My oh my! Where have I been for the past
months year? Things have been quite an adventure-fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-and-try-not-to-puke over here for the Team since the middle of the summer 2016.
Let me bring you up to speed with a birds eye view of Team Thimons since our last meeting: (take note, reality TV producers: I’ve got TONS of material for you!!)
The scene where we left off was late July 2016, Tom was working in Wisconsin. Pregnant me (with Baby Tommy #5) was holding down the fort with the newly listed house for sale. The house went on the market beginning of July after Tom finally relented. I had been complaining that we had no more room and the kids could not grow up around the block from a tattoo parlor. Especially now that they could read the graffiti. Also, they couldn’t go for walks or ride bicycles since the recent discovery that the Burger King at the end of our block was pushing heroin and now providing bio-hazard trash cans for their customers. (to properly dispose of used needles…how nice.) I argued this was no place for a brood of curious kids to be raised. Tom thought about it. Then Tom got an e-mail from the city police alerting him that not 1, not 2, but 3 ‘predators’ moved into the house a few doors down. Tom had tiny heart attack, recovered, then put house on market. House has 15 showings in first week. It sells in 4 days flat.
Team Thimons was not expecting their house to sell so quick. (please read the above description …) However, it sold in 4 DAYS for our asking price (what?!) on the feast of Saint Philomena. So Team surmises it must be providential. Or the buyers were legally blind. In any case, the next 6 weeks until closing consisted of house hunting to no avail, as it magically turned into a ‘sellers market’ and virtually everything dried up overnight. We joked that we would be pregnant and homeless soon. (insert nervous laughter) and as the packing/purging intensified… our prospects grew thinner and thinner… the closing date crept closer… the baby belly grew larger… the novenas/masses/praying grew more and more loud. Still nothing.
Team literally went door to door, knocking.. asking people if they’d be willing to sell their house. LITERALLY.
Team “Heyyyyy nice house. Want to sell it to us? We have 4 kids and one on the way and …please sell us your house.”
One particularly amazing house was located two doors from my parents. We knocked, we sought, we asked. Neighbor agreed to sell us her house. Bank got involved. We agreed on a price. Neighbor goes on vacation. We were 4 weeks away from our closing, when neighbor calls us to say she changed her mind. That was ironically a ‘false alarm’ labor day too. Lol. Must’ve had something to do with all our belongings being in boxes, a descending infant in the womb and no place to live.
That day, we told the kids what happened, and we listened to the story of Saint Rose of Lima together. (It’s a book on cd, it’s so very well done!) At the end Saint Rose urges
“if God has not given you what you need, then you simply must keep asking!“
And the girl that played Saint Rose said it so convincingly that I was pretty sure it was Saint Rose of Lima herself whopping me over the head with the Boppy pillow and pushing me to keep nagging God.
SO I prayed, “this is it. Three more days. I can’t take it anymore, Lord, we MUST have a crystal clear sign where we are supposed to be within 3 days.
(3 days away (didn’t realize) was the feast of Saint Faustina, apostle of Divine MERCY)
Randomly, my grandmother came over on the 3rd day and brought me a novena to Saint Faustina ( she was totally unaware) Tiny fireworks went off in my head.
The next morning, Max came into our bedroom with a Saint Faustina Holy card ‘asking for graces in special needs’ and hands it to me. The Team is now utterly convinced something big is coming.
We prayed a laundry list of prayers together as a family and went out to look at houses with our agent that day to come up with….NOTHING.
The Team was disappointed. But came home, and that afternoon, a home nearby posted for sale. We were the 2nd people to see the home. Which was absolutely gorgeous. So we put in an offer but couldn’t ignore this feeling of immense unrest. No peace, no click. Despite the house being a ‘dream house’ to look at, it just didn’t settle right with us.
The neighborhood wasn’t our preference. A bit too ‘keeping up with the Jones’ for us.The location put us out of the way from church, family, friends. Something just wasn’t right. Our peace seemed to have left us suddenly.
At morning mass the next day, the immense peace flooded us as we walked in as a family and I felt strongly that the most important thing was not the nice house, in the fancy neighborhood but togetherness and the Eucharist. Tom and I concurred that this was our ultimate goal. So we withdrew our bid on the fancy schmancy house then on a whim, called up the neighbor who previously accepted our offer on the home next to the grandparents and asked them to reconsider.
It was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The priest’s homily was all about the rosary ‘changing the winds’ and changing hearts in the Battle of Lepanto. He urged us to keep persisting, keep praying, especially the rosary. I coached myself all day mentally that if the rosary could change the tide of an enormous battle, then surely, the rosary could change the tide of our luck with house hunting!
That day, Friday, we said 6 rosaries for a change of heart. We said 2 more on Saturday one on Sunday…. 9 in total.
On Sunday, October 9, the neighbor called us to let us know she had re-accepted our offer!!
Once our closing date was set for the house we were buying (set for the week before my due date!!), we had a 27 day interim between homes.
That’s right. Team Thimons that loud, crazy, homeschooling family of 6 needed to find a place to rent or stay temporarily for 27 days.
All hotels we called were like “HA you gonna need TWO rooms at TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS a night!”
All the apartments were like ‘ WHA YOU MEAN 4 KIDS ?? You can bring DOGS but KIDS? Nope.”
All the AirBnB folks were like ‘I’ll be needing, like, an extra million dollars for insurance because, lets face it. Your kids are going to destroy my newly renovated bungalow.’
