Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bears in the Bed

1 am There were two in the bed and the Ethan Bear said, "I feel sick, roll over."
2 am There were three in the bed and the Elle Bear said, "My bed's wet, roll over."
3 am There were four in the bed and the Hunter Bear said, "I'm lonely, roll over"
So they all rolled over and Daddy fell out
7am There were four in the bed and the Daddy Bear said, "It's light now...EVERYBODY OUT!"
So they all rolled out and momma stayed in
8am There were two in the bed and the Elle Bear said, "I'm hungry, come feed me"

Friday, December 21, 2007

In Loving Memory Virginia Bean

My Grandmother passed last night. She was 82. She had a miraculous recovery from ovarian cancer but died of a bladder infection less than a month after my Mom was asked to leave by her brother who then took over her "care". She had a prescription for the infection, but my Mom's brother, looking to his inheritance, never filled it.

This same brother rushed down with flowers and sympathy when they found out about the ovarian cancer, but then couldn't be bothered to let Mom and Grandma (who at that point had recovered significantly) stay with them, or even see them when they were in his town to see a specialist.

The circle of life is inevitable, but I could really do without all the vulture-type drama that surrounds this particular transition of life. I spoke to my Grandfather, a World War II veteran who cried openly on the phone to me. Looking back on her life, she was always so quiet while busy serving her family. She loved to read. She blushed when she told me the story of how she and Grandpa met and fell in love.

When I was six and she came out to Connecticut to help mom when my brother Mikey was born. She scolded me for using too much soap to wash my hands. I would stand there and pump until I had a handful of soap. I wanted to please her so I worked on it. When I felt like I was doing better I asked her to come watch me wash my hands. I only gave three pumps and felt so proud of myself. She said, "You're using too much soap." At the time I was really mad at her, but as we were leaving the airport for her to fly home I cried to see her go.

When I was ten I stayed with them for part of the summer. Grandma chased me around the yard because I refused to take a bath after several days. Grandpa finally caught me and talked me into it. She and Grandpa took us to the Oregon Caves, the logging mills, seedling farms, Crater Lake (They let us go swimming in our clothes...we insisted. They also let us walk back to the car soaking wet and cold. Consequences.) When it rained they let us go into the old pasture and jump around in the mud up to our elbows. What great fun! Grandpa was building a two story building and was excavating the dirt out of the bottom of it. James and I thought it was so much fun to go in and help dig out the dirt. After we got back home Grandpa called and said he missed his dirt diggers. I didn't realize he meant us, so my first thought was, "Well, I didn't take them."

We would spend every Thanksgiving up in Oregon. It was our family tradition. We'd shoot guns, ride motorcycles, walk through the woods, chase around on the Odyssey, and cut down our Christmas tree right before it was time to go home. As we got married and great-grandchildren got thrown in the mix Grandma and Grandpa's two bedroom one bath house seemed to shrink. The last Thanksgiving I spent up there I was pregnant with Elle. James & Kristi, Mikey and Paul were there and Daddy was still alive. You never fully appreciate moments so precious until they are an unreproducible memory.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A light in the darkness


On my way in the car today I was listening to KDFC, the local classical station. They played this song...it was ....amazing. I wrote down the time it played so I could look up the information later.
The song was Sanctis by Libera Angel Voices. I found it and listened to it again. Then I listened to their other tracks.

I can't remember the last time music brought me to tears. It is like parting the veil of heaven itself and hearing choirs of angels. I am at a loss of words to adequately describe the beauty, joy, light and Spirit of God that this music swells within me. It resonates with my very soul. It is the sound of everything pure and beautiful in the world. It is the sound of innocence and faith. It is the sound of holiness.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Comedy or Tragedy?

It's been one of those weeks that I'd like to think that years from now I'll be able to look back on and laugh. It's been said that comedy is tragedy plus time. The following is not for those with a weak constitution. You have been warned.

At nine o'clock in the morning last Monday when we would normally be working on lessons Ethan said that he just wanted to go back to bed and sleep. He did...and slept until 2:30 with a brief interruption mid-morning to start throwing up.

Tuesday evening was touch and go. Ethan was up and feeling somewhat better, but again slept all day. And, yes...this was the day we decorated the Christmas tree.

