Monthly Archives: August 2012

Five on Friday

1. Travis took his first steps.

We strapped him into a gait trainer the size of the U.S.S. Enterprise and with his therapist on one side and me on the other helping support his weight, he slowly, awkwardly criss-crossed and dragged his feet along the floor, collapsing into a chair halfway across the room.

It took what seemed forever and it was ugly. U-G-L-Y. So ugly that I had to fight back hot tears of complete and utter discouragement because hopeful vision is not always a strong suit and as I was trying to channel my inner Vince Lombardi and encourage T (who was sitting in the chair looking at me like “What just happened?”), the cheery little therapist who could probably bench press a bear smiled and said, “I liked what I saw!”

And I looked at her like she had three heads and was lying through all those teeth.

And then she looked at Travis and said, “Let’s get back up, Mister. You’ve got to get back to the therapy table.”

And the mama in me thought, “Hasn’t he had enough? Didn’t we just put him through what most people will never have to endure? Should we give him a little bit of break? Try later?”

Translation? I was really discouraged by that and I don’t want it rubbed in, please.

And my brave, heroic, tougher-than-nails kid got back up, buckled his seatbelt(s), and proceeded to take THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STEPS I’VE SEEN IN MONTHS. Still tentative, still small, but that leg swung straight and true.

Hope wrapped in a blue cast.

Oh, sweet friends.

Don’t let struggle and discouragement keep you from trying again.

And again.

And again.

2. Nothing.

3. Else.

4. Comes.

5. Close.

Have a nice day.

Random Randomness

I think it’s Wednesday.  The days are starting to run together.  I can’t believe Labor Day is just around the corner.  I would say this summer has been lost but it really hasn’t.  It has been lived, one moment to the next.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few months – that I still have the tendency to freak out overthink when life takes a left turn, that fear often masquerades as concern, that releasing control is often as simple as a making a decision to do so (and the sooner you make that decision, the better life gets), and, most importantly, that it is possible to live for weeks without seeing the inside of a HomeGoods.

The surgery and forced hibernation have been good for our budget.

Something the husband is sure to figure out any day now.

Crud.

My workload has dropped tremendously and I’ve been filling the hours stocking the pantry for the next rainy day/hurricane/economic collapse/nuclear destruction.

I put up green beans, 4 quarts of crushed tomatoes, some tomato/celery soup starter, and several pints of okra and tomatoes.  Does anyone eat okra and tomatoes?  The only reason I put them up is because my grandmother did and it’s a way to feel close and connected to her.  Looks like it might be time to pull out some old cookbooks to look for ways to serve them.

 
Speaking of old cookbooks, I bought a 1959 General Foods Kitchen cookbook at the thrift store months ago and just got around to reading it.  Hours of entertainment, my friends.  I love seeing the different expectations of what constituted a proper meal back in the day and instructions to the man of the house on how to reheat leftovers if his wife was sick was in and of itself worth the $2.

I’m really sure he was interested in the line item that specified just how to place the parsley sprig on top of the bowl of mashed potatoes to make it a beautiful presentation.

And the PS that reminded him he needed to wash the dishes.

Some of the recipes looked interesting in a kitschy sort of way (tons of Jello salads, marinated salads and relishes, and tapioca pudding) and some looked rather icky (can’t imagine that cold, sliced, boiled tongue would go over too well in this house). I think this weekend we might have a 50s theme night and show the boys how things were done old school.

And on the school front, the boys are doing really well this year.  They’ve been turning in their assignments (it’s a miracle!) and have finally made the connection that 90s and 100s (instead of a zero) do wonders for a grade average.  We’re still dealing with some bullies (well, JJ is – no one messes with 6’3″ Tommy) and are tackling it by talking to teachers and by coaching the boys on how to stand up for themselves and for each other. I’m trying to speak confidence into them as much as possible and shower them with as much love as they’ll let me get away with.

I’ve told them they don’t have the option of not being loved by their mama.

I’m hoping it makes up for a multitude of parenting blunders.

Lastly, and in the “I have no segue for this” category, there’s a new winner in the strangest neighbor contest – – we’ve twice now seen a shirtless older gentleman riding his bike with a parrot on his shoulder.  And not a stuffed parrot, either.

I don’t know whether to applaud or call the mental asylum.  Either way,  he’s added some quirkiness and laughter to my life.

I hope your day is quirky and laugh-filled, too.

Have a nice day.

