What a weekend!

I am back from my long scrapbooking weekend! I am bummed that it's over already. But the good news is that I got all my cruise pictures in an album. I also got Jenna's school book caught up, all my Virginia Beach pictures in an album and Jenna's regular book is caught up to July of this year. While that sounds good, if you only saw how many pictures I have since July of this year, you wouldn't be so impressed!

Now, all me to brag a bit...Jenna got her report card last week and I was super excited. Most of you know that I am a big reader and I feel that her reading well is the key to a successful education. At her school, you are expected to be at reading level "J" when you leave first grade. Jenna is at reading level "H" right now which is the expectation after the 3rd grading period. This is just the first! I am so proud and excited for her. She was proud of herself too. She got "E"s in Bible, outside reading, phonics, english/writing, spelling, science and social studies. "E" is considered as excelling in the subject. "S" is satisfactory and she got and S in reading, handwriting, math, and conduct. She also got straight "S"s in all the subjects she does outside the classroom like Art, Spanish, music and library. The lowest grade she got was an "S-". Can you guess what that was in? I'll give you a hint, it was under conduct. :) Yep..."controls talking". Geez...wonder where she got that? :) I'm proud of my smart girl!

News on the Dad front...he did NOT go home on Thursday. As a precaution, they checked his urine for infection before releasing him and it came back positive with a "super bug", so they kept him over the weekend to administer antibiotics through injection. Bertie was hoping to have him released late in the weekend, but last night, they called her and said they did another culture and after all this time, the infection was still there. Bertie was pretty upset because they kept him all weekend giving him antibiotics that weren't even effective for the infection he had. So she talked to his doctor first thing this morning and he felt he was fine to go on and be released. By the time she got to the nursing home, the order had already been sent and Bertie was ready to take him home this afternoon. However, at the last minute, she received a call that the doctor from the nursing home had come around and said he thought Daddy needed to go to the hospital. Again, we were pretty upset and disappointed. But then this afternoon, she called and said they were home. Apparently, once the hospital did a quick culture, they identified the bug right away and gave the appopriate antibiotics which could be given by mouth. She said Dadd was so glad to be home and I could tell Bertie was relieved. Hopefully he'll just continue to improve. I'll keep you posted.

Finally, Jenna is out of school on Friday (October 31) and Monday (November 3) and we are looking for someone to keep her on Halloween from about 7am until noon. Steve's taking off in the afternoon. Steve's sister is keeping her on the 3rd (thanks Deanne!) but we want someone more local for the 31st. If you aren't already homeschooling and want to help out, let me know. If we can't find someone, then I'll most likely take her to work with me until Steve can take off.

That's about it for now.


And the Winner is...

OK, so I had grand plans of having Jenna pick the winner of the free churched copy, taking her picture actually pulling the name out of the hat and posting it etc. However, as it tends to do, life got away from me and I didn't have time to do all that. Steve isn't feeling well tonight and he didn't go to church which meant I took Jenna and then after I got home, had to get all my scrapbook stuff together and loaded in the van etc. Jenna and Steve are both in bed and I'm headed there shortly. But since I'll be out of town for the next few days, I wanted to get this done so you all that left a comment would know if you won.

Now there were only 4 to go into the drawing. I hope you all noticed the 1st comment was from the author himself, Matthew Paul Turner! How cool is that! I had no idea that would happen, but I thought it was really cool. Anyway, here's the deal...I have the extra copy and then I have my copy. So, I'll draw two names and for those that do not get drawn, you'll have to just borrow the book from the ones who did win it when they get done. Everyone is local except my friend Christy and if she doesn't win, then I'll just get the other copy from one of you when you are done and ship it out there, that is unless she just can't wait and buys it herself.

Anyway, I have written your names on slips of paper and am now putting them behing my back (seriously, I'm doing this right now as I type!)...and I'm mixing them up...and drawing...ALLISON! YAY! You'll have to have lunch with me now! OK, seriously, if you'll email me your home address, I will drop this in the mail next week when I'm back in the office.

Now, for the second book...same deal...behind my back...mixing them up...drawing...CHRISTY! YAY CHRISTY! I think I have your address...just shoot me a quick email to confirm and I'll also drop yours in the mail.

Rachel and Meredith...boo, hiss! I'm sorry you didn't win. Rachel-I know you have a LIST of books to read, so it will be a while before you get down to this one. :) Besides, you're going to be too busy this weekend to read! Meredith-sorry for you too...I know you would have enjoyed this :( :(

Thanks to you all for playing and reading my blog. My head is hurting as my allergies are acting up again (awful timing), so I'm going to read a few pages in my current book, Flashbang, and then get on to bed before it gets too late. I'm hoping the morning finds Steve feeling much better...and me too!


Our Day in Pictures

Today was our last day of Fall Break, so I thought it would be fun to give you the rundown in pictures...

After the meeting at the nursing facility about Daddy (which went well. He's going home this Thursday!), we went to the mall to do Build A Bear.

Unfortunately, we got there shortly after nine and the stores in the mall doesn't open until 10am. Jenna wanted to wait...so, we did.

We walked around the mall and literally window shopped. Then we found one of those picture booths and did that. Here's Jenna showing off her model-pose and the crazy pictures I paid a whopping $3 for!

Finally, it was time and Jenna selected an elephant from BABW. I have to admit, it was one of her cuter selections.

After that, I decided to show Jenna what a REAL cupcake was like. For those who aren't local and aren't familiar with Gigi's cupcakes, you are truly missing out. These cupcakes are to die for! There's like a billion calories in one cupcake. Jenna readily agreed that she hadn't tasted a cupcake until she tasted Gigi's.

After a stomache and a ride home, Jenna's next request was to play Barbies. Here she is pointing to her Barbie. Just so you know, the other two were mine and they were on their way to watch Jenna's Barbie go bowling. :)

After playing, I took some time to finish up my Bible Study and then we went for a really late lunch. Her choice (quite appropriately)...

Then it was off to do some errands before this coming scrapbook weekend (did you wonder how long it would take me to work THAT in?! :) ) And of course, we went to my favorite store in the world! Can you recognize it?

Then we came back home and Jenna played and watched TV while I did a little work for Jenna. She is in a play at school later this month and she is a cow. It is the parents' responsibility to MAKE the costume. Uh. Yeah. Unfortunately, I did NOT learn any sewing or handiwork from my mother before she passed away. But I figured I'd give it my best shot. Thanks to my bud, Rachel (who provided the black felt and pipe cleaners), I think it turned out pretty good. Honestly, I think my mother would be proud. What do you think?

(yes, I know it's missing a tail...that's the one thing I still have left to do!)

And THAT'S how we spent our last day of Fall Break!


OK, so I'm totally bummed right now. Two of our couple friends from church are doing the Fireproof Bible Study with us. Tonight was our night to host. We made a big pot of chili, several desserts and bought finger candy (think candy corn, M&Ms and Skittles). This morning after church, we got a call that one of our members was sick and so we collectively decided to cancel. I understand and would not want to take the chance of spreading the illness, but I'm totally bummed! I love spending time with these couples (more than you know!) and I'm disappointed we can't get together. I have no idea what to do with all this chili! So, if you are local and have a "hankerin'" (that's a southern word) for some chili, come on over...it's in the crockpot and ready whenever you are hungry!

However, as disappointed as I am, I do have th rest of the day free and I'm wondering what to get into. I had to do all my "stuff" yesterday since I thought we'd be tied up today, so now, it's just a free day. Steve is thining he might get the Halloween decorations out. I've had the urge to go spend money that I don't have (I seem to have this problem), but I'm going to stay close just so I don't. Jenna is still out of school tomorrow and we have several things to do (more on that later), so I want to enjoy my day today.

I went to visit Daddy on Friday morning with Jenna and then we went to have lunch at Chuck E. Cheeses with my friend Carrie and her kids Z and S. After that, we went home where I promptly fell asleep on the couch! Ah...I love Fall Break! Friday evening, we went to the DLHS football game. GO MUSTANGS! We are undefeated.

