Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ready to take it easy!


This is what happens to me after I spend too much time at the grocery store, then try to squeeze in some quick christmas shopping, only to realize that I forgot to get the napkins, which are all the way at the other end of the store. Apparently, Abigail has a tendency to turn into the Hulk as well-- poor girl.  

I am really looking forward to Christmas this year!  I don't have all of my shopping done, but that is okay because for the next 3 weeks I'm totally FREE!  No more school work for me :)  I finished my classes for the semester (THANK GOODNESS!) and although the kids aren't officially on Christmas break yet, they won't have any major school projects due this week, so that is good news.  I am looking forward to their break though.  It will be so nice to not have to have 5 kids fed, dressed in decent & seasonably sensible clothing, teeth brushed, shoes on, papers signed, homework done, and OUT THE DOOR by 7:30 every morning.  

It is nice for me to have these little breaks though, because it helps me appreciate the blessings the Lord has given me.  I really don't mind being busy.  I don't mind all of the errands, running kids around, preparing meals, folding laundry, doing my own homework, etc… but I really do enjoy a break on occasion!  It give me time to make Josh his favorite cookies :)  He's been dropping hints for weeks about Russian tea cakes, which I finally made the other day- he pretty much ate the whole batch of them playing games with Jeremiah & Christian while I took the oldest 3 to a concert.  We saw TOBYMAC- and I'll tell ya what, that man would put ANY 49 year old to shame.  He has some moves for an old(er) man!  It was so much fun.

Speaking of cookies, I plan to make dutch waffle/honey cookies some time this week- if they turn out, I'll post pictures, if not…well…you can imagine what may have happened.  And I'll be making a trip down to the only store I know of that sells these fabulous cookies, which is a candy shop in Nashville, IN.  They are that good.

Until then,

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Drumstick dash!

This year, Josh and I decided to sign up to run the Drumstick Dash.  Since it's a short race, only 4.6 miles we decided to sign the older 3 up to run it with us.  It's a great race to run, because most of the money raised goes to support the Wheeler Mission, a local homeless shelter that provides not only meals, but addiction recovery programs, etc…

It was such a cold morning- only about 19 degrees, but the kids were up and ready to go!

They all did a great job.  Abigail and Isaac both ran the entire time, and kept a pace of 6mph (10 minute mile) so I was impressed.  Isaac even kept some energy back so at the end of the race, he was able to sprint to the finish and beat Josh.  It was a lot of fun, and something I would recommend for any family looking to start a new Thanksgiving tradition.  

In other news, Josh decided it would be a good idea to get a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving.  And by 'fresh' I don't mean never frozen.  By fresh, I mean living, breathing, heart-pulsating, eyeball-looking-at-you, living.  I didn't really believe him at first.  But he came home with this:

hey what am I doing here?

Heidi went nuts for a while over the turkey.  Thankfully, we have a fenced area we were able to put the turkey in until 'the big event' so Heidi couldn't slaughter it for us.

Josh and his new friend

It wasn't exactly easy to slaughter the turkey (more emotionally taxing than hard to do!)  Thankfully I didn't have a part in it :)  Josh said it really makes you appreciate where your food comes from.  He managed to get all of the feathers off and innards out.  Josh is not afraid to do new things.  I am always impressed with his ability to just go for it.  I am much more apprehensive.  

Abigail really enjoys helping out in the kitchen.  I have been trying to give her more responsibility in that area.  This year she helped with many things. 

Jeremiah was supposed to help daddy and Elijah rake the leaves.  He thought it would be a good idea to jump in the pile!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Exciting times!

These are some exciting times…

After years and years of pondering, thinking, discussing, we are finally taking the plunge.  Can you guess what we are doing?  Here are some hints:

If you haven't guessed already, we are going to get chickens.  This is exciting news, folks.  Josh and I have both wanted to raise chickens for a while (we did raise a pig, after all- which is FAR WORSE than chickens could ever be…at least I imagine.

I don't know what has taken us so long to finally go for it.  

I'll be sure to keep you all informed as we make progress!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


I have much to be thankful for.  Don't we all?  There is always a reason to rejoice, always a reason to thank God.  

Three years ago around this time of year, I was 'diagnosed' with MS.  I don't really think I have MS, I'm just not sure the Neurologist knew what else to say.  I fit the model. I had a few lesions on my brain, I had loss of motor function, evidence of protein in my spinal fluid, not to mention extreme burning and numbness in my extremities, as well as in my face.  Weird, I know.  

