Giving Thanks (inspired by)

Thanks be to God, Father, Son and Spirit, for the abundance of good things he pours on His children.
We are but few, but His blessings are many.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

whirlwind Christmas

We had a wonderful, busy Christmas, but we are still waiting for enough snow so that the kids can go sledding! We got about an inch yesterday and the kids immediately ran outside (well, they waddled outside after taking 20 minutes to put on all their winter gear) and did they best they could with the small Indiana snow. They tried to make snow angels, "Mommy it's not working!" "Well, I guess it could be a grass angel!" Lorraine even tried to make a snowman with tiny snowballs and birdseed for decoration. She gave up on that pretty quickly.

Eldon is crawling like crazy now and loves to rip and chew paper. Of course the kids have been having fun enjoying their Christmas presents, but other than that everything is pretty much the same. I will post more pics and funny stories as I can- just wanted to say a quick hello and a belated Joyful Christmas! (Hey, it's still what I consider the Christmas season!)

And above, see my favorite recent video - Aggie at Kid's Commons. When I remember how sick she was last year at this time, it makes me appreciate those sweet, hilarious Aggie moments even more!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Grandpa's favorite hymn

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Michigan adventures

We are having a great time up here in Michigan! The kids absolutely love the snow, and all four of them were quite brave when we went sledding in Nana's back yard! The wedding was beautiful and we are having fun getting to know our new family member, Theo! Welcome to the family, Theo, and we wish all the best for you and Amy!

Here are some of the highlights!

Friday, December 11, 2009

quick update

Josh and his dad are just a couple hours from home- Larry's sister and her husband arrived last night to be with Grandma and so they headed out yesterday evening. After I force them to sleep, we are going to attempt our trip to Michigan for the wedding.

In other news, Aggie has had a good week and is now officially off of her Trileptal (one more med to go!)

Gotta get back to packing and cleaning up messes! Sure is a much slower process with all these monkeys to watch... Like, for example, Marcus found a small bottle of brown paint yesterday, carried it around, fell on it, exploded it all over himself and Seth, tromped with Seth through the basement a few times, then through the tunnel, then they finally decided to come upstairs to tell me!)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Grandpa Cook was called home to be with the Lord this evening. Josh and Larry (Bump) are staying with grandma for now as they begin to make arrangements.
Josh says Grandpa was ready and left this valley of tears peacefully.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas joy and sadness

What a weekend!

Some of our friends shocked our socks off by throwing Josh and me a surprise birthday party on Saturday night! It was SO much fun! Josh thought he was babysitting the kids so I could go to a "girls night" at Mary Anne's house, so he already had them in their PJs! I don't think they will ever forget partying in their PJs all night long!

Sunday the kids were exhausted and wanted to sleep in a bit, but we made it to church. Aggie had one of those "was that a siezure or is she just acting strange?" moments during church, so of course I am watching her much more closely this week. She will be completely off one of her meds on friday... assuming she's not having seizures again. It's hard to tell what exactly is going on with her much of the time. We are glad we do not have very long to wait until our next appointment at Cleveland (January 11-12) where she will have a full workup again: EEG, MRI, etc. The EEG will tell us if her brain still has a tendency towards seizures or if removing the tumor completely solved the problem. To be honest, we will be very surprised if the EEG shows no more epilepsy. The concerns for her still remain, but we are so very grateful for how well she is doing right now- It has been just about four and a half months seizure free (or very close to it!) and compared to pre-surgery, she is still doing fantastic.

We finally got our first snow here in Indiana! It was just a dusting (see the picture above) but it was SO beautiful! I had to take a picture of it right away, because it was completely gone by afternoon. Sounds like my dear friends and family in Michigan are having a much harder winter!

We are greatly anticipating going to Michigan this weekend for my sister's wedding. I am going to pack snow things for the kids so they can play in the real snow up there! I can hardly believe my little sister is getting married!!! Christmastime is such a beautiful time to start a life together- many prayers and praises are being said for you, Amy and Theo! May God richly bless your marriage, increase your love for each other daily, and bless you with many years together celebrating life in Him!

Christmastime so often seems to be great joy mixed with intense grief. This year is no exception for our family. Josh's grandfather had a two heart attacks yesterday, and so he and his father left in the middle of the night last night to hurry down to Florida before they take him off life support. Grandpa is 87, Grandma is also in her 80s and will need the support of the family very badly during this time. Please pray for their safety, that God will provide for the needs of the church and the family while Josh is away, and that He will comfort the grieving family. May Grandpa be taken quickly without suffering, and may Grandma and the rest of the family be given strong faith to get them through this time. Jesus, please hold them close.

