Saturday, May 28, 2005


Today we went to my Grandma's house to celebrate her 90th birthday (she doesn't act a day over 70 IMO). I take the kids out and let them walk into the yard. Of course Kurt takes off and has to explore. I'm so glad that I followed him because he got within 5 feet of a snake!!! It was a king snake (black with yellow dots), but imo a snake is a snake! So I get him and we get out of there in a hurry. I inform my cousin (who I knew would kill it) and everyone else there who has a child. Shortly thereafter the snake was killed and the rest of the yard was inspected!

That was the only scare of the day, it was a great day for playing with the kids out of doors. My Grandmother got to visit with her brothers, sisters, children, neices, nephews, and grand and great grandchildren.

Kurt and Shelby have not taken a nap yet (they are eating supper as I type) and have not been whiny even once with the exception of waiting for supper once we got home.

Friday, May 27, 2005


I slept in this morning, but Jaba told me that Kurt was playing monster with the real thing. We have the occasional waterbug around the house. Kurt found one and was chasing Shelby up and down the hall with it making the appropriate monster noise!


Power of a Praying Parent

Chapter 1

I have never been a morning person, so I've always found that ending the day with my reading/studying God's word, being quiet so that my heart can "hear" what God has to impart, then praising and praying, seem to help me prepare for the day ahead.

Now that I have 5 children, it seem harder to find that quiet time for personal growth. However, doing short little Bible studies with each of my children (hardly ever all together) are just as rewarding. I learn something new from the OT & NT Bible stories as I read, teach or talk about them with my children. As they are memorizing those verses--"all have sinned" and "while we were sinners Christ died for us" and "everything He made is beautiful" and "Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right"--I'm rememorizing them and hiding His words in my heart right along with my children.

I guess I'm revealing this to say that if your walk with God seems to have stumbled or not turned out the way you think it should be, just know that (Romans 8:26-28) 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


I loved the last paragraph before the prayer...
We can't be everywhere. But god can. We can't see everything. But God can. We can't know everything. But God can. No matter what age our children are, releasing them into God's hands is a sign of our faith and trust in Him and is the first step toward making a difference in their lives. Prayer for our children begins there.

This sentence in the prayer was especially for me...
Helb me NOT to live in fear of possible dangers, but in the joy and peace of knowing that You are in control.

On a personal note...I can remember when I first dedicated each of my children back to God. The first time was in 97 when Cynthia was almost 5. She somehow was infected with the virilent strain, e-coli-0157. She went in to the hospital because she would not eat (even popsicles) and was having diarrhea movements a minimum of 1 or 2 an hour. Turns out it was bloody diarrhea. We came very close to losing our beloved daughter. She was supposed to be airvaced to Tulane in NO (Nov 21, 97), but because of tornados hitting all around (Lafayette, Covington, Picayune MS, Nicholson MS) the sent a PICU team of RN specialist by ambulance. When they got there, I just assumed I would be able to ride with Cynthia but found out that it was not a given. But God knew that I was supposed to ride with her that night. That ride was full of prayer, but the one prayer that will forever be imprinted on my brain was, "God you know that I am selfish and want my daughter to live here on earth with me, but I know that she is not mine. You have blessed me so richly with the 4 years that you have lent her to me. Lord, Father, she is yours and if you want her with you, then bring her home. But Lord please give me a second chance. Heal her body. Speak to her heart and let her know that you are with her to comfort her. Hold her in your arms while I am unable." The rest of that ride, and for the most part the rest of her hospital stay (a month) and then the recovery at home (5 months), God gave me a real peace to listen to the grim statements from Doctors. Then once she began to recover and was moved from the PICU to the floor, He stayed with me as the nurses began teaching me how to care for Cynthia (peritoneal dialysis, cleaning the cathetar sites, and giving shots every other day). After 3 weeks Cynthia's kidney functions began to recover. All of the doctors were stunned. But we were not. We had so many family and friends, many church prayer chains, firefighters (my DH was a firefighter), internet prayer chains, teachers and children in schools, ALL were praying for Cynthia. I certainly learned the POWER OF PRAYER in one small month in 1997.

I still fail miserable as a Christian, as a parent, a wife, as a human. I certainly fail in my prayer life. I don't pray everyday. Cheryl, thank you for starting this discussion. And Step, thank you for providing me with the book and study guide. I pray and hope that this journey through The Power of A Praying Parent will be the catalyst for a closer walk with God.

(Our church is starting The Purpose Driven Live: 40 Days of Purpose Campaign this coming Wednesday night, too, so I'm getting a double dose over the next 6 weeks.)


Okay, now for Chapter 3...

Some of the statements that stood out for me were...

"Being a praying parent doesn't mean that nothing bad will ever happen to your children or that they will never experience pain. They will, because pain is a part of life in this fallen world. But the Bible assures us that our prayers play a vital part in keeping trouble from them. And when a painful thing does happen, they will be protected in the midst of it so it will be to their betterment and not their destruction." (I think destruction here can also refer to their walk with God.)

"What might happen, or might not happen, to our children if we don't pray today?"

Since Cynthia's complete recovery I have experienced a detachment from her that I was unaware of for several years, but it becoming much more apparant now. I don't hug her or kiss her like I used to. About 2 years ago the "separation" came crashing in on me where I recognized that I had felt like I had given so much to her during that 7 month period that I felt like I had given all my love to her. I had used up the well that was there for her. This is not true, I haven't exhausted the love that I feel for her, but I haven't shown it in the way that I should have from the time she was 6 until she was 8. I still have to force myself to hug her and to tell her I love her even now. I do love her, but for some reason the showing of my love has become a chore. Maybe part of it is that she shows overwhelming love for my mother, which I think is great, but I want the same from her, too. I don't want to lose her. She's only 11 (12 in Nov) and I feel like I'm losing my baby already.

Looks like I really need to start reading chapter 4.

Transferring some more

I had an amazing conference with Alex's teacher. Her only "complaint" was that he won't contribute to discussion in a big group. He will discuss in smaller groups, though. She said, He's really on the verge of genius (yeah, she said genius Eek). She gave an example of how when they were in small groups discussing beginning sounds or rhyming words he will come up with unusual words including other countries and states. He really thinks outside of the box. She also said that when his group is doing manipulatives that she gives him extra puzzles to do. She said that Alex will look at what work the other children have and then will tell her that he has more (he's such a sharer--at home he makes sure that if he gets something that his sisters get some, too).

With Mary-Jo starting Pre-K next year, I sure hope he won't get into too much trouble protecting his sister. fam25

at almost 9 months,

Kurt size 3
Shelby size 2

Shelby has no interest in rolling over, either. In fact she hates tummy time. In the last 2 weeks she has just started to roll to her sides from laying on her back, but will not complete the turn to her belly. My pedi told me not to worry about it as long as she has started to roll over by around 8 months (adjusted). She and Kurt are now 8 1/2 mo (7mo adjusted).

Kurt has been rolling over since he was 4 months. He has been scooting on his back since about 5 months, inchworming on his belly since 6 months and crawling, proper, since 7 1/2 months.
SLEEPING 12/21/03
K&S are definately have different sleep needs.

Shelby still sleeps about 16 hours a day.

Nighttime she sleeps 7pm-6am
She will wake up for a bottle at least once a night but goes right back to sleep.
Daytime she takes 3 naps
8-9am, 11a-2pm, 4-5pm are her approximate naptimes.

Kurt only sleeps about 13 hours a day
Nighttime he sleeps 9pm-6am
He will wake up at least 2 times a night for a bottle but usually goes back to sleep. His nighttime bottles don't mess with his daily intake either.
Daytime he takes 2 naps
9-11am and 2-4pm Sometimes he will take a short 20-30 min snooze, if I'm lucky.

WELL, as you can see, they "tag-team" nap during the day, so I really don't get any rest. The only good thing about this nap schedule is that they both get Mommy-time to theirselves. So it's not all bad.Big Grin
I just wanted to BRAG!!!

