My exciting life with a house full of boys

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where is Your Sanctuary?

I came across the word sanctuary the other day. The word has several definitions but what struck me were these:
*A place of refuge or asylum
*A reserved area where wild animals are protected from hunting and predators.
*A place for worship

I was cleaning my shower the other day and I realized that this ugly 4' X 7' box had become my sanctuary.

Background: Six years ago we bought our home. However, prior to moving in we spent four months tearing down walls, ceilings, ripping out carpet, breaking up tile, knocking down cabinets - we completely gutted the place. Except for the master bath. My husband's a plumbing contractor. We wanted something awesome. We didn't want to charge any of it. We didn't have plans drawn up. So we waited. And it's still the same. On the outside of this shower, the paint is holding in the water. On another side we occasionally pick a mushroom that has grown from underneath the baseboard. Gross! I know. I am a relatively clean person or so I like to think. To clean the mold that grows inside this unventilated box takes an entire bottle of cleaner, a naked body (You don't want the cleaner to drip on your clothes), a step stool, open windows (yes, I lock the bedroom door), a sponge, and an hour of precious time. The ceiling is much more difficult. I use a cleaner soaked mop. You'll see in the picture that I haven't cleaned the ceiling yet. Please don't write me about the dangers of chemicals and black mold. I already know.

Your private tour:

24" door. I'm so glad I didn't live here while pregnant with the twins. Single light bulb. No fan. No air vent. Ceiling mold.

From left to right: Cool mechanism to hold razors, soap, hang sponges and press of the button shampoos and conditioner. I always forget to fill it. Miscellaneous toiletries. Five people are using this shower now. TJ uses it because it's easier with his broken, trash bag taped arm to maneuver in. The twins love it because its big, loud and all their cars fit in it. And of course me and Bret. Next you will find the phone jack. Why? I have no idea. Ask the previous owners. I have been in the shower with several phone jack repair men as the moisture does funny things to our phone lines even though this one is "dead". Go figure. The door.

Door, more miscellaneous toiletries, cracked caulked leaking handles, concrete patches where the tile has fallen off. What you can't see is the bulging tiles that are ready to fall off and the hole where the sauna wire used to be. Yes, this shower used to double as a sauna. Previous owner. Perhaps explains the phone jack?
But you ask why is this my sanctuary. Can't I find better? Not conveniently. This is the only place where I can be alone. Doors locked. I can't hear a sound and they can't hear me. (I know this for a fact as the hot water turned cold one day and I was covered in soap and shampoo. Plumber husband down the hall had no idea of my situation as he couldn't hear my screams for help.)

This has been my place to run away. To relax. This place knows my secrets. My flaws. I have been able to seclude myself here and pray from the deepest recesses of my heart. I have been able to receive answers to my prayers in the quiet uninterrupted setting. I have cried so hard that my sobs shook my whole body but not a soul knew or heard my turmoil. I've slept on wet towels covering the cold floor with cool water spraying over my heat exhausted, dehydrated body. I've cut myself with my husbands dull razors as I've rushed to make it to appointments. I've stood at length to escape from the world of chaos wondering when they will notice I am gone. I've come to love this ugly box. I think I will be sad when all it knows of me will be buried in a pile of rubble after a few swings of a sledge hammer.

I think we all need a place like this. A place to run for peace and quiet, a place to vocally express our deepest feelings knowing that they will never be heard. A place so still and calm that we can hear the things and feel the inspired things God wants us to know that we can't here when we're rushed, preoccupied, interrupted, and other wise engaged.

Do you have a sanctuary?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Do I Laugh Or Cry?

Taylor is pretty good about doing the yard work when asked. This past Saturday I asked him to mow, weed and feed the grass as well as trim up the two bushes in the front. He was pretty proud of himself when he was all done. He came into the backyard where I was working and said, "Mom, I'm finished. Come see."

I'll be more specific next time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If it's not broken, bleeding or on fire I don't want to hear about it!

I use my title phrase occasionally however with caution these days. The first time I remember saying it was when we were returning home from a family trip. I don't even remember where. But the car was packed with people and belongings and we had probably spent to much time together. The boys were fighting, bickering, and tattling and I had had it. I turned around and in a not so kind voice yelled, "IF IT'S NOT BLEEDING, BROKEN OR ON FIRE I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT!" Two minutes later it started up again . I turned around to spew my wrath only to see blood coming out of one of their mouths. A strong wiggling rearrangement of bodies had busted open a lip. Six boys.

