Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just Keep Swimming... Just Keep Swimming


Woke up. Neck was feeling marginally better, I could at least function on a low level. Upon retrieving Baby Girl from her crib discovered that she had vomited sometime in the night--and slept in it for hours. Poor little thing, didn't even cry out, just slept in the most disgusting conditions you've ever seen or smelled. Hurt my neck further removing tainted crib bumper. Exhausted a can of Lysol in her room to decontaminate. Prayed she wouldn't vomit again (thankfully she didn't). Wrenched in pain all day.


Woke up. Neck still hurts. Lila's nose is running like a sieve. Theorize she vomited from gagging on phlegm. Stayed home all day and wondered to self why she gets so many colds. Attempted to remove stains from bumper. Failed at that. Thanked God several times for pain killers. Wrenched in pain a bit less.


Lila wakes up sicker. Huge bubbles of snot come out of her nose that she gets cross-eyed trying to look at. See seems okay-ish though. Think to self that she should be much improved the next morning. Further attempts are made to clean bumper as I'm desperate to return it to the crib to help contain binkies that are dropping like flies and therefore interrupting sleep. Plus her crib looks so sad, like a little Baby Prison. Fail again at stain removal, actually make situation worse. Discover that Cole hijacked my DSLR and somehow managed to dent the outer rim on the lens. Curse and swear. Give thanks that he didn't do worse destruction to my precious camera. Try to conjure up a punishment equal to damaging such a valuable item that he knows is off limits. Bright side to Monday- Wrenched in pain very little.


Morning, 5am. Woke up to Rey (leaving for the gym) beep-beep-beeping on the alarm pad. Realize Baby Girl is screaming in her crib as well. Curse and swear to self, blaming the old man for waking her up two hours early when really it's probably not his fault and I'm just angry and jealous that he gets to go to the gym when I haven't been in 5 days. The gym is my happy place. Realize that my throat hurts and conjecture that I have been infected by Baby Girl. Quickly count that this will be my sixth cold in five months. Climb out of bed to tend to baby. Trip on dog and hurt neck badly trying not to fall on face. Curse and swear at dog. Threaten to send him to pound because I know he trips me on purpose. Wrench in pain. Go to the baby, wipe her face clean of snot and chisel her face free from that which has dried in the night. A little diaper, feeding, and rescue mission of fallen binkies and she is asleep again. Praise the Lord and give thanks for this. Take pain killers for neck. Thank God again for those. Head back to bed. Wrench in pain over dog-inflicted neck reinjury. Sleep four seconds before the gym man's return and beep-beep-beep of the alarm pad wakens me. Contemplate running away to a hotel. Decide it's not worth the effort as I would probably be quickly apprehended.

Afternoon. Lila has been a hot mess all day. Note to self: perhaps she is sicker than I originally diagnosed. My throat is on fire and knowing I am getting sick makes me feel like I am facing a death sentence. Officially declare that I am sick of being sick and sick of my kids being sick. Throw in that I'm sick of being in pain, just for good measure. We are homebound because of aforementioned wrenching in pain, and also because Baby Girl's nose looks like a Geyser and she must be quarantined. Stress out for a moment about this "Swine Flu" and contemplate stockpiling masks, just in case. Relegated to a day of board (bored) games like Candyland to occupy the boys. Curse and swear the inventor of Candyland, and especially curse and swear whoever decided to put on the box that it was age appropriate for a 3 year old. It is not. Become convinced that the boys unionized to revolt, because if they go one moment without organized playtime they turn into Castro and Kadafi. Attempt outside play to avert the revolt. Choke on smoke from brush fires, retreat inside. Admit defeat and turn on the TV until nap time. Decide that whoever invented the show Yo Gabba Gabba was probably tripping on acid. Battled the kids down for naps, breathed huge sigh of relief for the reprieve.

Currently: Channeling my girl Dory, the friendly, forgetful, free-spirited, fish from Finding Nemo (cause everything in my life can be traced back to a Disney movie):

"You know what you gotta do when life gets you down? Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming swimming swimming."

Wise words for a fish, I say.

Dory is my hero. And so I swim.

