Friday, November 30, 2012

Belated Thanksgiving

It has been quite a week or so here at the zoo. While many of the events over the last 7-10 days are not what I would have planned, I truly am thankful in so many ways. Let me explain...

  • I am thankful that Lamb only missed two days of school since she was sick on a holiday week, even though she ran a fever of 101 or higher (up to 103.8) for 7 days straight.
  • I am thankful that we got to spend a quiet Thanksgiving together as a family of five, even though it meant missing Thanksgiving with my parents, my brothers and their families, and the rest of my side.
  • I am thankful for my mom, who set aside portions of the entire Thanksgiving meal, so that my family could enjoy a Thanksgiving feast despite the fact that we had to stay home and miss the festivities.
  • I am thankful for my husband, who picked up our Thanksgiving dinner from my parents' house and who took time off  of work to help me with sick kiddos--and helped when I got sick, too.
  • I am thankful for a great team in my moms' group, who stepped in at the last minute and handled our meeting this week, when I couldn't come (again) because of a sick kiddo (again).
  • I am thankful for modern medicine, on which my family has relied heavily this week. Lamb, Roo, and I have all been in for appointments, and my dad was in the hospital earlier this week too.
  • I am thankful for my friends, those who have been listening to me vent about germs and who have helped me work through some of the other issues and decisions I'm facing right now.
  • And more than anything, this week I am THANKFUL to have my dad with us, after he suffered a heart attack on Monday afternoon. I am incredibly thankful that it was minor, that he had the surgery he needed to have, and that he is home and taking it easy (supposedly). And I am hopeful to have him around for many Thanksgivings to come.
Happy (belated) Thankgiving. We are so incredibly blessed--sometimes we just don't realize how much so until we are challenaged a bit.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I have started and restarted this post at least 20 times now. I am literally tongue-tied. There is no way to get all creative and witty and... bloggy with this post, so I'm just going to say it...


What?!? I was sitting right there watching him, and I still can't quite make sense of what I saw!

After being a grump the entire day, I gave Roo an early bath with the intention of then getting him to bed early. But then I had to wait for Monkey to change and brush his teeth and all that, since the boys share a room; and while I was waiting, Roo got hit with a major surge of energy. He started hopping and spinning and laughing and... just plain being wild.

And he started hopping FAST, like he was a charging (hopping) bull and just suddenly started crawling on his feet and hands, and then just stood up (while still moving) and WALKED ACROSS THE ROOM! And these were not slow, uncertain, toddling steps. He was practically running--but he was totally in control. It was AMAZING!


And then as quickly as he started, he stopped. He dropped back to his knees, laughing the entire time. And for the rest of the night, every time I tried to get him on his feet, he'd go completely limp.

Have I mentioned that he is, without a doubt, my most strong-willed child?

But I just can't get over those steps, that scene. He WALKED. For real.

This just furthers my belief, friends, that he is capable of doing so many things, but is too darn stubborn to give in and do them.

Have I mentioned that my baby boy WALKED tonight?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween Fun, and not so fun...

If you "like" me on Facebook (and again I will ask, "If not, why not?"), you know that I was less than enthused about going trick-or-treating with my kids on Friday. Why?, you ask. Well, let me tell you what our Halloween experience has been this year...

First, there was the issue of Roo's costume. The child refuses to wear anything on his head. He is also stroller-bound while we're out trolling for candy, so I wanted something that wasn't going to be too bulky. A friend suggested that I just turn his stroller into a bulldozer and let him be the "driver", and I thought that seemed like a fabulous idea. Until I actually tried to do it. Let's just say... it didn't work out. And we're going to leave it at that.

Second, Halloween celebration #1. Ever since Lamb was a year old, we have gone to "Boo at the Zoo", a non-scary trick-or-treat event at our local zoo. And for the past 3 or 4 or 5 years, we've gone with another family, some dear friends who have kids about the same ages as Lamb and Monkey. So this year we bought our tickets and planned an evening of zoo fun followed by dinner. I hadn't really figured out what to do for Roo after the bulldozer-costume-fail, but then I remembered that he has a pair of Superman PJ's (complete with cape!), so Superman he would be! I got him dressed set him down to play, and went to help Lamb with her hair... and then Monkey ran in and announced, "Roo just threw up in the hall!"

