Tag Archives: Parenting


January 11, 2008

 Friday Woke up around 6 after staying up until midnight. Zachie has been getting a little better each day. I don’t think you get over this quickly. Dr said he would make a call on when we could go home based on this afternoon’s blood tests. After the morning breathing treatment, the nurses decided his port was clogged, and wanted to move it again. I decided that was my best opportunity to dash home for more clothes etc. When I got home, Mom was in the middle of making cabbage burgers, so I had to stay for lunch. Tommy was so happy to see me, and had so much to babble about, then he fell asleep on Papa’s lap before lunch, while I was in the shower, so I didn’t spend much time with him. I did play barbies with the ladies for a while. Man that is boring. Lydia called me on it, demanding to know why my dolls weren’t talking. I pointed out that they were in the beauty shop, and they couldn’t talk over the hair dryer. I was actually sitting and enjoying watching my kids play. I would much rather play cars or blocks or little people or store than barbies, although back in the day I played my fair share of barbies.

When I got back to the hospital, Zach was due for another breathing treatment, then my minister stopped by for a chat. So far nobody has drawn blood, but on Tues, the Dr said that we would have at least 72 hours of antibiotics for the infection. By my calculation, that is up, and the nurse said the Dr hadn’t stopped anything yet.

We Are in the Hospital

January 10, 2008

Tuesday I slept in. Zach was not feeling well, I had 2 non-consecutive hours of sleep Sat night, and Sun was only a little better. I dropped the ladies at pre-school about five minutes late then took Tommy and Zach to Zach’s well-baby appointment at 9:15. By 9:45 we were checking into the hospital with two X-rays and a nose swab under our belts.

Zachie has RSV, pneumonia and also a secondary infection. I kept Tommy with me until 3:30 in the hospital room. Can you imagine being in a hospital room for five-and-a-half hours with a sick 2 month-old and a healthy 18 month-old? We played drive-the-tractor, lose-the-puzzle-pieces and shred-the-toilet paper. The emergency room let us take their “Easy Button” and we about wore it out. The kitchen gave us two noon meals, including Jello for Tommy. “Gave” is probably the wrong word to use here. I dashed home find that Husband had got upwards of 60 pounds of free baby carrots from work. At least I don’t have to wonder what to do with them.  I managed to line up our once-a-week nanny, pack, orchestrate my hospital entertainment and child care for everyone else over the course of half an hour. I got back to the hospital in time for the doctor to tell me we wouldn’t be leaving until noon on Friday, or later.

I brought Zach’s baby quilt, which I am about done with now, The Secret Garden to read, (I am out of unread books at home) and my cell phone manual. I spent the first night learning how to text message better.  I also brought the laptop, thinking I could write, or organize my files.  The Dr told me two months ago they didn’t have wireless.


This was as far as he opened his eyes Tuesday.

We got a single room, and a bassinette like when Zach was born. This is a small hospital, there are maybe 25 or so rooms. I recognize most of the nursing staff from my stay two months ago. They remember us too. We have a banner claiming “ISOLATION” outside the door. This means most hospital personnel who come in have a mask and hazmat gown. Zach is on an IV and also oxygen. He has bandages on both “elbow pits” from blood draws and owies on the back of both hands where they tried to put a port in. They also tried twice on his head before they got it in. Poor little guy. Someone comes in every four hours to do breathing treatments on him with some kind of vapor, Chemistry 101 escapes me.

Wednesday, after the best night’s sleep I have had since I don’t even remember when, I was awakened at 5:00. A hospital is no place to sleep, we had people come in five times that night! Zach was put on glucose, since he wasn’t nursing well. As the day progressed, that changed, and he made up for several days’ worth of feedings by eating pretty much full time from lunch to bed time. Zachie sounds like he is breathing backwards through a harmonica. Mom and my Stepdad came to watch the other kiddos, because Husband has a business meeting out of town Thursday. The whole tribe came to visit, for half an hour that evening. I had bought a bag of Cheetos, so my bedding has small hand shaped orange spots all over it. Kinda makes the place seem homey.

