Saturday, March 19, 2011


Our iHome has been invaded by an iArmy of colorful iPods.

It all started when an iFriend gave me an iPod mini back in iOctober. iBrad loved it and lamented having broken his non-iMP3 player months before.

So, his iBirthday was coming in iDecember and i thought he might enjoy a cute little Shuffle. It is green and it's iName is Dreadz.

iBrianna and iMeyson thought it was so iCool, they began relentlessly pelting us with iRequests for their own iPods for iChristmas. They got their iWish.

iMeyson received a silver one and named it iSpaz. iBrianna's is blue and is so wonderfully named DespicableI. iLove it!

Apparently watching them rockin' out to their iMusic all the time made iCody and iCarson yearn for thier own iPods.

iCody just procured hers. An orange one, dubbed Herbert the Sherbert. Note the lack of i. :)

iCarson doesn't know it yet, but she will be opening a brand new, pink shuffle on her iBirthday. i hope she names it PinkI.

All of the needless i leaves me loving my iPod's name: iPuke.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Rain and Sunshine

I know my blogging has been sparse over the last couple of years. I've always kind of thought of my blog as a kind of therapy for me. A place where I can retell our stresses and daily lives with a bit of humor (hopefully) and a new perspective. However, the last two years held what seemed like one life-changing battle after another. We all go through storms in our lives but, to us, it seemed like a never-ending tsunami of grief and uncertainty. Don't get me wrong, we had our good times and every day spent watching our children grow and learn was, of course, a blessing. But, everyday had this little shadow hanging over it. I'll start in December 2008, on the day my perfect world came crashing down.

Mom has cancer. She had found a lump, sought testing, and was informed just a couple of weeks before Christmas that she had breast cancer. She spent Christmas in the hospital that year because, during an attempt to put in a port, her lung was nicked and collapsed.

In the midst of this, we found a lump on Memphis's lower back between his spine and his skin. We were advised that is was probably a cyst, but the location was concerning, and they wanted to remove it.

In January 2009, my grandfather was diagnosed with esophagus cancer.

In February, Memphis had his surgery to remove what turned out to be a tumor, not a cyst. The good news- not cancer. Just some kind of random tumor. Honestly, the doctors did not have a specific diagnosis. Not cancer was good enough for me.

Also in February, my step-dad's sister died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

Mom had her mastectomy in March. The surgery went well, but she had months of chemo and radiation in her future.

April brought the death of my grandfather. He went in to have his tumor removed after months of treatment to shrink it. He never made it out of surgery.

Somewhere in these months (you'll forgive my memory failure please) doctors found a tumor in the center of my father's brain. Not only could they not operate, they couldn't even biopsy. And they couldn't tell whether or not it was growing. A waiting game they said. Easy for them to say.

May brought more surgery for Mom. I couldn't be with her this time because, of course, I somehow contracted the swine flu. This was when H1N1 was causing panic and I was unofficially quarantined in my home. Mom got through surgery ok though. I feel awful when I think about this surgery for her because Darrell, my step-dad, was in the hospital with pneumonia and I was home with swine flu. Thank God for a good friend of hers who went to be with her or she would have been totally alone.

Darrell was in the hospital for a lot of June.

Memphis had to have his tonsils and adenoids out in July. They were making it very hard for him to breathe, and having asthma, he just didn't need more obstacles there. He did well, but man, that was a rough 2 week recovery.

In August, I was forced to hand the reigns of my home to others while I had and recovered from a hysterectomy. By this time I knew pre-cancerous cells were nothing to mess around with. Better to get rid of them.

Mom had several bad reactions and arm infections (due to her lack of lymph nodes from the mastectomy) and other problems over these months.

Over the next couple of months, we were on a roller coaster ride with Mom's results. First, things were looking great, she was moving from chemo to radiation, and was finally on her last radiation treatment. Then, they found spots on her lungs. Metastasized breast cancer.

And, Memphis's tumor returned. Bigger and badder than ever. Removal was suggested once again. We asked for a quick surgery date and in December we checked him in again, praying for the same results as last time.

Mom had to have her spots biopsied and, once again, her lung collapsed resulting in yet another hospital stay.

