Naked Puppies

In addition to mysterious groceries this week, we also received a coupon for getting the dogs groomed. The poor neglect puppies had not been groomed since before I got sick, and while normally I can do their hair cuts, it had been too long for me to be able to get through the matted hairs.

They feel much better now, and are prancing around!

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I love to see them happy.

They are the last pieces I have of my mom.

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But not for long, as my mother’s princess is dying, and weighs almost nothing, and it is all so very sad.

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But we love her, and are trying to take care of her, but mostly she just misses my mom. And so do we.

Salad Surprise

Today was insane.  Insane.

We somehow slept late, even though we went to bed on time, but managed to get in our morning exercises and all my meds and proteins and all that stuff that reminds me I am not as well as I pretend.

(I could have slept for days.)

I had to drop off one of the kids for a visit on my way to work, then pick her up on my lunch, then later take another one to visit in between patients.  On another break between peeps, I had to pick up two of ours from preschool, take them to pick up a third finishing a visit, drop two others off at the house for DHS visit, while delivering two others for a parent visit this evening.  I still had two more hours of work after that!

All the while it was raining, all day, as I got kids in and out of my car, all day.

My head felt very, very naked and cold today, even with my new hair almost growing in.

We did not even get all the kids back home again until after everyone was ready for bed and two were already asleep.

Know what saved us today?  Friends showed up with this:

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Hot soup for our family, with an amazing salad and gluten free crackers. There were jello jigglers for dessert, which was perfect since one by one the kids dropped like flies.  Everyone came down with their flu bugs tonight from flu vaccines last week!  That will make our anniversary exciting all night long, as all five kids start throwing up in turn.

It will be almost as much fun as our first anniversary last year, when we had five kids (two of the same, Five and toddler, plus a three-sibling-group) and the same thing happened except it came out the other end that time.  Clearly we timed our wedding well, to celebrate the flu vaccine sickness every fall on our special day.

(Nathan’s mom warned us Friday the 13th was a bad idea, but with our work schedules, there was really nothing else we could do and still get a week off.)

Nathan didn’t miss the effect entirely this year, as he helped me clean up the kitchen after dinner.  He was working on the trash and bent down and said, “why is there a brownie on the floor?”  It wasn’t until after he picked it up that he realized it was poop, and not a brownie.  Somebody had played with a diaper in the trash!

That was our very romantic anniversary-day.

We could be resentful, or even whiny, about not getting a day that is just-so, or a night away from the kids.

Excepting that this, right now, even driving kids around and picking up diaper messes, is our life.

And we worked really hard to get to have kids, and so are committed to the full experience, even with the flu.

And I am feeling really, really good for all the words I got to puke up in that hair ball of a blog post earlier today, during all that time of waiting here and waiting there for patients and kids and families, and am surprised by the degree of closure and letting go I feel.  I am so glad, and it feels so much better than holding that inside still.

So I am thinking that instead of picking up new dirty laundry (no pun intended), we can just let this day go, and be glad – again – that we are in this together.

Because this, my friends, is real life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

(Mostly because it was Nathan who got to pick up the poop, and I am okay with that.)

Anniversary

This is my present from Nathan, for our second anniversary (tomorrow).

Because when you have had the kind (and amount of) experiences we have had in only two years of marriage, nothing says “Happy Anniversary” like an in-depth academic study of the book of Job.

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Finger Painting

Saturday mornings around here are usually slow and easy.

Today was different because for some reason everyone was especially gross, and I was paranoid because of the baby coming back with lice (no nits) yesterday.

Instead of letting those adorable babies know I was disgusted by them, however, I needed a good plan to get them in the voluntary mood for baths:

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Then I could keep them busy (mostly, and sometimes unfortunately), while having time to bath each one and treat their hair, too, just in case. No one else had any bugs or nits, but still. Gross.

My head itches like crazy just thinking about it, even though we only found one and I caught it right away and treated her immediately.

That’s why we check them any time they have any kind of contact with family at all, and I hope the worker really makes mom get treated and it doesn’t happen again.

