Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This is wishing all of you who read this blog a Merry Christmas. The first picture is our oldest Tobias, then Heather, Lane, and last is Seth. I should have them all together in front of the three, but, well we only had three red shirts. I really wanted pictures of them in red.
We have had a pretty good day. The kids loved their presents. Heather has a stomach bug and so she is not the least bit happy. We thought that Steve had food poisoning on Monday, but now we think maybe a bug is going around.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bragging on my Husband

I grew up with a daddy that can do anything. I am serious. That is what this little girl thought and still tends to think. So when something needs done I tend to want to leave it for when my dad is coming.
The sliding glass door on the back of our house had only one pane of glass and the door didn't open very well at all. It took two hands and a lot of maneuvering. Steve with some help from me took the old one out and installed the new one.
This weekend he installed a new bathroom fan. Let me just say he doesn't know a whole lot about electrical wiring. My dad wasn't home to answer his questions and even a local person we thought might know about wiring never returned his call either. We went from a one switch that turned the light and the fan on at the same time to three switches. One for the light, one for the fan, and one for the nightlight. Steve had to add wiring to make that work. When we were done for the night only the fan worked, but by the morning he had figured out his mistake and fixed it. I had to help on this one too. The wires kept getting hung up in the wall. There is insulation on our inside walls. According to my dad it was because of the kind of heat that was installed in this house. We did finally manage to get the wires where we wanted them to go. It only took about two hours and lots of patience. My dad says that was a record. If you ever meet my dad or see him, just ask him how much time he has spent on one electrical outlet.
These pictures are backwards. First the new and then the old. Can you tell it has been a while since I have posted pictures. Maybe I will remember for last time.
The bathroom fan was installed in hopes that in three months I won't have to attack the ceiling and walls around the shower with bleach water again. In the last picture you can see the box fan that we keep turned on and facing the shower most all of the time.

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving day in the afternoon was spent with our Pastor Jim Oliver and his family. We forgot the camera, but had lots of good food, fun, and fellowship. The kids enjoyed riding the four wheeler and shooting the BB gun.
On Friday we had our own private Thanksgiving dinner. We did this mainly because Steve and I love Thanksgiving leftovers. Tobias did the table decorations. They came out of the sixth grade Abeka art book.
Our Thanksgiving holiday also includes the reading of three books: "Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving" by Eric Metaxas, "Thank You, Sarah" The woman who saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, and "Thanksgiving A Time to Remember" by Barbara Rainey. They are all very good and remind us of our heritage.
We have been eating leftovers ever since. We had turkey and sweet potato casserole on Friday. Turkey and mashed potatoes on Saturday. Saturday lunch and Sunday supper we ate a wonderful turkey soup. Sunday lunch and today's supper were casseroles that called for cooked chicken. I substituted turkey. So far no children have complained which is odd. Tobias especially doesn't like turkey leftovers.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My children are happy. The holiday seasons bring things that they like. One is eggnog. Lane especially loves the stuff. Every once in a while through the year he asks when we can buy it again. I keep telling him at Halloween, but I was wrong. We had to wait until this week. There were some brands out, but they don't taste as good.

The second item we just discovered last year: flavored coffee creamers. Peppermint Mocha made by Coffee-mate. It tastes wonderful in hot chocolate. The kids love this. In January they put it on sale. I stocked up on a few. This morning they were enjoying the hot chocolate and were wanting a second cup, not that they don't enjoy it all year long. It is just extra special now.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Lane Broke His Pinky Finger

On Saturday, we had an year end party for Lane's football team. Steve threw a fast one and Lane hurt his finger. It is swollen and black and blue and doesn't look right. Our family Doctor took an x-ray this morning. His pinky finger on his right hand is broke and the bones do not line up. So tomorrow we are off to an orthopedic Doctor. He waited until the season ended to get hurt. He did have a finger jammed early in the season, but it didn't stop him from playing. So he joins the "Broken Bone Club" with Tobias.
Click on the picture to make it bigger and you will see the brake for yourself.


Flag Football Season is Over

We have spent the last 8 weeks running to practices and games on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturday Mornings. Heather and Seth played Soccer and their season ended two weeks ago. Lane and Tobias played flag football. They practiced very little and then played a game all on Tuesday nights. Heather practiced on the same night, so I didn't get to watch football until these past two Tuesday nights.

Tobias's team won every game. They had to come from behind to win the last game. Lane's team, which Steve coached, tied the first two games and then lost the next three games. On last Tuesday night they managed to win by one point. Lane was the quarterback, so we were pretty excited. We did discover that Lane would be better at tackle football. Trying to catch a flag is annoying. He took a few boys out the first few games. On the last game instead of getting the flag he took the whole belt off of a boy.

Medical Approval Still Pending

Travel Health American sent an email back wanting more information. My Doctor I think over explained everything that needed done in the next 5 years. I wanted a basic letter saying I can go. So they want to know if I can have my TSH level checked where I will be going and if a CT can be done on my neck. So we need to find this out. Plus, my platelets are low and so now I have to talk to the Doctor about that. My platelets have been low off and on for years. The thing is they knew this from my medical records from Richmond. I gave a copy of all the tests results done in Richmond to my family Doctor here in South Carolina and she commented they were low in March. The next blood test said they were fine, so nothing to worry about. My Doctor's words. So now we have to talk to the Doctor about that too. Sometimes, I wonder if it is ever going to end. Please pray that we would have patience. We know that it is all on God's hands and his timing is best.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Unoffical Medical Approval

My Doctor has given me medical approval. I said unofficial in the title because every thing still needs to be sent to Travel Health America and they give the final approval. That is our news of the day!!! I will update when it is official.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Summer Reading Programs part 2

These are pictures from the library program. For the three youngest ones, once they have read 20 books they get a certificate, medal, and get to pick a free book from a box. At the end of the summer they have a party and get more prizes by having their names drawn out of a box. Since the theme was bugs, they had bug prizes. Lane won a bug container with a magnifying glass on top. Quit a few spiders have lived in it for a day or to. Seth got to pick the drawing from some local artist, because he already had the prize that they were handing out.

The teenagers had a different program. After 10 books were read you got a beach ball. For 20 books you got a bag that Tobias is holding. For each 10 books after that your name was put in for a summer end drawing that was for the whole county, not just each library. Tobias won 2nd place in the whole county of Spartanburg. He got a $100 gift card to Barnes & Nobles. He can't wait to spend it. Mommy hasn't taken him yet, but he is thinking on Christmas presents for his family.

I, mommy, won too. They have a summer reading program for adults. There was weekly drawings and summer end drawing. I won a weekly drawing the first week I entered. I got a bag, book, CD, coffee, coffee mug, and a $5.00 gift card to an ice cream place.

Happy Reading


Summer Reading Programs

We usually spend every summer reading using our local libraries reading program. Here in South Carolina, a store called Christian Supply also has a reading program. I like Christian Supply's program better, because after reading 60 books the children get a free T-Shirt. I can add to their wardrobe for free. :) This years theme was the Pirates who Don't Do Anything but Read. For every five books they read they get a junk toy out of a box. I could do without that one and they eventually do end up in the trash. For every fifteen books they read they get a bigger prize, the biggest prize being the T-Shirt. Pirate theme means pirate prizes. Seth is sporting two of his prizes. They are sporting their T-shirts and certificates in the above pictures. For every five books they get to put their name in a pot for a year end drawing. They must have done the drawing this week, for Heather won. She got a $50 gift card to Monkey Joe's which is an indoor play ground.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Working on the Mission House

Well, it isn't exactly work on the house, more like work on the land around it. Two Saturdays ago Steve spent the day repairing little things around the house and cleaning off the deck. What ever we did not know what to do with went on the deck. It was becoming a little messy. He has it cleaned off and nice looking.
About the pictures: he was going to wait until it was cooler to tackle some of the trees around here, but decided to go after finding the gate. The job took a lot longer than he expected.
The first picture is the found gate. It was totally covered in brush and you couldn't even see the white building in the back. The second picture is the pile of brush he and the kids cut and pulled off of the gate. The third picture shows the little path of grass between the gate and ripped up fence. The fourth picture shows the ripped up fence.
We were told that if we want we could have a dog, that the back yard is fenced in. Well, if we wanted a dog in the back yard the fence need to be fixed first. That is Steve's plan to fix the fence. In cutting down the brush he even found the top bar that was pulled off of the fence. We don't know what happened, but we can guess.
Our idea of what happened: The church hired a guy to mow the yard. He can't get his big mower in the back yard through the gate. It is a double gate and so his mower will fit, except that the one gate is covered over in brush. So instead of cutting the brush back, (which took Steve around three hours)(yard guy probably not paid for that) he ripped a cemented fence pole out of the ground make the back yard excess able to his mower.
On Steve's to do list: fix the back fence.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Post Hair Cut Pictures

