Saturday, May 31, 2014

Miracle Cures, Aerial Doesn't Mean Airplanes, a Few Too Many Photos, and a HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY TO THE TToT!!!, Week 50*

*We are aware that there are 52 weeks in a year.  We skipped two weeks back at Christmas when everyone was traveling and celebrating the holidays.

Don't worry about the actual date and number.  Just say happy birthday and enjoy the cake.

Buttercup made the cake without supervision.  We did not feed it to the actual pigs.  However, the name does kinda fit the kids who ate almost the entire cake in one sitting.

If you go to Lizzi's blog (She's the one who had the idea, started the whole hop, and does all the work to make it happen each week.) you can see the cakes of all the co-hosts as well as the lists we made of the reasons for which we are grateful for the TToT.

Let's get to my Happy Birthday Ten Things of Thankful list, shall we?

1.  I spent 3 weeks on crutches.  At week 2, I couldn't imagine that I'd ever walk again.  There was just so much pain every time I tried to straighten, bend, or put weight on my leg.  I didn't know if the pain was bad pain (as in Stop!  You're making the injury worse!) or good pain (as in I know it hurts, but this will help you heal.).  One hour with a physical therapist has changed everything.  Physical therapy is the bomb!  In only two days time, I have been able to get my leg to almost fully extended.  I am walking, with absolutely no need of crutches.  When I went back for my second appointment, the therapists were all floored by the progress I had made in only 36 hours.  It's all in the motivation.  As I suffer through the pain, trying to stretch my leg, I just keep chanting, "I will walk in England.  I will have fun in England."

2.  On Tuesday, Turken had his follow-up x-ray and received the all clear.  His collar bone was healed and he could go back to playing baseball.  Five hours later, he slipped on the stairs and bumped down about 5 of them.  Somewhere during the fall, he hit his arm.  He cried and cried that his shoulder hurt.  Even that night, in his sleep, he cried. The next day, he refused to use his arm.  Back into the sling he went, with an appointment to get another x-ray on Thursday.  I sent out a Facebook request for prayers for the poor kid.  On Thursday morning, he woke up, came downstairs, and said, "Look!  I can raise my hands!  It doesn't hurt anymore!"  He was suddenly cured, just like that.

3.  The local fire station had a sign out front that said, "Aerial Dedication Saturday.  Everyone welcome."  At first we all thought "Will there be planes involved?" and decided to go.  No planes, but lots of things I had never seen before. The fire station had just purchased a new aerial fire truck, and it needed blessed, dedicated, and celebrated.  With cake.

They got to dress up as firemen and climb in the firetruck.

The new aerial truck.

Home Depot brought some kits for the kids to put together.  Turken is making a helicopter.
At one point, they gathered everyone for the blessing and dedication.  Then...

they used another truck to spray the new one down.

They passed towels out to everyone, and we all got to dry it off and shine it up.  
The firemen then pushed the truck into it's bay in the fire station.  I am so glad we decided to go to this community event, even without the planes.

4.  I don't exactly see eye to eye with Star's coach, and I haven't hidden that fact.  In truth, I behaved poorly.  Star likes playing for this team, despite the things that have happened, and I should have kept my mouth shut.  When I finally came to my senses, I apologized to Star and promised not to say another word.  He accepted it without a bit of attitude.  Actually, after I apologized, we stood there looking at each other for a minute before he said, "This is awkward."

5.  The Indy500 is always on Memorial Day weekend, and several years ago Bryan started a tradition to go with it.  He's fun like that. The night before the race, we each take turns picking the names of the drivers out of a hat.  While we listen to the race on Sunday (because we can't watch it live in Indy), prizes are given away.  Cuckoo chose silly string for his prize.  The following photos show that the big kids will do just about anything for that adorable little boy.

They simply lined up...

and took their turns at being sprayed at a ridiculously close range.

If Cuckoo had trouble with the sprayer, the sprayee even helped him work it.

I just like looking at their laughing faces.
Buttercup remembered that all of the kids received silly string in their stockings, so she grabbed hers and let Turken use it.

His "Phooey, I'm out of string" look.

His "Oh no!  Someone else has string!" look.
6.  We've had lots of medical appointments lately, be they physical therapy, yearly checkups, or x-ray appointments.  Having 4 kids old enough to babysit or stay home alone has meant I don't have to drag all 6 kids to these appointments.  No one needs the stress of 6 kids being drug to appointments.

7.  When my three (full) siblings and I were growing up, "I'm going to find a church parking lot," was not a phrase we wanted to hear.  It meant our shenanigans/arguments in the moving vehicle had pushed my mom or stepdad over the edge and some discipline was going to be dealt out.  Why church parking lots, I don't know.  Perhaps they thought a bit of Godliness would rub off, or perhaps it reminded them not to kill us.  (Mom?  Want to shed some light?)  Now that I have kids, I don't specify church parking lots when they act up in the van.  Any partially empty lot will do.  While I still do tell the kids we'll be going to the church parking lot, it's for a very different reason.

8.  We rarely go to the movie theater.  It's just too expensive, and we don't usually have 3 hours to kill at the right time for the right movie.  Fortunately, last weekend we had some time and the dollar theater had the Lego Movie showing. (Cuckoo went with Bryan to pay for the tickets.  Afterwards, Cuckoo apparently knows the high prices of taking 8 people anywhere, because he yelled to me, "It was only 8 dollars!  For all of us!) I always wondered how they would make a movie about Legos.  It was better than I thought it would be.

9.  A friend called yesterday saying she had some egg cartons for me and needed to talk with me about something.  We have three games on Saturday, but all in the afternoon, so I was able to meet her for breakfast this morning.  I'm so glad I could be there for her.

10.  One week of summer break is behind us.  I love late spring/summer.  The kids get to sleep in (until 9.  I can't handle people in my house sleeping all day.) we get to play games and go to fun places, and work gets done.  We all worked for about an hour and a half one day to get the garden in tip top shape.  Oh, and with late spring comes late spring harvest.  The strawberries are here!

