Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Last Straw

There may be a point in the distant (or near) future where you might happen to catch a glimpse of me and I just might be, I don't know, muttering to myself, rocking in the corner, or perhaps slowly plucking each eyelash one by one. To clear up any future gossip about how I came to my current state of psychosis, let me give a wrap up of the past week in the life of Holly. This will be a long post, and I'm sure there will be much laughter at my expense. I can take it. I've been laughing at my life for along time now!

Saturday April 17th: Day 1 of fever, diarrhea, and excessive whining for Marley. When I say "excessive", I mean like she has suddenly developed the ability say "mama" 878,989,301 times/minute, with no apparent follow-up. All of the symptoms last off and on for 7 days.

Sunday April 18th: My 12 mile training run, followed by a 90 minute drive to nephew's birthday party with the boys at a nice park. Search the forest for Keller who first responded with "MOM, I'm PEEING" and then did not respond at all for an alarming amount of time. Drive home and deal with Whine-ley, I mean Marley.

Monday April 19th: Take Marley to pediatrician during their walk-in clinic hours. Wait 2 hours for the astonishing diagnosis that she has . . . "a stomach virus."

Tuesday April 20th: Go from perfectly fine at 8pm to near coma illness by 9:30pm. Fever, stomach issues, chills, fatigue. Collapse in bed, where Casey joins me at 3:30am to say that he feels like he might throw up. "Sleep" the rest of the night in a feverish daze, paranoid that he is going to puke on the back of my head at any moment.

Wednesday April 21st: Spend the day near death, relying on Dave and my friend Diane to get kids to/from school. Ponder the amount of time I spend driving kids to/from school and come to the mind-boggling realization that I do a total of 21 drop-offs/pick-ups every week. That just sucks.

Thursday April 22nd: Crawl out of my cave long enough to do some really inefficient parenting and house-tending. Take boys to the Book Fair and Science Fair, which although interesting, sucked the life out of me.

Friday April 23rd: Dave leaves at 4:30am for his flight to New Orleans for Jazzfest for our friend Derek's bachelor party. He won't get back until Monday afternoon. Time for me to fly solo, with zero energy, zero appetite, and one sick kid. Get everyone dropped off at their three different schools (which all start at 9:15, by the way) and go to the library. Feel too fatigued to bend down to look at the books on the lower shelves, and see this as a sign that maybe I should not be out and about. Go home and pass out on the couch for an hour. Pick up kids at three different schools at three different times. Make a "family voyage" to Blockbuster and the grocery store to stock up on brain-draining and stomach-settling supplies. Keller randomly wakes up at 3:30am and stays up until 5:30. Just felt like it was time to get up, for some reason, which can only be to further ruin my chances of ever sleeping through the night.

Saturday April 24th: Drop kids off at Diane's so I can go to the doctor. Doctor kindly faxes a prescription to the pharmacy, which they completely ignore until 40 minutes later when I show up to get it. While waiting for my prescription, I run into Keller's first grade teacher in the toothbrush aisle where I am frantically filling my basket with eight new toothbrushes because I'm suddenly certain that the germs are jumping from toothbrush to toothbrush in the holder and I can't stand the thought of having another sick person in the house. Pick kids up at 1:00. Sit on couch at 1:20 to rest. Wake up at 3:20, having left my three kids essentially unsupervised for two hours. At some point, Marley had climbed up next to me and fallen asleep. The boys were happily rotting their brains and shrinking them to the size of peas by staring at the television. Marley went on to sleep for 3 hours, which came back to haunt me later.

Saturday April 24th--Part 2: Fall into bed at 10:00, looking forward to a night of sleep. Anxiety prevents me from drifting off peacefully, as I happen to have a little race called a freaking half marathon in a week and I haven't had a good night of sleep or a solid meal in a week. Race through panicky thoughts before finally fall asleep somewhere between "I'm going to die" and "I'm going to run away." 1:30am I am awoken by the sound of Keller crying out in agony. He says his stomach hurts, but he doesn't need anything and falls back to sleep. I go back to bed. 2:30am, I am awoken by those 4 little words that strike fear in the hearts of sleeping parents every where, "I just threw up." Clean Keller and put him on beach towels in my bed, strip his bed and start the laundry, scrub the floor in the dark (Casey sleeps soundly through all of this despite the fact that he and Keller share a 10 x 16 room). Fall into bed, again, at 3:15, paranoid that one of my children is going to vomit on the back of my head (again). 3:30am, not even sure I ever closed my eyes at this point when I hear Marley downstairs yelling defiantly "No Night Night" "Not Right Now." That three hour nap earlier had apparently helped fulfill her internal sleep quota. She had her baby doll and a book and she was ready to start the day. Convince her to go back to bed, where I spend the next 4 hours with her feet wedged under my chin or in my abdomen.

Sunday April 25th: The day was looking up. Kids all seemed to be feeling better, we took a picnic to the park and finally got some fresh air and moved our bodies a bit. The kids played in the sprinkler, threw water balloons, it was like the fog had lifted. Until . . .

