I am SO VERY happy to be home again. In addition to the “big-ticket” items of thankfulness–family, friends, health, happiness–I am thankful for the small things, too. On this particular whirlwind trip across the Midwest, this includes:
- the fact that our return trip on Sunday took less time than the FOURTEEN hours in the car on the way to Ohio.
- being thankful that my in-laws, despite the fact that it never occurred to them it would be a problem, graciously removed the fine china and crystal wine glasses that were set for nearly two dozen people 24 hours (!!!) before we were scheduled to eat…in a house where we were staying with our 7, 4 , and 1-year-old (slightly..okay, moderately) rambunctious children.
- the bagpipe player who entertained our worn-out, crabby children with his music on a crisp, clear night in a rest area parking lot. Why he was there, playing in the middle of the lot, I have no idea, but it was beautiful. 🙂
- in-laws who cheerfully listened for the kids after they went to bed so that my lovely wife and I could see the latest Harry Potter movie.
- cloth diapers–we used disposables on our trip and I really missed Amelia’s fluffy behind…and I really, really missed not having to deal with leaks all the time.
I hope all of your festivities were full of love, laughter, and good food too.
While nursing this evening, Amelia bit me. Hard. She laughed. I nearly cried. She was not a happy girl when she realized that biting=no nursing allowed. When we resumed nursing a few minutes later, she seemed to have gotten the message. Now, I have been lucky in that neither of my nurslings ever were/have been biters. I hope that continues to be the case, because, well…OUCH!
Owen slipped on the hardwoods this morning and crash landed into the (open) basement door. The resulting wound was not pretty. Neither were the wails. Once we managed to sop up the blood, we determined that he gashed open a large area inside his lower lip and cheek. Luckily, his teeth are all still intact. Even tonight, there is still a spot that isn’t yet closed. Poor guy. When I asked him how it was feeling as we drove home this afternoon, he said, “That is one serious OUCH.”
And perhaps the biggest OUCH of all: In a fit of anger this afternoon, Olivia said to me, “I don’t belong in this family. I wish I still lived with my birth mother.” Despite the fact that she has never lived with her birth mother, I could certainly sense her pain and anguish. For me, even though I know her statement was nothing personal against me, I felt as if a dagger had been shoved through my heart, twisted around, pulled back out, and then had something burning and full of sting poured right into the wound. After I do some processing, I plan to write more about this particular OUCH. Not tonight, though. The sting is still too strong.
We do this thing at our house where, when one of the kids says something cute, we write it down on a slip of paper and stick it in a pretty box. Every once in a while, we will grab the box and look through all the slips. Mostly, though, I will pick out just one or two slips to read when I am being driven to the edge of sanity by said children. Today was one of those days. 🙂 These are the gems that made me smile:
(While playing hide and seek)–I forgive up. I can’t find you! ~Owen, age 3.5
When we stayed in a hotel at the water park, our door had the number 1-1-1 on it. Don’t I have a good rememory? ~Owen, age 4
And, speaking of talking, I wrote down a list of all the words and signs Amelia is consistently using. I wanted a clear idea before her pediatrician asks me at her appointment next week. I know she is quite verbal, but seeing them in one place was impressive. Signs: more, all done, please, thank you, nurse, water, eat, bye-bye, and a sign she made up herself that we affectionately call the “bring me that” sign. Words: Mama, Anya, cat, dog, Scout (dog’s name), hi, bye, get, you (which she only uses in reference to Olivia or Owen), and that (which she uses as a question when she points to something). Not too shabby for a babe who is just one year and two weeks old.
