Saturday, August 30, 2008

So Traumatic I Forgot a Title.

In the six years that I have been a mother there have been difficult days, days that pushed me right to the edge of what I think I can handle. I've been reduced to tears many times as a mother. Tears of frustration, tears of joy, tears of exhaustion, tears of pure, all encompassing fear. I'd like to think that recently I've been handling the difficult days better in recent months. Rolling with the punches, laughing off my frustration. Finding humor even in things like poopy messes and kids fighting. Yesterday, all of my composure flew out the window.

Yesterday was just too much for holding it together, and the tears flowed.

Sometime in the late night on Thursday, Zack came into my bed, like he often does these days. He tossed and turned, and about 2:30 Friday AM I put my hand on him to calm him and realized he was burning up. Temperature of about 102 and we gave him Motrin. Besides the fact that it took him two hours to fall back asleep and lots of "mommy take my jammies OFF! Put my jammies ON!! No, not YOSE (those) jammies!! Mommy, I'm pooooooopy change my diaper" the rest of the night was fine.

We awoke the next day and he was happy and fever free and I dismissed the fever as a reaction to either the flu mist or the other immunization he had gotten on Wednesday. No biggie.

Mornings around here are wild. I was getting Ben and Zack dressed and motivating the big ones to get ready for school and Zack was fussy, but every forehead check felt normal. We were all getting in the car and Zack fussed and then got quiet and he was sitting in the floor on the garage. I called his name, and no answer. The way he was sitting was strange and my radar went flying. Something wasn't right. He was warm again so I picked him to go in for Motrin and I realized that something REALLY wasn't right. His gaze was fixed. I put my face right in front of his and said "ZACK, talk to mommy!!" and he turned his head away from mine, but made no indication he had heard me. I ran in and called 911 because at that point I was pretty sure this was a febrile seizure.

The 911 dispatch guy was great. He had me take Zack's clothes off and lay him on the floor. He told me not to hold Zack, or restrain him, but just to let the seizure happen. He told me what to expect and that these are not uncommon. I kind of hate that they are not uncommon because even though they are usually not harmful it is not something any parent should have to see. Just for information sake, they say that 3-5% of all children will have these at some point. It is most common before the age of 3 and the older a child is the less likely there will be a recurrence. However, after a febrile seizure, there is a chance there will be a recurrence within 24 hours.

During the seizure, Zack shook, his breathing was strange, but he was breathing. He started to turn blue and while I had been teary before, that is when I couldn't hold the tears back anymore. The tears of pure fear that this was not going to be okay. Even though intellectually I knew that the all statistics said he would be. There are certain circumstances in which thinking rationally and factually are pretty much impossible. This was for sure one of those times. I have no idea how long the actual seizure was. I don't know if I start the time when he blanked out, or if I start the time when he was shaking. At any rate the time I called 911 to the time the ambulance arrived was about 5 minutes, so we are talking about a short time frame, but it felt like forever. After a few minutes, though, he stopped shaking and rolled over, just like the dispatch said he would. I rubbed his back and cried. Then I realized that I needed to call and say I couldn't pick up Mark's friend for school. His friend's mom jumped into action and came and picked up Eric and Mark and took Ben from me too.

I felt utterly helpless as the ambulance pulled away with my baby inside and I went to explain to the boys that Zack would be okay. Fortunately, it wasn't long before I could be on my way to the hospital. Somewhere mixed in all the chaos, I called Kevin and he got to the ER before the ambulance did. This eased my mind so much, because I was so afraid Zack would be terrified around total strangers in a strange place when he felt bad. I cried the whole drive to the hospital, which also felt like ages, but it was about 20 minutes in reality. I worried about the what ifs. What if it wasn't a run of the mill febrile seizure, but something worse? What if he had brain damage? What was going on in that ambulance?

When I walked into the ER room Zack and Kevin were in I got a smile from my little boy. It was the best smile ever!

The rest of the day we just worked to keep the fever down, alternating Motrin and Tylenol and I about freaked out when it was back up to 102. But, he was fine. There were no more seizures and today he is fine. No more fever, back to his normal, silly self. I couldn't be more grateful for that.

The happy ending is Zack is fine.

Update: I was so nervous weaning him off the motrin/tylenol regimen. I did it though, because I can't just medicate him like that forever. Last night he woke up crying about ten and I just KNEW he was going to be hot. However, he came downstairs and I checked and he was perfectly cool. Such a relief for me. This has changed the way I feel about fevers. Before I was a "if they are comfortable and the fever is below 101 don't medicate." (I would have medicated this fever regardless, I just didn't have time. He was miserable and it was around 102.) Now I will be dishing out meds a little more liberally.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

All In A Day's Work Part Two

If you haven't read part one yet head down there and read it.

A few notes that I realized I had forgotten just so it all fits together...

I later discovered that when Zack had been playing with my razor, he also cut his hair. This is something I would normally take a picture of and post on my blog ASAP except that my camera is GONE (sob.) But, he's got two chunks of hair completely missing on one side of his head. Shaved right down to the scalp. Probably not all THAT noticeable to anyone but me, but still.

Also, Mark while doing some homework coloring decided to color Zack's face. These were also not washable markers, so even though I washed his face there was still lots of marker on the boy with the partly shaved head.

Ben ate some of the moon sand before I had a chance to clean it up.

I think that is all the important stuff I forgot, but I did reallllly wish I had some gum on the way to curriculum night and I'm sure that in addition to looking disheveled and mortar on my foot that I also had Taco Salad breath. Nice, right?

Anyway, that was Tuesday and after collapsing into bed I had a pretty good night. Zack came and joined us in our bed about 2 AM "Peeeeas pull me UP Momma, I want to nuggle with YOU." Which, I can never resist because I love those Zack snuggles... Here's the continuation of the story.


