Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


This weekend, amongst all the fatigue, all the tantrums, all the mess that seems to be accumulating in my house, I had 2 very bright spots.

1. Friday night I watched a movie that I've had out from Netflix for almost a month now. My husband made me leave all the "stuff" that needed to be done to just sit, have a glass of wine and watch Pride and Prejudice. The best part was that we watched it, uninterrupted, without having to rock anyone or nurse anyone or tend to any screaming children.

2. Saturday night we got a babysitter, and my husband and I went out to eat (with Ella in tow...there's only one babysitter who we let watch all 3 of our kids together...and she's been out of commission because of a surgery). We ate at a restaurant on the river in Stillwater. How nice it was to not have to chase any munchkins around the dining room who feel the need to say HI and BYE to everyone in view. We had no drinks knocked over, no one putting their fingers all in my food making pyramids and no one complaining about some spice in the food that makes it "too fizzy."

I love my kids dearly...but I do need more times like this.

Friday, April 28, 2006

School Days

Max is a copy cat; he does EVERYTHING Cameron does. Because of this, Cameron is able to "teach" him all sorts of things....like how to open doors, climb ladders, run around the house naked, et. Today he taught him how to eat an apple.

Ella found them to be amusing.

I just hope he begins to teach Max more important things...like how to sit in front of the TV for long periods of time....how to play outside without running into the street....how to leave mommy alone when she's trying to take a nap. You know...the essential skills of life.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Birthday #5

Ever since last OCTOBER, when one of Cameron’s friends mentioned something about his birthday party, Cameron has been fanatical with the day. Way back in the fall he started asking how much longer until his birthday (which is at the end of May). He really has no concept of months, so telling him in 7 months was futile. My husband told him after the snow melted his birthday would come. Well, Cameron took this literally. One day we had an unseasonably warm day in February, melting much of the snow, and Cameron was tickled pink, “Mommy! Mommy! Is it my birthday tomorrow?”

Now that May is upon us, he is certifiably obsessed with his birthday. He talks about it EVERYDAY and somehow thinks that everything I mention is related to his birthday. I show him some cute giraffe cupcakes in a magazine and the first thing out of his mouth, “Are you making these for my birthday?” (Of course not…that’s what bakeries are for). I order some pizza for dinner and he comments, “I want this kind of pizza for my party.” (I don’t recall agreeing to pizza at the party, let alone giving him a choice of the kind). He even handed me a piece of paper and a pen so that I could write down the list of who he was inviting to his party (because this list was much more important than the dinner I was trying to cook with Max and Ella also vying for my attention). By the way, the list topped over 20 kids, and he continues to think of more people each day to invite. I’m afraid of leaving anyone out or hurting anyone’s feelings, so I’ll let his list be larger than I probably should, but I draw the line at inviting kids he hasn’t spoken to in over a year, and those whose name he doesn’t even know (“You know, Mom, that one girl who parks next to us at Bible study, with the blond hair and she was at our house one time playing with Max).

The other day we received an Oriental Trading Company catalog in the mail that was dedicated to selling themed birthday items. His eyes, and pen, were glued to the magazine, ignoring even his favorite TV shows. He started circling everything he wanted to have at his party. As I glance through the catalog now, I see we have some narrowing of party supplies to discuss (okay, A LOT of narrowing to do). So far he has circled Sponge Bob goodie bags, dolphin goodie bags, neon monkey goodie bags, Lil Bratz goodie bags, Dora goodie bags, ladybug goodie bags, Chicken Little goodie bags, Baby Einstein goodie bags, Sesame Street goodie bags, Elmo goodie bags, Madagascar goodie bags, Scooby Doo goodie bags, Star Wars goodie bags, Batman goodie bags, Harry Potter goodie bags, Power Rangers goodie bags, Frog goodie bags, Fantastic Four goodie bags, The Incredibles goodie bags, Rocket Ship goodie bags, Volley ball goodie bags, bowling ball goodie bags, Cat’s Meow goodie bags, Bunco Bash goodie bags, “It’s My Birthday” goodie bags, and even Graduation goodie bags. Those are just the bags. I could go on with the assortment of party plates and hats and balloons and napkins, and signs, and prizes that he circled, but I’ll spare you such humor.

When I told Cameron that there was no way we were getting all of that for his party, he simply stated, “Okay. Well, just X out the things that I can’t get, then.”

