Overheard on the drive to school this morning:

Brecken: “Josh has a crush on Danielle, and Mom has a crush on Jesse.”

Karis: “They don’t have a crush anymore. Now they’re married.”

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Ruh roh, it’s Norovirus!

I can’t remember the last time I threw up. I know I have done in my adult life, because I know exactly how it feels – the uncontrollable squeezing of the guts, the violent heave you are helpless to stop – but I truly can’t remember the incident. My inability to vomit means whenever I get a stomach bug, it usually kicks my butt twice as long as a regular person, because it has to go alllll the way through me, and out the only exit.

We drove up to Sacramento to visit my parents for spring break. We stopped at our usual rest stop and ate a disgusting roadside meal. (I usually pack us a lunch, but was too damn busy this time. Next time I’m TOTALLY making time to pack that lunch!) I know the roadside meal wasn’t responsible for the misery I would later endure, but I will now forever associate that rest stop with violent diarrhea.

We got to my folks’ place in time for dinner, had a lovely time, and went to bed. The next morning during breakfast is when my adventure began.

I’ll spare you the details. Just know that Montezuma was revenging on me big time. My colon traveled into the future to blast out things I hadn’t eaten yet. By the afternoon I was in a bad place. I was extremely dehydrated. I was freaking out about my milk drying up, and so frustrated with the fact that I had a freezer full of milk at home, but it might as well have been in space orbiting the moon for all the good it would do me.

I decided I wanted to go get some I.V. fluids. Every sip I took just punished my butt within two minutes. I needed to hydrate, and I needed it to stay IN.

So my mom took me to a clinic. I was dizzy, and my hands were beginning to cramp up, so I guess it was a good thing I was getting replenished with electrolytes.

After waiting a very long time, the doctor finally came in to see me. He examined me, and listened to my complaints, but when he realized I wasn’t throwing up, he said the best course of action would be to drink electrolytes and just hope they soaked in before I crapped them out.
(He was a little more elegant in his speech, but you get the idea.)

I answered with a weary, “I have been trying that all day. It will just come right out. I just want fluids, doctor! I’m running out of milk!”

He scowled at me in confusion, thinking I was maybe a little bit delirious. “In your fridge?” He asked.

“No.” I answered. “In my boobs.”

The light clicked on for him. “Oh! You’re lactating.” He still tried to push the oral thing. “I’m trying to save you the pain and expense of getting I.V. fluids. If we were in a third world country you wouldn’t even have the option.”

I was fully whining at this point, fearing he was going to refuse to give me I.V. fluids. I wasn’t about to let my copay go to waste, just to be told to keep trying not to poop my pants. “But we’re not in a third world country. We’re HERE. This is why I came here.”

At this point he kind of threw a tantrum, and stormed out of the room to get me fluids. He seemed so pissed that I was actually a little nervous that he would be sticking me with a needle momentarily. He was a very busy doctor. He was the only doctor in for the day. Plus, he hadn’t had to put a needle into anyone in a long time. It certainly didn’t help that my mom was watching his every move, and insisting he wash his hands in front of her because she didn’t believe that he had just done so. (It was a beautifully awkward moment, that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate because I was writhing in misery and beginning to get cramps in muscles I didn’t know I had.)

Finally the I.V. catheter was in! Blessed, blessed saline was pouring into my veins.

My mom left me at this point to go pick up some Pedialyte for when I was ready to go home. As I lay there, alone in the small room, fluids soaking into my parched flesh, I began to come back to life. I could actually feel my lips plumping. As the bag drained lower and lower, I became more awake, and got happier and happier. I was even motivated enough to take a selfie for you, dear Internet!


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This is me.


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This is my beautiful bag of saline, and the 3D butterfly poster on the wall.

