Wednesday, March 31, 2010
And the builder of our house - who conveniently decided not to prime the walls in our bathroom before applying hideous wallpaper. (Meaning it either does not come off the wall at all - or tears off the top layer of sheet rock.)
Wallpaper that we've ignored and shut our eyes to for five years.
That our realtor says must come down before listing.
So Mr. Builder - whoever you are - you are at the top of my least-favorite-people right now.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I thought they'd work - and in a hurry - left for work.
Called my favorite local children's store and talked to the proprietor (who I know on a first name basis) and had her pull the size shoe I thought I needed.
Ran out there after work, purchased said shoes and additional items for the kids - rushed to get the kids home from school, and after getting dinner started, finally sat down and tried the new shoes on baby Jack.
Jack's fat little foot is a size bigger than James' was - when James was 18 months old. Lovely.
So while I'm at it - I try James' shoes on him - the ones I bought at the end of the season last year, on sale, when another local children's store was going out of business. That I was sure would fit him now.
So now I need to say a prayer that when I call back to S. Children - that they actually have the right sizes. For both boys.
And figure out when I can get there.
During this busy, busy pre-holiday week.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Losing the "Master To Do List" is not a good thing for someone like me - so in an effort to record it where I know I can always find it - here goes. (And yes, this is probably the most boring post on the planet - so feel free to skip over...)
Sew buttons on kids' outfits.
- Grocery store - purchase items for sugar cookies, Italian sesame cookies, ham, and lemon meringue pie
- Bake/decorate/bag and tie bows on Easter sugar cookies (one set for Comer Eggstravaganza Hunt - one set "unbagged" for Long family Easter dinner.)
- Find ham recipe - bake ham (Saturday early afternoon) for Comer Eggstravaganza Hunt and dinner
- Bake Nonna's Italian Sesame Cookies (Saturday morning) - for Long family Easter Sunday dinner
- Bake Lemon Meringue Pie (Saturday morning) - for Long family Easter Sunday dinner
Dig through assorted Easter goodies that have been strategically stashed throughout the house - determine what goes in whose Easter basket Stuff 2 dozen eggs per child (24x3 = 72 eggs) with candy and deliver to Nici's house before Saturday morning. Purchase knee high socks for Jack and James Purchase dressy white socks for Anna Purchase dressy saddle "Angel" shoes for Jack Purchase white blouse for Anna - to go under bunny dress Purchase small basket for Jack - for egg gathering at the egg hunt
- Scrub/polish Anna's white patent leather shoes
- Help Deonne finish removing wallpaper from master bath - get ready to paint*
- Scrub kitchen cabinets/touch up paint in kitchen and wainscoting in hallway/foyer*
- Top to bottom house cleaning*
- Organize toys and clothes in Anna's pit of despair (i.e. walk in closet)*
- Boil 18 eggs and prepare for dyeing/decorating
- Dig through craft drawers and locate egg decorating kit
- Cut and assemble invitations for Jack's birthday party - to be mailed no later than April 5
- Begin assembling party hats, banners, and red/brown pom-pom hanging decorations for Jack's birthday party
- Review digital pictures from the past year - create, cut, assemble "One Year Banner" for Jack's party
- Order monkey cookie cutter for Jack's party
Additional birthday planning lists to follow in the weeks prior to April 24.
*These need to be TOP PRIORITY so we can finish up and get the house ready to list!!!!
We had our first real Road Trip as a Party of Five this past weekend. Some very dear friends invited us up to spend the weekend with them in Greensboro, and for some reason, the planets aligned, the atmospheric pressure was right, and our calendar was clear – so we were actually able to go!
We left Friday – I had a meeting Friday morning with one of our clients in North Carolina – so we packed up the car and while I facilitated our task force meeting – Deonne explored one of the local parks (and let the kids expel some of their cooped up energy.) Following my meeting, we had lunch, then hit the road for Greensboro – arriving around 3:00 in the afternoon – plenty of time for the kids to run around, play, and squeal with delight.