And then all the rest of our prospects were ‘ Let me call you back’
(To be fair, we did have the option of staying with my wonderful in-laws in Pittsburgh but that would have meant changing doctors and possibly having a baby out of state. Also having to stop every two minutes of a 7 hour car ride to pee. It was an option but it wasn’t ideal circumstances due to how far along I was.)
So, there we were 8 months pregnant with a week until we moved out of our house and no place to go. Praying so urgently to Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin… please! Help us out!
All of our belongings went into storage. We were living out of duffel bags. I woke up one morning feeling a strong urge (not to push! HA!) but to call the Carmelite sisters in our area and ask if they had any suggestions. After talking to a priest friend about it, I picked up the phone, and crazily rambled off the above tale you just read in under 1 minute to the poor, bewildered nun on the other end.
‘Let me call you back’ she slowly said.
Thinking I’d completely shell shocked Sr. Richard, I hung up and prayed very, very hard. (I know, I know, so much praying for one small blog post.. but seriously, when you’ve got a baby on the way, and sex offenders living across the street and four little kids… you do ALOT more overtime praying!!)
Shortly, very shortly after that, Sr. Richard called us back offering us to come stay at the convent in a private, furnished cottage on the grounds which just so happened to be available for the dates we needed!
Then I glanced at the calendar and lo and behold. That very day they called us back was no other than the feast of Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin. And we would be staying with the Carmelites. God is SO good! He is never coincidental. Ever. (And the squeaky wheel really always gets the grease. So KEEP PRAYING!)
So it was that Team Thimons moved out of our house by the tattoo parlor and heroin dumpsters, and into the convent cottage bearing kids, bikes, suitcases and catching our breath. I was about four weeks away from my due date. The cottage was a welcomed retreat after what felt like an eternal rat race for 12 weeks.
Well, the retreat lasted one week until I went into labor.. forced labor essentially following an anaphylactic reaction to ambicillin administered for Group B strep (there is nothing as scary as literally suffocating while you are contracting. OMG.)
I was 36 weeks and 1 day. The stay in the hospital was extended 5 days because little baby’s blood sugars weren’t regulating and he was jaundiced. He was also a teensy weensy 5 pounds! This of course meant enormous amounts of help from Tom and my family juggling kids, commutes from the hospital 30 minutes away, and then… when I was finally discharged after 5 days.. being readmitted with a severe uterine infection which meant the juggling and craziness just continued through the following week.
I felt like our life was on the tilt a whirl ride at the fair. Everyone around me was gripping onto the scraps of normalcy we had left— everyone of us was functioning on minimal sleep and a lot of chocolate.
It’s not a part of the story I enjoy remembering quite honestly, mostly because the birth of my beautiful son was so sullied with a lot of terrifying moments in the middle of a very topsy tursvy nomadic existence. Not at ALL like the birth plan I had prepared for! LOL (BIRTH PLANS!!! LOL)
During the infection I was readmitted for (since Tom had to care for the newborn and my parents had the other children) I was left terrified, immobile and fevering in a back hospital room by myself overnight hooked up to a million and one machines that beeped in my ear if I even breathed to quickly. Which, anyone who knows me, or rather knows my nerves… it wasn’t pretty. I’m kinda a major wimp when it comes to 3 things: nightime, being alone, and pain. So it was just a trifecta of all kinds of terribleness during that hospital stay.
I did have this one intense dream that I was tanning on this gorgeous tropical beach somewhere, only to be yanked literally up out of (my dream) and my bed by nurses shouting at me that my blood pressure was dropping too low and I needed to wake up and “stay with them”. Also, during the infection, my baby was not allowed to be with me. At all! He literally was five days old so he wasn’t allowed in the unit I had to be in. It was like some hardcore emotional stuff happening then.
Granted, I did not go through what other people have been through, and comparing notes, I’m sure this is nothing on the suffering scale. However, for my shoulders, it was quite the cross. And I’ve read that each of our crosses are carved just for us, because we all bear more or less differently. For me, being the weakling that I am, this cross nearly broke me. But now I can write about it… and it helps to look at it a little lighter. The Lord in all His goodness truly carried me!
The next 6 weeks following that drama -I like to categorize as
- recovering from uterine infection
- heavy duty medictation with side effects (insomnia & anxiety! YAYYYY!)
- newborn preemie not gaining weight
- supplementing with formula (read: any last shred of sleep I could get was punctuated with having to heat up bottles first)
- pumping trying to re-bring in the milk (read= OUCH)
- 4 kids with respiratory infections (insert maniacal laughter)
- moved into new home
- mastitis (seriously?!)
- boxes, boxes, boxes
- winter weather
- Jack gets concussion from falling off top bunk
- Max falls out of crib, concussion
- Max gets strep throat (toddler with strep= NO NO NO NO WHY)
- New baby gets head cold! (I resumed fetal position and cry myself to sleep)
- Charlie gets HSP (an autoimmune manisfestation of strep)
- All kids get really awful respiratory colds A SECOND TIME.
4 urgent care visits, 2 ER visits, a BILLION doctors visits. Also Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all in there too. And husband away on business for a week.
You probably heard this screaming, wailing voice of a woman ripping her hair out sometime in the month of December of 2016. That was me.
And now you’ve heard the tale. The whole harrowing, unbelievable but totally truthful story of how our family by the grace of God (and the skin of our teeth) moved into our new home, had another baby and why it’s taken me so long to return to earth!
You now also know why I haven’t had ‘playdates’ in a year and a half. It’s hard enough organizing my kids to sit at the table and eat, let alone try to schedule group playtime with other individuals who have similar attention spans. I quite honestly gave up on play dates because .. well, #selfcare.