Now, it is your turn.  If you link up every week or have never linked up before, this weekend is a great day to join in.  Not only do we have a sparkly new button for the occasion, Lizzi has a contest going with a prize to go along.  Jump in.  You won't regret it!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Friday, May 30, 2014

Staying Fit With a Gaggle of Kids, but Without a Gym or a Babysitter

I am one of those people with whom many women get annoyed.

Even after having 4 babies in 4 years, I was back to wearing the clothes I wore in college in a short few months.

Part of the reason is I was just plain lucky.  Genetics has a whole lot to do with it.

Part of the reason, though, is I found ways to get some exercise.   Today, I'm going to link up with the Finish the Sentence Friday ladies and share five of my favorite ways to stay somewhat fit while raising a gaggle of little kids.  No gym membership or babysitter required.

1.  Walk.  With the addition of each child, I had to change up the way we took walks.  At one point, I had a double stroller to push two kids, one baby strapped to my chest, and a four year old Phoenix on a bike.  In order to get the maximum workout, don't invest in a jogging stroller.  Build muscles while getting some cardio.  Get the biggest, most difficult stroller to push.  And don't take the easy walk.  Trek up the biggest hills in your neighborhood.  If you don't have hills, drive somewhere that does.  (I was fortunate to live in a neighborhood that had a gigantic hill, but when we moved to the farm, I lost the neighborhood.  I've taken the little boys to a random neighborhood, parked the car, and taken off on a walk many times.)

I know, many of you are thinking, "But when my child is on a bike, I am constantly having to chase him or scream for him to stop and the walk isn't any fun."  Easy solution to that.  I started this "game" the first time Phoenix graduated from the stroller.  I still use it.  When starting out, the kids will want to ride ahead.  Let them, but give them a stopping point at a distance with which you are comfortable.  For example, "Stop at the 2nd blue mailbox" or "Wait for me at the fire hydrant."  The kids ride as fast as they want until they get to the marker you named, then wait for you to catch up.  This will also give you incentive to walk at a good, fast pace so the kids don't have to wait too long.

2.  Dance.  We have about 20 kids' CDs.  All I have to do is crank it up, and the kids and I can dance our little hearts out.  Extra muscle building occurs when you agree to hold the kids (one at a time!) while dancing. Many days, we'd have music on all day, and I'd dance by myself while making their lunch or cleaning the house.  Two of our favorite, fast-paced CDs are:

As the kids get older and don't want to dance with you, get a Wii and a Just Dance game.  They will be happy to dance with you until you pass out.  It is one serious workout.

 3.  Play.  Wrestling with the kids will most certainly give you a workout, but if you are looking for a less chaotic exercise, "Airplane" and the like are good alternatives.  Lay on your back with your feet up in the air.  The child lays across your feet and you lift him up in the air.  Extra muscle building tip...don't just let him hang up there.  Bend your knees and try to give each other a kiss, then raise him back up.  While on your back, put a baby on his belly on your shins, so you can do crunches, giving him a kiss with each one.  Piggy back rides will give you a workout and make your kids very happy.  Teach the kids how to do cartwheels or headstands or different kinds of somersaults.  Or, if more applicable, have your child teach you.

4.  Look like an idiot at the playground.    We have spent countless hours at playgrounds over the years.  Except when I had to chase a toddler at all times, I used that playground time for myself, too.  The kids would be having fun playing, and I'd be hanging off of the monkey bars doing reverse pull ups.  (Are they called drop downs??  I have never been able to haul myself up in a pull up.)  Steps are good for calf-lifts (Stand on your toes on the bottom step, drop your heels down, then up as high as you can over and over.) and step exercises.  (Duh. (Use the bottom step to do quick bursts of up/down steps.))  Go for a swing yourself, going as high as you can, really stretching yourself out and getting your arms and abs into it.  Get creative and use whatever you playground has.

5.  Kegels.  Ladies, I cannot stress this enough.  Kegels, Kegels, Kegels.  I've always done them while driving in the car.  Your older self will appreciate the work you put in when you are younger.  I'm serious.  Peeing yourself is no laughing matter.

Whatever you do, get the kids involved.  You won't regret it.  Unless you play soccer.  Once your kids get to middle school age, for the love, give up playing soccer.

Make sure to make a stop back here this weekend.  The Ten Things of Thankful hop is celebrating it's first birthday.  We'd love to have you join us!

Have a lovely day!

Finish the Sentence Friday

Monday, May 26, 2014

Keep These Things in Mind if Your Knee Is Ever Traumatized

Not one of my body parts has ever suffered major trauma before, so I was not prepared for all that it entailed.  Each day held a new learning experience for me, and not all of them were good.  I shall pass on my newly acquired knowledge to you, my readers, because I care.  Based on the vast number of people who have seen me on my crutches and proceeded to tell me about their own knee injuries, I'm thinking there is a pretty good chance at least half of you will incur a similar injury sometime in your life.

Do ice your knee as much as possible for weeks on end.

Don't put that ice in a cheap sandwich bag that will leak all over your pants, blanket, and couch.

Mostly don't ask a 5 year old to put those leaky bags of ice on the kitchen counter.  There is a good chance he will put them on the pile of bills and important papers waiting patiently for your undivided attention.

Do use your crutches constantly for several weeks.

Don't use furniture, handrails, children, or sinks to get around.  You may just put your weight on the master bathroom pedestal sink, shift it off kilter, and snap the drainpipe, thus making your sink unusable.  You will find yourself washing your hands and brushing your teeth over the side of the tub while sitting on the toilet until your knee heals completely and you can get to the store to buy a replacement sink.

Do get showered and dressed and brushed for the day before going downstairs.

Don't wear clothes with loose pockets.  Thumbs have a tendency to snag in those pockets each and every time your crutches swing forward, causing you to lose your balance and practically kill yourself at least 53 times.

