Sunday, February 22, 2009

If It Weren't For Bad Luck, I'd Have No Luck At All

So, when it rains it pours in our neck of the woods. You may recall me mentioning that Snort was having some tummy troubles, and then I and the King had some tummy troubles. Well, that was just the beginning of a loooooong story.

By Friday, everyone *seemed* to be doing great. The King and I wanted to do something for the kids for Valentine's day. So, we took the whole family to Gattitown. It's got all you can eat pasta, video games, and a few little rides. We all had a fabulous time. The next day, we all just played and had a typical day. I did lots of cleaning because I'd fallen behind being sick. Then Sunday came.

I got everyone up and dressed and ready for church Sunday morning. Snort had another yucky diaper, but we were waiting for the results of his C-Diff test, so I didn't worry too much about it. Besides, he was acting fine. Not very hungry, but otherwise okay. Off we went to church. The first hour went surprisingly well. Everyone sat nicely and was well-behaved. Snort was fussy, but he always is because church happens during his naptime.

Second hour, all the kids went to their little classes while Snort napped in my arms. Third hour was about the same, except that Snort went with the King. I went to get Pretty from the nursery and they told me she'd played great until about half way through when she just sort of stopped. She went and climbed into the teacher's lap and cuddled the whole last hour, and they said she felt warm. When Snort got to me, he felt warm too.

I got home and took both of their temperatures. Snort was 102.7 and Pretty was at 105.2!!!! I thought something was wrong with the thermometer, so I changed the battery on it and checked it on myself. Nope. It was right. We got a sitter for the other three and rushed to the ER. The place was completely packed. Standing room only, and people were holding their barf buckets. We discussed it, and decided we'd be better off driving the 35 minutes to the Acute Kids care center. They'd be seen right away and it would be cleaner.

Once we got there, they got the kids' temps down with fluids and popsicles. Pretty was tested for flu, strep, and pneumonia. The dr. thought he saw a little pneumonia on the x-ray. Snort was just generally pitiful, but with the C-Diff possibility a shot was his only option. So, they both got a shot in each leg and we were on our way home.

Monday morning, I took them in to our regular pediatrician to follow-up on Sunday's ordeal. Pretty seemed to be doing a little better, but Snort was in bad shape. He was ghostly white with dark red circles all the way around his eyes, he wasn't eating, and would just sit around and moan. The pediatrician looked him over and decided he really needed iv antibiotics in the hospital. (The C-Diff test also came back. It was negative.) Pretty was okay to go home, though.

So, I scurried around to get childcare arranged for everyone and then off to get Snort admitted to the hospital. Little Guy is nursing, so I opted to keep him with me at the hospital. I was feeling some stress at this point, but the King and I had figured out what we were going to do for childcare, so I was alright.

Tuesday morning, Snort was still going downhill. I could tell I was in for a long haul. The King wasn't feeling well, so he dropped Pretty off with me while he went to his appointment. She had been planning to go to her friends' house, but was running a fever, so I didn't want to send her. While the King was gone, I called and got an appointment for Pretty. This is the part where all hell broke loose.

The King took Pretty to her appointment while I stayed with Snort and Little Guy in the hospital. About an hour later, he called and told me her oxygen was way too low and she was being admitted as well. WHAT??!?!?! I freaked out just a little. (Okay, that's an understatement, but you get the idea.) I begged for them to be in the same room so that I could be with them both, but there just wasn't a room available that would be big enough.

The pediatrician came up to see me and Snort and I talked (okay cried) to her about what could possibly have gone wrong that they could both be so very sick. She calmly explained that it just is what it is, and nothing could really have prevented it. Viruses go around. I still was just trying to figure out what I could have done differently. I'll probably never know.

My friend, Janna, came up right away and took Little Guy from me. The dr. wanted him out of the hospital for good reason. I hated letting him go, but knew he'd be in good hands. We found out later that Pretty had RSV, so Little Guy had to go somewhere else so Janna's new grandson wouldn't get sick from him.

Ultimately, our other friend, Danelle, came and stayed at the house with the other three. By Wednesday morning, though, Little Guy was sick. AAAHHHHHHH!!!! So, Danelle came to the hospital with Snort while I took Little Guy to his appointment. RSV. And two bad ear infections. So, he'd be getting a shot a day for three days, but at least able to stay home.

I was pumping milk for Little Guy, but not getting very much. Lack of sleep and not eating or drinking plus added stress will do that to you. On Thursday, the pedi. noted that Little Guy has only gained three ounces over the last four weeks. She wanted me to start supplementing. Great! So, on top of all that, I was starving my baby.

