Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Fun-Sort of

Thanksgiving was fun this year - kind of. We had a small crowd, Tim and our six girls, and my sister Ann and her boyfriend, David. Later, Holly and her girls, Madeline and Olivia, came by and visited for awhile. The food was tasty, nothing burned (too badly, that is), and everyone was in a pleasant mood.

And then...later at around 3:00 a.m. I hear Julia coughing and crying in her crib. I went to check on her and -ugh-she had barfed orange, pumpkin pie vomit all over herself and her crib. So, I proceed to clean her up and put new sheets on her bed. Thankfully, Tim helped me. So, I lay back in bed weary and tired from having cooked 90% of our Thanksgiving meal all by myself (a first for me and I was pleased with how everything turned out, mostly). I heard it again - coughing and crying and when I checked on Julia again she had thrown up more pumpkin vomit. Ewww...So, I decided to lay with her on my chest on the couch and try to catch her vomit with a chucks pad wrapped around her chest. (Those are the greatest things. I happened to have an extra large one from when Julia was a newborn. They're great at catching nasty, oozing diapers. Because they're soft cotton-like material on one side and plastic-lined on the other, they're great to use and then throw out. They reminded me of when I had Julia. They were used to catch all the "fluid" after my water was broken. They're used in hospitals a lot).
     Anyway, my sweet Julia was trying so hard to get comfortable so that she could fall asleep. I finally put her in her bed with make-shift clean bedding and went to bed myself. She seemed fine throughout the day so I thought nothing of her throwing up. However, later that night after I lay her down, she woke up again crying. I put her pacifier back in her mouth and all was well. When I got her up in the morning I was grossed out and felt terrible that she had actually thrown up and I didn't see it. It was a lot less than the night before so I thought that maybe I was giving her too rich of foods. But I began to feel a bit queasy and so did Leanne. I had plans to see Paul and Angela and their 7 kids - the girls' cousins-out in Lancaster that day. What to do? I left Leanne at home and proceeded with my plans. I am rarely sick and thought I was ok. After a couple of hours at Paul and Angela's house it was time to go.
     So here's the scenario: I'm driving home on the 5 Freeway southbound and I'm looking at my extra large 1/2 full Diet Coke cup from McDonald's thinking I should empty it out because I might need it. I was feeling quite queasy at this point. I throw it out and keep driving. About 10 minutes later as I'm driving 80mph ( I know - I was speeding again. I was so trying to get home quickly because I was feeling worse and worse) and trying to get on to the 210 East in heavy traffic because I forgot that I like going home on the 134 East instead, I grab my McDonald's extra large cup and - well - I don't need to be graphic because I'm sure you can figure out what happened. A couple more uses of the blessed extra large cup and I was feeling much better - but not totally. I arrive home and rush out of my car, stopping near my garden area  to relieve my revived nausea, and then I head indoors and lay down for hours feeling achy, nauseous, and continuing to throw up. Leanne apparently had been throwing up for hours and was now moaning at wanting something to drink because she was so thirsty. There are few things worse than telling your severely dehydrated child who is screaming out and moaning in pain that she can't have anything to drink because it will continue her vomiting. Oh...ugh...And poor Tim was having a hard time with all the sickness, his desire to study his physics, and my need for him to step into my shoes. Oh, and by the way, "please go out at 10:00 pm to get some Drano because the sink is clogged again and we REALLY need it." Sigh. Groan. And then about an hour later he starts throwing up - violently and with great moans and groans. It was then Camille's turn to get sick - all over her bed and her floor. Leanne - at 1:00 a.m. was complaining of leg pain. Leg pain?! " Do you feel like throwing up?" "No. But this one leg hurts so badly." "Umm...I don't really know what to tell you, honey. It looks ok. Sleep on your other side."
     Several hours later and some solid sleep, I woke up feeling capable of cleaning up all the messes, running to the grocery store for popsicles, 7-up, jello, and bagels (for me), and getting my house somewhat back in order.
     I was so thankful that I got home safely. I so hope that I didn't get any of the Dybdahl kids sick. I'll call Angela later and find out. With lots of hand sanitizer, fervent prayers, and partial quarantining, I'm hoping Elena, Chloe, and Daisy don't get sick (oh please God-spare me!) So, on to Christmas we go. I love the holiday season and so does Tim. I think this will be a great Christmas season if we could just get well and stay that way. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Sounds of...Nothing

A couple of mornings ago I awoke on my own at 5 am. I listened for a couple of seconds and then I heard...


Ahhh...the sounds of quiet. You might think that because I'm quite a talker and rather loud (it's a Hollcraft trait -we're all LOUD!), that I must like a lot of noise. No. I  love quiet and solitude. Perhaps it's because I get so little of it. But at 5 am it was so quiet - no traffic sounds in my neighborhood or yard equipment whirring and buzzing, no dishwasher or washing machine shaking and rattling, no sprinklers twinkling water around, and mostly, no people noises. Not even Tim softly snoring, breathing loudly, or mumbling about chemistry assignments (Tim really never leaves his work entirely at school!).

