Brave Little Solider

The Wednesday before New Year’s the General suffered a broken leg. Long story short, he got tripped.

img_2068All of the boys were playing in the playroom and I was getting dressed after my shower when I heard loud, painful crying. I quickly went to see what was wrong. Oldest son had the General on our counter trying to see what was wrong. He started taking off his shoes, nothing, except crying. The General wouldn’t tell us were the pain was. We took off his pants, nothing except crying. Even thought we couldn’t see anything amiss I knew something wasn’t right. I took him unto my bathroom away from the crowd (sometimes our family can be a crowd) to see if he’d calm down. After about 5 minutes we were all on our way to the ER.

After about 3 hours of MUCH pain, MANY tears, X-rays, a nurse who I still want to yell at and way too much paper work for a mommy holding her scared injured little one to fill out, we found out his shin was broken in two places. Clean breaks but still. The nurses in the ER put the splint on him and sent us on our way, discharge papers and script in hand.

Our little guy was in pain every time we moved him to use the restroom, to clean him, to feed him, to go anywhere…the splint really wasn’t helping much. Again, one angry momma here wanting to yell at some people. The General has been through a LOT in his little life, enough doctors to fill his lifetime quota. With pain, the unknown, or things he thinks he may not like he gets TERRIFIED and screams, cries and fights. He fought us each and every time we took him to the toilet, every time we moved him. Hubby slept in the General’s room for those first two nights, just to comfort him, move him, give him his pain meds. It took two of us to put him anywhere. It was really a big ordeal for those two days.

The following Friday he got his cast on!

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(It was SOOO good knowing that we weren’t hurting him now every time. We surely needed the cuddle time together after the first three days.)

The actual getting casted was another huge tiring ordeal. Most of us were near tears. BUT once that bright orange cast was on the pain started to decrease. The fear wore off with each passing day. He even let Biggest Brother doodle on it.

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Thankfully we had kept our stroller. I seriously was going to get rid of it the week before. The general did so good adjusting to his new limitations and didn’t let it stop him too much.

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He scoots around for the most part. He rode around on a dolly you use while working under your car. He can get in and out of bed, open doors, look out the windows, get himself all of the way up to the arm of the overstuffed chair in the playroom, and even sneak into the garage to hang out with Dad. All while not putting weight on his leg!

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We were able to rent him a kid sized wheelchair. (It had to be ordered from out of state!) The wheel chair is so much easier than the stroller. He mastered maneuvering around the house and even Walmart (he wanted to) super fast. He loves the freedom it gives him. It also enables him to ride the school bus again. The General, as friendly and as talkative as he is, made a new friend since being in the wheelchair with another student on his bus who is also in a wheelchair.

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Using the toilet and sponge bathing are the biggest challenges for us. But if you find yourself in this situation I have a few tips:

*Get a lint roller, especially if you have dogs. The amount of dirt and hair your little one will pick up on his bum from scooting around is frankly, embarrassing, no matter how much you sweep.

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*Keep hand sanitizer near by in the restroom and in your purse. As hand washing proves to be tricky especially when not at home.

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*Rent a wheel chair if at all possible. Life saver! Worth it in every way.

*Improvise. There are so many things they can’t do in this condition.

*The bruises on your hips from carrying your casted little one will go away. So will the sore toes, from the wheel chair. And your sore back from lifting and caring him everywhere.

*Get old pants or buy cheap ones. Even if jeans fit over the cast, they are a bear to get down quick enough when your little one needs to pee. Cut the casted leg off of the pants if needed. Know that they are going to get worn out quicker than normal from all of the rubbing against the cast. Same with socks.

*Lotion…his little toes are so dry it’s not even funny. Even on his good leg.

*Enjoy the extra cuddle time you will get. For us, it has been good since we didn’t get to “baby” him as a baby. I truly think this has helped him/us in the healing (from the past trauma) and bonding process even more.

