Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Scrooge

I am a self-proclaimed Halloween Scrooge. I am underwhelmed by the big hub bub people make over decorations, costumes and parties. I am overwhelmed with trying to prepare my children for these things. I was actually at the store today buying face paint, red sweat pants and a white skull cap so Big E could be a bottle of ketchup for trick or treat. On Monday, I still did not have the shirt, ears or tail for CJ to be a bunny rabbit. I then showed him a sheep costume that we have. It is the most adorable thing you have ever seen! My mom made it when Big E was about 4 1/2 years old and played a sheep in the Nativity Story at church. After several failed attempts of trying to convince CJ to be a sheep for Halloween and realizing I was down to the wire for a costume for him, I told him the sheep cosutme was a bunny. He loved it! I made the ears stand up like a bunny instead of hanging down like the sheep the costume is. I converted the sheep tail into a perfectly round and puffy bunny tail. He did look darn cute! I told him this evening he was the cutest bunny I'd ever seen and he said, "I know." He does not lack confidence! Sous chef is a man after my own heart and he did not want to dress up but chose to stay home with me to pass out candy. I do like that part of Halloween, it's just everything leading up to that that Scrooges me out.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ladies' Lounge

Two more days until the Ladies' Lounge!

In less than 48 hours I will have gotten off of a plane in Kansas City and will be at the home of a friend. The next morning, we will be en route via a caravan of cars full of crazy women to the lake house!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not overdue, just late!

Today, Motorcycle Guy left for work earlier than usual. He normally leaves about 7:00ish, which means I hear him getting ready and stir awake before he goes. Today he left at 6:30, so no stirring, that is way too early for me and clearly I blocked out any noise he was making in an effort to stay sound asleep. I slept until 8:00 as did all three kiddos. The bus for Big E comes at 7:45ish. Thankfully, I packed his lunch last night, so all he needed was breakfast, which he didn't want, and brushing teeth and hair. Off we went. By the time we got home, it was after 8:30. Sous Chef was still in his PJ's and his bus comes around 8:45ish. He had a quick breakfast, hair and teeth brushing, and off we went to his school. CJ and I then came back home, got him cleaned up and dressed for swim lessons, and off we went again. I am fairly certain I have never gone out looking as bad as I did today. I did manage to brush my teeth, but I can't remember if I combed my hair and I know for sure I didn't even wash my face. I had raccoon eyes from yesterday's mascara that I couldn't rub away with my fingers while driving!

Good news for the day, CJ graduated to the next level of swimming lessons!

Three more days until the Ladies' Lounge!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Overdue

I am pretty sure I fund the library with overdue book fees. It happens almost every time. It seems to be a recurring theme for me. It's not just the library. I was 17 days overdue with my first child, I was four days overdue with my third child. Our current overdue situation is our car. It is overdue to be replaced. We had planned to buy a new car after we moved back to Ohio. Unfortunately, that pesky driver on Interstate 75 that decided to run me down a 100 ft. hill into a ditch that was flooded and then filled my van with water up to the glove box took care of that. Since my van was totaled, we had to buy a new minivan, which we were NOT expecting to do until after our new car of the future was paid for. Now, my husband's car is on it's last leg and we do not have a second car payment in our budget without seriously effecting our social life! So, we are looking for a cheap car that we can pay cash for that will be reliable enough to get Motorcycle Guy to and from work for about three years. I am afraid of what this vehicle may look like!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dirty underwear

Some days, I just don't know what kids are thinking - or at least what my kids are thinking. This morning Sous Chef was getting dressed for school and I turned around and he had underwear on his head, saying something along the lines of "hey, mom, look at me!" This wasn't just any pair of underwear, it was the underwear he had taken off of his body. Yes that would be DIRTY underwear! Gross! I looked at him, not that he could see me with the ass of the underwear covering his face, and said, "Sous Chef, that underwear was just next to your butt and now you have it covering your face. That's pretty disgusting!" He started cracking up and took them off.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Food

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love food and love to eat out. Today I am going out to lunch - Moe's Southwest Grill! - with a friend I have not seen since before we moved to KS. We worked together and were due to have babies one day apart. Lucky for her she had hers a little bit early and well, I went way in the other direction at 17 days overdue! We both had boys and they were friends while they were small. I quit work and she went PT and then eventually quit also, so we had regular playdates together. As the boys got older, she went back to work and I kept having babies! It was hard to get together once they were in school, and we didn't get to see each other as often. I am excited today to be having an adult only lunch with Debbie.

