SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lucked out

Just yesterday I told Owen (that boy-boy again) that he can't ask for freezies anymore. He has to wait until one is offered. I warned him that if he does ask I will give one to everyone but him. This morning he walked up to me (30 minutes after finishing his breakfast) and asked, "Can I have a freezie?"

I countered with, "Don't you remember what I said about that?"

He sighed and answered, "Yes, but I just thought I'd try my luck."

Shane, Bryce, and Lisa feel very lucky.

Shy guy

This is what I get when I threaten, "I'm gonna kiss Gabe!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Are boys and girls different?

Only psychologists, philosophers, and ostriches would ask this question. If you are a parent or a teacher or have your eyes open you know the answer is YES, YES, YES THEY'RE DIFFERENT! Like night and day, fast and slow, big and small, country and city, boys and girls are different.

But some boys and some girls are REALLY different. We have one son who fits in the far-removed-from-feminine category. From the early months we joked that he came with a double dose of testosterone. He's just one of those kids that people call "all boy". (I don't think I want to know what it is to be only "part boy", but that's beside the point.)

If you're one of those scientific-research-give-me-proof types I have a few observations to strengthen the hypothesis.

Example #1--Falling off of a bike

Exhibit A Today my daughter fell off of her bike and came in screaming at the top of her lungs with mild abrasions on her elbow and knee. Screaming--typical girl behavior. Abrasions—simple, appropriate result of a fall.

Exhibit B Last week my boy-boy came in after a fall off of his bike. He didn't make a sound, he just walked in and stated, "I flipped off my bike and look what happened." (Also, check out the socks.)

Example #2--Eating

Exhibit A I have never had reason to photograph a daughter's seating area at the dinner table. The plate is on the table, the food is on the plate.

Exhibit B I couldn't resist capturing this image. Notice that there are three pieces of bread (he forgot he already had two, got another one, and used a new topping), notice the variety of condiments going onto one sandwich--peanut butter, jelly, mustard, and meat, notice how much of the food is NOT on the plate (including the meat), notice that one piece of bread is sitting on a wet dishrag, notice the melon rind used under everything to artistically tie it all together. Notice how it just screams "BOY!".

Dear Owen,
Thank you for all of the wonderful boy moments you bring to my life. You are unique, seventh son.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What happened to July?

During the month of June I kept getting asked how my summer was going. I kept answering, "Nice and slow, like summer is supposed to go."

Then July hit.

Week one--three days (solo) in the hospital with Gabe.

Week two--three day trip (solo) to Michigan.

Week three--return Chet to Houghton, loaded down with bachelor living gear and five younger sibling in tow (solo), spend a night, then head west to Superior for Shane's baseball tournament. Away from home for three more days.

Week four--pack up the RV and six youngest (AND KEITH! NOT SOLO) and head to Eau Claire for the Babe Ruth 15 year old State tournament. If we lose a quick two games we're home the next day.... Nope, the team was good! They kept us camping three nights and after four days of straight baseball we drove home with a second place trophy. Good games Troy!

Details and pictures coming later in the week....I don't think I have to go anywhere.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good friend/Fun numbers

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing my fellow-exchange-student-to-England-friend Lynn (AFS/UK 1980-81) in Michigan. Lynn and I really connected 28 years ago and have continued a friendship that has gone through periods of closeness (camping our way through the midwest's Laura Ingalls Wilder sites and both of our weddings) as well as years of sparseness in communication. But last week, after not seeing one another for thirteen years, we just picked right up like a couple of teenagers and yacked into the wee hours of the morning. Despite the disparity between brown-eyed 'Big Cindy' and blue-eyed 'Little Lynn' (as we were known) we always found uncanny or off-the-wall similarities between us, and this meeting was no exception.

Although we knew some of the following quirky details we just hadn't put them together until our visit. Here was our kooky finding:

My third child is named Ellen.
Lynn has a sister named Ellen.
Her sister, Ellen, is the third child in her family.
Lynn's third child is named Thomas.
I have a brother named Thomas.
My brother, Thomas, is the third child in our family.
Isn't that cool?

