Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

So, if you're on Facebook you've probably seen the "25 Random Things About Me" note going around. You post your 25 things and tag 25 people to do the same. I first got tagged by this girl I fittingly met at a VERY random time and place. (Remember the post about the kids skating at FBC? That's where it was.) So I made my list...only I kept thinking of more random stuff. Of course, some of it is not random to some of you, as you may know me better than others. Anyway, I went well beyond 25. I'm bad about that (not being concise and all). Well, lucky for you, I finally whittled my list down to the required number, so I'm going to post my 25 things right here for your reading pleasure:

1. I love punch and will not leave a wedding or a shower without first trying the punch. In fact, I am utterly disappointed when I attend a function where normally there would be punch but for some reason punch is not served. It's true.

2. I'm deathly afraid of spiders. Deathly. Like if one was ON me for some horrific reason, I just might DIE from the shock. I truly think they sense my fear and are out to get me. They are most definitely always up to no good, the devious things. Curiously, I am a fan of Charlotte's Web. (I do, however, have to look away when Charlotte is on the screen because my skin will start crawling if I don't.)

3. Headphones annoy me.


4. I do not enjoy ironing--at all. If you do, then something is wrong with you. I WILL do it; it just may take me a while to get around to it. I certainly don't want my husband going to work all rumpled, so I do my best to take care of him. But just so you know, if I don't have clothes ready for him, he's perfectly capable of doing it himself and often DOES just so I can sleep a little longer. Isn't that sweet?

5. I used to have a ferret.



This is Siggy, my baby for 8 years.

6. My biggest pet peeve is companies calling my home (especially the automated-message kind...because I can't tell them to take us off their list). That whole "Do Not Call" list thing isn't working anymore. Am I the only one who's noticed this?! Ugh!!

7. For the most part, I abhor carpet.


8. I spend at least 75% of my time involved in the stain removal process. If you saw my children eat, you'd know why.


9. I am very attached to my heavy, memory foam-type pillow. (I'm not even sure what brand it is because my mother-in-law gave it to me to try, and it doesn't have a tag.) I've become so used to it that I'll end up with a sore neck and shoulders if I sleep on a regular pillow. In other words, I will fight you if you get my pillow!


10. I often find myself reading the blogs of perfect strangers and feeling/acting like I know them. Drives Paul crazy because I like to share their stories with HIM.


11. I'm not a fan of the pacifier for my children, though I've been known to use one in a pinch (church, etc.) Instead, I train my babies to self-soothe with a thumb, using a soft blanket as a cue. So far it has worked twice (didn't try it with Noah, doggone it), and we're working on a third now. Go thumb suckers, unite!!




Atticus in Training

12. I think vomit is horrible. It just is.

13.
Once upon a time, I could kayak (yes, and even flip all the way around). My dear husband bought me a kayak years ago, which I never got to use, mostly because I've either been pregnant or too busy with tiny people (naps, nursing, etc.) for the past almost 8 years. It's for sale now--I give up.

14. I can't help it, I think Facebook Flair is AWESOME!! (Mind you, I HATE so-called "flair" in real life and have thrown away many a "button" when no one was looking. It's just clutter for your clothes.) I've decided to share my flair with you, my faithful blog readers. Consider yourself blessed. :)


This one just cracked me up. I like this kind of humor.

15. I used to be an obsessed elementary school teacher, and it was not uncommon for me to be IN my classroom working from 7:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. Oh! And I used to think homeschooling meant that parents just let their kids stay home and grow stupider by the minute. Now I homeschool my children. Go figure!

16. I can't stand to see those Strong Man competitions where guys with gross muscles pull airplanes and lift trees and stuff. That's messed up.

17. I am suspicious of the chemicals used in household cleaners, insect repellents, sunscreens, etc. Because of this, I try to be very careful about what I buy to use in our home. (That's right, I'm a label-reader.) I'm the same way with food. Beans, grains & granola are good! (That's for my friend Kitty.)


