March 30, 2010

Fireworks in March

Well it's spring break in our school district. Yesterday was the first official day. And yesterday was a doosy!! Without going into too many details about the day as they would embarrass certain members of the family I will just say it was started with a bang! It also prompted my 7 year old daughter to write the following note after breakfast this morning.
I must say I want the same thing. Who knew such fireworks would erupt when I went out for a couple hours. I was grateful to my wise older sister for her advise on how to handle the boys when I got home. She will be pleased to know that Middle Boy has earned his lacrosse privileges back after writing a nice note to his brother. Big Boy composed a similar letter. All is calm for now, and the boys actually seem closer and happier than I have seen them in a while. T was super sad when he came home to the news. He is always saying the same thing that nothing makes him sadder then when his children don't get along.

We haven't scheduled any vacation time during this spring break. Usually we try and get away to Virginia Beach. Not this year. T's work schedule wouldn't let him get away. He's on a consult service right now. Three times a year I am reminded what it was like when he was a resident. I don't like it much. At least the salary doesn't go down to what we were paid in residency. That would be extra bad! T has so much time off up built up right now that he will start to lose it if he doesn't use some of those days. He is going to try and work things out so that he can work a 4 day work week instead of 5 for a while. So that will be nice. I hope it happens. T is like his father- never takes time off.

In other news I think we are becoming clearer on what we need to do with our future. I think we have come full circle now in our decision making process and have come back to the original plan to get out of the military. It comes down to spending more time together as a family and with his current job he is way too busy. The commute doesn't help. And the chance of deployment may be slimmer as he goes up in position, but in reality the chance is still too big. And when T is in Iraq we really don't see him much. I also have been feeling a tug at my heart strings to be closer to family. I know it would mean living in Utah again, but I think it would be worth the sacrifice. (JOKING- sorta). I don't know if there are opportunities for a job there or not, and we would like to do something to keep our health benefits (like work for a VA hospital part time). We'll see. We just need to keep our eyes and ears open and hope for the best.

That's all for now I guess. If anyone has any good advise on how to explain a black eye to the missionaries when they come for dinner tonight, leave me a comment. Thanks!

Maybe it's not that noticeable...

March 26, 2010

What I See

When I take my morning shower each day I have a strange habit of looking for recognizable shapes in the tile. We have a textured tile with random cracks. Random, yes. At least so I thought. So far I have found the following things staring back at me as I shower: I see a peasant woman's profile with a protruding chin (she's quite overweight and I think Russian), I see the Grinch looking puckered (he is in the shower all the time you know). I see several aliens with their evil slanted eyes. There is a pouty man, looking ...pouty. I see Medusa with a very muscular upper body. Or maybe it's a man with long wild hair sticking out in all directions. Hair like Sean White when he's airborne without a helmet. Winnie the pooh in a dunce cap sits just opposite the toilet. You can poo while staring at pooh. I couldn't resist saying that. I know there are more- I see like two new ones a day. Maybe it's all the pseudafed I've been taking lately.

The other day I saw something that took me by surprise. Two Medusas (Medusae?). Spaced three tiles apart. Twins. But one Medusa is missing her muscular upper body. I can't explain why. Maybe that tile worker took his break early that day. Maybe he was going for a different look. Maybe he got fired for not sticking to the protocol. I can imagine all kinds of scenarios. I just want him to know that the gig is up. His little trick did not go unnoticed.

March 22, 2010

Praying/Pecking Order

Little Girl's prayers are getting more and more sincere lately. Sometimes (usually at night when she is tired) she will refuse to pray. We usually let it go, because- who wants to be forced to pray? One night after she and I had been through a particularly trying day she said her usual "Heavenly Father, Thank you Jesus, thank you Daddy" (Daddy is always after Jesus when she prays- I usually, but not always, come next). "Thank you my bunk bed, amen." Then she looked right at me and said "I didn't say thanks you, because you mean." I pulled the dagger out of my chest and went off to read my book. At least she is honest. She got back at T a few days later when he accidentally forgot to consult her majesty and he cut her bagel without consent. That evening, during family prayer, she prayed for "Daddy to make her a bagel with butter that was not cut in half, ...amen." I guess she showed him.

