Thursday, February 28, 2008

I've Attempted to Publish Some Writing

The King told me about Each week, another topic is posted for people to write in about. It always has to do with parenthood. So, I submitted the following story. Oh yeah, it really did happen. Honestly, I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to. Anyway, this one happened just a few weeks before Snort was born. And, I've posted one for this week's contest. The situation from this week's fine little gem happened last school year. If y'all are patient with me, I can post the picture that goes with it tomorrow. I'll post the link at the end of this story.

So, without further ado, here's the story from a few weeks ago:

Gifts For The Neighbors

We live in a small home on a small street in a small neighborhood in a small town somewhere in a not-so-small state. Part of being in a small neighborhood like our's is that everyone knows each other. If you are us, however, more people know you a lot better than you'd like them to. This is because of the three children you already have, and the one that's on the way.

Our children seem to stay up at night thinking of ways in which they can thoroughly humiliate us without us having a chance to stop them. Usually, their plans are successful and result in me having to hide in a deep, dark hole which I've dug in the backyard. This particular day was no different.

The Beast (that's my four year old) is more than your ordinary outside-the-box thinker. Common sense isn't in his vocabulary. Add to that the fact that this child can get past any lock, and you begin to get the idea of what sort of child we're dealing with. Honestly, this kid is so good at getting past locks that he could have gotten out of Alcatraz faster than those other guys, and he wouldn't have gotten wet in the process. Anyway, I digress.

I was napping one afternoon this past fall as I was pregnant out to next year with my fourth baby. The Beast took this as an opportunity to work his magic. Quietly, he snuck into my locked bedroom and into my husband's "romance drawer" and found our "balloons". You all know what I'm talking about. Condoms. Clearly we weren't using them anyway. I was, afterall, pregnant AGAIN. Delighted with his latest find, the Beast proceeded to my side of the bed and raided my Mommy stash. Nothing says "success" like a condom and a handful of M&M's, right?

After such a great find, one would assume he'd stop there, right? Oh no. Not my beast. He has to go one step further. Seeing that I was in a blissful slumber, he opted to get the broom handle and unlock the very high chain keeping the door closed and him inside. (I'll have to thank his older brother for teaching him about that later). Once the door was opened, and he was safely outside, he decided it would be a great time to visit the neighbor and bring him a gift. Luckily, I had heard the door open when he went out, though I was still in a groggy state.

As I got to the door, and saw what he was doing, my heart sank. There, standing at the neighbor's door, was my Beast. But what was that he was holding behind his back? Imagine the horror that went through my mind when I realized what had happened. My beloved Beast had taken my husband's Extra Large Trojan's, filled one with as many M&M's as he could find, and had gone to the neighbor to present him with a gift he'd never forget.

And this is why it's never wise to live in a small house on a small street in a small town when you have a small person with really BIG ideas.

And the link for this week's submission: (except that I think I may have shown how much I need to learn how to do things because following this link may prevent you from voting for the one YOU like best...which doesn't have to be mine).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Update on Princess C

Miracles never cease! After being on the brink of death (literally), and scaring her sweet parents half to death, Princess C is home today. She has a long road ahead of her, and is not totally out of the woods. But, from what I understand, all of our wishes have come true.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Pretty Princess Needs Our Love

My one my dear MOFia friends, Queen L, has a beautiful princess in her home. She adores her princess and lives only to love and care for this princess (and the other princess in the home). Princess C is very sick right now. Very sick. Queen L is scared. There isn't much I can do about it, and I'm sad about that. But, I have this blog. At the end of this entry, I hope that each and every reader will post a wish for Princess C. We so need her to get well again soon. Not everyone has to know her and meet her to love her and help her. They just need to wish. So, Princess C, this is all for you:

"Once there was a beautiful princess who was preparing to rule a kingdom in a land far away. She was the most beautiful princess in the most beautiful land you have ever imagined. And, in the land, there lived beautiful flowers and trees and animals. And all of the beautiful flowers and trees and animals only wished they could be as beautiful as this princess. While most flowers liked to lean toward the sun, the flowers in this land leaned toward the princess, just hoping some of her beauty would fall on them.

