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Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's a...


We had a family gathering yesterday at my Aunt and Uncle's house where their grandson had hit the motherload this Christmas and was one of the lucky few who got a Wii. William, who only thought he hit the motherload when he got a red scooter from Santa, was hooked after a few rounds of boxing where, exhibiting his moves, he looked more Jennifer Beal in Flashdance than Rocky Balboa. But it provided loads of entertainment for us all as we were clustered inside taking shelter from the cold and rain.

When his cousin, to whom the Wii belonged, began skating on thin ice with his mother who threatened to take it away, William looked up and mouthed to her "Call me." Guess he knows that's the only way he'll score one of these prizes at this time - by default.

On the way home, through his tears of sadness from having to leave all the newfound fun, he hollered from the back "What was that thing called again?" The exchange went something like this:

It's a Wii.

A what?

A Wii.

A what?

A Wii.

A what?

OH!

He must have been dreaming about it because when I went into his room to kiss him goodnight last night, he was talking in his sleep and saying "I'm a fighter. I'm a fighter. I'm fighting."

And after seeing that these little inventions are still going for $400+ ON EBAY, his dreams are the only place he'll be playing. Unless of course Petey falls through that ice and William gets his phone call.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake!

We have a little tradition where we bake a birthday cake for baby Jesus on Christmas Eve. After dinner we sing Happy Birthday Jesus, we enjoy a piece, then open presents, put on our pj's and Daddy reads the Christmas story. (Awwwww.) So on Monday I baked this year's cake. A swiss chocolate/chocolate mint cake with homemade chocolate almond icing. Mmmm Mmmm Good. Being the good mother I am, I strategically baked it during the kids' naps so they wouldn't get, I mean, have, to lick the bowl and chance rotting their teeth. So I licked it myself. Then wiped my mouth real good to hide the evidence.

William was perplexed though when he woke up, saw the cake sitting there, and started asking how exactly we were going to get it to Baby Jesus. I told him we don't really take it to Jesus, we just remember that it is His birthday and that's what Christmas is all about, and this is just one way to do so. Plus, I thought to myself, Baby Jesus better hurry up and get his cake if he wants any 'cause there won't be nothin' left but crumbs by the time I get done!

I am a total, no holds barred, over the edge, CHOCOLAHOLIC. I can't stop with just one either. Of anything. If I start eating cookies, I eat a dozen. One Hershey's kiss and before you know it I have enough foil in front of me to make a whole family of swans. But this cake this year. THIS CAKE. It could make you slap your mama. Especially if she was trying to nab a piece.

So the morning after Christmas, the kids finished their oatmeal and Catherine saw me swiping a bite of cake from under the dome. I told her I was "straightening it all up" but she started hollering that she wanted a piece. 8:35 on a Wednesday morning and what do I say? LET THEM EAT CAKE!!!!!!!! And ice cream. And so they did. And I joined them. And we laughed until the last bite was gone.

The cake is almost gone now and I can no longer fit in any of my clothes. I saw one of those people on TV one day that can't get out of their house without help from the fire department and they said they got to 800 pounds ONE PIECE OF CAKE AT A TIME.

Y'all.

If you hear sirens heading to my house you'll know why.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to All



Once again, blessed abundantly and grateful for another year together with those we love. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star




Here is a link to the video of William and Catherine's performing debut. William is directly behind the microphone in the red turtleneck and Catherine is right in front of him.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fa La La La La

Oh 'tis the season to be jolly. And jolly I can only hope to be. I'm trying. I'm really trying. But sometimes there just seems to be something evil lurking just around the corner to ZAP whatever joy you might have. Such was the case this week. Take Monday for instance.

With sick children out of school all month, in and out of doctor's offices, blah blah blah, it's been hard to do any real Christmas shopping....with real shopping carts as opposed to the ones that appear in the upper right hand corner of your laptop screen. So on Monday, Mimi graciously offered to drive all the way over here and keep the baby while the older two were at school so I could get some shopping done. Running late as usual, frazzled as usual, and trying to function on less sleep than the terrorists being held at Gitmo, I grabbed my shopping list with 42 stops to make in the less than 4 hours I had to get everything done, herded the cats, er, kids, into the van, started the ignition and barreled out of the carport straight into the side Mimi's car.

"OH SHI.............TAKE MUSHROOMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I yelled as William and Catherine just look wide eyed and stunned.

Nothing like crashing into your mother-in-law's car to get you in the holiday spirit. That was Monday. On the bright side though, things could only get better.

On Tuesday I took the kids to storytime with Santa at the library. I took ALL the kids to storytime. By myself. Not real sure what I was thinking with that one. It was cute, and fun, and quaint. Santa read a book, posed for pictures, and was actually a dude this time. What more could you ask for. Catherine was terrified once again, but she really wanted a candy cane so she sent me up there to get her one. I had to cut in front of 20 anxious kids and their angry mothers to swipe some candy out of Santa's stocking. How embarrassing. But not nearly as embarrassing as crashing into your mother-in-law's car.

So then Wednesday was the kids' last day at school and their cute little Christmas concert. If I can ever figure out how to post a video, you'll see it here first. The concert was precious. So sweet I actually had tears running down my face. Then again it could have been because it was the last day of school for three weeks. Or because I had crashed into my mother-in-law's car two days earlier. At any rate, I was emotional.

So today, Thursday, I was looking forward to a day with no agenda, nowhere to go, and no reason to even get out of our pajamas if we didn't want to. It was a raining, icky day, perfect pajama day weather. Then about 9:00 Andy asked if I could throw together an hors d'oeuvres for his office party. Today. AT NOON. Here's a news bulletin that might come as a shocker to some folks....but I am NOT Martha friggin' Stewart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I opened the fridge to see what I might be able to put together, and offered to assemble a lovely platter of Gogurts and string cheese. It was the best I could do with what I had. If he didn't like it, too bad. There are worse things.

Like crashing into your mother-in-law's car. La la, la, la.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Transgender Santa


So the kids had their Santa breakfast at school yesterday. It was a big deal. Andy even went with us. The way it works is, you fight the other 300 kids and parents to get a chicken biscuit and then anxiously await your number to be called to sit in Santa's lap and get a picture. We were ready. Matching Santa outfits, fresh batteries in the camera and updated wish lists.

We noticed that one particular guest of honor was noticeably absent as the breakfast started...namely SANTA. Finally, the director of the school came out and announced that after a short delay at the North Pole, Santa had finally arrived and was ready for the first visitors. Which happened to be us.

As we walked up to the stage, I noticed that Santa was about the puniest character I'd ever seen. About 5'6 and 120 pounds, if even. Then when "he" said "ho, ho, ho" and sounded like Betty Boop I realized it was one of the preschool teachers! At that point, Catherine started wailing, scared to death of "Santa" and I wanted to say "Oh cut it out...it's Ms. Meagan!" But of course I couldn't. So I gently put both William and Stuart in Santa's lap and hoped they didn't hurt her, and kneeled in front with Catherine who was still terrified. And there you have our Santa picture, 2007.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Seriously?

I know it must get old reading about snotty noses and poopy diapers, but since that's my life it's all I know these days. Actually it's really all I've known continuously for the past 4 1/2 years that I've been growing babies into little people. I don't consider myself an expert in certain areas, but there are some things I've had lots of experience with over the past few years. For instance, snotty noses and poopy diapers. Lots of experience. So I guess that's why I was so incredibly PERTURBED yesterday by a phone call I received from a nurse.

Stuart woke up around midnight Monday night with croup. Again. Second time in a month. From midnight until nearly 6 am he barked and struggled to breathe. Croup is such a strange condition though because it's awful...horrible....and very scary in the middle of the night but once morning comes it practically disappears. So we made it through the night and I called the children's clinic and left a message for the nurse, explaining that Stuart had cold like symptoms, a fever AND had what I believed was the croup again. I explained his symptoms that had occurred overnight and said on my message that I didn't know if I would need to bring him in or if they might just prescribe the steroids again that worked last time (as if they would let me escape from coming in and dropping off a co-pay, but it was worth the suggestion).

