Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's Thursday Afternoon.

The kids are all home from school.

We have nowhere to go the rest of the day.


Can you feel the relief?  The kids can.

They've all settled into being home like we've been on a month-long vacation.


Yesterday's doctor appointment for Coralynn went well.  Tonsils and tubes looked good.  Rash is some sort of allergic reaction, but no one is particularly concerned.

Coralynn slept all night Tuesday and Wednesday night.


The house is completely clean- thank you to my fabulous maid!

For the first time in... well, I can't remember the last time... I'm making a meal for us at home.

And then everyone can shower and go to bed.


Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of being home, together, and healthy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The past 60 hours...

Have not gone exactly as planned. 

We were hoping to celebrate Coralynn's birthday Monday, but a trip to the ENT revealed that she has some swollen, ouchy tonsils.  She was also sporting quite the impressive viral rash.

Monday, as well as being Coralynn's birthday, was Carson's last soccer game and ice cream party at our house. It was so much fun having all the kids and their families over to celebrate the hard work of these kids.
Carson and Coach Steven

By the time we drove all over Panama to get to Bits' appointment and the soccer game and then had the party, it was late and we weren't in the birthday partying mood.  We made the decision the party was going to happen Tuesday night. 

Tony's car decided to go nuts, so the mechanic ended up coming out Monday night to pick up the car.  This meant that Coralynn and I had to take Tony to work.  I went to bed believing that I would be getting Coralynn up at 7am to get Tony to work and the kids to school.

She had other plans.

At 11:00pm, as I was going to sleep, Coralynn began screaming.  When I went in to her room, she was clearly miserably uncomfortable.  I ended up just putting her in bed with me so she could get some cuddle comfort.  That worked for a while, but she ended up sleeping on the couch with Tony all night. 

7:00 am Tuesday morning came very early.  We took the kids to school, and then we returned the rental van.  Because the traffic was nuts, we decided to walk from the rental car company to the Toyota dealership to pick up my van.  I'm sure we were quite the sight.  Tony was carrying his work bags, lunch box, and Coralynn's carseat.  I had my purse, the diaper bag, and Coralynn who was still wearing her pajamas and Camilla's flip flops. 

Fortunately, the car was fixed and ready to go.

Unfortunately, Coralynn clearly didn't feel good.

(I did really appreciate her giving me a smile.)

We made it home from the adventures about 9:15.  I decided that we needed to run to the mall to get a birthday present for the Birthday Bits.  That was a huge mistake.  Coralynn was too tired to behave.  We made it through one store, but the second store pushed Coralynn over the edge.  And she screamed for the next 15 minutes.

She did stay pleasant long enough to get some stylin' new flip flops!

After the screaming, Coralynn took a 3-hour nap.  She woke up in better sorts, and we picked up the kids from school.  At 4:30, we left to get Tony from work.  At 5:22, we came to the traffic.

This is the traffic crossing the street.  It's 4-cars wide (more in some places), and we are trying to get into a 3-lane road.

That's the traffic on the main road we are trying to cross through.  They were 4-cars wide.  And there is  no traffic light or traffic sign to direct any of this.  We sat in this block wide area for 45 minutes.  I finally called Tony and asked if he'd be willing to walk to where we were.  He agreed.  He walked the 6 city blocks to find us 3 car lengths farther down the street.  2 hours later, we made it to the restaurant. 

Another incredibly long day made us want to cancel the party, but we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it.  At 8pm, when we finally got home, we had cupcakes and sang to Coralynn.


Chloe was stunned to actually find a 2 candle in our box of party stuff.

Coralynn letting us sing to her.

Blowing out the candle.


Happy Birthday Coralynn Mae!

This afternoon, we are heading to the pediatrician to follow up on some concerns the ENT wanted checked.  We don't anticipate anything serious, but my nerves are shot so we'd appreciate prayers!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday, Coralynn Mae!!

In my mind, I have a lovely post about how amazing I think Coralynn is.

That post isn't going to make it onto the blog tonight.

We had a really long day.  Really long.

We did get mostly good news at the doctor's office.

But, we're tired.  And the real birthday celebration is going to be tomorrow.

