Monday, October 13, 2014

"Vacation" Part 2: Miracles Do Happen

Day 2--Cedar Point

Elijah and I wake up at 6:30, sneak out of the room, and find the coffee shop in the Kalahari lobby. He is migraine free and happy! YAY! Today will most certainly be a good day, right?

*Brief pause*  If you know me or have read any of my blog posts, you will know that I am an eternal optimist. Sometimes to a fault. All of my blog posts start off this way and then they proceed with something like this...


We amazingly checked out of the hotel, packed up all the kids with all the crap, and entered Cedar Point (CP) at exactly 11:00. We are amazing! We wait in the line to park, our spot was pretty close and dead center to the entrance. While Eric and I are getting out the supplies, snacks, and stroller, Elijah and Asher are going PSYCHO. Seriously. I think people thought we were torturing them. Lots of tantrumming, thrashing, and screaming coming from this car.

But we forged on. Everything is packed,  stroller ready, kids walking, almost to the gate where our family is waiting... wait, where's Elijah's cochlear implant? He already lost his glasses last week so he is kinda blind. Where is the implant?

Are you fucking kidding me? Kill me now. Someone, please?

Turn the (still) screaming stroller around to go back to the car to look. Eric and I hound each other with questions; Did you have it on your walk this morning? Where did you see it last? Think it's at the hotel? I hope it's in the car!

After 20 minutes of searching, no luck. The kid will be deaf for the day. Not a bad thing, but just one more thing out of his norm. But where was this little device worth THOUSANDS of dollars? We already lost it a few years ago and I wasn't sure if the warranty would cover another loss. Anxiety up, I didn't want to think about it.

All in all, the day was pretty good. Elijah was able to get a pass that allowed us to step to the front of the line so he didn't have to wait. He went on the Sky Hawk, the Maverick (I can't believe Eric took him on that), the Mine Ride, the Iron Dragon, and a few other rides. He loved them! I signed all day long (no one else except Eric knows ASL).  But, by 5:00 he was toast. My sweet in-laws offered to take him back to Troy for the night. He was ready to go.

My mom and Skip took the kids to dinner so Eric and I got ice cream for dinner and had a short cry. So many emotions. So many times counting to 4 to make sure I didn't lose one. So much focus on Elijah to help him have a good day.

The day ended with my crazy Middle boys going on the Blue Streak in the front cart, arms up the whole time. The kids all had a blast and all the adults were beyond tired. Except Skip. He really wanted to go on the Dragster. :)

Here's where the crazy, miraculous, inexpiable part comes in.

We finally found our car (after searching for 30 minutes), loaded the kids, and drove home (first stopping by the hotel to double check for the implant). We got in at 1:30 a.m. I came in, took off my sweatshirt that I had on all day, took out my pony tail, and went to bed in the clothes I was wearing. Asher woke up screaming at 3:30. I went in to calm him. As I bent over, I felt something fall on my shoulder. I instinctively knew what it was. I knew that shape like I knew my own hand. As I grabbed the cochlear implant off my shoulder, I thought to move my hand behind me, to feel for someone. I didn't. You can't touch angels.

I jumped in to bed and said, "Um, Scob, the implant just landed on my shoulder." My sweet husband hit me in the head and told me I was dreaming. I shook him a little to wake him fully. "Nope," I said, "I have it right here." We immediately thanked God for His providence and fell asleep, still in awe.

I cannot rationally tell you how that implant landed on my shoulder. I can't tell you why or how or anything. But, I can tell you that my God hears our prayers. His timing, 3:30 a.m., would not have been my preference, but I'm glad He knows better than I do.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Pool

This was originally written in August 2014. I must have forgotten to publish it. 

My mom took the middles to the pool today. "The Pool" is at a local golf/country club place that doesn't allow tee shirts or jeans. It is intimidating to me and Eric practically breaks out in hives when we go there--only because it is totally not us. But, my parents have a membership and really, it is a cool place that has cool programming. And a great pool.

Asher and I met them up there to swim for an hour this evening. Asher was in the shallow side with Grampy, the middles were jumping off the diving board, my mom taking pictures, and I was finishing off an adult beverage while people watching.

I saw very slim, perky boobed, athletic mamas and dads playing tag with tag with their kids. I also saw a fellow cellulite-dimpled, mistakingly assumed pregnant, flabby armed mama walking around without a wrap or cover. I thought, "Wow! She is really brave!" And then I did something that I rarely do--I through off my bathing suit cover, ran over to the diving board, and did a big jump in with my boys.