18. I LOVE the anticipation of packages being delivered to my home or mailbox. (You know you do, too.) That's one big reason why I think shopping online is the best!


19. I don't understand many of the commercials on television--just don't get them. Paul says that means I'm not their targeted audience. Well...fine then.

20. I YEARN for my Mamaw's blackberry cobbler (not to mention the blackberry jam) ALL THE TIME. I'm sort of a cobbler snob. I go around trying all the restaurant cobblers in town (because I like cobbler a lot), but I always have something to say about how it's not sweet enough or it's too sweet or it has the wrong kind of crust or there are no dumplings (there MUST be dumplings); I know it's cliche, but they just aren't like [Mamaw] makes.




This is my cute Mamaw with Atticus at 1 month

21. Italian food. Need I say more?

22. I'm afraid of heights even when I'm the one on the ground and someone else is up high. I just KNOW I'm going to see someone fall to their death one day. The irony is that I used to be the cheerleader at the top of the pyramid--and loved it! Probably another example of something that happens to you as you get older...

23. I have a weird affinity for teeny, tiny things. Like miniature tea sets, tiny dolls with itty-bitty clothes, newborn diapers, toy dog breeds, really small containers of play dough, party bubbles like you get at weddings, cute paper clips, Legos (yes, Legos), and those scaled-down versions of tents on display at Sam's. (Aren't those the cutest?) I generally try to keep this under wraps or else I'll end up with a bunch of junk.


24. I have two babies in cloth diapers right now.



Gabe's very late birth announcement
(I'm determined to get one out for Atticus BEFORE he turns one.)


25. I'm not concise (we've been over this), but this time I really think I might be done (with THIS list anyway). I'm so proud of myself...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Snips, Snails & Pretty Pigtails...in a little different format

So...wanna know how we're faring with this house full of sick li'luns? Well, let's just say it's been a long week, no, two weeks, NO! THREE WEEKS! That's right, people. This household has been dealing with illness since January 2, 2009, to be exact. :) Here's the latest, for those of you who have been keeping score.

Noah just got well. I mean, JUST. No more nose-blowing or coughing. Praise the Lord! And I don't (EVER) just SAY that. Noah and I have been praying HARD! It is nothing short of a miracle that his nose is dry. He went through an entire box of Kleenex in one day all by himself! And I wouldn't let him waste them: he had to bring the tissues to me so that I could make sure he blew his nose effectively. Let me tell you, it was G-R-O-S-S, just the sheer amount! Since then he's been spending his free time playing the Wii (thanks, Nana & Poppy!) and...get this...running laps IN our house while holding Paul's pedometer. haha! He gets such a big kick out of seeing how many steps he's taken. Isn't that funny? Too bad adults aren't as enthusiastic about that!

Saylor--that resilient little thing--has remained the healthiest of the bunch. There were several days in there of nose blowing (have you any idea of just how cute her tiny little nose is??) and coughing (but really only after running around or dancing...haha). But God was merciful and sustained her health throughout most of our nightmare. She has driven us--the really sick ones--ever so slightly crazy with her chipper, constantly high-pitch-singing self! I know on more than one occasion I--in a sleep-deprived stupor--rolled over on the couch where I held not one, but two babies, to see Saylor in all her glory dressed in a tee-shirt, no pants, a pink boa, giraffe rain boots, and an Aristocats cap playing like there was no tomorrow. WHERE did she get that energy?? No comment on her fashion sense...

And, oh, my little Gabriel! It wasn't until Tuesday of this week that I started noticing more smiles and fewer tantrums. You know what I think was wrong and what finally made the difference? He just wouldn't eat or drink. He felt so bad, but he refused nourishment, so he couldn't get better. We had to force things down him. He would cry and fight at first, but he almost always came around to whatever it was. (Out of desperation, we had even resorted to yogurt and baby food.) And that's how we fed him--for days! Once we were able to get him to partake, we started adding FAT to everything. Butter, cream cheese, mayo, Pediasure, cheese, avocado, ice cream, nuts, creamed soups, you name it! It paid off, too! He gained two whole pounds in about 8-9 days. He is MUCH more himself, thank goodness. He's enjoying watching Noah run with the pedometer and waits with bated breath for Daddy to come home each day.

