Friday, January 27, 2012

Fretful Friday

The preemie baby induced house arrest is getting to me.  I woke up (after not much sleep, but more than my husband because he is AWESOME and let me sleep through some of Finn’s antics!) feeling a bit anxious this morning about a dozen or so things.  Unfortunately, this is my nature.  This is my cross to bear.  Britt reminds me daily to think positively and not to dwell on the negative. So, I am trying to let go and let God on these issues.

This quote from my Joyce Meyer reading plan on this morning really spoke to me:
I had encountered so much disappointment and I was afraid to be positive. When I began to study the Word and trust God to restore me, I realized my negative thoughts had to go.

We need to practice positive thoughts in every situation. If you're going through a difficult time, expect that God will work things out for your good. As a Christian, it's time for you to fight for your thoughts, because your mind won't automatically come into agreement with God's plans.

I am anxious about Jake’s birthday party on Sunday.  This is his 5th, and with Emma and Lara creeping up on age 10, I have thrown a few birthday parties.  But this one I feel very unprepared for.  We have the place, the guests, and the cake, but nothing else.  Haven’t even made a list yet.  So unlike me!  We are doing a Power Rangers Samuri theme.  I sure hope the party store here in town has some plates and decorations…

It is RSV season, and I brought a micro preemie home almost a month ago.  He got his first RSV prevention shot in the hospital on December 27th.  He’s supposed to get it once a month through the end of Oklahoma’s RSV season.  We have been going round and round with the company that provides this service for our preemie babies.  The nurse and I have been checking on the status of this injection every few days for weeks, and this past week, DAILY!  Finn’s approval is still “pending” with insurance.  He NEEDS this shot.  I can’t handle putting him back in the NICU if he get sick.  WHY is this taking so long?  Our NICU friends from Ponca with twin boys who were released the same day have already gotten their second shot - last week.  UGH!

I am distraught that it seems someone stole my dog.  Last Saturday, I had a dog. A dirty, shaggy haired, slightly neglected but oh so loving 3 year old miniature schnauzer named Einstein.  Sunday, I no longer had that dog.  We assumed he got out of the yard (He is mainly an outside dog in our fenced-in back yard, but sleeps in the house in his crate, but he did not come in Saturday night), and that he would return on his own or we would get a call.  He gets outs occasionally – one every 3 months I would guess.  But, he always either shows up on his own, or we get a call (he has a collar and tags).  Monday, we called animal control – they don’t have him.  Called again yesterday.  Still no word.  No one had called.  He hasn’t come home.  I guess he’s gone.  We weren’t the BEST pet parents, but Einstein was loved, he loved us back, the kids played with him, he was house broken and well behaved.  I’m sad.

And my jobless status totally overwhelmed me yesterday.  I’m still feeling the after effects today.  Without going in to many details, I am feeling VERY derailed and unemployable.  It seems somehow a disconnect to me that your job, your career, is such a HUGE part of your life, but I feel I have no control over it.  The second question people ask when they meet you (after where are you from) is “What do you do for a living?”  Don’t get me wrong, I am embracing my current “Stay at Home Mom” status, but I need to work.  I am not good at this staying home thing, and as a family we need my income – especially in this season.  But decisions and choices other people make control my destiny.  I apply and interview for positions I (and others) think I am perfect for, and I get rejected.  I just feel like a puppet on a string right now.

So, I turn to the thing I know is always steady, always ready, always true.  My God.  Here is what He says:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm55:22)

I could go on and on.  There are lots of verses in the bible about giving up your worry to God and how worrying does nothing positive for you or for the Kingdom, so why do it. But, I am human, and I fail.  This is just the reminder I needed today.  Time to stop worrying, and start worshiping.  To stop fretting and start feeling freedom in Him.  This too shall pass.  Thank you, Jesus, for my blessings!

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.   Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34)

UPDATE!  While working on this post, my nurse called and the insurance has approved the shot!  That’s ONE hurdle!  Now, we have to get the shot to our pediatrician’s office, and get Finn to the office, and get the medicine in his system.  MAYBE by middle of next week… 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ahhhhh… Pinterest!

