For the last few years I have documented a summer day in my life. Usually I premeditate this activity and take tons of pictures and copious notes.
At this end of this day I think a record is essential. I have a few photos to throw in, as well. This will count as my annual "day in the life" effort.
6:30 a.m. Gavin wakes me up. "Mom! When are we going to Arizona?" Groggily, I mumble, "Honey, I don't know." Gavin is frustrated with my response. "I don't want to go to 'idontknow.' I want to go to Arizona!"
6:45 a.m. I can't ignore the four children who are awake any longer. I get up and nurse Lexi. I have a migraine for the fourth day in a row.
6:55 a.m. I fold four loads of laundry. Putting the clothes away is Zach's job.
7:15 a.m. Kids get out cereal paraphernalia and begin to eat. I call the pediatrician to make an appointment for Zach, who has a painful, marble-sized lump near his Adam's apple. I'm trying not to get worked up about the possible explanations. The peds office doesn't take calls until 7:30.
7:31 a.m. I get through to ABC pediatrics. There's an appointment at 8:00. I take it, tell Zach to get ready, get Garry out of bed, then jump in the shower.
7:50 a.m. Hair and makeup done (thank you very much), family prayer said, I get in the van with Zach. Garry stays behind with the three youngest kids. He doesn't usually get to work until 8:30 or 9:00 anyway. I'm very grateful for the work/life balance Garry's boss allows.
8:00 a.m. We check in and see the nurse, then wait in the exam room for 45 minutes. Zachary bounces off the walls (quite literally) and drives me crazy. I read a pamphlet about ADHD, even though I know Zach is just obnoxious and not clinically hyperactive.
Zach took this cell phone photo upside down on purpose.
8:50 a.m. Dr. Kim spends five minutes examining Zach. He diagnoses Zach's lump as an infected lymph node. He asks about Zach's allergies. I tell him Zach doesn't have allergies. Dr. Kim begs to differ, saying Zach is "severely allergic" to something. Zach's sinuses are totally clogged, he has "allergic shiners" under his eyes, and his glands are enormous. Dr. Kim spends the next few minutes quizzing me on Zach's behaviors, sleeping habits, and physical traits. My mind is reeling. How did I not know that Zach had allergies?
9:05 a.m. I leave the peds office with a prescription for Augmentin to treat Zach's infected node. I am supposed to observe Zach for a month and follow up with Dr. Kim. I stop at Walgreens on the way home.
9:20 a.m. Zach and I get home. Garry goes to work. I call an allergy-expert friend, order an allergy book online, and make an appointment with an allergist. The first open slot is July 7, but Zach is on a cancellation list. I am totally overwhelmed.
9:38 a.m. I nurse Lexi and put her down for a morning nap.
9:38 a.m. Gavin steals my camera and takes three dozen pictures.
The sneaky two-year-old perspective of the family room, where Zach was playing Mario Kart.
9:50 a.m. Lexi is screaming in her bed because the boys are fighting and making crazy amounts of noise. I slowly start doing last night's dishes. My head is pulsating. I am nauseated. Is it nap time yet?
10:15 a.m. Zach and Tyler finish their morning jobs and start playing video games. Things settle down a little bit. I give up on Lexi's nap. I remember I forgot to ask the pharmacist to flavor the Augmentin. I call. It's not too late to add the flavor.
11:00 a.m. I start sorting the kids' toys. I don't get very far before fights break out downstairs. I decide it's time to pick up Zach's prescription.
11:15 a.m. We pull through Walgreens and then Taco Bell. We get Daddy's order and take lunch to him. I wonder if it's safe to drive with a migraine. It's definitely not safe to eat a taco. It nearly comes up when I hit a bump in the road.
11:45 a.m. The kids spread their lunch on the kitchen table at home. I strap the Littles in their chairs and retreat to the office. I just need a few minutes of silence...
12:00 p.m. The phone rings. It's the allergist's office. Someone canceled; can Zach come at 2:00 this afternoon? Despite being overwhelmed at the prospect, I am grateful at the divinely-orchestrated possibility of having more allergy information today, rather than in a month. I take the appointment.
12:15 p.m. I call a babysitter. We're trying a new one, hoping she works out better than the last. I'll pick her up in an hour. I realize that Zach's 1.5-2 hour appointment (plus travel time) will most likely eliminate the first day of swimming lessons today. The kids will be devastated.
12:30 p.m. I start picking up downstairs. What if we have a showing today?
12:50 p.m. I check my email, open the message with all of the allergist paperwork attached, then fill out five pages of information in my best/fastest handwriting.
1:00 p.m. I put Lexi to bed, and then Gavin. Gavin requires lots of cuddles and encouragement. When I finish with him, Lexi is still whining in her bed.
1:15 p.m. I leave four kids at home and pick up Holly the babysitter half a mile away. I zoom through my list of instructions and then remember to introduce myself.
1:20 p.m. Back at home, Lexi is crying. I get Holly settled with the other kids, then nurse Lexi to sleep. I apologize profusely to Holly for the state of the house, explaining that it's usually not so horrific and knowing full well that she couldn't care less.