Memphis's tumor again came up benign, but the doctor warned us that it was likely to make another return. Turns out, it had many tentacles and they were fairly sure they had not removed them all.

He developed an infection in the incision site and ended up with a hole as big around as a quarter and more than a half inch deep. It took months to heal and was very painful for him. The surgeon said that when (he said when, I was thinking if) the tumor came back they wanted to remove it again and keep it alive, feeding it until they knew what it would turn into. This was the first time I realized they had no idea what it really was. I didn't care; it wasn't cancer.

My sister-in-law, Kim, was pregnant. She was due in July but noticed in May that something wasn't right. The baby wasn't moving. The doctors paid her no attention until she just kept going back. Finally they did an ultrasound and realized Kim's placenta had torn partially away from her uterine wall. They did a c-section and precious baby Hope Leigh was born into this world with very little blood left in her tiny body.

Her condition was touch and go for the first few days with even some of the doctors admitting they weren't sure she would make it. Those doctors should know by now that any baby born into this family would be a fighter.

Mom was approved for a new therapy called a cyber knife, some kind of ultra concentrated radiation. Unfortunately, the CT scan just before she would have the treatment revealed many more lesions and cyber knife was no longer a consideration.

Hope spent many months in the NICU before being released to go home. Her release day was a great celebration.

In October 2010, we discovered that many of Mom's lesions had disappeared and the remaining ones were smaller. She had a few more chemo treatments and then a PET scan. All of the leftover lesions were cold. What a joyful day it was when this was found.

Hope spent more days in the hospital in December after having surgery to repair a heart defect.

Dad had surgery in December too. His nasal cavity was full of papillomas which needed to be removed. When he went back for his checkup in January, they were all back and then some. The doctor said that the speed at which they had grown back so thickly pointed to cancer and that the proximity to his brain did not bode well. He was immediately scheduled for another surgery to be done in February.

Here's a miracle for you. When he went back in February, his pre-surgery scan showed that the cavity was 85% clear. From 100% blockage one month to 85% clear the next with no treatment other than some routine pre-surgery antibiotics.

Since then, we have been without incident which is more than welcome. We are all weary, no one more so than my mother whose fight and tenacity I have never seen the equal.

We are praying that the storm is over. It was an especially long and intense journey and, even as I read over what I have written here, I can't believe we all made it through. I really believe that if we did not have our faith in God, we would have been lost to depression or worse, hopelessness.

I believe we were under attack. Maybe it was a test of faith, maybe a strengthening by fire. I don't know if we'll ever know, but these events have made me so much more grateful for love and family. I believe they have made me a better mom, and hopefully, a better wife, daughter, sister, aunt. I know my faith is stronger. I no longer hesitate to present my requests to God with thanksgiving for all he has blessed me with.

Cody turned 10 in January.

Carson will be 7 in March.

Meyson turns 18 in April.

My brother, Bill, is taking me and Mom to New York in May, right before precious Hope has her first birthday.

In June, Silas will turn 3, Brianna 14, and Memphis will be 5.

We will all celebrate Mom's 50th birthday in July. That's going to be a big celebration!

Brad and I will have our 4th anniversary in August.

These are the miracles I am looking forward to. The blessings that will overwhelm us for the next few months.

We will celebrate these with full knowledge that we don't deserve any one of them. They are gifts and will never again be taken for granted. God is good!

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

People Actually Do This??

Apparently we are working out. And I mean almost every night. Brad wants to lose a few pounds and I want to be as supportive as I can. I'm not necessarily trying to lose weight, but I would like to rearrange some. Ya know, move it from certain lower areas to certain higher areas...

Anyway, Brad started about a week and a half ago and I joined him rather unenthusiastically. He would ascend imaginary mountains using the stairclimber while I waited for him to come attempt yoga with me. I like yoga because it's pretty low impact and I feel all stretched out afterward.

Brad convinced me that we should move our exercise equipment into the living room. Before, the stairclimber was behind a cubicle wall in our school room while the treadmill was sequestered to Brianna's room. I didn't like the idea of having huge, ugly machines adorn the living room I have been gradually tailoring to my taste. But again, I want Brad to know I'm behind him and having them in the living room makes it much more likely that he (and I) will stick to the program. So we spent Monday evening rearranging furniture to make room. It doesn't look nearly as bad as I had imagined it would.

