Sunday, April 27, 2008

Swimming toward the light

You know how you have certain knick knacks around the house that remind you of the past? I have a certain framed picture in the laundry room next the the garage that has great significance for me. I reminds me of a time so very far away.

Once upon a time there was a woman who married a man and they did not get along. At all. In fact, things were so bad for the woman that she found herself shaking in fear whenever her husband was due to come home from work. She even forgot how to smile. Her friends and family refused to talk to her until she got out of her marriage because they did not want to hear any more about her suffering.

One day this woman was going for a walk around her neighborhood. She passed a garage sale and saw some framed artwork sitting on the pavement. She saw a certain piece that made her eyes grow wide. Recipe for a Happy Kitchen. This was a piece all about love and loyalty and happiness. It was a strain of music from so very far away, it almost sounded alien to her. Happy Kitchen. Happy home. Hmmm. Is it possible? Is it possible to ever live like that again? Am I worthy of a life like that? She went home and got the $2 they were asking for the picture and put it into her van under the seat. She was not going to soil the picture by taking it into her house. She would hang it in her new apartment as soon as she found a place for herself. It was her secret.

One day when her husband left for work the movers arrived and helped the woman move all her things and her children's things into her new apartment. She hung up the picture. She now lives in a new home with a husband and more children and continues to gaze at the picture from time to time. Yes, many of the statements now apply to her home. While no family dynamic is perfect, her present family is a good place to raise children. And a good place to live.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Random updates

We have had yet another virus making the rounds here. It hit my 3-y-o the worst. Probably because he is the youngest and Baby A doesn't count because he is breastfed. The 3-y-o had the cough after a cold but developed a fever and couldn't eat much at all for the past 6 days. I took him to the doc's yesterday and he ended up getting a chest x-ray. No pneumonia, but he showed more "air bronchograms" than the doc wanted to see, so he assumed it was bronchitis. He took his first dose of Zithromax yesterday and within 3 hours the fever broke and all afternoon he was clamoring for food and actually eating it. I hope he puts his weight back on quickly. In his bath I noticed his little arms and legs were SO thin. Amazing how quickly the little ones lose weight when sick. He had bad diarrhea as well, but that is better now. I woke up with a sore throat, but that is a good thing, so I can make antibodies for Baby A.

I am aggravated that the baby carrier I ordered on March 28th has not yet arrived. I emailed the company with a copy of the PayPal payment email (I never received a confirmation email directly from the company). They wrote back "Of course! This
carrier is right on schedule to be shipped this week. Kimber wants me
to tell you that she loves what you chose and thinks the colors are
beautiful. She would love a pic when you receive it and she hopes you
enjoy it.Thank you Ginny Customer Service". THIS WEEK! I wrote back a polite email saying how relieved I was that it was not lost in the mail. But GEESH!!!! WTHeck? I am getting flashbacks to the story of the Little Red Hen. First we need to plant the wheat. Then we need to reap the wheat. Then we need to grind the wheat. Then we need to bake the bread. What exactly is taking SO long when the website stated that the carrier I ordered was in stock?????? BTW I am referring to a Mei Tai type carrier called Ball Baby Overalls in a floral print.

Additionally, I have already lost the usual pound of weight that I normally lose during Passover. I don't really like the food. It is plain and I can only eat so much of it. And Passover is not "over" until Sunday night at 8:11pm Pacific daylight time. Ugh! Somebody give me intravenous pretzels PLEASE???????

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Earth Day with Robo Pet

Here are my 4-y-o and 9-y-o boys enjoying a moment between homework pages. DS received a Robo Pet from the Sharper Image for his birthday. It is very impressive. It can sense if something is in front of it, so it doesn't run into things, even if the operator of the remote control tells it to. And it rolls over, scratches itself, and lifts its leg to do its business. My 4-y-o made the headband at preschool in honor of Earth Day and he insisted on wearing it all afternoon. Awwwww!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Little Boy Blue

Got some cute pics of the three youngest this morning. Enjoy. :-D

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fun with Chametz (bread)

We did our search last night and burning this morning. The boys had a blast. I hid the ten pieces and gave them all crank flashlights and a paper bag. And we didn't have any "lost" pieces like in years past. You know that bad feeling when you hid 10 things and you can only find 9? And then in the morning we fired up the fire pit and did the roasty toasty thing. Here are some pics. Can you see all 3 boys in the nighttime pic?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cuckoo for Passover!

Oy, vey. What a day!

I have been cleaning house for days. I vacuumed out the couches, under all the furniture (with help from Miss I) and spent all day today cleaning the kitchen and moving the regular food and dishes out of the cupboards, and replacing it with the special Passover food and dishes (paper and plastic). The *worst* part of Passover, IMO, is doing dishes by hand. So I avoid it for the most part by using disposable stuff. It is only one week, I figure, and if it helps me to hang on to my sanity, it is probably cost-effective. ;-) I have to use pots and pans for cooking, and coffee mugs for my hot beverages, but other than that it is toss and walk.

Tonight is the night for Search For Chametz, which is the Jewish equivalent of the Easter Egg Hunt. We take a bread item and divide it into 10 pieces. I put them into ziplock baggies so that my clean house doesn't get bread crumbs put back into it. Then I hide the baggies and let the kids go find them after dark. It is traditional to use a candle for this, but I think flashlights will do because of the kids' ages. Then tomorrow morning is the Burning of Chametz, which the boys look forward to every year. It is fun for them because I actually fire up the large fire pit in the back yard. I get scared doing this and crouch back while I hold a loooong match and turn on the gas. I have never been injured doing this. Yet. Then the smell of burning bread fills the neighborhood and pieces of flaming paper bag take flight in an attempt to cause pyrotechnic mayhem. The boys are enthralled.

The really odd part of Passover this year is deciding what bread item to use on Friday night for Shabbat to say the blessing over. All year we use a traditional Jewish bread called Challah. The problem this year is that Passover starts Saturday night. If we burn the bread (chametz) Friday morning, thereby declaring bread and bread items null and void for us for the rest of the week, and we are not supposed to eat Matzah until the first Passover meal (seder) on Saturday night, what should we use to say the blessing? I called my MIL and she suggested using egg Matzah. She confirmed it with BIL, who is an orthodox rabbi, so I got a box of egg matzah and I'm going with that. Done.

By mid week I usually start to chafe because of cravings for my normal food. Observant Jews eat Matzah (flat cracker-bread), meat, chicken, milk, yogurt, cheese, fruits and vegetables and some grainy cake-type items cooked with ground matzah as flour. And there are passover candies/chocolate (thank G-d). But the week gets pretty long and it is nice to get back to eating normal breakfast cereals and pizza and sandwiches again. The cool thing is how much pride I take at the end for exercising what I feel is a HUGE amount of self control to make it through the week eating only Passover food. And that gets us to the moral of the story.

There is a school of thought that believes that many of the Jewish rituals are aimed at teaching people self control. For example, when we say the blessings before Friday night (Shabbat) dinner, the kids are expected to sit there, hungry, with a full cup of grape juice in front of them. They cannot drink it until the blessings have been recited. Kids who are raised to have self control are more likely to exercise it when older, and not do bad things with the neighbor's wife, etc.

So here I will sit, eating a bland diet and trying not to covet anything of my neighbor's. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Baby's first first full bowl of cereal

He ate the whole thing. Rice cereal mixed with a touch of formula. He seemed fine with the process of eating. And now he is down for a long nap. He had been acting hungrier and hungrier lately. Then when he woke up twice last night to feed, that clinched the issue. I ran to the grocery store and got his rice cereal and formula. I was SO embarrassed to buy formula. Eeeek. HEY EVERYBODY! I AM STILL BREASTFEEDING! I SWEAR!

A sidebar is that this means my menses will be returning in the next couple of months.

Friday, April 11, 2008

And the pregnancy test says...

Negative. I decided to take a test this morning because I get intense nausea about twice per week in the mornings after eating my cereal. I saw some ladies have this while breastfeeding, so that is probably what is going on. He is still exclusively breastfed, so I am still eating for two. I pretty much knew I wasn't pregnant, since my milk supply remains plentiful, but it is nice to see it confirmed. I have not had my menses since giving birth.

In other news, yesterday was my son's official birthday. I got him a ping-pong table. He and I spent all yesterday afternoon putting it together. It has been fun playing on it. And I think it will get some use this weekend during his birthday party.

And here is a gratuitous photo of baby A in all his sleepy glory. The prior pic I posted was a little out of date, so here is his current sleeping picture. He is almost grown out of the bassinet.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

birthday prep

My big 8-y-o boy is turning 9 in a few days. His party will be next Sunday at the house. Every year, though I have offered elaborate parties at various venues, he asks for a party at the house with a rented bouncer. I found a cute one this year. It has a slide and basketball hoop inside. He also wants Auntie Rosalind cupcakes with yellow cake.

It is a bittersweet time for me with regard to this son. The school is having him tested for learning disabilities. I should know what their findings are by the end of April. My stomach is in knots over this. :-(

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I'm a fierce mother bear

I always saw myself as the mother bear. Soft and cuddly, but ready to tear into action on a moment's notice if my family were threatened.

My daughter mentioned that she is happy she made it through childhood unmolested. {33% of girls and 14% of boys are molested before the age of 18} I told her this was no small feat. Especially considering that I was divorced from her father for most of her childhood and have been married twice subsequently. The statistics on child abuse and molestation go up significantly when there are non-bio-father men in the home. {A child in a female-headed home is 10 times more likely to be beaten or murdered. (The Legal Beagle, July 1984, from “The Garbage Generation”)}

I feel the reason she and her brothers were protected was partially luck, but mostly because I took up martial arts when they were babies. She was about 3 and her brother was 9 months when I first took up the study of Hakkoryu Jujitsu. I received a black belt. Jujitsu is an awesome art and sport. I learned Judo throws, Karate strikes and blocks, and methods of hand-to-hand combat in cases of attack by knife, garrote, long sword, short sword, choking from in front, behind or on the ground, or baseball bat/club. I also joined the martial artists at the shooting range and took a course in combat pistol shooting. When she and her brother were about 8 and 6 years old, respectively, I attended the International Karate Association under Takayuki Kubota, studying Karate and the use of ancient Japanese weapons. I received a brown belt.

I did not keep this a secret from my suitors.

I recently encouraged my daughter to take martial arts classes and she laughed and said I sounded like her Marine boyfriend. He has told her repeatedly that she needs to study martial arts.

I can't recommend these classes strongly enough for everybody, but especially moms and kids. For moms, there are great benefits of exercise and toning, self defense, camaraderie, and stress relief. For kids they receive similar benefits and also learn discipline and a respect for authority that is often lacking in American society.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Driving the men WILD!

Me? Surely you jest.

It turns out that the men have been crazy about baby A lately. I was at Costco the other day and one of the young workers comments as we pass by, "Oh! How cute! He's got the life". One of the young male hospital workers in the emergency room said, "See how cute he is? This is why I want to have babies." And when I picked up my daughter this past week at a friend's house, her friend's dad went nuts over the baby and wouldn't let us leave without taking pictures of the baby to show his wife. He's trying to talk her into agreeing to reverse his vasectomy. ;-)