Thursday, April 23, 2009


2009 has definitely been a year of change. The house is a BIG change, that is for certain. Between migraines and fatigue and so much to do in unpacking, I haven't had opportunity to post many pictures or really write much lately. So today, I thought I would give it a start.

This is our black walnut tree... or I should say about 3/4 of it. I took this photo on April 11. Today you can see no sky through the branches. It is droppy yellow sticky "helicopters" at the moment and is an amazing site. Every time I look out that window I think, "This is God's gift to me for not balking at staying in the smoggy city!" I do have some anxieties as the power lines run through it. In August or September the power company is supposed to come and prune. However, we are responsible for the branches over the wires coming to our house. About 1/5 of the tree may have to be removed at our expense because it lies right on the wires going to our house and the neighbor's house. This photo doesn't show how big the trunk is. It would take all five of us holding hands around the base to go full circle! On the left is a grapefruit tree that is taller than Hubby, so more than 6'3".

And these are grapefruit blossoms!

Our orange tree is budding as well. It doesn't have as many blossoms as I would like to see. I'm hoping more are coming. I need to do some reading on the care of citrus fruit.

Maisy and Heidi are doing better. Abbie does NOT want them in the house! We haven't let them out of the master bedroom yet. We are waiting until the boxes in the main living areas are more unpacked because we don't want them to get hurt or corned by their bullying big sister who likes to HISS at them! :-) This is Maisy in one of the bookcases, before it was loaded with books!

Here is Sunshine laying on our bed with Heidi. Both are affectionate but Heidi demands eye contact and is very sweet. Not only does she want affection from us, but she also gives it back! Both kittens have attached to me as their "mama"! Heidi is laying across my chest and arms as I am typing right now and her favorite place to sleep is next to my monitor! She definitely has the Siamese eyes and body shape (though obviously not the points) and Boogie keeps telling me, "I really think you have a parrot Mommy!" because she often likes to sit on my shoulder. Maisy was afraid of us at first but then one day it was like a switch was turned and she started purring and loving us and demands her affection time! lol There is no way that these kittens were strays. I think the owner just said that when he relinquished them so that he wouldn't have to pay. Four month (now 5) old kittens that are strays are not this affectionate or wanting to be with and on people!

Here's Hubby painting my kitchen for me. I couldn't get the orange out of his skin on this photo... sorry he is not orange, though he was this scruffy, being a "bum" on his time off! :-) The kitchen is a light custard or buttery yellow. I have chosen a blue and white patterned quilter's cotton from Hoffman to make valances and accents. Pictures coming later. We haven't done any more painting because 1) $$$ 2) time and 3) we are having our windows replaced on Cinco de Mayo. We have the original 1961 aluminum frames with non tempered glass. Since we essentially have a whole wall (140" of sliders and another 42" of window) in the living room going out to the back that is non tempered, we felt we should replace it before any bad accidents happened and the children were hurt! The new windows have Solarban70. I am not thrilled about having vinyl because pvc definitely has fumes. However wood windows are definitely cost prohibitive! It's bad enough with what we got, but it will be an investment in the house and hopefully our future. I'm a little apprehensive, we'll see!

I bought some plants for the yard but haven't planted yet... a hydrangea.

I wish I could say this was our yard, but it's not! This is our neighbors. The photo is taken from our front walking looking over the property line. It's so beautiful and I would love to start working towards something like this at our home.

Blogger won't let me rearrange the order of the pictures, so this little Princess face is out of order! Princess begged to have her hair cut, so we got it in a bob again. It's kind of scruffy here because we just had it cut, but it has more body now and looks adorable. It's odd that they are identical and yet Sunshine looks funny with short hair. Hers is still long, just got the bangs cut as she decided she was tired of growing them out long. It's nice to see her face again! :-)
I also bought two rhododendrons. Rhododendrons are my home state's flower... this is so I can have a piece of home at home. I love these kind with the speckled throat!

