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Entries from March 2008

Oh, And Another Thing...!

I forgot to mention on my pouty little rant earlier that my eldest informed me this morning that Jack has been peeing underneath his bed!!! This, in addition to having to go back into pull-ups at bedtime because he was wetting his undies every single night. I mean, what the hell??? He was dry for a year before this. And then, regression, for no reason that I can think of. I didn't coincide with going to preschool, and I really don't know what to do about it. I have tried talking to him about getting up to go potty until I'm blue in the face, and he just says "okay" and then goes and does it again. But peeing under the bed?! On the floor that is already 'skustin'?? What do we dooooooooooooooooooo.....!!!

*taking another deep breath*

Anyhow, anyway.

I thought Chloƫ was going to morning school for Intersession this week, but I found out late last night that it's next week she's doing that. Which complicates things further for me being in the hospital, but I suppose since it's not mandatory that she attends intersession - though she could really use the math help - we'll not worry too much if she misses.

But Jack went back to school. He has a "regular" Spring Break of one week, whereas Chloƫ has three. She attends year-round school, for those that have missed that. When I told him last night he was going back today, he had a little meltdown, but he was bouncing around and ready to go this morning. Phew! I hate the tears and the stalling and the eventual necessity of having to carry him out to his bus!

So it was just me and the girls today. Unfortunately, we couldn't do a lot of fun stuff, because I had bucketloads of laundry to fold in preparation for Barbara's make-up visit tomorrow. You really do have to clean before someone else comes in to clean, so they can get around stuff! I want to maximize my dollahs, after all. 

That took several hours, and then I had to get my shower after putting all the clothes away. I could hear the girls giggling and jumping on my bed and being silly - which, for once I didn't mind, because they weren't fighting.

Jack received some Toys 'R Us gift cards in the mail, so I was going to take him there to get a few little cars after school, until I found out about the peeing thing. So after I finished my shower, it was time for his bus to pull up, and we three ladies waited outside for him. The girls picked dandelions and ran around, being happy. It wasn't that warm out today or we would have stayed outside to play, and Jack ended up being a cranky boy when he came in. I gave the kiddos some lunch and then sent them upstairs for quiet time. Chloƫ went to our room to read a book, Sophie went down for a short nap, and Jack I could hear playing with his cars. I don't care if they nap, especially at 5 and 6, but I do want them to get a little downtime to rest each day.

In the meantime, I had two very successful phone calls: for one, Satchi agreed to watch the kids all of next week (except Monday, when Stephanie will), even though her husband will be at school. I am so glad. And for another, I was told that insurance would cover the entire cost for my CPAP machine, where I had been told it could be up to $1,000 out of pocket. I was thinking, huh, well, if I have to pay hundreds or more for the thing, I ain't gettin' it! The anesthesiologist wants me to bring it to the surgery next Monday, but I don't think we'll be quite set up by then...

100_6359My friend Katie was baking bread today, and it inspired me to do the same. I'd been wanting to bake more bread lately, and it was just the impetus I needed. I made the same recipe she did - two loaves of French bread. I forgot to take a picture with the first one, before I brought it next door to Satchi and Joel right out of the oven. Rob and I had a couple of pieces, and then we were joined by the kids who had their fair share, too. Tomorrow I might bake another loaf! Unless the kitchen is too clean to dirty up so quickly...

In the evening, of course, I watched Dancing with the Stars, and I've decided to throw all my money (ha) behind Kristi Yamaguchi. I've been a fan of hers for, I don't know, centuries, and she is just really good! I'm rooting for the little smiley, chubby girl, too - I don't know why, but I identify with her. ;)

While watching that and (gag) The Bachelor, I cast on for the back of the dress that matches yesterday's hat. I kept having to tink my stitches and reknit them, though; it's the kind of pattern you have to pay close attention to, and I don't want another zig-zag mishap.

I guess that's all. Time to go get everything off the floors so Babs can vacuum. Have a glorious Tuesday!

Fin.


A Vent

I love my kids, but... they are so destructive! I can't believe how ruinous they can be. Is ruinous a word? I don't care. They have destroyed dressers, the girls' vanity, pillows, mattresses... I just can't believe how much they break, ruin and destroy. And that's not to mention the clothes and toys. How did my parents prevent this? I know my sister and I were never like this, and they would not have stood for it! They are such small children, too, so how on earth do they do it?!

Then there is the house. The stains on the carpet are killing me. I have tried everything under the sun to try and get them clean, and it's just awful. My current method of choice is the Woolite Rug Stick, that new broom-like object with the heavy-duty rug cleaner inserted in it. It helps, but it does not completely clean the spots.

And aside from the floor, there is the constant filthying-up of the back door glass, from the dog jumping up to get in the house. There is the mud that splatters all over, everywhere, from the backyard every Spring. The refrigerator is always a mess, there is too much clutter in every corner of this house, and what are we going to do when it's time to sell??? Which might be this summer?

It's going to take some serious deep cleaning. The buyers will probably insist on new carpeting, which we can't afford, and the fridge, dishwasher and stove aren't the greatest. And what if we don't sell right away? How are we going to live on the other end of the move?

I'm freaking. If I were seven months' pregnant, I would just realize that I am in the nesting phase, but can you be a nester when you're about to lose the ol' ute entirely?

*Deep breaths...*

Think I'll go get rid of something. Anything. I don't care what.

Fin.


Sunny Side Up

I assure you, this won't be a very exciting post, as I have accomplished very little this weekend as planned.

I did do some scrapbooking between last night and this afternoon, and I was able to make up eight pages. But what really annoys me about myself is that I'll look through magazines and on sites for inspiration, have a great idea hit, and then go back and do my normal 'blah' pages. I rarely incorporate the inspirational ideas into my own work.  Why??  I have some sort of scrapping block, I tell ye.

100_6358 I never did show you the hat I knitted for the next sweater-to-be. I am not loving the yarn, Plymouth Yarn's Dreambaby DK, 50% nylon and 50% acrylic. I am so spoiled now by the natural fibers that I don't really like working with anything manmade, I guess. It just feels a bit "sticky" to work with. But it's soft enough, I suppose - I am allergic to it and do break out, though, and I've had about enough of that. It's also a Plymouth Yarn pattern, and I like it. This was supposed to be a bonnet, but I just made it into a regular ol' hat. My Palm T|X is the model!

We watched Michael Clayton over the weekend, and I don't know what Rob thought of it, but my reaction was to turn it off and go do something else until I could stand to come back and see the last half-hour of it. I just found it bland and tedious and can't believe there was so much uproar about it. It really didn't do much for me.

Other than that, this is the rest of what I have accomplished:

100_6353 First you crack the pretty eggs

100_6355 then you halve the whites and scoop out the yolks

100_6354mash up the yolks into little bitty crumbles

100_6356mix in some mayo, mustard, salt, pepper and, prematurely, the paprika

100_6357_2fill up the eggies with the yellow stuff and sprinkle on more paprika

That reminds me, I had a very bad dream that my Fiestaware got all smashed up to bits. How awful!!

Fin.


The Saturday Night Post

I don't have much to say about today, as I'm not feeling too well, so this will be a photo show of Stephanie's pictures and mine from yesterday.

Bunny Love

100_6181 100_6197

100_6213

100_6350

Silly Spitting Siblings

100_6246

Outdoor Escapades

100_6262 100_6274

100_6283 100_6296

A Little Face Time

100_6332 100_6333

Return to the Great Outdoors

100_6345 100_6348

The ol' car doesn't look bad for six years, does it?

That's my show for tonight! I do have a video to upload on dropshots as well. I'll do that in a minute.

Fin.


Bidus Right In The Ass

Well. One very embarrassing thing happened today - no, two, but only one shall make it into the blog - at the hospital. I shall get to that in a moment.

But first, let me say I am in the middle of doing the monthly 24-hour charity crochet-a-long online, so forgive me for any typos or things that don't make sense. I'm trying to pay attention to two different things.

So I woke up, showered and got dressed, and waited for Stephanie to get here to watch the kids for me so I could go to my pre-op appointment at the hospital. I figured I'd be back in about two hours. It ended up being six hours later and I totally ruined her last day of Spring Break, when we had beautiful 80+ weather. Sorry, Steph!

My first stop was at OB-Oncology. I snoozed for about a half-hour in the exam room waiting for Dr. Michael Bidus (what's up, doc?) to come in and give me the once-over.  Finally, he did, catching me mid-snore upon entering, I think. He got me up on the exam table, poked around at my fat, squishy belly, and wanted to know if I had any questions. Apparently, they are not removing my ovaries after all, so I don't have to go through 20 years of hormone-replacement therapy. Good, except I could still get cancerous ovaries, so we'll have to watch for that and still do annual pelvic exams, which we all love so much.

Anyway, as he was leaving the room, he turned at the door and said, "Nice website, by the way."  I looked up, confused, and said in my most educated tone, "Huh?" I didn't know whether me meant this one (how?) or the CARE Package site (still, how?), so he finally explained it to me: He was googling his name "for professional reasons" and came across my entry about him on this blog!! Yeah, that one - where I said he's handsome and has a wonky eye!!!!  It took me about 2.2 seconds to remember that, and then I blushed harder than I probably ever have and blurted out, "Ohmygod!!!" He laughed, the nurse laughed, and he came over and hugged me and said he just wanted to give me a hard time about it.

I could not stop laughing and blushing after that. And saying, and thinking, OMG! I said he had a googly eye! What else did I say about him??? Rob reminded me later that I said he was a "hottie" which I totally did NOT, tyvm, Robert!   I spent the rest of the day feeling completely mortified.

Afterward, I was in the office of someone else up there, getting paperwork and stuff to bring all around the hospital for the rest of my pre-op tests. He came back in to make sure all my questions were answered and to ask if I knew how to get ahold of him if anything came up. I cracked, "Well, I guess I'll just blog about you and wait for you to call me?"

So here it is - I told him this would be on the blog tonight! Mortifying. So embarassing. Oh!! Would you like to see him for yourselves? Here he is! WDYT?

That was my ha-ha for today. Joke's on me - be careful what you put out there, you never know who might be reading it!

Anyway...

After that, I made tracks around the hospital like Billy in the Family Circus.  My next stop was at Admissions to get a bunch of paperwork handed in and a bunch more handed back at me. When the check-in guy looked at the screen, he looked up at me surprised and said, "Is this you? Melanie Odette?" I thought, who else? and said, "Yesss...." He said, "Oh! You just didn't look like you were in your 30s, I expected you to be about ten years younger!"  Well! You can never hear too much of that sort of thing, can you?  I'll take it! He said, "You have four kids? They're not aging you much, are they?" I didn't bother to correct him and just said, "Well, they definitely are on the inside!" because, you know, I'm such a cute young thang and all. All half-ton of me.

I went back upstairs to the APD (Ambulatory something Department, for surgeries) to check in, and then they took me back for an EKG. I just love it when they have to lift up my boobies to stick things to my stomach, don't you? The men ask you to lift them yourself, but the women just do it themselves. That makes me laugh. I apparently have a right ventricular delay - the last two EKGs have said so - but I don't think it's any kind of big deal.

The anesthesia doctor was my next stop, and he made some notations about my inability to open my mouth very wide (see, Rob? I didn't just make it up!) and tried to coax me out of my nosering. Well, I just can't take it out. I've tried, and I can't. That thing is in it to win it. We'll just all have to deal.

Then I went back downstairs to the laboratory. I had to make weewee in a cup and then get my blood drawn. There was all this big to-do because somewhere between APD and the lab, I lost my "handband," or the bracelet I'll be needing for surgery. I had to wait while it got "tubed" downstairs. More waiting. Endless waiting, today. They should have all been lined up, waiting to have an audience with me, but apparently these poor schmoes have other things to do. Like eat lunch while I'm in the waiting room. Where was I? Oh yes, the lab. I am a hard stick. Some people can get the needle right in and get my tasty blood, while others poke and prod and jab me and get nada. Today was a nada. Finally, the girl stuck it in my skin and then moved it around and around underneath to find the vein, and it would fall out between test tubes, and she'd have to wiggle it some more to get it back in, and it would poke up, and OH! That is going to leave a bruise.

After the vampires, I had to go to radiology for some chest x-rays. The tech really was about ten years younger than me and was very... 21-ish, frat boyish, you know the type? Into himself. But he was also, at the same time, very nice, and called me over to look at my  pictures and show me what was what. Lungs, spine, saggy boobs - I can see all that for myself.

Lastly, I had to wait at the pharmacy for ever. It's always a long wait there, unless you go in the middle of the night, which we have. But it's good for people-watching, and I did a lot of that. I like to look at people's bauplans, or body plans. It's not really the right word - it's the German for the structure of different species of animals, but I like to use it when I'm people-watching and figuring out how different folks are put together. They really do come in all shapes and sizes, don't they? And mine is not great, but it's definitely not the worst I've seen. I've seen lots and lots better, though, and I want to be one of those! The one thing I hate to see is when someone is really fat in the torso but has super skinny, nice legs that they can show off. It's so unfair. If you're going to be fat, be fat all over, like moi!

