Liquid Sanity

Do you ever feel like you are under so much pressure your brain is physically vibrating in your skull and your head is literally going to explode out your ears? Nearly every day I experience this sensation while trying to balance all 4 little ones amongst a million other things. I wanted a picture collage to remember how I survived with at least most of my faculties about me. I entitled this collage “Liquid Sanity” which is provided by my Tassimo coffee system. It allows me to make any beverage served at your local coffee shop right in the convenience of my own kitchen. . . A life saver to be sure.

A special thanks to my brother Jeremy for this jaw dropping rendition of the traditional Ringsmuth family doom birthday song for Evan’s 5th birthday last week (not 6th birthday).

It has been an adventurous, devastating, exciting, terrifying, satisfying, and at times overwhelming month in the Tynes household. I feel like I could write a book on it (that no one would publish), though this blog entry by the time I’m done might be as long as a book.

Evan had a major accident at church a couple of weeks ago. I was running really late after Awana to pick up the kids so I ran into the children’s church room and told Evan he needed to run so we could pick up the other kids. He got up to run with me while trying to gather his things up. He tripped at full speed over some chairs, and hit his face on another chair. Long gory story short, Stephen rushed him to Scottish Rite, Atlanta’s children’s hospital, with a major cut on his lip and serious teeth issues (though he was excited to drive 100mph on the way to the hospital because that is as fast as Lightning McQueen). His teeth went clear through his lip and he needed 4 stitches. Actually, he probably needed more, but they stopped at 4 because he was in so much pain.

At first they told us he might be able to keep his badly damaged front two teeth along with the other 6 that were damaged in the fall. However, by Monday it was clear to the dentist that they would need to be pulled. They were getting looser by the day and were affecting his bite and ability to eat.

The real clincher is that at church 4 days after Evan’s fall, Harrison fell and cut his lip and chipped a big chunk of one of his front teeth out as well. I took both boys to the dentist for work the next day. Harrison ended up getting baby style crowns on the tooth that chipped in church and another one he chipped last year (though the crowns mysteriously disappeared from his teeth today). I came home from the dentist to be handed back a very fussy baby who later that night cut his first 2 teeth. Man, was I scratching my head.

I spent 5 days in a tunnel of guilt and physical agony watching Evan suffer and heal. I spent a lot of time in prayer, pleading with God that he would not lose any teeth and have to spend the next 2 or 3 years without them. Then that Monday when the dentist saw fit to pull his front two teeth from the mangled mess in his mouth I stepped behind Evan’s chair and discreetly wept for 5 or 10 minutes (while the dentist reassured me) until I could get it together. I took a deep breath, stepped back around the chair, knelt down ,and with the bravest, most non-chalant front I could muster, explained to Evan what was going to happen. I endured the procedure with great pains, though Evan was completely and innocently unconcerned with it all, and when it was done, I made a decision to shed my guilt and move on.

Later after Evan told me he did not want his front two teeth gone, I explained an important bible story in my life to my son. King David had an illicit affair with another man’s wife. When she was discovered to be pregnant, David had her honorable husband killed. God told David the baby from their union would die and when the baby became sick shortly after his birth, David spent several days naked, on his face before God begging for the life of the child. When the baby finally did die, instead of mourning, he stood up, brushed off, got dressed and moved on. When questioned about this odd reaction, King David said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live’. But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me”.

I told Evan we needed to deal with this in much the same way. My incessant desire to rush and rush and cram so much into my life caused this injury on my son. We prayed and prayed before the Lord that Evan would keep his teeth. When God saw fit for Evan to lose them, and it was over and done with, we needed to brush ourselves off, get dressed, keep our faith in God and His sovereignty, and move on. In the grand scheme of things it really isn’t a big deal, but I did learn a very valuable lesson that I will carry with me into a more effective life with the Lord and my family.

On another front, last week Stephen and I embarked on a first for us as a couple. We went backpacking through Smokey Mountain National Park (sans kids) in North Carolina. It was all “primitive camping” which essentially means you have nothing but what you can carry on your back and body and a flatish spot to set up camp, absolutely no facilities, and rarely another soul for miles, all to see completely undisturbed peek fall foliage in the heart of a huge and beautiful national park.

