World Travel

Well, I have not traveled the world. Adrian has been to Europe. I have been to Israel. There are not too many places we would visit, even if we could afford the cost and time. But that did not stop us from picking foreign names for this baby.

Without realizing the foreignness of our decision, we picked Londyn for a girl and Israel for a boy. I had an ultrasound today (I’m 19 weeks), and we found out which name we were using.

It so happens that we are using Israel Arrow Tristan Howell (Arrow after Green Arrow). That evens things up- 5 girls and 5 boys. All the kids were super excited that it was a boy. In fact, we called Hailey at work and Adrian told her it was a girl. Her response? “Oh no! You’re kidding me? I’m SO bummed!” I guess it’s a good thing he was kidding. When I told her it really was Israel she got excited, and also said, “Well, I guess I wouldn’t have minded so much if it was a girl.” LOL.

As soon as I got home, I deleted all the newborn girl things I had in my online cart at Gymboree.com and purchased the baby boy items I had waiting in there. The wait for the ultrasound seemed SO long. It was really exciting going into it not having a feeling either way of what it might be, it was a great surprise.

Here’s a pic, though not great because the placenta is laying right on top of him (which also explains why I don’t feel him move very often). He did continually “chew” throughout the ultrasound, which is just so cute.

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For Sale

For Sale: 1 Doberman puppy- 6 months old.

Cost:

1 BBQ mitt

1 Bike Seat

3 new 4×4 posts

1 leash

1 chair cushion

2 dog beds

1 popcorn bowl

1 kids lifejacket

1 wood ninja practice sword

2 shirts

1 kids shopping cart

3 towels

1 jump rope

2 bike handles

1 BBQ scraper

2 kids mermaid tails

7 plastic tools

1 Power Wheels

1 Filet Mignon – hot on the grill

1 doll

1 doberman tail (yes, really!)

and finally,

IMG_2948 IMG_8760

1 large umbrella

And because my husband loves him so much, I’ll throw him in for free. But be warned, I don’t have the time to list how many things he has destroyed.

Organic brains and Arch Enemies

Well, it’s been a while, but I’ve been exhausted! I’ve got maybe 6 hours before my eyes are closing and I need a nap. For a 4″ little person, this baby is sucking the energy out of me. At almost 15 weeks, I am starting to feel better, although evenings are still difficult. But worth it! Amen?

I don’t know if it is hormones, or old age, or maybe I just decided I don’t have enough on my plate, but yesterday I bought a kitten. It is so tiny and cute! It is a black and gray tabby, but mostly marbled instead of striped. Her name is Mozzie (after a character on White Collar- I have long thought Mozzie is a perfect cat’s name). The kids have all been very gentle with her, although Eva is up in her grill too often. And because she’s not even 2 pounds yet, I have kitten-proofed the school room and she has been living in this fun world of desks, shelves, paper, books, pens, and right now… my fingernail polish. Those roll around splendidly. Because the school room is her home, Madeline can come look at her through the baby gate in the door, but she’s only petted her 4 or 5 times under strict observation. She really loves her, but it reminds me of the book Of Mice & Men, or more adequately, the Yeti from Looney Tunes:

Yeti Video

“I will name him George and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him.”

Mozzie playing with Adrian’s cast

Anyway…

Cory, who LOVES the fact that J’onn is named after Martian Manhunter and that his middle name is Kal-El (Superman), was telling me the other day that Martian Manhunter can control people’s brains. This is when J’onn interrupted and clarified: “No, he can only control organic brains! Not brains like Cyborg or something.” OK, well when asked what “organic” means, he had no idea. But at least he is aware of what “his” limits are.

Of late, Cory also continually been asking me who people’s- or corporations- arch enemies are. For example, “Who is McDonald’s arch enemy?” My reply: “Uhhhh, well I guess that would be Burger king.” (But thankfully, as McDonald’s is number one, the next several leading fast food companies added together don’t add up to McDonald’s revenue. So I’m not sure they even have an arch enemy. Too much to explain to a five-year-old though.) And Target’s arch enemy? I guess that’s Wal Mart. And it goes on and on.

