|oh, the anticipation!|
|this is serious business!|
...Rebekah came up with the idea of making popcorn ball snowmen - complete with candy cane arms, Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Hats, mini M&M eyes and smile! They tasted as good as they looked...
and a few of the kids also made gingerbread houses and graham cracker houses.
This year we also did a few things we haven't done in the past! Jeremy, Jessica and I joined the Lynden Choral Society to sing The Messiah! I loved the rehearsals, and after getting past being overwhelmed with the complexity and sheer volume of the music, they really enjoyed the entire experience! I was only able to make it to about half the rehearsals due to my sinus infection (more on that later too), and was unable to perform, but it was still a highlight for my year. It has been many, many years since I had the opportunity to sing in a choir, especially to sing challenging music while praising my Lord and Savior! I was even able to increase my singing range by 3 notes! I am so looking forward to next year! I was able to attend one of the performances and it was beautiful. The Messiah music can bring me to tears at anytime, but due to the disappointment of not being able to be up there with my friends and family caused me to cry through most of it. I was singing in my heart though!
This year I was able (barely) to direct our church's choir! We have not had a choir for over 3 years, and we were unsure if there was enough interest - there sure was! We had nearly 60 members! About half had never sung in a choir, and over half were junior high/high school age. What they lacked in experience they made up for in paying attention, practicing at home and regular/punctual attendance! I could not have asked for a better choir! We were able to perform three times - twice for church services, and once at the Light House Mission! I have to give all the credit to God - as I was so sick through most of the practice season (we only had 5 practices that were less than an hour long), but He blessed our work, and enabled me to be there for every scheduled practice (I did have to direct sitting down for one!). I am also looking forward to doing this again next year!
On our way home from a family gathering in Lynnwood, Rebekah counted almost 400 homes decorated with lights! We also started singing Christmas Carols in the van as we were nearing Lynden to practice the songs the children were going to sing at the Sunday School Christmas Program. As we drove through Lynden, we tried to carol to people on the street by opening our windows - it was a nice idea, but we only saw two people out and about! We'll have to try it again next year earlier in the evening in a busier part of town!
|Jeremy and Jason helped us "pick" our candy|
machine locks so we could get out money out!
Jeremy and Jason came home "Christmas Adam" - a term I heard for the first time this year, meaning that Adam was created before Eve, so the night before Christmas Eve is Christmas Adam! They had dinner with us and we enjoyed playing games throughout the evening!
|I enjoyed playing scrabble with my oldest kids!|
We were given a pool table recently and had finally got it all set up just days before, and it saw a lot of use by all! God is so good to bless us with something we have wanted for so long, but could not afford!
They spent the night and we celebrated all our family traditions on Saturday since I would be directing the choir Sunday morning.
Saturday started off with the children all joining us in our bedroom for opening the goody bags - small gifts and special candies:
This year we were a little more practical than usual and we got all the children insulated straw cups (they look like the kind you get when you have a smoothy/frappacino, but are sturdy and reusable!).
After breakfast, the big boys helped with clean up and then we spent a few hours enjoying their new toys and playing pool, ping pong and cards. I got the turkey started, and then took a much needed nap. Once I got up, each of the children helped with one of the meal dishes, and then we sat down to a sumptuous Turkey dinner with all the trimmings! Everyone helped clean up and we spent the rest of the day playing together.
|Dayton turned 8 years old on 12/20 - he was a very happy boy!|
Now to tell you about the things I hinted at earlier in this post. Starting in late October I came down with a bad cold, that turned into a sinus infection, then bronchitis. I endured two rounds of antibiotics, which knocked the bronchitis, but did not kick the sinus infection. The day before Thanksgiving I passed out while reading on the computer! I was rushed to the ER, and they found that the sinus infection had spread to my ears, and that I had passed out due to dizziness (I had not felt dizzy) from the inflammation in my ears. Sounds simple, but it was very scary for us all. the ER doctor told me to REST, drink lots of fluids and put me on two new medications. I was also directed to have a followup appointment with an ENT, which I did, and he changed my medications and I finally kicked the sinus infection about a week later. That is why I had to direct sitting down, not looking at my music - I got dizzy very easily for about a week! I don't think I have ever appreciated being healthy like I did then!
During my illness, the OB noticed that my blood pressure and pulse were elevated, so on my next appointment, they check it, hoping that it would have returned to normal and that it was caused by the medications I was on, but that was not the case. They were still elevated and this was cause for concern. So she put me on a baby dose of beta blocker (lowers BP, pulse and cardiac output) and scheduled for me to go to the University of Washington to see a specialist at the mother/infant prenatal clinic - a hypertension specialist. This happened the day before Christmas Adam. Daryl was able to take the day off and go with me - and this was good as we learned so much about what was going on with my condition. They used a very unique (old - 1970 era) ultrasound machine to measure the blood flowing in and out of my heart. They found that my cardiac output was double what it should be - and that after a week on medications to lower it! Needless to say this was disconcerting!
The Dr met with us and told us that this is possible indication that I might develop preeclampsia - a potentially devastating pregnancy related illness. He also said that if they give me too much medication and make my numbers looks great, it could cause Carece to not grow at ideal rates (intrauterine growth retardation), but if the doses are too low I could develop preecplamsia. So, since my blood pressure looks very nice if I am lying down/resting, they kept me on the same dose, but I need to take it easy, and rest with my feet up at least an hour in the late morning, and at least two hours in bed in the afternoon. I also have to not do anything that causes my pulse to be elevated (no exercise beyond walking).
Since then I have been a very good girl, and my blood pressure has gone down - if I do not leave home. So we are limiting my trips away from home to OB/pregnancy appointments and Sunday morning service. I am experiencing an early nesting instinct, but I figure that's good as I'll probably have my activities further restricted as we get closer (I was on bed rest for the last month or so for the last two pregnancies).
Starting this weekend, we started an entire new chore system, set up so that, if needed, I will not have to do any housework at all and the housework will still get done. This has freed me up to rest, and tackle small projects here and there.
So with the New Year, I am living life at a new pace - slow and steady, resting as much as possible. So far everything is going very well, and the house is looking better than usual! Business (Snap-EZ) was slow, as usual, during December, so that helped as well. We'll see how things go as business has already picked up since Christmas, but my girls are more than capable of doing all the labor, I just need to manage what needs to be done and when.
In order to make this work, I have also set up a little area for myself in the living room - from my recliner I can reach two tables, use a laptop (mine died last year, but my son, Jeremy, has loaned me his), care for Esther (meds, diaper changes, therapy/preschool,), access my crochet and knitting projects, answer the phone and play scrabble or cards! Daryl set up our WiFi so I have access to the business computer and it's laptop, so I can do almost all business related things from here as well! I also keep trail mix and a large water bottle handy at all times! Also, I can hear almost everything that goes on in the house from here, so I don't miss as much as when I am working from the computer upstairs...I'm seriously thinking about making this a permanent place for me to work - I'll just need to get myself a laptop once the business pays off the last little bit of debt to celebrate!
I hope you have a blessed New Year!