Showing posts from August, 2013

The Girl Who Loves Worms

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved worms. She would ride her bike or walk up and down the street saving worms from certain "dehydrification" on the hot pavement. This worm loving girl once crawled under a very large van to rescue a worm from certain death by flattening. She gathers her worm friends together and talks to them every day and tries to train them to come when she calls. Worms are her playmates, her friends. 

Then one day things changed. I'm not sure why they changed or how they changed, but changed they did. Her love of worms took a disturbing turn. 

I suggest you brace yourselves for what you are about to see. These aren't stunt worms, fake worms, or gummy worms. They are very real, very alive worms. And a girl. A strange, scary girl. Who loves worms. 

Ok, so she didn't really eat the worm. And she still takes very, very good care of worms. Apparently this is what happens when my kids are allowed to take the camera outside to take pictures of a…

So Much for Sleeping In

This was the first morning in a long time that I had the chance to sleep in. I was so looking forward to an extra hour or two of sleep.

Enter two children, up much too early, excited about a visit from the Tooth Fairy during the night. Our Tooth Fairy is a sneaky one. S/he takes the child's tooth and then hides their prize. The Loser of the Tooth wanted to start looking, while Younger Sister knew that Mama and Daddy's alarm hadn't yet gone off, and tried to convince him to wait. The cranky arguing that ensued woke Mama, even earlier than she usually wakes. 

Banishing children to their room until the alarm sounded, I was able to at least have twenty more minutes of relative peace. My loving husband brought me a hot rice sock for my back soon after the alarm. Heaven. I nearly drifted back to sleep.

There's nothing like the words "bear across the street" to propel someone from almost asleep to mostly awake . My first reaction was to tell my husband to take a pictur…

The Sanctuary of a Moment

Gazing out over a watery field of lilypads, I realize even the darting dragonflies take a moment to find a perch and rest. I could sit here for hours, taking in this beautiful view, letting my mind empty, freeing it to wander amongst the floating green leaves and beautiful blooms. Each moment in this place is a sanctuary. 

Too soon, we need to hike on. Overcome by Great Peace, I leave my fears in the sanctuary of the pond. God will take care of  them while my heart rejoices with renewed confidence in my body. We're two miles in, only a mile left to go. I tell myself I can do this. It won't be like the last time. My legs won't fail me. They are stronger. I am stronger. I believe this, but after a few steps I'm unsure whether my body got the message.

The last time we took this hike, three years ago, about a mile from the end of the trail my body started to fail. Leaving my husband and children behind, I plodded along as fast as my weakening legs would carry me, knowing ful…

The Inevitability of Poop

Everything was going smoothly. Block were creations built. Books read. Children were fed. Diapers changed. Naps taken. Post-nap diapers checked and were dry. Drawing and crafting and trains and reading were happening all over the place. 

Then suddenly, an unmistakable odor permeated the air. Signalling to two older kids, we each grabbed a diaper-clad child. Poop. Poop. More poop. Three stinky diapers. At the same time. Along with several loud, rowdy kids singing a chorus of the Dinosaur ABC song at full blast. And craft mess all over the dining room, dirty dishes piled on the counter, and a pile of yet-to-be-dealt-with clean laundry on a living room chair. 

Enter Dad to one of the poopers, as if on cue. The odds of him entering at a more chaotic moment incredibly slim. 

What must my friends think of me, tv blaring, noisy kids, house a mess, and poopy kids getting diaper changes in three different rooms of the house? Five minutes earlier and he would have entered to children sitting relat…

In Search Of

In Search Of: prospective significant other with debilitating illness, who will most probably need increasing amounts of care throughout the years. Must frequently go to doctor appointments, take various medications and supplements that are difficult to keep track of, and require some sort of mobility device.

Yeah, that never happens. But it is one of the fears that weigh down people with chronic illness. Those that are single tend to fear never being wanted by someone else, and those that are married often fear that they are or will become an unwanted burden on the ones they love.

I feel blessed to be married to a man who loves me no matter what my physical condition and who puts up with my ever-changing health status, ability to do things, and patience levels. He even sticks around when I'm on prednisone and unleash on him all the anger and frustration I've refrained from expressing to my children throughout the day. He wrangles children through my  myriad doctor appointments …

What School Looks Like

School has begun! It seems like just yesterday that school ended. Our kids are really enjoying themselves, and I am too. 
I missed out on taking photos of Home Ec, which included cooking, laundry, and various cleaning activities, as well as the sewing project going on in the basement. I also missed much of Science and Nature, Geography, and History. You see, we have grades preschool through high school here, and I can't seem to be everywhere at once. Thank God we have many awesome teachers on staff. Haley is the Queen of Home Ec; Zachary, the Master of Math; Coren, the Professor of Natural History; Alex, the Game Guru; and Alia, the Philosophizing Physiologist. 
First thing this morning, we learned about frogs and toads, with a little nature photography mixed in upon the discovery of this gem. Can you find it?
We moved on to Math for preschoolers through middle schoolers, including measuring, counting, translating block units of measure into inches, and so on. We used addition, multi…


My mind is blank.

