One Of Those Girls…

The first twenty years of my life I thought there were two different types of girls in the world.

The sweet, innocent, loving, feminine, protected, delicate girls. Those girls.

And girls like me.

Tough, cynical, eyes wide open, hurt, damaged, protectors.

I knew too much too young. I saw too much too young. Some because of grown ups in my life, some because of my personality.

I believed the lie into my teens, so I started making self-destructive decisions because of it.

I didn’t deserve happiness. I didn’t deserve to be loved. I didn’t deserve to be forgiven. I didn’t deserve success. I wasn’t one of those nice girls. I was tough. I didn’t need (or deserve) protecting or love.

“nobody loved me, everybody hated me”…

Then at the age of (almost) 19, I encountered God. I was flushing my life down the toilet. Skipping class to get drunk. Alone. Drinking to the point of blackouts. Abusing drugs. Hurting, lying to and pushing away friends. I went from a 3.8 GPA my first semester of college to a .8 GPA second semester. I failed 3 out of 4 classes. The only class I passed was an upper level Psychology Elective (I was a Psych major.) I was the only freshman in the class. I was the only person to get an A. The class? “Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.” The humor is not lost on me :)

I came home from that semester a mess, but through the friendship and  love of a handful of people, I realized that God loved me. Me in all my crazy. I’ll go into more detail some other time, the point I’m wanting to get to, is that God started changing how I saw myself, my future. He healed a lot of hurts and set me free from a destructive life, but I still believed that I wasn’t a girly girl. I was rough and tough. I wanted to prove that I was as strong and as tough as a man could be. I didn’t need chivalry or deserve it. I was still the hippy-punk-feminazi. I also had people (some Christians) in my life who knew me before I was “saved”, and never let me forget what I had come out of. It was like Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough to cover all my sins in their eyes and because I looked up to them, it wasn’t enough in my own eyes.

Fast forward a year. I was a youth leader at the church I went to. We took a group of highschool kids (kids, ha ha.. I was 19 and 20 at this point…But really mature… Or something…) out to Montana. One of the places we went to was Camp Bighorn. It is a Christian Adventure Camp. Boys and girls were separated by gender and we were paired up with leaders from the camp. Us youth leaders were still in charge of our kids, but we were under the authority of the Camp Leaders. We’d do an adventure during the day, white-water rafting, kayaking etc. Then we’d get dropped off in the middle of nowhere in a National Forest with tarps, rope, food and our packs. We had to make our shelter for the night with the tarps and rope. It was awesome.

Our main leader was a young woman around my age. She was so feminine even as an adventure camp leader.  She was very petite and had china doll skin. I couldn’t figure out how she was so fair when she was outside constantly. She was one of those girls: the sweet, sensitive, innocent kind. Never said a naughty word in her life. I really liked her even though I was jealous; of her innocence, her nicely curly hair (mine was always frizzy-although it was only about 1/2 an inch long at this time), her pretty pale skin (My skin was either pasty or lobster).

I had all these ideas about her, how I could never be like her because I just wasn’t born that way. Because of the life I’d lived. She was one of those girls and I was the other kind.

The second night out in the middle of nowhere, we were all settled under our shelter for the night when she started to share her story. As she started sharing, I heard a weird sound from outside our shelter. I was sitting the farthest back, by the opening to our shelter.(All those scary movies I’d seen with a creature pulling someone out of the tent screaming flashed through my mind) Other people started hearing the sound too. I was pretty sure I knew what the sound was… A cougar. Cougars make distinctive sounds that are rather un-catlike. The sounds were circling our shelter. We were being stalked.  She stopped talking and we all prayed. The sounds ceased.. She continued on with her story…

She dated an older man as a young teen. She partied. A lot. She got pregnant as an early teen. Her parents kicked her out. Her baby ended up dying… It went on and on.. One tragedy after another. One sin after another.

This sweet, innocent girl. She was like me. She wasn’t one of them. She hadn’t been protected. She was like me. I was like her. But she was so different from me! She was so free and sweet!

She was free. She had grasped the power of Jesus’ sacrifice. She trusted that He was enough. That her sins truly were removed from her as far as the East is from the West. She truly was a new creature. She trusted that He had forgiven her. Forgiven and forgotten. No guilt. No shame. She believed God. She wasn’t believing the lie anymore.

I was wrecked. I was believing the lie. The lie that I was still a marked woman. That I’d be paying for my sin, my bad choices for the rest of my life. The lie that there were two kinds of women.