PTC 12/21/03
Cynthia had all A's again this semester!!!

asmil09 asmil09 beerchug clapping Party Eek 1luvyu High-Five bigok bow2 banana biggreen

Alex is progressing well in Kindergarten. The teacher said the only thing he really needs any improvement on is to contribute to "groups" cause he's really smart (HER WORDS!!!!) For example, if they are discussing a subject he will just sit there quietly and not give his opinion. I personally don't see anything wrong with this, cause he sure talks about it when he gets home. I think he's just soaking up the information and putting it into perspective before talking about it. There is something to be said for listening and NOT talking.

Although I did have some pervious experience of holding 2, they were 2 years apart so the older one was able to assist me by climbing up and holding on at the same time.

I only dropped Shelby 3 times before I got the hang of it.

I sent off my letter w/ birth certificate to Kimberly-Clark and P&G about 3 weeks ago.

Today I got an envelope from both of them!

asmil09 asmil09 I got all of the following: asmil09 asmil09

$5.00 off Pampers
$1.00 off Pampers Bibsters
$1.00 off Pampers Wipes
One hard cardboard book with pictures of animals
They spent .95 in postage to send it to me.

$3.00 off Huggies diapers
$3.00 off Huggies diapers
$1.00 off Huggies diapers
$1.00 off Huggies diapers
$ .50 off Huggies baby wipes
$ .50 off Huggies baby wipes
They spent .53 in postage to send it to me

Also Kimberly Clark was nice enough to return my Birth Certificate copies.

So I'd say the .74 that I spent to mail them a request was well worth my time--and my babies not-so-tiny-anymore hineys Big Grin

CRUSTY EYES 11/02/03
Not only was her eyelid swollen and red, but she also had that yellowy-green gunk that was coming out of her eye. What I did--so as not to continually rub her eye--was use J&J foaming babywash on a soft baby washcloth drenched w/ warm water to moisten and remove the crusty stuff. It just so happened that she never had anymore gunk build up and her eye improved drastically within the next 2-4 hours. I also massaged her tear duct in that eye from the middle of her nose down to the tearduct as suggested by my pedi for similar previous eye problems with my other children.

Journal entries

My first entry is basically a clinical entry.

Here is only some of the information about Congenital Toxoplasmosis that I've found so far

Congenital toxoplasmosis is an infection acquired from coming in contact w/ infected cat feces or eating undercooked meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables.

I do not have a cat. Nor do I eat undercooked meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables. (Especially since I almost lost a daughter due to a particular nasty e-coli strain--she was infected at school) The only way I could come up with my becoming infected w/ the toxo is I visited 3 homes regularly that had cats or had dogs that eat cat feces constantly.

A fresh maternal infection during pregnancy can lead to an infection of the placenta. Congenital Toxoplasmosis results from transplacental infection of the fetus during pregnancy. Maternal immunity appears to protect against intrauterine transmission of this parasite and thus congenital toxoplasmosis occurs only when the infection is acquired during gestation

CLINICAL FEATURES: 70% of infants with congenital toxoplasmosis infection are asymptomatic 30% of infants are symptomatic 1. Ocular Manifestations (76%) (eyes) 2. CNS Manifestations (52%) microcephaly or hydrocephaly,motor and intellectual retardation,seizures,sensorineuronal hearing loss


So far we have had the following tests done: 1. Results of fetal ultrasonography (if done) 2. Physical examination 3. Eye examination by a paediatric ophthalmologist 4. Several Complete blood count with differential leukocytes and platelet count 5. Liver function tests 6. Urinalysis and serum creatinine 7. Cranial CT scan without contrast medium 8. Auditory brainstem response to 20 dB 9. Maternal and infant serology

What is the optimal treatment of congenitally infected infants after birth? The treatment of choice for congenital toxoplasmosis in the neonate is the combination of pyrimethamine, sulphadiazine and folinic acid administered for one year. These children need to be followed carefully for evidence of myelosuppression secondary to medication, appearance or progression of retinal disease, development of ventricular obstruction and developmental delay. Multidisciplinary follow-up care, appropriate to the deficit and with attention to auditory function, is required. Breastfeeding by an infected mother provides no risk to her infant. These infected children are not contagious.

So that ends the clinical info. From here on I'll just post any subsequent tests & results and my personal thoughts, rants & raves.

Okay, here is my first rant

Well, after Shelby was born we knew something was wrong. She was anemic, had several episodes of fast & slow heartrates. She had at least one apnea that I know of. They didn't tell me very much about what was going on with my twins at all. The doctors, nurses, staff did not come to me and tell me anything. If you don't have a medical degree you don't know the questions to ask and if you don't ask the right questions you don't get answers. At least this was my experience.

All of that though was not the worst to me though. A test was done the day that we left the hospital that tested for the toxo in conjucntion with other tests. However no medical personnel called to tell me the test results. I have never had a doctor--pedi or otherwise--who did not send me a letter or call me and inform me of the results.

Well, the NICU dr had the NICU staff make an appointment w/ a pedi hemotologist. Well as it turns out they made it for the wrong facility. And because they did not inform me of the results from the test they did they day we left the hospital, I was only able to tell her what I knew. So she made me an appointment at the Specialty clinic--which is where it should have been made to begin with--and at that appointment is when we find out that she has the Toxo. That appointment was for May 19 (over 2 months from her date of birth). Because the meds are not manufactured in the US, the components had to be ordered by the pharmacists. This took a week!

I said all of that to say...they screwed up so my daughter's treatment did not start til almost 3 months after birth. Everything I have read on the internet about toxo says that treatment should be started within the first 2 mo after birth.

Okay, so here's my rant. If Shelby has any additional complications past the failed hearing in her right (not a definate answer on that yet), is it because of the initial toxo infection or is it because she was not treated fast enough?

So now that I've ranted about it. I do have to say in conclusion of this entry that I have to remind myself constantly to just leave all of my worries and Shelby's health in God's hands. He is the great healer.

Well Shelby had a Pedi Hemotology appt today. While there I found out that I tested negative for toxoplasmosis. This is flabbergasting news, cause Congenital Toxoplasmosis is only transferred from pg mom to fetus baby. Or at least that is what everything I've read indicates.

This only leads me to believe that she may have been infected by someone who "handled" her at the hospital. The only persons to handle her while she was at the hospital was Dr's, nurses, other personnel, me, my Mom and my SIL. I know that my MOM, SIL & I washed our hands before we were allowed to go back and touch or handle the twins. Shelby was sick at birth, but could this have been the reason why she was subseptible to the infection. They didn't test her hearing until about the 10th day in the NICU so could she have lost her hearing during those 10 days?

I know so many questions. But I feel better once I get them out in writing. NOt to mention that maybe I'll remember the questions when I go to see the pedi who specializes in diseases.

Well that's all for today.

Yesterday, the epidemiologist(sp) called. She had spoken w/ her coleagues(sp) and they seemed baffled that she could have this, too, without me being infected. So when I go to see her on Oct 1, she is going to have us both do another blood draw and send it to a lab in CA--one of the best in the nation. They seem to think that Shelby may have had a false positive.

Wouldn't that be great!!!!!

However, she has still failed her right ear hearing tests. We go back on Sept 29 for more extensive testing.

My husband told me today that she may qualify for SSI if she is diagnosed w/ deafness in the one ear. Anyone else have experience w/ this????
Shelby's possible deafness is thought to be connected w/ the toxo. We do know that she exhibited signs of an infection at birth. So IF it is not the toxo that caused her deafness it could have been another infection.

They were born 6 weeks early. It is my understanding that even being born early could be a cause for hearing loss or deafness.

Also, up until about 30 weeks when my last ultrasound was done, both were growing right at the same rate. When my first ultra sound in the LDR was done they had a difference of a pound. NOt that babies don't grow differently, but it seems odd to me that during the last 3 weeks there would be such a huge difference all of a sudden.

It may just be a dream for me to believe until the next test results come back, but I am hoping and praying that she doesn't have it. NOt having to worry about neurological problems, developmental delays, retinal diseases, etc.

