Friday, May 31, 2013

Driving, driving and driving (Hub's guest blog post)

Today, we left the land of the Mouse about 9:30.  We were making great time until our approach to Atlanta. I have always uttered negative words (maybe even a 4 letter word) under my breath when I have flown through Atlanta.  I am pretty convinced that the road to h3ll is through the ATL airport. The Bloggess's dad threatened to fire his admin assistant if she ever booked him through Atlanta connecting flight again after he suffered major travel delays.   Today, my friends, I have found the great parking lot called I-75. The Atlanta parking lot delayed our travels by 90 minutes.

Prior to reaching Atlanta, we stopped for gas.  I was quickly approaching Empty and decided this was  not the time to reenact Kramer on Seinfeld trying to figure out how low you can go on the gas gauge. When we stopped we fueled up and then went inside to use the restroom. The girls open the door an the waft of nasty came out and I thought, "we chose poorly!" The boy and I went into the boys room and there was graffiti written all over the room. I told the 6 year old boy, "DON'T read anything!"  We chose not to wash our hands as did the girls. We bathed in hand sanitizer. I went look for something to sanitize the eyes but I have yet to find a way to rid my mind of what I saw in that unholy restroom.

Well, that all from "The Hub!"

My last thought:  buy Disney stock!  They have a great contraption to separate money from the billfold and place in their coffers.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stick a fork in her...

It is the last day of our adventure, of which I will share more when my body will allow my brain to work again.  I have three sunburnt children and one has at least 17 forks hanging out of her.  She's done.  We are awaiting the explosive conclusion to our trip and her feet hurt, shoulders burn and eyes hurt.  At least this happened the last day instead of the first.  While I never cease to be amazed at the rudeness of people in crowds, I am also amazed by the generosity and kindness of people in those same crowds.  I am grateful for perspective given by both types.  I would chat more, but my arm has gone numb from holding a sleepy child.  More to share later.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What's in the water?

We had dinner out tonight at a super fun restaurant tonight, eating in cars and watching movie clips and commercials from the 1950's. The key is to remember exactly what is on your plate, because once it comes, you'll barely be able to see it. There's nothing better than a nice red steak eaten while watching a preview for Ed Wood's classic disaster, Plan 9 From Outer Space...followed by a clip from Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. The kids were entranced and confused. Just where we want them. While we were waiting for our food to come, another family was talking to the chef and making their orders. Apparently the mom was allergic to gluten, nuts, dairy and shellfish. She had an autoimmune disorder that made her allergic to all but about ten things. I've had this conversation with people in the past, but I do not remember all of these allergies when I was growing up. I did have a girl in my Brownie troop who called her mother by her first name, "Joan" instead of "Mom", and told me "Joan" wouldn't let her have sweets because they made her hyper. But these days these poor families. All of the allergies these days and the precautions that must be taken. I feel so very fortunate that my children have not developed all these horrible allergies...except of course for the shot preservative allergy that we kinda found out the hard way. Okay, that's a pretty big one, I guess.

I felt so sorry for that mom. After consulting with the chef for at least 15 minutes, what came back on her plate was a ground piece of meat, grilled and served with some lettuce and tomato on a specially sanitized plate. We are very fortunate for our healthy and relatively normal children. And now that they are tucked in for the night, I'm going to down half a bottle of motrin and pray my feet stop hurting. Night all.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Putt putt pet peeves

I am typing this on my phone tonight, so please forgive me for the odd things it does when I end a sentence.  My iPad is currently unavailable...long story.  We took the kids putt putting today.  Santa on vacation themed, it was.  The kids all had their own style of play.  G had the best form and seemed to do the best of the children.  The boy was frightening, choosing to wield his putter more like a driver and sending us all diving behind the always present spinning wheel of something you hit the ball through.  What he lacked in accuracy, he made up for in intensity.  S, who usually picks up new things with relative ease, finally found something that she did not excel in...and it chapped her, well, it chapped her.  She's also on steroids due to this whole rash and allergy mess, so you can imagine the  combination of Roid rage and frustration was not a good one.  Her brother was flaing all over the place, her sister was like super golf girl.  It was a source of great amusement for the hub and me.  So me t time you see her, it might be best not to mention golf to her.  At your own risk...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bubble and squeak anyone?

We ate at an English pub tonight for dinner. I have serious concerns about the fact that my oldest is already more than a budding Anglophile. She loves their history, their sports, their music and their accents. Watch out handsome boys from the UK who may take a fancy to my not take her to a foreign country and keep her there. Now if you want to fly your inlaws in or buy them a vacation home in your country, um, I'll think about it. Think. So, anyhoo, we ate at this English pub and had a lovely Scotsman as our waiter. The family got typically Anglicized American fare. I mean, do they call it a New York strip over there? Maybe. I really wanted to get a Scotch egg, but I feared the exploding of the hub's head from the consumption of a sausage covered, deep fried hardboiled egg. So I opted for the surf and turf, so to speak. Steak and fish from the fish and chips. The hub's head still exploded, because I think it is the first time I have ever ordered fish in a restaurant. I've gotten plenty of seafood, but never fish and scales with meat underneath it kind of fish. I wanted the kids to try it. It was pretty tasty, but G wasn't a fan. She did form a bit of a bond with our waiter, who could have been her grandfather. She has a way with people.