It’s going to be a long month!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

He's just being honest

So the kids were driving me crazy. Nothing out of the ordinary…just the usual. Ella was probably crying because I had left her on the ground for way too long, and her diaper was leaking through her clothes. Max was screaming for some insignificant reason…probably something like I had put milk in his cereal (gasp!). And Cameron probably hadn’t flushed the toilet for the millionth time, causing his bathroom to smell like an outhouse.

“Ugh!” I sounded off in complete frustration. “I need to just go far, far away!”

Cameron’s response to my comment: “That’s okay mom. Just don’t bring Ella.”

I’m glad I’m so loved.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Funny Florida Faces

Do Re Mi

Why did I end up crying today? Choose one.

Ella was screaming in her swing because she had just woken up and wanted out.
At the same time, Max was screaming because I took away the scissors he had found and was using on a “book” Cameron had made last week. Then he was so worked up, he refused to let me undress him and put on his PJs.
Cameron was having a mental breakdown because Max ruined his “book” with the scissors.
My husband was gone all night last night at the hospital and called to say he wouldn’t be home until 7:30 tonight.
e. All of the above.

Of course “e” is the correct answer. I was just joining the crowd. It was quite the chorus in our household. I wonder if this is how the Jackson 5 got their start.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Orlando Magic

I think Europeans really know what they’re doing when they take these 2 and 3 week “holidays.” We just spent an entire week in Orlando and we didn’t get to do even half of what we wanted to do. We did do a lot, however. Went to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Wet N Wild Waterpark, Sea World, and Animal Kingdom. Except for a couple days of sleep deprived crankiness combined with a few downpours, the kids were generally good and excited about the entire experience.

We had some “babysitters” with us (Melvin’s 15 year old Godson Carlos for the whole week and my mom for the last few days). But even so, Melvin and I didn’t get the opportunity to hang out at Disney’s Pleasure Island (like we always said we’d do if we had someone to watch the kids) or do other kidless activities that we had hoped to do. Honestly, by the end of the day at the parks, we were just too exhausted to go anywhere. It was nice, however, to be together as a family for such an extended period of time, and we did get some alone time in the pool and Jacuzzi after the kids were in bed at the rental house where we stayed.


One day we were eating at a café in Universal Studios, Carlos, not interested at all in hanging out with us while we did all the kiddie things, finished his food, made arrangements for contacting us later, stood up and said, “I’m out.” Then walked away.

Don’t you know, our little 4 year old, immediately, pushed his plate away, stood up and without missing a beat, also stated, “I’m out,” and also just walked away.

Melvin and I did a double take. My husband immediately yelled for him to come back. “What did you say?” he asked in disbelief.

“I’m out,” Cameron responded again matter-of-factly, and proceeded again to walk away.

Melvin and I just started cracking up, and packed up our things to follow our little independent 4 year old. I had a glimpse into the future of what our teenage years with Cameron are going to be like.
Max LOVES animals. He goes ballistic with screams of joy whenever he sees any kind of creature. He had a blast at Sea World seeing all the fish, dolphins, sea lions, etc. At Animal Kingdom, he was too tired and crabby to enjoy most of it. But after he finally did wake up from a forced nap in the stroller, he was able to thoroughly enjoy the petting barn. He had so much fun running up to all the patient goats and sheep, petting them, hugging them, trying to kiss them. Finally I just had to scoop him up to carry him out. However, every time we neared the exit, he’d see another animal he hadn’t touched yet, scream, “NICE!” and wriggle out of my arms to pet it. (He seems to think that “nice” means to pet on the head. This I assume he has concluded because ever since Ella was born, whenever Max would reach to touch Ella on the head, we’d respond by telling him to “be nice.”). We went through this routine of scooping and wriggling several times before I was finally able to distract him with the sinks to wash his hands, (something else my little monster enjoys doing). And when he wasn’t distracted with animals and water, he was in my mother’s arms, who he seemed to be glued to since the moment we picked her up from the airport.

Ella was easy as always. She only cried when she was hungry or tired, but most of the time she was smiley and laid back as could be. I got to dress her in some of her new summer clothes, and she looked absolutely adorable. She also loved getting to spend time with her daddy, and she just always seemed so content in his arms.

Our time in upper 80s, low 90 degree weather was way too short. I definitely could have used another week. But I’m so thankful that we had the time that we did together. And having my mom there for a few days was such a blessing.