5:15 ish AM I am jolted awake by the hideous sound of the house alarm wondering what the heck is happening. Kevin bolts out of bed and runs to 1. turn it off and 2. investigate. Mark comes into our room and says "Benny went in the garage mom." Kevin ran to get Ben and I told Mark that he was to NEVER... EVER... get Ben out of bed. EVER! Not that I haven't said that before. Thankfully, Ben did go back to bed and I sent Mark back too although I suspect he never went to sleep. Any ideas to get this kid to NOT wake up at 5 AM and do crazy stuff, I'd love to hear it. I am not a morning person and this is not really amusing anymore. PLUS I'm sure it exacerbates some of our other behavior issues.

6:30 we were up for the day whether I liked it or not and it went a little something like this. "Hey guys, here's your clothes, let's get dressed." They completely ignore me and go running in circles around and around the living room table. I was a teeny bit distracted getting breakfast ready so I didn't immediately realize they were IGNORING me. Until someone said "MOOOOOOOOOM, he said I'm a (insert 5 year old insult here, I can't remember which one.) blah blah blah, whine whine whine." NOT getting dressed. SO I told them again to get dressed. And a third time and finally I warned them that there would be NO TV TIME IF YOU DON'T GET DRESSED IN THE NEXT 3 MINUTES. And I set the timer. Which got them moving but not without lots of bickering... Advice on that also welcome! I also bathed the Zack and Ben because Zack still had marker on his face and Ben had breakfast alllll over his body.

8:15 Finally all ready and heading out the door. Saying goodbye to Kevin who was staying home for the day to get some of the tiling that we had to UNDO redone.

After dropping the kids at school we went to the pediatrician, who told me Ben did indeed have a yeast rash and agreed that his eczema is out of control. (Big fat "phhhhhhhbbbbbt" to the doctor who scoffed at my concern for this earlier this year.) She prescribed stuff for the yeast and stuff for the eczema and then we decided to get him tested for food allergies in case that was what was causing the outbreaks. Thank GOODNESS because I have felt HELPLESS against this eczema and it not only looks hideous, it bothers him. If there's something we can avoid to help it stay away I'm ALL for it. Have I mentioned I LOVE our pediatrician?

Then we looked at Zack and she told me not to worry about his little speech quirks, that as long as people understand him 3/4 of the time he is okay. I think mostly he is understandable but I may be wrong. I get it when he counts "One, Two, Hee, Hore" and can translate "hidge" to fridge and "boo tee hull" to beautiful. So, I guess he's okay there. I guess. I still worry because I am a mom and that is my job.

Then came the shots and the feeling horrid for inflicting the pain on my babies but they both were FINE after a sticker. Thank goodness for stickers.

10:30 headed to Target to get the meds the doc prescribed.

It was actually a pretty boring afternoon. Ben napped, Zack played and I was the level girl/tile wiper/ pretty much not all that much help helper.

3:00 Boys bound in the door, one of them carrying his shirt. I ask him why he has no shirt and no answer. Kevin tells him to put his shirt on. We snack, and I grill them about their day. I don't remember the exact conversation but Mark got sent to bed for talking back and IGNORING me. I went to check on him about 5 minutes later and he was out like a light. See, he's exhausted.

When I was upstairs checking on Mark I heard Ben stirring and walked in to him digging in his diaper and he then before I could stop him he put his hand in his mouth. His poop covered hand. I shrieked "Nooooooooooooooo" and picked him up very carefully and carried him down and gave him yet another bath. Washed his sheets, and his wall, and just laughed because it was that or cry. Then I sat and wondered if he was going to get very, very sick from ingesting poop from a yeast infected diaper. So far, he's okay.

5:00 It was getting increasingly hard to keep the kids out of Kevin's way and he was making good progress and didn't want to stop. So, I decided to take the kids out to dinner. Mark picked Arby's and I smiled as Eric high fived him and told him "GREAT choice Mark!" That's what I want to bottle and keep forever. Those moments are priceless and make all the other stuff worth it!

The only problem with taking ALL four with me to feed them dinner is that I also had to go to the grocery store for just a few things, but four kids in the grocery store under the absolute best circumstances is still so, so hard. BUT! I made it! We survived. Whew

7:00 Roll in the door and put the baby to BED with his nice fresh sheets. Given the fact that he had already been bathed twice I didn't think he needed another.

7:15 Other kids in the tub. My tub so they could all fit and because there are still a few tiles that need cleaned off in the other downstairs bathroom.

7:45 Everyone in jammies, prayers and bed. Blissfully, because sometimes it all just works out (and they were really super super tired) they were all asleep almost immediately. Even Ben, who briefly woke up when I went to tuck in Eric.

Then Kevin did a few more tiles and we sat down and watched The Closer that we had recorded Monday night but hadn't had time to watch. It was really nice to have some downtime.

A few notes in conclusion:

To Eric: Please don't let your brother aggravate you so much. When you flip out and whine over everything he does he's getting exactly what he wants.

To Mark: Leave your older brother alone. Also, you don't HAVE to have the last word and argue with me over every.single.issue.

To Zack: Mommy's bedroom and bathroom are off limits. No more cut fingers and shaved heads.

To Ben: PLEASE don't eat crap. I mean that literally and figuratively.

To everyone reading this: I hope you don't think I'm complaining. I actually find most of this stuff kind of funny in a weird sort of way. It doesn't always feel funny when I'm living it but I write from a place of being a mom is hard but, dude, it's NEVER boring. I try to keep that in perspective, and I often fail at that, but I try. I have to check my attitude on a daily basis when I find myself impatient or grouchy. I don't know if I'm conveying what I'm trying to here, but don't think I'm resentful or complaining about all this. I just hope it gives you a smile or to feel like you are not alone (because I know my kids aren't the only little crazies out there! )

All in a Days Work

Okay, so it was two days, but who's counting.