Do put your feet up and rest.

Don't plan on getting much sleep.  While you can control your movements during the day, you will have trouble doing so while you sleep.  The probability that you will bend your knee a bit too far when rolling over and wake yourself up screaming in pain is quite high.

Do listen to music while getting your MRI to cover the noises of the machine.

Don't listen to 80s music during that MRI.  Your body is conditioned to sing and dance when it hears 80s music, which is completely against the rules of the MRI.  So, on top of the torture of not being able to scratch the 19 different spots that suddenly itch like the devil, you will have to keep yourself from belting out your favorite songs.  It makes for a looooong 35 minutes.

Do let others go to the grocery store for you.

Don't ask those kind people to buy anything besides cereal.  Despite the fact they have been eating fruit and veggies and meat at every meal for your entire lives together, your offspring and husband will forget that such things even exist.  The beautifully ripe strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe, lettuce, and grapes will go uneaten and moldy in the fridge.  Oh, and they won't eat the eggs that are still flooding in from the chicken coop, either.

Do take advantage of the pity your family has for you.  Let them do all the work while you sit on the couch and read.

Don't expect it to last forever.  By week two, you may have a conversation like this:

Child:  Mom, have you noticed we're all upstairs in our rooms a lot more than usual?
Me:  Yes.  What are you doing up there?
Child:  Well, with you being unable to do much, we know that whoever can be seen is the one who gets asked to do the extra chores you and Dad want done.
Me:  I know, Honey.  Haven't you noticed that I've been calling you all in a rotation?  I've known about this strategy of yours for years.
Child:  Dad hasn't figured it out yet.
Me:  No.  No he hasn't.  If I were you, I'd hide when he is home, too.

Do slowly start to venture out as your injury heals.

Don't take your injured children with you.  No one, and I really mean NO ONE, can resist commenting when he sees a mom on crutches accompanied by her small child who happens to have his arm in a sling.  "Did this happen in the same accident?" and "Did you fight each other?" and "What is wrong with your family?" are the most common questions.  Those folks that don't ask questions give questioning looks, dirty looks, or smirks that end in laughter while they make fun of you.  It's best to just leave the kid at home.  Or let him take his sling off when you are out in public.

That's all I've got so far.  I'm sure there will be more bits of wisdom before this is all over, considering I haven't started physical therapy or had surgery yet.  I'll keep you posted.  Naturally.

If you have had knee surgery before, do you have any tips for me?

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Favorite Time of Year Is Here, and I Might Actually Get to Enjoy It, TToT Week 49

1.  Let's just begin with the biggest, best, most wonderful thankful...

SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER!!!!!  I love summer.

2.  We spent the entire day with friends.  The kids only had to go to school for 3 hours on Friday, so there was plenty of time for fun.  I started with breakfast with my book club.  After picking up all the children, we spent 4 hours at a park with approximately 10 other moms and their kids.  We came home for a quick nap and feeding of the animals (the actual animals ate, the kids and I napped) before heading out for an evening of backyard bonfires and fellowship at another friend's house.  As the parents sat around the fire, the 15 or so kids were all out in the yard playing a game.  It was a perfect summer evening start to our break.

3.  On Wednesday, the newly graduated 8th graders had their trip to Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. (amusement park 2 hours away).  At around 5:00, some major storms rolled into Indy, causing all outdoor activities to be cancelled.  The storm never made it to Cincinnati.  So, the boys and I had an unexpected night off at home to play games and relax, but Buttercup was able to have a great time riding the roller coasters to her heart's content.

4.  Buttercup amazes me.  At her graduation Mass this week, she played the piano beautifully.  She also received several awards.  There were two that I was most happy to see.  First, she was the only 8th grader (out of 65 or so kids) to get a perfect 4.0 for the year.  While she is a bright girl, that GPA tells more about her work ethic.  She worked hard to get it.  She also received the Christian Attitude Award.  The recipients of this award are not chosen by the teachers, but by the students.   I can't wait to see all of the good things she does as she gets older.

5.  Turken's collar bone is healing up nicely.  He has gone a week without the sling and has done very well.  He fully participated in the school's field day, and last night at the party (I hear) he was hitting a baseball.  He'll be getting an x-ray this week to make sure all is well, but I'm pretty sure he's back to his old self.

6.  I was able to walk without crutches yesterday.  I did't walk far, and it wasn't pretty, but I walked.  If you would have asked me 2 weeks ago if I thought I would ever walk again, I might have said no.  It astounding how well our bodies can heal themselves, even after "major trauma".  (That's what my surgeon said my knee had suffered.)

7.  I found a surgeon who comes highly recommended.  I met him this week, and I have a much better understanding of how things are going to go.  I start physical therapy on Tuesday in order to get my full range of motion back before my big trip to England and the subsequent surgery.

8.  If I would have had this injury happen 15 years ago, I would be in a very different, worse situation.  With new, less invasive methods of surgery, my knee will be totally fixed up with a relatively short recovery time.  Fifteen years ago, the ACL wouldn't even have been fixed, and I'd have a huge scar from the surgery to fix the meniscus.

9.  I am not able to do much with this knee injury.  Thank the Lord above that I can still drive.  Misery would have befallen the lot of us if I wasn't able to drive.

10.  My grandma is a corker.  I love her to pieces.  I had a nice, long chat with her this week, and she had me laughing my full head off.

So, how was your week?  What made you laugh, smile, or cry tears of joy?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Have No Fear. There Are Plenty of Kind, Generous People in This World, TToT Week #48

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run the race before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 12:1-2
(Thanks Sarah for cluing me in to this passage of scripture.)

I tell you what, if you are ever feeling lonely, just start hobbling around with some crutches.  You will get more attention than you ever dreamed.

When the knee injury was new and people asked what had happened, I'd give them the full story.  300 people later, it's the short and sweet, "I tore my ACL playing soccer with the kids."  I do appreciate the concern, but wow.  I have contemplated simply wearing a sign.