The princess had shiny golden hair and a smile so radiant that visitors came from far and wide just to see it. Indeed, it was believed throughout the kingdom that just being in the presence of the beautiful princess was enough to cure the most painful ache and make even the deepest sadness disappear and bring out the sun on the stormiest of days. The princess, named Princess C, had the lovliest sparkling blue eyes you had ever seen. They were blue and twinkly like the ocean water when the sun shines brightly and reflects off of it. Anyone with sorrow in their hearts only needed to look into Princess C's eyes, and only feelings of pure love and joy would overtake them. Princess C was truly a gift to the kingdom and all its people.

Princess C was a happy princess. She loved living in the castle with her mom and dad and sisters. She loved playing with all of her princess toys. She delighted in giggling with all of the other princesses in the land. She treasured time spent with her parents, the king and queen, when they would tuck her in at night after reading the most wonderful bedtime stories you could ever imagine. Most importantly, she found her greatest joy in just being herself.

Indeed, all was well in the land. It was a happy place, and all who lived there were happy to be there because they knew Princess C was learning all that she could, and was preparing to rule the kingdom someday. As long as Princess C was in the kingdom, no bad could ever come to it or the people who lived there. Even all the beautiful trees and flowers and animals knew that.

One day, something seemed different in the kingdom. The birds weren't singing their usual glad songs. The sky didn't have the usual bright shining sun. Instead, it was gray with storm clouds just waiting to burst at any second. The critters weren't scattered througout the land flittering their tails and making happy banter. Instead, they were hiding deep in the holes (or where ever squirrels and other small critters lived).

The people living in the kingdom grew concerned. What could possibly have changed? They brought their worries to the king and queen of the land, and that's when they heard the terrible news. Princess C had fallen ill. She was too tired to play with the other princesses. Nothing was at all right throughout the kingdom.

Court jesters came forward to tell jokes and funny stories. But Princess C didn't feel any better. The finest singers in all the land came to the castle to sing merry songs for Princess C. But Princess C didn't feel any better. Bunnies and puppies and butterflies and lady bugs were brought in. But Princess C didn't feel any better.

The entire kingdom was in an uproar. What would happen if Princess C didn't start to feel better? Who would light up the whole land with her perfect smile? Who would giggle with the other princesses? Who would the king and queen tuck in and kiss every night? Clearly, something had to be done.

So, a meeting was called throughout the kingdom. Surely, something could be done. Surely, someone somewhere would have a solution. Several ideas were tossed around. Someone suggested buying the princess new roller skates. But she was too sick to use them. Someone else suggested that the princess kiss a frog since rumor had it that frog kissing had worked for another princess in another land. Still, someone else suggested that the princess prick her finger on a spinning wheel. But it was pointed out that such a thing had had disastrous results for another princess. So, it was discouraged.

Finally, an idea came forward. It was a simple idea, but it was all the people had to work with. All the people in all the land would write a letter to Princess C. They would tell her how much they loved her and cared for her and wanted her to get better. And, after they wrote their letters, they would wish. They would wish with all their hearts that Princess C would get well and restore the kingdom to its previous practically perfect condition.

All throughout the kingdom, people were writing letters and making cards and drawing pictures. Even the smallest animals were leaving their pawprints in snow. And then, the people wished. They wished and wished and wished. And then they wished some more. Never before had any kingdom or group of people wished so long or so hard.

And then one day after lots and lots of days of wishing, it happened. The sun shined like had shone before. Sadness and aches and pains were gone. What had happened? All of the people in the kingdom rushed to see if these happy changes meant that their long days of wishing and hoping had produced a happy result. The king and queen ran to tell of the good news. Princess C was well again. She had energy to play with the other princesses and to pet her bunnies and to giggle and smile. The frogs lept with delight from their lilly pads. New buds on all the beautiful flowers burst forth with colorful blossoms. Laughter and joy and good will was once again felt throughout the land. And the king and queen once again had a princess to tuck in and read stories to and kiss goodnight. And that was good.

Oh, and they all lived happily ever after.

The End"

This is for you, Princess C. All of my readers ARE going to post a comment just for you to get better. We are all wishing and wishing and wishing for you sweet girl. And I'll know when I look out my window and see the sun shining that you are getting well again. We love you, Princess C.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just Paint a Big Black "X" On My Door

Every time a couple adds a new child to their home, they bring home millions and millions of something else:GERMS!!! We decided to have a baby just as winter was starting, so we got have some bonus germs. It's just a free gift that comes from having winter babies, kind of like when you're lucky enough to inherit head lice upon having your hair cut at some hole-in-the-wall barber shop where the stylist is older than dirt.