 

Words

1. Cast off, cast on.

The long leg cast is off and a shorter cast is on. T’s bones are healing and X-rays didn’t reveal any complications. I was able to inspect the leg while they were switching casts and it didn’t look like there was too much muscle atrophy so that was a praise. His new cast is fitted with a shoe and the surgeon cleared him to begin weight bearing.

2. Hi-ho, hi-ho.

It’s off to therapy we go. We have two of our three weekly sessions behind us and Travis is working hard. I was pleased to see him be able to semi-support his weight for about 30 seconds at the end of the first session. He, sensing my approval, threw in a quick request to his favorite big box store as a reward and I complied.

It was for the children, you know.

3. Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Now that T is in a short cast, we are MOBILE. He and I went to the Farmer’s Market and came home with oodles of peaches, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I fired up the canner and spent most of last weekend making jams and jellies and relishes and syrups. Craig enabled me and bought a pressure canner and after saying a prayer to the canning gods and making sure that our insurance covered exploding pots exiting the house via the roof, I held my breath and pressured some yellow eyes and I’m happy to report that no Carpools were harmed in the making of the beans.

4. That Rocky theme song where he runs up the stairs.

I’ve been in training but not for myself. A lot of my days have been spent training my replacement and this week I turned her loose so she can run and be free and go leaping through the meadows and take all the phone calls and I am cautiously optimistic that by next week I will be out of the day to day stuff altogether and just be a phone-a-friend for when she needs help. Hooray!

5. Sept 10.

That’s the day Travis goes back to school and I get my computer back.

Amen.

Have a nice day.

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Five on Friday (Just barely getting it in under the wire)

What I really feel like writing for Five on Friday:  Things I did this Week

1. Looked at the walls.

2. Looked at the walls.

3. Looked at the walls.

4. Wondered if the walls should be painted.

5.  Looked at the walls some more.

That pretty much sums things up which doesn’t give me a whole lot of material to work into a blog post but lack of cohesive topic has never stopped me from blogging before so we’re just going to roll with it.

Actually, it wasn’t all stare at the walls this week.  I did get out last Saturday for a few hours and Sunday was my day to go to church (Craig and I are taking turns til it gets a little easier to get T in the car) and sweet Rachel stopped by a couple of times to chat and cheer me up so it has been a good week and for that and other things, I’m grateful.

1.  I am grateful the Olympics are almost over because I’ve spent so many hours on the couch watching sporting events that the cushions are starting to get a little indentation that I feel might become permanent should things not wrap up quickly so I can move on to other things in the house.

Like laundry.

Or cooking meals that we eat AT THE TABLE instead of in the living room while Craig we cheer on women’s beach volleyball dressage.

2.  I’m grateful Travis was able to get out of the house this week for the first time since his surgery.  We went for a stroll in the wheelchair to a  nearby shopping center and got celebratory haircuts and did a little treat shopping at the grocery store.

The sympathy factor was clearly a little high as we went through the aisles.

3.  I’m grateful that the school-at-home program has started and someone has new educational things to do a few afternoons a week.

4.  I’m grateful I only made one pan of these Pinteresting breakfast muffins since they were pretty  much horrible.

Note to self: Eggs rise in the oven.

And stick to metal.  

And taste nasty when they’re overcooked.

5. I’m grateful for shoe sales and girlfriends on the other end of text messages who always say “BUY THEM” regardless of the fact that it might make me look like I’m auditioning as an extra in Aladdin III: Jasmine in the Middle Ages.

I hope your week has been full of shoes and friends and non-burned food and other things for which to be grateful as well.

Have a nice day.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned….

It has been two weeks since my last confession blog post.  And judging by the increasing frequency of my mother’s telephone calls (HI, MOM), that’s not acceptable.  We’ve been busy and not busy at all in the last couple of weeks and I can’t really think of one word or theme to describe what’s been going on so I’ll just pick a few and try to fill in from there.

Healing

Travis is healing.  After these surgeries (this was our 5th), it’s a blessing (and a lesson) to watch his valiant, brave, cheerful spirit shine through difficult circumstances.   The first few days adjusting to the cast were rough.  I will not lie.  He would wake up and start wailing at the sight of the cast and at his inability to move how he wanted,  plus he had to endure being rolled over for clothes changes and for a while, it wasn’t any fun.  It took a little over a week to get off the high-powered pain meds but I’m happy to report that bottle has been put on the shelf and he’s only taking Tylenol on occasion and at his request.

