Monday, December 31

Another Productive Day

We got so much done today! Well, not a lot, domestically speaking. The kids mostly ran amok in and out of the sawdust, played billiards, and ate Chrismtas candy remnants. But on the project front, we did accomplish a bit. It's going to be horribly dull when Zorak goes back to work Wednesday. The kids and I just do normal "stuff" during the day - but when Zorak is home, it's all an adventure! I have thoroughly enjoyed this time with him.

Today he put two coats of stain on my new coat rack. I want to fondle it and touch it and whisper things to it, but it's a bad idea to manhandle the wet stain. Not to mention the whole fumes-while-pregnant issue. We won't even discuss the concerns surrounding Mommy talking to the furniture. So. I stand back and oooohhh and ahhhh, and inwardly stomp my feet like the impatient six-year-old I am. You know, deep down inside. :-) He got the stain on the rails of Claudia's toy bin, too. Different stain. Just as pretty. I didn't touch or talk to those, either. (I've been so good!)

I did, however, while feeling a bit guilty for sitting on the futon chair (again), reading (again), and doing absolutley nothing (erm, still...) decide I needed to clean up our old coffee table. This is the table James and John helped me make the top for, way back when I was pregnant with Smidge. We didn't want to strip it, but after two and a half years in storage, it needed something more than Murphy's. Zorak found a product today at Home Depot called "Restor-A-Finish" - wow! You can't use it with polyurethane, but since we don't polyurethane *anything*, we figured it would work well for us. It did! The table looks as good tonight as it did when we first refinished it. Ahhh, what a great feeling. (And how little work! LOVE that stuff!) Anyway, that little project turned out so beautifully that I've decided to tackle the big office desk chair and an old end table tomorrow. If we somehow manage to get enough sunlight into the basement, I'll get pictures of the progress.

We have only two days of vacation left. In that time, we've got to finish the small desk and haul it upstairs, pick up mattress bags and haul the guest room bed downstairs, hang the coat rack, finish Claudia's toy bin rack, make a new step stool for the bathroom (one that will fit beneath the sink and remove the toe-eating feature of the bath - not a big selling point, really) and... and I'm forgetting something. There's more on the list, but this is the stuff I need Zorak's help with (well, I *could*, technically, just let the boys maul the mattress down the basement stairs, but I have nightmares that they'll one day try to *ride* something down those stairs... those stairs that end at a cinder-block wall... it's worth it to ask for help from a grownup). We also want to get into town and visit Me-Wa and Me-Tae - we haven't seen them in almost a month, and we're all Jonesing for a visit.

Sometime between now and Wednesday, I want to review our lessons and goals for the Winter Term. We've only got January, February, and March before the baby arrives, and I'd like to be all caught up on our more structured academic work, poised with plenty of good literature on hand, and be able to spend our Spring on the back porch, enjoying the new dynamics and the daffodils. :-)

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, December 29

Christmas Gatherings. Literally.

This sounds so trite, but we had the nicest Christmas. The children had a wonderful time. We had a wonderful time. The food was to-die-for and since we ditched the traditional menu, the time savings left us with oodles of time to just enjoy the days leading up to, and following, Christmas Day. Other than missing so many of our loved ones, and wishing we could have been together, this was, perhaps, the Best Christmas Ever, for us.

We took over 300 pictures that day. 98% of them are of the backs and sides of peoples' heads. This is not what I was shooting for. This would normally bother me (or cause me to lobby for a better camera... which isn't out of the question just yet), except that the reason for the poor pictorial performance is wonderful: everybody was wholeheartedly engaged with everyone else.


How can I knock that, even in the name of needing to get some good pictures?

Isn't that fun? They were like this all day. The kids were all excited about their own gifts, but they were equally excited to share in their siblings' joy, too. That... that stuff doesn't just... well, that was the best thing I could have found beneath the tree this year, that's for sure.

And my gift? The final gluing and clamping is done. It dries tonight, and in the morning, we stain. I can hardly wait to show y'all!!

Did you have a good Christmas? Did you get a Favorite Shot sometime during the day? Want to post it? I'd love to see it!

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, December 27

A New Project

You can see, if you look closely at the picture below, there is a futon frame, belly-up in the basement. (OK, I tried to make it easy - the hot pink writing? Doesn't actually appear in the basement.)
That's the one we salvaged when we needed a couch for this place during its "construction phase", two years ago. We lived in/on/around it for about a year, thoroughly beat the tar out of it, and then, when it had finally given up all pretense of function, we laid it down in the basement. Presumably to die.

But that's the thing about metal. It just won't always up and decompose like you'd hope it would. And so, as you can see, the frame stayed. It gathered dust. It held my old lariat. It created a jarring visual. Particularly after the Great Basement Clean of '08 (which continued this last week, once I could again breathe and stand upright - but more on that later). I wanted to toss it. Zorak wanted to keep it. (Did you see all that metal? Metal is always useful. Honestly.) We went back and forth. Considering this photo was taken less than two weeks ago, I think it's obvious how I fared on those discussions. Fast forward to December 23rd. Decision-making time. There was only one way to handle this:
This basement's just not big enough... well, it's big enough, but I just don't want to look at this thing, anymore. Are you going to do something with it, or is this part of your overall plan to make me criminally insane?
Well, I guess I'd just never taken the blunt approach before. And the basement is all purtied up and ready to use. And, well, what the heck. Let's do it.

And so, what began as a Crusade to rid the basement of More Crap turned into the Plan to Make It All Come Together. Here's what we came up with:

You know, that was actually kind of fun! It fits two adults and one toddler quite comfortably. Or one adult, one bag of peanut butter cups, a coffee cup, and a good book. (Ask me where I spent the day after Christmas!) Plus, since we saved the hardware from the edges, it folds flat to make a splendid cushiony seating thing for, well, I can't think of a reason. But it'd be a great place to nap if you're small enough! It won't be pretty for a while, but now it's functional. And the view across the basement is improved already! And did ya see the joy on that little guy's face? Oh, he had so much fun helping to build it with us! That, alone, was worth all the waiting in the world.

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, December 22

Christmas Tree Cakes

The boys got their trees decorated. The trees actually turned out much better than I anticipated. James asked if I was going to blog them, so, here they are! The boys worked diligently at their task. (Ignore the boxes in the foyer - that's what passes for Christmas storage in our house.)
Why, yes, yes, they are wearing their pajamas. Sometimes we don't get around to something until it's, well, past bedtime, if I must be honest. :-) Don't they look traumatized?
And then, ta-da! Decorated, happy, semi-delicious trees. I think these silly little trees turned out to be one of the best projects we've done this season. The kids really enjoyed them. (So much so that there are actually a few missing. It seems there is no flat surface in this house that can keep EmBaby from her sugar fix.)
(The boys graciously agreed to let her keep the ones she'd already sucked on. How thoughtful, no?)

Kiss those babies!

Friday, December 21

One More Gift To Buy

Oh, this was just too sweet, and I can't resist. Tonight, we were doing groceries, when James saw that the store had The Order of the Phoenix. That's the next book on his list. He's been told he must wait until his birthday (next September) to get it. Still, he was so excited to point it out to me.

I gave the non-committal "mmmm, that's interesting" response and kept walking, because, let's be truthful, I'm about done shopping. I bought food tonight solely because I really like to eat.

He paused, and suddenly, his little face just. lit. up. He let out a little, "Oh!", slipped up to me, put his arm in mine, and whispered, "Thank you."

And the child simply glowed through the rest of the shopping excursion.

At the thought of receiving this book.

Not even a hint of disappointment at thinking he knew what he'd be getting Christmas morning. It didn't ruin anything for him. Just total, utter contentment.

Well. Yeah. How can I not pick up a copy now, right?

So, one more stop this weekend, and then I'm really, truly finished. But oh, what a worthwhile stop to make!


Thursday, December 20


Well, we got pictures to Target to print out as cards. Thank you for your input! (And Amy, thank you for reminding me of Shutterfly - and then, for walking me through it in my caffeine-deprived haze this morning!) Hopefully, Zorak will pick them up on his way home. If I have your address, you can expect a card from us by, um, Easter. And if you read the blog, you may not actually get the Christmas letter in with your card, because, well, because you know everything we've been doing this year!

And just when I was feeling quite together and such, Smidge brought me this lovely package of little gift bags and asked what they were for. "OH, those are for Daddy to take candies to his co-workers." Pause. Insert internal dialogue:

Uh... tomorrow's Friday. And then, it's Christmas. He won't see these people after tomorrow. I haven't made candy! When was I going to make candy? Why didn't I? Oh, yeah, I was sick. Nuts. Well, they'll probably appreciate that I didn't make candy *while* I was sick. Or, they would if they knew why there's no candy. Oh. Well.

There goes the General Sensation of Togetherness, as you can see. And so, that brings us up to date. :-) Yay. Putting Em down right now, and then I'm going to turn the boys loose to decorate the cupcake Christmas trees we attempted to make the other day.

What? I didn't mention those? Yeah. Probably because they didn't work so well. The cones we used collapsed. It'll take a month to burn off all the overspill in the oven. Then we tried making foil cones to hold the batter. Those weren't horribly stiff, and didn't want to hold your basic cone-shape. It was difficult to get the trees out from all the folds and creases. But they did come out. Mostly. We have a theme, at least: A Chernobyl Christmas.

Thankfully, the kids are all about the icing, which I'm not going to tell you about, either. So, thankfully-thankfully, the kids don't have terribly high standards and are just happy to be decorating what I claim are trees with what they know is a sugar-based substance. See? It's all good. No need for holiday stress, at all, if you're simply willing to lower your standards, mmm, "be flexible".

Yeah. Good stuff, really. Even when our tea cart is decorated with what looks suspiciously like an acid-rain forest, and Zorak has to hand out empty gift bags tomorrow. How did I get so lucky to have such an awesome family? Really. Good, good stuff.

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, December 19

Group Photos from Round 1

OK, just presume that I can edit out the marker (which I didn't see when I took the picture to begin with - you'd think I'd have fixed that by now, I know). And if there's anything else truly glaring, I probably can't fix it, but I have People Who Can. And they love me. Thankfully!

I really like this next one... except, is Smidge chewing or talking? I'm not sure.

This one makes me smile the most...

Kiss those babies!

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Photos, Take 1

This is gonna take another round, I think. Whooo boy. We made a point of keeping it fun......and while that did reduce the stress level, it didn't do much for the quality of the photos. When I got a good shot, it was blurry (my camera doesn't like indoor photography, at all, and I haven't figured out the magic trick for making it behave). I mean, seriously, look at that - I'm not using a 1976 Polaroid, I swear. Huh. And, um, the star wasn't straightened. But I'd happily crop the star for in-focus children at this point!

And then, they figured out that I had muffins, and it was all over...

Emily's watching Elf (we think she has a crush on Buddy *sigh*) and when she gets up from her nap, if it's still light out, we'll try again. I hate to do this, as the children have been so gracious and sweet about it. But you know what, this is one of the perks of having children. They're lucky I don't take them to the Big, Scary Photographer my mother took me to as a child... oh, wait, that was my Uncle. Well, still, it's not fun to have Herr Scary directing the Christmas shots, okay? Someday (not today, or probably even next year, but someday), they'll appreciate this.

Kiss those babies!

They've Been Warned

Last night, I told each child that this morning is The Day. The Day we take pictures. The Day we pretend we're organized. Since I'm still without transportation, and it's kind of cold outside, we'll do it indoors. They have from the time we put the muffins IN the oven, until the time we take them OUT of the oven, to give me a good shot with most apendages intact, and eyeballs not doing things eyeballs ought not do. Period. It's happening, folks, and it's happening T-O-D-A-Y.

But... but what brought this on, you may ask? Traitors. That's what brought this on.

We got cards this year from not one, but TWO -- TWO -- friends I've always been able to count on for also Not Sending Cards. But noooooo, they had to go get on the ball this year. Then another friend called yesterday, "I got cards! I need your address!" Granted, after I gave it to her, she laughed and said, "OK, now I've got *one* address. This is such a good start." So, there may still be hope for her, but I doubt it. She sounded like she'd been stoking up on caffeine, and she just might pull this off. Well, I may be the last among my friends to be able to keep a plant alive. Or to stop giggling and hearing Beavis' voice in my head when I'm taking tours led by Park Rangers. Or to relegate an actual day to switching out the sheets. I'm okay with bringing up the rear on those things. But I cannot be the Very Last One to get around to the last of the Domestic Tasks That Makes People Smile.

How could I not want to make people smile? What kind of selfish, horrible, scatterbrained person wouldn't leap at the chance to spread a little happiness and help fund the USPS? What am I, a commie?

NO! No, I say! I am a red-blooded American Housewife, and by-golly, I have a heritage to uphold! *play inspiring music of your choice in your head, here - personally, I'm going with Eye of the Tiger this morning*

So, who wants to come back around lunch and help me pick photos? :-D And recover.

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, December 18

Company, or More Forever Home Updates

I know, I promised to relegate those to Sunday's posts only. I lied. It seems that's been our focus this week, and I can't just sit here and hear the voices on my own, okay? So, I've got to share the joy with you.

We're having company next week, and I've noticed that seems to be our biggest motivator. (Ack! Someone might see how we *gasp* LIVE!) I mean, it's one thing to read about it, but it's another thing, entirely, to walk into it. What I really need is a year's supply of guests, each willing to come for one weekend a month, one group per month. That gives me three weekends to get things done before each group arrives, and then a weekend of force feeding people just because it's fun. Really, that seems like the best schedule for us to use. Any takers? Anyone? Please? The last weekend in January looks open, and at this rate, I think we could roll out the red carpet for you by then!

We finally caved and bought medicine cabinets at Lowe's this weekend. We've been holding off for an IKEA trip. There is so much we'd planned to get from IKEA: medicine cabinets, comforters for the boys, new twin mattresses, that hanging chair thing (for the kids, honest), kitchen lighting, perhaps a new sofa. See? That's worth the drive to Atlanta. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to scrape together the time to make the trip *and* the money to blow once we got there, all at the same time. But the kids really need blankets that actually fit their beds, and we really need some storage solutions. So, we gave in and went with this. It turned out great. We put up two cabinets, so there are enough mirrors that everyone can see from the vantage point of his respective sink. Plus, the mirrors are far enough apart that nobody's toothpaste gets in anybody else's hair. (If your toothpaste gets in your own hair, well, there's not much I can do for ya, there.) The gap between the two is large enough that when somebody starts touching someone else, it'll be fairly obvious who violated the airspace. The peace this will bring to my home is indescribable. There is also now enough room to stash a step stool beneath the sinks, and my stubbed toes will be forever grateful to get that bit taken care of.

Then, like the distractable puppies we are, we realized you can now actually access the wee gap between the backsplash and the wall (bad framing, not something we did wrong). It needs caulking before the boys decide it would make a great used floss receptacle. And we thought we found weird things behind the cabinets we pulled out, right? Ew. But, before we can caulk, we really need to paint the cabinet base, and before we can paint the cabinet base, we really need to dismantle the doors and drawers. Oh! Hey! We can paint in the basement! So it doesn't matter that it'll get down to the 20's at night! WOOHOO! Let's go! Now, the storm windows still aren't finished, but the cabinet base is lookin' good.

I worked a bit more in the basement yesterday, too. Cleared off the Big Wonderful Desk (I love that desk), and also cleared off the Small, Semi-Creepy-Yet-Fully-Functional desk from beneath the piles of boxes. Zorak pulled the small desk out and we made the command decision to give it a hearty sanding and restain it, and we'll put it back into the guest room, where it has lived for most of its life. That buys us more floor space in the basement, and gives James a place to work in peace (because right now, he's nine, and he must have peace to tap into his genius. Or something. I don't know. He's nine. We just try to go with it.)

All in all, things are moving along nicely. Zorak asked me to be a little less productive day, and (once I ascertained that he was actually wanting me to relax and rest, and he wasn't being snarky), I agreed. So we're going to be slugs today. Perhaps bake. Definitely read. Maybe even craft something. (Don't quote me on that, though, he said I could relax - so we'll play the crafting bit by ear.)

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, December 16

On Organizing

It's important to be organized, but it's equally important not to allow the process of organization to overtake the goal in sight. I know, I can see you nodding and hear you ask, "But how? How do you do that?" Well, don't ask me. I don't know. I just know it's important.

Anyway, Zorak and I put the kids to bed and headed down to proceed on the Great Basement Overhaul. My plan tonight was to put labels on *everything* -- every shelf, every coffee can, every box. If it's going to live down there, it must have a label. We must know why it's there or, so help me, the next time I do this, I'm just setting things on fire if they don't have labels.

We made progress. Zorak got the peg board hooks up and began hanging things from them. I suspect he's writing a secret code that'll only be visible from 20' away, but for now, I'm going to let that slide. (I want to see what it says.) We created a work space for the boys, complete with work bench, seating, and storage compartments. We got the bulk of the Scary Chemicals up, hopefully out of the reach of the Bad Idea Fairy, as well as small children and dogs.

In the process, we had to fight our inner pack rats, our inner raised-by-Depression-Era-wolves children, and our inner desire not to have to do this at all. There was a lot of internal struggling going on, but mostly, I think, we won. The sweetest victory of all, however, was not the three bags of trash, or the two large plastic tubs now empty, or the spare shelf we ended up with. No, those might sound good, but they're nothing compared to the victory we scored over the Categorizing Demons.

That's our Achilles Heel, right there. We over-analyze every. little. thing. We want a name, a place, a compartment, a label, a coffee can, for every individual item you could ever hope to find in our basement. But I only bought two rolls of masking tape. So, we had to be firm with ourselves. And so, we have labels, and we have simplicity. I thought I would share, in case anyone else has trouble deciding just where to draw the line in their categorizing, between "too vague" and "far too detailed". I think we've found a good balance.

Leatherworking; Bowmaking; Concrete tools; Scary, Dangerous Stuff (this would be the shelf with pesticides, herbicides, and other neurological agents, but "neurological agents" didn't seem like the best thing to have listed on a shelf, in a basement, with other... accoutrements... that might, you know, "concern" the nice folks at the FBI. Not that that's a concern. I'm just saying...); Happy Homeowner Stuff (small nails, furniture feet pads, stuff normal people keep in their basements); Sealants & Adhesives; Sanding materials; Power Tools; Power Tool Accessories; Construction Fasteners; Normal Fasteners; Plumbing; Electrical - Construction; Electrical - happy homeowner; Reloading Equipment; Weird Stuff You Only Look For Once A Year (very important category - you can easily fill a small bin with this one - be flexible, but don't overdo it, or it'll take you a year to find anything in that bin, and by then you won't need it).

Zorak got away from me, for a bit, with a few bins: All Things Blades; Tape (I don't mind a "tape" bin, but... there were three...); Metalworking (I take exception to this. I don't know metalworking, this is true. But I know for a fact there is an 18" piece of angle iron, cut from a metal bedframe that he took from the dumpster behind the storage facility... this is scraps, I know it's scraps, I just can't quite make a convincing case for tossing it when he quotes the price of angle iron at Lowe's. So, that box stays. For now.) I did, however, keep the masking tape on my wrist, and am going to push for a more efficient grouping of a few things down there before wielding the Sharpie Of Organization on them.

We're back on the same page again, though. No blood was shed. Nothing broken, or hidden (I think). Hey, that's what a good marriage does. It allows you to figure out how to keep it together, and enjoy the process, right? Yeah. It does. Onward and upward! And then, to bed.

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, December 15

Where've I Been?

Down here. Doing this.

And to think, we're really not even packrats. Scary.

That was Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I was sicker than a dog and borderline non-functional. I'm still a little whiney today, truth be told. But I'm up, and my voice has this funky Eartha Kitt kick to it. That's kind of cool, if you can get past the sinus issues. And, I'm functional (relatively).

But the super exciting news is that now I have masking tape, so I can have Zorak tell me what's supposed to go on each shelf. (My plan is to write said instructions on tape, stick the label to the shelf, and then be miraculously capable of sorting through all the remaining dodads and general crap, myself. Hah. We shall see how that works out. But don't mock me. We bought two rolls of this tape, and I'm feeling a little taut at the moment, okay? Okay. Thanks.)

Kids are psyched about Christmas. I refuse to even think about how close it's actually come while I was laid out. Just not going to think about it.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, December 9

A Quickie

What a weekend...

The Nutcracker was splendid. Both James and John thoroughly enjoyed the entire performance. I don't know which I enjoyed more -- watching the performance, or watching them watching the performance. The intermission was a tad too short for the three of us to suck down a small (small-small) soda - could've used another five minutes in the lobby. But really, that's the only complaint. The baby mice - oh. my. word. How cute could they be?!? The Cavalier was absolutely, perfectly, spectacular. He took my breath away with his performance. It was just... wow. Wow. Of course, we couldn't find the camera, so there are no photos. But trust me, we had a lovely time, and the boys were so handsome decked out in their holiday attire.

Since we're having some freakishly warm winter weather, we worked on the windows some more, worked on the property, and then headed out to pick up a tree. We went with our first artificial tree.
(OK, yes, John looks like he's ready to fall over. He was. And no, that's not blood on the wall. It's art. Just ask EmBaby. It's also a very good argument not to buy cheap paint.) Anyway, I never thought I'd want an artificial tree, but truth be told, I'm good with it. No water to worry about spilling on the floor. No water to worry about refilling. It's pre-lit, so that eliminated a tremendous potential for conflict between *ahem* certain parties of our household. The kids liked it okay when we got it up. They liked it a little better when we plugged it in. When we got each limb "fluffed", though, it hit them: this is a beautiful tree! So, four happy children. Can't get better than that. Oh, wait, yes it can. This tree? It. Can't. Die. No matter what we do to it. No matter how many times we tip it over (not saying we will, just saying it could happen). No matter how long we procrastinate in taking it down (ok, I am saying we will do this one). It'll be just as green, and just as non-needle-dropping in March as it is tonight. One happy mama, that's for sure.

