Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Funk

Typically, if there are no big events going on, I'll wait for a new idea or theme to emerge before setting out to write a blog post.  But it's been a week since I last wrote and no such theme has crossed my mind.  Ergo you are stuck with life: in general.

Jon's two sisters came down to visit this weekend.  We had all received gift cards for Christmas and were looking for an opportunity to spend them.  So while we had a girls' day at the mall, Jon stayed home with all three kids.  It was a total of 9 hours. He said it was the longest day ever.  I think it went fairly well but he wasn't really in the talking mood by the time we got back from shopping, pedicures, browsing downtown Annapolis and eating dinner out.  I won't push the issue because I'm going to need him to do it again in a few months when I go to a bridal shower in Virginia.

The good news is no one got injured on Saturday (no, Jude's injury-of-the-year occurred on Monday evening, which was most definitely my watch.)  The bad news is a wall got severely vandalized.  Uncle Jared, who I might add was there most of the day to give Jon a hand, sent me this picture at approximately 3:30 in the afternoon.

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Honestly, marker on the wall just isn't a huge deal anymore.  Just a five minute job with the Magic Eraser.  But still, it's not something we generally encourage.  All naughtiness aside, check out those letters!  We're seeing marked improvement in Jack's letter recognition and handwriting these last few weeks. It's amazing what a few hours of school can do!  He likes to write everything.  Sometimes he'll ask me how to spell my name M-O-M so he can write me a note.  Other times he'll just write his own thing F-R-S-D-T and then tell me it spells "machine."  Except he still pronounces that word as "sheen."

He continues to love school and seems to have a lot of friends there, his social skills have also really improved!  And I have been breathing easier this term knowing that there is a bigger, more aggressive kid in his class that seems to cast Jack's crazy antics into the shadows.

And the latest "Jackism" is the term "pickle operations."  He uses it in place of ridiculous.  For instance,
"Jack, please pick up your pajamas."
"Mom, that's pickle operations."

"No, you may not have a snack right now, you just finished breakfast."
"That's pickle operations!"

I don't get it.  I tried Googling it but came up with nothing (Google worked the last time he said something really strange about Mommy and Daddy's private time, I discovered he was just quoting what he heard on "Little Bill.")  So I asked him where he learned it and he said "Miss Sherry taught him."  This probably isn't the case but I guess I'll never know.  For now we'll add it to the book of "strange things our kids say."

All that shopping and girl time must have set me off kilter a bit because by Sunday evening I was lamenting my current physical state of "pregnant but don't quite look it."  Or at least not to the general public.  I see it.  I see my growing belly.  My midwife saw my belly button sticking out at the last appointment and started laughing since that typically doesn't happen until much, much later. I see it in my thighs and my rear.  And I see it in the future when my face starts to fill out and my jaw line gets thicker.  You  know. Pregnancy stuff.  I've been down this road before and I know it *should* all go back to normal but in the meantime, I miss that stack of jeans I just put in storage.

So I did what any mourning mama would do when her husband was out of town leaving her alone with three kids.  I packed them all up and headed to Target.  And bought new, cute maternity shirts and hair dye.  I figure if some things are going to change that I can't control, I'll just hop on board and change something I can control.

Enter "medium red brown" hair.

17 and 18 weeks
It's fun, it's different, Jon likes it, and I'm hopeful the darker color will thin my face out in these coming months.

Anyway, there's little time for self-reflection i.e. moping when you've got a 17 month old running around.  Or waddling around.  I'm convinced she's channeling her inner penguin when she walks, especially when she's wearing her long winter coat.  So what's Julia in to now?

Trouble, that's what.  She's figured out how to climb up to the top of her brother's bunk bed.  And now she does it every chance she gets.  Particularly when she knows I'm not around to see her.  Usually I'm off in some other room doing something else and I'll notice that she's absent and quiet, two very unusual characteristics of my daughter.  Never fails, she's up jumping on Jack's bed.

And then I go to try to retrieve her and she dodges my grasp, laughing all the while.  Trouble, I tell ya.

