Monday, April 30, 2012

Gonna brag...just for a second

It has been a busy, yet not very bloggable, day. I have had no fun filled trips to any pizza eateries, no strange encounters with people even weirder than I. I am very tired, yet again, so it is definitely effecting my ability(such as it is)to write. Last week were the always stressful TCAPS, so this week is a nice change for sure. As a fifth grader, S had to take a writing assessment that was an early part of the TCAP process. It is given a rating of 1-6, with six being the best. There had been many practices and many tears shed for what she thought had been good attempts that were not received well.

After weeks of waiting, the results came back. She got in the car beaming, after receiving a.....6! She worked her bony little rear end off for that. I am so proud of the hard work she put in to earn that. And now I can take a wee little sigh of relief.

Not too much longer and elementary school will be in the books for her. I can't think about that just yet...I don't need sad tears tonight. Just savoring the happy tears from seeing that sweet little beaming face.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

What a beautiful day

I am exhausted, but in a good way. My feet hurt, arms ache, nose full of pollen...but I don't mind. After a nice morning at church, I did something that I do maybe twice a year on a Sunday. I mowed the lawn. Do I judge people for mowing on Sundays? No. I do skulk while doing it, because I am waiting for my parents to come out on pop me in the back of the head. Sundays were reserved for church, a nap, homework and maybe a picnic. No lawn mowing. But, alas, I did it and it looks nice. Saturday just ran out of light before I got to it. After mowing, the paper needed to be read, dishes needed to be done and laundry needed to be folded. My poor husband has had to stop his only non drowsy anti inflammatory for his back, due to the fact that he will be having a procedure next week to help it, so he can only writhe in pain these days. I feel so bad for him, but hopefully Thursday will be the start of relief. Anyway, I feel the pressure to get as much done as possible during the weekend. The kids played outside for six hours this afternoon. What a gorgeous day to be a kid and play outside until dropping from exhaustion! Not sweltering, just perfect. I regret not taking a picture of them as they emerged from playing in the woods, covered with dirt from head to toe. A beautiful sight.

The other exciting thing at our house is our yearly visit from the chickadees. We have what once was a decorative little blue birdhouse. We are in our fourth year of having them stay at our little blue inn to expand their family. The mom and dad sit on a branch and chatter in varying levels of excitement, depending on how close we are to their babies. They dart like little torpedoes, delivering worms and creatures for their babies' meals. The hub got a picture today:

They are so cute. Just another beautiful way to show God's handiwork in nature.

I am so thankful for beautiful days like today that remind us how blessed we are. Now I think I will go collapse.
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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Hungry People

Today was yet another soccer Saturday. S was not allowed to play due to her recent use of her ear as a soccer goal. The other two played and won their games. Their teams really worked together today. Really nice to watch.

As it happens every April, our Sunday school class was in charge of our church's Open Door Community Meal. This meal was originally created to unite all walks of life at church for a devotion, music and some free dinner. In more recent years, it has become more of a meal for those lonely or less fortunate...people who may not know where their next meal is coming from. "The Hungry People" as the boy says. Until our girls went to public school, they really didn't understand the "hungry people" concept. When you've never had to wonder where your next meal is coming from, it is hard to understand being truly hungry. As soon as they were old enough, we let them participate by rolling silverware or putting placemats on the tables. Then they graduated to taking drinks to the tables or bringing a plate of dessert. Once they went to school, they were shocked to find out that classmates only got food when they went to school or they shoved rolls and ketchup packets in their pockets to take home. Absolutely heartbreaking. This event has become one of their favorite activities at church. They love the preparation, the serving, the interaction with the guests, the good feelings that accompany selflessness. So you can imagine the moaning and gnashing of teeth when they found out they were staying home this time to help Daddy with his bad back. While the reaction got somewhat annoying after a while, as a parent it warmed my sometimes jaded heart to know how much they enjoyed serving. We can preach and throw scripture and big words and complicated theology at people until we are spent. These things are important, but when scripture is shown to our children by loving and serving those less fortunate, they get it and it sticks.

Thank God for the "Hungry People" and what they have taught me and my family. It brings me to my knees when I realize how blessed we are and how we forget to be thankful.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Ice cream sammitches!!!

Today was almost calm, which is scary to say. I don't want to invite any excitement. There's been enough here for a while.

As a TCAP treat, several moms have brought a special snack to S's class after lunch every day this week. Because I am my Mother's daughter, I cannot look at this task as anything but a challenge to my culinary prowess and creativity. While I am quite positive that a pack of Combos and juice box would suffice, I can't help but what I can do to wow the kids. Because of the unfortunate events of the week, no baked goods or pastry bags were used. No mixers were fired up. No precise measurements were made. I did make a long-time family favorite: ice cream sammitches. Okay, that's what I call them. Why? Because I can. Take the ice cream in the square box, cut slabs of it off and cut rounds out with a biscuit cutter. Take the round and put it between cookies. Roll the ice cream edge in chocolate chips or crushed candy. They are always a hit.