1:30 p.m. Zach and I make the 20-minute drive to the allergist's office. I talk to my allergy-expert friend on the way. I appreciate the moral support. My head feels like it's going to explode.
1:55 p.m. Zach and I dash through the rain and into the office building, then check in. I feel like I've earned a gold star when I submit the completed paperwork. The receptionist is thrilled.
2:00 p.m. We are ushered to an exam room by a terrific nurse. I relate the day's history and the consultation begins. I start to wonder how much my life is going to change today.
2:30 p.m. Zach realizes he's going to miss swimming lessons.
2:45 p.m. The nurse administers 20 skin pricks on Zach's back, each testing for a different allergen. We wait for 15 minutes and monitor his reactions. I read to Zach from Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban while we wait.
Those red dots are from a marker, not blood.
2:52 p.m. Garry texts. We have a showing from 6:00-6:30 tonight.
3:00 p.m. Zachary has absolutely NO reaction to any of the allergens. None. The doctor and nurse (and mother) are flabbergasted. The likelihood of any severe allergies seems slim. We opt for a "watch and wait" approach with Zach. We discuss my other kids and their possible allergenic symptoms (all of which seem more pronounced than Zach's). I decide to have them all tested in the near future.
3:25 p.m. We leave the office. It appears we'll be able to make our 4:00 swim lessons after all....if we really hurry.
3:45 p.m. Zach and I arrive home. He and Tyler fly into their swimming suits and grab towels and goggles while I put the Littles in the van. I give Holly a check.
3:50 p.m. I pull out of the driveway, leaving Holly standing on the porch in the rain. I have called her mom, who agreed to pick her up. I wonder how my life became so totally insane.
3:55 p.m. En route to the rec center, I instruct the boys on where to go and how to find their classes. If they run into the rec center ahead of me, they just might make it on time.
4:03 p.m. I walk into the pool area with Gavin and Lexi in the stroller. I am overjoyed to see Zach and Tyler in the water with their classes. We made it!!! God is good.
4:05 p.m. I take the Littles to the outdoor patio, thinking Gavin will enjoy running around in the wet grass. He does. Lexi is content in the stroller. I pull out my cell phone and call the allergist's office to make appointments for Garry and the kids to be tested. Their appointments will be on July 7, 8, and 13.
4:15 p.m. Gavin doesn't appreciate my distraction on the phone and has a loud, dramatic tantrum on the wet cement.
4:20 p.m. I am finally done on the phone. Gavin wants to go inside. We wander around the pool deck, Gavin walking beside the stroller like a big boy. We say "hello" to the brothers and every other person in the building. I hope the next 20 minutes pass quickly. They do.
Both boys forgot to remove their watches before jumping into the pool. Will they keep ticking?
4:40 p.m. We are waiting with towels and flip-flops for Zach and Tyler as they emerge from the pool, dripping wet and beaming. I remember how miraculous it is that we are actually here and savor the moment.
This moment brought to me by a loving Heavenly Father.
4:42 p.m. We are running back to the van. Time to clean the house!
4:50 p.m. When we arrive at home, Garry is already there, working on the house. What a guy! I'm so grateful for the help. The Littles stay strapped in their car seats. Zach and Tyler change out of swim suits. Tyler puts on baseball stuff; he has a practice at 5:30. Zach collects snacks.
5:10 p.m. I start mopping the floor and wonder aloud to Garry when this lifestyle will end. It is totally insane! Garry moves the Crock-pot full of marinating pork loin to the garage.
5:25 p.m. With all the kids back in the van, I leave Garry to finish the mopping, dusting, polishing, and vacuuming. He'll have to hurry. The kids and I head to the park in the drizzling rain. I call my mom en route to give her an update.
5:40 p.m. The baseball coach hasn't shown up, presumably due to rain. We go back home. I finish the mopping. Garry has done everything else.
5:55 p.m. I abandon the morning's plan for a dinner of pulled pork sandwiches and take the kids to Chick Fil-A. I find it ironic that we are eating out on the one night in the past three weeks that I have made a plan for dinner in advance.
Chick Fil-A has fantastic customer service. Fantastic, I tell you!
6:25 p.m. The showing is done and Garry meets us for dinner. The three boys are romping happily in the play area. Lexi is still chowing down. My Dr. Pepper is taking the edge off my headache and providing a second wind. We all have ice cream cones and take a breath.
7:05 p.m. Bath time. I am relieved that Lexi has finally overcome her fear of the tub.
This girl knows how to say "cheese" for the camera. And how to look cute in new zippers.
7:35 p.m. Silliness and merriment ensue. It feels good to laugh, at least until Tyler, Lexi, and Gavin each head-butt Dad in the nose.
8:00 p.m. Family prayer. Bedtime.
8:10 p.m. I hook up the laptop in the basement, put my feet up, and begin to blog this crazy day away.
9:02 p.m. I remember the pork in the garage. I rescue the Crock-pot, stir barbecue sauce into the juicy shredded pork, and dump it into a bowl to refrigerate until tomorrow night. Tuesday's dinner: check.
Unless we have another day like today.