Sunday, August 31, 2008

After A While

My friend Lisa is reading a very good book entitled "Perfect Daughters". It is about the adult daughters of alcoholics. She shared this poem on her blog and I thought it was very moving.


After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every good-bye, you learn...

-Veronica A. Shoffstall

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Minute Maid

I've entitled this post Minute Maid because by my estimate I've done about one minute of house work today. I should really be scrubbing my kitchen floor instead of blogging. Alas, you get where my priorities are. It's been a great day. I'm a little worn out between yesterday's school clothes shopping and then going to Olympia with Kyla right after I got home from shopping & not getting back until almost midnight. I decided to take my kids to the festivities in town anyway though. I couldn't pass up free fun. We went to the library and did the Bug Hunt, which was a scavenger hunt to find the words for a crossword puzzle. The kids loved it and loved their prizes even more (coupons to McDonald's for an ice cream cone and a gold dollar coin.) There was also free put-put golf and two bouncy houses (which my boys got kicked out of for jumping too rough.) My eccentric little rockers were digging the live music and especially loved the Johnny Cash songs.

As usual, my kids provided fun commentary throughout the day. Tatton (the spotlight addict) asked me if I was going to blog about some of the things he said, so here's my favorite: We were walking past the police station and Lane said, "Remember when we do the downtown trick or treat and they give away those baggies with candy?" Tatton said, "Yeah, that's cool 'cause we know we can trust them. What kind of police officer would poison Halloween candy? Well... that would be a good way to catch a sweet toothed bad guy." Then, when he asked if I was going to blog that (is it wierd that my kids now expect me to blog the things they do and say?) he tried to convince me to edit it so that he had said, "a sweet toothed serial killer" in case people thought poisoning a plain old bad guy was too extreme. "After all, the poison could be lethal and that might be considered the death penalty and that wouldn't be justified." I just said, "Whatever, Tatton. I'm not going to edit my blog for you. Sorry. First comment stands."

Then, this evening was Cody Helm's baptism. That was neat. I can't believe Cody is already as old as he is. He looked so happy and handsome walking in with his daddy all fresh and clean from the font. It's amazing how there really is a certain maturity & understanding that comes right around this age. I've noticed it recently in Russell too. He's just more conscious than he used to be. Walking through the mall yesterday he was keenly aware of his surroundings and trying to behave. Maybe it was just because his sister was being so terrible that it made him look good, but he seemed like he had recently developed more self-control and responsibility. It's crazy to think that these little guys were so much littler not that long ago. Makes the reality of them becoming grown-ups before too long seem all too real. :-(

Well, I guess I should go start some house work. See if I can go from the minute maid to the 10 minute maid...

Mourning, Folks!

Friends, I am in mourning. I'm mourning the loss of the ability to have any control whatsoever over what my daughter wears. Which, by extension means I'm mourning the loss of her being a little girl.She's morphed into one of those stubborn big girls that have definite opinions and her own taste separate from mine. So sad. I know that you know from previous posts on this blog that she's a very opinionated girl. I kinda like that about her. Sometimes when I look at her (yesterday at the mall) the saying "Well behaved women never make history" pops into my head and I think it's neat that she is so stubborn. However... I'm never taking her shopping again. (Okay, that's not true. Apparently, sometime in the next several years I'm gonna have to break down and take her, but...)

You see, Brooke knows what she likes and doesn't like. She doesn't like anything too girly and she doesn't like anything too "boy-ey". Meaning, she was gravitating to leopard print since to her it made a statement of "I'm not a girly girl that wears just pink but it's not all blue either- although boys like animals so this is kind of a tom boy outfit that's feminine. " (Her line of thought. Not mine.) Comfort is always of utmost importance and she believes practically all pants are going to give her a wedgie so she flips out, "I can't wear THAT! It'll get a wedgie!!!" whenever I offer her a pair of jeans. So, I offered her skirts and baby doll dresses with soft leggings. "Too cute! I can't go to school looking that cute!", she spazzed out.

One of my favorite reasons to go to the Children's Place is that you can coordinate things. I've been cyber stalking their new fall looks since they first came out in June. So, I had certain things already picked out in my head when we arrived at the store. I made the mistake of acting like I liked them though. Never say, "Oh! Look at how cute it is that these socks and hair pretties match this sweater!" to my daughter! She went all exorcist on me. "I hate too much matching!!!"

The one thing I wasn't worried about buying was shoes. In general, she has a shoe fetish (never take her in the shoe aisle if you don't want to see her get a raging case of the gimmes.) Plus, there are usually plenty of shoes that fit her description of comfy and not too girly or too boy-ey. Maryjane's and tennis shoes and crocs for instance. Did my darling little girl stick to those though? Of course not. She latched on to a pair of glittery red slippers just like Dorothy's from The Wizard of Oz. I mean, they WERE cute. They just didn't really go with anything else she had and more importantly, they weren't practical. I tried to use the, "Can you wear those to PE and recess?" excuse. I kid you not, she said, "Well, I'm not SUPPOSED to, but I can just pretend like I forgot it was PE day or you could send a note." What a girl. Am I the only one who thinks that a leopard print sweat suit and glittery red dress shoes isn't a great look?