Well, I would continue, but I have to go to the dreaded, nightmare inducing pelvic exam at my OB’s office. I guess it’s probably good I have had so many babies because there’s no way I’d go on my own (without being pregnant) for a “check up.” Always lovely, especially since my husband relayed to my OB about 6 years ago that I think he’s really handsome. Oh yes, he really did. And after their little “guy chat,” I almost immediately got pregnant with Cory. The next thing I know, I’m in my OB’s office under a paper sheet and he’s telling me how he ran into my husband a while back and was chatting with him. My reply?

“Oh…yeah…. That’s…just…awesome.”

Yup. I had to ground my husband from my OB, so that they only time he sees him is when I am in the delivery room. Hopefully there is too much going on to discuss my PRIVATE… um… likes? And little Adrian is none too thrilled himself. As Shauna is the nurse today, and those two are not allowed to be left alone, he is coming with me. Granted, he will be sitting in the waiting room, but because I was complaining about this appointment last night and he overheard, he knows the reason for the visit. I think he thinks I’m going to come out a different person/alien.  (Little does he know I will be a different person- one that is totally relieved and not panicking inside!)

So here I go. Wish me luck.

Surprise

Q. Should you have children past 35?

A. No, 35 children is plenty.

Well, it has been a while. Not that life has been that boring, but it has been busy. On top of the busyness, my days have been cut short. Well, my hours of productivity that is. Yes, even during my 12th pregnancy, I’m still exhausted and sick. Oh, did you catch that? I am 10 1/2 weeks pregnant! Yay!

The Lord’s ways are truly not our ways, are they? Now, I have had 2 miscarriages past this point, but I decided 5 weeks ago I would officially announce this baby when I had my 10 week ultrasound. My due date is March 13, 2016- I will still be 41 then.

baby

It still looks like a jelly bean, but moves around much better than one!

(this is sound only)

My greatest hope would be to meet this baby in the air when we are raptured. Yes, I have hope the Lord is coming back for His bride very soon. That way I wouldn’t have to see how big I will get, or lose all that weight again. I also wouldn’t have to change my email (allisonhowell9…), or this blog name! Half my passwords have a 9 in them as well! Ugh. But I guess I can justify keeping them as 9, since the true number is 12 anyway (1/4 of my kids- 2 boys and a girl- are already in heaven, 8 walking around (ok, Madeline doesn’t walk, but you get it)and one growing safely inside! (Two boys and a girl?…that’s another story!)

So yes, everyone is very excited. Hailey is especially excited that I’m not as sick as I was with Eva. Nobody (especially me) wanted that person to visit again. For now, I am spending my afternoons and evenings in bed. Mornings are my best hours, I try to get a lot done before lunch. We have had names picked out since before we discovered we were expecting this little miracle, but you will have to wait 8 more weeks to learn those until I find out if we will be using the boy or girl names!

So, with that announcement, I will continue to tell you that Adrian is doing great at ERT- he loves SCUBA diving, has earned A’s on all his written tests, and has enjoyed search and rescue, sawyer work (chainsaw), high-angle rescue (repelling/cliff rescue) and is now doing wildfire fighting. ERT ends in October, at which time he will take EMT- Basic (the pre-requisite to the Paramedic course he’ll start in January). It’s nice that we get to talk to him at least weekly. He doesn’t have a lot of free time, but that’s probably a good thing.

Hailey is busy at McDonalds, but feels called to be there, so she is happy. Clara is at church camp right now, I’m sure she’s having a blast. Presley has dressed the boys up and has been making them ballroom dance with her today. I’m rather surprised they are cooperating- well, surprised with Cory at least, that’s actually right up J’onn’s alley. Eva’s latest trick is that she jumps off of high things THEN yells “Catch!” That is a stressful game. Madeline has just started fighting with her- that means Madeline is now 24 months mentally! That’s growth! As soon as Eva passes her up, Madeline will be nice again. I don’t know why, but that’s just how it works with her.

So, we appreciate your prayers. We are blessed with each imperfect, time consuming responsibility the Lord decides to gift to us to care for in this life. I can think of no better sacrifice (physically, time-wise, financially, freedom limiting, etc….) than having kids and raising them in the knowledge of the Lord. By far the most important “success factor” in this life is that they know their Savior personally. So far so good.

