Saturday, February 27, 2010

Do you like casserole?

We had a very adventurous day today that started with visiting our old church congregation. It was hard to decide to find a new congregation closer to home a couple years ago and we love going back to visit with our "family", even though it doesn't happen very often. Today was their Purim celebration, which involved a comedic reenactment of the book of Esther, followed by a kids' carnival - fun games and prizes and an indoor moon jump. It was great.

Then we went shopping for a dryer, because ours caught on fire 2 weeks ago. Our budget was limited, very limited. But we had some cash in hand and knew our limit. There is this one particular place that I had heard about. Free delivery (to where we live). Prices negotiable. The low-end dryer we were considering was $19 cheaper here than Menard's. OK, that's where we're headed. After walking into the store, Child A excitedly remarked, "There's a mall inside this store!" It was huge. And who knew that in the back of the store, on Saturdays, they bake fresh chocolate chip cookies and provide milk or coffee? Yes, I am talking about Abt Electronics. We were there for hours. Hours. Not shopping for a dryer. Just looking around. Trying things out. Having cookies. (OK, we just had one when we got there and one before we left. But we still ate cookies.) They have a beautiful fountain and a water show that the kids loved. Computers for the kids to try out (with supervision) and a bubble booth (where the kids stand and pull a ring up around them so they are inside a bubble!) It was fun, but it was exhausting. We were there a long time, and yes, we did order the dryer. The kids tried to be good.

So one the way home, having used every bit of goodness they had and feeling exhausted them selves, each of the kids were a wee bit whiny. Someone asked what was for dinner. Oh man! I still have to feed them? With sarcasm being my preferred method of humor, I very calmly and seriously said, "Toe-nail casserole", to which Child B quickly replied, "Eewwww! Casserole!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

God’s answers to prayers

This is long, but stick with me here. Not only is it cathartic for me, but also important for others to know how God is active in our lives - whether we acknowledge it or not. So humor me and read it. Feel free to comment or not. I have more humorous and lighter things waiting to be blogged and had to get this out here first.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 – 10:30 AM

My sweet 4-yo, Child C, fell and split her chin open. It was wide open when I got to her and the bleeding had mostly stopped, thanks to the young lady who applied pressure while I was notified. However, at first glance, I knew it was deep enough to seek medical attention. I hugged my daughter and cried for a minute, remembering what she went through last year when the same thing happened. Except then it was both deep and wide – nauseatingly wide. I pulled myself together, made some phone calls to make arrangements for my other children and to tell my hubby what had happened, squeezed the edges together and put a tight bandage on it.

She was so calm and good on the way to the urgent care, asking if she would get a snack and juice like last time. Such sweet innocence. But I was remembering more from last time. I remembered how she was calm and easy going until they irrigated her wound, gave her a shot to numb her chin, held her head still, and sewed her closed with 6 stitches. She screamed. It was awful. I nearly fainted, but the doctor saw it coming and caught me before I passed out. Amazing how they can see it coming like that – I sure didn’t. But my sweet daughter had to endure a terrifying experience. That’s what I was remembering. So I prayed.

I prayed for God to help calm me. Give me peace. But more than that, to comfort her. If it’s possible, if anyone can do it, God can. I asked God to please help her be comfortable – even pain free. Please. I wanted so badly to phone a friend and seek comfort, but I knew God was telling me to run to Him for that comfort. So I told Him that I wanted to talk to a friend and that HE is my friend. He is the one I am calling!

While sitting in the exam room, C and I were singing songs and trying to be distracted. But there was a moment that was quiet and she leaned against me. The tears just streamed from her eyes as she told me with urgency, “Mommy, I want to go home now. Let’s go right now!” Embracing her tightly, I asked her if her chin hurt and she told me no. I asked her if she was scared and she nodded fiercely yes. She then said, “Mommy it hurted last time, It hurted!” Still embracing her, I told her that I know it hurt last time and I prayed for it to be more gentle this time.

While we were singing, “I’m In The Lord’s Army,” the doctor came in, looked closely at her chin and happily announced that he could glue her chin instead of using stitches. With a deep sigh and some restraint to not hug him, I said “Oh that would be so great!”

