All of the Things

While it's impossible for me to believe that November 28th was over four months ago, I sit here with a house full of kids in perpetual motion around me while the newest member of the family sleeps happily (for now) in a swing that I hid from his way-too-adoring big sisters in the corner of a bedroom where he's never been located before.  Flexibility.  That's the name of the game these days.

As I observed my family today, I realized how long it's been since I even uploaded photos to a Facebook album, let alone blogged about our many adventures (and non-adventures as is typically the case on a run-of-the-mill day around here).  These are things that have taken up residence in my mind.  I read something online today that says you should declutter your brain, spring-cleaning-style, by writing things down.  My mind clutter is about to become your blog reading.  I decided to sum up our last six-ish months in a single blog post and write about ALL OF THE THINGS.  All of them.  Hold on to your butts.  (That's a Samuel L. Jackson quote from Jurassic Park thrown in just for fun because my brain contains a useless wealth of obscure movie lines.)  But seriously, don't quit reading.  I'll use pictures and bullets, you know, of the literary variety not the "pow-pow" kind.  'Cause that's what I do.

All of the Things I Meant to Blog About...but Didn't.  Until Now.

1.  A Medical Emergency in a Foreign Land - While Sam and the 3 oldest went to the hotel pool, Leah and I hung out in the room (pre-Noah's birth).  I fixed myself a cup of coffee with the in-room coffee pot, and, well, went to the restroom to pee.  While in there, I heard a blood-curdling scream, only to find Leah had pulled the coffee down from the sink and scalded her underarm and ribcage.  Here I was alone on the 10th floor of a hotel room in Canada (okay, so it was Niagara Falls and I could probably have spit on the United States from our balcony, but it makes the story better this way) with a hysterical 18 month old, and a history of not exactly remaining cool, calm, and collected in emergencies.  I rinsed her in the sink, handed her a tiny piece of chocolate, and did the only thing I knew to do - took her to the pool to ask Sam for advice.  Turns out, that was a good move.  We dunked her, cooled her off, and she stopped wailing.  It looked bad (photo if you care to see).  We slathered her with some good Canadian medication and mummy wrapped her in gauze, and, by some miracle, watched that sweet baby up completely within a matter of days.  Isn't it awesome how quickly children can heal?  The best thing to come out of this experience was that Leah developed a healthy fear of all mugs, coffee pots, and general hot things.  In fact, her first word aside from the usual suspects (Mama, Dada, duck, ball, bird) was "Hot!"  Poor, sweet girl.  Talk about Mommy guilt. 

2.  Hotel Living - People ask us how it works on our trips with so many people.  Let's just say we travel with an air mattress, and sometimes we have to get creative.  (And those are the times I want to snatch these kids of mine up and hug their necks.  Just look at them.  Precious.)

3.  Dandelions and Hill Rolling - Sometimes you just never know what might make the biggest impression on a child.  Like...when one of them decides to pick dandelions just feet away from Niagara Falls.

Or when they climb Mount Royal in Montreal only to be more excited to roll down the side of it.  Part of me wonders how many Canadians watched us and shook their heads.  "Crazy Americans."

4.  The Christmas that Almost Wasn't - You hear so often about house fires in the winter, usually from space heaters and faulty decorations, etc.  What you don't hear about as often is central vacuum cleaners whose faulty wiring cause tripped breakers.  So very thankful that Sam discovered this on December 23rd and saved our home from an electrical fire.  It would have started in the attic.  I shudder to think how long it would have gone unnoticed before we realized...

And then there was the whole Abby-falling-out-of-a-tree on Christmas Day thing.  When we heard she'd done it, at first we thought, "Oh Abby."  Then we realized the severity of it.  The tree literally tore her shirt practically off of her body as she plummeted to the ground.  We are very grateful she was not more seriously injured (aside from scrapes and a sore tailbone).  Must have had an angel soften the blow for her.  But, know what?  This hasn't stopped her from continuing to climb trees.

