Monday, July 21, 2014

One Fine Day…..Not Even

Did you happen to see that 1996 movie with George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer named 'One Fine Day?" Well, both Clooney and Pfeiffer are divorcees who end up missing their childs field trips and their kids have to accompany them all day. They agree to help the other with child care during meetings and work related stuff so neither of them lose their jobs. Their day ends up hilarious and making you want to sleep for a week. Great feel good, romantic comedy if you need a break from life and don't mind the roller coaster ride theirs goes on for two hours.

So today I had this movie on my mind as the unexpected hurled itself upon us. The Doc and I have been out of town….and just flew back to Florida from Texas last night. He had work in Houston at a conference, and I got to go along to dress up schmancy for some fun, meeting new people and hanging with old friends. We had a great time. After getting home late Sunday, The Doc again went out of town on Monday (today) for a couple of days. I was exhausted (in a good way) from the weekend and had a low key day planned including taking the girls to the dentist for their routine check-ups. No big deal.

During Nature Girl's check up it was discovered that her arch wire of her braces had come undone and had embedded itself in her gum. The gum had grown up around it and infection was setting in. Ew. Must leave dentist and get Nature Girl to orthodontist right away…….except that Mei Mei was already a half hour late for her team gymnastics practice. Quick thinking and maneuvering would get her there first….then circle back to the ortho for gum relief. Lots of driving. Lots of traffic.

I got on the interstate and was about halfway to our exit when disaster struck. There was bumper to bumper traffic and it was steady going about 65mph. I accelerated to go around another car only to realize my gas pedal didn't work. (I drive a Chevy Suburban that has never given us a lick of trouble….ever.) I thought the floor mat or something had gotten in the way, so I gave it a firm push and realized I had no power from the gas pedal….at all. There had been absolutely no warning. It simply stopped working. The car was beginning to slow down as I pressed the pedal harder. Being in the middle lane with vehicles passing me at 70-80+mph was getting scary. I tried to move to the right lane, and even though I had no gas power, I was able to move over by coasting into the right lane because there are still a few courteous awesome drivers out there.  By now I was going around 45mph and the car was slowing down with each passing second. Soon I would be at a dead stop in the middle of the interstate if I didn't do something. Then it got worse. All power across the board in my car shut off…..even the engine. The brakes sank into the floorboard when I pressed them and the steering wheel locked up. I tried not to panic but thought of the best possible way to get this thing off the road before someone hit me or I hit them. I likened it to an airplane cabin losing pressure mid-flight. It was surreal.

I had come to a stretch of interstate that was flat and straight for a while. I was able to slightly steer the car onto the shoulder but had no brakes to stop it AND the steering wheel would only maneuver ever so slightly. I also had to figure out how far off the shoulder to go because the ground beyond it was saturated with water yet I knew for the girls safety I had to be far enough off the highway that no cars would come too close and clip us while we waited for help. Should I run it aground in the mud……or just let it coast until it came to a stop….hopefully before the bridge ahead? All this happened in a matter of seconds yet it seemed like it was forever.

I let it coast….making decisions moment by moment. Half on the shoulder, half on grass, it eventually came to a complete stop and I was able to call for help. The girls did really well…..better than I thought actually and waited patiently as it took over 1.5 hours for the tow truck to get there. Daughter Julie came and picked up the girls (in whizzing rush hour traffic at 70+mph with Wubba in the car…..can you picture my chattering teeth????) while I continued to wait for Tow-Mater (which is another story of me having to call and yell at twit girl who was in Tennessee dispatching said tow truck whose headquarters was 2 miles away. Why did it take 1 1/2 hours then?? Oy vey with a cherry on top!!)  Son in law Jon drove straight from work to sit with me until Mater arrived…..which he FINALLY did. He was nice. He wasn't worried about whizzing cars. He had that sucker car on that truck in record time in the POURING RAIN no less. (Rain gives movies more drama….so of course we had lots of it complete with major lightning.)
Scary waiting for Tow Mater. Even scarier was how long we had to wait.

So, we follow tow truck to our family mechanic who by now just happened to be closed for the day. (Of course he was). I had called ahead and was given instructions on how and where to leave the keys in a drop box for the mechanic to pick up the next day. We now said good bye to tow truck man who only charged us $35 . That is not a typo. Thirty-five bucks which we did not owe because our insurance has a towing package that covered us. Best news all day. Bye Mater….you were awesome.
Mater loads Big A (we name our cars, ok?) Cue giant raindrops falling……now.

