Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Just in case one has not yet noticed, I have been posting BioPhysical Profile updates in the left hand side bar under the baby ticker. Even though I can't seem to manage updating the blog all the time, I AM prioritizing updating these BPP sidebars every Tuesday and Friday. Today did not go so well.....and resulted in 4 hours of monitoring. I am really quite too frustrated and bothered at this point to discuss it much further, except that I would really like SOMEONE to provide us with some theories or INPUT or HELP before it is too late. This just seems ridiculous.

(ps. sorry about all the complaining lately....I try to keep that all to Facebook, and use the blog for happy things!)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lying Low

This weekend was scheduled to be packed again as usual. Michael had a few hockey games, Alex had marching band rehearsals, Jonny and Crispy had Cub Scout clean-up to celebrate Earth Day this week, and Melissa had a very special Brownie Scout event of her own.....a sleepover at the Children's Museum!

With Bethany demanding some individual attention lately, we have been cutting out as many non-essential activities as we can. That is a hard thing to do as the school year is beginning to wind down, and concerts, award ceremonies, and end-of-year events abound. To modify this weekend, Michael was sent to hockey with the neighbors, who repeatedly bail us out of car pool situations. And because Daddy had to go into work unexpectedly on Saturday, he organized his timing between dropping Alex off at rehearsal and picking him up several hours later. Instead of traipsing all the way out to St.Boni with all of my remaining children, I sent Jonny and Crispy out in our yard and neighborhood with garbage bag and gloves....it did not take them long at all to fill up that bag! Though I was the one scheduled to take the girls to the museum drop off spot, my neighbor insisted her husband take the girls instead.....I think that she and Bob had some sort of discussion at hockey the night before about keeping me on the couch.

While Bob was at work, I began washing baby clothes...I was astounded by the amount of small summer pink things we have in great shape! This little girl will NOT be lacking in the clothing department! I washed up her new, soft blankies, slings, swing pads, and car seat covers....it smells so good in here with all these freshly washed items hanging all over our house to dry! Her diaper bag is now packed (except for actual diapers...oops!). We are ready for when bedrest (beyond our own self-modified type going on now) and/or baby comes.

Melissa had a great time at the museum. She had been quite nervous about going, as I had been planning on being one of the adults going along before this baby monkey business began. But, she came home well rested on Sunday morning, talking about how much fun it was to be in the museum during special hours, eating pizza and drinking lemonade, having a great breakfast in the morning, and sleeping in the Clifford exhibit. Apparently, their Troop was a little bit disappointed to be in that room....I guess at night, a giant red dog can look a little creepy as it hovers over your sleeping bag.

We spent the rest of that rainy Sunday just hanging out at home, taking it easy, finishing the wash, etc. Michael had his last 2-1/2 hour long scrimmage, which I managed to make it to the last 15 minutes of. Those kids have so much fun on the ice, as the two Waconia teams play each other. Every check is met with a smile, fake fights break out all over the place, and they are simply GOOFY half the time. It is really heart-warming to watch them turn something as competitive as hockey into the fun it is suppose to be for a group of kids. A number of us parents are looking into buying ice time to continue this throughout the summer months....it will keep them skating AND having a great time before the formal serious season starts again in September.

This evening, the girls got involved in actually cleaning their room. Not only cleaning, but committing to giving some toys away! There is a bit of motivational trickery here....as I was looking for a dresser online for all of Bethany's many many clothes, I came across this ADORABLE doll house shaped bunk bed that sleeps three girls. It is super-duper cute! Well, Mr.Daddy said he would buy it for the girls if they could keep their room clean for three months. Laura immediately took off to clean, and is now expecting her new bed on Tuesday (in 3 DAYS). Melissa reluctantly began cleaning, and then spent many moments crying about losing the bed she has in there now....poor girl is so very sensitive and sentimental! I wouldn't get my hopes up too high, Laura....you girls have quite a project ahead of you!

The boys and I went to church, which I fear I may soon have to start missing. It makes me sad, because it is my favorite place to go, but it is so difficult for me to sit upright like that for so long. I am in such a pathetic state! Anyhow, we have been studying the Book of Daniel for several weeks. Jonny has become so interested, that he is now choosing to be up with us instead of being in his youth service downstairs. I have read the Book of Daniel many times, and studied various parts of it. And VeggieTales has made a nice video about resolute faith found amongst the stories. But we are currently in the prophetic 7th and 8th chapters and it is packed with information! History and prophecy, currentness and vision, good heavens, it has been so much to comprehend....and that is after reading up on the chapters several times BEFORE even attending the sermon. I am secretly hoping it is my pregnancy brain making some of this difficult...I plan on asking Alex all about the Book of Daniel again in July when my brain cells may be resuming their functioning.