Here are the promised after hair cut pictures. My husband said to be fair I had to have one with my hair down. It has been a LONG time since my hair was the short!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pictures to my hair cut

Someone, who shall remain anonymous, wanted to see before and after picture of my hair cut. The best I can do is a picture taken this spring for the before. My hair was quite a bit longer than this. I will have to get someone to take a picture for the after, I don't have one yet. It will be posted as soon as I get one.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Enough Excitement For One Day

We now live on four acres with lots of trees to climb. Lane looked out the window (he is still doing school at 4:00) and said look how high Seth is in that tree. I stepped outside to find Seth and Heather were playing a game to see who could climb the highest. They were stuck and could not come back down.

Now my Father at sixty has climbed a tree to get a neighbor girl out of it after she had followed Tobias into the tree. I'm thinking I guess I could if I have too, but this almost 40 year old women isn't the least bit interested in figuring out how to get into and get two kids out of a tree.

Tobias to the rescue. He has been climbing trees for a few years now. He got Heather out pretty quickly. Seth was much higher up in the tree and really was not interested in moving at all, but Tobias got him out too.
The picture is not that good. There is a bit of orange you can see and that is Tobias. Heather is at that location. Seth was twice as high up in the tree, I think about as high as a two story house.


We started school on Monday, September 1. This is the latest we have ever started school, but it couldn't be helped. There is no way I could have taught school with no thyroid medicine in my system. So far we were off to a good start. Lane has chosen day three to start in on the procrastination.

A little tradition of ours: I have taken a picture of each child in front of the front door holding a sign which says first day of school and the date. I have done this every year. I guess I will post the pictures later. I am having problems getting it to work.


Monday, September 1, 2008

A much needed hair cut

Making appointments to do something is something I have never liked to do: doctor, haircut, field trip. If I have to be somewhere at a set time, I don't like it.

So on Saturday, I just showed up at a hair place in hopes I wouldn't have to wait too long. My last hair cut was in the summer of 2005. Need I say more!!! The ends of my hair were nasty. She cut off around 4 to 5 inches of nasty. Then cut off 12 inches for Locks of Love. Then she shaped it quite nicely. She also recommended getting it trimmed at least every six months. May be I will try to do better in this area.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

First Sermon

Steve preached his first sermon today at Bethlehem Baptist Church. Our pastor took the weekend off to go and visit their married daughter in Atlanta. Steve preached on 1 Cor. 10:1-13. He did a very good job!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Body Scan

I had my body scan at 7:30 Am on Monday morning. Nothing too exciting. I laid on a table for 1 hour while this camera moved slowly down my whole body. It was as close to my forehead as it could get without touching me. Steve and the kids walked by once to see me. He said I was sleeping, actually I was praying, I figured it was as good as a time as any to be praying.

The results were: nothing anywhere else in my body - that is good and there was a significant amount of thyroid tissue left, but that was to be expected. The radio active iodine will kill it off.

I still don't feel up to par. I have been slowly trying to finish getting things together in this house and ready to start school next week. Awana started for us this past Sunday and I am the secretary. So I had a big order to place on Monday afternoon.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Home Again

I am back home with the family, but not feeling to great. I over did it cleaning on Thursday. I spent most of the week relaxing and reading books. I never did turn on the TV. On Wed. I tried to clean some but had no energy. Dad came over Thursday afternoon, brought a ladder and cleaned the lights and fans for me. I washed windows and blinds and then vacuumed.

Dad also did a lot of work over here at the house we are now living in this week. He washed all of my windows and put the storm windows back on the house. He also scrapped off all of the paint that was on the glass before he washed them. The front storm door now shuts properly. The side sliding glass door now opens with ease (this was worth his trip down). We were not sure what we were going to do with that door. It is the best door to go in and out to do the wash, especially when it is raining. He also installed a drip edge on the roof over the porch, hopefully this will help it not leak. It did rain and it did leak, but not what he fixed, somehow it is leaking behind the board. I think we need a heavy rain to see if it is an improvement or it there is more wrong up there.

