Monday, June 29, 2009

Honey?

You know, it would be a LOT easier to be organized if it weren't so stinkin' hard to find things! At the moment I'm looking for my paint brush. I know exactly where I last saw it: in the hands of one of my children. At which point I calmly confiscated it and put it "somewhere safe" and out of reach of small children. Otherwise it would be out in the dirt being used by my little paleontologists to gently uncover dinosaur bones. Previously it had been sitting nicely on a shelf, right where I wanted it. Now I can't find it if my life depended on it.

Yep, I'm trying to paint again. As if moving furniture all afternoon wasn't enough. It's just necessary, this changing the rooms around thing. If you don't move all the furniture and put it in new places, how do you find that little tiny remote that's been missing for 3 weeks? No, just kidding. I do it because... Because...

Hold on, I'll think of it eventually.

Today I moved an enormous wall unit, built of solid wood and 70 inches wide by 80 or so inches high (it's hard to tell being as it's so much taller than me). It comes apart in 2 pieces. Hey, that's 2 pieces, should be a piece of cake, right?! Come on, how hard could it be? First, take the 200 books out of the shelves and 40 games out of the cabinets, scrub it all down, and remove the top half by picking it up like so... or okay, how 'bout like so... no? Hmmm. Turns out my arm span is NOT 70 inches. Right.

Well, then, I'll just move the whole thing out from the wall a bit and see if I can scoot the whole thing across the room. Oh dear. Well, for one thing, the one back corner was propped up by two chunks of wood and is now very lopsided and attempting to kill me by sliding the top half (shelf unit) onto me.

And... for another thing, there's no way it's going to fit through the doorway no matter how hard I try to scoot it that far in one piece. Plan B then (or was it C?). I quickly grabbed the stool and the end table and used them to prop the shelf unit up while I pushed the cabinet out from under and across the room. Great! Looks fabulous, got the corner propped back up with the chunks of wood, and now on to retrieve the shelf unit and put it back on top!

Again, my arm span is not 70 inches, so I'll just... right! I'll just balance it on my back and tramp it over to the cabinet, heave it up like so.. SoooOOOooo!!! Woah! Okay, why am I stuck with this thing precariously balanced on my back HALF WAY across the room?! Aaack!! Then, I hear this snap, and as I'm realizing I've been caught up on the rope strung up for a clothes line through the living room, the shelf unit sways hard in the other direction and I realize it's now going to come down on me and kill me.

Some how I got my foot down just in time to catch it! I was so relieved it fell directly on my ankle instead of the floor! Wait. Okay, maybe that wasn't on purpose after all. I'm sure the bruises will be pretty, though.

On to plan C. Now that it's on the floor right in front of the cabinet, all I need to do is just pick up one side, place it on the cabinet, pick up the other side, and pivot it oh so nicely onto the other side of the cabinet. Right? Right. Or not. Too high, back of the unit too flimsy to pivot on the center of, etc. etc.

Plan D: get the piano bench and put one side up on that first, then pivot off of that! *sigh* no? fine.

Plan E: put one side on piano bench, one side on end table, should work, right?

At this rate I'm going to run out of alphabet letters before it's DONE!!!

Plan F: Brute force, man, brute force! I'm gonna get one edge of a corner up there and shove for all I'm worth and ROOooaaarr....AaaaAAAHH! *WHEW!* good thing the piano caught it before it tried to kill me again as it tipped over forward while I'm trying to catch it while standing on a tippy stool.

*Sigh*

Plan F: sit my tired self down on the floor, whip out the cell phone and call hubby to find out when he'll be home.

I come by the compulsion naturally. If you've never seen a 5'3" woman stuff a sectional hide-a-bed sofa into a mini van BY HERSELF, yep, all 3 pieces, you've never met my mother. She's moved her share of furniture alone including grand pianos (I personally don't recommend this while pregnant - it's not good for your hip bones!), removed walls, built walls, remodeled anything and everything and always managed to make it look pretty and homey in the end. Once she even removed a window from our living room and took a Sawz-All to the wall to make the opening bigger for a new window! She has a definite Can-Do attitude, and I'm glad I got at least a smidgen of it from her! Of course, I did have to call her half way through this process for moral support!

So after I finally admitted defeat and my handsome, wonderfully strong hubby came home, he picked up one side, I picked up the other, and it was up and ready to go in 30 seconds flat. Ah, I love that man! He was my hero in that moment! Even if it wasn't quite as triumphant as I'd hoped. You know, because what I really wanted was to have it all done and all the books back in and the whole mess cleaned up when he walked in the door.

And then he'd say, "Whoa! What. Did. You. Do?" 'cause he's always telling me not to move stuff like that without him but I can't help it he doesn't even want me to move the TV by myself!!

And I'd say, "Honey, you don't want to know..." just like I always do. I guess, well, that I'd have to say I still haven't learned my lesson then. Yet.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jack the Cat


I just read this on someone's blog and had to share it! Some of you might have already read it in an email, maybe not, but absolutely hilarious and worth reading again!

JACK THE CAT

We have a great cat named Jack - the kids carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothers him. Mostly he's prone to hang out and nap all day long on the rug in our bathroom.

Bill and I have two sons, aged 4 and 3 years old, and a 1-year-old daughter. The 3-year old is Eli. For whatever reason, Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES it. He keeps asking to use my chapstick and then losing it.

So, finally, one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and told him he could use it whenever he wanted to, but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done.

It was Mother's Day 2008, we were having the typical rush around, trying to get ready for church with everyone crying and carrying on. The two boys had been fighting over the toy in the cereal box. The baby was fussy, and I was trying to nurse her at the same time I was putting on my make-up. It was chaos.

Finally we got the older boy and the baby loaded in the car and we were looking for Eli. Bill and I had searched everywhere - I finally went into the bathroom, and there was Eli. He was applying my chap-stick very carefully to Jack's rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now, if you have a cat, you know that Eli is right - their little butts do look kind of chapped. Jack was being his usual laid-back self and, frankly, didn't seem to be minding the attention.

Bill's eyes met mine... you know, one of those parental, mind-meld moments. The question that came simultaneously to Bill and me in that moment was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever, because it reminds me that no matter how hard we try to civilize these little ankle biters, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.

Flowers


A little picture of some of my flowers by the door in the evening light. June 25, 2009.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Treadmill

Just so you all know, I really am making a good faith effort here on my part to restore the strained relationship with my thighs. I think they ought to be meeting me halfway seeing as I AM making an effort, but apparently cellulite isn't exactly reasonable.