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One last thing I cannot fail to mention. At our second X-ray the doctor informed us that the General’s bone was not healing straight. We were possibly looking at operating. He waited another week. We prayed for a miracle. At our third appointment, they took the cast off, which I didn’t expect and took a third X-ray. (they can X-ray through the cast). I think they expected him to need an operation. The X-ray proved our God is a big God. His leg straighten out!! No need to operate! He was so brave this go-around. Got to wear headphones and hold some tools. We go back in one week. Hopefully, this will be it. Hopefully he won’t need a cast anymore.

 

 

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Dear Sisters

“If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.” Matthew Arnold, nineteenth-century British poet, and philosopher

Reread that quote and let it sink in.

Ladies, sisters…

What untapped power we possess and yet, we are such a bitterly divided group. I am saddened to see where we as women are today. How low we have sunk. This divisiveness has brought such confusion to our nation, brought such a swirling of thoughts in my mind. I think we have confused equal value for equality.

Let me explain.

I have six kids; 2 girls and 4 boys. I have always told our boys they can’t play rough with the girls. They have learned that girls need to be treated with care and respect. They are to be cherished not roughed up like they do to each other. When we have to add chairs to our table the boys get the ones with no backs, the girls, ladies get the ones with backs. The boys are being taught to hold the doors open for their mom and others. Their sisters to accept and truly appreciate that gesture of value. If taught they will more than likely treat females with value for the rest of their lives.

On the flip side, I have told our girls if they want to play rough with the boys then they need to toughen up themselves and risk the consequences. They can’t come crying that their brothers hurt them. If they want to get their own door (or decline offered help) then they better not get mad when their brothers don’t offer that act of value. They can’t have it both ways.

Are my kids equals, no? Do I value them equally, yes?

I don’t want my husband to think of me as an equal. I am not his buddy or his pal he can talk rudely to or expect certain male type things out of me. Do I want him to treat me with equal value and dignity, YES!!

Keeping that balance, no, finding that balance is so hard in today’s society. For men and women. Women want the right to flaunt their bodies as a form of art or some personal thing they got going on and yet get all offended when men see and treat you like an object. When a man values something (someone) he treats it with care and cherishes it/her. However, we need to act in a way that men and other wants to value us. We need to stop sending conflicting messages.

Our power as women is not in our female body parts or in flaunting female body part shaped costumes and demanding equal rights and respect. Our power is in our value. Knowing we are worth that value and valuing those around us.

Sisters, let us not confuse equality for equal value. Let us stop lowering ourselves by shamefully displaying our aggression, our hatred, and our private parts. Let us reach out and lift the sister next to us up. Teach your little girls they are valued beyond rubies and to accept acts of value from others. Teach your boys to value woman, to cherish them and protect them.

I am not saying girls/women can’t do things our male counterparts can. I am saying there are some things we shouldn’t do. Let’s get things back in balance. Let’s start valuing again.

Achievement

(note: the topic covered here are a bit old)

Two of our kiddos earned awards at school.

 

Let that sink in.

 

Nana and Mr. Bubblewrap earned a place on the Honor Roll.  Mr. B also earned a math achievement…the only one in his class.  Math is one of his harder subjects.  Last year Mr. B failed 2nd grade.  Only 3 months into the new school year and he made the honor roll!!! Miss Nana is also repeating (our choice).

Awards and achievements weren’t something these kids got before coming to live with us.  They were surviving. Now they are starting to thrive. Thank you Jesus!

My Two O’Clock Coffee

I cherish my two o’clock coffee, the only coffee I have all day.

I save it for when the kids are about ready to come home.  I save it when everyone is gone or asleep.  I save it for when most, who an I kidding, maybe half, of my day’s to-do list is done.  Just my coffee, half & half, stevia and me.  No matter if it’s cold or hot, it comforts my soul and awakens the brain.

