My tendency on here is to keep thing light, happy, and positive, but I'll warn you that this post may not be like that so much. This month has been rough for us - and while I know that it certainly could be much worse - I want to keep it real.
Our summer really kicked off with a short trip to Columbia, Missouri, and we left the day after Brianna finished school for the year. Chris needed to do some work in that area, and the rest of us just tagged along for fun and adventure. We were only gone about four days, but honestly it wasn't that enjoyable and we couldn't wait to get back home. The kids hated being in a hotel room all day while Chris worked and my patience with them was probably shorter than it should have been. We've done this several times before - where we stayed at the hotel all day while Chris worked - but for some reason it just didn't work out as well this time. They didn't sleep well (so we didn't sleep well either), and everyone was just kind of grumpy. I do have a few pictures from this adventure that I'll include in my Summer Recap post.
The first week of June was our annual church VBS. This is always a great week that we really look forward to. Chris is our VBS director, I teach a class, and our kids all love participating. Our theme this year was Soaring to Bible Places.
Chris always does a great job leading the big assembly.
Our kids' favorite song is one where they get to go up in front and "be" a profession :-).
Brenson as a doctor
Brooke as a teacher
Brecklyn as a Chef
Brianna as a mom
Chloe Jo as a farmer
I taught the 4 and 5 years olds this year. I was really looking forward to it because Brenson was in my class, but it wasn't a great experience unfortunately.
I had a few students who had serious behavior problems and were just more than I could handle. I'm talking like violent outbursts toward me and other students, throwing chairs, flailing on the floor, kicking the wall, screaming, yelling, completely-out-of-control type stuff. I have a degree in elementary education and have taught VBS and Bible classes for 12 years, and this is honestly the first year I have ever felt this way :-(.
It was bad, y'all. I had to send one student home, and a fellow teacher even sent me this with the caption, "Or at VBS", haha.
I did take a few pictures on the only night that went well.
Brenson gathering wheat
Alexis and Brooklyn gathering wheat
Three cute students wearing their listening ears
Our VBS group one night
I have never been so thankful for VBS week to end!
Unfortunately, I can't really say the following week was much better. On Monday, the pump on our septic system went out. We had to spend $500 to have it replaced which was a hard pill to swallow considering we plan to sell our house in less than a month. Ugh.
Then, on Thursday (June 16), Chris ended up in the ER. The morning started like a normal morning . . . I was getting ready for the day while Chris was doing breakfast with the kids. He was already all dressed and ready for work. I walked out into the living room a little after 7:00am, and he was laying on the couch. I immediately knew something was wrong because he was as white as a sheet (and, he was laying on the couch!) He was having severe pain in his side, so I got him some water and had him change positions a few times. The pain was getting worse and then the vomiting started! He decided that I needed to take him to Urgent Care immediately. I called my sister to meet us there and started flying around the house trying to get everyone loaded up to go. We got to Urgent Care right when they opened, and they took Chris back almost immediately. About 15 minutes later, a nurse came into the waiting room and called me back. My sister hadn't made it there yet, so I had all of the kids follow me back to where Chris was in a room. He was still in severe pain and vomiting, Brecklyn was screaming because a nurse tried to talk to her, and the doctor tells me that they want to take Chris to the hospital via ambulance because he was too sick to be at Urgent Care. Sigh. I declined the ambulance, loaded everyone into the van, and headed for home. My sister arrived just as we were pulling out of the parking lot, so she followed us to my house. Just as we pulled onto our street, Chris started yelling for me to drive faster, and before I was even able to get the van stopped in our driveway he jumped out and starting vomiting in the yard.
I got him into our car and drove to the ER. As soon as we got there, they started loading him up with pain meds to help him relax. After two doses of one med and one dose of another, he was finally relaxed enough to fall asleep.
My sister was preparing to leave the country, so I asked Meme if she'd go to our house and watch the kids for us. Meme sent me this pic of the twins . . . I think they weren't too impressed with being left, ha!
Six hours, lots of testing, and more pain meds later, we were sent home with a diagnosis of Gallbladder issues. I wasn't so sure about this as it really didn't add up to me, but the ER's CT scan machine was down so that was basically the best guess the doctor could give us. He did say to come back to the ER if the pain moved.
Chris stayed home from work on Friday but wasn't feeling much better. During the night that night, he started having more severe pain in a different place. I was super reluctant to wake all the kids and haul them to the ER in the middle of the night, so I decided to call my brother-in-law, Russ, and ask him to take Chris. He graciously agreed and got to our house at about 3:00am to pick Chris up. They were super quiet, but somehow the twins knew something was going on and both woke up. I brought them to my bed hoping they would snuggle in and go back to sleep, but they just wanted to par-tay!
