Category Archives: misc

I’m "here" but grumpy and you really don’t want me to write today….

I can’t wait to talk about the “hornets”….BUT…until today I have been crabby, irritable, and just an all around “downer.


It is my ridiculous, annoying, “needs-to-go-away” PTSD again (triggered by what happened in my last post AND the dang hornets….


Today was finally better so I am sure I will feel like spilling my words here soon 🙂 


All my love…
Andrea

There was a shark, a gar, and a behemoth in the water…Unbelievable!!!!

It started out as a nice afternoon alongside “Lake Monroe”. 


Unfortunately, we had settled on an exceptionally rocky part of the lake (big, huge mistake). The rocks were HOT and SHARP..


But…heck…we were settled in before we realized just how rocky the whole place was. And, holla to the parents out there who know the pain of setting up coolers, towels, rafts, frisbees, cups, drinks, lawn chairs, big umbrellas, e.t.c.,  you just don’t want to pick it all up and resettle. 


Sorta like the pioneers… we just “settled” 😉 



BUT.


THEN…


There’s SUDDEN screaming…not just “screaming” but “real, I’m hurt, not playing around SCREAM”.


It is my nephew (age 7) who is screaming…He and Zane were playing by a boat dock (with permission).


Seth is just SCREAMING! 


I start RUNNING from our ‘spot’…YES…over the “hot as lava” and ‘sharp as razor’ rocks but who cares! 





My brother-in-law is trying to get to Seth but he’s pretty far out in the water and … well .. ya know … it’s hard to move fast in water that hits you at your thigh. (shallow lake I find out)


So…I was running TOWARDS the “danger”. Thumbs up for me! Gold Star! I’m the “Weekly Winner”!  I did not FREEZE!


(afterwards me and my PTSD had a sweet conversation. I told it I was proud for letting me run to HELP someone and not run away with my tail between my legs the other way. I think it means something that I could run towards my nephew and not just point and scream for David to hurry….  Score?  Andrea: 1  PTSD: 0   -at least for that day 😉


Okay…So while I’m running over the rocks, hearing his scream my ‘rush to extremes’ brain is kinda going a bit nuts…but it’s also all true (scary, eh?!)

I was thinking: SHARK! (um…freshwater lake Andrea)

  

GAR! 
(no Gars in this lake Andrea, I knew this. Forgot.)


 KIDNAPPER !
 (under water? No more movies for you, ever.)  




BEHEMOTH! (if it’s a behemoth, which is a word the Bible uses as “dinosaur”…then I am in WAY over my head…pun not intended but it appeared. uh-hem seriously Andrea? yes. Seriously Blog.)





As a result of the ABOVE (scary eek holy heck thoughts)…


I am in full mode….. GO!!!! Get Seth now before the shark, or the gar, or the behemoth gets us ALL! 


So….I’m over the “hot as lava” and “sharp as razors” rocks and….(yes, big gash on my foot. I lived.)


I run into the water.


The lake water is muddy, etc. 


I am a HORRID judge of anything that is non-fashion-oriented. 


Truly. 


Can’t measure distance, nuances, height, time, calories, friendships…nada. 


Now, if we are talking about a pair of “Jimmy Choo” shoes…well girls…I got all the time in the world to measure those. 





I’m digressing aren’t I?  okay.


I THINK I’ve run MORE than far enough into the water to take a swan dive into the water..


 (like the movies ya know…”Baywatch” and all..yeah, like that…) 


…to REALLY get to my nephew, who is still screaming a murderous scream and NOW to Aven who is nearby and SHE is now SCREAMING ..and dive..FAST. Must. Get. There. Fast.


I dive.





OUCH!!!!!


MY UTERUS!    PELVIS!     COLON!   LOWER INTESTINES! 


OUCH!!!!!!


My beautiful, “Baywatch” swan dive turned into a SPLAT upon a POINT, MEAN BOULDER!!! 


(okay. rock. but it was HUGE. And I have witnesses who witnessed the huge status of the horrid, mean, ugly, devastating, hell-bound rock)





Now I am thinking…


“HOW am I going to save Seth and NOW possibly AVEN FROM A SHARK if I am bleeding INTERNALLY? 


Will my arms still work or do I only have a limited amount of time before they droop? Dang I have to hurry. Dang my intestines hurt.”


So. I swim…somehow…with a broken uterus, pelvis, colon, and lower intestines.





I GET TO SETH! (phew, are you as glad as I am about that right now? I’m exhausted from reading all this.)


His beautiful brown eyes are TERRIFIED.