5.  The Kidney Stone Saga of 2014 - I say that with finality because even though it's only April, I'm really hoping it is the kidney stone saga and not one of more.  On Sunday, January 27th we got home from dinner at Firehouse Subs after church, I was in my bedroom getting ready to put the kids down for the night and that all-too-familiar pain hit me in my back.  With tears in my eyes, I told Sam I was taking myself to the ER.  He, of course, refused to let me and while I cried myself a pity party, he called our favorite family of gingers who sent relief over to keep the kids safe while I writhed in pain at the emergency room.  As I was literally vomiting from the pain, my doctor took a comprehensive medical history in the exam room.  "You have five kids?!  You know what causes that right?!"  (Dude, not the time.)  Then he sent the nurse in to inform me that he would not give me any pain medication until after my CT scan.  I informed her that I was not a drug addict, that just 8 weeks earlier I birthed a nearly 10-pound baby without pain medication, and I didn't have a clue how I was supposed to be still enough for CT when I could not stop my body from shaking.  My arguments were not compelling enough.  To CT I went.  Lo and behold - I had a kidney stone.  On the bright side, our kids got to take their first ever "field trip" to a urologist's office.

Long story short, it didn't pass, my kidney puffed up, yadda yadda yadda, I had outpatient surgery and went to Disney World two days later.  Then Noah and I drove back from Disney World to get the wretched stent out of my body and I was as good as new.  Which brings me to....

6.  Walt Disney World!!!! - This very obviously deserves its own post, but we did go to Disney World.  This was the kids' big Christmas present this year.  Ten days at the most magical place on earth.  It was splendid.  Here's a picture of the kids when they found out they were going on Christmas Day.

And one from actual Disney World...maybe one day I'll dedicate a post to the trip.

6.  Leah is TWO! - I don't know how or when it happened, but it did.  This deserves its own post too.  I love this sweet girl to death.  What a joy she is in every way.  Age two has brought a language explosion and the sophistication that comes hand in hand with it.  I cannot even tell you how happy we are that Leah is part of our family.  Just look at her.  Go ahead.  Bite her.  She's irresistible.

7.  The Staph Infection (seriously, what's next?  Typhoid?) - I can only assume I picked up "the staph" during one of my hospital stays.  Hospitals are good at hosting things like that.  On one particularly beautiful Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, I decided to mow the backyard.  It's what I do for relaxation.  (What?  I'm weird.)  Apparently, I should wear gloves because I grip the handlebar way too hard, and I irritated a patch of eczema on the palm of my right hand.  This minor irritation was the perfect site for the staph to colonize, and within 12 hours of developing a minor fever feeling, I was in full-on infection mode.  Festering boils, pain and streaking, swollen and sore glands in my neck, high fever.  Thanks to Dr. Google I was self-diagnosed before I even saw my GP.  And as he ran behind by nearly an hour for my appointment, I sat in the tiny exam room and imagined all sorts of worst case scenarios like, "What if they have to amputate my hand?!" and "How can I take care of 5 kids if I'm plugged up to an IV in a hospital fighting off MRSA for six weeks?!"  Turns out a 10-day course of antibiotics knocked the thing clear out of my body and I'm good as new, but seriously...what in the world is God trying to tell me!?

This is already too long, and I'm on a roll so I'm cutting myself off.  Thanks for letting me de-clutter my brain on you.  I had a college professor who called this a "data dump."  Whatever you call it, it's my life - sometimes crazy, usually fun, always unpredictable.  And in good company.  Until next time, blessings, my friends.


Emily said...

I am so sorry about your ER experience…if that was at HMC! and I would love to know what doctor it was that wouldn't give a known history of kidney stone patient - pain meds!! Ridiculous. And that is not normal practice FYI.

Sharon said...

Jennie, your data dump was my distinct delight (don't ask me why I had a bout of alliteration right then).

Your family brings me such chuckles. I love catching up and seeing all the latest photos. The kids are just growing up so very fast! (Yes, I bit Leah - just a little bit).

So sorry about your medical travails. Glad there were: 1) no scars for Leah, 2) no head trauma or broken bones for Abby, 3) no pain with the kidney stone - wait, I just might have that wrong, and 4) no random limb amputation. Phew - I'm exhausted just hearing about all this! (And slightly surprised that Sarah didn't have another goose-egg bump or something else to add to the mix).

You are such a great mom, and such a terrific person. Thank you for sharing about your crazy, hectic, enjoyable life.

GOD BLESS! (and some XOXO, too!)

Debbie said...

I loved catching up with you, even though I get to hear a the Sheppard Saga at least second hand from one of your kids two favorite grammies.

Your kids are just beautiful. Each and every one has that signature sparkle, Funny that they each wear it just a bit uniquely.

And let me say for the 100th time that I love the way you and Sam are raising your family. I hope my girls are watching and taking notes.

Debbie said...

Yes, there is an apostrophe error there, followed by a comma where a period ought to be. Apparently, I'm getting old and careless. Either that, or my lack of sleep and depression of late has made me stupid.

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