Saturday, May 26, 2018

Instant Recall-turn it off

I'm writing this because it's all I can think about. I'm praying for 7 little children that I met & I'll probably never see again. Here's how it went:

Today was a busy day. Lots was accomplished before noon by our whole family. This afternoon we were excited to head to eastern Iowa to attend Leah's graduation open house. Family functions are always fun when you've got cousins to play with & talk to. The only fly in my cream was that the AC in our van conked out on Thursday & today was predicted to be 94 degrees. My solution was that we would give the kids big bowls of ice to keep their laps & mouths cool while we hit the open road. Jeremy decided to add 2 coolers with ice also. Did I mention this would be the first time my 11 person family would ride in our van together?

Jeremy wanted to get some computer work done so I drove Clifford the Big Red Van. We had all the normal chaos of our rides & wondering how long til we get there. I noticed another big van pass us & looked to see how many kids I could see inside. About half an hour into our 3 hour drive Jeremy motioned for me to move to the other lane because he saw a tractor further up the road. Being the dutiful wife, I signaled & moved over. What happened next was terrifying & in slow motion in my mind.

The 15 passenger van that just passed us hit the truck following the tractor & spun around with glass & twisted metal. I hit the brakes while checking my mirrors & wondering if I could stop fast enough without hitting them too. I don't remember pulling over. I don't remember stopping. I see a picture of the driver getting out of the front seat & running to the crushed passenger door. I see my feet hitting the ground after checking behind me for on coming traffic. I see a little boy climbing out of the driver's door with blood pouring down his face. I'm calling to him to come to me. His name is B. I tell him he's hurt & I need him to lay down in the grass. I'm holding his forehead together & calling for Jeremy to bring the cooler of ice, blankets, towels, pillows, whatever. I'm signaling for help. 

The man behind our van comes & gives me his shirt to help staunch the blood. Now more little kids are being lined up on the grass next to me. Brody is there & I ask him to put pressure on B's head while I assess the other kids. B's sister's hips hurt & she has no scrapes. Her abdomen is soft & she wants her mama. I tell her she is brave & give her my sunglasses to keep the sun out of her eyes while I check her toes & fingers for feeling. E has a contusion on his face & a scrape on his leg but he's so quiet I'm worried that he's hurt elsewhere. I have him lay on the blanket next to his brother whose back hurts. He doesn't hurt anywhere else & I tell him he must lay very still until the paramedics come. He isn't wearing a shirt. Little R & her sister have seat belt injuries & I'm worried about internal bleeding for Little R. They are a family of 10 children but only 7 are in the van.

Other drivers that are stopped are bringing umbrellas to shade them while they lay in the grass & sun. We are putting ice on the bruises & bumps. I have Julia get my oils & put Lavender on the little ones to help calm them. I'm trying to give directions & keep the crying children calm. I'm not sure if their dad is hurt but he's trying to walk back & forth in the ditch comforting his children as best he can. He says he looked back for just a second...

The man driving the truck has a laceration on the back of his head. Another driver is assisting him & I stay with the kids. There are so many helpful people around them. Finally the police & 2 ambulances arrive. I gave the paramedics the triage info. They start doing the same assessments that I just did which reassures me that I haven't forgotten my skills from nursing school. The police ask all the helpers to leave but I still feel like I need to stay. How can I leave these scared children? They begin to put them into ambulances. They are going to different hospitals depending on their injuries. I still don't want to leave.I still have B's blood all over my hands. I get some wipes from the Ambulance.

I get into the van. Brody tells me that there were 3 other nurses & a doctor that stopped with us. Jeremy gave the sheriff our numbers. The policeman says that the truck is leaking gas & they disconnected the battery just in case. It took a lot of wipes to get the blood off my hands & wrists & feet but I can't get the images out of my brain. I wasn't very chatty at the open house. The whole thing is on instant replay in my mind.

I'll probably never see them again but I'm praying for B & E & R & all the rest of them. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pausing in the Rain

It's raining today- off & on -and it should be. Now I can sit wrapped up in my quilt & listen to the rain with some hot cocoa. (I have the a/c turned up so that it matches my memories of Oregon weather). The reason I want to sit like this is because my Grammie died after her body succumbed to liver cancer, so rain-like in Oregon, the quilt she made me for graduation, & hot cocoa like she would make me while camping as a kid are all part of my plan.