About an hour later, as I'm standing in line at the post office, my cell phone rings and this is what I get: (and I wish I could imitate the annoying nasal and condescending voice so you'll just have to imagine)

"Ma'am.....I spoke to the Dr. and you need to understand there is no reason to bring a baby into a doctor's office for just a runny nose and a cold. Babies get colds all the time and they usually get over them after a week or so, so just make sure you feed him and he's eating ok, and call us if it's anything more serious than a runny nose."

Are you kidding me? Let me just say, she was very very lucky I was in a public place surrounded by a lot of people who would have called the authorities had I not controlled my reaction.

After "stating" (as opposed to screaming) that since this is my third baby in 4 years, I believe I might know the difference by now between a runny nose and something more serious, thank you very much. And if she thought that I just wanted to spend one of my only free mornings sitting in that office, she was wrong. And as much as I would rather go Christmas shopping, something I have yet to do, I did not want to spend another sleepless night wondering if my child could actually breathe.

So I did take him in after all and he does in fact have croup AND an ear infection. He was a very sick little baby. And I knew it.

Sometimes that Mommy degree outranks RN's. And MD's.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Madame President

Meet the most headstrong, most determined, most stubborn white woman in the free world. And no I'm not talking about Hillary. But if Hillary does what I fear, er, think, she might do, which is get elected next year (sorry Mom but I do think it's going to happen), she will pave the way for President Sybil's run for the White House in 2048. I was reminded today that the things driving me crazy today will serve her well in the future. That is if she makes it to the future.

Today, for example, as we were trying to get dressed for school, she was determined to dress herself. She did an ok job until I discovered, upon putting her in the carseat, that her socks were only halfway on and her shoes were on the wrong feet. "Oh Sweetie, you did a great job getting dressed but let Mama help you with your shoes" I said as I pulled them off gently and lovingly.

"WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" she wailed as she arched back in the carseat and threw the shoes in the floorboard. I yelled to William and Stuart "Get down!!!" Fearing for our lives I quickly pulled her door shut and ran around to my side to start the car, turn on some festive music and change the mood. We got about a mile down the road when she started yelling "PUT MY SHOES ON!!!!"

"Hang on, I'll do it when we get to school."

"WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..........NOW, Mama! NOW!!!!!!!!"

I quickly pulled to the side of the road and leaned over the seat to put her shoes back on. For a few moments things were quiet. Until she started yelling again "I NEED MY TINA TUHNUH!!!!!!!!"

Knowing better at this point than to tell her I'd get it when we got to school, I once again pulled to the side of the road and leaned over and grabbed that friggin' frizzy headed doll that had fallen beside her carseat. Feeling frustrated, fearing my blood pressure had reached an all time high, and furious that I'd been mentally beaten up by a 2-year-old, I set out once again on the way to school. My Mecca.

We got a few more feet when William broke the silence by saying "Cafrin is driving me crazy."

Join the club.

Imagine what Pres. Sybil would do to Osama.

ps....this is how she looked the other day when I went into her room to get her up, only to discover that she'd been awake for a while and was dressed for the day. If not an American President maybe America's next top model?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Things That Stink

Catherine is doing better but still isn't back to her usual charming self. It's been a week to forget so far. For several reasons. The first has to do with chicken juice.

I went to Sam's yesterday with two kids in tow...the small ones. Attempting to load the car after stockpiling enough diapers, wipes, Cheerios and Goldfish, etc. to last us through any nuclear disaster, while trying to keep Catherine from jumping out and Stuart from falling out of the cart, I managed to drop a jumbo pack of chicken on the ground. Which apparently tore the package. Which, at some point between Sam's and home, resulted in a jumbo pool of chicken juice in the back of my van. So after sitting overnight, and the chicken juice soaking in real good, my van now smells like about 100 dead chickens that have been sitting out in the sun, in August, in the middle of the desert. And rotten milk has been poured over them. It's just wrong. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I can get the family truckster back to just smelling like stinky feet and the occasional dirty diaper, let me know. I'm open to suggestions.

William got in trouble last night and suffered a few unfortunate consequences, but not before he told me in response to one of my rebukes "Ah, you're driving me NUTS." I walked straight into the kitchen to get the wooden spoon, where I found Andy cleaning up and told him what William had just said, and Andy doubled over laughing and couldn't stop. At that point I started laughing too, because it really is quite out of character for William to say it. Luckily William couldn't see us laughing or hear what his father said next which was "I know how he feels." All of a sudden I stopped laughing. Seeing the look on my face, he did too. Andy then prepared to spend the night on William's top bunk.

You know how I've talked (unfortunately, MANY) times before about how antibiotics cause diarrhea in little ones? Well here we are again, but have I ever mentioned that it doesn't smell? At all. It's like the antibiotics kill all bacteria, which apparently is what causes the smell (I'm not a scientist, but that's how I understand it). It's truly an unexpected gift!

Too bad those chickens I bought weren't on antibiotics. Have mercy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stop the Ride I Want to Get Off!!!!

I am sitting here at the moment enjoying a delicious steaming cup of pumpkin spice coffee with whipped cream on top. It's quiet. And peaceful. And did I mention I'm sitting? And it's quiet? But this is the first time I've sat down all day. I tell you right now....I've earned my pay today. Oh wait a minute. I forgot. I don't get paid. But I've earned something today. Maybe a nice fat ruby in my crown.

First of all, poor little Catherine is sick again. Another lung infection. And a high fever. And a terrible cough. And you know our Catherine. On the very best day for her, a day when she feels wonderful, birds are circling around her little head chirping, the sun is shining and all is right in the world of Catherine, she's still a PILL. There's really not a word in the English language to describe her on a day like today. When she got ripped out of a deep sleep in the middle of nap time to go to the Dr. to get blood work and an x-ray. No word indeed.

But before the whole Dr.'s office ordeal, in desperation as the walls were beginning to close in on us all, to get us out of the house we loaded into the car to make a run to my favorite little local fruit and veggie stand where I can leave the kids in the car as I shop 3 feet from them. I don't mind that I pay $9.00 for a gallon of milk and $4.75 for a loaf of bread. I don't have to haul three kids into a store to do grocery shopping so to me it's priceless.

But we left Hazel's market and William started begging for a Happy Meal. Thinking maybe we all needed a little Happy-ness today, I went through the drive-through and ordered William and Catherine their meals. Of course before I could even get my instructions to drive to the next window please, they were both yelling "what's my toy....what's my TOY????"

I paid for the meals, drove to yet another window as the chanting got louder and Stuart starting crying because the all the carrying on over the ten cent toy was more than his little ears could handle. They handed me ONE meal box and told me it would be about 5 more minutes for the other one and could I please pull up and they would bring it out. What-ever. But I did. And then made a fatal mistake when I passed that ONE box back to William who tore into his toy and started yelling "OH Cool....the CAT from shrek! COOL!!!!!!!"

"Wheah my shwek cat?" Catherine started asking.

"It will be here in a just a minute. Oh listen guys....Rudolph!" And I cranked the radio up full blast.

In just a minute Mabel walked up to the window and handed me the other meal and disappeared. I ripped it open to give Catherine her Cat toy and lo and behold....it was a DIFFERENT toy.

OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD IN THIS WORLD!!!! They have to have the exact same thing, always. Or else all h-e-double hockey sticks breaks loose. This was not good.

"Idat MY shwek cat?" Catherine asked, reaching for it.

"No, sweetie, you got a SPECIAL toy. A special GINGERBREAD man. Isn't that COOL?"

"Hey....why didn't I get a cool gingerbread man?" I hear screeching from the rear of the van. I started doing the Dr. Evil routine with him every time he tried to complain about not getting what Catherine had now happily accepted as the cool toy. Zip it. Can it. Cool it. Zip. Zip. Z.

