Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas joys

Rebecca gets a CD that sings her name!

One of four dolls that Vivian received!

We are so ready to tear into these!

Grandma visits, bearing gifts!

Grandma (actually, she's Great Grandma!) finally meets Ellen. Grandma flew back from a vacation in Australia the day she was born and then came down with the flu! We're so thankful she's well again!

William's one request from Santa is filled: a space shuttle!

And Henry's one wish: a Walkin' Talkin' Lightning McQueen!

Nannie & PawPaw's TEN grandchildren (and we have half of 'em)!

Seven of eight little ones were present for dinner at Grandma's.

Since you've seen me, I've had my first real bath,

and my first trip to church!

I also really enjoy keeping my mommy & daddy up at night!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A few celebrations

The preschoolers had their Christmas program last Monday and wrapped up their school Christmas parties on Wednesday. I didn't get to go to any of their parties, and William let me know that I was the only mommy that wasn't there. I seriously doubt that, but it made me cry anyway!

Here's Vivian with her giant lollipop and giant smile! She came home with a huge bag of "loot" from her party! How much can a 2-year-old ingest?? By the time I made this picture, she had already devoured an entire full-sized candy cane and a white chocolate snowman. (This monstrosity of a lollipop went in the trash when she wasn't looking.)

Another photo exhibiting Vivian's sweet tooth: Licking the cream cheese icing from Daddy's red velvet birthday cake!

Happy Birthday, Daddy! With help from my mom, the kids put their handprints on a T-shirt for Billy. (We did Ellen's footprint instead, since newborns love to fist their little hands! I was afraid he would see the evidence; she still has some orange paint on the cuticle of her pinky toe.)

While Mom watched the other kids, Billy and I both went to Rebecca's class Christmas party on Friday. Here is Rebecca with her kindergarten teacher.

Rebecca and her special education teacher.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It takes a village to raise a village!!

Miss Ellen will be two weeks old tomorrow, and my, how time has flown by! Thanks to each and every one of you who have brought food (or even offered to), helped with my daily mountains of laundry and dishes, or cared for the other children in some way! I keep thinking that one day that we won't be so much on the "receiving" end and can give back/pay forward such immeasurable kindness. We have added 3 children to our family in just 2 1/2 years! That's FIVE kids in 5 years and 4 months! Whew! I think I might take a break for a year or two! (Just kidding, Mom!!)
And, now for some cute baby pictures...

Ellen with big brother William

Already checking myself out!

Ellen and her great Granddaddy Jackson

Look at that peach-fuzz hair! Do we have a redhead on our hands? It's funny that the doctor thought she had a lot of hair from the ultrasound; well, she does, but it's just on the back of her head!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Welcome to the world, Baby Ellen!

We welcomed Ellen Amanda Woodall to our family on December 8th, 2008, at 7:51 am. She weighed 7 lbs., 4 oz., and was 21 inches long. She has the longest fingers and toes! She has some hair flowing off the back of her head but pretty much none on top! She looks a lot like William did as baby. She also has Billy's dimple in her chin.

Here's the "before" picture.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The marathon continued...

Although I have no pictures to post (I seem to be getting progressively worse about having my camera ready), I want to share that I have had 2 wonderful baby showers! How did I manage this with the fifth child?? I am so appreciative, and I got a lot of the main items that Ellen will need: DIAPERS!! Ellen also got a pink bouncy seat, a hot pink Boppy, and some beautiful new clothes, and some gorgeous handmade items, like diaper bags, crocheted blankets, and bibs/burp cloths. I'm sure I am leaving something out! My first shower was given by the wonderful ladies at church, my dear sisters in Christ. The other one was by an amazing group of ladies as well, my FCC family. No matter how we have added to our family, this group of adoptive families have been so supportive to us. Thank you all! I am trying to finish up thank-you notes this weekend. I have already written 40+, and have 15 or so more to go! We are so blessed!

The boys' preschool hosted a Thanksgiving lunch the week before Thanksgiving that Billy, Vivian, and I were able to attend and enjoy. The boys were dressed as Indians (or Native Americans, to be PC), and sang a couple of songs. The meal was your "traditional" meal of chicken fingers, corn, mashed potatoes, and cookies. Isn't that what was served at the kid table at the first Thanksgiving?? :)

We had a pre-Thanksgiving meal at my dad & step-mom's house the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day was spent at my mom & step-dad's home. It was a particularly hectic day with Rebecca being sick and Billy working and being on-call. I think we went through 2 loads of laundry alone that morning! Can you say "lots o'vomit?!" Luckily, I was only responsible for the mac-n-cheese that day! I even managed to make a quick pan of brownies. The vomiting ended by lunchtime, which was much sooner than usual for Rebecca. The whole episodes usually last 8-9 hours, but we got so lucky with just 5 hours this time. She perked up and was able to eat a pretty good lunch and keep it down. We had so much food that you couldn't fit a small sample of everything on your plate. Of course, I ate too much!! It also turned out be a very nice day to play outside so everyone got some much needed Vitamin D! The kids all got horseback rides too!

Vivian with Nannie

Henry riding Doc

Curling up for a story from Paw-Paw after a long Turkey Day

This was the first year in as long as I can remember that I haven't been able to go Christmas shopping with my mom the day after Thanksgiving. Billy had to work the entire weekend, so that kept me home holding down the fort. Oh, my, Rebecca had a horrible weekend. She was in "a mood" after being sick, and I must say that I was glad to see Monday roll around!

I haven't been able to get all of my "nesting" things done, but I am proud to say that my Christmas shopping is DONE and all the gifts are wrapped and under the tree! The Christmas decorations are sparse, mainly just the tree, the kids' stockings, a wreath on the front door, an Advent calendar, and a few candles here and there, but less to take down and put away, right? The kids were able to watch the town Christmas parade this week, thanks to Nannie & Paw-Paw! I still hope that the kids will be able to visit Santa some time before Christmas. I know there won't be much holiday baking and other "fun" activities going on in our home this year, but I hope it will still be a Christmas filled with good memories for them!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A blogging marathon

O.K., yeah, I know, it's been over a month since the last post. Nothing too terribly wild and crazy going on around here, just life as usual. But, if I am ever going to keep up a blog at all, I've got to take a few minutes this weekend to "catch up." The big day is Monday, bright and early!!

Let me start with Rebecca...We took her back to the neurologist a few weeks ago, armed with our own research of what might possibly be wrong with her. All of the testing for metabolic disorders had turned out negative (thank the Lord!). When she had her episode in October, a few things started to click for us. Number one, they seemed to be coming in cycles. We were thrown off by the fact that she didn't have ANY during the summer (don't know why). And number two, she was able to tell us that she had a headache and a tummy ache. There is a disorder (that neither of us had ever heard of before) called Cyclic Vomiting Disorder. It is believed to be related to migraine headaches. While the episodes can vary some in duration and periodicity from child to child, the episodes are very predictable for each child. While we don't want to see Rebecca suffer any pain or discomfort, it is a HUGE relief that these episodes do not seem to be related to her developmental delays (we now believe that this is ALL from neglect from being in an orphanage for so long) and they are not causing any neurologic damage. The majority of kids outgrow these by their pre-teen/teen years, but 75% go on to develop typical migraines by age 18. I pray that she is in the minority and doesn't have to suffer through these in adulthood. Rebecca's spells are coming 5-6 weeks apart, and of course, she would have her latest on Thanksgiving Day. It didn't last quite as long as the others, but she did not feel well and was in a bad mood for a couple of days. Whew, I'm glad we're good through Christmas!

We also went for a check-up with her cardiologist at the beginning of this week. Everything looks great and she doesn't have to see him again for THREE years! Isn't that amazing?!

Rebecca has now lost 5 teeth. She actually lost one today at school. The P.E. teacher apparently pulled it for her.

"All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth!"

Rebecca is a Daisy Girl Scout! Here she is at her pinning ceremony recently.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Today we Americans have the priviledge of going to the polls to cast our vote for the next leader of our nation, among other important positions that are on the ballot today. Please be in prayer for our great nation that we may choose the best candidate and that choice to be in accordance to God's will. May God be with us.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Post-Halloween post

Except for several pounds of candy still waiting to be devoured, we have survived another one!

Here are the finished jack-o-lanterns, as well as a few items of art on display on the front door! (As you can see, the porch could use a little sweeping and the landscaping a little TLC! All of our retired neighbors have perfectly manicured yards.)

Playing in the leaves. See, if we kept our yard clean, we would miss out on all this fun! (It was not fun cleaning out leaves and debris from Vivian's scalp!)

Halloween is here! All the goblins are ready!

