Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My child sounds like Edith Ann

Does it date me to talk about Edith Ann? Heck yes, it does. Anyone who grew up with me knows exactly who she is:

She was this kind of annoying llittle girl Lily Tomlin created who sounded like she was completely congested. While S is not an annoying child, she woke up this morning sounding identical to Tomlin's child in the oversized rocking chair. Poor thing. One of the hazards of mono comes in the form of a sore throat, which she has. I think the excruciting sinus issue is an extra added bonus. Loaded with mucinex and throat lozenges, she powered through the morning. She had a visitor who came and read to her and told her stories. A welcome change and sight for sure. She even got crazy and spent some time outside just sitting and drawing with chalk. Fever returned this afternoon, followed by another period of outside chalk drawing which involved listing the entire family geneology as far as she knew. Whatever gets you through the mono, kid. Tomorrow we will lather rinse repeat with the GI doc, so hopefully there will be improvements.

Side note, backyard cleanup and Operation:Get Ready for Summer has commenced. My mom and the boy cleaned our Little Tikes playhouse and our Fisher Price tree house to sell or regift. My brother told of this phenomenon on Craig's List called "Curb Alert", indicating that you had put listed items on the curb of your dwelling for first come first serve pickup. This sounded very exciting to me. As previously noted in past posts, I have gone trash diving more than once and have no room to judge. I have also told stories with pictures of passersby who somehow bungeed our discarded grill on the back of their Taurus. So you can imagine my excitement at the thought of seeing someone trying to strap a 6.5 foot hard plastic tree house on the top of their Altima or something like that. It was an exciting thought. Our excitement was short-lived when the hub sent pictures of the items to friends who were interested. We shall delay our people watching for another day. That's alright. Tonight I will watch my favorite crab fishermen and put my feet up. We have plenty of days for curb alerts...and I can't wait!
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Reality really does bite

All things in perspective, I get it, all things in perspective. Our sweet friends are dealing with the most excruciating thing parents can deal with when it comes to their child. Totally understood. I understand what our family is dealing with is nothing but a blip in comparison. I really do understand. The reason I write this blog is to inform family and friends, near and far, of the good, bad and ugly that we are dealing with on a daily basis. So that being stated again to try and assuage my guilt at being scared and upset when so many others are enduring so much more, I will continue.

We arrived at Children's today at 7am with the preteen pincushion and got yet another bracelet to add to her collection. After getting jabbed and then decorated with purple camoflage wrappings, my dad and I wheeled her across the skybridge and into the tower and up in the elevator. We arrived at the GI specialist's office, ready to hear some good news. After a short wait, we went back to a room with a relief map of the digestive system. My dad decided that would be a fun piece to have hanging on the wall at home(yay for early Christmas ideas!). Dr. A came in the door and brightened when he saw our girl. "There's my special girl! How are you, my darling?". I love him, I do. He poked and prodded and tapped on her tummy as though he was checking her readiness to be taken to a Fourth of July picnic. On her part there was a lot of groaning and ouches and sharp intakes of breath. With the exception of a couple of numbers, he had all the blood test results from an hour before. The basic report is this: liver function is a bit better, bit being the important word. Her liver is enlarged 3cm and is still very sick. The spleen is still big. The gall bladder wasn't mentioned, but the lowfat diet was continued. Guessing it is not up to snuff yet either. Then the words that changed S's day came out of his mouth. "You are very sick. No physical activity...no activity. You may not even return this academic year. I can't take that risk." She took a breath, blinked her eyes several times, mouth dropped open....a single tear started down her cheek. She never broke down completely and I told her it was okay to cry. Dr. A looked at her and said, "I'm sorry, my darling, but as your doctor I love and care about you. If I didn't love you, I'd send you back to school, but if someone were to hit your abdomen, you would have a fast ride right back to see me. I am so sorry." I was stunned. I've never felt like a doctor cared that much for me. It could be all smoke to lure her into a false sense of something. It made her feel better at the moment and that is all that matters. So, we go back Wednesday and Friday to lather rinse repeat and see what is up.

I ask for your thoughts and prayers for her as she processes this latest development. She slept most of the afternoon. Part of it was the Benadryl she had to have, but there was a sadness in her eyes that had not been there since she had been released to come home. She loves school and band and her friends and her teachers. This is quite an emotional blow. Pray also as we start the process of wading through the red tape that will get us a home bound teacher. It is, in its infancy, already proving to be quite a pain in the bum. And keep your thoughts with baby Drew and the Ballingers. I just can't imagine how they make it through a day. They are much stronger than I....

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Clarifying my lack of clarity

It has been a cold and rainy day here in Knoxvegas. No denying it here, when I heard that rain pitter pattering on the roof. I wanted to turn the alarm off, turn over and go back to sleep. But, alas, I work on Sundays and the boy was going to be getttin' his gospel singing on. Couldn't miss that. It was Faith Promise Sunday for missions at our church today. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, it basically means a promise you make to yourself and the church to give a certain amount of money to missions, above and beyond your regular church budget commitments. It is the hope that with strong faith, God will provide the money needed for you to give over and above your current commitments. We had two excellent speakers to really light the building on fire today, both are ministers I've had the pleasure to hear before. Rev. Harry Howe, who spoke in our Contemporary service, has been a friend of our family for years. His brother, Danny, has been an adopted uncle to us since middle school. It was a pleasure to hear him speak and inspire me to "drink from the cup" in a way I hadn't before. The Gospel of Mark really got in my head today...in a good way.

I had dreaded going to church today. Leaving S was not in my comfort zone. Not because I doubted her care. Not at all. You just can't turn off the mom in you. But, again, had to see that boy sing and let G be a big girl helper to my boss. I must say I was so very blessed and overwhelmed by the amount of questions and concerns about S's condition and the offers of help, meals, distraction. In the spirit of Wayne and Garth, "I'm not worthy!". I was very humbled, not just today, but since this whole craziness started. Because of all the questions, I feel I need to clarify one statement I made. I did not mean to overstate or exaggerate the severity of her current state. S's doctor used the term "24 hour care". When he first said it to us, I was a bit shocked. I was thinking about the logistics, the sleeping arrangements...longing for the days of the Snugli and Bjorn. While the doc said that term, it was not as it might seem. She can kind of be characterized as Bambi on the ice. When one lays in a bed with little activity other that going to the bathroom, atrophy quickly ravages what takes so long to build. The girl is like her mother and lacks much grace to begin with, so add weakness, fever and atrophied muscles...you get the picture. She has to have help walking very far, dressing, bathing. Humiliating for a 6th grader. I can't go to drop the youngers off at school and leave her for a few minutes. She just can't be left to her own devices. In her wobbly state, if she were to fall and hit her abdomen at all- back in the E..E..E..R. It is an interesting logistical puzzle, but we'll figure it out.

Thank you all for what you have done. For the secret presents left for G and the boy. They were thrilled. It is true that the healthy ones often suffer the most during these situations, so those treats were Heaven sent. Extra prayers for G. This has really rocked her world and scared her in a profound way. She is getting up multiple times during the night to check her sister's temp and make sure she's breathing. She helps take her to the bathroom and carries her food tray to her. It is a precious sight to see. She is a rose among thorns for sure.

Thanks again and have a lovely week. Time to snooze away to Jase, Si, Willie and the boys!

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

I must be dreaming...no, really

So with extra grown ups hanging around the house for a while, I took the opportunity to go sit in the mist, and then rain, and watch soccer. I needed to give G and the boy some of my time and what better way to do it than in the rain? The crowning jewel of "Did I just see that happen" events happened during G's game. I get competitive, I won't lie. But I will cut my tongue out and get duct taped to my soccer chair before I do something that embarrasses my child, my husband who is coaching or the other kids and families on the team...or on the field for that matter. What on earth would that say about me and what would that show my children? So back to the story, we were sitting and watching the game, playing pretty well. I'm proud to say that G scored a beautiful goal. She just kind of chipped the ball right over the keeper's head and right in there. I loved it. We had played hard and, despite the horrible officiating, had held them to nil. Then a ball came at G's face who instinctively put up her hands to protect her face. Handball. We all knew it. So the ref, who needs to reread his manual, started setting the girls up incorrectly for the awarded kick. The hub is not going to correct the ref, right or wrong, unless it is a grievous error or one that is a safety issue. The next thing we know, a purple streak of a mom went running down to the goal end of the field. She was a parent for the opposing team. The next thing we know, this purple person walks ten to 15 feet onto the field and starts rearranging OUR team into their right place. Yes, our ref was not correct, but he was the ref. She had no rights to be on the field and was delaying the game. The hub had enough..."You are NOT the ref!!!! Get off the field!!!". She had rearranged our players as she wanted them and then got off the field. The shot was taken and they scored. She ran down the field screaming at the top of her lungs, "NOW THAT"S HOW YOU REF FROM THE SIDELINES!!!!". The girls, parents and bystanders stood, mouths wide open, in shock. The AR on the coach side, who happened to be her husband, went to scold her at halftime, embarrassed by her actions. I won't mention what she did, but kids don't need to see that either. So beyond shameful. Absolutely inappropriate on multiple levels. So sad for a day like that. We got a tie, but if I were the other team, I wouldn't be proud of that tie.

The boy's game was not as parentally lively, but just as exciting. They played in steady rain, slipping and falling a lot. Good entertainment, always. We got a win there plus about a gallon of extra mud to go with it.

S has found an appetite today for sure. She needs to learn how to eat without inhaling. She's learned that even lowfat vanilla ice cream does not make Vanilla Pediasure taste good enough for her. She had some naps and burnt some fevers. Chugging along in the recovery train. I did end up carrying her down the steps. Just "too much work" she told us. I'll let her have that excuse for a little while longer, but then she's gotta get to strength training!

Thanks, again, to all of you who have prayed and helped and called and texted and everything else during this process. I can never thank you enough. Ever.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

All our heartbeats are home...thank God!

I've done a lot of crying today. I've cried for myself...I needed a little pity party. I cried for Baby Drew and the heavy burden of decision his precious parents now carry. I've cried for the nurses, doctors and staff at the hospital. These people have made an absolutely terrifying experience as tolerable as possible. And last, but certainly no least, I've cried for my family. They have been happy tears and sick tears and angry tears and worried tears. I'm sure there are fifty seven other emotions that could fit in there, but I am just too tired to think. Dr. Angel, our surgeon, came in first, checked S out and said as far as he was concerned, she could go home. So we sat and waited...and waited. S took two walks, four hours apart, and was worn out enough she wiped out. Our senior pastor came to visit and got to see this pale little waif conked out in the bed. Then our GI doc, Dr. Al-Tawil, came in to talk. I'm kind of glad our minister was there to be the extra set of ears. To say that I was overwhelmed with information was a complete understatement. He was about 50/50 on whether to let her come home. She ran a fever last night. The smell of most foods makes her queasy. She was on an IV for six days. He had to think about it, but he knew, as we all do, that there's no place like home. Clean sheets, clean pj's and a good shower work wonders to get a person on the right track. He decided to send us home, but there was a scary list that went along with that excitement. She has to have so much input and output a day. The amount of liquid and Pediasure she has to consume in a day almost weighs more than she does. Oh, and in that vein, she has lost 3-3.5 pounds. From where, I do not know. She will miss 1-2 weeks of additional school, with a 6 week suspensions of basically any activity except walking around the house. Everything put in her mouth has to be considered for the effect that it might have on her liver. No more Tylenol. He basically said it may take 6 months to recover completely. Good grief. He did express sincere affection for our child, saying he appreciated how mannerly she was and how inquisitive she was about her body and what was going wrong with it. Apparently her case had made quite the impression throughout Children's hospital, puzzling them all while introducing them to a pretty cool kid Yes, we were a little proud.

So we prepared to go home. The nurses and staff came in and talked to S, telling her that she would be missed. I made many trips to the bathroom to tear up in sadness and gratitude. Go ahead...roll your eyes. I said an extra little prayer for our neighbor in the next room over. His cough was disturbing it was so awful. He got his chest tube removed today...the one that saved his life from a potentially deadly pneumonia. Bless him. We drove home, my stomach queasy with excitement and fear. It felt just like taking a newborn home. You want to break out of the hospital, but have the luxury of the nurse down the hall. We are essentially bringing a baby home. We were greeted by the best sight ever: G and the boy. I missed their little faces, the smell of their hair and skin, the sound of their laughter. Their hugs were like a tall glass of water in the Sahara and I loved every drop! They have been troopers themselves, helping out around the house and not complaining about the attention sister gets. They held their sister's arms and helped her into the house. It was precious to see.

All are in bed and sawing logs except for me. I'll be there shortly. Again I plead for your prayers and positive thoughts and love for Baby Drew. He had a bad episode tonight. He and his family need your prayers. I believe in miracles. And I pray a miracle happens in his life.

Thanks for all the love and support the past several days of this horrible roller coaster. I could not have made it through without you all!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mono or no mono...that is the question

Today has been filled with a lot of questions and answers we really didn't want. Not that the news was necessarily bad. The news was negative. A negative mono test. This was the one that everybody kind of guessed would be the culprit. So then hepatitis was brought up again. So we went back to our room wondering what would happen next. While we were making our list of questions, S got one of a couple of surprises today. I think I have mentioned the visits from the HABIT dogs. So far we've seen a pink poodle and a beagle. Today we had a visit from a Goldendoodle, Murphy:

S has been missing her Cosby desperately, so Murphy was a sight for sore eyes. The girl was thrilled and got a few sweet kisses, even though Murphy got scolded a bit for doing so. We had a little toddler friend from down the hall spot the dog in our room and come in to visit in his little hospital gown. So sweet. Murphy and owner went on their way and S's face went back to sad. I French braided her hair, which ticked her off even more, so she decided to read her book for a minute. Then guess what? Another surprise. Some people from the Titantic museum came and asked if they could visit S and make her a princess for the day. They all came in their period clothing:

How cool is that?!? This hospital is such a blessing for sure. They do everything they can to make the stay as pleasant as possible. That means so much to us. S's soccer coach, and my friend, came in to visit and tell her not to worry about middle school soccer right now. All good.

