Saturday, February 6, 2016

God's Not Dead 2 featurette

I really enjoyed the first God's Not Dead movie and am looking forward to this one. I was at an if:local this weekend and David Platt was a surprise guest speaker at the end. One thing that really hit me was he said he was in college, talking about the gospel. A girl in the class said that he was arrogant and hateful to say that if they didn't believe what he believed about Jesus Christ, they would spend an eternity in hell.

Now, yes, that could seem arrogant to say if you don't believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God sent to earth to save us from our sins through His death and resurrection that you will spend an eternity in damnation in hell.


If it's true what I believe, what David believes, then it would be arrogant and hateful to NOT tell you that. To keep that from you would be awful. To keep the wonderful news that God loves you and made you wonderful and has saved you if only you accept Him, would be hateful. So I'm telling you.

Kind of a bunny trail but I think that is the point of the God's Not Dead movies! Certainly in this one, where a teacher gets taken to court because she spoke about Jesus. David went on to say this weekend that the privatization of our religion, our beliefs, is what is making the church paralyzed (this is paraphrased from my notes). I think, too, it is what is making it tolerable for Christians to be persecuted for their beliefs!

I don't know where you stand. I know I have a few sweet readers out there who love the Lord so much. This is just one little space where I can share about the Lord, but we must do this to the ends of the earth, starting with the little bit in front of us. Until the whole world hears.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January update (6 months old)

Well, if we thought 2016 would be quieter, I believe we were wrong.

We started off the new year with a new van after our crash. It worked out well that friends were selling their van so win-win situation. Now we have a red van (Go Huskers!) which is basically like ours. We took the van on its maiden journey (with us) to see my parents and grandma over New Years. We will never again be staying at this hotel on NYE. People (my husband suspects the employees) ran through the halls at midnight, yelling Happy New Year and throwing confetti everywhere. Yes, it was NYE. I get it, but aren't we at a hotel where the point is so people can sleep?? Princess had an especially hard time sleeping that night (that weekend) so it was rough. She also had 5 blow outs over the weekend. Thankfully, she got clothes for Christmas.
boys got cozy robes
Princess got a crinkly book she loves & time with her grandpa, which she loves

I love getting to see my grandma when we go home!!
The following week, we took Moose to meet our PRNA (I think that's the right acronym) Megan at Children's Mercy in KC. The one thing that really bothers me about any doctor's visit is, the nurse comes in and asks you all sorts of questions and writes down the answers. Then the doctor (or in this case, another nurse) comes in and asks the same questions. What was the point of the first nurse? I just think there should be better communication. I dislike having to spend 10-15 minutes explaining something only to explain it again. I do that enough with my children. Perhaps there is a reason for all of this and, if nothing else, helps me work on my patience.

At this visit, Megan and we decided to set Moose up with a 96-hour EEG. It's an in-patient thing so I plan on going with him for the first few days and Big A the last few days. Hopefully, they could even get enough information to send us home early. They will take him off of one of his medications, both if necessary, to try to get him to have seizures so they can read the data. This will tell us if his seizures are coming from one or multiple areas of his brain. We have this scheduled for the end of February, so keep us in your prayers.

Squirt has a tendency to get jealous over Moose's missing school for doctor's appointments. He forgets how he gets out of school to see the ENT and allergist, too. He commented that Moose "gets all the fun." So I've arranged for him to have a sleepover with a friend one of the nights we will be gone. I'm very sensitive to this middle child and I wish I could sweep over it all to make life easy but I know that this will be for his good, too. Special needs siblings are often very compassionate people and I pray this very thing for him.

He is also emotionally difficult lately. First grade boys are drama. He was getting upset when he was building Legos and said "I'm just stressed!" Well, he takes after his mama. Poor kid. I am trying so hard to mend bad habits I've passed on to both boys when dealing with stress and frustrating situations. I'm not the best at it. Lord, help me.
she found my dress more desirable than toys this day in Sunday School

rarely without a smile, this one

I think we're getting into somewhat of a routine with Princess. I know she eats every 3 hours. As we speak, I am at the end of an almost hour cry-out session with her. It's time. She is finally rolling over frequently. She does not sit up on her own and is nowhere near crawling. She does put her hands down and push her chest up so I'm sure it's not very far behind. However, she has her own way of getting where she needs to go. She rolls, then arches her head back and pushes with her heels. It's very effective. I was working today on a Valentine's Day thing and she was all over in my space. I've made it very clear to the boys that now is the time to start picking up EVERYTHING you don't want her to have: puzzles, Legos, books, cars. It's going to be an adjustment, let's say.