I knew it was coming. They sent me a text last week. When you live thousands of miles away from your relatives, Facebook is the greatest for communication but completely insufficient when it comes to saying goodbye to your grandmother. I don't know if it makes it easier to live far away or harder. I get to remember her as she was not as she was at the end, but I didn't get to hug her. I haven't hugged her in more than 3yrs.

How do you say goodbye to a woman that was so integral in your childhood that even though you only lived in the area as her for 10yrs, you still feel very close to her? Well, my way is to remember all that I can about her & share that with my children. I contacted all my cousins & collected some of their memories to put together & that was fun. I hope that when Aunt Marci read them to her, they brought a smile to her heart just like she brings a smile to my heart when I hear about her.

I have to go now. The rain started again. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Live In The Moment Occasionally

Have you ever just sat down & watched your kids? Noticed the little things that others might miss in the hurried pace of life? When I was a young mom I was so excited to get my babies to the next step in their development. (I may or may not have actually been checking it off of the list the pediatrician gave to me while simultaneously marveling at the sheer intelligence & physical prowess of my babies as they exceeded almost all of the important milestones. Now I've been told I'm an old mom-can you believe that! I guess with age comes a hope of maturity & I've noticed that I do some things a little differently than when I was a "young" mom. 

One of the major changes has been that I no longer jump to check things off that developmental list. I celebrate each milestone but I now enjoy each tiny little thing they learn. The utter joy in their face when they accomplish something new is something so easy to overlook. Here's a list of my "joys" I've been noticing lately:

 * the tiny slap of my 10mo old's palm on the floor as she crawls along with her cute little diaper bum & the wonderfully varied facial expressions she uses.
 * the way my 2yo cocks his head to the side when he's observing something he's never encountered before & the hilarious things he says. I love how he tries to join in our conversations by telling us important things about his day or just quotes a movie line that usually makes sense to the situation.
 * my 4yo wants so badly to be just like her big sisters & is trying to emulate their styles now instead of only wearing pants & any old shirt like last year & her tiny fingers as she grasps pencils & crayons to "do school" just like her older siblings.
 * my 6yo looks for the beauty in every situation, listens before she enters a conversation, & her eyes are gorgeous to watch. I love the way she moves her hair back behind her ear with her hand when she's telling me something she's excited about.
 * my 8yo is caught between wanting to be a big & the familiarity of being a little so he is feeling frustrated most days. He holds his bangs in his palm when he concentrates really hard.
 * my 11yo is so fast to learn things. She started playing the flute 3 months ago & amazes me that she can play so well already. Watching her fingers move & her mouth shape as she plays is so interesting.
 * my 13yo has made some big strides since joining the public school crowd. I've seen him start to figure out how to put himself in other people's shoes & his ears turn bright red when he's excited.
 * the biggest thing I know about my 14yo is that he's bigger than me. I have to be on my toes to rest my chin on his shoulder. He's just realizing his strength (which is now stronger than me! I know, it's hard to believe!) His heart & sensitivity to all parts of life around him is something I'd like to encourage & I hope he doesn't lose as he gets older.

Take the time to notice the little things about your family

Monday, February 15, 2016

Aspergers, Underpants, & Jesus

Alright, so some of you know that I have 2 kids with Aspergers. We don't walk around advertising it & you might never know by just observing our family. But I thought I'd give you an example how life can be. 

One particular child has outgrown or put holes in all but one pair of underpants (and failed to tell me until the last pair had been worn for AN ENTIRE WEEK!). I asked said child what style of underpants I should purchase to replace these with and headed out to get this accomplished so the stanky ones can be fumigated or whatever.

Sunday morning, Valentines Day, underpants given to child. Child puts them on. They are WRONG! Activate stress meter. Are you kidding me! I bought the correct style. I bought tagless ones to avoid that war. I tried to find soft ones. I tried to anticipate EVERY MAJOR DETERRENT to said underpants. 


By the end of the morning this child couldn't attend church. Life wasn't worth living-serious. And just so you know, by the end of the hour long melt down I was enlightened to the fact that I don't love Jesus & neither do ya'll. 

