Showing posts from April, 2013

Confused Noise

"What I say," said Eeyore, "is that it's unsettling. I didn't want to come on this Expo -- what Pooh said. I only came to oblige. But here I am; and if I am the end of the Expo -- what we're talking about -- then let me be the end. But if, every time I want to sit down for a little rest, I have to brush away half a dozen of Rabbit's smaller friends-and-relations first, then this isn't an Expo -- whatever it is -- at all, it's simply a Confused Noise."  (From Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne)

This was part of the chapter that I read to G. and L. at naptime today and it pretty much sums up my morning. It was simply a Confused Noise. You (the parent) decide it is a grand day to set out on an expedition (learn new things, do projects, play outside, etc.) and all that happens is you end up brushing away small creatures all morning who are making lots of noise.

The other quote that nearly made me laugh out loud was:

"Hallo, Rabbit," he [Po…

The desire to look like everyone else

We went in to the plastic surgeon's office this morning so they could check how H. is doing. The drains are still in for a couple more days, though the nurse redid the dressing holding them so that they were more comfortable. It turns out that not only are they redirecting excess liquid, but the suction that they cause is helping to keep the skin in place so that it can better remain in place. (Sorry if that is a bit too gruesome...)

We also seem to be past the point where they are concerned about infection and are switching from keeping the sutures covered with Bacitracin to using Aquafore. Evidently Aquafore is the plastic surgeon's best friend and it should help with the itching as the sutures heal and will also help the healing process in general, cutting down on scarring. The nurse went on and on about all the ways she uses it and we may also try using it on K.'s incredibly dry hands.

H.'s face is still very, very swollen, which I sort of knew (her eye is evidentl…

How about something different?

H. continues to slowly heal, though her eye is still tightly swollen shut and she does NOT like it. The best comment of the day came this morning from K., who looked at H. and announced, "Hey! I didn't know that H.'s cheek looked just like everybody else's!" He was looking at the repaired side, and being able to overlook the sutures realized that it didn't look all that different anymore. Of course, I think he missed the whole surgery-thing, but he probably wasn't paying all that much attention because it didn't have to do with cars in any form. Sometimes he can be happily clueless.

But what continues to roll around in my head in between my nursing efforts on one hand and my referee career on the other is the book The Boy Who Would be a Helicopter by Vivian Gussin Paley, which I read while H. was in surgery. I still don't have anything coherent to say, but wanted to share a couple of the great many quotes I wrote down from it.

(Some background. It…

And we're all home

Evidently late at night is my new blog posting time... at least for the time being.

H. had a good night last night, though I'm sure how much sleep J. actually got between the frequent vitals taking and the glow from the light that wouldn't turn off. I, on the other hand, slept better than I had in a week. It makes me realize I was probably much more stressed about everything than I realized because if it's one thing I excel at, it's sleeping.

By late morning, H. was cleared to leave the hospital and I drove up and brought everyone back home. She was quite ready to leave the hospital. I had prepared all of her brothers and sisters for her appearance and while they were curious (especially about the two drainage tubes), they handled it all just fine. Even some of the younger ones commented that both sides of her face look the same now. Which is pretty darn observant of them to be able to see past all the sutures, but also says a lot about the scope of what was accomplish…

Surgery update

I'm pooped, but want to take advantage of the quiet moment between putting small people to bed and crashing into bed myself to give you all a slightly longer version of H.'s surgery today.

First, thank you all so much for your prayers. They were definitely felt and the whole day went smoothly. I, who tend to be a bit of a worrier, felt calm for the entire day. The biggest plus is that the surgeons were able to do more than they had hoped, but more on that in a bit.

We ended up being the first scheduled surgery, which meant that we needed to be at the hospital (which is 30 minutes away with no traffic) at 6 am. This worked out well, despite it being long before my typically functioning time because there was really no waiting period for H. We woke her up, she got dressed, and we left.

Once at the hospital we got checked in and were waiting for the parade of  doctors and nurses to begin the pre-op routine when we look up to discover a long time friend walking into our room. This…

Dealing with fear

A couple of years ago I spent a lot of time thinking about how to become less fearful and more serene. I stopped mentioning it not because I have been successful but because it seems like such a life long project that to write continually about it would become tedious for the reader. But the idea is ever present in my mind and has caused me to think critically about how I am feeling at any given moment.

My great conclusion is that we humans operate from a place of fear more often than we are even aware of. I really think that so much of our emotion and reaction is fear-based and that much of the time we aren't even aware of the fearfulness that lies underneath. I find dealing with a root cause to be so much more effective than trying to change the surface problem.

