December 31, 2008

I'm not kissing that mouth

I've known Seth for nearly 14 years and he still surprises me. You might think I'm about to get mushy on you, but I'm not. I guess I could tell you about the wonderful dad that he is and how he went out on Christmas Eve (after picking up on my ridiculous hints) to get the gift I wanted. Nah, I'm going to give you a glimpse of the real Seth. He doesn't get much airtime on the blog and this is too good to pass up.

This morning I came downstairs and found his travel mug full of yummy coffee. Score for me, but too bad for him. He usually doesn't notice that he left it until he reaches over to grab a sip and gets nothing but air. This morning was a little different. He was rushing to work yesterday and needed to make a pit stop. But he didn't have time. What's a guy to do? Duh, use the now empty travel mug, of course.

This, by the way, is not an activity condoned by me. Or my mom. Or any gal I know. We are far too proper to do any sort of disgusting thing like that.

So he does his business and LEAVES THE MUG IN THE CAR. I don't know if he usually brings me mugs that he's urinated in, but using a travel mug is news to me. I'm looking at the travel mugs in the cupboard in a new light after today. Thinking that we should buy some disposable ones...

This fateful morning, my warnings of, "You really shouldn't do that" finally come to fruition. He reached over to find his coffee and only after taking a big 'ol sip realizes that it's his urine from yesterday. Gag.

Chalk one up for the big momma who knows it all!

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

If you have been eagerly anticipating a Christmas greeting from us...wait no more. I decided that I would send out cards after Sally's cast came off. It would be a great way to show her post-cast and give me a little more time before undertaking the huge mailing. History dictates that I'm lying to myself and the rest of you. Lets not kid ourselves into thinking I will make time to collate and mail cards next month. So prepare yourselves...this is our Christmas greeting.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We hope that you read this after a wonderful day spent with family and friends. We have been blessed beyond belief in the past year. God has answered our prayers in ways we never would have imagined. It has been awe inspiring for me to remember what I was hoping for last year. Anticipating the arrival of two more children and wondering what our family would be like once we became seven. From the outside it would seem that our lives have unravelled in the past six months, but don't be fooled. What seems like turmoil is nothing when we have the understanding that God is working in our lives to make us stronger. Perhaps we can help others through our adversity. Please revisit our Christmas greeting from last year to get a better understanding of having real hope.

Here's the best we could do as far as a Christmas photo. This was an impromptu picture taken on our way to church. I think they did pretty well, considering there are five kids (one of them a squirmy toddler) and an impossible number of things that could happen to ruin a picture.

December 22, 2008


Sally told the doctor before she conked out that she wanted a blue cast. I double and triple checked with her that she really wants a blue cast. This is the first one that won't be "white until the first accident then dingy brown". I love that color, though blue sounds promising too.

In the recovery room Sally was eating an orange Popsicle and said, "I like this blue Popsicle. It's so good."

My first thought: Oh my, did you say blue? Does this mean you wanted an orange cast? At least you can't move your head to see that your cast is what everyone else calls blue.

What she heard: "Yeah, that's a good lookin' Popsicle. That's what we call orange, honey."

Aside from the color issues, she's doing well. The sore on her back looked like it was healing nicely and should be completely gone by the time the cast comes off.

Casting for a Third Time

I'm sitting in a familiar chair. Early this morning Sally and I braved the cold (4 degrees) and wind to come to the hospital. She was tired, cold, and hungry. I spent the time in the car trying to melt my body into the heated car seat. And, thanking God that I home school the kids so we leave the house on a voluntary basis. I wish I could just curl up and sleep right through winter. Alas, I find myself at the hospital at 6 am so Sally can get a new cast.

After all of the turmoil from last week, her doctor wants her in another cast for a few more weeks. She's just not strong enough to be in the brace, and the old cast is...disgusting. A few more weeks in a cast is a fine alternative to a serious injury caused by jumping into the brace too soon. That whole bed-sore-from-the-metal-objects-in-her-back thing is a worry also. Though Sally's doc assures us that she will be fine once the pressure has been relieved from her back. So here I sit, again, waiting to meet Sally in post-op. Thankful that this could possibly be our last time in this situation.

December 14, 2008

Curse the Medications

The impossible has happened, Seth and I are alone. We. Are. Without. Children. For five more days we will be alone. It wasn’t supposed to work out like this. I arranged for Josiah to come with us. My Mom offered to watch him and I haven’t had peace since. Better to keep him with me, but have a late flight across the country only to deal with time changes, flights of stairs, and dogs upon our arrival at my sisters’? Or should we trust that he will be fine and leave him safely with my Mom? Back and forth for the past two weeks.

