Monday, January 25, 2010


I bet that's a word you've never heard before! It's because I made it up. This post is about Paul who you can see in the picture there at his most recent birthday. Paul is an epileptic. He started having "spells" as he called them while we were dating. I never witnessed any thing different, so I didn't think a whole lot about them and he didn't really talk about them all that much.

Then we got married. Six weeks into marriage I was awakened one night by Paul having a grand mal seizure in his sleep. I didn't know what it was. My first thought was that he was goofing around and I wasn't appreciative of that one bit! Then his eyes rolled back into his head and he eventually fell asleep. It was a morning where he had to go into work around 3 or 4 am, so he was up extremely early. I remember being awakened again as he stumbled around the bedroom, banging into furniture as he attempted to walk. I don't know why it never occurred to me to call 911. I guess I'm just not good at that. Once Ben was choking really bad on a bunch of grapes he swallowed without chewing and I stood there forever debating about calling an ambulance - while his face turned purple! I eventually did the Heimlich on him and the grapes popped out. And when I had my stroke I never once thought about calling. We just drove in. Someday I'll be dead from some accident and they'll find the phone inches from my body and from then on, everyone will say, "If only she'd called 911!"

Anyway, I eventually figured out, as Paul continued to have seizures that we were dealing with epilepsy. We hadn't been to a dr. yet, but I had read enough to recognize the signs. Paul has only ever had grand mal seizures at night (except for one time - fortunately, I was there and was able to catch his head as he fell on the bathroom floor) and they seem to be triggered by fatigue and stress. He has petit mal seizures occasionally during the day but those are pretty much unrecognizable. He says they are preceded by feelings of nausea and then he just has to sit. If someone were to talk to him, he could hear them, but he would not be able to respond. Paul started some epilepsy drugs the summer I was pregnant with Ben and as time has passed the petit mal seizures are pretty much gone. From time to time, he still has a grand mal in his sleep. However, about 8 years ago I figured out that if I grab his right hand and uncurl his fingers and hold his hand straight (not an easy task) then I can stop the seizures before they get too bad. It used to be that when Paul had gone through a rough night he'd be a zombie for days afterwards. He'd be in a mental fog. He couldn't taste things right and it was distressing for me. In the last decade, Paul's behavior got worse during a seizure. It used to be he'd just thrash around on the bed and then fall asleep. But then he started getting up mid-seizure. Once he ran outside in his underwear! I was so thankful it was the middle of the night! I have since learned to grab his arm and pull him down onto the bed (sometimes I'm successful, sometimes not - he outweighs me by a good 60 lbs and a seizure provides, unfortunately, super-human strength) when he attempts to get up mid-seizure. Other times he's gouged me and most recently, he punched me in the ribs. He has no memory of anything the next morning. It used to be that he could tell something was not quite "right" the next day with his body, but that really isn't the case so much anymore. Sometimes I tell him that he seized the night before and he had no clue anything had happened. That's definitely better than the old days, when he was "out of it" for so long afterwards. I look back and I am amazed at Paul's strength. He could have so easily crawled back into bed for the day after seizing but he never did. He always went to work, no matter how crummy he felt. He might have even been able to get a dr. to declare him disabled from his seizure activity, but it never crossed his mind. This whole thing sounds odd, I know, but it's just the way life has always been for us.

But, things are pretty good now. Paul found a good neurologist out here and he's got him taking an additional drug now to go along with his Tegretrol (that he's been on since '96). I think it's been a good month and half since Paul attempted to seize at night. So things aren't bad at all. I will not be surprised if Paul's life is shortened a bit from all this neurological trauma, but I don't expect that to happen for decades yet.

So why do I write all this? Well, it's because of an experience Paul had last week that really touched him at a different level. He was walking out of Walmart in West Des Moines when he saw what he thought was a woman wrestling with a child in the parking lot. He moved closer to see if he could be of some assistance and it turned out that it was not a mother and child. An older woman (a nurse, providentially) was holding onto a young woman as she suffered a seizure. Apparently, this woman had walked out of the store, began seizing, and this nurse happened upon her. So, Paul was able to help. He was able to get a sleeping bag out of someone's car and they were able to hold the woman as she had seizure after seizure in order to keep her from hurting herself. She stopped seizing long enough to tell them that she had been in a car accident in 2006 and was fine until she had a baby a year ago. Then, she started having seizure problems. Paul was able to tell her that he knew all about epilepsy from a personal standpoint! Eventually, the paramedics arrived and they took the lady to the hospital.