Friday, Snort and Pretty finally got released. They're definately on the mend. Little Guy is still coughing, but they tell me it's a five day virus. Today is day five, so he should be much better by tomorrow. I hope.

I can't tell you how grateful we've been for help from church members and friends. People came out of the woodwork to take turns at the hospital to give us breaks, bring in meals, watch my other children, and so much more. I'd list them all off, but I know I'd forget people.

I'm glad to be home, but could probably sleep for a week and still not be caught up. I'd like to think we're out of the woods, but I can only imagine what is in store for me next. I fully expect an asteroid to fall on my head at any moment. It's a good thing I don't gamble. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have none at all.

911 What is Your Emergency?

So, the Beast called 911 yesterday. This is the conversation I got afterward:
Number One: The Beast called 911. I told the man on the phone it was just my little brother calling them.
Me: WHAT??!!?!? Beast, why did you do that??
Beast: I wanted the fire man to come dance with me.
The King: Firemen don't dance. You can't call 911 for them to come dance with you.
Beast: Why?
The King: They don't dance because their boots are too heavy. (What the heck kind of answer was that????)
Beast: Oh. Well, the vcr doesn't work. Can you call 911?
Me: NO!!!
Apparently we need to have a discussion to define what is considered an emergency.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is This My Mid-Life Crisis?

Well, I don't think it's a midlife crisis. It's me setting the clock back a little. While some of you may argue that I already look young and beautiful like that one model on the front of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (Ha!!!), I will tell you that I have but one physical flaw. (Well, just one from the forehead up. We won't talk about the rest of my body. Yikes!) I have gray hair. I know. It's shocking to me, too.

Ever since Little Guy has been born, it seems to be getting more and more gray. You know it's bad when my kids start pointing it out. If I were to pluck out all the gray hairs on my head, I'd be bald. Very bald.

Money is tight, so spending the big bucks to get my hair professionally colored is out. We could do it, but there are lots of other really great things I can do with that money. Anyway, something had to happen to get rid of the gray. I considered buying a clipper kit and just shaving it all off. As I was walking down the clipper aisle, I noticed the boxed hair color kits. My mind went back to my young and hip years in high school. (Okay, so I was never hip...but I was at least young once.) I wasn't allowed to pierce wierd body parts or get tattoos that didn't wash off with baby oil. But, I was allowed to color my hair. And I used to love doing it. My friend, Dawn, and I used to watch quality programming like MTV's Real World while dyeing our hair and dancing to rock ballads sung by hair bands. ( I was SO in love with Axel Rose and Bon Jovi!)

So, what did I do yesterday? I bought my favorite hair color from high school. Burgandy. I applied it this morning while the King was at a church service project and I have to say I look a whole lot better than I did when I woke up this morning. The King didn't even notice a difference. (That's a guy for you). But, I'm proud. I feel young and hip again. If this is my version of a mid-life crisis, at least it's cheap and reversible, right? I may have to go whip out my "Bed of Roses" tape. Do they still make tape players these days?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We've Been Bugged!

I know the title makes you think someone cool like the CIA or FBI is listening in at our house. Rest assured that we're not nearly cool enough for an honor like that. Instead we've been stomach bugged. I'm pretty sure having our home bugged by the CIA would be much better than this.

Snort threw up on Sunday night, but he'd been gagging on his food a little so I didn't worry. Then, he started in with the diapers that should be reserved as punishment for people convicted of horrible things. I wasn't too worried because careful inspection of his diaper revealed that he's been eating copious amount of play foam. Seriously, it has looked like a Dippin' Dots ice cream stand suffered a horrible death in his diaper. Come to find out, the main thing that the foam is made of is also an active ingredient in Miralax. Nice. So,I didn't worry too much when he continued to poop in liquid form.

Then, last night, Pretty threw up. ICK!!! So, we were sure we were under attack by the stomach bug. She only got sick the one time, and has been herself for most of today...unless you count the fact that she's been napping for four hours now. (Guess I should go wake her up soon.)

The Beast has been coughing non-stop for a few days now, too. So, I kept him home today. I fully expect him to drop a lung on the floor anytime now. Or, maybe I'll get lucky and the antibiotic for his ear infection will help with the cough. I'm not getting my hopes up.

I started feeling it this morning. I woke up thinking I'd been on some horrible roller coaster ride for a looooooong time. No puking for me so far. (THANK GOODNESS!!) But, I have become quite the juice master. I know. That's an image you were just dying to have in your head.

So, there you have it. Our family has been bugged. We are greatly looking forward to the bug leaving our home. SOON!! Lysol has become my new best friend.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wanna' Win A Prize?

Well, I don't know how much of a prize it is, but the winner will get a shout out from me right here on my oh-so-awesome blog. I know. I'm no Paris Hilton or the Pope or anything. But, I'm still fun and exciting, right?

So, here's the contest. Feed me. That simple. I'm on a pretty strict diet because of Little Guy's reflux. We have pulled wheat, dairy, corn, and nuts from my diet. I'm also cutting out gassy foods like beans and broccolli. On top of that, Number One is very allergic to peanuts and eggs. So, I'm hungry. I'm living mostly on M&M's, Andes Candies, raisins, craisins, and prunes. Oh! And rice crispy treats. The good news is that my bowels are very regular. The bad news is that I'm feelin' kinda' hungry.

Sooooo, do you think you have some great recipe? I'm going to commit to try one new recipe a week that is safe for all of us. Where will these recipes come from? YOU!!! I know you people are great cooks, right? If I pick your recipe, I'll post pictures of us eating it as well as the recipe for others to try. And YOU get all the credit. There will be extra credit for anyone who can find a way to sneak veggies into the recipe so the kids will eat it OR for coming up with a sweet dessert. I have such a sweet tooth and raisins are just not cutting it.

This week's winner comes from my good friend, Mindy. She sent me a recipe for Spanish Rice Casserole and it was a total hit with the whole family. I doubled the recipe and have only enough left over for Number One to take to lunch tomorrow. That says a lot. And I already have the King asking when I'll make it again. I did take pictures of the finished product, but will have to post them tomorrow when I can get to the other computer. Here is the recipe:

Spanish Rice Casserole
1 cup pitted ripe olives
1 pound lean ground beef
½ cup chopped onion [or reconstituted dry onions]
1 cup sliced celery [or celery seed/salt]
¼ cup chopped green pepper [or small can mild green chilis]
1 cup raw rice (not instant)
2 ½ cups canned chopped tomatoes
1 cup water
A dash of salt, or omit salt
1 chicken bouillon cube or ½ tsp. chicken flavor base (make sure gluten-free)
2 or 3 teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cut olives into large slices. Brown the beef in the oil in a pot. Add the onion, celery, and green pepper or chilis. Cook, stirring, until browned. Stir in the rice, then add the tomatoes, water, seasonings, and olives. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn down to low heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Stir, then serve.

I made it with fresh celery and green peppers and put in only 2 tsp. of chili pepper even though I doubled the recipe. (We're spice wimps). The other thing I did which was a HUGE hit was to load it with cheddar cheese after taking my portion out. They couldn't get enough of it!!!

Thanks for the recipe, Mindy! I ate very well tonight all thanks to you.

For those who want to enter this very high profile contest, you can e-mail me at with your recipe or you can post your recipe in the comment section of this post. I can't wait for you all to fill my belly!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Memo to the Legless People in the Wal-Mart Parking Lot

This is a memo to "those people" in the parking lot at Wal-Mart. They probably go to other parking lots, too, but they seem to be the worst at Wal-Mart.

Dear Legless Person in the Wal-Mart Parking Lot:

I was in that car behind you today. When you looked in your rearview mirror, that one mom you saw who was hauling half a dozen kids to Wal-Mart on Saturday was ME. I wanted to let you know I said a little prayer for you today. You poor, poor person. It must be so hard to have no legs. I can't imagine what a difficult situation it must be for you to accomplish basic day to day things like walking more than twenty feet from the parking lot to the door.

I have to admit that I was really impressed with how resourceful you are about simplifying your life, though. You are so smart to follow unsuspecting customers down the aisle of the parking lot so you can get their spot, which is a good two feet closer than the open spot right next to it. I love it that you make sure all of us around you are aware of your needs by parking smack in the middle of the aisle and waiting for the person in the spot you want to unload all 3, 756 grocery bags from her cart while at the same time trying to wrangle her children. While I'm sitting behind you unable to go down the aisle and find a spot for myself, I'm always thinking of you and your special needs. Typically, I'm thinking of the words I'd say to you should we bump into each other in the store. I have some special words just for you.

I also have to thank you for helping me with my own time management skills. When I happen to be the one in the spot you want, I so appreciate you sitting in your car holding up traffic for everyone else and actually watching me unload my groceries and my children. It's always a nice touch when you let out a visible sigh reminding me that you're waiting. What was I thinking taking so long??? Imagine how rude I feel when I realize that I'm holding you up and wasting your precious time. I can only assume that, in addition to not having legs to walk on, you have some horrible disease which is bound to kill you in the next two hours. How silly of me to have even considered that you'd be willing to park in one of the three billion other available spots. And, when I finally was ready to leave, and you left me blocked in because you saw another spot a couple feet down that you'd rather have and I got grumpy about that, I took the time to remember that you were simply reminding me that I need better time management. After all, if I'd just been a little faster, I'd have been able to get out before you changed your mind. Right?

Lastly, thank you for renewing my faith in prayer. After I said those few quiet words in your behalf, I saw you walking into the store. WALKING!! It's a miracle! Your legs do work!!! I know it's because of my one little prayer and the very special words I was thinking for you that you somehow found the strength to walk all the way into the store all by yourself.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I've noticed you and all the poor souls just like you who are kind enough to give me these life lessons every single time I go to Wal-Mart. I know who you are, and I just can't wait to have a chance to bump into you in person when we can exchange words and I can let you know just how impressed I am with you.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pretty's Practically Perfect Pre-School

Pretty will be three in July. She's the only girl smushed smack in the middle of four brothers. Those were the top two reasons the King and I came to the conclusion that she would need pre-school next fall.

I'd always just assumed that all my kids would attend the pre-school I used to teach at and be in Mrs. Parker's class when they're three years old. Number One was in her class when he was three years old, and I swear to this day that it probably saved him. She was about the best thing that ever happened to him. She came into his little life when he needed her most. And, by the end of school that year, he was ready to fly when she let him go. Having had someone that special in the life of one of my kids made me want it for all of my children.

The Beast ended up going to school through our school district. For him, that may have been best because he needed someone who could work with some of his special needs, so I sucked it up and let him go there. It was an okay year for him, but I think he'd have been happier with Mrs. Parker. (I taught with her, and I was always happier with her, too).

When I was pregnant with Pretty, Mrs. Parker designed and decorated her bedroom for me. Pretty loves looking at the bees and butterflies in there and telling me about them. I love telling her that they came from Mrs. Parker's beehive. It would have just made sense for Pretty to spend her three year old year with Mrs. Parker, too, right?

When the King and I sat down and discussed what our needs were going to be for next year, we realized that the pre-school I used to teach at just wouldn't be the best fit. Money is always and issue, but so was the days and hours of availability. So, we had to choose another school where Mrs. Parker doesn't teach. That's why I say we got her a "practically perfect pre-school".

We took her to her new school to visit today. She won't be starting until August when her big brothers go to school, but enrollment is now. I made a big deal of it for her, talking about her friend that would be meeting us at the school to tour with us. I let her choose her outfit, and she dictated for me just how her hair should be. I put two flower clips in her hair, and she made it clear that two was not nearly enough. So, we redid it, and ended up with four flower clips.

If I can't have a perfect pre-school, I'm pleased to say that this is about as close as it gets. Bright colors, smiling teachers, upbeat music, scissors, markers, glue, tricycles, a playground with a great big slide and a sandbox, and (most importantly) kids who were happy to be there were all to be found at the school. As an added bonus, two of her favorite friends from church will be enrolling with her.

She inspected each classroom with the greatest of detail, making sure each classroom had a play kitchen area, blocks, and markers. She observed what the other children around her were doing, and attempted to do as they did. (While she did well with "hallway hands", she is a little confused about how to walk in a line. That will come, right?) I didn't think I'd ever get her out of there.

So, there you go. My little girl is growing up. She's going to start spending some time away from her mama next fall. And I think it will be good for her. Do you think I should give the school a head's up to the fact that, due to having four brothers, she prefers to try to pee standing up?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Little Guy Was Blessed on Sunday

I survived a full three hours of church with five children!!! Okay, I can't take all the credit. I had help once we got there. I sent Pretty to sit with Marlene. The Beast went and sat with his friend, Andrea. I kept Snort, Number One, and Little Guy with me. The King had a meeting that morning before church, so I got to get the kids all up and dressed. It was a challenge (especially since half the house decided to become nocturnal the night before), but I did it. And I did it with a smile and without being frazzled. So, that all counts as a great thing. Right?

Anyway, the blessing was beautiful. In addition to the King, who administered the blessing, we had Shawn Kelly, Thomas Bryson, Phil Dickson, and Dane Shepherd in the circle with him. There were two other men who we love dearly and wanted in the circle, too. But we're limited to just four. The other two were there in spirit, so I guess it's okay.

Little Guy was blessed that he'd see his challenges in this life as gifts and opportunities. That was so comforting to hear. I've worked hard to teach my children never to have a "why me?" attititude about things, and this gives me hope that Little Guy will be receptive to that. It was just an overall warm and peaceful moment for him.

He wore the gown that the King's mom had hand-made by a friend of her's before Number One was born. It has a little tuxedo-type one-piece underneath it complete with bowtie. And then the long gown goes over the top. All four boys have worn it. Pretty has one that all my girls (like I'll ever get another girl. Ha!) will wear. He also had the blessing blanket my friend, Darci, made for Snort's blessing. So, we carried on some fun traditions there, too.