It all started
here with a dramatic outburst from Mark. The little ones and I came home for a bit and went to the gym. I was TIRED from staying up too late for the umpteenth night in a row, but I thought I was holding it all together pretty well, until the one of the child care girls (really nice girl) said, "You look like you are having a rough morning." I never have been able to hide my feelings from people. I just smiled and said "Thank goodness for you girls!" I told her that if Ben got fussy not to hesitate to come get me as he has a pretty bad diaper rash and it might bother him if he gets wet. And off I went

10:15 work out, sweat, and in general forget about everything for just a little bit. This is why I go to the gym, well that and the whole weight loss thing, but the forgetting part is a really big deal to me!

11:30 Leave the gym and head to the tile store to pick up the rest of the tile. Drive home hoping that this isn't too much weight for the van to handle. Arrive at my neighborhood, realizing Ben is asleep and Zack is alllllllmost asleep too. A tandem nap situation being very, very appealing, I decide to drive for just a little bit. Somehow while driving, Zack woke Ben up, so home I went.

12:30 Feed the kids.

1:00 Put Ben down for a nap.

1:15 Attempt to get something done around here. Do the dishes, and wipe down kitchen counters and then realize Zack has found the moon sand and it's ALL over my floor. Which is made of concrete at the moment. Not as if that makes moon sand harder to clean up, but I find it necessary to mention my floor is currently CONCRETE as often as possible right now.

1:30 Continue to try to clean up, and successfully get the living room cleaned up. I don't vacuum right now, because seriously, it would just have to be done again later this afternoon again.

1:45 Try to relax for a few minutes and put on a cartoon for Zack. Realize that there is moon sand! on the brand new tile! that Kevin had just laid the night before and remind myself that I MUST clean it off before it gets in the spaces since it's not grouted yet.

2:00 Realize there is no way in the world that Zack is going to sit still and/or let me have a second to relax, so I play with him.

2:30 Realize I never ate lunch and make myself a swiss cheese & tomato sandwich and a very large glass of diet coke. Ahhhh.

2:45 Prepare myself mentally for the big boys to arrive home. Hope that Mark is in a MUCH better mood than he was in the morning.

3:00 Big boys run through the door, about the same time that Ben wakes up. I go through school stuff, to see if there is anything I need to fill out, or sign, or whatever so I don't have to remember later.

3:15 Make muffins for snack at Mark's request. I have 3 helpers. They take turns stirring and life is good.

3:30 Realize I never cleaned the moonsand off the new tile, and get the vacuum out again to do that. I was thinking about also vacuuming the living room now when Zack starts screaming and Eric starts yelling "ZACK'S BLEEEEEEEEEEEDING." I hurry to find out why Zack is bleeding and learn that while I was vacuuming he went in my bathroom and got my razor. I bandage him up and count how many hours until bedtime.

4:00 Decide I'm not going to fold the laundry in the dryer just yet, and instead throw it in the laundry basket and put the washer load in the dryer and a new load in the washer.

4:30 Make one more last ditch effort to clean up, ultimately giving up because it was time to make dinner.

5:00 Prepare taco salad in relative peace. Thank you Noggin.

5:30 Get dinner on the table just as the hubby walks in. Take a deep breath and eat. After, getting up 5000 million times for things I forgot, drinks, etc.

6:00 get the baby ready for bed, change my shirt as it had some sort of goo on it, and run out the door for curriculum night.

6:30 Realize that compared to the other parents, I look dishevelled and wonder if I remembered to put lip gloss on. Also realize that I have mortar on my foot and I'm wearing sandals. Aren't I cute? AND I forgot my pen and paper to take notes if need be, and there's a website I want to write down. Remind myself to write the teacher a note to ask for the url... then realize I can probably google it.

Curriculum night ruled. I love the teachers and staff at this school. Everyone who spoke seemed truly excited about teaching kids. It made me happy. And being alone in a room with adults. Lovely.

7:30 Roll back in the door feeling very relaxed and ready to do the bedtime routine.

7:45 Kids are in jammies (it was a non bath night... we do baths every other day unless circumstances warrant more) we say prayers and I follow the three big ones to their beds. I tuck in, hug and kiss, sing a song and make my exit. Eric complains that he isn't breathing well, but his cough sounds suspiciously fake to me and I don't hear wheezing. I tell him that I will check on him in an hour to see if he needs the nebulizer. This placates him for now. As I walk out of the room Ben starts screaming. I get him settled and just then the power.goes.out. Then it comes back on. Mark flips out because it was DARK and he was SCARED. I work on calming him down and telling him his nightlight was on again, so he didn't need to be afraid anymore. He asks "Well what if it goes out AGAIN?" I told him we have flashlights close by and I will bring one up to him if the lights go out again. This really only makes him feel a little better but we talk and I can finally leave. An HOUR after I started bedtime they are finally almost asleep. Except Eric is now coughing for real and wheezing. So down he comes for a neb. treatment. THEN, finally I was done.

9:00 Come downstairs and help Kevin with tile. Or watch and occasionally check tiles for levelness. That's about the extent of my tiling ability.

10:30 Stand very quietly and still while Kevin realizes there is a mistake in the centering of the tile and he needs to pull up what he's worked on the previous two evenings RIGHT away. I soak the pulled off tiles in the tub and scrub and scrape the dried mortar off while he scrapes mortar off of the floor.

Sometime after midnight I fall into bed and crash like you wouldn't believe.

To Be Continued.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Teacher May See His Other Side Today.

Mark's teacher may be in for it today. On the other hand, maybe he got it out of his system and will be an angel for her. I hope. I think.