WE MADE IT 6 MONTHS! Huge milestone, I think!
wrapped around her finger, this guy

if you're eating, she wants to be eating. She loves this mesh thing.
tutus are so fun!

looks painful but she loves it

she's everywhere! Although she has not made her way out of the living room yet

It's been difficult for me to let things go that I was used to doing the past several years. Story time was hard for me to say good-bye to but I am glad to not have the planning time of that to do. I've benched myself from many outside activities except what I had a timed commitment to. Big A decided to not continue helping with Wednesday night youth group. That was a very difficult decision for him but I'm thankful for the extra time. It just felt like he was either gone or I felt guilty him staying home on those nights. Thankfully, he still continues to go to a Tuesday morning study with some of the boys. I think that's a highlight in his week.
had a surprise visit from Big A's Mom and Great-Aunt Arlee (pictured here). She hadn't yet met Princess.

My little sister is getting married in August. Very good time to be losing baby weight, for sure. I went to Omaha and took my little Squirt with me to try on a bridesmaid dress. It was a fun day with my family but I was thankful to get home before snow hit.
not the right color but I think it fit nicely.

found "fun straws" at a mall store in Omaha. Squirt has never drank so much water!

Moose had 4 small seizures in January. It's tough to watch him be so unresponsive and then his medicine makes him exhausted. He has been going to bed quite early, which results in an early wake up (anywhere from 2am to 6am) and he has a difficult time going back to sleep (another trait from me). It's hard to have quality time with him, for sure.
Cub Scout cake bake auction
such easy cakes this year! but I bet they were yummy 

Forever thankful for a Daddy who comes home and wants to spend time with the kids and me

We have been severely blessed by our church family during this time. Financially people are crazy generous and we appreciate the gifts, but even more so we appreciate the prayers. We are thankful to be just fine financially (thanks to the stewardship of Big A) and emotionally mostly we are ok. I have days where it's rough to be a mom but any mom can agree to that, special needs or not. We have so much to be thankful for. These days I'm most thankful for the Lord's healing. We haven't seen it on earth yet for Moose but we continue to have that hope of an eternity with our Lord with no more crying, no more pain, and no more epilepsy. I have found a new energy to really be intentional with speaking and acting in hopes of sharing our love of Christ with our children. I know, the decision to follow Christ is theirs but if they do not hear the gospel, how can they follow? Christ has given me this blessed responsibility that I take very seriously, to share His love and to be His hands and feet within my own home. While this may seem small to some, it's huge in the Kingdom because I'm doing my best to be obedient to Christ's calling on my life.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson with Chrys Howard (book review)

How many parents are just overloaded with parenting books these days? I've been reading parenting book since before my children were born. Some have been excellent and some have been bad. "Strong and Kind" by Korie Robertson with Chrys Howard is excellent.

image via BookLook
Many parenting books have contradictory teaching methods. "Strong and Kind" does not even have a teaching method. It's basically a book telling us what we know: our kids need character! And we need to teach them (which means we really need to model it for them)! One of my favorite parts of the book is toward the end when Korie and Willie (who chimes in on every chapter of the book) discuss how differently they were raised. Willie's family life was more rough and fend for yourself while Korie's upbringing was more pampered. However, the things their parents had in common (loving God and one another) is really all we need to succeed in this parenting gig we have been blessed with.

I have a grand desire to be in heaven one day with my children. I believe that journey there starts in my home (obviously, that's where God put these kiddos). I need to teach them about God and who He is and how much He loves them number one. But I also need to teach my children how to live life here on earth. And on earth we need citizens to be of good character. Korie goes through several character traits very valued by people: strong, kind, self-controlled, honest, compassionate, patient, joyful, loyal, and humble. There are others but this is just a starting point. She recommends picking two to start with.

For my family, I've decided to start with two for the boys and one for the baby (hard to teach an infant things like honesty and patience). For Moose I picked self-controlled and patient. He gets frustrated so easily and cannot seem to calm himself down easily. I will admit I'm not the best role model for him in this but I'm determined to control my own self in order to help him (and me). For Squirt I picked joyful and humble. He's very emotional and that emotion tends toward the grumpy side of life. I want him to learn the act of gratitude in order to be more joyful. He also thinks he needs to be the best at everything, but I really would rather him esteem others above himself and appreciate their talents. For Princess I chose kindness, mostly because I want to teach her early how much it hurts when she pulls my hair. Ha!

