Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Last week Arnold and I went to the Dave Matthews concert. Even though it was extremely hot and people all around us were smoking pot, it was a lot of fun! ;) I always love singing along and feeling all the hype and energy of the people there. However they were throwing a big beach ball around and I kept trying to avoid getting hit by it or having to throw it back to anyone.. I felt old and grumpy, haha. The show was over 3 hrs long and Dave even did some acoustic stuff, which was great. And he came back out for an encore, and it was one of my favorite songs! Arnold and I didn't get to bed until around 1am the next morning.. but it was worth it! :)

We've been having a great time at Summer Adventure on Wednesday nights at our church, for the past 3 weeks. Tonight is the last night. I will miss hanging out with the little ones I watch! We have had a great time. Last week Claire took a selfie with me! She was so funny..she loves taking pictures just like I do! Last week Arnold took over for the preschool class and really got into it.. singing, dancing, and doing the games and competitions. He really is good with the kids and I love seeing him have so much fun! 

The gas station down the street from us just started selling Dippin Dots in little packets for individuals to eat! I sent Arnold down there the other night and he came back with a pack of rainbow and cookies and cream. I LOVE that stuff... love the texture. I hardly ever see it around anymore so I was surprised when we found it at the gas station, of all places!

Brooke and Caleb have been going to a Tennis camp this week, thanks to their Pop Pop! They give lessons every afternoon in their neighborhood for a few hours, then they get to go swimming. The kids have loved it so far. Brooke said she got hit in the eye with a ball one day, and hit the teacher one day, but she said that "she was used to it" haha! I swear we put sunscreen on them but Brooke came home yesterday with the worst sunburn on her face! I am just glad they are having a great time and being more social. Rachel has been having extra Mommy time this week since she isn't old enough to go yet.

Rachel went with me by the college the other day, while I talked to an adviser about my schedule, and got my picture made for my student ID. She was funny.. she was so excited about seeing where I am going to go to school. She kept asking me if the adviser office was my classroom.. and she said she thought the "place would be bigger." Haha. I told her she only saw a small part of the place. While we were there she said "wow, adults sure do need to know a lot of stuff!" Tell me about it sweetheart! ;) She was upset we haven't gone back, so I promised her she could go with me the day I buy my books :) I can't believe my first day of school is on Aug 18th.. I am nervous but excited as well!

Speaking of school, I found these CUTE folders at Target! Who knows if I will need them, but for the price I figured it would be ok to get them just in case ;)

The kids have been going to VBS at a friend's church this week, so Arnold and I have gotten to sneak away and have a little time to ourselves. Monday evening we got a quick dinner at Bojangles and went to Walmart to order Brooke and Caleb's cupcakes for their party this weekend. Last night we had another quick dinner then went to Target to pick out Caleb's birthday presents and get a few other things we needed. They are starting to clearance out their toys and we found one thing for Caleb he wanted half off! Some stuff will probably go 70 percent tomorrow.. I hope I can pick up a few more things then!

Caleb and Brooke got giftcards to Target for their bday, from their Aunt Margaret and Uncle Dwight. So I took them to pick some stuff out the other day. Caleb picked a little lego set and a Ninja turtle action figure.. and Brooke got a monster high doll and a small Kelly doll. The Monster High doll was another clearance find, so it made her giftcard go further! :)

Rachel and I stopped off to get some Alligator Ice (icee type drinks) on the way home from taking the big kids to camp. We both picked blue raspberry flavor! (they also had peach) We even saw some friends there getting the same thing we were! Haha.. great minds think alike.

I saw this on someone else's blog and thought it was so funny, and true! I always love looking at other people's blogs, but I think they have it so together.. with their clean, organized homes, happy kids, plentiful activities, and nice looking outfits. I realize I might come across as more put together than I really am on my blog too.. but I usually just post the highlights of our lives.. yall have no idea what the really rough days look like around here! ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weekend in Review

We had a great weekend and were busy, busy, busy! Friday evening the kids went to a birthday party for Brooke's friend Ava, who was turning 8. She had it at the local pool, so the kids got to go swim. Arnold and I didn't swim, so we were pretty much sitting on the sidelines sweating! At least we got to break in our chairs Arnold got for me when we go to the beach ;) The big kids went to the pool to play with their friends, and we took Rachel over to the kiddie pool where she was more comfortable. She took the mermaid Dora she got back at her birthday and made it swim in the water. I saw a few little girls eyeing it while they were in there.. it is pretty cute! Swims around and can "dive" in water also. Anyway, after swimming awhile they had a cookout with hotdogs and mac and cheese.. so yummy. Our friend Chasity had made the birthday cake.. so you know I ate way too much.. I always nearly make myself sick eating her cakes since they are SO good! The party wrapped up around 8pm and we took the kids home. They slept pretty good that night!