She may still have hearing in her right ear. We see after our next appointment--Sept 29.

Shelby & I had blood drawn on Wednesday. It is being sent to Stanford in California. The doctor there is the leading specialist in toxoplasmosis.

I'm squirming like I have ants in my pants waiting for the test to come back! I can't wait!

I'll let you guys know as soon as I do!

Well, since last posting, we've been to the ear doctor, but they didn't do the test I was expecting evil. I really thought they were going to do it! I told the doctor that we needed to know something! We would prefer to have hearing, but if not, then DH & I needed to apply for assistance to help us cover future medical expenses. We have all these appointments and out-of-pocket expenses to go with them.

Well, first, let me tell you, I hated that "look", you know the look, the one that people give you that says "you're just trying to get money from your child's disability/handicap". I, along w/ many other parents, am NOT! I just want to know a diagnosis and do everything possible to make sure that my child receives the best possible care. If that includes applying for SSI so that we can afford all the appointments and medical bills, then so be it!

Okay, now that I'm finished griping....

We go to have the hearing tests on Tuesday, October 21. They will do the test where they test the ocular hair vibrations (I have no idea what the test it called). If she fails this one, AGAIN!, then she will go straight to the test where they put the electrodes on her head to test brain function for hearing. (So if anyone knows the names of these tests maybe you could educate me Wink .)

I also called the pedi epidemioligist office and there was a mix up on the blood tests that they sent to Stanford to test both of us for the toxo. (I previously tested NEGATIVE). It will be Monday at the earliest before I will know! Upset (we need a pulling hair out picture thingy!)

So that is where we are now. It looks like I'm going to be on pins and needles for a while!

8/15/03 (later that day)

clapping clapping banana asmil09 banana clapping clapping

So now we are checking for the following. These can cause false positives for toxoplasmosis.

RF (Rheumatoid Factor???)


BUT, it is not nearly as serious as the toxoplasmosis!

I finally found the names of those hearing tests. Here they are.

Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) testing, which measures the inner ear's response to sound. Otoacoustic emissions are sounds produced by the cochlea, a fluid-filled coiled structure in the inner ear that converts sound vibrations into electrical signals that go to the brain. The cochlea produces otoacoustic emissions spontaneously in response to a sound, such as a tone or click. Otoacoustic emissions can be recorded in the external ear canal and do not require the person to respond consciously or indicate whether the tones or clicks are heard. OAE testing is often used to screen newborns for hearing problems.
Auditory brainstem evoked potential (ABEP) testing, which evaluates the function of nerve pathways in the brain that are needed to hear. In this test, clicking noises or tones are sent through earphones to the person being tested, and each response is recorded from brain waves by using electrodes taped to the head. When hearing is stimulated by listening to a test click or tone, the electrical response in the brain is called an auditory brainstem evoked response or potential. Like otoacoustic emissions testing, ABEP testing is often used to screen newborns for hearing problems. It is also called brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) testing.

I don't think I ever actually introduced myself, other than in my signature. So here goes.

(I started out just to write a little, but ended up with a brief work history and a marriage biography!) My name is Marilyn Brennan. I live in Central Louisiana. I attend NSU on a music scholarship for 2 years. When my scholarship ended, I moved back home and began working at a Drug store. Soon after, I met my future husband, Jaba, through a work friend of my Mom's. We actually began dating exclusively on my 20th birthday. His Mom liked me so much that within a month's time she asked me to come work for her as her assistant manager for an Apartment community. Over the next 10 years, I stayed in the "apartment" business by working for 3 different government subsidized, privately owned apartments, then I was an Americorps*VISTA volunteered at a Judeo-Christian 501c organization that helped provide food, clothing, RX, and utility & housing assistance. After my year term was up, they hired me to be the a Case Manager for Homelessness Prevention. About a year later, I was recruited by the local housing authority to come and work for them.

Jaba and I dated for a year before he Roll Eyes"so romatically" asked me to marry him on 11/1/91. (His words were "now you can quit Upsetitching". I should have just told him no, then made him ask me in a proper and elegant way. It is also interesting to know that my engagement ring only cost him 3 cents. He traded a Topps Desert Storm Nolan Ryan baseball card (cost 5cents) for several pieces of jewelry--a solitary diamond engagement ring (3 cents), a mother's ring (1.5 cent), and some earrings (.5cents) for his sister. We were discussing having a November/December wedding when in March '92, we found out we were pregnant. It was quite a surprise because I was religious about taking the pill at the same time everyday. Later, I found out that antibiotics is what reduced the effects of Birthcontrol. Well, I didn't want to be a "showing" bride, nor did we want our child to be born out of wedlock so we moved up our wedding and were married 3 months later on June 17, 1992.

Our firstborn was due Dec 14, but I developed gestational diabetes and high blood pressure/toxemia and she arrived 2 1/2 weeks early on Nov 28, 1992. I knew that I wanted to have all my children before I was 30, so I could retire at age 50 and spend quality time w/ my dear husband and future grandchildren. But Jaba wanted to wait so, it was almost 5 years before I could convince him to let us have another one. In fact, Al is the only "planned" child. In all, we have been happily blessed with 5 beautiful and loving children.

We've had our share of trials. In '97 we almost lost Cynthia to an e-coli infection. She was hospitalized for 28 days and was on peritoneal dialysis for 18 of those days. God granted us a medical miracle, for she is in perfect health now. Our next trial was when we were told that Shelby was diagnosed with Congenital Toxoplasmosis. Congenital Toxoplasmosis is an infection transmitted through the placenta in @ 30% of cases when the mother is infected or reinfected during pregnancy. It can cause infants to have debilitating mental capacity and to be blind and/or deaf. The infection is usually contracted by handling infected cat litter--or breathing in infected dust particles. It can also be contracted through eating undercooked meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables (usually from infected flies). However, 6 months later, after I tested negative for toxo, further tests were done and sent to Stanford. We were just informed this week that we both tested negative!!!! We are still havaing test done to find out what infection she has/had. The next test that we are being sent for is for Rheumatiod Factor. She has also failed hearing in her right ear at each of the five AOE hearing tests. However, these complications are minor compared with her original diagnosis.

I think the most important lesson I learned through both of these life-changing events is that children are a blessing for a lifetime, but only a temporary gift from God. They are NOT mine; they are HIS. It is when I realized this that I really began to see and know the true blessing of having children.


We've been doing the noodle dance ever since!!!

We did the blood draws for RF & ANA today. Hopefully the results will be in before we go to see the Pedi on Tuesday next week.

My Pedi called today. Shelby's RF and ANA tests came back negative!!!!

The RF titer was 1 to 10, so it was really, really low.

I copied this off of WebMD

A rheumatoid factor (RF) level greater than 23 and a titer greater than 1 to 80 supports a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, but it may also occur in other conditions.

I don't know why it seems that all the bad things that have happened to my children from the almost death of my firstborn (e-coli-0157) to the most recent with Shelby (toxoplasmosis), that I am the one to be blessed with healed or perfectly healthy children. After reading the heartache that other parents have or are going through with their children, I sometimes feel guilty that they my children have been made healthy.

4/17/04 (journal of almost losing Cynthia to HUS in Nov/Dec 97)
We came just a hair close to losing Cynthia to e-coli related HUS just 6 days before her 5th birthday in 1997.

