Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's late and I hear little feet

Yeah, that's not good sign, but at least I know who it is. This one was having a rough afternoon:

He looks all sweet in this picture, but that's not the Sam face we saw earlier today. I guess it's my fault in a way, but I can also blame it on my gynecologist if we really want. You see, Max (who was born first) wakes up his brothers. (Yeah, not really the OBGYN's fault!) Anyway, Sam was up early again this morning after a relatively long day yesterday. Then today he was tasked because we didn't do a whole lot of anything (still recovering from strep throat), he was under applied, and I sent him outside. All morning the boys were griping and whining at each other, which is what they do when they need to go and run and be free. Can't do that inside, so I fed them lunch then sent them on their way. After all of about an hour Sam sneaks back in. I didn't hear his voice outside so I asked his brothers where he was, they told me inside, and I found him hiding behind the couch. Weird for Sam, but I was attributing it to being tired (and I was right but didn't figure that out until later on - 15 minutes to be exact). He told me that he didn't want to play outside anymore. I explained that it was either that or a nap - it was time to play outside (and get out all of the kiddo trapped in the house energy that he had). So, after about 10 minutes of snuggles, he goes out to the mudroom, gets his shoes on and heads out. I drag back to my office and hear Ian crying. I run out because it sounded serious (as opposed to Ian's crying / whiny thing that he's doing these days) and come to find out that Sam whacked Ian in the forehead with the lacrosse stick. So, the 15 minutes I mentioned earlier? Sam was sent to bed. He slept for about 2.5 hours - he must have been pooped.
So now it is 11:20 and I hear little footsteps running around. I know he's been to the bathroom at least five times since he went to bed at 8pm, so there's no way his bladder is full. I know that he's adjusted his blankets, switched them out exactly twice because I've been up there that many times to tuck him back in. And I know that it's time for me to go to bed, so I'm off of Sam duty for the evening. He'll eventually figure out that he needs to fall asleep, or we'll have the same trouble tomorrow. Then again he's just 5, so maybe not for years...and years. Took me until college to get that one figured out.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What Ian Knows

Ian knows that GIRL Blue Crabs wear orange nail polish,
while BOY Blue Crabs don't.

Apologies and love

It's bad when your Dad calls to check in because he hasn't seen a post in a few days and he's worried that you didn't make it home from the trip (not that you weren't posting!). Apologies for that, but I was hit with a case of strep throat and am just now coming out of the fog. Thank goodness for a doctor that has openings when I need, who faxes prescriptions to the pharmacy so that they are ready by the time I get there, and who even cracks a joke about how hard it is to take the throat swab strep test when you have strep - it just plain hurts. And thank goodness for a quick pharmacy, but most of all Prednisone. Yes, I'm thanking Prednisone. Now I'm probably swelling up like a puffer fish right now, but it did reduce the swelling in my throat so that I can eat, talk, and oh yea, breathe without trouble. Ran into that a few nights ago and instead of waking Tom I wandered the house alone until I could get my throat to settle enough. Anyway, Doctor said to head to the ER for breathing difficulties like that, but who has that presence of mind at 3am? Certainly not me...

So thanks Prednisone for making my evenings quieter, my throat calmer, and giving me a bit of a boost during the day. Funny doctor mentioned that it might make me jittery. Well, it hasn't (I was hoping for some extra mojo during the day here), but it sure is easier to breathe, and every bit counts!

So over the next few days I'll be filling you in on some cool stuff that we did over the past week and a half. We have plane rides filled with puke, video chats with cousins, a super kid produced show for you, lumpy bumpy jeep rides, peeing in a national forest (you don't get to see that but I'll share), and most of all a wedding (not mine silly...that's over and done with almost 10 years ago). So keep checking back in and I'll get these loaded in as my waking hours allow. I'm still on Take Care of Suzie Duty, but really thanking Tom and the kids for taking care of themselves the past few days. When Mom says that she can't make you lunch, it's great to know that they'll not starve. Good kids. Great hubby. Nite nite for now!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Been gone but here is some fun!

AACK! Technical difficulties. I'll try again tomorrow!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Missing the CAT NOISES of all things

It's funny how much little critters of various types work their way into our lives. I have lived basically my entire adult life, and a good deal of my life as a kiddo with a pet or one type or another. But guinea pigs, hamsters, hermit crabs, goldfish, parakeets, tetras, and rats aren't the kind who follow you around the house nuzzling up against you, and certainly when they are gone they are missed. But when the cat is gone from the house, as ours is tonight, it's an eerie feeling and an eerie quiet that settles over the whole place (after the kids are in bed of course - otherwise it's REALLY LOUD).

