Sunday, August 21, 2011

We Needed Stitches - Take Two!

Have you ever had a series of bad luck to the point that you do not want to get out of bed for fear of what else can go wrong? Well, the Darnell family is at that point.

Our string of bad luck started with the Bucs terrible performance on Thursday night, followed by the loss of our truck on Friday so what could happen on Saturday, right?

Saturday started off with heavy internet searching for new replacement vehicles. Mike and I quickly learned the prices of new cars and realized that even a 2008 is 10 years newer than what we were driving. This became our new definition of "new car." After breakfast, I headed outside to play with the boys and Mike got ready to hit the road and visit several car dealerships. As he was leaving, the boys were begging me to push them on the swings. As it was getting warmer, I wanted to change clothes first.

We said good-bye to Daddy and we were going to head back outside to play. I wanted to change clothes so I said to the boys, "I am going to head into the room for a couple minutes, can I trust you guys for a couple minutes? You need to be good so we can go outside and play on the swings." They agreed and I headed into the room.

I heard them laughing but they are usually always laughing. I was in the bedroom for maybe, maybe 3 minutes. All I did was change my clothes and put my hair in a clip. When I walked out, I sensed something was wrong as I opened the door. Oh my....

They had unlocked the water dispenser on the fridge and was using Daddy's water jug to dump water all over the kitchen tile floor. They were soaking wet and the floor was covered in a thin layer of water. They were giggling and splashing about with Wes, the ring leader, manning the water dispenser. He dumped a couple more small cups of water onto the floor before I removed it from his hands. Jared was demonstrating how they were slip sliding across the floor in the water. Come on guys, it was only a couple minutes!!! They were deep in laughter and soaking wet. I needed some time to clean the kitchen and the boys were soaking wet so I sent them outside to play while I cleaned.

I spent the next 20 minutes mopping up the water and drying the kitchen floor. During this time, the boys were playing outside. I was finally done cleaning the kitchen and now it was time to clean up the boys. I opened the back door and let them inside while giving instructions to take off their wet clothes in the bathroom. Wes said, "I can't, I have a boo boo." When I looked at his knee, he had quite the gash and some blood. I did not take the time to figure out what happen but whisked him to the sink to clean him up. I took off his wet clothes and let him use the sprayer to clean off his wound. This revealed a deep cut that I sensed needed stitches as it was separated and on the knee so it would keep separating with each bend.

Daddy had only started his day of car shopping about 30 minutes prior so I did not want to disrupt his day unless it was an emergency. I sent him a message with a picture and asked his opinion. We agreed to keep an eye on it for a little bit but agreed that he may need stitches. Daddy kept on car shopping.

As I did not have a vehicle, I wanted to get some additional opinions, so I took to facebook. I posted the following picture of his cut and asked if everyone thought he needed stitches...

The overwhelming facebook consensus was that stitches were needed for it to heal properly. With that support, I reached back out to Daddy and told him that he should come home after this dealership and I would take Wes for stitches. This is what the cut looked like if I held the skin together...
Yes, stitches were needed. I had cleaned up Wes and put two band aids on his wound. I then asked him how he got his boo boo, assuming he received it while outside. Nope! To my surprise, he said he slipped in the kitchen. Apparently, while they were giggling and playing in the water, he slipped. He received this gash and did not cry or skip a beat, just kept playing! He went outside and still did not complain. It was not until I started to change their clothes that he even mentioned the boo boo. I still can't believe that he received this deep gash without even shedding a tear. Wowza... BOYS!

Now remember, he did not have any clothes on and the other two were instructed to take off their clothes in the bathroom. After seeing Wes get a lot of attention, Andrew and Jared began to complain about their boo boos. So, I now had three naked children all needing 'urgent care' at the sink. I decided to indulge. Here is the line at the triage center... Andrew receiving care (actually applying his own band aid, you know 'I do it!') and Jared in the on deck position waiting for his turn... The greatest draw of the sink was being able to use the spray themselves to clean their wound, demonstrated by Jared in this picture...
It is important to note that the "injuries" decreased in severity with each patient. Here is Andrew's boo boo... (approximately 3-4 days old)
And the least severe injury on Jared, barely noticeable above the big toe...
While Jared had the least severe injury, he had the most severe limp while wearing his band aid, go figure. Once I had nursed all the injuries and cleaned up the triage area, I still had three naked boys. They were quiet and I turned around to find them like this...
They were huddled around their 'big boy phone.' In this picture, you may notice that Andrew's skin is splotchy. He struggles with sensitive skin and eczema. All of the swimming and sunscreen has really done a number on his skin but we have medicine and he is getting better.