I think we did well for scaling back our weekend, making it manageable, yet still getting much accomplished.....just don't judge accomplishment by looking at my sticky floors, food encrusted counters, overflowing sinks, and kids who have been wearing the same clothes since Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Time Out!

I feel I have done a fairly decent job during this pregnancy about not overdoing it, taking breaks, and in general, taking better care of myself. This pregnancy has been going so very well, that often times I would even forget that we were having another baby. That is why this "accidentally" found complication is bothering me so much. Why is it occurring? What's the deal?

Since Tuesday evening, I have had feelings that something is just not right. Not necessarily with the baby....she actually looks to be doing rather well. I, myself, have not been feeling quite right. And I can't figure it out. That too, is frustrating to me. Today, we got ready for MOPS after driving the kids to school, we all were dressed in cute, summer clothes, our lunches were packed the night before for us to enjoy at the park after the meeting, and everything was going quite well. Laura even WANTED to go today, and was just itching to bust out the front door. But I was not feeling right. I felt exhausted, and slightly anxious....still not being able to figure it out. But most similar to impending delivery, without the contractions that go with it. So, to Laura's dismay, I parked myself in a side-lying position on the couch, and that is where I remained all day.....a self-imposed time out.

Lunch was effortless today, as it had already been prepared....and Laura conceded to getting the bags out of the refrigerator, and helping Tubby set up his little "picnic" with her on the library floor. We walked down the hill to the little park next to our house for a short, 20 minute visit in the wind and light drizzle. It at least helped appease her for a few minutes. Tubby threw his own little tantrum when we returned home about some problem with one of his trucks: I opened it, closed it, turned it around, and repeated steps many times, but it was apparently NOT what he was asking me to do. He ended up actually crying on the floor for 10 minutes, before stopping....sound asleep, with his jacket still on. A self-imposed time-out for him, too.

The quiet allowed me to doze off and on throughout the afternoon (which is highly unusual for me to nap), and Laura was a cooperative girl as she rested on the neighboring couch, watching a series of mindless tv shows throughout the afternoon. Poor girl was bored to near tears on a day she had been so excited about. When the kids came home from school, we made the move outdoors. I drove the kids to a park I had promised Laura we would visit earlier in the day. Yay! Mommy finally came through on something for her little girl! It was so hot and windy at the unprotected park, that we only lasted about 30 minutes before heading home where the kids could play in the shade of the backyard.
Popsicles in hand, dinner delivered to us by a caring friend, and Daddy arriving home to take Michael to hockey, all added up to our success in making it through the day. Jonny took the reins after dinner and set up the egg dye kits so that the kids could finally complete their Easter egg coloring fun for the year (don't worry, I had boiled a new batch of eggs just yesterday for this event). As I type, the kids are all still running around the house, playing hide and seek, and giggling like maniacs. I suppose I should send them off to bed.....perhaps I should go to bed too!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's All About the Cars

Cars, cars, everywhere.
Cars on feet,
Cars on chairs.

Cars on the floor,
Cars in my room,
Every car goes, "VROOM! VROOM!"

Cars in the box,
Cars in his pack,
Cars come with us to the MAC.*

Every where I look
I see,
Yet another car that be.....

On my counter,
In my coat,
In the sink,
This is no joke!
In Michael's shoe,
Up on the ledge,
In the backyard,
Stuck in the hedge.
On my lap,
Behind my back,
Under my feet,
In with the snacks.

Cars are crawling here and there,

Cars are coming from EVERYWHERE!