I put on my “ADULT” act      (totally faking cuz I’m sure it is a shark and we are all about to die together…myself, Aven, and Seth….)     and tell Seth..


“IT IS OKAY! IT IS OKAY! Tell me what hurts” 


He says, [I swear upon a pumpkin I am NOT making this -or any of it- up] “THERE IS SOMETHING IN MY FOOT!”


THE INSTANT HE SAID THAT I THOUGHT “Yep, I was right! We are going to die. It’s a shark’s mouth. Or a Gar. Or a behemoth. It’s in his foot. I knew it. I’m sure it’s huge. We are goners.”





I knew we were in our last minutes because I knew I did not have the life skills to pull a kid’s foot out of a shark/gar/behemoth’s mouth.


 Nope. I was sure I did not.


They DO NOT TEACH THAT IN SCHOOL! 


“How To Pull A Child’s Foot Out of Shark/Gar/Behemoth’s Mouth 101”  and what would be “201”?  A Whale’s mouth?


The shark will probably pull away..taking Seth’s foot I’m thinking? And at least he’d have his leg? What does one do in these situations? 


Meanwhile, Aven is still screaming which is REALLY throwing me for a loop. I am trying to decide to keep Seth’s foot and leg attached or not and she’s hollering? 


I’m sure the shark/gar/behemoth does not have her because Seth JUST told me something was in HIS foot.


Now, please, like there would be TWO shark/gar/behemoths in ONE location? Maybe ONE LAKE..but..statistically for more than one to be at the boat dock. That’s just crazy talk.





I assumed the shark would be WAY to interested in Seth to notice Aven’s cute little toes…she really needed to tone it down.


I decided that a leg without a foot is better than many of the alternatives that were going through my head…He finally reached out for me and I reached his arms and…..


I. PULLED!


And he came right to me?? 


What? 


Where’s the shark/gar/behemoth fighting me for Seth’s leg?  (dang my colon hurts I am still thinking)


Seth is crying, sobbing, “My toe! There’s something there!”


I take a deep adult-breath and held him in my arms like a baby (we were in water up to my chest or so?) and I look.


IT IS A HUGE FISH HOOK.  huge phew. huge sigh. 



BUT…WOW…that has to hurt! I am SURE he thought it was a shark too!  (or a gar or a behemoth.)


With one SWIFT move I got an ancient hook outta the boy’s toe and handed him off to his Dad and then I got Aven away from that area with Indy Race Car speed. 


Also, partially because I still wasn’t sure there was no shark, gar, or behemoth circling about us…AND…I was sure my colon was bleeding out my ears and I surely needed immediate medical attention from my failed “Baywatch” dive.


We all regrouped at the rocky ‘spot’ and collectively stared at each other for a bit. 


Personally, I was thinking that Seth has QUITE an impressive scream. This thought I had whilst squeezing my lower torso together, just to reduce any unseen gashes or perforations the pointy, hell-bound boulder/rock caused.


We all took some deep breaths, inspected the ((**$%&) hook that had invaded Seth’s toe and I was stared at to see if I was going to melt into a PTSD lump or bleed out.  


Phew. And we were there for what?  fun? that didn’t work out now did it?


That is some SERIOUS “lazy afternoon on the lake drama” (especially if you include the drama inside my head!)


BUT….Just so you don’t worry….


Turns out that all of my internal organs were actually, shockingly, right where they were supposed to be. 


We surmised this as I did not keel over and die after being stared at for a bit. 


Additionally, after about an hour of my continued living, we decided to forget that my uterus almost came out of my elbow.


AND…(truly…)  AND……(but you have wait…sorry! I’m TIRED!)


Would you believe there is even MORE (lots more) DRAMA to this apparently Titantic-like afternoon at the lake???  THERE IS. 


Think HORNETS.


I will tell you ALL about that drama next time….because, right now, I feel the need to meditate, pray, hide, run away from gars, research if behemoths still survive…


…..and schedule an appointment with my doctor as every time I move my elbow hurts? Like there’s fluid in there or something?

Phew.

Andrea….



PS OBVIOUSLY this entire event just poured into my PTSD like a river. 


After it was all said and done, I had to take some time and get myself settled, etc. 


Writing about it from a humorous  (and true as to what was inside my head! so weird 😉 standpoint helps me a lot. Just writing helps!


