Ben Archives

I’m not quite sure about what to write about this morning.  I woke up a half hour early because a cat was staring at me but I am about 45 minutes late on my morning so far and I’m not sure how that happened. Maybe I accidentally made decaf or something.

Hahaha.
No.
That would never happen I was just kidding.

I don’t have anywhere I have to be today and I’m hoping that I can shake the frustrations of the last couple of days off by grocery shopping. I don’t know why I think going to the grocery store will help. It’s not like it’s ever been therapeutic for me.

I have more to say about the orthodontist because I have another kid that is ready for braces. This is in addition to the Wednesday morning debacle.  This is my Thursday afternoon story.
Ben is my 3rd kid to need braces and he’s been in pre-treatment for 2 years waiting for some teeth to come in and some growth spurt and he is now ready for his braces, which apparently must happen RIGHTNOW. But since we just shelled out a surprise $600 for Matthew’s metal on Wednesday, and we have a wedding coming up, I told them that I wanted to wait until after the holidays to get Ben’s treatment plan started. I was subtly accused of putting Ben on the backburner in favor of Matthew’s treatment. We really need to get Benjamin started very soon. I understand that you paid a down payment just yesterday for Matthew’s treatment but we really don’t want to see this guy put on the back burner.

Really?
I don’t know. Maybe I’m being too sensitive here but I really don’t think so. I would also like to add that the billing gal talked in very hushed tones about our not being able to afford it and mentioned that she wasn’t supposed to talk to Dr. Brooks about it but she would just for us even though I never implied that we needed help, I just said that we were going to wait. It was all very patronizing. And weird.

I normally really like the kids’ orthodontist. He was great with Kait’s wonky mouth and has been pretty good with Matthew’s up until recently. I’m going to call a different ortho today and get Ben in for a consult because I’m really irritated right now and why are all these little flies all over my house? We’ve completely cleaned out the pantry and all the cupboards and the boys’ rooms and where the heck are they coming from?

It’s been a hard week.

On a brighter note, literally and figuratively, our main bathroom has been changed from a brownish yellow color to a soft white (thanks, Matthew!) and scrubbed clean (thanks, Rabbit!), and has new knobs and it looks great.  We are going to refinish the cabinets eventually too but we have a gazillion other projects in line ahead of that one. Like the never ending kitchen redo.

And Lanie has turned a bit of a corner mentally and physically. At physical therapy yesterday she showed increased muscle strength and then in occupational therapy she was making an effort to interact and tried to mimic what her therapist was doing. It was the first time that it didn’t seem like Lanie was just in the room with the therapist, but actually participating with her. It is a really big step.

Here’s a blurry picture.

This is how Lanie reacted to me explaining my week.
This girl just gets me.

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You know how you start your day out early, in a good mood, after a decent night’s sleep, and then everything falls apart about 3 hours in when your kid’s orthodontists surprises you with a $600 down payment for a set of braces he has already had but needs again? Yeah that happened.

Here’s a rundown of my day. It’s a little ranty. I’m sorry.

  • Matthew’s mouth was somewhat complex to sort out and he’s had an expander, braces, a holding arch thing, a couple different kind of retainers that weren’t doing their job. With all the things he has needed to have done I think I was just confused about all those layers and when I took him in because the holding arch had broken and to ask for a better retainer they said, New molars! Looks like he’s ready for his phase 2! Braces again to straighten things out! We’ll need $600 to start this phase! Thanks!
    I took a couple of deep breaths and went about the rest of my day.
  • Lanie had two appointments together at the same place. They called a few hours before hand and asked if I could come in an hour early. I said sure. What I didn’t know was that they wanted me to come in an hour early for the first appointment, and then sit for an hour and a half and wait for the second one. Lanie became restless, I didn’t bring a stroller because I didn’t think I’d need one, and I couldn’t reschedule because it took 3 months to get this appointment. I became what you might call very put out.
  • They want to put tubes in Lanie’s ears. Recent studies have suggested that in most cases tubes are not really all that helpful. I’m going to do some research and see if we can reduce the fluid in her ears here at home before we resort to cutting into her eardrum.
  • She most definitely needs surgery to remove her adenoids and tonsils. This was not what I wanted to hear but Doc did say we could wait on the surgery for a few months and try two meds to try to shrink her oversized adenoids and tonsils. I said yes please.
  • Went to get her prescriptions. Turns out, Tricare won’t cover one of them or its generic. Great. We had to pay for that sucker. But that was okay because if we could keep her from needing surgery I was willing to try it but I was still not thrilled with another surprise payment in one day.
  • At home later I was reading through the pamphlet for Lanie’s meds. The expensive one, a nasal spray, says not to use if you have had cataracts or glaucoma. I’m not even kidding. If you want to know why this is an issue read here.

