Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apology Episode Follow-up

This morning, Hubby took Large Fry out to the bus stop.  After yesterday's fiasco, he made sure to talk to Mr. R, our usual bus driver.

Hubby waited until all the kids were on the bus, then poked his head through the door.  "Just so you know..." Hubby began.

"I heard, I heard!" Mr. R said with a chuckle.  "I had to work on the farm.  My mom called me and said that a little girl named Large Fry was still on the bus, and where did she belong?"  Mr. R rattled off the three street names that converge right by our corner-lot house, where Large's bus stop is.

Which would be how Large Fry got on the second bus, once back at the school, and was shuttled home.

I have this feeling that any subs will be warned in the future that Large can fall asleep on the way home from school and might miss her stop.

I also need to make sure Mr. R gets his Christmas gift of goodies before we move.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Long-Overdue Apology to My Mother

I am so very sorry that I went to Johnny Naioti's house straight from the bus stop that one day in first or second grade (I forget when).


I'm sure I apologized twenty-odd years ago, but that was probably either before or after a spanking, and while I meant it, I didn't quite understand.

I do now.

My only consolation is that (a) I'm quite sure Mrs. Naioti called you right away when I showed up at her house (if I remember right, she did), and (b) you actually knew most of our neighbors then, and would have been able to make an educated guess as to where I went...and track me down.  If you were able to think clearly enough in that kind of a panic, not knowing exactly where your child is, because she's not where she's supposed to be.  I remember thinking how unfair it was that I had to stay in my own yard and couldn't go play with my friends that afternoon.  I can't imagine how I didn't end up locked in my room instead.  Confinement to the yard, while just awful for me, doesn't seem quite enough from my perspective now.  It was the right punishment, and did get the message across, because I never did it again.

But I have to say, it seems to pale in comparison to the panicked reaction you must have had.

I do not know many of our neighbors here, which was a terrifying reality when it hit me this afternoon that I'd heard the bus come to the stop right outside our house, I'd heard kids get off the bus, and yet...Large Fry still had not come into the house, when she certainly should have by then.

I went outside and looked to see if something else had caught Large's attention, or if she was playing outside, or if she was just dawdling on the sidewalk.


I sent Hubby a text message, and he called back immediately.  It would be okay, he soothed, pointing out that she'd probably fallen asleep on the bus--it's happened before--and didn't get off.  I stood on the sidewalk by the street, looking bereft and feeling absolutely terrified, while he called the school.

Five VERY long minutes later, a bus that was not Large Fry's stopped at the corner...and Large Fry skipped out.

I managed not to start bawling.

She skipped happily across the street and bounded up on the porch, where I had gone to sit when my knees said they could no longer hold me upright, telling me that she'd gotten on the wrong bus and had fallen asleep and that was why it took her so long.

Just as she reached the porch, my phone rang; it was Hubby calling back.  It took a few tries to actually get connected since my fingers were shaking and not wanting to obey simple brain commands, but I told him she was home.  He said the regular bus driver wasn't driving this afternoon; it was a sub, and Large had fallen asleep on the bus and they were routing her back to the school.

Between what he was told by the school and what Large had related to me, we figured that she feel asleep on the school bus, and either her bus was just a different one today or she was taken back to the school and popped on another bus, which brought her home.

I have not yet broken down into a blubbering idiot, and I'm still waiting for my heart rate to feel like it's actually slowed down from panicked-mommy mode, but at least I know that--this time--Large didn't do anything wrong.

And I'll make sure I know our neighbors well when we move.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quote of the Night

Hubby [to Small Fry, who is undressing for bed]: I would prefer that you don't dance while getting undressed.

His Name is John

Not too long ago, Hubby took the Fries out to Denny's for a meal.  I must have been working or sick (had a day that I slept mostly through last week because of the cold the Fries gave to me), because I wasn't there.

Once again, I'm working tonight, and Hubby has decided that it's just going to be easier to take the Fries out to dinner and keep them out of my hair.