Tonight I am supposed to go to a MNO with my moms group at the Korea House. It is DELICIOUS and I really want to go but I am having trouble finding an available babysitter. Motorcycle Guy will be on an overnight field trip at the zoo with 50 fifth graders! I have about two last minute possibilities for sitters, but I have a feeling I will be home tonight on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy. Mad Men had it's season finale last week, so I won't be watching that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's raining, it's pouring

Finally, we are getting lots of rain! Sous Chef, however, is concerned that they are not getting rain in California to put out the fires. We have spent the last day or two explaining to him the Santa Ana winds, the fires and the desert and other dry areas of our country. We've also talked about the types of plants that grow in drier climates that make it easy for the fires to burn and ravage everything in it's path. He has all kinds of solutions to this and has decided someday he will find a way to prevent these fires from happening, or at least from doing so much damage by being able to easily and quickly extinguish them. Motorcycle Guy and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he follows through on this!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Old stomping grounds

After a train ride from a small town north of here to a pumpkin patch, my parents took my children for the night. Motorcycle Guy and I headed to the area we used to live before and during the first few years of our marriage. We ate at Wild Ginger. With a 1 hour wait, we decided to walk to the square to another old favorite for a drink. We sat at the bar at Arthur's, commenting how unusual it felt to be in there and not have it dripping with smoke. (Ohio went all non-smoking prior to us moving back.) We looked around, talked about how it looked exactly the same except that there were no longer a bunch of young people hanging out, mostly people our age or older, finished our drinks and walked back to Wild Ginger for a delicious Thai dinner. We headed home for dessert.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Teeth galore

Big E lost FIVE teeth yesterday. Well, actually only one came out on it's own. We have been watching four teeth that our dentist in KS said if weren't out by the fall should probably be pulled since the adult teeth are already pushing their way in and they need the room. Yesterday was our appointment to have our dentist here look at them. After school, Big E was eating some fruit snacks and a tooth we weren't even watching got stuck in a fruit snack and out it came. On the way to the dentist, our conversation went like this, though it was one we have had on many occasions in the last week or so.

"Why are we having my loose teeth looked at?"
"Because Dr. Pottinger said the teeth should be pulled if they didn't come out by now."
"Why?"
"Because there needs to be room for the adult teeth."
"Oh."
"I had four permanent teeth pulled when I was about your age to make room for braces. Yours are still the baby teeth, so it won't hurt. They use medicine. Anyways, I don't think they'll do it today. This is just to decide and then we'll probably have to schedule another appointment."
"Oh."

So, we get there and he's in the chair. The next thing I know, the dentist is asking his assistant for numbing gel and gauze. Big E started looking a little nervous and I told him they were going to pull them right now. BIG EYES were the only response I got. The first tooth came out and he didn't even know they had done anything. The others were a little tougher and he moaned a lot and squeezed my hand. To the surprise of the dentist, I wanted to watch. That conversation went like this:
"I am going to watch."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh, yeah!"
I hate pulling the kids teeth myself, but I do it. Watching is a whole other beast and I love watching "medical" stuff. Luckily, it wasn't really painful for him, otherwise I am not sure what I would have done.