We went to a great Halloween party hosted by members of our church. There was so much great food, fellowship, lots of games and activities, trick-or-trunk, and a hay ride! Here is Billy bobbing for an apple! He won some "toe jam" candy! (Check out Roger Cobb on the right in his mullet wig! I cracked up every time I looked at him Friday night!)

Rebecca as a Barbie fairy princess. (I went to her school party Friday afternoon, but forgot the camera!)

Keeping warm around the bonfire.

Time for the hayride!

This was probably a good weekend for MOST people to have the end of daylight-savings time, but it is absolutely NOT when you have small children. I don't care what time you tell kids it is, their little internal alarm clocks always wake them up at the same time. We've tried the moving-bedtime-ahead-15-minutes-a-night thing for a few nights before, but it never worked. We'll just all have to adjust, and in the meantime, they'll be getting up at 5:30 am for a while...

Today, Billy and the three older kids went to visit Grandma after church. Vivian and I stayed home and got naps! Here they are enjoying some pecans from one of Grandma's trees.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

With less than 6 weeks to go...

I've been stocking up on baby necessities and equipment. All the baby stuff had been purged from the house since this was an unexpected surprise. Let's see...

a beautiful bassinet found at a yard sale...check
a gently used infant car seat (in pink) bought from a friend...check
new-looking clothes from consignment shops and a generous friend...check
a hand-me-down baby bath tub...check
a borrowed infant seat...check
a hardly-used baby swing from a yard sale...check
a brand-new minivan that will actually hold FIVE car seats and/or boosters...CHECK!

Now, what have I forgotten?

A name for this sweet bundle-of-joy?

Well, as a matter of fact, she has one!

Our baby girl will be...

Ellen Amanda Woodall!

She is named after a great-grandmother on my dad's side (Ellen), and my mom (Amanda).

Now, I've got to start stocking up on diapers and wipes!

Pre-Halloween fun

Yesterday, Vivian had her 2-year-old preschool party. The kids were all so cute, but you know who was the cutest! :)

Vivian as a French poodle!

Over the weekend, Billy carved all of our pumpkins with the kids. Henry (aka "Messy Marvin") just loves this part. His clothes were just about dyed completely orange. It took a bit of Shout and OxyClean and a couple of washes to get it all out!

I've got to remember to take some pictures of the finished products! With so many jack-o-lanterns, it's a little hard to get to our front door!

We also went to a costume party for our FCC group a couple of weeks ago. I didn't get too many pictures; I think I was too busy taking kids to the bathroom or just keeping them from terrorizing the whole restaurant!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Preschool Field Trip

We went to Tate Farms again on Wednesday for the boys' preschool field trip. Vivian went along as well, even though her class didn't go. Since we had to be there before her school started, that was pretty much all I could do. But, she did great and had a blast!
The boys did great too. They are in different classes now, but their classes toured the farm together. They were so good about lining up with their respective teachers and not clinging to me or whining to me at all. It was nice not to have to watch them every second too. They are finally at the age where they don't just wander off! We went to this place on a crowded Saturday when the boys were 3, and we lost William for more than 30 minutes! That was a horrible feeling to have a missing child. He had wandered off when I literally turned around for 20 seconds, and made his way onto a hay ride! He was in the middle of a pumpkin patch when one of the staff found him!!

Rebecca has her field trip to Sci-Quest in a couple of weeks. I feel really bad that I am not going to be able to go on her first kindergarten field trip with her. They will be leaving the school before it is time to take the boys to preschool and returning after pick-up time, so I have no other choice there either. Vivian also doesn't have school that day. Oh, and I have a thyroid ultrasound that same day, that has been scheduled for a while. I feel like all I ever do is go to doctors' appointments (for the kids or myself)! I have a large thyroid nodule that was found back in spring of 2007. I have been followed by an endocrinologist who has been doing periodic ultrasounds and thyroid function tests. My first biopsy was fine, but he did another one about 6 months ago because it had grown a little, and that time they could not rule out cancer. So, this thing has to come out. But, of course, I've been pregnant for this same time period, so I'm guessing he'll want to have it taken out first of the year. I find all of this so ironic. All of those years of unexplained infertility, I'd always have my thyroid checked every so often (since that can be a cause), and it was always just fine. The second I get something wrong with my thyroid, BAM!, I'm pregnant! Life is always full of surprises.