She's starting to become more attached to her baby doll.  If you ask her "Where'd Baby Stella go?" she'll run to the basket, pull her out and give her a quick hug and kiss.  And then throw her on the floor.  I bought the new baby a swing last week at the consignment store.  And since it was sitting around the house I let the kids test it out while I slipped in a lesson on gentleness (for Jack's sake).  Jude and Julia were all about giving Baby Stella swing rides.  In fact, it was the first thing Julia wanted to do when she woke up the next morning.

And when she's done with the swing she leans down and gives Stella a big kiss.  Because kisses are the other thing she's in to.  She kisses her doll, she kisses me before bed, she kisses her daddy at the playground and the other day I caught her practically making out with Jack's stuffed Woody.  I mean, not just kissing, she adds in the whole lip smacking thing and all.  I don't know where she gets it from...

So yes, Jon was traveling again this week.  Just a short trip but long enough.  And before he left he tore out our main bathroom.  (More on that later).  Which means our bath tub is out of commission.  Which means I have nothing to keep the kids entertained on those long, dark nights without a Daddy around.  After one week of no tub I had had it.  Plus Julia had every kind of food imaginable stuck in her hair.  I dug out a plastic storage container and put it in our shower.  Wa-la, pint sized tubby for the little one.

She actually seems to love it more than the regular tub. I'm not sure why, but regardless I'm grateful for 20 minutes of no 17 month old tugging on my pants.

But Jon is home now and I won't pretend I wasn't pleased to hear that his trip to Europe was canceled this coming month.  I much prefer to keep him around here, where he can wrestle the boys' wiggles out, help put kids to bed and work on the bathroom.  I would REALLY like my bathroom back.  Sharing a toilet and sink with two little boys is simply not enjoyable.  I'm so looking forward to March!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Jude's World

Yesterday was laundry day.  And as you've probably guessed, today Jude wore his "Thomas shirt." He also made sure to put on Thomas underwear.  He drank out of a Thomas sippy bottle and we hit the Thomas jackpot at the consignment store today. Let's just say Jude is in Thomas heaven.

And I'm in quite the opposite position.  I got to play Thomas referee all day between two boys who wanted to play with the same toys.  By about 6pm I developed the timer system where we rotated the most popular trains every ten minutes.  Way to take all the fun out of it kids!!

Our middle child. He's quite the handful lately.  He's exercising his authority ... or testing his lack of that authority.   His current location of choice is behind the living room chair.  It's where he goes every time I ask him to do something - get his clothes changed, go potty, put on his coat, go to bed ...  When he's not behind the chair he's talking.  Usually repeating everything I say but in a louder voice and with a question mark at the end.

"Jude, come change your clothes."

"Jude, time for bed."

"Tomorrow we have MOPS."

You get the idea.

Recently Jack and Jude have resorted to name-calling.  Except this is the toddler version.

"Jude, you macaroni and cheese!"
"No Jack, you macaroni and cheese!"
"No, you socks and shoes!"
"I not socks and shoes, you laundry basket!!"
"No Jude, you dirty underwear!"

And back and forth it goes.  All. Day. Long.

Until I say, "Stop, no more name calling."
and then I inevitably hear: "No, YOU NAME CALLING!!"

Those two are so different.  Particularly when it comes to activities.  Jack is my book guy.  He would let me read to him all day if he could. Jude - not so much.  He can barely sit through a story.  He has two books he likes to read - "Goodnight Moon" and "My World." Have you read them?  They're weird.  I like them for their classic, vintage appeal but I have to admit, they make me a tad uncomfortable.  I just don't get the story.  And then I feel all outside-looking-in because I'm not down with THE MOST FAMOUS children's book.

But Jude gets them.  A little too much.  It's to the point where he kinda takes over the story.  So it seems, when he asks me to read to him he's not really asking me to read at all.  I've finally got around to recording it just for memory's sake.  Sorry, the video is a bit long.  And most might not find it very interesting, but I'm trying to be better at video recording these cuties before they get all grown up!