Now that I’ve done all the complaining. I should add that there were a great many positives that really did drown out the frustrations.

  • Rabbit has been on leave and has a nice salt and pepper beard that I find quite attractive.
  • Sam made me a crown with Rubies on it.
  • Deep fried peanuts. What will the south come up with next? Also, this is why I love the south. Also, DEEP FRIED PEANUTS, PEOPLE!
  • Ben kept me company at Lanie’s forever appointment yesterday and Lanie was incredibly cute.
  • My table looks fabulous. Rabbit had to sand it again because of a problem with the stain and we loved the look so much that we’re going with it. It’s so unique and really gorgeous.  I’ll get a picture and blog more about that later. but for now I’ve gotta go because I’m already an hour later than I like to be starting my day. We have therapy and more ortho and groceries and I need to run and Tropical Storm Harvey is still making the rounds.

It’s going to be another fun day.

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I woke up at 6 am yesterday morning. This may not seem super early to most of you but for me this is like a 6am-er waking up at 3. Lanie doesn’t usually fall asleep until after midnight and as hard as I’ve tried to change her bedtime she just keeps reminding me that Lanie does what Lanie wants and the rest of us here are just along for the ride.

Also, since being sick she has gotten into the new habit of waking up to eat at night. Sometimes twice. Normally, my typical children would have never gotten away with this at 17 months old but Lanie is a different story. Anytime she will eat, I will feed her because failure to thrive is one of the scariest things and she still has trouble gaining weight and when she does gain weight it is difficult to keep that weight on her.

Back to my story…

So, I woke up at 6am after having gone to bed at around 12:45 and after being up with Lanie for more than 2 hours in the night and tucking Maggie back in after she had to get up to go potty and I would like to interject here that I love not having to buy pullups anymore.

I think I probably got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Normally that is fine and I function alright but it’s been many weeks of bad sleep and yesterday I was mostly sleep walking which was perfect because this was delivered at about 7am.

We needed to put all those squares of grass here:

So I made a bacon and spinach quiche for breakfast and then went on a run and then went out to see this:

And I realized that this was going to take forever.

Good thing the weather was a nice 70 degrees. Perfect for a long day working in the yard.

Until about here.

All of the sudden it was 95 degrees and super humid. All the kids were out working in full force, along with one of the older boy’s friends (Thanks, Danny!).

But these guys just pushed through while I made food and took care of the littles and took pictures of marginal quality.

Maggie really wanted to help so she put on her “work clothes”, which consisted of an oversized pink t-shirt and a long pink skirt.

Laying sod required a lot of wheelbarrowing. Or barreling according to my younger kids.

Some people may have died.

But the transformation was amazing.

We miscalculated and still need two more pallets of but sod even with that section not being completed I am so happy with the yard and I can’t believe we actually have grass!

Next project? Paint the bathrooms. Or maybe edge and put red mulch down in the front garden. Or maybe print some pictures out for the plain white walls throughout my house.

No, finish the table!

Wait, cabinets…

I’m going to have an anxiety attack.

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How did that get there. And asthma.

On our run this morning I noticed that Ben was weazing. I asked if he was okay and he said he thought so but his upper back really hurt and his body felt really tired.  He’d complained about this stuff before but he always continued to run so I just thought it was typical kid complaining.