Just another day on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Card Picture Take One





The other day I had all the decorations laying about when I saw a strand of lights and realized all the children were in their matching Christmas monkeys eating candy canes pajamas and thought what a perfect picture it would make for our card. If you go back to an entry I made about this time last year you'll see how I really feel about Christmas cards. But I digress.
So I put all the kids together....gave them the lights....PLUGGED THEM IN.....and grabbed my camera. I got down right in front of them and just as I started clicking realized it wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. It would be slightly traumatic for all involved and on many levels to send out pictures of all three children being electrocuted as our holiday greeting this year. And a copy of my mugshot attached after I'm arrested for being a bad Mom.
So this is all the progress I've made so far in putting my Christmas card together. I still have 22 days.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time....of the Day



Ahhh....Catherine's naptime. Some days it just can't come soon enough. Today was one of those days. She woke up at 7 am and I started watching the clock at 7:03 to see how much longer I had to hang on until I could put her down.
First she took off all her clothes. Every stitch, diaper included. Ran around naked for what seemed like hours. I finally got one of William's t-shirts on her. Then she got ahold of a sharpie marker (took lessons from her friend Isaac) and drew half a mustache on her upper lip. Drew a few marks on her hand too and wanted a bandaid to cover them. She threw fits. She flopped around in the kitchen floor most dramatically, kicking and screaming. I mostly ignored her....except at one point I looked over at William and very seriously said "W.....what in the world am I going to do with your sister?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "Mmmm....I don't know.....watch TV with her?"
Sure. Just what I want to curl up with next to on the sofa.
Actually I didn't have to wait too long for naptime because during one of her fits, shortly before noon, she announced "Imanna go to bed!"
You got it sister. You got it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Camp Dingo



So a few weeks ago, anticipating our week in the mountains, Andy decided that he would take William on his first camping trip. He bought a tent. He bought sleeping bags. He bought mats to go under the sleeping bags. They set up the tent in William's room and he practiced sleeping in it. They were so excited. Me, not so excited. I saw that movie with Meryl Streep and can still hear her yelling "A dingo aite me baby!" I didn't want that to be me.

I started worrying about bears. I read that they were eating a lot this time of year getting ready to hibernate and I didn't want Smoky making a meal out of my boys. Besides, I didn't like the idea of me, Stuart and Catherine being left alone overnight in a cabin a mile up a deserted mountain. I saw Deliverance. Maybe I've seen too many movies. Maybe I'm just a mother. But I worry.

So I was a little relieved when I heard that there was a burn ban, therefore there was no way to make a campfire and, hence, no way to cook food or keep warm. So I guess it made Andy a little more open to my idea that they just camp out at the cabin, under the deck. And he agreed. Last night was the night.

About 9:00 last night, after pitching their tent and getting everything set up, the boys grabbed the walkie-talkies and their pillows and set out down the hill. Except Catherine was still awake. And wanted to go with them. I tried to talk her out of it. "Don't you want to stay here with Mama where it's warm?" No. She wanted to go with the boys. And they let her. And off they went.

William started calling me on the walkie-talkie as soon as they got the tent zipped up. "Mama, you there? What are you doing?"

"Reading a magazine, William."

"Mama, we can see the stars."

"Great, William."

"And the moon."

"Super."

"I got a stick and threw it across the yard."

"Cool."

"Mama, what are you doing now?"

"Still trying to read my magazine."

"I just pulled the cover over my head."

"Ok, then."

"Mama, you still there?"

"That's a 10-4."

"What are you doing now, Mama?"

And on and on it went. Until finally, "Good night John Boy."

I went to bed still a little worried but a little relieved that they were within earshot and just outside my window, which was cracked, just in case someone needed me. I slept for just a couple of hours until I heard a blood curdling, ear piercing scream about 2 am:

"MA-MA!!!!!!!!!!"

I bounded out of bed, my heart pounding, and raced to the window. I didn't hear any more screams, and couldn't see anything, and for a moment I thought I had imagined it. Did my baby really yell for me? Were they ok? Should I try to go see about them? I walked out on the deck and listened. Nothing. Until I started hearing howls and barks off in the distance. Oh sweet lord....A dingo really DID get my baby!!!!!!!!

I went back to sleep, after what seemed like hours lying there praying for daylight and this camping trip to be over. A few hours later I heard them all stirring from below, so a cup of coffee and some fresh baked blueberry muffins lured the campers up the hill. And Andy confirmed that I really DID hear my name. William had a nightmare, sat straight up and yelled for me, then fell back sound asleep.

And he also confirmed that he heard the dogs as well. And he heard them get closer. And he was just about to gather up the troops and head in when the dingoes must have disbanded.

So see I'm not a crazy old bird. And I wasn't imagining things. And I'm glad they can say they've been there and done that. But tonight this bird's keeping the little chickens close under wing where they belong.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Country Bear Jamboree

Well here we are at the cabin in the North Georgia mountains. It's beautiful here. Of course the weather is much milder than I anticipated and, in my effort to pack lightly, I'm finding it difficult to put together outfits for the children from two mittens, a pair of underwear and a fleece lined jacket. In fact, I packed so lightly that I forgot my toothbrush. And didn't bring William a single pair of jeans. And I've already had to stop and buy some baby wipes at a country store in the mountains where they cost about $12.00. But that's ok. We said if we ain't got it, we'll buy it. And we may go broke this week. But we're travelin' light!

And at least one of us is having a vacation. Three guesses as to who it is. One of us...no names mentioned....put on his running clothes to go for a jog as I was juggling a hungry baby and two wild monkeys bouncing off the walls right at breakfast time. I said "oh no you di'n't....I know you are not leaving me here with all these kids by myself to fix breakfast for everyone." Not that I don't do it every single day of my life....but it's slightly more complicated when you don't have the comforts and conveniences of home and you're trying to keep kids from stabbing each other with the fireplace pokers.

His response? "I'm on vacation! And I want to go for a run!"

Fair enough. But when does my vacation start?

Things that make you go "hmmmmm."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lift Off Postponed

Well you see we are not on our way to the moon as originally planned. We are not packed, the truckster is not loaded, and we are not on the road.

Stuart woke us up at exactly 2:22 this morning barking like a dog and struggling to breathe. I've been known over the past few years to say that one of my children had "the croup" but I now know what true croup is. And it's scary. I grabbed him and ran downstairs telling Andy that he was burning up with a fever and sounded like he couldn't get his breath. Andy drowsily said "Maybe you can give him something. Some medicine or something. And go back to sleep." Slightly hysterical I told him that it wasn't something medicine would cure. "I think it's croup. And I'm wondering if I need to take him to the ER."

Me, the total alarmist and Andy, the complete and total NON alarmist, sat discussing our options as I calmed down and realized that the baby really could breathe, even if it sounded awful. "I am going to go sit in the bathroom with him and run the hot water and see if the steam helps."

"What do you want me to do?" he asked.

Thinking of that scene from Terms of Endearment, inside I was screaming I WANT YOU TO GO SIT IN THE STINKIN' HUMID STEAMIN' BATHROOM WITH ME! but remembering that he did have to get up and go to work in a few hours I softly said "just go back to sleep...I'll get you if I need you."

So I sat in the bathroom with a coughing baby as my hair wilted and plastered to my head, and became oh so grateful when the breathing got easier and he drifted off to sleep. And then I laid down in the bed with him on my chest feeling and hearing every breath he took for the next two hours, until I could finally close my eyes myself. If only for a few moments.

I took him to the Dr. first thing this morning (and, by the way, one of my upcoming entries will deal with the trauma of taking a sick child to the pediatrician and being left alone with a sick naked baby in a 6x6 cell while you pace back and forth for an hour or more praying that every shadow you see under the door is the illusive Dr. finally coming in....I'd rather have a pelvic exam AND a root canal at the same time I'm standing in line to get my drivers' license renewed any day of the week than take a sick - or well - child to the pediatrician...that gives you a preview of what's to come). Anyway...after we finally got in to see the Wizard he concurred with Dr. Mommy's diagnosis that it was indeed the croup and gave us some steroids to help with the coughing. And told us to stick close to home so we can make sure tonight's episode isn't as bad as last night's.