Today, in the car, halfway to school, Mark says to me "I don't WANT to go to school." It's day 6, he's been fine every day until today. I tried to smooth it over and determine why the sudden reluctance, and my attempts were met with balled up fists and a tirade about the playground. Because, you see, at their school recess does not equal playground every day. Each class has an assigned playground day, and with Tropical Storm Fay making her way all around us last week, it rained on his playground day. His and everyone else's, it was a wet, wet week. Apparently, yesterday they were going to have a make up playground day but something happened with the lining up and they lost it. Which, if that's true, is fine. I'm all about cause and effect with kids. So, I tried to explain this to Mark over "It's not FAIR, I want to play on that playground now!!" I kept getting interrupted by his tearful rant until I finally firmly told him he needed to get it together right.this.minute. so we could talk about things. He kept raging, at which time I demanded silence. Sometimes the magic works. First, I told him he better never speak to his teacher that way, at which time he sweetly says "Oh, I don't mommy, I'm always nice to her!" And I continued that he shouldn't be speaking to ME that way either. I get no reply.

By that time we were at the point in the line that I let the boys get out of their carseats and move up to the front of the van to expedite the drop off process, get hugs and kisses and send them on their way. Today, Mark would not budge from his seat. "Come here buddy, I need to talk to you." He unbuckled, but suspiciously said "I'm only coming up there if I don't have to go to school." Which, I obviously could not agree to. I was quickly devising my plan if he would not, in fact, get out of the car. Pretty much the only option I could see was to park and drag walk him in, possibly kicking and screaming the whole way... all the while managing Zack and Ben without the stroller because I had taken out of the van so I could go pick up our tile (another post.) As fun as that sounded, somehow I managed to cajole him into getting out of his seat and come talk to me. I gave him kisses, and tried the kissing hand approach in case this was really about him being reluctant to be away from me. Silly me for thinking that because "MOM, that WON'T help." Dude, my ego is crushed. We got to the drop off area, and I told Eric to have a good day, and Mark stood like a statue with his I'm mad look on his face, where he pushes his lips out and narrows his eyes. I said "Mark, hang in there bud, it's time to get out now. Have a good day." Miraculously, he did, and walked towards his class with his best scowl on his face. The teacher that helped the boys out of the car and I exchanged a look and I rolled down the window and gave her the cliffs notes version. She reminded me that he'd be fine in about two minutes and I agreed, and had to laugh, because what else is there to do.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Have you ever had a flashback to a previous time? As if your brain just kind of goes back in time and forgets the past five (or so) years? No. So it is just me.

I joke a lot about mommy brain and say things like "I think I was smarter before kids." And, even though it's a joke, I'm afraid it's true.

Last weekend I was filling out school paperwork, getting ready for the boy's first day of school. It was all going smoothly. Until I was filling out my zip code and I wrote 73... and scratched it out, realizing I was writing the zip code I lived in in Oklahoma. Then I looked back, and for city, I had written Edmond... state, Oklahoma. I scratched it out and wrote it correctly. Mark's teacher might think I'm insane (I must invest in white out.)

It hasn't happened in a while, but I have been known to give out my parents phone number. The one that I had last over 12 years ago. About 5 phone numbers ago.

So, maybe it's mommy brain. Maybe, I'm just crazy. I'd say both are equally likely. What I want to know is when does it come back? I still would say I used to be fairly smart. Four kids later, I'd say my brain is pretty much mush. I'd like a little of it back. Please?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Stranger Danger

On Wednesday, as we recapped the boys day at school, it occurred to me that I should go over who can pick them up from school. I told them only Mommy, or Daddy, or Jack's mommy can get you from school, okay?" They said "Okay." To make sure I was clear, I said, "And what do you say if someone else tries to pick you up and bring you home?"

Eric looked up at me and said "Thanks!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Olympics

We have really enjoyed watching the Olympics this year. It kind of surprised me how the kids have gotten into it too. I love the gymnastics and have spent several nights staying up entirely too late to watch it.

Today, Eric asked me "When we go on the cruise ship, are we going to China?" I told him "No, buddy, why?" He replied "Ohhhhhh man! I want to go to the Olympics!" While, I agree, that would be awesome, I doubt we could get there in time. That would be one long boat ride. Not even mentioning that the cruise isn't until January. Minor details.

Mark said "Mommy! We watched Olympic wresting at school! And I saw Swim Dancing!" Apparently, this is what they did in PE. While normally, I would think it odd to watch tv in physical education... in this case (and that it's day 2 of school) I think it's fine!

I love the Olympics and will be sad to see it end. I know this contradicts my statement in previous posts about not being into sports at all, but something about watching the USA take the gold, or silver, or even bronze just makes me feel happy and... patriotic I guess.

Go USA!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Story by Zack

Yesterday, while picking up the kids from school Zack asked "Do you want me to read you a story, Mommy?" I, of course, said "Yes!" And he told me the following story.

"Ponce a time, there was a big monster in the sky. And he made a bunch of storm clouds. Do you like my story Mommy?" I said "YES!"

He continued "The big monster ate the storm clouds."

"Why did he do that?"

"Because he is a silly pants!"

Speaking of storms, Fay completely missed us. Never even made it to a hurricane. Whew!

Monday, August 18, 2008

So, Yea, Fay

At the risk of obsessing over Tropical Storm Fay, who I've mistakenly been referring to a hurricane... well, face it I'm obsessing. It's our first tropical storm (hurricane) and I'm laughing and being all "Oh come on, I grew up in OKLAHOMA and 50 mile an hour winds. That's NOTHING people." And then they go and cancel school for tomorrow on me. And then they EVACUATE the coastline and that in turn cancels Kevin's work for tomorrow. So, I might be freaking out just a little. Maybe.

