Mar 30, 2009

Last Place, I Promise!

Ok, I have now put this video every last place humanly possible, so this is it. Enjoy!

Mar 27, 2009

I don't want her, you can have her, she's too crab for me!

Matthew says to me today "We don't want Sophie anymore, she's TOO crabby!!" He's smiling the entire time, it's a joke of course, but man oh man is it true. Lately she has been a great big ball-o-fuss.

I blame the two teeth that have just poked through, but another theory is that they have awards similar to the Academy Awards, and Sophia was trying her darnedest to get a nomination.

The way I figure it, the perfect fit has several key elements. Let me break it down:

  • The Face: Must be red, crimson, or maroon.

  • The Eyes: Tears or no tears... eyes must either be closed tight, or have a distant, far off crazy look.

  • The Arms: The best fits include dramatic arm action, flailing, pounding, or waving will suffice.

  • The Hands: Must be balled into fists.

  • Vocalization: This element is most important, the best fits include many different vocalizations, from yelling, screaming, growling, crying, howling, gasping, and breath holding...aka the buildup.

  • Other Dramatic Effects: These vary greatly and can include throwing the body backwards, rolling, kicking, stomping, running, climbing, writhing, etc and all are dependent on the age and maturity of the child and severity of the tantrum.



On the fit throwing table, the fit Sophie just threw wold have been an 8/10 (for an infant of course). She had crying, wailing, breath holding, arm flailing, crawling up all over me, etc. I hated to break the news to her that she was about 3 kids too late for much sympathy. By the 4th child, their little tantrums are almost comical. Of course they still get the same amount of comfort and love as the earlier children, but inside you are thinking "Aww, she is trying so hard, and I am trying even harder not to burst out into fits of giggles".

I found that when I first was a parent, fits were sad, scary, and frustrating because I felt so helpless. As I got more hours of experience under my belt, I removed the blame and guilt and they become a part of parenthood; at one point you start to admire their effort, tuning it out.

Thankfully after some Orajel and infant Tylenol, Sophie decided she was more tired that she thought and is now laying down for a nap. Matthew also fell asleep... he's laying next to me on the couch snoring away. The older two kids are at friends' houses. The silence is both deafening and exhilarating. I think I will grab myself a fresh made-from-scratch brownie, another cup of coffee, and watch my Netflix movie. Could it be a more perfect afternoon??

Mar 26, 2009

What I did for my spring break vacation

A Thank-You letter to Cindy from Cindysporch.net

Dear Cindy,
I want to thank you for your email thread with the subject line "Spring Cleaning Challenge #3: The Kid's Rooms". You sufficiently helped me traumatize my children for life, and almost made my 12 year old son cry.

Let me back up a bit... I am a mother of four, two preteens, a preschooler, and a prima donna, I mean a baby. My sons are 12, 11, and 4, and my daughter is 9 months old. I also have three cats, and two dogs who are over 85 lbs. Things got even crazier this February when my husband left for a year in Iraq as a military contractor. I would like to say my house normally just looks "lived in", but truth be told there are times when it looks like World War III was just fought and a nuclear disaster was contained in my 1800 square foot home.

Your email could not have been read at a better time. Today we had a surprise blizzard here in Colorado, and because it is spring break, I have been hearing how bored my children are, or have had to pull them out of their Gameboys just to get them to clear their dishes from the table. What a brilliant day to play the "Clean your room or mom will kill you" game!! So I excitedly posted the link to the the spreadsheet in my Facebook status and printed out a copy. My four year old took quite a delight in running up to the printer to grab the game sheet and I handed them to my oldest son. His displeasure was easy to read; his face was red, his answers were curt and he looked like he could start crying at any minute.

To prove to him what a wuss he was being, I printed out a second sheet and told him I was going to do the same to my room. I even took the four year old up to "help" me and instructed the 11 year old that if he stopped working that he would would be grounded until the end of time.

Truth be told, the four year old was a lot of help. He made an awesome little "gofer" and had no problems fitting under the bed to push out CDs and books that found themselves held hostage under the bed by rogue dust bunnies. The children needed no prompting to get back to work or stay busy. They did need some reminding that Yu-Gi-Oh cards do not belong under dressers and that "clean dresser tops" does not mean to pile the junk right back on them as soon as you have dusted the tops off, however I think they earned an A-!