So, tonight, I leave you with pictures from today.  And, of course, my camera batteries died.

I love Coralynn so much, and I understand this blog doesn't do that justice.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Murphy has cleared customs!

And wow, everything that could go wrong, is.

Two weeks ago this past Thursday, Coralynn had her tube surgery.

One week later, she passed her check up.  The next day, she started complaining about her ears hurting.

Last Wednesday, Coralynn started anitbiotic drops.  By Thursday morning, she was great.  Last night, we could watch her get sick.  Now, she's running a temperature, and the tube in her right ear looks "wrong." 

She has an appoinment for Monday afternoon at 2:30.  Monday, AKA her 2nd birthday.

Monday at 3:30, Carson's soccer team plays their last game, and then they are coming over here for an ice cream party.

One week ago, my van's check engine light came on.

Today, Tony dropped it off at the dealership and ran 3.5 miles home.  We went back to the dealership 4 hours later. 

They hadn't looked at the van yet, and they will try to get to it on Monday.

I called National Rental car.  They had no vehicles that would fit us unless I wanted to drive the mini bus.

No thank you.

We drove to the Alamo rental car location.  Asked if they had a 6-passenger vehicle.  They said, "no."  I begged.  They found a van.  I said, "thank you."

Yes, it's been one of those weeks! 

But, I'm thankful. 

My Bits maybe sick, but she has an appointment to see the doctor.  Yes, the appointment is completely going to interfere with going to Carson's soccer game, but Tony is able to take off work so he can take her if necessary.  And the sub10 soccer party is going to interfere with Coralynn's 2nd Birthday celebration, but she'll still get to have ice cream and spend time with other kids.  Those kids have become like her other big brothers, and I think she'll be thrilled to celebrate with them!

So, Murphy might have taken up residency here, but he won't end our praise.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Blog Post

I need to write another post soon. 

The thought has been yelling at me for a week. 

Sometimes, I feel like I have so much to say.  Other times, I have nothing.

I'm going through a period right now when I have so much to say about so many topics, but I have no idea where to start, where to end, or if I should even begin.

This life thing is crazy.  James calls it a "vapor." 

Here today.  Gone tomorrow.

As some of you know, I'm a total hypochondriac.  I have been for forever. 

I remember being in 2nd grade and realizing that I couldn't feel my heart beat.  I ran across the blacktop playground really fast, and I was so relieved to feel my heart beat. 

Yes!  I wasn't dead.

Silly, I know.  Grown-up me can laugh at little me all the time realizing that grown-up me still has ridiculous fears based on faulty logic.

The perk of being a hypochondriac is that I'm acutely aware of the vaporness of life.  Unfortunately, the fear can stiffle my ability to capture today.

Back in February I mentioned that I went to a prayer counselor.  One of the things we prayed about was my fear issue.  What I began to realize as the Lord spoke to me is that my fear comes partly from a place of needing control.

I'm not a control freak in the classic sense.  I love spontantity.  I can function with dirty dishes in the sink.  My closet doesn't need to be color coordinated.  Tony's the accountant, the number 1 profession of Type A personalities.  Me, I'm a go-with-the-flow girl.  How could God be telling me that I needed to let go of cotrol??

As I continued down that path, it became super clear that I have an extreme need to control God's will.  Extreme.  I simply didn't trust Him.

I left that 2-hour meeting exhausted, but encouraged.  God is trustworthy. 

That one hasn't sunk in as deep as the "God is love" one did. 

But, I felt I had an action plan, of sorts.

I came home and told Tony about the session.  I shared with him some changes I thought might benefit our family.

He said he'd get back to me.  (Tony is definitely type A.  The planner needed to think through some things.)

He came back to me a few weeks later, and let me know he agreed.  Great. 

Cue vomit-inducing faith.

You think you aren't a control freak?  Give up control.  Feel like you're going to vomit?  You're a control freak, too.

Months have since passed since that initial conversation.  The vomit feeling is gone.  But, the Lord is here, and the faith has remained, too.

I'm acutely aware that I'm the one that can't be trusted.

My thoughts are fleeting, ever changing. 

In one sense, that's a great strength of mine.  It allows me to move every 3 years.

But, what I think I want rarely actually is what I want.

Why then was I trying to control God?

As I've spent weeks pondering on that, my prayer life has been revolutionized.  No more lists of requests from me.  No more asking God to make things happen in my life.

Nope.  My prayers have become 2 sentences.  "Lord, please make Your will happen in my life.  And, please make me okay with- or even desire- it." 

So, here I sit today.

I have no long-term goals to share.  No great plans for you to join me in.

And I'm okay with that.

My life is just a vapor, but the One I serve is eternal.  Eternally trustworthy.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lesson Learned

If the menu doesn't say "filete de corvina,"

You get the whole fish!
(and you end up ordering popcorn chicken at KFC!)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Train Up A Child...

Almost 10 years ago, I gave birth to Chloe Marie.  And, for the first time, I was under the authority of training up a child. 

Chloe was easy.  Sweet.  Cooperative. 

I, on the other hand, was moody.  Hormonal.  Demanding.  

I corrected her cleaning.  I corrected her grammar.  I corrected her. 

I thought I was doing my job of training her up.  

And, from outward appearances, I succeeded. 

She is responsible.  She strives for excellence.  She loves the Lord. 

I felt rather successful in my parenting. 

Until last Monday.

Last Monday, Camilla made my bed.  And she did a miserable job.  

As I looked at the bed, I paused.

Almost 6 years ago, I delivered Camilla Rose. And my heart exploded with love for her.

And six years ago, if Chloe had made the bed like that, I would have had her redo it.

I was training up the child.

As I looked at the bed, tears began to well up in my eyes.

Truth began ringing out in my head.  And as it did, the tears fell.

The Truth of Christ's love.  He loves us.  He loves Chloe.   He loves Camilla.  But only Camilla rests confidently in feeling loved.  Only Camilla knows, always, that she is loved.  The idea that the Lord loves is easy for her because she knows being loved.

But not Chloe.  Chloe whom I've always loved, was "trained" not in the Truth of Love.  She was trained in rigidness and legalism.  She's spent almost ten years trying to attain favor.  Trying to please me.  She's never known I relish her sweet spirit.  Her genuine heart. 

As I stood there convicted by the decade-long mistakes, the Lord spoke again.

"Train Up A Child."

But this wasn't about Chloe.  This was about me.  And Him.

He loves me.  He knows I've made big mistakes.  Big parenting mistakes.  And He loves me. 

I'm undone by His love.  By His mercy.

I'm His child.  He's still training me.   Training me to know His love.  He's given me a taste of it.  Holding newborn Camilla, I was almost overwhelmed by the love I had for her.  He feels that way about me.  All the time.  Letting that find its way deep into my soul, I'm undone again

And He never let go of Chloe.  She's His child, too.  He's kept her heart near to Him.  Soft.  Open.  The pureness of her heart is a testimony to His faithfulness.  Not my training.

Friday night, Chloe and I were curled up watching FoodNetwork and eating cookies.

I looked over at my beautiful oldest daughter.  And, with tears in my eyes, I told her that I loved her so much.  That I thought she was amazing.  That I was proud of whom she has always been and whom she is becoming.

She looked up at me with her Daddy's green eyes.  "Mom, you are so weird.  I love you, too."  And she turned back to the television.

Not weird, baby.  Undone.

Undone with my love for you, Chloe. 

I'll train her up in that forever.


12:34 and I'm done.  (Well, the bread is doing the second rise- raise?)  Kitchen is clean.  Lunch has been served.  Bits is asleep.  My freezer and fridge are full.  A good use of a rainy morning!

So Far...

Yesterday, I spent about 15 minutes getting the pinapple granita in the freezer.  (It's super yummy.  Just pureed pineapple and a little natural pineapple juice.)  Then, last night, I spent 45 minutes getting the apples in the crockpot and the cheese grated for today's goldfish crackers and the zucchini grated for the muffins.

I woke up this morning to the wonderful smell of homemade applesauce ready in the crockpot.  I put 2 cups of it in the fridge to start cooling for the muffin recipes.