You see, in the winter I get to go up to the gym in town a few times a week. The only gym in this small town, it has it's drawbacks. For instance, it doesn't have a play area for kids, or any sort of childcare. So taking my kids there is not an option. They open for business at 5 am in the summer (which is when Colby is leaving for work anyway) and 6 in the winter, so no going there in the early morning hours. That leaves me with heading up to town to work out when he gets home from work in the evening. Great! I fix everyone dinner, head up to the gym, and get home in time to put the kiddos in bed.

The worst drawback of the gym here in the summer, though, is the fact that it is in the upstairs of a very large building, and it is NOT air conditioned. Whoever heard of that?! Are they trying to lose business??? Oh well, doesn't really matter much to me these days anyway - Colby works longer hours in the summer and doesn't usually get home until almost 7 anyway.

So I've resorted to digging out the old treadmill. I'd post a picture, but I'm pretty sure it would scare my mother, so I'll refrain!

It's the one with the broken motor cover, the light switch for an on/off button, and whose speed adjuster has completely broken. It now has one speed, which I could best describe as the speed I would be going while pushing a stroller through the mall. Not exactly breaking a sweat here. But I've adjusted to the fact that it has no incline and no way to speed it up. I've learned that if I lean forward on the hand grips and hop up and down like I'm running in place, I can almost pretend I'm jogging! And that way I actually CAN work up a sweat!

My routine usually goes something like this: Get a little pillow from the couch, place pillow on top of the hand bars, then place ancient CD player walkman on top of pillow (otherwise it vibrates SO much it makes the CD skip!), start up the very loud machine and start walking while praying it doesn't wake up the kids. Then I walk, and walk, and sing along to my CD, then finally realize I'm doing this not just for the relaxation and remind myself that it has been a LONG time since I've sang anything and that I probably sound like a dying cowbird, then I kick it over to a fast song, lean over on the hand rail and start hopping in place to get the blood moving.

See? I AM making an effort here.

My options are a bit limited. When we go for walks outside, I have one kid on his bicycle, and two little girls I'm pulling in a wagon. Okay, if you've ever pulled 50+ lbs. in a wagon for a mile, you know the pace is not exactly break-neck speed! Those walks are mostly for fun and education. Or for stopping to rescue every caterpillar from the road before they're killed.

Let's see, yes, I do have a double stroller I could put the girls in, but it's not really the outdoor type. It has small wheels, a long wheel-base, and drives like a bus. While our road here is actually considered a paved road, it's more like a glorified dirt road with the added joy of potholes.

I guess the old treadmill will have to suffice for now for the exercise part of my day, supplemented with gardening, chasing children, scrubbing floors, and going up and down the stairs more times a day than I can count. If my thighs aren't happy with that, well, then that's their problem!

Josh's New Truck


Just after Christmas, Josh started saving his money to buy this truck - a 1:64 scale Ertl Dodge quad cab with a tag-along horse trailer. He earned pennies, nickels and dimes for doing small chores like helping his sisters with their breakfast dishes, wiping off the table, opening doors for people, and he earned quarters for vaccuuming, doing the dishes and sweeping. He was always focused on his objective and finally the day came when he had enough money to make his purchase. I almost cried I was so proud of him!!
June 26, 2009.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yummy!


Now there's a girl that loves her oatmeal! Breakfast is the only meal I'm willing to cook when it gets above 90 around here! No a/c in this old farmhouse! Yesterday it was 94 at noon and you could cut the air with a knife. We spent the whole day in one long siesta, but no one actually slept until we finally went for a drive late in the afternoon. At least the car has a/c! June 24, 2009.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dilemma

We went to the lake today. It was a hot, sticky day, and I tried my best to fight off a headache most of the afternoon. Eventually it became clear that there was no way there would be any cooking done in my kitchen, everyone was hot and grumpy, and we needed to get out of the heat. So we headed to the lake. I called up Colby on my way out of the driveway and had him pick up some cold melons and a loaf of bread on his way home and off we went for a half an hour of dipping our feet in that clear, blue water.

I decided to leave when it was, oh, 5:15 or so. We didn't leave till just after 6. Yes, of course there was all the normal delays of trying to get everyone to use the bathroom, change their clothes, get together towels and extra undies and shoes that match, but there was also this... dilemma.

You see, I only have one pair of shorts. Well, okay, actually I have two. But one of those is a denim pair that came in a big bin of hand-me-down maternity clothes given to me when I was pregnant with my first child. They fit me through the whole summer I was expecting and so I kept them around for "next time", even though they were big and unflattering and just the type of thing you would have sworn as a teenager never to be caught dead in. By the time I got around to having my third child, they barely fit through the first trimester. Now... they just... fit. Yeah. I don't really have that great a relationship with these shorts. They're just back-up in case of emergencies.

My real pair of shorts are... well, let's just call them comfy and leave it at that. I couldn't wear my real shorts to the beach today, though, because I wore them yesterday while gardening and they haven't been washed yet.

You know, most people don't realize how hot and humid this part of the country gets in these few short months of summer, especially considering how long and cold our winters are, but it's true! I do realize I need another pair of shorts. At least one, probably two. But there's this little problem preventing me from doing the necessary shopping:

My thighs and I are not on speaking terms.

If they didn't insist on that cellulite stuff and the sticking together whenever they get anywhere near each other, things might be different. But let's face it: they refuse to budge on the issue and I just can't have them in cahoots with each other in public. So they'll be hidden till further notice.

Today I went for the dubious choice of going with a loose, just below the knee length skirt. That just kind of ended in a stale mate, I must admit. Sure, they were covered up, but they got revenge with the uninhibited sticking. Blech.

The kids enjoyed the lake thoroughly, the older two as fearless of the water as ever, taking turns rushing down the beach and into the water as far as they dared, then back up to the safety of the beach. Even little Laney was joining in the fun pretty boldly.

And - I really enjoyed the whole concept of letting the kids get as dirty and sandy as they wanted and then getting to dunk them into the lake before coming home! As it is now, they go outside in the morning and turn on the hose for maximum mud bath advantages, get as filthy as any raggamuffin you've ever seen, and require baths before lunch. And then, after naps, they do it all over again and need baths before supper. I'm averaging two baths per kid a day! It's insane! Yet so... good for them. *sigh* There are apparently really only two seasons around here: Winter and Mud.

