Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scarred for Life

No surgery feels "minor" when your child is the one having it.

Something didn't look quite right when Tate stepped out of the shower a few weeks ago. A bulge right above his skinny little leg. I got him in to see his pediatrician that very afternoon. Diagnosis: Hernia. He got in to see a surgeon at Children's Mercy the very next day, and surgery was scheduled for the next Monday. Whew.

Here he is, all set with the surgery doll they gave him. He named him "Dolly". Very creative, that boy. I, for one, was surprised that he put down the DS they let him play so he could decorate his doll. And on the ride home, in his semi sleepy state, he squeaked, "Did you get Dolly?".
 
Since everything happened so quickly from finding the hernia, to getting him in for surgery, I didn't really have a lot of time to worry about it. But with what little time I had, I started Googling. Googling "hernias in children", "hernia surgery", and of course, finding all the worst case scenarios in the process. Why do I do that to myself?

In my head I knew it was just hernia surgery. One of the most common outpatient surgeries done on children. But he still had to be under anesthesia. And have an incision made in his tiny little body. And have an internal organ worked on. I would have taken his place in a milisecond. At least the decision was made easy for us. Surgery is always recommended for children with inguinal hernias. So, it wasn't even like we had options to stew over. This was the only course of action we could take. Apparently, he'd had this hernia for awhile and it had just now decided to show itself.
 
We were first told the surgery would take about 45 minutes. The surgeon then said, it would probably be closer to 30 minutes, since it was just on one side. I still tear up when they are just getting shots, so watching him being wheeled away was a wee bit tear jerking, to say the least. And it wasn't fun listening to the anesthesiologist read off all the possible side effects of the anesthesia. Of course, my eyes skipped forward to the last two listed, and a gulp formed in my throat.

We kissed the top of his little head and parted ways. He, down the hall on his little gurney, us to the waiting room. 30 minutes went by...45 minutes went by...an hour went by. At about an hour and 15 minutes, the door opened and in came the surgeon. Huh? All the other parents were beckoned back by a nurse to see their little ones. Why was the surgeon, himself, coming to get us? Then he started explaining why the surgery took longer than expected. We already knew Tate had one hydrocele (fluid filled sac) as a result of the hernia. A second was found during surgery. An intraabdominal hydrocele, which are pretty rare. His surgeon had only seen this one other time in his practice. Lovely.

He finally got to the part where he told us everything went well, and he was able to repair everything, etc. That may have been a good place to start prior to his medical explanation. We thanked him over and over again and headed back to see the little fella.

He was lying on his side, under about 3 blankets. The nurse said, "He just wants to be held by his Mommy". Tear-ful. They gingerly scooped him up,pushed aside his IV tubing and monitors, and placed him on my lap. He wasn't fully awake yet, but he was crying, and was able to tell us that it hurt. After a few minutes they gave him some oral pain meds and put him back to sleep through his IV until it took effect.
 
After a bit, they tapered his IV meds and woke him back up. We headed home and made him a little nest on the couch. All he wanted to do was play wii. After just a few hours, he got tired of sitting there and wanted to get up and walk around. He put aside his wii remote and stood up on the couch like he always does, perched to jump off. "Noooooo!" we hollered as we held our hands up to stop him.

I guess I never realized how much that boy runs. And how he's constantly in motion, running, jumping, throwing himself on the floor during a pretend battle. Just going into the kitchen to get a drink, he runs. And his surgery only slowed him down for an evening. He would start to take off, then stop and kind of half limp, half trot, the rest of the way. His discharge instructions read: No athletic activity for 14 days. This means I have one more week of hollering out every 5 minutes, "Tate, slow down! No jumping! Remember your surgery!".

He is already proud of his incision site, which should turn into a pretty cool scar. He didn't really understand what a scar was, because this will be his first. "Why are scars so cool Mom?" he asked. "Because behind every scar is a pretty neat story of how it came to be," I explained.

And I'm sure behind every scar, there's also a few gray hairs added to a worried mother's head.
 
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Friday, December 09, 2011

Bunk Bed Drama

August. That's when the girls got their bunk beds. Almost a full 4 months ago. I knew bringing bunk beds into our home meant welcoming unfortunate incidents and a whole new host of injuries. But I assumed it would be from one or more of the children falling off the top bunk, jumping off the top bunk, or missing a rung on the ladder.

It never crossed my mind that so many ice packs would be used on their little heads, as a result of them banging into the bars of the top bunk. That's right, folks. We administer multiple ice packs a week because the girls forget there is a bed above them. Made of metal bars. They currently both share the bottom bunk, which is a full size bed, because after learning that smoke rises...Reese will have no part of the top bunk. They giggle and carry on at night when we first put them to bed, and inevitably, one of them, usually Drue, will either stand up, or jump up from the bottom bunk and clang their head against the bars.

The explanation for their injury is always the same, "I forgot there was a bed above me".

Last weekend they all three were going to try sleeping together on the bottom bunk. Drue came into our room for something and then headed back into her room. Reese and Tate thought it would be fun to scream out and scare her. I heard them scream. A few seconds later I heard a familiar thud and Drue's unmistakable wail. By this time of the night, my patience is always a bit thinned out as I'm about to slip into a few hours of uninterrupted slumber. It is during these few hours I get a break from playing referee, maid, cook, and chauffeur.

She wailed for longer than her norm. I finally shuffled in there to re-tuck them in, and she was whimpering pitifully curled up on the side of the bed by the wall. "Do you need an ice pack?" I asked in a monotone voice. I could just make out the nod of her head in the dim light. So I shuffled downstairs to retrieve one from the freezer.

I crawled back into my bed after delivering it to her and just felt strange. Maybe I felt bad that I hadn't been more tender with her. It had just become such a regular occurrence lately, I had kind of lost my compassion for it. But I didn't want Drue to go to bed sad, so I called her into my room. She climbed into my bed, holding her ice pack to her head, and I pulled her into my lap. When she pulled the ice pack off to settle in a little more, I felt even more terrible. Her right eyelid was swollen and purple, and a bloody cut under her eyebrow was reflected in the light of my bedside lamp.

Ok, so this was way worse than her weekly bumps and bonks. I called David up there to assess whether or not the cut required stitches or glue. He assured me it did not. Then he went and got her a bag of frozen vegetables to mold easier to her injury than a hard ice pack. Of course, any type of head injury wins them an automatic pass to sleep in our bed with us. I even turned on the tv to keep her up for a little while, lest she fall into a deep state of unconsciousness. Only after I performed amateur neuro checks, making sure she was oriented and could track my finger, was I able to settle in for the night.

When she came home from school Monday she announced, "Four teachers asked me what happened to my eye!". Awesome. No really, I'm very glad they were doing their job. The sarcastic "awesome" refers to the reason all 4 teachers had to ask that question in the first place.

Hopefully, another 4 months won't go by before the girls get used to their bunk bed. Oh, and I completely skipped over the rest of the story in explaining how her injury played out that night. So the other two screamed, which scared her, but it wasn't her jumping from fright that caused her to slam into the bed. After the initial shock of getting scared, she got mad. And she wanted to pounce on them for scaring her. So she leaped into the air to land on them.

Forgetting about that darned top bunk again...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fall Fun with Fabulous Friends

Whenever I can't think of a clever title, I just use my old fallback friend...alliteration.

We got to hang out with these fun little guys last weekend and spent most of the morning playing out front in the leaves, climbing trees, and laughing...quite a bit of laughing.
 

A Fall photo shoot is never complete without a "leaves in the air" picture.
 

Round & round, up and down, through the leaves, and back again. Now multiply that by about 1,000 times.
 

It's so hard to find good help these days.
 
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Come Again?

Last night Reese was in a mood. She got sent to her room for being a bit sassy at supper. And when I finally called her back down to finish eating, her apology wasn't quite as heartfelt as I was hoping it to be.

So I said, "Reese, what is going on with 'little miss attitude' tonight? That is not like you at all."

Drue smiled and piped up, "It's like me!". Obviously pleased with herself.

"What in the world?" I said. "Drue, that's not something to be proud of."

She looked confused.

"Having an attitude?" I explained, "Isn't a good thing."

A look of comprehension finally crossed her face as she said, "Ohhhhhh....I thought you said 'gratitude'!".

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Perfect Timing

David was the Watch Dog at the kids' school on Drue's birthday this year. Basically, he gets to hang out there the whole day, visit various classes, and help wherever they need him. I brought lunch up and we all ate together. Afterwards, we went and hung out at recess for a little bit.

We struck up a conversation with Reese's teacher (who was about to have her first baby anyday) and the principal. We started talking about babies, due dates, etc. And how they all come when they're good and ready. We explained, "Reese was early (by 8 days). Drue was late (by 2 days). And Tate was right on time (induced on due date)".

The principal added, "You know, they say that's an indicator of how they'll be their entire life."

I thought about it for a few seconds and then just had to laugh. That couldn't be more accurate with those three.

Reese wants to get EVERYWHERE early. She is a clock watcher. We'll get in the van and the first thing she does is look at the clock on the dashboard. "What time are we supposed to be there?" she'll ask, concerned.

If it looks like we are going to make it in plenty of time, she relaxes and settles in for the ride. But if the clock says 10:53 and we're supposed to be somewhere at 11, she'll moan and say, "We're going to be late!".

Now, I, myself, don't like to be late places. For the simple fact that I hate drawing attention to myself if we arrive after everyone else. But it's just sometimes inevitable. Or not a big deal. We were trying to get Reese to a birthday party one evening a few weeks ago. It was a backyard party and they were going to show a movie. Everyone knows you specifically plan activities at the beginning of the party for the guests to do while you await the stragglers. Reese was hyperventilating in the backseat because we were going to be a few minutes late. "You won't miss anything," I assured her, to no avail. But I don't think that's what she was worried about. She just gets extremely concerned and anxious when she's even one minute late somewhere.

Next, we have Drue. I was so uncomfortable with her the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I just wanted her to arrive. And arrive quickly. But even in utero, Drue was on her own time schedule. And I'm sure it didn't phase her in the slightest that she was late.

She's the one on our frantic school mornings that I will find calmly playing a game on her IPOD still in her pjs 20 minutes before we have to leave. You can't rush the girl. If you try...watch out! Being early or on time just isn't high on her priority list. Some mornings I'll say to the kids, "Well, looks like you guys are going to be late today. You'll have to go to the office and get a pass."

Reese gets a horrified look on her face. Drue just shrugs her shoulders. To date this year, they haven't actually been late once. But they've barely squeaked by as the bell was ringing sometimes.

The other day, Drue had a birthday party to go to. (Yes, there are always birthday parties to go to, or so it seems). 20 minutes before the party, we were still at Wal-Mart getting the little girl's gift. Out of habit for always needing to prepare Reese that we're running a bit behind schedule, I automatically prepared Drue. "Sweetheart, we aren't going to make it to Samantha's party on time. It starts in 20 minutes. But we should only be a few minutes late. I just wanted to let you know."

Drue looked up from the lip gloss she was admiring in the check out lane and without a care in the world said, "Ok". Then calmly went back to admiring the lip glosses.

Then, there's Tate. He just sorta rolls with the punches. He is always ready to go when you tell him it's time to go. He's my one that gets up, gets dressed, and patiently plays in his room until I give the "go" signal. He hasn't wanted to be early to school this year, because if they get there before the 1st bell rings, he has to sit in the gym or another classroom to wait. Which he doesn't like to do. He likes to get dropped off right on time, so he can go straight back to his class.

He does like to be prepared for the next day's schedule. He'll say, "When we wake up, where are we all going?". But he's never in a hurry to get anywhere. He just takes his time and goes when he's told.