(*MAC-Maternal Assessment Center @ ANW)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Still Sub Par

Our organic meals this weekend have been FABULOUS! The kids have gobbled up everything I have made them, and we have been eating well at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I think that we all feel our insides singing! And singing happy songs, instead of the sad ballads of the past two weeks. All except Alex, who today remained secluded in his bedroom with constant stomach upset and headache. Will this never end???
We have moved to partial organic over the past couple of years, but it has been difficult both on pocketbook and logistically not being able to find ALL organics living in this small town. Driving 45 minutes into the cities on Friday took some planning, but after experiencing 100% organics over the weekend with such positive results and rave reviews, just by eating these "normal" foods (nothing fancy, just our usual meals prepared with the best of the best), I am now convinced it will be worth the drive. I can't wait to go back to the store!
After church today, I brought 3 of the boys with me down to Abbott to have another BPP. Bob was at home with the girls and Tubby, as he has been on call this weekend. My parents met us there to take the boys to lunch at the International Market located via underground tunnel from the hospital. While they enjoyed a wonderful Mexican lunch, I sipped on ice water in a very quiet and calm room, watching my baby move and groove on ultrasound, and then listening to her beautiful little heartbeat for a few hours. Every nurse has commented on how big Bethany's feet are....today, the nurse even measured them---more than 5cm long! She is either going to be a tall girl and shadow over her short brother Tubby (who is still only 50%), or she is going to be a skinny little thing with unusually large feet!

Big Foot

The test went much like Thursday, but with some small changes like a few breathing movements, and 1cm more of amniotic fluid. Her heart rate even looked reactive when we first began her tracings. All was looking good! About 15 minutes into the monitor tracings, I had a mild contraction...not a big deal, I have several of these each hour. Bethany chose to make this one a big deal, and dropped her heart rate into the 80's (normal is 120-160) for 30 seconds, up above 100 for thirty seconds, then back into 80's-low 90's for at least two minutes. We changed position and she did recover, slowly at first, but bought herself an additional hour of monitoring. She did well through all other contractions (I had at least 4 more), and seemed to recover without any ill effects. But with the amniotic fluid still at the lowest end of OK, closer observation is necessary to determine what exactly is going on. So, back again we will go on Tuesday. *sigh*

The boys had a GREAT time with Grandma and Grandpa.....and they were so sweet to bring me a falaffel pita sandwich and baklava. Thank you, Mom & Dad! It was SO GOOD! It was much too large to eat while driving, but fun to enjoy the fragrant aroma on the hour long ride home. It was a good distraction from the constant "binging" alarm in my truck. Something is wrong with my engine, causing oil leakage, and I have no idea how we will pay for repairs or when I can even give it up for a day. What I really want to do is just lie down on the couch for a few hours and take a break. I will have to put that on hold another week as Bob is out of town for work, and my day starts bright and early in about 6-1/2 hours. *YAWN!* Good Night!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Finally Better Days?

This week has been ridiculously insane. Truly. Maybe not the busiest we have ever been, but just crazy anyhow. On and on seem to be the complications from this illness. I feel recovery today, which I am THRILLED about. Michael, stayed home from band today and is missing hockey tonight due to a stomach ache and not eating. And last night, I drove my husband 60 minute round trip to his hospital as his gastro-paresis (paralyzed stomach) once again began acting up, and he was in intractable pain. As I was entering back into my house at 11pm, to gather cleaning supplies to wash the puke out of his truck (his puke, not mine), I received an urgent call from him to now come and pick him up as he was having a severe anxiety reaction to the IV medication they gave him in the hospital. Poor guy....at least the meds did precisely what they were meant to do for his stomach, and he has been sleeping and sore today, but doing MUCH better. I am SO glad.....it is a horrible thing to see someone you love in pain, knowing there is not one single thing you can do to help.

That crazy evening occurred after a rather long and disappointing day for me. I travelled the hour long drive into Abbott hospital for my scheduled biophysical profile test. Oh....back up one week. Lat Thursday, I had a second Level II ultrasound with my OB appointment, and they failed to mention that BPP tests were now ordered for once per week.....not because of any current worries they had now, but due to past history. Well, I had my little buddy, Tubby, with me that day, and he was a marvelous little guy for the entire two hours we were in the clinic! He sat there so nicely on his chair, just holding his little backpack full of cars. He is just the best! Everything went well, and all was fine and good. No worries.

Until yesterday. Bethany failed her BPP, only earning 6/10 points. Her heart strip was reassuring, but not reactive (perhaps she will be laid back, like Crispy?), she did not practice any breathing in a 30 minute time span(big whoop....she is still quite young at only 30 weeks), but the thing they were most concerned about was the low amniotic fluid...less than 5%. Gee whiz......we are hoping that it is simply from this nasty GI bug, and being dehydrated so much during the last week. I will be returning to Abbott on Sunday to retest. At least Tubby and Laura had a good time downstairs at McDonald's with Grandma C during the more than two hour long ordeal today.