Will post more after my body scan that I will receive on Monday. That will show what the radio active stuff did.


Monday, August 18, 2008

I have swollowed the medicine!

I went to the hospital out patience center at 10 AM this morning. Since I am a women I had to have a pregnancy test done first. That blood work took an hour and 15 minutes to be completed. Once Nuclear Medicine had the results (not pregnant) I was able to swallow the liquid medicine. It wasn't bigger than a sip. The vile it was in was flushed with water 3 or 4 times and I had to drink that water too. Then I was done. It took all of 5 minutes.

Now I am back in our old house, staying all by my self. One little sip of radio active stuff and you are in isolation for 5 days!!!!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hard Wood Floors

Our new abode has wooden floors. The first picture is an example of what they look like, especially in the high traffic areas. The second picture is of the master bedroom closet. I painted and refinished that floor. You can tell where it was worn down to no finish. I sanded it, which lightened it up and thought that was good. The darker area is where the wood was bare: no finish. I painted the closet because I wanted to hang my clothes in and then feel like I could put them on my body. What am I going to do in Africa, maybe keep them zipped in my suitcase. :)

This morning while Steve was getting dress, he asked if I could just move into the closet. It is the nicest room in the house.


Out with the old - In with the new

Just this past Monday my washing machine of 14 years gave up the ghost. It went to that great place in the sky via way of the landfill. We thought no problem, in the storage shed at the mission house is another one. So we dug it out and hooked it up. I put in the laundry and started it. All was great until it came time to ring the water out. I came back to water dripping off of the clothes. So off to the store we went. We needed new ones anyways to go to Africa. The International Mission Board ships your appliances, for those who are wondering. The old machine used any where from 45 to 50 gallons of water a load. The new machine only uses around 10 to 15 gallons of water a load. The only problem I have found it that they highly recommend using high efficiency detergent. It says HE on the bottle. Do you think I will find that stuff in Africa?

We are moved in!!

Our goal yesterday was not to try and get everything moved, just the main big furniture pieces. I didn't even have the kitchen packed up, mainly because the kitchen cupboards at this house were not cleaned.

Steve was at the house with the truck by 9:15. The men that showed up from church had it loaded in 1 hour and 45 minutes. By noon it was empty and on the way back to where it came from. The music minister's wife packed up my whole kitchen and then spent the afternoon cleaning the new kitchen. I can't even say how much that helped me out. What also helped was someone staying we need that cleaner that commercial kitchens use to cut grease. They had it at the church and brought a bottle over along with gloves and masks. It is potent, but it did the job. He even suggested diluting it in water to do the floor. So maybe this next week I will have an easier time getting the rest of the kitchen cleaned.

In the last week we have been filling the van up when we came over. We figured to be doing the same this week. Thanks to all of our help, the other house is empty.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A House Rule

One of our rules for inside our house is No Running. Four children running in the house sounds like a herd of elephants coming. That is words my dad used and there was only 2 girls in our family. The house we are moving out of is built on a cement slab. So the children has gotten away with a lot of running because we can not hear it. At the new house, with it mostly sitting empty and wooden floors, it is very loud. We have some work to do on retraining our children.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Our New Abode

We are moving on Sat. into this little mission house our church has. They have been after us for a few months to move into it. We had a 9th month lease we didn't want to break. We haven't been missionaries yet. Steve has a good paying job. We are leaving soon. All reasons not to move. Since my medical clearance keeps getting pushed back, we decided to move. At the moment we will not be leaving for Richmond, VA and orientation until the end of March now.

The house has been lived in some and used as storage for the last 3 years. I have spent the last three weeks cleaning a little bit everyday. I am not up to par as I have been off of my thyroid medicine for 3 1/2 weeks now. This is to get ready for my radio active iodine therapy. Back to house. We also painted the living room and 2 bedrooms. More could be painted but we are moving in. We have taken this house on as one of our mission projects. The churches goal is for it to be ready for missionary families that have come home on fur low. They would only come home with clothes and would need it to completely furnished.