We went home where Julie had all 4 kiddos….who were hungry. We decided to all go eat (It's now well after dinner time) AND because the tux The Doc had rented for schmancy Texas dinner had to be returned by 8pm to the store across from our fav family restaurant. Tux was returned… was fed….Nature Girls orthodontic wire was still jabbed in her gum.

I was able to move her appointment to 9am the next morning…..but needed a car to get there. The Doc would be gone another day and Julie was getting tired of being our chauffeur. So….during dinner I called my mom who graciously said I could stop by and get her car. After dinner (which is getting really close to bedtime….remember we are dragging an almost 1 year old around with us too) , we loaded everyone up and took off to Mom Jo's house to pick up her car.

When we pulled up to her house on 2 beautiful lakefront, wooded acres she was sitting in a folded chair right outside her garage with the door up and lights on. "Awwwww! Look at that," Julie said. "She's waiting to welcome us."

I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that something wasn't right. MJ doesn't go sit outside like that. She just doesn't. Sure enough I was right. The minute we pulled up out came her story. Not really her fault….It just happened. She had locked herself out of her house……and her house key AND the car keys we needed were INSIDE her house.
Waiting in the dark outside. She was laughing….but thought I had a key. Low and behold…..I did not.

Now…..there are three keys to MJ's house that are readily available. Hers, mine and my brother's. Hers were locked inside her house. She thought I would have mine and normally I would EXCEPT mind were now in a drop off lock box at the Auto Repair Shop attached to MY car keys. Heh. The only thing to do was put everyone back in Julie's car and drive the whole tribe to my brother's house (who never answers his phone after dark and after a few tries…..actually answered. Go Bro.) We had now been at this for close to 5 hours.

With a little help from Lady Gaga, Pit bull and Katy Perry via Kidz Bop we kept everyone halfway sane (adults excluded) and retrieved KEYS THAT WORKED cause you know….as we left brother's house with some keys on a chain it was discussed that hopefully 'these' are the right ones. Let's just add another hour onto our already time-consuming hair raising wacko experience that is Monday.
Keys recovered… a car that actually works.

Mom Jo was returned home…..Julie returned to her home…..and this group now has a workable car to take us to the orthodontist at first light tomorrow to get this wire out of this kids' gum line.
She's toast……and wondering if they should've moved back here from Charlotte after all. Heh. It's ok. I fed her dinner.

We are GRATEFUL to God for keeping us safe and protecting us on that crazy wild roller coaster of a car ride. Still don't know what's wrong with the car. Praying it's not to costly…..but prayers of thanks are a whole lot louder. One Fine Day. Go watch it. After ortho tomorrow…..I may sleep for a week. Right now I just wants carbs. Lots and lots of carbs.

Oh and for the 'real life' experience…..I didn't edit the pics to correct lighting. If they are dark it means it was dark…..or raining….or both. Real life.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Getting Off the Train

We are an adventurous family. We are always on the go or looking for something to be on the go to. However, with our school year's being crazy and high pressure……we make it a point to make our summers low key. With some of the issues our girls have it's really important to let their brains 'rest' and while we still require things of them….they are a different kind of requirement. In other words…..we get off the train.

This past weekend we took the girls to the National Park Seashore in our area. If you have never been to a national park …..go. This system is one that our gov't does well. The educational programs and availability of learning materials makes it worth the trip alone. The rangers are friendly and up to date on current issues pertaining to their 'posts' and usually have a 'comeback' for Nature Girl who usually already knows all facts and figures pertaining to the topic at hand. While I didn't take tons of pics we did come away with a few choice ones that exhibit what 'Getting off the train' means to us.
Blondie. Her exuberance for life is contagious.
Yes, you can swim in a National Park. Please note we recycle and use our Halloween buckets as beach buckets in summer. Heh. Watching the colors of the sea change with incoming storms is something everyone should gaze in awe over. Simply stunning.

The Doc makes sure the littles catch awesome waves.

Gopher turtles are endangered but plentiful around here. This one was named 'Swimmy" by the littles.

'Swimmy' couldn't wait to get away from us and back to her business.

We hiked to a remote area of the park and watched the storm roll in over Mosquito Lagoon. Amazing ecosystem full of wildlife……and peace and quiet.

This ranger was awesome. She let the girls try on turtle shells and answered a billion zillion questions.

 Take time to get off the train and look at what's closest around you. You won't be sorry.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Bracelet

When we were on our way to China 8 years ago, my mother bought Mei Mei a sterling silver baby bracelet  with her new initials on it as her way of saying 'welcome to the family.' I packed it and took it with us. It fell off Mei. Since then it has been in my jewelry box and brought out at various times to see if it fit yet. It never did…..