Thank you for rejoicing with us.

Defying the odds

So I have been told by people who work there, that the odds of a child spending time in a PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) are about 1 in 1000. That means most families are fortunate enough to never visit one. Here’s how my kids stand:

Hailey: (Bless her) No hospital stays (some ER trips only, including an ambulance ride)

Adrian:  PICU & PEDS stay for a skull fracture (and spinal fluid leak) Plus an ambulance ride at code (lights & sirens).

Tristan: PICU stay (post-op, plus many days and nights in the Oncology unit)

Madeline: MANY PICU stays (7 months straight and multiple other times) Plus an ambulance ride.

Clara: (Surprisingly) No hospital stays.

Presley: (What a good girl for her mommy) No hospital stays.

J’onn: (we just got home today) PICU & PEDS stay for a skull fracture. Plus an ambulance ride.

Cory: PEDS Intermediary Stay (just outside the PICU entrance, higher urgency than a PEDS stay) Plus an ambulance ride.

Eva (this may be the ONLY time I ever say this…PLEASE take after Clara!) No Hospital Stays (just a day surgery like Hailey).

That’s 4 PICU stays, 1 Intermediary stay, (3 PEDS stays along with the PICU stays), and 4 ambulance rides between my five kids who have blessed us with gray hairs.

Will someone please tell my kids they’ve used up their turns!

Most recently, Monday, June 15th to be exact, J’onn fell off the neighbor’s pool slide onto the concrete. He landed right on the top of his head. Unlike little Adrian, he was not knocked out, but had concussion signs instantly (dizziness, nausea, etc…). Within 30 seconds of Clara’s friend, Emma, carrying him home, we were off to the nearest hospital. When I carried him in, the waiting room was more packed than I’d ever seen one before (and I have literally made dozens of trips to them). But they took one look at J’onn and kicked an old lady out of their main trauma room and started a trauma code for him.

Adrian arrived a few minutes after we got there, in time to accompany him to the CAT Scan. The bottom line is that he fractured his skull from the left top of his head, down in and through his left eye socket. The blood pooled in his left eyelid and behind his left eye. The neurologist that was called insisted he take an ambulance ride from Holy Family’s ER to Sacred Heart’s PICU where he had hourly neuro checks all night long. The next morning we said good bye to our old friends there and went to PEDS Oncology (they send “clean” (not ill) kids there sometimes), because Kristy suggested it to  Doctor Frye (thank you, Kristy, you were always one of my favorites!). At Sacred Heart, the rooms in Peds Onc are WAY better than rooms in PEDS. So while staying under observation for another day and night, we were comfy in 309 East.

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Knowing that J’onn would be fine allowed us to enjoy catching up with our hospital employee friends that we would either run into (“HI! Wait- why are you here?!”) or who heard we were there and came and found us. It was funny to look at his right (unswollen) side and see Tristan, and many people told us that J’onn looks just like T. Seeing our old friends was a huge blessing for us.

It was also a good opportunity for J’onn to work on his manners and controlling his emotions in difficult circumstances. For example, when we arrived in the PICU, his IV from the ER had come out and they needed to put a new line in. That was unwelcome news for my dramatic six-year-old. Before he could erupt into a full-blown panic attack, I gave him this little speech:

“J’onn, remember in the car driving to the hospital, we were praying and thanking God for the hospital, doctors and nurses who would be taking care of you?”

(I got a slight nod from him.)

“Well, there are kids all over the world who get sick or hurt and don’t have a hospital or doctor to go to or nurses to help them. Their mommies would do anything to get their kid to a hospital and get the kind of help you are getting. That’s why you are going to be brave and strong, you’re going to do your breathing, and you are going to be thankful that you are getting such good care from these people.”

And the Lord worked a miracle. To put it plainly, as only a different kind of Dr. could, “The Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.” A smile came on his face, he nodded, and there were no panic attacks after that (with a few reminders to breathe).