In the past, I've had success with buying the stuff I want anyway and forcing her to wear it one way or another. For a long time, she was fairly easy to bribe. If she didn't want to wear something I would simply say, "Hey, maybe we should stop and get a treat. If you hurry and get dressed in this we can get to the store faster and choose our treat." or something along those lines. She's gotten WAY too smart for that though, so I didn't bother buying anything she didn't like. Worse, I caved and bought a couple of items that I thought were hideous because I knew she loved them and that she would at least get ready without a fight in the morning.

The only part that REALLY killed me was that I wasn't able to get her hair cut. I had full intentions to get her a cute little back to school cut. We've always compromised on a bob. She wants her hair in a shorter pixie / boy cut. She LOVES chunky layers too. So, I get her an inverted bob and we're both happy. Not this time. She's really good at holding still during the hair cut. So, when she was shaking her head around excessively I knew that she was playing hard ball. I tried to be strict and make her behave and she snarled, "I want you to cut my hair really short so my mom can't put any hair pretties in it or I'm not holding still and getting any hair cut!" to the lady. So, I marched her little butt out of there without any back to school hair cut.

Then, she bawled. Like a two year old. I strained to get her writhing body across the crowded mall and through the busy parking lot and shoved her kicking and screaming into the back seat of my car and made sure the doors were set on child lock so she couldn't escape. Then, we sat there. For a really long time. Waiting for her to calm down. Finally, I told Russell how impressed I was with how well behaved he had been all day long and that since he was buckled and quiet I was going to get him an ice cream sundae at McDonald's. Brooke sat up straighter, "I (gasp for breath) wa-wa-wa-want an I-I (gasp for breath) ice cream s-s-sundae. (sigh)
"Well, you have to be good."
"I'll be good."
"Okay, if you promise you're ready to be nice."

We drove the maybe two minute drive over to McDonald's and just as I start to pull through the drive-thru she starts screaming again. All I can say is that poor lady taking our order. I can only imagine what Brooke's banshee cries sound like through a microphone. So, Russell ate his yummy ice cream sundae with Brooke watching him while screaming, "It's not fair! Turn around! I'll be nice! Why does Russell get one? I'll be nice!" The whole 30 minute drive home.

Now... it's my turn to say "No Fair!!!" I had three boys first and when I finally got a girl I can't even have fun dressing her! I sure hope this stubborn side serves her well and she does something good with it when she grows up. Like makes history.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Five Is The Loneliest Number

My adorable little sister is spending some time with us. I love having her here, there is only one small problem: all of the kids fight over her. Brooke comes up to me complaining that she's getting left out. Then, Russell mysteriously complains that Kelsey & Brooke are leaving him out. I'm not sure how it's possible for them both to be left out at the same time, but we've apparently mastered the art. Tatton & Kelsey are basically the same age, so they play together a lot. Brooke & Kelsey are the only girls so they play together a lot too. Lane doesn't always fit into that equation, so he throws a fit about how nobody plays with him. Russell is typically happy playing with the "leftover" kid who is also left out. That is, until Kelsey asks that kid to play with her and Russell gets dropped like a hot potato and he gets his feelings hurt and decides to hurt whoever's feelings HE can. See what I'm saying? There's so much social drama in this house that if I didn't know better I would assume I was in a junior high.

I can only conclude that I knew what I was doing when I had my tubes tied. Many, many times since then I have regretted doing it, but not when we have a 5th kid here. I'm not big on uneven numbers. For some bizarre reason people always pair off and someone gets left out. I remember when I was growing up there were 3 of us girls that were the same age in my neighborhood. You would think that it would be the more the merrier, but we were incapable of all getting along at the same time. I would frequently run home crying to my mom that Emily and Alicia were playing together & wouldn't let me play with them. Before you feel sorry for me, I have to admit, probably more frequently I was the little brat saying, "No we're the best friends and you can't play!" It seemed perfectly natural to be so cruel when I was a kid. Now, I can't imagine acting that way. I'm hoping that means that my kids will grow out of this too. I don't know how much longer I can take, "Get out! This is our fort!" and "Mommmm- Kelsey and I were watching this movie first and we don't want them to watch it with us!" I mean, seriously? Fighting over sitting in the same room staring at the TV in unison? You've got to be kidding me.