I first heard about it several months ago.  Then several friends wanted me to get on it while I was on bed rest to help pass the time.  But, I had no idea what to do with it?  Pinterest is an addictive internet based virtual pin board.  A WHAT?  (Yeah, me too.)  “Pinterestis a website that allows you to "pin" things online,just as you would pin them on a real life bulletin board, but instead,Pinterest saves all of your pins on your account so that you can access themeasily. Plus, you can follow friends on Pinterest and "repin" thingsthat they have already pinned on your Pinterest boards or browse a live feed ofitems that are being pinned by strangers when you're searching for inspiration.”  Well, I’ve been sucked in.  As of the publishing of this post, I have 19 boards and 312 pins (and counting…)  I have also had time to try a couple of recipes, use a few of the ideas, and make a few crafts.  So, I am going to share 3 of those with you here on my blog.  (I only have one recipe to share, my husband is the cook around here and he has tried several recipes he found on Pinterest!)

The first thing I ever tried from Pinterest was a very simple pizza roll up recipe using crescent rolls, pizza sauce, string cheese and pepperonis.  The first week I was home with Finn from the hospital, the 3 Bigs were home from school as well.  I wanted to make sure it was a fun time for our family, so I was up for trying new things.  This lunch was super easy and super fun - and a HUGE hit!  I’ve made it since then as well, and I have all the ingredients on hand to do it in a pinch!

The Pin:
My pictures:

In the meantime, I have become a fanatic, and I seem to add pins at an alarming rate.  Some things I will never get to, but there are a few that really inspire me and make me want to make things happen.  One pin I saw that I thought was well within my grasp was a headband, with handmade fabric flowers attached.  I figured I could do that, so I read the directions a few times, made my Hobby Lobby list, and got the supplies I would need to make these headbands:

The Pin:
My pictures:

My girls were THRILLED with the results, and I think Lara has worn hers every day since!  I have enough material to make many more, and I want one for myself. Plus, I discovered that one of the fabric scraps in the pack I picked up has – you guessed it – OWLS on it!  WOOT!

And, while this was NOT on Pinterest, I did find the pattern I liked on Pinterest then adapted it to my needs. And, I do have an extensive owl board, as well as a boy nursery board, and a Finn board.  I’m not sure where I will pin this one!  I have been looking for a mobile to hang over Finn’s crib since we chose owls as our theme, so for MONTHS.  I never found one I was gaga over, and the one that matches part of our nursery décor is pricey, and not what I envisioned, so I had the brilliant idea to repurpose an old one!  Oh yeah!  I can totally do that!  First step, find someone willing to part with an old nursery mobile.  Posted it on Facebook that I was looking, and I had one secured a few hours later (the story about actually getting all the parts from her house to mine is a bit comical, but it happened!)  Once I knew I had that taken care of, I started scheming and dreaming.  Added the supplies I needed to my Hobby Lobby shopping list, and off we go!  I had pinned THIS PIN for a pattern, and I adapted it to my needs.

My pictures:

 My pin:

Finn loves to look at it, and I am not tired of the Winnie the Pooh tune it plays (yet)!  It looks amazing hanging over his crib, and frankly, I am pretty proud of myself!  And again, my kids think I am some kind of genius. Thank you, Pinterest, for fueling my creativity, and for making me look good to 2 nine year olds and a 5 year old! ;)  And I just pinned the mobile.  So, I now have 313 pins.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I. Am. Tired

I was thinking the headline would say “I. Am. FIERCE.” But, that’s really NOT how I am feeling these days.  I’m tired.  Britt is tired.  Our marriage is tired.  The only one who is not tired?  FRW!  He gets to sleep whenever he wants for as long as he wants!  ;)   At 37 and 47, and with 3 other kids, we really are too old for this.  With Emma and Lara, I was young, excited because they were my first kids, my mom lived with me for a couple of weeks to get the hang of things, and at this point in their lives (2.5 weeks old) I was still breastfeeding them, so night time feedings were long, but pretty easy.  Same with Jake.  I had a husband that was a first time dad who was SO EXCITED to help out with his son, and an easy baby who I was breastfeeding, so again, pretty easy.  Don’t get me wrong, I know those times were trying, too, but this time around, I’m just not as excited about it.  And with full bottle feeds, it is a lot of measuring, mixing, and then resulting dishes to be done.  WHEW!