When our favorite doctor came in this afternoon, she set us straight on a few things. The mono test did come back negative, but it was one that was ordered before she came into our picture. She is ordering more blood work that will again be sent out and take several days to return. Luckily she doesn't think we will have to wait here until the results come back. Now, if those results come back negative, then she explained we will be looking at more serious autoimmune illnesses. We are praying for mono. Whatever it is, it has been made very clear that her recovery will be a multi-month process. Her return to school will not happen for at least another 1-2 weeks. Yipes. Now her fever went up this evening for the first time since Tuesday and she had to get more pain meds. These are the kind of things that will delay her departure if they don't calm down. Sigh.

I miss my babies at home. I need to squeeze their bodies tight and give them lots of kisses. In a miniscule way, I understand how my friend Leanne, mom to Baby Drew, feels. You feel torn to be with the sick one and torn and guilty being away from the others. Agony. Again, I ask you to pray for them at this time. They are faced with the most difficult of tasks deciding about Drew's possible future. Pray for clarity and wisdom. Pray for rest and pray for their comfort. Night all.
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Let me spleen it to you...

I long for the Pizza Inn story days. I need a monumentally funny event to come along and break up the hospital doldrums. For whatever reason, I slept in until 6am this morning. Now, I was up at 12 and 3 and 4. So imagine my surprise when the voice of our cowboy booted surgery resident gave me a good morning as I lay there like a slug. I know they see it all the time, but jeepers. I honestly do not know how you can have a serious conversation with another adult when they sit there with an A&W tshirt, men's plaid pj pants and sever bed head. I was a shame upon our family. S, who can't help that her mother looked like a pic from the "People of Wal Mart" website, woke up this morning to the rudest of all things in the kidiverse: bloodwork. She took it like a trooper, giving me that whipped puppy look. Don't give that look, girl. I don't have the money to buy you whatever you want right now...but that's what I feel like. And honestly, I want to do that for G and the boy. This process has been hard on them as well and they have been super troopers. After the hub arrived bearing coffee and a bagel, we accompanied our girl to get another ultrasound. As we waited for her turn on the table, my breath was taken away when two wired up little babies came to sit and wait with us. One mom was still in her pj's, concerned and holding her sweet little one. When G was little, she had to spend some time in this hospital with RSV. I remember the fear of having a little one who was too young to tell you what was wrong, being poked and prodded until they cry so hard they turn purple. It made my stomach sick to see these babies. I wanted to hold those moms and tell them it would be okay. After returning from ultrasound, S got another Vitamin K shot which ticked her off. Then two more docs or PA's or medical people arrived bearing interesting news. Apparently after reading the latest ultrasound, it was discovered that it had been noted that her spleen was enlarged...but nobody knew. That was an important piece of the puzzle, but then it was a piece that meant a lot of things. No more soccer for a while. No dancing in her recital. No wild rides at amusement parks for a while. We talked about perspective, which is hard for anyone. She knows it is for her own good, just disappointing. She did get to have her first non clear liquid foods today. They were approached with great excitement. The aftermath was not violent, but it was painful. An afternoon of visitors were a happy sight but exhausting, so grumpiness got turned up a notch. She's due.

As my firstborn, my first baby, sleeps soundly under the influence of morphine right next to me, I realize how fortunate I am. Wonderful doctors, nurses, hospital. A girl who is improving every day. I sit and read the latest Caring Bridge update on Baby Drew and my heart weeps for my friends. They received difficult news after his heart cath tonight. I don't know what it is and it is none of my business. I just want them to know that so many have them and that sweet boy in their thoughts and prayers. If you have a moment, read about this family. Send up a prayer...a positive thought...whatever you can. This kid has a lot left to do in this world. Here is his link: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/leanneballinger

We love you all and thatnk you so much for all the support you have given us during this time.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

There's a little pep back in the pip

I woke up at 3am, disoriented and confused as to where I was. When I heard the sound of the IV machine, I remembered...hoping it was just a bad dream. I got up to check on S, actually thinking that she would have needed to go to the bathroom by now. All that fluid had to fill up a bladder. It makes me want to go to see that bag hanging there. I went to go stroke her head and listen to her breathing just for the reassurance. I almost heard my hand sizzle as it touched her skin. I went out to the desk and told them she was heating up again. They gave her Tylenol, which barely even woke her up. When she woke a few hours later, her gown, sheets, hair and even her stuffed dog, were soaked with sweat. The morning seemed promising. There was a bit more of a spring in her sitting up in bed. The smile returned a bit. Then there was a gradual decline, not unexpected. She's just so exhausted and tender. We saw 4 different doctors in the course of 2 hours...almost unheard of in the hospital. We received 22 different opinions and terms and confusion. Not that they were trying to be difficult. We just don't have mad medical term skills. The GI specialist was kind enough to sit with Sarah and draw her a picture of her GI area, showed her what was sick and what was well. At about three she started her usual heating up from fever and feeling pretty crummy again. I had hoped she was over the hump, but oh well. Then came surprise friends from school whose mother works in this hospital. Then came her pediatrician. Talk about a sight for sore eyes. She has known our children before they were even in her care. She has checked them, consoled them, laughed with them and loved them. Her knowledge and level-headedness have always been so very appreciated and, in this case, needed. WE needed the balance. She deciphered some of the rhetoric, explained how specialists work, disarmed some pretty weighty terms and gave us a rare chance to take a second and breathe. She felt that S had a form of mono. She felt that we had absolutely made the right call in coming to the hospital. She said she was going to be in for a bit longer. Her gut needs rest. Her liver and gall bladder need to take a chill pill and calm down. She needs to have normal levels and take her first bites of solid food in a controlled environment, without wanting to tear her gut out. Yes, in a sense, she does have hepatitis. But hepatitis is a term describing liver inflammation, which she has. No A, B's or C's attached. After she left, we felt a mite better and then our favorite infectious disease(ID)doctor came in to see her. She asked more questions, gave us more explanantions and let S listen to her rumbly tumbly with her stethoscope. She explained more anatomy and left no stone unturned. I told the hub, I have a bit of a girl crush on her. Maybe a doctor crush...she's just that impressive.

Later, G and the boy came in to see their sister for the first time since Sunday. There was hesitation after seeing the tubes and hearing the noises, but then the reunion between siblings made us all a bit teary. I know I complain of their fighting, but there is no denying the love there. And it is a strong, fierce love. The boy showed us how big sissy taught him how to tie his shoe and G showed us her beautifully painted picture for S. It did this mama's heart good to see all of her babies together. And then they had to leave. The boy is the boy. He just goes where he goes and, honestly, I think had an ice cream treat awaiting him for good hospital behavior. G, trying to be so brave, excused herself to a corner of the room, desperately trying to compose herself. But the tears came. And they came fast. She held me so tight, it broke my heart. As we walked to the elevators I told her to cry into my shirt. "These little ones need to see you be brave up here when they are so scared," I told her. She sucked up those tears, smiled and waved at the cute little faces popping out of doors and tearfully but bravely walked into the elevator. She blew me a kiss and then the door closed. I cried all the way back to the room.