What an interesting correlation between their personalities and their arrival into the world. Three precious little gifts who all arrived in God's perfect time.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Not H-E-L-P-F-U-L

Ok, people. We all have different strengths and abilities. Certain subjects we excel in. Ones that just come so naturally to us we don't have to put much thought or effort into them. David is Science/Math minded. I'm all about Spelling/English. I remember being told by a friend at work, "You guys are going to have smart kids."

My pessimistic thought, however, was that one of our kids would get my lack of Math/Science ability and David's sense of direction and spelling challenges and be doomed.

Thankfully, it doesn't seem like that will be the case so far.

David is definitely the more intelligent of the two of us. Hands down. So I don't feel bad clinging to the one area I excel in...spelling. I just picture the words in my head and read them from there. But if I were to look at a Chemistry formula, I may as well be trying to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Drue is starting to move ahead in Spelling. Her teacher sends home a different list of words for her to study and be tested over each week. This week included the word--hippopotamus. I giggled to myself and said, "Your dad doesn't even know how to spell 'hippopotamus'".

David started out, "H-I-P-P-O..." then trailed off and just said the other half of the word "potamus". Then, in his defense, he insighted Drue with these words of wisdom, "All you really have to know is h-i-p-p-o, then spell check will be able to recognize the word and fill in the rest for you."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

 
Trick-or-Treating weather was bea-u-ti-ful this year! So excited not to have to cover up costumes with winter coats or stuff so many layers underneath they could hardly bend their arms to carry their buckets. We talked Tate out of being a dinosaur for the umpteenth year in a row. He is Bumblebee from Transformers for those of you scratching your heads and staring at the screen strangely from different angles.
 
Obviously Reese is a hippie. Or "groovy girl" as the package said. She simply picked it because it was colorful. Oh, and the girl on the package had curly hair like her. David tried to no avail to convince her to be Smurfette. But she wasn't havin' it. He even threatened to sneak in her room in the middle of the night and paint her face blue.
And Druebie picked "Rock Star". With straight hair. Blue streaked straight hair to be more specific.

Tate literally ran from house to house trick-or-treating. I'd only let him get one house in front of us before I screeched out his name, however. About an hour into it, he started collapsing in people's driveways while he waited for us to catch up and he would say breathlessly, "I'm going to pass out." Reese and I just laughed and she said, "I didn't even know he knew that phrase!". But then he'd pop right back up and be ready to run again. Nobody whined that they were tired. So we just kept going...and going...and going. Drue finally announced calmly that she was done with trick-or-treating and wanted to go back home with Daddy. The only problem was, the rest of us weren't quite ready. So I called David on his cell and told him where to come find us. Within a few minutes, here came her knight in shining auto to pick her up.
 
They got a ridiculous amount of candy. And David didn't end up handing out much from home, so we are surrounded by sugary goodness in brightly colored packages. David has decreed that for each candy wrapper he finds lying around, he will throw away 20 pieces of candy. I almost choked on my Whoppers when I heard that. A wee bit drastic I thought. It lit a fire under the kids to be a bit more careful and make sure their wrappers make it to the trash though. And it certainly doesn't hurt that their sweets-craving mother secretly scours the house behind them getting rid of any forgotten evidence.
 
Tate smiled and giggled and squealed with delight the entire time we were carving pumpkins. Man, I'm going to miss this age. His pumpkin was so hard to carve, David had to break out the power tools. I was sad to see the night end. Tate, Reese, and I finally made it back home, plopped on the couch after surveying the loot and I asked them, "So, what do you want to be next year?!".
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Reesie!

 
Nine Noteworthy Years! Happy Birthday Boo!
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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Fire Marshal

Third grade is "The Year of Fire Safety". Or so it seems. At Reese's school they do an entire unit on it complete with homework, guest speakers, and videos. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great idea, but it also gave Reese one more thing to worry about. There have been a few middle of the night visits from her asking if we thought our house might catch fire that very night.

The first day of their Fire Safety unit coincided nicely with the day I decided to drag out our Fall decorations and light apple cider candles all over the house. She and her friend burst through the front door after school and took their task to "find fire hazards in their home" very seriously.

"Mom, that candle is too close to that little scarecrow!".

"The flame is getting bigger!".

"You're cooking in the kitchen but aren't staying in there?!".

Ok--pause--yes, I was cooking and no I wasn't in the kitchen at the time, but there's no way I am sitting in the kitchen for a 6-8 hour stretch while my crock pot is on.

"The outlet the crock pot is plugged into has too many other things plugged into it!".

"Where are all of our smoke detectors located?".

Um...er...I know there's one in the hallway?

Their message was already coming across loud and clear...we needed to become more vigilant about Fire Safety. The worksheets we had to do together drove that point home even more.

On one, Reese read the statements out loud and I had to say whether or not we practiced that at home. Statements about how often we change the batteries in our smoke alarms, whether or not we leave the room while a candle is burning, and if we had a family meeting place outside in care of a fire.

"Ok...so...if we don't do some of these (or a lot of these) is that going to affect your grade?" I asked her.

Thankfully, it didn't, because again, I am never in one room long enough to even warrant lighting a candle if I had to sit in there with it the whole time. Reese didn't hesitate to let us know when we were in violation of fire safety codes. And she went around the house moving all my candles if they were too close to any decorations that could catch fire.

If I put a pot of water on the stove to boil (back burner of course--I wouldn't dream of putting it on the *gasp* front burner), then ran upstairs for a second, she'd reprimand me. I may have rolled my eyes a time or two and she'd say, "Moooom! You have to be serious about this!".

We had our first family fire drill. Reese said we had to have a meeting place outside. "Ok, our driveway", I offered. She went on to explain that it had to be farther away from our burning house. "Ok, Tom's driveway", I suggested. (Our next door neighbor.) This satisfied her. But then the kids wanted to know if Tom would be mad that we were in his driveway. I love the way kids think. So simple and concrete. I assured them that no, Tom would in no way be upset we were using his driveway. He would be glad to help.