What has really brought this to mind this past week has been my ongoing attachment with H. I have mentioned before how it does not come easily or naturally, and possibly the most frustrating part of it is that she is a l…

Opened a can of worms I did

I don't really want to address all of this, but since I'm a bit stuck on it and won't be able to rest easily until I do, I guess I have to. Probably most of you are scratching your heads wondering what the heck I'm dithering about. A few days ago I posted a link to a friend's post on facebook (that wonder of misunderstanding). I mentioned that I thought she did a great job with what she wrote. And I still think so. I agree with the focus of her post that there are hurting children all over the world who desperately need families to love them and most people are willing to turn a blind eye to the situation.

The trouble comes because what started her ponderings on the subject was the now fairly infamous article in Mother Jones about Evangelical adoption. And I'm afraid some people may have mistaken what I intended to communicate. (And truly, nothing puts me in a dither faster than feeling as though I've been misunderstood.) As a result, I really feel the need…

Night at the museum

Last night we went to the Member's Open House at the Field Museum. In my opinion, being able to go to this event is worth the membership cost all by itself. They open up the entire museum, even the back areas and floors you don't normally get to see and you can wander at will. There are also activities and things to do and watch. It's just very, very cool and something we all enjoy. (Plus, the Field Museum has one of the few actual family memberships. When we purchase a family membership we are all invited to come and not just the few number of children which are deemed appropriate.) 
In the main hall there were a lot of very cool puppets and marionettes. I was particularly struck with this one (and took a lot of pictures for M. who is rather fond of large-scale puppets). It's a cheetah that was worked by a combination of strings which were attached to the puppeteer's head and rods which the puppeteer held. The strings wen from the puppet's head to the person&…

Don't wait!

"It seems to me that whether it is recognized or not, there is a terrific frustration which increases in intensity and harmfulness as time goes on, when people are always daydreaming of the kind of place in which they would like to live, yet never making the place where they do live into anything artistically satisfying to them. Always to dream of a cottage by a brook while never doing anything to the stuffy house in the city is to waste creativity in this very basic area, and to hinder future creativity by not allowing it to grow and develop through use."
         - The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

I put this quote up on the Ordinary Time facebook page yesterday, but I wanted to be sure everyone had a chance to see it. I love this book. If I had to limit my library to a very few volumes, this is one book that would make the cut. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to get a copy and do so.

The idea of not living in the present, but waiting until some f…

Embracing the mess

"Tut, tut, it looks like rain" is probably what I should have titled this since it has rained for nearly 24 hours straight around here. No one slept well because of the thunder and J.'s (and M.'s and B.'s) school was closed today because the river it sits next too was flooding the campus. Thankfully, though our side yard is looking a bit bog-like, we are pretty much dry. Stir-crazy, but dry.

School was not cancelled for my children this morning, though, rain or no rain. We did math, I worked with the learning-to-read group, we did an art lesson, A. finished an essay on the 1st amendment and did biology, B. was doing some botany. And in among all of that, the littles played, this time cutting paper into little, tiny scraps. Everyone manages to keep busy during the morning and then suddenly it's lunch. People are sooo hungry that they push the stuff on the table aside and fix lunch. They eat while I read our current chapter book and then it's quiet time.


It feels like it might be hope*

*The line is borrowed from the Sara Groves song, "It Might be Hope", which I really, really love.

Since I have shared several times about the tumultuousness of parenting TM on his road to healing, I realized I should update you on how life has been recently. And, praise God, we are seeing glimmers of hope for the healing of his deep, deep wounds. I am experienced enough now to know that we will probably have to go back over old territory more than a few times, but I am also experienced enough now to better appreciate the positive gains that present themselves.

And what are those positives that we are seeing? Well, the first big one is that we have watched him be able to self-regulate better. Things still frustrate him, but he is more likely to remove himself from the situation or redirect himself. This is pretty huge.

We've purposefully done a couple of things to help facilitate that ability. The first, at the recommendation of our therapist, is that we made a caution ca…

Meander around my brain

I have started and deleted I don't know how many posts today. Either I didn't like the tone or wrote two sentences and discovered I had nothing else to say or the whole thing was so incredibly boring even I didn't want to read it. Among the different topics I didn't write about include the idea of children being seen only as consumers, the benefits of having a wide range of ages in ones children, how a clean sink is the key to wanting to cook, and a little tirade over the movie Stuck and the Hague convention. So many titles, so little content. My brain has been like that today.