It is certainly not something many people get to do. There is so much preparation and specialized equipment /clothing that go into making something like this possible. It was not my idea of fun per se, but it was an adventure and interestingly satisfying. There is nothing like dragging a pack 1/3 my body weight 18 miles up and around a mountain or two, especially after just having a, or more accurately, 4 babies. My idea of a great getaway is room service, Jacuzzi tub, and warm beach sand; however that doesn’t bare the same kind of fulfilling sense of accomplishment. Backpacking like this certainly serves to make you appreciate the life you left behind.

An interesting challenge was trying to deal with a situation I called “primitive pumping”. Where to pump and how to dispose of a total of a few quarts of breast milk in a way that wouldn’t attract bears dominated a lot of our conversation, time and energy. I had to fight through some extreme bear anxiety while I was there, and that situation certainly didn’t help my nerves any.
Though you lose a lot of dignity in a situation like this, there is definitely something distinctly womanly about being lead by your manly-man husband right into snake and bear country with only 7 seconds worth of bear strength pepper spray and 2 backpacks and watch him work it all out just as it should. I never went hungry or thirsty, and he never complained about two 30 degree, middle-of-the-night runs out into the woods to pee. It was a bonding experience to be sure.

It was wonderful to return home to 4 happy kids and my mom who probably could write a blog of her own on the adventure and endurance involved in caring for our litter of young’ns. I look forward to the day the kids are old enough to tag along.

-had a day out on the town with just mommy a couple of weeks ago. We went shopping all morning long and ended up buying her a Snow White gown for her to play dress-up with. Then when I told her she could pick anywhere she wanted to go for lunch, she picked the local pizza dive. It didn’t really seem like a great conclusion to a girly morning to me, but there was no talking her out of it. Then I thought to bring her to a tea house where she could actually wear her princess dress. She was totally thrilled with that idea. The staff was wonderful about it. They did everything but bow to Princess Julia. We had a high afternoon tea together with all kinds of delicate little foods to eat and hot pink tea. She was in heaven. We need to do more stuff like that. It was fun to get time to just visit with her and not have to yell over the boys’ racket.
-Her drink of choice is and always has been water.

-It is hard to believe that a kid can go from not saying a single word to saying a sentence like, “I actually want a butter knife because I want to cut my own waffles”, in less than 18 months.
-Uses the word “nother” a lot. For example he says things like, “Wash my nother leg, mommy”, or “Where is my nother car”?
-Has for the past year or so had an obsession with “Lightning NcQueen”. He usually laughs like I am joking when I tell him his name is actually Lightning McQueen, though yesterday he actually started saying his name correctly. He has many of the cars from the movie here to play with and plays almost exclusively with those toys like they are his best friends.
-Has conversations between his cars that he gets from the Veggie Tales CD we play in the car. He will say, “Say, Lightning NcQueen, do you know that God’s way is the best way?” and Lightning will say whatever Larry the Cucumber would say next. I don’t think he knows at all what he is talking about, but it amuses me none-the-less.
-Has been potty training lately. So far it has been pretty stress free after the first day or two of horror. I have not been as disciplined as I should be to make it go more quickly, but he is getting it.
-His drink of choice is fruit juice.

-Through Evan’s ordeal with his teeth and mouth I watched him mature more in one week than he has in the past 3 years combined. I went from a mom who adored her son to a mom who also respected him a great deal. I got to see a bit of his real make up, who he is and will be. At not yet 5 years old, he exhibited bravery, resilience, and the priceless ability to put things behind you and move on rather than wallow in them, all characteristics worth respect for sure.
-Finally learned to pump in a swing, after stubbornly refusing to even try, on 10/2/08.
-One day after sharing his excitement with me for receiving two lion gummy vitamins, I said, “Does that mean you are now part lion?” to which he said, “NO! I am part man part super-hero”!
-UGH! I can never remember to get a picture of him riding his bike! He started to learn at the beginning of the summer, but after the baby was born we didn’t take him again until August. He picked it up pretty well in about an hour’s time, though I still have to get back out there with him again to practice some more. It’s hard to chase one kid on a bike and leave the other 3 behind.
-His drink of choice is chocolate milk.