With all of the questions, though, has come kindness beyond anything I could have expected.  I am so grateful for the people who have gone out of their way to make my life easier.  I have one gigantic "cloud of witnesses" helping me "run the race before" me.

Kris tracked down some backpack-style purses for me, so I can get rid of the drawstring, ugly red backpack I am currently using.  She knows what kind of purse a mom would need, so it only took me a few minutes to pick one.

I had to go to the high school for a meeting, and none of my kids were with me.  As I hobbled up the ramp to the doors, a teen boy I had never seen before stopped the game he was playing and came running to open the door for me.  Two more teens asked if I needed help as I made my way downstairs.

One friend works across the street from the high school picked Phoenix up for me.  When she dropped him off to me, she also dropped off a yummy dinner.

Another friend made french toast casserole for us.  Cuckoo was extra excited about it.  After he ate a few bites, he asked, "Are we having dessert for dinner?  I like this!"

A friend has been taking our eggs to sell at the hospital where she works.  In one week, she's taken 20 dozen eggs off our hands.  We can actually fit all of the delicious meals people have made for us in the fridge.

On Tuesday (during school hours), Giant's class put on a mini-musical.  When it was over, we parents were unhappy to see that it was pouring down rain.  As in torrential downpour.  Everyone was waiting under the roof, hoping the rain would stop.  A friend of mine grabbed my keys and went to pull my van up for me.  He even stuck around to make sure the little boys, my crutches, and I got in safely.  He was absolutely drenched by the time I pulled away.

Three people have been so kind to take three of my kids to many soccer games this week.  The games have all been away games, which is just too far for me to drive with a bum knee.  Plus, the games are at 6 or 6:30, so Bryan can't get home in time to drive them, either.  I don't know what we would have done without these helpful folks.

Cuckoo was whisked away by his godmother for the entire weekend this weekend.  The poor kid hasn't been able to do many fun things, thanks to me not being able to walk.  He will get to have some fun and attention and I will get to go to the myriad games without having to worry about keeping him happy.

While at one of those games, it started to sprinkle, with a threat of serious rain.  One of the dads grabbed my keys and walked back to the van to get my umbrella for me.

Every day, Buttercup has been johnny on the spot when I need her to help with the little boys.  While I sit on the couch, she's gotten them ready for bed, dished out their dinner, and gotten them ready to leave the house. She has also run into the store for desperately needed groceries.  Plus, she has asked if I needed any help over and over again.

Despite having 2 away games this week, Giant has been extra helpful, too.  He's done more than his fair share of laundry, he's given the little boys a shower, he's cleaned, and he's stayed organized, making sure that he has everything he needs for all of his many activities this week.  (Costume for the musical, bike and helmet for Tour de France, uniforms for games, projects for school).  He has also asked me several times if I need anything.

Star has been the biggest surprise.  He's not one who likes to do work around the house, yet he's been helpful, too.  He made pancakes for everyone for breakfast (and put the leftovers away) and emptied the dishwasher several times without being asked.  Every time we come in the house, he waits patiently for me at the door in order to hold it open for me.  Every time I come downstairs, he hears me and comes running to carry my crutches and anything else I might be trying to carry on my lap.  He hasn't huffed a single huff, not matter how many times I ask him to run upstairs/to the kitchen/downstairs to get or do something for me.

I will mention that the other three boys have also been very good at helping me whenever I ask, no matter what I ask.  They even seem happy to help.  Not once have I had to ask them to hold the door open for me.  Even little Cuckoo and one-armed Turken will strain to haul open a heavy door and hold it for me without being asked.

Bryan has had to do all sorts of extra chores since I've been down.  He now has to take care of the animals before work, iron his own clothes each night, and do as many chores as possible in his limited time at home. Not a bit of complaining out of him.

To pay my family back for all of their hard work and helpfulness, I hired someone to come clean the house.  There is no way they can keep up with all that needs done around here, and there is no way I can sit in a filthy house without getting anxious and annoyed.  I am so thankful that we can afford to have this done.

Alrighty, then.  It's your turn.  What helpful things have been done for you this week?

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Musings from the Minibus 5

If I am going to sit for 10 minutes

waiting for an extremely long train to go by,

I fully expect the train company to reward me with a guy standing against the rail of a caboose, waving and smiling and apologizing for the long wait.  You know, because a smile just makes everyone happier. 


(Can't tell you how much thought went into the correct way to make "caboose" plural, except to say it was too much.  Way too much thought.  Is it like moose, where plural and singular are the same?  Or is it like goose, thus making it cabeese? It went downhill from there.  I even googled "words that rhyme with goose".  Surprisingly, there aren't many.)


I will never go to this foot spa

no matter how many times it opens.  Grandly or otherwise.


A street nearby is being widened, and all of the trees along the route have been cut down.  My heartbreak at seeing the destruction of so many lovely trees was only made worse by the sight of the poor, fake, now- homeless deer left alone by the stump of his tree.  

But then, sadness turned to laughter, as all I can picture now is the deer when the tree came down.  I imagine him doing the Bugs Bunny scream when his hiding place was suddenly exposed.

Bugs Bunny always makes me laugh.


Fundraising is getting out of hand. 

In case you can't read this perfectly focused and not-zoomed-in photo my mom took, it says, "Mattress Fundraiser" for a local high school's band.

My first thought when I saw the sign was, "Man, I thought those cardboard boxes of crap I had to carry around door to door was heavy.  Can't imagine having to carry a mattress."

Now, I know the kids aren't carrying mattresses around, but the thought of that happening made me laugh.  

Really, though, how are you supposed to sell mattresses?  Are there that many people in the market for a mattress?  Will people see this sign and think, "You know what, I could use a new mattress.  I will mark my calendar to go to the high school to buy one on Saturday."

And what about those poor parents who always feel obligated to buy every single thing their teams/organizations/schools are hocking?  Especially if they have more than one kid in the band.  