Saturday afternoon my parents invited us over for some swimming in their neighborhood and a cookout at their house. So we headed over there around 2pm, and took the kids up to the pool. This time Arnold went swimming with the kids, along with my dad.. and they all had a blast. Caleb and Brooke are getting more adventurous with doing flips, jumping in the side, going under water, and all that. I hope Rachel gets over her water nerves soon! During one of the breaks from the water Dad got the kids icecream from the snack bar. I sat in the shade and read a book... typical of me, right?? It was sooo hot this weekend, I was miserable and begged the kids to hurry up so we could go back to Mom and Dad's house in the air conditioning! That evening Dad cooked ribs. Brooke has taken a liking to them lately and its hilarious because she was CHOWING down and had sauce ALL over her face, up to her forehead. Wish I had gotten a picture of that ;) Seeing as how I don't eat meat on a bone, mom made me a hotdog instead ;) 

Sunday we woke up a little later than we had meant to, so the kids and I stayed home, and Arnold went to church since he was working in the kids' class that service. While he was gone we did some cleaning up around the house and got dressed. When Arnold got home we went out to McDonald's for some lunch. I had been promising the kids to get some of the Beanie Boo and Mario toys so we got them kids meals. Brooke was happy with her Unicorn Beanie Boo and Rachel was happy with her Princess Peach toy.. but poor Caleb wasn't too happy because he got a princess peach toy too! So I went back up to the counter and asked if I could buy just a toy, and I got him a Mario in a car.. so he was happy. It's the little things ;) After lunch we went to Toys R Us to get Caleb's bookbag for school. They have a deal going on right now when you buy the bookbag you get the lunchbox for free! And we had a $5 giftcard from the birthday club so we got him the bookbag and lunchbox for $10! Can't beat that! He picked Ninja Turtles this year :) Next we went over to Ollie's to look at the books, and to Ross to look around to pass some time. Lastly we went to the Mall to walk around and I am glad we stopped by Jc Penney's before we left because I found a CUTE bathing suit in Brooke's size for $5!! AND some pretty silver sandals for her, for $5! They put a bunch of their summer stuff on clearance.. perfect timing to get a few extra things for our beach trip next month! 

At 4:30 we headed over to a baseball game. Our "nephew" was celebrating his birthday party there. It was an awesome place to have a party because we got to see the game, sit inside the air conditioned suite, have dinner while we were there, and even met Conrad the Crawdad. The kids got to do several activities like ride the carousel, play on the playground, and throw some baseballs to try to knock a man in the water. They also got Dippin Dots (I was jealous!!! ;) AND they got to run the bases at one point during the game. It was hilarious to see the kids all come running out of nowhere. Poor Rachel was trailing towards the end, but she was trying to go as fast as her little legs could take her, and she made it across the whole field and back up the stairs!!! The theme for this week was "Christmas in July" and a lot of the staff were wearing Christmas attire.. even sweaters.. I don't see how they weren't dying in those, it was so hot!! They also played a few Christmas carols while was just strange!!! Towards the end of the night we had cake and cupcakes and Carter opened all his gifts. Then we headed out of there right before some storms started. It was SO much fun and I'm glad the kids got to experience a baseball game. I think it was the girls' first time at one. They didn't seem too impressed with the actual game, but they still had fun ;) 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!!! :)

The kids swimming at Ava's birthday party

Swimming with Pop Pop on Saturday. They were taking a break :)

Taking a few pictures on the golfcourse, behind Mom and Dad's house

Browsing around Michael's on Sunday. They already have Halloween stuff out! Arnold found this guy playing some guitar! 

Carter's birthday party at the baseball stadium

Conrad grabbed me and hugged me tight! It was hilarious.

