Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Today is my birthday.

My birthday.

I don't usually do a lot to celebrate, because it's my stepson's birthday also, and because as the years pass, I really don't feel the need for a huge celebration.  A bit of peace and quiet is what I like the most.

This year, though, I was kept busy all day.  By 9:00 a.m. my sister and I, along with Rowan and my sister's two children, were busy taste-testing cake, frosting, and fillings.  Okay, it was for a cake for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, which will be celebrated this weekend, but I see no better way to start off my birthday than with tasting frosting!  I hadn't even had breakfast yet!

...Which leads to, after the taste-testing, we dropped off Rowan and my sister's eldest at my parents' house, and she took me out for brunch.  I can highly recommend Oregon Crepes in the Pringle Plaza!

 I came home and a good friend, Neil, had stopped by to visit.  He brought me a lovely card and two boxes of Earl Grey tea.  Hurray!  Unfortunately I was very, very tired by this point, so I went up for a birthday nap while Matthew and Neil chatted.  Birthdays are exhausting!

I woke up when my lovely friend Julie showed up to babysit my kids, while Matthew and I escaped to Dairy Queen (paid for with birthday cash from Carol).  It's so nice to get out with him without children!  And then Julie bought delectable margherita pizza for dinner. <3

And to top it all off, Wednesdays are VariTechnical Artistry days (VTA for short), which is what we've renamed our writer's group.  VTA days are my favorite days!  How wonderful and fitting that my birthday should land on a VTA day!  So Savanna, Richie, and Fletcher came over to join us.  Savanna brought me an absolutely gorgeous copy of Peter Pan.  I am so excited to read it with Rowan!  And I got to see artwork from Richie, and I had time to write, and Henry is asleep now, and Matthew is taking care of Rowan, and even though three people have gone home now, Savanna and I are still sitting and writing.


All in all, this has been one of the best birthdays ever.  I loved every minute.  And now I'm off to read Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator with Rowan, which is even better.  I am so very blessed!  Thank you all for giving me such a wonderful, fabulous, splendiferous, absolutely magnificent day!  I love you all!

Father's Day, and Other Happenings

Life has been busy.  It's been hectic.  It's been crazy and exciting and rushed and insane.  The house we live in officially went on the market a few weeks ago, which means we've been attempting, with mixed success, to keep our house at the height of realtor perfection.  I have never been particularly neat (although I would love to be), and with two small children in the house, it's been challenging.

So.  Last week another realtor contacted our realtor and said he'd like to show the house Saturday evening.  Naturally, we have to be out of the house while it's shown.  We elected to just sit in the park across the street while it happened.  We waited and waited and waited and waited....

At last Paul called our realtor and he said he'd been trying to reach the other realtor, with no success.  Extremely annoying, to be sure! 

Then yesterday, Father's Day, our realtor had an open house planned for our house.  Paul told us it was from 1 - 4 p.m.  Our house was still mostly neat from Saturday, but a few things needed to be touched up.  We all felt the pressure of time.  Tempers were short, and sometimes got lost.  Matthew watered the garden with Henry, and then, bless his soul eternally, took the small ones and Noah out of the house and to the park, so that Paul, Carol, and I could clean in peace.  And wow, we made it look dazzling.  I even finally managed to get the study cleaned up.

We were out of the house before 1:00, and we made our way to Minto Brown Island Park in Salem.  We figured it would be a good place to hang out for a few hours.  I had to make a run to the store for a few necessities, so Matthew again took the children (he amazes me!) and Noah took Lili to the dog park.  That's right; we had our dog with us, too.  Around 2:15 I got a text from Paul:  It turns out the open house was actually scheduled for 2:30 - 5:30.  We'd been out with the children for an hour and a half, and THE OPEN HOUSE HADN'T EVEN STARTED YET.

To make things more difficult, the kidlings were tired of the park.  I thought of my parents; I had really wanted to go see my dad on Father's Day, but I thought they might still be in Seattle.  My mom's brother is in the hospital there.  I figured I should call anyway and find out.  And...they were home!  I asked if we could crash their house with five people and a dog, and my mom said, sure!  Bearing in mind that they live in a single-wide trailer with a very small (but thankfully fenced) yard.  And two of my sisters (one with her husband and two children) and one of my brothers were already there!  Haha!

So there we went.  The children were charmed by Lili.  She is very sweet and playful.

 My brother-in-law grilled steaks, one of my sisters made a delicious Asian salad, my mom made fabulous baked potatoes, and we had a fabulous time.  Hurray!  And Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Henry and the Broken Bone

Monday last week, Henry (3 years old) fell off a ladder.  Twice.  At least, I'm assuming it was twice; we didn't actually see it happen the first time, and since Henry is mostly nonverbal, he couldn't tell us.

Anyway, the realtor who's listing our house was over to take pictures, so I had put up the ladder to the loft in Henry's bedroom.  I left it up because, well, since he learned to climb he's been very careful about it and has never had a problem with it.  I was downstairs talking with a friend when Henry started howling.  I zoomed up the stairs and got there at the same time as Matthew.  We found Henry lying on the floor, crying.  I picked him up and snuggled him until he felt better, and Matthew took the ladder down.  I went back downstairs.

About five minutes later the howling began again.  I raced back up the stairs to find Henry on the floor again, and the ladder up.  Rowan, our 6-year-old, had put it up.  (I must admit that I am somewhat impressed, as the ladder is very heavy.)  He reported that Henry had fallen from the second or third rung--not very high.  We didn't worry much about it then; I snuggled Henry for a long while, but he still was upset.  I gave him ibuprofen and he went to sleep for an hour.

When he woke up, the crying began again.  This can't be right, I thought to myself.  He shouldn't still be in pain from it.  Matthew agreed, and we took him to the ER.  It's a small one, and usually not very busy.  That night, although it was busier than usual, we got in to a room within 30 minutes.  When the doctor came in to examine Henry, he did a very quick exam.  "No contusions on the head.. standing straight.. can't feel anything wrong with his spine.. Okay, take him home and bring him back if he starts vomiting."  He explained that they don't like to do scans on small children unless they see something obviously wrong; and he said that it was perfectly normal for Henry to still be crying four hours after the accident.  I thought the first part sounded logical, but I knew it wasn't normal for Henry to still be crying.  Maybe I should have pushed more.  But the doctor was already moving on to the next patient, so we packed up and went home.  (The fact that we were hearing phrases from the patient next to us like "abscess" and "groin" and "scrotal sac" might have had something to do with it.)

Henry cried Tuesday.  We gave him more ibuprofen, and then he was happy for a few hours until it wore off.  He cried again.  He cried Wednesday, and I noticed that he wasn't using his left arm.  He also wasn't sliding down the stair railing, like he usually does.  I decided to call his doctor.  His regular doctor.  We went in that afternoon and his doctor said he most likely had fractured his arm.  He put Henry's arm in a splint and gave us orders to go to the hospital (a different one) and get x-rays.

I know his seat belt is wrong.  I fixed it.

It turns out he had fractured his arm.  It was what the doctor called a "buckle fracture."  He said to leave it in the splint until Monday, then bring him in to the clinic for a cast.  Poor Henry!  To be trapped in a cast for the summer!  I told my family about the situation, and they were all very indignant.  My brother-in-law, a volunteer firefighter, said he was going to "raise Hell" with the ER about not doing scans that first day.  I am torn between being angry and being understanding.  When you have a patient like the one next to us, it can be easy to dismiss a small boy showing no outward signs of injury.  On the other hand, my boy deserves thorough treatment.

Well, we went in Monday to get Henry's cast.  The doctor asked if he'd been trying to take the splint off, and we said no.  He said he would recommend just leaving it in a splint then, since it was mostly stable, and then we'd also be able to take it off for bathing.  We decided to go with that option, and he made a molded splint for Henry.

Henry is much happier now that his arm is stabilized.  I think it must really have been hurting him.  The doctor said he just has to wear it for three weeks.  He's already begun sliding down the banister again.  Lord help us in the next few weeks!

At the doctor's recommendation, we put a sock over the splint to keep it clean.  Henry is fascinated.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I'm nearly at the end of a long day, and I am just so done.  Drained.  Exhausted.  Finished.  It's not that the kids were horrible (they weren't) or that bad things happened (they didn't).  Being a mother is just so darn tiring.

Before anyone jumps on my case and says that fatherhood is tough, too, let me just state that I am already aware.  It's tiring.  It's exhausting.  Okay.  But this post is about me, and I am not, and will never be, a father.

And in this household, at least, while Matt works at least as hard as I do, he just doesn't get swarmed by the children like I do.  That's what really gets me -- having small beings fling themselves at me and on me All Day Long. They pet my legs.  They caress and mangle my hair.  They sit on my head.  They butt their heads into my stomach.  They are completely without mental boundaries in their attack on me, touching me in places I don't want to be touched, then flitting away before I can reprimand them.  That's just in fifteen minutes, but they can keep it going all day.

When I am done preparing their food and sit down to eat my own, Henry in particular will climb on my lap, purposely putting his beaming face between me and my fork.  If I try to duck around him, he moves his head to maintain the blockade.  This morning he kept trying to put his feet in my cup of tea, I guess because I was giving it too much attention (drinking it).

And the bra snapping.  I don't know why Henry is so fascinated by it, but any time I pick him up or sit next to him, he tries to reach in my shirt and snap my straps.  This is strictly Not Allowed -- I always remove his hands, and then he sobs in anguish, making me feel like a heartless mommy.

I love my kids.  Really, I do.  But by midmorning I am ready to hop on a plane to Hawaii and not look back for a month.  I keep telling myself I'll sit down and write after they're asleep, but half the time I fall asleep with them, and the other half I'd usually rather do something mindless, like play Candy Crush.

...To prove a point, it's 2:58 a.m. now, and I've just woken up again next to my peacefully slumbering children.  I obviously I didn't get done whatever I was planning to do after the kids passed out. Eat ice cream, maybe?

I should add that I love my children very much, and on the extremely rare occasions I've been away from them for the night (maybe 5 nights in 6.5 years), I've missed them like crazy.  They are sunshine bursting through the walls and windows, flooding my soul with the joy of summer.  They are high-pitched shrieks and laughter, endless giggles as they chase each other through the house.  They are sweet little arms wrapping around my neck, little heads nestling on my shoulder, little voices whispering, "I love you, Mama."

They are the pinnacle of my life thus far, my trembling heart walking around in reckless little bodies. They are my everything, and I love them so very much.

I bet I would love them even more after Hawaii.