Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I need your help. I heard a designer say once that, when decorating your house, you should buy pieces you love and somehow it will all fall into place. Ok, so I found a piece I love. And I bought it used for only $100. Here it is.

I love it. We're going to put it on one side of our kitchen table for seating instead of chairs (We only have 4 chairs and now 5 people and I decided to go this route instead of adding more chairs). But here's the deal. My kitchen table is covered in blue tile. Which is beautiful and my husband worked very hard on it, but it's not that practical and the grout is stained and coming apart anyway. So we're going to put a new table top on our table and try to match the table top and chairs to this bench. Problem is, neither of us know for sure how to get them that way. Do any of you know 1) how to get this black/natural distressed look? Is it just sanding? Is there a special way to sand/paint/glaze to get this look? (Em, will you ask Josh?) 2) where I can find a website that shows me how to do this?
Any feedback would be appreciated. You don't have to do a comment for all the world to see...just email me. Thanks!!!

I'm Not in the Mood

I am soooo not in the mood today.
I'm not in the mood for being awake. I'm sitting here, wearing my cozy robe, drinking my Spark, playing on my fancy computer and I'm irritated. I should be enjoying myself. I've been up for a loooong time already and it's been completely silent. All kids are in bed and I could do just about anything I want at this point. Normally, this is what I'd like to be doing. Sitting in my cozy comfy robe with my laptop in complete silence.
But I'm irritated. Irritated because I, for the second day in a row, was awakened before dawn (ok, today it was 6:30, but yesterday was 5:30 and that's early for me these days) with this stupid cough. I am so tired of coughing. I get the purpose of expel all this dadgum mucous from my lungs so I don't drown in it and die a disgusting, mucous-laden death. I get that. But what's with all this dry coughing? I don't think a person should be expected to cough if nothing comes along with it. A dry cough is a complete and total waste. Gives you nothing except a sore throat and a headache after a while. I have had this cough on and off for oh, about 3 months. It comes and goes. And right now, it's brutal. It's almost constant. If I can meditate myself into a moment of complete stillness and silence, it almost stops for about 3 minutes. But it doesn't last. Because, as I may have mentioned before, I have three children (under 5) and complete silence and stillness is not first on their list of priorities.
It's gotten ridiculous. I can't even gripe at the kids without stopping midway through my rant and coughing like an 80-year-old man who just kicked a 4-pack-a-day cig habit.
Are you tired of hearing this? Good, because I'm tired of complaining. I just wanted to let you know why I wasn't sending some peppy, I-am-so-in-love-with-my-kids message today. I know it could be worse and I am going go sit silently and thank God that I have this cough because it means my body knows how to heal itself and that it will, eventually, go away. I will thank God that I have a cozy robe and a fancy computer and a comfy leather chair to whine in. I will thank God that a cough is all I have to deal with in my life. Because really, I am so blessed.
But I'm still irritated.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

She Amazes Me

I may have said this before, but I am eternally in awe of my oldest daughter. I really never know what to expect from her, but it seems that I'm (almost) always pleasantly surprised. I am aware that these blissful days of her (mostly) agreeable, cooperative demeanor are probably numbered. I am aware that she is a normal 4-year-old girl who has attitude at times and, on more than one occasion, has shocked me with her belligerence, defiance, and general sauciness. But for the most part, she is just the sweetest, coolest kid I know.
Friday night, we went to the Fall Festival. Remember? I told you about it yesterday, but I didn't want to get the Jan Brady, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" speech from Reese if I wrote about Avery on REESE'S birthday page. So, I saved it for today. Turns out, it's worth a page of it's own anyway, in my opinion.
First, let me say this: I do not want to jinx myself nor am I bragging nor do I think I am an awesome mom (I've already proven that's not the case) who has raised perfect children, but here I go. Avery is amazingly well behaved in public. I don't know how she got that way. She's a normal kid at home...sometimes sassy and annoying, often loud, disagreeable and whiny. But in front of other people, she is almost perfect. At this festival last weekend, she was one of the best behaved kids there. She waited patiently in every line...and there was a line for everything. She never whined that she didn't get a turn, she never asked for more than the one piece of candy they "won" at the end of each game, and she let other kids go in front of her if they were pushing and shoving. Here are she and her sister, waiting to throw rings around the necks of several rubber ducks.
Reese looks like she's about to get salty if someone doesn't hand her some rings, pronto, (she just turned two remember, and it's always mine or my turn!) but Avery is just standing there politely, and this is how she stood at every game. Yeah, she was excited, but she was calm, cool and collected all night.

Here she is, on stage with the talent for that evening. A Christian Rap group sang "Crush, Knock His Head Off" (Him being the devil, of course) and they needed a group of kids to stand up there and pretend to be having their heads knocked off. See Avery? Is she the only kid still having her head knocked off? I think so. She never stopped. This guy told her to bang her head and by golly, she banged her little head all night long. Throughout the entire song, because, you see, he never told her she could stop. Look at all those other heathens just doing whatever they please, while my little angel in the back continues to do exactly what B-Holy asked her to do.
But here's where she really wowed me that evening. There was a 30-foot rock wall out in front of the church. Mostly upper elementary and middle school-aged kids were climbing. There were a few younger kids, but if I had to guess, I'd say the youngest kid I saw out there was probably 7 or 8. And Avery wanted to do it. I'll be honest, I indulged her because I really thought that, once we got to the point where they put her in the harness, she would freak out and not want to do it. We waited in that line for almost 30 minutes. She was, by far, the smallest kid in line at the time. I looked at her, so small, yet so sure of herself and again, was amazed by her strength and confidence. She didn't seem nervous or apprehensive in the least. She asked me which side she would climb on and I said "I don't know, I'll have to ask that guy which side is the beginner side." She responded with "It's ok Mom, I'll ask him myself." Such independence.
So we get up there. She's still going for it. Nice guy straps her into the harness. She doesn't flinch. We go to her spot and wait for other nice guy to hook her to the wall with the safety cord.

She is ready. I think this is it, the panic-and get-me-down point (it totally would have been for me.) Nope, she's climbing right up there.

Ok, she's on the wall, but she's going to freak out at any point. Her dad and I are both there, ready to console her and catch her when she panics. It's not that I don't have faith in her, but she's four. And she's tiny. And that wall is so big. But her strength and determination far surpass anything I've ever seen before. I know for sure I wouldn't have gotten on this thing when I was 4-years-old.

Check this kid out. Am I making too big of a deal out of this? Is she just a normal kid, doing something that all four-year-olds do? Oh, who cares, this is my page and if I want to brag and say my kid is the best kid in the world, I can, right? I want her to read this someday and know that she impressed the heck out of her dad and me on this night.

Ok, so right about here, I yell "Avery, you are just like the real Spider Man!" She looks down at me. And sees how high she is and panics. She starts to cry. She says "I want to get down" and we say "You're almost to the top, Baby," not because we care if she makes it, but because we know her and we know she will care if she doesn't make it. And God bless that little thing. She kept going. Only about 2 more steps and she cried the whole time, but my gosh-darn it people, she kept going. And she's only four. I don't have that kind of intestinal fortitude right now. In fact, when I was 18, in Sydney Australia, I was up in a crane, strapped to a bunjee cord, leaning over the edge of Sydney Harbor and backed out at the last minute. I couldn't even forge ahead at 18. At four, I would have cried hysterically, wet my pants twice, and sat up there, refusing to budge until some poor high school kid had to come up and rescue me. Not her. She cried for a minute, yelled that she was coming down, shook for another minute, and then slowly lowered herself to the bottom (with the help of the nice kid working there.)

