Our 7 Qtpies

January 30, 2010

Can Trinity be the cause?

Last year Trinity prayed that God would give her a baby sister. I got pregnant that week! So sad that it ended like it did, though.
Last week Trinity decided she wanted a baby sister and she decided to pray for one. I am wondering if she left out the "baby" part of sister, because within a day she got a future sister-in-law.

Maybe I should have her pray for money to grow on trees so we can pay for this wedding.

January 28, 2010

Living to Cook

Around here, we cook to live. Lately we have been tired of our constant sicknesses and weight gain, so we decided to make a healthy lifestyle change and start cooking foods that are not pre-packaged. No more high fructose corn syrup in our lives, as much as we can avoid it. (did you know that stuff is in Stove Top Stuffing?????)

So for the past 6 months or so I have been drooling over a high school classmates facebook statuses.

"got dinner ready last night before bed...Sicilian pot roast...2 big ones from Sam's Club with tomatoes, onions, garlic, red wine, herbs and black and green be served over whole wheat rotini :)"
"made a yummy 3 berry sour cream coffee cake yesterday and dinner last night was FAB! Pork piccata with capers and artichokes and brussel sprouts (OHHHHHHH, you'd eat these...didn't even taste like bs (hahaha), bacon and capers, caramelize...d brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar and topped with toasted pine nuts, currants and raisins WOW"

"made brownies this am...cherry upside down cake in oven right now, what's for dinner? italian meatloaf, boiled potatoes and steamed cali blend veggies ;)..."

Yeah, I feel inferior, lol.

Kathy has made a healthy lifestyle choice, and I admire her for it. She has gone through a lot health-wise. One of her children has autism and she is a 3 year breast cancer survivor. She has always wanted to write a book, so she took her love of cooking and ran with it. She is just starting to sell her new cookbook Living to Cook. On her website she says that through this healthier cooking, which is still fantastic tasting, her husband lost 60 pounds!
Kathy's spirit amazes me. She is on a Dragon Boat team of breast cancer survivors and will soon have a line of shirts in support of the cause available on her website.

Kathy needs to sell about 15 more books for publishing, so I encourage you to check out her webpage and buy her book if you are looking for better eating and a healthy lifestyle without giving up the pleasure of eating.

January 25, 2010

Wedding bells are gonna ring!

I am so excited! Drew and Jannessa agreed to wait to get married until March 6th so that we can have a wedding!
Her mother and I have been chatting on Facebook and making all sorts of plans! Wedding dress shopping, menu planning, etc. We are going to meet for lunch next week and actually meet in person.
It is actually all pretty funny how things worked out. My friend Jeannie has been telling me for a couple of years that I would just love her great-niece Jackie. Drew has been telling me for a year and a half that I would just love his friend Joey's former foster mom, Jackie. And now, having never met said "Jackie" we are going to be sharing our children very soon! Our children both think we will love each other because we are so alike. Jackie has 10 children, and her and her husband were named foster parents of special needs children of the year last year. We share a love of children!
Both Drew and Jannessa are very afraid of us two getting together and planning things, lol. (not really, haha) They know we are going to be great friends and love each other's child.

So, Drew is marrying his friend Joey's half sister's adopted sister. (complicated, I know) and my friend Jeannie's great, great niece. When Drew and Jannessa met 1 1/2 years ago, Joey said that they would end up married. Way to call it, Joey!

Right now we have a snag in the wedding plans. Our church won't marry unequally yoked couples, and we don't know how equal they are or how equal they need to be. They will be counselling and figuring it out, but HELLO! Five weeks from now is the wedding, and we need to get the invites out! If they can't get married at our church, we need to start hunting for a new venue and pastor.
Another snag is that they want a dance and our church won't allow dancing. Long story, it isn't our religious beliefs, exactly, but the elders decision not to have it in the church itself.
So, fun times!

January 24, 2010

Wowser! Life changes so fast!

These are my birth children. All 7 of them together. Which doesn't happen too often anymore. I enjoy it when it does happen, though.

My family is changing, though. In the last year we have unofficially gained 3 more children. In this picture you can see Brian, our "fake son" in the Santa hat, Kaytlin's boyfriend Peter, my three older boys in the back row, then my three girls, Drew's girlfriend Jannessa, and Sam.
But now it is more official. Drew asked Jannessa to marry him, and she said yes! Sadly they are going to marry soon and family won't be able to be there. We are trying to convince them to hold off for a month and let us plan a wedding so we can be there, but for financial reasons they probably won't wait. (no, there is no baby on the way, for sure)
So, probably by the end of the week, I am going to be a mother-in-law! Scary! Totally new territory for me.

January 21, 2010

I don't make this stuff up!