Paul immediately called me after this happened and then he had to tell me the story again when he got home. He said it was just eye-opening and strange at the same time to watch someone else seize because he has never seen that before, since he's unconscious when he has his own. I think it really affected him!

The brain is an amazing organ. I have gained new appreciation for it in recent years as it seems that our little family has more than the average share of neurological problems. If we were computers, I think we'd have crashed by now! But we're humans, intricately and beautifully created by God. And even with our physical ailments (the result of a sin-cursed world) it's so neat to be able to see God's handiwork and restorative powers!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hillbilly Heywoods

That is the current view out my back door. Isn't it just a bit hill-billy-ish? Just a tad! We've had two dead deer hanging in our garage since early Dec. Paul finally hauled one in last Sat. and let it thaw in my back room (it was so much fun stepping over that thing all day long!) and then started cutting it up that night. I had too much to do and wasn't planning on helping him. But then, our neighbor, the new mayor, called and asked Paul to come take a look at his furnace. Paul ended up being over there for several hours and so I ended up cutting up part of the deer. I was scoring points, I guess. Well, I didn't want Paul staying up super-late finishing it, either. He did, anyway. But anyway, he threw the carcass out the door (it needs to go in the garbage) and stuck the head in the snow to be funny. If we had not had an ice storm today I would have thrown them away before the garbage man arrived. As it is, I doubt he'll be coming today. I believe most of the metro is shut down and I highly doubt the big garbage truck is going to be able to make it up our roads. So, I'll try to throw it in before tomorrow. And we still have one more deer to go!

Paul and Will are actually over at our neighbor's today, installing a new furnace for him. I was so thankful that it worked out that way. Paul gave them a very good deal because Steve's (the neighbor) hours have been cut at his job, but it still gives us a little bit of profit which will make up for his shortened hours of late.

Well, the big news around here is that I will NOT be having surgery after all next week. I found out Mon. that my insurance was not going to be covering as much as I thought it was and we were going to have to cough up about $2000 to pay for it. I didn't like the sound of that at all! My thinking when I first learned that was that we'd have to wait until after March 1st, when our new flex spending kicks in and then use some of that to off-set that cost. But I hate to use up all our flex money at once, too. So, I went to see my dr. yesterday and we talked about it all. I found out that I could have the surgery done in the office, which would then only cost me my co-pay of $20. The down side to that was that Dr. Morgan couldn't do the surgery and I would be awake for it and there would not be as much pain control. I don't really like the sound of either of those. Dr. Morgan delivered Sam and she knows my uterus. I'd prefer her to do any messing around with it that needs to be done. And I'm not real big on pain. But, Dr. Morgan suggested that we try the Mirena for a year. It's an IUD that releases progesterone into the system, which thins down the uterine lining. She told me that when I had my biopsy last fall it showed that my progesterone levels are really low and need to come up, which was news to me. An ablation won't do anything for that. And sometimes they have to be repeated, down the road. I am leery of the whole Mirena idea because I'm not too fond of the idea of something artificial being placed into my body. However, it's easily removable if I don't like it. And honestly, surgery is just as artificial and hard on the body as putting something in it. So, I will give it a shot. Dr. Morgan said she wants to be the one to put it in because of my scar tissue. That's scheduled now for March 17. And there won't be any recovery time with this, either, which is a plus. Of course, the biggest plus is that it won't cost me $2000! I just hope it works and that it takes care of both my issues - the pain and the excessive bleeding. We'll see!