As we told a few friends, there comes a point where it is relatively unbelievable. We also shared with them why we declined the many generous offers of help from our fantastic friends. It comes down to the fact that, after a while, it’s just embarrassing. We used this example to illustrate:

When I was pregnant with J’onn, and Tristan was a month from going home to be with Jesus, I had an ultrasound. They informed me that he had a VSD (a hole between the lower chambers in his heart). Adrian and I decided we should just keep that to ourselves. Who is going to believe that as one son lay dying, our next addition has a heart problem. We had to return two weeks after Tristan died to see about the VSD. Thankfully, it had closed on its own, but he had developed a cyst in his brain. Again, we didn’t want to be seen as attention seekers, and who would really believe us anyway, so we mainly kept it to ourselves. And, to be honest, we were so overwhelmed, we just told the Lord that He would have to totally handle this, and besides praying, we didn’t dwell on it. Well, fortunately, at the next ultrasound, the cyst also went away, and the doctor literally said, “I think you should go before we find something else wrong.”

But imagine if we had shared that information at the time. We are uncomfortable with pity. I know we are already judged for letting the Lord decide on how many kids we have, “and with all the problems, shouldn’t you just stop?” (Yes, people have said that.) And that’s really not the kind of attention we want, either.

Like I said, rather unbelievable. I was again told I should write a book, and my reply was that it would be labeled as fiction! As our friend, Gary, said yesterday while visiting J’onn in the hospital, we do have luck. It’s called “unlucky!” LOL.

But at the end of the day, all our family and friend’s prayers worked. The eye swelling is already down, the purple is fading, and he can open it half way (it’s only been 48 hours since the accident). I have to keep reminding him that he is to take it easy, but I may have to borrow Officer Beckley’s handcuffs to keep him from running and jumping.

In 2 Samuel, David calls a place where the Lord defeated his enemies Baal Perazim- the Lord that breaks through. That is what He does every time our kids are in the hospital. He breaks through the situation and we are blessed. We pray we are a blessing to others as well.

Thank you to everyone who prayed, visited, gave J’onn little gifts to brighten his stay, and helped in other ways (i.e. to Patrick Beckley for babysitting little Adrian). Even all the offers of help we refused are still greatly appreciated. Thank you all.

Love,

Adrian & Allison

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Sweet Music

We don’t really listen to a lot of secular music in our house. However, because we have dance parties, and we do enjoy music, there is some secular music that we enjoy. I am not here to justify the words or the hypnotic beat that exists and can be exploited in music. Nor am I trying to excuse some of the songs I like that are not up to our family’s moral standards. For example, there are VERY FEW songs that I do NOT like by the following artists: Taylor Swift, FUN, Adele, and possibly a few others. Then there are some top 100 artists that I like select songs from, like Christina Perri, One Direction, and Meghan Trainor. The latter is the subject of this post.

So by now, we all know that It’s All About That Bass. I love that song, possibly because I’ve always carried the bulk of my weight in my (b)ass. Like many others, that kicked off our dancing to Meghan Trainor’s music. Clara’s favorite is Lips are Moving. That’s a fun song, too… until you have to explain it to your five-year-old son.

The question that came at me the other day:

“Mom, what does it mean when it says in the song ‘I gave you base you gave me sweet talk’?”

My reply:

“Um, duh, blub, well…What did you say?”

After rehearing the question, which I heard correctly the first time, but it gave me three seconds to clear my thoughts, I replied, “Love. It means I gave you love.”

Cory then said, “Oh.” Almost disappointed that it meant love and not something…juicer.

Some day he’ll know that giving somebody bass doesn’t necessarily mean love. I guess I should be more careful, just because they’re dancing wildly, and Cory seldom sings, it doesn’t mean they’re not listening.

Cory’s dance moves, age- almost 4:

Hailey and Clara lip syncing to Lips are Moving

HeHe’s 20th Birthday

So it’s not that I’m twice her age. It’s not that I’m at least perched on top of the hill with a view over the other side. It’s not that I am “no longer cool,” as I have never been “cool” anyway. But my 20-year-old daughter is so much more… everything. I’m such a goober compared to her. I believe the term used nowadays is DUFF (Dumb Ugly Fat Friend).