Coffee and I go way back. Growing up coffee was not the drink of choice in our house. If it was a hot drink it was tea. Black tea, many herb teas, but no coffee. Then I got married. Hubby was a coffee drinker, still is. I didn’t even like the smell. He’d brew himself some coffee for this workday early in the morning. The smell which would filter its way through the rooms and to my nose was not a comforting, refreshing smell. To me, it was more of a strong, bitter smell that I couldn’t wait to burn away with scented candles.

Then ever so slowly I started to like and even love the smell of coffee brewing in the morning. When entering a coffee shop I’d take those deep breaths you see coffee lovers take. However, that’s as far as I could handle coffee. Until one fateful dinner at a former pastor’s house, I tasted and liked coffee. Now I had tried hubby’s coffee many times, but our pastor’s wife had flavored creamer!! I probably had 1/4 coffee to 3/4 creamer at first, but I liked it. I slowly worked up the ratio of coffee to where I now drink it with 1/2 and 1/2, no flavored creamers. Ever since we started to eat cleaner flavored creamers is one of the things we gave up.

Here’s where I am at today:

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I have my one cup of coffee around 2:00. Any more than that and the caffeine loses it’s kick. Ever since Hubby and I took a mini getaway to Durango, Colorado I am hooked on cold brew coffee. It is less bitter and acidic than traditionally brewed coffee. It has a very smooth taste as well. There are a few different methods to make your cold brew: here and here for example. There are also a  number of containers you can use for this process. If you look at the photo above the smaller, fancier container I bought through amazon.com. They taller one at Walmart. I prefer the Walmart one. It is very basic and easy to use. The suggested number of days you can leave your cold brewed coffee in the frig varies as well. For me, I found that after the 4th day the coffee tends to taste too bitter. You can warm up your cold brew as well. To get my daily dose of coconut oil in I simply melt it into my hot coffee. (My lips are so smooth afterward.) Also, to change it up a bit, when traditional brewing after you add the coffee grounds in sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice onto then brew as usual!  Yum. I still need to try that with the cold brew method.

Tell me how do you like your coffee? What are some healthy, money saving tips for a good brew?

MT. Saint Laundry

Right now…

*the trashman’s (lady) truck is shaking as she empties our communal trash can. I can see her from where I sit,

*there is a right footed black converse size child’s 9, toddler glasses, almost empty water bottle, a box of tissue, an almost eaten chocolate chip paleo cookie, my phone and a note with a couple of contact numbers on my desk,

*a load of The Chief’s jeans tumbles and clang in our dryer,

*dishes are left from breakfast and lunch,

*Hubby is napping behind me on the couch,

*Larry Boy is laying in the hallway just waiting to be picked up,

*The kitchen table needs to be cleaned from lunch,

*The General in napping!!

*I know there is more, but you get the picture.

 

I don’t want to get to any of those at this moment. I want to write about laundry.

Yes, laundry.

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(This is just part of the amount of laundry that is done on a weekly basis.)

With seven of us, laundry is a BIG part of our lives. If not kept up on it can overtake us as we run around either in dirty, smelly clothes or in our birthday suits. Neither is preferred or acceptable, so here’s how we tackle the loads and mounds of laundry.

We have set days for individuals in our house. For YEARS I have washed Hubby and my clothes on Mondays and Thursdays. Mondays being the heaviest day. So Mondays and Thursdays it’s Papa & Mama bears turn. I also wash the little guys’ clothes on Mondays. Right now The General’s clothes have been with ours since he got his cast on. The Lawyer (aka Mr. Bubblewrap) is learning how to do his own as well. While he and the General share a room, they no longer shares a hamper. The Lawyer has a problem soiling his undies and thus his needs to be washed separately. The only older child who picked a washing day when we had the laundry talk was The Chief. He is on Tuesdays. Our eldest son and Miss Nana are on their own. They usually wait and wait then try to butt in on someone else’s day. Much more her than him. Oh, there’s also the hamper drawer in the kids’ bathroom. I just recently gave that one up. No one said anything. I had been reluctantly doing the clothes in there since we moved. It was mainly the older two boys. Don’t know how it happened but I don’t wash them anymore.