We're heading out of town tomorrow and so we hauled Bunsen off to the vet (the vet who loves Bunsen a lot and always has a big huge smile for him when he comes to visit) so he could rest and relax in the care of someone else for a few days. So our house is quiet, and kinda creepy. And tomorrow, when we leave and Tom is here by himself (he's flying out later this week) it's going to be even quieter...and even MORE creepy - and he's already mentioned that! How weird is that? How will we possibly cope when we are old and there aren't any more pets or kids around...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Random Pics

See, there's fun to be had by everyone at CVS!

When Sam's in trouble we often see this face (No, we don't make him
stand outside of the car when he's in trouble, his daddy was out there talking to him):
Ian pretending to read the newspaper:

And did you have any idea that traffic lights were so huge, or is that just me that didn't know?


So be honest here - my lack of coolness radar has gotten the best of me on this one. I got some mittens a while back that make my hands feel oh so nice, and the top flips down to reveal some half goves. Is this the coolest thing ever? Or have I entered that realm of the uncool crazy lady? (Don't speak to the crazy part here - just look at the gloves and be honest!)

Oh - mine are all black and all knit - nothing fancy adn certianly not pink.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

4 am?

"You got up WHEN?" I asked my oldest while he was getting ready for school.

"Actually, I got up at 1am, then went back to sleep, then got up again at 4 and came downstairs to play." he tells me as I gag on my cereal. "Son (call him this and he KNOWS he's in trouble) that's not a good idea. Next time you get up that early - or any time before 7, you get back in bed, even if you have to stare at the ceiling for three hours."

Yes, that was this morning as THREE people in my house were sick. Max, one who isn't sick, went on to explain that he really did get up twice and that he didn't want to wake up anyone else so he came down and 4am. Yeah, highly likely that he'll get it next.

This of course came before the conversation with #3 about how he threw up in the trash can (left in their room solely for that purpose) FOUR or FIVE HOURS earlier. Yes, it was just sitting there in the can all day and he failed to mention this to me until bedtime.

So, Tom, Ian, and Sam all stayed home sick today. Hopefully Ian will head to school tomorrow as he's over the worst of it, but Sam's worst was today and Tom is on the mend. Bunch of sickies they are...and no finger pointing - I'm hoping to pass this round up by sleeping as much as possible and staying as FAR away from the entire family for as long as possible. It's working so far, but keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Great. Just great.

Ian was sick today, and thus spent most of the day in bed or on the couch vegging out. When we went to pick up Max and I mentioned that Ian wouldn't be joining him and Sam outside to play because he was sick, but instead he'd sit inside and nap, maybe watch a bit of TV, Max responded with great gusto. He said to Ian "That's the best part of staying home from school sick - you get to watch TV!" Great. Just great. That we need to fix.

There is a distinction...

Tom pointed out something today that I have never thought of before. There's a distinction between grown up challenges and parenting challenges. I can clearly say that all of my failures and missteps have been as a grown up, not as a parent, which makes me feel SO much better. Unfortunately this isn't good modeling for the kids...sigh.

For instance, getting up on time Sunday morning was a grown up challenge. Regardless of your parenting skills, or whether you are a parent or not, your ability to change the clocks and abide by daylight savings time is tested twice a year. This time we passed the challenge. Getting the kids out the door all dressed, clean, and with all the stuff they need for the activity at 9am in the morning? Parenting challenge, and we were covered on that one. However, we're generally late...grown-up challenge failure...sigh...that's the one we're still working on...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

How do we teach kids to give?

Once again I am in trouble as I sit here watching Oprah on TV. This time it isn't her talk show, but her Big Give show. I get all choked up when I watch shows like this, and I inevitably get thinking about one thing or another that's brought up in the shows. I'm not talking this time about the show itself, which has been criticized by some, but about the idea of charity. How should I go about teaching my kids to be charitable?

They are already aware on a limited basis (at least the 7 year old is) that not everyone has as much as we do. But how can we teach them to really give from their heart, and to understand the impact that they have when they do give? How can we teach them that giving is all about helping others, and while it gives you a fuzzy feeling, it isn't about us at all? How can we teach them to be more generous in their daily lives and to integrate giving into their lives on a regular basis? At what age can we start teaching them, and how can we play catch up if they are older than that? What's the best way to introduce them to the concept in a concrete enough way that they get it?

