Monday, February 28, 2011

Poor baby

Remember the little black puppy that we ended up with when a couple of college students wised up and realized they really were not supposed to have puppies in their apartments? This puppy was sold to the boyfriend as an AKC Pit Bull. Only the thing is, she only faintly resembles a Pit Bull and has topped out at a whopping 32 pounds. She has a little pit in her, but a whole lot of mutt going on. 

So here we are, the home of a pit-mutt puppy pushing 7 months old. The boyfriend wants her back this summer when he moves into a house that allows dogs. So we are her home for now. And as responsible pet owners, we made the arrangements to have her spayed last week. They also recommended that for pets her breed (Pitt-Mutt?) that we should have her dew claws removed. On Wednesday last week I dropped her off early in the morning. 

Warning: The following pictures are graphic and not for the weak of stomache. 
Do not scroll down if you do not want to see.
You have been warned.

The procedure did not go as well as planned. Of course, no one told me this until I went to pick her up at the end of the day, after the vet was already gone. The vet tech came out holding her on her back, all bandaged up and totally out of it. The story I got was that she had had a little bleeding so they bandaged her belly and to bring her back in the morning to have it removed. Oh, and here are pain meds for the next 5 days, she is going to really need them. 

Here is how she looked that evening. She cried constantly, couldn't stand up, wouldn't eat or drink and was absolutely miserable. The pain meds didn't even seem to take the edge off. I slept with her all night to try and keep her calm. Well, not so much sleeping as just holding her. First thing the next morning we were at the vet's office when they opened. They took her back and soon returned with her tummy un-bandaged. They walked us to the door in a hurry. I asked to talk to the vet and was told she was already in with another patient. They told us to come back again the next day to re-check her. 

I got her home and got my first look at her incision site. Oh holy heck is she bruised up! Also very, very swollen. She did stand up long enough to pee, but spent most of the day whining and lying still. She drank but didn't eat much. She would only get up if I coaxed her into it. See the bulge in her belly down below but parallel to the incision? After the swelling went down it is more pronounced and concerns me greatly.
 Here's a look the next day, still bruised and swollen. Back to the vet's we went, only this time I demanded to know why she is so bruised and swollen. The vet still would not come out and talk to me, but the message I got from the vet tech was that the vet said Aspen had a lot of belly fat and that made the surgery difficult and led to the bleeding. OK, so who wants to call Bullshit on that with me? This is a 6 1/2 month old puppy of perfect weight. Seriously, how much belly fat could she have? Plus, in my research career I have done hundreds of abdominal surgeries on animals who were genetically designed to be obese and they never had this type of complication. Sure, the fat made it more difficult, but you just work carefully. This? This was not caused by belly fat.
Now it is Monday and most of the bruising and swelling is gone, but she still has that large bulge. I am worried it is a herniation of the interior suture line. I hauled back up to the vets office to have them look at it again. Once more they whisked her to the back and I waited. The vet tech comes out and says the doc is worried about infection in her dew claw areas so they have re-bandaged them and are prescribing antibiotics. That will be $67 please. I ask about the bulge and she says the vet is on his way out to talk to me. (Of course he is, he isn't the one who did the surgery so has no need to hide) He tells me hei s concerned about her paws, I tell him I am concerned about her bulge. He rolls her over and looks again and says it because she has been licking at it, see the purple marks? (Insert sounds of kettle drums beginning to roll in the background)
Oh heck no, that is the last of the severe bruising she had immediately after the surgery. Her incision line is clean and dry and has not been licked. (I actually said i was not buying that bull. Hee. Go me!)
So then he tells me it must be a reaction to the sutures. 
OK, then why is it beside the suture line and not under it? Why is the skin not red? Why is she not trying to lick at it and why is it not tender?
Umm, well, maybe that is where the internal suture line is. 