I am headed to bed, my friends. My feet and brain are tired. And that is a very strange feeling....

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sweet summer friends

We made friends with some sweet people by the pool today. I have such happy memories of making Summer friends on vacations when I was a kid. We had a Coleman pop up camper. We were a pretty big my mind. Mom and Dad slept on one side, my brother slept on the other and I slept on the bed that was made from using the dinner table and seat cushions. We hit campgrounds up and down the East Coast, playing Uno and Rummy and eating delights fresh from the ocean. We had one campsite near the beach in North Carolina. A nice family with British parents and children who had been born in the states but had absorbed some of their parents' dialect were next to us. After we ate dinner, the parents would sit at one family's table and the kids would sit at the other. We played games and built sand castles while the grown ups would visit and snack and exchange stories. Those were some of the best days in my quickly fading memory files.

The kids made friends in the pool. S's new friend was attracted to the necklace she had woven while G and her friend worked on their underwater handstand technique. The boy and his friend talked smack about who had the best cannonball form. It takes all kinds for sure. Sweet Summer memories that will never be forgotten. Loving every second of the memory making.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fascinating...but kind of gross...and neat

I am a sucker for zoos and anything in the wildlife realm. When I was younger, we lived in Columbia, MO and it was a major treat to get to go to St. Louis and visit the zoo. One of the first things we always saw were the elephants. I remember the smell, of course, and I remember the little mice running around in the straw in their complex. My mother either didn't see those mice or was being extra strong for the kids. She's a good one. My pictures are slow to pull up this evening, but this is the one that is really my favorite in terms of creepy and gross and cool all at the same time:

It is a super big fruit super big. When it opened its wings to stretch its arms, it was really freaky. Sorry for calling one of God's creatures freaky, but it was! Luckily, none of the animals recently viewed were "fighting". That always brings up lively and creative discussions. If you want a funny story, ask the hub and I sometime about the giant tortoises "fighting". No experience can match it.

I'm going to rest these old dogs. If I had an epsom salt footbath, I'd have them soaking right now. This getting old...
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Friday, May 24, 2013

My eyes? Wide open...period

Today I pushed S around an amusement park in a wheelchair. She's still so weak, we just decided that a wheelchair would be best. What an eye opening experience it has been. I have always tried to be kind and considerate to those in wheelchairs or hover round type vehicles. I have kids. I've driven a stroller before. I just had absolutely no clue about how people completely disregarded the fact that I was pushing a pale, waify little sickling around a park. They cut us off, stared until I thought their eyes would fall out and were just generally rude. Now not everybody displayed this behavior, but more did than I expected. The employees were so kind to her and to all of us. I felt guilty having her in the wheelchair, especially when we passed a girl with a Make A Wish Foundation tshirt on. I felt really bad. But we were not trying to get ahead in lines or trying to make a buck in the "Rich people rent disabled people" racket. We were trying tot make things more pleasant for all of us. And the fact is, she still looks like a hivey mess. She has about 5% energy. It was a necessary evil for us. It got some interesting looks that almost made me brave enough to comment on, but I chose to take the high road today. We'll see about next time.

I am asking for prayers for my cousin and his wife who are in the labor delivery room as we speak. They are awaiting the birth of their third biological child...fifth over all. Mom is having some health issues, so we pray for an uneventful time for mom and baby.

Have a good one, everyone. My feet need some rest.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hotel etiquette

I was looking at the boy's book he made and laughed again at the "Let's go to a hotel" line and thinking about what was so fun about hotels growing up. My kids want to explore every nook and cranny, taking every souvenier thing you can take: the extra plastic cups, the notepad and pen, the extra soaps. I can still remember the yellow lights and star on the Holiday Inn sign and the sound of the ice machine. My mom always insisted on slippers in the hotel, Athlete's Foot you know. The craziest thing happened. We got to watch TV while in bed. It was the best ever. As we got older, the continental breakfast became more en vogue. What a treat! HBO...for free!!

I just wonder what my grandchildren will have to look forward to in a hotel. They are going to have to aim pretty high. I'm still old school:

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New news, kind of

The possibility of Lyme disease was thrown in the mix full tilt today. Apparently it was not tested for in the hospital, so they did blood work today to rule that out. The dermatologist called today for a very detailed conversation about our child. She and our favoroite rock star doc from Children's have a lot of questions still, but have dcome to their personal conclusion. They believe out girl is allergic to the preservative that is in the Vitamin K shot she received in the hospital. This would also explain her allergic reaction to the Cipro in the hospital when they gave her an IV. It had preservative in it as well. They wanted to give her a shot of prednisone to get the healing underway, but quickly changed their minds for fear of the preservative reaction there. So our little blonde waif is now roided up on the oral stuff and it is making her CRAZY!!! She may finally be able to gain the weight back that she lost, although she can't slow down, so....scratch that. Anyhoo, that's what we know and we await the call from the doctor to explain the bloodwork findings. Jeepers.