He’s also graduated from spending all day on the couch to being able to tolerate being in a wheelchair with an elevated leg rest for a good amount of time so he now has options other than watching endless amounts of television.

Thank the Lord for Netflix and Wii.

We have an appointment mid-August to visit the surgeon and he will x-ray the leg and see if the femur has healed enough to cut down the top portion of the cast.  (A little medical trivia for you – the femur heals more rapidly than the tibia because it has a larger blood supply due to a higher muscle mass in the vicinity.)  The lower leg needs to remain casted and non-weight-bearing for another four to five weeks after that.

Exhaustion

Remember I said I needed to climb that wall?  I think what happened is that I took a run and hit it smack head on.  On the car ride home from the hospital,  I caught Craig giving me a very curious look and he said, “I think I’m going to stay home this afternoon and help you guys get settled in.”  We stepped in the door, got Travis on the couch, and I said, “I think I need to take a nap” and four and a half hours later as the sun was setting, Craig was waking me up to get some supper.  It has taken a couple of weeks to get any semblance of energy back.

Slap.

Wore.

Out.

The first week or so it was physical exhaustion from lack of sleep leading up to and during our hospital stay, but there was a mental and emotional fatigue that I needed to work through as well and I’m very happy that about the middle of last week, I started to get my mojo back and have more of a spring to my step and feel like Sus is back.

And that’s good for all involved.

Amen.

Boredom

We ain’t going anywhere for a while.  I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish during this period of confinement and have worked my way through most of it.  I’ve cleaned out T’s room, the upstairs closet, rearranged the shelves in the laundry room to make room for a school supply cabinet, and organized the pantry.  There’s only so much organizing a woman can do before going crazy, so I’ve also done a little crafting to keep myself occupied.

I found out how to cover plastic binders on Pinterest and spent an afternoon cutting and wrapping spray-glued fabric over some old binders I had and organized the study notes from my Bible Study Fellowship days and am pleased with how they turned out.

Ranger Rick Safety Tip:  Use spray glue outside and with a mask or spend four hours praying that you didn’t seal your lungs together as you hack and cough your head off.

Excitement

I’ve learned that God has a sense of humor.  Just a few days after we got home and while we were still feeling our way around a new normal, JJ was getting a drink of water at the kitchen sink and the glass slipped out of his wet hand and broke.  Somehow and for the life of me I cannot figure out HOW, he cut the meaty part of his palm right under the base of his thumb.  One look at it and I knew we had a stitches situation.  I looked at Tommy and told him a) he was in charge and b) not to let Travis move a MUSCLE off the couch and off we went to the doctor’s office.

I didn’t have to worry about traffic parting ways.  I had my own personal ambulance siren in the car with me. Never mind that his hand was sliced and bleeding.  The thought of stitches just about put him in the asylum with me taking up residence next door.

Fortunately there was no tendon or nerve damage and a little needlework and some post-traumatic Yogurt Mountain got us all over the hump.

In other exciting news, Tommy and JJ started back to school.

Because Craig frequently travels during the week and because I can’t lift Travis by myself with his leg sticking out, we put the two boys on the morning bus to school.

My carpool days are over.

And I’m not letting it be a big deal but I do have to acknowledge that looking at this picture makes my heart hurt just a little because I loved taking my boys to school every morning since they were five years old.  But it’s necessary for us right now and it’s good for them to learn independence and amazingly the world didn’t stop because I didn’t drive carpool and we’re moving on.

And, no, I’m not renaming the blog because nicknames are forever. 

Grateful

I am humbled by my friends.  You know who you are, and it’s everyone who reads this blog and loves on me in real life.  The ones who breathed encouragement before the surgery, the ones who mailed cheer-me-up gifts, the one who sat with me during surgery, the ones who texted because they couldn’t be there, the ones who visited in the hospital, the ones who sewed pillowcases, the ones who sent cards, the ones who brought meals, the ones who brought wine, the friends who brought coffee, and the friends who prayed, prayed, prayed, prayed, prayed for all of us.

Oh, dear friends, I am overwhelmed by your love.  So humbled, so grateful, so blessed and undeserving.  You have taught me much these last few weeks.  About the power of relationship, the power of encouragement, and the power of presence. You have been there for us, for me, and loved us well.

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being.  Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light. (Albert Schweitzer)

You and my precious family are the ones that keep the fire burning when the flame gets a little low.  (And now you’ll be singing REO Speedwagon all day – you’re welcome.)

Thanks for being sparky.

I love you all.

Have a nice day.