Here, we see The Fluffing of the Tree. A new tradition. Perhaps next year, there won't be cans of paint stripper peering in the window.

Oh, and those 3M adhesive hook things? Yeah, they don't last a full year. And the sound of a six-foot bough leaping from the wall in the dead of night? Not the best thing for one's blood pressure. However, it missed the anole set-up, missed the heat lamp, and missed the tree. Since nothing caught on fire, I think it can wait until tomorrow to be dealt with.

Unfortunately, one by one, separated by only a few hours each, the children came down with The Snots today. All four of them. So what began as a routine holiday excursion ended in a menthol-scented, Puffs Plus-filled evening of short stories and an early bedtime. Hopefully, this round will be short-lived. Hopefully, this round won't hit anybody in the house over 5' tall... *cringe*

And in that hope, I'm hitting the hay!

Kiss those babies!

Friday, December 7

The Periodontist...

Or... Why I'm So Confused.

I met with the Periodontist yesterday. The one recommended by our current dentist's office. (Until further notice, I shall refer to the two dentists in that office as Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. I'm fairly certain neither one knows the other one exists.) I went braced for the Apocalyptic news I'd been prepared to hear. I struggled with presenting myself in a confident, capable manner without having to resort to Ernie's suggestion (which was, by the way, infinitely comforting, and made me smile a lot during the morning).

He made a chart, updated the information from the x-rays I had with me, and then probed my gums with the little measure-o-meter stick. The numbers sounded different than the numbers I'd been quoted at the awful visit I referenced in my last post. They sounded significantly different. There was one bad-bad number (a pocket of 7mm between the two front teeth - but back at the last visit, the hygienist had said she'd bottomed out her poker thing and never hit solid ground, so she marked it as an 11 on my chart), but everything else was mostly 2's, with a few 3's. Only two fours, and one five. Nothing like the 8's and up I'd been told before.

We talked about pregnancy hormones, and how these numbers will likely actually improve after the baby is born. He said even if they didn't, he doesn't see anything that warrants a surgical solution. He is a little worried about that spot between the two front teeth, and would like to wrap his mind around it. The teeth are healthy, and there's no gum recession. So why the deep pockets there? What caused this? (That is, also, incidentally, where there is identifiable bone loss on the x-rays.) He asked if I'd experienced any trauma to that region - car wreck, head bonk by a child, kick in the head, bar fight... anything? There hasn't been anything, so I don't know what could have caused it. I can only guess, but we know what that's worth. Miss Cleo, I'm not.

His recommendation: wait until April, then come in for a regular old cleaning and another probe. Let's see, then, but also take into account that nursing keeps your body in a pregnancy-like state, as far as hormones go, and a good portion of gum condition is directly tied to hormones. (OK, can I just interject here that it is SO refreshing to find a health care professional who has a clue how pregnancy affects the body? Truly, deeply refreshing.) If I experience any obvious changes, call him immediately and he'll see me to make sure nothing bad is going on in there. In the meantime, though, keep doing whatever I'm doing at home, and have a good pregnancy.

I'm... relieved. I'm... cautiously optimistic. Obviously, I'd like to believe what this man is saying. Nobody would opt for a full frontal flaying if it's not actually necessary. However, I just don't know who to trust or what to do, and a part of me (the pessimistic, Eyore-like part) is terrified to go with the best-case-scenario, for fear that I'll wake up one morning to find my mouth has exploded, I'm choking to death on abcesses, and my teeth are embedded in the ceiling and headboard. Lovely image, no? No. Yeah, I know.

*phew* I don't know. What would you do? I'm at an absolute loss, but at least for now, I think we're going to wait until April to make any further decisions. That will allow us to enjoy the holidays, get more done on the Forever Home, and enjoy welcoming BabyFive to the family. Tomorrow's worries can wait. (Or, they will explode while I sleep. Either way, I'm not going to sweat it for now. *grin*)

Thanks for listening!
Kiss those babies!

Thursday, December 6

Hey there!

We would not make a good on-the-go family. At least, not yet. Left the house this morning with everybody intact, nearly on time, and mostly fed. We hit the periodontist, Zorak's workplace, and then Sam's and Wal-mart. Picked up Zorak and came home... and wow, oh wow, are we one tired clan. I remember keeping busier schedules. I do. But... I've no idea *how* I kept them. So. Anyway, there ya go.

OK, I don't know how much of our dental saga y'all are familiar with. We've had a rough time finding competent dentists, and keeping our teeth healthy. The combination is enough to make Pol Pot cry, really. Today's visit was to a periodontist, presumably, based on my last visit with my dentist's office, to discuss bone grafts. And which five teeth I'll be able to keep. Obviously, this visit is not something I've been eagerly awaiting.

