Thursday, January 28, 2010

Party 'til the cats come home

Yesterday was Dickens' birthday. I don't know if it is his "actual" birthday but right around the correct time frame. We know that he was born last year near the end of January, so we just assigned him the 27th for a date since it is the same date as Spencer's birthday.

Of course we had a little party for our cat! As if we would ever bypass an opportunity to bake and eat a cake!

The kids were a lot more excited than Dickens was about his birthday. They all loved singing "Happy Birthday" to him and then meowing it to him.

And no, I did not buy first birthday hats for a cat party. I found them in the cupboard with other various leftover birthday supplies. They were from Spencer's first birthday party - a mere eight (almost) years ago. I am on a mission of organization in my house right now, but obviously have not gotten to that cabinet yet. Even though, that is where my issue with getting rid of stuff is - if I had organized that cabinet last week, I probably would have thrown those hats away. Look how handy and perfect they were this week. I want to be frugal and re-use and re-purpose things, but I am also WAY over the clutter. OK, back to the point of the post, I could go on about my organization mission for hours and I am sure I will at a later date. I am sure you will all be waiting for that one with bated breath.

Our little Dickens is one year old - even though he hasn't been part of our family for a year until March. (Yes! Another day to eat cake!) We could not have picked out a better cat. He seems to love all of us, he wants to be around us all the time. He likes to be around all people. I laugh that he is more like a dog than a cat. He is not a typical aloof cat, he will come to you when you call him and when he hears our garage door going up, he runs to the door and peeks his head up to the window and waits for us to come in. The kids do not always treat him with "gentle" hands, yet he has never really hurt them and keeps coming back for more. Sure he scratches or nips at them once in a while, but most of those times they really deserve it. He really is the best cat ever.

Happy Birthday Dickie-Boy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The hardest part is the night

I love to sleep, but there have been times in my life where I have hated nighttime. I find myself entering one of those seasons again.

When my kids were infants I dreaded going to sleep. I felt like I watched them so closely all day long and then the night came and they just slept there unsupervised for hours. Something could happen to them while I was sleeping - I can't go to bed! The other part of my dread came from the fact that when I actually went to bed after the eleven o'clock-ish feeding, I knew that it was only a matter of a few hours and I would be up again - and I would be SO tired. Repeat the same scenario a couple of hours later. Months with a newborn are the most exhausting of your life.

I hate the night when my kids are sick. Why is it that sickness seems so much worse in the dark? When I am up at night with a sick kid the fear and worry just tends to overwhelm me. I find myself second guessing decisions and playing worst case scenarios over and over in my head. I try to talk myself down by thinking that in a few short hours it will be morning and if he is still acting like this, I can call the pediatrician and get him seen. So far I have not had to make any early morning drives to the ER. Thankfully, my kids are not sick very often. (I better not have just jinxed myself by writing that!)

I didn't sleep at all last night. Thus begins the new season of night time fear. Evan came into our room at about 12:30am saying that he didn't really feel good. He said every time he coughed it hurt his throat and his stomach. He wanted to sleep with us, which for him means lay down for a half hour or so and then he tells me he wants to go back in his own bed. Last night he never asked to go back and I don't think I would have let him if he did. The remnants of his cold and his normal heavy sleeping/snoring patterns made for a night filled with bouts of sleep apnea. (Or what I am guessing is sleep apnea). I don't think there is a sound that has ever caused me so much fear as listening to him breath and stop breathing while he sleeps. I am aware of the sound (believe me) because Trent suffers from it too. I have suspected that Evan has it because of sleeping with him in the past - but it was never as bad as last night. At least that I know of. The odds of him having apnea are in his favor: he is an extremely heavy sleeper and he has larger than normal tonsils. He was so tired this morning. I don't know how he could sleep at all with the coughing on top of the deep jarring gasps of air he kept taking to get back into a normal breathing pattern. At one point I just layed there staring at him, he just couldn't seem to get enough breath or something. I started to panic thinking that maybe this is one of those times that you read about, one of the times where you think "Why didn't they take him to the hospital?" I was about ready to throw some jeans on and drive him to the ER, but then my head was messing with me telling me that I couldn't get there fast enough. I should call the ambulance. My friend is an ER nurse and she always tells me to not hesitate to call an ambulance if a kid is really sick - they see enough people riding in on ambulances with nothing but a sore toe. As the battle raged in my head, his breathing evened out and turned normal sounding. It was scary. Like I said, I didn't sleep at all last night.

