Monday, September 24, 2007

Wow, Where Have I Been?

Where have I been? Let me see if I can fill you in (or at least start to fill you in).

It all started shortly after back to school night at Phillip's school. Soon there after, Phillip developed the first official cold of the season. I expected the other two wouldn't be far behind. But, on Tuesday of that week, Sam surprised me and woke up with pink eye. Oh joy.

We still had an inventory of eye drops left over from last year's on again/off again love affair with pink eye. I thought, no need to call the doctor. Pink eye is pink eye. We started treating with the drops. It almost immediately went away. But by bedtime that day, Andrew had it too. More drops (oh, he is fun with drops). Still no call to the doctor, what is the use? We know they have pink eye and she will just prescribe the drops.

We swear sometimes that the doctor's office is a racket. Now, she says she likes to see pink eye victims this young because at this age, they often simultaneously get ear infections. Well, I maintain, until someone complains about their ears, we are not going. More drops.

The next day, Phillip wakes up with pink eye. More, the we are running out of drops. I send Jeff scamming to the pharmacy because I think we have a refill left on at least one. None. "I will fax the doctor," the pharmacists tells him. Oh no, I am dead. He told Jeff to check back later. She is going to kill me.

Sure enough, about two hours later, I get a phone call from the doctors office. I knew I was in for it. Here is how the conversation went--or really went, if we both would have said what we wanted to say. Name are changed to protect the innocent, of course.


Hi this is "Mona" from Dr. Smith's office. We received a fax from the pharmacy that you need a refill on eye drops. What the f*#& is going on? You think you can just go to the pharmacy and try and get scrips filled without notifying us?

Well, I...uhm...we knew it was pink drops...we just...

Yeah, bi-atch. You just nothin. You think you can get treatment without paying your $30 per child co-pay?

But, it's pink eye and she said...

If they are sick, she wants to see 'em. You don't need to be guessing what is going on with anyone. What about their ears, hu? You gonna look in their ears too?

No..but, see...they are not "sick," they just have pink eye. They are fine, everyone is acting fine, they just have pink and crusty eyes, but they are fine. No one is complaining about their ears. No one is acting sick, I just thought...could she maybe refill some drops and we can see what happens? One is already better, really! Just three doses of drops and his eyes are clear. We were just going to give some things some time before we scheduled...

...See what happens? Is that what you do? See what happens? Wait until it is the weekend, they are running a fever and then take them to an immediate care center?

Okay. Never mind.

Damn straight, never mind. Good luck to you and your freaky family.

So, we didn't get more drops and now they know they are, uh have pink eye and if anything else develops, they will certainly be saying, "see...we told you so."

But, the eyes cleared quickly and then, Sam and Andy started in on the sneezing and coughing, congestion and whining. They were feeling lousy. Sam persevered and worked his way through it. A little bit of Tylenol and some Nyquil (children's strength) and he overcame. There were a few days he complained about his ears, but it passed.

Andrew was brewing something. By Friday, he was running a fever and totally congested--but nothing was coming out his nose. Well, those with kids know it has to come out somewhere. Phillip would always throw up when he had a bad cold, but Andrew had diarrhea. He was miserable. He wouldn't eat, sleep or blow his nose. By Friday afternoon, I found myself putting him to bed for the night at 4:30. I was ready stories when I noticed him rubbing his ears. I asked him if they hurt--he said no, it was his tummy that hurt.

I was perplexed, but grew concerned as he tossed and turned all night and burned up with fever. He almost threw up in the middle of the night (disaster averted) and woke up at about 5:15am unable to sleep anymore. He was miserable.

But, a birthday party for Samuel and Phillip was due to start in just a few hours. Cancel the party or have the party? By now, I had convinced myself he had something bacterial and had moved beyond the viral stage. The party could go on--it was scheduled for all outside anyway. But, I felt bad that Andrew wasn't going to be up for enjoying it.

I debated about what to do regarding the doctor. Could we wait until Monday? Did I really think he had an ear infection? Was it just a bug? Who would take him to the doctor (since I was in party-planner mode)? I decided he needed to go to immediate care. I concluded I thought he had an ear infection and decided if they could fix it with a quick visit and some antibiotics, he would be eternally grateful to us.

I called the triage nurse and got approval for the immediate care visit (oh, I love HMOs). Jeff got home, changed and headed that way with Andrew. Within 20 minutes, party guests started to arrive. The party was fun, but I had to slightly alter the agenda since Jeff wasn't there. Then, I lucked out and my friend Anne, the most fantastic photographer in the world, stayed and photographed the party. I am so lucky (oh, they will just turn out like yours, she said...ha!).

After an hour or so, Jeff returned. Double ear infection confirmed. Omnicef and some other loving tasting concoction to loosen things up. With just one dose, he slept all night. Monday, I had to call the pediatrician's office. I greeted them with, "Well, you were right, one of them had an ear infection."

I could hear the smile on the other end of the phone, "...oh, is that so? So I guess we need to schedule a recheck in a few weeks..." I guess so, I said.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

That was Then, This is Now

I love to look back and see how the kids have changed. It seems so amazing to me that in just one year, they can go from looking like a baby or a toddler to a boy. No doubt, soon I will see the transformation headed toward manhood. (By the way, mothers of boys out there, just finished an interesting book called Boys Adrift. Worth a read.)

They love it when I tell them this, but it is true. At night, when they are all quitely sleeping and I sneak in to watch them for a moment and kiss them, I still see their baby faces. It brings back memories of rolling over to nurse these tiny babies who would cuddle in tight or peering over the crib while they lay arms over head, mouth open and tiny baby breaths pulsing out of their lungs. Mmmmm. I love that. I know, no more, no more. But, please never let me forget.
(Blogger is being difficult with photos and please ignore the poor formatting).

Phillip's first day of Kindergarten last year....

Phillip's first day of first grade this year...

Samuel's first day of Preschool last year (yes, those are mittens. If you have to ask, you just don't know Sam).

Samuel's first day this year. The biggest difference (not including the mittens, although they still often make appearances) is look where the backback is hitting him. He spent the year growing for sure.

Andrew's first day of school last year, which never really materialized into school (Mother's Day Out) because he would never stay without hysterically crying.

Andrew's first day of school this year. While it stays, it is only with Samuel by his side so far. This week, we start trying to work on staying by himself.

Pictures of Phillip's FIRST LOST TOOTH on the Web Album.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Just Some Peace and Quite, Please!

I had a good day with work yesterday and crossed many projects off my list. I still have a pile of bills that are overdue and I am behind on balancing checkbooks because I still haven't been paid from a big client who is now about five weeks overdue. I keep hoping every day the money will drop (it's direct deposit), I mean, eventually it has to, right? Soon, they say, soon. Hurry because we are scrapping together quarters and have been for a week. The quarters are almost gone too.

Anyway, back to what I am blogging about. Good day at work and I then read some emails around 4:30 that just sort of leave me needing to process some stuff. But instead, I walk out of my office and take on the family. Surely I can finish thinking about these things while I hug my kids and talk about our plans for the rest of the evening.

Nope. I can't. And, why do I keep thinking I can? I can be a bit of a loner. I love quiet time alone (or time alone in a coffee shop listening to the stories around me). I used to play alone a lot when I was a child. Sure, I can be social. But then I need to retreat, decompress and analyze.

So I do this stupid thing often where I walk out of my office before I have really had time to decompress and analyze whatever it is that I am still thinking about. But, once I walk out my office door, I should never expect the quite I need to think. A house full of three boys who are excited to see me does not yield one second of peace and quiet.

I quickly grow annoyed. They are acting totally w-i-l-d, beyond just normal excitement and boy stuff. They are being rough, not listening, interrupting, fighting, chasing, screaming--you name it. I start a glass of wine to see if that will help. No luck.

We sit down to dinner, dinner is wild. Everyone talking at once, whining that they don't like the food, complaining about someone taking the last of something, grabbing, standing up in their chairs (or laying in them...ugh that irritates me!). We finish dinner and get in the car to go to Back to School Night at Phillip's school.

By this time, I was frustrated by other things too. Like the school's lack of available information and direction (or return of emails from one staff person at school) about Back to School Night. Now I was yelling, talking through my clinched teeth and had totally lost all patience. The school is crowded, we are late, we are misdirected about where to take the kids for childcare, we are ignored standing at the table waiting to sign them in, we are late the parent meeting and stuck out in the hall where we cannot hear a word--a single word--of the 30 minute meeting and I am even more annoyed than ever.

I try to get over it and calm myself down. We go to the classrooms to hear the teachers' shpeal. I want to talk to the teacher after to ask her how she thinks P is adjusting. I wait. And wait. And wait. It's almost my turn and I see the clock hands now showing 8PM. Bedtime. Jeff goes and picks the kids up at the childcare. I continue to wait. She is having an in-depth conversation with some parents about their son. We wait in the hallway some more.

They are drinking out of the drinking fountain (you know how I feel about that. Hello? Germ-pool). Sam keeps drinking so much he chokes and gags--like three times. P's teacher is still talking. Finally at about 8:20, we decide we cannot wait any more and must leave. I still have to find the afterschool enrichment lady who didn't reply to my emails and find out what the deal is on fencing, which starts tomorrow.

Fine. Resolved. I am still annoyed, but I smile and she warms up eventually and acknowledges the lack of reply to my emails. We head to the car. They are wild--running everywhere, screaming, jumping--doing anything but getting in the car. I am talking through clenched teeth again with bulging eyes. They fight over a water bottle. Sam, who just drank like 16 gallons of water at the water fountain starts whining (and I mean whining, with a little fake cry thrown in) that he is dying of thirst and must have water immediately.

By now, I am so annoyed and desperate for just a few minutes of no one talking. Guys, please! I ask. Let's just ride home quietly with no fighting or talking. I so need just a few minutes of silence--or even just a few minutes of just one person talking and everyone listening. Please please please! No. No such luck. Bedtime is rushed, showers in between the jumping beans, somersaulting naked boys and a first lost tooth. Quite, please!

Finally, at 8:50 I am joined with a big bowl of ice cream and some quiet. I can think! Now, what was it I wanted to think about???

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Summer Weekend Fun

Last weekend started with some summer fun. A long piece of paper on the driveway...some paints...six tiny feet...

Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter

The cold gushy paint felt so good on their feet!

View pictures in Piscasa Web Album to see how it turned out (but, if you have three boys, I bet you can guess how it turned out)...

This weekend was so beautiful. It has been weeks since we have had weather this nice. Blue, blue skies, soft breeze, cool temperatures--we made the most of it.

The boys and I (Jeff was working until 2)started our day with breakfast outside at Panera, they each ordered a giant cinnamon roll with milk. Then, we headed to Connor Prairie (a living history museum). We arrived right as they opened and joined only two other cars in the parking lot. We took the "tram" for a nice ride to the far side of the museum and started at the Zimmerman's farm.

The boys helped carry in wood for the stove, as Mrs. Zimmerman was getting ready to bake some bread. Exploring continued including a game of marbles at the house of the potter and another game using iron hoops at the house of the Blacksmith.

And then the animals at Connor farm. A donkey, sheep, chicks, roosters, all roaming the barn amongst visitors. Samuel and Andrew held a chick. Sam did great, but Andrew squeezed too hard and the chick chirped uncontrollably!

Other weekend happenings include Samuel's (and Phillip's this time too) Friday night BMXing (this is last Friday). Andrew cried for an hour leading up to it that he wanted to BMX too. We tried every way we could think of to explain to him that he couldn't go BMXing because you have to be able to ride a bike, "Fine" he would say, "I will take my Plasma." Andrew loves the Plasma, he rides that thing faster than any kid I have ever seen ride a toy using his or her feet (and burns big holes in the tops of his shoes by scraping them on the ground) but it is not dirt-track ready. He was miffed.

Jeff posted some pictures of the first BMX excursion on his blog, but nothing prepared me for seeing it in person. Wow. They are brave, strong and determined! They both can make it all the way around. Samuel is like an animal on that track--focused, fast and determined to get some air over the jumps.

And then there was the afternoon/evening at my cousin's house where the boys discovered all things manly. Four wheelers, golf carts, guns (well, the kids didn't shoot guns, but the guys did). Ah, country livin'! See pictures on Picasa Web Album because I am getting super annoyed at Blogger when trying to upload these photos into the blog. It is totally sucking.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Email Annoyance

I love email. I mean, I love love email. It has changed my world and allowed me to keep in touch with people like never before. I have never liked to talk on the phone, it drives me crazy, so I was never good about calling my friends and chatting. Email has allowed me to chat whenever I can--same thing many people say. It is on my terms, even if it is 5 in the morning.

But, I get a lot of email and sometimes it is hard to keep up. Some days, I will get as many as 70 or so legitimate emails. I can be gone for a few hours only to bit hit with over 40 emails in a single morning. I have great spam filters and almost never end up with Cialis ads in my box. These are 70 real emails that need responding to. So, what is my biggest pet peeve? People who don't include my original email in their reply.

If you are responding to let's say for the sake of this conversation 50 emails a day, do you think I remember what I wrote to you in an email two days ago? I probably don't even remember sending the email! Yet their reply says things like "sounds good" or "I agree!" or something even more vague like LOL!

This causes me to have to go back in my labyrinth of sent emails and sort by sent to to find the most recent email I sent to them that they might be replying to. What a pain in the butt. I keep my email extremely organized and view my inbox by sender so I can choose who I want to deal with at any given time. I can accumulate emails from one sender then, focus on that project and knock out all my email responses at once. Then, I file all emails in the client's file and delete them out of my inbox as soon as they are addressed.

Sounds like a good system, but I remain forever bogged down in email. Blackberry, desktop, laptop, my email seems to be everywhere. I am actually considering taking a break from email our next vacation--now, if you know me, that tells you how overwhelmed I have become by my former BFF. I guess it still is my BFF. It remains my primary means of communication and often gets the job done--efficiently.

But just remember when you check that little option to not include the original email in your reply that there are people out there like me--and even much worse--whose volume of email is so great that we need that little reminder of what in the hell we were emailing about in the first place!