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Showing posts from 2008

Some notes while waiting on 8 and 9...

[J]While pregnant, E's usual sleep-based superpowers are even more astounding. Being home for Christmas break from my regular work schedule, I get to see her regularly nod off for an hour in a kitchen chair surrounded by noisy waves of children crashing in and out of the room.E's method for approaching any project, including adding two more babies to the household, involves research. She recently picked up several books from the library on twin-related subjects. However, she was disappointed to find nothing particularly enlightening in any of them. The books seemed aimed at highly uninformed new parents. She pointed out that what she really needed was a book of tips for mothers of seven (or more) children who were pregnant with twins. ("Well, dear, I'm guessing that you may be one of the few qualified to write that book. And one of the few audience members clamoring for it, too.")Another comment on one of the books she checked out: "I certainly don…

Evidently eight isn't enough

As you can probably guess by my prolific posting this past month, I have been feeling fairly rotten. This pregnancy has seemed one of the worst as far as energy levels and general yuckiness. I had been chalking it up to that advanced-maternal-age-thing, but now I have a much, much better reason to explain why this pregnancy has seemed more difficult. Yesterday I went to have my first midwife appointment and when she couldn't find a heartbeat with the hand-held ???, (I'm realizing I have no idea what the thing is called that is used to listen to fetal heartbeats) she suggested we go down the hall and use the ultrasound machine. So we did.

Without too much effort she found the baby and saw it move, but didn't see the heart right away, so kept trying to see it. And while she did find the heart, she also found something else...another baby with another beating heart! Yes... twins. (Which means we are going from 7 children directly to 9, skipping the stop at 8.) They are still…

For a brief, shining moment, our email address was correct

That is because long about June, there will be another little Curry joining our family. No we're not adopting this time; yes, I am pregnant. We are excited and the children are ecstatic. Orders have been placed for each child's choice of boy or girl, surprisingly with 'girl' winning. D voted for a girl since he really thinks the numbers should be even. I'll see the midwife for the first time next month and that's when I can start hearing that lovely phrase, "advanced maternal age". Perhaps if I start using a cane it will make everyone feel better. (You know there's a new historical American Girl doll who is just about my age now.)

I have felt better in my life. I never feel terrific when pregnant and this time is no exception. This would explain the lack of posts recently. It would also explain the mountain of laundry in my basement among other things. (At least now I have an excuse for when things get out of control.) But I do have Christmas under…

Worship

I wrote (and J heavily edited) this article for our church's newsletter:

We enter the sanctuary and my parade of children heads down the aisle toward the stairs which lead to the balcony. Some scamper quickly, almost, but not quite, running; others meander behind. We make our way up the stairs and head to a pew in the balcony. Some shuffling occurs as children negotiate seating arrangements. Sometimes the shuffling erupts in mild skirmishes if too many children want to sit by the same person. The 2-year-old likes to sit by everyone and so spends his time moving from person to person. That is, until his father puts an end to it by firmly holding him in his arms.

As the service begins, the 6-year-old wants to know where we are in the bulletin. I point to the words of the hymn we’re singing and, even though he doesn’t read yet, he is content to feel he is following along. The call to worship starts and the leader’s part begins, “Clap your hands…” at which point the 2-year-old grins and…

Compassion International

For those who don't know, Compassion International is a child sponsorship organization devoted to helping children one child at a time. We sponsor a child in Ethiopia; receiving a letter from him is the highlight of my week. It is a wonderful organization, serving children in the name of Christ.

Right now, one of my favorite bloggers, Mary at Owlhaven, is in the Dominican Republic on a trip sponsored by Compassion International. She and a group of other bloggers are writing about their experiences while meeting with Compassion staff and sponsored children. It is an amazing trip...go check it out.

Costumes

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Here are a few pictures from Halloween, otherwise known as TM's birthday. What's better than a birthday on Halloween? A day with more candy than any one person needs plus ice cream, cake, and presents!

