Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Great Trip with the exception of the flight home

I just got home from a great trip to Colorado to see my parents and sister who lives in Denver. We happened to be there during the World Series and were on hand to see some of the Rockies craziness. Too bad we lost but it was a great season for them anyway. As a football fan, it was harder to watch the Broncos lose to Greenbay on Monday in overtime!

Good things: My dad as well as the beloved father of growing up friends both look wonderful! My dad has his new pace maker, but is still connected to a "wound vac" that is vacuuming out the infection from the old infected incision sight. They are thinking about another week to two of that but at least he is home, looks great and can make his daily breakfast of tomato salad in his own kitchen. My friend's father who is battling leukemia was at church and looked wonderful as well. It was great to be home and in person see people I love look good despite their health issues. (By the way, my mother is a goddess who served my dad so sweetly the whole time we were there, disinfecting every surface, giving him his antibiotics every 8 hours--which is about a 20 minute process in that she has to inject them directly to the port in his arm, making "immunity building" meals, helping him take a bath, etc.)

On a more light-hearted side, good news for all Boulderites: The Gondolier now offers their All-you-can-eat spaghetti all the time! So no more need to plan your trips there for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. They have moved to 16th and Pearl. We ate there twice.

Not so good thing: I purchased Colorado Rockies t-shirts and baseball hats on Saturday and paid premium prices for them. On Monday, after they lost the World Series, all Rockies memorabilia was 1/2 price!

Weird Thing: On the way home, just as our flight was leveling out, a lady on our flight started feeling sick. My kids and I were on the 2nd to last row in the airplane and witnessed as they brought her back to the last row to help her (right behind us.) She started have heart issues and they announced on the speaker that they needed a doctor. A nurse and EMT were on the flight and they managed her the rest of the way, taking her pulse, giving her oxygen, etc. It was considered a medical emergency and our flight was prioritied into SLC. So, for a flight that is normally a little over an hour, we flew from Denver to SLC in 35 minutes! They didn't even serve the drinks or snacks. I don't know if it was real medical issue or just a panic attack but the lady went from hollering out, to loud screaming, sobbing, to going into a quiet daze, to hollering out, "I just want to go home!" to sobbing, to hollering out, "Where is my shoe?" etc. the whole time. Again, we were the only ones on the flight with little kids and we were directly in front of her! You should have seen my kid's worried faces. Once we landed, EMT's wheel chaired her off the flight as she covered her face saying, "I'm so embarrassed. I am so embarrassed." Needless to say, it was good to land and get off that plane. It took me a while after we landed to calm my kids down and explain that everything was alright. Last we saw of her, she was talking to the paramedics and looked good.

So, all in all a great trip if not just a few days too short. Now, it is back to the craziness with Halloween parties, parades, and trick or treating tomorrow night. The weather forecast looks good, so it should be a great Halloween.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Off to Colorado!

Well the bags are packed and I am off to see my parents in Colorado. It is ending up being a very different trip than originally imagined. My dad comes home from the hospital (after being there 2 1/2 weeks) with his new pace maker on the very night I arrive. He has his new pace maker but me nor my kids will be allowed to touch him for fear of him getting another infection. He will also have a home nurse managing some of the machinery he is still connected to. I hate watching my parents get old! The man who has been my rock and protector my whole life, connected to machines. I hate it. Still, it will be good to see him. Dentist husband will be managing the home front here since he felt he couldn't leave the new practice so soon after our last vacation. My parents don't have Internet, so I will check in when I get home.

On a side note, I have spent way too much time (when I have a house to clean) finally reading, "Twilight" by Stephanie Meyers. I have heard a ton about it but didn't buy into the hype. Well, I was wrong. All the hype is true. I also just finished, "The Ladies Auxiliary" by Tova Mirvis. I liked it. I didn't love it but I liked it.
I'm also posting a picture of toothsome #4 from her birthday (about two weeks ago). That is the doll she got and she LOVES it. She calls it "eiii". Her only real word is "da da" but she makes a lot of gibberish noises and specifically hollers, "eiii" every time she holds it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pumpkin Carving/Wassail Party

Those are fish inside that pumpkin--done by Dentist husband.