Even though I feel like crying.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shock Therapy

Yesterday, I cleaned. And I cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned. Soon I had a pain in my neck. It was then that I decided--cleaning really is a pain in the neck.

As the night wore on the pain got worse. I was alone with the kids--Rey is the head of the Compliance Committee of our neighborhood. I call him a Condo Commando (I know, we live in a house, but House Commando just isn't as catchy.) So he was at a meeting fining people for dead grass and dirty roofs, and I was on Hour 14 of solo baby wrangling. By bedtime, I could no longer turn my head to the right. Children will pounce when you are weak--they were particularly naughty last night, and somehow managed to take advantage of my disability and execute all of their naughtiness to the right of me. I was very happy to tuck those littler cherubs in for the night.

Fridays are my favorite day of the work week. There's the impending excitement of the weekend, the celebration of surviving another week, and my workout schedule calls for a yoga class. More than I hated the pain, I hated the idea of missing yoga class. I went to sleep last night, hoping, praying, yearning for a pain-free morning. At least perhaps the pain could subside a little, to a manageable amount. Wishful thinking.

At 3am, I awoke. What woke me up? I thought to myself. Was it the pain? A dream I was having? As the cloud of sleep lifted a bit and I became aware of my senses, I realized--there were birds outside in our oak tree. Chirping a full symphony of chirping. What kind of sadistic bird does this in the middle of the night?

I quietly curse the offending birds and take stock of my neck pain. It is still there, and worsening. For three hours I lay awake, drafting mental to-do lists and stressing about my neck. It seemed like as soon as I feel back asleep, I was awakened by the tiny knees of a four year old, kicking me in the back as he climbed along side me in bed.

"Excuse me, Mommy. Can you make breakfast?"

As I turned to answer him, I was practically paralyzed by the pain. I guess there will be no yoga.

Rey was about to leave for work and saw my crippled state, hunched over and angled off to one side. Leaning Tower of Ashley.

I would drop Mason to school and head to my good doctor, who happened to have a speciality in Sports Medicine Manipulation. So not only could he crack my weary bones and twist me into submission, he could prescribe me drugs.

As he initially examined me, he realized I was too tight and tense for him to adjust me straightaway.

Enter shock therapy.

He attached these little electrodes to the back of my neck and hooked me up to a tiny machine. When he powered it on, it felt like aliens were crawling on me. In a good way though, you'd be surprised how good a little jolt of electricity can feel. His nurse brought in a gigantic heating pad and they arranged me with pillows, shut the lights off, and left me there in the semi-dark to complete my 30 minute round of electric therapy. Me and my little humming shock machine.

I channeled my inner yogi, assumed shavasana position with my palms up and did my best to relax. But there were creepy crawlies going up my spine, so it was hard to detach my mind from my physical body. Again, my To-Do list reared its ugly head, this time of things I could do the rest of the day with my neck as I am now certain I will have limitations.

Schedule Lila's one year pictures.
Address her birthday party invitations.
Send thank you notes for Cole's birthday.
Balance the checkbook.

Eventually the humming of my little machine shuttered to an abrupt end. The nurse came in for Phase Three: Ultrasound waves to further relax the muscles. We chatted for a while about children, trying to raise them well, shield them from bad influences... we were just moving into a discussion about Oprah's show on child predators when the Good Doc came back in.

I was twisted, cracked, jumped upon, pulled across the table by my head (which feels magnificent). A shot of Motrin to ease my pain, a prescription for muscle relaxers, a follow-up appointment for next week, and I was on my way. I asked him if I could take muscle relaxers while caring for the kids.

His response: "I can't say for sure how it will affect you until you've had one or two doses." Then he jokes, "Just don't do important things like drive, use a chain saw, or balance the checkbook."

Okay, crossing 'Balance the checkbook' off of my mental To-Do list.

The pain is still there. Unlike this morning, I can move though, so I will call this a victory. I'm interested to see the effects of these muscle relaxers--anything with the word "relaxers" in it sounds rather appealing to me.

Upon returning home, the following occurred to me:

1. I am thankful for modern medicine and the combination of physical, chemical, and electrical therapy, as sick as twisted as that sounds.

