Monday, October 31, 2011

The Octopus and the Pumpkin

Happy Halloween, ya'll! I'm happy to report that this year went much better than last, up to and including this moment.
She fell asleep with the Anti-Mommy

This year, they were benign creatures, just as I promised myself. Ella chose her own costume - a pumpkin, and just to be safe, I made it myself with a happy face. She generally had her happy face on all evening. (Much credit to the fact that Daddy didn't paint his face this year, I'm sure.)

Luke went as an octopus, and while that could be perceived as begging for trouble, it felt safe enough since he already is an octopus.

Pumpkin Girl and Octopus Boy (and Jewel E. Cat)
We trick-or-treated the town, played at the Fall Festival at church, then passed out candy at Grandma and Pop the Pop's house. I really think Ella might like passing out candy even more than trick-or-treating for it. They both ate more candy than should be allowed in one evening.

There was vomit, but it was contained and we didn't let it ruin the evening. (It seems that the wicked stomach virus of last week wreaked all kinds of havoc on my reflux babies and they are still not back to normal. Ella is puking like she did before we re-medicated her for reflux. She'll be getting Zantac on top of her normal Prevacid for the next two weeks to get her back on track. Hopefully. It tastes so nasty, it's the reason she puked this evening.)

I just love this picture. It makes me think Ella was right, we should have given him some "black water" to squirt like ink while he was running away from us. She really, really wanted to add that element to his costume. I'm sure he would have complied.
The perfect octopus picture.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Vomit Chronicles: My Washer and Dryer are Asking for a Raise

We are on day 5 of what might be the nastiest stomach virus I've ever seen. It's certainly the nastiest one I've dealt with as a parent.

Luke started throwing up Saturday night. That continued most of the day Sunday, and I thought he was recovered Monday. I was wrong. As Dave phrased it, he "reversed it" with a diaper so disgusting it necessitated a wardrobe change. Then he threw up again. At the same time this was happening, Dave sent me a message to say that he had it, too. He never catches what we have, so the fact that he got it before I did told me how bad it really was.

I knew, just by the number of times I'd been puked on, that I was destined for it. It started Monday night, and I was sick all night long and most of Tuesday. On top of that, I could barely stand up without feeling faint. After strategizing about how I would survive the day and take care of my children, I decided Grandmother was the best option since she had already been puked on. Thankfully, she was here all day Tuesday, because I couldn't even fix a sippy cup without needing to lay down.

Ella started puking in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, ran fever all day and kept her food down until the sun went down. Then she threw up most of the night last night. Once she needed a full change of bedding and clothing, and I considered putting her in the shower. After I got all of that sorted out and laid back down in bed with her, knowing that the easiest way to deal with all night vomit would be to sleep beside her and catch it in a bowl (yes, that is another great use for Tupperware), I smelled nasty poop.

Soundly sleeping Luke had pooped so big that he needed a change of bedding and clothing as well. I almost got that done with waking him, but not quite. Once I finally got everyone back to sleep, I settled into Ella's bed with a flat pillow and two pillow pets. So I still feel like I've been beaten with a tire iron, only today it's not because of fever, but because of pillow pets.

I'm so ready for this to be over. Ella is still puny; just laying on the couch under a blanket. I'm certain we have another full day to go. Grandmother has it now, and possibly worse than the rest of us.

Did I mention that this is the week when construction starts inside our house? That the kids are sleeping in the dining room and one of our bathrooms is gutted down to the studs?

It's been really fun, and I'm sure that my washer and dryer are just as ready as I am for it to be over. They've barely stopped working since Sunday morning.

At this point, I'm just praying that the dog doesn't catch it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Luke the Ladykiller

I worked from home Friday so I had the pleasure of picking the kids up from preschool. As I made my way to Ella's classroom, I passed by a little girl about Luke's age, toddling down the hall. She attracted my attention primarily because she looked to be about his age with her cute toddler swagger. Then I moved on to Ella's room, gathered up her stuff, made sure she pottied, etc. On the way back down the hall, we stopped to get Luke.

And that's when his teacher informed me that he'd been kissing a girl.

The little girl I saw on my way in, to be exact. We'll call her Anna.

Apparently, he kissed her twice - on the cheek and on the head. When I asked him about it, calling her by name, he gave me a sly look out of the corner of his eye.

I also found out over the weekend, from his big sister, that he pushes Anna in the swing in their classroom and the reason he wanted to wear Ella's bow in his hair is because Anna wears hair bows just like it.


Truthfully, he is so freely affectionate that it doesn't surprise me that he loves on his friends at school. And truthfully, he's the only boy in his class, so of course it was a girl he was kissing. But I still think it's funny, and I love that he has a friend.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Co-sleeping Pros and Cons

We are modified co-sleepers. That's a term I just made up. It means, the kids start the night in their own beds, but I bring Luke to our bed when he wakes up to nurse during the night. We get to wake up together most mornings, and that's when co-sleeping is the most fun (in my opinion). Lots of times, Ella is with us, too, or we are in her bed (as we were this morning because she was having nightmares in the wee hours).

As Luke and I struggled to decide if we were going to be awake or asleep this morning, a few things happened that formulated into a pros and cons list  in my head. I am going to present them in the way I learned in college: pro, con, pro.

Pro: Snuggly little bodies.
Con: Leaky diapers.
Pro: Sleep talking and laughing.
Con: Numb hands from cuddling the weight of the baby's head your arm pit all night.
Pro: Baby head smell.
Con: Fighting over the covers. He always kicks them off.
Pro: Baby snores.
Con: Baby fingers exploring every orifice of your head. There's nothing like waking up with a little finger in your nose.
Pro: Lazy baby chatter.
Con: Baby chatter. Sometimes I just need to keep sleeping.
Pro: Being right there when they wake up scared - the whole reason we were in Ella's bed. Poor kid.
Con: Possessive little legs that keep finding their way around you. Ella's legs act independently of the rest of her body while she sleeps.
And finally, my favorite one of all:
Pro: The sleepy grin and the sweet, "Mama. Mama." when Luke realizes that I'm awake, too. It reminds me to soak up every single minute with them.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Operation Bigger House: The Basement

I'm a little slow with this update because, quite frankly, the movement of a pile of dirt from here to there is not much of an update. And, there's the small issue that I wasn't really home during the daylight hours until Friday of last week to take new pictures. But enough excuses.. here's what's happened since the my last update.

We have an almost-basement!

Basement walls.

Once the hole for the basement was finished, the washing machine drain re-routed, the footers poured, and some of the dirt pile distributed to the low spots in our backyard (making it a vast expanse of red dirt, but whatever), an eighteen-wheeler load of concrete blocks showed up last Monday morning. Two days later the walls were complete.


Then a load of gravel was delivered and part of it was spread as the beginning of the basement floor. At that point, there was some waiting for a termite pre-treatment and an inspection/survey that was required by the county.

During the waiting, the lower half of the basement walls were waterproofed and a French drain was installed around the perimeter (I forgot to take a picture of that, sorry.). Yesterday was Columbus Day, and apparently that's a county holiday, so we didn't get the official blessing to pour the basement floor and finish the upper portion of the walls yet. However, there was a sheet of plastic and a layer of wire (like you might use to build a goat pen) put down over the gravel. That was yesterday. I also had a visit from the carpentar yesterday (I was working from home); he just came by to check it out.

Looking through the basement door

It is my understanding that both the cement man and the carpentar are just waiting for the go-ahead to swoop in and complete the next phase in this project, and they would have started yesterday (stinking holiday).

On the inside, we (Dave) cleaned out the basement closet that will be the access to the new space. That hole hasn't been cut in the wall yet because we don't fancy the thought of unsecured access to our belongings, but it will be on the other side of that sheet of plywood you see stuck to the wall in this picture (looking through the basement door).  This new basement space will remain unfinished so that Dave will have a place for his lawnmower and tools.

Piles of sand and gravel

Finally, here are the piles of sand and gravel, just waiting to be put to good use. 

That about covers weeks 2 and 3 of this project.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Candy Bookends

Does this look like we've been trick-or-treating?
Ella's parade loot
We haven't. October is a month that starts and ends with candy in our little town. Ella collected this bucket full at the Fire Prevention Parade over the weekend. It was her idea to bring her Spiderman Easter basket to hold all the candy, but I have to say that I was amazed at the amount she (we) collected. I don't know what we are going to do with it, but I know that we will not be eating all of it. It will disappear before we fill up two more buckets trick-or-treating in town and at the Fall Festival on Halloween.
Side note - Look how tan she is? Who gets a Fall tan?
We spent a lot of time outside because it was beautiful, and Dave traded cameras with me so I have some pictures to share. 
Luke with Ella's new cup
Luke took the first opportunity to steal Ella's new cup, and you can see her in the background, on her way to retrieve it. She is very possessive of her new cup, which she picked out on our "girl time" shopping trip Saturday after the parade. Our main mission was new tennis shoes for her, and after trying on seveal pair of light-up, sequined atrocities, we found some cute pink New Balances. They were comfortable enough to win her over in the first step she took in them.

Swinging on their playground

Both kids love to swing, so we spent quite a bit of time swinging over the weekend. I had to raise Ella's swing up another link because her toes were dragging the ground.

This is the part of our backy-ard that isn't torn up with construction right now. (An update on that project is coming soon.)

Luke on the lawn mower

"What are you doing on my lawnmower?"

Luke cannot stay off of the lawnmower when we are playing oustide. He basically loves anything with a steering wheel, but he especially loves the lawnmower because Dave drives him around the neighborhood on it.

Driving like a mad man

Hangin' out

Finally, I found Luke like this after we'd come inside for a break Saturday afternoon. He was just hanging out on the end table, looking at a picture of Pop the Pop.
He's shirtless because Ella sprayed him with the water hose while she was washing all of the front yard toys.  

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

This year's trip to the Pumpkin Patch was a huge success. Ella knew what to expect so she was ready to love it. Luke just loved it.

Ready to go

Luke didn't nap before we left, or on the way, or while we were there. He knew we were going to do somthing fun.

I couldn't get them both to cheese for the camera at the same time. Every time Ella said cheese, Luke turned to laugh at her.

Pumpkin socks for the Pumpkin Patch

Ella picked out her pumpkin socks for the trip. I think this made it a little easier for her to wear her tennis shoes. She's a flip flop kind of girl (so much that I'm probably going to have to hide them when it really gets cold).

Pony Ride

I walked beside her pony, named Pickles, so she would be comfortable and so Luke could get a could look at them. He kept calling them dog-dogs and barking. I tried to get him to say, "Horsey!" but he just moo-ed instead.

We did see a miniature cow at the petting farm. And a llama, goats, sheep, and piglets. The piglets were raising a squealy ruckus, and I think they scared Luke because he sat down hard and cried about it. Otherwise, he loved all the animals and the goats especially loved him. Ella had fun feeding all of them.

We all loved the bounce house this year.

We all jumped in the bounce houses and slid down the big slide. The slide that caused a colossal melt down last year was a blast this year. I slid with Ella four times, Dave did it 2 or 3. She loved it and she was strong enough this year to climb up the big ladder by herself. Dave carried Luke up and slid down with him. We think he liked it, but he really looked stunned when they landed.

On the way to find our pumpkins

By the time we rode out to the pumpkin patch, we were all tired.

Searching, searching for the perfect one.

I love this picture. I love how it shows the progression of our family since last year.

Two prize winning pumpkins.

Here we are with our prize pumpkins. Ella was able to surpass last year's and find one even smaller. It is so small that Dave had to pick it of the vine for her.

As I expected, Luke went with a bigger one. He loves them both and keeps trying to eat them. Ella has already told me that both pumpkins will be staying in her bedroom again this year. We aren't allowed to cut them. I guess Dave and I will have to get our own if we decided we need to carve one.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

My Personal War with Roaches

I'll preface this story by saying that I am not afraid of roaches. They creep me out with their slithery-ness, but I don't feel the need to jump up on the furniture and squeal. I have no trouble stomping on every one I see. I’m just so very tired of the nasty things. With that said, and in fairness to my husband, I must tell this story. It ranks up there with snake killing and bird invasions.

I believe Dave and I have come to a point in our relationship where we have lived together long enough that we are beginning to act like one another. Last night, after the kids were in bed and I’d woken up from my power nap with Ella, we were sitting on the couch together. As is our usual habit, he was lying on one end and I was sitting on the other, legs tangled up in the middle, sharing a quilt. Oddly, last night we were both awake and talking, though I have no idea what about because the events that followed completely erased it from my mind.

As we were chatting, I noticed a big, nasty, flying roach slither through the crack in the front door and make its way up the wall. I considered getting up to kill it right then, but I didn’t want to interrupt Dave, and I’d just gotten comfortable. Dave had no idea it was there because his back was to it. For about fifteen minutes, as we chatted, I tracked its progress all around the crown molding, on top of a picture, and back down the wall.

This is the point where my husband and I swapped personalities.

Suddenly, it launched itself into the air and flew right over Dave’s shoulder and landed on his chest. He exclaimed in surprise, but I was ready. As it was 10:30 and there was nary a flip-flop in sight, I grabbed the rolled up Neighbors magazine from my end table and attempted to smack the life out of it. Again, Dave exclaimed, this time about how hard I hit him. I heard nothing of it; I was singularly focused on killing that blasted roach.

It had disappeared.

I jumped off the couch and ripped the quilt off of Dave, yelling, “It’s in the blanket! Get up! It’s in the blanket!” I have no idea what he said, but he got up.

I kicked the ottoman out of the way and frantically shook the blanket until the roach fell out. Then I took to smacking it with my rolled up magazine. Like a mad woman, I was chasing it around the floor, hitting it for all I was worth, and cursing it with words that aren’t appropriate for writing here. I think it got the message that I believed it to be a piece of something undesirable. All the while, I think Dave was in the kitchen, eating popcorn and watching the show.

Then it disappeared again.

At that point, I lost my composure (if you could say I ever had any). I was squealing and jumping around with hands flailing, screaming for Dave to find it while I ran to the other side of the room. I was terrified that it was going to fly again and land on me.

He calmly moved the chair and grabbed it with a paper towel, while I continued to ask repeatedly if he had found it yet. He held up his fist to show me the balled up paper towel, roach inside. With a sigh of relief, I went back to my spot on the couch.

And this is where we swapped back to our original selves with me watching, and him holding the paper towel roach ball and asking me, “What am I supposed to do with it?”

I said, “Throw it away.”

To which he replied, “It will just crawl out again.”

Uhhh. “What?! It’s not dead? You didn’t kill it?”

He understood his responsibility. He squeezed it in his man fist and said, “I just heard it crunch.”

Again, I breathed a sigh of relief, “Good, as with anything with an exoskeleton, crunching is good.” (I don’t really know if roaches have exoskeletons, but they do crunch when you defeat them.)

He threw it away and left the room, and I started to laugh. He came back and asked me if I was laughing at myself. Yes, yes I was. Then he said, “My favorite part was when you changed from mad killer into our screaming 3 year old.” I could not deny it.