I saw my neurologist last Friday. I like him and always find myself joking around with him when I see him. Maybe it's because I always remember him commenting on my "medical smarts" when I first had my stroke. Having him say that really was a balm that day because I felt like all my brains had been emptied out of my head, along with my taste buds, hearing, and sight when I stroked. But I still came off as somewhat intelligent to my neurologist - which gave me hope for the future. So anyway, I like seeing him. I think some of it, too, is just the sheer relief I feel whenever I visit his office. I'm not as bad off as some of those patients being wheeled in there and it reminds me of how extraordinarily fortunate I am. So, we talked about all sorts of things - this time, mostly about my regular headaches. I finally agreed to try a daily drug so now I am on amitryptaline. I asked the dr. if my headaches could have anything to do with the fact that I am really struggling to read fine print these days. He said possibly, and then added, "It's not uncommon at your age to begin having eyesight problems." "My age"?? What's that supposed to mean? Unfortunately, I know what he meant - I'm almost 40, the decade where one rapidly loses their looks, strength, and health. You turn 40 and start out at the top of the slide, but by the time you get to 50, at the bottom of the slide, you've done a face plant in the mud below. much to look forward to!

Paul stabbed himself Sat. while skinning the deer. I thought it was kind of funny, actually. No, I'll tell you what was funny - He comes in the house with blood seeping through his jeans and announced that he just stabbed himself in the thigh. I had him pull down his pants and his long johns were pretty soaked with blood. We cleaned up the wound and he probably could have used a stitch or two. But I wasn't about to suggest it because it was just his inner thigh and I know that an ER trip would mean a $150 co-pay! So I found some non-stick gauze bandages and told him we'd put one of those one and then wrap an ace bandage around it to hold it in place. Well, when I peeled the paper off the bandage I found that it was not completely non-stick, so I just slapped that on his leg and skipped the ace bandage. Perhaps we should have shaved his leg before putting the gauze bandage on because when he went to pull up his pants, it jostled the bandage and he yelped as it pulled at all his leg hair! That was the funny part (to me anyway)!

We almost signed up for a Family Life Marriage conference last weekend, but ended up not doing it. I hope we won't regret it. They're having one in Des Moines in March and we have always wanted to go to one. They cut the price in half, too, which was a special just for last week. So, we thought and thought and almost went for it. The reason we ended up not doing it was because of the boys. I'm fine with leaving them home alone during the day, but the idea of leaving them overnight still bothers me. I think in another year or two that will change. And, sure, we could have gone to the conference and come home at night, which would have eliminated the cost of a hotel room and the worry about the boys. But we decided it just wouldn't be as much fun that way - to be all hyped up from the conference, and then have to come home to children, a messy house, and dirty dishes. We would rather wait until we could just have the whole weekend to ourselves. It was a hard decision!

I have three leak marks on my new kitchen ceiling - not a happy homeowner! Sam has lost his fascination with potty training this week. But since I know now that he has the capability of doing it, we're not stopping! But it's been more of a struggle to get him to sit on the potty this week. So yesterday morning he was running around naked after I had to completely strip him because he had soaked his training pants. I went upstairs to get him some dry clothes and before I could do that, he had urinated all over the upstairs landing. This landing doesn't have carpet on it anymore. We took that out last summer and I painted the old floorboards white and it looks so nice. Well, what I didn't realize was that without carpeting and new flooring, there are gaps between the boards. Even though I cleaned up his spill, it still went down the sides of the boards and leaked onto my new ceiling. Ugh!

Speaking of which, it's time to take him to the potty again. It's hard to believe that I had all my children trained for years and I volunteered for this again - worse than having a new puppy! Hopefully, next week I'll be back to my normally refined self and can put the memory of this week behind me!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Of Toddlers, Schools, and Uteri

I actually started this post last night but ran out of steam. And then I was pushed off the computer by a teenager who hadn't been on Facebook for 27 minutes and was experiencing withdrawal pains. So I went to bed. But now I'm back and a little more awake. I've been wanting to get back on here and post again, but I've had a lot to do lately. I keep a running list of things I want to cover in my posts and my list is getting longer and longer, so I need to get this done, too.

I spent yesterday doing my bi-monthly shopping and errand running. That takes a lot out of me, especially when I have all 4 boys with me. Plus I haven't taken my SuperMom vitamins in 2 weeks now and I think I am feeling the effects of that. I should post about SuperMom sometime. For now: it's the best multi-vitamin I have ever found and both Paul and I have been taking them for several years now. The only thing I don't like about them is the alfalfa taste and the fact that they are the size of horse pills. But when I run out, I can tell. They're kind of pricey so I substituted some other multis that I got at the health food store. They upset my stomach, so I've just gone without. My new bottle should arrive today, though, which is good!

