Monday, August 31, 2009

Tucked into the Cuckoo's Nest -- posted by Mom from 8/31/09

It's 2:06 am and I'm wide freaking awake because our nurse decided to give Webb a bath at 1am. I don't think she's mentally ill; she's just been subject to hospital time too long. Hospitals run on a completely differerent time plane well outside of the World Clock time zones we humans are accustomed to. After an extended stay it is nearly impossible to even know what day it is without outside assistance. Supper is served at 4pm and nobody finds it odd. There are planned activities every hour and your 3:40am temperature taking playdate CAN NOT wait until sunrise. I suspect I'm becoming one of them as it seems perfectly normal to take my shower immediately following the predawn temperature taking.

In the time it took to write that, a sleepy lull has descended on the floor. I'm gonna try to catch this wave.

Update --posted by Mom from 8/30/09

Cutie Bobsquinch is off the oxygen mask and on a nasal cannula now, to the delight of the bloody crater that has been carved into the bridge of his nose by the BiPAP. Honestly, I feel like I'm getting a bedsore on my arse from sitting on the horribly uncomfortable seating in this fishbowl in which I now dwell. Seriously, there is a huge glass box that juts into the room where two nurses sit and watch our every move. I like the nurses and they like me, but sometimes I just give them a blinkless Damien stare just to mess with them.

Hospital living is complicated for those of us who were well-educated by that Good Morning America segment dedicated to the super bugs which lurk these halls. If anything touches the floor it is immediately scrubbed down with those disinfectant wipes that are so powerful they'll give you cancer if you don't use heavy duty gloves. If the item is porous, it is promptly incinerated. As for body parts, they are scrubbed with said carcinogenic wipes, prayed over, and anointed with oil by the nearest church elder. But maybe that's just me.

On the other hand, there is a certain section of our population that allows their children to play on the waiting room floors. They spread out the cheeseburger paper from the Happy Meal ON THE FLOOR to make a placemat on which they squirt out the ketchup for the fries and burger that inevitably wander off the paper. Funny thing, my kid is in Intensive Care. Go figure.

Anyway, there's your update.

I'm too jaded to whip up a witty title -- posted by Mom from 8/30/09

Sometimes I just get sick to death of witticisms and puns and quips and clever little doo-dahs. Having said that- I went to school to become a wit, only got halfway through. Har.

So here I am staring at my sleeping Chubsy Wubbsy- he of the most kissable Ricky Nelson lips. They took him off the BiPAP but his chest x-ray this morning is a little worse. He slept through the night and at one point knocked off his oxygen mask altogether but didn't sound any alarms. I think they have his saturation alarm set at around 88 or so. So that's good.

Day 9 and I'm really missing my husband and children. I considered crying but I've just HAD IT with secretions.

I shouldn't complain now that we are past all the ventilator talk. It could be a whole lot worse. We've turned the corner on this thing and, Lord, don't think I'm not grateful, but I want to go home now. I want to hold my family in my arms.

Since that last sentence Webb woke up and I fed him pancakes with his mask off the entire time. He dipped into the low 90s but he didn't go below 88! Yippie yi aye!

I spent last evening listening to music from the 70s and 80s. I've had that Dire Straits song on my mind all morning. Love that song but I really DO NOT like the story of Romeo and Juliet. I love romance and all but that's just stupid what with all the dying and coming back and suicide and stuff... there's nothing romantic about daggers in the heart and licking poison off someone's lips. But that's just me.

Question #1: Who said, "How romantical!"? I know it was a little rascal, but which one?

Question #2: Exactly how would one punctuate Question #1? In American grammar the punctuation mark goes inside the quotation marks, but I'm asking who said, "How romantical! not, who said, "How romantical?"

Anyway, after all that don't forget to tell me who said it.

Bill just now showed up with a Starbucks again! How romantical!

Do I have too much time on my hands? Yes I do! -- posted by Mom from 8/29/09

Webb's x-ray hasn't caught up with him as it only shows him as stable yet unchanged. Pish Posh-- this boy is gazing at EVERY nurse with those dreamy baby blues and, oh my God, what a charmer! First, he hypnotizes them with his super hero magnetism and then after keeping them suspended in anticipation for the perfect amount of time, he then melts them with that smile! There are puddles of women throughout PICU.