After it was over, I asked C if it hurt and she told me no. God answered that prayer for her to be comfortable and pain free. Praise God!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 – 1:00 AM

I went to bed at 11:15 and the next thing I heard was a thud. Throwing the covers off, I asked hubby if he was OK. Not hearing a reply, I got out of bed, not even taking time to get my glasses or turn on a light – both of which would have been helpful. I half expected to see him getting his things together for work the next day. I didn’t even realize what time it was. As I walked out into the hallway, I did notice that there were no lights on so I wasn’t sure where I should be looking or what I was looking for. Then I saw him lying on the bathroom floor, on his right side and rather crumpled. I wasn’t sure what had happened, but I knew it wasn’t right. Standing over him, rubbing his arm and shoulder and shaking him, calling his name, asking if he was OK and could he wake up. Although it seemed like a very long time, it couldn’t have been more than 2 minutes. But I’m sure it was around that. I saw blood on the floor by his mouth and he slowly woke up. Not slowly enough though. As he got up, I told him he had split his lip and to sit down. He said he was OK and I turned around to get something to help clean up him and floor. Then he went down again with the same thud that woke me. Head first, right onto the bathroom floor. Now his body was twitching and I didn’t know if he’s having a seizure or not. I was just terrified. I actually said out loud, “OK, I have to call 911.” My oldest daughter, 9-yo Child A emerged from her room, which is right next to the bathroom, and shakily said, “Yes, mom, call 911.”

Hubby regained consciousness rather quickly that time and was able to get back up. I didn’t know if he had had a stroke or a heart attack or what, but I was worried sick. The paramedics were on their way and he had really banged himself up good on the floor. Over 200 pounds hitting the floor face first is not a good thing.

I prayed in the ambulance and ongoing at the hospital for Patrick to not be badly hurt and to be healed completely from whatever it was. I prayed for wisdom for the doctors and expressed great thanks for my husband. I don’t remember all of how I prayed as a lot of it is still a blur. I was so terrified that he would die or that he had a life changing health condition

The doctors seemed to be very thorough and checked for stroke, heart attack, and head and neck injury from the impact. Everything was fine. He had a drop in blood pressure, which is not uncommon (although it has never before happened to him), and he is fine. He has 11 stitches inside & outside his lip and 4 teeth that were traumatized. Time will tell about his teeth healing and if he severed a nerve in his lip. He is getting pretty sore on his right side and noticing new bruises each day, but he is fine in the areas that really matter!

Thank you, God, for answering those prayers. For going ahead of us to the hospital and getting things prepared for him and for the doctors to have wisdom and know what to check. Thank you for keeping him safe from physical harm and healing him if there was anything going on.

Thank you, too, Lord, that I have limited space in my house and didn’t have the toilet paper crammed in the closet yet. Hubby fell against it and cushioned his fall.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 – 8:00 AM

Hubby woke me this morning to tell me that Merlin was in the process of dying. At 18-1/2, he has had a very full life and has been declining over the past several months from kidney failure and congestive heart failure. A growth in his mouth has prevented him from eating hard food since last summer and the past few days he would only eat canned food from my hand. I knew it was coming and even last night thought he probably wouldn’t make it through the night. So I got up and went to Merlin, who I’ve mothered and friended since he was less than 8 weeks old.

He was stretched out and spasming. I won’t go into details. My middle daughter, 7-yo Child B, woke up and came out to see me petting him. With each twitch, she’d ask a question. I told her that he was already gone; they were just muscle spasms. Hubby asked me if I was sure, to which I replied, “No, I’m not.” I felt for his heartbeat and clearly felt it. He gave out a few little moans and I prayed. I prayed, “God, please take him. Take him where ever you take kitties. You made him and You love him. Please don’t give him more to endure.” And Merlin took his last breath and his heart stopped.

Wow. No need to say more other than THANK YOU, Lord!

RIP Merlin 9/5(?)/1991 - 2/18/2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010 – sometime in the afternoon (1:55, according to my phone log)

I noticed that the dryer had stopped mid-cycle for some reason. Maybe I forgot to start it or maybe one of the kids was looking for clothes. I didn’t really think about it too long, just pushed the button to restart it. Within 5 minutes or so, I smelled something burning – like burning paper, but stronger and it stung my throat. So I went back in and opened the door to stop the dryer. Although I wasn’t sure it was the dryer, that was the only thing running. I came back to my oldest daughter, who thought the paint she just opened smelled like smoke. I smelled the paint and reassured her that wasn’t it. Going back into the utility room to take a closer look at the dryer, I saw smoke up towards the ceiling. Does life ever slow down?

Quickly getting the kids out of the house, grabbing shoes and coats along the way, I grabbed my purse on the way out and called 911. Here we go again.

I was too busy talking to the emergency personnel to pray. But God still answered prayers. It could have been so much worse. The fire was contained in the dryer. There was no damage to the house (unless you count muddy boots from 6+ fire fighters) or our family. Had we been asleep, we could have died – even with working smoke detectors. Had we been out of the house, it could have been burned down. God blessed us by keeping us safe and cluing us in to some things in our home that increase our risk of not escaping a fire should there be another.

Yes, after all of this I am exhausted. But I am also so very thankful for God’s sustaining love and grace to get me through this. I am so thankful that God gave me Jesus so I can I reach God, Himself. I’m so glad that He cares about the little things and the big things in our lives and that He uses these situations to bring me closer to Him. He also gives me opportunities to share this with you. Even when God doesn’t answer prayers the way we think we want him to (uhm, like I'd rather my dryer hadn't caught on fire and that my hubby hadn't passed out), He does answer them. And sometimes we have to look closely for the answers.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why he doesn't work for Hallmark...

