Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lots of News

Well of course life stays interesting around here!

Thursday Jon came home from work so very sick.  I noticed he pulled in early and I went outside to meet him and was shocked at how he looked.  He was fine all day then within minutes got a chill and nausea.  By the time he drove home, he could hardly walk in, he was leaning to one side.  I got him to bed because of course he resisted going to the ER, what man doesn't?  After throwing up a few times and feeling no better he let me take him.  To backtrack, the night before we saw one of our favorite companies had had a recall on some products because they had Listeria ( a serious bacteria) in them.  I only saw one item on the list that we'd bought some of, but they were already eaten.  Jon did have a couple of the other products in the last week or so and I told him not to eat anything else.  Well when we got to the ER I told the doctor about what all he'd eaten and the fact no one at home or work was sick and they tested him for Listeria and put him on meds.  We won't get the results till next week but since there is a possibility that it is Listeria, they thought it was safer to deal with the sickness as if that is what it is.  Today he is back to normal and outside with the kids.  I'm glad he's better, I don't think I've ever seen him so violently ill but one other time in 25 years of marriage!

BTW, I CLEANED the whole house with Clorox.  I'm the Nazi germ killer!  Somebody throws up in MY house and I'm squirting Clorox in every conceivable place!  I'd swore that I was not cleaning this house again ( we are taking up the carpets and painting after we leave) but nothing like someone throwing up to get me to cleaning! 

In other news, we are still waiting on the house.  I think all the indoor things are done, but the septic system could not be done this week because of the rain.  We are hoping it is done on Monday!  Our old house is pretty much packed up.  I've even gone through 3 of our 4 sheds, mostly throwing away old junk.  We are at the point now, that I've had to buy a few small things that I'd packed up LOL!  I'm still cooking with one pot, one skillet and a few other pieces LOL. 

The BIG news is......  our oldest son is going back to college next semester.  He wants to transfer his credits from the community college and put off going to work at the prison.  He is going to go to our Alma Mater, Southeastern College now University.  He/we have gone back and to on this and we've let him make his decisions.  The only reason Jon and I have been hesitant about him going to SEU is the COST!  It is a private school and even with grants/scholarships he will owe quite a bit every semester whether he lives on campus or commutes (45 minutes from home)  We'd like for him to have the experience of living on campus so we are all going to "bit the bullet" and just commit to him doing that!   The three of us have talked this to death over the past year and Steve has always had the last vote.  We've looked at pros and cons of everything and all we can do is hope the right decision will be made.  We are very excited for him -just worried about the $$$!  But things always work out one way or another......

The whole "money" thing is something that is staring me in the face right now and feels a bit overwhelming.  We have lived in our church's parsonage in lieu of a salary for almost 10 years and soon we are going to be getting used to paying a mortgage.  Plus all the things we need for the new house.....  Now college in a few months..... YIKES! 

I've always said to others how faithful God has been to us financially and we've done our best to make wise, prudent decisions so I'm just going to trust that God will provide for us and give us the wisdom to continue making wise decisions. 

We HATE to be in debt.  We paid off all our bills (except for my student loan) when Sam was born and I had to quit work.  So we've been basically debt free for years except some medical expenses .  We didn't want Steve to start life in any debt and we still don't so we are praying about how this will all work out.

I don't mean to be biased, but Steve has been and is the best boy in the world LOL  MOST of the time!  We've never had any real issue with him and we've remained close through the teen years and now into his early adulthood.  In many ways, it's been like our family has had THREE adults in it for a long time.  So we want him to have the absolute best life possible.  We are looking at every aspect to figure out how he can go to college and not get into debt.  He is working but we don't want him to work too much once he starts school back.  Some kids can work crazy hours (like I did) and it doesn't affect their school, Steve needs more time to study and work on things.  He is a more detailed person.  Jon is the same way, he worked summers and went to college without working during the school year.  But I know we'll figure out things, with God's help. 

So we are going next week to reactivate his application there.  He was basically accepted but then chose to go to the lower cost community college last fall.  At least he has a semester under his belt and has some credits to transfer.  Of course we can't find any of his codes to go into either college system and transfer his credits (do the paperwork for the transfer)  but he is going to go do that on Monday. 

