Tuesday night I made a mistake and kneeled down on my bed with my foot bent underneath me instead of flexed like it is supposed to be at all times…and the bones shifted out of place. DRAT IT ALL! They are so confused about where they need to be and the ligaments are not helping to orient them at all, so they keep trying out new locations in my foot. I am so hoping we are not back at square one, the place we were at 3 1/2 weeks ago. The last few days have been pretty painful and Wednesday I gave into a bit of grumpiness again. I am trying to focus on the bigger picture of trusting God, loving others, and accepting what is so these these little setbacks don’t get me down.
Sometimes I feel I might never get better, but I am holding on to the firm hope that I can. I absolutely believe I can overcome these injuries, build my muscles, and help my body learn how to live effectively with its connective tissue. I know I will always have hypermobile joints that are prone to injury, but if I can get better long enough to build some muscles, I will be in a much better spot. Each step forward seems to be met with several steps backward (or are they leaps?) and I don’t know how many injuries and weeks spent in bed my muscles can endure before they completely atrophy. My entire body is getting weaker by the day and it is going to take some serious effort to build any muscles back.
Today several ribs are tender, my shoulders are uneven, and my poor foot is super sore, so it is another weekend to be spent in bed. But I am going to do my foot exercises as much as I can, play some games with Fisher and Annes, read some more Wilberforce, and get some good naps.
It is time for my courage to persevere to emerge. Ready, set, shine!
My biggest strength as a homeschooling mama (well, aside from my absolute determination) is my love of reading out loud to my children. They love, love, love me to read to them. I guess I have all sorts of voices and zest that make it fun. I don’t really try to read in voices, it is just how I read…full characterization all the time. Fisher and Annesley will sit for hours and have me read to them which is pretty fortunate since I have spent so much time in bed the last two years. Snuggling in bed with them and reading the afternoon away is a common activity. When my voice or energy level give out, we stop and pick up again the next day.
Tonight we read “When Mindy Saved Hanukkah” for the first time. I must have picked it up at used book sale at the library some time ago, but I have never looked at it until Annesley brought it in and begged me to read it to her. Oh my goodness, it is so darling! All of you Jewish lovers out there need to find this book and savor the delightful story with your little ones. It is about a family of teensy people…really teensy, like the Borrowers…who live in a Synagogue and do not have any candles for Hanukkah. They need to sneak out to the Synagogue to get a big candle to melt into little candles. When the dad goes out, a cat attacks him. So then the girl of the family decides she is the one who must go and with great courage she ventures out to find a candle in spite of the possibility of being eaten by the cat. It is so, so cute!
It looks like it is out of print, so check out your library and used book stores to see if you can find a copy.
p.s. Sheri you must borrow it!
Annesley and I are starting a new adventure together – learning to read! She has been playing with our moveable alphabet, writing her letters, and playing alphabet games like the Bob Books and the lovely Montessorium apps on the iPad for quite some time, but last week she decided she was ready to put in the time to learn to read. I decided to start out with the I See Sam app and see how she responded to it. I have dozens of reading curricula here in my house and different programs have worked with different children, so I thought we would just try it out and then adjust as necessary.
Well, she loved it! Each book starts out with a few sounds to master. Then the next page lists the new words that are in the book. Then the story with those very few words. By the end of the 17-20 page story, those words are pretty darn cemented in the child’s mind.
So, we started out with /I/, /s/, /S/, /long e/, /a/, and /m/. Her words were I, see, and Sam. The first time was pretty challenging for her to put those sounds together and she wanted to look at pictures and tell her own story. But then she made all her words with the movable alphabet and wrote them down and they started to make it into her mind.
Yesterday we opened up I See Sam and this time it clicked! She could put the sounds together and make sense of them. She read all of Book 1 to me. Then she read it to her grandma. Then she begged me to allow her to read Book 2. To my great surprise, she read the whole thing with a giant smile on her face, high fives after each page, and a big hug for me at the end.