Because he wants to make a card - this card - that really says "It's not your fault you're a clutz..."

If you know someone who is accident prone or clutzy, feel free to browse his selection. He was very clever to come up with it, I think.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Not Me Monday: mayo, stitches, and lost child

It's been a FULL week and I'm not very excited to share it. It was more eventful than I like, but here goes.

A little over a week ago, we spent a couple nights in a hotel in Peoria, Illinois. It was a great trip and we saw over 80 bald eagles near the Illinois River (the whole purpose of the trip), but the chlorine in the hotel's pool bleached our swimming suites, burned the kids eyes and skin, and turned their beautiful blonde hair into sticks! It took 3 full bottles of hotel shampoo to get their hair to feel like I could condition it and then 5 bottles of hotel conditioner to be able to brush it (I was glopping it on as I was brushing!) I have left a message at the front desk and over the phone for the manager and have yet to hear back... The rest of the hotel stay was great, though!

So, upon returning home, trying to brush my daughters' hair was again a challenge, as it still was not yet back to normal. As I was spraying olive oil onto Child B, I called my hairdresser to find out her opinion. She suggested mayonnaise. Yep. The sandwich kind. One of my daughters cannot stand mayo. Not. one. bit. So, of course, I did not put it in her hair. Nope. Not me. I didn't put her in the shower and wash her hair well, brush it and slather the mayo on real thick before wrapping it in a towel for 3 hours. I wouldn't do that to her, especially not with her gagging while I was doing it. Then when her older sister was in the shower and taunting her, I didn't ask if I could have a piec eof bread and tomatoes because she smelled SO good! Further, I wouldn't tell her that it was all a joke and she was going to be the only one to have to do this. Nope, I wouldn't tease my own daughter like that. (I did then go on to tell that I was teasing and yes her sister would also really have to have mayo in her hair!)

Child B, not very happy about having mayo in her hair:
I did not continue to make mayonnaise jokes all day long.

Later that night, when hubby came home from, he didn't say that dinner smelled delicious and ask if there was mayonnaise in it, giving his middle daughter a teasing look.

Tuesday was Child B's birthday - the BIG 7! We went to Bible Study in the morning, as usual for Tuesdays. My group was appropriately interrupted because Child C fell and busted her chin open again (just a little above where she did it on April Fools Day last year.) I had awful flashbacks of her very painful and scary experience getting stitches. But we left quickly and dropped A and B off with a neighbor and I headed to the local urgent care with C. Having forgotten to take pictures last time, I did not keep telling myself over and over again, "Take a picture when we get there. Take a picture when we get there."

Before (it held closed nicely!):
This one wasn't as bad as last time and closed together nicely, so they were able to glue it. Yeah! (Check back in a day or two for how this was a clear answer to prayer!!!)
After (with glue):
Today, we did not go to our homeschool group's Valentine's Bowling Party. Not the day after Valentine's Day. That doesn't make sense. While there, I did not let C slide around on the floor while watching her ball, that she rolled, barely make it down the lane.
And even if I would have, I wouldn't have let her sister, B, go to the bathroom unattended. The bathroom is RIGHT by the lane we were bowling on and right next to the party room we were in. So, of course, I would feel the need to go with her, lugging 4 yo C with me. Right? So after 15 minutes of her not emerging from the bathroom, I went looking for her and really, seriously did not find her. Not in the bathroom, not in the hall, not outside, not in the bar (where we had to go get cups earlier), not out the other door, not anywhere. Remember, I had not seen her for 15 minutes! When A told the lady at the register/shoe checkout that her sister was missing, she replied "OK." WHAT?!? So, I asked her specifically to page her, while several parents are looking and a boy was sent into the men's room to look. Still not anywhere. So, I did not resort to my mother's instinct to locate my lost daughter at all cost and call 911. (She has had a tendency to wander off in the past and the bowling alley was not rented out to our group exclusively, so two factors there that I thought justified this phone call.) Just as I was confirming my daughter's description and they were about to dispatch an officer, someone came up and told me B was in the other bathroom. I had no idea there was another bathroom - on the other end of the bowling alley(and the lady who works there didn't ask me if I had checked both bathrooms!) Yeah. Daughter found. Call canceled. (Isn't it great that they confirm, "So you no longer need an officer to respond to this call?") Next time I know to scope out all the bathrooms! And maybe really not let her go unattended. Or at least make sure she is in the one RIGHT next to us.
If you want to read about what other's aren't doing, head on over to MckMama's for Not Me Monday! (Most of them are funnier than this one. But it was cathartic to get it out!)