Our Family

Our Family
Benaiah, Justin, Melinda, Abishai, Keturah, and Jared

Friday, September 30, 2016

Day 273: Day 1 is in the books!

Phew! All went according to plan today!  And we're all prepped for tomorrow, and mostly there for Monday.  It's going to be a LONG day of sitting, sitting, sitting tomorrow, so please pray for me as my back and legs don't take too kindly to that.  I've already told Justin and Benaiah that I might not sit through all the rounds/games they play because I'll need to take a walk or go lie down someplace.  I think they understand.  And I might not to every competition either.  We'll see.  Grandma will have Abishai and Keturah all day, so that should be fun, at least I think so.  Abishai had another 4 hr nap today, and that's after sleeping in until 8:30, so he should be plenty rested for the weekend.  He's now playing with Daddy while the other two are trying to go to sleep.  We put them to bed at 7:30 thinking that they could get some extra rest, but nope, they can't sleep!  We have to be up by 6am which, well, is not our forte, especially, like I said, we got up at 8:30 today.  So pray for me and pray for Justin.  He doesn't seem nervous, and I'll be right there if something happens, but he's that soft hearted guy that just might get upset if he doesn't do well.  He's never really competed in anything before.  Bible Bowl is an incredible tough game to play at this level, especially if you are perfectionist.  Justin tends to be that way, just like I am.  I'll be nervous for both boys.  Benaiah is hardly nervous, so I don't worry about him at all.  He's nearly a man now who thinks he doesn't need his mama.  Hm,...

Benaiah was telling me how his grades are really doing well today, with tons of A's and top of his class grades!  Wahoo!  He does work hard, but before I once again feel bad for not being able to teach him this year, I have to remember that I taught him how to study and I plus Grandpa taught him how to write and think well.  We laid the groundwork, and it's paying off.  He even made the comment, "It's easy to get good grades because you just have to actually turn in the homework and show up to class.  I don't understand how my friends won't get their assignments done."  Oh my goodness, kid, yes, you're welcome for pushing you all these years to keep deadlines and keep track of your stuff.  Now we'll see how much studying he's done for Bible Bowl tomorrow.

I was able to convince the doctor to get some labwork done, and they were able to do it there at the office, so at least I've gotten started on this sorting everything out process.  Still no idea where to turn to next, osteopath, naturopath, nutritionist, orthopedic?  And there's not much help from this doctor or finding someone under our state funded insurance plan.  Obamacare is a joke! I'm still going to be paying out of pocket for everything, just like I've done the last 6 years to get the treatment I want and need.  Just need some patience and willingness to switch doctors if necessary.  I'm staying with this doctor for general stuff and for the kids because it's cheaper overall because he doesn't take any insurance.  You pay him a flat fee per month of $95 per family, plus $20 co pay for each visit.  That's it.  No paperwork, he's easy to get into, and away we go.  Yup.

Just a few pictures from today, but I'll share yesterday's as well.

Keturah, Abishai and I made a run to the dollar store Wednesday night and found Candy Corn (Justin's favorite candy!) and Strawberry flavored donuts!  So, Justin made a stegosaurus!

If you look closely on the left of the banana peel, you'll notice a hole.  It's a hole that Abishai made when he tried to eat the banana without waiting for me to peel it! He immediately spit it out.  This is why we affectionately call him a purple minion from Despicable Me 2.  That, and he really does make all those blah, blech, crazy sounds!

Yeah, this kid who thinks it's hilarious to sit in front of daddy's backpack.

Sort of, not really, a pumpkin pie latte/smoothie.  I still didn't get it right and it was too spicy.

There wasn't much in the backpack, so we thought it would be funny for Abishai to give it a go. 

I think he looks like he has a turtle shell on.  Cuteness!

Jared is obsessed with putting a fire on EVERY SINGLE NIGHT, even when it isn't cold outside!  But really, it is neat, and the popping and spitting it does can't be beat.  We haven't roasted marshmellows yet, but we do plan to.  So far, Abishai's been very obedient about not climbing up on the bricks.  He does like to say "woah, wow!" to it though.  

Reading by firelight like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Abishai is scared of the blender and the electric saw, so he stayed inside while Daddy cut a piece of wood.

Jared said, "People struggling reading the whole Bible in one year.  Abishai read his Bible in one night! Ok, there's just a few short stories in this version, but it's fun to say, "He read his whole Bible!"

Yes, we know he shouldn't ride the cart, and he didn't.  He got up there all by himself, but we got him down before we drove the cart through the store.

Pushing the cart before Daddy took over so they wouldn't hurt the expensive cabinets.  The wood is the clearance wood from Home Depot (which I think is the same Home Depot I got the paint from when my parent's moved to Indiana 11 years ago!) for the fire.

Look a hawk! A eagle! Nah, just some crows!

