Sunday, November 30, 2008

Moving On Up.

I have a new blog address, and will no longer be posting here. Please go HERE and check it out. I'm doing a giveaway, too, so hopefully it will be worth your while. :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I Hope to Never Forget | Precious Moments

Viola and I were joking that she has Precious Moments eyes.

Exhausted and an Update

Today the boys and I traveled the earth in search of an Advent wreath and calendar. I know you can make both, but I never think about these things until the last minute, hence my frenzied run around town today. I found both, and they are okay. I really wanted an Advent wreath like Grace's, but they are no longer available. (Great post and blog, by the way.) Mine looks like the traditional wreath, except it's flocked and has winter berries...and maybe an apple? I can't remember. I'll take pictures of it this Sunday so you can see it in action. Yes, you are that lucky; no need to pinch yourself. ;)

The Mister and I are will be leaving shortly to visit Isabella in the ICU. Thank you for your fantastic prayers and well wishes. Everyone is touched and moved and inspired. I, for one, am so grateful I have so many people I can turn to when I need something. It is such a comforting feeling. Now, on to Isabella. Are you ready for this? Three or so weeks ago she fell off the second step of a flight of stairs. I mean, not even a big fall. Just a whoops! She cried for ten seconds (you know, that cry where it hurts but they get over it fast?) and that was it. Hours later, she threw up once, and thinking back to the fall, Viola took her to the emergency room where she charmed everyone into thinking she had a stomach bug because of her easy going demeanor and steady eyes. False. Apparently she has had a slow bleed every since.

The bleed stopped sometime in the last two weeks, but there is a stubborn amount of blood that is still lingering. On top of that, fluid is building and causing pressure. They are allowing her to eat, and if she vomits, they recommend surgery to relieve the pressure in her head. If she doesn't, surgery is still a possibility if Sonny and Viola want it. They can also wait several months to see if the pressure goes down on it's own. The debate on whether to have surgery is because the complications are great. It is brain surgery on a 21 month old, after all.

I will update with more information as I have it, but thank you again for even caring! It's a great feeling, really. You know what else is great? Knowing I and my emetophobic compadres were right all along: barfing sucks and is good for nothing but trouble.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I've known Sonny since elementary school. We went to different high schools and lost touch--although we heard of each other's goings on through friends. Sonny met the Mister long before I did when they were both working in restaurants. It was while working as a bouncer in the bar portion of a restaurant that Sonny met his wife, Viola, who I knew from high school. Viola knew the Mister because she and her friends would go into T.G.I. Fridays, where he bartended, after they got off work.

We didn't officially all meet and become friends until Sonny called my dad who called the Mister who helped Sonny get a job at his company. Got that?

Sonny and Viola had there first set of twins 5 months after Mikey. Their second set of twins (yes, 2 sets of twins!) were born 11 days after Nico. We are decidedly outnumbered by children when we go out to eat, which is infrequent because we are all tired.

See that little one holding hands with Mr. Nico? That's Isabella. Not too long after this picture she got what everyone thought was a stomach bug. Except it kept coming back. She'd be fine for a few days, and then suddenly she'd start vomiting again. After a couple of days, she'd be fine again.

Three weeks and several tests later, nothing. Until today, when she had an MRI and doctors found she has a bleed in her brain and needed to be rushed to the emergency room. I don't know anything more than that, because that is all Sonny knew when he called. Bleed. Brain. Bad. Please pray for my little girl.

It's been an hour and a half, and my phone is silent.

Would you do me a favor? I told Sonny I would pray for Isabella and tell everyone I know to do the same. Hello, everyone. Please do say a little prayer for my honey-haired girl. And if you don't pray, we'll take warm wishes or positive thoughts, too. Just leave a little comment here on this post when you do so I can show Sonny and Viola how many people are rooting for Isabella.

Thank you.


Finishing touches: Children and Independence

Pretty soon most kids will want to do things on their own, and from that they achieve an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride. Whenever Mikey wants to do something on his own, like pick out his clothing, make his own snack, or buckle himself in his car seat, I usually let him. Sometimes I end up having to help him (like with the car seat buckle,) but I only jump in to help after he is done attempting it on his own and is frustrated enough to ask for help.

Then there are times when I can't possibly let him leave the house without the threat of a visit from social services. Like when he insists on brushing his hair.

This right here? This is what he calls perfection. He doesn't see the fact his hair is plastered flat from the water in the spray bottle only in the middle of his head. He is blind to the two cowlicks that stick out like devil horns. He doesn't see the rat's nest that is the back of his head.

All he knows is he did it by himself and he looks hottt. "Mama. Did you see how handsome I look?" So I let him brush his hair. But, I've also developed a strategy that allows him to wield the brush of independence without him leaving the house looking like a ragamuffin. Mikey brushes his own hair every morning. In his pajamas. Then, we get dressed for the day.

Now, as often happens when you are taking off pajamas and putting on shirts, his perfectly coiffed hair will get tousled. Bummer. That's when I come in and try to repair his work.

Mikey: "But, mama! I already brushed my hair. Remember how handsome I am?"

Jules: "Of course! But while we you were changing your hair went a little crazy. I'm just putting on the finishing touches."

So now, every morning I put on the "finishing touches." Is it duplicitous? Maybe. However, I doubt years from now Mikey will lament from his spot on the therapist's couch that I never let him leave the house with messy hair. The way I look at it, Mikey feels like he is doing something on his own and I don't look like a neglectful parent. Everyone is a winner. Especially me, because even with tornado hair, I still think he is a bowl of sugar.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Crush {My Timing is Impeccable}

This week I was going to write a post about my crush on the blog, The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly, but it seems she is taking a modified break to reevaluate the direction of her blog. Gah!

Regardless, do go through her archives. I am always happy to see her blog highlighted with a new post in my blog reader. Without fail, each week she provides me with at least one great link I would have never discovered and seems to be on the same mission I am: to find joy and peace in the minutia of life and to value the blessings we have in the present. She's giving me many great links with that goal in mind.

Which brings me to my request. Kelly, you can change whatever you like about your blog, but don't deny me those great links. You're shaving hours off my day by doing all the work for me. ;)


Friday, November 21, 2008

Favorite Moment | Books

I had a terrible week and the boys were trying my patience, so when I called the Mister yesterday and asked if he would like to meet us somewhere for lunch, he quickly agreed. Secretly, I think he was worried I would dust the boys' lunch with crushed Excedrin PMs if he didn't take us out for burgers and fries. Wise move, the Mister.

Mikey is still obsessed with dinosaurs. We go to the library weekly and bring home 3-4 books and videos, which he spends devouring the rest of the week. The idea of taking him to the library was mine after one exceptionally expensive trip to the bookstore. Prior to dino-mania, trips to the bookstore were not so frequent that they hindered our ability to buy food and diapers. But, it turns out, they are many, many books on dinosaurs--and Mikey wants all of them. So, perhaps, the Mister and I weren't thinking strategically when we decided to meet for lunch at our favorite outdoor '50s diner, which happens to sit across the street from Borders.

On our way to lunch I promised Mikey lunch and a trip to the park with daddy, which had him very excited. But when the rods and cones in his eyes feasted on that large, national bookstore with a cavernous children's section and an entire shelf devoted to dinosaurs, he could think of nothing else.

Jules: Mikey, eat your food before it gets cold.
Mikey: Oh, mom. I can't eat another bite.
Jules: Another bite? You haven't had your first bite, my friend.

And so it went. The Mister and I imploring Mikey to eat his food while he tried to convince us to take him to the bookstore.

Jules: Mikey, I'm serious. Eat your food.
Mikey: Mom, I can't! My tummy is telling me something. It's telling me I need to go to the bookstore.

What Mikey needs is to go into network marketing because he is a relentless salesman. When the Mister and I bought our first house, we made the mistake of allowing a water purifying salesman in the door. Three hours later, the Mister was forcibly pushing him out the door while the salesman yelled he could outsell the Mister any day of the week while he waved the checks of little old ladies as proof. Mikey is that guy. An hour into lunch, and he was still presenting to us the features and benefits of visiting the bookstore.

The Mister: Mikey, we said no. We're going to the library this weekend. If you want a book, maybe you should ask Santa.
Mikey: Well, actually, the bookstore is a really good idea.
The Mister: Mikey, we said NO.
Mikey: Well, I think when we get there you will think it's great.

Finally, the Mister had enough of Mikey's sales presentation. He was going to put an end to this compaigning by hitting Mikey where it hurt: taking away the trip to the park. Mikey, like every little boy out there, loves the park. He loves climbing, running, jumping, swinging, and getting sand in his shoes. Me? I can leave the park. There are germs everywhere and I can't function when there is but one grain of sand in my shoe. The Mister loves the park, so he was confident he had the upper hand when he told Mikey, "Okay, buddy. I guess we won't go to the park. What's more fun? The park, or the bookstore?"

To which Mikey responded, "Oh, Dad, books are better than everything."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Book 'em, Dano.

Those two clowns who robbed the Mister? The police caught them tonight. Of course the money is gone, but so is their freedom. If they were smart, they kept some of the money they stole. They'll need it to post bail. Hah!

Soccer Party

The season is officially over. We had Mikey's soccer party tonight at Straw Hat Pizza, where pretty much every child has celebrated the end of season at least once in their life. The allure, of course, is the oodles of video and arcade games. They could care less about the cardboard-like pizza.

The coach gave a two sentence speech on each of the boys during the trophy "ceremony." We were supposed to guess who he might be talking about before he announced the recipient. When the coach said, "I'm not sure precocious is the right word to describe this little guy, but he always had the most unique answers to any question I had..." I knew immediately he was talking about my Mikey.

I tried to get a sweet picture of the moment our son received his first trophy, but both my cheap camera and my willful child were not cooperating.

OK, Mikey, smile!

Mikey, open your eyes. One more time, smile!

Mikey, you're killing me. Seriously, look in the camera, forget about the candy in the bag, and SMILE!

Note: His hand is now deeper inside the bag. I give up. You get the idea--happy moment, so excited, trophy!

p.s. Do my children need a haircut, or what? They look like characters from a Charles Dickens novel.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pity Party: Walk Ins Welcome

I've lost count of the number of times I've watched the video I posted yesterday. Aside from truly enjoying the message, the video has helped me put into perspective a challenging few days. LinkI do not have a Brady Bunch family, I do not coffers brimming with gold, and I do not have enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do BUT I do have clean water, thank you very much. Can you really quibble about the insanity (that is actually banality) when there are people out there without clean water and shelter? Sadly, I can and do.

On top of miscellaneous family theatrics seen all over the world, the Mister was robbed again yesterday. The timing could not be worse. With the economy the way it is, with people as desperate as they are, I imagine events like this will only become more frequent. I guess all I can muster is: I don't know what to say. Rather, I know what I want to say, but I doubt my audience will be receptive to the message.

So I knit to keep from unraveling.

I've talked to a few knitters, and the pattern the yarn shop had me start with is actually complicated for a beginner project. That makes me feel better about my rocky beginning. I might start to really enjoy knitting, after all.

I enjoy it especially right now. When it seems like everything around you is falling apart, it feels productive to create something tangible. I am incapable of controlling much around me lately, but I can control my knits and purls. So, forgive me, please, if I spend a little time knitting when I should be writing. It's the next best thing to crawling under the covers and hibernating until the storm passes.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Found here, thanks to someone new following me on Twitter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Favorite Moment | Hell in a Knitting Basket

Oh, dear. What a week. I have been quiet for many reasons, not the least of which was the implosion of my internet service on Monday. We were able to get things partially squared away by Wednesday, but we are still unable to get the Mister's PC communicate with my Mac/Airport Extreme router--or at least that's what I think it's called. This means if I have to use our backyard office if I want to do anything internet related. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the peace and quiet, but I can't leave the kidlets inside unsupervised because they might eat the dogs.

Speaking of kidlets, Mikey has been sick, although not terribly so. We've been up a few times with him the last two night dues to fevers and runny noses, but nothing serious enough to prevent him from obsessing about dinosaurs. This morning, while I was changing him into some fresh pajamas, he perked up enough to point out the manufacturers had made a most embarrassing mistake: Tyrannosaurus Rex has two fingers, not three like depicted in red, iconic glory. Three fingers is clearly an Allosaurus, which predates T-Rex and is really something any pajama-maker worth their snuff would know.

