Friday, August 30, 2013

Poison Ivy Break Out!!

Last Thursday, Jason and I cut down one of the two big trees that his mom pointed out for him to cut down. On the tree, he saw a poison ivy vine. Jason usually doesn't breakout bad if he comes in contact with poison ivy. He may get a spot here and there, but that's it. Me, well, I break out horribly, even to the point of getting cellulitus from it :/
Well, that morning, a hot and humid morning, I grabbed my garden gloves, we loaded up the mule with the chainsaw and off we went.
It was a nice sized tree! When Jason cut it down, the inside was perfect! Dead, but not too dead or decayed. Not many branches, which is a good thing. But there it was, the poison ivy. Jason pulled it off the tree with his bare hands! I told him that I could do it seeing that I had gloves on, but he just kept pulling. He continued to cut up the trunk into pieces. As soon as he was done cutting, we heard Jason's dad coming with his four wheeler. Jason's dad enjoys being able to help out, so he asked if he should go get the tractor. We followed his dad back so we could pick up the kids for them to help load up the mule with the small pieces.
We brought the kids back as Jason's dad followed us with his tractor. We loaded up the mule and sent Jesse and Joshua back to the house to unload the mule at the wood house. Once we loaded up the tractor with what we could, his dad drove it back to dump at the wood house. While Jason and I waited for his dad and the two boys to come back, we sat and took a rest. I took off my gloves because it was so hot outside and it made my hands all sweaty....mistake number 1! We continued to do this in between each tractor trips. After our short little rest, Jason and I went down the hill a bit so we could roll the logs up the hill onto the path. As I rolled my log up, I would rest the log against my leg before getting another good grip on the log to give it a good push/roll....mistake number 2!!
It took us a good 2 hours or more from the time Jason cut the tree down to the time it took us to clean up all the logs. We were ready for a nice, cool swim!!
We all headed down to the lake to cool off and also to rinse off. We usually keep a bar of soap down at the lake for when we need to wash up a bit to get the sweat and whatever else off. Jason and I washed up areas that we knew we came in contact with the poison ivy. When we were done swimming, I showered and used my special soap that you are to use when you come in contact with poison ivy. I was already preparing myself to get a bump here and there.
A few days later, the break out began!! Spots started popping up on our arms and legs. Then next day, it started popping up on Jason's hands and face. I had a little spot on my jaw, but then it spread all over the right side of my face and behind my ear. The following day Jason and I were swelling in some areas. Now I was getting it on my stomach and chest and other areas that I KNEW did NOT touch the poison ivy!! Between two of Jason's fingers, there were blisters. He had such a miserable time holding his pencil while doing homework. The itching was unbearable! We were poppin' Benadryl like there was no tomorrow!! We've been using the good ol' Baptist 6 inch dating rule...ha! We didn't even want to touch each other, in fear of spreading it even more...but that didn't work....it was still spreading like wild fire! We were itchy, oozy, and just plain ol' miserable!!!
Jason had a little on his lip, so we wouldn't even give each other a kiss, so I kissed his forehead one night as we said "goodnight" to one another. Another night, I asked if he had any on his feet, he said "no" and neither did I, so we touched feet :) Jason couldn't take the swelling and blisters in between his fingers, so he popped them with a needle and it gave him such relief.
For days, we've been washing with creams that are suppose to dry up the poison ivy oils, but nothing seemed to be working. A friend from my homeschool group, mailed me some soap that she makes out of goats milk. She told me that her son is highly allergic to poison ivy and needs to get shots, but he hasn't broke out bad since using the soap. By that time, the worst of the breakout was over, but I will be using it for future exposure!
Yesterday, I noticed how red, warm to the touch, and swollen around one of the breakouts on my side was. In the past, I have gotten cellulitus when the poison ivy breakouts had gotten bad, so I was nervous that I had cellulitus. This morning, it looks much better!
I think we are finally starting to heal! Just when we thought we were done breaking out, we would wake up to more spots, but for the last day, we haven't seen any new spots...Praise God!!
We haven't even touched the wood pile! We still need to split the logs, but I won't go near it! Jason was going to have his brother help him when they come for the weekend, but he was going to make sure he wore gloves, long sleeves, and pants!!
What a crazy week it has been! I am just thankful that we are finally on the road to recovery!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wisconsin Trip!!

