Monday, June 13, 2016

Summer of Four

I had great plans for this summer.  After all, it's the first summer I've had four kids, and the thought of all of them trashing my house every day was a little scary.  I was going to have a schedule for the week, with special time for each child, and lots of fun activities out of the house like using our zoo membership or going to the splash park.  I imagined all these when we were about a month out from finishing preschool.  Then one day I woke up with a sore throat, and the next day I started running a fever, and 24 days later I'm finally better. 

Frankly, it's such a novelty to have energy for activities besides subsistence, I think I could take on the world right now.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure I have time between everything that has come up this summer.  Piano lessons, speech therapy, a VBS week here and there, summer travel--I think we'll hit Titus's last surgery (August 15) before I can catch my breath.  And then school starts.  Boom.

Not to mention ALL the things that piled up when I took a hit for 24 days.  Nothing with imminent deadlines (thankfully), but still...my long term to-do list was quite neglected.

The post I wrote about plans has come to mind a lot in the last few days, and not just because that was my last thought before surgery + illness derailed everything.  I am still thinking about that same tension between order and real life, but it'll be a good summer to practice being a little more relaxed about it too.  We can definitely take this summer one day at a time, and have fun doing whatever happens to come up that day.  Like a picnic at the playground during piano lessons.  Or playing house in the bedroom while Titus has speech therapy.  Or improptu outdoor dinners with after dinner gymnastics entertainment.  This summer, we will pursue memories instead of plans.






Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The End is Near

We are going on 18 hours of no pain meds, and Titus is doing great!  He will be two weeks post-op tomorrow, and it has been a real struggle to manage his pain levels.  We kept thinking he was ready to ease off the ibuprofen and tylenol, but even this past weekend, we were up in the middle of the night with him.  Of course, we discovered yesterday that he has an ear infection and sinus infection, so that might also explain it.  Poor baby.

But this morning he got up...no hour-long crying spell!  He ate breakfast without fussing!  My baby is back!  He still has copious amounts of nasal secretions (isn't that a nice way of putting it?), but the end is in sight.

In the meantime, we are trying to stay ahead of our packed week of preschool activities--the joys of having two children in different classes.  And yes, I know it could be way worse.  :)  Whenever I ask a parent if they are almost done with school, I get pretty much the same answer:  "Yes," answered with the same drawn out tone you would use to describe the end of a dentist appointment involving multiple pulled teeth.  Hang in there--the end is near!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Baby Dedications with a Toddler

This morning our church held a baby dedication, and based on these pictures, someone felt perfectly fine with standing up in front of everyone.


They are a bit blurry, but you can see Titus attempting to make a run for it and doing his best Sumo wrestler impersonation.  Of course, he was not interested in being held AT ALL, and based on all the tugging, what he really wanted to do was run around the stage. 

Titus has been doing well, aside from the diet restrictions (liquids till Monday, then soft foods like yogurt and purees until Wednesday).  His "Mama" already sounds more clear, and I'm excited to see what kind of progress he will make in speech once everything is healed up. 

Of course the baby dedication was held to coincide with Mothers Day.  Maybe I have a lot more adoption friends in my facebook feed, or maybe it's because I know of some people who have lost mothers in the last year (although, I'm sure that happens every year), but this time, it's a little bittersweet.  I keep thinking about the mothers who will not be celebrating with their sweet child today, especially the ones who have contributed to my motherhood.  How do you celebrate something so full of both joy and sorrow?  It's a hard lesson to teach my kids, and one that will probably be taught sooner rather than later, thanks to our conspicuous family. 

But there is always hope.  Our service this morning began with Joy of the Lord by Rend Collective.  That's how we manage to make it through this whole life, fraught with pain but filled with joy too.  And I will teach my kids to look to the One who will, one day, make all things right. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Almost Home Free

Yes, a 6am post about going home really means that we will try to go home today, and it all depends on the discharge schedule, and his fluid intake, and how he does on the oral pain medication.  But really, can you take anything a sleep-deprived person says at 6am seriously?  You shouldn't.

Thank you so much for your prayers.  Titus did great waiting for the surgery, despite a very empty stomach.  He went back to surgery around noon and was done in two hours, and the doctor was very pleased with the repair.  We had the same recovery nurse as last time, and she remember how hard it was for Titus.  She was really aggressive with pain management and even gave him some alternative pain meds that aren't super common for kids.  I think those helped a lot, and we'll definitely remember that for next time.  He also wanted to drink something right away, and that was really good sign too.