Her prayers are almost always a source of comic relief for the family, as she looks around for inspiration during her prayers inserting whatever she sees with those big blue eyes that should be shut. "Thanks napkins and ketchup, thanks phone and bird feeder." The bunk bed almost always gets an honorary mention. The day T made that bunk bed for her was certainly a stand out day. I think it was the excitement and attention that an all-day project centered around something just for her produced. I mean, in a family our size that is a rare thing indeed.

Yesterday at dinner time I called on her to pray. She glanced around and thanked God for each of the people at the table (being prompted by her siblings to say their name next- it was very reverent). She had gotten through all the kids except Big Boy who was prodding her but she whispered back "no- I don't like you!" We all laughed. But really, it isn't funny.

It's always amazing to me the power that this little girl has in the family. She is only 3 and she has all of us wrapped around her little finger. Big Girl is every bit as cute but the boys treat her like she's got cooties. I'm not all together sure who's in the better spot. But who wouldn't be putty in the hands of this little cutie?

March 16, 2010

Here We Go Again

We have a visitor on Mondays at our house. I'll call her L. I just love her. She comes on Mondays, and Little Girl goes to her house on Thursdays. This arrangement allows their mothers to run errands or volunteer at school without a youngster tagging along. L is with us for an extended period of time today since her parents are in the middle of closing on a house and in the process of a move. So today involves a nap at our house-not the usual. So for nap time L took Little Girl's bed and Little Girl is currently in her brother's room. Although she just now got out for the 2nd time- things aren't looking good for nap time today.

Anyhow- I tell you that so that I can tell you this:

Little Girl got out of bed to use the toilet-totally acceptable! She finished and I told her to pull up her pants.

"They aren't pants- they are leggings!" I stood corrected.

"Shall we wash your hands now?"

"No- you wiped for me, wash your hands."

Also true. How can one argue with that logic?

This reminds me of another boy's potty habits at that age. I will digress and tell you about it :
When Big Boy was in pre-school he had a funny habit of getting rid of the extra drops after urinating, by slapping his tummy and swaying from side to side using gravity's forces to do the job for him. This was ingenious and efficient since it also saved him the trouble of having to wash his hands. He did his business entirely hands-free. Never lifted the seat and the peeing part required some forward leaning. I am guessing you get the picture here. His experienced pre-school teacher couldn't argue with him there. Bless her heart, Ki Ki thought it was adorable. That kid thinks outside the box quite often actually. This was an early sign.

So back to Little Girl. After I washed my hands I told her to go back to bed.

"It's not my bed it's my brothers!" Was her reply. (It's like when you tell the kids to put on their shoes and they say "they're not shoes they're sandals!"-argh!)

I think I have another arguer on my hands here. Heaven help me.

March 14, 2010

I Love My Husband- He Brings me Drugs

At this moment my husband is driving through a rainstorm to get me some Augmentin. Before he left he spent about an hour on his computer researching and asking me questions about my symptoms. Before that he listened to me whine about being sick for so long. Before that he told me he wasn't comfortable treating something outside his area of expertise. My bronchitis has turned into sinusitis and at my last Dr's visit my internist was not convinced and told me to stick with pseudofed. I did what he told me even though I was not in agreement and here we are, weeks later with increased pressure and pain building up. I've had a sinus headache for 48 hrs now. I know- poor me. I hate to complain. I really do.

I grew up in a home where my DDS father, had a large stash of penicillin in the closet for anyone who displayed symptoms for long enough. You could just help yourself if you felt so inclined. Okay- maybe he'd prefer if we asked him first. He gave it out like candy. Only he was a dentist so he never gave out candy. He gave it out like toothbrushes! (Seriously, that was what he gave to the trick or treaters). I can no longer take penicillin. I also have other side effects when I take antibiotics that are too feminine to mention here. I am sure my Dad was just trying to simplify things in our large family. We may not have even had health insurance- I am not sure. So I can see his reasons for such a practice. But now that I am more aware of the consequences, I am less inclined to agree with nepotistic medical treatment. It's just not a good idea. T will not prescribe medications for our family unless it's a refill originally prescribed by another provider. It's also got to be a fairly harmless medication. He won't prescribe level 2 medications. It just doesn't look good.

