Saturday, 31 July 2010

High and Tight

David has a huge responsibility around here - there are five little men who want to be him.
The standard for the "right" sneakers is whatever he has on his feet. They wait to see what he orders at a restaurant before they make their choice. Most of them now want to go into the Air guessed it - just like David.
And just like him they all now get their hair cut, "high and tight".

And I'm okay with this - mostly.

When I have a son with an attitude I can say, "Do you ever hear David talk to me disrespectfully?" They are ashamed because he would not - ever. I can encourage them to work hard like David, both at his job and especially around the house. They see him gladly go to church every Sunday and live out a life that shows love to not only the people he knows but even to the stranger on the corner.

But there is his room. If any of them EVER let their room turn into a pig sty like David's...well, nobody can be perfect. Oh and I really don't want them wearing their pants below the underwear top.

But if the little boys turn out like David, I'll be okay with that. Really okay.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Internet Death - okay, I'm Exaggerating a Little

Yesterday a good old summer storm slammed through our area with winds of over 70 miles per hour. It was quite spectacular to watch from the back porch windows. Most of the trees bent to God's awesome power and sprang back, but a few - a couple of pines who seem rather stiff necked and one Bradford Pear tree in particular decided to stand up against the wind. And we all know what happens when we refuse to bend.

The Bradford Pear did not go down gracefully and grabbed hold of the power lines that stretched between the road and our house as it toppled. The phone lines snapped at the pole and in an instant took out our land line, Internet and cell phones that use the Internet to amp up our signal.
The electric line stayed connected although it is laying across our driveway, and we still have electricity. I expressed my concern to the electric company and they basically said to get in line. I tried to scare them into hurrying by saying - "I sure hope none of my 9 kids ride over the line and DIE!!" Maybe they think with that many kids I shouldn't worry about losing one or two because they never showed up to fix it. They did send someone out to drape red caution tape over the wire as it hangs low enough to snag a UPS truck.
The kids are not too upset about this destruction as they still can swim.
I, on the other hand, am about to go crazy isolated from the world.
Will someone please hook us back up!!

Friday, 23 July 2010

What's That Crawling in the Garbage?

Elijah is our garbage man( he's the one on the right). He handles it all...emptying the many cans in the house, including the kitchen can which needs emptying at least 2 times a day, moving all the trash to the 3 big red cans in the garage, sorting out the recycling stuff and getting the cans out to the road once a week.

This guy does a great job - he takes it seriously. So he tackled his latest garbage job with a flair yesterday. The cans had maggots. The temperature has been in the 90's for the last week and we baby-sat some diaper clad kids, whose waste made a tasty treat for the maggots.


Elijah got out the cans and the hose and a broom and got to work. Now, why his brothers thought this looked fun, I really have no idea, but there they were - scrubbing maggots and having a great time.

Nothing like maggot removal for a good time.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Beep Beep!

A new driver at our house and I'm so HAPPY.

AnnaClaire got her driver's license this week on the third try (and I'm not allowed to talk about the first two attempts) so my running should be cut in half. The beauty of a new driver is that they will drive anywhere at anytime for anything.


And it's not so easy to qualify to drive in our house.

First, you must be trustworthy. We have to know that what you say is the truth. We must fully believe that you follow the rules we have wether we are with you or not.

Secondly, you must have a good attitude. Doing all that is asked with a cheerful response. Being a peacemaker among the children (after all, you will be driving them around).

Thirdly, good driving skills are necessary. A very nice person that crashes into telephone poles kind of defeats the purpose.

And AnnaClaire is all of those things and more. I don't know when I've felt as comfortable with a new driver as I do with her. She is wonderful.

And the big bonus for her is that she now gets a cell phone. (Kids in our house don't have phones at age 10. AnnaClaire will be 18 in a month and she actually survived without a phone all this time.)

You've earned this AnnaClaire and remember that the left turn never has the right of way!!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Not exactly Jurassic Park

While the teens were gone to summer camp I was left with a large group of kids that needed something to do in the worse kind of way. And I was bored.
So we made the trip to Dinosaur Land. This hokey little place is basically in some one's backyard. It's been around forever - a half acre of giant dinosaurs with chipped paint and missing pieces. And the kids LOVE it. All kids. I worry that this time we go - someone will be too old and realize how goofy this place is - but no - it's every one's favorite. The little kids ask me over and over - "Are they real?" I always tell them, "All the dinosaurs are dead now" which allows them to believe one more year that these are dead dinosaurs - right here in some one's backyard.
Truth is - I love Dinosaur Land. And the gift shop is unbelievable.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Under the Pillow

Ezra lost a tooth yesterday which in itself is not terribly remarkable for a 7 year old. What is remarkable is that I got to be his mom when it happened.