Large Fry wants pizza, but we just had pizza last night.

He decides on Denny's.

"Wiiyull John be dewre?" Small Fry asks.

"Probably not," Hubby says.  "He's usually there on Monday mornings, not Monday nights."

"I want to see John."

About then, I push pause on Randy and the Rainbows crooning "Denise" in my ear, and give Hubby a questioning look.

"They found out that Denny's real name is John," he explained.


"He's rather upset by it," Hubby went on.

"Really?"  I couldn't help but grin.

"It's been probably a year that they've called him Denny.  The last time we were there, one of them asked the waitress where Denny was.  I explained that they think the male manager's name is Denny, because Denny is a boy's name.  And she said, 'Oh, you mean John.' So then they saw him, and said 'Youwr name is John!'  He was not happy.  'No, it's not; it's Denny!' he said.  'Youwr name is John!'  'Who let the cat out of the bag?'"

"That's just too cute," I said, giggling.

I think we'll have to give him a nametag that says Denny or something the next time all of us go there.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My house is too quiet.

I woke up in bed today with just Hubby and the Weasel.

I didn't have to tiptoe down the hall in the middle of the night, so as not to wake sleeping girls.

I can strip the twins' beds today and wash their sheets and blankets without having to worry about whether or not they'll be clean and dry by naptime or bedtime.

I never want to see another dustbunny again.  Or their dustbuffalo cousins, who have apparently moved in under our bed.

I never want to see another box again, either.

I still don't feel like I've made a dent.

I do not have bickering, squabbling, playing, singing, running, giggling girls to interrupt me.

This is so weird.

Ah, well, they'll be home tomorrow.

But I still miss them.


My Spidey Sense Is Tingling

I woke up this morning about 6:30.

I don't know exactly what woke me.

But I do know that two things quickly registered:

One, Small Fry was in bed next to me and half awake.  And I know she's half awake because she's flitting her little hand along my arm.

Two, I am doing a near-perfect Spiderman cling to the bed and headboard.

I almost regret not getting a king-sized bed when we bought a new one back in 2008...but I also realize that it would just give the Fries more room to sprawl.


Small smiles sleepily at me, around the thumb popped in her mouth.

By this time, I'm coherent enough to realize that we have not one but two Fries in bed with us.  And in order, across the bed, we have:

Hubby, who is sleeping on his back.
Medium Fry, who is sleeping on her back.
Small Fry, who is sleeping-ish on her back.
Me...on my side and desperately clinging to less than a foot of mattress real estate.

About then, Pa'ani decided he really needed to join us, full-on Edsel-motor purr and all...aiming right for the twin Fries.  It took some coercion to get him to snuggle down against my legs but below their feet.

And not only that, most of the comforter and sheet have slipped over the edge of the bed on Hubby's side.  Therefore, I was getting chilly, which woke me up the rest of the way with the immediate urge to take a walk down the hall to the bathroom.

This accomplished, I come back to bed...and, of course, Small has sprawled and I have to shove her gently over so that I can actually get back in bed.

Here I make the tactical error of climbing into bed and laying back down on my right side instead of my left, as I was previously.  Small is now on top of the covers, so I can't even tug them over me, and I'm stuck with them coming up over my hip and stopping.

Fortunately, we have a shelf-style headboard, and I'm able to slide a hand under my pillow and along the outside edge of the headboard and hold on.  Small Fry's increasingly active touching and moving closer to me put me closer to the edge of the bed, and I was beginning to feel decidedly...shall we

About the time that I was beginning to think that I couldn't hang on much longer, Hubby's alarm went off.  He hit the snooze.

I grimaced.  Okay, nine more minutes.

When the alarm went off nine minutes later, Small Fry nudged closer, and I yelped, "Help!" to Hubby.  He announced it was time to get up, and the Fries scrambled out of bed, hollering about what clothes they would wear as they tripped down the hall.