Yep, there was puke all over his Superman pajamas--I mean, costume. And on his hands. And on the floor. Fabulous. I cleaned him up and called my parents, who had spent the day with him while I was at the office. They assured me that he had been fine all day, although my mom mentioned that he hadn't wanted his milk much after naptime. Hmmmm..., I thought, his puke did smell an awful lot like spoiled milk. I bet his milk was bad, and that's why he didn't want any more--and why he got sick. Reassured by this logic, and by the fact that he seemed perfectly happy (and didn't have a fever), I finished getting the big kids ready, all the while stressing out about Plan C for the little guy's costume. And suddenly, I remembered: I had come across the top half of a monkey costume in some hand-me-downs from my brother... and Roo had a pair of brown sweats that would work great for the bottom half. He likely wouldn't wear it with the hood up, which would pretty much completely nullify the costume, but... it was what I had. So I went with it.

Finally, we pulled into the zoo, listening to the oh-so-pleasant droning of Lamb complaining that it was too cold and too rainy and it was going to be miserable and blah, blah, blah. (And that last part isn't just filler--she has recently started saying, "blah, blah, blah." It drives me nuts. It makes me see red. It makes me want to hit something. But that's another story for another day.) We gathered up the troops, headed toward the entrance to meet our friends... and suddenly Roo started puking buckets. All over his daddy. And we found ourselves turning around and heading right back to our van. And Miss Lamb barely had time to stop whining about how miserable it was going to be before she could start crying about how much she wanted to stay. Poor girl--it's tough being seven. And so, our first Halloween event... wasn't.

Suffice it to say, Roo hadn't had bad milk. He had a stomach bug. A really yucky one, that lasted until the following Tuesday.

And then on Wednesday, everyone else got it. Mr. Fantastic woke up with it, I came down with it right after lunch, Lamb got off the bus with it, and Monkey was down before dinner time. Fab.u.lous.

That Friday was supposed to be the fall party day for the big kids at school. (Not a Halloween party, mind you. Costumes are not welcome at our school. But still, a party. And they wanted to be there.) I was signed up to provide the craft for Monkey's class, and I planned to at least swing by Lamb's class as well. Instead, I mustered up all my strength from my sick and I'd-rather-be-dead body, put the craft supplies together, and dropped them off to Monkey's teacher... then went back home, where my kiddos and I spent their party day watching "Phineas & Ferb" and taking naps. Poor kids. Our second Halloween celebration, gone.

And then, there came trick-or-treating. Our town is pretty rural, and I don't love the idea of driving my kids from house to house--it just doesn't have the right feel. So we are fortunate to have a lovely lady in our lives who invites us to her neighborhood to trick-or-treat every year. Her development has their own time, separate from the township--always on Halloween day, always in the evening. But this year, Superstorm Sandy made herself known Halloween week, leaving us cold and wet at the very least, and leaving some in our area without power. Our friend's neighborhood decided to rescshedule their trick-or-treating for Friday, November 2. My poor kids--another Halloween plan foiled.

And then do you know what happened? It was November. Halloween is over. I am healthy, but exhausted. I would like to just fall into bed and sleep until Thanksgiving and forget that October ever happened. But no... no, NOW it is time to don the costumes and beg for candy.

I was so over that.

BUT I couldn't deny my kids the joy of trick-or-treating. They really wanted one chance to celebrate this darn holiday. And Monkey and I had even made his costume this year. No, they couldn't miss it, and I wouldn't want them to. So shortly after they got home from school, we got started on their transformations...

Roo consented to being a monkey, hood and all...

Lamb became a beautiful fairy...

And Monkey... oh, Monkey... my super-cool, homemade OCTOPUS...

Is that fun or what?!? I loved making that costume. It is super-simple and would not hold up long-term, but it was so much fun to make, and a BIG hit both with Monkey and the families we saw while trick-or-treating.

And so we headed out... and we had a GREAT night! It was cold, but still--no chilly winds blowing through you. It was so so so nice. And the kids, they had the BEST time I have ever seen them have. They RAN from house to house at top speed, and they said "thank you" and they giggled and they squealed about how heavy their treat bags were and--it was wonderful. A perfect night.

And just to top it all off...
...a little popcorn... and some hot chocolate with marshmallows AND whipped cream...

...AND Daddy reading us all some "Tom Sawyer" before bed.

It couldn't have been a more perfect night.

Happy Halloween... in November...