It started with stomach pains and black beady jelloey diarrhea to red beady jelloey diarrhea in less than a 12 hour period. The anti-diarrhea meds were not working and she would no longer drink fluids or eat popsicles. She was admitted to the hospital and thought to be getting better when after 2 days she began throwing up bile (stomach acid that disolves food). Her kidneys shut down within a 3 hour period after that. We were transferred to Tulane in New Orleans where a port was put in her femoral artery (near the groin area) for hemodialysis that night and then the next day she went in for surgery where that port was switch to a central line that goes into the chest and enters the heart and a peritoneal dialysis cathetar was installed. The peritoneal sac is what holds the major organs in your stomach. Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a process by which the peritoneal sac is emptied of its "dirty" fluid then replaced with fresh. This is one of the functions of your kidneys. Cynthia was on peritoneal dialysis for 19 days with a flush and fill cycle every hour. By day 12, I was being taught how to cleanse the PD site and operate the dialysis machine, cleanse the central line site and flush with heparin to prevent clotting, and learning how to administer epogen shots for the anemia. Thus, the DR's were not expecting Cynthia's kidneys to recover. Cynthia still would not eat, all of her nutrition was being given by IV. One of the doctors was going to put in an NG tube for nutrition if we could not get her to eat. It was not easy, but Mama and I finally got her to drink those yucky canned stuff. If she had not regained kidney funtions, I would have been responsible for all of her medical care at home. I would have had help from my SIL and my mother who are critical care RN's, but it would have been ultimately my responsibility.

Fortunately, 6 days later, Cynthia began urinating on her own. The first time she produced about 110 cc's then the next time she had over 1000 ccs of output. The dr's were quite impressed with the capacity of her bladder. She was in the hospital for another 7 days before she was released to come home. I still had to clean both sites and flush the central line every other day, and give epogen therapy for the anema (my Mother asked the doctor about giving it in the central line to avoid all the shots which was approved). During her hospital stay, she had at least 8 or 9 redblood and plasma transfusions due to her low platlet count.

What the above post doesn't tell is our spiritual journey through those 28 days and the next year. I'll try and put it to words, but it may take some time, even days.
Yes, there were 5 other children who were in the hospital with the same diarrhea/vomiting symptoms within the same time frame, but theirs did not develop into HUS. From everything I've read, generally if the person has had some type of respitory illness within the couple of weeks before being infected with e-coli 0157 their chances of developing HUS become greater. Cynthia did have a cold about a week before she was infected.

They were all in the same wing of the private school where Cynthia attended.

Transferring even more

My 33 weekers walked at different times. Kurt started standing up in the middle of the room around 9 1/2 months and was walking by 10 1/2 months. Shelby, OTOH, refused to walk until she was almost 17 1/2 months corrected age (so almost 19 months).

My children really got me!

My SIL called from work that she was off the weekend and wanted to take the kids to Six Flags (she gave us season tickets for Christmas). So I call my Mom and tell her I need her to bring the kids home by 4pm so I can meet my SIL at her house by 5. She calls me back a few minutes later and tells me that the kids decided that they didn't want to go. I exclaimed, "WHAT!" Then all the kids yelled, "April Fool's!"

With our first child, Jaba rarily changed a diaper, nor did he do much of the parenting until she started walking. However, with each subsequent child he has been more comfortable with the task of changing diapers and being left home alone with them. With the twins he even cared for them all by his lonesome several times during the first 3 months. This is a big achievement for him as he cannot stand to see any type of tubes in family members, not because he's queasy about it, but because he lost a brother when he was 9 who had a lot of medical problems due to PKU.

I absolutely love to express my opinions. However when the best that someone can do is disrespect me for my views that are religiously based or discount them or say they have no place in politics or start name-calling then I just don't want to be a part of it.

I may disagree with someone's opinion, but that doesn't mean that I don't have compassion for ALL people of differing opinions, no matter the subject.

Another thing is that sometimes I like to sit and "chew" on a subject for a couple of hours up to a day or two before I post to it. Usually by the time I figure out my position or collect my thoughts it gets closed because someone doesn't know how to hold civil fingers.

I didn't know it for a number of years, as I'm not a big NBA fan, but my graduating class has a celebrity...PJ Brown--NO Hornets NBA.

I received a gift card from

Lisa (LisaMunoz)
Carol (CalligraphybyCarol)
Eric (EricBarr)
Sandi (Cassandra)
Step (Princess & the Peanut)
Cindy (Babies4and5)
Laura (8isgr8)
Melissa (TwinkieMom)
Anissa (Anissa)
Amy (Mamagoose)
Gwen (Emmybean)
Amy (Momof7)
Sabine (J&Jmom2001)
Peggy (PAW5kids
Dawn (purplekatz)
Melissa (MommyMelissa)
Dina (DinaJ)
Christina (ChristinaB)
Cherine (Cherine24)
Kim (KimberlyR)
Nicki (Nickimom2-3)

I am so blessed to have friends (only 3 whom I've met briefly) that I have grown to love, have prayed for, who have prayed for me, supported me as a twin mom, a large family mom, a Christian and as a friend.

I've been crying off and on the last half hour, really 2 hours since Lisa first asked me if I had recieved her second card. And since we can all do with a little happy ending drama, I tell you where I actually found the card.

After Lisa asked me about it the 3rd time (she just finally came out and bluntly said that it was a gift card and that she was worried that it had gotten lost in the mail). I called Jaba and asked him if he had picked up the mail; he hadn't. So my next step was to totally clean out my suburban (you know how it is with twins, much less with 5 kids). I went through the envelopes that I had on my dash, then looked under the driver's seat, inbetween the seats, then on the floorboard of the passenger seat. Praise God, it was there, unopened.

So I run back into the house and AIM Lisa, that I FOUND IT!!. Then I opened it and had to "prove" that I found it because Lisa thought that I was just being nice. So I described the puppydog with reindeer on the giftcard and the amount for which it was (she had not divulged that information).

I think we both cried. As I'm still crying.

Thank you to all of you. My children do have some gifts for under the tree, but now Jaba and I can get Mary-Jo the bike that she wanted, Alex the Rachet and Clank game that he wanted and Cynthia--I don't know yet.

Finally, Thank you for richly blessing our Christmas.

I went to my SIL's house this last weekend to do some Christmas baking. She bought the older kids a Natavity Gingerbread Kit to put together.

I took Shelby (and Kurt) for their Developmental Clinic on July 29 (16 1/2 mo evaluation). The day after I wrote that post, the Clinic called to inform me that the Doctor wanted to refer Shelby for Physical Therapy. I was a bit surprised because she seems to be doing so well IMO. Well, the PT office called the next day to schedule an appt, but I told her that I wasn't sure that we really needed PT and that I was going to get a 2nd opinion from my Ped because he told me that as long as she was walking by 18 months (corrected age) that he wouldn't, and I shouldn't, worry about it.

Well today I took her for her appt. My Ped said that she doesn't show any signs of even mild CP (bends legs to step up and then pushes up with her knees to stand). He agrees with me that she most probably was delayed due to all the meds that she took for toxoplasmosis (which she DIDN'T have) during her 3-7 months of life. These meds are similar to chemotherapy in nature.

So in conclusion, we will go back in a month to see how she is progressing (she is already taking 3-4 steps to and from furniture and me and she walks around fine even when she is just holding on to me with one hand). I really expect her to be a full-blown walker by the time we go back to the ped's office.

So I finally decided to take him to the Ped, because reminding him and forcing him to go to the bathroom all day was not working.

Turns out it is hereditary (I had bedwetting problems up until I was 10 or 11). Also 10% of boys have a this problem.

The Ped prescribed Desmopressin Acetate Nasal Solution 0.01% to be sprayed once in each nostral before bedtime. He also told me that there is a new med for the pooing out that he was reading about. But he suggested that we try this med for a month first to see if we have some positive results.

I am soooo praying that this medicine works. He is such a social boy and gets really embarrassed when he has an accident. Some neighbor boys have begun to pick on him about it, too. I really think that this problem is what instigated or aggrevated his behavioral problems on the school bus last year.

The kids and I took a vacation in Texas with my SIL. We stayed in Cleveland, TX, but visited all over. SIL worked nights and slept days (she's a contract ICU RN). While she slept this is what we did....

Friday...Stopped at McDonald's to eat a late breakfast and to play in the outdoor playland then drove to Houston and visited the Fireman's Museum (I didn't take pictures this day)

Saturday...Drove 2 hours north to Palestine to ride the Texas State Railroad from Palestine to Rusk and back with Amy (Mamagoose) and Sabine (J&J Mom). If I had driven the posted speed limit it would probably have taken me 2 hours and 45 minutes, but thankfully I got behind some speed demons. Otherwise we would have missed the train and made my SIL late for work. Other than Astroworld, this was my favorite day of the whole trip.