It has been a much needed trip home!!  A few weeks ago, the kids and I had the opportunity to travel up t Wisconsin to visit family and friends.  Jason was unable to come due to getting ready for school the following week.  So the kids and I made the long 10-12 hour trip ourselves.
We left on the 10th at 4:30 in the morning in the pouring rain!  That week before, it had rained non stop everyday!  Jason's sister and her family were here visiting from Texas and they, too, were leaving the same day that we had.  We had a nice visit with them, but I was anxious to go "home".
The drive up was wonderful!  Doris had let us borrow here portable dvd player to help occupy the kids and it sure did...until it died 4 hours before reaching our destination, my parents house.  Our wonderful drive was still going well, until I ended up driving through Chicago.  Earlier, I tried to exit towards Rockford, but seeing that the gps was set for driving through Chicago, it rerouted me back through Chicago.  Now if Jason were with, he would have known which way to go without the gps and we would have continued to have a wonderful drive. Our 10 hours drive was now turning into an 11 hour, 12 hour, and then finally a 13 hour drive!  We were bumper to bumper stuck in Chicago traffic on a Saturday afternoon.  The kids were now finally getting antsy, my patience was leaving me as cars weaved in and out in front of me, my stress level was rising by the minute and on top of all that, I had to use the bathroom....BAD!!  Thankfully, no one else did!  Finally after an hour and a half stuck in traffic, we were back on our way and I was NOT stopping, even for a bathroom break!!
We finally made it to my parents house around 6pm.  It was so good to see my parents again!  My parents had come down last December, so it had been a while since seeing them last.
We unpacked and got settled in.  My parents were camping that weekend with some friends of theirs from the church, so we had the first night to ourselves.  It was fine by me, because I was dead tired anyways and just wanted to go to bed!
Sunday morning, I planned on going to Mt. Zion church in hopes of seeing many familiar faces and friends.  Jessica was extremely excited to see her best friend, Hannah and to finally meet her baby brother!  The boys were excited to see one of their Sunday School teachers as they went up to him t say hi.  It did my heart good to see many friends, but it especially did my heart good to see Stephanie.  Many of you have been praying for Stephanie and her family as she continues to fight this evil cancer.  Please continue to pray!
After church, I took the kids out for lunch at McDonalds before heading into Burlington to visit my sister at the hospital.  She was working :)  We set up plans for us to go over to her house, pick up the kids, go to my parents, then head back over to my sisters house for pizza.  The kids were very excited to see their cousins, Ethan and Ava!
We stopped back over at my parents house and waited for them to get back from their little camping get away :)  My dad pulled into the driveway and the kids got all excited over how big their camper was.  Once my dad parked the camper in their yard, he opened it up for the kids to see inside.  They were pretty amazed :)
When my sister was done with work, we all went over to their house to visit and have supper.  The kids had so much fun playing with each other that I ended up taking Ethan and Ava over night to my parents.  The next morning, I had plans of meeting up with Stephanie at the park for lunch with two of her boys and my crew.  It was nice to be able to catch up and to know how to better pray for one another.  I am truly blessed to call her my friend.  I am honored that she is willing to share her heart with me.  When we go through trials in our lives, our priorities change.  We begin to truly treasure the people and things in our life that matter the most, whether it be God, our spouse, our children, our family, or our friends.  God has given us a short time here on earth.  Are we using our time wisely to invest ourselves into other people's lives?
Later that afternoon, we headed out to my Aunt and Uncle's house out in Burlington.  My Uncle Rick had almost died twice over Memorial Day and he was finally home and had just recently gotten tubes taken out.  I really wanted to see them.  My aunt gave all the kids ice cream cones as they sat outside on the porch eating them.  My uncle has lost a lot of weight and just has changed in looks.  This episode has made him look older than what he really is, but he was just happy to be alive!  I'm glad we were able to stop by and see them both.
After visiting with my aunt and uncle, we went back to my parents house.  We were going to have a cookout that night, so my Aunt Cathy came, my cousin Patti came, and Molly came.  It was a very nice relaxing evening visiting with family, because the rest of my week was about to get chaotic!!