I learned this evening how to control the TV volume. We had it on extremely low. I accidentally noticed the dial on the bed thing, and realized I could adjust it. Cool! Since we have no cable, I miss out on some of the cultural things going on in society. Things I like to have a passing knowledge about, like “Sex in the City.” I got to see that for the first and probably last time. I also got to watch “Monk,” which I liked. I won’t watch anything with a crawler. I panic because I can’t not watch the words. I am a compulsive reader.  I have the same problem with subtitles, even if they are another language.  It took me until Thursday at 8:00 p.m. to figger out I had wireless.  Oh the time I could have wasted.  Seems like I need to be a little more observant of my surroundings.

Thursday, I slept in until 7:00. Oh my gosh it was wonderful. Right before I went to bed, around midnight Tues night, I moved Zach to my bed, because he was not happy in the bassinette, and managed to pull out the glucose line and cause him to bleed all over my bed. That was awful. The nurses keep saying that they want to use the same port site as long as possible. I guess I didn’t do any harm to that, but I sure felt bad for him, and he felt bad too. I slept great after that though. I must be running on fumes to be able to sleep through someone taking my kid out of my bed to give him breathing treatments. Personally, I hate to sleep where other people can see me. I stayed awake the whole time on the plane to and from Hawaii. I seem to be over that problem.

We have special garbage containers in our room, for all the stuff they put on. I made a comment to the cleaning guy about how much waste is leaving our room. He weighed it and we are using about five pounds of gowns/gloves/diapers/medical packaging a day. The respiratory therapist made a joke about the food here, and while it is not what one would expect from a high class restaurant, I didn’t have to cook it, so I won’t complain. It is definitely down home style cooking, and there is nothing wrong with it. I have had both beets and spinach for vegetables, nothing fresh though.

Dad and Nanny came to visit for an hour today. They are on their way through for some kind of meeting somewhere. They kindly brought me the Christmas gift I had given them, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. I was not done reading it when I had to wrap it. I should have plenty of time now, since the quilt is almost done, and The Secret Garden is pretty short. I sent the quilt home with Mom, so she can get the binding ready for me to attach. I have a hard time not doing anything, even watching TV for very long.

Later, Mom brought the ladies for a brief visit. We all used the stethoscope on Zach, and when the Cheetos ran out they left. Shortly after that, the port gave out and the nurses had to remove all the tape from Zach’s hair. I left when they put in the new port. After supper we had another guest. The Dr said he his thinking we might go home tomorrow afternoon, maybe.  I tried to upload video of Zachie breathing, but I couldn’t get it to work.  I will try again before I leave this wireless haven and return to my prehistoric dialup.


 Notice the Cheetos, Mom can actually be bribed with them.                                      


 Looking a little better.

This begs the question, what happened?  How could my kid get so sick without me knowing it?  I knew he was sick when we went to the Dr.  The appointment was the reason I didn’t take him in Monday.  Sunday, a friend told us his daughter had RSV, but we didn’t touch him, or anything he touched, and she wasn’t around.  I understand that the child needs to be present for the disease to move from one to another.  God, I hope so, I visited my cousin’s baby in the hospital!  Zach stayed home.  I guess the only thing weird, other than what I thought was a cold, was the fact that Zach had foamy drool.  Sorry about the technical jargon, but that is it.  When it dried, it looked a little like egg whites.  He was breathing a little rough, but all of my kids were snuffley at that age.  Hmm.

Last Week

January 6, 2007

I went home to visit my family after New Year’s Day. I stay with mom. Between the two of us, we had about a week’s worth of scrap booking and quilting and other things to do. I was only home for 3 ½ days. You would be surprised what we got done though.

To Do List

1. Get Mom’s vacation photos in a scrapbook

2. Make a quilt for Joy, the new Granddaughter

3. Make a quilt for Zach, the new uncle

4. Get my picture book under control

5. Go sledding and play in the snow

We stopped to see the new granddaughter on the way to Mom’s. She is pretty, although she looks like her Daddy, and he is not “pretty.”  I got to Mom’s around supper time Tues.

We spent Tues night putting pictures and mementos together from Mom’s trip to New Zealand. The Australia ones will have to wait. I left some pre-made pages so Mom can do some herself too. I am not a huge scrap booker person, but I have plenty of stuff. I try to keep it down to what I can haul in one trip, using only a 12”X12” crate. Probably I should get something else to transport my stuff because the crate thing is pretty unhandy. There must be a good reason that I am the only person who carries a crate to scrap booking get-togethers. You could go broke scrap booking if you don’t watch out.