It helps me to ‘categorize’ the moments better rather than the entire event staying clumped up as “scary” inside my mind – which is one of the foundations of PTSD. ” Not being able to categorize.” Shark/Gar/Behemoth is an example of not being able to categorize in the moment even. (yep..working on that. eyeroll)


Not categorizing…The inability to “move on”; “find closure from a traumatic event”…. all these lead to a person with PTSD, who is not learning coping mechanisms and/or medicines, to put all major or even minor sudden, surprise, unusual events into one, scared area of their thoughts and actions. 


All that being said…back to it is a lot more fun to write posts like this than my last post. BUT…both types help me...and I REALLY hope someone got a giggle from this one. 


I was laughing out loud as I wrote it because I couldn’t believe I actually thought all of those things…and I didn’t remember thinking all of them until I sat down to “dissect” my memory while I wrote.  


Life’s interesting…..

& Come on in and tell me what ya thought…Click “View Comments”!

She SCREAMS "What for me Momma…." then tries to RUN down the stairs cuz.."I WANNA SEE MOMMA! Please WAIT!" .

 Boots? Beach? Booyah!

She was waiting for us to catch up as we walked home from the beach…AND…she was grumpy 🙂 

 Chase & Trey …. sweetness on a raft and in the water 😉
 “Let’s build a dam” oggga oga
 Dam built!  ogga ogga OGGA!!

 [insert heart-shaped smile ;]  That is my Trey….Strolling back to ‘base camp’…probably pondering something exceptionally important. How could I love him more??? Impossible.

 Now we are back at our rental house and ‘da boyz’ are showin’ off…JUST a wee bit…

 I want to cry when I look at Trey’s expression. He was having SO much fun with his Dad. 
You can almost FEEL the camaraderie, love, and hero-worship gigs that Trey has for his Dad….and the world is as it should be.

 OH my Tye 🙂 Even though he is on a severely restricted diet (allergies)…somehow he always manages to be eating?!

A “few” pictures from our FIRST day of our mini-to-slightly-longer-than-mini vacation to Lake Michigan 🙂  {I take A LOT of pix don’t I?!! }
We are having a treasured time making family memories.
I adore how, as the kids get older, they are becoming more than siblings but…FRIENDS. I’m not referring to someone just to “jump off a chair with a Buzz Lightyear cape on his back” (smile) but true, happy, I-want-see-you FRIENDS.
Sure there are bleeps on this radar. As in EVERY relationships there are bleeps, speedbumps, and detours.  However, I see a strong foundation developing between these 5 people (my babies!) that makes me excited for the future.
Excited to see where they land and how they keep up with each other…it might be easier since several will want to live with Mom and see her every day 🙂
One thing that I love about hanging out as a family is that you get to get what each child might need “a little bit more of”.
Sure, we hang out (a lot) as a family at home…but you all know…guards are down during vacation and, as a result, different and unknown things are discovered.
The last few days have just been blessed.
We have had a beautiful time together..Jim and I have been able to drop boring  life stuff (BLAH!) and just focus on the amazing people God has entrusted us with.
All that being said, nothing seemed ‘blaringly’ needy in regards to a kid’s soul or mind. Jim and I were thinking…”We got this gig!”.
But..um…
Here’s how something went down that changed our perspective a bit.
I started to go downstairs for a second….Aven asks, “Momma, where are you going?”
Now, between you and me I was just going downstairs to make sure Jim and I were on the same page for the rest of the day. 
BUT…I said to Aven, “I’m going downstairs to hug your Daddy. I’ll be right back!”.
SCREAMING…
“MOMMA! WAIT ! WAIT ! WAIT ! 
I WANNA SEE THE HUG!!!!”
Suddenly, she is tripping over her feet then her knees to get dressed fast enough to get downstairs with me too…
SEE MOM & DAD HUG.
I was a bit set back. A bit saddened. 
Doesn’t she see Jim and I show affection towards one another enough to make her feel secure and safe. Jim and I are strong believers that if the MARRIAGE is working…then the kids are feeling , deep down, GREAT (in general).
Then I wondered if it was just “a girl thing”. Maybe she just wanted to see me be all “Barbie” and Daddy all “Ken”? eh? But, no…I do not think that was it.
In my soul,  the instant she screamed it and tried to get to me before “the hug”…I knew Jim and I had dropped a perverbial ball.  We had let our girl down. We had made her wonder. Maybe we had made her feel a bit afraid? 
Yes, Jim and I had hugged, kissed in front of the kids (eh! gross! but they LOVE it)…but just not enough in front of THIS kid apparently.
THIS kid was SO desperate to just see her Mommy & Daddy hug that she almost fell down the stairs trying to get there before the hug happened.
Of course, I waited for her.
I took her hand.
I didn’t say a thing. Neither did she.
Jim was outside sitting down.
She stood AS CLOSE AS SHE COULD GET while I bent down and hugged her Daddy.
The SMILE on my daughter’s face was radiant.
(my husband was sorta confused but he ran with it 😉
We have, so far, learned at least one big, huge, major lesson on this sweet vacation.
We have FIVE kids. 
Not One.
Not Two.
Not Three.
[sheesh, are we crazy!]
Not Four.
But FIVE.
ALL of them need to see their parent’s love on each other. EACH child needs to experience that feeling of “Yep, they still love each other. My world’s okay for a least a little while longer now. I can be mean, stir the pot, or not…but Mom and Dad seem to still wanna be here so I feel good.”
Maybe we need to keep a spreadsheet of who saw a kiss on which day and when that kids needs to, then, see us hug in the future? smile
Obviously, a hug and a peck in front of our kids on a regular basis do not solve world issues [smile]; however, when a problem DOES creep up into our family, or into our kids…they know they have a foundation of stone, not sand, to holdfast too.
 The ‘showing of affection’ drives this idea home for them….so it seems.
I am SO happy Aven SCREAMED, “WAIT FOR ME MOMMA. I WANNA SEE THE HUG!”.
Now I know that she wants to see her parents visibly show her our affection for each other…when, then, translates to safety, security, and happiness for her. 
A LOT of people would say this is “Adoption griefor abandonment issues that she is working through”. Um. If that is the case then why do my biological kids have the exact same need and desire?