But, in all seriousness, it is really going pretty well around here.  I can’t believe it has been over 2 weeks since I blogged last!  But then again, yes I can.  SHOWERS have been hard to come by! LOL!  I am happy to report that the big girls got their report cards back for the 2nd 9 weeks, and they both had improved grades!  One has straight A’s now, and the other made HUGE improvements over the 1st nine weeks.  SO proud of them as students, and as the young women they are becoming.  They have proven to be SUCH good helps around the house.  Now, if they could just keep their room clean… And Jake is so in love with his little brother it’s almost comical!  He is always asking to help feed, diaper, and hold Finn.  Every time I turn around, I see Jake leaning into the cradle or hovering over the play mat to give Finn a kiss.  SO CUTE! Add to all that joy, luckily (knock on wood) no one in our house has been sick of any kind this winter, and we really can’t ask for a better month!

Since my last post, Britt and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  We had a gift card a friend had given us, so we took all the kids to Nana’s house for a couple of hours so we could enjoy the peace and a nice meal together.  Even if it was just a short time, it was definitely good for us!  The next week was back to the grindstone – and HOW! 

We had two crazy days that really tested our parenting skills right off the bat.  That Monday was my first day all alone with Finn.  Britt had been back to work a week, but the other kids were home with me during that time.  So while I was looking forward to the quiet, I knew I would miss the extra (and willing) hands around the house.  Shortly after noon, my doorbell rang.  A City employee from the electric department told me they were going to shut off my electricity for 2-3 hours.  In 30 minutes.  ***PANIC***  I had a baby on life support in my house!  Plus, it was COLD outside, and no electricity means no heat!  All I knew was I needed a plan, and FAST!  Of course, I could (and did) switch Finn from the electric oxygen concentrator to a tank, and the apnea monitor has a battery backup, but both of those are short term solutions to a potentially long term problem. They said 2-3 hours, but how do they really know?  Britt was actually already on his way home for lunch when this started happening, so when he got here, he helped me load everything up and head to my mom and dad’s house, then followed me out there to help me unload.  I enjoyed a nice, WARM afternoon and went back home after my mom got the big kids from school and went to me house assuring me the power was back on.

The next day was a little nuts, too!  Lara had an appointment with the dermatologist at 7:30 in the morning that I was taking her to.  Britt had taken the day off from work as Finn had an eye doctor appointment in the city early that afternoon.  So, I left with Lara (ended up getting a dark mole removed from her head; biopsy revealed it was benign; her forehead looks so much better now!), my mom took the other 2 to school, and Britt was home with Finn until I got back. When I walked through the kitchen door after dropping Lara at school, Britt asked me to “go look at Finn.”  He was in his crib in our room. I took one look at him and knew something wasn’t right.  He was kind of grey, and kind of lifeless.  I could rouse him a bit, but it didn’t last.  The last time this happened, it was the oxygen concentrator not working right, so we switched him to a tank.  This time, he was already on a tank, and the valve was reading there was still pressure in the tank.  But, we switched him back to the concentrator, and called our pediatrician – who said to come on down (we live 4 blocks away; it took us longer to lead up the car than to actually get there).  While switching him again, Britt discovered that while the tank was indicating pressure, it was OUT of oxygen! UGH! That would explain the grey color!  His color was much better by the time we got to the doctor’s office, and he was acting better (now hooked up to a DIFFERENT oxygen tank), but he was still laboring to breathe.  She did an exam (weighed in at 7 pounds and 7 ounces) and did an RSV test which came back negative, but sent us to the hospital for a chest x-ray just to be sure nothing else was going on.  She said a radiologist would read it, and she would call us “later in the afternoon” with the results.  It took us about an hour in the hospital to get him registered, go to the outpatient services area to wait, take the x-rays and leave.  And it takes about 5 minutes to get home from there.  While we were still in the driveway, the pediatrician called with the x-ray results!  (Mind you, we did make a 5 minute stop at the corner grocery store).  When I saw her number on my phone, I was a bit scared.  But, the radiologist had called her quickly to discuss it because he didn’t know he was looking at diseased preemie lungs, so he was getting clarification from her as to what he was looking at, and then told her he saw nothing else to worry about.  WHEW!  So, we were in the clear, and headed to the city for his ophthalmologist appointment – which also went very well.  No signs of RoP and he doesn’t  go back to see him until he is a year old (in 9 months). While we were in the area, we also made a quick stop into the NICU to see our old friends there! That was fun!