So here we are. And at this point I'm already so tired that I don't care enough to pack all that stuff I was originally going to pack. Everyone is taking just one of whatever he or she needs.

And I'm mapquesting all the Wal-marts where we are going.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

To The Moon

So here we are once again getting ready to load up the family truckster and head out on a week's vacation. Actually it's more like a 10 day vacation. Where are going that we will be gone for so long you might ask? Europe? The west coast? Nope....Atlanta. Just 5 1/2 hours away. But because it's such an undertaking just to load up and get gone, we like to make it count. Get our money's worth so to speak.

For some reason that I honestly cannot explain or account for, I feel compelled every time we go on a trip such as this to stockpile food, toiletries and other items as if we are going all the way to the moon which is the only place in the stratosphere that does not have a Wal-mart open 24 hours just around the corner from wherever you might find yourself in need of _____ at _ :00 am or pm.

So it just doesn't make sense that yesterday morning, my only morning this week to have only one child under foot, I spent the entire time at....Walmart. I bought everything from juice boxes to 6 packs of juice (just in case someone would rather have a box than a bottle) to little packs of plastic bags to stash in your purse for diaper emergencies (which could very well come in handy) to extra packs of baby Tylenol to a large pack of disposable washcloths with the baby wash already infused because, you know, it's SO hard to pack washcloths and a container of baby wash. And then I bought extra warm pajamas for all the kids, and slippers for the older two. And we had just discussed that we are going to "pack light" for this trip. We said...If we ain't got it, we'll go get it if we need it.

What in the world???

So today my sole purpose in life, my only goal, is to pack just ONE bag for each person. And a diaper bag. And a food bag. And a shoe bag. And obviously I'll need a bag just for JUICE. And another for pajamas.

And Andy will kill me when he sees it all sitting out to be loaded into the car.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

More Conversations With William


So at lunch today William and I were talking. Well actually he was doing most of the talking and I was just trying to keep up. The "conversation" went something like this:
"Mama, when Cafrin is 4 how old will I be?"
"Six."
"When Cafrin is six how old will I be?"
"Eight."
"When Cafrin is eight how old will I be?"
And so on and so forth. You get the picture. But the discussion kept going until he asked:
"When Cafrin is sixteen, how old will I be?"
"Eighteen."
"Will I be a grown up then?"
I thought about it a second. Then slowly (and a little sadly) said "Well yeah, I suppose so." Of course I was trying to do the math to figure out how old I'll be at that point, and got an image of me being wheeled into his graduation ceremony with a shawl around my shoulders and an afghan over my lap, and praying someone will wipe the drool from my chin before they take a family picture.
With the realization that he would be a grown up at some point, he jumped up and hollered "WOO-HOO!!! I'll be a grown up! I can use Daddy's tools and cut things with knives! WOO-HOO!!!!"
And I'm hoping that tools and knives will be the only things we will be concerned with at that point.

Perfectly Still


She was just perfect for her scan the other day. She was this calm. Prayers were heard.
Still waiting for the results.....

Monday, November 05, 2007

Peanut Butter and Jelly Princess




Any Southern girl knows that you don't need a reason to wear a crown. You do it anytime you want to feel fabulous. Even if you're just eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And so she did.
Say a little prayer for our princess today. She goes tomorrow for a CT scan. It will be the first time she's had one that she won't be sedated. Which is a good thing. But she will be scared. So pray for serenity and calm for her. And for us as we wait for the results.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him , and I am helped." Ps. 28:7



Friday, November 02, 2007

Shhhhhh

Even Superheroes need to rest sometimes.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tricker Tree




Spiderman and the Auburn Cheerleader with Multiple Personality Disorder hit the streets last night. Catherine couldn't find her darling plush little pumpkin treat bag so she carried a diaper bag in which to gather her loot. She really didn't need one though since the candy bipassed the bag and went straight into her mouth. To tell her no got you a tongue lashin' as can be observed in the above photos. After going house to house hollering "Tricker Tree" they went to the Perky Pumpkin Party at church....or Purty the Punkin Party as William said. I got, er had, to stay home with the small one so we, er, he could sleep. A good time was had by all.
Oh...notice Andy's craftsmanship on Jack (and the sad deformity of the only pumpkin left in the patch on Oct. 31). Master Pumpkincarver started early on his masterpiece this year. He came home at 4:45 pm on Halloween to get started. It was finished just in time for the newspaper carrier to enjoy as he was tossing our paper this morning.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Upside Down Mom is Wow

I have a pair of slippers and a robe that have "MOM" monogrammed on them. When I sit in my bathroom and dry my hair (on the rare occasion I'm actually able to take a shower and wash my hair) and look at those letters they say "WOW" (because I'm looking at them upside down, see). So this morning was one of those few and far between days. A lucky day. And I was thinking to myself....WOW is right. WOW~I'm actually going to be showered and dressed and ~dare I believe~ even have on makeup before 8 am. And to make things better, everyone was still asleep. Lucky lucky me. Wow.

So I came upstairs to get a cup of coffee where I was greeted by William, who was walking as if he'd just hopped off a large horse after a long ride, and told me that he tee-tee'd "just a little bit" in his top bunk but it was ok because "it will dry." I just love changing that top bunk. Wow, I couldn't wait.

Then we heard Catherine raffling around in her room and when I went in to get her discovered she had been lying in a small pond in her bed. Luvs....with leakguard...didn't guard so well last night. As I'm getting her changed and dried off, William was sitting in her floor dismantling a flashlight. "Mama," he said, "I'll be right back....I just need to go wash these batteries."

???????

All of a sudden I realized the batteries must have been corroded so, as he's dripping battery acid all the way to the bathroom, I chased him down to throw them away and get him to wash his hands. He wanted to know why. "Because they are corro...I mean....it's ac....I mean....BECAUSE I SAID SO." Wow.

Off and running back to Catherine's room to get some pants on her. But she beat me to it and decided to wear her Dora big girl panties. "You HAVE to use the potty if you wear these...do you understand?" Uh-huh, she said. Right. She's never used the potty...why in the world is she going to start today? But remembering I had thought it was a lucky day a little earlier, I thought there might be a chance.

No chance though. As I headed in to Stuart's room where...you guessed it....I had yet another diaper to change....Catherine came toddling in as if she'd just finished her ride on Trigger and announced "Dora wet. Wet wet wet."

ARGH!!! "Catherine," I said, "you were supposed to use the potty, remember?"

"Uh-huh. I tee tee ovuh deah."

"Where?"

"Deah, Mama. Wheah de clotes ah."

A giant puddle in the closet to clean. A pile of sheets to launder. And battery acid to mop up. All before my first cup of coffee.

WOW.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Half a Year

Hard to believe it's been six months since this little guy came along. Six months ago I couldn't imagine our life with him and now can't imagine what we ever did without him. He sure is loved. About 300 times a day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Holding My Breath

I know it seems like every other post I am talking about poo or throw up. I don't mean to. But it's just that we seem inundated with it sometimes. Something told me last night to go to bed as soon as we got all the kids in bed. Had I followed my instincts and gone to sleep at 8:30 rather than 11, I might have slept more than 2 hours since Catherine woke us up throwing up at 1 am. Poor love. Was sick until nearly 3:30 when the tummy was finally empty and she could go back to sleep. Until 5:30 when Stuart woke us up. Not throwing up. Just up.

I'm bracing myself though because if the normal and usual course is followed here, Andy and I will be down for the count by the weekend. Trying to find the silver lining though....I do need a rapid weight loss regime. Of course now that I've said that it is sure to happen.

