Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29th

Describe what happiness is to you in just six words.

YIKES!  I want more than happiness, I want joy. 

Joy in knowing Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 28

What's your biggest Life responsibility right now, and how are you handling it?

I decided to do the blog a day thing like ChiTown Girl is doing, and I'm starting at the end of the month.

My biggest life responsibility right now is being sole financial provider for our family.  (We do get some funds from my MIL, but mainly it is on me.)  HH has been very supportive.  He is willing to work, but there are a lot of variables that must be considered when taking a job.  Since he is going to be a pastor, there are a few jobs that he cannot do.  Also, he needs to be available on weekends to preach, which is difficult for many entry-level jobs that are currently available to him.  His undergrad is in theater and theology, so he doesn't really have a lot to fall back on there.  I really try not to bring it up that much.  He desperately wants employment as a preacher, and is doing everything possible.  I know it wears on him mentally seeing how tired I am at the end of the day, and bringing home work that extends for into our evening time. 

As for how I'm handling it, I guess pretty decent.  Teaching has gotten significantly more demanding in the last five years.  I am a super efficient person, yet there are easily adding ten hours to my work week from required paperwork.  It is hard talking with someone who "used" to be a teacher, because while it was demanding then I know....there is nothing like how cut throat things seem to be now, and how every bit of a child's achievement (or lack thereof) is completely my fault.  Yes, I do make a huge difference, but the worlds my students are coming from ARE different from even moderate class homes.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Video Reposting

Seeing Him Twice in 2010!!!

Christmas Fun

Baby Kate enjoying her first Christmas in the States. 

Here I am with my Gran.  She is 85 years old.  We had Christmas at her house.  She cooked almost all the food, and boy was it great.

I love it when HH and I take pictures dressed up together.

Christmas Carolina Style

HH put ribbons up everywhere for the boys to get to their "big" Christmas surprise.  They boy got electric vehicles.

Our flight was a bit delayed coming in, but not too bad.  We will do a more formal Christmas dinner on Wednesday.  HH and I are here until Saturday. 

Here is the trailer to the movie of the book series I have been reading:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! 

The Holy Spirit really spoke to me last night, and I had a tearful few minutes concerning my sister and BIL.  Going to the hospital has been hard.  Jolting every time the phone rings not knowing if this is "THE" call is hard, hearing my sister cry has been hard.  We've been at the hospital Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and will be going later on today.  I became grateful last night.  Everyone wants to be there when life is good...anniversaries, birthdays, new babies, the promotion...but times like these are when most people fade away.  I'm really thankful that I can be here and help share in her suffering, although I cannot begin to understand what she is going through.  HH and I could be half way across the country, and I could be helpless to be there for her. 

Today I do have to talk with my brother.  He has been working like a madman, but I need to tell him that he has got to get to the hospital and see Matt again soon.  He has been faithful in calling my sister to check in, but I know she needs him to come up. 

He almost went back on a ventilator after we left last night.  If he doesn't improve significantly in the next two days he will.  He has not been on a ventilator since the first week of the accident.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It Comes in Threes Right?

1.  Two weeks ago HH got a ticket for running a red light.  Yeah, the cop just didn't give the ticket, but he had a major attitude and was nasty to HH.  When he told me, he was very upset.  We have NC tags.  When our tags came up for renewal in September of 2009, I told HH "lets chance it."  By that I was thinking we could be moving any time to another state where we will have to turn right back around and get it registered again.  In Kentucky you pay for your tags based on their worth every year.  The cop found this out, and we have to the registration updated by January 7th, which comes out to be about $1000.  The ticket will probably be between $150-$200.  This registration will only get us til June, then we have to pay about $350 for the next year.

2.  HH didn't get a job with the bank he applied for.  I attribute this to the toughness of the job market, and how many people who were competing for this position.

3.  Our electricity craziness: Remember how we lost electricity because they cut off power while we were in North Carolina?  HH has been pursing getting us some sort of reimbursement because it was wrongfully shut off, and we lost our entire refrigerator.  As part of the insurance process, they have to come out and make sure everything was wired correctly.  Our boxes were wired in reverse.  That's right for 5.5 years I've paid for her electricity, and she has paid for mine.  So they are doing a reversal to see if we have paid the correct amount of money to them.  I know that we have gotten away with murder in this department because the lady next door is often gone for weeks at a time, and has put her condo up on the market twice.  If she had half a brain, she adjusted her thermostat accordingly for when she was gone. 