Wee little Atticus started coughing about a week and a half ago. Just coughing. Feeling fine. No fever. But coughing--mostly all through the night. Yay for me! Since he had been coughing for a full week, I took him to get his ears checked on Wednesday. Sure enough, he had an ear infection. But he was also diagnosed with RSV. You heard me right. I almost fell out laughing right there in the doctor's office; I wanted to scream, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" My friend Jenny said it best when she said, "This is bordering on ridiculous, isn't it?" Ha! But, as usual, the quiet of the drive home (well, first to Walgreen's) helped me to see things more clearly.

  • Gabriel had checked out nice and healthy--no ear infections for him! That's good.
  • Noah and Saylor were now fine. That's good.
  • Antibiotics for the ear infection. No problem.
  • Mild case of RSV; already getting better on his own. Thank You, Lord Jesus.
  • Breathing treatment for the RSV. I think I can handle that. Yeah, I KNOW I can. After all, the Lord just brought us through a WHOLE lot worse, right?
And even when the pharmacist asked for $80.00 for Atticus' meds, I didn't totally freak out. I questioned it, that's for sure.

Did insurance pay ANYthing??
Yep.
They did?!
Yep.
Ummm...o-kay... (What can I do? I need this stuff for that sweet dumpling in the back. Of course I have to get it.)
Thank you. (The Lord will provide...)

And He did! Just that day Paul received attorney fees from his very own client (read "no firm overhead") for a matter he was able to settle with a couple of phone calls. Case closed. Easy money. Man, we needed that!

In the meantime, Atticus is growing so well, grabbing for toys, and had even slept all night (from 9:00p.m. to 8:30a.m.) the night before he started coughing. But now I know he can do it! When he gets all well, he'll start sleeping again. WE will start sleeping!!

So...we finally felt well enough to get out of the house for something fun last night. Larry's Pizza, here we come! Here are a few of the things you might have seen had you b
een with us:




Okay...I know this is a TERRIBLE shot (so don't magnify it because his eyes are scary!) but it was all I could get.



We LOOOOOOOVE pizza!!!



I think Gabe ate 3 HUGE slices PLUS some dessert pizza. He was loving every moment! Such a wonderful thing to see!!


Atticus had to miss out on the pizza and settle for Mommy's finger. A couple minutes later and he was sound asleep. Notice the blank stare?

Oh, yeah, and thanks to Nana and Poppy for my Coolpix. See how it's coming in handy? Fits in my diaper bag so nicely...and is bringing you all these wonderful moments from hair cuts to pizza eating. Love it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mile-Long Run-Down...Because I'm That Behind!

Where to begin? It's been a long, eventful past several weeks, during which I had to abandon the blog just to survive it all. I'll try to "summarize," though admittedly I'm not very good at that. Here goes.

For Saylor's birthday (in October) the best daddy in the world had ordered tickets to the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker: one for his little ballerina and one for me, the long-ago-wanna-be ballerina. So, the day after Thanksgiving we had a "girls' night out." We got all dressed up for an evening at Robinson Auditorium. Saylor was so excited, which was hilarious to me because she really had NO idea what she was so excited about. As I handed our tickets to the usher, I was astonished to discover that our seats were on the 2nd row right smack dab in the middle! I'm talkin' DOWN FRONT, people! I could not believe it! We had to call Paul right there and then to thank him for the amazing seats. Seriously amazing. Saylor loved, loved, loved it! I had to keep telling her to hush because she wanted to talk about everything! And boy, did the killing of the Mouse King ever make an impression on her! She talked about that for days! Afterwards, we picked up milkshakes for the ride home. I really wanted to take her somewhere for hot cocoa and a dessert, but it was late for her to be out AND I had been away from Atticus for what seemed like an eternity to my poor nursing self. Turns out that after such a wonderful show, we were both content with our milkshakes. My only regret from that night is that I didn't bring a camera. I was trying to be a good girl and obey Robinson's rules, but I wish I had ignored them like everyone else so I could have captured my giddy daughter in the moment!



