Monday, May 29, 2006

For the sake of continuity...

... part two of a Stroll Down Memory Lane has been posted below part one. I still have the conclusion to write - it's just been very hectic here and so I am writing in bits and pieces. I hope you don't mind! We spent much of this past weekend searching for a new home and parish. We just might be getting closer to an answer, but who knows just exactly what God's plans are for us. We will need a lot of doors to open for it all to happen. Read more!

The Poll Results...

In first place were those who were ambivalent about the movie at 50 percent.

In second place were those who ‘othercotted’ the movie at 29 percent.

In third were the folks who boycotted the movie at 9 percent.

Read more!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Brain Freeze...

I had a simply wonderful idea for a new poll while we were driving in and around and around Lexington today looking at houses for sale as well as warehouses for rent. But now that I am home.. pheet - Gone. Blank! Nada!

I can feel it floating about in the back of my brain... hopefully it will surface again tomorrow morning, and I can put it to use. Read more!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Elsa's first Birthday

Recently Elsa turned a year and as per our family tradition - she was treated to her first taste of chocolate. Quite a number of babies ago - we instituted this tradition in hopes of keeping older children from sharing too many goodies with the babies before they were even ready for table food. It has worked pretty well and the older children await the first birthday with great anticipation - anxious to see the look of delight and surpise in their youngest siblings eyes, and on their face, with that first taste of chocolate.

Join us below in the most recent celebration of this family tradition... Read more!
The delicous birthday cake, a Double Chocolate Mousse, donated by Sweet Loralee Bakeries

Our 19 year old caught cutting the cake BEFORE I had a picture of it!

Is some of that for ME?

What's this? MUD?

Emmmm! Elsa loves stawberries - who cares about chocolate?

Contented but very sticky, and maybe a little sick of chocolate?
Read more!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Par t Two...

Our 24 hours were up and we made it to the lab and had the necessary torture of a blood draw performed by pricking the tiny heel of our now very yellow son. Still ignoring the knot in my stomach, we returned home and I continued to try and entice my son to nurse. His big sisters were disturbed by my waking the little fellow and making him cry with cold face clothes and sprinkles of water on his face. I too hated it, but did it repeatedly in hopes he might actually nurse for more than a minute or too before drifting back to sleep.

Friday, shortly after noon, the phone rang. It was our pediatrician’s nurse who informed us that our test results were in and we were needed in the doctor’s office immediately. With the knot that had been ever present tightening even more in the pit of my stomach, we quickly loaded the children into their car seats and, without delay, headed downtown to the office.

Dr. Simo met us with a very serious face and ushered us into his office. The grave expression on his face froze the knot in my stomach. He quietly explained that in the 24 hours plus since Jonathan’s release his bilirubin levels had increased to dangerous levels.
“I made a big mistake in listening to a mother’s heart, and not my head, by letting you take Jonathan home before his levels went down. My mistake might have cost you your son. The neonatal staff is waiting for you at CHEO. You must go directly there and Jonathan will be admitted and a double blood exchange will be done in hopes of saving him from permanent brain damage. We can only pray that we are not too late.”
Hugo’s eyes caught mine. The guilt I felt was immense and the doctor’s following words cut even deeper. “You must not nurse him any more. It appears you have ABO incompatibility and as a result have built up antibodies during your pregnancy and these are attacking your son’s blood still.”
“What?” I gasped. “Do you mean I can never nurse him again?” My husband stared at me incredulously; unable to believe I was questioning this when our son was so ill. Dr Simo replied, “It is too early to know, but for now the Doctors at CHEO have recommended that you not nurse him any more. In 24, 48 hours this decision will be revisited.”
Stunned I gathered my son up and stared at him – was my own milk actually harming him? My husband asked if we might use the phone to call a co-worker so as to arrange to leave our daughters with him and his wife.
“Actually you do not have time to do that. They are waiting as we speak for Jonathan. Every minute is essential. You must go directly to CHEO with the baby. I’m so sorry. I feel I have failed you.”

Wordlessly we directed the girls back out to the car. Sensing the stress, sadness and tension, the girls were remarkably quiet. Even 18 month old Jenny was silent in her hated car seat. I strapped tiny Jonathan into his car seat, barely able to keep the tears back. My mind was whirling. Not only had I begged to have him home as soon as his billi was stable, perhaps my persistent efforts to nurse him had actually been harming him. When I shared my fears and guilt with Hugo, he was too worried to be able to discuss it. Ultimately we just continued the half hour drive, in what was now rush hour, to CHEO in silence, each lost with our personal worries and feelings of guilt and both anxious to make it to the hospital.