Sunday April 25th--Part 2 (which took place during the span of 15 unbelievably messed up minutes): Casey makes these cute posters for his band (titled "Casey Rocks", of course) and Keller goes in the bathroom to get himself dressed up for the part of drummer. This apparently involved writing on his knuckles with black marker "CASEY RULS". Keller calls out from the bathroom, "Mom, don't be mad." 4 more words that every parent shivers upon hearing. Open the bathroom door to find a naked Keller (stripped down to poop, of course) with blood running down his arm and dripping everywhere. He had apparently decided he would try to shave. With my new razor. With five blades. When he couldn't feel a difference on his face (zero minus zero is zero, right?) he thought he should run his thumb across the razor to see if it was sharp enough. It was. Blood, naked kid, badly spelled words on his knuckles. Get the bleeding stopped, but the damage is done--Keller's weakened stomach prevails and the vomitron begins. Clean him up, again, and start a bath running for him. Warn him that his thumb might sting a little in the tub, so he may want to hold it out of the water at first. Go into the kitchen to clean up from dinner and see what trouble the other two have been getting into while I've been taking care of Slash. Five minutes later, hear Keller offer his new favorite refrain, "Mom, don't be mad..." This time, the bath tub is overflowing all over the floor. He was so afraid to get his thumb wet that he just wouldn't stop applying pressure with his other hand, thereby leaving no hand to turn the faucet off when the tub was filled.

He's such a smart kid, I can hardly believe he did what he did tonight. I'll admit that I was only half kidding when I told him this is the closest he has ever come (so far) to getting an ass beating from me!!

Oh, back to the title of this post, just in case you don't yet understand why I may take a little 'rest' at a 'nice place' in the 'mountains.' Keller and Casey love the Diary of a Whimpy Kid series, so my mom bought them two of the books. She put them in a package with Casey's birthday gift and a cute little baseball bat for Marley. The package got lost, and when it finally arrived almost a week late, it had been torn open and mangled. In place of the books, there was a random pack of gum, which creeps me out on so many front, but I'll deal with that in therapy. Keller was really disappointed, but we knew that his book fair was coming up and I told him we'd get the books there. We bought the 3rd book, "Diary of a Whimpy Kid: The Last Straw" on Thursday night. Guess what was sitting there on the floor next to Keller's bed, all new and unsuspecting, when his spilled his stomach contents on Saturday night.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Captain Casey's Pirate Party


Casey turned 5 on Sunday, and we celebrated with a Pirate Party in his honor. At risk of sounding completely cliche, it seems like just yesterday that he was a little baby, smiling at everyone and everything, watching and learning from his big brother, loving to be wrapped and swaddled and held tight. Now he varies his style between whirling dervish and snuggly mama's boy so often that I never know what to expect! April 26th is kindergarten orientation for him and I just can't wrap my brain around the fact that my little love bug is soon going to start spending 1/2 of every day away from me.

Check out Casey and his pirate shipmates:





Captain Casey, treasure map in hand, leads the hunt for buried treasure (aka goodie bags)



I had some serious mom-guilt over getting him a store-bought cake. Of all my kids' birthdays, Keller's first was the only other time that I didn't make a homemade cake or cupcakes. Casey. . . was pretty darn excited to pick out his Pirates of the Caribbean cake at the grocery store the week before the party. Why do I torture myself over such silly things? I think I can blame it on my own mom, who, whether out of desire or necessity, made our cakes for us every year.


This poor guy got the snarf knocked out of him many times over by the 13 boys at the party. Poor pinata.


Obligatory 'birthday hat' photo that my kids run screaming from, and that I just at this very moment realized I forgot to take of Marley on her 3rd birthday in February. Oh boy. Here comes the mom guilt again.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gratitudinal Adjustment

Long ago, I tried to remember to post a 'gratitude list' weekly, and although I loved the way it helped me remember to count my blessings, the idea fell by the wayside. Life gets in the way sometimes. So in an effort to get back on track, I'm giving myself a 'gratitudinal adjustment' and sharing a photo list of my many, many blessings--in completely random order, which is par for the course with my hiccuping brain waves ;)

1. Camping with the crew. We made a last minute decision and headed down to Westmoreland State Park on Wednesday for two nights of camping. Or perhaps "kamping" is more appropriate, as we spent the nights in a comfy cabin rather than in our tent or our neglected pop-up. We hiked, fossil-hunted, ate s'mores, chased Juno following her repeated Houdini manuevers, and enjoyed family time, all with the most amazing views of the Potomac River.










When the bald eagle hangs out right outside your window, you kinda' know you picked a good spot to spend spring break!



2. Gals' Weekend. . . I so needed this. We shared a lot of wine, had a private yoga session overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, and relished the uninterrupted conversations that we rarely get to have with our collective 10 kids around!

Sunset from Airlia's house at the shore:

My three gal pals (and Ljuby, who looks like he is holding court)


3. Visit to extended family.

Where else but at Gram & Pap's farm could the kids climb on and practice driving giant milk tankers?



The children's museum in Johnstown honestly tops many museums we've visited. And to think, I had to travel all the way back to my little coal/steel hometown to find it!



And then there's this guy. . .Meet "Uncle Buff". 'Nuff said.


3. Saying good-bye to diapers. There are some moms who wax nostalgic at the end of diapering for their youngest child. Me? Hell no! See you later stinky diapers, you will not be missed.



4. This stubborn little woman who continues to amaze me with the way she gives and receives love from me, the mama who missed almost 2 years of her life but has still somehow earned the rights to the hugs, kisses, (and "occasional" stink-eye) that all mama's live for.