Before


After

Next, we took our annual trip to Motley's Tree Farm. Unfortunately, we were later in going this year, so since there are only so many weekends in December we were forced to do it on a less-than-lovely sort of day. Can you say "FREEZING RAIN"?? Good golly, it was cold!!! And WET!!! Not the best conditions for a newborn, or a toddler, or a tired, wimpy momma, for that matter! We literally scurried down the rows looking for anything not tagged, not short, and not scraggly. I mean fast! I remember frantically pointing to two different trees, probably 75 feet apart, and shouting through my jittery teeth, "I say it's between these two. You choose! I don't care! I'm going in and I'm taking the babies!!" I had Atticus up against me totally covered in a huge fleece blanket I always keep in the car (since my dear husband and I never agree on what temperature is a comfortable car temperature). I had Gabe by the hand, and I was dragging him along as fast as his little legs could go. Poor little guy could barely see either, because his winter hat kept slipping over his eyes. I was hightailing it, all the while praying that Atticus wouldn't suffocate under that blanket. It was CRAZY cold!! We finally made it to the little shop where they sell ornaments, tree stands, and various other Christmasy odds and ends, and though we were warm here it was UN-fun with two babies. My sling was in the car (smart, huh?), as was the infant seat, so I was just HOLDing Atticus in that huge blanket: I thought my arms would break off at any moment. Gabriel was wandering around the store, so I had to keep a constant watch over him so he wouldn't break anything. Needless to say, I was glad when Paul and the big kids finally finished chopping down our tree. Then they caught a pig race or two (still not sure how this event fits in to the Christmas tree thing), we got our handfuls of peanuts, got our hot cocoa and candy canes, paid for our tree and an ornament for Saylor, and that was that. Not one picture. I was in disbelief. What a day!


You'll have to settle for pics from last year's trip to the tree farm: Gabriel's first Christmas

It took us almost an entire week to get all the Christmas decorations out and up. You do what you have to do , I guess--a little here and a little there. I took pictures, mainly so I'll have documentation for the sake of saving time next year. I'll share a few here for all the family and friends who didn't grace us with their presence during the holiday season.


Mamaw's Christmas plates


Stockings hung by the TV with care


Notice I finished the tablecloth, Mom?

Let's see. We had some automobile inc
idents. First there was the Sunday morning on which I was supposed to sing at church.We were pushing it to make it on time (the story of our lives). Paul headed out to the car with the diaper bag, Bibles, coats, etc. He opened the back hatch on our Expedition to load those things in. I'm not sure what happened next, but he must have been distracted by something because he ended up coming back to the door, perhaps to start getting the children into the garage and then the car. During this moment of distraction, he forgot he had left the hatch open and proceeded to open the garage door. Up the door began, grabbing the hatch door as it went!! Needless to say, the hatch was broken to smithereens. Glass went everywhere!! And of course, it was time to go! There we were. We had to make certain there was no glass in any of the car seats, load the kids, AND sweep up as much glass as possible out from under the tires. Why it can never be easy, I'll never know. We piled blankets over Atticus' car seat so he'd be warm and off we went...to church...with free air conditioning. Brrrr.

The next day Paul had a guy come out to the house and replace the back hatch. Expensive little mistake, but easily fixed, thank goodness. The day after THAT I had to take Atticus and Saylor in for a check-up. It was raining. Paul came home and kept the other two to make things a little easier on me, God love him. On the way back home, though, I hydroplaned in a curve. Yes, I did. We spun around and around, and yet somehow no other cars got in our way. There were angels taking care of us that day. We hit the guardrail with the front bumper and finally stopped spinning. It was SO scary. I was amazed at how far things flew, even out of my closed backpack! Unreal. Nobody was harmed, aside from a little seatbelt burn on Saylor's sweet little neck. And, thankfully, the car was drivable. That was a good thing for more than just getting on home, for it also meant our car seats were all safe to continue using. Depending on the severity of an accident, sometimes car seats can no longer be used. Turns out that as long as nobody is injured, the car is drivable from the scene, the side of the car next to the car seat was not hit, and the air bags were not deployed, then the car seats are perfectly safe to continue using. Found this info. here.

