Friday, August 5, 2016

7 Reflections on Today

1. It's funny how there are people who feel that they own specific floor space in a Zumba class, and I'm always in it!? Even if I was there first. I'm not saying I dislike these people: they seem nice. But, this is real and weird. I can be in any particular spot in a room and not really care—I just prefer personal space.

2. If grocery shopping takes you Y amount of time on your own, when children are added to the mix, you take Y and multiply it by 2 for one child and add one more to the multiplier for each additional child. So, for example, for me, it's Y x 4. I spent half the day at Meijer today (with my children), and we all about died.

3. Need a job, anybody? Meijer in Portage needs more deli people. It wasn't posted, but that was my observation.

4. There was a mom at Meijer (at 12:35 p.m. today) at the checkout who had a screaming toddler and a laughing 10-month-old. I saw several people flee the line to avoid them, and I purposely went to that line. My kids entertained the 10-month-old (who was doing fine on his own because he thought his screaming brother was hilarious), and I said a couple of things to the mom that I thought I'd have liked to hear (from, clearly, a seasoned veteran with my whole crew there) like, "It's quite something to have one laughing while one is crying, isn't it? Talent!" and "Ooh. 12:35 p.m. It's about that time. I'm familiar with that. I've done that a few times."

She smiled in appreciation, and it's possible my kids drove her nuts. However, she did take a moment to tell us all to have a good day as she left. I think that's a good sign.

5. There was another mom at Meijer who was waiting with her son for Sandy while my kids were rudely monopolizing her (Sandy). Everett was mopping the floor with his body under Sandy (trying to get a penny!? and a disease!?). Nora found an extra penny and gave her newly purchased (with her own money) white stuffed tiger a ride on Sandy. I said the following things out loud in no particular order:

"Everett. Stop mopping under Sandy with your body. If you're trying to get a penny, it isn't worth it."

"Nora. There is a living, breathing boy over here who is waiting very patiently to ride Sandy while you give your stuffed animal a ride."

"Guys. Stop sticking your fingers in the moving parts of Sandy. That is unwise."

Then, I found out that Everett still hadn't taken his turn, and as I was losing my $#!+ about it, the other mom looked at me (fondly, I would say) and said, "Oh! Don't worry about it. He can go."

After that, she intimated that it's hilarious: the things that we find ourselves saying as parents and offered the "moving parts" comment as one of those things.

6. There are people in this world that are super angry all the time, and nothing will melt their icy hearts. As I was coming out with all my ducklings, Everett, who had grazed all the aisles of Meijer for random trash, had decided he wanted to throw out a couple of items before crossing the street. A woman in a large SUV appeared to be waiting for us to cross when Ev decided this, and I was too busy making sure nobody ran into the parking lot. Three seconds passed (while Ev delivered his trash to the receptacle), and this woman (in the SUV) hit the gas hard so as to make a racket, and as she drove by, she was shaking her head. My first instinct is to always think, "What a jerk." But, then, I remember: her life probably sucks if she's going to behave that way on purpose. (Not that I expected her to wait. It's just weird that she had to shake her head and be all huffy about us not crossing when she needed us to . . . when I have THREE kids that I am managing and a very large cart.)

7. Top three least favorite roads to travel in the whole world in ascending order:
  1. I65 south near Merrillville. 
  2. US30 in Merrillville.
  3. Willowcreek/Crisman Road in Portage.
BONUS ITEM: Dogs are gross.

Friday, February 19, 2016

We Survived Disney, February 15-18, 2016

Well, we did it. We went to Disney. It was a brief trip—just Monday through Thursday morning. We packed a lot of action in that time with two days at the Magic Kingdom.

Here are some of my absolute favorite pics from the trip.

This was our kids' first time ever flying! We chose Spirit Airlines.


Henry, Ev, and Nora just moments after arriving at our resort, Port Orleans Riverside (our room ended up being at Alligator Bayou).

Best photo ever from the teacups: our first ride at Disney.

Of all the things we were worried that would freak out Ev (like Pirates of the Caribbean), he was most horrified by the Enchanted Tales with Belle when the magic mirror turned into a door. It took about half a day for him to recover.


Misty moisty morning on our way to Cinderella's Royal Table breakfast.

Best photo of the kids in front of the castle.

Here is the WHOLE album shared via Google Photos.

Thanks to tips from several good, thoughtful pals, our short trip was eventful and efficient! The kids had a blast. In fact, Henry kind-of broke down on the way home saying he wanted to go back. Poor guy.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Everett's Big Adventures

This guy has been no stranger to the ER or the doctor's office in his time. He's had stitches in his face. He's had his face glued before. He was there with us (briefly) when Henry got his concussion a couple months ago. That said, Everett has had a pretty rough June. The little guy managed to pick up some Lyme disease in the last couple of weeks.

