Monday, September 12, 2011

Marvy Mom Monday: Heidi VanScoy Butt Edition

The Butt Family. Yeah, THAT'S how you pronounce it!
It's 8:48PM on a Tuesday night. My kids are in bed - have been for an hour. I am reading a book or watching TV or tooling around on Facebook. The phone rings. Without checking the caller ID I say to my husband, "Heidi must be at the grocery store."Of course I am right.

Late evening on weeknights is almost always when my sister Heidi calls me. And it's almost always from the grocery store. As far as I can tell, her weekday schedule goes something like this:

  • 6AM - Up, shower, dress, breakfast, get kids up and ready, lunches made, husband out the door....
  • 7AM - Out the door to work as a science teacher at local high school, drop kids (ages 11, 9, & 8) at before school care.
  • 8AM - Teach (read: differentiate instruction for students of vastly different abilities, coordinate with SpEd and support staff, discipline, praise, plan, entertain, listen, attempt to make administrators happy, contact parents, update website....)
  • 2:30PM - Coach Varsity cross country team of 40+ girls (read: plan workouts appropriate to each girl's ability, motivate, chide, cheer, document times, coordinate meets...)
  • 5PM - Pick kids up from after care, make dinner, oversee homework, instrument practice, gymnastics, basketball, activity-of-the-month....
  • 8:30PM - Go grocery shopping, call Phoebe or Mom or another sister.
  • 10PM - Do P90X or some other workout
  • 11:30PM - Bed

And I'm not exaggerating a bit. I am exhausted just WRITING this day-in-the-life but I can't figure out how she LIVES it! So, imagine how interesting Heidi's life got last week when things went for Normal Chaos to Really Freaking Stressful! Heidi is this week's Marvy Mom despite NOT having a blog for you to follow - I mean honestly, how would she EVER be able to find time for that!? She's the Marvy Mom because of her extraordinary ability to maintain the delicate balancing act that is her life under extreme circumstances with incredible grace and style and humor.
Heidi with Maddy, Jonny & Abby; Summer 2011

Here's the story, as I understand it:

There's been a lot of flooding in her just-outside-of-Philly home in the last few weeks. Many nights she and her husband, Jay, were up all night moving items from their recently-finished basement to higher ground and overseeing their sump pump to ensure the integrity of their stuff. When the most recent flooding (Wednesday, I think?) hit they had another night like that. The neighborhood around them had some serious damage but they were okay and very grateful that their pump kept up. Heidi was exceptionally worried about the flooding in Candor and the surrounding towns of our childhood. There was no school for her on Thursday due to flooding.

That evening their luck ran out.

No, it wasn't flooding. It was LICE. And LOTS of it. Heidi's middle child, Maddie, was COVERED. Thankfully (or maybe not), Heidi had experience with treating her kids and combing their hair out. But, this time it was a HUGE infestation. So, the stuffed animals got bagged up. The sheets and pillow cases got washed in hot water. Everyone's heads were scrubbed with special shampoo and each child was tortured with that special metal comb to get the nits and lice out. Maddie, in fact, had so many that she literally fell asleep as Heidi was combing out her hair. As an added bonus, for the first time ever Heidi found lice in her OWN hair. Bad bad bad bad bad luck.

So, it was a LONG evening of keeping the water away followed by a LONG evening of getting the lice away.... but things were back up and running as normal on Friday and school was open. As these things go of course, her oldest, Abby, woke up feeling very crummy Friday morning. She's in 6th grade and only a stone's throw from Heidi's school. Heidi, meanwhile, was not anxious to ask for a family sick day the day after a "snow" day... a new principal in the school has seemed less-than-cheery about such requests. So it was decided that Abby would stay home and they would be in touch by phone through out the day.

