Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two Boring Engineers Have a Creative Day

Brian and Ben made balloon animals together. Brian tried to make a skeleton and a spider for our room decorations for the church trick-or-treat party. They ended up looking pretty good, though they didn't glow in the black light like we had hoped. The skeleton was the pink panther's skeleton. Brian taught Ben how to twist the balloons and the intricacies of how much you fill the balloons and why you leave a tail on the end of them. He ended up pretty happy with what he made, even if a few tears were shed in the process when some of his attempts popped.
I sewed our annual family theme costumes. This year I chose the Wizard of Oz. Okay, actually, I chose that theme last year. I just didn't finish the costume sewing in time. I was getting pretty close but the clock was quickly ticking down to zero. I had to close the back of my Dorothy dress and attach the skirt to the bodice. Totally within reason. I had Brian cut his own Tin Man pants from my version of a "pattern" which is just an old pair of pajama pants. I trace one side along the edge, meticulously roll the fabric, making sure it doesn't shift and then trace and cut the other edge. Brian followed my directions the best he could while I frantically sewed my dress. He gave me the fabric to whip out his pants. I zoomed around the crotch and down the legs and held them up in total shock and disbelief. The waist line was approximately 10 inches wide. My skinniest girlfriends could not have gotten into those shiny pants.
I resigned to the fact that I had lost the fight for 2007. We pulled out some old costumes from our Houston days, the Flintstones, grabbed our dinosaur costumes for each of the kids and went to the party as Fred, Wilma, Dino and a green dinosaur. Bummer, but still really cute.
On to this year. I still tried my very best to push things right to the wire by procrastinating, but finished just in time. One major complicating factor was the Dorothy dress...I wasn't pregnant when I first started sewing it and I don't really know a great way to alter a dress to make it a 7 month pregnant maternity dress. I got it figured out enough to pass though. I had to put in about 8 extra inches of fabric across the back just to get it to fit me. I didn't put in a zipper at all, I just sewed it shut and slipped it on and intend to alter it when I can to make it fit a normal person. Ah, the adventures in my annual sewing extravaganza.
Other sewing adventures include:
**Using a form fitting woman's shirt as a "pattern" for our Winnie the Pooh costumes. Brian ended up with an Eeyore costume he could barely squeeze into, but had plenty of, well room in the bust...sorry Bri. It might be time for me to buy a real legitimate pattern for Brian's costumes.
**Ben's Potsy match footsie pajamas for his birthday that I sewed the one foot on backwards

Preschool Halloween Party

Today was our preschool party and I taught the lesson. The kids were so fun. We did the pumpkin craft that I practiced with the kids last week and they all liked it, especially the eating part. We also made pumpkin garland. I thought the kids would be able to cut their own circles out of orange paper and didn't count on how long it would take to staple the pumpkins to their ribbon, but it still all worked out in the end. They had fun with the crafts and then the last 20 minutes was the very best part. The moms all arrived a few minutes early for pick up and we got the kids changed into their costumes. Each child brought six pieces of candy and got to pass them out. All the kids waited on the main floor while the chosen child carefully selected their door to hide behind. Then they would yell ready and the other kids (including Maddie Mae) would run up or down the stairs to knock on the door and yell trick-or-treat. They got to pass out the candy and then switch to go trick-or-treat at another door with another kid. They thought it was fantastic!! Overall, a pretty good day. I know my two kids thought it was super fun to trick-or-treat in the house. This is the happy bunch: Lindsey (Snow White), Ben (Dino the Dinosaur), Hugh (Darth Vader), Wade (Iron Man) and Ella (Minnie Mouse).

Maddie Says...

"I had it first." Translates in a two year old mind such that if you declare this phrase with real gusto, you will get whatever it is that is the object of desire at the given moment. Never mind who really had it first, it's all about power in the presentation of the phrase and being able to run really fast once you snatched it away from someone. "Go away fwum me!" Usually said when she wants mom to quit nagging or controlling the situation, such as when she is stalling on nap time to the extent that mom has to pick her up and carry her upstairs. "Leave me alone!" Typically reserved for Ben. Enough said. "Actually, _______." Fill in the blank. Maddie says actually all the time and I think it's pretty cute. She even uses it correctly. For instance, we saw a dog while driving in the car this morning. Maddie tells me, "I see a doggie, Mommy! Acutally the dog is on my side (of the car)."

Retraction of Sorts

Yesterday was a super, super windy day and it was trash day. During lunch our trash can lid blew across the field in front of our house. It occured to me that the trash can could come flying across the field next and that the day our good trash can was stolen it was super, super windy too. Huh. So I went to search in the woods for our stolen trash can. As I went out the door, Brian yelled out that if I found it, I would be obligated to print a retraction on my blog. Well, it was not there. I didn't really expect to find it, but figured I better try. No retraction needed.
Today we returned home from a lovely morning playdate with the Arveseths where I had mentioned Brian's retraction comment and we had laughed about it. Guess what was on my doorstep when we got home? The "stolen" trash can. Someone had taped a note to it, "Is this yours? I think I took it by accident." It made me laugh, it made me cry, it restored my faith in humanity. We have been reunited once again my trash can and me. The note wasn't signed, but I don't much care. Whoever my poor neighbor is, probably felt bad enough when they noticed. No hard feelings, but thanks for returning it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We Scheduled the Delivery

