16 April 2014

A Truth, Universally Acknowledged

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a mother in possession of young children must be in want of a nap. Or a do over day.  She may sometimes even want whole days blotted out.  And so, these mothers blog as a way of cleansing, to rid the craziness onto paper (or a computer screen) where it can leave the body and stay electronically locked away until she is ready to laugh about the chaos years (or days) down the road.

I was just such a mother today.

And today was such a day.

It all began at breakfast.  I was making some yerba mate and it boiled all over my stove.  I realized we were out of milk, so I needed to boil some eggs for the boys before they went to school/work.  There was only one burner that was not covered in sticky mate which I used for the eggs. I finished cooking the eggs and began to peel them for the kids.  As I was doing that, Keith put a bag of bread on the hot burner thus melting the bag and making the burner unusable.  And then Beth fell.

She was standing, using a stool for balance and she fell backwards hitting her head.  Just like she does fifty times a day.  Like a normal baby who is trying to figure out the whole bipedal part of life.  She cried, I picked her up.  She got sick all over me.  And that is when my hypochondriac brain kicked into high gear. Because when it comes to my kids, I am even more of a hypochondriac and worrier than I am for myself.

I knew that throwing up after getting a bump on the head is a sign of a concussion.  As is dilated eyes.  Like a stalker I obsessively checked her eyes every few minutes, dreading a dilated pupil.

When I was holding her, she was fine.  If I set her down, she cried again.  Her balance was lousy, and she kept trying to go to sleep, which both are very uncharacteristic of her.  So I called the doctor's office.  They told me to go to the emergency room and get a ct scan done immediately.

I hung up the phone, sat on my bed and hugged my baby close.  My eyes stung with tears of worry and the stench of the sick all over my shirt.  Beth squirmed, but didn't want me to put her down, and I sat on my bed, worrying.  We don't have insurance and the emergency is ridiculous for those with no insurance.  I didn't want to pay so much just to have a doctor say to watch her, and that she would be fine, because Beth didn't really hit her head any harder than she does every day all day long.  And the worry and self doubt grew and grew inside of me.  I called everyone I could think of for advice.  My mother, my mother in law, my brother the doctor, my cousin (who is a pediatric nurse practitioner).  No one was home.  I called Jeffrey at work and we discussed things, and I worried and second guessed myself and I watched Beth like a starving cat watches a lethargic mouse.  I finally decided to take her in.

As I was driving Faye to my friend's house to watch her while I spent a good part of the morning at the hospital with the baby, I got a hold of a friend who I had remembered had had a baby with a concussion the year before.  She was home!  Through conversing with her, I was able to learn what to actually look for and make a better informed decision.  By the time I ended my conversation with her, I was heavily leaning to not going.  When I got to my other friend's house to drop Faye off, I learned that she, too, had dealt with a concussed child.  We discussed other ways to tell if I should be worried about my baby, and after discussing with her for 5 minutes or so, I was tipped off the fence into the not taking her yard.  It was a relief, but the whole morning had been so emotionally exhausting!

She is fine now, just for the record.  Thank heavens!

But wait, that is not all!

Remember how Faye had scissors yesterday?  She claims she lost them and couldn't give them to me.  Today I discovered Rapunzel had also received a haircut, Keith's ball had been popped by Faye, and she cut some big holes into her sheets.  As I was trying to figure out what to do for dinner tonight, she played quietly in her room...

... with an orange sharpie.


Everyone with small children knows that silence is dangerous.  When I caught on to what she was doing, she had colored her closet door, because she doesn't like that it is white.  Same for her green polka-dot pillow case.  It now has pictures on it.  As well as her fingernails and toenails (she actually did an impressive job on those two), and her dolls.  Both Rapunzel and Maddie are covered in orange sharpie.  Maddie did get the worst of it, though.