Wednesday I wanted to make a quilt for the granddaughter, Joy. I don’t know what else to give her. I quit making baby quilts for my friends a few years ago when I realized it was not actually possible for me to make quilts and raise toddlers at the same time. Way too many no-nos, and too much stuff to keep putting away and getting out again. I dug out my two plastic drawers with baby quilt cloth in them and packed them to Mom’s. As I sorted through the fabric, lo and behold, I had a quilt in there! It was not pieced, but I had a good start on it. We got the top put together and Mom plans to machine quilt it. She says whoever cut the pieces out didn’t do it very straight. (oops) We had supper with my Dad and his girlfriend and my Grandparents.

Thursday My kids’ paternal grandmother has 29 grandchildren and a handful of great-grand children, and that is only their Dad’s side of the family. From personal experience I know how hard it can be to keep everyone straight, so I made a book for Lydia called “Lydia and the Jam Jam Girls” I used photos I already had of Lydia and got photos of grandmas and aunts and cousins in their jammies and put it all together with a little plot about going to bed. I can keep adding as necessary. Since Sarah was supposed to be Tommy, and I didn’t want a bunch of pictures of guys standing around in their underwear, I called hers “Sarah Reads a Book” and I got photos of male relatives reading various things from a cousin with the newspaper sports section to my truck driver uncle reading a book on semis, while seated in the open door of his truck. Then along came Tommy and Zach. What to do for them…I decided on animals and pets for Tommy, we can do counting and species, then for Zach it will be hats and colors. We just keep adding to it, my first cousins and my kids’ cousin’s children and my step-father’s family and baby sitters. I was pretty organized through Sarah, but it fell apart after that. Mom and I spent all our free time Thurs getting that put together, so I can complete Tommy and Zach’s books. We also worked on Joy’s quilt, and played in the snow a little.

Friday I told Dad we would go out to his place for the morning. He lives where I grew up, a ranch 30 miles from town.  The ladies played with their vintage Little People collection and Tommy flirted with breaking the lower hanging glass Christmas ornaments until noon, which was soup and “girl” cheese sandwiches, as the ladies call them. The kids took a nap and then Dad went to town, leaving me to take everyone to town in my car so we could meet him for supper. I spent all day using their wireless internet with my laptop, and getting five year’s worth of digital photos sent to Walgreen’s for printing via wireless rather than dialup. (Only $15 for 142 photos, not bad I thought, and they were ready two hours later!) We had Mexican for supper, I always want to do that when I go back.  After I got back to Mom’s we put together Zach’s quilt. Mom had done the cutting, and I just sewed. We make a pretty good team, one of us pinning and ironing and the other sewing. She had a pattern for a quilt that she said would go together very quickly for Zach, and it did, in just an evening. The back of it is a map of the US. When it is all tied and bound, I will post a photo. I have managed to make a baby quilt for each of my babies, but have finally resorted to making only the occasional Christmas stocking for my friends, see my Christmas photo for examples.

Saturday My cousin had a baby Friday, so I went to see her in the hospital. I thought she was only about six-years-old, but she says she is 26, so that must be old enough to be a mom. It is hard to believe that she is all grown up, I remember when she was born. She had a beautiful 5 lb baby girl, causing me baby envy as well. Zach was nearly twice that. Mom drove with us after lunch to meet my Stepdad who had escaped the chaos at his own home to his son’s house to spend time with his other grandkids. My stepbrother lives somewhere near half way between mom’s house and ours. That worked well for me. Five hours by yourself in a car with four kids can be a little rough.


December 26, 2007

Christmas found us with a cedar tree from the pasture. Since Husband decided we were going primitive with the tree, I decided to go primitive with the decorations. We put up lights, popcorn/cranberry strings and paper chains. I had forgotten how frustrating it is to string popcorn. Husband wanted to hang ornaments, but I decided since I get to take the tree down by myself, I was not going to do any more than I had to. Frankly, I think it looks pretty nice. I was opposed to the whole cedar idea, but we “aged” the tree two weeks in the garage, and most of the smell had dissipated by Dec. 23, when we brought it in. Pine has a nice scent. Cedar smells like you could make vodka from it and I have a perpetual headache now.