Well, let's see - what's new at the Heywood House? There's lots going on with Sam. See him up there? That was Saturday. Paul's folks came up to give us our Christmas gifts and celebrate Paul's birthday. Before we did Paul's birthday, Sam thought he'd help himself to the cake that Dorothy made. He very carefully scooped off every scallop off the top of one of the sides, and then when he was done with those, he proceeded to do the same to the bottom. Can we say Sugar High?! It was cute, though.

Sam lost his bottles last week. I had given lip service to the idea that I was going to take away his bottles after Christmas. He's been quite attached to them. He'd drink out of sippy cups, but always preferred the bottle. In fact, there were times that I would offer him a cup and he would very pointedly open the cupboard door where I have a small tub of all his bottles and cups, take out a bottle, and hand it to me! But I wasn't totally committed to the idea. I assumed there would be a battle and I hated to take away something that he liked so much. So anyway, Tuesday night we were watching the game (Orange Bowl - go Hawkeyes!) and Paul noticed Sam carrying around a bottle and commented, "I thought you were getting rid of those." Well, yeah...eventually! So, I half-heartedly scooped up all the bottles, intending to save them in case I needed them at some point. Anyway, long story short - Sam never asked for them again. He willingly took a sippy to bed and the next day he was very content to just have cups. So I threw away every single bottle! That was easy!

And here's the big shocker: Sam is potty training! I had zero intention of doing that right now. Will and David were 5 before they completely trained and Ben was 6 1/2. So I figured we were years away yet. And we may still be before it's all done. But last week Sam kept talking about "potty" so I started popping him on the toilet - and he started going! Then, he started refusing to wear diapers after he'd go, preferring to run around commando in his pants. That's an invite for disaster, so I dug out all the training and plastic pants that had been given to us and he's been in those for a week now. I'm still using diapers for bedtime and when we go places but when I run out I think I'll just buy pull-ups for those purposes. He's made amazing progress in just a week. He's staying dry most of the time and when he doesn't, he usually lets me know. I'm sure impressed! I remember how hard it was with the others and this is so easy! Of course, with them, I'm recalling that I only ever used pull-ups, rather than cloth training pants. I suspect that may have had something to do with the delay in their training.

We may have taken a step backwards yesterday, though. We were in Walmart and I put him on the toilet. Well, it had an automatic flusher and it went off and it completely freaked Sam out. He would not get back on it after that! He wouldn't go at Best Buy either. We met Paul for lunch at McDonalds and he was able to get Sam to go there, but later, when I attempted to get him on the toilet at Ben's social skill's class, it was the same thing again. So, we'll have to work through this. What I thought was interesting was that when Sam was freaking out at Walmart he didn't cry out for me or for Daddy. He yelped, "Will! Will!" I was right there! But he wanted his brother!

Sam's new word: "Dooby", as in "Scooby Doo." Ben is crazy about Scooby and spends a lot of his time watching Scooby dvds. So, Sam watches them too and he came to me last week holding one of the dvds and saying, "Dooby!" I remember when Will was 3, some friends loaned us a bunch of Scooby videos and he was too scared to watch them! Evidently, Sam isn't bothered, though! Monsters and ghosts don't bother him - just flushing public toilets!

Yesterday morning David was teasing Sam and pointing to various body parts and asking if it was something other than what it really was (like pointing to Sam's ear and asking, "Is this your tummy?" - things like that). So Sam reached over, patted David's head and said, "David's butt!" We all about died laughing, although David didn't think it was all that humorous!

I do have things to write about other than my favorite 2 year old, so I'll get to those now...

I have marked down on my blog list to write about Judges 2. I know it was something profound that hit me the other day as I was reading it, but I think I'm going to save it for a future blog. I have a vague memory of what impressed me, but I can't think what it was I wanted to say! So, you'll have to watch for that one!

I have decided to memorize Psalm 103. I haven't memorized anything in 20 yrs, so this is big! I was listening to a radio program last week - just caught the tail end - but the guest commented that if you have this psalm memorized, depression just "isn't an option." That may be a bit simplistic, but I went and looked up the passage. And I read it again the next day. And the next. What an encouraging part of Scripture! I'd like to be able to draw upon that from memory. I'll let you know how it goes!