Reese reminded us that we had less than 2 minutes to get out of the house once a fire starts and we had to time our drill and write down how long it took us to get out. David sounded the alarm and we headed out the door. Reese was still on crutches, but she maneuvered herself out pretty quickly. We assembled in Tom's driveway and checked the stop watch. 53 seconds. Not bad for our first drill. As we stood there pleased with our evacuation process David said, "Awww...Molly and Mabel burned up"--the beagles. "And Pikachu" Tate added--his guinea pig. Rats. Totally forgot about them.

Over the next few nights, Reese was able to sleep all night and didn't wake us with any fire fears. An alarm on David's watch, however, kept going off at 6am and sounded eerily enough like the fire alarm to send whichever kid was in our bed at the time scrambling. Tate literally crawled over my face one morning in a mad dash to get out. Which started the morning off on a great foot for this already hater-of-mornings person.

The unit concluded with yet another worksheet to complete together. This time, telling about what fire safety practices we've initiated in the home as a result of this unit. "Hmmm...I moved all my candles to safer spots?" I suggested.

"No, Mom. You didn't." Reese corrected.

Truly, though, we are being more careful. There's something very sobering about looking each of your children in the eye and telling them if a fire breaks out in our home GET OUT! Do not wait for Mommy and Daddy. Go to the meeting place. Do not come back in looking for us. Very scary to think about. And very thankful this isn't an experience we've had to go through.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A Squirrely Tale

Today, I feel empowered.

And a little freaked out and sickened.

But mostly empowered.

Ok, a pretty equal mix of all three.

Yesterday as the kids and I went flying out the front door in a rush to get to school, I caught sight of a dead squirrel lying in our front yard and was brought to an abrupt halt.

It just looked creepy. So still. And visible.

I jumped, let out a little squeal, and quickly went down the front steps, instead of continuing through the yard. Reese kept walking towards it, oblivious, and it took me a few seconds to find my voice to holler out "STOP!".

So, of course, he (or she--no way was I getting close enough to decipher) was our topic of conversation on our morning walk. Horrified, I texted David as soon as I got home. I know animals in nature have to die somewhere. I just prefer it not be right outside my front door.

An hour later David's response was "Gross". Not, "Oh no! I'm sure that is freaking you out. I will run home on my lunch break and dispose of it so you don't have to look outside and continue seeing it and getting disturbed."

That afternoon and evening were crazy busy. The girls and I went on a Brownie field trip to the Olathe Water Plant (more interesting than you might be imagining), then I piled all the kids into the car to go to Reese's soccer practice. Even though she hasn't been able to play this season (oh, did I not post about her zip line incident?--stay tuned) she still goes to practices and games. David met us there, we all ran and grabbed a bite to eat afterward, then headed home for homework and bedtimes.

The squirrel was forgotten. Honestly, I was a little relieved to see him still lying in the front yard. And not in the middle of our living room. Mabel had gotten out of the fence earlier that day and since I couldn't bring myself to stop looking out the front window at the dead carcass, I happened to catch sight of Mabel at the end of our driveway. I dashed out there and rounded her back inside through the garage. I'm so glad it wasn't Molly who got out. She would have smelled it a mile away and helped herself to a mid afternoon snack.

Today, I cringed again as we passed by our furry dead friend on the way to school. I made a mental note to berate David for not getting rid of it the day before, but then remembered our crazy evening and realized it had probably completely slipped his mind. I would definitely be reminding him when he gets home tonight, however.

Flash forward a few hours. I got an email from the Mom of one Drue's little classmates asking if Drue could come over for a playdate this afternoon. Drue, herself, had been asking for a playdate with this same little girl for a few days so I knew she'd be excited. We emailed back and forth getting all the plans in order. They just live around the corner from us so the Mom offered to walk Drue home before dinnertime.

AAACCCKKK!! That would mean she would see the squirrel! I quickly responded that I didn't mind coming to pick Drue up, but the Mom insisted and said it was such a beautiful day that she didn't mind walking her. I don't really know the Mom all that well, but she's somewhat familiar to me since she's PRESIDENT of the PTO!

My brow started sweating. No way could I let her see that squirrel. I figured there were a few ways to go about it. I could jokingly send her an email in advance explaining the situation and assure her my husband was going to remove it this very night. Or I could act totally and completely shocked when she dropped Drue off and pretend it was my first time seeing it. The kids would definitely give me away with that one. I could already hear them saying, "Mom, you found that squirrel yesterday remember??".

Nope. The only other alternative was to get rid of it myself. I almost hyperventilated just thinking about it. I couldn't form my thoughts in a clear fashion to even figure out how to go about it. I started collecting my supplies. My first thought was to grab a trash bag, throw it over the body, and wrap it up that way. But I couldn't imagine even touching it through the bag. So I grabbed two trash bags and the snow shovel.

I was going to lay one trash bag on the ground next to it, and nudge him on top of it with the shovel. Then somehow get it into the other bag.

I laid down the bag. I went to scoop up the squirrel, but a gust of wind caught the bag. I grabbed a huge rock from the garden to weight down one side. I started again, but the wind blew up the other side of the bag that wasn't weighted down. I grabbed another rock.

I was scared what I was going to find when I scooped the body up. I didn't know if little maggots were already eating the underside or what. I am shuddering now remembering. Thankfully, I didn't have to scoop it entirely up. I was able to just sort of scoot it over onto the bag.

I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest. And I kept jumping back and squealing as though he had been asleep after all this entire time and was going to pounce awake. All this heart pounding and jumping had me taking a break every few seconds just to catch my breath.