BUT.......the sun has been shining this week, and the kids have been playing OUTSIDE. I have been pulling down Christmas light cords and wrapping them from my zero-gravity chair as I watch Laura zoom around in the green jeep, while Tubby shoots down the driveway at lightning speed in his Cozy Coupe. It has been just great to get out of our disease infected house and to spend so much time in the fresh air. I have done NOTHING indoors to clean, organize, or keep up with daily chores, but sometimes you just need to let that go in order to grab a few slices of sanity where you can find it.

Jonny has been a GREAT helper with these little guys. He has been so good about taking them outside to play in the backyard or at the park, anytime I ask. He even took a sad Laura into the backyard to teach her how to golf one afternoon.....it totally made her day! Jonny and Crispy have also been working hard this week to try to calm the dog down when she is around people. It is our goal to make her pleasant enough to share the backyard with this summer....as of now, she would just bowl over any of my small little people in her loving, caring , 75 pound way.

Melissa got to resume horseback riding this week! She had to miss her first lesson last week due to being sick (ok,ok, are you tired of hearing about this illness yet? I am so tired of living in it!)....so she was super psyched to go this Tuesday. She did really well, even after 5 months off, and riding a horse she has never ridden before. The horse was a bit stubborn, and I think that might be a good pick for her...it will force her to speak up more, and use those leg muscles to make him go, instead of being so light on a more "automatic" and easy ride. It is always great to watch her ride, and see her doing something so successfully and having so much fun.


A highlight of my week? The arrival of my new diapers I will be trying out on Bethany! As far as disposables go, Seventh Generation are by far SUPERIOR to any other brand. Not only are they better for kids (as chlorine and other chemicals found in other disposables have been linked to skin problems and fertility issues), but they are the most absorbent and smell retaining diaper on the market. I would never go back to any other kind of disposable. With every baby, I have considered the switch to cloth, but honestly, I think the extra work would push me over the edge that I believe I am not too far from. So while cute, and good for baby and environment, I have to bow out there.

Are not these adorable?!?!?

What I HAVE found, is a cloth/disposable hybrid!!! Can you believe it? Soft, cloth, diaper covers, that are oh so very cute and cuddly, with a disposable....nay, FLUSHABLE, insert! How cool is that? I have been reading online forums and reviews over the past few weeks to be sure about making this investment, and I am finally convinced that this will be a great way to go. For those of you that self compost, the wet inserts can be thrown right into your composting pile....made of natural fibers and materials, they biodegrade right into the earth!


Speaking of all things good and natural, Mary took me to a Whole Foods store in the cities today. We brought our little ones with us, and shopped to our hearts' content. It was great! The produce was amazing, and the selection of everything was outstanding. I was grocery depleted at home, and was pleasantly surprised that my total grocery bill was barely more than usual. I can not wait to feed my family only organics this weekend! Things are going to begin looking up from here on out!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Silver Lining

It is Tuesday......12 days since the sickness entered our house......day number 6 of sickness for me. The kids all returned back to school yesterday, some with yet some minor intestinal upsets. Laura spent yesterday barely eating, and running a slight fever off and on. Tubby did well, except for the constant green buggar river out of his left nostril (this however, is not new...it has been about a three month long problem for him).

I am yet not well, but managed to drink almost enough water yesterday to meet my daily quota. I am attempting a bit of food today, but really am not so optimistic that it will work. Tubby got antibiotics last night, and I am happy to report he has ALREADY had no green buggars to smear across his cheek! Hooray! On the other hand, he IS running warm today, and crying quite a bit.....not looking well. Is another new illness attacking us? I want off this sick train....NOW!

In the midst of all this uckiness, something wonderful has happened.....

Look who is sleeping in his own bed!!!!

Tubby has slept with me since day one. He never slept in his pretty crib even once before I finally took it down a few months ago. This illness has made it impossible for him to be in bed with me due to all the getting up, and inability to move once a comfortable position has been attained. Bob has been wonderful about keeping Tubby downstairs, sleeping on his special blankets and pillows.

