Adventures with 3 kids

Go to fullsize imageI just thought I would share a little funny story that happened last week.  It’s still making me crack up!  I hope it’s not one of those, “you have to be there” moments.  I wasn’t there and I think it’s hilarious, but I know everybody involved.  Here goes…

Part of dealing with this whole bedrest thing means that Tomas has had to get a little creative with his work schedule.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t include never showing up.  So, last week while Zack was at Kindergarten, he took Anson and Gret to work for a while.  I know, that’s probably not the most productive move, but at least he could gather some paperwork to bring home.

There they were at work.  The kids love going to Daddies work.  They feel very important and really like to visit all their grown up friends there, not to mention they know where the candy dish is kept.  They were so excited.  It just happened to be a day though where Tomas’ bosses boss was there (can you follow the hierarchy?) for some pow-wow.  We’ll call him “The Big Guy”. Normally, he works out of an office on the other side of the state. 

“The Big Guy” is a pretty friendly guy and went into Tomas’ office to say hello to the kids.  To preface what happens next, you have to know a physical description of this guy.  He’s a bigger guy in stature with a “generous” potbelly.  He has totally silver/white hair.  Now Anson, who is definitely not our shy boy, goes up to “The Big Guy” and repeatedly pats “The Big Guy’s” belly. 

“Wow!  You have a great big belly!”  Anson exclaims.  “You must have a baby in there like mommy!”

Everyone in the office gets a little chuckle and Tomas turns a little red from embarassment.  BUT…Anson was not done yet.  Seeing as how he had a new interesting friend, Anson states out of no where later (Bless my little boy, for he knows not what he does), “Your hair is really weird.  I don’t like it.”

How’s that for tact?  Tomas wanted to crawl out of the room.  However, that would have been difficult since Gret was so freaked out by “The Big Guy” that she was clinging to him like a teary baby opossum.  What are the chances that “The Big Guy” okays a decent raise for Tomas this year?  It depends on how much he likes kids, I think!


Someone forgot to tell Gret that you were supposed to pick the apples from the trees, not from the ground.  She sure had fun though at her first apple picking!

More Wordless Wednesday here and here.

Go to fullsize imageAt Zack’s 5th Birthday party the other day, we had a lovely statement about womanhood out of the mouth of a beloved 3 year old friend.  It still makes us all laugh and reminds us that you never know what goes on in a child’s mind.

We had just sung “Happy Birthday” and I was cutting the cake, there was a little moment of quiet amongst the kids as they all waited for their cake and icecream.  I guess the quiet was too much to bear for one little female friend because out of no where we all hear, “I have a VAGINA!” 

All the kids started saying either “Vagina!  I don’t have a vagina!” or “I’m a girl.  I have a vagina.” or some even just kept repeating the word “vagina” and giggling.  The adults really didn’t know what to say.  Do you draw attention to it or just let it ride it’s course?  You don’t want a girl to be embarrassed about the word vagina for goodness sakes!  She was proud of being a woman at the young age of 3!  Anyway, that little icebreaker made for a few minutes of kids shouting the word “vagina” and giggling.  It was good fun.  Not something you would expect for party conversation at a little boys party, but that’s why some of us had to leave the room laughing in sheer mirth.

Now anytime there is a lull in our conversation, Tomas or I will just blurt out, “I have a VAGINA!”  It always lightens the mood and restarts the conversation.  Thanks to our little buddy, we have new found social skills that are sure to last a lifetime.  Try it out…

I would like to say that I attempted to have a really “green” birthday party this weekend since this is a greenish blog.  But I can’t, because I didn’t.   When a larger group of people are in my house, there is no way I can have enough plates, cups, or silverware for the crowd unless I do disposable.  So that’s what we did.  Anyway, if you are suspecting some great green tips on how to have a pirate birthday party, forget it.

Zack is turning 5 this week!  I can’t believe it!  He’s getting so tall and acting so “grown-up” it shocks us from day to day.  Well, Zack was bent on having a theme party.  For some reason, he went from wanting an outer space party, to a Spider-man party (which I quickly squashed), and ended up with Pirate.  This was fine with me.  We are going to recycle some of the stuff for Halloween costumes, so that’s helpful.