I got a phone call from my (half*) sister the other day to let me know of a completely unforseen family tragedy. My (ex?)stepfather’s wife’s mother had had a freak accident and died. Apparently, she was walking down the steps at home, tripped, and fell. As she fell, she hit her head on the bannister and fractured her skull. She was unconscious immediately, fell into a coma, and was put on life support. Her husband and children had to make the incredibly difficult decision to remove her life supports after several doctors determined that she would not recover. She was youngish…only in her early fifties. She was completely healthy and quite active. She literally just slipped on the step and her life was over. Wow. I am taking this as a reminder from the universe to never live with regrets…to make all of my moments count…to spend less time sweating the small stuff…you just never know…
*I have the epitome of a modern family. I NEVER consider my half sisters that–they are simply my sisters–but the relationships didn’t come across right in this post without that detail. And since my mom and stepdad are now divorced and both have remarried, I guess that makes him my ex-stepdad…even though I don’t think of it in those terms. Add that I am also close to my dad and his whole side of the family and you can see the crazy dynamics…no wonder it’s so busy when we make the drive down to visit.
Our usual tradition is to go trick or treating twice each Halloween. This year was no exception.
Our neighborhood nighttime trick or treat was scheduled for the same day as Amelia’s birthday party, so we invited our guests to stay and join us for the fun. Several did, which we really enjoyed. We have a couple of neighbors who really make a big production of the event…Halloween music blaring, dressing up in wild costumes to pass out candy, and lighting fire pits in the front yards so chilled children and their grown-ups can stop for a bit to warm up. At our house, we try to have elaborately carved pumpkins to show off. We didn’t have time for the most intricate, but they still looked great…and Olivia and Owen both carved their own.
On Sunday afternoon, we piled in to the car and headed to a neighboring town to celebrate with friends. Our trick or treaters consisted of a vampiress, soccer player, Little Bo Peep (Olivia), Little Boy Blue (Owen), a cheerleader, a princess, twin bear cubs, and a little lamb (Amelia). I loved that our kiddos picked a nursery rhyme theme this year to go along with Amelia’s birthday theme. It was too cute. The babies loved watching the sights as they were pushed along in their strollers, the big kids ran from house to house, and the mamas each enjoyed a beer as we strolled. We got back to our friend’s house and enjoyed pizza and a little chill-out time before headed home.
I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to get a good picture of all three together…everyone was moving at different speeds. I hardly got any of Olivia because she is too fast. We hope your festivities were as fun as ours!
So I stopped into Mr. H’s office at the end of the day on Monday. I had already spoken with my union representative and was relieved to find out that this whole forcing me to do duty instead of pump was going to go nowhere. He began the conversation with what he surely viewed as a reconcilitory statement, “I am certain we can find a compromise here.” I was so proud of myself for CALMLY and firmly replying, “This is not something I will compromise on at all.” I was/am still so MAD about the situation that I was really struggling to handle this professionally. He seemed surprised to learn that I had already spoken with the union and commented about me not having needed to go “that far”. I beg to differ, though. I explained that the union rep said that I would need to get my pediatrician to write that Amelia needs breast milk and that would be the end of it. I also stated that I would do that, and anything else necessary, to insure my ability to pump for my daughter until I decide to stop on MY terms. That basically stopped the conversation in its tracks, but not before he ended with, “Well, I guess that’s that. It is obvious where your priorities are.” Yep, Buddy. It’s obvious. They are EXACTLY where they should be.
I hate being sick. Hate it. I am so lucky that I am rarely ill…all that exposure to germs at school really helps, I guess. With the exception of Amelia, everyone in our family came down with a stomach virus two evenings ago. We all fell like dominioes within an hour of each other. Fun times, I tell you. Fun times. First Dawn got sick. Then me. Just as I was headed to bed for some sleep, Owen hollers from his room that he threw up in his bed. While getting him cleaned up, Olivia hollers that she threw up on the floor while trying to get to the bathroom. The rest of the night was spent shuttling between bedrooms and bathrooms trying to keep everyone clean, comforted, and medicated. We were terribly ineffective at all three. On the plus side, though, I got a day at home with my wonderful wife and two snuggly kids… and a newfound appreciation for being sick without my whole family along for the ride!