a storm kit

A few Friday's ago I took the kids to the local pool. It was a muggy day, the week school got out and the local pool was the place to be. We met a friend and even Harriet and I got into the water to try to stay cool. But the clouds were building and the sky was growing dark and thankfully we were already beginning to load up because by the time we got in the car, it started raining cats and dogs. We got home and Rory said we should have a storm emergency drill, so the kids could practice going down the basement.

The thing is, our basement is not just another playroom. Our basement is literally from the 1890's, limestone walls, dirt and broken concrete floors, pipes, vents and storage. And the stairs to get down there require that everyone signs a waiver not to sue if they should collapse. Even Elsie has to sign the waiver. To have Ivar and Elsie "practice" being in the basement was actually a great idea, even though the storm didn't seem too severe. While down there I made a running list of things that would make the basement more accommodating for us. Like chairs. Or blankets.

Then a few nights later we watched a Daniel Tiger for family movie night that just happened to be about thunder storms. This episode showed a big storm coming to Daniel's town and his parent's had a storm kit with supplies to keep them safe.

Well you can imagine how excited my kids were to put together such a kit! We drew pictures of the things we'd need and then I took the three kids to the Dollar Tree where we got all sorts of exciting things to put in our storm kit: their own flash lights, batteries, special snacks and water bottles. Then we came home and gathered blankets, pillows, card games to play and books to read. I made a fancy sign and we put the Kit by the door to the basement for Dad to carry down.

And to their great joy, the very next afternoon, while Papa was here and I was living through day one of my concussion, the weather got so severe that they got to go down the basement! The kids were thrilled! They even went down the basement long before they had to. It was all very wonderful. Meanwhile, I stayed in bed and Rory told me he'd holler if I needed to take cover with them. I was so miserable that death by tornado didn't sound half bad.

Thankfully the kids survived and so did I. But I wanted to pass along this idea of a Storm Kit in case you have kids that are nervous of severe weather. Because this little kit has turned my kids into storm enthusiasts. Every time it rains they ask hopefully if we can go down the basement. Mostly they are hoping to eat a granola bar, but whatever. They aren't scared of severe weather and that was the goal!

Elsie's magic trick

Elsie: Mom, did you know that I am magical?

Me: I didn't know that. What's your trick?

Elsie: (seals her lips tight)

Me: Is that your trick?

Elsie: Yes, but did you know that I just said something? I did! But you couldn't hear it! I could hear it. I said, "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" but you didn't hear. So that's magical.

Me: Oh, yes. I get that. You are thinking things in your head, but not using your mouth to say the words. That is pretty magical!

Elsie: Also, (she runs from one couch to the other) when I run fast, my hair spreads out very lovely.


Another magical thing: My mom came and took the kids strawberry picking so that I got to play and make a pie and strawberry popsicles without doing any of the work of getting the berries. Magic.


Last Tuesday morning I got up to get Hattie a bottle, change her diaper and put her back to sleep. She usually wakes up once a night now, around 4 am. And then sleeps until 7. It's a pretty good deal as she goes down at 7 or 8.

But I got up and felt a little off, made her bottle and she was holding it as I changed her diaper on her dresser. I felt woozy and sort of knew I was about to faint. I called for Rory and by the time he got in the room I was passed out on the floor with Harriet quietly drinking her bottle on the changing pad. We thank the Lord she stayed still and didn't roll looking for me.

I hit my head on a wood desk on my way down and came to about ten seconds later, thinking I had been out for hours. Fainting isn't that uncommon for me. I have a lot of fainting stories...sometime I'll share them all. But I usually get to the ground before I actually faint. This time I didn't.

Rory got me back into bed and woke me occasionally to ask me questions. In the morning I stayed in our dark bedroom and napped. I ate some toast and iced my head. Noises bothered me. Rory's dad came over to watch the kids and we consulted my cousin if we should go to the doctor. She thought we should, but it wasn't until I had a vertigo spell and began throwing up that we decided we definitely should go. I had a new doctor who we loved and he ordered a CT scan that thankfully came out clear. He said I had a mild concussion, likely due to dehydration. I was ordered to sleep a lot, rest, and not look at any screens or read. I need to "rest my brain." What a great request!

So for seven days I've been napping an incredible amount, listening to a book on tape, and enjoying the good care of four grandparents who have all come over to take shifts with the kids.

I'm still not actually supposed to be on any screens. The doctor gave a two week recovery estimate. But I'm basically dying of isolation. It's amazing how disconnected a girl can be when she can't text, email, blog, read or watch any tv! I've broken the rules a bit, but I am trying to heal so here's to more books on tape...

Also, all of the information the doctor gave me on concussions referenced athletic injuries from full contact sports or car accidents. Very little was written about getting your concussion from full-contact mothering.

the little chicks

Almost two months ago, our niece Madi called to see if she could get a chick. She was on her way to a farm supply store and was deciding on a whim that she should get a chick. But she needed to be sure it had a home after it outgrew her apartment. Rory was thrilled to say yes, as he thinks animals are the most fun we've had in a long time, and is ready to support any animal adventurers. 

She called an hour later and nervously explained that there was a six chick minimum. She wondered if we'd take six chicks. And because we've got the room, we thought six sounded more fun than one and told her to go for it. One chick had been acting lethargic from the start and died the next day, but the other five chicks have thrived. Madi loved them like her own little babies, gave them baths and blow dried their feathers. And she gave them their own instagram account. Be sure to scroll to the beginning so you can see how teeny, tiny these chicks began.

They are adorable and we are pleased to have more chickens on our farm. Two weeks ago we got a text from Madi asking if we were ready for her chicks. She and her husband Chace brought them on a Saturday and it was a sad farewell. She really, really, really loved Pam, Taylor, Mountain Wind, Lindsay and Teensy. She even had a funeral for the sixth chick that had lovingly been kept in a ziplock in her freezer until she could give it a proper burial in our field. 

It was a sad goodbye, and though I couldn't promise to give them a blow dry each day, I did promise we would take good care of them. And Rory promised too. And maybe that is why he built them their own adorable little coop. We knew they couldn't go in with the big birds, but these ladies needed to get out the barn. They stink! Chickens are so smelly! The goats and lambs hardly have a scent. But five little chicks can fill the barn with chicken smell, and we were ready to get them out doors. 

So using nothing but scraps around his shop Rory built them their own adorable home sweet home. And they seem quite happy about their new digs. They spent most of the afternoon exploring the great outdoors which is quite the change from the walk-in closet they came from. But I promised Madi that the life we would give these chicks would be the very best life a chicken could ever hope for. Minus the blow dry.

lessons from ivar

Before church on Sunday I sat with the kids eating rice krispies and told Ivar, "Hey, I'm going to run upstairs and get you a different shirt or pair of shorts for you. Usually when you put an outfit together if you have lots of colors on your shirt you just wear one color on your shorts. Or if you have lots of colors on your shorts you pick a shirt that is just one color. So do you want to keep wearing your shirt or your shorts?"

Ivar looked down at his colorful duds and told me quite plainly, "Mom, I like this outfit. So this is the one I'm going wear." And then he looked back up at me.

I couldn't argue with that. I told him that was a great reason. In fact, I spent most of my morning at church praying that he never lose his sense of self and that I might grow in confidence to match that of my 5-year-old son.