When I grew up we prayed for snow days. Being Oklahoma, it didn't happen very often. But snow days brought visions of hot chocolate and snow men and snow ball fights and snow ice cream. All rarities, and all lovely. Hurricane day pretty much just brings me visions of HURRICANES.

Tonight we'll bring in everything from the patio and all that jazz. Tomorrow afternoon Fay arrives (unless she changes course which is FINE by me.)

I think I'll go watch tv, which is all Fay, all the time right now.

This obsessive rant brought to you by me... back to your regularly scheduled internet. Thanks.

PS... First day of school pics & post to come as soon as I find the camera. Yes, you read that right.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

All Kinds of Random

There's lots of things I want to post about, but I don't really have time to do five or six posts so I'm going to just pile it all into one mishmash random post. It may get long, or I may forget half of what I'm going to say, and it will just be average. Either way... here goes.

The Last Hurrah
Friday was the last official day of summer. The last day to be all me all the time with all four boys. We celebrated by going to the Children's Musuem of Tampa with our friends. Just us 2 moms, and 7 kids between us. Surprisingly, it was just nice. Not stressful at all. No complaining, no meltdowns. Someone tell me why I haven't been there before! It was a typical Children's Museum (well typical of the one other I've been to.) We walked along the street of the miniature city. The streets were lined with buildings. The Post Office, where they decorated a stamp and pretended to be mailmen. The bank, where Mark sat behind the desk and gave me a funny look when I asked him to give me a loan so I could pay for allllll my many children's college educations. Zack handed me laminated "Euros" and I handed them back and asked for US Dollars please. They had no clue what I was talking about (turns out I was in the currency exchange line. Eric was running the check cashing window.) Once finished in the bank, we walked through a travel agency. The kids worked the McDonalds drivethrough, and we went to the library and they put on a puppet show. We saw a house that was for sale and then later visited the Remax office where we could browse real estate listings. I got a kick out of my kids playing. OH and they got to ride down the street on Scooters and Tricycles. It was a really fun setup! Not bad for a last official outing of summer!


The Big Bad Bowling Finale

Saturday was the last day of our summer bowling league. What's that sound? Oh that's me breathing a sigh of relief. Okay, fine. Bowling was fun. All except Mark tormenting Eric and Eric WHINING that Mark was bothering him and well... the last day was no exception. No, in fact the last day was the worst yet. I finally got Mark to quit pestering Eric by threatening him that we would LEAVE and he would not get ICE CREAM which was planned for after bowling & the awards ceremony. And we danced, because since this was the end of league party it was "cosmic bowling" meaning in the dark, with disco lights blazing and LOUD music. So we danced. Um, typically I only dance at home, but this situation warranted desperate measures.

Then, there was the awards ceremony. Mark by sheer luck of the draw won first place, along with his partner. What I really should say is Mark's partner was an uncannily good bowler for a five year old and single handedly won first place in the league. Being a first place winner, Mark got an insanely tall trophy. Which he proudly showed Eric and I immediately knew that there were going to be problems. Maybe even tears. Eric, who steadily improved with each time bowling, and did just as well as Mark, did not win a trophy, but did get a Participation Award (which was a really little trophy.) He was crushed. There were tears. I tried to comfort him but for quite awhile the poor boy was just inconsolable. It was one of the times as a mom that I have felt completely helpless and just broken hearted. On the one hand, life can't always (ever?) be equal. It was FAIR because Mark's team won. It's not so easy to explain that to a six year old. I know I can't protect him and make it all right for him, but it was devastating to see him so sad. I tried to explain that sometimes he would win and sometimes Mark would win. I reminded him of his Outstanding Reader award from Kindergarten and whispered to him that reading was WAY more important than bowling (without letting Mr. First Prize Trophy hear me) and nothing consoled him. Finally, ice cream overcame the sadness, and while he wasn't completely over it, he let it go (until later when we revisited it at home, minus the tears.) To add insult to injury... since this was not a league game that they bowled they called it a "tournament" and they didn't have to play with their team, but could play with whoever they wanted. Mark picked his buddy Jack to play with. Any guesses who won the tournament and got to pick a prize? MmmmmHmmm. Yep. Mark and Jack. So I then got to explain to Eric why HE didn't get to pick a prize too. So, after having to hold back my own tears once that hour, I told him quickly that we would go to the store and pick a toy there later. And we did that today. Because, sometimes, Mommy can fix it. Even though I'm still not sure THAT was the right move either.


Hey, Fay! Stay Away!

Hurricane Fay is heading our way. Okay, I'll stop rhyming now, I promise. Anyway, (arghhhh I'm not doing it on purpose now!) Fay is looking like it will be a category 1 hurricane by the time it reaches land sometime Tuesday night. EEK. Our very first tropical storm/hurricane. We are as prepared as we can be. We aren't in a flood zone. Just expecting wind and rain. It will be interesting. As for me, I'm just hoping Fay will fade out like Edouard did a few weeks ago in Houston or change her path and go back out to sea. Go away Fay!

Oh, and a funny side note, Kevin pointed out tonight that the name Fay just doesn't sound much like a big and scary storm... We'll see what she has to say about that I guess.


And Just One More Little Thing

I did it! I survived the summer. It wasn't pretty. There was chaos. And yelling. And bribery. And messes. And meltdowns, some by me. This last few weeks I pretty much gave up on any semblance of creating order and just went with the messy flow. I am going to try with all my might to get back on a cleaning schedule this week.

I've been so caught up in my school starts in 10 more days, 9... 8... 7.... counting down that it somehow escaped me that Mark was starting kindergarten and sometime yesterday I developed this lump in my throat and feeling bittersweet about him being in real school. And Eric being in first grade which is REALLY REALLY real school.