Finally, I was able to leave, six hours after my arrival. Six dang hours. When it was beautiful and sunshiny and warm and lovely outside. When my kids were at home playing with Steph and the bunny and waterguns and what-have-you. I know there are about 180 (literally! because you are so crazy, Stephanie!) pictures of their day on my camera, but I've not had a chance to go through them yet.

When I returned, and she left, Jack was sleeping, and the girls were in need of some downtime. I sent them upstairs and finally took a load off, but I don't think either of them slept. And Jack came down about five minutes after I sat down to relax, so I may as well have kept them up, too. He wanted cereal, he wanted a fruit snack, he wanted some bread, he wanted a drink, he wanted wanted wanted.

Rob came home, and we took a short snooze while Jack played near us, and then I woke up and had him go fetch his sisters. We went outside then, to play with waterguns and ride bikes. I do have some pictures from that, but I am still not in a picture-uploading frame of mind today. More tomorrow, as we've got a gloriously unplanned weekend.

The neighbors (Satchi, the Japanese lady, and Joel) came over with their kids, and we hung out and talked and let them share the wagon and waterguns. It's fun, having neighbor friends. I like that a lot.  Finally, we decided to just hop in the car and go to Moe's (Welcome to Moe's!) for a late dinner out, instead of our usual Friday night pizza night.  Good stuff, that Moe's.

Next door was the shop Five Below - have y'all ever been in one? Everything is five bucks or under. It was my first time in there. ChloĆ«'s watergun was leaking profusely tonight, so I thought I'd go in there and see if they had any better ones. Well, they had some big honkin' guns, and since the cheapy ones I bought have been such a hit, I thought they could use some more - and we could, too! If it gets warm this weekend (which it's not supposed to), we'll be outside with those!  So fun. I love getting wet when it's warm outside.

And that, my friends, is all the news that's fit to print.

Fin.


There's No Irony Here

I am such a big dork: I'm sitting here with tears all over my face from watching the finale of The Celebrity Apprentice just now on my DVR. Not from the show or its outcome, of course, but from the segments on the charities and the good work they do. I may not be the greatest person ever, but I am always touched by a human (or animal, or environmental) need and mankind's ability to step forward and try to fill it.

What really worked me up was hearing about Trace Adkins' six-year-old daughter (hey, I have one of those!) with severe food allergies and how quickly she could be killed by coming into contact with the wrong thing.  It reminded me how thankful I am - and should be - that my three children are healthy and free of allergies or any other major life-threatening ailments, and God willing, I hope they remain so.  I was thinking of all the times I have brought food into Jack and ChloĆ«'s classrooms and how easy it would be for another child in their schools to be harmed by consuming the wrong ingredients. It was a good reminder to be very vigilant in this regard, and I am thankful for it.

Of course, the other charity was the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and I was also moved by the American soldiers they showed who have sustained severe, life-altering injuries as a result of the fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. The main thing that served to bring to mind, however, was how pointless this stupid war is and how we need to get out of the Middle East. JMHO, of course, but having a husband who could go over there any time brings out strong feelings. Enough about that; this is definitely not a political blog!

So, you already saw the results from the Sears shoot, where we spent the majority of our daylight hours. Stephanie was so thoughtful to come out and help me control the kids, keep them happy, and give me good company for that and lunch afterward.

We had pizza in the food court, and I could not cut it up into pieces for the kids. They still don't eat pizza "grown-up style," but in the end, they all managed just fine. And the kiddo who ate the most of all? None other than Master Jack. It's always good to see him eat; every calorie counts.

I forgot to mention the - how many? 700th? - stop at the mall yesterday: I tried, once again, to give blood at the Red Cross Donation Center there. I have failed the last three or four times, because of my low iron. Well, I've been taking my iron pills every night, so I was all gung-ho to give it another go. Do you know what? I failed again. What the? I was so disappointed. They insisted on giving me the shirt this time, even though I tried to refuse it. They even checked my haemoglobin levels twice.  It wasn't as low this time, but it was still below the mark. Son of a gun.

Anyway, I was going to make the kids take their naps as soon as we got home, since they were all Cranky McCrankypants at the mall, and Jack fell asleep in the car on the way home, but then I found out Rob was on his way home from work. I told them they could stay up until Daddy got home. Well, instead of sitting around doing nothing, just waiting for Daddy when it was 75 nice degrees outside, I told them they could fetch their waterguns and fill them up.

We had a great time shooting water all over each other outside. Chloƫ would go inside and refill them each time they were emptied, and we got about four good rounds of water out at each other, the cars, and the bumblebee visiting our 'garden.' (I don't know what he found so interesting in that desolate land, but he's stuck around for about three days now!) Daddy came home and refused to get wet. I don't know why, I love being wet outside when it's hot out - but that's him and whatever he wants... fine.

I asked him how he was feeling today, and he swept me into his arms, kissed me for about a full minute - or more - and made me swoon. "Does that answer your question?" he asked. Well! I guess so! Too bad it's the wrong week to do anything about it, winkwinkwinkwinkwink. TMI?

I pulled out my new knitting pattern and made the hat first, as I wanted a quickie project to do. No pictures today; my camera just plain needed a rest. It's a cute project that will go fast. I'll show you tomorrow.

Right now, though, I need to do some cleaning up. Steph's coming over to watch the kids in the morning during my pre-op appointment, and since Barb didn't come on Wednesday, well, something needs to be done about Hurricane Odette and that falls on me!

Happy Friday.

Fin.


Sears Portraits Today

Stephanie came out to the studio to help me out - thank God! It took, like, three hours since they were so short-staffed, and all the kids were whiny and cranky and driving me nuts! Surprisingly, my little super-star was the one being the most non-compliant; she wouldn't smile, she wouldn't sit right, she just wouldn't!  Anyway, here are the portraits I chose (these are unretouched, uncentered, and un-"fixed" - so the actual ones will be much better):

Easter1_2Easter2_3Easter3Easter4Easter5Easter6 Easter7

Easter8 More later!

Fin.


Apparently You Can Make A Post Without A Title

100_6166Chloƫ, thrilled to finally get to hold Bounce

100_6167Jack (eating Mr. Bun's food), showing how cute he looks in his new outfit from Steph and Tim

100_6168 Tonic immobililty - it's not just for sharks anymore!

100_6169Apparently we let the kids stay up a wee bit too late for Odette Family Day...

Well, Rob was home sick today for the second day in a row; he has pneumonia. I wonder if his treatments will help me any more than mine did me, which was not a lot. But I hope they do. I hate it when he's sick.

That didn't keep him in bed for much of today, though! He was out and about with us for a lot of it. And nay, I didn't have to twist his arm.

First, he headed off to the car dealership to get an estimate on his car, after the beating it took a week or two ago. Meanwhile, the kids and I went to Pembroke Mall for some heavy-duty shopping. Rarely have I had so much reason to go to a mall. Normally I hate them, but today, we had lots to do.

Our first order of business was kid clothes shopping at Sears. But not just any clothes. I wanted to get a couple of nice outfits for Jack and Sophia for their upcoming 3- and 5-year portraits, and maybe something nice for Chloƫ to wear to auditions. Well, lots of nice spring and summer outfits were on sale - Easter markdowns, don'tcha know - so I ended up with three dressy outfits each. That bag was heavy. Luckily, Rob showed up to meet us and carry the bag while I held hands.

By the way, do you know how complicated it is to hold three kids' hands whenever you're going anywhere, particularly across the street? You either have to hold two with one hand and one with the other, so the two are always tripping over each other and kiddie-cursing themselves out, or you have to have one kid hold another kid's hand. That makes you four across, which does not work in a store, and too, certain of them refuse to hold certain hands. Like, Jack won't hold Chloƫ's or Sophia's, specifically. Wait, I guess he is the problem there... Anyway, it's a pain, unless I have Soap in the stroller. Just thought I'd vent a little.

Back to shopping. What do you need after buying fresh new clothes, but fresh new shoes of course!  Jack's sneakers are good, so we just needed a pair of sandals for the coming warmth for him. We really wanted something, anything else, but he insisted on picking those with Diego's giant face plastered on them. Oy. But otherwise, they were of a good construction, so rather than fight the monster, we let him have them.

Sophia has been wearing her sparkly, pretty, pink dress shoes pretty much day in and day out since fall, and for once, a pair of shoes have been worn out before they were grown out. But, hey! I found a new, bigger pair of sparkly, pretty, pink shoes - these have sequins instead of glitter - and she instantly loved them. Of course. "Can she have them, Daddy?" "Of course, she's only three, who cares?" ("No, I'm two, Daddy. I'm two and three!") So into the cart they went. She and Chloƫ both got the same Reebok brown with pink sneaks - just one size apart. One. And they both needed summer sandals, too. But we only found dressy ones for Chloƫ, so she could probably still use some fun play ones for going to the pool and stuff.

That's a lot of shoes. Six more pairs. Fortunately, I'd just gotten my KidsAdvantage coupon (do you know about this? Sears replaces kids' clothes if they wear them out before they grow them out!) and took 15% off that purchase.

Then, Rob took Jack around to look for wallets. I thought it would be an easy trip, but the boy flip-flopped a la John Kerry and asked for a Cars one instead of a plain black one. Well, they didn't have one. So we're still on the lookout for that.

We went around to the side and stopped into the Portrait Studio to see Ellie, our beloved photographer of five years, and make appointments for the kids. I was hoping she was free right then - hey, I already had the shoes and clothes! - but we had to schedule for tomorrow. She was right happy to see the kids, though.

100_6170 Finally, we left Sears and stopped in at the pet store next door to get a new water bottle for Bounce. (Do you like his name? Jack doesn't!) His old one leaks like crazy, and he was a thirsty little rodent. These four puppies were the main attraction for the kids, as they frolicked and cavorted - and ate each others' poo. I loved watching them too - but no, none came home with us!

Our next stop was, um, the NestlƩ TollHouse counter for, um... a mystery shop. Hey, I was going to the mall anyway, and I usually stop and get the kids a cookie when we go. I just had to sneakily take a picture of the display case, and I'll have to do the short report later. But it was good that I did it and got it out of my system, because now I know I don't want to do it anymore.

After we stopped and ate our cookies and cleaned up some very chocolately children, I ran into another shoe store. For the past few years, I have constantly worn my white Reebok slip-on sandals - even when the occasion calls for black shoes. Even in winter. I know, tacky, but they are so damn comfortable and convenient. So I've been on the hunt for black ones ever since. It finally occurred to me to go to the same store where I bought the black ones - even two years later - and see if I could find black ones. Well, guess what? The very first thing I saw in the store?  Black Reebok slip-on sandals almost identical to the model I was wearing now!!  That's what we women call a score, right?!! So I bought some black ones, and I bought some white ones for when the ones I'm wearing finally kick the proverbial bucket.

Still not done. Chloƫ had allowance money to spend, and she wanted - what else? - another Webkinz. My store of them in my closet has finally been depleted, so we had to go to the Hallmark store for this one. She had enough for a Li'l Kinz pink poodle that she named Mercedes, plus a small bag of candy to share with her sibs. I tried to steer her in the direction of the kangaroo or the raccoon - so cute! - but she saw that pinkie and wouldn't be swayed.

Now Jack. He had birthday money to spend, and he changed his mind about spending it on candy. A lightbulb went on, and he wanted something else - cars! Quelle surprise. So I took him to the toys and hobbies store, where he found a rack full of Matchbox cars. Hoo, boy. Twelve dollars goes pretty far with Matchbox cars, and he was able to get a nice handful of them to take home. He kept thanking me, and I tried to explain to him that it was his money, but I'm not quite sure he gets it yet. Hell, I'm not quite sure Chloƫ does, either - I can see them trading money in the near future...

One last stop before home. I try to read all the relevant tips posted each week on Works For Me Wednesday, and there was a great one posted today: use a plastic tool box for your son (or whomever) to carry around all his Matchbox cars in, for easy transport. I knew Jack would love this. He's always finding funny little things to carry his cars around in, up and down the stairs, from room to room, into the car and back to the house. Until today, the latest one was his treat bag from his school party! So we found a big, sturdy, but lightweight box in the tools department and picked up something that's going to make him very happy, for under ten bucks. And I was right - he absolutely loves it! Loves it. And I love that he's so happy.

Rob's feeling pretty crappy (obviously), so I'm trying to lighten his load a little bit. We sent the kids upstairs for quiet time, and I made him dinner. We had some beans and carrots, stuffing, and stuffed tilapia pinwheels. It was really good. Then I called the kids down and, after they shared an apple with Bounce, I made them chicken and cheese stuffed crescent rolls, which none of them touched. Well, Sophie would have eaten them all, but she fell asleep and didn't want to wake up when I called them down, so Rob carried her back to bed.

