Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm a fool for you

Hopefully I posted this early enough that a few of you can steal some of these ideas for tomorrow.

The Katie Did blog I linked to the other day had some FANTASTIC April Fool's tricks last year. I've been waiting all year to implement them.

The colored milk in the cereal I used on St. Patrick's Day. The boys thought it was the leprechauns. It worked like magic.

I'm not sure if I can pull off the balloon thing. No one (besides me) ever shuts the door around here. Boys have no shame.

But the Jell-O/ Kool-Aid fake out is the one I'm most excited for. It's brilliant!

I'm also considering stuffing the toes of their shoes with tissue paper. But I may save that for a year the crazies are all old enough to put their own shoes on.

And possibly switching all the bags of cereal inside the boxes.

What do you think? And what tricks are you planning to play?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mike's Might

Mike is still fighting with all his might (and Mike's got a lot of might). He continues to improve as far as eye contact yet. But because nothing new is showing up in his brain scans, the doctors are hesitant to get excited about it.

Between you and me, I think it's something to get excited about.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Slim Slack

Blurry or not, you have to admit he's pretty cute.

As much as I love having a house full of boys, I have felt that I've really missed out on sewing for little girls. Nothing makes me want a little girl more than Katie Did's blog (you think maybe it helps that we share a name?). This dress (the second one with the wide stripes) being my absolute favorite (followed closely by these and these and these and these).

Sewing for little boys just isn't quite the same. I mean, there's Halloween costumes, but once a year? Come on! I made a few mildly successful attempts when Parker was an infant. I say mildly because, while they turned out fine, they were dorky. And the last thing I want is a dorky baby. I had sworn off sewing boys clothes by the time Parker was 5 months.

MADE deemed February "Celebrate the Boy" month. I found it completely inspiring. On Monday, I came out of retirement and made Grayden the "slim slack." I am really happy with how they turned out. And who can beat a pair of pants for 99 cents? They're made from a thrifted pair of men's slacks...eliminating the annoying things like zippers and waistbands. It was so easy. I whipped them out in one nap time.

gotta love the diaper ruffle

I was too excited about them...I had to post before I got to ironing.

...because Gray was having so much fun posing.

Love this kid!

I went back to the thrift store today so I could make some for Parker and Reid. New pants for Easter! I plan to make them all either a tie or bow tie as well. Fun huh?

POST EDIT: After I published, I realized that my wall color is exactly the color of my blog background. Hmmm. Maybe it's a phase.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Luck O' the Irish

I realize St. Patrick's day was nearly a week ago and you've long since forgotten it. But no holiday goes un-celebrated around here and I thought I'd share a little.

Parker built a leprechaun trap. No luck catching any. Those mischievous little leprechauns were all over the trap...even danced a jig on it...and left the footprints behind to prove it. (Footprints AND gold wrapped candy.)

On St. Patrick's Day eve, I went to make leprechaun footprints and realized all my craft supplies were in Grays room and he was asleep (just one of the perils of having a small house). So I printed off tons of footprints from a computer image. The whole time thinking Parker will never buy this.

He woke up pretty excited about his night time visitors, but by breakfast started in on his own investigation. On his own, he Google searched "leprechaun footprints." (Remember, he's only 5.) He found the exact same footprints I used. He printed them out and compared shape, size and the fading of the printer ink.

Parker concluded that the footprints did in fact come from our printer, but never once questioned their origins. Those tricky little leprechauns must have snuck onto our computer the night before and printed them off themselves.

Kids are such a riot. I'm glad he has some of his dad in him. I am way too logical, but Spencer is all about the magic. I think Parker is a pretty happy medium.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Finding Balance

I know everyone likes details on Mike's condition (I do too), but every last detail seems so personal. I can tell you that there have been some improvements as far as response. Mike is stable enough now that he is out of the ICU and not quite so critical. However, the CT scans remain the same; no visible improvements in his brain.

Finding a balance between having hope and facing reality is hard. The two seem mutually exclusive. If I have hope in his recovery am I setting myself up for disappointment? Or if I face reality have I given up hope? At any given point in the day I can be at either end of the spectrum. But I can't seem to find middle ground.

This is my mom's first full week back to work. She'll be flying out to Utah every weekend. I think she needs prayers just as much as Mike does.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In No Partiular Order...

I'm back from Utah with random thoughts (in no particular order).