I talked to his Dr. last spring about what to do about the apnea. He didn't seem very concerned about it at the time, but told me that if I convinced Trent to do a sleep study, I could call him and he would order one for Evan as well. I told Trent this morning that a sleep study is in his near future. He agreed. He didn't sleep well either. So that is where we are going from here. I don't know what kinds of things they do to alleviate the apnea. He may have to get his tonsils out to help clear the passage. I would not look forward to that, but if it helped him breathe better - I guess it would have to be done.

That is where I am today - back to dreading the night time.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Hailey woke up this morning with her hair in this "feathered" sort of 'do. It makes me chuckle every time I look at her. I can't decide who she reminds me of more.....


Or Grandpa Munster?

By the way, please try to overlook the dirty face in the photos. She eats CONSTANTLY so it seems like her face is covered with food all of the time. The cleansing has become futile.

Friday, January 22, 2010

We should have given her a dictionary.

Hailey is turning into a bit of a drama girl. Last week I had to take her to the pediatricians office for her three year well check. The minute I told her that she was going to the doctor, she started fussing
and fake crying and telling me that she didn't want to go. Since the last times we have gone to the doctor the kids have gotten shots, I kind of understand her not wanting to go. She asked me if she had to get a shot and I told her that I didn't know. Because I honestly didn't. I had a hunch that she would be getting one - but I didn't know for certain and why add fuel to an already flaming fire?

She was clingy the whole time in the waiting room. It
makes it quite difficult to fill out the clipboard full of
papers they give you when you have a three year old clinging to your arm for dear life. Not to mention that it seems ridiculous to me that I have to fill out a whole new extensive family history sheet for all three of my kids at the beginning of each year. Do they have computers? Cross reference much?

She was practically in tears when the nurse was taking her temperature and giving her a hearing test. She probably knew that the consent form I had to sign for the nurse meant that a poke was in her imminent future. When the doctor came in, she wouldn't even leave my lap. Luckily, he is an awesome, understanding man and did his exam while I was still holding her. Aside from the shot drama, which was minimal compared to some of the episodes one of her older brothers has acted out in the past, her appointment was great. She is completely healthy and seems to be right on track. She is actually tall for her age, which I suspected, but didn't know how likely it was since both of the boys have always been average or below average on the height charts. She fits perfectly into 3T clothes at three years of age. I am used to buying for the boys and they are always at least one size below their age as far as pants go. Tall and skinny. Could modeling be in her future? Not if she has anything to say about it.

For her birthday she received a whole dress up trunk of Disney princess costumes and a "Belle" ball gown. In the past, she has been all about dress up and having tea parties and playing with her pretties. The other day I got out the dresses and asked her if she wanted to have a fashion show for her brothers. At first she thought it was a great idea, but as I started to help put the clothes on her she started whining and fake crying and telling me that she didn't want to put them on because they were too "spicy".

She knows the word spicy and uses it correctly as it pertains to food. I couldn't figure out what she was trying to say about the dresses. Scratchy? Itchy? Starchy? Some strange combination of many words? Maybe she thought they were a little risque for her three year old figure? Maybe spicy in that sense of the word? I don't know, but she insisted time after time that they were too spicy. At least the tops were. She liked the skirts and decided that she could wear those as the whole ensemble. Talk about spicy! The girl just cracks me up sometimes.

I was so excited about the "Belle" dress that she got from Grama, because Trent is putting on the musical Beauty and the Beast in the spring. How cute will it be for her to wear her dress to the play? We will have to ease her into it with some additional dress up days. She didn't even have the dress on for a full minute before she started crying about it's spicy-ness.....

...and there it goes!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's like the end of an era!

On New Year's day, we said goodbye to a long standing fixture in our household. We thought it fitting to bid it farewell on a holiday - the start of a new year - what better time is there to make a fresh start? So we got out the tools and dismantled our baby crib.

I have to admit that it wasn't as hard as I feared it would be. I mean mentally and emotionally, not the physical taking apart of the crib. I guess that I have come to terms with the fact that my life is complete with my three children. If I were ten years younger...well, that might be another story. (If you wonder what that noise is, it is my husband running at a frenzied pace toward the phone to schedule his vasectomy. Ha!)

