That, my dear readers, is the sound of Jay and I cheering for Aunt Sandra, who this evening, after a long day of work, welcomed our four lively children into her apartment and watched over them for two hours so Jay and I could go out on our first date in over four months. In fact, we are so tickled that it bears repeating…”HOORAY!!”

We took advantage of Dallas’ Restaurant Week to dine at Hector’s on Henderson– a restaurant written up as having “the warmest welcome in town” ……and within a few moments of being seated, met Hector himself. He is a most gracious host who obviously takes a keen interest in attention to detail in all aspects of his restaurant’s business. In the two hours we dined, we saw him greet and visit with numerous guests, oversee the meticulous setting of tables, serve patrons, bus tables with his employees, and all with a smile. If there is one thing Hector’s does right, it is service. Everyone we encountered went out of their way to see to our enjoyment of the evening, and enjoy it we did. From the beautiful classical guitar music played by yet another personable fellow who also visited us at our table, to the delicious and “fun” menu items such as”Fried Green Tomatoes”, “Lamb Chop Lollipops”, and ” Candied Apple Creme Brulee”. This is definitely an upscale restaurant with a relaxed and casual feel. Where the folks in charge make the guests feel like they are welcomed friends come to dine for the evening. Even during Restaurant Week, which can be quite chaotic at many eateries around town.

Yes, this was a great night. So fun for us parents of four to do something out of the ordinary (for us). If you have a little time and are looking for some great food, wonderful live music to dine by, and the friendliest restaurant folk in town, head on over to Hector’s…

And by the way, Sandra……thanks again!

Progress…in Baby Steps

My inability to accomplish very much in the way of progress this last month finally got to me enough late last week that I spent some time on a few small projects. To start with, Abigail and I finally pulled out, primed and painted her headboard – we opted for spray primer and paint which is much easier when you are dealing with wrought iron – a real time-saver. I only wish I could have found a creamy white instead of either stark white white or serious almond. We went with the true white over the almond since it matches the other pieces in her room better….but it almost feels a bit TOO white. I would love to know if any of you has found a somewhat creamy white spray paint they can recommend? Please share!! We can always top the headboard off with another coat later. For now, it certainly is fresher and prettier than when we found it.

Note: while Abigail and I had a lot of fun during the project itself, we actually spent much more time trying to clean up afterwards. Not wanting to paint any of our shoes, we stayed barefoot during the painting, and as a result, both of us got layers of spray primer and paint caked on the bottoms of our feet! We had some hilarious bonding time sitting together on Abigail’s vanity with all four of our feet in her little sink, trying to scrub the paint off. Next we will wear old socks that can get dirty and then be thrown away after the job is done.

I also finally finished the big boys’ window dressing. Their room has had small metal blinds in there since we moved in, which collect so much dust and cannot be helpful for Jonathan’s allergies. I’ve had curtains for the window for some time, but didn’t want to install the hardware to hang them with until I’d chosen a paint color for their wall. (So we don’t have to remove hardware or try to to paint around it once we finally get to their walls.) And, after trying nine varying shades of blue I think we’ve got the right color, at last. I primed and painted areas just large enough to allow for mounting their curtain rods and holdbacks – many thanks to Jay who did the job of installation. When I have some more time I will go back and prime and paint the entire room. For now though, the boys are quite happy with their window. Nicolas, upon seeing it for the first time announced, “Hey Mom, WOW! It looks just like the windows in the movies!” I’ll take that as a compliment.

The other thing now occupying my “spare” time is my search for The Dishwasher…that will replace our terribly inefficient, loud, and not really washing very well any more (think greasy deposits of day old goat’s milk still on the inside of the plastic cups after going through the wash – ugh!) vintage KitchenAid Superba by Hobart . We believe the dishwasher may actually be older than I am. I hear they were/are great machines, but I think we will be parting with ours soon! I had my eye on a low end Bosch, but have heard from several different sources that they are not easy to find parts for, or repair on your own…..and since my resident handyman saves us loads of money by doing these things himself…I may need to look elsewhere. So, I’m back to the drawing board. Anyone who’s recently bought a dishwasher, or has a machine they love dearly (and that is quiet and cleans well!), feel free to chime in with your recommendations! I’m all ears!!

Thanks, Jay, for this link…

Excellent post by Nancy today for young mothers….something I needed to hear.

If you are interested, you can read it here.

“A wise mother bestows on her children, she does not demand. She teaches with the law of kindness (Prov. 31:26) on her tongue, builds her house (Prov. 14:1) one kindness at a time, looks well to the ways of her household (and behold, there are many “ways”), and treats her children with courtesy and love, considering their frame.”

Just Another Medical Post…

I love our pediatrician’s office. Our doctor is great, his nurses are compassionate and oh so competent, even the tech who comes to poke my poor children and draw blood is sweet as can be. (Except for that nasty needle of hers!)

We love Dr. D so much that in the past three weeks, various of our children and I have visited his office six times. Most recently it’s become something of a habit: we went this past Friday as well as yesterday, talked to the man over the weekend as well as last night and this morning. Given all that’s been going on in our family, they have been keeping close tabs on us, and we are grateful. Yet when Josiah’s fever broke sometime last night, we figured that would be it for awhile – after all, they do have other patients!

But tonight as we cleaned Josiah up from supper, we were rather horrified to see giant welt-like hives covering large patches over most of his body. We phoned into the office immediately, leaving our number on the pager, not knowing which of the doctors might be on call overnight, and within 30 seconds our favorite pediatrician’s # popped up on our caller ID. Which was a relief because we didn’t have to offer extra explanation and background on the past few weeks’ happenings…

Well anyway, it is of course an allergic reaction, but it doesn’t look serious, and after adminstering some children’s Benadryl and an oatmeal bath, the worst of the hives have subsided. We’ll give another dose tonight per dr’s orders, and keep a close eye on Josey. Dr. D tells us he’s standing by…on call all night, so just phone if we need him. Oh, I hope not!!

Tonight, we are giving thanks that Josiah appears to be rid of the horrid fever that ravaged his little body for so many days and nights. To say we are tired is putting it mildly, but we are so happy to see our little boy already more himself, playing and even having himself a good healthy temper tantrum earlier this afternoon over absolutely nothing.

So, don’t get too expectant, but maybe, just maybe…soon we’ll have something to share here that has nothing to do with fevers, viruses, hives, or doctors….

The Journey Begins

The next chapter is up in my dad’s novel. Enjoy!

Josiah Update

Josiah had his worst night yet last night. His fever has stayed pretty high – mid 104’s when he’s not medicated. He spends much of his day sad and fussy due to tummy cramps i think, as his system relearns proper functioning. And now his cough and the congestion in his throat is complicating matters by causing him to choke till the point of throwing up. One of the times he woke in the night was due to throwing up in his bed while asleep, poor guy. It happened again at naptime today, so we have begun administering guafenesin in hopes of helping this latest issue.

Other than that we are just trying to keep him comfortable and very hydrated. He does eat when his fever’s down, and that is good. The rest of us are fine, though I admit to feeling tired at this point. It has been very nice to have jay home for the weekend – besides extra reinforcements and adult company around here, I had the chance to get out with a couple of the older kids and do some errands! Sounds boring enough but given we’ve had sick kids for so long, I can’t just get out of the house during the weekdays. So, yes, uniform shopping with Abigail and Jonathan was downright FUN!!

The older children are being so sweet with sick little Josey, and have had good attitudes about staying inside to accommodate his illness. This says a lot since it has been a full 4 weeks now since we started with all this sickness. It is of course hard for the ones who are suffering, but in some ways I think more challenging mentally for the healthy ones. I am proud of our big kids and the way they are showing compassion for their baby brother. When Jay took them to Half Price Books this weekend they all chipped in and bought Josey a Maisy book to help cheer him.

I hope to post soon and tell you that we are done with the fevers and the illness. Until then…..

Yeah, We All Knew it was Too Good to be True…

As of Tuesday, no one around here had fever. All the kids, even little Josiah of the “bad poop”, as he has learned to say this past week, were mending. And we were thankful. And even cautiously optimistic. Maybe not cautious enough…

Friends and family brought us supper a few times this past week. How wonderful these meals have been, both in removing a daily chore, and in helping to lift our spirits. I think food tastes ten times better when someone else brings it to us whilst in the midst of a hard situation. Thanks to all of you who helped…the meals are appreciated more than you know.

For the last couple of days I have said to everyone who has kindly asked that we think maybe we’re seeing the end of the illness that has plagued our family for some time now. I went so far as to promise our “pool-sick” children (think “homesick”) that we would plan a big day at the pool this Friday in celebration of our release from the clutches of the fever. I even had leftover cold chicken from our generous meal-bringers to make into tasty sandwiches for the occasion! But I think we will have to change our plans. You see, Josiah came down with a bad fever today. Much of the day he would only lay in my arms because he was so worn out by it. I was really looking forward to playing with him tomorrow in the baby pool, but I think instead we will be spending some more quiet time here at home.