When we finally made it there we were whisked up to the NeoNatal Unit where the double doors loomed ominously before this tiny family of three that suddenly felt so fragile. I held Jonathan while Hugo clasped each our daughters little hands in his. We were all quiet.

The nurses on duty were huddled together watching for our arrival. One of htem came forward and greeted us and took Jonathan from my arms. My eyes filled with tears as Aimee suddenly cried out "Hey - why are they taking my baby!??" Not 'our baby' but my baby. She so clearly felt very protective of her baby brother. Another nurse stepped forward and knelt down to her three year old height. "It's okay honey." She reassured her. Your baby is sick and we are going to make him all better. She took Aimee's hand and brought her to the window of the room they had taken Jonathan to and lifted her up to see. A nurse was undressing him and doing the perfunctary examination, heart rate, pulse while another was preping him for an IV. He was too weak to protest.

She put Aimee back down and we then followed her to the room one usually passes by extra quietly when the door was closed. The family consultation room. This is where you usually saw the extended family of someone critically ill, consulting with a doctor and one instintively walked by more quickly while lowering your voice out of repsect for thier sorrow. This time we would be the consultees.

We waited anxiously for the doctor who would be handling our son's neonatal stay and, we prayed, his recovery. I do not even remember his name or his face. I only remember his voice, somber, as he broke the news to us.

"At this point your son's billi levels are so high that is almost inevitable that he has brain damage. The question is how much. The only option is to do a double blood exchange using a universal donor blood type. Then it will be wait and see as we must then hope that your son does not reject the new blood and or develope a blood infection. I'm sorry - I really can't tell you more than that."

To be continued...

Read more!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Where have I been the past week?

Things have been pretty quiet the past week on my blog because Saturday morning my husband and I took the family to South Carolina to explore for a new home. We cannot afford to continue to live in the area we are currently located in.

After exploring South Carolina we returned to the Charlotte area and stayed in a hotel there so we could check out the Mass at a very nice church in the area.

We visited with our second oldest daughter, Jenny, and then returned home, deposited a number of children with their older brothers and left within two hours for a business trip with three children.

So since last Saturday I have been to Spartenburg, SC (absolutely beautiful) back to our part of NC, traveled though SC again, then Georgia, Florida, Alabama, hit Georgia again and then SC where we explored Greenville - another really beautiful city, and then finally made it home again at about midnight. By the end of the trip Elsa was a nervous wreck and would not let go of me - she grasped my arm even in her sleep. Too many people had not been able to resist touching her golden red curls and she is a rather shy baby!

The end result of the past few days - beside collecting merchandise from Fort Eglin in Florida, we have decided to try and conference with our parish priest and look for guidance as to where to try and settle. Our first, very first, priority is a good parish where the Mass is reverent and large families are welcome. It needs be in an area where we can afford housing for a large family within 30 minutes of our new parish. If we can not find a home with sufficent land and some out buildings where we can run our business from, then we must try to locate in an area where warehousing is also cheap. It is a tall order. Thank Heavens there is a God! We will need HIM! We will also need everyone's prayers.

I have a lot of funny stories to share over the next few days! I just hope I can find the time to write them!

Blessings to you all! Read more!

Friday, May 19, 2006

In danger...

We are in danger at this moment. I can feel the temptation to get on with the day. And pass on the Rosary. The laundry is piled up way past Mt. Everest. And my two oldests sons need laundry for the wedding they are attending out of town tomorrow. The two dogs still need to be walked.

The shipping board for the business has reached ten packages and we are are trying to keep it to no more than five waiting to ship. More items have bids which means this number is about to surge even higher.

Children want cuddles and attention. Groceries need to be bought. Items must get lsited for auction and I must put together a meal plan.

The temptation to put prayers to the side and just get on with the day is great. Yes, we are in danger indeed! We are in danger of idolatry. My family is in danger of putting our work before GOD. So now I must stop, take a deep breath and put away the list of things to do that is compiling in my mind and just take 20 minutes to pray with the family. It is only in doing this that I can be assured of getting possibly half of the to do list completed. Most importantly, I will have Jesus and Mary at my side because I will have taken the time to invite them to join me in this sure to be crazy, hectic and completly normal day. Read more!

Looking for direction from big sister.

