Saturday, July 30, 2011

A New Era . . . for the Nebulizer, Anyway

DSC_3123 WGiving Rosemary a nebulizer treatment used to be quite the job.  We would sing, play pat-a-cake, and generally do whatever we could to keep her occupied.  Yet we’d still spend a good part of the treatment pretty much forcing her to take it.  Now we just turn on some Dora and leave her alone to handle it herself.  Times have changed.DSC_3125 W

Did you notice our guest in the chair?  Isn’t our friend the bear cute?  Gary’s sister, Cindy, and her family gave the bear to the kids for their birthday.  We call him “Bear” (because we’re creative and all).  That is his chair.  He goes to sleep at night and wears a sombrero over his eyes.  Rosemary initially was not very fond of Bear, so we had to make him go to sleep for her to get a little more comfortable with him.  Now she’ll even touch him when he’s awake.  Progress all around. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011


We started giving the kids forks when they were about 18 months old.  There’s no real reason that we gave forks to them at that age.  Honestly, it’s just when we sort of thought to do it.  Since I’m already fixing plates and handing out forks for the big kids, I’ve just started fixing Penelope her own plate and giving her a fork.  She usually dumps her plate pretty quickly, so I take that away.  But she holds on to her fork.  Imagine my surprise the other day when I turned around and saw her with this:

DSC_3128 W DSC_3134 WDSC_3137 WPenelope ate the great majority of her meal with her fingers, but she ended up managing to get about 3 pieces of food on her fork to eat.  I’m pretty impressed.  She is such a big girl!!

P.S.  Yes, she is wearing a boy’s bib.  We’ve gotten to where we don’t pay much attention to such things – at least when we’re talking about bibs.  A bib is a bib is a bib, after all. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Again with the Zoo

This past weekend we decided that we needed to get out of the house, so we took the kids to their third trip to the zoo in a week.  They didn’t complain, though.  First we went to see the sea lions, then we stopped by to see a show where they brought out a big snake and an owl.  To my shock, the kids sat mesmerized for the show.

DSC_3165 W And of course a trip to the zoo is not a trip to the zoo without stopping to see the monkeys.

DSC_3180 W DSC_3186 W DSC_3187 W DSC_3195 W After the monkeys, we grabbed a bite to eat.  Once we sat down to eat, we realized that we forgot a sippy cup for Penelope.  I decided that I would just let her drink a little water out of my cup.  She surprised us by yanking the cup out of my hands and drinking from it herself.  Sure, she got a little wet, but overall did a great job.

DSC_3215 W DSC_3216 W Then the kids ran around and played a bit, and Rosemary had some extra Daddy time after the hand dryer unexpectedly went off in the bathroom. 

DSC_3221 W DSC_3224 WFor the finale, we took a train ride.  I think Rosemary was the most excited.

DSC_3246 WPenelope wasn’t that excited about it at first, but she finally settled in and enjoyed herself a little.

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For some reason, the zoo just never gets old for any of us!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It’s Been a Week

It’s been a week since my last blog post.  Thankfully, it’s also been a week since we went to the Children’s ER.  And it has been a really busy week at work.  I feel like I don’t have much to say other than those things, but then I also feel like there’s too much that I’ve missed blogging about.  I went well over a week without taking a single photo, and the lack of photos seems to directly affect my inspiration for blog posts. . . .

The one thing that I remember the most from the last week are the new things that the kids have been saying.  Every day they say so many funny things.  For instance, the kids will often tell me when something is funny.  If something they think is funny happens, they say, “It funny!”  Sometimes they think something is funny that is not funny (like when someone decides to spit out their milk).  Piper has now taken to saying, “Not funny!!” when something is not funny.  I very much appreciate that.  It’s quite helpful to have someone on my side. 

When I tell the kids to do something, if they don’t do it, I count to three.  Henry has started doing the same thing with his sisters when they don’t do what he wants.  I don’t think it’s been working for him yet.  His manners are improving though, because the other day he and Rosemary were fighting over something and he was yelling, “Please!  Please!”  Unfortunately that didn’t work for him either. 

One morning Rosemary told me that Penelope needed some panties.  After I explained that Penelope couldn’t wear panties until she was potty trained, Rosemary promised to potty train Penelope while I was at work (unfortunately, Rosemary was not successful). 

Penelope is also saying lots of things.  Just yesterday she developed two new words -- “Mama” (finally!) and “teeth” (after dinner when it was time to brush her teeth).  These words are added to her others:  "bye bye,” “dada,” “Dora,” “backpack” (Penelope shares her sisters and brother’s obsession with Dora the Explorer), and “high five.”  She’s also getting very close to saying, “Sally” for our Miss Sally.  I’m sure she’ll have that perfected in no time!

And I’m quite sure that I’ll remember about 20 cute things the kids have been saying that I could have blogged about once I publish this blog post. . . .  Isn’t that how it always works?

I hope you’ve all had a great week.  I finally broke my photography break and took some photos today, so hopefully my blog inspiration will return. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We Really Have to Find Something Else to Do on Saturday Nights

Last week was a busy week for us.  Early on in the week I went to the doctor for some ankle issues I’ve been having, and was diagnosed with an anterolateral ankle impingement.  For now I’m taking anti-inflammatories, wearing my orthotics (which only fit in my tennis shoes, so I’m rocking that style with my work clothes), and starting physical therapy in the morning.  On top of that, work was pretty hectic, so I was really looking forward to the weekend. 

We had a fun, but busy, weekend planned.  One of Gary’s work friends got married here in town this weekend, and one of Gary and my friends from law school got married in Chattanooga.  Luckily, it worked out so that we could go to both of the weddings, and left the reception of the first wedding to drive to the second.  We left the kids at home.  Auntie Ann took the first shift watching the kids, and Miss Sally took the second shift.  We went to both weddings and had a wonderful time. 

Except Gary didn’t let me take my camera in to either wedding or reception.  I kept trying to convince him that there were plenty of people at the weddings with dSLRs, but it turned out that every time I showed him someone else with a big camera, they were indeed the wedding photographers.  So, I guess he had a point.  Anyway, that’s part of the reason you don’t have any pictures in this post.

We had considered staying overnight in Chattanooga since it was just the two of us.  In the end, we decided to come on home last night mostly because we wanted to spend all of Sunday with the kids since we didn’t see them much on Saturday.  We knew it wouldn’t be an ideal drive home, but we knew that once we got home that we’d be glad we went ahead and made the drive.  I had no idea how right that would be. 

We got home around 10:30, checked on all the kids while they were sleeping (we love doing that every night before we go to bed) and we went to bed around 11:00.  About 11:30 Henry started coughing pretty badly.  Gary went upstairs and gave him a breathing treatment then came downstairs.  Henry was still coughing, and Gary said that he thought I should check him and see what I thought.  I went up to check on him.  As I was walking up the stairs I could hear him trying to breathe from the stairwell.  I knew this wasn’t good.  I got in his room and sat down on his bed and held him for a few seconds.  He sounded really bad.  Then I grabbed him up and ran downstairs and told Gary I thought we needed to go to the hospital.  Gary took one look at Henry and agreed.  Henry’s breathing had gotten much worse even since Gary was upstairs with him.  I didn’t even brush my teeth, and didn’t even get Henry dressed, (and later noticed that I was wearing some not so awesome clothes) and we got in the car to head to the Children’s ER.

I had considered calling an ambulance.  The only other time I’ve even considered dialing 911 was this past Thanksgiving.  But I remembered that our pediatrician said that typically for it’s better for us to just drive there than call the ambulance unless it’s a situation where we just know we need an ambulance.  I wasn’t sure, but I decided to just go and keep a close eye on Henry during the drive.   We left the house around 11:45. About halfway there Henry got worse and I put on my hazards and drove faster.  Thankfully, people were pretty good about moving out of my way and letting me get to where I needed to go.

We got to the Children’s ER and went in.  Henry was actually better by the time we walked in the ER (I later learned that was probably due to being out in the cooler night air), but we were still taken back immediately for treatment.  We were told pretty much immediately that Henry had croup.  Henry received 5 stickers from his nurse and an oral dose of steroids.  We were sent home with directions to come back if he sounded croup-y again at rest, and I made it home by 2:15, just two and a half hours after I’d left the house.  Gary was waiting on us (he stayed awake texting me for most of the visit to the ER), and Penelope started crying about the time we got Henry in bed.  I don’t know what was wrong her her (I suspect gas and a tummyache) but she was up crying until around 4:00, when we finally went to sleep for the night.

Even though it was a really long night, I’m really really really glad that we were home for it and didn’t spend the night in Chattanooga.  I’m also thankful that we had the weddings planned, because I didn’t go on the annual girls’ spa weekend trip.  I can’t imagine what Gary would have done had I not been at home – I guess he really would have had to call 911 then wait for someone to get to the house to watch the other kids so that he could meet Henry – or he would have had to take all 4 kids to the ER, and I would have taken off for home in the middle of the night.  Regardless, it would have been horrible for all of us.  If an ER trip has to happen, I much prefer it to happen with both Gary and I there with the kids. 

Today was a very laidback day.  Gary and I took shifts – I had the kids for the morning shift while Gary slept and then Gary had the kids for the afternoon shift while I slept.  I slept like a rock.  Henry has been almost perfect today.  We’ve heard only a few minor croup-y sounds coming from him.

For dinner tonight, I made some comfort food – a hot dog and baked beans dish in the crockpot.  Henry especially enjoyed his dinner.  One of the things they told me at the ER is that if the kids start sounding croup-y to give them something really cold to try to help with the inflammation.  So after dinner when Henry asked for ice cream, we quickly gave in.  Piper and Rosemary couldn’t finish their ice cream, so Henry was happy to finish theirs off for them.  Gary and I stood by watching and relieved that Henry was eating so well.

We went upstairs for bedtime and Henry and Rosemary started running from one end of the room to another.  They had so much fun.  Then Henry walked over to me and told me that he needed a bucket.  I replied that he didn’t need a bucket, at which point he promptly threw up all over me.  And it was not just a little bit of spit-up, I completely and totally got full-on thrown up on.  I hollered for Gary, and he came out to help while I continued to get thrown up on. 

At this point, Gary and I were laughing.  Really laughing.  Because, in the end, no matter how many crazy things happen this weekend, at that point in time our kids were really okay.  Sure we shouldn’t have let Henry eat so much ice cream at dinner, but we’re all mostly okay even after the scare not too many hours earlier.

We told Henry that he was okay and he only threw up because he had too much ice cream, and Gary gave Henry a quick bath while I changed clothes and took a quick shower.  We resumed the bedtime routine and everyone is now in bed, Henry with his bucket.

The thing that worries me most now is that we end up back at Children’s ER with a different child tonight.  The ER doctor told me that one virus is typically responsible for causing croup.  All four kids (and I) have that cold virus, and Henry was the first one who came down with it.  On top of that, the ER doctor told me that it is usually early night when it hits – just like it did for Henry last night.  Hopefully everyone will sleep soundly and breathe well all night.

So, that is our second Saturday night in a row at the Children’s ER.  We really need to work on finding something else to do on Saturday nights!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DeSoto Caverns (Part II)

After we rode the train, our next activity at DeSoto Caverns was to pan for gemstones.   To my great surprise, Henry especially REALLY enjoyed panning for gemstones.  And he was very good at it!

DSC_3066 WDSC_3071 WDSC_3073 W DSC_3074 W DSC_3075 W DSC_3078 W DSC_3079 W DSC_3081 W DSC_3088 W{Just in case you’re interested, you can find hats like Henry’s hat on Totsy (a site similar to Zulily) for another day or two.  If you need an invite to Totsy (or Zulily), just shoot me your e-mail and I’ll send you one.}

Piper and Rosemary enjoyed panning for gemstones, too.

DSC_3101 W DSC_3103 W DSC_3104 W DSC_3108 W DSC_3109 W But I don’t think they could possibly have enjoyed it as much as Henry!

DSC_3115 W The kids loved having the little baggies of their gemstones and they insisted on holding them for the hour-long drive home.  When we got home, Gary took the kids upstairs to bathe them then we got them settled in for naps. 

Then Piper – who I refer to as a teenager due to her love of sleep – called for me to go upstairs.  When I got up there, she told me that her tummy hurt.  I gave her some gas medicine.  About 15 minutes later, the same thing happened again.  I gave her some gas medicine again and told her that if she couldn’t go to sleep to call for me again and I’d come get her.  Well, she finally slept.  But when I got downstairs again, Gary told me that when he got the kids out of their carseats that Piper didn’t have all of her gemstones.


I went out to the car and found several gemstones that had been dropped, but there was just no way to be sure that we had all the ones we found panning.  When Piper got up from her nap, she started talking again about how much her tummy hurt.  The problem is that Piper will answer almost any question in the affirmative.  I tried to lead her into telling me whether she’d eaten the gemstones, but she didn’t fall for any of my questions.  I finally had to flat out ask her if she ate any of the “rocks” and, as I had fully expected, she said yes.

So at about 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night, Piper and Gary took a trip to the Children’s ER.  She had an x-ray, but the doctors told us that the gemstones wouldn’t show up on the x-ray unless they were all glass.  What?!!  I still don’t understand how that works, but we weren’t able to get any confirmation of whether she actually ate any of the gemstones.  We did learn that the biggest risk (based on the size and shape of the potentially eaten gemstones) is that they are stuck on the way into her tummy.  The doctors eventually determined that the gemstones, if indeed any were eaten, had made their way to her tummy and would make their way out eventually.

Gary was home with Piper (and her requested dinner of fries and chicken) by 10:00 p.m.  The poor child was almost drunk from lack of sleep (in full “I love you” stage) and covered with bribery stickers.  I couldn’t stop laughing when she walked in and just fell into my arms to hug me and say “Maaaaamaaaaaa” as if she hadn’t seen me in days.  Piper certainly had a great time that night.

In the end, despite not making it through the cave tour, the busted lip, and the trip to the ER, we still had a really good time on Saturday.  Just a day in the life, right?

Monday, July 11, 2011

First Trip to DeSoto Caverns (Part I)

This past Saturday we decided to go to DeSoto Caverns.  I’ve seen several billboards for it lately, and the thought of a cave that stays at 70 degrees sounded pretty good this past very hot weekend.  Since it is about an hour from our house, we left pretty early and decided to let Penelope take her morning nap on the way there.  We got the kids up and took turns showering and getting ready and packing up whatever we needed for the drive.  Gary loaded the kids up in the car while I tried to be sure we had everything we needed ready to go.  At some point I realized Gary wasn’t wearing his shoes.  I asked why and he said that he needed some socks.  I said that I’d run in and get them, but he wanted to do it himself.  So, I settled in the front seat with the four kids in the back of the car while Gary went in to get the socks.

And we waited. . . .

It’s not unusual.  Typically, after everyone is loaded up and ready to go, Gary inevitably has to go get something that takes far longer than it should.  This time, however, the kids wanted to discuss it.  Henry started by telling me that he was ready to go.  I explained that we were waiting on Daddy.  Rosemary asked where Daddy was, and I said that Daddy was inside getting his socks.  Piper asked why, and assuming that she was asking why he was STILL inside getting his socks, I told her that he was just slow.  Then all the big kids agreed with me and repeated, “Daddy’s slow,” a few times.  I agreed.  Then Gary showed up and started getting something out of his car.  That took a while.  Again, the kids noted that “Daddy’s slow.”

Then Gary finally got in the car and told me that I didn’t even want to know what took him so long.  For once, after being married to the man for  more than 10 years, I decided that I did want to know.  And this is the story he told me:

Gary went in his closet to get a pair of socks.  {I have NO idea why he would go to his closet to get his socks instead of his sock drawer.}  While Gary was looking for his socks, he saw a Slim Jim packet.  {Again, I have NO idea why there are nasty Slim Jims in his closet.}  He decided that he should eat one, but quickly because we were all in the car waiting on him.  Because Gary was eating so quickly, a piece of the Slim Jim got stuck in his teeth.  So he started looking for some dental floss.  We had no dental floss in the bathroom at all.  {Gary later confirmed that he did not look for dental floss in the bottom drawer in the bathroom where we keep the extra toothbrushes and dental floss.}  So he looked for dental floss in the kitchen.  Because there was no dental floss in the kitchen {imagine that!}, he looked for dental floss in his car.  Then he decided to just suck it up and deal with the Slim Jim wedged in his teeth and got in the car with us.

I cannot imagine all the stories that he has of what he was doing when the kids and I were sitting in the car for 5 minutes while he ran inside to get just one thing.  In a way it’s disturbing, but then it’s also very entertaining.  Maybe I’ll just start asking what was going on each time.  If nothing else, I can probably get some blog material out of it!

Then we left for DeSoto Caverns.  Gary and I really liked that we had that hour drive.  The kids enjoy rides and usually stay pretty quiet, which gives Gary and I some time to just sit and talk.  It may seem a little silly, but we really enjoy that time. 

The kids were excited as soon as we pulled into the parking lot.  While Gary went in to buy our tickets for the tour caves and attractions, the kids and I waited and watched some water.

DSC_3015 W DSC_2994 W DSC_2996 W DSC_2998 W DSC_3008 WHenry has worn that hat for days.  He loves it.  I think he looks quite dapper in his hat.  He certainly gets a lot of compliments on it.  It makes me think of my granddaddy who always wore hats.

First, we decided to go on the cave tour.  We got in line . . .

DSC_3020 W  . . . and went into the cave.

DSC_3024 WDSC_3025 WAlmost as soon as we walked in, it was dark Rosemary told us that she wanted out.  But she held it together quite well and we stayed for a while.  Not surprisingly, the tour guide wasn’t really doing a great job of keeping the kids’ attention.  Even though they weren’t supposed to climb on anything, the kids had a hard time not climbing on all the great rocks.  Then Penelope started discovering that her singing sounded really great inside that big cave.  After about 20 minutes, we decided to give the other folks on the tour a break and we left.

Despite Rosemary stating that she wanted out the whole time, we left and she immediately announced that she liked the cave.  You have to to love kids.

We grabbed some hot dogs for lunch then had a seat at a picnic table. 

DSC_3035 W DSC_3037 WPoor Rosemary fell and busted her lip on the picnic bench, but she was tough despite the fat lip (which she is now quite proud of and shows everyone).

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A ride on the choochoo train made her feel better.

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To be continued. . . .

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A New Pool

Our pool from last summer was great and it lasted through the summer.  Granted not all of the pool lasted the whole summer, but we were able to use it as a pool for the whole summer – which is the main goal.  So, I started looking for a pool to use this summer.  I had told myself that I was going to get something simple, but I had a hard time making myself do that.  We need a large pool for all of the kids, and those pools with all the cool stuff are just fun!

Sooooooo . . . I went with a big fun pool with a slide and everything.  After I bought it, I had a little buyer’s remorse – mostly because it was more expensive than what we really needed.  Well, let me tell you, every bit of that buyer’s remorse went out the window when those kids saw that pool.  All four of them loved it.  It was a ton of fun to watch them play, and I can’t wait to watch them play in it all summer.

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