Well we are looking forward to a quiet weekend I hope!  Hope you all have a great weekend. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Living in Florida

Jon and I signed up for testing with a company called LifeLine Testing for various stroke/heart attack issues.  We had about 7 tests done, most we haven't gotten the results of but we did get our cholesterol back.  Mine is down from 202 to 168!  Jon's is down from 210 to 178~! Our triglycerides are still too high & both of us are too low on the "good cholesterol by a few points.  But all in all we are already seeing an improvement despite our lack of vegetarian  eating the past week or so.  Both of us were perfect on our fasting sugar level- mine was 86 and Jon's was 91.  We are committed to being healthier!

Since the appointments took far longer than expected, Jon didn't go into work today.  We had a late lunch and did a few errands.   Then we went walking out in the  Withlacoochee Park late this afternoon. 

 
 
Above the tree line on the tower
 




 








 
Observation Tower
 
 
 













 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I LOVE living in Florida, even with the bugs, humidity and heat.  When I'm out in the woods and can smell the swamp (LOL it doesn't stink to me) I'm happy!   I can feel myself relax and breath in deeply.  Of course I might not breathe too deep or a bug might come in LOL!
 
We have lived here for almost 10 years and we've just discovered this hidden park that backs up to one of the reserves we hike in often.  It's like we are in shock that this place exists!  The Withlacoochee River Basin is large.  It is from the middle of the state almost to the coast.  We didn't realize how close it actually comes to our house on the east side.  Jon is over the moon at finding a new area to explore!
 
This, these pictures are the Florida I know and love.  Theme parks and the big cities are ok, but this is what I love about Florida PLUS the beaches!  It really doesn't get any better than this.
 
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Well a friend brought me more boxes and lots of  bubble wrap.  I guess I really need to get to work on doing the breakables. 
 
Hope you are having a good start to your week!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Put A Fork In Me I'm Done Part Two!

Oh yeah......

Well we took Selah to her doctor's appointment today.  He took another xray and then did a Cat scan.  She will have to have another hip surgery.  Let me see if I can explain the two issues we have going on....

First most kids like Selah "pull in" their limbs, Selah extends her's out. That is odd. We were told that when she was first in the hospital.  So when a child does that, it makes them straight like a board. 

Second, due to the years neglect and of her lying in a crib, she never developed correctly.  At the stage of crawling, a child works its hip/sockets and they begin to fit in to each other.  She didn't have that stage.  She went from being in a crib to being stood up and taught to walk.  She didn't walk well nor did she bend her knees.  All that comes into play now.  Because of that lack of normal skeleton development, she doesn't have the correct hip/socket alignment. 

So our doctor did not do the first surgery aggressively enough.  Obviously he wanted to help her, without hurting her or over doing things.  I appreciate that but now he is going to have to go back and do some more surgery, one thing he is going to do is an abductor release. .  We have a date set for May 5th, which is ironically the THREE year anniversary of the day we left the orphanage with them for good.  It's also two years since I had to take Sam to NY to have most of his left eye taken out.  When I noticed the date, I choked up for a minute but I'm just going to think that it is a positive thing.  Leaving the orphanage was GREAT and Sam was much happier with the eye out (no more pain)  So I'm thinking that this will be a good day for Selah and solve her problem once and for all!!!!

So I'm tired after a very long day at St Joseph's!  Selah was a trooper and did great. 

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.  Pray for wisdom for Dr D.  He may have our other doctor to come in and do her Botex shots at the same time, he is really researching the best way to do all of this.

And if you are wondering WHY we are so aggressive in her treatment knowing she will never walk....let me answer that.  For a child like Selah, one of the most important things is to be able to keep her mobile.  Even if that mobility is being able to be moved into different positions.   It keeps her from bed sores, broken bones and scoliosis.  I've seen kids in orphanages bent like the letter C from scoliosis.  The more that Selah can be up in her stander (where she is strapped on a board and stood upright) and up in her wheelchair, the better for her.  So we do all of this for the quality of life! 

She is not in severe pain and we are able to move her, just have to watch her for any signs of pain.  The pin is still in her hip, but not in the right place. 

