Sunday, November 30, 2008

A day to surprise and bless

As many of you know, my in-laws (Carl's parents) lost their home in the flood this year. Well, we were working on decorating our tree this morning and I couldn't help but think about mom and dad's artificial tree- kept in their basement. They lost so many things in the flood and I didn't want them to be sad about Christmas coming and them not having their decorations. So, I suggested we deliver their Christmas start. We loaded up the kids (too sick for church anyway) into the car and headed in to Cedar Rapids. We remembered to grab a tree base from the basement. And yes, on Sunday, we purchased a Christmas tree. We called Carl's brother and sister who bought ornaments and lights and we all met up before the surprise. Donned with Santa hats and singing Jingle Bells we reached their door and knocked. Their expression was so priceless. It was the best day ever! We put the tree up, put the lights on, decorated it and listened to Christmas music. Then we went to see the house they'll be closing on soon. And we enjoyed chicken noodle soup at Grandma's. It was a wonderful day. So, here's to Christmas and making things merry and bright for others. It was a day I hope my kids never forget.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The end of spelling out loud???

Today we learned that Billy is really getting the hang of this spelling/reading thing and that he is becoming a super-observant little booger.
We were in Wal-Mart doing a little shopping-the boring kind (laundry soap, lemonade, etc.), and Daddy said he couldn't wait for the boys to receive a t-o-o-l present from some relatives. Billy then says T-O-O-L and proceeds on sounding out each letter, eventually merging them into towel. Phew and Sigh! We got lucky with that one. I guess our days of spelling out secrets are almost up.
On the housekeeping side of things, Ian got his stitches out today. Carl says Ian didn't even flinch. Carley's had a bit of a fever, but she's doing okay. I only pray she didn't get my strep. Which, by the way, I'm feeling much better. A little tired and ouchy throat, but still much better. The Christmas tree is bare, but it is up. I'll be working on getting the lights on tonight, so we can decorate it tomorrow. Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Who would've thunk it?

As if we didn't have enough on our plate lately...
Carley took a huge bite out of Uncle Josh and Aunt Stephanie's brand new coffee table. And as an added bonus, she became our first child to loose a tooth. Ironically enough, we had just counted her 12 pearly whites at our wonderful Thanksgiving gathering with everyone to witness. Then, Carley went and fell into the table. How worried we all were. I, of course, took her straight to the ER with her whole tooth (root included) in a cold cup of milk... just like any good mom would. And they simply said, well, she was bound to loose it anyway. Her new one will come in when she's 5-7 years old. JOY. Thanks. Sigh.
So, if you see my smiling, you'll know it's because either 1. I'm just so grateful it wasn't worse or 2. I've officially gone crazy from the hazards of my life. I haven't figured out which category to put myself in yet.
UGH! I'm finished, really, I am.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


This all came on so quickly. I had a low-grade fever after a committee meeting Tuesday night, and all of that night was torture. Who knew that Strep was such a painful and tormenting sickness? I've reached temperatures of up to 103.7 and I've experienced chills where I shook so badly I could barely accomplish a thing. I've been weak and tired. And swallowing, yeah right. It has been a nightmare. Carl asked me if I wanted a blessing tonight and boy did I ever. Right after my blessing the fever left and I slept peacefully. When I woke up, even swallowing was a bit easier. Hopefully the Penicillin will take care of all this quickly. Thanks to NJ for helping me get Ian to his doctor appointment today. Thanks to KN for bringing over dinner and dealing with my dazed looks. And thanks to ML for helping Carl with the blessing. I can't believe what great friends we have here. I'm so grateful to be surrounded by people who care about me and my family.
Wishing you all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Guess what... Carl made my pumpkin pies from scratch since I didn't feel well enough too. Isn't that too sweet! Hope your holiday is great.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Healing and Learning

