Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Wiping Snot on You. What? My Nose is All Boogery.

Yes, for the last week, much of our conversation around here has focused on the fluids and substances flowing from noses. I'm pretty sure N. first picked up the nasty virus in the baby pool, but has since passed it along to O. and myself. J. reports a sore throat from his hotel room in Mexico, but we're assuming he can pick up a Z-Pack at the airport and get that all taken care of.

The kids and I have now been to three different doctor's offices since Friday, so that N's "animal check up" pretend play is taking on a very realistic narrative. Two of the visits were actually well-visits, one to monitor New Baby, the other O's kindergarten readiness well check up with two shots. He'll be proud to tell you he doesn't have to get any more shots until he's as big as his eleven year old cousin. We did also have N. checked out at the pediatrician's office, but luckily her cough only briefly threatened to morph into a full blown asthma event, and aside from a little crusty snot (which yes, she does enjoy wiping on me by rubbing her nose directly on my bare arm or pant leg, giggling all the while), she seems to be doing the best of all of us.

O and I finally went in to be seen today, after I woke up for the second morning in a row with my eyes glued shut, and O. was up most of the night with a horrific hacking cough, the kind that gets on your very last nerve, even though you know there is absolutely nothing he can do about it. We went straight to the Walgreens Take Care Clinic, because I just could not face up to scheduling appointments at separate doctors on oppposite sides of town.

Confirmed: sinus infection for me, pneumonia sounds in O's lungs. And surprise! A positive strep test for O. Seriously?

I think being sick in the summer is just the worst. The days are gorgeous, at least from the window, so you feel just wrong staying inside. No matter that it's 90 plus degrees outside and it wouldn't be all that fun to be frolicking in the yard or on the playground anyway, you simply feel like you're missing out.

When it was mostly me that was sick, I tried to keep us doing the things that we wanted to do. O. has had swim lessons everyday, so we head to the pool and I try to enjoy the water and not complain about being a pack horse or about trying to find food for lunch to put in a cooler that won't all just come home waterlogged.

I even made another batch of pickles to make myself feel more productive. Okay, maybe to distract from the overall disastrous quality of the housekeeping. I swear, I circle and circle around the high traffic kitchen-to-family-room route, picking things up and throwing them away or shuffling them into neater piles, and STILL there's always a wide sea of clutter lapping all around me.

But the worst today was telling O. that we not only couldn't go to his swimming lesson, but that also meant not joining his friends for the planned outing to the bowling alley afterwards. Like me, he was willing to drag himself to the fun, and the idea of being contagious just really wasn't translating. Many wails of "we never do anything fun!" and "no one ever comes to our house!" and "can't we just go for a drive?" were heard.

To make matters worse, the Happy Meals I picked up on the way home as bribery came with the WRONG toys. I specifically requested two girl toys, as Littlest Pet Shop wins over Marvel Super Heroes everytime in my boy's eyes, and seriously, what's so girly about a baby giraffe anyway? Iron Man just was not going to do it for him today, and sharing the pink Siamese kitty was not an option for either one of them. I was this close to heading back to the drive through. Luckily, the new bag of books from the library won out, as did promised hours of television in the basement.

We're glad to have some antibiotics on board, and have high hopes of everyone feeling much better by the time the weekend gets here. Mostly, I'd just like to have my sense of smell back. It's bad enough to feel like a truck hit me while also dragging around my belly's extra wide load. It's bad enough I have to keep doing loads of my own underwear thanks to the post nasal drip induced cough and the weakened state of my bladder. But when I can't even smell my fresh-picked basil to chop into my own garden tomatoes to make my own bruschetta, I am seriously bummed. Might as well be eating a sponge, for all my tongue can tell.

Oh, and poor, poor Scout. The old girl is having trouble with her back legs, limping visibly every time she hauls herself up from her spot lounging in the yard. She looks exactly how I feel. This comes on the heels of a tough recovery from intestinal distress after her most recent stay at the kennel. I've been giving her aspirin, and finally made a trip to the pet store to stock up on some supplements and additives to her food that look promising, but I'm wondering about the actual effectiveness. We've been mixing her food with water, and she's eating more often, but her age is becoming more and more apparent.
Between the dog medicine to be wrapped in cheese and the various kid medicines to be measured out in vials and cups, it's a regular pharmacy on my kitchen counter. Anyone know of a combination baby nurse/geriatric dog nanny that works super cheap? I think I'll need one around here starting late September.

Okay, I feel officially grumbly and grumpy that this is the post that is actually getting written among all the other ideas I've had for the last week. Perhaps after J. gets back in the country, and I don't fall asleep the second I slump into my leather chair after putting the kids to bed on my own, I'll actually be able to write one of those other things. We're on the mend, we're on the mend. Right? Right?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

She's a Big Girl Now

This week, my baby girl is officially a big girl.

