Thursday, February 27, 2014

Angel Prayers

Angel had a fever.  She snuggled up to me, her little body hot.  I brushed out her long blond hair until it was silky, then braided it tightly.  She hates having knots in her hair.  She brushed her teeth slowly, then climbed in bed.  She was slow and tired..  I reminded her to say her prayers, and she hesitated.

"I don't want to say them out loud, Mommy, but I'll whisper them."

She knelt on the bed next to where I sat, and leaned into me.  She nestled her head into my shoulder and I put my arm around her.  She screwed her eyes tightly shut and earnestly began:

"Heav'nly Father, I'm sick.  I don't want to die until I'm very old.  Help me to get all better.  And please bless the coughs and sniffles to go away."  She paused for a few moments, then continued.  "Please bless those who are gone from home that they'll come back safely.  And please bless them that when they are gone that bad guys won't break into their houses and steal their stuff."

She ended her prayer, put her head gently on the pink pillow, and smiled sweetly at me.  I kissed her hot forehead and she gave me a big hug.

Oh, my little Angel, how I love you!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Baby Monitor

I was doing some cleaning (and purging - yay!) today, when I found an old baby monitor.  Actually, I found two.  One was a little monitor we had purchased years ago, and the other was a hand-me-down from even more years ago.  Neither of them looked anywhere near as sleek as these models, but it was the same idea.  Little sender unit goes in the baby's room and the bigger receiver unit goes with the parental units.

A few months after our marriage, Jay and I went to visit his sister.  She was married and had two little ones already.  She threw a mattress down on the floor in her little girl's room for us to sleep on, and graciously got all the bedding we would need.  Just before we turned out the light, she popped her head back in.  Aware that we were still newlyweds, she cautiously mentioned that there was a baby monitor next to the little girl's bed, and that she and her husband would be able to hear... everything that went on through the night.

She left and Jay and I erupted into silent laughter.  We may or may not have made various comedic impersonations and sound effects to amuse them.  It all turned out fine, though - our niece slept through the whole night.

I never used a baby monitor much.  We usually lived in small enough homes that I could hear the baby when he started to holler.  Except for our first baby, or course.  I didn't know that I would hear him.  I didn't know much at all.  We lived in a tiny little two bedroom trailer, but I was terrified that the baby would cry and I wouldn't hear him.  I would wheel Alec's bassinet into the bathroom and park him in there while I tried to sneak in a shower during his nap.  I remember peeking around the shower curtain a few times, sure that he was whimpering while I washed my hair.  He wasn't.  He was fine.  And I slowly learned how to be a mother.

Interesting how finding a few old things bring back so many thoughts.  The funny thing was that I found both of the parent models, but neither of the baby sender parts.  Does that mean that I'm still trying to listen, but the kids aren't wanting to talk to me anymore?

Friday, February 21, 2014


Chris was scrolling through Netflix, looking for something to watch.  Angel jumped up when she spotted a show that she recognized.  "Look!"  she exclaimed, "It's the Gus show!"  I looked up from my hot pad I was crocheting (yes, I am really doing that.  All my hot pads are getting gross, so I need new ones.) to try and find Cinderella and her cute little mice friends including the adorable Gus Gus.

Instead, I found Psych.

Ben got hooked on the show a while ago, and had to watch every episode.I don't let the little people watch violent shows, but this one was on often enough that Angel learned who the characters were just by passing through the room.

"It's Gus!"  she shouted again.  "The guy with the chocolate skin!"  We live in a predominately caucasian area, so different skin colors are intriguing to her.  I've been showing the kids pictures of Africa to teach them a little bit of what Alec will be doing on his mission, and to introduce them to other cultures.  I wanted to know more of her reaction to the chocolate, so I pressed on.

"Do you like chocolate?" I asked.

Her response was immediate.  "Yes!  His skin is chocolate but I'm not going to lick him because it doesn't taste good.  It is yucky just like my skin."

We really are about the same underneath.  And we like Gus.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day

At about seven o'clock last night, Eddie innocently asked me if he could make an aircraft carrier out of old boxes.  Sure dear.  I'm happy with any excuse to get rid of the boxes that inexplicably reproduce in our sunroom.  "Can I spray paint it gray?"  Sure, sure.  I got out the gray spray paint and a big box lid for him to spray into.  I told him, if it was all the same to him, that I'd rather him wait until another day to do messy projects until I could help him, as I was slammed with several other demands at that particular moment.

"But I have to have my valentine's box tomorrow, Mom."

Say wha....??

Fortunately, I had anticipated this a little bit, and I had already purchased a generic box of Star Wars valentines.  I just didn't think he would wait until the evening before to make his box!  And an aircraft carrier?

