The Never Ending Journey

You may have noticed (or not, judging by the hits/comments!) that I haven't been around for a while.  It has been a cuh-RAY-zee month around here.  I have just gotten back into town and had to take a day to recover before I could even think about writing about it!

It all started with me trying to up my mom-cred by making breakfast cookies bars.  Basically peanut butter cookies with oats, chocolate chips, Cheerios, and golden raisins.  It turns out that raisins trump chocolate chunks on my kids' will-they-eat-it-o-meter, so I was left with a couple dozen (delicious!) breakfast cookies bars.  (Not to be dissuaded, I will make them again subbing dried blueberries or cranberries for the golden raisins.  By my count those are both more exotic than the raisins, but my kids are used to them.  If you want the recipe, I'll be happy to send it to you.)

Anyhoo, a week later found me finishing up the last of the now considerably tougher cookies.  I took a chomp and found something decidedly harder than chocolate chunks in my mouth.  What did the required mouth fishing produce?  A tooth.  More specifically, the most expensive tooth in my head:  cracked by my night-time 'angst' (what do I have to be angst-y about?  Who knows.  But I clench my teeth like a vise.), root canal-ed, crowned, and necessitating a fairly beasty (read: hideous and expensive) bite guard and now sitting grusomely in my hand.

Luckily for me, our dentists back in Ginormousville are family friends.  I called Dr. M in a panic and she squeezed me into her schedule for Monday.  I know Wester has dentists, but they are not my dentist and they certainly don't let me call them at home on Saturday mornings!  Expecting to be gone three days tops, I packed up the kids stuff and headed for Grandma's house in Ginormousville.

Needless to say, the course of good dental work did not run smooth.  The tooth couldn't be saved and would have to be removed.  Feeling like a hillbilly reject, I scheduled a round of appointments to get rolling on a dental implant (the other options too grim to contemplate).  I jumped through all of the appropriate hoops, but I had to stay through to the next Monday to have the tooth removed.  No probs!  I totally hung out with Chica and planned to settle in for the duration.  And did laundry.

Before I was out of bed the next morning, I get a call from T.  Aunt Bibi had called looking for me because my dad had checked himself into the hospital again.  He was weak and his speech was slurred.  Yikes!  I called his cell phone, and sure enough, slurred non-Daddy sounding speech.  He said he was all alone with the nurse taking his history and that was all I had to hear.  I was off to see him.

I had to juggle the kids and the dogs and the grandparents who were half-way to the ranch and Sister L who also wanted to go, but not until after her hair appointment.  That turned out to be a logistical blessing because by the time she was ready to leave, the grandparents had made it back home to take the kids and dogs.

Five hours later, we arrived at the hospital just in time for the diagnosis: diabetes.  The treatment for another recent ailment had suppressed his pancreatic function and tipped him into a full-blown diabetic episode.  That slurred speech?  Yeah, that would be my stubborn-'ol-coot-drivin'-himself-to-the-hospital daddy about to slip into a sugar coma.  Nice.

Luckily, diabetes is way less scary than the stroke we were all worried it was but were too afraid to mention out loud.  It took three days in ICU and two more on the regular ward to get his sugar levels anywhere near under control.  He came home Wednesday and got settled at home.  And I did laundry. Again.

Sister L and I headed back home Thursday.  That night T gave me the verbal equivalent of puppy dog eyes and begged me to come out to the ranch for the weekend.  Seeing as it was Father's Day and his birthday, I caved in.  (Have I mentioned how much I loathe long car trips?)  We left Friday and came back Sunday.  Total hours in the car to this point: 24.  At least ten of them we sans kids!

As soon as we got back to Ginormousville, we switched the car seats back into my Mom Mobile and headed to Small Town.  Z was going to day camp with her best-y, KK, and I got to play with KK's Mom.  So much fun!  So little sleep!  Five kids running wild!  And - wait for it! - more laundry!

Camp was over on Thursday.  It would have been nice to relax and spend one last night with our friends, but that was not to be.  I had to get my tooth pulled the next morning.  Yay!  We finally rolled into Ginormousville again around 10:00.