Something happened today though. I must have caught some weird virus that causes a person to desire exercise. I'm not sure how I contracted it. I'm pretty sure I was immunized at some point. Maybe I'm due for a booster. Regardless, I found myself anticipating our session. All day I was thinking about trying the treadmill. How long should I run the first time? Psshh. It's a treadmill; I could run all day. How fast? Surely I can pull off a good 5 miles per hour. I've got this licked. It's just running. I keep up with 6 kids all day. Running will be EASY.

So after putting the littlest children to bed, I changed into my workout clothes; a pair of yoga pants and a tank top. This is a great outfit for yoga because I don't use my ipod during yoga. It presents a problem, however, when running. Yoga pants don't have pockets. No ipod holder. Hmmm...running is already difficult. No problem, I can fix this. I have a great sports bra. There's plenty of room in there. Ok, ready to roll.

My goal was to run for 20 minutes. I was about 5 minutes in, going about 3.3 miles per hour, when I began thinking of excuses why I should stop at 15 minutes. Or maybe 10. Burning thighs. Lightening Crashes by Live. Not a good running song. Sweat. I am definitely sweating.

Silas's PDO program has a great physical education team who teach the kids the names of their muscles. She reminds me everyday that I have a gluteus maximus. I need no reminding right now. I am perfectly aware that I have a gluteus maximus. And I'm pretty sure that awareness will last with me well through tomorrow.

I look down at the time and am shocked to discover I have made it to 8 minutes. Higher Ground by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Okay. I think I can do this. Just keep running, just keep running, just keep running...

I made it! 20 minutes! 3.3 miles per hour. Not really all that fast, but I did run just over a mile. I can't help but be a little proud of myself. I had thought I would then collapse into a heap of exhausted flesh, but I actually feel energized! On to yoga!

Yoga is much more difficult after running for 20 minutes. I accomplished a session, but with many more balance checks and yearnings for the end than usual.

That's ok. It's all over now. I did it and I feel better for it. Tonight. I'm sure I'll have other opinions tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be up for a repeat performance.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Going to Try This Again

Blogging? What do you mean blogging? Oh yeah, that thing that I used to enjoy so much. I forgot how, I think.


Well, let's start with the kids. I can always come up with something about them.

Here they are:

Meyson has a job at Burger King and is contemplating his future. School, military, bills, money, much opportunity. He's learned the hard way that bad choices come back and bite you later. Let's hope that lesson sticks. He's a good kid facing the big, bad world. Remember that?

Brianna is looking forward to soccer starting again soon and trying to determine whether or not to homeschool again next year. She's such a social girl that I won't be surprised if she chooses to go to public high school. I think she's enjoyed homeschooling this year, but I also think she misses seeing all of her friends everyday.

Cody lives for ballet. She loves it so much and is improving rapidly. I had to remind her the other day that she is precious and special not because she's a great ballerina, but because she is Cody and God made her special and unique. She looked at me like I was speaking gibberish. I'm going to have to figure out how to make that sink in.

Carson is sick right now. She tends to get high fevers with very few other symptoms, but she's an excellent patient. On normal days she is an eager and emotional child. She likes to learn, but gets distracted easily. I think daydreaming may be her activity of choice. Carson is very musical and we would like to get her into some kind of music lessons. For now, she sings all the time which is perfect.

Memphis sings all the time too. Not much on key, but that's what makes it so wonderful. His joy just spills right out of his mouth in whatever words and notes he likes. He is still the most daring of our children; I expect a broken bone or two in the next few years. Not that I'm looking forward to that, just trying to prepare myself.

Silas needs to spend more time out in public. She wants to be in control of any and all activities at all times. Since I tend to try and run errands when Brad is home, she hasn't had a whole lot of "public behavior" lessons. So beginning with our outing to the library in which she loudly announced that she did not like the young man who was standing next to us, and ending today when she refused to obey her Sunday school teacher, is a period of time in which I have realized my mistake. Silas can be the sweetest most compassionate baby girl you've ever met. She snuggles and plays and gives kisses and is generally lovely. I think the public deserves to see that side of her and she certainly deserves to be observed that way. Another lesson to impart...sigh.