One of the best things about getting together with them (aside from the friendship and fellowship and laughs that always ensue when the four of us adults gather) is the fact that all five of our kids play so well together. Of course there were the few time outs and reminders to share – but overall, the kids got along well, and were sad to see the weekend end when we piled up in our van to go home. It's so nice to be able to talk and visit as adults, while knowing the kids are having a great time as well.
A highlight of the trip was the "Curious George Live" show we saw at the Greensboro Coliseum. Logan had snagged seats in one of the corporate boxes – a set of four seats for each of the two showings (morning and afternoon) so we split up the kids – Daddies and younger kids in the morning – Mommies and older kids in the afternoon – and had the pleasure of seeing Curious George come to life right before our very eyes! I didn't get to see the show with James – but I hear from a reliable source that he was thrilled to see his favorite character on stage. Anna loved it as well – although she was so tired from playing so hard all weekend that by the time Saturday afternoon rolled around, she was pretty pooped.
It was such a fun trip – tiring, yes, when chasing around five kids – but so good to see such dear friends. I hate that we don't live closer – so it wouldn't be so long between visits – the kids do as well – as I type this from the backseat of the van on our way home – James has repeatedly asked when we get to go back again. (And we're only about 30 minutes out from Greensboro.) J
Deonne and I needed this trip – a welcomed break from our day-to-day lives as a family of five – a chance to ground ourselves with some of the most down-to-earth people we know – a chance to be together and have adult conversation.
We are blessed.
Logan and Brian – you guys ROCK! Thank you for welcoming us into your home and hearts – for treating us like family – and loving us – through our ups and downs. We can't WAIT to see you soon!
(Pictures will be added soon – once I've had a chance to locate the camera from the pile of items that were deposited on the dining room table when we unloaded the van..)
Monday, March 22, 2010
This one is new.
Jack started with a high fever (103.5) Friday afternoon. A quick trip to the pediatrician revealed ulcers in his mouth, and the fact that this virus is going round his classroom led (in part) to the diagnosis.
The fever broke Saturday (thank goodness) but the tell-tale red dots and blisters on his little pudgy hands and feet erupted Sunday mid-day.
So, he's been kicked out of school (just until he's fever free for three days) and he starts acting more like the happy Jack we know and love.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I used to love spring. Seeing neighborhoods bursting with color, the longer, warmer days, the beautiful tulip display at a local Methodist church. Preparing for the Easter season in our hearts and home, following Lenten meditations, decorating with bunnies, baskets, and eggs ('cause you all know I love to decorate). Planning egg hunts for the kids, special outfits for Easter Sunday, special menus and decadent desserts for our Easter meal.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Yesterday morning - 11:28 am - my phone rings. Caller ID declares "Childrens Center."
First thought - oh dear.
Me - Hello?
CDC - Ms. Long? Hi, this is Elizabeth from the Childrens Center. (pause - I hear faint whimpering/moaning in the background) Everything's fine - but Ms. Jennifer wants to talk to you.
Jenn - Kristen? James had an accident on the playground.
Me - An accident? Is he okay?
Jenn - Well, he's okay - but he hit his head on the corner of the picnic table, right near his eye. We've cleaned it and put ice on it, but it looks like it's swelling.
Me - Is he bleeding?
Jenn - No (long pause) just starting to swell, and you can see the red marks where he made impact.
Me - Okay, well does he need immediate medical attention? Do I need to take him to the ER or to his regular doctor or is he okay?
Jenn - I think he's okay (long pause) but I'm just not sure.
So I instructed them to give him some Tylenol, to keep ice on it, let him eat lunch, and call me if it looked any worse.
I got the second call about 20 minutes later - telling me it's really swelling and that I should probably come take a look at it.
So I drop everything - hustle over there - and yeah, it's pretty bad.
I took him home, then to his doctor, who (after laughing - because of the three - James is the one who is always banging himself up) says his cornea isn't scratched or damaged, and the blood shot eye on the side where the impact occurred isn't too concerning. Gave us a prescription for some antibiotic ointment to put around on the scratch - that is just beneath his lower eyelashes - and sent us on our way.
I'm actually proud of the way I handled the whole thing - with the first child, I was a complete nervous ninny - and had this happened five years ago, we'd probably have made a long and unnecessary trip to the ER.
Although, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before we end up there, given James' wide-open-nature to fully throw himself into whatever activity he happens to be engaged in.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I had to run out last night after dinner to get formula, baby food, and wipes for Jack (our little hippo is eating us out of house and home), so I figured I had a few minutes to return the call and hopefully catch up.
I ended up being sequestered in the utter quiet of my car in the Target parking lot for an hour. An HOUR.
And it was lovely.
An hour of uninterrupted peace to share, laugh, cry, and reminisce with my dear dear cousin Trish.
Trish is someone I've looked up to my whole life. She is the person I've thought of as an elder sister since, well, forever. She proudly stood by my side as my matron of honor on the day I took my vows to Deonne. She has supported me through all of the ups and downs that life has given.
And I admire her.
She used to come visit our family (mom, dad, brother, and I) during her summer breaks when she was a teenager, and I was a little girl. I always thought it was so cool that my older cousin would come to stay. I loved to look at all of her 'cool' teenager stuff, like magazines, hair combs, make-up, and even, yes, her beloved pictures of Chachi. I think you could honestly say I worshiped her.
I suspect for her, it wasn't so 'cool' to be stuck on a glorified farm in the middle of Eastern Washington state with no friends, no boys to flirt with, and only your two younger cousins to play with - but if so, she hid it well. And oh, the fun we had. I'm filled with memories of those long summer days together.
As we both grew older, me into a teenager and her into a young adult, we'd still spend time together during my spring and summer breaks from school. I'd fly down to California and stay with various family members - and Trish - she always made time for me. Always. Even if it was just to talk on the phone (for hours) we would catch up, laugh, giggle, and she always treated me as a friend. Someone on her level. Not the bratty child I was, or the awkward teenager, but a friend.
She'd introduce me to her friends, her boyfriends, her life - we'd drive around in her car (and she actually taught me to drive well before I was of legal driving age) - and I thought she was so cool.
The sister I never had.
I miss her terribly, and wish we were in closer geographic proximity to each other - so that we could really share in each other's day to day lives.
Our conversation was lovely. It refreshed my spirit. It brought back so many comforting memories of my home and family on the West coast - and reminded me of who I am. Where I come from. And what matters most in this world.
I love you Trish - and I can't wait to talk to you again - and giggle like school girls!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Especially when your spouse has to leave the house at 6:30 am to get to a meeting out of town, and you're the lucky one who gets to rouse, dress, brush teeth, feed breakfast to, and herd into the car three sleepy, grumpy, grouchy and uncooperative children.
And your uncooperative children are also very bright - and both the five year old and the three year old pronounce (independently from each other from the burrows of their beds) "Mommy! It's NOT time to get up! It's still DARK outside!"
Perhaps this will mean bedtime will come sooner in the Long house.
Yeah right, who am I kidding!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
and Daddy's funny hat (no doubt the remnants from Daddy's party days long past - but that Anna insists he wear every.single.year)....
Friday, March 12, 2010
Deonne thinks it's a little too 'girly' for the boys. Whatever. I had it on hand. I needed something to do with myself other than sit and stew about this week's events - so I'm going forward.
And I think it's cute.
It'll look sweet for Easter pictures, egg hunts, and since I don't think the fabric is too Easter-specific - they can wear them through the spring.
She's working so hard - trying to hard so do the right thing, control her emotions, make the right choices.
My heart was filled with joy.
Alternatively, when I looked through James' parent/teacher communication folder that is kept at school - I found a different note.