If there could be an up side to having a tooth pulled, it was that as soon as the narcotic haze lifted, I would be allowed to go back to Wester.  Um, no.  The doc insisted that I come back on Monday for a follow-up.  You know, something piddly like making sure the bone graft wasn't falling out of my head.  I got through the whole procedure without shedding a tear only to break down on the phone with T when I told him I wasn't allowed to leave until Monday.

Come Monday, the second the doc said I was good to go, I packed up the kids, dogs, bags, giant bolts of fabric, sewing machine I swiped borrowed from my parent's house, assorted flotsam that accumulates on a THREE week unplanned road trip and headed west.  All we lacked was a rocking chair strapped to the roof of my car to look like the suburban version of Beverly Hillbillies!

Six hours (the loooooongest six hours in history!) we rolled up on our little piece of west Texas.  Home, home, home!  I am so happy to be here!  I need to start some laundry.


Q Speak

Q has had a vocabulary leap of elephantine proportions.  He has gone from being my little man of few words to a delightful chatterbox in what seems like a matter of minutes.  He still has a way with words that makes me smile.  Here are a few of my current favorites:
  • Are you going to eat/use/wear two both of them? (in any situation where there is more than one of something)
  • In the bath, when asked if he was ready to wash up, he raised his index finger and said,very seriously, "Almost.  Just one second."
  • Mama, I have poopies inside my hiney! (when he needs to go to the bathroom)
  • He has this adorable little r/l confusion.  Whenever a word has an 'l' sound, he does a little r to l flip that is SO cute.  Ex:  screw = sker-loo
  • Instead of slippery, he says slippier
  • To describe how today's 103 degree fever was making him feel:  Mama, I have a broken-head-ache.
Man, I love that kid!

Childhood Colored Glasses

The world is a pretty amazing place through the eyes of a child.  The kids and I were driving through the not-so-nice part of town to pick up my Craig's List wingback chairs.  We were passing a sad little used car lot when Z got all excited in the back seat.

"Look, Mama, look!   That fence has swirls on the top!"

My beautiful daughter could see the beauty in a chain link fence with razor wire on the top.  Amazing!


Free 8 x 10 Canvas!

My gal pal, Jamie, from Kids, Me & RAW III has teamed up with the nice folks over at Canvas People to promote their amazing free 8x10 deal.  You upload the pic of your choice and they will print it on canvas and gallery wrap it for free!  All you have to pay for is the shipping.  At first I couldn't decide which picture I wanted to use, then I remembered this gorgeous photo from our wedding.  Our photographer was the BEST!

Of course, once I got there, I couldn't resist upsizing to the 11x14.  I can't wait for it to get here!


Golden Anniversary

Yesterday was my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.  It was bittersweet for me since Mom has Alzheimer's and Daddy was in the hospital.  It was hard to know what to do to honor such an amazing achievement.  Luckily, Sister K knew just what to do.  I hope she doesn't mind if I share her heartfelt letter here:

Dear Daddy,

As you can tell, your children are at a loss on how to commemorate this day.  No matter that Mom is in a home, it is a beautiful story that the two of you have created and should be celebrated.  To me, it's the stuff from movies- the kind that both of us like.  The quiet, handsome cowboy/officer falls for and woos the beautiful, intelligent girl.  He saves her from a small-town life and whisks her away to see the world.

And that's just the beginning. The strong team that the two of you made created a strong sense of family and security for all of us.  I always get a kick out of the fact that it is so clear that you find Mom so attractive.  The love, affection, and respect you show her is a good model for what we should expect from the relationships in our lives.  Seeing a strong relationship in action is a gift that not every child gets to witness.  My only complaint is that the actual lack of arguments left me unprepared to have any with my own spouse.

The love story does not end with the many happy times we all shared, which makes it even more poignant.  The great care and attention you have given to Mom since she became ill exceeds that in the greatest love stories.  Reading it in a story or seeing it in a movie does not compare to seeing the real dedication of a husband to his wife. Mom has been well loved for the last 50 years.  I hope you are proud of what you have given her and to all of your children.  I know that if she could tell you herself she would tell you that you have been cherished for being a noble, loving (and handsome) husband. 

This love match has been a good one.  Congratulations on your anniversary.



Ditto, Sister K.  I love you Mom and Daddy!