This is, of course, largely due to the fact that Kelsey is a novelty. She's a visitor that is here often enough for everyone to have bonded with her but not often enough for the newness of her being around to wear off. The times that she's been here for more extended periods of time the tug-of-war seems to subside and we kind of find our natural rhythm. My kids also do this when we babysit a baby or toddler too. Every one wants to hold the baby and heaven forbid anyone shake the rattle or talk baby talk better than anyone else. So, I suppose it's not that having 5 kids is awful. I guess if we had another we would acclimate just like the times before. Right now though, it seems like 5 is the loneliest number that there ever was.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This Is My Town

Every once in a while...there's a rare occasion... once in a blue moon... when I feel great love & appreciation for my hometown. Today is one of those days. You see, earlier I was talking on the phone to a friend of mine about school clothes shopping. I told her that I was going to hit some Labor Day sales this weekend. Value Village is having a particularly good one. She asked me if my kids would just die if I bought their clothes there. The answer is honestly- no. My kids could care less about which store we shop at/ what brand name they wear/ or even current trends for that matter. I realized, I think a lot of the reason for that is that we live in good 'ole small town Elma. I'm sure if we lived even 30 minutes away in Olympia there would be a lot more emphasis on clothes. Last school year, the only clothing item my sons asked for was romeos (an item that fits into the description of buying your clothes and your car batteries at the same place.) I shop at Ross, Walmart, and Target which is pretty much where all of the other kids in their class's families shop. It's one of the many things that I take for granted living here. Life is just simpler as compared to some other places.

I also like the lack of traffic. Sure, being a one stop light town is great for jokes, but seriously- one stop light. How nice is that? There is only one intersection in the entire downtown area that you have to wait at a red light. The worst traffic jam I've ever seen is simply when people have to actually slow down to the speed limit through the school zones. I've been known to complain that we only have one grocery store and I wish it stocked more items (you do have to make a 30 minute trip to get certain items- apparently there isn't a huge demand for tofu noodles and organic stuff here) but I know that store like the back of my hand - which makes for a speedy shopping trip as long as I don't run into someone and start talking. Which is nearly impossible since even going through the checkout line means visiting with the employees (most of whom I either grew up with / grew up with their kids.)

Sometimes knowing everyone is problematic. Occasionally, I think it would be nice to move to a land far, far away where no one knows anything about me and my extended family. Having your kids have the same teachers that you did has it's pros & cons, of course. To our family, I think the pros of living here outweigh the cons though. Last night, Brooke & I power walked up Strawberry Hill while Russell was at soccer. Growing up that was my stomping grounds. It was so fun to be able to answer Brooke's questions: "What color was that house when you were a kid?" , "Do the same people still live on this street?", "Did you used to pick apples from that tree when you were a kid like me?"

As August has neared its end and the grey skies and rain have engulfed us, thoughts of moving somewhere sunny and warm or at least somewhere that has 4 seasons have crossed my mind. I think when it comes down to it though, this is where I want to be. In my safe & familiar small town where my kids care more about climbing trees than fashion and the most I ever need for directions is a street name.

There's a for sale sign on a big old' rusty tractor
You can't miss it, Its the first thing that you see
Just up the road, a pale blue water tower
With "I Love Jennie" painted in bright green
Hey That's my Uncle Bill there by the courthouse
He'll be lowering the flag when the sun goes down
And this is My town

(Nana na na na)
Yeah this is my town
(Nana na na na)

HEY! Where I was born
Where I was raised
Where I keep all my yesterdays
Where I ran off cause I got mad
And it came to blows with my old man
Well I came back and settled down
It's where they'll put me in the ground
Yeah this is My town

(Nana na na na)
Yeah this is My town
(Nana na na na)
My town

- Montgomery Gentry

BTW, I tried to include a photo of downtown Elma but whenever I googled it I kept getting a link for Seriously. LOL

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Love Boys

I'm taking the kids to the eye doctor this afternoon and I figured while we were down there we could pick up some school clothes. So, I asked my boys what they thought they needed. Russell scoffed, "I already have clothes. I don't need more." Lane said that he did need clothes but only a couple pairs of jeans and a new pair of shoes. Tatton also insisted that his clothes from last school year still fit him and were in decent enough shape. Brooke on the other hand.... Brooke's list is rather lengthy. I think she's convinced I should spend all the money I've potentially saved by having 3 sons first all on her. Here she is barely 6, going into the first grade, and she thinks she needs a pair of shoes for each outfit. Can we say diva? Now, I'll admit: this IS my fault. Since I saw that ultrasound and knew I was finally having a girl I've swooned over hair pretties and tights. I've made too big a deal out of my excitement to see some pink stuff in our home. But- Oh. My. Gosh. What a stark contrast to my boys' "I don't need much, Mom." Wish me luck taking this primadonna shopping this afternoon!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Crunch Time

We had a back to school drill this morning. I set the alarm and we got up and commenced to pretend to try to not miss the bus. We rushed through breakfast, brushed our teeth and hair, and got dressed down to socks and shoes. Brooke even remembered to grab her backpack. Then, after feeling satisfied that we had in fact all gotten ready by 7:30 and had not missed our imaginary bus we had nothing more planned all day. Only one problem with this scenario: being bored by 7:30 AM does not make for a short day whatsoever. So, we did pretend school work for an hour. Hmmm... 8:30. Now what? We went through the motions during a few chores. 9:15... Luckily for me, the kids got creative and were fairly occupied & well behaved the rest of the day. Here's what they did first:

These pictures aren't fabulous. I had to take them with my camera phone since my good camera's battery was dead. I think they're pretty cute though. This shark was left in our storage shed by the people who lived here before us. The kids dug it out and took turns being eating alive. The "blood" on Russ is taco sauce. Then, they got out a tub of homemade play dough and came up with some fairly imaginative creations. We started to refinish a dresser for Brooke's room. Word to the wise, never attempt painting furniture with 4 children if you want decent results. I'm trying to look at the crazy streaked and clumpy paint job as a personal touch that makes the dresser "special".