I did my normal weekend activities yesterday, laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning. After finishing all that, I felt like I should go visit Daddy again, so Jenna and I loaded up and drove in for an hour or so. He's doing very well. Honestly, I think the alcohol has done it's damage to his brain and how he is now is as good as he's going to get. But I do anticipate that he would eventually be able to be self sufficient again, which is good news. He did take a spill on Wednesday when he got out of bed unassisted, but luckily, although bruised and sore, he did not break anything (like a hip!). After we got home, Micah and Gage were here and they ate dinner with us and spent the night, so that was pretty fun. Micah is just dabbling in scrapbooking right now, so I looked at what she's done, gave her a few things from my stuff and talked to her about the basics. It's a pity she doesn't live closer...I'd love to be able to scrapbook with her often.

Tomorrow, Bertie has a meeting with the doctor and nurses at the nursing facility and I'm going to attend as well. We aren't sure that they are actually doing much to help him that we couldn't have done at the house. So, we are meeting to talk with them about how he's progressing, what they think his prognosis is and when they think he can go home. That will be tomorrow morning. We were going to go to Dinosaur World with my niece Karen and her son, but I don't now what time we'll be done with Daddy's meeting. Although I don't think it will take long, I could be wrong. So, to make it up to Jenna, I have told her that if she'd be good while I was in the meeting, we would spend the day doing whatever she wanted. She's already made her list which consists of Build A Bear workshop, swimming at the rec center, a movie, playing Barbies, watching a scary movie at home and eating popcorn. We did the scary movie and popcorn last night and I'm not sure the rec center will have their indoor pool open tomorrow, so we might have to alter her list a bit. ;) I might take her to the pumpkin patch since schools are back in tomorrow.

And now, I think I might go scrapbook some. I NEVER get time to do this at home...It's 2:30 and I have hours to work...we'll see how far I get.

That's all for now...hope everyone is enjoying their Sunday afternoon. GO TITANS!



I wanted to share with you a book I recently read. It's by Matthew Paul Turner and it's called churched. I think this review says it all...

"He spend his childhood trapped within the confines of countless bizarre, strict rules. And lived to tell about it.

In this first-hand account, author Matthew Paul Turner shares amusing-something cringe-worthy-and poignant stories about growing up in a fundamentalist household, where even well-intentioned contemporary Christian music was proclaimed to be 'of the devil'.

churched is a collection of stories that detail an American boy's experiences growing up in a culture where men weren't allowed to let their hair grow to touch their ears ('an abomination!'), women wouldn't have been caught dead in a pair of pants (unless swimming), and the pastor couldn't preach a sermon without a healthy dose of hellfire and brimstone. Matthew grapples with the absurdity of a Sunday School Barbie burning, the passionate annual boxing match between the pastor and Satan, and the holiness of being baptized a fifth time-while growing into a young man who, amidst the chaotic mess of religion, falls in love with Jesus."

I just recently finished this book and wanted to encourage you to buy it (you can get it here). churched is written by a local, Matthew Paul Turner (some might follow his wife Jessica's blog). The story is Matthew's first-hand account about his life. I didn't really know much about the fundamentalist faith, but I learned alot reading this book and actually related to some of his musings to experiences I had growing up in a super-conservative Southern Baptist church! I literally laughed out loud at times while reading!

And for one lucky person, I have an additional copy to give away!!! If you are interested in getting a free copy of churched, leave me a comment or email me. I will draw a name from all those interested and send (or hand-deliver) a copy of it to you. I'll give you a week...so let me know if you are interested before Wednesday, October 22.

That's all folks!


Answered Prayer...

Thanks to all of you who prayed for the Halls today. Believe it or not, they were blessed in not having to wait until tomorrow for the answer. Their son's test came back NEGATIVE for Cystic Fibrosis! Thank you Jesus!

It's tax time at work and so I have to have all of my plan filings done by tomorrow, so I'm crazy busy at work.

Daddy's done much better over the past few days.

There's more, but I don't have time to share right now. Hopefully I'll be able to spend some time updating later this week when Jenna's on fall break!


If you are reading this right now, please send up prayers for the Hall family who right now are having their youngest tested for Cystic Fibrosis. The test started at 10am and will probably last about an hour. Results tomorrow. Please remember the Halls in your prayers.


