Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday's Doings

I haven't been posting about us being sick again, because I just CAN'T HANDLE IT. But we are. The girls and I. Sweet Pea, of course, is getting the brunt of it. Seems it always happens that way.

We had been playing every day with our neighbors for four days or so before I found out that one of their kids had been sick that whole time. When the younger one got sick I became aware of the situation and of course by then we'd been well exposed and that same day Sweet Pea already had awakened with a sore throat, which turned into the cold we've got now.

Unfortunately Sweet Pea got a cough a couple days ago that started sounding increasingly like the one she had when she was diagnosed with walking pneumonia and yesterday she was completely exhausted when I picked her up from school, so this morning I took her to the doctor before school. She has either walking pneumonia again, or the doctor said it could alternatively be a virus. Either way, Sweet Pea's lungs don't sound right; she is getting plenty of oxygen, but she is also wheezing. So, immediately upon leaving the doctor's office we went to the pharmacy, then grabbed some lunch at Jamba Juice (hee hee, nothing wrong with a special treat to cheer us up after a sucky diagnosis), and before taking Sweet Pea into her classroom I gave her her first dose of antibiotics and albuterol. I'm not the least bit excited about medicating her so much again, but what can I do? I sure as heck don't want her to get full-blown pneumonia, and the doctor prescribed the albuterol to help her breathe better and cough less. I figured that since she'd be running around at school I'd better give her the stuff that will help her breathing and coughing.

We had an appointment for Sweet Pea to get her kindergarten shots tomorrow morning but I asked the doctor her opinion on that, and she said we could if we wanted, but if we could wait another week that might be better. So I rescheduled those for June 4th. Sweet Pea is excited to have a week's reprieve.

Unless Sweet Pea's cough is drastically better and there are no other symptoms or backsliding, we are to take her back to the doctor on Monday so they can listen to her lungs again and see how much progress she has made on the medicine. If her lungs sound the same or worse or she has other symptoms, they will probably do a chest x-ray to see if she has pneumonia, and possibly also do whatever tests there are to check for asthma.

There truly are no words to describe how distraught I am about us being sick again, especially since Sweet Pea's cold progressed so quickly beyond a cold. The Bug and I have the cold as well, but I am only coughing a little and The Bug is not coughing at all, and *I think* we are getting over it. I just CANNOT HANDLE the reality of more illness in the house. I feel like my head is going to explode. We've had so much more than our share (according to my measure, of course) of illness over the past 6 months. It has just GOT to stop. I told Slipshod this morning that if I didn't know I'd go batshit crazy without friends and actually leaving the house, I'd just keep the girls home all summer and not see anyone, for fear of them getting sick again.

Hopefully this will be it for a while. Hopefully the weather will continue to warm up and then stay that way instead of going from Africa hot straight back to winter temperatures and rain. Maybe THAT will allow us to move on like we should with the seasons and be well for a while. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Updating In Photos

To make up for my long and boring absence I'd like to offer you lots of pictures of the things we've been doing over the past month or so. There are three posts full of pictures - enjoy!

Sometimes Slipshod and I like to do messy kitchen science with the girls. Slipshod's favorite thing to make for them (and help them play with) is Non-Neutonian Fluid, a.k.a. cornstarch and water. When you exert pressure on it it reacts like a solid and resists (which means you can roll it into a ball in your hand), and when you just hold it, or just lay your hand on top of it, it reacts like a liquid. It's lots of fun to play with. Check out this cool video of some guys running across a pool of it! Sweet Pea totally wants to do this. So do I, for that matter.

This is our latest pet: A Green Cabbage Looper caterpillar which arrived on our Napa Cabbage from the farm last week. It's been in a cocoon since the 20th and has yet to hatch out. We're still checking on it several times per day to see the brown moth it will become.

Above and below, some spectacular splashdown shots of the girls in our own pool in our own back yard. Hee hee!

Continue on to the next post to see more recent pictures and read more little updates.
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Remember the Heat Wave?

Yeah, a couple weeks ago, before winter returned. Well, here's what the girls looked like for a couple days:

This is their Ikea-fied (last year) play room upstairs, and the best real smile I've been able to photograph on Sweet Pea for ages (go ahead, click on the picture to see it larger).

As you'll notice, they believe they are supposed to sit on the table (actually they don't usually do that - it was a spur-of-the-moment bit of silliness, I believe). They also think the chairs are for standing on (see that one backed up to the wall under the window? That's where they stand to yell out the window to the neighbors when they're outside playing and we're still inside getting ready).

