Thursday, February 24, 2011

Moo







So we settled into the Spring of 2009, waiting for Miss Marley’s arrival in June. We got Marley’s room ready, we spent extra time with the boys and began shopping (finally) for pink clothes. As a little girl myself, my parents’ nickname for me had been ladybug. I always liked that nickname, and always loved ladybugs. In fact, one year in the not too distant past, upon Pete learning of my childhood nickname and my affection for it, he got me for Christmas a beautiful charm bracelet with tiny, adorable ladybugs on it!

So when coming upon a tiny, newborn onesie in pink, with tiny, red ladybugs on it, I quickly snatched it up for Marley’s “coming home” outfit. I brought it home, eager to show it off to Pete. He, of course, thought it was precious; Alex, however, had a different idea. Alex took one look at it, grabbed it from me for a closer inspection, looked up at me as if I had lost my mind entirely, and informed me, “Dat’s not ladybugs, Mommy! Dem’s COCKROACHES! Don’t put my baby sister in cockroaches!”

Boys.

Anyways, the hilarity while waiting for Marley didn’t end there. An episode occurred with Austin one evening that we still laugh out loud about to this day. One evening, all of us were in the den watching Animal Planet. The boys were roughhousing about, occasionally watching what was on the TV, but for the most part, just being boys....bumping, hitting, pinching, squeaking, squalling, carrying on, stealing toys from one another...until Austin looked up at one point and notice what was on TV. I don’t remember the name of the show, but this particular episode was about a momma cow, giving birth to a calf. It was very realistic and fairly graphic. It showed the farmers and vets all around in the barn....the momma cow laying down in the hay, and by the sounds coming out of the momma cow, she was in heavy labor. Austin stopped his horseplay, and began intensely watching the TV. The momma cow kept bellowing, in pain that I, as a “different kind of labor” pain-free adoptive mother, can only imagine. I’m not much of one to watch any television depicting any type of suffering, animal or human. Give me a sit-com any time. I started to tell Pete to change channels, but Austin hollered out, “No! No!” The calf was coming, the vets and farmers were helping momma cow, and Austin, spellbound, got up from the floor where he had been playing with his brothers, and, mesmerized, began walking towards the television set. His eyes were bugged out. He dropped his toy dinosaur. He continued on towards the television, never taking his eyes off the momma cow. The den got quiet as we all watched Austin’s progress towards the TV, the only sounds now being the sounds of the momma cow, the human on the show, and....finally, the newborn baby calf! Austin was, by now, standing right in front of the TV, his right hand out and touching the screen where the baby calf lay in the hay, between it’s momma’s hind legs. Austin’s never moved a muscle, never took his eyes off, never said a word. The vets/farmers were now beginning to check over and clean up the baby calf, and, eventually got the calf up on its feet. Austin.....still entranced. The baby calf began to nurse at it’s momma. Austin....fascinated. The baby calf nursed for a short while, then pulled away, and nestled with it’s momma for a bit, then went back to nursing. Austin, this entire time, has not moved a muscle, has not said a word, has not even blinked his eyes! Just standing there, hand out touching the TV screen, just overwhelmed by the miracle of birth, of a baby cow. Then, as the scene began to close and the camera was pulling away, taking in the larger scene with the vets and farmers and other people, the barn, the other cows, and just farm life in general, Austin, apparently finding his voice, finally, leaned his head back....way back, puckered up his lips, took a deep breath, and let out the loudest, longest, most passionate, heartfelt “MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” any human being has ever uttered. No cow ever has anything in our Austin. His alter ego was born.

Pete and I laughed until we actually cried, watching this whole thing play out.

Even funnier was about two weeks later, when they had “Zoo Day” at his pre-K, and upon picking up Austin from school, his teacher told us, “Ya know, Austin was just thrilled by the cows. And as a matter of fact, whenever we have play/pretend time, Austin is always our best cow. He can “moo” louder and longer than any of the other kids. He always insists on playing the cow!”