Tuesday morning, the kids and I had gone over to my friend's, Brenda, house for coffee and lunch.  Her two younger girls were excited to be able to play with another girl, they have four older brothers.  Another friend, Jana, came on out with her four boys as well.  So there were 14 kids roaming around!  It was nice to be able to catch up with these two ladies as we enjoyed ourselves a few cups of coffee :)  After lunch, JJ, Brenda's oldest son, decided to make his daily protein smoothie that included kale and berries and thought he'd be sooo kind to share with us.  It wasn't too bad, but definitely something that I was not about to make for myself!!  Ha ha!
We headed back to my parents house for supper and later that night I had plans of getting together with my life long friends, Rachel and Meagan.  We met up at Culvers in Racine and had such a nice time visiting and catching up.  These two ladies have been such a blessing in my life over the years, I am truly thankful for their friendship!  It was fun catching up on our families, our adventures, our goals and plans for the future as we ate ice cream :)
Wednesday morning, we once again headed out to Echo park to meet up with another friend and her two kids.  Once again, we had Ethan and Ava as they had slept over another night.  We were trying to see them as much as possible that week seeing that we didn't know when we would see them again.  It was so nice to see Jessica and her two kids.  It was so wonderful to hear how God was moving in their marriage and family!!  I was so thankful to have gotten together with her that day!
I later dropped off Ethan and Ava at their house and then we headed back to my parents. 
That night, I was meeting up with Stephanie, her sister Becky, Amy, and Lea at Caribou in Lake Geneva for coffee.  We had a nice visit as we all caught up on each other's lives and the many things that are happening.  As the night went on, I was hoping that Steph would open up to the other two ladies so that they, too, could know how to better pray for her and Josh.  Finally, she shared what was on her heart.  During that time as she shared, I knew that God had wanted me to pray with her.  God had given us all a perfect opportunity to pray over our friend.  It says in His Word, where two or three are gathered in His name, there He shall be also.  Did I pray with her?  No.  I left feeling like the worst friend EVER as we all left to our separate vehicles!!  I felt so sick to my stomach.  Later, I found out, that the other ladies felt the need to pray with her too and didn't.  Why is that?  Fear?  I don't know, but I felt like a jerk :/ I apologized to Steph for not praying with her as she poured out her heart to us all, but it didn't make me feel any better.  When you feel God telling you to do something, DO IT!!  Don't delay, don't procrastinate!  He will bless you.
Thursday, the kids and I went over to another friend's house.  Christina has been such a great encouragement to me these past few years.  When I felt that everyone was against me for my stance against abortion or my stance against voting for the "lesser of the two evils', she was there supporting me.  I have known Christina for many years, but never built a true friendship with her until these last few years, and I am so grateful and blessed to call her my friend!!  It is awesome to see how God is moving in their family and how He has blessed them!  Pray for Andy, as he continues to seek wisdom and guidance for their family as he is looking into different job opportunities.  I am so thankful that God had provided Christina with a job, so that they could send their children to the Christian school. 
Wish we could have visited longer, but my week was filling up with visiting with as many family and friends as possible, so our time was kind of limited with each visit :(
We had the opportunity to visit with my brother in law in the afternoon and to see his new apartment.  It was good catching up with Jim.  The kids were a little bored as they just sat in the living room, but they were glad to see Uncle Jim :)
I once again, took the kids out for supper.  It is so expensive doing that, but I knew it was going to be a long day and we weren't going to be at my parents all day.  We ate at McDonalds again :)  After supper, we stopped at Gander Mountain to pick up Jason some new hats.  I've ruined his other hats in the washer :( Then we headed over to my sister in law's, Chris', house to visit with her and to meet her boyfriend.  Jason's brother, Dave, stopped on out as well.  We just had seen Dave over Memorial Day as he came down for a visit.  Dave enjoys the kids, so he was more than willing to come on out :)  The kids had a blast playing on Aunt Chris' keyboard and piano and playing on Dale's drum set....it was very noisy, but they loved it!
At this point, I am feeling drained!!  I have been driving all over creation visiting people, that I was exhausted, but I still had a few more visits that I was looking forward to.  The kids and I were missing Jason and were ready to come home.  Each night the kids would call Jason to say "goodnight" and then I would talk to him for an hour or so.  It was nice to come up to see people, but we wished that Jason would have been able to come with us.