After I took the marker away from her, she was trying to climb up her window to the ceiling and fell, slicing her hand open, bleeding profusely.  When that was under wraps, I went back to the kitchen where I remembered I couldn't cook on the stove as it was still covered in plastic from the bread bag, and I was still out of milk.

At that point, I was coming to the conclusion it really was a terrible horrible no good, very bad day.

I took the kids with me to the store to get groceries and Faye decided it would be funny to hide from me.  4 times.  She was nearly left at the store because hiding from Mommy is a great game, she thought.

When we got home, I put myself in time out.

And then I made dinner, Jeffrey put the kids to bed, and I gazed around at my messy kitchen and in exhaustion, happily smiled.  Because kitchens keep, and I can sleep, and there is no one here to judge me for it.  I can always clean and have a perfect day tomorrow.

A perfect day with time for a nap.

Because tomorrow will be fresh and I just may get that piano I found!

15 April 2014

The Curse of the Eclipse

Weird things tend to happen to me when the moon turns vengeant (aka red). I have always loved the moon, full or otherwise.  I have always loved the folklore associated with the moon.  And yet, eclipses (if I am paying attention to them) tend to bring some strange unknown factor to my life.

When I was fifteen, my best friend Angi and I were sleeping out on her trampoline.  The weather was gorgeous, much like last night.  It was a bit on the chilly side, but wonderful with a warm blanket, some hot pizza and some Mango Mystic, my teenage drink of choice.  We had a CD player playing as we chatted and laughed, and got so giddy because that is what we did when we were together.  We laid on our backs, gazing at the sky, listening to the wind whistling through the trees and the gorgeous sounds of John Lennon and Paul McCartney on repeat.  And then it happened.  Strawberry Fields Forever took on a whole new tone, it seemed to be playing in a minor key, and I swear, the branches in the top of the poplar tree formed a face through which the red moon eyes shined out at us.  It was very creepy, and lots of sugar and energy build up from a sleepover seemed to make it worse.  

And yet, I look back on that creepy night with the fondest of memories.  It was wonderful and creepy and wonderful.  Even then, although we were slightly scared, we still thought it was wonderful.

Last night, as the shadow of the earth slowly eclipsed the moon, I was reminded of those silly times.  We were so serious, though.  Teenagers always are.  Everything was serious and dramatic and grown up in our ancient 14 year old minds.  Last night we sat around the dining room table with our friend Shem, sipping hot cocoa, gazing at the moon and laughed at our foolish yet sincere selves from way back when.  We discussed current events and weighed in on topics of great debate whilst basking in the soft bloodshot glow of the great eye in the night sky. It was a delicious way to spend an evening.  And everything seemed normal and not creepy or out of the ordinary at all.

This morning, however, Faye came into our room looking like a washed up 80's glam rocker.  We laughed at the bedhead and shrugged it off.

But something about it bothered me.  I didn't remember her having bangs, or any hair that would stand up like hers was doing.  Before we took Keith to school, I called her to me so I could comb her hair and fix it for the day...

...and I learned she hadn't had bangs like that the day before.  Or the mullet she had tried so desperately to pull off.  I brushed out her beautiful once long hair, and it was so straggly and thin, I was surprisingly sad.  I never thought I would be so attached to Faye's hair, but I was truly and genuinely sad about it.  She told me instead of putting away the scissors she had volunteered to do for me, instead she had taken them to her room and given herself a makeover the day before.  I am not sure how I didn't notice the mullet until this morning if her story is true, but there you have it.

So, I had to take her in to get her long nearly down to her bum when it is straight hair cut into a bob.

And it looks so cute!

Yet I still really am sad about her long hair.  I was learning to do all kinds of fun braids with it, and really enjoyed fixing her hair every morning.

And she wanted Rapunzel hair, so long and flowing.

As we drove to get her hair cut, she said, "But do you want to know the secret of hair, Mommy?  Hair grows.  It will grow back and I can have it long again one day."

What wise perspective from such a young child!