We moved the bed that was in the guest room in the basement upstairs to her room, as part of the domino game of room shuffling we're playing to get ready for New Baby. J.'s office is now in the basement, and his office is getting made over into an ocean themed oasis for New Baby. The crib moved across the hallway, and is now waiting for his arrival.

The day J. and my dad shifted the furniture around, N. stood in the doorway of her room and told my mom and I "when my big girl bed comes up, we have to clap and say 'hooray!'

N. loves her "new" bed, though it certainly isn't new. This bed originally belonged to my great grandparents. It was the room my parents always slept in when we visited my grandparents growing up. When my grandma moved out of that house when my grandfather died, it went into storage, and Grandma later gave it to me. It's the bed J. and I used when we first got married, until we moved into this house. He was a little tired of having his ankles hang up over the end of the footboard. My grandmother never lets an opportunity go by without mentioning that she was conceived and born in this bed (not the mattress, of course), much to the chagrin of anyone who has bunked in it while staying with us.

Anyhow, I'm glad to give it whole new life again, and it sure is nice to be able to stretch out beside N. when it's bedtime, rather than curling myself into a comma on the crib mattress on the toddler bed. She's slept through the night in it every night except for last night, when she was awakened by her summer cold and cough to come join me and pass it along.

She does still, however, blurt out a little possessiveness over the crib. "I no want New Baby to sleep in my bed." Good thing he'll be in the bassinet for a bit when he arrives.

Sweet Pickles

It's time for another garden update!

Ever since we got back from vacation, I've been anticipating the first red tomato. I paid our neighborhood paperboy to water my flowers and the garden, and it was so nice to come home to a healthy, thriving little patch of yumminess. There were a couple of tomatoes that were on the verge of ripeness. I kept resisting the urge to pick them, hoping for a 'fresh out the patch' experience like the one Heather reported last week.

I'm not even that big of a tomato fan. I love them IN things, or when a really good one is the star of a dish, such as a nice Caprese salad, but not so much on their own. There's nothing worse than a bad tomato. I hate it when I forget to ask for no tomato on a burger or a sandwich and get some sickly pink thing juicing up my bun. But the idea of enjoying a warm-from-the-sun orb that you grew your very own self is SO appealing. Reminds me of my grandfather every time.
On Saturday, the first one was finally ready to be picked. And what a beauty it was.

Except that this is what it looked like on the other side:

Align Left
Apparently some creature was also lying in wait for the perfect moment of ripeness. Deer? Mole? Squirrel? Mouse? Not sure, but there were little fang marks. Bummer.

Also ripening up are the cucumbers. Here's the harvest as of Saturday, after using up a few others for cucumber and red onion salad:
I decided to try my hand at actual canning, since there are too many to be used up before the refrigerator type would go bad.

My mom and my aunt used to can tons of things when I was growing up: peaches, tomatoes, and bread and butter pickles. We used to have enough tomatoes to keep us in spaghetti sauce through the winter, and my brother always mourned the last jar of peaches -- he loved them with lunch. I was never a big fan of the peaches. I've only JUST begun to enjoy any form of cooked fruit, and the peaches always just had the wrong texture to actually taste like a peach to me.

Canning always seemed like a huge hassle to me. I remember lots of steam, lots of stink, and my mom and aunt chasing us out of the kitchen the whole day the ordeal was going on. But I've read a lot of articles about it lately, and pickles didn't seem like too much of a project, since the cucumbers don't actually need to be cooked before the jar processing.

It involved a lot of waiting around for large quantities of liquid to come to a boil, but otherwise making pickles was a pretty easy project. I was able to make these six jars on Saturday afternoon while N. was napping. I went with a straight dill recipe, though I added some garlic. I also stuck a couple of banana peppers that also came from the garden in two of the jars, hoping they'll add a little bit of heat to those jars for J.

O. really liked the fresh dill that came from my parents' neighbors. (My pot that I was trying to grow my own this year got knocked over early on and I never got it replanted.) He decided to make a little arrangement out of the stems I harvested seeds from "so that everyone can smell how good it smells."

We are looking forward to trying out the pickles soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Who Knew I'd Miss Sand in the Sheets?

We've been a little out of the loop lately, in search of sand and surf. We found it!
We spent a week with my extended family, enjoying the built-in entertainment of lots of cousins, a pool and and a big wide sandbox and ocean to play in.
We collected lots of seashells to put in New Baby's ocean-themed new room, and even posed for a photo of all three (four) of us.
Here's what happens when you make your five year old stare into the sun and also ask him to pat his new baby brother.

Still adjusting to life back home -- more thoughts later!