Tonight Devon came to me with a tin foil pan with a meal in it and I wondered where it came from. He said some little girl with black hair, about age 6, handed it to him at the door. Her, possible, father was behind her. He didn't know who they were. So I ran to the door and they were gone. I looked and saw a gold car pulling out of the driveway.
Hmm, not expecting a meal.
There was a card on top addressed to me. It was a sympathy card for Joyce's death, and it was signed "Karen and family."
I have NO IDEA who this is from.

There are 2 Karens in my church, both with grown children, and both of whom I really believe would have not only signed a last name, but would have called to see if it was OK to deliver a meal.

I have NO idea who to thank! Now I will look like a rude, ungrateful jerk.

January 19, 2010

I have a confession to make.

I am not proud of this, but I must confess.

I am a liar.

I don't know when it happened, but it did.

When Donnie and I first became Christians we determined not to lie to our children. We were not going to hide the bad in the world, though we would shield it the best we could while still allowing them to see the world was not perfect. The most important thing to us was that our children would know that we were not lying to them about Jesus.

Somewhere along the way, though, lines started to blur.

Just tonight I told a doozie of a lie. Sam loves broccoli. It is his favorite food right now, next to candy. We sat down to eat supper; chicken, mashed potatoes and peas. Sam looked at his plate and pointed to an empty spot and said "I want broccoli." I looked him straight in the face and said "That is broccoli, broccoli.......... dots." pointing to his peas. He believed me. He ate those broccoli dots and loved them.

I am such a liar!

Don't judge me.

January 12, 2010

The joys of funeral planning

It is time to see the humor in things now, right? This post is in humor, not complaint.

When Joyce passed away Friday night no one had really thought through to the fact that she would die and we would need to have a funeral or that we would have to plan it immediately. (can you believe that people expected us to have it planned within an hour of her death? People wanted to know when I called about her passing!) Within an hour the family had to find and contact a funeral home. That meant deciding where we would do things logistically. The three kids live in three areas not close to each other. With the added twist that Joyce and Phillip have only recently moved from the town that they raised their family in. Most family and friends are out in that area, really far from all of us.

It was decided rather easily that we would have it in their home town because most people who will attend are elderly and wouldn't be able to travel for over 2 hours to a funeral. I was making phone calls about Joyce's passing while they were working with the funeral home. They set the date and time out to Saturday the 16th, however, they just planned it at the funeral home, not a church. The funeral home doesn't have an area for a reception or mingling.

There was some arguing about having a reception. I insisted that we have one, and Dean (Donnie's brother) refused. I finally convinced him because if someone flies from D.C. to Minnesota and then drives 3 hours to the funeral, they should be able to have something more than a half hour funeral and good-bye. So it is agreed that we would have one.

Then came the place. I felt the logical, and very expected, place would be their home church, where they are still members. For several reasons the family didn't want it there. Their reasons were valid, though I knew it would raise questions for people. 21 years ago Joyce and Phillip lost a son to suicide at a very young age. In their time of grief a few church members were quite rude and mean, and one even told Phillip "You better not let this happen to any of your other children." He has been hurting from that comment for 21 years! And this guy is still there and still involved in funerals, so Phillip doesn't want to deal with those memories or that guy while grieving his wife. The other valid reason is that the church is a country church, way out there and most people are elderly and may not be able to get there, especially in the winter.

So, I was tasked with getting the funeral at a soon-to-be sister church in town. I had to wait until Monday to reach people, and when I finally did I had to talk to several people. I started with calling the pastor at the home church, thinking he would be a help in getting the other facility to open up to us. He was a piece of work, not at all warm and friendly, however, he did say our pastor could preach there if we do use them because he has his grandkids birthday party that day. The other pastor for the sister church was very kind, and had actually prayed for us this past weekend with the home church.

Getting the church proved easy and hard. They were more than willing to let us use the facilities, however, that date they have their picture directory pictures all day. So, the funeral couldn't be there, but they would let us use the basement for the reception. Great! So, we'll do the funeral at the funeral home and the reception at the town church. Their pastor said that when they were setting the date for the pictures they said "There will be a funeral that weekend." Sure enough!

Hmm, so how big IS the funeral home? We decided if the funeral home was smaller we would do a private funeral and then an open reception. Then we found out just how small the funeral home is. 30 people. That is it. Now imagine my family. With our kids, their boy/girlfriends, we total 11. That is a third of the people with just my family.

Soooo, that just wouldn't do. By this time it is 5pm on Monday and I had worked all day reaching people to get that far. And then they decided to go with my original suggestion and hold it at the church they were raised in.

Do you know what that meant? I had to undo all the funeral arrangements and start over. After a full day of organizing. It turned out to be really easy, though. I made one call to someone at the church and she is taking care of everything from there. I just need to let the other church know we won't be using them.

