Wednesday, April 22, 2015

pass the dramamine, please

At this very moment, our house resembles a scene from "Hoarders: Buried Alive!" and I have a lot of work (read: days and days) to do to get things back in order. But I'm taking a quick moment to capture a few things happening, for posterity...

The kitchen demolition started yesterday.


The fan over the stove came down and with it, a huge dead rodent.


The interior wall between our breakfast room and kitchen also came down, and between it - a bird's nest, with eggs.   Yes, see - this is exactly why we needed to update our kitchen before it goes on the market.


The children have adopted the eggs, accidentally cracked a few open, and have found the equivalent of fossilized raisins inside.


The one remaining egg, Elizabeth named "Crystal" and after she took it to school for "Show and Tell" has crafted a cotton ball chair / chariot that she pushes around the house.



Last week, Carolyn's vision was checked and it turns out, she's near sighted.


In case you cannot tell from this photo, she was only a little excited to get her new glasses.


Meanwhile, her sister is extremely jealous, and is certain that Carolyn faked the test ... just like she faked a vision test a few years ago in an attempt to get glasses.  (The optometrist wasn't fooled.)


A few years ago, my mother suggested that Carolyn might have a problem with her adenoids, because she snores and breathes through her mouth.  I didn't think too much about it,  until I shared a hotel room with her during our recent road trip, and heard snoring from my 10-year old girl that rivaled her father.  So I googled, "Sleep Apnea" and was interested to read that it can be an underlying cause of attention deficit disorder.  When I returned home, I promptly took her to see her pediatrician - who referred us to an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) - who we visited, today.


Within minutes of being in his office, he'd scoped her nasal passages and it turns out, Carolyn's adenoids are huge and completely blocking her ability to breathe through her nose. Her tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy is now scheduled for next Thursday, April 30th.

Lesson learned: Mother's always do know best.  Especially when they've raised seven children, their first name is Mary, and they are retired from the nursing profession.

Because we have no kitchen, I took the children out to dinner tonight, and didn't notice until we arrived at the restaurant, the outfit that Henry was wearing. At one point in life, I would have been dismayed by thermal ski underwear tucked in to his father's dress socks, and who knows what else is going on here?  But I don't have the energy to be worried about things like this, anymore.

Is he safe?

Is he clothed?

That's good enough for me!


Charlie walked in, as I'm writing this, and informed me that the washer just officially broke and while the timing is fine - because we were planning to get a new one prior to the sale of the house; the timing really isn't "fine" because we have four loads to wash including the one saturated load currently in it.

The guinea pigs - who have been temporarily relocated to the laundry room while renovations are underway - were left out in the sun last week for a few minutes too long and almost died.  I nearly gave our little black guinea pig, Chocolate, mouth to mouth resuscitation to bring him back - but after a cool, two hour bath, and a hair cut - and injecting fluids in to his mouth by syringe, he recovered.   Now, just a week later, we think he has mange because all of his hair is suddenly falling out.

Let's see, what else is new? Well, over the weekend, my children innocently googled a picture of "kissing" and went down a rabbit hole of internet porn.  Thus began conversations I wasn't expecting to have with our ten-year-olds for at least another two or twelve years.  Also, we've implemented internet security measures even I cannot bypass.

My co-worker told me that my life is never dull; and I told him that situations usually comes in waves. Although lately it seems like the waves are more like tsunamis.

Like anything, it's all in your attitude.  So we're trying to look at what we're doing, and the next few months of change, as a FUN ADVENTURE.

Hang on y'all! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

kindness, courage ... and a little bit of magic

Today is my birthday ... which seems impossible that it's already here, again.  This has to be the fastest year in the history of my years.  Hopefully, this was a total anomaly, due to all the other things we have happening, and this next year won't go past quite so quickly.

When Charlie was commenting to me last week that he intends to get in to really good shape now that he's 47, I gently reminded him he's actually 48.  I'd thought he was kidding, until I saw the look of genuine surprise, and then shock on his face as he said, "Well.  I might need to see a doctor about this..."   