If you just read that and thought, "So what", you do not join Lynn and I on the wacky page on which we keep finding ourselves.

Thanks, Lynn, for a wonderful reconnection. I look forward to doing it again over a Husky game this fall!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Trauma Week

Poor Gabe had a rough week, hence my week was not too smooth, either. I mentioned earlier that he was sick--contributing to my behaving like "an old brat". After a week of intermittent fever he woke up Monday with a 101 degree temp and I knew something was just not right. I took him to the doctor where they did a chest x-ray, blood work, and urinalysis but nothing looked unusual. We were sent home to "keep a close eye on things".

Tuesday I called and told the nurse that Gabe's temp was staying over 102 even with Tylenol. I'd had a family doc who said a viral fever should drop below 101 with medication. If it doesn't drop it's a sign of bacteria. Hindsight--I wish he hadn't retired. I was told to switch to Motrin and "keep an eye on things". Two small reddish blue spots appeared on his neck on Tuesday and the nurse still said to "keep an eye on it".

Wednesday, I was awakened at 4:50 am by a very upset and irritable Gabe. His temp was under 100 but he was acting very strange. I gave him a bottle and some Motrin just so he could rest. When he got up at 9 the spots on his neck had spread so it looked like he had a bib mark on his chest and the entire left side of his neck, under his ear, was red. I called again and we were scheduled for 11:45. At 10:30 Gabe's temp was 105.4 and we were heading in so someone else could keep their eye on this thing! At 10:50 the doctor's thermometer read 106.6 (family record I have no desire to see broken).

For the next six hours we were in the ER for a lumbar puncture (spinal tap--which was quite uneventful by the way--and negative for anything bad) and an IV. The fever, the low muscle tone of Down syndrome, and the stressed-out-screams all made Gabe's little veins very unfriendly to IV needles. It took almost 5 hours, 4 different nurses/lab technicians/doctors, and FIFTEEN attempts to finally get the IV started. Attempt number 15 was the final try and if it had failed they were calling anesthesia to knock him out and put one in his neck. Many prayers were being offered and pleas and tears being poured out.

Gabe was exhausted and traumatized. We put braces on both arms to keep him from touching the IV and I spent the next 16 hours rocking him. The IV only lasted for 20 hours but it was enough to get all but one dose of the IV antibiotics in him. He was kept in the hospital until Friday to get antibiotic injections and do blood tests but the numbers finally moved in the right direction and we were able to make it to our own Fourth of July gathering.

Just to spice things up, as everyone was heading out the door to see the fireworks Friday night Lisa got showered with a shattered flourescent bulb. She walked into the kitchen absolutely covered in blood. Her forehead was all red, it was running down the sides of her face and pooling in her neck, dripping into her eyes, and soaking her shirt. And she had no idea she was hurt. Just remember, head injuries almost always look MUCH worse than they really are. Keith and I spent the next 25 minutes picking glass out of her hair and cleaning her up. The source of her blood river was a little cut about 5 mm long.

By the way, Gabe's condition was termed 'cellulitis' but we have no idea what kind of bacteria caused it (strep, staph, MRSA) or how he got it. He had three different antibiotics in the hospital and is taking two more now. And we are dealing with a physician who is very conservative when it comes to antibiotics.

Thank you, God, for a mending Gabe and a new week!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm a What?

I admit it, I've been a little crabby the past few days. Gabe is sick and needy and I'm tired and concerned. Well, I guess "a little crabby" translates into much more when you're young. At the lunch table today I gave a rather short answer to a stupid question and Shane said,

"Man, you've been a grouch for about a week now!"

Lisa asked, "What's a grouch?"

I was trying to use adverbs like fussy and pouty so she would 'get it' when Shane chimed in,

"It's like an old brat."