Exceptions are of course soiled bedding and hunting clothes from a successful hunt. Which take priority.

Everyone, okay, most of the household put away their own clothes. I put away Hubby’s and the General’s (he’s a toddler) and of course mine. I used to put away all of our ninos clothes, but quickly phased that out and taught them how to do it. Our 9yo still struggles with it, but it is more of a lazy thing than him being incapable.

When the kids first came to us they changed everything (except their undies and socks) all.of.the.time. I would be overwhelmed by the sheer volume. We had to tell them they could wear their jeans and the like more than one day. I know everyone is different about how many times to wear an article of clothing before washing it, but this mama out of plain ‘ole lack of time had to change something. Change is hard. It took me making the older two ninos wash, dry and put away their own laundry for them to see just how much clothes they were wearing. How much work they were making. While they change clothes more than I’d like (again, socks and undies not included) (OH and those security blankets they called hoodies, zip up sweatshirts!! I had to stand my ground this morning for one to get washed today! Yuck!!)

Towels…so many towels. Again, everyone has their own opinion as to how often to wash towels. Again, we are not of the everyday group. Sorry to my son-in-law and to all like him. Miss Nana has to put her own towels (pink) in her laundry. She will use, I swear, two towels per shower if we don’t stay on top of her. Hubby, the general (who gets washed in our bathroom) and I put ours in our hampers. The others have a basket in the hamper drawer in their bathroom. It works out so much better washing the towels separately.

Unlike some BIG family blogs read, I don’t make my own detergent. I use Tide and the scented beads (our ninos and smells in another post) and occasionally fabric softner. Everyone has their own space in their perspective closets. No need for communal closets here. And because (how’s that for bad grammar?!) we all vary in age and size there are no sharing clothes.

Even with our semi-organization there always seems to be laundry for me that needs to be done. Usually, it’s the putting away that gets me. I get too busy with other things.

How do you manage the laundry? I’d love to hear.

Whack-A-Mole

Yikes…! Where does the time go?

I have had so many good blog posts formulating in my head. So many.

Posts about our holiday break, raising a big family, helping kids overcome and thrive, setbacks…you get the picture.

BUT, I am a mom. A mom of 6 children from toddlerhood to adulthood and all in between.

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To be honest, this year started like last year ended…full of emotions. We have had every type going on here. And me, I am trying to keep myself in control and reset my mind. Some days we are just surviving, barely hanging on. Playing Whack-a-mole as the kids take turns having issues. You never know who or what is going to happen.

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There are the boys. These boys…LOVE them to pieces, but they can really twist and turn the tides of the household dynamics. Let’s see we have one who was doing SOOO good only to go back to what we call foster mode (total emotional chaos, absent-mindedness, etc.), one doing super good, maturing and functioning on all cylinders (which doesn’t always happen). So good I called my mom. This one even gave me a hug! Another got tripped and broke his leg. (another post for later). We have lost wallets, tensions on high, sometimes overly aggressive boy behavior and Hubby and I trying to navigate our way through it all without losing it ourselves (which as humans we have). Can I repeat when one (just a certain one) of ours goes into the foster mode it really throws us all.

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Then there are our girls. One is preteen and still trying to find her way and place in our family. She finds it and then I think becomes uncomfortable. Our oldest, well, is great but for me learning how to have our, sort of still new, the adult relationship can leave me wondering if I am doing too much or too little. Overall the girls have been more help than not.

So this year is slowing coming together and slowing down I am trying to readjust some of my thinking patterns. Trying not to be so reactive. Trying not to change (fix) those in my immediate life. I am giving them to God and trying to let Him do the work I can’t. Letting God make up for all of these times I fall so very short. And learning grace again.

Okay, off to do laundry, dishes, my hair, laundry, make an appointment, oh did I mention laundry?