Friday, August 31, 2007

the garden resurrected

i went out today to clear the garden, and to my surprise i found:
a new crop of green beans
some beets growing-halfway above ground
2 full size cukes hiding in my raspberry bush!
at least 4 gherkin-sized nascent cucumbers
more blossoms on the eggplant-plant

i guess:
the cukes weren't a failure
better late than never on the thinning

i pulled many weeds, did some more thinning on the carrots and beets, removed dead zuke and squash plants (most of which had been decimated by some critter), pulled up some corn stalks (one of which had some NASTY mold growing on what would have been an ear of corn), radically trimmed down the front tomato plant (which had been mostly laying on the lawn), and relocated the wandering pumpkin vine so that it wrapped back around the front of the garden towards its point of origin.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

the lions (fan) sleeps tonight

in the stadium,
the mighty stadium
the lions fan sleeps tonight.

well, not for the whole game, but she did take a power nap during the 2nd quarter.

granny, poppa, pooka, and i went to the bills/lions pre-season game at ford field tonight. daddy was supposed to go, but he got hung up at an interview (yay!), so pooka took his ticket.

she was exhausted from this first week of school, as well as her steroids, not to mention the long haul from the parking lot to the stadium...AND the trek around the stadium. we entered directly opposite where our seats were located (for some reason they wouldn't let us cut through the middle). that's a LOT of walking. even the adults were a bit winded.

it's the first time we had ever been to ford field. it's a nice place. there were quite a few bills fans there. (there was even a guy wearing an authentic gilbert perrault jersey autographed by the french connection!!) pooka asked who we were rooting for. it was a mixed bag: poppa wasn't really rooting for either team, since the bucs weren't playing; granny was rooting for the bills; pooka was rooting for the lions; and i was rooting for both (although i did have a bills shirt on). we covered the whole gamut.

i'm glad we'll get a chance to go back again (for the bucs game on 10/21), because i feel i didn't properly appreciate just how CLOSE we were to the action. 14 rows up just to the left of the goal posts in the end zone is a good place to see. but i forgot that and kept watching the game on the big screen. plus, next time, i won't have to keep a portion of my brain disengaged from the game in order to monitor a child. it'll be nice to see the regular starters playing, too. that way i have a chance of actually knowing who the heck made the play. i look forward to having kisu point out details of the game that you don't experience watching on tv.

the stadium gets even more props from me since i was able to find a place to pump. our seats were only 2 sections away from a first aid station where the nurse let me commandeer an electrical outlet.

i mentioned that i probably had a strange request and she said no. color me surprised to find out i'm not the only woman to try and pump breast milk at a professional football game.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

and the kids keep coming...

more names to add to the newborn roll call:

Landon July 5
Kennedy (f) August 10
Emily August 28

still more to come. i found out that a male coworker is also expecting a child in october and another cousin in march 08.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

jump for joy

we finally got the jumper for bug. she is sooo happy! she's at the stage where she hates to sit still for 3 seconds. the jumper does overstimulate her a bit yet, but i'm sure she'll get used to it. she slept very well for daddy today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

first day of kindergarten

from the moment she woke up this morning, pooka was trying to run out the door to school.

"we need to go. i don't want to be late."

"i know, but you need a shower first."

"we need to go. i don't want to be late."

"i know, but you need to get dressed."

"we need to go. i don't want to be late."

"i know, but you have to brush your teeth."

"we need to go. i don't want to be late."

"i know, but i need to get the paperwork."

"we need to go. i don't want to be late."

"go to the car, i'll be there in a minute".

when we got to school, i tried to make a big deal out of it, but pooka was not interested. she didn't vocalize it, but she was basically telling me to get the hell out and stop cramping her style.


when we picked her up she was filthy and esctatic. we went immediately to dinner with granny, poppa, and aunt pami. i planned on filming her telling us about her day, but she refused to be on camera dirty. we came home, she took a bath, and promptly went to sleep. we'll have to film her recap of her second day of school tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

hike of heartache

pam dragged me out on a death march this morning. she pulled a bait and switch on me when she asked if i wanted to go for a 'walk'.

a walk is a casual stroll through pleasant terrain. this was not a walk. this was 2 hours of chest pain and chafing thighs.

we trekked somewhere between 6 and 9.4 miles. we didn't have a pedometer, nor were we looking at the mile markings on the path. i tried to look at the map later, but i couldn't remember how many roads we'd crossed. we were deeply engrossed in conversation.

it was a very healthy walk for more than physical reasons. this was the longest, most open-hearted talk my sister and i have had in ages. we talked about our husbands, our families, and ourselves. it was very cathartic and exhausting. we laughed, we cried, we sweated buckets.

at one point, we passed an abandoned bike covered in mud. there was an obvious trail down to the water. there were also muddy footprints along that trail. the footprints came out of the water, along the path for several yards, then off the path into the brush away from the water. at the exact point where the human footprints exited, muddy dogprints entered the pathway continuing in the same direction. coincidence or animagus?

when we returned home, it was hard for me to stop. the muscles in my legs were on auto-pilot and didn't want to respond to my pleas for rest.

louis asked us where we'd gone. when we told him we took the canal bike path, he asked, "oh, the path where they found all those girls murdered?"


Saturday, August 25, 2007

more babs hatin'

even though i don't like the undisputed queen of miniature plastic toys, the irony is that my older daughter does. some recent incidents involving the disproportionate one:

the owner and staff of our local diner dote on pooka. last christmas, she received the corvette. apparently, there was another component to the gift, as well. when we were there last week, she got another doll. the birthday version. she danced around the restaurant with it in her hands. then she placed it in front of me. when i wasn't looking, i accidentally brushed it. i swear i felt my skin burn.

at the shower today, pam and i were talking with our cousin renee about the child producing patterns of our family's 4 cousin set. pam and i were both tomboys and rugged, yet 4 out of our combined 5 children are daughters. she said to me, "why us?".

i said, "why did we get the barbie-lovin'-purse-toting-makeup-wearing-girly-girls?" i don't know.

Friday, August 24, 2007

garden bust

i'm very disappointed in the garden. after a spectacular explosion of green growth, we actually have very little fruit(or vegetables) to show for it. having read up on gardening (way past the point of no return), i realized that the plants were overcrowded and should have been thinned out. but granny and pooka insisted that this was THEIR garden, and they neglected it. granny visited only about 2x in the 3 months since she planted it.

the one unqualified success is the tomato harvest. the plants quickly eclipsed their cages, and are heavily weighted down with as-yet-unripe fruit. the monsoon rain we had this week helped to push them down further. they are leaning at a 45 degree angle but the fruit is intact. we have, however, lost a few individuals to the local fauna. we came home one day last week to find two half-ripe, half-eaten tomatoes abandoned on the picnic table, each with a corona of tiny teethmarks.

even if we don't get to enjoy all the results of the plants, i have enjoyed the garden. i LOVE the smell of the tomato greens, although i was reminded that they are NOT to be eaten. as a member of the nightshade family, they are poisonous.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

she did not inhale

i don't think i'll have to worry about pooka getting into trouble with marijuana. at least if her record with helium is anything to go by.

i opened two helium balloons that were slowing dying on her bedroom floor. i gave her the opportunity to change her voice into a cartoon, but she couldn't figure out how to inhale the helium. 3 tries resulted in laughs of frustration, not laughs of squeaky-squawky voices.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

remember when

some recent posts on dangerous toys and coveting your kid's things has me reminiscing.

i SO wanted the snoopy sno-cone machine and the easy bake oven (i think my resistance to cooking now is backlash from not being able to get the oven when i was little). my best friend jeanine had both, but somehow we never played with them. i don't remember exactly why, but maybe her mom wouldn't let us. or maybe just when i was there? hmm. (her mom also wouldn't let me put my feet on their walls. what's up with that?)

we played with lots of stuffed animals at my house and barb..., bar.., uh, you know, the doll with everything, when we were at her house. (and that's how you know how much i loved jeanine, because i would tolerate playing with that heinous plastic betch for TWENTY WHOLE MINUTES.) and then we would go swimming at my house.

with the exception of jeanine (because she was my bestest friend ever, except when we fought, and then made up 2 hours later), i was totally a user-friend. maybe i avoided you like the plague at school or even laughed when the other kids made fun of you, but if you had cool toys, i was at your house on weekends asking to play.

as much as i can recall, we didn't have really dangerous toys at our house. we didn't need to, we had the mother of all drowning hazards, a really tall pointy fence to hurdle, and, of course, the roof to jump off of. at one point, we even had the insane guard dog who only bit your friends (because he knew she wasn't really your friend, she was just using you for your pool and because your parents weren't around.) as if that wasn't enough, we also had snow plows to use as balance beams and a mound of rocks to scale. and that was just in our yard. if we crossed the street, we could entertain ourselves for hours hunting treasure or wild critters (like garter snakes and field mice that BITE!) in the empty lot/construction site. a trip to the back of the sub yielded a playground full of metal structures to frolic on. the woods beyond concealed a crick to wade, small waterfalls, and access to another subdivision literally MILES away by car.

where on earth were we and in what perilous activities were we engaged? our parents had no clue, and probably didn't care that much. well, maybe a little. but not enough to buy us a snoopy sno-cone machine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

random bits of pooka

rude gestures:
pooka and i were playing candyland one day, with bug next to me in her pod. at one point when i was occupied with bug, pooka went ahead and took some turns for me. i tried to get out of the rest of the game by saying that she was doing so well by herself, but she wouldn't let me. she said she was just helping me out while i was 'distracted. and she used finger-quotes.

get funky:
tonight pooka had radiodisney on while cleaning the play area. she was trying very hard to be productive while wriggling her dupah. when a certain song came on, she stopped and sang/talked along with it, "time to get funky, y'all" and she proceeded to. boy am i glad she's going to be taking lessons.

xtreme sliding:
pooka decided to reassemble the toddler play structure. at her advanced age, it's no longer as much fun as it used to be, so she decided to spice it up a bit. she poured bubbles on the slide and was sliding in only her underwear. she had bubble juice all over her body. later we asked her what prompted her to get the structure out, she replied, "every 104 months, i clean it."

yeah, that's about as often as i clean, too.

Monday, August 20, 2007

weighty issues

things are getting heavy at our house. kisu needs to lose drastically to try and eliminate the need for the many medicines he takes. i need to lose the baby weight. pooka needs to overcome the side effects of the medicine compounded by the sedentariness that resulted from the illness. emma looks like she's about to have 20 babies. bug is the only entity in our family allowed to gain weight right now.

we're trying to lighten up.

thanks to an incentive program from our health insurance, kisu is participating in weight watchers. i am very proud of him for swallowing his pride (that's low-cal, y'know) and seeking 'professional' help. even more, for admitting that there is a nutritional element to weight loss and healthy living, and not exclusively a weight training component. after all, you have to eat, you don't always get the time to go to the gym. he is doing well and has already seen good progress. there is still a long road to travel, but he seems comfortable with the program and it's required meetings.

both the regular doc and the oncologist have said that pooka needs to lose weight. at her size/age, a couple pounds makes a big difference. she ballooned up with that first course of steroids, and hasn't come down yet. again, part of it is the medicine itself, which will continue for the better part of another year. another major factor is lack of movement, a problem that plagues the whole family. we are desperately hoping that starting kindergarten will soon have her in a much trimmer condition. she will never be willowy like some kids her age (let's face it, some of them are downright stick-like!), but she should get back to a healthy weight for her naturally larger frame. since the oncologist pointed this out last month, she has lost a pound. the responsibility for pooka's health rests upon kisu and i. we need to get her moving and make sure she eats healthy.

bug's 4 months old and i have yet to lose the baby weight.. i am eager to get back to the shape i was in just before i got pregnant. i had worked very diligently the previous 6 months to make sure i was fit for carrying a baby. i had worked off 35 pounds and was feeling AWESOME! i have an added incentive for the short term: i need to fit into a bridesmaid dress in 2 months. my main problem right now is balancing healthy weight loss with maintaining milk production. breastfeeding is supposed to be a naturally slimming function, but as with many biological functions, i appear to be wired bassackwards. i feel that if i don't eat constantly, my production starts to suffer. and since i am obsessed with being able to exclusively provide my infant's nutrition for at least 2 more months, i am willing to put off regaining my pre-gravid fitness. at least i haven't been gaining weight. and i ordered the bridesmaid dress in my current size.

bug...bug is perfect. next.

emma has been overweight since she was 8 months old. she is now 9 years old and i don't think she's gonna change. she's been on diet food since she was 2 years old and it obviously hasn't made a difference. like the rest of the family, she's torpid, but i'm not too worried about the cat.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

bigger little sister

so bug's 15.5 pounds and 24.5 inches. i went back and checked pooka's stats at 4 months of age: 15.3 pounds and 25 inches. similar, right? wrong. the growth to date is much more significant on bug's part.

pooka started out at 8#3oz and 21 inches, while bug was a peanut at 7#4oz and only 18.25 inches. that's a lot of growth! AND my favorite part: bug is exclusively breast-fed.

so, will this lead to bug being bigger than her older sister? maybe. i'm bigger than my older sis. and, unfortunately, pooka also has to contend with the fact that chemotherapy can stunt growth.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

a day at the poop

i mean zoo.

everywhere we went, animals were pooping. i realize this is a natural function and every living thing does it, but why did they have to do it while we were looking?

the polar bear was taking a nap for the entire time it took us to meander through his exhibit. finally, upon waking, he paced in a small circle, aimed his butt squarely at the observation glass, and dropped a pile.

everyone in the observation room applauded.

we went through the new outback exhibit (really cool, despite the inactivity of the mob) and the kangas got up from their group lay-about, and pooped.

the grizzly bear, disturbed from his nap perhaps by the idiot who tried roaring at him, stood up and promptly gave his critical opinion of said idiot. that is, a steaming gob of crap.

i have no physical proof, but in light of the strong connection between waking and defecating, i suspect that all these individuals were male. maybe if we had stayed but a moment longer, they would have shaved as well...

Friday, August 17, 2007

for meritorious service

i saw these merit badges for parents here.
i think it's a cute idea, although at the same time i think it's a little hokey. who really needs to prove their parenting prowess to others? oh, right, anyone who's ever gotten dirty looks at the grocery store regardless of whether they've caved in to the candy demands or held their ground, resulting in a titanic tantrum. these are commendable achievements for dads as well as moms.

i was never in girl scouts, but since i love to collect things (yes, i'm a nerd) i always coveted the merit badges. of course, i would have felt more at home with boy scout badges than the girly versions. you know, fire making, archery, camping, instead of cookie selling, sewing, or cooking.

so i'm going to review my parenting history so far and come up with some exemplar vignettes wherein i or kisu earned our parenting merit badges.

starting with this one.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

our brush with royalty

as i was writing that last post, i realized that i never wrote about our meeting sarah ferguson, the duchess of york. this happened nov 11, 2006:

pooka was in the hospital for a fever of undetermined origin. just before 9 one morning, two child-life specialists came in and asked if pooka would like to attend an event with crafts and story time. simultaneously, one lady said "vip guest" and the other said "royal guest". hmmmm.... (i was thinking who that could be. i hoped for wills, but i figured either fergie or someone so far down the line as to be unknown, at least in the states.) pooka said sure, so i asked when this was happening and the first lady said, "in a bout 5 minutes." yikes!

it was a good thing i had already combed my hair and brushed my teeth, but otherwise we were still in our jammies. i threw some socks, shoes, and a mask on pooka and we hustled down the hall, dragging the iv pole behind.

the auditorium was set up for a press conference, with a table at the front for the kids to have breakfast, do puzzles, and play tea party. it was quite apparent that everyone else was well prepared to attend this event. that is to say, we were the only ones in pajamas.

shortly after we settled in, a bustle at the door revealed that our guest had arrived and it was, indeed, fergie. she made her way along the table, taking time to speak with each child individually and handing out small treats.

there was some yakkety-yakkety, by which i found out that this event was in honor of world children's day sponsored by ronald mcdonald house charities. (we have never stayed there, but they do offer excellent assistance to families of sick kids.)

after more yakkety-yakety from a couple more people, fergie read to the kids from one of her books. after the story, fergie and the children made individual hand casts. at one point, pooka and the duchess wwere 'trapped' in their cast s right next to each other. many photos were taken, but none by me because, hello!, i don't take my camera to the hospital. moreover, as i found out later, the duchess' image is very protected and i would not have been allowed to anyway. the director of ronald mcdonald charities declared pooka and fergie 'the shot' of the event and even captured them on his personal camera phone! there was a news crew there, as well, and the event showed up on the evening news that day. during the approximate 3 minute piece, either pooka or i, or both, were on screen 5 times, including a closeup of us in our jammies.

pooka had a great time, even though she had no clue who this redhead was. if i had been forewarned, i could have explained how she was a real life princess (ok, i know that's not technically correct, but close enough)--then pooka would have been out of her mind, cuz you know, princessess are THE shit to 5 year old girls. at any rate, we got an autographed copy of the book to keep, so one day she will look back and realize how special this day really was.

later, i contacted ronald mcdonald charities to try and get copies of some of the pictures that were taken. it took a while to get approval back from the duchess' 'people,' but they finally let me have some digital files with the understanding that they wouldn't find their (photoshopped) way to the internet. no prob, these are for my scrapbook.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

on the horse again

we did another camp casey last weekend. same general program, some new people.

i was surprised that i actually knew campers there. kisu keeps saying how the children's cancer 'community' is small, but really, i don't think so. tight-knit, when recognized, but not so small, unfortunately.

anyway, i saw the daughter of an ex-coworker. she was there with her father, though, and i don't know him. i also saw a girl who was at the duchess event at children's hospital back in november. i struck up a conversation with her mother and found out that she has a heart deformity, among other things, but not cancer. their family actually moved to michigan from arizona to get her the best treatment they could find. as if dealing with a sick child isn't enough; to have to deal with the stress of moving across country! oh yeah, i also saw the caricature artist who drew pooka and i at last year's company kids day. now that's a small world!

so this time pooka got her trot on. a little bit, anyway. they had a large riding ring, but were only using about 2/3 of it. the distance trotted was only about 20 feet, and when you subtract the distance/time transitioning from walk to trot, it really wasn't much. she thought it was cool, though.

they actually had a copy of the article (from the 6/23 camp) posted on their billboard in the barn! and there was another reporter there from a different newspaper. pooka got photographed again....still waiting for that article to run. maybe there's something to this fame thing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

going green

saw these on strollerderby.

they look like a good idea, but the inserts seem kind of pricey. will they last longer (ie. absorb more urine) than a typical disposable? otherwise, i would be churning through them too quickly to make this an affordable option.

i want my family to be more eco-friendly, but the problem frequently is the upfront cost. i know in the long, long run it'll be cheaper, but the cash issue is an insurmountable obstacle right now. why is it so expensive to do the right thing? why aren't more companies taking the big steps necessary to become greener so that it's easier for consumers to be green, as well?

some solutions are more expensive than others and some are more effective than others. obviously, insulating the house better will help cut down on wasted energy -and the bill- but major home improvements are not in the budget. however, i will try to buy more efficient light bulbs the next time we burn out.

i would like to cut down on gas consumption, but it's just not feasible for me to turn my 45 minute commute into a bike ride. i think my vehicle is fairly economical on gas, average at worst, but i often wish i had gone for the hybrid version.

i recycle whenever possible and certainly try to keep the wasted energy to a minimum, but these are basic steps that anyone can and should do. it takes effort to step out of the comfort zone and do more for the environment. i'm not ready to step out of that comfort zone. basically, i want others to make the sacrifices and investments necessary for eco-friendly products and services so that i don't have to. i can just follow along when being green is mainstream.

what are some more easy ways for the lazy and cheap (like me!) to help the environment?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

the times they are a-changing

pooka went to the dentist today. she needed two cavities filled. we never really prepped her for what was going to happen. it's a good thing we didn't. we would have stressed her out needlessly.

i was prepared for the shot (no worries, there, actually), the drilling, the hot metal taste, the crying (hers AND mine), an hour in the chair.

not even close.

we weren't even there 5 minutes when her name was called. i was still on the phone with kisu trying to get her most recent counts. she had been perfectly fine going in, but at this point, she became very truculent. i had to nudge her through the door. then i had to rationalize and threaten for several minutes before she sat down. i tried to do my best and break the tension with some silliness. it managed to crack her mask, but she still wouldn't sit down. eventually, she did, but refused to lay back. 5 more minutes of debating ensued. finally, as i threatened to leave her alone with the dentist and technician, the dentist offered her the chance to hold my hand, and she complied. from that point on, she was golden. she opened up and let the dentist do everything he needed to do.

and let me tell you, i was jealous. the dentist i had when i was a kid was a goofball. i remember one occasion of getting fillings when he started drilling before the shot kicked in. then he went away and by the time he came back, the shot wore off.

this time? no shots, no numbing gel, nada. he used his 'tooth tickler' and then some 'white paint,' which looked suspiciously like caulk in a mini-caulk gun, and she was done. 10 minutes tops. and she got a prize. i never got prizes at the dentist, unless you count the new toothbrush, paste, and floss, which i sure as hell don't. (by the way, our dentist office doesn't even give out those prophylactic freebies anymore. i guess they figure it could negatively impact their job security.)

man, kids these days got it easy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

bug checkup

weighing in at 15.5 pounds and measuring 24.5 inches, she is the picture of health.

there's only one small hiccup: the range of motion in her neck is not complete. she's a little stiff turning to the right. kisu and i noticed this a long time ago, and recently i developed internet-induced panic when i read about torticollis. however, the doc was not terribly concerned about the stiffness, only suggested that if we were concerned we could consult a physical therapist who could show us some stretching exercises to increase her flexibility.

i believe there a few factors that are interrelated pertaining to this issue: 1) nursing predominantly on one side 2)her sloping skull and 3)the neck stiffness. i don't know whether the stiffness is a cause of the sloping skull or an effect. when she's lying on her back, her head very easily rolls to the left and not so much to the right. is this because her skull slopes that way? or does the slope make it hard for her to turn her head to the right? she exhibits a strong preference to nurse on my right, which stretches the left side of her neck muscles, while compressing the muscles on her right. granted, i have little milk to offer her on the other side, but she rarely consents to even comfort nurse on that side. is it difficult for her to position her head properly to do it? or is she just disdainful of that breast?

i pity bug when i see her sloped skull, but the doctor is not worried about that, either. i know that it often happens to babies before they are strong enough to sit up, but it's just so weird. pooka's head was not that bad....i make it a point to keep her in an upright position as much as possible to keep the pressure off her skull.

also, she got shots today, poor thing. oh, the indignity.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

tattle tell

pooka doesn't realize what she's done.

she willingly gave us her tell.

kisu was talking to her after dinner and asking if she had accomplished her necessary tasks. she said yes, emphatically. apparently kisu had a disbelieving look on his face, for she repeated, "i did. i'm not lying. if i was lying, i'd look like this: *makes a face*"

i exclaimed, "AHA! now we know how to tell whenever you're lying to us!"

but wait, she was just smiling. so are we to assume that whenever she's smiling, she's telling a lie??

Friday, August 3, 2007

stay at home mom-sew what?

this week i got the opportunity to be a stay at home mom. it's weird how different it feels being home with the girls on a weekday vs the weekend.

wednesday i was home with bug while kisu took pooka to clinic. this was a treat because i wasn't really home with only her during my maternity leave. i think it was probably easier now, since she's not eating every 2 hours . i actually got a lot of stuff done. dishes, breakfast, fold laundry, play, nap, dishes while she slept, play, fold laundry, vacuum, lunch, play, nap, watch monk and 4400 while she slept, play, fold laundry. (yes, there was a LOT of laundry). yes, there was a LOT of laundry.

thursday i was only home in the morning while kisu went on an interview. bug slept a lot. i taught pooka how to mend clothes.

a seamstress i am not, but i can replace buttons and close holes. pooka wanted to do some, but i was already done, so she went to her room determined to find something that needed mending. i was a little concerned that she might damage something on purpose just to have a chance to fix it. in a way, i was right.

the shirt she brought down had been cut with scissors by her on purpose, but that was a long time ago. it was a perfect project really, because i wouldn't care what it looked like after she was done and, of course, neither would she. so i showed her how to thread the needle, knot the thread, hold the fabric, and make stitches. she was thrilled.

oh, the domestic bliss.