The first night (Thursday), Tubby woke up every hour, screaming and crying, running to the library doors to try to get out. The second night, the other kids joined him in a sleepover in the library, and he did much better....only crying every hour or so, but not trying to run away. The third night, the kids all had a sleepover in the boys' room, with Tubby in his own bed, the kids on the floor next to him. He only awoke every other hour, sat up, and cried. Jonny rubbed his back each time for about five minutes to put him back to sleep (what a good big brother). The next night, the kids revolted, and said "NO!" to being awoken all night long. But there was no turning back......Tubby had to stay out of my room now for good. So once again, Daddy took him overnight on the floor, where Tubby remained asleep ALL NIGHT LONG. In fact, Daddy woke up every hour to check on him, afraid something was wrong. And last night, dear Crispy took Tubby up to bed with him at 8:30, Daddy tucked him in, and he remained in that cute little bed ALL NIGHT LONG, with only one episode of crying, to which Jonny simply stated from across the room,"Tubby, go nigh-nights.", and that was the extent of that. HOORAY!!!!

So, while my toddler is screaming on the floor today, and just collapsed in a sick, feverish nap on my lap, Laura's cheeks rosier than any shade of red I have ever seen, and a still rather upset tummy for me just daring me to eat today......at least we can ALL be rest assured of a good night's sleep tonight! So perhaps it is not all bad!!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen Indeed!

It has been a rather dark and long Easter week at our house. What began as a lesson in service to my kids last Friday(10 days ago) as we took in the sick MckKiddos for the day (from 9am-5pm) before spring break started, has turned into an ongoing and not-much-welcomed bed of sickness and GI disease that seems as if it will never end. Beginning that next Saturday morning with Tubby and Laura puking on the way to Chicago which cancelled our trip upon attending the church services, to one by one watching all the kids moan and groan of stomach pains, fevers, and lying around on the couches, hardly able to move all week long. When Bob and I finally came down with the illness on Thursday, it truly seemed there would be no end ever again in sight. We cancelled every fun thing we had planned during the week, leaving us with nothing to remember the "break" by other than suffering.

A bit appropriate for the Easter week, is it not?

Being pregnant, there is really no other illness worse than a GI one. Sure, every cold you get while pregnant seems to last until the baby is born, so you have the little inconvenience of carrying a wad of tissues everywhere you go....even in the summer. Getting over a GI illness seems to be even more difficult, painful, and dangerous. A cycle that just does not want to quit. Yet somehow, you have to keep trying, no matter how hard, because you have that little life growing inside of you relying desperately on you to sustain them and keep them safe.

So I found myself this week relying on Jesus the same way. For His suffering on the cross for me, not deserved, and my utter dependence on Him for my very survival.....in this earthly world, and in completed joy as we celebrate and worship Him eternally in Heaven. He conquered death for you and me individually so that we may be saved and follow Him gloriously into eternal bliss. That is most certainly Good News this Easter Sunday: He is Risen......He is Risen Indeed!!

The Maundy Thursday evening service at our church is probably the most moving, introspective, "dark", bring you to your knees, worship service of the entire year. There is no way to doubt the impact of Christ's suffering for your own personal little self while attending this service. It is by far the most anticipated service of the year for us.....knocks us over the head into where our hearts and minds should really stand in our trivial world filled with so many "complications" and seemingly "important" things.

Getting sick Thursday afternoon was not happy timing for me, as I now had to miss this incredible service. Grandma ? and Lyle were kind enough to make the out of the way trek to our house to pick up the older 3 (and a friend of Michael's) to bring them to this service. I am so proud of my tween and teenagers who recognize such significance in worship despite cultural influences that try to sweep these all important truths under the rug. We did not tell them they still had to go, though Mommy and Daddy were both sick and out for the count....these kids had an easy excuse to stay home. Instead, they independently WANTED to go, and were just as disappointed as I that it looked as though they would not make it. It was a gift for them to attend with Grandma ? and Lyle....one that all of them appreciated fully.

As I was on my knees that evening(ok, perhaps for a different, sickness-related reason), I tried to keep in mind all these thoughts that my boys were simultaneously experiencing in church. This suffering of mine was NOTHING, and I owe EVERYTHING to the one who suffered for me.

As Sunday rolled around, and sunshine streamed through our living room windows, it certainly did seem like a new day. The girls were all happy, seemed healthy, and pleasantly bopped around the rooms searching for eggs and Easter baskets. The boys were getting along, with no complaints of sour stomach. I felt brave enough to eat a bit of the Easter bread we had baked up for breakfast....I was anxious for food again since going without for the last 3 days. Everyone had baths and showers, donned their Easter apparel, and we left for church on time, and squeaky clean.

We enjoyed a joyous celebration (my creativity for words is much escaping me) of worship and praise before heading to my parents house. There, we had a fabulous Easter lunch, and the kids spent a fun-filled day running around with their twin cousins, Grandparents, climbing trees in the backyard, and hunting for eggs around the house. It was so nice to see them all happy again, smiling, and playing. It was the last day of spring break, and they were finally having a good day!! That was certainly a nice Easter surprise!