And what about Grandma or the budget-conscious neighbor?  What is the band kid supposed to say when the lady asks, "What do you have for $5 or less, Sonny?"

If I would have been in town that weekend, I would have been there.  Not to buy a mattress, of course.  Ours isn't even 20 years old yet.  I just wish I could have seen how this all went down.

So, what have you seen around your town lately that made you do a double-take?

Have a lovely day!

Other Musings from the Minibus posts:

I won't bore you with all of them.  :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Diagnosis and a Secret Revealed

"If you are going to do something, do it right the first time."

I say it when someone scrubs the floor, but I find milk spots still there.

I say it when someone cleans up the lunch dishes but fails to put any of the silverware in the dishwasher.

I say it when someone cleans his room but leaves junk all around the edges of the bed.

I'm pretty sure they appreciate it.

They also appreciate the fact that I practice what I preach.

Unfortunately, I sometimes practice it even when I shouldn't.

Take, for instance, when I'm playing in a sport of some kind.

I can't play half-way.

I have to give it my all.

When a person is running for a ball, I have to beat him.

And when I do, I have to injure myself in fine fashion.

Do it right the first time.

I got the results of my MRI on Monday morning.

The doctor handed me a paper with a list of the injuries I inflicted on myself.

It was half a page, listed from most problematic to least problematic.

With the fist line, I knew I was in big trouble.

"Acute, complete disruption of the anterior cruciate ligament."

I ripped that ACL right in half.

The next two lines didn't sound much better.

"Obliqued tearing of the medial meniscus posterior horn that extends through both inferior surface and meniscus periphery."

"Vertical tearing of the lateral meniscus posterior horn near the tibial attachment, most likely representing a radial-type tear."

I tore my meniscus pretty good, too.  In more than one place.

"Bony contusions...blah blah blah".

I have bruises on two bones.

That's the worst of it.

I done injured myself but good.

Normally, I'd say let's get this surgery booked ASAP.  Too bad this isn't a normal situation.

(Here comes the secret part...)

In June, Bryan and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.

Two weeks ago, we bought tickets to go on a trip we've postponed for 16 years.

It was supposed to be a celebratory trip after he graduated from law school, but I ended up pregnant with Phoenix.  He was due four weeks after the bar exam, so we didn't go.

Two weeks ago, we bought tickets to fly to London, England.

My flight leaves three days before Bryan's.  He isn't exactly social, so I am going early in order to visit with a friend who moved there with her family last year.

And the agenda includes a stop to meet one other special person.

*cough* Lizzi 

If I have this surgery ASAP, we have to cancel our trip.

Not a chance in H-E-double hockey sticks is that gonna happen.

According to the doctor, if I am a good patient, staying on my crutches and not trying to do all the stuff, I will be able to walk and have fun on our trip.  I won't be able to do everything we might have done before, but I will be able to do plenty.

So, a good patient I will be, then schedule the surgery upon our return.

I am taking anti-inflammatory medicine, in hopes that someday soon I will be able to see my knee cap.

Apparently, the bone bruising is what makes my knee hurt the most, so once that heals I'll feel much better.

I will use my crutches at all times.  I will park my rear on the couch with my foot up at every possible moment.

When I told the kids what the doctor said, Giant commented, "All I heard is that we're going to be doing a bunch of extra work for three months."

Smart kid, that one.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm Just Glad the Week Wasn't Full of Mondays, TToT Week #47

So, Monday stunk.  Worse than the decaying raccoon I mowed around last week.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can read the posts from the last three days.  (Yes, it took three days to convey the horribleness of my Monday.)

It was the kind of day that could have sent even me, the eternal optimist, into a corner to wail and cry about all that is going wrong with the world.  Yet I didn't.  I couldn't.  There were too many people showing me kindness and too many good things happening to allow me the time or give me the inclination to wallow.

So many things for which to be thankful...

1.  My mom had already been planning to come up Tuesday-Friday.  Sweet Mama, I don't know what we would have done without my mom this week.  She did so, so much driving.  Between kids' practices, my doctor appointments, the van getting fixed, and special events at school, much driving needed to be done.  Not to mention the laundry and kitchen cleaning and lunch making she did.  Oh, and Cuckoo's coughing up of phlegm on Wednesday morning.  So glad I didn't have to clean that up.  :)

2.  The friend who drove down early Tuesday morning to give me some crutches. The crutches have been a game changer.  While the scooting on my butt everywhere helped keep the floors dusted, it wasn't very practical.

3.  Pain medicine.  I am the sort who only takes medicine when I really, really need it.  (I gave birth to three of my kids without so much as a Tylenol.)  I haven't missed a dose this week.  As uncomfortable as I still am, I can't imagine how awful I would feel without it.

4.  Boatloads of people checking in on me and offering to help.  Every day, the texts and messages have been coming in with offers.  I haven't needed the help yet, but I have no doubt I'll be needing some next week.  I am so blessed to have so many people who genuinely care for us, want to help us and go out of their way to do so.

5.  Backpacks.  They are a wonderful help when a person is on crutches and can't carry a purse.  Also good for someone on crutches who needs to carry things from one part of the house to another.  Two of those 100 backpacks I have under the bed are coming in quite handy.

6.  The kids are doing good things.  We just found out that Phoenix scored very well on a national Algebra I test.  Buttercup was chosen for a huge honor at school by a panel of 12 teachers.  Turken got to perform in his first mini-musical at school.  Nailed it, even with only one arm.

7.  The pigs are still alive.  At least, I assume they are.  I haven't been out to see a pig or chicken since Monday night.  My family just may not be telling me that the pigs are dead, knowing I'd make them dispose of them.  Very well could be that the pigs are out in the pen decaying as I type.  I guess, then, I'll just be grateful not to know.

8.  Bryan is such a good dad.  He has been ridiculously swamped at work lately, but he has continued to put our family first.  He hasn't worked late.  He's gone to games and driven to practices.  He's the best.