Arnold took a selfie with Conrad! I have no words for this... just silly....

Rachel LOVED riding the carousel!

Standing in front of the stadium when we got there!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Good and the Bad

Here are some of the good and bad points of this past week...

~Good- We finally have cable, for the first time in our marriage.
~Bad- Everything is on reruns now that it's summer, never anything to watch~

~Good- Brooke had an awesome time at the American Heritage Girls pool party. She saw her friends and even earned a water badge.
~Bad- I missed it, because I was working at the PCC that night.

~Good- Caleb is THRILLED because the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles movie comes out on his birthday. It's like it was meant to be! ;) Arnold is planning on taking him...
~Bad- I know the girls will not sit through that. What will we see instead????

~Good- Arnold and I got a very rare date the other day. We went to the movies to see "Sex Tape." I know that sounds bad but it's not that kind of movie, its a comedy with Cameron Diaz about some parents... well just go see it, haha.
~Bad- The time we have together alone always goes by waaaaay too fast!

~Good- I found a book by one of my favorite authors at Goodwill, for $75 cents! So cheap!
~Bad- The book has turned out to be really dark and hard to handle (about Nazis)

~Bad- It has been raining for SEVERAL days in a row! What is up with that?
~Good- We've been cozy inside and not having to do much.

~Good- Arnold has been making some serious overtime at work lately.
~Bad- he has been gone a lot! And working some strange hours! Including over night.

~Good- It is getting closer and closer to our beach trip! Can't wait for the kids to see the beach!
~Bad- It is getting closer to the 6 hr road trip we have to take with 3 restless kids!

~Bad- The little bookshelf we had in our bedroom totally collapsed yesterday! All my books went flying everywhere! It was a mess...
~Good- I guess we will get to find something new for our room eventually!

~Good- writing about and reliving my scary medical incident that happened 5 years ago... really made me realize how blessed I am to be alive and how far I have come!
~Bad- it also brought up some tough feelings that were hard to remember.

~Good- I was a "good" mama and baked the kids some funfetti cupcakes last night... just because.
~Bad- I put the icing on before they were cooled off completely and most of it melted... haha.

~Good- Arnold and I are going to the Dave Matthews concert tonight! Seems like I've waited forever for this since Arnold surprised me with the tickets!
~Bad- The weather forecast says 60 percent chance of rain tonight! Whaaaaat?! And of course we aren't under covered seats. I guess we will be getting wet. I'd better not wear white.. ha!

Brooke at her American Heritage Girls Pool Party

Arnold and I on our date at the movies!

Monday, July 21, 2014


5 years ago on this day my whole world came down. I still can't believe it when I think back on it. I can remember details so vividly. I would never wish that kind of stuff on anyone. I thought I would write out what exactly happened, if anyone cared. Maybe my story would help others see warning signs and know what to do. I have to give a little background information first though...

They found out about a week before Rachel was due that she was breech. We had actually gone through that with Caleb, too. They were able to turn Caleb around but with Rachel they had no luck. My only option was a c-section. I was nervous, but I knew people had them every day, so I thought i'd be fine. The surgery itself actually went very smoothly. I left after the typical 3 days in the hospital, and I was recovering fine at home. I even went off my pain meds pretty early because I was feeling so much better. 

Then one day I noticed I was feeling some pain in my left calf muscle. (this was about 3 weeks after Rachel had been born.) I thought it was strange but just let it go. My mom was over that day helping me when Arnold had gone back to work. I happened to mention it to her and she said to be safe she would watch the kids while I went to the dr to get it checked out. I went to my gyno/OBGYN to have it checked. The doctor said it was probably a bad sprain and it would be fine soon. She said I could take pain meds for it if it really bothered me. She never ran any tests on me. 

