Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Birthday...

This one is mine. I have decided it is so much more fun to think about birthdays for the kids. I could go without birthdays for me. But so far this year, this pregnancy condition has had me much too tired to do anything special for my January birthday boys. I felt very guilty about having my own good and special day today.
My mom and dad came out his afternoon, bringing extremely good chicken curry from Big Bowl and wonderful egg rolls from the Lotus restaurant. Now that I can eat again, I am back to my old self, being all about good food. They stayed and played with the kids, and took turns holding a sick Tubby (he had not puked anymore, but since his episode last night, he has been running a very high fever and has been sad and lethargic). Pam also made appearances in and out between appointments in Waconia. So to the kids' delight on this stay-at-home day, they had a whole slew of grandparents to play with who actually gave them attention that their own mommy is always too tired to muster up.

For afternoon snack, we took out Crispy's birthday cake and finally let him blow out some candles. It was nice to have more people around today to help make him feel special. During the afternoon, we kept pumping poor Tubby up with Tylenol to try to get him to be a bit more cooler and comfortable. Poor, sad, kid.
At 6:30, the women and I went out to dinner at Lola's Lakehouse in Waconia. (I need to get the good pictures from Pam and my mom) I did not want to go far since the kids were home all alone as Daddy was working late and Michael had another hockey game (no rest in this sport!). Mary met us there with her little baby girl, and we had a very lovely and delicious meal next to the warm fire. It was such a nice, relaxing time, in such a calm and comfortable atmosphere. My lemon caper cream sauce pizza with artichokes, green onions, and chicken was very tasty, but I was so stuffed from the excellent appetizers, I could barely eat more than one slice. I look forward to it tomorrow for breakfast and lunch!

Upon arrival home, we found a "surprise party" erupting as we walked in the door. The kids (and the neighbor girl---she is pretty much considered part of the family)had spent the last two hours decorating the house with streamers, balloons, posters, cards, birthday banners, and showered us with confetti from the top floor as we walked in. Not only that, but they had baked me a birthday cookie (and a whole batch), complete with candle in the center, and sang me the Birthday Song. What nice kids! I was truly surprised, and felt very special! Thank you, kids!!After an hour of laying on the couch, and watching the kids entertain us with their version of "American Idol" (they were so funny at times that Laura kept falling on the floor laughing so hard), I was able to think of cake. My mom brought out the most wonderful cake in the world that she brings me each year....a Princess Marzipan raspberry cream layered cake from Woullet's bakery. There sincerely is no better cake than this, and I look forward to it every year. Thank you, so much, Mom! Bob and Michael came home just in time for cake, and the kids were up again until about 10pm. Boy, are we going to have a rough start tomorrow morning going back to school!

Little Hockey Dude

Tubby is just amazing with how much he loves hockey. He seems to love everything about it...and is surprisingly good at it. I can not remember another child being so gung-ho about something at such an early age.

A few days ago, he pulled out his hockey shirt and ice skates he got at Christmas, and insisted on wearing them both. He strutted around the carpet happily, trying to balance his wobbly ankles, and so proud to look so much like a real hockey player. Laura walked behind him as a helper, and made it through the session without losing any naked toes.
We try to remember to bring a hockey stick anywhere we go, because that is what keeps Tubby's attention the most. Seriously, this boy could hit things around with his sticks all day long without ever getting the slightest bit bored. Hockey games are the best for him, as the excitement is up in the air, and everything about the ice arena screams "hockey!" When he finally gets out on the ice in his new skates, he is going to think he is in Heaven!
Click on the PLAY button below to see Tubby in action!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Forgotten Child

Poor Crispy. He is often referred to around here as the "Forgotten Child". He is such a good boy, always does as he is told, never complains, is rarely noisy, is a sweetheart at school, is eager to help, and is stuck between two high demand sisters whom he readily helps out whenever they need it. He has always been so sweet since the day he was born, and here he is years old already!!!
We spent Crispy's birthday with a rushed breakfast at the hotel before packing up (through Jonny's left over overnight puke mess in the bathroom), checking out, and racing to the final hockey game of the weekend. We sang Happy Birthday to him in the stands during re-icing after the second period, gave him a birthday slushie (and a Mr Misty throat), and a few presents to open from us and from Grandma and Grandpa C. He seemed very happy with his new DS games and a few new Pokemon characters to play with. We also had found him some cool new stylises for his lightsabers.
After a nutritious lunch of soft pretzels with cheese, and the mandatory bathroom call, we climbed into the truck for the three hour long ride home. Crispy got to play his new games the whole way, but spending your birthday in the back of a truck? Really not so very fun.
Once home, he found a welcomed surprise of balloons at his seat left by Grandma C over the weekend (Alex had stayed home to hold down the fort, take care of the dog, and keep the new fish alive....for him, a whole weekend without kids running around was fantastic!! Thank you to all the grandparents who came to visit him and take him out to lunch that weekend!!!). I quickly threw a cake into the oven, got Alex situated for youth group, and tried to convince Crispy to pick something else for his birthday dinner other than McDonald's. No luck.

Daddy picked up Crispy's dinner while the older kids and I had leftovers that Alex did not eat over the weekend because he was out enjoying great food with all his grandparents. The younger kids happily ate their meals, until Tubby puked all over the kitchen floor. Now, we were all terrified that another GI illness was landing upon us....none of us were ready to handle that....we had barely recovered from the last one! Being afraid, we left the apple filled spice cake for another time, and poor Crispy didn't even blow out a candle on his birthday. We did let him open up the rest of his presents, and he was able to play with them for a short while before it was time for bed.

Happy Birthday, Crispy! We'll try to make this one up to you some day!

Weekend Away

When it is already -27 degrees, why not go somewhere for the weekend where it is another 15 degrees colder? Makes perfect sense to me.We headed up to Breezy Point Resort for Michael's hockey tournament this weekend. Being slotted in a district that is way out of our league, it is so nice to get away into tournaments where our boys actually have a chance of winning a game or two. This weekend, they did great.....they made it to fourth place out of 14 teams! A very nice placement for our team. Michael played some really great hockey this weekend.....he was focused and tough....and even scored two beautiful goals! It was very fun to be a part of four exciting games of hockey.

The girls (including the neighbor girl) thought otherwise. Being dragged from one game to another was not their idea of a fun vacation. In their defense, they did try their best to stay positive during all the games, by cheering, playing hockey with Tubby, and making plans about what we would do next back at the resort. But gee, those arenas were cold, and more than an hour of hockey per game was quite a lot to sit through when that is the bulk of your "vacation" time. I (sometimes "we") filled their non-hockey times with a trip to the pool, a trip to the arcade,
a trip to the gift shop, baths in the whirlpool tub, rides on the shuttle bus, and a few dinners at the resort restaurants.
Our suite was roomy and fun, as we had brought dolls, snacks, pop, the Wii and XBox with us. No one even asked to play the laptops that sat in the bag all weekend. The Resort was very nice, with the biggest and best breakfasts we had ever had at a hotel, and lots of things to do. If it had not been so cold, we could have also done some ice skating, sledding, cross country skiing, or even snow golf, right at the resort. It would probably be a really nice place to spend a summer week away, with the enormous lake and so many things to do. A very nice place, indeed.

It was a nice retreat from the boring old routines at home. Though cold, the snow was lightly falling nearly continuously, setting the perfect backdrop for gorgeous winter scenes against the frozen lake. Hmmmm, I never even took a picture of the beautiful scenery. Where was my head? I guess I will have to try to conjure up the scenes in my memory whenever I want a little winter mini-vacation in my brain.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Taming the Beast

Now that I am feeling 175% better, I am on a mission. I am bound and determined to get this house back into order. Since moving here 5-1/2 years ago, I have been either pregnant with or without bedrest, taking care of a newborn, or recovering from near death many times that our house has spiralled out of control into the overpopulated mess of toys and clutter that make it what it is today. Well watch out, Mr. Mess I come! And trust me, you do not want to get in the way of a tired, hormonal pregnant mom!

My first task was completed two weeks ago when the bathroom flooded. Our hallway had been littered with stuff for what seems like forever, and being in that small space trying to dry out the carpet and under the tile was enough to spur on the cleaning guns. Our hallway has been clutter free ever since, and now we just may have a small chance of getting out of our house if it ever caught on fire (which is still entirely possible due to the 5 running computers and paper mess in the older boys' room).

Today, I began the largest task of all....the younger boys' room. That's the big bonus room over the garage that also contains the crowded laundry room and video game clutter. There are no good storage options in this room, as it had originally been intended as a family/theater room. It has been an organizational pain in my side since we moved into this house. Just how exactly does one make a bedroom for three boys manageable without a closet into which to put things away? I have multiple shelving units in the room, but for some reason, the boys are oblivious to how putting away clutter actually works. The thing that really bugs me, is that though the laundry room is right IN their room, as well as two hampers, neither of the boys find it necessary to do anything other than leave their dirty clothes lying all around the room. They are very piggish.

I spent literally all day in this room, throwing things away, and trying to maintain some sense of order with all of the miscellaneous toys and parts strewn about every inch of floor. It was frustrating. It was tough. My back hurt like crazy. But I kept going. Over ten hours of work, and looking at it, one would wonder what I even got accomplished. That's how bad the mess is.

My biggest feat was getting Tubby's bed set up. He is still currently sleeping with me at night (and nursing a bit), and has no idea what his own bed would be like. It is an adorable Thomas the Tank bed, that I was able to set up in the little private alcove in that big room. This space had been so packed with junk, that it had been impossible to even enter. It now holds one cute bed, a bookshelf for toddler toys, and nothing junky at all! Tubby enjoyed playing in this new space tonight with Crispy and Laura. It still may be awhile before he actually sleeps in this bed (or in this room) as I want all of the dangerous items (legos, magnets, marbles, etc)removed from the large room first. Looking around, I still have many days work ahead of me. But that's okay, because I am going to get it done! After that, I will tackle the girls' room and get them moved back into their pretty girlie haven.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Eating Again

After 3 long months of pretty much hating food, followed by a week of GI recovery from that nasty virus, I am happy to report that I can eat again!!! What a treat!! For someone who loves good food as much as I do, the nauseating part of pregnancy is certainly the toughest. I am so thankful to finally be on the other side of that part of the journey.

Most of this week has been wrought in recovery and horrible headache as lasting reminders of our illness. Things and events went on as usual, but I honestly do not remember any of them. What I do know is that we have no groceries to speak of, and my kids have been forced to fend for themselves for most meals this week.

As of yesterday, things turned around. Laura, Tubby, and I were able to finally take Michael out for his birthday lunch....he chose Applebee's. We had wonderful salads, french onion soup, and even a mini dessert. Though not my first choice, that food tasted so GOOD after so long! Michael was powered up for his game later in the evening, and I was so very tickled to have eaten WELL with no ill effects for the first time in a very long time. We celebrated our little victory and return to normalcy by heading to the pet store to buy some more fish (NOT goldfish) and a new heater to begin our tank over again.

This Saturday morning, I was treated to a lovely brunch for our MOPS leadership team. Everything prepared by our coordinators was heavenly, and tasted gourmet. From the simple yogurt and berries parfaits, to the most delicious spinach and egg quiches, peach caramel egg bake, all followed by a very light cream cheese was melt in your mouth luxury! And a few hours spent actually sitting on a chair, eating our food at a normal human pace without kids demanding something every 45 was bliss!

After my leisurely morning, I had to kick things into high gear as we headed into the cities for a little princess birthday party. We made a very quick visit at Papa Don's house, which is always a highlight for the kids. He has such a special way with the kids, but our time with him is always way too short. He exchanged Christmas gifts with Laura, and she has been wrapped all day in the special Tinkerbell blanket he made for her. We spent a few hours at the princess party where the girls got to have their hair fixed and dress up like the little princesses that they are. Meanwhile, the boys did their best to hide and stay as far away from all those frilly little dresses running around with high pitched squeals. Laura is so shy in big groups, so she was happy to spend some quality time with her friend Zoe, after the bulk of the party went home.
For dinner, I forced my parents to come out to eat with us at the India Palace. Spicy Indian favorite!! While not much appeals to kids on the menu, the naan bread and other Indian appetizers were just right for them. Paired with mango yogurt lassis (like a smoothie/shake), the kids were filled up before the main courses arrived. They continued to behave themselves well at the table, allowing us adults to enjoy our meals. It was so very good! Certainly, one of the things I still miss most about living way out of the cities is a lack of good food and ethnic variety. I am very bored of pizza and Chinese. I may just have to beg my mom to bring more of this wonderful stuff out to my house next week for my birthday!

It was great to get out today and fill the day with fun things to do instead of simply crossing the things off of our list that we "had" to do....and that most of those events included incredibly yummy food. Thanks for going out to dinner with us, Grandma and Grandpa....we'll see you tomorrow at Michael's game!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Birthday Boy

Fourteen years ago, our second son made his appearance into this world. He was quiet and silly, inquisitive and calm, slept most of his days away, and spit up so much that I usually had to change his clothes 5 or 6 times a day when he was a baby.

Thankfully, he can change his own clothes now.....and he doesn't spit up anymore. He remains silly at times, and likes to learn new things. But he is certainly no longer quiet or calm. Michael can talk any of you under a rug. And with all his hockey and rough play next door, he is probably more active than all of the other kids put together. No wonder he is still skinny as a rail!

Poor Michael had to endure a rather ho-hum birthday as his lame mother was still horribly sick with a headache(a remnant from that nasty GI bug) for the third day in a row. We did nothing and went nowhere. He had frozen pizza for lunch (at least it was Green Mill), and had no one fun to interact with all day except for his baby brother. He did receive some very nice phone calls from both Grandmas, his Godfather, and several nice Facebook birthday wishes. After normal school hours, his best friend Eric, came over to provide Michael with some decent entertainment. They played new video games and kept busy with whatever else 14 year old boys do.
Though I could still only handle eating bagel dip and Dr. Pepper, I made Michael his favorite meal for dinner.... grilled cheese and tomato soup. I think that this has been his favorite since the beginning of time! When Daddy finally got home after 8:30 pm, Michael was finally allowed to open his presents and we had Oreo Ice Cream DQ cake. Michael was thrilled to receive an iPod Touch, much to Alex's dismay. Michael spent the next two hours downloading games onto his new apparatus, and showing us all the cool things it could do. It does look like fun.

Happy Birthday, are very special today!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Climbing Out of the Abyss

Good golly, it has been a rotten past few days surrounding the new year. I certainly hope that this is not foreshadowing of what is to become in 2009. If so, I quit now.

Two days before the end of the year, two calamities struck. Both, oddly enough, involved water. The first was a heater malfunction in our fish tank. We have gone through 12 fish since Jonny brought home that first "free fish" from the fair in August. Two of the fish (owned by the girls) managed to make it through disease, filth, and death, and had been doing quite well for several months. All of a sudden, the big white fish, Barbie, up and died. Hmmmm.....we thought. Two days later, the littler white fish, Sonja got herself caught in the filter due to lack of all energy and died. Hmmm... so very odd. The water seemed to be evaporating at an alarming rate. Where did that thermometer float off to? When it was finally found, the temp reading was as high as it could go.....those poor fish fried to death at over 100 degrees, and the heater had never once been moved from it's original setting. Stupid heater. Poor fish.

The second disaster was due to Polish (forgive me, but I live with a house full of these people) brain malfunction. Someone had left the water on in the sink upstairs after brushing his teeth. For how long? Who knows. About an hour. But long enough that it was noticed by myself as water came pouring into my kitchen on the second floor. The mudroom ceiling was entirely saturated, and a waterfall existed where my door frame once was. When I went to investigate, I found a completely flooded upstairs bathroom, vanity, and hallway, with one itty bitty little towel on the floor (to clean up the mess). Of course, when questioned, no one did it. Crispy later changed his answer to "I don't know if I left the sink on." I sent the kids down into the basement to escape my wrath while I tried to clean up the mess. Ten minutes later, they came up saying, "It's raining down there!" Sure enough, Crispy's morning forgetfulness had just ruined three levels of our home.

Two adjusters, 10 loads of laundry, and 5 days of fans in attempts to dry out this mess. We attempted to forget our troubles on New Year's Eve, and spent it with our neighbors at their intact home. It was a very nice time away, and though we didn't get to eat at the Pizza Ranch Buffet(because they had to unexpectedly close early), we were compensated for our troubles with free upgraded pizzas and pop. We had tons of food, snacks, and good things to eat and drink. Our cat allergies were effectively combated with healthy doses of Benadryl, and the kids played games they made up on their own. The best was a competitive Fashion Show that both boys and girls were involved in. Funny kids. Though I seriously wanted to push all the clocks up by three hours (who would know, really??), we made it long enough to celebrate the ringing in of the New Year with the East Coast. Most certainly good enough for all of us this year. Off to bed.

New Year's Day offered some fun as we headed off to Grandma and Grandpa's to finally celebrate Christmas. That meant, lots of good food again (that I did not have to cook), and more presents for the kids! The girls got to play with their twin cousins, and while it had been sad to miss our Miami cousins, we had a nice Christmas party anyhow. Tubby kept Grandpa busy putting all his new toys together. Laura and the twins busied themselves with Polly Pocket sized Cinderella, and Melissa oogled over her deluxe paper dolls. We ate ourselves silly and loaded our truck with all our new loot. We stayed a little too long, and my "morning sickness" was not treating me well. Once home, again, it was off to bed.

One "present" we were hoping NOT to bring home from Grandma's house was that nasty GI bug they had all gone through at Christmas. Luck was not on our side, and 32 hours later, three of the kids began the puking dance. Not lovely. Not nice. Not fun. Poor Grandma ? got more than she bargained for when she brought those 4 Musketeers back down to the farm for the weekend. She got a houseful of puke and way too much dirty laundry to mention. At our house, we fell to the illness one by one over the weekend. Only Alex (who had sequestered himself to his room and did not eat for 63 hours) survived unscathed. The poor pregnant person in our house got it the worst....once you start a morning-sickness-prone pregnant person puking, it is pretty hard to stop.

Two days later (and again 10 loads of laundry), the horrible headache remains, but I think I can finally see light at the end of this tunnel. (....i think...)