This is the second one. The sun was really intense. They are a little bluer purple than these photos show.
On the 14th I went for my biannual eye exam. I had been telling Hubby that it was getting more and more difficult to read and that I could see my floater. Everytime I read the floater moves back and forth over the page as my eye roams. Annoying! Fortunately it doesn't hurt. I think he thought I was just being melodramatic or looking for a reason to go get new frames! :-) Turns out, it IS more difficult for me to read. My nearsightedness and astigmatism are improving. That's not uncommon especially for people like me who have extreme nearsightedness from childhood. As we age, the changes that cause the need for bifocals tug and pull on the eye to shape it another direction. So, tomorrow I go in for my new glasses... he told me I may feel sick the first couple days like when I first got bifocals because they are 3 levels stronger on one side and 4 levels stronger on the other. But, get this! I have cataracts! Okay, maybe I am getting old... it dawned on me that possibly I blogged this earlier?? LOL How can I have cataracts at 42? Well, he said could be hereditary (all my Grandparents had them but not until their 70s and 80s!) and that because of all the environmental polutions out there in today's age that he is seeing it younger and younger. Wear sunglasses! The sun also causes them. And he advised me to take Vitamin C and lutein. They are just beginning so hopefully will not progress too quickly. And I will probably quilt seeing the floater once I get the new glasses. I see it now because my eyes are working hard to find the right focal length. Okay... if the gray hair in the mirror and the bum knee didn't already make me feel old... that did!
Jack just had his second procedure to widen his esophagus and it went well. He's home sleeping it off today. The chemo and radiation is going okay. Naturally it is quite exhausting. Please pray for him... continued prayer for healing and also the stamina that it takes to go to his appointments. I know I get exhausted when I have two or three appts in one week's time.
I've been thinking about writing some of the thoughts that God has been giving me lately. His message repeatedly has been "emptiness". How odd I thought at first, but the more I have meditated on Him and this topic, the more I feel He has been changing me.
I still haven't been able to deal with the comments... I may just switch back to the regular blogger comments, but I'm not sure. I hate it when all these companies buy and sell each other. It was working so well and I got your email address with the comment and I could click, write, send. Now I just get a name. I have thought about switching to Word Press, but they are not as easy to use as Blogger for designing and they don't allow much picture usage, which is obviously a big issue for me. We'll see... I hope to be blogging more soon! I miss you all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ishmael - Chronicle One - The Unseen

My friend Heather, who used to live right down the road and was such an encouragement to me during my infertility treatments, move away from me, the stinker! :-) Besides being an awesome friend, scrapbooker, Sister in the Lord and homeschooling mom of three, Heather is an author. I'm so proud of her I could burst! You see, Heather just won a short story writing contest!

Go check out Ishmael here under the pen name, Eisley Jacobs.

Normally I would turn my head away from a story about angels. Most people write about them like children's fairy tales or extensions of Narnia or Rivendell, but not Heather! She respectfully presents angels in what I would consider a "theologically correct" way and her story keeps you wanting to hear more. The angel combats evil through the Word of God in much the same way that Jesus gave the example to us. So, even though the story was about a NICU emergency (Warning to those who may be sensitive to the experience of infant medical emergencies, this may be difficult to read. For those who have sensitive hearts, break out the kleenex!), I felt there was a subtle lesson to the Believer that we should know the Word of God so that it can be ready on our tongue in times of spiritual battle and so that it can renew our minds and feed our soul.

Way to go Heather! I look forward to hearing and reading more from Eisley Jacobs!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Prayer Updates

Hi Everyone. Thank you again for all the prayers for Jack! This has been a busy week and it is only Wednesday.

Today Jack underwent a procedure to widen the esophagus at the point where there was stitching from the surgery. Amazingly Jack was getting some soft food down with only a 3 mm opening! That's about an 1/8"! Today the stitches were removed using endoscopic scissors... the first time the doctor had used them! And the opening was stretched to 10mm.

It was so much fun (lol) that they are going to repeat the procedure next Thursday. Please pray that Jack's recovery from this will be quick and as pain free as possible. Also pray that it will be successful so that not only can he eat more, but that there will be less gagging and issues with the chemo.

Next Monday begins the biggy and lots of prayers are appreciated. There is 6 weeks of both chemo 24/7 via a cartridge pump and radiation five days a week. The Lord has brought him and our family this far, guiding each step of the way and we don't expect that to stop any time soon, but it is still a big thing to face.

Grandma is working on rehab and doing pretty well all things considered.