I stood there toe to toe and looked him in the eyes and then began to tell him exactly what it was NOT and why. It was not belly fat, it was not an infection, it was not a reaction to the sutures. What it was was a shoddy job. See Doc, how there are only 5 external stitches and they are spaced very far apart? That was someone in a big hurry and who didn't care. And if they were in that big of a hurry with the part that shows, then what the heck did they do on the inside? See how the incision is too low and too small? Again, someone in a hurry. But that made it hard to reach the uterus so they had to push and pull more than necessary and that caused a lot of the bruising and swelling. See Doc, how she was bruised with dark purple (that is caused when a lot of blood is under the skin) and see how she is still developing new bruises? That was deep bleeding, not damage to the surface layers. See how she was bruised from her chest to her thighs? I then proceeded to tell him that I had pictures and was sending them to specialists in the field that I knew. 

At this point I began to feel sorry for the guy. He looked like a deer in the headlights. He then told me exactly WHO did the surgery and that I would be seeing that person on Friday. I told him Thank You and we left. I could almost hear the sigh of relief as I walked away. (Oh and the vet tech told me how sorry she was and she would have done the same thing I did)

Can you see the bulge? It is longer than the suture line and is lumpy and firm, not like normal swelling. I just hope her guts don't pop out....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bye Bye Training Wheels

Seth took his bike out to his dad in the barn and asked him to remove the training wheels. So he did. After one or two false starts he totally got the hang of it. Look at that determination on his face!
And off he went. He never fell and got hurt, not once. 
After the first few assists from Dad he figured out how to start himself. And stop himself!
One very proud boy. One very proud dad! It's official, he is a big boy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Blog up and running

Please feel free to go visit Boyz in the Kitchen  our new food adventures blog. It has been a long time since I started a blog and there are many things I want to add and play with. it will just take time. Leave comments to let me know what you would like to see, if you have recipe suggestions or any other tidbits you want to share. This adventure includes ALL of us!!!! (That means you all may get assigned a turn cleaning up the mess....LOL!)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Adventure Eating/Cooking with Kids

We are actually going to create a new additional blog to start recording our adventures in the kitchen. Although I have been cooking with the boys for forever, we just started out on a mission to cook and eat many different foods. Each time we will record what we picked, how we prepare it, and the reviews by three small boys and two grownups.

Week 1: Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower (cut into small bite sized pieces)
Olive Oil
Cayenne pepper

Wash hands. Send boys back to bathroom to wash hands WITH soap. Smell hands before proceeding.

Allow boys to use either plastic knife (for younger ones) or small paring knife to cut cauliflower into small bite sized pieces.

Toss with enough olive oil to coat but not drench cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt and a touch of cayenne. (My kids are from Texas and love spicy foods. Feel free to substitute any seasoning you prefer) Toss well.

Place in a foil lined pan with sides.

Place in 400F oven. Bake 30-40 minutes or until browning and carmelized.

We had noticed that recently they had colored heads of cauliflower at the store. Orange, purple and green to be exact! Levi thought they were cool, but they were twice the price of plain cauliflower so I took the cheaper route. Besides, I am not sure how appetizing roasted purple cauliflower would look.

Levi took the lead on this project.

He cut up at least half the head of cauliflower, paying special attention to removing the stem parts and leaves. He uses a small paring knife that is not very sharp. Over the past year he has become quite proficient at using it.
He is holding the bottle of olive oil but I added it to the cauliflower. You absolutely do not want to drench it or you will have a soggy, oily mess. No Bueno!


Levi: I didn't like it. (For the record, he ate it all)

Seth: It tasted sweet and nutty and I liked it.

Ahren: I liked it. I want more. Can you make it again?

Chris: Didn't try it. Said he didn't want to take it away from the boys. Coward.

Mommy: Love it, but I love, love, love veggies. I did love how easy it was to make and kid friendly preparation too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Peri Brynn (aka PBJ)

I know people are waiting to hear if we have any news on PBJ. The latest I have is that our government is working hard with the President of Guatemala to process all of the grandfathered adoption cases. Unfortunately, as those of us who have been in the Guat adoption system know, they move very, very slowly down there. Add in the fact that PGN, the old government agency for processing adoptions, and the CNA, the new government agency for adoptions, do NOT work together. The only good thing going right now is that PGN is actually starting to process cases and trying to stay ahead of the CNA. Maybe a little competition between them will work out to be a good thing.