First thing this morning I drove over (down? I'm directionally challenged!) to SE Warren Jr/Sr high school to chat with the principal about their sp. education program. I was supposed to go there last week, as well as to Knoxville, but then we had two snow days at the end of the week, so I had to reschedule. It's an excellent program and if we lived closer, I don't think I'd think twice about enrolling Ben in it. But if we go with that school, we are looking at 2 hours of driving a day to get Ben to and from there. That's a lot. And if I actually drove the speed limit, it would take longer. Mapquest timed it at 48 minutes one-way; I made it in 30. I generally consider it a personal challenge to beat Mapquest's times! Monday I went to Carlisle and then, on a whim, I drove down to Pleasantville (our district) and just dropped in. Both seem to be very good programs. Carlisle is a bigger school district and it's growing. The middle school is brand new and very sleek and modern. They could help Ben, I'm sure of it. But there's just something about's a small, what I would call "country" school. We have been very impressed with their high school sports with Will's involvement in football. I met the director of sp. education for middle school yesterday and he dropped everything to speak with me for a good half hour. I walked in thinking, "Carlisle is it" and left thinking, "I don't know!" I think Ben would do better with a male teacher, which he would have at Pville. I would probably need to enroll Ben this May in school so that they could evaluate him and get to know him and thus have his 8th grade program planned out before school starts next fall. I don't really like that but it's either then or doing it in August and I think it would be better to do it ahead of time. I get a better "vibe" from Pville, but I don't know if that is reason enough to send Ben there. We have a few weeks to decide and will be praying greatly about this during them. I want to find the "right" school for Ben, but maybe there is no "right" school. From what I am learning, sp. education students pretty much have their school day designed to fit them and whatever they need and maybe that can be done at any school.

We had our first city council mtg the other night with our new mayor and new council members. Afterwards was date night, but it was really cold and we had gotten more snow dumped on us, so Paul called ahead to the Checkerboard, where we usually eat, to make sure they were still open. They stayed open just for us! We were the only customers there. I felt a little silly. But I made their night because, on an impulse, I told the waitress that I was planning to write an article about the Checkerboard and submit it to "Our Iowa" magazine. Well, I didn't know I was actually going to do that until I heard myself talking! In the last issue they were soliciting submissions for our favorite "ma and pa" restaurants and I had had the thought go through my mind that I ought to do that. But I had not yet pursued it or thought seriously about it. Well, the waitress told the owner, who got very excited. So, then I knew I was committed! All night long she kept peppering me with information I could put in my article. So when I got home I pulled out the last issue of the magazine and saw that they are asking for "brief" essays on our favorite restaurants. Hmmm - that presented a difficulty because "brief" is not generally part of my writing repertoire. But I managed to squeak out something that was only three paragraphs long, so hopefully that will meet the "brief" criterion! I haven't heard back from "Our Iowa" yet and it may take awhile. I just really hope they publish it because I'll be so disappointed for the Chekerboard if they don't!

Ben has developed quite the interest in old music over the past few months, which I am finding amusing. We got him a Beach Boys cd for his birthday and he listens to it all the time. He has been telling me lately that he wants an Elvis cd now. So, maybe for Valentine's Day...

That music was old when I was kid, but there are signs that I am getting old, as well. The other day I was trying to find something that was in plain sight. I had enlisted David's help to find it (can't even remember now what it was I was searching for - another sign of my encroaching elderly-hood!) and he, of course, found it right away and asked sarcastically, "Are you blind?" And then a moment later he seriously added, "Well, you are going to be 39 in a couple of months!" Yes, 39 - an almost straight shot to support hose and bifocals. Actually, the bifocals may become a reality. I've started having a terrible time being able to read small print in recent months. The old mare ain't what she used to be!

I heard from my mom today. You might be in prayer for my cousin, Cindy. She's 7 yrs older than me. She was found unresponsive in her home this week by her sister and was flighted to Iowa city. They ended up doing a hysterectomy on her, which makes me think I am missing part of the story because I don't see how uterine troubles could cause one to quit breathing. They do believe she had a heart attack at some point in the past - must have been some scarring on her heart or something. She's in a rehab facility now back in NE Iowa and will be there for a few weeks. But she could use some prayer, I'm sure - sounds pretty traumatic.