More Bible reading on Grandma Howell's kid rocking chair.  It was hers, then my siblings and I's, then my family's. 
Homeschooling on the go!  These two are getting more diligent about their schoolwork every week!

Although we can't attend tomorrow, please visit the craft fair at Benaiah's school tomorrow.  Lots of direct sales reps and individual crafters selling their wares.  9-4 at Southside Christian School at the corner of Edgewood and US 31.

Benaiah is donating 1/3 of his proceeds to the school!  There's only a few duct tape wallets for sale, so get them before they're gone!

Have fun shopping!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Day 272: Caution: Busy Weekend Ahead

I need to spend the rest of my evening trying to wrap my head around who's going to be around for what meals and what I need to do to prepare for the next 4 days.  We have appointments tomorrow.  Then the boys have their first Bible Bowl competition of the season and it lasts all day, and then church in the evening, plus we are having a friend run Benaiah's duct tape wallet booth at his school's craft show (see my FB page for more info).  Then Sunday we have to go back to church for a class for the Baby Dedication event being held on October 30th, on top of our regular Sunday night youth group and choir practice.  And then Monday is co op.  Maybe this sounds like an ordinary weekend for some of you.  But I'm not used to day after day after day with no rest.  And I'm already feeling crummy all around.  Please pray that the doctor tomorrow is more open to doing some basic vitamin/mineral tests, and things like a liver check and thyroid. I'm going to try to mention Lyme disease one, too, but I don't know if that will yield anything.  I probably should have my sugars tested as well.  I feel stuck in my health right now, trying to do all the right things but I haven't reaped any benefits.  And I can't serve my family like this.  I'm just feeling a bit grouchy and overwhelmed.  So, nothing special to report today and I don't even feel like messing with pictures.  Hopefully, I'll have time to share a bit more in the coming few days, and if not, I won't.  Now, where's my notebook?  I need to get my lists in order!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Day 271: Rainy and cool

Ok, I'll star the blog post with a happy note.  Yes, one week exactly until my favorite TV show starts up again!  I have to wait to watch the episodes until they post on the internet the next day, but still, exciting times!  They are shooting the 100th episode of Arrow THIS WEEK, which is also the crossover episode with the other 3 shows on the CW, Supergirl, The Flash, and the Legends of Tomorrow.  Why is this important to our blog?  Well, it's a topic of conversation in our house between the kids and I, so, it IS part of who we are, lol.  It's part of the fun we have!

Oh boy, it's been raining on and off all day.  So my brain is foggy and my emotions are well, cool, or a bit downcast.  Nothing in particular is wrong, it's just that kind of day.  Jared didn't know if he'd get to work his construction job today, but he got a few hours in.  It was our normal chaotic morning and school in the afternoon, with Bible class with Grandpa.  Then, I made a round of phone calls to make annual appointments for the eye doctor and dentist, plus some extra ones like getting some basic testing for myself on vitamin levels and liver and thyroid checks etc.  We might not have insurance cards, but we have our insurance numbers.  Then it was off to Bible Bowl and some errands, in the rain, with babies.  Yup!  Fun times!  I didn't really want to go out because I haven't felt great.  Keturah was very mature and did not ask to buy anything at the Dollar Store!  Wahoo!  Although, she started talking about wanting an iPad or tablet.  I told her and Justin that no way are we getting another electronic because a) there are no more outlets to charge things! and b) just no.  we don't need more things that can get on the internet and can get them into trouble.  You can get on the internet through the PS4 and my computer.  So, don't get any ideas Grandma and Grandpa! Nope, nope, nope!

Meanwhile, Abishai is definitely weaning.  He refused to nurse both times today.  I'll keep trying for a few days, just in case I can get one more time to remember this chapter in my life.  I'll probably cry.  I'm not as attached to breastfeeding as I was with the others and have plans at least for the spring that would involve overnights, or at least late nights, and early mornings, so I knew it would have to happen before then.  But bummers.  He's not yet 20 months.

Keturah ran into my room saying, "Look at Abishai!  He wants to wear my hat!"  Abishai actually does like to wear hats sometimes.  What a cutie!