I wonder if many of you out there know about PBJ and all that she (and us) has been through in the 4 1/2 years since we accepted her referral. She was less than 24 hours old at the time and we got to name her on her birth certificate, which is why her legal name is Peri Brynn. Peri means a gift from the mountains and she born in the mountain region of Guatemala and is most definitely a gift. I already had a visit trip planned for the following week so I got to hold her and keep her when she was just 6 days old. Our case moved forward rapidly and within 6 weeks we had DNA results and were in PGN. Our agency told us that she would be out in a matter of days and to start planning our pick-up trip. With all the problems Ahren's case had, we felt so blessed to be thinking we would bring home this tiny baby so soon.

Then we hit a bump in the road. She got kicked out of PGN for a minor issue. The agency worked to fix it and soon enough we were back in. Then another kick-out. This is nothing surprising. We knew this was how many cases went. We kept being patient.

The week before PBJ's first birthday, we got a call from the agency. Peri Brynn was very ill and in the hospital. I wanted to see her I needed to get to Guatemala right away. I flew out the next morning by myself, terrified and determined. I didn't know what was wrong with her or if she would even be alive by the time I got there. I dropped my bags at the hotel and headed straight to the hospital. The agency had had her taken to a small private hospital where her level of care would be much better. They led me to her room and what I saw made me gasp. Peri Brynn was in a regular hospital bed, and to keep her safe they had safety pinned her gown down to the bed. That didn't bother me. What bothered me was she was grey in color, unresponsive and very, very thin. This was not the healthy, pink baby I had seen just a few months before on my most recent visit trip.

The doctor turned out to have studied in the US and spoke english. When she began to explain to me what was wrong with Peri Brynn, at first my mind could not grasp it. I remember feeling like my head was spinning and nothing made sense. I asked her to back up and start over. She clipped an x-ray to a light box and pointed to it. ' There is a large fracture in the baby's skull, starting at the bottom left back of her skull and continuing across the back and up over the right ear. The break has separated 1 cm from the swelling in the brain. She has suffered numerous seizures because of the swelling. The amount of swelling indicates that the injury occurred 24-36 hours before she was brought to the hospital. The CT scans also indicate a previous injury to the right frontal lobe. She is severely malnourished, has intestinal parasites and a urinary tract infection. There is no way to know what affect the damage to her brain will have long term'.

Right then my world changed forever. The damage to her skull was done with great force, not the result of rolling off a bed or falling down. This precious baby was either hit with a blunt instrument with great force or forcibly slammed into a hard surface. Then they let her lay there for over a day until she began to seize uncontrollably. At that point they took her to the hospital and dropped her and left. No charges were brought against the foster family. Peri Brynn was a mayan 'orphan' girl, not worth the bother. The family abused her because they had not been paid in several months so they took it out on the baby. End of story.

I convinced the doctor to release her to me the next day. I had to show her that I could continue to give her injections of the drugs to keep the swelling in her brain down, control the siezures and give her meds to fight the parasites and infection. I stocked up on high quality baby formula and diapers, and I went and got my baby. I stayed in Guatemala for a couple of weeks, nursing her back to health, found her a new foster family that I paid directly and who had medical training (the brother was a doctor nearby) and even visited the US Embassy for their help. They were awesome! Poor woman at the window who had to deal with this blubbering US woman holding a tiny very ill baby and waiving skull x-rays around like a crazy person! They didn't let me down, though. They couldn't do anything until the adoption actually finished in Guat, but they expedited all the US side of things. Too bad the Guat side never finished.....