By the way, when she got to the bottom, and we told her we were so proud of her and so amazed by her, you wanna know what her response was? "Yeah, but I didn't even make it to the top?" I said "Baby, who cares? I never would have done this when I was four," and the guy working said, incredulously, "She's FOUR????" He told her "You are by far, the bravest four year old I've ever met."

I don't care if I am being a boastful mom. I am proud of this kid. And in awe of her inner strength and confidence. And if we aren't our kids' biggest cheerleaders, how will they ever know how fabulous they are?

And one day, when she thinks I hate her because I roll my eyes at her pink hair, or I won't let her pierce her cartilage or tattoo the inside of her eyeball, I will show her this.
You are awesome, Baby Girl. There is no one else like you. You amaze me.

Monday, October 29, 2007

One More Picture (post 2)

My sister reminded me that I forgot the picture of Reesie in all of her birthday dress up stuff...I completely intended to include it, and since it's soooo cute, I had to post it!

The princess stuff has been a big hit, and not just for Reese.

Do you think he'll hate me for this one day? I'll go on record as saying that I had nothing to do with dressing him up. Or taking the picture. All I did was post it on here. That's not so bad, is it?

Thanks, Aunt La-La, for all the grins!!!

She's TWO!

Friday was Reese-a-Roni's 2nd birthday. It seems that we've partied all week long. Last weekend, we had a small party in P-town so her cousins and Grammy could be there. There isn't a ton of cake selection in P-town so I chose this cake over the 4-day-old carrot cake and the one with the dead people roses on top. I decorated it myself. She seemed to like it.

She got lots of toys and seemed to kind of understand that it was all for her. She said "birthday" (bit-day) alot. And "mine" and "me" so I think she got it.
We didn't actually party much when we got home because everyone had a bit of a cold, but on her actual birthday, which was Friday, I decided we were going to spend the whole day celebrating.
She awoke to curly ribbon on the light fixture. This is something I learned from my mom and I guarantee you this: If you put curly ribbon on your light fixture, it's an instant party and everyone who walks in knows there is something going on. My kids LOVE curly ribbon on the light. If you have never done this and you have small children, I suggest you try. All day, if someone said something to Reese about it being her birthday, she went to the light and pointed at the ribbon and said "Mine! ME! Bit-day!"
We went to story time at the library but had to leave because a strange little girl was stalking Avery and Avery almost started to cry and then Rhett had diarrhea all over his clothes, so we missed the actual story. But my intentions were good.
We went to McDonald's and had lunch and the girls played. I let them play for a LONG time, instead of the obligatory 10 minutes because, after all, it was Reese's bit-day.
We went to a Fall Festival at a church here in town later that night and the girls had a ball. They played games, danced on stage with a Christian rap group and Avery climbed a rock wall. Yeah, that's right. She climbed a rock wall. Come back tomorrow for those pics. I didn't want to steal Reese's thunder by posting them on her birthday page.

Here she is saying "I TWO!" I couldn't keep them off the table. Seriously, folks. The curly ribbon is all the decoration you need. Her party wasn't until Saturday and I promise you she and her sister both think the party was two days long, all because of the curly ribbon.

Here she is at the "real" party on Saturday. I don't even think she noticed the difference in this cake and the P-town cake. Amazing what a 2-day-old Irish Creme cake covered in Blow Pops can do for a child.

All in all, it was such a great weekend. I can't believe my little baby girl is already two. She still sometimes seems like a baby to me.
She is saying so many words now. I remember that her doctor was a bit worried because she didn't say much. My gut told me she was just more quiet than most and I think I was right. She copies everything her big sister does and tries to say just about everything her sister does. Here are a few of my favorites:
"peet" - feet (She has eczema on her feet and tells me "Momma, mine peet itchy."
"peep" - asleep (She always says this in a whisper..."Momma, Wet peep" (Momma, Rhett's asleep
"pop it!" - stop it
"peep up" - ketchup
"mean up"- clean up
My current favorite thing to ask her is "Reesie, where are you?" in a store or something because she always answers "White he" (right here) and it's the cutest thing ever.
I think she's just precious, can you tell?
Happy birthday, baby girl.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Diary of a Bad Mommy (Volume 3)

Ok, my previous "bad mommy" posts have kind of been a joke. I normally don't really think I'm a bad mommy. Like most moms, I have my days where I doubt myself or think I'm really not cut out for the job, but in general, I think my kids hit the jackpot. Ok, maybe not the jackpot, but at least three in a row on a scratch off ticket.
But today, I'm serious. I am a bad mommy. A bad, bad, bad mommy. This post is not a joke, it is a confession.
Have you heard about the Bumbo seat recall? My good friend emailed me an MSNBC article saying that the seats had been recalled due to babies fracturing their skulls from falling out of them. I couldn't believe it! I honestly thought it might be an internet hoax.
Do you remember seeing my sweet baby boy in a Bumbo? I love the thing and so does he. It allows him to sit up and watch everything going on around him. He can see his sisters laughing, fighting, and generally being total loons. It's a godsend now that he's eating cereal because it wipes clean. It's made of a flexible foamy-type material and it wraps around Rhett and holds him snugly in place. I will admit, I've come to rely on it as kind of a babysitter at times. He can't go anywhere in that thing. Or so I thought.
The recall is due to babies falling out of the seat onto their heads, in most cases from a high point, like a kitchen table or counter while the parents' heads were turned. Dear God, forgive me for what I am about to say (although You, being God, you were already aware of this). I have done this. I hate myself for it, but I have done it.
As I read the recall articles online, I came upon some comments. Here are just a few:

"There is nothing wrong with the Bumbo. There IS something wrong with idiot parents who use this thing as a babysitter instead of watching their kid."
"Why in the heck did a company recall a product that CLEARLY states that children are not to be left unattended? I'm so frustrated with idiots who sue a company because of their own negligence. The parents' right to have kids should be recalled."
"If a parent is retarded enough to put their child in a Bumbo on a table or counter, then they deserve to have their own skull fractured." (ouch)
Ok, so I have put him on the table. I'm usually there with him, but I won't lie. This is a confession and I will purge my soul here and now. I have put him up there while I was making dinner or getting his food ready. I have even left him sitting there while I puttered around the kitchen and living room, doing little chores. I've never actually left the room, but I am one of the idiot, retarded parents who apparently deserve to have my skull fractured because I am too stupid to live.
Can I just agree to never do it again, promise not to sue anyone but myself if I am stupid enough to actually do it again, and then be forever cleansed of my sins and forgiven? Or do I have to burn the Bumbo in a ceremonial "Mommy sucks" bonfire in the trash can, fracture my own skull on the driveway on my way back in, and let Rhett give me wedgies and wet willies every day of my life from now on? How about this just be forever written on my list of colossal mommy mistakes? I keep this list in my mind and it's getting mighty long. This latest infraction goes just above pinching Avery's legs in the car seat latch, not realizing it, and driving for 15 minutes wishing she would just stop crying and go to sleep.
God help these poor children.

Miss Organization

I have returned from Oklahoma with a complete obsession with having everything in my house completely organized. I'm an organization freak anyway, but since having all the kids, I've kind of given up. But after being at Josh and Emily's new, perfectly organized, everything-has-it's-place, Pottery Barn house, I am determined to have every nook and cranny of this house organized. At least by the time I have my fourth child. HAHAHAHAHA. (Just kidding, Babe...making sure you were paying attention.)
So, first I started with the junk drawer. I don't know why I didn't think of this, but Em has put all the pencils and pens and markers in a school box inside the junk drawer. Mine were everywhere, just haphazardly thrown in there and you could never find anything to write with when you needed it. Not to mention how hard it was to find a clean piece of paper to write on if you were ever lucky enough to find a pen or pencil. Or crayon. Here's the drawer now.

