Monday, March 28, 2011


Dear Homeowner's Association,

I dare you to send us another letter about the condition of our yard.  In case you didn't notice, we had several freezing days in a row and everything in everybody's yards died.  It's called winter, you morons.  We've spent a good 25 hours the past few weekends raking, trimming, mowing the grass and sprucing up the flower beds.  So if you send us another "polite" letter, I'm going to "politely" tell you where to put it.

The Homeowners

P.S.  You nosy people have way too much time on your hands.

Dear Pollen,

You win.  We're all sick.  Now go away.

With Sniffles,
Our Stuffy Noses

Dear Rain,

Please come wash away the nasty pollen.   We'd be ever so grateful.

Our Sinuses

Dear Future Vacation Bible Schoolers,

I have worked really hard to develop a fun curriculum for you this summer.  I'm sorry if you don't like everything I've picked for you to do, but seeing as I'm not an elementary level teacher, I think I've done a pretty good job.  I hope you have lots of fun making butter and ice cream, tasting various spices and doing several fun cooking experiments!

On Pins and Needles,
The VBS Curriculum Coordinator

Dear My Little Tomato Plants,

This is the first year I've attempted to grow anything other than herbs.  You're looking great now, but I have a brown thumb and I'm worried for your future.  Please hang in there.

Fingers Crossed,
A Hopeful Gardener

Dear Kindle,

Oh, how I love thee!  I still enjoy reading regular books (with all your bells and whistles, you still can't replicate the smell of a book), but I can already tell that we're going to have a long relationship.  Although, I do wish I could figure out how to find more free books because yes, I'm still cheap frugal.

In Heaven,
A Happy Reader

Monday, March 21, 2011

Seven Year Old Drooling

One of the upsides to getting rid of our satellite dish (in addition to saving some money) is that I don't have to watch all of those dumb Disney Channel shows that cater to the 7-11ish crowd.  We have access to them on Netflix streaming so that she can watch them someday, but I'd rather Sydney stay as young as possible for as long as possible so that she doesn't grow up too fast can maximize her childhood.  She's perfectly content to watch PBS shows and old Brady Bunch reruns that we found on some random antenna channel and we're perfectly content to let her do so.

Some of her little friends have the so-called "Bieber Fever" and I'm happy to say that we've avoided that as well.  We don't listen to his music (I honestly don't even know what station plays it) and even though some of her friends have posters of him in their rooms (at seven years old!), she still has posters of kittens in hers.

However, I guess every little girl has to have some kind of obsession/crush and Sydney's is Harry Potter.  She's almost done with the fourth book and is currently halfway through An Unofficial Muggle's Guide to the Wizarding World: Exploring the Harry Potter Universe.  Practically every sentence out of her mouth is Harry Potter related and I bet she could defeat anyone in a Harry Potter trivia game.

For fun, I recorded an episode of Regis and Kelly last week when I saw that they would be interviewing Harry himself during one of their segments.  When she saw Daniel Radcliffe on the screen, she almost passed out.

She flopped down on the couch, her chin resting in her hands and with the silliest grin on her face, watched the entire segment with a dazed look on her face.  When Liam said something she snapped, "Hush, Liam!  I can't hear him talk!!"

I think she's watched it about six or seven times now and is just over the moon.  He doesn't even talk much about Harry Potter since he's promoting his new Broadway show ("How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" if you're interested), but she still practically drooled.

So, I guess I can keep some objects of admiration off her radar, but the need to have a crush on someone or something must be ingrained in girls of her age.

Oh well.  I'd rather have her excited about reading the next book in the series than have her begging me for tickets to a Justin Bieber concert.  It may get a little annoying, but at least Harry Potter doesn't make me want to throw up.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sick of Being Sick

Um, yeah.  So the blogging's been a little sporadic lately.

Every time I sit down to write a post, all I can come up with is something along the lines of, "Kid A is sick with _________" or "Now Kid B's come down with ________" and since I know that everyone else's kids are sick too, I feel like there's no need to add to the misery.

But that is seriously the only things I've had to talk about for the last three months.  Someone in my house has been sick since the middle of December.  So instead of individual posts about each kid and their various ailments and my misery at having to schlep them to the doctor's and wiping up their vomit/washing out their ruined underwear I thought I'd post one giant "We've all been sick and miserable" entry and be done with it.

So there was my stomach bug over our 10th anniversary in December.  Sydney had a touch of that one, too, but thankfully was out of school on break so didn't miss anything.

Then I caught a horrible cold in January.  And Evan had his tear duct surgery; I'm so behind that those pictures are still on the camera.

In February, I came down with strep throat.  And then Liam got strep throat, too.  Then Sydney got some sort of stomach bug and missed her class's Valentine's party and ruined her chances of the Perfect Attendance Award since that was the first day of school that she'd missed all year.  And then Liam seemed to catch her same stomach bug while on their monthly camping trip, but after three days of watching him carry around his "throw-up bowl" and waiting for him to get over it, he started coughing really hard and I took him to the doctor where we found out that it was not a stomach bug, but strep (again) and the poor boy had pneumonia, too.  His little chest was black and blue from all the coughing.

February turned into March and Evan began running a fever.  I called the pediatrician begging for some strep throat antibiotics because, hello!, his brother just had it and I'd rather not make him sit in that cesspool of germs known as the waiting room, but noooooooo........, we had to drive all the way into The Big City (because we haven't switched pediatricians yet) just to have his throat swabbed and "make sure" that's what it was and whaddya know, it turns out that yes, he did have indeed have strep, too.  The pedi was all apologetic about not trusting me, but I know deep down she just wanted another $40 co-pay out of us.  And once both boys finally started feeling better, Sydney woke up yesterday throwing up and having some, in her words, "squirty poop" so back to the pediatrician's office we went today for another strep test.  Hers came back negative so they're sending it to another lab to get more money out of us for further testing and we came home with instructions to treat it like rotovirus which means at least two more days of clear liquids and crackers and no school until she's vomit/squirty poop/fever free.  Who knows when that will be, but it better be soon because I have exactly two weeks to read two books for book club, prepare curriculum for this summer's Vacation Bible School and I'd really like to pull the rest of the wallpaper off of my kitchen walls and I can't do any of that with all of these sick kids!!

To add insult to injury, our trees are starting to bloom with pollen so I give myself about five days before I've got a sinus infection.

See?  Loads of fun in the Dress-up and Diaper Changes household for the past few months.

But!!  Next week is Spring Break and if everyone is well, we've got lots of fun things planned, including a trip to The Big City's gigantic Livestock Show and Rodeo.  That should make for a good blog post or two and lots of pictures of my kids reacting to the sights, sounds and lovely smells of various farm animals.

Of course, in order to see those pictures, I'll have to find the time to take them off the camera.  So I'm guessing you'll get to see them sometime in the middle of April.   :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Angel on my Shoulder

On the evening of my senior prom (many, many years ago), a tornado swept through my little hometown. I left the hairdresser's about 4:30 and made my way home to get dressed and then head to a friend's house to climb into the limo we'd rented for the evening (along with eight other people - limos aren't all that expensive when you split them 10 ways!).

The sky was an icky yellow-green color and the wind was insane.  My little car rocked back and forth with each wind gust and I began to freak out a bit.  Tree branches were flying through the air and just as I was about to make a turn, a tree fell right in front of my car and blocked the only road into the neighborhood.  This was before cell phones (yes, I'm that old) so I jumped out of the car and ran to the nearest house.  The woman who answered the door took one look at me, a hysterical teenage girl with a prom-ready hairdo, gave me a hug and let me use her phone.  I called home, told my mom what happened and that I couldn't get home because of the tree.  Luckily, I grew up in the kind of town where most men drive pickups and carry chains and not long after, two men used their trucks and chains to move the tree off the road and I sped home.

My mom gave me the biggest hug of my life and said, "The angels were looking out for you today, weren't they?"

Indeed they were.  Turns out that I drove right through the tornado.  It tore a path right along the road I was on and two people died in the trailer park that I had to drive past to get to my neighborhood.

The angels have been watching out for me ever since, too.  Whether it was a close call with another car on the road or defying the odds when my doctor said I would most likely miscarry Liam, the angels have been sitting on my shoulder.

Just last week, they did it again.

After Ryan spent two evenings in a row watching some Netflix-streamed documentaries (I was at my book club meetings), he got all worked up over what he'd watched.  He was so mad about what he'd seen, he had a really hard time sleeping.

About 2 am, I was in a deep sleep when a little voice inside my head said, "Wake up.  Wake up now!"  I made myself wake up and instead of hearing what I expected which was Liam coughing (he had pneumonia last week), I heard absolutely nothing.  Ryan had stopped breathing.

I put my hand on his arm and he woke up gasping for air.  He'd had one of his apnea episodes.

I spent the rest of the night just dozing while I listened to him breathe, cursing documentary makers the entire time.  And this past Sunday when we watched the Oscars and he seemed interested in the documentary that won the Academy Award, I refused to add it to our Netflix queue after he asked me to do so.

So yeah, the angels are still watching out for me and I hope they continue to do so; I can't imagine what life would be like without them.

Have you ever had a guardian angel moment?