If you happen to need to drop a few pounds yourself, let me know and I'll send someone over right away to breathe on you. Always thinking of others....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oscar Eats From a Trash Can Too

Catherine the Grouch woke up this morning in a MOOD. First of all, she woke up before 6 am. She has a child proof knob on her door so she can't get out. All she can do is knock. So I heard her knocking. But I was sitting in the den nursing the baby so all I could do was sit there quietly, willing her to go back to bed. Luckily Andy heard her before he left for the gym, and since it was still dark outside, he was able to get her back to sleep.

It actually stayed dark for a while since it was stormy, so the kids slept a little later than usual. So I was hoping the extra sleep would help Catherine wake up in a good mood. Wrong. She was ornery from the moment she stepped out of her room.

I was making blueberry muffins for breakfast, so she started whining for some as soon as she realized it. But they were still in the oven and not baking fast enough, so she had a meltdown. I got her into her high chair by dangling a banana in front of her, but she had another meltdown trying to "bucka (buckle) myself." When she couldn't do it she started hollering "Bucka me, Mama....bucka ME!" So I snapped the buckle into place, at which point she started screaming "I manna do it....waaaa....waaaa....waaaa....I manna DO IT!"

Then she had a cup of yogurt. She ate it all. Then she wanted another cup. She ate all but one bite and started yelling "I finish, Mama....I all done....I manna get down."

"Don't you want your last bite of yogurt?" I asked her as I held the last spoonful in front of her face.

She bucked back in the chair, hollering "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!"

Fine, I thought, as I walked off and, not wanting the last bite of perfectly good yogurt to go to waste, crammed it in my own mouth as I tossed the empty cup into the trash.

At this point total hysteria erupted as she started yelling "I MANNA MY LAST BITE......I MANNA MY LAST BITE......WAAAAAA.......WAAAAAAAAAA!" Kicks, screams, tears, stamping of the feet, pounding of the fists, complete drama.

Holy crap, I thought, as I grabbed the cup OUT OF THE TRASH, people, grabbed her spoon, scraped up as much as I could (if I'd had any left in my own mouth I would scraped that out too to stop the hysterics) and said "Here ya go....LAST bite!"

She was happy.

I've been accused of being afraid of Catherine. I think I may be. And well I should be. Very, very afraid.

Now you know why we call her Sybil.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Punkins





Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wanted: Babysitter Not on Parole

Andy and I had a date last weekend for the first time in months I do believe. In fact, I can't remember the last time we had dinner together that we didn't have to utter the phrase "you're not leaving this table until you eat finish your dinner." Or "the dog doesn't eat peas." Or "get your fork out of your nose."

Anyway....we ended up with tickets to this swanky fundraiser event at the 11th hour, which meant all the A list babysitters had plans. In fact, the B list babysitters were all taken as well. So we were reduced to standing on the street corner looking for prisoners on work release to come keep our kids. Not really. But close.

But then miracle of miracles, a friend of the regular babysitter of a friend (did you get that?) happened to be free. So I called that friend to see what she knew of "Sarah." Just Sarah is all I had to go by. No last name. And only a cell phone. But the friend had actually used Just Sarah before, and thought a lot of her, and said she was super responsible and very sweet and highly recommended her.

I really wanted a night out. Like I said before, with the first child we did background checks and set up nanny cams for sitters. With the second we at least got a last name. By the time the third child came along, and we became desperate for time away, our standards are only that the sitter (a) has a first name and (b) is breathing. Just Sarah satisfied both of these conditions.

Actually Just Sarah did turn out to be wonderful. She was great with the kids, the kids loved her, and we will certainly call her again. And she's an Auburn fan so she ranks high with Andy.

And as it turns out she does have a last name. Isn't that wonduhful?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Photo Shoot

Ok, everyone lean in next to Stuart so I can get a picture.

I said lean in next to him, not on him.


No, don't kiss him, William. Just put your face next to his.

Now Catherine you put your face next to Stuart. Look at Mama. Say CHEESE!


William, stop making faces. Catherine look at Mama. Everyone smile. I SAID SMILE!

I'm sweating.
I'm exhausted.
I'm done.




Thursday, October 11, 2007

And the Word for the Day Is.....

We were eating dinner last night and Catherine, in an unprecedented act of kindness, gave William one of her apple slices. I told her how nice it was of her to share her food. Then William started telling me that he wasn't allowed to share his food with his friends at school. He said the teacher wouldn't let them share. He seemed upset by it.

So I told him that she wasn't trying to keep them from being nice, she was just trying to protect anyone in his class that might have an allergy. Thinking it was a rather big word for a 4 year old, I started trying to explain what an allergy is.

"You know how our friend Dylan can get really sick if she eats peanut butter? Well that's called an allergy. And there might be a little boy or girl in your class who could get sick from eating something that you brought for lunch, even though it doesn't make you sick. So if someone in your class has an allergy, the teacher can't let you share your food. Can you say allergy?"

He just looked squarely at me and said, "I know what an allergy is, Mama. It's like when the house falls on top you."

I squinted my eyebrows and before I could say "Huh?" he corrected himself and said, "No, wait a minute. That's called an e-mer-gen-cy."

You don't say.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Shopping Spree

Ok so remember my last blog entry was about how we were back on schedule and kids were going back to school? Well that was before Catherine woke up last Wednesday morning with a diaper full of toxic waste so lethal that the streets surrounding our house had to be closed to through traffic. I decided that they just don't pay that preschool teacher enough money (they don't pay ME enough money!) to clean up something like that, so it was my civic duty to keep her home that day.

But that just happened to be the day my cleaning lady (God love her for trying to help me keep this place in order) came and since our house is not very big (begging the question WHY do I need a cleaning lady??? You read my blog...you can see why I'd need one if I lived in a shoe) I like to get out from under her feet and let her tackle this mess in peace. So there I was with one 5 month old....one constipated 5 month old who had been given a big bowl of prunes for breakfast....and one 2 year old....who had the absolute and complete opposite condition.

SO what do I do? I decide to go shopping! Now, I must explain that I looked like something that could appear on the best of Jerry Springer. But I needed some new bath rugs for my bathroom and for some reason it seemed like a great time to find some. So off we went to Tuesday Morning.

Stuart in his carrier in the front of buggy, and Catherine sitting in the basket with her juice and cheerios, and I sped through the store looking for the bath rug aisle. I made it there and not 30 seconds later Stuart starts fussing. So I'm pushing the buggy back and forth with one hand and digging through bath rugs with the other. Rugs are falling all over the floor as I'm reaching in with one hand to pull the one I think I want from the bottom of the heap.

About that time I hear (and you'll just have to imagine the sound because I have no idea how to spell it) what sounds like a minor eruption from some one's rear end. Seeing no one else around me, and judging from Stuart's still frustrated look on his face, I could safely assume it wasn't him. Catherine slowly stands up in the buggy and I said softly "Was that you?"

"Uh-huh. I stinky Mama."

Now I knew I really needed to get out of there but I really wanted some rugs for my bathroom. So I furiously start digging through the rugs, looking for three matching ones that I might be able to grab and pay for before the diaper completely fails. But no such luck. Knowing my time was up, I yelled "Hold on Baby" and took off like something that had been shot out of a cannon, over the pile of rugs, towards the front of the store. As I approached the door and wheeled around to back through the un-automatic door, the sirens all went off as Catherine waves around a random tablecloth she had pulled into the buggy. I grabbed it from her, threw it to the cashier, apologized and disappeared before we could all get arrested.

We made it to the car and, after assessing the situation, realized that it had sounded much worse than it was. So I changed her in the front seat, loaded everyone back up and, too embarrassed to return to Tuesday Morning (for probably forever), took my crew into Big Lots. We looked much more like Big Lots shoppers at that point anyway.

I'm putting on a big hat, blonde wig and sunglasses to go shopping later on today. At Tuesday Morning.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Back to School

The kids are going back tomorrow, now that we seem to be over all the puking, pooping and overall puniness. Of course, Catherine will probably run into class and kiss her new friend N. Flu Enza, and William's new buddy Rhoda Virus will give him a present to bring home to share with the rest of us, but at least for tomorrow we'll be back to normal.