The electric company will backdate for the last TWO YEARS, and we will receive a detailed account of this, along with a whopper of a bill.  I am estimating that we have easily underpaid $30-$50 per month.  The electric company is not required to make sure that everything was wired properly to the right box, but only that it will not catch fire or pose some other threat.  They have made sure they are off the hook of being liable.  We called the place that did the original electric work for the condo, and they are no longer in business.  We don't have a very strong homeowners association (they meet once a year), so I'm not sure they would be any help either.  We might try to pursue legal recourse, BUT, come January we are still going to be liable for this GINORMOUS bill.  The electric company in their charitable spirit said we could have 24 months to come current with our account. 

Throwing in a fourth thing for good measure....

4.  I went to the hospital today, and it was great timing for me to be there for my sister.  She just found out that after Christmas they are moving my BIL to a nursing home.  We knew this would eventually happen, but no one was expecting it anytime soon.  He is not sick enough to stay in the hospital (WTH?), and my sister has eight nursing homes to choose from with insurance.  That was narrowed down to four nursing homes because he has a trach.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cheer

We went shopping on Friday afternoon, and HH posed for a few pictures for my delight.

Presenting HH and a few of his favorite things....

We have a thing for gnomes, just not weird ones!

This reminded him of Lilly our cat:

In trying to find Chase's hat, we found a few other cool ones.

On Saturday the family gathered for our small Christmas celebration as well as my dad's side big celebration.

Chase loved his hat and fighting set from the How to Train Your Dragon movie.  We had looked several places, and almost given up but found it at Wal-Mart.

Watching my mom open all her packages to get her Kindle was one of my favorite parts of Christmas. HH did such a great job of wrapping it up. On the last package there was a note that said, "Man, that was a lot of packages!" She was completely surprised by her gift.

Baby Lucas!

Siblings together:

Lovey Dovey Shots:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Boring Blogger

I'm been a boring blogger lately.  (Although when I searched for this image, I found it funny that it was the NASCAR image turned into a word that accurately describes it! Ha!) 

BIL Update:

Matt is doing ok.  (Meaning stable, but declining still.)  We went to visit at the hospital on Tuesday night and the neurologist was a complete rude lady.  HH said he didn't think she was rude, but that she was completely socially inept.  This was the first time she had seen Matt, and she shooed us out of the room while she was talking to the CNA.  When she came out she kept repeated "how bad he looked," as if she was preparing my sister for what she was about to see.  She asked for a few other details like how fast the car was going, etc.  My sister very politely said, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name."

To which she replies, "I didn't give you my name."  She waits about four seconds, and finally mumbles her last name.  She is ordering another EEG to see about brain activity.  I know this upset my sister, because she is afraid that it is going to show diminished brain activity from the previous time it was taken.

Matt entered the hospital at 214, and he now weighs 164 pounds.  They have taken him from a basic feeding tube food to a "protein dense" feeding tube.  I'm not sure if there is anything more they can do for him to slow down the weight loss. 

As of right now, we are going to have our family Christmas tomorrow evening, and HH and I will be making a few trips up there between now and then. 

In Other News...

We got three snow days this week: Monday, Thursday, and Friday.  I personally didn't want any until around February.  I really hated missing Thursday and Friday because we didn't get to do any fun Christmas activities.  Our elementary school is all about achievement, and heaven forbid we ever do anything that looks like it might resemble fun.  Right before Christmas break is one of those few times of exception when it is overlooked, and the kids get to be kids.  We've never missed right before Christmas break.  I don't remember in recent years ever having a snow day before January. 

I didn't do much of anything productive over my time off, but READ!  Yeah!  I am reading this book now:

This book is awesome!  My mom was so right!  I have the second book, and I think I will be purchasing the third book to read before break is over.  I have been telling HH almost everything that has happened thus far, and we've had some interesting dialogue over it.

Christmas cards still need to be sent out.  Sigh.  They are addressed though! 

We are going to watch Jingle All the Way.  It has become a family tradition for HH and I.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What is Love?

This post is pretty much me bragging on HH.  I started writing this list, because of my best friend Mandi.  We've known each other for thirteen years.  We have gone through so many things, and learned how to become adults in the process.  Dating has been a big part of this.  She almost got married to a total loser, but thankfully three days before the wedding became extremely physically sick, and cancelled the wedding.  She has taken about a year to heal from that.  Now, she is ready to date again.  She got fixed up with a guy, and things seemed very promising.  He is a much better man than the one she was previously with, but he is not for her.  She is rationalizing things, knowing she ultimately needs to run.  One thing she was talking about was how he cooked her a romantic dinner and brought her flowers.  I told her that was nice, and every girl enjoys romance, but this is what love is to me (someone who is committed to marriage for the long road):

Love Is...