As we celebrate Advent even in this gloom, we remember God's promises to His children. It will not always be this way.

O Come O Come Emmanuel.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy December!

Wednesday was definitely NOT the best chapel service we've ever gone to, in terms of the kids behavior. First, we got there a little late and so tried to inconspicuously find a seat in the balcony. As we got up there, the school kids had all filed in and were silently waiting for the service to begin. Marcus saw the crowd below and immediately hollered "HI GUYS!" just as loud as he could!

THEN Seth, normally my angel in church, decided to drive his car on the balcony railing. "Seth, don't drive there!" I whispered. Two minutes later he was doing it again, so I told him no again. He proceeded to look right at me, and put his car on the ledge again. Two seconds later it fell. Seth got a look of terror on his face and began whimpering "I'msorryI'msorryI'msorry!"

Nonetheless, we have had a happy first week of December. We just love getting out all the Christmas stuff and doing our favorite holiday activities!

Marshmallow snowmen!
(The best we can do with no snow!)
And of course, painting!

Happy December everybody!

Monday, November 30, 2009


I am cooking potatoes enough for tonight's dinner along with enough to feed Eldon for most of the rest of the week (his new favorite- he gets that from me!) so, while they boil, I will post a few pictures. We had a fantastic thanksgiving weekend! But how could we not, with the combination of fried turkey, wine, politics, and Grammy Pammy doing the hula hoop on the Wii?

Lorraine's first grade class did an ant play this year- definitely one of the highlights of the season for our family! She practiced her song for days and days (her siblings knew it too!). Here she is in her ant hat.

Thanksgiving fun, as always, included wrestling and dancing too! Here's Aggie shakin' it like only Aggie can!

Ah, Marcus. What a personality! Uncle Luke thought "footie pyjamas" were not manly enough for a kid like Marcus, so he helped him make even those a bit more masculine.

Yesterday we celebrated my THIRTIETH birthday! People seem to think I ought to be traumatized about this birthday but really, I have identified with the over- thirty crowd for quite a long time now. How could I not? With five children... and a FULL sized van.... It has been a long time since I could stay awake past ten pm!
Now, we deal with the Thanksgiving after-party "crash." Not really the best time for Josh and I to pack the kids in the van and go for a blood draw, then to Target, then Hobby Lobby, then Kohl's, then Walmart like we did today for some reason... but nobody ever said thirty is the age of wisdom!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Marcus had a rough week- he started out one morning falling out of bed. It's not that unusual that someone falls out of bed, of course, but this time it was a little worse than normal. Josh heard the THUD around 530 and got up with him. He did just as I would have done, "Hey honey you just fell out of bed, you're ok" pat on the head, "get back in bed now goodnight." Well when I got up at 630 we saw his head:

Apparently he'd landed on his train! There was blood on his pillow and his cut was really quite nasty! Josh had to shave his head down a little to get to it (now he has a "high and tight"), he cleaned it out, put peroxide on it etc. Marcus hadn't been complaining about it until daddy got involved, and of course he hated the cleaning process. So most of the week he pointed to his head and said, "Daddy hurt me!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" screamed Seth. (There is no middle ground with his cries of distress- every one makes it sound like he will have to be rushed to the hospital.) He was having trouble with one of his toys and decided to try fixing the problem with screams. Daddy jumped in and got the toy working right, saying “See Seth, rather than screaming, we can use the brains God gave us to figure out what is going on and fix it.” Seth took the toy back and said humbly, “But daddy, my brains aren't very strong yet.”

Actually Seth's brains are getting quite "strong." He's really interested in phonics and spelling and is actually reading a little bit! (I guess Josh's brother taught himself to read before he was four too!) His spelling interest is almost on the compulsive side, and he doesn't seem to know when it is inappropriate to focus on it. For example, "Seth! We just talked about this- you must NOT hit your brother! Do you understand me?!?!" "Mommy! Hit has an H in it! HIT... and a T!"

Eldon is still as sparky as ever. He wants to stand all the time, and can actually cruise along the couch a bit. These new abilities make him slightly more content to be on the floor rather than on my hip, at least in certain moods. He still screams bloody murder when he's in his highchair waiting for his food. Yesterday I was feeling a bit immature, so as I got his food around I started yelling right back at him, imitating his scream to him. His scream immediately turned into laughter. What a faker!