I needed to dress the boys and after the days we had been having, I needed some extra strength. I grabbed our Owenge Warrior shirts so we could channel the strength and energy of a really strong Warrior. This also helped me keep our events in perspective. Really, we were dealing with some small things in comparison to some other families. Thank you for that reminder Owenge Warrior! For those of you that do not know, Owen is a triplet that died in May at 6 months old from SIDS. His story really hit home for us and many triplet families as he was completely healthy and part of a BBB triplet group. His color was orange and his family has claimed "Owenge" as his Warrior color. They are starting a movement to 'do good' in his honor as their way to find something positive in this. So, we dawned our Owenge shirts to find strength!

When Daddy arrived home, I woke Wes up from his nap and we headed off to urgent care. He did not want to go see a doctor but once we were in the car, he was a champ. He waited with patience and was in very good spirits...
The nurses agreed that it was a 'really good cut' and stitches were needed. The next step was to apply a jelly and 'magic sticker' so his skin would numb a little bit. He did not cry or complain at all during this phase of the process. Here is his wound under his 'magic sticker'...
My big brave boy, waiting patiently during the 20 minutes we had to wait for the jelly and magic sticker to numb his skin...
During his wait, he played with my phone and the game of choice was Poppit and new game Jared introduced to us on Pogo-stick (as Jared calls it). Jared learned this game at Grandma's and they have it for the phone. Wes played this all the way during his wait and during his stitches. Once the 20 minute wait was over, Wes was cool calm and collected while they pulled the magic sticker off. He then laid back and got ready for his stitches.

He was initially fine and then he felt the actual needle used to really numb the wound. It was at this point that he cried for the first time. He cried during the actual application of the stitches but remained still and did not fight the nurses at all. I was so proud of my big boy!!!

When it was all over, he immediately wanted to see his knee and he laughed when he saw his stitches....
He immediately calmed down and was excited to have a story to tell his brothers. He got his stickers and we were heading on our way! As he played the phone the entire time we were there, the battery died shortly after this picture. After we left the hospital, we headed over to Dairy Queen to split a Chocolate Fudge Brownie Waffle Bowl Sundae, Wes' choice. It was yummy! He kept saying, 'this is just for you and me.' I think he really enjoyed his one on one time.

Once we got home, he told his brothers all about his stitches. At dinner, we talked about how Jared also had stitches when we were at Nana's house. It was at this point that Andrew realized he was the only one of the boys that has not had stitches. Well, he did not want to be left out so he started crying over and over, 'I wanna go to the doctor, I wanna go to the doctor, I wanna go to the doctor.' This crying went on for well over 30 minutes and almost until we could get them in bed. He really wanted to go to the doctor.

He knew that I took a picture of Wes' boo-boo and shared it on fb so I told him I would also share his picture with the "doctor" and see if he needed to be seen. My lovely fb friends quickly concurred that he did not need stitches and just a band aid was needed. So, he accepted this treatment plan but still wanted to go to the doctor.

This is the face of a very upset Andrew after we applied the band aid...
After about 30 minutes of this, I really felt spent and wanted to scream "Calgon, take me away!" However, we made it through this day and the boys were in bed. Daddy and I finally exhaled for the day and settle in to watch a video game... oops, I mean movie; Battle Los Angelos - Daddy's choice :-)

I wanted to write this post quickly so I could share the full story of how Wes received his injury. I hope everyone was able to laugh from the story and I hope I will be able to laugh while reading it very soon.

The moral of the story, you can't turn your back for a second!!

Take care,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our Trusted Stead

In 2000, I welcomed my 1998 Ford Expedition into my life. She was a big and beautiful truck that initially caused me more problems than I care to list. While she had some problems that kept causing me to visit a mechanic, she kept on running and running and running!

I had her for several years and had payments for more years than I should have ever financed. There was a period of time in which I was a single woman driving a very large SUV when the gas prices began to rise. I still had my payment and the amount I owed exceeded the value of the truck. So, I was stuck with her and I kept driving her and she kept on running.

I always said that when I finally had her paid off, I would trade her in on something smaller and more fuel efficient. This was until that fateful day in 2007 when Mike and I learned we were going to fill her up... with babies! As we drove back from Jacksonville after that first ultrasound, I rubbed her dashboard and told her that I needed her and I hoped she would keep running for our family. Well, kept on running she did!

She ran and ran and ran until today when she could run no more. As Jared and I were driving back home from Grandmas, the oil pressure gauge started to flip out. It was spiking and dropping over and over again. I sent a text to Mike and he suggested I immediately add oil. I pulled off at the next exit and Jared and I added a quart of oil. Mike said, "that should get you home."