In other news.... my daughter has become my biggest inspiration for losing weight. I believe she may have a future in being a personal trainer or perhaps an image consultant. It started last week when I took the kids swimming. I, of course, was sitting on the shore observing while wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Brooke walks up and says, "Why don't you swim with us? Is it because you're too fat to wear a bathing suit?" Nice. I tell her I'd rather just watch them and make sure they're safe. Brooke says, "Are you mad you're so fat? I would be really mad if I was as fat as you." Mindful of wanting to model self-acceptance and a confident body image I lie to her and say, "No. I love my body." She, of course, goes on to try to explain all of the reasons why I shouldn't love my body. Among them: "You're not pretty like you used to be when you were a teenager." Well, duh.

I thought we had moved on but she brought it up again the next day. I was sitting at the computer (shocking) and she came up and asked me why I sit around too much. "You need to work out more." I agreed. She kept staring at me (looking a little bit too much like the little girl from The Ring.) "What?", I ask. "You need to work out." "I know." "Now." I could have pulled Mom rank and told her to knock it off, but the girl did have a point. So, I logged off the computer and hopped on the elliptical. For the first ten minutes Brooke jumped up and down clapping her hands like my little cheerleader. "Faster! Don't be lazy! Exercise more!" Then, she offered me a water break and told me that I have to start drinking more water.

Later, (hungry from my workout ;-) I was snacking on chips & salsa. She looked at me and shook her head putting her hands on her hips, "Mom! What are you doing eating that?" "What? Salsa is made from fruits & vegetables", I say sheepishly. "The chips are junk food.", she chastised me. "I'll only eat a couple." "they're deep fried and salty!", she said. By this point I was starting to feel a little impressed by her knowledge. "Where did you learn so much about health & fitness?", I ask her. "From that nutrition lady at school.", she said casually. Tax dollars at work, people.

So... I've been making an effort. I've been getting in a couple of hours of exercise a day and only eating foods with a low glycemic index. Not that I haven't tried all of this before, but I have a sneaking suspicion I might do better at it now that I have a pair of prying blue eyes following me around and holding me accountable. Now, if I could just get her to quit nagging me to wax my eyebrows and dye my hair! LOL What a girl.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Isn't It Just Glorious?

I went for a drive this afternoon. I used to love to go for drives, but thanks to the current astronomical price of fuel I try to drive as little as possible now. I was taking Lane to an activity though and impulsively decided to take the long way home on the back roads. Let me just say... WOW! I need to get out and enjoy the scenery more often. Sitting here in my house doing the same thing day after day I forget how amazingly beautiful this area is. Driving along and just soaking in the sights was rather enjoyable. Now mind you, I had to try really hard to tune my kids out (the sound of children's screeching voices screaming at each other can really ruin an otherwise striking view.) Anyway... I felt inspired to put together a slide show of some of my favorite Pacific Northwest nature picture. Here it is:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Love Words & Hate Numbers

In case you haven't noticed, I LOVE words. The written word- books, poetry, song lyrics, quotes. The spoken word- have you ever tried to END a conversation with me? I could chat the ear off a deaf person. Walking through Target I see a wall plaque that simply says "Love Is Spoken Here" and I HAVE to have it. Dustin thinks my obsession with wanting to decorate the house with 14" x 6" pieces of wood with a few words on them is silly. Why would you pay money to look at words vs. hanging a painting or something? He argues. Words are just so beautiful to me though. One of my favorite parts of parenting is watching my kids' vocabularies emerge and then fostering a love of reading in them. I had more fun than they did when they were young enough to enjoy cutting words out of playdough with letter cookie cutters and I so miss practicing writing their names in a baking dish filled with salt... My fridge is covered with a couple hundred magnetic poetry magnets. I strategically stash books and magazines into visual places in each room of the house so that no matter where the kids go there is something for them to read, hoping that they will grow up so immersed in literacy that they will "magically" grow up to love words as much as I do.