December 07-11.jpg

Sarah got the fish she asked Santa for. A close look at the aquarium will reveal what genetic modification can do. Unless they came up with a fish tattoo… Regardless, we overheard something about “fwopping on my bwankie” from the other room. A quick count revealed all four were back in the tank, but one still looked pretty nervous. We had made the mistake of leaving the net beside the aquarium, and the temptation was too much for Sarah. Remember this is the kid who likes to experiment. I guess we will keep the aquarium in the kitchen. I could put it behind the computer and use the light for a desk lamp, it does get a little romantic in this corner. I am a little afraid that Tommy will be tempted. He is a climber.

Fish with heart

Tommy was completely enthralled with his Little People Gas Station. He is a fan of anything on wheels these days. I took everything out of the boxes and constructed it several days ago. It took me 30 minutes to get the garage out of the box and about 20 to put it all together. Altogether, I came out nearly 30 twist ties ahead, but I lost nearly an hour of my life. Toy packaging has gone from obnoxious to plain old evil.

December 07-12.jpg

Santa got each kid a toy, and we bought each kid a toy, so we didn’t accumulate too much. Lydia was a little lost, I think she was hoping for something more, but she didn’t know just what. She got her train and a doll with clothes. We got the ladies Groovy Girls dolls. Lydia fell in love with Laila Ali this last spring while she was on Dancing With the Stars. We even wrote her a fan letter, but she didn’t reply. I got Lydyia a darker skinned doll and a sparkly gown.

The biggest hit was the flashlights. We play safari sometimes before bedtime. I take a bunch of stuffed animals and hide them around the living room. I then turn off the light and let them look for the animals with flashlights. This is huge fun, but the best part is our grownup flashlights will still be operational should the power go off.

My favorite gift was the one from the person who had the least understanding of Christmas. Zach slept from 11:00 until 5:30, and in his bassinet! Husband got me something I really didn’t need, or have room for, but he did put thought and effort into it, so I won’t complain. He got me plates, about seven or so. My dishes were premiums at grocery stores or gas stations in the 1940s or 1950s. They are nothing special, you can find them in antique stores all over. They usually run about $7 each. I have 12 plates already. This means I can go a looong time between washing dishes! He was looking for a butter dish, but didn’t find one. I would rather have a teapot, but they are maybe $100 or so, and pretty rare.

I got Husband a cordless drill. That is what he asked for, and in that many words. When he opened it, he cautiously mentioned that it didn’t have certain features he wanted, like being ½ inch and having more volts or whatever. I showed him where the receipt was attached and explained that I had about 30 to choose from and knew he would be taking it back. No harm no foul.

My sister-in-law and her friend came over for dinner. It was a nice meal, but not too big. The friend ran interference with the kids so we could get the meal put together. I made a homemade sour cherry pie. MMMmmm. She brought leftovers from her meal last night. After dinner, we loaded the dishwasher and looked at the pile still towering on the counter. I told her it wouldn’t bother me a bit to let them sit until the dishwasher was empty again. She was ok with that, so now I have to get them washed.

Not In The Christmas Spirit

December 22, 2007

Bah Humbug. I have hardly put out any Christmas stuff, not even the pretty lighted tree for the front yard. We have the stockings up, a wreath on the door, the manger set up and a quilted wall hanging in the dining room. That is it. I don’t dare put the village up, since Tommy is into everything. The tree is actually in the garage, for just that reason. I guess that isn’t very fair to the kids, but I just am not up to it this year. I think we’ll bring the tree in this weekend, otherwise Sarah’s goldfish will get cold when Santa drops them off. I am thinking we’ll do the old fashioned thing and just use popcorn, cranberries and paper chains to decorate the tree. I did get my cards out. I do a newspaper looking thing, in third person. Hopefully it’s not too offensive, I would rather read a Xeroxed letter than look at nothing more than somebody’s signature at the bottom of a card.

I got everything sorted out among our six kids, and put together Tommy’s car/ramp thing. I can’t wait to play with it! Still need to do all the wrapping. Kari, a senior in High School is getting a tool box with tools. I got a floral handled screwdriver for Christmas last year, and Husband has been coveting it. It was made like a tool for a man, not a cheap “girly” tool, so I got one for her, and some other tools, including a 7oz hammer, just the right size for a woman. I also got her the Daring Book for Girls. It looked like it had some practical advice for the college freshman. Don’t know what to get Chris. Might wait until after Christmas, if he is not coming anyway.