It was during this time--while the SUV was in the shop--that we had a Dodge Caravan. For a brief moment in time I had my dreams of driving a minivan fulfilled, much to Paul's chagrin. Oooh, it was nice! Two automatic sliding doors on the sides, smooth ride, 100% stowable passenger seating, dual temperature control (HOW that would change my life!!), four potential spots for TVs. Boy, I tell ya--it was impressive! Of course, we couldn't have gone anywhere farther than across town and only for a couple of hours because there was absolutely no cargo space once we were all buckled in. I think I missed my chance to be a minivan-owner one or two children ago. Oh, well.

What else? Paul and I had a little evening out thanks to a new church acquaintance. His firm's annual Christmas dinner was fast approaching, and we really had no plan in place for child care. The dinner was a Monday night, and on the Thursday prior I went to our monthly church Women's Fellowship and met a lady who was brand new at the church. She happened to offer her daughter's babysitting services, so I took her up on it! Just so you know, I'm not usually so impetuous regarding babysitters for my children. In fact, I'm quite the opposite. I'm the kind of mother who wants to call home seventeen times to check on things--even when it's grandparents taking care of them. I DON'T, I swear; I just really want to. Anyway, I was totally comfortable with the situation. I had had a connection with this mom, and I was assured that her 18-year-old daughter had plenty of experience, as she has six younger siblings. So we met her at church on Sunday, and she was at our house the very next day! Everything worked out beautifully, despite the nasty winter weather we were having that night. We're so excited to have someone we can trust. Now--to start working that into our budget!

Atticus at 2 months old

Paul did a little preaching. Seriously, he did! And it was great!
The "thirty-somethings" were asked to be in charge of the entire service on the Sunday before Christmas. Actually, they called it the "thirty-somethings," but it was really more like a group of college kids with a couple young parents and a pair of newleyweds thrown in for good measure. I'm not sure we exactly belong in the same category...actually, I know we don't...but that's beside the point. We were given two weeks notice and a lunch meeting after church. The "planning" session generated the idea to have several of the guys read from/expound upon Scriptures related to that week's advent theme, interspersed with Christmas songs, the lighting of the Advent candles, prayer, etc. On the day before the service they held a little run-through rehearsal, at which point Paul discovered that he was basically the only one who had actually interpreted his job as preparing thoughts on the Scriptures he was reading. Every one else thought they were supposed to simply read a passage. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but Paul had really done his homework. When Sunday morning rolled around, I guess you could say that he "brought it." It was awesome! Every one thought so. I think I sort of fell in love all over again. I only wish I had thought to sneak in Paul's teeny-tiny cassette recorder from his law school days. Hindsight.

We made several quick trips to Conway and back to visit the Davidsons. We had to keep coming back home because of Paul's job. What a nuisance! Haha! I think I'll always be on the school semester schedule in my mind--I just can't see why anyone should have anything they have to do after...say...December 20th or so. Of course, there was no place to put us all anyway. It was quite exhausting, but what are you gonna do? We're sort of figuring out that if we want to see any one, it befalls US to get out there and do it. One thing's for sure: we never seem to get enough time. You know, when all your siblings are parents, too, and you figure in time for all the diapers, feedings, and bedtimes, it's sort of hard to have much deep, meaningful conversation. The little bit we were all together was fun, though.