So I went about my normal life and around mid July the pain was starting to feel a little better and I figured it was working it's way out of my system. On the night of July 22nd, Arnold and I dropped the kids off with his mom and dad so we could get some shopping done for Caleb's birthday party, which was coming up soon. We were walking around having a great evening kid-free, when I started feeling some pain in my chest. I told Arnold about it, and he said "it's probably just heartburn." I remembered thinking I hardly ever get heartburn, so that was strange, and it hurt more than that. But we went on our way, and went to get some dinner at Wendy's. Eventually we went to Arnold's mom and dad's house to pick up the kids. While sitting on the couch I remember a sharp pain go through my chest and I felt SO strange, I couldn't explain it. So Arnold's parents called 911. The paramedics came out and looked me over and said I seemed fine, and maybe I was having a panic attack. They said I was so young that they doubted it was any heart problems. They asked if I wanted to go in the ambulance, and I said no. 

Arnold eventually decided to take me to Frye ER just to check to be sure. Arnold, his dad, and my parents waited with me sitting in a wheelchair, until a spot opened up. Then we went through all the typical tests.. blood tests, xrays, EEGs, and nothing was found. The drs thought I was fine and said there was one more thing they could do.. a CT scan.. so I agreed and went and had it done. When I got back to my room, I started putting on my clothes because I figured we'd be released soon. Within a few minutes a dr came rushing in and said "lay down in that bed." I said "well ok, but can I go to the bathroom.. I need to pee pretty badly!" he said "ummm no. I need you to lay down now." I was confused but laid down. The next thing I know they were hooking me up to all sorts of IVs and machines and shot me up with a lot of morphine. before the medicine really hit, the DR came in and I heard him tell Arnold "we got the CT scan back, and her lungs are showered with bloot clots." I remember being stunned, but I was starting to feel the effects of the morphine, so I didn't quite understand. We later found out that the calf pain had been a big bloodclot in my leg, that I had gotten after my surgery (can be common after surgery) and not knowing it was there, I had walked around for weeks without knowing. It had broken apart, and pieces had gone into my lungs, which could be fatal. So they were very concerned.

The next thing I remember was being wheeled to an elevator and them taking me up to the ICU. When they wheeled me into the room a man asked me if I had a will or if I wanted my heart re-started if anything were to happen to me. I said "no" and at that point it didn't really sink in the severity of the situation, because I was so drugged. I remember Arnold starting to call our parents (by that time it was after midnight) and telling them the situation. They would only let 2 people in to visit me at a time, and it had to be at certain hours. And they had to be immediate family, and adults. So the first visitor I remember having was my mom. She sat by my bedside crying while I tried to eat some food they had brought me, and I remember her saying "please be ok Abby, please don't die." 

Every couple of hours they would let visitors in, Arnold would come and see me. All I did was lay there, they did everything for me. Sponge washed me, fed me.. I basically couldn't move a muscle. They hooked me up to a PICC line which is an IV that constantly stays in you, and I was given very high doses of bloodthinners to help break up the bloodclots. I wasn't allowed out of bed, for fear of the bloodclots moving to other parts of my lungs and heart, and cutting off my oxygen and killing me, or giving me a stroke. I had some of the nicest nurses ever, and even though it was embarassing having them handle my every need, including emptying my bedpan. One nurse actually let my family "sneak" Rachel in to see me for a few minutes. She was only 5 weeks old at the time, and they believed it was worth it for her to see her Mommy. I was so thankful for that time. 

So this went on  for a few days until I was eventually able to move to a regular room. Although I was still on strict bedrest. At least family members and friends were able to come visit me then.People brought me chocolates, cards, milkshakes, Papa john's pizza, and all sorts of gifts. My Best friend Joanne brought me a "get well" bear that I still have to this day, and it stays in my bedroom. It was hard, I had to miss so many things that week, including a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert I was supposed to go to with my Father in law.. he had gotten me tickets for my birthday. I did ask them if I could leave for it, but they said no... ha. 

Eventually 8 days later, they said I should be safe to go home. A nurse helped me get a shower.. my first one in over a week! Do you know what it feels like to stand up after not moving out of a bed in over a week?! I was so tired, weak, and lightheaded. It was awful. The nurses taught Arnold how to give me bloodthinner shots in my hip. He had to do that every night at home for quite a while, then I moved on to pills for about a year. Arnold taking me home that evening and getting back into my house and seeing my kids was amazing. I was so glad to be home. 

After all this mess I had many appts at specialists.. and during blood tests they told me they did NOT find the gene that made people more likely to get bloodclots. So it was from the surgery, and a freak thing. We think while I was sitting for long periods of time breastfeeding Rachel... I got the bloodclot in my leg. I am now off bloodthinner pills, and they say I should be fine, but to be extra careful on planerides or long trips from now on, and make sure to walk every once in awhile... just in case. 