Marcus loves to call people by their last names. We watched the movie UP the other day and at his favorite parts he would yell, “Schneider, LOOK!” The other day Aunt Mary Anne came by to drop off something and as she walked away he put his pathetic face on the window and cried “Schneider house! Schneider house!!!!!!” as he beat on the glass.

He is definitely a charming kid. Often he crawls up on the couch next to me, puts his arm around me and said “I love you mommy.” Yesterday after he said that he looked at the people sitting on the other couch and said. “I love Schneider too. And I love Vandercar too.” What a kid!

(above) Eldon just loves being on of the guys!

One morning Eldon was watching me put the laundry in, sitting on the basement floor by my feet on a rug. I noticed he was chewing on something that looked like a small stick, so after I put the clothes in I grabbed it out of his mouth...

was it a stick? noooo, much, much worse! it was a dead, dried up earthworm!

That earthworm got me thinking of all the nasty things the kids have eaten at some point- it is amazing kids survive childhood sometime! Here's the short list:

Lorraine: sidewalk chalk, carpet cleaner, cat food (she smelled like fish all day!)

Aggie: a live cricket (she jumped when it wiggled and took it out of her mouth. apparently even babies know food is not supposed to move.), hair from a stuffed Elmo

Seth: chewed and swallowed four christmas lights

Marcus: where do I start? the worst one that comes to mind: drank black sandbox water that had been sitting, rotting with leaves and who knows what else for days...

Of course they have all tried the normal things: sand, leaves, dog food, dust bunnies, old chicken nuggets they find in the car, shoes, rocks, grass

Hmmm... has my perception of "normal" changed over the years?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

survival mode and Aggie update

For one reason or another we've been on survival mode the past two weeks. (Survival mode = much lower standards! If we make it through the day and everyone has eaten and is relatively clean, it's a good day!) It has just been an accumulation of little things, colds, holiday preparation, etc. I have thought of blogging a few times this week, but now feel like I have so many little anecdotes to report I don't know where to start! So instead of doing nothing, I will start with the most asked about child- Aggie.

We are officially to the point of weaning medicine that makes me nervous. Trileptal was the one medicine we thought helped her seizures last fall, and we are now just passing the dose that (may have) made a difference. She was taking 6ml twice a day before her surgery- she is now down to 1.5ml twice a day, and should be completely off of it in three more weeks! (after this she has one more med to go, which she will not start weaning until after her Cleveland appt in January.) And still, no seizures! While technically we are still supposed to take seizure precautions with her, we have relaxed significantly- I am even able to let her out of my sight without panicking now!

While we have not seen seizures, she is definitely "quirky." If you have been around her, you know what I mean. For those who haven't, how do I explain? Her word-finding troubles are probably the most noticeable. The meds may or may not be to blame for that- her neurologist reminded us at her appointment last week that her year of seizures did basically take away a year of development- so though she is five, it is not surprising to see behaviors that are typical of a much younger child.

There are times I feel a little like I did when she had constant seizures- during some days, or even parts of days, she is very difficult to communicate with and does very odd things (chewing on everything, repetitive behavior, talking to herself, wanting to play by herself- this is odd for Aggie! etc) She absolutely cannot miss a nap or she becomes completely goofy. Yet sometimes she has long stretches of "normal" Aggie behavior.

If I get comfortable seeing her as the old Aggie, normal Aggie, then when the quirks come up I get frustrated and worried. But if I cut her a little slack, remember what she has been through, and accept the fact that she still has special needs, then her quirks are just quirks, and they become much easier for me to handle. Her special needs may go away after she's off the meds and completely healed from surgery, or they may not, but for now they are here, undefined, and unpredictable.

So (after struggling with these thoughts for awhile,) I think, so what? So she's quirky, she's HERE, she's alive, and compared to where she was before, she's doing GREAT! Her "quirks" are much less problematic than the seizures, and we get to see her huge Aggie smile several times a day. And her unique, Aggie personality is shining brightly-

Every morning when I wake Lorraine up to go to school Aggie whines "Don't turn on the light! I want to still sleep!" As Lorraine gets dressed in the bathroom, Aggie lays in bed for just a moment before she hops out of bed and quietly makes both of their beds. Then she runs to get Lorraine for the big surprise, "Rainey, you have to close your eyes and come to your room and see, it's so beautiful!" Lorraine is very good about playing along even though she has ceased being surprised a long time ago!