It was not adoption-oriented…it was simply child-parent stuff. 

And…
You better believe will we will be sure to meet her need to “see us hug” better…apparently Jim is ALL for it 😉 Luv him 🙂
Andrea (seriously sorry for any typos…will fix in the morning 😉
PS I wanted to add that, if you are a single parent reading this…I do not want you to feel sad, or bad, or anything of the sort.  You do not have a ‘someone’ next to you to ‘hug’…which makes what I wrote about above a bit hard 😉
I believe that YOU can give your child this sense of security and sense of safety by talking about how you will never leave them.  It could even be drawn out or written out and then framed. Placed in a prominent place…a reminder that YOU are always there for them.

Maybe…
By having silly traditions or words that “ONLY” you and the kids get. You know how an inside joke makes you feel? Like you BELONG to the group? Same idea!
What about also bringing other family or beloved friends into the discussion. Letting your children know that not only will YOU never leave, but they are surrounded by people who will be there for them.
I think that would be a beautiful sight to behold for a child..to see their “I got you back and I’m staying” people all in one spot….THAT would be POWERFUL!
If you are a single parent…I seriously do not know how you do it. I do know though, that you can absolutely, without a doubt, provide your precious treasures with the feelings I wrote about. 
Hat’s off to you my single parenting friends…You CAN do this and you can do it with an excellence that amazes me and everyone around you….  

The benefits of being SELF-EMPLOYED via INTERNET & HOMESCHOOLING?

You can decide Monday…..

…. to leave for another quick couple of days at the beach 😉


AND….for the first time EVER….

Drum Roll PLEASE :))

 
 NO..Really…DRUM roll please!! 😉

I have told all 4 boys to PACK FOR THEMSELVES.


GASP.




And…now…SUPER GASP….the girl wants to too.


My inner-massive control freak can ONLY think of the ‘ruined’ photographs.

Because, surely, the boys will, accidentally, grab out of the “to be given to friends with younger kids” bin of clothing.


Thus….our photographs will have LOTS of ARM and LEG and very little COTTON.




BUT.


DEEP BREATH in.


I can do this.


I mean…Right? This is SO NOTHING in the scheme of the world issues.  NOTHING. 


It is HIGHLY doubtful that this -shocking- development of horrid photographs will even be picked up by the AP newswire. 

Surely, the other large media outlets will look the other way.

They will understand that “kids will be kids” and the then resulting pictures… YES?!!

National news outlets are renowned for extending grace where grace is do…




And, I can HARDLY expect that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge…

(dang..is she or is she NOT preggers? I can barely take the suspense) 

…..will be bothered by the pictures in the “The Mirror” newspaper when she sees my kids’ over-abundance of legs/arms versus clothing. 

Once she’s a Mom, she might understand. (And, again, WHEN will she be a Mom? We should call the Queen. I mean…this is getting crazy.)


Maybe I should write Kate a letter? hm.


Well…


All this is to say…


YAY for vacay!


