Thursday, April 30, 2009

Drew's Story: Fighting Cholesteatoma

Andrew is that one child in the house that can get into anything! He touches, tastes, moves, holds, and tears up everything. He's only 2 but I am sure he has rearranged and caused more damage than some of the other children combined. He's curious by nature. So it was no surprise to me one day when I walk in my scrapbook area and find him sitting in a pile of old polaroids. He looks up at me smiling with a black tongue. He was pulling them apart and licking the insides. Well, accustomed to the things he gets into, I simply clean up the mess and think nothing of it. Later that evening my husband and I notice some swelling on the right side of Drew's face and a little drooping when he cries. Armed with all the knowledge of the world at my fingertips, I begin to google the chemicals in older polaroids. I find nothing that says it would cause these symptoms. I call poison control and they reassure me that he's probably just a little congested from a cold but they are certain these symptoms are not related to the licking of the polaroid....... Whew!
Its the weekend and outside of the inconsistent drooping when he cries, he seems to be his normal self. He's terrorizing his siblings and bringing the usual chaos to our home. My sister, a nurse notices and calls a Dr. friend of hers who says he thinks the drooping is caused from pressure from a cold also. Content for now with these two opinions we move on through the weekend planning to see our awesome pediatrician first thing Mon. morning.
Monday rolls along and we make our way to the peds. office. She checks everything out and says he has the worst ear infection she has ever seen. She confirms that the swelling and drooping is most certainly caused by the ear infection. So I feel relieved that the damage wasn't caused by the licking of the polaroid but horrible that my son has apparently been walking around for God knows how long with an ear infection. What kind of mother am I to not notice my son's pain? My pediatrician schedules an appointment with an Ear Nose and Throat specialist for the very same day. We leave one doctor to see another and the entire time I am beginning to feel really crappy about my mothering skills. I mean he's baby number 6, I should be a pro at it by now!
The ENT takes one look and says "This little guy is going in for surgery, today." He later explains that the pressure from the ear infection is paralyzing the facial muscles. Frantic on the inside, calm on the outside, I call everyone. There were schedules to be rearranged, I had children in school and 2 a friend's house. I would need all the help I could get b/c after missing so much I couldn't leave Drew's side.
Well, let's jump to the surgery....They prep Drew for surgery and tell us it would take all of 15 min., and he would be going home the following day. My husband, father, and I sit waiting in a serious by joking mood. The surgeon comes out almost 15 min. later with a very serious look on his face. I should have known then that look was not to say that all had gone well in the surgical room. He had come to explain that what he found was not an ear infection, but something called a cholesteatoma (say it with me cho-Less-t-a-toma). It was formed in the womb. Essentially, its a collection of skin cells growing in the wrong place that just continue to grow and grow and can destroy what it attaches itself to. Well Drew had this thing growing behind his ear drum for the past 2years! The Dr. instructs us to stay off of the internet googling it, he didn't want us getting nervous and scared but Drew would be in the hospital a couple of days and would require several surgeries to remove all of it, and we could expect some permanent hearing damage and possible permanent nerve damage. Not what I was prepared to hear at all! It was at this moment that as a family we took a moment to pray and seek God's mercy. Everything needed for Drew was out of our hands. I think as parents we all face a time where we realize that while we are the ones responsible for the care and love that our children need, there is so much more that we can't control.
Thankfully the next morning the same surgeon comes in and informs us that he feels Drew's case is beyond his expertise and refers us to a specialist in Chapel HIll. The surgeons there lovingly cared for Drew before and after his surgery. So far Drew has only had one surgery and is scheduled for his second one. Dr. Adunka and his team were able to successfully remove all of the cholesteatoma the first time, but unfortunately it had eroded all the ear bones in Drew's right ear and caused a small amount of damage to the ear drum. The second surgery this summer will be to check for new growths and reconstruct the ear bones. Since then Drew has regained function of those facial muscles. I have now found out that there are many out there who suffer with the same condition but few websites dedicated to informing folks about it. I am thankful that Drew was guided to the expert hands of Dr. Adunka and spared the irreversible damage that many suffer due to the lack of knowledge and information on this condition. Drew is a blessed child because so many require 3-5 surgeries, never fully regaining control of those muscles or their hearing. So.....this is our family's story on Drew's cholesteatoma journey.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From the minds of the non-schoolers

I must give you background info. before giving details to the latest Artis Funny
Tyler (son - 13) N'yasha (daughter - 9), Leah (daughter - 5), Isaac (son -4), Sarah (daughter -2), Drew (son -2), Mama (30-ish), Daddy (older than Mama 30-ish), Papa (50-ish)

And so the conversation goes.....