I dread sleep, for I fear the 3am fever that might develop. I pray we are over the hump. If the fever comes back, we know it is helping her fight off the bad guys. Just from our few days here, I am absolutely amazed by how little I really knew about my own body and what a marvelous and fascinating machine these human bodies are. And I amazed and astounded at the genius and knowledge in our hospital. What a gift it is and how cool it is to witness so many gifts. Amazing.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Mountains of frustration

There is not a whole lot to report from here. There is so much to report, I can't really report anything. We are currently waiting for the Infectious Diseases doctor to come in and consult with us. We started off the morning with a 102.6 temp and excruciating headache and abdominal pain. The resident came in and said it looked like the gall bladder is coming out. When the surgeon came in at noon, the gall bladder was staying and Infectious diseases was being called in. Then this afternoon, the GI doctor came in and said she was very sick, that her condition is rare and that her liver is sick as well. They left us with the possibilities of MRI's and scopes. He said there are several very scary possibilities, but he just wants to get the infection gone. The gall bladder removal possibility was back on the table. Talk of different types of Hepatitis and other horrors filled the consultation time. While we felt good about his knowledge and honesty, we felt horrible about the possibilities swirling in our heads. Then she started heating up and the abdomen started acting up. So they finally gave her tylenol and morphine and she wiped out. She nursed a cup of blue jello for hours. When she finally turned the corner, it was time to Face Time with her siblings. G and the boy were so excited to see her, but got really sad then it was time to say our goodbyes:

The tears came and I lost it. In a big ugly way. Hopefully we will get a visit from them tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Currently we are waiting on the infectious disease doc who was supposed to be here between 6:30 and 7. It is now 8:21. I just want a shower and some pillows so I can conk out on this sofa seat bed thing. Hoping for an uneventful night. Thanks for all the prayers and thoughts for our girl. Keep 'em coming!
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

You'd never believe what happened....

You know, you just can't make this stuff up. After our exciting and nerve frazzling drive to and from Lake Junaluska last night, we arrived home with a feverish girl. She was certainly cooler upon arrival than upon greeting her in her bed. When your friends say, "We gave her Advil an hour and a half ago. The fever is down to 103.5," yeah not good.  This is when I started trying to crawl out of my own skin with worry. She screamed over every bump and moaned from the pain in her head. Good times. We had all the preparations in place to take her directly to the ER, but changed our minds upon arriving at home. The fever was down and she requested bed. Okay. When I got up to prepare for work this morning, the hub checked S's temp, gave her more drugs and reported that she was still feeling bad. I went to work feeling that she was in capable hands that would call me if necessary. And they did halfway through service. She was writhing in abdominal pain. Not good. I went home and readied a bag for the hospital. Once my brother and sister inlaw arrived to take care of kidlets, we took off to Children's. We were dropped off at the door and walked in to find something I had never seen before: an empty waiting room. Crazy! They asked us if we really needed to be seen in the ER and I said I sure hoped we weren't overreacting. We got back to a room quickly. The PA saw us first, after the nurse. I loved her, well, all of them. We had a bad doc with the last trip(concussion)who texted the whole time during the consult, so we were a bit gun shy. She was incredible! We were assured that there was something very concerning with our daughter and she needed to be in the ER and was in the right place. During my life as a social worker, many of my charges used the ER as their primary care physicians which never sat well with anybody. I always worry about going there and whether our malady of the moment is emergency worthy. Blessed assurance for sure! After having an angel of a Child Life Specialist come in and explain every detail of how an IV worked to S, leaving no question unanswered, she brought her ipad in and played games with S while the IV was put in. Then they partially drained her, but were nice enough to leave some blood for later. Then she went for xrays. Then we waited and waited and listened to her painfully beg for food and drink. Then the doc came in. I immediately knew I was going to love him. He was so good with our girl, answering every question and explaining everything and showing how everything worked. He asked some alarming questions and then said that they had some concerns about her liver. I immediately went into panic mode. Livers are kind of necessary and I hate to hear when they are not as they should be. The terms "mono" and "Hepatitis A" were thrown around. Again, not happy terms. He ordered more bloodwork, which meant more waiting. Yawn. Thank goodness for iphones and concerned friends texting. When he finally came back in, the doc had surprising news. Apparently our 11yr old has the health problems of a seasoned senior citizen and the gall bladder to match. It is a rare, but actual, symptom of mono. She will be seeing a surgeon tomorrow to see if it can heal on its own or if it needs to come out. S was fine until he told her she couldn't eat or drink anything. Then the tears came. Hard and fast and bitter. Our sweet doctor wiped them carefully from her cheeks and explained the reason this was necessary. Love him! He left and said he was going to start her on antibiotics and would be admitting her into a room. Great. Right before TCAPS. Great. The nurse came in and started her on her first antibiotic, Cipro. About three minutes in, she started digging at her arm, which had turned red and itchy and angry. Guess we found that elusive allergy. They stopped that quickly, flushed her out and shot her full of Benadryl. Take two. Then came the CT scan and a trip back to them exam room. Now she is nestled in her actual room, with her nurse Deb who looks like her homeroom teacher. In fact, in a morphine craze, she started saying, "Why is my social studies teacher here? It is not test time yet." Oh dear.

Tomorrow will bring with it interesting times, I reckon. Right now I'm going to sip my milk shake that the hub brought me and get ready for bed on a makeshift couch something. Sweet dreams, friends.
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wellllll, %$^&*#!!!!!

The hub and S got up very early this morning. We walked her around a lot and took her temp several times. We wanted to make sure that the reading on the thermometer was not a fluke. We wanted her to be fever free for 24 hours. She had been. She was so thrilled to get to go on her confirmation retreat. She got there before 7am. Thrilled. Sent me a midday text. Thrilled. Then we got a 6:20 call from her best friend's mom. The fever was back and she was shivering like crazy which would only help the fever go up higher. So here the boy, the hub and I are on our way back up into the mountains of North Carolina to get her. I know she is so disappointed. I am worried for her. I am worried for her friends. I am worried that the other parents will kill me. Mostly, I am so scared for her. She has fought this for a long time. I am angry that our doctor's office, who I love, is not at all concerned by this. I want my child to be healthy. I want people to stop calling her a hyponchondriac or me a Munchausen's mom. And, no, I am not calling anyone out on here.  The people who say these things on a constant basis wouldn't lower themselves to read this blog.  She has not been this sick since she was 6. Leave me alone, people. Just pray for my daughter. She has standardized testing next week. They put the importance of this testing on the same level as that of childhood immunizations and filing your income taxes. She had to make up some last year after the high school boys give her a concussion incident. Not fun at all.

It is going to be a late night for us. Pray for my child. I'm worried about her....
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Friday, April 19, 2013

Birthday dog on a nailbiter day

April 19 is a happy day in our family. It is the day our sweet and crazy dog, Cosby, came into the world. The first time we met her, she was in a blue plastic baby pool with her mother and nine brothers and sisters. Her proud parents, Onyx and Raleigh, anxiously watched as we picked her up and smelled her skunky, delicious puppy breath. If you held her just right, she would try to latch on to the tip of your nose and nurse. What a funny puppy! Eight weeks later she came to live with us and the rest is history. Today she is 15. That is pretty impressive for a lab. I guess the rule of thumb is the bigger the breed the shorter the life. Not to be morbid, but tis true. Every day that we go downstairs to find her on her bed still breathing, tail still wagging, it is a blessing and a gift. She has been a sweet and crazy first dog for the hub and a loving and protective second mother to our children.