I threw the other half of the bag over the body so I didn't have to look at it anymore, then tried to gingerly slide the body and the bag in my other bag. It was hard to slide it in there, however, because the body kept wanting to slide off the bag when I pulled it. I had to pull back a piece of the bag to make sure most of the body was still on it, which meant I had to get closer.

As I leaned in to check, I came face to face with one little closed eye and a furry little ear. A shriek escaped my lips as I bounded backward and quickly scanned our block to make sure no neighbors were watching.

I was able to get him half in the bag, and realized I would need one more bag to get the job done. Then I could just shove the whole thing in there. Which would involve me actually having to touch the body through two bags to finish the job. I took a deep breath and quickly swiped everything into the 3rd bag. I exhaled sharply as though I'd just finished sprinting a hundred yard dash. And I may or may not have whispered a curse to David for indirectly causing me all this turmoil.

I tied the bag, tossed it in our trash bin, then went and scrubbed my hands for 10 minutes.

I had conquered my fear and disgust, disposed of it all on my own, and made the front of my house presentable for a visit from the PTO President.

All in a day's work. A day I hope to never have to repeat again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Druebie May!

 
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Seven Spectacular Years! Happy Birthday Druebie May!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Alabama Vacation


Double Click the picture to see moments from our Alabama trip this Summer. We had a great time!

We enjoyed visiting family and being down South. The kids are even starting to pick up on how different it is from the Midwest. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for supper on the way down there and we barely got in the door when one of the workers stopped me and asked if these were my kids, and went on and on about them and then asked where we were from and wanted to know all about where our family in Alabama was from, etc. While we waited on our food, we let the girls go play checkers since we could see them from our table. Little old people came out of the woodwork to talk to them.

Then, an older lady at the table next to us stopped by and said, "Ya'll have the sweetest little family." We had only been there 15 minutes! Drue came back to the table and said, "Everyone is so nice here!".

One evening at Pine Lake David and my Uncle Tom were serious about wanting to catch a huge catfish. Uncle Tom brought some special bait, and they put special hooks on the ends of their line. They picked the perfect spot to cast. The kids don't care what size fish they catch, they just like the thrill of watching their bobber go down and pulling up whatever caught their hook. Reese had a tiny hook on hers with a worm and cast it out at the end of the pier. Pretty soon it went under and she started reeling it in. She didn't catch a tiny brim this time, she hooked a huge carp! And as she was reeling him in, she caught him on David's and Uncle Tom's lines as well.

Sadly, it turned out to be her "one that got away" story because it broke the line. Well, multiple lines. She was so upset. We would have had to throw him back anyway, but she wanted to get him on the bank and get her picture taken with him.

The beach was a blast this year. Last year we couldn't really get in because of the oil spill. The girls tried to teach me how to boogie board. And we took turns heading down the beach to fetch Tate when the current carried him and his boogie board too far.

The last night we stayed there was by far the most comical. We were sleeping soundly in the hotel and at 5am an alarm sounded from the intercom between our beds. An automated voice came on saying, "Alert! There has been an emergency discovered in the building. Please exit immediately.". I leaped out of bed and started making a plan. "You grab Tate! I'll grab Drue! Reese can walk down the stairs with us!". I headed for the door and turned back to say, "Come on Drue", and found her still sound asleep in my bed.

David is definitely the calmer of the two of us, especially in situations such as this. He was grabbing some shorts and shoes and taking his sweet time. Reese kept saying, "Is there a burglar in the building? Is he going to steal our stuff?". I was sure a tsunami was approaching since the weathermen had been warning of an approaching gulf storm. We made it down 5 flights of stairs with 3 sleepy children and pushed open the door to the side courtyard into the early morning air...and rain. I was barefoot, not having had the forethought to process anything beyond getting the children to safety.

I don't even remember now what the cause of the big emergency was. It was not a tsunami, because I quickly scanned the gulf when we got outside and was relieved not to see a hundred foot wall of water heading towards shore. I think someone smelled something burning in the elevator. Ugh.

We filed back up the stairs and crawled into bed. But there was no going back to sleep at that point. Adrenaline has a way of waking you up, whether you're ready or not. We got up, packed up our stuff, ate breakfast and were ready to hit the road for the first leg of our journey home by 8am. Two hours before we had originally planned.

And we're already looking forward to seeing what adventures next year's trip holds for us!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Forgotten Facebook Statuses

Ok, so my blog posts are sometimes few and far between and I like to blame a little thing called Facebook. Oh, and time. Or lack thereof.

Facebook and time. Yep, those are the culprits. It's so much quicker (more quick?) to pound out a few lines of a Facebook status sometimes than to draft a more lengthy blog post. It kinda makes me realize how much I tend to ramble (no feedback needed on that comment David),how many of my blog posts go on and on, and how much time is spent building up a certain scenario.

I do get a kick out of going back and re-reading old posts, though. Especially some of the stories I had forgotten about. Which, is really one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. So I figured I would do the same thing with Facebook. Go back and re-read some of my statuses for old times' sake. As I was going back through my statuses, I realized there were more than plenty that I never blogged about. So I picked 10 random ones for this post. And may choose to revisit some others later.

I joined Facebook the Summer before Reese started Kindergarten. Here were some doozies/sweet ones between now and then:

-David asked who dumped the entire box of carpet fresh onto the carpet. Tate quickly scanned the room and when he couldn't find his sisters to blame said, "Mommy did it!".

-I popped a Starburst in my mouth on my way up to tuck the kids in. Tate was trying to figure out what it was so he leaned in closely, sniffed, and said, "It smells like Star Wars."

-One lost school library book. One upset child. One found library book after upset child had already been dropped off at school. One mad dash back up to school with found book for upset child. One happy child after school with new library book. One puzzled mother asking her happy child why she checked out a book we already own?!

-Tate's prayer last night: "Thank you for Santa for giving us toys and thank you for God for giving us hearts".