Now I can concentrate on other things, like what everyone is going to wear to the funeral. My job is done.

So, funny! I got a call from Donnie's aunt today. Apparently the elderly apartments they live in put up flyers yesterday saying that we were having a private funeral. I had not even decided and set plans up until last night after 5pm!!!!! I hadn't even announced it to anyone at that point! Seriously, where are people hearing this stuff from? And the weird thing is that they knew what I was working on exactly, so where did they get the information? LOL Small town gossips!

January 10, 2010


My mother-in-law, Joyce, passed away on Friday, January 8th, 10 minutes after the Bi PAP was removed from her face. Her two sons were on either side of her holding her hands. I just held my husband from behind.
I can't tell you how hard this was on everyone. Partly expected and still surprisingly fast.
This picture is from our Christmas together the day she came home from the hospital, for a grand total of a day and a half.

It was a bitter-sweet day for us as one of my best friends, Jody, gave birth to her daughter at only 34 1/2 weeks along. Little Tessa is very small, but very healthy and hasn't needed any intervention other than a feeding tube due to the size of her stomach, though she is a good little nurser when she is allowed.

It was such a blessing to have both events occur together for us. Donnie said it was poetry from God.

Now we move on to new territory for us. We have never had to bury a parent before and we are lost in the tumultuous sea that is funeral planning in the midst of grief. We are stumbling through it with much help from friends who have been there, and the support and love and prayers of our friends and family.

Joyce was not very fond of preachers, and, in fact, would kick the chaplains out of her hospital rooms. But she would not only see, but enjoyed, visiting with our pastor. Pastor Al has offered to do her funeral, even though it will be a 2 1/2 hour drive. Each way. (no, he didn't know that before, lol, though he did offer to drive no matter how far) We are so blessed by this! The day we got the call from the surgeon that Joyce was not going to live, Pastor Al came to the hospital, even in horrid driving conditions. He shook Joyce awake to speak with her and her face lit up! I did not see her face light up at any of the rest of us. She knew he would be there to pray for her.

Joyce woke up and was talking a bit in the middle of the night Thursday and told the boys (her sons and husband) that maybe it was time to let her go. By noon on Friday, Joyce had stopped responding to us verbally, and by late afternoon she was not responding with blinks or squeezes and really wouldn't even look at us, just open her eyes. We really feel that she wasn't with us anymore before her body quit breathing.

Everyone is holding up pretty well. Phillip, her husband, is doing OK. Please keep him in your prayers, he never thought he would outlive his wife, who is more than 10 years younger than he is.

January 08, 2010

Life changes

Right now I am sitting in the ICU next to my mother in law's bed watching her being force-fed oxygen. Her chest stops moving, then she can't resist the forced air of her BiPAP and she inhales. I have relieved her children and husband so they can go eat together.

For the last several months my mother in law has been pretty sick. She has been in the hospital pretty much since the day before Thanksgiving, with the exception of a day and a half. She has congestive heart failure, kidney failure, her lungs are filling with fluid and she has a pancreatic cyst that they tried to drain into her stomach with a stint. The stint didn't hold and now she has a whole in her stomach which is leaking into her body. This is a catastrophic condition, but they are unable to operate because she would not survive.
We have been with her in the hospital since Thursday night waiting for her to die. It is horrible to even say that! We hope and hope she gets better, and every spike in her vitals towards normal makes up more hopeful, only to have them dashed again.
Now here we are with the decision to remove her BiPAP machine that is helping her get more oxygen, but she is fighting it now. I am very thankful I did not have to make that decision, but it is very hard watching her get further and further away from consciousness. She will open her eyes if we shake her, but she no longer even looks at us or answers us with a blink or squeeze of the hand.

We could be in for a really long night once they remove that machine, or it could end quickly. But no matter what, Joyce will not be in pain or discomfort. That is her ultimate goal, she just wants to feel better. No more pain. No more struggle to breathe. No more surgery. The doctors could not help her over the last 6 months.

This is not only not a situation we thought we would find ourselves in at our age, but certainly not at Joyce's age of 66. It seems so unfair.

Back to waiting for the doctor to come remove the BiPAP.

January 06, 2010

The best laid plans, HAHA!!!

Yesterday, Devon turned 17 years old. (he is the boy in the white shirt in the picture)

Devon called home sick from school yesterday. He puked twice and the nurse was sending him home. So when he gets home, he walks in the door and sprints up the stairs and I asked him how he is. "Fine!" Really? He didn't feel sick, he just puked. OK, then.

Within an hour he was dressed to leave the house and started to walk out the door. Um, where do you think you are going?

"To the swim meet a little early." (yeah, 3 hours early??)

"No, you are sick, you are not going anywhere."

"No, I'm not sick, I'm fine, it was something I ate."