We met her homebound teacher today. He seems to be a nice enough chap, though we'll have to loosen him up a bit. His initiation into the family will be a kind and gentle one, involving lots of baked goods and crafts. Welcome to the family, teach!

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I don't know what to say

More medical drama today. Rash worse. Second visit to specialist. Still stumped. She got out of another biopsy, thank God. My mom decided to conduct a Celebrity Apprentice ice cream taste test for the family. S got to eat real ice cream for the first time in over a month. Got a pretty big smile for ice cream.

Awards day number two happened today. Mine didn't win many awards. Partially my fault, partially theirs and partially they just didn't get chosen. But they both won the same award, of which I am immensely proud: Good Citizen of the Year. We can all be good at a subject or sport, but if we aren't good people, well, I am so proud.

So proud of all our little heartbeats. It is an overused word, but we are truly blessed. And, come on, those kids are pretty darn cool.
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Flummoxed beyond reason

Well friends and neighbors, I think you must be getting tired of my bellyaching about my sickly child. If you are, I totally understand if you decide to switch over to funny baby videos on youTube for the duration. I will try to be brief. S woke up in a state this morning after a rough evening. Her cellulitis areas on her legs looked like they were spreading or active. She felt itchiness behind her ears. I put Benadryl cream on all the guilty parties, fed her some breakfast, gave her some of her ridiculously strong antibiotics and left, hoping her Nana could get her back to sleep while I went to awards day number one. When I returned 1.5 hours later, my child was sweaty seeping with warm compresses on her legs. I removed them to find an alarming picture and also looked to find bumps on her skin she had reported to be itching. After waking and within an hour, she was itching terribly and was found to have a nice rash going on her trunk area. After just having spoken to the pediatrician's office, I called right back and they immediately got her in to see a dermatologist. This was great fun, because by the time we got to the office an hour later, the rash had spread to her arms, legs and face. We were called in to the exam room, asked 247 questions and were told that she may have a biopsy. This term proved too much for the kid to handle and she lost her, well, she lost it. The NP, Lindsay, came in to find her crying and immediately melted and started comforting her. Then she took a look at her ravaged little body. Trying to ask more investigative questions, she hit a point of frustration and called for the doctor...immediately. This never places confidence in the heart of a parent. The docotr came in, comforted her as well and immediately started combing over her with the RN and the NP. Her feelling was that this was not cellulitis, but instead a severe allergic reaction to something PLUS a secondary reaction to the primary reaction. Huh? They think that her body may be allergic to the preservative that was in the Vitamin K shots she got in the hospital. That or allergic to the Benadryl cream or neosporin cream or the antibiotic cream or the antibiotic...get what I'm saying? They were stumped. So, biopsy time came. My father and I held her down while they gave her a numbing shot right into the most painful area of her leg. Next, they took a good chunk of skin out and stitched her up, one-two-three. At that point, the look in her eyes was of a truly broken spirit. She just gave up and it broke my heart. A rush has been put on the biopsy and we will hopefully hear news tomorrow morning. We got in the car, drove quickly away and got her a milkshake. It started to have some healing power.

Pray for this broken spirit. Please pray for the hub and I. We are running out of brave faces at a time when we need a lot. She needs some good "feels". Soon.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Confirmation Day

Today was a big day in the life of our family. Our oldest was confirmed and is now a full fledged member of the United Methodist church. My Southern Baptist relatives have their baptism as the turning point day in their life as a Christian. We sprinkle our babies. While this is indeed a big day for us, their confirmation day is the day when they make the decision, after a period of study, to officially join the church and answer the historic questions. It was a lovely service and an exciting time. S was extremely proud to be professing her faith in front of the congregation. Pretty cool stuff.

Before the service, we all were working on getting decked out in church finery. Several months ago, I had a friend make a bowtie for the boy. I thought he would look quite dapper, especially for an occasion such as Confirmation. Only problem is, um, I don't know how to tie a bow tie. My brother does, but we were meeting him at church. I got on youtube(what would we do without it these days) and watched the video about 50 times to learn how to tie a bow tie. Couldn't do it. G watched it three times. And then this happened:

She is the coolest kid ever. I just want to squeeze her all the time. That picture is a good way to end things tonight. What more do I need in life? nothing.
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Jimbo you drive my car...or sell us one

So we have been in need of a new vehicle for a while now. Although we hate the thought of taking on a car payment after being payment free for a while, it needed to be done. The thought of being forced into getting a new one because the old one croaked was not too palatable. So at 9am, when we really would have liked to be in the dark, still in bed and watching weird documentaries, we were driving in the rain to our first destination: a BMW dealership that had a trade in used vehicle we were interested in trying. Whlst waiting for said vehicle to get gassed up, we looked in a few kind of snazzy sporty cars...if you are in to that sort of thing. The hub cautioned me to be careful and watch my umbrella around one. It was only $120,000. Let's get two. Needless to say, the two yokels from the northern part of the county were small beans and nothing they wanted to negotiate with. Okay.