I'm mighty proud of it and so excited about it, I look in it several times a day. You can't believe how many things I've just had to write down since I organized the drawer. There is not a crayon or random screw or torn coupon to be found. It's wonderful.
Then I moved on to the kids art cabinet, which was really a catch-all for their markers, paints and junk. Anything that was theirs that didn't have a place went here. It was disgusting. But look at it now.
The beauty of it makes me feel calm inside. In fact, from now on, instead of having a drink to relax, I think I will just organize something and stare at it until serenity takes over. (Yeah, right.)

I spent all of yesterday organizing the kids' closets. The weather has officially changed and I took out all summer clothes and put in winter clothes. We tried on and threw out clothes that don't fit. I organized Avery's old clothes by size and put them in bins to save for Reese later. I cleaned out Aaron's clothes and mine and got ready to put things in a garage sale.
Guess what I am doing today? Toys. ARGH. Is there any way any good can come from this? I know I will be irritated and stressed trying to find all the fake Operation money and the teeny tiny pieces to the dollhouse. But I'm going to do it. And if it gets to be too much, I'll visit my junk drawer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Best Babysitter in the World

Spending 5 days with 5 kids all under the age of 5 can be a bit daunting at times. Thank goodness Josh and Emily have such a great babysitter to give me a break now and then. It's right in the backyard and it's always available, and it's free. Dirty, but free. Who is this fabulous, on-site sitter?
Yep, it's a mud hole. Josh hates it because it's supposed to be his yard. They just built a new house and the yard hasn't been completed yet. In fact, it hasn't even been started because, as you can see, there are some drainage issues and water pools in several places. He hates it, but it was the highlight of our trip. Avery asked if we could dig a hole in our backyard when we got home. God love my poor city kids. We have a mall, McDonald's, tons of parks and playgrounds in our area, and what do they love the most? A mud hole in Oklahoma. Reese wasn't so sure she loved it. She wanted to get in, but freaked out when her socks and shoes got stuck in the mud.

JD is used to it. He wasn't that impressed by the mud hole, but seemed to enjoy the fact that he was allowed to jump in it and get as messy as he could without getting into any trouble at all.
And as for Macy B. I think this was her first trip into the mud hole. I don't think I need to explain to you how much she enjoyed it.
Yeah, she's eating it. She'll eat just about anything.
I posted this today because her mom is en route from Houston to Oklahoma and I'm hoping that she won't have a chance to read this today. And she'll never know what I allowed her precious baby girl to do while I was in charge.

And Em, if you are reading this? I'm sorry I let her eat the mud. (I didn't say it was ok, but seriously, would you have gone in after her?) I'm sorry she was so filthy. But she was soooo happy. And the clothes got clean, if you can believe that. And I didn't notice any signs of dysentery or malaria from eating the mud.

Yeah, it was a mess. But totally worth it. One hour of fuss-free, tattle-free, whine-free, little-kids-belly-laughing bliss. Totally worth it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This Kid Again

Remember this guy? After spending the last 5 days with him and his sister, I feel like I have really gotten to know them. His sister is just as precious and there will be more about her as the week goes on, but I felt that this guy deserves a page all his own.
I really don't even know where to begin except to say that I don't know another kid quite like him. He is 90% perfect and precious and you just can't get enough of him. His voice melts your heart, even when he's saying something he should not say. He is so cute it almost hurts my heart to look at him, especially if I have to get onto him. I can assure you, I did not want to have to get onto him at any time. But if you are cooped up in a house with 5 children, all under the age of 5, several of whom have, um, strong personalities, you have to be on top of your discipline or they'll have you tied to a chair while they dance around naked, beating each other senseless, playing with the DVD player and eating every last bite of candy in the house.
This leads me to discuss the other 10% of this kid's personality. The part that is a little less than perfect and precious. The part that is, at times, exactly like every other 3-year-old on the planet. Whining and begging and being contrary. Hitting and fighting with other kids. Not wanting to share. The part that is, at times, quite diabolical and clever. The problem, in my opinion, is that he's too smart for his own good. And that he has more time than most of the adults in his life. You see, if I've upset him by say, making him wear Scooby Doo underwear because I have 4 kids all naked and needing jammies and I don't have time to go dig in his drawer for the pair he has in mind, he doesn't forget about it. He has all the time in the world to plot his revenge against me for ignoring his pleas to let him change undies and forcing him to wear such an offending pair of underwear. I'll let you use your imagination to figure out what a child with time, an angry attitude, and a mind more clever than most would possibly do to get out of said underwear. And he did get out of them. He knew he was going to as soon as I put them on him. And if I was smart, I would have known it too.
He also gets around saying naughty words in funny ways. His mom once told me a story about how he started saying "stupid" and "butt" and he got in trouble and they told him he could never say those words. So, she heard him talking to some imaginary playmates one day and asked him who he was talking to. "I'm just talking to my friends, Stupida and butta." He wasn't saying the bad words. He just named his friends names that just happened to sound alot like the bad words.
He has a new one for stupid these days. He has said it to his dad, I am told. Everyone knows what he is saying, but he isn't exactly saying it, so what do you do? His older cousin was at the house this weekend and came in and said "He called me stupid!" I asked Cutie Pie if he had, in fact, called his cousin stupid and he said "Nope. I said STUKIN." Stukin. Seriously. This is how he gets around it. I told him that he couldn't say it anymore. He says "Is stukin a bad word?" so innocently, I almost forget that he is smarter than I am and that he knows and I know what he was trying to say. I said "No, stukin isn't even a real word, but you and I both know what you are thinking when you say it, so just forget about saying it anymore. Ok?" He said ok, but I don't feel like he meant it. I would be really surprised if stukin left his vocabulary after 5 days with me.
Ok, so that's the 10% that drives his parents crazy. It's the part that leaves you so exhausted and whipped that you just have to put him to bed and mix a vodka tonic and weep silently because you know you have been beaten by a three year old.
But remember the 90%? That's the part I remember about this weekend. Him telling me that he wants to "lay wis (with) you, Aunt Dodi, like we did that one day" or the part that says "Please can I have it sweet beautiful Aunt Dodi?" when he wants something because I told him that if he called me beautiful he can have anything he wants. Or the part that kisses me on the cheek just because I asked him to. This is the guy who, when I taught them how to make spider cookies out of Oreos, wanted to save his to show his mom and dad. Every one of the kids ate both of their cookies except him. He didn't eat a bite. He saved them because his mom and dad would like them and he wanted them to see them. (I have pictures of this for his mom and dad because I knew Oreos sitting out on a plate for a week might not be such a good idea.)
This part of him is what saves him from being banished to his bed on my last night there. We had a rough night. The 10% was in full force and he tested my limits every time I turned around. He spent more time in time out than any kid has ever done. After two "accidents" which were not accidents at all, I sent him to bed out of sheer exhaustion and frustration. He cried himself to sleep. And then, at 11:00, when he woke up yelling "Water! Water!" and came into where I was sleeping, I couldn't resist inviting him to sleep with us. He said he wanted to and he wanted to "lay wis" me, but there wasn't room. I said "You can lay over there by Avery." He said "Ok, only if I can have my white pillow." I got the white pillow. Look how precious they are.