Friday, the kids and I had gone over to my friend, Wendy's house to visit with her and her kids.  The kids have been talking about her younger two all week, in hopes of getting to see them.  So they were happy to have gotten to see John Paul and Cara.  Wendy and her family had just recently moved.  It was fun being able to see their new place and all the things that they have done into fixing up the house.  They kind of live in a "gated" community, so the park that her kids play at, is only open to those who live in that community.  It makes it nice and more private.  Wendy had given us all rides in the golf cart to show us around the area.  They live right on Eagle Lake.  I told her that she can just walk down to the lake to have her quiet time.  It's a very nice place :)
Friday afternoon, I quickly ran out to Radio Shack to pick up a new connection for the portable dvd player after I realized that the problem was the cord.  I for sure wanted that fixed for the long ride home!  We then went back to my parents house where my sister, Amy, came out to visit and to catch us up on how she is doing in school.  I am proud of her for all that she has accomplished with her schooling.  It must be hard to go to school, work, and raise two kids.  She is getting there, and soon she'll be done with nursing school!
That evening, we had nothing to do!!  So Molly and Ben came over...I already had Ethan and Ava.  We ate supper and then had a little campfire so the kids could make s'mores :)
Saturday, I was hoping to have gone over to Stephanie's house to see her one last time, but she had a procedure on Thursday and was not feeling all too well.  So I just stayed at my parents and relaxed all day.  My Aunt Cathy came out again to see us one last time before we headed home the next day.  I was able to get laundry done and just relax as I visited with my mom and aunt.  That evening, we went over to Jason's brother, Dave's house for pizza.  Dave wanted to see the kids one last time, so we went.  I feel bad, because I know that if Jason were with us, that Dave and he would have struck up a conversation,  I tired, but ya know, it's not the same as if Jason were there :)  So Dave decided to catch us up to speed with the latest his show, Duck Dynasty :)  We had only seen maybe two or three episodes when it first came out, but then we moved and we haven't had cable since to be able to watch it.  Duck Dynasty is the latest "hype" show.  It's hilarious!  Not only does their southern, hillbilly ways make the show funny, it's what they believe is what makes it also a neat show to watch.  They have a strong belief in God and a strong belief against abortion.  So it was fun watching some of the episodes with Dave and the kids.
That night, I wanted to go to bed early seeing that we were leaving at 4 am the next day.  But would sleep come?  No.  Before we left to come up to Wisconsin, I was too anxious to get any sleep.  I only slept for 45 minutes!  So I was driving on 45 minutes of sleep for that whole 13 hour drive!  I knew I needed to get some sleep, but sleep wouldn't come.  I did, however, manage to get in 3 hours of sleep :)
I hate good byes.  It was hard saying good bye to my parents.  I was so thankful that they had opened up their home to us even though we didn't stay long enough in it since we were on the run all week.  My parents had gotten up at 4 am with us to say good bye.  We all gave big hugs and kisses goodbye and the headed out on our long journey home.
The trip, once again, was going smoothly and now the dvd worked again too!  We had maybe 5 hours left before reaching home, when I began to notice that we weren't going the same way home as we usually do.  The gps had me make some goofy turns out of Rolla, MO and had us going a different way.  Finally, I pulled over, called Jason, looked at the gps, recalculated it to where we would be going where I wanted to go, and we finally were on our way.  I told Jason that I shouldn't rely too much on that darn gps!!
We finally made it home!!  It was so good to be home and to see Jason and his parents.  I am truly thankful, again, for the opportunity we had to go back to Wisconsin.  It did my heart good to see my family and friends!
Looking forward to the next trip ;)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Beautiful, but Stay Away!!

Poison ivy.  Enough of a word that would want to keep you away!!  Usually this time of year, the poison ivy vines and leave begin to change from green into beautiful colors of pink and orange.  It truly is beautiful and tempting to touch, but if you get too close and you touch it, even just a little, you break out into a miserable, itchy rash that lasts for several days.  I am extremely allergic to poison ivy and will break out terribly!  I don't even have to touch it and can break out if one of the kids or the dog touches it and then they touch me.  It truly is no fun.  So even though the poison ivy may look beautiful, I have to be careful not to touch it because I know of the not so fun consequences it brings.
Sin.  Enough of a word that would want to keep you away!!  Sin can look "beautiful".  Once you "touch" it, it can make your life miserable. 
James 4:7-8
"Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."