August 30, 2009

Can 3 year olds join the NRA??

Robert has wanted to take Jacob shooting for awhile, so he went today and Mattie and I tagged along. I'm not so sure Robert was very excited about that, but he probably felt like he couldn't tell me no. But I think his girls surprised him...

We started off with some gun education.

Jacob started us off and did a good job. We realized after a few minutes he really didn't understand an integral part of aiming, so after Robert and I rephrased that a few different ways he did so much better! Poor kid! He didn't even realize he didn't understand so he didn't know to tell us.

Jacob learned how to load the 22.

Then I took a stab with Robert's handgun. (This was his gift from me for our first Christmas. :) Aren't I a good wife?)

Don't break in our house at night. Especially if I have to be the one to take care of you.

I figured while I was there I ought to shoot 'em all! I've shot all of these before, but it's been a loooooooooong time.

That's my man. He shot a few Bonanza style to impress Jacob. :)

Glad to know he can protect us!

That's the shell flying over his head. :) As I look at this I see he's so much better than I am at holding the gun still after the shot!

And last but not at all least... I don't know why I am ever surprised by this little spitfire!

I certainly would not want to be anywhere near that line of fire, but she sure enjoyed pulling the trigger!

The very determined little girl. Aren't you proud, Uncle Peter??

I know all you New Jersey people with no rights wish you lived here!!! Come on down and shoot with us!

August 28, 2009

Our trip to the The Lost Sea!

Today we went to The Lost Sea, America's largest underground lake! It was a neat field trip! Jacob got to go this summer with a friend, but it was mine and Mattie's first time.

We started our 1 1/2 hour tour by walking down this long tunnel.

We went on a boat ride as well! The surface of the lake is 100 feet below the ground and the water is 70 feet at its deepest. Right now it's also 10 feet below its normal depth because of the drought we had a couple of years ago. The lake covers 4.5 acres!

They stocked the lake with rainbow trout to see if they would discover a way out. (See the fish in the middle of the picture?) They never did and are still there! A few random things we learned today... rainbow trout lose their color when they are not exposed to the sunlight! And they cannot reproduce in water that is not flowing (like a stream). I'm sure Robert already knew that, but it was new to me!

Mattie and Jacob enjoyed the boat ride!

Jacob told Mattie yesterday that The Lost Sea was dark, so she wanted to stay home. (She's pretty afraid of the dark.) But she had a great time! She even survived (albeit anxiously) when they turned out the lights and it was pitch black for a couple of minutes.

Did you know that if you are not exposed to light for two weeks you will go blind? Even if your eyes are closed! Another interesting fact we learned today!

A tried and true Tennessee moonshine still.

This is called Crystal Falls, if I remember right, though I'm not certain I do! Anyway, it is pure water that feeds the drinking fountain in their lobby! You can also see on the sides of the cave the green copper. This was in quite a few places on the walls of the cave.

These next four are no flash, non-edited photos I got.

I remembered to ask about the trick to remember the difference between stalactites and stalagmites. We learned two:
1) Stalactites hang TIGHT to the ceiling, leaving stalagmites to be the other ones. :)
2) "Stalagmites" has a G for GROUND and "stalactites" has a C for CEILING.

At least now I have them documented here so I can come back and find them when I forget!

August 19, 2009

I have to brag on my man

Last week while the kids and I were in sunny Florida enjoying the sunshine, Robert was here working tirelessly. I came home and found all of this done:

Repaired the hinges and re hung the door on an antique cabinet
Installed a ceiling fan in our bedroom!
Installed new light fixtures in both kids' bedrooms
Rewired all of our badly done cable in the house
Replaced a toilet that had a badly cracked bowl
Planned on installing a pedestal sink and ended up tearing tile off the lower four feet of that entire bathroom instead
Set up his weight bench
Installed a water softener (Three cheers for this one!!!)

And all this after work each day. What a guy!

August 18, 2009

So I started Prozac...

Some of you may remember this post, where I was writing about failing to cling to God. Failing to trust Him and give Him the time I needed. I just thought I'd share an update now that I'm a bit further down the road...

After I wrote that post, I had several days where I did get quiet with the Lord and meditate on His word. I was neglecting that time and felt like I had to correct that before I pursued any medical intervention. For me, I knew I had to make sure this wasn't a spiritual issue being caused by my neglect. And after several days of getting really good time with my God, that answer was very clear. This was definitely different.

I continued to have the days where I was crying about random things... losing a receipt, Robert wanting to go to bed at 8:00, needing a breathing treatment because I forgot my inhaler one day, having to make bread for an out of town trip, having to pack for an out of town trip, etc. I was also paralyzed by such things as this trip. I LOVE to get together with my family, but preparing for the 4th of July trip took everything in me. Honestly, I wanted to sit on the couch in Robert's lap and not move... for a long time. I couldn't fathom having that much time to talk to people and act happy when I felt flat, having nowhere to hide, having no way to hide without talking about how I was feeling (I just forced myself to talk about it), successfully making the 7 hour drive that I've made a hundred times before, parenting my kids with so much visibility, and so many other things. I knew when I just didn't want to go that something was definitely over the edge wrong.