Eight years ago, my husband and I had just moved to Utah. We had a new baby, we lived in a 60 year old, needing a lot of work home, and I knew no one in the neighborhood. My husband was working like crazy, trying to be a good, brand-new dentist. I was also very homesick, which was a new feeling for me because having gone out of state for college, served a mission and studied abroad, I had never felt homesick before and I didn't know why at age 27, I was experiencing it for the first time. Looking back on it, it was a very hard year but at the time, it was just life and I was managing it the best I could.

One morning, I woke up with a serious craving for wassail. It was a cold morning, the fall leaves were in full color, I was homesick and I had to have wassail. And, not just any wassail, but my family's passed down from generation to generation recipe. (I'll post it later). The only problem was that the recipe makes ALOT of wassail and it was just me, my husband and a newborn baby.
Anyway, out of this thought, sprang my idea for the "First Annual Pumpkin Carving/Wassail Party." My husband comes from a family of nine children and at the time, all of them but one lived in Utah. I contacted everyone and invited them over for the party. There were three basic rules: 1. If you were married, you had to partner with your spouse (I didn't want my husband to dump me for one of his more artistic siblings) or go it alone. 2. You had to provide your own carving instruments and pumpkin. 3. No prepurchased patterns allowed.

I provided the wassail, three great prizes that made people want to try and win, roasted pumpkin seeds, apples and Carmel dipping sauce and location. To prevent my carpet from being destroyed, I put down a disposable drop cloth, set out bowls to put the pumpkin seeds and junk in and set the timer for 90 minutes. Let the First Annual Pumpkin Carving/Wassail Party begin! We had a great time. A brother-in-law confessed he had never carved a pumpkin before. Another brother-in-law was eager to win the "Edger Allen Poe Stories" CD. My feelings of homesickness disappeared that night and only returned occasionally after that. The party was a huge success and eight years later it is still going strong. Thank you Dentist husband's family for always make it such a fun night to always remember.

FYI: Originally, we just has three prizes--1. Best Overall 2. Coolest Concept 3. Pumpkin Smasher Choice. Later we have added 4. Safe Bet and 5. Nice Try, Failed Attempt. Voting is done by secret ballot and any child under age of the 12 wins a prize. Visit my sister-in-law's blog to see why she carved one of my husband. It won best overall this year.

Appliance and Sickness Update

Well, I now have a working dishwasher and still a not working ice maker. I really thought the dishwasher would be the spendy one to fix but it turns out that when you don't rinse your dishes very well, Lego's (yes Lego's) and pistachio shells can really clog up your drain line. The ice maker needs all new electronics, and that will be fixed (the part alone cost $100) on Wednesday. However, it still looks like we were able to get both fixed for under $500.

On the sickness front, I am now on day two of no sleep dealing with poor toothsome #3 and this stomach bug that he is dealing with. We just got back from the doctor because I wanted to make sure he was hydrated enough. When he was one, he was hospitalized with severe dehydration and so I always worry. His is currently well hydrated but if he doesn't feel better by late afternoon, they want me to go and have his electrolytes checked. On the way home, I got him a Poweraid from McDonalds and he has kept that down. So, I am hoping that by the end of today, he is doing better.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nope another appliance needs help.

I had no idea that at year four in a house, all appliances started breaking. I assumed year 10 would be more like it, but this morning it was discovered that my ice machine in my refrigerator is not producing ice. I have tried everything that the manual says to get it to start producing but to no avail. The one good thing about putting fixing things off is that I will only have one service call visit because I have yet to call on my dishwasher. Since they are the same brand, it will be one service man to look at two problems. So am I being realistic to hope that this will all cost under $500?

On a side note, I am now on child three who has had this weird virus of throw-up and then diarrhea. It lasts for 24 hours, goes away and then comes back again for another few days. Oh, I have mentioned that I am taking my kids by myself to Colorado at the end of the week? Oh, this is to visit my parents, my father who will have come home from the hospital after battling a major staph infection? I am seriously considering getting a hotel, so as not to spread anything from my sick kids to him. This trip was planned months ago. Aghh.

On a side note, we had a great Pumpkin Carving/Wassail party here on Friday night. I'll post pictures later.

Friday, October 19, 2007

What Color Orange Are You?

You Are Pumpkin

Realistic and practical, you see the world for how it is.You know what it takes to succeed in life...And you're happy to help others reach their goals.

What Color Orange Are You?

Why am I not surprised by this? It should also say, "Obsessive compulsive" and needs Diet Coke to function on a daily basis.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bad news with Another appliance

I have heard that appliances break down in a series of "threes." One breaks, then another, then another. I always assumed this was because often appliances are purchased at around the same time. Regardless, we have hit break down number three and I am really hoping this is the end of it.

For the last two weeks, my dishwasher has been acting funny--making really bad grinding noises, (which according to the manual are normal when it is grinding some big piece of food--which since I don't rinse the dishes beforehand, I am not surprised by), I haven't run out of rinse-aid in months and this dishes haven't seemed to be getting super clean. They are not dirty, just not as clean as normal. So, I did what I have done in the past and that is pour vinegar on the bottom of the dishwasher and do a vinegar rinse. (Heloise recommended that trick and it really works) That actually seemed to solve most of the problems, until two days ago, when I discovered the dishwasher is not draining. Even when I pretend I don't know about it and leave it overnight. No change in the water level.

Since ignoring the problem wasn't working, I decided to wet/dry vacuum out the bottom of the dishwasher and hope to vacuum up something that was clogging the draining system (which I know is at the bottom of the washing machine but I don't know exactly where. According to the manual, it is just "down there" somewhere.) So, now we are on day two of wet/dry vacuuming and it is not draining at all. I suppose this means I do indeed have to call a repair man, which I don't want to do because I just spent $400 plus dollars diagnosing and fixing a washing machine leak and drywall problem. This has been an expensive fall considering competitive soccer fees, book orders, school pictures, ballet Nutcracker fees, etc. Please bless this is our final appliance problem for a while. I am sick of it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book--You Read to Me, I'll Read to You

We just got this book with my son's book order. It was a delightful book for us to share reading together and it made reading time so much more fun for both of us. Every time we would start a new story, I would let him decide what character he wanted to be and away we went. I was so impressed with the book, I ordered the other two that are available.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Go Rockies!

OK, I have to admit, that while I wouldn't let my boys sign up for t-ball because those games last FOREVER and at least in soccer, there is a start and finish time, I wouldn't be true to my roots unless I cheered, hollered, applauded and screamed myself horse for my hometown team The Rockies! I remember too well when they were just an infant of a team but now they are GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES! GO ROCKIES and may the Denver Broncos follow you to the Super Bowl.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Update on School Bus Drama

I e-mailed the principal about this and she likes the idea of a mass e-mail notification. She said she will get the ball rolling to create such lists. So, I guess sometimes, being the squeaky wheel pays off.

Friday, October 12, 2007

School Bus Drama

I have finally calmed down enough to write about this, but I am still a little upset. Here is what "went down" today.

Friday is a short day at our school and school lets out at 1:50 pm and I usually see my kids come in the door at around 2:15 pm. Sometimes because of situations at the school, the bus is a little later, but in the 2 years 1 1/2 months my kids have been at this school, on this bus, I have never seen them later than 2:30 pm and that happened once.

Anyway, by 2:30 pm, the bus has not come and I start to get a little worried. Not too worried but worried, so I start to call several of the other moms in the neighborhood and ask them if they know what is going on. None of my friends answer, which surprises me and I start to get that really sick feeling in my stomach. So, then, I try calling the school and NO ANSWER! It is now 2:45 (almost a full hour since school has let out) and my breathing starts to get short, and I don't know if it is better to get in the car and drive up to the school and risk missing my kids getting home, or just stay home and wait. Since no one is answering, I am imagining a school lock down situation. I am imagining kids getting shot. I am imagining every BAD scenario. Then, a neighbor, who has kids at the same school, quickly drives by my house and I run in front of her car and ask, "Have you heard anything about our kids?" She looks at me surprised and says very innocently, "Oh, didn't you get a phone call? Their bus broke down and you are supposed to go up to the school and get your kids. If I had known, I would have brought your kids with me." First of all I am mad because no, I didn't get a call from the school. Second, why didn't this neighbor call me when she got the phone call? Third, if she had my kids, that is a major breach in the whole school security system because she is not on my list of approved people to take my kids from school. I should mention, that I my cell phone and home phone available the whole time.

So, I throw my two youngest in the car and head up to the school but stop when I see other kids from our neighborhood getting off of the "upper bus stop", several of them crying and several of my friends who I had tried to call, standing at that bus stop. The other kids said my kids were getting off at the lower bus stop. It has now been an hour and five minutes since school got out. I drive down there, pick up my kids and then drive back up to the upper bus stop to talk to my friends and figure out what happened.

Later, after calling the school and finally getting someone to pick up, we learned that the bus had broken down at the school. They never let the kids on the bus and sent them over to the playground to play and only let four kids in the school at a time to call their parents. However, not all of the kids knew they could call their parents (my kids included) so, there was a lot of confusion. My kids told me they thought they just had to wait at school until I showed up or the bus was fixed. No one told them they could call me. The school never did give me a good answer as to why they were not answering the incoming line when I tried calling. The bus was then fixed and they sent the kids whose parents had not shown up to the school on the bus home. The crying kids were really scared why some parents came up to get them and why some didn't. It was mess and let me tell you, as parents we were all very upset, with the exception of the one parent who did get the phone call but who didn't bother to pass on what was going on to the rest of us in the neighborhood. (Several of us said, "If I had gotten a call, I would have started calling everyone from my cell phone while driving up to get my own child.) Aghh!

My solution? The school should have the e-mail addresses of the parents in the system by bus number. I know there are ways to create a list of addresses and all they would have to do is send out one mass e-mail to that buses e-mail list and inform the parents of what is going on. As parents, we would know to check out e-mail if the bus was running late and then we wouldn't have to bother calling the school and we would know what was going on. No more panic and we would be informed. Easy, cheap solution.

Toothsome #2

I don't deserve toothsome #2. She has been blessed with some amazing gifts and I just get to be her mother and watch her unfold. She is my child that everything comes naturally for her and as a result, I often get credit, where none is due.

Case in point, she was born with a natural love of healthy foods. When she switched from baby food to table food, she discovered tomatos and from then on, any fruit or vegetable was all she would eat. I would take her to McDonald's as a toddler and she would ask if she could get a salad with her kids meal. I would then put the salad, chicken mcnuggets and fries in front of her and all that would get eaten was the salad. A perfect lunch for her is an assortment of fruits and vegetables and I have to convince her to eat something with protein in it.

Let me remind everyone that she is just 6 years old. Her latest health kick happened one morning at breakfast when she read the back of our Cherrios box. It reads, "Did you know that in just 6 weeks Cherrios can reduce bad cholesterol by an average of 4 percent?" It then encourages one to take the 6 weeks challenge and "you will feel better." She read that, and decided to take the 6 week challenge. We are on week number 2 and every morning, she says, "Mom, get me my Cherrios." Now that we are on week 2, she is saying things, like, "I already feel better. Imagine how great I am going to feel in 4 more weeks?" What a nut!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Great Closet Migration

Well, I am almost finished with what I am calling, "The Great Closet Migration." I have gone through everyone of the kids closets (OK, there are only two but four children use them) and made them try on all of their winter clothes. After that, I either passed down ones to the younger siblings, put them in a "to take to DI" box or in some cases, just threw them away. I am also still storing baby stuff because I haven't quite reached the "for sure I am done with having kids phase." I really think we are done but I am not ready to fully embrace it by getting rid of baby things.
Anyway, once I had an account of what was left that actually fit, I went on-line and purchased what we needed. (I know the whole, why pay for shipping but I love Lands End and Hannah Andersson, so I am willing to pay for shipping.)

I live by the "5 and 5" rule. My kids each have 5 tops and 5 bottoms. Ideally, they would all match but that is not necessarily the case. So, now I am done with that project. Thank goodness!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My Dad and the Miracle of Modern Medicine

We are dealing with sad news on the home front. This weekend, my dad had some complications with his pace maker that was put in a month ago. Long story short, he will be in the hospital for at least 4 weeks, battling a staph infection all the while being hooked up to a pace maker on the outside of his body. He has undergone a surgery, had IV antibiotics in his system since Saturday morning and so far everything is going as well as to be expected. He is not out of the woods entirely because this is a very resistant strain of bacteria and only one type of antibiotics works to combat it. Thus, the four week stay before another pace maker can be put in place. He has been given a resident who will be his constant companion to monitor his heart and the infection. Thankfully, my dad (and Mom) is a rock and my sister lives in the state and can be of some close-by support. The rest of us, who are out of state can just call and pray. What a mess!

However, whenever I have been witness to or part of a medical situation, I am blown away by the miracle of modern medicine. We are so blessed to live in a time when these problems can be fixed. How many times have one of my kids had a fever and I have thought about how their sickness is going to affect the rest of my week where when my great-grandparent's children had fevers, they were wondering if their child would live? Based on my dad's heart history, he shouldn't be alive yesterday much less today. He has had one life prolonging procedure after another. It really is amazing. Hopefully, in a month when this is all said and done, we can look back on this time and see what we have learned from it. Already, I am just grateful for the man my dad is, the woman my mother is, the doctors and nurses who are caring for him and the miracle of modern medicine.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Halloween Decorations

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It comes at the end of the month and so I have a whole month to decorate my house for the fall season. Here are some of my favorite (but not all) Halloween items.

I got this witch at a small, wonderful gift shop called Randee and Company. They are patients at my husband's office and she carries some of the most wonderful decorating and home decor items. The witch is about 2/12 feet tall and she sits on top of my fireplace mantle all October.

For my birthday, my sister gave me decorated tiles. There is one for each month of the year and my kids love changing them for me. In front of it, sits one of my favorite Love Boxes made my Tiffany.

Opps! I meant to turn him the other way. I bought this little guy at Target last year. He sits about 2 feet tall and I have him by my front door. My kids LOVE him! He is borderline creepy but not too bad!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Painting the Halloween Window

My mom is very artistic and growing up, every October, she helped us paint a Halloween scene on our front window. We had a very large, front window and there was usually a vampire, a haunted house, a lot of pumpkins and ghosts. My mom would let each of us paint our own ghost. I can't tell you how many hours I spent planning and drawing what my ghost was going to look like each year. I think more effort went into figuring out my ghost than my Halloween costume.

Anyway, I am not nearly as artistic as my mom and we don't have the same big front window, so instead, we each just paint our own ghost. Dentist husband is actually very artistic (his whole family is) and each year, he puts the rest of us to shame. Here he is painting his ghost--a tooth saying, "Roooooot canal.".
There is toothsomes 2 and 3.

And finally, the finished window.

(FYI--You just use powdered Tempera paint and it cleans off super easily with Windex.)