Two knights,

a princess,and a bear.

Fish Oil is...

something I should never allow us to run out of. At this moment I have a nearly six year old boy, screaming, actually that would be SCREAMING, in his bed, because he didn't get to use the bathroom of his choice. Now, I'm not a doctor, nor do I play a doctor on TV. Heck, I don't even like TV shows about doctors, but I do have some pretty strong anecdotal evidence about the benefits of fish oil. TM has always had impulse control problems...acting before he thinks, getting easily frustrated, temper tantrums, and very animal-like vocalizations (a lot of growling and such). These have all become more manageable over time, but they have virtually disappeared since I began giving him regular doses of fish oil. He is calmer, more reasonable, able to think more clearly, and is more patient. In fact, his behavior was so normal I began to wonder if I really needed to be buying fish oil at all. So when we ran out, I didn't rush out to buy it. A week after I stopped giving…

Back again...

to the ER that is. This afternoon, right before lunch, there was a scuffle between brothers with the result that K ended up hitting his head on our DVD monitor, and sliced his forehead open above his left eye. It was fairly deep, and the kind of cut you look at and reach for your car keys. We packed some snacks for K, and loaded K and A (as an extra pair of hands) into the van. On the way to the hospital, I vaguely wondered where on earth I was going to park the van. The parking lot clearance is 6' 10" and I need at least 7' to make it. I ended up pulling up to the ER valet parking guy and explained my dilemma. He very nicely told me to park in one of the reserved emergency vehicle spots with my flashers on and that he would keep on eye on the van. I highly recommend lunchtime on a weekday for any emergency room visits you have planned. We were just about the only ones there and had to spend just a short time in the waiting area. (But it was long enough to have …

Just for fun

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My sister-in-law passed along some hand-me-downs that a friend passed on to her. There were several pairs of jeans for the little boys and these two, cool, high-tech shirts:

Also note the sporty new haircuts. J is getting a lot more haircutting practice these days. B isn't sure he wants to be a practice subject, but then his bread business supplies him with a modest income so he can spring for his own haircut. (Which I wish he would do soon. It's becoming increasingly more difficult to find his eyes under all his hair.)

I suppose this makes me feel better

I'm afraid this is going to be a continuation of my 'obsessed with [the lack of] money' theme that's been going on here the last week or so. In my effort to find tasty yet cheap recipes to feed my family, I came across the USDA's chart of the current cost of food. According to that chart, on the frugal budget, our family of 9 should be spending ~$1068 per month on food. That's over $200 a week! Well, thankfully, we don't come close to that (and that's including cleaning supplies, diapers, bulk orders, etc.) While I'm happy that it appears I am doing a good job of keeping our monthly costs down, it also depresses me a bit. It seems that my dream of averaging just $100 per week on grocery costs may be more of a pipe dream than I had thought. It's a good thing that nearly everyone likes beans...in fact, K loves them. It's poor TM who eats them grudgingly; they are not his favorite food. Although, by the time we are out of this particul…

Homemaking vs. House keeping

I'm a sucker for books about homemaking. When we were at the library last week, I saw The Better Homes and Gardens book of Homemaking. It looked promising, so I added it to my pile. But, I have to say, after looking through it, it is as disappointing as most books on homemaking are. The trouble is, I believe that authors (editors, publishers?) are confusing the art of homemaking with the act of house keeping. House keeping involves the cleaning, organizing, and general running of a household. It is important, but, in my opinion, is somewhat superficial. It doesn't get to the heart of what a home is. I have been in houses that were immaculate and tastefully decorated, but they were houses, not homes. They felt sterile; as if they were missing their heart. I don't feel the need to read books on house keeping. I know how to do it...even if I don't always do what I ought...and, frankly, once one has read the tome, Home Comforts, there is very little left to say.