If you're one of my most loyal readers, you know that Snort got horribly sick over Christmas. That was adequately traumatic for me, but the Good Lord decided that I needed more opportunities for growth and learning patience. That, or He is complimenting me by giving me a ton to handle because He was just so sure I could handle it all. Remind me to return the compliment sometime.

Shortly after Snort recovered from his near-death experience, he came down with RSV. Luckily, though, it only resulted in him needing some breathing treatments. He was basically okay, and we decided to just stay indoors for a while. Well, I think we might have banned by the rest of society because Snort was carrying the RSV germ. It's just about the same thinging as wearing a scarlet letter.

During the same time that all these ailments were happening, he was also growing an umbilical hernia. It looked something like this:

The doctor told me to expect it to get bigger, which it did. And I didn't worry too much about it, though I did think it was really ginormous. Please note that when your child's umbilical hernia starts to look like a grown man's erection is coming out of his belly, this is NOT a normal thing. For those who still can't picture it, this is what it looked like:

When the pediatrician walked in for Snort's two month well check, I had to pick her eyeballs up off the floor and reinsert them for her. One look at that hernia, and she immediately referred us to a pediatric surgeon, who wanted to see him almost immediately. The surgeon saw him on Friday, and had the surgery scheduled for Tuesday of last week. Can we say FAST? Apparently, Snort's bowel was getting caught up in it, so he couldn't poop. I know it's not healthy not to poop, but it does save money on diapers. (Hey! It's important to find the positive in everything.)

It's been over a week since the surgery, and his belly now looks like this:

It would seem that we should be delighted to finally be through all of that. After all, the child is only twelve weeks old. Not so, my friend. Not so. Just as he was getting back to being a baby, we noticed him wheezing. Again. Off we went to the pediatrician. And what to my wandering mind should appear? Pneumonia was once again here. Back to breathing treatments we went. He's getting better now. Slowly, but surely.

What Snort doesn't know is that he has a hypospadias. Don't know what it is? Google search it. You're in for a real treat. Just know that his is a mild case, and not so scary-looking. But, it still needs to be operated on. That's coming up in the next couple of weeks.

As if all that wasn't enough, Number One has developed a fine case of the flu, and has been home from school since Tuesday. He could have gone back today, but I figured he'd be stoned for carrying a germ with him to the classroom. So, we'll let him go back tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure my children are going to single-handedly put my pediatrician's children through college. It's my opinion that children born into this home have some sort of germ magnet attached to them somewhere that I just haven't found yet.

Next week, I figure we should be hit with something great like the Bird Flu or West Nile virus, or Anthrax or maybe the Bubonic Plague. Ooooh! Won't that be fun!!!! Or, maybe we'll step out the front door and be struck by lighting. Either way, I've been working long and hard into the wee hours of the morning to construct a bubble to put them in. Until then, I'm just going to paint a big black X on my door.

Friday, February 15, 2008

There is no such thing as a "quick stop" with kids

The King needed a prescription filled today, and we were out of milk. In an apparent moment of weakness, I decided I could run to Target with my three youngest kids in toe, pick up the items, and be on my way home. It shouldn't have taken more than just five minutes to get in and out. Well, that's what I thought. Ha!

After driving all over the parking lot just trying to find one spot that was somewhere near a buggy parking spot and within the same zipcode as the entrance of the store, I finally managed to park my rather large mini-van in the very small parking spot right by the shopping carts. It actually wasn't that small of a spot, but the blind person next to me thought it would be a nice touch if he or she took up two parking spots instead of one.

I finally got out of the car after sucking in and holding my breath to make myself small enough to shimmy in between my van and the vehicle next to me. With about a hundred carts parked in the buggy lot, I was sure today was my lucky day. I should be able to load my kids in and be on my way. Again, not so. How is it possible that 99.9 carts out of 100 all have broken seat belts? Are there toddlers sitting in those buggies with box cutters? I had to go through about fifty carts before finding one with a belt that Pretty couldn't get out of. It wasn't a moment too soon, either, because I REALLY had to go to the bathroom. I love that Target has the family restroom so I can just take all the kids and the buggy in with me.