So sad for Mama, baby boy is no longer a baby and is just about weaned.  I'm ready for it, sort of.  Good bye faithful nursing chair.  Lots of hours spent in this chair, listening to the Bible, and then reading the Bible when it became distracting.  Then I'd just stretch as the feedings got shorter and less frequent.  It was one of the last things loaded onto the truck because it was "our chair." It will still sit in our room for those who want to watch our TV.  I might get a few more feeding times with him, but I got just a tiny bit more time with him tonight to be ok if that was the last time.  Those who have breastfed into toddlerhood will definitely understand the sadness I feel.  On the other hand, I'm so ready for this.  One less thing to think about scheduling around.  Abishai is 19 1/2 months.  Benaiah was 7 1/2 months old when he weaned, Justin was 24 months, and Keturah was 22 months.  That equals 6 years! Wow! We've done well despite all kind of issues I won't explain here.  And no, we are NOT having another baby just so I can nurse again.  Nope, no way, we're done.  We are VERY content (unless God determines otherwise of course).  Time to close this chapter for good.  Sigh.
Oh, I did make a yummy shake with lactose free milk, cocoa powder, xylitol, peanut butter powder, and banana.  It actually turned out just right, not too rich, not too many ingredients, hopefully enough protein.  But I'm afraid it's not agreeing with my stomach.  Boo!  Oh, and a little bit of some cappucino mix that was old and probably contained regular milk.  Whoops, probably shouldn't have had that.  I wish I could tolerate everything I'd like to eat.  Those I'm going to ask the doctor for some tests on vitamins, minerals, liver (I take a lot of pain meds, and that hasn't been checked in a few years), and thyroid (which has been checked in the last year, but it doesn't hurt to throw that in there).  Just in case you were curious ;-)  I always believe it's better to get at the root of the problem instead of covering it up or finding relief from it.  I love essential oils, but I want to know why I have headaches and why I have restless legs and why I have aches and pains and not just cover them up.  Hopefully our insurance can cover that.  The humidity I think is bothering my legs and joints.  I'm so stiff in the morning.  But seeing the doctor on Friday will hopefully bring me one step closer to helping some of my ailments.

I'm rambling because I'm tired and there's not much else to report today.

Jared's happy.  He got the fire going!

I do plan on buying this month's Flexi of the Month from Lilla Rose, named Skye (like one of the characters from Marvel's Agents of Shield, but now goes by the name of Daisy) plus next month's Flexi of the Month.  You see, when you are a consultant, you get access to the new Flexi of the Month (and any others they are bringing back or introducing) the day or two before it is on sale to the public.  And if you become a customer, you can get the notice directly from Lilla Rose when everything is available.  You'll understand why I would like the October Flexi of the Month when I unbox it for you in a few days.  Until then, visit the website at:
Melinda Johnson's Lilla Rose page

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Day 270: Mommy went on an adventure...

...and tried to drag the middle kids along.  Ok, ok, it wasn't a big adventure, but I wanted to see if we could pick some apples off the tree that is right outside our front door!  That's right, we have a crab apple tree to the right of our garage, but there is regular size apple tree (macintosh type apple) just a few yards from the front door of our building.  Most of the apples have fallen, and most of the apple have pits in them, but I still managed to find a few to save.  You see, I wanted the kids to climb up in the tree and get them for me.  Well, apparently I have taught them to be afraid of bees and afraid to get dirty.  It's a great climbing tree, but they weren't going for it!  Hmph.  So, I knew I couldn't really fit between the branches to get up there, I just used a step ladder to find a few of them.  I had long pants and a long sleeve shirt on, so I wasn't as afraid of the bees as I normally would have been.  I just dug in and went for it.  Justin even said, "I'd rather buy apples than pick free ones!" Oh well, at least I tried to get them outside doing something different.

Meanwhile, the morning had been chaotic as always, with me getting distracted with this or that thing instead of making sure they didn't fight and they started on some homework.  Baby did his thing, too, of getting into trouble.  But they did do some school on their own finally, and we were able to have a great Bible and History time this afternoon when Abishai went for his 4 hr nap.  That's two days in a row of 4 hr naps!  Sheesh!  Anyway, I'm proud of Keturah for getting her botany homework done all by herself! Justin was the one who need a kick in the rear to get going.  I can see that he's quickly turning into a distracted teen.  He's also much more annoyed by Keturah's antics and wants to correct her all the time.  Sigh.  At least I know what's coming this time with this puberty thing.  BTW, I loved the "puberty" button in the "Inside Out" movie.  Hilarious!

We also got some park time this evening after eating a supper of leftovers.  I used my FitBit app and discovered that the outer sidewalk around the park is exactly 1/2 of a mile.  Therefore, two rounds and I've got my mile walk in!  I've actually walked 6 times in two weeks which is a new record for me in the last 6 years!  I hope to increase the length of the walk this week if it doesn't rain as much as they are predicting.  At least the temperatures dropped enough to enjoy the outdoors!  A high of 65 today and I even briefly turned on the heat!  We left the window open a little to much and both Justin and I were freezing despite putting on warmer clothes.

My turn for the blender!  Check out all that form!  I used my to go cup and this is just one 8 oz cup of coffee!  Yum!

I still had lots of foam left when I finished my cup, so I had to get out a spoon.  I wonder if using the integral collagen I use makes a difference in the foam.  Hm,...

Who wants to cuddle baby before naptime!

I do! I do! Aww, cute!

This was a math page where she had to add up 3 digit numbers and they would equal 100, 200, 300, or 400.  I told her not to color over the math problem itself, thus all the white circles.  But she did discover that the picture is of pancakes!