And I laughed out loud when I was awakened at 6:30 a.m. to him yelling "My smell is not working! My smell is not working!" I couldn't quite figure out what he was saying, so I asked him. He told me. "My smell doesn't work. My snot is in the way." I said "Ok, do you want to just get up?" He said "NO, I want you to get my snot out of the way."
God broke the mold when he made this kid. (Thank goodness.) I miss him already.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wake Up Call

I usually don't set my alarm, but today I did. I am at my brother, Josh's house, and he left at 5:45 for the fire station, so I had to set my alarm for 7:00 to make sure to get his kids up and ready for daycare. (I hope sending them to daycare doesn't make me a bad aunt, but I don't want the kids to get sick of each other too quickly-and their mother convinced me that I would need the break!)

Turns out I didn't need an alarm clock at all. At 6:30 this morning, I awakened to a cute little voice yelling "Wet pants! Wet pants! Wet pants!" It was almost to the rhythym of a cuckoo clock or something. It was my nephew, looking for his parents, demanding some dry pants.

I got up, stripped him of the offending pants, threw him in the tub and began washing sheets. His dad told me to really get on to him and to make him be in trouble and make sure he knows he's supposed to get up and go to the bathroom. I didn't. Could you get on to this face?
He's a mess. But, by far, the cutest mess in town.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wish Me Luck

I'm braving the 5 hour trek to P-town again. I'm going to stay with my brother and help him with his kids while his wife is out of town. So far, things aren't going well.
I got roughly 3 hours of sleep. We went to bed late, had a family slumber party which resulted in Reese and I moving to Avery's twin bed for the night; Rhett woke up around 2:30 and was up until about 4:30, when I finally just put him to bed and gave up.
The bags under my eyes aren't bags...they are full-on luggage at this point. So I got out my refrigerated mask to dry to de-puff so I could at least apply some makeup and at the same time, a bottle of olive oil salad dressing flew out and broke all over the floor. I cleaned it without one single naughty word. And then, as I packed my shampoo, the lid broke and it leaked. Again, no more naughty words. That's how excited I am that we are going.
We are stopping by Stillwater to check out all the new facilities at OSU and visit with some old friends in the athletic department, where I worked as a student assistant all through college. They need to see that I turned out to be a semi-normal adult with three beautiful children. I know some of them were worried. Hopefully, the weather holds up and Avery gets to run on the "real Cowboy field" as planned. We'll go by Eskimo Joe's and eat the best cheese fries in America....and then it's off to P-town, where, according to my mom and Josh, there is probably going to be a tornado and horrible weather. Woo. Hoo.
We are all excited and ready to be there. Wish us luck for a safe, uneventful trip.
I'll be posting from the road because my new fancy pants, hot pink laptop finally came in the mail Monday. This was my surprise birthday gift from my husband and it FINALLY got here. Can't wait to show off my road skills.
Peace out. (Kidding. I don't ever say that...just testing it.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

I Got Canned

Boy, the last week has just been full of humiliating events proving what I have suspected all along. I really am stupid. Tonight was the icing on the cake. I was fired. Seriously, fired. I have never, ever, ever in my life been fired. I don't even think I've ever even been reprimanded or seriously criticized by a boss. And I've had tons of jobs. Sometimes three jobs at at a time. I've been a lifeguard, babysitter, recreation director, tree trimmer, retail clerk, church secretary (stop laughing), Lowe's greeter girl, receptionist, coaches' secretary, multi-level marketer, daycare exercise teacher, tennis coach, Special Ed teacher and Kindergarten teacher. And I have NEVER EVER EVER been fired. Until now.
Now, most of you who think I am just a stay at home mom, please don't worry. I didn't get fired from that job. Yet. No, this was a little side job. I'm always trying to find ways to make an extra buck. Partly because it stinks not to have any of my own money and partly because I feel guilty using my husband's hard-earned money to buy myself shoes and makeup. So I applied (8 times) and was selected to review and grade SAT essays for two weeks in October. I went through a rigorous training (well, it wasn't rigorous compared to, say, Army basic training, but it took a long time and I had to pay lots of attention, and with three kids running around, it's hard to pay attention.) and had to agree to grade for at least 5 hours per day. The problem was that, even though I am clearly an extraordinary writer and I love to read, it turns out I wasn't really all that good at grading these essays. In fact, excuse the terminology, I flat out sucked at it.
I could not assign a correct grade to save my life. If Oprah had walked into my house and said to me, "Girl, if you grade this essay correctly, I'll give you a car, tickets to my Favorites show, a makeover, and I'll introduce you to Vince Vaughn," I still couldn't have done it.
I don't know what the problem was. I may have been too distracted (three kids, remember?) to really carefully read each essay. I may not have read them closely enough. I know for sure that I was grading too harshly on the mechanics. I would get all caught up in the spelling and grammar and forget completely that I was supposed to mainly judge them on critical thinking and organization. I tried, I really did. Before each day of scoring, I would complete the mandatory calibration papers, which are supposed to prepare your mind for the task ahead. I failed over 70% of them. They also throw in validity papers randomly during scoring, so that, at any time, you could be grading a "test" essay. One day, I actually got 100% on the 3 validity papers they sent my way. Unfortunately, I got 0% validity on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and yesterday. Obviously, I stunk it up royally. I haven't done a job this poorly since Dad forced me to drag the Weed B Gone bar across the front yard (a story for another time).
So I got an email tonight saying that my continuously poor validity rating was cause for concern and I was going to have to grade 10 test essays to be able to continue this job. I graded them. Slowly. I was feeding Rhett on my lap, but I really was paying attention. I had to get 60% exactly correct and 90% adjacent (only one score point off) to pass the test. I got 20%/50%. I am a loser. You can bet I won't be adding this one to my resume. I can't believe it. I got canned.
Canned. Hmmm...what do I like that comes in a can? Something that might make me feel like less of a loser tonight? Can you think of anything? Maybe Bud Light? Yeah, Bud Light. Killing more brain cells than I've already lost should be just the solution for this recent bout of stupidity, don't you think?

Gross-Out Story

Warning: Not for the faint of heart (or stomach). It's not that bad and if you are a mom, you won't be fazed by this, but some people are more sensitive to bodily functions, so I felt like I should put a disclaimer so I don't get mean emails saying "I puked all over my keyboard because of you."

Ok, so on with the story.
Last night's bedtime routine started out like any other. The girls took a bath together, got out, dried off and ran around naked for a few minutes while I cleaned up the bathroom mess and put towels in the wash. They hadn't been out for more than 5 minutes when Reese came in the kitchen with a very worried, very upset look on her face.
"Momma, yuck. Momma, yuck." What is it, Baby? She did her 'yucky' face and made her gagging noise, which I have no idea how to type so you'll know how it sounds. I was fixing Rhett a bottle, so I yelled, "Avery, what is she saying?" "She's scared of a bug, but it's no big deal," Avery responds. So I continue what I'm doing, hand Aaron the baby and the bottle, and get Reese a diaper. Reese doesn't let it go. She is frustrated because I don't understand and she's very upset over the bug or whatever it is that she saw. Finally, I follow her to her room to see what is going on.
Avery is on the floor, reading a book (still naked) and isn't the least bit concerned with her sister's obvious panic and fear. I, however, spot the object of her distress immediately. I don't know whether to laugh, gag or cry, so I just run and grab the camera.

"Momma, tee? (see?) Yuck. Yuck." What is that, Reesie?
"Me! Me! Me!" (She is pointing to her bottom as she says this in great distress.)

Let me get a closer look, Mom.
"Me! Yuck! Poopy!"
Reesie, did you go poopy on the floor? "Yuck! Me! Mean up (Clean up), Momma."

I ask Avery if she has any idea what is sitting on the floor next to her. She barely looks up from her book and nonchalantly says "She's just scared of a bug, Mom." That's not a bug, Avery. Look at it.