However, our medical ox is in the mire here. Since I decided to switch hospitals, I am currently in limbo. The military is so slow at getting paperwork done and I am not "primed" to either hospital in our area. I can't get an appointment until it goes through and that could be weeks. T has been out of town all week and told me that when he got back he'd put in a referral to ENT for me. That sort of scoots the system and lets me get in for an appointment. But over the weekend my symptoms have worsened and he has seen me suffering. That was all it took I guess. He is now going against his better judgement and he is being my ENT. Even though he is neurologist. A neurologist with a big heart and an opthamology fellowship. If there are any ear nose and throat doctors reading my blog out there maybe you can correct his treatment plan for me. After 3-4 weeks of pressure increasing in my head, coughing persisting, pain increasing when I bend over-the works, Dr T would like me to do a sinus rinse 2 times a day, followed by Flonase mist, and he's putting me on a course of Augmentin. Oh and he's also offered to teach my Sunday school class tomorrow for me. That is one nice guy eh?

March 11, 2010

I Swear

I was raised in a home where swearing was not allowed. I remember my ears burning off one time when during a time of great stress, I overheard my father say the word "damn" (and I said it in quotes- as in quoting another person so it's okay) in anger over some silly situation. He was relocating his dental office and my mother innocently asked him if it wouldn't be better if he did something a certain way. His reply "YES it would be a damn site better, but I can't because... yada yada yada...." You could have heard a pin drop after that. I was shocked to the core!

Things changed when I entered middle school and made friends with a troubled girl named Melinda. Melinda's parents had divorced nastily and she was rebelling against the world and was going to take me along for the ride. It was a rocky time being friends with her. She introduced me to the coolness of swearing. No word was off limits. Then I began to slip up at home and boy did that bring down the house. I had the gumption to even cuss in anger at my parents using the F-word on rare occasion. I shudder to think of it now and I am so so sorry. I totally deserve angry teenagers in my life now because of that. After a year of abuse from her I moved on and made better friends. I also worked hard to stop the swearing habit I had acquired.

The funny thing is my teenager does not even go there. In fact if anyone is going to swear in one of our arguments- it's me. "For the 11th time today, but that damn violin away!" I heard myself saying the other day. I did quote there that time, but sadly- I was quoting myself. I know there's no salvation for me. I think I am going to blame it on my father for his example that day in the dental office. If I am ever in the heat of the moment, say I stub my toe badly, or scrape the car backing out of the garage my word of choice is sh_t. It just pops out. I am working on it. I blame Melinda. I also see a pattern, as I write this, of not owning up to my problem. I am blaming others instead. I will have to add that to the list of things I am working on.

I find a certain kinship to people with my same problem. Someone who isn't all stuffy and judgmental. I'll tell you when I do slip up in front of Big Boy he really lets me have it. Hair raised up, angry as a cat, telling me that I am the worst example of a mother he has ever known. I think he is just trying to shift blame and make me out to be the bad guy. He knows how to push my guilt buttons alright. Maybe I am the bad guy. Maybe I just need to expose him to more skits of the church lady and he'll see the error of his judging.

Middle Boy doesn't have the same sensitivity. Today I read this blog entry to him and we laughed out loud at the cussing from Pioneer Lady's disabled brother Mike. I think that Middle Boy is going to turn out just fine. I do tend to swear at him a lot less...

Inspired Shopping

Yesterday I went grocery shopping. I gotta say that I did not feel like going. I have had a sinus headache now for days and a cough that will not quit, but there's a lot of mouths that need feeding around here. Baby Girl was an excited shopping companion. She hasn't been out much lately. I feel bad about that. As I went up and down the isles I did what I normally do, I glanced around waiting for dinner ideas to come to me. I really should learn to plan ahead and take a detailed list but that hardly ever happens. I just go up and down each isle and wait for the inspiration to hit. Suddenly I spied the Gatorade. I don't usually splurge on this, but I guess I figured that since lacrosse season will soon be upon us that the kids would probably like some at some point.

Then another choice came up. We needed dishwashing detergent. I have discovered that buying the cascade action pacs are the way to go when you have 10 year old boys loading the dishwasher. Much less mess and no more wasted unused detergent in the bottom of the containers. I know-I am spoiled. I not only have a dishwasher, (hi Chris!) but I splurge on action pacs! This time I found some with the added feature of bleach in the mix. Maybe that would get the stains out of the insides of my white mugs I thought. Then the last thing I got before leaving was some chocolate brownie bites. Those brownie bites are like my kryptonite. I have no will power when it comes to those babies. And since they are only bite sized you feel like having 6 or so is not an indulgence. It's just 6 bites! I admit I hide them from the kids and they are the only reason I keep going back to our severely understaffed Safeway.

