Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Safe and sound....and tired

Well we made it.


We made it. Safe and sound.

Four hours on a plane with three kids isn't exactly my idea of fun but suffice it to say that everyone is settled in at Nana's and we spent the first full day of our trip catching up on sleep and getting reacquainted with the central time zone.

We're here. Because I mean really, what were they going to do? Toss us off the plane?

More to come. I'm going to bed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Let the packing commence

You know, I remember once upon a time that if clothes were strewn all over the bed will-nilly in a mix of shirts, underwear, and socks, that it meant that a hell of a good time had taken place into the dawn hours the night before.

However now at this point in my life, it just means that I have everything laid out for three little kids across my entire king sized bed to make sure that I don't forget anything that I need to bring to Chicago.

*sigh* Such is life. I suppose some smart ass will come along eventually (read: SETH) and point out that if I hadn't had all of those fun sleepless nights I currently wouldn't HAVE the three children that I am attempting to pack for. So let's just get that out of the way now okay?

What, TMI? Sorry Mom.

Anyway, I'm a laundry washing, clothes sorting, house cleaning, lawn mowing, crazy woman today. I just thought I would pop in for a quick note before I get back to the grind and attempt to get everything packed before this evening so I can relax with my husband before I leave him for a month. We've had a tough week since I last checked in but I think we are finally turning the corner.

The Chunker and Kbear were both sick little puppies this past week. It started on Tuesday with nasty yellow stuff shooting out of both ends of my baby. It was both disgusting and fascinating in a high school science experiment kind of way. Thankfully, after running a scary-high fever last Wednesday night, he turned the corner quickly and was all recovered by the next day. And thank goodness, because it freed me up to take care of Kbear.

I rushed poor K to the ER on Thursday night, where she was treated for four hours for dehydration. Scary, scary, SCARY stuff. We tried all day to get some liquids into her but way too much was coming back out and nothing new was going in so by evening she was disoriented and clammy and just overall miserable. She perked up after an IV (and a new teddy bear) and a few popsicles and finally, today she seems to be at about 90%. My cute kid story for the day took place in the ER last week:

After being a stoic little trooper while getting her IV and then falling asleep, Kbear wakes up thirsty and sucks down at pedialyte popsicle at lightening speed while I breathe an internal sigh of relief. Then she immediately asks for another one. Her (wonderful) nurse tells her that if she can keep the first one in her belly for awhile, she can have another one in a bit.

So an hour goes by. As nurse Becky putters in and out of our exam room, Kbear repeatedly requests a second popsicle. Nurse Becky continues to firmly remind her that she can't have one until we make sure she's not going to throw the first one back up, etc.

So finally K has had enough. She wants another popsicle like, yesterday. The next time our nurse comes in she sits up, hair flying everywhere, IV sicking out of her arm, and all but DEMANDS a new freezer pop. (That's how I knew she was feeling better.)

Nurse Becky smiles and says, "What if instead I came to tell you that you can go home?"

Kbear thinks. I mean, she REALLY takes a minute to mull things over.

And finally, she replies, "Ok. I'll take my Popsicle to go."

That's my kid.

So anyhow, we're hanging in there. We did make it to the Google picnic on Saturday where I must say they absolutely outdid themselves again - we arrived late and left early but even K perked up enough to get her face painted. The food was great, the games were a blast, the kids were all well behaved and adorable, and it was nice to see everyone and just kick back a bit and relax. Oh and it was fun to watch my husband kick everyone's ASS on the inflatable gladiator game thingy. So AWESOME job kudos to my girlfriend Katy (and Crystal!) and the rest of the Goog crew - thanks for a great afternoon!

Ok. I've got to get back at it. My suitcase isn't going to pack itself and eventually Bailey-dog is going to find her way into my room and she's going to jump up on the bed and if she messes up my laundry I'll be throwing things. If I don't make it back online tonight or tomorrow morning, you'll hear from me again in SWEET HOME CHICAGO!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What do you do with 80 cupcakes?

You make a rainbow of course!

There she is folks - my six year old. My six year old with newly PIERCED EARS I might add. God she looks so big. That was taken at her birthday party this past Saturday, standing behind her absolutely awesome rainbow cupcake cake. Skippy and I always try to accommodate the kids' birthday cake requests but this one was a doozy and a half. If I thought last year's butterfly cake was challenging, I was sadly mistaken.

So major props to Skippy and me for baking, coloring, and frosting almost 80 cupcakes. It was the first time I was sad to see a "cake" dismantled for eating. We had a great party complete with a pinata, bubbles, and too much food. Big thanks to all of our friends and family who took time out of their weekend to come and celebrate with us - it was a fabulous (if exhausting) afternoon. Your gifts were amazingly thoughtful - I was so relieved that we didn't come home with fourteen Bratz dolls!