The kids enjoyed them and I was glad I made S proud. At her age, they are starting the process of being embarrassed by their parents...I didn't want that to happen today. We then took her home...she was not in any state to be making up tests this afternoon. Grace came home as well since the afternoon was likely to consist of watching movies and playing on the playground. We had a nice, laid back afternoon consisting of "Good Burger", playing outside and learning new songs on the recorder. I know, we're pretty wild like that.

We'll pray soccer Saturday holds no excitement other than a couple of wins. Report to follow tomorrow.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hit me with your best...Kindergarten shot...

Today the concussed girl went to school to take some TCAPS and the boy got him some shots.  When I was preparing him for preschool this morning, he kept asking if this was the day he would get shots.  After 15 minutes of changing the subject, I finally just said "Yes."  I did not expect quite such a violent reaction, but I knew no grand celebrations were coming either.  "Will it hurt" is always such a tricky question to answer.  My tension breaking answer of late has been, "Well it's not gonna feel like puppy kisses!!!".  Even that crowd pleaser did nothing to change his mood.  The mention of a post-immunization milkshake buoyed his spirits of the few times that I have said an open thank you to Ronald McDonald.  School seemed to take his mind off of the impending doom and pep talks from his good buddy Pastor Daniel made him feel a bit closer to an Avenger going into battle.

He entered the office bravely and seemed to be relieved when our friend and nurse, Karen, came out to get him.  once he walked through the swinging door, the bravado ended and the paranoia began.  He questioned everything.  Why do they need my pee?  Why do shoes make that big of a difference in my height?  Why are you squeezing my arm like that?  He got even more inquisitive when she brought rubber gloves in the room.  What are those for?  What is that straw thing gonna do?  The finger prick was the beginning of the drama, which gave Karen pause to think she may need to bring reinforcements at shot time.  When our beloved pediatrician came in stating, "I don't do anything that hurts," the boy wouldn't look at her.  After doing all her duties, she left telling Finley not to be mad at her.  When Karen returned, the panic set in.  Even with two of us holding him down, he was a force to be reckoned with.

Let me say a few things:
1.  That boy is going to be so-o-o-o-o-oore tomorrow.
2.  The hub made out like a bandit by somehow avoiding the Kindergarten check up three times.
3.  After this hellish week, I am really done with doctors and hospitals and injuries.
4.  When your child is injured, you really do wish it had happened to you instead.
5.  Unlike some injuries, when your coach tells you to walk off a head injury....ignore him.
6.  Also when your child is injured, perspective kicks you in the --- and you have no time for selfishness in others.
7.  I am blessed and humbled by all the love and support during the medical freakishness that has been our life recently.
8.  Ice cream really does make lots of things better.
9.  The "Rushmore" soundtrack makes me happy.
10.  Even though it is a sad song, Cat Stevens can make me dance whenever I hear this:
Have a good one, everybody.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We're back in the E...E...E...R!

Waking up this morning with a soccer ball hangover was not the exciting story I think S hoped for last night. Her head was heavy, her tummy was upset and her hearing was sketchy. She tried to get her balance and pull things together for school today. But, alas, it was in vain. TCAPS would have to wait. Her chance at perfect attendance for the year was shot. She was in enough pain it didn't matter. As her mom, I seethed. She's worked so hard up to this point and to have it ripped away by some careless guys made me crazy. I know attendance is not everything, but it is something we pride ourselves on here at the ranch. I was a pretty good student, not one who had scholarships thrown at me, but a good student. What the Valedictorian and the Salutatorian did not win at awards day, I did. Perfect attendance for the whole of high school. Yeah, baby. You see where that got me.

Anyhoo, the girl continued the downward slide into wooziness throughout the morning. When she started grabbing the walls to walk and dragging her leg, we made a call to the pediatrician who said, "Uh, get her to the ER for a CT scan. Now.". This was a little on the alarming side. Sooo, we dropped off the boy again and skedaddled to the ER...sigh...again. Here is my handy tip for Wednesday: if planning a trip to the emergency room, 11am is an ideal time. Not a soul in the waiting room. No worries about TB-esque coughs or green children spewing vomit. Because we were needing a CT scan, we got what I have decided to term a "Long Haul" room. We had a tv in there, so we knew we were in there for the long haul. After yet another neuro exam and her BP taken 8 times at least, we had a visit from Pastor Daniel. S was thrilled! It really means a lot to us as parents, but even more to the children, to know that a busy adult has taken time out to check on them. We are so blessed to have the ministers we do. The Dude loving pastor helped cut the stress and bring some levity to stressed out parents and a scared girl.

The CT scan was clear, thank God, and we were sent on our way with Motrin dosages and strict "Brain Rest" instructions. No TV, video games, reading(except for school), physical activity, bright lights. Uh, yeah. Have they met my oldest? If you hear cries of agony or long, slow, heartwrenching moans...just know it is the slow torture of a 10 yr old deprived of major brain stimulation.