I high tailed it to the bathroom, and found some funny-lookin' kid standing outside it. I asked if someone was in there, and he informed me that his mother was. I said I'd wait. He explained, completely straight-faced, that she'd be in there for a while. I was sure he had to be kidding. The women's room was totally empty, and this woman could have gone in there. But, no. That would have required an ounce of courtesy. The kid knocked on the door and told his mom people were waiting. "Tell them I'll be a while". He turned to tell me what his mom's response was (as if I didn't hear it myself), and decided to play with the Beast a little. Just as he did that, he looked up at me and said, "I'm home from school today because I'm real sick. Just look at me. Can you see my eyes? They have sick written all over them." Great. I needed someone really sick to breathe all over my kids.

I gave up on waiting for the woman who was apparently giving birth in the restroom as that was the only thing she could be doing in there that would take so much time. I gathered up all three of my little ones, and carried them into the ladies' restroom, which was now crowded. I was delighted, though, that the Beast was kind enough to give a very loud play by play of everything I was doing in the bathroom. My personal favorite was the part where he announced, "Something is coming out of your butt, Mommy". Ummmm....I don't even know how to respond to that. It was also delightful when I was bent over wiping and the Beast decided that it was a great time to go ahead and open the door, allowing Pretty to roam free while at the same time permitting all the other restroom patrons to see me in all my painful glory.

After enduring that humiliation, I gathered my little angels and headed out to my buggy. To my delightful surprise, the woman in the family restroom had come out and taken my shopping cart with her. (I guess I can't say I know for sure that it was her, but it makes the story better to assume it was). I found another cart, loaded the kids into it, and was on my way. As luck would have it, I got the buggy with the messed up wheel. Usually I get the one that has a wheel that spins uncontrollably or the one with something stuck in on one wheel so that it won't move. On really great days, I get one with both the spinning and the stuck wheel. That's a real treasure. Today, though, I got the real cream of the crop. I got the buggy that was so out of alignment that it felt like it was tipping over with every step I took. But, it did have a decent seat belt. So, I had a choice to make. Do I get the buggy that keeps Pretty safely strapped in, but might tip over at any moment sending my precious cargo flying into oblivion or do I choose the one that Pretty can stand up in,but would more than likely fall head-first out of? I settled for the one that was going to tip over any second.

I hurriedly gathered my few items, and high-tailed it out of there. Well, as fast as one can high-tail with a tipping buggy, a four year old with the urge to touch everything in their path, and no room in the cart because the baby's carseat is in there. This is always a delightful scenario when you add in the fact that every geriatric person from here to Bangladesh was in the store and staring at me with that look that sort of reads, "Ugh! Look what the world has come to. That woman has no control over her children. Back in my day, I raised three dozen children outdoors in the snow, and we hiked uphill both ways to the local egg market four times a day".

I finally headed out to the car where I delighted in trying to reload my children without letting the buggy roll away taking my kids with it and braving the elements. I did succeed in preventing the Beast from running out into oncoming traffic about twenty times while still trying to keep the buggy upright and Snort's blanket from blowing away.

So, my "quick stop" ended up lasting closer to an hour and felt more like four. On the upside, though, I did get a lovely reminder NEVER to go to the store with my children ever again.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Who Said Stay At Home Moms Were Lazy???

I always laugh when I hear people describe what they think people like me do for a living. It typically has something to do with Oprah, Bon Bons, and pedicures. Apparently those people have never been a stay-at-home parent to four adorable little hellions before.

Since there seems to be some confusion as to my job description, I felt like I should perhaps clarify a bit. First, there is no time for laziness. Do you know what happens when people in my profession take a break or *gasp!* take the time to poop alone? Cabinets are emptied and their entire contents spilled on the floor. Small pets get so loved that they're never seen again. Dish detergent becomes the never-ending bubble maker. The blender turns into a giant science project, typically ending in some sort of explosion requiring HazMat and the bomb squad to come and check it out. Younger siblings become guinea pigs for bazarre torture treatments often including pink ballerina underwear and an aluminum baseball bat. It is truly safe to say that people in my field get no break time, snack time, nap time, bed time, meal time, sick time, or any other time. All of our time is totally dedicated to our jobs. It's like we're some strange breed of workaholic. And, oddly, we love it.

