With three surgeries coming up very soon, we've tried to be more intentional about our family time and family activities.  I think knowing that we have 3 months of casts & several hospitalizations hanging over our heads makes us want to just play and laugh and rest more while we can.

So we've been doing a family activity every night.  One night, we popped popcorn and all four cuddled up on our couch to watch a movie.  Another night, we had family wheelbarrow races.  Will won.  That kid can go far!  We played a math game another night.  I lost.  I don't do numbers very well.
On the weekends, we've tried to do some big special family things.  
I think we just want to make some special memories and do some things that might be more difficult for the next several months when half of us are in casts.
This is kind of difficult - trying to find indoor/warm activities in January that aren't around lots of other kids and potentially flu germs is tricky!

Knowing that bath time with casts will be very difficult/not happening for awhile, I've let the kids take baths in my bath.  

They then love playing in Mommy & Daddy's bed
 playing pretend "night night"

 tricking mommy that they are "asleep"

Today, R & I went to early church while Lovie babysat our kiddos.  (We are trying to keep them away from church nurseries and kiddos who may have been exposed to this awful flu recently.  Our kids can't show any signs of infections in the two weeks prior to surgeries so we are in quarantine time.)
As soon as we got home from church, we surprised them with the announcement that we were headed to a nearby indoor waterpark!
R was hesitant at first - a waterpark in January did not appeal to him.
But wow we had a fun family day!

Initially, Will was not deemed tall enough to ride the big slides or even to do the wave pool or lazy river without a life jacket.  But mommy went to bat and explained to the teenager selling tickets and then to the manager that although he looks small, he is big in his heart - and he is actually 5 years old & a great swimmer and an amputee so that affects his height.  I also offered to have him demonstrate his swimming... 
thankfully, they were very kind and made an exception for him and allowed him to do the slides!

We raced over and over and over on the waterslides

Ellie loved being splashed & swimming the lazy river.
She did do a waterslide but they don't allow people to ride together so she had to go by herself.  She was smiling and happy... until the very end when she got wet.

We played in the wave pool.

And rode waterslides

And shot mommy with waterguns

Afterwards, we came home, took late afternoon naps & woke up after 5pm!  We had a blast & were wiped out!

 We've also been playing in the rain 

One rainy day last week, I wanted to do something fun with Ellie but since I'm avoiding places like the Children's Museum, I wasn't sure what to do.
I called a friend and we got the kiddos in rain gear and headed to another friend's to feed her chickens in the rain.  A perfect way to spend a morning on a misty day.

I've been working out at 5:30am for the last week and then doing my big grocery store trip after my workout.  (I'm not am morning person but the grocery store is empty at 6:40am. It's awesome.  And I feel so productive before my children have even woken up!!)
But sometimes I have to go mid-week to get a few things.  Ellie has become a big helper now that she can push her own cart.
"retail therapy"

 There are several kids on our street -ranging from Ellie at age 2 to the oldest at almost 11.  They all play together almost every single day and spend hours running around outside.  I love it.  I feel like Will is making such good childhood memories of just playing outside.  He's having to learn how to work things out with other kids and how to entertain himself and play unstructured.  I've also started giving him some boundaries but allowing him some freedoms too - it's so fun to watch him grow up a little!
With all of our rain lately, they formed a "kids club."  This weekend they held their "annual Kid's Club Picnic" (annual part cracked me up) in someone's garage.  I was assigned to provide chips and fruit.  All morning, my front door kept opening with yelled out reminders of how many minutes I had remaining to get together my fruit.

They also painted a banner for their kids' cave.

Ellie cooked some breakfast in her kitchen the other day & unbelievably, Meow Baby actually came and sat down and "ate" with her.  I'm telling you - these two have quite a little friendship going on.  Precious.

Another big family activity we did recently was bowling!
We went last Saturday night and had a fun time.  (Mostly.  Kind of frustrating for Will but he will get it - just takes practice.  He's kind of a perfectionist.:)
Amazingly - I won both games!  Probably my best score ever.  (Nevermind that the bumpers were down.  That had nothing to do with my high score.)

Even Ellie practiced her bowling moves.

Posing after a strike.

We have a few more nights this week before heading to the first surgery and are planning some special family game nights.  
I guess, for me at least, a good "side effect" to a surgery is making me more intentional about family time and just having fun with my people.

The thing is, in the weeks and days and hours preceding one of my precious children having a surgery, I tend to be a wreck.  I cry a lot.  I apparently go on weird nesting kicks and organize my pantry and laundry room and tupperware drawer.  I cuddle a lot.  I pray and cry out to God.  I doubt every medical decision we have ever made and especially ones we are making right now.  I am short with my husband.  I have high expectations of my church.  I'm afraid to be vulnerable to my friends because I don't want to seem too needy or high maintenance.   I read and re-read and read again notes from previous surgeon's appointments.  I sleep more - it's a shut down thing for my brain.  I exercise more and I shop online more - I literally buy pajamas and yoga pants that don't have holes in them for wearing in the hospital.  I buy books on cd for my kiddos and pediasure for post op and clothes that I think will fit over casts.  I look online for cute houseshoes because hospital floors gross me out.  I talk to doctors and to friends who are doctors in search of affirmation and confirmation.  I read my Bible in hopes that in reading some ancient story about the early church or the Israelites that God will somehow insert a clear answer for me.
I cuddle my babies in the middle of the night and try to prepare my words to explain this to them tomorrow and the day of the surgery and the day after and when they are fifteen are question our decisions.

So.  The weeks leading up to a surgery around here are kind of heavy.  There's a lot on our hearts and on our minds.  This kind of stuff isn't covered in "What to Expect" books.  It's hard.  It just is.
Bowling and special bath times and playing in the rain and letting them just be kids with their friends and waterparks and wheelbarrow races make us laugh.  They get us away from doctors and research (or lack thereof) and notes and computers.  They get me away from organizing and cooking and panicking.  They let us be together and laugh a lot.
I think it's the best thing we could possibly be doing right now - laughing and playing together.

1 thoughts:

ywilbur said...

aaahhh...flu germs! My kids all got the shots but I'm the same in winter. At karate last Saturday there was a sibling about 3 or 4 hacking and coughing and not covering mouth...lots of us gave her mommy some looks but mommy seemed unphased and the little girl even coughed right in face of a man next too her who scolded her (and then we gave him some looks too...haha parents just can't win).

Because of the jaw issues (I think) JK gets everything that he 'can'. Had strep 4 times already. Strep..cleared...bronchitis...cleared.strep again...cleared...strep again...stomach virus...strep and finally now clear for 2 weeks!!!

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