Daddy was a brave little toaster to bring me Starbucks from Gervais Street since the Starbucks here is closed on Saturday and Sunday. [Today's motherly advice: Marry a man who surprises you by driving an hour round trip with hellacious swine flu just to serve you your morning cuppa joe. Then spend the rest of your life serving him in every way. Of course it's fair.]

I gotta go suction Mr. McFreckles 'cause he's hacking away. He has started clamping down on the yankauer (which sounds way too Scandinavian for me and that's why I call it "the sucky thing") so he must be feeling better than his previous quasi-comatose state.

Day 10 Palmetto Health Children's Hospital PICU -- posted by Mom

I guess that's a shocking title for those of you who haven't heard that our family got a visit from the H1 N1 "swine flu" virus. You're hearing about it now that the worst is over but, for our Webb, it has been quite an ordeal.

A couple of weeks ago James and Spencer had strange symptoms like fatigue and a slight cough. We didn't think much of it since they never had a fever.

Unfortunately, when Webb picked it up it compromised his breathing and we were transported from the doctor's office to Intensive Care. He contracted pneumonia and we've been working on him for the past ten days. Fortunately, we got the word today that we'll be going to the floor.

The other kids didn't suffer too much. Bill and Webb had the worst symptoms. Will avoided it altogether since he was at Ma's for his rotation of caregiving when the outbreak occurred. God bless him in the first place for volunteering to help with Ma. Now that he's been quarantined, he's been away from his family for about 3 weeks. May the Lord reward him pressed down, shaken together, and spilling over for his selfless sacrifice in caring for my mother.

Sarah reminded me that I should update y'all since it must have looked like we fell off the face of the earth. And I guess entries pulled from personal diaries wouldn't make sense without this information.

Everybody seems to be on the mend, but I do beg prayers for Webb to regain his baseline lickety-split.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Richard's Post -- posted by Richard (as dictated to Sarah Grace)

Yesterday, I made a recipe. It tastes good, but it sounds bad.

I think my big brothers Spencer and James are jealous, because they are always trying to steal it. But, they might not be jealous, I don't know.

I write the recipe on a piece of paper, so I hide it from them into a piano.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mighty Morphin Power... Me -- posted by Sarah Grace

Recently I noticed when looking in the mirror that my arms and legs have been looking slightly larger than usual. I haven't been eating much, and every morning I diligently do a 30 minute full-body workout. And yet, my pants were feeling tighter, and my upper arms were growing at such an alarming rate, that even my mom mentioned it to me! The horror. The horror.

It turns out that I... am an endomorph. Go, Go, Power Rangers!

Actually, an endomorph is a term that's used for a certain body type. A commonly held view is that there are three primary body types. I'm an hourglass endomorph, which means I have a slow metabolism (as if I didn't know that already) and I build muscle mass quite easily. It also means I have a higher fat-cell count than the other two types, so that while I may be strong, my overall appearance is soft and undefined.

Now it makes sense why I'm almost able beat my brother at arm wrestling, but I still don't have any muscle definition. (I'm a kind sister, so the almost-beat brother shall remain unnamed.)

My problem is, I've been doing the wrong kind of workout for my body type. I was doing quite a bit of heavy resistance training, which added bulk to my frame, instead of slimming me down. I discovered that for my type, I need to do more low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking and jogging, and only do light resistance training. By following that program, I should get back to my fit and curvy self, and lose the "thick" look.

Soooo, I've decided to take up interval jogging again. I began interval jogging (1:2 jog/walk) last winter, but a foot injury caused me to stop for three months, and I hadn't gotten back into it. I just now returned from my first run, and I feel great. I had forgotten what a wonderful stress reliever it is!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Allen Academics -- posted by John

Dad is into reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy so he recorded the movie with Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn for us. We watched most of it last night, and we wanted to keep watching it, but our heavy eyelids got in the way. Dad is reading the book with a cheat sheet by his side with all of the families listed. Evidently it isn't easy to read because of the Russian names, at least not for Dad.

Mom is hitting us hard on grammar and punctuation these days. She said our posts and emails have gotten so casual that they are embarrassing. She is including herself in that, too!

She gave us some quizzes for the fun of it and I was the only one in the room who knew that the word for bigness is enormousness, not enormity. Enormity means evil. (We also worked on vocabulary.)

Here are some fun quizzes:

quiz 1

quiz 2

Here is a funny website; click on the blog:

So, lay is the past tense of lie and pronouns are possessive without an apostrophe and I could go on and on with all I've learned in the last two days.