Sarah: "Who's older Tyler or N'yasha?
Ike the all knowing older brother replies "Tyler, he is our biggest older brother"....... (and no he doesn't have any other older brothers)

Sarah: "Who is older N'yasha or Ike?"
Ike: always having all the answers "N'yasha is biggest than me"

Sarah: "Who is older Mommy or Tyler?'
Ike: once again he's right "Mommy, she can tell Tyler what to do."

Sarah: "Who is older Daddy or Papa?"
Ike: "Daddy, cause Papa is alot of fun and he's got big trucks"
Sarah: "Yeah and Papa has a treasure box on his truck" (she is actually referring to a rusted, rigged up craftsman toolbox that is older than I am. My father doesn't go anywhere without it on the back of his truck, but Sarah is convinced its a treasure box.)

Sarah: "Who is older Daddy or God?"
Ike: "Daddy, cause daddy was born before God"
Drew, the one who does less talking and more hitting adds, "Yep, daddy is older than God"

You would have thought that Drew had the final word. After he confirmed that daddy is indeed older than God, Sarah sits back in her car seat, content with his answer and moves on to another subject.

I am always amazed what comes from the minds and through the mouth of the non-schoolers.......I wonder if my husband will be just as amazed

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Why are you still sitting there?"
"Didn't I ask you to........?"
"Why are you looking at me like that? I know you hear me, b/c there is nothing wrong with your hearing."
"and you are still sitting there, uh, NO! I want it done now!"

If this one way conversation is familiar to you, CONGRATULATIONS! You have a stubborn, confused, wanna do their own thing teenager in your house! What happened to that cute, sweet, precious, little boy I brought home a few months ago, ok, well maybe it was more like 13 years ago, but it seems like last week. He used to listen to everything I said and he thought his mommy was the best thing since sliced bread. Now, all of a sudden I have this human walking around who has his own agenda and thinks that I don't have the sense of a slug! What is it about teenage-ism that brings about brain block, hearing loss, the inability to follow directions, and the ability to take your parents from 1 to 10 in a matter of moments? Is there help for the parent of a teen? Is there somewhere I can send him to be re-programmed? For some reason I was under the impression that teen-tude didn't start until somewhere around 16-18yrs, but here I am with a full-fledged 13 year old TEENAGER! After this weekend of dealing with his teen-deafness, teen brain block, teen frustration b/c he can't do whatever he wants whenever he wants completely ignoring how his wants affect the other 5 children and mainly the 2 adults in the house (us parents!), I just want to say a few words that I thought I would NEVER say,
Mom, I am sooooo sorry, but rest assured I am getting it all back. You were so right about it all!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Putting Family First: Feature of the Week

Email your Feature of the Week nominations to

Putting Family First: Feature of the Week

For the past two weeks my mind has been going non-stop with things I wanna blog about. Of course the kids provide enough material for me to write for days but I have decided that I want to use my blogs to talk about things other than my children, besides if I wrote about half the things they did I'm sure most of you would be convinced that my husband and I are horrible parents, which is not true....well except for those times when we give in and allow them to overload on sugar, or on those times when we just say "ok, whatever, just let me sleep for about 5 more minutes." I want to interact and truly connect with the people who are actually reading my blog. So, I have decided that each week I will feature someone, somewhere who is doing great things or has done great things that relate to family. I gonna start off with my Grandma Maggie. She celebrated her 85th birthday this week. She is a wonderful wife and mother to 4 children, and she is still on the move. I can always remember her working very hard inside and outside of the home. She possesses many skills that we modern day mommies have let slip away, such as sewing, cooking, gardening (real know growing your own food along with decorative flowers for the yard). I can remember her canning vegetables and making homemade peach preserve. She cared for her family and folks in the community. Whenever my sisters and I would spend extending time with her during the summer she would always try her best to teach us how to do those things that her mother had taught her. I think that's an area most new age mommies could step up in. As we are raising our children to be successful in the world, we have to make sure we equip them with the skills necessary to be successful in the home also. Now a days we don't have to sew our own clothing, grow our own foods and can veggies for the winter, but I am thankful to my Granny for doing those things for our family. She truly deserves to be my first Putting Family First: Feature of the Week. I will be looking to hear from you guys for a suggestion for next week's Feature of the Week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When Ninjas Attack

