Thursday, October 14, 2010

Are you waiting on God?

This post was an encouragement to me today!! Take a few moments and read what Denise has to say.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Check this out!

I've been reading Spend Freely since the summer...and now Trisha (the Spend Freely Mama) is hosting a PartyLite giveaway on her blog!!

Go check it out!!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Trisha will pick a winner next Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Might have a new favorite!

Some of you may not know this, but I am a Bzz Agent and I periodically try and review new products. I am loving the products I am currently testing!



I am testing some adhesives from Elmers and Cutting tools from X-acto....so far so good. The tape runner and the glue pen have come in very handy for a few homeschool projects, and the scissors made Josiah's Language Arts lesson a little more fun this morning. These shaped scissors seem sharper and easier to use than others I have tried.
Next, I need to try the glue spots and the corner rounder...hmmm...sounds like fun!

At any rate, I am pleased with the quality of the products that I've been sent (see pic above) and am excited to keep using them.

**Full disclosure....I was provided with the products to try for this study, but am otherwise not compensated in any way.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

First MVCA Fieldtrip

Today was a blast! The boys and I attended our first MVCA field trip which found us checking out animals at Petco, playing (and sipping coffee) at Jungle Java and learning about healthy lifestyles at Meijer.

At Petco, the boys got to pet and hold various animals.....including a baby Ball python...yikes! They loved seeing the different kinds of animals and being able to get up close and personal with them.

Our next stop was Jungle Java. I had never heard of Jungle Java before....it is a really neat place. Combine the coolest indoor play area you can imagine (complete with tunnel slides and a mini-zipline) with a hip-and-modern coffee shop/lunch spot. Some of the other MVCA moms sat and chatted while our kids became sweaty messes....and it was really enjoyable.

The last stop for the field trip was Meijer. Donna, a Meijer employee, took our group on a tour of the store. We stopped in multiple departments and learned about proper food choices and healthy lifestyles. Snacks were given out along the way, and the tour ended at the Purple Cow....Meijer's hand-dipped ice cream stand. Yum!
All in all it was a great first field trip!
Since we were in the area and I needed a few things, the boys and I ended our day in Canton with a quick trip into IKEA. I'm really not sure there's such a thing as a "quick trip" into the huge expanse of home furnishings....but we were in and out in an hour! Josiah and Trevor played in Smaland while Camden got to push the European-styled shopping cart.

Now my three little guys are tucked in bed, and we will be back at the books tomorrow....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Who? Me? Never!

My role as a mother has changed again. I am a nurse, tooth-extractor, housekeeper (sometimes!), grocery shopper, head chef and now....teacher. For multiple reasons, Joel and I decided to homeschool Camden (2nd grade) and Josiah (Kindergarten) for the 2010-2011 school year. This decision was one we labored over. I stayed awake many nights thinking about how/if it would work and prayed about whether or not it would be best for our children. Although I have a teaching degree, the thought of teaching my own kids was terrifying! We would have loved to send them back to FCS, but financially it just wouldn't work. We considered enrolling the boys in our local public schools, but we weren't comfortable with that in our current area. If we lived somewhere else, maybe...but since we live where we do, it wasn't a viable option. I certainly don't mean to offend those in my area who DO send their children to the local schools....it just wasn't a fit for our family, that's all.

Once we started giving homeschooling some serious thought, I looked at several curriculum choices, including K12, Abeka and Bob Jones. While certainly less expensive than private school tuition, purchasing curriculum gave me sticker shock! We decided to use K12 Curriculum through the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy. Can I be honest here? I LOVE this format! I am truly enjoying this process with my boys. I know, I know. I've only been at this for a week (we did a few introductory lessons before the first "real" day of school) and I KNOW that there will be some rough days that come. However, I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can!

Here are a couple things that I am loving about homeschooling right now:

1. The curriculum is fantastic! It is challenging and exciting....both of the boys are really enjoying their lessons.

2. The schedule is flexible (to an extent - I plan to follow an established routine). Our planned "start time" for school is 8:30. Last night we got home late (well after bedtime) and so we started school a little later today. I love having the ability to tweak things to meet the needs of the family better.

3. I love being the one to explain to my kindergartener why the Pledge of Allegiance is important. I'm thrilled to help my 2nd grader learn units of metric measurement and discuss Clara and the Bookwagon at length. Sure, I can do all these as Mom (and should take every opportunity to teach them) but doing so as their teacher is so much fun!