During that time it was very stressful on us. We had a newborn, I had a close call with death, Arnold used up ALL his vacation time and was having to work odd hours over night and watch the kids. All our family members helped with the kids, too. I was away from my young children for 8 days. We had medical bills coming out of the air. And it put a huge strain on our marriage. I started having PTSD and started going to a therapist to help me, and eventually went on medicines to help me with major panic attacks I was having every single day. I thank God so much for getting us through that time. Arnold and I have a hard time speaking of that summer, and for some time beyond that, because we just didn't know if we'd make it through.

So there ya go.. my story. Pretty scary huh? Thinking back on it, it still seems like yesterday. I can't believe I have come this far. I am thankful I am healthy, for the most part, and not at HUGE risk for another bloodclot. And if anyone every wondered why Arnold and I stopped having kids after Rachel.. the medical reasons were why. I was told it would be very unsafe to go through another pregnancy and surgery. I had a hard time dealing with the decision for the longest time, but I know deep down it is the right thing to do. If we ever do have another child down the road, it will be through adoption, which is just fine with me :)

This is the only picture I have of me in the ICU. It looks like your typical hospital pic with a new baby, but it's not. Rachel is 5 weeks old there, and just visiting me for a few minutes. I was hooked up to every machine you could imagine, very drugged, and very weak and pale, as you can see.

Sorry this picture is gross, but I wanted to document what my bloodthinner shots made my hip look like. My entire side was bruised up and nasty for the longest time. Arnold had to give me injections every night and he said it was hard to do, because he hated to see me in pain. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday

It's been awhile since I've written on here! There has been so much going on... but I'm back now. And I guess I'll jump right in with a WILW post :)

~Brooke and Caleb's birthday party has been planned! Finally. We are going to do it combined again this year. They don't mind.. they have the same friends anyway! We are doing a pool party, and having cupcakes, and lots of fun with friends. Can't wait.

~I got everything set up and finalized for starting back to college! I went in and took a computer test I needed.. passed that. Then went to talk to an adviser. She set me up with 5 classes.. one is online. I am doing a full load and I hope I can handle it, but I want to jump right in and get going to get this degree! Next step is to go buy my books and get my ID made and all that good stuff. I feel sort of nerdy saying this, but I am SO excited!!! Oh and definitely nervous too... especially since I've never done school while having kids. But my classes are while the kids are in school... so that works out great! I don't even have to go at night. Now if only I can get used to doing a bunch of homework again...

~The other day the big kids went to an all day arts & crafts thing and swimming at Mom and Dad's neighborhood. It was only for ages 6-12, so Rachel was a little bummed she didn't get to go this time, but I told her we'd do something fun, too. So we had a special Rachel and Mommy day. I took her to the park to play, to the splashpad, and to Mc Donald's to get a happy meal. They have Ty Beanie Boos as their toys right now and she wanted one. I wanted the OWL but she got the leopard. Oh well, it was still cute! We also baked some brownies at home and she got to play computer games without anyone bugging her. So i'd say the day was a success! And the big kids came home with tons of crafts and they had a blast as well.

~We got Brooke's  bed all set up in her room, and it looks great. I was so lucky a friend on facebook was selling one at the time we needed one! I love the antique white color. 

~We have started Summer Adventure at our church, which is like VBS basically. Every wed. night in July kids go from 6:30 to 8:30 and have songs, games, crafts, snacks, outside play and all sorts of things. This year Arnold and I decided to help out. Arnold is a "floater" and helps out wherever needed. I am in the nursery for the volunteer's kids (big surprise huh?!) Last week we only had 3 little ones, so it was calm and quiet and we had a lot of fun. I enjoy being around my church family and helping out!

~I love seeing all the school supplies in stores now. Although I'm sure those who are teachers DON'T  like it, because they don't want to rush it. Rachel saw a FROZEN bookbag the other day and begged me for it. I prefer cute bookbags over character ones, but I guess we will see. I can't believe that I will be needing my own school supplies this year. And what do adults carry? A bookbag? A messenger bag? I really have no clue! 