Now our 3 ½ hour plane ride home with two “lap children” was an event. And getting in after midnight was definitely not fun. But the worst part was when we finally lugged all the cranky kids and million bags into the car, and my husband turned the key….the car wouldn’t start. One of the kids had turned on the light above his seat, and it had been left on all week. After some searching around and a brief explanation by one employee as to why I should get AAA, we finally found a nice guy to jump us. And home we went.

I'll post more pictures throughout the week.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

a break

On a much-needed vacation in hot, sunny Florida.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

At least we looked good.

It's Easter, and I manage to get my whole family color coordinated for church. Afterwards, while the boys play outside, I sit on the patio, sipping on a glass of wine (okay, 2 glasses). Which Desperate Housewife am I?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Getting along

Yesterday while I was running, a girl and boy, probably about 7 and 9 ,were racing their bikes, and I caught part of their conversation.
"I so beat you by so much!" laughed the boy.
"No you didn't!" screamed the girl. "You didn't touch the flag."
"No way, I didn't even know we had to touch the flag. I beat you fair and square."
"Uh-uh!" she continued.
And then I lost track of their argument as I jogged away. I did hear her scream and cry really loudly, and then their parents, who were walking further back, rounded the corner. I saw the look on their faces and the mom rolled her eyes as if to say, "Goodness, what ridiculous thing are they arguing about now?"

It made me think that I will soon be dealing with these kinds of arguments. You know...really important ones.

I was fortunate enough to enjoy my own cooperative children at the park. Max was doing everything Cameron was, even climbing some ladders that he shouldn't have been attempting. But Cameron was right behind him, helping him up, and they both cheered with true sincerity whenever he made it to the top. Then Cameron would run in front of Max, yelling, "Come on buddy! Follow me, buddy!" Max would ignore him and run whichever way he wanted, but Cameron didn't mind.

It was the cutest thing ever. And all went well, until the whole fists full of rock eating incident I commented on yesterday.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Girls of the House

Photo courtesy of Cameron, who was just too excited to get to use my camera today.

Lost and some found

Today has been a day of losing things.

Things lost:
1. Ella lost her shoe as I was jogging with her around a local lake in her running stroller.
2. I lost my temper when Cameron burped directly in my face.
3. I lost my driver's license. Looked in my wallet, and amongst all the receipts it was no where to be found.
4. Max lost his mind, as he was shoving handfuls of gravel into his mouth at the park.
5. I lost my glasses.

Things found:
1. I didn't notice that Ella lost her shoe until I was done with my 2nd lap around the 2+ mile lake. I wasn' t about to go around again to find it. $4.99 at Target...it can be replaced.
2. I regained my temper, and Cameron and I had a good day, as he played nicely with his brother and friends.
3. I found my driver's license in another bag that I carry to and fro. I guess my wallet had emptyied some of its contents in the bag as it toppled over. I think it's time I get a wallet with a snap. Losing my license would have been a disaster if I hadn't found it, becase we're going to Florida on Monday, and we all know that you can't get on an airplane without your license. (Unless of course you get a speeding ticket in Detroit and they take your license if you don't pay with cash on the spot. Then, instead of an official picture ID, you can just use your ticket as a substitute to make it through security...how ridiculous and unsecure is that!)
4. Max regained his senses as he hugged me before bedtime and repeated, "Love you" to me and gave me a big squeeze.
5. My glasses are still lost, and I'm pretty blind without them. I can barely read what I've written here. So I will stop writing and continue looking. I should probably check out the trash where I found one of Max's cups today.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Close up

After 4 months of "looking" for my digital camera, I finally decided that it was lost for good, assuming that Max probably did deposit it in the trash when I was not paying attention to him, and I broke down and purchased myself a new one.

I almost did not receive this camera that I ordered from Amazon.com ($30 cheaper than in the stores) because for the past two days, unbeknownst to us, our mail carrier has been depositing our mail and delivering our packages to the house next door to us, which is currently unoccupied. Luckily, I glanced over there today and saw my box sitting in plain view of anyone sauntering by.

I spent a little more money than I intended for some extra features. But now I can sit at my kitchen table and take this picture.

Or I can sit in the exact same spot and take this picture:

Now that's a good zoom lens!!!! Coffee anyone?

Yum, Yum...again

While I was changing Ella's diaper today, Max was rummaging through the kitchen garbage, actually eating some of what I had trashed earlier.

He must be sensing my frustration lately and is practicing his survival skills for when I toss him out....which may be sooner than he thinks.

Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Lala, Poe

Max now will actually sit and watch most of a Teletubbies TV show (finally!).

Cameron was telling a friend of his that he doesn't like the Teletubbies at all. I then proceeded to ask him why he then watches it when Max is watching it.

"That's because I like to spend time with my brother. But I don't like it. The teletubbies is like counting to number one....boring."

I personally think it's a little more exciting than that...like counting to number two.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Max's Usual

Now that we’re outside almost everyday, Max has found quite a few backyard adventures to keep me busy. This includes: running into the street, running past the property line of trees toward the ponds where the ducks are, running into the neighbor’s yard climbing on their retaining wall to view their fenced in pool, loading rocks into a bucket from the front and dumping them in the grass out back, and licking, sucking on and chewing any rock he can find. My image of basking in the sun on a blanket with little Ella while the boys hang out on the playset is merely a mirage.

Now one would think that with all of this outside action, Max would be too exhausted to perform any of his usual inside shenanigans (See March 15), and he would welcome the opportunity to relax in front of the TV. Silly me to think this.

Tonight, he didn’t seem to like the pasta I had made him, and apparently he didn’t think that Cameron would like his either. While I was nursing Ella in the family room, Max literally was tossing his and his brother’s pasta. It ended up all over the kitchen table, all over his chair, all over the floor and some strings even managed to reach the middle island and were just hanging down from the granite. I guess he REALLY didn’t like it.

And the other day when I was in our basement office trying to help out a neighbor by printing something offline for her, Max was in the kitchen creating his own kind of fun. Cameron managed to peel himself away from “Dragon Tales” just long enough to see what Max was laughing about. When I finally emerged from downstairs, Cameron ran over to me and said with great enthusiasm, “Hey, Mom! I didn’t know you got us a new toy! What is it?” I had no idea what he was talking about, until I sauntered into the kitchen to find this:

Max had managed to open up the dishwasher (which he had just “helped” me empty, thank goodness), and removed the entire bottom crate to wheel all around the kitchen floor.

Outside or Inside...Max will be Max.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Finally outside

Now that the weather has changed, my kids no longer have to find things to do inside to entertain themselves....like crushing plastic cups.

Now they can swing and slide and just hang out on their playset.

Or they can throw and eat rocks.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hot temperature, Hotter tempers

Lately I've just really been, well, to put it bluntly, sucking as a mom. I'm not trying to, but it seems I've not been too in tune with my children's needs.

Take the incident with Cameron today. It was finally warm and sunny, reaching over 70 degrees. I just wanted to scream "Hallelujah!" everytime I heard someone say the temp. But with warm temperatures comes a warm car when you initially enter it.

I picked the boys up from school, and we drove home in the minivan...me in the front, Ella in the middle and the two monsters in the back. As I was driving, Cameron started squealing, "I'm hot! I'm hot!" and was trying to remove his shirt, which is a difficult shirt to take off, and he couldn't accomplish this task.

"Just hold on Cameron, I'm turning up the air conditioner. It will start to cool off."

Without giving the air a chance to circulate, he continued complaining, this time with screams and ridiculous amounts of crying. "But I'm so hot!" Sob. Sob. Sob.

So I cranked the air some more, yet the crying continued even louder. I couldn't understand what the problem was, for I was quite cool. And neither Max nor Ella was complaining (but they were both sleeping). Nothing I did or said lessened his cries. I yelled, I threatened, I kept quiet, I turned up the music...but he just kept crying incessantly about how hot he was.

When we arrived home, Cameron was approached by two neighborhood friends to see if he wanted to come over and play. To me, this was the perfect opportunity for a consequence. He needed to learn that he couldn't act as he was acting and still get to do whatever he wanted. I kindly told them that Cameron was having a hard time and that he needed to go in his room to settle down, and once he did that, then he might be joining them on this lovely day.

Well, this in no way, shape, or form motivated Cameron to calm down, but rather created an even bigger tantrum, this time from his bedroom. And once he finally did settle down, his friends had already left for a bike ride...without him.

Later that day when I was picking something up with only Max and Ella in the car, after arriving home, I noticed how flushed Max looked...and I also noticed how incredibly warm it really did feel in the back of the van.

It was then that I noticed that the temperature controls located in the back of the van were set for last week's temperatures...meaning the temperature knob was turned all the way to the hottest setting. So as I was turning up the vent in the front, producing cool air up front, I was actually cranking up the hot air in the back.

Like I said, lately, I suck as a mom.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Time needed

One of the hardest things about being a mother of 3 is that you never feel like you give each child the adequate time they deserve. When Cameron wants me to color with him, I end up spending my time stopping Max from eating the crayons and tearing his papers. When Max wants to cuddle up on my lap to read a book, I have to nurse Ella. And Ella spends way too much time just sitting or lying around merely because she doesn’t hang on my leg like a vice grip as the others often do.

This morning, after I gave Cameron some cereal at 6:30 AM, I tried to sneak back to sleep while he watched cartoons. However, Cameron decided that today, the TV actually didn’t matter to him. He came bouncing in my room, and in the sweetest sing-song voice ever, right up to my face, he quietly asked, “Mommy, can I spend some time with you?”

I wanted turn around and pull the covers over my head. In my mind I was going over all the reasons why I should just turn on the TV up here and let him spend time just cuddling next to me while I snoozed. Ella had me up too much last night and I needed more sleep. His daddy was out of town, and I needed all the rest I could get. I had a clogged milk duct (again) and was in a lot of pain. But before I could utter any excuse, he continued softly, “Please can I read some books with you?”

My mother guilt kicked into high gear. “Of course, honey,” I mumbled and he trotted off, bringing back a handful of books.

So this morning, when I could have slept in a little longer (and I really did need to), I needed to spend time with Cameron even more. And so we read books…(even the three shark ones that I really wanted to surpass considering the fact that we’re going to Florida next week, and the thought of sharks along the gulf coast makes me shudder).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Who will it be tonight..or maybe all 3 again.

I don’t think I’ve had an uninterrupted night of sleep in over five years. Between middle of the night “pregnancy pees,” my husband’s pager, and my 3 kids, I am usually awakened….well….often actually, throughout the dark hours.

Last night probably was the icing on the cake.

Max was in bed by 7:30, which is normal for him. He’s so “busy” during the day that by the time bedtime rolls around, he willingly lays down and immediately dozes off. I usually don’t hear from him again until about 6:30ish. But last night, he started screaming a 9:30, wanting out of his crib. And again at about 10:30 and two more times after that…until at 12:30, when I medicated him with Motrin. He didn’t have a fever, and his ears weren’t draining puss, but surely he wasn’t continually waking up because of insomnia!

About an hour and a half after Max finally settled into a slumber, Ella woke up…3 times…wanting to nurse.

And then at about 4 AM, Cameron came into the room to tell me that not only was he wet (although he’s been potty trained since 2 ½, we haven’t even come close to mastering the night issue), but that he even leaked through his pull ups, onto his PJs and all over his bed…AGAIN.

And then at 5:30 AM, Max woke up screaming, once more.

Then at 6:30, Cameron was s—t--a—r—v—i—n—g. (read with an incredible whine accenting it), and even though I tried really hard to slip back to sleep after getting him a bowl of cereal, Max and Ella woke up for good soon after that. And I just relented and brewed some coffee…lots of it.

I read on a website that “a lack of sleep can have grave consequences.” I’m just wondering whose grave they’re talking about.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Piled High

If only I could just throw them all in with the laundry. It would make clean up so much simpler.
Except I tend to leave the clean laundry in baskets. And when I run out of baskets, I pile up the clothes on counter tops, couches, the floor, etc. for days and days until I can find a moment when I can't think of anything else to do....and Max is not around. Last time I folded 3 loads of laundry, I piled it neatly on the chaise in our family room. However, Max made my attempt to be domestic futile as he kindly shoved 30 minutes worth of work to the floor so that he could lounge comfortably.

Like most household chores, laundry is just not my thing.

Chocolate Revived

I've waited long enough. I now have nicer weather, and a gym membership with childcare. I have no more excuses. So in order to jump start my running routine, I registered for a marathon. Not just any marathon, but rather, the Nike Women's Marathon. I figure that if I'm going to torture myself for a 4th time, I might as well receive a Tiffany necklace in the end. And having a Chocolate mile and a Pedicare station along the way swayed me a bit, too.

Now that I'm actually training for something, I WILL be posting on the Chocolate: It's Why We Run blog that has remained dormant for the past month.

So if you have any running/workout tips, motivational quotes, marathon workout schedules to discuss, share them at the chocolate site.

And if you want to run the marathon, it's almost full, so you have to sign up ASAP.

Happy running (I did 6 miles today).

Thursday, April 06, 2006

minor/major mishaps

As I’ve mentioned before, I often have a glass of wine before I go to bed. Often, I’m drinking it while I’m actually in bed. Last night, I poured myself a glass of Shiraz, a red wine, and brought it up to my room. Completely exhausted from the day, I think I only had about 2 sips before I set it back on my nightstand and crashed.

Being on call last night, Melvin had a handful of deliveries and didn’t get home until very late. He came into the room and reached to set the alarm, which is located on my nightstand. As you can guess, he ended up accidentally knocking over my full glass of red wine. It ran all over the stand, the wall, the carpet. Not a fun clean up at 2:30 AM, but one that my husband insisted on doing (probably because he knew I’d more than likely do a half-ass job of cleaning it up).

On Thursday morning I attend a Bible study/mom’s fellowship group through my church called Mom’s Spiritual Spa. After I managed to get the kids strapped into the car on time, I ran upstairs to grab my Bible study book, which was located….on my nightstand. The edges of all the pages were purple, slightly damp, and scented with the spilled Shiraz. But it wasn’t ruined, and I had some questions marked from my lesson that I wanted to discuss at “spa.” So I brought it with me.

I told my husband this evening what happened. He couldn’t believe that I actually still brought it.
“Weren’t you embarrassed?” he thought.
“Not at all,” I responded. “I thought it was rather funny. And so did some of the moms.”

After all, Jesus’s first miracle was turning water into wine, so I just considered it a tribute to his Almighty power.


In addition to my ‘alcohol’ episode at my Bible study, I’m sure I solidified the “Mom of the Year” award while there.

After the study, I hung around with some of the moms in my group eating a packed lunch. Cameron was wrestling with 2 other boys his age. Suddenly, we heard a “bang” and then a cry. Cameron emerged from the bottom of the 3 boy pile, having a breakdown because he hit his head on a metal cabinet where they were wrestling. He’s usually quite dramatic when he gets hurt, whether it’s really bad or not…..usually not. So I tend to minimize the injury, rubbing it quickly, giving it a peck, and just telling him to brush it off. Showing any kind of genuine sympathy usually results in greater wails of agony.

He continued crying loudly, and I continued to try to convince him that he was just fine, and he needed to stop crying. The 2 boys apologized, and Max even ran by to give him a hug. But he still persisted. Feeling that he was just tired and blowing the entire incident out of proportion, I finally told him quite firmly that if he didn’t stop crying, he wasn’t going to get to play at his friend’s house this weekend (something he won’t stop talking about). I actually tried to justify this ‘consequence.’ “If you don’t stop crying, you’re not going to Eddie’s house. Because you might accidentally hurt yourself there, and then you might not stop crying. And I don’t want his mom to have to deal with your crying” (Great logic..huh?). Hearing this, Cameron finally managed to calm himself to just sniffles, and home we went.

Later in the afternoon the boys were getting their haircut. And while I was trying to balance all the dinosaurs Max was handing to me while he waited for his turn to be tortured in the big red chair, Cameron’s stylist called me over.
“I don’t know if you’ve seen this because his hair was covering it, but look.”
She gently ran her fingers up the back of his head, revealing a large red bump protruding from his noggin.
He really was crying for a reason, after all.
I’m such a great mom.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I'm just so popular

I was in New Jersey a couple weeks ago, and it seemed that everytime I turned around there was this bright light flashing in my face. Apparently my mom wanted to get lots of pictures of me with basically everyone.

Here I am with little Randy, my mom's best friend's son. He tried to hold me, but I almost fell, so we just decided to chill on the floor for a while. Why she didn't get a picture with me and Miss Lanette is beyond my comprehension. My mom can be quite forgetful sometimes (most of the time).

This is Miss Lanette's cousin Gayle. She only held me for a moment because as soon as I started fussing, she handed me right back to my mommy. But she gave me some really cute clothes that I'll actually get to wear in Florida in 2 weeks. I'm sure my mommy will take some pictures of me wearing them, too.
This is my "great" Pop-pop Zibby. My middle name, Helene, is after his wife (my mom's grandma) who died last year. Her name is Helen, and before she passed away, she crocheted me this beautiful pink blanket. I'll treasure it always.

Here I am with my Aunt Dana. I just love hanging out with her. If only she lived closer!!!!

And this is my cousin Chelsea. I think this is the first time she smiled all day. But she's 14, so you can't take it personal! Her birthday is tomorrow. Happy Birthday Chels!

Here is my mom's cousin Kristin. My mom said that if she lived closer, she'd be babysitting me a lot. I think she's pretty cool. Maybe she'll come out and visit soon.

Here I am with my mom's dad, Pop-pop, who hung out with me a lot this weekend. I think he likes that I don't scream like my brothers!

And I'm right at home in my Mom-mom's arms. She hung out with me for a whole month when I was first born, so it was sure good to see her again. She's coming down to Florida for a couple days, too. I'm so excited.

I get a lotta love from here. I hope I'll be back really soon.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Every night before going to bed, I read a story and say prayers with Cameron. Last night I told Cameron to say the prayers.

"Okay," he said. "Dear Father God, Thank you for this food....for our body. Amen."

"Um, Cameron. That's a dinner prayer."

"Oh," he said. "But I don't know what else to say."

"Well, God created us, so we should be thankful. So just talk to Him about what you're thankful for."

"Okay. Dear Father God, Thank you for my friends and for all my toys. Thank you for everybody in this whole wide world. Please help everyone in this whole wide world. Please forgive everyone in this whole wide world. Amen."

So just in case you forgot to say your prayers last night...no worries...Cameron's got you covered.

Monday, April 03, 2006


So that I do not sound redundant, I will NOT write yet again about the screaming, crying and whining that occurred simultaneously in my household while I was trying to do something else important.

Damn, now I have nothing to write about.

Dooms Day

Max decided that the 15 minute nap he had in the car on the way home from church this morning was all the sleep he needed today. I begged to differ, and placed him in his crib when his crankiness could be tolerated no more.

He cried, and cried, and cried until he realized no one was going to get him. Then he decided to take matters in his own hands. I was downstairs and heard a large thud, but thought it was my husband, who was cleaning out our closet. I heard more crying for about five minutes, but as I made my way up the stairs, the crying subsided.

Then I saw Max’s doorknob turn and slowly the door opened. Out waddled Max with his mischievous grin.

“Mama!” he shouted, running to give me a hug, and then he went about his usual destructive ways.

I feared this day, when we could no longer keep him forcibly confined to a given spot. I think it’s time we get our house alarm hooked up (and a prescription for Valium filled).

Saturday, April 01, 2006

What a Fool I was

I had been really looking forward to this Saturday all week. Melvin wasn’t on call, and I wasn’t out of town, so I thought we’d have a really nice “family day.” I really felt that all would be perfect if we spent the day together.

Max apparently was looking forward to this day as well, as he decided to begin it at 6 AM. His ears seem to be bothering him again, so he’s been very cranky, and did not like it AT ALL that I refused to continue to pour more Ice Age cereal into his bowl just so he could continue pick through it and eat only the marshmallows.

After 3 hours of the kids this morning, I finally woke Melvin up and told him it was his turn. I was able to sleep for about an hour before Ella needed my attention. I was only woken up a couple times during this “nap” with Ella crying and Cameron whisking the covers off me, as he was apparently playing hide-and-seek with Melvin, and he thought the blob in bed might have been him.

Eventually, by about 2:30, after some cleaning, lunch, naps, etc. we finally made it out of the house. I had heard good things about the IMAX Undersea 3D film, and since Max goes crazy with delight when he’s around a fish tank, I thought this would be a fun outing. Well, silly me to think so. Max was interested for about 3 minutes, and then found it more exciting to play “switch laps” between Melvin and I, to check out the heads of the people in the row in front of us and to try to escape the whole movie. The whole 3D experience was giving Melvin a headache, so he offered to take Max out, while Cameron (who was refusing for over ½ the movie to put on his glasses) and I tried to finish the documentary. Instead of enjoying it in peace, Cameron kept commenting, “When is this going to be over? It’s too long. When can I go get some popcorn?” (To this last question I told a parental “sanity” lie, informing him they had stopped selling it when the movie started). The movie ended quicker than what I had expected, and although it looked fascinating with the whole 3D effect, I found the film to generally be boring, so I can’t say I was disappointed with its abrupt ending. We were then going to enjoy the sunny, 50 degree weather by walking around the zoo where the IMAX is located, only to discover that it had just closed.

So I decided it would be exciting to make our way to the Mall of America for some more “family fun” and to have dinner. Forgetting about the weekend crowds, especially at dinnertime, we had the bright idea of going to Rainforest Café, where I standed in line for over 15 minutes just to get on the waiting list. After being given a return time of an hour later, we took the boys to the amusement park in the center of the mall, where they at least had fun. As our reservation time rolled around, we told Cameron he could come back after dinner to go on one more ride. He wanted to keep the ticket himself, so we told him to put it somewhere safe so that he wouldn’t lose it. Into his pocket his ticket went, and off to the overpriced, but decorated for ultimate kiddo distraction, Rainforest Café we went, only to discover that our table still was not ready.

Melvin had to make a trip to the bathroom, so I was left in the overcrowded Rainforest store, by myself with the 3 kiddos, awaiting our table and Melvin’s return. The fish tanks only kept the boys preoccupied for so long. And then Max began to wander, touching everything in site, as I forced Cameron to stick with him, while he also felt the need to put his hands on every little knick knack in view. Thankfully Ella just slept soundly as I awkwardly maneuvered the big double stroller around the merchandise displays as they boys made their presence known.

By the time our table was called, it was 7 PM and the boys were starving. So as we waited for our food, we heard the constant nagging of Cameron letting us know just how hungry he was, and Max spent the time blowing bubbles into his chocolate milk. We requested to have their food brought out early, which kept them busy for a few minutes, but by the time our food came, they were done eating and Max started playing “musical laps” again, and also felt the need to be helpful by dunking all of my chicken fingers, and anything else in reach, into my sauce. Finished with his meal, Cameron kept asking when we were going to be done so that he could go on the rides.

When we couldn’t take anymore, we arose to go to the rides again, only to discover that the ticket for the rides was no longer in Cameron’s pocket. We asked at the front if anyone had turned it in, but no one had. Needless to say we had a disappointed little 4 year old on our hands, but wanting to teach him to be responsible for his things, when he told us to just buy another ticket, we actually said no, and headed toward our exit floor.

And then the fun really began.

Melvin announced that he was going to get the kids ice cream before we left. I cringed at the thought of this…Max and ice cream…not a good idea, but the plan was already announced in front of the kiddos, so we proceeded. Of course Max had ice cream all over him, and Cameron, who seemed to be in rare whiny form today, was not happy with the custard style ice cream and chocolate sauce Melvin had purchased the two boys. Thinking whipped cream would make him happy, I went back and had that added, but he still was not content. Eventually he relented and took it from me when I literally put a spoonful in his mouth to shut up his complaining.

After the ice cream was all cleaned up, we headed to the exit doors. But then I realized that we were on the wrong floor. Melvin headed to the crowded elevator holding Max, while I was pushing Ella in the stroller and oblivious Cameron continued to head toward the exit doors. I went and got him, telling him to hurry up and get on the elevator. By the time I reached there to hop on, Melvin asked me if I knew where Cameron was. I told him I thought he had run on the elevator and wasn’t he with him. He told me no, and a quick glance around the crowded elevator of impatient people led us to believe the he wasn’t there. We quickly jumped off and scanned the area, where Cameron was no where to be seen. All of this literally happened within 2 minutes. And in seeing that he was not in the immediate area, my heart dropped, for I just knew he must’ve been on that overcrowded elevator.

Panic set in. The area was crowded because we were at the Rotunda elevators, where there happened to be an Elvis impersonator contest going on all night. And as if the sound of Elvis over and over wasn’t unsettling enough in this situation, while Melvin was off looking for Cameron, Ella was in her carseat crying, and Max was screaming trying to get out of the stroller as I wheeled through the crowds looking for my lost son. When I think about it now, it was as if we were reenacting a scene in a movie with all the stress and the sites and sounds.

Not knowing where Melvin went, and feeling useless just standing there with my unhappy kids, I discovered that we were right near the Mall location of the Bloomington police station. But that turned out to be no help at all, as the place was closed (????). After about 10 to 15 minutes of waiting around, searching, panicking, praying, I found some security guards. But at the same time, I heard someone call out my name. Across the Rotunda, coming down the escalator, there Melvin was with an obviously sad, but quite brave little boy, in his arms. A huge feeling of relief set in, and with a quick thank you to God, and a big hug to Cameron, we headed out of that place as quickly as possible.

How scary the ending of our day was, and I am incredibly grateful to the person who saw Cameron crying and took him to a security guard where Melvin found him 2 floors above us.

Despite all the difficulties, I’m still glad we were able to spend the whole day together as a family. Even though he had reason to, Melvin didn’t complain even once about my Saturday ideas of family fun. The excitement on the boys’ faces when they went on the rides was priceless. They were completely overjoyed being surrounded by life-like animals, rain and trees at the restaurant. And Ella was super smiley and quite content all through the movie and dinner. But next time I look forward to having a fun family day, I think I’ll lower my expectations…just a little.