Betcha didn’t know that I am a grandmother. Yeah, neither did I until last week. Step-son Chris and his girlfriend had a little girl this summer. We really like the girlfriend, and we are the last people to judge someone for an unexpected baby, as two of ours were just that (although we were married), but Chris has been reluctant to tell us, actually he hasn’t yet. The girlfriend sent us a Christmas card with her and her daughter’s names and a photo.     I have since spoken with her on the phone. Husband last spoke to Chris November 9, after Zach was born (and Husb’s birthday), but he had not been in contact much for several months, and it is worse now. The kids live in different towns, about two hours apart, but they are dating again. They broke it off for a while, and got back together after the baby was born. I hope they can make it work. Babies need Daddies, and when Chris grows up some, he will be a super father! He was great with our kids when he lived here last fall. He didn’t do diapers, but maybe on his own kid it would be different. {an aside…The sexiest thing I have ever seen a man do is change somebody else’s baby’s diaper, seriously.} Chris is currently selling vacuum cleaners door to door. That can’t be an easy life. She works at a gas station and as a nanny and is completing an associate’s degree online from a local college. Just writing that makes me tired.

I guess I will try to see the baby as I will go through their town on my way to see my folks, who live two hours beyond. Maybe I could see my step-daughter as well. I miss her. I did find out that although she won’t answer her cell phone, or return calls, she does return texts. Immediately. I told Husband that is was worth 10 cents a pop to me to be able to communicate with her. I actually texted her when I opened the card from the girlfriend. She called as soon as she got out of school and did some explaining. It is a long story, and there is no need to repeat it, as that horse is out of the barn and over the hill.

My mother is excited to make a quilt for the baby. We need to make one for Zach too. I guess I will go visit back home after Christmas.

OurFamily, Inc.

December 19, 2007

My children are very different from each other. We think of Lydia as the Manager of the crew. Sarah is in Research and Development and Tommy currently serves as the Beta Tester.  Lydia will decide what they should do, Sarah will figgure out how to accomplish it, and Tommy is the guinea pig.  So far, at 5 weeks, Zach has shown little interest in interacting with his siblings.

The oldest, Lydia, lives up to what you expect an older child to be, a leader. Once we went to the library for story time, but the volunteer did not show up, so there were two moms and four kids. Lydia organized the children into a semi circle around her then she “read” a couple of books to her audience. When she was done with the books, she took the kids over to another area for a “craft” project then she had them sit in front of the TV (which was off) so they could “watch” a video. The children were happy to mind her and follow instructions. Lydia was 3 at the time, Sarah was 2, and the other children were 3 and 1 years of age. My husband says Lydia will be the first woman president of our country. I hope this is not so, not necessarily because of the current candidate, but in the next 30 years, surely some woman will be elected president!

Sarah is as independent as they come.  She wants to do it herself, by inventing a new way, and in her own sweet time.  She does not like to conform, and plays dress up every single day of the year. Two stories illustrate her personality. We went to an ice cream shop to order sundaes when Sarah was 3. She listened carefully to everyone else then confidently ordered an “I cweam Tuesday.” She is mechanically inclined, at 3 Sarah figured out how to buckle herself into her car seat. I am not convinced that at age 5 Lydia could operate the latch, I know my mother can’t.

Even the names my girls give their dolls illustrates their differences. Lydia, the girly girl, has dolls named Emily, Billie, Denise and Abdul. No nonsense Sarah is more interested in animals, and has Zebra, and Sad Baby the polar bear. Sad Baby gets his name from the little bear mouth sewn into his face. Her dolls really don’t have names except for Pink Doll, who is, yes you guessed it, pink.

Tommy, at 17 months, is too young to have solidified his specific aspirations. He spends a lot of time defending himself and his rights with his sisters (non-verbal tattling). It will be fun to see where he fits into our “company”. Advertising?  Marketing?  Finance?

If you go to a Chinese restaurant and read the paper placemats, you will find that Lydia and I are dogs, Husband and Tommy are horses, Zach is a pig, and Sarah, well she is a monkey.

I made gingersnaps today and we invited our neighbors over for cocoa (which they gave us for Christmas) and cookies.  It was nice to visit with them.  She was a teacher, and she asked if I had made a school decision.  Lydia will be in Kindergarten next year.  Boy is that hard to believe!  We are in one school district, school #1, but we are on the far edge of it.  We are just as far from two other schools.  School #2 is in the community to which we belong, where we have friends and neighbors.  School #3 is a parochial school with 25 kids, where we also know people.  School #2 has a bus stop down the road a ways, saving me driving 7 miles to drop off a kid at school #1.  Actually it would be 9, since I would probably take the highway.  Husband and I both attended public schools the same size as school #3, and Lydia went to pre-school there last year.  I wonder if they have a sibling discount, tuition would kill us!  I am not opposed to public school, nor do I feel strongly about parochial school, heck it isn’t even our religion.  It is actually the size which appeals to me, and their lunch always smelled so good!  I need to do some investigation, and I need to ask questions, but which ones?  Two babysitters from school #2 told me that it is really clique-y, and they were happy to transfer to school #4 for high school.  Neighbor taught in school #1 and worked as the computer guru in school #2.  Of course, their granddaughter attended school #3. 

All I Want for Christmas

December 6, 2007

This looks to be a long night, Baby Zach is wanting to be loved, and definitely not wanting to sleep.

Today we went to a party where Santa made an appearance.  Lydia told me it was a guy in a costume, not the real Santa.  I told her not to spoil it for anyone else.  All three of ’em sat on his lap and enjoyed it.  Zach slept, looking back on it, maybe I should have got him up for the occasion.  Since we don’t get Nickelodeon or Disney or anything like that, my kids are at a loss as for what they “should” want for Christmas.  Lydia asked for a train engine to pull her Daisy train car around, and her own set of tracks, the second part is not likely to happen, but maybe we can add to what we already have.  Sarah asked for, get this, a goldfish.  I am thinking we can swing a goldfish, not sure where to hide him though.  I really should get a satellite dish.  Santa had a gift for each child, we got Connect 4, Chutes and Ladders, and Memory. 

Three new games inspired me to clean out the game closet.  We have a zillion games, and didn’t have any of those we received.  I found all sorts of things, the hat from our Monopoly game and the missing piece from the Barbie puzzle which has been lost since Kari put it together 10 years ago.  I got rid of some games that the step-kids have received.  I moved them to a less accessible closet.  The games fit in their two shelves like one of those puzzles where you have to put the tiles in the right order by sliding them around.  Only I can get anything out of the closet.  I did leave the Jenga and Dominoes towards the front, because those are favorites to use as blocks.

My husband did a lousy job of shopping for my birthday present this year.  I am not a huge snob about getting gifts, but when someone says, “I need ideas, and it has to be something I can get between 9 and 10 on Sunday morning” you know you are in for something special.  Especially when your birthday is Tuesday.  I made him go though, because I made a big deal about gift shopping for him with the kids.  His b-day was Friday of the same week mine was.  I got a notepad with flowers on it.  I had asked for stationery, like what I could use for thank yous and such, but I guess I will just use a plain envelope.  Today I looked through my Williams-Sonoma catalog, and circled a few things, (I am hoping for the knife) and wrote “Christmas Ideas” on the cover with a magic marker then left it on his dresser.  If they have overnight shipping, I guess I could come out ok this Christmas.  I still don’t know what to get him though.  At least I am thinking about it now.

All By Myself

November 2007

Drumroll please. The moment you have all been waiting for…how will she fare by herself with four kids under 5-years-old? A quick reminder, Zach is nearly three weeks old, Tommy is nearly 1-and-a-half, Sarah is 3-and-a-half and Lydia will be 5 this weekend.

I spent Sunday mostly alone, my first day with nobody around since we came home from the hospital. All four kids and I made it to church, everyone who had teeth had ‘em brushed, everyone who had hair had it brushed, and everyone’s shoes matched. Can’t ask for much more; we were on time for 9:30 church, the ladies helped with the service which was kind of a pageant. Tommy, Zach and I held down the pew. Half way through the service Tommy wanted to run in the aisle, so a nice lady took him to the nursery. Our church is really small, so the nursery is not staffed, but you can watch though the window and listen to the service.

Monday went fairly well, we stayed home all day. For supper I managed to have a meat dish, a vegetable dish, and fruit slices, on the table at the usual time.

Tuesday the ladies had school at 8:45. As they were getting dressed, Tommy decided to finish off Sarah’s dry cereal. Lydia came out with capris on. After explaining that it was 19 degrees outside I finally convinced her to put on long pants, and admonished her not to do everything Sarah told her to do (this is a new thing, as Lydia is usually the boss). I put Zach in the nursery and laid out some clothes then went to get Tommy. I helped him off the chair and asked him to come to his room so he could get dressed. I then went to dress Zach. When Tommy didn’t show up I sent Lydia to see what was going on in the kitchen. She called out that something was wrong with Tommy’s tongue. I finished dressing Zach and went to investigate. Sure enough, Tommy was staggering around with his tongue hanging out. He had spilled the pepper on the table and I could see fingerprints in it. Two plus two equals “pepper is not meant to be served by itself, or on cereal.” He didn’t want to drink water or milk from his sippy so I left him alone to fix his little problem, and he did, somehow.

We were running on schedule and I had three kids buckled in the car. When I went into the house to get the last of my stuff I found out Sarah had taken off her coat and was trying to stuff Sad Baby into her backpack. I hit the roof, she doesn’t have a clue where her library book is, but she wants to take her polar bear to school! On the way into town, I was informed by Sarah that she was “going to live in her pink house, and she was taking Zach with her.” The as yet unbuilt pink house is across the street from Grandma.

We made it to school on time, then I went to run some errands. I put Tommy on his leash (which looks like a puppy backpack) to go into the grocery store, as he had dirty pants. They were cleaning the bathrooms which gave me a chance to check out the dark chocolate selection (lacking) and peruse the wines (well stocked). Once everybody was back in clean undies, I put Tommy in the cart and headed down the aisles. I was looking for a greeting card when out of the corner of my eye I saw Tommy take a nose dive out of the cart. I caught him by his beltloop as he was headed for the floor. That could have been ugly.

I picked up the ladies and fed the baby in the school parking lot. I hope their surveillance camera doesn’t go that far! We then drove to the newspaper office, to place an announcement of Zach’s birth in the local tattler. I parked on the street, as the parking lot is about two blocks from the front door. Keep in mind the weather here.  (The street is one-way through town, if the next part doesn’t make sense) I took all four kids into the office with me, then visited with a friend for a while. When it was time to leave, I put the baby in the driver’s side door and told the others to wait for me. We waited until traffic was safe and then proceeded as a group to the passenger door of the van. I lifted Tommy in and turned around to find Sarah dancing in the middle of Highway 30. Well, you can imagine how that went. She is getting a leash too, a monkey one.

A side note, Zach is the pottyingest kid I know. He has tinkled on me no fewer than six times. I gave him a nice warm bath the other night and he pooped in the towel! Then he tinkled! I have learned that tinkle follows poop fairly shortly, and it is best to wait a few minutes before changing him.

The Incident of the Underwire

October 2007

After my third and final child, I figured my body was done changing shape and I had come to an angle of repose, as Stegner would say. Grandma asked what I needed for Christmas, and I was honest and said a bra. She gave me a gift certificate to JC Penney.

In January I took all three kids to JC Penney to go bra shopping. Tommy was in a stroller, as he was 7 months old, and the ladies were along for the ride, at 4 and nearly 3 years of age. JC Penney is apparently saving money on labor, as nobody works in the store except the check out clerk, from whom I borrowed a tape measure. I found a couple bras that I thought might come close, so we went to the fitting rooms. The handicap access one was locked. It was the only one with a door, so I chose the curtained room farthest from the changing area entrance. Then I was faced with a choice. I could close the curtain and leave Tommy outside in the hallway, or I could put the stroller in the changing room and change in the hallway, with a view of the entire store, or rather the entire store would have a view of me. My third alternative was leaving the curtain open and the stroller in the hallway. I tried this, but the ladies were being “active” and I had a hard time keeping an eye on them without chasing them down the hall while hooking a bra behind my back. I am somewhat modest, and although the store was pretty empty, it seemed a little risqué.

I finally gave up in disgust and bought my husband some long johns with the gift card. I told the cashier, when she asked if I had found everything I needed, that I had not found anyone to help me in the bra department. She said she was sorry but she had to stay at the cashier’s counter.

We proceeded down the mall to Victoria’s Secret. The lady put all four of us (and the stroller) in a changing room that was larger than a standard bedroom, with a locking door and everything. She measured me and found me some bras to try. She even gracefully side-stepped my question about the weird under-arm fat bulges which showed up in one particular style I had tried. I bought two bras, which cost more than the gift certificate had been by quite a bit, but the service and privacy were worth it.

I had quit nursing Tommy four or five weeks before bra shopping, thinking that things would be back to normal. About two weeks after the incident, I noticed it looked like I had a couple of golf balls rolling around in my new bras. Have I shrunk more? I don’t have a lot to lose in the first place!