We got back onto I-75 and I quickly sensed that things were not going well. The oil gauge leveled out and then flat lined. I kept driving and hoping I could get home or close to home. It was not long before she started struggling to maintain her speed and the engine started sounding very rough. When I hit about 45mph, I moved into the emergency lane and kept going. I was so close to I-10 that I wanted to at least make it to that point. We got close and then she just gave out. I was able to start her one more time to get further off into the grass before calling Mike and then AAA.

AAA made us a priority but it still took about 40 minutes for the tow truck to get to us. Jared was content while playing an iPhone and we were lucky to still have water in the truck as it was starting to get hot. We were also lucky because it was about 5pm. So, it was late enough in the day so it was not too hot but still early enough so it was light out.

Our trusted stead also took care of us because she died right below a very clear marker so I could tell AAA exactly where we were and she died right inside the 100 mile radius covered by AAA. She was strong and caring until the very end!

While she died far from home, I can not be mad at a truck that drove safely for 285,363 miles. She did her job and did it well! The end of an era...

We died right under this major exit sign. It was so easy to tell the AAA agent where we were located. Thank you ole girl!
Jared and I got to finish our ride home in Tow Truck style! Jared was excited about riding in the truck but once he got inside of the tow truck, he was a little nervous and wanted to ride in our truck. So did I baby boy, so did I. But, we both calmed down and settled in for our ride home with Mr. James.
We made it home! I hope she enjoyed her relaxing ride home. You can hold your head up high, girl! You served us well...

She rolls into her current resting place in front of our house...

I know that this is 'just a truck' but when something has been a part of your life for 11 years, there is a special bond and connection. I was surprisingly emotional when I realized that this was finally the breakdown from which we could not recover.

Over the years, she drove me to amazing destinations and drove me away from some pretty ugly ones. She was with me for the years when I was single and also carried me home from the hospital with three new babies. If she could talk, she can tell many many great stories and has heard so many laughs! She hung in there with me when I drove in excess (significant excess) of the posted speed limit and always saved me when there were some close calls. She delivered gifts to Foster children and carried us (filled to max capacity) safely across the US for the past three years. She is the truck the boys will know as their first and she became a part of my identity. Lastly, she kept her head held high even when wearing a license plate that earned her the nickname of "A Big Pig", ABP1G.

Today, Wes and I drove up to the house and he was convinced that she was fixed. I told him that she was still broken and he said "no, she is fixed; look how clean and shiny she is." He was then convinced that if he pushed her, she would be fine. When he got out of the car, he walked behind the truck and pushed hard with both arms before conceding, she was still broken. Yes baby, she is broken.

I learned to love this truck and I will miss you big girl! I am not sure where your final resting place will be but I am confident we will find someone willing to support organ donation. I am sure you have some parts that will help other trucks benefit from your determination.

You were our trusted stead!

Love ya,

Two Peas in a Pod

Jared spent the past week with Grandma and on Thursday, I drove to Tampa to attend the first Bucs pre-season game and bring him home. I arrived to hear all about their very fun and busy week.

On Monday, they spent the afternoon with a visit from Pooka, Aunt Joan and Rebecca. Once their visit was over, Grandma and Jared headed over to Lakeland to have dinner with Uncle Lance and Aunt Kim. As they had visitors, Jared did not get his nap so on the drive to Uncle Lance's house, he fell asleep. Grandma had to wake him up when they arrived and this put him in a bad mood.... as it always does :-( Grandma said that he spent the entire dinner pouting on the couch and did not want to socialize (Sorry, Uncle Lance and Aunt Kim!). However, after dinner, Uncle Lance found the way to Jared's heart when he turned on their Kinect, bowling to be exact. Apparently, Jared perked right up and was ready to party! Jared l-o-v-e-s to play 'games on the TV.' He is also an expert virtual bowler.

I was back at home on this night and also perked right up when I saw Aunt Kim post this picture on facebook. The is Jared bowling a strike...
Here is some video of Jared showing off his bowling skills...

On Tuesday, their adventures continued as they met-up with Aunt Joan and Rebecca to see The Smurfs movie. In addition, they also had fun running some errands, taking care of one of Grandma's friends cat, Yoda, and just getting to know each other.

Jared is the most sensitive and the quietest of our crew. When they boys are all together, Jared is usually not clamoring for attention and it is hard to really get to know him in the group. These individual weeks with Grandma are probably the most beneficial for developing a relationship with Jared.