Peri Brynn now resides in one of the best orphanages in Guatemala. The rest of the story is long and full of legal nonsense and screw-ups. Two years ago we were told our case was over, tossed out for some sort of wrong-doing by an attorney we had never heard of. It took me a very long time to come to grips with that and be OK. Then suddenly, out of the blue, we got an e-mail from the US State Department telling us they were intervening in Guatemala to finish the open cases. Ours was one of them. How do I tell my heart not to get excited? How do I keep a lid on the hope to guard my heart? We can't. We decided where she will sleep, who will go get her, how we will help her join the family. It takes everything in me to not buy cute little girl clothes. Shoot, I don't even have a clue how big she is. I have gotten pictures every once in a while and she looks wonderful. Now the long wait and pain begins all again.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's Sunday Again

How do the weeks fly by so fast? Or, really, the weekends. Weekdays seem to move slower, but the weekends? Zip! And I am left with a huge list of things to do and a sense of failure. I either have to learn not to care or make shorter lists!

Yesterday we left the house at 9:30 am, just me and the boys, to go visit friends about an hour away. We arrived and the boy explosion began. She has two boys and add my three we were seriously outnumbered. Know what? They all did great. We even took them out to lunch and it was fine. We rolled back in the house about 4:15 with three very tired boys and the vow to do this again very soon.

I took Buster in for the last round of booster shots on Friday. The female vet came in and as she leaned down to look at him, she asked if we had anything we wanted to discuss. (I had Ahren and Seth with me) Ahren immediately piped up and announced that 'dogs do not have butt cheeks but he did', to which Seth then added, 'and he has a red thing that comes out of his wiener'. The vet looked confused (I am assuming she didn't quite understand what they said) and started to say 'what' which of course would lead them to repeat and expand on their doggy wisdoms. Instead I cut her off, plopped them on the bench and told them to please be quiet. Apparently in our home-schooling we have not left out the important aspects of dogs......

When we do a big cleaning day around here, I usually pay 25-50 cents per chore. I break them down into smaller more manageable jobs. Instead of telling them to pick up their room, I hand them the lego tub and tell them to put all the legos in it. I send them to get a trash can from a bathroom and dump it, then return it to the spot they found it. Stuff like that. Levi can handle bigger jobs and those are usually the 50 center ones. Wipe all the fingerprints off the huge windows across the back of our house (there are 8 of them) or scrub a toilet with a toilet wand. Levi earns more but he does more. He is so funny, though. he won't spend all his money. He puts it in his bank instead. He has saved over $100 but he doesn't want to open a savings account. He would rather have it here so he can pull it out and count it. He is so much like my brother Joel!

I was sweeping floors the other day and had the Food network on in the background. I paused a moment and looked at the screen and commented that Rachael Ray must have been on vacation because she was so tan. Chris said, 'Honey, that is a black woman'. Doh!

I always try and introduce the kids to new and different foods. Levi and Seth are really very adventurous. They love spicy food, lots of 'grown-up' foods and ethnic foods. Ahren has trouble with new or different foods. He has always had trouble with food that is harder to chew and swallow and I think that set the stage for his eating habits. He would still eat all mushy foods and have me spoon feed him if he had his way! I have decided that every Sunday we are going to have a food adventure. Try something new and different. I may let the boys pick it out at the store or I might surprise them. Then each week I will tell you what we tried and how it went over. I will let the boys help me prepare whatever it is, and that helps them accept a new food. I am going to create little foodies!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jello. Really?

Today I took 5 minutes to talk on the phone with a dear friend whose son is very sick. I went outside to the patio to talk so that I did not have to worry about reception or the noise level of two 5 year olds. Oh how I mis-judged what could happen in five minutes.

When I re-entered the house, I found one child standing in the office area with a handful of orange jello and oranges. Well, make that two handfulls. He was desperately trying to contain the jiggly mass and his eyes looked like a deer in the headlights. (Right there is a clue he knew what he did was no acceptable)

I cornered him and took him to the kitchen to wash up. Jello went in the trash, hands got washed, sticky shirt went to the laundry. Then I found jello on the floor in the dining room. I made him clean it up. Then I found jello and oranges on the floor in the living room. I made him clean that up.

Then I found jello on the floor in the pantry.

Jello on the chair in the dining room.

Jello on the floor in the kitchen, plus a jello cup.

Jello on the floor in the dining room.

Jello on a guitar.

Jello on my foot.