Yesterday, as we were having some quality bonding time together, and I was racking my brain to come up with something to do that didn't involve TV or the giant zip loc bag of crayons and old coloring books they are bored to tears over, I decided we'd take a trip to the farmer's market and peruse the harvest offerings, as the temps were all the way down to the mid 80's. So we bundled up and set off to find a pumpkin.

The kids each picked out a tiny pumpkin, and were so proud of them. They got into the car and held them all the way home. William made up a pumpkin song about them and announced loudly that he was going to keep it "forever and ever." And he probably will. Just like that half eaten lollipop I found in his closet a few months ago left over from last Halloween.

I really shouldn't complain, it's just that it turned out to be a very long weekend with all the sickness and whining (more of that than usual). Last night we were attempting to eat dinner, as William was complaining, Catherine was whining and Stuart was about to implode. I had a small glass of wine that I suspected was very tasty but had not even been able to sniff it much less enjoy a sip. So just like *that*, in the midst of all the chaos, I picked up my glass, walked to the front door and as it was closing behind me heard Andy holler "He-LLOoooooooooo???????" just before it clicked shut. I sat down in the rocker on the front porch, felt the breeze blow through my hair, lifted my glass, took a long whiff, swirled it around, and savored the lovely grapes as I said "mmmmm." And the chaos behind that door became invisible to me for just a few minutes. It was the only 15 minutes I'd had to myself in 3 days, other than the couple of times I'd made it to the bathroom alone.

One day I'll laugh about all this.

Ha. Ha.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sick in Mayberry

I can't believe what I have to report. Everyone is well and healthy and we had a wonderful weekend outdoors enjoying the nice cool fall weather, attended the arts and crafts fair, took a stroll and had a picnic by the bay. NO WAIT. That was my dream in the good solid hour of sleep I got all weekend. Here's what really happened.

Got a call on Friday from William's school telling me he wasn't feeling well and wanted to come home. Thinking he was just hankering for some attention, since his brother and sister had both been to the Dr. earlier in the week but he hadn't, I nonetheless picked him up early only to discover that he was burning up with fever. Brought him home, put him to bed, and while he was napping talked to the Mom of one of his friends who told me that her son had thrown up once and ran fever for 2 days and she heard that it was going around. Oh no, I said....we've just had ear infections, lung infections and snotty noses. But no throwing up.

Had I only waited another hour or so I could have reported that YES we were throwing up too. William puked up the 3 sips of leftover strawberry milkshake I had dug out of the freezer for him thinking it would help his fever. And then, just as I'd heard he would, he ran fever for 2 days.

So on Sat. night when we were supposed to go visit with our little nephew who was in town, I decided I needed to stay home with the boys and let Catherine go with her Daddy, since she was well. They stayed to watch the football game, but on the way home, thinking he was hearing some kind of waterfall from the backseat, Andy turned around to see Catherine puking everywhere. They made it home at midnight.

SO let's recap this. Fever viruses, lung infections, ear infections, snotty noses, croupy coughs, puke, diarrhea and at least one fever a day for the past 2 weeks.....at least $100 in copays to Dr's and $75 worth of antibiotics....not to mention the double pack of Tylenol we've blown through. In the last week. All because I wanted some MOM'S DAYS OUT????????? Yeah right.

Can it get any worse? I'm afraid to ask. You know I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

take a number please

am typing with one hand and using little punctuation as am holding one of my 3 - yes 3 - sick babies. starting to school last month brought us great joy. and new friends. and lots of germs that made everyone sick. some of us twice. like stuart who had a cold...that went into ear infection...and is now a cold again.
and then there's catherine. our child with one good lung and one portion of a very bad lung. she spent all day yesterday at the dr's office, as she ran a very high fever, having x rays and blood drawn only to find out she does not have a lung infection. which is good news. but bad news is they can't explain the rather large dense mass in her right lung (the bad one) so next we get the fun and familiar experience of yet another ct scan. for those not familiar with her condition - she has a ccam (too long to spell out with one hand). she had surgery at 5 months where they removed the upper and middle lobes of her right lung. the left the lower lobe that still had this condition, which now makes her more susceptible to infection. and will likely have to go through another surgery at some point to remove what's left.

i have always said that i was grateful to have been given this condition to deal with rather than something that couldn't be fixed. and i've always felt God has used this to teach us patience, dependence on Him and to grow our faith. but i still haven't learned how to stop my heart from hurting when i can't help my baby who is hurting. but that's nothing any other mother doesn't experience on a daily basis. whether having to hold her while a giant needle is draining blood from her arm or hold her because someone was mean to her. i may be worried about a broken lung today but tomorrow may be a broken heart.

it's just part of the journey.

*many thanks to mimi, gigi and grandpa who helped hold, rock and comfort the past couple of days.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

In Style




She wore her Dora slippers to school for pictures on Friday. Because her foot "huhts." I think she just wanted to make a fashion statement.
Looks like she was making some other kind of statement to William in the first picture. Probably telling him his shoes were all wrong.



They really do love each other. Sometimes they do this for a photo op. Other times it's completely spontaneous. Either way, it's just plain sweet.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In Conclusion














































So here is what I decided after our week at the beach had come to an end. Much too soon I might add. It was a lot of work to get there, and yes there were a few obstacles along the way. But as is the common theme in raising kids....the good always outweighs the bad.
My vacation came in unexpected moments that will be remembered long after the sand is brushed out of my bags. Moments like....the surprise and excitement in William's face on his 4th birthday as he blew out the candle on the big number 4 stuck in his cheapo grocery store giant chocolate chip cookie cake he thought was the coolest thing ever. Being able to play, romp with and hug on our babies without being sidetracked by yardwork, housework, and work work. Having a reason to lie down every afternoon with the two little ones and nap, knowing that there was nothing more important anywhere I needed to be doing. Not making a bed all week. Finally having time to sit down and figure out the fancy camera I got for Christmas....and having the most beautiful subjects in the world to practice on. Here are just a few of my favorites from the week.
We are already looking forward to next year. But next time I think we'll check the status of the A/C before we unpack. But then again our troubles did buy us an extra night. And an extra nap. A few more moments in the sun. Too bad the toilets didn't overflow or the stove catch on fire. We might still be there. Of course now that I've jinxed us....it will probably happen next year.
Maybe then we'll get those T-shirts they promised us.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Part II


Ok. Where were we? Oh yes....we had "moved" from the hot condo to the cool one. And the littlest ones and I made it back to join the others and resume our vacation. So Andy had moved a few more things that we needed into our new digs, so we had a few things here and a lot of things there. And then we got a phone call from the rental office. Andy came into the bedroom where I was looking for Catherine's other shoe so we could head down to the pool, assuming it was probably roasting in the hot condo, and he said "We gotta move."

Thinking it was a "let's roll" kind of comment, I assured him I was moving as fast as possible.

"No. We gotta MOVE. Condos."

"Oh. They got the A/C fixed?"

"No. But we can't stay here because the owners are coming back. So we have to move to the condo across the hall."

Silence.

"BUT...(he continued)...they said they would send someone to help us. AND...they are sending up T-shirts for the kids."

Silence. Then: "@&*(!& Kidding me! !U&*(#* @&*@ T-shirts???? @*()!()*@(* #^&*@%^& Seriously. T-shirts???? !%^^&%!%^&!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Yes, I have been known to have potty mouth. This was one of those times. But since I've had kids I spell out my potty words. And fortunately my kids can't spell yet. But the people next door to us probably could and for that I'm a little embarrassed.)

"Calm down, Queen. I told them T-shirts won't exactly cut it. So they are giving us a free night."

Well the move to our third (and final) resting place wasn't so bad since they did as they promised and sent help. Although we still had to pack everything up. AND go retrieve everything we had left in the first condo. But by Wednesday we were settled in and started to really enjoy our vacation.