Changing the subject, we thought all our bush beans had burned up but today when I went out to do my farm chores, I discovered a huge harvest!

Last night Mom and Sarah Grace made some delicious Beef Stroganoff and that reminds me that Sarah Grace is going to make authentic international cuisine for our geography study this year. We are using a book Mom found called Van Loon's Geography for our geography study this year. It is a wonderful read aloud book! We are doing our study by a continent each month, so Dad said he couldn't wait to try Sarah's cuisine from Antarctica! I guess it will be a month of penguin, fish, and snow cones!

Sarah Grace wants us to hurry up and get fluent enough in Spanish so that she can facilitate our French. Mom doesn't think we should try to tackle two languages at once especially since we also take Koine Greek. Spanish is the most practical speaking language for us to learn first. The older kids learned some Spanish before we went to Mexico, but I was too young. Sarah Grace has her heart set on us becoming fluent in French before we go to Europe. Dad's family is German but there has been no mention of us learning it.

I'm looking forward to school starting up full blast again!


Dad just came home from work and informed us that he wants us to do a study on Russia while he is reading War and Peace. Dad said that Catherine the Great decreed that French was the official language of the Russian court which explains why the main character's name is Pierre and why there was affection and admiration for France within the Russian aristocracy. This is also why some of the characters at the beginning of War and Peace were conflicted about Napolean's conquests which they knew needed to be stopped. Also, in the novel, Tolstoy has characters speaking in both French and Russian which is lost in the English translation. When characters use French, it is when they are being insincere, and Russian when they are being the most honest. When Pierre tells Princess Hellene he loves her, it is in French. (Ah ha.) By the end of the novel, when the characters have developed a greater degree of self-knowledge and emotional honesty, they speak only in Russian. Dad said this is but another gap in his education that he is currently filling while also homeschooling. Glad we could help!

Dad also said we could have a few sips of his White Russian cocktail, too.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Politics, Schmolitics -- posted by Sarah Grace

I said in an earlier post that I'd write about where my family stands politically, so here goes... we don't know where we stand. Well actually, we do know where we stand on issues. We just don’t know who is standing with us.

My mother's family was extremely politically well-connected, and her father was a huge supporter of conservative politics. In fact, here at my grandmother's house, there are framed pictures and letters from Ronald Reagan and others adorning the walls. My grandfather proudly supported Reagan's ascent up the political ladder even from the early days.

My father got his degree in Political Science from Brown University (I understand your Emma Watson will be going there, Mr. Billy and Mrs. Sarah). After directing statewide door to door canvassing efforts for Reagan’s 1984 campaign in RI, and being invited to the inauguration for his work, Dad was enlisted by the Republican Party to run for the RI State Senate. He had just started running for office when my parents met. In a heavily Democratic district, he was the Republican Party's sacrificial lamb. Amazingly, he got a third of the vote, even though he was a political newcomer, which was the most ever garnered by a Republican in that district. Trust me, this was stunning.

Suffice it to say, Mom and Dad were established, and extremely active in the conservative movement.

When my parents first got married, they enjoyed fundraisers and campaigns for the Republican Party. It was a way of life. Mind you, my parents were "churchy" people, and considered themselves Christians. They would've been considered the "Religious Right," if that term means anything to you.

Then, twelve years ago, my mother went all the way with the Lord, and thus began an open-minded and genuine search for truth.

You don't have to be in the Lord for long to realize that he's neither impressed with Democrats nor Republicans. When God opened Mom's eyes to the corruption, she copped an attitude of "pox on both their houses." The more we read the Bible the more we see the fulfillment of the end-time prophecies, and how there will be unsolvable problems. We already see this in Iraq and Afghanistan. These people have had bitter feuds between tribes for thousands and thousands of years. The "stans" can't have peace!

Now, we've read The Book, and we know how it ends, so politics is vain. From a common sense point of view, small government is better. We certainly don't want the same entity that runs the Department of Motor Vehicles running our health care, or banking, or anything else we want to keep from being screwed. Government bureaucracy defines "inept."