So it seemed kind of strange and otherworldly and horrifying to be singing "Happy Birthday" to the dog and hear the networks' blow by blow of the Boston bombing suspects and chase in the background. I took the youngers to school and kept S home again with a fever. Morbidly, I could not tear myself away from the coverage. Thank goodness for multiple televisions. She watched Nicolas Cage find the National Treasure and I was listening to the Boston scanner as they were attempting to close the case on the attack of one of our nation's beloved treasures. To call it tense would be the understatement of the day, but it is indeed accurate. All we can do is to pray for Boston, law enforcement, the grieving families and the suspect. Different prayers for each, but fervent just the same.

What a strange mix of emotions. But the strongest emotion I feel is gratitude. Grateful for the protectors in our lives...our sweet dog with the children and the fierce law enforcement with the people of Suffolk County, MA. God be with all of them. I am grateful for their sacrifices.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dum Dum pops and belly flops

It has been an interesting day at the ranch today. We did something today that we have never done in our married lives...we paid someone to clean out our front flower beds, mulch them and mow. I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to make this request. As I told the hub, I just wanted to to get a good foundation set and then I could maintain it the rest of the Spring and Summer. The lawn had gotten so thick from all the rain and fertilizer, I had great fears that the mower would not make it two feet without clogging up. It was not quite jungle-esque, but it was too high and thick for my liking. So when I opened up the garage door to find one bed already trimmed out and clean, two super duper mowers, a weedeater going strong and another guy working on the front bed, I felt guilt and relief. I was raised in a family that felt the state of your yard reflected the state of your home and the pride you took in it. That isn't entirely off the mark. I had to take S to the doctor today to make sure there wasn't strep or a like illness that was causing her to be feverish. As usual, one of my children has fallen prey to yet another fever virus of unknown origin. For the love of Pete, as many as they've had, they might as well call it the Cookkid2013 virus and be done with it. So we bopped out of there, got the customary Dum Dum, butterscotch this time, and made our jolly way home. When we returned home, my breath was taken away at the lovely job done on the yard. The rest of the afternoon consisted of picking up children, picking up a flippin' ream of homework form the middle school and picking up happy hour slushes to try and cool the fevered girl down enough to work on her homework. After dinner was consumed and baths were taken, the kids settled down for a rare during the week treat: watching a TV show. It was a painful hour of "Splash", watching celebrities belly flopping in high def. Uhhh, ouch. G, our tender hearted one, shed several tears when Louie Anderson received the lowest score and had to leave the show. I was really pulling for Miss Alabama to get the boot, but I'm sure Brent Musberger is happy she lives to see another diving day.

I am now awaiting my new favorite show, "Hannibal", to start. We covet your prayers for our girl's fever to break into a million pieces and be gone by morning. It is enough. Who would have ever thought that I would miss the fighting?

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bundt in the oven

I love to bake and, most of the time, I am fairly successful at it. I have had the blessing of having some excellent teachers in my time: my mother, my aunt and my grandmother. So today I went about the task of baking a cake as my part of a meal some cohorts and I are taking tomorrow. I had made this cake last week. I have been making this cake probably since the age of 11. Apparently in the last year, my skills(and possibly my oven)have gone downhill...quickly. A tube pan has been my implement of choice for this cake and it has always worked out. Well I guess the pan has gone on vacation and forgot to send a postcard while there, so I had to resort to using a bundt pan. I hate bundt pans. Hate may not quite be strong enough of a term for what I feel. No matter how I grease and flour and tend to it, the *&^% cake will not come out nicely. Last week's cake came out in a decent manner, not good, not great. Decent. I used my Pampered Chef stoneware bundt pan. It is a bit smaller than my tube pan, so I had to put the excess batter in a seperate pan. Today I tried a bigger, old school bundt thinking all the batter could fit in the same place. Why do I mess with things that work decently well the first time? Doofus. I ran my knife along the edge when it had cooled sufficiently and readied it to be turned out. And it turned out...well...3/5 of it turned out. Nice. I greased and floured the tar out of that bad boy. Even the neighbor kid shooting off fireworks whilst laying out of school heard me cussing and grumping the cake pan over the durned bottle rockets he was setting off at 9am, but that's another story for another time. It looks ugly, but I think it will taste fine. I will be going to purchase a new tube pan soon. After the fit I threw, a few dollars for a tube pan is a small price to pay to save me from eternal damnation. Pray for me and Williams-Sonoma. They will be fitting me for a new pan soon. "Kum by yah, my Lord...".

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Flat tire Tuesday, with a crab chaser

It has been a day, but then it has been a day for everybody. Work happened, I did what I needed, got mad at my computer and left to get lunch. That was a good idea, anyway. I got a call from my oldest asking to be picked up from school because she was ill. Let me just tell you right now, I was not super nice when I picked her up. I may have even used the "h" word, you know...hyponchondriac. We got home and I sent her to bed. When I felt her head, I knew I would be eating a bitter sandwich soon. See, I'm heavily in the MOTY running. After apologies were delivered, I got her some ice water and a bowl of fake cheez its...this snack brought to you by the letter "g" for guilt. After picking the youngers up, snacking them and dropping them off at choir practice, I went to a receiving of friends. We lost a fine man in our community and I went to represent our family. Always tough and awkward knowing what to say.

After making my visit, the red bullseye store was calling me home. Purchasing birthday presents and stockpiling bottles of children's Motrin sounded like an excellent way to spend a hot evening in dress clothes, so I flip flopped in there like some churched up battle ax. It is virtually impossible to walk into that store without walking out with at least three more items than what were written on your list. Hahaha. I'm sorry...I cracked myself up there. Ten items more than I planned for really. When I got out of the store and returned to my car, I actually heard a hissing noise. An obnoxious hissing noise. Guess what I found?

A sharp shard of metal poking two holes into my tire. To give you a better perspective, here is what it looked like ou of my tire:

That'll leave a mark. Wellllll, that AAA guy came in record time, assessed the situation and gave us a little talk about the difficulties of after market rims on vehicles. Backstory, we purchased my car used. Its previous life had it living in a motor pool of some company which apparently liked hoopdee rims. These rims look more appropriate in a hip hop video than in our neck of the woods. We have been teased about them from the moment they were spotted by, well, anybody who knew us. I kind of inserted into the conversation that we bought the car used. So when little Mr. AAA commented on them, the hub said, "Do you honestly think we look like the kind of people who would buy those rims?". Looking relieved, the AAA guy, "Well, I wasn't going to say anything. But the rims make a bit more sense now.....whew." After a whole lot of stuff and nonsense, the tire got pumped up and the car was driven to Pep boys to get fixed. My man is a saint.

We are currently watching the Deadliest Catch premiere. The kids are tucked in bed and we are tossing and turning with warriors of the Bering Sea. Life is good post tire incident.
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Stop the madness...