I had not even finished unloading all the groceries when the middle school called. Middle Boy had puked in the hallway at school. Luckily it was not in-between classes when the halls were full of middle schoolers. He has continued this nasty business for the past 12 hours and has thrown up about 10 times. Poor kid. I am so glad he can empty his bowls by himself. I did it for the first 5 episodes, and then he offered to take over. I really really don't want to catch this bug. Not when I have been sick for going on 7-8 weeks now.

As I finished putting away the groceries I realized what a fortunate choice that Gatorade was. As I loaded his disease infested dishes, the glasses he had drunk from and bowls he's eaten jello out of, I thought how great it was that my action pacs now had disinfecting bleach. Yeah! I am grateful that I listened to those promptings. It truly was inspired shopping at Safeway today.

And when I had put all the kids down for the evening after a hard day without T at home (he's out of town this week) it sure was inspiring to have those brownie bites all to myself.

March 09, 2010

The Stripey One

When I was a newlywed we had no money for furniture. A couple we knew living downstairs from us had a 'sugar daddy' who furnished their three room apartment with the best put-it-together-yourself furniture their parents credit card could buy. I was especially jealous of the whitewashed armoire that housed their TV with a remote. Our TV had none.

Then we saved up for our awning-striped blue and white overstuffed couch. It came from RC Willy and we found a flaw in it and talked the salesperson down an extra fifty bucks. When my older sister Rhonda saw the couch she mentioned to me that she had been married almost a decade before she and her husband bought a couch brand new. The fifty dollar mark down suddenly didn't seem as thrifty. Did I need to mention that we had been sitting on canvas directors chairs for 6 months while saving? No- my 6 months didn't really compare to her 10 years.

All the guilt washed away when I sat alone in the apartment for the first time on that fluffy blue cloud of impulsiveness. We paid in full for it and I felt entitled. I also couldn't wait for my next visitor to stop by and see my oasis of comfort. It matched our blue industrial carpet perfectly. Never mind that I would be stuck with a pastel blue and pink color palate way too long for my liking.

The most impractical part of the couch was that it was so light in color that it showed all the dirt. When, 15 months later, my spitty baby came along it showed all his projectile vomit stains as well. Scrub as I might it never seemed to come clean. We turned the cushions over several times before giving up on the poor sagging couch. It was nearly seven years from the purchase date when we replaced 'old blue' and donated her to a needy family from church. She seemed just as giddy as I was that first day when the couch had been delivered. "This is the nicest couch I have ever owned!" she told me. Once again, I felt a bit spoiled.... But when our new dark maroon couch showed up the next day I somehow managed to struggle through my guilt in the comfortable new springy cushions.

Want to participate in this couch writing experience? Link here and give it a go.

It's Garbage Day

When Big Boy was a little boy we had a matching game on our Macintosh that made noises when you made a match. The noises it made corresponded to the cartoon images on the cards you had just clicked. One of them was a mysterious young gothic looking character who's sound effect was a surly female monotone voice that said "It's garbage day." That girl's voice haunts me to this day. I don't know why I tell this story except that it is indeed garbage day. T is out of town on business and so it is up to me and me alone to make sure the kids take out the trash.

Baby Girl said something funny to me this morning. She asked me if, some day when she grows up and becomes a mom if I would share my clothes with her. I told her that would be okay with me. Then a few hours later she asked if I would share my black boots with her. Those are a fan favorite, but I assured her I could probably share those too. I better pick some outfits with timeless quality that won't go out of style. I was feeling pretty good about this deal until Big Girl pointed out that she might be skinnier than I am. Yeah, thanks.

Big Boy is growing like a weed and is always (always!) hungry. My problem is that I can't stock enough cheese sticks to keep the kid happy. Cereal is always low as well. Too bad he doesn't go for the fruits and vegetables as much as I would like.

Middle Boy has started taking piano lessons. I found a great teacher for him and tomorrow marks lesson number three for him. I hope all these music lessons won't put us in the poor house though. Big Girl may have to wait until someone leaves the house before she can start lessons. I am having fun playing along with him and remembering some of my old tunes as well. Tonight I remembered a tune called 'spinning song.' I can't remember the middle but that beginning is ingrained in my brain, most likely it's in the wrong key though.