9.  Simple things to keep little boys happy.  Turken and Cuckoo were occupied for hours on the front porch.  All they had was a bucket of water and one squirt toy each.  It gave me the chance to lay back on the couch and even nap a bit.  (This pain medicine can make me quite sleepy!)

10.  Weather warm enough for two little boys to play with water outside.  It's mighty helpful for a person on crutches, too.

Now, if I can come up with ten things for which to be thankful this week, surely you can.

What are they?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Mom Suggested I Stop Blogging, Part 3; or For the Love of All That Is Holy, Will This Day Ever End??

So, to recap my Monday thus far...*

1.  I realized the pigs had pneumonia.
2.  My van was torn apart by the dogs as they desperately tried to get the squirrel which had scurried into the undercarriage.
3.  I spent 2 hours at the car service place, missing a dentist appointment and the picking up of Turken from kindergarten, only to be told it would take up to 4 more hours and lots of money to fix the van.
4.  I left without getting it fixed just yet, and thus had to listen to the awful alarm going off in the van screaming at me to FIX IT NOW!
4.  (You didn't know this part.)  I spent an hour with the kids at the pediatrician's office for checkups for 2 kids.  Found out that Buttercup grew 3 inches last year, and that there is now a slight curve in her back.  When Turken gets his follow-up x-ray, Buttercup will be getting one of her back.
4.  I gave 2 pigs shots by myself while everyone was at school and work.
5.  I made my kids assist me in giving shots to the other 2 pigs.

Now that you're caught up, we can get to the next part of my day...


It was the parents vs. kids soccer game at school on Monday night.

There were signs that I should have skipped the game.  Or at least walked off the field after the game started.

There are always signs.

The first sign was over a year ago when I injured my ankle during a volleyball game.  It was a bit of a red flag that said "Hey, Doofus!  You're getting to old for this!"

I completely ignored it.

The second sign was the tangle I got into with another mom.  We were both on defense, and we both went after a kid trying to score.  I was running behind her, and my foot got tangled up with hers.  We both went down.  She landed first, then I landed on her legs.

Where she got cleats, I'll never know, but I know she had them on.  One of them hit me right between the legs.  The pain of getting cleated in the lady parts had me seeing stars.  As I stood up and staggered around the field, I just kept asking her, "Am I bleeding or did I pee my pants?"  She was laughing.  I was trying to discreetly check my shorts while approximately 35 people played soccer around me.

Let me just say, that is not as easy as it sounds.

But did I leave the field?

Of course not.

I am a doofus of epic proportions.

I am way more competitive than any 42 year old, out of shape woman should be.

I "rubbed some dirt on it" and got back to playing.

A ball was kicked far into the parents' side of the field.

There was only one 8th grade boy running for the ball.

I knew I could beat him.

I took off at full speed.

Just as I got to the ball, my foot planted.

My body twisted.

I felt things ripping and tearing and stretching all up and down the outside of my right leg.

I landed in a heap on the grass.

I grabbed my knee and began rolling from side to side, trying not to cry.

Adults came to stand around and look at me.

I wailed.

"I'm going to need to go to the hospital!  This is really bad!  Oh, it hurts!"

Bryan came to kneel next to me.

He leaned on both knees to ask what hurt.

I almost punched him as I yelled, "DON'T TOUCH ME!"

One of the parents is a fireman, so he came to do his EMT duty.

Basically, he sat next to me to see if I was going to need CPR at any point.

After a couple of minutes, the pain lessened.

I started to think things might not be as bad as I first thought.

EMT and Bryan actually got me into a standing position.

To the crowd of adults, I simply said, "Well, that was dramatic."

I was drug/ I hobbled over to the sidelines and the game continued without me.

After the game, I hobbled over to the picnic shelter for the team pitch-in.

That is when I heard everyone's stories of my fall.  Things like...

"I saw you go down, and I knew you weren't getting back up for a while."

"I heard your leg pop."  (Three people said this.)

"I thought you had flopped and were just faking at first."

Really helpful stuff.

The rest of the week has been full of pain meds, doctor appointments, an MRI, swelling, and time on the couch.

On Monday I will meet with the doctor again to discuss the results of the MRI.

Pray that it isn't a tear requiring surgery.

I know you are all dying to know if I beat the kid to the ball.

Yes.  Yes, I did.

*I just realized that I'm going to write just as many posts about Monday as I did about our entire week-long vacation.  I don't think that's a good  thing.

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My Mom Thinks I Should Stop Blogging, Part 2

I have told you about the van and the damage the dogs/squirrel did to it.  If you recall, I found the destruction when I went out to the van in order to go to the store for some needles and syringes.  I was pretty sure our pigs had pneumonia.  I hear pneumonia is quite common in hogs.  Seems we've just been "lucky" that we haven't had any die from it in past years.

Signs our pigs had pneumonia:

1.  They haven't eaten their food for 2 days straight.
2.  They haven't shown interest in water for one day.
3.  They only got up when I made them get up.
4.  They were having trouble breathing.  It is not normal for me to see pig bellies moving in and out with each breath.
5.  Some coughing was heard.

Signs our pigs didn't have the same thing as last year's herd:

1.  No one had diarrhea.  (Including me.)
2.  There were no dead birds in their waterer.

Treatment of pig pneumonia includes giving shots of antibiotics into the neck of each pig. Fortunately, thanks to last year's herd, I know how to do that. Two of the pigs were sicker than the others, and I was afraid to wait until Bryan got home to give them the shots.  The longer I waited, the better chance one of them would die.  Since the pigs are only 35-50 pounds each, I decided not to wait and just do it on my own.