Upon my arrival home from my 2:15-3:45 school taxi job, I helped the boy with his homework and signed a paper for G. I insisted they change out of their good school clothes, into grubs and sent them straight outside into the bright sunshine. Until I checked my Twitter feed did I realize that was the best decision I had made all day. While I know that I can't shield my children from all the terror in the world, I desire that ability. What was supposed to be Boston's happiest day turned into their worst nightmare. Bombs going off near the finish line of the world's most famous race. Terror and panic all around. Fatalities...casualties...heroes all around to help those in need. I always think of Mr. Roger's advice to "look for the helpers". Even as an adult I have to do that, to find some good in the midst of the horrible tragedy. I watched the children playing in the backyard, blissfully unaware of the horrors going on in our world. My heart breaks for those parents who are waiting and looking out their windows, holding their breath and wondering if their babies are okay. The parents who have been informed as to the loss of their child, those people who face a life without limbs, with horrible pain, with lasting anxiety and fear. All I can do at this point is get on my knees and pray. Pray for the heartbroken, the injured, the scared. Pray for the helpers, the heroes, the brave. God bless Boston and our nation.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday lull....Hee Haw will wake me up

We've had a busy Sunday, but then they are always busy. The out of town family has taken their leave and continued their adventurous road trip to their next exciting destination. We sat down this afternoon for a little Duck Dynasty and I ended up conking out for an hour. Whoops. I got up, did some laundry and general putting away and readied myself for a church meeting. S went with me so we could attend a concert that would be in the sanctuary down the hall from my meeting. Their singing was quite lovely. Unfortunately for me, the combination of a mischievious seat mate and a wicked case of ants in my pants, I was sure the possibility of me getting kicked out was quite high. Luckily, the concert went by quickly with the help of my seatmate. Sisters helping sisters, you know?

The kids are now tucked into bed, I watched a Jerry Reed episode of Hee Haw and I am close to hitting the hay myself. When I lay down, I live with the knowledge that I didn't get kicked out of a concert, forcing me to live in shame for the rest of my tenure at the church. Dodged a bullet there. Night all.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Soccer, Saturation and Spoon

Yes, friends and neighbors, It was yet another soccer Saturday. Three games, three times for the day to go downhill. The out of town family came to sample a sunny soccer day and they sure got one. The boy's team just played each other since the other team did not show up. G's team won handily. She scored three goals and saved several in the goal. S had her first game back since having the crazy allergic reaction day. It was a tough game. They won, but it did not turn out as she hoped. Being the perfectionist that she is, she has a horrible time not beating herself up when she doesn't reach the level she has set for herself. It was a rough afternoon, but she spoke to her coach and he pepped her up a bit. Upon our return, we discovered the other kids out in the yard with a hose and water guns. It was hot enough that it worked out okay. Soaked to the bone and exhausted, they ran and screamed until we told them it was time to get cleaned up for dinner. Soaked kids, towels and clothes, showered and clean and ready to eat. They were almost too tired to eat, but they powered through. They got home, pj'ed up and started reading our favorite book, "Spoon". We have little household spoons and utensils to reenact the book. My niece enjoyed this process and requested a fourth reading before the boy finally conked out in my lap. All in all a good day when they play themselves into exhaustion. We are currently introducing my family to Duck Dynasty. I think it is a hit already. More converts. Night all....

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Barbershop stories

The Wisconsin and South Carolina family have arrived today, but not before some last minute scrambling, which included the hub getting shorn after a period of shagginess. As I have stated before, I love the barbershop. Since Jerry opened his shop, it is a lot more friendly to the women folk. His boss was a bit of a misogynist and not too nice to the visiting moms. Jerry is one of our favorite people and makes the whole experience excellent. Today was no exception. Law enforcement came in to visit and maybe get their hair cut...not really sure about that. A man named Mike was in the chair, getting a flattop for what seemed like an hour, was talking about his crazy neighbors. He was being sued by them for $2000 for vet bills for his cat and the emotional distress of his wife. His words were, "They're mad because the $2 cat they got came on our property and my dog chewed on it a little." I love that place.

The cousins took to each other like ducks to water and have played happily all afternoon. The squeals and laughter are music to all of our ears for sure. They all went to soccer practice, which was okay on this lovely day. S had her first foray back after the anaphylactic scare, but did alright. She did her fair share of complaining about her abs and stomach. Apparently she had to be in a plank position for three minutes yesterday. That's hard core, friends. She told us that she might be getting a six pack. My mother in law asked, "A six pack?", clearly flummoxed that she might be talking about beverages. My father in law said, "A six pack. Like um, oh, um, Jennifer Aniston has." FOr whatever reason, none of the children could look at each other. Whether it was the strange conversation or the Jennifer Aniston reference, we were hiding our laughter.

It is a long day of soccer and cousin play tomorrow, so I will take my leave. I hope to have lots of material for you tomorrow. It should be interesting!

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The chili before, well during, the storm

Our prep for the family is basically all done but the cooking. Since our Wisconsin family is vegetarian, I am trying out a new chili recipe. I have no idea how it will taste, but it sure smells tasty. I am a bit concerned that it will not have time to cook and blend flavors and all those culinary terms that Alton Brown would say on Good Eats. Our weather map has a whole lot of green and yellow and orange and red covering our fair city right now. G, our sweet and storm phobic heartbeat, is currently in her bed with pink ear protection created for young hunters and monster truck rallies, her torn and tattered yellow lab Browning tshirt called "Thunder Protector" on over her pj's. The boy conked out almost immediately and S is battling a headache, but otherwise unbothered by the elements. Considering the history we have with storms and the "t" word(tornados-shhhh...don't tell G), we get a bit worried about the power going out. I really need to bake a cake, but I know as soon as I pop that puppy in the oven a big bolt of lightening will come and BAM!!! Lemon pound soup. So I am taking a chance only on chili cooking tonight.

I must away now to watch "Hannibal", a show that already fascinates me terribly. That means, then, that the show will be cancelled. But, I will watch it with great relish until it is and enjoy every tweet that I receive from Dr. Hannibal Lectet. And, yes, I received one today:

Fun and creepy. Let that rock you to sleep tonight. Brrrrr.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lateness makes me insane

I'm on a tight schedule, people, a tight schedule. My list was made and ready to have items methodically checked off so I can enjoy my family, extended and immediate, this weekend. I was going to get a big chunk done this evening for school. The pieces were placed just so...the hub had even done decorative wire work for me...and then the call came. Lateness. Someone forgot to read the deadlines in a note, so my big chunk of to do list will not be complete tonight. ARGH! Deep, relaxing yoga breaths. In two three...out two three.

In the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. Just annoying. I need to lighten up and get over it. Everything that is supposed to get done, will get done. The world will not end if don't fluff all the pillows just so. I will sit and watch Duck Dynasty, find my happy place and all will be right with the world. This episode is already shaping up to be my favorite....