In other news things are good out here. Just busy busy busy as always. Summer officially started on Monday with the first moan of "I'm boooo-red" and we've been cruising through ever since. The baby managed to get sick this week and we had a doctor's visit yesterday but he seems to slowly be turning the corner already and I think he'll be back to his sunny little self in another day or two. Other than that, I'm getting geared up for our Chicago trip, Skippy is getting geared up for a quiet house, and the kids are all over the place, staying up late, riding their bikes, and making us nuts.

Lots of love. I'll try to blog a little more before we leave but just in case I can't make it to the computer, watch for my blog next week after I see if I can fly four hours with three kids without getting tasered by an Air Marshall.

And now, just because I want to, one more shot of our cool cupcake cake.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bittersweet Birthday Wishes

Today is my Dad's birthday. He would have been fifty.

I can't help but sit here thinking that we probably would have had a big party planned. I mean, FIFTY...that's big. That's huge. That's half a century of living and loving and raising kids and working and fishing. That's a milestone.

And yet he's already been gone for too long. Long enough that I have to sit with my eyes closed and really concentrate to recall what his voice sounded like. Long enough that Kbear saw a picture of him the other day and squealed "Uncle TOM!" with delight, not knowing that in that moment my heart broke just a little bit.

A ton of old memories have resurfaced lately - I suppose that's normal. Just last week I was thinking about his 30th birthday. I was ten and my Mom threw him this huge wonderful surprise party that was the most amazing fun thing ever to my ten year old self. There were people everywhere...streamers, friends, family, and a topless mermaid cake that I didn't really understand until I was much older. My Dad was shocked. My Mom was elated and they were in love. Us kiddos only got to stay for a little while before our grandparents whisked us away (and I'm sure now that at that point the party really got started), but to this day I still have that moment frozen in time - Dad hoisting up the garage door, probably swearing that the stupid thing was broken, and then his shocked face when he realized that his garage was jam packed full of people yelling SURPRISE at him.

It's amazing how clear it all still is. It doesn't seem like it was twenty years ago. I still remember. He was tan and young and the sunset played on his face as his jaw hit the floor. He was just thirty years old and surrounded by loved ones. He was healthy. He didn't have cancer.

So I think it's easy to assume that we would have had another party for this milestone birthday. And instead, we have to be content with memories. We have to be content to sit back and smile softly and whisper a prayer and send it off on the wind with love. That's all we have left. Memories and love.

So Happy Birthday Old Man. Lord knows I miss you but I love you so much and I know that wherever you are today, you are out fishing on a lake under a brilliant blue sky.

I hope you catch a big one.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Banana Split


That was me, wailing to Skippy from the passenger seat of his still shiny and new Grand Prix heading home after an appointment with my OB/GYN. The date was June 5, 2002 BC (Before Cheerios). We had just finished up my scheduled due date appointment. And our baby Banana was showing absolutely no signs of wanting to come out to meet us.

I was hot and huge and miserable and generally convinced that I would be the first woman to carry a baby for fourteen years before finally giving birth to a surly teenager. I wanted my water to break. I wanted my epidural and a margarita. I wanted to hold my little girl in my arms and get her feet the hell out of my ribcage. In other words, I wanted to be DONE.

Poor Skippy, befuddled newlywed husband and nervous father-to-be anxiously patted my hand and assured me that I would NOT be pregnant forever. Of course I ignored him, continuing to sniffle and hiccup and crave cheese whiz and tacos. I mean, obviously *he* didn't understand. And it was all his fault anyway. When we got home, I sulked and waited for him to open my door to help me out of the car. I think he simply waited to see if my head would spin around on my shoulders like in The Exorcist.

For the next few days we tried spicy food, walking, and anything else we could think of. I joked to my Mom that with a full moon coming, maybe I needed to stand outside naked, point my belly to the sky, and pray to the Goddess of Fertility to take pity on me. I was only half joking.

Yet our firstborn daughter remained snugly and stubbornly where she seemed happiest - which unfortunately for me, was in my uterus.

Then on June 9 (exactly six years ago today), we went back to see my good old buddy Dr. Tom, who at this point I was convinced was Satan in the guise of a short funny Asian man. At the very least he was one of the devil's minions...or worse, a Republican. And then he changed my life. An ultrasound showed that my level of amniotic fluid had dropped - a sure sign that my body was getting ready to evict it's cozy little resident. Rather than wait for complications, Dr. Tom suggested that we go out to dinner (by we I mean myself and Skippy, not myself and Dr. Tom), pick up my hospital bag, and check in over at labor and delivery later that evening to begin an induction. He assured me that by this time tomorrow, I'd be holding my daughter.

In a haze Skippy and I walked out of the office hand-in-hand, on our way to take his advice and enjoy our last supper as non-parents. It was really going to happen. And all of a sudden, after nine months and five days of waiting, I wondered if I could possibly be ready.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Where to start?

Things have been busy, busy, busy out here in middle-of-nowhere Oregon. I feel like I shot my wad when I finally sat down and typed out everything about my Mom's visit and I was over-stimulated with my own blog.