Sunday...We washed 4 loads of laundry (my three oldest still have bedwetting issues), then headed to Sam Houston State Park. After we got back to the motel, I took the kids swimming in the motel pool. (no pics this day)

Monday...ASTROWORLD!!!!! My SIL was off today and decided to pay for Astroworld for all of us. This day was my kids favorite day of the trip. We arrived at Astroworld at 11am and didn't leave until 9:15pm. It was a full and long day. Around 2pm my SIL and I split up. She took Cynthia on the Rollercoasters and I stayed in the Kiddie Part with the 4 youngest. Shelby slept for 3 hours (thankfully). Alex was a little upset that he didn't get to ride the big kids rollercoaster, but he made the most of his time and settled for the smaller rides.

Tuesday...We washed another load of clothes, ate cereal at the laundry-mat, then drove to Lake Livingston. We stopped at the Trinity River Spillway (comes out of Lake Livingston). The kids loved seeing the birds diving in for fish. We then went to Lake Livingston Park. The pool was closed, but we had a swingset and slide to play on. Then we took a walk on the concrete walk-way around the lake.

Wednesday...Another load of laundry. Then we went to the Houston Zoo.

Thursday...Another load of laundry. Then we headed back to Lake Livingston to swim. We actually got to swim for about 5 minutes before it thundered. We waited the 30 minutes required and were about to reenter the pool when it thundered again so we nixed the swimming plans and drove on into Livingston. I found a McDonald's with an inside playland. I let the kids play for about 3 hours to expend some pent up energy, then we headed back to the motel. After taking my SIL to work, the T-storm (with dime-size hail for about 5 minutes) had passed over and the sun had peeked through so I took the kids swimming in the motel pool again. The two nights that we got to swim were the best nights of sleep that all the kids (and thus ME) got.

Friday...We headed back to Alexandria. But we stopped in Livingston for a BIG breakfast at a little local breakfast and lunch restaraunt. The food was GREAT!

The week of vacation was great. For the most part all of the kids and I enjoyed our time together. I was quite exhausted by the end of the week because I had 5 children with me 24/7 with no DH to give me a sanity break, but if we could do it again, I would because I enjoyed giving the kids and myself great family memories.

WWell, Cynthia got all A's again. I really proud of her for her continued accomplishment.

I wish I could say that she works hard, but she never brings home homework, with the exception of a project once a six weeks. But it is usually finished in a nights time. When I was in 5 grade, I think I had maybe 30 minutes of homework at least 2 or 3 times a week.

I have Alex's tomorrow at 3:00. I hope he is doing as well.

Cynthia came home yesterday and asked if she could bring a lunch to school starting tomorrow. Well, I'm not one to just say no or yes, I have to ask why. Well she told me that the Schoolboard took away the salad bar and juices at lunch. Some of the 6th graders got together and decided to get all the kids to sign the petition and boycott lunch until they bring it back. My daughter made signs to post.

Today, when Cynthia came home I asked her how many kids brought lunches and she said there were only about 10 kids who got school lunches! I'm so proud of her for taking a stand for what she believes in.

I'm sure it was a financial decision, too. Our schoolboard and it's Superintendent has not managed their money well. I hope the next time that elections come up that we get a whole new crew!

While I was undressing Kurt for his bath yesterday, I found 8-10 oval, slightly raised redish splotches in differing sizes on his torso (back, shoulder, nipple). The average size is about a centimeter by 1/2 centimeter.

Do any of you have any idea of what this could be? I put cortaid on them and they seemed to have started to fade, but have still not disappeared.

Right now I have my 3 oldest (12g, 6 5/6b, 4 2/3g) in the same room and b/g twins (almost 2) in the same room. Shelby doesn't care what room she's in as long as she has a separate sleeping space. Kurt & Mary-Jo wans to snuggle up to someone (generally it's Cynthia, Jab or myself). Cynthia would rather sleep alone and in her own room, but I've told her that I would change the sleeping arrangement this summer before she goes into 7th grade. The 4 youngest will share the big bedroom and she will get the twins' room. I just need the summer to help both K&S to get adjusted to sleeping without "barriers".

The one thing I can tell you is that I like it when K&S get up in the morning at the same time. If one doesn't wake up with the other (rarely happens) I will even wake the later sleeper within 30 minutes so that nap and bedtime don't get messed up. I really cherish the 1-2 hours of quiet time during afternoon nap time.

we started with the soft infant brushes at around 6 months when they started really drooling and you could see the bumps start where the teeth would push through. By 10 months they were holding the toothbrush themselves in the bathtub. Kurt got his first tooth around 7 months and Shelby didn't get her's until 11 1/2 months. They are now both using the spinbrushes and absolutely love them.

milestones that I'm struggling with....

Shelby---she will not eat, she wants to drink all day long, but refuses to eat solids for the most part. I would be estatic just to find 1 or 2 items that she would eat at each meal served, but it's hit once or twice a week and miss the rest of the time no matter what I serve.

Shelby and Kurt have started to repeat words back to me now. It's not all the time, but they are beginning to learn speech!!! Woohoo!

Kurt is only 22 months yet he eats more than any 2 of my other children combined. I don't know where he puts all that food. Oh, and if you are getting a plate or a snack for yourself, you better make sure you get enough to share with Kurt! I think he has 7 invisible legs that he has to fill. I'm seriously dreading his teen years!
Thankfully my boys are 5 years apart so maybe I won't have to deal with 4 teen hollow legs to fill all at one time.

Jaba and I took the kids to the Zoo last night. It was a "thank you" for being a FOTAZ (Friends of the Alexandria Zoo) member.

We got to see the new reptile building, pet a HUGE dog, a snake & a baby alligator, ride the train & the carousel, sing karoke, tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas (photo op!) and eat chili or hot dogs. The kids had a great time (the parents did, too).

Al (my 6 yo son) brought home his Thanksgiving papers today. One of the papers is a "What I am thankful for" essay. This is what he wrote.
I'm thankful for God and my puppy and mom and dad and turkey and church and home and my fish.
Okay, now I'm a little sad Frown that I'm 3rd on the list and that I'm behind the puppy eyebrows. However, when I saw that he had God first on his list, I just sat and crying bawled like a baby. Then I thanked God, myself, for giving me such a sweet little 1luvyu boy that loves Him.

CYNTHIA IS 12 (11/28/04)
I can't believe how fast time flies by. It seems like just yesterday she was learning how to walk & talk. Talking is what she does best, too. When she was about 20 months, my Mom took her on a hour trip to pick up my Grandmother. Cynthia talked the whole way there and 80% of the trip back. When they were about 15 miles from getting home, Cynthia just summed up her soliliquy with, "I'm through talking now." And she was, she didn't talk for about an hour. This is one of her favorite stories to hear about herself, so I thought I'd share it with my TS friends.

Happy 12th Birthday to my beautiful daughter, Cynthia.

She wanted it for the 50's dance that her school was hosting on Parent-Teacher conference night. The poodle was cut out of a pink jacket that my Mom had but had not worn in 3+ years. Cynthia wanted to wear her new belt, so I had to incorperate belt loops. I'm not really an accomplished seamstress, I really only learned how to follow a fairly simple pattern just in the last year. But I had to try, so I just cut and snipped and sewed and cut and snipped and sewed some more. It took me about 3 hours to finish the skirt. Then it took me another 3 hours to clean up all the messes that Mary-Jo and the twins made while I was building the skirt. But the reward of seeing a big smile on my daughter's face and the hugs and thank you's were well worth the 6 hours of labor.

My Mom and I took Cynthia (she'll be 12 on Nov 28) & 2 of her friends to see the Incredibles for her birthday yesterday. WE also took Al (6), a boy cousin (also 6), and Mary-Jo (4).