Our crib served us well. It provided a cozy, safe, little environment for all of our children for the past almost nine years. I remember the day Trent and I brought the crib home. We had ordered it through the JC Penny catalog and they shipped it to the local store for pickup. We drove there is my Saturn SC2 (a two-doored coupe style car with a back seat that folded down). The delivery guy and Trent carried the crib in its box and the mattress outside and the guy just looked at the car and looked at us like we were insane. I tend to have a knack for spacial relations and could tell by looking at it that it would be tight, but the box would fit. The guy just kept insisting that it would not and we were going to need a truck or a much bigger vehicle to get our ensemble home. I was starting to get mad. I had been looking forward to getting this crib all day long and there was no way that this guy was going to talk me out of it. I told the guy that he could just go back in the store - that we had it from here - he was relinquished from his need to be there. He continued to stare at me like I was a crazy person. Trent, being the level headed guy that he is, told the guy that he was not going to argue with his pregnant, angry, insistent wife and couldn't we just try to see if the box would fit in the car? The guy huffily agreed to help Trent lift the box in the car and what do you know? Perfect fit. I looked at the guy and just smiled huge and said "I told YOU!" So we drove home with our new baby crib in our little car and set it up immediately in the room where it has been sitting for almost nine years.

Before we took it apart, I made the kids get in it so I could take their picture. The boys were less than thrilled at first, but then they all had a hoot wrestling around in their old bed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First born

The theme for this weeks I heart faces challenge is "We are Family". I had a couple ideas that involved a tripod and a self timer to get a couple of shots of my family, but just haven't had the time or healthy enough children to implement my plan.

When I think of my favorite family photographs, this one always pops into my head. To me it just exemplifies how parents feel about their children - especially their first born children - they are the center of their world.

What makes this photograph even more special to me is that the little girl in the picture is my niece and she is about to become a big sister in a few weeks. I hope that when my sister and brother in law look at this photo it takes them back to the earlier days of parenthood.

Go check out i heart faces to see more amazing pictures of amazing families of all kinds.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

For my sister

In a few weeks, my sister will give birth to her second baby.

I spoke with her on the phone the other day and we talked a bit about how strange it is when you have one child to even imagine your life with another child in it.

I remember the night that I left for the hospital to give birth to Evan. I remember wondering how I could leave Spencer, my baby, to go and give birth to another baby. Spencer was my baby. He needed me. How in the world could anyone compete in my heart with him? I kissed my baby goodbye through painful contractions and when I got into the garage I cried. I knew that things were never going to be the same. The next time I stepped back into our house - things would be completely different.

And they were. But different in a wonderful way.

A couple of months after Evan was born, I found this excerpt on the Internet. I didn't write it, but it was like the person that did could read my thoughts.

I walk along holding your two year old hand, basking in the glow of our magical relationship.
Suddenly, I feel a kick from within, as if to remind me that our time alone is limited.
And I wonder - How could I love another child as I love you?
Then he is born and I watch you.
I watch the pain you feel at having to share me as your have never shared me before. I hear you telling me in your own way, "please love only me", and I hear myself telling you in mine "I can't."
Knowing, in fact, that I never can again.
You cry, I cry with you.
I almost see our baby as an intruder on the precious relationship we once shared.
A relationship we can never have again.
But then, barely noticing, I find myself attached to that new being and feeling
almost guilty.
I am afraid to let you see me enjoying him - as though I am betraying you.
But then I notice your resentment change, first to curiosity...then to protectiveness, finally to genuine affection.
More days pass and we are settling into a new routine.
The memory of days with just the two of us is fading fast.
But something is replacing those wonderful times we shared, just us two.
There are new times - only now we are three.
I watch the love between you grow.
The way you look at each other, touch each other.
I watch how he adores you, as I have for so long.
I see how excited you are by each of his new accomplishments.
I begin to realize that I haven't taken something from you; I have given something to you.
I notice that I am no longer afraid to share my love openly with both of you.
I find that my love for each of you is as different as you are, but equally strong.
And my question is finally answered to my amazement.
Yes, I can love another child as much as I love you, only differently.
And although I realize that you both have to share my time, I know you will never have to share my love.
There is enough of that for both of you - you each have your own supply.
I love and thank you both for blessing my life.

-Author unknown

When I went into the hospital for the third time, to give birth to my third baby, I had no worries. I knew what to expect. I knew that my heart would expand and fill with love for that little one instantly. Though that wasn't a problem the second time either. Unlike the verse, I didn't have to "grow" attached to any of my kids. They had me the minute I first looked into their tiny scrunched up faces. From the moment they all took their first breaths, I would have done anything for them.