"Is that POOP????" (Notice Reese nervously scratching her ear, waiting to find out if her sister is completely disgusted or a little bit proud of her.)
Yep, that's poop. "Who did it?" I would imagine Reese did it. (Laughs) "Reesie pooped on the floor!" (More laughter.)

After a few more minutes of distress and worry, Reese joins in the laughter. If Big Sister thinks it's ok, then it must be ok.

She proudly declares "ME DO IT! Poopy. ME!"

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Our oldest daughter is learning to pray. She's been working on it for a while, and now that she goes to a church preschool, she is really becoming quite the little worshiper. Most of her prayers go something like this:
"Dear God, thank you for our dinner and our house and all our toys and for Momma and Daddy and Reesie and Baby Rhett and Cash and JD and all our family. And thank you so much for all our life and our family and we love you. Amen."
She even has her sister praying with her at bedtime. Reese will close her little eyes really tight and say "Keek you, Got." (Thank you, God.) "Pay." (Pray.)
I don't know if there is anything sweeter than listening to your children pray. I truly believe that children are a gift from God and it just feels so pure and perfect to hear them believe so openly in someone they have never seen simply because they were told He is there.
Avery asks me often how we got things. I almost always tell her God gave them to us. She'll say "Mom, how do we get toast?" God gives us all our food, Baby. "What about cookies?" Yes, God gives us cookies. "Even candy?" Yep, even candy. "Did God make my Spiderman boxers?" Um, well, he made someone smart enough to make them. "Did God tell Dr. Pete how to be a doctor?" Well, yeah, sort of. He made him smart enough to become a doctor.
And yesterday's question and subsequent prayer were my all-time favorites. "Mom, how come Dad eats junk all the time and he never gets sick?" I really don't know, Baby. That's kind of a rip off, huh? "Yeah, because we always eat healthy stuff, but we still get sick. And Dad eats all the stuff like candy and donuts all the time and he is not ever sick." I know Honey, it drives Momma crazy. That would just have to be a question for God. But we are still going to eat healthy food because it is good for us and it makes us stronger.
And later, as we sat down to have breakfast together, Avery decided we should say a prayer before we ate. It went something like this: "Dear God, thank you for all my family. For Momma and Daddy and Reesie and Rhett and for my Grammy and for Cash and all my family. And thank you for the eggs that me and Momma made. And God, why does my dad always eat junk but he never gets sick? Amen."
We are still waiting on the answer. We'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My Dad is Funny (Volume 1 of many more to come)

My dad is funny, usually without even trying. Sometimes he says words wrong, or uses a saying that no one has used in about 47 years. And sometimes, being a gruff, tough football coach, the way he says things just come out funny (not funny when I was sixteen, of course, but we'll let that go) because he references almost everything in life back to working, working out, or playing football.
And sometimes he says things exactly right. Like yesterday morning. He called at 8:00 a.m. (rather late for Dad, frankly) and woke me up. I was embarrassed that he woke me up because my dad doesn't tolerate laziness and even though I'm a grown adult, I wouldn't want him to think I spend my days lying in bed eating bon bons or anything. He didn't say anything about my laziness, he just said "Babe, did I wake you up?" Yeah, but it's ok. "Oh, I'm sorry honey, I was just calling you back from last night." Oh, it's no big deal. The kids were just up several times last night and the last one was from 4 to 6 a.m. and I went back to sleep. I should have just gotten up.
I expected him to tease me for letting the "Rack Monster" get a hold of me or for not having a job and being able to sleep all day. But he didn't. He said the perfect thing. He said "Hey, you're on Firehouse Duty." Firehouse Duty? "Yeah, you know, when Josh (my brother) is at the firehouse, they pretty much eat, sleep when they can, and go on runs. When you have sick kids, it's like you're on Firehouse Duty. But you don't have 24 hour shifts. Yours is all the time. So don't apologize for Firehouse Duty. You gotta catch up on your sleep so you'll be on top of your game. Those kids need you at your best, so take a nap when you can."
I can't even explain how good that made me feel. For those of you who have small children or used to have small children, you know what it feels like to be up and down several times a night for nights on end. It's like you can't ever catch up on your sleep. So when and if you finally get a chance to actually sleep in, you could sleep forever. And then you wake up, feeling guilty for not being more productive and getting up and getting the day started. But as of today, there are no more guilt feelings for sleeping late if your kids have been sick or sad or scared in the night. You are on Firehouse Duty. (Doesn't that sound so much cooler than Tired-Mom-With-Sick-Kids Duty?)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Jig is Up

There are quite a few people out there who believe I am smart. I was in gifted classes when I was younger. I have a friend from high school who tells me all the time that her mom would say "That Dodi is just so smart," and because of this, she also thinks I'm really smart. (I am not sure this lady knows that I snuck in and out of her house drunker than Cooter Brown on more than one occasion.) I tell my husband I'm brilliant and sometimes he believes me. I have a college degree and frankly, didn't have to work that hard to get it. I have family members who call me and ask me for information because they think I know. My mom called me just the other day and asked me about a book we are both reading. I said "I know, I think it's hard," and she said "Oh good, if you think it's hard then that makes me feel better," like I'm so brilliant that if even I think it's hard then it's impossible for her. (I happen to believe my mom is really smart, but having four kids sucked the brains right out of her.) I love to read so I read a lot of books. I watch shows like Bill O'Reilly, Hannity and Colmes, Dr Phil, Oprah and Dateline. I keep up with current events through the internet and Us Weekly magazine. I know a lot of big words, probably due to the reading, and I have a photographic memory. I speak correct English and notice spelling and grammatical errors in email. I think that makes me seem smart (or annoying, ask my husband.)
I'm not bragging and if you haven't shut down your computer in disgust yet, you'll see that I'm not trying to perpetuate the myth of my intellect any longer. In fact, when you read the following story, you will most likely think I am downright stupid. And I will most likely agree with you.
I recently watched an Oprah episode featuring Jessica Seinfeld. She has a new cookbook out called Deceptively Delicious. It's a book of recipes and ideas for incorporating vegetables into every day recipes, essentially tricking your kids (or husband) into eating things they would normally never dream of putting on their fork. She does this by creating vegetable purees and just putting them into any recipe or sauce. She puts things like cauliflower puree into boxed macaroni and cheese. She swears her kids can't tell the difference.
I thought this idea was brilliant (can't believe I didn't come up with it) and promptly got online to order the cookbook. The book still isn't here, but I was grocery shopping this morning and decided that, I didn't necessarily need the cookbook to get started. Because I'm so smart, remember? So I bought all kinds of veggies. Zucchini, butternut squash, summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. I came home, cleaned and chopped all the vegetables and got to work.
I labeled snack sized baggies. I measured 1/2 cup of each vegetable after it had been sufficiently processed and poured it into the bags. I felt like Martha Stewart or, even better, a capable mom who spends her "free" time making her kids' meals healthier. When I got to the butternut squash though, my excitement wavered. The squash was all hard and tough to cut. In fact, it shut down the food processor and I had to clean it out and hit reset and all that to get it going again. I've never worked with butternut squash, so I kind of thought maybe I picked one that wasn't yet ripe. Or that I was supposed to peel it better or something.
Ever the information seeker, I came in here to look up "vegetable purees" on the internet to see if I needed to maybe add some water or if I just got a bad squash. Guess what I learned? YOU HAVE TO STEAM THE VEGETABLES BEFORE YOU PUREE THEM. No wonder my broccoli isn't squishy. It's coarse, seedy green stuff in a bag. The only things that seem like a puree are the summer squash and the zucchini. Well, and the cauliflower, because I hadn't done it yet, so it's the only one that was actually done correctly.
I didn't throw anything away, though. No way was I throwing away 15 baggies of fresh veggies. We'll just have chunky purees until next time, when I have the cookbook. And follow the directions. And no longer have the misguided notion that I am, in any way, smart.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Best Part of Waking Up