But please excuse the, potentially world-stopping, onslaught of pictures that may appear here.

Allowing my Crew to pack for themselves was SUPPOSED to help me and my PTSD symptoms..but..well…I’m not so sure that worked 😉


If you feel the need to cover your eyes or report us to “E” Entertainment News as a “What Were They Thinking” photo submission…I would humbly accept this decision.




Andrea


OKAY WHATEVER! 

I AM GOING IN THERE RIGHT NOW AND CHECKING THEIR DANG SUITCASES

There’s a chair open next to me at the ‘Recovering Superwoman Complex" meeting…wanna sit by me?

There was none of this in my house…er my head.. today…. (who does THIS anyways? What are they doing?? How many 1950’s woman did it take to make a cake?)

No, the inside of me looked alot more like this:

 

Which makes me think that surely I will wake up feeling like this:

My logic is based upon nothing but hope.

But I do not care. It’s just been ‘a day’.  

A stupid ‘Superwoman Complex’ day which has left me in a sour mood with questions ringing within my hear and soul.

A day when I feel like I could have (‘Superwoman’ would have..) sucked it up and done better. 

Sure, I got the basics accomplished….but I was hoping for more. Thus the hope for a “bigger” tomorrow.

Funny thing is? My kids haven’t a clue I feel this way.  Somehow, they still think I am a great Mom!

That is a miracle because if they could see inside my brain they would be surprised! 

They’d see all that I ‘had’ planned for today but never accomplished…the reading together, the games, the hugs, the quality time in the backyard, the spiritual conversations, the laughter from playing together….ha.


They.Have.No.Clue.   (phew)

They all had a GREAT day. 

BUT…the stupidly high, pretty -much -unattainable, shoot -myself -in -the -foot -everyday standards I have inappropriately applied to my mothering? Well, they make me feel like a failure more often than a success.

 Can I get an “amen” or an”I get it Andrea”?

Add PTSD (a mental health issue I am fighting and beating but still fighting) into the mix…phew. Not fun being a grown-up with a irrational an inappropriate ‘Superwoman Complex

… that hits her between the eyes the instant PTSD rears it’s ugly head. 

This “Superwoman Complex” had been under control  [I’d realized there was a ‘hole in my cape’ and I was actually happy about it! Less pressure to ‘soar’ everyday!] …. but …. ‘the complex’ likes to come back around when I am feeling like an under-achieving Momma. It’s mean like that.  

Is it mean like that to you? Please tell  me I am NOT the only recovering ‘Superwoman’ out there? If I can fess it up then so can ya’ll…It’s not so much fun hanging out in the ‘Recovering Superwoman’ support group ALONE. Join me 😉 

PLEASE tell me you all do not have figured it out. That I am not the only only one lingering in the support group trying to get these cuzzin’ red boots off….




You know…sometimes you just don’t feel like you can EVER do enough for your kids or those you adore.

That is a LIE….but….sometimes it is hard to distinguish between a lie and a truth when you are wondering about things.


Tomorrow will be better….. 

Tomorrow I will not (I will try not) to let the past hold me from my NOW.

Andrea

One of my MOST read blog posts…b/c we almost died on top of a volcano. This occured Oct. 18, 2007 when we were living in Guatemala for Aven’s adoption…We can ‘almost’ laugh about it now…almost. This TRULY happened…to us. Who is surprised?

[this is the exact post from the day after the ‘event’ btw…] 

***********************************************************************

 The Volcano Drama (warning..this is gonna be long!)

((MIND YOU: I’m going to take the self-deprecating, humorous approach to this tale so that I can type without crying …. If you want to read between the lines and understand the fear and exhaustion present…feel free….))

Sooooooooooooo…..Anyone who comes to Antigua with half-a-brain in his heads visits the ‘active’ volcano nearby.

We have tempted our boys for the last several months with this..er..um…’field trip’.

Trey, especially, has (or..now…HAD) a certain fascination with volcanoes. He was truly excited to see lava….

Unfortunately for us, we woke up bored Thursday morning.

We decided to be ‘Parents-Of-The-Year’ and take the kids to the volcano. We already knew there was a 2:30pm tour leaving each day to go see the Pacaya Volcano.

READ THIS SECTION CLOSELY:

Jim had already talked to a touring agency. He had explained the ages of our children. He saw their agent license number…He saw their pretty transport vans…He saw their office…He talked with the owner..the owner met several of our boys days before this event….

THE OWNERS SAID FOUR-YEARS OLD COULD DO THIS EXCURSION…”The baby might get heavy on the trail…but not problem”….. (you will laugh at this later….)