Christmas happened--I think. I mean, it did, but it sure was a whirlwind for me! Probably due to the sleep deprivation: I just ain't quite right (pronounced with an extremely country-sounding long "I"). All I know is that during the course of a few short days I took care of the all-consuming Christmas card project, wrapped plenty of presents, dressed lots of children, barely got my teeth brushed (what's new?), watched our tree droop long before it should have (depressing!), stuffed some stockings, made dressing that tasted terrible because somehow SALT was not listed as an ingredient, crammed in the fruitcake-making and gingerbread house (okay, train)-decorating ON Christmas Eve (can anyone say "last minute"?), went to church, read some Christmas stories and did nativity activities at far-too-late bedtimes, can I throw in "changed diapers" here?, shopped...online, cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned (yet didn't make a dent), and tried to get a glimpse of the tree lights as I flew past the tree on my way from one room to another. Obviously, not necessarily in that order. Oh, and there was a mini-fiasco over the gifts I had planned for the nephews and niece. The whole plan sort of blew up in my face and nothing I tried seemed to help. I can't give you any specifics, for fear some of them may be reading this. Haha. At the last second I had to go out and find all new things for them. Highly stressful! And then it was over. I'll have to fill you in on our gifts in another post.



The gingerbread train


One attempt at a photo for the Christmas card


The Christmas Card 2008

THEN...we were all set to head to Hamburg the weekend after Christmas to go visit the Carpenters. We thought we'd leave first thing Saturday morning, spend all day and night with the Carpenters, go to church and sing (that would be me) with them, have a little lunch, and head back home after naps. Paul, of course, would need to work Monday. Forevermore!! Early Saturday morning, however, we got a call from Dad saying that various members of the family were sick with the stomach virus. This is what's called a WRENCH in the plans. After not very much discussion, Paul and I decided to SKIP the trip. For a brief moment there was talk of maybe going down the next day to give people time to get over it, but it turns out that someone with the stomach virus is actually contagious for a good three to four days AFTER starting to feel better. This is according to the Mayo Clinic, and I guess they know some stuff. See this. Enough said. We just couldn't risk it, not with this many children and one an infant and a family wedding coming up. So here we sat, knowing everyone else was together opening gifts, visiting, playing, eating (well, not eating), just being together. It was NO fun.

New Year's Eve rolled around pretty quickly. Paul finally took a day off, and since we had several errands to run and plans for the evening, we hit the ground running that morning. Firstly, I had begun feeling pretty terrible a few days prior: sore throat, cough, the usual. Wouldn't have been a big deal, but remember the upcoming family wedding? Yeah, well, I was supposed to sing! Never fails. I wasn't getting any better, it seemed, and was starting to get panicky, as we had planned to leave for Hamburg the very next day. So I got a work-in appointment with our family doc, Dr. Tilley (aka "Dr. Feelgood"). He's awesome. No song and dance required. "I have 'xyz' wrong with me, and I have to sing at my cousin's wedding this weekend." "Okay. Here's a steroid shot and a Z-pack; call me if your husband starts feeling badly and we'll hook him up, too." Ah! The way it should be.

Doped up, I swung by the house, picked up the rest of the fam, and off we went to get Noah's moptop chopped. Now, the story goes that Noah HATES to have his hair cut. He says "it's boring," which is really code for "YOU want me to have my hair cut and therefore that is something I definitely do NOT want to do." Truthfully, none of us like to have his hair cut. We've tried several stylists in town, none of whom did a good job, and we've tried Mommy doing it, but it's entirely too much stress for little old me. Perfectionism is a curse, especially if you have no idea HOW to do what it is you are attempting to make perfect. Ugh. Noah has had horribly-shaggy hair, seriously chopped-up hair, looks-way-too-old hair, and looks-nothing-like-himself hair. It's never been a good experience, but I was convinced that a ring bearer simply MUST have a fresh new "do," and since I had a mail-out coupon from the new Pigtails and Crewcuts, we thought we'd give it a whirl. And what an amazing place! Bright colors. Vehicle-shaped seats to sit in during the haircut. Animated movie playing on several TV screens. Train table. Separate room full of classic toys. Big plate glass window separating the rooms so Mommy can see everything that's going on. Friendly people. Crayons and paper. Playstation. Bingo! (Not "Bingo" the game, but "Bingo!" as in we have a winner!!) My son hopped right up in that chair, took hold of his cordless controller, chose a game, and there was not a single peep out of him! I chose a style from a book, discussed it with his stylist and headed off to nurse the baby. Saylor watched a little of the movie, played at the train table, and danced. (It's what she does, guys.) Gabriel ignored all the colorful, fun toys and chose instead to push all the little chairs around the room. (Typical.) The stylist got my final approval, showed me how to fix it, and sent Noah off to the treasure chest for a prize. Relief upon relief! For $14.00 (regularly $16) and less than half an hour, it was done. What an amazing experience!