Counting my blessings

Not much has changed from last week: Our property taxes have still nearly doubled, with the bill due next month. It is of the variety that makes one think the assessor's office accidentally added an extra '0' on the end. Our roof still actively leaks in the rain. Trust me, rain dripping on plaster ceilings is not a pretty sight. (As an aside, I have a new circle for Dante. I had already added a circle for people who wallpaper ceilings, but now I am adding one for homeowners who put a 4th layer of roof on a house.) IL is still large family phobic. We truly believe we are called to adopt again, but the state of Illinois and many home study agencies don't hold that same belief.

But, I have been blessed with a terrific sense of peace. I know that we are in God's hands and that He will take care of us. So, instead of dwelling on yuckiness, I want to dwell on my blessings. There are so many, but I will only list the top 10. 1) I am married to, arguably, the…

Because it's all I can do

"When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest in His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is shifting sand,
All other ground is shifting sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He still is all my hope and stay.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is shifting sand,
All other ground is shifting sand."

-Fanny Crosby

The scoop

The moral to this whole surgery-thing is to listen to and believe your children. Back in June, when M hurt her knee, she said it felt as though her knee cap had slid out of joint, then popped back in and that's when the pain began. In my continuing effort to win the 'worst mother of the year' award, I didn't quite believe her, gave her some ice, and told her she probably just twisted it and it would get better.

Imagine my chagrin when the pediatric orthopedist was showing us the pictures he took of her knee during surgery (yes, we now have pictures of the underside of M's kneecap...I wonder how we should frame them?), and told us how she injured her knee. Yes, you guessed it, her kneecap had slid out of joint and when it popped back into to place it sheared off a 1.5 cm piece of cartilage from the end of her femur. The surgeon was able to remove the cartilage, and although she has some scarring where it was broken off, it shouldn't affect her. We are thank…

All's Well

Just a quick note...it's been a long day and there are still many small children to put to bed. M came through the surgery with flying colors and is feeling good and in good spirits. Of course, her leg is still completely numb and will be for 24 hours, so we'll see how she's doing after that. I'll describe in more detail exactly what was wrong...but it will have to wait for a later date.

Thanks for everyone's prayers. I'm just so relieved to have my girl home and have the surgery behind us!

Surgery tomorrow

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The hospital called this afternoon and M is scheduled for her knee surgery at 2pm. The best scenario is that the doctor goes in, removes the broken off piece of cartilage, closes up and is done. If that happens, then M can go home the same afternoon. But, even with an MRI, the doctors can't really tell what is actually going on with her knee and won't know for sure until they are in surgery. There is a chance that the cartilage will need to be reattached or holes drilled into the bone to stimulate more bone growth. In either of these cases, the surgery is more involved and M will need to stay the night in the hospital. So, we have been instructed to be prepared to stay overnight M isn't looking forward to it, but is pretty calm about the whole thing. I'm...doing a good job of appearing calm, but feeling the need to pace growing stronger and stronger. I just keep reminding myself that this is pretty easy compared to when P had surgery at a week old. Is it too unreasonab…

Still here

You would think in a family of 7 children, there would be more to blog about. But, aside from the cute comments from children, which I'm pretty sure only J and I find interesting, and my ongoing battle to make my children responsible and organized, not much is new around here. We get up, we learn some stuff, we fix and eat meals, and we make costumes. I know that last one isn't normal for most families, but it seems to be for us. The last costume event was M and her friends' murder mystery party. Thankfully, I had nothing to do with these...aside from finding B a new sports coat at the local thrift store. (His coat from last year was, predictably, several sizes too small.) B sprang for the dry cleaning cost himself. The party was a success, though I think the level of committedness to costuming was surprising to those for whom this was a first-time event. The girls also discovered the lack of importance that many people attach to the letters 'RSVP' these d…

Arggh!