The kids got inflatable pirate swords, pirate head scarves, eye patches, compasses, and a map in a little bag.  We did a treasure hunt where they were supposed to each find a little treasure chest with a little candy, gold coins, and pirate money.  I say “supposed to” because originally we were going to do a treasure hunt outside, but the oodles of rain we’ve had squashed that idea.  Everyone had the opportunity to cram into my house.  That was the only downside of the afternoon.

Well, I think the kids had a great time playing with the pirate booty and the adults hopefully weren’t ready to poke their eyes out by the end of the afternoon with the inflatable swords.  My most prized addition to the Pirate Party was the cake I made up.  For the kids birthdays, I always try make a cake that fits their theme.  I try to be creative.  I am stressing “try”.  I was a little stuck at first at how to make a pirate cake. Until I got this great idea.  I was at work and I quickly jotted down my plans, even though the kids I was tutoring thought I was a little weird.  They were thinking algebra and I was thinking pirate cake.

Well, here’s what I came up with…

Okay, so it doesn’t look as cool in these pics as I thought it did when it was sitting next to each other on the table.  These are actually the only 2 pictures that we took of the cake, so that’s what you get 🙂

It was very simple to make if you need an idea on how to start a pirate cake.  I just used 2 cake mixes.  One mix went in a 9×13 pan (for the water/base).  The other mix was split between a shallow bowl (for the island) and a loaf pan (for the boat).  I created the palm tree, oars, and the sail from craft paper, tootpicks and popsicle sticks I colored brown.  A little chocolate frosting and buttercream frosting dyed blue was used to frost it.  A little bit of green sprinkles gave the illusion of grass on the island and the pirate guys were 50 cents at the party supply store. Of all the cakes I have made so far, this was one of the easiest to decorate.

If you are looking for pirate goodies for a party or just for Halloween, now is the time to buy them.  Our local dollar store had tons of things in stock, Target had a bunch in their party section, Party City had more than you would ever need, and if you need more, check out any Halloween costume section. 

My kids are still pretending to be pirates this morning, so I think they really liked it!

Well, this is one of the best secrets I have kept to myself (and a few 25 others :)).  As some of you may have noticed, I was on bedrest for quite a while.  I am still on restricted activity but basically, life is back to normal, minus the running and rigorous exercise.  But who am I kidding, I barely did that anyway. 

Here’s the full story of what REALLY happened.  I am now finally ready to share.  Tomas and I have debated for quite a while as to whether we wanted to add a 4th member to our family.  We decided that we did.  The past 6 months to a year, we have had our fair share of family illness and deaths.  Both of us gained a good understanding of how important a stong supportive family was.   We decided that we would try for a 4th to arrive when Zack was in school full time.

So a few months ago, I had my IUD removed.  It was causing me to have a lot of irregular bleeding and I could take a form of the birth control pill to stop it, but that defeated the whole point of the IUD.  I decided to take it out.  My doctor’s famous last words were “Alright, but remember I’m not responsible for what may happen!”  She knows that I have always been a super fertile Mertle.

I started charting my cycles to determine how my body was cycling.  Our goal was to have a good plan so that we could try for another girl.  2 boys and 2 girls would be great for bedroom accomodations at our house.  A while after that, I began to have very irregular bleeding and I just didn’t feel quite right in my uterus.  I suspected I was pregnant.  But, even though we had “chanced” a few rendezvous, Tomas and I thought there was no way that 4 could be on it’s way already.  I bought a test.  I peed on the 1st stick.  No line showed up.  But I still had a nagging suspicion.  I sat awake at 1am that night and hauled out the free digital test that had been in the same pack.  It took forever!  However, after what seemed like hours, the digital read out said “pregnant”!  I jumped on the bed and woke up Tomas.

His reaction:  “You woke me up for this?”, he said with a smile.  “Good Lord, woman!  I could talk to you on the phone about having more kids and you would get pregnant!”  So much for “trying” for a girl!! 