Today was that day. The bracelet finally fits Mei Mei……at 9 years old! That should give you some scope of how tiny this kid really is.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy 4th!

With the 4th of July falling on a Friday this year, it was perfect timing for all the guys to be off work and for us to have our second party of the week. (And you thought summer was for resting….hah!) We loved having everyone over for food, fun and fireworks. It was also moving day for Julie, Jon and the Wubba. They have been living with us for the last 2 weeks since moving back to this blessed sunshine state from the equally beautiful state of North Carolina. Friday the 4th was their first day being able to put stuff in their new house which made for a crazy day.

Looking back through our pics I realize I didn't get a good 'posed' shot of all the kiddos. Oops. These will have to suffice. We used our stockpile of fireworks from our recent trip and tried to blow up the neighborhood……(kidding, kidding….no evil emails please.) I will say as I'm sure you experience the same…..that grown men turn into 4 year olds when around pyro. It must be a genetic mutation. Seriously.
The magnificent 7. Currently 11 months, 15 months, 4, 8, 9, 11 and 12. Yes, I know all their birthdays.

Cousin Ryan from Virginia was in town. Here we are playing…."Where's Ryan?"

"Where's Ryan?" take two….cause no one stays still….ever.

The Great Grandmas.

Have you ever been to a party where there's a candy bar and you pick out what you like and put in a take home bag? This is our version. 

Our people have bedtimes… our pyro starts at dusk. I know our neighbors absolutely love us cause this went on for several hours. 

My 4 year olds.

I love how they love each other. 

Training the next generation.

Nature Girl and her brother as he teaches her safety and the fine art of bottle rockets. Please notice she's almost as tall as he is. Not kidding.

Mollie is awesome.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Iontophoresis and Mei Mei

Hmmmmm. Big word. Mei Mei has hurt her knee and is doing PT for it. One of the things they're doing for her is Iontophoreses. If you read my lost post and played detective you will be able to discern that Mei has quite the aversion to needles and all things medical. When the Orthopedic Doc told us he was ordering Iontophoreses as part of her PT,  I had no idea what he was talking about. Totally new ground for me.  When I picked up the prescription for it and read "for injection" on the label I got a little nervous. Luckily, I'm married to the Doc who knew all about it and was the voice of reason.

Well…'s the coolest thing EVER. Basically you put the 'injectable cortisone' on a giant band-aid like pad along with saline. The cortisone saturated part goes directly on top of the injury and then a battery pack is placed on top of giant band-aid thingy. Using negative and positive charged ions the medicine goes into her knee like an injection without actually having to have an injection. After it's electrically charged by the battery you wear the giant bandaid thing wrapped in co-flex around for a few hours while you resume normal activity. Cool heh??!! For the actual definition of my new fav thing I've learned this week AND how a medical procedure can be my new BFF… this (scroll down to therapeutic uses). I am astounded yet again at the marvels of modern medicine and how in this case it has saved Mei from having to have bi-weekly injections into her knee. Y'all be amazed with me, ok? We get to do this for the next several weeks so here's to NO NEEDLES!
Getting electrified like a boss.

Ta-Da! No pain…..lots of gain.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

That Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week……

…….in varying degrees according to the girls. It went down like this.

I'm sure I will offend some of you…..completely unintentional of course because I'm about to bring up the "I" word. You know….IMMUNIZATIONS. Enter hair standing up on some of your necks. There are all kinds of camps about these and all I can do is give you our perspective by telling a little of our story. We aren't anti-immunizations. They save lives, no doubt. What we are is anti-immunization-cocktails where a child is given 35 immunizations on an underdeveloped immune system before the age of 2. There you go. On that note also when Nature Girl began to show signs of chronic health issues after age 2 or so…..we stopped all immunizations on her and the other girls. Again, our perspective is that you don't want to immunize an already compromised immune system and create more problems. If you don't intend to leave the country there is absolute wisdom in waiting……letting immune systems strengthen and then giving shots spaced out over time……none of this cocktail, 5-7 shots at a time stuff.