We have used Jolly Phonics, Happy Phonics, Reading Without Tears, Learning to Read with the Book of Mormon, The Writing Road to Reading, Bob Books, Phonics Games, Explode the Code, and several others I can’t remember now and while I think they all have their merits, I really love the I See Sam app. I love how simple the books start out with just five sounds and three words. It builds success quickly for the child and focuses on mastery of just those few components before moving on. There are not any sounds in the words that you haven’t been taught. So many early reading programs expect sight words to be known right from the get go and that has always frustrated my children. Annesley’s favorite part is the microphone. You can hit the mic button and record yourself reading a page or the whole book. Last night after she completed reading Book 2 for her papa, she went back and recorded herself reading it and then giggled herself silly while listening to herself. Then she added in all sorts of emotion and shouting to bring the story to life and recorded it again. So fun!
Then we made Annesley’s Reading Book, a notebook with all the words she knows. We are putting one word on each page and then she can practice writing that word all over the rest of the page.
Today we will be writing her known words on index cards, hanging them up on the wall, and letting her throw a ball at the word I say. Along with our moveable alphabet, we are also making up a little activity box with magnetized Bananagram letters and a small cookie sheet.
I am convinced that helping a child learn to read can be magical. I am really hoping that with this fourth child of mine I can take all the lessons from the past three and put them to good use so it is magical. So far so good!
“I love you bunches,” he said as he kissed me goodbye this morning. “Really?” I replied as I nuzzled my face closer for another kiss. “Yes, I love you,” he insisted. “But I am so broken,” I murmured back in my almost still dreaming voice. With more kisses on my cheeks and lips, he tried again, “Only your ligaments,” to which I retorted “and my cartilage and my bones and my blood vessels.” And then this gem escaped his lips and entered my heart and changed me forever, “Ah, but those aren’t important, they’re not you, they are only the container that holds you. You are so much more than your body.”
He takes my breath away with his kindness and goodness and patience.
And boy, howdy, I love him.
Yesterday we had a special stake conference with Elder Godoy of the Quorum of the Seventy. He talked a lot about family relationships. He asked us how long our family had been in the church…what generation of church members we are. I counted back and figured out I am the seventh generation member.
My heart swelled up with joy at the thought of being seventh. Keziah Keturah Van Bethuysen Rollins, James Henry Rollins, James Watson Rollins, George Leon Rollins, Myrtle Easton Rollins, Dorothy (my mama), and me!
Seven is my favorite number. It is sacred and oh, so very dear to my heart. I was born on the 7th at 7:00, weighed 7 lbs. and my mom was in the delivery room for seven minutes. In Hebrew, another one of my great loves, seven/sheva means holy, complete, covenant, fulfilled, perfection and basically everything good and wonderful you could ever think of. I am so in love with seven I gave one of my children the middle name of Sheva…really Elisheva…but we call her Sheva.
I have always been in awe of my seventh generation grandma on my mom’s side, Keziah. She lived a hard life of hard work, sacrifice, and great faith. I grew up hearing of her struggles and triumphs and decided early on to be just like her. She raised brave children willing to do hard things…she is the mother of James Henry, one of the Joseph Smith’s bodyguards who was with him at Richmond jail and on the Zion’s Camp march, and the mother of Mary Elizabeth and Caroline, the girls who rescued copies of scripture from an angry, violent mob and hid for hours in a corn field while the mob searched for them. I wanted to be a mother like Keziah who would raise righteous children who loved the Lord and would do whatever He asked of them.
I have a pretty strong spiritual connection to the seventh generation mama on my dad’s side, Barbara Bortner. I feel all warm and squishy towards her and can’t wait to meet her. Her two daughters, Anna Marie and Jane are grandmas of mine on both my dad’s paternal and maternal side.
So here I am. The seventh generation of people who sacrificed all they had to follow the direction of God. My deep-thoughts-with-Tracy has me asking myself these types of questions:
- What legacy am I giving my children?
- What is my duty to my ancestors?
- What stories do my children need to hear to prepare them for their futures?
- What character traits do I want my grandchildren raised with and what can I do now to pave the way for that to happen?
- What can I do to nurture my children’s faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ?
- How can I strengthen our family relationships?
- What traditions will bind our family together?
- How can I more fully bless Richard’s life?
- What daily practices need to change in our home?
- Why did God place me in these family lines?
- Why did God give our children to us?
- What does he want us to do with this sacred gift?
- Do my children see love in my eyes?
- Do they feel my love in their hearts?
- What skills do they need to raise healthy, functioning families?
- How can I more fully involve my children in family history?
- Are my children being guided by the Holy Ghost?
I am going to spend some time pondering these questions and any more that come to my mind. Then I am going to act on the promptings I receive. Investing in my family is high priority for me. I am done surviving. I am done getting by. It is time to thrive as a family.
Banner weekend! So many of my posts are dismal and depressing, but here is one full of cheer!
Good thing #1: I have a comfy mattress! Wahoo!!!! For the first time in a long, long, looonnngg time, neither of my shoulders shifted out of place in the night! I can’t even tell you how incredibly thrilled I am at this turn of events in our life!
Good thing #2: My father called on Friday afternoon and said he was going to come and see me in a few weeks! Oh my stinkin’ heck. I almost died of shock and then I got all giddy. I have seen my father very few times since he left our home when I was 12 – 1986, 1987, 1992, 1992, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2009. He saw a Blythe when she was a few months old and then not again until five years ago when she was thirteen. Our other three has met just once. So this is a big deal. A huge deal. I hope, hope, hope my foot is all better by then so I can be up and doing stuff with him.
Good thing #3: After days and days of being confined to the four walls of my bedroom in an effort to heal this foot quickly, my sweetie took me to the movie on Saturday night. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is laugh-out-loud hilarious with its witty lines, inspiring with its message of pursuing your dreams, and flat out brilliant. I adored it and can’t wait to see it again. Garlic fries and a peppercorn burger hit the spot after the movie and I think I am buoyed up for a few more days spent in bed.
Good thing #4: Much of Saturday was spent reading about William Wilberforce. Oh, I love that man! His courage to do what he felt called to do filled me with resolve to do what God has called me to do.
Good thing #5: Today we had a special conference for our stake and during the talks, I had a lot of thoughts about my relationship with Christ, my children, my wifehood, and the heritage of faith I want pass to my descendants. Lots of good messages and I am going to spend some time this week pondering what God would have me implement in my life.
So, a good weekend, full of light and love, fun family times and spiritual renewal. Now I can enter the next week with a cheerful heart and a lighter spirit.
Our Annesley is growing up. I keep noticing all sorts of little things that say my baby girl is entering a new phase of her life. For one thing, she looks older. Her face is changing. I don’t really know how to describe it except to say it isn’t quite as cherubic as it used to be…thinner, a few more freckles, a look of seriousness in her eyes that never used to show up. Her body is lankier, getting longer and gosh, I don’t know, just different. Her legs seem stretched, her forehead seems bigger, and her hands are girl hands, not chubby, round hands.
She still comes in to my bed every morning and snuggles with me. It is our favorite part of the day. She tells me all about her nighttime dreams and I rub her back and clean out her eyes and smother her with kisses.
My body’s injuries have been hard on this wee one. She doesn’t really remember a time when my body wasn’t hurt. She keeps saying things like “I wwwwiiiiiiiiiiiiisssshhhh you didn’t have to be in bed all the time!” or “Why do you have to keep getting hurt? I want you to be all better and no one to ever hurt your feet again!” or “Mommy, do you think you will ever be better?” She is also very concerned for me with questions like “Mama, will that hurt your hip?” “Mommy, do you want to rub your neck?” This whole slew of injuries has sobered her. It hurts my heart for my little one’s childhood to be so different from her older siblings. No bike rides with me pulling her behind me, no hikes with her mama, no airplane rides on my legs or standing in my hands and balancing in the air. She is getting other memories and while I know I am loving her and nurturing her wondrous spirit, I sometimes wish I could wave my magic wand and give her back the last two years of her life with a functioning mama.
