Bigger and Bigger

It’s not been a bad week, but it’s been a hard one. Things don’t feel at all right with Sid gone, and the Mommy has had herself at least one good cry each and every day – sometimes more. In the midst of this sadness, we’ve experienced more illness – Jay felt left out since everyone else in the family had a round with the flu, so he succumbed too. On Monday, when Josiah spiked a 104+ fever we figured he’d caught it for the second time, but a trip to the pediatrician’s nixed that theory. We’ve had great help, and everyone is on the mend now, but I feel tired and somewhat melancholy.

In the past several weeks, amidst the various ailments, Josiah has shown very obvious signs of wanting to potty train. I have purposely ignored them, hoping he’d just hold off, and wait till things got calmer. As I said to my sister earlier today, “I am in no mood to potty train right now!” But when your child gets out of bed each night because he’s wet his diaper, and is immensely bothered by every “soak-ey” as they are called around here, then I guess it’s time to go along with his wish to be a big boy.

So this afternoon, out came the Diego Pullups I’d stashed in his closet last time they were on a super sale. Josiah was so pleased with his “Dalago Unnerwear” and strutted around all afternoon proudly. My potty-training ritual, which has worked pretty well for three children, just consists of putting the child in a pullup and setting the kitchen timer to beep at short intervals at first to help him learn the drill. Those little bladders are tiny so I start out by taking them every 10 minutes at first, then 15 minutes, then 20 minutes, you get the idea. Rewards are given for having dry pants when it’s time to visit the potty. The idea being that we don’t just give a treat for every drop of tinkle the child can squeeze out over ten minute intervals, and that ultimately I want the trainee to learn to keep those pants dry!!

Josiah really liked the potty thing today, and got the knack of it reasonably well. After two accidents, he stayed dry the rest of the afternoon and evening. At one point, a few hours into it, while I was busy with supper prep, he heard the kitchen timer beep and on his own dutifully derobed, leaving his dry “Dalago unnerwear” on the kitchen floor, scaled the too-tall-for-him-potty, and performed perfectly. So cute.

I have never doubted he is ready to train, I just wanted to wait for warmer weather, and maybe a sense of more normalcy. But really in a household like ours, what is normal, exactly?? Here is a picture from back in September – as you can see, he’s been enjoying trying out the potty thing for quite some time now!!


RIP Larry Norman

Why Don’t You Look Into Jesus? was my introduction to Larry Norman.

Sipping whiskey from a paper cup, You drown your sorrows till you can’t stand up,
Take a look at what you’ve done to yourself, Why don’t you, you put the bottle back on the shelf,
Yellow fingered from your cigarettes, Your hands are shaking while your body sweats,
Why don’t you look into Jesus, He got the answer.

Gonorrhea on Valentine’s Day (v.d.), And you’re still looking for the perfect lay,
You think rock and roll will set you free honey, You’ll be dead before you’re thirty three,
Shooting junk till you’re half insane, Broken needle in your purple vein,
Why don’t you look into Jesus, He got the answer.

He was not a normal man, let alone normal Christian, but some of his music moved me. I can remember painting in our first house while blasting Only Visiting This Planet (Tricia was out and about). Perhaps this is a good tribute: Razing the Bar (ht Looking Closer Journal).

In Memory of Sid…

Today we said goodbye to our beloved Sid who has been a part of our family for eleven years now. It has been a heart-breaking day filled with many tears, and I cannot muster courage enough right now to properly eulogize our faithful dog. Instead I put together a little photo album, which shows some of the happy times we were blessed to have with him from 2002 till now. All the pictures from his first five years are on non-digital film and will have to be scanned at a later date and added then.

Stuff Around Here..

It has been a very full week. Lots going on, and in the midst of it all, the Mommy has been dealing with a debilitating head cold and cough that she’s been fighting since mid-January. Off and on, but mostly on, including during the time she had the flu. The cold has become so commonplace that she is calling it “My Cold of 2008” even though it is probably comprised of at least three colds, maybe even a sinus infection thrown in just for a little fun.

But enough about ailments; back to our week. In addition to all our regular school and other activities, both older kids had semester projects due this week: Abigail was given the task of constructing a working volcano and reporting about it. Jonathan created a model of the Amazon River Dolphin (did you know they are pink?) and presented several facts as well as wrote an original tale about aforementioned dolphin. There was a glorious, school-wide field trip to a local church to hear their very talented and charismatic organist introduce us to the beauty and intricacy of the instrument and its variety of musical styles, and it was amazing. Let’s see, what else? Teacher birthday (yes Auntie Jamison, we do these up big at Covenant!), Sonatina Festival for the little budding pianist, touch of a tummy virus for two of the kids, and much, much more.

But….the most exciting event this week by far took place on Tuesday night. Our own little Abigail was given the honor of singing the National Anthem to kick off our Covenant Boys’ Varsity Basketball playoff game, and the whole family went to cheer her (and the Covenant Knights!) on, and enjoy the evening.

Please indulge my parental pride for a moment, and allow me to share with you the itsy-bitsy detail that as of the Friday afternoon before the game, my daughter did not even know the Star Spangled Banner, let alone have the ability to perform it solo for a crowd sans musical accompaniment. After we got the boys in bed last Friday evening I sat down with her and taught her the song, using only my voice and a printout of the lyrics as teaching aids. The girl is a quick study; within less than an hour’s time she was singing it from memory, and hitting all the right notes. We spent our free time over the next three days alternately practicing like mad, and listening to various renditions of the anthem (mostly on YouTube – everything from Jordin Sparks’ SuperBowl rendition to this little 3 year old kid who really is a hoot and you should watch him sing it, he is SO FUNNY – and really, really good despite the fact that he cannot pronounce most of the words in this very challenging song – listen for ” the rampers we wash and the gallery screaming”!).