When I arrived on Thursday, we had to immediately get ready to go to the Bucs game once Jared woke up from his nap. However, on Friday morning, I had the honor if sitting back and observing the bond that had developed between Grandma and Jared. It brought a tear to my eye to see Jared finally opening up around Grandma and they were getting along like 'Two peas in a pod.' They had their own routines established such as how they get in and out of the garage. Jared would open the garage and Grandma would close it. It attempted to change this routine and I was quickly corrected by both Jared and Grandma. Jared was helping Grandma with her make-up and helping her get breakfast ready.

Once we had lunch on Friday, it was time to leave. Jared was not happy about having to leave Grandma's house. He flat out said he was 'not leaving.' He even started to take his shoes off. We he was convinced that he was leaving, he ran to give Grandma a hug. This was not your average hug. This was a full on bear hug with both arms wrapped tightly around Grandma and his body relaxed completely into Grandma. He gripped her tight and did not want to let go. Wow, what a hug! Jared finally got into the truck and cried for a while when we waved our final good-byes to Grandma as we drove away. Apparently, he had a good time :-)

As I mentioned, I also drove to Tampa to attend the first Bucs pre-season game against the New England Patriots. Here are the 'two peas in a pod' all ready to head to the game...
Big smooch for Grandma...
My turn for a picture with Jared...
The game was disappointing, to say the least. I don't want to talk too much about the game but Jared's face in this picture really says it all...
Good thing it is just pre-season! While the stadium emptied out due to the poor display by the Bucs and the rain, we stayed until almost the bitter end. Jared and Grandma are seen here showing off their die-hard spirit even in the rain...
While I miss each of the boys so much when they are spending time with Grandma, I love that each of them are having an opportunity to spend one on one time with Grandma.

Stay tuned for the adventures that follow this post! The terrible Bucs game was the beginning of a string of bad luck for the Darnell family.

Take care,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mr. Joe Cool

I was strongly encouraging Andrew and Wesley to go outside and play this morning. I wanted them to have some outside time before it got too hot. Wes finally listened and headed outside to play. He was out there for about 10 minutes and I decided to reward him with a lollipop. I walked outside and gave him the lollipop and returned inside to help Andrew who was cleaning up the play room. A few moments later, I returned to the living room and looked outside to see Wesley enjoying his lollipop.... like this...
I mean, seriously?!? Wes can even make eating a lollipop look cool!

Mommies and Daddies, lock up your little girls, this one has a 'playa' quality hard coded in his DNA.

Take care,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bye-bye Baby J!

Last year, each of the boys spent a week alone with Grandma. It was a great time for each of boys, great for Grandma and even great for the four of us remaining back at base camp. With football season starting up, it was time to schedule the boys' visits to Grandma.

Grandma arrived on Friday to spend the weekend with us and to take one of the boys home with her to start their week of one on one attention from Grandma! The biggest challenge that we had was deciding who was going to make the first trip to Grandma's house. We made our decision based on who is doing the best with staying dry at night. Once we made that decision, determining the first to go was simple.... Jared! Jared is our champ at night and earned the right to go with Grandma. This was a great reward for Jared and a great incentive for Andrew and Wes.

This morning, Jared and Grandma were ready to hit the road. Wes and Andrew helped me pack his back for the trip. When I asked Wes to get his George stuffed animal, I returned to the suitcase to find that Wes had packed all three Georges in the suitcase. Once Jared was all packed it was time to pass out hugs and kisses....

Jared giving a hug to Wessie Kitty...
Jared says good-bye to Andrew...
Big kisses for Daddy....
Jared and Grandma wave good-bye and are ready for the road...
When we opened the van door, Jared saw his seat and said "there's only one seat." I think this is when it hit him that he was really going this alone. But, he was very happy... two thumbs up!
Drive safely Grandma, very precious cargo...
And there they go... waving and blowing kisses as they drive away...
I heard from Grandma after they arrived safely at their destination. They stopped for lunch and had a great trip.

Have a lot of fun Jared and Grandma! I can't wait to see you both on Thursday and hear all about your week of fun adventures.

Take care,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

So We Think We Can Dance!

One of my favorite shows is So You Think You Can Dance! I DVR each show and watch some of my favorite routines when there is nothing on TV. The boys have joined in my enjoyment of this show. However, the boys do not just watch the show.... they dance along! It's fun to watch them attempt contemporary, ball room and bollywood routines. However, their favorite routines are the hip hop routines. One favorite from this season is "The Yellow One." They request this one and ask to do it over and over again.

Here is the Team Darnell interpretation of "The Yellow One."

So clearly, we think we can dance!!

Take care,