After those 2 crazy days, and all the ups and downs at night with feeding and diaper changes, it has just been a tiresome 2 weeks.  I was actually glad after that insane Tuesday to know that I didn’t have to leave the house with Finn again until his check up with the pediatrician on Friday the 20th.  Ten whole days away!  That checkup went great as well.  Finn weighed in at 8 pounds 1ounce, and is 20 inches long.  Closing in on his 4th month day, and he is finally the size of a newborn! LOL!  We did not change his oxygen settings, and he is still on the apnea monitor –much to my chagrin (on both accounts).  But, I want to do what is best for the baby, so I’ll get over it!  We go back in a couple of weeks for his 4 month visit and immunizations.  Until then, he just needs to keep eating, sleeping, and growing – all things he seems to be pretty good at!  

I made a short 40 second video of him a few days ago I wanted to share here as well, just showing how alert he is now (after been SO asleep the first 2 weeks we were home), and you can hear Jake playing boxing on the Wii in the background.

And here is a picture a friend took of him yesterday when she came by to visit.  His little personality is starting to shine through, and it makes the sleeplessness and hard work of the last few weeks all worth it!

Look at those chubby cheeks!  We are getting ready to have our first visit from SoonerStart here in just a little while, so I guess I'd better get things in order for that visit. I hope to not go so long between updates next time, too, but I am not making any promises!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Due Date

Today, January 6, 2012, is my due date. Today was the day our baby boy was supposed to be here.  It is hard to imagine that he is 3 months old.  Especially when I am still in the “newborn fog” as sleep and showers are almost non-existent since his homecoming.  Finn seems to be adjusting to his new environment pretty well.  We have gotten the temperature issues under control, and he is eating like a CHAMP!  He has the chubby chipmunk cheeks and rolly polly belly to prove it!  The last 4 days have been a bit nuts with all 3 of the big kids home, too, but he seems to be weathering the storm well!  We are really enjoying this time as a family, and we know it will all change again when school starts back for them on Monday and the routine has to get back on track, and it will just be the two of us home all day.

Finn turned 3 months old (by the calendar) yesterday.  I am not sure how much he weighs exactly (I sure miss nightly weight checks!), but based on how he was gaining the last week he was in the NICU and the first few days home, I would say he is right around 7 pounds.  We are still keeping him on the 5-8-11-2 schedule, but he seems to be modifying it on his own.  The last 3 nights have been a bit unpredictable.  He seems to want to eat twice at 11, and then sleep 4 hours.  That right there shows me he is adjusting to being HOME and he knows he is in charge here!  We are going to keep this schedule as best we can for a few more days, then we will let him set the pace a little more.  He also seems to have his days and nights mixed up!  He literally sleeps all day during the daylight hours, and then he is more awake after 8pm.  And, like WIDE AWAKE from 11pm to 2am.  NICE!  My mom was just complaining last night how she never sees him with his eyes open.  That’s because she’s not here when he’s awake! LOL! 

If you didn’t already know, Finn’s “room” is simply the north wall of the master bedroom.  So, his crib is a mere 4 feet from my side of our bed.  When Jake was a newborn, we had him sleeping in a pack-n-play in our room.  It only lasted a few nights as Britt couldn’t sleep through all the noises Jake made when he slept.  That’s a WHOLE NEW challenge with Finn since he has his oxygen machine in the room as well -- and that’s a noisy contraption!  Last night we would get Finn to sleep, and then he would just whine and fuss and sputter and cry.  When we went to his bedside to replace his paci and rub his back, he would settle down and fall back to sleep, but then when we wearily climbed back in to bed, he would fuss again!  The solution?  We put him in the Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper *right next to* our bed.  He slept GREAT after that!  I guess he was just lonely.  Sweet boy!  4 feet away was just too far…