Don't get me wrong. I'm definitely ready to send them to learn for 6 hours a day. I hope it will get me settled into a routine of sorts again. I'm glad they are getting bigger, but (sniff) they are getting SO big. Motherhood is just chock full of contradictions. Or is it just me?

So, we have backpacks packed. I've filled out all the first day of school paperwork (twice) and laid out their clothes. We did a last minute run for school shoes this afternoon because I realized that while I thought their current shoes would be okay, that suddenly they looked more like play shoes than school shoes. They are revved to go, and so am I. First day of school pictures to come tomorrow!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Did I Mention Boys are Funny?

I got out the camera to document something funny that Mark did. Look at the overalls. They are size 2T. He is FIVE. I can't believe they even fit on his body at all, but they did. He said he wanted to look like Max on Max and Ruby. I have to laugh, even with as much as I detest that show. For multiple reasons, but mainly WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS? Ok, I digress. Shortly after the picture was taken off came the overalls and back on with regular clothes. I guess it wasn't very comfortable after all.

And then, our house erupted into chaos. Okay, more chaos than usual. "Mommmmy take my picture, no mine. Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrssssssssssssstttttttttttt." So, somehow I ended up flat on my back snapping pictures of kids who kept getting systematically closer Good thing I'm not claustrophobic.

Zack making his cute little biting his lip face.


Ben being upset that I wouldn't hand over the camera. How dare I want to protect it?

Ben being a little happier (but don't let the smile fool you, he was still trying to snatch it!)

"Take a picture of me in the basketball hoop mom!"

I don't even know.

Remember how I said they were right in my face? This is what I was talking about. That's Ben's hand on Mark's head.

That's right, they are FUNNY!

And this one. I told them to sit by the wall and they could be silly, but I wanted a picture of them all together. I guess this is what they interpret as sitting.

One on One - It's Really the Way to Go

The four of my children together can be delightful. They can also be very, very difficult. I'm sure if you've read this blog at ALL you can think of a number of things that would fall into (hopefully) both of these categories. One of the things that I struggle with, being the Mommy to a whole bunch of boys, is trying to give everyone what he needs and still retain some semblance of my identity and sanity. It's really tough to balance.

Enter one on one time. Recently I've had unplanned, purely accidental one on one time with 3 of the kids and it's been eye opening. In a good way.

First, I was heading out the door earlier this week to run a few errands. As a general rule, I like to do this ALONE. Because, it isn't all that often that I get to be alone, and while I used to simply hate it, I really do crave time alone these days. Then Mark sweetly asked "Can I come with you?" And, in the interest of being totally honest, I said "no." Then he said "But whyyyyyyy?" And I felt guilty and told him to get his shoes on. Eric decided to stay home with daddy, and meanie me didn't give Zack the option. So off we went. I already detailed some of the really cute things Mark said and did in another post, but we really had a great time. We didn't even do anything that would normally be considered fun, but it was nice.

Last night, we were watching the Olympics and Eric appeared at the top of the stairs. He needed to "show me something on his leg." So I let him come down. He had a bug bite that he had scratched, that was a convenient excuse to get out of bed. I asked him if he'd like to watch volleyball with us and he did. It was so much fun listening to him be excited about the game, talking about how HE would like to be in the Olympics someday and swim super fast like the swimmers he saw earlier in the day (recorded on dvr.) He even went to bed without complaint after the game was over.

This morning Zack was in my bed (as he is most mornings.) I woke up to chubby arms around my neck and "Good Morning Mommy." "Mommy, can I see your eyes? Your eyes look GREAT Mommy!" "Mommy I am going to KISS you." Then he did. "AND I am going to HUG you." Then he squeezed my neck.

It felt nice to have some time, with just one kid even if the times were brief. I think it was great for all of us. Now that I remember what that is like I think I'll work a little harder at spending time with one boy (or two) at a time when I can.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Kevin

Today my husband turns 32. That sounds OLD, huh? Ok, just kidding... my turn is in January and that is probably when I'll finally freak out about being EEK. I haven't cared up til now but 32 just sounds so very ADULT. I know, I'm crazy, but that is entirely another blog post... this one is about my husband and kids. And CAKE.

I had planned to forego the traditional birthday cake route because Kevin is not really a cake person. He'll eat his slice, then the rest gets eaten by me throughout the next few days. Granted, the boys help, but I bet you can guess who eats the most. Then I just feel fat and gross and well, it's bad. So, my plan was to make Creme Brulee instead which would THRILL the man I am married to. Especially since his parents got him a torch made specifically for the purpose of carmelizing the sugar to make that oh so yummy crunchy coating. Good plan, no? Apparently, not.

The boys, upon hearing my plan revolted and insisted that there must be CAKE on Daddy's birthday. Sigh. So, now we have cake and creme brulee.

I can feel my thighs getting fatter already.

Happy Birthday honey! I love you, and your kids, well, they take care of you!

It Really Is Just Funny

Besides a few minor temper tantrums and kid arguments, yesterday was pretty awesome. The best part is I really enjoyed the kids. I'm ashamed to say that's been rare this summer. It's been hard and I spent entirely too much time feeling frustrated. Granted, four kids can be difficult and,well, frustrating. But yesterday was just fun. Which is saying a lot on a day that I had tons of housework and errands to run.

A few things that made me smile yesterday...