Am I not stunning, what with my flushed cheeks and chapped lips? Also, what the hell was I looking at? I’m thirty-five years old and have still not mastered taking a selfie with my phone. *shrug* I guess I was missing out on important life skills all those times I didn’t make a duck face and snap a pic. (That’s ALWAYS, you guys. I have NEVER made a duck face and took a picture of myself thinking I was sexy. If ever you find a duck face picture of me, know that it was done in parody.)

That’s pretty much the highlights of my story. I had Norovirus. I got fluids. I lived. My milk didn’t dry up! And the next day I didn’t poop even once.

Now, let us all pray that this is the last post I have to write about vomit or diarrhea for a very long time. Years even. In the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, AMEN.

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Happy Easter!

A few weekends ago I attempted to do a creative and edgy Easter themed photo shoot.

I failed.

I ended up creating a perfect replica of a 1980′s department store photo studio advertisement. It was pretty weak.


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No matter how hard I search, I can never find a sophisticated Easter themed pic. I know it can be done! It would involve a woodsy setting, and run a bit on the eerie side. Realizing how cheesy the pics were turning out, I just fully embraced it and went all out:


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Oh, and I can’t help but share a before and after. I had a pair of cheapy bunny ears I got at Target for a dollar. They were a little meh, so I worked my magic, and with a pair of scissors, a glue gun, a marabou boa, a sheet of felt, and two minutes, I turned them into a fluffy pair of ears any bunny would be proud to wear.


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The Chalk Walk

I planned a fun little adventure for the kids last week. I thought it would be amusing to lead them to a treat with sidewalk chalk directions. (I failed to take into account the fact that it would require me to walk 8 effing miles)

I hadn’t planned on hiding my involvement in the chalk adventure, but Jesse thought it would be more fun if the kids thought a third party had set it up. Um… Okay? But that third party sure knew an awful lot about my kids – including their names. Anyway, the result was the kids spent the majority of the time saying “I know Mom did this.” in their snottiest voices.

I put a lot of thought into it. It started with a mystery:


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It included both fun obstacles,


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and sage advice.


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It even paid homage to times gone by, stopping by to say “hi” to an old friend. (When Brecken was three he used to say “hi” to a ceramic turtle in the neighborhood.)


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I captured it on my iPhone, so now you too, can enjoy the magic. Just think, a few short hours after this footage was shot, Karis was reenacting scenes from The Exorcist. Ah, good times.


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I’d take a self-cleaning toilet over a self-cleaning oven any day

The person that designed my toilets must have been a very privileged individual, and therefore never had to personally clean a toilet. There are way too many unnecessary nooks and crevices in these stupid toilets! It’s bad enough dealing with these fancy schmancy curvy toilets on a daily cleaning basis, but when your seven year old unloads an entire digestive tract worth of vomit on top of one, the cleaning of it takes hours.

I blame Jesse.

She was puking on the tile floor just fine before he hollered for her to aim for the toilet. “Nooooooo!” I cried in slow motion, envisioning the mess a down-pouring of vomit would make on and around the toilet. But it was too late. Ever the obedient child, she turned toward the toilet just as another spasm gripped her stomach. The chunky liquid spewed forth from her mouth, arching dramatically as she was still in motion. It splashed over walls, counters and finally, alllll over that damn toilet. Very little vomit actually made it into the toilet.

She stood there in shock, hands and arms covered in slime, reminiscent of  fancy three quarter-length gloves. A few drops fell from her hair and pattered wetly to the floor, the only sound in the quiet after the storm. It looked like something you might find in the deleted scenes section of a Ghost Busters DVD, had Ghost Busters been made in a post VHS era.

“Don’t touch anything.” I said calmly. “Take off your clothes, and follow me, but don’t touch anything!”

I washed her hair and braided it, and got her all cleaned up, then I went downstairs and found the dog in the bathroom EATING THE VOMIT. I almost blew my own chunks at that point. Instead I shooed the dog away and began the very grueling task of cleaning up an ocean of nastiness. After the bathroom had been properly exorcized, I took a Silkwood shower, then finally, I came and got my very patiently waiting baby. It had taken me so long to clean everything up that she was actually hungry – possibly for the first time in her life. I almost laughed at the confused look on her face. It was as if she were saying, “What is this uncomfortable, empty feeling I’m experiencing in my belly?”