I found out today that my surgery is scheduled for 7am on the 25th. I have to be there at 6. Good grief - doesn't anybody do surgery during normal hours? I had to be at the hospital by 5am when I had Sam. How about a 10am surgery? That would fit into my schedule much better! I see Dr. Morgan next Tues. and that's when I'll find out for sure if she wants to go ahead with this ablation or would prefer to just do a hysterectomy. I'm voting for the ablation, but we'll see.

Better get to my day. Time to take Sam potty- again. And David needs help with his math. Ben wants lunch. It never really ends around here. Perhaps I'll actually be given a day off when I have my surgery - something to look forward to!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Contrasting the Decades

We just hit a new decade last Friday. Or, as my husband insists, we are now just entering the last year of the decade, since AD would have started with year 1. Regardless, it's a banner year, because of the "0" at the end of it. My friend Sara wrote an email to me the other day and in it she contrasted her life between the last time the calender rolled to a "0" year and this time. So that made me start thinking of the contrasts between 10 years ago and now.

Of course, that was year 2000. And that was definitely a biggie. There were fears of Y2k and people were stockpiling water and non-perishables in their basement. I didn't do any of that. I was too busy!

As the millennium changed, I was the mother of 3 very little boys. You can see them above. I took that picture right after midnight on Jan. 1, 2000. Will was 5, Ben was 3, and David was 7 months. We had bought our first house 6 months earlier and were in the midst of renovations. Little did I know that would become a way of life for us! We're still in the midst of renovations, even though we're in a different house!

I was very involved in the church at the time. In fact, that's where that picture was taken. Once we had kids, we seemed to spend all our New Year's Eves at church. We still usually do, although we did not this year because Paul had to work. However, I did take and fetch Will and David from church that night! We're in a different church now and I am not nearly so involved as I was when we were in Council Bluffs. I don't have to be because it's a larger church. And that's a nice feeling, being able to just help out where and when I want. But even with that, I have still found myself over committed at times and am making a conscious effort now to scale back, which is why I haven't taken part in any ladies' Bible studies this year. So that may indicate that doing too much is a common occurrence in my life!

I was heavily involved with MOPS at the time of that picture. I still love that organization. I'm involved now, but in a different capacity. I'm just helping out with child care for a local group. This may be my last year of doing that. But at the time, MOPS was an absolute life-saver for me. I don't recall ever really feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, but I must have been because I would come away from every meetings feeling refreshed and ready to tackle motherhood once again.

I wasn't in as close of contact with my friends then as I am now. In fact, we had just purchased our very first computer just a few days before New Year's Eve, 1999. That changed everything! Suddenly, I could email friends. Later on, I discovered Yahoo groups and met friends that are still dear to me today. Now there's Facebook and -of course, my favorite - blogging!

My days were still pretty consumed with Ben's needs at the time. I didn't' have to do as much running around as I do now because his therapists still came to us at the time. But there were a lot of doctor's appointments. Ben had just taken his first steps about 5 months earlier and was still very wobbly. So, in this picture we were at the juncture where he fell repeatedly and had to be stitched up and glued over and over again. At this point, we still believed that Ben was going to be just fine down the road. We just needed to get him enough therapy to make up for his delays and all would be good later on. Of course, now, in 2010 we know better. I know at this time I couldn't go anywhere - not even for a quick run into the drugstore - without taking out and unfolding the double stroller and popping both boys into it. They were too little to ever leave alone in the van. I don't miss that!

I know I was pretty tired at this point of life. Just a month before this picture was taken David had ended up in the hospital overnight when I accidentally dosed him with Ben's sedative (for his severe eczema - a nightmare we were still dealing with at this point) - and simultaneously had given Ben a mouthful of baby food!

I know I didn't delight in my boys then like I do now. I complained a lot more about the work and energy that they took. I took their little lives for granted - even Ben's at times. Now I know differently. I still complain, but it's with more good humor. I learned in the last decade that nothing is a given or guaranteed, including children.

Oh, let's see - what else? My fashion sense, make-up and hair choices have improved greatly, I think, since 2000. I was in a bit of a fashion fog at that point! Just now, rooting around in my scrapbooks, looking for this picture, I had to shudder at my 2000 hair! I'm a lot more financially aware of things now. At that time, I knew nothing of our family finances and spending was always a point of contention between Paul and me. Now that's gone because I know more than he does about our finances!