And as for Catherine? She was feeling MUCH better. Cough was gone. Antibiotics worked fast. But does anyone know what antibiotics do to a child's digestive tract? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Antibiotics are wonderful in that they knock out the original ailment and leave in its place....diarrhea. Pools, swim diapers and diarrhea. Not a pretty combination. But God took mercy on us and let us dodge that bullet every time. I would put two swim diapers on her, watch her every 5 minutes to make sure we weren't going to be faced with a mudslide (sorry...I do realize that's gross but I don't know how else to say it) and we managed to stay clean every time we went swimming.

Our luck was starting to turn. More later.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vacation?




We have returned. You wouldn't believe our week if I told you, which of course I will. But you won't believe it. You will think I'm making it up. But I'm not. I am, however, so exhausted at the moment that I can hardly form coherent thoughts so I may have to do this in a series. Let's start with Vacation Part I.

We left last Sunday to travel a whole hour away to the sandy white beaches South(east?) of Mayberry. Remember I told you how much stuff I had packed? Well we managed to cram it into the van. We arrived, checked in to our lovely condo, parked in the garage and managed to load up two carts and schlep up the elevator with all kids, the stroller, and both carts in tow. We opened the door to our very beautiful, albeit very warm home away from home. Hmmm....must have had the A/C turned way up since no one was here. We'll just crank it down to 60, unload EVERYTHING....notice I said EVERYTHING....and head down to the pool for a couple of hours. When we return it will be nice and cool.

WRONG! When we returned it was still a balmy 78 degrees in the condo, although this time we had three starving, screaming, whining children. I was grabbing food out of the pantry and throwing it to them like peanuts to the elephants at the zoo. Chips, yogos, anything I could find to keep them calm while the maintenance men checked out our "little" problem. Sorry folks, Brutus said. We're going to have to move you to another condo because we can't get this thing up and running tonight. He might as well have said "I'll have to throw a pot of boiling water on you, Ma'am. Hope that will be alright with you." Ok. Fine. Regroup. Get a plan. Feed the kids. Grab some clothes and head to the other condo until they can get this thing fixed tomorrow.

So we, along with just a portion of our transport, headed up 7 stories to sleep in a cool condo. Where sleep was nothing more than a tease when we were awakened at 2 am to Catherine "barking" from her bedroom. Anyone who has ever been through the croup knows what I mean by barking. Of course as soon as we awoke, so did William, then so did Stuart. And of course Stuart was looking for the milkman so I sent Andy to sit with Catherine in a steamed up bathroom while I fed the baby. We then spent the next few hours listening to Catherine wheeze and cough, wondering if we were going to have to get this child with only one good lung to the hospital. We made it through the night though, so first thing the next morning I loaded up the two littlest ones, including the sick one, to head back to our Dr.

Turns out she had a lung infection. Five hours, a chest x-ray, and 10 days worth of antibiotics later the three of us were headed back to the beach to resume our vacation. Got a call from Andy just before we left telling me the A/C was not fixed, so he was loading up a few more items to move from the hot to the cool condo and would meet me there. And....since I was at home...could I bring our cast iron skillet and some steak seasoning, along with some zip loc bags for snacks for the kids at the pool? Oh...some chip clips too.

I can't believe I had forgotten the cast iron skillet.

To be continued.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

You Did WHAT In My Floor?

Well I've been packing all day for our beach trip. Notice I didn't say loading the car. Just packing. Whether we will actually take everything I've packed remains to be seen. But that's not my problem. Not because I don't want it to be my problem, it's just that I'm no good at it. It's Andy's area of expertise. The man can work miracles when it comes to packing. He once got 8 dining room chairs in the back of an SUV. This skill, coupled with his cheap...I mean....frugal nature....allowed him to move the entire furnishings of our home two moves ago in one of those tiny U-haul trailers...you know...the ones that say "RENT ME for $9.99?" That entire move over 250 miles only cost $27.00, including gas. But I digress.

Trying to pack for a week long trip with two preschoolers under foot is like shoveling snow in a snowstorm. Raking leaves during a typhoon. Blowing up an air mattress with a hole in it. You get the picture. I would pack something, they would pull it out. I would open a cabinet in the kitchen, they would drag everything out. I'd put it back up, they would put something else back to replenish that spot on the floor with a random item. At one point in the kitchen I was stepping over a large Dora doll, about 30 zip loc bags, a Buzz Lightyear flashlight, an open container of Animal Crackers, a handful of raisins and Tina Turner.

I went looking for Andy to see if he could herd the cats outside or rent them to some gypsies for a few hours. I walked into my bedroom only to see a huge pile of...what I thought to be....DOG poop. In the middle of my bedroom floor! GROSS. Under my breath I'm saying "that !&*@ DOG" as Andy says "Look what your daughter did." About that time I realized that the !%^&@ dog had been at the kennel for two hours already. WHAT IN THE WORLD????? I found Catherine, sure 'nuf, running around sans diaper.

"Cath-e-rine. Did you poop in Mommy and Daddy's floor?"

"Ah-huh!" she stated very proudly.

"No, Ma'am. No poo poo in floor. Poo poo in potty! Not the floor. Good grief. Do you understand me?"

She just stared at me. Then she grabbed a fist full of raisins from the middle of the kitchen floor and crammed them in her mouth. Just what I wanted to see from someone who runs around with no diaper on.

Like our Jersey friends say....Whaddya gonna do?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

We're Moving

Bet that got your attention. Actually it only looks like we're moving. To the North Pole. For at least a year. To one of those research stations. Where we will only get a flight in to drop off some butter and bananas once the whole time.

We're really going to the beach for a week. An hour away. In quite a civilized place where they have grocery stores, drugstores and even a Pizza Hut with delivery services. We're staying in a very nice place with a washer and dryer. It is possible that if we don't take something with us, we can probably get it there. And if we run out of clothes, we can wash and dry them there. But for some reason I felt compelled to go to Sam's the other day and buy everything in bulk to take with us. Including enough diapers to keep the McCaughey septuplets dry for six months.

For some reason I felt it necessary to buy (with the intention of transporting with us) 12 pounds of butter, 3 pounds of bacon, 60 sausage links, 5 pounds of lunch meat, 5 pounds of cheese, 4 pounds of mustard, 72 waffles, 10 bags of chips, 100 slim jims, 4 loaves of bread, 12 packages of graham crackers, 460 diapers and a bucket of margarita mix (hey...who put that in my cart???). Oh....and enough laundry detergent for 320 loads.

**Thumbs up!**

We also have to take the pack-n-play, portable high chair, portable potty, jumpy seat, bumbo seat, reclining travel stroller, double stroller, umbrella stroller and exersaucer. (Deep breath) Stuart's floaty seat, Catherine's floaty seat, William's kickboard and various and sundry beach and pool toys. Special pillows, special blankets, Tina Turner and Spiderman. Oh....and William's birthday is next week so we also have to take all of his gifts to open. AND...let's not forget about clothes. Thank goodness swimsuits don't take up much room (except for mine. It's very big).

Considering the fact that every spare corner of the van is already filled with carseats, leaving us about enough room as it is for only a pack of crackers and a pair of socks for each person, I have no earthly idea where we are going to put everything.

Do they rent out Greyhound buses? I may need to check on that tomorrow.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Reality Show

I've decided that I like theory better than reality. See, you can lie in bed at night, thinking of the day ahead, and in THEORY it's going to be a productive day that leaves you with a real sense of accomplishment. But in reality, at the end of the next day as you lie in bed you are going to feel like a long armed tree sloth that didn't serve much of any purpose except to maybe hold the branches on the tree. Such is my day, most every day, since I've been a stay at home Mom. I manage to hold all the branches up but seem to make no real contribution to the jungle.