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The little kitten I was taking care of took a turn for the worst and died.  Although the boil on his neck was healing up nicely, it probably was a tumor that extended inside.  I found him gasping for air one morning and he died within minutes.  We buried him on top of Brownie's grave.  She was a huge dog that loved her cat friends.  I can't tell you the times I called her to see her head come out of her doghouse, along with a cat or two's head:)  There will never be another dog like her. 

The other four kittens are doing good.  Their eyes are opened and they are loving us playing with them.  I will sit on the ground and rub a kitten's belly and one of the other ones will butt his head into my hand to be rubbed.  They are won't be two weeks old until Wednesday.  I can't believe how loving they are already.  I've not had baby kittens in my house before that were this young.   The Mama Cat has been so good.  She grieved when the little one died and was taken away from her.  I felt bad for her. 

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Another good thing, Sarah has been putting weight back on her left foot.  We don't know what caused her not to be able to do it but now she is back to normal. 


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We did have a GREAT time at the Habitat for Humanity's annual fund raiser held at the Lowery Park Zoo last Saturday night.  Shad and Steve were the featured speakers and there were hundreds if not a thousand there:)  They did great.  Steve really just introduced Shad and then he ended it for Shad.  They got a standing ovation and I was bawling.  I'm so proud of my boys!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

















 
 
 
 
 





 
 
 
The Zoo was having Zoomations a lights festival.  It was pretty but Shad just wanted to see the animals.
 
 
We have a plan for our summer vacation.  It's going to be a "staycation"   In the past it's been hard to go places just for Shad and Steve because of our little ones.  Now that we have found the world's best babysitter, we are going to do a few days of activities with them that the little ones can't and don't want to do.  One thing Shad wants to do is to go back to the Zoo.  We also want to go to the beach without having to take the little ones.  It's hard to play with Shad and watch the little ones at the same time.   We might take him to a water park too.  We've always felt that Shad missed out on some things Steve was able to do but now with someone we trust who can watch the little ones, we can give Shad a little more attention just for him:)  
 
Sam and Sarah prefer to be home in their normal routine and they love our new sitter also.  A Sam Funny.....Saturday night he was sitting with her on the couch and she asked him if he wanted to go play with his toys and he said NO quite plainly!  He might have a crush on her- she's a pretty girl! 
 
 
 
 
Here's a picture of Shad and some of his friends singing a special in church Sunday.  They were cute and quite good.  they learned the song after very little practice!
 
 
 
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And we are just waiting on the house, it is soooo close to being done.  We are still looking at moving in the next week or so.  The house is a mess - we have boxes everywhere!   The majority of things are packed.  We NEED to move soon LOL
 
 
 
 
So it's been a busy week.  Lots of different things going on, some good and some not so good but we keep going on:)
 
 
 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Put a fork in me I'm DONE!

You can NOT make up these type of days......


I don't even know where to start..... Our dear sweet Brownie was put to sleep today.  It was confirmed she had untreatable cancer.  Jon took her and brought her home for us to bury.  He was with her loving on her till the end.  We had a graveside funeral for her.  Jon said a prayer and thanked God for whoever decided to put her in our fence that cold night eight years ago.  He said something like "someone didn't want her but Lord we sure did"  She was a faithful friend and it is so odd not to have her in the yard.  I realize how much a part of our family she has been.  We buried her in the church cemetery, under a tree.  Steve shoveled her site.  It was a beautiful spot where she used to walk with Jon.  We buried her with one of her balls.  It was emotional to say the least.  If any dog will be in heaven, I have no doubt it will be Brownie!  I really can't believe she is gone.




 
 
 
 
 
 
I love these pictures that my friend took last May!
 
 
 
 
Pictures from our funeral...
 
 
 
 





 
 
 
Vermont kept going up to Brownie, they were good friends.  Brownie was a friend to any animal unless it was another dog trying to live with her LOL  She was a bit jealous!
 