We are thankful for all those who called and checked on her or helped us with the kids. It has been a stressful period in our family, but we are still blessed beyond measure. Let's just see if we can stay out of the doctor's offices for a while. For the love of everything holy....please.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In the ER...where's Clooney?

It is Tuesday night and I should be sitting in a camp chair watching soccer, but I'm in the ER. Again. Of all the kids, I was fairly certain that the boy would be the one who would land here on a fairly regular basis. He jumps off of everything and runs with sticks a bit too much for my taste. But no, it is S instead. Twice in three months. TWICE! The hub felt that she needed to be seen after a high schooler powered a goal kick right into her ear. Walking like a drunk and grabbing at her ear in agony seemed abnormal to him. Apparently 9 out of 10 doctors agree. So, we called the aunt and uncle, replaced her cleats with Crocs and headed on down to Children's Hospital. Apparently the plague is alive and well in Knoxville because, upon entering the ER, we felt like we were walking into a real life "Outbreak" situation minus the monkeys but add the sea of face masks. Doing our best to hold our breath as we walked through the illness, we quickly realized that one of us would have to eventually breathe. Lightheaded parents are not good guardians of children with head injuries. File that tidbit away for future visits. We were sent quickly to the safe haven of the cuts, bruises, breaks and gashes in the "Injury Waiting Room". Apparently one wall of glass and ten feet are enough to separate us from the plague. Germs' attempts to permeate the open doorway of said waiting room are least that is what I say in my happy place of denial.

The doctor, who was nice but looked nothing like George Clooney, said that her ear was in tact but that the nerves were traumatized and needed time to regroup and forgive her for their upset. She also said that her brain got some good jiggling and juggling, enough for a nice concussion. Because she was pretty puny they gave her a dose of Zofran and, armed with a cup of blue Gatorade, was sent back to the waiting room to see if she would be able to keep it down. As a parent I have always wondered, if you are concerned about vomiting, why give brightly colored beverages to kids with bad aim? I think the pharmaceutical industry is missing out on a great partnership with the beverage companies. Glaxo-Smith Klein presents "Gatorade Clear" or "Mom's Laundry Friendly Puke Juice". You get the picture. After a few suspicious gurgles and some spitting into the pinkish plastic kidney dish, the doc determined her tummy was sound enough for the trip home.

The interesting part will come tomorrow when she wakes up. Will she be pain free enough to take her TCAPS? Our sweet doc gave her an out and also prohibited her from playing soccer and running track for the next week. The world apparently will get sucked into a black hole in the universe if a child does not take it on the appropriate day. S will spiral into a world of worry if she has to take a make up test. We can only hope Mr. Motrin and Ms. Zofran will make that testing possible. Either way, she'll have a story to share with the World Cup players on the upper grade playground...when she can rejoin play in a week. Right now, we'll just work on walking in a straight line.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Take me down to the Safety City...

Today was a first for me. I can't believe I am saying that, but it is true. I went on my first field trip as a parent. Yes, all you snarky people, I have a fifth grader. My children have always wanted to have their dad go on trips since he doesn't get to do as much at school. With Brian out of town at a funeral, I was on deck to be a chaperone to Safety City. For those not from Knoxville, Safety City is a kid-sized and abbreviated version of our fair city. The second graders go to learn about traffic safety and fire safety, riding in electric cars and on bikes and learning how to escape out of a house on fire. The highlight for me and some of the other parents was a fire safety video starring a smoke alarm voiced by Gilbert Gottfried, a parent played by Police Academy's own mouth sound master Michael Winslow, Little Richard singing an inspirational ditty on how to "Stop Drop and Roll" and a perky pre-coked Lindsay Lohan. We all survived the day, realizing that the facilitators at "The City" are drill seargants and saints all in one. The kids learned a lot. G's favorite part was driving in the city:

I am glad Igot the chance to go, though I am sad that I never got to go on any trips with S. I am thoroughly exhausted and ready for a foot rub. But, thanks to Little Richard, I learned lots about fire safety....and big hair.
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Avoiding doing productive things

Today has been rather blah on the scale of excitement for Sundays. The hub is with his Dad's side of the family, laying to rest his Uncle Jim. I hate that the kids and I could not go with him, but the TCAPS are this week. Unless one of the kids is half dead from losing a limb or in danger of starting a widespread epidemic, they'd better be at their desk and ready for some serious test taking. This is part of their grade and will determine what classes S takes in middle school. No pressure there. I could do a whole post on standardized testing....meh.

After the craziness of yesterday, we needed a sloths day. The kids were blue in their Dad's absence, so they watched The Smurfs movie. I did little things around the house, read a little, broke up arguments and drew weird pictures on the iPad Paint app. For some reason I have been drawing musicians that I like. Clearly I am not an artist. My middle school art teacher made that more than clear. An still I continue to draw. Weird things. All the time. I won't show all of them today. I want to keep my three readers. Here is #1:

Who knew Jimi Hendrix had such a long neck? That's why he wore lots of scarves...yeah right.