I lay in bed yesterday morning, wondering if I should really leave Josiah. I wasn’t out of bed and I was praying for some clarity when I finally got up. As I stumbled past the girls’ room, I smelled something…yucky. Nah, putrid...fetid, rotten…you get the idea. Something reeked and I feared that it was coming from the sweet girls’ room.

Sally’s gained a little weight, as a result her TB meds have been upped. Last night was her first dose, eight teaspoons of medication. I guess it made her sick. From both ends. The story gets even worse, she not only vomited and had diarrhea, but she didn’t wake up to call out for help. A domino effect could get started here on what her life was like before we got her that she managed to sleep in such disgusting filth for a few hours. Nevertheless, we’ve got a revolting story to tell so I will press on.

I was at a complete loss. I’ve seen and managed some nasty things, even blogged about a few buggers. This one took the cake. Sally woke up, climbed down from her bunk and excrement trickled out onto the floor. Not knowing whether her meds made her sick, or she had a stomach bug, I immediately sent everyone else upstairs and shut them into the boys’ bedroom. Then, I shut Sally into the bathroom and got a BIG black garbage bag. I wadded up her pillow, jammies, sheet saver (which did an amazing job of saving the sheets) and threw them away. I heard the garbage men outside and ran, in my jammies, to stop them with my vomit covered junk in the bag.

Then, I called the doctor’s office. In a frantic tone, trying to keep from totally freaking out I explained that Sally had puke down the neck of her cast, feces up the back of her cast. I wasn’t speaking with a familiar voice, but tried to relay my urgency without screaming into the phone. She, matter-of-factly (as if she deals with this all of the time) told me to get a warm washcloth and clean her up as best I could. Then, take that washcloth and using my hand try to clean inside the cast, as best I could. Then, lay Sally on the counter and wash her hair (which was crusted with vomit). I’m thinking laying a diarrhea laden child on the KITCHEN COUNTER is probably not a good idea. Especially when you have four more kids who may be susceptible to whatever caused the...bodily explosion. So I started with the de-pooping of Sally’s legs and cast, with a lame wet washcloth. I promptly threw every washcloth into a new trash bag. My next job was to remove feces from floors and the exterior of the cast. I’ll share a little secret here, I used bleach. Lots of it. I know, it’s bad for you, but did you miss out on what I was up against? Possible infection of 4 more children, then fleeing the scene to visit my sister in Colorado? Horrible. So I bleached the floor, the bunk stairs… and the cast. I tried to bleach the cast, but was sadly unsuccessful.

Then, I let the four maniacs out of their prison upstairs and put Sally onto the counter for the vomit removal. Much easier than the other end, I still proved myself a flop in the ‘Can you remove filth from inside a cast?’ motherhood test.

I slathered Sally in smelly lotion, coated her hair in smelly goo, and put tights on her. The smell was still there. Really strong. I called the office again and got a voice mail, but warned them that I would continue calling until I spoke with them.

I looked at the clock and two hours had passed since the charade began. I’m frantically doing laundry, trying to get everyone packed, and calling the doctor’s office again. Calling the cell phone of the doctor’s assistant, until, finally, she calls me back. In an oh-so-nonchalant manner, “Apryl, what’s going on?”

“It’s bad!! It’s very, very bad!! I’ve done all I could and I can’t even sit next to her on the sofa, I just tried to and I felt sick from the smell. I’m leaving tomorrow for Denver, can you help us?”
She said we needed to come in right away. Like ‘right away’ is in my power.

It was 2:00, I had JUST SHOWERED and no one had eaten lunch. We were setting records. I threw together sandwiches, dropped the Bigs off at art lessons and raced to the office. Then we had to sit, in the waiting area, smelling up the whole place with pukey poop smell. It was wretched. They took one look at Sally and got out the big saw (after donning gloves and spraying the room with Lysol). She screamed, Josiah screamed, and we gagged. It came off and revealed a dime embedded in her chest (interesting) and just a wee bit ‘o mess around her bottom (surprisingly did a better job than I thought). They x-rayed—good results, new bone has grown and the rib is grafted in. The tore the old cast apart to just the shell then re-padded it and covered it to hold us out a little longer. Upon getting a look at her back, I was dismayed. She still looks lumpy, but has healed well, the pressure from the rods against the cast has caused a bed sore-like wound at the site of one hook.

Right now, Sally’s in her cast. An ace bandage is holding it together. She has a hole cut in the back exposing her tender spot (though I’ve been assured this is perfectly safe) to allow it to heal.
The foul odor? You’ll have to ask my mother-in-law about it, since I masked it heavily before I left. I have a sneaking suspension that Sally’s cast is still suffering from the episode. Only a few weeks left with it, then just a brace. Time won’t pass quickly enough.