 


Then as soon as we could finish we took Selah and Sarah to the local ER for xrays.  Sarah has not put weight on her left foot since Monday.  Selah has seemed to have some pain off and on for a couple of weeks.  We were there for hours, but at least we were near home and didn't have to drive to Tampa.  Sarah seemed to just have a slight sprain but Selah.....  is seems her hip has dislocated again despite the pins that were put in last July.  I talked to her specialist over the phone and we will go in for a 3-D scan in the next few days.  She is not in a lot of pain, only if she is on the stander or in PT so all that is stopped for now.  Otherwise she doesn't get her frowny face or tears. 

This is a sweet picture....

 
Jon on one side with Sarah and Rose on the other side with Selah....
 
 
 
Once we all get home, Steve ran out for some supper for us.  He had driven into a restaurant parking lot and had called Jon to see what he wanted.  I heard Jon say "who is screaming?"  I could tell Steve wasn't answering him so I grabbed the phone and screamed for Steve!  He said it looked like a man was kidnapping a women.  I told him to call 911.  He did and he also got a partial photo of the license plate of the car.  Steve tried to hem the car in but the guy sped off over the grass.  Steve waited there until the cops came and he gave them the info.  One officer seemed to know who it might be, it might be a domestic violence situation.  Anyhow Steve was pretty shook up! 
 
 
What a day!  On top of that one of the white kittens had a boil, cyst, or something on his neck, it seems the mama cat busted it and has been cleaning it up.  The kitten is eating fine and is quite round.  We hope it is nothing serious.  The kittens' eyes are opening and they all round and nurse vigorously .  Sometimes Gladys their mama looks at me like "how do it you it with 5 kids???"  LOL I feel her pain!!!!!!
 
 
 
 
 
Well I have had more than my share of life's drama today. 
 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Clanton 5


We had quite a surprise on Wednesday.  Our cat Gladys had kittens....FIVE kittens!  She got "dropped off" around Thanksgiving time, and I just hadn't taken the time to go get her spayed.  I was a little shocked when I noticed she was pregnant since we mostly keep her inside but I guess the "mostly" part is what got her in trouble!  She was a small young cat so we thought she'd have just a few, nope she had FIVE~!

Of course she had them behind the water heater in the laundry room.  So Steve had to go pick up Shad from school since he was the smallest one of us who could climb back there and get them.  He was glad to do it.  The school secretary asked WHY Shad was being picked up so early ( 9:30 am) AND Steve told her the truth!  Oh geez!  The one time I wanted my son to lie!!!!  All I can say is thank goodness that Shad is a year ahead in his work! 

So Shad comes home and walks into the laundry room and calls for me to tell the cat had pooped...but she hadn't, she had the last kitten on the floor. That little one almost didn't make it.  I literally sat for 3 hours holding it in my gloved hand right up on the mama.  I think Gladys was a little overwhelmed at that point so I rubbed it dry and keep stimulating it so it wouldn't sleep too much.  Finally it began nursing but was very sluggish all that day.   It's fine now, all five of them are doing great and Gladys is being a good mama cat.  That experience reminded me of my pig farming days, there was always a runt for me to take care of.....until it grew and ended up butchered!








 
 
 
We did get a click out of the fact that there was five kittens, one for each kid!
 
 
We had another animal experience this week.  About a month ago a spot came up on our dog's stomach.  Over the years she has had spots because she'd lick too much.  I got a spray for it and it got a lot better.  This week, all of a sudden it was a lot worse and bleeding.  And there seemed to be a big lump on Brownie's flank.  I could NOT face the vet and the possible outcome. 
 
I actually planned an escape with a friend and left Jon to take her.  I told him not to call me to make a decision, I just couldn't handle it.  Well the wellness clinic we go to couldn't do a biopsy.  Luckily she hadn't lost any weight even though the last few days she didn't seem to be eating.  Now Jon will take her to another vet next week, for now she has been stable and is back to eating.  We did buy her some canned dogfood and now anytime I go outside, she gets up just in case I have food LOL
 
I took this picture when I said goodbye to her.  She was under my window, faithfully guarding it. You can see the spot on her.  If it is cancer, we will put her to sleep, we don't want to see her suffer and can't afford cancer treatment for her.  She is 15 or 16 years old at this point, we've had her for over 8 years and she was an old girl then!  We are so glad she is eating and really seeming to enjoy food right now. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We are continuing to pack the house up.  Yes I've already packed up some things we need but I did not unpack them LOL!
 