I started taking various medications, including rounds of intravenous steroids (to control inflammation) tramadol (for pain- a "fake" opioid ) klonopin (for vertigo) excessive amounts of vitamins (for the heck of it) I was also prescribed, but never actually took Lyrica, Teriflumoide (or something like that) Cymbalta, and some other things that I don't remember.  

I hated the way I felt, and I hated the thought of being in bondage to medication if I didn't 100% without a doubt need to be.  I was also terrified of the thought of a wheelchair, but as things progressed my muscles became more atrophied and I didn't have a lot of strength in my legs.  I was so dizzy and I fell pretty much every time I closed my eyes. Oftentimes in the shower.  I had Zero balance!

I started running before I had MS, and even maintained a running lifestyle during my pregnancies.  However, the most I ever ran at one time was about 2 miles.  After I was diagnosed with MS, I quit running.  Not only was it physically difficult to run because of the numbness, it was mentally challenging, because honestly I was a little depressed.  

So I didn't run from about November 2010 to April 2011.  Then, for reasons that I don't quite remember, I decided to go out for a jog.  I was apprehensive because I was prone to falling and my legs were numb.   I felt nervous about running on the road, so I started running on the treadmill at the YMCA.  I figured if I fell, at least I wasn't at risk of getting run over by a car!

Then, sometime in the Fall of 2011, Josh announced to me that we were going to run a half marathon.  A WHAT?? You want me to run 13.1 miles?  

But I did it.  I had learned a technique of counting my steps as I ran, and it helped me stay balanced.  Thankfully I don't need to do that anymore!

I continued to run and get stronger.   Eventually I stopped taking all of my medications.  That is another story, but I will tell you one thing, some people in the medical profession are not in the business of keeping you off medications, that is for sure!  The last time I was at my Neurologist office (about a year ago) I mentioned to him that I would like to stop taking benzodiazapines, (klonopin) because I had read some pretty horrible things about them,  I thought they might actually be making my vertigo worse, and I'd really like to try to deal with things medication free for as long as possible.  His response:

So do you want to up your dose since it's not helping with the vertigo anymore?

Oh jeez, did he even hear a word I said?  At that point I decided to stop seeing my Neurologist.  I'll find a new one if I decide to go back!

Wow, this is not really what I had set out to write about, but that is okay.  I guess my message is, if you're dealing with a chronic illness, especially one that entails chronic pain or numbness- put those MUSCLES and NERVES to work!  Take care of yourself.  Eat well, limit fast food/junk food, get outside and enjoy the sunshine when it's available.  Don't resign yourself to thinking you can't, because chances are, you probably can! 

It's easy to fall into depression or bunny trail down paths of miracle medications.  Don't get me wrong, I am NOT anti-medication, I know that medication can work wonders in some people's lives, but first start taking care of yourself in the best way possible.

As I write this, I still deal with the effects of MS (or whatever it is!) Today I woke up and my legs are on fire.  When I put my hands under the cold water, it feels like the water is burning hot. It's hard to hold a pen because my fingers are so numb.  When I take a step, I feel like I'm being stung by a hoard of killer bees.  I think I have a cold, and I've noticed when my immune system is down, or seasons change, I tend to have flare ups.  That is okay.  I will deal with it, and if it gets too bad, I had better find myself a new neurologist so I can get some IV steroids :) 

Okay, now I must get back to my real life, which consists of playing a game of "spot it" with Jeremiah, then going to pick up the kids from school

This is us at the Monumental Half Marathon last Saturday (Nov.2) Our 4th half marathon! I ran my best time 1:55 yeah, baby!  We are now officially signed up for a full Marathon in April...oh dear.  26.2 miles, here I come.  

A picture of Christian and Heidi dog, just because I think this picture is way too cute to not post.
He looks so happy- he loves his dog.

We went to Turkey Run during Fall break- we really enjoy hiking at the State Parks in Indiana.  We really do have some beautiful parks in this state!  
I am so thankful for my family.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Seriously- I have started a lot of blog posts and not posted them.  The odds that I'll actually post this?

Who knows...

I've been dealing with a lot of odds and probability lately- in fact- I dealt with them for about 2 hours today as I scrambled to get my math homework done, which is still not finished, but I only have a few more to go, SO here I am.