Today brings up a lot of emotions.  I’m sad I didn’t get to experience Finn’s birth the way I thought it was going to be.  I feel bad for Finn that I was unable to provide the perfect environment for him after 26 weeks and 5 days, and he had to enter this world in an emergency situation and be poked, prodded, hooked up, looked at, handled, medicated, intubated, tube fed, and otherwise just messed with when he should have been hanging out in the womb.  I ache for my family and all the sacrifices they have had to make over the past 5 months – I know they were troopers, but I know my other kids missed me and suffered from my absence.  But, I am also thrilled that Finn is here, home and (mostly) healthy.  I am proud of Emma and Lara and the young ladies they are becoming right before my eyes as they care for their fragile baby brother.  I light up with joy at the smile on Jake’s face when he looks at or smiles at or kisses his sweet little brother.  And I absolutely melt when I see Britt being the awesome Dad he is to all our kids, but especially this baby that we ALL had to work so hard for.  I love the little smiles Finn gives us, and the moments he makes eye contact with his (finally) blue eyes.  I relish the quiet moments when I can just cuddle him and watch him sleep.  And I am truly blessed by all the lessons he has taught me and allowed me to be a part of during his precious life.

This morning I saw where Britt had posted a beautiful status on the “Early Adventure of Finn” facebook page.  It truly sums up the way we are feeling today:

And tomorrow?  Britt and I will mark 6 years of marriage! Another fact I have a hard time wrapping my mind around.  Some days it feels like we have been together for a lot longer, and other times it seems like my fairy tale wedding was just yesterday.  While we will celebrate this day, it might not be the same commemorative date night we are used to.  We will be home with our 4 kids, quietly looking back on the journey God had led us on over the past few years.  And all our MANY blessings will be counted.  Love Never Fails.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

HAPPY New Year!

WHEW!  We made it!  I am sitting in my living room, with my husband beside me, my tiny son on his chest, and my other 3 kids playing together (loudly) with Christmas presents on the floor.  Our TV is blaring a mindless game show, there are baby things scattered about, and the whole house could use a good cleaning.  And, my heart is FULL.  There have been times this past year I didn’t think I would feel this way again.  We are SO blessed and so thankful as we turn the page to 2012.  It has been QUITE a journey to get to this point, and we have been so loved by so many, we will never be able to acknowledge or repay everyone’s thoughtfulness and generosity.  Looking back (and forward, for that matter), I know we would have never made it without all of YOU, and we are eternally appreciative.  “Thank You” just doesn’t seem adequate.

As of right now, we have been home for 4 days.  As parents, Britt and I are exhausted.  We have had to learn so much about taking care of a preemie baby who is on a heart and respiration monitor, as well as oxygen.  This is much more intense than I thought it would be.  Add to that, we were advised by our NICU team to keep him on the 3 hour feed schedule for the first 2 weeks as he adjusts to his new environment.  So, we have all kinds of alarms set on our phones to make sure we are awake and we feed Finn at 5, 8, 11 and 2 – am AND pm!!!!  We are only sleeping for short periods of time…  We got home on Wednesday about noon, and the first few hours we spent just trying to get situated.  The home health guy came out later in the afternoon to set up the concentrator and to leave us with some oxygen tanks to keep up going.  I am thankful for my small house.  I only have about 30 feet of tubing from the oxygen machine to Finn.  That means, you can’t go far with him before either hooking him up to a portable oxygen tank, or moving the concentrator to another room.  I have had a few instances in the past few days where that frustrates me.  I hate having to leave him in the back of the house while I go to the front of the house, but sometimes moving his equipment just isn’t an option.  Add to that the monitor.  Its cord is only about 5 feet long.  Luckily, it can be unplugged and runs on battery, but the battery life is only about 3 hours.  If the battery gets low, it alarms.  If the leads on the baby move, it alarms; if the cords from the baby to the machine are loose or get unplugged, it alarms.  And the alarm? LOUD!  And startling.  Luckily, we have not had any “baby” alarms, just “equipment” alarms.  The machine would alarm if the baby has a problem if his heart rate was above or below a preset limit, or if he doesn’t take a breath for more than 20 seconds.  So far, we have not had any of those kinds of alarms. YAY!  Oh – and you know when else it alarms?  If you don’t turn it off “right.”  For some reason, Britt and I both have had a hard time remembering those instructions!  We have to turn it off to bathe Finn and to change the leads everyday… We’re getting better!