So we arranged to go on the 2:30pm excursion yesterday afternoon.

After a SURPRISING 1.5 HOURS in the van…..(w/5 kids who didn’t know they were going to be driving this long..but they did great) and seeing some of the most severe poverty I’ve ever witnessed during our drive through rural villages to the volcano…

oh..and…have to make 4 passes to travail a very steep, muddy, and wet section of the mountain whereas the owner and her twenty-something year old daughter and the local men of the village had to push our vehicle through….NO…they would NOT let Jim or the other guy on the tour with us help…

But..alas….(seriously..ALAS…not HAPPILY…not MERRILY…but ALAS) we were there.

Jim and I eyeball each other…Hhhhmmmm…this looks different than we’d expected.

Quite rugged….

Lots of 7 and 8 year old villagers selling large hiking sticks for 5 quetzalies…But we thought…It’s okay!

We’ve know of MANY people and children who climbed Mt. Pacaya to see the lava..They did it …We can do it! We are the Cockrums!!!

But..in hindsight…

“those” people might not have been there in the dark, it probably wasn’t raining buckets every 15 minutes, it most likely wasn’t rainy season where the trail had become ankle deep with mud the entire way, and they -more than likely- had common sense and didn’t dress their children in shorts. yep. shorts. what. was. I. thinking.

So…We buy sticks and sheets of plastic from the local boys (the plastic because it was raining hard and we, of course, had not brought the appropriate gear..who would have thought one would have needed a poncho on top of a mountain during rainy season in Guatemala? I know. It’s obvious to most but we have lost many brain cells over the years due to incessant whining of children, international travels, morning sickness, homeschooling, Ebay rules, friends (hehe), family (ever hehe’er)…so…it wasn’t so clear to us…)

We start up the MOUNTAIN. Jim see’s a sign…

“Peak: 2.5 kilometers”…well..thanks to second-grade homeschool math..I KNOW that 2.5 kilometers is NOT a hike that four year old can do ..ESPECIALLY not in rain…ESPECIALLY not in mud…and ESPECIALLY not with their Momma carrying their baby sister in a sling on her back…

So..Jim and I, intelligently (cough), reassess the situation.

“Maybe we are in over our heads?” says Andrea.

“Yep, I think we are. There’s no way Zane and Tye can walk that far in these conditions and there’s NO way you can carry Aven that far UP a mountain. Should we just wait in the van?” replies Jim…

Then, suddenly, a cute village boy appears with a horse. (Note: it’s common practice for those of less than stellar physical abilities to ride a daggone horse up the trail to the top…)

“Tu quieres un cabello por tu ninos guapo?” the sweet village boy ask? (AKA: Do you want a horse for your handsome children?”

Jim and I reconvene. A horse or two will solve this problem…right? Trey REALLY wants to see lava, we’ve paid $200 bucks for this excursion, we are in the middle of no-where in Guatemala…

We decide to …. just do it!! Woo Hoo!! We are SO awesome!!!! A large family won’t keep us from climbing a daggone volcano!!! No way! We are the Cockrums!!

So….I GET ON A HORSE…WITH AVEN IN MY SLING…AND ZANE IN FRONT OF ME. Yep…a horse.

We continue UP.

I am at the point of tears…but refusing to give in b/c Zane will hear me. The stupid horse does NOT like me.

She’s stopping in mid-climb…snorting…cussing…stomping…I -honestly- felt like doing the same back to her but I was afraid she’d endanger my children’s lives.

Has anyone ever tried to wear a 19 lb, sleeping baby in a sling while holding on ferociously to their 4 year old to keep all three of you from falling off the back of a mean horse while transversing UP a mountain? Well..if not…don’t. It’s not fun.

Eventually, we decide to put Trey and Tye on a horse too..It’s getting dark, Tye is tripping, Trey’s complaining..and then lo and behold….just for us (wink)….another adorable village boy appeared on the trail offering a “taxi” for our children…

((I need to say here that my precious, fiesty Aven slept through this entire event…even when the two of us get thrown off the stupid horse…keep reading for that…but I am so thankful for her sleeping b/c her crying would have been the end of me. I was WAY outside of my large living envelope and PURELY holding it together for my children..we were further UP than we were DOWN…so turning around seemed ridiculous..and up to this point the boys were fine….)