Little Boy is so dang cute. He is still sweet and untarnished by the moody teen aged years and I find myself enjoying him a lot since I know it won't last. He did a stellar job in a violin concert this week. He really rocked that Can Can number. Big Boy was also most impressive with his Fiddling the Fiddle piece. They played these numbers as part of a large group. All of the kids were students of Catherine Stewart (our teacher) It was an entire weekend affair with a 'master class' being taught by a visiting instructor.

I wish I could post a video of the concert here but there are some issues with the guest violinist being a famous guy (named Brian Lewis) who has an agent and is under contract not to appear on video unless certain fees are paid first. We don't want his dancing violin act with my kids ending up on YouTube for a profit. I was not familiar with Mr Lewis before but he played a tune for us at the end of the concert called Hot Canary that really brought down the house. We bought his CD and had them personalized. Apparently he is just one degree of separation from the real Mr Suzuki. His mother was a student of Mr Suzuki. No wonder he was so awesome. Too bad T had to miss the concert.

I miss T. It's always the highlight of my day when that man walks through the door. This time without him reminds me of the way things were when he was deployed and they are not the best memories. However I think I can hang tough for a few more days. At least he will be available for the next garbage day : )

March 08, 2010

Would You Rather...

Have your son purchase these trendy new "skinny jeans"?
let him see the eighties hairstyle you used to sport...
(btw this is not me, but it's a good likeness)
I love that her hairspray is visible on the table : )

March 03, 2010

True Story

This morning I heard the sound of our garbage man pulling up curbside to our home at 7:45 (an hour early btw), and to his disappointment (and mine) T forgot to put the trash out. For the second time in two weeks time. I rushed out there in my PJs with our can dragging behind me mumbling complaints about how garbage is totally a man's responsibility. Alas- I was too late, and now the kids were also late for school. Okay, we were running late anyways but this incident did not help.

About 2 hours into our day, I overheard Baby Girl in the bathroom making grunting noises. She hadn't asked me to put her on the toilet like she normally would do. I called to her "Are you going poop?" She hesitated and answered and honest "yes..." I replied with "What a big girl you are! You didn't even need Mommy to pull down your pants and lift you up on the toilet this time. Yeah! See I told you you could do that all by yourself." Then some awkward silence on her part. I almost didn't go in there, but decided to check it out since she'd need help cleaning up as usual. She had been pooping- only not in the usual place. She was still fully clothed. Whoops. Number two whoops of the day.

Actually, if you count the fact that while I was out last night the dishwasher was not started and we had no clean bowls for breakfast then that would make it whoops number three- but who's counting... Oh yeah, me. I was counting. Counting, and pouting.

So to get even with the world I decided not to fold any of T's laundry today. I've decided if garbage and poopy underwear are my job, then he can fold his own socks...

PS For lunch we had Doritos and ice cream.

PPS For dinner, popcorn. True.

March 02, 2010


As a mother you get a lot of comments. Many times those comments refer to enjoying the ride since they grow up too fast. Sometimes I think they are right (mostly). But there are times when you are in the trenches and you think there is no possible way I am going to miss being used as a human kleenex for someone's snot, or being aroused at 1:00 to a vomiting child.

I was identifying with this emotion when reading someone else's blog today. The thought I had was that time erases these memories and only the good ones remain. That is what we miss-the good times. We have photos or videos of the good times to remind us, but we don't record the fighting or the poop smeared on the walls. Okay maybe there will be a photo of that somewhere but in the moment it was horrible and looking back it's just funny.

I have the pleasure/heartache of raising both teenagers and toddlers at this point in my life and so I feel enlightened to share this with you: I would so take the poop on the walls over the emotional heartache of dealing with teenagers. It's gross, but it's SO much easier! My heart gets so heavy sometimes when I deal with Big Boy. But Baby Girl grabs my face and tells me she loves me every day. Perhaps that is why she is here. To comfort me.

So I understand the longing for those younger days. I also understand what it's like to be told "you'll miss this" when you are in the middle of a crappy day. There are just some lessons in life that you can only learn when you live them. That is why I wish I had the wisdom of my mother when dealing with teenagers. Is it best to just ignore until age 18? Something to ponder on while I go now and paint Baby Girl's fingernails blue.