Will talk more about the dirt and mud later... for now, time to go to bed!

Fun in the Water



Fun at the lake this afternoon, June 22, 2009.

Charmer



We went out to G&G J's house for the afternoon and both Josh and Emmy got a ride with Grandpa on the 4-wheeler. Emmy was really excited about ALL of the caterpillars, too! She had them named: Mr. Cat, Mr. Pillar, Fifi... she even brought one home with her on the back of her stuffed alligator. Lovely for him. Hope he enjoys his new home. OUT SIDE. June 20, 2009.

Driving Lessons



Josh was having a blast learning how to drive the lawn tractor! June 13, 2009.

Little City

June 13, 2009:

Back to our trip home the other day…

We were driving through that little city where Josh had his heart surgery and I found myself in disbelief that it has been so long. Almost 21 months have passed since that day. The skyline is changing as they build newer and bigger buildings around the hospital – a new parking garage, a big oval glass building that I think is a cancer pavilion, a tall thing still being worked on by the same cranes that Josh looked out on with wonder from that hallway window.

When we were away last week we went to the pool one day and the kids all enjoyed it very much. As I watched my kids play I noticed how faded Josh’s scar is. Well, until he gets really cold and turns purple, that is! Then the scar is white and more obvious! Sometimes I run my hand over the scar to see how it feels and am always amazed at how small it is and how well it healed.

As we drove through there on our way home I thought about that day at the pool and the scar on his chest. It took me back to the night before his surgery, when everyone else was already in bed, fitfully asleep, when Isuddenly remembered that I had been given the task of washing my son’s chest with a special antibacterial scrub before he went to sleep.

I didn’t want to do it. In fact in that moment I came pretty darn close to hating that surgeon for asking me to do it. I picked up my drowsy son and carried him to the bathroom, helped him undress, and stood him in the shower. I picked up the sealed package and tore it open. The sterile sponge had a bright orange soap solution, and I got it wet and began my job. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t grieve for the innocence about to be lost. I just did what a mother does; I held my chin up and talked calmly to my son and hoped he couldn’t see the terror in my eyes, while in my mind I could only ask God why.

Why did my son have to go through this? Why couldn’t I fix it? Why did I have to be so helpless? And Why did I have to be the one to scrub his chest and prepare it for what was about to be done? That perfect, smooth, unbroken skin made my heart ache to look at.

God whispered back when that last question tried to overwhelm me, “it’s a privilege, not a punishment.”

I wasn’t helpless. I had a specific job to do, a task given to me to complete faithfully, and another one following that: to get him in bed and to sleep, then to sleep myself. At some point that night I did sleep, I think, in between nursing little 4 month old Laney. And in the morning I knew I had another task set before me to faithfully complete: taking Josh to the prep room at the right time and keeping myself together. Every tiny little task that was completed was followed by another and another, until the time had come and there was nothing more to do but pray and wait, and even in that praying I had some tiny realization in the back of my very harried mind that I was not completely helpless as I reached up to the throne of God.

And so we survived. So many parents go through so much more. I know my experience doesn’t even compare to some. My heart will always be with those moms and dads, with those children with broken hearts and those with every other disease and injury that takes their lives and turns them upside down. A little piece of my soul will always be in that little city. I think that’s kind of typical of a place where you’ve lost a big chunk of your innocence.

In the end, I didn’t mind the scar. When I first saw his chest after surgery, yes, it was big and red and glaring, but it was beautiful at the same time. It meant that he was alive! He was ALIVE!! That his heart was fixed, that it was done and the fear could begin to fade just like the scar would fade, until they were both just soft, always there reminders of where we’ve been and what the Lord has carried us through.

The Puke Fountain

June 13, 2009:

Yesterday we headed back home after a week away. All in all, I’m happy to be home and back in my own bed which I’ve come to realize I am VERY attached to. I’m happy to be back where there is an enormous yard full of dirt patches and swing sets on a quiet, dead-end road. And I’ve completely repented of ever thinking I could live in a city for any length of time with these kids! How do people do it?! Give me the country, where my kids can run around outside while the screen door stays propped open and they can come in and go out as they please while I fix dinner.

During that week I had one kid after another come down with a quick, somewhat violent, attack of a 24-hr. bug. First was the little one, waking up in the night with that unmistakable sound coming from her bed just before the inevitable pick-me-up-NOW-mommy-I-don’t-feel-good! cry. She had a fever of 103.1. I went downstairs with her, gave her some tylenol and rocked her while I waited to see if she could hold down a bit of water. 45 min. later we headed back up the stairs and she slept in bed with us, kicking and squirming while I snoozed without moving until my arm cramped up! Aside from a little tiredness, she was fine the next day.

Next one to come down with it was Emmy. She threw up once two days after Elayna’s bout with it, and spent the rest of the day on the bed watching movies. Later that afternoon we packed up the car to drive home. Josh was complaining of a headache, but I hoped we’d make it home before he really came down with it. Yeah, not so much.

He made it about an hour up the road before he said he needed a bathroom. When we pulled of the road at a truck stop, he barely made it out the door before puking on the concrete next to the car. He retched several times and then said, “okay, I need to go potty now.” So I did what any reasonable mother would do and turned him toward the tire and said, “okay, son, here you go.” I grabbed his little sister’s blanket from the back seat and gave him a little curtain while he peed. Then I made him leave his rain boots (thank goodness he was wearing THOSE!) on the ground and climb back into his seat. Poor kid.

It reminded me of the time we were driving him home from the hospital after his surgery and he needed a bathroom. There was no way in this world I was going to take him into a public restroom three days after he had heart surgery. The GERMS!! The HORROR!! So we pulled over to the side of the freeway and he peed right off the running board into the grass. Call me crazy, but a public restroom just wasn’t an option right then. And yes, he uses them now just fine. I’m not that paranoid anymore!

So back to the more recent trip, I hoped that Josh would be done being sick after that, since both of his sisters had just had the one bout and no more. But no such luck. He threw up several times more, making excellent use of the collapsible, water-proof, traveling dog dish that we use to give our little hotdog a drink of water on road trips. He was so responsible, hardly even making a sound, just resolvedly doing what needed to be done, even though he felt puny. After one time, when we were stopped on the side of the road emptying and rinsing the makeshift puke bowl, he looked up at me with a little impish grin and said, “Hey, that was a big puke fountain, wasn’t it?!”

We just had to laugh at that one.