By Wednesday he was feeling better. Just in time for Hunter to start throwing up. Hunter gets grossed out easily anyway. By Thursday evening Hunter was throwing up every 5 to 10 minutes. I think it was a combination of stomach upset and then being grossed out by throwing up. He couldn't keep anything down. I sat with him on the couch to hold his hand and held his head whenever he would throw up. I'd try to give him small bits of fluid hoping this time it would stay down. His tummy finally settled down at about 11:30 so I took him to bed with me just in case he needed anything during the night.

Friday evening he was feeling better, so while I was upstairs fretting over another crisis the children were downstairs making a swimming pool out of the wooden animal bin next to the Christmas tree. (They couldn't use the plastic bins that would have actually held the several gallons of water they brigaded into the living room....no...they used the wooden one that leaked)

Not only that, but the heirloom Christmas ornaments were under attack by Elle who thought that the Santa in the train-car ornament from 1980 was for vvrooming across the bookcase and then sat and picked off the tiny details.

As I went into the kitchen to fetch the towels I could hear a drip....drip....drip. Closer inspection revealed that the children had opened the tap to the drinking water and had drained it entirely. It was probably what they used to fill their swimming pool seeing as how the floor beneath the tap was surprisingly unpuddled. When I filled it back up the first thing Hunter did was to open the spikett over the floor to see if anything would come out...which it did.

I got the towels from the linen closet to soak up the carpet which despite such an extensive usage of every towel in the house the floor was still unsatisfactorily damp. Michael was less than enthused when he had to use a hand towel the next morning after his shower as the sacrificial towels had not yet made it out of the washer and dryer.

After the wet was moped up as much as possible I decided that given the several assaults on the ornaments following the initial decorating this was the last straw. I decided that taking them off would be the best choice. The children were beside themselves, of course, feeling like I had unceremoniously canceled Christmas. I'm such a Grinch.

I got the box back out and put my ornaments back away leaving the nutcracker men as the only decorations on the tree....as I don't care too much if (or rather, when) they get broken.

Ethan still had quite a cough so while in the bath that evening he gagged and threw up in the bath water. Hunter thought that was gross and so he threw up. Not to be outdone, Ethan threw up again and Hunter matched his move by barfing once again in the now draining bathwater...that didn't seem to drain quite fast enough. They were both screaming and crying with phlegm and barf dangling from their faces and Elle was sitting in the middle of it....which is probably why on Saturday Elle started throwing up too.

I was in the kitchen Saturday evening when I heard Elle crying. Thinking that her brothers must be tormenting her, I found them first and asked what they were doing to their sister. Instead they were playing hide and go seek in the covers on my bed and Elle was nowhere near. I headed upstairs to find Elle sitting at the top of the stairs covered in throw up.

I got her cleaned up, hoping that she had just gagged on the fibers of the tangerine Michael had given her. Having seen the wonderful example from her brothers of how to execute the barf, the next thing I knew Elle was walking over to the garbage can and throwing up again. This continued all evening, although as the night pressed on she was less enthusiastic to use the garbage can thinking perhaps it's usage somehow contributed to the continued upset tummy. I ended up sleeping with her on the couch on a puddle pad next to the garbage can and bottle of water. Fortunately her tummy settled just before 1 am and we got a little bit of sleep. We stayed home from church the next day so as not to pass her germs on to the other nursery children.

As a side note...My mother went out of town on Thursday and asked me to take in her garbage cans and mail. It was a simple enough task, and I really thought I could accomidate her. However, since people hadn't stopped barfing all over themselves the first time I left the house all week was the Saturday she was expected home. I went up to her house hoping to accomplish everything she had asked, but when I got to her house the car was in the driveway, the mail was taken in...my heart sank. She was already there and very angry that I had not kept my obligation. I felt horrible.

Just when you think all is well... So it's Monday again and Ethan started complaining of an upset stomach again. He's been throwing up since 5 o'clock. He missed his Tiger Scouts meeting. All I can wonder is if Hunter and Elle will have a similar week anniversary relapse. Let's hope not.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Anxiety at the Museum

Today was the free day at the De Young Art Museum in San Francisco. We made it a field trip out of it since we haven't been anywhere fun in a while. The children are used to going places, but the typical venue usually encourages plenty of hands-on interaction.

