This last weekend we worked hard outside in our yard. Planting all those thousands of bulbs that I bought last fall. Digging big holes and planting fruit trees in our orchard. I think the children picked apple, pear, plum, peach, cherry and asian pear trees. The boys hauled firewood from trees that Eric had fell. I learned how to drive a tractor. We tore out some old pipes and put in new ones down by the creek. All the children were out there with us. The sun was shining and it felt warm, especially with all the work we were doing. Even little Julia joined us. I put her in the stroller and parked her on top of the hill by the chickens. She could watch them or watch us in the orchard. She loved it.
Friday evening Eric worked on burning one of the huge piles of yard trash. The children were all busy playing nearby. We brought out lawn chairs and roasted marshmellows. The sky was so clear and we could see thousands of stars. It was so beautiful.
Everything about the whole day was fun. Working hard togeather, playing togeather and eating togeather. Everything except…
the POISON OAK
that Michael, Josh, and Maryann got into. All of the children know how to identify poison oak by now. This place was commercial grade poison oak when we bought it. It was EVERYWHERE. But Eric sprayed and sprayed and got a really good kill on most of it. But there are still a few places that he needs to spray next spring. But the problem with poison oak is that in the winter, all the leaves fall off leaving just these sticks coming up out of the ground…that are loaded with the oils that cause the reaction. So pour little Maryann, Michael, and Josh played with it as swords and ran through it. But Eric and I had no clue. Josh used the bathroom in it. And now has poison oak in places that make him a very very miserable little boy. And then there is Maryann. Because her hair is always falling in her face, she is always pushing it back. Which meant that everytime she did this while playing in the poison oak, she was wiping the oils across her face.
On Saturday when we woke up, she had a slight redness to her face. It almost looked like maybe a reaction to some makeup or lotion that maybe she had got into. And since we had no idea that they had been playing in the poison oak, we never even considered it.
And then Sunday came…
And then Monday…
Which I immediately called our Dr to see if we could bring her in. Her right eye was completely swollen shut and she could barely open her left. She was crying because it itched and hurt. The office had just had a cancellation and so I took her right in. Her Dr assured us that with a script of steroids, she would be feeling better by that evening. And he was right. We are now on day two of the meds and she is almost back to normal.
Eric thought she looked like a little chinese girl, and decided to find a chinese name for her. She was thrilled with his idea and now only wants to be called by her new name, Meihua. In fact, when we went to pick up her prescription, the pharmacist asked which one was Maryann, to which she replied, “My name is not Maryann anymore, it’s Meihua.” So I had to explain to her that only to Daddy was she MeiHua, and to the Dr. and pharmacy she was still Maryann.
Eric and his little MeiHua (pronounced Me-How, meaning beautiful flower in Chinese)