Rita for the Schwarz'

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Appalachian Mountains on the 4th

We spent the 4th of July (Thurs. - Sat.) in Ellijay, Georgia which is at the bottom end of the Appalachian Mountains. The start of the Appalachian Trail is not too far away from there. We stayed in this lovely house, which belongs to Steve's cousin Rebecca and her family. Steve's uncle Bill built the house. Now his Aunt and Uncle live in the little addition off to the side. We as a family had lots of fun. We went fishing (first picture Seth is holding a fish), rode 4 wheelers, played badmitton.

It is sad that we have lived here in South Carolina for 9 1/2 years and only 4 hours away is family of Steve's. We had fun getting reaquainted (Steve) and learning to know this family for the first time (the rest of us). They have a little boy Lane's age and an 18 month old little girl.

Rebecca: if you are reading this thanks for a wonderful time!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another Medical Update

On June 18th I saw Dr. Sandrin, my Endocrinologist. She was very knowledgeable and answered our many questions. I had been on an no iodine diet for two weeks and off my thyroid medicine for three weeks getting ready for the radioactive Iodine therapy and scans she would need to be doing. She wanted to know who ordered the scans. We had to explain to her that my surgeon was just helping us move the process along faster. So we left her office thinking that on June 30th I would be taking the radio active iodine.

Later, that day she called to say we cannot do it yet. Dr. Nelson had ordered a CT with contrast. That contrast is loaded with iodine. So now I cannot do the radio active iodine and the scans until the week of August 18th. So I am back on my medicine for three more weeks, before I have to go off of it again.

This pushes our schedule back again. She will not give me medical clearance until six weeks after all this is done. So, if the IMB board approves us to be missionaries, we wouldn't get to go to Richmond for training until April now instead of Jan. Our constultant with IMB, Mr. Dan Panter, called yesterday to say that he has been updated on our file and everything will just be on hold. As soon as I have medical clearance he will make is so that our file will go before the very next meeting of the board.


My Baby Baby Turned 7 on June 7th

The first picture is Seth on his birthday. He is now 7 years old. The second picture I think is on his 2nd birthday. I know I have him in this chair when he was a baby, but I didn't want to go digging through boxes in the garage again. He is getting so big, so fast!! :( I want him to grow and yet I want him to stay my baby. He still loves to snuggle with mama. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Medical Update

I went to my surgeon Dr. McLeod for my six week follow-up. He wanted to know what Dr. Nelson was doing. He is the oncologist. Dr. Nelson had me get CT scans of my neck and chest and referred me to Dr. Sandrin an Endocrinolist. At first I couldn't get an appointment until Aug. 25th. The receptionist making the appointment told me to call Dr. Nelson's office and explain what is going on. Sometimes Doctors talk and appointments get moved up. I now have an appointment for June 18th.

Dr. McLeod the surgeon wasn't sure why I was referred onto someone else. I was wondering why I even saw Dr. Nelson. Anyways, Dr. McLeod told me to stop taking my medicine and is getting me the info I need for a diet that I need to follow for about three weeks. Most likely the Endocrinolist will want to do a scan and I need to be off my medicine and on this diet for three weeks. So Dr. McLeod is helping speed up the process. So by the time June 18th comes around I will be ready for the next step and hopefully will not have to wait three more weeks.


Memorial Day / Falls Park on the Reedy

Finally, we walked back the two blocks to this park. The bridge is the only one of its kind in the US. I (Rita) didn't like standing still on it - it moved too much. There is paths to walk, gardens to see, and it you want to you can wade / swim in the river. Steve and I didn't think a river running through a city could be that clean to go wading and swimming it, but there were a lot of people doing it. It was a warm day.

Memorial Day / The Children's Garden

After finding the Mice on Main we walked four more blocks down to the Reedy River. There is a walk way along it. We first walked two more blocks to The Children's Garden. It is just a nice way to spruce up an overpass. This garden is under a bridge. It has Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit, and Owl (at the top of the pole in the first picture). It also has the Secret Garden, a Gingerbread House, the ABC with a flower for each letter, and lots of plants and flowers.

Memorial Day / Mice on Main

Mice on Main in Greenville, South Carolina idea was taken from the book "Good Night Moon". In the book on every other page (the colored pages) is a very little mouse to find. There are 9 mice to find on Main St. in Greenville. We found all nine with the help of another family that had the camera aimed on a mouse. We then asked is they had found mouse number 4, as we couldn't find it. Here we has passed the mouse 3 times and didn't see it. By the way, Main St. in Greenville is a beautiful shade covered street, wonderful to walk.