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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Babar, revisited

Do you remember the story of Babar? I was a bit surprised when I reread this children's classic. I remember enjoying it when I was a child. But's a little disturbing. Here's a mother's take on the classic tale. I agree with most of it, except her calling the old lady a cougar. I don't think it was meant like that at all, that's us putting modern values on an older tale.

Advice for me

Do the Next Thing(a poem quoted by Elizabeth Elliot)

At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
There came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
That, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
Like a low inspiration,
do the next thing.
Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.
Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.
Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance, be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons, do the next thing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last week's trash pickup at the Fairgrounds

Last week we walked the perimeter of the Fairgrounds to clean trash with Brownies. It was an Earth Day related thing. Timothy and Justin were very good at finding trash too. I was amazed at how much there was! Justin told me he had a lot of fun, but his favorite part was the free ice-cream from the Ritz afterward! I'm pretty sure everyone agreed with him.

Earning a Flag Try-It

We went to Union Terrace tonight for Brownies. Leanna got to learn all about Flags and how to fold them, etc. I would have liked to listen to it myself but the boys were too antsy so I had to take them outside.
There were only a couple girls from Leanna's troop so she was being shy.
As we were leaving I think it was Justin who pointed out to me that the clouds looked pretty neat. So I took a picture. And they tracked the moon following us home. Justin thought it was pretty cool.

Don't leave your shoes around here

Or you might find them full of yogurt, like I did yesterday

Full of mischeif, IV

Jacob put a lollipop in the toaster. And then started it. Luckily Timothy was with him and told me, so I was able to stop the toaster right away and shake it out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cute Justin

Justin just asked me if I would be compressed if his new shoes could fly. I told him, yes, I would be impressed if his shoes could fly (though I can foresee situations where I would be compressed by his flying shoes as well!)

The shoes are John Cena (wrestler, not sure of the spelling on that one), which impressed Tom way more than Justin. Justin was just impressed because Tom was impressed, LOL.

Vacuume Love

Jacob really does seem to have a lot in common with Justin. Including his love of vacuums! He gets all excited when he sees one (the yellow dyson here is borrowed from my Mom) I wonder if this indicates a future interest in mechanical things?

What we've been up to lately.....

*The rabbit had babies again two days ago. (we know it was that day because Tom picked her up to check out why she had blood on her nose and some bloody stuff came out).
*Jacob's giving Timothy a run for his money on the strange sleeping positions! He's pictured sleeping on the arm of the couch.
*Leanna is very into Barbies lately. As you can see, she doesn't need any more barbies. (the vast majority are hand-me-downs and donated Barbies) She might need some swimsuits for them though.
*Justin and Timothy have found the joy that is "I Spy" I've never really enjoyed that game.
*Justin and Timothy have also been into blocks and Legos a lot lately, particularly Timothy. One day the kids decided to throw everything out of Leanna's (very large and full) closet, and they found a box of Legos that I had stored high in Leanna's closet (she was too young for them when she got them and I forgot they were there). I've been thinking about getting some PlayMobil sets for Justin for his birthday or Christmas. They make some really cool stuff, I think I'd enjoy playing with them too!
*Leanna's been copying Hannah Montanna lyrics off a you-tube site and writting them down so she can sing all the words of the song.
*Jacob loves shoes, and will bring them to me everyday to put them on him. I still sing the shoes and socks song to him when we put them on. For those of you who don't know, that is a song Mimi made up and always sang to children. I think of her when I sing it, and how that is one way she lives on as I sing it to my children just like she did for so many years.

I can do it myself!

Jacob's been getting himself dressed sometimes. It generally involves a shirt around his waist or maybe over a leg. Today it was Justin's shirt. He's getting so big!

News of the Weird

From News of the Weird:

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace commenced campaigns in February critical of the peculiar preference of Americans for ultra-soft or quilted toilet paper. In less-picky Europe and Latin America, 40 percent of toilet paper is produced by recycling, but Americans' demand for multi-ply tissue requires virgin wood for 98 percent of the product. The activists claim that U.S. toilet paper imposes more costs on the planet than do gas-guzzling cars. [The Guardian (London), 2-26-09]

Monday, April 27, 2009

To make or buy?

They sell the article as, How cost-effective is it to make homemade pantry staples? But I don't know that I'd call them all pantry staples, at least not here at my house. But it's still interesting to see how they stack up against company made food.

EDIT: I fixed the link last night

CPS Update

The CPS man came this morning and I signed the release so they could talk to the health dept. He said that the case probably only entered "the system" because we didn't have insurance. I had to confirm that the insurance was in place and that I would have no problems getting to any future checkups. He said that this should end it, thank God! I think I'll celebrate when it's officially done!

I have to say he was much friendlier this time. It's a subltle difference, but this time he wasn't talking to a poor soul that needed his help and guidance. He wasn't talking down to a child. Instead he treated me like a person, which is what I've been missing in my dealings with all these health officials and doctor/nurses. So my letter actually did some good! That makes me feel better also.

Thanks for the prayers and well-wishing!
(Now we just have to hope everything goes well with the lead level and lead-in-our-house-stuff!)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How do you know when you are done?

No I wasn't pondering the subject, although I am pretty much constantly asked (Four times yesterday alone!) I just thought it was an interesting topic. And what's weird is that if you read the comments, I've experienced the exact same thing as post number 12. It sounds strange but when I was first pregnant with Jacob (before I knew it yet) I would constantly think I heard a child crying. I would look around and all my kids were right there. Or I would feel as though one of us was missing and look around and we were all there. This faded as the pregnancy continued. I think it's an interesting to hear what convinced people that they were done.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pray or cross your fingers!

I spoke with the CPS guy today and he's coming over on Monday to have me sign a release form for the health dept. He said hopefully we can wrap this thing up. But then he wanted to know if I'd heard the results of the kids' lead tests yet. I told him and he said, didn't you say that 20 was cause for concern? I explained it to him again, but that kind of depressed me because it shows he still isn't understanding. I can't do anything to lower his lead level other than try to have him eat a healthy diet. I didn't do or not do anything to cause him to have a high lead level.
People sometimes think that children get lead in them from chewing on windows. In reality most lead cases are caused by old houses deteriorating and this causes lead dust to get in the air and on nearby surfaces. Or someone does remodeling in an area with lead paint. In our case we have so many surfacers with lead paint, that there's no way to figure out where exactly the kids' lead source was. Most likely there were multiple sources. For all we know it still could have come from dust Tom brought home with him from work.
But there is hope that we may be able to close this stupid case and I'll have one less worry on my mind.

Missing teeth

She lost another tooth tonight on the way home from Brownies.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How's Your Inner Child?

Your Inner Child Is Happy
You see life as simple, and simple is a very good thing.
You're cheerful and upbeat, taking everything as it comes.
And you decide not to worry, even when things look bad.
You figure there's just so many great things to look forward to.
How Is Your Inner Child?
Excellent piece on the current backlash against breastfeeding. Read the whole piece it raises some thought provoking questions.

Excerpt: No, formula is not poison. It is a life-saving intervention when needed, much like the C-section. A satisfactory substitute. The problem is that it should never have come to be seen as equivalent to normal physiology, the superiority of which is really quite breathtaking when you think about it.
A woman's body goes through profound physical and hormonal changes to grow and birth a baby, but also to continue growing that baby after it is born. Some even call breastfeeding the "fourth trimester." Physiology ensures that the baby will eat. And not just that she will eat, but that she will eat what she needs to eat, when she needs to eat, how she needs to eat. "Your body is capable of producing this amazing, perfect food," writes author and cartoonist Kate Evans in a delightful new book,
The Food of Love: Your Formula for Successful Breastfeeding (Soft Skull Press).
That kind of talk may sound frothy, but it is true. And what's truly amazing is how the milk actually shapeshifts to meet the baby's needs. Fresh out of the womb the baby gets antibody- and nutrient-rich colostrum, which primes the gut and immune system for life on the outside. Women who give birth prematurely actually produce more colostrum for a longer period of time — the body knows; mother and newborn may be separate but they are still very much in sync. The immunoglobulins within the milk actually change depending on the pathogens the mother is exposed to. A feed itself is dynamic, with the foremilk more hydrating than the creamy hind milk. "There simply isn't any question that something is lost if you don't breastfeed," says Labbok.
Physiology — if we respect it, if we support it — keeps mother and baby physically linked in the immediate postpartum so that breastfeeding can be established. The umbilical cord, left intact, ensures this proximity (modern obstetrics routinely cuts it, but science continues to refute this standard practice). In fact, if born under optimal conditions, babies instinctively reach for their mother's breast and start sucking away.

Another excerpt: What a great question. Why did American feminism evolve in such a way that we think of biology as destiny, and that destiny as a prison? Why are we so willing to surrender the parts and processes that makes us female rather than demanding that society support them? We've broken down doors and cracked glass ceilings, when what we need to do is redesign the building.......In the podcast accompanying the Atlantic story, Rosin reveals her pessimism: "We are never going to be Norway," she says, rolling her eyes. "There will never be a situation in America where women . . . will have six months time to exclusively breastfeed their children." Really? Did we ever envision an organic garden being planted at the White House by the nation's black first family? This is the real tragedy of the mommy wars: they drag us down where expectations are so low, where we don't value mothers enough to fight for them. We're making a case against ourselves.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Isn't it ironic?

One of the great ironies here is that since CPS' involvement in our lives began, quality interaction with my children has greatly decreased. All craft projects ceased, because they make too much mess. Today I would love to sit and play legos and color with the kids (I'm really tempted to do it too!) but I can't because yesterday while I was cleaning the downstairs they trashed their bedrooms again. So we have to spend today upstairs cleaning. I just can't risk having a mess anywhere now. It's actually pretty depressing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rather than writting an explanation of why CPS is involved, this letter I wrote and mailed to our caseworker and his supervisor explains it. At the end I attached a paper with phone numbers for both hospitals the kids use, the medical insurance person, the lead person, Leanna's school, and an explanation of why the kids are at two different hospitals. I tried to make it as easy as possible for them-they wouldn't have to look up any numbers or anything, just call and confirm there is nothing for them to do here.

My letter:

I’m writing this because I feel the need to defend myself. I wasn’t able to completely explain in person, it seemed as though the caseworker had already made up his mind before setting foot in our house.

First, I don’t understand why the caseworker seemed surprised that I was upset about being reported to CPS. For the record, the caseworker seemed to genuinely care about the children, interacting with them (beyond the casual amount needed to assess) as well as with myself while he was here. I have nothing against him personally, I just wish he would have allowed me to completely tell my story and listened! I was completely shocked by this situation! How could one not be bothered by this!? I find it horrifying and humiliating. I would like the situation taken care of as soon as possible and I don’t understand why it wouldn’t be immediately dropped once they saw us and spoke with the lead abatement program. I truly don’t understand why someone apparently reported that I was not concerned with my son’s lead level.
Please check with both LV Peds clinic and Judy Vega, the head of Allentown’s lead abatement program. My son has had his checkups and vaccinations and lead tests. I’ve kept in touch with Judy Vega and had a home lead inspection on Monday April 6th. They took samples from our home and should have results in about a week. She did finger stick tests Jacob had his lead test performed on Tuesday April 7. This should also take about a week for results. I questioned Judy Vega regarding my being reported to CPS and she said that she had no problems with me and while she has had uncooperative parents, that in contrast, I have had every test done! I was merely late with one test.
In December they wanted a re-test and I requested that it wait until January at Jacob’s 18 month old check-up. I have four children ages 7 and under and I don’t drive. It is difficult to walk in the cold, particularly when one or more children are fighting sniffles. And harder still is waiting around to have the testing done while keeping all the kids calm and well behaved. I find it’s easier to have the tests done after a checkup and it would only have delayed the test by one month. My son shows no signs of any problems as a result of the lead level. His levels are nowhere near they would have to be for medical treatment. I merely delayed them drawing blood. I was not delaying them giving him treatment for high lead levels. Lead levels must be around 70 to need treatment. My son’s level was at 20 as of February 25th. If he had been showing any signs of problems I would have been calling them, begging the doctors to do something!!

In January I called to schedule his appointment and was told they were booked for the month so I had to call back to schedule it in a few weeks for a February appointment. I got a February appointment and when we arrived for it we discovered that we had been dropped by the insurance because of failure to resubmit our information that summer. I had not received any forms to resubmit to Medicaid and am happy to do so. And I have. So we scheduled an appointment for two weeks later at Central Elementary for a free checkup. He received two shots and a slip for a free lead test, which we took care of immediately following the appointment. I was not given the results of this test until Thursday evening, March 26, 2009. The next day a CPS worker showed up at my door.

We are in the process of applying for insurance for the children online. This was started long before CPS was involved. I merely needed a way to get to the welfare office to have them copy our documentation (tax papers-my husband is self-employed, IDs, birth certificates, and social security cards) to complete the process. Which I have already done, at this point I am waiting for the welfare office to get back to me. We will certainly be covered and they will have insurance again within a month, possibly sooner.

My case worker kept stating that he was there to help us but I don’t see what you can offer us. The lead abatement program is taking care of the lead issues. The insurance will be in place very soon. My children are not in any way abused or neglected. On the contrary, they could not possibly be loved or wanted more! I certainly can’t claim to be perfect-I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and will likely make many more throughout their lives. Though we are not wealthy in the sense commonly recognized; I feel we have been more than blessed! I’m mainly writing this because I felt as though I was not listened to since we don’t have a lot of money and because of where we live. I felt a judgment was made before anyone even walked through the door! Although we are struggling financially, I am educated (BA in English from Cedar Crest College) and keep current with parenting and safety issues online and through books. The children have all their basic needs taken care of as well as their emotional and mental needs. They are bright inquisitive children. We read stories and sing songs and go for walks and do crafts together. They are disciplined as well as rewarded for good behavior. We’ve talked about what to do if you get lost or if the house is on fire, as well as safety in general. Our home is full of pictures of our children and the computer is full of pictures of them and their various activities, helping to prove to our children that they are loved and special. Not that this is necessary, they hear it daily. My daughter-the only one of school age-attends a reading program and brownie girl scouts. She has no problems academically. I attend school plays and events and Parent teacher meetings. (Call the school and check! She attends McKinley, I put the number here) I am very involved in my children’s lives and nurturing. I am the more involved parent, necessarily, as I am a stay-at-home Mother, and my husband works long hours. But he deeply loves our children as well. They have four grandparents who love and see them regularly. They have an Aunt who visits us every single Friday! These are not children in need of Child Protective Services!!
I was told I will need your help for eight weeks? I truly don’t understand why this case wasn’t immediately closed. I’m sure your time would be better spent on children who are actually being neglected. Please call me with any questions.

Lead update

I received calls from Judy Vega (head lead lady) and my caseworkers's supervisor today.
Justin and Timothy are both at 10. Which is fine, they'd prefer it to be under 10, but it's not a huge deal. Jacob's at 19, which is down one point from February.

The caseworker supervisor called to say she received my letter and she apologized if they gave the impression that their minds were made up before anyone ever even entered our house. She is also sending release papers for me to sign to allow them to talk to the health department. So I sign those and they should be able to confirm everything and (I hope!!) drop the case? She didn't say that, I'm just hoping. I don't know why they didn't do this immediately-considering the only reason I"m stuck with them is that someone said I wasn't concerned enough about Jacob's lead level, you'd think the first thing they would do is call the lead abatement department and Jacob's doctors and confirm with them that everything that can be done has been done. Once that's done there is no reason for them to be involved at all. But that would make sense!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Explanation of previous post

Sorry to be so dramatic, at the same time I felt like bursting with this new situation but at the same time I didn't/don't want to talk about it because I haven't even processed it yet myself.
Basically what happened was the samples they took of the house last week came up elevated, so today the man from the health dept. came back with a machine that can read through 35 layers of paint. It gives you a number, and anything over 1 is considered elevated and dangerous. Essentially, one paint chip put in Jacob's mouth could send him to the hospital.
He found lead on: all the front porch wood, inside the door jam where the doorbell is, on the closet trim, on the trim on the kitchen door, on the wall in the back porch room, inside the door jam going into the downstairs bathroom, the bathroom window, the window in our bedroom that is between our room and the crib room (it's an enclosed upstairs porch), in the upstairs bathroom window, in the middle bedroom window, on the landing to the third floor, on the walls going up to the third floor and throughout the third floor hallway, on the ceiling in the third floor hallway, on the outside of the window in the third floor hallway and most likely outside the window in the computer/storage room in the third floor-because it had an air conditioner he couldn't test it. Plus the walls going down into the basement, the steps going down to the basement, the door to the basement workshop, the door to the butler's alley, the trap=door thingy from the outside going into the butler's alley, and the basement floor in the workshop section.
He was actually quite surprised. Lead was-and actually still is-added to outdoor paint because it does an excellent job of keeping the paint safe from the weather. He said if you put your hand on the side of a house and you get this chalk coming off, that's lead. Now only very small amounts are added of course. But he said probably 99 % of his cases are from windows. Lead paint was used on outside surfaces and then if a home has been remodeled you may find a surface inside with lead paint because it was originally an outdoor surface(like with our backporch room). But our house is highly unusual because he was shocked to find lead paint on the 3rd floor hallway walls and on the walls and steps etc in the basement. You don't usually find lead paint on indoor surfaces. Guess we're just lucky.
So we will have to move while lead removal specialists come and take care of this. First they notify the landlord of the situation and they have 3 days to reply. Then the landlord has to find a contractor-certified in lead removal-they put in bids, which means they have to come here and examine the place too. Then after they do the work and the cleanup, the place is stringently examined, the samples are submitted to the lab and we wait for the results. If everything comes back ok, them we can move back in. I asked a lot of questions, and the answer I got was that it'll probably take about a month until they get someone to come do the work, and then maybe about 3 weeks to do the work. I asked what's the worst case scenario, and he said 2 months out of the house. That's a loooong time.

I have no idea how the landlord will react to this news. Hopefully they will explain to her that there is no safe way to remove lead paint unless you are a certified professional, so it's not that we did something wrong. But we've known from the start that they cannot throw us out because of this and even if we voluntarily move out, they still have to take care of the lead before someone else can move in.
I don't really know when all this will happen or how long it will actually take-the info above is just estimates. This is just a nightmare as far as I'm concerned. I must now triple mop all floor surfaces (3 buckets so you aren't re-contaminating every time you put the mop back in) clean all window sills at least once a week with the triple bucket method, really scrub the basement steps good and we're supposed to paint with an enamel paint over those steps and the upstairs bedroom and bathroom window wells as a temporary protective measure, and keep the kids off the porch and away from the basement and 3rd floor. Plus wash all their toys. In addition to getting EVERYTHING out of the basement because they are going to have to do the entire floor, and moving everything out of the third floor hallway and computer room into my craft room for storage. And getting ready to move out. I don't know how we are going to do it all.
I don't know if we will just move out temporarily or make it permanent. We can't really afford either one. Our entire lives are up in the air right now. My stomach is in knots all day long. This is just a nightmare. On top of the whole CPS thing. And they don't have the results back yet from the testing the boys all had done last week, so I don't know if Jacob's level has gone up or down or if Justin or Timothy has become elevated again as well.

The nightmare continues

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I had to post this one because this woman sounds just like me. Except that she has six kids, not four. And she sounds like maybe she copes better.

Laughter as a Parenting Tool
By Lisa Belkin
Books (Illustration by Barry Falls)
One day, two of Dawn Meehan’s many children decided to play baseball in the house. That led to a broken light fixture, which Dawn began to sweep up, but she was distracted by shouts that her daughter had tried to flush a pull-up diaper, causing the bathroom to flood. Over the next few hours, all before she’d had time for a cup of coffee, Dawn ran from one half-solved problem to the next: yogurt smeared on the television, an escaped hermit crab in the toy pile, a baby covered in maple syrup, crayon on the living room walls, a three-year-old eating puppy chow, a hole knocked into the bathroom wall.
What to do with a morning like this? If you are Dawn Meehan you write a side-splitting account and post it on Ebay, where you auction off “the baseball that broke the light.” And if you are Dawn Meehan, 220,000 people visit your auction page and you end up selling the ball for $1,125.
Then, buoyed by the idea that your words can make others laugh, you start a blog. Traffic is slow until the day that a pack of Pokemon cards somehow winds up in your grocery bag while you are out shopping with your six kids, and you don’t notice until you get home. What worked once might work twice, you figure, so you auction those on Ebay, too, with a description of what it is like to go to the supermarket with six children; 94,000 people visit your new blog within hours, and nearly a million within the month; you get 10,000 emails a day; and you become a destination site for parents who want to be reminded that laughter is the most important tool for raising children.
Eventually, you write a book. Dawn’s, out this week, is called “Because I Said So … and Other Tales from a Less-Than-Perfect Parent.” It is a portrait of life in the Meehan’s 1,200-square-foot house outside Chicago, with Dawn’s husband, Joe, who works in the maintenance department of the local school district, and their children Savannah, Austin, Clayton, Lexington, Jackson and Brooklyn (yes, they are all named after cities, and yes, Clayton is a city.)
There is something going awry in that house on almost every page of the book, which will both make you feel better about life in your own home (if it’s equally chaotic you will feel like Dawn is your soulmate; if yours is even marginally calmer you will feel grateful) and will make you marvel at Dawn’s ability to take the chaos in stride and almost enjoy it.
I got Dawn on the phone for a few minutes last week. She had just finished explaining how “parenting should be fun, kids should be allowed to be kids and have fun, and a sense of humor is absolutely required,” when there was crying in the background.
“What happened, tell me what hurts?” Dawn asked, followed by “go sit down and watch TV.”
“Clay fell off the top of the refrigerator,” she explained. “He likes to climb.” Yes, she said, he was O.K., and no, she didn’t need to hang up and call me back.
Later in the day she posted the following on her website:
I did an interview with Lisa Belkin from The Motherlode Blog, this morning. Whenever I do an interview via phone, I set the kids up with a movie and snacks and beg them to please, please, please be good and quiet for the next 20 minutes. If that doesn’t work, I bribe them with marshmallows, or large amounts of cash.
Well, 5 minutes into my interview today, Lisa asked me, “Do you exaggerate on your blog or do your kids really get into so much stuff every day?” I thought to myself - if I say I exaggerate, there goes my credibility. If I say that they do indeed get into tons of stuff, that makes me a bad mom. As I pondered this, I heard a thud and crying, followed by Brooklyn yelling, “Clayton fell off the refrigerator and hurt himself!” Well, I guess that answers that question. Yeah, they get into insane amounts of stuff.
After I hung up with Lisa, about 15 minutes later, I discovered that Brooklyn had painted her nails. Despite the fact I had JUST painted them before taking the phone call, she decided she needed another coat just for good measure. And while she was at it, she applied a lovely coat of red to my couch as well.
Please understand, Dawn is human. She yells in the book. She punishes, and she makes her kids clean up their messes. But she has an underlying sense of amusement, which she was probably born with, that the rest of us would be lucky to learn.
How do you handle the toll children can take on your walls, windows and light fixtures — and on your last fraying nerve?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I can't resist posting this!

I've not felt like posting because I have this huge thing going on that I don't want to post about. And it would feel wierd to post about other trivia while having this huge thing that I was saying nothing about. But I just can't resist this one. For some reason, the lyrics to the song, Patience (Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry...") from Music Machine were going through my head. And I thought, Oh! I should look that up!
I love being able to do that! It's from a Christian children's album I listened to over and over and over when I was a kid. And guess what? It's still available! Not on record though. LOL, I am old!!

Laura, we may have to visit Hackmans and see if they have it there. May end up an Easter present for the kids!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Please continue to pray for us

Did you ever go through a period where things just seem so bad that it just can't get worse? I keep thinking, well at least what more can happen now? It can't possibly get worse. But it just does. On and on and on.
Laura says our family just has gremlins. I think that would be the more optimistic explanation.