Much to Share!

Wow, so much has happened in the last several months… where to begin!

Some of you may know that for well over a year Phil and I considered buying a bed and breakfast for our family to run as a family business.  We spent many hours searching the internet for properties for sale that were not only profitable but also large enough to fit our entire family of 8.  It was nearly impossible to find a bed and breakfast for sale that would indeed fit our family and be affordable so we decided to put that dream on a back burner for now.  We still want to own a bed and breakfast some day but it will need to wait until a different season of life.

From that point we changed our focus from purchasing a profitable business to where could we move that would allow us to get out of debt (or at least a strong start), have a set up that would allow my mother (who has lived with us since 2005) to be on the ground level and allow me to be a full time stay at home, homeschooling mom.  Those of you that know the Denver Metro Area housing market will know that finding this type of property in the city or her suburbs is virtually impossible.

In August of 2018, Mikayla, Alex and I took a road trip down through Texas, then east through Arkansas.  We stayed a couple of nights with friends in Charleston who showed us around Fort Smith a bit.  We then headed home through Oklahoma and New Mexico.  We really enjoyed our time in Fort Smith so Phil and I started praying for God’s direction and will for our family.  Staying in Denver was becoming increasingly impossible and we knew we needed to make some changes.  On the internet we explored San Antonio, Texas, some areas in Arizona, New Mexico and finally Arkansas.  We felt God was pointing us to the Fort Smith area.

At the time I worked with a real estate agent in Golden who had a ton of contacts.  I told her we wanted to sell our house and after giving her a description our home in Lakewood (apartment on the 2nd floor, etc.) she got on her cell phone and 5 minutes later told me she had someone who wanted to come look at it.  After a couple of showings with the same family, they made an offer and we accepted.  On March 23rd we were under contract with a closing date of April 30th!

At the end of March this year Natasha, Jonathan and I piled into our Suburban and headed southeast towards Fort Smith.  We spent 3 full days in the area and I looked at 14 properties, 2 of them I looked at a second time.  We looked at properties all the way from Rudy on down to Greenwood.  Once we were back in Denver, Phil and I put an offer down on a property in Greenwood.  It had 2 acres, a full size home and a little cottage for my mom.  Due to some legal issues with the sellers our contract fell through so we set our sights on a home in the city of Fort Smith.

We made an offer on the home we now own that was $10,000 less then asking price fulling expecting a counter offer.  Praise God, they accepted our offer because our agent explained to them we were looking for a home with a second living area for an older relative.  Our home in Colorado sold on April 30th and we did a remote closing on May 1st for our new home in Fort Smith.  There was so much excitement going in our family!

Phil, my mom and 2 dogs headed to Fort Smith the morning of May 1st and arrived about 9pm.  The kids and I stayed back in Colorado with friends to fulfill a few commitments we had.  Phil, with a little help here and there managed to replace the flooring in my mom’s area, manage 2 dogs, unload 2 moving trailers (with the amazing help of 3 Taggart young men!) and fix some plumbing issues all while being quite sick.  He was ready for the rest of the family to join him but it would be a few more days.

After finishing our 3 Spanish classes (2 of them for high school credit), a piano recital (both as students and Natasha as teacher), a violin recital and saying goodbye to some very special friends, the kids and I got in our Suburban early on the morning of May 10th with a truck full of stuff and headed to Fort Smith.  It was a long drive but we were all so excited to see Phil, my mom and the dogs.

So, here we are in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Friends, until now, I have lived in Colorado all my life… 48 years!  Change is hard for me… always has been.  BUT, I do not regret our decision to leave the only state I’ve called home.  We love living here.  Of course, there are always things to get used to when change occurs but I love that I’m home full time, we have a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood (our house and neighborhood in CO were not the greatest but served our purposes) and we are meeting some pretty amazing families.  We’ve even already found a church home!  The Highway 71 Alma Church of Christ has been so welcoming to us and have made us feel at home.

Next post I’ll share how we are doing… what has been the most challenging for me.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.

From the outside.

Beautiful kitchen.

One of two fireplaces.

An aerial view of our property.

The cover to our Spring Piano Recital.

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This…..

I’m teaching Jonathan to read and as we sat down to practice what he has learned so far he says “Can we cuddle while I read?  It helps me read better.”

LOVE this kid.  So blessed to be his mom AND his teacher!

10 Things I Learned About Tongue and Lip Tie

  1. A frenectomy is a procedure done to correct tongue and lip tie.
  2. A frenectomy is easier (on the kid and the parent) to do when they are a baby as opposed to a 2.5 year old.
  3. A frenectomy can be done with a laser which is supposed to reduce pain and healing time.
  4. Both a tongue and a lip tie cause problems with nursing.
  5. Both a tongue and a lip tie cause problems with speech.
  6. Correcting a tongue and lip tie does not end once the frenectomy is complete.
  7. Stretching exercises must be done several times a day for 3-4 weeks after the frenectomy.
  8. The stretching exercises are not fun for either the child or the parent.
  9. If the stretching exercises are not done the tongue and lip can reattach.
  10. Valium does not always work on a 2.5 year old… even a full dose!

So, you might be wondering how I gained all that helpful knowledge about tongue and lip tie.  We have been concerned about Katherine’s speech for a couple of months.  I had been assuming she wasn’t talking much because she has 4 older siblings who do the talking for her.  But, after being around other 2 year olds who were talking up a storm I figured maybe we better get her checked out.   I was referred to a specialist named Sandra Coulson.  I have 2 dear friends who have used Sandra’s practice for various speech, dental and breathing problems with their children.  Sandra has a different protocol when it comes to correcting speech issues but after much prayer and research we decided to take Katherine to see her.