Afterward, Chloƫ and Jack tried on all their new clothes and then headed upstairs for a bath. We're trying to get Chlo to take her own showers so she's ready to go to sleep-away camp this summer, and so far it's not going too well! She just has too much hair, for one thing, and she needs a lot of practice. But she'll get there. And if not, we'll have a very stinky child when she comes home after a week!

100_6172 I'm feeling in a bit of a knitting slump - finally - so I just sat and worked on my blanket for a few colors before coming here. I guess I'll start on something new tomorrow. I know what it'll be and am looking forward to it, so I don't know what's taking me so long!

Okay, now, I'm going to try and get the ol' treadmill set up and walk on it for a half-hour or so. I haven't done so in, like, a rilly, rilly long time, so I'm feeling skittish.

Fin.


Yeah. *We* Made This. Honestly.

Here are more of the photos from Chloƫ's Brooklyn photo shoot with Lenka Drstakova:

Chl01clor1_2

Okay, yes, you've seen this one already. But this is slightly different coloring - and I just enjoy looking at it so much, I thought you might, too!

Chl02clor1 I love the expression and toughness of this one. It's something I didn't expect at all.

Chl03clorWhat can I say about this picture that you're not probably already thinking yourself? Those eyes!! Amazing.

Chl04clor1 What strikes me about this one is her beautiful, sweet, soft-looking pink skin. (Sophie is yellow-toned; Chlo and Jack are my pinkies.)

Chl05clor I love this one. Very cute, without being too twee.

Chl06clor The off-centered placement of this one bothers me, but otherwise, she looks great, very little-girl-next-door.

There are about, oh, 75 other shots on my disc from this shoot, but I don't think you want to see them all! Unless you want me to do a post of outtakes? Nah, I didn't think so.

So, what do you think? Have we been blessed with gorgeous kids, or what?! Okay, I may be biased. :D

Fin.


WFMW: Saving for Christmas

Wfmwsmall I know so many people who go into serious debt at Christmas time. Heck, we used to, too.

But then I remembered what my stepmother used to do for us, growing up: open Christmas savings accounts at our bank!

So that's what I did. I think probably every bank has them - even yours - although they might have some fancy name for it. Ours are called "custom club accounts," but ask at your bank, and I'm sure they'll know exactly what you're talking about.

All you need to do is figure out how much you want to spend at Christmastime, then divide that by however many months you have between when you start and when you want the money - then put that money away each month. At our credit union, we have automatic transfers set up to take the money directly out of our savings account once a month, before I even know the money is there to spend, so it doesn't even get noticed.

Then, when Christmas rolls around - or October, when I usually feel like starting (and finishing!) my shopping - I just head to the bank and empty the account. VoilĆ ! Sometimes, rarely, we don't spend it all and just put it back in the bank. Sometimes, we go over the amount - but just a little, and it certainly doesn't hurt nearly as much as trying to come up with all our shopping money at once or putting hundreds of dollars on the ol' credit card.

And that? Works for me! Be sure to go back and visit Shannon's site for more great tips!

Fin.


Odette Family Day

Today is the fifth anniversary of Robby's death, and last year we designated the anniversary as Odette Family Day. We spend the day together, doing fun things, so we pass the time in love and togetherness instead of sadness.

As such, that will be the entirety of the post for today. Good night.

Fin.


Well, That'll Be The Day

Y'all just don't know. It has been an interesting, educational, entertaining, fun day.

I slept on the couch, because Rob slept on his couch and is down sick again (we all still have the cough, but he's the miserable one right now), and we like to stick together.  Right now, he's at the Portsmouth Naval ER getting checked out after trying to sleep and just coughing himself puking. We've all been at that stage and now it's his turn, I guess. I just hope they'll let him out of work tomorrow.

Anyway, the kids surprised me this morning by clamoring for eggs for breakfast. Scrambled eggs. More EGGS! We are going egg-crazy right now. But that's good, since we have so many dozen. Actually, like I said in the Sophie post, they started out wanting Easter candy for breakfast. Nuh-uh, don't think so.

I didn't eat any scrambled eggs. I'm not ready to go that far into it. In fact, once this round of eggs is finally gone, I think that will be the end of my foray into the world of incredible, edible, eggs.

Eggs. Just thought I'd say it again. Eggs.

This post is going nowhere fast.

100_6117After breakfast, the kids were nutso about using their waterguns, despite it being none too warm outside. (By that I mean, maybe, low 50s) Every time I looked up, Jack was unscrewing his gun's holding tank to fill it up with water - what did he think, I wouldn't notice him shooting streams of water all over my house? So, okay, let's do this thing, y'all. I had Chloƫ fill up all the tanks, I screwed them on, and we headed outside to the driveway. My one rule: Don't shoot me, since I have the camera. Otherwise, go nuts! And yes, I should've made Sophie put some clothes on first, but they would have just got soaked and made her colder anyway!

100_6119 Eventually, they got tired of shooting at each other, the car, the plants, and my feet and just started dumping it on the ground. Okay, time to go back in.

Well, then I needed to, uh, finally get my shower from paste night at the hospital, because I didn't last night (I know, gross, but I was up emailing my Canadian friend Stephanie all my questions about CPAP and got too tired), and then I had to fold and wash a ton of laundry. I ran out of detergent, so I decided to take the kids on a little field trip.

They were so excited, trying to guess where we were going. Jack talked more about Robby on the way. Jack's favorite color used to be red, but now it's green, so it amused me when he said, "Robby doesn't like green, he likes red!" as if this new guy, this Robby, is trying to compete with him. He really doesn't understand where the little guy fits in at all. He'll figure it out in time.

First we had to go to the bank to deposit some checks. This was met by some groans from the backseat. THIS is where we're going? Our field trip is to the bank?? NooooO!!!  No, sillies, this is just a stop on the way. 

100_6121 Finally, we made it to our destination: Animal Jungle. It's a really cool pet store just down the road from us, but we've never been in all our time here. There are stingray and shark tanks, great big koi and other ponds, aeries where you can go in and let the birds walk all over you, and every sort of fish and rodent you can think of, along with lots of other critters. These 10" Japanese koi run $500 each!

100_6122_2 The kids thought this remora was dead, but really they just spend their lives attached to sharks and are upside-down when unattached.

100_6123 Time and child-rearing have done a number on my memory, so I'm embarrassed to say I don't recall what kind of shark this is and didn't bother to ask. Of course, there wasn't a sign. I was thinking Port Jackson, but I couldn't see the coloration as clearly in the tank now as I do here in the picture. So I just don't know. Gaddy, are you out there...?

100_6129 The children absolutely adored looking at the hundreds of species of fishes in almost as many tanks. Of course, being a former ichthyologist-in-training, I did as well and did not try to rush them along at all. And Chloƫ impressed me a great deal by reading off many of their names (common, not scientific, natch). (Did I ever mention she recently came home from school with a reading award? She's doing fantastic in that department and is turning into quite the little bookworm, always with a book. Whereas I always used to get into trouble for sitting around reading all the time, it gives me no end of pleasure to see her doing the same. Back to the fish.)

100_6130  It was next to impossible to get a picture of this guy, which ChloĆ« correctly identified as a stingray. (Am I the only one who can't hear "stingray" without thinking of Steve Irwin, anymore?) Sophia kept wanting to reach into the tank, freaking out the attendant - but not me, as she was on the complete opposite side.

100_6135 Jack's favorite by far were these crayfish, which he kept calling "crabs." Close, but no cigar. I kept trying to point out how they look just like tiny versions of the lobsters we see in the grocery store, but no one would listen to me.

100_6137 Jack and Chloƫ were fascinated by this desert set-up, even though there were no animals. They kept pretending to get pricked by the cactus near Jack, shouting "ow!" each time. Funny kiddos.

100_6139 If we ever get an aquarium set-up, lionheads would be my first choice to fill it. Aren't they just so comical-looking? I love them. I kind of want to squeeze them, though.

100_6143 Then we headed to the bird sanctuary. I am not a big fan of birds. Rob is not a big fan of birds. And now we know Jack is not a big fan of birds. He was shrieking and screaming to get out the whole time we were in there, but I couldn't get them off of us! This little guy alternated between trying to eat Chlo's necklace and biting her earrings, which completely upset her. Otherwise, she enjoyed it.

100_6146 Chloƫ took the pictures of the birds on me, and there were some funny ones of them eating my glasses and digging around in my hair, but since I have 9 chins in them, I opted not to post them. Thankfully, we did not get pooped on... but that did not stop Sophia from holding up her hand with green and brown stuff on it and going, "Stinky, Mommy! It's stinky!" Oh, joy.

100_6151 Finally, we headed over to the small critters and checked out the bunnies, rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs. They were interested in each one as much as the next and kept going around looking at all the bitty babies running on their wheels. I love that, too.

But.

Chloƫ asked me for a bunny. A few days ago, Rob mentioned that we should get a bunny. We talked about it. I seriously didn't think we would get one. And then I spotted this adorable little Holland Lop who just spoke to me. I asked to hold him. OMG, he was so sweet, just burying into my neck and being this small, warm package. I've been wanting a baby. I found him today.

I called Rob, who was all, "Sure, get a bunny, go ahead," and did nothing to try to talk me out of it. Hello, you're supposed to say NO! So I picked up some information on caring for a bunny, gave the attendant my name to put "our" Lop on hold for 24 hours, gathered up my crew for a late lunch, and left before I bought him right then.

On the way home - well, with a quick stop at the Wendy's since we're plum out of lunch fixin's and the kids won't eat egg salad, the rats - Chloƫ read to me from the info sheets. "Mom, you can't feed them iceberg lettuce! Does that mean you can feed them lettuce, it just can't be cold?" "Mom, you have to feed them lots of hay! It has fiber in it!" "Mom, we have to get bananas and apples and carrots for the bunny. What's kale?"

It was beginning to sound like a lot of work. For me. Food to buy, litter to buy, bedding to buy, nutritional standards to upkeep... and I already have seven mouths to feed. I started to tell them that I wasn't sure we would actually get the bunny, and we would talk about it with Daddy when he got home.

We ate a quick lunch, and then I sent them upstairs to rest. I finally had a chance to read the information myself. It didn't sound too bad after all. It actually sounded manageable. Doable.

{ So, um, Steph - you wanna take care of a bunny while we're gone? Too? Please? }

Rob came home, and by then I had decided we would go back and get the bunny. None of the kids were sleeping, so I sent him upstairs to get them so we could go pick up our Mr. Bun!

100_6152Is he not the cutest?!! He is somewhere between 10 weeks - 4 months old, three pounds, and he has green feeties (I guess from his litter at the store?)!

We got a big cage with the whole set-up - food, litter, bedding, a bed and blanket, food dish, water bottle (which leaks like crazy), treats, nail clippers, brush, shampoos, stuff to make his poo not stink, and probably more I'm forgetting. I got him a few extra toys and treats, too.

In the check-out line, Sophia spotted a penny. I told her she could get it, and then I promptly forgot about it. I carried out the bunny in his box and held onto the three kids while Rob carried our gigantic new cage out to the van.

Once buckled in the car, next thing I know, Sophia is shrieking something awful! Really terrible, and I knew something was wrong. She was holding her mouth, and I thought maybe she bit her tongue, and then it seemed clear she ate something. But what? The penny!!! "I have a penny on my mouth!" she wailed. Oh, dear me. She wasn't choking, exactly, but she seemed to be having a hard time getting it out of her throat. Rob held her upside down and beat her back to try and dislodge it, but nothing came out.

We buckled her back up, and I was going to speed to the ER to have them take a look at her. Soon, though, she recovered her composure, and we decided to take her home and wait it out. Rob assured me that the poops she drops are way bigger than any old little penny. Haha!  I called Dr. Lisa to make sure we shouldn't take her right in, and she agreed with the conservative approach. Whew. Just more drama in an already packed day!

100_6153 He's just the sweetest little bun. We're having a hard time deciding on a name for him. Rob suggested Cujo in the store. I have come up with Peppermint, Mr. Greenjeans and Pistachio in recognition of the green feet. Also Peter Pan and Smee in keeping with our pets' names from that movie (our dog is Tiger Lily and our cat is Tinkerbell) - and Rob came up with Nibs, the Lost Boy from Peter Pan, who wears the bunny outfit. Pretty clever, I think. But we just can't decide. Vote for your favorite in the comments - or suggest your own!

100_6163 After the kids went to bed - though he does surprisingly well with all their hovering around him and banging on his cage, argh - we let him hippity-hop around the living room for a spell. He really liked that, and no poopies or weewees! I don't think he's gone since he's been here, although he did eat some hay, yay! And he seriously enjoys being brushed. I got some kisses and nuzzles for that. So that'll be a nightly ritual for us, because there is nothing sweeter than bunny kisses. Well, kid kisses, but that's a given.