Have a good one, everybody. Early to bed for me as I will be a chaperone for the 2nd grade field trip tomorrow. Woo hoo!
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mr. Gatti's is like a box of chocolates....

Today was yet another soccer Saturday packed full of extras. Originally, I was supposed to be gone on a weekend away, but felt I needed to stay home with the hub and his bad back. It would have been hard to relax while wondering if he was okay...poor guy. The games went well. Three wins...three hardworking teams. S ref'ed and managed not to get to cussed at, which is always a plus. The rain held off and the weather turned out to be perfect. The girls went to a painting party, fresh from a game and sugared up with their new favorite, Fun Dip. Budding O'Keeffe's and Kahlo's...Dahli's and Picasso's, worked their hardest to create masterpieces for their rooms.

Good times were had by all and lovely paintings were seen everywhere.

After painting, one girl was taken by a friend and used as manual labor in a bedroom fruit basket turnover makeover. It's good for my children to earn their keep at friend's houses. She exclaimed that it was "so much fun!", which is amazing since the same activity is considered torture at our house. The grass is always greener, but I love that. :0). The other girl went home, now riding a wicked snow cone buzz, and snuggled up with her brother for some lazy time. I fell into a 20 minute coma and woke up in time to prepare the present for the next party, change clothes and giddy up.

The next party was at the place where anything can happen and it usually does: Mr. Gatti's. Talk about a place for prime people watching. The boy's sweet friend had his party there, complete with unlimited pizza, cake&ice cream and a cup of tokens for Gattiland. A trifecta of perfection for any child. During our visits at Gatti's, we have seen just about every walk of life and every kind of oddity. We've seen goths and jocks...stars and bars shirts and hipsters. We've seen people order black olive, pineapple and chocolate chip pizzas, fill their plates with pickled okra(my child) and dip their supreme pizza in chocolate pudding from the salad bar. People have thrown plates at the big screen TV's during football and NASCAR season. We even saw a lady who fed her mohawked 4year old daughter, yes daughter, a plate full of macaroni and cheese with cherry dessert pizza mixed into it. Uh, yuck. Tonight two, ahem, gentlemen got into a fight in Gattiland. The store manager who was half their size had to break it up. This begged the question: what is there to get in a fight over at Gattiland? The tokens are not useful anywhere else and are more than likely in need of a 10 day bleach soak. You are essentially paying $5 for a tootsie roll midgie. What is the allure? My friends, it is the magnetism of the tickets. How many tickets can one person get with a token...or two or four? People get passionate....wouldn't you?

Today was hectic and exhausting, but a blessing. I am blessed with understanding friends who don't disown me when I can't go away with them. Blessed with a husband who powers through, even when he is in pain. Blessed with crazy, loveable children. Blessed with friends who love my children and don't mind putting them to work when they need help. Blessed with laughter, with wonderful people, with weird experiences to share. Thank God for busy Soccer Saturdays.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Compliments pay off

Today was an exciting day in my child's class. After working all year to get 100 compliments, they did it. Hard work pays off and they received their reward. Their sweet teacher's husband is, among other things, a magician. We are blessed to know him from church and were excited for what the kids had in store. Mr. Ed gave them a magic show to remember. The kids were fully entertained for over an hour. He used several students as assistants and gave them four leaf clovers for their help. The parents were entertained as well. I took several videos, but forgot to ask his permission to post them....but they were great. The hip hop and Forest Gump versions of the cup and ball trick were hysterical.

I know this is a location story, you had to be there, but it was really neat. As a parent, I so appreciate the fact that the kids are encouraged to have behavior that would bring compliments...and are rewarded for that effort. Do we always get a reward for doing the right thing? No. Do we need a reward every time? No. One hundred hard earned compliments are certainly something to be rewarded, and what better than a professional magician?

Thanks, Mr. Ed. You made my daughter's week. She was thrilled!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tooth drama

The exciting stuff always happens at soccer practice. That should be the name of a book...or a pamphlet maybe. It does, though. As my 3 regular readers know by now, we are at the soccer fields four days a week: three for practice and one for games. Our friend Coach Sean often jokes that the hub and I have a trailer in the woods near the fields. Anyhoo, our frequency at the fields is not the focus but rather the frequency of interesting things.

G has had a loose tooth for a good month. The way it became loose is a story in itself(trying to bite a lid off a water bottle), but that is for another day. That poor thing has been hanging on for a long time. We've all been waiting for that thing to let loose. It has survived apples and ice and chewy Easter candy and gum. Nothing. I guess tonight's filled pita pocket started the tooth on its death march. I looked out on the field to see the hub looking in her mouth in an intense way...and a frustrated way also. Next thing she arrives in front of me looking like vampire from a fresh draining. For someone so tough, she did not take my attempts at extraction well. After both of us were beyond frustrated and covered with blood, I sent her out and hoped she would get grazed by a ball that would knock that last little root loose. That's bad, I know. At the next to last water break my friend grabbed her, told her to open her mouth and jerked it out. In the words of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "There was much rejoicing!". The tooth was impressive...roots five feet long. Not really, but long. Thus ends another non soccer focused soccer practice for the week.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Passing of another legend...