Numbers, on the other hand, are cruel & ugly things. Case in point, we have a new scale in the bathroom. Have I dared step on it yet? Absolutely not! It's tempted me, silently calling my name from its place in the corner, "Aren't you curious? Don't you want to know?" I just know in the pit of my pudgy stomach that I'm not going to like that number though. I'm sure it's right up there with those other despised numbers: gas prices, Iraqi death toll, my stroke threatening blood pressure. See? Numbers are terrible things. Lane would disagree with me. When he was in first grade and Tatton was a very phonetic preschooler, Tatton was sounding out an easy reader book. Lane walked up and gave him some big brotherly advice, "Don't bother. The English language is so confusing. Just learn math. Math is about facts." Now, I see Lane's point. I do. All this I before E except after C stuff can be a little bewildering if you think about it. All you have to do is sit and watch an elementary school spelling bee to be reminded of how deceptive some words can be. I don't know... I just love them though, warts and all. Give me a journalism class over an accounting class any day. And all you number lovers out there- we're just going to have to agree to disagree.


I have insomnia tonight. Is it a full moon, I wonder? I looked out the window & couldn't tell through the fog. I notice I tend to get insomnia when there's a full moon. Maybe it's just that I have anxiety. Although I don't know if anxiety is really the right word for it. I don't feel upset really. I just sense an excitement in the air. The reality of school being only 3 weeks away has struck and I'm making mental lists of what we need to do beforehand.

I can tell that the local teenagers are sensing the end of summer creeping up too. We've had a lot more craziness going on at the park. I've had to call the sheriff's department twice this week because their drag racing and loud base music at all hours of the night was getting out of hand. We've had a few minor vandelism type things too and I REALLY don't want to give anyone the opportunity to leave me a nasty mess to clean up if I can help it. I typically hold off on calling the sheriff's department if I can. I don't want to be the annoying lady who constantly calls & drives them crazy when they're already busy & I know that kids will be kids. More often than not all we have to do is just drive a vehicle towards them and they start driving off. Park caretakers coming makes teenagers flock out the exit gate like a herd of cattle. Kind of makes me wonder sometimes what exactly they were doing that was so terrible that they act so sheepish and feel the need to run. Obviously, I have some idea, but sheesh! If you know that what you are doing is bad enough that you don't want to get caught, maybe you should think twice about whether or not you REALLY want to do it?

It's still slightly disturbing to me to see so many people coming here to the park and acting the ways that they do though. I worry that the kids that are racing on the road will get in a wreck and that they're drinking & driving. I wish I could knock on the fogged up car windows and tell them to be careful - warn them that teenage pregnancy is hard for all involved. Even the middle aged people having affairs... What are they thinking? Why on earth would you not only risk hurting your loved ones and breaking up your family, but at a park? By a children's playground? Come on, people! You couldn't come up with a better location than that?

Anyway... just thinking (since I'm not sleeping.) I'm honestly not as frumpy and judgemental as I sound. I was a teenager myself just a decade ago, but it's been a LONG decade. Having 4 kids of my own makes me feel parental towards these teenagers running around town at 2 AM. It makes me fear for my kids (Lane's already turning 12 in 11 weeks for crying out loud!) There's not a lot to do in Elma. The other night when the sheriff's cars were pulling up outside I was shamelessly promoting "being on the good guy's side" to my kids who were all excitedly watching out the window. I kept telling them I feel bad having to call the police, but I just care too much about those kids out there and don't want them to get hurt making bad choices. I must have repeated 10 times, "Isn't it a good feeling to be on the good guy's side and to help protect those kids? Those officers are going to make sure they're safe." I don't know that my kids really got the message or not. For all I know they were probably thinking that I'm a big party pooper always ruining people's fun, but I'm HOPING that they get some idea from watching me call the police on strangers that these things are important and that I have no quelms about doing whatever it takes to protect them also.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Botox, Baby!

So... my daughter apparently watches too much TV. How else can you explain what happened earlier? Her jaw & neck have been really bothering her from her surgery so I gave her some Tylenol in a syringe type measuring dispenser. What does she do with it? She comes up to me, frowns in concentration as she comes in to look at my brow wrinkle and sticks the syringe on to my wrinkle and squirts Tylenol on it. Clearly, I could have stopped her before she got me sticky with grape flavored acetaminophen. I was just fascinated as to what she was doing / thinking though. I asked her why she did that and she said, "You just needed a little Botox, Baby." LOL
Unfortunately, my wrinkle is still there. I am happy to still be able to move my face though. Gotta "express myself".

We finally went to the fair this weekend. I was bummed all week 'cause I felt like we were missing something huge. Between Brooke's surgery and Dustin's stomach flu we just weren't up to it. Finally, we loaded up the troops and made a day of it. In the rain. With Dustin's stomach still upset. And Brooke running a low grade fever. And me having a migraine and excruciatingly painful ovaries that make me feel nauseus. (Not that you NEEDED to know that.) What a bunch of grouchy people we were. I can't remember ever having this little fun at the fair. I'd like to think that the boys had fun though. I feel like this summer has been such a disappointment to them. I couldn't bear the thought of missing out on yet another tradition / memory. They simply had to pig out on greasy, sugary, salty food and go on rides until they were green. I just know that they're already going to be the kids that stare blankly and answerless when asked, "What did you do this summer?"