Instead, I find myself pondering questions such as why this post about Civics and SB 136 has suddenly been getting so many hits. Or how we could have run out of oatmeal (an item I buy in 50# bags) with still over a month to go before we pick up the next bulk order. Or how long it is going to take before I finally decide to put my recipes in a new binder because the old one has fallen apart and i…

Frugal large family meals: Lentil soup with spicy Italian sausage

I made this the other night and it was so good I wanted to share it with you. I had cut it out of a Bon Appetit magazine a while back, lost it, then found it again so I decided to try it. I tinkered with it a bit, so it is not the exact same recipe and it counts as large family frugal because you can up the amount of lentils and cut back the amount of sausage if you need to. My family really, really likes sausage so I went a bit heavy on it. I wouldn't then double the sausage if I needed to make more then, but just double the other ingredients. Does that make sense?

Here is  the recipe as I made it the other night. Once again, even if you aren't feeding an army, I encourage you to make the full amount and then freeze the rest. It should freeze fine... not that I had any leftover to freeze.

Lentil soup with Spicy Italian Sausage

2 pounds spicy Italian sausage (you could also use mild, but lentils can be bland and we liked how the spicy sausage gave it some zip) - cut into slice…

Children and pickiness

Since I'm on a roll with blogging about my pet theories for which I've discovered outside validation, I figured I'd keep going and share my ideas about children's pickiness when comes to food. Plus, this is a topic that comes up when I ask people about what is difficult for them about meal planning in preparation for the session I'm doing at the ICHE conference in June. This will help me to organize my thoughts for that as well.

Let's first clarify what exactly I'm talking about when I say pickiness. There are some children who have difficulties with sensory processing or for other reasons food is a huge issue for them. I am not talking about these children in this post. I am talking about otherwise typically developing children whose range of acceptable foods is annoyingly small.

The easiest way to help a child develop an adventurous palate is to expose them to a lot of different foods from the time they are little. When we fed babies, it was rare that the…

Miss Rumphius

Since we completely switched gears with what we were learning about and started our story writing (which we're still working on), I have been thinking about what else we wanted to do. When we had the very brief spell of nice weather and were able to clean up the yard a bit, everyone was suddenly very interested in growing plants, so I decided to pull out the botany study I have.

So we are working with all things plants, which will be even more fun and interesting once things start growing. I also pulled out the book, From Butterflies to Thunderbolts: Discovering Science with Books Kids Love by Anthony D. Fredericks. This is an interesting book which gives a lot of extended activity ideas for various children's books on various science topics. (I have a love/hate relationship with the book in that I love the idea and sometimes get some good ideas from it, but also find myself often thinking there could have been so much more.) But it did remind me of the book, Miss Rumphius, b…

How to deal with an unwelcome houseguest

Dear Rain,

I'm afraid it's time we sit down and have a little chat. I hate to bring all of this up, but it seems as though no one else is, and really it's for your own good. This is because your recent behavior could be making you seem a bit overbearing and rude. People might start to get the wrong impression of you and I would hate for your reputation to be sullied.

I imagine that you are feeling a little guilty over neglecting us completely last summer and now feel compelled to make up for your absence. While we really did miss you, sometimes terribly, I think you may be going overboard. No one likes a house guest who overstays their visit, but, as sorry as I am to break it to you, I'm afraid your behavior is quickly entering this territory, especially since I heard through the grapevine that you plan on staying for the foreseeable future. This is really not how a polite house guest acts. And especially when you have not been polite enough to let your hostess know yo…

Children and play

I've been able to begin to catch up on the stacks of books I have started, but never finished, so you can expect quite a few posts as I finish them off. I think I've counted at least 7 different books that I've started. I don't usually have more than one book going at a time, so this is unusual. They began to pile up over the past few months and I'm taking it as a good sign that I'm beginning to finish them instead of just adding to my started stack.

The book I finished over the weekend (and was the impetus for my science experiment on Monday) was Einstein Never Used Flashcards: how our children really learn -- and why they need to play more and memorize less by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff. It's an older book, having been written in 2003, but I didn't know about it until one of the people I interviewed for an article I wrote about play told me about it.

I enjoyed it, though I do have a few quibbles. How can one not enjoy a book whic…

Bounce, bounce, bounce

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to take decent pictures of people jumping on trampolines? Well, you can look at these pictures and decide for yourself.
K., G., and H.

G. (with L.'s head in the foreground)
Yesterday we took a family trip to a local trampoline place. It was a Christmas present from one of J.'s sisters and her husband. (A fantastic gift, huh?) This was a much anticipated event and I wasn't sure that certain family members were going to be able to handle the anticipation. We had a morning of endless comments such as, "Oh no... it's raining, now we can't go!" "What if L. is sick and we can't go?" "The clouds are moving really fast. That must mean that there is a tornado and we can't go." "I don't want to go. What if we can't go?" This happened approximately every 8 minutes. All morning. You see, sometimes children from hard places have difficulty interpreting emotions correctly, if …