Visiting with Grandma



On our way to Indiana we stopped in Berrien and got to visit with my Grandma and Aunt Wanda who were out from Washington visiting family. It was great to see everyone and get to know some more family members too! June 5, 2009.

About Vaccinations

Written Feb 18, 2009:

Okay, I have to say something about this. This is just insane.

Last week there was a lawsuit where 3 of the 5500 claims were tried in the matter of whether vaccines had caused their child’s Autism. Specifically the MMR vaccine. The Special Court ruling was NOT in their favor. They said there was not enough evidence linking vaccinations and autism to warrant a ruling in their favor. Of course, if they did rule in the favor of the 3 families it would have been a very damaging precedent, the consequences of which would be very expensive and very far-reaching.

The media has been all over this like a duck on a june bug. What they haven’t been focusing on is this small but very significant fact: the “Special Masters” (as opposed to judges being as this was tried in the special court set up specifically to hear vaccine injury cases) specified that they could not rule that the vaccines caused the child’s autism, but that’s not to say that the ingredients in vaccines did not (such as thimerosal, which is mercury) . The media promplty threw that bit of info out after the initial coverage and hasn’t seen fit to bring it up again.

So now when you turn on the news, whether it’s local or national, there is an abundance of doctors, nurses, parents of fully vaccinated children all angrily bashing the parents who choose not to vaccinate of putting all of society at risk of horrible outbreaks of deadly diseases.

Just today, on my local news, there was extensive coverage of a pertussis “outbreak” in a neighboring county. Both of the children who had it were unvaccinated. How this poses a threat to those children who are fully vaccinated is still a mystery to me. Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection which does not offer complete immunity even if you contract and fight off the infection with your own antibodies, recurrence of the infection is possible. Contrary to popular belief, however, the vaccine schedule for DTaP does not offer complete immunity, either. It is formulated to give a child immunity through roughly the age of 10, when they are most likely to be more able to recover fully. Since Dec. 2008, it is now recommended that all adults and children ages 11 – 64 receive a booster shot to continue their immunity and lower the risk of infecting newborns who have not yet received the full schedule of DTaP.

DTaP stands for: Diptheria, Tetanus, and a-cellular Pertussis. The original DPT vaccine contained a whole-cell version of Pertussis and it was blamed for many cases of brain injuries. The negative publicity caused a huge backlash and was actually the cause of the US government establishing the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Then it was changed to only contain the a-cellular version and to be given in several small doses to protect during childhood rather than throughout life as the whole-cell version was supposed to. Just a little background for you!

I actually have nothing against the DTaP vaccine. Two of my children have been partially immunized with it, and I will continue to proceed further with it at my own pace. I think it makes sense for us living on a farm to be fully vaccinated against Tetanus, and the research that I have done on the Diptheria and Pertussis aspects of that vaccine have not shown to be significant enough in risk to outweigh the benefits.

The other one covered extensively in the news lately is the 5 cases of meningitis in Minnesota. This is caused by the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria. The bacteria attacks the fluid around the brain and can cause severe brain damage and deafness, as well as death. The funny thing I’ve learned about this vaccine is that if you wait or delay getting it until after your child is 5 years old, they won’t give it to you. It’s only meant for children and infants under the age of 5. Also, they recommend getting doses at 2 mo., 4 mo., 6 mo., and 15-18 mo. What they don’t tell you when you go to the Dr. office is that these are the requirements for your child in order to go to state licensed day care or Head Start.

So here’s the thing about the “outbreak” in MN. 5 children contracted the hib infection. 3 of them were unvaccinated by their parents’ choice. One of those children died. 1 child was fully vaccinated but had in immune deficiency disorder. The 5th child was vaccinated, but being as it was too young to have received the full schedule, was considered to be “not fully vaccinated”. Okay, what I want to know here is this: if a child does not have immunity until it has received the full schedule (which would be between the ages of 15 and 18 months) why is it necessary to give shots at those younger intervals? Why not just wait until 15 months and receive the full dose and be done with it?

The MN dept. of health issued this statement during their news conference: “We had a death from a child who was unvaccinated. We want to encourage parents who have delayed or refused vaccination to reconsider. Hib vaccine not only protects your child, but also protects babies who have not completed their primary series or those who have immune compromise.” *

To me, this just embodies the attitude that fosters anger among those parents who have fully vaccinated their children, taking upon their own families the risk of autism that is now commonly acknowledged as real(though hotly debated, I realize). They seem to believe society as a whole is becoming a riskier place to be because of all of these unvaccinated children running around with their fully vaccinated children. Or that if their child is too young to be fully vaccinated or has an immune deficiency contracts one of these diseases it is solely caused by an unvaccinated child, when in reality it is just as likely to have come from an adult or family member, since adults usually react with less severe symptoms to the same bacteria and may not know they have something like pertussis.

Both of my older kids have received the full vaccine for Hib – in a single dose because they were over 18 mo.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on information available about vaccination, and even though I have been researching this for years now, I am still undecided about some of them, and whether or not there is an actual correlation between the number of vaccinations recommended for infants by the CDC and the exponential growth in the number of autistic children. But something out there is causing this epidemic, and a basic study of genetics will tell you it is impossible for a mutated gene to cause the cases to now be at an alarming rate of 1 in every 150 births, growing at 10-17% annually.

One of the biggest factors for me in deciding to research each and every vaccine before injecting it into my children was the ‘risk factor’ factor. When I went to the hospital to register before having my second child, I received a packet of information to fill out, including sign-off sheets for the erythromycin eye salve and the Hep-b vaccine. Until that point, I’d had no idea they gave any vaccines to infants under 24 hours old. The eye salve is routinely applied to the eyes of infants immediately after birth to prevent the infant from being infected with Gonorrhea or Chlamydia when going through the birth canal (and yet they still give it to babies born via c-section too, just to be safe).

This is what the CDC says about Hep-b: “Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It ranges in severity from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks (acute), to a serious long-term (chronic) illness that can lead to liver disease or liver cancer.

Transmission: Contact with infectious blood, semen, and other body fluids from having sex with an infected person, sharing contaminated needles to inject drugs, or from an infected mother to her newborn. (hello, not infected here!)

Vaccination:
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all infants, older children and adolescents who were not vaccinated previously, and adults at risk for HBV infection.”