That got the kids out of the bed and allowed me to collapse further onto the bed than I had been able to in over an hour.

I'm sure someday I'll miss this, too, but I find myself very pleased by the fact that the Fries are with Gramma and Boppa this weekend so Hubby and I can pack up more of the house in prep for our move, and that means that there won't be any small people joining us in bed.

However, I doubt Gramma and Boppa will be so lucky.... ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Total Cuteness

While I stayed home and slaved over my computer for my job that pays me in dollars (not hugs & kisses & "I love you, Mommy" said spontaneously), Hubby took the Fries out for brunch.  And a trip to K-Mart.  And a stop at the pet store.

I got a text relating this conversation while they were still at Denny's:

(The waitress has refilled Hubby's coffee while he wasn't paying attention...and his coffee is now hotter than it was.)
Hubby: Ouch.
Small Fry: What happened?
Hubby: I took a sip and burned my tongue.
Small Fry: Well, don't do that, Daddy.

Twenty minutes later, I get this:

(The male manager has walked up to their table, to ask how they're doing.  Small Fry sees him.)
Small Fry:  Hi, Denny!

Incidentally, his name isn't Denny...but all three of the girls think that, since he's in charge, he must be the one the restaurant is named after.

Seriously, it's no wonder that the waitresses have fought over whose section Hubby and the Fries will sit in (we're regular enough there, but it's the Fries that are truly memorable).

Monday, October 10, 2011

One of these days....

  • I will be able to eat a hot meal, all the way through, while it's still hot.
  • I will be able to go to the bathroom uninterrupted.
  • I will be able to take more than one bite before someone says, "Mommy!"
  • I will not have to barter for how many nuggets constitutes "enough."
  • I will not have to make repeated trips to the fridge for either ranch or ketchup or mustard.
And, someday, when I'm not counting the minutes to bedtime, I will be very sorry that I don't have to do those things.

Right now, I'm just counting the minutes until bedtime.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Out to Lunch

With Hubby being on staff at a church, Sundays are our busiest days.  And with our kids being so small...well, let's just say that Sunday mornings are pretty hectic.  And early.  And by the time second service at church lets out, nobody wants to cook.  So we go out.  Sometimes it's fast food snagged on the way home.  Sometimes, we splurge and go to a sit-down place where we're actually waited on.

My mother-in-law has been visiting the last few days, so every time we've gone out--whether it's for food or just to go do something--there's been a bit of a squabble over who gets to sit next to Gramma B, and Hubby and I are chopped liver.

Today, however, both Medium and Large wanted to sit next to me at the GVD restaurant.  Large was so adamant about this that she wanted to move the chair from the end of the table around to the side, and pouted when I refused to let her do that.  I told her that sitting on the end by me was still next to me, and Medium had asked first.  Thankfully, Gramma B sat across from me, so the pouting was soon forgotten.

About halfway through our meal, Medium grabs my attention.  "Mommy, did you pwray for little giwrls?"

Um...I'm trying to not panic.  I'd always thought I'd have boys.  Kinda thought that's what I would have preferred.  But telling a four-year-old that?  She wouldn't understand.

"Did you pwray fowr childwren?" Medium persisted.


I touched her cheek.  "Yes, I prayed for children."

"Did you pwray for a long, long time?"

I'm sure my smile was somewhat bittersweet; I couldn't help but recall the years of trying but failing to conceive.  "Yes, for a long, long time.  And then God gave me you."  I stroked her hair.

Medium smiled happily.  "An' you love us!"

"And I love you," I agreed. So much.

Small Fry piped up, aiming her question at Hubby.  "Did you pwray to take cawre of us?"

"Yep," Hubby said.

"What did you pwray?"

"I asked God to make sure that you had someone to take good care of you.  And then he said, 'Why don't you do it?' So I did."

I love these kinds of conversations.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Okay, so there ARE some perks to not going through pregnancy....

