Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Break was Exhausting!

I'm so excited that school starts back up again tomorrow. Tee hee hee!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Love Lucy style birthday

The yin and yang were in full swing. I know I expect to have good times mixed with bad, but couldn't we forego the bad for just one day?

I'll start by telling you the bad part, as that is always the most amusing. In retrospect, the dinner reminded me of a classic I Love Lucy. You know how that show goes? The embarrassment grows and grows until there is a final, ultimate embarrassment that makes you want to crawl under a table?

After spending the day with the kids at the science center, DH took us all out to Todai's, which is an all-you-can-eat Japanese Buffet. So there we were chowing down when DS-age 4 started complaining of a stomach ache. Hmmmm. How many times had the waitress refilled his pink lemonade? I hoped that the stomach ache would go away without incident. He continued to complain, in between sprinting back and forth and kicking up a mild ruckus with his brothers, attracting embarrassing attention as DH and I tried to rein the kids in. Then just as I was bringing my dessert to the table he told me he wanted to "spit". I was hoping he was referring to a small amount of food that may have been in his mouth. As I stood there frozen with indecision, he let loose a HUMONGOUS amount of liquid projectile vomit onto the wall-to-wall restaurant carpeting. And if this wasn't bad enough, there was a lady attempting to walk by him toward the buffet whose shirt got vomit on it. And if that wasn't bad enough, this lady was PREGNANT! OMGosh! I wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there. But NO. No rock crawling for me. I had to spring into action. There was more vomit to come. When the second volley started to show itself, I grabbed him by the wrist and yanked him headlong toward the ladies room. He continued to vomit along the way, but luckily there was a tile floor in that area. I could feel hot vomit soaking into the back rear portion of the leg of my blue jeans. I got him into a stall, but only about 20% of the vomit ever made it into the toilet. I spent the next 15 minutes mopping up the bathroom fixture and floor with paper towels, apologizing profusely to the pregnant woman in the black shirt who was trying to scrub herself. We slunk out of the restaurant about 10 minutes later, jeans cold against my leg.

Earlier in the day, though, was the trip to the science center. Miss I, the housekeeper, came with to help me with the boys as it was a work day for DH. They had done a great job updating the exhibits and it was more fun than ever. It was Crowded with a capital C, though, but I didn't mind. We didn't have to wait too long to play with things and everybody had fun. I could even relax a little since I had help watching the little guys.

Here is DS-8 on a bed of nails.

Here the boys are climbing on the rock wall.

Here is a chair on a pulley.

The day before I had baked a batch of cupcakes for myself. I know what you are thinking. Baking cupcakes for myself? For my own birthday? Well, momma ain't here to do the job, and neither is my DD. DH could have picked up an ice cream cake, but that is *his* favorite, not mine. And I HATE bakery cakes. They are dry and tasteless in my experience. AND, the thing was, that I wanted the same frosting I had had almost every year since I was a kid, which is the world's all-time best frosting. Auntie Rosalind's Frosting. I usually put this white frosting on a yellow cake, but I decided to go with chocolate cake this time since that was all there was in the house and it saved a trip to the store. Besides, it might be an interesting taste combo. It turned out really great. And the cupcakes were a good idea instead of a double-layer round cake because they boys could have multiple portions without eating up the whole thing.

For the curious, here is the recipe:

1 cup milk
4 2/3 tablespoons flour

1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter (softened)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cook the milk and flour over the stove until it thickens. Cool.

Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Add the cool flour mixture. Whip until creamy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

emergency room

I took J, my second youngest (age 3) to the emergency room Friday afternoon for 2 stitches in his forehead. He got a cut and some scrapes when he fell off a boogie board in the Jacuzzi and struck his head on the side bricks. :-(

I could see that a small portion of the wound was deep and that stitches could help minimize his scarring so I dressed him as quickly as possible and we dashed to the hospital. My DD was visiting from college and she stayed home with older brother, age 4. I took baby A to the hospital, assuming correctly that there would be waiting involved and he would need to breastfeed.

J was SO brave. The hospital staff wrapped him up in a blanket for the actual numbing of the forehead and stitches, but the little man was so well behaved he never flinched. He said, "ouch" once when he got the numbing shot and laid there talking to the staff the rest of the time. Afterwards they couldn't get over how good he was and he was showered with gifts and stickers. I took a pic of him on my camera phone. I will have to download the pic and try to add it in a later edit.

I hope his war wound doesn't scar too badly. I feel the weight of mommy guilt about this whole thing. The kids asked to bring floating mattresses and boogie boards into the Jacuzzi when we swam a few weeks ago and I said no. They asked this time and I allowed it. I won't make that mistake again. No floating unless it is in the big pool and well away from the walls.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


DD and I were talking the other day. I wanted to tell her about the movie I had just seen on Netflix, Becoming Jane. Ann Hathaway played Jane Austen, the famous 19th-century novelist. I enjoyed the movie, not so much because Ann Hathaway is such a great actress, but because I really LOVE Jane Austen and wanted to know more about her life. So I asked DD if she had ever read Jane Austen and she said, "no." NO???? NO????? WHAT????? You mean you never were assigned a Jane Austen novel in high school? No. I told her she absolutely HAD to read Pride and Prejudice. DD loved reading Oscar Wilde years ago. His plays are SO witty. I told her that Jane Austen's wit is just as funny and wonderful. She promises to read the book asap. She is coming over tonight. Maybe I can dig up the old copy I got from my mother, browned though the pages are and I think the binding is cracked, but OMGosh! She will love it, I know!

DD mentioned at one point in the conversation that she fears losing those she loves. I think she meant she is worried how she will react when I or her father die or someone else she loves. I told her that is the sad part of life. We are all mortal. I told her how I doubted myself when I was little. 3 of my 4 grandparents died before I was 10 years old. I never got to know any of them well and when they died I had very little reaction. But I had heard enough to know that grandchildren were supposed to be very sad and crying when their grandparents died. I thought I must be broken. What was wrong with me that I didn't cry.

It wasn't until much later, as week after DD was born in fact, that my 4th grandparent died. My beloved maternal grandmother. The sweetest woman in the world. She was amazing. A family matriarch. She sent airplane tickets each year to our family after my parent's divorce in order that we kids could fly to Chicago and visit for summers and winter breaks. I loved those visits. I loved her. I loved baking criss-cross peanut butter cookies with her. I loved hugging the soft plumpness of her. I loved how she talked. We didn't do the wash, we did the "warsh". She had great stories about how grandpa and she made it through the depression together. They ate a lot of corned beef hash, apparently. Her death devastated me. She died a week after colon cancer surgery. I remember speaking to her when she was going into the hospital. I was due to give birth, and she and I laughed about how I was jealous she was going into the hospital instead of me. I still get teary-eyed thinking about her. My generous aunt and uncle sent me a lot of her furniture and things. I treasure them. But more than that I treasure the things she taught me about the love of family and family traditions. I told my daughter that when her father and I are no longer here, one thing she can do is to pass on our best family traditions. Sharing the love we gave her with her children and grandchildren will be the best memorial of all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

baby pictures

I got a couple of shots of him in the past few days. I am still not altogether sure about his hair color. He looks mostly blond, but when the sun shines on his hair at a certain angle, I see reddish highlights.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

reverse osmosis link

I found a link that gives info on reverse osmosis systems. It has illustrations and understandable descriptions.
reverse osmosis

Friday, March 14, 2008

Don dreenk de water

I was at the synagogue this evening talking to the wife of a guest speaker from Uganda. I asked her about water quality in her country, and she said that her village has a well in the center and everybody has to carry water from the well to the houses. The water quality is good in the summer, but when it rains the water tends to make people sick if it is not boiled.

Then we got onto the subject of American water quality. We discussed the chemicals in water here, chiefly chlorine. I said that I had always been told that a goldfish dies if you place it directly into tap water. I remember my parents telling me that as a child. And I remember the deeply unsettling feeling I had at the time. Do you mean to tell me the water you have been giving me to drink my whole life can kill a GOLDFISH????!!!!! As soon as I got out on my own as an adult I began to purchased bottled water and later got a filtering system.

It so happens I bought a new filter for our house at Costco last weekend. The last time the plumber was here replacing the filters on our reverse osmosis system I asked him about replacing the filtering membrane. He said that it might be better to buy an entirely new system from Costco and replace all of the parts, including the storage tank. So I'm almost ready to call him. I need to buy a new kitchen faucet because that broke recently. When I have all the parts I will call and schedule an appointment.

I learned a few months ago that the wife of one of my husband's colleagues came down with lymphoma. She is about 10 years younger than I am. She had already gone through chemo by the time I heard about it in the fall and was about to start radiation. She said after her diagnosis they completely changed their lifestyle. Including switching from drinking tap water to drinking bottled or filtered water. She also moved away from her home that was very near a freeway to one closer to the ocean and clean air.

I water my plants with water from the reverse osmosis system and they are a lot healthier than the plants used to be. I really don't think it is my imagination.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Being Happy

I don't expect to be HAPPY-HAPPY all the time. In fact, I really don't expect a whole lot out of life. And I don't think I demand all that much. I don't need a huge house with a view. I am happy in a smallish apartment if I have enough room for my kids. I don't need constant good feelings in my heart. I understand that life is a balance between good times and bad and I expect to feel all those feelings, and the boredom in between. No problem.

Imagine my surprise recently when I found myself experiencing more and more frequent happy times. I think perhaps it is from having the new lady here helping more often. I am less and less stressed out by the day-to-day grind. I have time to nurture the baby and energy left over for the other boys. When DH comes home from work, I have the time and patience to look him in the eye and *really want to know* how his day went. In fact, twice in the last week I have offered to bring him a cup of hot tea or cold water because I was getting one for myself. Am I coming out of a post partum depression that I didn't identify? If so, it had been going on the entire pregnancy because I was a BEAR during my pregnancy. My poor DH. I guess I feel more nurtured right now and I want him to feel it too. Spreading the love.

And all this without medication. I'm not a pill popper. I take medication such as Tylenol only when I am in EXTREMIS and completely desperate for help. If I go through days or weeks of insomnia, I get online or take naps. I just *know* if I started taking sleeping pills that *I* would be one of those unfortunate people who died in their sleep because they turned their head into their pillow and were too conked out to save themselves. Same for anti-depressants. Now don't take this as a judgment of anybody who takes them. Some folks have a chemical imbalance and clinical depression and really *need* medication. But there are other folks who are just plain down. Down about life. Down about circumstances. Down for good-darned-reasons. When I am down I can usually figure out a particular reason. I then try to fix the problem, rather than medicating myself numb so I won't worry about it. For example, my last episode of insomnia came because of bills. What did I do? I paid the bills.

I gave my mom a book titled Being Happy by Andrew Matthews about 15 years ago. It was a nice little book. Short and to the point. The gist of it is that we all choose our state of mind. There were cute cartoons illustrating his points. I remember one where a guy is wearing a sandwich board with Uncle Sam pointing the finger saying, "I BLAME YOU!" Yep, it feels good to blame others, but that does not begin to solve any problems that we face in life. I could blame my parents for a lot of my stuff, but there comes a time when we need to cut those cords and take responsibility for our adult lives and actions. Thank you, my parents, for not raising me any worse than you did. I KNOW for a fact that many people had harder upbringings than I did and I know you did your best. You gave me quite a lot, in fact, and I share the love you gave to me with my beloved family. I have a lot to be grateful for. And isn't it better to focus on *that* than a long list of grievances?

Monday, March 10, 2008


I took baby A to the pediatrician this morning for his 4 month checkup and vaccinations. They were out of the DPT shot so I will have to keep calling them and go back later this week for that when the shipment comes in. {eyeroll} What a pain. And baby A will have to go through 2 bouts of feeling yucky because my kids always feel badly after the DPT shot, and he already is feeling bad (I can tell) from this morning's shots. Poor baby. His weight was up to 13 pounds 14 ounces, which is what I thought it was. His length is 24.25 inches, so that puts him in the 25th percentile for height and weight. Pretty typical for my kids to weigh in like that at the 4 month checkup. He has been perfectly healthy and eating well lately and the doctor is pleased with him so all in all it was a perfect checkup.

I also dropped by the post office and mailed off the last of the stuff for baby A's passport. So all 3 passports have been ordered and now we wait. I had to have a form notarized from dh to even get the passport, so I went ahead and had him fill out a permission form to take baby A across the border and put in the dates and all and had that notarized while we were at it. I'm wondering if I need to get my 8-y-o's dad to give me a notarized permission statement if I bring court papers to the border showing that I have full custody and decision-making on him. Anybody know if that is good enough?

I feel compelled to discuss my weight after reading Swistle's blog the other day about a "suspicious Lack of Talk" on certain topics, implying that things are not going well. My Lack of Talk has been more because I don't want to keep bragging. I have been hanging steady at my breastfeeding goal weight (130 pounds at 5'7") for the past month or so. Yesterday I weighed in a 1/2 pound over and today I weighed in a 1/2 pound under. So I am fluctuating right where I want to be. And this is despite the fact that I bought an entire bag of Hershey's Bliss Milk Chocolate candies, which are similar to Dove chocolate, and ate about 8 of the delicious little candies.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Preparing to travel

I haven't had enough fun lately. And I'm going to do something about it. I just bought plane tickets to visit my mother for Memorial Day weekend. I know what you are thinking. Mother. Does that sound fun? Well in my case, yes it is. I will get to see her new house in Washington State. And I also made reservations for whitewater rafting. There is a place that will take us out for 3 hours (remember Gilligan's 3-hour tour?). And my mom will watch the baby while DD-19, DS-8 and I go bouncing/sliding down the Elwah River. And my mom is also going to take us to Victoria, British Columbia to see the sights. So I have been scrambling the past few days getting things together for passports for the little ones, as DD already has hers in place. And I'm ordering a new one for me too, as mine expires in July this year so I might as well. I had a hard time with the baby as I didn't have a notarized statement from DH about ordering the passport. And I went to 3 places and none of them could take a passport photo of the baby. I just found a place at the mall who will do it, so I'll go there before Monday. And I also need notarized statements for the boys to take them out of the country even when I have their passports, so I will type up the statements now and get everything notarized at once. What a pain. But exciting at the same time. He he.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

new video