I also opted out of the Vitamin K shot, not because I had done any research on it, but because I believed that God gave our newborns everything they needed and that less intervention if possible would be the way I would try to go. I didn’t think about it again until just recently, when doing research for this little speech of mine. Here is what I found:

http://babyreference.com/VitaminKinjectORnot.htm

That’s pretty scary. I don’t know what else to say about it at this point. It could be meaningful research, it could be scare tactics. I don't know enough about it.

Honestly, I saw no reason to go forward with either the eye salve or the hep-b vaccine for my newborns. There was no risk for any of these things, and I had no reason to believe they would be at risk for contracting any of these things in the very near future, so why would I do unnecessary procedures to my tiny little perfect baby?

At that point I realized the gammut of vaccinations and procedures were given through a “one size fits all” mentality. It was up to me to take charge of my children’s health and make informed decisions. My kids are hardly high risk – they don’t go to day care or school of any sort. Yes, we go to church, but that’s hardly a place for exposure to people who live in those high-risk lifestyles. There shouldn’t be this gross lack of distinction between high-risk kids and low-risk kids. Of course, then if they implemented some sort of different schedule for different kids it would quickly expose the truth. If there is no correlation the truth would only benefit everyone across the board. If there is – the lawsuits would be unstoppable!

Well, I may not always get it right, but the best I can do is keep looking for more information and keep praying that God will fill in where I am ignorant. But what I won’t do is sit back and trust either the media or the health care industry to make the right decisions for me.


More info:

* http://children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20090123/hib-outbreak-kills-unvaccinated-child

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiomersal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pertussis

My Biggie Girl



My girl is getting so big! 40 inches tall already! She's definitely on track to outgrow her short little mother! June 1, 2009.

Human Eggs, Umbilical Cords, and Hugging

So I don’t usually write on Saturday mornings, or Fridays or Sundays for that matter, either. My hubby is off work those days and makes the quiet pre-dawn writing sessions a little more difficult. But this morning he is still in bed! As I got up and awkwardly tried to put both feet into one pajama leg, he stirred a little, Aaarp!’d, croaked out the word, “coffee”, then turned over and went back to sleep. Little does he know I have the coffee already made and it’s just sitting down here waiting for him.

My coffee maker is behaving nicely, not dribbling coffee out onto the counter whenever I try to pour into a cup. I think it is trying to make up for so many months of bad behavior ’cause it felt neglected for a month.

And what about these human eggs, you say? Well, the other night when Colby was on the phone talking to his brother-in-law about work stuff, I was upstairs tucking the kids into bed. Usually Colby reads Josh a few pages of his dinosaur book at night, so I picked up the book where they’d left off the night before and started reading. There was this picture of a mean dinosaur eating the eggs of a nice dinosaur. Josh didn’t like that at all and wanted to know why that mean dinosaur was doing that.

“Well, that’s just what they like to eat.”

Josh looked horrified.

“We eat chicken eggs, you know!”, I said, not realizing the myriad of questions THAT was going to raise.

His horrified look turned to disgust.

“Why do we eat the chickens’ babies?”, he wanted to know.

“Well, honey, those eggs that we eat or not actually baby chickens, because those eggs were not fertilized by the daddy rooster.”

Wait. Stop right there. Don’t let panic overtake you!!!! You know where this conversation is now going to go (thanks a lot for bringing up chicken eggs, ya mush brain) so calm down and just go with it.

And so the conversation progressed from chicken eggs to human eggs and how all animals have boys and girls in their species and that’s how all of their eggs get fertilized. He wanted to see a human egg, and the explanation that it’s too tiny to see didn’t deter him, so I got out the book, A Child Is Born. Published in the 60’s, it’s discreet and the only detail of the actual fertilization it gives is of what happens on the cellular level. It also has a lot of pictures of the development of the embryo, fetus, and baby as it grows and changes and then shows some discreet pictures of the birth. Did I mention it's discreet? Whew.

The umbilical cord thing really creeped him out. He grasped the importance of how it feeds the baby and all, but when it came time to cutting the cord, you could almost visibly see him shudder. lol. Poor kid.

He had more questions about the egg and how the baby gets out of the actual egg, so we went back to the front of the book and I explained that the egg actually turns into the baby. He was so confused by that. I turned the page, and lo and behold, a page I’d missed the first time! It had a lovely picture of thousands of swimmers under a microscope, and a side-view line drawing of the male anatomy. So I stumbled through a quick summary of the “Daddy” half of the equation, pointing to the little swimmers, and then pointed to the line drawing.

“That’s a boy, uh…..(do I say it? do I say it?) uh…. (insert his own term for his personal anatomy which I won't embarrass him later in life by publishing here). Ugh! I know I should have used the correct terminology; he’s really getting to old to use that phrase in reference to his male parts, but dang it’s a hard habit to break!)

To which my son turns and looks at me with a look that totally says, “DUH, mom, you are SO lame.” and says, “Yeah, I know.”

Okay, then. Moving right along. I closed up the book and tried to then turn the conversation back to dinosaurs, but he wanted to know if babies were fertilized when a Daddy and Momma – Hug! Lol.

“No son, it’s a little more complicated than a hug, and it only happens when a boy and a girl are all grown up and get married, and I’ll explain more about that when you are older.”

Finally, he was satisfied with that, said his prayers, and went back to his dinosaurs. I pulled the door closed behind me and breathed a huge sigh of relief that step one was over and done with and I had somehow managed to keep calm and not dash from the room mumbling something about birds-and-bees-and-your-father’s-job-not-mine.

*whew* Surviving the raising of children might just be more difficult than I thought! lol!

Feeding the Horses




We went out and grabbed big handfuls of the tall grass by the little barn to feed the horses. They appreciated that and were being pretty silly. Reb was giving us the eye, and that creeped Elayna out a little - she turned tail and ran for it! lol! May 22, 2009.

First Campfire





We had our first campfire of the summer on my birthday! We roasted some Superlinks and ate watermelon! It was a perfect way to end my birthday and start the summer! May 22, 2009.

Mama's Little Helper



After the walk in the woods, we made cookies. Elayna is my little helper in the kitchen and really enjoyed the little bit of extra flour she found! May 19, 2009.

Walk in the Woods




We drove out into the woods and just got out and started exploring one day. We were (I was) looking for Morels, but the kids, try as they might, didn't get the concept of searching for mushrooms at all. Oh well, we had a great time pretending to be great explorers! May 19, 2009.

Raawr!!


My three little terrible T-Rexes! Apparently I should have picked up several sets of these - the kids want to wear them ALL the time. May 15, 2009.