This truth revealed from a brave girl’s testimony changed my life. It took time for me to accept it. To trust. To believe God. To believe that His promises were for me. To reclaim my femininity. My identity as a Woman of God. Redeemed through Jesus. My sins washed away. Hard to believe and trust that I didn’t need to do anything. That Jesus was and is enough.

Friend, it doesn’t matter where you’ve been. Where you are. God loves you. He. loves. YOU.

Sweet one, you are the Daughter of the King of Kings…

You know what a King’s daughter is:

A Princess.

You are a Princess. Even if you’ve been hurt, abused, rejected, forgotten or discarded. Filled with self hatred. None of that alters the truth. You are the Daughter of the Most High King.

I pray that when you look in a mirror you will see what God sees.  A child of His heart. A child who is wanted and loved.

I am a beautiful, sweet Princess.

You are a beautiful, sweet Princess.

I am one of those girls.

You are one of those girls.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

Psalm 103:12
as far as the East is from the West,  so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

 

Revelation 12:11
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
 
Luke 7:36-50
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

 

 

 

A Typical Sunday Morning

Sundays tend to be crazy around our house. Noel is the main sound guy for our church and he is a musician on the worship team. Or church band, for those that don’t speak Christianese. Pretty much every Sunday he is doing one or the other (sometimes both which is tricky). Our church also has 2 services on Sunday and Noel is usually involved with both. So he leaves home very early. Sometimes he brings the 3 big kids with to the early service and then Riley and I just meet them at the “regular” later service. This is a typical Sunday when he hasn’t brought any kids with him

8:00 Wake up to big kids playing the wii. Tell them to turn it off and we need to get ready to go. They are confused. They can’t figure out where we are going because they think it’s a week day since Dad left so early. I tell them it is in fact Sunday and we are going to church. Cue excitement and hyperactivity.

8:05 I calm kids down and get them on task with eating breakfast and getting clothes ready to put on after they shower or bathe.

8:12 I buckle Riley into his highchair and give him food and drink. Clock starts ticking on how long he will be content in his chair.

8:15 I hop in the shower

8:17 First kid comes running in to use the toilet.

8:18 Second kid comes running in to use toilet and nags, whines and cries at the first kid to hurry up because they have to go really, really bad. I sing a little louder so I can ignore what’s going on and relax a little.

8:20 Bathroom starts to stink and my shower scalds me as the toilet gets flushed.

8:21 I hear Riley crying out in the living room. I yell out to someone to tell me what’s wrong with him.

8:21:30 Kid comes in to tell me what’s going on with Riley. They fail to shut the bathroom door, so Riley(who has been released from his highchair) comes in too. After exploring the wonders of the toilet seat and touching it sufficiently enough to get e-coli, he tries to climb in the shower with me. He cries when I won’t let him in fully clothed and full out bawls when the one who left the door open escorts him out of the bathroom.

8:22 Listening to Riley blood curdling screaming right outside the bathroom door as he jiggles the doorknob trying to get in. Hear loud thumps and feel the whole house shake as the big kids are apparently jack hammering our home. That or they found an elephant wandering around outside and they let it in our home.

8:23 Give up on shower, rinse conditioner mostly out of my hair. Get out and wrap hair up in one towel and body with another.

8:24 Exit bathroom and am greeted by sobbing Riley, and 3 big kids who have not found clothes or eaten breakfast. They have been doing other productive things, like coloring and chasing each other around the house.

8:25 Apologize to kids after hollering at them for not obeying and “We need to hurry so we are not late for CHURCH!” Sigh.

8:30 Get Natalie and Riley in the bath.

8:40 Dump water over a screaming Riley’s head and a whining and screaming Natalie’s head.

8:40:30 Quietly thank God that I only shampoo their hair so I only have to rinse them once.

8:43 Take a still-screaming-from-the-water-dump Riley out of the tub. Wrap him in towel and put him on the changing table.

8:45 Dry off Riley while giving Nat directions on getting out and actually drying off instead of sitting on the rug wrapped in a towel as Ethan and Will come in the bathroom and argue over who showers next.

8:47 Pat self on back for remembering to clean Riley’s belly button with Q-tip dipped in alcohol.

8:50 As I’m putting Riley’s pants on as he stands on the changing table I notice the alcohol smell is still strong. That’s odd.

8:51 Tell Natalie she needs to get off rug now and get clothes on and brush her teeth. Remind boy in shower to use shampoo, not just water, and to rinse thoroughly!