1. HH who eats at whatever restaurant my stomach can handle, and never complains about not being able to get McDonalds around me.
2. Sharpening a zillion pencils, packing treat bags, passing out I can do other important school work.
3. Making my dessert for me for work because I am too exhausted.
4. Eating a cheap meal so that we can spend more on our Christmas shopping for a needy student in my class.
5. Starting the car every single morning of winter, never complaining.
6. Working the Scholastic Book Sale so I can get free books from my classroom.
7. Sitting for hours at the hospital with my BIL.
8. Pushing me in a wheelchair when I was too tired to walk (I love museums, but they can physically wear me out.)
9. Going out to the grocery store or Starbucks to get something I am craving.
10. Giving my mom a foot massage.  (Wow did he get bonus points for doing that!) 
11. Watching random documentaries with me.

I could go on and on bragging about HH. 

Avett Brothers Quote

Weekend Recap


We had a community luncheon for volunteers in the area.  HH made these haystacks for me to bring in.  Super easy....semi-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, melt, add peanuts and chow mien noodles.  Put them in clumps and chill in the fridge.  I normally don't like butterscotch, but the chocolate provides just the right balance.

My day was made super bright by seeing Dominc and Jyail!  They are sixth graders now, and I was so happy to see them!  This is the second time Jyail has come to see me this year. 

We went to see my sister and my BIL in the hospital.  My sister told me not to look in the rooms, because it was very depressing.  As we walked down the hall, I fixed my eyes on an exit sign until we got to Matt's room.

I had HH be silly, and pretend like he needed to use the compass to find out where we were going.  I'm not sure why I have a Compass app (other than it is free), but it does rock.

Afterwards, we went to Marriage Rocks.  It was awesome!  They had two awesome skits:

They also did their version of Glee.  They performed "Small Town Girl"....but had changed all the words to tell the Christmas story.  Someone put a lot of time and effort into it, and it was awesome!  (I haven't found a Youtube link yet.)

Our picture in front of the tree:

We went out to look at Christmas lights in a nice subdivision where many people decorate for the holidays.  We started out listening to Christmas music, but that was short lived.  I wanted to play different music on my IPAD.  I only have one really good picture:


We started off with B-Ball in the hood.  It was early, and it was nice to have HH and Starbucks to combat the earliness.  I love elementary hoops.  At one point, the ref stopped the game and had everyone tie their shoes.  Four kids didn't have them tied.  Then, one kid got a three pointer by the grace of God, and the next ten shots were students trying to make a "Hail Mary" (blending football with basketball here) three pointer.

My two favorite players!  :)  Love my students!

In a rare turn of events, I felt like my stomach could handle Buffalo Wild Wings.  HH was thrilled, since this is one of his favorites.  It had been awhile since he had been, and his tolerance to the "Blazin Sauce" had weakened.  I took this picture as he was eating:

We met our friends Beau and Alex for Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3D.  It was awesome.  My husband has the most amazing memory.  We both read the books as children, yet he remembers specific details from this (and many other books).  He even remembers the first line of the book.  I read a ton growing up, and I can tell you that I enjoyed certain books, or tell you something very small about it...I don't have his memory for a good story.

I took another picture of HH:

Dinner with good friends:

I am really slow and pretty guarded about trusting people.  When I first met Alex, I was a little intimidated by her seemingly aggressive personality.  I'm glad that I gave her another chance, we are a lot more like than I realized.  We have gone out three times as a couple, and spent many other times together in larger group settings.


It was debated about church because of the weather...I got up Sunday morning and read several messages about black ice.  I decided that we were not going to church.  I am glad that we didn't.  My sister called, and it was bad.  Matt has been leaking spinal fluid.  They slightly rotate him on the bed every few hours using wedges to help prevent bedsores.  There was a puddle about the size of a paper plate where he had leaked spinal fluid from his nose.  (I learned that your body has a set amount of spinal fluid, and once it is gone, there is no more.)  In five hours, the doctor had not gotten back to her about this.  She decides that she is going to sign him out herself, call an ambulance, and take him back to University Hospital.  She calls the doctors there in ICU.  A lady who was on his decision making team (but never treated him personally) basically said they would not accept him.  Without mincing words told her that they sent him there to die. 