I am so excited for my sister to have her baby. I can't wait to be an aunt again! I just wish so badly I could be there when he/she is born. I will keep searching for a way!

Oh and one more thing...The first time Mira walks into the room after you have the baby, she is going to seem so HUGE! Just to warn you....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Maybe it's all the Food Network he watches....

I don't know why we bother to buy him any new toys or games. Last night while I was making dinner, this boy was completely consumed and utterly entertained by the salad spinner. You could almost see his mind reeling as he contemplated how it worked and what other kinds of things you could do with it.

I am making homemade Mac n' Cheese tonight. (I know! How good does that sound?) I can't wait to see what he does with the cheese shredder.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birthday girl

The I heart faces blog is celebrating their one year birthday by having a "Best Face Photo" contest. The picture has to have been taken in December or January - they want something recent.

This picture was taken over the weekend right before my daughter's third birthday party. I love how she looks so excited, yet a little bit sneaky since she just finished sticking her finger into her birthday cake.

Click over to i heart faces to see more gorgeous face photos, and be ready to sit for a while - there are a ton of them!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Zhu Zhu pet in your sisters hair? There's an app for that!

As I was trying to make dinner tonight, I was constantly getting interrupted by kids wanting to "help" me. Most nights I am all for them helping, but tonight I had a lot of things going on in the kitchen and didn't really want to slow down my "groove".

I suggested to Evan and Hailey that they should get their Zhu Zhu pets and have races in the kitchen so I could referee the races while I cooked. They were super stoked about that idea and immediately ran away to find their hamsters. Not to get off on a tangent here, but the Zhu Zhu's were an impulse Christmas purchase. I happened to be at Toys R Us when they had a shipment in. I knew they were the "hottest toys of the season" so I purchased three of them. One for each kid. They hadn't even been asking for them, but I thought they would like them and if I decided they had enough gifts, I could sell them on Ebay for about ninety dollars each to some poor desperate mother hoping to make her child's Christmas wish come true. Why can I suddenly not stop thinking of that "Office" Christmas episode with Princess Unicorn - "My horn can pierce the sky!" Anyway, they each got one in their stocking mostly due to the fact that I am too lazy and chicken to take the effort to sell anything on Ebay. That is something I hope to overcome in this new year.

Hailey found her Zhu Zhu right away. Evan found Spencer's, but not his. I told him to just race with Spencer's, but my territorial little guy would have NONE of that. So he grumped and pouted around the house "looking" for his Zhu Zhu. I put looking in quotes because his process of looking includes walking around and waiting for the missing item to show itself by jumping into his hands. A few minutes later I hear Hailey screaming. I see Evan with a foam sword in his hand and immediately ask him what he did to her. He tells me he did nothing. Hailey is grabbing at the back of her head and wailing. I rush over to her and find her Zhu Zhu pet's wheels are stuck (I mean STUCK) in her hair. Here comes another tangent. The pulling of Hailey's hair is a really big deal to her. She will not even let me put pig tails in her hair without screaming bloody murder. Her hair is always a disaster because she won't even let me put a brush through it. The only brush I am allowed to use is the soft bristle baby brush that they gave me in the hospital - and she even has a fit about that. I know she doesn't have a lot of hair, but that little brush just doesn't do anything but make it more static-y and flyaway.

So I try to make the Zhu Zhu "go" to see if I can free the hair, but no such luck. The wheels are just winding up her hair even more and she is screaming even louder. I told Spencer to go get the scissors and told Evan to turn on the light behind me. Like I said before, she doesn't have much hair and the thought of creating a giant bald spot in her head a mere two days before her birthday party is not super enticing to me. I start snipping little by little and in about three snips - the rodent is free and her hair is no worse looking than it usually is.

He looks all sweet and innocent doesn't he.

But then you turn him over. And just as I was getting angry that they makers of this toy would not think about a kid putting it near their hair, I notice this discreet little light yellow sign attached to the animal. Can you read it? Or is it obscured by the wad of hair it pulled from my daughters scalp?

How about now? Apparently they had thought of the hair entanglement issue. And apparently I am also supposed to remove that tag before activating the toy. Maybe I should take a little more caution with what I let my kids play with and take heed of the giant exclamation point when it is present?

Since tangents seem to be a recurring theme in this post, Evan was asking me all day when Dad would be home. I thought it was endearing that he missed him so much and was so anxious for him to get home and play with him.