Which brings us to last week. The Doc and I knew it was time to begin to immunize the girls.  Nature Girl and Blondie had already had a good share of theirs but Mei Mei had not. We intend to begin to take them on mission trips with us and if we use a graduated schedule of shots (it's gonna take a while) we needed to start them this summer. I made the appointment for school physicals and shots with fear and trepidation…..knowing the thought of shots was going to throw a couple of them over the edge. They passed their physicals with flying colors…..Nature Girl and Blondie are 'over the tippy top' tall, while Mei Mei is itty-bitty small. Nothing new there. Then came the shots. The Doc and I had conversed over which to start first ……slow and steady to see how they would respond. Again…..nothing wrong with speaking up and waiting on those shots. We are speaker-uppers of the loudest kind.

Without throwing them under the bus…..the girls would tell you this was the worst day of their lives. It was bad, bad, bad, infinity times horrible for me to watch and hear them tell me it was the worst day ever. Out of five kids total…..this was hands down our worst shot experience…..EVER. The staff at the office was great….very patient and helpful. They were not the problem. They complied to every request I had. HOWEVER,  I needed an all expense paid trip to Fiji after that 4 HOUR trip to shot hell.  I do not drink but seriously considered it after that day. Get the drift?? Oy. (Ever have a giant kid climb on your head???….mmm, yea.)

It gets better. We left the pediatrician with a script for bloodwork for Mei Mei. No bueno. Not after those shots. What the heck was I gonna do? I could not live through another replay of shot inferno day. Could not. First we had to see if anyone was going to have a shot reaction. The next 48 hours were us watching and waiting for one or more of them to swell, run a fever or break out into convulsions (not really….just realize, Mei Mei had never, ever had an immunization…..evah).

So while we were waiting for reactions, Nature Girl was due at the orthodontist to complete her braces. So, shots one day…..full set of braces on the next ….(with hooky thingys that pierce the inside of your mouth when you eat……we are out of her will forever she says.) THEN the next day (Nature Girl home on Advil and oatmeal) Mei Mei got to see the Orthopedic Doc and after X-rays and exams,  was diagnosed with Patellar Tendinitis (she's a gymnast, remember??)  and has to sit out all activities involving her knee for 3 weeks. PT was scheduled including Cortisol put into her knee. Oh joy. (Glad it wasn't worse…..but here we go).

THEN we still had to do that bloodwork. I had conversations with myself all night the night before. Do we wait, do we just go and get it over with, do we wait….do I run it by her? Are we ruining her trust issues…..and so on. The mantra of trust and adoption issues. Man oh man it is hard.

We decided to get it over with. She had to have her bloodwork done at the local hospital and it had to be done EARLY. I woke her and we made it to the hospital before 7…..carrying our blankie. Would you believe I was prepared completely for the worst…..and I mean THE WORST and this child sat down, stuck her arm out and let them suck blood out of it?? NOT A PEEP! Total transformation from shot day. Totally. She was so awesome I bought her a doughnut. Chocolate with lots of goo. She earned it by golly.

But we weren't done. It seems that during the ahem…..physical day from hell….it was confirmed that Blondie needed intervention in the vision department. So now on day 4 of Medical Week…..Blondie went to the eye doctor… find out Blondie needs glasses. There is 'needs' glasses and there is NEEDS glasses. She's definitely in the latter category…..and she picked out some cool, funky, artsy Ray-Ban's that match her personality AND the current trends to a T. She's really excited about them and doesn't consider this part of her week to be icky at all. Nope……she's happy to be able to see….and express herself. Great kid. Tired Mom at this point.

This house needed some fun pronto. The Doc was traveling so the rest of us (we currently have 8 people living in our house) took off for the beach to forget the most terrible- horrible-no-good-very-bad-week……and had a blast. Still trying to decide if it's smart to schedule all this stuff back to back or space it out. It just kinda happened like this and the Mom needed some Vallium by the end. I got it in the form of Beach Vallium stacked with a good book and my people around me. As for those shot reactions? Not one. Not a one…..from any kid. Our plan is working.

Now onward…..until the next appointment. I kind of feel like this is the summer of 'rebuilding' them. Whew. There are zero pics of shot day…..or orthodontic day. Too pathetic….seriously.  Y'all only get the happy stuff:) We're off to PT for the first time. She's been talking about it non-stop all day already…….
Utterly and completely amazing she sat still and even WATCHED them draw her blood…..and earned Elsa blue Co-flex along with that doughnut. Oh, and stickers. All before 7am.

Blondie….and her beautiful eyes getting down to business.

Ordered these….in black. Funky new Ray-Bans for our artsy, full of life girl. Love them!

Wubba's first trip to the beach!!

Do they look like they had a traumatic week? Nah? Well, good.

Maybe, just one day they'll forget about this week and only remember this.