A happy boy with a handsome haircut

Saylor had a good time, too.

Home again we go. Naps. I baked a yummy for carrying to our friends' house. Did a little packing. yada yada At about 6:00 p.m. we set out for First Baptist to meet our good friends for some roller skating. Their Family Life Center was going to be open for the evening, and our friends had been invited so they invited us along, too. Hospitable evening. Haha! There was wallyball, card-playing (perhaps?), and then roller-skating for the kids. Interesting combo, right? So Noah and Saylor tried out skating for the first time. Neither of them liked it much. After flailing around like rag dolls for half an hour or so, they both just ran around and were perfectly happy doing so. It really was a fun time for them. A little before 8:00 we headed on to our friends' house to hang out for the rest of the evening, activities to include: taco salad, goodies, Wii, ping-pong tournaments (that Round Robin game is just ridiculous, okay?), Wall-E, putting children to bed in all sorts of random places, and lots of good adult conversation. It was stupid late when we finally got home. Like 3:30-4:00 a.m. late. But so much fun!!



Saylor got Daddy's help


Noah had to have fallen 50 times

I don't know why he kept grinning--he must have been in pain!

The next day we all slept late. Noah actually slept until noon! Then we packed up, picked up Noah's tux, and headed down south. We had a very nice visit with Mimi and Da and then E.K. and B.T. (Carpenter cousins). We had our very late Christmas celebration, visited and played. The wedding rehearsal was the next evening. My brother and I were singing "The Prayer" and "Come What May." My meds had done the trick, so that was good. The kids did fine at the rehearsal, aside from a HUGE diaper blowout on Atticus' part. His outfit from that night is STILL soaking, y'all. No lie. Dinner was at The Village Steakhouse in Star City. Very, very good...if you like steak. The kids gorged themselves on onion blossom and played with Wikki Stix for the first time. Very fun. After this...



Papaw took his cue and went off to get his "props." I didn't get any pics of him in his double-billed cap or his rainbow wig, but for those of you who've seen them before, I'm sure you can picture it without my help. Appropriately, he then gifted Noah with these:

'Round about 4:00 a.m. I awoke to the sound of Noah vomiting all over everything in his bed. He was sick the rest of the night. I'm NOT kidding! The virus stuck around long enough to wait on us anyway. At a loss as to what to do, I called the pediatrician's office and left a message for the nurse to call me back. We got some Zofran called in at the very last possible second before the local pharmacy closed. The medicine stopped the vomiting, and a few hours later we were heading to the church to have pictures made. Can you imagine?! I so wanted to just put my poor boy to bed and keep him AWAY from every other living soul, but we had a very expensive tux in HIS size (thanks, Aunt Lisa!) and a cousin getting married and in need of a ring bearer. It was not a good position to be in, because there was really no right answer to the situation. All I knew to do was to get him meds, dress him up, show up for the event, warn everyone to stay away, and hope and pray no one else caught it. Of course, the inevitable was sure to happen. I was feeling quite queasy by the time we arrived for the pictures. At the time, though, I chalked it up to being up all night with Noah, the stress of trying to get myself and Saylor dressed and ready, and nerves over the singing. The wedding went smoothly. Saylor tossed her flower petals in the best way possible and Noah made it through without vomiting or passing out. The music went well, too. Then off we went to the reception which was ridiculously crowded. Try bringing four tired, hungry kids to an overcrowded wedding reception. If that doesn't give you a tic I don't know what will! Noah had a cracker or two and we finally got some food for the other two solid-food eaters. Paul was about to lose it. I think his claustrophobia was "flaring up." Hahahaha! I finally had enough of the misery and dragged Noah and Saylor out on the dance floor to blow off some frustration. We had a blast! Gabe came next and even some other family got out there with us. Saylor and Cousin B.T. were adorable dancing together. If I can find someone who took a picture of that I'll share it with you. We probably danced for fifteen minutes or so. We needed it. Take note of the breathtaking dress below. Thanks, Aunt Lisa!! Hopefully there will be more pictures made in this dress very soon.

