Friday, November 26, 2010

Oh What Fun!

There's nothing quite as nice as peanut butter cups and a really good glass of white wine.

You know, no matter how I think about that, it sounds awfully low brow. 

Thanksgiving went well.  Personally, I was exhausted.  I've been suffering from some serious insomnia the past few months, and it caught up with me this weekend.

On Monday I'd started a massive cleaning project.  I got about 3/4 of the way through and then was forced to stop for Cub Scouts.  The problem with me stopping any project before completion is that I rarely pick it back up.  Once we got home from Scouts, I had just enough time to get the kids fed and ready for bed.

Tuesday, I worked on project some more.  I didn't get very far.  Doc has a rotten cold and he's been clingy.  So, I'm having to stop constantly to pick up and coddle a cranky toddler.

Wednesday, the Hubby woke me up at 6 when he came in from work.  I'd fallen asleep at 5:30.  He was in a good mood and insisted on going out for pancakes and shopping.  Later, fortified by French Toast and Sausage, I let him talk me into a trip to Target and Walmart. 
We went home, dropped Hubby off and then I ended up going grocery shopping.  Yes- the day before Thanksgiving is possibly the worst day to be at a grocery store in the US.  Even crazier, I was out of EVERYTHING.  So, two kids in tow, I head into the grocery store.  Three carts and five temper tantrums later, after dodging crowds and apologizing to five people for my son running them down with a grocery cart, I finally managed to get to the check out line.  It took two clerks to help me load the car.  Oddly enough, though, the folks in line behind me were impressed with my coupon use: I saved over 700 dollars.  Still not my record, but it's a nice chunk of change back.
By the time I got groceries unloaded, the kids in bed for nap time, and then the groceries unpacked, I was ready to call it a night.  However, we had guests coming over in less than an hour and I still had cleaning projects to finish.  So, I resorted to ordering pizza while I cleaned the house.
After the guys left, Hubby and I got the kids dressed and headed out to Waffle House.  It's midnight by this point, Thanksgiving morning.

Waffle House is an anniversary tradition for the Husbeastie and I.  When we were married 7 years ago, it was Thanksgiving.  We went into Houston, Texas for our honeymoon and nothing was open.  NOTHING.  We'd declined my Mom's offer to pack us a picnic since we'd thought there would easily be a place open in Houston.  Nothing.  We ended up at Waffle House.  We were there first customers the entire day.  It was 8 pm.  They were so glad for the interruption to their boredom, when they found out it was our wedding day, they brought us a whole pie.  Ever since then, we go to Waffle House on Thanksgiving. 
(We celebrate our anniversary on Thanksgiving rather than the actual date simply because we met on Thanksgiving and were married the next year on Thanksgiving.  It has more sentimental value than just saying, "Oh, we were married on the 27th...")

We got home at 2 in the morning, tucked the kids in bed, and then sat watching a movie for a bit. 
I had an alarm set for 8 so I could get up and cook.  I didn't realize that Hubby came in and turned off my alarm when the kids woke up early.  I ended up sleeping until 11.  It was so nice, but I was sooo sick.  My child shared his cold with me. 

Once the cold meds kicked in, I was more than happy to cook.

A few friends showed up later to eat with us then, after they left and the kids were once again in bed, another movie was watched.  I went to bed at 4 this morning and I woke up at 9 feeling AWESOME.  For the first night in weeks, I slept more than 4 hours. 

Now, I'm headed up to bed to see if I can repeat the experience.  I'm hoping for 6 hours tonight.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Towers of Midnight

  After waiting a year for the latest Wheel of Time book to come out, you'd better believe I was at the book store when it opened.  I read it as much as the kids would allow and finished it in about 9 hours.  

Chaos, in an attempt to get more TV time and not be sent to bed, brought the book out.  He told me that if he could read the book to me, then he'd get to stay up late... and get a new Hot Wheels track.

This was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Sure.  Although I normally don't negotiate with terrorists, I figured I'd give him a chance.

He stumbled through the first word.  I didn't mind.  He actually was reading, even if it was poorly.
The second word was easy.  It was one of his sight words.
At the third word, he threw his hands up, shut the book, sighed dramatically..."I'm NEVER gonna get new Hot Wheels tracks..."

Inside I'm proud of my kiddo for trying.  And something tells me he might just get that Hot Wheels track---under the tree, of course.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Toning Down Thanksgiving

Normally, since Thanksgiving is the Anniversary, we have a big blow-out bash.

