Sunday, April 11, 2010

No Foolin'

Warning::this is REALLY long. If you intend to make it through to the end and listen to all my complaints, you might have to take it in 2 or 3 chunks {you'll find that word choice funny in a minute or two!}. Ok, now you are warned::

The month of April so far {and the last little smidge of March} -- except for the extra fabulous weather! -- is not one I would like to repeat. Ever!

Two weeks ago was Palm Sunday. The beginning of holy week. Also, it was Anna's 2nd birthday. Oh, and our triple birthday party for Jacob, Rebekah and Anna.

In the wee hours of Monday morning the 29th, the stomach flu begins. Anna spends a good chunk {pun intended} of the night puking. In the morning she seems pretty perky and much better. I blame it on to much cake and continue with our plans to meet my wonderful friend {Hi Catherine! Yup, I think you are wonderful!} at a park to play since she is off work because her boys are on spring break. Now, Vince's older sister is also on spring break, so I have my 2 + 2 bonus kiddos. We hop in the van as soon as the 3 "bigs" get on the bus and head to Catherine's house. From there, we caravan to a extra cool park really close to their house. On this 2-minute car ride Anna pukes again. All over in the van! Super fun! We get tot he park and do the best clean up we can on her and the van, while my other 3 and Catherine's 2 play at the park. We have about half a dozen baby wipes to work with. We strip Anna clothes off her and, thankfully, have an extra sweatshirt. So, she is wearing rain boots, a zip-up sweatshirt and a diaper. It's morning and still kinda chilly, but she wants to play. So I let her. {Better to have any "sequels" outside rather than in the van, right?} I clean up the van the best I could and leave it WIDE open to air out while we play for a while. We head back to Catherine's to play for awhile before heading home to call it a {stinky} day . . . ok, it was still morning, but I had pretty much had a day's worth by that point. I find someone to shuttle Joe to and from preschool {since he was feeling just fine} while I feed everyone lunch, bathe a sick kiddo, put clean, sick kiddo down for a nap, clean up a really nasty car seat {involving taking apart lot of intricate little puke-caked pieces, throwing what I could in the washing machine, hooking up the hose which has spent the winter int he garage and hosing off the rest of the extra-nasty car seat!}, clean the van and attempt to make G-Rae's {Vince's sister} spring break at least slightly fun.

Tuesday {the 30th} is rather uneventful. Praise God! Until I try to go to sleep and am not able to because I have acquired the nasty stomach bug, albeit a slightly different version, and am up most of the night!

Wednesday, Anna pukes some more. What kind of bug goes away for nearly 48-hours and then makes a second appearance? Weird, I tell you! I was sure we were in the clear. So, Wednesday we lay low.

Thursday is a pretty good day. I work like mad to pack up the 7 of us to go to Warroad for the long weekend to celebrate the Resurrection with Kirby's family. Right after school Rebekah has her 9-year check up. I assure her she is up-to-date on her shots {she HATES! shots} and that it should be a pretty easy check-up. We planned to talk to our fabulous pediatrician about her many, horrible sleep troubles to see what we should do, but other than that it was mostly a height and weight check {she's pretty much off the charts on both counts}. Except for the fact that when we got there, we found out that she wasn't up-to-date on her shots and actually needed a chicken pox booster. Yikes! She was panicky before the doctor even came in to the room {the nurse -- who we also love! -- filled us in on this nasty little fact}. So the check-up is a more traumatic experience than I had emotionally planned for. When we get home, my parents are there to say good bye {I haven't updated on my Dad lately, but his recover is not going nearly as smooth as everyone had hoped. He's been on a few different antibiotics for some nasty infection in his foot and let. He's doing alright now, but it's been a LONG 3 weeks and he's not so good at laying low and being inactive!}. We all pile squish into the van and hit the road for our the really long trip north. We stop and get some fast food for dinner. At 2 different places. We can't all agree . . . this should have been a sign of things to come. We maybe should have just turned around and headed home at this point, but we didn't! So we drive and drive and drive and drive and drive. We stop in McGregor for gas and a potty break and some snacks {not that we don't have PLENTY in the van, but the ones in the gas station look so much better, you know!}. After LOTS of fighting and whining. some Adventures in Odyssey listening and a movie and a half watched before the battery on the portable DVD player dies, we arrive in Warroad in a downpour just before midnight. So, that pretty much wraps up Thursday. {But, I can't fail to mention that when we left our house on Thursday afternoon it was glorious. Sunny and 82 degrees. Amazing weather for April 1st. Needless to say it just got colder and colder the further from home we got and I even saw a snowflake or two -- really, I did, although the teeny little bit of fluries only lasted 2 minutes and noone else saw them -- on Saturday.}