-Me: "Drue, do you still want to be a vet when you grow up?"
Drue: "No"
Me: "Oh, what do you want to be then?"
Drue:"Nothing"
Me: "What do you mean nothing?"
Drue: "I just want to be YOU!"

-A sign of a hectic morning is finding your perfectly toasted bagel still sitting in the toaster oven at 5pm.

-Tate's favorite blanket is accidentally spending the night at church. We have assured him it is in good hands...God's hands.

-I felt like I was in a production of Sound of Music last night. Every clap of thunder brought another child jumping into our bed. I'm sure we will have a repeat performance tonight.

-I finally delivered our Welcome Basket to the new neighbors...minus the cupcakes. (Moral of the story: If you're not home the 1st time I try to deliver your basket, I will eat all perishable items).

-I was feeling pretty good about myself getting everyone ready ahead of schedule this morning until I dropped Drue off at school in her sweats and realized it was Picture Day.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Girls' Room Edition

 
We moved Reesie out of her nursery a few months before Drue was born. We wanted her to think, "Cool! I get a new room!". Instead of, "That new baby is kicking out of my room!". Of course, since she wasn't yet 2 at the time, neither thought probably crossed her mind. After Drue was born, we finished setting up Reese's new room. David put white bead board up and we painted it the prettiest, girliest, sweetest shade of pale pink. 7 years later, we decided it was probably time for a little update. We were subtly pushed toward this decision by some comments the girls have made here and there. For one, neither one of them likes the color pink in general anymore. And they have both been wanting to put a little more of their personalities into their room by asking to put up posters, etc.
 
So we bid farewell to their pale pink walls and Pottery Barn Quilts earlier this week. I've been planning it in my head all Summer. And being the huge fan of HGTV Surprise Makeover shows that I am, decided that was the way to go. Completely and totally surprise them! The beginning of the new school year coincided nicely with getting the girls out of the house together. David took a day off work, and we worked diligently toward the "Big Reveal".
 
It turned out p-r-e-t-t-y darn close to the way I imagined it being. At first, we were going to keep their beds (which I have always liked). But the girls have asked for bunk beds a few times. They actually were wanting waterbed bunk beds, which I doubt even exist. And at one time Drue was bound and determined to ask Santa for them this Christmas. Yikes! We ended up coming across this really inexpensive bunk bed frame while we were on a date night a few weeks ago. We both got so excited picturing their reaction, we just couldn't resist. Their cute twin beds will wait for the girls to move into their own rooms someday.

The hard part was keeping all this a secret from them. I have been out on numerous secret missions to Target, Hobby Lobby, etc the past month or so gathering items. The girls couldn't miss the huge box on top of our van the night we bought the bunk beds. We told them we couldn't tell them at that time what was in the box but explained they'd find out soon enough. I even had to go so far as to tell them, "Don't worry, it's nothing to get excited about" to throw them off the track. Drue decided it must be a new shower for our room because she caught David measuring our shower recently. David stayed up late a few nights putting together their new dresser in the garage. He threw a quilt over it and they didn't peek once. It also worked to our advantage that they are scared to go in the garage by themselves, which pretty much kept them from snooping when we weren't close by.
 
I couldn't WAIT for them to get home from school and be surprised! This helped me not be too sad to replace the pink walls with bright turquoise, ahem, Magical Oasis, and remembering all the times we tucked in our little toddler girls in that room or helped them into their tiny pastel tutus.
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Footage of the Surprise

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David sent the girls upstairs to see their new door. Little did they know what was waiting for them when they opened it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Race for the Cure

SURVIVOR
 

GRANDMA
 

MOM
 

INSPIRATION
 

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Message Received

The girls and I have discovered duct tape crafts!

Huh?

Yes, you can actually buy patterned duct tape now and make crafts out of it. Ok, it's probably been around for awhile, but it's new to us, so don't steal our thunder...or our duct tape.

The other day we purchased our rolls and set to work. Which included googling different projects and watching You Tube tutorials. We fashioned bracelets, anklets, a ring, and...wait for it...wallets! Drue has a cheetah print duct tape wallet, Reese has a paint splattered pattern, and Tate chose...orange. Plain orange. Well, not plain orange. Bright-neon-grab your sunglasses-orange.

They are beyond excited and proud of their new accessories.

The other night the girls were being especially giggly and talkative at bedtime. Oh, wait, that's every night. David had already been in a few times to settle them down to no avail.

It was time to pull out the big guns. Threatening to take away a most treasured possession if the commotion ensued. I was listening from our room as he went in there and said, "Girls! You need to lay down and be quiet. If I have to come in here again, I'm going to take away your wallets."

To assure they understood completely what was expected of them he asked them to clarify, "So what should you do?".

"Hide. Our. Wallets!" Drue said decisively.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tate's Gift

 

I wish I could keep it forever,
This sweet little golden flower.
I wish I could slow down time,
Every second, minute, and hour.

Picked by his hand so small,
As we walked to school today.
He smiled and held it up,
Then went off on his merry way.

A simple little gift,
That everytime I see,
Reminds me in his changing world,
He still thinks of me.

I wish I could keep them forever.
If I had one super power,
I'd choose to slow down time,
Every second, minute, and hour.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And They're Off...

 
...to school that is. All of them. And the house is quiet. Too quiet. For about 3 hours, until I go get to pick up Tate. The tears came easily when I had to drop him off the first day. From me, of course, not from him.
 
Thankfully, the kids were healthy all Summer. Two days before school began, Drue started running a fever. Her first day outfit hung neatly in the closet for another day. My friend came to pick Reese up the first day so I didn't have to drag Drue out of bed and into the school. I was so sad watching them pull out of the driveway, knowing I wouldn't be able to walk Reese to her 1st day of 3rd grade. Reese assured me by saying, "Don't worry Mom, we can pretend like tomorrow is my first day and you can walk me to class then."
 