I missed it again! Yesterday, Sept. 19 was "Talk Like a Pirate Day". I had such great intentions...talking like a pirate (and it was even swimming lesson day, and as my friend, P, reminded me, we could have had the children walk the plank), having pirate-y treats, perhaps wearing a bandanna and a big gold earring to embarrass my children...I was going to do it up right. But, like every other year, I forgot. I'm sure it had something to do with all of the emotional turmoil going on around here, which at some point I will blog about, but not yet. Pirates are way more fun. (And to anyone with an Eeyore frame of mind, we are all fine. Please don't panic...it has more to do with future family stuff than current family stuff. Did I make anyone feel better? I sure hope so.)

Anyway, next year I vow to remember my favorite holiday that I've never celebrated. Anyone want to join me? Arggh!

A family needs your prayers

I do not know this family at all, but I am so moved by their plight, I am asking for prayers on their behalf. They are living every adoptive family's nightmare.http://www.roomforatleastonemore.blogspot.com/

The art of the schedule

We have started back to school. I hesitate even to write that, as it sounds as though the children have only started to learn things again since summer began. Since they are learning things all the time, what it really means is that we're back to following a schedule. How this schedule looks changes radically from year to year. In my continuing quest for the perfect schedule...the one that will make me as fantastically organized as I fantasize about...I have tried many things. When the children were small, and there were fewer of them, I didn't really have a schedule. Life was less complicated and we could follow our interests, read lots of stories, make art projects, and play together...all before lunch. I'm sorry to say those days are over. From our structureless summer, I am all too well aware of what happens when too many children have too much free time. It starts out great. There is lots of play, reading, daydreaming, and various projects that happen. Children do cre…

Do you know what's better than owning a boat?

Having good friends who own a boat and invite you to ride in it. J and I had a great evening last night. We were invited to join our friends (who have the boat) plus another couple for an 'evening cruise'. (And it was adults only. This is a big deal when you know that between our three families, we have 19 children. Plus, we wouldn't all fit on the boat together.) So, at 5 pm last night, we set off for our three hour cruise. (I only put that in because now you will all be humming the theme to Gilligan's Island for the rest of the day, because ours was really four hours.) First there was the quick trip along the lake front to get to downtown Chicago, and then into the lock to get to the Chicago River. We cruised up the river all the way to Chinatown, where we tied up and ate our dinner. (It would have been fun if some of the restaurants served dock-side like they do along the river downtown. But we probably wouldn't have been able to afford it anyway if the prices o…

No wonder they're always hungry

Today I took B and D in for their annual physicals. I've now reached the point where the receptionist no longer needs to ask my name when I check in, instead she moves straight to small talk. However, I never seem to get the same nurse...I'm in there enough, you'd think I'd get a repeat at least once. But no, I have to break a new one in every time. This means dealing with children's baffled looks when asked if they like their teacher, avoiding the halo with which the nurse wants to crown me upon learning I have 7 children, and explaining that we don't watch TV. Again.

But these are minor inconveniences. What was really interesting was the amount both B and D have grown over the past year. B grew 5 1/2 inches and D grew 4. I knew they had grown, but had no idea they had grown so much. This explains why I am finding it difficult to keep food in the house and why they (along with everyone else) often follow me around telling me how hungry they are. Left…

Pre- and Post-Dinner Entertainment

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We've been eating dinner outside quite a bit since the weather has been nice and all too soon it won't be. On the spur of the moment, while we were outside getting things ready, J and I decided to buzz K's hair. It was too long (he was starting to receive "Oh what a cute girl" comments) and he sweats so much that he just always looked hot. So here are the results of J's efforts: We then enjoyed a pleasant dinner together. As we were finishing, D looks up and announces, "I see two skunks!" We turn around and he was right. Two skunks were ambling around our back yard having their own dinner. Not wanting to startle the skunks, we had everyone sit quietly (not easy for some of us), while we watched them...and took pictures. Eventually, the floor show ended and the skunks went under the fence into the parking lot next door. We have seen quite a few skunks in the past couple of days, and as long as they don't take up residence in our home I'm OK w…

Those poor unsocialized homeschoolers

As a homeschooling family, we field many questions about homeschooling and all that it entails. Probably the most asked question is along the lines of, "Do they have any friends?" I just know the questioner has an image of us never leaving our home (if only), sitting at desks, doing workbook page after workbook page, and not knowing how to have a conversation with anyone outside the family. I've learned just to laugh at this question because it is so ridiculous. My pat answer is to say that I wish they had fewer friends and social engagements as it would make my life a bit easier.