Friday we all get up. A bit weary, but glad to be at Grandma and Grandpa's. We have a pretty good, uneventful, relaxed morning until Lydia looks a little pale-ish while baking pies with Grandma. She comes to sit on the couch. I know that look well. Her lips are white. Completely white. The exact same shade as her skin. She is about to faint {Lydia has fainted 3 or 4 times in her life, we've had tests and can't find anything wrong. It just happens}. Thankfully, we get her a little something to eat and drink and, amazingly, she stays with us and doesn't faint. She perks up again pretty quick {as is her pattern}. After lunch we head to Kirby's brother's house for the afternoon. Joe pukes while we are there.

By Saturday, Rebekah's injection site from her chicken pox shot looks really bad! I call the doctor and they think maybe I should bring her in. I explain that I'm 6-hours away and can't, but want to know what to do and what to watch for. Her entire upper arm is read and irritated. To the touch it is hard and warm. She is really bothered by it. The nurse says to give her Motrin and bring her in on Monday if it hasn't improved. She also suggests drawing a circle around the area with pen so we can gauge if the irritated area continues to grow or if it starts to shrink {genius, don't you think? I never would have thought of that on my own!} . Saturday is the big Easter celebration and meal with the extended family at Kirb's parents house. There were probably about 35 or so of us {half adults and half kids -- all 13 & under!}. Sunday didn't seem to work as well for our big meal/egg hunt so we had it Saturday instead. In the morning, before all the festivities, Jacob gets added to the roll-call for the sick. {4 down! -- at least he made it to the toilet!}. 1 o'clock the throngs of people arrive. We are all in the kitchen. We pray for the meal and start to dish up. From across the room, someone says {loudly}, "Shana" and points at the front door. It's too loud {35 people dishing up Easter dinner} to say much, so I walk over to the front door. Lydia has, apparently, gotten sick {this particular bug strikes completely out of nowhere and without warning!}. She was smart enough to know she couldn't make it through the crowd of people and all the way to the bathroom, so she just opened the door and started puking on the front patio, 2 feet from a crowd of people serving up their ham and potatoes! How very pleasant! All Saturday night I feel terrible {physically speaking}. I really don't know what to attribute it to. It could be many things. I am, at this point, still in my first trimester of pregnancy and while I've never had bad morning sickness with any of my pregnancies, I don't feel too hot some of the time. I have also cleaned up quite a bit of puke over the past week. Just knowing people are sick around me often gives me that queezy feeling, no matter if I'm pregnant or not. Among a couple other things that just gave me a yucky feeling in my tummy. I don't eat much for about 24 hours.

Sunday morning we head to church. In all honesty, I have not been emotionally involved, or even thought through much of Holy Week at all this year. It's understandable with all that the week has held, but I feel sad about it. At home, we go to this amazing children's Good Friday service at the church at the end of our block. It's always the highlight of my Holy Week. So I got to church not ready to celebrate all the wonderful things that we celebrate on that day . . . for many reasons. I really hardly remember anything about the service. On the way in the house after church, Anna falls and skins her knee. It's pretty bad. She cries. A lot! {Usually, she's not a crier. She can get some pretty bad, nasty owies and just keep going}. I'm holding her on my lap after putting a band aid on it and she pukes all over me. Up to this point I haven't been puked on yet. I think it was the long, drawn out crying that made her puke, rather than her stomach again. But, either way . . . gross! We nap and pack in the afternoon and head to Kirb's sister's house for dinner and then pile again into the van for the long ride home. We leave a little before 7. We don't stop once::no gas, no potty breaks, no nothin'. We arrive home about 12:30 . . . yes, speed limits were broken, but we really wanted to get home.

The stomach flu is bad no matter what. Having it away from home just makes it that much worse. Thankfully, the "barf bags" each kid had with them on the van ride home were not used. Not even a threat of need for them. Thank the Lord. I'm not sure any of us could have made the rest of the trip following that!

Monday is a no-school day. Kirb is {mostly} off work. I have an appointment in the morning and Kirb has a meeting in the afternoon, so we kind of tag-team most of the day. Tuesday is the first day back at school after a break. That's always a little rough. In addition to that, Kirb left for work before anyone was up and didn't get home until a little after 8. That made for a pretty long day for all of us.

Wednesday morning I had to have Kirb and Jacob at school by 7:15 am to leave on their 3-day all 5th grade field trip to the Audubon Center of the North Woods. So, Tuesday night we had packed them all up and brought plenty of extra food for Jacob since Kirb had trouble getting in touch with the food service person up there to see how accomodating they would be of Jacob's dietary needs. {Turns out they were fabulous to work with, but we didn't know how it would be when we were getting ready and packing, so we packed a decent amount of safe, easy-to-prepare food}. At 9:30 that morning, after getting the big girls on the bus, Anna had her 2-year check up. Other than the fact that she had a cold, she looked great. Chest clear. Ears good {she has a history of ear infections}. Everything looking to be in great working order. Wednesday is a pretty normal day. Wednesday night Anna didn't sleep too well. Not surprising since Kirb didn't put her to bed. She's strong-willed and doesn't like it too much if anyone other than her Daddy puts her to bed {thankfully 99% of the time, he can}.

Thursday she's a little out-of-sorts, but I figure it's because she's tired and still has a little cold. We go on with our day as planned. Thursday night we have MOPS. I get the 4 kiddos to church to help set up. They go to their classes and we head home. MOPS nights are always late nights. It's usually 8:30 before we even get home. I give Anna about 1/2 a dose of Benadryl before bed, because she is still pretty stuffy and she hadn't slept too well the night before and I thought that might help. She gets to bed about 8:45 or so. I get the other kids ready and in bed and try to do a couple things before turning in myself. Joe can't sleep "all alone" {without Jacob in the room} so he crawls in my bed, but still won't fall asleep until I lay by him. So I lay by him, finally, after a good half hour of crying an begging on his part. It's nearly 10 by now and I still have a few things I want/need to get done before I can go to sleep. It only takes 2 minutes of me laying by him for Joe to be out cold. I plan to get up and finish up a few things, but Anna is awake and crying. REALLY crying. I go up to get her and she's way more out of sorts than she usually is if she wakes up in the night. After a few minutes, I bring her downstairs so she doesn't wake up the girls. Something is not right with her. She is nearly hysterical with the sobbing, she is trembling and I can't understand anything she is saying. It's very weird. She is very obviously really, really tired {big yawns, droopy eyes} but won't fall asleep. No matter what I do, she won't stop crying {which is weird for her, she usually stops the minute she "wins" and you come in her room}. She lays in my lap crying and a few times almost dozes off, but it's as if her entire body has what I imagine restless leg syndrome to be like at it's worst. Her body is twitching involuntarily, it would seem, and that wakes her up. It's completely unlike any parenting experience I've had so far. I figure if you add up the ages of all my kiddos, I've had nearly 35 years of parenting experience {amazing, considering I'm only 35 years old and haven't quite had my 14th anniversary yet!} It doesn't help that I'm over tired and have no other adult to think this whole thing through with. A couple different times I consider calling my parents to come over and stay with the sleeping kids so that I can take her to the ER. I'm that scared. But then I weigh the cost of an ER visit, how much I don't want to go to the ER in the middle of the night by myself and, each time, decide to wait it out a little longer. About 2 she finally settles down a little bit {she had honestly been hysterical for 4 hours or so at this point} and I think I might be able to put her back to bed. I give it a try and it works. Poor girl must be SO exhausted!! She sleeps pretty soundly until about 5 when she wakes up screaming again.

Finally about 6-something Friday morning, I call my mom and can't hold it together any more. I cry and tell her about it and she promises to come over on her way to work and drop off my dad so that he can at least entertain Joe so the 2 of us can catch a nap or something. Granted, he can't really move off my couch, but his help is still very much welcome! I call the doctor as soon as they open and {surprise!} they want me to bring her in. Thankfully our pediatrician is in and has an opening at 9:30 {exactly 48-hours, to the minute, since the last time Anna had an appointment with her!}. I get the girls on the bus, leave Joe home with my dad and head to the doctor {I did manage to put on some clothes and brush my teeth, but that's all the hygiene that I could muster!} The instant the doctor walked through the door and saw her {just physically saw her from across the room} she said, "she looks terrible!" She checked her over and commented a few times that she can't believe this is the same kid she had just seen 48-hours earlier. She said she's never seen such a transformation from really healthy to "in really bad shape". Both her ears are really, really badly infected {and had been "beautiful" by her words on Wednesday}. She thought all the crazy middle-of-the-night behavior was a bad reaction to the Benadryl. She's had Benadryl two or three time before and hasn't reacted weird, but Dr. Sackett can't imagine any other explanation. So we get our antibiotics at Target and head home. After giving lunch to the kiddos {and my dad} I turn Joe over to his BopBop and head upstairs to put Anna down and take a nap myself. I finally have to wake Anna up about 5. I don't want her to not sleep on Friday night either! My friend, Tricia, calls and says since I've had such a nasty day {I had talked to her in the morning when she called to ask about something else and give her my whole sob story!} she'd be more than happy to pick up my boys and all their luggage and cart them home when the buses brought them back to town. A little before 6 our whole family is back together and I feel much better about life in general! The boys had a great trip and were glad to be home {actually Jacob said the trip would have been better if it had been 5 days instead of 3, so I guess he wasn't quite "glad to be home" so soon!}

Yesterday was scheduled to be a relaxed day at home. My mom had brought Rebekah and Lydia to her house for a sleep-over Friday afternoon and brought them to piano lessons on Saturday morning where we met them. On Friday morning, Lydia had mentioned something about her tooth hurting, but in my sleepless, stress-out stupor I pretty much ignored her. On Saturday morning my mom said that she thinks Lydia might have an infection or something in her tooth/gums. This rings a bell {that didn't ring on Friday morning} that the dentist had said they were keeping an eye on one of LJ's teeth that should be the next one "scheduled" to fall out, but was showing some signs of trouble. So, I call the dentist and tell them the problem and they say to bring her in as soon as possible. We're pretty much done with piano by now anyway, so we all pack up in the van, I drop off Kirb and the other 4 kids at home and buzz LJ to the dentist for an "emergency extraction". Just what I wanted in my weekend! A little over an hour after arriving Lydia had one less tooth in her mouth and was a drooling, bloody mess. 3 different people at the dentist office told her {in my hearing} that the tooth fairy always brings double for teeth that have to be pulled. Nice. So, I have to pay TONS to get the tooth out and then pay double to take the nasty thing out from under her pillow! Splendid! . . . I let her pick out any movie she wanted at the RedBox and took her home. She was in tough shape. She had pretty much perked up by the time the movie ended and some friends had come over, so she was ready for some fun. Rebekah ended up having a sleepover, we had our first bonfire of the season and the night ended on a good note.

But . . . I better run since there are 6 kiddos to get ready for church this morning {not to mention, I need to get myself ready!}.

Thanks for hanging in there through the extra-long post. This is NOT, I repeat NOT a 2-week time period I want to re-do ever again, if possible. Puking while away from home. Bad! The most rough, tough, scary, stressful, longest night of parenting in my life thus far. Bad! . . . especially when you have to endure alone. I'm thankful that we're all home again and that everyone seems to be on the mend. Happy Sunday to you!


  1. Oh. My. Word. Read this yesterday. Just felt tired reading it and thinking about it! And there you were at church, looking ever the together mom, with an extra kiddo to boot.

    Personally? I think you're pretty amazing.

    Here's to prayer...Lord, shine Your light, shine Your grace, Shine your peace, Shine your love. Shine your Holy face into this precious daughter of yours. Bless her comings and goings. Bless her children. Bless her husband. Bless her faith in the middle of the mess of this month. Bless her honesty, her lullaby in the night. Bless her as her Hallelujah's ring out in their own way to You.

    You are precious in His sight!

  2. are AMAZING! I'm just in awe from reading this....your children are so lucky to have you! May the Lord bless you, keep you, and make His face SHINE upon you and give you some precious moments of PEACE :-). Many hugs to you....Melissa

  3. Hi Shana!
    This is Jen R from church. Terri gave me your blog info. If I could hug you through the computer I would. I agree that your children are lucky to have you. I don't think I would have survived one of those days let alone two weeks. It's fun to read your blog. Take care


  4. Oh, Shana! Been there, done some version of that a few times. Makes those healthy, easy days that much more precious!! Baby number 6 will be sure to add some more drama and busy-ness, but you have had lots of practice. :)

    BTW, I am thinking you should come over some day this summer for a visit. It would be fun to get our 11 kids together!


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