Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nutcracker Color

Once Thanksgiving was ove, it was time to get into the Christmas mood.  The boys spent some time coloring in some wooden nutcrackers at the end of November.

 And they are now sitting for all to see in our kitchen. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Thanksgiving Bug

Let's see if we can get caught up to the present time, shall we??

For Thanksgiving, we traveled to my parents. 

We took the flu along with us, though we had no idea at the time.  That bug was sneaky and spread like wildfire!

Shelly's crew brought it over the Wednesday before Thanksgiving but they didn't know they had it when they came over.  Wednesday evening two of her family members were throwing up but they thought it was food poisoning so didn't really say anything about it to us. 

Thanksgiving Day, Aren took a short nap in the van on the way and didn't get a "real" nap.  He started getting cuddly and clingy late afternoon, right before dinner.  While he was laying on my shoulder I started wondering if I should put him down just for a quick half hour snooze to get him through until bedtime.  Then he picked his head up and stared at me.  He opened his mouth in an odd way and I was afraid he was choking on something he had been hiding in his mouth.  Just as I was getting ready to do a finger-sweep in his mouth he let loose. 

It sent my aunt running to another room to avoid seeing it - she's the part of the population that will get sick if she sees someone else get sick. 

By the time 30 minutes had passed he had thrown up 5 times, Aren and I had gone through three shirts and Biju had gone through two.  Thank you to my parents for loaning us clothes!!

Here we are pre-vomit.
And Aren wearing a shirt that had been left behind by some small member of the family.  Don't worry, that is actually water on his shirt that he had spilled.
Still, we didn't know it was the flu at that time.  I started looking through Mom's pantry/laundry room to see if Aren had found some bleach or other toxin.  His vomiting had come on so suddenly I was sure he had ingested something he shouldn't have. 

He wasn't too interested in dinner but everyone else enjoyed the feast. 

Closer to bedtime, though, Ajay started throwing up and I figured it had to be the flu.  And I was worried that since we caught the bug in the short two hours that we saw Shelly's girls on Wednesday that we would've passed the bug on to everyone in the family. 

It turns out we did give it to everyone.  By the time a week had gone by there were 20 members of our family had had some version of the flu.  Luckily, it took it's time going through the family.  I was so grateful that Biju was home while I was sick so he could care for the children. 

Poor Aren had it twice!!  How is that even possible? 
Here he is cuddling with Biju (don't tell him I posted a picture of him with bedhead) - about 2 minutes after this photo he got sick all over himself and Biju.  Luckily, it was only breast milk and water!

And once Alex fell asleep on the couch in the morning we knew he had it.  Poor kid - stitches and the flu at the same time.
We're hoping we've done our time with the flu for the season.  Crossing our fingers we're golden for the rest of winter! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

That time when Alex got stitches.

Yes, my friends, that time has come. 

And I have to tell you that I'm surprised it took this long for our overly exuberant middle child to crack some part of his body open to the point of needing sewn up. 

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned that the boys get a little wild and crazy when paired with their cousins.  And remember when I mentioned that the kids were all doing cannonballs off the half-wall onto a couch?  So picture a repeat, of sorts, of that day.

They started off playing calmly.....

And here's how the rest of the morning went:  I was upstairs cleaning up the kitchen while the children were downstairs playing.  All was going well until I realized the volume was growing.  I thought "I guess I should go downstairs and check on them and ask them to take it down a notch."  Right as I had that thought it got silent.  Silence is rarely a good sign with children, especially abrupt silence when there are 6 children present.  (My 3 boys, 2 of Shelly's girls and a neighbor boy.)

We live in a quad-level house so as I was going down one set of stairs the children were all coming up another set of stairs.  We met and I saw 6 faces staring up at me with horror in their eyes.  Well, Aren didn't exactly register horror.  He was just along with the group, going upstairs because that's what everyone else was doing.

I scanned the faces to try to surmise what might be the problem - it was hard to figure it out with everyone yelling.  I did pick up "He's BLEEDING!" so I scanned faces again to see which one had the blood.

Ever since Alex was a wee babe he has done this silent cry before launching into the real deal.  It takes awhile to catch his breath.  Even if he wants desperately to say something he is unable to do so.  So while everyone else was yelling, he was looking at me with his mouth gaped open trying to suck in air.  And, of course, he had a pretty deep gash across his forehead.

Ya know.... I like to think I'm the one who keeps their cool in those kind of situations.  When Ajay cracked his forehead open (same side, pretty much the same spot) when he was 17 months, I immediately snapped into efficient mode.  A couple of months back when Biju ended up with a piece of metal jamming through his knee/thigh, again, I kept my cool and announced to him he needed stitches despite his protests and firmly told him U-Haul would surely understand if our truck rental was an hour or so late.  (He needed 3 stitches, plus an antibiotic since the doctor figured the metal hadn't been sterilized before it poked through.  However, he got all this after finishing loading/unloading the U-Haul and returning it.)

But on this day I'm embarrassed to say I totally lost my cool.  I was not empathetic Mommy who wanted to comfort her hurt child.  I was ticked off Mommy who had asked the children over and over to not jump from the wall.  And instead of being a model of calm, cool and collection, I started yelling and announcing that he would have to get stitches and wondering quite loudly where the cousins were going to go because I didn't want to take EVERYone to the doctor's office but both of their parents were at work and pointing out that this is exactly why Mommy and Daddy tell you not to do certain things. 

Not a proud moment at all.

So I finally got myself together and made a few phone calls.

Me:  Hi.  I'm taking Alex to get stitches.  Just thought I'd let you know.
Biju: Uhh... Okay.
Me:  I'll tell you more later but I just thought you should know.  I'm calling Shelly now.  Bye
Biju:  Okay.  Bye.

I called Shelly, then the doctor's office, then Shelly again, then Biju beeped through to tell me he was on his way home, then spoke with Carrick, all the while trying to reassure the children that Alex would be okay and reassure Alex that stitches wouldn't hurt.   The pediatrician's office told me to go to their Immediate Care Center instead of waiting for Dr. S. to have a time slot open up.  Because we all know how immediate Immediate Care is, right? 

So while I was waiting for Biju to get home and Carrick to pick up the girls I asked the older children what exactly happened.  Turns out Alex was (surprise) doing a cannonball from the wall onto the couch and he (unintentionally) bounced from the couch onto the coffee table. 

See the dent?  That's where he landed.

And then I did what any good mother would do.  I took a picture of his head wound.  Skip past this if you're not into blood. 

So once Biju got home and saw that everything was going to, eventually, be okay he comforted Alex a bit more (good Daddy) and had him lay down on the kitchen table while I worked on getting the neighbor boy back home and the girls ready to go to their little sister's daycare. 

A good friend met us at the Immediate Care Center (luckily she lives less than 5 min. away from there) and took Ajay and Aren for awhile so I could focus on Alex.  When we got called in Alex was not showing how truly scared he was.  The kid was really worried about getting those stitches.

The nurse put a big blob of numbing gel on the wound and told us the doctor would be in in about 15-20 min. once the gel numbed the area.  We played some tic-tac-toe while we waited.  When the doctor came in he had a wonderful bedside manner.  He talked about his grandchildren pulling similar stunts.  He got a nurse to help hold Alex down just in case he started kicking and screaming.  He did not, in fact, and the nurse was excused.  Alex sat there as calmly and patiently as if he were getting his face painted at the fair.   5 stitches, thank you very much.

And later that day he was back to his old stunts.  Here he is straddling himself between two of our elevated dining table chairs.  With a Band-Age (as Alex calls them) covering his stitches.

The wound healed quite nicely - and I was even brave enough to snip the stitches 5 days later and remove them.  Make that - Alex was brave enough to let me. 

You can only see a white line now where the scar is.  I think we'll get some vitamin E capsules - isn't that supposed to help reduce scarring? 

Let's all hope our monkey has learned a valuable lesson.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hanging out

Here is Aren reading a book in his rocking chair.   Reading a book is part of our before nap/before bedtime routine.  He signs "book" and "please" once we get into his room for night-night.  He says the words along with his signs - his "book" sounds like "put" but with a "b" and his "please" sounds like "bee."  He's really been into a couple of Elmo books we have.  He calls Elmo "HUT-doe"  Doesn't sound anything like Elmo to me but that makes it all that much cuter! 

Alex hasn't taken an afternoon nap in ages - unless you count the times he falls asleep while we're out running errands at 5pm.  Then we fight to keep him awake - "Alex!  Wake up! Alex!!  What's outside your window?"  On this day he just couldn't help himself and conked out on the couch.  (I see we still have a scarecrow that needs to be put away in our Fall box!) He's covered up with a big fleece Snuggie.  I got two for a dollar at a yard sale over the summer.  Woot Woot!

This is what Ajay made with his neon orange play dough.  A snowman complete with scarf, buttons and top-hat.  I love his attention to detail. 

We miss our friends who moved to Texas so when they were in town for a wedding I gave them some crocheted goodies.  Crocheted Beards for the boys, Ava cowls for the girls.  (The cowls even have matching buttons.)

I made a beard for Ronnie (their dad), too.  I'm hoping to get a photo of him wearing it (wink wink, Angie!).

Here is what Aren used to do until we blocked off the kitchen.  We didn't block it off because he was getting into this drawer...

 and the lazy susan...
...but because he had figured out how to climb up the chairs and onto the tall dining room table.

That's how we roll round these here parts.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


The day Ajay made up our lunch (for his Boy Scout assignment) we had Paige and Kyleigh over for the day.  It was the Monday school was out for Veteran's Day.  It got pretty hectic that morning.

My sister and I have discussed it.  Our children are normal children until they get with their cousins.  Then they act like they've all escaped from the zoo.  It is complete chaos when the cousins get together and we don't know why.  They don't get like this with their friends.

That morning the kids were having a fine time jumping from a wall onto a couch.

Can you see that bit of wall behind the couch?  It is to be used for decoration, not as a spring board for cannon balls.  But spring board it was.  I quickly put a stop to the jumping and Alex, Ajay, Kyleigh and Paige all got a bit of quiet time on the couches.

However, a couple of rascals felt they needed to be clowns and make everyone else laugh so I kept adding time.  At one point I asked "Who wants another minute??" and TWO children raised their hands.  I was pretty hot at this point so I asked "Okay, how much more time do you want?"  One child answered "one" minute, while another child put up 5 fingers.

That child got removed from the situation for the remainder of the quiet time.

Once their time was finally up I figured they all needed a more structured playtime.  Don't leave these children to their own devices if you ever have them all in the same room.  Please learn from my mistakes.

While Ajay painted the cardboard for his collection presentation the other kids worked on some paint projects also.  Well, not Aren.  I haven't gotten brave enough to give Aren a brush and paint.  I'm sure he'd love it but I'm not ready to wash paint off of our popcorn ceilings yet.  As it is he sucks the ink out of our markers.  Ick.

They then all went outside to play in the fresh air.  Yes, please go work off that excess energy outside.  While they were outside I made up a quick batch of no-cook play dough.  I divided it into equal balls.  I may or may not have gotten a little anal about it and used my scales.  Each ball weighed exactly 5 ounces.  This way, no one could argue that someone else got more play dough.
When they were done playing outside I had them sit at the table and pick their favorite food coloring gel.  Even our neighbor, Makayla, (who happens to be in Ajay's class at school) got permission to come in and join the fun.  And I hope no parents were too angry with me when I sent them home with a colored play dough ball and hands to match. 

Paige and Makayla loved the vivid pink.  Kyleigh got lavender, Ajay got orange, Alex chose red.

The girls came over the day before Thanksgiving, too.  But that is a post for another day.  (Just keep in mind what this day started out like.) 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Making a meal

Ajay had a Boy Scout assignment a few weeks back - he was to plan a meal and help make it.  It was to include all of the food groups.  I can't say the meal he planned was all that healthy but it was something that he was able to make mostly on his own and all the kids loved it. 

His menu:
Beanie Weenies
Macaroni and Cheese
Carrot sticks with ranch dressing
(I can't remember the fruit - probably peach slices)

Cutting up the weenies
Aren was in a foul mood that morning so he got to hang out with us on my back in the mei tai carrier.  This improved his mood and I was able to have my hands free to help Ajay.
When it was grub time Ajay even dished up the food and served everyone!
Another part of his scouting assignment was to present a collection of 10 or more items.  He chose his rock collection.  He painted a piece of cardboard, labeled each section and used some hot glue to attach the rocks.  (The three sections were: Rocks from New Mexico, Rocks from around town, Rocks that aren't really rocks but look like it.)
His collection includes petrified wood, some broken cement in the shape of a triangle, and what seems to be a piece of tile cut in the shape of a triangle.  A neighbor by the old house has a yard full of these.  He tries to grab up cool looking rocks from several places around town but I have to remind him (and Alex) that people have paid for those rocks for decoration and they wouldn't be too happy  to see them disappear.