I soon found the cleaning was contagious though, because soon it spread and I found myself "accidentally" cleaning my bathroom mirror, which was not part of your list. The virus kept mutating and soon I was accidentally putting away pill bottles and mouthwash, tooth paste and mousse. Hair clips and nail clippers soon seemed to crawl into their drawers to escape the wrath. Next thing I know I am thinking how wonderful my cucumber melon all purpose would make the room smell and the counter, sink and toilet soon sparkled.

Before I knew it, my cluttered bedroom soon resembled a spa-like sanctuary. I now have a peaceful place to retreat to at the end of the day, and won't have to worry about books and CDs crawling out from under the bed while I am sleeping and tying me up like in Gulliver's Travels.

THANK YOU for giving me my sanity back and helping me to find a small slice of peace again. I LOVE my gorgeous bedroom and bathroom, I am really hoping having my rooms clean will inspire me to break out the gallons of paint I have had sitting out in the garage for weeks now and finish my redecoration project I have been putting off since I bought this house back in 2004.

Heather

Mar 23, 2009

Updating the house

Things have been busy here to say the least. Matthew started running a fever after school on Wednesday, by Friday I had called his teacher to let her know I would see her after Spring Break. Saturday I took him to urgent care because Tylenol and Motrin were no longer keeping his fever down. He has an ear infection.

Sophie popped out her first tooth on Friday, and today seems to have a second one trying to squish out too.

Today I had a landscaping/fencing guy come over to the house to do an estimate. $8,000 after "military" discount, YIKES! This includes a new fence, updated sprinkler system with expansion to the back, sod in the back & front with rocks and a breezeway. Nothing fancy by all means, but I think it will really help give us some "curb appeal" which right now is pretty negative on the 10/-10 scale.

Wednesday I have a carpet guy coming out to give me an estimate for new carpet & linoleum. Before I pull the trigger on that, I really need to paint my bathroom... but before I can paint I need new light fixtures, which I bought tonight, and LOVE, except the people who built my home put the hole for the electrical 2 feet to the left of the center of the wall, so I cannot use the lights I just got and I am not loving any of the lights that I can find that are long enough to cover a hole of that size, since I would need a 48" wide back plate. Wahhhhhh, I am so bummed!!

I also was planning on naming this blog post "I am not itching" but when I got back from Lowes my feet started itching so bad that I had to remove all the happy news of my itch FINALLY being gone. I guess I spoke too soon. :( I am hoping to go get a pedicure sometime this week, I think I deserve it!!

Mar 15, 2009

New Design

Just playing around with the header to my blog to reflect my life a little more. I have wanted to change it for a few weeks now, but I am now the happy new owner of a Mac!! I know, I know... I used to me a die hard PC lover, but I guess Once you go Mac, you never go back, because I LOVE this computer!!!

Well I never did find a program I liked as much as I did Paint Shop Pro X, until I downloaded a trial of PhotoShop Elements. Looks like I will be buying it in a few weeks, it works for exactly what I need it to do.

Anyways, I hope you like the new header as much as I do!

Mar 14, 2009

Fever baby, preschool, and other business.

On Tuesday, my sweet baby Matthew turned FOUR! It is so hard to believe that he is already four, but on the same hand I can't believe I have only known him four years because I just cannot imagine life without him, it seems like I have always known him. For his birthday dinner, he wanted to go to Olive Garden, which hit a sweet spot with me because that was the place I always went to for my own birthdays.

Sophie is sick with a fever and a cold. It started with a low grade fever on Tuesday and by Wednesday morning it was up to 103.5 and she had me up all night long. She is still a little warm today, but she does not seem so dependent on Motrin or Tylenol. I keep expecting to see teeth or chicken pox appearing, but so far neither one seems to be coming.

Matthew started preschool on Wednesday, so Sophie and I were able to rest while he was away. He goes 3 days a week for 6 hours a day and he LOVES it. I really struggled with the decision between a home daycare where they center around play-learning or an actual academic preschool. Both have up sides and down sides, but in the end I really liked the teacher, philosophy, price and convenience of the home based daycare near my home. He is only around two other kids who are 2 and 3 years younger than he is, but he does not seem to mind. I also like that he is exposed to less germs. I was hoping she would have another four-year-old or two, but he does not seem to mind at all.

Having only one child here for 18 hours a week clears up my schedule when Sophie naps to get much needed projects done. Part of my frustration was the clothing situation we are having. Matthew was pulling all his clothes out of his dressers to find one shirt, and when he and his brothers cleaned his room, those clean clothes ended up in the hampers and I had Mount Washmore climbing to scary heights. I felt overrun by laundry and was ready just to institute a burlap sack uniform policy. I decided the only reasonable thing to do was to move all his clothes into my room into Bobby's dresser. However then I had to decide what to do with Bobby's clothes. I ended up hanging up all his clothing, to include his jeans. It was actually sadder than I thought. I felt like I was "moving on", when in reality he is just overseas, not gone.

With Matthew's dresser now empty, I decided to use if for Sophia's clothing and then I moved all her diapers off the top of his dresser and into her old dresser. The room looks a lot more orderly now. We will see in time how this arrangement works.

The older two kids have been busy this week with state standardized testing. Austin is done and Christopher has another week left, but I think they are both feeling pretty sick of those stupid tests.

I braved the post office this week when I mailed off a 17 lb box to Bobby, it took me 45 minutes of standing in line to get it mailed out, but I needed to take a helper and I knew that would mean going at a busy time of the day.

Today I am feeling like a drill sergeant, the kids have overrun the house with their toys and messes and enough was enough. It was time to take control of the situation and put them to work cleaning up toys, their bedrooms, and all their other little messes. I still have to go through the house and clean up all the little hot spots that they have gathered on tables and the kitchen could use a good scrub down. All the floors need attention from a vacuum or mop too.

Last night I had my first bad night since Bobby left. It was the first time I REALLY started missing him. I mean I miss him every day, but we also talk, email, and chat daily. It has been almost four days since we have talked, which is the longest we have gone without talking since he left in January for training or February to Iraq.

Matthew is also having a hard time, he went from only 2 or 3 accidents at night a month, or 4 or 5 or more accidents a night a week since he left. I forgot to bring it up with the doctor on Wednesday at his physical to rule out anything medical. I am also having other issues with Matthew and Christopher both that I won't be bringing up on here to protect their privacy and keep from embarrassing them later in life.

I guess we all deal with changes differently, and we all have our good days and our bad days, all our trials and triumphs and in the end we will find our own ways to work through it all and be stronger for it.

I feel like a leper

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I still have hives, this is what my legs, arms, hand, feet look like. My belly is spotty, but to a much lesser extent. My shins, feet, hands, arms itch the most.

I went back to Urgent Care on Thursday and saw the same PA who gave me the ammoxacillin, she did not remember me and I felt bad saying "You did this to me" I just said that I was there on the 26th and prescribed ammox for a double ear infection. She was stunned that not only the "doctor I saw" missed it, but also that the pharmacist missed it.

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She put me back on prednisone, 20mg for 5 days, 10mg for 5 days, and then 5mg for 6 days. I have already had the hives for 2 weeks, and the PA told me it could be another 2-4 weeks before they are cleared up. I also am taking Claritin and Tagamet (yes, the heatburn medication) which is also an antihistimine. It was actually my facebook friend who told me about using the two over the counter meds, my mom confirmed my dad was on it for his shingles, and I talked it over with the urgent care doctor who agreed they were both good medications to add.

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Now if only I was getting any relief from any of it. I am sure it is helping, but I still itch like a dog with fleas. I try hard not to scratch, but it does not work that well. I just hope that it clears up soon, it is embarrassing to go out in public looking like I have something contagious. Oh and I am SURE my insurance company is loving the 4 visits I have had with doctors over this in less than 45 days from joining them. Not to mention my visit with the rheumatologist and Matthew's physical yesterday.... not to mention all the visits we have coming up!

Mar 9, 2009

Avon, Law & Order, and My Dad??

I had the most bizarre dream last night, it is still with me but fading fast so I figure I better write it down.