A few days ago, twelve month old Elsa and three year old Emma were playing together in my bedroom, and the air was filled with Elsa's chortles and Emma's giggles as they wrestled and rolled about on my bedroom floor. At one point they made their way onto my freshly made bed and while I was sorting clothes into Nathaniel's dresser I heard a sudden clunk which was followed by complete silence.

Out of the corner of my eye I caught the reason for this sudden freeze in their play. Emma's cheek had made contact with Elsa's chin. Elsa's eyes were locked on Emma's face waiting for her cue. Was this a crying moment or not? Emma's hand felt her cheek and her eyes began to fill and a wail quickly filled the pregnant silence.

Hup - there was Elsa's cue! She immeadiatly turned to me with her arms outstretched and a quiver on her lower lip. Her sobs joined Emma's and I hid my grin in her shoulders while she sought comfort for her war wounds. Emma also wrapped her arms around my neck as she sobbed into my ear. Interestingly enough though it was Elsa, who had had to search for a clue as whether this injury warrented tears or not, who was still in my arms being comforted long after Emma had recovered and moved on to her next activity.

And to be honest, I didn't mind those few extra minutes of holding her warm, chubby little body with her soft red curls next to my cheek. In fact, I quite enjoyed them. Read more!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A cool math site

Whether you homeschool or your children (or grandchildren) are schooling elsewhere - here is a great site where a child can practice math online or you can create worksheets for extra practice.
Thank you Michaela for directing me to it!

Read more!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mid week poll update

So far "ambivalence" is in the lead...

What will you do when the Da Vinci Code opens on the 19th?

Answers Votes Percent
I am planning on boycotting it. 4 9%
I plan on "othercotting" it by seeing something else that day. 5 11%
I'm actually going to see it. 3 7%
I am going to protest it with friends outside our theater. 2 5%
I am ambivilant about it and will probably do nothing. 28 64%
While I feel strongly against it - I am unsure what I will do. 2 5%
Read more!

Thursday, May 11, 2006


The stats for the longest running poll in the history of this blog! Feeding the hungry won by a landslide. Check out the newest poll.

Answers Votes Percent
Feed the hungry. 30 56%
Give drink to the thirsty. 3 6%
Clothe the naked. 2 4%
Shelter the homeless. 0 0%
Visit the sick. 5 9%
Visit those in prison. 1 2%
Bury the dead 2 4%
A combination of the above. 11 20%
Read more!

What not to buy your wife for Mother's Day...

Here are the five worst gifts you could buy your wife for Mother's Day and possibly end up on the couch for the night!

1) The Hot Mom's Handbook by Denay. Do not purchase (or even suggest to your wife that she should purchase) this book. However mums - feel free to share this little gem with each other. But men, trust me, while possibly every mum will love this book - don't BUY IT for her. It will only lead to one question and one question only.... "Excuse me - are you trying to tell me that I am NOT hot?"

2) Hot Moma: How to have a babe and be a babe by Salmansohn. If your wife is pregnant - again this is NOT a book for Mother's Day or any day. Leave this book for her girl friend to suggest. Unless, that is, you happen to have a special ardor for the living room couch...

3) Don't even think about excercise equipment or signing her up at the local gym - I don't care how great a special they are having. If you value your marriage (and maybe your life) you will do well to stay away from the whole excercise idea.

4) Firming cream or otherwise known as Facial Cream. If you are not convinced just ask Dan Bean. He will caution you not even to mention such a thing, never mind buy it.

5) Nothing.... Do not let Mother's day go by without buying her something "because she's not your mum!". If nothing else, buy her card and slip an IOU inside. That IOU could be redeemed for say... washing the dishes for her one evening a week for the next month. Try it and see just how appreciative the mother of your children is for such a nice treat. (Okay, for those with dishwashers - perhaps it would be for tidying the kitchen...) Read more!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

illness abounds...

I feel like a modern day Job. Our son has returned from school and put off starting a job with Fed Ex for a few weeks so he can help us jump start the new web site. And so, of course, we are all sick. Even me. I have temperature, and considering how high it is, I feel amazingly well. I can only attribute that to God!

However, regardless of how ill various members of the family are, we will have to plug on as we only have this extra pair of hands for two weeks. Posting might be sporatic over the next two weeks, but I will be as faithful as possible and keep you posted as to our progress as well as any comical happenings that might amuse folks.

This weekend is our daughters graduation from college - please keep us in your prayers that we will be recovered in time and all of us be able to enjoy this very special time in our daughter's life.

God Bless You All! Read more!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

By two pm Emma and I were seated together in a cold tub...