Oh dear lord, there is sticky jello everywhere.



Was he in hyper-speed mode???????

I am still finding it. Damn jello. (Sorry to cuss but the jello.....)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


This is what I saw when I looked out back yesterday afternoon. He dug the hole himself. Then he sat in it. And he is the 'normal' one. (Notice the missing front tooth. Too cute!)

I've been churning out mittens like crazy and of course it is now 70 degrees here. Always a day late and a dollar short. (These are super easy. If you want the pattern, just ask!)
Saturday was super-duper house cleaning day. The kind of day where I pick a part of the house and everything in it gets a good scrubbing. Everything from light fixtures to baseboards. Of course this involves all members of the family. To motivate the wee ones we pay them for each completed chore and at the end of the day we take them to the dollar store to spend their earnings. As expected, some are motivated much better than others. here is the run-down:

Very motivated. Levi scrubbed and cleaned and begged for more chores. He was a real workhorse.
Pretty motivated. Unfortunately he doesn't fit into the age category of payments so he had to just work and get no rewards. Well, no money rewards.....
Somewhat motivated. He would work for a while then lose interest and play. He still did really well and ended up with $3 to spend.
Voted for Obama. Still waiting for his check...... (That one's for you Dad)

Oh No, Did I say THAT?

It suddenly dawned on me today that next year both little boys will be in Kindergarten (that's not the part that dawned on me) and that other grown-ups will be listening to the things that come out of their mouths. People who are LEGALLY mandated to report suspicious things to the authorities.

Most kids say some really out-there things. In fact, they create whole TV shows around just that. But most kids do not have me as a Mom. A mom who has a decidedly warped sense of humor and a wicked sarcastic streak. Oh, and a leaky filter. Yup, that's me. Can you see how this is headed for the ditch? Yeah, me too.

So this morning I gave the two littles baths since we are going out to lunch today. Afterwards, as they ran around starkers being crazed little varmints, Seth asked if he could play outside. My reply? Why of course dear, go right on out there. It's warm enough to be naked and I'm sure the neighbors would just love to see the show. This of course made seth giggle since he knows by now I am not serious.

Then a few moments later I was giving him his pill. We put it in a spoonful of something to drink and he swallows it right down. He asked if he could have root beer and I told him no, it was all gone, but I had some vodka. (Actually there is NO hard liquor in our house) Again he laughed at me.

They are now off to put on 'panties'. They are looking for Dora and My Little Pony, their faves!!! Again, just kidding but they think it is so funny.

Now imagine the conversation with the teacher. Mommy sent us outside to play naked, gave me vodka with my medicine and had us wear Dora panties. Ugh. I am so in trouble. I wonder if it is too late to stitch my mouth shut and have them forget by next fall?????

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today I am going to be brutally honest, with you and myself. I have a problem sometimes with anger. No, not like I punch holes in walls and run people off the road (although I have thought about that second one in the car rider line ;-) I mean the kind where your kids make you so incredibly mad that you have to send them to their rooms for fear you might just shake the snot out of them. The kind that leaves you counting to ten and listening to your own heart thunder in your ears for a few moments. Yeah, not pretty and nothing to be proud of, but true.

Unfortunately, dealing with kids with 'issues' means dealing with little people whose sole purpose in life is to push you to that point. To them, that is victory! They push and push and push, finding every single button that could set you off, and then, they push some more. They are relentless little buggers and can smell weakness a mile away. You don't feel good? Hoooo boy, it's time to push more. Didn't get any sleep last night, time to think of something new to pull. Worried about something else, time to wind up and really give it to you!

Today I am fighting a chest infection, not feeling very well and not up to snuff. (Listen carefully and you can hear the theme to Jaws.....blood in the water) Last Friday I saw a doctor about my psoriasis and he prescribed some horribly expensive cream that is so strong it will scar your face, but it is healing up my nasty patches quite nicely. I left the tube on my desk, where I use it several times a day. Then suddenly, this afternoon, I find the cap in the middle of the living room and the tube missing.