Because I have three children and what I think is a slight case of insomnia, I rarely wake up ready to get out of bed. I usually get up and immediately wish for 2 or 6 more hours of sleep. It's not that I get up at the crack of dawn, it's that I have a really, really hard time getting to sleep at night, plus, I have three kids and most nights, at least one of them wakes me up in the middle of the night. So I'm always tired in the mornings. This morning was no exception. Today was a school day, so I was awakened by the alarm and Rhett simultaneously. My first instinct was to shut off the alarm, shut off the baby monitor and forget about school. But I didn't. My husband was home today getting ready for a business trip, so I couldn't be the loser mom I wanted to be without him knowing about it. So I got up.
And you know what I noticed? No matter what kind of mood I wake up in, these crazy kids of mine can manage to put a smile on my face. See if it works for you...
Look at this face. She is ready for school. She is always ready for school. This morning, she saw a bus outside and was convinced it was for her. "Mom, there's a bus! Remember? I have to ride the bus to the pumpkin patch? I think I have to get on that bus." Her class is going on a field trip October 30 and they are riding a bus and it's all I ever hear about. If we see a bus anywhere, she wonders aloud "Mom, is that the bus I'm going to ride to the pumpkin patch?" I finally got her to believe that the bus she saw was not the field trip/pumpkin patch bus, but we still had to run outside and check. Plus, I think she looks so darn cute (I want this outfit for myself), I had to snap a waiting-on-the-nonexistent-field-trip-bus-before-school picture. It makes me smile.

And then there's this guy. I have started adding fruit to his cereal. And his eyes literally roll back in his head when he takes a bite. If there's one thing this kid enjoys, it's a good meal. He doesn't make much of a mess because he doesn't want to miss a bite. This morning was no exception. This makes me smile.

And last but certainly not least. My little sleepy head. Reesie sleeps later than anyone. I usually have to wake her up. If I don't, she'll sleep until 9:30 or 10:00. On school mornings, I have to wake her up a few times to get her out of bed. Her daddy got her up this morning. And if this doesn't make you smile, then you just aren't trying.

Smile! And have a great day!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Look at this fun, summertime scene. Warm sun, kids in bathing suits cooling off on their new Spiderman Slip N Slide. Why then, does just looking at this picture frustrate the living daylights out of me? Because this picture was taken on October 5. October. Isn't October one of the autumn months? And isn't autumn supposed to be about falling leaves and cool, crisp air? Well, apparently Texas didn't get the memo because it is a nice, hot 90 degrees most days around here lately. The grass is still green and all the leaves are firmly attached to the trees. Kids here usually spend Halloween sweating profusely and removing their masks and any fur every three houses to avoid heat stroke. There are usually two football games per season where you actually feel a chill. Flip flops are dang near year-round. And frankly, I'm sick of it.
Do you know how hard it is as a mother (or former teacher), to explain fall to children in Texas? I remember sitting in my Kindergarten classroom saying "Ok class, today is September 21, the first day of autumn. What are some things we know about autumn?" Let's answer that question, shall we? The weather starts to become cooler. Not here. The leaves change colors. Nope. They fall to the ground. Huh uh. Ok, the days do get a bit shorter, but most 4 and 5 year olds don't know what time it is anyway, so that doesn't help. So how are you supposed to explain the changing seasons to a child when the dadgum seasons don't change???? We have a short bit of winter and maybe, just maybe about a month of spring before the sweltering heat starts all over again. I've had it. And I want to discuss this with whoever is in charge of the weather in Texas. The best part of the Slip N Slide, besides the sheer joy in the girls' faces, was the fact that it was on clearance. Because it's fall and who buys a Slip N Slide in the fall?
Well, apparently, I'm the only one griping over this. I'm going to go put on my tube top and flip flops and take these kids to the park this morning. You know what they say..."If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Baby Monitors...CONTEST!

Yesterday, I overheard my oldest daughter trying to play "walkie talkie" with the baby monitor. She would go in Rhett's room and I could hear her tell him "I think Momma is going to make you stay in here by yourself, but I'm going to tell her to get you." And then she would yell into the monitor, "MOM, RHETT IS AWAKE AND HE WANTS YOU." And then she would come into the bedroom and say "Mom, Rhett wants you!" I told her I needed to finish drying my hair and I would go get him. So she went to the receiver and yelled into it. "RHETT, MOMMA IS COMING AND SHE WILL BE THERE WHEN SHE GETS HER HAIR DONE." Obviously, you can't talk into that part of it, but she doesn't know that and I thought it was funny.
I love to listen to my kids on the monitor when they don't know I'm listening...that's the best part. And sometimes, you can catch other things without even meaning too. I once heard someone tell my oldest daughter "I wouldn't like you either if you were my sister," on the baby monitor. She doesn't know I was listening because I never told her I heard it, but you can bet I'll always have that monitor on when and if she's around again.
Now, I know there are tons of you out there who much better, much more fun baby monitor story. Mine don't hold a candle to what I imagine is out there...I'm holding a contest to see who has the best baby monitor story. It doesn't have to be funny. It can be embarrassing or even kind of ugly.
Send me an email at or leave a comment on this post.
Here's an example from a friend of mine.
My mother in law was visiting and was dying to get the baby up. He sleeps in our room, so we handed the baby over and went back to bed. We are never alone, so we decided to "utilize" this time together without the baby sandwiched between us. After about 30-45 minutes of alone time, we went downstairs to check on MIL and baby. I noticed the baby monitor turned on sitting on the table next to her. The receiver is next to our bed. She had heard the whole thing. The discussions about her AND the "utilized time" between my husband and I.
That, folks, is a good baby monitor story. My friend is currently in first place and she didn't even know about this contest! And I'll never tell who it is, so don't even ask.

Ok, so I want to hear something good today. My kids are sick AGAIN and I have nothing to do but read email and medicate babies....come on, people, fulfill my day! :)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Doctor's Visit

Are you sick of hearing about my armpit infection yet? Ok great because I have more. Saturday was my third doctor's appointment this week. I had to go back for another checkup because Tuesday's checkup didn't go so well and they needed to see me again. Saturday's checkup went much better. Actually, there was bad news and good news, but the good news was so good, I kind of forgot about the bad. I'll give you the bad news first and then you can forget about it just like I did.

The bad news is just that one of my, um, sores is a bit worse and therefore had to be re-opened and drained again. It didn't hurt that bad though, because he numbed it a lot. And even the numbing wasn't as excruciating this time. He also refilled my current antibiotic and gave me another antibiotic. So now I'm on two. And the really bad news is that if, within 3 days, I'm not significantly better, my only option left is IV medication. But I'm optimistic.

But the good news was so great, I really don't even care much about the bad news. First of all, off the record, he told me that, while some antibiotics are affected by alcohol, the ones I'm on are not. So I can have a little drink. And then, he went REALLY off the record and sort of "let it slip" that it wasn't going to hurt me to have maybe even more than one little drink. Even though I'm on Vicodin for the pain. He actually said "Well, that's completely off the record. I'm not telling you to go drink today. But since you mentioned that the Vicodin wasn't really that powerful for you, the alcohol and Vicodin may actually complement each other. Just be careful because it would be easy to overdo it." WOO HOOOOOOO!!! Oh yeah, baby! Oh, I mean, yes sir. I'm a responsible mother of three. I would never abuse a drug or alcohol, so you have nothing to worry about. You can trust me with this information.