As many of you know, Katherine is shy and doesn’t really warm up to new people so I figured this visit was probably not going to be very pleasant for anyone!  Yes, Katherine was shy but by the end of the hour she let Sandra put her fingers in her mouth, do measurements and mouth exercises.  After examining her mouth, Sandra discovered that Katherine had a tongue tie and quite possibly a lip tie.  She referred me to a dentist who specializes in correcting this condition.

We headed to the dentist Wednesday afternoon in hopes of getting it taken care of that day with a little laughing gas.  Well, Katherine would have none of that!  Dr. Witkoff suggested a prescription for Valium to give her the night before and the morning of her procedure which was scheduled for Thursday morning.  I gave her 1/2 a dose of Valium before bedtime Wednesday night and a full dose an hour before the procedure Thursday morning.  Let’s just say that, apparently, Valium doesn’t work on everyone!  I figured my little 31 pound 2.5 year old would be completely loopy and relaxed for the procedure… NOPE!  She was still raring to go when we got there at 11am.  After trying to convince Katherine to put on the elephant mask to breath in the laughing gas it came down to holding her down to get the mask on her and about 12 minutes of her screaming at the top of her lungs.  Finally the laughing gas kicked in and she just sobbed for the last 15 seconds.  The procedure itself is fairly quick – 3-5 minutes.  Now, we are just working on the stretching exercises to avoid reattachment.  We will be heading back to Sandra’s office next week to continue with her program.

So, there you have it… what I have learned about tongue/lip tie and frenectomy in the last 5 days.  The 3 pictures below were taken after the procedure.  Now she looks a little loopy!

After her Frenectomy and popsicle treat.

After her Frenectomy and popsicle treat.

Now she sleeps!

Now she sleeps!

After her Frenectomy and popsicle treat.

After her Frenectomy and popsicle treat.

Closing a Chapter

I wiped the tears away as I continued to untie the 2 dozen or so cloth ties attaching the Noah’s Ark themed crib bumpers to the only crib we have used for our 5 children.  Our sweet Katherine (possible nickname of Chewy) has officially graduated from her crib to a toddler bed.  I realize it might be somewhat silly to shed a few tears over such an event.  But as we were taking down the crib the realization hit that, unless God blesses us with a baby to adopt (which I am open to), we most likely will not be using the crib again.  This chapter of our lives appears to be closed.

It’s been so fun to watch our youngest grow and it’s hard to believe she is already 22 months old.  As I watch Katherine walk around the house, play with her toys, dance (she LOVES music) and chase her siblings I realize we no longer have a baby; we have a toddler!  Where has the time gone?

As for the crib I have a few idea floating around in my head.  Since the crib has a side that slides down we cannot donate it, nor can I sell it on craigslist.  These types of cribs are illegal now.  I’m excited about the possibilities of converting it to something quite usable.

For now, enjoy some pictures of our family.

Katherine wearing mommy's reading glasses.

Katherine wearing mommy’s reading glasses.

Katherine and Alex.

Katherine and Alex.

Jonathan at build a bear workshop.

Jonathan at build a bear workshop.

Alex working on her reading lessons.

Alex working on her reading lessons.

Jonathan working on her daily notebook for school.

Jonathan working on his daily notebook for school.

Alex spending time with Katherine.

Alex spending time with Katherine.

Katherine wearing one of Natasha's hats.

Katherine wearing one of Natasha’s hats.

Katherine's new bed!

Katherine’s new bed!

Katherine wearing a hat that Grandma Joanne made for her.

Katherine wearing a hat that Grandma Joanne made for her.

Natasha reading to Katherine in her new bed.

Natasha reading to Katherine in her new bed.

Date night!

Date night!

Goals for a New Year?

I set goals in my mind; sometimes for homeschooling and sometimes for personal but I have never sat down and written them out.  Perhaps that is why I don’t seem to reach my goals very often!  I read this excellent blog post by Doorposts and it really gave me the desire to write out goals for myself and my family.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

It seems that I approach the new year, new day, new hour in survival mode.  I tend to focus on getting through each hour and each day.  That sounds like my life is terribly trying…. it isn’t!  Do I do all things to the glory of God?  Do I plan our day around daily bible time together?  Do my actions and words reflect an effort to bring glory to God?

I desire to be wise and intentional with my time.  Assessing how much time I spend in daily bible reading versus scrolling through Facebook.  Looking closely at how much time is spent with my head bent towards my smartphone or computer versus how much time I give my children undivided attention during the day.  Realizing that meal time with family is more productive without a smart phone sitting in front of me tempting me to see who’s posted the latest anecdote on FB, who has sent me an email since the last time I checked 2 minutes ago, who has played a word in Words with Friends, or the latest tweet.  NONE of those things are investments into my husband and children.  Hmmm… I’m seeing a theme here…. technology….. a big pull in our house and I’m no exception!

A quick brainstorm of personal goals….

  • Daily bible time with a plan
  • Daily bible time as a family
  • Get my head and focus out of FB and into family

Over the next couple of days I plan on going before the Lord and asking for wisdom on what my goals should be for 2015.  I’d like to set goals for spiritual growth in myself and our children, character traits I’d like to see in myself and our children, marriage goals (how can I be an encourager to my husband and build him up in the Lord) and of course goals for the school year.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.