They are off to a very slow start in this area. But, they have show two instances of tremendous giving. They shared their toys. And not just a few - but lots. When Hurricane Katrina Hit we lived in Texas. My oldest had just turned five, and we heard about a family in need. They were the friends of an old friend of mine, lost their house and two other family houses in the hurricane. Between the three families there were several kiddos around the ages of mine. So, we handed over cribs, highchairs, all kids of other baby things, and toys. Max and his brothers (mostly Max as he understood more) coughed up about half of their toys to give to these kids. We sat down and told him that he was giving his toys away - not getting them back - to a kid who lost everything including his house. He got it, and started pulling out not only the toys that he no longer played with, but also some of his favorites. He said that those favorite toys would make those kids happy. I was so touched that he not only got it, but he took it to heart almost immediately. Here was a five year old not knowing anything about loss or want or need giving to someone whom he has never met and giving whole-heartedly.

So we have continued that about twice a year - clearing out toys and donating them to folks who need them more. We figure that they have more toys than they can possibly play with, and that this is a great opportunity to teach kids about giving. They all get it now, and are very willing to share with others who have less.

The other way that we've taught our kids to be charitable is much less concrete to them. Each week they do chores and receive an allowance. Ten percent of this allowance goes to charity. They get $1 each week, half is spending money, 40% goes to savings, and 10% to charity. As of now they have just put the money into the Charity bank, but haven't decided what to do with it. We told them that we would match whatever they saved up, but haven't done anything more at this point.

So back to the original question. What are the next steps we can take? How do we continue to instill the giving spirit in our kids? In today's hectic life what the best way to slow down and teach the kids that they have LOTS to give - both financially and in spirit?
Cross posted over at DC Metro Moms Blog.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I'm Not So Different

When I saw the topic that we were going to discuss a bit today, my first thought was that I am the perfect person to discuss this - I'm the child of someone who had a chronic illness - my Mom. But after thinking about it and even asking my husband, I really wasn't sure what to write about. I had a relatively normal childhood, developed into what I believe is a good adult, and now am raising a family of my own. I wondered if I should discuss those things that I missed out on growing up, but that list goes on and on and really isn't any different than the lists for most other kids my age. I thought that maybe I could discuss the effect that it had on my folks marriage, but they were happily married for 36 years, with the regular levels of marital strife, nothing more. I could also go to great lengths to discuss the character of my Mom, Dad, and myself - having to cope with a chronic illness is tough and changes you in ways that I'm probably still not aware of. But that too can happen to someone else for a variety of reasons, and that person might have more insight. So I figured that I'd talk about the one thing that is different about my story. My mom passed away a bit over a year ago, from something other than her chronic illness.

But a bit of background first. My mom and dad were married and had one kiddo - me. They were both well educated and seemed to have it made in all respects. Then, as I hit elementary school my mom started to slow down a bit. She started working part time (at the time I wasn't quite plugged in enough and not enough was known about what she had for me to be concerned), and she started "resting" more. She had connective a tissue disease as well as some orthopedic problems that had been treated for years. But this was something different. She searched (with the help of Dad and some friends and doctors) for years to figure out what the heck was going on with her body and why it was failing her in odd ways. She was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS). She also had a hypothalamus that was starting to fail in it's regulation of her temperature (which may or may not have been related), so our house got progressively colder.

Anyway, slowly over time her health failed, but she still was very high functioning. She learned how to cope with her limitations, and we as a family learned how best we could help her out and manage her illness as well (it really is a family affair). Looking towards the future I saw my Mom and Dad getting older, and my mom needed higher and higher levels of care (and who knew about Dad). Before she died she was able to care for herself, but had odd schedules and many limitations on activities. She could go out and do things, but there were sacrifices that had to be made on her part and ours in order to make those things happen. The thing that struck most people about my Mom wasn't that she was ill in any way, but that she was so strong and tough to be able to manage as well as she did with this illness, and at the same time, so giving, encouraging, and loving. She was an impressive person all the way around. So, our looking to the future (or at least mine) always involved Mom and/or Dad getting old and needing assisted living or some type of help medically and physically. It was a discussion that she and I had on several occasions, necessitated by the fact that both she and Dad were getting older, and who knew, just in case, etc.