The polar opposite.
(James' folder stays at school - so I didn't get to take an actual picture of the message inside.) Basically, it was this:
Someone is having a hard time finding his listening ears. Someone is having a hard time following directions. Someone spent the better part of the day in a center by himself or was stuck reading books because he repeatedly disobeyed his teachers.
Where oh where did my sweet little boy go. Oh, that's right - we've entered the stage of the terrible threes - which I've come to fully appreciate are the new twos....
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
It's easy to blog about most of the things I choose to write about here on these pages. Funny things the kids have done or said, recording memories (good and bad) of our day-to-day life as a family of five as a digital scrapbook, recalling and remembering tidbits of my childhood in an effort to bring the special loves of my past to life for my kids, party planning and recipe tips - you know. You read it.
It's not easy to blog about the hard times. My friend Kathy calls the hard posts on her blog "The Ugly Truth" – and I suppose that is what this post essentially is.
I'm a planner. I think I've covered that on this blog – and anyone who knows me knows I like things to be organized. My desk at work. My pocketbook. My calendar. I like to know where everything is. What to plan for. What to expect.
I'm not big on surprises, in fact, I hate them. I suppose the occasional unannounced call from a friend or note in the mail is a welcome surprise, but across the board, I like to know what is coming. Good or bad.
Earlier this week, something happened that shocked me to my core. I can't (or rather, won't) publically elaborate on the details – I'll just say that the events rattled me. Blindsided me. Gave me pause. Hurt me in a place, deep down, that I didn't know could be hurt. Made me think twice about my place in this world, about the people I trust, about how willingly I let them into my life, and ultimately, how I let them go.
See, people have come to think I'm this strong person. I can handle anything. They don't know how I "do it all."
I don't either.
They think that because I have a smile on my face and I'm not constantly falling apart and dissolving into tears that I'm strong, that I have it all "together."
Wanna know a secret?
Through all of the crap that's come down the pipeline in the past few years, well, let's just say I've not dealt with it well. Rather, I've learned how to hide it. Apparently very well. So far, my method has worked. I seemingly have come out of it with all of my vices. I don't dwell on the drama (or trauma, as the case may be). I try not to think about all that has happened since the summer of 2005, because if I do, the bottom starts to fall out and I can't let that happen.
But just so you know the junk I've got constantly mulling around and around in my head - in four and a half years I've sat by my father's bedside and witnessed his last breath, I held my mother's hand following her brain surgery, begging and pleading with her to just open her eyes and have some glimmer of recognition – when she looked disturbingly like someone I'd never met with all of the scars and bandages and tubes – and then had to leave her – to walk away from my mom to return to my home here on the other end of the continent, I've learned how to live my life and be a mother myself to three little lives in the absence of my mom's ability to mother me (and grandmother her children), I've miscarried two babies, I've weathered financial storms with my husband – when there were days when we weren't sure how we were going to pay the mortgage, the rising daycare bill, and feed our kids, I've been deeply hurt by friends who I thought I could trust, only to see them for the fickle selves they truly are, I've not slept a full night's sleep in about five years due to said three kids, various illnesses of theirs and my own, I've juggled working at a stressful job (that most of the time I love) while trying to be the best mom and wife I can be, and I've struggled to find the balance between not losing myself and my identity and solely living for everyone else.
I learned how to deal with all of that. I've had to – I haven't had a choice. It's life. And I'm pretty darn proud that I haven't ended up in the loony bin or heavily medicated just to get through my "normal" day. I've learned how to compartmentalize. Put things aside. Stick them on a shelf in a box and when I have time and am ready – take the box down, sort through the emotions, have a big fat cry, and move on.
But this recent news? Well, it questioned all of that.
Took my breath away. Literally.
Because I seriously can't handle any more. The box is full. There is no more room to deal with anything else. I can't stuff anything else inside.
