Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hernia Schmernia

Well, it seems as though Gabe may have a hernia too. Ladan had surgery to repair a hernia when Gabe was just 3 weeks old. I noticed the same swelling that I had detected with Ladan, so I took Gabe to the doctor today to have it checked out. She definitely felt a larger hole on one side than the other, so off we go to the pediatric surgeon. At this point, it's probably just fluid coming through, so it's not super-bad or painful for him (he probably doesn't even notice it most or any of the time yet). And it's not an emergency at this point either. Our appointment is scheduled for March 17 to visit with the surgeon, and if he does have a hernia, we'll likely schedule the surgery to take place a couple of weeks after that.

If he ends up having surgery, we'll just have his re-circumcision done at the same time. I've been debating the necessity of the recirc and have been unsure of whether or not I felt like it was worth it to put him through anesthesia and all that just to even things out. I had also been debating whether or not it was worth the cost, etc. However, our insurance is SO MUCH BETTER this year than it was last year, and we wouldn't likely pay more than the doctor visit copay ($10) for the surgery. Anyway, I was a bit torn. The money issue seemed to be resolved, but I still wasn't all that excited about putting him under to cut a little piece of skin off. It looks like the Lord may have brought some clarity here. Not that I am all psyched about the possibility of him having surgery for any reason, but if we can get it all done at the same time, that would be great!

The Lord's timing is definitely perfect! Ladan's hernia didn't show up until he was over 2 years old, which could have been the case with Gabe. Most of the doctors say that now is the time to do the recirc if we're going to do it (not that you can't do it later, but it's LOTS harder on them), so we may have scheduled that and then ended up having to put him through surgery again in another few months. Isn't He gracious!?!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Bunch of Random Miraculous Happenings and One Simply Random Happening

I went grocery shopping tonight, and I was finishing up at the last store. As I walked out the door, the greeter guy said to me, "You all have a good night." It was 11:00pm, and there was no one within 25 feet of me, so I'm certain he wasn't addressing me along with another customer. Basically, I've decided that either I appear to have three heads when I haven't showered in the last 24 hours, or his eyes were blurring a bit. Anyway, it struck me as pretty funny.

Ladan has been pretty hilarious lately. Within a few seconds tonight, the stack of pillows on my bed went from being a ship that was saving us from drowning to being a snowman that was about to melt. Any blanket, sheet, or box can instantly become a barn for horses or a tent to protect us from bears. His imagination is getting really wild, and it's lots of fun! He's learning more and more about how the world works, what death is, how God protects us from certain things and sometimes decides that He's not going to stop all the bad things and helps us through them instead.

We've been working on some preschool activities very informally, and now he knows his capital and lowercase letters. He can identify numbers and do some simple addition problems. He really seems to enjoy the time we spend doing these things and regularly says, "Mom, I want to learn some math." He's trying to read more and asks me to tell him what words say when he sees them. His favorite book is Are You My Mother? from the Dr. Suess set. He's practically got it memorized and "reads" it with such expression! Not bad since it's 60 pages long. Given that we don't do anything formal and I'm not legalistic about doing something every day, I think he's doing really well. It's been a bit encouraging as I consider the possibility that I may end up homeschooling him at least for a while.

He loves to help out with things and is super-encouraging. Whenever Chet or I leave without him, he likes to help us shut the door. And as we're heading out, he says, "You be careful and don't fall down/crash." When it rains and Chet leaves for work, Ladan instructs him to put his hood on his head so his hair doesn't get all wet.

Gabe woke up in a pile of his own very chunky puke the other morning and was covered literally from head to toe. It was so disgusting! I've never had either of them do anything like that. He also had the Hershey squirts (only it was yellow), so he's eaten LOTS of bananas to stop him up a bit. All this on top of the fact that he's got about 6 teeth coming in has provided a combination that makes it difficult for him to a be the happy, content child that he normally is. Hopefully, he'll be back to normal soon. He does have periods of time in each day that he seems to be himself. During these times, he loves to draw and attempt to copy all of Ladan's athletic feats... mostly all with his left hand. We'll see if he ends up as a lefty or not. He's very affectionate and is saying new words all the time. He's getting bigger, but I will probably see him as my "little man" until he's taller than me.

Finally, I did our taxes last week. We qualify for the Earned Income Credit. Basically, this is a tax credit designed to encourage people to earn income rather than drawing unemployment all year long. If you make less than a certain amount of money based on your family size, then you get a tax credit. For the last two years, the Lord has used this tax credit to provide for us in AMAZING ways! This year, we will be receiving more than half of what we brought home all year. It's like the Lord just said, "Here's an extra 6 months' pay." For all intents and purposes, we should be standing in a line saying that we can't pay our rent and that we need food, but we are doing neither. We are able to eat healthy foods, which tend to cost a bit more than cheap processed foods. We have clothing, LOTS of books, computers, a warm home, and so many other things that go way beyond what we need. And we pay all our bills on time every month and have no debt. Sometimes it's overwhelming to think about how good God has been to us, many times through the generosity of others, including our fellow-citizens. We definitely don't deserve it, but we are SO THANKFUL and will give Him the glory for it!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

High School Girls

Well, Saturday night was a blast! We had a high school girls' sleepover at the Bloom house, and it was so much fun! We played some games, chatted for a while, ate raw cookie dough and pizza pockets (don't worry... the cookie dough didn't have raw eggs in it), stayed up late, and had an overall fabulous time. I'm more than a decade older than all of the girls, but I thoroughly enjoy every single one of them. It makes me smile just to think about them and all of their various interests, dreams, hopes, struggles, etc. Well, I don't really enjoy their struggles, but I am so glad to be sharing life with these gals. Here's a group photo from the party...

Aren't they GREAT!?! You might look at this picture and say, "Well, their youth girls don't represent much diversity! They're all skinny white girls!" And I'd have to promptly correct you on the first count (they ARE all skinny and white, so I could agree with those comments). The girls do have lots in common, but they have so much to contribute to one another and the rest of the world. I have so much to learn from them. There are three runners, an Irish dancer, an artist, an up-and-coming fashion consultant (or at least for this prom season), two actors, a few geocachers (I just learned about this and I can't wait for them to show me), an accounting apprentice, a birdwatcher, a few classic Star Wars and Star Trek fans (classic is the key), several Jane Austen fanatics, and seven who are well on their way to being amazing women of God. Man, if I could just catch on to the first two talents listed, do you know how buff my calves would be?! And if I had the skills of the geocachers and birdwatcher, I might have been able to find my way to the party a bit faster (as in, I may have avoided wasting an entire hour and a half getting lost) because I would have been able to keep my eyes open and follow directions!

Oh, on the far left is Beth Schakat, the other "older" gal in the group. Her husband is the youth pastor, and she's allowing me to team up with her to hang out with the girls. We're getting ready to start going through Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh. What a great opportunity to walk them through so many of the things that Beth and I wish we had known at that age! I'm seriously having so much fun with them and cannot wait to see how the year unfolds!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beach Party Videos

I had to upload these to YouTube, so they're a little bit late getting on here...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Beach Party!!!

We got a bit of snow here in Louisville. Since we don't have any snow toys, and the sled that Gigi bought the boys is still at her house in Novinger, we decided to get out the beach toys and have a beach party instead! We had the works... shovels, dump trucks, sand castle mold buckets, and even a beach volleyball. Ladan and I played volleyball over the clothes line. What a great time! When we were finished playing, Ladan and I scraped off the van so it would be all ready to go to church tonight. He did a great job and even cleaned off the wheels for me! Here are some photos...