100_6165 Tinkerbell is being very well-behaved (so is the pooch) around Mr. Buns. She's definitely curious but isn't swiping at him or anything. Phew.

So what do you think? Are we freaking INSANE or what?!!

After all the excitement wore off, I finally finished sewing in all the ends on the Racing Stripes Cardigan, and here it is:

100_6160 I'm unhappy with it. As a whole it's a great pattern, really soft yarn, and the work would have been almost perfect if I had not goofed on that one diagonal. I should have fixed it; it detracts too much. Now it looks like a "second" you'd buy in a Big Lots or something! But at least the buttons are really smart.

100_6161 Stephanie picked them right out of my button bag, going in a completely different direction that I had planned for them. Nice choice, Steph!

I'm going to leave you with one last image. The doorbell rang today while I was waiting for Rob to come home, and it was a certified mail package containing a disc of Chloƫ's photos from the NYC photo shoot with Lenka Drstakova. I haven't copied them to my computer, save one, so I'll leave that as a teaser until I can do that for another post:

Chl01clor2_2 Is there no end to what you can accomplish with a little recombinant DNA?

Fin.


Part III: Easter

The kids let us sleep in super late this morning. (Yes, after I returned from the sleep study, I had a little breakfast, read the paper a little, cuddled with Rob, and then snoozed a bunch more.) When we got up, they were shouting, "Happy Easter! Happy Easter!" Who told them? Was the Bunny here?

I had set my alarm, but slept through it, so we totally missed going to church this morning. Normally, we go Saturday nights, but had to miss it for the CPAP test. I am so disappointed we didn't even go. Shoddy, shoddy Christians, I tell you.

So with the three kids in our bed, clamoring to go downstairs and do Eastery things, we asked them if they knew what this day was really about for us. "Eggs!" "Candy!" "The Easter Bunny!" "Doing an egg hunt!" and all the usual things you might expect from small children. Instead, I made them be quiet and listen while Daddy told them about Jesus being crucified and killed by the bad people who didn't believe he was the son of God, and then waking from being dead and living again. It's kind of hard to explain such things to a 5- and 6-year-old (oh, my gosh, he is really five!!), let alone little Soap (who happens to be the only one able to pronounce "Jesus" correctly). But they asked a lot of good questions, and we answered them to the best of our ability, and after a while, we were satisfied.

I had Daddy keep them busy while I snuck their baskets out of my closet and went downstairs to hide them. Only, no one cleaned up from the birthday party the night before, so it was kind of hard to find decent places to tuck them.  And they are not the brightest of basket hunters yet, so I couldn't hide them too well or we'd still be searching.

100_6079 Coming down the stairs to search for baskets

100_6081 Jack quickly finding his behind the treadmill, on the fireplace hearth

100_6084 I love the way Sophia is slinging hers brutishly over her shoulder after finding it - such a Sophie thing to do!

100_6085 Chloƫ finds hers behind the rocking chair!

100_6087 It was a very water-themed Easter, with buckets and pails instead of traditional baskets, shovels, water guns, water balloons, bubbles, and blow-up toys for the beach and pool...

100_6089 ...but of course, Sophia's favorite thing was all the candy in her bucket!

100_6091_2 She was sneaking more every time we turned around!

100_6093 Jack managed to dig into his, as well

100_6094 Chloƫ having a meltdown because she told me I could eat the head of her chocolate bunny - but she didn't mean the ears! Hey, you figure it out!

100_6095 She quickly perked back up when told she could blow up her octopus - and she did a tremendous job of it!

100_6098 Sophia shows off her crab - and I don't mean Jack!

100_6101 Time to color some eggs! The little nylon bags worked just as well as regular cups, surprisingly.

100_6102A bounty of beautiful huevos

100_6104 After finishing three dozen hard-boiled eggs, we were on a roll and decided to dye the uncooked ones, too!

100_6107 By this point, Sophia and Jack were bored and all I had left was Chloƫ to decorate eggs with me100_6105

She made these hilarious silly face eggs...

100_6113...while I foiled up these shiny ones! (It was fun but incredibly  messy.)

100_6114 Our finished work, at last

100_6115 Alas, we managed to crack a bunch of eggs in the process!

100_6116 What else can you do when life hands you lemons...?

I can't believe how many eggs I have eaten in the past couple of days. And I haven't really eaten eggs - except in stuff - since 1995. I had many deviled eggs yesterday, and an egg salad sandwich today... where does it end??

The rest of the day was spent quietly, with all of us observing Family Naptime and then having a spaghetti dinner together.

To Rob's chagrin, I filled Chloƫ's watergun and shot it around at the kids before he stopped me. Heh. So I sent Chloƫ outside with it to water the plants. She enjoyed that!

Well, I still have the ends to sew in on that blue cardigan, so I'm going to go finish it now. S'pose I'll post a picture of it tomorrow. After that, I am going to go wash the paste out of my hair - I still have not gotten a shower! Ew.

Fin.


Part II: Sleep Study

After the birthday party, I had to quickly rush to pack my bag and head for Naval Medical Center Portsmouth for a sleep study. What was I thinking, scheduling it for Jack's Birthday-Easter weekend? But no matter, it was done, and I had to go.

My gastric bypass surgeon thought maybe I needed CPAP and that my sleeping problems could help explain some of my weight issues. Hey, if the fact that I've snored all my life is the answer instead of my ongoing love affair with chocolate, well, what are you going to do? So I had to do the sleep study as one more step on the way to surgery.

I first walked in and was greeted by a nurse with a heavy Eastern European accent, telling me to sit in the lobby and fill out a long questionnaire, and then she'd be back after setting someone else up with their equipment.  Then she came back and walked me down to my room, and oh, boy. I thought, for the first time of many last night, What am I getting myself into?!! There were wires and straps and machines all over the bed. I just stood there and stared at them while she told me to get dressed for bed and leave the door open when I was ready.

She returned and asked me to sit down in the chair. I did, and she began feeding wires up my shirt and then pasting and taping more wires to my legs. Then she dug around and wrote (hard!) on my head with a pen, and pasted more wires on my head, through my hair.  More wires were stuck to my face. Straps were tightened around my chest and belly. Am I supposed to be able to sleep like this? With that camera on me the whole time?!

During the process, I asked the nurse all about herself. She told me she was from Europe. I resisted the urge to tell her I did not think she was Asian or Australian, so I just said, "Yes, but where?" She said, "I am born in Bosnia!" with a big grin. I love the way foreign people speak English. I am born in Bosnia. How adorable is that? I love it.

She loves Dubrovnik, Croatia, where we'll be visiting on our cruise, and told me all the wonderful things about it. She described the cold weather and interesting marketplaces and buildings when she lived in Vienna, Austria, for a while before coming here. The thing she likes best about living here is the warm weather, and her kids like living near the ocean.  We chatted on for a while until she started sticking paste to my face, and then I just hooted out a surprised, "Oh!" and fell into silence.

Then she told me I had an hour to do whatever I wanted, and she would come in at ten and turn off the lights for me to go to sleep. Yeah, right. Ten? You must be joking. These days, I generally fall asleep between midnight and 0200. The last time I fell asleep at ten, I was probably in high school. Well, I'm sure there are certain times I have like after a big final exam in college, or after giving birth, but not on an ordinary day, no way. I was worried.

I had brought my Good Housekeeping magazine with me, and my huge bag of knitting for my cotton afghan. I had assumed that I would be able to sit up as long as I needed and do whatever I wanted until I was tired. Wrong-O. Lights went out at ten, and I could only get up to go to the bathroom - after signaling for assistance.

I read for an hour and never touched my knitting. Around ten, Fatima checked in with me over her P.A. system: "Are you ready to go to sleep? We will start your sleep study now!" although I can't remember how she really phrased it, Bosnianly. I told her no, I wasn't, but she came in anyway and hooked the wires up to some machine, turned off the light, and said good-night.

Um, good-night.  Yeah, right. I'm never going to go to sleep at t...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Next thing I knew, she came back in to change the oxygen sensor on finger, thinking it wasn't working. I fell right back asleep until she came in to check it again.

Then she told me my oxygen levels were very low. She re-positioned me, inserted a nasal canula, and sent me back off to dreamland. I normally sleep on my stomach, but I was forced to sleep on my side or my back. I didn't think I'd ever get to sleep that way, but sure enough, I went right back out.

After two hours, she came in to put me on the CPAP machine, telling me, "You really need CPAP. Your oxygen is terrible. CPAP was made for you. You need it, you really need it."   

Wonderful.

So she put this small mask over my nose and wrapped an ace bandage around my head and jaw to keep my mouth shut, telling me I was a mouth-breather (I know, I've been that for way for 31 years, and ain't nothing changing about it now. I have surely tried many times) and she was going to try to get me to breathe through my nose so I wouldn't have to wear the full mask.  Oh, I hated it. Hated it, and couldn't breathe. I tried so hard to keep my mouth closed and breathe through my nose, but I felt like I just couldn't get enough air - as always when I try that, even with the mask forcing air into my nose - and was suffocating.

After less than ten minutes, I waved my hands at the infrared camera and ripped it off my face, gasping, "I can't do it!! I can't!"

Fatima rushed right in and set me up with the full face mask, which really didn't seem that much bigger or more invasive, and it was a huge relief to breathe "normally" again.  She left me alone (I think?) for the rest of the night, until 0600, and I don't remember having any problems at all.

When she came in in the morning, she told me my oxygen went up from 70 to 95, sometimes 97, and that it was a really successful test. Successful for whom? Now I have to wear this stupid mask and sleep on my back! 

I filled out the morning questionnaire, dressed, and left, waving good-bye to my new Bosnian friend. During the drive home, though it was so early on an Easter morning, I felt surprisingly awake and well-rested.  Although I fretted continuously about having to use CPAP. I don't want it. I. Don't. Want. It!!!

When I arrived home, the bright, full moon was hanging over my house. Ah. The first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of Spring. That's Easter! He is Risen.

Stay tuned for Part III.

Fin.


Part I: Jack's Birthday

100_6031 Waiting for our party guests to arrive

Little boy blue turned five years old yesterday! Stephanie and Tim wanted to celebrate with us in the evening, so we did not do a whole lot during the day except hang out and clean up for their visit. I had to make a grocery run (for the second cake, since Sophia planted her whole hand  in and screwed up the first one, for helium balloons, tulips to add some cheer, and eggs for dyeing).

100_6032 You're a real pistil, you know that?!

100_6033 My first-ever (I know!) attempt at making deviled eggs - not *too* bad

100_6037 Sophia doing... well, I really don't know what!

When S&T arrived, there was not much time before I had to pack and leave for the hospital, so we had another quickie birthday for Jack. On the one hand, I feel bad that he had two such rapid-fire parties, but on the other hand, I don't mind since he doesn't seem to care, either!  We'll go with the second emotion, I do believe.

*Can I just stop right here and interject a totally irrelevant aside? I miss mystery shopping, and it has been very tempting for me to go back into it! Not the restaurant ones, actually; I have washed my hands of those and won't do it again, lest I blow up another ton and a half. But the fun ones, like taking the kids on the carousel rides or to the waterpark, and the services that we use, like getting oil changes and eye exams, those are the ones making me wish I hadn't said I was completely quitting for good. And I could really use an oil change right now!*

Back to Jack.

The first thing we did was go outside, before we lost sunlight, and do our annual Balloon Release to Robby. You can see a video of that here. [I could embed a video of it here, too, but it takes forever for me to upload them to YouTube, and I'm too impatient.]

That brought up a lot of discussion about Robby, between yesterday and today, and it's mostly Jack asking the questions now. Finally. I have been waiting for these days to come for five years, and it's kind of a relief to know that he is now interested. At first he was mad that someone else had to share his birthday, but once he realized that someone wasn't even coming to the party, let alone getting his presents and eating his cake, the questions started coming about where he was, why he was there, what happened to him, when he was coming back, and so forth. No tears on his part or mine, just frank discussion. He is not quite sure whether to accept yet that Robby is his brother, and he really doesn't understand the concept of twins, but there will be plenty of time for that later and I will not force it.

So back inside we went, and he insisted on opening his presents first. Well, you only turn five once, so why not?

100_6041 A bouncy hopper thing from Daddy and me, which was blown up today and loved!

100_6044 And a Cars bouncy ball - sense a theme forming?

100_6046 Lots of cool books from Grandma and Aunt Gail !

100_6047 A new outfit, including (what else?) a Cars t-shirt, from Steph and Tim

100_6048New games from Aunt Stacey!