Today I woke up to happy children who were piling on top of me in bed.  They excitedly handed me wonderful presents that they had carefully selected from items they found around the house and lovingly wrapped.  Within my bounty of gifts was a lovely frame that I bought in 1998, and a pair of my exercise socks that look almost new.   It was a great start to what would be a perfect day (until just before bedtime when I realized that I lost my iPhone, who knows where?).

After a few hours in the office, I left work early and met Charlie and the children at the movie theatre for a 3:30 showing of Cinderella.  We went in to a completely empty cinema and watched during the previews, Elsa throw Anna a surprise birthday party (Henry incredulously asked, "Did you know Anna has the same birthday as you?!") before we all enjoyed what would be one of the best movies we've seen in a long time.  What made this movie so fantastic, aside from the acting and set design, costumes, and fact it was a Monday and we were in a theatre) was the underlining message of "Be Kind and Have Courage."  Those are the same principles we're trying so hard (read: so, so, so, so times infinity plus one) to impress upon our children.  Be Kind! Have Courage! 

Seems easy, right?  Until you try to teach your three 10-year olds to be kind to each other and their 7.5-year old brother, and you wind up taking very long walks because how can you model kind behavior when they make you lose your marbles and you threaten to send your little angels straight back to heaven?

OK, so I know people don't "make you" anything; but children really have a way of trying your patience in ways that cannot be succinctly described.


What I want to remember the most about TODAY,  is my beloved husband and children (yes children, your mother really does adore you) - sitting with each other in a big empty theatre, watching a wonderful movie together, and thinking, "Kindness, Courage, and Magic.  This life really IS pure magic."  


And I'm enormously grateful.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

git 'r done

Hello Blog!

Life is all aflutter these days as we've been preparing to put our Virginia home on the market and determine where precisely we'll be next.  A few weeks ago, we decided to pull the kids out of school for a few days, prior to their spring break, so the family could accompany me on a business trip to the great state of Texas and check things out.   If you follow the "minutiae of our daily life" via Twitter, you know that over the span of two weeks, we drove more than 3,000-miles, transversed 13 states (including what were 10 of the 11 Confederate States of America), crossed the Mississippi twice, and had an overall great time.

Because the children were out of school, during our daily drives, I read aloud 147 pages of our fourth graders' Social Studies book and ensured that our route included several historically relevant landmarks like Jamestown, Yorktown, Monticello, and the Cumberland Gap.  Pictures to follow soon!

It was a totally awesome trip, and my dream of homeschooling our clan for a year (or more), while traveling the country in an RV was ignited. Of course my enthusiasm put Charlie in a semi-state of panic that I'm going to suddenly resign from my profession and buy a camper (and National Park Pass), but he needn't worry. At least not THIS year.

Because we're getting our home ready for sale, we had our (never before finished) hardwood floors refinished during our trip...


And the preparation and aftermath of that activity has nearly paralyzed us. According to the children, it seems like our house is a snow globe that someone picked up and SHOOK. Everything from our upstairs was moved to our downstairs, where it still largely remains while we paint the house and update our baseboards ... and I'm certain the upcoming move will be far less painful.


Later this month, after Charlie finishes the second bathroom that he started in September;  we're redoing our third bathroom, and gutting our kitchen to the studs because we have a six-inch hole in the floor that needs to be repaired and if we're going to fix the floor, we might as well do the whole thing.  You know what they say about mice and cookies, right?


I've maintained that our kitchen has been like GLORIFIED camping, but according to multiple realtors, most people aren't too keen on glorified camping in their home kitchen.

It's a shame. 


We'd held off on doing these big ticket item upgrades because after watching our children run down the hall with crayons in their hands, marking up the walls as they went; we decided having money in our pocket was the best possible investment (for our dollars and our sanity).  But now, with the encouragement of several realtors who have convinced us that these improvements are well worth our effort, we're squeezing in to four weeks, what we might have done in four years. 

It makes sense to me.  

Then again, I did recently suffer a head injury