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 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!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Andrew's First Birthday

We arrived in Orlando around 9:30 PM. We stayed at the same condo complex as we did back in May...only this time, our condo was right by a big pond. We unpack and the boys, naturally, are wired and stayed up until around midnight. But this time, we expected we knew to just go with the flow. The only really remarkable thing about our first night, other than the ridiculously late hour at which the boys went to bed, was that after dinner, Pete and the boys all got gas. I don't know from what, and why it didn't happen in the van on the way down (Thank God), but as soon as everyone got inside and started running around, they all got gassy. Pete, too. Even baby Andrew chimed in with a few tiny toots of his own. Must be a guy thing. And I said as much to Pete, or, to be exact, I complained in an exasperated tone, "what IS it with you all? Why are all of you doing this to me?" To which Alex replied, after overhearing me, "Mom, we can't help it...we're guys....we just fart!"

The next morning dawned cloudy and overcast. It pretty much rained all day, so we stayed in, after a run to Super Walmart to stock up on some food. Then, late afternoon, the rain stopped. It stayed overcast and cloudy, but it did stop raining long enough for us to go see "Sea World After Dark". We got there and everyone was in a good mood and feeling OK, but Austin seemed a Just not quite himself. Well, the highlight of the evening was Shamu Rocks, which is the after dark Shamu show. So we stand in line, finally make our way to the gate, and the 5 of us are huddled there, kind of squished up against the people in front of us in line. Alex is standing, Pete has Andrew and I"m holding Austin. All of a sudden, there is an explosion of....something. It landed on me, on Alex's head, on Austin, and on the woman and man in front of us in line. It looked like....bird poop. Where did it come from? We look up, we look around, we're all grossed out, and it comes again. Oh my gosh, it's Austin! He's just puked all over everyone! Everyone starts freaking out, grossing out, shouting out....and I, of course, help matters a lot by just hollering, "oh, it's Austin....he's throwing up!" I don't know why I said it out loud so loud like that. I just sort of shot out of me, just like poor Austin. So everyone clears out. We take our 3 and head back over to the strollers and clean up as best we can. There's really not much you can do in those situations...just roll with the punches, I guess. At least when we got back in line, the gate area where we had been standing when Austin threw up was now all cleared out and empty. I guess that's one way to get through a crowd really fast!

So immediately after throwing up, Austin feels just fine. He's back to his old self. I guess the turkey leg he'd had for dinner just didn't agree with him. Once it cleared his belly, he was good as new. So we rocked out with Shamu, then went to see the polar bear and walrus and whale exhibit. We saw the turtles, the otters and sea lions (where I distinctly recognized the sound of my own home and my own children at that very rowdy, very loud, screeching, squealing, squawking, arfing exhibit) and ended the night at Alex's favorite place: the shark and sting ray exhibit. It sort of spooked him this time, because we were the only ones in there, as it was closing time. And it was sort of spooky, dark outside, rainy, and here are all these sharks, giving us the evil eye......chills.

After a few minutes of catching the fireworks display over the bayside, we said good night to SeaWorld. We headed back to the condo and had a late night dinner of pizza and sandwiches.

We also took some time this weekend to celebrate a big day for Andrew: his first birthday! Hard to believe he was already one year old! We got him ones. He loved them! Happy Birthday, Andrew!

The next day dawned much clearer, but with one miserable drawback: Alex was running a fever. My poor baby was sick. He didn't have a cough, sore throat, ear ache, runny, stuffy or snotty nose...just a fever. And he was very lethargic. He napped a lot that day...we all did. By late afternoon, he was feeling a little better. We went over to the hot tub, to the play ground, and the best of all: the little lake by our condo. Pete had gone to Wal Mart and got Alex his first fishing pole, and we spend some time fishing there. Alex caught his very first fish! And a big one at that. Pete taught him how to cast the line, and the look on Alex's face when he first understood what it meant when he felt a pull on his line, and then to reel it in and viola! His very first fish! He caught a lot of fish that day. He'd catch them and then toss them back in. To be honest, it really wasn't much of a challenge for him. The pond was loaded with fish. Every line he cast, he caught something. But it didn't take long for my poor baby to get tired of the heat and the humidity. So we went back to the condo and never did get to Sea World that day, or anywhere else for that matter. Alex ended up throwing up a few times, and with all the kids tired and lethargic, Pete and I ended up watching an all day marathon of Law and Order while the kids slept. That was a huge change for us: no Scooby-Doo, no Sponge Bob, no Dora the Explorer. Real, adult television.

The next day, Alex's fever was completely gone. He had thrown up again a few times in the middle of the night. But he felt much better that morning and insisted on going fishing again with his dad, where they caught a few more fish. Then it was off to Sea World for a few hours that afternoon. But Alex was still a little weak from the fever, so we didn't stay long. He tired easily that day and we headed home that afternoon. All in all, it was a good trip...even it was what could now be referred to as "the birthday/vomit weekend"! Good times, huh?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


We celebrated July 4th, in big style as always. We took off Thursday after I got home from work. The 2-hour trip to Tampa took about 3 hours. We got to our hotel around 9PM. We were prepared for the boys to get all excited and knew it was hopeless to try to put them to bed right away, so we let them stay up and horse around while we unpacked. We did NOT expect them to still be up and wired and running around and playing and carrying on after 1:00 in the morning, however. Those boys would not settle down. And the real problem was Andrew! He would not let his big brothers sleep. He would pick at their feet, pull the sheets on the bed, grab their fingers and hands, crawl all around, bellow out; in general, make a bunch of noise and mess and would not go to sleep! Even Alex was ready to give it up at this point, but the baby would have none of that sleeping nonsense.

So the next morning, after about only 2 hours of combined sleep, the boys were up and raring to go before 7AM. We went to breakfast, which was such a catastrophe I nearly cried. Alex wanted peach yogurt, demanded peach yogurt, and I hate to say no to him when it's something healthy, so he got peach yogurt. Problem is: Andrew is severely allergic to peaches, so I needed to make sure the peach yogurt was not where it could be grabbed and gobbled up by Andrew, and end up in the emergency room on our vacation weekend (he's THAT allergic). So I put Alex next to Austin with his yogurt, and Andrew across and away on the other side of the table. That was my first mistake. Austin grabbed the yogurt and dumped it out and smeared it all over his face, all over his chest and down to his belly, legs, and his booster chair. Sticky, peach yogurt.
Next mistake. Trying to eat pancakes. Put a plate of eggs, sausage and pancakes on the table for Alex and Austin. Grabbed a couple of small containers of syrup. Set them down on the table. Turned my back for 3 SECONDS to get something and what happens? Austin opened the container of syrup, pours it down behind him, between his back and the chair, so it's now all over his back, stuck to his clothes and the nicely upholstered chair, and then he leans back and wiggles into his chair, just to make sure it's all squished and smeared over every possible inch of himself and the chair. Just wonderful.

Next: Alex spills orange juice and milk, and then dumps lemon wedges into what's left of his peach yogurt. I'm ready to scream, the hotel staff come over to compliment me on how cute the boys look (they are all in stars and stripes hats and outfits for the 4th of July). I try to stay calm, Pete takes over and tells me to go to another table, sit down and EAT! Great idea! I get a plate and start filling it. Alex feels sorry for me sitting alone and asks if he can come sit with me. OK, I say. He sits across from me. I see a lady go by with a plate filled with a fresh made waffle (not the yucky, stuck-in-a-steamer pancakes, not frozen waffles heated in a toaster, but real, from scratch, fresh waffles), and I decide that's what I want for breakfast. I fix my waffle, add strawberries and whipped cream to it. I set my plate on the table across from Alex and go back for silverware. My helpful, loving, caring son decides that the strawberries and whipped cream just are not enough for Mommy's waffles and, while I was up from my chair, dear, dear Alex decides to add his own ingredient to my breakfast: a HUGE helping of pepper, as in the whole pepper shaker! Right on my waffle and strawberries and whipped cream! I decide breakfast is done at this point. I'll just eat a granola bar.

So we go back to our room and get cleaned up and dressed for what is now the second time this day, and it's only 9AM. Around 9:30 AM, after getting back from the store, our company arrives: Andrew's birth mother (Casey) and her family: her mom, Lorraine (grandma 'Rain), her brother Matt, her uncle Benny, and Casey's 94-year-old great-grandmother, who is Andrew's great-great grandmother, from Italy, known simply as "Granny". My parents and Aunt Boo-boo join us around 11:00 and we spent the day swimming in the pool, and lounging in the room, having holiday bar-b-q from Sonny's, and just generally having a great time. The boys, of course, put on quite the show, just horsing around and running in circles and dancing and chattering. It was quite the honor and blessing to meet Casey's great-grandmother, and she was so thrilled to meet her first great-great grandchild. Of course, we'd met and spent time with Casey and her mom and stepdad and brother last summer when Andrew was born, and for a couple of short day trips to Busch Garden this Spring, but we really got a chance to spend quality time together over the weekend and I have to tell you: Alex has a huge crush on Casey. He calls her "my Case" and loves to smell her feet (a true sign of true love on Alex's part)!

Here is one example of how accepting Casey's family are of all my boys (not just Andrew). It was mid-afternoon and Alex still had his swim trunks on. He and I had gone to the hotel lobby so I could use the computer and look something up on the internet. While in the lobby, Alex pooped his swim trunks. We headed back to the room and Casey's granny had to leave, so Casey's mom was taking her home. I wanted to speak to speak to Granny a little before she left, and thank her for the presents she brought. But I desperately needed to get Alex cleaned up, and was trying to be delicate and discreet, instead of just saying, "Alex pooped, hang on a minute!" Well, the bathroom was kind of small and had no room to change and clean Alex, and the living room/kitchen area certainly was not appropriate, so I had to change him in the vanity/closet area. Again, I was trying to have some dignity, for myself and for Alex in this whole thing, and didn't want to be just all out gross in changing his swim trunks. But they just had to be changed right away. So we're on the floor, I'm struggling to get the swim trunks off of him without getting the poop on me, when Alex announces, loudly (as always, because he is physically incapable of speaking in an indoor voice) and for the whole world to hear: "Mom, I think I dropped my poop in the living room!" right where everyone was standing and could hear. Now, I rarely apologize for my kids being, well, just kids....and this was one of those moments. So I just laughed and prayed for the best. This proves they are true family, too: they all just laughed.

Casey spent the night with us in the hotel room on Friday night and we set out for Busch Gardens on Saturday. It was another great day there. We saw crocodiles, chimpanzees, gorillas, turtles, birds, ducks, elephants, the African show Katonga, and rode the merry-go-round and rode the sky-ride over Busch Gardens. Austin danced the Cha-cha Slide with the deejay and a bunch of other kids, even Alex tried to dance a little. We watched the ride Sheikra, which is an awful, sadistic, twisting, turning ride from hell with two (not one but TWO) 90 degree drops, straight down, and Alex says when he gets bigger, he's going to ride it. Over my dead body.

We concentrated mostly on seeing shows during this trip, because in previous trips, we had already seen a lot of the animal exhibits. One of the shows I wanted to see was the Pirate Adventure in 4-D. Now here's a little background on Alex and pirates. In spite of the fact that he was a pirate for Halloween in 2006, he has since become afraid of pirates, because one of his Aunt Gloria's friends, an old fart named Nobby, got drunk while dressed up as a pirate one time and really became obnoxious going around saying, "aaarrrgggghhhh! I'll make ya walk the plank, matey!" and other such nonsense. He scared Alex. Nobby is an old, English, retired Navy seaman, and to his credit, with his English accent and craggy, sea-worn face, he makes a really great pirate. However, this one particular time, he was sloppy drunk, and really wouldn't let up on little Alex and scared the baby but good. Now, every time we go out to Gloria's, Alex asks, "pirate not gonna be there, right?" This went on for months. And Nobby thought it was a hoot to carry on like that and would not take the hint to stop. Finally, a few months back, Pete had a talk with Nobby and told him that if he kept it up, we wouldn't come out there anymore if he was going to be around, so Nobby had a talk with Alex and explained that the was a good pirate, not a bad pirate, and promised the pirate would never hurt him or scare him again. Since then, Alex has been OK with pirates, though still not his favorite thing, and he would rather go see the animal exhibits while at Busch Gardens.

Now, back to Busch Gardens. We go to see the pirate show. I even got a picture of Alex out front, standing in front of the pirate exhibit. I knew the show was in 4-D. I did not know it was also going to be special effects on the audience. Casey is holding Andrew, and Austin is on my lap. Alex is in a chair by himself next to me. The show starts. It's OK for a while, then when the pirate ship was being tossed about on the ocean, the special effect was to have water squirted on the audience from the backs of the seats immediately in front of us. Then when the pirates were being attacked by wasps, the special effects was a loud, buzzing, vibrating motion in the get the picture. Austin and Andrew did OK, being babies, I don't think they knew enough of what was going on to be scared. But Alex was another story. As the show progressed, he got more distressed. What really sent him over the edge was when our seats began shaking and even the floor made a snapping effect of some sort. Alex lost it. He began crying and wanted to leave. However, we were in the middle of the aisle, with crowds all around us, and with Austin on my lap, it was hard to get up. Pete and I managed to cover him up and were trying to comfort him and kind of turn him around in his seat so he couldn't see the screen, but the special effects kept coming. He really hated it. We kept patting him and stroking him and reassuring him, "it'll be over in just a few minutes and then we'll leave. It's OK. Mommy and Daddy are here. It's all right." More tears. Austin and Andrew: just fine. Finally, the show ends. The screen shows a pirate on his ship, looking through his pirate looking glass. It says, "The End". We tell Alex, "Look. See. It says The End. It's all over. It's all done." Alex looks up at the movie screen. Sure enough, the pirate's looking glass turns towards the audience and becomes really, really huge and 4-D and appears to come out of the screen and then, one last, final special effect, our seats give a huge pop and jolt and buzz and crackle and everyone screams. Poor Alex just about jumped out of his skin. That really sent him over the edge. So we sit and hold him while the theater clears out and when the lights are back on and we're standing up to leave, my brave, big boy says, "Mommy, can we PLEASE go see the amals [his word for animals] now" I don't know if we'll ever get him to see another pirate movie ever again!

So that about sums up our Busch Gardens adventure. It started to rain, and it was late in the day, so we headed back to the hotel, where we had BBQ leftovers and Alex proceeded to entertain us with his impersonations of all the animals we had seen that day, and Austin danced to some disco music I found in my old boombox. Even Alex and Andrew got in on the dancing. Alex's dancing consisting of him walking backwards in circles with his arms stuck straight out in front of him, singing, "I'm a backhoe, I'm a backhoe" and Andrew sitting on the floor, bopping his head feverishly back and forth to the music. All is all, a great end to a great weekend and a great 4th of July. After breakfast the next morning, after yet another all-nighter with the Triple A Threat, and finally, when we got home, and they were all in their own beds, the boys CRASHED! Blessed sleep for all!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mother's Day 2008

That was a good weekend: we first went to a Mother's Day banquet at church on Friday night. Mom couldn't make it because of work, of course, but Aunt Chris went and there was dinner and then dancing by a troop of young girls, and singing by some members of our church, and a Mother's Day poem read by a youth in our church.

On Sunday after church, the whole family (us, the boys, Mark, Granny, Pawpaw and Aunt Chris) went back to one of favorite places, the Gateway Grand, where we'd been for our Easter brunch. It was, as always, delicious. Austin had his first bite of chocolate mousse there. After brunch, we came back to our house, where we all exchanged Mother's Day cards and gifts...and unbeknownst to any of us ahead of time, we all got the same thing for each other....a fruit, marshmallow and chocolate Edible Arrangement!

After naps that afternoon, we went to the duck pond to spend a lazy afternoon feeding the ducks. It was a relaxed, enjoyable time, but a lot of other families must have had that idea for Mother's Day too, because the ducks hardly ate any bread at all. But Alex had a good time...he kept running very close to the water's edge, making me a nervous wreck. Austin was fascinated by it all, kept pointing, grunting and yelling, "dat"! But after hours spent there, trudging through duck doo-doo, bird doo-doo, mucky, muddy water, and two poopy diaper changes while there, Alex decided he'd had enough. He announced, loudly and firmly, "Let's go, this place is a mess!"
Discriminating this fella, eh?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Let me start by making something absolutely clear: I am petrified of snakes. Over-the-top; screaming, hysterical, pathologically afraid of snakes. Don’t try to talk me out of it. It won’t work. Nothing personal, I’m just afraid of snakes.

OK, so here goes the story. It was a Friday night, around 9 or 10. Kids asleep, I settle into a big, comfy chair to cuddle and get some long-overdue alone time with hubby. I’m pretty relaxed, it’s Friday, after all, nothing pressing over the weekend. So I’m looking forward to some kiss and cuddle time. Hubby is channel-surfing and what does he land on? “Snakes on a Plane”. There goes my nice, relaxed, affectionate evening. Hubby has learned, over many years, the HARD way, what the sight of snakes does to me. He doesn’t even try to take me off the ledge. Just a kiss good-night, with a helpful, “go take a Tylenol PM”, and a pat on the back.

The following Sunday, after church and brunch, we’re back at my parents’ house. Alex goes into the backyard with his grandpa. Suddenly, we hear Alex, “mommy, daddy, mommy, daddy” and hear some grunting from my father. We bolt outside and standing in my mother’s vegetable garden is my then-3-year-old, jumping up and down with excitement, pointing and shouting, “Look what PawPaw’s got!” There stands my 75 year old father, with about a 5-foot snake around his arm and shoulder.......(note to self: breathe deeply, you can do this)...then, as if that alone is not enough to cause me to nearly wet my britches, the snake reaches around and bites my dear old dad on the hand...blood, Alex screaming, jumping up and mother screaming at my father, my husband going over to help my dad. I grab both babies, the (then) 8 month old and the 14 month old, and run out the front door of my parents house and into the street, screaming over my shoulder at my husband to grab Alex and follow me. My brother follows me out to try to calm me down (worthless attempt). I’m hyperventilating, the babies are crying, struggling, kicking, thrashing...I start doing the same.

Finally, my mother comes out to tell me it’s safe to return to the house. I very tentatively go out on the porch to find Alex and there, in the corner of the back yard, are my son, my husband and my dad, still with the stupid snake. “We just wanted to let Alex watch is slither under the fence and say bye-bye.” Yeah, right. I told my husband in no uncertain terms that if he did not get Alex and leave with me right away, I would “slither” my own way home with the kids, and he’d be lucky to ever see us again. OK, so I survived that...for the most part.

Sunday evening, 5PM. As a reward for Alex finally becoming fully potty-trained, we talked him out of a rabbit as a pet and into turtles, figuring they’d be less messy and less maintenance. So Mommy and Alex head to the pet store. I feared they’d have snakes there, but figured they’d be in a certain section of the store that I could simply avoid. NOT! We walk into PetSmart and RIGHT THERE, by the cashier, is the SNAKE PIT! Alex is drawn to it, of course. I manage to grab him and half-drag, half-pull my 45 pounder away from the snake tanks, praying to find some nice, safe turtles very quickly. No such luck. We wander around for a few minutes, looking for turtles, and/or for a sales clerk to help us.

No turtles for sale at PetSmart. I am told I need to go to the reptile/snake place on SW 34th Street to find turtles...yeah, when monkeys fly out of my butt will I go in there. Alex is heart-broken, no turtles, so to appease his melodrama and screaming like a banshee, we get some fish and are trying to hustle out of the store before it closes at 6PM.

Now, as I said before the SNAKE PIT is right by the cashier, the only one cashier line open, and I get in line, a LONG line, because they’ve just announced they are closing in ten minutes. I am feeling anxious, but literally turn my back completely on the snakes, close my eyes, and pray for an express line to open up. Alex keeps wandering over there to the snakes. I’m trying to carry my gorilla-sized purse, three cups of fish, the new fish tank, the gravel, the accessories, the fish flakes, all while standing in the middle of my worst nightmare: 3 feet from a squirming, writhing, slithery pack of snakes. (FYI: I’m actually shaking right now just remembering).

I keep walking with my back turned, trying to drag Alex away from the snakes, and keep the fish from spilling and from losing my purse. Alex keeps going back. He’s now joined by a man with an older boy, who both seem to find great delight in my obvious distress (i.e., coronary). The boy appears to really want to educate Alex about these awful, hideous creatures, and Alex is lapping it up, oblivious to the onset of my mounting panic attack.

This continues for several minutes, me grabbing Alex, him running back, me panting and choking up and Alex laughing. Then, one of the snakes starts slithering up the side of the tank, belly-ing up, and that older boy taps the glass to point out something to Alex. The snake rears it’s head back and snaps or spits or strikes, or something, I don’t know what, because I’m now screaming and shaking and sobbing, having abandoned the fish, my purse and just grabbing Alex to run.

A very nice lady, a mom, comes over to me and asks if I need help....can she call someone for me, etc. One of the clerks comes over and gathers up all my stuff and moves it to the far, far register, away from the snakes. Alex finally sees Mommy totally going bat-bleep crazy, and decides he better shape up and help out.

They get me some water, hover over me, probably fearing they’ll need to call the cops or DCF on this wack job of a mom. I’m crying, hiccupping, shaking, sweating, beet-red, and finally manage to explain that it’s not my child I’m upset with, it’s my (I told you so) pathological fear of snakes. They offer to help me out to my car, again offer to call someone, everyone is being very nice and kind and understanding, but still looking at me like you would a rabid dog, or a mental-institute escapee.

We manage to make our purchases, get out of the snake pit, and, wouldn’t you know it, as we’re walking back to the car, me trembling along the sidewalk in front of PetSmart and towards Goody’s, fish and son in hand, the palm trees that are growing out of that center area (for those of you who know what and where I”m talking about), have a lot of roots coming up out of the ground, twisting, curling, curving around and about, looking like: you guessed it: SNAKES!

Naturally, last night, all I dreamed about were snakes....and this morning, my husband is playing some ska and reggae music from the St. Vincent carnival and on the cover of the CD shows the carnival parade, with people dressed up as a paper dragon, kind of like Chinese new year, which, to my tired, swollen and crusty eyes this morning, looked for all the world like a SNAKE.

That was just not my weekend, eh?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vacation 2008

Our Memorial Day mini-vacation for 2008 got started much like it did in May of 2007:
with a true test of our patience and determination. We got packed, loaded, everyone was in the van, we start to back out the driveway and Pete pushes the button on the remote to close the garage door. The garage door, previously having had no problems whatsoever, jumps off its tracks and crashes to the ground, crumpling and shattering all the glass that was in the garage door windows! It was like it was our recurrent vacation demons. Naturally, we stopped, got out of the van and checked out the damage and what could be done about it....all the while with Alex jumping up and down with excitement, screaming, "Look! See! What happened? What we gonna do? We gonna fix it? We gonna call a bulldozer to clean it up? We gonna call a high lift to pick it up?" Only Alex would find sheer and utter delight in such a nuisance. We did the only thing we could do on late Friday afternoon holiday weekend: we got back in the van and drove off on vacation.

The first day at SeaWorld was somewhat uneventful, except for the thunderstorm we got caught in....of all places, at the sting ray lagoon and shark tank! We were there when the thunderstorm hit out of nowhere...buckets of rain, thunder, lightning, so we were stuck there. At least is was under cover. But what made me anxious after about 20 minutes was that so many people were crowded in there, trying to get cover from the rain, and it was crowded and loud and noisy and thundering, it made the sharks and sting rays anxious, and they started snapping and jumping up near the top of the water...all with my babies right there! I was really getting nervous, and we were stuck in there for about 45 minutes! What a heart-thudding time! We also visited Turtle Point, and saw the show, "Blue Horizons" (the dolphin show) and "The Adventures of Clyde and Seamore" where Alex got to feed the sea otters! We also visited the Dolphin Cove and the dolphin nursery, where mommy and new born baby dolphins are kept! The guy narrating about the dolphin nursery was named Alex, and at one point, we were standing immediately to his right, when Austin grabbed his microphone and bellowed into it, to be broadcast far and wide, in his own high-pitched, demon-summoning, ear-piercing way, "dadadadada, bobobobobobob, b000000b000000, deeeeeedeeeeee, mamamamamamama!" Yes, we have arrived! Leave it to my crew to make their presence known at SeaWorld!

The second day was a lot better, the rain from the day before had cooled things off considerably, and the day was very pleasant. We visited Shamu's Happy Harbour (a toddler playground) and saw the Clydesdale horses in a parade, visited the Manatee exhibit (no goldfish turds this year), and visited the Antarctic exhibit, where we saw the penguin habitat, the polar bear exhibit, walruses and whales. The walruses absolutely fascinated Alex, the kept performing, swimming around, rubbing their faces and butts and bellies on the rocks in the aquarium...Alex just loved them, their whiskers, their tusks, their flippers....I'm expecting any day now to be asked if we can get one and keep it in our bathtub at home!

Our third day there, Alex won a SpongeBob Square Pants stuffed...(not animal, not doll) stuffed....SPONGE from the giant claw machine at the midway! He's not a huge SpongeBob fan, but you'd have thought he won a million dollars, he was so proud of that sponge! We saw a very unique circus show called Odyssea where it proved that SeaWorld has acrobatic talent to rival Las Vegas! It was a fascinating show, but it didn't hold the kids' attention long. Luckily it was a short show! Of course, we had to see the show, "Believe", which is the Shamu show. It never fails to amaze and entertain, and Alex got a necklace made out of a wooden carving of a whale's tail as a souvenir!

And lastly, the show Alex really wanted to see was "Pets Ahoy"! It's a stage show done entirely by trained pets: cats, dogs, birds and pot-bellied pigs. No people, just pets. Every time on each day there, by the time we got to the theater, the show was full or had already started, or had been canceled due to a stage prop here it was, our last day, and it was mid-afternoon...we were going to see this show one way or another! We get in a LONG line, outside in the heat, and then inside a hot, crowded hallway.... and wait. FINALLY, we get in there. We get our seats, settle in, and are waiting for the show to begin when, guess what, Alex falls asleep! We tried to wake him, but he would NOT wake up! We enjoyed the show, but were nervous about the hissy fit to come when Alex woke up and realized he missed the show. And while he was sprawled out sleeping, he also pooped his pants! And the diaper bag is outside with the parked stroller. So that was fun. When the show ended, the animal handlers invited everyone to come down to the stage and meet and greet the animals. So Pete took the babies outside and Alex and I (when he woke up at the end of the show) get at the end of a long line to meet the animals. I don't know how else to say this, but this huge dog that had been in the show, that is now at the opposite end of the line we're standing in smells Alex. His dirty diaper, I mean. So this sweet, gentle, although huge, hairy dog, makes a beeline for Alex. For Alex's rear end, to be exact. I'm trying to pull Alex away, he's reaching for the dog, wanting to pet and play with him, and the dog is sniffing and trying to put his nose down Alex's pants, and the dog's handler is pulling, tugging, trying to get the dog back to the front of the line where he belongs! What fun! I'm praying no one figures out why this dog has made such instant best
friends with my son's butt! I didn't want to give Alex a tantrum by dragging him out of the theater without seeing the animals, especially since he'd missed the show! But I also don't want this beautiful white show dog to reach down Alex's drawers and come up with the noseful of poop, either! Lord, please help me!

Eventually, Alex got squirmy from the dirty diaper, the trainers took the animals backstage, and we left. Whew! But, the fun isn't over yet, because Alex still wants to see the show! So, we've done everything else there is to do, it's late in the day, and by the time I change three boys' diapers and get a cold drink, the next show is in 20 minutes, so Pete takes Austin for a walk by the sprinklers and the little "beach" area they have, and Mommy, Alex and Andrew get back in line for the show. For me, it was just as enjoyable the second time in a row, even more so, because Alex truly loved, loved, loved the show. It was worth standing in that hot line just to watch Alex's face and eyes and smile light up every time a new animal took the stage and did a stunt. Truly, there's nothing like having kids to really wake you up to the joy and fun that is all around us...if we'll just take the time to look and see.

So this time, at the end of the show, Alex wants to pet the animals again. Stand in line again for that, this time without big dogs making beelines for Alex's butt, and for some reason, Alex becomes very, very timid. He loves animals, and it's only cats and dogs on stage for the meet and greet, and he's been around cats and dogs since birth! So I don't know all of a sudden why he got so timid. He kept going to the back of the line to "just watch, Mommy". Finally, the line is down to just us and a couple of other kids, and the animals are waiting to be petted. Alex kept saying, over and over and over again, "do they have big teeth, Mommy? Will they bite me, Mommy?" Over and over...he'd reach his hand out and then pull it back. I was petting the animals, Andrew was petting the animals, but Alex was so afraid of their "big teeth" and getting "bit" he barely managed to touch the pets. So after a few minutes of this, he says "thank you" to the animal handlers, and then, of all things, loudly announces, "now it's time to go play with the sharks!" Uh, hello, he's afraid of big teeth and getting bit by a little kitten, but he wants to go play with the sharks? Everyone cracked up at that announcement! As I've said many times before, only Alex!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Time for a Trim!

Alex and Austin decided to play barber shop one day. Both boys were in the bathroom while Pete was dressing and shaving for Family Dinner Night, and Alex was watching Pete very closely while Pete used his side burn trimmer. He asked questions, Pete answered questions, and when Pete put it up and away after he was done, he made the colossal mistake of turning his back for one moment. The boys got ahold of the sideburn trimmer, took it outside, Austin sat down on the steps and bent his head down, and Alex proceeded to shave Austin's head! Yep, our middle son is now known as baboon butt! We don't even know what to do with it. There is no pattern to it. Just one big streak on the top, middle of his head, and then a big, round spot on the back of his head. Pete says at least Austin looks a little like him now.

When Pete found them, he had to walk away, he was laughing so hard. It was much later before he could actually talk to Alex about the possible dangers of what he had just done, without laughing. Austin doesn't seem to mind it, and it's only hair: it'll grow back. But it is funny looking, to see our little, round jock Austin, now with this weird, half-reverse mohawk haircut! When Austin gets older, I'm afraid Alex is going to have to look out! At the very least, I'm sure Austin will wait until one night when Alex is asleep and then paint his fingernails, or draw a magic-marker mustache on Alex, or both! Boys!

Monday, June 29, 2009

New arrival!

I'm going to be taking a brief break from blogging for a enjoy and lap up every moment I can with my newborn daughter, Marley. She arrived safe and sound at 9:25 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2009. 6 pounds, 8 ounces and 18.5 inches long. 8 and 8 on her apgar. She is a beautiful, healthy baby girl with the blackest, fullest head of hair I've ever seen on a newborn. Pics to follow when I can....but she's safe, she's ours, and she's home. Many thanks for all your prayers and support.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Potty Training Alex

It began with an article I found, "Potty Training in One Day" and we followed that up with the one book I always swore I would never buy, "Everybody Poops". In the days leading up to the big day, we tried talking to Alex about it. He had #1 mastered for many months; our trouble now was getting him trained for #2. Here's how it went.

Mommy: Alex, we need to talk. Tomorrow is going to be a very big day for you.

Alex: Uh-huh.

Mommy: Alex, would you like to not to wear pullups anymore, not like your little baby brothers do?

Alex: OK.

Mommy: You're a big boy now, and you need to learn to not poop in your diapers anymore.

Alex: OK, mommy.

Mommy: Did you know that everyone poops?

Alex: Uh-huh.

Mommy: And grown up boys poop in the potty!

Alex: Yeah.

Mommy: Andrew poops and Austin poops, but they poop in their diapers, and they're babies, and that's OK for babies.

Alex: OK.

Mommy: But you're not a baby, you're a big boy, so you need to not poop in your pants. OK?

Alex: Uh-huh.

Mommy: You need to put your poopies in the toilet, like grown up people, coz everyone poops. Mommy poops, Daddy poops...

Alex: Daddy poops!

Mommy: Yes, Alex, Daddy poops...everyone poops!

Alex: And farts.

Mommy: Well, yes.

Alex: Daddy farts.

Mommy: Well, yes, Daddy farts, but this is not about farting. This is about pooping.

Alex: Mommy? Daddy farts a lot.

Mommy: Uh-huh, OK, Daddy farts a lot...

Alex: And loud. Daddy farts loud, mommy.

Mommy: (Trying not to laugh) Alex, pay attention, we're not talking about farting, we're talking about pooping.

Alex: Daddy farts loud and he farts lots of times, mommy.

Mommy: (Trying not to laugh)...mmhh, OK, I know that, but I need you to put on your listening ears and pay attention. We need to talk about pooping right now. Not farting.

Alex: Daddy farts every day, mommy, sometimes bunches and bunches of times every day.

Mommy: (Trying very hard not to laugh): Alex, now listen...

Alex: Austin farts and Andrew farts, too.

Mommy: (About to bust out laughing now) Yes, they do, but Alex, pay attention.

Alex: Mommy? Mommy? I will fart! I will fart like Daddy and Austin and Andrew fart! I will fart loud! I will fart loud like this (stands up very, very, ramrod straight, arms at each side, eyes wide open, and he opens his mouth, wide, very wide, to where you can see his tonsils and screams, oh, so very loudly: AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Mommy: Oh, Lord. (Gives up....starting laughing)

Alex: (Stands up very straight, very erect and at attention).
"Mommy, I will fart LOUD and everyone will say, (he leans forward and to one side, cocks his head and cups his hand around his ear, like he's listening for something, his eyes darting about, and says), "everyone will say, what was dat noise?"

Mommy: (Tears... laugh....) Pete, help me!

Alex: "And I will say...." looking very sweetly, very innocently at mommy and daddy, Alex says, loudly: "And I will say, "it was THE FART MAN!"

Mommy and Daddy: tears, rolling, falling on the floor with laughter, can't stand up, can't breathe, can't stop laughing.

Alex: sweetly, innocently, "Mommy, Daddy, what's da matter?"

Monday, June 8, 2009

February 2008

So 2008 was well underway....we celebrated Valentine’s Day with candy and small toys, and then went on a few days later to celebrate Austin’s 1st birthday. I could not believe it....Austin, a year old already. We kept the celebration small. Pizza with the family at my parent’s house, then with a chocolate cake to dive into and gobble up afterwards. What a crazy year it had been

We got home early from Austin’s first birthday party because baby Andrew was scheduled for surgery the next day. I have not mentioned it yet on this blog, but Andrew was born with Amniotic Band Symdrome. You can learn more about it at

While Casey was pregnant with Andrew, he at some point during his development got his right hand caught in the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac, which is fiberous in nature, wound around the middle, ring and pinky fingers on his right hand, causing a disfigurement. His middle finger is intact, and has full function, mobility and circulation, but looks a little creased at the base of the finger. His ring finger was heavily disfigured, the band having wrapped around the finger at the base and causing it to swell up and look like a small sausage. The ring finger, though, no matter what it looked like, also had full mobility and circulation. His pinky finger, however, was severed while inutero, leaving only the smallest of stumps in place of his finger.

So our task at hand was to find an orthopedic surgeon and come up with a plan to make Andrew’s hand a little more functional and a lot less disfigured looking. The city we live in has one of the top hand surgeons in the country, and we met with him and just love, love, love this doctor. We were given a number of options for little Andrew, and after a few months and making sure he was old enough and strong enough for surgery, he was scheduled for the first of several surgeries on February 21st.

The short version of a long story is that Andrew came through just fine. The surgery took a lot less time that I imagined it would, and he was such a trooper, laughing and punch-drunk from the anesthesia in the recovery room afterwards. That is, after getting his morphine. When we first saw him, he was beet red and ticked off! He wanted his mommy and daddy, not these strange nurses holding him. So after getting tangled up in his IV cords and nearly tripping and killing us both, I settled in for a soothing rock with my youngest. After about an hour of peace and quiet, they discharged him and sent us home, with my baby in a full cast up to his shoulder, to be worn for the next 6 weeks!

And I have to wonder who that 6 weeks was worse on...Andrew, being the one in the cast; us - his parents, watching him learn to crawl all hiked up with that cast; or his brothers, for being the recipients of many, many bonks on the head by their baby brother, wish his very own, built in baseball bat for a right arm!

Kids...making lemonda outta lemons, huh?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A conversation with Alex

So here's another one of Alex's enlightening conversations. It was the day after we'd been to Busch Gardens, and we'd gotten up and gone to church and brunch that morning, so it had been a very lazy afternoon, with everyone napping to catch up on our sleep. We were all a little tired and lazy, and I really wasn't in the mood to cook a lot, or have the boys be fussy about what I cooked, so it was pretty much let everyone eat whatever they want, as long as it's leftovers, or something very easy. Alex is a little grouchy, and it goes like this:

Mommy: What to do want for supper?

Alex (grouchy): I don't want supper.

Mommy: Are you not hungry?

Alex (whiny): Yes, I am hungry!

Mommy: OK, so what to do want to eat?

Alex (whiny): I don't know.

Mommy: Do you want chicken?

Alex (huffy): I want breakfast.

Mommy: Well, that's OK Do you want eggs and sausage?

Alex (grouchy): No!

Mommy: Well, what do you want?

Alex (whiny): I want nuffin.

Mommy: Come on, Alex, tell me what you want...I'm easy tonight. You want waffles?

Alex (whiny): I don't want waffles!

Mommy: OK, you don't have to eat waffles. Just tell me what you want.

Alex (huffy): I want lunch!

Mommy: All right, how about a sandwich, a ham sandwich, and some fruit?

Alex (huffy): No, no samich!

Mommy: Alex, what do you want then, son?

Alex (huffy): I want nuffin!

Mommy: Nuffin?

Alex (grouchy): Yes, I want nuffin!

Mommy: OK, well, let's fry up a great big bowl of nuffin.

Mommy and Daddy get out a big frying pan and pretend to be cooking up a big bunch of nuffin.

Mommy: OK, here it is, Alex, your bowl of nuffin.

Alex: Aaaaahhhhh, I don't want nuffin.

Mommy: Well, remember, you just said you want nuffin. So we fixed you nuffin. Now you don't want nuffin?

Alex: No, I don't want nuffin. I want sumpin.

Mommy: What's sumpin?

Alex: I don't know.

Mommy: Well, what do you want. Just name it and I'll fix it.

Alex: I want dinner!

Mommy: Well, what do you want for dinner....we'll fix whatever you want.

Alex: I don't know what I want.

Mommy: Alex, you have to eat something. Do you want cereal, do you want waffles, do you want a sandwich, do you want pizza, what to you want?


Mommy (wisely): Such is life, Alex, trust me, such is life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

God, Backhoes and UFOs

Having a three year old is a lot of morning, on the way to school, we saw a lot of backhoes at the construction site across from school. So I purposely drove by the construction site and slowed down so Alex could look, and all you could hear from the back of the van was, "Wow! Mommy! Look at dat backhoe! What is dat, Mommy? That a backhoe?", etc., etc., etc. Then, when we got to the parking lot, every hole in the parking lot, which was caused by the recent rain, every cement glob in the parking lot, every crack in the sidewalk, Alex would ask: "That made by a backhoe?" Or "a backhoe did that?" Then, upon seeing the large sinkhole in front of the education building, Alex asked if that was made by a backhoe. I told him, "no, that is part of the Earth. It's a sinkhole. God made that." Alex then asked, "Did God use a backhoe?" ....I told him he thinks God is so cool for using a backhoe!

That's Alex's new word, "Cool", that, and "awesome!" You hear that a lot now, "wow, that's cool" or "wow, that's awesome". So if he thinks God is cool and awesome, then we're doing something right! I really think we are, because he now can say his own prayers, and, when we do the nighttime prayers and we ask God to bless everyone, he always says, at the very end, "And God Bless Jesus!"

However, one night Alex was playing with his wrecker truck. He noticed where the hook part on the back of the wrecker was missing, so he says: "Mommy, where my hooker? I need a hooker!" I was a little distracted from across the playroom and did not see what he was doing, so I jerked my head up real quick and looked over at him and said, "WHAT?" He saw my reaction and said, again, "Mommy, I need a! Get me a hooker!" I could only think to myself, please, Lord, don't let him be saying things like this at school or church! It's so hard when they say funny things to not just burst out laughing! I say again, only Alex!

We had a couple of very gruesome experiences with more UFOs recently. Actually, Aunt Chris saw her first UFO the day of Andrew's surgery. She and dad were watching Austin and Alex while Mom, Pete and I were at the hospital during Andrew's surgery. She found a UFO (unidentified food object) in the play room. She said at first she thought it was a piece of sausage, but after closer inspection, she determined that it had, in it's former life, been some variety of pasta. The jury is still out on that exact determination. Pasta's good enough for me! And then last night, I had all three of the boys in the play room and was trying to turn Austin around on my lap. My hand grabbed his belly to turn him and I felt something around his belly button. I looked at it, and it was either: 1) the biggest, jumbo-sized, greenest, gooiest, stickiest booger EVER KNOWN TO MANKIND; or 2) a chewed-up, spit-out piece of green-grape Fruit Roll-Up. I do not know, but Austin and mommy underwent a sink full of handwashing right then, just to be safe. As anyone who knows me know....I'll trade you 10 poppy diapers to one snotty nose, any day of the week. Anything below the waist, I can's all the "stuff" from the neck up that I grow weak in the knees at...and with three little boys 3 and under...there's a lot of both!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Life With 3 boys goes on!

So we roll into 2008 in our new house, with our three boys. Austin, in one day, started saying 3 new words: cookie, thank you, and kit-cat. It started one morning, he was looking at the cookie jar and was babbling, so I wasn't paying too much attention, but then, all of sudden, he said, "cookie" and pointed. So I happily gave him one, and said, "OK, Austin, what do we say? We say thank you." And he looked at me and said it. Sort of babbled it, of course, but you could understand him. Then, old Luck-luck came into the room, and Austin is just fascinated with him, and out of the blue, he said, "kit-cat!" Three new words, in one day!

One Sunday, Alex really hammed it up at Sunday brunch himself. We were with Aunt Chris and, as usual, we were the loudest, messiest people there. We always take a table near the back, so people can avoid us if they wish. Well, next to us one aisle over was a group of older ladies, just out of church, too, having a nice brunch. Very sweet, very peaceful (well, as peaceful as it gets sitting near us). Austin is going through a food-throwing stage and Alex is just Alex. Always a puddle around him. He likes blowing bubbles through his straw now. And Andrew dropped his bottle and the top came off and formula went everywhere. Napkins everywhere, straw wrappers everywhere, wet wipes everywhere, juice boxes falling over, food on the floor. A true zoo. So near the end of the meal, Alex gets down from his chair and is standing by Austin's high chair at the end of the table. Alex steps right into all the mess on that end of the table. Alex announces, very loudly, just so the whole restaurant can hear, "good heavens, Austin, what a mess! This place is a pig pen!" (Hhhmm, where do you think he picked up that, huh?)

Then, later that night, our grandson Jared come over to spend the night. Jared was 7 to Alex's 3 years old at the time. Now, Alex had not managed to get a nap in this day, and was edgy and tired. However, he was so ecstatic to see Jared, he got just downright nutty. At one point, Alex and Jared were sitting together side-by-side on the couch, reading (well, Jared was reading, Alex was listening and looking at the pictures). Alex had a dirty (number 2) diaper and Jared smelled it, so he moved away. Alex scooted over by him. Jared got up and moved to the other couch. Alex followed. I finally got a whiff of the problem, and checked Alex's butt. Yep, time for a diaper change. Off to the changing table. Alex threw a royal fit, a real fit, struggling and crying and mad. He thought I was taking him away from playing with Jared. I tried to explain that I just wanted to change his diaper and would take him back to play with Jared, but the conversation went like this:

Me: Alex, calm down, I need to change your diaper.

Alex (crying): Why?

Me: Coz it's messy.

Alex (crying): Why?

Me: Because you pooped in your pants instead of telling your daddy or me that you need to go potty.

Alex (crying): Why?

Me: I don't know why, you know you should tell us and we'll help you go potty.

Alex (crying): Why?

Me: Because we want you to be clean and not poop your pants.

Alex (calming down): What you doing now?

Me: Putting a clean diaper on you.

Alex: Why?

Me (getting frustrated): Because you need a clean diaper on your bottom.

Alex: Why?

Me (very frustrated now): Why, what, Alex?

Alex: Why you puttin' a new diaper on me?

Me (exasperated now to the point of tears): Just because. You tell me why.

Alex: Well, I don't know why. Coz I'm just gonna poop it again!

Welcome to my world!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Back to the Time-Line Driven Blog here - 2008 begins

The year 2008 dawned with us continuing to settle into our new house, recover from the holidays, and pray that I recover from the flu. On January 3rd, 2008, we welcomed a new baby into the family...but this time, our grandchild! Lukas, second born son of my step-son and his wife, was born bringing the current total of little boys in our immediate family to 8! A healthy baby, a happy family, and almost our own baseball team...what better way to start the new year!

On January 8, 2008, for the very first time, unassisted, at 10 ½ months, our middle son, Austin, took his very first steps! What a big boy he was. He really took off after January 13, he was completely walking everywhere on his own, but then it was on to climbing, climbing and more climbing. On his second day of walking, he discovered climbing, and even managed to get up onto the bathroom counter!

January 8, 2008 was a big day for another reason: at 1:45 PM, we had the final hearing for Andrew's adoption! He was now and forever officially ("fish-al" according to Alex) OURS!

A week later it was time to celebrate my birthday, and I must have been really sick for the last few months, because my entire family took enough pity on me to get me almost a year’s worth of spa gift certificates! Oh, the massages I was gonna get with those! Relaxation here I come!

Alex is such a good big brother to Austin (rooti-tooti) and Andrew (mody), his nicknames for his brothers. He used to get a little jealous sometimes, especially in the mornings when we would get the babies up and carry them in to the kitchen. Alex wanted to be carried in to the kitchen, too. But at 43 pounds, he was just too heavy to carry anymore. So I would try to get him to hold hands and walk, but some mornings, he just didn't want to. So he'd stand in the hallway and cry, "But mommy, you have to carry me! I'll fall if you don't!" I'd tell him, "No, you won't fall. You're a big boy!" So he'd take a couple of steps, then with such drama and exaggeration you would not believe it, he'd throw himself down on the hallway floor, start crying and say, "See, mommy, I told you I'd fall down!" And the wailing, sobbing and whining begins. What drama! The Academy Awards committee needs to keep their eyes on him. Where does he get it?

During the first weeks at the new house, we watched a lot of HGTV for ideas on projects for our new house. You hear on HGTV a lot phrases like "3-bedroom, 2.5 bath", or "4 bedroom, 3 and a half bath''; "Living room, dining-room, den, curbside appeal" , etc. Alex really picked up on a lot of these phrases and began to walk through our house counting the bedrooms and bathrooms, saying "curb-side appeal", "large lot", and other real estate lingo. And, at other people's houses, or even just driving through the neighborhood, he'd say, "that house has 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half bath!" Or "that house has play room!" If Hollywood doesn't work out for him, real estate may be his thing!

Along that line, he woke me up early one morning to watch cartoons. It was still very early and the infomercials were still airing on television. He must have seen one about credit counseling, because he woke me at 6 AM, saying "have too much credit card debt? Call us now or apply online!" I was just praying he didn't catch a late-night or early morning Viagra commercial...and then with my luck, start talking about erectile disfunction as church or school!

Yup, 2008 was starting off to be a banner year at our house! The year of the Triple A Threat!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Tagging Game

OK, apparently while I've been busy with tax season, two trials coming up at work, adding two rooms and a deck to our house, raising 3 boys and preparing for the arrival of our latest addition due to be born in 6 weeks, I've been TAGGED by two friends and fellow bloggers, and I'm just now getting around to tagging it forward. Wow, am I bad at this or what? And my brain is so fried these days with everything going on that I actually had to print out the rules to this tag game in order to remind me to follow through, and then do it. Please bear with me...the baby isn't even here yet, and I'm already walking around in a daze....

OK, the rules to the tag game are:

Mention the blogger that tagged you and be sure to link to them. I was tagged by Beth at and by Lisa at They are both great moms, great people and great bloggers, so please go check them out!

Next, post your lists of 8s.

Then tag 8 bloggers of your choice and tell them!

OK, here goes, folks:

8 Favorite Foods:

1) Pizza
2) Tacos
3) Fettucine Alfredo, or for that matter, anything Italian
4) Sub sandwiches
4) Eggs, almost any way you can cook 'em
5) Chocolate chip cookies, warm right out of the oven
6) Peanut Butter milkshakes
7) My mom's potatoe salad
8) Grilled cheese sandwich and tomatoe soup

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To

1) The birth of our daughter next month
2) Our vacation starting next Friday
3) Losing 20 more pounds
4) Getting all this [bleeping] work done on the house....FINALLY
5) Getting my hair done next week
6) Finishing my Cherish Bound family projects
7) The birth of our latest grandchild in October
8) Cooler weather in the Fall

8 Things I Did Yesterday

1) Got up EARLY
2) Worked on Cherish Bound
3) Put in full day at office
4) Went to my Weight Watchers meeting
5) Went to Wal-Mart and got the boys their sleeping bags
6) Played "Snaggle-Tooth Loader truck games" with Alex
7) Talked to my mom about her eye surgery today
8) Watched an episode on DVD of Desperate Housewives

8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die

1) Have a HUGE family reunion
2) Vacay in Mexico, Hawaii, Asia, Africa and Italy
3) See my kids all grow up and be happy, healthy, successful, responsible and respectful, and just overall good people
4) Go back to playing piano, violin and clarinet, learn guitar
5) Write a book
6) Travel extensively with my family and expose my kids to as much of the country and the world as I can
7) Start a charitable organization
8) Make sure that everyone I love, knows how much I love them

8 Shows I Watch

1) Desperate Housewives
2) Law and Order
3) Law and Order SVU
4) Jon & Kate Plus 8
5) ER
6) House
7) Anything on HGTV
8) Anything on the Travel Channel

8 Way In Which I Kill Time

1) Read
2) Blog
3) Email
4) Watch TV
Honestly, I just don't have a lot of time to kill....

8 Bloggers...TAG, YOU'RE IT!


Wishing all of you a great day! MUAH!

Friday, May 8, 2009

December 2007

Well, we survived the three big meals in one week during Thanksgiving week, and I probably gained 20 pounds that week alone. You would think with all that good food in me, that I would have stayed well for a while, but I did not. I fell sick again, just at the end of November. I was gasping, rasping sick on the day we closed on our new house, December 3rd. We were scheduled to move the next day, and I had planned on going to work, but I woke up barely able to breath. Quite literally, barely able to breath. I scared Pete horribly with the way I looked and sounded, and was rushed to the doctor's office and sent home with more drugs than skid row, and banished to my bed, which was kinda hard to do considering they were loading my bed up for the move.

I ended up not going to work the rest of that week, and barely managed to do anything to assist in the move. The first thing assembled at the new house was my bed, and I crawled in it and stayed there (and my new hot tub) for the better part of a week.

Uncle Albert and Aunt Nell come to visit from their home in Alabama to (1) help with the move and the kids; and (2) take home the parts of the screen porch from the old house, now affectionately known as the "Roach House" ever since Alex found a dead cockroach in the garage on one of many trips back to the house to finish moving out. They stayed for about a week, and we had an early Christmas with them. We even managed to put up a small Christmas tree we found in the move. Between that, some candy canes, some Christmas music on the radio, and some hot cocoa, we did manage to fool ourselves into thinking we were celebrating Christmas.

I again rallied just long enough in mid-December to actually look human for our family holiday pictures. I even managed to get them sent out, along with our annual holiday newsletter. I also forced myself to attend our annual adoption Christmas party, where Pete plays Santa every year, but other than that, and our annual Christmas Eve children's service at church, followed by the traditional family gathering at Gloria's place, for the most part, the month of December passed in a blurry, congested, drugged haze (for me) of packing, moving, hacking, coughing, dripping, sneezing, aching, wrapping (presents), unwrapping (moving boxes and presents) and a general flurry of activity for a working mom of three babies who just moved, while sick, in the month of December.

How I ever survived that month I will never know...just please, dear Lord, don't ever make me repeat that again every in my life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

November 2007

November of 2007 went something like this for me: cough, cough, hack, hack, wrap, wrap, pack, pack. Between being sick for the 8th month in a row, we were packing to move. I do not recall a lot of that month, for between working, taking care of an almost-3-year-old and two babies, packing to move, and dripping, sneezing and coughing up my body weight every week in phlem, I was exhausted.

I did rally a few days near the end of the month for three giant, celebratory meals. The first being my parents' wedding anniversary dinner on Monday night, and for Thanksgiving just three days later, and then the babies' baptism, three days after that. I realized just in time: "Hey! Thanksgiving is in a few days." My house was a wreck and I was still weak from being so sick, so it was Grill Masters for the anniversary dinner, and the Holiday Inn to the rescue for Thanksgiving Day dinner. It was a wonderful, lovely, delicious buffet. And don't tell Martha Stewart, but I actually kinda liked not having to clean house, cook, serve, and then clean house again after the meal. Maybe I was on to something here, perhaps? At any rate, Thanksgiving of 2007, while a little different, was just so very thankful, for this year we had not one, but TWO new babies to be eternally grateful for.

And then, just like we did with Alex's baptism two years earlier, we held Austin and Andrew's of the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving. Friends and family were all there to love us and show their support.

Another blessed day, which thankfully I remained feeling pretty well for, and then a wonderful lunch afterwards with family and friends at First Place cafe.

Father, I commit this Baptism Day into Your most precious and loving hands. I believe that by Your crucifixion on the Cross, my old self was rendered powerless and I was freed from all sin. You were raised from the dead that I too may live a life victorious and overcoming all evil.

Father, this day, I rededicate myself to live in You and live a life for Your glory. I remember the day when I was baptized and washed off all my sins. Lord, it is Your grace that I must be counted worthy to be called Your child. Help me to keep Your commandments. Renew my strength this day that I may be strong in faith and increase in zeal. Preserve me for the glorious day of Your coming. I believe Your Word which says, "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ". Let this day be the beginning. Lead me into greater spiritual depths even in the coming days. In Jesus' precious name I pray.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Halloween 2007

Life...or what was formerly known as life and is now known as CCC with the AAA...for Constant, Chronic Chaos with Alex, Austin and Andrew...forged ahead. It was late September of 2007, and I had three sons. Also, our daughter-in-law was pregnant with their second son. Life goes on. And on and on, in our family.

So it's my favorite time of year season, (and I am a Gator fan, but just don't have the patience to sit still to watch a game, so while hubby watches...and watches...and! I love the fall festivals, the fall weather, the fall decorations, the entire mood and ambiance of fall. I began to prepare for our annual family Halloween party.

Another task we undertook was house hunting. We quickly began to feel the pinch of 5 of us in the house, especially since we knew we'd want to adopt again we began the quest for our next (and hopefully final) family home.

Now, one thing I've neglected to blog about so far is that starting in December of 2006, I began to get sick. Not sick like in cancer...just sick. Head cold, sinus infection, resperitory infection, flu, you name it. I got sick in December of 2006, and from then until now, I would get sick for two weeks, go to the doctor (sometimes), get a prescription for an antibiotic, a nasal spray and a cough medicine, take it all, feel somewhat better for a week or 10 days, and then would get sick again. This went on...and on....and on....for all of 2007, and even into 2008. Luckily, for both Austin's birth back in February of 2007, and for Andrew's birth in August just 6 months later, I was well. For those particular weeks and for several weeks following their births, the Lord blessed me with good health, and thankfully none of my kids ever caught anything from me. But my major memories of 2007 are of feeling very, very sick for weeks and weeks and weeks.

However, in the first week of October 2007, I was eagerly preparing for our Halloween party, along with working, caring for my three sons, and house hunting. Then, the bottom fell out. I got sick, again (after all, I had felt well for three whole weeks in row..can't let Momma get spoiled now, can we)? And this time, when I got was bad. But, I figured it would run itself out like it had been doing for almost a year now...I'd feel like hell for two weeks, and then feel OK by the end of the month.

WRONG! I just got sicker and sicker and sicker. And it killed me to do it, but I had to cancel our annual family Halloween party. What made me even sicker about it was that our son and daughter-in-law and grandson from Mississippi, Matthew and Emily and Colton, we going to be in town that same weekend as our party. Plus, one of Pete's nieces was going to be there with her family. It was going to be the biggest, best party yet! Oh....the plans I recipes to try games...I so wanted this party to happen! I tried so hard to get well again. But it just did not happen. And I really feared getting Emily sick, especially with her being 7 months pregnant. So the party got called off, practically at the last minute. We did manage to make it to our church's Fall Festival, known as Trunk n Treat, as well as to a pumpkin carving party at the home of some friends, so Halloween of 2007 was not without it's festivities. But to cancel our annual Halloween party just goes to show you how truly sick I was. It was scary.

But there is a hilarious Halloween story to share for 2007. It was before I got sick and had to cancel the party. We were dragging all of the Halloween decorations down from the attic. One of my motion-sensor decorations (a tombstone that opens with a ghost popping out) fell and hit the floor. Alex was right in the middle of it all, of course. I picked it up and saw that it was cracked and hoped I had not broken it completely. I took it to Pete (with Alex tagging along right behind me, of course) and Pete looked it over. He said: "Oh, it's only cracked. It's just a crack right here. I'll get some SuperGlue and I can fix it." Alex took all this in, word for word, naturally.

OK, so fast forward to later that night. Pete's on the porch watching the Gator game. Both babies are in bed. Alex is on my bed watching Shrek, and I'm in the shower. It's late. Phone rings. Knowing Pete was on the porch could not hear it ringing, and wondering who would call so late (well, not super late: around 10:15 PM) I jumped out of the shower, grabbed a towel to wrap around me and dashed to answer the extension on my bedside table. It was Adrian. I explain I'm dripping wet and can I call her tomorrow. Hang up. Go back around the bed and I'm moving around Alex who came to the phone to also say hello to Adrian. My towel doesn't completely cover me: my rear end, to be exact. Alex points at my rear and says: "Mommy, what's that?" I tell him it's my behind, my fanny, my tushie. Something like that. He says, "Mommy, what's that?" and kind of pats his hand at the top of my, well, forgive me here, but I have to tell you so you'll understand the story, at the top of my butt crack. (Now let me explain here that while butts and butt cracks are not our usual family topic of conversation, I don't want to lie to my kids ever, or give them made up words that they will embarrass themselves with later, or any other kind of misguided information about ANYTHING. So when they ask me what a certain body part is, or what anything is, for that matter, I try to always be accurate and precise and to the best of my ability, clinical and G-rated.) So a rear end can be called many things: butt, hiney, fanny, tushie, behind, etc., etc., etc. I was trying to think of a clinical, G-rated way of saying butt crack and I just could not come up with anything. So before he patted me again, and this got even weirder, I said, "well, Alex, that's my butt crack. Everyone has one: you have one, Austin has one, Andrew has one." Well, leave it to Alex. His reply? (Flash back now to the paragraph above). "Mommy, you butt is cracked? Daddy get SuperGlue. He can fix it!"

Kid just listens too damn well if you ask me.

So the Halloween party itself got canceled...but apparently a party of another sort took it's place. The weekend of the planned party, Matthew, Emily and Colton were in town and stayed at our house. Then, because they were at our house, everyone else in the family showed up to visit them: Samantha and her kids, Jessica, Adrian, Ashley and Jared, and even Gloria, Darrell and Sandy. But because I was so sick and didn't want to get anyone else sick, I didn't get to be a part of the fun and festivities, so I was relegated to my bedroom. Bless Adrian's heart. She felt so sorry for me and came back to spend time with me, saying, "I don't care if I do get sick...I'm not going to let Jamaica stay back there all by herself while everyone else is out here in her house having fun!" So at least I had some company, in between bouts of hacking up a lung.

I managed to rally just enough to take the boys trick or treating around the neighborhood the night of Halloween. Or at least that's what Pete tells me. I really don't have much recollection of it...either I was sicker than I let on, or else my sinus, nausea and cough medicine did a number of me reminiscent of my Vodka Collins' days. Alex was a Junior Bob the Builder, and Austin and Andrew were baby pumpkins. That much is true, because there are picture to prove it.

Being sick was really beginning to suck.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Angelia's Birthday

Friday, March 20, was Angelia's birthday. It was a very rough day, so I have not posted this until now. Happy Birthday, Sassy! We love you and miss you always!

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
we remember.

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
we remember.

In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring,
we remember.

In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,
we remember.

In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
we remember.

In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
we remember.

When we are weary and in need of strength,
we remember.

When we are lost and sick at heart,
we remember.

When we have joys we yearn to share,
we remember.

So long as we live, she too shall live,
for she is now a part of us,
and we will always remember.

by Roland B. Gittelsohn

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I will return to blogging soon. For those who don't know it, I work in a tax office. And April 15 is just weeks away. Between that, and another personal project I'm working on, and, oh yeah, having three kids, I'm having to take a break from my blog for a little while.

But I will leave you with some news: I'm going to be a grandma again!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life with 3 boys!

So we settle into life as "My Three Sons". For someone who used to imagine that I'd only have one child, and a girl at that, how I ended up with 3 boys under 3...I'll never know. BUT: I'll forever be eternally, completely grateful. I just couldn't have imagined the fun three little boys can create! Noise, dirt, crying, screaming, clutter...all that and more would now rule my home and my life!

Andrew was 8 days old when he had the first party thrown in his honor. All the usual suspects showed up and a great time was had by all.

Now, with not just one, but TWO little brothers to show off for, Alex really began letting his personality shine through. One night while Uncle Albert and Aunt Nell were visiting, Uncle Albert kept trying to tell a joke. And apparently Alex understood that it was a joke his Grandpa was telling, because he kept slapping the table with his hands and laughing, out loud, ridiculously, obnoxiously laughing, at each pause for breath that Uncle Albert took while telling the joke! It was funnier than the joke was! But the best part of all was that when Alex did that each time, and we'd tell him, "Wait, Alex, let Pawpaw finish the joke" and Alex would interrupt with laughter again, and FINALLY Uncle Albert got to the punch line......Alex didn't get it! No a peep out of Alex....stone cold silence!

You just can't script this stuff with kids, can you?

Some other Alex-isms:

Singing "happy birthday, Luck-luck" (his cat) anytime he's at a birthday party for a friend or family member, and for his bedtime song each night after a story and prayers.

Telling his Sunday school teacher that "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne is his favorite song. His SUNDAY SCHOOL teacher...a song by Ozzy Osbourne....oh, yeah! We look good at the church now!

Alex imitating us, when we do Austin's "exercises" (just our way of distracting Austin and Andrew while changing a poopy diaper, cleaning a snotty nose, giving medicine, etc.). Alex grabs Austin's hands, and then his feet, thrashing them about saying, "1, 2, 3 4, pull...that's a boy, you're getting SO BIG!"

Alex telling us that the reason he can't go to sleep at night is that there are red alligators in his room that talk to him all night, keeping him awake. He says they live under his bed. Red alligators...I have no clue where that came from.

Alex thoroughly enjoying watching Mommy crawl out of her skin by telling her that "Alex like snakes and worms, Mommy!"

Alex gave the name "Lulu" to his toy cowboy and his toy fire truck driver. Not the most butch of names for such he-man occupations, wouldn't you agree?

Alex caught on to Mommy's little white lies when I told him we were out of Mommy's Fat-Free Weight Watchers devils food cookies. Alex insists, while standing on tippy toes, looking into the kitchen pantry: "Alex SEE no more black cookies, Mommy! Let Alex SEE!"

Alex insists on talking to his brother while we're trying to put baby Andrew to sleep. We asked him, "Alex, what is it you want to say to Andrew?" Alex replies: "I fart!"

And continuing with Alex's gas-passing-themed quips: While bathing Alex one night, he passed some gas while sitting in the tub, and delightfully (and loudly) exclaimed, "Mommy I made bubbles....with my fart!"

Or how 'bout this classic: "Mommy, my fart smells like.....macaroni!"

Upon hearing Austin crying after putting him to bed, Alex says: “Mom, sumpin’s bugging him. He no want to go nite-nite.”

While playing with my hair, Alex says: “Mommy, you need a hair cut. If you a good girl, and you no cry, you get a lawdy-pop!”

Then there was the day he painted himself, almost covering his entire body, with chocolate pudding, so he'd be black like his little brother. And when he decided it would be a fun afternoon activity to make mud pies on Austin's head (Austin loved it, too, by the way). And the evening he decided to help Austin comb his hair by putting a battery-operated drink mixer in Austin's hair, and TURNED IT ON HIGH, getting the mixer caught and stuck. Yeah, that was some fun, getting that out of Austin's hair. Austin was rockin' a mo-hawk back then. His hair started out silky smooth and satin-y straight, but when his curls began to grow in, they only grew on the top, middle of his head for his first year...the Maddox Jolie Pitt look, ya know what I mean. Apparently Alex thought his hair wasn't just quite curly enough!

Or how about the morning we spray painted wicker chair. We were all out in the garage, where I had the door open to air out the paint fumes while the boys played in the yard. Alex was comforting Austin, whose diaper was half off, hugging him, saying “it’s OK, it’s all right.” I ask what’s wrong, Alex says: “Hop-A-Long sad. Him upset.” I ask why. Alex says: “His butt’s hanging out." To which I reply: "Well, Mommy better go fix his diaper. I'll be right back." And I bend down to pick up Austin, only to have Alex stop me, saying, "It’s OK, I make it better, I make him happy.” I asked Alex how. Alex said, “I’ll spray paint his butt!”

And on another painting day, after the painting was finished up, I went in the house to wash my face and hands, leaving the boys outside with Pete. The next thing I knew, Alex was at my side, almost crying, very anxious and upset, talking too fast, trying to tell me something. It came out, "mommy, hurry, quick, daddy said, run, Austin....fingers.....blood!” Over and over again. I got soap in my eyes and all I heard was "Austin" and "blood", so fearing the worst, I ran back out to the garage with Alex at my heels. Pete was very calmly standing there with paint thinner (which smelled like gasoline) and was dabbing lightly at Austin's hand. My thought was to scream, panic and kill my husband, as in my blinded and confused state, I thought he WAS pouring gasoline onto a cut on Austin's hand, which looked to me to be bleeding heavily. Turned out: Alex was not such a good message relayer, and I really was blind as a bat. Because Austin had simply put his hand on the newly-painted-red chair, and to Alex, it looked like blood, and to me, the paint thinner smelled like gasoline. Easy to guess who the drama queen (and king) is in our house, huh?

So yes, life with three boys under age three was proving to be....let's just say....highly spirited. Drama, tears, laughter, joy...I never knew how much fun my three guys could be.