He also received cold, hard cash from his aunt and grandpa, and was particularly excited about that. I told him we needed to get him a wallet, but he shouted, "NO! I just want to put it in my pocket!!"  I explained to him that he would not be wearing the same pants every day, and the money would probably get lost, blah blah blah. He agreed to sit on my lap and look online for a cool wallet.  Well, I thought we'd choose a, oh, I don't know, Lightning McQueen one, but he said he wanted a plain, black one, like Daddy's! So we shall go to the store and get exactly what he wants. Should be easy. We'll see. 

And then, with his money, he wants to buy lots and lots of candy! Ha! His eyes were so bright when talking about that. We have decided he can start getting an allowance now, too, so we're going to give him two dollars a week. But no, he can't buy all candy with it. ;)

100_6050 Time for upside-down cake! Both cakes were virtually identical, except this one had two Maters and one LMQ, and vice-versa on the other. See the LMQ candle? I dont know why it has a tree on it... but was with me when I bought this candle and has been asking for it ever since. For like, four months! The boy has a long memory when it comes to things he wants.

100_6054 Did you make a wish, my darling?

100_6058 If nothing else, we are teaching our kids to use impeccable manners.

100_6060 Stephanie's neice, Caroline, peeking up from her Bumbo seat. She's gorgeous, now at 8 months old!

100_6074 Caro loves balloons!

100_6077Caroline says "bye-bye! Now wait while Part II is posted!"

Fin.


The Postess With The Mostess

Pictures, that is.

Today, ChloĆ« started her three-week Spring Break.  Three weeks. Whew. I haven't got anything planned just yet, but now that Jack has started his as well, I'm hoping to do something fun and exciting.

But first, we had to celebrate Jack's fifth birthday at his school. The teacher, Miss Beth, asked me to come in at 1400, so I called the grocery store and told them I'd pick up the cake at 1330 instead of 1100. Fine by them. Only when the girls and I arrived at the store, I was presented with two cakes.

"Um, one of these is supposed to be for tomorrow..." I began. The bakery lady looked at the order forms and a-ha! Somebody messed up. So she began taking the second cake away, and I asked whether it would be fresh tomorrow. She informed me they would start all over and make a new one. Even better. What will they do with the wasted cake, I wonder? I hope not just throw it away. What a shame. I should have just taken them both.

But then I would have run into even more trouble at the register. Have I ever mentioned their completely not dependable (we couldn't decide if the word was "independable" or "undependable" - Gail? Help?) Pay By Touch system? You put your index finger on the little fingerprint doohickey, and it connects to your account that way. Literally, less than half the time does it work and I end up having to run out to the car and get my purse, or worse, leave entirely to go home because I haven't brought the purse at all because I am a great big frigging idiot who never learns.

Today was one of those days. I had no purse at all. And I get up to the register with my cake, which is now due at the school in 12 minutes, and my bottle of apple juice and straws, to find a sign on the PBT system stating that it is now defunct, no more, kaput. Lovely.

"Look," I told the guy at the register, "I need to have this cake at my son's school right now, I have no other form of payment, and you guys gave no warning about this. Is there any way you can ring me up, store the order, and let me come back in an hour or less to pay for it? Please please please please please?"

He went to get the store manager, whom I asked the same question, promising I'd be back in less than an hour, telling him I was in the store five times a week (a bit of hyperbole, but darn close with all the milk my little lushes drink)... and he agreed. "I know you. I see you all the time." He took my name and number, and I was off - with Jack's cake. And the juice and straws. Thanking him like crazy.

*Whoops, looks like I've goofed. I uploaded all these photos hours ago, thinking I'd insert the text later, but now it doesn't want me to insert text between them. So I'll typey-type up here, then you'll scroll down and look at my little photo show, and then I'll typey-type a little more down at the bottom. M'kay?*

We arrived at the school just in time, and one of Miss Beth's aides was walking Adam to the front door as we were coming down hall. I reached into my fancy bag of tricks and fished out a treat bag for him. Hey, I'd bought the stuff, so by George, he was going to get it.

They were waiting for us at the table when we entered the room. I quickly designated someone to hold the cake for Jack and someone else to pass out plates and napkins while I recorded the birthday song to my big five-year-old son. You can see that video and seven more from today here. Ignore my voiceless singing, please!

I poured apple juice for the kids, passed out blowers and hats, cut up the cake, and took pictures. A couple are below. Chloƫ and Sophia fit right in with the other kids - including a new little girl who just started today. Gah! I did not have party treats for her. BUT they all had Easter baskets from a little egg hunt today, so one of the aides and I surreptitiously stuck the treat bags into the others' baskets while they were eating cake, so none of them knew about them at the time, anyway. Except Jack, because I had a Cars "Birthday Champ" ribbon to wear for him in it. I'll show that tomorrow, I sherpose.

It all went really well, and really quickly - 20 minutes from start to finish! The fastest birthday party in the East. I hope the child never concludes that the amount of love I have for my children is directly proportional to the duration of their parties!

We rushed to clean up before the kids had to meet their buses, and somehow I managed to get three kids, the cake, my bag of tricks, and my camera out to the car without dropping anything or losing anyone - although Sophie did take a tumble when some fourth graders plowed through our little posse. Hello, wait for the little kid to pass! Probably our fault, though. And they were waiting for us up front because apparently I parked in a bad spot that interrupted the flow of traffic. We had to hustle into the car and buckle everyone up quickly - and then wait for a good ten minutes for everyone in front of us to leave. *eyeroll*

Finally, after being stuck behind a half-dozen stopped buses, we made it home to get my purse and drop off the cake before going back to the store to pay for it. Sam, the manager, was very happy that I returned. I know some people wouldn't, but I am not a schmuck like that. Besides, I have to go back in tomorrow!

Anyway, then we decided it was such a beautiful day, we should go to the park. And that is what we did. Since I had my camera with me, I took about 8,000 pictures - many of which are below. They're mostly self-explanatory, I would think. Rob eventually joined us, to the children's surprise and delight.

100_5945 100_5944 100_5956 100_5959

100_5963 100_5966

100_5969 100_5974 100_5975 100_5980 100_5988_2100_5993 100_5999 100_6001 100_6005 100_6007100_6009 100_6010 100_6012 100_6015 100_6016 100_6018 100_6020 100_6021 100_6024 100_6027 100_6029 100_6028 Everyone was so dirty when we left, we immediately peeled off our clothes and took a communal shower when we got home. Then the wee babes were all worn out and needed a nap.

Rob and I watched Fur with Nicole Kidman during their sleep. I can count on one hand the number of times we have disagreed about a movie; in this case, I rather liked it, but he was unimpressed.

100_6030_2 I worked on the sweater during the movie and have finished all but the button bands and sewing in the ends. I decided not to fix the diagonal, but now I'm leaning the other way. That little pucker underneath it is not really there; it's just the way I laid out the sweater. Ah, well. I'll put on some really cute buttons, and hopefully they'll take center stage over the goof.

Tomorrow night will be blogless, as I'm spending the night at the hospital, but I'll report on the fifth birthday Sunday. Happy Easter!

{Sorry about all the big chunks of white space. It's a bug on Typepad.}

Fin.


Five Years In Iraq, or, Spring Has Sprung!

Green sweater dress revisited

100_5922 After I had Rob drag out the iron and ironing board for me last night so I could iron on all of Chloƫ's new Try-It patches, I decided to pull this back out and block the button bands to fit the rest of the sweater better = better sweater.

100_5923 Steaming didn't work, which is what I ordinarily do, so instead I soaked it and pinned it. I've never done that before, since steaming has always worked for me.

100_5924And here it is again in the morning, after stretching all night. Not too bad. I feel steaming it would have relaxed the stitches a little better, but the fiber didn't take do kindly to that. It definitely looks better than it did before, so you really can't ask for more than that.

I was so happy to get the big kids back on their respective buses this morning. Sorry, no, I didn't miss them for a minute. Especially Jack, who started pulling his "I don't feel good, wah wah wah" routine when I told him the bus was here. Sorry kiddo, I know you better than that, and I know this is just a stall technique to stay home from school later.

100_5925I had a bad migraine (hello, redundancy) all day today, but I was so tired of doing nothing remotely creative or fun or interesting or edutaining with Sophia, I decided we should bake a cake.  A simple cake, from a box, but a cake. For no reason. Even though we're about to be inundated with birthday cake, "here in a minute," as Rob always likes to say. Hey, it was what I had on hand and simple enough for her to help with almost every step.

She poured in the cake mix, the water and the oil, and she let me do the egg. Shoulda been three eggs, but I only had one. And I handed her the rubber scraper while I went to get the camera, so I could take at least one picture of our process, and here she is licking it when I returned! I hadn't told her to do that part; she thought of it all on her own. Smart kid.

100_5926 "Take a picture of the chocolate, Mama!" She still wasn't happy with this picture and insisted I take a very close-up one of the scraper (that's for you and your mother btw, Rob), but it didn't make the blog cut. Sorry.

100_5928

Quintessential Sophia expression. I love the cresent-shaped bit of chocolate on her nose the best.

While the cake was in the oven, I took a quick shower and ran up and down the stairs naked to check on it. That was fun. Especially when I almost shut my dangly boob in the oven door.

100_5929 When the other kids came home, I got them all ready for Chloe's Brownies meeting. Rob called to say he was home, so I brought him Jack. They both needed a haircut. More on that in a bit.

100_5930 Sophia and I returned to Brownies and watched the girls paint cards for whomever they desired. Apparently they are earning badges with all the silly things they are always doing, but you could have fooled me. Anyway. I still had the migraine, and I didn't lift a finger to help clean up. I felt kind of bad about it, but only a little. Besides, it's the girls' job.

100_5931 Margaret, our troop leader's daughter. She just kept walking up and staring at me, looking at me with an expression as if to say, "I know I've seen you around before, but I juuuust can't place you..."  Yes, Margaret. I have held you and fed you and cuddled on you since you were first born. But now, all of a sudden, we are strangers? Gah. Babies.

100_5932 Heeere, Margaret-Margaret. *whistle* Heeeere, baby!

No dice. Just the stare.

100_5933 Afterward, the girls gathered in a circle around Debbie (there were more of them, but some were out washing their hands during this shot) to finally receive their rewards from selling Fall Product back in Sept-Oct.

100_5934 Chloe and Brett both sold a lot, the most, so they earned all the prize levels. Chloe earned the stuffed dolphin, a dolphin necklace, the little zipper cell phone (!) pouch, and a dolphin patch for her vest. I tried ironing that on tonight too, but it's not an iron-on. Shucky duck. Time to break out the sewing needles and thread. Blah.

100_5935 So after Brownies, with Rob and Jack still not being home from the barber, the girls and I went to pick up a cappucino machine from a fellow Freecycler. It's like new! Except no manual. And she's not sure it works, but it should. I don't care, it's for Rob, and it's his problem now.

I had just enough time before going out to my evening meeting to throw this cake together. Does it not look awesome?!! I should totally lie and tell you that Sophia did this part, but it was ALL ME, folks.  I concocted this monstrosity. LMAO!! I'm thinking it was so crumbly because of the two eggs it was lacking, but it just completely fell apart when I tried to frost it, even with my wonderful Pampered Chef spreader thingy. Oy vey. At least it tasted good.

Rob came home with my butchered son. Apparently there was a miscommunication about how short I wanted them to go. I wanted his hair razored with 5 and 3 blades, but they used, like, 1 and 2s. He looks like a cancer patient, and I know that's not very PC of me to say, but I don't give a hoot. You'll see tomorrow; he just was not in the mood for a photo shoot this day.

I had to run then, to meet my knitting group at the new Panera. They voted to work on charity projects, and CARE Package won, so of course I had to make an appearance. Only three of us showed up to knit, with a fourth popping in for a minute to say hello, but we had a lovely visit together. It lasted two hours and went by very quickly.

And I learned something about myself that I did not know: I am a Continental-style knitter! What?! I knit like Europeans, not Americans. Apparently I 'throw' with my left hand instead of my right, and I move the yarn differently with my fingers and hands, and I'm a completely different knitter than others here. Also apparently, between that and the way I hold one needle under my arm as I knit, I am a very fast knitter. They kept commenting on the rapid progress I was making, starting a new half-front when I got there and finishing all but the last couple rows before we left - even with having dinner.  Well, yay for me.  But I'm still stunned about the "continental" revelation.  How did that even happen?! Huh.  I guess I just did it on my own, and there you go, and there it is.

100_5940But I totally screwed up while I was knitting and doing a lot of talking. You can see the blatant jaggedy zig line right there on the right half of the sweater! Why, oh why, didn't I just rip it out?? It's not too late. I still might. But I rather doubt it.

Instead, I came home and knitted one of the sleeves. I'll do the other tomorrow, and finish the sweater. Other than the painfully obvious mistake, it's a very cute sweater and a really fast knit. I'll do this one again - correctly.