Truth be told, I was scared and thought that everyone was staring at my big butt. I had read a blog post about a mom in my similar situation and how she basically said "fuck it" and was able to slough off the negative aspect of swim suits and look at it through different eyes: her children's eyes. I don't ever swim with my kids. Ever.  As I took off my cover up, I was channeling that. My kids were sooooooo happy when I jumped in. We dove and played. The 2 year old jumped into my arms and kept yelling, "One more time, Mama!"

I would have missed that if I was still sitting on the chair in the other side of the pool.

My mom (who recently had major foot surgery) was hobbling along taking pictures of the kids jumping and swimming. She took a pic of me, in my suit, diving into the pool. Whether the angle of the camera, the tummy-tucking suit I was wearing, or the aerodynamics of my flying through the air, somehow the picture turned out AMAZING. I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life (including being pregnant) and I looked at this pic (that she already posted to Facebook) and thought about how to make this photo-shop-looking picture a reality.

 I want to be fit and keep up with my 4 boys. I want to fit into my pants again. I want my tee-shirts not to be so tight.  Life has a way of reminding me...maybe this time a photo of me in my swimsuit was Facebook was a positive reenforcer. I'm trying hard to make the online me and the real life me line up evenly. I will never be one of those twiggy, gym rat, perky mamas, but I will work on being comfortable in my skin. Or bathing suit. :)

P.S. Full disclosure: I know NOTHING about diving. I told the boys to stream line and make sure their fingers touch the water first. Like I said, this is a miraculous picture.

"Vacation" Part 1--Kalahari

Our good friend, Marla, offered us a SWEET deal on five tickets to Cedar Point (CP). Since this would probably be our one chance with a family of six to go, we jumped on the offer.  Somehow we scammed both sets of grandparents into going to help too. We planned how to sneak snacks in and where the healthiest places to eat were. On top of CP, my mom and step dad took us to Kalahari the day before! Talk about BLESSED. My kids were excited beyond words.

Friday morning was spent packing clothes and organizing the gear (Elijah's special food, Elijah's meds, Asher's meds, etc.).  Asher went to the doctors on Thursday where we found out he had a double ear infection. I thought we had totally dodged a bullet. Whew, we got that out of the way!

Not so fast.

The middle kids rode down with my mom and Skip. They had to pull over for a Vernors because Judah felt a little sick. It was at that point I realized Elijah was starting a massive migraine. It came on super strong and super fast. Good thing I packed the meds! Unfortunately, it was too big for any meds we would give him.

Meanwhile, I get a phone call and this is what I hear, "Stephanie, Judah threw up everywhere. Like, everywhere. Well, he did get some in the bag. AHHHHH BEES...". Then I hear a man's voice (my step dad) yelling, "STOP MOVING THE BAG!" Apparently my mom, who is highly allergic to bees, was using the barf bag to shoo the bees away from Judah. The barf bag had a hole in it. She was spraying barf all over their car. Their Cadillac.

We eventually made it down to Kalahari. Judah must have just been carsick because he was totally fine after that. However, poor Lij was miserable. Sometimes water helps, so we suited up and went to the water after lunch. He did have a little fun. He went on some water slides, splashed a little in the wave pool, and played in the basketball pool. But the migraine started up even harder. I took him upstairs for a warm bath and some more meds.

The migraine lasted 11 hours and only ended because I gave him some sleep meds.

It is SOOOO incredibly difficult for us to take a vacation. First of all, we are teachers (well, 1 full time and 1 less than part time); we don't make enough money to ever take a vacation. Secondly, there are 4 small people in a family of 6. There always is a chance they can man-handle us, tieing us together so they can do nefarious things, like eat candy or watch SpongeBob. Thirdly, Elijah. Autism is always hard. Autism in an unfamiliar place is just plain crazy. So for the first time in forever, all the stars aligned and here we were.

I think the reason why Eric and I were so upset about the day was that we knew Elijah would LOVE Kalahari. CP was a crap shoot, but this was a for sure win. And he couldn't enjoy it. It was so unfair. Elijah would have liked it more than those little boys. I know it. He didn't have a chance; his body prevented him for doing so. And there was nothing I could do about it.

By the end of the night, Eric and I were spent. We all were asleep by 9:00 trying to put the barfy, migraine, super fun at times, day to bed too.

Then the morning came. Folks, you won't believe the story I have about that. Really, won't believe it. I'll write about it tomorrow though. Football is on now. :)