Although he was a seasoned citizen who had dealt with his share of health problems, I was truly saddened to hear of the passing of Dick Clark. He was a constant in our lives. Every Saturday, American Bandstand came on after the cartoons had played out. We watched the performers as they continued to play and dance as the lights went dark and the music stopped....just like on Solid Gold. Dick Clark had his never aging fingers in lots of projects and we all benefitted from his hard work. No matter where I was on New Year's Eve, we always stopped to watch New Year's Rockin' Eve and DC help the ball drop. Thank you, Mr. Clark, for the music, the celebrations, the game and blooper shows. You were one of a kind.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

There's always something

Tonight was soccer practice and a gloomy one at that. The threat of rain loomed in the sky and the remnants of the last shower were on top of the grass. The boy was running around with his Nerf football and windbreaker. The girls were ready to tear it up as players in the battle of the Eagles versus the Dynamite. Practice started normally. Coach Sean was running around in his hat and bare feet. Coach Brian was teaching the subs ball handling skills. All was running smoothly until....screams. I look up from my iPad to find this scenario and have seconds to move:

The fountain grass shapes are actually the automatic sprinkler system activating early. Kids were screaming with glee...parents were grabbing their soccer chairs and books and running for non-sprinklered ground. In all of the time we've been going to those fields, that has never happened. This was an exciting change to the usual pace of Tuesday night soccer. Then, G slips and falls, clonking her kneecap on the metal bar on the goal. Ouch. She had a pretty good bruise starting. We'll hope that is all that comes of it.

On an unrelated note, I got a new stylus today and have been playing around with it on my paint app. Here are the requests from my children and their soccer friends:

New offerings will appear as I hone my skills. Bear with me....
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Monday, April 16, 2012

DWTS...always awkward

I don't really want to watch Dancing With The Stars. Most of the "stars" are people I do not know. Either that or I am just getting really old. This season I am having a very hard time watching little Laura Ingles shaking her groove thing with the freshly spray tanned Maksim. It just has a real skeevy feel to it. No, I am not anti younger man-seasoned woman relationships or partnerships. Just seeing her hands all over his....anyway. Just not great. Derek Hough calling Maria "Baby" when she did a chin plant in the floor...too familiar. But entertaining.

On an unrelated note, my hub could use prayers in regards to his back. Got radiologist's report and are now figuring out how to proceed. Prayers for clarity and wisdom are needed for sure!

Another unrelated note, my G drew this with the paint app and I felt her hinting for me to put it up, so here ya go:

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

The eaglets have landed....

My family has a new obsession. We are obsessed with a family of eagles. Our favorite DJ's were talking about the family last week, but it took my parents' urging to find the website and WHABAM!! Hooked. I am amazed at the care these wild animal parents give their babies. Not that I thought they would be abusive, I just had no idea how tender the moment would be to watch the mom and dad feed each other and their babies. Even if it is a dead rodent's intestines. The instinct to parent is just that...instinct. The parents do what they have to do to take care of their children. The mom was sitting on the babies last night. It was storming and blowing and pouring the rain. Those babies were warm and dry...the parents were soaked. We do what we do.

Strangely connected is the Dateline NBC: My Kid Would Never Do That special on stranger danger we are currently watching. These children, who are the ages of mine, are put in situations to see if they will listen to what their parents have told them about getting away from and not talking to strangers. As parents, the instinct to protect our children, or any children, is strong. When I watched these kids give out their addresses or go into a stranger's ice cream truck, I cried right along with their parents. All the what if's that come to mind are overwhelming. Just like the eagles covering their babies, I want to cover my babies and protect them from all the bad stuff out there.

And this ends the strange and weird musings of the day. Go watch the eagle cam. Pop it into google. Pretty neat-o.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Another first

Today was yet another soccer Saturday. The boy's game was first and full of action as usual. He didn't manage to take as many dives this time and managed to score several goals. His game face never ceases to amuse us all. Pure drive, baby, pure drive. S's game was cancelled, so we watched her buddy play his U12 game. The culture of sports parents is a fascinating one to observe. There are quiet parents, watching and tensely hoping for a win. There are yellers. There are the "Roid ragers" who get so pumped up when their child's team scores...high fives and chest bumps all around. Then you have the few who are so intense that the fear of stroking out comes to everyone else's mind. G's team had her game shortly after. They were playing a team who we knew from last year. Hopes were high for a win and we held on for a while. But the odds were not in our favor. G scored a goal, which was exciting, but the other team's fan base distracted us from the fun. S was reffing the game, as she has all of her sister's games. This was the first time she received lip and trouble from team parents. Our team knows not to do that. Both last season and this season we have had youth refs and have been very glad to have them. Having them meant the hub could coach and not ref his own team. By the third quarter, I could tell my mild mannered hubby was honed in on someone and quiet with fury. The girl handled herself just fine...she took it like a champ.