Here's The Bug posing after saying, "Take a pictow of ME, Mom!"

And for two days during the heat wave, this is where we were after school: At Speed Racer's house, playing in his pool.

Sweet Pea had the brilliant idea to make the slide end up in the pool and I swear it kept Sweet Pea, Speed Racer and The Bug occupied for a half hour with no letup. It was a really fast, constant three-kid parade: Out of the pool, up the back of the slide, splash down into the pool. And repeat.

One more post with pictures for you! Keep on scrolling if you feel like it.
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Catching Up In Pictures (Still)

When we have lots of family over, like we did last Sunday, The Bug makes a point of hanging out with all of her favorite people. Upon seeing Boopa up on the landing lounging against the wall with a pillow, she grabbed an identical pillow and joined him. She later instructed my sister to grab a pillow and join them and the three of them had quite a party up there on the landing. ha ha!

Sweet Pea drew this picture for me one morning last week while I was taking a shower. The spots on the kitty showed up because she did the drawing on top of a step stool. I think it's a pretty cool effect.

Sweet Pea began showing an intense interest in space (I mean above and beyond, "hey, there's the moon") back in December. Now she'll even deign to do a drawing at school sans cat if you can believe that!! She even knows which planets are gas planets vs. rock or ice planets, and knows where the asteroid belt is. She flipped Saturn & Jupiter from the actual order in this drawing, but otherwise it's spot on, I think, and the next day she did another very similar drawing and put them in their correct places. She's so cool. :o)

Some days (okay, most days) I feel inadequate as a mother - I feel like I'm ignoring my kids to blog or check e-mail, pushing them away too often so I can clean, etc. etc. etc. And then some days I realize, "hey, they're happy and I cook them breakfast almost every morning." Only rarely do we eat cold cereal.
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Saturday, May 24, 2008


I can honestly say that today is the first time in my entire life I've had my birthday during the winter.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sleepless in the Big Bed

Yes, she's eating a bagel in bed. Sue me.

Hey everybody, after hearing me talk about it for how many months now, you finally get to see a picture of the girls' new shared bed! Last weekend we FINALLY got out to the mattress store, laid on a bunch of beds, and the mattress we chose was delivered later that day. I had bought sheets months ago, so we put the waterproof "envelope" on the bed, made it as usual on top of that, and voila, the girls have their own bed to share! The picture above was taken the next morning, so you can tell it worked. ha ha ha!

Actually, The Bug woke up once each night for the first two nights and I was so half asleep that I just picked her up and brought her in bed with me until morning. The third day Sweet Pea said, "hey, stop taking The Bug out of our bed! I don't have anybody to snuggle when she's in the big bed and I have to go up to your bed in the morning!" So for the past two nights I've been laying down in the girls' bed with The Bug when she wakes up and sits up. She usually falls right back to sleep, but last night she woke up for a second time after I'd only been back in "the big bed" for half an hour. At that point I was like, "screw it, just come up into my bed," but she didn't want to go! I took her anyway because all I wanted to do was lie down on MY BED, on MY PILLOW, and go back to sleep. The Bug sat up looking longingly at her bed and fussing a little bit. I told her, "go ahead, you can go back to your bed and snuggle in with Sweet Pea." Eventually that's what she did! Hooray!

Now, here's the funny/sad part. The Bug was driving me insane when she was doing nonstop night nursing and I was SO ready to get her out of my bed - but once she weaned she became a super snuggly little bunny and I loved having her there at night, even though she often put her little head on my pillow, bonking into my head in the process. Now that she's in the sibling bed with Sweet Pea, I can't sleep! There's no wiggly warm little body next to me, bonking into me and playing with my hair when she half-wakes and apparently I really miss that. Sigh.

In other news: Sweet Pea told me yesterday, "Mom, I need more chores. I want more responsibility." Um, okay! Then she started naming off everything she could think of that she could possibly help me with and I said, "why don't we start with just a few," but she insisted that she wanted to help me with just about everything. Works for me, though now that I'm teaching her some of this stuff she's not actually that interested in doing it. Figures.