So anyway, just a quick note to say hello to everyone. It was a busy but uneventful weekend - Skippy took Banana on a four mile bike ride yesterday, we BBQ'd with some good friends tonight, and I cut our NEW grass for the first time and I'll be damned, it actually looks pretty dang okay.

So let's about I give you some new pictures of the kids with some quick little updates on what's been going on. Sound good?

Banana is almost done with Kindergarten. I honestly can't quite believe it - Skippy is always teasing me that my sense of time is warped...I'm the kind of person who goes "HOLY CRAP I can't BELIEVE it's Thursday" every.single.week. But in all seriousness, can YOU believe my kid is almost done with Kindergarten? Because I really can't. We got some fabulous news on Friday when a much-anticipated phone call came - a few months ago Skippy and I went to an open house at a charter school that is located in our district - it's small and open and friendly and we were incredibly impressed with the staff and the curriculum. We placed Banana on a waiting list - a waiting list that had people on it from as far away as Portland and across the river in Washington. There were fifteen kids on the list for first grade but she was third in line because they take in district students first. And lo and behold, a spot opened up. So we will be transferring Banana for first grade. She'll have to take a half hour bus ride each way every day but we really feel like this is going to be a fantastic move for her. And thankfully it was all accomplished without me having to bust any other poor little first grader's kneecaps. Not that I would really *do* that. Then again, it is a really good school.

In other news, she has officially learned how to ride a two wheeler and she will be six years old a week from Tuesday. How's that for screwing with your head? SIX? She also told me she has a boyfriend. They play together at recess and he's her friend who is a boy. Sounds pretty harmless; Skippy doesn't have to worry about busting any kneecaps yet either. The picture was taken during an unseasonably HOT afternoon a few weeks ago when we took the kids swimming down in the Columbia.

Kbear.....oh my little Kbear. That child will be the death of me before she turns five, I swear. Whomever said that the terrible twos were bad obviously never parented a four year old. She's a door-slamming, sassy-mouthed, picky-eating, girlie-girl-tom-boy who will tell you that she doesn't like you anymore one second and be crawling all over you on the couch for snuggles the next. I adore her curly headed little monstrous self.

She has spent a lot of time outside attempting to master her own two wheeler and she finally consented to let Daddy put her training wheels back on. Skinned knees and bruised elbows are one thing but we were seriously worried about her breaking something. So the two wheeler thing is a work in progress. Other than that, most of her time is spent running up and down the sidewalk screeching at the top of her healthy four year old lungs, much to the neighbors chagrin and my never ending embarrassment.

In big news, she was part of a delightful musical presentation at preschool a few weeks ago and received a certificate of completion for a year well done. Next year she'll stay with the same teacher but she'll move from the "sprouts" class to the "fireflies" - I don't really know what that means except that it gets me three days of three hour long preschool a week instead of two days of two and a half hours. Sweet bliss. The picture was taken the day of her promotion ceremony. She has gotten so big, and despite her (hopefully temporary attitude) she's pretty damn cute.

And Chunker....with Chunk it's just business as usual. He's walking and babbling and engaged in a constant battle with me over possession of my cell phone. He likes the kitties. He likes watermelon. He LOVES water. He spends all day with me and walks around the house asking, "Da?" in an effort to drive me emotionally insane. He is a constant source of joy for all of us. The girls just adore him and he is about a breath away from some real talking. Right now, he looks at you intently and babbles "ah jababababa la foo dih ha?" and then stares at you expectantly until you either give him Mommy's cell phone or smile encouragingly and say "SURE BUDDY!" He continues to be the most mellow baby ever born in the history of the world. Skippy swears that today he said kitty ("kee") but I didn't hear it and until I hear it, it didn't happen. We finished weaning completely over a month ago and he eats everything he can from scrambled eggs to grilled chicken to milk bones if they aren't put up. Aside for some recent teething and allergy problems, he seems to be completely recovered from his bout with RSV a few months ago. The picture of him was taken the same day as the one of Banana when we went swimming in the river. It's funny because 1) it's cute. 2) He has gravel on his nose. 3) Skippy's calves in that shot look like some one's ass. But I swear they are his calves.

And that my friends, is that. I promise to get back on the blogging band wagon. After all, you all don't want to miss a single installment when I tell you all how I survive a four hour plane trip by myself with three kids to Chicago in a few weeks. For now we are enjoying the beginning of summer and enjoying being together. If you haven't heard, Skippy got a promotion at work and we are very proud of him. I've lost five pounds and we are very proud of me. I've got about 25-30 more to go before I'm happy again - this stay at home Mom thing has not been good for my thighs over the last few years. But like everything else in my life, it's a work in progress.

Last but not least, we have officially been without a TV for over a month while ours gets repaired in Portland and God help me, we'd better get it back this week before I lose it. I've come to realize that my kids don't NEED TV but man, on rainy days I sure miss my friends Dora, Blue, and the Wonder Pets. Lots of love folks.