You didn't know purchasing underpants could be spiritually detrimental, did you?

I'm headed back to WalMart where spiritual decisions must be made AGAIN. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

A New Normal

Everyday I sit in my house & look out my windows at the current seasonal beauty and I can't imagine myself anywhere else. I am not the type of person that needs to get out of the house every day. In fact I don't really like to leave the house. I prefer to stay here & when I feel the need to get away, I head to the barn to work-which I can usually do alone because kids volunteer to watch babies in the house when work is suggested :)

BUT, we enrolled our oldest 3 children in the local middle school in Dec rather than educating them at home as we have been for their entire school career. So, now I have the privilege of leaving my home at least once a day to drive to school. (My fantastic neighbor takes 2 of them to school at 730 am & brings them home so I only have to take one to school mid-morning) You wouldn't think that's a big deal until you realize that I have to prepare to leave my house 30 minutes in advance! I have 5 kids ages 8 & under to prepare for venturing forth into below freezing temps. That's 10 gloves, 5 hats, 10 boots, 10 socks, 5 coats to find & put on them amidst all the other people's stuff in the closet. Not only that but you have to get them out the door & buckled in to their car seats before they start to take them off & you have to find them again. 

Anyway, I was talking about leaving the house. My sister told me a couple of years ago that she has to leave the house everyday. She is a great teacher so she gets out for that but during the summer she likes to be out doing things. I thought that was different but recently I was talking with some other women who feel the same way. Apparently I'm the different one :) It wears me out to go to the grocery store on Fridays & it's even worse if I have to do it on a Saturday when the store is packed. EVEN if I don't talk to anyone but the checker. And since we moved to the country & because I have boys that are sensitive to lights & sound I now notice how loud everything in town AND I HAVE 8 KIDS so you'd think I would be used to the noise!

Maybe I'm getting older & this is part of getting old. I don't remember being this way when I was younger. I remember being around people was so great & I couldn't wait to leave my house & the bigger the group the better. I know that I started to change my thinking around my junior year.

Maybe I just never knew how my body craves quiet & calm & now that I have it I understand. Don't get me wrong. I like people. I need friends just like everyone else but not on a daily basis. 

Do you prefer to stay home? 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"You need a little Serenity in your life!"

Throughout this pregnancy I've done what I normally do. I make out lots of lists of names to run past Jeremy in the hopes that we will make a decision that we can agree on. I think Jeremy takes great pleasure in nixxing all my suggestions until the very last week before our babies are due. I like names that aren't common. After being "Katie B" in every class I've ever been in, I decided my kids could be their own person with their own name. This time I liked decidedly older names: Madge, Mavis, Reuban, York, Lincoln, Hezekiah, Vaughn, Liberty, Wilder. Of course, we weren't close enough to our due date for Jeremy to agree with any names.

On Tuesday, June 16th, I was super busy. We were doing lots of running around and by the time I was putting the littles to bed I realized that I hadn't really felt the baby move the whole day. I was not a very patient mama as I finished getting the kids into bed. I was very anxious to get to my room so I could eat some chocolate & concentrate on getting the baby to move. By the time Jeremy got home from work at 1015pm, I was a mess. You see, I haven't really enjoyed this pregnancy like I did with my others. Last spring my friend lost her baby a couple weeks before she was due. And I was exposed to Fifths Disease by 5 of my kids in the beginning of my pregnancy. And then in May, my friends' baby died at 7wks from SIDS. To add to this, the baby hardly moved at all compared to my others. Much of the time I was consumed with fear for this baby. 

Well, we headed to the ER. Of course, as soon as they hooked her up on the monitors, the baby was more wiggly than she'd ever been the entire pregnancy.  The wanted to keep me overnight & do blood work & an ultrasound in the morning. As Dr Swanson said, "Everything happens for a reason." The ultrasound was just great & she looked good-I found out the baby is a girl! The blood work came back not so great. It's a little confusing to explain. Both Jeremy & I are A+ blood types but under that Rh positive there are some antigens that I don't have & Jeremy does. Because my blood doesn't have these antigens, my blood creates antibodies to fight & destroy them if they are present in my body. The blood work found that Jeremy had passed these antigens on to our baby & my body was readying for attack. So, my body was about to kill all the red blood cells in the baby's body. That's really bad!