Two Festivals, A Milkman and a Prayer Request

Last weekend, we went to the Country Ham Festival here in the "hill". We had a great time and our first stop was the face painting booth. I thought it turned out really cute.

Friday, Jenna had Nothin' But Fun Day at her school. It is like a mini fall-festival for the elementary school. Here she is getting ready to get started.

Then last night, Steve and I went to a costume party with our Sunday School class. I have to tell you, dressing up as an adult is just as fun as when we were kids. That is, when everyone else looks just as silly. Can you guess what we are?

You got it....we are the milkman and the pregnant house mom! :) It was an easy costume to put together at home.

I did went to see Daddy on Friday night at the skilled nursing facility. He wasn't doing as well as we'd hoped but today he seemed to be way more alert. That's good. Let's hope it stays that way.

As for the prayer request, remember the Hall family in your prayers, especially on Tuesday. Their youngest, a son, is 4 1/2 and he's having a test to determine whether he has Cystic Fibrosis. The family is a strong Christian family but is most appreciative of all the prayers they can get. So if you can remember, pray for them on Tuesday and then on Wednesday when they will get the results.

And just to end, a picture I just thought was cute!


I figured it was about time for an update on us.

Quickly...Jenna's infection is nearly gone. Just a little dark dot where it used to be. Still on antibiotics oral and topical and we go back in to see the doctor on Monday to be sure we are all good. I developed the same thing (remember the one on my back?!) the day after Jenna had hers drained. Of course, if I thought the one on my back was in an inconvenient place, the current one really takes the cake! And that's all I've got to say about that. Feel free to let your imagination run wild.

Anyway, I called the doctor on Monday and the soonest they could see me was today, so I took the appointment. On Tuesday, I called the pediatrician to let her know about mine and she said Jenna's culture came back as staph and I think she said it was MRSA. For those not in healthcare, MRSA is basically a super-bug. Normal antibiotics have no effect on it. You have to use the heavy duty drugs. Luckily, being that we have the best pediatrician in the world ("we"?), she anticipated that and gave Jenna the super antibiotic that will work on MRSA infections. But I digress...so, by Wednesday of this week, I didn't think I should wait any longer, so I went to the clinic/nurse practitioner in our office. (We actually have a full fledged clinic AND pharmacy here) and she took a look (due to the location, God bless her) and she decided given the history it was best to drain it and send it off to culture. Fun. It was painful, but bearable because she got most of the infection out and that helps with the pain. Anyway, we'll know soon if it's just an infection or MRSA, but to be sure she also gave me the super-antibiotic.

For those of you germ-freaks, this is not contagious just by being around us. You would have to basically touch an open wound on us and then one on yourself. Not that unusual with a mother and daughter but unlikely for our acquaintances. So that's that on the medical side.

As an update on Steve, bless him...he's just hanging in there with me. I have had the worst medical year this year than in my entire 34 years. He's actually doing pretty good. His service dog training was moved from April 2009 to July 2009. We were a bit disappointed, but July is a better month to be gone from work and Jenna will be out of school etc., so we agreed. We still haven't reached our financial goal yet, but we are working on it.

Now, for an update on my dad. As you know, he went back to the hospital...well it will have been 2 weeks ago this coming Sunday. This past Tuesday, he was transferred to a skilled nursing facility. They intend to keep him just long enough to get him strong enough to get around and retrain those muscles that have gone to sleep since the catheter has been in.

Things haven't gone quite as well as they anticipated. First of all, we discovered he was overmedicated and was sleeping too much. Bertie had those meds stopped and that was OK for a while, but last night they called and said they were going to draw blood to check liver and kidney function and red blood cell count. Those results should be back this morning. So, that's where we are at the moment. I'll post more when I know more.

I am totally looking forward to the weekend.




I'm so serious about that warning...today was a rough day for me and my baby girl. Not sure if I posted about this when it happened to me, but while I was on the cruise, I noticed a pretty large bump on my back, which turned out to be an extremely painful abcess. I actually went to the doctor about it and got a big ole antibiotic shot in the butt and nearly 3 weeks of antibiotics 2x a day!