One day I let her take a nap in my room. After about an hour (not near enough time for a typical Aggie sized nap,) Aggie came out of my room. "Mommy, I'm ready to get up now. I sleepded already." I knew this was untrue, because she looked relatively put together for Aggie. When she really does sleep, she comes out of her room looking like she's just had a ride on a helicopter.

"Aggie, did you really sleep?"
Her mouth was going a million miles a minute already. "Oh yes mommy, I sleepded really good. I sleepded in your bed and I am ready to get up now but mommy... I have to show you something." She got very serious and took my hand. I let her lead me into my room to the table by the side of my bed. My digital clock said 11:37pm.
"Mommy I sleepded but the numbers....the numbers.... I don't know what happened to the numbers because I sleepded really good and my feet were under the covers and.... I was being good... and my feet were sleeping under the covers... and look I made your bed for you...and I'm really sorry mommy..... but my feet where under the covers but the numbers.... I don't... my feet... I sleepded I really did.... my feet... ............maybe my fingers did it."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

halloween highlights!

After a rough start (took the wrong 465 around Indy, then arrived to Hastings where the power was out all night and most of the next day!) our Halloween weekend was great fun! I was so glad for Mary Anne's help, especially in the van. We actually made it all the way to Michigan and back WITH our sanity!

Here are some of my favorite pictures!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Growing up

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It is a common question that leads to an entertaining conversation around our dinner table.

“I want to be a mommy and have ten babies when I grow up!”

“I want to be a car fixer!”

“I want to be a princess when I grow up.”

“When I grow up, I want to be Peter Pan!!!”

“I'm going to give spankings when I grow up.”

While we may occasionally get a glimpse into what is important to each child as they answer this question, more often we just get a good laugh. Children really cannot comprehend life that far in the future. As we all know, kids tend to think that life is going to stay just as it is right now, forever. Kids enjoy being kids, and if childhood were to last forever, well, that would be just fine really.

We try to help them overcome their focus on the present by asking questions about their hypothetical futures. We enjoy thinking about them 10, even 20 years into the future, with a job and maybe a family of their own. “What will life be like then?” we wonder, we cheerfully imagine.

Yet, for me at least, I only want to think just so far into the future, not too far, or I get uncomfortable. There is a certain point in the distant future that is quite hazy, and I am content to keep it that way. Those fuzzy areas contain those harsh realities of living in a fallen world: times of loss, of aging, and of dying.

Truth be told, when things are going well, I am a bit like my children. I am quite comfortable here in this world. If this mortal life were to go on forever... well, some days, that would be just fine with me.

Of course, I did not feel that way at all as I watched Aggie deteriorate from her brain tumor this summer. Nor did I feel that way when my husband went off to war. Times of trial open our eyes to those fuzzy areas of life, and as we walk through the valleys of the shadow of death, we pray, hope, and beg that this life will not last forever.

It will not. We know from looking around, and we know from God's word:

It will not always be this way.

Nine years ago my Grandma Lorraine was called home to be with the Lord. She was a mother of eight, grandmother of nineteen, and walked closely with her Lord. She came to our wedding with joy in 2000, upheld by Him though she was being treated for leukemia. A month later she was taken to be with Him. My children probably would have reminded her of her own rambunctious clan. They never got to meet her, but I am sure the would have loved her. We do not talk about her much anymore. I suspect I avoid it partly because just the mention of loved ones who have gone before remind me of this change that is coming, and it makes me uncomfortable.

It will not always be this way. They will love her when they get to know her.

As we celebrate All Saints Day this year we think of those who have gone on before us, who have undergone that final and perfect change. They have faced death and been made truly alive, freed forever from their sins. They are perfectly grown up: fully redeemed in Christ. As we follow behind them, we confidently hope we shall join them soon, in that place where change and tears have past.

Resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered for a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:9-11

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

scarecrows and screaming

We made two scarecrows this year- what fun!

Lorraine asked “mommy whose clothes are these?” as we filled up the large pair of overalls. “Mr. Hercamp gave us these clothes to make a scarecrow, isn't that nice?” “Yes but...” (Silence...) “did he leave with no clothes on?”

Agnes once could say “Cinderella” without any problem, but her teasing daddy put “Cinder-lella” in her mind and now she can't seem to get it out again. If she concentrates REALLY hard she can get closer.. CinderrrrrrLELLA!