But the loud weazing…

That was a warning sign.  He didn’t want to stop running and we were less than a half mile from home at this point so we slowed down to barely a trot but by the time we got home I was regretting not making him stop earlier. I was thinking about taking him to the ER but he was breathing easier as soon as we walked into the house so I called the pediatrician instead and she had me bring him right in and holy cow the amount of paperwork (tabletwork?) we have to do now at check-in is more than what we have to do at the ER. It’s getting really annoying and I’m actually considering switching pediatricians because of it.

Doctor’s immediate assessment – at the least, he has activity induced asthma.

So we got him a puffer and went home to find a toilet in my front yard.

It’s still sitting there.

When Ben took a dose of his Albuterol his eyes got really big and he said, I can breath! I didn’t realize that I couldn’t breath before!

I am hoping that we don’t end up needing a pulmonary function test or anything because ain’t nobody got time for that. The inhaler seems to be doing its job so for right now I think we’re good.

We’ll see how it goes.

 

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Will wonders never cease. And other stuff.

I finally slept an entire night without anybody waking me up.  Maggie didn’t have an accident. Lanie didn’t wake up to eat. The cats didn’t meow to go outside. And my boys remembered to turn off their notification sounds on their phones before plugging them into the charging center in our room.

I did wake up this morning with a sore throat and the constant tickle of a potential cough because of the long stretch of laying down but I’ll take it because when I woke up this morning I felt awake.

Is this how sleep works for normal people?

It’s good timing, too.  We have our first homestudy to become foster parents on Thursday and I feel the sudden urge to clean all the things. It’s kind of like nesting but without the frequent nap breaks, cereal cravings, and the huge belly getting in the way.

Onto other things.

Matthew and Ben shared Cokes with each other yesterday. They were side-by-side in the grocery store’s drink cooler so they couldn’t resist.

They are holding each other’s sodas in case you’re suddenly confused about who is who.

And these…

They are the devil.
I found these salted caramel peanuts sitting on the shelf at the store looking all innocent. There are supposed to be 6 servings in this little can but apparently, my brain doesn’t understand servings because I ate almost the entire thing at one time.

I guess I’d better go. The kids are bored, the baby is sleeping, and there is much to do.

 

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Josh Sitton football camp take 2.

This past Saturday 4 of our boys were able to attend a free football camp at Catholic High in Pensacola for the second year in a row.  This is a camp where Josh Sitton (Green Bay Packer turned Chicago Bear and how does something like that even happen) comes and helps coach all the kids, giving them pointers, tips, and life encouragement. I don’t know the man personally but he seems like a really good guy who genuinely cares for these boys.

It was sponsored by the Blue Wahoos, our local baseball team because that makes so much sense.
(I couldn’t help the snark but really, we’re so thankful to the Wahoos for caring about their community and our kids!)

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The UWF football team gets involved too and each group of boys has a coach from the Argonauts working with them.

The quarterback was Matthew’s coach.

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Some of these kids were much older than the maximum age for the camp and that was disappointing but Matthew (far left standing up) held his own and did very well.

I don’t know much about Ben’s coach. Not sure what his position on the UWF team is.

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I’m sure when the season starts I’ll become more familiar with these specific players since my kids know them. Ben (Also far left standing up) had a great time and said he did much better than he did at last year’s camp.  He isn’t sure he wants to play football again though. He’s looking hard a tennis which would be so much better for me too because Ben had a bad hip sprain and a concussion (two different instances) last season and my heart can’t take it.

Sam had a great time too but he loves everything and could probably have fun having his teeth pulled. I’m not even kidding.

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He’s far left on the bottom row. I’m so proud of his spirit and love for life.

This was Jesse’s first football camp or football anything really.

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Jesse (left side with coach’s arm around him) was very confused about what was going on but had a smile plastered on his face the whole time.  He made quick friends with another kid and the spent their time rolling around on the ground and pretending to be dinosaurs.  I was 2 parts the mom trying to get his attention so I could tell him stop because there are no dinosaurs in football!, and 2 parts the mom trying to get a video or pictures of the what he was doing.  There were probably people talking about me and that’s too bad because I was completely unsuccessful at both getting his attention and collecting photographic evidence.