Annes and Fisher are best buddies, spending almost all of their time together. They love to explore our property, catch bugs and snakes, build their fort, sled all over the yard, and ride their bikes up and down our road. I am so grateful they have each other. Right now she is learning to read, loves writing her letters and playing games, dances around the house practicing her moves for her clogging class, and snuggling, snuggling, snuggling with anyone who will hold her. Her need for touch is enormous. I don’t know if it is possible to rub her enough. The other night all the children were gone to a play and Annesley was left home alone with me for the evening. We played Spot It and Battleship and she told me all sorts of stories. When it was time for bed she didn’t want to go sleep alone in the basement, so she climbed in bed with us and I held her just like when she was a baby. As I painted her face and rubbed her legs as she drifted off to sleep my heart welled up with love for this precious, precious, girl whose presence in our family is such a miracle. Sometime during that night of holding her it occured to me that there might not be many more of those kinds of nights left. There will come a day when she doesn’t need to sleep in my bed when her siblings are gone, when perhaps she won’t ask me to rub her and won’t start moving my hand across her back when I stop. And I will cry.
That night before she settled down in bed, she bounded over me to get my pills for me from my bin.
Me to Annes as she leaps precariously across my bed: Watch out for my foot!
Annes: I did! I was staring right at it!
Papa: What mama means is stay away from it, not look at it.
She says all sorts of crazy things in the course of a day.
You are the best mama in the whole, whole, wide world.
Her phrase of choice when she doesn’t get what she wants.
You hate me!
Keziah won’t let me rub her anymore unless I pay her, so now I just have to rub myself.
I love Jesus sooooooooo much. He is my bestest friend.
Fisher says I can’t be a chicken owner if I don’t help him feed the chickens! Harumph! I don’t wwwwaaaannnnnttttt to feed them today and now he is taking my chicken back! Why can’t he just do all the work?
Mommy, I love you. I’m so glad Heavenly Father gave me to you. Your belly is sure fat, do you think he is sending us another baby? I wwwwannnnttt a baby. I will take care of the baby all day long just like I take care of Oaklynn. You can stay in bed.
Oh, how I love this girlie. She reminds me so much of my little girl self. So much confidence, so much life, so much joy.
Gratitude is a game changer for me. It helps my brain focus on the precious, my heart enlarge with joy, and my soul to ccccaaaallllmmmm down. Thursdays are my days to think deeply about thanksgiving.
- If you have read WOK for any length of time at all, you know I have richly blessed with amazing friends. Today is another example of their awesomeness. Yesterday we made a plan for me to stay completely off my foot for 36 hours so I could have the cast-like tape removed and let me skin heal a bit from being wrapped up for so long. Being untaped means no getting out of bed except to crawl to the toilet every few hours. But then at 9:55 this morning, I got my email reminder that today is chicken day – 120 lbs. of chicken were waiting for me to pick up and then do something with…can, freeze, etc. Kat, Sheri, and her daughter helped us freezer pack my huge Zaycon chicken order in about 45 minutes!!! OMSH! They are amazing! It would have taken Blythe and Keziah hours and hours to do all that work by themselves, but six pairs of hands working hard together made the process easy-peasy.
- Last night I was blessed to attend a wonderful presentation by my friends, Bob and Tasha, on “When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade.” It was exactly what I needed – a kick-in-the-butt to try to see things from an eternal perspective and effective skills to experience peace in the moment of trial.
- A big, sobbing, sisterhood hug.
- Minestrone soup brought from a dear friend…so delicious and such a blessing to have delicious comfort food.
- A big bag of venison – thank you Vanessa!
- My Annesley was able to start taking piano lessons today. She is so, so happy! And I get to start the process of being a Suzuki mom again. Now that my girls are grown up and practice without me, I have missed those early lessons with my little ones and I am excited to start the journey again with some of the experience I have gained over the years of being a music mom. Surely I will be calmer and far more nurturing this time around, right?
- I’m so thankful to start off each day with heaps of kale deliciousness in my Keziah-made-green smoothies. I don’t know what I would do without that girlie.
