Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Pictures of Grandpa

Labor Day Picnic -
September 7, 2009

Three of my Favorite Ladies

This is my good friend Katie, along with her Grandma and Meredith, taken a couple of days before Christmas. I first met her wonderful grandmother when I rode out to California with her (after just finding out I was pregnant with Lou!) so that she could go to grad school. It was a wonderful experience and made even better by the fact that we got to spend time with her grandma in San Diego! I have not seen her in six years--how time changes things!

Tomorrow She is Eight Months Old!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Girl, Schmerl--Nothing Has Changed

Meredith is inching upon the mark of being 8-months-old and just yesterday we got her pictures taken for the first time. Really, it's only two months behind because with all the kids we got their first "portrait" taken at six months.

People kept telling me that things are going to be so different with a girl, how lucky I was to have this new experience. And I have to admit, I have seen a side of myself that I wasn't sure existed. I have even embraced pink, a color I wore myself on a rare occasion. But I don't believe that I have gone nuts on my little girl yet, and one evidence of this is the fact that it has taken me so long to get her picture taken. I mean, I know I'm the girl's mom and all, but Meredith has the sweetest smile and who wouldn't want professionally taken pictures of her?

I picked up Benny from school and we left for Sears. I packed a lunch for Ben and Charlie, knowing that things always go better when they are nourished. We got there early and fortunately no one was there so we were able to get right in. The boys were great in helping get their little sister to smile.

She took some great pictures and I can't wait to share them. The problem began afterward. As in the past, the photographer says that she'll be ready in a few minutes, in which she spends time editing the pictures in the best way in order to get you to buy more than you originally planned. What is also a part of the strategy that they don't let you know is that the longer she takes, the more impatient little boys become. How does this help in her commission, you ask? Well, when little boys become antsy, they start hanging on their mommies, begging to go home. Their inner thespian comes out and they put on quite a show. This, in turn, makes mommies want to get out of there as fast as they can, making a purchase that probably doesn't jive with the original plan.

I wasn't totally falling for this scheme, but Benny and Charlie were being quite bothersome while I was trying to look at the thirty shots, all in thumbnail-sized images, trying to make the best decision possible. The photographer didn't help in that she kept making backhanded comments about the boys' behavior.

So, I left probably purchasing more than I planned on, but it cured the guilt I was feeling in slacking on my fourth child.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Trauma and Drama of Being a Momma

I'm going to forewarn you: this is not a pretty story. If you have a weak stomach you may want to pass on this post.

I worry. Anyone who knows me is well aware of this. However, I like to think that I do a pretty good job of putting this worry on the back burner when a "situation" occurs.

I find out last night that this is not the case.

After we were finished with dinner Louie went to wash his hands. When he came back, I'm not sure if he was singing or whatever, but something made Kevin ask Louie to come over and let him see in his mouth. I just figured that he had a piece of food stuck in his teeth or something.

Nope. Lou has two teeth growing behind his two front teeth on the bottom row. Not right behind, like they're going to push the other ones out, they are starting themselves a new row. Like a shark. And so when I looked at it I went with it, like it was cool, like a shark. All the while my stomach was flipping over and I was working really hard not to make a grossed out face. There was his jaw showing in between the two sets of teeth! It just didn't seem right.

Kevin asked how long they had been there, since the beginning of the school year? Uh, like 14 days, Lou says. Kids are no help when it comes to these matters. They were pretty much out of his jaw, so unless teeth are like mushrooms, they had been there for a while.

What does one do in a situation like this? I had never heard of such things. I only knew that if your new teeth came in crooked that you got braces. What do you do when two renegades try to take on the rest of the mouth? Louie said it didn't hurt him, and so we didn't think much more about it at that moment.

I was cleaning up the kitchen and Kevin was hanging out nearby with Meredith when we heard a scream followed by crying that we knew came from Lou. We had gotten home late the night before and it had the tone of a very tired boy so for the first few minutes (seconds?) we didn't think much of it. But the screaming got worse and so I dropped the dish rag and went out to the living room.