School is nearly over - hard to believe. I'm looking forward to a summer of play and art, but first I'm working my bootie off trying to get through our accumulated STUFF and clean the house (at least the downstairs - the upstairs is actually nearly spotless compared to downstairs anyway) before The Bug's birthday party! Slipshod did a bunch of sorting in the garage last weekend and helped me out a bunch. He set up a large folding table we had out there and stacked stuff on it that was previously scattered all around the garage - stuff I'd been telling him Iwas going to Freecycle for the past year or so. With all of that in one place now, it's super easy to go see what's there and then post it right away on Freecycle. I've also gone through a bunch of the boxes inside the house for the same reason, and in the past two days I've freecycled some of my old clothes (some of which were too big, YEAH), a slew of sippy/kid cups, a couple kids' cereal bowls, 9 kid dresses, our Leapfrog baby items (learning gym & learning table), a bouncy chair/rocker, and two baby ride-on toys. It felt especially good to realize that out of all of the kids' items I freecycled, the only things that were not given to us were the cups. Somehow it feels especially good to pass along things that were previously given to us, either new or as hand-me-downs. It's nice to see those items go on to a new life with yet another family.

Noticing how much of what we gave away we did NOT buy (and looking around at the toys/books remaining the same is reflected in the things we chose to keep) also vindicates me in my assertion to my mother that we are not the free-spending thoughtless consumerists she believes we are. Yes, our house is overflowing with children's toys and books, but probably at least 80% of them come from family and friends - mostly family, thankyouverymuch.

There is MUCH more sorting and freecycling to be done, but I feel GREAT having given away what I have so far. Our living room looks drastically better (I got rid of a whole stack of boxes that was clogging up the main walkway) and getting part of the downstairs a bit cleaner gives me hope that I can get the rest of it clean as quickly. Here's hoping!
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Haiku Friday: Beam Me Up, Scottie!

Haiku Friday

Mom's little helpers:
Two Advil at four o'clock.
I'm going crazy.

Sweet Pea has become
A defiant little thing
Driving me insane.

The Bug runs away
All the time, everywhere.
She thinks it's funny.

Two kids are too much.
How did my parents raise four?
I will never know.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Yeah I Still Live Here

Have you noticed how I only seem to blog when somebody is ill or something else sucky is going on? Me too. Sorry about that. Hee...

Things have been going well here this week. Everyone is well (knock on wood - quickly!) and Sweet Pea has gone to school every day. She shared one of her books about space (meaning, she took it in and one of the teachers read it to the kids at circle time) and has brought home two cool papers to show me; one showing certain numbers of beads which she had to count. She wrote the correct numbers in the rectangles above the pictures of the beads. This paper showed 11-19 beads and she did darn well writing the numbers, which is very cool. 12 came out as 21 but other than that the numbers were in the correct places. Today she showed me a writing practice sheet she completed for 1-10. She just had to write each number over and over on the line next to the printed number. We've been working on writing her numbers at home because whenever I send mail to anyone (or whenever she does, for that matter), she REALLY wants to write the address. That is not possible yet for her - it would take 3 envelopes and a magician of a postal worker to read it, since she cannot control the size of her letters and tends to just put them anywhere if she runs out of room while writing, which could mean that if she starts writing a word at the bottom right of a page, half of it will end up backward at the top left of the page. I have, however, been having her practice writing zip codes on scratch paper and then allowing her to write those on envelopes once she's got the number shapes down. And I think that's why she chose to do that particular work today at school.

The Bug is doing well too. She's been crankier than usual but is still her fun self most of the time. I think the crankiness may have to do with her two-year molars. I don't feel anything cutting through the gums yet but I know they're hanging out in there just pushing, pushing, pushing. Today she fussed a lot in her sleep during her nap and I thought she was actually waking up. I went up to the bedroom to check on her but when I got there she stopped fussing, eyes still closed, relaxed, and fell the rest of the way back to sleep. But I noticed that her hands were both up by her face, near her jaw, when she was fussing and moving. Can't remember if I mentioned in my Easter post about smashing her finger in the shower door, but the nail finally fell off today. The new nail has only grown halfway out but she will not keep a band-aid on for longer than a few hours and there is only so much I can do. Today she tore the rest of the hanging part of the nail off the nail bed so I had to just cut it off, even though her finger looks very unprotected. Of course I put a band-aid on to help the finger heal more with some protection, but she kept it on for all of an hour. She's got another band-aid on tonight; at least that one should stay on until she wakes in the morning.