Sometime during the night, the number of lumps under blankets in my bed rose from three, the standard number to four. Emma had crawled in with us and the temperature of hte balnkets around her increased somewhat, making me wonder if she was brewing a temperature. Sure enough when morning dawned and I rolled my sleepy body out of bed Emma was in deed not looking her normal chipper self. Her eyes had that 'sunken, I'm not well' look to them and when I touched her forehead, it was hot. I dug about in my children's medicine drawer, the one dedicated to fever relief. (We have many medicine drawers, an adult pain relief drawer, another for asthma meds and so on.) I found some orange gooey stuff and convinced Emma that it would make her feel better.

By the time we were ready to leave for church she was almost as good as new. I most relieved as it was going to be a busy, busy day. Today was First Communion for two children we knew, Aiden and Theresa. We wanted to be there to help them and their families celebrate such a special day. After that we were going to pick up the rental we needed for our drive to Ohio, as well as a U-haul, buy groceries for the children staying home, return to church for the Parish picnic and then leave for Ohio.

It was about one pm when we pulled into the drive from getting the gorceries and the childrne hoped out eager to load the van with the baking that had been done the previous two days before. Three Alexanders cakes, 190 pretzel rolls and two roasts. Despite the boding clouds and drizzle, we were all hoping that the rain would hold off until the picnic was over. As I gathered Emma up to bringher in, I noticed that we had that not good feeling back in her eyes. I was going to give her some more Motrin but got distracted by some other activity and Hugo called me. Emma was curled up beside him and was shivering. I took her temp and it was over 105.

By two pm Emma and I were seated together in a cold tub, I in my bathing suit and she with a dripping wet cold face cloth over her head. My husband was drizzeling tempid water over her that made her scream, "No, not told water Daddy, I needs hot water, I better now, I better! Her teeth chattered, and she began to shake even more. I checked her temp again - it was 107. Fighting panic, I turned the cold water on even further. Emma continued to scream as we tried to calm her down. Gradually we managed to get her temp back down to a manageable 103.

So my list of excuses as to why I might not be about for a few days has changed to just one - Emma is sick. Our priest has prayed over and annointed her with oil and friends are praying for her as her little body fights this virus. So I ask all of you (again) to join your hearts with ours as we pray for her to recouperate quickly; and that my husband, who now needs to drive to Ohio without my help, will be safe. Read more!
Julie D., author of Happy Catholic , has left a comment regarding the idea of seeing Over the Hedge as an alternative to the Da Vinci Code, asking if I had seen the reviews or trailors for this movie. I had to admit that I had not, but I have now read one review and will check out some trailors as well.

I have to say the one review I just read, reminded me of the year we first moved to the country and discovered we had mice. Cute, cuddly looking, brown vermin. Being rather short on dinero, I opted for the no nonsence simple tan coloured, wooden, quick kill mousetraps. I left one under the kitchen sink before retiring for the night. With our bedroom being above the kitchen, in this tiny duplex we were residing in, I was awakened sometime in the night by a sharp snaps that rang through the floor under my bed. I rolled over and went back to sleep with a sense a satisfaction. Amazing how parenthood changes our values. At eight, I would have been crying myself to sleep.

In the morning, I checked under the counter and sure enough the trap was sprung having claimed not just one, but two mice. One was slightly larger than the other, giving you the impression that they were a couple who had been out in the night foraging for their little family who were now obviously orphans. As we quickly scooped them into the garbage can before little eyes came down the stairs I commented to Hugo:
"You know, if this were a Disney movie, you and I would be the villians. "

The review of Over the Hedge emphasizes that it has a strong environmental message which leads me to wonder just how much we will all feel the villian, if this review is accurate in its description. I still think I will try to take myself and the kids to a movie somewhere that day - whether it is Over the Hedge, or another movie. If I have the time to see some trailors, I will post some links AND the kids' reaction to them. Read more!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Vote at the Box Office...

This is not such a novel idea as some might think. I believe we rocked the socks of Hollywood when the Christians of this country pushed The Passion into a box office success and boom after all of Hollywood doom and gloom about how it would fail because it was too gory, too raw, too... true.

It is being suggested that once more we vote with our dollars - regarding the Da Vincy Code. And not, as you might think, by staying home.

Read here and here. Please take the time to read these links. If you blog, share these links on your blog. If you don't blog, email them to everyone you can think of. We MUST take action and this is a very good one that is suggested here. Let's take those box offices by storm!