Now really, I am not in any way trying to gain any kind of sympathy. I don’t want to hear any “Oh, Allison, you’re beautiful and cool, too!” I’m a realist. I can accept it. And I have proof.

For Hailey’s birthday, we drove out to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for dinner. Because that’s about an hour from our house, we had fun singing in the car. Hailey made lip sync videos with Clara, Presley, and me. Therein lies my proof. Take a look for yourself:

So I have no doubt you see it, too. (And we are way past the fact that she knew her words way better than I knew mine!) She’s just a “cool” 20-year-old. I’d say she gets it from her dad, but I’ve known him for too long.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, my beautiful, oh so much more cooler than me daughter. I love you!

Whistling while you work

So it’s spring cleaning time around here. It’s really not too bad of a prospect. Our lovable little home really only gives us 2 options to collect: junk or kids. We have chosen kids. That means clutter doesn’t really pile up. There’s always the outgrown clothes and shoes that we are constantly cycling through, and forgotten about toys that often find their way to Other Mothers. But stuff to just throw away instead of trading it in or putting it in storage (in case of future “collections”) really only occurs in individual spaces. For example, about once a month I go through Clara & Presley’s room with them and a trash bag. Same thing with Little Adrian, but the rest is pretty good. Today, for our Spring Cleaning time, we (Clara, Presley, J’onn, Cory and I) will be working on the hallway, bathroom and family room. It will only take an hour or so to sanitize and organize. (My hope is this will also help us get rid of all these colds we’ve had!) So, upon royal proclamation by the queen this morning that the people of the land, who partake of the riches of this kingdom, would be helping her majesty clean in these three areas, the rumble throughout the land was that of moaning and sighs. The queen responded by explaining that her little subjects should be grateful that we have these things to clean, and that their mother queen would take the time to teach them should inspire them to ban the dreaded dust bunnies with me! The fact that they do not live in a pig sty (at least not most of the time) should leave them feeling overwhelmed with gratefulness. To which the older peasants simply walked away. But with this video I declare there is hope in the land: Ok, so it’s not whistling, but it is singing with a joyful heart while he does his daily vacuuming. Good boy, J’onny. I hereby knight you Sir Joyful Worker.

Messy, messy

I know I have not written in a while. I have not forgot, I have just been busy. The mundane, not fun type of busy. But here I am to share a couple of cute things.

First of all, we went to the Randol’s church on Sunday to see Shauna get baptized. While we were there, Cory asked me, “What are we doing here again?” I told him we were going to watch Shauna get baptized. He thought about that and said, “Oh, J’onn’s girlfriend?” “Yeah, that’s the one,” although Adrian might have something to say about that, I thought. While we were there, our friends La Rae and Rhino (Russ, he’s just as big as a rhino) were sitting behind us (their son, Adrian’s friend, Ethan, was also baptized that morning). He gave the boys knuckles then pretended it hurt because they are so strong. Cory turned and whispered to me, “It’s because I used my super strength.”

Today, Papa & Gramma are taking Cory birthday shopping. The timing is great because the new Avengers movie comes out on Friday, so they toy selection is right up Cory’s alley. He came into my room at 6 this morning and said, “Mom, I’m dressed!” I smiled and patted the bed next to me. He came in and lay down. It’s been 2 1/2 hours now and he’s still asleep. Regarding Cory having lay down:

Lay vs. Lie Chart


Infinitive    Definition         Present    Past    Past Participle    Present Participle


to lay      to put or place     lay(s)      laid     laid                  laying
something down

to lie     to rest or recline    lie(s)       lay      lain                  lying

– See more at: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/lay-vs-lie#sthash.D38eu3Pf.dpuf

This always messes me up.

So to the messy part of this post. Eva is so cute. I know, I’m biased. But she is a ball of sunshine most of the time and so much fun. She also learned to say “Mess, mess.” a few months ago. But now, she enjoys it. Yesterday she took a water spray bottle and while spraying said “Mess, mess.” Today, she knocked books off a shelf, all while saying “Mess, mess.” She took a pile of her folded laundry and started putting it ALL on her head (but the pants didn’t work so she just threw those). While she was having this enormously good time, she was chanting, “Mess. mess.” Which I guess is better than the other phrase she picked up on: “Bad no-no.”