~In just 6 more days Arnold and I are going to the Dave Matthews concert!!! Yaaaay! He bought the tickets awhile back for my birthday. we have been one time before and loved it, so I can't wait to go again. It will be such an awesome date night for us. Lately we have been stressed and we NEED this night. Badly. I have my BFF Erika to thank, who is letting the kids come over while we go. She is a LIFESAVER. I will really owe her bigtime!

~Yesterday I saw an ad advertising 50 percent off all the pizzas at Domino's, so we ordered pizza for dinner. It was only $8 for an XL pizza.. that is a good deal! All of us in this household love pizza!

~Arnold recently put some rugs and toys and chairs down in the basement and let the kids go down there now to play. We just doubled our living area in the house! Eventually we'd like to remodel down there and really make it nice. Maybe even an extra bedroom so we will have more room when the kids become older. I can't believe one day we will have three teenagers in the house--- that scares me!!!!!

Here are some pictures of what we have been up to lately....

Rach at McDonald's with her beanie boo

Baking some brownies

Playtime at the park

Fun at the splashpad. She was being a little shy though!

She was upset I put her in the baby swing. And she got a little stuck! haha.

Caleb made me this at VBS! How sweet!

The kids found a caterpillar. They named him Willie. They loved playing with him.

The fairy garden Brooke made. It is beautiful!

A typical night at our house. Arnold and a kid with a guitar in hand.

They look sooo much alike! It is crazy to see!

Reading the kids bedtime stories and devotions. Love that time of night! :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2014 Book List: What I read 2nd Quarter

I have been keeping track of what I read this year, with a list and ratings. I decided to do this mostly for me, to be able to look back and see how many I read over the whole year. But it also became a good way for me to give out recommendations to friends and family, who ask me often for a suggestion of what to read! I did a list of the books I read in the first quarter of 2014, so here is my list for the 2nd quarter. I think I read a little less than last time. And the ratings are poor (couldn't finish it), fair (ok but couldn't really get into it), good (an all around good book, enjoyed it), or great (loved it, read it quickly, would recommend to mostly anyone).

So check it out and if you are looking for something to read, anything I marked "good" or "great" I'd recommend! :)

Books read in 2nd Quarter of 2014  


~Momoholic- Poor (couldn't get into it)

~Hands Free Mama- GREAT (one of my favorites this year!)

~God's Not Dead-Fair (ok but didn't expect it to be so many facts and stuff)

~Love my little A-holes-Good (written by a blogger. She is hilarious)

~Women of Duck Commander- Good

~Rhinestone Jesus- Great (about being a better follower of Jesus)

~Raising Girls- Good  (parenting book)

~Say Goodbye to Survival Mode- Great (a lot to think about, good tips)

 ~I just want to Pee Alone- Good (humor-parenting)

~I just want to be alone- Fair (wasn't as good as the other book in the series)

~A Father Who Leads- Great (I'm aware this is a book for men, but Arnold was reading it for his men's group.. it was just sitting around.. and I'm a book junkie.. so! I read it! haha. But it was so good and talked about being the head of the household.. good advice for both parents though.)

~Love Dare for Parents- Great (day by day things to do for your kids)

~Women Living Well- Great

~Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey- Great (talks about budgeting, how to get out of debt, build savings, etc)

~A year of Biblical Womanhood- Great (a woman's account of taking the Bible very literally and doing everything a "Biblical" woman would do, for a year. Very funny, heartwarming.. loved it.)

~Surprised by Motherhood- Good (another parenting book)


~What Alice Forgot- Good

~House Rules by Jodi Picoult- Great (a lot of suspense)

~Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult- Great (very interesting, a little weird, lots of wolf facts lol)

~The Sugar Queen- Good (a little strange at times)

~Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult- Good

~The Wedding Date by Sophie Kinsella- Good (like her others-- fun read, quick, chick lit)

~Penny Wise by Neta & Dave Jackson- Good (not as great as some of her others, a little cheesy, but I liked it)

Didn't realize I'd read so much nonfiction lately! I've been on a parenting book kick lately for some reason. I just picked up a few new fiction reads, so that is probably what I'll be reading next. Better get in my reading now, before school starts back in August and I'll mostly be reading textbooks! ;)