Lunchtime. Mark asked me to make lunch right now and I told him to wait just a few minutes. Patience not being one of his strong points, he informed me he was going to make his own lunch. I asked him to wait just a minute and he goes "FINE, I'll make my own lunch." And I watched him. He got out the tortillas and said he was making a burrito. He got out the vienna sausages (ick, I know) and I told him that MAYBE that he should use beans. He said NO that HIS burrito would have the little bitty hotdogs in them. OY So I watched and just let him do his thing. He asked me to open a can of corn and I did. He put some parm. cheese on it and rolled it up. Oh, I told him it wouldn't be a good idea to put the WHOLE can of sausages on one tortilla... it took some convincing, but he let me help. It was all over but the eating. You should have seen his face... It was all I could do not to crack up, but he asked me to make him a cheese quesadilla and I did.

Then there was my Zack being so very sweet to me. He loves to hug and kiss and be silly and it is just adorable. I hope he stays this sweet forever (but he can stop throwing the fits, really.)

In the car on the way to a friend's house I was listening to talk radio and the host was talking about Vladimir Putin. It took me a minute to realize why Eric and Mark were giggling suddenly. Okay, I'm a little dense, I had to ask. Eric said "Mommmmma, that guy said POOT-IN." Of course, the potty humor! I should have known. I couldn't help but giggle along with them though, because it was pretty funny. Plus, kids laughing is contagious! Then I explained to them who Putin is and we had a pretty good conversation about that, and you know, that made me smile too.

Last night I had to go out to get my mom a birthday present and stuff for Kevin's birthday dinner, and to take some sample tile back to a tile store. Mark came with me. He is so funny with people. I don't know what criteria he uses to judge or if it's just a whim but some people, he'll shy away from, but others... whew... he talks their ears right off. He told the tile store guy that we were going to buy his school supplies, and he wasn't in PreK anymore he was going to KINDERGARTEN! He told everyone who would listen that "Tomorrow is my daddy's birthday and we got him his favorite steak and we will make him a cake and buy him presents." He told one person "This is my mommy. We have FOUR boys in our family." Then he waited for her to be impressed. I think she was.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tile Tile Everywhere

The back splash is all but finished. It's all over except the grout and the plan is to finish that tonight. And, because we're just on a roll (or something) we've decided to do the floor too. The reason for doing the floor is because, much like the paint in this 2 year old house, the tile sucks. It is a great disappointment actually, because we moved here thinking LOOK! A nice house! Built by a good builder! And it's BARELY been lived in...and then we moved in and in less than a month the tile.started.cracking. And now that the backsplash is SO pretty the cracked kitchen floor just doesn't really fit in anymore. **Side note** I know that houses settle and cracking tile is normal, but it's more than that, the tile has chipped in LOTS of places for things that I don't believe should have hurt good tile.

So, we are hunting for tile. A suggestion for all you tile stores out there. If you are CLOSED, please take your OPEN sign down, or turn it off. It's kind of annoying to pull in with a welcoming sign saying OPEN please spend your money here, only to be met with a locked door. We did manage to find a few truly open stores this weekend, though.

And despite my wishy washy ways; "No, I think that's too dark, too red, too light, too bumpy, too glossy, not textured enough, not big enough, no that one's just ugly" we have it narrowed down to a few choices. Tomorrow I need to go to the store we used for the backsplash and compare.

Oh, and the kids... not so thrilled with the tile shopping. "It's BOW-ing" said Mark, "Yea, boring!" agreed Eric.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Swimming Along

Yesterday I blew off any attempt at housework and took the boys swimming. It was the right decision. I wasn't getting anything done anyway, and frustrated about it.... so I got them all ready (which took a full hour) and we went. It was quite nice. Eric and Mark can swim with the arm floaties (because their inept Momma never signed them up for swim lessons again this summer.) Zack happily plays on the stairs with his arm floaties on which he just doesn't quite trust yet. Then there is Ben. Who is the first of my kids who isn't completely TERRIFIED of the water at this age. No, he's not afraid. He'd stand on the ledge above the first step into the pool, grab my hands and say something that sounded suspiciously like "one... two... three..." and then... he jumped. I'm sure it's not surprising given the other crazy things he does.

It was a fun afternoon after a bunch of not fun afternoons. We all needed it. Which reminds me that my Plan for Staying Sane This Summer was abandoned. Maybe that's the reason these last weeks have been rough. There's so much to do around the house just to maintain and I got caught up in that again. When will I learn? So today, we have to clean. Because it takes a certain level of cleanliness for me to keep this sane feeling. School starts in 10 days. I just have to hang on a little longer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just A Regular Day

I feel like it's been awhile since I've had just a normal day. A day without being sick, or some sort of major chaos. I told a friend yesterday, that I'd like just a normal day please. And then I realized, that yesterday was, in fact kind of a regular boring day. Minimal kid fighting, they were fairly entertained, and I didn't have one single heart attack. No one got lost, hurt, or sick. It was a great day! Then 5 o'clock hit and they went nuts as usual, but let's just leave it at it was a great day!


A while back I entered a contest on for a game from Brighter Minds Media, Thomas & Friends Special Delivery. I entered, even though I was certain I wouldn't win, because I thought the boys would love it. I didn't win, but later that day got an email from Elizabeth at Brighter Minds who said they would send me a copy if I would review it on my blog. Happy to recieve the game for the guys, and do a review, I said yes. So here it is.

They have asked to play lots and lots and lots. They argue over whose turn it is. Okay, so they argue all the time, but seriously, they love this game. I asked the bigger ones their favorite part. For Eric it is the story mode. He sat down and went through the whole story, intermixed with games and activities. Then he wanted to do it again. He loves it! Mark says the game is great and his favorite part is the games. There is a separate part where you can do the games and not listen to the story. He loves the track building games, where you can select a background and build tracks. He spent quite a while building different tracks and watching the trains go. Zack doesn't quite have the mouse clicking thing down, but with my help, he has also loved his "choo choo chain" game.

Thanks to Elizabeth and Brighter Minds Media for the opportunity to review this game! I know the kids are going to continue to have fun playing it. In fact they are begging to play now, so I will let them and go do something productive or something.