For all of those who have expressed concern for Ian, I am truly grateful. He is doing as well as can be expected. He's been mumbling to talk and is eating very little- I'm sure because it's painful. But he's doing okay. I'm always glad when dad's here, because he can make anyone smile. Dinner was full of smiles for Ian. I'm sure in just a few days more the pain will subside and Ian will feel and look a ton better. He's decked out in his snowsuit today. That's what he wanted to wear. Carley wanted to wear her new panties. I said that was fine... if she would sit on the potty during WonderPets. That sounded fair to her. Hopefully we're on our way to a diaper-free zone. Wouldn't that be nice! Well, I'd really like to get this place straightened up, so more later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A hard lesson to learn

Last night, as we were all getting ready for bed, a terrible thing happened. We had just discussed in Family Counsel that Billy would now be sleeping on the bottom bunk to help him learn to get up and use the bathroom once in the middle of every night. Ian would now sleep on the top bunk. Everyone seemed pretty pleased with this plan, but something went awry during the execution. I was in the bathroom when I suddenly heard Carl yelling something to the effect of oh no, it's awful, Charity I need you... now. I replied that I'd be there in just a moment and then Carl with Ian clad in his arms burst through the door and set Ian on the sink counter. I started washing away the blood that was spilling over his face, looking for the origin. I just figured, bloody nose, no big. But then I saw two huge gashes cut into his sweet little chin. I started yelling, "OH NO, OH NO, OH NO." It wasn't my best performance of keeping it together. I paniced like I never have before- I'm usually the calm one when blood flows.
I told Carl to get him to the car and get to the hospital. He scooped him up with the hand towel from the bathroom held forcibly at his bloody chin and went for the van. Ian had no shoes and no jacket. He rode to Covenant ER in Carley's carseat- it was more accessible than his. Soon after they left, my panic would not subside. I looked for my other little ones, to calm them. I found Billy hiding and sobbing behind some furniture in the living room. I held him and told him Ian would be just fine. Carley climbed into my lap and she seemed nervous too. Once the kids were mostly calm, I started thinking about Ian again. I quickly called over a friend- who was there in record time (yeah Krista). I put Carley down for bed and left Billy watching Veggietales and in capable hands.
When I arrived at the ER I was pointed in the direction of Ian's room. As I walked through the door, Carl and Ian's faces were full of surprise. Ian smiled instantly. I helped to apply the numbing medicene to his chin and I got to be there to comfort him through the procedure. Besides the two large gashes under his mouth, the inside of Ian's mouth is a mess. He bit his lip in three places. One place is very deep. His mouth is swollen. Ian received 8 stitches. He slept while the doctor sewed him up. He was very patient and a good listener to the nurse and doctor. Both of which were wonderful! They were kind and personable to Ian. They were both careful to explain what they were doing.
When we got home we heard the whole story. Billy confessed that he pulled Ian off the ladder when Ian grabbed his toy puppy. He was feeling VERY guilty. Right after the incident, Billy was running around the house yelling in terror. Then he hid. Billy asked for his brother's forgiveness when we got home. He hugged him and watched over him. And this morning we talked about repentence. Billy prayed, so earnestly about his feelings. It was very humbling. He asked forgiveness and promised to be more careful. Ian will have stitches for 7-10 days. We're praying for a quick recovery.
I was so grateful that I was lucky enough to have a friend to call on to care for my little ones with no notice. I needed to be there for Ian. The nurse and doctor were wonderful and it was a blessing to have them watching over our Ian and accessing his needs. Carl lost a dress shirt last night-it was covered in blood. We lost a hand towel- I threw it out at the ER. I got naeseated and light headed from watching the stitches go in. But our family learned a hard lesson- one of repentence and being made humble. As parents, we learned how to hold our tongue and let the natural consequences speak for us. It was an experience that, at the time, seemed just horrible, but I can't bring myself to regret it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thankful Heart