Drue's temp stayed down so I did get to send her the very next day. But I didn't get to walk the girls to class. We all filed into the front lobby of the school and the principal said that 1st & 3rd graders could go on into the library. Drue looked up at me pleadingly, wanting to go, so that was that. I tucked her $20 bill into her side backpack pocket for lunch. I never thought something as trivial as lunch money would set me off. But my voice broke as I said, "Don't forget to give that to your teacher." *sniffle*sniffle.

And off she went. Reese was torn because she, too, wanted to go to the library but knew I'd be sad that I didn't get to walk her to class. Then I looked at Tate in his oversized backpack and more tears fell. I gave Reese a hug and kiss and she reluctantly started down the hall. She abruptly turned around and came back to give me one more hug. The principal looked at her sweetly and said, "Is she ok?". I just nodded, not wanting to go on to explain that she was fine, her Mother was not.

Tate marched down the hall with confidence but as we got closer to his classroom he slowed down and grabbed my hand. Then we went through the door. The last time I'll ever go through that door for my first day Kindergartner. I remembered back to Reese's first day there, and how I couldn't get over how tiny she was to be walking the halls of this school.

I was still lamenting the fact that time is passing by so quickly when I read one of my friend's facebook statuses. Her baby girl is heading to college this year and it simply said, "Seeing all the boxes of her stuff is starting to bother me". While I'm sad for her, that's exactly what I needed to read. I am so thankful to be in this stage of life. Yes, I'm sad there are no little ones at home with me all day, but I am so thankful I get to pick Tate up at lunch and that the girls are still young enough to want to snuggle on the couch and tell me about their days when they get home. I'm grateful for my calendar full of soccer practices, gymnastics, and brownie meetings. And I most certainly do not even want to think about the day we will pack up their stuff to send them off to college.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Girl Has a Point

The other day Tate came up and snuggled me out of the blue.

Awwwwwww.

He closed his little eyes, smiled contentedly, then asked, "Why do you smell like outside?".

"I don't know," I replied, rather perplexed, "I haven't been outside."

"Well, you smell like her," he said matter-of-factly.

This amused me so I asked, "How do you know outside is a her?".

"Because," Reese chimed in stating the obvious, "Mother Nature!".

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Child's View

Back in April, David took Reese to work with him for "Take Your Child to Work Day". He has been wanting to take her since she was born, but Quest says they have to be 8. So this was her year.

His plan was to keep her 1/2 the day, then drop her off at school after lunch. She decided she wanted to stay the whole day, so he ended up keeping her til around 3:30 and I went and picked her up.

He loaded her up with all sorts of Quest memorabilia. Pens, paper, leather portfolios, you name it. Right away, the kids started playing "office". Whenever we return from somewhere, they almost always start playing whatever we just experienced. After dentist appointments, they play "dentist". After the circus, they start "training" all their stuffed animals.

So I got a kick out of Reese rounding them up to play office. She scrambled around and found some of our old cell phones. And taught them how to answer the phone "Quest Diagnostics, this is _____________".

David recently took a new position as the Operations Manager of a lab that Quest owns, called Ameripath. So I started prepping the kids over the weekend and teaching them the new name of where Daddy works.

Reese piped up and asked completely seriously, "So, at his new job...does he do anything? Or does he still just check emails and make phone calls?".

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Word Misheard

I don't like freezing cold days.

I don't like fiery hot days.

Wednesday and Thursday of this week were the perfect days weatherwise I can remember having in a long time. The kids and I stayed outside practically all day long. Just because.

Wednesday we went to Deanna Rose Farm, ate outside at Sonic, came home and played in the backyard, then Drue and Tate played at the school playground during Reese's soccer practice that evening.

Thursday we didn't really have much planned so we just lounged in the backyard. I had told the girls I would paint their nails that day so I had them gather up all the supplies and bring them out to the deck.

We set up a makeshift nail salon on the steps. Drue was looming over me while I did Reese's nails. I was having a hard time getting the polish evenly distributed on her tiny nails when I realized Drue was blocking all the sunlight.

"Hey Drue," I said, "How 'bout you move and get out of my light?" I asked.

"Whaaaaaat?" she asked in disbelief. She shifted over to the side a little bit then assured me, "I'm not going to get out of your life!".

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Lost but Not Found

 

Drue lost her first tooth! (Ok, it was last month, but we are still excited). She is a late tooth loser apparently. Reese had already lost her first tooth at this age. A lot of Drue's friends have been losing teeth this year as well. I haven't done much research on the topic but I heard somewhere that if you were late getting your teeth, you'll be late losing your teeth. So I passed that along to her for some consolation.

She was my 10 month old baby with nary a tooth in her head. Shortly after, when I weaned her (I will never feel comfortable using that word in normal conversation) she woke up with half her set of teeth breaking through. She wasn't fussy, drooly, or exhibiting any other signs of teething. It was the weirdest thing. Sure, she may have gnawed on a bannister spindle or two, but I didn't really think twice about it. One day she had no teeth. The next, specks of pearly whites peeking through her little pink gums.

Also, her teeth are tiny. The tiniest teeth I've even seen in a child's head.

A few weeks ago during Tate's Cubby award night at church she was talking to me and I noticed that one of her bottom teeth was kinda sticking out funny. "Is your tooth loose Drue?" I asked.

"Nope," she said confidently.

I stuck my finger in there and, sure enough, it wiggled, ever so slightly. She was beyond thrilled. She'd been waiting for this moment. Throughout the rest of the ceremony she wiggled it. The whole rest of the night she wiggled it. And this continued on for days.

Apparently, it's a big deal where you lose your teeth nowadays. Reese lost one at church, Salty Iguana, home, and various other places she'd be happy to recount for you if you ask.

Drue was really wanting to lose hers at school. They get a little necklace with a tiny tooth shaped holder for their tooth.

When I went to pick her up from school a few days later she came running up to me, beaming, with a tooth necklace around her neck. "Oh my goodness!" I said, "Let me see!". She smiled and, sure enough, had a tiny whole where her tooth used to be.

