Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reining in the Chaos. . .

Well, I've been giving new direction to my life.  I have found something new to entertain me.  This new thing has my mind working in all kinds of different ways and its exciting!  This new thing. . .are you ready. . .is PINTREST!!

Egads, is this thing addicting!  Oh my goodness, who knew you could use a dresser in 35 different ways, other than to hold clothes.  Or that Toilet Paper rolls could make amazing wall decorations!  Or that you could prepare 2 months of meals in one day!  What??!!  Oh the possibilities! Sooo, I sat down and thought, I need to make a list, my mind is spinning and I have to get it under control.  So, I thought, maybe, I should chronicle my projects, ideas, screw ups, failed attempts and hopefully successes with those who have nothing else better in life, than to read my rantings.  Now, I have to be careful, and preface this with the disclaimer that this will be an all inclusive, chaotic menagerie of  stuff.  Maybe some cooking, definitely some painting, possibly, some organization and even a slim chance of a parenting tip that - for whatever reason - magically worked one day.

So if you're up for some interesting and probably unsuccessful PINTRESTING activities. . . then come along.  If not, I truly do understand and will hold nothing against you.  :-)

The general theme of the blog will be about reducing chaos in a house of never ending chaos.  Sounds contradictory, I know.  Go figure.  But, in general, isn't that how life is.  One giant contradiction after another.  My acceptance of this chaos to this point was purely out of self-preservation.  If I tried TO hard to organize and structure our life, then I'd be one very disappointed and worn out lady.  Add to that, that many of the silly things my kids do, like get deathly ill and need fun little ambulance rides to the hospital, or the coming of the "24" hour flu (which will last a minimum of 10 days in our house, are out of my control.  Again, that is not my plan, but clearly my good friend upstairs has a sick sense of humor.  So, organizing in that scenerio, though still possible, had its limitations. . . until PINTREST.  Oh my, the things I have missed and how I could have shaved off 3 minutes in the morning, an hour at dinner, 7 hours over a course of a week - it's like getting a whole day back!  So, I'm determined to implement some of these amazing ideas into my crazy, chaotic life. . . I'm reining in the chaos!!

So come on over and visit me at


Friday, September 21, 2012

"MOMMY!! Marriela is bleeding!!"

"MOMMY!!  Marriela is bleeding!!"

I run up the stairs to find that my daughter has found where I stash my razors and decided to shave.  Now, she says she was shaving her cheek, but somehow she managed to "shave" her LIP!  Really?  We apply pressure, some ice, and pour some rootbeer, soon all is well.

"Mommy!!  Sergio is in the fruit punch again."

Pull my son's arm out of the large container of red fruit punch.  I dry off a very stained, red arm.  Off to his room for yet another time out.  Good Lord this child is determined to find liquid!

"Mommy!!  I'm stuck!"

Arrive to the boy's room to find Cody with nothing but his legs sticking straight up, with his head wedged along the side of his bed.  Apparently a toy tried to escape the beating it received daily at the hands of my 7 year old son. . . and Cody went to retrieve the deserter. I pull up my son, with his toy in hand.

The needs are never ending.  The creativity of the needs is always shocking.  The number of needs is beyond comprehension.  Shoes are too loose, shoe laces are too tight.  Socks are too loose, socks are too tight.  Beds are wet, backs are itchy, dogs have fleas (not really but seems to be an ongoing issue for the kids), computers won't connect, X-box is off-line, medical bracelets are too loose (and then broken), kids are missing, kids are found, teeth need brushing, bodies need washing. . . oh my, I'm amazed I have any brain matter left!   

My daughter has made it her mission to convince me that I NEED another child.  I apparently owe her a sister.  She blames me for taking her precious Ethel, our foster daughter, to the hospital and letting her die.  And in fact, she's not entirely wrong. . .I did, in fact, take Ethel to the hospital where I was blessed to help my daughter-who-was-suppose-to-be, pass from this world full of pain and misery and move to one of peace and love.  I was her mom for the entire time she was with us, I fought for her like her mother, I loved her like her mother.  Marriela likewise, loved her like a sister and in the blink of an eye, made a connection that no one could have predicted.  But, I have reassured her that I am NOT having another child, nor am I looking to bring any more children into my home.   She is not convinced and thinks that if she gives me daily, and loud, reminders, then I will be swayed.  Not happening. Recently, I resorted to telling her that I would adopted ONLY if she can find a purple baby with pink polk-a-dots and orange eyes.  If, and only if, she can find me a baby that looks like that, then we'll adopt again. 

My daughter has also made it her mission to convince me that we NEED an RV.  For all those camping trips we don't and can't take, sure, we need an RV.  Again, not happening.

My other children are convinced we NEED a hot tub.  For Joshua who hates water, Marriela who is terrified of hot tubs (don't ask), Trayvon who can't use one and Cody who is all of 50 pounds and can't stand the warmth for more than a minute or two.  So we need one for ME to clean and keep free of algae.  If it's anything like the pool, we'll fail.