I sat the two little boys on the couch and calmly asked them what had happened to my medicine. Ahren looked at me wide eyed and confused. Seth dropped his chin, refused to look me in the eyes and started stammering. (It is a wonderful thing that neither of these two has come anywhere close to mastering the art of lying. They both stink at it!) No matter how I asked, Seth refused to tell me where the tube was. Now I was worried. The medicine is very strong and the tube is open. A dog could eat it and get very sick. Seth could have gotten it on his skin and end up scarred. I needed to find that tube.

I left them on the couch and began searching. I finally found the tube, minus a good portion, under a bed. Now I returned to Seth and showed him the evidence and told him I needed to know where the cream had gone. I got lies and crying and mis-direction and his attempts at blaming others. I finally told him he had better get to his room or I was going to lose it and he would be very sorry. He picked that moment to mount an offensive and begin to scream at me. Oh dear lord I wanted to turn him over my knee and tan his hide! Instead I stepped back, gave him the 'Look of Death' and said in a very quiet and icey voice, 'Get to your room, NOW'. He must have seen my hold on control slipping because he scooted right to his room and onto his bed. (Very wise choice son)

I sat quietly for a little while, then went in and got him and again asked him to show me where the cream went. He led me into the guest bedroom but then couldn't remember what he did with it. I stood patiently and waited. Finally, he 'remembered'. He had rubbed it all over a toy. We then went through several rounds of asking ones-self "Is it mine? No? Then don't touch it."

The lesson did not make even a slight impression on him. Ten minutes later I caught him playing with my new glasses. Lather, rinse, repeat. I think he is just going to have to go to bed right after supper tonight or run the risk of Mommy losing her shiznit and hog tying him.

Note: Yes, I do know how to hog tie, No I have never actually used on my kids. Just wishful thinking.....;-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Lesson Learned......Maybe

Ever have one of those days/weeks/years when your kids drive you insane with the fighting over absolutely STUPID stuff? Hmmm, no? Well then shove off you perfect parent cuz around these parts we get REAL and that can get a tad bit ugly.

So be prepared. You have been warned. Please feel free to turn away while you still can. Go Google 'Perfect Children' and you will be safe.

Now on to the real topic. Lessons learned. If you know anything about us, then you can assume that any lessons learned around here are learned the hard way. Plus, they NEVER are learned after just one lesson. Oh no, it takes many, many repeats of the lessons to finally sink into their thick little skulls (that is if they ever learn it at all....I have my doubts).

A while back I posted how the two little guys would not put on warm gear to ride along to take Levi to school. I let them freeze hoping that the natural consequences of their stubborn ways would make an impact. It did, for a few days. Since then we have had at least once-a-week repeats with at least one child. The funny thing is it is usually just one of them and the other one then proceeds to point out the errors of their ways, all knowingly and smug. This absolutely does not prevent them from doing the same bone-headed thing on another day. Go figure! Ahren actually walked out to the car last week in seventeen degree weather with no shoes or socks on and refused to admit the cement was cold. Well OK then. It's not MY feet that are cold. Was it wrong that it took me reeeaalllly long to find my keys and unlock the car doors while he stood on the 'not cold' cement?

So today Seth was in a very negative mood. He gets that way when he is tired. In fact, he ended up taking a 2 1/2 hour nap, which he obviously needed very much. One thing after another set him off. Lots of whining, angry words and pouting over minor things. Time out was ineffective (heck, with most RAD kiddos timeouts are only for us, the parents, to cool off. It does little to fix the kid's issue at hand) I distracted him, acted silly, made sure he wasn't hungry, talked and held him, all the normal things to try and work him out of this 'mood'. It resulted in 'no change' meaning the ugly behavior continued unabated.

Then, while Chris was running errands (special note here: the bad behaviors are always WAY worse when Daddy is not here. They try much harder to hold it together in front of their Dad, but for Mom it all hangs out) Seth blew his lid because Ahren told him, and I quote, 'You can't go in the kitchen'. Oh holy bejeebers you would have thought someone had beat him with a flaming stick. He then proceeded to grab Levi's walkie-talkie and smash it to pieces. This was a Christmas present and Levi had generously shared them with his brothers.