After an afternoon of playing outside, they are sufficiently worn out and relaxing before they hit the hay.

Love those little 'em!
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Friday, April 13, 2012


My husband had his MRI today. Our good friend came over to read it as we had the CD at home. Clear as mud to me, but everything points to a bulging/herniated disc. Now the fun begins when we find out our next steps. I just want him well. He is my rock and my partner in crime. Prayers for a conservative doc who will tell us straight and not futz around.

I watched my boy playing on the swing today. He was enjoying was a beautiful picture and then my phone beeped. So I checked Facebook. While checking it, I missed him do his first dramatic jump off the swing. When the girls got home, they were doing a dance and I looked to check Facebook and missed their big finish. This is the point when the "You need to get away from FB for a while" alarm went off. Between missing these little things and finding myself using it as the meter by which I must judge myself as a person, I need to break from it until I can get my priorities in line. FB is not evil. It is just bad for people like me who have no life and no existing self confidence. So tomorrow morning I will be performing a Facebook-ectomy. I've no choice. I'll go back to it at some point, but the break will do me good. Heck, I'll still have the blog!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm not ready

Well, it's all over but the crying. Currently, for those of you who don't live here, our school system has an earlier dismissal time for Kindergarten children than the rest of the elementary grades. As I understand it, our system is a bit of a dinosaur in that most others have gone to "full day K" long ago. While I understand the officials' desire to change the times, I'm mourning the loss of this precious time. What's an hour forty-five, you say? I'll tell you.

When S was in the big K, G was 2 and the boy was baking in my belly. I would pick her up from school and do a couple different things. We would carefully place sister in her crib to finish the nap she started in the car and then snuggle up under a blanket to watch Mr. Rogers and talk about her day. On G's preschool day, we would stop for an ice cream treat or go to the park before fetching her. This was precious time. When G went to K, she still was (and always will be) in need of a nap. The boy was placed carefully in his bed, after falling asleep in the car, and we would snuggle up under a blanket to talk about her day or catch a power nap before picking up big sis. Being the middle, this was especially important for her. Now that the boy will be starting in August, we will be entering a whole new arena. Biggest sis will be starting middle school, big sis will be entering the tween years which will bring on more responsibilities at school and church and the boy will be in full time K. I mourn the fact that, after picking him up from school, he won't get the same special time that the girls had. I know we can set aside mother son time, but that hour forty-five was precious time. Who pulled cards and couldn't open their ketchup...what we sang in music and how we got to move to funky music in P.E.. Again, all these things can be discussed in the car, at the dinner table, at bedtime. But one on one time in that first sweet. And he is a snuggler.

Has it officially been announced? I don't think so. But every teacher and school official I've heard says it is going to happen. Until then, I will soak up every snuggle and every minute of preschool boy before he goes to big school. They don't put in all of the child rearing books anything about how fast time passes. They talk about swaddling and burping positions and how to take a temp five different ways. They leave out the stuff about the alarming rate at which they change and learn. That every time I look at any of them, my heart breaks just a little at how grown up they've become. But oh, what a sweet pain it is....

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have not had a good day. At all. I have decided that I am seriously considering ridding my life of social networking. On FB, Twitter, texts and emails one cannot detect tone. With 600 friends or 2500 followers, how can you tell if someone's status is directed at someone in particular. I tweeted a quote, directed at no one, that I read in a crappy book which gave me much food for thought...that and my friend and I play a game on Twitter where we rapid fire quotes back and forth to each other. We do it until one of us hesitates. Anyway, my quote was taken personally which makes me feel awful. I can't stand to have someone mad at me. Ruins everything. So, my friend Maryellen is making a very good case for getting rid of all of it. I still have to email for work and use texts to talk to people when in meetings. But my lesson has been learned, and painfully so.

This is one of those days where I want to curl up under a blanket with my kids, lock the doors and never communicate with the outside world again. I just need that. Pray for all parties involved.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It is that time again...squeeeee!