I went to the Nauvoo Temple yesterday with some friends and what a fun day it was. I do miss the days of Burlington when I could be at the temple in just 45 minutes, but the drive this time wasn't all that bad. As always, at the temple I enjoyed a great feeling of calm and reverence. Afterwards we stopped by my house in Burlington and buried a small statue of St. Joseph. The theory is that St. Joseph was the ultimate in keepers of households. He protects and lifts families. And apparently, he is a great realtor. So, after receiving the statue in the mail from my father I promised to bury it as soon as I could. Well, he is safe in the ground and here's to good old faith in making this sale come to pass.
Little things my little ones have done that have brought a smile to my face this week. Carley pushed a dining room chair across a room (they're heavy) when she heard the water running in the sink. She insisted on helping me with dishes. What a blessing! Billy is paying closer attention to the scriptures when we read together. He's been asking lots of great questions- especially about Korihor. Ian is getting better about being sweet to his sister. He has been hugging her and tickling her lately- what an improvements. They do still have their rifts, but I can see their closeness improving. And then there's Skit... he loves the snow. On his walks he loves to run through the snow and sniffs at it wondering. He usually comes up with a muzzle covered in snow. I even caught his rolling in it!
Carl is another great source of happiness, as well he should be. He's been studying hard and happily letting me read too. He has also been a great help with the kids lately. Sometimes I walk in and they're reading or playing Candyland or he's already got their lunch going. Carl was surely one of the best choices I have ever made. I'm so grateful for him.
Well, the ward dinner is coming up and we have lots to plan to make it a success. Let me know if there's something you're itching to help with :).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something new

Okay, a little break from the norm here. Things I'm loving right now...
1. Dollar Tree's Winnie the Pooh kid ice pack. Target's is nearly $3
2. Target's One-Spot $1 Family Calendar- you add the pictures
3. The idea of getting my girl a tutu and dolls for Christmas
4. Getting lost in a book- even if it's probably not the healthiest reading for my mind :)
5. Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes- no really!
So, there it is a post that's truly mine today!

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Teeth, LarryBoy-Crazed and the Unscathed

Well, doing my duty as a mother, I first feel compelled to share how my children are faring. Flanking her two bottom teeth that have looked lonely for so long, Carley now has 2 new teeth. They are just breaking through, one came yesterday and another today. That explains her low-grade fever, increased temper and need for a few extra naps. Ian has had a low-grade temp for a few days, but not today. Today, he was LarryBoy, over and over and over. Ian's feeling much better and his energy level is through the roof. As for Billy he is the only one in the house to be left unscathed in the health department (knock on wood). Carl and I have not felt well and Carley and Ian have had their days, but Billy's doing great!
As for me, besides battling migraines and other not-so-enjoyable sicknesses... I've been loving the Twilight series. I'm nearly done. I'm 1/3 into the last one. Well, it's a short post, but I did get it done. That's one more check on my list! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here to stay

I want to take this opportunity to really journal for a minute. When Carl left his job in Burlington it was terribly scary. But we knew it was the right choice. His job meant he wasn't around much. Often, I felt like a single parent. We prayed often about how to keep our family close. When we started talking about Billy beginning school the realization came that Carl (who never had weekends off) wasn't going to be seeing much of his big boy anymore. Neither of us could manage the thought.

So, my brave hubby left his job and we began the tormenting search for something else. We tried looking only in Burlington, so we would not have to move away... to no avail. We looked everywhere. Then we started discussing where we most wanted to be. Evansdale/Waterloo quickly became the answer. This is where we started our family. This is where our friends are. It is close to family. And as soon as Carl made the drive here to continue his search, he said he felt as if he were coming home. The Spirit strongly testified that this was the place. For several months Carl lived here without us. I frantically prepared the house for a move and to sell. When we joined him, it felt so right.

So lately we have been worrying about needing to move again because our house won't sell. We have prayed, fasted, made trips to the temple, everything (well, except burying a statue of St. Joseph- we're working to check that one off too). It has been a faith-trying, despairing journey. But... our landlady isn't giving up and just offered us a lease. We won't have to move! Hopefully, we can still purchase the home within a year or so. What a blessing. We've been looking at other rentals, and have been so sad at the thought of leaving our imperfect home and Billy's school. So, just so you know, we're staying, right where we are.