My dad is a trickster, he likes to joke with telemarketers and salespeople. He gets it from his father who is the same way. I remember one time my dad telling someone on the phone that his entire family had just been in a horrible accident and were totally burned and disfigured and mangled... and when he hung up the phone he was laughing so hard he was almost crying... on the other end of the phone was some young kid peddling a free sitting for Olan Mills photography!! Anyways, I digress.

So last night in my dream my parents were hosting a BBQ and I saw a woman driving around sticking Avon magazines under everyone's windshield wiper. As she comes around to the party, who are the cast of Law & Order and SVU, but in the dream are real judges, lawyers, detectives, etc. I think "Oh no, here he goes again!" and he does not disappoint.

He tells the Avon lady that they are celebrating the pregnancy of one of the attendees, he points to an elderly woman, probably in her mid 60's. Of course she is not really pregnant, she is swollen from cancer treatments, but the Avon lady does not know this. He then goes through the crowd introducing the guests, and telling her facts about them that by appearances seem very unlikely... this person here, who is clean cut & very professional just was released from prison for a lifetime of heroin use and trafficking, this gorgeous woman over here was born a man, etc.

When I woke up, all I could think of is how odd that dream was, and I promise I have not been watching too much Law & Order, but I do think I need to take a trip to see my parents soon as I have been thinking about my dad a lot lately.

Mar 7, 2009

Music for Breakfast

I just ran upstairs to grab my Kindle and found a very naked Matthew sleeping in my bed. After walking him to the potty I put him back into his bed where his radio was playing softly on some AM talk radio station. I asked him if he wanted his radio on or off and he asked me to find him a music channel. First I put it to a classic rock station and he turned his nose up at that. Next I passed by a modern hits station and he said he did not like that song right now. Next was a station that was either playing Christian or Country music, I could not tell.... I asked him if it was OK, and he replied "That is my breakfast song!" Not sure if that was a yes or a no, but I let him keep his breakfast song.

Tomorrow I graduate

Tomorrow I graduate from Financial Peace University. It is going to be a big yummy potluck with an Italian theme. I am bringing broccoli salad, which is not very "Itialian-y" but it is a great potluck dish. I am thinking of making it tonight instead of trying to do it tomorrow after church, that way it gets to marinate a bit.

Of course this means I *have* to go grocery shopping today. Austin commented our fridge looked so empty this morning, I think it is time.... I think I have procrastinated it long enough.

Mar 5, 2009

Wooohooo! "PAID IN FULL"

These have to be my 3 favorite words now! Thanks to the Dave Ramsey plan and the debt snowball I have now paid my two smallest debts. This morning I got an email from Best Buy telling me their received my $1281.31 payment and I now have a $0 balance. I have since closed the account and look forward to applying anything we have towards CitiBank... no matter how small. I will even be sending them my $3 check from doing a Buzzback survey.

I can understand why Dave says to ignore the math and tackle the smallest debts, not the highest interest rates first. It really feels amazing to have these little guys gone, even if I had 0 interest on one, and less than $1 interest on Best Buy. Sure it would make more sense to start paying off my van, which slams us with the highest amount of interest compared to these little guys, just because the balance is higher, not the rate... but we won't see results quite as fast with it. Seriously, I would much rather be able to say that I have paid off 6 things, than saying we have paid off one thing that is 50% of our total debt. Woohoo, we are 9.1% closer to being 100% debt free!!

I would like to be between 50-60% towards completion by this time next year. Wouldn't that feel amazing??

I am broken

So I wrote a little over a week ago that I had a double ear infection and they had me on 60 pills to clear it up. I guess what I failed to mention is that they were 60 amoxicillin pills. The significance of that is that I have a nasty little penicillin allergy that I told both the nurse and the pharmacist that did not seem to phase them. I figured they must know better than I do and wanted relief from ear pain so I happily started popping the evil little pills. Forty-six pills into my 10 day regimen I got out of the shower and noticed red bumps all over my abdomen. I called the doctor and spoke with an MA and explained I was having an allergic reaction and needed to be seen, so told me to come in to see the doctor in the morning, but whatever I do, DO NOT quit taking my antibiotic.