Baby #3 should make his first appearance to the world on Dec 5 at around 1:30. This predicted birth will of course, be plus or minus a few hours because of some wild and crazy hospital policy. Apparently, we learned with Maddie's scheduled delivery that the relatively painfree, comfortable, scheduled c-section people have to wait on those darn people that go into labor on their own and are in serious pain and agony. I suppose I can live with that. It is a little bit odd though, sitting on a couch, knowing in an hour, you'll be laid out flat on a table. Then you'll feel a little tug, tug, push, push and "Abra Cadabra!!" They hold up a baby and tell you it's yours. Seriously, with Ben I felt ready, I had labored for 20 hours, blah, blah, blah. It was time to be done. With Maddie, I felt totally cheated in a way. I didn't "earn" that baby at all. I didn't feel as connected with her because of it. It was really weird. Plus, aren't you supposed to hold the baby and cuddle and kiss it or whatever? Yeah, well, with a c-section your arms are spread straight to your sides and strapped down tight so you can't even move. Not the premium bonding moment from the movies or your lamaze class. Still, I did end up liking Maddie in the end, even without that initial "magical" moment. So, we're planning to cheat again. I'm praying the surgery goes as well with #3 as with #2. Surgery #1 was a totally and complete disaster with a solid 3 months of nightmare recovery. I think everyone should only have one of those in their lives and I've had mine, thank you very much. Dec 5 at 1:30 it is. Don't expect a call though. I'm not really into that. I've found the most beautiful and sacred times of my life have still been the hours I spend alone with Brian in the recovery room and in my room after the birth of our two babies when I finally get to meet the baby. The feeling of God being close by, the miracle of creation and his hand in everything is almost tangible in those moments. I'm totally serious too. When we had Ben, we only told one person we were heading to the hospital and CHANGED hospitals at the last minute so we could hide from all our well wishing friends. Mean, I know, but I'm glad we did. Once the world butts in, it just isn't ever the same again. It's a sort of emotional repreave for me and I don't want to be bothered by anyone. We'll let you know when we're good and ready. I love you all though.

How Many Funny Things Can Ben Say In One Day?

Driving in the car, Ben in his chair starts making weird gagging noises. I ask if he is okay. "Sure, mom. I'm just pulling trees out of the ground with my hands, that's all." During breakfast while Brian was getting ready to go to work, Ben stated, "Dad, I wish there was a big pipe that runs all the way from ExxonMobil to our house. That way you won't have to go to work to get the money." Ben asked Brian today, "What would happen if you don't go to work for three days?" Brian, "I'd call it a holiday." At the park with the kids, Brian took them to the picnic benches for a snack. Ben started walking around like he was leading a parade. He told Brian he was the band leader. Maddie was in his marching band so Brian asked what she plays. "The organ." Now that I'd like to see. Then he changed his mind, "No.....she plays the guitar." At least she can pick that up, but she must have a pretty long cord back to the amp. I returned to the park after my OB check-up and reported to Ben we had scheduled a day for the baby to come at the hospital. His immediate response, "Oh good. Is your tummy normal yet?" Unfortunately, I think it will take more than a phone call by the doctor to fix my "tummy problem."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Primary Program

The status quo with Ben and public speaking is that he locks up then melts down. Go figure, he did great today at our ward primary program. The major bonus? He spoke clearly into the microphone. Most kids in the Sunbeam class in my entire adult memory are totally and completely not understandable between being scared, fast and putting their hands in front of their mouths or hiding their faces in the teachers shoulder. The amazing line he came up with on his own to say? "I can be like Jesus by helping my mom and dad at our house." Short, sweet and totally doable for a 4 year old. Maddie didn't do quite as well. We had to take her out because she was screaming that she wanted to go on the stage with Ben. Oh well. I was able to keep her mostly calm from the lobby at a vantage point to see Ben and he could see me (he kept waving). It was really cute to see him so excited over the whole thing and he watched me the whole time they sang any songs. As his prearranged treat for doing a great job, we had decided hinging the treat on talking would be a bad idea in case he freaked out and wouldn't do it at the last minute. We told him we would count the group songs and he got a sucker for each song he sung. That makes a total of 6 delicious suckers he will be enjoying. He thinks it was totally worth it. My favorite part was all the buildup the week before the program. We have a CD in the truck of all the songs they learned for the program. Ben would have me repeat songs that Sister Voges told them to practice. The best part was that he would be singing in the truck while we drove, but would tell me to close my ears so I couldn't hear so the words would be a surprise to me. When Brian got home from his trip, he would tell him over and over that he had a surprise at church that he couldn't know about. The only clue Dad would get was that when the Bishop or Doug Arveseth said the words, "Would all the primary children please come to the front." that he might disappear. But, not to worry because he would be in a safe place still. He would be so serious and excited at the same time. It was cute to see him so excited over something so simple.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Claudia and the Night Time Photo Shoot

Claudia needed some Halloween in the dark photo shoot pictures for her class this week, so we went over and tried to help her out. Ben was MUCH more helpful that Maddie the stinker, but we got a few of both of them. With two kids, a camera and a few other lights to get the right effect, it was not a one man job by any means. It too Claudia, Aimee, me and a bag of mini candy bars but Claudia sure did a great job. Hope she gets an "A" on her assignment. Just for my notes, she used ISO 1800 and an aperture of f4 to f5. I am going to have to practice some of this in the dark photography.