I don’t know of course, since I am pregnant again. For some reason Sears was the only place to buy nursing bras in our town, and they quit carrying their maternity line. Actually nearly every store quit selling maternity clothes between Jane and Leo. You would think the third largest town in Nebraska would have enough customers to keep a maternity shop in business, or at least a place to buy something between WalMart (where I don’t shop) and Yonkers (which I can’t afford). Last week I bought two nursing bras through the JC Penney catalog (it was private, and of course they don’t carry any at the store). The catalog said buy your pre-pregnancy size. Can’t wait to see how that works out. It just doesn’t seem right. My old nursing bras are shot, and they never fit well in the first place. I would have asked about nursing bras at Victoria’s Secret, but I had asked during my first pregnancy and found out that breastfeeding was not her secret.

I am not actually reading the book, but it looks good.  Will have to check out the library.

September Thoughts

October 2007

This must be a good year for toads. We have them all over the place, and the darn things eat mosquitoes, so I hate to step on them, but it is hard to avoid. They are quarter sized on up to prince-kissing size (maybe that was a frog). We probably have nearly one per square foot of lawn, well maybe less than that, but they are everywhere. Maybe we are low on garter snakes…Dad always said the coyote and rabbit populations were dependant on each other. I haven’t seen many snakes this year, but not because I was looking for them either.

I am ashamed to admit it, but we have had 17 extra inches of rain this year, timed pretty well. Our annual rainfall is around 22 or so. I feel bad for the people at the other end of the state with 5 inches so far this year, about half of what their average is. We did not water our lawn this year, until last weekend, and then just a few dry spots under the trees. The rest of it looks pretty healthy, but we aren’t expecting a Golden Spade Award any time soon.

It is a good thing we live in the country, otherwise our neighbors would be calling the city on us for not maintaining our property and causing adjacent property values to decline. We let our lawn get way too tall sometimes, then I have my homemade automatic mulcher, which involves a tarp strap holding the grass shooter up so the grass scatters. When the lawn gets too tall this leaves attractive windrows of dead grass in the lawn. I let it cure for a day or so then mow again, scattering the dry grass further. I have learned that if I don’t fertilize my lawn, I don’t have to mow it as often, same goes with watering. Our garden can become an eye-sore being right along the road and full of 6 foot weeds.

Somewhere in Nebraska there is a line, on the west side of the line, rural people just have a yard that looks ok, not especially nice. East of that line (where we live) rural people haven’t got the memo that they live in the country and they keep their lawns up like town folk do, but probably using stronger chemicals, available only to farmers. Our neighbors water their lawn pretty much every day, and mow it probably twice a week. Sounds like a waste of water and fuel to me, but their lawn looks great.

I lived on a farm in Wyoming where my boss actually ran the swather across my lawn a couple times a year, followed by the bailer. It doesn’t take long to mow when you have a 30 foot wide mower. The bales were pretty small though. We have too many trees for that to work here, otherwise I would be tempted…

Right now I am outside, and one-year-old Tommy has the hose. He is learning all about fluid dynamics, and how to spray himself in the mouth. He is having a blast. He is a mower man as well, climbing up on the lawn tractor every chance he gets. I turned my back the other day then when I looked back, all I could see was the soles of two feet disappearing on the far side of the mower. He has some sort of rolling head-first dismount figgered out, because he was not upset in any way and he landed on the concrete. We better keep it parked on the grass I guess.

I looked out on the deck the other day, and there was Ariel the Mermaid sunbathing in the nude. It seems her natural pigmentation would preclude such behavior. When Sarah went out to get her, she wasn’t even burned. Now I am jealous. Most of my ancestors came from England, so I didn’t develop the tanning gene. I don’t do much of anything, unless I burn, so I stay out of the sun. I guess it is probably safer that way. My husband never burns, he just gets darker and darker. Someday we will probably be visiting a dermatologist as a result of this, but he isn’t worried.

Tommy moves so fast these days, the other day he disappeared. He decided to walk around the corner of the house, and down the driveway to greet Daddy returning home from work in his huge pickup. We need to put a little fence thing in that part of the yard. He doesn’t come to his name yet, so if he wanders, you have to go searching. We have asked the county to put a Slow Children sign in front of our house, but they are not in a hurry to do that. Even if people don’t slow down, maybe they will keep an eye out, if only because they think my kids are slow.