BTW, I'm loving You can find practically anything on there! For FREE! I'm shocked at some of the things people are giving away. I got a used computer system for the kids to play their cd-roms on so I can have my computer to myself. I found Brooke a bunkbed, although I need to go look at it before I know if I want it for sure. That's the only problem I've found is that since everything's used it isn't necessarily in perfect condition. But FREE! That's my kind of price.

Friday, August 8, 2008


"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist."
George Carlin

I'm not sure that I like that quote. Although, I do agree with it. My problem with it lies in the fact that if I'm being honest with myself I have to admit that I'm a complete idealist. My mind survives by walking down parallel alleys that only exist in Norman Rockwell paintings. I've been disappointed plenty though and I don't THINK I'm cynical. Atleast, I don't want to be a cynic.Sure, I don't expect much out of people anymore, but I tell myself that's because it's better to be pleasantly surprised when my low standards are surpassed. I tried having high standards before but it was exhausting always being frustrated when they couldn't be met. True, I'm at a loss when someone asks me who my hero is. I don't get what the big deal about heroes is anyway... What's the fascination with idolizing people? We're all human. Doesn't that somehow level the playing field? Seems to me all the big names are just a sex / steroid / drug scandal away from being unseated anyhow. But I'm not a cynic or anything. ;-)

The problem with idealism is simply that the root of the word is ideal and another meaning for ideal is perfect. I'm pretty sure perfection has to be some sort of curse. Nothing good can come of it. Just think about it. What makes us the strongest? Struggles. Overcoming the odds. Laughing in the face of adversity. With that in mind, who would ever want everything to be perfect? What a rip-off! Where do you go from there? At least when you hit rock bottom the only place to go is up. I'm assuming the only place to go is down when you reach the top?

I'll still always ooh and ahh over all things classicly ideal: white picket fences and rocking chairs on covered front porches, lemonade stands and tire swings, little girls running around in Easter dresses, and the smell of cookies baking for after school snack. I'll still never feel like a good enough parent if we don't keep traditions like going to the pumpkin farm and making smores on campouts. I'll always feel sad that the classic stereotypical family with both a mother and a father is now considered an old fashioned luxury and most of us eat food out of packages because we don't have the time or the skills to do it the way our grandparents did. My dream life is a sort of Pollyanna meets 1950's suburbia meets Little House On The Prairie wannabe existence. If I'm not an idealist then I don't know what else to call it...

I just don't like to think that somewhere between being a person who recognizes a certain way that they wish things could be and being a person who has lived enough to know that they can't always get their way you become a person who is jaded and negative. I'd like to think that the same attitude that makes a person want things to be good and ideal can help them overcome the urge to become a cynic. We can be idealists about our personalities too can't we?

"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
Ray Bradbury

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Brooke's Surgery

Brooke's surgery on Tuesday went well. She seems to have quite a bit of energy and she hasn't been in too much pain. The hardest part was just coming out of anesthesia. I think they kind of over medicated her. She had Tylenol w/ codeine and Valium when we first got admitted, then they gave her the regular gas mask (strawberry flavored) anesthetic, she responded badly to that and instead of going out she started flipping out, so they had to give her morphine and belted her down. She got really upset when she woke up so they gave her some percocet... To say the least, when she got to the recovery room she was really drowsy and confused. Her heart rate was erratic and her oxygen levels kept dipping too low. Her throat was irritated from the breathing tube and swelling, so she needed a breathing treatment with epinephrine.

While I was busy worrying about Brooke, poor Dustin got queasy and passed out without me noticing. He says he tried to tap my hand to warn me, but I was too concerned about Brooke's dipping oxygen levels. So, I'm not sure exactly how long he was out before I noticed. My hand brushed the side of his hand and I realized it was freezing and soaked. I looked over at him and his face was blue and his eyes were rolling. I tried to shake him and call his name, but he was OUT. I turned to the nurse and said, "I can't wake him up!" and she called Code. While all of the staff was basically running to our room, I acted on instinct and slapped Dustin across the face. (I still feel a LITTLE bad about that.) He, of course, came to and looked around at all the drama - completely unaware of what was going on. Brooke's anesthesiologist ran in saying, "Which patient is it?" When the nurse said, "Not the patient. The Dad." He looked at Dustin sitting there now wide awake and got the most hilarious look on his face (sort of a mix of amusement and disgust- like, "Are you kidding me?") They forced Dustin to lay on a stretcher while he waited for the medics to arrive. (It's hospital policy that you have to get a full work up when something like this happens, but they had to call in the fire department to do it since we were at a children's hospital.) He, of course, was a picture of health on paper with a beautiful EKG, perfect blood pressure and blood sugar levels. (Actually, I would LOVE to have those numbers. My blood pressure is almost double his.)

Two hours later, Dustin had gotten his "physical" and Brooke's medicine was starting to wear off. It was funny, she went from laying there talking nonsense to sitting up and asking for her popsicle just all of a sudden. Which was such a relief. I felt like we went from this major high stress crisis moment to everything being fine all at once & they were telling us we could go home. Yay! Considering that I had originally been told that we would probably be out of the hospital at 9:30 AM and here it was 1:00 PM, that felt like a big deal.