Pumpkin Carving and Poop Soup

That would be the title of my day if I had to assign it one. I changed at least five diapers full of poop soup today, maybe more. Darn if I usually put those types of diapers directly in the outside trash, but no...not today...since someone STOLE the trash can. Idiot. There is no where else to put them but in the diaper pail in the nursery. Glad tomorrow is trash day and hope the poop soup is over by then. I have to say though, the first one was the worst. Every parent knows what that stooping position means for their toddler. Their working on a diaper load. You give them one to five minutes and check back to change them. Well, Maddie changed from a stooping position to standing on her feet with her head bent over onto the floor. Weird was all I could think. Then she said, "Mommy, I stinky. I need a new diaper." No problem. I grab the diaper and two wipes and she hasn't moved position. I snatch her up and she screams. "My tummy is stinky." Yep. It was so much poop soup that it filled the diaper, the legs, tummy and back of her pajamas. Nothing to do but drop the clean diaper and wipes where we are and gingerly carry Little Miss Stinky Tummy to the tub for a hose down, making sure not to tip or disturb the liquid level on our journey up the stairs. After the diaper change, bath and new clothes we had some gentle on the tummy Ramen noodles for lunch and started our afternoon project of pumpkin carving. We didn't really want to do it without Brian, but hey, if you're gone for half the month of October, you're bound to miss something and we have to have them ready for the big pumpkin carving contest on Saturday. Here is Ben working his heart out to get the perfect pumpkin. Of course, he wouldn't touch anything "slimy" because he didn't want to feel it on his hands. After a few minutes, he asked to change his shirt because it got dirty and he couldn't handle the slimy on his sleeve.

Maddie kept busy, mostly moving from pumpkin to pumpkin. A little here, a little there, not really knowing what we were doing or why, but telling us over and over which one was hers.

This pumpkin was almost as big as Maddie and probably weighed as much as she does.

Ben decided for his first pumpkin that he would rather make a lamp to let the light out rather than the traditional jackolantern face. A new idea, but who am I to interfere? The glowing lamp, you know, so you can turn it on.

For his second pumpkin, I thought it was another lamp again until he finished it. He had me put a triangle nose on it. He made a point to tell me it was supposed to be flat on the top and pointed on the bottom because it needed to look right when he was standing on his head. Confusing to me for a minute, but then I realized he had carved the pumpkin upside down so the whole thing was on its head. Now I get it. Check out the picture. With the reflection on the counter top you can totally see the face...smart kid!

Here is mom's work and a little bit of photography experimenting with our fancy camera.

Think I can win the pumpkin carving contest?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Junk Mail for Pregnany Moms

Once the world knows you are pregnant, you hit the lists and get junk mail for years. Yesterday we got two great pieces of mail. One addressed to Meshack Zufelt, our code name we used on dummy forms for Ben when he didn't have a real name yet. My brother and sister-in-law had used Shadrach for their inutero baby, so we took Meshach, assuming my younger siblings would snatch up Abed-nego and something else fun from the story of Daniel in the Bible. So, our non-existent Meshack is still getting mail 5 years later and 3 addresses later. How do they track us? Oh yeah, I do know I spelled it wrong too. Who knew the Bible spelled it with an "h" at the end? The other great piece of mail I got was to me. I've been getting these super helpful advise cards for months now from Similac Baby Formula company. The campaign is for "Strong Moms" and has coupons for energy bars with advise about having energy, the top 10 things moms forget to bring to the hospital to deliver and other random stuff. My favorite advise from this packet is about helping daddy bond with the baby called, "Getting Dad Prepared." Like that is my duty or something. In very elloquent words, it said to all the hyperstressed mommies out there, basically, BACK OFF!! He'll figure out how to do it on his own. If he wants to explain the rules of football in their alone time, let them alone. So, I intend to BACK OFF and let Brian find his own "special" way of bonding with baby. There are some days that I actually do love junk mail. But only when it makes me laugh at the sender...

Another One Bites the Dust

It's Maddie's turn now. She cried a lot more than normal overnight, but settled every time I retrieved her binkie and handed it to her in my delirious staggering into her room. Then at 7am she came crying and walking into my room making those familiar gagging sounds. I scooped up both her and a bucket (within reach since Ben ended up sleeping in my bed with me saying he felt sick). Maddie has been dry heaving every 10 minutes for about two hours. If she lays down it comes right up, so I have to hold her. Poor thing. We've only had to clean the carpet once so far though. My plans for the day appear to have been thrown out the window since she just wants to be held and cuddled for comfort, my hands are all tied up and I can't do much of anything. I'm running out of time to get our Halloween costumes sewn for the party Saturday night. I don't really see how it is going to happen at all anymore. I was able to get Ben delivered to preschool at least. He's had an extremely boring week being stuck at home with me since he kept getting sick. Preschool should help keep him busy and happy with good friends. We only had to pull over once on our drive for Maddie to throw up in a cup. She is so miserable.

The Tatoo On My Forehead

I think it must say "Screw With Me, It Makes My Day". Someone stole my trash can. Seriously. It got dumped from the curb and left like all the others. Before I made it outside to pick it up, it was gone. All the neighbors still had theirs left on the curb, but not mine. The dumb things cost $25. I'm ticked off. I walked the general area of the neighborhood and can't see it. Maybe it will still show up, but probably not. Seriously, who steals trash cans??? Ugh. Running total of things stolen while living in Virginia: adult bike from inside gated backyard wallet from church lobby trash can from front yard I'm sure there are more I can't think of right now, people are just so rotten here!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Welcome Autumn

It's hard to say what my favorite season of the year is. I always think it is a snowstorm, but since that's more of an occurrence, not an actual season, I guess it doesn't count. Other than when the sounds of the world are muffled with a fresh white blanket of beautiful snow, when you can go on a walk outside and watch each flake flutter down under the streetlights in the silence along streets with no tire marks yet, winter is just long and cold. I really do get all giddy excited over a snowstorm. Brian has been out of town (go figure) for the first snow of the year the last three years and it breaks my heart to not have anyone to share it with. I remember when we were dating and there was an amazing snowstorm. It was about 10 o'clock and I had been staring out the window forever. It was the perfect day for me. Finally, I got dressed and walked over to Brian's house to wake him up and make him go on a walk with me. I'm pretty sure he thought I had lost my mind, but he went. The snow was falling so softly and we walked down 4th South by our apartments in the amazing silence. Not a car was on the road and it was so perfect. Snow is magical, but winter is long. I enjoy autumn just about every day. The weather begins to turn cooler and we get out our jackets and the air is crisp. The windows are left open every evening to bring the fresh clean air into our home and cleanse our lungs. The trees turn such vibrant colors and the piles of leaves abound for playing, raking, rolling and jumping. Picturesque scenes abound in every neighborhood in Virginia, providing a pallet of color to amaze my eyes. Most streets here are small, windy and tree lined such that you feel you are in the woods all the time. Photo opportunities with white fences and beautiful streams line every road and I wish I had endless hours to explore the nature trails and photograph my cute kids in it all. When Maddie was only about three weeks old, we had a family photo shoot in the beautiful fall colors. It was so perfect that no one believes we were outdoors, most people tell me our backdrop looks like we were in a photo studio. It has always been a dream of mine to see the fall colors in New England. Last fall we took a trip up north and drove through and around the six states of New England for a week and loved it. Brian's parents and my sister joined us for our exciting excursion and it was a fantastic week together. I love to pull out my long pants and long sleeved shirts and sweaters again. Sweatshirts are such perfect clothes. They are the equivalent of comfort food in the clothing arena for me. Speaking of comfort food, out come my recipes for the most amazing soups and warm casserole dishes. There may be no better dinner than a winter baked potato soup or a chicken pot pie with homemade rolls (by the way, my Kitchen Aid mixer is still sitting on the floor in the dining room waiting for a final ruling by the boss about a repair or replacement, so no rolls in the near future at our place). One of the very, very, very best things about autumn is putting lots of blankets on the bed again. Is there anything better than crawling into bed and for the first time in months feeling the heavy, heavy weight of a blanket begin to absorb your warmth. It is such a soothing feeling for my tired and weary body each night to be smothered in the warmth of a heavy blanket. Sweet dreams to all I say. Welcome back autumn...

Baby #3 Got a Quilt

I'm so super excited. No one has ever made me a quilt before. I suppose, that statement is still true actually. Baby #3 received a quilt. It is really, really cute. It is so soft and warm. Just the right weight to it for a winter time baby. It has little cars all over it and it is not just two pieces of fabric sewn together with batting and a few ties (that's all the "quilting" I'm personally capable of). It is intricately pieced together and I LOVE IT!! I can't wait to wrap the little man up in it to keep him snuggled and warm all winter. Thanks, Carol Baker, you're the best.
Told you it was a real quilt. It has a tag and everything. I get to return it after we have the baby and she'll put the stats on the blanket, name, weight, etc. Too cool!
PS - Carol also brought me dinner for tonight because she is such an amazing friend and knows I'm struggling this week. She'd do anything, anytime for anyone, even if it means personal sacrifice to herself. That is the definition of a good friend in my book and I love her!!

Pumpkin Crafting

Just a little snapshot of our fun activity for the day. I am trying to find fun Halloween crafts to do for our preschool party next week. I'm teaching that day, so we did a dry run of a cute project we saw in FamilyFun magazine.
1. For each pumpkin, cut one circus peanut in half. Cut a small piece from a green gumdrop and trim away the sugar coating so you have a dot of the sticky inside. Use this piece as glue to stick the two halves of the peanut together, bottom to bottom.
2. Roll the pumpkin in the palms of your hands to make it round. Press lightly; you don't want to compress the candy too much.
3. Use a skewer or toothpick to poke a hole in the top of the pumpkin and draw lines down the sides. Cut another small piece from the green gumdrop and roll it in granulated sugar, molding it into a slightly conical stem shape with your fingers. Insert the stem into the hole on the top of the pumpkin.
The kids had lots of fun.
Here is what Ben came up with:
This is what mom made:

Maddie could only come up with this: (it's hard to focus with all that candy around to distract you...)

Situational Sickness

Friday we started into a rough patch as you may have noticed from my other posts. Ben has vomitted once about every 24 hours since Friday afternoon. He acts totally normal the entire day then vomits again, except that he says he feels yucky. Someone suggested that it might be situational. I've never been big on that stuff, but this is not the first time this exact thing has happened. It happens regularly after Brian has been gone for a while. There is just not a real good answer why he's sick and vomitting. What do you think? Do you believe in that stuff? After this many times (multiple business trips, at least 3, probably 4) of Ben having such serious trouble, I think I might be buying into it. I know situational things can cause emotional anxiety that manifests itself physically. Even when he isn't throwing up, he says he feels bad. His stomach just hasn't felt well for 5 days. What do I do? No company has the right to make my little boy so upset and stressed he gets sick for a week because his dad is missing.

Recipe Review

Results from our review: Yummy! When Ben asks for a recipe, you better believe it is something good.
Fettuccini with Chicken & Mushrooms
8 oz. fettuccini noodles
5 T. Butter
2-4 Chicken Breasts
1-2 C. Sliced Mushrooms
2 T. Flour
1 tsp. Parsley Flakes
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
2 C. Half and Half
1/2 C. Grated Parmesan Cheese
Cook noodles, add a little butter after draining and rinsing. Set aside. Melt Butter in pan. Add chicken and mushrooms. Cook thoroughly. Stir in flour and spices. Blend in Half and half. Cook until thickened. Add noodles and cheese.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lighthouse Lacks Light

When we had been married just over a year, we were living in Midland, Michigan while we both did internships for Dow Corning. It was a fun time and we got to travel a bit again to see some new sights most people won't ever take the time to explore. We did a lighthouse tour on the great lakes, which honestly was a let down because most the lighthouses were far off shore so we couldn't really see them well. We did a covered bridge tour during the weeks of the peak of the fall colors and a personal favorite of mine was a Christmas store called BRONNER'S CHRISTmas WONDERLAND in Frankenmuth. Bronners probably solidified a growing obsession over Christmas at the time. It is a store maybe the size of a football field, but it feels small because it was like a little house they kept building on another room or wing to expand. It goes on and on and on. Bronners is the worlds largest Christmas store and it is sort of a playland of sorts for a Christmas addict. Another one not to be missed would be the Henry Ford Home & Museum. Totally ahead of his time with hair dryers in the bathrooms in the wall in the 1930s, adult sized tree house and all sorts of cool inventions built into his custom home. One of the other unique places we went, and really everyone should visit someday was Mackinaw Island. This quaint little island maintains its charm by means of a law stating that no motorized vehicles are allowed on the entire island. I think I remember hearing that the firetruck was a normal vehicle, but it didn't have sirens, because a siren would totally freak out all the horses on the streets. There were lots of fun tourist shops to look at and we paid for a carriage ride tour of the island. You would ride for a while, then stop and look at things, then get on again with that carriage or wait for the next one to join that group. It made for a very enjoyable day. At one little shop, Brian and I found some great paintings of lighthouses. I have loved the bigger print and have displayed it in most every home we have lived in. Lighthouses are just one of those powerful symbols. They are the beacon of light in the storm, protecting all from danger and peril. They are a representation of Christ and all that he can be for us if we just have faith to look and follow the direction given by the light. For years, I've walked past the lighthouse, that powerful symbol. I guess it must have been about one year ago that the stars were aligned, or rather the couches. Our living room was situated such that I was positioned looking at the lighthouse in the living room from my resting place on the couch. In the past, it had always been hung behind the couch or in a bedroom or somewhere less prominent. By golly, as I sat that day, I realized, the lighthouse I have loved for years, HAS NO LIGHT! The lighthouse is off, even with the stormy seas depicted by the artist. It has irked me ever since. I can't decide if I should keep the picture or replace it. It certainly lacks meaning now. How could I not see that for seven years?

Every 24 Hours

General rules of "Sick Kid Courtesy" include staying away from everyone for 24 hours. So, what do you do if your kid is absolutely and totally okay except that every 24 hours he vomits? What rule do I go by? With my luck, Brian will return from his stupid two week trip to Europe right when Ben quits being sick. The evil part of me wants him to suffer like I do when he's gone. I know it might be a little lonely, but seriously, it cannot be hard to be away on a trip. I get so angry that I am stuck here with no relief for two weeks. It just makes my blood boil when things go even worse when Brian leaves and they always do. Remember the last trip Brian took? I do. Our basement flooded twice, once from rainy weather, once from a broken water heater, which meant no hot showers for 3 days, relocating the contents of the living room to the main floor and attempting to dry and save the carpet alone. Today Ben was totally fine, acting normal all day, AGAIN. Then after dinner, he does it again. Guess we're totally cancelling any intention to go to Buffalo this week. What kind of virus only manifests itself every 24 hours? Last fall, Maddie had something similar that lasted 6 weeks! The doctors couldn't find anything, but she lost 2 1/2 pounds, which is a lot for a 15 pound kid. Ben already missed the b-day party he was so excited about going to for his preschool buddy Wade. Now preschool tomorrow morning is out again and they were going on a fieldtrip to the farm. Guess we're on our own. Let me rephrase, I'm on my own. I hate ExxonMobil when they do this to me and my family. When are they going to pay for me to have a two week vacation alone, eating out every meal without paying for anything from my family budget? Maddie is acting out all day, everyday. I caved and she is addicted to the binkie for my own personal sanity, day and night she screams for it. I give it to her all the time so I don't scream back at her. As of today, she must also be feeling bad as evidenced by her diapers and her sore bum. Neither of the kids have been sleeping well for the last 6 days I've been up with both several times every night. Brian doesn't sleep much at night anyway, so he helps a lot with that and I'm missing his help these days. Why can't we just be a family again?

More Supervision Required

Maddie and Ben both help around the house with all sorts of chores. Maddie is particularly good at emptying the dishwasher and putting all the plastic cups, bowls and plates into the drawer. When the dishwasher was open tonight she asked, "Can I make a pile, Mommy?" meaning can I empty the plastic stuff? I told her to go ahead, I had already taken care of the glass and ceramics on the bottom and the top seems to be full of plastic. Apparently not today. I should have checked.
All I heard was the sound of glass cracking and I turned quickly. I don't even remember using those three glass juice cups, but I guess I did. She had "made a pile" with the glass cups as well as the plastic variety. I swooped in to save her little hands and cut my own knuckle in the process. I guess I will always check the dishwasher now before I let her loose, even when I'm totally sure it's going to be safe.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Saw the Hot Dog Car Today!!

When I was little we had this cool Richard Scarry book, Cars, Trucks and Things That Go (a Giant Little Golden Book). It was about transportation for lack of a better explanation. It was full of all sorts of silly cars, trucks, boats, etc. About two months ago I found this fantastic book at a thrift store and had to buy it!! At first Ben didn't care for it at all, but after a few times looking at the book he began to really, really love it. He particularly likes the pickle car, the hammer car and the pencil car with 5 seats to name just a few. He giggles and snickers as he turns the pages looking for Goldbug who hides in every page.
I was reminded of the book today as we were driving home from our daily adventures and I took a different route than normal by jumping on the highway for about 2 miles instead of taking the regular streets. Boy am I glad I did that! I saw the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile driving down I-66! I pointed it out to Ben right away and he thought it was great. He wanted to know if the guy driving it would sell us a hot dog if we could catch him. Call me weird, but it was so super exciting to me. Because we like to do road trips so much, I had actually done a bit of research to see if we could ever cross paths with this fancy set of wheels on any trips, but it never works out. So while I wouldn't really say today I achieved one of my life dreams or anything on that scale, it sure was exciting for me to see it with my own eyes and to be able to share it with Ben.

Sunday Night Fireside

I know the rules, 24 hours away if your kid vomits. But, I've been alone with two kids on my own for a week already and quarantined for two days since Ben threw up the first time on Friday. I made the decision to go to church anyway, heck, it had been 22 hours, close enough. Plus the kids were highly unlikely to survive another day if Mom didn't get out for a bit. Ben was as normal as can be all morning and I was going to lose my mind if I didn't get to talk to an adult for a few minutes. We went to church and all went well. Being a little nervous, I did check on him at the duly appointed hour when he had vomitted the two previous days and he was happy as could be, enjoying the "dress rehersal" for the primary program for the parents next Sunday. I went back to class, finally feeling reassured we were in the clear. After church, it was a mad dash to get home, make dinner, make the kids eat (the real trick of any mother's day), pack my own stuff for the fireside, then load 'em up and move 'em out. I dropped the kids at Mali and Brent's place for the evening since I was in charge of the stake youth fireside. I got the building keys and arrived just in time to let in the committee kids, unload the refreshments, set-up chairs, make sure the speaker whatever he needed, etc. We even started time with attendance well exceeding our expectation, probably 100 kids with 20+ adults/leaders. Glad I bought extra cookies and brownies. Good work team! Successful night. The fireside was fantastic, our speaker, Brother Toma did an amazing job. He is one of those totally inspiring people to hear speak. He talked to the kids about "Strength and Unity" then we broke the teens up into groups based on the high school they went to. They played get to know you games and networked a bit so they would know other youth that share their same, strong, Christian background and values. Hopefully they won't feel so isolated in school knowing they are not alone. Then cookies, brownies and milk were served to the masses, chairs put up, building cleaned, I skipped out a few minutes early to go get the kids about 9pm. I loaded up the little people, buckled Maddie in just as Ben told me he felt the tummy yuckies coming. I panicked but did find a make-shift "bucket" and that kid filled it up. The only thing in reach was one of those bed risers you use to raise a bed up 6 inches higher so you can store more junk. Apparently, it makes a great bucket when turned upside down. Unbuckle Maddie, go back inside the house to dump the bed riser and get Ben a drink. Graciously apologize for any sickness their kids may now get. I thought he was okay. Rush off, home to bed. Cancel the road trip to visit Aunt Kristie in Buffalo. Ben was broken hearted, but seems to understand if I tell him that we don't want to make his cousin Parker sick. Maybe we will get crazy and still go for a super-duper sort trip leaving Tuesday.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Make It Beep Again

Maddie refused to eat her dinner tonight. All she would eat was strawberries. Not having the will to fight her, I let her leave the table and be done. Ben told me his body was hurting now, so I offered him some childrens pain relief medicine. Maddie wanted to help, so she got to be the nurse. I measured out the medicine and asked him to sit up. She helped me squirt it into Ben's mouth. Then he wanted a drink, so she got it and as she brought it back, she said, "Now sit up Ben, for a drink, okay."
I took Ben's temperature, which was fine, but once Maddie sees the ear thermometer machine, it's game over. We all have to check our ears a hundred times. Goldmine for me. I told her I could check her ears. Beep. Smile. What? You want to do it again? Okay, go take a bite first. She runs away, climbs up on her chair, gets a bite and runs back to me. "I ready, Mom." Beep. Smile. "Again!" "First a bite of soup." "Okay." Pitter patter little feet. Climb up, climb down. Pitter patter. "Ready, Mom." You get the picture. It was a long drawn out dinner, but she ate and we're all smiling still.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vomit Jinx

Did I jinx it? Thirty minutes after I post about Ben vomiting yesterday, he does it again. Poor kid. This time it was strawberries, and yes, he is sad the strawberries came out too and would like them back. Cancel my life for another night. Luckily, Travis, my counter-part from the young men for our stake youth committee is totally on top of things so he can pull the youth planning meeting together totally on his own. That is a blessing I'm very grateful for. Another bonus, I am the keeper of the 150 cookies and 150 brownies for refreshments tomorrow night. If I can't go to the fireside, do I get to keep them all and let them all starve? Yum!!

Pasta Roni Obsession

Ben was pretty lathargic all day yesterday. About 4 in the afternoon he started getting pretty upset and serious about his tummy hurting. When he told me the tummy yuckies were coming we didn't have time to run to the bathroom or get a bucket. I was glad I had just finished emptying the sink after washing two sinkfulls of dishes and ran three loads in the dishwasher. Anyway, the sink was empty and he vomited in the kitchen sink. He asked what all the chunks were and I told him it was the Pasta Roni Shells and White Cheddar we had eaten for lunch that day. He just stared at it sadly and said, "Awh, man..." Shells are his favorite meal in the entire world. Today, he was thinking quietly to himself as we drove to do some errands. After a while, he said, "Mom, how can I get the shells back? I really want them back because I love them." Yep, he's a die hard, but YUCK!

Scissor Danger

Miss Maddie Mae insisted on learning how to use scissors today. How long will it be until she cuts her own hair now? She did okay for day one, but one time when she was asking me to reposition her fingers yet again on the handle, before I finished, she got a little too excited. She knew her fingers were getting close to the proper position and quickly pushed the blade closed as she moved her hand and "cut" my finger. Luckily they were kid safety scissors. It hurt a bunch, but didn't draw any blood.
She had fun slicing up the edge of lots of papers. Now we'll have to be double, triple sure all scissors are out of sight and safely stowed unless we want her experimenting with every paper she sees for the next 6 months.

Ben's Favorite Play Place

Every time I put the table leaf in or out of the table, Ben goes a little nuts and will get really angry if he can't play and spend a few minutes inside "the hole." Weird little obsession. I just can't figure out why it is so fun...

Undecided Voter or Feuding Neighbors?

This is the view out my back window today.
I can't tell for sure if the signs are far enough apart to be at the two different front walkways of my neighbors or if they are at the same house of an undecided voter. In either case, I think it is kind of a funny sight. Heaven knows our townhomes are super, super close to each other. We better all get along.

I Don't Want To Sit By You

Why if our kitchen table has four sides and plenty of space for three people do ALL chairs end up touching my chair? Stay away. Stay away. Stay AWAY. STAY AWAY!!!!!! I can't breath!!!!! UGH!!! I have personal space issues anyway, just get away from me! I'm feeling crowded and a loss of identity today. I need a break from all the love in this house.

I Want My Slipperies On

When Maddie wants her Pooh Bear slippers on, she'll bring them to me and tell me, "I want my slipperies on, Mommy."
She may say some silly things, but overall, I can't believe that at just a few weeks past her second birthday the child speaks in complete sentences. I tell her we are going somewhere and she tells me, "I'm coming with you also to the shopping." That's a whole lot of words to string together for someone her age. I forget how weird it is to have actual adult style conversations with her until we're with other kids her age.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Massage Addicts

My two kids are both addicted to massages. Ben is notorious for pulling his shirt up to his chin during church on Sunday right in the chapel. Then he walks up to Brian and throws his body across Brian's lap. No words are really required, Brian just starts massaging him. Of course, if Brian doesn't start massaging right away, Ben gets instantly perturbed. He scowls a deadly look at Brian and commands him to massage his back. Seriously, it's disgusting to me. Today Maddie snuggled up to my side while I was sitting on the couch. I put my arm around her side and hugged her a little bit. Her only response was to say, "I'll open it for you, Mom." After which she pulled her shirt up in the front and told me to, "Get my tummy, mommy," totally expecting a massage. Why doesn't that happen for me all the time? In college I had a roommate, Tricia, that had graduated from massage school. She was working in a chiropractors office and not really using her certification at the time, but didn't want to get out of practice. It could very possibly have been the best day of my life, okay, maybe not the best, but in the top ten for sure the day she approached me asking for a favor. You see, she didn't want to inconvenience me at all, since she knew my life was pretty full with school, work and all the other things college kids do. So would I maybe possibly be willing or able to find one hour a week to help her out? She would give me a full body massage and in return she wanted, well, nothing. HELLO?!?!?! See what I mean? Totally in the running for best day of my life... For the next 6 months or so I got a full body massage once a week. I have never felt physically better in my life! I have serious back and neck pain every day of my life from multiple accidents through my junior high and high school years, not the least of which was a diving board accident where I hit my face, lost my teeth, etc. In the end, I have to pay someone at the massage therapy school to get. Though, when I do take the time to make an appointment about once a year, it is worth every penny of that $25 (I know, that's dirt cheap for 1 hour). Brian does give pretty darn good backrubs too though. I just feel bad asking him too often.

Every Step I Take Hurts

Thursday has been a really, really long day. We were up by 7am and going strong. Breakfast and some last minute preparations to make sure we were ready for teaching preschool. I arranged the million little things and had all the dishes cleaned before the kids arrived at 9:15. Maddie stayed for the first time today and it was a bit of a challenge to say the least. She wanted my attention and her binkie the whole time. I mostly got away with ignoring her ridiculous demands to be held and other things. I tried to get her to participate as much as possible and had materials for her to do all the projects. The major project of the day was making applesauce with the kids. I helped them all chop the apples up and cook them. I didn't let them cook quite long enough though and they were a little bit harder than I'd like, so the sauce machine was a little tricky. On the bright side, I did get them cooled off enough that no one got burned from boiling apple mush squirting out of the strainer.

Once the kids all left, my visiting teachers came for a quick visit and the moment they walked out the door I started baking. We had stake auxiliary training tonight and each of the stake leaders was supposed to bring two different desserts. I had finished the pumpkin bars on Sunday and froze them knowing how busy my week would be, but still needed to make finger sized brownie bites. They are fantastic, chocolate, chocolate chip with cream cheese swirled inside. They just take a long time to make up. I got both batters mixed up separately and filled my first pan just before 3pm. They wouldn't come out of the pan and I knew I was in trouble. I planned to cook, dump, clean, cook, dump, clean with the same mini-muffin pan. My plan was really NOT going to work. I called my neighbor, Aimee, to go pickup 4 more mini-muffin pans from Mali's house since Maddie was asleep. What a life saver. I made more than 150 mini-muffins and finished about 4:45.

By this time, every time I took a step or shifted my weight on my feet, they just burned and throbbed. I knew I was in trouble with swollen feet. Darn pregnancy. Anyway, I finished the muffins just in time to make dinner and feed the kids to walk out the door by 5:30. Then it was off to drop them at a sitter's house for the evening and help them settle in before I ran to the church to set up the chairs, room and food. My legs and feet were getting really bad and just hurt terribly. It was so nice to sit down for the training meeting. Then we cleaned up, which I admit I didn't help with much, I was just soooo tired. Then I skipped out early to get the kids.

I was at the babysitters by 10 pm. Ben was passed out and in deeper sleep than I've seen him since he was 6 months old. Maddie was wide awake and excited that I had shown up to play with her again. I carried Ben to the car, which is no simple feat with my huge belly and got him buckled in. My friend Deborah brought Maddie Mae and we were off. While I really wanted Maddie to fall asleep in the car, I was secretly praying she wouldn't. Since we park in a parking lot, I hate having to leave one kid sleeping in the car in the dark to carry the other one in. I'm not really scared for their safety, but if they wake up stuck in a car seat locked in a car in the dark alone, they would freak out!!

Maddie didn't sleep at all. She was totally awake. So, she walked herself into the house but Ben was rough. He was as dead as could be to the world. I hoisted him on my shoulder the best I could, but the kid is getting big and I'm awkward right now to say the least. I did fine until I had to unlock the front door. Ben started slipping and I couldn't get his floppy body back up. Pretty soon I was trying to get up the stairs with the kid just holding around his waist while his head and arms flopped backward in front of me. How can this kid NOT wake up? I'm about to drop him and it would be impossible to sleep while someone was flipping your body all around and you are basically folded over backwards with your arms flopping around above your head.

I did eventually make it up the stairs with Ben and got him in Maddie's bed. His bed was just too overwhelming to me to lift him up and into the loft. Then Maddie and I unloaded all the leftover food in the truck and repackaged it to fit in our fridge. She seemed to think it was fantastic that she was awake so late. In the end, little Maddie Mae went to bed just a few minutes before 11pm. Tomorrow will be rough.

Catching Up with SNL & The Office

I got my dose of laughter today. I needed it. Since I didn't get home until 10:30 last night I missed watching two really fun shows. The Office and the Saturday Night Live Thursday Night Election Update. I washed the dishes this morning with the laptop on the counter. It was good company for me since I watched last nights episodes online while I worked. SNL was fantastic. It made me laugh outloud. Why did I have to come back to reality after the dishes were done??

When It Comes to Safety Features, Don't Wait

OUCH!! I learned a valuable lesson this morning. When it comes to safety features, don't tell yourself, "I'll grab that in a minute." Today I'm teaching preschool and the lesson plan tells me to teach the kids how to make applesauce. Being a huge applesauce fan, we have the official sauce maker & food strainer machine. I assembled it, mostly, but the safety screw holding the metal strainer piece in place was just out of reach. "I'll grab that in a minute," I told myself. I got everything else in place and of course, forgot the screw.
Everything would have been okay, except that curiosity got the best of me and I stuck my face on the back side of the contraption to see just how much clearance there was where the "trash" comes out the back of the machine. I've always wondered how the seeds can come out in the trash, but the "fruit" mush doesn't. Being the engineer that I am, I had to check out the tolerances on my mighty fine machine. So...did I mention the metal strainer piece is spring loaded? With a really stiff spring? Yeah, I know. I cranked the handle to see how it all worked and WHAMMO!! Bloody lip. I'm an idiot. But, I'll probably NEVER forget the screw again. Hey, at least I didn't nail one of the preschoolers. They would be traumatized and never eat applesauce again.