It was glorious. I thought about this period of silence I was enjoying. I began to think about people who had needs that I knew of and prayed for them. I told God that I was all His today and that He could use me in anyway He wanted. I knew that would invariably mean lots of dishes, laundry, multiple directions to many little children about various chores, many encouragements to "be kind," "stop fighting," "leave her alone!," correcting - verbally and otherwise-undesirable attitudes, unpleasant deeds, and general disobedience, lots of phone calls to check off items on my "to do" list, various trips to church for co-op lessons and teaching my Spanish class, picking up many little toys that find their way into crevices and nooks ALL AROUND my house, preparing a multitude of snacks and meals, reading plenty of stories, books, and instructions about school assignments, giving tickles, hugs, kisses and gentle pats and rubs to just about everybody (including Tim - he's not overly affectionate but I know he doesn't like being left out!), cleaning up more spills than I care to count, and shopping at various stores for fabulous deals and returning various items that weren't such fabulous deals, praying here and there for people and situations that come to mind, and perhaps catching in about 15-20 minutes of the book I'm currently reading about the Holy Spirit by Chuck Swindoll (SO inspiring!), and on and on and on. Nothing glamorous. Just my attempt at being faithful to God and my husband and children.

I have so much activity and NOISE in my day, everyday, all day long. I felt that God awoke me early, and refreshed I might add, just to draw me near to himself and enjoy my attention. God doesn't need my attention, but He's worthy of it. He deserves the very best part of my day - my waking moments that I savor before the day begins. I found that I started my morning quite joyful and the day went fairly well. At the end of my day as I lay in bed relaxing and letting the days' events float away, I thought about my Friend again. "You are so good God. Thank you." And with that, I drifted off to a solid nights' sleep again. I'm confident that more likely than not, God did use me as He saw fit. I felt His pleasure at a day lived well. I need to make adjustments, particularly to correcting my children gently and patiently, but overall I felt peace as I drifted off to sleep.

I have a great life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm A Bad Driver

Well, at least I can admit it! I got a speeding ticket about two weeks ago. I was in a rush to get home in the morning to start school with the girls. When the officer pulled me over I said, "I know I was speeding. I need to be home in three minutes. Can you make this quick?" Four minutes later, I was on my way heading east on Sierra Madre Blvd. towards Michillinda to go home.Ugh. I still haven't gotten the official ticket to know how much it's going to cost. It'll be expensive. I haven't told Tim yet. Another ugh.
     My biggest problem is that I drive too fast. My neighbor told me several months ago to slow down because of all the kids that play in our street. He was right. I'm trying, but sometimes I forget. While driving home on Grandview St., a lady stopped at a stop sign motioned for me to slow down. She was right, too. All these admonishments are warnings for me to slow down. I feel rather embarrassed when I'm corrected because I know they're all right. And the speeding tickets are so expensive. I won't even blog about Tim's thoughts and words regarding my driving. Think: ULTIMATE BACK-SEAT DRIVER TO THE OUTERMOST EXTREME LIMITS OF TOLERABILITY.  I NEVER EVER EVER drive while Tim is in the car. I have actually stopped the car in the middle of the street so that Tim can take over driving. 
     Anyway, it's just sooooo hard to drive slowly. Not only do I have lots and lots of things to do everyday, I usually have several kids at home that I'm rushing home to make sure that they haven't set the house on fire, clogged the toilet to overflowing with toilet paper, let Julia wander out into the street like she has a persistent propensity to do, or pull each others hair out over the last Tootsie Roll they happened upon under the refrigerator from last Halloween's candy supply. Uh-huh. You get the picture.
     Another problem about speeding plagues me: I'm just a fast-moving, energetic, hyper-speed kind of person. I really can't help it. When I'm fairly well-rested, there's no stopping me! I talk fast (and a lot, I know), write fast, do the dishes fast, cook and clean quickly, read fast, even change diapers fast. (That's a good thing, too, because, boy, does Julia squawk when she's being changed!) Also, I write so fast that I have a hard time handwriting anything because my hand can't neatly and legibly keep up with my thoughts. This quality of mine generally serves me well, though, except while driving.
     In truth, however, I used to drive my parents nuts. Whenever they saw me eat sugar in particular, they would look at each other and roll their eyes. They knew I would be particularly spastic for several hours after the dreaded consumption of sugar. So, when I observe my busiest girl, Chloe, in all her hyperactive glory, I  know that she will be able to accomplish great things in the future with all of her energy. Sometimes she almost drives me into the ground, though! I realize where her energy comes from. (Throat-clearing here)

     One disadvantage to this high energy personality that I have is that I can easily overwhelm people. Think: calm, even-keeled, mild-mannered, and just really low-energy people find me either 1)overwhelming and anxiety-producing, 2)entertaining, so they laugh at me! or 3)I don't quite know-but they avoid me in grocery stores, parks, libraries...Well, not really. I just thought that they might and I just haven't really noticed it. (Six kids keeps me very distracted while out in public much of the time.) When I meet people who are overwhelmed by my personality I feel very self-conscious. I find myself trying to talk s-l-o-w-e-r and be less emotive. This is almost excruciating, but I try for their sake and mine. I can really feel like an idiot around these calm people. So, I LOVE people who are like me. I love high energy, fun-loving, hearty- laughing, fast-talking people! LOVE THEM! They understand me! They appreciate me! I don't have to be "self-monitoring" around them and they don't have to be that way around me!  Yoo hoo! Of course, I have many mild-mannered friends that I absolutely adore, too. You know who you are. 
      The other problem I have with driving and speed is that I, well, I - ok- this is really hard to admit. I tailgate! I know it's terrible! I'm just driving too fast, needing to get somewhere ON TIME (because that's usually important to me), and other people just drive too slow! Really people, just a little faster?! Oh, but there are my bad, impatient habits coming out. I've also been know to utter a few  -unsavory- (I like that term better) names at drivers. The worst part is that my children hear me and that's really not good. Really, really not good.So, it's imperative that I work on my driving habits. Consider this post an open invitation to ask me if I've been keeping my driving speed down. Just don't ask me when I'm rushing out the door on my way to somewhere important. Old habits die hard. Ugh.