SO...we needed to be induced! I headed home Wed to prepare to for an induction on Friday. Sage's birthday is also on that day & he was super excited to share his birthday with his new sibling. We went back to the hospital after getting ready, making arrangements for our other kids, & packing a hospital bag. The nurses & doctor were very kind. I was a little nervous but they all thought I'd deliver quickly because this would be my 8th delivery. APPARENTLY NOT! She wasn't born until SATURDAY! And let me tell you, being induced is AWFUL! Super painful. I'm normally a kinda quiet laborer. I might groan or grunt a little but I was yell praying very loudly. I've delivered naturally-no meds but I was tempted to get an epidural but I didn't want the baby to be groggy from meds if they had to give her a transfusion as soon as she was born. I already had an IV because I was also GBS positive. Not a fan of inductions! Usually after I deliver I get this 24hr burst of energy & this time I was falling asleep sitting up after only 30min after delivering. I've never felt so exhausted. My body was NOT ready to have a baby yet. Plus, I'm getting older apparently. :)

I finally delivered a beautiful little girl at 214am. We still hadn't come up with a name because she was 3wks early.  After having multiple blood tests, bilirubin tests, & checks by pediatricians & NICU nurses, we finally got to go home. I am breathing easier but still not able to take a deep breathe until we get the all clear. Hopefully we get that at her 2wk appt. 

Oh, about a month ago, Jeremy was talking to me as he put his shoes on to go out & do chores or go to work. He said, "Maybe we should name the baby Serenity." I asked him why? He said, "I think you need a little Serenity in your life!" She is definitely the littlest of my babies BY 3#! We left the hospital with her weighing 5#12oz. So, she is my little Serenity! I hope she lives up to her name. 

So, now I have 8 kids just like my grandparents & that excites me! Plus, 8 is my favorite number!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Baby Love

Well, it's been a great couple of months for us! We've been so excited for our first spring to welcome babies onto our farm. We started out with our bottle lambs from last year delivering babies of their own this winter! We got 11 lambs from those sweet bottle lambs from last year! We had 3 sets of twins & 5 singles. The kids had great fun naming them. The deal we made was that each one got to name the lambs from their ewe. There were some definite themes going on!
  Sage named Scooby's lamb Gabriel (he's perfectly white & looks like an angel)
  Brody named SugarMama's twins Luke & Bennett after his cousin & friend
    Oreo also had twins but they were premature & died shortly after birth.
  Julia named Chocolate Sprinkles' twins Olaf & Sven
  Corbin named Cowgirl's twins TumTum & Shivers
  Celeste named Cinderella's lamb Flynn Ryder (all her animals have Disney names)
  Glory & I named Hershey Kisses' lamb Reese's Pieces

Olaf got to spend a week in our living room because he was so tiny & he couldn't figure out how to suck. He's our bottle baby this year. 

We also added a couple more bottle babies except these aren't lambs. We got our first bottle calves. Julia & Corbin will be showing bottle calves at the fair this year. We now have 2 holstein steers named Marshmellow (yes, spelled Mellow) & Cordona Stumpy. Corbin named his after his favorite John Wayne movie characters.

This brings the count to:
  3 horses: April, Daisy & Maggie
  4 peacocks: Peaches & 3 boys
  4 steers: Tank & Duke (Angus & cross) & Marshmellow & Cordona
  1 Ram: Ramalamadingdong
  11 ewes: Sugar Mama, Cinderella. Granny, Oreo, Cowgirl, Cowgirl Colt, Emerald, Sprinkles, Kisses, Scooby, & Snickers
  6 lambs: Reese, Flynn, Olaf, Sven, Gabriel, & Luke
  1 dog: Buzz
  6 cats: Nermal, Snowflake, Snowball, Pirate, Boomer, & Ariel
  2 rabbits: Lily & Oliver 
  ~120 roosters & laying hens

I think our little hobby farm is off & running. My sister asked me how I was doing all this. Obviously I grew up just as "city" as she did. Well, I've read a lot, learned by trial & error, attended a few classes that Iowa State Extension office has offered & we ask our neighbors, relatives & friends a lot of questions. We are having a blast learning & playing.