Oh, Hello. Letting your anger go that far out of control is absolutely a No No in our house. Restitution will be made. Once Seth calmed down enough to listen to me, I went and got his piggy bank and I informed him that the contents of his bank would now be transferred to Levi's bank to pay him back for destroying his Christmas present. I told him that I was not taking his $10 in birthday money since that was a gift, but the rest of the money he had earned was now Levi's. If I thought he had hit the ceiling before, I underestimated how loud this child could scream. Good thing I am very congested and can't hear well. The $1.45 was moved over. Seth came completely unglued and decided that he totally did not want any of his money, not even his birthday money. Just throw it away! So I took it. Hey, $10.00 can buy a lot of wine! (Don't worry, he has the chance to earn it back. )

So, do you think he learned anything? Maybe even a little???? Yeah, me either. It's that thick skull issue. Sigh. Oh, but hey, maybe by the end of this lesson I will be a little bit richer. YEAH!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tidbits and odds and ends

I discovered that a layer of menthol shaving cream over foul-smelling waste in an un-flushable toilet completely blocks the odor. Bleach, on the other hand, only results in bleachy-stink.

If you hear one small boy say to the other in the bathroom, 'Want to have a pee fight?" it is best to move quickly.

Small people may have small clothes but they can generate an enormous amount of dirty laundry in the few days it takes to get a septic system repaired.

It takes very little yarn to knit a mitten for a small boy. Bits from my stash are rapidly becoming mittens and soon all will have winter hand wear. Of course by then winter here will be over. I wonder if I could knit swimsuits???

Levi has nicknamed our GPS 'Mayhem' after the insurance commercial guy. That guy just cracks me up. The first time I saw the commercial where he is on the floor of the car being the GPS I about wet myself. The part where he yells 'recalculating' after causing the guy to crash? Priceless!!!!

A fifty-pound boxer held by the collar while answering the front door is a great safety device. Little do they know I have to drag him there and am hanging onto his collar so he doesn't jump on them and lick them! The last guy backed up 15 feet when he saw the dog. Awesome! They should really be afraid of the herd of small boys that come rushing out the door. Now they are dangerous!

Facebook stumps me. It is a sure sign I am an antique. I have friends I want to connect with but can't figure out how to find them. I will have my teenagers help me this weekend. They will get a good laugh over that. Dumb ol' Mom. Hah!

No news on Peri Brynn but our gov't is still working on it and progress is being made. Hers is a problematic case and they are prioritizing the 'easy' cases first. They are also adding new investigators and workers to start fixing the problem cases. Woohoo! Still no guarantees, but we once again have hope.

Monday, February 07, 2011

What a weekend...

Please excuse the following photo for it's vulgarity. I found this glove on the couch and it was just so perfect at describing our weekend I had to snap a photo of it! See, even the winter accessories are full of attitude!

So we here in southern Texas had a big freeze starting last Thursday. OK, for you in the northern climes, this was not a BIG freeze. There were no temps below zero and no freeze advisories giving the time in seconds until exposed skin would be frozen. You have to understand, though, that we usually measure time below freezing by the hours. We don't even own true winter gear. No mittens, scarves, long underwear or even really heavy coats.

On Thursday we suffered through rolling blackouts. Up to four hours with no electricity. Even Levi's school was affected, but they kept going and held school anyway. They had no power for about 3 hours, but they do have some back-up generators and the kids loved having a day of sharing classrooms (those with windows) and eating sack lunches. On Friday they were predicting snow so they shut down everything. No school, but also no snow. Only a little ice. Geez, only in Texas! The boys really wanted to play outside so I bundled them up. Layers of shirts and sweaters, then a hoodie under their coats. They played for an hour which was fantastic.