Now all my little ducklings are nestled snug in their beds, and I have a million and four things to do to get ready for our trip up north to visit my parents. It’s a shame, really. This was going to be a post about the fun adventure we went on with the kids this afternoon. I drew them a “map” with chalk arrows on the sidewalk, all the way to Jamba Juice. Maybe I’ll get around to that post tomorrow. As for tonight, I will stay busy cleaning and packing and trying to rid myself of the phantom stink of vomit that is haunting my nostrils.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Jamba Juice does indeed use real, fresh fruit in their smoothies. So fresh it is still easily recognizable two hours after having been eaten, and then regurgitated.

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Tesla the Opportunist

Tesla is usually very nervous around the baby when I’m holding her, but when I put the baby on the ground she’ll take full advantage of the situation. Tesla has figured out that if she lay close enough to the baby’s feet, every time the baby kicks or dances, Tesla gets a massage.

WARNING: The following video contains massive amounts of cute.


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What the butt?

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I found this crumpled up on the ground beside my car minivan. It was penned by Brecken. His penmanship has improved a great deal this past year. He still throws the odd capital letter in the middle of a word here and there, but he did use the correct spelling of  the “butts” he intended, which is more than several adults I know are capable of doing. Also, he has a point; Karis is, in fact, butts on occasion.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stomach Bug

Brecken has a super power. It is the power to vomit on the most difficult to clean surfaces. This morning, as we were shuffling him into the car for camp (very much against his will) he puked all over his car seat and my upholstery. So much for that new car smell. Had he vomited ten seconds sooner he would have hit the driveway. A simple hose job at most. But no, he christened the damn car.

I thought perhaps he had done it on purpose to get out of going to camp, but we decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and keep him home. I told him he couldn’t watch t.v. or play on the iPad. I took Karis to camp, then came home to begin cleaning the puke out of the car seat – no easy feat! That sucker is damn near impossible to take apart.

As the various car seat parts lay drying, I came in and took Brecken’s temperature. No fever. I told him he still couldn’t watch t.v., then I went upstairs for a minute to talk with Jesse as he finished getting ready for work. We heard a piercing scream, and ran downstairs to find Brecken crying. This time he had managed to puke on the couch cushion, a Harry Potter book, and a heavy throw blanket. Four inches to the left and he would have thrown up on a tile floor. Tile! Easy to wipe up tile! But no.

Again, I was a little suspicious of the timing, because he had been pissed about the no t.v. thing. I hosed him off in the tub, covered his bed in puppy pads and towels, removed his comforter, and set him up with a throw up bowl. I explained to him that the next time he felt like throwing up he could do it into the bowl. Then I had him show me how he would do it. He giggled as he mimed throwing up. I kissed him, told him to try to rest, and promised I would bring him some water in a half hour.  He didn’t complain. He smiled sweetly and snuggled into bed.

I kissed Jesse goodbye, then scraped vomit off the couch cushion and gave it a preliminary washing. Harry Potter was wiped clean an put out in the sun to hopefully air out. The throw blanket is waiting its turn for the washing machine to be finished. My house stinks like stomach acid.

This is when I officially become the meanest mom in the world. I just went up to check on Brecken, and there is a little bit of vomit in the throw up bowl. He is sound asleep. I never heard a peep out of him! He didn’t cry or try to get my attention; he just quietly puked into the bowl and went to sleep. My poor boy. Does he think I’ll yell at him if he throws up? I’m so glad we gave him the benefit of the doubt and let him stay home. When he wakes up I will totally let him play on the iPad until every one of his brain cells is fried.

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Before and After – Dining room and living room

Today’s before and after is the most dramatic change I’ve made in this particular house. It should be noted that we are renting, and therefore I cannot choose paint colors for my walls or do other structural home improvements. I make do with rearranging furniture and harassing my landlord for upgrades.