And while we are on the subject of pajamas, I finally broke down and had a sleep study done. I thought I was a light sleeper, but I didn't know the half of it; I have severe sleep apnea, and must now sleep with a cpap, also known as the world's sexiest oxygen mask. I only exaggerating slightly when I say it looks like this.

I have yet to wake up feeling magically refreshed as promised, but I've had interrupted sleep due to the aforementioned paleontologist. I'll reserve comment, for now, until I have at least two full nights sleep under my mask belt.

Lest you think my week centered around sick beds and sleep masks, I did venture out for a lovely lunch with Ms. Kara on Tuesday. She got to witness firsthand Nico's latest trick: food compulsions. Familiar foods (nothing new, please!) must be eaten in groups. There is no mixing allowed. No crazy touching of the chips with the strawberries! While you're at it, don't you dare offer a chip when he is clearly having a chicken tender moment. Sacrilege! And did you know you eat chips with a dinner fork? Of course not. You are uncivilized. Sometimes I look at Nico and wonder how I gave birth to such a persnickety child. Then he'll take the frosting off a cupcake and use it to moisturize his cheeks. Welcome home, son.

So this week our internet asked for a bail out, Mikey caught another cold, I learned I am awake more than I am asleep, and I ate lunch with my best friend and the next Howard Hughes. While not the best of times, it certainly hasn't been the worst of times, either. We have a roof over our heads, no one has been laid off (knock. knock.), and we are are happy and healthy. And, besides, if it wasn't for that little internet snafu, I might not have been able to do this:

It looks wonky, but they assured me at the yarn shop everything is as it should be, which, coincidentally, describes my week perfectly.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things I Hope to Never Forget | The Outdoors Man

Is there a little boy out there who does not love tents? I think not.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Favorite Moment | Hope and Change

Those of you who have written Favorite Moments know they are often simple and ordinary. Consequently, these moments are often difficult to encapsulate with mere subjects and predicates--or even my beloved adverbs--because while the moment is mundane, its impact on the soul can be magical. For those moments, a string of words makes a paltry net.


Hope and change. Two words on a string that have transcended their once rudimentary place in the dictionary. They now define the future of a country that, until recently, remained shadowed by the stigma of racism. They symbolize the belief of the majority of the nation, and balm the incertitude of those who retain misgivings. They unite and divide and speak volumes, but to me they are so much more.


I find my hope in two pairs of eyes, one gray and one brown. And change, well, I see that frequently in a new word, a new skill, or a new passion. My favorite moment for me happened not at the national level as one would expect, but at the dining room table in a red-brick ranch in a drowsy, if not sleepy, town southern California.


I found my favorite moment in a bowl of apples.


And the dinosaur footprints on the table.

Dinosaur Footprint
Dinosaur Footprint

After lunch and acrobatics on the school swing set.


The milestones in my life shape me, but I am built on the moments that on their own amount to little. I am surrounded by hope every minute of my day, and I create my own change. God help me if I one day fail to see the hope in playdoh and apples. Should that day ever come {doubtful} I will go looking for it tirelessly, until I come up empty.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Health Nut

Much can happen while you are putting away laundry, and it's never a good sign when you call poison control before 10:00am. Of course, my day started hours earlier when Nicholas started chirping away in his crib at 6:00 am this morning, a solid 1.5-2 hours ahead of schedule. I looked at the Mister and said, "Today is going to be a bitch."

I should buy lotto tickets.

As expected, Nicholas has been a bear all day. Crying, refusing to eat, crying, wanting to eat, crying, not liking what I offered to eat, crying, still wanting to eat, and did I mention crying? I made the mistake of giving him the box of cereal to play with while I got him a bowl; he promptly emptied the box onto the floor.

He climbed the beds and tried to take apart the blinds to see how they worked.

He brushed his teeth for 45 minutes.

He colored at the table, but then got frustrated and swept everything to the floor.

He pulled a stool out of the bathroom for the sole purpose of dancing atop it in the middle of the kitchen.