This One Day

May 28, 2009:

There was this one day, when I was out west, that I managed to steal away for a few hours by myself. I didn’t get to take a backpack and a fishing pole, but beggars can’t be choosers and I wasn’t going to complain! I drove through my old hometown, stopped at main st. and ran in. As I sat in my car afterwards, I looked around and saw so many people I went to school with. I don’t think a single one of them recognized me. It was interesting to see how people have changed after more than a decade, and to realize how much I’ve changed and how long it has really been since I lived there and was part of the community. Then a half a dozen trucks on big mud tires drove in and parked all around me. Muddy trucks, with 6 inches of lift and chains rattling around in the beds. I laughed. Ah, so the next generation still does what we did – runs to main street, grabs a burrito and a pepsi, and goes muddin’ on lunch break, hoping to not get stuck, or to get stuck and pulled out before 12:03! They looked like kids. Were we ever that young?! And DRIVING?!

I left there and drove down around past the fairgrounds, over the little old bridge, and peeked down at the playground I spent so many happy hours as a kid. I went up the hill instead of around by the old property, I still don't like to drive past there. At the top of the hill I turned right, then on up the hill and left onto the old gravel logging road that follows the creek. I drove slowly. There just is no way to make words encompass all that this road holds in memories for my life.

I looked up the dirt road that goes up to Mickey Thompson. There are, of course, new hill climbs and new mud holes. Things change. On up the road I went, remembering how many times I went up that road standing in the back of Jake's truck, wind blowing through my hair, bugs lodging in my teeth 'cause I couldn't help but have a big, cheezy grin. I drove past the place where a friend rolled his truck that summer before my junior year, past where my parents and brothers and I used to ride our bikes up to a swimming hole, past the turn off to the bridge we all used to jump off into the deep, clear pool below. I drove past the trail to the secret waterfalls, and past where cousin David drove Jake’s truck off the road on a steep curve and nearly killed both of them. I drove through where the big mudslide was and past the steep creek that we used to hike up.

And then I ran into workers clearing branches and trees from the road, so I had to turn around. Dangit. I thought about parking and hiking up that creek, but decided against it since the workers were so close, and decided to drive back down and hike to the secret waterfalls. So I parked next to the road, grabbed my camera and phone and locked up the car. Took me a few minutes to find the trail, wandered through the ferns and sweet-and-sour grass, vine maples, and of course, the obligatory spider webs (no, I did NOT spontaneously start sprinting through the woods here, I’ve learned my lesson!). Just as I started down the steep part of the trail and I could barely catch a glimps of the creek, I stopped just short of putting my foot down in a pile of bear poop. Oh my! Is that… BEAR poop??? Holy cow, it IS bear poop!!! And it’s STEAMING! Oh good lord. My heart racing, I turned tail and headed quickly back up the hill. The underbrush was dense enough, and the downed trees big enough that I felt certain a bear could be hiding around any one of them, feet away from me, and I was bound to surprise one and it wasn’t going to be good. In my head I could hear my brother warning me of how dumb it is to surprise a bear, that I should make noise and warn the bear of my presence, shake some branches, whistle, ring a bell, I don’t know – something!! And at the same time I’m hearing that voice in my head, my own brain (or was it just the adrenaline?) was telling me to just get out of there as quickly and quietly as possible. Which is exactly what I did. lol.

So I had to find a new plan. Maybe, since I was alone and all, going the route of a more popular hiking trail might be not so bad after all. Sad, isn’t it? Scared out of the woods by a little bear poop? Great. Not only am I now a flatlander who gets car sick going through sweeney’s and feels like we’re going to fall off the road going up dock grade, (never mind the white-knuckling I do when I drive over the green bridge) I’m apparently now more scared of animals than people. Sick and twisted, I know.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Highlights and Kidisms

Repost from facebook

April 26, 2009:

We have been having a great time here in WA, visiting the grandparents and playing with the cousins. But apparently I can’t remember passwords without my very own computer at home doing it for me, so today I’m going to post here instead.

The flights were pretty uneventful, I survived the 3 hours of sleep the night before (I knew we should have really cut back on the chinese food and giggling the night before, but it was too fun to quit! Thanks Raini!) and managed to get out the door at the appropriate time with everything necessary. I balked a little when they charged me for each piece of luggage at the check in counter, but I’m sure I made up my little fuss to them when I immediately ran head first into an overhead sign right in front of them. I still have a good bruise from that on my forehead. Seriously, I’m short! How did they not think that was going to be in the way of most people?! Maybe it’s just their way of getting back at all of those people upset about paying extra for their suitcases. Ha ha. Take that! Maybe next time you’ll purchase tickets through OUR website instead of Expedia!! Whatever.

Then we had the usual rigamarole of going through security. We approached the line up area and were immediately directed to “the Family line” at the end of the row. They were such nice older gentlemen pointing the way, I thought for sure they were going to be equally as helpful when we actually got there. Yeah, not so much. But, we made it through the running away of one child down the row, the folding up of the stroller and placing it on the cart just to remove it from the cart and setting off the alarm once or twice, finally reaching the other side of the all-powerful **que fairytale music here** archway through to the friendly security staff and waiting airplanes. And then we spent another 20 minutes putting our shoes on, finding our bags, coats, belts (yes, you were right, Raini, belts are really NOT a good idea when going to the airport) etc. etc. Thank goodness for Grandmas, though! Colby’s mom always goes through the security check with me and the munchkins with a gate pass especially designed for grandma’s helping with children. I don’t know how I’d do it without her, or my own mom on the way back, either!

So on the plane to Denver there was a very nice Stewardess/grandma who took pity on me and was very helpful. She gave the two older kids free in flight tv and so they got to watch cartoons the whole way. The earphones were uncomfortable, though, so they mostly just stared at the tv and watched Spongebob’s antics without any sound. That was fine with me! I was thankful for the lady’s kindness, but Spongebob is really not my first choice for my kids to be watching. Blech! Stewardess Lady was sweet, though. She helped me by holding Elayna for a while when she wouldn’t sleep and even took her own grapes from her lunch to give to my kids when Josh told her he was hungry. I did have snacks with me, but apparently the paid for snacks that everyone else is buying is more desirable to small children.

And, she talked to the kids. Really, you try to be a good parent, but sometimes the best (or worst) report card you get is when your child becomes verbal enough to have conversations with other people. Children say pretty much anything and everything that pops into their heads. It can be very nerve-wracking for the parent.

