Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lazy Morning and Wii

After cleaning the house top to bottom last week, we are enjoying a lazy, rainy morning today.

Quick update on last week's cleaning frenzy... 5 large bags stuffed full of kids clothes went to goodwill. Yippee!!! I *LOVE* cleaning out and purging stuff we can no longer use.

So this morning, we are playing Wii NASCAR racing. The kids are so much better than I am. OK, really, I am terrible at this game. However, playing with the kids is fun. My favorite Wii game is the Family Game Night set. Battleship is my game.

Gotta run now. Almost my turn.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cleaning Day

It is cleaning day here at the funny farm. We have stripped bare the kids bedrooms, thrown out garbage bags full of papers and broken toys, and filled old Wal-mart sacks full of shoes that are too little. My washing machine has been loaded to the brim 3 times so far, and the pile just keeps growing. 5 beds of linens make for a mighty big laundry pile.

All five kids have wiggled under beds and into the far reaches of closets. I cannot even count the number of times I have heard them say, "Wow, having five kids is a lot of work."

Now, we are all taking a break for apple slices and a card game. All of us except the washing machine that is. :-)

Not so fun to read about I am sure. But a clean house is always a good thing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Big Scare, Glad It Is Over.

Two days ago, we had one of our biggest scares ever. Jenna fell and hit her head while rough housing with her older brothers. For several minutes I told her she was ok and tried to sooth her crying. Something wasn't right. I can't tell you exactly what it was, maybe the way she held her head, maybe the way she told me, "I'm trying not to cry." But something wasn't right. This went on for several minutes. My gut told me we needed to have her seen by a doctor. So, I told her to get her shoes, that we would go to the doctor. I gathered my things and got ready to go call the family doctor, and then everything changed. Jenna threw up. I mean, really bad kind of threw up.

I am not a doctor or a nurse, but since I do work in an ER, I have seen reactions from medical personnel change to key things (chest pain, trouble breathing, etc...). Every triage nurse I have ever worked with asks 2 questions to someone who hits their head. 1. Did they lose consciousness? 2. Did they throw up? If the answer is yes, they respond differently. So, combine that with my Jenna was nearly limp after vomiting, and my response changed very quickly too.

I scooped her up, she didn't need shoes anymore because I could carry her in faster than she could walk anyway. I told Jacquelynne to call daddy at work and tell him to meet us at the ER. Forget the family doc, he is a nice guy and pretty smart, but we now needed a cat scan and he doesn't have that at his office. So off we went to the ER.

There have been many times that families have complained to me at work that they have to sit too long in the waiting room to be seen. One thing that I know for sure is that non-life threatening cases do have to wait when we are overloaded. This may sound strange, but the ER is the one place you DON'T want to be first in line, because that means you are potentially really sick or injured.

Since I work in our local ER, I knew the registrars and nurses. I also knew it was not good to be pulled into the triage room and told that she would be going back to a bed as soon as her vitals were done. She was limp, rated her pain at a 10 out of 10, and threw up again in triage. I guess it is good that I don't know specifics of how bad it could really be, because I just cannot go there about my own kids. But I knew it just wasn't right. So we got a cat scan, saw the doctor, and I tried really hard to be patient. My baby was hurt, and I couldn't fix it.

Now for the good news: no fracture, no bleeding, no bruising. She will be fine. She had a concussion with nausea and vomiting. We stayed overnight in the hospital so she could be watched and get iv fluids and zofran to help with the nausea. We had to wake her every couple of hours, but she responded well. After a good long nap, she perked up enough to eat and was very happy to find out she could have all the jello and chicken noodle soup that she wanted, and that the pediatric unit is stocked with over 200 movie choices for her to pick from.

We are home now and she doesn't really like that she can't rough house for a few days. And, I am making her take naps because she doesn't realize that she is sleepy because she is still recovering. We will see the family doctor Thursday afternoon and hopefully get an "all clear." But at least I know she will have a full recovery and she is getting back to her old self again.