Despite some serious nerves on Tuesday evening (hey – I’m talking about me here, and it was torturous!), oh and yes, Abigail was pretty nervous too – after all, EVERYONE was LOOKING at her!! (as she later told me when it was all over) – she sang beautifully. Really, really beautifully. I know I’m her mommy, so I’m necessarily biased, but I was so proud of my girl, and thought she did an amazing job. We were all thrilled she got such a wonderful opportunity to support her school by doing something she loves so much!

I would love to show you the video of her singing, but my Tech Guy is having quite a bit of trouble streaming the tape from the camera onto a medium we can actually watch. Argh. Something about old technology, new interfaces, blah, blah, blah. Clearly it’s time for a more modern camera, one which will actually allow us to watch the videos it takes! But I have faith in my Tech Guy, and as soon as he solves this little dilemma, we will post a clip of her song.

A bar too far

Let me set the scene. You are a few years shy of 40. Up to and including college, you were in fighting shape, and could throw down 30 or 40 dips then drop to the floor and do 50 or so push ups. You decide you want to humiliate yourself. What should you do?

I found that buying the Creative Fitness Door Gym was a great approach. Because, you know, I thought pull-ups would be a nice addition to my in-home workout. Works flawlessly as advertised. The only problem being I don’t work as advertised anymore.

Anniversary of Sinus Surgery

Yes, I had surgery last Valentine’s Day. It has been one year since I had my sinuses and nasal passages sliced and diced as well as my septum moved over a bit. Did it work? Let’s compare my health before and after. Prior to the surgery, I had averaged a round of antibiotics roughly once a month for two years. This past year, I’ve kept a log of all my illnesses. Here’s the list:

  • 2007-02-14 Surgery (okay, not an illness, but the starting point of the log)
  • 2007-03-30 Cold for several days
  • 2007-04-30 Very bad cough for several days
  • 2007-05-27 Bad cough for a 2 days
  • 2007-06-23 Cold for 2 days followed by bad cough for 2 days
  • 2007-08-28 Cold for 2 days
  • 2007-11-19 Mild cold for a week. Turned into sinusitis. Healed quickly with antibiotics.

What does all this mean? Put simply, I just completed my healthiest year in probably the past decade. I still got sick now and again, but there were two huge improvements. First, I didn’t get sick as often, and successfully fought off several illnesses. Second, I actually got better without antibiotics. Previously, I almost never fought off illnesses and almost all illnesses eventually resulted in some sort of bacterial infection (sinus infection, bronchial infection, strep throat, ear infection, had all of them numerous time).

Two other factors were in play, though both of them were present prior to the surgery and didn’t seem to improve my health. First, I finished off a couple years at a maintenance dose of immunotherapy for my allergies. Second, I started doing a sinus rinse a couple times a day (using this wonderful device). My allergies are very obviously doing much, much better, and the sinus rinse shows significant help when I start to come down with a cold. However, prior to the surgery it just wasn’t enough.

So, although the surgery made my top 10 list of worst experiences (please bear in mind that is a crowded list as I have had 10 other surgeries, some of them major, as well as spinal meningitis, malaria, blood poisening, staph infection, and other ailments), it has been well worth it. If you are capable of sleeping while breathing through your mouth (it turns out I cannot in any meaningful sense), it would be a significantly easier experience though still very unpleasant.

My First Haircut

Daddy decided it was high time I stop looking so shaggedy around the ears, so a couple weekends ago he got out that scary Flobee toy (you must check out the pictures of the funny-looking grown-ups vacuuming off their hair on this site) of his and told me he was going to cut my hair. For my “before” shot he made me stand in front of this very red wall, so you can’t really see my sort of reddish hair too well, but ok, here is my “before” pic anyway:


Really, I don’t see what the fuss about a few sweet curls at my neck is all about, but hey, he’s the big guy so I went along with it.


I sat nice and still during the entire procedure despite being scared for my life – here is a shot of me praying that the Flobee monster won’t eat me:


And here is what I looked like afterward:


Still cute, eh??


I am back…

Hello Readers. Needing inspiration for future writing, I went and took a little sabbatical of sorts. That is, if you count contracting the nastiest version of the flu I think I have had in all my 28 years of life a sabbatical. Heh. Just seeing if you are paying attention.

I used to joke about getting the flu so I could lay in bed and have a break from the craziness that is often life around here. How ashamed I am of myself. What an absolutely stupid thing to say. And while I also talked earlier in the year about hoping to lose a couple pounds, I am here to tell you that you do NOT want to lose 5 pounds in 2 days the way I did last week. Ugh, what an awful time.

Thankfully, my hero of a husband (trust me, he is really a great guy even if he does seem to be filling this blog up with posts about rodents) kept the four children alive and fed, even clean! tended beautifully to his very sick wife, and somehow managed to do about 87 loads of laundry while I was clinging to life by a thread back in the master bedroom.

I am back today to tell you that the mundane things of life like laundry, dishes, carpool, changing poopie diapers…all of these sound incredibly fun after one has spent several days in a fog of fever, vomiting, and unrelenting pain. Not that I am totally back to doing all this on my own quite yet. I have had a sweet little angel named Grammy Ruth come to visit each day this week as we try to get ourselves back in the groove. She’s been a lifesaver.

Life after the flu: it is a little sweeter. Exhausting, but it’s definitely good to be back. And after I finally got past the initial challenge of forcing myself to swallow something, anything to try and get myself vertical again, it is pretty nice now to feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever about consuming anything in the world I want to eat. Well, until I get those five pounds back. Gotta keep up my strength, after all.