I was still gushing over this momentous occasion when her teacher walked up to me and said, "I am so sorry".

Uh oh. I figured she was about to tell me that Drue's tooth had fallen out as a result of getting punched in the face by the little bully boy in her class. Thankfully, this wasn't the case.

They were at recess when her tooth fell out. So her teacher got her little necklace. Apparently, it didn't latch completely and when Drue was running over to show one of her friends, her tooth fell out of the necklace into the rocks on the playground. I have replayed this scene in my head a few times. If it were in a movie, I'm sure it would have happened in slow motion with tear evoking music playing in the background.

Her teacher felt so bad about it, she was down on her hands and knees sifting through the tiny pebbles for Drue's even tinier tooth. I assured Drue that she could write a note to the tooth fairy and everything would work out fine.

That night she sat down and started writing. She explained, in detail, what had occurred and even put the name of her school so the Tooth Fairy would be certain where to look. She read it out loud to me as I was putting her to bed. At the end she said, "P.S. Give it to me".

"Huh? Give you what?" I asked cautiously.

"My tooth," she clarified.

"Uh...that's not the way it works," I explained. "She takes your tooth. She can't give it to you. She leaves you money."

Drue was bound and determined that she wanted the Tooth Fairy to give her her tooth just for a little bit and then she would leave it out for her to take when she was ready.

Didn't see that one coming.

I stated a few more times that I was sure the Toothy Fairy wouldn't be able to leave the tooth and that Drue should fully expect to find a nice shiny golden dollar in the morning.

As luck would have it, Drue placed the letter at the foot of her bed. So I laid the golden dollar on top of it, instead of having to sweat it out, trying to slip it under her pillow, holding my breath the whole time and hoping her big hazel eyes didn't pop open.

Poor Druebie. Nothing is easy with her. Nothing seems to go the way she expects it too. She woke up in the morning, saw the golden dollar on her letter and the tears started to flow.

She was very disappointed the Tooth Fairy hadn't delivered her tooth to her. (I had predicted this reaction, and yes, even contemplated leaving one of our beagle's teeth or Reese's teeth under her pillow). What? You don't keep your pets' teeth when they fall out? Odd.

I thought I had her somewhat settled down when a whole new flood of tears came. "What are you upset about now?" I inquired ever so comfortingly.

"Reese's golden dollars had a picture of the Tooth Fairy on them! Mine has a picture of a man on it...of John Adams!".

That's our Druebie. Pays attention to the smallest detail. Nevermind that she confused Sacajawea with the Tooth Fairy.

She has moved on from this disappointing experience and is excited to watch her new tooth growing in. I just hope her next go round is a little less traumatic for all of us.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Perspective

Just a little word of caution. If you happen to be around my girls and notice how Drue is inching up to Reese's exact height, you might want to keep it to yourself and not say it aloud. You would be correct in your observation, but it doesn't sit well with Reese. She will smile at you when you say it but then be almost in tears about it that night.

She figures since she's older, she should be taller. End of discussion.

My prediction for the kids is: Tate will be the tallest, Drue next, and then Reese. I think they will all be taller than me, however. But this doesn't prove to be any consolation for Reese.

As for Drue. She's just tall. She was the tallest one in her Kindergarten class this year. She's in the very center of the back row in her class picture.

She thinks it's cool that she was taller than a lot of the 1st graders too. And even taller than some of Reese's 2nd grade classmates. So I've never worried that she feels out of place or strange since she's excited to tell me everyone she's taller than.

However, she's our sloucher. I didn't think much about it at first, because I'm a sloucher too. But I don't want her to be one. So I've started with, "Drue, hold your shoulders up." "Stand up straight."

A few weeks ago I started worrying that maybe she was slouching because part of her does feel strange being taller than all her little friends.

One particular day the girls and I were having yet another discussion about height and what not. Reese was once again, bemoaning the fact that she is going to be short her entire life and will never grow one inch beyond her current height. When she walked to the other room I took my opportunity to pull Drue's slouchy shoulders gently back and encourage her that she should be proud to stand tall.

And just to drive home my point even more I reassured her, "Drue, tall people are beautiful!", at the exact moment Reese walked back into the room.

Great timing. Reese's jaw dropped and she froze in place. And I had to quickly back pedal and try and explain my reasoning behind that statement.

I'm blaming all you people on this one. Or at least anyone whose ever said, "Wow Drue! You're almost as tall as Reese!".

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Life in the Fast Track

Oh my heavenly stars! I haven't posted anything on here since March 21st? Where are my faithful readers who usually give me a gentle reminder that it's been awhile (Morgan!)?

Life has certainly seemed to pick up at a rapid pace since our leisurely Spring Break. Thus hindering me from kicking back on the couch to draft a post lately. And somewhere along the line, David was given a much larger area to cover for work (Nebraska down to Branson) which has him traveling somewhere 3 weeks out of every month. It's just become routine for us. This last overnight trip he forgot to tell the kids he was leaving. When darkness fell Reese asked, "I wonder why Daddy is working so late?". To which I casually replied, "Oh, he's in Wichita tonight."

During a typical week we have something going on every evening:
Monday- Softball Game- Reese
Tuesday- T Ball Practice- Tate
Wednesday- Soccer Practice- Reese
Thursday- Soccer Practice- Drue AND Softball Practice- Reese
Friday- Softball Game- Reese

Not to mention Saturdays full of 3 soccer games.

From time to time between transporting laundry up and down the stairs, digging cleats out from under the beds, and listening to a child who just finished a snack whine, "I'm staaaaarving," I'll exclaim, "I need a vacation! A solo vacation!".

And David will say, "Ok. Where do you want to go?".

Which stops me in tracks as I realize I don't really want to go anywhere. I would miss these guys and our crazy days together.

And the silence would be deafening.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break

 

 

 

 
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