"Strong and Kind" doesn't really give you much on implementation, to be honest. I love to-do lists so I wish there was more direction but it's hard when family dynamics are so different. Korie couldn't write a book like that to help everyone; someone would always be left out. So it's up to me to do it. However, she did give us guidelines. We must set goals. I am a firm believer in goals; I rarely accomplish much without setting goals first. We must "decide what you want to achieve, decide why it matters, and decide how to make it happen." The character traits are my "what," the "why" is pretty obvious - who wants to some day employ or marry an unself-controlled, impatient, grumpy, arrogant, unkind person? No one!! A person like that does not show any Fruit of the Spirit either so that's very important to me and my family. And now Big A and I just have to decide on the "how." Mostly this will be through Bible stories and Scripture, maybe some behavior charts and rewards systems (or consequence systems), and a lot of talking. I do also plan to make some social stories for Moose; they help him figure out appropriate actions.

This book was really great. I just think the Robertsons seem to have their heads on straight when it comes to parenting. Of course, I have no idea because I don't know them personally but they aren't afraid to stand up for their faith in Jesus Christ and that is the best parenting advice I can offer someone. I really liked how the book was laid out and explained the traits but also was simple in telling the parents you can't just preach it, you have to live it.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest opinion. All opinions are my own and may differ from others' opinions.

The Armor of God Bible study by Priscilla Shirer (book review)

This study took me FOREVER to get through! I believe I started it when Princess was under 4 months old. Perhaps 2 months old, we'll say, so this took me 4 months to get through. Please do not take this as an indication of the material. It's not, just an indication of my season of life.
image via LifeWay
"Armor of God" by Priscilla Shirer is NOT the study that goes with the movie "War Room." That's the "Fervent" study, which I also posted about. However, "Armor of God" may as well have been intended to go along with them both. There is much the same ideas in "Armor of God" as in "Fervent." I can't relate it to the movie because I have yet to see it. But, in fact, some of the exact same material is in both studies/books. This was part of the reason I feel it took me awhile to get through because I have a difficult time re-reading the same material.

However, I am thankful to have gone through this study (just an FYI, this study is just as great without the DVD portion. I didn't have access to that part, so I just did the daily study part). It opened my eyes to many areas of weakness that have succumbed to spiritual warfare. I feel like I'm at a weak season of my life with a new baby and all the exhaustion and emotions that brings, a child with a very difficult demeanor and all the exhaustion and emotions that brings, and a child with special needs and all the exhaustion and emotions that brings. PLUS just being a woman living with other people and all the exhaustion and emotions that brings. It's exhausting. And emotional. (haha)

I've never extensively studied Ephesians 6:10-19 but now I have (even though I know there is more and more and more to this) through this book. I feel like I better see my own sins and weaknesses that are gaping holes to the enemy. I feel better able to defend these areas in my life with prayer. I feel better able to be truthful with myself and God and trusted others in this to allow them to help me defend myself.

I'll just share some spiritual truth nuggets I gleaned from this study (there are so many more!):
- "He (the enemy, Satan) propagates fantasies, causing temporal and insignificant things to somehow appear immensely valuable and favorable. He hides consequences in the fine print while highlighting only the parts that appeal to our shortsighted, self-gratifying flesh."
- "And one of these areas where it (the practice makes perfect premise) can actually cause a problem is in our spiritual lives...when we practice and practice in the illusive pursuit of perfection, either to gain approval from God (which is completely unnecessary since we already have it) or simply to impress others."
- "the gospel never stops being a miracle..."
- "Whether or not a chair can hold my weight has nothing to do with how much faith I have. I could possess all the faith in the world, by my faith doesn't make the chair any more strong or sturdy. So increasing my faith is not necessary, but becoming better acquainted with the strength of the chair is. The stronger I discover it to be, the more willing I'll be to sit in it and allow it to carry my weight."
- "'Good faith' isn't a certain size or strength; it's simply faith that's directed at and rooted in a good God."
- "We may feel like we have very little faith, and yet still be a woman of strong faith because we choose to move forward despite what we feel."
- "...the enemy made me believe I was unaccepted by certain groups of my peers for this one reason: because I was unacceptable...making me constantly feel the need to prove my value in hopes that others would accept me into their company. It's an exhausting way to live."