"Trinity, Sam, Hope-Anne and now you are all puking, it isn't something you ate."

"Ugh! I'm FINE!!!"

"Not going. But even if you WERE fine, you haven't done your chores yesterday or today, and that means you aren't going."

So he stomps off threatening to stay in his bed the rest of the night.

Pretty soon he comes down and asks to go because he really isn't sick.

"I didn't throw up."

"What do you mean, you didn't throw up?"

"I lied to get out of 4th hour so it wouldn't ruin my birthday. And now you won't let me go to the swim meet."

"How do I know you lied then and are not lying now?"

"Um, you don't."

"Wow, that plan sure backfired on you then, haha. You are not going, besides you still haven't done chores."

"Ugh!" (stomping and door slamming.)

It wasn't fun having to do that on his birthday, but I had to. But it is kind of funny!

January 05, 2010

Welcome to Our Seven Qtpies!

I am really honored to be featured over at An Island Life as blogger of the week!
This is a rough week for me, so my posts are a bit depressing. So, I am going to link to a few of the posts that are typical of what you will find over here. Most of them include a T.O.T. (Tornado of Terror) event involving poop, a huge mess, or complete cuteness!
I have 7 great qtpies.
Drew is my oldest, he is 20 and in the Air Force becoming an Air Traffic Controller.
Kaytlin is my second child, she is 18 and going to college debt-free so far and gets amazing grades, plus she plans to have her first kiss on her wedding day!
Devon turned 17 today and is my jock. He loves to swim and play football. He has been on Varsity swimming since he was an 8th grader.
Cody is 14 and he is our techno-geek. He has an aptitude for electronics and draws amazing animated cartoons on his DSi.
Hope-Anne is 13, that difficult year, and she is quite the musician. She picked up the clarinet so quickly and just amazes us with her talent.
Trinity is 6 and a delight, her laugh is contagious and she always is good for one.
Sam is 3, and the current reining T.O.T. He terrorizes our home several times a day. But he is funny. And CUTE.

Something smells fishy around here
$100 and 6.5 hours in the ER and all I got was this lousy BB?
Does this cake make me look fat?
Little Boy Blue
The Awful, no good, very bad day
The Homecoming
My son Sam
What is that SMELL?
Trinity funny
Never say it can't get any worse
Here is what a bad mom I am
Master of Disaster
A first for me as a parent of 7

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you will come back looking for more laughs!

An Island Life Blogger of the Week


This past 8 months I have not felt up to blogging or writing my newspaper articles. I force myself to blog, but I can't bring myself to go back to the paper and write about young children. I have been in a bad mental state since my ectopic pregnancy rupture.
I gave myself time to grieve, it was rough, I very easily could be dead right now, and the choice we had to make rocked our world. But I couldn't understand why I was grieving for so long.
Kaytlin was a twin, but her twin died somewhere between month 3 and 4. It was hard, but I had Kaytlin and I did OK. Between Devon and Cody I lost a baby who was due January 5th at 9 weeks gestation, though the baby had died at 6 weeks. That was tough, but I was pregnant with Cody by the due date and replaced my grief with the fact that I wouldn't have Cody if I hadn't lost the other baby.
I've had a few more miscarriages, mostly I find out I am pregnant and the next day it is over. Those were sad, but not horrible.

Why do I feel like I am going to lose my mind over this one? I've really struggled. I can't forget for a day. Not one day in 8 months. In spite of the bad advice to focus on the 7 healthy children I do have, I can't forget and stop mourning for the child who died.

January 3rd was the due date. I made it through the due date with nothing more than some held back tears because Drew was home and I just enjoyed being with him. But getting ready for Christmas? That was horrible. I would lay there in bed and think that my abdomen should be huge and there should be a kicking baby in there that I would be getting ready to welcome into our home. I should have been putting up the bassinet and the tree. Washing baby clothes and buying cloth diapers for a newborn.

So why is this so much harder to deal with than the other babies? I didn't even want to be pregnant when I found out. I didn't even believe it for a week.

I was talking to one of our pastors and his wife last night and I think I understand. This loss was traumatic. It took away more than just my baby, it took away my thoughts of the world. I was so against abortion (still am) and was so sure that there just wasn't a choice of the mother over the baby, you leave that in God's hands. I never associated ectopic pregnancy with abortions, though. The baby wasn't going to make it, so it wasn't really an abortion??? I don't know, but when I had to sign to have my baby pulled from my body without knowing if he/she was still alive I fell apart. I died inside. It literally was me and the baby or the baby. The baby was going to die no matter what I did, and if I didn't choose me, I was going to die, too. There was no choice, yet the choice had to be made.

I lost by baby, I lost my tube, and I lost my view of the world. And it sucks. Big time.