I am reminded of all this because earlier this week I was part of a homeschool information night at a local public library. One of the very real concerns of some of the attendees was that a homeschooled child wouldn't have any friends. The irony of discussing this concern while trying to survive the week that I've had is a bit amusing.

I will try to condense the past week into a par…

Hip Hip Hooray!

D. has learned to ride his two-wheeler! He has been working on it for several months now, but every time he would try, the falling down part would get the better of him and he'd put the bike away. This was particularly difficult because TM has been able to ride a bike for nearly a year and half. (It was one of the first things he learned to do after he came home.) But yesterday was D's day. Instead of giving up when he didn't get it right away, he kept on trying. And then suddenly he was riding: a two and a half house long ride...pretty good for the first time. That's all it took and he was hooked. By the end of the afternoon he could start and stop with very little difficulty. I wish I had taken a video of his brothers and sisters cheering him on as he worked to master his new skill. D's smile was enormous; I think both due to the bike riding success and to all the cheering.

This, of course, leads to long family discussions about who is now going to ride…

Where everyone knows your name

No, not our local bar...our branch library which is 1/2 a block away. (It was one of the selling points about our house.) I feel somewhat famous whenever we go in. I guess a family with 7 children, who comes during school hours and checks out no less than 70 books a visit is somewhat memorable. I know most of the librarians who work there, but today there were two whom I didn't think I knew, or who knew us. That is until one of them asks me if we're still homeschooling and then in a separate conversation, the other asks how we manage to keep track of all the books we check out each time. It makes me feel badly that I didn't know them.

About the number of books...everyone around here likes, no loves, to read or be read to. (I think the younger ones decide to learn to read as a defensive act. Sometimes when all the bigger types are involved in their own books, the only course for non-readers is to learn to read themselves.) Plus, because the city is always threateni…

Looking for large families in IL

The madness has to stop! I have been in contact with several other women and we want to see what we can do to change how Illinois approves large families to adopt. We are looking for two things right now. The first is anyone who would like to join us and the second is we need stories. If you have a large family and have been adversely affected by IL's way of doing things, please share your story. You can email me at thecurryseven at sbcglobal dot net

Thanks!

I love a productive day

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(Welcome Kelly's Korner readers.  This is our third floor playroom.  If you want to see what laundry for 11 looks like, head here.)

Most of the third floor of our house is a single large room that we use as a play room. Usually this works pretty well. Usually being the key word. If it has been too long between my trips up there, the amount of mess that can be created is somewhat staggering. Staggering describes the mess when we started renovation, so I'm not sure what to call it after renovation. Due to some of the new systems we installed, the worker-men needed access to the play room as well. That means the staggering mess was then pushed to the center of the room and had a plastic sheet draped over it. Come June, children started venturing upstairs again and would burrow under the pile, pull out what they wanted, play with it, and then just leave it strewn across the floor. It looked as though a tornado had passed through. For any of you who thought perhaps I had my act tog…

We need more power, Scotty...

we're trapped in the gravitational field of Children's hospital and we can't break free! OK, that may be an exaggeration, but it's what it feels like. Early in the summer, while we were in Pennsylvania, M hurt her knee. Being the kind and compassionate mother that I am, I ignored her injury (aside from suggesting she stay off of it and giving her a bag of ice) and assumed that given time it would get better. Five weeks later, when it was still swollen and bothering her, I took her into the doctor. After poking and prodding, the doctor ordered an MRI. Armed with the results of the MRI, we now know that she chipped off a piece of cartilage that was attached to her thigh bone. (Not only did she injure her knee, but M. injured it in a very unusual way it seems.) We were then referred to a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Children's. M. is still having pain because the piece of cartilage is floating around in her knee causing trouble and the doctor will have t…

The wrong question?