So much out of this spoke into areas of my life - some I was aware of before but some I wasn't. And "Armor of God" is not just a passive Bible study where you fill in the blanks and answer some questions and that's all. It encourages you to write out prayers (called prayer strategies) using the "Actionable Intel" (things you've learned) so that you can take up the armor of God against the enemy, defending yourself with the words of God. Prayer cards were included, too, which is a nice bonus.

If you're just in a place where studying the Bible yourself is overwhelming (been there!), this is a wonderful option. Even if you're fine studying the Word by yourself, this is a great option. It's just full of wonderful, godly wisdom coming straight out of the Bible. Consider this for yourself or a small group.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own and may differ from others' opinions. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae (book review)

Every time I go to do something while Princess sleeps, she wakes up. I kid you not. Last night, I waited for her to wake up for another bottle. I waited an hour before going to bed and JUST as my lids got heavy "waa." Just now, I decided to write this overdue post and "waa." How does she know?

image via website

I don't remember why I wanted to read "Longing for Paris" by Sarah Mae. I don't remember feeling a particular longing the way Sarah Mae longs for Paris (I still don't have one big dream like that). However, I've been a long-time fan of hers through her blog and book "Desperate." Sometimes I just like to read a familiar author's work.

It took me quite awhile to get into the book. I just wasn't feeling what she was feeling about the longing, the desire for "joy, beauty, and adventure." Sure, I'd love an adventure, but really who has the time or money for such extravagances? We don't even have those things for a monthly date night! As for joy and beauty, I'm just slugging through these early baby months so it's hard to see past my tired eyes.

About halfway through, I started to dog-ear pages, a sure sign that it's getting good. Sarah Mae never proposes to have all the answers and I love how she incorporates others' works into her books. She included this excerpt from "Raising Kids with Character That Lasts" by John and Susan Alexander Yates: "We will never 'arrive' in family life. When I was surrounded with small children, I thought, If I can just hang on until they are older, I can relax. It was as if I viewed life as a ladder rather than a garden...Life is not a ladder to climb but a garden to enjoy. The gardener's joy is in his work, a job that is never finished...there is joy in the process if we relax, knowing that the blessing is in the journey rather than in the completion of the job. When we relax, the atmosphere of our homes will becomes less tense and more joyful and we will rely more on the power of the Master Gardener."

Well, if that didn't speak to this tired mama's heart, I don't know what would at this point. Princess does not sleep through the night yet and it's hard for me. I've enjoyed about 5 years of sleeping through the night at this point and it's tough going back to not. But I'm also studying contentment and I realize I just need to enjoy things as I go. Enjoy her smile in the middle of the night. Be ok with getting up and rocking her or changing a diaper and being with her. I will never have such consolidated time with her as I do now.

Sarah Mae says, "We can choose how we think and how we would like to live. We can't always change our circumstances, but we can choose our perspective. We can have a positive attitude and have faith and keep on in hope. And we can make physical changes to our lives. Does it come easy? Nope. But does a skilled pianist get to be excellent by just living? No! We become excellent by practicing and working hard, and we can become self-disciplined with some practice and hard work."

This reminds me very much of talking to Moose about Fast Math (in my day it was called Mad Minute and was on paper; his on computer). He's struggling. He knows the facts but he's struggling to complete it perfectly in a quick manner. But we've talked about how instead of getting frustrated and needing to take a break, he needs to look at it as practice. He's practicing doing Fast Math, mastering those times tables. And for myself, I need to look at the late night feedings and interrupted, chaotic schedule as opportunities for patient endurance. A time to practice being content in our budget and season of life is how I'm trying to look upon our date night scenario or my lack of clothes scenario. I don't say this to brag on how awesome I am because, I am not. I struggle in this terribly, but I'm trying with God's help. Sarah Mae also says, "We are clay...We cannot mold ourselves...We strive and strive when we go on our own. We think, I'm just going to try harder; I'm going to do better, I'll be better. And then when we fail, we fall really hard, and we teeter on this line of grace and shame , and it's easy to fall on the shame side...But if we remember that we are clay and God is the Potter then we know we cannot make this clay into whatever we want; we cannot mold ourselves no matter how hard we try. He is the only one who can mold us." So true and so dear to my heart. I'm learning (after much failure) how I rely on myself and need to rely on Him.