Brooke's surgery obviously didn't hurt her guilt tripping skills. She was quick to ask if we could stop at Blockbuster to rent a Dora movie (something she had declared herself too old for last month when she turned 6, but apparently Dora is her "comfort show"). We went into Blockbuster as requested and she loaded her arms up with several dvds. When she was told that we were planning on getting just one or two she said, "But my throat hurts REALLY bad. I deserve these." She also needed a trip to McDonald's for a milkshake and mcchicken sandwich. I wasn't sure if she could handle eating the sandwich yet, but she proved me wrong.

Since we got home she has been a trooper. She grimaces when taking her medicine, but doesn't fight it. The biggest issue we have encountered is that when she takes a drink it comes squirting out her nose. Apparently, her adenoids were always so big that she didn't ever learn to think about that when she swallowed. She CAN drink without having fluids come out of her nose now, but only if she makes a conscious effort to take small sips and swallow carefully. I'm hoping that after a little practice she'll do it that way every time without incident. I mean, the thought of her going through life with this problem seems rather terrible. Another issue that she's found is that she doesn't love her new sense of smell. Her nose has always been so stuffed up that she couldn't smell much. To suddenly be able to smell everything has been kind of overwhelming for her. She keeps gagging from all the nasty smells. I have to admit, it's kind of funny to see her going around the house gagging over smells and squirting drinks out her nose. Tatton had this same surgery but he never had these problems. I don't know if that's because he was only 2 years old vs. her 6 years old when he had his operation or if her adenoids were just bigger and therefore more noticeable when gone? Who knows?

Anyway... just thought I'd let ya'all know how her surgery went. Aside from everything I've just said, I think it was a success. She's already noticed that she's sleeping a lot better. The first morning she woke up and said, "Hey! I can tell I didn't snore last night 'cause I'm not tired!" Hopefully, now she can also notice a difference this winter and not miss as much school!

Unfortunately, Dustin came down with a really bad flu yesterday and so I technically have two patients (thank goodness Brooke is doing as well as she is or I would really be pulling my hair out.) As it is, I'm pretty tired from all of the demanding, whining, and grouchiness. Like I said, Brooke hasn't been TOO bad considering - so you know who I'm talking about. ;-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

FYI- my anxiety was premature and unnecessary

So, you can ignore that last blog slash rant. Work was great. It was nice to be back actually. Dustin stopped by Big 5 and picked up cleats and shinguards & took care of the overflowing park garbage cans on his own (well, the boys helped and LOVED it. LOL BTW, that isn't sarcasm. They thought is was cool.) I managed to get caught up on the kitchen before I went to bed and did enough laundry to classify as good enough. I woke up this morning and realized my migraine was going away (Hallelujah!) A quick swing into the store on my way home from work stocked our freezer with the necessary popsicles and pain killer I needed for Brooke's surgery. I gave my mom a happy birthday phone call from work which she was happy with. My kids are currently wolfing down sandwiches for dinner and off to soccer we go.... Painless. My anxiety was a waste. Sounded worse in my head than it turned out to be as usual. Just thought I'd let you all know that I'm just a big whiner. :-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jekyl & Hyde

I wish I could just make up my mind already. First, I was ready for school to end. Now, I can't wait for it to start. Then, I was excited to not work this summer 'til I got "summer cabin fever". A condition brought on by repetitive and monotonous housework and childcare. Going to work's been sounding pretty good. So, I get a call last week asking if I can work and of course I say, "Sure!" Now, here I sit at the computer on the eve of my day back to work and I have knots in my stomach. This weekend of having a garage sale, 4 children who think casting fishing poles indoors is acceptable, and church stuff has done a number on my poor house. I feel guilty leaving it like this and getting caught up on it in time is impossible. Not to mention, tomorrow night is soccer for all 4 kids and we still have two kids who need me to go get them cleats and shin guards. There was a triathlon here at the park today which means all of the garbage cans are practically overflowing. Brooke has surgery in Tacoma early Tuesday morning. I'm sure a freezer full of Popsicles and some clean laundry would be helpful. Tomorrow is my Mom's birthday. Oh yeah, and I've had an ever increasing migraine since Friday night. What was I thinking? No is an easy little two letter, one syllable word. Oh well... how bad can a simple 8:00 - 4:30 shift be? Other people do it all the time. It's just so hard to force myself to do it when I haven't had to. I think I can hear the clock ticking a countdown. tick-tick-tick... Arghh!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Life Ain't Always Beautiful But It's A Beautiful Life

What Did I Do Without Them?