The hard way to administer a shot in each of 4 pig's necks:

Step 1:

Using a 100-ft rope, chase the sick pig around the pen and wear him out.  Occasionally toss the rope in an attempt to get it around the pig's neck.  You won't actually get him, but it's good practice for when he slows down.   It is likely you will get your rope completely tangled around one or both feet as you chase the pig.  This step will take up to 15 minutes, but it will seem like 15 days.
Step 2:

Once you have almost killed the pig from exhaustion, he will slow down enough for you to get the rope around his neck.  Hold on for dear life when he gets his second wind, because he will kick and squeal and wiggle and throw himself at you in an attempt to get loose.  This step should take up to 5 minutes.  Your arms may come out of their sockets between minute 2 and minute 4.
Step 3:

Eventually, the pig will wear himself out and stop fighting you.  It is at this point that you will despairingly realize that the syringe was left in a safe spot on the other side of the pen.  You will need to prod, poke, and drag the pig over there to retrieve the syringe.  (In case you can't tell, this is my "despairingly" look.)
Step 4:

Once you get to the syringe, straddle the pig, hold the rope with one hand, and stick the needle in the pig's neck with the other hand.  Your hand may be shaking from the exertion of catching the pig in the first place.  Don't worry if some of the medicine runs down his neck because you misjudged when to push the medicine in.
Step 5:  Repeat step 1 for each pig.

Step 6:

In the melee of trying to wear out/catch the pig, you may accidentally rope the pig's hind legs instead of its neck.  Go with it.  At least you have the pig, and holding it this way will make the dragging to the syringe easier.  Extra caution is needed, though, as the pig has a much better chance to whip around and bite you. 
Step 7:

Once you've drug him to the syringe, but before you pick up the syringe, you must get the rope around the pig's neck.  Use one hand to hold the rear end of the rope and slightly lift the pig's back legs off the ground.  With the other hand, get the rope around his neck.  It will probably take a few tries.  Hold tight while he bucks a bit more.  As soon as he is calm, let go of the rope holding the hind legs.  (All of the exertion may cause your hair to fall out, apparently.)

Step 8:  Repeat step 4.

Step 9:  Decide that the other pigs are not in such dire need of their shots.  Shaking and weak, head back to the house and collapse.


Two hours after this, on our way home from school, I told the kids that they were going to help me administer the shots to the other two pigs.

They were horrified until I told them they wouldn't have to actually give the shots.

Then they were simply terrified.

The easy way to administer a shot in a pig's neck:

Step 1:  Gather 4 kid helpers.

Step 2:  Explain to the helpers that there will be much noise and flailing and maybe some cursing.  They shouldn't be afraid, as the pig is not getting hurt.  I might be, but the pig won't be.

Step 3:  Before the pigs can get out of the barn, get a gate in the doorway to keep them in there.

Step 4:  Assign a job to each helper*.

1.  Gate holder:  He is to hold that gate nice and tight, as the pigs will likely charge the gate when I start the "lassoing".  Star got that job.
2.  Back-up gate holder:  It's a big gate, and pigs are strong.  Buttercup took this job, but only after trying to avoid the vicinity altogether.  She is a big wimp when it comes to needles.
3.  Sneaky onlooker: Turken was bummed he didn't get a job, but he stayed to watch.
4.  Shot assistant:  He is to stay out of the way and hold the syringes high in the air.  When I call for one, he needs to be quick and brave and bring it to me.  Giant volunteered for this one.
5.  Wrangler's assistant:  Help get the pigs cornered and roped.  He is also in charge of holding the rope around the hind legs while the shot is administered.  Phoenix got this one.
Step 5:  Catch the pig.  It's really not that hard when the space is limited and there is someone to help wrangle.

Step 6:  Administer the shot.  Piece of cake when someone is helping to hold the pig steady and another is handing you the syringe.

Step 7:  Repeat steps 5 and 6.

Step 8:  Step back and listen to the helpers.

Turken:  That was a lot of noise!
Buttercup:  I never opened my eyes the whole time.
Cuckoo:  (He had nothing to say, as he played the usual scaredy-cat and took off for the house before we even began gathering the pigs.)
Giant:  If you weren't struggling so much, that would have been funny.


As of this posting, the pigs are doing much better.  All 4 have been up and walking around on their own, and all 4 have been seen eating and drinking.

We really should be giving each of them another shot to make sure the bug is killed completely, but I am unable to do so, no matter how many helpers I have.

We'll save that story for Part 3 of our horribly awful, unbelievable day.

*I know some of you are wondering why I didn't assign one child to be the photographer.  I would have had Turken do it, but with his broken collar bone, he's down to one arm.  He can't take photos.  Buttercup never opened her eyes, so she couldn't take photos.  I needed all of the big boys to actually help, so no photographer.

Have a lovely day!

Monday, May 5, 2014

My Mom Suggested I Stop Blogging...

Not because she doesn't like reading it and seeing the photos of her grandkids, but because she thinks having a blog has tempted Fate into overloading me with plenty of blog fodder.  I didn't agree with her until just now, this evening, as I sit and finish the post I started 10 hours ago.

To illustrate her point, I give you the story of my Monday.

One, single, unbelievable day.

It will take at least three posts to tell you what happened.

I'm not even kidding.


I slammed the ripped, torn, chewed, and otherwise shredded wires on the counter saying, "Will driving without these cause harm to my family or the general public driving on the open road around us?"

The Ford service guy simply looked at me with a "Please explain" look upon his face.

"Well, see, I had just told my 4 year old to get his shoes on.  We were making an unexpected trip to Tractor Supply to buy some needles and syringes, seeing as how my 4 pigs I got 3 short weeks ago have come down with a case of pneumonia.  As I put my shoes on, I heard the dogs giving their "I'm going to get you!" bark.  The sound came from the vicinity of my van.  I knew immediately that I was not going to like what I saw when I got to them.

I was right.  As I got close to the scene, I heard the sound of an animal squealing and scurrying around the undercarriage of my van.  For the sake of this conversation, we'll call the animal a squirrel.  The squirrel was "in" my van, and the dogs were trying their best to save the van.  By ripping it to shreds.  These wires were all over the ground."