Besides, I never worry when I make a mistake in my knitting, unless it's a truly fatal mistake. I like the Native American belief (or so I was told) that you should always put a mistake in everything you make, in recognition that only God can create perfect things. Isn't that cool?

So what do you think? Should I fix the mistake or let it be, giving the sweater some character?

Let me know in the comments. :)

Fin.


What Two Consenting Adults Do In The Privacy Of An Exam Room...

I keep wondering if it drives some of you batty when I capitalize small words in a title that shouldn't be capitalized, as above.  Maybe that's why I do it? I am admittedly obnoxious that way.

Today was a rough day for me.  I am finally sitting here now, decompressing.

What happened was... (I was always told you shouldn't start a sentence that way, because it usually means the rest is a lie. But I have nothing to lie about, so here I go.)

There's still a mix-up with my meds. Not my Side-Effexor, thank goodness, because I would probably not be here to tell about it if I missed that for so many days. But my other med, of which I take three a night, has been all confused between trying to fill it at the Naval Hospital, or one of the clinics, or Walgreens in the middle of the night, and getting it refilled in the wrong place, and blah blah blah. Suffice it to say, I only had one pill instead of three for last night, which meant today was a really off day.

Not a depression day. Not an 'omg, how am I going to make it through' type of day. Just a withdrawal-y day. When I get the Trileptal withdrawals, I get major tunnel vision, weird throbbing headaches in my temples, and little discomforting shocks whenever I move this way or that.

It was not the sort of day, in a perfect world, when I would have chosen to have all three sick, small, naughty children home with me. But, alas, that is exactly what I had, after deciding to keep both C and J home for one more day. They are damn well going back tomorrow, unless they come down with... well, poo-poo on that, but y'know.

Oh, I missed something: I totally wet the bed this morning!!! WTF is wrong with me?  This is something I always do at least once when I'm pregnant, but I am certainly not with child right now! I have a dream - and almost all my dreams are very realistic, very vivid, and memorable for being so - that I'm peeing on the toilet, but I am actually, in fact, in real life, peeing in my bed!

Normally, I wake up after the first little sensation of making weewees. But no sir, not this time. This time, hoo boy, this time, I let go of a full night's bladder. I soaked the comforter, the sheet, the fitted sheet, the mattress. WET. Very, very wet.  And in my oh-so-tired and wrongly-medicated state, what did I do? I got up, walked around to Robert's side of the bed, and went back to sleep. Ugh!!! 

Just when I thought I had caught up on all the laundry, and I go and do this.  And hello, embarrassing!  (I have always had a policy, btw, that if it may be entertaining to someone else, it's worth humiliating myself to tell it.)  Rob told me I shouldn't get on Jack for constantly wetting the bed when I do it, too! Har!

So, that's how I started my day.

And then I came downstairs and nearly stepped in a giant pile of hot doggie doodie. Lovely.

And then I cleaned that up with paper towels and threw the whole mess into the toilet, and stopped it up.  Great.

And then I couldn't find the plunger. So the downstairs bathroom was out of commission all day. Sweet.

Are you with me?

It pretty much went like that all day long, and don't forget I was in this total withdrawal-y state from several days of messed-up medicating.  It was not a Good Mom Day for me.  It was all I could do to feed the children, get them dressed, and stay awake with them until nap time. (Doesn't that sound familiar? I swear I had a day or three like that recently, from being sick.  Boy, I'm really going to be winning some mommy awards this year.)

Oh, then Rob called and reminded me that he had to stand watch tonight until 2200. That would ordinarily suck enough on its own, but I had to be at the hospital at 2015 for a pelvic ultrasound ordered up by the oncologist. Three kids, small room, transvaginal ultrasound, late at night... I don't think so.

So I called my trusty babysitter, Stephanie, so see if she could babysit. Nope. (No? Wth? Are you not alive simply to serve my needs, my dear?) She had to get ready for her parents' impending visit tomorrow but, she could watch them if I brought the kids to her house, which is less than 20 minutes from the Naval hospital! Alrighty, then, we'll do that.

So I made it through the rest of the day (with the help of my best friend, Mr. Naptime) and jumped into the shower just on time to make it to this appointment. And got everyone ready to go - they insisted on putting their winter coats on, even though it was like 75 degrees outside. Fine, whatever, let's just go - and then

I COULD NOT FIND MY KEYS.

Now, I don't know if you read/remember my whole grocery list organization post a few WFMW's ago, but I like things organized and I have my systems. My key system goes like this: I walk in the door, I immediately hang my keys on the hook to the left that is there expressly for that purpose and yes there is a hook for Rob too although he never uses it, and then they are always ready and waiting for me the next time I have to go out. Simple, elegant, functional. Right?

Wrong.

Not when you live with Mr. Unreliable. I went outside to see if maybe, maybe, I had somehow left them in the van. The doors were all unlocked, but a quick check of the ignition, front floor, back floor, carseats and doors indicated there were no keys in the van. Odd. Very odd. 

I came back in the house and checked the floor and bags of recycling underneath the hook, the shelf and storage box on the opposite side of the hallway and the floor all round that, and the kitchen counters. No keys.

That left one very infuriating conclusion: Rob had done something with them.

Now, you may say that I am too-quickly jumping to conclusions, but in addition to the other two certainties in life, here are two more: (1) I always hang up my keys on that hook and (2) if they're not there, it's Rob's fault.

So I called him up and very unlovingly demanded to know whether he'd driven my car last night. Nope, nope. Well, buddy, my keys are missing, and I want to know where they are right frigging now! (I was so not in the mood to play around, and I was going to be late, and it absolutely ENRAGES me when he takes my keys and does not put them back. Especially when he has his own key to my car!!)

He finally remembered having taken them to get the remaining undelivered boxes of Girl Scout cookies out of the back last night, so I could have the box. And we traced the keys to the pockets of the shorts he was wearing last night, which of course were discarded on his side of the bed and nowhere near the actual laundry.

You can tell my husband isn't getting any tonight, can't you?

I think he tried to apologize, and I think I shouted at him and hung up on him. And I think this was outside where the neighbors were sitting on this porch. Yes, yes, it's all coming back to me. How very quaint.

So by this time, I have the kids bundled into the car and am driving to Stephanie's house almost a half-hour away when I remember two very important facts: (1) (I love enumeration) I am supposed to have a full bladder for this test and (2) I have not fed the kids any dinner.

SUCKNATION!

Eventually Stephanie and I sort it out on the phone that she's going to feed them dinner, so I don't have to stop and get them yucky McDonald's.  That still leaves me, so after I quickly dropped them off at her house, I stopped at Wendy's and got the hugest drink they offer.

Chug-a-lug.

I finally made it to the hospital with six minutes to spare. That only left me time to cast on the second half of the front of my little boy sweater, and do three rows of garter stitch, before I was called in.

And then, let the fun begin.

First, we did the abdominal ultrasound. Only, it was for my pelvis, so I had to pull my pants so far down she might as well have told me to take them off from the very beginning. That part was pretty short and sweet, and I thought I'd be outta there in no time. Then she told me to go empty my bladder for the transvaginal portion of our date.

I came back in, and she had a huge roll for me to rest my butt on, while lying on my back. Oh, yeah. That was a big slice of comfortable.  Then she got the wand. And, I have had vaginal ultrasounds before, plenty of times, for pregnancy.  But that last time I inserted something that big in there, well, let's just say his name was Ben and it was painful.

I can't believe how many foreign things I have had up my hooha for all these cancer shenanigans, and my husband wasn't even in the room. I am a dirty, dirty prom queen.

And that exam lasted a long time. You know those nice pictures they put on the ceiling when you have a dental or medical exam? I was wishing for one. Instead, I twiddled my hair and remembered back to the ultrasounds that would drag on two, sometimes three hours with my twin pregnancy - all while having that mandatory full bladder - and I stopped fussing about how long this was taking tonight.

Eventually it was over, so I left and went upstairs to get an emergency supply of my med for tonight (since he still can't pick it up at the clinic because of standing watch so late). I was in and out of there so quickly, again I didn't get to do any knitting. They didn't even ask me for my ID, just took the bottle back and gave me four nights' worth. Excellent.

So I drove back to Stephanie's and rocked out to Young MC's "Bust a Move" along the way. (If I'm ever on Dancing With the Stars, because I'm so famous, I'm going to have to make sure we dance to that. And Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5." And Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," of course.")

The kids were so cute when I returned. Sophia had made a mess of her clothes with some chocolate ice cream, so Steph had put her in a really cute outfit her niece used to wear, and she looked adorable! She knew it, too. And Chloƫ was sporting some cute pigtails. As for Jack, well, he was there, too. Whining and complaining as usual. Sigh.

They wanted more food, so Steph gave them a second helping of dinner while I wrote out her checks (one for tonight, one for watching them during the cruise, whoohoo!)  They had already eaten a whole bunch earlier in the evening, but my Three Little Pigs chowed down for the second time while I waited. And waited. All I wanted to do was go home, but they asked for more of this and more of that, and who is going to deny them? Not I.

Rob was home (thank God) when we returned, and I had already called him and apologized for being nasty, explaining to him what he already knows: how much it pisses me off when he loses my dang keys. And breaks my system, lord have mercy on his soul.

So here I am. Doing the bills. Only I'm not doing the bills, since this is much more productive and necessary. Enjoy!

Fin.


WFMW: Oust!

Wfmwsmall With all the sickness that's been spread around here lately, it's all I can do to keep the germs at bay, even with Barbara coming to clean the house.  So my latest Bzz Kit came just in time yesterday: it's for Oust Surface Disinfectant and Air Sanitizer!

Oust Surface & Air kills 99.9% of germs, incluing cold and flu viruses, on hard, non-porous surfaces, and eliminates odors by killing bacteria in the air.

I received two free 12-oz cans of the "Clean Scent" version, and let me tell you, I have been spraying like crazy ever since. Even more today, since my wonderful dog crapped on the carpet, and that is some awful stench! The Oust took the smell right away! (At least, with all of us being so congested, I think it did!)  You can spray all around the air, on doorknobs, toilets, sinks and so on, and I'll tell you a little secret - I don't even wipe it up afterward. I just let it sit there and evaporate. 

The house smells great, and I really do feel better knowing that some more germies are being zapped by Oust.

And now the good part for you: I have five coupons for a free can of Oust Surface & Air to share with my readers!  The first five people to comment specifically asking for a coupon will get one - I'll just respond to you and ask for your mailing address.  Come back later after you've purchased it and let us know how it worked out for you.

Now go back and visit Shannon and see all the other great tips bloggers have left for you today!

Fin.


Calgon, Do Your Thing

I am so ready for a break. A break from the coughing, a break from sick kids - sick kids who whine and cry too much, who fight with each other out of boredom from just sitting around all the time, who don't listen when they're told to do anything... Is it June yet? I am so ready to go on that cruise right now.

Everyone's still about the same. Can we all just assume that to be the case, unless I post otherwise?  Good.

Jack stayed home today and probably will again tomorrow. I, on the other hand, am ready for him to go back to school!  Not just because it's easier with just Sophia, and not just because he and Sophie bicker and tattle and hit each other and so on. It really messes with my schedule to have him home! I am so used to planning my day between 10:50 AM and 2:39 PM, and without that, or at least having the expectation of dropping what I'm doing to watch for the bus, I am lost. It's confusing. And if you know me at all, you would daresay I can ill afford to be more confused.

We didn't really have anywhere to go today, so after breakfast, after watching Mister Rogers and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and Mr. McFeely and the gang, and some new knitting, we headed upstairs. Mama had four loads of laundry to wash, dry, fold and put away. And I accomplished almost all of that, plus a shower, before the kids clamored for lunch. Ho-kay, then. Back downstairs we go. 

I fed them lunch and then plopped us back into the living room so I could knit a few more rows, when Chloƫ came home. She seemed to be in good spirits. This was good. Lately, she is Miss Grumpy Pants when she comes home. We got her ready for ballet, and then Jack fell asleep. Ten minutes before we had to leave for dance class, and he crashes out on the couch. Great.

I spent all of ballet knitting and listening to Sophia telling me she had to go potty just so she could get out of her carseat. She does this every week. I know she doesn't have to go, because I can tell when she REALLY has to go and when she's just saying that to get out of doing whatever she's doing. "Okay, honey, in a minute, when we get home, hold on, baby, blah blah blah blah..."

Daddy beat us home, and I'm glad. Seeing his car in the driveway is always exciting for me, coming around the bend.

It was good, too, because I had to go see my therapist for the first time since, like, early December, I think.  I don't know what kept me away, other than being busy and generally happy and non-depressed and stable and good!