The last way this book is important to me is when she talks about doing good for Christ's sake. "Sometimes I wonder if good works have been relegated to physically meeting needs outside our homes. There seems to be an unspoken consensus that if our good works are only done in the home - at least for a time - that we aren't doing good enough. That we need to do something bigger for God. What if my good works are being faithful to my family - loving and supporting my husband, teach my children about God and the world they live in, taking care of my home and being hospitable? What if the daily things such as feeding my children, bathing them, showing them how to properly brush their teeth, helping them learn to read and how to speak kindly to a friend who has hurt them - what if those are my good works? Is that enough for God? ... What if I never serve in a soup kitchen or go on a mission trip to another country? Will God still be pleased with me? ... Maybe I'm not as selfish as I think. I mean, maybe being faithful where I am is enough, and I shouldn't feel guilty. ... The only thing we're not allowed to do is nothing. God commands us to lvoe and serve and do something. That "something" looks different for everyone, but jesus is clear: Go."

I cannot tell you the weight off my shoulders. I was talking to a friend about this yesterday. There is a pressure from Christians today to do big things. Perhaps they don't even mean to put that pressure on and perhaps much of it comes from within. Regardless, I and many close to me, feel this need to do something HUGE for Christ. Be a missionary in a dangerous region (preferably in the 10/40 area). Be the next Billy Graham. Write a book that is empowering to women and leads them to leadership in Christ. Start a non-profit that sells expensive jewelry to feed hungry children. Whatever! I just feel like sitting here watching my daughter play on the floor and keeping her alive these 6 months isn't good enough. And I know in my head that's not true, that God loves children and gave me mine to care for, but it's almost like I needed permission to accept that. Sarah Mae has given that to me (however willingly). Thank you, Sarah.

So while this book took me awhile to get into, I did end up loving it. I do not share her desire to go to Paris (maybe a little after reading Pamela Druckerman's book), but I want to figure out my own dreams. They are there and they may have to wait while I'm raising my babies and that's ok, but I want to explore what God has for me, in the now and in the future.

Read the first chapter of the book here.

Disclaimer: I received this book in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Faith Builders Bible (book review)

A long time ago, I bought the Lego Bible. What a joke. There was no graceful, loving God in that Bible. However, I love the idea of mashing the Bible with Legos - our boys are gaga over one of those and I'd love for them to be gaga over the other! I was very excited to receive the Faith Builders Bible!

I wrapped it up from Santa Claus and had the boys open it on Christmas Day. They were SO excited about it (mostly Squirt but he's my Lego builder). I'm so glad.

The Faith Builders Bible is a full NIrV Bible with 24 pages of full-color illustration. It is made for kids ages 6-10, which is perfect for my boys. There are no study guides or notes so this is a perfect, basic Bible for kids my kids' ages (well, not Princess but she'll get there).

It shows Moses getting the 10 Commandments (which Squirt made himself after seeing), David and Goliath, the feeding of the 5000, etc. My boys really enjoyed looking at it and Squirt was very excited to take it to Sunday School last week.

Now, I've seen other reviewers were disappointed in it for things like small font, but it's a Bible. Most of them have small fonts. I do agree that I wish there were instructions on how to build some of the things, but Squirt is clever with bricks so he could make them without. I could not. But he could!

Disclaimer: I received this Bible in order to write an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Ja-Vie Shoes (review)

As I was reading my normal blogs, I kept noticing these Ja-Vie shoes everywhere. They sounded terrific - a pillow shoe. Now, I'd just spent a day at the hospital for Moose's MRI and my feet were shot. I'm just not used to spending so much time on my feet.

this and the above picture from the Ja-Vie website

I acquired a beautiful pair of gold sparkly Ja-Vie shoes. The sizing is European so I had to get the biggest size they carry. Boo for big feet. When I first got the shoes, they seemed too narrow. I was bummed! I almost gave them away!

