Sunday, August 30, 2009

Take a bite and hide the evidence...

Keener has been having a runny nose, but it started to smell funny. My Mommy radar went off and I took a look up her nose. Sure enough, there was something up there. After retrieving the object, I was able to figure out that she had taken a bite out of a purple swim noodle and then hidden the evidence in a (ahem) convenient location. Since it had been at least 2 days since we had gone to the pool, it was rotting. In a word, GROSS!!!!!

I'm still wondering why a 2 year old thinks it is a good idea to stick something up her nose.......

Monday, August 24, 2009

Add another one to the list

Having Fun with Honey at the beach.

Too bad reality set in.

Rolo woke up at 4:00 am on the day we were supposed to be leaving and was screaming in pain. His ear hurt. Rolo has had multiple ear infections and tubes in his ears, so off to the ER we went, a Saturday sickness in another city leaves us with very little choice of where to go. Since he didn't have a fever and the ER docs didn't "see" that much (a slight irritation), they gave him a topical pain reliever for his ear. A few hours later he had a fever and was no longer in pain, but was certainly a sick little boy. Then a few more hours later and at our home, I see that his eardrum has obviously ruptured (no need for gory details here). Ughhh! A trip to our pediatrician confirms the rupture. Some meds for the ear and the infection and my little boy is feeling much better.
This got me thinking of how many ER's I've been to with my kids. Here's the list for the past 10 years.
  1. Tripler Army Hospital Honolulu Hawaii
  2. Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center Norfolk Virginia
  3. Portsmouth Naval Hospital-Portsmouth Virginia
  4. Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters-Norfolk Virginia
  5. INOVA Fairfax Hospital-Fairfax Virginia
  6. INOVA Emergency Healthplex Center-Alexandria Virginia
  7. Howard County General Hospital- Columbia Maryland
  8. Erlanger Hospital-Chattanooga Tennessee
  9. Chatuge Regional Hospital-Hiawassee Georgia
  10. Dewitt Army Hospital-Fort Belvior Virginia
  11. Sentara Virginia Beach Hospital-Virginia Beach Virginia
Wow, that's a lot once I started to think about it. And that is just the ER's I've been to!

Thankfully we have been lucky that most trips have been for simple things and the two times I've had bad experiences, I've had the nerve to leave one ER and go to another. Word of advice... NEVER go to #2 DePaul Medical Center, unless you just want an autopsy. Horrible does not begin to describe their ER. I would always go to #5 INOVA Fairfax and #4 Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. CHKD saved Elizabeth from extreme dehydration when she was having a bad Reflux & stomach flu combo. The memories of my little girl being so sick still scare me. I wish I had some words of wisdom to gleam from all this time in the ER's, but my advice is the same as you read elsewhere.
  1. Make sure the staff cleans their hands. There is nothing more disgusting than an ER.
  2. Go with your gut. Remember the old joke "what do they call the person that graduates last in their class from medical school" Answer: Doctor. They are human after all.
  3. If a doctor is acting all high and mighty, start calling him/her by his/her first name. Nothing brings them down to your level so fast as the familiarity of a first name.
On to a simpler life for a month (I can only hope!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Honey is Home!!!

Honey's Home! So Glad to have him back. Here are the pictures!
Honey and me

Great Big Hug.

Almost There!

Jumping into his arms!

Two Littlest ones enjoying a moment with their Daddy

Great Big Bear hug for Daddy.

Daddy and his Girls!

Three Little Pumpkins sitting on their Daddy!

Decorated the Car Just for Honey!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Today as I prepare for the return of Honey. I can hardly believe that the time is almost over. Hours are all I have in front of me instead of months. In light of that I want to discuss a more serious topic, Gratitude. Gratitude is defined as thankfulness or appreciation. It is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgement of a benefit that one has received or will receive. (Wikipedia)

As I mentioned months ago, I am very grateful to the Bad Backs Lax for their gift to our family. There are many other individuals and families that have been so kind and generous to our family during the time that Honey has been away to defend our great nation. The kind words and outpouring of love, assistance with the kids, help with the laundry, mowing the lawn, meals and phone calls just to say hello; have been such a huge blessing. I don't think I have ever felt so loved. I am so grateful to know so many wonderful people. I don't think I could ever repay them for the friendship, love and support that I have been given. It is a gift of love that has no price. They have been a perfect example that "Kindness is love in action" (from The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick).
So I ask you to remember that the smallest things that you do might have the biggest impact on your day, or more importantly; the day of others. Try to follow John 15:12, "This is my commandment. Love one another as I have loved you." Smile at your mailman, say hi to the check out clerk, let that person in front of you in line at the store (or parking lot!), give your child or spouse a hug, call up a friend you haven't talked to in a while. These small things may make a big difference in their day. I know that the quick phone calls or emails to see how I was feeling, made all the difference in the world to my day. The acts of friendship made me not feel so alone. I am a huge believer in "what goes around comes around". This isn't just about the bad, it's about the good things too. Friendship means being there when times are hard, not just when it's easy. So when you get up each day, ask yourself "Who do you want to be nice to today?" And get to it. Be a blessing in someone else's life!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why NOT to travel with us!

