I do not know why the app is displaying some of the pictures sideways. I have not changed any settings, but my phone was updated recently, so it is probably trying to catch up with itself. Right now I cannot blog from my phone, hence the silence, and I don’t know when they are updating that. It is kind of making me crazy, but I am trying to consciously return to my computer desktop, old school, to still share updates as I am able. That is far more difficult with seven kids in the house, though, than just writing on the run whenever I have cancellations or am stuck waiting on schools or other appointments.
In the meantime, we are having plenty of fun around here, I assure.
Random fact: did you know we go through an entire bottle of vitamin gummies for the kids every eight or nine days? The toddlers each get one, and the sixes all get two, plus the vitamin D and vitamin C gummies also. That’s three bottles of vitamins a week, just for the kids, not counting all my cancer medicine. We should buy stock in the stuff, I am sure of it. Here is the dose, just for one morning (not counting my protein gummies, vitamins, medicines, or treatment-ness):
The counter looks the same at lunch time, when we use an entire loaf of break for sandwiches:
All that green juice, though? It’s mine. Lucky me.
I had an interesting experience today that I wanted to share. About a week ago, I was driving home one day and passed a young woman carrying a baby. I felt prompted to pull over and help her and give her a ride, but kept driving because I didn’t want to creep her out. I also know that’s not so safe anymore these days, and you really have to be careful about offering rides to strangers. But as I kept going, the prompting was loud and direct and now also rebuking, and I had to turn around and go get her – which made me creepier than I would have been originally, because now I had to circle around her and come back to her directly to be able to help. Fail.
But I did, and it turned out to be a mom and a pre-toddler baby, and I thought how tired my arms are just after church or carrying ours around the house. To walk all the way to Wal-Mart, down our long street, all the way to the nearby low income housing apartments, would wear me out. She had carried the baby all that way, through the store, and headed back home again. She was initially hesitant to respond to me when I rolled my window down (good for her), but her tired arms won and she got in my car. I gave her a ride home, though I was careful not to be intrusive about which apartment was hers and just dropped her off at the corner. I did give her my number and told her to text me if she needed help with anything or ever just needed a friend.
I never heard from her again, until today.
Then I got a long text essay, the same as what I would write out, about how she has three kids, near the same ages as mine, and that she is getting induced next week for a new baby girl, and how overwhelmed she is. She did not ask for anything, nor what she whiny or being needy. She was obviously a very strong, very independent woman who has been through a lot but was holding her own. That’s how we got to know each other.
Finding out the ages of her kids answered a question I had: why did we keep getting so many Christmas gifts?
I posted the picture a week ago, of our tree with eight presents for each child: two outfits, two books, a blanket, new shoes, and two toys. But then the gifts kept coming. Two different foster agencies picked our family for additional gifts because they know our story, plus so many friends came to help, and it was overwhelming. The kids are so excited for a real Christmas with real gifts, and we have been so grateful and relieved for all the help in providing for them. I worked through sorting gifts, wrapping them, and making sure everyone had what they needed – but then more gifts came, and more gifts came, and just random mornings our porch would be filled with gifts! We were able to provide gifts for the Baby’s siblings, and mailed some home for Three and Sister (who will be here Christmas morning, we know now, but they are leaving next week), and still there was about three boxes of gifts left. We set some aside for use during the year – this year has been easier, but last year it seemed that every child we got came the week before their birthday! Like fourteen kids in a row! That meant that not only did we have to get them clothes because they had nothing, but then we also had to throw together impromptu birthday parties, month after month! It was intense.
But then, there was a box of duplicate toys and clothes the wrong sizes leftover.
And I couldn’t figure out why.
I know Heavenly Father is faithful to provide sufficient for our needs, and that such Christmas blessings is beyond our “cup runneth over”, with more Christmas celebration than we could ask or imagine.
But this seemed really specific, the things that were leftover, and I was trying to find out why.
I even checked at DHS, to see what kids were recently picked up (even though not placed at our house), and who needed presents at the last minute.
But then still, this one small pile of things were leftover.
And on top of that, a friend of mine gave us a turkey for Christmas, and then the next day a foster agency brought us a giant ham, a box of fake mashed potatoes, and stuff to make a cake.
And then I met this young lady, and knew it was all for her. We boxed up the ham, and the cake, and the potatoes, added what we could, and then boxed up the duplicate toys and took the whole lot of it over to her place. We were careful to tell her it was not from us, that it was all extra given to share, and none of it was specifically earmarked for our kids but just for those who needed them, and she just cried and cried and cried. I spent some time with her then, and took her to the doctor to be sure her baby is okay and she is ready for the birth next week, and played with her kids so they could get to know me a little. Someone at the doctor office is from another ward and confirmed to her I was not a creeper, and confirmed to me she is not a user or any trauma-drama, and I was glad we had found each other.
And our family was really, really glad we found a way to help the way so many have helped us.
We didn’t have a lot to give, but we gave what we had. We tried.
It was good for the kids to experience giving.
It was good for all of us.
So good for us that we were able to find the energy to still take two car loads of kids Christmas caroling in sign language. That went well, mostly without incident, except for me fussing at the kids outside the Pryor home because they jumped right in front of a car and scared me to death, and except for the kids yelling “trick or treat!” after we wished families “merry Christmas”.
Sigh. So close.
Nobody died, though, right? So it was a good day.
We’ll see if the kids are all still alive tomorrow: I pick them up after I am finished with work, and the festivities begin.
Merry Christmas indeed.