I had made an appointment with the doctor for that Monday just to talk through some things, but honestly I almost canceled it one day because I had such a good day that day. When the day came, I was glad I had kept it. He said I was definitely describing a mild to moderate depression. He said he didn't doubt that I could pull out of this without medication, but that I would absolutely have to exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes minimum. (Robert was out of town for several weeks, so I knew this wasn't very feasible then.) He also recommended counseling which I'm sure would be good for me, but there was still the time of setting it all up and actually getting in. He also said that with all we've been through since January, he was quite surprised I didn't fall apart months ago! :)

So I left with a prescription for a small dose of Prozac. It was up to me to decide if I wanted to take it or not.

The next day as I was driving to Maryland crying about nothing, I decided it was time. For my kids sake if for no other reason. I knew I could stop it at any time, but I also knew it would be two weeks before I felt better, so I'd better not waste any more time! I should at least be taking it while I was thinking through it all.


As I think back on that time I have a few thoughts I thought I'd share in case anyone else has ever been there too and is hesitant to get help.

I was afraid that medication would mask my need, my desperation for God.

I thought since there was a reason for my emotional exhaustion it wasn't depression. Like I only needed medication if it was a physical thing, not a legitimate reaction to life events.

As I think back about my behaviors during this time, I noticed there was a long time where I hadn't wanted to return any phone calls and almost always would let a phone call go unanswered so I could return it on a day when I felt like talking. I had many, many days where thinking about writing a blog post was too much. I knew in my head I enjoyed writing, but formulating a post that made sense was overwhelming. A friend pointed out that I stopped taking my camera when we went places, and she was right. I almost never took it out anymore and if I did I had no interest in uploading the pictures to edit.

I also realize now that I've been on the medicine for almost 6 weeks that I had some negative thoughts that I'm very thankful to be relieved of! Honestly, they were probably obsessions and they were exhausting to control! They were fears that were unfounded and that were causing me to behave in certain ways that were unhealthy and unfair to Robert.

I wonder now if this has been going on longer than I noticed, just a little bit at a time. I haven't enjoyed simple pleasures for a long time.


But now, generally, I'm doing soooooooooo much better! I've had virtually no side effects, which is very exciting! There were some side effects I was afraid of but have seen no evidence of them. The generic pill I was prescribed did have corn starch to which I asthmatically reacted pretty badly for a month, but now that I have had it compounded (made from scratch) to be corn free, it's great.

I'm thankful the Lord has allowed me to go through this, but that He allowed it to be a short time by keeping me aware of how I was feeling (because I've seen so many others struggle with depression). It's good to have been there for a lot of reasons, but it's sure good to not be there anymore!

August 05, 2009

This weather's been hard on us!

So much for life settling down. I was out of town last weekend at Joni and Friends camp. (I'll post about that too... eventually!) My neighbor called and told me about a really bad storm we'd had and that both of my van tires were flat. He wondered if this was standard protocol around here so no one could steal our car. :) He apparently thinks I have a lot of free time on my hands.

So I just let it go, curious about what else I'd find when I came home. I was pretty worried about my computer. Well, the pictures on the computer anyway. (Apparently not too worried, however, because I haven't backed them up yet.)

Here's what I found when I got home:

This tree was apparently struck by lightning. You can see the absence of a bunch of the bark.

It blew it off in small pieces all over the yard. We found pieces over 50 feet away!

This was on the driveway under the tire! Both tires were not just flat, but totally blown, btw. The steel bands were exposed and the tire store said they'd never seen anything like it!

This was under the other tire.

That dark spot of dirt is a small hole that must have been a spot hit because the dirt from it was all over the side of the van. Big chunks were lodged in the undercarriage too.

Thankfully Robert's boss came to swap the tires out and get them repaired for me because Robert was out of town. So then I tried to start the car...

Long story short, because it's really not interesting enough to write the long version, 5 computers in the car were fried! So $3500 later I went to pick it up yesterday at the Honda dealership and the AC wasn't working, nor were the power sliding doors or the locks. Hmm... So I'm still carless but hoping that the next time I go get it it's really ready! The service manager said he's never seen a car with this much damage from just lightning... so I've heard.

Onto the house... 2 fried tvs, two pieces of our downspout with rivets blown out and the vinyl singed/melted around them, some pieces of concrete blown out of the driveway, black marks all around the top of the garage door, a couple of damaged outlets and a blown switch.

Quite honestly, we're praising the Lord our house didn't burn down! It was after 10:00 PM and we were all out of town, so it could have gone on for a long awhile before any neighbor noticed anything wrong.

Then the day I came home we lost this branch off another big tree.

And this was our storm yesterday! That's our side yard. Thankfully we live at the top of our hill.

Here's the new creek in the backyard. (That's a concrete basketball pad that has a retaining wall on two sides.)

And our downstream neighbors (next door).

And we have 6 more days with rain and severe storms in the forecast.