-Cut his first 4 teeth within about a week’s span, 3 of those were in a 2 day span. His first two were cut on 10/14/08.
-He also rolled for the second fake time on 10/14/08. He rolled in August once, then that time last week, and not since.
-On 10/13/08 I noticed for the first time that he was responding to his name.

-His drink of choice is still mommy’s milk as that is all he has had to date.

Harrison is “Leaving on a Jet Plane”. This John Denver gem is his favorite.

Evan played T-ball with his friend Ryle. These two T-ball pictures are courtesy of Ryle’s mommy, whose name is also Rochelle.

T-ball was followed by a slumber party in Ryle’s cool tent.
Harrison learns to peddle.

Evan drew Harrison this semi-truck complete with an H.

Hands are pretty much overrated.

Weird fort made out of floor mats.

Evan seemed very delayed in his fine motor skills. One day a few weeks ago he colored these toddler looking pages. I was getting a bit concerned. I stood behind him to watch him color and realized he was coloring with his whole arm. I held down his arm and wrist and told him to move the paper where he needed it and just color with his fingers. . .

. . . 5 minutes later he colored this.

Here super man learns to pump in a swing. . .

. . . while Eli sleeps in his. This cannot be comfortable.

Evan took this picture. Too bad it’s a bit blurry.

Harrison and Daddy mow the lawn.

Daddy and the kids love late night campfires.

My poor baby at 1:00 in the morning after returning from the children’s hospital.

The next morning after “the incident”.

We decided to lighten the mood by taking the kids to the Rodeo down the street.

It was good family fun. . .

. . .while Eli slept.

I dealt with the pain of Evan get his teeth pulled by watching it from behind my camera.

Here are Harrison’s chipped teeth before they were capped (and actually as they are today since I noticed today he already bumped them out).

Here are his new caps while they lasted.

Such a big boy smile!! He really looks adorable.

Julia’s princess tea party with just Mommy. I had to take this picture with my phone.

This is one of those priceless mastercard moments.

Very special.

On a hike with the kids trying to break in my new hiking boots before the big trip. . .

. . . while Eli slept. Does this kid do anything else? He eats.

It took 2 hours to make this 2 story monster truck garage complete with a ramp, but it has fueled their imaginations for many times that long.

Julia’s hard earned AWANA Cubbies vest.

Remember this picture? This is actually my idea of a vacation.

This is Stephen’s. What you are looking at here are my new hiking clothes and my pajamas for a few days. It was SOOOOO cold at night.

This clump of trees marked by the lovely red arrow was our restroom facilities for the first night of our trip.

I am helping to cook dinner. It is a freeze dried meal in a bag. . . just add water. It actually wasn’t as bad as it sounded, especially as hungry as we were after hiking 5 or 6 miles with those packs.

Here is our camp site the first night.

We saw this bright pink tree in the canopy and thought of Julia.

I am crossing a creek over some rocks with my 41 pound pack.

A view from the top of the world.

I only had 100 feet or so to go to get back the car at this point. . . I was pacing myself. This day in 3 hours we descended 4000 feet or so down the mountain we camped on top of the night before. This was WAY harder than climbing the mountain. I was hurting.

UGH! I forgot to turn on the auto focus. . . Anyway, here is Evan making his 5th birthday cake. This is supposed to be time with just Mommy, but Evan invited Julia to watch.

He wanted dinasours to watch Lightning McQueen and his friends race around a track.

He got this camera for his birthday so he could take off with his passion for photography.

The birthday party he wanted was with his friends at a mini-golf course.

Evan with Kyle Egner at his party.

Followed by pizza, cake, ice cream and a sleepover at our house. Caleb & Kyle Egner and his friend Ryle attended his sleepover party.

Here are Eli’s 4 new teeth. He was a bit unhappy with me.