Just before the ceremony: Doesn't Noah look dapper? And not at all green!

I breezed past the bride's table
for my MUST-HAVE piece of cake. Saylor, too. (Like mother, like daughter.) It was at this point, though, that I knew for certain that something wasn't quite right...because that cake tasted terrible...and I could tell it was a good cake! I took like three bites and decided to stop...yuck! Quickly, I changed two diapers in a less-than-convenient area, and we loaded everyone up to go back to Hamburg. That was one long, miserable drive, because I was getting sicker by the minute. OH! It was awful! I couldn't do anything to help once we got home. Paul got the kids to bed, and I crashed on the couch unable to move. About an hour later I started vomiting. I was SO sick!! I stayed on the couch with Atticus in the bouncy seat beside me--I don't know HOW he got any sleep. I was sick all night long, but upstairs Saylor (once) and Gabriel (30+ times) were sick, too, and Paul was trying to care for them. It was a veritable nightmare!! I was totally incapacitated the next day. I somehow managed to crawl up the stairs midmorning, and what I found was so horrific I almost sat down and cried: mounds and mounds of towels and bedding just reeking of vomit. I wanted to give up, so hopeless seemed the situation. I don't know how many loads of laundry Mom and I did, but at one point my Dad remarked that the water company was probably going to think there was a burst water line or something because the meter had to have been going crazy. Anyway, I could never accurately describe the illness to its fullest extent, but I CAN say it was probably the sickest I've EVER been in my life. It was stomach PAIN, body aches, chills, headaches, faintness, weakness, nausea, everything!! Even little Atticus got sick. He never acted fussy or uncomfortable, but he was sick alright. The official diaper changer can attest to that!

We were supposed to head home Sunday, but Gabe and I were much too sick to travel. So we stuck around a while until we felt a little better, but before we could leave Paul got sick. So very sick! Let me tell you, it wasn't until Tuesday afternoon that we were all well enough to pack up and come home. Here's a little FYI just in case you ever need it. Do Pedialyte (not Gatorade) in very small amounts (1-2 Tablespoons) every half hour. Later, FLAT Sprite, diluted clear fruit juices, water, etc. BRAT diet: Bananas, cooked Rice or Rice cereals, Applesauce (NOT apples), Toast. No whole grains, no nuts, no fresh fruits or veggies, no greasy foods, no dairy.

It was bad. In fact, I ended up taking Noah and Gabriel to see the doctor on Thursday morning because by then we were still not doing great. Noah had gone straight from stomach virus stuff to respiratory stuff. He ended up with a double ear infection. Gabriel was still severely nauseated and was slightly dehydrated. I stayed up with him all night Wednesday night syringing Pedialyte down him every half hour because the child wouldn't eat or drink anything! No telling how much weight he has lost! My poor heart...And do you know? We all have ended up with the respiratory junk! Sore throats, stuffy, runny noses, sneezing, sinus headaches, terrible coughs. I'm talking...this disease was one bad boy! Makes you wonder if someone released some sort of biochemical warfare agent. I truly felt like I was living in the movie Outbreak or something! We are currently still trying to recover from all the awfulness. Gabriel has been the last to come around. Poor thing. I guess that much vomiting from such a little guy can mess a system up something fierce! No pictures of us enduring the plague. Aren't you thankful?



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