At 9:00, we started.  At 10:26, we took the first break.  We were able to make the bread (rising now), no-bake cookies, chocolate zucchini muffins, eggs boiled, and popcorn popped and divided.  I also got the chicken boiling for tonight's chicken and dumplings.  I'm pleased with that progress.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baking Day Plan

Tomorrow, for the second week in a row, I am planning another baking day.  Now that we eat very little processed food, I have to spend more time baking for us.  And, for the second week in a row, Chloe got an invitation to go to the beach.  How does she do that?

Anyway, here's the plan if you want to follow at home!  (Or, if you want to join us, bring any baking ingredient or a vita-mix and come on over!  We'll send you home with lots of yummy goodies!)

-breakfast burritoes
-chocolate-zucchini muffins (x 2)
-blueberry oatmeal muffins
-goldfish crackers
-egg salad (for real egg salad- not mock egg salad)
-crockpot applesauce
-whole wheat chocolate chip cookies
-no-bake cookies
-whole wheat bread
-pineapple granita  (The watermelon granita from last week's baking day was such a success, Tony asked me to try another kind.  I had a pineapple so that's what I made today.  I'll let you know how it turns out!)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thank You!

Coralynn had a fun surprise waiting for her when she woke up this morning.  Tony didn't get home from work until late yesterday, but he brought a gift for Coralynn from his coworkers.

This morning, I carried her around the corner to where her special treat was sitting: a big wow-wow and 2 balloons!  She immediately insisted that I put her down so she could get the "b-oons!"

Thank you so much!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

We're Home!

We left the house about 7 this morning for Coralynn's surgery- with a stop at the school to drop off the kids.  Everything went super well, and we couldn't be more pleased with the care Coralynn received at Punta Pacifica Hospital!

Losing patience waiting for Daddy to pay. 
(In case you were wondering, an adenoidectomy and tubes insertion will run you about $3100 in Panama.)

Being wheeled to the surgical floor.

She really liked the princess treatment!

Wow-Wow getting a turn in the wheelchair.

Holding onto the sweet nurse for dear life while being measured.

She LOVED her "tired little tiger" robe!

Parading out of the dressing room for everyone to appreciate her cuteness!

Looking at sweet nurse for explanation on shower cap.

Trying to figure out why sweet nurse put pinchy thing on her thumb. 

Coralynn's snazzy footie scrubs.

Coralynn was taken back for surgery at 9:22.  We were told the surgery would last between 60-90 minutes. 

Mommy's breakfast.
In a show of solidarity, I didn't eat anything before Coralynn's surgery, but once she was wheeled back, we got some food!

View from the waiting room. 
You might be a mommy when you enjoy the quiet of the waiting room.  I told Tony I was going to start coming to the hospital to read.  (I'm not sure if he heard me, though, because he was sound asleep.)

More of the waiting room view.

A nurse came out at 10:38 to let us know that surgery was complete.  We then had an opportunity to speak with the Dra.  She explained that Coralynn's ears were quite filled with a thick glue-like mucus, and that the right ear's fluid was infected.  She also discovered that the tonsils were infected so she was able to give her IV antibiotics during the surgery.  Coralynn stayed with the anesthesiologist (who had the cutest shoes!) for about 35 minutes.  We were able to go back and be with her at about 11:15.

In recovery. 
She was fairly restless for about 45 minutes in recovery.  And then she fell sound asleep.  At 12:15, she went from asleep to awake in about 3 seconds.  I couldn't believe how quickly it happened.

Headed back to the car. 
Still super groggy, she didn't enjoy this ride as much as the first time.

In the car headed home, and completely over me photographing her. 
(Notice that theme with my family?)

Settling in for an afternoon of Dora the Explorer!

Thank you all for your prayers during the surgery.  The path leading up to this day was highly twisting with lots of interesting turns in it.  Someday, maybe, I'll write a blog about all of that, but, for now, I'm going to stay in the place of total gratitude that Bits is home safely.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bitty Bits

Hey all!

The Bits is having surgery tomorrow to remove her adenoids and put in ear tubes.

We'd definitely appreciate prayer!

Coralynn at the doctor's appointment

Coralynn helping me film her.