Friday night we realized something was going on with our septic system. Everything was starting to backup and the pipes made strange noises. Turns out that either the blackouts or the cold did a number on our system. So since friday we haven't been able to flush toilets (except when REALLY necessary) take showers/baths, or do laundry and dishes. (Oh how I am crying over that one....NOT) It's like camping out in your own home. Of course, we had to wait until Today to get the repair people here. They should come this afternoon. Let's hope it is an easy fix and we can all take a nice hot shower soon. Until then, we are staying home and away from the public!

Then there is the stuff going on with Ashley. Twice this week she has been in the ER. She now has pleurasy, an inflammation around her chest wall/lung, and it is painful to breathe. Saturday they loaded her up with anti-inflammatories and pain killers and sent her home. Last night she ended up there again but this time they said it was more of a panic attack. She felt like she couldn't breathe and actually hyper-ventilated. She has a Dr. appt today and then is seeing a rheumatologist asap. I have been so worried about her I haven't been sleeping. Saturday night/Sun morning I got up at 12:30am and didn't get back to bed until 6:30 am, slept 1 hour and then got up for the day.
I know this pic came out tiny, but here she is at school in a wheelchair. It made it possible for her to attend last week. I think she enjoyed it.......hee!
And what do we do around these parts when the weather is crummy and little boys are all antsy and wild? We play Beauty Parlor! This actually started with them giving ME a makeover. This normally results in me looking like a hideous monster and needing a lot of soap and water. This time, they all begged me to make them up, too. So I present for you, the female alter egos of Levi, Seth and Ahren.

Meet Erin. She likes Salsa dancing, moonlight strolls and kissing.
Here's Beth. Her favorite things are passion fruit, walks on the beach and Barbie dolls.
And finally, Lisa who loves animals, chick flicks and a good sense of humor.
Aren't they just Beeeyoootiful?
Don't worry, we have the savings account all set up to pay for their therapy......

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cookin with the Homeboyz

I love to cook. I love to cook from scratch. I love to cook without recipes. I love to experiment. Most of the time my things turn out good, sometimes phenomenal, and occasionally a big disaster. But hey, I LOVE it. I want to pass on that skill set to my kids. Ashley is a good cook already, Kaytee, not so much. (She just doesn't have the passion for it) As for the boys, they love to cook with me and I include them as much as i can. Someday they will make some women very happy because they will be able to serve a meal that is tasty and pleasing without resorting to take-out.

Here are some things we have made in the past week together.

Home-made from scratch cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing. A Sunday morning favorite, warm out of the oven and yummy, yummy, yummy. I make the dough and assemble the rolls the night before but refrigerate them before the second rising. The next morning I pull them out and let them warm up and rise, then bake. So easy and everyone loves them!

The fam loves meatballs. I like to use very low-fat ground sirloin/turkey (or in this case venison) and bulk it up with lots of bread crumbs and such. Streeeeetch that dollar as far as it goes! We stress cleanliness and I make the boys wash their hands TWICE to be able to help in this task. Then I bake the meatballs in the oven on a raised rack to drain off the grease. I like to make a huge batch and freeze a bunch for later.
Two weekends ago we made a huge batch of home-made manicotti and stuffed pasta shells. These are meatless but I can always throw in meatballs in the final cooking. The four-cheese/mushroom stuffing also supplies plenty of protein and flavor and the kids love it. The little guys are quite good at cracking eggs and stirring bowls of whatever.
Levi has progressed to cutting up veggies with a small knife. Here he is chopping the portobellas for the filling. The key to great flavor is the roasted garlic. Whole heads of garlic roasted in the oven with a little olive oil. They turn out sweet, flavorful and so soft, really more like paste. It adds such depth of flavor without the over-powering garlic flavor.
One of our fun faves is what I like to call Circus Cake. Take one boxed white cake mix, follow the mixing directions and then divide into separate bowls. Using neon gel food coloring, create bowls of brightly colored batter. I did four colors this time but feel free to be creative. Spoon the different colors into your greased and floured pans then bake as directed.
Don't look at my cake-decorating skills. I let my helpers assist. This time I split the batter into 3 8-inch layers, but you can do whatever you want.
What a fun and tasty cake. Definitely feels like a party when you serve this. Let your creativity flow and see what you come up with.