I'm betting that few of you will truly understand what a relief and blessing this is. I have moved many, many times in my life (over 15). Carl hasn't experienced too much stability either. And, even our children have experienced as many as 5 moves. We're so glad to be staying. I hope we are done with moving for a long time. The Lord has been with us in our journey. Gently leading us where we needed to be. We only hope we can be close to the Spirit so His will can be revealed in time. We are praying for each of you in your trials and hoping you will feel the Lord guiding you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Busy Week

Every Sunday we have Hartson Family Council, where we discuss what we've done in the past week and what's coming up for the next week. It's looks like another busy week around here. Meetings and planning. We are looking forward enthusiastically to the Stake Youth Dinner Saturday. If you have some free time, bring a peeler and head to the church Friday night at 5 p.m. We'll be peeling and cutting potatoes and carrots in preparation for the dinner Saturday. I'm sure it will prove to be a boring and endless time of servitude, but hey, it could be fun... really. Or if you have time Saturday night you can help serve up the grub. Also, in a few weeks, Saturday the 22nd is Stake Temple Day, let me know if we can trade kids so we can attend with our hubbies! Wishing you all a happy week filled with good happenings!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reasons I'm blessed

Wow, it has been a day filled with emotions of every sort. But all in all I must say I feel a peace makes no sense to have at all. I know that living the Gospel brings blessings. I know that praying- even and especially when you don't want to- invites the Spirit. The things of this world are fleeting. They truly "don't amount to a hill-a beans." Success, money, even friends come and go. Fortunately my family can be forever. I shall try to focus on these feelings now, while we are undergoing so much struggle and heartache with our finances. Christmas is magical and it is because of the Christ Child, born for our sakes. I know happier times are coming. Bless us all to make it there... with our faith and hope intact.

Christmas is coming

So, I took Skittles for a walk yesterday morning, as I always do... and besides being freezing I was in awe of how everything looked with a slight layer of fluffy snow. My children were thrilled at the snowfall and I even got an adorable call from two more snow lovers. I LOVE SNOW TOO! You may think I'm crazy, but it's beautiful and fun. Sledding, snowmen and snowballs, you can't have any of that in Florida. I really enjoy it, especially with my kids-although before they came Carl and I were a snowman-making, sled-crazy and snowball-throwing couple. The kids add to the fun tremendously. They race to put their snowpants and boots on. They always love new hats and gloves too-just like mom. So, to all of you whiners complaining that the snow is here already, I say *raspberry*. And the Christmas music is nerve-settling and with my nerves I'm appreciative. I feel like I have so much to be grateful for, even in my difficult circumstances. Look how lucky we are, what blessings we enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween pics

Just a few additional photos (mostly from Meagan- of mom school).... For the sake of my far-away family! Miss you all. Wish you were experiencing all of this first-hand. We're so lucky to have this technology.

A little girl and her dollhouse

Special thanks to J.J. for the darling dollhouse. Carley adores it and pulls it down from it's shelf often. Here's just a couple sweet pics of her enjoying it.

Having a girl is different than the boys. While my boys have been so wonderful and darling, Carley is great in a different way. It's fun to shop with her and do her hair. But there are special moments like helping Billy and Ian with their superhero-wear that I probably won't have with her. I'm so glad I've been blessed with them all!

Pictures again, after all

Thanks to M.G., who came to the rescue with photos of Ian and Carley from Halloween. And thank heaven for my camera phone for the others. They aren't as clear as I'd have hoped, but they are pictures and with family far away I must be grateful for that. Sorry for my little rant yesterday. I know the Lord loves me and watches over me. But yesterday I was sure I was at the bottom of his list. Here are a few pictures, since I've been denying you all for over a month!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pictures no longer

Unfortunately I gave up on my camera this week. It hates me. My kids come out in all my pictures white- with halos, gleaming like heavenly beings (like little angels mocking me for trying to preserve this special time). I must say, it has been a challenging Monday for me. A coughing and struggling-to-breath kindergartener. One tire on my van is flat. No action at the house for sale. No stamps for the rent that's due. Frustration. Irritation. Sadness. And yes, tears. I've been trying to focus on the good, the silver lining that is ever evident in my life... but I've lost track of the positive. The negative has enveloped me today. My kids are napping (tired and sick) and I'm going to take a break too.