Louie was holding his nose while Ben and Charlie were still wrestling on the ground. They were playing football and those two didn't believe the play was over yet. I moved Lou's hand away and large droplets of blood came out. I mean large. Then came the blood pouring out of his mouth. I was trying to find out if he had done something in both his mouth and nose--could his two new teeth busted through the roof of his mouth?? More screams. More blood and those two rascals on the floor wouldn't stop wrestling around at our feet! I sent them up to their room and had Kevin get a wet towel and a towel with ice around it.

The more blood Louie saw the more he freaked out and the more blood there was on the carpet. I had him walk into the bathroom and I wonder if that was a mistake: bright lights on a white porcelain counter top, a great way to exaggerate the amount of blood there is. He kept saying that he couldn't breath and I thought I was going to get sick. I had Kevin look up on the internet what to do for a bloody nose. I thought I had heard that you're not supposed to tilt their heads back anymore, so I wanted to be sure that we did it the right way. Or at least did something.

I don't know if it was the fear that there was something really wrong, or just all the blood but I was feel really whoozy. I had Kevin come in to take over in the bathroom and I went to sit down at the computer to take some deep breaths and try to find out how to take care of the bloody nose. (We figured out that all the blood in the mouth was coming down his throat from his nose, if that's a positive aspect of the situation.) I got chills and my stomach was flip-flopping and Meredith was crying at my feet while I looked up information on what to do.

Once I found something that sounded the most credible I tried to explain the procedure to Kevin and tragedy was averted. Not by me and my astounding skills on the internet, but by a calm father who let the blood gush slow down and allowed his boy to calm down all the while I was still frazzled.

What am I going to do when something like this happens and Kevin's not home to save the day?? I am hoping that I have some sort of "reserves" stored up where I'm not going to overreact to blood and my kid screaming. Maybe I'll be able to stay calm and calm everyone else down. That's possible, right?

P.S. Kevin took pictures of the aftermath in the bathroom so I could post it on here, but I decided to keep that little gem just for the family.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Celebrate these days

I'm a big fan of parties. I love to plan them. I love to go to them. I love talking about how fun they were, afterward. Uncle Paul's 60th was no exception. Aunt Cassie did a wonderful job of planning out every last detail and all her hard work showed.

But I'm also a fan of celebrating non-milestone events. And they don't even have to be events, necessarily.

Like today: it sunny out, so I have the urge to get a group of friends together to bask in this, which lately has been a stranger to our area.

I think it's good to have the camera out to take pictures of all parts of life, not just the "first day of school," "Christmas" or "first baseball game" type of events.

Just like it's good to write notes to people to let them know how much we appreciate them (Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone--Gertrude Stein), I also think it's good to be aware of all the little things in between the big events.

And be thankful for them.

We have so much to learn from those around us; and likewise we never know what role people will play in our lives.

And as much as this post is beginning to sound preachy, it really is a reminder for myself.

To be thankful for all the special things we get to do and be a part of, and be grateful for what brings us all together.

~ The cousins with Grandpa ~

Friday, January 15, 2010


"Four Generations"

Rest in peace, Grandpa.

(Easter, April 12, 2009)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yes, It's a Holiday

I told the boys at breakfast this morning that Opening Day for the Reds is in just 84 days.

Ben says, "So there's only a couple more holidays before then?"

I absolutely love it that my kids consider the start of the baseball season a holiday!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Public Service Announcement

For whatever reason, the boys love "chicken on the bone." And when we don't have it "on the bone," but have a boneless chicken breast they like to have a toothpick to pick it up and eat it. We're pretty exotic in our eating habits, over here at Casa Llena.

Anyway, we weren't even eating chicken last night, but beef tacos, and Charlie wanted a toothpick to pick up his meat. All of a sudden he was using his toothpick as a cigarette.

I decided to take this time to do what a PSA taught me to do when I saw on a television commercial before I even had kids. Do you remember the one where I mother is in the kitchen talking to some unseen child about the dangers of smoking, and later the camera pans to the kid who is actually a baby sitting in a high chair. The message is: it's never too early to starting talking to your kids.

We have friends and family that smoke cigarettes and I'm by no means trying to build up a posse to stop the world from smoking, just addressing the issue with my kids. So I approach the subject, completely unrehearsed and not thought about until this moment:

Have you guys seen cigarettes anywhere?