The next piece of information is so hilarious, I almost think he told me this just to see if I would fall for it. He said, as he taped gauze pads over my most recent incision, "I don't like taping in sensitive areas like this. You know what works the best? And I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. Just stick the sticky side of a maxi pad to the inside of your t-shirt. That way you don't have anything sticking to your skin, but you still have a place for your abscess to drain."

For those of you who know me, you are aware that all of this information was just what I needed to entertain our friends and family while we watched the OU/Texas game Saturday afternoon. I came home, mixed myself a not-too-stout vodka tonic, popped a Vicodin (my arm really did hurt) and slapped a maxi pad under my arm and showed it to anyone who looked in my direction. How's that for turning lemons into lemonade?

(P.S. To Mom and anyone else who is worried that I may become addicted to the Vicodin/vodka combo. The doctor asked me if I needed a Vicodin refill and I said no because the pain was starting to get much better. See? I'm a responsible person after all.)

Alone Time

Last night, my husband took the girls to his brother's football game. I didn't want to go because I still can't shower (armpit can't get wet) and even if I could shower, I can't lift my arm high enough to dry and brush my hair (I look and smell REALLY good these days). Anyway, so Baby Rhett and I had the whole night to ourselves. To be honest, and I can't believe I am saying this, I wasn't really needing time to myself because my husband has been home from work since Wednesday (it was supposed to be our romantic vacation) this week helping to take care of the kids, so I've had plenty of time to read, sleep or zone out whenever I pleased. So I decided to do things I really couldn't do with the girls here.
I folded laundry without Reese unfolding each piece. I picked up toys and organized books without them being strewn all over the place again. I fed Rhett and we had a nice laugh together. We watched all the Dr. Phils and Oprahs on DVR. Finally, he went to bed and I decided to spend some much-needed primping time on myself.
But as it turns out, my tummy was hurting a bit. A lot, actually. Probably all the antibiotics (or the Zesty Nacho Doritos) in my system. At any rate, I was a little bummed because I was completely alone and I had my whole evening planned and it didn't involve any real time on the toilet. But I read Redbook and then I was fine and decided to put on a mask and take a bath. My husband called about 4 minutes into my bath, so I got out, dried off and decided I might as well give myself a mani-pedi. But then my tummy was acting up again. Ever the multi-tasker, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I decided to do my pedicure on the potty. Weird, sure, but lots of brilliant ideas seem weird at first, right? I did the pedi. It looks fabulous and I felt good about not wasting any time. But I was still there. And I kind of felt like I would be there quite a while longer. So I decided to move on to the mani. And it was great, too. No mistakes because I could really concentrate. I didn't really think the whole thing through and had to re-do my right hand, but still. At least I didn't waste the whole night, right?
All in all, I'd say the night was a success. Two Vicodin, night moisture cream for my face and body butter for my newly painted feet and I was ready for a good night's sleep.
I told my husband about my night and my improvisation concerning the potty. He had an idea even more stupendous than the Potty Pedi. LAPTOP IN THE BATHROOM. He really has it all thought out, too....folding desktop on the wall that comes down like an ironing board. Brilliant minds think alike. Or do we just spend WAY too much time on the toilet?

Friday, October 5, 2007


Is there anything better than a sister? If you don't have a sister, then I hope that your brother gets married and you love his wife as much as I love my brothers' wives. If you don't have a brother, then I suggest adopting a sister. If you can't afford to adopt a sister, then I will send you mine for a weekend. There's nothing quite like the relationship between sisters.
Sometimes it's hard. You know that thing between girls that sometimes gets in the way of your relationship? It happens with best friends, roommates, and inevitably, sisters. I think it happens in every family. With two girls, you have the "girl thing" and the "sibling thing to deal with." It's a complicated, frustrating, emotional, beautiful relationship.
My baby sister and I are very different in some ways. And exactly the same in others. She got married right out of high school; I waited until I was almost 30. She lives in the same town we grew up in; I moved out as soon as I could. I am loud and obnoxious and silly; she is definitely funny, but is more reserved. How could she not be more reserved with me hogging all the attention? My mom and I could talk for days about hair, makeup, decorating, people, relationships, etc. My sister thinks we talk too much. I like to read celebrity magazines and gossip about their lives. My sister could have known about Brad and Angelina and wouldn't have told anyone....or known who Brad and Angelina were. I like to drink beer and dance on tables until 4 in the morning (only in P-town, of course). She drinks a few beers on occasion and usually shuts it down early, like a normal person. We have differing opinions on exercise, health, and our upbringing. She thinks I'm too bossy and I don't think she listens to me like she should.
But last weekend, I stayed at her house instead of with my mom. And it was the best three days we've ever had together, I think. We were so "in sync", for lack of a better term the whole weekend. We each let each other go our own way and what's funny, when we stop trying to figure each other out, we find that going our own way is actually pretty similar. We agree on the basics of child-raising, cooking, family life, and most of the important things in life.
My sister is one of the kindest, most generous people I know. I worry about her and want to boss her because I love her so much. And I'm the big sister. It used to be my job to take care of her. It's not anymore and I'm kind of glad. Because now I get to be her friend.

All my sisters...the one on the left is my biological "baby" sister and the other two cuties are my brothers' wives. They are as fun and sweet as they are fabulous to look at! :)

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Family Picture

Now that Avery is in school, she comes home with little notes like "Bring peaches to school Thursday" or "Work on this at home." The one we got two weeks ago said "We need a family picture by October 2 for a special project." Hmmm. Ok, well, we don't have a family picture with all 5 of us in it, but I actually wouldn't mind having one, so we'll find a way to get one. Easier said than done, apparently.
First, getting all 5 of us to look decent at the same time is no small feat. I personally rarely wear makeup if I'm not going anywhere and I don't dress my kids up to sit at home all day either, so days went by as I waited for an opportunity to have all 5 of us together, clean, decently dressed and Mommy wearing makeup. Finally, an opportunity presented itself. We were all getting ready to go to Open House at Avery's school. The babies weren't going, but they look cute all the time anyway, so no biggie. My friend just happened to stop by that day, so she agreed to take the picture. How fun. I was excited that I would finally have a picture of our family that I could frame and put on my wall of pictures in the hallway. HAHAHAHAHAHA. These were my choices:

Reese isn't looking at the camera. Can't use this one.

Now Reese is looking at the camera, but Rhett is having a coughing fit. Can't use this one. (Why does Avery insist on that fake smile?)

If you can believe it, this is the winner. Everyone's face is at least toward the camera. Yeah, Reese isn't looking directly into the camera and yes, I realize that Rhett is crying, but it was really the lesser of two (or three) evils on this deal. Needless to say, I won't be putting this in my Wall of Fame in a frame or anything. I can't wait to see Avery's "special project." I wonder if all the other families look like this? I'm just glad we didn't spend hundreds of dollars at a studio for this.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My Armpit...