He took the stop out of the third bathroom sink.

He tossed all the soap dishes in the sink.

He opened the refrigerator repeatedly, hoping to find something appetizing.

He climbed onto the dining room table and started chewing on the fake apples.

I was pulling him off the table (and only barely yelling at the top of my voice) when Mikey came up to me talking around an open mouth quickly collecting saliva.

Mikey: "Mu. I neh wa-uh."

Jules: "What? What's wrong with your mouth?

Mikey: "Wa-uh!" pointing furiously at his mouth.

Jules: "Water? You need water? Why? Did you eat something?"

Mikey: "Uh-huh. Eeese."

Jules: "Cheese?" I did have some gruyere in the fridge.

Mikey: "No, EEESE."

Jules: "Okay, I can't understand you," I said walking towards the cabinet with the glasses. "Let's get you some water and...MIKEY! IS THIS WHAT YOU ATE?!"

Mikey: "Yeah. Eeese."

Jules: "Mikey, THESE ARE NOT SEEDS!"

I spent the next five minutes instructing Mikey on how to rinse out his mouth with water. I tried to teach him how to swish, but he couldn't get the hang of it so he shook his head from left to right. Effectiveness Rate: Absolutely None. One thousand raw lentil pieces later, Mikey looked at me calmly and asked for real seeds. I said no.

I called the pediatrician, who referred me to poison control. I explained the entire situation, and how Mikey mistook a bag of lentils for the seeds I often given him with nuts and raisins to snack on.

"That's what I get for trying to raise a health nut," {pause for chuckles from Poison Control operator.}

Still waiting.

After a brief time on hold we got the all clear. I decided staying in the house one minute longer would surely be dangerous for all of us (mainly because I was going to kill them), so I packed up the boys and went to the bookstore and then lunch, whereupon I realized one of those life truths you only realize after hitting bottom.

Everything is better with books and ketchup.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Failed Domestic

Last year, upon my request, my mother-in-law gave me gift certificates to a yarn shop for supplies and lessons. Two weeks ago, I finally made the time to schedule a lesson. I did alright in the shop, but once I got home and a few (7-ish) days went by I swear knitting became as easy as teaching yourself Cantonese.

I learn by reading and by clear examples and pictures. So, last night after I forgot, um, everything, there I was with the laptop on my lap, two needles in my hands, and a ball of yarn bouncing around like a tumble weed all while I surfed the web for decent pictures and videos. Have you ever seen pictures or videos of people knitting? Allow me to demonstrate.

Imagine a close up of two hands and white yarn against a dark white background. Fingers everywhere, no clue which string of yarn is the tail, and a 42 second flurry of finger flouncing activity complemented by a mystery female voice over lay who says:

Mystery Female Voice: So the knit stitch is super easy. You just go left to right, out the back door, wrap around, drop, and your done!

Sure! Of course! Now, come a-flippin-gain?! Huh? Wha? 42 seconds?! Repeat!

And I did. And I looked for other videos. More white yarn, more lightening speed knitting, and more pale, bony fingers that, I'm sorry, say "I own a whole crap load of cats."

God knows, I tried. I am nothing if not persistent. After I untangled, unraveled, and un-knitted whatever knotted, unspeakable horror I was 'creating' 231 times, my yarn looked like an 80s perm: fried, frizzed, and frazzled. I was half-tempted to put some John Frieda on it and keep trying, but the Mister, sensing a Mount Vesuvius of rage building every time my knits turned into knots, wondered out loud,

Didn't you take up knitting to relax?

Why yes, I did. Which means only one thing: screw you, knitting! We're done. Finished. Through. No longer an item. Instead, I'm going to dust off the sewing machine I have sitting in the closet collecting dust and see if maybe, just maybe, there is somewhere in my being a crafty sewing gene. My mother-in-law also bought me this book for Christmas, no doubt suspecting the only thing I would be capable of fashioning from yarn is a noose.

I am also putting this book on my birthday/Christmas wish list.

Anyone have it? I already read Angry Chicken, so I know the writing and projects will be fun and creative. Anyone have any other crafty sewing book suggestions? I would like something fun and easy. Something even a failed domestic could handle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do it for the kids, man.