When we were up in Michigan last week, there was a news magazine lying around at which I happened to glance. One of the articles was titled, "Do children make you happy?" The conclusion of the author, after looking at many studies that were conducted asking people, both with and without children, to rate their happiness, was that, no, indeed children do not make people happier than those without. I've been thinking about this, and I've decided that everyone is asking the wrong question. Happiness is such a fleeting thing and incredibly dependent on circumstance. Do my children make me happy when they are whining, or throwing up in the middle of the night, or waiting too long to get to the bathroom? No, I can honestly say that when any of them behaves poorly or when I must clean up bodily fluids, I am not happy. Sometimes I am about as far from happy as a person can get. I'm also not happy when one of my children is sick, or injured, or sad. How can I be …

More scenes from our vacation this past week

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We had a wonderful week up in Michigan at J's aunt and uncle's home. Here's some other things we enjoyed:

Reading...

Picking blueberries (although some of the shorter family members did more eating than picking)...

"Surfing"...
and shucking corn...


Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Three Men in a Tub

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More accurately, it is two boys in an inner tube, using smash rackets as paddles.



Here is the third "man", left on shore, wishing he could go to sea as well.

Two months....already?!

I know that K has been home for only two months. I mean, I was there in Vietnam when we first met him, for heaven's sake. But even now, with so little time together, I feel as though he has always been in our family. K's transition has been one of those hearts and puppies adoption stories, with everyone falling in love and everything all happy. With our two adoptions, we have experienced two absolute extremes. I'm glad I did the hard one first. I appreciate the easy one that much more. To sum it up, K is a joy.

K also continues to make huge developmental strides...his therapists are all very impressed. We call them the "play ladies". There are too many of them to try and differentiate between them when talking to the children, so if a play lady is coming, a child will ask what toys she brings to identify which one. And since I am something of a compulsive learner, especially if it is one of my favorite areas (raising children), I have found the play lady…

New look

So what do you think? (Just so you know, I love the new look, so the correct answer is, "Your blog looks terrific!") I can't take any credit, though. It all goes to my incredibly talented sister-in-law, Stefanie. She even made the big ugly house look good up there in the header. It looks almost charming in a line drawing. So if you need any design or web-stuff done, go take a look at her website: http://www.lilypaddesignworkshop.com/index.html

Thanks, Stef!

Finally...

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(Welcome to all those joining in the Open House.  Though this post is old, my kitchen looks exactly the same right now.  It was easier to link to an old post than to write a new one. [Well, the children are a lot older and there are nearly twice as many of them.] Lazy, I know. Thanks for stopping by and looking at the big ugly house!)
I know you all have hardly been able to bear the suspense as you wait for pictures of our new kitchen. Well, your torture is over.....


Our new kitchen, complete with children helping make strawberry shortcake: The inside of the pantry:
One side of the butler's pantry:
The other side of the butler's pantry: The guest room: Now, about that camera. I have a tip for everyone. If you think your digital camera is broken, try using a different memory card before purchasing an expensive new one. It could just be the memory card is bad. I speak from experience. The above pictures were taken by our old camera and this picture was taken with the new one:
S…

Mom of Many

No, not me...considering the size of some of the families I know about, I don't even qualify. But Jenni at One Thing, has written a great post about being a "Mom of Many". Check it out; it's way better written and way funnier than I could ever to do, so now I don't need to bother.

http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/shannon/2008/07/what-id-like--3.html

This is not what you want to see on Sunday morning....