It's always a little rough after the transfer, since the pediatric floor has to review his chart and get everything settled before they start medicating.  I was a little frustrated at the beginning, but we got the pain meds going again and even had a chance to visit the outside play area.  One advantage of going later in the day is that we hit Titus's nap time/sleep time a little sooner--three seconds on the porch swing outside and he was out!  The nurse was able to find a rocking chair for our room, and we also spent a lot of time in that.  He settled down to sleep around 11:30PM and got a good five hours in before waking up again.  So I was able to sleep a little better this time around too, especially since I didn't have to worry about his lip. 

The surgeon signed off on his discharge, but the nurses want to make sure he is doing well on the oral pain medications before they let him leave.  So you could pray that everything falls into place this morning so that we can be home tonight. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Not Alone

Here we go again.  If you see a mom with two kids dressed up to go shopping, she may have just decided that a put-together outfit will help her hold it together today.

Of course, I had hoped that doing this once already would calm some of the nerves.  I am less worried about the unknowns this time, which is nice, and I know that in a week, it'll be better.  Still, I should probably accept that the day before surgery will just be one of those days.  So there's going to be a lot of deep breathing today, and songs like this one on repeat in the car.

I know so many people prayed for Titus to feel better the afternoon after the first surgery, and we absolutely saw those prayers answered.   So here are the specifics for this one:

1.  Pray that Titus will handle waiting for the surgery.  We found out yesterday that another (littler) baby will get the first surgery slot, so Titus will probably not begin his surgery until around noon.  He can't eat after midnight, so I'm not anticipating as happy a wait in the pre-op room this time.  Maybe you could pray that he sleeps late tomorrow too.  :)

2.  Pray for a successful surgery with no complications.  It will probably be from around noon until 2:30 PM.  We are thankful for such a great team who will care for Titus before, during, and after the surgery.  

3.  Pray for his pain management.  We've been told this surgery will be worse, because it's mostly muscle/soft tissue, and it's back where he swallows (they are repairing the soft palate).  The surgeon is going to try something different this time for the pain, so we are really praying that it will be more effective.

4.  Pray that I will sleep well tonight.  Last time I had strange dreams and very restless sleep, and that was not a great way to go into the surgery.

Thank you to everyone who has been praying--I will try to post an update tomorrow after the surgery.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Pursuit of Order

I've gone through a flurry of tidying and organizing at our house.  It stems from a few different things.  First, I'm beginning to think about the next year of homeschooling, this time with two, and I wanted to get a little more organized and deliberate about what I have in the house.  We've hired someone to clean our house, and after looking at all the clutter they have to clean around, I was a little motivated to shed some of the extra stuff.

I was talking to a friend about it, though, and realized there was another motivation underlying all this.  We've spent the last three years of our family life getting our kids home.  A lot of money, time, and space on my thought plate went into that, but I think we're done.  (Don't pay attention to that virtual asterisk)  So I'm ready to make some space in my life to think about our family as a complete unit--what does that look like?  Where are we going now?  I have so, so not figured that out yet, but I want it to involve less junk in our house, so that seemed like a good place to start. 

Because our house is cluttered, and disordered, and really, my whole life feels like a four-ring circus right now.  I'm not a ring master.  I'm an analytical chemist!  I like order, structure, perfect endpoints in my titrations, and using volumetric glassware to make solutions.  In my dreams, my household runs like a well-tuned instrument (analytical, not musical).  I hold out hope that order will make it easier to parent my children...that I will be a better parent if I can just get my house is in order. 

As I was coming to this realization, a friend posted this link on her Facebook page, and one line spoke to the very heart of the problem with my pursuit of an ordered household:

"I've said it before and I'll keep saying it again and again and again - your "success" as a foster or adoptive parent is not measured by your capacity to keep everything in order; it's determined by your ability to trust that even in the chaos Jesus is beautiful - and even in the mess, so is what you are doing for these kids."

The ringmaster needs a plan if the circus is gonna run at all--but that can't be my end goal.  And it's certainly not how God measures success.  I wish changing my environment would fix all my parenting problems.  It's so much harder to accept that I will become a better parent by worrying less about the order in my house and more about the order of my heart. 







Thursday, April 14, 2016

Onslaught of Cuteness

I finally downloaded all the pictures on my camera!  My life is still pretty crazy, but it's pretty full of cuteness too, so let's forget about how I feel when I take all four children out of my house at one time and focus on how cute they are instead.

(P.S.  You know you need more books, or you know someone who does:  Usborne Book Party )


My babies







Our "good" family picture


My favorite family picture...I think everyone was about done at this point!


Cheesecake time!



Sometimes I totally see David's side of the family.  


Oh, the anticipation.



Brother and sister, reading together.