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 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 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."


"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


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 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 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!