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Flashback Friday: Operation Dyess Kids

Friday, April 29, 2011

I woke up with the mother of all spinal tap headaches, and the only thing that relieves it is lying flat on my back or stomach. So thats what I'm doing- face half smushed into the couch cushion, one arm tucked under my body, the other draped over the edge of the couch typing one handed on my laptop.

This, sucks.

And sure, lying down is working for now, but the moment I stand up, or even so much as lift my head- bang bang bang!

So this flashback isn't going to be quite as detailed as I had wanted to make it, which is probably for the better, since I wasn't actually there for most of it. Charlie had an ear infection that day, and had started screaming with not a chance of being comforted, right as the activities were getting started. I did everything I could to turn his sobs into giggles, but the marines yelling behind my singing voice were just too dang loud, and we had to leave early.

They do this thing here on base called Operation Dyess Kids. Its where the kids get to go on a mock deployment. They get t shirts, dog tags, id cards, go through physical training, fill out paperwork, take all their "medicine" (jellybeans), go on the planes, and go to the desert.

Its kind of the coolest thing ever, if you're a kid.
Unless you're a one year old and terrified of the shouting soldiers.

Pretty cool stuff, Miss Eleanore.
Maybe we'll try again this year, Mr Charlie.

So heres what we do. Every week we dig through our memories- old cell phone pictures, polaroids from 1986, something that you pulled out of a dirty shoe box- and we flashback to it. We show it off, and we write about it. We take ourselves back to that place, with as little or as much detail as our hearts are willing to share. Scan it, upload it, copy and paste it from your livejournal (remember those?)- display your memories in whatever way works for you. And then grab out button way down at the bottom of the page there (or link back old fashioned text style), add it to your flashback, add your link to our flashback, and if you've got an extra minute- maybe browse around and read some of the flashbacks left by others. Its just for fun. And really- memories are too precious to be left in an old dirty shoe box.

A Conversation With Myself

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Self, we've got some things that we need to go ahead and get out into the open. Some cluster thoughts, some everyday fears, some round about all purpose emotional fires that we're constantly dissolving with buckets and buckets of I-don't-have-time-for-this water, before they've even had a chance to smoke.

Where do we even start?

As a mother, we want to raise our children to the best of our ability. We want to raise them beyond that, even. We want to push the limits of what a good mother should be, and be a hundred million trillion inifintyillion times better than that.

We had no idea, when signing up for this gig, how unimaginably hard it would be, to- for the very first time in our lives, to have to be the one to make the rules. It was fun at first- we watch these cartoons not those ones, bedtime is at this time every night so that we can get up at that time every morning, and, chew with your mouth closed when you're eating, because the obnoxious noises make Mommy crazy, and now that shes the boss, she can actually make that ridiculous request a rule.

But we just didn't know, did we? That things would go from that, to this. From worrying about whether or not to give Dora and her annoying talking backpack the ax, to- do we ban sugar, in the house? What about cooked food altogether?

We can't avoid this, anymore, self. We have to figure all this crap out, and we need to do it now. We want the babies to be as healthy as they can possibly be, we say. We want them to grow up active, full of energy, with not a single thing holding them back. We want them to be socially accepted, and academically outrageous in the best way possible. We want the world for them.

So how do we give them that? First of all, we have to let them be who they are. We spend so much time correcting the meaningless little things that we find annoying, just because we've been in the same room together for too long, rather than just focusing on the things that are actually important. The test, to figure out the difference? Would it matter, if they weren't still here? A horrible horrible way to put it, we know, but- the way that Charlie eats bananas, which is his only downfall might we add, wouldn't matter to us if we didn't have him here to bother us with it. I don't think we'd ever look back and say "well at least he knew how to eat a banana the right way".

Ok really, self. Lets contain the conversation. Lets not let our tired we-spent-half-the-day-at-the-hospital-having-tests-done-again attitude let this take a turn for the depressing.

Whats really on our mind, is- are we messing up our kids?

Experimental diets, broken traditions, promises of pink hair before the first day of kindergarten... are we setting ourselves up for disaster?

Do we stick to what we know, or do we stick to what we want to know? Will our drastic decisions steer us in the direction that we're hoping to go, or will they drive us completely off course, causing us to crash and maybe never recover?

We don't care what other parents think of us. We don't really care what anyone else thinks of us, we don't have the time for that, but- how will our kids feel when other kids, and maybe their parents, the ones that we don't give a crap about, start talking. How will our kids answer to them? Will they stand up for themselves? Will our beliefs be their beliefs? Or will they hate the choices we've made, and in turn, hate us?

All of the babies are asleep right now. Ya Ya Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is playing in the background, to give us a little noise and keep us company. Theres a bowl of cold raw sweet potato carrot soup on the couch to the left of us, and a sleeping fat cat to the right. We've had to get up at least 6 times since sitting down to talk, to tend to night terrors and fevers, feedings and phone calls. So even though the point of this conversation was to clear our mind and sort through our concerns, we're still standing in our short shorts under a rain cloud that seems to be floating only above our head, at the start of an endless race, with low batteries plugged into an ipod with excellent music.

Good thing Christopher is running next to us holding an umbrella above our head. And he brought his ipod, which although it contains a little too much rap for our liking, and doesn't hold as many songs, it gives us a steady upbeat to run to.

Easter 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We don't have any set in stone Easter traditions. While seeing my kids all dressed up in their absolute best (which they don't have) sounds like the picture perfect image of what an Easter Sunday should be like, its really just too expensive for such a silly holiday, don'tcha think?

Wait wait, I take that back, Easter isn't a silly holiday when you look at the Jesus aspect of it, not a silly holiday at all, but when it comes to the bunny hopping around and hiding eggs part- we don't have anywhere nice to go, so theres no reason to dress up.

And its not that we don't believe in Jesus, because we do, its just that- well my 2 year old son and my 8 month old daughter don't know who he is. And I don't think that Jesus would be upset with us for not going to church or dropping $30 on a dress that Eleanore will only wear once.

This Easter was crazy. From baskets full of goodies and egg hunts, to flash flooding and 104 degree fevers.

And it goes as followed...

We don't eat eggs anymore, in this family. So if we don't eat eggs, then why should we color eggs? I felt guilty at first, like maybe we should go through the motions of coloring eggs, just for the sake of this is what you do on Easter, but-

After trying to make sense of it, I figured- nope, might as well continue to break the rules.

So we painted paper eggs!

We drew big ovals on large sheets of white paper, and dabbled dots and striped stripes. We dipped brushes in pinks and blues, and didn't fuss over the messes made in the process.

The kids loved it. They love anything that has to do with crafts.

Later on we decorated some foam eggs too, with silly faces and hats and bow ties.
And we opened up presents from Grammy Bunny.

(Nobody missed the egg coloring.)

The next morning we woke up and went down the stairs to see that somebody, probably mythical magical, had dropped off some Easter baskets!

Tangled for Eleanore. A Thomas for Charlie. And bubbles, chalk, crayons, and honey sticks all around.

I'm not sure if I'm really counting this Easter as Evelyn's first, since shes still too little to do much more than slobber on the rubber ducky that was gifted to her, but she got a few things too. Next year she'll be able to walk and chase eggs like the best of 'em.

Speaking of egg hunt...

The weather was perfect, despite my neighbor trimming her backyard edges at 9 in the morning, for hunting down coin filled eggs. Over here, over there, the babies looked everywhere.

We had to kind of guide them along, step by step. "Look over by the trampolene! I think I see something in the tractor!", and even then, they stood beside those previously mentioned things (trampolene, tractor) with blank stares, haha. Being so young, they don't yet understand the hunt of it, as well as they do the collecting.

As Easter day went on, we watched Peter Cottontail one last time, and then we got a surprise skype call from Nana and Gpa up in Washington, which just so happened to be riiiight around the same time that the sky started throwing crab shaped hail stones at us.

A few hours, and about 3 iches of rain later, the skies cleared long enough for us to put on our puddle stomping boots, and go out into our lake of a front yard for dip.

This was actually Charlie's first puddle stomp with his new rain boots. Hes gone barefooted before, but we've been anxiously awaiting a storm worthy of bustin' out the boots!

The water was pretty high though, and after a few laps in the street, Charlie was up to his knees in ice cold rain.

And poor Eleanore. She refused a hoodie, even though her lips were blue and her teeth chattering, and had to be bribed back into the house with promises of lavender scented bath fizz.

Warm water to warm up cold bodies. Daddy played boats and ducks with Charlie and Eleanore, while I goo goo'd and ga ga'd at the tired baby in the hallway.

After getting out of the bath, Eleanore's 3 day long fever, which had been coming at night and leaving during the day, spiked up to 104, and she went to bed early, after sipping grape flavored ibuprofen and getting into her warmest fleece jammies, to which she'd probably remove after she got into bed anyways.

The rest of us ate some vegetables (or, breastmilk, for the baby) for dinner, read a story or two, and before we knew it, our out of the ordinary Easter had come to a close.

And we'll always have the dents on the car from the hail storm to remember it by.

This Is Spinal Tap

Monday, April 25, 2011

When all was said and done, I rolled over onto my sore back, looked up at the monitor above me, and stared at the oversized radioactive black and white polaroid from 5 minutes before.

"Can you hand me my phone so I can take a picture?", I asked the nurse.

"We're not really supposed to let you", she replied, as she passed it to me behind her back. Thanks Ellen.

...so thats kinda how my day went.

Easter pictures tomorrow?

Flashback Friday- Its A Dinglehoppah!

Friday, April 22, 2011

I wanted to blog last night, about our yesterday. I tried to blog, but between the tornado siren going off while I was home alone with 3 kids and no access to the local news, my awful face pounding headache that I eventually killed with tylenol (which I had been avoiding for the past 4 days) and my new laptop not uploading pictures from my camera, I decided to just call it quits and go to bed instead. Makes sense, right?

I've mentioned how the screen saver on our desktop is a slide show of pictures and videos, yeah? We don't have many videos, since we don't have an actual video camera, just the video recording capability on our digital cameras, and I'm just not very good at manually focusing a video- so... ok anyways, well whenever a video pops up on the screen saver, I always stop to watch it.

So I thought I'd flashback to a few years ago, before Charlie and Evelyn were born, when little Eleanore was the only free spirit in the house...

"Yeah baby, dance!". Oh Elie, you make me so so happy. It helps me to look back and see how you were before you were bombarded with a brother and a sister. It helps me regroup, and see things from a different angle.

How about another video? The infamous dinglehopper video? Yes please!!

That video will never ever get old. Ever. Too bad shes lost all interest in The Little Mermaid, even though she used to watch it every single day, sometimes twice a day if she could. I remember I'd set her up on my bed and play it on the VCR in our bedroom, while I rushed in and took a shower. And I could always tell how long I had been in there, by listening to what part in the movie she was at. I'd usually get out around the same time that Prince Eric's boat took a nose dive. I was always afraid that she'd try to get off the bed by herself, and fall and hurt herself (which she did once, but was too scared to try it ever again).

I need to make more videos.
Every day.
And thats that.

So heres what we do. Every week we dig through our memories- old cell phone pictures, polaroids from 1986, something that you pulled out of a dirty shoe box- and we flashback to it. We show it off, and we write about it. We take ourselves back to that place, with as little or as much detail as our hearts are willing to share. Scan it, upload it, copy and paste it from your livejournal (remember those?)- display your memories in whatever way works for you. And then grab out button way down at the bottom of the page there (or link back old fashioned text style), add it to your flashback, add your link to our flashback, and if you've got an extra minute- maybe browse around and read some of the flashbacks left by others. Its just for fun. And really- memories are too precious to be left in an old dirty shoe box.

Combat Boots, Care Bears, and Stick Belts

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I spent the morning dropping off toddler poop samples at the hospital and running errands with the Easter Bunny. While I was stressing over whether or not my van was going to be towed because I parked in the physicians parking lot, or what in the heck I'm going to put into my kids plastic eggs (since we don't do candy, and pennies are only fun for so many eggs), Christopher and the older two were staying behind at home, cleaning the play room and putting away week old laundry.

The house has kind of gotten out of control, with Christopher working so much. Between his never being home, and my being overwhelmed with life- the kitty litter probably hasn't been taken out in a month. Not that the cat poops in the dang box anyways, she'd much rather make a mess in the dirt where the kids play. Thanks cat!

I'm on day 4 now, of this raw food diet. When I woke up this morning my appetite was missing, and I've been battling a headache all day. I'm ready for this detox transitional period to be over. can't I just skip it and fast forward to the glowing skin and healthy body part??

Things haven't been very exciting around here. The kid have been running around either half naked, or wearing entirely too many clothes for an 80 degree day, and doing whatever they can to keep entertained.

Example: Wearing and sharing Daddy's work boots while he checks his email before heading out the door to work.

Or playing "I care for you" with baby sister on the couch while Mommy tries to have some quiet alone time.

The kids are on this non stop Care Bears II kick right now.

Aaaand bending up purple plastic sticks formally used for holding up tacky character themed mylar balloons, and turning them into fashionable belts.

Oh the things that the babies do when they're bored.
I wonder what they'll do tomorrow? Because I'm betting tomorrow will be a whole lot like today.

Only, hopefully without this awful headache.
And no more Mom-takes-poop-to-hospital deliveries.

A Counter Full Of Fruit

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I just typed out this big long blog post, but when I got to the point of editing it, it just didn't seem right. ...so I deleted it. An hours worth of typing, just backspaced away. Theres just too much that I want to say, and not enough words in the world to speak my mind.

So just pictures, for today...

I've gone vegan, and I'm doing it raw.

A more in depth explanation, with an overload of emotions- including desperation, confusion, anger, happiness, and hope- is in the making. Once my brain sorts it all out, I'm sure my typing fingers will follow.

Oh yeah, and we watched Cars today, for the 800th time.

Flashback Friday- Happy 50th Birthday, Mom

Friday, April 15, 2011

I apologize for the late posting of the flashback. I spent all morning at the neurologist, and came home to a sick baby choking on her own snot, with a fever of 101.7. Rough times, folks. But, for future reference, flashbacks are now going to be posted every Friday at 10am. I'm going to set them up ahead of time, so its like clockwork. This way you're not checking in multiple times a day, waiting for the linky to be up. I'm way too flaky these days to do it any other way.

On Sunday, it was my Mom's birthday. Not just any birthday, but her 50th birthday.

I never imagined my parents being 50. As a kid, 50 was an old age, that only grandparents were. And well I guess that makes sense, they are grandparents. But still, when I thought about the future, I could never picture my mom as being 50.

I don't talk about my Mom as much as I do my Dad. We have a very different relationship, her and I. We butt heads, we disagree, we don't understand each other. All the while though, shes still my Mother, and I love her. And especially after having kids of my own, I have a new sort of respect for her. Its not an easy job, this motherhood thing.

One time, I must have been around 6 or 7, my Mom and I had to go out to run errands together during a summer day. I remember stopping at the gas station first, where we bought fountain sodas and fueled the car. And when I picture my mom, when I'm on the phone with her, or when I think about her randomly throughout the day (which I often do), this is the Mother that I picture...

I was waiting at the car, while she went inside to pay for the gas. As she was walking out of the gas station, across the AmPm parking lot- she was beautiful. Her blond curls were full of bounce as she walked, her big white smile reflected the summer day as she reached the car, carrying cherry cokes in her hands, and her confidence and happiness was overpowering. She was gorgeous.

I remember that day we went to the social security office. And maybe the canned food store. But on our way out of a public building, a man holding the door for her made an inappropriate comment towards her ("whoa, you've got yourself some Dolly Parton boobs"), and my mom walked straight past him and ignored it with class.

That day stands out in my memory better than any other day.
Mom, you were beautiful then, and you're beautiful now. I love you.
Happy 50th Birthday.

*************************** So heres what we do. Every week we dig through our memories- old cell phone pictures, polaroids from 1986, something that you pulled out of a dirty shoe box- and we flashback to it. We show it off, and we write about it. We take ourselves back to that place, with as little or as much detail as our hearts are willing to share. Scan it, upload it, copy and paste it from your livejournal (remember those?)- display your memories in whatever way works for you. And then grab out button way down at the bottom of the page there (or link back old fashioned text style), add it to your flashback, add your link to our flashback, and if you've got an extra minute- maybe browse around and read some of the flashbacks left by others. Its just for fun. And really- memories are too precious to be left in an old dirty shoe box.

Doing Yoga

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One of my goals for 2011 was to do yoga every day, if even just a single stretch before crawling into bed at night. Theres been a lot going on behind the scenes over here, and I'm not going to make excuses: I sucked at it.

Well as we dig into my ongoing health issues (which I'll post about later, when I'm good and ready), we decided as a family that taking the natural approach of healing is whats going to be best for us. Its worth a try at least.

And I have to say, so far so good.

Part of that, is getting back to my yoga practice. So every day, I've been pulling my yoga mat out of the closet, getting down on it, and breathing deeply through heart, mind, and muscle opening stretches.

Breathing the stress away. Breathing the tension away. Breathing the pain away.

And I don't know about you, or how others do it, but- I do yoga with my eyes closed. I can't help it. Its natural for me. It blocks out all of the distraction, and takes me to that place of relaxation.

Sometimes I don't have time to myself though, and I have to work with what I've got. Okay, rarely, do I get time to myself. Taking a shower every 3 days is about as me-time as it gets. So while my ideal time to do yoga is first thing in the morning before the kids wake up, while the sun is just starting to shine through the windows, and the house is still quiet- thats just not my reality.

Christopher grabbed the camera and documented how it really goes. And I have to say, while his pictures are almost always blurry and unflattering (the ones of me at least)- I love that hes capturing these moments for us.

The baby wakes up from her nap as soon as I start doing my routine. Daddy sets her up on the pink yoga mat, next to my grey one.

Charlie hears something going on, it echoes up the stairs and into the play room, so he scoots down, and joins his sister in a standing pose, next to Mommy.

I told them that were more than welcome to join me, but that they had to stay on their own mat.

Ignore that I still look pregnant. I've had 3 c-sections- enough said.

While the "stay on your own mat" rule was feasible for Evelyn (har har), Charlie had a much more difficult time with it, and broke it the first chance he got.

Okay, well since you're over here- reach, reach, reach for the stars.

And now go back to your own mat. Please.

See, you can totally do yoga from your side of the room. Are you ready?

Evelyn? Are you ready too? You're not getting out of this one either, slobber face. Put down your chew toy, and lift that arm up. Something about heat radiating from your heart and shooting out of your fingertips. ...just act like theres a really buttony remote control or cell phone being dangled above your head.

Very good, babies!! It feels nice, doesn't it? Its right up there with ice cream and se- ...um. Santa. :D

Aaaaand because it was Christopher that was taking these pictures, there is of course, a butt shot.

Even when I'm not feeling well, and would much rather bury my face in the arm of the couch in a wishful attempt at getting some rest, I know that its best to stay on my feet, raise my arms above my head, fold myself in half, and take deep breaths in and out through my nose.

Has anyone tried yogatoday.com? Or any other similar websites? I'd love recommendations, to help me get my daily dose. This is going to be a loooong journey for me, and I'm trying my hardest, and my best, to take responsibility and hold my self accountable. If you've got a link to a website that I probably don't know about, please send it my way?

Wordless Wednesday: A Busy Day

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daddy not coming home from work until 7:00 in the morning. Toddlers with blue lips acting all lethargic and scaring the crap out of me. Broken play dates. Doctor's offices and pats on the back. Going on special mission rescue trips, in search of lost kitty-loveys. Sleeping babes in parked cars. Lots and lots of jumping. Raw food eating. Finding Nemo. Long walks with a double stroller and playing at the park until the sun goes down. Babies getting out of their beds to read books with a flashlight, rather than sleeping. And now, yoga.

All things done with love.
And of course, chocolate chips.

Edit: Oh Jesus. Its only Tuesday, isn't it?

Evelyn June, You're 8 Months Old

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saturday was your 8 month birthday, June Bug. That means that in only 4 months, you're going to be one year old. ...and theres just no way that that can be true.

You have two teeth now. Little sharp bumpleys along your bottom gum. You likes to chew on my finger to remind me that they're there, but you've yet to pull out your fangs during a feeding. And I thank you for that. I remember last month, when I wrote this letter to you, mentioning how you had no teeth. You sure are growing fast.

You still hate baby food. You seem to spit it out before I even get it into your mouth. To be fair though, I haven't really been trying that hard, on a daily basis, to get you to eat it. It always ends with both of us covered in food, none of it having gone into your tummy, and most of the time I'd rather just not deal with the mess. Lets try again tomorrow, shall we?

You've developed baby acne? I can't tell if its because of the heat, or maybe because you're allergic to bananas? I don't eat bananas often, but there have been a couple of times that I've eaten banana bread, and it seems like maybe your pimples pop up (most of them being around your mouth) when I've indulged. I've got my eye on you, little Miss. We'll get this squared away.

Your leg, its better! For a few weeks, one of your leg bones was popping in and out of place, whenever you turned your foot just so. I'm not going to candy coat this, Evelyn. It was extremely disturbing. Every time you'd do it, I'd cringe. I took you to the doctor, and you did it right there on the table for her, like a good baby. The doctor gasped, jumped back, and then laughed and said "I've never seen anything like that before! How did you make her do it?" ...pffft. You never seemed to be in any pain, but the whole thing was just so weird, I couldn't let it go. It was loud, and you did it 100 times a day. Also, you weren't putting any weight on your legs- you refused to stand (lazy girl). We took you to have x-rays, and it took them days to get back to me just to say that they didn't find anything. And then one night, while I was bringing you from your crib to our bed, for a midnight snack of course, your leg made a loud obnoxious popping sound, and I thought for sure it would be followed by screams, because I must have just broken something. ...and your leg hasn't popped in and out of place since. SO. Thats that.

You've got grabby hands. Anything that anybody has, you want it. And if you don't get it, you grunt and growl. And then if you still don't get it, you start kicking your legs and crying. And its adorable. "No no, Miss Evelyn! You may not eat the magazine paper", will surely trigger the waterworks.

You know who Daddy is!! I'm not going to lie, I don't mind that you only have eyes for me most of the time, but now when he comes home from work on his dinner break, and says hello to brother and sister, but passes you by (if you're in your jumper or tummy down on your play blanket), you throw a cute little fit. And I love seeing you love your Daddy.

You're crazy flexible. You do the splits, and stick your foot in your mouth, and bend your arm almost completely backwards. I don't think I've seen any other baby bend the way that you do. Its kind of creepy, but- I love you anyways.

You still don't sleep through the night. You did, and then you didn't, and now you don't. For awhile you were waking up 4 times a night to nurse, and now you're slowing down to just a single feeding. You roll around more in your crib, so we often find you with one leg hanging out from between the bars, or an arm reaching for a fallen binky that hit the carpet and never bounced back. You've been sleeping in the bed with me for the past couple of nights, since Daddy is working 12 hour shifts from 6pm until 6am. I don't want to have to get up in the middle of the night when you cry, when I can just roll over and present you with what you need. And you keep the bed nice and cozy while Daddy is away, so its kind of a win win.

You really like banging stuff on the ground. Brother's toy cars, spoons, your head.

You really like being worn on my chest in the Ergo. I don't think that will change anytime soon.

You're wearing size 12-18m. Things started fitting snuggly over the past week or so, crotch snaps not snapping, arm holes getting stuck on your wrist rolls, elastic waist bands leaving red bite marks along your belly because your pants were all of a sudden too tight. So I pulled everything out of your closet, and replaced it with the next size up.

Right now you're in the living room, scooting yourself around in all directions with your paws, screaming at me for taking away your Brother's grabby bowl of rice chex. you can't eat those anyways silly girl. Maybe its time for another cat nap? You've got your cranky face on. I must have worn your out at the zoo this morning.

I can't wait to see what happens between 8 and 9 months. Crawling maybe? Sitting up? Eating baby food? Sleeping through the night? Okay maybe I can wait. You're growing up entirely too fast, little one.

I have all the time in the world to wait.
I have forever.