 
Well we have a busy weekend.  One of my best friends' son is getting married.  He happens to be Steve's best friend and Steve is the "best man".  Can this be happening??????   The wedding is tomorrow and will be beautiful.  The couple is young, so young but have dated for three years. They are high school sweethearts.  I know a few high school sweethearts from my high school years that are still happily married with kids and some with grandkids.  They are growing old together.  That's what I believe will happen with this couple:)  It's just surreal to start seeing my kids friends get married.  That old saying "the days past slowly but the years go quickly" is so true! 
 
Steve is going to look so handsome in his outfit.  I can't wait to see it on him. Yes I will take pictures.
 
AND we have found a babysitter!  I've never ever used one before.  But this girl is a great young lady, I know quite a few  people who know her and have only wonderful things to say about her on many levels.  I was texting her back and to and made an offer of $4 an hour....Ok do not laugh at me, remember I have NEVER had a babysitter before.  That's double from what is was when I did a little babysitting of OLDER preteen kids back in the day.  She gently told me her rate.  I was telling some friends and after they finished laughing and making fun of me for my $4 an hour offer, they told me I was lucky she didn't drop me then !  
 
Anyhow I'm looking forward to a night out with my husband and older sons.  We're going to dance all night long:)
 
Can I ask you to "like" my facebook page MY REAL LIFE BY YVONNE.    I'd like to hit 500 likes.  I also would love for my blog to hit 2 million hits, we are not far away, can you share my blog?  Thanks!
 



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Truthful Tuesday

For the last few days Jon and I have been concerned about Sarah's sight.  Yesterday we had our fears confirmed, it seems all her sight is gone.  She has been a bit more clingy but for a girl who loves to sit on my mama's lap all the time, it's no problem.  I had noticed she would reach out with a back and to motion of her hands as if searching for something.  That was new for her, and I think that alerted us first.  I'm glad we knew this was coming, it helped us to deal with it without traumatizing Sarah.  Our guess is that her retina finally detached all the way since it happened so suddenly.  Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done, her little eye had so many problems, that we can only guess which one caused the eye to finally go completely blind. 

We are just giving her more love and holding her whenever she wants to be held.  She has still been doing good with her teachers.  One of her therapists said it might even be a relief to her since she was probably getting mixed signals from the small bit of sight that was getting through.  I know when Sam finally lost the vision in his left eye, it seemed so much better for him.  Of course he could see in his right eye.  It was like he got mixed signals and that made him more fearful of movement. 

All in all though I've had enough of dealing with little ones losing their sight!  It is heartbreaking as  a parent to watch and to wonder what is going on in their minds! Please pray that we are able to help Sarah and that she won't be afraid.  We are moving in just a few weeks and I hope she won't be stressed out by the move!  It's going to be a lot for her to get used to in a short period of time.



Well this is what a part of our living room looks like!  We are well into packing up our life :)







I've been inspired by an orphanage in India that works with special needs kids to really work with Sam and Sarah on self care skills.  Sam can feed himself corn!  We have to be more careful with him as he doesn't understand not to put too much in his mouth but he is learning.

 
 
 
 
 

 
Here is a link to the orphanage Sarah's Covenant House.  This post is about the little girl we support.  It's got a cute video on it.  She needs a forever family....could you be that family?????
http://onetinystarfish.blogspot.in/2015/03/charlotte-23-months-old.html




Well I have to "tell the truth and shame the devil" one of my husband's favorite sayings.....  (it's also the name of a friend of mine's blog  He's a newspaper columnist, an author and a playwright   http://tellthetruthandshamethedevil.org/"  Ok enough talk....I'm NOT a vegan today, or yesterday, or Sunday.....   Vegan cooking is complicated and I've not had the time.  We hope to get back to vegan later this week.  I ate a tuna fish sandwich and my tummy is very happy!  So that is where I got the title for this post LOL





Saturday, March 7, 2015

Packing!