The next couple of hours were a bit of a blur as the hub played two dealerships against each other, reacting gleefully with each new phone call he received. Finally we settled with Jimbo as our salesman with the most zeal. Four hours or five hours later, I really don't remember, I left to go home and check on the patients and left B there to fend for himself. I think my lack of math skills made Jimbo a little annoyed, but maybe that helped to wear him down. I think it just made him sad. Anyhoo, B arrived in the driveway a good hour and a half later with a new vehicle.. The kids got a test drive and I have more peace of mind when my husband goes to work.

Oh well. Off to draw Sharpie lines on my kid's leg. The joys of infection that won't go away. Whoopee.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Is it Wednesday yet?

So I don't know about the rest of you parents out there, but I am so ready for this school year to be over. I am not a fan of Summer weather for I do not like extreme temperatures of heat. Cold, I do not mind. I just dislike not being able to breathe with the air being so hot and thick. Yuck.

Today I took S to the doc, again, to have her leg examined. While in the hospital, she had to take vitamin K shots to help with the clotting of her blood. On day two of the shots, the nurse went to give her a shot and she jerked. The needle had pierced her skin, but they had to start over with a new syringe, etc.. That was April 25. Today, after having a leg that looked like something out of a creepy medical book photo, we found out she has developed cellulitis from the site of the injections. Where the infection came from is anyone's guess. The long and short of it is she's on some super heavy duty antibiotics for ten days, three times a day. Yoplait is going to have a boost in sales thanks to our family. I think we as a family are ready to charge forth and dive in to the Summer bubble for the next few months.

All things in perspective, we have learned of someone we know who has been diagnosed with cancer, having spots found on his liver. He has a young family. Pray for him and for his family. A big hearty @$#% to cancer and the havoc that comes in its wake. Beat this, man. You can do it.

Bedtime is nigh and hopes for a dark and stormy, but not too stormy, night are high. First sleep in Saturday in a long time...and I am up to the challenge of sleeping.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

We need to get a life

Another day in the life of the most boring woman on Earth...well maybe in Tennessee. After spending a gross amount of time trying to get crayon out of a load of laundry for the SECOND time in three months, the oldest and I sat outside for a long time and watched our resident Chickadees. They have gotten used to us watching them work, which only goes to prove how much we watch them:

I did fail to tell my three readers of our excitement this past Saturday. The children went outside and freaked the freak out at our uninvited guest. When you live with woods in your backyard, you get what you get. And we got one:

Yes. It caused quite a stir, especially when it managed to slip out of the shoebox. I think the screams were heard in a three mile radius. We got calls. It is now safely roaming the vacant lot adjacent to our yard. Enjoy that thought when the kids ask you to go in the woods with them...
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Freshly shorn and totally worn...out

I have been past due for a haircut, like a month past due. When you have short thick hair like I do, a month makes a big impact on how you look. I looked basically like a total dolt. My hair can be fine and then, all of a sudden, it grows one smidgen too much and becomes impossible to work with. So imagine my excitement this afternoon, after a morning of blood work and doc appointments with S, when I got to go by myself and get my hair cut. My noggin was professionally scrubbed. It was wonderful. She cut off enough hair for three other heads and returned me to my frumpy but freshly shorn self. My summer break will start on a cooler note.

S had a good visit with the GI doc this morning. Her numbers are still not back to normal, but are steadily improving. We will take this any day of the week. We did get a laugh as we left the office and entered the parking garage area. Who knew the Corleone family owned parts of Children's Hospital:

Whatever it takes to forget why we are there in the first place. Have a good night, everybody.
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The art of listening

I am currently on the phone with an acquaintance who is severely mentally ill. A few months ago her mother passed away and I went to the receiving of friends. Apparently this stuck in her mind, so when she S was sick, she called to check on her and "return the favor" as she called it. While it was very tempting to quickly dismiss her and get on with the viewing of my favorite crab fishermen, I chose to listen instead. Am I patting myself on the back, telling myself what a patient person I am? No. Not at all. It was a very uncomfortable conversation that took several twists and turns before I finally had to let her go and check on the children. It is really true that there is an art to listening to people, healthy or not. Not sure how I rated on a scale from one to ten. I just tried to ride the wave with her.

