room:
DSC_2552-2 DSC_2558-2 DSC_2563-2
Each child has a locker, and we also store coloring books, craft items, and other untouchables (like tape!) in the top lockers.  I recently scored an amazing deal on Craigslist which included six IKEA expedit shelving units for the price of one!  The shelves under our chalk board contain all our schoolbooks and readers, divided by subject into each square.  The shelf as you walk in to the schoolroom contains space enough for everyone to have one bin for their shoes.  The flip side has squares and bins for my school books, clipboards, portfolios, and a few other things.  Each person has a filing cabinet with six drawers, divided into categories by school subject.

Here is a blurry wide-angle view, as my wide-angle lens is not a precise fit.
DSC_2564-2 DSC_2567-2 DSC_2568-2 DSC_2570-2
Moving on to the living room… it is a tight squeeze to get a good picture.
DSC_2573 DSC_2575
Through the living room, is the kitchen.  Earlier this month I woke up one morning and decided to paint our kitchen!  There was a new can of paint (bought for Nadine’s dresser makeover), and all the kids were sleeping.  What is a girl to do?  So, a quick makeover was in order.  It is super happy now.  We added a book shelf to store some larger items we use often but would love to not be on the counter-top.  Nadine painted the mirror and everyone helped to spray paint the chairs.  Matthew was pretty surprised when he got home that day!
DSC_2543-2DSC_2542-2DSC_2544-2
My favorite decoration is my “new” vintage hanging scale.  Eventually we will move it in front of the window so it’s a bit easier for everyone to pull fruit from its base.  But for now there was already a hook in the ceiling in the corner.
DSC_2504-2-2
Up next: a tour of the upstairs!  We now have an office and sewing room, thanks to Nadine giving up her personal space and sharing with her sisters.  It is still in the organizing stage, so I will post pictures when it is finished.  Hope you can stop by sometime!


Leave a comment

A Happy Time

I don’t recall what we were about to do or where we were going to prompt Elsie to say it, but she made me chuckle with this:  I’m going to have a happy time, even if it’s boring!   Now that summer is in full swing, the words “I’m bored” are about as allowed as some other unmentionable words in the urban dictionary.  When they are uttered, a math lesson is swiftly pulled up on the computer, or perhaps the boredom quickly fades as they don a pair of goggles, pull out monopoly, shoot a home-made movie, or delve into the many library books I keep constantly in flow.  DSC_2041

DSC_1980
 DSC_1990
DSC_1991 DSC_1993
This week was so full I feel like I’m bursting a little bit.

Any week where we can be altogether for six days in a row is going to be good.  Unfortunately, every kid had a fever sprinkled into the entire week at some point in time.  Thankfully, no throwing up, but a lot of laying low.  Matthew finished my laundry room window, fixed this and that, hung this, moved that… basically filled up my love tank with acts of service mingled with quality time.  I worked on various projects: crocheting a rug out of old sheets, making some chalkboards, beautifying our front porch, and organizing our school room a bit more.
DSC_2412-2
Next, our dear friends, Ruthie & Jamie, arrived from Ohio to share our vacation time with us.  We enjoyed the front porch, got wet, went to a water/amusement park, and laughed a lot.  One night I even had the privilege of being a doula with an incredibly special couple and their precious baby girl.
Recovered Autosave
The kids found a turtle and named it Road Runner after they rescued it from trying to cross the street.
DSC_2410-2 DSC_2402-2
While at the park, I learned how much Betty loves roller-coasters.  If she was a bit taller, she would have gone on everything, but she was content to do the roller coaster her size.  Her smiling face as she swooped down the hill of the coaster was absolutely priceless.  Falling from 148 feet with Jack and Nadine was also a highlight.  I’ve learned that I’m a bit more scared than I used to be of heights in general.  Phone Photos11
Processed with Moldiv
Nadine came down for her breakfast today and was asking me how Matthew made her bagel.  Do you know how Daddy made that bagel yesterday?  Because it was amazing.  It was because there was a hint of Daddy in it.  I know he used butter…  When I asked her how it tasted after she made it, she said,  It wasn’t even close.  Sometimes she takes my breath away.DSC_2462-2 DSC_2460-2
One of my painting projects was a “new” dresser.  I got the dresser for $10 at a yard sale and surprised Nadine with it.

Processed with Moldiv
As all the fevers floated around, I overheard this funny conversation between Elsie and Betty:
I have a headache, said Elsie.
Where? asked Betty.
Right here in my head! said Elsie with a mixture of exasperation and amusement.

When Elsie struck up this conversation with Betty she was just stating a fact, which apparently was missing a very important detail in Betty’s little mind: You were sick, she stated.
No I wasn’t!
You you were!
I were last night!  Of course.  Last night.  She likes to be precise.

Betty is learning her numbers, and I couldn’t help chuckling when she got to twenty-nine and said: Two=dy nine!
DSC_2034
As June turns the page into July, there is more fun in store!  Summer is such a happy time!


Leave a comment

From Kayaks to Clark Kent

It is most definitely time for a photo dump.  Halfway through June, and so much has happened!  We went to Marsh Creek during Memorial Day weekend and had a fabulous time!  The weather was gorgeous, and Betty was so cute in the canoe.  Elijah experienced solo kayaking for the first time.
Phone Photos7
There have been moments of frustration and moments of sweetness.  We still have Toby, who loves to go on walks with his little vest and leash on his back.   Phone Photos9
The Weldons recently had a family reunion/anniversary party and there was a fabulous glam cam there.  We took full advantage of the fun:June 2014
And just because I love it:
Weldon-018-X2
The kids and I recently went on a field trip to Harrisburg.  What a beautiful building and fascinating history!  The photo of the bookshelf is of a treat I found on it one day: superglue, super-glued to the wood.  On Father’s Day all Matthew wanted to do was have a workout in the park, so he and a friend met there and did just that.  Elsie and Betty continue to be “twins” every day, and it’s hard to keep their two “twin” outfits clean… but on the days they are dirty, they seem to figure out another way to manage the job of looking as much like the other as possible.Phone Photos6
The small photo of the girls sleeping is a tiny glimpse of what has been filling my weeks.  We have rearranged five rooms of the house to accommodate an office for Matthew.  As his business grows, so do the papers and the need for a spot to do his at-home work.  Happy Father’s Day to him!  I will post pictures o the finished product soon.  As an exclamation point to our week, Jack got glasses!  We are excited to see if they help with the challenge that school has been for him this year.  We may not have Mary Poppins living here, but Clark Kent is in the house.Phone Photos8