Sunday, January 29, 2012

Easy Bake Tiny Cake

I never had an Easy Bake oven when I was a little girl, but I always wanted one. When I saw some on clearance early this fall, I snatched one up to give to Hailey for Christmas. When she saw them advertised on TV and would tell me that is what she wanted Santa to bring her, I felt like mother of the year.

As is always the case with the "gadgets" we purchase - the Girl Gourmet cupcake maker that Spence begged for a few years ago, the Slurpee machine, the Big Top giant cupcake maker extravaganza - they always look way cooler on TV than they really are. Adults know that is going to happen, but for kids its a giant bummer.
When our cake finally came out from under the light bulb, Hailey and Evan both commented to me how small it was. Still we cut it up into three slices and enjoyed the fruits of our labor.
She hasn't asked to cook with it since that day. I am wondering if she would notice if I snuck it to the garage sale pile? I'm kidding. Kind of.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Money Sock

It is no surprise to anyone that knows my boys that they LOVE Legos. It is no surprise to anyone that knows Evan that he has always had a special thing for dinosaurs. When Lego started making their dinosaur hunter sets - a certain little guy I know was in heaven.

He got a couple of the sets for Christmas and put them together pretty much the hour or two after he opened them. As in all Lego sets (maybe all toys in general) they included a little brochure showing all the other Lego dinosaur sets that were available. Evan immediately had his sights set on a dinosaur paddock. The largest and therefore, most expensive of the sets. In looking around our town at Target and Meijer - the paddock was nowhere to be found, so it wasn't that big of a deal. Then one fateful day as Spencer and I were shopping for a birthday gift for a buddy of his at Walmart - the paddock was spotted and its cost was revealed to be ninety nine dollars.

Spencer rushed into the house when we got home and excitedly told Evan about his discovery. Later that night, Evan decided to empty his piggy bank and collect all the other change around his room so he could see how much money he had. He asked me if I would count it for him. I told him to put it in a bag or something and we would take it to the change machine after school because there was no way I was going to sit and count out pennies all night.

He put it in one of his socks. He called it his money sock. A money sock with a hole in it that had to be patched with a piece of painters tape. He carried the sock around all night in anticipation of the next day - counting day. Now this is a child's sock. It is not big and he didn't have it full - just full enough that it looked like there was a tennis ball sized bulge in the sock. He was so excited about finding out how much money he had that I felt like I had to soften the blow a bit. I told him that he probably had about twelve dollars or so and that was a good start to save up for the Lego set.

When he got home from school the next day, he was ready to count his stash. Luckily, Trent was home to hang out with the other two and Evan and I took off to the money cruncher. He asked me again how much I thought he had and I told him probably fifteen or twenty dollars, but no where near close to ninety. He thought he had around nineteen dollars - or maybe twenty three.

We got to the money machine and started to empty the sock in. The machine started clinking and counting and taking his eight percent of every dollar. Still better than me having to count and roll coins. His total passed twelve. It passed nineteen. It passed twenty. It passed twenty three. As the total kept on going up I was in shock and Evan had a grin on his face that I will never forget. We were laughing as the total passed thirty, passed forty, passed fifty. Evan was giddy. He was smiling and laughing almost hysterically. It passed sixty. It passed seventy. It passed eighty. More hysterics. It passed ninety and stopped at ninety one dollars and sixty three cents.

Ninety one dollars and sixty three cents - minus the eight percent fee - all in that tiny money sock!

We took our receipt to the checkout and Evan watched in amazement as his bills shot out of the money slot. He told me that he was laughing so hard as the machine counted he wanted to pound his fists on the floor and roll around. He was so happy.

We didn't buy the Lego set. We had a talk on the way home about saving up and making what you purchase mean something to you. I told him that even though he had enough for the paddock (including other money he had at home) it didn't make sense to buy it now because first of all: he had just received a bunch of stuff for Christmas that he still had to play with. Second of all, it wasn't on sale. Even if he waited for a small sale he would be able to save significant money and thirdly, before long his birthday would be here and he could ask for it then. He agreed with my reasons and couldn't wait to stash the bills away in his wallet.

It was a fun experience that I will never forget. It is amazing how much a sock full of coins can add up to! I need to fill up my own money sock and bring it in!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


After Spencer was born he became jaundiced. Due in part to my inability to know if he latched while nursing and also because all babies are a little bit jaundiced until their little livers get going aren't they?

That is what I tell myself though thinking back I don't think my other two kids ever were. So Spencer was jaundiced due to the fact that my inexperience with nursing caused me to starve my newborn son. Let's just call a spade a spade.

In his first two weeks of life, we were in the doctor's office every two to three days checking weight gain and bilirubin levels. On his two week birthday after he had gained significant weight and I had mastered the art of nursing, I remember our pediatrician telling us that he looked great and he would see us back in two months. I walked out of the office a bit in shock. Two months? How are we supposed to know if he is gaining weight? How are we supposed to know if he is normal? We have never done this parenting thing before! How is it possible that you can trust us to care for this new little life for two whole months without checking our progress? What if we do it wrong?

