Thursday, August 14, 2014

The number 5

Luke's best friend (Gabe) and his little brother (Judah) spent the night last night.  That makes a total of five children in my house.  There are many aspects of it that I love.  For example, I love that they are having fun...I mean a lot of fun...after all, a houseful of kids is a lot of fun!  I also love that they will be going home soon.  I have no idea how my mom handled six children in one house.  The place is constantly a mess (and I'm not a very tidy person to begin with). 

They ate three pizzas last night, a gallon of Sunny Delight, ten popsicles, a box of fruit snacks, and heaven knows what else.  There are cups strewn throughout the den, a dozen blankets drapped on the floors and the couches, along with the same number of pillows and pillow pets.  The TV/X-Box was able to rest between the hours of 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM.  Currently, the four boys are chowing down on powdered donuts and blueberry muffins, while they play X-box.  Heaven help me if they keep drinking that Sunny D. Did you know that there is caffiene in Sunny D?????  Yeah, I didn't know that either...

As for Evie, she just got home from a four-day sleepover with her best friend, and she barricaded herself in her room (away from the boys) with all her Barbies.  Smart girl.

In other news, Gabe convinced Luke to start Tri-Camp which is a camp at the YMCA that trains kids to compete in a triatholon. Gabe and his two brothers are also participating.  I'm not ashamed to admit that my kids are not terribly athletic.  Rather, we encourage them to be active.  If I had suggested this, Luke would have politely put up his hand and said with a smile, "No. I'm fine."  But a best friend has more persuasion than a mother.  His first training day was Monday night at 5:30.  We showed up with his swimsuit, a towel, a bottle of water, his bike, and his helmet.

They started out with laps in the pool.  All 12 kids were swimming up and down one lane non-stop.  Even though Luke's a fantastic swimmer, there's a big difference between recreational swim in our backyard and training laps.  In the end he was breathing heavy and telling me he was dizzy.  I patted him on the back and told him he'd be fine.  Gabe patted him on the back too and hovered to make sure he was ok.  (Sweet kid.)  Then I proceeded to transition him into a t-shirt, tennis shoes, and his bike helmet and sent him on his way to start the biking portion of the training day, with him complaining the entire time.  Luckily, he was in front of his friends so he tried to put on a tough face. And I was sure he would be fine. Gabe's mom even told me that the first time her boys went to tri camp they all three came home crying and angry and upset about the tough workout.  But, magically, they were totally fine and ready to go back.  I held onto her words like a security blanket as the evenign progressed.

As the kids made their way down to the bike track to complete at least three laps, George and I went over to make sure Luke was okay. In case I haven't made it clear in the past, I'm not the hovering type.  I would have happily left him there with the coach and headed out for a glass of wine or a little grocery shopping.  But I stayed.  It was HOT (as it typically is in August in Texas), so we sat in the car.  But then I noticed Luke wobbling back and forth on his bike.  I watched closely, cringing a little bit hoping he didn't fall.  I hopped out of the car and squinted my eyes to try and see Luke on the far side of the track.  Gabe and his brothers looped by, well ahead of Luke.  And finally, when Gabe and his brothers finished their second lap around the track, a fatigued Luke finished his first lap at the same time. 

We pulled him aside (another dad there to help).  I had already called Chuck to tell him how rough things were going, still with a little chuckle in my voice.  Chuck's response was, "That's what happens when you spend all summer sitting like a potato playing video games."  I totally agree.  Luke sucked down some water and we adjusted his bike seat for a better position.  He was tired, but he hopped back on his bike and kept going, probably completing just three laps (while everyone else was upwards of 6 laps.  Sweet Gabe and his brothers stayed with him for the last few laps and finally the coach called everyone to a stop.  Luke hobbled off his bike toward me, practically hyperventilating.  Gabe helped him get from his bike to me. Seriously, one of the sweetest kids ever.

And I'm the mom who still took a moment to snap this picture.  And I'm glad I did.  It really is one of the sweetest things I've seen kids do.

