Thursday, January 31, 2013

So Over It

I am so happy to see the end of January.

We're one month closer to everyone being healthy.  Because people don't get sick in February, right?

We're one month closer to my sister having her baby.  We're one month closer to Family Reunions, and I get to meet two new nephews and one new niece!

I mean, sure, I know it means I'm one month closer to Heather turning one.  And me turning thirty.

And yes, of course, I realize it means we're one month closer to Hallie going to kindergarten.

January is just too long, and cold, and dreary, and bleak, and sick for its own good.  February is its identical twin in every way, and therefore just as bad, except that it is short.  That's what just barely saves February.

The end of January means we're one month closer to springtime! And flowers! And sunshine! And sidewalk chalk, and backyard pools, and running, and jump ropes, and bubbles, and popsicles, and and walking to the park, and picnics, and every other delicious and delightful thing that life has to offer.

Aside from warm sweaters, cozy blankets, hot cocoa, snowmen, sledding, Santa, and mistletoe.  But I'm so over those things, aren't you?  I'm so over it.

This is what January looked like for us.

Daddy making breakfast for his girls
because sometimes mommy has a hard time

getting up so early in the morning.

Lots and lots and lots of couch time.  I'd say, 85% of January was spent on the couch.  With those pillows, and that blanket.

Sometimes with a buddy.  Usually with a buddy. I'd say, 65% of the time with a buddy.

I figure, if we're going to be stuck in the house day after day because someone is always sick, why not potty train?

Hallie loves flowers in her hair.  Thanks Aunt Mindee.

The novelty of the Christmas presents really helped us get through the dreariest days.

And more flowers in our hair! So pretty!

This is what the kitchen cabinet thing whatever it's called looked like when we first brought it home from Goodwill for 6 dollars. Then we put the girls to work painting it. Then we went out to the garage after they were in bed and... repainted it.  

Sometimes, in January, you just fall asleep.  It's so hard to be tiny, and sick, and stuck in the middle of January.
Also, there were a lot of messes. A lot. A lot. A lot. Here's to playing outside again soon!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five Minutes

This is what five minutes with Heather looks like.

She crawls over to you, and grabbing your pants she pulls herself up to standing.  She looks up at you with her brown eyes and you can't resist.  You can never resist.

You scoop her up onto your lap and she claps her pudgy little hands.  Clap, clap, clap.  You kiss her soft squishy cheek.  She says "eeaah".

You repeat, just in case this conversation is important, you want her to know you're listening.  "Eeaah."  You're not sure you have the intonation correct, but you hope she won't mind.

"Na na." She says.

You nod your head slowly, agreeing.  What can you do but agree with a statement like that?

"Na na." She says again, this time nodding her head, up and down, up and down.

You kiss her cheek three times, and put her back down on the floor.

She zooms off across the room, crawling at top speed.  She turns a corner and you can't see her anymore, except for one leg.

Suddenly her head peeks around the corner, checking to see if you are still watching.  When she sees that you are, her face lights up with the happiest, smoochiest smile you've ever seen.

You say, "Hey, Mook", because that's the name you've been calling her lately.  She vanishes behind the corner again, for one second, and then pops back out.  She claps wildly when she sees you are still watching.

This sudden game of peek a boo goes on once or twice more, then she is crawling back across the floor to you.  She stops within three inches, and reverses!  A game changer! She disappears again around the corner, all but two legs this time.  She pops around, checking to see if she has your attention.

She does.  Of course she does.

An ear splitting shriek fills the air, and Hanna is sobbing, her poor little heart clearly breaking. Heather's face crumples up as if the depth of agony Hanna is suffering has breached her own body and is spilling over to her baby sister.  I say, "Come on Mooka the Mook, let's go see what's the matter with Hanna."  She nods her head and begins crawling for the door.  I follow, at her pace.

I can tell from Hanna's crying that she isn't hurt, but that an injury of injustice has occurred.  We get to her room, and she is distraught, screaming and wailing.  She sees me and comes running for comfort and loves.  "Hallie took my socks," she explains.

Crisis indeed.

Well, it was a lovely five minutes with Heather, while it lasted.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

In Conclusion

Here's what I've decided, and a little bit of the information that led me to my final conclusion.

My sister sent me an article about the differences between the flu (influenza) and the flu (stomach flu).  Namely, that there is the "flu" which is influenza, and then there is gastroentiritis, which people often mistakenly refer to as the "stomach flu" or sometimes just "flu". 

I wish I knew the etymology to explain how both of those illnesses came to be referred to as the "flu" as they are completely different, but that's an investigational quest for another day.  It became clear while reading this article that my family has gone through cycles of both illnesses in the past few weeks (and the stomach flu hit twice, to my sarcastic delight).

Of course I was fascinated and I began reading everything I could about influenza and the stomach flu.  Then I found it: One small note one one of the articles mentioned that after a case of influenza, the patient can feel extreme exhaustion for up to three weeks after all other symptoms have disappeared.

I was extremely exhausted!  And well within my three week range to be so!

Perhaps I was not depressed depressed, merely feeling weak and tired, and irritated and angry that I was feeling so, and stressed and anxious as I watched my house pile higher and higher with clutter.

In the mental arena there are few things do me in so much as clutter.  I cannot function in chaos.  Chaos caused by children running, jumping playing, shouting?  Oh yes, I find that stimulating and energizing.  Chaos caused by little bits of paper everywhere, and kitchen items in the wrong drawer, and laundry that hasn't been put away, so it sits clean and folded but getting rumplier and rumplier with every passing minute, that makes me edgy.

But now! And so!  I am out of that three week range, and I am dancing! And singing! And tidying, and cleaning, and organizing, and spreading little bits of joy wherever clutter is banished.

Ah, it is a truly delicious feeling to be in control of your life once more.

Or, as much in control as you ever were.  Because, much as I like to run around my house cleaning things up, there's not much I can do when Heather pulls my pot off the table and spills dirt everywhere and my vacuum cleaner seems to be broken, and then Hallie decides to get herself cereal and spills the entire contents all over the kitchen floor... but we do what we can!

We do it with a smile!

Most of the time.

You know what I mean.

Also, thank you for all of your comments and emails.  This flu idea I've had may have been the cause, or not, I don't know, maybe I'm feeling better because of all your lovely thoughts you sent my way in comments and emails.  I've always known it, but now I'll let you in on the secret.

I have the best family and friends a girl could ask for.

Also, my pretties bloomed twice in December, so that helps.  Flowers always help.  And yes, that's the one Heather dumped out this morning.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Daddy Spaghetti

Today was supposed to be Hallie and Hanna's birthday party.  I made all the plans, bought all the supplies, wrote out all the invitations.  We didn't end up having the party today for two reasons.

A. Hanna got sick the day after I wrote out the invitations, and then Devin and I got sick, and there was so much vomit in my house I just couldn't even think about birthday parties, so the invitations never got sent.
B. Turns out it was a good thing they never got sent, because Hallie made two trips to the toilet last night, and has been a frequent visitor today.  So I'm thinking it's a good thing I didn't invite anyone over today, because nestled next to the chocolates in their goodie bags would have been a healthy helping of germs.

I am so sick of germs.

Did you see what I did there? Healthy helping? Sick of germs?

Maybe I am feeling better, somewhere deep inside.  Well, I did clean up my laundry room today, and there is something so soul satisfying about a clean laundry room... I think counselors should really consider using that as a part of their therapy plan.

Since we weren't having a birthday party today, and since my laundry room was all clean and pretty looking, I thought I'd just hang out with Hallie.  She's just been sitting on the couch all day, and she was actually awake, so I sat down with my cross-stitch and began working on the pink, for the flower.  Once Hallie knows she has your attention, she can talk a blue mile.  I don't always listen with both ears, but just as I was about to snip off the end of my thread, one ear perked up. 

"Well, the mommy turns the daddy into spaghetti." I heard her saying.

"What? The daddy makes spaghetti with the mommy?"

"No, mom.  The mommy turns the daddy into spaghetti."

"Wait, what? How does that happen?" I'm not completely sure I want to know the answer.

"Ok, well, so the mommy puts the daddy in the fire.  Then she cuts off his face.  Then she covers him with yucky stuff.  um, then the mommy stirs the daddy.  Then the mommy puts the daddy in the oven and cooks the daddy. Then the daddy is all made into spaghetti and the mommy gives the baby some to eat.  Then the baby blows on her spaghetti because her spaghetti is too hot."

I made her retell me the story so I could type it up here, word for word, for my personal records, and for your... well, not enjoyment really, because that kind of story is hardly enjoyable, now is it?

Before you start thinking I let my daughter stay up late playing "Blade Assassin 3" or whatever the games are called, she gets scared from episodes of Curious George.  She can't watch Beauty and the Beast past the part when Gaston throws Belle's book in the mud (approx. 3 min into the movie).  She starts shaking and makes me turn whatever we are watching off.

So, this face cutting stuff? I have no idea where she got it from.

All in all though, I think we'll give it another week before I reschedule the birthday party.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is It?

Is it Cabin Fever?

Is it the Winter Blues?

Is it At Least One Person in my Family Has Been Sick Since Christmas Exhaustion?

Is it The Sun Comes Out Sometimes But I Don't Feel Warm-itis?

I don't know what it is causing it, but I have a bad case of the Eeyore's.  I wander around, feeling slow and invisible and full of "why bother"ness. 

I know my girls can see me, and Devin can see me, and my friends and people in the stores can see me.  I feel invisible to myself.  I feel like there is a heavy blanket on my mind, and I can't remember what I used to do to fill my minutes, turning them into hours and advancing into days.  My brain feels thick and strange, my thoughts coming slower and when they do arrive, I'm not always sure what they mean, and then they dissolve back into the sludge that is passing for my mind these days.

Is it the hypothyroidism?  I've had blood work done, and we all know how much I love that, and then been to the doctor twice in the past few months, and both times he has increased my dose.  I have never been on this high of a dose before, and so I wonder if before he increased it I had fallen victim to one of the nastier side effects - depression. Am I depressed?  If I were, shouldn't I be better now, now that my dose is up?

Then I think, maybe it is some really late developing post partum.  I mean, I have a few weeks left until the smallest girl turns one, can I still claim that? Is that what this is?

All I know is I keep getting sick in my body, so sick that I lay on the couch in and out of fevered dreams and am never really sure what is going on.

And then the germs leave my body and I am healthy again, except that I am still on the couch, in and out of dreams, and still never really sure what is going on.

What is going on?  Do you know?  Does everyone feel like this halfway through January, and I am just coming late to the party, or is it really just me, and there is no party at all?

Whatever it is, and whatever is causing it, I am purging it from myself right now.  Begone from me, vile and insidious nothingness that has taken up root and flourished inside me. 

Tomorrow morning I will take up arms of broom and shield of dustpan, girded about with flowery apron.  I will banish crumbs from the floor and stickiness from my countertops.  I mean this part literally. 

I have a mister and three girls to take care of, and most of all, I have me to start taking care of.  Once I find me.  I've got to still be in here somewhere, right?



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Escucha Means Listen

Welcome to my review of Escucha Means Listen Blog Tour hosted by Inspired Kathy at I am A Reader, Not A Writer.

Thank you to Talia Aikens-Nunez, the author, for the copy of the book that I was able to read in exchange for this honest review, and for the $25 Amazon gift card or Paypal, which YOU can enter to win at the tour page.
Tour Schedule

My Review
My first reaction to this stunningly simple children's book is the artwork in the illustrations with their attractive bright colors.  The words on each page direct the child's attention to the picture, as they are asked to determine what sounds they are hearing.  The opportunity this presents for the child to interact with the written word, to think and search for clues from the picture for the answer, is well done.

The rhythm and flow of the words when read aloud is pleasing, it does not trip the tongue, nor does it feel redundant and silly.  It may be tricky if you are not familiar with Spanish, but this book presents an opening for learning a few new vocabulary words.

I would read this book to my children, and overall, that is the highest recommendation I can give.

Escucha Means Listen

From the mowing of the lawn to the splish-splashing of rain puddles, Talia Aikens-Nuñez’s bilingual picture book Escucha Means Listen introduces toddlers and babies to the sweet sounds around them.

Take a journey through the world—just listening. Escucha Means Listen helps children discover sounds around them in English and Spanish.

Buzz. Buzz. Qué oyes? (What do you hear?)
Las abejas (The bees) circling the flowers.

Woosh. Woosh. What do you hear?
El viento (The wind) is whistling by.

Shh. Shh. Qué oyes? (What do you hear?)
Las hojas (The leaves) are dancing on the trees.


Author Talia Aikens-Nuñez  

Talia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politician and a lawyer. She never thought she would be a writer. It was the birth of her daughter that caused her to start writing. Raising a bilingual child inspired Talia to write lyrical children’s books. These ‘first experience’ books introduce Spanish to children and parents too! Talia’s family loves nature so much that she and her husband vowed that they will always try to live close to water. She, her husband and daughter live on a river in Connecticut with their daughter Isabella.

Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 1/21/12

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http:// and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Birthday.

Today is my father's birthday.  My post today is an essay for my girls, and if I were in school I might have titled it, "Why My Daughters Should Choose to Marry a Man like Their Daddy."

Or, perhaps, "Why the Best Choice Your Mommy Ever Made Was Marrying a Man like Her Daddy."

See, growing up I was a pretty normal girl, and I had some pretty normal run ins with my dad, but looking at him now, as an adult, I see that he is just about the greatest guy I know, and that he is incredibly similar to the other greatest guy I know.

On the surface level, they are both brown haired, athletic men.  They both love bread, well, good food in general really.

They both need to be busy working on something, they need a task, a chore, a problem to be solved.  They are both incredibly hard workers who feel heavily the responsibility of caring for a family.  They both love their families more than anything.

They both have an immoveable awareness of what is good, and right, and true.  They are untiringly trying to better themselves, fully aware of their weaknesses and trying to be better men, husbands, and fathers.

They both have a soft spot for their girls, not that Devin never says no to them, but he is gentle with them in a way that I forget to be sometimes.  I was watching Hallie "helping" Devin make bread in the kitchen a few nights ago, and she was talking non stop.  On and on she went about every single thought that popped into her head, and he nodded, and listened and responded.  She soaked it up like a happy blonde sponge. 

Once sometime in my teenage years, I was babbling to my father in a similar way.  We were in the car, going somewhere I don't even remember where (on the way home from a soccer game?) and I started rambling about a pair of shoes that I really liked.  Before I even knew what was happening my father had turned the car around and we were walking out of the store with those shoes in a bag.  They continued to be my favorites until I wore holes in them.  I still miss them, actually.  I hadn't even known he was really listening to my jabbering on and on.

My dad and Devin aren't exactly alike, but in the very most important ways they are.  I hope my girls find a man just like them, someday.

Happy Birthday Daddy, from all your girls and grand-girls in Nebraska!