Sunday, January 27, 2008

the girl who survived another birthday

So, Matthew turned four (I can't believe he has survived this long sometimes!) and we had the usual festivities. Unfortunately, I had to work on his special day and you just don't tell a kid who is counting the days to his birthday that you'll do it on the weekend. Every time he spoke of his birthday it was "Cas, cars, RACEcars!" so I figured I was pretty safe in being able to pick out something he's like.

As you can see from the pictures, he got his wish. A racecar birthday cake and some more Disney Cars shake n' go cars. He also got a Cars pillow book and a Cars tee. So all in all, quite the respectable haul for a four year old.

The days of showering the kids with gift after gift after gift are long since gone. For one thing, may I point out I have four children? It isn't just the financial aspect (although that certainly plays a part) but it is the sheer amount of STUFF that accumulates when you have four kids.

I hate to say it, but when it was just Zachary he was spoiled at gift giving time. If one action figure would be cool, then the entire collection of action figures should be that much better! Right? I think Daddy had a little bit to do with that too. What man really grows out of crashing cars and playing good vs evil?

"Yeah, Honey. I think he really needs the entire collection of He-Man figures because I remember them from my childhood and I had so much fun!"

Never mind that that retro craze only lasted about three months. They were the right three months because they fell right around Christmas!

Of course, I can't really talk. I'm sure if we had a little girl it would look like Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony went on a bender and vomited all over my precious little princess' room. But we dodged that bullet, lol.


Of course, with the birthday comes the annual check-up at the Doctor's. Poor Matthew had to get FOUR shots. But he was as fearless as ever and only started to cry on the very last one. You know, those icky intra-muscular ones that burn when they go in. He got to that one and statred wailing, "Mommy, I don't want to do this anymore!"

For putting up such a brave face, he earned his reward of a McFlurry on the way home and was actually neat enough with it that it only took one pass with the hose to wash out a small serving of imitation vanilla frozen treat with oreos out of the van.

Eli was also due for a check up so he tagged along. My little porker is a big boy now! Six month old and 14lbs 12oz. He is 26 inches long and has completely caught up developmentally.

No mother is supposed to have favorites, but I do. He is my favorite baby. (Just like Zack is my favorite 8 yo, Ian my favorite 5 yo and Matthew my favorite newly-minted 4 yo.) I just am enjoying him so much! He is so interactive, he holds your gaze and will have a conversation with you in coos and burbles.

I think its because Zachary was my first, and I really had no clue what I was doing. He survived (Thank goodness!) but the anxiety I felt over "Am I going to screw this up?!!" diminished the joy slightly. Ian and Matthew came so close together (and then Matthew had a slew of health problems--not that you'd know it now) I never got to enjoy them as babies. But Eli. With Eli I can take the time to wonder at the chubby cheeks and perfect rosebud lips. I can confidently play with him, feed him, bathe him, all of that and still have time to marvel at how he responds, the teeny fingers, how strong he is. He is such a little miracle to me and I just turn to mush whenever he smiles and grabs my fingers. Even though he was the surprise to end all surprises, he truly completes this family.


Update on the washer. The repair guy finally made it out last Monday after missing our appointment on Saturday. So I had to take the day off of work because you couldn't make an appointment for a specific time and the window was 8 am to 5 pm! Really? Sheesh, could you be a little more vague? I got the call to come into work, they're having an all manager meeting with the owner and everyone must be there, so I had to contact the repair service and tell them that they couldn't come for the next two hours. I go to the meeting (at which HR was not addressed even once--more on that later) and got home to find two repair guys struggling with the washer. (DH was home by that time) After about an hour, they got things mostly put back together and declared it fixed. I say mostly because the front cover wasn't attached in one corner and hung all whopper jawed off the side. But, hey, it may not look pretty but it works, right?

My landlord called to follow up and I said, "Guess what I'm doing RIGHT NOW!" Yep, I was washing. Hallelujah! It took me about three loads to figure out that, yeah, it spins once more but NOW IT DOESN'T AGITATE!! Grrrrr!

So the repair guy came out again yesterday, looked at for five minutes, declared he needed to order parts and he'd see me NEXT Saturday.

Double grrr.

And I can't exactly use the hotel anymore to wash my clothes.

In brief, when the hotel was bought last year the new owners came in proclaiming they didn't believe in HR but offered me the position of Manager anyway. Wel, they weren't kidding. Now it's a year later and I've set everything up for them, so I guess my services aren't needed anymore, thank you very much.

I'm trying not to be bitter and look at it as an opportunity to grow somewhere else, but it still was a surprise, for all that it wasn't completely unexpected.

And my last day would be two weeks before I qualify for vacation.

But I negotiated with them and explained they really needed to keep me a little bit longer to train someone on payroll. So I have three weeks before I am unemployed.



In other news: Zachary is currently burning batteries in his new cd player listening to Radio Disney Jamz 10 over and over and over. It was his reward for bringing home straight A's, Honor Roll and perfect attendance. Give me just a moment to revel in the glory that I didn't screw him up and he's doing just fine! Until the teenage years at least...

Speaking of the teenage years. My LOAD quest continues and I've done pretty well at keeping up. Here's a smattering of my recent lo's (but not all, I'm actualy keeping some back for pub)

I can wait
Zachary just seemed a little too teenagerish in these pictures, hence the journaling about how I really can wait.

This cutie girl latched on to Zack at a birthday party. He was oblivious, but I knew she was making a play for my little guy!

A layout designed around the premise of a little boy emptying his pockets. No frogs though.

It's not easy being green
My mistake. How could I possibly buy a green shirt for my OCD boy when his color is blue? green is Zack's color!

this one is kind of a cheat because I did it a little bit ago, but I posted it in lieu of a different Eli one I'm holding to submit. It tells about waiting for Eli to come home from the NICU.

How lucky are we to have found Mitzi? A woman who loves my kids (and Eli especially) as her own?

And that's it until I have something else that's blogworthy come up. Seems like it wouldn't take much, lol.

Monday, January 14, 2008

the girl who tackled Mount Washmore!

So my washer is broken.

And I have four children.

One who regularly soaks his bed because diapers just aren't built to take that kind of overnight load.

One who is hit or miss with soaking his bed because he can't wake himself up to pee.

One who likes to change clothes a million times a day because dress-up is his favorite game and he hates being dirty.

And one who will go commando to school because he just doesn't like underwear--so I guess he saves me a bit on laundry there.

Plus there is myself who goes through a billion towels cleaning up messes around the house caused by these four lovely children.

And factor in pajamas every day in addition to the daily outfits, along with bath towels for six because no, we can't just hang a towel up and reuse it, we must toss it on the floor either intentionally to soak up the water or intentionally because we are too short/lazy to hang it up again.

Are you starting to get a picture of my laundry needs here?

My landlord, bless her heart, has been playing "second opinion" and between my schedule and DH's, well, its hard to line that up. I think we might actually get it fixed next weekend.

Pray for me.

So, because of the massive amounts of laundry that my family generates, I was in desperate need to do some washing. And a laundromat would have been hideously expensive. Luckily for me, I work at a hotel with an on-site laundry for doing towels and sheets and such. So asked for and got permission to come in and utilize the massive, industrial size washers and driers on property.

Want to see how much laundry a family of six can generate in two weeks time?

The four year old is there for comparison of size. That's two laundry hampers, two sterilite bins that I use for sorting and four sheets bundled with whatever didn't fit in the actual laundry containers. Yes, I am ghetto.

It took two loads in the industrial sized washers plus two loads in the smaller industrial (think extra-extra large capacity, it took one hamper and one bin) to complete this mess.

On the bright side, I got all of my laundry washed and dried in about four hours.

On the down side, now I still have to fold it and put it away. A task that may take another two weeks.

Ian is still bald. This is his new favorite hat. For today at least. The boy has always loved hats and now he has an excuse to wear them more often. Little fashion victim that he is. Yes, he is sleeping with it.

And we have a thumbsucker! I thought for awhile there that he was going to be a knuckle-gnawer (say that five times fast) but he recently found his thumb and seems quite happy at the discovery. Of course, I also suspect that he is teething. We have just started formula and cereal together. Next up will be veggies! Yum!

Want to show off my Target dollar spot find. Look at this cutie-patootie, totally Elsie inspired apron! $2.50! I lurve it so much!

And of course, my layout a day quest continues. I have done so well so far! I am four layouts away from finishing Zachary's 7 year old album and recently finished up year 6. And, since we are half-way through year 8, that means minimal catching up there. Once I'm done with Z, I'll work on Ian, then Matthew, then Eli. This is a good time for catch up as I seem to always have a slump in picture taking between Christmas and Easter.

Here are a couple from this week. Not all, as I don't want to overload you, but a couple of favorites.


This is Eli's title page to his album. It's 12x12 picture that I had printed at on metallic paper. It is so much lovelier in person.

finding neverland in your own backyard

This one came together so quickly. And I love the journaling. I've had people say they love the "quote" but I gotta brag, it's all me! I wrote that! It says: "Never again will playtime be this free and unfettered, fluid and changing, limited only by your imagination. This is the secret to youth."

Which Way to Fun?

Another example of take everything you have and throw it on the page. I *think* this works. In any case, it's fun.

And I'll try to pop in a picture of it later, but my big news from the Z-Man is that he was chosen "Student of the Month" for his school! Unfortunately, I did NOT receive a tacky bumper sticker to slap on the back of my official Mom mini-van to thumb my nose at other people's apparently sub-standard children.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

the girl who had a typical day

A typical day with kids. More specifically, a typical day with boys. Ok, a typical day with my boys.

I was awakened this morning by my trusty alarm clock. After the third round of snooze, I was ready to get up and go to work (yes, it's Saturday, but circumstances dictated that I go in today.) and was just at that terrible point of inevitability where I really have to get up...the next time the alarm goes off.

Well, as fate would have it, I was destined to get out of bed much quicker.

You see, at 7 am the boys were awake. Don't they know Saturdays are for sleeping in? It's not like it was in my day, when cartoons were only shown Saturday mornings and you HAD to wake up early. They have entire channels devoted to cartoons these days, why not enjoy the comforts of your bed a little while longer?

As I lay on my sliver of the bed, snuggled up against my husband's knee (this is the penalty you pay for going to bed after your spouse--they spread) and wrapped snugly in a quarter of the blanket, I hear a distinct "WHOOMP", a quickly silenced shriek of surprise? shock? pain? and all the electronics in the bedroom suddenly go off. Coincidentally, my alarm clock (in the bathroom) starts going off again.

It's a sign to get up.

So I go investigating. Zack is on the couch watching HSM2, Ian is happily drawing away (good to know those Christmas presents are being appreciated) and Matthew meets me at the door to his in Eli's room with a pale face and wide eyes and immediately starts saying "I sawy Mommy! I sawy!"

"What did you DO?!"

Of course I can't understand what he's saying because now he's started to cry.

And then I see it.

The blackened socket.

After guesswork, a fair amount of translating Panicked-four-year-old into English and Mommy's intuition, I think I figured it out.

I think that there was a bug crawling on the wall and it went into hiding between the nightlight and the socket. (This from Matthew's anguished announcement that "The bug died-ed" ) Being unable to pull the nightlight out of the socket and also determined and resourceful, Matthew went after it with a piece of broken car toy. A metal piece of broken car toy.

Yeah, this is the result.

Yes the broken axle is now fused to the nightligh.

I'd like to think that it is only my child who does things like these, but I actually distinctly remember intentionally sticking a metal hair barrette into a socket to feel the tingle. I never blew one up though although apparently I'm lucky I survived to procreate and produce a child to carry on in my idiocy.

Matthew is the only one who has to burn his hand on the stove to be convinced it's hot. He is the only one to run away from home--twice (and let's not forget one of those times he was naked). He is the only one who has had stitches and a dislocated elbow--twice. In short, he is a BOY with a capitol B and one of those is quite enough for me. But no, I had to go and have FOUR. Of course, the other three are a little easier to handle. Sometimes.

So after our introduction to Mr. Electricity, Eli noticed I was awake.

He is a very good baby about sleeping through the night and actually will patiently wait for me to come to him in the morning. I've snuck up on him before and he'll be laying there quietly, exploring his hands or blankets or some such, just entertaining himself until Mommy starts his day. However, if he hears me or sees me and I don't acknowledge him right away, he will start to let me know, "I'd like breakfast and a fresh diaper RIGHT NOW, please!"

So I did not acknowledge him right away as I was resetting breakers and calming down older brothers. And by the time I got to him he was quite frantic.

Of course he was! He was SOAKED! Onesies have an amazing property--they wick any excess diaper leakage up the baby's torso, insuring even urine coverage. And we'll just say that that Pamper was just no match for the 8 oz of formula he had had some 8 hours earlier. Onesie, bedding, blankets--all soaked. So he got a bath, the bed got stripped and remade (helpful Mom tip, don't just buy multiple sheets for your crib, buy multiple mattress covers too. Trust me.) and I got to smell baby powder toes.

I think he is channeling Jabba the Hut in this picture. What do you think?

ok, ok, he is MUCH cuter than Jabba, but

So bath, baby powder toes and bottle and he's good to go, no one else has done anything life threatening and I've got to go to work. At least at work I won't have to deal with this for a few hours.



Throughout my relatively short day I received minute-by-minute updates from DH via phone on my children's behavior. Yes, it was always reported thusly:

"Your children have scribbled on the furniture with markers. "

" Your children just made themselves breakfast out of leftover pizza and milk. Yes together in the same bowl."

"Your children just tried to lasso the ceiling fan with a blanket."

"Your children just blew up the tv." (they didn' just got switched to the wrong output. You'd think my techie hubby would know that.)

My spontaneously generated, virgin birth children are destructive geniuses I tell you!

Let me show a picture of these tnt tyrants.

Adorable, right? Hmmm, Ian seems to be having some trouble seeing through his bangs. Note to self, take him with you when you go to the store tomorrow and get his bangs cut.

Oh, wait. Ian is the helpful child.

The independant child.

The loner.

The child I don't really worry about when I don't see for awhile because he likes to entertain himself by drawing or playing with his toys quietly.

So while making my pick up the house rounds I come across this.

Oh no!

Oh. Yes.

And, despite my begging Daddy that I could take him to the salon right now and they could fix it, Daddy reacted the same way he did when Coo-Pa tried to helpfully trim his bangs last year. (Remember?)

Yep, he broke out the clippers and fighting off the crazed, crying woman holding on to his child in the bathroom (no, not Britney Spears) he buzzed my little angel's head clean.

Sort of.

He did it half way and then told me to finish it up. I did through tears.

Matthew, seeing his half-shorn brother, starts crying, "I want my brother back!" Which put a touch of humor in the situation and lightened the mood. After calming Matthew (and now Ian) and explaining that hair grows back (please grow fast!) I finished the job and we were left with this.

Notice the divot in the head. There are about three of those on his noggin where he "trimmed" his hair right up to the scalp. So no, the salon would not have been able to "fix" it. Sigh!

Of course, now Ian is terribly embarassed by the whole situation and has decided that he is going to wear this hat until his hair grows back.

He even went to sleep with it on! (I'm sure Daddy calling him "Baldy" all night didn't help.)

So tonight, while tucking in the boys, I reviewed our lessons learned for the day with the boys:

1.) NOTHING goes in around or near electrical sockets. Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never do anything like that again!


2.) Scissors are for cutting paper not hair. If your hair is bothering you, please ask Mommy to get you a haircut. there are people whose job it is to cut your hair and they know how to do it and make you look good. I promise.

And Zachary is the only one who left me without a story for the day. Of course, he is on round 2 (3?) of battling this cold we keep passing back and forth and was pretty much self-confined to bed or couch for most of the day.

So now the boys are asleep, the kitchen is calling and once I get that squared away I am going to continue with my goal of creating at least one new layout a day so I can get caught up on my huge (over 100 and then some) backlog of waiting layouts. On top of what I showed last post, this is what I've accomplished since the first of the year.

just my size
(Eli in his little shoebox sized tub)

2 boys in the Wild West
(there is a little mini book with more photos and a brochure and map from the Fort hidden behind the pictures on the second page)

Every boy's Dream Job
(this screams "needs MORE" to me, but I'm trying to let things go. Not every page has to look like it belongs in a magazine)

pure charisma
(journaling reads: to pull off this look and still look this cool takes pure charisma)

stuck in the middle
(journaling about Ian's middle child status)

(saying goodbye to GranMary after our Spring Break visit in '06)

(Matthew's reaction to his first encounter with static shock. Appropriate for today, don'tcha think?)

Every Dog Needs a Boy
(Parker when he was still of a size Zack could control him. The dog is a MOOSE now and much happier with my FIL who can give him the time and attention he deserves)

And that's it for now. We'll see how many I can complete tonight. Although, I think I might only do one and just set up some more for later in the week so I don't pull all nighters trying get one layout done.

I'm just hoping for some not so typical days in my future so I can do this!


Ok, as I was finishing up this epic post, who should wake up but Matthew. He had a bad dream. Apparently a monster came into his room and turned the floor to lava. Now he's scared and says he needs a new room. Sure that this was a flashback to events this morning, I patiently explained that there was no monster, the floor was not lava, that was the only room we had to give him and this is why we don't mess with electricity. Matthew makes the great observation that "I didn't see it and it hit me!" Aramis, of course, pipes in with his wisdom, explaining how electricity powers the lights. And, of course, that Matthew might get super powers now that he's been shocked, but he has to watch out that he doesn't get EVIL superpowers.


Aren't we supposed to be DISCOURAGING the boy?


Tomorrow is another day.

double sigh!


another update: no scrapping for me tonight. Matthew has a fever and started throwing up. Sheesh.

So, of course, my mind starts creating scenarios. What if this isn't the cold we've all been passing around? What if Matthew fried his insides and now has been cooked inside? Hmmm, After Hours Pediatrics will be closed by the time I get there, is this serious for a trip to the ER?

ER...don't I know someone who works in the ER? lol. My sister is the Manager of the Nurses for the ER in my hometown. I figure with the hour time difference I'm skirting on the edge of inappropriate time to call, but that also increases the chances that she is actually home. Besides, if she isn't home, my BIL is a paramedic/EMT so he could talk me down.

Which is exactly what my sister did.

She told me quite calmly that if he had "fried his insides" that he would have gotten sicker pretty much immediately and that he probably just caught the bug.

Ok, I'm fine. All the kids are fine (relatively speaking) and should live to see another day.

Let's see if I survive to see it.