2. Picking up Lila today hurt me more than it did to give birth to her. Won't be doing that again today.

3. My shock therapy burned me. (Check it out--it looks worse than it feels.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dumb People do Crazy Things

You need a license to drive.

You need a license to get married.

You need a license to catch a fish for crying out loud.

Methinks you should also need a license to have a child. I mean really, not everyone is fit to be a parent, and I'd like to see some sort of screening process.

Take Nadya Suleman for instance. Surely her request for the license to have Children 7-14 would have been denied. Instead this crazy broad is in charge of forming 14 human beings into productive adults--without a job or a steady source of income. Should be a piece of cake.

When I lived in Key West, I saw a lot of crazy crap. People, who were friendly and nice, but also drunk and homeless, were on every street corner. Two weeks of the year you couldn't leave your house without seeing a drag queen wearing nothing but feathers or a middle aged woman wearing a painted on shirt. And once during my sentence on the island, I witnessed a mom (or who I assumed to be the mom) walk out of a gas station with a toddler who I'm guessing was about 2 years old. She opened the driver's door, the little boy (who was wearing no shoes as he toddled around the gas station, I might add) hopped in and climbed into the passenger seat. No car seat, not even a seat belt. AND SHE DROVE OFF. Like it was nothing--like he was a dog just tagging along with her. Here boy, hop in the car. Good dog.

I was shocked. And I called the police.

Then, there are people a little closer to home.

Last night we were out for a family stroll, the boys on their Lightening McQueen bikes, Lila in the stroller, Mike on his leash. We only made it a few houses before being greeted by two runaway dogs. Not far behind them was their owner who was running after them in her bare feet while holding the hand of a very chubby toddler. Rey tried to catch these dogs to help this woman--after all, we have been there. We have literally chased Mike for miles before.

The toddler's grandmother drives by in her gold Jaguar, and the mom puts the little boy in the front seat with the grandma. Okay, I'm withholding judgement here. She's trying to catch her dog, they're only in our neighborhood, she's probably taking him home right now. No reason to be alarmed. This isn't I-75 we're talking about. We fail at assisting in the dog catching and continue walking one way as the dog chase goes the opposite way down the circle.

We make it halfway around the 1 mile loop of our neighborhood and I see it, the gold Jag--flying down the street--with the little toddler standing on the center console, his head sticking out of the open sunroof. The speed limit here is 15 MPH (no one goes quite that slow) but she was easily going 30 or 35, perhaps even 40. The little boy's chubby cheeks were being pushed back into his ears from the force of the wind in his face. He laughed as she sped, she sped as he laughed.

I was pretty hot over this. Not to mention the speeding, but a car is not an amusement ride for a toddler, certainly not in a neighborhood like ours where kids are outside playing everywhere. What if one of my boys fell off his bike? Would she slam on her brakes to avoid hitting him? The joy-riding toddler would no doubt go flying.

I just do not understand this kind of irresponsible parenting. Sure, we all have days where we are struggling along to find our way, but negligence?

Well, at least we know she won't be out there angling without the proper education of fish conservation--you need a license for that. After all, we wouldn't want to see any fish harmed, right?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dunkin Donuts Donates!

Tomorrow, April 21st, go to Dunkin Donuts and buy a small iced coffee for 50 cents, and they will donate 10% to Homes for our Troops.

Homes for our Troops is an organization that builds homes for severely injured troops, so your money is going to a great cause!

Visit www.homesforourtroops.com for more info.

I hope to see everyone out and about tomorrow with an iced coffee caffeine buzz!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Purple People Eater's Peerless Picture-Perfect Performing Personality

Today I feel a bit like crying.

I can't exactly pinpoint the origin of my emotional state. Some of it came when I received and looked at the proof for Lila's first birthday party invitation--I love my baby girl and thinking about celebrating her first year of life brings tears to my eyes.

On the flip side, I feel sad today because one of my friends is feeling sad. Sympathy sadness, if you will. I wish it were simpler to ease life's pains, be they physical or emotional.

So, I am a touch lachrymose today.

And like magic, Cole steps in. He did something that on the surface is definitely naugh-ty. But underneath, it's a testament to his glorious personality, ever inquisitive as he drinks up life. Which made me smile.