Afterwards he was so proud of himself. They gave him a box for the four teeth and we added the fifth one when we got home. He knows Motorcycle Guy or I is the tooth fairy, but we play it up pretty good for Sous Chef's sake, and eventually CJ's. He got $10 ($2/tooth) and he was quite excited!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

boo'ed

Ok, my friend from LA said they call being "ghosted" as being "boo'ed." I think I do remember our old ghosts in our previous neighborhood saying "you've been boo'ed" so I will go with that. It probably explains why the bottom of the ghost I received yesterday said "Booooooooo!" I guess it's time to break down and buy some Halloween candy and get this booing show on the road. I'll be out lurking the neighborhood after dark tonight, I am sure with at least one giggling kid with me, if not all of them. Maybe I will need a getaway car...Sous Chef is home sick today, he was also home last Friday. Big E was home yesterday. I am taking Sous Chef to the doctor today to rule out strep throat and any breathing issues since he has the "asthma" cough going on and the albuterol doesn't seem to be helping it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ghosted

Tonight we were "ghosted." I don't know that is the official term, but that's what I am calling it. Is this just an Ohio thing? I don't remember it happening in Kansas, but I do remember it happening in Ohio when we lived here before. Our doorbell rang after dark and when Sous Chef answered it, there was no one there. Just a bag full of candy and a ghost with a Halloween poem and instructions to pass it forward tomorrow night. Hopefully it won't make the national news that a woman and her kid(s) were caught running through the dark after ringing the doorbells of neighbors!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh, the drama!

On Saturday, we participated in the Walk for Children's Hospital on Team MK. It was a fun event and our team earned almost $3,000. This was a little short of last year due to some timing issues and fundraising challenges. We hope to participate again next year! Thanks to you contributors.

It was a cool but sunny morning and the bees were out and about, especially since there was a lot of lemonade and sugared waters on hand. One decided to take a rest on Sous Chef's neck. When he felt it, he kind of shrugged to get it to fly away and it stung him. This was his first bee sting and I think it shocked him as much as it stung. We made an emergency stop at the rest area and had the first aid team come. They applied some ointment that had lidocaine in it to numb the area, though he preferred the coolness of cold bottle of water on his neck. Sous Chef has decided next year he is not interested in doing this walk, though the LaRosa's pizza lunch seemed to have possibly changed his mind.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Kids

Having three boys, it's fun to see their differences. Big E is very athletic and enjoys running around and being outside. He loves watching sports on TV, collecting sports trading cards and knowing the statistics of the players, past and present. Sous Chef prefers to hang inside and enjoys playing sports only for the sheer fact that it involves friends and really has nothing to do with the sport itself. He told me this weekend he did not want to play any more sports. I reminded him he said he wanted to swim and his response was, "that's not a sport, that's a hobby." Either way, it's fine with me as long as he is doing something to get a little bit of exercise. CJ seems to be more along the lines of Big E and likes the physical activities. It'll be fun to see if or how these things change as they grow older.

I have discovered finding activities for a non-sports interested boy is a little more challenging than I expected, since most boy activities seem to involve sports. We enrolled him in a science class, but it did not meet the minimum number, so it was canceled. He is playing dodgeball instead, which he does really like. I am looking forward to his swimming lessons so he can learn some advanced swimming skills and determine if he is really interested in swimming on a team or not. I guess if he thinks it's just a hobby, the competitive side may not be there. We continue to look for activities that will not only interest him, but may also get his body and mind moving and challenged. Thankfully, our school district offers a lot of extras and we are learning our way through it all to find a good fit.

Big E will be starting basketball later this fall. He is pretty good at it and does enjoy it. It will be a good opportunity for him to meet some more fifth graders besides the ones in his teaching team.

Like the others, CJ will have to wait until kindergarten before he gets to play a team sport. I have a feeling he will enjoy soccer, so we will probably start with that. He also really likes passing the baseball and hitting the ball with Motorcycle Guy and Big E.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Test drive

I am not talking about cars in my title today. I am part of a very lively book club. Our meeting this month was to discuss the book, Freakonomics. It's a very interesting book that addresses some hot topic issues in unconventional ways, making some very valid points, though at times, to quote one reader in our book club, the math was a little "fuzzy." Nevertheless, it still gives the readers a lot to think about and certainly a lot to talk about. A couple of the ideas addressed in this book led to some feisty and funny conversations, albeit, getting us off the topic of the book at times. During our conversations, the topic of the Gardasil vaccine came up. One member has a daughter who is in the age range for this vaccine. My friend is a firm believer in "test drive before you buy," to quote her, and feels there will come a day for her daughter to get the vaccine, so her decision isn't "if," but "when." Later into the book discussion, another reader said something about being promiscuous and she was promptly reminded by Susanne that it's not "promiscuous" but "test driving." This cracked me up. So for all of you out there who are concerned about a promiscuous past, take it from my fellow book clubber, you were just "test driving," which all women should do!