Nathan tackled everyone’s sheets (yay! More laundry!), and we got everything treated without anyone being worried or even knowing what was going on.

It took four hours, though!

Whew!

It was the kind of morning where I realized why some parents just turn on the tv and let it babysit.

Legit parenting is hard work!

Once everyone was cleaned up, we made homemade pizza and I got the younger three down for naps while Nathan took the older two with him to the recycling center. That gave me just enough time for my own shower, for which we are all grateful. My hands are so soft from treating Six’s hair, so I am enjoying that unexpected bonus.

I am also enjoying all these sweet children, even if it is a lot of hard work (and if the dryer is full of stuffed animals).

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Holy Socks

There are some things you might not think about fostering.

Like how when a new kid comes, everything they bring has to be washed and disinfected.

Hard work, you might think, but not such a big deal, you say.

Except for when you go through four new kids in two weeks.

And every load of laundry washing new-kid clothes is a load of already-here-kid laundry piling up.

Last night I did laundry for three hours straight!

I don’t mean it was going while I was doing other stuff.

I mean straight up sorting, folding, and hanging up.

Tonight I did another four hours of laundry, after deep cleaning the kitchen and sweeping all the floors while the kids cleaned their bedrooms.

Four hours of more sorting, folding, hanging up, and finally getting to put it all away.

The only break I got was delousing the new baby again after a visit, so that was exciting.

Oh, and that meant more laundry, because everything (including bedding and car seats) had to be re-laundered, just in case.

I also had to go earlier today, after delivering kids all morning for visits, pediatrician appointments, and lawyer meetings, and back home again for DHS worker visits, and go get clothes for Three because he didn’t actually have any. He came with mismatched 2T stuff because he is so tiny, and we have 4T from Five when he first came, but Three is finally starting to gain weight and soon will grow fast and it is cold and he had no long sleeves, pants, or 3T clothes. He also needed underwear and socks. It is so hard when they come and start from scratch!

So today was not at all what I expected, and I was glad to even get my notes and collateral contacts done for work. But everyone got where they needed to go, everyone now has plenty of clothes, everyone has jackets, coats, hats, mittens, undershirts, underwear, footie pjs, shoes, and nobody has lice. Today.

I guess, when it was all finally done, and my feet hurt too much to pull off my shoes, and my body was too tired to pull on my own pajamas, and my eyes too heavy to try and wait for Nathan to get home from symphony rehearsal… I guess it was one of those moments when I felt like maybe I am a mom after all, if all I got done today was laundry, and it took all day, and no one will even care or notice.

Except for that favorite Spider-Man shirt Five had been waiting for.

And that long-sleeve blue shirt I promised Three.

And that dress a friend gave Six, the one she would wear every day if I could get it clean fast enough.

Or the Toddler’s favorite “my grandma shirt” that Nathan’s mom gave her.

That’s my token of love, a quiet one, while they aren’t looking, these little clothes clean and put away and ready for them to have a wear like happy, healthy, provided for children that have sufficient for their needs.

It’s not just that we have so many kids that makes laundry so hard.

It’s that they are all the same size!

Except for the items I can pull out of the stack by color or by glitter, I almost have to check the tags on everything to be able to get it sorted right. I am fast at it, with so much practice, but laundry sure is harder when it’s tiny and inside out and tangled with everything else and the same size as all the other pieces.

The only thing worse?

Socks.

With two boys and three girls, and two older ones and three younger ones, everyone just almost wears the same size socks – except not, and just not-enough that I have to figure out which socks are which.

This is my nightmare, like the dessert of a meal you didn’t order, like the final yards of a race where you can see the finish line but it is way further than it looks.

Or maybe like how you get nitrous at the dentist because you are a big ole whimp, and they are afraid of you so give you lots, except then they always turn it off before they actually get their hands out of your mouth, so that you wake up to the nightmare they promised to help you avoid.

Or how you survive cancer just so you can fold laundry all day.

It’s just not right, folks.

But it is necessary, and so I am diving in to the sock basket (mostly because it may be true that three of the five kids wore their last pair today).

I needed you to know, just in case I don’t make it back out again.

Here goes…

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