In other news, I have turned into a ringtone creating nut. I got one of those ringtone creating apps and I have driven the hub crazy all night. If you have a suggestion for your own ringtone, suggestions are welcome, but if it isn't in my itunes collection, sorry. I am cheap. Just know the hub decided that one of my coworkers should have the Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" as their ring. We'll see....

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Monday, May 13, 2013

A day with my girl...and the chickadees

My much appreciated help has gone home to rest and recuperate from a cold and, well, being with us for three weeks, so today was the first day I have spent with S by myself in about a month. So our day consisted of running a few simple errands, taking a couple cat naps while she watched "Bet on my Baby" and watching the chickadees. Being in year number five or six with the chickadees, we have become a bird obsessed family. Watching the father come in and out of the house while the mom sits on her eggs and now watching both parents go out for food, chat with each other and us from different perches and feed their newly hatched's fascinating. We love to hear the sounds of the hungry little peepers as they excitedly greet their parents with their worms and suet. After school snack time consisted of peanuts for the kids and front row seats to "Nature Theatre":

The birdhouse is on the far left...a little patch of blue. So neat to watch. Eat your heart out Disney Channel.

After bird watching and playing outside and ending up in a good old fashioned throw sidewalk chalk at each other fight, the children decided they needed to cool off. So they got their baths, pajama'ed up and relaxed before dinner:

Gotta love some sibling bonding. The school year is quickly drawing to a close and the days are getting longer and longer. I welcome this break as a clean slate and a new start for our family. I look forward to it.
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

I don't have much to say...go ahead and be shocked

Today was Mother's Day and I was blessed with a wonderful breakfast in bed from my wonderful family. My hub scrambled eggs, which was a major treat since he does not eat of the yolky goodness:

The kids all gave me wonderful handmade treasures they had worked so very hard to create. I am truly a lucky woman. I even got to have a tiny cat nap, which was nice and just enough. Getting up early and playing bells proved too much for G. She succumbed to the nap monster early:

Our afternoon took an unexpected turn, but such is the life of our family. I now plan to wash my hair, get my DVD of Hee Haw Season 2 on Netflix and go relax in bed. I know you are jealous. But on this Mother's Day, with this wonderful family of mine, I am truly living the dream.
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

It was 17 years ago today....

Seventeen years ago today the hub and I were on a plane to Orlando to honeymoon in the happiest place on Earth. It was his first plane ride, well since the age of four. I was not feeling well. While all the little ladies helping me get into my wedding dress said it was nerves, it turned out that it was a sick tummy bug that lasted a few days while there..."Isn't it romantic...". Anyhoo, I thought it was ironic that on this day of our 17th anniversary, we woke up to go to the, well not the happiest place on Earth: the soccer fields. It was kind of happy because it was the last game and the start of a much needed break for all the kids. We watched games, the hub reffed two games and got grumped at by a coach who wasn't following the rules. My husband is not a rule breaker and refused to bend which caused a coach to say bad things about my husband to his team. It's a good thing I wasn't around there. A good thing. "Isn't it romantic...".

Before the soccer morning began, the children had a few anniversary gifts to share with us. S and G had both made sweet little crafts and used their artistic and literary talents to good use. They were lovely. The boy made me a book. A few years ago my mom took some fabric scraps and , very nicely and neatly, covered cardboard and paper to make all kinds of little blank books for the children to create masterpieces. The boy did one for us. Here it is as best as I can show and translate:

This is the cover. Animals...good start.

Our anniversary date. Glad he knows it.

"Have a good anniversary." We are eating salad and have drinks.

"Mom and Dad are happy. They got up to dance." You can tell he took some creative license. We don't do much dancing.

He said this says, "Shall we go?" and "No." Not sure where we were arguing about going. Maybe a discoteque.

"Let's go to a movie." We are at the theatre watching Indiana Jones, as clearly illustrated by the hat and whip on the big screen. The bottom of the picture shows theatre seats with one lone indiviual in the back, which he terms "Awkward". Okay...

This is where the twist in the story comes. I really don't know what to say other than my kids think hotels are great fun. He has not had any sort of "talk" yet, so don't get any ideas. After this twist, he brings it all home for us on the final page. The whole muse for his writings:

I love that kid. I love them all and I am so very humbled that God sent me such wonderful partner with whom I can share this crazy life with. The story of love.
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Friday, May 10, 2013

Fierce faced Field Day

Field Day number two today. I love Kindergarteners, but helping to keep up with 21 of them is like herding cats on an icy pond. We'd get one in place and another would be wandering around with another class. So mischievious. So very fun! The boy woke up and was dressed by 5:45...15 minutes before I was even slated to rise from my soft, warm surroundings. Excited doesn't quite cover what he was feeling, but you get the idea. His class came in third out of three, but they had heart. They came in first in the tug of war, a favorite with two of my three kidlets. The game faces they use are almost menacing, which is funny because they are sweet kids. While I would love to show you the recordings of their tug o' war battles, I sadly do not have the permission of all the parents. But I will say, it was excellent. I do have a good shot of the boy doing the ice cream cone relay. His ice cream never fell off:

He is now safely tucked into bed, with visions of rubber chickens and hula hoops dancing in his head. Tomorrow he will play a soccer game, his last of the season. While it is a bit sad that it is over, Summer break brings with it new opportunities for fun and sport...with maybe a few real ice cream cones thrown in. Yum!