Okay, well that's enough reliving of the past few days.  It's 8pm, my littles are asleep and I need to take advantage of these hours to utilize the non-Mommy part of my brain!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Clementine's Day

So I had plans to write a post about Valentine's Day.  Or "Clementines Day" as Jude says.  But I was just looking through my pictures and apparently I didn't take a single one related to the holiday.  Oops.  I'm telling ya, this flu thing has really taken the wind out of my sails.  I didn't even get around to hanging our crayon wax hearts or heart shaped wreath this year. :(

Jack did have a party at preschool.  This is only our second year doing valentines but I've decided to make it a point to avoid candy.  Not that I'm some sugar Nazi but he gets plenty of that kind of thing from all the parties and from the rest of the kids in his class.  I will be that mom that does something different.  Last year it was banana chips.  This year we made homemade playdough.

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Jack helped with the dough making, rolling and cutting.  Then he left me to open each little bag, that were all annoyingly stuck closed, and slip in the greasy hearts.  We actually did two tones.  You can't tell in the picture but there's a light colored one underneath the darker heart.  It wasn't intentional, I just wasn't sure how much to make and Jack was a bit more dye-happy with the second batch.

So while I'm trying to open tiny bags with playdough greasy fingers, Jack was off finding new ways to use the leftover dough.
This explains why we've gone through so much tape lately ...
Anyway, his party went well.  I was able to stretch out all the treats he brought home and use them to bribe both boys throughout the week.  And so far Jack hasn't been bothered that Lia ripped his box to shreds or that Daddy tossed out all his precious little valentines already.

As for the rest of the family, poor Jude just wanted a "Clementines party" of his own.  Instead, I had a midwife appointment so Jon watched the kids during "the witching hour" while I enjoyed a nice quiet visit with the midwife. I left a casserole behind (that no one liked but Jon, who covered his portion in hot sauce) but he did think to light some candles to eat by.

Thankfully, Jude's "Clementine" was redeemed by the arrival of a package from Marmie and Poppa which, among other things, contained a Thomas the Train shirt from the thrift store.  The little guy could hardly contain his excitement.  I told him we'd save it for tomorrow but he had managed to talk Daddy into putting it on him while I was out of the house.  He also wore it the next day.  And then pulled it out of the laundry basket to put in a safe place himself, so he could wear it again a few days later.  He was very upset today when he failed to lift it up during potty time.  He came to me with a wet Thomas shirt and a request to "Pease dry dis Mommy."  And then I had to be the mean mom and inform him that it must first be washed. I'm sure he'll be looking for it tomorrow as well.

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The Thomas shirt, you'll be seeing this a lot in future photos.
Well anyway, back to the midwife.  Baby is well, we heard a good, strong heartbeat again.  We also just heard one heartbeat so although I'm still measuring slightly large, I think it's safe to say there's just one in there.  The only new development is that I'm sooo stinkin' exhausted this week.  As in, back to falling asleep on the couch before 9pm.  The midwife tested my Vitamin D levels but we both just think I'm still recovering from the flu.  I hope it passes quickly, I have a pile of projects I'd really like to get to and after-the-kids-go-to-bed is my only chance!

Thankfully Friday dawned bright and sunny.  It was enough to make me override the "just wanna lay on the couch" feeling and get out and do something with the kids.  Good thing we had a MOPS playdate on the calendar and a trip to the fire station to look forward to!

Photo Credit: Fellow MOPS Mom Jennifer
Well some of us looked forward to it.  Jack was there, you won't see him in any of the pictures because he was being a total grumpapotamus.  He perked up later when he found out we were all headed to Chick-Fil-A afterwards.  And then it stayed nice enough that we had some great playtime outside and were able to visit the park after naps.  Since I was so busy giving the kids fresh air I couldn't make dinner, so we topped off our Friday night with dinner out at our favorite local pizza joint - what Jude refers to as "Marmie Poppa Pizza Place!" every time we drive by, because ONE TIME we ate there with Marmie and Poppa.

Photo Credit: Fellow MOPS Mom Jennifer

Photo Credit: Fellow MOPS Mom Jennifer
It was a good start to a long weekend.  A long weekend with a few surprises.  But I'll save that for another day.  Let's just say I have some serious dust to clean up right now ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Same shirt, same pants, different baby

I really felt Monday was going to be the big turn-around for us and things would go back to normal.  Instead all the kids have runny noses (it seems like I spend all day just running tissues back and forth between the kids) and that lovely cough that sounds exactly like what it is - bringing up gook from your lungs.  Yum!  But I was determined to get out of the house on Monday, it had been so long since we'd been on the other side of the front door!

I also knew we should take it easy.  Just a short trip to the mall to play in the Kid's Space and share some soft pretzels and lemonade.  No other stops, no shopping, just an hour or so to change scenes and give Jack a chance to wear the new sneakers that came in the mail the day we all got sick.  It all worked out quite well.  We played a little, snacked a little and only one kid balked when I said it was time to go.  That's when it got a little hairy.  I hadn't brought a stroller so I was carrying Julia, Jack was running ahead like big boys do and Jude was crumpled on the floor refusing to put on his coat ... or cooperate, period.

After me putting the coat on, and Jude taking it off, several times.  Oh and me chasing down a runaway Julia in between, we finally came to some sort of agreement.  Next step was the escalator.  I'd never been to this mall before, I had no idea where I was going or that there would be escalators involved.  Of course, Jack was thrilled.  He raced off to the top before the rest of us could even get on.  Meanwhile I'm still holding Julia ... and my breath. See, Jude's my methodical guy.  He thinks EVERYTHING through.  And it takes FOREVER.  He's our Poky Puppy - the last one to finish dinner, the last one to the swingset, the last one out of the car, the last one in the car... You get the idea.  And these escalators were fast.

We had a quick pre-boarding pep-talk.  "Jude, you put TWO feet on ONE square.  You have to do it fast!"  So he puts one foot down ... waits, thinks about it, and then decides to put the other one down.  Unfortunately for him two steps have already gone by.  And so now he's off, several paces ahead of me, with his two little legs straddling a growing gap.  It didn't last long before gravity took over and he ended up feet up, head down, yelling for help.  Meanwhile I'm still holding Julia, whom I just can't put down on a moving escalator.  So I did the first thing that came to mind.  I crouched down, and blocked the stairs just in case he started to fall the rest of the way and then creeped up the final few steps between us.  I was able to grab his arm and pull up a very traumatized boy just before we reached the top.  He was pretty distraught the entire way home and soon after said, "I want to go to bed" grabbed his blanky and headed upstairs to put himself down for a nap.  Poor thing.  We won't be attempting escalators for a while.

I figured that was enough "going out" for one day.  Besides, the next day was a big deal - preschool registration.  This is at the "new school."  The one across the street that we're really hoping to get Jack in to this coming fall.  The one with the cool classrooms, impressive curriculum and pet hamsters in each room.  Oh yeah, and the one with a pick-up line so mamas don't have to go carting sibling in and out of the car twice a day.  It's a popular school, as evidenced by the "registration by lottery number" days for current students, church members, alumni families and finally the public (that's us).  We walked into a large hall with about 3 dozen other parents, all hoping for the same thing - a spot in the morning class.  Mary Poppins was playing in one corner for the kids.  And so while Jude was enthralled with the singing and dancing, and Julia was going agro on a 3YO attempting to steal her chair, I was saying a quick prayer for peace and direction.  And also trying to remind myself it's just preschool for heaven's sake.  Jack will be smart and successful regardless of how fancy his 4 year old education is.

It was right about this time that they passed the basket with numbers around and I drew ... the very last one. "Hey, God, could you be any more loud and clear?"  I was disappointed, to say the least.  For the people in front of me, at least those who drew the 2nd, 3rd and 4th to last numbers, it means that their kid is enrolled in the afternoon session for now unless a morning spot opens up.  But I simply cannot do afternoon preschool.  I spent several hours tossing and turning at night trying to work it out, but it just can't be done.  School would be from noon to 2:45pm.  Jude and Julia nap from 12:30 - 3:30/4:00, and who knows about the new baby... I thought about trying to change our naptimes but even so, it's just not worth it.  The little peace we do enjoy in this house has a lot to do with a regular, predictable naptime.

So I've given up most, not quite all, hope on the new preschool.  We're fourth on the waiting list but for now I just hope Jack doesn't ask when he's going to go to the "new school" again.

So where was I?  Oh yeah, all this to describe how we enjoyed #4's 16th week.  And you know what that means!  Time to compare some bellies.  I laid it all out for you:

16 weeks with Jack, Jude, Julia and #4.
I zoomed in a bit too far with the last photo, otherwise I think I look almost the same as with Julia.  As far as other stats, I seem to be right in my 16 week range.  It's hard to tell since I had the flu and lost some weight, but I actually weigh more than I did with Julia at this time but the same as I did with Jude. And Belly is 34 inches around, the same as it was last time.  So really, all this to say I'm quite consistent.  One noticeable difference this time around is that I've already felt movement.  Which is crazy because with the other three I've never felt the baby move until after the 20 week ultrasound.  I felt a few things this past week that I thought were Baby, but after last night I'm quite positive.  The Little One appeared as disappointed with the ending of Season 2 of Robin Hood as I was (dumb, dumb, dumb BBC!).

Tomorrow we go back to the midwife for a quick check.  And the next thing you know it will be time for the big ultrasound.  I'm excited.  And it's no secret I'm hoping for another girl.  Julia NEEDS a buddy.  Someone to have tea parties and play dress-up with.  Some one to learn how to be a lady with so that she'll stop terrorizing 3 year olds that attempt to steal her seat at preschool registration.   Okay, and perhaps on a more practical note - Julia's hand-me-downs are in much nicer shape than the ones that have been through both Jack and Jude.  Either way, Jon is excited to unload a few pounds of baby clothes once we find out what this one ISN'T.  And that's definitely going to be his job.  This Mama is not ready for that step yet.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Notes from the sick room

Well it happened. Not long after writing about our victory over colds and the smooth-sailing of this winter - the flu hit our family.

We had a great weekend hosting Jon's aunt, uncle and two cousins who had come up from Virginia for a swim meet.  Although they spent a lot of time at the meets, we did get to keep Cousin Lizzie with us for the day Saturday and she did an excellent job of entertaining the kids!  We said goodbye before church on Sunday and then settled in to a quiet day at home, watching the Super Bowl by ourselves.

Jon decided to take Monday off since he had some use-it-or-lose-it vacation time and wanted to enjoy the football game without worrying about work the next day.  He had a very productive day finishing our taxes and booking our anniversary trip.  We decided to celebrate by going out to dinner.  Hubby had been craving a Bloomin' Onion and when we saw online that you only had to go to Outback and say "Super Bloom" to get one for free, well that settled it.

We had just sat down to our drinks and Onion when Jude started shivering and shaking so hard he could barely sit in his seat.  His lips were blue (which sadly isn't entirely uncommon for Jude), so we covered him with our coats and he laid on the seat next to Daddy while Julia helped finish his dinner.  He seemed worse by the time we got home and kept saying his "boo boos" hurt, but when you asked him to point to his "boo boos" he didn't seem quite sure.  One minute it was his tummy, the next his throat, his ribs.  One thing was certain, the poor kid was burning up.

Occasionally, there are times when I wish I had went to nursing school.  Times like Monday night, when I was cradling my feverish middle-child with one hand and scrolling through WebMD with the other.  I don't know anything about sickness, and I never realize my weakness more than when one of my kids comes down with something other than runny noses and coughs.  And there's something about it happening to one of my babies too, that makes everything seem so much worse.  When I end up with a fever and aches in various locations throughout my body (as I did later in the week), I assume it's a very bad cold.  But when it happened to Jude, I thought for certain he had appendicitis.  Or that he was going to stop breathing.  So I held him for a full 30 minutes, never taking my eyes off the rise and fall of his chest, until he fell asleep in my arms and I realized - this probably isn't as bad as Google is making it out to be.

Since Jude was already comfortably settled in our bed, Jon volunteered to sleep in the guest room that night (smart man).  Meanwhile I spent the evening with a feverish, occasionally-delirious, little boy who would randomly spout off pieces of conversation in the night about my boots, Uncle Bob, the light, sleeping in Mommy's bed ... But the most interesting part of our slumber party was Jude's sleeping habits, particularly how he liked to sleep in an L shape, in which he planted his toes directly onto my legs, and then rubbed them up and down, up and down to the point where I dreamed I was a tree in the forest and there was a buck rubbing its antlers on my branches.  This went on the rest of the night, I'd wake up to Jude's buck-rub, graciously remove his toes and return him to a vertical sleeping position, only to be woken up again by the same thing an hour later.