I would say our marriage is probably 100% better now than it was then. We've both grown, matured, and become a lot more patient with eachother. Somewhere between 2000 and 2010 I quit trying to change my husband, and instead, focused on the changes I needed to make. That made all the difference in the world. It's a sweet life with him nowadays!

I think I'm a lot more confident these days. Oh, I'm still besieged by doubts at times with various things, but I can shake it off a lot more easily. I find it a lot easier to shrug my shoulders and not worry about what others think. I honestly like who I am. I don't like everything about me, of course, but those are areas I can change. The stuff that can't - I'm good with!

And spiritually, things are much better, which is how it should be. We should be able to look at each decade that passes and be grateful for our increased walk with the Lord. It's getting sweeter and closer. I especially like that. And I'm looking forward to the next decade of spiritual growth, I really am.

So, all in all, I'd have to say that life is definitely better now than it was as the new millennium dawned. It wasn't bad then, by any means, though. But, even with the struggles that I detail in my blogs, it's still a good life. I find myself looking forward now to 2020 - and 2011, 2012, 2013, and so on. By the time we get to the next decade, I'll be close to 50 years old. My boys will be 25, 23, 20, and 12. That will be different! And hopefully, I'll still have good hair...

Brrr-ing on the New Year

The new year has started out cold, cold, cold! Probably because it's January! Saturday morning I was up early and I heard them say on the radio that the windchill outside was -36! Oh, it was nasty that day And it's cold today! I called Paul around 8:30 and he was even complaining about the cold - and he generally loves cold winter weather. So, I know it's cold out! Fortunately, I don't have to go anywhere today. Paul was saying it supposed to warm up a bit by mid week and then temperatures will plummet again by the weekend.

I can't complain at all, really. Paul and the boys keep the woodburner stocked and going. I just bought some Cuddle Duds this winter (to replace my ancient long underwear from my college days) so I stay toasty under my clothes and outside them! And it's good for business. Paul got 8 hours of overtime pay by working Saturday, which is a real blessing. He used to work almost every weekend and then business fell off and for the past year and a half, the only Saturdays he has ever worked have been when he's been on call and the weather has been extreme. And he's out working today, as I'm sure all the service guys are. I'm not complaining! But there is a little part of me that is starting to yearn for spring...

Today is Paul's 39th birthday. It's a Monday and he had to leave by 6:45am to report in to the office. They have to do this twice weekly. I had plans to get up very early and make him a hot breakfast. Normally I only do that on the mornings that he doesn't leave until 7:30. Well, let's just say that the spirit was willing, but the flesh was very, very weak! I'm really not sure what he ended up getting for breakfast! Poor guy! I heard him around 4 messing with the woodburner and I'm pretty sure he was up for a good hour and a half trying to get that thing going again. He said when he had gotten up to check the fire the house was only 61 degrees.

Paul started a new epilepsy drug over the weekend. His dr. wanted him to start this last fall but when Paul told me that one of the side effects could be increased anger I told him, "No way." Well, he had a follow-up appointment last month and he told his dr. that I wouldn't let him take the drug. The doc said for me to call him (I never did). So, for some reason, Paul decided to start taking the drug now. But he's only taking a half dose and he told me he wants me to tell him if his personality changes. When should I do this? Before or after he murders me in a monstrous, drug-induced rage? I don't like it.

I'm having my own neurological issues of late. I've been taking big doses of Vit. D which has done wonders for my energy levels and general aches and pains. I highly recommend it. I started taking 5000 ius daily in August in pill form. All was great until about a month in and I began to get blinding headaches. So I backed off the D a bit and the headaches subsided. Well, I saw my dr. in Nov. and she suggested that I take the D in a liquid form. And she wanted me to go up to 10,000 ius daily. So I started doing that and all has been great - until the past 10 days or so when I have been getting these horrible headaches again. So I quit the D all together which made me so lethargic. I need that vitamin! Now, I see the neurologist on the 15th. He prescribes my Fiornal, which is a migraine medication that I take as needed. Lately, I've needed it a lot! He has told me that he would like to put me on a daily pill for headaches, but I've resisted. I tried Topamax once, and hated it. I'm not wild about the idea of being on a regular prescription drug because for any drugs you take, there will be side effects. This leads to my quandary - which is worse? Should I quit or reduce the Vit. D to a point where I don't get headaches, but I also don't have as much energy? Or should I just take a daily drug to control the headaches and pay the price - whatever it is in the long term - for daily drug use? Although, as I write that I'm struck with the realization that I am daily taking Advil, Excedrin Migraine, and almost daily, my Fiornal. So what would be the difference in just taking a daily migraine prevention medication instead?