Seth is quite sensitive lately about people laughing at him. Because of that he generally refrains from dancing with the other kids, especially if someone is watching. I absolutely love those rare moments when he forgets to be self-conscious. He watches the other kids and starts to smile despite himself... then, almost against his will his body moves with the beat, he joins his siblings in their party. I must remember not to draw attention to it by saying something like “See Seth, dancing really IS fun!” If I do, he will be SHOCKED to find himself actually dancing, and immediately remember his former standards of decorum, and hide his red face while he vows to himself that he will never, never forget himself like that again.

Marcus's new favorite phrase is an indignant “Mommy says!”

Daddy says, “Marcus no, you can't get up on the couch right now.” Marcus insists, “Mommy says!”

If Lorraine says, “Marcus no I don't want to wrestle right now!” Marcus climbs on her back and yells, “Mommy says!”

No other explanation needed- the mere mention of Mommy ought to win the argument in his mind!

Eldon is working on his fourth tooth already. He is also developing his one hundred and fifty-second opinion. I don't think I have ever had a baby with such horribly strong opinions at this age before. (Marcus and Aggie had some of this but not nearly as dramatic- OH NO!) He absolutely must sleep on his side sucking two fingers. He likes yogurt but HATES potatoes. He loves swinging but HATES the stroller. He loves chewing on a sippy cup but SCREAMS at the very sight of a bottle. And in some of his moods, he must be touching his mommy at all times- if he is out of arm's reach he SCREAMS BLOODY MURDER. So he works in the kitchen with me, where I found yet another opinion: if he's not in arms reach AND at eye level he SCREAMS BLOODY MURDER. No, he most certainly will not play on the floor by my feet!

By now I am pretty good at doing most things one handed, but every now and then I do have to set him down. So, on these lovely moody days of teething, every time I go to the bathroom, he SCREAMS. Every time I bring food to the table for a meal, he SCREAMS. Every time I change Marcus's diaper, he SCREAMS. Every time I button Seth's shirt or tie a shoe, he SCREAMS. As soon as I pick him up, he's happy again. He has developed quite the grip on my left arm- I probably could walk around not even holding him and just let him hang there like a koala.

He is trying to get around already, which I have finally started to encourage in hopes he will spend more time making messes in the house and less time SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER!

Who, me?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

easily entertained

It all started with a good idea... "Hey kids, why don't you go run around in the field for awhile?"

Eldon and I sat on a sheet and enjoyed the warm sun while we watched the kids "explore." (How much exploring can a person do in a field?)Lorraine found some deer prints!
"Look mommy, it's a mommy one and a baby one!"

Then, the most FUN and AWESOME thing EVER! A DITCH!!!

Aggie is belly laughing as they all jump across and back,
barely making it every time.
Marcus decides that "making it" is over-rated!"

Good idea little brother!
But it is a little squishy down here...
(That's when I holler, "you're fine, keep trying!"
Amazingly, they did get out of the mud. It's not quick sand after all!)
"You guys got your shoes muddy, you can clean them off."
Seth stands in the background reminding me and everyone that HE didn't get muddy AT ALL.

Praise to God who made sunny October days!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

If God were here

(I wrote this for the newsletter awhile back but never posted it here. Yet these thoughts come back again as our church grieves the loss of a dear member. In times like this we are glad when God's word reminds us that it is not always going to be this way.)

One beautiful evening this spring the girls and I took a walk down our country road. We talked excitedly of the new baby that was soon to come- in a couple weeks or so, I told them. Lorraine, ever fascinated with babies, asked me “Mommy, why do the doctors not know what day that baby will come? Why do they just have to guess?”

“Well, honey, there are still lots of things even doctors don't know about our bodies and how God made us. We still get sick... there are still some things doctors don't know how to fix.”

“Mommy!” she said excitedly, as though stumbling on a terrific original thought, “If God were here, nobody would ever get sick again!”

I opened my mouth to take advantage of this teaching opportunity, to say something about God doing good things for us even in sickness, about the cross, or the good things that can come out of bad days...but as I took a breath, the grief that I had been carrying all day about Aggie came rushing up my throat. Images filled my head- the six seizures so far that day, the one on the top of the slide at the playground that could have been disastrous, the weepy eyes and confusion caused by her newest medicine that doesn't seem to be working.... It took all my energy to get my breath back. I turned my eyes to the woods and used all of my strength to hold back my tears. In true toddler fashion Lorraine immediately forgot what we were talking about and moved on to something else. Now it is night, and she sleeps peacefully. I am awake, her comment still haunting me.