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Yes, it is a raccoon, and yes, it is inside our house and not just inside the walls. We had optimistically thought we were done with the raccoon invasion. But the evidence would seem to indicate otherwise. I think we need to call a roofer to patch the remaining holes. They are so far up the exterior walls that J can't reach them, even with our tallest ladder.

So, back to the raccoon saga...there was an hour long stand-off between J and the raccoon, which involved a lot of staring at one another, except for the brief moment of excitement when J tried to put the trap over the top of the invader. J muttered something that included the word, "vicious" when describing the incident. Eventually, the raccoon climbed down off the radiator and chose to go out of the open window as opposed to the open trap. J was very disappointed, that the raccoon chose the window that is, not that the raccoon left. And, it was a filthy thing. I still have to clean the paw prints (and fur…

Another victory for order and cleanliness

I had been threatening to do it for several months, but I could tell no one was taking me very seriously. But today, M and B offered to take A, P, TM and D to a movie during K's nap and I finally did it. Well, J and I finally did it...completely empty the little boys' room of all toys, that is. For a year now, that room has been very difficult to keep neat and orderly, much less clean. There was just too much stuff and even if the boys wanted to clean it up, it was just too difficult for them. Heck, I was often overwhelmed with the thought of trying to pick it up. So, I decided the only solution was to limit how much stuff there was to pick up. Don't feel too badly for them; their toys have just migrated to the third floor playroom. (Now that's a scary room at the moment. It's the last room that was affected by the remodelling which I haven't dealt with.) What are the boys left with? They have their dressers, a bin under the bed in which they can sto…

Why 7 are easier than 2 or 3

Really, it's true. Although when I tell mothers of 2 or 3 that, they do have a habit of looking at me as though I've grown another head or two. But with 7, I can pay the bills (which really needed doing) while some of the middles can keep an eye on the littles, and the two oldest can make dinner. Even when the oldest needs to leave to go take care of a friend's pets, the third oldest can step in and fix the side dish. As dinner comes nearer, the littles get into the act by setting the table, carrying milk, etc. And so, at 6pm, when dinner is done, I can leisurely rise from my desk, with the bills all paid, pour a glass of wine, and join the family at the table. Ahhh...the luxury of having many children.

MAY CAUSE DIZZYNESS

appears in big, bold capital letters across all nine prescription bottles. As I'm doling out little white pills to everyone in the family, I have visions of staggering children falling over furniture and falling down stairs. As I take mine, I decide I will not be dizzy because I have dinner guests coming in one hour. The little white pills are to eradicate any possible parasites that we may have contracted from K who may have parasites he could have passed along. It's all very iffy. But now we can rest comfortably knowing that said pills are actively killing off any we may have. River blindness? Gone! Roundworm? Gone! Scabies? Gone! Gone! Gone! Which is good, because for the last week, I've been feeling itchy, but only when I think about scabies. Much like when a friend calls to say her child has lice and you can immediately feel the little things crawling on you scalp. (Feel free to pause here to scratch your own head.) But back to the communal drug ingesting...we all nee…

Normal, everyday chaos

Life is starting to get back to normal. K. continues to stay healthy and his skin is healing nicely from his self-inflicted wounds. My family (both my parents, my brother, his wife and three daughters) came for the 4th of July and we sent the last group home yesterday. I have finished moving into the newly remodelled part of the house and can begin to think about some longer term projects. We've made it to the beach and to the park. We're starting to get back into a routine and it's lovely.

I'm not sure I quite fully realized the amount of anxiety I had been living with between January and May. The wait for K had become excruciating, and when coupled with major remodelling and spending half my time in the basement....well, let's just say I wasn't at the top of my form. It felt remarkably like the last month of pregnancy, except I wasn't the size of a house and it lasted for 5 months. It was the feeling of being completely overwhelmed with the smalles…

Two years

Two years ago today, TM became our son. This is a fairly big milestone for him since he has now been with our family longer than any other placement he had previously. And as he is now 5 1/2, this fact nearly breaks my heart. I hate to think of my boy being moved so often. Is it any wonder he harboured so much anger at being moved to a fifth placement in 3 1/2 years?