The 3 girls enjoyed the movie, but I think it was more because they were together. The 6 year old boys OTOH were glued to the screen as soon as we walked in the theater--we walked in during minute 1 of the movie.

Mary-Jo didn't like the dark parts of the movie. I ended up having to walk from the last row in the theater to the second row at least 3 or 4 times. Thankfully we were in a stadium seating and the aisles were along the side so we didn't interrupt anyone's line of sight.

The first part of the movie wasn't really that great, but once the family was in the superhero protection program the movie was quite interesting to me.

We usually end up having 4 Christmases. One at my Grandmother's, one at my Step Grand-mothers, one at my IL's and one at our house. The one at my Step-Grandmother's is the Saturday before Christmas. My Grandmother's is either the Saturday or Sunday after Christmas. Our Christmas is Christmas morning and then we go to my IL's afterwards.

As far as gift giving, we had years where we've gone all out and year's where we only had $10 to spend on each family member. I've like the years where we only had $10 to spend the best.

For the Grandparents' on my side, we've had years where the parent would bring one gift for their child to open and other years where Grandparents would provide a gift under the tree. At the Great-Grandparent IL's, the rule of thumb is that children 18 (or still in school) and under receive a gift. Generally they get a Christmas ornament from their Great-uncle, a gift from the parent, and a gift from the Great-Grandparent. At my parent's home, they get a gift from my parents. We used to draw names for the children at my Grandmother's, but we've decided not to do gifts there anymore.

Now, at my IL's we STILL have to get gifts for everybody, but when you consider that there are only 6 other members besides our 7, it's really not that bad except in the lean years. And this is one of those really lean years.

I wish I could convince my husband that we don't have to go bankrupt every year to prove to our children that we love them, but I suppose that one day he will get the message that just spending quality time with us is the part that they will remember the most.

Mary-Jo has definately NOT been elected child of the week. She has destroyed every piece of make-up & fingernail polish that I have. Not only that, she has pulled out markers, pencils, candy, everything imaginable.
I guess I would have to say Cynthia is the Child of the Week, even though I have to ask her or argue with her to do things, she will do them
The only times I get to take a shower is after Cynthia (my almost 12 year old) get home from school (4:20pm) or when my DH goes into work at noon. I have to be honest, though, I only take a shower, wash my hair on the days that Jaba goes to work at 11/noon. Which is 4 days a week. I know, I know, nasty, nasty. But I do at least wash up on the other days, just no leisurely shower or bath.

At 18 months Shelby and Kurt sleep 12-15 hours a day.
Night time they sleep 10-11 hours
Nap time they sleep either two 1-2 hour naps or one 2-3 hour nap.

Cynthia 9.5 months
Alex....7.5 months
Mary-JO 11.5 months
Kurt....9.5 months (8 months adjusted)
Shelby..19 months (17 1/2 adjusted)

Just so you know....PEANUT BUTTER gets gum out of hair and pretty quickly, too!

Don't go shaving the hair off their heads (like I did with Alex when he was 4)!!

Now that I've armed you with a solid defense, go out and buy your kids some gum. Big Grin Wink

SHOE SIZES 8/11/04
17 months.....3 narrow...Shelby (tiny, tiny feet!)
17 months.....5 wide.....Kurt
4 years.......9.5 Tod....Mary-Jo (tiny feet, too)
6 1/2 years...1.5 Youth..Alex
11 3/4 years..6.5 Women..Cynthia (she was a size 3 six months ago!!!)

Cynthia and I went to see POA 2 weeks ago. Cynthia (my oldest daughter 11 1/2) said she loved the how the scenes were beautiful and how they were put together. She also loved the action in the scenes. While we were watching the movie, she kept trying to tell me spoilers. She just finished reading POA at camp on Tuesday and started reading book 5 today. When she came back from 4-H camp this morning she told me that one of the friends that she made at camp told her that her parents wouldn't let her read it because it teaches you how to cast spells Confused. So I just told her that "parents have the right to make rules about what their children can or cannot see, do, read, etc."

Is Jaba your DH's real name? If it's a nickname, how did it come about?

No, Jaba is not his real name. It is the name that everyone calls him. The only people that have called him by his real name (Alfred) are the Nuns at school. There was also one fireman (when Jaba was a fireman) that called him by his real name for about 2 years. That was before I gave him a dressing down at a softball tournament, though, and since then he and Jaba became great buddies.

Jaba is the III. So he went through a few nicknames until he was about 4 years old. He was called Allie up until the time that his English nanny took to calling him Abba-Jabba. Jaba's Dad was an instructor in the airforce and was teaching his students the abba jabba 7 radar device. His students were quite unruly one day. When his Dad came home he found Jaba being the same way and said, "You're acting just like my Abba-Jabba-7 students". The Engish Nanny (Jaba had an older brother-11 yrs older-who was severly mentally handicapped due to PKU) liked the way it sounded and started calling him Abba-Jabba. Eventually the Abba was dropped and he was called Jaba. During all the time that I've known Jaba and his family, I've only heard them call him Jaba. A thought just crossed my mind. I should have called Kurt, Jaba Kurt, that way both of his son's would have their fathers name (besides his last name, of course.

How did you and DH meet? Tell about how you met and decided he was the ONE.

The first time that I met Jaba, he was dating another girl, Janell. I actually went on a double date with them and a friend of his. About 6 months later, my Mom and her best friend from work, Carl, set me up on a group blind date with a friend of Carl's. There was a group of 7. The guy and I were not impressed with the other. Jaba admitted later that he was playing footsy under the table with me, but I didn't notice as I had never been on a blind date before and was quite nervous. About 3 weeks later the same group with a few more added in met at Carl & Fritzie's house for a BBQ. We played some board games. That was the night that both Jaba and I "clicked". This was about a 2 weeks before my 20th birthday. We officially started dating exclusively on my 20th birthday. I think he knew I was the one a bit quicker than I did. He told me he loved me, first. I was just a bit surprised by the declaration and responded back with, "I'm not sure, yet. I've said the words before, but later found out that it wasn't love. I wanna be sure, first." About a month later, I was sure, when he wasn't scared off by all my religious and other life-long questions. Even though we had different religious backgrounds, our core beliefs matched up.

Just a note, his mother liked me sooo much that she hired me to work as her assistant manager for an apartment community after only 2 months. It was just her and me in a tiny little office for the next 8 years.
What is your favorite color? Emerald Green

What is your favorite flower? Gladiolas(look) Gardenia(smell)

What is your favorite food? Fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, watermelon, etc)

What is your favorite TV show? Charmed, AI, Alias

What is your favorite song? This is a tough one. If it's one I've learned how to play it would be "Caccia and Chorale" by Tchicosky(sp). One that I could listen to over and over again "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe and a classical piano rendition of "I Surrender All"

If you could go anywhere in the world for a visit, where would that be?
The first place that I would want to visit would be Jerusalem to walk where Jesus walked. The second would be to take a cruise anywhere.

What would be your idea of the perfect evening?
Sitting on the back porch with family and friends eating leftover BBQ (the kind with anykind of meat w/ or w/out sauce Wink) watching all our kids playing in the yard.
What was your favorite subject in highschool?
Band! But behind that Math.

Do you want more kids?
Well at first, I only wanted 3 or 4, but now I think that I would love to have a whole house full of kids. I would like to have one more at the least.

Do you have a favorite board game...nonboard game?
Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Pictionary are my favorites.
I love playing volleyball, softball and basketball. Although multiple injuries have stopped me from playing basketball, now.

Do you have a special place you like to go to recharge?
My escapes are going to the movies, reading a book from start to finish without putting it down, or mowing the yard.

What do you think your kids will be when they grow up?
This is a hard one. I'm really not sure on this one. The main thing is that I would like for them to be God-fearing individuals. If they happen to become a Pediatrician (Cynthia), a Preacher (Alex), a musician (Mary-JO), a forest ranger (Kurt) and a writer/missionary (Shelby), then I wouldn't be unhappy with that either Big Grin

Do you have a toy that your kids LOVE but you wish they would lose?
We don't actually "lose" them, we take them to grandparents, SIL's or accidentally leave them at their cousins house! Especially if they were the gift giver Big Grin. I've only done this with 2 or 3 toys, though.