The Car Cleaning Story got me in the mood to tell my other ... "this happened right before our vacation" story.
Four years ago we decided to take the kids to Disney-world in January. Since we live 15 minutes from the Amtrak Autotrain (, we decided to take that rather than deal with flying with 3 kids (Strollers, car seats, bags, & security... what a nightmare!) The biggest advantage of the autotrain to families is that you can leave the car seats, strollers and bags in the car. You only need an overnight bag for the train. My in-laws (aka Nana and Granfer) were going with us. In order to do this, we needed to add storage to our Volvo Wagon. We had a bench seat in the back, so seating was not a problem, but since that uses all the cargo area, we needed to have a place to put our bags. The plan was to put a trailer hitch on, then put a cargo rack on the back and put the suitcases there. So the week prior, I go to UHaul and get the hitch put on. Well now we run into problem #1.
Problem #1a The hitch is not in stock (even though I ordered it and was told it was in stock waiting for me!). I now have to come in the day before the trip in order to get the hitch put on. Okay, not that big of a deal. (Problem #1b)So I go back on the day before the trip and the 1 hour install turns into 4! The kids are going nuts because of the wait and Honey leaves work and comes to pick them up. (Problem #1c ) It is of course now starting to snow with bit of sleet! Oh Great! (Problem #1d) So what is the reason for the wait... they didn't know how to install the hitch on a Volvo wagon. The UHaul "technician" actually asked me where I thought the hitch was supposed to be placed on the car. "Hmm, On the back?" How should I know? If I knew that I would have done it already and I wouldn't be paying you! Finally after who knows how long, it is done.
Problem #2. So we do our nightly routines and then put together the cargo rack for the trailer hitch. We test fit it onto the car. Uh, Oh, the cargo rack is hitting the ground. That's okay, we are parked on a slope. We'll just move the car. The problem remains, .... so the slope isn't the problem. I guess those Uhaul it guys didn't get it right after all. Hmm, I guess we'll have to go with plan B. We have a car top carrier, but we didn't have roof rails. (The carrier was a "gift" from my father because he didn't want to store it anymore). Since it was so bulky, we didn't originally want to use it since we would have to move it into the car during the train ride and it would be much more difficult to deal with. Since we were left with no choice, we went to get temporary roof rails from the auto store.
Problem #3 We have just enough time to go to the store and get the rails before the store closes. Then our problem will be solved... If only!!!! We got the rails, put them together and realized that one of the rail's rubber feet was missing from the box, so we needed to go back to the store in the morning to exchange the rails/ get the replacement, otherwise it would scratch up the car. That's okay. Everything else is packed.
Problem #4 Honey is getting ready for a half day of work (we have to be at the train station at 2:00 to load the car onto the train). I am in charge of getting the replacement foot and getting other last minute things for the trip. Not a big deal plenty of time... WRONG! I am groggy but waking and I look at Honey's pillow. Christopher is sleeping beside me, but there is something all over the pillow, it looks like chocolate. What has our little almost 3 year old Christopher been into in the middle of the night?!. I take another look and it's blood! I quickly jump out of bed and check out Christopher. Sure enough, he has a gash in his head. He needs stitches! I yell to Honey that he needs to call work and take the whole day off. One of us needs to go to the ER and one needs to get the rest of the last minute stuff done, feed the kids breakfast and lunch and clean up. We decide that he will take Christopher and I will do the last minute stuff.
Problem #5 I take Christopher into the kitchen to feed him breakfast before we leave. I put him onto the stool at the kitchen counter and make breakfast. Honey arrives as I finish putting the food in front of Christopher. As I turn to go get dressed for the day, Christopher falls off the stool and hits his chin on the floor. He now needs stitches in his chin!!!
Here is an Ikea Stool like ours. This is the second time that this stool has caused Christopher to fall and require stitches. Needless to say, we no longer have the stool!
We have temporary furniture out because our flooring is not yet installed. It is the last thing left to do for our house remodel. (Problem #6-House is under construction and thus the reason we NEED a vacation! Problem #7, we were having bank trouble all week, trying to get the bank to pay the contractor the proper amount of $ he was owed.)
So now Honey has to have two sets of stitches for Christopher and meanwhile I am praying that he doesn't have to deal with CPS (Child Protective Services). As I run around getting the other kids fed and dressed and the last minute stuff done. I do finally get to the store, get the cargo carrier onto the car, get the luggage into the car and effectively deal with Nana who has arrived and is warding off a panic attack over the stress of the situation (Problem #8)
Now all we need is Honey. It is 1:00 and I am starting to panic. He's still at the ER! Christopher is all stitched up, but they are waiting for some paperwork. Ugh! Gotta love bureaucracy in a time like this. (Problem #9) I am able to convince Honey that we have to leave for this trip and that if they don't come within 10 minute, he is to leave. We've dealt with stitches before so we know about the aftercare and they have our insurance info so they can bill us. I mean really, why was he waiting anyway?
Thankfully they come within the next 10 minutes and Honey is out the door and we get to leave on our trip.
Sometimes it's hard to believe my run of bad luck.

Moral of the story: Don't travel with us! We have horrible travel karma!

P.S.  This is not the end of the story, we had to go to the ER in Disneyworld to remove the stitches.  While there we all contracted the stomach flu from the family that was letting their kids play in the play area while they were sick (Some people have so little sense or kindness!).  It was NOT a fun trip home!

One last Trial before the end.

I woke up today and didn't want to move. My back was and is killing me! But I have lots to do before Honey gets home TOMORRROW!!! I need to keep the house clean, find a dog sitter, pack for the beach and the most necessary - the car must be cleaned. It's waited too long. It's been sitting & festering in the hot summer sun too many days. All the kids melted madness in the backseat was started to smell.... The most disgusting thing is not the yuck that is unidentifiable, but the chicken nuggets and french fries that look not one day older. Makes you wonder what it's really made of?!

After quickly cleaning Honey's car. I started on the Suburban. First I had the kids get all their stuff out (while I cleaned Honey's car). Then I had to pick up all the sticky change($) that they seem to accumulate in the backseats and in crevices. I also try to get things put away during this phase and strip the car seats so they can be cleaned as well. Next it was onto the vacuuming. There is a LOT of space in the Suburban and I normally have to make a few passes with the vacuum because of all the fries, crackers, candy, stickers, crayons, you name it!. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! Just when I was almost done with the vacuuming it started to pour down raining. Why does this always happen to me? So I of throw the rest of the vacuum in the car, go unplug it so I won't get electricuted (that would be my luck!), throw all the miscellaneous junk into the house and grab the keys so I can roll up the windows. I come back to the car, put the keys in the ignition, turn on the car, but it won't start! I know it's not the battery (I already replaced that while Honey was gone!). So, I called roadside assistance to come give me a jump. Apparently, I took an exceptionally long time cleaning the car! ... and I'm still not done! I still have to scrub the gunk off the seats and reinstall the car seats.
Who knew that you could spend so much time cleaning the car that you could wear down the battery?

For some other of my bad luck before vacation stories, visit "Family Oldie," "Why to Not Travel with us!" or "The Rest of the Story."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2nd String

The past few months I have listened to Taylor Swift a LOT. Her music really reaches out to a lonely soul and makes me remember all the things I love about Honey. Probably my favorite song is "Breathe" .
Now I know that the song is about a breakup, but many of the emotions of a break up are similar to being separated.
"...I don't know what to be without you around"
"...I can't breathe without you, but I have too"
"... Your the only thing I know like the back of my hand"
After being married for 12.5 years it is quite an adjustment to not have Honey around every day. We often spent time apart during the first few years of our married life while he was out to sea. But, once he left the Navy for corporate life 7 years ago, I have gotten to enjoy having him around. It is amazing how much you can take a person for granted because they are with you every day. You just expect them to be there to help with little things like getting milk from the store or filling up the car with gas. I hate filling up the car so much. I can not tell you how many times I have pulled up to the gas pump, gotten out of the car, and then realized that the car was too far away or that I pulled up to the wrong side. I feel like a moron when it happens, but I was used to Honey taking care of these things for me. When your team is no longer together, you feel abandoned and like you have no chance of winning the game. This is where the 2nd string must come in to help. I have been lucky in life to know a great many wonderful people. Luckily, these people have come in to help me. Friends like these are worth their weight in gold.

You can watch the video and hear the song here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Go figure?

Here's one [unexpected] thing about Honey's flight from Kabul to Kuwait that bugged me.
The Army sent the soldiers on a flight that mustered at 1:00 PM. It left Kabul at 7:00 PM. The plane landed in Kuwait 6 hours later. During the entire time the Army didn't feed them!
Honey (being the non-complainer that he is) said "Well, it wasn't a commercial flight. It's not like they have stewardesses."
Well, sure, ...but someone got paid to feed those 60 people. And seeing as how the military invented the MRE's (Meal's Ready to Eat for you non military types), It's not like there wasn't an ability to give everyone a quick (albeit bad meal). Annoying. I guess feeding the troops is not a priority.

Almost there, almost there...

Honey called to say that he is safely in Kuwait. Yeah!!! He has to clean his gun and turn it in, then endure a few days of needless drivel from the Army and then he will be home again. I am very excited to see him. The kids are very excited and anxious to have him home again. They keep saying sweet things like:
"I'm going to hug Daddy forever"
"When I hug you [Daddy], I'm never going to let go."
"I'm gonna kiss you all day!"
Looking forward to a joy-filled reunion. I'll get as many pictures as I can.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dropping things

It's the worst feeling to drop a child. In all fairness, I was tired because Keener was up until 4 am Friday morning, but I am grateful that only minor scrapes occurred when I dropped her later that same day in the pool's shower. Her wet little body just slipped right out my arms and onto the floor. Minor cuts, but boy did I feel like the bad mother.

Then today (Saturday), The bike tipped over with her in the baby seat. Ahhh!!! No scrapes or broken bones, Thank God!

I think I won't be getting that "Mother of the Year" award. Oh well, who likes clutter anyhow!

College Friend

My good friend from college came with her two children to visit me for a few days. She is Christopher's godmother. What a blessing to have someone else around, more kids for my children to play with and someone to distract me from the last few days of the deployment. I am very grateful that she took the 9 hour drive from Boston. I am amazed at how the gift of companionship can make such a difference in my day. No "priceless" work of art could compare to the gift of friendship. I'd pick my friends every time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Closer, Closer, almost there!

Ahh, the end is near. I am having a hard time concentrating on doing anything since Honey's arrival back home is so close. 8 days, but who's counting?
Answer: Me!! Me!! Me!!
Now if only I could get the 2 year old to go to sleep. She is giving me a lot of trouble not sleeping. I don't think Honey could come home soon enough! Then maybe I'll get a nap!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Achey Breaky Mama

I sure am tired. Not that I can remember doing that much today. I came home from the gym and put my feet up. They were so achey. I really need a good pedicure! Love the massage part and the foot soaking part. I really don't care that much about the whole painted nail thing. That's the excuse to get a foot massage! The days are ticking slowly 'til Honey comes home, but I will try to enjoy the days as they come, No use wasting a perfectly good day with mopeyness.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Secret Desire

What is it about boys and stitches? Do they think I have a secret desire to live in the ER? Do they think that I might miss the ER if I don't get my annual visit? I honestly don't know how many times I've been to the ER for the boys for stitches.
So what happened this time? Well, Rolo was walking on the couch taking off the cushions to make his fort, when he slipped and hit his chin against the coffee table. I took one look, saw fatty tissue (my sign to go in for stitches) and sent the rest of the kids to my neighbors while I went to the ER. I am actually so used to this, that I stop to think about what I might need for the ER (Books, Ipod, blankie).
I was hopeful that this time they might use the glue rather than the actual stitches. The glue is 10 times easier to deal with as a parent. There is no need to go back to the doctor and have it removed, no need to numb the injured area, no need to strap the kid in a body board (All I can say is that those boards DO NOT work on my kids! Junior Houdini's....). The glue just peels away like a layer of skin after a week or so. I have never had an injury that qualified just for glue, but I am always hopeful. This time Rolo's injury was glue eligible. Yeah!!!!! I was so happy. Rolo was very calm while they fixed his chin up. Here's the photo with the glue. Doesn't look that bad............ now.
One of the books that I took with me was this one. The Human Body.
I brought it because Rolo loves puzzles and since you never know how long the ER visits will be, you need to be prepared. The doctors and nurses loved it. They thought it was so great. They kept asking Rolo if he thought he'd be a doctor. It was funny because he kept giving them a very decisive "No." I said I think he'll probably be an engineer like Daddy and Granfer. But of course he can be whatever he wants to be. Isn't that the fun of watching your kids grow up? Seeing who they become.