Speaking of driving, when we lived in KS, I hardly ever had to drive on the highway. Almost everything I needed - shopping, mall, restaurants, kids stuff, friends - was all within a short suburban drive. Now that we are here, it seems like I am on the highway a few times a week. Yesterday, I went to Clifton to hang out with friends, which is about a 20 minute drive, mostly highway. I had to chuckle as I thought about a friend from my childhood (Lora M., get ready, this is a memory involving you) whose grandmother always called it the "superhighway" because there was a lot of traffic at high speeds. I could not get the image of her out of my head. At 3:30, the highway coming out of downtown was already bumper to bumper congestion. I guess the "5:00 Rush Hour" is a thing of the past and Lora's grandmother would have to rename the highway the "super, superhighway!" Imagine her visiting Lora in LA and giving those highways a drive.

Basketball cuts continued and Big E was moved to the mid-level intramural rec. team. It should be a fun basketball year as his friends were all moved to that same level. If he aspires to continue playing basketball, this will be a good learning season for him as they will work directly with the HS basketball coach and players.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Spiderly & more

It's not enough that I have killed so many spiders in my house that I am keeping count (I am up to 14, which I killed in the shower), now we have a "pet" spider named Spiderly. It built a web oustide between a tree and a shepherd's hook with a plant hanging on it. It is quite a large web and a large, colorful spider. It wasn't enough to just watch and observe the spider, CJ wanted to name it. I told him to pick a name, so Spiderly it is. The spider has made his way to some seclusion, however, as yesterday, unbeknownst to me, they were throwing leaves in it's web and it retreated into the tree. I don't like this for a couple of reasons. First, I don't want them messing with the spider, he worked hard to build that web! Second, now I can't keep my eye on the spider. I don't mind them being outside and I actually enjoy watching what they do, but now I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT IS EXACTLY and that gives me the heebie-jeebies. Hopefully, it will stay outside, because it's fate if it comes in is in my hands, and that means the end of Spiderly.

My cooking continues. I have made black and white bean chili, lasagna, broccoli salad and a vodka tomato cream sauce to be served over pasta. Today I will be finishing up with chicken pot pie, chicken burritos and chicken stuffed with pesto butter. I hope this helps. I feel rather helpless at this time.

Big E made the cut to continue trying out for basketball to be on the 5th grade competitve traveling team. Basically "traveling" means playing other school districts in the area instead of playing on the intramural team, which are teams made up of only kids from our city and played in our own schools. Thirty kids were cut last night and will go the intramural league if they choose.

Sous Chef started speech therapy yesterday and is such a hoot to watch. I sit in an observation room at a TV monitor with headphones to watch what is taking place. He is so full of funny and intelligent comments that sometimes the therapist doesn't even know how to respond. He keeps her highly entertained. Boy, is he a fidgeter, though. I wonder if he wiggles around like that in school? He is playing dodgeball on Wednesdays after school, maybe that will get the wiggles out for at least the next day of school!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Grief

We attended the visitation yesterday of my friend's mom and her husband. The tears came on in full force and I think Motorcycle Man didn't really know what to do. I don't cry easily and I can guarantee, in all the years he has known me, he has NEVER seen me cry like that. He also was quite choked up himself. I was touched in my first moments with Sara's sister. She immediately consoled me as she said, "I am so sorry for you. You had some great quality time with my mom and I know how much you enjoyed her. This must be hard for you, too, and I know how sad you must be." It wasn't until that moment that I realized while most of my tears the last few days have been for this family, some of them were for my own personal grief. I am going to miss her. I have many, many memories of Mary-Beth and quite a few of her husband and also Sara's dad, though they aren't as extensive since they lived in a different part of the state prior to his death.