This year, I'm surprised to find that no one is objecting to my idea of toning things down a bit.  Instead of 20+ dishes, I'm only going to make about 5 or 6.

I thought for certain I'd hear from the Hubby about not making a ham AND a turkey.  When I mentioned that I'd rather just have a turkey, he was all, "Sounds fine to me..."

Bah- why have I been killing myself with a lack of sleep for the past five years just to turn out a giant dinner?

So, dinner this year will be:
Honey Brined Turkey with a Ginger-Stout Glaze
Green Beans with a Warm Bacon Vinagrette
Sourdough and Kielbasa Dressing
Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Gelee
Pepper Gravy

I'll also probably, depending on how many "orphans" I have RSVP poke through the cabinets/pantry/freezer to see what else I can cobble together.  After all, I'm pretty sure I'll make a pie and cookies-I always do.  I know that I also have the ingredients on hand for cheesecake.

Eh.  I'm actually kind of relieved.  I'm still fighting bouts of weakness from the blood poisoning, so, while I'm up and running again, my batteries get low really quickly.

On the other side of things, I've discovered that 90 percent of my gift needs will be met at Toys R Us Black Friday sale.  I'm not a happy camper.  I hate hate hate shopping at TRU.  I hate commercial crap and lines and plastic toys.  But, everything on the kids list (excluding the guinea pig) is on sale at TRU... if I can get in line early enough. 

So, most likely, I'll be going to TRU immediately after Thanksgiving dinner and spending the entire night shopping there and waiting for our paycheck to hit at 2 am.


Friday, November 12, 2010

The Holidays are Here Again

I keep asking Husbeastie to move the giant TV out of the living room.  It's supposed to be in the bedroom since we already have a TV in the living room.  (Personally, I HATE having a TV in the bedroom- I grew up watching one too many horror movies.)

I need the corner the TV is in to place the tree this year.
TV is on a large dresser... that needs to go into the dining room to act as a buffet.
However, to make it more confusing my photography equipment and a giant Sun server are currently occupying the area in the dining room where the dresser will be going.

(Yeah- I seriously need to unpack.  However, I'm putting it off since we're planning on moving in February or March.)

I start my decorating on November 21st.  I know that's a bit early- but it was one of the worst days of my life.  Three years ago, I lost a baby on November 21st.  Since life moves on, but my heart skips a beat that day, I try to keep the day as positive as I can.

I'll put up the tree, hang the stockings, put the wreath on the door...
I don't do a ton of decorating- just enough to raise my mood.

Then there's Thanksgiving.,,

  This Thanksgiving marks my 8th Thanksgiving with my Hubs.  We actually met on Thanksgiving, 8 years ago.  It also marks our 7th wedding anniversary.  Yep- we got married the next Thanksgiving after we met.
So, Thanksgiving is kind of a big deal here. 

There are some traditions we keep- there's always a cherry pie.  ALWAYS.  I'll share the story of that later this month, especially since it was the beginning of the rest of my life.
I always make my own cream of mushroom soup.  I'm convinced there's a special place in hell, right next to porn stars, for people who use canned cream of mushroom soup.
I grew up with cornbread stuffing- he grew up with bread stuffing.  I make both.
I grew up with chocolate sauce on turkey.  He thinks I'm nuts.  So, I make chocolate sauce to prove how nuts I am.

Then there's Waffle House.  Yeah- I know, it sounds weird.  We go to Waffle House every year for our Anniversary.  The day we got married, we left for our honeymoon and it became obvious that nothing was open... except Waffle House.  We've gone to a Waffle House every year since then.

Yule is approaching as well.  I'm struggling with the kids' list this year.
I know Evil and Brie are going to get clothing, books, and probably a gift-card from me.  Evil really wants a bento box.  Brie really wants to learn Japanese.  I might go ahead and pull a j-list order since I can also pick up some stuff for the Husbeastie from them.
Husbeastie wants a bass guitar.  This is the man that has NO musical experience outside of playing Rock Band a few times.  Other things he's asked for include a bottle of cognac, some vodka, and parts to upgrade his computer.  At least he's reasonable.  I'll throw in socks and underwear just because I always individually wraps socks and underwear for everyone to confuse them.
Chaos says he's asking Santa for a skate board and a guinea pig.  Um... I already can't get him to clean the litter box... why the heck a guinea pig?  He'll probably get some Hot Wheels and clothes too.
Doc has only just started noticing the TV.  From commercials he pays attention to, I'm thinking he's getting some more large blocks and possibly a trike.  I just think he's a bit young still.
Me?  No clue.  I asked for pots and pans.  Hubby will get me gloves, scarf, and a hat.  He always does.  (I also lose them almost immediately as I chase a kid through the cold...)  He'll probably also get me a pair of toe-socks.  I love toe socks!  Last year he got me fluffy pink ones.  I ask for a necklace with a long chain every year... still haven't gotten it yet.  (I've got a huge neck.  I need like a 24 inch chain.)  Last year he found a 20 inch chain... and Chaos broke it the first time I wore it.  I know I'm getting my ears pierced again since they've grown up somehow.  I don't know- I really wish I were one of those girly girls that could come up with all sorts of girly things to want.  I'm more a practical chick.  Give me a pot, a pan, a new whisk... eh.  I'd honestly be happy if he'd just ask someone to come over and unpack for me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Day Off

As a Mom, a writer, a chef, and the all around Jane-of-All-Trades for my house, I rarely ever get time to sit on the couch and just veg.
Today, I just took the day off.

I'm still Mom.  I'm still writing.  I'm definitely cooking.  But, I'm not pushing through a schedule for once.
I sent Chaos to nap.  Doc fell asleep.  And I cleared the couch off.  I picked up all the toys.  I pulled out my pile of mending.  And I just sat.  Sewing, I've discovered, is about the only activity I don't do while standing.  Heck- I multi-function so much that I catch up on knitting during nature walks with the kids.  Today's mending pile had two stuffed animals and a shirt in it.  The stuffed animals were nothing- a quick seam repair and they were back in the respective toy boxes.  The shirt, on the other hand, is a real pain in the rear.

Hubby is a big guy.  He's 6 foot 4.  His shirts are expensive.  So, we loved it when his company gave him a stack of high-quality company logo shirts two years ago.  The killer came when the company was bought out.  Hubby kept his job, but under a new company name.  All his shirts became unwearable to work.  So, after doing a clothing inventory, I came to a quick conclusion- either I buy him a stack of new shirts or I find a way to remove the company logo. 

Guess what I'm doing today?  If you said "picking apart embroidery," you'd be right.

I love using a seam ripper--- except on machine embroidery.
Grrr.  It's taken me close to three hours to get the first letter off.

Hopefully, I can use this as an excuse to sit and have some me time.  (Hopefully I won't get faster at it, either!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I just dropped a note to Wil Wheaton to ask if he'd be interested in helping with the blog-a-thon.

Oh- the impertinence!

I should be flogged for even dare approach him.

You know, being impertinent has it's merits.  I'm feeling brave suddenly.

Another Project least I'm excited about this one.

Last year, for GC's holiday feature, I came up with the notion to host a 12 Days of Geekmas feature.  So, for 12 days, each of the Chicas wrote a holiday themed post- most of them were gift suggestions.

Afterward, we weren't horribly happy with the format of it.  I admit, it was amusing but pretty much not in the spirit of Geekmas.

This year, I proposed that we use the 12 Days feature as a blog-a-thon.  Let's raise awareness for someone else with a cause close to the GC's heart.

The proposal passed.  The GCs are all writing their own take on holiday articles- some sentimental, some flippant, some gift lists... 
And now I'm lining up promotional content.

(As if I weren't busy enough between Captain Chaos and Doctor Anarchy...)

But, GC is a website very close to my heart.  I've enjoyed writing for it for the past year and a half.  There's something oddly comforting in knowing that despite my whole "June Cleaver with a dicebag" persona, that I'm accepted by some really feministic women.

I love that my organizational skills are being put to good use for a good cause.

As a side note, my Husbeastie, after looking over my notes made the crack that I needed to "start a Non-Profit Organization." 
Why haven't I ever thought of that?  I do have a save the world complex, and I love volunteering and working on causes.  Why not take on a cause or two that are underrepresented such as infantile scoliosis support or Lead Toxicity Emergency Aid?

So, I'm seriously playing with the notion. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You've come a long way, baby!

Tonight, Chaos and I gave Doc a bath.
Big Brother Chaos is super-protective of Little Brother Doc.  He insists on helping with everything for Doc from changing diapers to playing, even filling sippy cups and trying to read books to him.

I know- that shouldn't be a special thing, but it is.

Doc, has what his therapists describe as "sensory delays and issues".
This is Doc.
When Doc turned 13 months old, he got sick with a horrible sounding cold.  Since he'd had pneumonia once before, I took him into the ER to be checked out.  They did a chest x-ray and told me he had bronchitis, then sent me home with some medicine.  Three days later, we were back into the ER again- his bronchitis had gotten worse- he was gasping for breath.  Another x-ray happened.  While waiting for the result, the nurse came in and gave him a breathing treatment.  A few minutes later, two doctors walked in and quietly shut the door.
My son had severe scoliosis.  My baby- my wee little man- was most likely having breathing issues because his lungs were being crushed by his rib cage's rotation and spinal curve.
I was in a bit of shock.  I'd noticed that one side of his rib cage seemed to be at an odd angle to the other.  I'd even seen the curve on his spine, visible through the skin.  But, every doctor I had look at it told me there was nothing wrong- it was the position he sat in, or the direction he was looking, or some other excuse.
Within days I was being seen by the family GP.  She called in a referral to a pediatric orthopedic specialist.  He saw us two days later. One glance at my son's back and he ordered new x-rays.  He sat and played around on his computer screen measuring bone angles and determined that Doc needed treatment- ASAP.  He outlined all the options: surgeries, waiting it out, bracing, and EDF casting.
Without blinking I voted for casting.  (I hadn't been sitting on my butt doing nothing while waiting for the appointment- I'm a researcher.)
Corrective casting is safe, non-invasive, and fairly effective.

There were risks, after all, Doc had to be fully sedated.  I wasn't allowed in the room for the procedure.  And then there was the cast itself- it couldn't come off until it was time to change it out.
Imagine, going MONTHS without being able to feel his sweet, squishy little baby body in my arms.  Instead, all hugs were to a hard, itchy cast.
Doc waking up from his first cast.  Poor kidlet- he was so scared by the changes.  He was a real trooper, though, and was up and at 'em within a day.

I found a great online support group for infantile scoliosis.  They really helped keep me grounded.
I knew from others' experiences it could be years before we saw results.  We might not even see results at all.  We might end up needing to choose corrective surgery.

Imagine my surprise when, after only 4 months, his correction was sufficient to move on to a removable brace! 

Now I can hug his squishy sweetness all the time!  One day into his 2nd cast, he took his first steps!  He started trying to talk.  He started laughing- without coughing at the end of it.  He jumps and plays and scoots toy cars along.   

However, back to the bath at hand...
When I first got the diagnosis, I contacted the local Early Childhood Intervention people.  I didn't think there'd be issues with my little mister, but I wanted to advocate as early as I could.  After several assessments- we were assigned an Occupational Therapist, a Developmental Therapist, and a Physical Therapist.  Doc was about 5 months behind developmentally.  It was discovered during this time that Doc has his sensory issues- bathing was a BIG fight.  He wouldn't even touch water (or anything non-fluffy) with his hands.  Baths were few and far between- typically we'd end up sponge bathing him with a damp cloth while he screamed in panic.
The OT has been working to get him used to water and past his sensory issue with it since May.  And, I admit, she's made progress.  Little did I realize how much progress was made.
Tonight, since his face was smeared with peanut butter and bread crumbs, I filled up the plastic tote we've been using during therapy as a stand in bathtub and put it in the floor.  I cringed, waiting for the usual screams to start.

HE GOT INTO IT ON HIS OWN--- WILLINGLY and EXCITEDLY.  He didn't want to get out.

He let me wash his face.  He let me splash his hair.  He didn't panic, or scream, or tantrum.

I could cry.  Such a little thing, but I couldn't begin to imagine that it would actually ever happen.

Maybe, one day soon, I can hear that his scoli is completely resolved.  That would be amazing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Missing in Action

I know, I know... I haven't written in a while.

Remember the whole tooth ache thing?
Yeah- I developed some sort of minor blood poisoning... that totally kicked my rear and kept me on it.  Today is the first day I've gotten off my rear in what feels like forever.

And already, I'm so tired that I can't sleep.
Sadly, it's been so bad on the whole lack-of-energy-front that I'm sick of pizza and take-out and I don't want to go out to eat again any time soon.  
Today, with a bit of help from the Husbeastie, I managed beef stew and fresh bread.  Don't get too excited- the stew used a seasoning kit and the bread was from dough I froze last month... so, in a way, it was all pre-made food.

I've got plenty lined up for the weeks ahead- and I WILL be posting.  (Just as soon as I can stand up long enough to make something that isn't pre-packaged.)