From a child's perspective, a mother's makeup holds some sort of special fascination. Is it the pretty colors? The desire to emulate one's mother? Or the fact that her makeup is so often a "forbidden fruit"?

The motto of motherhood: Never turn your back--not even for a second. Sometimes you have to though, at least if you're going to feed your third child, and she does like to eat every now and again. And so it came to pass that while Lila was smacking her lips on her lunch today, the boys were quiet--I thought they were busing themselves watching a show in my room.

Alas, Cole came 'round the corner, looking beau-t-ful when a sparkly purple mouth, and I knew the moments of silence I enjoyed had come at a messy price.

I decided to take pictures of his drag queen status first, knowing that if I saw the causalities to my coveted makeup it would probably kill the amusement of this moment. And boy, did he work it for the camera.

Check out the pout action (and don't mind the poor guy's eczema).

After the photo shoot, I decided to check out the scene of the crime. He pulled out (and got into) everything--hair brushes, makeup brushes, nail polish remover, face products, the whole kit 'n kaboodle.

It was interesting to stand there and survey the damage. Things were strewn about, and some things were arranged in an interesting fashion. Again, my thoughts leave to the mind of Cole as he's on this scavenger hunt through Chanel, Lancome, Bobby Brown and Maybeline.

Neatly stacked nail buffers. Tower a la Cole.

My poor beheaded lipstick ...

...which was apparently used to color on a Sam's receipt left behind by Daddy

How thankful am I that Cole left this bad boy unopened? Very.

What he did was wrong (and I'm really surprised Mason didn't narc him out to be honest).

Am I happy Cole made a mess? No.

Am I happy he made some memories that made me smile? Absolutely.

Kids are so smart. I really think they know just what you need, and exactly when you need it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Evolution of the Automobile

Although we say it will never happen, when we become mothers pieces of ourselves slowly disappear. Some things are more subtle byproducts of motherhood, like a shorter, less high maintenance hair cut. Others are outward signs, neon signs that scream I AM A MOTHER!!!

The minivan is one of the latter.

Yes indeed, my friends, I was an "I will never drive a minivan" woman. I was fully prepared to expand my brood and purchase a large, gas guzzling seven passenger SUV that I struggle to park without hitting something. But when that time came that a larger vehicle was necessary, gas was $4 a gallon, and I was realistic in my ability to fit that SUV into the Publix parking lot, and both my wallet and my liberal side took over on the issue of fuel economy.

So a minivan mom I became. I conceded to the ranks only with the stipulation that I got a fully loaded van. It made me feel better that if I was making a concession, as least I could have a man in the dashboard telling me where to turn right while the kids watched Elmo in the backseat. And it's not so bad. The power rear lift gate is quite a convenience. I love the sliding doors. It's great that I can open them with the remote and the boys can easily climb in since it's lower to the ground than an SUV. The doors are also useful when some jerk parks too close to you and you're trying to squeeze an infant seat into the car. But I digress.

The main downside? You can never go incognito. When you drive a car, if you're out without your kids people don't automatically know you're a mother. When you drive a minivan it's a constant label, for better or for worse. Sometimes it's nice to go out and be a person, a woman, and not just a mom.

And then I encountered the ultimate reminder of my past. I was out at the grocery store, alone, with the minivan. As I walked towards my car, there it was. Parked next to the ol' minivan was the exact same car I drove before I had kids. A beautiful white two door Mercedes. It was my first brand new car and I loved it as much as you can love an inanimate object without being committed to an insane asylum. I was shocked at the flood of emotions I had upon seeing that car.

When Mason was born, obviously two doors wouldn't suit me any longer. We traded the Mercedes in for a family friendly Grand Cherokee. I was a little miffed because it was Rey who wanted the Grand Cherokee (being the Jeep man that he is) and I wasn't too involved in the selection process. I was three weeks post-partum with my first child, and any first time mom thinks she's engrossed in the hardest job ever (ha! wait until you have baby #2, or better yet#3!). Basically, at that point I didn't really care.

As I drove the Mercedes for that last time to take it to the dealer to trade it in, I was a little sad, and I tried to remember my freedom and freeze the love I had for it in my mind. But in reality, I was too tired to be sad, and all I could think about was getting home and trying to steal away for a nap.