So there we were.  Pregnant.  No idea for how long at that point.  Then, one day while I was at a park play day with the kids, I started hemorraging.  We are talking a lot.  Not just a little spotting.  It didn’t stop all afternoon.  I was thinking that it was because my body wasn’t ready to be pregnant yet.  It would be okay, I would get pregnant again.  I wound up going into the ER that night at the suggestion of my doctor to see if I was still pregnant.

After that trip to the ER, I found out 2 things.  One, I was still pregnant.  The baby had a heart beat.  Two, I had a major area of bleeding in my uterus that may interfere with the pregnancy.  It’s called a subchorionic bleed.  There is no rhyme or reason to why it develops, it just does.  Most people have smaller ones that heal easily on their own.  Mine was really, really big.  I was told that my pregnancy was extremely high risk.  The baby had a heartbeat at that moment but that’s all they would “guarantee”.  It was alive that day.  I was 6 weeks.  I went home still doubtful that this pregnancy would take and started “restricted” physical activity.

The bleeding stopped after a couple days and I thought I was on the mend.  Until a week later once again, I was at the park with the kids.  I picked up Gret and there my funky uterus went again.  This time with cramping.  This time the hemorhaging was worse than ever.  I had to call Tomas to come home.  I couldn’t take care of the kids because of it all.  He came home and we waited.  I thought for sure the baby was gone and I went in later to check for a heartbeat.  Miraculously, the babies heartbeat was still there.  Again, the doctors were sure to point out that I was “high risk” and that there were no guarantees due to the large size of the bleed.  This time I went on strict bedrest.  It was the only way to stop the bleeding and let that area heal. 

Tomas and I hadn’t told but a couple people yet about what was really going on.  We didn’t want to explain to a million people that we were pregnant today but didn’t know about tomorrow.  It would have been hard to answer questions as to what was going on with the baby when we had no clue.  Even our families didn’t know for a couple more weeks.  There was too much going on with family illness, we just couldn’t deal with any extra questions.  We hardly knew what was happening from day to day. 

But a week later, I had yet another episode and it was decidely worse than the last.  It lasted for 12 hours at that point, and there was no sign of letting up.  My doctor said to go straight to the ER for an ultrasound and blood work.  That was when Tomas was already at a funeral for his grandfather.  It was a very rough day.  Well, I went in and the baby still had a heartbeat.  We were still pregnant.  The hematoma in my uterus however, had not reduced in size.  Every ultrasound was harder and harder to look at.  Yes, the baby was growing and looking more human all the time.  Early on, it would have been easier for me to deal with a miscarriage, but now there was this little being in there.  I had seen it.  I kept thinking, “What if?  How would I deal with it?”

The doctor we had that day was truly amazing.  He went on to explain that in his professional opinion.  We were going to be fine.  The baby was growing and looked as if it would “beat out the bleed” for space.  It would just take time.  Usually the bleeding would stop by the end of the first trimester.  I had to stay on bedrest.  That was the hardest part.  All I could do was sit and wait.

I have had a few more small episodes after that.  However, little by little, I can tell my body is healing.  At my last ultrasound (last week), the baby was growing strong.  Still no guarantees, but a definitely a more positive outlook.  I am still uncertain as to how to approach this mentally, because I am not totally out of the woods.  The hematoma still measures the same size on the ultrasound but is not interfering with the pregnancy.  However, that “high risk” label troubles me.

Why am I sharing this now, finally?  Well, I am now in week 12.  Very close to being through the touch and go first trimester.  I think this pregnancy has a good chance to be fine. I am feeling better.   My belly is busting out and there is no way to hide my poochy self.  I guess the 4th pregnancy is no longer bound in due to lack of abdominal muscles.  Plus, the boys have noticed my expanding body and are very excited to share the news of our new baby bro/sis.  As you may know, no secret is safe with an excited 5 year old!