I do wonder sometimes what I did in heaven to deserve six boys. Sometimes I say that with pure sarcasm but other times I say it with such complete joy I think my heart will burst. This past year with them has been frightening and gory to say the least.

A warning to my readers. This will be a long post. Mostly for my memory sake as it is failing quickly. But a serious warning. There will be pictures that may be difficult for some to view so proceed at your own risk.

My dear TJ. How he has made it this long doing all that he does is really a question for the heavens. The only set of stitches or injury that he has ever incurred was when a neighbor boy threw a piece of wood up in the air and it landed on top of TJ's head. With my 3 day old baby in tow we headed to the hospital for stitches. Poor boy yelled and screamed. The anesthetic didn't seem to take hold as the doctor pierced his skin.

He has been home one month and 21 days.

This is his right arm. His riding glove had to be cut off.

He broke his radius bone which shortened his arm, dislocated the ulna at the wrist joint shoving the joint through the skin. I can't even comprehend the force of impact that he took. How did he do this one asks. On his brand new, working hard, saving for dirt bike. He is proud to say she doesn't have a scratch on her. There was a new jump he wanted to try. And being the fearless leader and excellent rider that he is, he was the first to try it. He over shot the jump by about 20 feet. He landed it with both tires hitting the ground at once. He new immediately something was wrong as his arm was hanging low but his hand was still on the throttle. That's when he saw his bone sticking out. He proceeded to ride out the jump, came to a stop, gingerly laid down his bike and yelled out, "I need an ambulance!" At which time his quick brain realized that he is our only kid uninsured, an ambulance ride costs money and his friend could just drive him to the hospital that was a mile away.

These things never happen at a convenient time. Bret and I were on the stage getting instructions for the upcoming Mesa Easter Pageant. We weren't supposed to answer our phones but when it rang a third time Bret figured something was up. I took off and got to the hospital in time to be in the room when they relocated the joint in order to get the bone back under the skin. He was supposed to have a twilight sedation. "He won't feel it or remember a thing, but we have to do it quick." As soon as the medication was administered they began but...He decided to quit breathing so they had to stop and connect him to oxygen. Then they proceeded but...enough time had lapsed that he did feel it. He was yelling and swearing and pulling but it only lasted a couple seconds and it was done. At least he doesn't remember it. That part did work. This is when I remembered his stitches from years ago. This may also explain why the Morphine and pain pills aren't helping a hole lot. He had surgery two hours later, spent the night in the hospital and is now recovering at home catching up on movies that he missed over the last two years.

139 days before this we were in the hospital with Dallin.

We were at Grandmas house celebrating October birthdays. Grandma loves to play competitive games when we get together. Dallin was really getting into it as we all were. No one was paying attention to Dallin who was standing, I mean jumping up and down with excitement on grandmas coffee table in order to see the contest. Half of this table is wood the other half is glass. We always assumed it was tempered. We learned that it wasn't when we all heard the glass shatter. I knew instantly. Bret carried him to the car. I couldn't. I wasn't supposed to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. 12+ stitches later (the doctor didn't count the first layer that she did) we were done. He was lucky as the glass slit between his toes and not any tendons or ligaments. If your going to do it - Do it right.

4 days before this we were in the hospital with Taylor

He was trying to make a paintball canon. I won't go into a lot of detail because I don't want another stupid teenager to try and copy a stupid idea. Let somebody else be responsible . Let's just say that it didn't work. This was by far the most traumatic injury/mother experience to date. Maybe it was the sound of the explosion as it rattled my windows and woke up our deaf neighbor from his nap. Perhaps it was the expressionless look on my otherwise joyous child as he walked toward me. Or maybe it was the blood, bulging out with every pulse streaming down his neck, back and chest. The thought was real as I thought my child may bleed out here on my kitchen floor as I cradled his head in my hands waiting for the paramedics to arrive. It took 10 minutes. We didn't know how severe the injury was or whether or not there was still metal in his neck. I held a blood soaked towel, refusing to show it to the ill equipped policemen (all 10+ of them) until real help arrived. Three hours later we left the Trauma 1 hospital with a neck full of stitches and a severe powder burn. The doctors told him that he had angles watching over him that day. The policemen told him he had angles watching over him that day. The firemen told him the same. As a mother, I know he did. He was centimeters from his spinal cord and other main arteries.

13 days before this we were in the hospital with Me.