So you can imagine how startled I was when she and Dad called and told us that she had a brain tumor - a very bad brain tumor that would eventually kill her. Here I had planned on having her around for years and years, albeit in a nursing home situation after I was no longer able to care for her, but that was 15-20 years down the road in my mind. What a shock to hear that she had an inoperable brain tumor and only a few months to live. She passed away two months after she was diagnosed. The one thing that I would have bet money on to kill her in the end didn't. Something completely different snuck up on us and got her. How startling that thought was.

I guess in the end I am the person I am today in part because my Mom did have a chronic illness. I learned to not only be patient with others, but also with myself as we all have limitations at times. I learned that not everyone that is disabled or ill has a visible sign of it. Most of all I learned to treat everyone with respect and that everyone contributes in their own way. These are lessons though that most parents try to impart on their kids, and mine did just that. While her time here was cut short (she was only 59 when she died), her presence lives on not only in me and the kids, but also in all of the lives she touched. So yes, living with someone who had a chronic illness changed me, but in the end I like to think that I'm not that much different than the next.

This is originally posted over at DC Metro Moms.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why Oh WHY?

So why is it 1:54 in the morning and I'm still awake?

The basement is flooding slowly as the rain falls and I feel the need to suck up the water periodically.
The election results are tricklng in and I can't help all.
The cough medicine hasn't quite kicked in.
I have this really weird clock that tells me that it's time to get up late and go to bed late.

But most of all I've turned three again and don't want to give up the day because it was such a good one. Ever have one of those days where everything goes the way you want it to? One that's so good that you don't mind paying $5 for an hour's worth of parking? Yes, it was that good of a day.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Finally Joining the Video Chat Age

At some point over the past few years we fell behind the technology curve, and we fell far, far behind it. In college and in our 20's we were so up on everything cutting edge, but it seems that we continue to fall behind. But over the past week we took one big step - we video chatted with someone in another state. Not a big deal to most, but remember that we are somewhat technologically impaired. About a year ago we tried to connect online to family in Texas, but we still had to use the phone to hear the voices on the other end. Something failed along the way at some point and instead or pursuing it and fixing the problem we just let it slide (now you see why we fall behind the tech curve).

Then last week my in-laws called and asked if we had the setup to talk to them via the Internet, and that feeling of breathing in technology's dust as it whipped past us came rushing back. It is somewhat painful when the generation above you knows more about this than you do. But this wasn't the case. We did have the bits and pieces needed, and realized after a brief conversation with technical support (real technical support not just my husband - he had the conversation with the computer manufacturer due to some weird glitch) that we were up and running. And what did our kids do when they got on the video chat with the grandparents you ask?

Well, they watched themselves on the big TV. They danced. They made faces. They dashed in front of each other, waved their hands in front of their faces, and completely ignored the fact that their grandparents - who are in another state - were sitting there attempting to carry on a conversation with them. I'm sure you know EXACTLY what this behavior is - we've all done it at one point or another in our lives, but generally we're the only ones watching (well that or the store security!). So, while the conversation went very quickly, the grandparents, being the wonderful grandparents that they are, loved every minute of it. They didn't care if the kids yelped and screamed, or that they they danced around too fast for the camera to track. They saw their grandkids live, in full moving color. They just loved it. Guess we'll need to let the kids have some play time before the next call, but man oh man. This is the coolest thing. And yes, I know that it's been around forever, but you have to admit that the first time you saw Aunt Sue / Your Best Friend Rita from college / your brand new niece Jenny live on your computer screen you thought it was cool too.

This post is cross posted over at DC Metro Moms Blog.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

And they said it only holds one..

The shopping cart

See, it's not a one seater after all!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Five Years Ago - Feb 25, 2003

(Apologies for this being a few days late - busy birthday this year!)
It was a dark and snowy night (well, it was dark because it was late but it was snowy)...

So we loaded the larger version of me into Tom's truck and headed out on the normally short drive to the hospital that ended up taking a very, very long time in the snow.

We arrived, slept a bit, then shortly after Ian and Sam arrived! We were a very thankful Momma and Daddy (See large pregnant lady in above pic and image the cool guy behind the camera)

See here's the cool daddy with Sam:

And of course the very excited big brother Max with his new little brother Ian:

Happy Fifth Birthday Ian and Sam!