When we went over our memory verse for 2016, I decided to make a model kind of like the armor of God model because the verse is Colossians 3:12, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, patience, humility and gentleness (paraphrased here).  Simple, yet, hopefully effective.  I did compliment them on being pretty gentle with their feet when walking through their house because we don't want to be too loud for the neighbor and how they treat Abishai with kindness.  The other traits, well, need loads of work.

Keturah wrote her first song on the piano!  She's only a few pages in Level 1A of Alfred's Basic Beginner Library, but she tried to make her own song!  How cute!  
Wow! It was cold this morning!

Abishai trying to figure out big B's headphone jacks!
FYI, I have more pics for the day, but I'm having trouble uploading them.  I'm going to publish this now and then send a new link when I update it.  Thanks.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Day 269: Unboxing day!

The kids "unpacked" their brains and learned a few things today.  Abishai creatively balanced a "caution: floor wet" bifold sign on his head and crawled under it (not at the same time), but I don't have a picture of that today.  I managed to do 3 mini unexpected "projects" while cleaning up other things.  Jared worked a little and return an item to the store.  Jared also got to pull out the new blender and used it a few times before we got home from co op.  I gave him permission after teasing him that it's MY new toy/tool.  He'll use it just as much as I will.  In fact, he used the old one a whole lot more than I did.  Now, we need to find some great non dairy based smoothies!  I don't have any good veggies to make a green smoothie nor do I have berries or much fruit to make a fruity one.  Bummer.  I guess we'll just keep making frothed coffee then, lol.

We also got that fun LootCrate today!  Justin and I even did a Facebook Live "unboxing" video.  17 people watched us live from all over the states and even Canada!  So, I guess that means I get my "fun mom" points for the week, right?  Speaking of the week, we have NO appointments nor playdates/outings this week!  I guess we'll be staying home and working on fall clothes because the air turned chilly today!  I know it was in the 60's today and all I could keep thinking was "aw...I'm finally back on PEI" because wow, this is my FAVORITE weather and PEI has it a bit longer than other places.  It was rainy when we left for co op this morning, but it cleared up an hr later so Abishai and I did our mile long walk around the outer edge of the church's parking lot.  He was even anticipating it after our first class this morning and got into the stroller as I was packing up our stuff!  I used to walk so much with Benaiah and Justin around Beech Grove, ah the memories!

Ok, pictures.  Here we go.

The blender's initiation into the family - butter coffee!

Oh my, I didn't know that Abishai's face looks funny!   And Justin looks evil!  Bwahahaha!  It was supposed to be a cute picture of Abishai and Justin eating together.  Justin invited Abishai onto the chair and Abishai obliged.  Whoops!

We got to eat dinner outside because it was so nice out!  Probably in the high 60's.

Ah, my new set up.  I'm going to be working hard at learning how to make better smoothies.  I typically don't follow a recipe and then it doesn't turn out well.  Feel free to share your recipes!  Oh, this guy also came with a food processor/slicer/shredder!  It's bigger than the little one we have, so I'll be able to do bigger batches of whatever.  Now if I just had the energy to make something,....hm....

Twinkie time!  This might be Abishai's first or second twinkie, I can't remember.  My mother used to get a big kick out of seeing the kids eat twinkies.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe because they would get so messy.  We even had a twinkie party when she was in the hospital a couple of months before she died.  We got a video of Abishai eating the twinkie tonight and Justin commented, "In Honor of Grandma Howell."  Very sweet!



Concentrating hard on his twinkie!

Twinkie face!

Finger lickin' good!
LootCrate!  Who knew $20 would be so much fun!

Stark! As in Ironman!  And someone pointed out the number 11 on it, and Justin just turned 11.  The LootCrate was kind of a birthday present for him because they said it would contain something from the Flash TV show, but it didn't.  We were very disappointed.

Batman keychain, the box itself turned into a car, and a Green Arrow hood ornament!

A matchbox car, LootCrate fun facts guide, and Ballstar Galatica ship!

My prize, the Green Arrow hood ornament!  It says not to put on cars that you will drive over 70 mph with.  It's just a magnet holding it to the car.  So, no, I would never do that.  I guess it was this one or a similar item just with the Flash.  Oh well, Justin still has his favorite Flash t-shirt.
Another picture of Benaiah playing his box drum for the school worship times.  He bought some accessories  recently, so he has other sounds to work with.

Our math "tutoring" session since everyone is working on different books at different levels.

It's always fun to FaceTime each other, although we aren't far away . Abishai kept laughing every time Benaiah would make a face.  I wonder why?  Abishai also said "baba" at the end.  I didn't get quite the picture I wanted but when Abishai was fully in the shot, his round cheeks and chin were identical to Benaiah's.  Too cute!