Fast forward three years, through a second baby and on to a third pregnancy. When Lila was on her way, the Jeep had to go. I could only fit two carseats in the backseat and my growing belly was a sure fire sign I would need to get three back there soon enough. There was even less fanfare when I bought the minivan and traded the Jeep in--I left it, signed the papers, and headed home to attack my to do list. What car I drove was officially a utility instead of a representation of my personality.

Seeing that Mercedes in the parking lot brought back a lot of memories and a long bout of nostalgia. I thought about how I used to wear adorable high heels to work and was never seen in public without lipstick and a coat of Chanel lip gloss. I could almost taste the lunches I would have at restaurants with my coworkers. I thought about how when I drove around town I could crank up my tunes so loud my eardrums would almost burst, and I recalled how those tunes were not the Wiggles, or "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain."

The reality is that the car was just a car. It can give me hugs, or draw me stick figure pictures. Flip flops are far more comfortable than heels. And maybe I don't get to choose the music, but I do get a personal concert daily via my two little rock stars! Sometimes sacrifices are met with a great reward.

The car was just a car, and the minivan is just a minivan. Chapters in life result in things that are always changing. One day I will move on from the minivan chapter. And maybe I'll see one in a parking lot somewhere and miss it as much as I'm missing that white Mercedes.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Eggs-traordinary Multimedia Message

Does this look like the face of a Sick Girl?

See, I don't think so either!

But she is in fact sick. I thought she was in the clear. She hadn't thrown up since Tuesday, had worked her way back to eating, and had a full day of regular meals yesterday. She has been her normal, happy self.

Until this morning, when she vomited her breakfast all over the highchair. Thankfully (for me at least) I was at the gym and Daddy was On Duty.

But she's been all smiles all day! With the exception of the fact that she very clearly wants to eat (we're easing her back to food for fear of vomiting retribution) she has been so happy!

Playing in her room while the boys napped, she was drawn to her Safety 1st nightlight (it is safely screwed into the outlet and includes an outlet cover, no worries).

Standing there, she laughed...

Banged on the wall...

Explored the nightlight up close...

And checked to see if it was edible. Hey, I said she wanted to eat, didn't I?

What a goofball. Did I mention that last night she stood up without holding on to anything for the first time? Considering she wasn't even pulling up on furniture a month ago, I consider this amazing progress. I was thinking she'd walk later than the boys (Mason and Cole walked at 12 and 13 months, respectively) but who knows...

Until next time...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana

"Say what?" you say? Today I did this really challenging yoga pose and boy did it feel good.

"Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana" translates to "Reverse Half Moon." This is "Half Moon" or "Ardha Chandrasana" (the pictures look similar, you'll notice his arm is switched so he's getting much more of a spinal twist in the first picture):

I was in my standard Friday yoga class. The teacher, Laurie, was switching things up a bit today and did a class focused on strength. She threw this pose in and demonstrated the three modifications: Level One where you kept both hands on the floor; Level Two where you lift your arm and did what the second picture depicts; and Level Three where you reverse it like in the first picture.

After seeing the demonstration from Laurie (who is wicked flexible and makes yoga look so beautiful and effortless) I decided I was sticking with Level Two. She typically gives modifications in this manner and I feel like I'm generally a Level Two. She also was talking today about how you should respect your body and work yoga around your body and not to try to work your body around yoga.

So we went from the Level One pose into the Level Two pose, and then Laurie instructed the Level Three people to move into the Reverse Half moon, which I had already decided I wasn't going to do because I deemed it beyond me. As I'm chilling there, balancing in Half Moon, sweating freakin' buckets because it's not as easy as it looks (try it), Laurie comes over and whispers to me, "Don't you want to try it?"

To which I responded, "I don't know, should I?"

And she said absolutely and helped me do it.

I couldn't freaking believe it! I was doing it! When I started regularly practicing yoga four months ago, my skills were so bad you couldn't even call them skills. My main reason for starting yoga regularly was my flexibility was so lacking. At first I was a wee bit disappointed with how long progress was taking. But lately I've noticed my flexibility is really improving--I'm able to reach father in poses and do so much more.