My sister told me that morning that she knew he was most likely going to pass, but she still wanted to do everything she could for him.  Hearing this from the doctor was devastating.  He had a fever of 102.6.  My parents were there, and HH and I got up to head over.  We thought today was it. 

He did end up stabilizing.  My sister went out to eat with my parents, and HH and I stayed at the hospital later on in the day.  Another sign that my sister is accepting what is happening: She asked my mom to make her a hair appointment to get her hair cut and highlighted.  HH didn't see the significance in that, but I explained it is a point of pride for women to have nice hair, especially when something big is coming up. 

The hospital used to be owned by the Catholic Church, and my sister took us to the chapel.  I only took three shots, but couldn't believe what a chapel it had.

Last night we watched some holiday specials and chilled out.  I found out a little bit after 9:00 that we didn't have school on Monday.  Our district has been consistent on never announcing until 4:30 am, so this was a huge surprise.  My sister called back to tell me that Matt has something else wrong.  He is urinating too much.  Fluid should not be leaving his body as frequently as it is.  At this point, we are anticipating he will make it to the end of the week.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


We are inching our way toward Friday, and one more week until break! 

I am ready for the break.  I was pretty snarky with a girl at church who asked if I was getting ready for my nice break.  I replied with, "I worked 73 hours last week, so I think I am pretty ready for it."  I tried to temper the rest of my comments after that....realizing I went

On Tuesday at faculty meeting we watched this video:

Our principal was talking about how we speak to children and our expressions.  All forty of us had to watch this when it was really a message to three of our staff.  Of course the three who needed to get this were nodding like they got it...can't see the forest for the trees some people!

After work tomorrow we are going to the hospital to see my BIL, Date Night, and Christmas Light watching.  It is my goal to post lots of pictures.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Matt, my BIL, has been moved to a pallative care hospital as of today.  It is amazing that he can go from the ICU to that type of setting.  His condition is unchanging, but they say "stable" (enough to merit the move).  My sister said it is really depressing.  The room is old, and just looks sad.  Maybe on Saturday I can help her decorate it some.  She had brought in a bunch of photos at the other hospital, and made a nice collage with them.

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Post I Didn't Want to Write

I've tried to write this post several times. 

I just couldn't. 

Things are really not looking that good for my BIL.  It has been 63 days since the accident. He has MRSA, phenomena (that has been ongoing), and meningitis.  My sister told my mom the other night that she knew she couldn't let him go on forever like this and that she knew at some point she would have to make some decisions.  She also acknowledged that by the rigid position of his arms that is a sign of severe brain damage.  The kids mother wants them to see him, and she told me she said to her, "Do you want their last memories of their father to be with tubes running out of him and him being unresponsive?"  Her status messages on facebook have started to shift.  Up until about a week ago, she talked about how proud she was of her husband and what a fighter he was.  Now they are factual about how his day has been, but have been more thanking specific people around her that have been very supportive.  The hospital he is going to is for pallative care, which is essentially a holding house to die. 

I guess my biggest prayer now is that one of his many complications will take his life if he must die.  I would much rather it be that way, than for my sister to have to sign the papers saying to stop all medications, food, and fluids.

My mom has held it together in front of my sister until today.  She cried in front of her.  She balled while my sister was asleep and HH and I were visiting with her in the waiting room.  The one doctor we all hate was really a butt to my mom and sister today, and it was more than mom could take.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Way to Go Amos!

After watching A Christmas Carol with HH, I flipped over to CMT to see my favorite singer Amos Lee perform with the Zac Brown Band.  I could not find the performance they did together yet on Youtube, but here is the song he sang with him:

NPR also did a concert featuring his new album Mission Bell.  You can listen to it here:
Amos Lee: Recorded in Concert

Student Teacher Party

Yesterday was my student teacher's last day.  We gave her the best fifteen minute party you can have.  Here are some shots from it:

HH picked out this cupcake wreath:

This is one of my favorite pictures:

I am a total cupcake snob.  The kids got the cheap cupcakes, but Natalie and I got gourmet ones.  :)

I let Dierra be the photographer for the party:

The leftovers:

I am a sucker for the thumbs up pose...I have tons of pictures with it:

Another thumbs up pose:

I just thought this last picture was funny, but now I know that I took it JUST for Chitown Girl!!!  :)  Yes, that is my cat making himself at home right by our cookie cake box on the stove.