I am grateful that she is ok. I hate being the mom whose kid is so sick she cannot wait in the ER waiting room to be seen. Hopefully, we won't be doing that again any time soon.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dirt Under the Fingernails, and Other Life Lessons

Obviously by my previous post you can see that time has just flown by around here. We are now in July, and my poor flower garden has been neglected up until this week.

I have a tiny garden budget each year to add flowers and such to my yard, so I tend to stick with perennials that will come back year after year. I know some people prefer annuals and redesign their gardens every year, but honestly I don't have the time or budget allowance for that. So this week I went to Lowe's to see what plants they had on sale (since it is later in the planting time, we got some good deals), and to our local nursery for my annual mulch delivery (yes, I realize I am 3 months late...better late than never). This week, and this coming weekend, we will be expanding our current flower bed by quite a bit. I have this picture in my head of what my house will look like in another 5-8 years surrounded by deep, lush perennial beds. Let me tell you, I have learned to dream big and take it in small steps.

I have learned a lot from my flowers, and the dirt around my house.

Lesson #1: There are no mistakes that cannot be corrected with a little effort. I have placed plants and completely underestimated the growth rate of it and the plants around it. I have divided and spread out plants that ended up to close for good healthy growth. I have relocated plants that do not thrive in the original place for lots of reasons; too much or too little sun or water in a particular spot is a big reason for me to move stuff around.

Lesson #2: Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, color, and budgets. I have spent as little as 60 cents on plants from the clearance aisle and seen them blossom with a little tender care to rival a plant that cost me $25. I have discovered beautiful little gems in my tiny hostas that grew to 3 feet across. A small packet of seeds for shasta daisies that were sprinkled into a corner just to see what would happen, and they become a bright spot in an afternoon shadow. My all time favorite flower, my black-eyed-susans are slowly spreading and filling in sweeps of what used to be bare spots and they don't seem to mind that we have hard clay instead of great soil.

Lesson #3: Dirt and a garden hose makes the best play toys for kids and grown ups alike. Dirt, water, sunshine, shovels... Need I say more?

Lesson#4: Time really does heal quite a bit. Hail damage or tornado weather? Beaten down plants will reach for the sun and damage is soon replaced with new growth. Too much or too little water for a while? Wilted leaves will recover after proper proportions are restored.

Lesson #5: Reading the directions really will save time and money in the long run. Shade plants placed in full sun won't thrive. Full sun plants placed in the shade tend to look pitiful.

Lesson #6: Flower beds brimming with riots of color make for a pleasant place to sit and enjoy the quiet of a lazy summer afternoon. But, it takes time, planning, and energy to get there.

Lesson #7: Weeds and pests are inevitable, and roses have thorns. It takes ongoing work to keep the beauty from being overtaken by a small pest or weed problem. It is easier to maintain if the weeds are pulled out as they crop up than to wait until they over run the garden.

Lesson #8: Maintaining a flower garden is a family affair, and gives time to talk and just be together. Kids help pull weeds, pick flowers , and dig holes for new plants. Life is explored at hand, and they can see the cause and effect principles of life at their finger tips. I think that as an adult I need to be reminded of how simple these lessons really are.

Lesson #9: A $2 pack of petunias can keep kids busy for 2 hours. For my love of perennials, I buy annuals too. These are turned over to my youngest to "fill in where they will look pretty." No rules, no planning on mama's part. I am meticulous where I place perennials because they will come back year after year. Petunias and impatients are happy little flowers that will last for a season, and I let the kids be in charge of them. This also makes it easier to get kids to help water and weed the garden later because they want to keep "their flowers" healthy and strong.

Lesson #10: There are no set rules. My garden looks different than my neighbors'. It makes me happy. I can play with color and texture, and the look is unique to my garden. I pick flowers because they make me smile.

My garden so far is a collection of roses, hostas, black-eyed-susans, shasta daisies, a bleeding heart, bushes, and trees. This week, we have added daylilies, yellow coriopsis, cone flowers, a butterfly bush, more hostas, a clematis, and a few other little perennials that didn't have names on them but they were pretty.