Marcus has a high fever and an awful cough tonight.
If God were here.....

I just woke Aggie to check her for a rash or another side effect from her new medicine. I could hardly wake her... is it because it is midnight, because she just had another seizure, or because this new medicine is hurting her sweet body already?
If God where here...

We don't like to say this out loud, but sometimes we do feel abandoned in our pain. We face suffering beyond explanation, and pain that does go beyond what we can handle, pious platitudes aside. We sigh and ache and grieve, we shiver under the shadow of death, and we are sure things would be much better if only God were here.

So is He really here? How do we know? The enemy would have us do what comes naturally to us, and look to our circumstances to answer that question. If we are healthy and happy, it is easy to believe that there is a God, and that He loves us. If we are hurting and miserable, then it is easy to believe that everything we have been told about this loving God must be a lie, or that it does not apply to us. We are attacked with doubts, and doubt turns into fear, and our hearts sink with our burdens.

I can only imagine the disciples and friends of Jesus felt this way as they watched His crucifixion. Of all the dark days humanity has ever experienced, surely that was the darkest. As the innocent Son of God was crushed under the weight of sin and evil, even the sun withheld its rays, All life and hope seemed to disappear with the light.

Yet God was there! His love and grace were right there in that dark and terrible scene. We can see it now as we look back, now that we have learned from the resurrected Christ exactly what God was doing that day.

Because of that day and the resurrection that followed, we have good reason to believe Jesus' words: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He comes to us in our time of trial, He sees our doubtful, struggling hearts, and sends His children and His Word to give us new life. His Spirit reminds us of His faithfulness to us in days past, how time and again He rescued us, even when we were rebellious and stubborn. Like His children throughout all of history, we will face trials as we journey through this world, yet like those children, we will be carried safely through them all. God is with us.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:10-11)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

odds n ends

Does anybody local have either of the following:

An old pair of overall jeans (any size)
An empty oatmeal container

The overalls are for the making of a scarecrow(Lorraine has been begging me!) And the oatmeal container will be decorated fancy and used to hold Lorraine's ever growing collection of headbands!

Also, the "reactions" at the bottom of the post are new to this blog. Just something I noticed as I was doing something else. Yesterday I had "funny, interesting, cool" just because that was the default for Blogger- today it occurred to me that I could change them. I thought of adding a bunch more adjectives that would boost my self esteem and yet say nothing (wow, way to go, praise the Lord, fantastic, I agree, yeehaw, amen, whaddyaknow, nice job, thanks for sharing, and the like) but then I opted for these three- smiling, thinking, praying. I am usually hoping for one of these responses with my words! (If you have other things to say of course you can always comment or email me!)

So in that spirit, I will share one story.
" I want soooop" said Marcus insistently at the dinner table last night. What is he asking for? None of us could figure it out. "Markie you want what?" we asked, and the kids laughed and guessed the craziest things he could think of. (you want snow? you want soup? you want a show?) Of course he got frustrated but kept insisting "I want SOAP!" "Is he really saying soap?" I said "You want soap Markie?" He giggled "yes" and pointed to the honey for his bread. "Oh Markie, that's not soap it's honey! Trust me there is a big difference!"

No WONDER he was so eager to play with the hand soap in the kitchen earlier that day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween Past

Click here to view pictures from past Halloween days!

Is there anything Walmart can't do?

Aggie is doing the same; a little quirky, but if her quirks are just quirks and not caused by a tumor, we are OK with that! We have been given the OK to wean the next medicine- It will take ten weeks, but we are hoping to see improvements with the quirks soon if this med is the culprit. After this one is gone (assuming no seizures) she will be weaned off the last one!

Meanwhile, she is flittering around enjoying her days as usual. She was my grocery shopping buddy on Monday and must have been pretty impressed with the wide selection at Walmart, because I overheard this conversation later that day:

She and Seth were climbing on the chairs the other day pretending there were crocodiles in the carpet, and I heard her yell, "OH NO! A crocodile ate both of my feet!" Not to worry though, she simply climbed to another chair and said, "Seth, I'll be right back, I have to go to the store to get some more feet!"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

a sigh of relief

Just now heard from the doctor- MRI looks clean.

I did not realize I was holding my breath all morning but I must have been- all of a sudden I realize how nice it feels to breathe again!

Her neuro is not in today- we will hear from him tomorrow whether he wants us to just hang in there with her goofy behavior as she heals a little more from surgery or if he will allow us to wean a little bit more.