(I just hit publish post and HOLY FREAKIN' COW, this is LONG! What can I's a whole five days worth of thoughts. And a lot of thinking went on those 5 days apparently. Read it or don't. It's up to you.)
  • Highlight of the trip: Lisa. She's fantastic. She loves my brother so much. And it's easy to see why he loves her. I do too. Really.
  • No matter how great everyone tells you someone in a coma looks, he's still in a coma. I kept hearing...Mike looks so great, he's healing well, he looks like Mike again. The thing is, they saw him right after the accident and since he looked so much better than that, that's what they were seeing. I was ill prepared. It was a bit of a shock. I was expecting to see regular old Mike lying in a bed. Not so. After spending a few days there, I could see what they meant. You get used to what he looks like and his surface injuries did get better daily. By the end it was me saying...Mike looks so great, he's healing well, he looks like Mike again. But if you saw him, you'd probably be surprised, too.
  • Landing in Salt Lake City is like landing on a whole different universe (or university as Reid would say). Everyone looks and talks and dresses exactly the same. You know immediately you're in Utah. I forgot what Utah is like.
  • You don't realize quite how big Mike is until you see him in a hospital bed. He takes up the WHOLE THING.
  • My cousin, Ryanne, writes to Mike every single day. She sends emails directly to the hospital for him. She's a good six years's not like they grew up best pals or anything. She writes the BEST letters. (Sorry Ryanne...I know they were private letters for Mike, but someone had to read them to him.) It was really awesome. I started looking forward to her letters.
  • On a similar note, lots of people have done lots of really nice things for everyone in my family. Things I never would have thought of. It has inspired me for when others are going through trials. Compassion is not a strength of mine. I want to change that.
  • I read a book on the airplane. That was the first time I've read a book that wasn't assigned by a teacher or professor in at least 15 years. I picked up an easy read, but I found myself enjoying it. I was so enthralled that I didn't mingle with any passengers my entire way to Utah. And I LOVE meeting strangers on airplanes. I only had like 50 pages left for my entire flight home. I was quite sad when I was finished. But I did sit next to a six foot something tall woman who had a daughter who played baritone in the "Best Damn Band in the Land." She was super chatty and that got me through the rest of the way home.
  • I expected my entire trip to be a somber one, but quickly discovered that a little light-heartedness at times is necessary. Lisa, for example, was stroking Mike's face and he jerked his head. (He gets agitated when his face is messed's the only response we really see.) Lisa came back with...If you didn't want me to touch your face, why didn't you just say so. Even doctors have made similar comments. It's nice to lighten the mood sometimes.
  • Spencer and I don't ever travel separately. I missed him a lot. Way more than I expected to. We stayed up until 2am after I got home even though we were both thoroughly exhausted. I have to say though, it was nice to have five days off of mom duty.
  • Fry sauce is only good in Utah.
  • On the plane from Chicago to Salt Lake, there was this short, plump flight attendant in her 60's with fiery red hair. She sang songs in the mic and modeled the life vest. She was awesome.
  • There is a short church service held in the hospital chapel on Sunday mornings. It's filled with patients, family members, doctors, cafeteria workers, you name it. It was great. I heard this was Jeff's response to it: "Dear President Monson, 30 minute church. Love, Jeffery." Also, LDS church members are called to be service workers to go around to all the rooms to anyone interested in taking the sacrament. It's very sweet. And for anyone who remembers the Perkins from Corona...they were there doing that very thing.
  • My moms aunt and uncle live real close to the hospital. I went to their house for a delicious dinner one night. Why can't I make a better effort to have relationships with extended family? I am related to some pretty amazing people. I got to visit briefly with cousins (of some sort) and really wished I knew them better. I loved them instantly.
  • I like me a good In-N-Out Burger, but to wait 20 cars in line for the drive through? Not worth it. Good thing Mike isn't reading this.
  • It is really hard to talk to someone in a coma. I hear it's good for them and I went expecting to do it. It is tough. Especially when other people are around. It makes me really self-conscious. I had a hard time thinking of what to say. I did read to him a few times. I was better about it when I was alone, but still paranoid that a nurse would come in. Why is that so hard for me? Some people are really good at it, like Lisa, for instance.
  • I stayed with my in-laws. My mother-in-law has the best family history stories. She lights up when she tells them. I could listen to her forever.
  • Mike had all kinds of injuries from the accident, but the minor things like bruises and scabs and black toenails totally made me cringe. That's nothing compared to his other wounds, but it's all I could relate to. I can't imagine how bad the rest of it feels.
  • Jeff, Mom and I saw the funniest sign ever for a woman's bathroom. Jeff was the only one equipped to take a picture. You'll have to hunt him down for the evidence.
  • We've all heard that music is good for people in a coma. I heard that long before it was my brother in a coma. So we played music. Everyone who came in seemed surprised by it. Have none of the other trauma patients ever done that?
  • Two police officers came and escorted a woman out of the ICU waiting room on Sunday morning. Her son was in the ICU. I'm dying to know what happened.
  • On the subject of Police showed up to our house on Saturday. Two social workers and one police officer and we're now in the clear. The officer deemed the alleged abuse a false accusation. Parker can now resume jumping off the top bunk of the bed.
Overall, the trip was a good one. I got to spend time with Mom and Jeff for a couple days before they left back to Arizona. And though seeing Mike was tough, it has really helped my mind rest a little. I have a better feel for the situation. Please continue to keep Mike in your prayers. It's not over yet.

POST EDIT: You can send emails to Mike HERE. Remember his full name is Kevin Michael Benson.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nothing to Report

Nothing to report about Mike. His body (as in cuts and bruises) is healing. It's his brain that occupies our concerns. Still no changes. He had surgery to put a rod in his leg on Monday. All went well.

Several of you have asked whether Mike was in a medically induced coma. He is not. He's been unconscious since he was found. I will update again when there is something to update about. Otherwise, you can assume that all is the same.

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shine On

So yesterday, all three boys were playing on the bunk bed and somehow Gray got a bed post to the face, adding another nasty black eye to the mix. A pretty bad one.

This morning, I got a phone call from Parker's teacher. Parker tripped and hit his face on a desk. She said it's in the same spot has his last black eye which is not quite healed yet. He got a bruise and a bump.

I can't recall any black eyes since Spencer and I have been parents. And now 3 in one week.

And guess who's coming tomorrow night? Children's services. Wish us luck. We're gonna need it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More on Mike

Mike is still hanging on. The reconstructive surgery on his face went great. I hear he looks pretty good (I'll see first hand on Thursday). Some days we see set backs, others improvements. But mostly, he remains pretty stable. Still in a coma.

I try not to focus too much on set backs. My thoughts are that since this is in the Lords hands, his chance of making it through this remains the same.

Mom and Lisa have asked us all to unify our prayers; that we all pray specifically that his brain may be healed. If anyone would like to join us in a fast tomorrow, we will happily welcome all that are interested.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Comic Relief?

I've been looking for a distraction...this is not exactly what I had in mind.

Normally, yesterdays events would have been a crisis. But because of the heaviness of this week, it was almost comic relief. Almost.

A little background information:
  • On Sunday, Parker somehow banged his face on the pew in front of him at church and scored himself a serious black eye. I didn't see it happen. Reid and I were home sick from church.
  • Parker caught what Reid and I had and stayed home from school Monday and Tuesday.
  • Spencer teased Parker about his shiner and told him people were gonna think his dad punched him.
See where this is going?

When Parker arrived back at school after missing several days, his teacher questioned him about his nasty black eye. Parker decided to tell the teacher that his dad punched him. She asked him over and over again and though his story was inconsistent, he remained true to the fact that it came from his dad.

Yesterday evening I got a knock on the door from a friendly stranger. She turned out to be a social worker from Columbus Children's Services.

My house was a wreck...remember, I had been painting. I had neglected the rest of the days duties in order to paint. There was a basket of unfolded laundry in my living room. Tons of toys and art supplies covering the floor. My ENTIRE KITCHEN was in my small living room. I was ignoring my kids and letting the TV babysit for the time being. It was disastrous.

She had to interview me thoroughly and then the kids one at a time. She quickly ruled out interviewing Gray because he was so young. But when interviewing Reid, all he could do was lift up his shirt and sing his favorite belly button song. I had no time to prep Parker. I quickly told him to tell the truth...whatever she asked.

Luckily he did and our stories matched up. It didn't sound good when I told her I didn't witness the incident at church. My husband left the house with Parker and Gray (the kid too young to tattle) and Parker came back bruised.

While the social worker was here, she was required to check the bedrooms to make sure everyone had a bed and look in my fridge and cupboards to make sure I had food. The whole thing was quite intrusive.

It's just so odd to think about Spencer as an abuser. He is the gentle, compassionate, sentimental, nurturing one in our relationship. This is so far from his demeanor. Parker's teacher knew that and apologized profusely. But she is required by law to report things like that. She luckily knows Spencer and I and told Children's Services that one, Parker was acting like he was lying. And two, she would not suspect it from our family.

I asked Parker why he lied. He assumed since no one at school goes to our church that no one at school would know what church was. He was too shy to try to explain that to them. Since Spencer had put it into his head that people would think his dad hit him, that was the quickest lie he could conjure up. He's gonna have to get over that if he ever plans to be a missionary. Plus it instigated a nice chat on the importance of being honest.

So our family is under investigation for the next 30 days. A social worker could pop by at any time. It's a little unnerving. We had to nix Parker jumping off the top bunk last night. A broken leg would not look good. We told him to wait until April.

I did shed a couple tears...I'm emotionally charged right now. I have also had a few chuckles over this. But I won't get a good laugh out of it until these 30 days are up and we're in the clear.

It's just the cherry on top.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Super Mike

Yesterday, outlook on Mike was pretty grim (and if I'm really being honest, it probably still is), but today, there have been slight improvements. Any improvement in my book is major. The doctors now say they are "cautiously optimistic." And my mom said he looks better today, too.

I know that Michael is a fighter...has been his whole life. If you know anything about Michael, you'd know he has this mentality that he's invincible. I'm sure that's doing him at least a little bit of good right now. The fact that he's still fighting after more than 24 hours is pretty miraculous. Mike is pretty much a superhero.

I also know that Michael has an amazing support system. I was worried about how little family we have in Utah. He has Lisa, of course. And my great aunt and uncle headed to the hospital immediately. My mom got there yesterday evening with another aunt. But the hospital waiting room has been consistently filled with friends and well-wishers. Apparently, he has quite a BIG family in Utah after all.

Social networking is amazing. There has been an outpouring of support from friends and strangers alike...not only for Mike, but for our family and Lisa (who is family in my book) as well. I know that prayers are being heard and answered...for that I am sincerely grateful. It's certainly doing some good.

On a much more trivial note, I decided to turn my nervous habits into something productive. Rather than just pacing the floor, I painted my kitchen. I got over half of it done today.

Despite trying to keep a positive tone here, Michael, though stable at the moment, is still in the ICU, still in a coma, and still in critical condition. He will be having reconstructive surgery on his face tomorrow. Please keep up the prayers.

I'm not exactly sure what the doctors mean by "cautiously optimistic," but I'm pretty sure that's how I feel too.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prayers Requested - Updated

My brother, Mike, was in a serious motorcycle accident early this morning. I figured the quickest way to send more prayers his direction is to inform my blogging friends.

Please pray for him (as well as for my mom and his new fiancee, Lisa).

I am certain prayers will help.

This is the info my mom shared on Facebook today:

Lauri Benson: To all of my FB friends...thank you so much for your prayers in our behalf. I KNOW there is great power in prayer. Michael is in ICU in the Utah Valley Medical Center. He has had a neuro surgery this morning to place a monitor on his brain. Obviously that is his most serious injury. The doctors say that the next three days are critical.

He also has broken bones in his leg, broken ribs, and broken bones in his face which will need surgery. We are praying for miracles. I am flying up this afternoon. For those of you who don't know...Michael is engaged and has a wedding date set for May 1.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Will Not Vanish Without a Fight

Anyone tired of snow pictures of my kids yet?

February refused to go out without a fight. It turned out to be the longest February of my life. With the addition of Friday's little storm, Ohio had record breaking amounts of snowfall.

The kids and I got up on Saturday morning for what I hope to be the last snow play day of the season. (Wishful thinking, right?) After a little shoveling...and I only mean a little because my kind neighbor came over with his snow blower shortly after I started shoveling...we decided to stray from the usual snowman and build a snow sofa. Then Parker insisted on adding a television, because, let's face it, what good is a couch without a TV. Seriously? Isn't that what couches are for? And after a little lounging on the couch, we included an ottoman for added comfort.

Gray and Reid wussed out before the final product and, once again, I only have snow pictures of Parker. He's a die hard.