We are seriously thinking about digging out a partial basement this year. Eventually, we want to have a full basement, but if we just did a little bit at a time, as we could afford it, that might not be so bad. Paul has kind of quieted down on the whole "we need to move" thing. I am very, very reluctant to lose our cheap mortgage and taxes right now with the economy the way it is. I suspect we are headed for a time of hyper-inflation, if not an outright anhilment of our economy. The idea of being in greater debt makes me nervous. Besides, from what I am hearing, banks are just lending money and I don't know if we could even get another home loan. It wouldn't be terribly expensive to do the basement, especially if we did it bit by bit. And, with the Paul's work the way it has been, he has more time on his hands that he could do it. He's thinking that if we made a big enough section for now to house the woodburner and washer and dryer that would really free up a lot of space in our backroom. It would. I guess my only other concern is how the house would hold up with all that work going on underneath it. The main section is 160 years old. I really don't want to have to deal with cracked and crumbling walls as we put in a basement.

We were talking about eternal security the other night at dinner. That makes us sound like such a super-spiritual family, doesn't it? Yes, tonight's dinnertime conversation is planned to center on the doctrine of predestination...not really! It just came up. But Ben made the neatest comment. He said, "So I can say the doors of hell are forever closed to me!" I thought that was pretty cool.

The other night David said, "I wonder if there will be Mexican Christians in Heaven?" I assured him there would be Christians there from every country, every nationality, and every color. David said, "Well, I sure hope they speak English up there!" Ha, ha! Actually, I do wonder how we will communicate in Heaven. Will there be a native language, maybe the one from the Garden of Eden that we all speak? Or will we even speak? Maybe we'll communicate by our thoughts or some other method.

I went up to Waterloo last Saturday to see my folks. It was a nice time. We hadn't seen them since early November. Dad wrote me the nicest email afterwards, mentioning various strength of traits he sees in each of the boys. I think I'll have to save that. It's nice to know that someone thinks I have good kids. Today, they are fighting like little ninjas and I'm hard pressed to remember why I even wanted to become a mother! I went over and saw Sara that afternoon. I was so impressed (as usual) by her 11 yr old, Melissa. She handed me a story she is working on. It's a chapter story and she's typed and printed it out all by herself. She left me hanging! Oh my goodness! Melissa is a very, very talented writer and writes well beyond her years. Actually, she does all things beyond her years. Sara tells me that Melissa is consistently testing at the very top of her class in all subjects. I really look forward to seeing what the future brings for her. And Melissa, if you're reading this, finish the story and email it to me!!!! I have to know what happens to our poor, recently-comatose, rancher heroine!

We got on the road early Sat. night and I was even in bed by 10pm - nice! I got pulled over on the way home, which kind of irritated me because I wasn't at fault in any way and the cop just seemed like a real jerk. He got on the interstate in front of me, so I slowed down and waited for him to get up to 65 mph. When he saw he wasn't going to do that, I got over to pass him (still only going 65). Well, then he pulls me over and claimed that I was following him too closely. I was not even aware there was a rule about how close you can get to another car, but apparently there is. He said I should have had 6 - 7 car lengths between us. Seriously? And then he was harassing me about having all the kids buckled (they were) and shining his light in my van and wanting to know how many children I had in there. I was just praying that we would not ticket me and he didn't although he solemnly informed me I now have a "written citation" on my record. Whatever.

Well, the sun in warming up my back as I sit here and I am so tempted to keep writing about nothing at all, just so I can keep enjoying it! But, it's lunchtime and the boys want to be fed. I need to get Paul's presents wrapped for tonight, as well. He's bringing home a pizza from Pizza Hut, using the gift card his grandma sent us last week for Christmas and we're just going to have a quiet, inexpensive, night in for his birthday. Paul bought himself Ben Stein's "Expelled" a few weeks ago so I think we may watch that as a family. Nothing too wild this year!

Welcome 2010!