Great kids, great husband, great life.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010


Silas. The last one. The little one. The cute one. The one who makes me want to scream.

Silas was a very, very good infant. She hardly cried, she loved to snuggle, and she could make your heart melt with just one precious smile. As she's grown she's shown a more...well...precocious side to her personality.

With 5 older brothers and sisters she learned early on that if she wanted to keep something she had in her hand, or if she wanted something that was in someone else's hand, she had to be aggressive. She took it a little too far. Biting was her modus operandi, her very favorite way to get what she wanted. Then, someone bit her back, not gonna say it was me, but let's just say that the person was an adult with an interest in not only stopping her biting, but also a person who knew the bite had to be hard enough to get her attention, but not so hard as to leave any sort of mark. Whether or not you agree with my method, it worked. She hardly ever bites now. That's right...hardly ever.

Enter "the scream heard round the world." (TSHRTW) I'm sure our neighbors have wondered who was being tortured inside our home. You don't believe me? Just tell Silas she can't have what she wants. Better yet, tell her it's naptime. You'll need hearing aids for the rest of your life. TSHRTW is especially effective in public. Yes, I have become that mother who will do anything to make the kid stop screaming. I swore I would never do that and I did not give in with any of the other kids. You have to hear it to understand. It will be an enlightening experience for sure.

Silas has had several hobbies in her two years. The first one was removing all the books from her and Memphis's bookshelf. It's not a very big shelf, but kid books are small so I would walk in to find 100 books strewn about as if she were trying to re-floor her bedroom with Dr. Suess and Margaret Wise Brown. This hobby was irritating, mainly because she wasn't capable of returning them to the shelves without destroying them. That doesn't mean she didn't try. Many a book was tossed during this time.

As fun as that was, I would trade her current hobby for that one in a heartbeat. Now, her mission is to destroy our home and my sanity little by little, bit by bit, until I am a raving lunatic standing atop a pile of rubble where my bed used to be.

Phase 1: Incapacitate main toilet and distract parentals long enough to make sure they didn't know it was me.

Execution of Phase 1: Flush toilet paper spool down the pot and quickly shove a small, green bead up my nose.

Net Damage from Phase 1 Execution: $60 for the plumber, $200 for the ER visit, moderate to heavy stress load on Mom.

Phase 1 successful.

Phase 2: Parentals on high alert. Surreptitious movements necessary. Vandalize the home whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Execution of Phase 2: Paint the bathroom mirror with lotion everyday, especially right after Mom cleans it. Graffiti my body with markers right before church or grocery store trip or whenever we might make contact with other people. Use a blue sharpie marker to scribble all over Mom's laptop screen. Dump dark purple nail polish in big splotches on myself and on the carpet in the hall. Decorate Mom and Dad's bathroom with Mom's makeup effectively ruining Mom's makeup.

Net Damage from Phase 2: Heavy stress load on Mom.

Phase 2 successful.

Phase 3, I believe, is in the works. And if I know Silas it's gonna be a doosie. I wake up everyday and immediately go into recon mode. With this baby, you never know what the day holds.

Today, someone gave Silas a small, hard candy. I'm sure whoever it was thought they were being nice. I didn't know she had this candy when I gave her a cup of water. She took a drink and hit her knees. She was making a horrible sound and her face was turning scarlet. I knew she was choking. I picked her up and flipped her over and began pounding on her back. She drew a breath, dragging the candy back into her windpipe and Brad took over the pounding. It seemed to take forever, but finally she literally threw up a small, red disc.

In the 30 seconds it took to dislodge the candy, her whole life flashed before my eyes. Suddenly all of the scheming she has done didn't matter. She is my loving, kind, sweet, precious baby girl who I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Oops, gotta go, TSHRTW is about to wake up every other child in our home. Tonight it's a sweet, sweet sound.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Party Animals

Last night was interesting. Let me give some background before I recount the story. Memphis and Silas share a room. Up until recently this has not posed any significant problems, but a few weeks ago Silas's need to get up and play finally rubbed off on Memphis. Before then Memphis was the best sleeper in the house. Now we can expect that for about 2 hours after bedtime we will have to enter their room with stern voices and swift action several times. They jump on the beds, throw toys, hit each other with books, pretty much anything they are not allowed to do during the day. Inevitably, someone ends up crying like they have lost a limb, everyone gets a spanking (don't tell me it's not necessary, you're not here) and they usually go right to sleep after that.