We had plenty to talk about today, though, among "the cancer thing" and the gastric bypass yes/no situation and everyone being sick and my being so stressed out with everyone being sick. My main stressor right now is the recovery period after surgery and finding help taking care of the children. She suggested I call social services at the hospital and see what kind of services were available in my situation, since Rob can't take leave. I'm hoping, praying, there will be something available. If not, I plan to fall upon Satchi and Joel (I finally asked her what his name was at the bus stop this morning) for even more help. Oh, humility, this asking for help business.

So, anyway.

I came home, had some dinner with the family (chicken breaded with French's onion thingies, broccoli, au gratin potatoes, if you're keeping score), and settled in to watch Day Two of the Dancing With the Stars premiere. Do y'all watch that show? I just love it. And there are so many great people on this season, I don't know whom to root for. Kristi Yamaguchi? The happy girl from Hairspray? Steve Guttenburg, on whom I've always had a little crush? (Yes, since I was a child. Hey, he's a cutie.) Adam Corrolla? I just don't know. What I do know is, what'sherfacethetennisstar has to go. She does nothing for the show, and it does nothng for her.

And I finished the back of the little sweater I'm working on:

100_5921Cute and boyish, right? It's about time for a boy one again. This is another Plymouth Yarn Studio Design pattern, but this time I'm knitting with the very eco-friendly Sirdar Snuggly baby bamboo DK.  It's my first time knitting with bamboo, and I'm enjoying it.  I find that it has qualities both similar to knitting with cotton - as a fellow plant fiber - and some animal fibers. It's got a similar feel to cotton and is sort of stiff and non-stretchy like that, but it has an excellent drapeyness that I like and is very soft. I'll definitely be using it again. I still want to try corn yarn, too... So the back is done, and almost half of the front. Not a whole lot is going on tomorrow until evening, so I expect I'll get a great deal more done then.

And that will be sayonara to you folks. Thanks for not teasing me about peeing my pants multiple times yesterday! ;)

Fin.


Ɖire go BrĆ”ch!

Green, of course, for today, even though I don't really give a rat's patoot about St. Patrick's Day. I didn't even remember to put the kids in green clothes today. It's not that I have a disdain for the 'holiday' so much as a complete and utter lack of interest.

Health report: Status for all five of us continues to be crapola. As for myself, I have thrown my neck out from coughing (handily having a Thermawrap on hand for that) and have coughed so hard I peed myself more times than I can count today. Yes, I'm serious. Yes, I'm sharing that. I'll be embarrassed about it tomorrow. Right now, I don't care. Welcome to my world.  Rob is miserable and coughing nonstop, and the kids are in the best shape right now, although more on that in a bit.

After the kids were both sent to their respective schools, I jumped in the shower and woke up Sophia. She likes to sleep in, most days. We quickly got dressed, had a little breakfast, and hopped into the van. I forgot my cell phone, which turned out to be my fatal mistake.

Our first stop was my psychiatrist's office to get yesterday's mentioned meds refilled. Stability is mine right now, but only as long as I take my meds exactly on time, every single night. Miss and I'm screwed. So I absolutely had to get the scripts today.

Only, when we arrived at the office, Soap and I, there was an ominous-looking sign on the building's front door. Upon closer look, it turned out that all power was out in the building for the rest of the day. Great...  I entered and was immediately greeted by a security guard who asked where I was going. When I told him, he shook his head and said the elevators were out, the stairs were closed because they were completely black, and no one was working. I explained the situation, and he agreed to lead us upstairs by flashlight.

Well, the receptionist was there, and apparently she had called after I left  and left a message about the darkness. My doc had left, but he had taken my file with him and could see me at his other office, way down near ChloĆ«'s dance studio. Well, okay. What choice did I have?

We went. I didn't know where I was going, so I did that annoying left-lane-slow-crawl that upsets everyone behind you, even though you don't have a choice, to find the address. Finally, we found it, parked, and made our way upstairs. We found the office, and it was... locked. LOCKED. And dark. And no one was there. Sonuvab----!!!  I was pissed. Seriously. Pissed. Listen. I have other things to do, too. I have a life. My time is also valuable. I expected, when I was sent to the other office, for him to actually be there.

But, of course, I didn't have my cell phone on me to call and complain to the other office and find out when he'd be back, so I had no choice but to leave - not before doing a quick swirl through the parking lot looking for Dr. Pal's car (I know it) to see if maybe he was there, but not there, taking a lunch or something, you know? No sech leck.

So we left. Sophia kept hollering from the back that she wanted Arby's (Arby's? Huh? We never go there, except for mystery shops, which I'm no longer doing, and even then it wasn't that often we went, was it?), but we were near the party store, and I had party store shopping to do. Much too much, it turned out. I hit the Cars section  for Jack's birthday, and pulled cups and plates and napkins and favors and treat bags off the shelves. Then I hit the Easter aisle and took a bunch of things from there to make up baskets for the kids. Wowee, I spent about three times what I'd planned. Hate that. But it was done, at least.

It was getting down to the last half-hour before Jack's return from school, so I decided to stop at Arby's and get the most nutritious thing I could find on the menu (pecan chicken wrap, with apples and grapes), and head home.

Surprise of surprises, Rob's banged-up car (oh, I think I completely forgot to tell y'all he got into another accident the other day!!! He's all right, but his car is not... sigh) was in the driveway when we returned. I didn't think about why that would be - well, I thought maybe they finally sent him home sick - I was just so happy he was home! I toot-tooted when we pulled in, for some help with all our packages and our baby girl, and he and Jack greeted me at the front door.

Huh? Jack? What? Apparently, his school and Rob called me about 57 times to come and pick up the poor child, whose nose was running like crazy (eh, I'm not impressed by that) and also who was coughing like crazy and crying about coming home (okay, okay).  So Rob had to leave work, drive the hour home, and come get him from school. Big OOPS on my part. I'm rarely without my celly, and the one time I forget it, here's what happens. Argh. But let's not cry over spilt milk, shall we?

So we ate lunch, and I checked email, and did a little knitting, and generally waited for it to be 1700. Chloƫ came home, and we sent everyone down for a nap, since they all sorely needed the R&R. Once they were gone, Rob and I arranged all the goody bags for the party and made up the Easter baskets. That was fun. He hid everything in my closet until the weekend.

At 5, I got back in the van to take the cookie money over to our troop leader. I still can't get in touch with the last 5 or so people, so I had to write a check to cover their amounts. Bloody hell. At her house, I thanked her again for bringing us dinner, and then I told her I needed help with something else. Before I knew it, I was in tears, telling her about "the cancer thing" and asking if she knew whether any of the other mothers were stay-home moms, because I was having surgery and Rob can't take leave, and I was going to need help with the kids getting off to school. She was very comforting and understanding, and right away she plans to assemble the troops to help me. I'm very reassured by that, much as I hate to ask for help, especially on such a large scale. We'll see what happens. I'm under the impression that hysterectomy recovery isn't going to be something I can suck up and manage by myself this time.

So. So, so, so.

After that, I drove to Farm Fresh - the grocery around the corner from our house - to order two cakes for Jack's birthday party. One for taking to school, and one for our little party at home. We can't have candles at school, and I figure it's not so nice to light them on one that's already been half-eaten, so there we are. Two cakes. The decorator-guy was a bit puzzled as to why I wanted two cakes, exactly the same, so I had to explain. A-ha.

I picked up some bananas and dish soap and a few more things and spent only $27 and change. It all fit into one paper (because of course I'd forgotten my canvas totes) bag. I think that's a noteworthy first!

While at the store, Dr. Pal called and said I could either meet him at his far-away office at 7:30, or I could see him later in the week. Weeell, later in the week wasn't going to work, so 7:30 it was. Rats, shoot, darn. I wanted to be home for the night.

I asked Rob to throw in the stuffed shells and artichokes earlier than planned so I could eat before going, and then I did a little more knitting and little more emailing, and then I ate, and then I left. (Isn't that exciting? You love it when I post all the mundane details, I know you do.)

Goodness, his other office waiting room was TI-NEE. Four chairs, all full, and me just standing there in all my chubby glory while everyone tried not to stare at each other and wonder what mental defect each other possessed. (That one lady was a kook, I tell ya. KOOK with a capital K.)  Finally, everyone else left, and he brought me in. It was the usual five-minute appointment:

He: How are you doing on your medications?

Me: Good!

He: Good, here are your scripts, see you in 8 weeks.

The end. So efficient. Except I left without one - but it's the one to help me sleep, which I've been without for the past month or so, and I'm not too worried about it. I don't miss it other than, you know, not being able to knock right out.

Home again, again. The rest of the night, I just knitted like a fiend to finish the first panel of my cottony blanket, while watching the series premieres of Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor (that last one only because nothing else was on that interested me).  But I did finish my knitting, in between painful-to-the-neck and pee-worthy coughing fits. See?

100_5919 All folded up

100_5920 The extended version

So, that's it. I'll put that away and start something new for the wee babies tomorrow, I s'pose.

Have a good evening!

Fin.


Take Three, Tito

All right. I tried typing up this post a second time last night, and I lost it again even further down than the first time. Then I said a string of four letter words and walked away from the computer for the night.  I'm going to try this a third time and just write without attempting to duplicate what I've already written twice before... and yes, Nadine, I'm going to attempt to remember to use the 'draft' feature to save my work as I go!

********

Well, we are all still sick and miserable. It comes and goes in waves, I have realized, as all five of us have been very sick, then felt more human again, then it's come back, rinse, and repeat. Right now, all five of us pretty much feel like shit.

So I was completely expecting to hear from Jack's school nurse on Friday when I sent him back to school. His fever had gone away, though, and he expressed an interest in going on the bus. What I didn't expect was the phone call from Chloƫ's school telling me she had to come home. Apparently, she coughed herself silly and puked up all her lunch. Poor thing. She had seemed so much better the night before.

So I ran to the school, in my gross, unshowered, greasy, undressed state. In my nightgown. I mean, what was I going to do, keep her waiting and jump in the shower? I just threw on some pants and got in the van, trying to fix my nasty bangs and, you know, cover my droopy nipples that point to the floor. Because of course I didn't even put on a bra. I am such a mess!!  Embarrassing. I like to take off my glasses and pretend people can't see me, either, in those situations, but that wouldn't have worked here.  So I just did a lot of extra coughing while I was there, hoping people would "realize" I just came there from my own sick bed. Heh heh.

After we came home, I got Chloƫ into her jammies and settled her on the couch, and Sophia was more than content to play with her toys on her own. I sat on the other couch and did my knitting, quickly finishing up the green sweater dress I'd just begun, except for the buttons. By the evening, I had finished one and a half of the booties that match.

Friday night is normally our pizza night, but instead our usual around-the-corner Primo's, I had a yen for Uno's. We hadn't eaten there in a couple of years, and I missed the deep dish crust. Steph and I tried to go with the kids in NYC, but they were jam-packed and we didn't have the time to wait.  So Rob called in an order and then ran out there for what was supposed to be a quick round trip but turned into over an hour after they messed up my Spinoccoli pizza. The only difference was they added chicken, but they gave us that pizza free and made me another one. When he finally got home, I hated to mention that it was undercooked, because I certainly wasn't going to send him back out for it. It was good, though. I love that crust.

Saturday, Rob had duty from 6-6, which sucked for all of us.  Obviously for him, since he already works so much, is sick, and is so tired. And for us, because we miss him, and for me, because I really could use the break from keeping three sick babies happy. What to do, what to do?

Well, we woke up relatively early for us, for a Saturday, but no one felt like doing a whole lot. I went back to my knitting, Jack was lying back on the couch, and the girls were quietly playing with their respective toys. I finished the second bootie and then did all the finishing on the outfit, like adding ribbons and buttons and such. Observe:

100_5905 The entire outfit

100_5906Wee green booties

100_5907 Front of the sweater dress, prior to blocking, which especially needs to be done on the button bands

100_5908 Back of the sweater, in all its bobbled glory

I really liked this pattern from Plymouth Yarn Design Studio. It's pretty quick, once you get past the bobbles, and the front and back are knit together and wrap around the body. It seems like a really efficient design for an infant sweater. The only thing I changed were the button bands; instead of knitting them separately in K1P1 ribbing and then sewing them onto the body (hello, tedium), I picked up stitches along the front edges (probably not enough, but blocking will fix that) and knit it in garter stitch. The garter there will mirror the garter stitch in the bonnet and booties, whereas there is no other ribbing in the layette. Ha, I'm a designer! As if.

One of these days, I am going to have to get back to making baby blankets for all these sweaters. But not just yet. I have the yarn already purchased (remember my big spending spree at the LYS? Still working off that stash) for more sweater sets, and I intend to complete those first. In the meantime, I'm taking a break for the rest of the weekend and trying to finish up the first panel of my huge and heavy cotton blanket for myself. My acrylic (and other?) allergies persist, and I'm sick of chugging back the Benadryl.