BTW, this is what a bulls-eye rash looks like which is a clear indicator of Lyme disease.
Then, within just a week of Ev's diagnosis for Lyme, on Father's Day, we decided it'd be a great idea to ride bikes over to the Portage Marina (Marina Shores) and fish off the dock. Everett's getting to be really good at handling his little bike, and I was impressed with his ability to manage one of the wheel chair ramps when we got closer to the marina. Then, we reached another ramp that led down to where the boats are docked, and as we rode down this ramp, I quickly began to realize that the grade was more significant than I would have expected (being a wheelchair ramp heading toward a marina). Right at the moment that I realized this, Everett had finished the ramp and rounded the corner at the end of the ramp, and his momentum carried him (and his bike) right off the edge of the platform and into the dark, murky waters of the marina.

I've probably never been so scared in my whole life.


Luckily, Willis was able to leap from the platform to the dock (somewhere around 7 feet or so, I'd guess) so that he could reach down and grab Everett out of the water. I couldn't see Ev in the water when Willis got him, but he said that Everett was actually keeping his face above water on his own somehow (I'm thanking God for swim lessons and bike helmets right now). They keep the docks locked for security reasons, so there was no getting on the dock any other way.

When he came out, he cried for about 1.5 hours. For a few minutes, we were pretty confident his bike was gone (it disappeared under the water). Luckily, some boaters came over to help with a boat hook, and we were able to retrieve his bike. We did not go fishing. Ev has said he never wants to go fishing again.

Ev was also pretty upset that he lost a Croc (shoe). Also, he hurt his wrist somewhere in the process, so we had a hard time figuring out if we needed to get an x-ray for that with all the other crying he was doing about everything else.

Willis doing some dadding. He described the rescue as his first "George Bailey" moment.
I even drove Ev to the ER (on Father's Day) shortly after this happened to go get it x-rayed, but the ER was full of people with head injuries. Plus, Everett started to cheer up and be silly with me at the ER, so I ended up just leaving thinking that he must be okay after all.

Then, in the middle of the night, Everett complained about his arm again. So, this morning, when a friend offered to take my older two (the best), I ran him to the pediatrician's office (calling on the way). The lady that looked at Everett was the same nurse practitioner we used to see at our pediatrician's office in La Porte when we lived there, so it was neat to see her again. She gave us a brace for Ev's arm, and then, she sent us to the digital imaging department where Everett got his arm x-rayed.

He's not a fan of the brace. Not even a little.
As it turns out, there is a fracture in his wrist. And, I've been spending the day waiting to hear back from the orthopedic people and losing my mind. Everett keeps taking the brace off. I'm frustrated and impatient. Once we get some answers, I can get back to focusing on the fact that I'm just ecstatic that he's still here and breathing.

Also, I wish I could thank the sweet lady who was in tears who offered her help when and after it happened. I don't know who she was, but I appreciated her. I didn't, however, much appreciate the staff of the marina who kind-of yelled at Nora and Henry because their (and our) bikes were in the way of their service ATV that they were driving on the platform. "Oh, hey. Yeah. Our kid just fell in here and almost died. Give us a sec to collect ourselves."

It's been surreal.

I guess it's time to call the ortho people again and ask them why the heck they haven't called back yet . . .

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Purdue Musical Organizations Meets The Hunger Games: 10 Years In

Dreams have eluded me for what seems like seven years, so I am still wondering why, today of all days, I woke up dreaming. Perhaps it's the amount of reflection that has been happening this week. (Last week, I had a 15 year high school reunion, and while we were nearby, we managed to sneak over to Purdue's campus with our kids.)

This dream was unsettling, though, and, yet, comforting in places. I'll describe it, in short, as Purdue Musical Organizations (with the folks that were in it when I was) meets The Hunger Games.

Several familiar faces (from the aforementioned PMO) met us (Willis and me) at a gathering place. We all laughed and enjoyed each other's company like time stood still since we had last seen each other. Then, we were all separated and shipped off on a really fast train to some facility that had some Starbucks-like features with undertones of corporate death. I realized, standing in this sterile place, that I had forgotten to plan ahead in any sort of fashion (bad shoes, clothes, no supplies, etc.). That's when I saw a local mom (present day) walk by with a concerned look on her face (not looking at me, just walking by), but she was clearly prepared and well-dressed for the occasion (which is hilarious because this lady is always so well-dressed and prepared).

In all this, I realized I was separated from Willis, and I had left my phone in our room (when I told Willis this part, he was like, "OH! The HORROR!"). I was realizing I might never see him again, unless it was on the battlefield where he might have to kill me. I was carrying a knife that was given to me in transit (probably by Woody Harrelson) that had more than just two dimensions that I wasn't particularly thrilled about trying to pocket.

Then, as I faced and looked out a panel of windows to realize that we were seated a tad lower than sea level, I saw some waves swell and crash over the retaining wall toward the windows. It was quite unsettling.

Then, of course, I woke up in a total panic. As the fog wore off (which took awhile, by the way), my heart started to explode with gratitude. Gratitude for not being in that place. Gratitude for realizing that I am waking up with a house full of joy, and getting ready to sneak away (just for a bit) and celebrate our ten years of marriage. Gratitude for stupid dreams that help me keep perspective.

I wonder if we'll always feel like our beginning days were just yesterday. We seem to age, but the memories sure do not.

Friday, May 29, 2015

How I Got Melted Red Crayon Out of an Entire Load of Laundry


Yesterday, I opened up a dryer full of adult clothes (my husband's work shirts, pants, some of my shorts, a skirt I made, yadda) and discovered that they were all splattered in RED. After I praised God for my children not being in the house when I made this discovery (I may have gone on a sailor-styled cursing rant), I tried not to panic. And, also, cry. It took me until I had everything out of the dryer before I discovered a flattened piece of red generic crayon paper.

I did what any other modern mom would do, and left that pile of clothes on the floor and ran to Google. I saw so many different things. I laughed at every single one that said, "Use an iron and paper bags," because I was dealing with an ENTIRE load of laundry. Covered. In red. Addressing all those stains with an iron would take a month. And my sanity.

So, after combining a few ideas from several different blog posts (and also what Crayola said to do about it—even though this crayon was an impostor), I came up with this concoction.

  • 1 cup of Borax (I used 20 Mule Team—is there any other kind?)
  • 2 full scoops (to the top line) of Oxyclean
  • ¼ cup of Dawn dish detergent
  • 1 full cap (to the top line) of Tide laundry detergent

I dumped all those ingredients into the bottom of the washing machine. I threw all those clothes back in there.

I turned on the water at my utility sink (next to my washer and dryer) to full blast hot and waited until it got hot. Then, I filled up the washing machine. My washing machine is a new, old-school top loader, and I was able to finagle it so that it would sit and soak after it filled. If I didn't have this, I was probably going to have to plug up the utility sink to do it in there.

I let that sit overnight. Then, this morning, I ran the load through the full cycle (in the same water), and when I went to pull it out of the wash, it was as if it didn't even happen.

I did see that a sport bra had a faint pink area on the inside, and a pair of my husband's shorts had a faint pink spot on the rear (but there were stains and holes in that sucker already, anyway). If I had tried again with those (to treat them), I'm sure it would have come out. I didn't even care at that point, and I knew those spots wouldn't cause more damage. So, I carried on.

Also, the dryer didn't have any solid chunks in it, but it was a faint pink color. I used a Magic Eraser on the drum, and then, I got an already-ruined towel wet and ran it in there on hot afterwards. That took care of it.

That's it! Don't cry. It'll be okay.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Thoughtful Whistle-Blower

I have to share a snippet of what our life is like with our Henry.

This morning, at the Fun Zone at our local Y, Henry was able to get a sucker (just a Dum Dum) out of the cauldron for being a well-behaved boy. He painstakingly (seriously) chose the cotton candy flavor. Then, just before we left, he said, "I am going to save this for Nora."

Everybody's heart melted. Twice. Then, I watched him struggle during the car ride (internally and externally) about it because he didn't realize how long it would be until she got home (and how long he would have to stare at it/smell it/think about it).

I explained to him that he is the sweetest boy for thinking of his sister and wanting to save that for her. I also mentioned that he needn't do that: that sucker was intended for him as a reward for his good behavior. I encouraged him to eat it himself as we have other suckers at home if the topic arose later.

I watched (in the rear-view) as he began to eat it. Then, I watched as he wilted, feeling completely guilty and disappointed in himself for not saving it for his sister. I explained to him that he should not feel so sad since that sucker really was intended for him—it isn't as if he did something wrong.

Still, he struggled. He still continues to struggle with his choice. I have a feeling he will blow the whistle on himself when Nora gets off the bus, even. I will likely see her get upset at him, and I will have to explain to her what a sweet brother he actually is (even though he's going to ruin it for himself by bothering to share his good, yet failed, intentions).

What's interesting about all of this: he never does it for Everett. (Not that Everett even cares.) I also think it is possible that he is doing it just to please his sister—who, by the way, has been known to coerce Henry into letting her eat his desserts (and, when I catch this happening, I stop it—FYI).

I have no idea how to even handle it. I understand the weight of the pressure he put on himself earlier. I just can't get him to realize that he's overdoing it. Maybe that'll just come with age. I don't know.

I love that he wants to be so thoughtful and loving like that, but . . . dang. Sometimes his heart is too big.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Death!? Not Today!

The kids and I were having a nice, calm morning in my bed—taking turns telling jokes. Then, we heard what sounded like furniture falling down stairs (only, we don't have stairs) coming down our hallway toward my bedroom. The only reason I didn't go and hide under the bed with the rest of the kids is because as the noise reached my room, I heard our dog yelp. He came into the room, seemingly unharmed but looking shamed.

I ran down the hall to see what the heck he must've been stuck to in the hallway and saw nothing. Then, I heard the sound again. It was coming from Ev's room. I looked under the crib to see our cat with completely black eyes. Also, there was a paper Olive Garden bag that Willis had brought home from work last night with him. It all started to come together.

After I let the kids give the cat some space, he finally came out from under the crib . . . with the paper bag still attached. He's free and OK, now, but I really wish I had a surveillance camera in the hallway to capture what the heck went down out there.

We kind-of all thought we were going to die for a minute. But, no. Hilarity.