I will be giving her an extra hug when she gets up from her nap today- at least one for me and a few more for those of you who were praying with me! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

what a day!

We attempted touch a truck this morning.... Seth was all kinds of excited about it before we left and for about half of the car ride- Marcus was excited all the way. then as we got closer Seth realized there would be other people there... then the mood started. Man that boy can be ornery! We lasted about a half hour, and after the 20th "mommy can we just go home?" I said OK lets do it. Marcus acts like Seth when Aggie is gone so he was a mess too- what is that about?! I have no pictures- nobody wants to remember those ornery faces!

But I definitely have had the easier day compared to Josh ... he called around 11 and said "What do I do?" Apparently Aggie got all nerved up about her test and threw up on herself in Josh's car.... so um, sorry hon, can't really help you from an hour away, but I guess you are going to have to go buy her some new clothes....

She had the MRI then threw up three more times on the way home. They used a different sedative which may have been the culprit those times. Of course she was not pleased about any of this, and neither was daddy!

But even after all that, when I ask her how her day was, she says "pretty good!" Then she gets a sheepish but amused smile and tells me how she "puked'ed one, no two, no three, no four times in daddy's car."

She's absolutely fine tonight. When she got home she took a bath of course and swam around singing "1, 2, Jesus loves you; 2, 3 Jesus loves me" over and OVER and OVER again!

Will post tomorrow if I hear something!

mri again

Please pray for Aggie and Josh today as they head up to Indy for an MRI.

Aggie's been showing some strange behavior lately- no seizures, but in some ways she is acting like she did when she was having seizures. (She's having trouble finding words, multitasking, processing information, and generally seems to be mentally slowed down.) This is likely the effects of the meds she is still on, and we may be seeing them get worse simply because as her brain heals she really doesn't need the meds and so they are affecting her in this way.

This is the theory we like the best of course, because as we wean these problems will go away. But it could be something else, hence the MRI. So we move ahead and hold our breath until we hear something- probably tomorrow.

In the meantime, the boys and I are off to "touch a truck!" Will post pics from that and Markie's birthday when I get a chance!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Aggie's birthday weekend!

Aggie couldn't have planned a better party weekend if she'd done it herself! Grammy, Bump, Katie and Jaxon came to visit on Thursday. Friday, Aggie's birthday, started out with a brand new soft blanket from mommy which she wore around the house most of the morning. She played with family all morning (PARTY!) then at night got to go to Family Fun Night at the school (ANOTHER PARTY!)

And what does every five year old girl want for their birthday?
A chance to get their daddy in a dunk tank of course!
This was by far the highlight of the evening for the Cook kids!

Of course there was also the fun inside the gym-
the cookie walk, crafts, duck pond, and face painting! (PARTY!)

Saturday was a family day- we went to Donner park (PARTY!)

Returned home for Peter Pan cake, mac and cheese, and presents- in that order!
Then of course scooter rides and even a pinata! (PARTY!)

Happy fifth birthday Aggie Sue!
We sure love you!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

a day in the life of the cook kids

Every so often I try to do a "day in the life" project- I carry the camera with me everywhere and chronicle even the most normal, mundane parts of our days. I aim to have a snapshot of what life was like during this crazy period of time- I know so many things that we do everyday will be forgotten about in time. I envision us watching in the future with lots of "OH I forgot about that!" and other things.

This normal day started out at 530am for me (Ok that's a little earlier than normal but Eldon is teething.) After getting up with him every hour during the night, he got up wanting to play at 530 and I just gave in. He stayed up for a bit while I drank my coffee then passed out on the carpet and slept soundly for a good hour. Figures!

Our morning was busy as usual, getting the kids around-school for Lorraine and chapel for the rest of us. We attempted to be a little less conspicuous at chapel this time by sitting in the balcony... I don't think it helped! Marcus just has NO clue what "quiet" means! We attempted to go to the playground afterwards but it was too wet even for me with puddles under the swing and everything.

Once we got home my "day in the life" video project idea fell completely out of my brain for a couple hours. The kids played while I baked cookies for family fun night. Of course the helped by licking bowls and spoons clean when I was done!

Naptime comes none too soon, around 1230 lately, and I got my blessed few hours of peace and quiet. I worked on a present for Aggie's birthday, sent a few emails, and did some housework.