What was your most embarrasing moment?

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don't really remember wanting to be anything until I got into highschool and that was to be a teacher in math or music. Oops, no, I remember, I wanted to be an olympic figure skater or gymnist.

If I gave you a gift of money, are you likely to spend it on something you need, something frivolous or something for your kids?
Pay bills or something needed for the kids.

What is one totally frivolous thing that you would like to have, but wont buy it for yourself?
A personal trainer and/or housekeeper.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
for the most part I'm an optimist

Are you an organized person or a disorganized one?
Work--very organized Home--very unorganized

Are you prompt or tardy?
before children--prompt
after children---very, very tardy

Do you drink Coffee, Tea or neither?
When I was working I drank 4-6 cans of DrPepper a day. Now that I'm at home, I drink milk, water, juice.

What did you play in the band? I played flute/piccolo. But I've also played piano, clarinet and oboe.
I would like to know what is the highest level of education (besides on-the-job Mommy training, that is ) that you have?
I have finished 2 years of college. I am also a CPM (Certified Public Housing Manager)

Have you had a job outside the home? If so, what type of work?
Apartment Manager--VISTA volunteer & Christmas Cheer Coordinator for 1300+ families, CaseManager for Homelessness (all for the same ecumenical non-profit)--Public Housing Manager

How did you become a Christian?
I asked Jesus to come into my heart as a small child. I was 5 years old. I grew up in a ****-Fire and Brimstone Baptist Church. I remember the fear that I had that I would not go to Heaven to be with Jesus if I did not ask Him to come into my heart. I accepted him as a child, but I have grown so much since then. It is still a daily struggle to choose God and to submit to His ways. I fail miserable some days when I begin to think that I'm in control, other days I do better.

What church do you go to?
I attend a large (average 500+ members) Southern Baptist Church. We just moved to this church about 7 months ago because it is only 4 miles away as opposed to 25 miles away that the other church was. We also felt that our children should attend a church where their school peers attend so that they could foster close friendships with children that both attend chruch with them and go to school with them.

What outside activities or hobbies are you involved in?
I sing in the church choir, help with the Wednesday night preschool AWANA's, I volunteer to help with Christmas Cheer for Children and the Elderly. I used to help with Food For Seniors once a month, but I have not gotten back into that after I was put on bedrest back in Feb 03.

I know you have said you were in the band. How many instruments can you play and what are they? Are your kids also learning to play (and are you teaching them)? Have you ever done solos (with instrument or voice)?

I've played and am proficient in this order: flute, piccolo, piano, clarinet, oboe, zylophone and cymbals.
I was first chair flutist since 10 grade so had many opportunities to play solos in concert band. Over the last 5 years I've played solos quite frequently during church offeratory, weddings, Christmas parties, Senior citizens parties, non-profit organizations, etc.
Cynthia went to piano lessons for about 3 months before she decided she just wasn't interested. I'm hoping that over the summer that I can get Alex interested in learning piano (we have a piano at home) and teach Cynthia beginning flute. Mary-Jo is always singing, I'm hoping that I can get her into some voice lessons. Cynthia loves to make up lyrics to songs, however she is very tone deaf.

Has your swamp dried up yet???

There is only 2 places left that have a small bit of standing water, and about a 1/3 of my yard is very muddy underneath the grass. DH is off on Thursday, so I plan to mow the parts where I won't bog down then.

I have another question: If you could be on one of those PBS specials that go back in history and live like they did then (like Frontier House & Colonial House), which time period would you like to go to?

I would love to live like they did in any historical period. If the twins were at least 7 years old, I would love to take my whole family to live in either of those times.
However, my real desire is to go to a 3rd world country with a church group.

What was your most embarrasing moment?

Whoops, I just realized that I didn't answer this question.

There are so many to choose from. I suppose the most embarassing was my senior year in highschool. About half-way through the year, I "crushed" badly for my band director (he was only 5 years older). About a month later everyone was informed that he was dating another band student (she was 19). They eventually got married.

What is your favorite noodle?
Fettuccini seafood is my favorite.

Have you had an interesting pets?
no, just dogs, cats, fish

Can you roll your tongue?
I can swirl to both sides and like a hotdog bun.

what one question do you REALLY WISH someone would ask you! (And then, of course, answer your question!)
Laura, this is a toughy. I am just grateful that there are people interested in finding out about me. I've generally thought I was quite uninteresting. I generally have a tough time opening up myself to IRL people because I'm afraid to be judged. I've only had 3 or 4 real friends who I was not afraid to share everything with who did not judge me. Only one of those was an adult friend. I'm really grateful for the friends that I've made here. I didn't know that I could or would get so attached to the cyber-friends that I've met here at TS. So, I really don't know the question that I "answered" here, but I glad you gave me the opportunity to open up.

Are they Crawdads or Crayfish?
neither, they're crawfish.

Are you in anyway what us non Louisianans would call a Cajun?
No. I would say that I'm more of a country girl.

How far do you live from the house where your parents lived when you were born?
I was born in Shreveport, LA, so I'm about 110 miles from there. However, I grew up just 50 short miles from the house that I grew up in.

How about Jaba's home when he was born?
Jaba was born in Dade County, Florida (he's an airforce brat). He's also lived in Germany and England. His parents chose to move here to Alexandria, LA, because of the excellent Mental Health State Hospital located near the AFB (now closed) here. Jaba had an older brother who died due to complications from PKU. He was 9 when his brother died at the age of 25.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would that be and why?
I don't know if I'd want to live anywhere but in the United States. I'm pretty happy with the freedoms that we have. I think that I would like to live in Texas or near the Appalachian Mountains in the states of Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia or Tennessee.

One last question. How far off I-49 do you live and can we drop by for a glass of Ice Tea when we head to Dallas in November?
I'm about 14 miles NE of exit I-49's exit 84

How did you pick your children's names?
Cynthia Darlene is named for my Aunt Cindy and Jaba's sister.
Alex is the IV
Mary-Jo Renee is named for my mother, Mary and Jaba's mother Josephine. She originally was going to be Mary Josephine, but Dh decided to add Renee at the last minute. Kurt and Shelby do not have family names. We figured they were special enough just being twins. We went through hundreds of names before we compromised. I ended up getting to choose first names and Jaba got to choose the middle names Daniel and Danielle.

What has been your most memorable mommy moment?
Oh, boy it's hard to choose just one. But I suppose it would be when I went into the NICU on the 8th day and a new male nurse picked up Shelby and handed her to me. It was the first time I had held her. I just sat there and boohoo'd. I'm tearing up now just remembering. I got to hold all my singletons immediately. I also got to hold Kurt just as soon as I went into the NICU for the first visit. Those times were just as special, but 8 days seems like an eternity.

What is your favorite food/meal/dessert?
I love fresh fruit. BBQ'd chicken & Grilled shrimp with shish-kabobbed marinated veggies. Fresh strawberries and blueberries over homemade cheesecake (slightly flavored with lemon).

What is your favorite drink, alcohol/non alcohol?

Are you living the life you imagined for yourself when you were 15?
No, I thought I would be a teacher. I knew I would have at least 3 children, though.

What kind of life do you think you will be living 5 years from now?
I'm pretty satisfied with my life as it is now. The only thing I would see different is me working again (but not a 8-5, M-F job). I wouldn't mind having one more child.

1. Did you have any nicknames as a kid, or even now?
Oh, Boy, I had some doosies! My maiden name is Herboldsheimer (pronounced Her' bold shy' mer).
Purpleshimer started in grammar school. One of my HS boyfriends called me Marajuana Herboldpie Roll Eyes. My best friends in HS called me Meryl, DH calls me grumplepuss. My paster called me Lena. But mostly I've been called Marilyn. I was the only Marilyn in any grade althroughout school (There were only about 200 seniors in my graduating class). So when someone said Marilyn, everyone knew who they were talking about.