So, after at least an hour of upwards hiking, wind, huge raindrops on Aven’s face, Zane complaining about almost bouncing off the saddle, Chase lovin’ every minute of the adventure (but this will SOON change..keep reading), Trey reverting into some sort of trance on his horse so he doesn’t know what’s happening, Tye giggling about riding a horse… and Jim reconsidering the amount of life insurance he has on ME…

We know we are close to the top.

But…Chase and Tye’s horse (Chase and Trey took turns riding w/Tye) is pretty far ahead because it is being guided by a local boy and father and they are faster than me and my stupid horse…..

We ascend to the top…

We are awaiting the glorious moment of seeing LAVA!! A live volcano!! YES! We did it! We are the Cockrum’s!!!

When..boom…swipe…blast…arctic cold air sweeps up the shorts of my boys, rain bashes the said of our faces, there are no longer trees to shelter us…

Trey starts crying….He plastic, blue poncho is blowing so fiercely in the artic air I think it will tear.

Zane starts asking to go back to his “normal home” (aka Indiana)

I panick.

WHERE IS CHASE AND TYE?

The top of the mountain is HEAVY with fog. I can only see about 20 ft in front of me each way.

I know, from my Mommy radar, where Zane, Tye, and Aven are….

My Mommy radar goes ballistic.

I don’t see Chase or Tye.

I look at Jim..”WHERE ARE CHASE AND TYE? WHERE’S THEIR HORSE?”…Jim says, “They are behind us..”

I reply, “I am positive they aren’t Jim…I know they were in front of us…”

in the meantime, everyone else on our tour is asking..”Where the heck is the lava?” and saying “This is crazy..We need to go back down..It’s dark, cold, and frightening up here…”

I start SCREAMING…”CHASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“CHASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Zane senses my fear…(I know..another slot in the bad Mommy category) and starts crying uncontrollaby…..

Trey starts crying…..

Aven continues to sleep…how?…I will never know but Praise God for it.

“CHASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Nothing.

“CHASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” I am SCREAMING. Looking around. Fog everywhere…Jim and I can’t see a path where the horse would have gone.

I IMMEDIATELY start thinking…how will we get a helicopter to this rural of an area to find them? How will the rescue teams get up here in time before they freeze to death?

“CHASEEEEEE!!!!!”

nothing.

Jim takes off …the daggone GUIDES freak OUT and go with JIm….

I am left with a screaming Trey and Zane…and a VERY frazzled tour group owner who is telling me to calm down…right.

“DONDE ES MI HIJOS????” I scream at here. “Where are my sons?”.

She tells me to calm down. Right.

I turn to the other guy that’s on the tour with us…a kind man from Romania who’s eyes were bulging out of his head at this turn of events…..

He picked up Zane to keep him warm and brought Trey to his side while I started back down the trail we’d come up….

“CHHAAASSSSEEE!”

I am screaming.

I am terrified.

I feel so stupid.

I am praying fervently….but I am so cold….I don’t even feel God’s warmth…My heart is already torn to pieces…

How could we have let this happen?

Why didn’t we ask better questions about the climb?

Why didn’t we just stay in the van when we realized we were in over our heads?

Is Chase scared right now?

Did the horse dart off?

Does Chase know enough about horses to turn the horse around to the right trail?

Is Tye okay or screaming?

Please don’t let Tye fall off the horse….

I go back up to the top where my Romanian friend is keeping a freezing Zane and Tye close to him….and where the (ridiculous) tour guides are waiting for Chase and Tye’s horse to simply..come back…

After about 10 of the scariest minutes of my life….

Suddenly…

I hear Jim’s voice and see his flashlight (yes, we bought one along w/our hiking sticks and plastic sheets)….

“ANDREA — I HAVE THEM. IT IS OKAY.”

Never…ever…in my entire life have I wanted to fall to the ground and weep…but I wanted to then.

My husband had them…so that meant all was well.

It turns out that their horse guide, a younger boy and father, got confused as to which group Chase & Tye belonged with. They thought they belonged with a group further up the volcano than us.

So….they RAN the horse and my boys ahead…all the while Chase said he was SCREAMING for the guide to “ALTO”! (stop)…Chase knew it was a bad decision….Tye was crying Chase said.

The guide told Chase, “NO, tu Mama ya tu Papa is up”…Chase said, “NO!”..the man would NOT listen to Chase…

Chase kicked the guy in the shins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Go Chase!!!He’s been taught to use physical force if he or someone he loves is in danger…In his 10 year old head, he was in the most danger he’d ever been in…it was dark, completely foggy, the guide had separated him from his family, etc.)

Unfortunately, the kick had no affect.