Eight AM the next morning I am sitting in the doctor's office filling out my new insurance information itching from head to toe... literally. I look like I had a fight with a swarm of bees and lost. Every part of my body is spotty, even my palms. Now I am not sure if I accidentally misspoke and said it was "erethromycin" but I am pretty sure my doctor was incorrect when she said that the penicillin and amoxicillin are in different drug classes. Needless to say I am now on a low dose of prednisone which is making my life a living hell. I am constantly starving, exhausted, and just feeling run down. If that is not bad enough, the fluid behind my ears was not even gone yet so I get to take Zyrtec to help clear that up and those pills knock me on my hind end, even if I take them before bedtime.... and I *still* itch, though the spots are slowly fading.

I also saw my rheumatologist this week, she was not quite as positive as last time. My repeat blood work came back abnormal, my ANA was 1:320, with my RNP being 1:128. What does this mean?? Well for now it means nothing. It means we wait, and watch for any signs of persistent joint pain or swelling. It means I *could* later develop Lupus, or a Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, or it could just mean I have odd blood results that mean absolutely nothing.

In the meantime I will get to visit my Rheummy every 4 months and get lots and lots of repeat blood work. I also am going to be taking some steps to start getting healthier now, just in case I do have problems in the future when it will be harder to go to the gym. I. Am. Tired.

Chick-fil-A busted my van window! (But I still love them)

So the 25th was a particular windy day, gorgeous and warm, but very windy. My friend Tracie and I had taken the kids (half of mine and her two) to Chick-fil-A because not only do they have yummy foods and healthy choices, but they have an awesome indoor play area that Matthew loves to pretend is his "tree-house home". Matthew and Tracie's oldest daughter were playing inside the play area, and Tracie and I are chatting while our babies shove food in their faces faster than we can break it apart. Sophie's gaping maw had already hoovered down a chicken strip, two potato slices, 2 pieces of mandarin orange, a slice of apple, three grapes, a strawberry and two heaping spoonfuls of chicken noodle soup (without the soup) that contained carrots, celery, noodles, and chicken. She was happily sucking on a saltine cracker when an employee started asking anyone if they drove a blue Honda. Well, at home I have a dark blue Honda Civic, so when he came to our table I said no... my Honda Odyssey seems more of a silver to me (technically the color is "Slate Green Metallic" but it does not look green at all to me). So when he gets to the next table and asks them if they drive a "Blue Honda minivan I start to think maybe he is talking about me.... and he was.

Seems that he was trying to move, repair, or remove a sign when the wind took it for a ride, sending one of the stakes flying into my windshield of my 1-year-old minivan.

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Of course everyone was super professional and the manager came over to apologize. I got a stack of free meals and free ice cream for everyone. They assured me that the damage would be fixed by their insurance company and thanked me for being so cool. Of course why wouldn't I be?? It was not their fault, it was just a window, and no one was hurt.

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The easiest way to fix the damage was just to replace it myself and submit the forms to their insurance company who called me the next day. They would have gladly done the work and paid for it themselves, but I was in a rush for the replacement, but not so much the funds now that we are on the Dave Ramsey plan. So bright and early the next morning I got a pretty new windshield. And since my van could not fit into the garage without and have the doors still accessible, it was a great excuse to rally the kids and get their help re-organizing the garage they had just been paid to clean.

I just got the paperwork notarized and will be mailing it to C-f-A's insurance company in the morning, and I should have my money back in a week or two. The overall experience has been quite pleasant and I joked that Colorado is bad on cars and in the first year of ownership the Civic had already been painted twice... first because of a wind/sand storm that pitted all my paint and glass. The second time because of hail.

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I just hope that Northern Virginia is nicer on my poor cars!!



I forgot the very best part... So when I picked up Austin (age 12) from school, I told him how it happened. Well he suddenly fell very quiet, serious and deep in thought. Finally, when we got home he looked it over a few times and said..."what I don't get mom, is why they would use steaks to hold up a sign, I mean is steak even heavy enough to hold down a sign, and how did a hunk of meat break your window....?" When I finally caught my breath from laughing so hard, all I could say between fits of laughter was "Austin.... STAKES.... like tent stakes" to which her responded the word he is most famous for.


"Oh"