- While it is hilarious to me that I have to be using one, my walker is a huge gift to my physical well-being. I’m sure taking the weight off my foot when I need to walk on it is helping those ligaments to heal.
- My sweetheart’s hand to hold while I try to sleep with this walking boot on. I don’t think I could make it through the long nights of foot pain without him.
- Having Blythe as a driver and errand girl is making staying in bed this time a lot easier. I’m so glad she finally has her license!
I am blessed beyond measure. Life is full of ups and downs and ins and outs and all sorts of cliffs and mountains and valleys and I love it. I am grateful to be able to live this life and have these gut-wrenching, awe-inducing, and soul-streching opportunities to grow and learn and most of all, to love.
I have learned some interesting anatomy stuff through this most recent foot injury. For those of you who are bored to death of anatomy here at WOK, just skip this post. For those of you who are fascinated by the whole body parts study like I am, read away…
My foot was not technically dislocated because dislocated has a specific definition outside of the obvious meaning of the words dis and located. I thought if one or two of the bones that make up a joint are not in the correct location then they are dis-located. Makes sense, right? Well, I guess there is more to it than that. An actual dislocation occurs when the bones are not in their correct location AND they tear the entire capsular sack when they move out of place. If the sack stays intact, it is not a dislocation regardless of where the bones are. Interesting, eh?
Having super defective connective tissue that stretches and stretches and stretches AND stretches complicates things a bit. My capsular sacks don’t generally break, they will stretch to timbukto and let the bones be waaaayyyy out of place and then sit there all stretched out and saggy with little ability to rebound back to where they should be. Even after the bones are put back into their correct places the poor, decrepit ligaments and fascia are over in left field wondering how to get back to home plate.
So most of the time when my joints slide out of place, they are not actually dislocating. They are far away from where they should be and much further out of place than is typical in a normal dislcation and my nervous system recognizes this and starts screaming at my brain that something is amiss, but they are not technically dislocated because the capsular sack is intact. Unfortunately there isn’t a good word to describe what is happening to me. The best word seems to be dislocation, but now that I know it isn’t completely accurate, I am on the search for a better term.
So, my talus was significantly out of place as were the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsals, but they weren’t technically dislocated…just sprained and super-duper sore.
I was able to see Jeremy today so he could work on my foot and put it all back together again. Good news! The talus stayed in position from Wednesday evening to this afternoon! Hip, hip hooray! Two smaller bones, cuneiforms (not the language, the bone!), were out of place and it hurt like the dickens to put them back, but my whole foot is feeling much better now that they are back in the correct spots and it is all taped back together. I am now back in bed for the night with my trusty robot walking boot and waiting for my sweetie to come home.
My job for the next week is to stay off it as much as possible, wear the walking boot in bed (oh, my, can I tell you I HATE WEARING THE WALKING BOOT WHEN I AM TRYING TO SLEEP), try really, really hard not to injure anything else, and I get to start some really simple bridging exercises that should work the muscles in my foot AND my hip. Last week Kat helped me find a new pair of Danskos to provide massive arch support to the talus while it is healing – so whenever I am out of bed, I need to wear them (they are ugly as heck, but they are doing the job that my ligaments can’t do, so I will bury my vanity in the sand and wear them). I’m also going to up my intake of Vitamin C with a product called Collagen C by my favorite supplement company, Standard Process, and try super hard to nurture a positive attitude. Jeremy says I have had an attitude at the last few appointments and it is true, I have been rather grumpy, so I am going to try to focus on the gazillion positive things in my life.
Me: She is learning how to apologize by how you apologize to her. Please, please use a kind voice and look her in the eye and give her a hug.
K: The eye? THE EYE! She is NOT a cyclops!
Me: Oh honey, please, can you just apologize?
K: I am NOT making lunch if you are going to keep talking to me.
Me: Oh sister, please bring out your best self.
K: You want me to apologize to a CYCLOPS?!?
This girl. This loud, obnoxious, hilarious girl who reminds me so much of myself and brings me SO much joy is also a fireball of crazy contention in our home. Laughter and prayer are my only hopes!