Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stormy Summer

While this summer has been terribly short on rain I still feel like it has been fairly stormy.  It seems to be one thing after another around here and we are just trying to weather each storm.  

Yesterday we had a follow up eye doctor appointment for Ben.   As I was getting the kids ready to go to my mom's un-air conditioned house the temperature outside hovered around 96 degrees.  Five minutes later Ben told me that the thermometer read 85 degrees.  Ten minutes later when I was dropping off Joey, Tommy, and Grace at mom's house (so I could take Ben to his appointment and actually hear what the doctor had to say) it was 78 degrees.  The temperature dropped 18 degrees in 10 minutes.  A storm was rolling in.

At the doctor's we found out that Ben's glasses have had no affect on his eye muscles (as I suspected) and he will no longer need to wear them.  Unfortunately, he will need to have surgery on both his eyes (as I suspected from the beginning).  Worry, worry, worry.  It is my middle name. 

When we got home the storm had hit us full on.  Rain poured down quenching the parched ground.  It rained and rained.  The thundered growled.  The lightening struck.  The storm plowed on.  

Afterwards the grass was greener.  The plants stood taller.  Everything looked cleaner and brighter and healthier.  The storm did it's job.  Amazing how something so violent looking can actually make things better.  

I guess sometimes just weathering the storm makes you healthier and stronger.      

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Glimpse Of Freedom

Grace finally got her cast off on Thursday.  After the doctor assured us that her bones healed perfectly he also warned us that it will take some time before Grace is up and running around again.  I had suspected that her joints and muscles would be stiff and sore for a while, but when doc said that it may be a couple of weeks before she is running around again I was a little taken aback.

Sure enough, Grace didn't even want to bend her knee much less put any pressure on her leg.  We took her home and soaked her in a nice long, warm bath.  Little by little she began moving the leg around.  I gave her a  little medicine before bed and the girl slept longer than she has in forever.  It must have felt heavenly to sleep in her bed without that huge cast.  

The next day she was bending her knee just fine but would SCREAM if I suggested she try standing or even move her foot around.  

Luckily, it was a super hot day, perfect for swimming.  I packed the kids up and took them to one of our favorite inland lakes.  The water was like bath water and the sand was super soft.  The boys took off with their new swim masks while Grace (who is normally a little fish) clung to me like a scared little monkey.  I got out her floatie ring, and though the first 10 minutes were torture, eventually she began to like it.    
She floated around for a while and let her body relax.  The next thing I knew she was asking to play.  I took her out of her ring, slipped it over her head, and for the remainder of the day she floated on her tummy kicking her legs, splashing, and having fun.  It was awesome.
On Saturday we went to a huge joint birthday/graduation party at my aunt and uncle's house.  We hadn't been there since my uncle passed away last year, but we could feel him every where.
I know uncle Larry was smiling down on us and loved watching the kids enjoy the ponds he had stocked with fish.  The only time the boys sat still was when they were eating lunch.  After that it was fishing and frog catching all day.  Because Grace still did not want to put any pressure on her leg she sat with the adults.  Luckily she has wonderful brothers and cousins who would bring her frogs to look at.  There were huge yellow and green frogs, and tiny little spotted frogs.
Grace decided the small frogs were cute enough to hold.
I think she had a pretty good time, even if she wasn't running around.

Today the weather is supposed to be around 100 degrees with very high humidity. Another wonderful day for swimming.  As soon as Grace wakes up I'll begin packing the cooler, grabbing the towels, lathering on the sunscreen, and getting everyone ready.  And maybe after another relaxing swim day Grace will be ready to stand on both of her legs and join me in a rain dance.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Goodbye! Good Riddance!

Tomorrow afternoon, when she should be napping, Grace will be at the doctor's office.  Tomorrow afternoon the nap will happily be skipped.  Tomorrow afternoon has long been anticipated.  Tomorrow afternoon Grace will be getting her cast off.  Not a moment too soon.

While Grace has been a very good sport about having a cast on, in extreme heat, since the very beginning of summer, it has recently begun taking it's toll on her.  Most of the time she does well hobbling after the boys, watching them run through the sprinkler, admiring how fast they can run and chase.  But I think she has gotten to a point where enough is enough.  She wants to be running.  She wants to be climbing.  She wants to go swimming in the lake.  She wants to walk on the sandy beach.  

Grace's usual easy going, sunny attitude has given way to bouts of grumpiness and whining.  And who can blame her?  There is only so much a kid can take.

Luckily for Grace, there have been a few small benefits of having a pretty pink cast.  She has definitely had a lot of attention on her the past month.  I'm sure that was appreciated.  And she has even gotten a few special treats and surprises too.  As a matter of fact, just this week, Karen from Fresh Fixins sent an AMAZING care package to Grace to make her last week of confinement a bit more bearable.  She was thrilled to get a package in the mail, and even more thrilled to wade through the massive piles of goodies inside.

There were coloring books, paints, crayons, puzzles, cookies, a doll baby, stickers, necklaces, and fun and colorful books.  Just the perfect things to keep her busy while we waited out these last few days.  It really did lift her mood.

Thank you so much, Karen, for your sweet thoughtfulness.  I can't tell you how much she (and I) appreciated your kindness.  I have no doubt that she will be clutching that sweet little blue baby in her sweaty, nervous hand as the doctor removes her cast tomorrow.  And I know that all of the lovely gifts will be played with long after the cast has come off.  

I am leaving you all with one of my favorite pics of Grace with her cast on.  It pretty much sums up her experience.  Trying to make the best of it, but ultimately frustrated.  Hopefully this will be the last picture you ever see of Grace (or any of my kids) with a cast on.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Scenes From A Vacation

Last week was our typical 4th of July vacation week.  We had some really great plans that we had to cancel because of Grace's broken leg, but we managed to have a great week anyway.  

We spent 5 days up at the cabin.  The weather was HOT.  I mean hawt, people.  It was 100 degrees, lots of humidity, no air conditioning, kind of hot.  We loved it.  

While the boys spent 95% of their time swimming in the water we tried to keep Gracie happy with "fishing" and playing.  Yes, she can go in the water with the cast, but I was concerned about her getting sand and seaweed and stuff trapped in her cast.  Luckily, she was a very good sport about it.

A few times she even caught a Tommy fish.
She got sick of the fishing game and ended up dipping her leg in as far as it would go without getting the cast wet.  She still had fun.  The boys swam more than they ever have before.  Usually they are bothered by the horse flies, or they get cold, or bored.  This time they stayed in all day long only coming out for a bit of food and more sunscreen.  It was one of the best times we've ever had at the cabin.
We came back home just in time for the 4th of July.  We went to the parade and sweat through the 90 degree heat and humidity and the 2 hour parade.
We had a lovely cook out at our house (I'm not sure why I didn't take any pics) with the grandparents and then went to the lake to watch the fireworks.  Even in her cast Grace had fun running around with her brothers playing frisbee.  She garnered many comments from strangers about her determination, spunk, and resilience.
As it got darker it was time for the glow sticks to come out.  Then the real fun started.
And a bit of silliness too.
Everyone hunkered down when the fireworks started.  It was a good show.
By the time we got home it was pretty late and the kids were punchy.  They were so hyper we had a hard time settling them down.  Most of the time they looked like this:
We decided to take them outside to watch and listen to the neighbor's fireworks.  We lit the tiki torches and relaxed.  Even the moon was putting on a special orangey show for the 4th.
It has been a great vacation filled with lots of time outside soaking up the sun, having bonfires, and eating ice cream cones.
If only it could last a little longer.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson