Monday, November 30, 2009

Ears (part two)

Jack is battling horrible ear infections. He was diagnosed about two weeks ago with double ear infections and pink eye (of course, the day I returned from a conference in New Orleans.) He had no symptoms of the ear infection - I really brought him in for the green gunk coming out of his eyes.

Fast forward through the weeks - he seemed to be fine. No symptoms whatsoever - just happy, silly, smiley Jack.

Friday he finished his last dose of antibiotics.

Saturday he came down with a fever of over 102 that hovered around 103 - with a few spikes up to near 104.

A trip to "emergency" hours at our pediatrician's office yesterday revealed two HORRIBLE double ear infections. Because he is apparently resistant to the antibiotics, he was treated to his first of three Rocefin shots, then again tomorrow and Thursday.

We're on the fast track to tubes in his ears...

Poor little guy - I just want the fever to come down - I hate seeing him restless, hot, grumpy, and unable to sleep.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Our first Thanksgiving as a family of five included:
  • Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade
  • Baking Pumpkin Pie with Anna and James (Anna was the pie-crust helper; James was the filling stirrer)
  • Reading Thanksgiving stories
  • Traveling over-the-river-and-through-the-woods to Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner (okay, more like over the overpass and along I-20 - but you get the idea)
  • Wearing matching green gingham outfits with pumpkins and tractors
  • Coloring our own Thanksgiving place mats (thank you Target dollar spot!)
  • Playing 'pin the hat on the Turkey' (again, thank you Target dollar spot!)
  • Stuffing ourselves with Grandma's famous mac-and-cheese, smoked turkey, and other accompaniments
  • Helping Grandma and Grandpa decorate their Christmas tree
  • Taking baths in Grandma's "pink" bathtub
  • Having movie night in the van on the way home - i.e. watching Santa Claus is Coming to Town in jammies so that when we arrived home - the kiddies could go straight to bed
  • Deonne and I collapsing into our respective dents on the couches in our den when all was said and done and the kids were tucked into bed

We have much to be thankful for this year - our health, our home, our growing family (including the birth of baby Jack), our friends. Of course, the holidays are always hard and always bittersweet when I stop to think about those who are not at the holiday table this year - my dad, my mom... my extended family...

I miss my family so much - every day - but that much more on the holidays when family gathers together.

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I suppose by now I should know the warning signs that Anna has a secret ear infection. Our normally sassy, dramatic, stubborn little girl turns into a wretched, really stubborn, over dramatic, horrid child.

She must have a very high tolerance for pain (which she did NOT get from me) because even after the diagnosis that she has very.badly.infected.ears she insists that they don't bother her at all.

No fever. No pain. No outward symptoms (other than the perpetual runny nose.)

The clue is the behavior - the outward behavior of the inward illness. The screaming. The temper tantrums. The flailing and wailing that ensues when she doesn't get her way.

You'd think we'd have figured this out by now - because almost every ear infection the child has ever had has been this way - runny nose turn wretched behavior - until we finally raise our hands in the air, call "uncle", take her to the MD thinking she needs to be committed or seriously helped by a child psychiatrist - only to find she has an inner ear infection.

You guessed it - she's got a double ear infection. Poor little thing! So now Deonne and I both feel terrible for being so hard on her when really, she's been pretty sick.

Thank the lord for antibiotics.

Hopefully she will be back to her normal sassy (but fun to be around self) in about 24 more hours.

And yes, I'm counting them down...

Random Outdated Post

My company spring picnic was held this fall at the South Carolina State Fair. (Yes, you read that right, our spring picnic was held in October...yeah, I work with a bunch of guys who aren't so good at planning...)
Anyway, we met as a group with our families, rode some rides, ate some yummy fair food, looked at a lot of exhibits and really big vegetables. (And completed a years worth of people watching - it never ceases to amaze me the number of weirdos who come out of the woodwork to attend the State fair.)
Jack was obviously too little to ride any of the rides that my older two dare-devil children enjoyed that night - so he had the fun of either riding in the stroller or being held by mommy.
Deonne snapped this picture of us - right about the time Jack nodded off for a little nap.
Such a sweetheart.

Look out world - here he comes!

Yesterday morning I discovered that our sweet baby boy had cut his first tooth. He'd been gnawing on anything and everything non-stop for a few weeks now - and for some reason I decided to stick my finger (yes, pre-washed and clean) and rub his slobbery gums. Right there, on the bottom front, I felt it - the rough edges of his very first tooth.

I'm so happy it's finally come through - but must admit it is a tad bittersweet - Jack is our last baby - and I love his wide gummy smiles. His babyhood is rapidly progressing - and I know it will seem like just a matter of days when he is taking his first steps and turning into a toddler.

And speaking of movement - another big first yesterday evening - Jack started crawling forward! He's been backing up for weeks now - up on all fours, pushing back and scooting across the floor - but last night was the first time he'd figured out how to move one hand, then the other, then pull his knees up to actually position his body forward.

I can't believe it - Houston, we have a crawler!

Of course, once the encouragement ended, I promptly looked at Anna and James and asked them "do you know what this means?" Anna replies "that Jack is a toddler!" "No sweetie, not yet, but it does meant that all of your little pieces and parts of toys, barbie shoes, bits of crayon, legos, etc.. need to be picked up - so Jack doesn't choke on them."

We'll see how operation pick-up-your-toys goes - I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Charlie Brown?

I turned on "It's a Great Thanksgiving Charlie Brown" for the kids to watch when we got home from school today - so I could have a few minutes of hopeful peace to get dinner started. Okay, so I turned it on for James and Jack - Anna had been banished to her room for misbehaving and backtalking - again.

About half way through it James comes streaking through the kitchen from the den, en route to the bathroom screaming "I gotta go potty!"

"Go!" I tell him.

I didn't realize how long he'd been in the bathroom - until he'd been in there for a while. I was distracted by dinner, making sure my risotto didn't dry out and stick to the bottom of the pot.

I turned around to see him walking out of the bathroom with a grin on his face. He was dripping wet at the top of his head - with water falling down his face - and his sleeves were wet from wrist to above the elbow.

I didn't say anything - just looked at him with a quizzical look.

He grinned, patted his head, the top of which started to curl up from the loads of water he'd apparently splashed on it and said "I wet Mommy - I look like Charlie Brown!"

And I suppose he did - once I stopped to look at him - with the big curl on the front - he did look a bit like the famous boy.

Happy Birthday Deonne!

Deonne celebrated his 40th birthday on the 12th. We had fun with our little Party of Five. I ran home to make a special dinner after work (the best shrimp and pasta recipe, along with salad and rosemary sea salt bread from the bakery.) YUM!

Since I was running around like crazy trying to finish up - Deonne picked up the little ones from school - so I was able to finish up, set the table, light the candles, pour the wine, and be ready the moment they walked in the door.

Half way through dinner I paused - I looked at our family of five - and was overwhelmed. I had visions of what dinners will look like in the future for our family - when our kids will be at our table with spouses, and eventually children of their own. It was amazing to sit back and see our kids - growing, learning, sharing their days with us around the table - oh my.

Following dinner we opened presents - and then - the big moment - THE CAKE. Now, I like to bake, I've made some pretty good cakes in my day - but this cake? Even I didn't think I'd actually made it. It was SO. GOOD.

100% of the kudos go to Kathy, along with a ginormous thank you for sharing the recipe. I made a basic chocolate cake - followed her directions to the "t" (including the trick to wrap the cakes up in plastic wrap when they come out of the pans and are still warm) - and it was slap-your-mama-good. Seriously. The kids couldn't keep their fingers out of it. I actually caught Anna trying to lick her plate.

I iced it with Kathy's recipe for peanut butter frosting (we're big peanut butter fans in this house) and it tasted like a big Reeces peanut butter cup. Anna has already requested I make it for her next birthday - nevermind that her birthday is almost a year away - she wants to make sure I know she wants THAT CAKE for her special day.

Of course she wants me to make it look like her cake from this year (except Sleeping Beauty.) Thankfully I have a while to try to attempt that feat....

I think Deonne and I both ate three pieces on his birthday, and then had at least two pieces each night until it was gone. I know. Pure chocolate and peanut butter gluttony. So much for the weight loss due to stomach flu, right? But you know what? It was worth. every. single. bite.

So again Kathy, THANK YOU!!!!!

I can't wait to try out another cake recipe! (Any chance you can share the cookies and cream filling recipe?)

Italians in South Carolina?

A few Saturdays ago we took the kids to a few activities around town. The local children's museum where we are members, EdVenture, had a Big Wheels exhibit. There were all sorts of big wheeled things there - from fire trucks and ambulances, to back-hoes and buses, to race cars and tractor-trailers. The kids loved them - especially the little tricycles where they could race each other around the "race course."

They got to peek inside an ambulance, test out what a race car feels like, and stand in the back of a big tractor-trailer.

Pretty cool!

Following that we decided to take them to the 2nd Annual Italian Festival sponsored by the local Sons of Italy lodge. We'd gone last year - it was okay - good food, not too much to do - but still fun. It had expanded this year, and was held at a larger park - a larger downtown park - which will become an important part of this story.

We had brought a picnic blanket with us, purchased some slices of pizza pie, and had a nice little picnic in the shade of some big trees. We were delighted upon arrival to learn that the Children's Theatre was performing their rendition of Pinocchio (James was beside himself - as you can imagine) so we agreed we'd tempt fate and let the kids skip naps to attend.

Bad move.

James did okay - he was pretty tired after the show was over - but was still agreeable.

Jack also did okay - he just fell asleep when he got tired in his comfy stroller.

Anna - she was the one. The one that fell apart.

After the show we stopped by the bakery-treat food booth to get us all mini cannoli's (Anna's favorite treat that she discovered at last year's festival.) We all sat down near the entrance to the park to eat our treats.

Once we'd finished, we broke the news that it was time to go.

Anna didn't like that. One. Bit.

She thought we were denying her the God-given right to participate in ALL of the kids activities (silly carnival stuff) by making her leave. And she didn't hesitate to tell us. Scream at us, really. At the top her her lungs she stood over Deonne and I, stomping her feet, tears flowing, screaming that we "don't let her do anything fun!" How we'd "ruined her day!" Seriously, folks, she was so tired and so wound up that she was out. of. control.

A colleague of mine had once told me of how she and her husband disciplined her boys (both grown into wonderful young men) when they were little. They had to hug trees. Yes, you read that right - they had to hug trees.

So when Anna clearly couldn't calm down (we were drawing a small crowd) and her brother and dad hadn't finished their treats yet so we weren't quite ready to leave yet, we needed a time out. There really wasn't an appropriate time out spot - we use the corner in the foyer at home - so when I looked up and spotted a lonely pine tree - I knew I'd found the spot.

I calmly took her by the hand and led her to the tree, told her she'd need to give the tree a big hug and stay there in time out until she could calm down.

Didn't work out so well.

She went ballistic. Screaming, crying, carrying on - you'd have thought I was pulling her fingernails out.

(Enter importance of the location of this downtown park.)

I hear Deonne talking behind me - but can't really make out what he's saying - because I've got a screaming five year old that I can't hear over.

I look up to see a crazy homeless man walking towards me - saying something about how I'm abusing my child.


Deonne get up from his seat next to falling asleep James and starting to rouse in the stroller Jack - and starts telling this crazy man he needs to just keep walking - that this doesn't concern him at all.

The crazy man stops, drops his bag that he's hauling over his shoulder like Santa Claus, turns around, and starts walking towards Deonne - threatening him - telling him he'd "go to jail for a long time to defend a girl like that" while pointing to Anna (who is still screaming bloody murder by the way.)

Then he starts going through a litany of profanity - Deonne calmly tells him we don't use that kind of language around our children, and again, to please move along.

We're drawing a great crowd now.

I told him he was crazy and we needed to find the police - and started looking around for one. Shouldn't there be police at a public event in the heart of the homeless area of Columbia?

He finally gets the message, and wanders/stumbles away.

Enter crazy #2.

Just as we're starting to pick up our stuff, lick our wounds (I'm starting to be visibly shaken that my husband almost got in a fight with a creepy homeless guy who was clearly observing/staring at my five year old daughter) another weird crazy guy comes up.

He proceeds to tell me that he'd watched the whole thing and that the other guy had started harassing us and besides (he points to Anna) "that little girl needed to go to time out."

Great - how many weirdos exactly are watching our family?

He goes on to tell us we need to talk to the police - but not to worry - he knows "where they hang out" and goes off to get them.

Did I mention this guy weighed about 400 lbs. and had a walker with little tennis balls on the front to get around?

(I can't make this stuff up if I tried...)

Deonne looks around and mutters to himself that he's sure Columbia's finest will be coming around to protect us - some overweight slow person.

Sure enough - who comes waddling over? An overweight officer of the law - whose polyester uniform looks like the seams are holding hands just to stay together. (The best part of the whole thing was the look on Anna's face when she saw Officer Fatty arrive - I think she thought we had called the police there to put her in the pokey for her bad behavior.)

We tell her the story - she asks us for the description - says she'll "look into it" and waddles off.

We pack up our things and head for the car.

I just happen to look back into the festival one last time. Wanna guess what I saw?

Officer Fatty and her cohort - standing in the middle of the field - eating a cannoli.

I promise you - I can't make this stuff up.

Halloween at the Long House

One of my favorite traditions as a child was picking out and carving our Halloween pumpkins. My brother and I were each allowed to pick out a pumpkin, draw faces right on the pumpkins, and help mom and/or dad hollow out the gourds and "supervise" as they carved our our designs.

Deonne and I started the tradition before we were even married - picking out pumpkins, carving them, and adorning them with candles on Halloween night while we sat on the front porch and handed candy out to the neighborhood kiddies.