She is a little sad about the short hair, but she loves the new hair cut.  It was very weird for her when she took a bath before bed, to not have the weight of her hair or to have it clinging to her back when it was wet, but all in all, she is very happy with it.  And I think she just looks darling!

I wonder what the next eclipse in October will bring!

07 April 2014

Sleeping with a Sauna

I love cuddling with my kids.  But I draw the line when they try to sleep in my bed.  We have a small full sized bed.  With Jeffrey and me, there is barely enough room for us, let alone any kids.

But when they are sick, the sleeping arrangements change to accommodate them.

Keith got sick yesterday.  All day long he had been complaining about a headache.  He had said he didn't feel well.

Keith is a complainer so I don't always take his complainings seriously.  And then I feel bad when they turn out to be legit.

In between sessions of Conference, he fell asleep and slept through nearly all of the last session.

    ***Side note, it was such a thrill to hear my family history recounted from the pulpit of General Conference!  William R. Walker told a story I have heard since I was very little, the story of Robert Harris, who is my great something or other grandpa.  I love my family!

Back to Keith: When he finally woke up, my boy was very lethargic.  After getting sick on the floor and having to empty the bowl we gave him a few times, it was decided he would sleep in my bed with me as we greatly doubted he would make it to the bathroom in time and Jeffrey would sleep in his bed or on the futon downstairs. 

The boy was a furnace!  All night long he kept flinging his arms and legs, kicking me and whacking me in the face with his hot poker limbs, moaning and all the while trying to find a position where he would feel comfortable.

I secretly loved it. My blood tends to be on the cold side so having such warmth next to me all night felt lovely. Or would have had I not been worrying about him all night long. 

Happily, he feels better now, and has plans to sleep in his own bed tonight.

"I love it because it is about food"

Good gracious, it has been a very busy weekend!

Remember the movie night I had with Jeffrey where we watched our first ever chick flick as a married couple?

Prior to that movie, the kids were up.  We decided to have a pizza party with them.  I mean, a real good, 6th grade version of a pizza party.  Complete with soda, crazy bread, and a movie.

We got all our things together and took the food down to the basement where the TV is located.  Which is sort of a big deal as we have a no food out of the kitchen rule.

6th grade pizza party, remember?  Complete with broken rules.

We set up the movie and then we all got comfortable on the Luvsac to watch the movie.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.  Or as my kids call it Meatballs.

When the movie ended, Keith stretched his arms above his head, let out a deep contented sigh, and said, "The is my new favorite movie.  I love it because it is about food."

Said and loved like a true boy.

The Post That Should Have Been

Sometimes when I write I have a definite idea as to where I want it to go in my head, but when I get it out and re-read what I had written, something entirely new emerges.  Something that was ready and waiting to get out sort of crowds out the words I intend to write and shove their way out instead.

Which is what happened to my Moon Hollow post.  As I re-read it, I can see that my mind and my fingers were dueling it out for two completely different posts.  And so, if my fingers play along nicely, I will finally get out what I wanted to share instead.

Back to the whole 4 months thing.  Specifically the living out of boxes thing.  What I meant by that was that we had a lot of things still in boxes that we would have to awkwardly sort through if we wanted to get something.  Sometimes searching through 3-4 boxes without finding it, our arms getting scrapped by the sharp cardboard sides when we didn't want to open the box completely.  Because we are lazy like that.

Saturday, I decided I had had enough.

During the wonderful sessions of General Conference I began the cleanse.  And for me to clean, it typically means it gets a lot worse before it gets any better, but when it gets better, it is perfect.

I cleaned out those boxes.  I organized all the baby clothes and the outgrown kid clothes.  I put away my maternity clothes.  There were books to shelf, papers to file away or throw away.  There were boxes to break down.  And there was food to put away.  Cases and cases of food which had been placed in the middle of my craft room area.  But to put the food away, I had to clean out the fruit room which was a jumble of boxes and bags and things on the floor.  There was no room for the food.

I worked all day, and long into the night.

Around 2:00 AM I finished my laundry/craft room. 

It is gorgeous now.

It is one of my favorite things about this house, and the fact that I can actually use it now because it is clean and organized makes me over the moon happy!

The family room, on the other hand, that was another story.  All of the boxes and bags and trash that had been in the fruit room and my craft room had made their way out to the family room.

Jeffrey and I have most things packed up and put away in the shed now.  There are a few lingering things, but nothing that I couldn't do in a day or so, assuming the stars are aligned and the kids are good and I am not tired from dealing with problems the kids had in the night (sick all over the floor.  Thankyouverymuch).

In the grand scheme of things, 4 months really isn't that long.  Especially when I have this loveliness to create and play in for a long time to come.

Taming of the Screw

Adrienne is one of the coolest ladies I know.  She has three kids, and each of her kids is the same age and gender of mine, so it makes playing very easy for us.

She came by last week, and after we had visited for a few minutes, she asked if I had any projects that needed to be worked on.  I didn't have to think at all.  When we bought our refrigerator, the delivery truck broke down so they had to get another store to drive out to their truck, pick up their deliveries and deliver them.  On top of their own deliveries.  Which meant that they were incredibly late that day.  And I felt bad. We had 4 appliances we made them install.  It was after six o'clock.  Because of this, and the snow storm outside, and the grumpy customer who kept calling them while they were trying to install my other things, I told them to leave the refrigerator door opening the wrong way, and to leave the handles off, I could fix it later, they just needed to get the other guy taken care of so they could get home to their families.  It was getting late.

And so 4 months later, I still hadn't done it.  When Adrienne offered, I jumped at the chance, and together we tackled the refrigerator door.  

We laughed and joked and we fixed that door so it opened into the kitchen and not the hallway. 

We put handles on the door so that it was easier to open.  And we did it with babies crawling around our legs, trying to eat the tools or trip us up along the way.  And we did it anyway. 

It was absolutely exhilarating!  I felt like Rosy the Riveter, all empowered and strong.

Next time we play at Moon Hollow, there is a leaky faucet that needs fixing. And a coat rack to build for the kids in the hall closet.  I can't wait to find out what projects she has for us to play with when we go over to her house.

I can see us getting a lot done in these play dates of ours.  Both therapeutic for the conversation and the satisfaction of work.

Moon Hollow

It has been nearly 4 months.

4 months of living out of boxes.

4 months of hating the messes but not being able to do a whole lot about it at the time.

4 months of planning lots of things for when the boxes were finally gone.

4 months too long.

And 4 months being nameless.

Which is kind of a big deal to me.  Because when you name something, it really truly belongs to you.  You grow to love it more.  You want to take care of it better, and more than that, when it has a name, it becomes a part of you.

We talked and discussed and argued and deliberated for 4 months.  No one liked the same name that someone else came up with.  No one wanted to concede their position.  I was really pushing for Songbird Corner because our bushes and trees are so full of birds and it is lovely, but Jeffrey thought it was too girly. And so we thought and our thinking lasted too long.  4 months too long.

When I got up with the baby, I would think about the name.  By the light of the moon, as I rocked her and fed her and sang to her I would think.  I would try different things out in my mind, but nothing really had that ring to it.  That ring that would make it stick.

And then, by the light of the moon, it came to me.

Moon Hollow.  

Because I have never been able to seen the moon so consistently from my bedroom window.  I have never had it constantly accompanying me those many sleepless nights with the baby.  Comforting me.  Protecting my toes from stubbing themselves on corners or toys or furniture by its light.  I look forward to the many evenings sitting out in the warm air, not needing our porch light because the moon light is enough.  Sitting out there with Jeffrey after the kids have gone to bed, just enjoying each other's company in the soft glow of the moon.

At Moon Hollow.

And it is perfect