8:53 Feel something dripping on my foot as I am still getting Riley dressed at the changing table. Look down and see rubbing alcohol puddled around Riley’s feet and dripping down through clothes and diapers to finally land on my feet. And my dress pants.

8:53:30 Yell at boy not showering to bring paper towels double quick! Pick up knocked over bottle of alcohol that apparently had a loose cover.

8:54 Use half a roll of paper towels to mop up stinky alcohol mess while holding half dressed Riley so he doesn’t get covered in it.

8:58 Tell Natalie to put a clean shirt on. Tell boy in shower to hurry up and other boy to be ready to hop in shower.

9:02 Riley finally dressed, last boy in shower. Riley is being clingy and cries if I set him down. Now do everything one handed while lugging an extra 25 pounds around.

9:04 Brush Natalie’s hair as she screams the entire time. Even before the brush is actually touching her hair. All while holding Riley- who is trying to take the brush from me and crying because I won’t give it to him.

9:08 Wow! Realize everyone is dressed! We are going to be early!

9:08:30 Realize I still have my pajama shirt on. And no makeup. And no socks. And no bra.

9:12 Remember that there is no Children’s Church this Sunday for the big boys, so remind them to get things to keep them quietly occupied. Double check that I have a fully loaded diaper bag. Realize I need a snack for Riley.

9:13 Start putting Riley in his car seat, tell Ethan to go start the van. Will suddenly remembers something that he HAS to bring with to church. He goes to search for it.

9:15 Ethan races in the house saying, “I don’t think we’ll be able to go to church today, Mom!” Cue hysterics from kids who really, really, really want to go to church!

9:17 The hysterics and freaking out are now quieted enough that I can hear Ethan tell me why we can’t go to church… The doors are locked on the van and the keys are in it.

9:17:30 I remember that we have an extra fob somewhere in our house that I can unlock the van with, if I can just find it.

9:20 Try calling Noel after not finding the fob quickly. Quietly thank God for the car Noel just got that I don’t like but can fit all 6 of us if needed. Laugh that I’m not even at church and God’s teaching me…

9:24 Got Noel’s voice mail, so I furiously dig through our 2 junk drawers looking for our fob. Find 3!!! Fobs that are not for our van.

9:28 Finally find fob and get van unlocked. Seriously contemplate changing my name to Momgyver. Ethan runs out and starts van.

9:30 Get Riley’s shoes on and find his pacifier (Yes! He still has a paci at 20 months. Go ahead and judge me) Harp on Will and Nat to get their shoes and jackets on!

9:33 Apologize to kids again for being so sharp.

9:34 Ethan runs into the house looking for something. I give him a few minutes to look. Then he informs me what he’s doing and I tell him now is not the time to be finding your phone charger to charge Dad’s old phone that you play with.

9:38 Finally get Ethan out the door. We are all outside now. Instead of getting in the van, Will and Nat have been playing in the snow. I decide they can go to church wet.

9:42 Everyone is in van and buckled. I hop in and realize I need to scrape the windows to drive safely.

9:47 Van scraped, I’m covered in snow. Finally time to go to church. It takes 15 minutes to get there but highways are slippery so it takes a little longer.

10:10 Arrive at church 10 minutes late. I get Riley out of the car and wait for the kids to get out.

10:11 Still waiting. Tell the kids to hurry up.

10:12 Still waiting. Tell the kids to hurry up

10:13 Finally they figure out how to get out of the van we’ve owned for 4 years and we head in to church.

10:15 Bring Natalie to her class. Go into the sanctuary to find a seat near the sound booth so the kids can be with their dad if they want and not disturb the entire congregation.

10:17 Take jacket off and have horrific moment of wondering if I did indeed change my shirt and put a bra on. Casually glance down and see that yes, I did indeed actually finish getting dressed.

10:17:30 Silently thank God that I somehow remembered to dress myself in the chaos.

10:18 Snuggle into my sweet baby in my arms and thank God for my kids and chaos. Realize it’s not so hard.

10:19 Leave the sanctuary with screaming Riley and disobedient big kids.  Appreciate that God appreciates irony.

10:20 Choose to laugh instead of cry.

 

 

 

Does this cake make me look crazy?

When our daughter was about 2 months old we had electricians out to our house. The crew was made up of guys in their early 20’s, very young men. The day they came was the same day my family was having a 30th birthday party for my (older) sister and I was bringing the cake. Now I knew in advance that the electricians would have to turn my power off for a significant period of time so I was smart! and baked the cake the night before. I had baked 2 circle pans of cake and put them in the fridge overnight. That was the first mistake- I had left them in their pans to cool. Full disclosure- this was a box cake and I used canned frosting. I wasn’t really a baker then, plus I had a 2 month old, a barely 2 year old, a 4 1/2 year old and we had started major remodels on our house about a week after I gave birth. So yeah, box cakes were my friend.

So the guys turn the power off just as I was going to put the cake together. I can do this in the dark! I flipped the first pan over to get the cake out and it just crumbled out with half still stuck in the pan. Ok… I can work with this, I’ll just have this be the bottom so the top will be prettier. On to the second cake. I run a knife around the edges, I’m super careful. This one dumps out worse than the first. Ack! What now? And I may have shouted out “NOOOOOOOO!” when this happened… may have… Frosting to the rescue! Cover it with frosting and no one will know! And at this point, I was laughing at myself, laugh instead of cry, right? I kind of forgot that there were other people in my house. It’s usually just me and the kids. So now I’m a lady standing in her dark kitchen laughing over a pile of cake crumbs…That’s not creepy.  I tried to fix it with frosting, but quickly realized that one can of frosting was not going to redeem this pathetic lump… So I tried to go with the shapes that were biggest and I saw what looked like a car shape. Ok, My sister will get a car shaped cake for her 30th birthday, every woman’s dream, right? So now I’m laughing at how ugly the car cake is. It was funny and pathetic. Looking a little crazier to those poor clueless young men.

At some point after this, I had to nurse Natalie. I usually nursed her on our couch, because anywhere else and I’d fall asleep and she’d end up giving me a hickey on my stomach and I’d have a kink in my neck and she’d be hungry when I woke up and tried to put her back to bed.  Plus we didn’t have a comfortable chair in our bedroom. So I was nursing her in my living room. The guys didn’t need to be in that part of the house, so I wasn’t worried about them seeing me, but I covered up just in case. So she’s nursing away when the guys come in and sit in my dining room to eat lunch. They can’t see me, so I’m thinking I’ll be fine, nothing embarrassing should happen. As soon as I feel overly confident that I’m done looking like a crazy lady to these guys, my sweet, darling, tiny little baby girl starts to poop. The really loud and looooooong poops that only little babies can do. The noises you can’t believe could come from such a tiny body. I’m not sure these guys even know I have a baby, let alone that I have her in the living room. If I say “Natalie! My goodness!” They’re gonna think, “Yeah right, blame your baby for your gas, what kind of mom are you?” The sounds just keep coming out of her louder and louder. I finally surrender and just laugh, I try to laugh quietly, because otherwise they might think I’m laughing at my own noises and that’s too much even for me to take.

I did make sure to let the guys see my baby before we left to bring the car cake to my sister’s party. I don’t know what they thought of me and my weirdness, but that’s fine with me.

Anyone have a good electrician to recommend?

My Formal Resignation

To Every Woman on Planet Earth,

I am writing this to apprise you of my formal resignation. I am resigning from the following: Mommy-wars, Wife-wars, Christian-wars, Woman-wars, Estrogen-wars, Martyr-wars (et. al).  I have informally resigned, but for record keeping’s sake, I thought I’d do it in writing too, so there’s no confusion. It would be nice if there was some kind of badge or certificate I could have so when I start getting sucked in, I could simply hold up my certificate and be excused from said war. (Something to think about for whoever’s in charge of that kind of thing!)

In resigning my position, I give up the following:

  • Judging other women/wives/moms/Christians so I can feel better about myself. (We are all at different points on our journey, after all!)
  • Comparing myself to others and spiralling into a depression because I am no where near as amazing as they are. (We are all at different points on our jouney, after all.. Wait didn’t I just say that?!?)
  • Giving passive-aggressive compliments that are actually veiled put-downs. ( I don’t do passive-aggressive very well, anyway!)
  • Believing that someone else’s accomplishments somehow diminish my value or my accomplishments.
  • Feeling like I need to explain myself (ie: why I can’t do something, why I did something a certain way, and on and on ad infinitum) in order to be accepted, and not have people mad at me or disappointed in me.(If I did something, or didn’t do something, there’s a probably a good reason. Even if I give that reason you will still think what you want to think, so I’m not going to waste my time or surrender my dignity for no reason.)
  • Holding other women to unrealistic standards- and judging them for not “measuring up.”
  • Holding myself to an unrealistic standard and hating myself for not “measuring up.”
  • Pretending like everything’s just fine and dandy when it’s not.
  • Thinking that if someone does something differently than I do that it’s wrong. Sometimes it’s not a matter of right and wrong. It’s just a matter of being different.
  • Assuming I know the whole situation and judging a women for what she is or isn’t doing in said situation; when in fact I don’t know all the details and should stop the criticism and help, encourage and pray.

In formally resigning,  I embrace the following instead:

  • I will not take criticism, gossipping, badmouthing, back stabbing, or immaturity personally and I will not participate in these things either.
  • I will also not retaliate if above occurs. Instead I will forgive you (or myself) and pray for you and love on you.
  • I will remind myself that I am not at war with other women for friendships, men, beauty, fame, success,  The “Mother of the Year”, The “Wife of the Year” (those awards don’t really exist, by the way), the perfect life. We were created for friendship with each other. Deep, meaningful friendship. (Remember the story of Ruth and Naomi? Girl left her country, her religion, her family for her relationship with her mother-in-law, after her husband was killed! “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people. And your God will be my God. Where you die I will die and there I will be buried.” Ruth 1:16-17a) Those verses are used at weddings, but it’s a model of female relationship.
  • I will remember that all of us are broken. All of us have been hurt. We are all insecure in some way. I will love you and myself anyway.
  • I will accept that I don’t have to be close friends with every woman, personalities and other factors make that unreasonable and unrealistic. I will accept that and not try to find something wrong with you or myself if we don’t “click”.
  • I will give you the benefit of the doubt.
  • I will be honest about what’s really going on in my life. And that makes people uncomfortable, but I’ll do it anyway. If I can be honest, maybe you can too.
  • I will cheer your successes and grieve when you mourn. I will not grieve your successes and cheer when you mourn.
  • I will keep fighting myself, the world, the devil and his minions, for us as women to grasp how beautiful we are. Even with frizzy hair, an extra 20 or 200 pounds, a horrible job, single and getting older, married and given up, it doesn’t matter. God made you. God made me. He knew how crazy we would be, and still he chose to make us! You have a destiny that is too huge for you to grasp, and we need to stop believing the lie that we’re not good enough, pretty enough, young enough, old enough,  smart enough, or skinny enough to matter or to make a difference. We won’t make it if we keep fighting each other and ourselves. We won’t make it if we keep believing the lie.
  • I will remember that “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV
  • I will fight. I will not give in. I will not give up.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139: 13-15 NIV

You are a work of God, His works are wonderful. That means you are wonderful!

Your frame was not hidden from God, is not hidden from God. He sees us, all of us. He sees our hurts, our hearts, our dreams and He loves us. He sees what we try to hide from ourselves, and still He loves us.

We need to love each other. We need to love ourselves.

We all need to resign.

 

 

 

That one time the kids and I were attacked by a flock of angry bees

I actually don’t know if they were bees, hornets or wasps. I will call them bees to simplify things.

One fine summer day, my 3 older kids were playing outside while the youngest was napping. I was on a phone call with a used car dealership, looking for a vehicle for a friend. The kids were playing in their favorite spot in our yard; it’s an area we don’t mow. Tall grass and a few small trees. They call it their “fort” and play there daily. I would pop my head outside every so often to check on them. Quite often I would send Riley out with them in his stroller. Ethan is responsible enough to keep an eye on Riley in his stroller and Riley loves being with his brothers and sister. This day I was very grateful that Riley was napping and not outside with the big kids.

I was on the phone with Mr Used Car Salesman. I heard some hollering frrom outside, but that’s normal with my kids. Why speak in a normal voice when you can scream?  The hollering got louder and more frantic sounding. I went to the front door to see what was going on. I wasn’t worried. (I quit getting overly worried by blood curdling screams after racing to my children one too many times, expecting blood, broken limbs or missing limbs based on the screams only to find them with sand in their hair or not getting a turn on the swing.) I see Ethan (the oldest) running to the house. He is the one screaming. This is unusual. I open the front door (Mr Used Car is still on the line) and Ethan screams, “I got stung by bees! I got stung!” I yell into the phone, “My kids got stung, I need to go!” And hang up. (yes for real, I didn’t hold him hostage). I see there is a bee on Ethan’s shirt, and he’s in the house now! I whack it off him onto the floor and squish it. He is screaming constantly. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! inhale AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! inhale. I pull his shirt off and see multiple stings. I then hear more screams coming from outside. (Ethan’s still screaming too). I look outside and see my sweet, tiny little 5 year old daughter standing in the tall grass frantically pulling at her hair and scalp while screaming loud enough to make me sick to my stomach. She’s obviously getting stung. I yell at her to run to the house. She doesn’t move. I yell again and she just keeps screaming. I race out to her screaming for her to run to me. (Seriously the sight of me and my flubberyness sprinting (barefoot) and screaming must have looked ree-diculous. Another reason to be thankful we live in the country.)

As I’m running to her I’m looking for Will. He is usually the one to be touching creatures or interesting things (like hives). I don’t see him anywhere. My brain quickly goes to a bad place. I’m thinking he’s been stung so many times he’s on the ground in the tall grass, unconscious or in anaphylactic shock. (When I was in 4th grade I read a book about a girl whose brother was mowing their lawn with a riding mower and he somehow disrupted a wasp or hornet nest and fell off the mower and died. That’s where my mind went.. Why did I read horrible books like this?)

I get to Nat, grab her arm and start running to the house with her. She is still screaming. I look at her as we’re running and realize her hair is filled with bees! I stop running and start pulling and hitting the bees out of her hair. Except they’re tangled in her hair from when she was trying to get them off. I keep pulling them out and hitting them off of her. Now I am screaming as I get stung (it hurts!). They’re on her clothes too. I finally realize that I have to get them off her before we get in to the house or I’ll have bees in the house. I’m trying to get them all off of her and she is so terrified, she keeps trying to get into the house. I finally just pull her shirt off of her and we race to the house.

Aside: Right after I got to Nat and started running to the house, I saw Will peek out from the woods(I was so relieved!) and screamed at him to get in the house. He ran in before we did.

Nat and I get into the house. She is screaming. Ethan is still standing where I left him screaming. Will runs into his room crying, and slams the door. I realize that I am getting stung and have bees on me. I scream as I am stung and pull my shirt off to get the bees off me and kill them. I pull Ethan and Natalie into the bathroom. I have no idea what to do. They’re still screaming. I’m shaking and starting to feel the pain. I check them over. I see lots and lots of stings on them. I easily count 6 stings on Ethan and 9 on Nat. One of Nat’s knuckles is super swollen. It looks broken or dislocated. I wonder if she fell when she was getting stung. Neither of them seems to be having difficulty breathing (all that screaming was kind of a dead giveaway). I get them to calm down and quiet down. My ears are ringing from all the screaming. Riley is now screaming in his crib, woken up from all the pandemonium. I get one of my medical reference books and try to find out what to do with so many stings. Everything I see is just dealing with one sting.(Not helpful!!!) I’m shaking too much to type in google. I have lidocaine (topical pain reliever) and put it on the stings I can see.  I finally call Noel since the kids have quieted down. We decide not to go to the ER and I’ll just keep an eye on all of us that were stung to make sure no one has an allergic reaction. We come out of the bathroom and I go to the front door and see bees. In my house. I grab a shoe and kill them. Riley’s still screaming in his crib. Ethan and Nat are crying because the stings are starting to throb. I am in pain from the stings I got. (mainly the one on my neck and the one on my butt! Bee stung me through my pants! I hope he died a slow death…) I get Riley up and check on Will to make sure he’s ok. He is fine, just shaken up from the screaming and afraid that he might get stung too. I give all of us ibuprofen and make a paste to put on our stings. I play a movie for the kids and they all calm down.(movies are magical!)

I had Natalie sleep with me that night because I wanted to keep an eye on her. She ended up with 12 stings that we could see, and she is tiny. That’s a lot of “poison” in a very little girl. During the night she started whimpering and frantically hitting at her head. She must have been dreaming of bees. Broke my heart. By the next afternoon, the kids’ stings were almost unnoticeable. Natalie’s knuckle wasn’t broken or dislocated, but stung. The swelling went down on it rather quickly. Within 24 hours you could barely tell the kids had been stung! I was so grateful that no one had an allergic reaction and that Riley had not been outside with the kids! What is (now) a funny story to share could have been very tragic and I am fully aware of how close to tragedy we were.

What we think happened when they were attacked was that Ethan heard buzzing by his head and assumed it was a mosquito. He played in that area daily and had never seen bees before, so he had no reason to think it wasn’t a mosquito. He heard buzzing and swiped at the buzzing. He either killed or injured the bee and that caused all the bees to swarm.

The one positive out of all of this is that the three big kids are really excited to move now! (we’ve been wanting to move closer to town for a while) as long as I guarantee our new yard won’t have bees. I’ll make sure to hunt out and spray any hives or nests we see at our next home. One other “good” thing, now if my kids ever get stung just once, it will not be a big deal at all!   That’s keeping on the sunny side, right?