Well, a week (or so) ago, JG had a bite on her belly right below her panty line. I assumed it was a mosquito bite because it itched (my "bump" didn't itch). It didn't ever really go away and this week JG had started complaining about it, so I ended up putting neosporin on it and covering it with a band-aid to prevent her from messing with it/scratching it.

Yesterday morning, I made JG take the bandaid off so I could see and I thought it looked better than normal. But then last night it looked a little worse, so I left myself a message at work to remind me to call the doctor about it. This morning, JG came to my bedroom nearly in tears to tell me that she wanted to go see "Dr. Mary" right then. The bump was very dark red and apparently terribly painful.

I gave her two children's Tylenol and she felt better so went on to school until I could get in touch with the doctor's office. They had a place for her at 10am, so we went and since she's had a little cough, I figured they would give her an antibiotic shot, an oral for the cough and we'd be on our way, making good use of our one copay! Boy, was I wrong!

The nurse saw it and immediately said, "Oh, we're going to have to drain that!" Now, I don't know what you think of when someone says they are going to "drain" something, but I figured a tiny cut or even a tiny needle to suction out the infection etc. No. I was wrong. If you were thinking that too, then you were wrong. They did it the old fashioned way...

Now, before I go any further, I want to tell you that JG's pediatrician is the best in Nashville, in my opinion. I implicitly trust her judgement. She was very good and told JG everything they were going to do and that it was going to hurt really bad etc. They did give her EMLA cream to numb the area and then put a hot compress on it for quite a while. When it was uncovered, it was very ready to be "drained". Jenna laid on the table on her back and I held her hands above her head. The nurse held her legs and the doctor squeezed the abcess. I'll spare you the gory details, but I will tell you this, the nurse, the wall and even the CEILING of the room ended up with pieces of Jenna before it was all over. And I'm talking like the room had to be sterilized after we left. And Jenna screamed bloody murder and I choked back my own tears. I am telling you, there is nothing more heart wrenching than holding your child down while she screams and cries, "Please stop!! Please Mommy make them stop!!!" I can say I NEVER want to go through that again.

JG was a trooper though. Seriously. After it was over, they cleaned her up, covered it up, gave her some Motrin and loved on her in a million different ways. That child wanted to go back to school. I stopped and got her McDonalds since she'd missed lunch and by the time she got to school, you wouldn't have known anything had happened. Probably the strongest I've ever seen her. We are so blessed.

We have oral antibiotics to take 2x a day for 10 days and then go back to the doctor for a recheck. The good news is that the antibiotic ought to also knock out the cough she's had. They are sending some of the "specimen" that didn't land on the nurse, ceiling, or wall for culture. Let's hope it doesn't show anything unusual. And please join me in praying that they got all of it drained. It IS possible that it fills back up and would have to be drained again. I pray to God that doesn't have to happen.

So, that is how our day started out. I had originally taken a picture of Jenna waiting for the doctor with the thought it would make a cute blog post, with a picture of her band-aided arm (when I thought all she would get is a shot). Obviously, it turned out much worse and so the pictures just didn't seem to be appropriate! I'll keep you informed.

Daddy is doing well today. They will be removing the catheter tomorrow and hope that he has no issues with that. We are looking at next week before being discharged and perhaps a couple days of inpatient rehab before returning home. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.


Surgery is over

Daddy's surgery was over about 1:30 this afternoon. They were able to determine there was no additional damage there, but did open the mouth of the bladder a bit. I was able to leave work a bit early and pick up Jenna in time to go see him for a few minutes before we had to go to church. He was very excited to see me and his words to me were, "I tell ya what, I am flyin' high!!!" Apparently, he was still pretty loopy from the anesthetic, but he was making more sense under anesthetic than not a few weeks ago. Keep those prayers coming.

And speaking of prayers, I got an email today that the one of my cousins down in Florida who has been fighting cancer has found out that the cancer is back with a vengence. I'm sure this is a true slap in the face since she's been through so much already. Please send up prayers for her and the family if you think about it. Her name is Anne.

That's about it for now.