4. This first week has reminded me how much I truly loved teaching as a vocation. I only taught for 3 years, but I absolutely loved it! When Camden was an infant, I really missed heading to the classroom everyday...and now I get to go back to the classroom each morning.

All in all, I'd say we're off to a terrific start! Now, if I could find a way to teach in the classroom and clean the house at the same time.....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trevor update

Well, it's been almost a month since Trevor's surgery and he's doing well. We spent 3 days (2 nights) in the PICU at St. John's Hospital. Surgery was successful and went very smoothly.

The nurses in the PICU were terrific! I was so thankful for their excellent care while we were there.

Trev is still sore at times, but is healing well overall. We will go for a 3 month follow-up in October.

technical difficulties....

Stay tuned....trying to rework my design and I'm having a little trouble :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Surgery update for Trevor

Last Wednesday I took Trevor for his CT scan. He did quite well! We had one nurse that was not super brilliant...when I was signing consent forms she told me the name of the drug that they were going to use to sedate Trevor. She said "Propofol, you know, the Michael Jackson drug." Really? I was not bothered that they use that drug, just that she had the lack of sensitivity to draw that comparison.

Anyways, we met with our surgeon again today. Trevor will have surgery on July 13 and will remain in the hospital for 1-4 days. The first night will be spent in the PICU and then he will be moved to a regular room if he's doing all right.

Basically, they have to go in and pull his intestines back through the hole and put them in their proper place. Then they'll have to close the hole using either his own tissue or a synthetic patch.

The surgeon said that this type of hernia is pretty rare, and that most surgeons see only 8-10 cases like this in their entire careers.

The surgery itself is not complicated, and Trevor could possibly come home the very next day. Once he is eating and drinking on his own and his intestines are functioning properly they will release him. Then the real challenge begins....keeping him happy and busy doing non-active things for a while!

So...now we wait. We have our questions answered and Trevor is not in any pain (that he's mentioned).

Monday, June 07, 2010

Trevor - one little boy with 2 problems....

Okay, so here is a lot of information. I'm not even sure if I've completely absorbed/processed all of it yet!

Trevor has 2 different problems. The first is the more urgent/serious concern and we'll tackle it immediately. The second is a long-term issue.

First of all, Trevor does have a congenital Morgagni hernia (a hole in his diaphragm). Part of his bowel has slipped into the hole and up under his ribs. This is fixed with inpatient surgery...they will make an incision under his ribcage and pull the bowel back down where it belongs. Then they will close the hole in the diaphragm. Our surgeon hopes to use Trevor's own tissue to repair the hernia. If it's too big, however, he will have to use a synthetic material. Using his own tissue is the best scenario since it will grow with him. Trevor will spend at least 1 night in the hospital, but we're unsure of recovery time at this point.

The second problem is a congenital chest abnormality. Basically, the base of Trevor's sternum is crooked, causing the right side of his chest wall to stick out. This is NOT caused by the hernia. Our surgeon recommends watching this for a few years and eventually Trevor may have to wear a brace for a while to reshape his ribcage/chest.

The first step is a CT scan....we're waiting to find out exactly when that will be. Once the results from the scan are in, we will have another consult with the surgeon and he'll schedule surgery from there. He wants to have a clear picture of exactly what is going on, and the x-ray only shows so much. This will help him see what is going on with the hernia as well as the chest wall.

So...I am sure I will have lots of questions in the coming days/weeks. I'll keep everyone updated about the CT scan and surgery as we know more.

Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Trevor

When Trevor was about 6 months old, I noticed a funny noise when he would nurse. It was grinding sound....sort of like the strong growl you have when you haven't eaten in all day.

I mentioned this to our pediatrician, and it was noted then that his chest was abnormal. Not necessarily a problem, but something to keep our eyes on.

Last Monday (May 24) I took Trevor in for his 3 year well visit. During the visit I mentioned that Joel and I are more concerned about this deformity and that it seems to have gotten worse in the last 6-8 weeks. Our pediatrician (different doctor, same practice) decided that we should have Trevor's chest x-rayed to rule out any major problems.

I left the office and went straight to the St. John center on 12 Mile. I knew we'd be able to get the x-rays done that afternoon. Once the technician did the first set of films, I knew that she saw something because she called another tech to take a look. Together they decided to do another set of films from another angle. Hmmm...