Despite our uncertainty and initial fear, our instincts kicked in and somehow we became parents. We learned how to care for him and what was normal for him and he did gain weight - at this point sixty something pounds. We went on to bring two more little babies into the world without the post two week appointment worry. We knew what we were doing.

The point of that memory was all to say that I tend to use my children's doctor appointments as a gauge as to how well I am doing in my parenting job. Their yearly well check is my pseudo report card, my annual job review.

My kids are healthy kids. We don't visit the doctor very often. Part of that is due to the fact that as they grow, it is much easier to gauge how sick of a child you have. A child that can talk and tell you what is wrong and what hurts is much different from a screaming baby that is burning with fever. So the times we visited the doctor in the last year with an actual sickness, I could easily count on one hand - if not two fingers. I feel blessed to have three kids that are so healthy. Sometimes scarily blessed. I read so much about kids that are ill and families that have to go through so much. It makes me wonder sometimes how we got so lucky.

I love our pediatrician. Is it just me or is this post seemingly all over the place? I promise there is a point here somewhere. Maybe it stems from the fact that I haven't "written" anything in so long my brain is just completely emptying into this post. Perhaps I should blog more often.

Let's try this again. I love our pediatrician. It was love at first sight for Trent and I when he walked in to talk to us about newborns in our prenatal classes. I called the next day to see if he was taking new patients. Lucky for us, he was. On the occasions when I have taken the kids in to be seen with what I thought was some horrible malady, he was always quick to calm my fears. It is not appendicitis, just constipation. He doesn't have meningitis, he just has a cold virus. It is just a rash, not flesh eating bacteria or MRSA. You get my drift.

Bringing my kids to the doctor has always been sort of a relief for me. If they are sick, he is quick to tell me what to do to make them feel better. If its a checkup, he lets me know that I am feeding them the right foods to help them grow and stay fit. So when Hailey had to go in for her five year old check up last week I didn't think anything of it. I couldn't even think of any questions or concerns that I had about her. She was healthy and normal. She was even in jovial spirits after being informed by the nurse that she was totally up to date on her immunizations. Hooray for no pokes!

The doctor asked her questions and proceeded to check her over. When he started listening to her heartbeat he seemed to be taking a longer than normal time. When he got out his iphone and started timing heartbeats while he listened, I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew something wasn't right. He jokingly asked her if she drank coffee in the morning and then told me that her heartbeat had an irregular beat to it. He asked me if she has ever turned blue or passed out. He asked me if any young person in my family had ever died from a heart problem suddenly. My answers to all of his questions were no and my question to him was how serious of a situation are we dealing with? He told me that it could be nothing or it could be something and the best thing to do would be to order an EKG and get her checked out.

It was the coldest day of the year and I hadn't dressed us as warmly as I should have. I didn't plan on running out to the hospital for tests on my five year old daughter. I gave Hailey my mittens and pulled her hood up and we started the freezing trek from the parking lot to the main entrance. I was thrilled to see the hospital shuttle pull up right in front of us and offer us a ride to the door. The driver was a nice older gentleman who proceeded to chat our ears off. At this point my focus was to get her in and get her test done and I really wasn't in the mood for small talk but knew I had to bear it or freeze solid before making it into the hospital.

Surprisingly, we got right through admissions and right up to the physiology lab without having to wait at all. I assured Hailey that her test wasn't going to hurt. They were just going to put stickers on her chest and listen to see if her heart was beating silly. She was a trooper. She stayed calm and did great through the test. It was me that I was most worried about. As she was lying on the bed with all the stickers and wires attached to her for the first time I actually thought to myself - Oh my God, what if my little girl has a heart problem? Please let her be ok. If something has to be wrong with someone's heart, let it be me and not my five year old daughter.

The test is sent to the children's hospital in another city to be read by a pediatric cardiologist and then her doctor will get the results, so we haven't heard anything and most likely won't for a few days. I am trying to stay positive and not let the fear of not knowing get to me. I know that most likely it will be nothing or at least nothing major. She is the furthest from sickly she could be. She has more energy than any of us - maybe all of us combined. In five years she has hardly ever been sick. She has had a fever maybe three times in her life.

I have faith that she will be fine - it is just hard to suddenly have this potential problem hanging over us that we never would have expected.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Night night

Goodnight four years! Tomorrow my baby is five years old. Unbelievable.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

So long 2011!

We celebrated New Year's Eve the same way we have the past few years. We went to a bowling party with a couple of my cousins. The kids always have fun and the adults get to celebrate a bit without going to a huge bash.

This year when we finished bowling at nine o' clock we moved our crew into a "party" type room at the bowling alley. They had a pool table and some old school video game machines so the men and kids were totally entertained. After a while, my cousin put some money into the juke box and shuffled the kids to the dance floor. What happened after that has been filed away with my favorite New Year's Eve memories of all time. Watching my kids "bustin' a move" is a blast. If you can watch them without a perm-a-grin on your face, there is something seriously wrong with you.

Look at their sweaty red faces. Evan even had to shed clothes he was cutting a rug so much! I hope we have a family wedding coming up soon because these cousins need to dance!
We got home around eleven fifteen. Just enough time to go outside and let off some of our Indiana fireworks left over from the fourth of July.
My artsy candy cane shot.

Welcome 2012!