What's a cigarette?

What Charlie was doing--pretending like he was smoking his toothpick!
(I couldn't believe that they could pretend to smoke and not know what it's called!)


So if a friend comes up to you and says, "Hey Lou, do you want to come smoke a cigarette with me?" You can say, "That's OK man, I don't smoke."

The room got completely silent. I noticed that Kevin was staring at my with his mouth open. Then I get this:

"You're crackin' me up, Mom!" Ben says enthusiastically, slapping his knee in the process.

Kevin burst out laughing, along with the rest of the crowd and I realized that I really need to practice this stuff before I pull it out of left field. But it gets better:

While Kevin's asking me where this came from (I tell him about the PSA commercial), Lou says to Benny:

Louie: Hey Ben, let's take turns saying it!
Benny: All right!
L: You ask me to blow smoke, OK?!
B: No! You ask me!
L: OK, "Hey Ben, do you want to go blow smoke with me?!"
B: "No way, DUDE! I don't do that!"

Kevin turns to me and says that I should probably get the number at the end of the commercial where they say to call if you need help talking to your kids. And Ben and Lou go back and forth like that for the next ten minutes. Kevin is belly-laughing, I'm turning red, and then I start laughing at the ridiculousness of the whole situation. I should probably have a video camera going constantly in my kitchen because one of these days I'm going to win America's Funniest Home Video.

P.S. I should probably mention, if I haven't already, that the boys have a new-found fondness for the Teenage-Mutant Ninja Turtles--the '80s television version. Their little sponge brains have absorbed all the cheesy one-liners and find ways to inject them into their conversations. Constant comedy at our house, yes sir-ee-bob.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

TuTu Cute

How cute are these little gals? They are 7 months and 7 1/2 months old, on New Year's day. My friend Stephanie made these for Meredith and Gracie. She calls her business TuTu Cute, and I have to agree :)

Kids are amazing

Got the call early this morning: Louie had a two-hour delay; Benny's was canceled. An hour and a half later Louie was called off.

Very happy boys--breakfast included "hot" chocolate with TWO marshmallows!

Poor Mere, no going out in the snow for her. She does get to look cute in her snowkid T-shirt, though!

I can't get over the fact that the boys are still outside. It's been about...25 minutes that they've been out there. I thought for sure that it'd be 10 minutes, 15 minutes, tops. How can they be all right with putting their bodies through that? The cold, the wind, the wetness. I know that I loved it as a kid, but can't remember when I stopped loving it.

It's an official snow day from school for both Lou and Ben and they have been begging me since they got up this morning to go outside to play. Finally, I made a list of things that they would need in order to be dressed warm enough to tackle the snowy weather. I was taking care of Meredith and getting some stuff done around the house and if they wanted to go out, they could help get ready.

They must have really wanted to because before I could blink they had their extra socks and pants on, they had their hat, gloves, coat, and more than ready to go. Hmm. Funny they can't do that when we're getting ready to go to school!

Right now, I see them outside and know how blessed we are to have them, and them to have each other. They have their playmates here and although arguments take place, overall they have so much fun together.

The backyard's winter wonderland out back has since disappeared. Their tracks are over almost every inch of the grass, displaying the muddy mess underneath. There are sand buckets, shovels, plastic lawn mowers and a wheelbarrow strewed around the yard.

Their cheeks are apple-red and I have a feeling that they'll be in here soon. Oops! I hear a little fist pounding against the door. Charlie is done!

Lunch time:

Happy Snow Day to You!

(My apologies--I really didn't need to post so many pictures of essentially the same thing! I'm trying to ignore the chaos that is going on around me now that they're through with the snow. And I'm not sure why the last few lines are so large. You'd think by now I'd know what I'm doing!)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy 2010!

We had a great New Year's Eve at home. The boys picked the snacks and what we had for dinner, even helped make the dessert. We watched movies and played games, then watched a bit of the countdown. Little Meredith didn't make it, but the three boys actually were awake until midnight! Charlie conked out three minutes into the new year, but the fact is he made it there!

I have some great stories and pictures to post from Christmas, so hopefully they'll get on here this week!

Happy New Year to you!