Then I had to wear them again (I have a seriously limited selection of shoes) and was pleasantly surprised to see they had stretched to accommodate the girth of my feet. Seriously my feet just do not fit the rest of me; they've grown longer with each child and flatter (thus wider) with running. But they can do some amazing things so I'll keep them. :) 

who doesn't love some sparkle?!

nice so you don't slip

I really like the feel of the Ja-Vie shoes. They are as comfortable as they claim. Now, I have not worn them for as long as I would to compare them to the other shoes I wore during the MRI. They have enough arch support for me. I seem to have very sensitive feet so I require not cheap shoes. 
I have not washed the shoes, although I should after our car accident and standing in creek water for a bit. I may do just that today, but it's so nice that they are machine washable! How many shoes are like that?!
Maybe I love these shoes so much because they are reminiscent of the jelly shoes that were popular when I was little. I always wanted a pair. I am so very pleased with these shoes and I wish I'd have gotten this written before the holidays so you could have gotten a pair under the tree. However, I recommend you buying yourself a new pair for the new year!

love the flexibility

Monday, January 4, 2016

December update

I forgot how hard it is to get much done with all three kids at home, so this break has not been the most productive. I had plans to get a bunch of reviews done for the blog and this update...that never happened. So now with the big two happily off to school, it's just Princess and I at home and she's content in my lap for the moment.

December was a whirlwind. I am glad to see it go! Happy New Year!
I've decided to write in a format more like a letter than updating each kid as there is much crossover for us.

We started off the month with the Christmas program "Christmas in Reverse." The kids have been rehearsing every Wednesday since October! These were long nights for us since Moose's medication makes him SO tired he's ready for bed by 7 and these rehearsals were from 6:30-7:30. But we made it and I'm so thankful we did. Neither boy had a big part in the production (no elementary aged kid did. They were the choir and older kids had the parts like Mary and Joseph and smaller kids had the parts of sheep), but Moose did have a small rap solo "yo kings that followed the star..." something something. I didn't memorize his part! Both sang beautifully and really seem to enjoy being on stage. Squirt doesn't have quite the outgoing personality on stage as he does off stage; he can be rather shy sometimes but he did fantastic that night. My parents were down to see it, so it was pretty special. Too often, with them living 4 hours away, it's difficult for them to see the kids perform.

Grandma Fonda and Princess
Behind the scenes of Grandpa Randy and Grandma Fonda taking pictures and getting everyone to look at the camera

I LOOOOOVE this picture! I LOOOOOOVE these kids!
Photo by Randy Fisher. Please ask permission before using.
so stinking perfect!
Photo by Randy Fisher. Please ask permission before using.
this girl loves her daddy!
Photo by Randy Fisher. Please ask permission before using.
Then our little Princess FINALLY rolled from her back to her belly. And then we didn't see it until Christmas Eve again. What a stinker. Now she rolls a little more freely but certainly not the rolly babies you see going all over the room.

We got to go see Mockingjay Part 2 with our friends on a triple date. Always fun, but I was so sad when Finnick died. Kim said it was hormones but I was just sad. :) Tenderhearted, this one. It was just fun to ditch the kids and have some fun with our friends! Now we need a new movie series.

The virus or whatever that came through started December 12 with Moose. He started throwing up that evening (probably throwing up his nightly meds) and through most of the night. He seemed okay, lethargic the next day. I kept him home, of course, but we were so out of routine, I didn't have him take his morning meds. He watched ET for the first time, played a little, slept a little. Around 3pm I remembered he hadn't taken his meds. Not knowing exactly what to do, I decided he could just take his night meds as usual (not really thinking that he may have missed his meds the previous night). Around 5pm, I was sitting at the kitchen counter with him, getting ready to do some homework from school that day.

I noticed him staring and realized it was a seizure. I picked up my phone, ready to film it, but then he crossed his arms and his head turned up and to the right, really far. He started leaning left and I caught him before he fell and that's when he started convulsing. It was awful. I was so concerned he would stop breathing, but thank God he never did. I got him to the floor and hollered at Squirt to get a pillow for under his head. I rolled him to the side as he had drool coming out profusely. I called 911 and asked for the ambulance to come. Keep in mind, this was the first "grand mal" seizure I've seen. I'm praying it's my last. He convulsed for about 3-5 minutes. We did not take him to the hospital as there really wasn't anything they could do at that time, but I am SO thankful for their quick response and kindness during this stressful time.

Squirt was amazing. Getting the pillow. Telling me the time. Unlocking the door for the EMTs. Opening the door for them and a friend who stopped by to help. He was just calm. I'm very thankful, although we've seen the anxiety/stress/jealousy over attention come out in other ways. But he was amazing for being only 6 years old!