What a lovely day!

Happy Easter, everyone!

(I, however, was not so lucky, and had to leave abruptly with my kids at 6pm, Alex doing a fabulous job of driving us home quickly where I once again resumed my sickness.....honestly, I do not think I will ever get better)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Big 40

If having a sixteen year old doesn't make us feel old, surely having Bob turn 40 two days later will do the trick, right? In all his efforts to keep it on the down-low at work, I think people still made him feel very special today. They decorated two posters of him, added balloons, gave little gifts, and wrote something on the windows of his truck. Bob's biggest plan of the day was to spend the afternoon off and go golfing 40 holes. He was disappointed that plans fell through with his golfing partner, but decided to hit the course anyhow. About an hour into his game, another team mate joined him for the remainder of the chilly and windy day, and Bob had a great time!
Meanwhile, back home at the sick house, we were able to semi-crawl out of our illnesses long enough to do some decorating (headed by Jonny) and make an enormous New York Cheesecake. The kids were excited, and took shifts standing guard at the window so that they could hide and yell "Surprise" as daddy walked in the door. Thinking he was on the course alone, the kids began watching at about 3:30pm when we expected him home. They waited, and waited, and waited. The neighbor girl got too hungry at one point, went home, ate dinner, came back, and they all waited some more. It was a bit after 6pm when Daddy finally arrived. Hooray! Confetti flew through the air, The Monkeys played on the stereo, and lots of hugs came straight to Daddy. Very very cute!
Daddy BBQ'd yummy hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner....then lounged around in his birthday footie pajamas. We somehow managed to stuff small pieces of cheesecake in before heading everyone off to bed. Bob seemed to feel the effects of the number (40) this year....he is typically the proponent who does not pay those things any attention, and always comes back with, "You're only as old as you feel!" Hmmm, didn't seem to be working for him today.
Happy Birthday, Bob! Hope you had a special day!

Monday, April 6, 2009

We Now Have a Sixteen Year Old!

Boy, does time fly. People always knowingly tell you, "They grow up so fast!" Must have heard that two million times. But, by golly, they are all right! How is it that I sit here, pregnant with another little baby, while my first baby is turning sixteen today, learning to drive, and planning on full time college coming this fall? I do not particularly feel THAT much older (maybe quite a bit more tired...). So where DOES all that time go?
Alex is one to be proud of. Such a kind, gentle, super-smart, spirit-filled young man, who is a joy to be around. With no help from his parents, he has made it through those nasty tween years, and came through with flying colors.....a delightful young man, with a strong Christian heart, and incredible values. It is funny to think that long , long ago, when he was just a preschooler, his pediatrician (who we no longer see), actually suggested he go to Washburn for a while, to get some remedial help for his impulsitivity. Ha! If he could only see this wonder boy now!

Though our trip to Chicago was cut WAY short over the weekend (we were only there for 18 hours), it was still better than imagined (see previous post). Sharing the driving three ways made the trip a piece of cake, even with cranky and puking kiddos in the back seats. Alex now has completed all his daytime driving hours, and did a fabulous job driving the last 2-1/2 hours home yesterday, including managing all the freeways through and around downtown St.Paul, and southern Minneapolis. Yay, Alex! After 4 more night driving hours, he will be eligible to take his test.

With now 5 sick kiddos at home today, we did pretty much nothing for Alex's special day. (By the way, it is also spring break for us...we are NOT off to a good start). We DID manage to go to Target with the few not sick kids, per Alex's request...apparently he had promised Tubby he would take him yesterday, but it was too late when we got back home. Alex and I got special birthday coffees to drink, while Jonny took Tubby "shopping". We spent way too much money as usual (though more than half were groceries, so I guess it was not so bad), and then went back home. Yippee.

As birthday boy requested, we had a yummy meal of take-out Chinese, which we have not had in a very long time. In an effort to decrease budget costs which seem to be getting way out of control (mostly in part due to our horrible new health insurance we have had since Jan 1....it is really ridiculous, and we are seriously going broke FAST), we have only been allowing one take-out, pizza, or fast food order per month. He blew out his candles on the Monkey Bread "Cake" Jonny and I had made for him earlier, and opened a few presents.....candy from Jonny and money and a Sonshine Ticket from us(his short trip to Harvest Bible Chapel and a very nice class ring were also presents).