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Meet my child, the pin cushion

Today was D-Day for S at the allergist. We got there 15 minutes early for her 1:30 appointment. I would go through the blow by blow of every single minute, because every minute seemed like three hours. I love our allergist and his staff, I really do, but an appointment there is for-ev-er. After getting weighed and measured and BP'ed and pulsed, they took her in for a breathing test where she blew out cartoon candles on a computer monitor. She then went back and had a breathing treatment from a chubby penguin nebulizer. After finishing, she was told she would have another test in 25 minutes. That ended up being like a buck twenty five, but who's counting. They then gave her a paper gown, 25 minutes later they came in with scary stuff. I took pics, but they are not cooperating this evening. S got a bit stressed out and I don't say I blame her. When the boy had his testing, they did four at a time in a grid and he has sixteen total scratches...so he had four panels of four scratches. This poor girl got not 4, not 16, not 20, but 72 individual scratches on her back. It was torture to watch. Luckily we had the ipad and Duck Dynasty to watch during the waiting time. When they came back to check the progress and found that nothing had reacted, they decided they needed to do further testing. So they did basically nine TB skin tests on her upper arm area. More Duck Dynasty. This time we had some reaction. Indoor/outdoor mold. Then the second breathing test came, this time having her be the big bad wold and blowing little pig houses down. She was over the cuteness, really. So after three hours and 45 minutes, we were told she has developed asthma and had this allergy, but the two together didn't really completely explain the anaphylaxis. She now has to keep a food diary of any food that might make her feel weird. Hypochondriacs unite! She'll have a diary full. I kid...kind of. So armed with a prescription for Singulair and a rescue inhaler to be used before running or dancing, we made our leave and went merrily to the Steak and Shake for a "You are the most patient pincushion kid ever" reward shake. I'd like to say I feel better about the whole situation, but I don't. I kind of feel worse. No real answers to the big question. So here I sit at dance, watching this beautiful creature dance through the pain and frustration of the day, I get teary. Her life is not hard like some. She has a lot going for her. But when you see fear and pain and anger and frustration and can do nothing to help, it is tough. We'll just pray that this was a one time freak event and that the meds will clear up any extra crud hanging around. I'll just caution her not to drink any large amounts of water tonight...with all those pricks, she might leak like a sieve.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Not much to say today....

Today has just kind of been a blah day. Still processing the memorial service from yesterday. Processing many changes that are coming for friends and family in the near future. Contemplating some for our family. I am trying to ready the house for family to arrive. Now that the weather has been nice for a few days, I thought I could get more done around here while the kids were outside playing. What I have found is that I have twice as much to clean when the dirty yard apes come in for a drink or a snack...but I mind half as much. They are outside playing hard and getting dirty. Nothing better than that!

I also went to get my permanent crown on today. Hoop dee doo. I will say, as i always do, that we love our dentist and it is always an entertaining time when we go. Of course I can't have a normal mouth, so another tooth got shaved off some so the crown fit better. We discussed strange people and funny circumstances and I watched my crown pop out of my mouth as we were in the fitting process. All fun, well as fun as you can get at the dentist's office.

Tomorrow brings with it work and S's allergy testing. Say a little prayer that they can figure out what in the world set her her body off and that it is an easy fix. She gets awfully strong when motivated, so it may get interesting. If I have a black eye and a fat lip tomorrow evening, you'll know why.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Celebrating "The Bear"

What a beautiful day we had here in East Tennessee today! Just gorgeous. Our Sunday started as they always do, with church. A powerful sermon to get us started. It lit a fire under me and gave me an attitude adjustment I needed to truly start my morning. And then....I went to get in my car to go home and found it dead. Oh the "woe is me's" that came out of my mouth. I was on a schedule. I had just enough time to get home, inhale some lunch, change clothes, straighten the kids up and get back on the road. Oh well, the best laid plans.... I called the hub who attempted to jump the car off, but to no avail. So he sent me on and sat at church waiting for AAA to arrive within a 15-45 minute time period...kind of the cable company timing for the auto industry. He's an awfully good egg. The kids and I ran home. I sucked down some sort of pseudo lunch, changed out of one set of church clothes into another set of church clothes, dressed the kids, braided some hair, set the GPS and hit the road. We arrived in Norris, TN, found a parking space and walked into an interesting little church to celebrate the life of our sweet friend, Barry Hughes. We saw lots of familiar faces from Kroger, the kids waving to people in every direction. Looking at the program, we knew it was going to be a very unique service. For the next hour, we listened to wonderful words about a man who blessed everyone who crossed his path. Words that explained all of the obstacles that Barry chose to not let define his life and his love for it. There were elements I had never experienced during a funeral before, but they all had a purpose and made perfect sense. I am so glad that I brought the children. The stories of Barry choosing to make a "stepping stone out of a stumbling block" and live life to its fullest with no complaints...well how could that not be a good lesson for anyone to hear? And after all the readings of different cards sent to him from Kroger customers and employees, the service ended with the congregation singing "Zip a dee doo dah", per his mother's request. Honestly, it seemed like the perfect way to conclude. We then went to the reception after with some family friends and mutual Barry admirers. Spread on tables in the fellowship hall were the hundreds of cards that had been sent to Barry...words of encouragement, sorrow, love and deep gratitude. It was touching, really, to see all of those notes. A table was there just for children's cards. His sister told us they pulled those out and read them to him first. The family was gracious and kind and genuinely touched by the outpouring of love for their beloved "Bear".

It would have been so easy to have skipped the whole funeral on such a beautiful day, but I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. I am still so sad that I never got a picture of the kids with their beloved Mr. Barry. So many of the people at Kroger are so very special to us. I decided to start chronicling them as I could so that the kids would have pictures to remember them. Our first came today. Even though it is an irrational fear, when children find out that one person they love is in a bad way, they are concerned for the others associated with them. In other words, whenever we saw Mr. Barry, we saw our other dear friend, Mr. Don. Once they heard Barry was sick, the kids needed to see Don and know he was okay. I am so grateful for his kindness and loving spirit with them...even if he is a rascal. So here was picture number one. The kids were thrilled to have it:

Thank you, Don. We love you. And to Barry, what a beautifully fitting day to sing "Zip a dee doo dah" and remember you for the saint you were. Thank you for making our lives better for having you as our friend. We'll love you always.
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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Beans, beans good for your heart...

No, I am not a middle school boy and I am not going to talk to you about adding noxious odors to the environment by the consumption of legumes. Today being a soccer Saturday was super duper busy. Three games, even though S still isn't allowed to play. Absolutely gorgeous weather. Just gorgeous. Since G had the first game, she got the pleasure of cleaning herself up doing some work on behalf of the hungry this afternoon. She and I, along with my brother, went to our local Kroger and asked people to buy cans of beans for the Fountain City Ministry Center. I've spoken of them before and their work with hungry and homeless families in our community. So we were outside asking for cans of beans from strangers, and some friends, on this gorgeous day. We learned lessons on not judging books by their covers. We learned to be gracious towards people when they choose to be rude. We learned to be clear in our intentions and thankful for all the donations, can and cash. G had fun learning about how many cans of beans you can get with $40 when you use your Kroger card and get the deals of the week. We learned that there were lots of people in our own community who knew nothing of the FCMC and the wonderful work they do, so we were glad to tell them all they wanted to know. We got twenty dollar bills and nickels and dimes and single cans of beans and whole flats of beans. And while I know that G would have loved to be running around in the yard making mudpies, I am so glad she spent a few hours of her day doing this. And, yes, beans do cause our bodies to make strange noises and smells, the beans today opened our hearts once again to how good it feels to help those who have so little.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

I am some sort of sick-o

So, here's the situation...my parents went away on a wee..wait a minute. Got caught up in the 80's there for a minute. My three readers know of the constant battle I have going with my daughters about keeping their room clean. Because of life and work and school and church and general ineptness on my part, I had allowed certain parts of their room to really go to pot. Drawers and nooks and crannies had turned into postponement areas. What is that, you say? Here you go. Me: Hey unnamed child, you need to put those socks away. I'm getting ready to do laundry. Silly me. I assumed that is what was going to happen. Instead, I look in their cabinet a week later and find the dirty socks stuffed in a folder under the seventh Harry Potter book. Really? I mean, really? So when I walked into their closet with arms full of laundry to hang up and stepped on a staple with one foot and a bobby pin with the other, my head popped off and things got serious. The closet came first. Then their drawers came next. This is when they became concerned. "Why don't you just let us do that?". My response, "Oh no! I want to make things easy for you. Go relax. I'll make sure you have very little to worry about. I'm looking out for you." Lots of gulping and side eyes coming from that duo. Today I went to straighten up a bit more and saw a few things in the crannies around their bunked beds. Twenty minutes later after tossing things from both beds, I came down from the top bunk to find this:

Those children are masterful stuffers, but I honestly don't know how they had any room to sleep. One had 20 mini bottles of nail polish and 7 Dixie cups stuff on her bookshelf. The other one had almost the complete, and missing, collection of their hair accessories. That poor baby is hiding her head in shame. I'm getting close. Just a few more bins to empty and then laying down new rules.

