Friday, December 30, 2011

Deteriorating . . .

Dad's condition is deteriorating.

It's amazing how quickly it can happen.  He had surgery on the 23rd.  I was with him after surgery, when he woke up and spent some time with him on the 24th, last Saturday, too.  All the kids saw him.  He was awake and alert.  Talkative.  Joking.  He wasn't hurting.  He looked great.  G.R.E.A.T.   When we were getting ready to leave, he said to Big, "Bye-bye, Sweetie . . . " as he waved from the bed.  Then to Middle, "Bye-bye, Sweetie . . . " as he waved again from the bed.  MOTH stepped in and joked with him, "don't you call me Sweetie."  And they shook hands and dad said, "Bye-bye, Sweetie . . . " to MOTH.  Everyone laughed and we left on a real high note.

And on Monday, something happened.

And whatever that something was continued on Tuesday.

And Wednesday.

And Thursday.

Today, he can hardly lift his head and is struggling to keep his eyes open.  It was an overwhelming victory today that he opened his eyes and said my name.  I fed him lunch.  No more than a 1/4 cup of chicken broth and a couple of cubes of orange jello.  He choked a few times.  He struggled to drink through a straw.  And was so weak.  His face is drawn, cheeks sunken, eyes sagging.  He is in and out, back and forth between parallel worlds.  When he's out, he's gone . . . far, far away.  He can't be roused.  When he's here, he's barely here . . . holding on by a thread that is sputtered with coughing, heaving breathing and is punctuated with high blood pressure and intermittent pain.  

I did nursing care today, because that's my niche.  It's where I feel comfortable.  So, I fed him.  And I washed his hands.  I took his old band aids off.  I combed his hair.  It parts on the left.  It always has, but the pillow had it smunched up and going crazy ape right.  I fixed that.  I shaved his face for him.  He hasn't had a scruffy face, lip or neck in the 38 years I've known him or the 30 years I've taken notice.  So I shaved his face, and washed it.  And then I sat.  We sat.  We sat for a long time today.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dear Disney Redhead,

So I've got about 19 windows open looking at "stuff" related to Disney . . . WDW not DisneyLand . . . when I have this "ah-hah" moment that goes like this:  "Oh my God.  I have a resource, here."

What can you tell me?  Are you a WDW or DL girl?  Can you give me a top ten do's or don't list?


Your Attention Please.

I feel the need to bitch.

Flex care:  a blessing and a curse.   Right now, I'm totally pissed off about this IRS health care reform act that prevents hard working, pre-planning folks from being able to utilize pre-tax money for over-the-counter medications.  

I'm hacked off that flex care spending and planning for medical, dental, orthodontic expenses this year backfired and shot me in the foot.

Big needs braces.  We have known that she would need braces for a year or two now.  So, this year, I set aside money, flex money, to pay for her braces.  Well, it's December 28th.  She has two baby teeth left, and won't be getting those braces this calendar year.  So . . . . I have $1722 of flex money to spend in the next 72 hours.

And, the real kicker is . . . . I can't spend it on anything that I REALLY need without going through a huge pain in the ass, doctor's appointment rig-a-ra-roll line of complete bullshit to obtain prescriptions to use such wonderfully hum-drum things as neosporin, medicated bandaids, saline or motrin.  

I just loaded a shopping cart right to the brim with over $800 in band-aids, athletic tape, first aid kits and gauze.  Damned if I'm letting that money go to WASTE!  Gasp.

On a side note.  I had no idea that condoms and pregnancy tests qualified for flex care reimbursement.  Did you?  Also, there is some irony in this:  An 8-pack of Trojans is $9.49.  I can't remember the real cost but I do remember using Trojans, Durex or Lifestyles to teach sex ed.  So, those must have been the brands that were affordable enough to have teenagers open rubbers in mixed company and put them on bananas.  Whatever.  There's a new brand out called HUGE.  Maybe not new, but new to ME.  It's been a long time since I've been in the market for condoms.  A 36 pack of them is $11.99.  Curious to me.    Why so cheap?

Like decaf coffee is more expensive than regular.  Why?  It's missing the main ingredient.  Why would extra large, super duper condoms be so dirt cheap?  I bet there is dust on the tops of all the boxes.

Anyhoo . . . . I'm in the bitter barn with flex money right now.  It's an odd situation for me to have money to blow and find NOTHING great to buy with it.  Whoop-whoop.  A new heating pad.  And some ear candles.  Enough for a party.  Rock on.  But what I really need is children's motrin by the case.  And I can't get that.  How stupid is this "no-over-the-counter-health-products-act."  Lame, lame, lame.

2012: A Preliminary List of Goals

I.  Money:  Isn't money on everyone's list?
  A.  Make ends meet.
  B.  Put $$ in each kids' savings account.
  C.  Pay off the Lodge.
  D.  Maintain only logical debt (car & house).  Keep zero balances on the credit card.
  E.  Do a better job submitting and maintaining flex money.  What a thorn in my side.  Sheesh.
  F.  Save, save, save.  Is anyone else out there preparing for a rainy day?  I find great comfort in a slush fund.

II.  Read.   I already read.  A lot.  Still, I want to keep a book list of just books I've read in 2012.

III.  Family:  Be supportive of MOTH.  Be supportive of Big.  Be supportive of Middle.  Be supportive of Little.  Be supportive of Mimi.  Be supportive of me.

IV.  I'd like new carpet on the stairs and upstairs.  There's a big rip on the stairs that I've been sewing back together with yarn.  It's time to replace it before somebody busts their butt coming down the stairs.  Once that's in the works, I'd like a different flooring in the bathroom.  Who puts CARPET in the bathroom?  It's right up next to the tub and I've always disliked it.  So, on the home improvement front, I'd like (1) new carpet and flooring in the master bath and then (2) a working closet system in the master closet.  It's also on my list to revamp part of the office.  Though I love the built in, it needs better storage and to be at a workable height.

V.  Work.  I'm gonna try not to bitch.  I do an absolute bang-up job doing my job.  I'm self motivated and super efficient.  I get the job done.  I do it right.  I do it right on the first time.  I'm the best employee ever.  Except that I'm the boss.  Well, one of them.  This year, I'm going to try to uproot the bitter work seed.  I'll either find work that fulfills me or I'll stop complaining about work that doesn't.  That's a hefty goal, folks.  That might be enough.   I mean, really, there's only 52 weeks to do this and that little root is a sizable tree at this point.

VI.  Going away.  I'll go away this year.  As our family changes and grows, I find comfort -- lots of comfort -- in travel.  I need to leave this city.  I can breathe and let my hair down right outside the city limits, so I plan to go there more frequently.  As often as I can.  I'm spending some time in Breck.  And I'm planning a trip to Montana this year.  Because, that's why.  I'm looking for a great family vacation, but am struggling with the timing.  I've gotta get me away from work, MOTH away from work and I feel best about leaving if Middle is free from gym time and Big has no commitments to miss.  I hate to pay for sports and then be missing.  I hear money tearing & the sound of toilets flushing.

VII.  God.  I'm working on my relationship with the Big Guy.  Enough said.  But, ooh, ooh . . . I didn't blog (but I did have a hearty personal celebration)  that MOTH actually attended a Christmas program with me & the kids.  In a church.  Cautiously excited.

VIII.  Little things.   Little things don't always belong in a spot like this, but I'm thinking.  I'm going to finally put pictures in the frame in the office.  It came with a nice looking family and I put the frame up so it wouldn't get broken.  The nice looking family has been in there for, um, at least a year.  Scanning, organizing, donating, giving . . . . I'm gonna find a better way to do that.  I think I'll go back to blogging my organizational triumphs and tragedies, maybe a room at a time . . . . one per month.  It helps to be accountable.  I'll start with Christmas storage in January.

And, because I've been saving a whole bunch of photos on my desktop, a photo for your viewing pleasure:

Udon Noodle Veggie Soup

This is the most delicious soup . . . . a warm and welcome, full-tummy memory from my childhood.  I made it for my kids last night explaining it like "great big ramen" with yummy broth.  It was delicious!!

Store fresh udon noodles in the refrigerator or in the freezer. If you don't have fresh udon noodles, you can substitute with dry pasta or dried noodles of your choice. The vegetables are up to you - keep the vegetables thinly sliced so that they cook quickly. Sliced zucchini, small broccoli florets, cabbage and even frozen corn/peas are great. I've used shimeji mushrooms from Hokto Kinoko, but you can use fresh shitake or just regular white button mushrooms.
If you are using a different kind of miso other than shiro miso (white miso) lessen the amount by a couple teaspoons. Shiro miso is the least salty and intense of all miso.


One 12-ounce package fresh udon noodles (or substitute with dry pasta/noodles)4 cups chicken or vegetable stock1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots1/2 cup snow peas, sliced on the diagonal1/2 cup fresh mushrooms2 tablespoons white miso (shiro miso)1/2 cup green onions


1. Cook the udon noodles according to the package directions, drain and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and add the carrots and cook until the carrots are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the snow peas and cook until slightly tender but still bright green, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, cook for 30 seconds and remove from the heat.
3. Spoon the miso in a medium bowl and add a ladleful of hot broth. Whisk until the miso is completely dissolved, then pour the entire miso mixture into the pot with the soup. Do not boil the soup with the miso, as the miso will become gritty. Stir in the noodles and the green onions.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky. — Hafez

Monday, December 26, 2011

Skirting Around What I Really Want to Talk About . . . .

Random thoughts from my very cluttered brain right now, about to spew forth.   Also, numbered, though in no particular order.

Thought number 1.   My husband is remarkably talented at the art of compartmentalizing.  By that, I mean, when something gets under his skin, he lets it . . . then he has this amazing talent for kind of putting it in a box, shoving that box up high on a closet shelf and carrying on.  The other areas of his life barely seem impacted at all.  He carries on with game face on.  In fact, he seems to feel better once the shoe boxes are packed full and aligned on closet shelves in the back of his mind.  I'm not so good at this.  Actually, I'm down-right bad at this.  Let me put it to you this way.  If holiday stress is apples and my dad is a banana; if the kids are oranges and my period is a kiwi; if Christmas is a jar of maraschino cherries and maintaining the house is strawberries  . . . . I'm a fruit salad.   I don't keep my apples apart from my oranges.  I don't compartmentalize things in my life and put them up, up and away.  Anyway, I don't do it well.  Stuff mixes up in my world.  I'm a fruit salad.  Stuff seeps over and gets mixed so that when one thing is bothering me, everything is bothering me.  I need to either work on that or learn to let it work with me.

Thought number 2.  A wildly successful Christmas.  I hit a home-run on all gift fronts.  Santa did, too, but I managed to put a smile on every kid's face with something thoughtful and well planned.   And I feel successful on that front.  Spooner boards rock.  Mimi is quite good at it.  I was contemplating how many years have gone by  . . . how many Christmas days when some child is riding something through the house.  I can remember "rock-a-piller", bikes, scooters, pogo sticks, ripstix and now spooner boards.  The carpets are still pulled back.  Ride-on toys rock.  And to answer my question, the rock-a-piller Christmas was when Big was 2, so I guess that's a decade of things to swerve, ram, ride & otherwise chip paint & bump moldings.   But, oh, the joy . . . .

Thought number 3.  My dad.  As you may well suspect, he's weighing heavily on my mind right now.  Post surgery day one was pretty good.  I think I blogged it.  Today . . . not so good.  He looks better from a hemodynamic standpoint, but he has received three units of blood & a unit of plasma/platelets.  He should look better.  There are just a whole host of hurdles in the future.  He's distended again today . . . . very large & uncomfortable.  His blood pressure is up.  He's got a deep, hacking cough.   Still, I'm in awe of the tenderness he has shown the last several visits/months/weeks.  Even when I did my BEST things as a kid and knew that I made him the most proud, he would throw a rough arm around my shoulder, deliver a half-ass, side body squeeze with a "good job, Blue Light Special".  (Yes, he did have most of the town convinced that they got me at a Blue Light Special.  Oh gee, did I just date myself?  Does anyone even remember K-Mart?  Does anyone even know what a Blue Light Special IS?!?)  He wasn't a full on body hugger.  He didn't go on and on and spout his pride or vent his emotion.  So, considering the non-emotional man I knew growing up, he's become a bit softer.  He's a hand-holder now and I find that very endearing.   His hands are warm like little ovens and as soft as a baby's back-side.

Thought number 4.  My house makes me *&^% nutty right after Christmas.  I'm anally organized and the trash, packaging, snacks, goodies, wrappers, leftovers make me stark raving MAD.  It's only 24 hours after Toys-R-Us exploded in our front room and I'm ready to drive a skid-loader through and empty this place out.  If Christmas were in the summer, I'd have one hell of a garage sale before AND after.

Thought number 5.  Why are there not toy drive or donation boxes after Christmas?  Is seems so logical to me.

Thought number 6 has just occurred to me now.  I'm starving.  I'm taking a break to find nourishment.

Thought number 7.  Norad tracking Santa has changed they way we spend Christmas Eve.  Also, Dear Norad-Tracks-Santa.  Please slow down.  If Google Earth shows that Santa has been here, but we are still a full hour short of a completely assembled foosball table, there's double trouble in walla-walla.  MOTH and I set a new record.  We were up until 1:30.  But, damn, I really like that foosball table.   On a side note, my kids sleepwalk.  And they don't remember a damn thing.  Little caught me red-handed with my hand stuffing stockings, smiled at me and said, "hey, mom", but the next morning, he had NO recollection.  Middle walked out and snagged us screwing legs onto the foosball table, but the next morning, couldn't even remember that she had been up to pee.

Thought number 8.  Pictures coming.

Thought number 9.  Goals, ambitions and such for the new year.  Are you thinking about it yet?

Thought number 10.  With stomach growling, refer to thought number 6.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


This email came to me from Carey Casey at The National Center on Fathering.  I like him.  Are you confused.  I know, I'm not a father, but I am the organizing woman behind a fatherhood organization at the elementary school.  As such, I get his emails.  I like this one.  A lot. 
Over the years, my wife and I have occasionally brought up the idea of moving to a different house. Ours suits our needs, but it's nothing spectacular. Some would say it's humble.  Every holiday season, we have our entire family in our house for a celebration—my four kids, three spouses, and a sleigh full of grandkids.  It’s a tight fit into our main living room.

But my older kids cherish coming home. And they are the ones who say, "No, don't you sell this house, Dad. We have memories here."
Since they're married now, they have to sleep in small rooms with two single beds, and their babies sack out in cribs or in sleeping bags on the floor.
And they love it ...
Bigger is not always better. Nicer is not always what your children want.
So, I guess we'll bring in a few extra chairs when we all open up our new pajamas on Christmas Eve—that's one of our traditions.
And the next morning, when we walk down the stairs—oldest to youngest so that the adults get to see the kids’ face as they walk in and see the trees and gifts and whole family waiting ...
Well, we’ll feel a little packed.
But it’ll all be just right. We’ll be home.
Even as I say that, though, I'm pretty sure my kids would tell you the best part of being "home" for the holidays is not the house itself. It's more about who is there and what we do.
My kids razz each other. Fireworks explode across the grandkids’ faces as they see their presents... which delights the adults even more than the kids.
I count my blessings to have them with me.
In today's world, family situations are complicated. Maybe some of your kids can’t be home with you. Or maybe you’ll meet in a central location that isn’t “home” to anyone.
A few weeks ago, I told you about a 65-year-old mom who reads The Night Before Christmas over the phone to her kids every Christmas Eve. They have families of their own, and they are scattered across the country...
But every year, Mom and her two daughters make sure they find a way to enjoy their tradition together.
Your family doesn’t have to be at home to be home. Your family doesn’t even have to be together to be together.
Creating a “home” is about creating traditions and bonds that tie the family together, wherever they are.
So I encourage you to do whatever you can to keep your family traditions going, or to create new ones if your family has changed.
The idea is to be flexible in where, when and how you celebrate. Being together—if only in spirit—is how to really bring Christmas home.

Friday, December 23, 2011

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love. — Sophocles

From groceries to motrin with sugar cookies in between

The time was 9:48 am.  I was in the peanut butter row at King Soopers.  I was blazing through the grocery list, thinking of Christmas cookies and pretzel stuffing.  I was in grocery zone.  The phone rang.  Dad's doctor.  What a roller coaster.  Another turn for the worse.  We talked.  The decision is for surgery.  Doctor thought late today or maybe tomorrow.  He promised to call me back with a time frame so that I could plan appropriately.  

At 9:53, I called MOTH with a report.  I did the next two rows with a faster spring in my step.

At 9:57, dad's doctor called.  This phrase will stop you in your tracks and make a four pack of yogurt hover in mid-air.  "Actually, we're clear from the anesthesiologist and we're gonna take him to the OR within the next 30 minutes."

It is now 9:56 pm.  Really?  It's only been 12 hours?  Because the list of things I have done in the last twelve hours is massive.  It starts with groceries and saving $112 in coupons and saver cards.  In the middle is a commute to the hospital, a couple hours of waiting, a Christmas movie on ABC family, and a really bad cup of coffee.  There was a report from the doctor that went like this, "Wow.  That was one of THE worst bowel obstructions I have seen in my career."  He ended up in surgery for almost 3 1/2 hours.  What started as a laprascopic surgery ended with an open gut.  When the surgeon finally closed, it was without 70-some-odd centimeters of small bowel, which he reported was "in too terrible of condition to be useful.  It was riddled with holes and stuck to itself, twisted and knotted . . just in terrible shape."

Exhale.  Big, long, hearty exhale.

My 92-year-old dad is one of the toughest old geezers I know.  He held my hand for a few minutes as he dozed in and out.  He made it though a massive surgery today.  He actually looks better than yesterday, and I'm thankful that the road to recovery starts today.

Once home, I had dinner with my kids, made a poster for Grandpa's room and prepped dough for sugar cookies and pumpkin pie crust.   After all, the show must go on.  Santa comes in only "one more sleep", says Mimi.

But, Lawd, what a day.  What a long, long, long day.  I'm taking motrin and a heating pad to bed with me. Right. Now.

Holy To-Do List, Batman.

I haven't been to the grocery store since before our weekend escape to the mountains on the 16th.  That's approximating a week of no-fresh-food (well, limited).  Couple that with poor planning due to circumstances beyond my control.  That equals . . . child care for two afternoons and one evening while I've been at the hospital (read: ramen, plain pasta and a hunt-for-your-own-sandwich afternoon.  Yes, peanut butter and frosting makes a good sandwich.  Add marshmallows & chocolate chips.)  And a Dominos night.  Thank heavens for delivery drivers.

So  . . . .
1.  Grocery store . . . nobody in this house wants turkey.  Nobody wants ham.  Middle says, "can't we just have all sides?"  Um, I'm thinking of a winning-mommy-moment to refute that.  Something about need for protein, when MOTH pipes in and says, "yea, can't we just have all sides, extra carbs?  It's Christmas, after all!"  So, we're having my world famous pretzel stuffing, mashies and homemade rolls.  The grocery list is getting shorter.   That means:  pretzels, link sausage, wild rice, mushroom, onion, broth.  Wait, we probably have that.
2.  Spaghetti on Christmas Eve.   Or maybe we will flip flop that.  It depends on when I need to be at the hospital and if there is anyone home to cook or if we need a crock pot to do the heavy work.  That means:  italian sausage and sauce.  I'll make bread.  We have noodles.  Oh, that was too easy.
3.  Eggrolls.  Because we love them.  I'm jumping to New Year's Eve.  Whatever.  It's still on the shopping list, because I don't wanna go back twice.   That means:  wrappers, some kind of meat, cabbage, carrot, ginger, soy, sprouts . . . whatever else is on sale.
4.  Middle wants mini pancakes.  With strawberries.  
5.  I want Udon Miso soup.  That means: udon, miso, a bunch of fresh veggies.
6.  I'll never get the knots out of Mimi's hair without new hair squirtee.  What is that called anyway?  Un-tangle-ator.
7.  I need to mail our Christmas cards.   They are done and on the counter, but have to be dropped in the box today.
8.  Dad needs a bathrobe.  The staff transported him without his slippers and robe.  He won't walk past the nurses station with his back end exposed, he says "hell no."  I promised him a robe.  And he's been hunting for his slippers for two days.  He's insistent that I go get the ones from the cabinet in his room.  No deal, but I'll bring some new ones.   On the sick-dad-update, yesterday was better.  It started with a report from a general surgeon.  He has a chronic bowel obstruction secondary to extensive scar tissue and adhesions that resulted from an appendectomy over 40 years ago.  The obstruction is not complete . . . some stuff is getting through (thus the ambulation), but still problematic.  The plan is to watch and wait.  He had a PICC line placed yesterday and TPN started so that if surgery is an option in a couple of days, his nutritional status will support the best recovery possible.   He's lucid.  He consented to surgery yesterday, saying, "I can't starve to death, that's not the way to go.  When can I have a ham sandwich?"
9.  Picture frames.  Need them.  I blew up pictures of my gymnast daughter to poster size and need to frame them before someone spills milk on my enlargements.   I positively despise half-complete projects.
10.   Oh, Middle wants pumpkin pie.  MOTH wants bran muffins.  Little wants a chocolate chip cookie, a BIG one, for his birthday.  No frosting.  Vanilla frozen yogurt on top please.  The dessert factor with a Christmas birthday is problematic, but I shall persevere.
11.  Christmas.  I think I'm ready.  If I'm not, nobody is gonna die or be disappointed to tears.  Anything past what's already under the tree or stowed for Santa is pure gluttony and should be returned anyway.   From Santa, Big's getting a spooner board and a digital camera.  Middle is getting a spooner board and a ripstix.  Little is getting a spooner board and legos.  Mimi is getting a spooner board, whirl-n-wear & connectagons.  MOTH and I always deliver something fab.  This year, Big is getting a jewelry armoire with sparkles inside & a new mattress topper.  Middle is getting space chips, a kindle with accessories and a contraption lab.  She's gonna totally dig it.  Little is getting an authentic Harry Potter wand in a hand-carved Olivander's box, snap circuits & a wooden trebuchet and catapult.  He'll go ape.  Mimi is getting a barrel of pop beads and a hex bug habitat.  Seems short and simple when it's in paragraph form.  Everyone has something under the tree from the person that drew their name.  That worked like a charm this year . . . . I really loved seeing them make thoughtful decisions.  Mimi's purchase for me actually brought me to tears.  She emptied a whole pocket full of coins on the counter at Brighton, where the cashier passed Big a knowing look and Big slipped cash around the side of the register to help make her purchase.  It was adorable, thoughtful.  It was what Christmas really IS.   Everyone also has something in their "boring box".  It's the box that is for necessities that get wrapped, but are not really "presents", like Little' new shoes, which he desperately needs since his big toe is poking out the end of his current runners and their is a huge hole in the left sole of one.   And PJ's.  Everyone also has their Christmas Eve PJ's, new and thoughtful and perfectly suited for each person.  Well, except me.  I'm still looking.
12.  I'm still looking for a goat for Middle's stocking.   We had a long conversation about animals this summer.  Middle said she would ask Santa for a goat.  Big, a llama.  Mimi, a monkey.  Little, a snake.  I told them all that Santa doesn't deliver live animals because they poop in his sleigh.  So every kid is getting their wish animal, in the form of a stuffie, in their stocking (even though I DESPISE stuffed animals).  It's this years' "proof in the pudding" gift . . . ie: "Mom hates stuffed animals . . . she can't be Santa because she would NEVER buy another stuffed animal."

Okay . . . I'm organized.  I have a list.  I'm taking Mimi to school & then going to the grocery store.  TTFN.

Blondie Brownies

Blondie Brownies

Oh, I've been hunting for a recipe forever for these. Mostly, I put these here so I wouldn't lose another piece of paper in my office!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

One of my friends from college had this as her facebook status yesterday.  I kinda like it.  They have a special needs son are are faced with one heck of a ton of judgement.  I'm amazed at the strength of their marriage and how having this "obstacle" in their life has brought them closer together instead of driving a wedge between them . . . 

"Go ahead perfect people! Sit in your glass houses and throw stones, but know that you will be sitting alone. Some scars never heal and trust may never be regained when you unexpectedly cut someone deep enough."

Hospitals and My Sick Dad . . . Being That Person; Part 1

Well, my dad is sick.  He's in the hospital and I fully intend to medicate my tired mind with a brain-clearning ramble.  I'm clicking away at the keyboard to purge some thoughts, emotions and ease some of the tired tension that has my shoulders in knots and my forehead knit into a deep furrow.   So, in no particular order, these are the things on my mind this morning.

I can't sleep.  Mimi went right back to bed after potty-time this morning, but once my eyes were open, I starting thinking about medical histories, previous surgeries, medical complications and conditions.  Is it because I was helping the graveyard RN complete his intake just before midnight last night.  Maybe.  Usually I wake up thinking about my to-do list for the day, what needs done and what's low on the list.   This morning, I'm thinking about hospitals, hospital staff, the process, lab tests, surgical consults . . . the list could go on forever.

I'm his person.  Who is yours?  Likely, it's your husband.  Or wife.   Mine is.  My "person" is my husband.  This is the person that is supposed to know about you.  They are supposed to be able to help complete a medical intake at midnight.  They stay tethered to their phone, for you, when your need arises.  They provide emotional support and strength when you need it.  They hold your hand.  If you want it.  Or they go away. When you need it.  So, I am my dad's person.  I'm super-duper with the paperwork.   Although, last night, I didn't have his social security number with me.  I'll fix that this morning and slip a copy in my wallet.  I'm super-duper with the hand holding and emotional support.  I do, after all, love the guy.   But . . . everyone's expectation of their "person's" job is a little different.  And right now, I'm not there.  My physical body is not slumped over in a chair in his room waiting for him to wake up.  He's alone, and this morning, my most heart-felt prayer is that in his heart-of-hearts, that's okay.  It's hard not to project MY feelings onto HIM.  I wouldn't want to be alone.  I would want to wake up to a familiar sight, smell, sound.  But my dad has always been a loner.  He's always been content to spend hours all by himself in a homemade ice-shack, dangling a fishin' pole into a frozen hole.  He's always been content to golf in a party of one, ride a tractor with room for only one butt or take long car trips where AM1240 was his only companion.  This morning, I'm praying that he wakes up without pain, in a warm bed, with a smile on his face.  I hope he rested well.

Illness progression.  Everyone wants to know what happened.  I called his family yesterday and started the "I just wanted to let you know" conversation.  The question they all ask is, "what happened."  The answer is:  I have no idea.  Second, they say, "how bad is it?"  The answer is:  I don't know.  How's that for vague and un-feeling.  Dear family, know that I don't intent to string you along.  I really don't know.  The illness progression has been like this:

Last Friday morning, the nursing home staff called me to report that he had been sick in the night.  What kind of sick?  Vomiting sick.  My mind went straight to stomach flu.  He ate breakfast and was napping when I called back to talk with him.  Later that day, we spoke and he said his stomach hurt a little, but he was ok.  The rest of the day was unremarkable.

Saturday morning, the same thing happened.  Vomiting in the night.  And a fall.  I gave consent for treatment and a bed alarm.  But he ate breakfast.  He had an appetite.  Curious.   We spoke on Saturday afternoon.  He said he was real tired.  He was lucid and playful.  He asked about the kids.   And Christmas.  We had a decent conversation, considering my weak cell connection, their weak portable phone connection, me shouting outside a restaurant and him being hard of hearing.  All things considered, if you manage to shout more than two words and be understood, that's a successful phone conversation.

By Sunday, he was looking more ill, having discomfort and was being admitted to the hospital.  Testing, testing, testing.   Something abdominal happening.  Maybe an obstruction, but not definite.  Reports have to be sent out to be read, so it takes a while.  Like a whole day.  I'm not used to that kind of lag in care, but it's a small, rural hospital, and I do understand the country.  So . . . let the waiting games begin.

Fast forward to Tuesday when things were looking better.  Nasogastric tube is out, well, mostly because he said 'the hell with this' and yanked it out.  Ouch.  He's not combative, he just wants to eat.  His diet advanced.  He drank broth and ate jello.  It was looking like we were coming out the bright side of the woods.

Then his doctor called me yesterday morning.  And folks, let me tell you, when a doctor calls you personally, don't mistake that for kind bedside manner.  They aren't being nice.  It's a bad sign.  Doctors, even the ones in small-time, country bumpkin hospitals, have scuts and grunts to do stuff like that for them.  So when his doctor called me and requested for me to call back on her cell phone, I knew we were in for turbid waters ahead.    Yesterday was a flurry of lab work, abdominal CTs, pelvic CTs, an ambulance ride, and ER intake, transport to a higher level facility, an evaluation by the ER doctor, a visit by a hospitalist.  There was an EKG, a couple of full assessments, some painful exams and lots of personal questions, which he evades like a champion.  There was a blown IV and three more sticks to get a new line and blood drawn.    By bedtime last night, everyone was shaking their head and saying, "it's something abdominal".  I don't mean to be a smart ass here.  I'm not a general surgeon or even a med-surg nurse, but my 10 year old daughter could probably look at his distended, hard, hot, drum of a belly and obtain these two pieces of information (belly pain & vomiting) and say "it's something abdominal."  Duh.  Of course it's something abdominal.

The WHAT is what we don't know.  Today will tell.  I hope.  A general surgeon is coming in to consult today.  It could be a small bowel obstruction.  It could be a recurring small bowel obstruction.  It could be a mass.  It could be a handful of things . . .

It snowed last night.  One mother of a storm came blazing though, and complicated my drive home last night.  There's 6 inches on the ground.  Stuff is closed all over town and all along the front range.  It's gonna be a white Christmas, but a rough drive down to the hospital today . . .

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ba Humbug.

We've encountered several ba-humbug moments of late.  Holiday shoppers are getting cranky.  We got about 5 inches of snow and people drive like stinkin' maniacs.  So traffic is a mess, the roads are slushy in mid-afternoon and skating rink icy in the morning.   Here's a good example of the ba-humbug spirit.    Big plays in a volleyball league.  This is taken from the "rules" for the host gym, which is run by Ebenezer Scrooge himself.  He paces around yelling at kids for the entire time girls are playing.

  • Parking will be tight each night - please arrive near your warm-up start time, and leave once you are done playing; so the following wave can park. The gym will be utilized for lessons up until 5pm and entry will be denied.
  • We are now a no gum facility - please spread the word - and deposit your gum in the trash can, or prior to coming at all -
  • this is a friendly league - poor parent conduct will not be tolerated, and you can be asked to leave
  • unattended children - this is not a rec center for your younger children - keep them with you at all times - or you/they will be asked to leave. we have had numerous things broken and messes from un-watched children
  • The girls will only be in the gym for two hours max - no need to bring a bunch of food and snacks

Sunday, December 18, 2011

“That kind of act leaves a mark … [that] cannot be seen. It lives in your very skin.” “What is it?” “Love.” — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Home again, home again, jiggity jig . . .

Well, it was fast.  We took a ski weekend.  We wedged it between other essential activities, but managed to get one in.  The original plan was to leave Friday at noon and have a nice, slow, easy arrival.  Scratch that. We had a volleyball game at 5:30 and couldn't take off until 7:30.  Ish.  PM.   But, the girls won their first game . . . played their first game EVER on "the winner's court" and showed more enthusiasm than EVER before. It was epic.

Departing at 8 is late.  Less than ideal.  However, in the name of getting away, breathing fresh, cool mountain air and taking a couple of days to re-group and re-connect, we opted to press the "yes" button.   We arrived late.  Our reservation was wrong.  We toted sleeping kids and an overflowing luggage cart around the hotel waiting for a room change to happen.  We had to wait for extra linens.  The housekeeping staff must have been drunk when they did our room.  There were dirty linens on the pull out and it was full of peanuts and sunflower seeds.  The toilet was slow to work.   I was too tired to put of much of a bitch, especially given the grief the front desk crew was catching from some Texan who wanted a better view.  Seriously.  It was almost friggin' midnight. I'm not sure what he wanted to look at.  I complained sweetly enough to get the room difference comp'ed, sled rentals and the "yes ma'am" treatment for the rest of the stay.  I'm okay with that.  We fell into bed exhausted.  The girls opted not to ski the next day.  The boys couldn't keep themselves off the mountain.   Girls went sledding while the boys skied.

Big had a nasty run in with a pole.  She plowed through the safety fence.  Thank goodness that she's a 12 year old girl with enough weight behind her to snap the plastic pole into bits.  Had Mimi been the one to run headlong into that pole, I'm pretty sure our day would have ended there and been topped off with stitches and or prescription mediation.  Thank God for small favors.

We played at  a playground.  For a long time.  So long that we started getting hypoglycemic and grumpy.  I am, indeed, the tether ball champion of the world.  And I give a great spinny-twisty tire swing ride.

We ate out.  I love not cooking.   We did a little bit of shopping.  I found this awesome shop where the owner does custom metal work jewelry.  I love it because my kids' names are spelled funny.  She made me custom pendants for each kid for the low, low, rock bottom price of only $5.  I couldn't believe it.  I love them.  So much, in fact, that I ordered a few for my niece, girlfriend gifts for Big and a few random other things.  Love them. Cute owl jewelry, Winter.  I thought of you.

Sunday we met friends on the mountain.  Well, some of us did.  Middle, Little and MOTH skied.  Big had a sore throat, so she stayed home to take a bath in the jetted tub.  Mimi and I played eighty-nine rounds of parcheesi and made pancakes.  Good times.   It was good skiing and perfect weather, which almost makes up for the lack of snow.  Snow conditions are . . . . as I overheard a tourist say, "like really good conditions in Pennsylvania."  For Colorado, that's crap . . but, says me, there's no such thing as a bad day in the mountains . . . .

Now we're home.  We're bracing for the week ahead, singing 'happy birthday eve' to Middle, putting her new desk together, wrapping gifts for the volleyball party tomorrow night, and planning a visit to go see my dad, who is sick right now.  He was admitted to the hospital last night, so prayers are much appreciated . . . . .

I see a new Blogger Challenge out there on a couple of blogs I follow.  I'm in.  I love those, but will start later.  For now, Cheerio . . . .

Friday, December 16, 2011

A list.

Like everyone, I'm feeling a touch overwhelmed, but nothing clears my mind and precipitates focus like a rambly blog post.  I realize these are not the sort that most readers like to read.  They aren't devoured for content.  But then again, I'm not teaching.  I'm not preaching.  This IS all about me.  Right.

Dive in.

Only a few hours left of school.  Middle's birthday treats.  Check.  Little's birthday treats.  Check.  Little is star of the week.  So . . . . estimation jar.  Check.  Show and tell.  Check.  Well, almost.  I'm supposed to be at school with "da burd" at 12:30 today.  Socks for sock exchange.  Check.  Homemade something-cheap for secret Santa. Check.  Lunches.  Check.  Teacher gifts.  Check.  Well, I fell a few short, but seriously . . . I'm in to value and giving from the heart and I wasn't feeling it for a few folks, so . . . . . check enough.  Big has an ethnic foods celebration.  T-minus 40 minutes on that.  The rice is almost done and a package of forks is in my purse.  No, I won't forget them, honey.  I don't know how I could.  You just texted me yet another minder about the utensil situation.  I love you, too.

Ikea.  I've been IKEA-ing.  Mostly because I've been on about a four-year long hunt for a good, cost effective desk for Middle.  She's a kid that needs a desk.  She spends time at it.  Crafting, drawing, coloring, doing random stuff.  It's her birthday present.  A most awesome desk. From IKEA.  And the drawer unit that goes along-side.  I'm happy.  She'll be thrilled.  MOTH will curse no less than a dozen times in the course of assembly.  Assembly as the word ASS in it for a reason.  As in . . pain in the ASSembly.

Lovely, right?

I've been quoting busted halo.  Like.  Thanks, Winter, for the recommendation.  I love quotes.  I'd like to find a few specific ones.  Later.  I'm too busy right now.  It's that kind of busy where I'm not sure if I've found a rope or lost my horse. 

Facebook.  Seriously.  

Consequences.  I've done a few volunteer days at school lately.  I like it, in general.  I like to be involved with the kids' lives.  It's my most important job right now.  So, I spent the morning at centers in 2nd grade, I'll be back and forth between three schools for parts of holiday parties for the rest of today.  After I'm at school, I'm always left with a profound feeling of "wow, these teachers do so much."  There was a time I thought I had missed my career calling and I was meant to be a teacher.  Not so much anymore.  I have an overwhelming respect and appreciation for the ladies and gentlemen that spend their days instilling edu-ma-ka-shuh into my children.  But, really, it only takes one little shit to tip my scales the other way.  I know, I know . . . . that was harsh.  But the fact remains.  I'm a big fan of firm boundaries of real consequences.  Real.  Consequences.  Like when you CHOOSE a specific path then you also choose the stuff that goes along with it.  If you choose the dark and twisty road, then you'd better be prepared for some lonely nights and the thorns and overgrown brambles that come along with your choice.    Enough said.  Point is:  yea for teachers.  I love you guys.  And . . . two of my favorites . . . "get glad in the same pants you got mad in" and "you made your bed . . . lie in it." 

Skiing/gym/working out.  I hurt my back.  Again.  WTF?  Not sure, but the week after Thanksgiving, I was a wreck and since then, it's not been terrible, but it's also not been hunky-dory.   I think I have a tear in my energy field.  Life's crap seeps in through a hole in my aura around my lumbar spine.  Maybe I've been watching too much "A Gifted Man"  (which, by the way, you should ALL be watching.)   I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to ski this weekend or if I'll be sledding with Mimi and piddling about town.  Oh, did I forget to mention we are OUTTA here??  Right after Big's volleyball game tonight, the mountains are calling me home.  I can't wait.  I'm looking so forward to being able to EXHALE.  I should be packing and picking up the rest of the house, but instead, the random things in my brain  must first be purged. 

I need to wrap a few gifts.  I have the jammie tradition yet to wrap.  I need to make a few things package presentable.  I need to put together a few small gifts for the volleyball party and gift exchange on Monday night.  My Christmas cards aren't done.  I haven't finished the letter.  I've come across a stumbling block that I can't write about, at least not to my liking.  So, like all winners, I quit.  Temporarily.  Know when to walk away, right Kenny?  Middle wants to put together some sort of something for the girls on her team for birthday-slash-Christmas.  We'll have to tackle that next week.   They gym is closed.  Not.  They still have practice.  But really, that's okay.  Middle is a mess without the gym. 

I need to set up a payment for MOTH's new car.  Oh, did I forget to mention that, too.  Right, new car. 

I need to blog about green smoothies.  I love them.  I did that thing that MOTH does that makes me nuts . . . hinted and hemmed and hawed about this gift I wanted . . . did the research, did a bunch of vacillating back and forth.  Got to the point where he said, "shut it", I'll go get it for you.  Then I bought my second choice (for myself) at a really good price.  It's a blender.  I bought a Ninja.  I'm pretty sure I could blend wood in that thing.  My GAWD.  Does it make a smoothie.  Green for me.  Big also drinks green.  Little will drink them. So does Mimi.  Middle prefers a traditional protein shake.    More later, but know it's just salad a la blender.  Nothing added.  Just salad that has absolutely been pulverized by a two horse power blending with four chopping blades.  Amazing. 

Okay . . . more still banging about, but I need to pack the rice.  See, thank goodness the forks are already in my purse.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. — Dolly Parton

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. — Christopher Reeve

Our Little State Champion . . .

State gymnastics was last weekend.  We went.  Of course.  We actually went up the night before and spent the night to avoid Bronco home game traffic and to have a nice, relaxing day of it.  MOTH had a training, too, but that's a whole 'nother story.

So . . . . state gymnastics is a learning curve, for sure.  USA Gymnastics is a learning curve.  Fo' sho'.   Gyms are divided by size.  Girls are divided by age.  But those ages aren't necessarily how they've been divided all season.  Girls are placed into sessions based on qualifying scores.  There's just SO much that we didn't know and didn't learn before we were actually AT the meet!  The learning continues.  Life is a learning journey, right?  Right.

So, our girls, the whole team qualified for the A session.  That's great.  Feather in the gym's cap.  

Our girl shook it out like this:   She's USAG Level 5, Small Gym, Junior Division, A Session.

And she finished . . . .

2nd on bars
2nd All-Around with a whopper of a score . . . 37.95
4th on floor
6th on vault

And how about this, sports fans . . . . with a story to go with it . . . .

If you're not new to What The Heck Happened Here?, you'll know that she's been struggling on beam.  She's a good beamer, but had a series of falls and a season low score at the last meet.  More than anything, that series of falls broke her spirit and confidence and gave enough wiggle room for the seeds of doubt and the 'yea, maybe this IS scary" thoughts to plant themselves in the tiny cracks in her otherwise tough exterior.  So, going into state, MOTH and I held an impromptu parental prayer session that went like this, "God, I just hope she stays on the beam.  A nice, clean routine with no falls  . . . . "

After warm-ups but before her routine, she was dorking around.  She was being distracted by one of her coaches.  She was doing butt-balances in the time when her teammates are going, but she wasn't allowed to look. Her coaches are tough about "don't look at scores . . it doesn't matter . . . . it's just a number."

And then it was her turn.  There is that moment of waiting.  When I was a gymnast, it seemed like an eternity. Now, as the mother of a gymnast, it's so, so, so much longer.  I don't think MOTH breathes for long minutes while she is waiting to salute or actually doing her routine.  So, she's on.  Looking good.  Clean.  Crisp. Sharp.

It was so good.  Not a wobble.  No bobbles.  Just good.  Right to the very end when she stuck her dismount and grinned at those judges.

We, MOTH and I, of course, had a complete parental meltdown.  Tears were welling up in my eyes before the final salute.  I'm a tattle tale, but when I turned and looked at him, his eyes looked a little misty.  She nailed it.  Absolutely, positively, 100% rocked that routine.  Though she's been trained to not  look at scores, we parents must occupy our minds with something in the gallery, so I was sure she'd get a great score.  But I didn't think it would be this great . . .

And then, there was just joy.  And happiness. For her.  With that one routine, I could see the cracks in her confidence sealing up.  I'm certain I'm not imagining that she was, indeed, walking a little taller when they rotated to the next event.  And pride.  For me.   It surged through me like a current.  It still is.

Here she is . . . . the balance beam state champion.  But before that, before anything, she's my daughter.  And I'm so, very proud of her!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

I really do have a lot to say . . . .

. . . but for tonight, need to sit and do some editing first.  So . . . .

we got home late last night from STATE gymnastics, where (drumroll, please) our tiny gymnast had the best meet of her level 5 career.  Yeah.  More detailed post and pictures coming.  Suffice the teaser to say that I'm the proud parent of a state champion.  There should be a bumper sticker.

We rolled in just before midnight.  Little was the only one that made it to school on time.  I let the girls sleep for a while.  It was well deserved and a self-imposed two hour delay for mental health is sometimes just what the doctor ordered.

I did a bunch of running around today.  I picked up the last 13 charity gifts for the community giving tree at school.  Side note:  it kinda hacks me off when people take a tag and say they'll do it and then just go spontaneously Alzheimer's and don't return their stuff.  Still, it's hard to remain pissy in the face of need.  Real need.  So, I did the gifts.  A bunch of folks pitched in and I went shopping. Fun for me.  Old Navy let me double up coupons, so I was able to get new hoodies and warm jackets for everyone on my list . . . . seven folks total.  With my birthday coupons, rewards money, and a coupon doubler . . . I ended up spending $50 for all of it.  Well, $30 actually, since I bough myself a sweater.  There's my deal of the day.

New windows arrived and were installed today.  This is a big hole in my house.

Well, not ALL new windows . . but a start on the newest home improvement.  The sliding glass door plus four windows.  I do love them.  They are clean.  I feel like a fish in a bowl . . . clean windows and no window treatments :)

And that's all . . . until further editing occurs.

By the way, are these last two weeks of the semester HELL on every mother?  Carmel popcorn for this one, concert on this night, granola bars by Wednesday, party on Friday, take ethnic food to fourth hour on Thursday, birthday treats on some day this week . . . . sheesh!  The list goes on and on . . .

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Things I have said lately . . .

"Could you kindly come up here and be manly?  There is a hunk of dead animal in the middle of our bedroom.  Nasty."

"For the love of ALL that is good and holy, DAWG, put down the sprinkler tubing!"

"My word . . . the choices in the feminine hygiene row are astronomical.  This place was built for a advertising junkie like me.  I love the colors on this box.  Let's just pick a color theme and run with it.  K . . not red."

"That shirt is beyond parakeet.  Put it back before you start asking for crackers and crapping on the floor."

"Ball schucking.  Schucking is a word, isn't it?  I'm a mother.  Apparently, I'm a schucker.  I guess I'm a mother schucker.  We should have shirts made."

"How many?  We don't have that many acquaintances . . . OR friends.  Do those come in four-packs?"

Friday, December 09, 2011

A chuckle for today . . .

Good heavens, I love this little girl.   It's a short video, considering that she 'ice skated' for about 25 minutes today.  Pure joy, I say.  Pure joy.

Happy Birthday, Moose

Happy Birthday, Big Guy!!

Here's to a three year old DAWG that has stolen our hearts.  It's been two years since our adoption and he has changed as much as he has changed us . . . .

Reminds me of . . . .

Not that he eats things that aren't his . . . but that he takes up the whole couch & sprawls out like he's master of the cushions.  If someone's already on the couch, he just tiptoes in and takes the spot nearest the top.

I love how he tries to be small, but just ends up overflowing . . .

I also love his family dog mentality.  He is happy just to be alive, have a roof over his head and food in his bowl.  Having a kid to cuddle with is a huge bonus.  He likes to lay on the couch and read books.

Yes, happy birthday, Giant Dog.  We love you :)

On a side note, Middle's class at school is doing a special assignment on charities.  The assignment was for every kid to write an essay about their favorite charity.  The kids had to present their charity to the class.  Then, the class voted on their favorites.  Middle wrote her essay about Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue.  She wrote a beautiful essay about their mission and how the find forever homes for dogs who wouldn't otherwise have families.  It made me cry.  Sometime in the presentation phase, Middle, who is generally silent in class, struck a deal with her teacher to bring in a visual aid.  Well, guess who went to school today!!  He was a perfect gentleman and was very, very well behaved.  He did his momma proud.  And, best news of all, apparently, he provided just the uumph necessary to swing the class vote toward RMGDR.  Middle's charity won.  Next, they are discussion fundraising and they are going to do a fundraising drive, with the proceeds going to the winning charity.  I have to holler from the rooftops, "AWESOME!  That's education in action! That's LEARNING and applying!"

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Here's my edited version of this forwarded email that I received this week.  Normally, I delete these without even reading, but the lady I received this from NEVER forwards email, so it caught my eye.  I deleted all of the "you have a decision to make" and guilt about forwarding . . .


The story goes that some time ago a mother punished her five year old daughter for wasting a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and she became even more upset when the child used the gold paper to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her mother the next morning and then said, "This is for you, Momma."

The mother was embarrassed by her earlier over reaction, but her anger flared again when she opened the box and found it was empty. She spoke to her daughter in a harsh manner.

"Don't you know, young lady, when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something
 inside the package?"

She had tears in her eyes and said, "Oh, Momma, it's not empty! I blew kisses into it until it was full."

The mother was crushed. She fell on her knees and put her arms around her little girl, and she begged her forgiveness for her thoughtless anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later, and it is told that the mother kept that gold box by her bed for all the years of her life.

Whenever she was discouraged or faced difficult problems she would open the box and take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us, as human beings, have been given a Golden box filled with unconditional love
 and kisses from our children, family and friends. There is no more precious  possession anyone could hold.

Random and rambly . . .

I'm random today.  And rambly.  

I like this:

So just when our holiday family budget was looking nice, holiday house came along at school.  It's true that all of the stuff isn't great quality.  I have the Mom trophy.  And the necklace.  And some earrings.  And a nice turtle paperweight.  MOTH has quite a variety of ships in bottles, frames, trophies, tool sets and the like.  So just when I was about to say, "no, guys, we drew names . . . we're doing it this way,"  this plaque popped into my mind.  The "give more than you receive" kept resonating off the walls of the inside of my skull like cries of a gull echoing in a canyon.   "Give more than you receive."   It's two bucks.  Well, times six and then times FOUR, because I'm nothing if not fair.   I went soft.  I let the elementary kids shop holiday house.

A while ago, I was on this big kitchen challenge.  I set out to try one new thing; one different thing each week.  Different for US, as a family.  For the kids, (and me) I gave the green light to like it.  Or not.  Eat it.  Or not.  The only rule is that everyone has to try.  We did brussels sprouts.  Purple cauliflower.  I blogged that.  Some hot stuff, some funky flavors, all kinds of random STUFF.  Well, I've kept it up and I've found a new family favorite, at least for fifty percent of the gang.  Here it is:  quinoa and pomegranate arils.   Do you know quinoa.  It's kind of new to me.  Say "KEEN-wah".  All together now.  It's good.  It's easy.  It goes with everything from a warm side dish to cold and on top of my famous garbage salad.  This is Middle's new favorite lunch:  a tupperware container full of quinoa & pommie-buttons.

Elf with me.  This is Gracie, pictured below.  The kids are having a gay-old time hiding her and hunting for her every day.  Such a cute holiday tradition.

This picture just kinda touched my heart.  I've said Mimi is the champion color-er.  Do you know how GOOD it feels to sit down and just color?  It's therapeutic, I tell you.   And I am touched to see MOTH sit down and color princess headbands with his little girl.

It's been colder than, well, cold, here lately.  REALLY friggin' cold.  I can hear my dad saying, "colder than a witches tit in a brass bra."  Yea, "face down in a snowbank", my mom would say.  That's the sort of holy-cow-it's-too-cold-for-me-to-describe-COLD it has been.  Yesterday morning, it was -7 when I woke up at 6:10.  With wind chill, it was -24.  Twelve was the high.  Today, it warmed up all the way to freezing. It felt positively tropical.   So as not to be one that just complains (that's no fun, right?) . . . I must say . . . I like cold.  I like cold alot.  I really like cold with mountains of snow.  But JUST-PLAIN-COLD or COLD with no snow but lots of WIND.  Not my favorite.  It's icky.

We love Pollies, yes we do.
We love Pollies, how about you?
I think these are one of the best toy inventions.  EVER.

Mimi's pre-school fall pictures are back.  Well, a proof.  So. Cute.  Suck your breath in and say "awwww" cute.  Love this tiny little perfect piece of four year old!!

And speaking of cute, as I've been blogging, we've been talking A LOT about what we are thankful for. Drumroll, please.  I'm sure this made some eyebrows go up at pre-school.

And that concludes today's random and rambly post . . . .

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Monday, December 05, 2011

Damn, it's cold.

It's 2 below.  Tomorrow, it's supposed to WARM up to 12 degrees.  Dang.

Family Math

April 2008:

November 2009:

December 2011:

On pictures:  I don't get in too much of a twist about pictures.  The worst pictures are the ones where someone insists on everyone matching or wearing some frilly, uncomfortable get-up.   I let Mimi take her picture with her paci, because that's very authentically HER at that time of her life.  I let her babies be in the picture last weekend.  Why?  Because the go everywhere with us anyway.  It's authentically how we roll.  She really wears that Care Bear hat.  Middle really wears those brown boots.  Sometimes her jeans are only half-tucked.  The pig hat is Big's favorite right now.  That's my favorite hot pink Patagonia.  In the shot from 2009, Mimi's "beezer" is across Middle's lap.  She still carries that around.   It's important to her. The door to our house is gaping open.  (I hear my mom, "hey, born in a barn, shut the door!)  But, it's how we are.  I think the real goal of family pictures is to capture a family as they are.  As they really are.   This is us.

The Crew . . . .

One of this weekend's accomplishments:  family snapshots.   

I'm not too serious about this.  Not serious enough to spend money on a real photographer.  MOTH is a royal pain in the ass when it comes to family pictures.  Of the 200 ++ that we took, he managed to not screw up about a dozen.  Here's the result show:

I'm not crazy about this shot, but it is the best of the worst, so it's the Christmas card winner.  The scale is off and MOTH's head looks a fraction the size of my breast, but . . . everyone IS looking the right direction.  Nobody's blinking or looking drunk.  Middle's legs are closed.  It's the winner. 

Another decent one . . . I didn't correct anything on this one.  We all look Asian. 

First runner up.  This is authentically us.  MOTH looks angry.  This is the smile Middle wears when she salutes a panel of judges at gymnastics meets.  Mimi's in the middle and flexing.  So. Very. Mimi.   Little has a cheesy grin on his face almost always.   Big looks JUST like that.  All the time.  She always pulls her hair around one shoulder.  And most days, she's within reach of me.  The dogs.  Well, they are dogs. Salt and pepper.  What I like best is the stockings.  These are my new holiday splurge this year.  New stockings.  That coordinate but aren't the same . . . like us.

 MOTH about crapped when I wanted to go outside.  Some of our best family photos are in hats.  Worth trying, says me. 

Well, there's history with this picture.  I'll find the others.  I have a giant framed shot of this in our front room.  Every so often, I update it with the same theme.  Because I love it, that's why.  I'll find the others and you'll see how we have evolved.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Another good one . . .
This one left me aching inside for a while . . .
I think I need to take a break from Jodi for a while.  I think I need to pick something up that is light.

In parts of this book, I swear, it was actually written about me . . .