It all seems so long ago now, and we were all such different people. TM has become such a delightful boy. The other morning, as I was lying in bed recovering from being in the ER most of the night, I hear running feet going downstairs and TM's voice calling out cheerfully, "Hello everybody! Oh...no one is down here." Can this be the same boy who for months after coming home, would take hours to be able to face the world each day? There were more rages after waking in the morning than I can count. I am not the same person either. I have seen sides of myself, both positive and negative, that I didn&…

Home again, home again

(E)
K was discharged from the hospital this afternoon. He is much, much better and is back to being his happy, goofy self. I'm not sure the doctors ever really came to an agreement, or that they ever really figured out what was going on, but this is their best guess:

Several days ago, K developed a rash that was causing him to scratch his skin raw. (It wasn't getting better, and I had already decided I needed to take him to the doctor this week.) The rash was caused by either a yeast infection, a strep infection, or (and this is the infectious dr's favorite) a form of super scabies. This would be a type of scabies that is unaffected by premetherin cream. Whatever the cause, the open skin seems to have been the pathway for a secondary bacterial infection which was the source of the redness and fever. K is now on antibiotics for the infection, an oral anti-itch medicine, and an oral scabies medicine. And, since we all live with him, the rest of us will also be taking …

The good news is that K has gained two pounds,

but we found this out when he was being weighed in the ER last night.

After dinner, he spiked a very high (>104) fever and turned very red. It was a very impressive imitation of a boiled lobster. We took him to the ER and after 6 hours there (where he was poked and prodded in every conceivable way), they transferred him to the children's hospital. J had the night shift, which included a ride in an ambulance, and I came home and slept. We switched for the day. K is doing better, but still, no one seems to know what's wrong. It seems to depend on the time of day and the team of doctors. The dermatologists seem to think it is a viral infection working its way out, but the infectious disease doctors are leaning toward a form of super scabies. (That one makes me itch just to think about it.) I suggested to the nurse before I came home tonight that maybe, some time soon, all these doctors might just want to discuss it amongst themselves and pick one. I'm sorry to s…

One Month

It's been one month since we arrived home with K from Vietnam. When I think about all we've done this month it makes me realize why I'm tired. I want my relaxing summer to start! K's transition continues to be very easy. He is just the cutest and happiest little guy (who loves nothing more than an audience to make laugh). He even is starting to show me affection. He will come up and hug my legs, he wants me to pick him up, he smiles for me and makes more eye contact, and he started to cry when I left the house for a five minute errand on Tuesday. Up until that point, I wasn't sure whether he really cared yet if I was around or not. And so goes the dance of attachment...I love him, he begins to love me, I love him even more, and so on and so on.

On top of the happy stuff, we've also had a parade of therapists in here through Early Intervention to perform screenings on K. The second set was here yesterday, both a physical therapist and an occupational the…

Answered prayers

The whole time we were waiting for K to come home, one of my constant prayers was that God would keep him healthy...both emotionally and physically. From my compulsive reading habit, I was all too aware of how important the first few years of a baby's life are and how unsuited orphanages are at meeting a baby's needs. So as the wait dragged on (and on and on and on) this prayer became more urgent. Well, today K had his Early Intervention screening, done by a physical therapist and a speech therapist. And the verdict? He is delayed and qualifies for services; probably he will have two sessions a week. (Did I mention that E. I. comes to your house? Hallelujah!) But, I was expecting that. All along I had been saying it was much more like having a one year old (really like an 18 month old) than a two year old. And that is exactly the functional age that the therapists thought as well. (I guess I've learned something in the course of raising all these children.) But…