Saturday, January 25, 2014

Gates Foundation Annual Letter

Foreign aid work is near and dear to my heart and the fact that Bill and Melinda Gates have chosen to dedicate their lives and their considerable resources to this work fills me with so much adoration and appreciation for them.  This years annual letter took on critics of foreign aid and he really hit it out of the park.  Leave it to Bill Gates to argue his points so fully :)

Playing Doctor

 Grandma sent us this doctor kit.  This is probably the fourth one we've bought or received but this one had some bits we have never had before that the kids love.  First off there is a pager.  It actually goes off periodically and it sounds just like Dr. J' if we need another one of those but the kids thing it is pretty snazzy.  The stethoscope makes two sounds, one sounds like a heart, one a cough.   There is a tiny cell phone that makes noise and what my kids consider to be the best part, there are these tiny little blue glasses. Do doctors need glasses to look brainer?  Is there a single character on Grey's Anatomy that has them?  What about ER?  Did anyone besides Doctor Green wear glasses? Maybe they just all had LASIK :)  Dr. J desperately wants LASIK.  Who knows maybe it would have helped with the home hair cut.  Every time we have a couple thousand dollars lying around thought it always goes to bills...maybe someday.  For now though, Peach adores glasses.  It makes me laugh at how often she just walks around wearing them.  It reminds me of how my sister convinced a optometrist she needed glasses just because she thought they were super cute and wanted some :)  Along with the glasses they just like pretend to be the doctor.  It makes me wonder if any of our children will follow Dr. J into medicine or if they'll say "Heck no, anything but this."  The positives on being a get to help people, a life of service, you get to study science, you make a better wage then most.  The negatives...takes tons of time and tons of money.  Sort of toss up for me.  I read this recently One Million Dollar Mistake: Becoming a Doctor and I honestly can't tell you how I feel about this.  I guess if the kids really wanted to do it I'd be for it.  If they are just looking for a way to make some money I'm going to tell them to join a fortune 500 company or become an engineer.

In other toy related news my children spent two weeks enjoying all the boxes that delivered Christmas toys.  I told them that after break was over we'd toss them all.  Due to the horrible weather, and the week of cancelled school following Christmas break they got an extra week with them.  They spent a lot of time building cardboard forts and playing trains.  Gigi dragged a box around full of books for three weeks, like 30 books.  I'm not going to lie it did drive me a little bonkers, but they had a great time.  Then true to my word as soon as school started up again I tossed them but by then they were just shells of their forever selves, covered in marker, crayon, and tape, cut and squished, pieces ripped off.  They had more than served their purpose and I was proud to throw them in the recycling bin.

Another huge hit this year, things that glow.  I found these m&m light sabers on clearance at Target for a dollar and picked up four as stocking stuffers.  We have actual "full kid sized" light sabers that spring out, and glow and make noise, that cost $40, and I kid you not they love these ones just as much.  I also got head light lamps at Costco 3 for $9.  The kids are always wearing them.  Often at night long after lights out well go in and find Gigi or Captain E reading with one on :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How Would You Spend Your $25

I know some people prefer gifts to cash or gift cards but the honest truth is I'm not really one of those people.  I'm not saying I dislike a well thought out gift but I really enjoy gift cards and Christmas money because I can hoard it and then when I find something I really want, something at a great deal I can snatch it up with no guilt.  Turns out my kids are kind of like me.  They loved all their Christmas gifts but one of their favorites was $25 a piece they got from Grandpa.  The thing about my kids is they LOVE money!  They really enjoy having it.  They love carrying it around in their piggy banks, they love counting it, and their favorite part is when I go to the store and let them bring some along so they can pick something out for themselves.  After Christmas we took Grandpa's money and we headed to Target.  We walked probably ever aisle in the store three times but when it was all said and done everyone had what they wanted with a little extra to put back in the piggy bank.

Typical Gigi she picked books.  She is really getting into chapter books and Magic Treehouse books are some of her favorite. She also got an Ivy and Bean book to try out and a Ninjago book because she loves her brother and all his loves automatically become hers!
 Captain E searched high and low and then came back to a new Wii game, a new Mario Wii game.  He really loves these Mario games so it wasn't a surprise.  Currently he is saving his money for Mario Party Nine.  I don't know how he doesn't get bored of it, but Mario is a serious favorite.
 Peach picked this little mermaid dress that plays music and lights up.  It is so girly and over the top, it is sort of like a perfect lovely metaphor of my baby girl.  I don't know what Peach is going to do with her life, the girl is smart, funny, and friendly but I have no doubt she will do it in style.

Cheetah picked this little water baby.  I adore her.  She has beautiful brown skin and eyes and she is about the size Cheetah was when she was born.  I'm not kidding.  I look at that little tiny head on that doll and that's where Cheetah was just a little over two years ago.  Can't believe how much she's grown!  It is amazing!!!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Home Hair Cut Catastrophe: You Only have 20 Minutes Until You Need ToLeave For Church

 And you hear from upstairs, "Um hey honey can you come up and help me."  You walk into the bathroom and find your husband (who I'd like to point out is almost entirely blind without his glasses on) has decided to use an ear guard to try and give himself a little trim and now has a mullet.

This actually happened.  I have the photographic evidence.  Of course this is after he "fixed" the back, turning his mullet into a bowl.  I would like to point out that when Cheetah does things like dump applesauce on her head, scale cribs or cabinets, or figure out ways to run the neighborhood that she got these traits from her father and not from me because apparently neither of them should be left alone in the bathroom for very long. How is one suppose to respond to this type of ridiculousness?  I sort of laughed and cried, and then I told him to put a hat on and take himself to the barber.  To you wives who can cut your husbands hair and it doesn't look like this, I applaud you, but it is totally worth $120 a year to me to have someone else do this job, because I'm pretty sure that even without blind eyes this is about as a good a job as I could do.  The irony of this is we have a no hair cutting in the house EVER RULE!  I never trim the kids hair at home, never, ever, ever.  We always go out to have it done and I make a super big deal of it each and every time we do.  Almost the entire time we are out I chant, "WE ONLY EVER DO THIS AT THE BARBER!"  "WE ONLY EVER LET SOMEONE CUT OUR HAIR WHO HAS GONE TO SCHOOL TO TRAIN TO DO IT!"  "WE NEVER CUT OUR OWN HAIR AND WE NEVER CUT ANY OTHER PERSON'S HAIR!".  So far it has paid off and I have yet to have to deal with a home haircut catastrophe....well that was until yesterday.  Luckily my children are better behaved than my spouse.

So as we headed out the door to church Dr. J headed to the barber with a hat on.  He told me that when it was his turn, he sat in the chair and asked the beautician if she was good at fixing mistakes.  She said she was and then he pulled the hat off.  Heaven knows what she thought.  I just hope she didn't think it was me!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Worst Week Of The Year So Far

Do you ever just start to feel like maybe you are in some kind of cosmic bad joke loop, well that is how the last few weeks have felt.  After the miscarriage that went forever finally cleared I thought, "OK, now maybe I'm going to start to feel normal again."  Start to feel normal again.  What was I thinking.  The last few weeks in this house have just sort of been a disaster.  It started with massive sinus congestion causing constant pain and headache.  It got to the point where I actually started to believe I was dying.  I mean really.  Maybe I'm a little bit of a hypochondriac but the headache actually started when I was finishing off the medication for the miscarriage...the one that said if you get a headache call your doctor and at the same time I started getting this weird tingly pain in both my calves.  I stopped taking the medication immediately and figured the symptoms would clear but in a week when hadn't and the headache just kept getting progressively worse. I seriously was starting to think I had blood clots that had broken off and were going to kill me.  Dr. J told me it was probably a sinus infection and that I was freaking out over nothing but when it didn't get better, when I couldn't sleep at night because the pain was so bad, when I wrote a letter to the kids telling them I loved them because I was worried I was going to finally fall asleep and never wake up again he said, "Maybe you should go to the doctor."  So I went, on his one day off in the last two weeks. She confirmed that she was pretty sure it was congestion and prescribed some medication for that but she also sent me for an ultrasound of my calves to make sure their wasn't any blood clots because that is a side effect of the medication.  I came back with a clean bill of health.  Which I was immensely grateful for although, confirmation that Dr. J is almost always right (I can't tell you how much that annoyed me.  Giving that boy more fuel in his "I'm almost always right" bank is not pretty), confirmation that I am a hypochondriac, and the bill for that ultrasound I'm just not looking forward to.

So now I was on the way to recovery but my headache was still pretty bad and my house had fallen into major disrepair as I'd gotten behind.  Then two days later Cheetah started puking.  I had to completely clear my bed and wash everything three times.  She puked on me multiple times.  She trapped us in the house and put a hold on any play dates we had planned.  By the weekend though things were starting to look up, no one else in the house had appeared to have contracted it, and we were going to be getting back to our normal schedule again.  Except then it started to snow, and snow, and snow.  The snow was so bad that Sunday they decided to cancel church.  We spent the day keeping up on the shoveling so that Dr. J would be able to get out on Monday to go to work.  Monday morning we woke up bright and early and I shoveled again while he was in the shower.  Then he left and I began the great shut in of 2014.

Here is how my week went:
-We missed five days of school.
-It was so snowy and the roads so bad that we didn't go anywhere, no play dates, no fun places, just here.
-It was so cold that the kids were trapped in the house.  No playing outside to siphon off energy.  One day Gigi tried to go outside.  It was so cold she walked to the playhouse and then walked right back.
-Cheetah decided she wants to be potty trained, but what this basically means is she just don't want to have pant on.  Sure she gets about 85% of her pee pees in the potty, but she keeps taking panties, pants, and diapers off (diapers after she peed just a squirt, so that's been fun, throwing tons of barely peed in diapers away), and she's pooped on my floor three days in a row.  It gets so annoying that usually by four I've got her in footy pajama's with a safety pin across the zipper so she can't get out.
-Peach started throwing up.  The worst thing about Peach throwing up is she wants to eat even when she is sick so she is either eating and throwing up or just on a limited liquid diet and screaming at me that she's hungry and needs me to feed her.  She can be screaming this while throwing up.  And then just because I want you to understand the craziness, I've seen Cheetah put something that Peach had in her mouth at least four times on the day Peach was throwing up that I just can't imagine she won't get it again.
-Add this to the fact that Dr. J has been gone working everyday, and even working some call shifts so gone for 30 hour chunks with no days off and it is safe to say I'm going nuts.

My kids have watched and played too much media.  Because they've been trapped inside they've amused themselves by fighting and destroying the house.  Sure we've done our chores and even had Saturday full clean up house day, but when everyone is here all the time it's like trying to catch a hurricane in a butterfly net (can anyone guess which series I've been watching?).

Anyway yesterday as I was cleaning poop off the floor and I had Peach in the bathtub with puke in her hair and I kept having to grab Cheetah out of the tub because she is always trying to drink the bathwater and puke bath work is just too much to bare, and that is when I paused for ten seconds to send this text message to Dr. J, "Today I am hating my life."  This is the thing you don't realize as a young twenty something when you think about having children, sure you will love them, sure they will be your life, sure you are willing to sacrifice your body, your sanity, your free time, your sleep and your future for them, but that hat being said there will be times when they will wear you so thin you can't figure out how you will keep going.  You will understand why people just get in their car and drive off.  You will wonder if you can possibly do just one more day of this.  Luckily for you if you can just squeak a few more days in eventually it will get better.  Life with children really is like a roller coasters, sometimes you're low, but you will also go high.  I cling to that thought right now.  Especially while Dr. J is again on call and while I think about my Sunday School class I have to teach who two weeks ago I seriously just wanted to wash my hands of.  Let me tell you a secret, 16 and 17 year old boys trying to impress girls are the worst!  I mean really, THE WORST!  So I expect that as low as I've been if I can just hold out two more days then Monday will come and by God's grace hopefully my schedule will be back to normal.  So when I'm cheering on Monday because my kids are back at school and I'm back at the gym, just know, it isn't that I don't love my kids, I do.  I just seriously earned that two hours alone for myself going through what I can only hope was the worst week of 2014.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Work Christmas Parties

Every year Dr. J gets invited to two work Christmas parties and every year we don't make it.  The first year it was understandable.  We'd had a baby 11 weeks early and she was just coming to the end of a two month hospital stay.  OK, you get a free pass on that one.  The second year Dr. J just didn't bother to ever answer the e-mails or schedule them in.  That was not OK.  So this year when he got the work Christmas party e-mails he sent me the invites.  After confirming he was working a normal schedule and won't be on call I sent the RSVPs immediately and then started searching for a babysitter.  It didn't matter that we had a ward Christmas party conflict on one of the dates, WE WERE GOING TO THESE PARTIES!  I read another doctor's wife's blog and she was actually annoyed about having to drag herself to their party, but they've been doing them for twenty years, most of their kids have left the nest, and I'm fairly sure she goes to bed by ten.  For me, two guaranteed dates with my husband, there was nothing going to stop that.  

The first party was the Peds party.  It is a resident's only party.  No faculty or staff are invited.  This year it was in the basement of what was once the oldest YMCA building in the city.  I don't know what I expected, but it was nice, really nice, and super festive.  I dressed really down.  I mean super down. I had on several strands of pearls and had my hair up, and I wore a tuxedo shirt, but I wore jeans with my boots because it was freezing and slushy and horrible.  What I walked into was the prom. I mean seriously, it looked like the prom.  Luckily for me I'm not terribly self conscious so I was able to enjoy the dinner, desert, and free drinks...although judging from the dancing afterward I wasn't drinking the same stuff everyone else was :)  After dinner they had a presentation where the different classes presented a movie.  The first years went with a "What Does the Fox Say Parody" although I'm pretty sure you aren't going to see it on You Tube because a few shots were taken at their Attendings.  The second years did a dance off infomercial.  The third years, who I guess have pretty much had it did a Saturday Night episode basically devoted to mocking a lot of the staff.  It was probably my least favorite moment of the night.  Man do I sound uptight?  I guess I just have experience with a lot of the people they were mocking.  When Cheetah was in the hospital for two months Cheetah was under the care of several of the physicians they choose to mock, and I found them to be extremely caring and knowledgeable in an extremely trying time.  Maybe I'm just feeling a little sensitive because my 12-18 year Sunday School class is putting me through the ringer, but I just didn't like it.  I was relieved when the videos were over and they turned to dancing and dance we did, crazy dancing with a bunch of girls in super short dresses and one super smooth guy with a drink in his hand.  After some liquid courage more couples moved out to the floor.  It was a fun night and before we left we snagged four of the engraved Christmas Gift drinking glasses they'd left on the tables.  Didn't want them to go to waste you know.  When we got home our kids were still up.  I love our little babysitters but in that moment I want to kill both of them :)  I mean I don't mind that you let the kids stay up, but girls put them to be before I get home because what I don't want to do at 11 at night after dancing the night away is put overly grouchy kids to bed.  I forgive them, but barely, and only because the kids were so happy ;)    

The next weekend it was still snowing but this time the event was being held in this really nice historical building down on the canal and all the Staff were invited so I made a little more effort.  This time I wore high heels, fish net stockings, and a velvet know the little things :)  This time the snow was actually falling and while it made traffic a beast it made the whole city magically.  We even drove the circle after the party and I was like "We are bringing the kids here, it is so beautiful."  Then we got caught in traffic leaving the basketball game and I was like, "Forget it."

We spent most of the party with our friends Andy and Maria.  Andy and Dr. J actually did md/phd's at the same university and they are old married folk like us.  I adore them but they moved to far North/West side of the city and we moved to the far South/East, so we rarely see each other, but Maria was one of the reasons I'd responded so quickly to the invites because in her Christmas card this year she had included a little note asking about us and then telling me how much she hoped we'd be at the Christmas parties this year so that we could hang out.  That's what I love about her.  She's one of those people who just always does the nice extra thing to make you feel special.  So it was definitely fun to see them two weekends in a row and compare notes on the residency, the work, the general tiredness of the husbands and ourselves, and then to talk about plans for the future and then of course talk about the kids.  They have three we have four, between us we have 7/9ths of the kids in the department.  When they finish they will be moving to a small town in Missouri to be the small town doc.  The town paid for Andy's medical school with the intention of having him come there when he finishes.  They are both so excited to go and Maria told me that she's been getting the weekly town newspaper sent to her so that she will have a heads up on the community.  I think it would be exciting to know where you were going after residency.

They had some really tasty appetizers, a bar, and a DJ and while things were quite as rambunctious as they had been at the peds party there was still some really great dancing going on.  The surprise of the night, the department Chair and his wife were probably the best dancers on the floor, well maybe after Dr. Hots. One of the guys Dr. J works with has the last name of Hots, which Dr. J just thinks is the greatest name ever.  He had these white loafers on similar to the ones on the right there and I swear the man was gliding across the dance floor.  I myself was stuck in a pair of peak a boo pumps and while I was glad to more comfortable fit in with the crowd this time I missed having a pair of comfortable shoes to wear.  Maybe next year I'll wear a pair of uggs.  We had a great time dancing and chatting although as the night went on and the docs got a little drunker the conversations got a little siller.  The best moment of the night for me came when we passed some other resident and Dr. J stopped to say hi.  He introduced me as his wife and then the guy started asking us couple questions.  "How long have you guys been together?"  "Twelve years," Dr. J told him.  "Twelve years," the guys says, "you have been together FOREVER!  That's a really long time!  Are you guys going to start thinking about having kids now?"  "Start," Dr. J laughs, "We already have four."  "OH MY.... OH MY.... You guys have four kids," he starts yelling.  In his defense he was a little drunk.  Also residents with four kids are pretty unique.  Remember the whole Andy/Maria and Us having almost all the kids...and our kids are old!  At the party last year the department chair's daughters asked us if we could come back because our kids were their best friends, ie, finally someone their age at their dad's boring parties.  So while we aren't the only resident family out there who got married young and have a ton of kids, we definitely are not the norm.

The night ended with a little stroll by the canal.  It was freezing but it was snowing and beautiful.  I said to Dr. J, "This would be the perfect time for someone to propose."  To which he re-proposed.  The power of suggestion ladies, the power of suggestion :)  What a great way to cap off the end of the year.  I don't know if in twenty years I'll be totally over these parties, but right now they are fun and a great way to get a free date :)  Oh and on the babysitting front we used a sitter we'd never used before who works for a couple of our friends.  I was a little anxious about the whole thing but when I came home I saw I had nothing to worry about!  It was nice to know we have another sitter to add to our list.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kids Getting Cavities Filled

 So I'm the kind of mom who takes my kids in for bi yearly dentist visits.  Don't ask me why.  I hate the dentist.  I mean really, really, really hate.  Even now as an adult I get serious anxiety about just going in for a cleaning.  What is that?  But still in an attempt to be a decent mother, not even stellar, but just decent I take these kids in for their bi yearly appointments.  The last time we were there the dentists mentioned that Gigi had two cavities in some back molars that hadn't been in far enough to do sealants six month previous and had some really deep groves.  He told me we could let it sit or take care of it.  We opted to take care of it but I had some serious concerns about how she was going to fare considering the girl is terrified of shots!  He told me he prefers to use laughing gas on kids when he works, although this happens to be something my insurance company doesn't cover so it would be out of pocket for me but he said that a lot of times when he uses the gas the kids don't even realize and so as a general rule he doesn't even mention the shot and they keep them hidden away until the kid is happily sitting on the chair gassed up.  I thought about it for just a second and then decided to pay the $80 or so dollars the gas cost and take my cue from the dentist and not say a word about the gas.  On the day of the procedure I took her in and they set her up with the laughing gas.  An hour later she was done.  I spent most of the time in the waiting room although I did go back three times just to peek and make sure she was OK.  I don't want to be a hover mom, but really even when you trust someone, you still sometimes need to see for yourself.  Especially when you hear horribly sad stories like this one about the girl who was put under and then left attended for 30 minutes.  She ended up dying.  Such a tragedy.  But each time I went back everything looked great.  It is nice to know you can trust the hands you are in.  After when I went back she was in a giggly mood and the dentist said she was a champ.  He then whispered to me, "She has no idea I gave her two shots," although later that day she did mention that she had some deep pain in the back of her gums.  I asked her to point it out and it was right where the shots went.  I gave her a dose of children's Ibuprofen and she was fine.  I contemplated telling her she'd had two shots to give her a better memory of shots to think about for next time we are at the doctor's office and she needs to get a booster, but then I backed away from it.  The girl hates them so much, more than I hate the dentist I couldn't guarantee it wouldn't backfire on me.  As for the extra money, it was worth every penny!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Catch Up - Some Things We Do for Fun

I bought this bounce house off amazon last year for $75.  It had been marked at $150 and I was able to use cash back to pay for half of it.  It seriously is one of my favorite items ever.  We pull it out at every party and the kids love it.  We also pull it out on cold winter days.  Anyway they love it.
 We also occasionally do some art here...oh wait is that what you call it.  Cheetah really gets into her finger painting!
 Speaking of Cheetah we have a baby nudist on our hands.  More often than not I find her running around naked.  She is a crazy little girl.  She can take off pants and shirts.  She can undo onsies.  She can take off panties and diapers.  She can also put almost all of these items on herself but she rarely does :)
 While Dr. J was on his October break he joined us on a play group to a apple orchard and pumpkin patch.  They had these crazy little tire swings in a barn.

 They also had a cute little petting zoo.  Can you tell my girls like goats.  This is the second time in less than six months where I've posted pictures of them loving on goats.  I seriously wish we could own some...although it would help if I liked goat milk....which I don't really, so maybe it is for the best.

Captain E really gets a kick out of carrying his sisters around on his back.  Mom secret number 39, I don't mind one bit!  One less kid I need to carry!
 Who needs a baby backpack when you have shoulders.  Our kids have enjoyed many sights from this loft perch.  It is one of the reasons I most enjoy having daddy tag along.
How do we measure up to Mr Apple and who is King of the Mountain.
 Enjoying a hayride down to the pumpkin patch.
 Family shot at the Pumpkin patch...notice we picked up a few extra girls.


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