In honor of his daughter's first birthday, my second-cousin recounts the tale of her birth, and of his rock-star wife's delivery experience:

Having a Baby in the Car...
One year ago today, my wife delivered our second child herself, in my car, while I drove. Many have asked over the last year how it happened that we didn't make it to the hospital. In honor of Violet's first birthday, here's the full play-by-play of that night, in all it's gory detail along with the 911 recording.

It was the morning of Oct 8, and Karissa was 3 days overdue, but there were still no signs of the baby, and she had her midwife appointment that day. She called me at work to tell me that they said everything still seemed OK, and to come back in a week. She expressed her frustration to the midwife of not having had the baby yet. The midwife told her about a magical "cocktail" guaranteed to induce labor. I can't say for certain, but i think it included eye of newt and toe of frog. I do know for sure that castor oil was one of the primary ingredients. We chuckled about the strange drink, and I got back to my workday.

That evening, when I got home, my mom, who had come to stay with us for a little while to help out, told me that Karissa had tried the drink, but didn't think it did much other than make her feel nauseous and do what castor oil does.

7:45pm As Karissa folded laundry, I noticed she would occasionally stop and try to catch her breath. I asked if she was in labor, and she said no, that she was just having cramps. I asked how long she'd been having them, and she said for about an hour or so. I noticed that they were getting pretty close together, so i started timing them. They were 1 min 40 secs apart, and lasted 45 secs, consistently. (For those who aren't up on these things, they say that with a second child, by the time contractions are down to just 3 or 4 mins apart, you better be on your way to the hospital.) I suggested that we leave, but Karissa was fairly certain that she wasn't in labor, just having cramps. Admittedly, although the contractions were very close together, they didn't seem very intense, as she could still talk through them.

8:20pm I called our Doula and explained the situation, and she was surprised about the contractions being 1:40 apart, but was confused that they weren't much more intense by this point, and suggested we monitor the contractions, and if they suddenly worsened, that we leave for the hospital.

8:40pm Suddenly, the contractions got so bad that Karissa was on the floor, tearing the carpet fibers out of our carpeting. I convinced her at this point that we didn't have much to lose if we went in to the hospital. The worst that would happen is that they'd say, you're too early. Go home.

8:47pm The next ten minutes was a complete blur as I frantically began throwing bags into the car and making sure we had our cameras, iPods, phones, snacks for the delivery nurses, and everything else in.

8:57pm Karissa came out to the car, and my mom asked if we wanted towels for the seat, in case her water breaks on the way. We grabbed some towels, and I put one on Karissa's seat, just in case.

8:59pm We were backing out of the driveway and Karissa had a particularly tough contraction. I asked if we should pull back in and stay at home, but she said to just go.

9:06pm The car ride gave me a chance to see just how fast my car could go in a 30 mph speed zone, while Karissa grunted, yelled and tried to get comfortable. Then, she said the words that are forever burned into my memory. "I can feel the head." I told her to push it back in, and stomped harder on the gas pedal.

9:09pm Karissa said the head was fully out. I looked over, and she wasn't lying. Adrenaline on full blast, I asked her what we should do, and totally calmly, she told me to dial 911.

9:11pm At this point, if you haven't already, watch the video. You'll notice about 20 seconds into it, you hear one little scream from Karissa, and a couple seconds later, you can hear the baby's first cry.
[He might kill me here, but this is the video he put together around the 911 call.]

After the 911 call, Karissa and baby were loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital, and I drove the car to meet them there.

A few Frequently Asked Questions people have asked us this past year:

Q: Is it cheaper to have a baby in the car instead of the hospital?
A: Not in the slightest. We were still sent a bill for the full labor and delivery, and added to that was a bill for the ambulance ride as well.

Q: Give it to me straight... how was the car? Do you have cloth or leather seats?
A: You really want to know? Ok, weirdo -- The car has cloth seats. But luckily, thanks to my mom's forethought, we had several large beach towels with us, and Karissa was sitting on one of them. There still was some clean-up needed, but my mom surprised us the next day by totally scrubbing it to virtually showroom condition. Thanks mom!

Yeah.  She's totally a rock star.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lunchtime Conversation

Small Fry: Mommy, can I have some jello?  'Cause I don't like cake.

Me: That's hogwash.  You love cake.

Small Fry: I don't like hogwash cake!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Furry Family Members

Almost everyone I know with pets thinks of them this way--as family members who wear fur coats and run around on four feet--as opposed to just merely animals.  When it comes to our cats, we feel the same way.  I personally dread the day that we have to make the hard, right, horrible decision to offer our smallest family members the comfort of death.  In fact, I do my best to not think about it and enjoy life with my kitties.  Po is creeping up on 14, so I know it will be sooner rather than later, but this is one of those things where ignorance is far more blissful than reality.

In the last month or so, two of our friends have faced the loss of a beloved furry family member.

Pets are grieved just like any other loss.

I do not envy them their pain.  I know my turn is coming.

But I hope, in relating this story from my own childhood, I can help them through their hurt, help them answer the hard questions.  College Roomie #2 has already been told this story, because she has young children and I thought she'd need to hear it.  I didn't expect that I'd have to tell it again this soon, and this time, for Tab and Two-D.  At least CR2's kids knew their beloved doggy was old and sick.  Tab and her family didn't expect to lose their chocolate lab today.  (Yes, my heart breaks for them.)
Spooky Look-alike


When I was about 12, my best friend in the whole world was the kitty-corner (pardon the pun) neighbor's  16-year-old cat, Spooky.  In a world of angst and confusion, he loved unconditionally and without reservation. I could tell him secrets that I couldn't trust to anyone else. I was 12, puberty was already no fun, and my parents had put our house on the market. (I loved that house.)  And he was as close to having a kitty of my own as I'd ever get--we had a houseful of allergies.  I took care of him when his owners would go away on vacation.  He would tolerate all sorts of affection.  I loved him.

Spooky was sick. I didn't know it, but my mom saw the signs. And sixteen is pretty ancient for an indoor/outdoor cat.

I was devastated when his owners made the awful choice to put him to sleep. My mom recollected recently how I'd come to her in tears not long after that awful day, and I asked if I would see Spooky in heaven.

Apparently a degree in elementary education and English does not prepare a parent for deep theological questions out of the mouths of grieving children.

Mom managed not to panic, although she said her thoughts were racing for the right answer to that question. Because if she answered it wrong, the consequences would be traumatic. But by the same token, she wanted to be sure the answer she gave me was biblically correct.

I honestly believe she got a jolt of divine inspiration.

She said, "Well, I know that God has promised that whatever we need will be in heaven. So if you need Spooky to be there, God will have him there."

And I think she's right.

It's been a long time since I was twelve.  I have my own small children asking me tough questions, theological and otherwise.  I have cats of my own now that I love just as much as I loved Spooky, if not more.  I know the inevitable is coming.  I'm not the grieving little girl I was then...but I find just as much comfort in those words now.

Thankfully, my experience as a child will help my children as they grieve.  And help me, too, to be honest.  For as much as I'm convinced almost daily that my cats are purrfect little heathens and should probably go straight to hell for some of the stunts they've pulled, I cannot imagine life without them.

I hope heaven has rejuvenated Spooky.  He's going to need it, because I fully expect my fuzzy heathens to be there with him.

Come to think of it, the cats as a whole better be prepared, because I think they'll have to join JJ's Thatcher, CR2's Casey, and Tab's BayLeigh up there.

Kilted to Kick Cancer: From Kickoff to Wrap-up

I've been following Ambulance Driver's Kilted to Kick Cancer fundraising event for the last month, and it's been a scream.  With a bunch of big, hairy, gunnies wandering around in kilts during their off-hours, how could it be anything but a scream?  Their goal was to raise funds for male-specific cancer research.

For your convenience, and amusement, I have assembled a collection of links chronicling the event.

And make a donation, if you choose.  Just because the contest is over doesn't mean that research funding isn't needed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Rest App

PeeJay has been preaching a series about biblical life apps.

I must admit, I really liked today's: he spoke on the importance of the sabbath, the importance of rest.  The intrinsic need that we all have for it, the reason God chose to rest on the seventh day of the creation history.  God didn't need a nap...but, by golly, he knew we would.

This made me feel even less guilty about my usual Sunday afternoon nap.

Not that I really feel guilty about it to begin with...but I digress.

Hubby tucked the Fries in as I gimped down the hall and climbed into my own bed.  The damp weather here drove some achiness into my right ankle in particular, and the ibuprofen had long since worn off.  Plus, Medium's nosebleed in the middle of the night had awakened first Hubby and then me, and so I was really looking forward to my nap.  Hubby gave the Fries dire warnings about the consequences if they should choose to NOT be quiet, sleep, and stay in bed.

It's chilly enough that we finally turned the heat on, and the a/c and fan off.  Hubby crawled in next to me, and we both snuggled under the blankets.

The Fries chose to NOT be quiet, sleep, or stay in bed.  Two out of the three, anyway.

I was just getting cozy and getting Koa to leave me alone when I heard what sounded suspiciously like giggling.  I poked Hubby.  "I believe they're not being quiet."

He agreed, threw back the covers, and crept down the hall.

Given the lull between his departure and the wails that announced judgment had COME, I surmised he stood outside the Fries' room and spied, gathering intel.

I was almost startled when I heard him shout over the wails.  "Small Fry, take your panties OFF your head and put them back on your tuchus!"

Then he turned on Large Fry.  "Get that off your head, lay down with your head down at this end of the bed--" the one not closest to Small Fry's bed "--and go to SLEEP!"

Hubby paused in the doorway to our room as he came back to bed, his mouth open, his left hand on his cheek, and his eyes the size of dinnerplates.  "She had her panties on her head," he whispered.  "At first, I didn't realize that's what she had on her head.  Until I lifted up her skirt and realized she didn't have any on down there."

How we didn't dissolve into uncontrollable, give-away laughter is beyond me....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Baptist Dog

A Baptist preacher and his wife decided to get a new dog. Ever mindful of the congregation, they knew the dog must also be a Baptist.

They visited kennel after kennel and explained their needs. Finally, they found a kennel whose owner assured them he had just the dog they wanted.

The owner brought the dog to meet the pastor and his wife. "Fetch the Bible," he commanded. The dog bounded to the bookshelf, scrutinized the books, located the Bible, and brought it to the owner.

Now...find Psalm 23," he commanded. The dog dropped the Bible to the floor, and showing marvelous dexterity with his paws, leafed through and finding the correct passage, pointed to it with his paw.

The pastor and his wife were very impressed and purchased the dog.

That evening, a group of church members came to visit. The pastor and his wife began to show off the dog, having him locate several Bible verses.

The visitors were very impressed. One man asked, "Can he do regular dog tricks, too?"

"Why...I haven't tried yet," the pastor replied. He pointed his finger at the dog. "HEEL!" the pastor commanded.

The dog immediately jumped on a chair, placed one paw on the pastor's forehead and began to howl.

The pastor looked at his wife in shock and said, "Goodness gracious! He's Pentecostal!"

Newest Excuse

[precise British accent]  "Our first game is called 'Well Begun is Half Done,' or 'Let's tidy up the nursery.'"

Can you guess what evil Daddy Uncle has insisted the poor, overworked, underloved Fries have to do?

Clean up the toy room!

And after various complaints about having to clean up, we have this....

Medium Fry: Uncle?  I'm skawred of cleaning up. [pause]  Uncle?

Hubby [having not quite heard it all]: What?

Medium: I'm skawred of cleaning up.

Hubby: You need to clean up anyway.  So you can either be scared and clean up, or not clean up and get punished.

Medium: I'm skawred and I'll clean up.