I know that some may think we are insane for having another so soon, especially since I had PPD after Gret.  That’s okay.  I have been called crazy enough times to be hardened to it.  I can’t wait for the comments when I have to get groceries with 4 children, all 5 years old and under.  All I know for sure, is that we are confident we can handle whatever life throws at us.  Our kids (so far) are wonderful, caring children and we can’t wait to watch another grow into an adorable being.  My gaggle is growing and that’s just fine with us.

My new favorite quote from Steven Colbert:  “Warning:  I may contain more than a trace amount of nut!”  I think it’s very appropriate!

Go to fullsize image   Today was the first day of Kindergarten for Zack.  It was a great day!  We made it to school on time. He was excited and couldn’t wait to start in a new class.  I didn’t shed any sappy tears.  I just took a million pictures all day starting with his first breakfast before going to kindergarten.  We were good to go.

And go we did.  Please, tell me that somebody else’s child wet their pants on the first day of school this year.  I got the call right after I put my other two down for a nap.  I couldn’t believe it.  This never happens anymore. 

I got to school with fresh shorts and this was Zack’s very calm explanation, “Well, Ms. D. said we could only read one book.  I really wanted to keep the book that I got, so I didn’t want to get up off the carpet square right away.  Then all of a sudden, I had to go really really bad.  I had an accident, the blue carpet square had pee pee on it,  but I got to do puzzles in the office.”

Well, at least he wasn’t phased by the whole thing and can’t wait to go to school again.  The staff and teacher were awesome and layed back about it, so it wasn’t deemed “as a big embarassing event”.  I just hope that we don’t end up with a nickname such as “Zack who can’t keep his peepee back” or “Pee Pee Pants Mcgee”.  You know there’s always that one kid who just kept wetting their pants and smelled like pee half of the day.  I feel so bad for that child now.  

My apology:  “Marcia W., if you are out there somewhere, I am sorry that I never wanted to sit at your table and would openly tease you about being odiforous.  I now know you couldn’t help it.  I also want to apologize to Lance B.  I know you couldn’t help puking at school all the time.  I did share a table with you and you puked on my pencil/crayon box.  I can finally forgive you for ruining my crayolas.” There I feel cleansed of my elementary school meanness. (of course, if you know me at all, you know I was a little stinker in elementary school.  This really shouldn’t be the last of my apologies.)  

Let’s hope Zack’s is just a one time deal due to the excitement and newness of it all.  Anson starts school tomorrow and I anticipate getting a few “behavior calls” on that end, just as I did last year.  I don’t think I can handle running back and forth between the 2 schools for “issues”.

Go to fullsize image  The Olympics have finally begun!  We have been so excited over here at our home.  Why?  I am really not sure.  We just love to watch the Olympics and follow the stories of athletes both young and old reaching their dreams.  Even when an athlete doesn’t place where they would hope, you have to admire their commitment, courage and love for their sport/s.  I can’t even modify my diet for a month, much less stick with any regimented training for most of my life.  These people are committed and so are countless parents that have supported and followed their children to the ends of the Earth to chase their dreams.  It’s really amazing to see what people can accomplish.

These Olympics have been especially fun to watch because both Zack and Anson are old enough to get into the competitive excitement.  When we were watching beach volleyball today for a short while, we taught them that if the ball hits the ground the team scores.  So everytime they saw the ball land in the sand, they would pump their fists in the air and yell score.  Swimming was just as fun, but harder for them to pick out who they liked best because you couldn’t really see the caps/colors in the pool.  Gymnastics was a tense moment for them as well, as they waited for the guys to fall (or not).  It was very interactive viewing with them.

What I love most about it, is that it inspired them to “try” several of these new (or new to them) sports.  It also was a great opportunity to talk about how hard everyone was trying and it was great if you won, but wasn’t it also awesome if you just finished?  Teachable moments, I tell you what!!  Well, after watching a little of the games, the boys created their own Olympic venue in our backyard. 