I have lost the ability to think. My mind has scattered in so many directions that it can't form one cohesive thought. I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing with my day. What household tasks need to be done. What errands need to be run. How to form a proper sentence.

All I know is the physical - that I'm tired; I'm hungry; I feel weighed down and hollow.

I haven't eaten in eighteen hours, which could have a lot to do with it. I haven't eaten much in a week, which could have more to do with it. The nausea has to go away soon, doesn't it? I find myself not caring about food, forgetting that feeding myself is important. Incredibly dangerous, that. How easy it would be to slip back into old, old ways of ignoring the need to nourish my body.

So I eat. And feel worse. 

So I rest. And feel worse.

Last week was spent with on-and-off sick kids, and any arrangement of other people's kids in my care. I think I was sick on Thursday, but it was di…

Runneth Over

I have a hangover. My mouth is dry, my head is pounding, my body is screaming at me to just stay in bed. But it's not because I had an exciting night on the town or even because I shared a bottle of wine with my husband. In fact, due to my autoimmune hepatitis, I can't even have one drink. It's all due to Remicade, the medication that allows my psoriatic arthritic body to function.  And lucky me - the hangover doesn't last just hours or the better part of a day - it can last three or four days. These days, the nausea sticks around and the headache comes and goes for weeks.  It's just not fair! If I'm going to suffer like this, I'd prefer it be after too many margaritas.

Some days I feel completely overwhelmed by the complexities of living with multiple illnesses and with spending so much time feeling physically bad in one way or another. I can never seem to keep straight when I have to get bloodwork done for which doctor, as I see a rheumatologist, a gastroe…

Love-Hate Relationship

AC and I have a love-hate relationship.

When I feel like I can barely breathe because everything including the air around me seems too heavy, AC is there to make it all better. When I'm having trouble sleeping, and the uncomfortable tossing and turning is driving me crazy, AC cools my temper and soothes me to sleep. AC also keeps me sane while running errands or on long car trips in van full of kids. 


AC is also rough on me. AC makes me feel worn out, lethargic, and is frankly a pain. AC's constant droning drives me crazy. AC cuts me off from the outside world, and sometimes makes me feel more stifled than a heat wave soaring over 100. We fight often. In fact, AC sometimes even drives a wedge between my husband and I. 

Things have got to change.

Summer needs to wind down and give way to Autumn, allowing cool air to waft through the windows, so we can banish AC to the basement for another eight or nine months. Then all will be well. 

That is, until Winter comes and along with…

If Only

If only people could see what it's like and sample the pain, maybe they'd understand.

I wake up every twenty minutes or so throughout the night, pain shooting through my hip, daggers of pain between  my shoulder blades, hands turning into claws. Painfully adjusting my position, I try not to cry out, as the rest of the household sleeps peacefully. I pry my hands open and lay them flat, in hopes that in the morning they won't be useless fists.

Morning mercifully arrives, the night's torture over, a new day dawning. Hot pads applied to various parts of my body, I start working on stretching my legs, my arms, my frozen hands. It's all I can do not to scream some mornings. My body resists, trying to curl in on itself and seeking the sleep that didn't come the night before. I dare not take pain medicine if my husband is going to work because once the pain is dulled, my body will seek sleep whether I can afford a nap or not.

It's a struggle to get out of bed. Oh,so p…

The Best Kind of Crazy

They remind me that simple is best. That entertainment doesn't need to be flashy, requiring endless energy - that it can be quiet and still and relaxing.

They pile on to my bed a mountain of books to go with the mountain of kids. We get lost in endless adventures, celebrate victories, travel to far-off lands, make new friends, and see life through others' eyes.

Naptime begins with a whirl of activity. The big bed is prepared to welcome four napping children while six older children decide how to quietly entertain themselves. Bike riding and other outdoor activities win on this gorgeous day. Mama settles the littles into bed, then curls herself up with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Little ones and Mama recharged, giant floor puzzles grace all large, flat surfaces. Hearing that yet more friends are due to arrive, they are cleaned up in a jiffy. 

Children spill out of the house, ready for new adventures. There are pirates on the upper deck, chalk artists down below. "A walk!&…

We Walk

We walk. Or skate, bike, or scoot. 

Every day - ok, almost every day - even if I'm feeling horrible, we go. It's the time of day the kids enjoy most. Some days there are only three or four of us, others there are nine or ten or anywhere in between. We don't go far - just to the end of the street and back, sometimes it takes ten minutes. Sometimes two hours. It depends on what we find along the way. Storm drains are a huge attraction for the little ones, as are sprinklers. The kids are always thankful when the neighbors are watering their lawns when we walk, if the sprinklers are close enough to the road or sidewalk. 

On our walk, we check up on a robin's nest. We visit one neighbor's turtles, ducks, frogs, and other creatures or the statue variety. We walk, we run, we race, we see how fast we can go, then how slowly. We celebrate the rain. We let our imaginations soar in the clouds. We hope for rainbows. 

We come upon wildlife - a Cooper's Hawk soaring overhead to…