Here is how one of the conversations went between Josh and the Stewardess:

Stewardess: Is your name “Dirt Magnet” ? (’cause that’s what his shirt said…)
Josh: NO! Ha ha ha! My name’s Joshua Colby ....! And that’s Emma Leigh Anne ....., and that’s …..” he went down the list of family members present and those not present, and who we were going to visit, etc. etc. etc.
Stewardess: Oh wow!
Josh: …….. is YOUR name “Dirt Magnet” ???

Oh my. Thankfully she just laughed and thought it was funny. She then patiently explained that the reason she asked him if he was “Dirt Magnet” was because that is what the front of his shirt said. He’s clueless. He can’t read yet, I sheepishly tried to explain. We never did find out her actual name.

Well, eventually we made it all the way here and have been enjoying our time very much. Elayna had a lovely allergic reaction to something the next day, but we’ve avoided everything that could possibly have caused that, and will hopefully have it figured out soon. And this post is getting long, so I’ll end it on last night’s after worship prayer: said by Josh:

“Dear Jesus, please come and take us to Heaven. Please take all of my family and my real family and all of my cousins and my grandparents and my momma and daddy and my sisters. Please come and take us to Heaven tomorrow and make today our LAST day on this old earth. Please take us to Heaven tomorrow.
After Supper.
Amen.”

Working on the Truck






Josh got to go up to the shop and work on the truck with his Daddy! He was getting his finger out to emphasize what he was saying about how things should be done! May 14, 2009.

Flying Airplanes with Papa





Gotta fly the airplanes with Papa when we're in Washington! The kids love that! April 2009.

My Girlie-Girl


For a girl that loves her dresses and tutus, you'd never know I have to check her pockets for worms before bath time and boy you should hear her squeal when she picks up a caterpillar! May 2009.

4-Wheelin'





Most of my pictures of our four-wheeling turned out blurry, but here are a few! Lots of fun! May 2009.

Christopher and Elayna




Oops, forgot to add these with the other ones from the Dam! Christopher and Elayna were pretending to be explorers and crawling around looking for houses! It was so cute! May 2009.

Elayna's Birthday




We celebrated Elayna's birthday the night before we left since we were going to be on the road on her actual birthday. After everyone was gone and in bed, she was busy sneaking some more cake! Poor kid still hasn't had her 2nd b-day pictures taken. May 2009.

At the Bonneville Dam






We had such a great time at the Dam! Chaos ensued at times with 11 kids under 10, but no one complained! We stayed until they were closing. It's one of those places that holds a lot of memories for me, those big carpeted stairs are perfect for climbing, playing, running, or napping! May 2009.

Sunshine!

April 16, 2009:

Mmmm… sunshine! Just want to drink it all in!

We went shopping in the morning and bought a portable dvd player for the trip and a couple of movies the kids won’t get to watch until then. And then we came home and spent the rest of the day outside. It was so pleasant. Moved the picnic tables around and raked some more, added to the big burn pile that we won’t get to burn until sometime after it rains here. Late in the afternoon I came in to do dishes and fix supper, and brought Elayna in with me. She can’t be outside without me at this point because she wanders off too quickly and her big brother loses track of her when he is off in his own little world filled with dinosaurs and paleontologists. Emmy tries to keep her from the road by tackling her and pinning her down, that is, when she’s aware of her at all.

This time instead of helping me wash dishes like she always does, she stood there in front of the screen door, looking out at her siblings playing in the dirt. I straightened up the kitchen, cleared the table, and wiped down the counters, and still she stood there. She wasn’t fussing or complaining, just looking and longing. I started working on the casserole we were going to have for dinner, but then this old poem came to my mind:

Babies Don't Keep
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.


I had already felt guilty for spending so much time outside, even though I was getting work done because the house was NOT getting done. But as I looked at that almost 2 year old little girl, no longer a baby, I decided that was the night for a hot dog supper! I cranked open a can of Superlinks and tossed them into a pan, then back outside we went. Colby joined us at the picnic table when he got home, and he was more than happy to eat hot dogs and chips.

There were three happy little filthy kids tromping through the house to the bathtub that night, and as they’re all still sleeping right now, it looks like fresh air really does lend itself well to a good night’s sleep! We slept with our windows open last night, too, and they won’t be closed again unless it rains until fall comes back to the valley.

Holidays


April 13, 2009:

Yesterday was a lovely Easter. Up early as usual and put together some little plastic easter eggs with jelly beans and hid them around the living room. After breakfast the kids got to run around and find them and eat a bunch of candy and the ears off of their chocolate bunnies. Then we went outside and put up the swingset. It looked gorgeous outside, with a clear blue sky and the snow finally off the ground. Problem was it was about 42 degrees. So we had hats and mittens and coats on while putting it up, but the kids hardly seemed to notice. After a couple of hours of raking I finally worked up enough of a sweat to take my hat off.

To top off the day I bought tickets online to fly out to WA next week! Can’t beat the prices right now, that’s for sure! I don’t know if anything will pan out with the job out there, but it made sense to not wait another four months to figure it out when we’ve been planning this trip for so long. And besides that, unless I travel out there and back before Elayna’s 2nd birthday, I’d have to buy another ticket for her. This way she gets to sit on my lap for 8 hours and I don’t have to pay another $240.

So on to the adventure! First thing to do: go buy a portable DVD player and some new kid movies!

I need to get my butt to the gym and hit the tanning bed a few times, but I also want to spend as much time as possible with Colby before I leave. There has been so much going on and his trip to WA and then he was sick for so long, and even now spends every chance he can catching up on his sleep. We need a night out. Or a night in, with kids who go to bed on time and actually sleep. Saturday morning he and I were up before 4 and after having our coffee we actually went and curled up on the couch together and fell back to sleep for 2 hours. It was sweet. And so rare.

So about Easter: why is it that we celebrate Christmas but not Easter? It’s one of those things that is frowned upon by the church and most conservative Adventists do not celebrate Easter. Is it because of the Ham? ha ha. Or just because it’s always on a Sunday and we don’t want to look like we’re keeping Sunday as a Holy Day – ever! I know that Easter is a pagan holiday that was relabeled and part of the concession of the church back in the days of early Christianity, but that is the same story to be told of Christmas. Yet Christmas is acceptable and Easter is not. Sure, it has some questionable icons attached to it – like bunnies and eggs, obvious relics of the original pagan roots in the celebration of the goddess of fertility. Christmas has Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and the giving of gifts to one another to overshadow it’s real meaning.