Fall break is coming up,  (for the kids, not me or Josh!) which means I'm going to have 5 rambunctious kids in the house for 2 weeks.  If any of you loyal readers find yourselves with time on your hands- let me know, and we'll get together.

I have been reading a book lately with my dear friends called "Give Them Grace" It's sort of a parenting book, but also a book about dealing with people in general.   It's a good book, although I don't fully agree with the authors point of view on every minute detail, it delivers a good message.

I have been thinking a lot about what it really means to be a Christian.

Perhaps because my 3 year old asked me why Jesus had to die on a cross
Perhaps because I have 5 kids (which spawns much introspection)
Perhaps because I have been reading the above mentioned book, and realize I fall very short of giving grace
Perhaps because I have been listening to FOX News on occasion, and realize those people are certainly not acting like Christ- (yet many of them would say they are Christians...why?)  {give grace?}

And since I need to set the table for dinner, I will post this.

What are your ideas?  What does it really mean to be a Christian?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Schools out!

Well- School's out for the SUMMER!

I know, I know- it's kind of old news, but I am not a very efficient blogger so I'm a little late.  I thought my blogging deficiencies were due to going back to school, but since it's been over a month since my last class and I am just now getting to this- I have no excuse.  I know you've all been in great anticipation wondering what is going on in my household. 

The last day of school!  The kids went to the fairgrounds to do a service project for their last day of school.  They planted flowers, mulched, pulled weeds, etc... They also had their field day.  I decided to be a nice mommy and took them to Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast before their last day of school.  You do not know how hard it is to take 5 kids to Dunkin' Donuts at 6:45 am. (well, maybe some of you do)  So I'll pat myself on the back for that one.

Josh and I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary on June 5th!  Look at those young people!  I am looking forward to seeing our 60th wedding anniversary picture...maybe I'll even squeeze myself back into my wedding dress for the picture.  HA!

We celebrated Isaac's 8th birthday.  My sweet little baby is growing up :)  Abigail was happy to be a big sister.  

Here is Isaac- all grown up.  We went to Steak 'n Shake for his birthday (party to be held at the end of June)  He asked for chocolate cake.  I haven't made a chocolate cake from scratch in a while...oh my...it was so good.  The frosting was like heaven.  That is probably why I don't make chocolate cake from scratch very often.  

We are having a nice summer so far.  Our church held VBS this week, and I taught 2nd grade.  It was nice.  We had almost 1000 kids each day.  We've gone to the library a few times, and I think Abigail has already read 30 or 40 books.  These are long chapter books, too-  We've also spent a lot of time playing in the water and trying to keep the dog out of the BABY POOL and out of the GARDEN.  Both of which seem to be fruitless efforts.  But we try.  

How are all of you?  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Not Intentionally Neglecting You

I'm really not trying to ignore all of you faithful readers.  Ha!  I've just been busy.  Mostly with schoolwork.  MY GOODNESS!  I didn't realize how much effort it would take to go back to school!  I spend most of my free time studying- it's good though.  I think my brain was turning into cornmeal. 

It's all better now. :) 

Aside from studying, I've been doing my normal mothering things like:

Making sure Spidey doesn't break any limbs.


Fool acting in the van while we wait for the other kids to come out.  We have some "fish face" pictures and such, but I just couldn't bear to post them.  oh my goodness...they were bad.

Watching sleeping 'babies'  Okay, he's 3, but he's my baby.

Cuddling with savage beasts. (the kids, not the dog)

Making sure another Spiderman doesn't break any limbs- who knew kids could climb walls?!? Mine have made it an art form. 

Playing in the lawn with afore mentioned savage beast.

And finally, putting people to bed.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Sweeties.

I am a far cry from an "expert" gardener, but I have grown a few things in my life.  I really do enjoy home grown veggies and fruits, although I have found fruits quite difficult to grow.  Yes- we could get into the whole A TOMATO IS A FRUIT debate...but I don't want to go there.  In my book, it's a veggie.  Fruits are sweet.  Anyway...

Late last fall my dad and step mom gave the kids some sweet potatoes that had been cut up.  These sweet potatoes had toothpicks stuck in them and were placed in a mason jar of water. 
 They told me the sweet potato would form a massive root, and then start sprouting out little chutes.  

By golly, it happened.  

So here is my step by step tutorial on what to do should anyone ever give you a sweet potato stuck with toothpicks.  