Habitot, for instance, celebrates messes. The Exploratorium would be highly insulted if you didn't handle everything in sight.

We discovered today that museums don't like it when you run, touch, stand too close, press your nose against the glass....breathe.

I'm fairly certain that they tagged us fairly early on (probably with some sort of ethically questionable age profiling...although when I suggested that, Aunt Kristi said she would impose leashes and tazers for children...or maybe that was just for my children). We had our own personal team of museum personnel following us around trying to be inconspicuous in their shadow tactics. The children didn't like not being able to fully "experience" the art. Someone was always right there to tell us what we were doing wrong....again. Although, I'm sure we gave our museum personnel plenty of anxiety in "close calls" of glass touching, shoulder riding, and rope ignoring. I know I had enough anxiety to last for awhile.

Grandma was saying as we went to lunch that the museum curator was spouting off how the De Young was a museum for all ages. Uh-huh... riiight. Read fine print: "all ages", 12 and up.

After lunch we took the children outside to get their pent up energy out. There were a few artsy sculptures out on the lawn of the cafeteria. Out in nature, you are on the children's turf. As a testament to this fact there was a rather large safety pin displayed on the lawn. ..and the black-ops team assigned to us did not follow us into the yard. Hunter, who...it might be remembered does not read took it upon himself to approach some larger than life metal apples scattered all over the lawn and began kicking them with a particular vigor. He was getting the last few kicks in when we noticed the sign saying to please not touch the art. Figures.

We saw some works of modern art, which looked something like what Hunter brought home from Tiny Tots. Another room was full of piles of stuff, stacked tightly painted either all white or all black (Louise Nevelson). It did look kinda cool, but awfully simplistic.

I really hate to sound all negative...I guess at the end of the day full of child suppression times three and art museum anxiety it takes an extra little umph to recall that the day wasn't completely awful.

I prefer my art to be a reflection of master skill and craftsmanship, not something I could reproduce in a weekend. Reflecting on it now though, I probably couldn't come up with such an original idea as she did... so I guess the "modern" art is more the idea before the creation than the complexity in the expression of that idea. Is the art I appreciate is complicated, intricate, masterfully done? Yes! But, original? Not usually.

The top floor was full of plenty of beautiful sculptures and portraits to satisfy. I'd like to come back sometime with Michael and NO CHILDREN to look a little longer at certain things. The furniture woodworking was absolutely exquisite, but my favorites would have to be the marble sculptures. It's amazing to me that they can get something made of ROCK to look soft and billowy.

We saw a sculpture of Delilah. I reminded Ethan of the story from Superbook. "Meh..." We also saw the bucking bronco that we studied just a few weeks ago. I was so excited to see it in person, especially after having just studied it. Apparently Ethan wasn't that impressed, because he didn't remember it at all. Or maybe it's because it looked different to him in person than in a picture. Despite everything I would consider the day a success because the children did appreciate certain pieces of art. Hunter and Ethan found their favorite piece in the modern art section. What a surprise!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

While Daddy's away...

Michael and Jeremy went on a Bonzi run to Utah for a job.

While Daddy's away...the mommies will .....CLEAN! Note: Elle walked into my bedroom, looked at the pile of clean towels at the end of my bed waiting to be folded and put away and she looked at me and said, "Keen up!"

The shower in our bathroom needed some TLC, so I got some BAM, a sponge, a toothbrush and went to work. Despite my best effort the bottom track and bottom side of the door still was kinda gross. So I did something I've never done before. I took the shower doors off the track to clean them.

Ohhh! I scrubbed...I spayed....I washed....it was a veritable frenzy of sanitation. The shower doors and track have probably not been cleaner since the day they were first installed. I was getting in such a mood I was having delightful fantasies of going to Home Depot to get some wall spackle and some paint for the kitchen and bathroom walls which have been very much abused with baby gates and superhero races. The visions were dancing in my head as I was hanging the first shower door. Ahh...that looks SOOO much better. I was really getting revved up by the time I got my hands on the second shower door.

Easy....easy...just about got it...

Something went wrong. As I stood there with a 20 pound sheet of glass in my hands the whole thing shattered and sent beads of tempered glass all over the newly cleaned shower and bathroom floor.

Oh.

Well, Michael will be surprised all right.