Well, Dr. Schomaker called on Wednesday as soon as he got the radiologists report and reviewed the films himself. Our sweet Trevor has a diaphragmatic hernia on the right side. Now what?

Well, it certainly means surgery is in the near future for our littlest Gearhart. We have an appointment on Monday, June 7 with a Pediatric Surgeon. Right now we don't have a time frame or really very many details about what is going to happen. I have googled enough to know that I shouldn't google at all when it comes to my kids and a medical diagnosis! Lots of scary info out there!

Please pray with us that the surgeon will have wisdom in dealing with Trevor. I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to have this treated and that we are getting help before any major problems occurred.

Trevor is in no pain and really has no symptoms other than what you can see by looking at him. I will update more after we meet with the surgeon.

Here is a link about diaphragmatic hernias. While Trevor is not an infant, at least it give some info.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Abraham



Today I picked Camden up from school and then the boys and I headed to the thrift store. They all groaned when I pulled into the parking lot....that "oh no mom's gonna be in here forever" groan. That's when I told them we were on a treasure hunt.

They were instantly excited.

A treasure hunt? For what?

I told them that we were going to build a snowman with Daddy, but that we needed a few things for him. We didn't have a hat or gloves, and no snowman would be complete with out a scarf! So into the store we went to find our treasures.

Camden saw the rack with the hats right away. We looked a a navy blue floppy hat...to girly. Then we saw a straw hat...to boring. The boys picked out a cowboy hat...perfect!

Next we headed to the scarves and gloves. Josiah found a scarf he liked, then he found a winter hat for our snowman. The boys decided that our snowman would likely be cold....so the cowboy hat went back and the winter hat was tossed into the cart.

I found some knit gloves and then Josiah declared that our snowman needed a coat. A coat? For a snowman? Hmmmm.....we settled on a vest. After all, we don't want our snowman to freeze (hee hee!)

Now we just needed something creative for eyes and buttons.....we headed to the toys and I was hoping to find a checkers game (pretty common, I thought) and you should have seen my giddy face when I found a bag of giant checkers. PERFECT!

On the way home we stopped by the park and Camden tried to pull off some lower branches (he had boots on and I didn't). The branches wouldn't budge, so I told him we'd figure something else out for the arms.

So the boys and daddy built a snowman today. His name is Abraham (they picked the name) and we think he's pretty great!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Been to the Valley?

Words and music by Bob Kauflin
As recorded on Valley of Vision

Lyrics

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's a Soup Kind of Day

I love baked potato soup, and several friends have asked for the recipe. I don't measure when I cook (unless I'm trying someone else's recipe....) so these are approximations for the most part.

4 Baked, peeled, chopped potatoes or 6-8 small - you can use more :)
1 small onion- chopped
8 cups (or more for thinner soup) of milk. I use whatever milk I have on hand (whole, 2%, etc.)
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
dried parsley
salt
pepper
sour cream (1/2 cup for the soup and then some for garnish)
shredded cheese (cheddar or cojack)
Bacon bits (the real bacon kind, NOT bacos)
1 bouillion cube (chicken...add it to the milk.)

Saute the onion and butter until the onions are soft and transparent. Then add the flour to make a paste (roux??) and then wisk in the 1/2 of the milk and all the seasonings (I just eyeball it and season to taste) and bring to a near boil. Add the rest of the milk and all of the potatoes. Heat thoroughly, stirring often. Then add sour cream.

Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream, cheese and bacon.

**NOTE** This soup is high on flavor.....and fat content :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gossip

How do you react to unkind things that are said about you? Is your first reaction to bristle and defend? Mine is! So many times I have to bite my tongue (or should bite my tongue....) when someone says something hurtful or just plain rude!

I read a blog called RefreshHer and Denise's post today was so good! Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Monday, January 18, 2010

As Long as You are Glorified

I love this song! You can listen to a clip of it here.

Shall I take from your hand your blessings
Yet not welcome any pain
Shall I thank you in times of plenty
Then leave you in days of drought
Shall I trust when I reap the harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt

(chorus)
Oh let your will be done in me
In your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As you are glorified

Are you good only when I prosper
And true only when I’m filled
Are you King only when I’m carefree
And God only when I’m well
You are good when I’m poor and needy
You are true when I’m parched and dry
You still reign in the deepest valley
You’re still God in the darkest night