Today was such a beautiful day, I thought it would be wonderful to let the kids get outside and get some fresh air and use up some of that stored energy. So, I instructed the non-schoolers to get dressed to go outside. Without hesitation, the boys came downstairs fully dressed in their costumes....Ike informs me that they are ninjas today and ready for war.......well, ok, if you're comfortable going outside like that, then I'm fine with it. So out we go. Ike is kicking, and flipping, and turning, and rolling, and I must admit he's gotten kinda good at it. Drew is trying his best to keep up, he's got the stance down but his kicks don't actually leave the ground....and thats fine, you gotta start where you are. SaySay, the little princess loves to go outside but that whole ninja thing wasn't exciting her in the least big, she had plans to sit down and pick flowers (weeds)...So after what I thought was plenty of time ninja-ing outside we come in for lunch..I'm sweating and slaving microwaving spaghetti-o's when I hear a loud CRASH! SaySay comes running, " Ike and Drew ninja-ed down the desk,"" WHAT?" I know you're thinking that the muscles in the picture are built into the suit, but don't sleep, my boys are strong......ok well the reality of the situation is, when we moved into this house we should have left that shaky, crickety, on it's last leg desk on the curb but The Artis Family doesn't tend to let things go easily especially if we can get an ounce of use out of it, so I'm sitting here wondering what we'll do with it now.......It still may not be curb ready......

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back to the 50's? A good wife does know her place

Meanwhile, back in the Fifties . . .

An excerpt from Good Housekeeping Monthly 13 May 1955

"The good wife's guide

· Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

· Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

· Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

· Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

· Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.

· Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

· Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

· Be happy to see him.

· Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

· Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

· Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

· Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquillity where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

· Don't greet him with complaints and problems.

· Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

· Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

· Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

· Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

· A good wife always knows her place."

On a recent visit to my Dr. I saw this posted in the bathroom.  My initial reaction to this was "You have got to be kidding!"  Throughout the visit I continued to think about this excerpt. For days now I have still been thinking about it.  While most of us would agree that some of the things mentioned are just CRAZY (If my husband begins to have alot of outside entertainment without prior notice we are going to have some problems!)  but some of the other things aren't so crazy.  So why have we as wives and mothers gotten away from being the keepers of our homes and the ones who create an atmosphere of love and peace in our homes?  I understand that times are different because alot of us work outside the home just as much if not more than some of our spouses and some of us are doing this mothering thing alone, but does that negate our responsibility as mothers to teach our children, love and respect our husbands, and take care of our homes?  I have been a stay at home mom for a little over a year now and I know if someone had said any of this to me before then I would have completely ignored them. I am actually still adjusting to my position as Wife and Mother.  At first I felt like I was contributing less to the family because I was no longer going out to work and bringing in a paycheck.  I felt that this somehow took away any control or devalued my opinion on issues of the home.  I was afraid that I was going to become a silent robot in my home that no one inside or outside of the home would respect.  Once I began to settle into my new position I found quite the opposite was true.  My husband is in love with idea of me being available to take care of home issues, my children seem to be in love with me, probably because we spend more time together.  That feeling of stress that I used to get everyday when I got home from work trying to make sure homework was done, food was prepared, kids were bathed, and clothes were washed is gone.  Well I wasn't really getting those things done, we spent more time in fast food restaurants, the laundry pile was big enough to stink up the house,  and the vacuum only ran on Sat.  I am a calmer, more relaxed wife and mother (most days anyway, I can still flip the script when provoked).  I am able to do most of the things I always wanted to do as a wife and mother. Now in no way am I suggesting that wives should be kept quiet in the house, not allowed to work, secluded from society,  but I am saying for this family, The Artises, my place as Wife and Mother is what works for us.   I want to know what you think.  Where is your place in your familyMoms, what have we lost or do you think we haven't lost anything at all?  What are your thoughts, whether you think I am completely crazy or this whole thing has got you thinking another way, I want to know.  What will the next generation of mothers be like, will kitchens and laundry rooms become a thing of the past?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tatted Up!