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tug 'o warpath

Today was Field Day number one for our family. The boy will have his first ever tomorrow, well, the first one where he's actually a participant and not just a put upon sibling. But today was G's day. She was in a lot of things, not sure how that happened except that I think they had some absences and that gave her extra opportunities and I am so sure you all don't really care to know the minutae of this whole process. She had healthy participation today. While I enjoy the competition and general attitude of excitement and glee that comes from this day, I have less enthusiasm when it comes to the skin damage it comes from the lack of shade. Someday I will wise up and get one of those huge umbrellas that the hard core soccer parents have at the fields. But until then, I sit in my soccer chair armed with a bottle of sunscreen and a big water bottle.

G's class came in second out of four classes in her grade level. She is very competitive, so I know it was a slight disappointment. There was also a second place finish in her favorite event: the tug o' war. My child approaches her duties on the rope with the same resolve as one who is saving a kennel of drowning puppies from certain death. The kid is strong and hilarious to watch.

She paused from her steely focus to grant me one smile. Ah, yes. Another Field Day in the books and another year of preparation and sibling tossing to build muscles to be ready for next year. Watch out purple team!

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A little song, a little dance, a little punch in the eye

Today was a pretty average day. I did a fair amount of baking. S sat and watched our chickadee family gather red and green wiggly things for their soon to be hatched offspring. Riveting...I know you all are feeling it. After I completed the baking for several cookies and two pizza braids, I picked up the kids, took the boy to the doc to officially find out he had an ear infection and then headed to church for our last Wednesday night programming until August. G and the boy were singing with their different choirs. It is one of my two favorite performance times of the year...the other being the Christmas children's performance. Kids singing in front of people just opens up a world of possible hilarity. Just great. The boy sang first, at least first in terms of our offspring. He has a sweet little voice and appoaches singing with the same grave serious focus as that of a trauma surgeon working on a patient clinging to life: no humor whatsoever. They all were so stinkin' cute. What beautiful music! Next G and the GPS for Kids singing group presented their Spring musical. Every season I think that Ms. Kathryn can't do any better and every season she proves me wrong. The kids worked so hard and you could tell. I must brag on my girl for a second. I was so proud of her solo this year. The microphone worked and she sang so beautifully. I was so very proud of her.

She also had a little acting part where she and another character got in a fist fight on Field Day. I laughed my head off. It was very well acted...I think she had some pent up frustrations that needed an outlet. It was a wonderful night and I saw something from my G I hadn't seen in a long time: confidence and pride in her abilities. I love that kid. I love them all. What a wonderfully crazy and musical night!

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I never thought I'd cry over that

I cleaned my child's locker out today. Yes, I know she's not dead. I know the world hasn't ended. She's going to be alright. As her pre-K teacher told us in our last conference before Kindergarten, "That girl. She's small, but she's mighty."

I cleaned my child's locker out today. By the time school ends, she will have missed a month and a half of school. She has missed 75% of her Spring soccer season. Birthday parties, special events and get togethers have come and gone without her participation. A sixth grader should be enjoying al the fun the comes with Spring.

I cleaned my child's locker out today. We met with her teachers today, answered all of their questions about the hospital stay...about her test results and early and late predictions from the doctors. I got sick at my stomach thinking about the rythmic pushing noise of the IV, the sound of her wimpering at every new blood test and poke and prod to check her progress. We discussed her academic future. A nurse filled out paperwork she said would explain this period in time as she progressed through middle AND high school. My dear God, help me understand how this could effect her in high school. The hub feels fine with the homebound arrangement. I honestly can't tell you what it is.

I cleaned my child's locker out today. She gave us a note detailing the correct combination to her lock and an inventory of what items needed to go where. Pictures and notes she and her friends had exchanged. The pink locker set complete with magnets, shelf and a mirror. Papers and notebooks full of a year's worth of notes and ideas. A library book on musical instruments, filled with facts she wanted to learn about her chosen medium: percussion.

I cleaned my child's locker out today. No she's not going to die. No this is not the end. But what it is represents a disappointing year's end after so many hours of hard work. She absolutely loved 6th grade and wanted to go every day. She'll have no period set aside to have friends sign her yearbook. She won't have the energy to stand up and play her drum for the final band concert. All that hard work to end her school year in a weakened state with puffy organs and a body missing more pounds than she had to lose. What a letdown.