The first event they created was the hurdles.  A particular favorite of Zacks but not so much of Anson’s although he follows along trying to keep up with his older brother.  They have done this in the past, but today there were more hurdles and they were taller and wider than usual.  Zack has long, limber legs that are great for running and jumping so of course he won all the medals.  Anson also got medals but if he were truly running a track meet he would have been disqualified every time because his little pudgy legs could never jump long enough so he settled for sort of hopping past them off the side when he came to them.  The hurdles were things like rows buckets, riding toys, and rigged up jump ropes.  This event was a little stressful for mom because 2 days ago, Zack received a bloody nose (again) from attempting an indoor version of this.  He’s been obsessed with this event ever since the time trials were on tv.  I have a hard time squelching this interest.

The next event was a version of volleyball that involved no net and simply hitting big bouncy balls to each other.  3 bouncy balls were in play at one time and if any of them hit the fence around our yard, you scored a point.  They would pump their fists and high five each other any time one of them scored.  It didn’t matter that they were technically on different teams.  Any success was a shared success.  Gret tried to get in on the action but was quickly distracted by some flowers that were blooming.  Her attention span is still about 3 minutes long at 18 months.

Volleyball then led into some gymnastics on the swing set.  They would swing from the board above the top of the slide to propel them faster downwards.  At the bottom, they would jump up and kind of “stick the landing”.  If you couldn’t stand up, you lost.  Then they created their own version of the rings on the hanging bar of the swing set.  It involved pushing each other on it and then jumping off mid-air to land.  Anson created this really wild game he called “rocket” (if you know him in real life, you would know that rockets are a very popular theme for him).  They would both straddle a swing (there are 2 swings that are side by side) facing each other and try to hit each other or avoid being hit, by pushing back and forth with their feet.  Giggles quickly turned to tears when they actually slammed into each other.  I am not sure who won that competition.

We all got into a rousing game of soccer after dinner.  Tomas was kicked out of the game because he kept getting to caught up in the action.  First he broke one of the pickets in the fence when he shot a goal.  The goal was an area of the fence.  Then he went a little overboard and kicked one of the bouncy balls HARD at the goalie, Zack.  Zack bravely took it in the face which resulted in crying and a small amount of swelling.  He did save the goal though, and shook it off fairly quickly.  Tomas was ejected from the game for illegal moves at that time.  What we did notice though, was that Anson is AWESOME at soccer.  What a good little offensive player he is.  At 3 he can dribble with both feet while running full speed and then will even attempt to shoot from the outside into the goal.  When he just takes shots on goal, he dribbles at full speed and without stopping will kick the ball with amazing aim into the goal.  He’s better than me at this point.  Do I see a potential soccer star here?  We can dare to dream.

In all, the boys Olympic games lasted 4 hours total!  We couldn’t believe it!  Who says a little television can’t be beneficial?  (I like that reasoning, don’t you?) Once they watched a sport for a couple minutes, they would run out the door wanting to try it.  Who am I to stop their dreams of medals and “goals”?  Of course, our backyard was a total mess at the end of the day, but that’s beside the point.

I think it’s important that children are exposed to any and all extra-curricular activities throughout their school years.  Involvement in sports, music, dance, clubs, and other arts have consistently shown to increase a child’s focus, improve self esteem, and provide important positive character traits such as honesty, commitment, and fair play.  When children have to transition from middle school to high school or even to a whole new school system altogether, being part of a unified group such as a sports team, music ensemble, or club will allow them to feel secure in the support of this smaller unit.  When they have goals that can only be reached by working with others and taking care of their own bodies, it creates a sense of responsibility that can prevent them from delving into some not so “nice” activities such as drug use or sexual promiscuity.   After all, they won’t want to let the others down or weaken themselves (or at least that’s what we hope!). 

Let the Olympics be a possible spring board to explore your childs interests.  If they are interested in a certain activity, let them try it out or go to watch a local similar event so they can know that it’s out there waiting for them.  Be sure to watch for Zack running the hurdles and Anson playing soccer in the 2024 Summer Olympics.  I just hope I still look good when they feature us in the boys mini-bios and that I don’t have a really ugly cry for joy while on camera.  I am a VERY VERY ugly crier.  That’s my Olympic goal, to look pretty while crying in 2024.

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