The tradition has continued now that we are parents. This was the first year that both Anna and James really participated in the family pumpkin carving festivities. Last year it was hard for Anna to draw on her pumpkin - so this year I drew a big orange pumpkin on a piece of paper for each kid, gave them a crayon, and instructed them to draw out a face they liked - then transposed that to their pumpkins - exactly like they had drawn. (I did have to take a little bit of artistic license with James' though... as the eyeballs weren't exactly on the pumpkin and more in outer space...)

They matched up pretty well though, for the most part, and once they were drawn and the pumpkins hollowed out - Deonne had the master task of carving all. five. pumpkins. (One for Anna, Jack, James, and a family pumpkin - and my usual South Carolina palmetto tree and crescent moon.)

It was hysterical - the kids loved it - we all had a ball.

Unfortunately, we carved them about a week before Halloween, and set them proudly on our front porch. I think it took all of two days for the humidity and heat to set in - and long before the 31st, all four sweet pumpkins had turned a sinister black and started caving in on themselves.

No matter though, we had fun carving, playing in the gooey pumpkin seeds, and enjoying the afternoon. I love pumpkin carving day!

Blogging Hiatus Over

It's been a long time since I've been able to get to the blog - I hate that it's been neglected and so many memories have fallen by the wayside... I have about fourteen posts started in my head that I need to write - but none have made it to the keyboard -

I've been busy - grant writing took more out of me then I originally thought it did - physically and mentally - and I think the late nights eventually took their toll - as evidenced by my participation in the Long family vomit-fest... and that tummy bug was wicked. I couldn't eat for about a week - and it took another week to finally feel like I was somewhat normal again. (Which actually did wonders for the whole Weight Watchers issue...)

So I've been tired, overwhelmed - tired of sick kids, sick mommy, sick daddy - I think I've wiped more runny noses in the past two weeks then I have in my five years of motherhood. It's just been a tough fall.

But, the holidays are approaching - and it's time to focus on the good things of the season - count my blessings - and perhaps post some thoughts (and vent just a tad) in days to come.

It's good to be back.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween

Our little goblins had a great Halloween. It was a fun week - filled with costumes, parties, pictures, and of course, tons and tons of candy.

James had the original thought for this year's themed costumes - when I asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween, he didn't skip a beat when he happily squealed "Nocchio" (that's his way of saying Pinocchio.) He LOVES that movie - asks to watch it all the time - so it didn't surprise me one iota that he wanted to dress up as the beloved wooden puppet.

Anna rapidly followed suit with "if James gets to be Pinocchio - can I be the Blue Fairy who turns him into a Real Boy? And can Jack be Cleo the Goldfish?"

"You betcha sweetie!"

I found Anna's Blue Fairy costume at the local Halloween Express store - I didn't love it - but it served the purpose - it was blue, long, and had big blue fairy wings.

Jack's goldfish costume also came from the store - it was super cute - even if it barely fit him and I had to literally squish his legs into the bunting. (My chunky baby is already in size 9 months clothes - who was the costume company kidding when it said the size was 0-12 months?)

James' costume was the best of all. I found the shorts at a local consignment sale, added ribbons to the legs and to make leiderhosen, made the yellow vest, and dug one of the hats Deonne and I brought home from our honeymoon to Austria out of the basement - and voila - we had a real live Pinocchio!

Halloween night was spent at the Comer's annual Halloween Party. We've attended this shin-dig for the past several years - and wouldn't miss it. The potluck dinner was yummy, the kids in costume were uber-adorable, and the friendship and fellowship couldn't be beat. As the tradition has become - once dinner was over we fired up our flashlights and hit the streets in search of candy.

This was the first year James was really "into" it. He ran from house to house - squealing "I wanna go to another one, Mommy" in between each one.

Both he and Anna cried when it was time to go home.

The only downs of the night were one - I was recovering from my night in the ER (the night before) and still pretty weak and not thrilled with the idea of pushing the stroller around the neighborhood and two - it was hot. And humid.

If you've read much of this blog since I started writing - you'll know of my utter disdain for heat and humidity. I know we live in the South. I expect it will be hot and uncomfortable in July, August, heck - even September. But October? Really? We ended up having to strip Jack of his fish bunting about half way through trick-or-treating - so he got to spend the evening in his plain white onesie (but was still pretty cute.)

All in all, it was a wonderful evening - thank you again Comer family!


So I ended up getting the wicked GI bug as well - it started Thursday night and ran its course until late into the night on Friday - when I finally drove my sorry behind to the ER. Two bags of fluids and a big dose of Zophran later - and I was finally on the mend.

I'm still feeling some of the effects today (Tuesday), which made for an abbreviated Halloween for the Long family (a.k.a. cast of Pinocchio) but the kids still had fun.

Pictures and more happy Halloween Haunting stories to follow...