Thank you for your love and prayers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prayer Update

We have had some good news this week and thank you all for prayers. Grandma Doris is much improved from her pneumonia. She is out of the hospital now and in a rehab center where she is in therapy to gain strength so that she can go back to her assisted living apartment. Please continue to pray for her recovery.

Jack received good news today too. From Mom/Ruth:

JACK… we are PTL! that last week’s CT scans of chest, abdomen & pelvis showed no evidence that the cancer has spread at this point… and Friday’s Upper GI or barium swallow x-rays confirmed that there is a narrowing of the opening at the surgical site joining Jack’s esophagus to his intestines, likely due to scar tissue. Since Jack is soon to begin radiation combined with continuous chemo therapy, the doctor moved quickly in scheduling an EGD (upper endoscopy) procedure for Wed, 4/15, at 10 a.m. here in Bellingham, where he will use a balloon to gently dilate and enlarge the opening for food to pass through more easily. Please pray for God’s hand to guide the surgeon, strength and healing for Jack’s body as well as protection during the aggressive treatment in the weeks ahead.

Another Resurrection Day Layout

I love this background paper with the birds from Jean Daugherty's Easter Song Kit from Heritage Scrap. We have a lot of birds here and I thought it was fitting with the kids' green and lavender outfits. I also loved the pussy willows... reminded me of Grandma Hopkins. Auntie Grace used to cut it for her and she would keep it in a cut crystal vase on her desk or on the table in front of the mirror. It's a part of my childhood spring memories.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen

We celebrated our first holy day in our new home today. It was so nice to be able to go out in the backyard to take pictures instead of trying to find an uncrowded spot in the house with a plain background. I created this layout using Traci Reed's Promising and He Is Risen Add-On kits from Sweet Shoppe. I apologize that it is a little blurry. It was a huge file and I had to reduce the quality to be able to post here. (The original is clear).

Left to right Sunshine, Boogie and Princess. This is just outside our back door. The Calla lillies are blooming.

I couldn't decide which one Grandma and Grandpa would like to see best so I decided to include several! You non-Grandparents will just have to endure! lol

They do adore their big brother, can you tell!?!

A vertical one so Grandma can see the dresses. I don't usually dress the girls alike and in fact, much of the time they do NOT want to be dressed alike. I follow their lead. Occasionally they insist on everything being EXACTLY alike. We try to embrace both their uniqueness as individuals and the blessing of their twinship. One of the ways recently they have wanted to be different is that Princess wants her bangs cut and Sunshine wants to grow hers out long with the rest of her hair.

Shelley, you would not believe how easy this photo shoot was! The easiest we have ever done. Five minutes and out the door to church! No tears. No screaming. It was a miracle! lol

Sunshine has two bottom teeth missing, Boogie has two top teeth missing and while processing these photos we discovered that Princess lost her first tooth, on the bottom.

It was a nice family day together, first church and then lunch. Nothing fancy as we are still settling. Just being together was a blessing.
I have so much to catch up on here at the blog, but that will take some time as well!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Calling All Prayer Warriors!

Hello everyone,

This morning our family is standing in the need of prayer. Please pray for Jack's Mom, Grandma Doris. She is in ICU with pneumonia and related heart issues. They have not yet stabilized the heart concerns. Aunt Kristine has been with her all night - she's an awesome caregiver, but human and exhausted. She has been taking care of both Jack and Grandma and could use a huge prayer hug as well!

Also this morning, Jack is going in for a barium contrast CT of his pelvic, abdominal and chest regions to determine the cause of his decreased ability to swallow and eat. Friday he will do barium again as they have to re-form the "cradle" that will be used for his radiation treatments that will be administered along with chemo in a week or so.

We appreciate you all praying. Thank you.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Quick Check In and Jack Update

Hi Everyone. ATT and I are not getting along at the moment. 9 days and counting without DSL. We are NOT happy customers. I thought I would just check in and let you know that we got all moved with the help of some wonderful guys at church (who will probably never volunteer to help us again! LOL). We're exhausted but doing okay. I have lots of pictures of the girls' 6th birthday, the move, the kittens (who are sick with kennel crud) etc.

Please pray for Jack this coming week as he prepares for the second round of chemo in conjunction with radiation. No starting date yet, but he is going to have the prep appointments and we will know more next week. The sickness with smells has passed and some of the other problems have improved. Still sorting out others. We appreciate your continued prayers.

More soon!