No pictures. They really wouldn't be appropriate. Hysterectomy and bladder suspension. Ladies! This is the best thing I have ever done for myself! I can run, jump, laugh and sneeze all at the same time if I wanted to. Recovery was no bad. If you've ever considered it DO IT! If you're afraid of it DON'T BE! It truly changed my life and my lifestyle of which I didn't even realize was being hindered.

138 days before this we were in the hospital with Danny. Looks like the state of Utah. It's his skin graft. This was a long, very long ride that I will record later. Let's just say for now that I am glad it is over.

101. That's how many days a member of our family has been in seven different hospitals.

It has been hard watching my children suffer. But I have truly enjoyed taking care of each one of them. I have loved them more deeply. I have prayed with more gratitude, thanking my Father in Heaven for them. I have also prayed with more gratitude, thanking my Father in Heaven for allowing me to be their mother. I am so very proud to be the mother of six boys. I just hope I can live up to that responsibility.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm An Addict

I don't care for water. Quite honestly I don't even think about getting a drink of water except when I am brushing my teeth. After running or working out in the yard in 100+ degrees and I have stopped sweating and things are blurry and my head feels like it's going to explode do I think to myself, Hey, I might need a drink of water. As I have mentioned before, I'm slow. So my beverage of choice is an ice cold Diet Coke. I hate the real stuff. It's too sweet.

I think my addiction started 20 years ago. I moved next door to my friend Julie (No I am not blaming you). Both of us babysat for a second income. Between our own children and the ones we watched from 6:00am to 6:00pm this added up to about a million little rug rats. Conveniently around the corner was a Circle K convenience store and a cinnamon roll/cookie shop. Our mornings would begin with one of us watching the kids while the other walked the few steps to grab two 44 ouncers and a couple of warm delicious rolls to start the day. I remember vividly when the insulated 54 ounce mugs came out. This routine carried me through my days. I didn't really think anything of it. I figured I deserved this special daily treat.

Now years later I realize I might have a problem. My big clue was when I stopped by a neighbors after church an asked if he had any. He grabbed a can from a dark cabinet and gave it to me. I took it home and poured it over ice. It tasted terrible. It was past its expiration date. I didn't know soda could expire. But I drank it up anyway. I justified it as needing something to wash down the spicy cheese crisp my husband had made me for lunch.

When I started running earlier this year I was surprised at how my bones felt. Not my lungs or my muscles but my bones. I wondered, silently of course because I don't want to ever be wrong, if there could be something to the Diet Coke drinking and the pain. All I ever really hear when someone (husband, mother, sister) preach to me about the evils of drinking this stuff is blah blah blah blah blah.

Wednesday February 17, 2010. Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. I never really knew what this day on the calendar meant. I thought it was another foreign obscure holiday that know one could explain. I've since been educated. I'm not Catholic. I respect those that are. We have so much to learn from one another but that is for another post another time. I decided that I could at least participate in Lent for myself. What did I give up? Diet Coke.

My headache only lasted three days. But I am starting to cop an attitude. All I've been told (maybe I do listen a little) is how wonderful I'll feel. (say it with a high pitched sarcastic voice) I'll sleep better, my skin will be so nice, I'll notice weight loss caused by bloating and water retention, you will be so surprised by all your energy, you'll quit wanting it after a few days, your cravings for carbs will go away because we all know that they are caused by drinking soda. Poppy Cock! (polite way of not saying what I really want to say) It's been 2 weeks and I feel horrible. I toss and turn at night, my face looks like I'm 16 again, and I've put on 5 pounds from all the carbs and goodies that I am eating. I'm crabby and I am SO VERY VERY tired. I haven't been able to run since I quit drinking it because I am so weak and tired. Did I mention that I am crabby and I really really want an ice cold Diet Coke from McDonald's (they have the best).

I was at my chiropractic visit yesterday and he asked how I was feeling. I told him. With attitude. He asked how many addicts of other substances I have in my genes. I said lots. Well, what makes you any different from them? he asked. Ouch. Then he suggested to his assistant that he should give it up as well. The assistant stated that Diet Coke was garbage. He drinks Diet Pepsi. I replied that Diet Pepsi is nasty. I'd drink water before I drank that pinesol tasting poison. For some reason my chiropractor thought this was a very funny, ironic, if not ridiculous debate. He handed me a bottled water. It took me all of three and a half hours to finish that drink.

I am not going to stop. I mean with my goal. I have to see it through. If anything it has made me grateful that I don't have an expensive addiction. Maybe admitting this personal problem to the world will help. I will try to learn to like water. But if dehydrating in an Arizona summer doesn't make me want it, what will?