Tomorrow is Grandparents Day for Sweet Pea's class at school. My mom, Slipshod's mom & her hubby will come to the house before school and then I'm going to have them take Sweet Pea over (no reason for me to go, after all, and that will give me a better opportunity to get The Bug napping when her body actually needs it). They get to hang out with her in her classroom for an hour and she gets to show them the works that she does in the classroom, show them the classroom pets, etc. etc. They (Sweet Pea included, of course!) are all very excited and looking forward to their time together at school tomorrow. I'm envious, since I had to miss Mom's Night (when she would have shown me around her classroom & told me all about the works she does during school) in the Fall, due to Sweet Pea being ill. But I have been in the classroom on occasion and have gotten to see some of the neat things they get to do in there.

Yesterday the box arrived full of birthday paraphernalia for both girls' birthday parties. They're of course both beside themselves with excitement about their birthdays coming up, so today I gave them a sneak preview of the invitations, plates and balloons in the box. The Bug stuck with her original Sea Life theme, but Sweet Pea changed her theme.

She had chosen a theme called "Glamor Cats" but then began drawing pictures for me of the way she wanted to decorate the house for her 6th birthday, next year. She drew planets hanging from the ceiling and fun space stuff like that. One day I said to her, "you know, I haven't ordered the things for your birthday this summer yet; do you want to have a space-themed birthday party this year instead? She got very excited and jumped up and down, so that's what we're doing this summer: A Space birthday party. The big plates have astronauts on them and the small plates have the Space Shuttle, but her favorite things, which I would not usually get but did because I knew they would be her favorite, is the placemats, because they have a big picture of the Earth in the middle and other pictures around the edges of Saturn and the moon and stars and galaxies.

Sweet Pea has always been interested in the moon and the stars, and I have answered her questions as best I could about them, and have shown her the Orion constellation and looked things up for her. But she gets most of her space information from her Boopa, who is so interested in space that he has multiple star projectors (he even gave her a small one last year to keep) and telescopes and knows more about things in space than Slipshod and I do. Sweet Pea loves - no, LOVES - to see pictures of celestial bodies. She already knows more about space than I do. She tells me about galaxies and nebulas and all kinds of cool stuff. She has added "space scientist" to her list of things she wants to be when she grows up.

A month or more ago Sweet Pea asked me if I would please start recording space shows for her on TV. Of course there is nothing on TV about space that is made for children to watch, so we just started recording anything and everything we could find about space for her, and she eats up all of it. Documentaries, feeds from the international space station, shows about ideas for the future (Mars colonization, etc.). She just loves all of it. Though after watching some of these shows and asking questions and hearing our answers she has decided that she'd like to be a "space scientist" right here on Earth, not an astronaut. I think the thing that bothers her most is the idea of bone loss. Yes, she's 4, but she worries about astronauts' bone loss after lengthy space missions. She's so freakin' cool. hee hee!

One thing I have noticed after watching a number of these space shows is that unless you're watching a live feed from the space station, nobody can make a space show about ANY planet or moon without mentioning and showing digitally rendered footage, at least four times in an hour-long show, of a huge asteroid hitting the Earth and wiping out our entire existence. They're obsessed. Though I feel that the obsession probably has more to do with sensationalism to boost ratings than an obsession with the end of the world as we know it. The way they work that scenario into every show smacks of the sensationalism used to get people to watch the news every night. Jackasses.

As for me... well, I have been dealing with ongoing headaches ever since The Bug dropped two FULL Sigg bottles on my head one morning last week. I did see the doctor about it yesterday and she said I check out fine. While the area where the bottles hit my skull is still tender and a tiny bit swollen, the headaches get worse as the day wears on and often envelope the entire right side of my head as well as my neck, which is my old MO for stress headaches. I thought about it yesterday and realized that I do feel very stressed out all day every day lately due to the horrific state of our house. Clutter, clutter EVERYWHERE but it's all I can do to get the bare minimum done every night between the time when the girls go to bed and I do. Our biggest problem is paper clutter and I'm often tempted to just make a big ole bonfire out of all of it.

I've recently, finally realized, in my very bones, that try as I might to just accept that I'm the only one who ever cleans or organizes anything around here (believe me, this is not something I feel is the way it should be, but after 12 years of banging my head against the same brick wall I figured maybe if I could just do it and try not to think about how angry it makes me to be the only one, I'd get more done with less rancor), I CANNOT, NOR WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO, TAKE CARE OF ALL OF THIS ON MY OWN. I'm already primarily responsible for the kids and the cats, 24x7. The dishes, laundry and everything else fall to me as well. 24x7x365. I feel like if I have to do all of this myself, then we need to get rid of 3/4 of everything we own. I just can't fucking do it all. I'm sick to death of trying and failing every. single. day. And yes, as a matter of fact, I have talked with Slipshod about this. Many times. I have asked that he do some stuff too. I have even gone so far as to suggest specific things he can do, which he has always asked me to do in these situations, since we don't see messes the same way (which is to say, I see them and he doesn't, he just steps over or around them). But, nothing's happening.