I have a lot of fitness goals going right now. I'm running three miles three times per week, working on increasing speed through intervals, hills, and sprints. I'm signed up to run the Disney Half Marathon in January, so I'll starting really training for that in September. I'm cross training with spinning twice a week. I strength train three times per week. And I practice yoga twice a week.

It was slow going at first, but especially considering how much I'm squeezing in right now, I'm amazed at my progress. I really am.

If I keep patting myself on the back like this I'm likely to hurt myself!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lila the Geyser

Upon becoming a mother, you have a lot of expectations.

You expect to love your baby.
You expect to get no sleep for a while.
You expect to see a lot of bodily excretions.

I was fine with poopy diapers. I was fine with baby spit up.

But I can't handle vomit. And Lila is on Day 3 of vomiting.

I don't know if it's the vomit itself that churns my stomach or if it's the fact that vomit is a sure fire indicator that your child is really sick. Maybe it's the fact that I am aware of the highly contagious nature of a stomach illness and the propensity that it may spread to me, my other children, or worse--me and my other children at.the.same.time.

Another learning curve this go around--I've never had one of my children vomiting at such a young age. Lila is 10 months, and the youngest age that one of my children first got the stomach bug was 17 months (Mason, only weeks before Cole's birth. He also got it again when Cole was two weeks old, and again when Cole was a month old. That was one period in my life where I literally questioned God if I was going to survive). So again, I am humbled by my "the more kids I have the less I know" philosophy.

Anyhow, I've been working through the aforementioned learning curve. Trying to keep her hydrated with Pedialite, carefully rationing it so as to hopefully avert another bout of vomiting.

I officially declare the saddest scene in the world is when a 15 pound ten month old baby is dry heaving into the bathroom sink. The feeling of her wrenching body in my arms, the look of sadness, pain, confusion, and panic on her face, coupled with the sight of a body that's practically in convulsions... well it could bring a grown man to tears.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cole's Birthday -- The Recap!

Every veteran parent knows that kid's birthday parties are fun fun fun, but work work WORK! It is for this reason that I decided to outsource Cole's 3rd birthday party to Gymboree. It's a little pricey, but totally worth it because cleaning up after 20 kids aged four and under plus their loving parents is not my idea of a good time. This way we can focus on the Fun and not the Work. And you will see, Fun was had!

The boys wasted no time getting down to the business of play. We were there less than three minutes and this was the scene. Just the two of them in the play area....


...and climbing....

....and monkeying around.

Cole loved this little tunnel thing. Later they made a "train wash" out of it (since the party theme was trains) and they blew bubbles in there.

A Motley Crew

They played a maraca game where they doled out maracas to all the kids. That in and of itself was immediate fun. But then they instructed them to BANG on this tube thing, which was a fan favorite. They played a song that during the chorus said "Pause" and all the kids yelled "Happy Birthday Cole."
Check out Cole's face....

Lila with her maracas...

The cake was eagerly anticipated by Cole. I made cupcakes and arranged and decorated them to look like a train...

As soon as they put the cake in front of Cole, he blew out a candle. Mason was so annoyed that Cole had upset the order of things. (This is a testament to their personalities--Mason's regimented, orderly and controlling while Cole is free spirited and easy-going.)

Ms. Carla relit the candle...

...and Mason restrained Cole whilst we sang.

(Cole's getting a little testy with Mason's hand on his shoulder.)

Free at last!




The sweet taste of patience!

Back to playtime... They brought out the parachute AND.... (drumroll please....)

It was like Manna from heaven. The happy happy happy faces on these kids while they played and danced around to this bubble song were a visual delight.

As the song wound down, the lyrics told them all to lay down and sleep. The girls were all about this--they boys were like "What? Stop? Are you kidding?" And they took off.

And just to prove I was actually in attendance, here's a picture of me and Cole. All the mothers out there know--you're never in the pictures because you're always taking the pictures!

P.S. Here's a shot of Rey and Cole during the Special Birthday Breakfast. Cole was so excited for this--when they went to leave for the restaurant he walked out of the house with a swagger like you've never seen before. Mason is already talking about his birthday on "Ontover Fourteen" (October 14th) so he can have Special Breakfast.