I kept Moose home Tuesday. Squirt got sick that night so he was home Wednesday. I went to Topeka Thursday to pick up a cap for an emergency medicine for Moose. I started to not feel well then and all the way to Sunday. Sunday I was SO very sick. I laid in bed all day and kept close to a bathroom. It was reminiscent of being pregnant, how I felt. Big A didn't feel well that day either but was able to care for the children just fine.

Since I stayed in bed all day Sunday, I couldn't sleep that night. I got up and was cross stitching around 2am when Big A got up to check on Princess. He went to the bathroom and I hear this LOUD CRASH. The man has passed out. Now, he's 6'4" 230lbs. That was a loud crash and very scary for me to come in on him passed out. I got him to come to and he was green. Literally. I've never seen that before. He took a bath and went back to bed.

there are rarely pictures of me with the kids besides selfies so here's an okay one of me and Princess

Miss Princess turned 5 months on the 20th. How does it go so fast???? 

We left Christmas Eve morning to head to central Nebraska, where I'm from. We hadn't even made it 30 minutes away North when it started to snow. We thought about turning around but didn't think it'd be so bad so we kept going. We were close to Palmyra, NE when we went over a bridge and hit some slush/ice/snow. We think we spun around but ended up skidding off the road facing the right direction. We ended up in the ditch, in a little creek, and flipped our van to its passenger side (Moose, Princess, and I all sit on that side).

By the very grace of God and his angels, we were just fine. Not one scratch. We got unbuckled and got the baby out. Big A opened the side door and flagged down help. He took Moose out, Squirt out, and then Princess. I think the couple that took the kids in their car, it just really hit them hard with all my little guys coming out. Then I got out and we managed to save our luggage (which had the medicine in it) and even the Christmas gifts (per my request; I had to keep something stable for the kids at this awful time). The kids were upset, none more than Moose. We were going to stay in a hotel with a pool and see Grandma Fonda. It was just a very sudden change for a kid who hates very sudden changes. It took most of the day to calm him down; very emotionally draining for me.

The couple took us to Big A's parents' house about 45 minutes away. So very nice of them. Their family wasn't going to spend Christmas with them that day so she said we were their Christmas family. They were angels in the flesh for us.

The rest of Christmas Eve it was very tiring but good. Big A's dad made us lunch. His brother took Squirt in to have a snowball fight with the cousins. I tried to keep Moose calm (fail) and tried not to lose my temper with him. It was just exhausting. Big A figured out all the insurance, car towing stuff. We lost my phone and his was water logged. We had supper there and made it home very late that night after borrowing Big A's brother's car. Phew!

It turned out well but Moose still claimed it to be the worst Christmas Eve ever!

we stayed up a long time cleaning up stuff salvaged from our wreck
Big A found this diaper and thought it worthy of being saved. Diapers really can hold a lot!
tired girl!
My robe seems to calm Squirt so he wore one. Moose wanted one so he wore the other. I love this picture. 
We went to his grandparents' house the next day for an impromptu Christmas lunch after opening gifts at home.
my wonderful boys with the classic tree and gifts picture

Star Wars books!!! Thanks to my sister!

Best Downton Abbey hat ever! Thanks to my sister!

looks like daddy has him a fishing buddy

Princess got this great ball for Christmas!

 It was lovely; we played game and spent time with his family. It was just sad because we had planned to spend it with my family and my grandma's not getting any younger, you know. It was a very long day after a stressful previous day. Moose claimed it to be the best Christmas Day ever!
Princess finally in her crib. It's been a rough transition.

Then friends from church just happened to have an extra van that they let us borrow, which we ended up purchasing. Thank You, Lord for that detail ironed out. People were so kind with prayers of thanksgiving for our safety.

Some friends sent us with the boys to see Star Wars while they watched Princess. That was so fun to go see a movie they would love (only covered their eyes for one part and a preview). Thank you a million times over Craig and Linda! It was a blast. The boys wore their Jedi Robes and I wore my Princess Leia hair/hat. They even had us stay for supper!

Then we rang in the new year with my family in a belated Christmas. Which was a lovely treat to get to go to the hotel and pool for the boys, see my Grandma and uncle and cousin and my parents.

I am praying that 2016 can be a little less exciting than this last year ended. Praising God for our safety and continued undeserved blessings. Praying you all know the love of Christ and the love of His church family this coming year.

Photo by Randy Fisher. Please ask permission before using.

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