Last night. LAST NIGHT. I had been up for most of the night before last for other reasons, so I fell asleep around 10 last night in an attempt to catch up a little. Every once in awhile I would feel Brad get out of bed, but I was not conscious enough to know why. Finally at about 1:30 there was a particularly loud altercation and I was awakened to find Brad exasperated beyond sanity because the babies were still awake. WHAT!?! That's it! They'll be sorry now! Because here comes MOM!

When I entered the hallway, there they both were, running from the kitchen to the bathroom, up and down the hall, lights blazing. I thought for a second that maybe we were experiencing some kind of solar eclipse because, really, other than college students, who has this kind of energy in the middle of the night? Then they spotted me. Frozen, terrified. I could see it in their eyes. Silas sprinted for her bed while Memphis just stared up at me, his eyes pleading for mercy. I marched him into Carson's room, retrieved a sleeping bag, and laid it out there on the floor. He climbed in and said softly, "Sowwy Mommy." "Thank you Memphis, now go to sleep."

Then I returned to their room and shut the door. Silas can't open it. Ha! Fixed that problem. Now maybe we can rest.

And we did. But Memphis did not. When my very accurate and annoying internal clock woke me up at exactly 7:48 this morning, the babies' light was on, they were both in their own beds, and they were sleeping peacefully. Of course they were. They were up half the night partying. I was tempted to run in there and start throwing toys and jumping on the beds, but my punishment would have been far more severe than any I have ever inflicted upon them.

As it is, when they did finally emerge, Silas proved once again that she is incapable of being even somewhat reasonable on less than 10 hours sleep.

"Good morning Silas."


"Do you need a drink?"


"Fine, maybe you should go back to bed."


Great. Today should be fun.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

The Williams Family Academy

This is our homeschool. I have a total of 7 students lined up for next year and have begun to prepare our lessons already. Actually Meyson and Cody have kept up their schooling over this summer. Just math really.

Neither one has the patience to learn the concepts necessary to move at a rapid pace. Which in itself is ironic. They do not see the humor. Meyson will work problems thoughtfully until he gets tired of sitting there and will then just half attempt the rest. Cody will start out rebelling against the assignment, stretching it out over hours until she finally breaks down crying and doing her best to convince me that the material I already taught her has fallen out of her head.

I understand how the fear of a subject can intimidate a student. I was completely unsettled by algebra II and calculus as a student, but as I return to those subjects now as the teacher, I cannot understand what I was so afraid of. It's all very logical when you look at it. But I am more eager to learn now than I was then. I'm sure that makes a difference.

Anyway, we use Alpha Omega for our curriculum and have been more than satisfied with the content. This coming year Meyson, Brianna, and Cody will be utilizing Switched On Schoolhouse. The lessons, tests, and quizzes are all done on the computer with essays, projects, and experiments to be done additionally away from the computer. Three students full time on the computer means that our resources are tapped. We have one desktop that we bought almost 3 years ago, one desktop that was given to us last year, and my personal laptop which is about 5 years old. One of the desktops needs some help. I think it is overheating and it just shuts down. Usually when you are in the middle of something important.

Carson, Memphis, Silas, and Nicole's son Dexter will be working directly with me. Poor kids. Actually Memphis, Silas, and Dex will be attending preschool at our church 2 days a week, but will be forced to endure me on the other 3 days.

I have struggled with myself and any curriculum I've used because providing education for children is very high pressure. Or at least it should be. Their chances for success depend on the things they are taught. And not just in regard to academics. But I have a desire to provide as well-rounded an academic experience as is possible.

I hope the kids are ready for a challenging year. We've never used SOS full time before so I don't really know what to expect as far as the daily commitment is concerned. We will be finding out. Wish us luck!

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