We purchased a pool membership at the start of summer since we knew we’d not be travelling away much during the season, and weren’t planning on using camps or the like to occupy the children through the hot months. We thought it reasonably likely we could take serious advantage of a wonderful pool a street over from our home that had a great family setting and convenient facilities for both big and small kids. And the times we have been able to go have been really great.

But it would be an understatement to say we have not used this pool nearly as much as we’d thought we would. The last time we were able to go (when everyone was healthy) was in early July. In fact, I am trying hard not to do the math to figure out the value we got (or didn’t get) on this whole pool thing by taking how much joining the pool cost us, divided by the very few times we actually got ourselves there to swim. It’s too depressing.

So, where does all that leave us? Sick…again. Taking temperatures and doling out meds….again. Losing sleep because I am up in the night comforting the scared child who has wakened burning with fever and sobbing for his Mommy…again. Canceling yet more playdates, and pool dates, and supper plans with many, many friends, who are all so sweet and gracious, but whom we don’t actually seem to get to see or spend time with lately. Not doing a host of things I thought we should do this summer, and feeling sad about the fact that school begins in two weeks and I don’t feel like we’ve truly had a summer, at least not in the way I thought we should.

And yet, in the midst of the frustration, there are little treasures to unearth and savor. Like having ample opportunity to help our children understand that being part of a family who loves each other deeply means all of us hurting when one of us hurts. And having many, many chances to practice living contentedly with whatever circumstance we are given (not that I am good at this yet!). Rejoicing heartily over our family being reunited when Jay and little Jonathan returned home after being in the hospital for a few days. And cherishing those moments here at home all together these past four weeks, both the good times and the not so good times. Feeling sad about what I could view as missed opportunities, and then realizing my plans aren’t really what it’s all about. Seeing my children taking turns caring for the sick ones among us by making cards, praying for each other, bringing stuffed animals, reading stories, and watching countless movies together….always letting the sick one pick his or her favorite! Wishing we could all be outdoors splashing and playing in the sun, and yet relishing the feel of my cuddly little Josiah in my arms since it’s the only place he feels comforted right now. And in these moments I remember how blessed I truly am. And I am thankful.

He Didn’t Mean to be Profane

I mentioned previously that there are no antibiotics or meds available to fight these viruses in our house. But there is validity to keeping bodies as strong as possible, through good nourishment, lots of sleep, maybe a little backyard fresh air (my own idea!), and some boosts of vitamins. Toward this end, a friend suggested Emergen-C, which I have used in the past when I was fighting a cold or virus. Given everyone around here is either sick, has been sick, or is at least being exposed to a ton of sickness, I liked the idea, and so I purchased some, mixed it up, and presented a bit to each child at breakfast this morning. To say my offerings were met with less than enthusiastic responses might turn out to be the understatement of the day. A conversation ensued…

Abigail: I don’t like this very much (accompanied by many facial expressions which she attempted to keep dramatic and yet polite in that Abigail way of hers).

Nicolas: I don’t like it at all! (this in a much more whiney voice)

Jonathan: (always one to take things up just a notch) This stuff is awful, it’s terrible! This is most definitely NOT paradise! This is….

Nicolas: This is HELL!!!! (most emphatically)

Abigail: (now fully on the bandwagon) Yeah, this stuff is like drinking poison!

At which point I had to put a stop to their grumblings and complainings and remind them to consider their language, behavior, and attitudes, especially in front of Baby Josey (who was guzzling the vitamin drink with delight). But I assured them that if they did not want to drink any more of the delicious Emergen-C I could mix up some of my own homemade concoction for them to enjoy. I have a little secret weapon of my own in my immune-system boosting arsenal which I ingest whenever I feel illness coming on, so far with surprisingly positive results. I’ll try and tell you about that another time. Right now I’ve got to go drink my fizzy Emergen-C!

Edited to Add:  I’ve received a couple questions about why Nicolas came out with such a strong statement about Emergen-C being akin to Hell. He was contrasting Jonathan’s previous statement about my having them consume this awful beverage not being Paradise with his best theological understanding about the opposite of Paradise…which of course is….

My dad’s novel

Exciting news! My father, John Horne, has put his novel out there for other folks to enjoy. I’ll add the following link to our sidebar, and I encourage you to do likewise. The code is below the picture. Or, if you’d like to do me a favor, you can copy the image to your own server and change the image source accordingly.

<a href=”http://www.hornes.org/john”><img src=”http://www.hornes.org/john/AWH.jpg” /></a>