I rubbed Luke's back and told him he was going to be okay. The coach came over and told him he had done a good job.  And he kept saying, "I don't feel good. I don't feel good."  I looked at him condecendingly and said, "You're fine."  He whimpered some more.  I asked if he thought he was going to throw up and he said, "Maybe."  I laughed and said, "Probably not.  But if you throw up on me (I was wearing a dress for the meeting I was going to afterward), I won't have to go to my meeting."  I laughed a little, but continued to rub his back.  I'm the mom who always makes inappropriate jokes at the wrong time.  I told him to take deep breaths and he leaned his head on my chest until, he suddenly turned and ralphed all over the pavement.  All the kids (and myself) let out a collective, "Ugh-eeeew."  I sat him down and poured water on him to help him feel better.  And yet again, I paused to take a picture. 

I wasn't laughing anymore, but I was in amused shock. I mean, seriously?  My kid threw up after some swimming and bike riding?!  Really?  How bad out of shape is this kid?  And then I heard another splatter behind me and saw a little girl throwing up on the pavement.  I said to myself, "Okay. Maybe it was just a tough workout."  And then I turned to Luke and said, "Look!  Somebody else threw up too! You're not alone!"

Still not sure I handled it all correctly, but he was feeling better within five minutes and when he was finally standing up, he quickly stated, "Mom, I'm feeling better, so can Gabe come over?"

I did a slow blink as I stared at him in shock while Gabe started making his case for coming over.  I said no.  Just no, but maybe later.  Luke was pissed. Gabe was sad.  We all lived.  And on my way out of the parking lot, I offered for Gabe to come over the next day for a play date (certain that Luke would be recovered).  The lobbying for a sleepover that night continued, but I held firm.  We all needed some rest, especially with the news of Robin Williams and the massive tree that cracked in half down our street and fell on our neighbors' houses.  Our street was shut down for three days, and the tree people are here for a fourth day in a row to finish cutting down this massive tree.  It's been an intersting week to say the least.


 And I now have just two hours until these sweet boys head back to their own home!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It makes sense...I think.

I came home after a meeting last night, and even though the kids were already in bed, I saw this sitting on our coffee table:

I asked Chuck, "Is everyone okay?  Is someone sick?"

Chuck looked at me like I was crazy, so I pointed to the medicine syringe and asked, "What's that for?"

Understanding dawned briefly and he quickly dismissed my concerns saying while returning his eyes to the television show, "I was explaining to Luke how hydraulic cylinders work." 

I responded sarcastically, "Well, of course you were."  And with a snort, I asked, "And how did that come up in conversation."

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

Chuck said, "Luke didn't understand why fluid came out of the transformers when they got cut in half."

And, yes, that makes perfect sense why you would then get into a discussion of hydraulic cylinders and how they work.

Welcome to my very strange life.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Carpe Diem

I just have to put it out there.

I am horribly, terribly, inconsoleably torn up about Robin Williams' death.

There are no words to explain the profound sadness we all feel collectively.

He transends political lines, nationalities, religion, gender, race, and everything else that divides the human race.

I never met him, and yet it aches to know (1) that he was suffering all this time and (2) that he is now gone. 

I hate, hate, hate that there are people out there who are in such a dark place, unable to escape the illness of depression, that leaving this world is their best answer.  I hate depression and everthing that goes with it.  So, I'll let you in on a little secret.  When I pray for my children, I pray first for happiness, then health, then safety.  "Lord please keep them happy, healthy and safe. Amen."  Why?  Because if you can maintain your joy, then life is worth fighting for.  Of course, somehow this happiness is actually all tied up in health, so perhaps it doesn't matter what order they are listed.  And, obviously, God knows what He is doing, whereas I'm just a mere mortal riding along on this cosmic merry-go-round.

For some odd reason, there came a time in my career (several times actually) where I had to conduct a search on the coroner's website.  It was shocking when I first discovered that on average there is a suicide (locally) every day.  Every. Single. Day. 

I know many of you out there have experienced the effects of suicide, and all I can say is a heart-wrenching, gut-deep, "I'm so sorry."  If only there was a font to convey the seriousness of my tone, the empathy of my voice, the sadness I feel for those left behind.  It must absolutely be one of the hardest things to ever experience.  And heaven forbid a parent have to face such a horrific event, although I know it happens all too often. 

I want each of you to know that I love you.  That I am here for you even in the darkest times.  I mean, yeah, I know I'm on a damn blog, but I know you and you know what I mean.  And, really, you know me.  Darkness is very, very, very dark and very, very, very difficult to beat without help.  I hope we will all take a moment to realize that the illnesses of the mind are as debilitating as the illnesses of the rest of the body.