So, I'm currently having a garage sale. I've been having so much fun watching Tatton be a salesman, which inspired me to jot down a few things about each of the kids' unique personalities. Going by birth order:

Lane- is such a great big brother (a job he takes very seriously.) He is also an incredibly creative young man (I started to type kid, but he has become more of a young man, I must admit.) He loves writing science / fantasy fiction stories and drawing. His passion is video games and the computer. We have to force him to unplug himself from technology. He says that he wants to make video games when he grows up. One of my favorite things about Lane is that he has a really good sense of right and wrong & I enjoy having conversations with him as he can discuss issues very maturely for his age. Sometimes he has a hard time understanding why adults have such a hard time making good choices when everything is so black and white to him. With that in mind, he has been very interested in politics this election year and has some interesting opinions regarding the candidates and their respective parties. Lane has Obcessive Compulsive Disorder and Tourette's (which I hesitate to include since I hate to use a medical condition as part of my definition of him) but it really is such a huge part of his life that I think it's worth mentioning. I think that it has been a blessing for him in a lot of ways despite the difficulties. For starters, he is very caring and is always the first one to sympathize with people since he understands what it's like to struggle. Quite often, I have jumped to conclusions about people or been judgemental and Lane has reminded me to be kinder and more understanding. He is also really health concious and it's important to him that I keep lots of fruits & veggies in the house. If I make less healthy foods too often I can expect to be nagged. I know Lane doesn't like being the oldest child, but I think he is the perfect first child since he is such a fantastic example for his siblings and his naturally cautious personality makes him so great at watching out for them. I think we're all so blessed to have Lane.

Tatton- is one of those guys who always has something to say and has an opinion on everything. I can't figure out whether he's right brained or left brained considering that he's both incredibly verbal and literate & great with numbers. He is fantastic at money management and when we go to the store he adds up the cost of everything in his head and can always tell you how much it's going to cost right down to the tax. He likes to be frugal and loves a good deal, which is hard for him to come by considering that he thinks almost everything is unnecessary. He keeps telling me that he doesn't want me to waste so much money on clothes & toys, etc. for him. The one thing that he does like me to spend money on is books. He LOVES collecting books and has been reading at least one thick chapter book a day during summer break. Tatton has a tendency to be lazy. He can't stand to let his mind rest, but he demands a lot of rest for his body. He has several things that he wants to be when he grows up, but none of them involve too much manual labor. Right now he's gravitating between being a lawyer, a chef, and a professor. Surprisingly, as much as Tatton loves to read, he HATES writing. So, I'm always trying to find ways to make him learn to enjoy it more (writing's a big part of the 4th grade WASL after all.) I'm so thankful to get to see the world through Tatton's eyes as he makes everything more animated & interesting for all of us.

Russell- has an iron will. Once he is determined to do something nothing will stop him. He enjoys nothing more than working hard & is a perfectionist who prides himself on a job well done. Russell is really athletic and throws a mean spiral. He would probably be even better at sports if the poor kid could see. He wears some pretty thick glasses. Right now we're anxiously awaiting his replacement pair to come in as he's broken his other pairs (again.) I forget how bad his sight really is until times like this when he doesn't have his glasses. Yesterday, we went to Walmart and there were these ladies with two toddlers on those leash things. He asked why there were dogs in the store. I told him that they were kids and he squinted his eyes up and shook his head, "NO. Those are dogs, Mom." Cracks me up. Poor blind kid. Russell wants to work with his dad when he grows up. He loves the heavy equipment more than any of our other kids and enjoys riding along on deliveries in the low-boy. Probably 'cause he thinks it's "manly". Russell loves all things macho. When he was 3 he was watching Bambi and he announced that he wanted to go hunting. He doesn't love living at the park, because to him it's a deterrent to us living where he really wants to live- a farm. Probably such a mom thing to say, but I think Russell is just an all around good, easy to raise kid and I appreciate his good attitude & hope he stays this awesome forever.

Brooke- Last but not least is our princess. Not unlike the Princess & The Pea she is one extremely sensitive girl. She refuses to wear anything that isn't comfortable which means almost everything in her wardrobe is 100% cotton and stretchy and tagless (sweat pants and t-shirt dresses are her faves.) She prefers to keep her hair bobbed just below her chin because it's easier that way and she loves Junie B. Jones books. She gets eczema and a stuffy nose when she has dairy products, but she begs for macaroni & cheese and cheetos. Brooke has the luxury of having nice big brothers who indulge her bossiness and she pretty much rules the roost and dictates which games they play. She is also the type of girl who gets attached very quickly and loves very deeply. She draws pictures of herself with her friends and family & writes "I love you so much" and "best friends forever" on them. She cried for 2 weeks before the end of school and 2 more weeks after it ended because she loved Mrs. Stein so much and didn't want her kindergarten year to come to a close. Brooke doesn't like things that are TOO girly. She's not a total tomboy, but I think when you have 3 big brothers you learn to be cautious about choosing pink over blue. She strikes a balance by doing things like wearing her earrings but making sure she has her hair covering them so she's not "too cute" and playing games like house but having a cool career like being a secret agent or firefighter on the game. She brings her baby dolls to me and says, "Mom? Can you babysit? I have to go fight the bad guys."

Well, that's a little bit about my kids. Most of you know all this already, but I figured I would write it all down for posterity's sake since I'm sure they won't be like this forever.