"Sergio is in the toilet again."  Oh that child!!  How does he know to watch the lock on the door and can wait it out patiently to grab a quick chance to splash in the icy coldness of filth in a toilet bowl.  UGH.

So we have lots of NEEDS here.  Some perceived by the children, some demanded by the children and some, well. . . sometimes there are just no words to address those crazy needs I find myself facing on a far to regular occasion.

Alas, once the needs come to an end, I'll be wishing for and looking to find kids who need me.  So, I'll enjoy removing the red stains from my son's arm, hiding the razors from my precocious daughter and try to keep the toys somewhat cleaned up so my son doesn't need to fall headfirst looking for them.  Hugs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thank you. . . for the gift of life.

We are coming up on 8 months since Trayvon's heart transplant.  That's amazing to me.  How time has flown.  I have sat down to write a letter of thanks to the donor's family many times.  I wasn't ready.  I still find it incredibly difficult to process the reality of what it meant for my son to live.  A fellow human being was being grieved over by their loved ones.  A young man had died and was giving my son his chance to live.  It's overwhelming simple and yet devastatingly complex.  So tonight I made my first attempt.  I'm sure I'll revamp it.  I'm sure I'll write several other "options".  But, tonight I sat down and faced the raw emotions and shared with this wonderful family what happened in those precious hours they were grieving and how the gift has changed a life.  

Dearest Family,

Where to start?  I guess I’ll start with, Thank you.  It’s so trivial and small, but it carries such a powerful message.  Thank YOU. 

The gift of your loved one’s heart has saved the life of my son, Trayvon.  He had been waiting for over 2 years.  The last 6 months, he was dependent on oxygen and strong IV medications.  He spent many weeks in the Pediatric ICU for irregular heart rates and the need to be “shocked” back into rhythm.  We didn’t see him as sick.  He didn’t see himself as sick.  We had to be persuaded that now was the time. . . but then we waited and no call came. 

I had decided to take only a few of our six children to Church on 2/12/12.  As we were walking in I reminded Trayvon that he had a dental appointment in the morning and that it would probably be his last one for a while, since we were hoping his call would come soon.  He responded that if he was lucky, his call would come today so he wouldn’t have to go.  Tray hates the dentist.  J   While sitting and listening to the sermon, I thought I should check my phone in my coat pocket.  I was worried that if it vibrated in my pocket, I would miss “the call”.  As I pulled it out to be sure I hadn’t missed a call, the phone vibrated and the word, “blocked” was on my screen.  Transplant warned me, the call would say “blocked”.  Tray got his wish, no dentist appointment.  By 1:30 am my baby boy had flown 2 hours, taken a mad ambulance ride from NJ to NYC, had a whirlwind of an admission to the ICU and brought to the operating room.  At 5:30 am, the doctors said the operation was over.  As I was rejoicing in the gift of life, you were grieving in the devastation of loss.  I was overwhelmed and cried for a very long time.  I knew that emotions would flow.  I knew what Tray’s chance at life would mean for another human being.  But, when it hit and the finality of it all. . .I was overwhelmed. 

Tray arrived an hour later, extremely fragile and precariously unstable.  But, his oxygen saturations were 100%.  We hadn’t seen that number in years.  His heart was so strong it was shaking his whole body with each beat.  In fact, once he was stable and the breathing tube was removed, he had to be reassured that his heart was very much working perfectly.  He was scared at how hard it beat, he had not felt his own heart beat in over 10 years, due to severe heart failure.  The only time he would feel it, was when it was in a very dangerous arrhythmia.  What a gift!

Today, Tray goes to middle school.  He takes his 13 medicines without any complaint.  He runs, he plays.  He turns 14 in a couple of months.  His skin is a beautiful healthy brown now instead of a dusky gray.  He used to have severe and painful varicose veins from his feet to his thighs due to extremely poor blood flow.  They are all gone now, and he has no more leg pain and cramps to awake him in the night.  He has a “girlfriend” who, like he, had a heart transplant and like him, is also adopted.  What a match made in Heaven. 

The gift of a new heart is beyond Trayvon’s capacity to really understand at this time.  We were warned that he may not even really “get it” for a while and then one day. . . he will and it will weigh heavy on his heart and mind.  But, I want you to know I get it.  I understand the heartache and pain that went into that decision.  I have tried to picture who was the young man that gave my little man life.  I just can’t.  We aren’t allowed any demographics.  All we know is our donor was male and close to our hospital.  Was he husband, a father, or maybe a college student.  What food did he like, what sports did he like?  Was he artistic, or musical or athletic?  Whatever he was, he is Trayvon’s angel of life, nothing can top that ever.  He was a miracle at birth and a miracle at death.  I can only hope that one day I have the opportunity to return the favor to someone else. 

If you wish to contact us.  Please, do not hesitate.  We would be honored to know you more.  If you chose not to, we understand.  We would love to send you a picture so you can see your gift in action. 

So, the only really appropriate words that can do any justice at all to such selfless act are, thank you. 

With all of my love, and deepest sympathy and thanks,

Renee, mother of Trayvon