We have had a few “newborn” moments that we’ve had to deal with.  We have had some issues with Finn acclimating to the temperature of our home and maintaining his body temperature.  Doesn’t help that the Oklahoma weather has been crazy!  It was 70 yesterday!  But 3 days ago it was 40 and tomorrow it will be COLD.  We’ve had the heater on, nothing on but fans, and then even the A/C on yesterday.  SHEESH!  We were advised when we left the NICU to take his temperature every 3 hours to make sure he was acclimating.  After a bath on Wednesday, he was a bit cool, so, I dressed him, Britt warmed a hat and blanket in the clothes drier, and we put him down to nap dressed like that.  Next time we checked him, you guessed it, he was super warm! LOL!  This has gone the other way, too.  Had him swaddled, decided he was too hot, took off a layer, checked again later, he was too cold!  Day four (and a new thermometer) and we are finally evening out on this issue.  (We were using the same thermometer from the hospital as advised and taking his temp under his arm, but the leads from the monitor were interfering with this reading and saying he had a low temperature over and over and over, so we bought a behind the ear version and have had much better luck with it.)

The only super scary moment we have had was during the evening on Wednesday night.  Finn was sleeping in his bouncy seat, and it was time for his next temperature check / diaper change / feeding.  Britt got him out of the seat to get to work on him while I fetched a bottle (I am still pumping, but we chose to feed him from bottles to be able to keep track of his intake better).  I came in to our darkened living room, and Britt mentioned that Finn looked like he was glowing blue from the reflection from our big TV.  When he picked Finn up to cuddle him, I could see the baby didn’t look ”right.”  And he wasn’t just blue, he was GRAY!  I told Britt something was wrong with the baby, and we immediately flipped on the overhead light, and started rubbing Finn’s back.  Britt – the quick thinker between us – immediately disconnected Finn from the home oxygen concentrator machine and hooked him to an oxygen canister that was sitting nearby.  Finn immediately started to pink up, and after a few minutes, we decided to try to feed him to see if that would help.  Finn recovered from this episode very quickly, but now we had to find out WHY this happened to our precious baby.  Britt began examining all the equipment, and found that there was a loose connection on the concentrator.  Even though we discovered that, we still didn’t trust the machine, so that night Finn used one of our large canisters for sleeping.  WHEW!

Thursday, we had trouble with the machine maintaining the flow pressure.  Finn is supposed to be at ¾ of a liter. The machine kept falling down between ¾ and ½.  While we hope to wean Finn to that soon, right now as he adjusts to everything else, we want him to have ALL of the support he needs.  So, that day, we spent a lot of time on the canister as well – including overnight.  Friday, we put a call in to the home heath guy to see if he could help up with the problem.  He walked Britt through a few steps, and since then we have had no problems with the machine, and Finn has been able to spend his last 2 overnights hooked to it.  We have also moved it to new places in the house to see if that helps with the cord issues, and that has made the set up a little different, as well.  Having Finn on the machine more is good, because those large oxygen canisters are kind of pricey!  We went through 2 in 2 days!

Also on Friday, he had his first visit with our local pediatrician!  I was so pleased when we got there and the staff immediately put us in an exam room to get us out of the germy lobby.  SO thankful for that!  The exam went well, and she told us we were doing a good job and that Finn was PERFECT!  But, we already knew that.  He weighed in at 6 pounds 6 ounces!  Growing so well!  He does have 2 hernias – the obvious umbilical one as well as one in his left groin, but we will address those when he is older.  We don’t have to go back and see her for 3 weeks –unless we just need to!  Time to stay home and stay healthy.

The last 2 days have been pretty smooth, aside from the tiredness!  Emma and Lara FINALLY returned from Christmas with their other dad yesterday afternoon, and I got the first picture of all 4 kids in our home. 

They hadn’t been here an hour when they left to go to a friend’s house for a New Year’s Eve sleepover!  Social butterflies!  We are adjusting to being a complete family of 6.  We get dad home for one more day before he goes back to work.  My big kids don’t go back to school for another WEEK, so I will be with all 4 kids all day for the rest of this week.  Please pray for my patience! LOL!  It is a challenge keeping every one fed, entertained, clean and dry - and to keep reminding them not to step on, trip over, kink or otherwise disturb all the cords and wires crisscrossing our house!  But, I am so looking forward to it.  THIS is my purpose!