Yes, I cleaned my child's locker out today, but she's going to come back stronger than ever. That fire in her belly is slowly growing from weak embers into a warm glow. By the time August comes, it'll be a roaring inferno...well, it'll be healthy and involved. She'll be motivated and healthy and ready for a fresh start...and ready to fill that locker up again.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

It's go time

Today has been one of those days to try and play catch up for things I have had to let go during this whole adventure. I went clothes shopping, not for myself, but it didn't make it any more pleasant. For those of you who don't know me, don't know the absolute hatred I have for shopping. If it is something that I can but that I know a personis super excited about, that makes it a little easier to deal with. Book and shoe shopping are about my limit. So imagine me, "Mrs. Gray Tshirt and Jeans with Chuck Taylors", looking for girly summer fashions for tweens/preteens. Feel free to continue reading when you stop laughing. --------- So I hit all the stores I could in a two hour period in between preparing lunch and picking up children. Needless to say, I made a return trip after dinner. Blurg.

Tensions at the ranch are up a bit. The well ones are bitter and long for the attention that the sick one gets. The sick one is bitter and angry at the well ones because she doesn't want to be sick. Both have valid points. We joke with S, we have to in order to provide some levity, and call her "Little Old Woman". This whole experience has zapped her of energy and body she had any mass to begin with. This was just a sobering reminder, tonight, of what this "kissing disease" can do to people:

And, yes, she really does need to use that right now. Sigh.

Please keep the hub and I in your thoughts tomorrow. We meet with lots of important people to decide how our girl shall finish out her school year. This is going to be difficult and involved. I just hope for clear minds and soft hearts tomorrow. Thanks...
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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Boy inducing belly laughs

It has been rainy day number 312 it seems and our house and church seemed to have the mopiness to go with it. People walking around, looking half asleep, with no real smiles to be found. I was one of the most guilty, not feeling the effects of my coffee fast enough for my taste. The kids in the nursery were wild going on day two of no outside time. I'll bet there were a lot of forced naps this afternoon. No one had to force me to take a nap. Snuggled up with G reading "Ramona and Her Father", when she lost interest I was well on my way to lala land. A quick snooze, however, because I had to get ready for some visitors. S has had some close friends, more like her adopted twin brothers, since Kindergarten. They live around the corner from us and have a relative as our next door neighbor. We see them a lot. They came over, along with their mother, and visited S today. G and the hub had gone on a mouse trap mission to Ace Hardware(tis the season for mouse spawning in the woods...and our garage) and the boy had gone on a shopping expedition with his Nana. S was bored out of her mind and over the rain which was preventing her from watching our Chickadee family from her prime chair outside. One can only take so many reruns of Family Feud hosted by Richard Karn before starting to develop a facial tic, so she was beyond thrilled when they showed up at our door soaked and bearing fat free ice cream and books. After a rapid fire question and answer session about her current health status and how, in her weakened state, it would behoove her to join the online gaming community, the "let's make snappy retorts about each other" portion of the visit began. Then I saw something out of the corner of my eye...then I heard it...then I looked over and my child was laughing a silent, crying laugh that I haven't seen in a month. Her whole body shook. It was wonderful to see. Then after one of the boys asked, "So I heard you lost some much do you weigh now" and his mother chastizing him for asking a lady her wieght, she hee hawed. Just wonderful. After a hilarious visit, they family took their leave and she started on one of the books. A smile was on her face and a pink glow, for once not caused by fever, was on her cheeks. Great is the healing power of laughter.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

More surprising

As I sit here wit my children watching the "American Bible Challenge", which is actually more entertaining than I imagined it would be(how could it not with Jeff Foxworthy hosting), I hear the rain picking up outside. Again. I know, come August, we will way below the average for rainfall, but good gosh. This morning was another one of those miserable days to have kids in soccer. We sat there soaked and freezing while watching kids play ball and grown ups act like children. I never cease to be amazed at the people who act like, as Andy Cohen would call them, jackholes, in front of kids. Not really sure what they think they are accomplishing, but anyway.

S woke up with a pretty good fever and a throat that looked like she was storing nuts away for the summer. Goes with the territory, for sure. G and F have been such wonderful helpers. I can't begin to explain what troopers they have been...and all without one bit of complaint or backtalk. They are my heroes for sure.

Baby Drew has continued to do well, with little periods of stress. He has a long way to go, but we are so excited to hear about our little hero. He's an inspiration for sure.

Dear readers, I long for the days when I could post about crazy experiences at Pizza Inn and attack dog demonstrations in my parents backyard. I know those days will come again soon, but they seem such a distant dream. All I ask is that you stick with me through this trying time. I know we will encounter some sort of weirdness in the Panera parking lot sooner or later. I'll rush to share it as soon as it happens.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Numbers are falling...yay!