Sometime mid-morning, Heidi spoke with Abby and learned that she had thrown up. Heidi got in touch with Jay who, luckily, was able to get out of work and home by 10AM to be with Abby. But Abs kept feeling worse. She was in a lot of pain. Heidi reluctantly sought permission to leave school and the principal (reluctantly and passive aggressively) gave it to her. She ran to the drug store before heading home and the pharmacist recommended that Pepto Bismal would help her vomiting. Heidi gave it to her and it immediately came back up. She tried tablespoons of Gatorade. That came back up, too. She was in so much pain that she didn't want Heidi to leave the room. Abby is a tough cookie and never complains about pain so Heidi knew this was serious and called the pediatrician's office. She felt a little silly doing this because of COURSE it was only a virus. The nurse was a little more alarmed when Heidi explained things. [Parenting tip: Pepto Bismal (the grown up kind) actually contains aspirin, which the pharmacist failed to tell Heidi. Zoinks! DO NOT give it to your kids.] So, the doctor's office said Abby had earned an ER visit.

Off Heidi & Abby went to the ER. Heidi cleverly remembered a few things: her cell phone, her iPad (to watch movies) and her chargers. Also, Abby's special "Purple Bunny". She was adamant that the world know this because these items were CRUCIAL to her stay. She wants all parents to remember these things if they are ever in a similar situation! The doctors got Abby on codeine and she immediately felt SO much better and was able to talk and "be Abby" again. They did blood work and a found highly elevated white blood cell count - which can be caused  by a great many things. They do a CT scan and don't find anything. They spend ALL day in the ER. Heidi was sure they were going to send them home that evening but the doctors were still concerned about that blood work. They hemmed and hawed about whether or not to do an ultrasound (I guess that's a lot of radiation for a kid). Finally, they did one. Thank goodness.

Abby's appendix was horribly inflamed and possibly perforated. Congratulations, Abby! You graduated to a real hospital room and a 2-night stay!

The next morning I spoke to Heidi just after Abby (and Purple Bunny) went in for surgery. She was eating a bagel (one thing she didn't bring was food to eat... she didn't feel like she could eat in front of Abby anyway, but she probably should have. Abby was definitely NOT hungry and Heidi was!) and relaxing in the atrium/waiting room of the hospital. She sounded totally Zen. She sounded like her daughter was going in for a dental cleaning. She was thrilled with the care they were receiving by the hospital staff. She was feeling grateful that her house was not underwater. She was feeling thankful that they chose to do the ultrasound, that the pediatrician's office said they should go to the ER. She made jokes about how "easy" she had  it because she didn't have to worry about her other two kids for the time being. But mostly, she was grateful that she wasn't dealing with lice just then.

I can't get over my sister's life and how she manages to be so incredible at so many things without losing her mind. I am utterly impressed with her stamina and her dedication. And mostly, I am awed by her grace and gratitude in everyday life but especially in this series of exceptionally stressful situations. Mom-ness is just piece of her Marvy-ness. I hope you like her, too!

The most recent photo of us together, July 3, 2011. Not a great shot of either of us but we had SOOO much fun that evening!

Post script.... After this blog originally posted at 6AM today, I found out that last night - when Abby got home from the hospital - her son's goldfish died. I mean, REALLY? (I suspect suicide...)


  1. wow. this is pretty amazing. Love it, GO HEIDI!! :) I always knew she was a rock star.

  2. Heidi~ You are one Marvy Mom...Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and even on that elusive day of rest...Sunday!!!! Love you!!!

  3. I think that photo of the two of you (who i must remind everyone, I've still never MET you!) is AWESOME! Its way better than a posed pic. But back to Heidi - - she rocks! Her life is SO hectic, but she keeps grace and calm, which dominoes to those around her feeling comforted. When you said she was so ZEN - - i can relate to that kind of eery calm. Hank's in ICU, but he's cared for, i get a moment of clarity away from my 'regular' hectic life, and when things are put into perspective those ways, everything seems really GOOD. Heidi sounds just as awesome as you. I really hope to connect with you VanScoy's sometime sooner than later, with all our kids running around. It just sounds AWESOME to me. Heidi is most certainly a KILLER Marvy Mom!!!!!

  4. May i muster one ounce of your Marvyness someday Heidi! You are a Zen mother!

  5. I am so lucky to see this sister of yours everyday. She is an especially wonderful love-bug of hyperactivity. I may have taken to the habits of the Butt-fish if it wasn't for her. LOVE the blog!