Between cleaning jags, I caught up on my recording of the premiere of "Hannibal" on NBC last night. Go ahead and say what you want, but Thomas Harris has always been one of my favorite authors. I read his books over and over in college and, as good as the movie was, The Silence of the Lambs is a great book. Let me just say, in the spirit of the recently departed Roger Ebert, I give the new "Hannibal" two thumbs up...way up. It was creepy and terrifying and riveting and a great break from organizing. I may just watch it again as I am going to sleep..because that doesn't sound like a bad idea at all.
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's go time on Wife Swap...

I got a bee in my bonnet this afternoon and started tearing up the girls' closet. I put the Winter footwear up until next time and found enough hangers to fill a closet. When I started pulling the drawers out of their different dressers, etc. and started cleaning them out, suddenly I was the center of attention. The girls were very concerned that I was going to throw away some precious gum wrapper or sticker from when they were 3. I filled a whole garbage bag...whoopee!!

After cleaning path in our bedroom floor of all the girls' items I'm getting rid of, the hub and I decided to watch some mindless television and wind down for the evening. Why he always puts it on Wife Swap, I'll never know. Luckily we only saw the last 15 minutes. The table meeting got pretty lively, but no punches were thrown. One very heinous thing was done that I would have been broken hearted over. The mom took one of the swapped children to get his first haircut. He had long locks and his fauxhawk looked awfully cute, but no way. You don't ever rob a mom of seeing their child's first haircut. Harsh.

I promise that I will have better material to write about here soon. This crud that I have has kind of zapped my energy and limited brainpower. Sorry...

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm sick...can I have some ice cream?

Well. I am officially throwing in the towel. My name is Jenny and I am kind of sick. My poor husband has been sequestered away in our room since Sunday, only emerging to use the facilities and stretch his legs. The kids waved to him from a distance and I brought his meals to him on a Wiggles bed tray...I spare no expense or frills when it comes to in room meals. I slept on the couch downstairs for a couple of nights, right next to a big ole' bottle of Purell. I gave him copious amounts of oranges, per his request, and nursed Echinacea lozenges that stained my tongue and teeth the color of Welch's. We as a united front tried our best, but I got the crud. Hopefully I have bronchitis or some viral likeness thereof instead of the flu. But I feel kind of crappy. So my question is, if it hurts my throat when I cough, can I have some ice cream? I know I don't need permission, but I feel the need for it. I'm hoping that if I have some, when I laugh I won't remind our children of one of Marge Simpson's sisters. Wait, they don't watch it so we're good.

Anyhoo just know that if you see me at the store and I keep my distance, take it as a sign of love and not a gesture of rudeness. My raspy cough is not Camel induced and my uneven gait is due to heavy cold medication. LTD.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Heavy heart once again...

I would love to have a story full of levity and the slapstick humor that is my life, but I do not. We have a small school and even if we are never in classes together, we all know each other. I heard today that a sibling pair at our school lost their mother on Easter. We have few details, but do know that she died in her sleep. Although neither of the children are the ages of mine, I knew this mom...not well. But I knew her. We had shared a bench in the hall while waiting for the children to come out of class. Her oldest was in Girl Scouts with my oldest for a while. Quiet and shy, she went about her school mom duties as we all do, get it done and move on. And now she is gone, leaving behind a husband and children. I cannot imagine the pain and fear that this family is experiencing right now. When I told my children, the immediate response was concern as to how one passes away in their sleep. Yes, kids, that could happen to me...it could happen to anyone. Wait, I am not making this better for them. How can we as parents possibly make any of that not be terrifying? I tried to explain that there are several conditions that could contribute to such a tragic thing happening and we have no reason to believe any of us have any of them. Still no real relief from that.

I just ask for prayers for this family. The children are going to need an infinite number of loving arms surrounding them, as is the father charged with raising these two on his own. No wife to escort their daughter into the difficult middle school years, no mom to smooth that cowlick down and get the clothes just right before school pictures. I'm not saying that a dad can't do those things, but that is why we have partners in life. We all have our strengths and our spouse or partner fills in the spaces where we are lacking and vice versa. My prayer is that this dad is surrounded by not only a school community, but a church or family community, who will love him and fill in the cracks when he needs it the most. God bless them all in the difficult days ahead.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

A life well lived....

This is a day I have been dreading for a long time. The sweet light of our community has significantly dimmed. Our beloved Mr. Barry from our neighborhood store, Barry Hughes, passed away yesterday...Easter morning. For the past few months I have dreaded, along with many others, walking into our beloved Kroger and finding out of his passing. He never complained about the hand he was dealt. From cerebral palsy to neck surgeries to a brain tumor, his kindness never wavered...not a complaint out of his mouth. While he was uncomplicated, sweet and quiet, he had a laugh that thrilled us all and could be heard throughout the store. Every child had a nickname, everyone's health and welfare was of genuine concern to him. He hurt when we hurt. He rejoiced in our joy. He was a member of all of our families...and we were grateful and honored to have him.

Good news travels fast, bad news travels faster. When my friend called to tell me, I was really hoping that I was going to get an April Fools call. What I wouldn't give for that to have been the case. Once she called me, I called a friend and an aunt and a cousin and my mother. Then I knew I had to tell the children. Boy howdy, I did not want to do that. They have not known life without him. They have felt the weight and emptiness of his absence. They all sat next to each other as I explained the facts as I knew them. Walt Disney himself couldn't have drawn more heartbreaking doe eyes, wide and full of tears. The first thing out of the boy's mouth was, "I'm so glad he doesn't hurt anymore." Through their sadness, they were handling it much better than I was. It has been a rather busy day full of nursing the sick and infirm in our house, so being busy helped take my mind off of things. At three separate times during the day, the children came up to talk to me about Barry. You could see the little wheels turning in their heads, trying to work it all out. All three times, separate from each other, they said the same statement that made me think "out of the mouths of babes." Let me say first that I know not everyone has my Christian beliefs. I have some friends who are staunchly atheistic. I have some who are searching. I have some who are Jewish...spiritual...unsure...scared. It takes all kinds to make this world and I have no right to find myself better than anyone else. With all that disclaimer stuff being said, my heart broke a little bit when this was said to me. I think the boy said it best. "I think it's kind of okay that Mr. Barry died on Easter. It gave Jesus time to come back so he could show him right where he needed to go and make sure he was okay." Well, I don't think it could be said any better. Godspeed, Barry. Our hearts are broken but we rejoice that your pain is gone and you are cancer free. We are better for knowing you.

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