First, keep water in the jars.  Very important.  You don't want your little girls to die. (all cute plants are girls to me) Water has this funny quality of evaporating, so you'll want to check on your potatoes regularly.  Keep them in a sunny location, and after a few months, this will be your result.

Note the massive root that has grown out of this seemingly dead sweet potato.  Snip the chutes close to the base of the potato, until you have a small bunch.

This is about what your snipped chute will look like.  Some will be longer, others shorter.  

Place snipped chutes back in the mason jars.  I have about 8 or so in each of my jars.  Fill with water.  In about 12 days, your chutes should start to develop a root.  


Continue to hydrate your chutes, even after the 12th day...remember- all living things require food (sun) and water!!  When it is warm enough, (typically after Mothers Day) plant each little chute in a nicely fertilized section of your garden.   Allowing for plenty of space, because sweet potato plants do take up some room.  (you can find all the info about that you need online)

Hopefully my garden will do better than it did last year.  What a disaster!  With the drought I found it impossible to give my plants enough water to sustain them.  I eventually had to give up.  I salvaged some flowers, tomatoes, and cucumbers, a few strawberries, and about a serving of green beans.  

Thanks to my dad and Julie for introducing me to this fun project.  It's been interesting to watch our dead looking, dried up sweet potatoes in jars blossom into lush, green, life-giving chutes.  I look forward to having a lot of sweet potatoes this year!  

Thursday, February 21, 2013


All is going well in the Masquelier household.  Isaac and Christian have been busy with basketball.  One has practice on Mondays, the other on Thursday and games every Saturday.  Abigail will be performing in the Spring Musical for school.  She has been working hard rehearsing, but since she has a lead role, she often has to stay after school.  Thankfully not as often as Elijah did for the musical he was in!  Elijah recently performed at Solo & Ensemble.  He got a gold for both his trumpet solo, and his piano solo.  And Jeremiah is POTTY TRAINING.  Need I say more... I've been busy with school.  My life revolves around math- but that's okay.  I still manage to accomplish all of my other responsibilities :)    And it won't last forever.  Josh has been very busy with work (thankfully) And we are all looking forward to SPRING!!!

Heidi is adapting well to the family.  Everybody loves her, but I think she thinks she is one of my children.  

I gave all the boys a haircut.  I really didn't want to give one to Jeremiah because his curls are just so sweet, but he insisted.  Now he looks like a big boy.  He'll be 3 on March 25th and is really looking forward to his birthday.  He wants me to make him a dinosaur cake.  One that looks like a REAL dino. We'll see buddy, we'll see...

I still haven't removed the crib from the boys room, but I took the front off of it so it's kind of a couch for their room.  They like to pile blankets and stuffed animals in it.  But today I found a large dog.  Again, she's not supposed to be on the furniture...like I said, she thinks she is a kid.

I told Abigail from now on she is going to be my "shadow" and do all of the things I do- helping in the kitchen, folding laundry, etc...Her response to that was "Mom, have you ever read the story about the shadow by Hans Christian Anderson?"  I said I couldn't remember...she then told me maybe I should reconsider the shadow idea.  That peaked my interest, so I looked up the story.  Apparantly the shadow ultimately kills the person...What's up with those fairy tales anyway?  She has been helping me a lot lately though.

All of the kids are continuing their piano lessons.  Isaac has moved up a level, so he was happy to play his new song for me. 

And for some reason, Elijah really enjoys peeling and chopping potatoes.  Go for it young man!  Here he is showing off his fast peeling skills.

Little Christian is becoming such a good reader!  It's fun to watch him develop his skills.  He is a sweet little guy.

That about wraps things up for a while.  :)  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Few and Far Between

It's not that I don't love you guys. (my loyal 5 or 6 regular readers)  But I have found with the onset of school, trying to maintain my home, tending to my family, and keeping my sanity, my blogging days are going to be limited.  As if I'm a consistent blogger anyway, but you know.  I feel like I need to explain myself should I be absent for a while.  I wouldn't want you all to feel like I'd abandoned you, or  I had fallen off the face of the earth.

About 3 weeks ago, Josh announced to me that I was going to be a mother again.  Okay, maybe he didn't say it quite like that- but I knew what was going to happen as soon as he made the announcement that he found some German Shepherd pups and he wanted to adopt one.  (NOOOOO!  THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING TO ME, IS HE SERIOUS??)  Josh has talked for years and years and years about getting a dog, especially a German Shepherd, but I never thought he'd actually follow through.  I figured he'd do a little research, daydream a bit, and that would be it.  