To make a long story short, my parents voted for G.W. Bush in the general election because he claimed to be smaller government and lower taxes, but he wasn't really. In the last election, we voted for Ron Paul in the primary, but we were stuck with voting for John McCain... which was really just a vote against Obama. As expected, Obama is quite good at spending other people's money for no good reason. We know the world is uber impressed with he and Michelle (of course, the rest of the world doesn't have to foot the bill), but we don't even think they belong on the best dressed list (was that sufficiently catty?), much less in the White House! So, there.

Like the Bible states, we pray for our leaders and ask the Lord to redeem the time, while at the same time knowing that the world's efforts will fail miserably. And ultimately, the true church will have a united heart-cry of "Oh come, Lord Jesus."

Soooo, I've now managed to commit the faux pas of discussing both religion and politics on my journal... it should be smooth sailing from here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wuv, Twue Wuv -- posted by Sarah Grace

It's been a long time since I've listened to country music.  Some country music gives me a bad feeling, especially at night while in the car- it makes me think of dirty trailer parks and alcoholic fathers.  But once in a while, they come out with some real keepers.

Mr. Bradley from Diaryland turned me on to this song.  It was new to me, but now I love it!

This one, by Brad Paisley, is a favorite of mine.  He had me at 3:00- that line makes me want to fall in love right there.  If a man doesn't think I'm all that AND a bag of chips, then he's just not "The One."  I gotta be pursued... like my dad practically stalked my mother. 

My dad was living in Rhode Island and running for the RI senate, and my mother was living in South Carolina.  They met for the first time August 30th, at the Charlotte Coliseum in NC, during a chance encounter at a concession stand.  After two subsequent chance encounters that same day, they exchanged phone numbers.  Daddy went back to RI, and he proceeded to date Mom over the phone.  He sent letters, cards, and even Western Union telegrams!  One read: "The best part of today is that I'm one day closer to being with you.  Love, Him."  The day after he lost the election (thanks to my mother's prayers), he flew to SC for an extended weekend the first weekend in November.  When he came back later that month, he brought a diamond.  Twenty-one years and 8 kids later, they're still together.

P.S.  Mrs. Sarah and Mr. Billy, please don't make fun of these songs like you did Andy Williams's grammar and dentures!  *makes puppy dog face*

Thursday, August 6, 2009

About A Boy -- posted by Sarah Grace

I said Will was the "problem child" in an earlier post, but let me clarify what I meant.  He wasn't promiscuous, and he didn't do drugs or any of the things typical parents would worry about.  Rather, he was self-centered, competitive with his siblings, and neglectful of his responsibilities and his family relationships.  He spent more time trying to pass the next level in his latest Sega game than he did being an obedient son and a loving older brother.  It became a real point of contention between he and my mom.  He saw Mom as the enemy when she demanded that he focus on his family rather than on himself and his video games.  Will can attest to the innumerable threats of being shipped off to Camden Military Academy. 

His early teen behavior is unfortunately the behavior most male youth exhibit in our culture.  Gone are the days of mature, responsible men who put away childish pursuits and focus on becoming adults.  Today's generation is made of Peter Pans.  My mom spends the greater part of her parenting harping on my brothers to avoid the Neverland epidemic, as it's obviously an important subject in a family with seven boys.  Her concern led her to post a provocative article on our family website mainly for my brothers to read.  She vowed to rear her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and believe me, there is such great opposition to this common sense that even secular sociologists have identified it.

I don't know how it is where you live, but where I come from there is a serious lack of noblemen.  That's why Christian girls, like the ones I mentioned in a former post, are bemoaning their unmarried status.  It's because decent, responsible gentlemen aren't to be found anymore.  That's also why I'm not attracted to my male peers... they're not mature adults!  God calls women to be submissive to their husbands, and even Sarah called Abraham "Master."  I'm waiting for someone whose heart agrees with this concept, instead of becoming impatient and settling for the slim pickin's around me.  I certainly don't want to end up calling a PlayStation addict "Master."

My parents recognize the lack of noblemen in our society, which is why they teach my brothers that women are to be treated like delicate flowers with respect, honor, and chivalry.  My brothers learned early that their duty is to stand when a lady enters the room, open doors, pull out chairs, carry bags, do the heavy work and dirty work, etc.  But beyond basic manners, my parents have taught them that God calls husbands to be the providers, the protectors, and the leaders.  They are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her. 

