May 27, 2009

Ella and I just spent a harried four days with my dearest friends shuttling between Yale Medical School and my friend's house. I arranged the trip without realizing that Connecticut is indeed larger than my backyard and driving from one corner to another may require a few hours each way.

We were flown to Connecticut so that my little girl might take part in a study of children with absence epilepsy. The title is something like, "Are children with absence epilepsy really absent?" If I had to make an under-educated guess I would say that my child is absent pretty often. Especially if she isn't taking her drugs, getting at least 20 hours of sleep, and doing something engaging that she enjoys. All three of those planets are aligned once a year. Yeah, around here we deal with absent minded behavior on a regular basis. Going to Yale--on their dollar, visiting friends, and getting pictures of my daughter's brain WHILE she's having a seizure? Count me in.

Sadly, most of our visiting had to happen in the confines of my tiny rental car and the waiting area outside of the research MRI unit. For this, I apologize once again, girls. So, so sorry! We made the best of it and chatted up a storm. Most of the chatting probably one sided so that I could stay awake as I drove back and forth. I honestly thought that Ella would refuse to have the tests done. Previously we've had to completely knock her out for an MRI. That was a year and a half ago. She's older, wiser, and more easily bribed these days. They had to put an EEG cap on her to monitor her seizure activity, then put her into the MRI machine to 'photograph' her brain, and gave her a 'video game' to play during the whole thing. The idea is to get a picture of what is going on while she's seizing and trying to think at the same time. I thought she'd balk the first day, but she was a trooper and had two scans done.

It was a thrilling trip for her. She 'met' old friends and got to fly on a plane alone with Mommy. I'm such a fun travel buddy that I made her take a math test and do phonics work on our layovers. On the way home we realized that we didn't have gifts for the children who couldn't come. Traditionally, around here, if you make a trip--you return with gifts. I think that's taught by the three wise men. I should have just picked up a postcard at the grocery store, but I wasn't savvy enough. I was stuck buying Webkinz at the CNBC stand at the airport. Never has such an extravagant purchase been made on a trip. The usual fare is a book or some sort of crayola art product. Seth once forgot gifts and shelled out a dollar to each child with some quip about thinking they would enjoy buying their own souvenir at the Dollar Store. That worked. The webkinz ruled though, by far the best gift ever given and I imagine that the children will welcome my departure more often. Josiah stole the car Ella chose from the treasure chest at Yale, so he was placated also.

So, the peeling back of Ella's layers continues. It will be months before we get her results and possibly years before this study is complete. I'm pleased with every little tidbit that we can scrounge up that helps us to understand her.

May 10, 2009

Our House Selling Vacation

Every single vacation earns itself a title of infamy to us. There was the "Poopy Trip Home" vacation, the "Bought Moby" beach trip, and the "Freezing at the Beach then Jamestown trip". This last trip could be known as the trip that took forever to get home (but that would make it hard to distinguish from other trips). Or that vacation that Eli got bit by a swan, or better yet the trip on which we SOLD our house!

Well, sort of sold our house. We have moved from the house selling world into the waiting for closing world. It can't come too soon because I'm fearful that something may keep it from coming at all. With selling the house comes packing the house and of course, buying another house. We won't even start to think about that. The day we hand the keys over will be an answer to many prayers. We knew when we put our house on the market that we could sit here for a year. Or two years. If our house sells after being on the market just a few short months, it is truly due only to God's mercy on our family. I'll chase that with the statement that I'm willing to stay here for as long as the Lord desires, but life would be grand if my hubby lived and worked in the same city.

All of the excitement from an offer dulled as we were driving home and the 12 hour drive stretched into 18 hours. As we meandered through Tennessee the sinking realization hit--the GPS is not wrong. We have added an additional six hours to the drive. It's really an amazing feat. Not too many people could spend six hours in a gas station restroom. We did. We slogged through a Kentucky monsoon at a blazing 40 mph for days. Finally, we reached my parents house and collapsed. When we finally got home (an additional two hours on the road the next day--that would make total drive time 20 hours) I had spent enough time thinking about moving that it finally settled in. During our week away spring had arrived and our trees bloomed. That made the arrival home even more bittersweet. I'm praying we can leave by the end of the month, but we will miss this house, our friends, and our church.

Happy Mother's Day!

I often wonder if I'll ever be that wise, calm, mom who knows all of the answers and has the most well-behaved children. Maybe I'll settle for being the crazy mom with five beautiful, albeit obnoxious, children.

I feel like a dud quite a few times throughout the day. Sometimes I would just love, and I truly mean L-O-V-E, a minute alone. I lose my temper and get frustrated. I don't know what I'm doing with these five little people! I wish that God would give me a teeny, tiny glimpse at His plans for them so I could better equip them for their futures. I really thought that after five kids I would know how to handle all the situations that they could throw at me. They are so ornery creative they keep me on my toes.

My ruminations on Mother's Day fall short of what I'm feeling. They also fall short of the wonderful things you've heard (or said) today. So I won't try to be eloquent, from our wild family to yours--we hope you have a relaxing, wonderful Mother's Day!

May 7, 2009

One Quirky Language

Listening to Sally talk is confusing and hilarious at the same time. She talks incessantly, asking me questions, tattling on her brothers, and generally just running her mouth. I should have enjoyed the (few) days last year when she didn't speak English. If only I would have known what a jabber box she would become! One afternoon Seth asked her to just please be quiet for a second so he could think. She shut her mouth for exactly one second and then took off again. Incessant. Chatter.

Last week she said, "Mommy, does the noise have a pool?" I was completely clueless about where she was going with this. So I gave her my befuddled, "Huh?" She calmly repeated her earnest question. Then she went on, "You know, the noise. You say we are going to the noise. Does it have a pool?"

It took me a minute to realize that she was talking about our afternoon trip to 'the sound'. She's so desperate to talk that she makes her way around our confusing language.

Along those same lines: Josiah's language has been explosive. It seems like everyday he surprises us with a new word. Yesterday, he broke into the chocolate cake from Seth's birthday. It was breakfast time and evidently, I wasn't working fast enough. I turned around and was greeted by a chocolate covered baby. I squealed, four more kids came running, and Josiah said, "Awanna chokat, Mommy!" It's hard not to laugh and just let him have it. Oddly enough, he repeats most anything we say, but REFUSES to say please. He's a stubborn, spoiled little guy (who charms me in the morning by singing the 'Bob the Builder' theme song).

All in just one year, I never would have expected it.

postscript 5/10--Tonight, Sally told me she had a booboo on her two-head. Then pointed to her forehead. Seth and I burst out laughing, poor kiddo!

May 1, 2009

A Week Away

This week, we are having fun,


and spending time with family and friends AT THE BEACH.