This time, Chris was given a diagnosis of kidney stones and kidney failure. Those are pretty scary words to hear (the kidney failure part)! He was also told that because of the kidney failure, he could no longer take the pain meds that were actually helping his pain. He has had kidney stones several times before, but he said this time the pain was different and in a different place. He spent the remainder of Saturday in bed. On Sunday, he was actually feeling better so we went to church that morning. During the afternoon, however, his pain returned to the point that he was vomiting again.
The ER doctor told us to see Chris's urologist ASAP, so he stayed in bed most of Monday while I got him an appointment to see Dr. T. My parents were coming into town that afternoon because they were flying out of our local airport the next day for a mission trip to the Marshall Islands. They got into town just in time for me to leave my kids with them to take Chris to his appointment (he certainly couldn't drive). We found out that the pain was in fact being caused by a kidney stone that was lodged, and that his kidney was not in failure (praise God!) We scheduled an outpatient surgery to have the kidney stone removed the next day.
Waiting to have his kidney stone removed - June 21st
Meme kept the kiddos for us during the procedure. It was a long day of waiting as we had to check-in to the hospital at 9:00am and didn't get home until after 4:00pm. Thankfully, everything went well, and Dr. T was able to get the stone removed. Chris returned to work (after a full week off) on Thursday, June 23rd, and I was so thankful to have things somewhat back to normal. He's a very high energy person and being sick is super hard for him. He hates to just lay around and it makes him especially grumpy when he also isn't feeling good. I'll just say it was a pretty rough week on everyone!
On Friday, June 24th, I loaded up the kids and took a little road trip to Conway, Arkansas to meet my sister-in-law, Shawna, my nephew, JT, and my niece, Kaylee. Conway is about mid-way between where we live and where they live, and I was picking up my niece so she could stay with us for the week. I'm not sure what I was thinking making a four hour drive with all four kids by myself, but it actually went pretty smoothly. And on the way back, I had Kaylee with me (she's 15), so it was much easier, for sure.
JT wanted a pic of him with the kids . . . Brecklyn wasn't having it!
So, we removed her from the picture and it was better :-).
We had a really fun week with Kaylee! She was a big help to me with the kids, and we all enjoyed just hanging out with her.
Kaylee helping Brianna with her summer homework
Splash pad fun!
It was nice for me to have someone who could read to the kids . . . they want to be read to ALL the time.
Kaylee's hair salon
Kaylee's nail salon :-)
Having fun playing LIFE
On the last day Kaylee was with us, we decided to tie-dye t-shirts. This is an activity we try to do every summer, and I was thankful to have a set of helping hands with the littles.
Bren and Kaylee ready to tie-dye.
Brianna and Momma
Brecklyn and Brooke started out in the pack n play. You can see from their faces how happy they were about the arrangement.
So . . . we let them out!
Bren was quite serious about his tie-dye.
I had Brecklyn help me with her shirt. She was sad she couldn't do it herself.
Brooke also wanted to hold the bottles of dye. Ummmm, no.
Brecklyn and Brooke with their shirts
Bren, Bri, and Kaylee showing off their shirts
I got the shirts all washed and ready to go, and we all wore them on our trip back to Conway to return Kaylee to her family. They looked so cute!
The trip from Conway back to our house didn't quite go as smoothly as my trip to Conway had gone, but we survived. I am, however, thankful that I won't have to do that again any time soon!
I do want to add one more thing. On the last night Kaylee was with us (Wednesday, June 29th), we all went to Bible class together. We had to drive two vehicles because we don't have room for everyone in our van. As we were leaving the church building after class, Chris took Bren with him and I headed home with all the girls. Chris planned to go get gas and milk, so I expected it would be a while before he made it home. When we got to the house, I immediately started getting everyone ready for bed. We had been home about 30 minutes when Kaylee told me that Chris had tried to call her twice. I hadn't even glanced at my phone since we'd left the church building. I grabbed my phone and saw five missed calls from Chris! Oooops. It turned out that his car had broken down about a mile from the church building. He had to call a tow truck, and they told him it would be 90 minutes before they'd be there. Chris had gotten a hold of someone from church who lived close, and they had picked up Bren and taken him back to their house with them. Poor Chris had just been waiting on the side of the road that whole time! I felt horrible. The silver lining of the situation is that because Kaylee was still with us, I was able to leave her with the girls (who were all asleep) and go to get Chris and Bren without waking everyone. We found out today that Chris's car needs extensive and costly repairs. Ugh. This is really bad timing as we're trying to save for our move, but we also don't want to buy a new vehicle at this time. Sigh.
Here's hoping our July is better than our June was!