Another myth about stay at home parents is that our job is easy or mindless. Were you people raised by wolves?!?!? What on Earth would make you think what I do every day is easy or requires less intelligence than what anyone else does? I have to be a counselor, a cook, a planner, a chauffer, a teacher, a doctor, a best friend, a worst enemy, a disciplinarian, an ally, and a nurturer all in one. Do you know how difficult it is to love someone so tremendously and still send them off to their room while they're in the process of counting the many ways in which they hate you? Oh no. There is nothing easy or mindless about what I do. Every move I make, every thought I have, every detail of my life has to be pointed and well-planned and somehow purposeful. The biggest kicker is that my job doesn't come with any real set of instructions. Most people can find training for their jobs at a university or at least when they hire on. Not me. My education comes only from experience, mistakes, and sheer faith.

I think it's safe to say that no other profession has as much multi-tasking as mine, either. Just the other day, I found myself helping Number One with a very important school project about penguins, setting the Beast up with some play-doh, keeping Pretty at a safe distance from the stove, wearing Snort in the Snuggli, cooking dinner, and talking on the phone to a lady from Church about upcoming events. And I was doing it all at once. Let me tell you that having to turn your back to the stove so your baby doesn't get burnt while you're wearing him is no easy task. I will say, however, that the penguin project came out splendidly as did dinner. All in all, it was a successful thirty minutes that day.

My job also has the lowest financial pay-off of any other. I don't even get a paycheck. And, yet, I feel like the richest person in the world. My paycheck is a happy home, children who know what to expect when they get here, a husband who knows he can count on me, dinner together as a family, peace of mind in knowing my children are learning my values and ethics, and so much more. Oh, I can't deny that there are days when I wonder what ever posessed me to take on this role. From the finger prints on the walls, to the embarrassment when my kids do or say things that I can't even repeat, to the poop in the sock drawer, to the flooded bathrooms, to the exploding blender, and right down to the missing hamsters, there are a million reasons why this is a job no one should want. But, I have four little reasons why this is the only job I'd ever consider. And they outweigh all the cons.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Marlene's Birthday Cake

A Special Friend's Birthday

We live pretty far from our blood relatives. Our children see The King's parents about twice a year, and you can count on one hand the number of times they've met my parents. So, we have to improvise.

We met Marlene and her family the day after we moved here. They have been family to us ever since. My children consider her to be their other Grandma. I think the feelings are mutual. Every Sunday, she and her daughter sit down to dinner with us. Sometimes we play card games afterward, just like a typical little family would.

I can honestly say that she and her family have been with us through thick and thin. I can't count the number of times I've had to call at 2:00am because I needed to rush a sick baby to the hospital, and she's been here in minutes to stay with the other kids. Never a word of complaint is ever uttered, and she does it all with a smile. On top of that, she usually leaves my house cleaner than she found it.

I know she loves my kids because she has willingly picked up the Beast's poop with her bare hands. True story. Those who know her can ask her about it...and perhaps offer her some hand sanitizer.

It's her birthday today. We celebrated yesterday. There were so many candles on the cake that the frosting melted. That's okay. It was still yummy. And we hope she's around until there are twice as many candles on that cake.

We love you, Marlene!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

My college BFF hit me with a blog tag. Apparently I have to come up with six things no one knows about me. Hello? Me? I tell you people EVERYTHIHNG. I can't imagine there is much about me y'all don't know. Anyway, here goes...

1. I have a huge fear of bridges. When I was little the great CA earthquake happened, and footage was shown of cars driving off bridges into the water. I remember it vividly. To this day, I panic going over bridges.

2. My favorite brush with celebrity was meeting and spending time with Jake Billingsley of Survivor :Thailand. My kids LOVE him, and he was kind enough to show them love back.

3. I can't sleep if the closet door is opened or the light is on in it. Who knows what kind of cat burglers might be lurking in there?

4. Of all the guys I have dated and/or kissed, the King is the only one I've ever been totally loyal to.

5. I can make enemies at church without even trying. I know. This is totally shocking.

6. The last R -Rated movie I ever saw was "Amistaad" in January 1998. I don't miss watching R-Rated movies,either.

Okay Vina, Amber L., Amy, and Taffi! You're it!