We have “No-no’s, the more serious “That is a NO,” then we have the ouchie causing, breakable, or gigantic mess “Bad No-no”s. Eva prefers to say the last one with a growl. She will come in the room and growl “Bad No-no.” It is at that point I have to get up and go find out what she got into.

So while it is a game right now, I think I prefer Mess, mess to Bad No-no!

 

“The Idiot Box”

So my kids were never allowed to watch SpongeBob Squarepants until Tristan was sick. Sometimes, while in the hospital, there was just nothing on TV, and Tristan started enjoying SpongeBob. Since then, all my kids (and I) have continued to enjoy SpongeBob. Yes, I know it’s supposed to make you dumber, but we are just as dumb now as we were prior to life with a little SpongeBob (I know that will be hard for some people to swallow!). Anyway, the episode I would like to discuss is called Idiot Box. In this episode SpongeBob and Patrick are playing in a large box. Using their imaginations, they are having a great time. Squidward, the Negative Nancy that he is, cannot figure out how they are making this box work. He doesn’t believe it is powered by their imagination. It kills him. With that said, Hailey, Adrian & Tristan are my SpongeBobs and Patricks, and Clara, Presley, J’onn & Cory are my Squidwards. The oldest three were always outside playing made up games. They used props, but they could catch fish in the sand or play pirates for hours. My younger set of children? Well, this is what they do when we “make” them play outside:

Yup. They take turns at the door. They’ll knock, kick, or just stand and stare. It is amazing. They don’t even understand the idea behind “using your imagination.” For example, on the way to Gramma’s house to dye Easter eggs today, as Hailey and I were discussing their similarities to Idiot Box,  Clara said she’d use her imagination to dye eggs while dying them. I offered to let her stay in the van and use her imagination to dye them while we went inside to actually dye them. “Ohhhh.” I think she got it. Since it is a beautiful spring day, I have kicked the boys outside. The only reprieve the girls have is that they have to finish their chores first. Maybe I should get them a big box. Then they could all stand around outside of it wondering how it works. At least they wouldn’t be kicking the door.

P.S. Here is my list of my favorite SpongeBob Episodes:

Krusty Towers (with cheese-my all time favorite- I LOVE IT!)

Shanghaied (Keep going, you’re good, you’re good! Don’t worry, Captian, we’ll buff out those scratches!)

The Camping Episode (Good thing we’re all wearing our anti-sea-rhinoceros undergarments!)

The Algae’s Always Greener (Goodbye everyone, I’ll remember you all in therapy!)

20,000 Patties Under the Sea (Hey, you can’t talk to my grandson like that. Someone oughta put you in a mental hospital. [Plankton] Someone should put you in a box floating down the river, Grandma!     You’re probably right.   – Ok, it is really funny in context!)

Dying for Pie (Sunsets always remind me of bowls of fruit. What do they make you think of, Squidward?      Explosions… I mean, erosion.)

Krusty Krab Training Video (Probably due to all my years at McDonald’s)

F.U.N. (F is for friends who do stuff together, U is for you & me, N is for  anywhere, any time at all, down here in the deep blue sea. F is for fire that burns down the whole town! U is for uranium- bomb!  N is for no survivors…!)

Single Cell Anniversary (Oh my Karen, Oh my Karen. Oh my computer wife Karen.)

Your Shoe’s Untied (Like bunny ears or a Christmas bow, lace ’em up and you’re ready to go!)

Have You Seen This Snail? ( Gary, I’m sorry I neglected you. Oh, I never expected you to run away and leave me feeling this empty. Your meow right now would sound like music to me!) To be fair, I have not seen many of the newer ones, I bet there are some good ones out there!

P.P.S.- Again, for the anti-SpongeBob crowd, J’onn loves SpongeBob the most AND he has the most active imagination of the youngest ones (he just doesn’t like to play outside) so I can’t blame Spongebob for sucking their imaginations out!!!