Today like every other day in the lives of the Artis 6
brought many laughs! I have explained to my little
ones over and over and over again how we
are to keep our hands, feet, markers, and
crayons away from the walls. On several
occasions one of my 2 year olds has decided
that the wall was the best place to display
their creativity. As my non-schoolers were
assisting with the cleaning they found a
mountain load of markers and crayons in a
box downstairs, and the creative juices began
to flow! My 4 year old happily explained that
his 2 year old brother had given them "cool"
tatoos. I took one look and realized his brother
had surely given them both temporary tatoos
with a permanent marker....The artist
(Drew Drew) explained to me that the
tatoos (lines) on their arms are their names
and the tatoo on the little guys chest is a dog,
while he had proudly given his older brother a
picture of a GIRL on his chest! Well what could
I really say, I said don't write on the walls and
furniture, I guess I had left the option of drawing
on each other wide open!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A mom's vocabulary!

Today as I was doing my daily school route, I found myself thinking of how elaborate and extensive my speech and vocabulary had become.  After many years of education I now find myself successfully communicating on a consistent basis using 4 or 5 words (or less)  in a sentence. I decided to list a few of my favorites 
1.  Don't hit your brother.
2.  Don't hit your sister.
3.  Don't hit your friends.
4.  Go to your room.
5.  Can you please stop crying?
6.  I am proud of you.
7.  Great Job!
8.  Stop Running!
9.  Silence Please
10.  Eyes on, Hands Off!  (This one works especially well when we are in stores... I stole it from my granny)
11. No, we aren't buying toys.
12.  Clean your room, now.
13.  You must brush your teeth.
14.  Take a bath.
15.  Yesterday's bath doesn't count today!

and for times when I want to be very clear,


A father's vocabulary tends to be a little different.   2 of my husband's favs. are
1.  If you're not bleeding, you're okay.
2.  Ok, there are gonna be consequences and repercussions!

Please, feel free to post some of your own favs. in the comment section!

Not too long ago a dear friend of mine introduced me to the world of scrapbooking. I have been hooked ever since. I love to scrapbook the traditional way but my life doesn't always allow time for that.  So for those quick scrapbook fixes, I love scrapblog!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sleep, Anyone?....No thanks, I think we'll pass!

Tues. nights are always somewhat off-kilter for us because it is our church night, so we don't get home to well after the non-schoolers' proposed bedtime and around the time that the schoolers should be retiring for the night.  I am sure that the words proposed and should did not slip pass some of you.  I admit, I am a mom of 6 that has not mastered bedtime.  Once upon a time when the twins were infants I had bedtime down to a science. Everyone had definite bedtimes that I strictly adhered to....the twins changed everything.  The transition from cribs to beds that they could get up from turned my world upside down.  Well anyway, last night after putting everyone to bed, including my hubby, I drifted off watching some re-runs of Law and Order.  Around 4am I awake to the sound of giggles, Noggin, and feet scurrying across the carpet.  I turn off the tv b/c surely there is no one awake in my house at 4am!  Who am I kidding, I should have gotten up then, of course there are two some ones awake at 4am! I drag myself from my room only to find the twins happily painting themselves in fingernail polish.  Sarah had one fuschia eyebrow, Drew had fuschia colored chicken pox looking thingys painted on his face complimented by the bright fuschia patch of hair his twin had given him, and they had even painted their 4 year old brother who was sleeping, he now looked like a fuschia stripped tiger.  I have talked to many experienced parents and read several books about successfully overcoming bedtime drama, but I don't recall anyone telling me to hide the fingernail polish!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