By 6am his fever had broke and he was back to his 60-questions-a-minute self.  But by mid-morning he was complaining about his "boo boos" again and was soon resting on the couch under a blanket.  He seems to have completely recovered since Tuesday, but it's hard to tell because now, whenever Jude feels like he's not getting enough attention he'll frown, look at me with those big, blue eyes and say "I shakin' Mama, I shakin'. I need to rest on the couch with a blanky."  

Oh Jude, our sensitive little guy. It's no surprise he was the gateway for this sickness.  Or maybe it is.  I thought for sure, which Jack starting preschool last month, we'd be running the gamut of germs.  Surprisingly, Jack made out much better than the rest of us.  There were only two instances where he yelled out "Barfs! There's barfs in my tummy!" before running to the bathroom to throw-up.  Other than that and an entire day of laying on the couch watching TV he seems to be doing quite well. Not that I've paid much attention, I'll admit. Because although I woke up with a slight cough and some chest congestion on Wednesday morning, it wasn't until after we got home from MOPS that I suddenly started to feel "off."

I decided a nice, warm bath was in order.  Unfortunately, Julia had fallen asleep in the car and was up from her nap much earlier than usual.  She must have shared my sentiments because soon she was tugging on her clothes begging to get in with me.  And so I let her.  And between that and all the kisses I give her, or maybe that she is constantly drinking out of my water bottle when I'm not looking. Or maybe that she just never wants to leave my side ... well, Girlfriend didn't fare so well herself this week either.  By 3pm that day my head was pounding and I ached all over.  I gave Jon the "call" the "I know you're probably busy doing important things at work but if by chance you're not and could come home a little early please do!!" call.  I managed to put a frozen pizza in the oven and curl up under some blankets on the couch.  By the time he came home (at 5:30pm) I was shivering from a fever, barely able to stay awake, and unwilling entertaining three small children who were climbing all over me on the couch.

I've never had the flu (that I can remember) and I've never been feverishly ill while pregnant before so I called the midwife to see if she had any suggestions.  She told me to drink lots of fluids, take Tylenol to keep the fever down, get to bed and stay away from the kids.  Check, check, check and ... uh, how exactly do you stay away from your kids?

Particularly when the youngest one wakes up coughing and wheezing at 2am with a fever of her own.  I figured all was lost at that point anyway, Lia and I were in this together.  So I tucked her in bed with me and we shared a pillows, tissues and water bottles the rest of the night.  Thankfully, Jon was able to work from home the next day. I'm not sure how I would have made it through otherwise.  My fever still hadn't broken, my joints ached so bad it hurt to walk and just about every breath I took sent me in to a fit of coughing.  I spent the day in bed, except for the one time I took a bath and the one time I took a shower.  Jon had a chiropractor appointment later that afternoon so after he left I moved to the couch and tried to be a proper mother to my children but honestly I don't remember much of what went on that evening.

Jack doesn't let me take his picture any more, so I snuck this one in by using the mirror. ;)

Picture me under that blanket ... yeah.
Speaking of my amazing husband, not only did he put all three kids to bed by himself (for the first time ever!), he also changed poopy diapers, did Julia's hair, made the kids lunch, brought home dinner twice and took charge of the house.  Although I'm far, far behind in laundry and we desperately need groceries (oh what I would do for some fresh fruit right now!!) my house is clean and the kitchen is spotless.  What can I say, my man likes to keep the kitchen clean!  He's also the only one of us who still remains healthy (he's also the only one who actually got a flu shot but I hate to admit those things really work.)

Julia spent another feverish night with us, this time much worse.  When she wasn't insisting on sleeping with her spine directly aligned with my rib cage, she wanted to be held - semi-upright, with me sitting up, which meant my neck was completely crooked, which meant that when I did wake up (after not really sleeping anyway) I could hardly turn my head.  The good news is I had a break in my fever, and between the Tylenol and lots of make-up, I was able to pull together a somewhat healthy appearance so that I could do the unthinkable - make my neurologist appointment.  I know, I know, it was terrible of me.  Here I am, not only a walking Petri dish of flu bugs, but I also just so happened to have a (nearly clear) case of ringworm right on the wrist that needed testing.  I'm not normally so selfish and thoughtless.  Nor am I typically willing to wake up at 5:45am to make a 7am doctor's appointment in the middle of the flu, but you have to understand I have been attempting to get relief from my carpal tunnel for 6 months now.  And I've spent 3 of those months trying to get in to see this particular neurologist.  I knew if I canceled this week, it would be at least another 5-6 weeks before I could get in again.  And so I rallied ... and tried not to breathe on anyone.

Nurse Lia, if only I had a picture of her attempting to spoon feed me cereal in bed.
The doctor was cool.  I mean seriously, cool.  His office, with it's wooden floors and vintage medicinal art, was borderline hipster.  And when he pulled me out of the examination room and led me to a table in his office, with its dim lighting and 80s band music coming from his hipster computer, I was glad I made the effort.  Our insurance doesn't usually cover cool doctors, especially ones that ask if you have any music requests, or what your thoughts are on the whole "woman in combat issue".  Despite the fact that I was about to get electrically shocked in the wrist at 7 in the morning, I was optimistic.  Actually, the shocking part wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The second part, where he would stick a needle in my muscle and then ask me to use that muscle?  Okay, that was a bit more painful.

Movies in bed.
Anyway, to make a long story short I have moderate carpal tunnel (kinda already knew that but now I have fancy electric-shock graphing charts to prove it!) and got sent home with orders to wear splints all day every day and with a referral to a surgeon if I do decide to go that route. So I have some thinking to do.  But not right now because by the time I got into the car after leaving the doc I could tell my fever was creeping back up.  Unfortunately, Jon had to go back to work that day.  I did manage to pull together a lunch for my kids and get the two youngest down for naps.  Other than that I'm sure Jack watched TV most of the day.I couldn't even tell ya.  I vaguely remember him serving himself some ice cream in the afternoon but again, I was a little out of it.

This is what happens when Mom is out of commission - Jack says it's his marshmallow making machine.
You know, the whole sick-in-bed thing has its perks.  I've had the BBC TV series of Robin Hood on my Amazon Watchlist for over a year now, simply because I heard it stared Richard Armitage (my favorite from "North and South"). Although most of the time I was too tired to even read or watch a movie, I did manage to catch a few episodes over the past few days.  No, being in bed all day wouldn't be all that bad if it wasn't for the kids.  First of all, that they don't leave me alone.  I mean, I don't blame them.  I'm their mother after all.  I'm there for them day in and day out, why should they expect anything less.  But it's the moments when we're all snuggled up in my bed, and I'm picturing quiet time by all but what's really happening is Julia is hitting Jude in the back with one hand while emptying out the tissue box with the other, and Jack is discreetly kicking Julia under the blankets, and Jude is trying to watch Jack play the LeapPad over his shoulder but is also simultaneously dripping snot onto Jack's neck ... it's never peaceful.  Not with three.  So last night, when Jon had to go back to the chiropractor for an appointment that took longer than it should have, and three kids were sitting on top of me (laying on the couch), trying to race their cars/pull out the window slats/climb up unto the windowsill/step all over Mommy's aching body ... well that's when being sick really, truly stinks.

Oh, and the fact that I'm currently failing my kids as a Mama.  I mean, there is laundry to be folded, sheets to be washed, toothbrushes to be disinfected and groceries that need to be fetched.  Oh, and baby wipes.  We've been out of baby wipes for 3 days now.  (More kuddos to my husband for managing diaper changes!)  And more than anything I just want to turn off the TV and play with my kids, get them outside.  I want to eat a decent meal, not something pulled from the freezer or picked up on the way home.  And Valentine's Day.  That's next week right?  I haven't even begun to think about what we're doing for that!  I'm so ready to get back on track.

These poor children need a mama!
But my body's not quite there yet.  Thankfully, my fever finally broke for good last night.  I'm still hacking a lung every few minutes and have barely any voice left.  My inner ears hurt, but I'm only using half as many tissues as I was (I think I counted 17 from last night, although one of those was a dryer sheet. I vaguely remember coming across what I thought was a tissue in bed sometime last night, only to be assaulted in the nose by something much more like sandpaper). But at least I'm awake and somewhat coherent.  I'm just exhausted.  I started the laundry this morning and now I have 4 loads that are all clean, but I haven't got the energy to actually fold them.  And while I managed to actually plan out next week's meals and make a grocery list, chances are I won't be getting out of my pajamas today.  I must say, in some ways it was easier when my brain wasn't working... Kids, I promise I'll be back soon.  Right after this nap ...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Calm, Storm, Calm, Storm ...