We went for our third trip this week to the lab and the GI doc's office. It was our shortest stint at the hospital yet. Dr. A had some good news for us: no more blood tests or appointments with him for two weeks. Yay! We love him, but yay! We took that muppet child home and sighs of relief were taken all around. After that good news, I received a personal call from the Infectious Disease doctor. I have to remember that the doctors are people just like me and you, but when you see the skill and expertise they display, it is often easy to place them on a pedestal as higher beings. Dr. P is one of those people who I feel honored to have spent time with, even if the circumstances were not the greatest. She called to tell me the best news I've had in a while: your daughter's numbers are looking better than I've seen in a week. She gave me an example about one of S's numbers. One blood marker they looked at should normally be no higher than 30 whatevers per whatever. Last Friday, S's number was 341 whatevers per whatever. It is now 53. The others are better, but still have a ways to go down. This really showed us just how sick she was. Honestly, I'm glad some of these little numbers were not shared with me last week. I was overwhelmed when I heard them today, but thank God they are better. She has a long way to go and I was told not to say things like, "If you behave yourself" or "If you do what the doctor says". This crud has a life of its own and will leave when it is ready...not when she is. We will always be grateful to Dr. P and Dr. A. They have given us our daughter.

We have just put her to bed, feverish and throwing up from the goop in her sinuses. I just pray this will pass quickly. She's so very lonely, sick and tired. Breaks our hearts.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Muppets and Momentous News daughter sounds like a muppet. Not a Fozzy or a Rowlf. More llike a combination between Scooter, Kermit and Janice from the Electric Mayhem...all with peanut butter stuck in their mouths. And without the celebrity power like Harry Belafonte and Doug "It's an ilLUSsion" Henning. We went to visit the pediatrician to make sure she hadn't contracted yet another illness and to gain some perspective in the midst of the onslaught of information. Basically, she got herself a good ole' case of the mono. There is absolutely nothing they can do or give her to help her with her swollen lymph node fever stuff. She just has to couch potato her way through it. Going to the school building is done for the year. Contact sports are done for a while. Walking or moving about any area by herself is done for a while. Guess we'll have to have a yearbook signing party later on in the summer. Oh well. It could always be worse.

Today, baby Drew had some major surgery today. Major major. This is a day we have all known was coming since before young Drew was born. I speak of him as though he is mine. Honestly, I think if you talked to anyone who knows his family, seen his picture or read his Caring Bridge page, they would speak of his as though he was theirs as well. We all have begged for mercy on his behalf. We've cried with his family. We've rejoiced inhis triumphs. And today is no different. He made it through his surgery like a champ. He has some very scary days ahead. These doctors are the best in their field and I am so grateful they have been called out to work on this precious warrior boy. I am just so grateful to God, to Vanderbilt University Hospital staff and to the Ballinger family....they have allowed us to be a part of their most intimate pain and joy. Their defeats and their triumphs. And I cannot wait to see what is planned for Drew. He has quite a story to tell...and I want to be in the front row when he starts talking.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mono and mucinex and mullets...oh my!

Well my friends, we have a diagnosis. Finally. We wondered if it would ever happen, but it did. She indeed tested positive for EBV, or infectious mononucleosis...or what we tend to call in our family: preteen torture of the ugliest kind. In addtion to the obvious, she has developed an almost swallow preventing sore throat, a messed up tongue and even worse sinuses than yesterday. Edith Ann is gone and some otherworldly being is in her place...and it does not sound like my child. The doctor said she must continue a low fat diet and must resort to couch potato status whilst waiting for her homebound paperwork to take effect. Needless to say, hearing your child beg to die because she feels so sick is hard and, more than ever, I wish it was me in her place.

Tonight was a big night of malaria fighting at out church. A friend decided to charge $10/curl cut to go to the Imagine No Malaria organization that is our conference's focus this year. G got to represent the family and cut off some curls, which she placed in a bag and has big plans for later. After the ticketed guests were done with their cutting, the auction began to see who would shave his head. Needless to say, I was loving it. I have been going to auctions since I was a wee pup and it was easy to get caught up in the frenzy. Needless to say, I now know where my Picky Chick consignment funds are going. Needless to say, I took him from this:

To something of a curly headed mullet...sorry about that Michael:

I tried to shave a VT in there, but the razor had a guard on it and I was unable to get too detailed. Needless to say, he was an excellent sport and that took a lot of guts to do in front of so many people. Malaria is a heinous disease that should only be something we remember, not something we are still combatting. We got a little bit closer to a cure tonight.

Lastly, tomorrow is the big day. Baby Drew is having his heart surgery. I believe in miracles and I believe this boy has a lot of life left to show us all what a walking, talking miracle can do. My heart is so heavy for the burden of worry that his parents and brother must carry. I can only hope and pray that the surgeons' hands are steady, his little lungs find their happy place and that a healing that can only be explained as a miracle occurs. I love that little boy even if I haven't gotten to meet him in person...but I'm making plans. Making plans to see that little guy when he's well on his way to healing from the surgery. He and I are going to have a talk about when his mom and I were in middle school and what our make up looked like(mine was horrible). I'll tell him all about it....and I can't wait.
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