Until then, I will cry along with the rest of the world everytime I read or hear, "O Captain, my Captain."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Movie Quote: I've lost count.

Movie Quote: "Are you trying to tell me that my mother has got the hots for me?"

The kids have been on a kick watching this trilogy this week. What a fun one to share with them!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Time Fun!

Having a fun summer week even though we aren't traveling like all our friends.  Of course, when I was younger we didn't have month-long vacations to Colorado, so I don't really know what I'm missing. 

We are so lucky to have my niece Alexa (Amber's sister) visiting.  Alexa has helped us entertain the kids this week.  In our typical fashion, we've continued our "boarding house" routine with lots of visitors.

My sisters, Cathy and Mary (Alexa & Amber's mom) came to visit this weekend - all on the spur of the moment!  We had a great time!  After I finished my 12 miles on Saturday morning (and hobbled around the rest of the day), we went to lunch at Joe T's, spent some time sunbathing by the pool and watched movies (Frozen & Mamma Mia) that evening.  I can't tell you how much I adore those special times with my sisters.  They sure don't happen very often and I'm sad I couldn't plan it more in advance so that my sister Joan could be there too.

Yesterday we had one of Luke's oldest friend come over for a day of fun - Savannah (remember her?) was here and they went swimming, played Mine Craft, went to lunch with me (after my client meeting), and had an overall good time!  Then we were surprised with a play date with Luke's friend from school, Gabe.  He's a hoot!  And then they were lucky enough to have a sleepover at our house.  Of course, we started with dinner with a big group (Savannah's parents and others) at a local burger joint.  Delicious!  And then waiting with excitement for the ice cream man to come by.  Also delicious!

Nothing makes my heart happier than a full house!  I adore my family and friends!  And, of course, all of them adore the kittens!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


I spent about five minutes looking back at some of my old posts on this blog, and it brought a smile to my face.  Even the posts about poopy diapers and flat tires - they all made me smile, because let's face it, that's the stuff our days are made of.  And each of those days add up to form a fantastically wonderful life.  I'm so grateful for my family and all of you friends out there.  I know I forget to say it and to post, but life happens.  I was reminded today, however, that it's good to have something to remind me about each of these wonderfully mundane days.

For example, spending an evening in Sundance Square with my guys watching The Muppets.  (Did you know I love Kermit the Frog and even have my very own stuffed Kermit that my sister gave me a couple years ago?)

Or just look at this face.  There is nothing fake in that face.  It's a pure expression caught on the camera.  I adore her and her sassy ways.

Or what about this snuggle I still get to enjoy.  He hates having his picture taken and hides whenever anyone comments on his hair.  (Just a warning to all of you out there who think he's cute.)

These three are always keeping me on my toes.  While Evie got her hair cut last week, her salon was celebrating it's 27th birthday so they had a clown, a caricature artist, cake, snow cones, photos, and other amusements.  The boys had their picture drawn and then sat down to include Evie.  Zoom in on Evie's picture - she's gorgeous!  And the funny part is how gloomy George looks.  He refused to smile even though he was anxious to have his picture drawn.  No idea.  The best was Luke.  He loved it!

Nothing too exciting, but each day is a blessing!

Camping with the F-word

My favorite story this week comes from the kids' camping trip with Chuck.  Of course, they drove Chuck crazy with their lollygagging. But there were some gems that he sent home via text. For example, look at these two looking amazing in front of that gorgeous blue sky at Lake Mineral Wells. I wouldn't have guessed that they were in Texas. (And did you notice that she's pushing him away?)  

Or there's the quote from Evie: "I was born to make As"  Luckily, she does make As.
But my favorite story was George drawing an "F" as told through Chuck's text message:
G - I'm making an F in the dirt.
C - Why?
G - It's for the F-word.
C - Really?!?! So, whats the F-word?
G - It's a bad word.
C - Ok.  Tell you what.  Why don't you whisper it to me?
G - Oh. I don't know what it is.  Luke and Evie just told me it's called the F-word, so I'm making an F in the dirt.
C - Ok. Why?
G - Because you use bad words when you're mad.

And this is the precious little kid sleeping off his anger after drawing an F in the dirt. I might try that next time I'm angry.