When we moved into this house it had old, disgusting carpet in the formal living/dining area, and the entire upstairs area. It was almost a deal breaker. My landlord tried to convince me that the carpet was only a few years old. Bitch please, this carpet saw the Reagan administration. I tried my best to keep that awful carpet bearable. I shampooed it almost weekly. (A new carpet has stain deflecting properties, and does not require constant cleaning. I wasted HOURS of my life trying to make that carpet look as nice as possible.) Finally, after TWO YEARS of me complaining incessantly about the disgusting carpet, she agreed to put in hardwood floors! (But only in the downstairs. She is so cheap frugal that she had them cut out the carpet that had been under the couch and recarpet the stairs with it, so now our stairs have mildly less gross carpet. Seriously – it wasn’t worth the effort.)

Also around this time, Mugga needed to re-home her old dining set that came from the family vacation house in Maine. It was from the 1920′s and I was in love with it, so I insisted we ship it across the country.

Jesse: “For that price I could buy a brand new dining set from West Elm or Pottery Barn!”

Me: “Yeah. But then we’d have a boring dining set from West Elm or Pottery Barn and not a really cool family heirloom that your grandparents used to eat at with your mother.”

The conversation was much longer than that, but in the end I won. (Let’s be honest, there’s no surprise there. Cool family antiques trump boring new stuff every time.)


Here is the dining room before when it was a play room, and now:


 photo diningroombeforeandafter_zps19b50ea4.jpgclick on image for larger view

Before I show you the living room I want to mention that the living room got completely finished, then a pipe exploded in the wall and it looked like this:


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And because insurance companies suck and so does my landlord when it comes to spending money, we lived like that for A WHOLE FREAKING MONTH. (All the while with a new baby in the house, remember.)

Finally, the wall was replaced (but even now, I am STILL waiting for the bathroom to be painted and the toilet paper holder to be installed) and I am able to enjoy my new living room:


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Bonus before and after: If you look closely you can see the pillows on the couch have been changed. Our kids do disgusting, unspeakable things to our couch pillows. They basically use them as napkins and handkerchiefs. Yeah, I know, gross. It doesn’t matter how many times we yell at them not to defile the pillows. Instead of buying new pillows every month I made pillowcases out of upholstery fabric so now I can just throw them in the wash.

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Before and After – coffee table and desk chair

Alrighty then! Let’s start enjoying some before and after shots, shall we?

This first one is a twofer. Our current coffee table started life as a tall dining table that lived in our NY apartment:


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If you ever find yourself thinking a tall dining table is a good idea, you know, to mix things up a bit in furniture land, don’t. It’s not. It’s annoying more than anything. You will feel as if you live at a bar. Sure, it was great when the kids were small, because they couldn’t reach whatever I had atop the table, but that was the only pro.

When we moved to our current house we needed a coffee table, and we didn’t need a dining table, because I planned to use the dining room as a playroom. So I cut the legs down to coffee table height, and donated the tall bar chairs.

This particular set was a Kmart cheapy, so it was covered in that weird veneer discount stores are so fond of. It chips and looks dumpy. I hated it! So I refinished it. I love how it turned out!


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Next up: The desk and chair.

I don’t have a “before” of the desk, but it was a six dollar treasure I found at a thrift store. It had ugly paint and no drawers. I painted it and added shelves where the missing drawers once lived. I special ordered a glass top for ease of cleaning. The chair is a family heirloom from Mugga. I loved the original paint on it, but it was lead (sad trombone) so I painted it to match the desk. The back just happens to look similar to the scroll type back of the desk. Very cute.


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All three of these projects were messy and I was miserable while doing them, but so pleased when they were finished. That feeling of accomplishment is like crack. It keeps me jumping into these damn projects. I just can’t quit them.

Tomorrow I will show you my dining room and living room transformations. They are dramatic!

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