December 6, 2008

Decorating Madness

This will be known as the Christmas that Daddy hurt his foot. Seth was working in the bathroom today and slipped in the tub while holding a piece of drywall. Something is protruding from his foot, but we are just trying to ignore that and enjoy the day. Except, his injury means that he's stuck on the sofa with his foot raised and I'm dragging the boxes out of the attic. I huffed my way out of the attic then down the stairs with 5 or 6 boxes and the artificial tree. I wondered the entire time WHY I've made my husband do this for 10 years. I'm also incredibly impressed with his stamina and the fact that he has never complained about decorating the tree. When we have to decorate the tree for a second and third time after it's fallen, he complains. The initial decoration is always welcome.
I toyed with the idea of leaving everything in the attic and just pretending that fall decorations would be nice until January. Since my house may be almost normal by then. Sadly, I had an attack of mother guilt. Seeing as two of my children haven't celebrated Christmas I knew that I couldn't leave the tree alone this year. It was grand when I thought Seth would be in charge. I'm usually on the sofa sipping warm beverages and passing out ornaments. He does the grueling work.

The foot thing was only the start of a ridiculous evening. We have a dining room table in our living room. If I haven't mentioned that before, it's because that doesn't hold a candle to the toilet that's hanging out in the hallway. We decided to put the tree ON the table, thus killing two birds with one stone. Josiah can't tip the tree over and we don't have to move anything to put the tree up. The only problem is that I couldn't reach the top of the tree to put in the branches. The kids couldn't reach the tree at ALL. Seth in his pained stupor, came up with the idea to...move the tree to the floor and decorate it there. Wonderful!
I hauled the tree (now fully put together) to the floor and we commence with decorating traditions. Hot chocolate and brownies, hanging ornaments. Josiah's screaming, Seth's worried about spills, and Sally can't seem to keep an ornament on the tree. They all fall off when she walks away. I'm snapping pictures like a madwoman and too soon it's over. Now the real fun begins...It's time for me to PICK UP THE DECORATED TREE and place it gingerly on the table. Right, since I'm secretly the hulk. I managed lift off with a little aid from Seth but then...whoa to the right, then left, then some shattering, and finally I slam it onto the table.


The top of the tree won't fit. Seth and I look at each other and Eli speaks for us all when he says, "It doesn't look like a real Christmas tree." That's true, dear one, it looks like a Christmas bush. I laid the top of the tree horizontally and mounded some lights on it and called it a night. When I plugged in the lights all of the kids cheered, so I would say we've had success.

Some photos from the evening...Seth and the kiddos, Josiah finally stops crying so he can make a phone call on my lens cap, and the girls dropping hanging ornaments on the Christmas bush.

Good Gifts

After spending one hour in Toys-R-Us today, I'm done. I stood next to a woman who had some 'line rage'. It freaked. Me. Out. People lose their minds during this time of year. It's the shopping equivalent of road rage. She watched the cashier interact with other costumers and saw errors being made and price checks radioed to the back. I watched her as the heat started rising in her face and pretty soon she's squawking at the next person who asks, "Are you in line?" It's unpleasant to watch.

I think I'm done with leaving the house. Make a guess on what I spent for five kids, I double dare you to hit it on the nose. It's a little tricky because I had two coupons and the insurance company gave us some cash to replace toys ruined in the flood. Also, bought Eli two presents for his birthday. My biggest hint: I really pared down from our normal madness. Guess away, but there's nothing in it for you except for satisfaction.

Last year, I posted a list of families who were fundraising as gift ideas for those of you who are clueless. Jill posted a comprehensive list of links to organizations that will use your money wisely. I'm not about to duplicate perfection, so if you are in search of a gift for the person who already has everything (we live in America, who doesn't have everything?) go visit her blog and find something wonderful there.

Along those lines...I have a great friend who is adopting. She's the kind of friend that I have yet to meet, but we've had many long talks over the phone about her amazing adoption. She can't mention her fundraising efforts on her blog, but I can! So, how about you leave me a comment with your email and I'll send it along to her so you can order something. She had their website printed on the products, but has since disabled it (just do what the agency says...) I personally find humor in wearing a t-shirt with a website listed that no longer exists. It's a conversation starter, not that I need more of those. Sheesh, my family is a conversation starter.

Here are a few pictures...

December 3, 2008

Start thinking...

Jill showed this video to me at her house a few weeks ago. I can't help but feel convicted for going overboard during the holidays. Having kids helps ease the guilt because I use them as my excuse for going bonkers. We don't want to disappoint, do we? Certainly the children will be utterly destroyed if there aren't mounds of gifts under the tree. Today, Everett was giving Sally the lowdown on Christmas rituals around our house. He said, "Mommy and Daddy usually just give us like 3 presents, we get lots more from the grandparents." Oh, really? If he thinks we only give them three presents, why bother giving him more? So, this Christmas, why don't you join me in being radical?