For instance. I lie in bed and in my mind have my to do list for the next day. It looks something like this:
-Rise early and have quiet, personal time before kids wake up
-Enjoy first AND second cup of coffee. In peace.
-Read Bible and get prayed up to arm self with grace, mercy and patience (and extra patience for Catherine)
-Apply facial mask, shower, wash and condition hair, loofah dead skin off, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, apply makeup, dress and put on perfume
-Wake up beautiful children with a kiss and a song and the smell and sound of sizzling bacon
-Feed children hearty breakfast before "creative arts" session
-Dress cooperative children and lead them to table spread with arts and crafts supplies where they will make cute sock puppets and rehearse puppet show they will put on for after dinner entertainment
-Make out menu and grocery list for month
-Season pot roast and put in crock pot along with new potatoes and baby carrots for healthy dinner for family
-Launder clothes, stopping to add fabric softener mid-cycle so children and husband will smell Downy fresh
-Organize children's closets and pull out all out of season clothes to take to consignment shop to make extra money as contribution to family budget
-Dust wood blinds, baseboards and ceiling fans, gently removing family of dust bunnies before they request carrot cake for dessert
-Give dog a much needed bath, brush her teeth with tiny rubber brush that fits over finger, brush her hair, and clip her nails before leading her to nice clean bed and crate that has been cleaned out and disinfected
-Look over appointment book and call Dr's, Dentists, and Vet to schedule appointments for checkups, teeth cleanings and rabies shots, keeping straight who goes where and gets what
-Freshen up and put on lipstick to greet husband with a smile as lighting candles for lovely dinner family will appreciate, savor and compliment, saying "mmm, mmm" with each bite
-Enjoy puppet show

Here's my reality. As in, what I actually get done that day:

-Quick prayer: Dear God, HELP!
-Burn throat shooting coffee as if it was Tequila (uh, not that I know anything about that....just guessing)
-Change out empty roll of toilet paper before having to use any more pages from Martha Stewart Living
-Hit repeat on Wiggly Wiggly World for 97th time
-Greet dog catcher, once again, at door with dog who ran away because she hasn't been fed or watered in a month
-Smell laundry to determine level of salvageability from mildew after being left in washer for couple of days, and decide to try to dry anyway, tossing in half a box of dryer sheets to mask the smell
-Fix platter of dry toast for dinner
-Fall into bed, exhausted, and make to do list for tomorrow

And the thing is, I will not have STOPPED all day long! But what's funny is....if anyone ever calls my house at any time of the day, as the kids are screaming and fighting in the background, the baby is howling at the top of his lungs and the circus theme song is playing (ya-da-dadada-da-da-da-da-da), I will invariably pick up the phone, sweetly say "He-llooooo??" and when asked what I'm doing say "Nothing, nothing at all."

??????

Well I'm off to accomplish at least one task on my list for today and put on deodorant. At least under one arm. Maybe I'll get to the other one tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Homely, Party of One

Ok so I used to take such pride in my appearance and even if it was a trip to the grocery store I would fix hair, put on makeup, and clothe myself. In something other than nightclothes. That was, until I became a Mom. Actually....I didn't start on the downward spiral until after Number 2 was born. Number 3 sent me over the edge. With Number 1 I thought I was kinda cute Mom. Next child came along and I was a little more frazzled, but after this last one I'm just downright homely. I go places now looking like I've been cleaning poo all day. Now that I think about it....

Anyway....The thing is, with 3 children, you never know when the opportunity might arise to actually get out of the house. Alone. To go shopping, mail a letter, or anything else that is nothing short of traumatic to haul 3 small children. So when that opportunity comes up, you don't even stop to put on lipstick or brush teeth. Or even get dressed. If you remotely have on anything that won't get you arrested for indecent exposure, have a stick of gum handy and can grab the lipstick on your way out, you take off before whomever has offered to keep your children for you changes their mind.

So today Mimi and Papa came over to play with the kids and when Mimi said to me "why don't you go somewhere," I looked down to make sure I had on pants and grabbed the keys and my wallet and was out the door before she finished the sentence.

When my cell phone rang as I was slowly wandering up and down the grocery aisles (as opposed to speed racing with a screaming baby, or two) I was so excited that my friend Amy was looking for a lunch date. A LUNCH DATE! For once I was able to say YES!!!! I can go...meet you in 15 minutes. Then I realized what I looked like. Someone who had just finished cleaning the toilets. In the middle of the night. I honestly think I had on pajama pants. I held my hand in front of my mouth, breathed real hard, grabbed a pack of gum on the way out and proceeded on to lunch.

I found some lipstick in the car, along with a brush, and when I looked in the mirror I was happy that I at least looked like someone who had scrubbed toilets with makeup on. I rushed into the restaurant, assured the waiter that I in was in fact there to eat lunch and not scrub their toilets, was seated, and ordered a glass of fancy blueberry infused tea. I took a deep breath and savored the moment as I perused the menu, happy that I didn't see my usual lunch featured: peanut butter and jelly sandwich crusts and pretzel pieces left over from what William wouldn't eat 'cause they were "bruke."

Amy arrived and we had a delightful lunch. Then my cell phone started ringing every 5 minutes summoning Dairy Queen for a hungry baby. So I returned from whence I had come.

But at least I returned to clean toilets!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What's the Deal?



I don't understand the fascination....the utter jubilation....of Band-Aids to kids. Band-Aids are to my kids what cigarettes are to prisoners. It's the hottest item in our house. No less than 50 times on a daily basis someone gets "hurt" and the only cure is a Dora or a Spiderman Band-Aid. Not the beige things with holes in them like we had as kids. No. Those don't work. And the people who make them know it. That's why you can get a box of 100 of those for .49 but Spiderman or Dora strips are like $4.50. Each.
Heaven help us if one of them gets a Band-Aid and the other one doesn't. The other day we started to get in the car and William spotted a Dora strip on Catherine's foot where she had a "bo-bo."
"Heyyyyyyy.....Where did you get THAT? I WANT ONE!" Geez.
I've had to limit the number of "injuries" that need Band-Aids in a day. I've also had to put restrictions on the type of injuries that will necessitate these plastic strips of gold. Basically, at this point, I'm looking for open gaping wounds. Or a little blood. At the very least. The other day I pulled a tangle in Catherine's hair when I was brushing it. She started howling, through her tears begging "Imannabi-nay Mama....Imannabi-nay.....peeeeeese....bi-nay." I need a Judges ruling on this I said. EEGH! Sorry.
Anyway. So yesterday afternoon William "fell" and did the fake cry - "wah. wah. wah. Mama I need a band-aid. I'm hurt."
"Is blood dripping off your leg?"
He looked hard. Real hard. Then said "No, BUT..."
I interrupted him. "William, you know the rule. Band-Aids are to keep blood from dripping off of your body and onto my nice rugs. That's what they are for. They aren't tattoos. They aren't decorations. They aren't stickers. If you want a sticker, go get one of those with the smiley face that we bought at the dollar store. There are about 500 of those that you can stick all over your body. But DO NOT ask for another Band-Aid unless you are bleeding. Capice?"
The he really started crying. I mean....someone stole your last bite of brownie (or brought you a tiny milkshake) kind of cry. What's wrong now, I asked?
"WAAAAHHHHH. WAAAAAAAAHHHHH." Sniffle sniffle and big breath, with huge tears streaming down his face. "I want to be BLEEDING!!!" Waaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.
Lord help me.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Four Months Today


Four months of juggling. Of balancing. Of tasting all hours of the night. Of protecting from overly zealous siblings. Of always having only one hand free. Of eating cold meals. That were supposed to be hot. Of days where the pinnacle....the goal....the cheese at the end of the maze....is simply a shower. But then again....

Four months of kissing on sweet baby toes. Of snuggles, nuzzles, and feeling that sweet, smooth little head on the side of my face. And wanting to make time stand still. Of seeing that big toothless grin as I peer into the crib and can't help but smile. Even at 3 am. Of watching this little personality unfold day by day. And never ceasing to be amazed. Even the third time around. Of discovering that there's always room for one more in a Mother's heart. And on her lap. And in her arms. Of stopping during the busy day to sit and rock and comfort a crying baby. And being grateful for a reason to stop and rest.