When I went outside (finally) to get the newspaper, I was hit with an unexpected degree of warmth. And sunshine! And the need to get outside. The kids could really use some fresh air, and so could I. I opened the coat closet to find some bubbles and, finding none, chose the big bucket of chalk instead. I completely forgot about the new chalk toys we'd given the kids for Christmas, but there will always be another warm day - soon, I hope.

100_5909 The garden's first bloom of the season. I couldn't tell you what it is, even though I bought and planted it a few years ago. This was thirteen seconds before Jack walked over and plucked it from its stem, presenting it to me. Ah, thanks, sonny-boy...

100_5910 Jack and Sophia, hard at work on their joint masterpiece

100_5912 The bouquet Sophie presented me with

100_5913 Sophie testing out the idea that dandelions could be eaten. She spit out the flower, wiped her mouth and said, "I don't like it, Mommy."

100_5915 Chloƫ walked away to the far side of the driveway, so I couldn't see what she was working on. It turned out to be a big, colorful Easter egg for Daddy, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

100_5916 The non-twins' masterpiece; Jack was partial to green. That's my boy!

Eventually, Jack and Soap decided they were too hot, and they wanted to go inside. Chloƫ wanted to stay out, so I set her to work with some shears in the garden, cutting out the dried, old, brown stuff. She did just a little bit, but it's less I'll have to do, eventually. And she cut some of the new green growth. Oh, well. She is six.

At that point, I decided to have a look at my Palm and realized we'd missed a Brownies Try-It activity for Chlo. Oopsie. We also didn't go to the acting expo at ODU, but that was a planned miss after she was too sick to go to the informational meeting, and they choreographed it without her. I had asked for a refund for yesterday's Girl Scouts activity but never heard back, and I completely forgot about it. Too late now.  Lunch time, nap time, me time. Ahhh.

Finally, Daddy came home from work and... I can't remember anything that happened after that. I know I typed up stuff about it last night, but now the evening is completely escaping my mind. Oh, well, it happens. Momnesia and all.

Today, I slept and slept and slept some more. I'd hurt my shoulder yesterday in a freak knitting accident (heh), and had meant to lie down but not actually sleep all day. When I got up, it still hurt, and I asked Rob to get me one of those Thermacare heat wraps. I'm wearing it now. (I guess this will be a mini Product Review.) The warmth really feels good, and rotating my shoulder is less painful now that the heat has really kicked in. I don't know what he paid for it, but the pain level before compared to the complete lack of pain right now leads me to say that it's worth it no matter the cost.

That's about it. I did a whole bunch of knitting on my blanket today as well; Rob went out to the hospital to refill my meds that I somehow ran completely out of unawares; Jack spent the day sniffling on the couch; the girls played and seemed mostly all right, if coughing a lot. It wasn't nearly as warm today as it was yesterday, but I'm hoping we'll climb up there again during the week.

Fin.


A Long One, As Requested

Wednesday was such a busy day, I came home and went right to bed from exhaustion. This cold/whatever is still kicking my ass, and now all the kids are sick from it, too. I can not wait until winter goes away!

I got up early yesterday morning and took a shower with Chloƫ, so that her hair would be nice and curly for her Dollar Tree photo shoot. Then we woke up the rest of the children, got them dressed, and everybody fed. I had already spent an hour the night before getting bathing suits, sundresses, shorts and tees ready for the photo shoot - as assigned - and had the directions printed out. So, off we went.

We got a little lost in downtown Norfolk, and I had to call the studio for directions. Who knew there were cobblestone streets in Norfolk, Virginia? Not I. Sophia piped up from the back seat, "We're bumpin', Mommy, we're bumpin'!"

So we arrived at the studio, ten minutes ahead of schedule (hey, more time for the time sheet), and lo and behold, they were expecting much smaller models than ChloĆ«. Like one- and two-year-olds. To model their swimsuits and shorts sets; we weren't supposed to bring our own. Is ChloĆ«'s agent a dipwad or what?!  So I was all prepared to be very annoyed about having to get everyone up, miss morning school, drag them all out sick, etc. when they spotted Sophia in the stroller. "Do you think these 18M bathing suits would fit her?" they asked.

Well. Uh. We can try...

And they did! So in addition to the other two models there, Sophia had her pictures done in three different suits and outfits. She was a natural ham - we always say we've got the wrong kid in acting, because Soapy's such a drama queen - and she did a tremendous job. They were so pleased with her, they even sent the two other kids home and kept taking her pictures in another outfit. She would pose with her hands on her hips and turn to one side, then to the other, then blow kisses to the camera, and smile on command - she was great! At first she didn't want to do pictures at all - and she certainly didn't want to wear any make-up - but then we told her to pretend she was at the beach, and she jumped right in there and had a great time.

They even wanted Jack to do some pictures after they sent the other little (uncooperative) boy home, but Jack wanted none of it. He just huddled next to me and shouted, "NO!" I don't know if he would've done if if he weren't miserable, but I wasn't going to make him. So, the Dollar Tree ad will be out on May 18th; pick up a copy and see our newest little star! It'll be a nice little bit of money for her college account, and unlike Chloƫ, I probably won't even need to "pay" her a little something for doing it, since she won't have realized she was "working." I can just put it all in the bank.

We got out of there earlier than expected, so we raced home to beat Jack's school bus to the house. I was dubious about sending him, but he seemed perked up about going and didn't complain at all about not feeling well, so I made his lunch and got him into his backpack just as his bus pulled up. One kid down.

Then I threw Chloƫ's backpack and things together and drove her off to school. "Did you oversleep this morning?" the attendant asked when we walked in. "No," I stated, "she was at a photo shoot for..." "Mooooom, it wasn't my photo shoot, it was Sophia's!" Well. True. But she was there. Two kids down.

Then it was just me and Baby Bubba (she still loves that new nickname).  Barbara was coming to the house to clean, so we needed to clear out of there. I ran home to get my knitting, and then we drove to the new Panera for lunch. Instead of my usual You-Pick-Two half-sandwich and small bowl of soup, plus a kids' meal, I thought we'd just get a full sandwich and a bread bowl of soup, and share that. Oh, man, it was waaaay too much food. One thing I have noticed for sure since being on this starvation diet is that I can't eat nearly as much as once as I used to; I actually get full for once! And of course, while Soap can sure pack it away as compared to her sibs, she can still only eat a, well... she can eat enough for a small adult. So we threw away almost half a sandwich (I would've kept it, but she hacked at it and ate pieces of it from all different angles, and it was just a mess) and half the bread bowl. Wasteful. I hate being wasteful. We'll not do that again.

Then we drove to the yarn store. I wanted to do a bit of social knitting, plus I needed to pick out some cute buttons for the sweater set I'm knitting now, and I needed to get some items for the February prize pack I still need to mail out for my crochet list charity thing. We had about two hours alotted for the yarn store, which would have been plenty of time to get all that done. Only... no sooner did I get Sophie buckled into the stroller (to keep her from running amok and pulling balls of yarn out all over) and wheeled to the back of the store, but my phone rang. (And having your phone ring in a yarn store is similar to being in a library, or a fine restaurant, or the movies - everyone turned pissily toward me; oops.)

It was the nurse at Jack's school. He was running a fever, and doing a little coughing, and saying his throat and tummy hurt. Ahh, my poor little guy. I can't say I was terribly surprised. I told them I was down off Lynnhaven and would be a little while getting there, but I'd be there soon.

We rushed to Arrowhead, and I ran in to get my little sickie. One of the teacher's aides from his class carried him out to me, and he looked so tiny in her arms. She said he had been sleeping until I called. He just looked pathetic. Miserable. I carried him out to the car and took him home.

When we were pulling in, the nice Japanese neighbor lady (I suppose I could start calling her Sachi now, which is her name - will y'all remember that? Promise?) and her husband (who is African-American, and who has told me his name at least three times, and I still can't remember it), and their two little boys were outside with bikes and helmets and stroller. They called out that they were going to the park around the corner. Sophie ran over to greet the boys - her new best friends after playing together two days last week while Mommy ailed - and their parents. Did she want to come to the park with them? She sure did. After checking to make sure it wasn't too much of a hassle for them, I agreed, and they were off.  Too bad I had Jack, or that would've been three down, and free time for me! But alas.

Barbara was surprised to see us, and I apologized and told her I'd had to pick up m'boy from school, and I was going to sit on the couch and cuddle him. She said she'd clean that room last and went upstairs. So I lay down on my back, and piled Jack on top of me on my belly, and he fussed and whimpered and didn't want to lie down. And about three seconds later, he was snoring loudly and tucked down into my arm, dead to the world. He slept for a long time and sweated profusely, his poor little feverish self. He only woke up because the doorbell rang, announcing Sophia's return from the park.

I fed Sophie a snack and put her down for a nap. Chloƫ arrived from school shortly after, and she went to lie down, too. And Jack and I snuggled and napped together some more.

Daddy came home, and asked what I wanted for dinner. "Bunco! Bunco is for dinner!" I cheered. To be completely honest, I was looking forward to getting away from the sick kids and the sick house and the sick, sick, sick. Is that rotten of me? Too bad, I was excited about it.

So I did a little knitting for the hour or so before I had to leave. This is the hat that I made the night before, which matches the sweater dress I'm making now: 100_5902

It's made of Sublime cashmere merino silk DK and is just as soft and - yes - sproingy as anything. I adore this Sublime yarn; it's one of my favorites. Unfortunately, the hat wouldn't sit up nicely for pictures, so here it is slumped over on its side. I started the sweater to match last night:

100_5903

All of those bobbles at the bottom are a royal pain in the patoot; I hated making them. They wouldn't be so bad if you didn't have to knit three together - and I've had to knit four and five together for other bobbles, so I've got no right complaining - but it makes the yarn split and the whole row took like an hour to do by itself.  But I like the Vs in the pattern and have since added on two more sets of Vs on top of this. And it's such a lovely color green. Barbara liked it, too. It's slow going, though. I can only do one set of Vs at a time before getting tired of it and putting it down for later.

Soon, it was time to head for Bunco. Oh, Bunco. Always fun. And everyone brought really good food this time, so I could eat plenty and not just fill up on junk. There were deviled eggs - I actually ate one, and I don't eat eggs! And it was good! - and chicken and veggie pizza and pasta salad and all sorts of good things. I didn't feel like cooking (shocking, I know), so Rob assembled small ham sandwiches for me to bring, and about half of them got eaten. He's a good Bob, he is.

Then we started the games. Carolyn, the one I can't stand, was in her usual form. Gah, she is so annoying. SO. She always grabs the dice when she sits down, so she can roll first. I mean, who the heck cares? And she started rolling last night before the head table rang the bell, which shouldn't count, but she insisted. WTF. And she took my score sheet because she couldn't find hers, even though I was RIGHT there and looking right at her. Hello! I know, all this sounds petty and stupid, but she does things like this constantly and is just so irritating, and it adds up. Plus she's just not pleasant and is a grump and I just don't like her. She tried to talk me into bringing her out to Stephanie's in Chesapeake for next month's Bunco, but thank God I have to go a different way, away from her house.

But the highlight of the evening was brought on by none other than Yours Truly. Jill, our hostess, had some lawn chairs around one of the tables, since you have 12 people and need 12 chairs to play. Fine. But these were some deeeep chairs, and I sunk far back into it and couldn't play very well. So as I was trying to get out of the chair and instead just stand on my knees at the table, it collapsed backward and threw my head and back into the corner of the bookshelf behind me, before landing me smack on my head on the floor. Oh. My. God. I was so mortified!!

I just sat there for a minute, stunned and unable to move, while the commotion flew around me. "Are you okay, are you okay, are you okay?" everyone asked. I tried to laugh through the humiliation, but I soon found that I still couldn't get out of the chair! Finally, someone's face (can't remember whose) was over mine, and then someone else's, and they were hauling me out of the chair onto the floor next to it. And I still couldn't get up. I'd hit my head hard.

Eventually, I made it onto my knees, and apologized profusely to Jill who apologized just as profusely back to me, and I joked about her homeowner's insurance, and we all laughed and got over it. But it was so embarrassing!!! Many people came to my rescue, though, and told me similar stories of a chair breaking underneath them. That made me feel much better. And I'm fine today, other than a big, sore bump on my noggin. And as predicted, Rob laughed his tush off when I told him about it.

The rest of Bunco passed quickly, and we all had a lot of fun. I didn't win any prizes, but the best prize for me is always just being there and laughing and being with my friends. Awww, puke.

Today, we're not doing much. The big kids are both home from school sick again, and Jack is absolutely miserable still, and sleeping on the couch. Chloƫ was probably well enough to go to school after all, but one extra day of resting won't kill her. And Sophie seems to be doing just fine. I've got a little knitting done, and more resting for me isn't a bad idea, either. We've got nothing at all going on today, thank goodness.

I'll leave you with this picture of Sophia pulling up her pant legs so she could check out her pretty dress-up shoes:

100_5904  Funny, right?

Fin.