The teacher looked at us like we’d lost our minds when we both cracked up laughing hard enough to cry. And even to this day, almost two years later, whenever we’re out with the kids traveling and pass a field of cows, or even when we’re anywhere, reading a book with a cow in the storyline, Austin can always be counted on to reinvent his inner cow, bringing both of us to tears with laughter....the best kind.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thomas the Train




One of the funniest things I think I have ever seen, happened in early 2009. I don't know when I have ever laughed so hard, either before or since (well, except maybe for the Alex potty training talk) .

It began with Christmas. The boys each got a tiny, battery-operated Thomas the Tank Engine in their Christmas stocking. You just insert one AA battery, close the compartment, flip the switch to "ON" and off he goes! The boys had great fun with them. They love to run Thomas over everything: the floor, the table, their arms, the sofa, the kitchen counter tops...anywhere with a flat (or near flat) surface.

One afternoon, their father was watching TV while home with the boys. Austin came running up to his daddy from the play room and hollered, "Daddy! Watch Thomas!" and proceeded to put Thomas, with his tiny little battery-operated wheels just a-chugging along, on the top of his daddy's head. Tiny little Thomas the Tank Engine proceeded across the top of hubs' head, and the tiny little wheels proceeded to swirl, spin and twist up the very few hairs that still claim residence on Pete's head. Before Austin or Pete could do anything, Thomas was locked up tighter than a drum, with his little train wheels just a-spinnin', twirling those few hairs tighter and tighter, and the little plastic wheels digging deeper and deeper into Pete's scalp.

Pete immediately reached up to grab the offending Thomas off of his head, but Thomas was stuck! Oh, so stuck! Pete pulled and tugged, but that train was on the tracks to nowhere! He managed to switch the on/off switch to OFF, but he could not get the train off of his head! Those four little wheels had twirled up his hair all the way to the root! (For those of you who have never seen Pete, his is...shall we say...of a certain mature age, and his hair is...shall be say...thinning! And for those of you who don't know Pete very well, he is...shall we say...very vain about his hair. Every trip to the barber, he swears THIS IS THE TIME I CUT IT ALL OFF AND JUST EMBRACE BEING BALD! Or not. Each time, he comes home with a perm AND a dye job, trying his best to hold off looking like a monkey's behind.) Had this happened to me, no sweat. I have long hair, thick hair and lots of hair, so one quick snip of the scissors and back to business it would be for me. For Pete, not so much.

The image of Pete with Thomas the Train stuck to his head is funny enough. The first thing that really cracks me up is that the train was not sitting flat, on top of his head....rather, Thomas had begun his run in the center of Pete's scalp, and ended his route sort of at the curve of his skull, above his right eye. The second thing that was so funny was this whole episode happened to poor Pete, early in the day! So he spent most of that entire day with Thomas the Tank Engine stuck to his scalp! Luckily, it was not a school day for the kids, but it was a work day for me, and Pete had to remain with the train on his head, for hours and hours. Get up to fix the kids' lunch? Thomas went along. Go outside to play with the kids....Thomas went, too. Off to the potty? Thomas followed. I'm sure there were errands to run that day...at the very least, checking the mail. But Pete refused to leave the house, embarrassed to be seen with a small, battery operated child's toy, stuck to his head.

So I got home after work that evening, and there Pete sat, in the den, with the news on, the boys jumping, chasing and chattering all around him like rabid little monkeys, and Thomas, right on top. At first, as I approached, I thought one of the kids had placed it there, as in JUST PLACED IT THERE, and that it would fall off Pete's head with the first time Pete moved. But he sat there, lazily rocking back and forth in his recliner, turning his head to pick up his Diet Coke can, and even bending over once to pick up little Andrew, who had fallen to the ground while playing. And when Pete rose back up holding Andrew, and then turned around after spotting me coming in the den, Thomas rose back up and turned with him. I thought...I must be seeing things....that is NOT a Thomas the Tank Engine on my husband's head. But going up to hubby for a smooch, I reached up and raised my hand to take Thomas down, and "JEEZ! WOMAN! STOP!" were the next words out of Pete's mouth.