He pulled it off.  He and David worked together for a long while and built a pretty good cardboard shape and got it painted.  After I helped him attach some little bags of treats to his valentines this morning, I helped him paint lines and a few rough details on the gray-ish deck of the aircraft carrier/valentine box.  I suggested that we make arrows pointing down the runways - and to the valentine drop slot.  But when I changed the shape of the the last arrow, he got upset.  "Mom!  Why are you painting a heart on my aircraft carrier?"  My bad.  I thought it was an valentine's box!"  He's all boy, that one.

I did manage to get my own valentines done for my minions.  I wanted to use Twinkies, but they were nowhere to be found.  I substituted strawberry rolls (strawberries are Valentines-ish, right?), and drew on the packages with a marker.  Love markers.

Angel let me put her hair in a heart ponytail.


And I made up some big old hunks of chocolate for my big boys.  Just 'cuz even big boys need to know.

I'm making up a special Valentine's dinner for my man.  It'll start with with pork chops and pineapple and his favorite spinach salad, and end with a parfait of chocolate and brownies and strawberries.  I hope he'll come home and enjoy it!

I have a bunch of carnations I've been giving out to sweet ladies in our ward.  Our Valentine carnation tradition is 22 years old this year!  The boys can each have one to give away this evening, and then the rest of them are mine to enjoy in a vase on the counter.  But first I need to take one red carnation up to the cemetery.  

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dirty Diapers

I do a little bit of laundry every day.  If I didn't, our home would soon be overrun the growing mounds of dirty clothes like some very scary domestic horror show.  Maybe we ought to save ourselves a bunch of work (and money!) and start a little family nudist colony.  I digress.  It's still winter around here and much too cold to run around naked.

Today I opened the door of the washing machine and pulled out a load of diapers.  As I transferred the clean, fresh-smelling cloth diapers into the dryer, a new thought struck me.  This way my last load of cloth diapers.

I started my diapering business 20 years ago next month, and have been in nearly constant demand ever since.  I still remember those first few loads, loading the diaper pail and Jay's mesh laundry bag and the baby into our '67 Cougar to drive to the laundromat.  Good old college memories.  I have had no dearth of customers, except for one short period when we took a short break and retooled for the serving of female clientelle.  No, I've had great job security.  The chores have been constant - being on-call 24/7 - but not usually very particularly demanding.  The was always the occasional messy work emergency, but even that left plenty of spare time between jobs.

There was a time, a couple of years ago, when I had customers lined up three deep, but that has petered down to just working the night shift.  Everyone is happy and dry during the day, but Georgie has had some nighttime challenges.  When I got him dressed this morning and took off his night diaper, I realized that he had been basically dry for the past week.  Nighttime potty training is not a big deal around these parts, so I don't stress it much.  I praised him and gave him a treat - a single jelly bean, and he was thrilled.  Our trusty diaper pail was full, so I hauled it into the laundry room to wash that load of diapers.

Georgie will wear training pants with plastic pants to bed tonight.  I'm not ready to do away with his plastic pants yet - they do catch a little bit of an accident, and they make a distinctive crinkling sound that lets me know my little ones are sneaking around out of bed.

And now the diapers are clean and dry, white and fluffy.  What will I do with them, I wonder.  Use them for dust rags like my mother did with our old, tattered cloth diapers?  Cleaning the car cloths?  They make great stain-appliers when I am refinishing furniture, but I have an awful lot of them.  Anyone interested in a big, twin-sized batch of plain-Jane, old-fashioned cloth diapers?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It's Great to be Sick!

25 things that are great about being sick:

a chance to do an in-depth comparison of tissue brands.  But not the wads of used tissue all over the house.

watching the Olympics!

sniffle contests.

snuggling little ones who don't normally like to hold still long enough for a hug.

movie nights.  And movie afternoons.  And movie all-days.

an excuse to kiss even my big boys.  Kissing their foreheads is how I tell if they have a fever.  And they let me!

spending time with my big boys when they stay home from school.

chicken soup.  And tomato soup.  And any kind of soup.

toast.  Especially with honey butter or cinnamon sugar.  Or both at the same time.  Shh!

not needing to worry about cleaning the house much.

keeping up with the laundry because I'm actually sitting down long enough to fold the clothes.

having a neighbor (who works with my boys at church) call for me, and having to spend 5 minutes convincing him it was me and not one of my boys trying to prank him.

singing baritone.  Awesome for a mom.

wrapping up in blankets.

sitting in the hot tub.  Except our hot tub isn't working.  Phooey.

sitting in front of the fire.  Except the fireplace has a gas leak.  Double phooey.

reading stories to my small fry.

being able to beg off reading stories to my small fry because my voice is sick.

wonderful excuse to finally watch Pride and Prejudice.  Except I haven't yet.

getting to get to church on time because I didn't have to get the little people ready.

swapping home health remedies with other moms of sick kids.

a little bit of time to dream.

not having to get up early and get the boys off the school.  Thanks for doing it for me, Dear.

a sense of understanding when others in my family were sick.

and the best one - marveling at how well God made my body, because it usually works so well.  And my body slowly heals and gets better, and I realize how much I can really do again.  We're amazing, you know?


Monday, February 10, 2014

Homemade Cough Remedy

I had a bad cough.  That is an understatement.  Forgive me for all my sick writing.  It does seem that our family gets slammed with illness in January.  Wait - it's not January anymore!  So we're a bit late.  That's pretty normal for us, too.

But my bad cough.  Nasty.  It was constant enough to make me wonder if I'd been a smoker in a previous life.  I coughed so much that every muscle between my sternum and my hips was screaming for three days.  Let me tell you, this is one way they never tell you about how to get rock-hard abs.  No sit ups for me, thankyouverymuch.  But man, was I working those core muscles!  And when I got a string of coughs going on, life just had to stop until I was done.

Angel keeps telling me to cough in my "oboe," so don't cough into your fist like in this picture.

I wanted to find some sort of fix for the cough attacks.  Hate those.  I did lots of research and found a variety of things that are supposed to make coughs better.  Chamomile (helps your immune system), honey (soothing to the throat), apple cider vinegar (anitspetic maybe?), lemon juice (thins mucous), and even cayenne pepper (suppresses pain receptors in your throat, I think).  And water, water, water.  Drink lots of water.

So I mixed them all up together and made this recipe.  Kind of reminds me of my little brother's first attempt at making a recipe.  He got out a bowl and poured in some milk and water.  He cracked an egg in it and sprinkled on pepper.  Then he crumbled up a piece or two of bread and floated them on top of the mixture.  When he was done, he slid the bowl into the fridge and waited for it to turn into something.  Cute boy!



1 cup very warm chamomile tea
2-4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1-2 teaspoons honey
dash of cayenne pepper.

Mix together and sip while warm.

At the first taste, my mouth wanted to turn inside out and run away!  After that it was better and I even liked it by the end of the cup.  Did a good job on my coughs, too, and kept the bad ones at bay for a few hours.  Two cups of this kept me good for the day.

David and Eddie were recipients of my concoction, too.  Eddie liked it, but David gasped it down as fast as he could.  But it helped.  Trent's face after his first swallow was great.  Trent should have had more, because the next day he was coughing hard enough to dislocate a rib.  Poor guy has been in horrible pain since then.  Maybe I'd better go make up more Cough Tea to pour on his back.  That'll fix him.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pillow Problems

I hate pillows.  I really do.  They are never just right.  I know I've complained about this before, but when I am sick and I need sleep desperately, it's really a bummer to have to wake up every half hour because my ear is aching so badly where it hits the pillow.  I'm such a wuss.

I actually found pillows for sale that have a little groove or hole cut out for your ear.  Looks weird, but would it work?  I wonder.  I would hope they wouldn't make me feel claustrophobic that I couldn't move.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

When Mom is Sick

First of all, Mom is not allowed to get sick.  Mom is the taker-carer.  Who takes care of everyone else when Mom can't?  And who takes care of Mom when she is sick?  No one, and no one.  Clearly, Mom can't get sick.  Except that I am.  The little ones were generous and shared.  Thanks a lot.  We've been doing a lot of sitting and coughing and having used-tissues snowball fights.

Speaking of used tissues, what do you do with them?  Angel likes to have an old ice cream bucket to collect them in.  Growing up, we just always used toilet paper, rather than the more-expensive-but-gentler-on-the-nose tissues in a box.  My mother would take the used tissues and stuff them into the cardboard roll.  When the roll reaches capacity, you take it to the garbage can and push out the used wad.  I always thought it was so icky, gross!  So now we do that, too.  Icky.  I think I'd rather do fancy artwork with the toilet paper tubes than use them to collect used tissues.  'Cuz I have the time for that.  And a siesta in the hammock too, please.

So what does a family do when Mom is sick?  They go bananas, that's what.

Top Things To NOT Do When Mom is Sick:
Have Dad need to work overtime
Have parent/teacher conferences
Run out of medicine
Run out of food
Need dinner or any other meal
Use up anything that would require a trip to the store
Have everyone else get sick, too
Wake Mom up five times every hour in the middle of the night with your ailments

Top Things To Do When Mom is Sick:
Have Dad bring dinner on his way home from work (thanks, Dear!)
Children play nicely with each other
Keep the decibel level low
Bring her orange juice and toast
Do your chores without needing to be asked
Let Mom watch Pride and Prejudice without grumping for a violent action flick
Keep the house clean

Bahahaha!  I'm laughing so hard I think I might have one of those nasty coughing attacks!  You know, the ones where you cough until your eyes water and you can't breathe anymore and you are afraid you'll cough up a lung or two.  One of those.  Quick!  Bring me some bon bons!  I'm in the hammock under the palm trees.