...hurts. This blog is probably not a great read. Especially if you are squeamish, but it's all I can think about right now, and I cannot be this close to a computer without writing SOMETHING, so here I go.
Last week, I thought I had a bug bite of some sort. In my right armpit. And when I looked at it, there was another lump above the bite. Uh oh, a lump. You know what I was thinking. My sister helped me look at it, squeeze it and worry over it for a day or so, bless her heart. (It's my armpit, for crying out loud!) The lump got worse. We took my pit and my lump up to my mom and Nana for their squeezing and viewing pleasure. Nothing. It kept getting bigger.
In the meantime, my kids were sick, so my pits were in the back of my mind. It was painful, but I had to put it on the back burner because of all the puking. Until I got home.
I showed my husband (pit hasn't been shaved for days, nor am I wearing deodorant for fear I might anger the lump.) and he swore it was an ingrown hair (eewww). He is a fairly hairy guy and I figured, if anyone knows what an ingrown hair (eewww) looks like, it's him. So I bought it. He said "You have to get that junk out and relieve the pressure." So, I downed two Coronas, gritted my teeth, and squeezed as hard as I could. It hurt so bad, I didn't think I could keep going. But I did it. And finally, a teeny, tiny bit of junk came out. My husband assured me that it would be better in the morning because it would continue to drain and that's all it needed to do.
I woke up in the middle of the night in horrible pain. The lump was now the size of a golf ball and I couldn't even put my arm down. I knew something was wrong.
I waited it out until morning, got the kids up and fed, took Avery to school and went to the "Doc in a Box" clinic for emergencies. After waiting for 2 hours, they finally called me back. I had my two youngest babies with me and they were as sick of being there as I was. When the doctor came in, he was cheery and wondering who was sick. We all looked fine, I think he must have thought. And then I lifted up my arm and said "I have this lump thingy." He looked like a deer caught in the headlights and said "Oh my god." Have you ever had a doctor say "Oh my god?" It's an unsettling feeling, to say the least.
He examined me for about 2 minutes and said "We need to get your kids out of here. I have to do a procedure immediately." Oh jeez. What is this thing????
This is an abcess with a severe staph infection. It seems to be traveling up your arm and we need to get in there and drain it immediately. I flinched a little at the words "get in there" but I wanted relief from this thing, so I said "Sure, I'll call my neighbor. Maybe she can come get my kids." Thank God for my sweet neighbor. She was there, no questions asked, in about 5 minutes.
And then, I was free to worry about myself. My own reality started to sink in when they took be to the back room, filled with gauze and scalpels and other scary looking stuff. The doctor told me it was going to hurt but that it would be over quickly and would relieve all this pressure. I didn't think it could hurt any worse than it already did. I couldn't even put my arm down, couldn't lift the kids and could barely get dressed. I had nowhere to go but up.
And here is the not-for-the-faint-of-heart portion of the story (if you didn't stop reading at the mention of armpit sores and not shaving): I got my gown on, lay on the table and the doctor came right in. The nurse had already informed me that this was a rough procedure and that it was going to hurt badly but it would be ok. Ok, so the doctor repeats this. He says "Now, you are going to be very uncomfortable for the next few minutes. I'm going to try to numb you, but when an infection is this advanced, there's really nothing I can do to make this better." Yikes.
Ok, I'm a tough girl...go for it. So he cleans it. Ouch, that hurt. It's that tender, so him wiping it with Betadine hurt. Then he put an ice cube on it. Ouch, that hurts too. THEN, he jammed a needle into the golf-ball sized lump. OH. MY. GOD. I honestly screamed. Like a little kid. He said "I know, it hurts. Hopefully, this will numb it some." Another shot. And another. Oh Lord, please help me.
Then he says "Ok, now I'm going to get started." GET STARTED? You mean it's not almost over? I can't do this. He tells me to do my Lamaze breathing. HAHAHAHAHA. It didn't work that well when I did it during childbirth. And I might mention that, besides childbirth, this was the absolute worst pain I've ever felt in my entire life. Honestly. It was horrible. And then he got started. He sliced the lump with a scalpel and I felt every bit of it. I said, or screamed, "I can feel that" and he said "I know, I'm sorry. Your infection is so bad that the anisthetic isn't going to help you much." Ok, so he slices it. And then he says "I'm going to drain it." This involves continuous squeezing. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. Literally, the room started to go black. Mercifully, he says "That's the worst of it." He irrigated it with some water and saline solution and then says, "Well, this actually may be hard because I have to pack it with gauze." HE PACKED IT. This is the hardest part for me. He shoved gauze INSIDE the opening. There is a little "tail" of gauze hanging out of my body right now. I hate it. It bugs me as much as anything and I'm not sure why. Maybe because it just seems so invasive and rough. I don't know, but I'm ready for all of this to be over. And the doctor doesn't know when that will be. He said "One more day and you would have been hospitalized, so don't expect a speedy recovery here." My husband and I were supposed to go on a romantic weekend getaway this weekend. I guess it wouldn't be too romantic with an unshaved, smelly pit with a gauze tail hanging out. But I'm bummed. And so is my husband. Not only does he miss out on his weekend, but he's using his days off to take care of all the kids because I can't touch them.
It's a mess. And so is my house. But we'll be back to normal in no time. I finally found a solution that eases the pain: Two Vicodin and four Motrin. So I'm off to down this delicious little cocktail and pass out for a few hours. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I'm Ba-ack

Did ya miss me? Did ya? I hope so because I missed my computer and my chair and my time alone in this office, writing to anyone who will listen (read?).
We were stranded in P-town! Not exactly stranded, but we did have to stay an extra day. My oldest started throwing up Saturday morning and went all day, all night and a little Sunday. Poor baby, she's the one who bounces all over the place, excited to "go to Grammy's" and be with her cousins. I felt terrible that she wasted a whole day and a half sick. But she got an extra night at Grammy's, and that was good enough for her.
So, we started our journey (did I mention that it was 5 hours and I was alone with my 3 kids...under the age of 5?) back to Texas yesterday around 10:00 a.m. We had been on the road for maybe an hour when I heard something from the backseat. I didn't even have to turn around. The middle one was getting sick. Bless her heart. And mine. The dilemma was: turn around and go back to Grammy's, or just pray that she, like Avery, will wait 4-5 hours between pukes and we'll be home by then anyway. Avery started chanting "Grammy's! Grammy's!" I chose to go on. Avery had school, plus my husband and I are supposed to go on a romantic vacation later this week and I have unpacking, laundry, re-packing and cleaning to do before then. So I got out the wipes and burp rag and cleaned her up as well as I could. And we soldiered on.
And the car started to smell and then Avery started to complain about the smell. And then the baby threw up. I think his was mainly from coughing, but still. So we went to the nearest gas station. I needed gas anyway, so as I filled up, I cleaned out the car as much as I could and we went inside. I bought Pepto for Reese, gave it to her in the bathroom and stripped her down to her diaper. When we came out, I asked the lady for a plastic bag to put the pukey clothes in and found (woo hoo!) a $0.99 shirt on a shelf that would fit Reese. We were back in business.
On the road again....for about 2 hours this time. And poor little Reesie woke herself up, vomiting. And Rhett was poopy. So, ever the cheerful mom, I decided a fresh fruit stand would be a fabulous place to clean up because (woo hoo!) I can clean them all up AND buy fresh fruit and veggies. Can you believe my positivity? And they took out of state checks from people who reek of vomit. How could I not be positive with all this good fortune coming my way?
Thirty-four dollars worth of fruit, jalapeno jam, and tomatoes, a bag now bulging with pukey clothes stuffed in the back. Reese wearing something out of the laundry bag because it was on top. Avery whining that the smell of everything is "really weird and kind of gross." I agree, Baby, but what else can I do?
The last vomiting incident happened about 45 minutes from home. And it was raining. Pouring, actually. I looked at where we were. I looked at Reese. I looked outside at the rain. I didn't want to stand out in the rain. I didn't want Reese to have to stand out in the rain while I cleaned her and her car seat. We were 45 minutes from home. Surely we could all stand it (I'm so sorry, Reesie) for 45 minutes. And you know what? We made it. In less than an hour after we got here, the car seat covers were all in the wash and I was out in the car, scrubbing seats and floors. I got a headache from using almost an entire bottle of Spot Shot in an enclosed space. But we are home. Everything is on its way back to normal. Whatever that means.