There are many words to describe the week we had:
Wonderful: My mother and my two brothers flew up to Michigan to spend the week with us!
Adore: Those of you who know me know how much I adore my brothers.
Thankful: It is only by the grace of God that my mother and I have a relationship. I am so thankful for the way He continues to work in that.
Terrible :While they were on the plane en route to the north, we were in the doctor's office discovering that Clara, Megan and I all had strep throat and that we were all highly contagious until we had an antibiotic for 24 hours. Ummm...ok..... Have I mentioned that we are living in a small house? Highly contagious..... small spaces.... ugh...
Sad: Once their plane landed, I called my brother and suggested that they hang out in Chicago for a few extra hours. That would give our antibiotics a little more time to kick-in and would also put them here closer to the little ones bedtime, which would hopefully reduce their exposure. We, then, went all over the house wiping doorknobs with Clorox wipes and spraying Lysol. That delay was very sad for me because I was SO excited to see them.
Hopeful: When I woke up the next morning, I felt a little more like I belonged to the land of the living, so once we were all up, fed, and dressed (about 1:00), we got out and about a little.
Chocolate Overload: One of the first places we went was the South Bend Chocolate Company. That has become a favorite place to take visitors. As many times as we have been, my kids never seem to get tired of it. What's to get tired of? A tour about the history of chocolate , the room where they make all of the individual chocolate candies, surrounded by the smell of chocolate, making your own chocolate spoon out of the smoothest chocolate ever, touring the museum about history of chocolate...complete with the world's largest heart-shaped candy box, and then, shopping for chocolate!
|The older of my two brothers, Thomas, my mother, Ellen, and my youngest brother, Drew|
|Alyssa and Emilie|
|Ready to watch the movie about the history of chocolate. This is where "Koko", the talking cocoa bean the little girls love so much lives.|
|Gigi and Emilie with the world's largest heart-shaped candy box. I wonder who ate all of that?|
I think I just gained ten pounds.
We all had stomach aches when we left there...but oh, it was so very yummy!
Inspiring: We all went to watch Clara do her therapeutic riding. I don't know if everyone else was as inspired as I was, but I never get tired of watching her ride a horse. That little girl inspires me every day.
Music: OK...not sure that was the right word, but we took them to The Woodwind Brasswind. That is a pretty exciting place for me. When I was in high school and college, if I ever needed anything music related, their catalog was the first one I went to. Instruments, cases, sheet music... you name it. So, it is so neat to go to the actual place where the company is after ordering from them for all those years. I had already taken Alyssa by there to pick up a band book, but we thought her uncles, who also love music, would like it, too. It did not disappoint. I wish I had some pictures of that, but honestly, at that point, I was so tired I cold barely stand up. I probably should have been in bed....
Adventurous: We took a trip to Shipshewana, an Amish town about 45 minutes from us. We got there later than we wanted to (you know...get up, get 7 people fed and dressed with one shower (one is broken)...and get out the door...it takes a while), but it was still very neat. I wish we could have gone and spent another entire day there. The part we saw was very 'tourist-y', but I know there are more authentic places, bakeries, bulk food stores, etc., if you get off the beaten path a little. No pictures for this outing either. I forgot my camera. Did I mention that I felt terrible? Oh..the count of people reminded me of one other thing:
Sickness: Yes, more sickness. By Wednesday, Jeff was sick, too. I assumed it was strep. Alyssa and Emilie had strep the week before, and the little girls and I got it this week. But it was worse...it was a virus. A virus that knocked him totally out commission until, well, he is still out of commission. On top of that, Emilie, in spite of being almost finished with her antibiotic from the week before, was getting worse. Her throat was better, but she was coughing like crazy...coughing so much I thought she was going to throw up. We took her back to the doctor, and I don't know officially what she has, but they did a breathing treatment, put her on a steroid and a new antibiotic, and prescribed her an inhaler and within a day she was much better. She and Jeff both missed Amish country. :-( It was a perfect day for the rest of to get out of the house, though, because those two needed their rest. They just laid around together all day. It is hard to rest if you are in a small house with 9 people. :-)
Selfish: As in, "I can be very selfish." On Thursday, my brothers left to go to Chicago. They wanted to spend some time there, and I definitely wanted them to be able to go have some fun, but selfishly, I wanted them to stay with us....but why would they want to? It was like a sick ward at our house! They did have a great time, though. They got back late in the day on Friday and I was able to take them, and my mother, on a tour of The National Ministry Center, the Camp, and I drove them past the beautiful Pastor's Lodge. That was exciting for me to be able to show them a little more about the ministry we are serving with.