Lorraine comes home from school at three and usually wakes up the house as she tells me about ALL the AWESOME things she did at school! (like RECESS and STORY TIME and PLAYING WITH HER FRIENDS!!!) Daddy came home and worked on the scooter with the boys while I played with the girls and Eldon inside. I am amazed that he got the scooter working. It is the very same one he used to drive to work BEFORE he had his driver's license! It's a little smelly, but of course the kids thought it was just great!!! Notice the pictures of Lorraine and Marcus by the GTI- they were "hiding" while daddy was gone- Lorraine was attempting to teach Marcus the meaning of "quiet!" I don't think she had much more luck than I usually do!

After the scooter ride came dinner, baths, and of course, dancing. Their favorite CD at the moment is Laurie Berkner's "Rocketship Run."

Of course there was some resistance at bedtime as usual. After Aggie's several pottie trips, making sure the closet door was shut and the hall light was on, setting up the girls bedtime stories on my ipod, wrestling Marcus and Seth into bed, getting out clothes for the next day, and locating the various blankets and buddies that each one needs to sleep, our house was quiet again.

No, it wasn't really- actually it was full of muffled giggles, bangs on the walls, whispers, more giggles... but after 8pm I am off duty, so I just pretend I don't hear!

Thank you Lord, for normal days!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

heavenly reflections

Yup, this is the kind of conversation we enjoy with our sweet children all the time....

Aggie: “Daddy, will there be potties in heaven?”
“No honey, I don't think you'll have to worry about going potty in heaven.”
With a little panic in her voice she says, "What do you mean there won't be potties?!”
“It just won't be necessary honey.”
“But daddy, I'll really REALLY have to go pee!”
“I don't think so Aggie.”
“Fine then,” she says, “I'll just go on the grass!”
Seth, who's been listening, laughs and asks “what if you have to go poop?”
Aggie, disgusted, yells, “NOOOO Seth!!! I will just really really have to go pee and I will go on the grass!”

Friday, September 18, 2009


We sure surprised Mary Anne last week!

Happy thirtieth birthday Mary Anne! I hope you know how much we all love and appreciate you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Remember our troops

As September 11 rolled around again, we were once again reminded as a nation that there are those that hate us, hate freedom, hate everything we stand for. We have not forgotten where we were that awful day, and today we remember the tragedy and the commitment we all made to fight this evil at home and abroad. I am again grateful for those in the military and their families- those who do not need an anniversary like this one to remind them of the threat of terror because it is what they try not to think about every single night as they go to bed- those who every day bear the burden of protecting our freedom.

I remember when we were one of those families in 2004-

Seeing these pictures reminds me how much I missed Josh that year when he was in Iraq, and how Lorraine and the rest of the family missed him, especially as we welcomed Aggie into the family that year. Yet how proud we were of him for simply doing the work God had given him to do. I praise God for sustaining us through those difficult times, and pray that he will sustain others who are bearing this same burden today.

Dear Father
Thank you for this great nation. Thank you for the freedom and prosperity you have given us here in America. Help us to value those great gifts, and to remember that whatever our vocation, we are all citizens of a country like no other. Keep our eyes open for ways we can serve our country, and help us all to take our citizenship seriously- it is a great gift from Your hand. Bless those that serve our country full time in the military today, especially those that are currently in harms way. Give them strength, courage, and determination as they protect and defend the USA. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2 months ago today...

Two months ago today Aggie rarely went a single hour without a seizure. She was exhausted, unable to socialize or to learn, and having trouble completing daily activities.

Two months ago today we could not let her out of our sight. We had to constantly be ready to catch her, to see if she was breathing, to stop her from wandering down the stairs or out into traffic. Any and every public situation was full of enormous stress for these safety reasons.

Two months ago today we were afraid for her life. The seizures that made her stop breathing and turn blue were coming more frequently and lasting longer. We were using her rescue medicine on a weekly basis- it felt like we were pulling her back from the brink of death every time. But, we wondered, for how long?

Two months ago today we released our little Aggie into the hands of the Lord and those he has blessed with surgical skill.

Two hours ago, today, we were pracing a song in spanish. She is learning again!
Two minutes ago today she was getting too loud as she played with her siblings. She is socializing again!
Two months have passed with no seizures, and not a day goes by without loud, heartfelt praise to the Lord from those who know her. To see her riding a bike, twirling around the yard, running and laughing and talking.... God has truly blessed her and all of us!
Thank the Lord and sing His praise!
Tell everyone what He has done.
Let all who seek the Lord rejoice and proudly bear His Name!
He recalls His promises and leads His people forth in joy
With shouts of thanksgiving!
Alleluia! Alleluia!