So, this morning was such a wonderful day in the Artis household, it is the first official day that the older kids go back to school after spring break!  SPRING BREAK IS OVER!  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and the first 2 days of spring break were awesome, but around day 3 everybody was hitting somebody, all of the children who can write were putting DO NOT ENTER signs on their doors.....failing to realize that the ones they were trying to keep out can't read, and the little ones were ready to get back to days filled with Noggin, Disney, and pudding snacks.  Oh Joy!  
Well, after any extended time with all of the children home, the pantry is void of any snacks.  So after dropping the schoolers off, the non-schoolers and I decided to drop by the grocery store.  The non-schoolers (3 of them) proudly march in holding hands greeting everyone with a smile and good morning.  They are always so bright and smiley at 7:30am.  I notice that we are getting strange looks but I ignore it b/c with six kids I always get strange looks.  As we're walking out a sweet older lady asks to speak to me.  She proceeds to ask if I have help caring for the children and do I feel overwhelmed.  How dare she ask this!   I am thinking to myself that I hide my frustrations very well,  when she brings my attention to the attire of my little ones.  She is displeased with the way I have allowed them to dress, Sarah seems to match even if her shirt is on inside out but this morning she thought the threading on the inside of the shirt was pretty, Drew insisted on wearing cowboy boots with his pajama top and sweat pants, and my dear sweet Ike was proudly sporting a fully muscled power ranger suit with his cowboy boots....and I thought the purpose of clothing was to be covered.  We nicely thanked the lady for bringing this to our attention and continued on our merry little way.  I think I will continue to allow my little ones to develop their creativity through dress.

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My Favs

coming soon.....

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About Me

I am Mommy of Many. First of all I love God and I am thankful to him for his awesome saving grace. I am a full-time mom of six mostly amazing babies, ages 3, 3, 5, 6, 10, and 14 (yes, I know 10 and 14 are a stretch at being babies but they will always be mommy's babies) and wife to 1 mostly awesome hubby and best friend, age somewhere in the mid 30's. There are so many hats and titles that I find myself wearing from day to day that range from entrepreneur to cook, but those that rank at the top include wife, mommy, and writer, soon to be published author. I am so blessed to have found the world of blogs because writing is "my thing." I would much rather communicate with people on paper, well I guess, now a days writing is done on computer, but you know what I mean.

On a more serious note, I am a successful business owner and dictator or my own schedule, outside of the kid's practices and games, hubby's work schedule, and Dr./Dentist/Teacher Conf. Appts. It is my desire to connect with other stay-at- home and work from home moms. I love the age of social networking that we have entered because it allows us the opportunity to connect and share with other people all over the world from the comforts of our home. As a matter of fact I'm typing this in a fluffy pink robe and fuzzy, toed, socks. The thought that this will be read by individuals half way across the world in a matter of moments is nothing short of amazing.

I've been twittling around this blogging thing for a little less than a year. I kinda got started blogging just to be doing something and before I knew it, I had been bitten by the Blog Bug. I am now "all in." I usually blog about any and every thing that comes to mind. Sometimes my blogs are well thought and read well and other times you will find random ramblings of my over-exhausted brain. Whatever the writings of the day, I love doing this! So welcome! Feel free to look around and of course I would love to know what you think! So don't be shy LEAVE ME A COMMENT!!

Contact Me

Feel Free to send me any questions or comments

Monday, April 13, 2009

New to Blogging

Hi, I am a wife and mother of six beautiful children and most days I actually love it.  I have those days when I want to crawl under the bed and hide, but then I realize that no one would eat or bathe, my husband would have to go to work without socks or matching shoes, the laundry pile would probably double that day, and surely the broom or vacuum would never see the light of day.  I am actually rather new to being a stay-at-home mom and it took quite a bit of adjusting to find my groove with it.  My days are spent meeting the needs of the ones that I love most, my family.  I can already hear the mothers saying that I need to make sure I have a life outside of my children, and you are soooo right.  Well, I have moments outside of my children and husband, I'm not sure about the whole life thing away from them. I think I prefer the life with them and the moments away from them. Thanks to family who live nearby.  I have always loved writing and it has always been a great release of tension and an excellent outlet for any sort of pinned up emotions so I figured why not try my hand at blogging.  I always have people telling me how my husband and little ones provide so much comic relief for them.  Well, I'm going to put it to the test and see just how entertaining they are.  I type this as I watch one of my 2 year olds skip through the house in ribbons, and a pull up.  Maybe thats my cue to end this blog session for now and find some type of clothing for her to put on.