Though his actual birthday DAY seemed to be lacking somewhat in the specialness department due to current circumstances, I hope he indeed knows how very very special he is to us.

Happy Birthday, Alex!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Meeting James MacDonald

As a present to Alex who turns 16 on Monday, I wanted to take him to Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago....the home church of Pastor James MacDonald. We have been listening to James' online messages (at Walk in the Word-see link to left) for over four years....a type of spiritual vitamin to be taken daily. While I was pregnant with Tubby, Pam and I enjoyed his Downpour Conference at the Excel in St.Paul. James has a way of speaking openly, honestly, and unapologetically, speaking truth straight from the Bible. His passion is inspiring, and his messages clear and to the point...no sugar-coating the truth with James!

We have talked about making a weekend trip to visit his church many times, but have never found the time or chance to do it. This was it....Alex's birthday weekend and the beginning of spring break! It would be perfect--a nice little getaway with Alex, Tubby, the girls, and Grandma ?. I found a hotel online that offered poolside rooms in a solar dome. It was going to be great!

Before we left early Saturday morning (8am!), it became clear that things were not going to be so great. Tubby and Laura were feverish, and looked rather pathetic. Most likely due to the sick children (the MckKiddos) we were watching at our house yesterday. Not having the luxury of time to "wait and see", we packed them into the truck anyhow. We had to get to the church on time!

Soon into the 7 hour drive, Tubby began puking. Lovely. Poor Alex had to help him out from his spot next to him in the middle seat. Laura complained of a stomach ache, but managed to make it to the hotel OK. Alex felt ill after lunch at Kwik Trip, leading us to a 30 minute layover at some sleezy McDonald's in Illinois...just 20 minutes from our hotel. We were so close! But church started in 45 minutes. How would we make it the rest of the way, check into the hotel, and find church in a city we have never been in by 5pm?

We were determined. We checked in, left Grandma with all the sick kiddos(into our room that was NOT poolside, but instead with a basketball court 3 feet from our door...the balls slamming into our door about every 10 minutes), changed QUICKLY into non-sweats, leaving the parking lot at 4:53pm, and miraculously arriving in the church parking lot at precisely 5pm! We made it!

(this was taken AFTER the service...the parking lot was FULL prior!)

Walking into the building we had heard so much about over the years was incredible. It was amazing to actually be there. It was not fancy or glamorous. Just filled with love and welcome. You could honestly feel it walking in. We were ushered down an aisle that had just been opened up, and found ourselves in the second row from the front, able to see everything without obstruction. As we worshipped in song with the visiting band of Steven Fee (nationally known Christian band), we realized that Pastor James was in the first row across the aisle from us...only 4 people away! Wow...we never imagined we would get that close.
Worship was wonderful, the message was great, as usual. "Go Get the Wanderer!" An inspiring message with lots of weight and urgency for now and all of our days. James is a strong, faith-filled man, who has a wonderful gift given to him by God to preach the truth in understandable and compelling ways. Yet humble. Never is the attention focused upon himself, or what he thinks is right. Attention ALWAYS focused on Him, and Him alone. Amazing.
At the end of the service, James was walking back to his seat....probably to retrieve something he had left there while preaching. Oh my....could we really take this chance and try to talk to him? He was so close! But, he is so famous! He certainly does not have time to talk to everyone who would like to simply meet him. Heavens! Our own senior pastor has not even personally met us yet! And we only belong to a church of 6,000 or so.....not the tens of thousands that belong to Harvest Bible Chapel!

We decided to be brave....whenever would we get such a chance as this again? As we walked toward him, three women got to him first. They chit-chatted for about five minutes, on a very personal level, obviously personal friends with the pastor. What in the world were we doing here??? The women finally dismissed themselves, and James looked at us, with a great big smile on his face. Oh my goodness, we were up! It went something like this:

Shaking his hand~
Me: "Hi, James (no 'Pastor', 'Mr', or 'Sir'....just "James"...yeesh!). My name is Julie Zajac, and this is my son, Alex. It is his 16th birthday on Monday.

James:"It is? Well, that's great!"(Shaking Alex's hand)

Me: "Yes. We drove all the way from Minneapolis just to come to your church as his sixteenth birthday wish.

James:"You did? Well, I have to give you a hug!"(giving Alex a gigantic James-Bear hug)

Me: "We have been listening to you online for over four years, and have talked about coming to visit Harvest for so long. We are so glad to finally be here."