The Ford service guy slowly picked up a wire piece with a grin upon his face.  As he inspected the piece, turning it this way and that, the grin became a full on smile.  As he picked up another piece, he could hold it back no longer.  With a chuckle, he asked, "Are any dash lights on?"

"Um, just about all of them.  And there is an incessant blaring of an alarm.  For every 5 minutes of quiet, there is one minute of (as my 4 year old said, "Mom!  Mom!  It sounds like the car is saying) 'larm alert!  'larm alert!  It is rather annoying."

Before the service guy could say, "We'll take it and have a look," the guy who took my call 15 minutes prior came into the room.  He barely managed to contain his guffaw as he commented, "Ah, the squirrel attack."

So I told them, "Oh, and I can't guarantee that it was a squirrel, nor that it actually ran out of its hiding place under the van.  You may want to protect your face when you look up."

Cuckoo and I then spent 2 hours playing Uno, cancelling a dentist appointment, and getting a ride for Turken after kindergarten.  We also walked to the only restaurant which didn't require a walk of Cuckoo death across 6 lanes of major road.  Steak - n- Shake.

I had a steak(burger).  And a shake.


Side note:  The way to get kids to be grateful for things is to never give them anything.  When Cuckoo found out he was going to be allowed to take home the paper hat, the paper car, the placemat, and the 2 little crayons, he was happier than he ever was at Christmas.  "I get to take ALL of this home?!?!?!"

After lunch, we walked back to Ford, where the service guy wasn't laughing anymore.  I think he actually felt bad when he broke the news about the four hours of work and almost $600 it would take to get the van fixed.

Probably not as bad as me, though.

I had to go back to my original question.  "But if I drive it, will it be dangerous?  I don't really have 4 more hours to stay here.  You know, 6 kids and 4 pigs with pneumonia and all."

I got the all clear to drive away, but made an appointment on Wednesday for the repairs.

We won't miss the appointment.

They couldn't turn that blasted alarm off, so it comes back on screaming, "Fix your van!  Right now!  Fix your van!  Right now!"  every five minutes.  It is almost as annoying as Turken hollering, "I hate that noise!  Oh, I hate that noise!" the entire time, every time, that alarm continues to beep.

Now, about those sick pigs...

I'll have plenty of time to write the post on Tuesday.   You'll find out why in Post 3.

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Hoping the Flower Photos Make Up for the Hints of Grouchiness, TToT Week 46

Intros are overrated.

1.  I am thankful that the blogging A-Z challenge is over.  I chose not to participate this year, but many people I know did.  Great googly moogly, that was a boatload of reading I just didn't have time for!  I'm just going to throw this suggestion out there.  How 'bout next year, instead of everyone going at the same time in April, everyone takes a different month?  The pressure of reading and writing would be off, and we read-only participants would have more time to actually read and encourage.

2.  I am thankful for the warmer weather.  Sure, it's not as warm as our springs usually are, but it's warmer than the winter.  Our saliva is no longer in danger of freezing, so I am happy.  To those who are complaining about the cool spring...People, remember the Polar Vortex.  We aren't wimps anymore, so don't act like it.

3.  I am thankful for packages in the mail.  I received a cookbook from Lizzi (full of glitter, of course) a few weeks ago, and this week I received Tibetan prayer flags from Zoe.  (I won a contest with a ridiculous obituary entry)  I have always loved snail mail, but it's so rare to get any these days.  I get so excited to find something that isn't a bill or an ad in my mailbox.

4.  I am thankful for purple.

The irises are right on time. 

Taking a photo of a lilac bush in gale-force winds is not an easy task.  You heard it here first.

5.  I am thankful that you all are still reading the blog.  I've had some funny stuff happen around here lately, but I haven't had the time nor brain power to come up with a funny, creative way to tell the stories.  Honestly, the story about getting refused service at Olive Garden should have made OJ come out of people's noses, but I could do nothing but boringly throw it in a quick take.  Thank you for continuing to stick with me.  I'll get my creative juices back soon, because...

6.  I am thankful high school volleyball is over.  Phoenix had so much fun learning a new sport, and he came a long way in his ability to play.  Plus, I really enjoyed watching the matches.  However, it's been taking a lot out of us.  It's a good time for the season to end.

7.  And, school soccer is over.  Once again, loads of fun for Buttercup and Star and me and the little boys, but it was one more thing on the calendar requiring me to drive.  I'm tired of driving.

8.  I am thankful for not-as-serious-as-it-could-be injuries.  Turken's collar bone did not break all the way through.  Since it is just a small fracture, he won't be out of commission for too horribly long.  Good thing, because the sight of him in the dugout while his team plays the field hurts my heart.  He never complained and his coach was great about making Turken feel like he was still part of the team (Turken was the 3rd base coach while his team was at bat.), but we all are hoping this recovery goes quickly.

9.  I am thankful for the non-rainy weather we had in the middle of each day this week.  There was plenty of yucky, wet weather each afternoon and evening, but the middle of the days were mostly fine.  I was able to dry lots of newly washed bedding on the line this week, as well as get some much needed mowing done.

10.  I am thankful for my mom.  We've seen a lot of her in the last month, and the kids and I couldn't be happier.  (Bryan hasn't seen her much, since he didn't go on vacation with us, nor did he go to Ohio for the tournament with us.)  She has beaten death three times in her life (a mysterious kidney ailment when I was in high school, a completely blocked artery requiring 2 heart stents 2 years ago, followed directly by a fight with cervical cancer.), so I am over the top grateful for every minute I get to spend with her.  I've been hinting that she just needs to move to Indy, but that is just the selfish part of me coming out.  I know how important her friends are to her, and that in Kentucky she is only a few miles from all of her other kids and grandkids.  I'll just be super happy for the time I get.

Now that I've made my mom tear up, I shall turn the thankful train over to you.  What has you all giddy with gratefulness this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts