Thursday, May 07, 2009

Because, you know, I had nothing better to do.

This is Hannah hanging on to a helicopter. Its not really related to this blog post, but it is pretty darn cute.

So, Monday. I'm doing the mom thing, hanging out with Hannah, doing random chores, and waiting to babysit my friend Allison's totally awesome completely adorable 8 week old son. Around 2 P.M. I notice I'm getting a little nagging headache and take two motrin. At 330 said friend Allison accompanied by said cute baby come over accompanied by devoted and doting daddy Mike. The baby sadly had been over-vaccinated....I mean, had his two month check up....that day and received some 5 shots plus some nasty liquid rotovirus. I'm sure someone thought it was a brilliant idea to pour liquified germs into our vulnerable baby's gullets, but that person probably didn't actually HAVE children. Allison figured he was really too fussy to leave, so they visited for a bit and then went home. I did try to hold the baby at one point, but after 30 seconds Hannah said "Mommy! Mommy! Give a baby back a Miss Allison!" So I did.

When they left my headache was worse, so I took a couple more motrin (bad nurse!). Around 7 p.m. it still had not subsided so I took a few tylenol(Ah! My liver!) and shortly after putting kids to bed I went to be myself figuring it was a migraine to which the only solution was deep, dark sleep. Thus followed a night of tossing and turning, with each toss and turn came increasingly painful shooting pains in my head and neck. By morning I could feel it going down my spine all the way to between my shoulder blades, I felt like vomiting, and couldn't tolerate light. It was at about this point that I thought, "Hey, for reals, something might be up with my brain". It must have been my awesome nurse assesment skills kicking in. Or maybe it was my husband saying "Ok, you need to go to the emergency room." One of the two.

He got the kids all ready for school, packed them in the car and I hobbled out as well, in the process repeatedly telling the kids who weren't being all that loud to STOP BEING SO LOUD. Daddy told them Mommy was sick. Hannah said she was sick too and wanted to go to the doctor. The boys seemed to be all too happy to get the heck out of the car and go to school.

Once everyone was dropped off we went to the E.R. on post. We sat in the waiting room, me with my eyes closed, until the triage nurse called us back. She was a little abrasive, and LOUD despite the description of my extremely intense headache, but whatever. Within 5 minutes we were back in a bay, where some kind soul had turned the lights out for me. The E.R. doctor came in shortly after I laid down and asked me a few questions, including "Have you ever had a headache like this before?" I mentioned in high school I had an aneurysm which resulted in some loss of speech and ability to write for a short period of time. His response was "Ok, we are going to move very quickly with you. Things are going to get a little crazy here, so don't panic." DON'T PANIC. Reassuring.

Next thing I know people are taking my clothes off and hooking me up to heart monitor, and sticking needles in both my arms and rushing me to CT. Dean was right by my side, holding my hand and covering my eyes to keep the light out. The doctor was concerned that I might be having a brain bleed. I came back and he told the nurse "Keep the curtain OPEN I want to be able to see her at all times." Once the CT came back negative everyone calmed down. He came back in, said my brain wasn't bleeding and instead I probably just had a nice case of meningitis which of course would entail a spinal tap.

Awhile later a small, frail looking, mousy resident with slumped shoulders tiptoed in and nervously presented the form for me to sign giving her permission to stick a large needle in to my spinal column. This made me very nervous. I signed the form and immediately regretted it. When the actual doctor came back in I told him I didn't want her to do the procedure. He reassured me she had the experience, I wasn't her first guinea pig, and he would be RIGHT THERE is she screwed up. I felt marginally better, only because he had enough confidence for both of them.

The tap itself went like this: I curl in to a fetal position on my side, tucking my chin to my chest. This was nearly impossible because, P.S. MY NECK FREAKING HURTS! But I did the best I could. Then some young man who I presume was a nurses assistant in a military uniform held on to my shoulder and hip to make sure I didn't move. Honestly, this was the worst part of the whole thing because he was A) Creepy and B) putting his crotch in my face. Luckily the nervous resident proceeded fairly quickly, the supervising doctor gave her a little direction, told me I had a mild case of scoliosis (awesome!), and after sticking me a few times to make sure I was numb enough she got the actual tap done on the first try. Post-tap I just had to lay flat for as long as possible, but no less than 30 minutes.

After a little more than an hour the doctor came in and said "One of us has white blood cells in their spinal fluid! Want to guess if its you or me?" I said "You?" and he laughed and said "You've just earned yourself an overnight stay at our lovely hospital." The blood work and spinal fluid suggested it was most likely viral meningitis but they have to culture it, which takes 24-48 hours and standard procedure is to hospitalize the person and treat them as IF its bacterial just to be safe. I got my first does of antibiotics in the E.R. at that point, Rocephin, and the admissions nurse came to see me. I got really stuffy at that point and my nose was swollen when the Staff doctor who would see me inpatient came by and she asked "Are you sure its not a sinus headache?" Uhm.....yeah its totally my sinuses and I just put white blood cells in my spinal fluid to throw you guys off track....No, I told her, I was just fine until a few minutes prior and thought maybe some of the cleaning supplies they had used in the bay next to mine were bothering me or maybe it was the patient who just came in after being peppersprayed....I don't know.

When I got up to my room I had a neat little box on my door with a big sign on it saying AIRBORNE PRECAUTIONS and DO NOT ENTER BEFORE REPORTING TO NURSES STATION or something like that. Everyone who came in wore masks. It was freaky. It was like I was the patient and not the nurse! Oh wait. I was. And let me tell you, its a hell of a lot more fun to be the nurse. I am not a big fan of the being the patient business. But my nurses were super nice and got me all settled and gave me pain medicine which made them basically my new best friends. Around 7 P.M. they came in and gave me another IV antibiotic, Vancomycin. This is a one hour infusion. Approximately 20 minutes in I very suddenly became itchy all over and turned bright red from head to toe. The itch though was incredibly painful, more like being covered in fire ants. I called the nurse and she came in and said something along the lines of "Holy CRAP! You're all red!" and turned the antibiotic off. She called the doctor to get me some benadryl IV, which worked like a charm. I felt like I could literally feel it going through my veins calming the itch as it spread. She said "Well I guess you won't be getting any more of THAT" and slapped a big ol' red allergy band on me. And then I went to sleep, because benadryl is the nectar of the gods.

I woke up at one point when the night shift nurse came in, but it was dark and I was still drugged. I think I asked for a pain pill. Then I went back to sleep.

Around 3. A.M the nurse came in to hang the second dose of Rocephin, the same thing I got in the E.R. I didn't hear her or see her, but I woke up at 3:30 very suddenly with marshmellow hands and Angelina Jolie lips with complimentary hives and the same intense fire-y itch. Called the nurse. The swelling, especially of my face, seemed to be cause for much more alarm and she called the doctor to come see me. They were at my bedside, two of them, within 2 minutes asking me how I was breathing, if I felt any tightness in my chest, and please, if I didn't mind too much, if I could KEEP BREATHING. More benadryl. They stayed for about 10 minutes until they could see the swelling start to subside and then left. The nurse was like "No freaking WAY are you allergic to BOTH these drugs! That sucks!" Yes. Yes it does. So no more antibiotics for me at that point.

In the morning the doctor who had seen me in the ER and admitted me came to see me. She very nicely explained to me that these were the two best drugs to treat bacterial meningitis, and if they couldn't treat me on top of the fact that they were mostly certain it was viral, then I might as well go home. The culture at that point was negative, but it hadn't been a whole 24 hours. Still she felt confident enough to discharge me, and the pain pills they were giving me had brought me headache to a tolerable level.

So, one CT scan, one spinal tap, and two drug reactions later I am home safe and sound. My back hurts. My head hurts. But overall I'm in pretty good shape. I have to rest and stay away from basically the entire world until Tuesday. Fortunately the boys could go to their Dad's and my sister-in-law got a flight down from NJ to watch Hannah so Dean can go to work.

I woke up this morning at 11:00. I haven't done that since.......ever. And my dad is sending me movies to keep me occupied.

All in all, I'm one lucky girl.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Catching Up

I don't know if the rest of you knew this, but its February.

I am not entirely sure how that happened.

Dean arrived home on the 23rd of December, just in time for Christmas. His plane arrived early in the morning, a bit after 8 a.m., which meant I had to get all the kids up around 5 a.m. and toss them in the car. Not that any of them minded. Even little Hannah knew something incredibly exciting was going on, and babbled all the way to the airport about "Daddy on a hair-pain!" The boys had on their ARMY t-shirts, just like Daddy's PT shirt, and a sign they made saying "WELCOME HOME DADDY!"

When we arrived we had some waiting to do. And while we were waiting some unexpected guests arrive to witness our little homecoming: Photographers. My best best best (VERY) best friend Erin had asked the photographers from her wedding to come and capture this very precious moment for my family. I couldn't believe it.

Heres us. Waiting.

Just a few minutes later and I got a text message. His plane had landed. He was on his way to us.

I'm pretty sure it was at that point my brain went numb. It was like.....well, it was like waking up from a dream. That fog, when you don't know if you are still sleeping, or if you are awake, And you wonder if you really just spent the last twelve months without your husband and he is about to walk off an escalator and back in to your life, or if you will wake up tomorrow still alone in your bed, "single" parent of three, who spends every waking moment trying not to think about your husband living in constant mortal peril. Know what I'm talking about? Maybe not.

And then there he was. And the boys ran to him, and Hannah shrieked delightedly "DADDY!". And we hugged. And kissed. All in that dreamy fog. I honestly thought I would cry when I saw him, but I didn't. It felt too unreal, too impossible, too miraculous that this was happening, that it was over, that he was home.

Then we collected his bags, got in our car, and drove home still basically in shock. But the good kind of shock, where you smile so hard your face hurts and your heart feels like its going to flutter right out of your chest because holding his hand and seeing his face is exhilarating and overwhelming.

And since that day we've just been, you know, catching up on things we missed the last twelve months. I'm sure you don't need details.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best Day Ever. Part I.

Dean is back in the United States.


That is of course until the day he actually arrives HOME. Which will be in the next few days.

I actually don't have words to describe how I am feeling, but its basically completely awesome.

I love you, baby. Come Home!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

What a Day

Today was quite a day.

We started out this morning early. Because my children seem to have an uncanny sense of the days that I am not working and insist on refusing to allow me to sleep in. Not even a wink. Of course on the days I DO work they have to get practically dragged out of bed. How do they know when to be zombies at 6 a.m. or when to be bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5:30 a.m.? I don't know, but if you ever figure it out please let me know so I can make it stop.

So, we got up very early today, since I am off. And watched some cartoons. But as I attempted to catch a few extra winks on the couch Hannah found a small, plastic mound of peas from her toy food stuffs and began licking it and saying "HMMMMM! PEAS! Peas Mama! HMMMMMM!" which very quickly lead to "More peas please, mama, pease please pleeeeeeaaassseee" My response to this was "Hannah, you can't possibly want peas. Its barely 6 in the morning." to which her polite response was "PEAS!! MORE! PEAS! PLEASE!" Fine. Fine. I made some peas. And she ate two entire bowls.

Around 11:30 we started making preparations for the Big Game. The Army Navy football game, of course. This is the first year we have ever watched it, but we really got in to the spirit. Everyone put on one of Dean's PT shirts, except for Hannah who had a smaller shirt that used to belong to Eden, and we all cheered "GO ARMY!!" right up to the point that the game started and the Navy promptly began kicking our trash. But at least our guys had REALLY cool looking uniforms to wear as they were soundly defeated. Cause you know, looking good is always important. Especially if you are really bad at football.

Then about half way through the game we had another major event in our household. Jude lost his first tooth!! He had been wiggling it when he turned to look at me and said "Mommy, I think its about to come out!" except his mouth was full of blood because in fact the tooth had already made its way to the floor. I said "Jude, I think it already did come out" and still with a mouth full of blood he says "REALLY?!?!" I found it on the carpet while Eden ran to the bathroom to get some toilet paper to stop the bleeding. It was all very exciting, and Jude immediately wanted to call people and share his big news.

After our sad defeat and exciting unexpected tooth-loss we had nothing left to do with our day but play. Hannah decided the View Finder was the most awesome toy of all time ever created, and also found she quite enjoyed sitting in a cloth bin talking to herself. But she didn't want me to take her picture while doing so. Oh, to be two years old. And theres a few other funny photos. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Big Little Girl

Hannah Rebekah turned Two Years Old on November 30th.

When I think of Hannah as an infant, the first image that comes in to my mind is that of her Daddy holding her for the first time at the hospital. Rocking her gently back and forth, whispering to her quietly that he loved her. Its one of those moments in time that is perfectly frozen in my memory. She was such a tiny, perfect, little baby, barely over 5 pounds, but from moment one she owned our hearts.

And she knew it too.

Her big brothers were so absolutely adoring and attentive, and to this day that has not lessened. They were, and still are, quick to tell me if she needs something and quicker to tell me if they think I am doing something wrong. They always want to love and hug and kiss her, which sometimes she tolerates and other times she does not, but they keep trying anyways. They always want to make her smile and laugh, and she gives them some good laughs in return. Watching the three of them together is the greatest joy of my life.

Trying to put in to words what this little girl means to me is nearly impossible, there is so much in my heart. When she came in to being she brought with her a force that shaped our little family, all of our love for her binding us tightly together, no longer a "step" family or a "blended" family, just quite simply a family. Her family.

Hannah is strong-willed, tender-hearted and tempermental. She likes Alligators, sparkly dresses, playing in the dirt, dancing in front of the mirror and washing her hands. She knows all her shapes, including "crescent" and "hexagon", which never ceases to amaze me. Her favorite thing in the world is her Daddy Doll, who goes everywhere with us. She can speak in sentences and knows all kinds of big fancy words but still insists on calling her sippy cup "ah-kum" for reasons no one has yet been able to discern. Just because shes Hannah. She is bright, beautiful and endlessly entertaining. And so very, very loved.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birthday in Absence

This is a cake. And yes, it is shaped like a turkey. Why? An excellent question.

Allow me to explain.

Today is Dean's 29th birthday.

29 years ago this day was Thanksgiving Day. So his mother, as a tradition, has always baked him this "turkey cake" in remembrance of that year when she did not get to eat any Thanksgiving dinner because she was busy. You know, at the hospital.

So now, as his wife, the ritual of baking this cake has passed to me. Dean is still in Afghanistan, obviously, but in our 4 years of marriage the boys have come to also expect the turkey cake this time of year. So I told them that even with Dean away we would celebrate his birthday by making a "practice" cake, and then we could bake him another one when he got home. The reason for this was twofold: One-Who doesn't like to eat cake? and Two-I really did need the practice. This freakin' cake is COMPLICATED.

In case you can't tell from the picture, the frosting is applied in tiny swirly dots all over the cake in various colors. This takes the patience of a saint, which I clearly am not. When my mother in law makes this cake it is beautiful, all the dots are uniform in size and shape, and in neat little rows. But she has had 28 years of practice, so I can't really expect to compete. Plus I had to do said icing application with a crying toddler (who had spent the morning in the ER due to an ear infection that just won't quit) on my hip. So I was using the icing applicator with one hand and bouncing and rocking Hannah with the other.


When Mary came in and saw the state of things in the kitchen I said to her "Just imagine 20 something years ago your mom was doing this with YOU on her hip!" which made us both laugh. Then she took Hannah out to the little house for a few minutes so I could use both hands for a bit. That didn't last terribly long, so then Mary stepped in and finished the icing so we wouldn't be eating a turkey that looked half-plucked. It was a learning experience, but it turned out pretty good anyways.

Then we sang a quick Happy Birthday to Dean and had cake and ice cream in his honor.

Happy Birthday, baby. I love you.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Waiting is difficult.

Whether its waiting for your human to throw the gosh-darn ball already so you can chase it at lightspeed until you crash head first in to the fence or waiting for your husband to come home from a 15 month deployment, the waiting part will most likely drive you crazy. If you fall in to the first category you can jump up and down and bark and run in circles. If you fall in to the second category you probably have trouble eating and sleeping, along with spending prolonged periods of time counting and recounting the days left on the calendar. None of these activities actually help the anticipated event occur any faster, but in either case you just can't help yourself.

We have entered in to the count-down-to-home stretch at our house. I've been saying for awhile now that we were going to make a paper chain to count down, but we have yet to do it. Its not that I don't WANT to, I think I'm just still in shock that its actually TIME to do it. I had better get with the program soon though or our paper chain is going to be less of a chain and more of a small belt. Christmas for once will take a backseat as the major event of the year in my young children's lives as they eagerly await the arrival of a man not in red, but in digital print cammo. Even Hannah seems to have caught on somewhat that something big is about to happen as she will periodically exclaim "Daddy? Back? Airplane?" Jude's class had a circle time activity where each child took a turn saying "I am Thankful for...." as the teacher wrote their list on the board. What was Jude most Thankful for? His Stepdad. Eden has taken it upon himself to constantly reinforce the schedule to us all repeatedly stating "Well, don't forget, Dean MIGHT be home on THIS day or he might be home on THIS day, or maybe somewhere between the two. But either way Christmas won't come till he's here" They want to talk about it every morning before school and every night before bed.

The excitement level around here is definitely escalating. Hopefully we won't all need chemical sedation by the time the big day actually arrives.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes. We. Can.

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

Its the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

Its been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and hes fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nations promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nations next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy thats coming with us to the White House. And while shes no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what youve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didnt start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generations apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didnt do this just to win an election and I know you didnt do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how theyll make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government cant solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one thats on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. Shes a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldnt vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that shes seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we cant, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when womens voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little Black Boots

Today I took Hannah out shopping. Its gotten cold and the boys really needed some long-sleeved winter type stuff. Hannah needed some new shoes. She has only one pair, they are white and pink sneakers, and we bought them over the summer in NJ while visiting Grandparents. Hannah, as we all know, doesn't grow very fast. So it wasn't so much that she had out-grown the shoes she had as it was that they were all scuffed up and the velcro didn't fasten anymore due to the fact that she fastens and unfastens them approximately ten thousand times per day.

So we get the boys clothes and then head over to PayLess. The nice man there measures her teeny tiny feet and points me in the right direction to find teeny tiny shoes. I'm looking around and they have some really cute little sneakers in various shades of white and pink and purple with sparklies. Hannah is walking around my legs, seemingly not paying much attention.

And then she sees them.


"What baby-girl?"


And there in fact on the shelf right at her eye level were a small pair of black, shiny, zip-up boots.

Black.Shiny. Zip-up. Boots.

"Do you want to try on the boots, Hannah?"

"EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKK!" And she plops to the floor on her bottom and tugs at her shoes "Shoes! off!!"

The boots go on and I have to admit they are basically the cutest thing I have ever seen in my entire life. She stands up and prances over to the nearest full-length mirror with the biggest smile on her face.

"Boots, mama! Baby boots!"

She bends down trying to examine the boots reflection as closely as possible. She shrieks and giggles and runs up and down the isle in a boot-induced hysteria.

I let her walk around for a good while in the boots and then tried to coerce her in to trying on some sneakers as well. Its a No-Go. The boots were not coming off. The nice man in the store cut the tags off so we could pay for the boots without causing Hannah to have a complete meltdown. I bought her some sneakers anyways, he said I could bring them back if they didn't fit. Of course, right now she is napping.

With her boots on.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Day on the Farm

This is a "Corn Pool."

I have never in my life beheld so much corn in one sitting. This large blue tub of corn was one of three such tubs, and it became the highlight of our adventure to the Pumpkin Patch. Move aside, Pumpkins, we've got Corn to play in.

It was a really beautiful fall day, a bit windy, cool but not cold. I had made everyone bring jackets but we ended up leaving them in the car. The first thing the kids did was play in a little Hay Maze, and the first thing Eden did was complain that the walls were not high enough. However, after several minutes in the maze and still unable to find his way out he came to realize that the height of the walls did not matter nearly as much as his own height. And since he was still not tall enough to see the maze's master floor plan he still could not easily find his way through in spite of the wall's short stature. Jude, being ever present in his Jude-ness, tried for about two minutes and then promptly jumped a couple bales of hay, ran out the exit and exclaimed with hands held high "I did it!" Hannah meandered back and forth on the first straight path entry way to the maze and seemed happy enough to have found her way back out the entrance with her Daddy Doll in tow.

You can see Jude here in the bottom corner preparing to jump the wall....

After the Maze we saw a sheep dog and his handler herding some sheep. It was really, really cool. This dog was amazing. The man had some sort of tiny whistle and he made all these random sounds with it and the dog responded instantly to whatever the calls meant. Clearly he knew the definition of each tiny chirp from his master, and those sheep clearly knew the dog meant business and did not want to be anywhere near him. He never barked or growled, but he would lower his body or raise it up and look at the sheep different ways and they would move. We were told the dog was not allowed to bite the sheep. He could bite the cows, but not the sheep. Sorry, Cows.
After the little dog show we went to the above mentioned Corn Pools. The pools had only two rules:



Personally, I love Rule #2. I mean you just know some genius at some point decided to bury their head in the corn and it probaly wasn't as much fun as they imagined it would be. And now its one of only two pool rules.

The boys dove right in, while Hannah sat off to the side grasping tiny handfuls of corn shrieking delightedly and exlaiming "COOOOORRRNNN!!!" The boys dove and dug and "swam" and swished and stomped, while Hannah sat and picked up the corn and dropped the corn and picked up the corn and dropped the corn and dropped the corn....for a good 30 to 40 minutes. Eden handed his glasses to me at some point, afraid they would fall off or get broken in the corn-melee.

Daddy got to play in the corn too.

After a long while a gentleman came up and said we could go on the hayride in about ten minutes. So we started extricating ourselves from the corn, shaking it out of our shoes and pants and shirts and hair, and made our way to the hayride. Hannah was not impressed with the hay and immeditely stated she wanted "Out! NO! COOOORRRNNNN!" but then we were on our way and she was ok. Unfortunately, about 5 minutes in to the ride I realized Eden's glasses were no longer on my head. I dug around in my bag hoping I had absentmindedly placed them there after getting out of the corn, but they were no where to be found. When we got to the pumpkin patch Eden and I walked back to the corn pools and searched, but found nothing. Then Aunt Mary went and looked again even walking part way down the path the hayride had gone. Nothing. We picked out a couple pumpkins and had our picture taken, but Hannah was crying because she wanted to carry the pumpkin herself. And mean old mommy wouldn't let her. Because it weighed more than Hannah did and would crush her. But she still thought I was a terrible Mommy and she cried angrily for a good five minutes about it.

We put the pumpkins in the car and went back to the corn pools one last time. Aunt Mary stayed with the boys and I took Hannah walking around making one last-ditch effort to find the glasses. Nothing but defeat. I give my name and number to a lady who works on the farm, but I am certain they will not be found. At least not in one piece. The boys are still jumping around in the corn, Hannah is playing happily, when I look down and see a out of the corn. I reach down, pinch it between my two fingers and somehow, amazingly, insanely and miraculously, pull Eden's glasses out. In all honesty, I still can't believe it. They were bent a little from being buried, but I straightened them out and gave them to Eden who was just like "Oh. Cool." and went back to playing.

After that minor miracle, we went and got some soda and then saw all the animals. There were small horses, which Hannah called Cows, a little cow, which Hannah called Cows, and some mommy and baby sheep, which Hannah called cows. Jude was most fascinated by the mommy sheep and the baby sheep she was feeding. "Look, Mommy! They're drinking its milk!!" Then we saw some goats, and Hannah told them "Be Quiet!" and "Behave!" Then we saw some ducks. Hannah put her tiny fingers on the ducks' cage and they bit her, which she found to be hilarious so she did it over and over. They didn't hurt her, I think they thought she was trying to feed them, but I tried it and you could definitely feel a pinch from their beaks. She didn't seem to care in the slightest though, she just laughed and quack quack quacked at them and stuck her fingers in anyways. On our way out we saw chickens and more chickens and then lots and lots of chickens. And then some pigeons. I would have taken pictures but my camera battery died.

So it was a lovely day. But my heart just felt that little tug of sadness anyways that Dean wasn't here to share it with us. I know he will be home soon, but its just not soon enough. I could hear him laughing at Hannah, and the things he might say or do with the boys in the corn pool. He would have had a blast.

Next year he will.