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Getting on just fine

If it wasn't for the cute little purple cast on Raya's arm, you'd never guess that she's got a broken arm these days. The little turkey is doing all kinds of naughty things, like climbing on things, falling off of things (sometimes on purpose), hanging from things, putting sour cream on her cast, and so on. I'm SO thankful that it's not hot outside while she's casted. (We had our share of that kind of smelly back when she had her DOC Band! :) Here she is hanging from the table (with the splint, sling & her elbow at a 90 degree angle) about 5 minutes before we left to go to the orthopedic clinic last week:
(her feet are on the floor in the picture but they weren't half a second before I snapped it!)

A couple days before that, I had been talking to my grandpa on the phone and was telling him about Raya's arm being kept at a 90 degree angle in the splint and I jokingly said something to the effect of, "Well, on the bright side, at least she won't be swinging from the kitchen table for a while." and he said, "Oh, I wouldn't say things like that, Brandis. Before you know it, she'll be hanging like a monkey by one arm!" And wouldn't you know it, the next day I was just about to put dinner in the oven and as I turned to open the oven door (which was heated to 450 degrees), guess who was hanging by one arm from the oven door handle.

She is SO busy and active lately. I keep using the word "crazy" to describe her and I need to stop saying it in front of the other kids but she is SO all over the place non-stop ALL THE TIME lately. And yes, I realize that she is a 2 year old and 2 year olds aren't exactly known for being calm. She's not my first 2 year old and with Raya, it's different. She has no fear, no sense of danger, low pain response/high pain tolerance, and an energy level that would make one think we were pumping straight sugar through her tube. 
I have my theories about why Raya is SO busy these days but a lot of it has to do with sensory processing disorder. She craves strong sensory input and seems to feel the most comfortable when she is busy. She doesn't like to be still, although she is getting better at it in the right settings. Lately she likes to watch me play Angry Birds on my cell phone so if I ask her to lay down with me and play Angry Birds, she'll sit for a couple of minutes before she has to get down and run around again.
On Tuesday, right after we got done at the orthopedic clinic, the kids' school was having a fundraising night at a pizza place so we went straight there from her appointment. After we'd been there for a while, I needed to get something out of the car so I went to find Donny to get the keys, and what do I find but Raya standing on a skee-ball machine right next to Donny who was playing a basketball game. He turned around to hand me the keys and literally 3 seconds later, he turned back around and found Raya like this:
 INNNNNNNN the basketball game! That was an exhausting evening trying to keep her out of trouble. Then there was the obligatory dousing of all the children with hand sanitizer when we left. Places like that gross me out. Having Raya has kicked my germophobia up a notch. That's probably an understatement. :)

On another note, we've been decorating for Christmas this week. I can't get enough of Christmas decorations. One day Kaida and I were sorting out everybody's ornaments while the kids were at school and Raya was taking a rare but much needed nap, and I came across one that made me laugh out loud. It's the Baby's First Christmas ornament that I bought for Raya. What's so funny about it, you ask? See for yourself:
The girl who won't eat got a spoon ornament for her first Christmas. Both ironic AND amusing. Oh, if only I'd known what we were in for just a few short weeks after I bought this! I suppose sometimes it's best that we don't know exactly what's ahead of us. I've been thinking about this a lot today. I believe that God has a vision of what He wants us to become, and He knows what it will take for us to become that best version of ourselves. In order to help us achieve our potential, He allows trials to come into our lives that will shape specific facets of our character. Some of those trials will be small, and some of them will make you feel like you are being shaken to the core, but one thing will always remain the same: God is in control. He can see all things from beginning to end, and when we get to a point where we need a higher perspective to help calm us and see us through, all we have to do is ask for it.
In a way, it's like being in a maze where there are high walls that prevent us from seeing anything but what's in front of us. If we try to navigate our way through it alone, ALONE is exactly what we'll be. If we ask for help, God will guide us through it and help us to become what we are meant to become. Sometimes when we forget to ask for that help and perspective and we find ourselves feeling lost and frustrated and alone, which is exactly what Satan wants.
In the words of a good friend, some days, there will be sorrow and sadness but it's okay because tomorrow will be joyful. All of the difficulties of life are a part of life but they don't have to BE our life. As hard as it may be sometimes, finding joy in life is possible even when we are facing hard times. Easier said than done, but not impossible.

I've recently come into contact with a couple of other "tubie moms" who are still in the middle of their storms. They're still in search of that magic diagnosis and still reeling from the traumatic start they've gotten to parenthood. Life for them is uncertain and scary. Reading things that they've written throws me back to the way I felt at different points in Raya's life. Now that we're out of that phase of treating the symptoms and get her stable while trying to figure out what was causing all the problems, life has slowed down enough for me to realize that there are scars from some of the things I've had to see her go through and things I've had to allow to be done to her or put her through myself. In the moment, you can't worry about that, you just do what you have to to get through it but there comes a point when you have to make peace with the past and let things go. Now there are little moments that help me to let go of some of those things and I guess for lack of better word, heal some of the scars that I didn't realize were there. Tonight, I was laying on the couch and Raya climbed up next to me and laid down. Then she stuck her fingers in my ear and said, "Mommy ear?" and demanded that I play Angry Birds on my phone. And I did because it meant that she stayed snuggled up next to me. :) 

To all of you moms who are still in the middle, I hope you will have enough sweet moments to help you get through all the tough ones you're facing, and know that life won't always be the way it is right now.

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