In the end, we went home with pictures of their time with Josh Sitton and the UWF football team, a belly full of pizza and Powerade, and pink cheeks because it was 65 degrees and I forgot for a minute that we were in Florida.

ProCamps puts these sports camps together all over the US. Professional athletes like Josh Sitton come out and work with our kids (often for free) and the children have so much fun. Make sure to look into it if you have kids who love sports.

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So what’s new? Or not so new?

It has come to my attention lately that I am really, really bad at passing on information.  I guess I have known this about myself forever, but I never realized how much it bothered other people that I don’t always tell them everything that is going on with me right away.  It isn’t done on purpose, it’s just that I don’t think about it.

All that to say that we are expecting our 10th baby and I’m sorry if you wanted to know but didn’t know because I didn’t think about mentioning it.  I’m 23 weeks along, due in March.  It’s a girl and we know this because we had an ultrasound this go-round. I won’t be able to have a homebirth because there are no homebirthing midwives within an hour’s drive of our house so we’re at a hospital this time, unfortunately.  Or fortunately.  I’m trying to look at the bright side.  Maybe the hospital here will be an amazing place to have a baby.

So if anybody is still keeping up with this blog after my long quasi-hiatus I’m sorry I forgot to mention the new baby that is to be joining us soon.

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I’d also like to mention that Ben(10) thinks it’s twins even though we’ve had two ultrasounds already showing only one baby.  He is sure he can see the shadow of a second baby in the background. He would like to go with me to my next appointment so he can point out the oversight to the midwife.

Wouldn’t that be hilarious.

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It means it’s a great day to be outside.

I didn’t get a picture of my boys wrestling as giant,surprisingly warm water droplets struck them because I’m off my game lately, but I did get quite a good laugh.

Right as the rain started Ben ran up to stand beside me where I was waiting in the dry safety under the roof overhang. He asked me, Can I get a bucket to put on my head so my head won’t get wet in the rain?

I said no because we don’t have enough buckets for everybody’s heads and that wouldn’t be fair.

Hopefully we don’t get the flooding rains and tornados that’s we had last week. I am not looking forward to any more sleepless nights listening out for freight trains.

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His last year in the single digits starts now

It’s Benjamin’s birthday today and he’s a whopping 9 years old.

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Ben is uniquely special to us, as are all of our kids.  But Ben was the gift we didn’t ask for.  He was the gift that began the shift in Rabbit’s and my view of children.  Ben is the reason we have a Sam, a Jesse, a Lucy, and a Maggie.  God used Ben’s birth to change the entire look and feel of our family.

Before I found out I was pregnant with Ben, Rabbit and I were pretty content with the number of kids we had.  While we hadn’t completely closed off our minds to having more children, we were happy with the 4 we had and certainly didn’t want another child for at least a few more years, if ever.

Matthew was 11 months old.  He was walking and talking and he was definitely a delightful little handful when surprise!

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I found out I was pregnant with Ben. The idea took so much getting used to.  It was my hardest pregnancy.

He was born when Matthew was 17 months old and in that moment I couldn’t believe how perfect everything was, how much I wanted him.   And I realized that God definitely knew what I wanted, what was best for us, way more than I did.  It changed how we viewed children.  Ben’s birth changed everything.

I’m not saying it was easy, but if having nine kids was easy, I wouldn’t understand just how much it is worth.

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Kait took his birthday pictures for me.  She’s simply amazing.
(Thanks, Kaity-Jane)

Dear Ben,

You are so smart and so great and so awesome.  I love how you care for your little sisters and I appreciate you for always asking me if you can help with something.
I am proud of the responsibility you’ve been willing to take on lately and how you are trying so hard to be the best young man you can be.

You make me so happy.

I love you, Benjamin Bear.  Happy birthday, boy.

Love,
Mama

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This is what happens when you have a large number of kids and a camera.

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It was nice and quiet with most of the kids playing outside so I thought I’d get a picture of just Maggie and me but that didn’t happen because most of my kids were born with some sort of camera sensor.

It’s a good thing they’re all so stinking cute.

I think Lucy is being perfectly hilarious.

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