I really really need to get over my perfectionism, which most of the time keeps me from truly accomplishing anything toward my decluttering goals, and just embrace the idea of doing things 15 minutes at a time. Whenever I do that I am amazed at how much I can accomplish in 15 minutes. And if I did that every day, I would accomplish much more than I do now, and be rewarded with the feeling of actually getting somewhere, rather than fretting about it all the time.

On top of that I've been trying to get to packing for our weekend away this weekend (actually did get probably more than halfway packed for me and the girls today, which is a very good start) AND I've been trying to start planning a Disneyland vacation for August. Haven't gotten very far on that one but I'm feeling stress about it since I know that it's a little crazy to be trying to get rooms at an actual Disney hotel this late in the year.

So, yeah. I've been stressed about that stuff lately. To the point where my head really feels like it might explode. I'd better go mop up the half bath now - Sweet Pea had a pee accident the other morning. Thought I'd cleaned it up but didn't discover it until hours later - she didn't tell me - so part of the mess had dried and today that bathroom is RANK. Lovely. I've also been following one of the cats around tonight cleaning up her puke. Joy.

I guess I sound pretty bummed in these last few paragraphs, but I'm actually not feeling morose or anything. Just stressed through and through.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Mother's Day Idea & Giveaway

Today I've been hopping around to blogs of various folks with whom I am connected on Twitter, and I think I wanna be best friends with Amy. She seems to be rather knowledgeable about all things "green" and gave me the greatest idea for a Mother's Day gift for my mom (who is usually lucky to get a card from me... heh...) - an idea Mom will love.

Go ahead and pop on over to Amy's blog. Here's her fab Mother's Day idea, and here's the Earth-Mother's Day Giveaway (you don't have to have a blog to participate).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pillow Talk

One night not long ago, after The Bug fell asleep, I snuggled in next to Sweet Pea on her "kitty bed," as she calls it (her sheets have pictures of kitties on them). She wasn't tired enough to fall asleep yet so we chatted a little about this and that.

We were silent for a bit, and then I thought I heard her say, "I hope you don't die before I do."

"Did she really just say what I think she said?" I wondered, but decided that since it was late and she really needed to go to sleep, I would not pursue such a deep conversation right then. I remained silent.

Sweet Pea, however, continued, telling me how much she loves me and again that she hopes that I don't die before she does. I told her, "well then, I guess I'd better live a good long time."

She kept on, becoming more and more upset.

"Mommy, if you die before I do, I want to still keep you, because I just love you so much." (If that sounds morbid to you, keep in mind this is a four-year-old with very little knowledge of decay, etc., saying this.)

With tears in her voice she continued, "I want to be able to hear your voice when I wake up every morning. Mommy, I want you to make a recording for me, so that if you die before I do, I'll always remember what your voice sounds like." Her voice broke and she was actually crying.

At that point I began silently leaking tears into her pillow. I kept my voice as normal-sounding as usual, though, and told her that we can't worry about each other dying all the time - we'd go crazy with worry every day if we did that. I told her that what's important is to wake up every morning and be happy to be alive, and happy that our family members and friends are alive, and that we should just love each other as much as we can every day and be happy about what we have here and now.

I don't know how well my suggestions quelled Sweet Pea's fears, but I also hugged her for all I was worth and said other soothing things to her, and she did calm down and go to sleep relatively quickly after that.

When I got downstairs and began washing the dishes later I felt so very sad. What a heavy conversation to have with such a young little person. What big, scary things for her to have on her mind. I do remember my now-20-year-old niece asking me about death when she was 4, though, so maybe that's the first age when they start to understand a bit about death, I don't know. A friend and Slipshod both suggested to me that perhaps Sweet Pea's fears were connected to her having seen me almost completely incapacitated for a couple days with food poisoning the week before the talk. Makes sense. Mommy's usually on task 24x7 and then suddenly Daddy has to stay home and take care of everything because it's all Mommy can do to get downstairs to sit on the couch. I can see how that might be a little rattling for a young one.