2. What compliment do you receive most often?
This is a hard question for me, because I don't take compliments well. I'm always embarrassed when someone gives me one. Most of my compliments have come from church members who have listened to me sing or play flute solos. They've said that they are moved when I play or sing. I feel quite honored by these compliments because when I play or sing, it's not for recognition, it is me praising and worshipping God, but when others say they were blessed or that the music touched them, I give the praise to God that He blessed me with talent to serve Him.

3. When you are feeling "down", what always makes you feel better?
This kind of goes with question 2. Usually when I feel down, I turn to God. One of the first songs I sing is "When I'm low in spirit, I cry Lord lift me up, I want to go higher with thee. But the Lord knows I can't live on the mountain, so He picked out a valley for me. He leads me beside still waters, somewhere in the valley below. He draws me aside to be tested and tried. But in the valley He restoreth my soul". After singing this song 2 or more times, I begin to feel a fellowship with Him and move on to prayer, praise songs, silence to "hear" (and no I do not hear His voice) God speaking to my heart, more prayer. He is my refuge.

and finally,
4. List the names of your pets, from childhood until now.
Saucy. (I was 7) We found him on the side of the road out in the country. He was a little black curly-haired dog. After about a month of trying to find the owners (he appeared to be well taken care of and was a "registered" type dog) my parents told us that we could keep him.
Tiger. (I was 11) A black and gray striped feline. This cat would ride on my shoulders on my bike to the cornerstore for candy.
Taxi A black Lab. She was more my sisters' dog because I was away at college when we got her. She was always escaping the fenced in back yard and was hit by a car when she was 3.
Colonel. (I was 19) A brownish-red pekingnese that was given to me by a co-worker. When I went to college, I shared him with my Aunt who became his adopted Mom.
Missy. (I was 31) A medium long-hair cockerspaniel. Someone poisoned her and she died before she was 2 years old.

My SIL is giving my oldest daughter a black female weiner dog. To be honest, I'm not really too thrilled about it because she will be an inside dog. That's all I need now is another thing to clean up after. But it will make all of my children very happy, so I'm trying to sike myself up for accepting her into our family over the next 7 weeks.
What do you do to pamper yourself?
Unfortunately, I haven't really been able to do anything to pamper myself in quite a long time. But what I really like to do is go for a day of beauty treatments. I love getting my hair washed at a beauty salon. Those that do it right wash, scratch, and rub your head for about 8-10 minutes. I would sit there for 30 minutes it they would let me.

What is your favorite piece to play on flute?
It's NOT "Flight of the Bumblebee" Big Grin
My favorite to play for others is classically arranged hymns.
My favorite to play for my self is a book of Flute duets, flute/clarinet duets and a Selected Studies for flute that was used for regional tryouts when I was in HS.
Do you play just for fun at home, too?
Before the twins were born, I would play at home about once a month. Mostly just to brush up on my sightreading & technical skills. Now I get them out about once every 3 or 4 months. I will usually sit there for 2 or 3 hours playing.

How often do you play?
Before the twins were born, I would practice 2-3 times a week and play in church on Sunday mornings.

What kind of flute do you have? (I want all the details!) I have 2 open-holed Gemienhardts with low B. One is just silverplated. The other has a Silver head piece. I also have a silver Gemienhardt piccolo.

You didn't ask, but I also have a Buffet clarinet and a Wurlitzer Piano.

Are you teaching any of your kids to play?
I haven't started yet. Although I did put Cynthia into piano lessons 2 years ago. She didn't like it much. She wouldn't practice at home. She caught on quickly, but I really didn't want her only practicing at her music lessons. I hope that she will enjoy playing the flute or clarinet better.
If the job situation that I applied for doesn't work out, I plan on teaching Alex some music theory and piano this summer. He and Mary-Jo have an ear for music. Cynthia is just plain tone-deaf.

What were your Parent’s hopes for you for your adulthood (aspirations, goals, dreams, personally and or professionally)?

Do you feel you met them?

My parents never actually verbalized their hopes and dreams for me or my sisters. They basically just guided us to be God-fearing and compassionate towards others.
For the most part, I feel as though I have not disappointed my parents.

What were YOUR hopes for you for your adulthood (aspirations, goals, dreams, personally and or professionally)?

Do you feel you reached them?

I don't know that I ever mapped out a plan for my life. I did know that I wanted to go to college after high school, get a job, get married, have children. I thought that I might become a math or music teacher. But to be honest, I'm glad that God had a different plan for me. Even though I got paid for it, I loved my job as an apartment manager for subsidized apartments and my job as a Case Manager for Homelessness at a Judeo-Christian non-profit. There have been many people who have come to me years later and told me that I made a difference in their lives because I always treated them with respect no matter where they met me or what circumstances they were in. I haven't always waited for God's plan for my life, but for the most part, I've listened to His quiet urgings.
Sometimes I've felt like I have totally blown it in my personal life. As far as professionally is concerned, I would have liked to have ascended the corporate ladder, but I don't think that is where God wants me.

What do you like to do to relax? Read, mow the yard, watch movies, take a nap.

What would be more fun to do with DH:
Going on a cruse?
Staying at a cabin in the mountains?
Staying at a Beach house?
Staying at a Lodge and skiing?

I would have fun doing all of those things. But since you asked the question "with my DH" I would have to say sitting centerfield (anywhere from 35-35 yardlines) about halfway up at a LSU or NotraDame football game or going to a Braves Baseball game series of 3 games. He does other things with me and/or the children, but if it revolves around a game, he enjoys the extra stuff better. Another thing that he equally loves is taking an AmTrak trip. The SaltLake to SanFransisco AmTrak ride that we took was our favorite trip with the kids.

When do you feel like you became an adult?
Do you think it is an age thing?
A maturity level?
An education level?
When you got your first job?
When you moved out of your parents home?
When did it hit you that you were an adult? Was there some event that sticks out in your mind that made you think "I am an adult!"

I think I felt like I became an adult somewhere between my 1st and 2nd child. I think it was about the time that DH and I became responsible to cook and/or buy every meal that we ate. Up until that time we ate most meals with my IL's who lived one breezeway over. So I guess you could say it was when we "moved out from under our parents wings."
I think that the first time I eligible to vote (1988 presidential elections) and when it became legal for me to drink (age 18) were the first time that made me think, "I'm an adult!"

Transferring more cont.2

I kiss my children on the lips as long as they or I am comfortable with it. I can still kiss the twins (almost 2) and Mary-Jo (4) on the mouth comfortably, but Alex (6) is a little old.

My mother and my husband will not kiss them on the mouth because they get cold sores (herpes simplex 1) and do not want to transmit it to them.

I've seen articles that show studies where it is actually good for Mom, at least, to kiss their babies/toddlers on the mouth as it helps to boost their little immune systems.

I, too, have problems keeping Shelby from kissing me when I am sick (fortunately I've only been really sick 2 or 3 times since they were born). I have no problems kissing her when she is sick, though. Just a personal thing.

I like the closed lip kissing (I'm still working on getting Kurt to close his mouth), but my favorite place to kiss is the bottoms of their baby feet.

Today was Cynthia's first band concert. They did 3 Christmas pieces.

until I'm blue in the face!

Boo hoo! The band's all here!!

hubba hubba

Sad , I gotta go now, Shelby is . I've been Brick wall the past week or two with both Kurt and Shelby. It's whine this and whine that wake up until they !

I sure will be getting some 's myself as soon as this growing stage is over! I need some big time. Please Pray for them and for me!

In "public" yeah, I do feel this way. I don't want to be criticized, ostracized and belittled for my blessings from God. I don't think that we have to give ammunition to the "enemy" either so there are some things that I only share with a certain few. This site is quickly becoming a safe haven along with a few others that I've been getting to know through my church. It's amazing how much relief and burdens can be lifted when you confess your faults to those few that God leads to be your accoutability partners.