3 weeks ago this Sunday, a little (big) pup entered our lives.  At first I was very resistant.  I said I would take care of "the dog's" basic needs, but I would have nothing to do with it other than that.  No brushing, bathing, potty duty, and certainly no petting, belly rubbing or sweet talking.  I have enough kids.  I don't need a dog.

Well, my tune has changed since then.  Actually, I haven't felt those negative feelings since the minute she came into the house.  She was just so cute and lovable.  I had no choice but to become her mommy.  

Sure, she's a handful.
She's wild.
Disobedient sometimes most of the time
And she steals Jeremiah's lunch.  

But Abigail finally has the sister she has always wanted.  

Here is a picture of the girl. (Heidi)  This was only a few days after we got her.   I was attempting to take her for her first walk- it didn't go so well, as she didn't care for being on a leash.  But, we took a walk this afternoon and she actually made it around the whole block!

She has grown a lot already.  She is now about 31/2 months old and is larger than a lot of full grown dogs!  I hear her running through the house chasing the kids, and I can't imagine what it will be like when she is full grown!  Below is a picture of her waiting to steal my lunch. (note the huge ears...listening for the tiniest morsel to hit the floor)

Aside from the new dog, nothing terribly exciting is going on around here.  But in my opinion, adding a dog to the mix is enough excitement for me! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

School & stuff

School, school, school!  I dream about equations, writing & critiquing papers...

I forgot how much work it is!  I am managing things, but I couldn't do it without the support of my family!

I am so thankful to my dad and Julie for watching Jeremiah for me so I can attend class- I don't know what I'd do without them!  He's enjoying himself as well, and getting to know his cousin, Luke.  (because they watch Luke certain days of the week)  I think they'll be good friends, especially since Jeremiah pointed out that they have something in common- Jeremiah's middle name is Luke.

I am also thankful to my kids for understanding that I need to study & do a lot of work, and Elijah for helping me with some things.  He likes to help me, and I enjoy his help.  I'm also thankful that Josh is encouraging and supportive of this endeavor. He's actually the one who prompted me to go back to school.  While I don't like to miss church, we have decided that he'll take the kids to church alone on Wednesday nights so I can have a chunk of time to get some work done (which is great!) This is a big deal- taking 5 kids anywhere alone is huge! Added bonus, I don't have to cook dinner, because our church offers dinner every Wednesday night- and it's usually pretty good.  Josh will just get mine to go :)    But don't worry- I haven't turned into a pagan because I don't go to church on Wednesday night!  I have a good friend Gretchen @ www.extraordinaryordinarylife.blogspot.com to hold me accountable.  She has been a blessing to me, encouraging me to memorize scripture and stay in the word.

There is a balance though.  I never want school or work to supercede my duties as a wife and mother.  My plan is to get through school very slowly- my family needs me.  I plan to take 2 classes at a time- no summers- until Jeremiah starts kindergarten.  When he is in kindergarten I will go full time (only because I have to- at that point I'll be in clinicals, so I don't have a choice)

My ultimate goal is to become a hospice nurse.  I know it may be an odd thing to desire,  but it is something I've always wanted to do.  Perhaps I'll change my mind as I get further along, but for now, that is my goal.  And we all need goals.

Speaking of goals, and on a completely different subject, I have two other goals:

Potty train Jeremiah
Potty train Heidi

For those of you who don't know- we adopted a doggie.  She is wonderful (I was AGAINST the idea, but Josh thought it would be good for the kids & family protection)  I vowed I would do nothing to HELP HIM IN ANY WAY in regard to the dog, but I find myself loving her- and I can't help it.  She is so sweet.  She is a 3 month old German Shepherd.  She's obviously smart, and easy to train- but I don't know much about dogs, so I'm going to have to do some research.

Jeremiah on the other hand...
I know ALOT about kids.
I've potty trained 4 people, but this guy is giving me trouble.  Typically he sits on the potty and does nothing.  Then as soon as he gets a diaper on, he does something.  I've never had potty training issues before, so this is new to me.  He'll be 3 in March, and I'm tired of buying diapers.  But I won't be too hard on him- I know all kids are different, and he is my baby. 
This picture does not do her justice, but it will have to do for now.  She is so good with the kids, I can already tell she has the desire to love and protect them.

Okay- better get back to my 'real' work.