I don't know where to begin to deal with this junk (for lack of a better term) – because I can't stick all of the emotions and hurt and accusations and drama into my tidy little box. I can't sweep it under a rug, and I can't simply ignore it.
So after the dust settles and I pick my jaw up off the floor – I guess I'll do what I always do – brush myself off, focus on my kids, my husband, my mom, my family. Put on that pretense of being strong, and maybe – just maybe – in time, it will become true.
And the rest can fall where it will.
Because in the end, I know that I've given all that I can give. And that's all that really matters. And that's all that anyone can ask.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Jack is a big eater. Big. He downs at least two packages of Stage 2 baby food and a healthy serving of rice cereal or oatmeal with every meal. Sometimes three packages. He loves to eat - opens his little mouth big and wide in anticipation of the food heading its way.
So it seemed natural that once he reached the fully sitting and crawling stage he'd want to eat the typical first foods the other kids enjoyed (cheerios, puffs, small bits of soft cooked veggies or soft fruits.)
Apparently our sweet baby boy has a horrible gag reflex. Stick a cheerio or puff in his mouth and the second it touches his tongue - he starts gagging and retching - and eventually brings up whatever meal of baby food he's just enjoyed.
The same is true for thicker baby foods (read: Beech-Nut's corn casserole) or non-baby food pureed foods, such as applesauce.
I find it very interesting (albeit frustrating) because he's constantly sticking every toy, book, crayon, scrap of paper he can find from the floor into his mouth - but refuses real food.
I know eventually he'll get the hang of it - but for now, I'm tired of seeing him gag on bits of food and turning them into a game of 'bat the food around the high-chair tray' or 'toss the food on the floor.'
Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
I hope my kids grow up loving and appreciating the Dr. Seuss stories as much as I did (and still do.) It was certainly a happy day when I had an excuse to dig out my worn and tattered copies of "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish," "Hop on Pop," and "To Think That It Happened On Mullberry Street" to read to the kids.
To Juli - thank you for bringing over the ballerina paper dolls - Anna LOVES them - and they certainly helped her get through her captivity.
I think our little girl is fully on the mend - and the surgery was indeed a much needed success.
Read: no more snoring.
Monday, March 1, 2010
I won't lie - those 20 minutes from the time she left in the arms of Bobo (the anesthesiologist - I swear - that was his real name) until they called me back to the recovery room were probably the 20 longest minutes of my life. I hadn't fully understood the procedure until this morning - that she would in fact be intubated and have an IV in place - somehow I'd missed that in all of the pre-op hustle and bustle...
And of course, she wouldn't be my child if she came out of anesthesia well - there was a lot of crying, pulling at her arm to try and get the IV out, screaming, and general incoherent babble - but once the Demoral kicked in and she was not in horrible discomfort, she was able to relax, sleep off more of the meds, and finally come home.
And of course, she waited to barf up the big bubble of blood tinged mucous until we were safely home and tucked in on the couch - but seemed to perk up a lot after she got that out of her system.
She's slept on and off this afternoon - and is currently propped up on the newly cleaned and towel draped sofa, watching the Wonder Pets, having just polished off her THIRD bowl of chocolate ice cream.
Apparently surgery has its benefits.
The biggest complaint so far has been the occasional (and painful) ear popping as her ears adjust to the pressure from surgery and having tubes in place. I haven't broken it to her yet that we have to do ear drops.
I'm saving that fun for Deonne.
Because I'm the one that got to clean up the bloody barf.
But thanks to all for your thoughts and well wishes - this scary and anxious day has turned out quite well, and I have every hope that the recovery will quickly continue.
For Dr. Macy - for his skilled hands and knowledgable heart - to succesfully remove Anna's adenoids and place tubes in her ears in a safe and quick manner.
For Deonne and I - as we hold our breath when she is wheeled away from us, behind the mythical swinging doors into the netherworld of the operating room - and we wait anxiously for her safe return to our arms.