She was strong and independent, extremely gentle and loving. She would help anyone and judged no one. She was classy and smart. She was like no one I will ever meet again.I will miss her and I continue to cry for my friends and for this incredible loss of MB and Sp.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Red and swollen

I am sure anyone and everyone who has seen me over the last three days probably thinks I'm high, hungover or participating in a sleep deprivation program. I honestly cannot remember when I have cried as much as I have these last three days - mainly the last two. Wednesday I spent most of the day walking around in shock after the initial onset of tears. Thursday and Friday, though, it all started sinking in, which made me think about my friends and that it was probably all sinking in for them and that made me cry even more. I have been speaking with them on a regular basis, mainly with my friend's husband, but today I spoke directly with my friend. I use the word "spoke" very loosely as most of the conversation was us on the phone crying. It's very difficult to not be able to take away, or even alleviate, someone's pain and anguish.

Tomorrow we are attending the visitation. On Sunday, the families will be going to CT for a funeral service and burial on Monday/Tuesday as that is where they are from and where the majority of their family is now.

Besides crying, I am now starting to do what I do best in a crisis and I don't know how to help - I cook. Come Thursday, after they return from CT, they will have some good food in their freezer so at least they won't have to worry about what they are going to eat. I'm in for the long hull and as my friend's husband said, "We have a lot of help right now. We are going to need you in the coming weeks and months when the initial influx of help is gone. Things are going to be very different around here." and then he started to cry. He did not cry alone.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Shocked

These are the words I kept hearing through the phone yesterday. Very good friends of mine called, the husband to be exact, to tell me that his wife's mom and her husband died tragically that morning due to carbon monoxide poisoning. They wanted me to know and were also concerned I had already heard it on the news, which thankfully, since I don't watch it often, I hadn't seen. His wife and I were roommates in college and her husband was a neighbor of ours. We have shared many, many milestones together, good and bad. I have spent many hours over the years with her mom, dad and then her mom's new husband after her dad passed away. I know her siblings. I couldn't pull myself away from the news and the internet yesterday. It was the number one story. I am concerned for my friend and her family. Their lives are permanently altered.I am shocked and deeply saddened, as is my husband.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Happy Birthday to CJ!

On October 1, 2003, my family was out to dinner to celebrate my 36th birthday. Motorcycle Guy took Big E and Sous Chef to the bathroom and when he returned, I was laying down in the booth because of contractions. I had told him earlier that day that I did not think I would make it through the night. I was hoping not to have a baby on my birthday because I wanted him to have his own day. Anyway, when they got back to the table I went to the bathroom thinking a walk would do me good. I barely made it back to the table. I kept having to stop and bend over chairs because of the contractions. Our waitress asked me if I was okay once I was about 1/2 way to my table and I said "Yes, I'm just having a baby." We got our things, paid our bill and dropped off our children at our friends who were the designated sitters. They weren't home, so we left our kids with the oldest of their five kids and I left a message on their cell phone VM letting them know when they got home, they would have two extra kids for the night. Everything went very smooth, calm and peaceful. It was certainly the easiest of my three deliveries. CJ was born at 2:36AM on October 2, 2003. My doctor said it was one of the best deliveries she had participated in.


Happy Birthday, CJ!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

In the wee hours of this morning, I turned 40 years old! I know not everyone gets excited about this, but I am thrilled. I believe there are a variety of reasons for this and I will list them below:

  1. I am happy with where I am in life. I am certainly not doing what I thought I would be doing, considering marriage and family were not high on my priority list and I certainly never thought I would be a SAHM. However, I love it and would not want to be doing anything else.
  2. I look decent. (Yes, I admit to being vain!) There are certainly areas that need improvement, but I have accepted the fact that this is the way I am and that's just life!
  3. I FEEL GREAT. This one is the most important to me. Not to discredit my marriage and family, but with what I have been through the last ten years of my life, I was afraid at times I would not be able to accomplish #1. Honestly, I was afraid I would have no decent quality of life at all. For my 30th birthday, Motorcycle Guy, Big E and I went to Florida. When I got home, I thought I had a sinus infection, but it turned out not to be. I started having almost unbearable symptoms of a neurological birth defect that I discovered I had while I was in high school. I had had symptoms on and off for my whole life, but at the age of 30, the symptoms were so bad I wasn't sure how much I could handle. I was having excruciating and debilitating headaches, I couldn't bend over without having vision blackouts, hearing loss and crushing headaches. I am not sure anyone around me ever really knew how bad it was for me. I'm not even sure I knew how bad I felt until I started feeling better many years later. My only option, according to my neurosurgeon was to have surgery, which in his words, "may or may not fix the problem." So who really elects brain surgery, it's not exactly a tonsillectomy! I decided to choose alternative healthcare which helped me keep my symptoms less intense, though never gone. While pregnant with Sous Chef in 1999, my symptoms improved significantly. Shortly after he was born, they were back. In April of 2001, I completely blacked out while at the Children's Museum and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance, I could not remember things like my primary doctor's name, my neurosurgeon's name and I was not physically able to dial my cell phone to call Motorcycle Guy. I could see the numbers and I could move my hands, but I could not control them to do what I wanted. I had to have someone else dial the phone for me - thank God for programmed cell phones! Thankfully I was with friends who were able to drive my car and my children home. In the hospital I couldn't remember things and I kept asking Motorcycle Guy the same questions over and over again. The next day I had to reask them because I was more clear headed and knew I would remember finally. After tests and some good drugs (I think this may have been the beginning of my love affair with prescription pain killers and muscle relaxers!), I was told by the ER neurosurgeons that I would need surgery. After following up with a new neurosurgeon in the same practice as my previous surgeon, who had retired, I demanded a second opinion. As far as he was concerned, I had only had a dizzy spell and there was nothing wrong with me. It took some arguing, but I got into another surgeon in the office because I knew based on my symptoms and how I felt, it was a hell of a lot more than that. My new surgeon was wonderful and he had some very specific tests completed. I did these at our Children's Hospital because a colleague of my surgeon was the "guru" of Chiari Malformations. I actually asked if he could do the surgery, but he only took patients under the age of 18. Anyhow, five months after my incident at the Children's Museum and many tests later, I had my first brain surgery. It was not without complications, mainly meningitis four days after getting out of the hospital, so back I went. Also, my surgery was on September 10, 2001. When I woke up in ICU on September 11, 2001, I watched the terrorist attacks live on the Today Show. This was NOT a good way to begin my recovery. After eight total days in the hospital, I went home again and began my recovery, which included lots of rest, drugs and physical therapy. For about 8 weeks or so, I only saw my kids when my parents or my in-laws would bring them by to visit. They were traveling between the two. It took me over a year and lots of traditional and alternative medical care to get me feeling 100%. Fast forward to 2004, CJ has joined our family and is 11 months old and we have moved to KS. I end up in the ER and was admitted to the hospital only to be told I have to have brain surgery #2 to insert a shunt to drain the fluid build up being caused by a cyst. Yes, we knew it was there and a shunt had been talked about in the past, but it was decided at that time that my major symptoms were from the malformation. Apparently, now that that was cleared up, the cyst decided to rear it's ugly head. Though my symptoms were nothing like the ones from years before, surgery was a requirement or the fluid buildup would continue to cause more serious problems. This surgery was much easier, but the recovery was just as difficult because the doctor had a hard time getting the shunt flow set at the rate that was good for me. It was originally too fast, which drained too much fluid (opposite of what my problem was prior to surgery) and basically my brain was crashing around in my skull without any cushion. Talk about pain resulting in lots of drugs resulting in vomiting. Again, I was terrified this is what my life would be like.
  4. Fast forward to 2007, my 40th birthday. Today I celebrate not only my birthday, but the fact that I am headache free, minus the normal headaches that everyone gets. Years back, I never thought I would see the day. I survived and I am pain free! Hooray for me.
    So today, I am 40! I am eternally grateful and look forward to the next 50 (hopefully) healthy years of my life!