I will be leaving this post at the top of my blog and will add new posts below for the next week or so. I don't even know when the Davinci Code opens, but obviously I need to remedy this. I will post this fact when I find out unless someone cares to edify us by leaving a comment.

(Credit for the original post of these links belong to Danielle Daily, which I suspect many of you also read.)

Let's make ourselves HEARD in a way Hollywood understands! Read more!

Friday, May 05, 2006

A link and...

...a list of excuses as to why I won't be around for oh - about five days.

First the link; Robert Munsch , exAmerican, now Canadian famous auther that my kids loved when they were little and that I about to re-introduce to my second bunch of little kids, only he has more books now.

Now for my excuses:
1) My husband hurt his back and so I am now also listing items for sale - only we are selling on my eBay acount 'cause we can't afford to pay out ebay fees this week...
2) My husband hurt his back so I am now helping my son pack - the items we sold on my husband's account last week.
3) My husband hurt his back and my son wants him to make his "to die for incredible" roast for the May Picnic this weekend.
4) My husband hurt his back and we had to return his lap top so we could pay for some bills so that we can start picking up items we bought from all over the country that we will now have to list on my ebay account because my husband's is frozen... AND because my husband no longer has his lap top - I have to share my computer with him...
5) My husband hurt his back and Sunday night we will leave for Ohio- after spending about 5 hours at the church since that is the day we are having the picnic. We won't be back from Ohio until late Tuesday.
6)Did I mention my husband hurt his back?

See you Tuesday or Wednesday when I will try to squeeze someting on my blog before I pack up to go to Charlotte for Jenny's graduation. Which reminds me - I have three dresses I need to take to the dry cleaners! Read more!

Is God as Reliable as my Rocking chair?

We were in the midst of our morning Rosary and Emma was wandering about the living room, distracting us as usual. Finally someone asked her to sit down. She danced her way across the living room rug and stopped in front of a child size rocking chair, Elsa’s actually. Without looking behind her to make sure that the chair was ready to catch her – she just plopped her little bottom down and landed comfortable in the soft chair. I could only see her head over the top of the it and her delicate ankles beneath it as she pushed with her tiny toes to rock the chair.

Would she still have this confidence if someone habitually pulled the chair out from under her as she sat, or if the chair tended to collapse as she sat on it? Obviously not.

Her complete confidence in the chair got my mind working and I thought about how we all have that same confidence in chairs. Without a thought we simply plunk ourselves into a chair completely confident that its arms will enfold us and the frame will catch us. We never suspect that someone is going to possibly pull the chair out from under us, or that the legs will simply crack and collapse from our weight.

This confidence has built up over time, from our continued use of chairs and the reliability they have shown us, day after day, hour after hour, and year after year. Yet, I wondered, why have I not had this complete faith in God? Is it because when I do lean on Him, He collapses from my weight? Or pulls away in jest the way someone will occaisionally tease us with a chair? Or is it because, unlike my daily use of chairs, I have not used God’s invitation to rely on Him daily? And so, I have not built up confidence in Him as I have with chairs?

This really left me with a lot to think about.

(image found at: Read more!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Touching Base with Our Heritage

Part of the heritage that belongs to our children has roots in Latvia. My husbands great grandmother, great aunt and his grandmother were among the few of his family to survive the Bolshevik Revolution and upon escaping Latvia, were refugees in Europe for many years before settling in Argentina. (We are currently researching what happened in Latvia at that time. It is possible the revolution was not the actual Bolshevik revolution but the family has always referred to it as such. regardless all of the male members of the family were murdered and only the females escaped.)

My 19 year old son decided to begin exploring those roots. He has explored the arts, the culinary delights, as well as the history of this wonderful country. As a result of his research we were treated to some delightful baking that both hen and his sister Anna, engaged in one soggy wet day last week.

Discover some of what we enjoyed in the posts below. I will add recipes later. Read more!

Team work...

Working together on the Pretzels. Miguel is about to hand off the mixer to Anna. It was such great fun watching these two work together trying recipes that had never been made by anyone in our immeadiate family before. However, we do have a great grand father who was a pastry chef. Seems he passed on his skills through the gene pool.

One of two layers that needed to be baked for the Alexander's Cake.

These are delicous Pretzel Rolls, which had to be boiled and then baked. Despite it being a large recipe, these dissapeared pretty fast.

The finished product; Alexander's Cake, oh it was so delicous. I was unable to photograph the whole cake, it was devoured too quickly.
Read more!