We have adopted alot of kids that are long past tooth loosening age. I didn't get to rock most of my kids to sleep or clap for their first step. When they said "momma" for the first time they weren't looking into my eyes. I didn't change their diapers and haven't even seen their butts. So when one of my kids starts Kindergarten or learns to ride a bike or looses a tooth - I get excited!

Ezra of course, was beyond excited and spent the evening showing everyone the tooth, planning how it would be under his pillow, asking me for the 100th time if I was really the toothfairy and running his tongue into the new space in his mouth.

I'm a lucky mom.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Wait - come back!

There was big excitement around here this morning - our teens were leaving for camp. The girls were packed days ago and had outfits for any camp mood, pens and flashlights, bathing suits and cover ups and flip flops to match. I found Isaiah however, wondering aimlessly through the house moments before we left. He had no soap or towels, couldn't find his Bible and generally didn't seem to concerned about any of it. Boys are about other things I suppose.

Grace gets her medicine sent from Care Mark pharmacy via U.P.S. and unfortunately it hadn't arrived as we were ready to leave for camp. I told the kids to pray for a miracle as I didn't really want to drive all the way to camp tomorrow to bring the meds to her. While we were unpacking their luggage at church the UPS driver called and offered to wait at a location nearby till I could get there and meet her. I thanked her and told her that God had used her in a miracle today. When she looked disbelievingly, I assured her that God uses UPS when he wants something done fast. She agreed to that.

So the teens are off for a week of getting to be with their friends, worshiping the Lord and having fun and I'm left with the littles and no dishwasher or laundry help or floor cleaner or kitchen help or kid sitter.....and missing four of my favorite people!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Here's to the Kidney!!

Yesterday was exactly a year since Laurie, the transplant coordinator at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, called and woke me up in the middle of the night - to which I stupidly replied, "Oh, hi Laurie- what's up?".

"I've got good news!", she said and my mind thumbed through the possibilities - maybe she found my favorite camera that I lost 6 or 7 years ago on a trip to Texas for our nieces' first communion or maybe she was going to tell me that at Grace's next clinic visit the Usborne book dealer was setting up in the huge atrium at Childrens again and I would be purchasing large amounts of their books. This is truthfully how my mind works when I'm woken up.

Surprised at my silence she almost shouted - "There's a kidney for Grace!".


Grace had been waiting so long that that seemed even more improbable than the scenarios that I had come up with, but it was true and that call set off Grace's marvelous kidney transplant.

After an almost week stay in the hospital she came home loaded with medicines and instructions and warnings and hand sanitizer. She would be on strong anti rejection meds for the rest of her life so that her body's defense system when doing it's hourly walk through, would see that strange kidney sitting there and instead of kicking it to the curb, would give it a wink and look in the other direction. The problem with that is that it would then give the wink to other not so nice things like bacteria and viruses and other creepy, bad for you stuff. We had been through something similar with Grace as a baby when she was on chemo for a brain tumor.

So, we all washed our hands every few minutes and put up signs on the door about how welcome people with colds were and we didn't eat at buffets. But just like every other dangerous thing, the longer you survive around it the more relaxed you become. Soon the giant hand sanitizer bottle that was being pumped every half hour was sitting untouched, the sign fell down and Grace celebrated with a big meal at her favorite restaurant, Golden Corral.

And nothing happened.

Then we noticed something weird. We had a case of Mersa go through the boys - highly contagious - and Grace didn't get it. A round of stomach bug went around the house - we were all sick as dogs, while Grace felt perfectly fine. When the Swine Flu epidemic rampaged in our town and we went to the local hospital for some blood draws, she walked through the coughing, sneezing crowd as if in a bubble. She basically can be counted on to catch nothing.

Amazing! Grace!

Life is great for Grace. No more dialysis - her strength has returned and she feels free as a bird. We are so happy for her.

And on this one year anniversary our prayers are with the family of the young man who, in his tragic death, provided this gift of an organ donation to not only Grace but to six other people as well.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Beat the Heat

The east coast is having record breaking heat which means the kids are in the pool most of the day.
Bikes and skates are getting a rest and water guns are the "must have" of the week. Even
the neighborhood boys have appeared armed and ready for battle.

Super Soakers can deliver a stream of water from one side of our pool to the other and I really don't mind when I accidentally get shot on the sidelines.

The teen girls however, aren't particularly fond of water guns, as they prefer to lay on large tubes and gently float around the water.

Shouldn't I be doing something productive?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Wearing Me Down

I really don't have a big problem with messes or childish behavior or even downright disobeying. It's the angry, sulky, disrespectful attitudes that I don't deal well with.
It gives me an attitude of my own. (Trickle down effect? oh that's right, I'm at the top)
And I'm outnumbered.
So if you just happen to be the third or fourth of my children in a row to stomp away mad.... pity you.

The good news in a large family is there are always a few I like at any given moment.

It's been one of those days.