The visit was interesting and different. I'll fill y'all in on that tomorrow, when I've had some rest and put my hackles back down a bit. Nothing like trying to blog while you're still a bit prickly.

We blew a whole lot of cash at Sam's. I thought I'd been so good, too. But no. I bought a lot of crap. Not crap-crap, and nothing that made Zorak ban me from shopping there without a chaperone. (Although, truthfully, I probably need one.) Still, I could have been a bit more frugal. *sheepish grin* Fortunately, we won't need to go back for a while, so that's good.

We didn't blow much at Wal-Mart. That was also good. I'd like to say it was due to my superior culling skills, and excellent self-restraint. But no. It was due to the fact that EmBaby had been up and about since six-thirty, and by four that afternoon, she. was. done. Done being cute. Done being quiet. And done being complaint in any sense of the word. Honestly, if I had any idea when I might have transportation for groceries again, I'd have left. But sometimes you can't go with Option A. So, I encouraged the boys to just remember this and torment her with it when she's 24 and way-too-cool for something, and, for now, laugh their way through it. They obliged, and we survived. Long Live Flexibility!

Tomorrow is the Nutcracker. I forgot to buy shoes for James. Not sure how to work that one around, but we'll see how it goes. Even if he has to go barefooted, or if we have to re-think the outfits they'll wear, we'll go, and it will be a wonderful evening with my Fine Young Men. That's what counts. And truth be told, I am far more excited about it than I thought I'd be! Hopefully, we will have it together enough to get pictures.

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, December 5

Breathe in...

I'll breathe out later.

OK, so I'm just in a slightly foul mood, and I've got to work it out before Zorak comes home, because he probably isn't making the trek home, thinking, "Boy, I hope she's *really* irritable tonight. It's been such a nice week, and I'd just hate to keep things so bland."

Yeah. Heh. I know.

The periodontist's office called today. They have a cancellation and can take me tomorrow morning. This is good, as it means they can see me sooner (I'd originally been scheduled for January 8th). This is good, as it means we'll have a clear picture and less ambiguity on how to proceed. This is good...

Well, I can't really think of a reason this is good. But I couldn't think of a reason not to take the appointment, either, other than my disgust with the overal dental community, my frustration with the lack of straight answers, and the fact that I'm. Just. Tired. Of it. Yank 'em all and call it good. I'll share applesauce with EmBaby and double up on my multi-vitamins. I don't smile a big, toothy smile, anyway.

Perhaps, if I felt a bit more confident that anybody in the dental profession was shooting us straight, I'd be more enthusiastic about this visit. Or, if not "enthusiastic", at least not quite so Eyore-like. Yes. That's it. Here's hoping the periodontist is capable of communicating in a straightforward manner, whether the prognosis is heinous or uplifting. I don't care. I just want a health care professional who is going to be honest and upfront, from beginning to end. Capable of doing the work would also be a bonus, but I'm starting to feel that's asking too much.

Gah. Ok, ham and split pea soup is on. We've got bread. Gotta make some tea and mix up some juice, and then I think we're set. Perhaps this would be a good time to sort some laundry? I don't know. They day started out oddly, and just never improved. What are your tips for recalibrating on a day like that?

I know! I'll Kiss Those Babies! That always helps. :-)

Simple. Phone. Etiquette.

I understand that children must practice using the phone in order to hone the skills necessary to use this particular communication device without doing something moronic. I do get that. I love it when friends ask if I mind talking with Little A or Tiny B, because it gives the child a good framework to develop those skills. It's good stuff. I have two who would give body parts to answer the phone, and are absolutely elated when I say, 'yes'. However, that feature starts out with people who know and may expect it, who will help me help the child, etc. etc. etc. Totally get that. Life takes a little work. Good stuff. No qualms.

What I don't appreciate, however, (in fact, I resent it quite a bit) is having *my* phone ring, answering it, and hearing the person on the other end demand, without introducing herself, "Who is this?"

'Scuze me? You called here. With whom would you like to speak? Or, better yet, how about a simple, "Hello, this is *insert your name here*. Is *individual you're looking for* available?"

Yes, I know. Adults do this, too. I have no idea what's up with it. I hate to think of an entire generation coming up behind them, thinking it's "normal". Seriously. Take a few minutes to teach a child HOW to use the phone before turning him/her lose with it. Gah. It's not the wrong number that galls me. We all dial wrong numbers. It's the fact that more and more frequently, these callers skip straight to interrogation mode on the phone. My phone. When you called me.


Kiss those babies! I'm off to remind mine how to answer a phone...

Tuesday, December 4

Small Town Parades

I grew up in a small town, and, so, I get a special kick out of small town parades. We could have opted for the Huntsville parade, or even the Decatur parade, but those aren't our communities. We wouldn't recognize anybody in the floats. We'd have to wriggle our way through the throngs who've been parked there two hours before the parade began (and who are, as a result, cranky, cold, and unwilling to acknowledge you when you say, "Excuse me, pardon us, just need to get by.") We don't know the route, and would have no idea where to park to avoid a three-mile trek, uphill both ways. There'd still be large crowds, and, my biggest pet peeve with parades: grown people who must be in the Very Front and don't have the decency to let small children sit on the curbside for the candy. We might as well trek into NYC for the Macy's Day parade, for all that.
Nah, that's no fun. What's fun is to stroll to an empty spot along the parade route (because small town parades have empty spots along the parade routes), smile and get to know the folks on either side of you. What's fun is to laugh with them as their children or grandchildren asphalt dive for candy, just as they laugh with you while your children dive, as well. Granted, there's no curb to sit upon, but that doesn't seem to phase the children. Curbs are overrated, anyhow, I'm sure.

Do you see the look of concentration on each little face? They were like that the whole parade. Tensed. Poised. Ready for the pounce. I don't ever remember being ready for anything, and most of the candy I acquired at parades was the stuff that konked me on the head while I sat on the curb. (But then, for me, it was all about the bands. I love marching band music, and where else can you get a total fix of all the bands in the area? I still love that part.) These kids, though... they're ready, man. You can even see EmBaby's taking off to forage for more, just in case they missed some.

Obviously, Smidge wasn't ready for the field. He had a pocketful, and was ready to talk about it. But the other four? No way, man. There's a shiny black car with a red bow, and somebody hanging out of the window, winging candy at bystanders. Get ready... this is going to be good!

Did you SEE that? There must be enough for... for ALL OF US, there! WOW! (And see the nice folks in the background, laughing? Very cool people. We really enjoyed visiting with them.) The lady in the white hoodie offered to keep EmBaby, and I don't think EmBaby would have minded. But the boys were more efficient with the candy gathering than any of us slackin' adults, and so they kept her stocked up enough to prevent a full-on migration.

And even better? The boys shared their candy with the old and infirmed (AKA - those of us who stood, sat, or leaned our way through the parade and didn't get any candy.) How sweet is that?

Yesiree, I do love small town parades.
Kiss those babies!

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Sunday, December 2

Afternoon Fun


You can't *quite* tell by this collage, but we went to the Christmas Parade this Saturday. We met Claudia and her kids there. Everybody had an absolute blast. It was so much fun that I'm thisclose to being forgiven for the library fiasco, which is quite encouraging.

I did take other pictures. I did. I like my other children, too. But the little ones are so much fun to photograph. They don't hold still for squat, but they also don't grimace or growl, don't make Frankenstein poses, and don't try to add sound effects to still photography.

And I swore I'd be in bed, um, an hour ago. So, uh, here ya go. I'll write more in the morning!

Kiss those babies!
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Saturday, December 1

Random Injuries

Ah, the not-quite-coveted "Bad Mother Award". Most of us feel the shameful glory of needing it from time to time. It's part of the learning curve of parenthood, I'm convinced of it. And once in a while, I meet a kindred soul who knows *exactly* what I'm talking about when I have to admit to something like this (taken, in part, from an email I sent recently)... least twice a week at supper, Zorak will look at one of the boys and say, "What happened to you?" And it's not until right. at. that. moment. that we all look at said child and realize he's got some gaping wound, or enormous goose-egg, or some other obvious bodily damage (my favorite was a series of scabs up his arm that looked like something with razored feet scampered up his arm - wth is that???) -- that I *never* noticed at all, all day, not once. Gah. I hate that.

Then Zorak looks at me, and I know his look says, "Wow, weird, huh? What is that?" But, filtered through my writhing guilt, it looks like a look that says, "What kind of mother doesn't notice that?"

Thankfully, I know my translation box is broken, so I'm usually able to refrain from leaping up and shouting, "Well, there are SO MANY of them! And they scatter! And I'm only a MERE MORTAL, Damn You! What do you want from me!"

I think it's good to know your limitations and boundaries...

And to marry a man who remembers what it was like to be a little boy. That is also a significant help. Yep.

Kiss those babies!