Because, well, you know, doesn't every woman know better than to try to take Thomas the Train off of her husband's head after a long day of being a stay at home dad?

"Um, Pete, what's up with Thomas? New style that I'm not hip to scene about yet?"

"Ask Austin."

"Oh. 'Nuff said."

"Well, can you get some scissors and cut this thing out? I've tried and I can't get my head bent in the right position to see where to cut."

(Muffled laughter). "Alright, but how long have you been....like....this?"

"Almost all day."

"You mean, you've been all day, coming and going...with Thomas stuck to your head?"

"No, I haven't GONE anywhere. Do I look stoopid?"

"Well, actually, yes you do."

"Hush up and get the scissors."

So I did. And let me tell you, those measly few hairs were turned around tight. And I could see that in the position Thomas was in, on top of Pete's head, that he couldn't bend and see and clip, all at the same time. There were even faint track marks still in his scalp from Thomas' wheels turning against his scalp, before he managed to get the switch turned off.

So I went after the scissors. The boys began dancing around their daddy, pointing and laughing. As I turned back to Pete, it really did strike me as hysterically funny. Grown man spent the day with Thomas the Train stuck to his skull. I pictured him going about his day, running errands, greeting people, tending to business, all with a small train on his head. I started laughing so hard I cried. I literally cried tears of laughter. Poor Pete just looked so funny.

I tried to cut away his hair from the wheels. But his hair was/is so short, and the wheels had turned so tight, there was no wiggle room to fenagle the scissors in to cut! I tried moving Thomas, but he just grinned at me with his cute blue face, happy to remain where he was. I tried simply yanking the train out, but Pete is really tender-headed, and I feared ripping an entire patch of his scalp out, leaving a raw, bloody cranium exposed. I tried to be serious about this matter, but I just kept laughing and laughing. I begged Pete to let me take a picture, but he would not let me. The kids were all laughing by this point. I imagined having to go to the emergency room, or, at least, an urgent care center. But Pete was already mortified enough...he refused to go to be a laughing stock for complete strangers. Best to keep it at home, and be a laughing stock amongst your own family.

Eventually, I did manage to slip one end of the scissors into just the right spot to be able to cut loose one hair. That, in turn, loosened up the other end of Thomas enough to be able to slip the scissors in and cut a second hair loose...and so on, and so on, and so on, until finally, after hours spent with Thomas stuck to his head, Pete was free.

I had not laughed that hard in I don't know when. Thomas, however, found no humor in being sent in the sack to Goodwill. Bon Voyage, Thomas!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back again




What can I say....life just keeps happening to me and around me. Back in the saddle again.

Well, after the police incident that began the year 2009 for our family, things kept hopping. The month of January alone contains birthdays for my mom, my dad, Adrian, me, my Aunt Nell and Casey (Andrew's birth mother). Everyone forgot mine that year, except my office mates, and that's probably just because our Outlook program sends out reminders of birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

February brought Austin's second birthday, which fell on a Friday and we celebrated a family party by going to Hungry Howie's pizza buffet for dinner. It went pretty well...considering that towards the end of our dinner, a local boys soccer team came in for dinner...about 9 or 10 boys in all...and our 3 little ones gave those 9 or 10 much older boys a real run for their money when it came to noise and mess. So much so that upon our leaving, one of the coaches commented to me that it looks and sounds like I have my own soccer team in the making!

And because just one celebration is not enough for my boys, we had a "party at the park" for Austin in March. We invited Austin's friends from school and Sunday School, as well as family and some friends. It was a great day...pizza, cake, and a SpongeBob cake and pinata. Austin so loved the cake, he didn't want to eat it...just kept playing with the SpongeBob and Squidward candleholders they had.

March 31st brought exciting news. Very exciting news. We received a call from the attorney's office where we had placed our latest homestudy and adoption profile back in October of 2008. They had a birth mother, expecting a baby girl, that they would like to present us to! They gave us more details and asked us if we were interested. Interested? Heck, yeah! Present away! On March 31st, we received the news: we had been chosen by this birth mother to adopt her baby girl, due later in the summer! Time to shop for pink, finally!

Tax time was fast approaching, and that meant pressure, pressure, pressure for me at work. Our first meeting with our birth mother didn't occur until after April 15. When we finally did get to meet her, we got to meet her mother, as well. I was surprised when I met her, as she was tiny, especially for someone 7 months pregnant. You really could not tell she was pregnant at all. She was short and stick thin. I felt like the world's biggest galoot next to her. I looked more pregnant than she did.

The meeting went well. At one point, she asked what we planned to name the baby. We told her Marley, and then told her the story behind the name (that we were huge Bob Marley fans. Also, how back in the 90s, when we were romantically looking ahead at our future life of marriage and kids, and we picked the name Marley while eating dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant, our fortune cookie after the meal read "Your life will be made blessed by children"). How's that for a run-on sentence? That fortune, by the way, is now pasted in Marley's baby book. Our birth mother and her mother both teared up at that story. She then commented, "That's not a name". I, thinking she meant that she did not like the name Marley, replied, "Yes, it is...maybe not a common one, but it's a name." She replied back, "No, I just thought you'd pick a name beginning with "A", like all your boys". I, now feeling like not only a big galoot, but also a stupid one, realized that she had said "that's not an 'A' name", not "that's not a name". She kept tearing up...her mother, as well. My heart sunk. What if she thought I was hearing impaired, or stupid, or both?

An uncomfortable silence followed. I did not know what to say, because apparently, I was an idiot. She then looked up at me and told us her story. She said all her life, as a little girl and a young woman, she always thought that when she grew up and had a daughter, she would name her "Marlea" after her favorite aunt, Margaret, and her mother, Lea. So us having years ago chosen the name Marley, confirmed to her, in every possible way, that her baby girl was meant to be our daughter. At that point, all of us at the table were now crying. A lifelong bond was being formed. We all felt an indescribable blessing covering us. We couldn't wait for Miss Marley to join in.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Welcome 2009!




2009 began with a bang, but how could it not with my three boys? It was the first weekend of 2009, a Saturday morning....ah, let me reflect briefly on my life BC (before children). Saturday morning meant sleeping late, waking up to throw in a load of laundry and a start a pot of coffee. I would sit in the kitchen of my old, old as in former, house, at the kitchen counter and beside the sliding glass doors looking out over my backyard. I would watch the birds and squirrels in my backyard, thinking over various gardening projects, drink my wonderful, hot coffee, cup after cup, smell the freshly scented fabric softener I used in my load of laundry, read the newspaper, leisurely, and listen to the soothing sounds of Bach, Brahms or Beethoven on my CD player. My morning would slowly unfold as I would plan my day, my weekend, and the next week.

The first Saturday of 2009 began with the Triple A Threat careening through the house like rabid monkeys on espresso, with a Red Bull chaser. Alex leading the pack, of course, with his brothers chasing him, pushing, pulling and dragging things down on the floor behind him to inhibit his brothers' chase. Austin probably had a boat or another tub toy with him, and a bottle, and Andrew took up the rear, dragging his disheveled mee-moo (favorite blanket) behind him.

Alex, at some point, grabbed the kitchen phone and inadvertently dialed 911. The operator answered and, hearing chaos and not getting an intelligent reply, dispatched a car to our house. Glad to know our tax dollars pay for some very efficient law enforcement prevention in this town; however, in this instance, law enforcement was not needed....well, not very much, at any rate...I do have three boys, so ya never know.

So I get up, not even having had half a cup of cold coffee yet, and am rolling through the house, bitching and moaning about all the mess. "Good Lord, isn't it bad enough I can't even sleep late on the one morning of the week that I don't have to go anywhere? What's going on around here? What's all this mess? Who did all this? Where are you boys?"

DING-DONG!

Me, tripping over yet another toy in the kitchen, still in my raggedy Bob Marley T-shirt and paint-stained sweat pants, hair all over the place like I'd stuck my finger in a light socket, hollered, "Who the hell is this? Who in their right mind rings someone's door bell at 7:30 on a Saturday morning? It's better not be...."

Yank open door. See (LARGE) police officer, with his hand on this piece. Uh-oh.

"Um, good morning, officer, can I help you?" Immediately upon seeing all the blood drain from my face, because I figured the neighbors had finally had enough of my human wrecking crew and had called the po-pos, my boys ran to my side to see who was at our door. All three of them, with saggy, smelly pull-ups, sleep-encrusted eyes, bare feet, and their odd assortment of crapola that they carry with them at all times.

"Is everything OK here, ma'am? Because we got a 911 call from this address."

"You did? Huh? We didn't call 911!"

"Well, someone here dialed 911 and didn't say anything, but the operator heard a lot of yelling and screaming and things falling and crashing. So since we couldn't get a response from anyone on the phone, the operator is required to dispatch a unit to do a well-being check, just to make sure everyone is OK, that no one is....."

Me, interrupting him, "yeah, yeah, yeah, no one is being murdered or anything. I get it. Well, I'm sure it sounded that way, because it always sounds that way around here, but we're all OK....as OK as it gets in this house."

Alex, to officer, "Hey, cop, can I shoot your gun?"

Me, dying here, "ALEX!"

Officer: "No, buddy, I sure can't let you do that...."

Alex, interrupting, "Hey, officer, you wanna come in and play with me and my brudders, and we can play cops and bad guys?"

Austin and Andrew, now jumping up and down, chiming in: "yeah, yeah, yeah, shoot gun!"

Well, we don't call them the Triple A Threat for nuthin'!

The officer laughed, said he understood because he has kids of his own, and just gave the boys a warning about playing with the phone, and listening to their Mommy! Off he went, to right real crime, and left me with....3 boys. No need for coffee anymore, my adrenaline was roaring through my veins by now.

Welcome, 2009!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Great '08 Wrap-Up



It being close to a year since I've blogged regularly, I'm just gonna wrap up the year 2008 in one post. Nah, it would have nothing to do with the fact that, as a full-time-office-working mother of 4 kids...well, 5 including the hubs, that I can hardly remember last night's dinner, much less almost two years ago. I actually had to go back and look at my scrapbook pictures to remember anything at all. Thanksgiving of 2008 had only two pictures. Yup, that's right...2. In a family as large as ours, and as OCD as I am about photographing every moment of my children's lives as humanly possible, to only be able to find two pictures of a major holiday like Thanksgiving is disturbing. That must have been a real hair-puller of a day. Which also does not make a lot of sense, because according to the pictures, we dined in a nice restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner that year. Although, given the chance, my kids act worse when eating out in public, just because they know it drives me bat-bleep crazy. And a day without driving momma batty, is like a day without sunshine to them. Hmmm, hoped I enjoyed it at the time, coz I sure don't remember it now.

Anyways, on to Christmas. Quite a bit more photos of Christmas, and it appears to have been a pretty great month. Certainly, one of the highlights was having Andrew's birth mother drive up with her boyfriend, and spend the day with us at our adoption support group holiday party. That was a first for our group...a birth mother at an adoptive family party. But, as I've always said, this particular birth mother is more like a sister or a daughter to me...I truly love, love, love this young woman, and we're blessed to have her in our family. We had a breakfast buffet at the house and my parents even came over to meet her. Then we headed out to Wendy's for our party, where all the families were so thrilled to meet Casey. Pete, as usual, played Santa for the kids. And, of course, Alex wanted nothing to do him the bearded man, EVEN THOUGH, this time he figured out it was his own daddy! But it was a wonderful day, as always out at Wendy's, and made even better by getting to share it with Casey.

Also in December was the tree lighting at our local duck pond. Always have fun there, yup, three little boys surrounded by an acre of slimy green and brown duck poop. But regardless, the lighting was beautiful, as always, and the boys discovered the thrill of rolling down hill. Not so much interested in the lights, Santa, the ducks or anything else. We pretty much spent that evening watching the boys roll downhill, over and over and over again. "Look, Mommy, watch dis!" Over and over and over again. What a lovely family tradition we've started.

Later in the month was Alex's first school performance. His pre-school class put on a song and dance Christmas show in the church sanctuary. Although with all 4 year olds, and mine in particular, is was more of a "Stare Like A Stump" to Christmas music show. Some of the kids were real show-stoppers....dancing and singing their hearts out. Alex, for the most part, just looked real cute in his Rudolph shirt, and on occasion would clap his hands or raise his arms as instructed...but for the most part, he had the glassy-eyed, gape-mouthed gaze down to a T! Nevertheless, I loved seeing my first born up there with all his classmates, dressed all in red and green, and doing whatever it was they were doing to entertain all the parents and grandparents. Alex may have stared like a stump, but he's my, beloved stump!

After the show was refreshment time, and we, along with my parents and Aunt BooBoo, enjoyed cookies, cake, pastries and breads and visiting with the other families. I tried my best to get a picture of the boys on stage, in front of the potted poinsettisas and the beautifully decorated Christmas tree, but getting 3 boys under age 3 to pose was akin to herding cats. Just wasn't going to be done. I got one insanely grinning pose of Alex, looking like he'd been electrocuted, one angry, fighting and pulling away from momma shot with Andrew, and a calm pose of Austin, so calm he looks sad....like he just lost his best friend. What-r-ya-gonna-do?

Christmas was special this year, well, it is every year, being as blessed as we are, but I say extra special because Santa Clause actually came to our house Christmas morning! Threw Alex for a loop, because he thought he was ALL THAT because he had figured out at our adoption holiday party that it was his daddy playing Santa. But when Santa came in our backdoor from the Sunroom late Christmas morning, with some gifts that he had accidently "forgotten" to leave the night before...well, that just blew Alex away. He even sat on Santa's lap! Alex's belief in Santa Clause has been restored! Many thanks to our friend Paul for helping us pull that one off!

Three days after Christmas is Alex's birthday....he turned 4 in 08, and we celebrated with a "struction" party. Had another beautiful mild winter day at the local park, with a "struction" cake, pizza, ice cream, games, friends and a Lightning McQueen pinata. Pinatas are the bomb, lemme tell ya. My kids, well, all kids, from what I can tell, go bananas over a pinata. But that best part of all, as always, was seeing Alex surrounded by love and family and friends. Here's to a happy birthday, Alex!

So the year 2008 ended on a great note. It had been a busy, full year of settling in to our new house, deciding to grow our family yet again, me battling the on-again, off-again walking pneumonia, and working while trying to keep up with the boys. We were looking forward to a great 2009, and it would prove to be a doozy! Stay tuned for more adventures as my blogging resumes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

1 year

Wow, has it been almost a year since I blogged? That can't be...well, actually, yes it can. It's been a helluva year. In a lot of ways. Since I last blogged, I've seen the lowest of lows, and the highest of highs. Right now, life is looking pretty darn good, so on this positive note, let the blogging resume.

I will try to pick up where I left off, just for the sake of continuity, coz I'm like that, and then try to stay very daily...well, weekly, or, at least, monthly in my blogging. Some things I can and will share; others, I will not. Suffice it to say, life is looking good again, and it's time to share some laughs and some tears.

I'll pick up again next week. Welcome back, me!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween 2008




The month of October started out full of promise and plans. We had something scheduled every weekend, and usually 3 or 4 things every weekend, and even some nights during the week! Florida is full of festivals and parties and fairs and parks and events, all during the month of October. Well, I should have known better than to plan, coz right when I did, everything fell apart.

We went to our church’s pumpkin patch early in the month, and got one of the biggest pumpkins out there, as well as a wagon full of different gords and little pumpkins. Mom and Dad went with us, and it was a great night: not too hot, lots of pumpkins, everyone in a good mood, a bounce house to jump in and wagons to ride in.

We got the house decorated for Halloween. Did most of it in one day, actually, when Austin and Andrew took long naps. Alex helped, of course, which basically means he dragged junk out of the storage boxes and trailed everything all through the house until he got bored with it, and then back out to the garage it was for digging around in another box! But, we did it. The house was officially Haunted. Skeletons, pumpkins, tombstones, The Grim Reaper, witches, pirates, cobwebs, candles, bones, ghosts, spiders, skulls, scarecrows, mummies, bats, you name it! We had it...and it usually glowed, shook, rattled, lit up, moaned, hissed, spit, made noises and heaven forbid I forget, the boys’ favorites, which is the array of singing, dancing Halloween Chickens and Dancing Frankensteins and One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eaters that the boys kept pressing the ON button EVERY SINGLE WAKING MOMENT DURING THE LONG, 31-DAY MONTH OF OCTOBER!

Anyways, with the house decorated, it was off to the party store to get costumes. My only rule about Halloween costumes has been that for the babies first year, they had to be a little pumpkin. Each one of them was a little pumpkin on their first year. After that, they get to choose. I thought, or I imagined, that my trio of boys would choose cowboys, Indians, Batman, Spiderman, or something along those lines. Nope. Not my crew! The scarier, the better. Alex was a ghost, Austin was Frankenstein, and Andrew a little devil! Actually, sounds about perfect, doesn’t it?

So we went to our first Halloween activity, the Newberry Corn Maze. It was a lot of fun, and Alex, Austin and Mommy got our picture in our local newspaper for it! It was not too scary at all...it had the corn maze, of course, which Alex loved, and a hay ride through the farm to see cows (which Alex could care less about because he saw A TRACTOR! OH MY GOSH, MOMMY, A TRACTOR! And I had to take a picture of it, of course) , it had chickens, and goats and a spooky town, and we had a picnic with a big group of friends, took a mini-tractor ride through spooky town, did a pumpkin rolling contest, and just spent a wonderful afternoon with a bunch of families having a wonderful time!

Once home, all three boys went down for a nap. Pete had to run to Home Depot, and I was so looking forward to about an hour of quiet time all by myself. I fixed a sandwich and was just sitting down to watch a Lifetime Television Movie when I heard, “Mommy?” And I could tell my the sound of his voice it wasn’t gonna be good. I ran back and sure enough, Alex was sick. This is where is gets really scary at our house, because the poor child had upchucked EVERYWHERE. Big, red, goopy barf covered my bed and floor. Must have been the red cupcakes we’d eaten at the corn maze. That, and some corn. Yuck. Five separate places the poor baby threw up...all over himself and his shoes and just everywhere. So I got him cleaned up and calmed down and settled him in the den, so I could go back and clean up the bedroom. I was back there for about 30 minutes with my buckets and rags and cleansers, and when I finished and came up front to the den, poor Alex had thrown up eight more times in the kitchen and the den. This poor child was sick in a whole new kind of way of being sick. It was awful. He ended up barfing only about 3 more times that night, and only a few times the next day, but he was red hot and feverish, so by Monday morning, he was at the doctor’s office right away.

Diagnosis? The very beginning of pneumonia. The gave him a B-12 shot and an antobiotic shot to jump start his treatment, and he had to do a 10 day round of oral antibiotics and albuterol nebulizer breathing treatments, 3 times a day! What a sport he was about it, though. And how sad and pitiful he looked, all tired eyes and pale and with that mask on his face! But he was brave about it, and by the end of his 10 days of treatment, he was even fighting us about taking the treatments.

So, I know this is going to be a shock to you all, but guess what? I got sick then, too. I had influenza. And you know I’m really, really sick when I call in to work and even go to the doctor because I’m so sick. And did I happen to mention: I was sick? I went on a 10 day round of antobiotics and breathing treatments and you’ve never seen anything as pitiful as Alex and Momma hooked up to our machines at night, breathing. Our house looked like a hospital ward...pills and upchuck and breathing masks everywhere.

So the last night of my breathing treatment, I stayed home while Pete took the boys to our church’s trick or treat Fall festival. The church bulletin had said it was from 5 - 8 PM, and with me still weak and Andrew now coming down with something, we actually did not get Alex and Austin ready (in their costumes) until about 6:30 PM. I figured it was still enough time to get them there to enjoy a few games and activities. Off they go, but sadly, when they got there, it was all closed up and gone. The church bulletin had misprinted the time, but since we had not gone to actual church that morning (what with me being sick and all), we had missed the announcement with the correct times. That was a bummer....both boys, all dressed up with their little pumpkin pails, and they were so excited to trick or treat at church with their little friends...but no one and nothing was there. Pete felt so bad for them, he ended up taking them to Walgreens drug store and let them walk the candy aisle and pick out some candy, all tricked out in their ghost and Frankenstein costumes. And when they got home and I found out, I just felt so bad I burst into tears. We had missed the Gators homecoming parade, the Silver Springs Fall Festival, the Cedar Key fall festival, the County Fair and the Elks Halloween party...all because of being sick....and now this. I just cried and cried that night...I felt worthless as a mother.

Well, we managed to get at least Alex to the annual pumpkin carving party that we attend at our friends, Greg and Michelle’s house. Andrew by this time was really sick....double ear infection. So we carved our pumpkin with our friends and Alex made some new friends there, and Greg always makes fresh, from scratch, homemade pumpkin pies and pumpkin bread at the party, as well as candied apples and popcorn. YUM! We had such a great time, and Alex fell asleep coming home with his candied apple in his lap!

The next morning, Alex was in the Halloween parade at school. He fought us on going, Lord knows why because I don’t. But he fought us tooth and nail, more so than he regularly does about going to school. We explained to him what a parade was, and told him that he would get to wear his ghost costume to school for the parade, and we were taking cookies to share with the class, but still: he didn’t want to go. I finally got it out of him that he didn’t want to wear his costume, because he did not want his friends to be afraid of him all dressed up as a ghost! How sweet: he was worried about scaring his friends! It was a rough morning getting him dressed and to class, but we did it, dropped him off and waited outside for the parade to begin, silently praying the whole time that he wouldn’t have a gigantic, screaming, Alex-sized meltdown during the parade. And what do you think happened? He was the first in line for the parade, a huge, Cheshire-cat grin on his face, beaming for the whole world to see, and holding the hand of a younger, smaller classmate dressed up as a puppy! Alex stole the show! Our very own ghost!

And we managed to do Halloween night, with Momma here even making her homemade, from scratch, Pumpkin- Chocolate Chip Muffins! Another YUM! Austin was funny....he thought when you went door to door trick or treating, that when the people held out their bowls of candy, that you were supposed to take a piece from your bag to put in their bowl! No, Austin, you take a piece of candy....he finally got it! It was fun and relatively relaxing, considering all the chaos and sickness of the month. We trick or treated around the neighborhood, came home to EAT CANDY, and even actually got the babies in bed at their regular time. So there you have our Halloween madness for 2008. Hard to believe that was a year ago!