Valentines!: Our family arrived on Valentine's Day, but in light of the previously mentioned 'sick' situation, we did not get to do all of our celebrating. The girls had made Valentines cards for everyone and we had flowers for my Mom, but we had also baked cookies that we could all decorate together, and that did not happen until Thursday night. By then, we were all feeling much better, and things had settled down some. Thomas and Drew missed it (they were in Chicago), but I think my girls got a thrill out of decorating cookies with their Gigi.
Weird: Weird weather, that is. I wish I had taken a picture yesterday so I could show you the difference in our weather. Just one week ago, our backyard looked like this:
Now, you can see the grass, bushes, playhouse, and flower beds that have been buried in snow for two months.We had a few days of sunshine and weather in the 50's. While I did not complain, I thought that was very strange for Michigan this time of year. The girls were hoping to play on the playground at the Camp since it was so pretty outside, but when we got there, the whole pay area was a mud hole from the two feet of melted snow, and the wind was brutal.
Today, however, is supposed to be cloudy with a snow/sleet mix. Nice.
Exciting: Clara was invited to a birthday party by a little girl at church. I have been praying so hard that each of our girls would make friends, so this was a huge blessing!! These two hit it off on Clara's first Sunday there. They only live about three minutes away (literally), so I am hoping there will be play dates in our future.
Disappointing: While we had a great week together (as great as you can have while battling all the 'ick'), we ran out of time to do everything we wanted to do. I guess they will just have to come again. :-) Sadly, I dropped them off at the airport last night. I cried like a baby again, but this time, I was not on a train being gawked at by other people. :-) I was in the privacy of my very own van, battling for my life as I tried to make my way out of Chicago. (I need an "avoid the 'hood'" setting on my GPS. Very scary.)
So that was our week in a nutshell. Our first official visitors came and went. Strep throat came and went, lots of other "yuck" came and...well...almost all of it went. There were many blessings in it all. Family, new friends, and miraculously, Clara was the least sick of all of us. The only way I can explain it is that God protected her. Strep and an ear infection...(did I mention the ear infection ON TOP OF the strep?)... could put a Mito kid in the hospital. I am very thankful for this extra measure of grace this week. I am also praying very hard that my mother and brothers stay healthy.
On a different note, I want to ask you for prayer. My heart is so heavy, and has been so heavy for almost two weeks now, as I am hearing more about some mito kids and their families. One, in particular, has lost her battle with mito at the age of 3. I don't know her or her family personally, but could you please keep them in your prayers? It has to be terrible enough to lose your little child, but to lose her to this disease is to watch her suffer for a long time. I cannot imagine her parents' pain right now. Another family has a little daughter who is 3 years old (I think) and is suffering greatly with complications from the mito. They are fighting hard for her life right now, but the doctor's have said that they don't think she will survive the latest complication. I am praying for healing for this sweet girl right now. When you find out your child has Mitochondrial Disease, it kind of sends you reeling. You grieve and everyone grieves differently and to different degrees, but it usually comes in waves....the waves often determined by the 'new' piece of information you get from your doctors. There is one more family heavy on my heart who I have come to care very deeply about. They have a son who is about Clara's age, and his Mama is just struggling right now with all of the implications and unknowns with this disease and how it is going to affect his life now and in the future. For the sake of privacy I will not give more details, but when you pray for them, God will know who it is and the perfect way to comfort them. Thank you for praying!
Hopefully I will blog again very soon about a new development in our household. It's good news, but it's going to have to wait. This post is long enough.
Have a blessed and healthy day!