When I was growing up I only asked about this once or twice. In general, I think what you don’t grow up with you don’t miss. I never felt I was missing out on anything when it came to Easter or Halloween. But now as an adult, I DO miss having somewhere in my life this celebration of Christ's resurrection that most Christians have on Easter.

I think when I was younger I once made the comparison of Easter to Christmas and I think the basic reasoning for not moving into the celebration of Easter at that point was something like, “Why start now when we know it is rooted in a pagan holy day?”. That was around the time that the conservative movement in our church began to push for the removal of the Christmas tree in our church and many families decided to no longer participate in Christmas based on its origins. We were one of those families. That was a miserable year. Especially for my mom. In a typical year, she begins playing Christmas music in, oh, September or so. Whenever the first snow on the mountains is seen. That year there was no Christmas music, no Christmas cookies, and no Christmas tree. There was no spark in my mother’s eyes, no laughter on Christmas eve.

About 9 o’clock that night it finally dawned on me that there really was going to be no Christmas that year. I wondered if this was how it was going to be from here on out. And then, on a spur of the moment decision, since my dad already had the week off, he decided to take us all to Arizona to visit my grandparents. Hallelujah! Laughter rang out, tears flowed, and the car was packed in an hour. My mother was a woman on a mission, and we left before midnight.

We managed to sneak in a trip to Disneyland that week, too, and that was a lot of fun! It was the only Christmas present we got! That was back in the day before car seat laws were so strict. Good thing, too. According to today’s laws, I would have been in a booster seat until sometime toward the end of 6th grade, when I finally hit 60 lbs. On the ride to California, I spent a good deal of time riding in a bed on top of the suitcases in the back window of the minivan. Ah, the good old days!

Small Update and Short Story

Well, we haven’t heard back from the one company that flew Colby out for and who then tried to cancel the interview. The other company that he applied to has contacted us to let us know they’ve filled the position. It’s looking grim and I’m trying to wrap my mind around the door being closed and another long winter here starting in about 6 months or so.

Another new development in our household lately is the refrigerator finally kicking the bucket. A few months ago it was freezing all of my produce despite my best efforts to get it adjusted correctly. Then came a short time when it was just right. Now it won’t get cold at all. Thankfully I still have our old fridge in the back room and have been able to move most of my salvageable food stuffs into that one.

Really starting to feel like a pioneer woman here, with no dishwasher, no dryer, no refrigerator, a wood stove, and snow that won’t quit! I think I understand a little better why women pushed so hard and sacrificed so much for the right to vote, the right to equal wages, and threw off the social stigmas that went with working outside the home. Before all of these appliances that speed up the daily duties, so much time and energy was spent just surviving that there was no time or energy left to expand thoughts, learn new things, or read books. I went on a laundry strike for two days because I’m so sick of the constant line of laundry through the living room that makes me move furniture around to accommodate it and makes me feel like the house is constantly dirty or disorganized. And then I ran out of clean socks. I’m not even going to try to dissect why I still don’t have a new dryer or a fixed dryer.

And on to the story:

Yesterday I went to get groceries. Three kids in an extra-long-beep-beep-bus-driver shopping cart is always the highlight of the week. I was just hoping to get in there, get out, and get home in time to put them all down for normal naps since the two older kids are still having a very hard time going to sleep. That started when Colby flew out to WA and hasn’t let up since.

Right after I parked I saw a lady take her extra long cart to the cart corral so I sped over there and grabbed it and loaded the kids right from the car to the bus.. I mean cart. Inside we went straight for the produce. We picked out lots of apples and oranges, then turned the corner to the next aisle. As I cautiously made my way forward, trying to steer clear of other carts and be conscious of how much room I need to maneuver, I found that an elderly gentleman was steering his cart closer and closer to mine. Before I knew it, I had been cornered. I couldn’t push past him, turn to go around him, or back up since there were people behind me. He didn’t seem the least bit perturbed by the rush around him, or the annoyance of the other people trying to get through. I watched and waited while he let go of his cart and shuffled past his basket, past my basket, and stopped next to my kids. He looked at them with a warm smile and then at me.

“Is there room for one more?”, he asked with a grin.

“Well, not so much!”, I laughed, “Got my hands pretty full!”

His eyes took on a serious tone and he looked at me for a few moments. He looked back at my kids, then to me and said, “But these are the BEST years of your life. I got three like that of my own in the cemetery, and now all I have to look at every day are just four walls.”

At that, he looked back at the kids and talked to them for a few minutes about the apples and oranges in the cart, then headed back to his cart. As he slowly pulled his cart from in front of mine and pushed past me, I reached out and squeezed his arm. He looked at me like he was grateful for the small bit of human touch, then pushed his cart on, muttering, “…best years of your life…” I fought back tears as I finished going down the rows of produce. His words had touched me, and I had to struggle to maintain some bit of composure while in public.

It was several minutes later that I realized how he had touched my life and I began to realize that I could have done more to return the favor. I left the produce section and began to drive my bus toward the entrance and checkout lines where he had seemed to be heading. I walked all along the row but didn’t see him. I was rather sad when I reached the other side of the store, but turned and headed toward the back of the store to finish the circle. And there he was by the plants and gardening supplies. This time I cornered him and began talking to him again.

And there we spent the next half an hour, clogging up traffic patterns and chatting away the time. I tried to invite him for dinner. I tried to invite ourselves to his house some Sabbath afternoon in case he couldn’t drive himself that far. But he seemed content to just visit there in the aisles of Meijers.

I hope I made a difference, gave him something to remember fondly, or just brightened his day.

After the shopping was finally finished and I headed to check out, I soon found that he was there in line behind me. There were so few things in his cart, I thought of adding his to mine and paying for them. Except that as the last few things of mine were being rung up, I discovered my wallet was missing. Oh yes, I had my purse, with everything in it BUT my wallet. The cashier put my order on hold and I left my cart with all the groceries bagged up in it there beside her till while I dragged my very reluctant kids back out to the car to search for the missing wallet. Emmy just could not understand why we were leaving all of those things there, especially since it was well past lunch time and they were all getting tired and hungry! Thankfully, the wallet was there and so back in we went, paid for our groceries, and headed back out to the car. A few apples later and all was right again with the world for the hungry kiddos. My thoughts, however, were still on the dear old man named Albert, shuffling around in the grocery store, no longer with a family of his own. I have much to be grateful for.

Mommy and Laney


My little snuggle-bug! April 5, 2009

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