If you were a Christian in the 80's or 90's you might just remember a Michal W Smith song called "Friends are Friends Forever"  We sang it and cried every time someone moved on, or at the end of every college semester LOL.  Well today surrounded by boxes the first few lines kept going through my head
"Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
I can't believe the hopes He's granted
Means a chapter of your life is through"
 
entire song here
 
 
I'm feeling so nostalgic!  We've lived almost a decade in our home.  It's the only home Sam and Shad remember.  All of Steve's pre-teen years and teen years have been lived in this house.  This is the home we brought our Sarah and Selah home to.   We've laughed here, dreamed here, and cried here.  This house has seen a lot of living.  It's been small, but it's been home.  We've had a lot of good times in this house.  We have cats buried all over the back yard LOL along with a bird or two.  We've got memories of holidays here, birthday parties and special days.  We've planted trees, and honeysuckle and jasmine vines all around.  We have a garden.  We've spent days outside, with slip & slides and baby pools, swing sets and tire swings.  I remember the very spot I was when I first saw Sarah's picture and when I asked Jon the big question...."Can't we adopt her?"   This is where I first saw Selah's picture too, our little Ukrainian surprise.  At the age of 47 I got to plan a nursery:)  Not too many people can say that!   There's been a lot of living here.....
 
It's hard for me to change even when it is a VERY good change.  I'm sure that sounds silly but it's just me. 
 
The only heartache I've really had to bear in these past ten years here, is dealing with the aftereffects of Selah's accident.  Otherwise it's been a beautiful, somewhat hectic life here.  Oh we've had issues here and there but nothing major, nothing that mattered a few months later. 
 
So today we've worked out butts off packing.  We put an old dresser and two old bookcases that are older than Steve, bought from Walmart for $19 to the curb.  Steve and Shad have kept their things in Jon's office at the church for the past two years so we packed some of their things and separated them since they'll each have their own room in the new house.  They've been forced by circumstances to be close these past two years and it's been great to see.  I hope the move and the extra room won't be a reason to drift away from each other. 
 
 I got the living room and all our photo albums packed.  I only allowed myself to look at a few, love seeing my babies' pictures.  They were so little....  We still have a long way to go.  It's not that we have so much stuff but there are 7 of us!  Plus it's hard to pack and still have room to move.  We already have the church nursery packed to the ceiling with various medical supplies! 
 
As I said there is a long way to go.  For some reason, even though I've packed the laundry room up since that's where I stored all my "coupon deals" it doesn't seemed like it's been touched. 
 
We don't have a 'move in" date yet but it is very near and I have to have things done ahead of time or I'll be so stressed out.  I've had some great moves that were very organized and some that were awful so I'd much rather be organized!!! 
 
Confession time.....we got take out from Sonny's BBQ tonight and it was NOT vegan!  Even Jon went with some chicken!  But we've been good, I just could not cook anything tonight! 
 
The other day I had the oddest experience.  I was coming in to our yard, and as I turned to close the fence, I felt as if I was turning a corner in my life, that everything was shifting and changing.  It was just a profound moment in time.....   I don't really know what to think of it but it hit me in the gut.  I think with us moving, Steve being in the process of being hired at the Department, Shad being close to the teen years.....there is just a lot of change.  Change is hard for me.  More than once I've wished I could just stop time!
 
When I was in Junior High chorus, we used to sing a lot of 1970's songs.  One we sang went like this "If the hands of time, were hands that I could hold, I'd keep them warm and in my hands they'd not turn cold"  Then the song went on to talk about various events in the singer's life that she wished she could hold on to.  Boy can I relate to that song NOW!  As a teen, I was so ready to grow up and wanted time to go faster I thought that song was STUPID, now I want to slow time down....I treasure the time I have with my family.  Even now Steve has been gone a lot with college and work, it's not like it used to be on the weekends when we'd all go out to eat and go see a movie or bring one home.  He's rarely home.  While I'm happy for him to have his own life, it's sad for us!  I know all you moms in or near the 'empty nest" know what I mean!   He was actually with us all day and evening yesterday and we went and did some things and went out to eat.  It was great!
 
Anyhow I had a lot of thinking time today as I was packing.....  I'm still excited about moving but I have to have my moment of mourning too LOL