James: "Oh! (looking at Alex) When do you listen online?"

Alex:"Whenever I walk home from school, which is a 27 minute walk."

James:"That's great! Hey, very cool glasses!"

Alex:"Thank you!"

They really had a few more words to say to each other in chit chat, but it is so hard to remember what!

James:"Do you have a good church?"

Us: "Yes"

James:"What's the name of it?"

Me:"Uhhhh...(completely star-struck dead-brain)...Westwood! In Chanhassen...it is a good, Bible believing Community Church."

James: He nods..."You know, we just planted a church in the Minneapolis area."

Me: "We just heard that! (from my friend Mary, just last weekend)We can't wait to check it out. Too bad it is about an hour away from us."

Again, more words spoken, good golly, I wish I had a better memory!

James:"I am really glad to have had the chance to meet you. You know, I usually do not come down to talk to people after services, but I am so glad I did today!"

Us:"Thank you so much. It was really wonderful, and so good to be here!"

James: To Alex~"Happy Birthday, man!"

Alex:"Thank You!"

We walked out of the sanctuary, I telling Alex how proud I was of him. Who else is so blessed to have a sixteen year old boy who would like to go church hopping for his birthday more than anything else?!? We entered the bookstore, and it was there that I realized how much my legs were shaking. We had just had a conversation with Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel and Walk in the Word Ministeries!!! NEVER in our dreams had we imagined to have such an encounter!!! I can't think of anyone else in the whole wide world I would have wanted to meet more than James. We had just planned on visiting his church, and were simply stoked about walking into the building and hearing his sermon in person. The fact that my son got to actually converse with this godly man was absolutely incredible.....such a treat from God(as Mary put it). So MUCH BETTER than we could have planned it ourselves. Amazing! We were stunned.

We poked around the rest of the building in a giddy fog, buying books, bags, shirts, CD's, and pens. We explored the little chapel located on one side, and took pictures with our little cell phones. (We had misplaced the camera in the rush to get to church) We were invited back into the santuary by an usher who noticed us through the glass, as we tried not successfully to look like tourists. "Come on in and take pictures! We love tourists!" he said as he opened the door.


Icing on the already HUGE birthday cake:

The next morning, Alex and Grandma ? went to the Sunday morning service. They arrived early enough to find a seat in one of the middle aisles that James walked up and down during his preaching. During minute 19 of his message that morning, not only did he see Alex, recognize him, but threw in "Happy Birthday!"....right in the middle of his message! Is that not a wonderful man, or what?!?!

(It is this service that is posted online currently for internet listening ears, listen closely during minute 19....I would imagine that this will also be the copy used once this CD series is composed for sale! The DVD of the service appears to be from the Saturday evening one we were at...Alex and I can often be seen in the background in our second row seats!))

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On My Mind and Heart

Though I have not posted anything lately (once again), I HAVE been on the computer a ton. What I have been doing is refreshing a particular blog site over and over again, sometimes probably near 100 times a day.

It is http://www.mycharmingkids.net/. This is the blog of a woman at my MOPS table who has a five month old son at Children's Hospital. He has been there now for two and a half weeks, and things are not going anywhere fast. During the first few days, it seemed as though he would surely die. It has been a heart-wrenching journey.

This little miracle baby was diagnosed with a very fast heart rate (SVT-supra ventricular tachycardia), with rhythms well over 250 beats per minute. At 20 weeks in utero, he was pronounced to surely die, as his heart became enlarged and he fell into heart failure. By the grace of God, he was born healthy, happy, and seemed to be cured on October 29.

During a bout of a respiratory virus (that all of us at my table and our kids contracted by taking our shift doing childcare at MOPS on March 19), he was thrown back into SVT and has remained there ever since, with only short bouts of relief. He has a stubborn case of it that appears to be unaffected by drugs of any kind. It is amazing how his little body is surviving this all for so long. They are now working with an extreme specialist in another part of the country who will be running care remotely. If things do not improve by next week, they will be forced to do surgery across the country which is VERY risky on an infant, though a sure-fire success on adults. The family also has 3 other small children, the oldest which just turned 4. We had the kids at our house on Friday, and had a delightful time (despite contracting a GI-respiratory illness from them that we are still getting through).

Please visit Jennifer's blog site...she has been gifted by God with beautiful words and praise throughout all and every circumstance......and pray, pray, pray for them!
(Picture above is Baby Stellan.....from Jennifer's blog)