Will has come a long way from the "child-man" of his youth, to becoming the kind of man in whom a wife can safely trust.  Lucky her.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder -- posted by John

If you missed my remake of Billie Jean, then you should click "previous" if you are on Diaryland or scroll down if you are on milkandhoneyacres. My parents had me redo it because I had pelvic thrusts in the first one and they said that wasn't appropriate. I even added some moves in the second one, so don't miss it.

Dad brought me some books from the library and I've been learning about all of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. I'm like a walking encyclopedia on the space program.

Both of my parents saw launches and my dad's Uncle Fritz designed the audio system for the lunar module.

We made NASA with all the computers in our bedroom and we made a space capsule out of the box Sarah's harp came in.

I also broke the sound barrier in a go-cart with a broken pointy sword duct-taped to the nose, a makeshift Air Force jacket, and a scarf for the drama. (Dad picked up a book on Chuck Yeager, too.)

I saw the X-1 at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. I saw a lot of stuff there that means much more to me now.

We've been studying accents and a British lady was all ticked off on a message board because some Americans would always imitate her accent. Hey Lady, you should get over yourself because you could be a Southerner and everybody would imitate your accent like you are an uneducated hick... like the Beverly Hillbillies!

At least Jethro Bodine always got the girl!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Iron Will -- posted by Sarah Grace

Since my grandmother's health has deteriorated, my brother Will decided to stay with her and help over the summer.  Even though Mom and I relieve him periodically, he needs to be there for the most part to lift her if need be.  I love seeing how well he takes care of her and tends to her every need, and how gentle he is when doing so.  Every morning, not only will he pick what top and pants for her to wear, but also which socks and underclothes!  And no one can fix her hair as well as he can.

Lately, I've been thinking Will should become a nurse.  Growing up I never thought I'd say that, as Will was the "problem child" and an occupation that requires selflessness seemed like the furthest thing from his personality.  However, when he was about ten years old, he took on the responsibility of caring for our developmentally delayed brother, Webb, without even being asked.  He began feeding him, giving him baths, and changing his diapers once he noticed Webb was getting too heavy for Mom to carry during her pregnancy with John.  She tried to take back the responsibility after John's birth, but Will wouldn't hear of it.  He knows Webb better than anyone in the family, and he immediately understands what he needs while the rest of us stand around scratching our heads.  Now that Will has been with our grandmother, Spencer and James have taken over caring for Webb.

Will has transformed into a wonderfully thoughtful and caring person when it comes to the elderly, the sick, and even injured animals.  It has truly been a blessing to behold.

Will and George

Monday, August 3, 2009

Is It Wrong To Quote Cher? -- posted by Sarah Grace

I was reading a favorite blog of mine this morning, written by a young woman who lives on a farm with her family. She's twenty-one, and her latest entry was about how she's learning to accept God's timing of when she'll get married. This seems to be a recurring topic among most stay-at-home-daughter blogs.

Like this girl, I'd always thought I would be married by the time I was eighteen. Not that I thought I was some great beauty that men would be chomping at the bit for my hand as soon as I came of age, but I knew I wanted to spend my best years raising children and caring for my husband instead of wasting that precious time in selfish pursuits. I knew being a wife and mother would be my greatest calling, and the most fulfilling occupation I could ever have.

Needless to say, now that two years have past since the "marriage mark," it's been a little frustrating. I keep reminding myself that the Lord knows what he's doing, that his timing is best, and that I should use the time I still have at home wisely and productively instead of sulking about my lack of husband.

One thing I've taken the habit of doing is praying for my future husband, whoever he is. It may seem silly to some that I pray for someone I've never met, but it gives me the feeling that in a small way I'm already being a "helpmeet" to my future husband, by asking God to guide and bless him in all he does, and to make him perfectly ready for a wife when we meet. As for myself, whether I get married next year or a number of years from now, I know that it will be God's perfect timing, and that I stand ready to fulfill my sacred calling as a caring mother and a faithful, diligent wife.

I just wish girls would understand that the years as a single adult living at home is a true blessing, and an enriching time for family relationships. It opens up a completely different dynamic between siblings and parents, and once one gets married, that precious time is over. These girls may not have the maturity necessary for the trials that come with marriage. They get so caught up in Jane Austen-esque romanticism that they spend more time yearning for a husband than they do appreciating the time of preparation for marriage, and simply resting in the Lord.

There's a lot to learn while being a stay-at-home daughter, and I will always cherish this chapter in my life.

"The trouble with some women, they get all excited about nothing - and then they marry him." -- Cher