The man continued until Chase and Tye’s horse reached the lava…

This is where Jim found them….approx. 4 footballs lengths away from where our ‘tour’ had ended….

I know God gave Jim a sense of where to go to find his sons….Thank you God.

When Jim led them back up to our spot, Chase was whimpering and saying “I was scared Mom”…and Tye was silent. Tye’s silence…terrifying to me as an adoptive Momma.

We all hug but realize we still have to get DOWN the stupid volcano.

Jim insists that Chase and Trey go down on a horse..a great decision but one that terrified the boys.

Picture yourself, as a kid, on top of a scary mountain, your Mom was just terribly upset, you’d been lost and then found, your brothers are crying, and it is dark…getting on top of a horse and going steeply DOWN HILL for an hour.

Chase and Trey were NOT happy about it but it was the safest idea.

Jim wanted Zane, Aven, and I back on our mean horse….I agreed b/c it was the only other horse there…the guide was trying to settle the horse (the arctic wind and rain are still slapping each and every one of us in the face…my boys’ arms and legs are shivering uncontrollably…Aven is sleeping?….)

The guide told me to get on…..Jim said, “Are you sure?” to him…The guide replied, “Bueno” (it’s good)…

And here’s my scariest moment…

With my precious daughter asleep in her sling, on top of a daggone mountain, in the cold and driving rain I, a city girl, put my now-completely ruined expensive tennis shoes into the saddle’s stirrups…

I pull myself (and Aven) up…swing my right foot almost of the saddle…

the stupid horse TAKES OFF.

Yep. Runs.

My only recollection of the moment was a very slow thought…I thought to myself..”I must get off this horse”….

I remember pulling my foot out of the stirrup and bringing my right leg back all the while not letting Aven get crushed by the stupid horse’s back end as it took off…

Jim and I were breathless.

We’d reached our limit. Yep..we found it . Our limit.

Jim and I decided ‘no horse’ for me….I was TOO scared by then.

So….Chase and Trey went down the steep, dark volcano on a horse …

Jim CARRIED Zane down…an hour and a half hike in ankle deep mud….with a 43 lb son in his arms…

I CARRIED Aven down….and hour and a half hike in ankle deep mud…with arms to balance with b/c I was hugging Aven to me in her sling trying to keep her warm…..

and the Tour Operator carried Tye down as she walked right behind us….All the while we were talking to the boys telling them they were brave, we were on an adventure, etc.

I cannot tell you what I felt when my whole family was back together on solid ground at the base of the stupid volcano.

I felt relief.

I felt exhaused. ( I had carried Aven in the sling from 2:30 pm until 9:00pm….)

I felt stupid.

I felt humbled.

I felt glorious.

We all make it back into the tour bus….Our boys’ eyes are red from crying yet their mouths are talking non-stop about their bravery! They are right! THEY WERE SO BRAVE!!!!!!!!!!

Jim and I couldn’t stop telling them how proud we were of them and how, we as a family, took on a surprise challenge and conquered it….

Chase was telling of kicking his guide in the shin.

Trey said he was going to throw away ALL of his lava lamps when he got back to Indiana!! hehe

Zane said he did not like that…

Tye seems shocked and stunned but happy when we gave him chips in the van!!

and

Aven….woke up within two minutes of me getting off of the stupid volcano.

All in all, Jim and I learned that our family is strong …..

We also learned that people will say anything to get a dollar….a four year old -let alone a baby- should NEVER have been accepted for that excursion….

But…..We woke up this morning…still exhausted, still shocked, still stunned, but knowing that we stepped up when we had too.

So, if you know Chase ‘in real life’…You will DEFINITELY be hearing this tale from him when we get home!!!

As for the rest of us…well…we are just glad we lived!!!! hehe

I was in a glorious mood today and Jim said, “You are happy!”

I replied..”I am just stinkin’ glad to be off that stupid volcano and alive today!”

ha

The tour operators ended up severely discounting our excursion (duh) and they even called today to check on the boys because they felt so bad (duh)…..

All in all…I might even do it again…

Well…

What did I just say?

No way No how would I EVER climb UP and DOWN a volcano without actually seeing the lava while carrying my 8 mo old in a sling and having my entire family drenched in cold rain for 4 hours..during which time we lost two of our sons for 10-15 minutes and I pulled from every resource I possibly had as a Mom and Wife to get down the stupid volcano without crying…

Nope.

Never.

Although…I have secured a new pair of expensive tennis shoes from my grateful hubby … hehe!

Andrea
told you it would be long