My favorite show on television returns with an all new season tonight. Watching the crews of the Northwestern, Time Bandit, Wizard(meh) and Cornelia Marie is so heart stopping and absolutely fascinating. My personal favorites are the Hansen Brothers of the Northwestern. Captain Sig and Deckboss Edgar run their vessel with saltiness and heart. The drama, the danger...I love it! My friend Beth and I often say that we would love to fix them a nice dinner and have a good 4 hour talk with them. Is that too much to ask? So if you try to get in touch with me in the 9pm on Tuesday slot, you'll have to talk to the hub. I'll be riding the waves of the Bering Sea with my boys.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

It almost happened

It almost happened today. I don't want to build it up too much, but it almost happened today. Not since Charlaine Harris's last offering have I been able to get involved in a book. I have friends who are book snobs, though they do not realize it. Never would they read something something so sophomoric, so....easy. My degree included an English element, so I read quite a bit and quite a variety. Shakespeare to Burgess to McCullers to White to Smith to Dahl. Not too shabby. This true that if the book doesn't hook me quickly, it will take forever to read it. Why is this an issue? Ummmm, have you met my children? Great people, but hard to tune out. Today was almost a breakthrough. Because of the lovely thing known as peer pressure, I downloaded and have been trying to read "The Hunger Games". I borrowed the books at one time and read the first paragraph of the first lok at least 25 times. Today with the children playing happily in the backyard, and in between loads of laundry, I got to chapter 3. I know...miracles do happen. Let's hope I can keep this forward momentum and finish it before the movie is out of the theatres. We'll try...

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

What a beautiful day!

What a wonderful to celebrate our risen savior! The kids woke in good mood,

they saw the bunny had dropped off treats, they got gussied up and sang their hearts out during the service. They hate having pictures made, so after the serious one, I said they could do a crazy one:

Next was a butterfly release, which is always a fun and chaotic time. Just like the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, so did Jesus emerge from the tomb. Beyond cool!

After church, we came home and prepared ourselves for a relaxing afternoon. Our grill finally bit the dust in the fall, so the hub bought a new one last night and, with the help of his little elves, put it together this afternoon:

Sarah was the most involved as the others were deep into a game of Backyard Cupcake Wars. But after the assembly, the rewards were lovely:

The amazing tower of dogs and the yummy, yummy burgers:

And my personal favorite, the squash done with butter and yummy spices:

God is good all the time. I am thankful for this glorious day, my wonderful family and the gift given to me "on a hill far away...".
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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sunday's comin'!

What a beautiful day we had on a glorious Easter weekend! My poor husband continues to suffer with back pain, so I love him even more for running the roads with us all morning. The kids went to a Kids Workshop at Home Depot and then we looked for supplies to start a much anticipated garden. This was the boy's first outing since his surgery, so he was excited but worn out (even though he didn't admit it). After naps and prep for a certain hoppy mammal to come, we dyed eggs:

The neighbor's dog has a hard time calming down when anyone is in our backyard, which gets tiring quickly, so Cosby found the ugliest part of our yard for me to snap a pic. This is what she thought of the incessant barking:

I'd rather sit next to the A/C unit too, Cos. she was scoping out the future location of the Cook gardens. We must support the boy's tomato habit, so the garden is necessary.

Tonight we talked about the Easter story, listened to Ray Boltz's "Watch the Lamb" and talked about the things we were thankful for during this time. We also put treats out for the Bunny. They felt like he might like salad this year, after all the chocolate eggs and regular eggs.

I am so excited to go to church tomorrow. The excitement that comes with Easter morning...the music, praising, the return of the Son of God. I am so humbled by His sacrifice and His love for a lowly sinner like me. I can only hope that I show his love through every action I make. "Lo in the grave He lay, Jesus my savior. Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord....". It is still Saturday....but Sunday's comin'!
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday day

It has been a run of the mill day. Not much to speak of, really. It has been a labor of love to keep the boy still and inside. He is so determined to not be held down, when he got still he started to fade. I still think those things being jerked out are the start of a whole new definition of good for him.

Because of surgery boy, we were unable to attend the past two nights of services for Holy Week. The weight of this day hangs heavy like a sack of mulch on my shoulder. That may sound stupid, but here is my reason for that comparison. A bag of mulch is not what I want to have on my back, it stinks, it is dirty. It sticks with me all day...even after I'm done mulching. It is heavy and I am sore after mulching. But, it also causes me to remember that on THIS day, He had a load he did not wish to bear on his back...but he did. It was heavy, he needed help carrying it and he was much more than sore afterward. So I can complain and sound hollow, but it the mulching helps me remember the sacrifice he made without one complaint. Me? Not so much.

I will end with a. Rare moment of stillness for the boy. I'm so blessed to have a husband who is such a good father. What a blessing he is!

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Very tired, but thankful

I don't have a whole lot of brain power this evening. The day has gone better than I ever would have expected. The boy started the morn hyped up, but quickly sobered to all business once we started in the car on our way to the surgery center. He turned on the charm once he got his gown on:

He charmed the staff quickly and, when given the opportunity to ask questions, offered up some doozies. He spoke to the anesthesiologist, asked his questions and took his "Happy Juice" like a champ(though he did not protest when the nurse offered to wipe the nasty taste from his tongue with a washcloth). Once the juice started working, the questions got more interesting as did his general demeanor:

The doc, who is just truly wonderful, came out quickly after the surgery was over to give us the rundown. Big, yucky adenoids and buckets of earwax all gone. Bright future ahead. After he started waking up, they let us go back and assist him with his inaugural koolaid and rocket pop. He lamented the fact that no Bugles were on the menu since he could only have soft foods. We changed him back into his new Batman pj's and started home. Armed with the trusty kidney shaped puke dish, he weather the ride and kept the treats down:

After resting, visitors and many episodes of the Avengers, he was on the mend and ready for the long awaited ice cream. He relished every bite:

He is now slumbering peacefully and readying for the long weekend. Thanks for all the touts and prayers. They were felt and appreciated!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tomorrow's the day

Well after a jam packed day of Easter prep and cupcake store openings, the boy is down and resting before his surgery tomorrow. Adenoidectomy is kind of a creepy word, but I know it is a routine and easy procedure. This is the first time any of my children have been put under, ever, so I am a bit on the nervous tummy needing Immodium side. He is ready, except for the possibility of a shot, and I hope he is three sheets to the wind before that happens. He certainly soaked up the pre procedure attention from his beloved dentist, and one of his favorite radio morning show personalities, his teachers and various relatives. I bought him a cupcake and the grand opening of a new shop, bought him a new superhero shirt and split lunch with him. Not too shabby, I thought. His favorite part of the whole day was "meeting Kim Hansard from the radio" and getting to talk to her. As we walked down the sidewalk, he kept saying, "I can't believe Kim from the radio talked to me!" and proceeded to tell everyone who passed us on the way back to the car. After all that excitement, this is how I found him:

We had a pre-nap reading of "Curious George Goes to the Hospital", which introduced him to the idea that there might be a shot involved. I thought about switching to "Curious George Gets a Job", but a monkey getting high on ether might be hard to explain away.

The afternoon consisted of haircuts for myself and G. Sadly, I did not get a shot of it, but Candace worked her magic as usual. This was the aftermath of just G's cut:

Some of it you can't even see. It filled up her dustpan with a handle thing. She feels about 100% better and ten pounds lighter. I do as well...just wish people could notice the pound loss.

Say a little prayer, if you don't mind, for the cute little spectacled guy who is having his adenoids taken tomorrow. He's had a tough road the last several years. While this is a minor surgery, it is a major deal for him. Hopefully he'll get to know what really feeling good is like. When that out!
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Almost done...

When I was in elementary school, I had a problem. I had HORRIBLE handwriting. We didn't have A's and B's, we had 1-4. Fours were the worst. I got 3's and 4's in handwriting. That didn't make the 'rents too happy to say the least. Being a former schoolteacher, Mom tried everything to help me improve. Nada. Luckily for me, I had an Art teacher who was a well known artist in the area. She did and still does beautiful works, my favorites being watercolors with beautiful calligraphy written in them. She offered a calligraphy elective in my fifth grade year and my grades were saved. I enjoyed the class and, whatdayaknow? My handwriting improved. I went on to take other classes from her throughout my school years.

Fast forward to now, I am finishing up my portion of the wedding invitations for one of my favorite people. It is hard work, but I love to be able to share this skill with others. I don't necessarily love the handcramps, but I like to make brides happy. It is hard to believe that someone with such a crappy handwriting history is now doing invitations for weddings. I only wish I could be as good as my teacher, but that will never happen...ever. I am so proud I was able to study under her. What a gift. Here is one of my favorites of hers:

Maybe one day I'll find my gift in life. Haven't yet and that is a great source of annoyance. It will come sometime. I hope.
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Monday, April 2, 2012

I don't want to talk about it...

Today I did something I did not want to do at all. I filled out all the paperwork for the boy's Kindergarten registration. This should not be happening right now. In my mind, he still looks like this:

Of course, G should still look like that as well. I noticed today as I was waking him up that he no longer has baby fat. Long and lean he has become, with a wicked sense of humor and the kindest heart ever. His sisters adore him and the feeling is mutual.

I know this is the natural progression of things. They start as babies, progress to toddling around and putting everything in their mouths. Then those mouths start chattering and never stop. What beautiful music.

So when I walked in the family room to wake him up from his crash on the couch and found this:

a crying jag was certainly in my future. He still takes a nap for goodness sake. My baby is not a baby anymore. So pray for me during the next few months. My heart is sort of broken...only the first of many times.
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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Get rid of the monkey...or whatever it is

My poor husband. He has a bad back. A troublesome back. He doesn't just have a monkey on his back, I think he has a full sized ape. Back problems are a touchy subject with people. If you've never experienced trouble, count your blessings. At least twice. Tomorrow he goes to see a specialist who will hopefully, as our physical therapist friend says, start him on the road to recovery. I sure hope so, at least. It is hard to see your spouse hurting, well almost crippled. When I was pregnant with G, I started having troubles, but some therapy and an ever shifting baby made it better. When I was pregnant with the boy, it got worse and did not get better nice he arrived. Lots of therapy and exercises finally made things better. Not perfect, but better. Our dear friend has worked with the hub and helped before. This time warrants more help. Let's just pray it works. Constant pain is terribly depressing.

Pray for my husband. He needs it. We all need it. Thanks....

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