What I failed to realize is that Evan has turned into an iphone junkie. While he and Dad are in the basement "watching" football, Evan is playing all the game apps that Trent has downloaded. When Trent walked in the door tonight, Evan asked him where his apple phone was and could he please buy that deer hunting game that cost four dollars?

I notice in these pictures that Evan is in desperate need of some nail trimming. Of course maybe the long nails help him to push the buttons on the phone more accurately.

I am thrilled that Evan and Trent enjoy his Christmas gift so much and I apologize for my misleading title. There is not an app to de-tangle a Zhu Zhu pet from your sister's hair - that I know of. But I did just google Zhu Zhu pet apps and there is one to play Zhu Zhu pets on the iphone. I also heard a rumor during the Christmas season that there was an app to tell you when stores got shipments of Zhu Zhu pets in.
So after a minor catastrophe, everything around here is back to normal. Well, as normal as it gets around here. Though I am wondering how much Hailey is going to like the Zhu Zhu pet car that she is getting for her birthday? It may be time to get that Ebay account set up. I'll have to get Evan right on that!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Llama llama bragging mama

One day last month as Hailey and I were in the car going somewhere, I asked her about her birthday party. I questioned her about what kind of party she wanted to have. Princess? No. Ponies? No. Barbie? No. Everything I could think of that she liked, her reply was no. In a joking sort of way, I mentioned her favorite book at the time. A "Llama Llama Red Pajama" party? YES!

Instantly I tried to think of something else that would trump a llama party because seriously - what was I thinking? They don't make plates for that! And anyone that has been to one of my parties knows that the party theme is a really big deal for me. But as the idea started to sink in a bit, it started to inspire me. A Llama Llama Red Pajama party. The kids can wear pajamas to the party! The decorations can be red! I can pull this off!

So out of a joke on my part, came the cutest invitations (if I do say so myself) that I have ever come up with. I have to put my scrap booking stuff to some sort of use because heaven knows I don't use it for scrap booking.

Gotta love Photoshop!

Just because I am a total dork and I am so excited about the money I saved on party "tableware" (is that even a word?), here are the plates and napkins that I got on CLEARANCE. Fifty percent off the original price since they were considered Christmas merchandise. I usually leave the party store with about forty dollars worth of "theme" plates, napkins, table cloth etc. I got all of that stuff for about six dollars for this party. And the blue and red plates - totally match the colors in the book - don't look Christmasy to me - also in the Christmas CLEARANCE!
So I guess right now I am glad that this cute little girl with the dirty hot chocolate face couldn't be persuaded out of her party choice. The only thing nagging at me now is how much I want to make her a pair of red, flannel pajamas to wear to the party. I had the pattern and the fabric in my cart the other day but I had to talk myself out of it. I managed to persuade myself, but barely. Don't think I am not still considering it. I can just see myself up until the wee hours of morning - sewing hours before the party. To quote Rob Thomas "I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell." Enough said.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Rolling in the New Year!

We spent our New Years Eve eating cheese fondue for dinner and having "parfaits" for dessert. Ooh La La!
The kids sported some very festive hats and not much else!

At 7:15 we were at the bowling alley for our two hours of bowl-o-rama! The kids had a ball rolling the ball with their second cousins and blowing noisemakers in each others ears. They feasted on a pizza buffet and drank root beer. They even got to throw some confetti around.

When the 9:15 "new year" countdown was over, the kids were pretty tired, but determined to make it to midnight and see the ball drop.

We went home and dug up some left over fireworks from the fourth of July. A couple of neighbors threatened to call the cops on us, but we just invited them over to join in the fun and all was well!

Snow and fireworks is a pretty cool combination!

We all almost missed midnight and the ball dropping. Trent, Evan and I were all hunkered down in blankets on the couch and Spence was on the floor. I woke up at ten minutes to midnight and saw that everyone was asleep. I woke up Trent and we tried to wake the kids, but they were not interested in the New Year anymore. They were totally exhausted.

We have spent the first day of the new decade hanging around the house and working on some little fix-it projects. I started to take down the Christmas decorations and will finish that task up tomorrow (hopefully). We are stuffed full of beef barley soup, s'more brownies and cranberry-pomegranate martinis. We started our new year with a major change in our household (more on that later) and right now I am re-thinking that decision as I try to type this and keep getting interrupted by an almost three year old little girl.

Happy New Year and all the best in 2010!