The weatherpeople were actually on to something last week and just like I had hoped, we woke up to snow last Saturday.  It was glorious and so seasonally-appropriate.  We spent a relaxing weekend at home which extended into a slightly-longer weekend when Monday started with an ice storm that caused Daddy's work to delay opening for 3 hours.  It was a dark, stormy day.  Perfect for cuddling by the fire with a book and some crochet work.

And then Tuesday came and brought along a heat wave (by January standards), and we were all surprised to find we didn't even need to wear coats to pick Jack up from school.  I sat outside all through the kids naps - watching diapers bleach in the sun, finishing up my book and hoping to bake the snot out of my sinuses.  We spent the post-nap afternoon outside at the swingset, jumping on the trampoline and taking wheelbarrow rides while I restocked all that firewood we'd burned through the previous day.

I was all set to clean and organize on Wednesday, which had dawned dark and foreboding, but after running out to fetch the newspaper I discovered that it was 60 some degrees. I quickly pushed aside any plans for the rest of the day, sent the kids to find their shoes, and threw some PBJ sandwiches and any other portable food into a bag as we loaded up the minivan.  The park was surprisingly crowded, apparently everyone had the same idea as us.  But we had a wonderful time!

Picnic in the trunk!

"Look Mama, watch me! Watch me Mama!!"

It was dark and windy the whole visit, but it never rained once. And it was still warm enough to be outside without coats.  The kids were excellent - it was one of those rare days where they were kind to each other, good with others and obedient to Mommy.  I couldn't have asked for better!  My only regret was that I had dressed Julia, the crawling, climbing 15 month old, in white before I knew we'd be playing at a dirty, muddy park.  Oh well, her evident excitement at finally being big enough to climb the playground by herself was more than worth it!

This kooky weather has also brought on some colds for Jude, Julia and I. Nothing major, probably one of the easiest colds we've dealt with.  But that might have also had to do with my love affair with Vitamin C, echinacea and eucalyptus essential oil - in the humidifiers, in the steamy bath, and on a tissue that I'd inhale through whenever I was so inclined... My husband laughed at my nightly ritual this past week - warm eucalyptus bath, book on the Kindle, crocheting in bed, and lights out early.  But after just a few days we're nearly snot-free!

And I can't help but think this past week has been an allegory for these nearly five years as a mother.  It always seems to me that we enter a lull in the months leading up to a new baby.  A period of (somewhat) peace - my youngest sleeps well, she's growing more and more independent.  And while she doesn't let us leave her in the church nursery yet, she has started wondering off farther and farther on her own and away from my ankles - to the den to play with the boys, out the back door and all the way down to the swings (in just her socks!) before Jon saw her out the window, and all the way back to the Sunday School hall in church in the few seconds it took Mommy to put her coat on today (um, mini-panic attack on my part when I couldn't find her).  She's growing and changing, that's for sure.

With my newfound freedom I have time for hobbies and projects, time for lots and lots of books, time to plan and relax.  Oh, and time to clean.  Like mop under the rugs and furniture clean.  And my boys - there are days that go so well, where my kids are all best friends and get along swimmingly, days where I feel that a newborn would be an easy addition ... but not yet.  I plan to enjoy these days of almost *almost* having things together.  I've got this small sliver of time where my kids are all at an age that I'm comfortable leaving them for a few days, and it just so happens to coincide with our 7th anniversary.  So plans are definitely in the works for a kidless romantic interlude this spring.

Oh I'm enjoying this period, breathing in these recent months, willing myself to give in to elusive me-time without feeling guilty.  Because it won't last forever.  In fact, the day after that warm, wonderful day at the park ... it snowed.

It grew dark, and cold and stormy.

But it was oh so beautiful.

Because as much as I thrill in a warm, relaxing day, I also love a good and gorgeous snow storm.
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