I Looked Up and Saw My Future

Last night while Kevin was working on the back splash, I mowed the lawn for him. It was purely selfless. I assure you, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I needed OUT of the house and AWAY from the noise for a few minutes. Nope, not one bit. Anyway, I was finishing up the mowing, and this teenage boy runs between the two vacant houses that sit next to mine. I kind of wondered what was up, but didn't think much of it. Then I pushed the mower around to the front to put it away, I noticed him standing, hiding between my house and the one on the other side. He noticed me and raised his finger to his lips as if to say "shhh, don' t rat me out lady." He had a big smile on his face. It was then, that I saw another young man, riding his bike in the cul de sac. I watched just to make sure nothing sinister was about to happen, but what did happen only made me smile. He ran up stealthily behind his friend and said "Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa." Which sent me into the future a bit, because I can totally see my boys doing that, all in good fun, to their friends, and probably each other. I can only hope that this is the kind of mischief they'll get up to as teenagers, instead of the worse kinds that will land them in trouble.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I've had to call 911 three times in my life for actual emergencies.

The first was when I was a 19, and about a year after the Oklahoma City Bombing and everyone in OK was still on edge over that and some moron called in a bomb threat to McDonalds (where, I worked at the time) so we evacuated all the customers and I ran next door to Pizza Hut and called 911. The bomb squad, fire department, police and the whole 9 yards came out and in the end, it was just some stupid kid (I assume) playing a prank. But it sure was scary for a minute.

The second was New Years Day, this year. Zack woke up in the night with a croupy cough, and we did all the normal at home treatment for that. Several times, I almost took him to the hospital, but in the end decided to wait until morning. Early that morning I was sitting on the couch with him, exhausted from the night, watching cartoons with the boys. He was in my arms and all of a sudden he got really quiet. I had been watching his breathing and it slowed down. Then his little eyes rolled back in his head and he stopped breathing. I ran and woke Kevin and told him I thought Zack wasn't breathing, and he gave him mouth to mouth. Meanwhile, I dialed 911. While on the phone with the operator, Zack woke up and started breathing. It was my most horrifying moment as a parent.

Then there was the day I lost the baby. Also known as yesterday. I was loading the dishwasher and everyone was in the kitchen with me, except Ben. I did a brief glance and couldn't see him anywhere. So I looked in his usual hiding spots; the bathroom, my room, upstairs. Didn't find him anywhere. My heart began beating a little faster and I called on the boys to help me find him. What scared me most is usually when I call his name, he'll giggle and start running toward my voice, but this time there was no cute baby voice answering me. I looked in the garage because sometimes he'll get out there if I forget to lock the door, but he wasn't out there. I checked the backyard and the frontyard. All of our safety mechanisms were in tact, but I couldn't think where else he could be. I called 911 because I could literally picture my little guy wandering in the road, and couldn't bear to think what might happen. I talked to the operator while I was still looking. She connected me to our Sherriff's Office just as I found Ben. In the playroom. Standing in the toybox. I was too relieved to be embarrassed right away. I hugged him, and kissed him and talked to the lady on the phone who told me that an officer would have to come by. Then I was embarrassed at the prospect of having to face someone at my door to potentially judge my motherhood. The officer was nice enough. Commented that I had my hands full when he saw all my boys. Told me "good luck," as he walked away with a grin on his face. I can't even imagine what he was thinking. But it's over, my baby is safe, and that's all that matters.

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's Been a Few Days

Ack! It seems like it's been forever since I've sat down to blog. I don't know why. Mostly, I think just busy, and boys and every time I sit down to try to write something I get interrupted 5,632 times and then I can't even remember what I wanted to say. I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating. I need a device that connects directly into my brain to catch my thoughts and later I can go find the ones that are mental drafts of future blog entries and write. Seriously, I can't remember anything anymore.
Anyway, a few things from the weekend.

Kevin and I had a date Saturday night and it was great. Having friends to swap babysitting with is awesome! We went to The Melting Pot and it was YUMMY. I've heard mixed reviews, but it was fun and good food. And then we went home and put the kids to bed and I started to feel really badly and then ended up being sick all night. Not the end to the perfect evening I had imagined, but I guess you have to take the bad with the good. I'm all better now thank goodness.

The back splash project carries on. And because I can't wait to show you all, I will post the "in progress picture."

I can't wait to see it with grout, and after we get the microwave back in and everything. So far I think it is BEAUTIFUL (those oddly placed tiles are there for the microwave mounting so they won't show when it's all done. I'm sure you knew that though.)

Despite feeling completely crappy from the night before, I decided to keep our appointment to get the boys pictures done since I've neglected to get any of their yearly pictures done. My plan was to just get a group shot, but Ben was not having it. We'd place him and he's immediately get up, and run in the direction of the door. Then at one point Zachary flipped completely out. You've heard the term nuclear meltdown? I totally know the meaning of that now. Anyway, we managed to get a decent (not great) picture and some fabulous individual shots of Eric and Mark. Here's the group shot.

See, we had spent the better part of 45 minutes trying to get Ben to sit down near his brothers for a good pose, and then we decided to stand everybody up and the little nut wants to sit down. WHATEVER. This is what they look like at 6, 5, 3 and 1 1/2.

Also, did you know that dressing 4 boys all the same increases the comments on 1. how many children I have and 2. that they are ALL! BOYS! by about 90%.

So, that's all for now! I hope to get back to writing everyday. Right now, I'm off to undo some of the damage laying on the couch most of yesterday caused.

** Just a note that I am totally blaming my weekend illness on THE MOUSE. Where else would I have picked up a stomach bug? I'm still in the crossing my fingers that no one else in the family gets this phase.

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