Thursday, July 17, 2008

First ER visit

It's finally happened. After 4 1/2 years and 3 children, we took our little girl to the emergency room this morning. Lisy likes to poke her fingers between the door and the door jam, and today Sammy closed the door without realizing her fingers were there. The 2 little fingers on her right hand were smashed to the point of transparency.

We hadn't eaten breakfast and nobody was dressed yet. Dominic and I dressed very quickly. He put all the kids in the car while I grabbed my phone and the diaper bag with insurance information. We made it to the hospital in record time.

The triage nurse was nice and calm, which helped us calm down, too. By now the mashed fingers were round again, but they still looked very sore. They took x-rays of her hand and found no broken bones. We then got to re-wrap her hand whenever she pulled off the bandage.

The excitement and adrenaline rush of the morning really wiped out both Dominic and me for the rest of the day. As for Elisa, as long as we gave her the baby Tylenol on schedule, then she was good.

Camping in Yellowstone

Last week we went camping up at Yellowstone National Park with Dominic's brother and his wife. I took a day trip there nine years ago, and I've always wanted to go back.

The children were great in the car; not too much squabbling and lots of sleeping (yea dramamine!). We camped for 3 nights, which was just right.

Wednesday, our first full day, we explored West Yellowstone, MT and bought supplies we had either forgotten or didn't realize we needed. For instance, did you know that even in July the nighttime temperature gets down to the 30's? I didn't know, so we needed to buy some warmer clothes. We also visited a museum - they've had some fascinating natural disasters. There were dozens of buffalo like this one around the town, each painted by a different artist.

Thursday, we stayed in the park. I jogged in the morning, and it was beautiful! We saw geysers and colorful hot springs. We went to a visitor's center and down to Yellowstone Lake. The adults played several games of "Rook," while the kids were happily getting dirty. Everyone took naps in the afternoon, so I took the boys under a nearby bridge. We talked, threw rocks in the stream, and found an elk footprint. That night we roasted marshmallows. Benjamin didn't want to go near the fire, so he ate the untoasted marshmallows off the stick. FYI: when children are covered in sticky marshmallow goo, they collect much more dirt on their faces, hands and clothes, which is a pain to clean off.

Friday, we came home. We passed a field of flowers, so we stopped to give the kids a break and to take cute pictures. Dominic and I were exhausted when we got home. I unloaded the necessities from the trunk, such as clothes, toiletries, and cooking supplies. Hm, I think the tent is still there. I needed to go grocery shopping but was too tired, which is why we had no food last Saturday (see "Party crashers"). Sammy didn't sleep all weekend: he went to sleep after me, woke up before me, and didn't nap. Fortunately he's back to his regular schedule.

Animals we saw: a bald eagle and its nest, coyote, squirrels, some buffalo and a bunch of elk. We saw an osprey and a moose just outside the park. Although the boys wanted to see bears, I'm glad we didn't.

Sammy is now begging us to go camping again.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Party crashers

In order to exercise when Dominic works, I drop off the boys at the playground and push Elisa in the jogging stroller around the park. Today there were a bunch of people at the park, and I told the boys it was ok to play with the other kids. Unbeknownst to me, it was a birthday party. Within a couple of laps I saw a clown and a Batman arrive. They put on a magic show, played games, painted faces and made balloon animals. After my run and stretches, I tried to get the boys' attention, but they were having too much fun. So I talked to some of the other moms. They had wondered where the boys came from and were impressed with Sammy's outgoing nature. Eventually I found the mom in charge, apologized for crashing the party and thanked her for the great time. She was very nice and grateful the boys had fun.

Friends of ours came to the park a little later for a picnic lunch and offered to share their food with us. I appreciated it immensely! You see, we have almost no food right now; I didn't know what I was going to feed the children when we got home. (Times like this I wish we had a second car.) I'm glad I let the children stay at the party a little longer so we could all eat lunch.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Not a control freak

Instead of putting the kids to bed, I was hiding in the bathroom reading Parenting magazine. I read "Hungry for Control," an article about the increasing prevalence of eating disorders among mothers. The article contained a list of warning signs, including "You're overly controlling about the way your kids play and eat." HA! Not me! No Wrestling on Sunday is one of our house rules, but the boys were wrestling in the living room, while Lisy was wandering around who-knows-where, and I was stealing a quiet minute for myself.

So the point is that I am not a controlling mother. I don't have an eating disorder, either.

Benjamin napped today, which means he wasn't tired at bedtime. He's really good about going through our nighttime routine with his brother and sister, but then he comes out of his bedroom, saying "Ee-ee a'eep (Lisy asleep). And 'ammy a'eep (Sammy asleep). And I still awake!" What can I do? I let him stay up. He is so sweet at night, when he doesn't have to be the middle child, and he just wants "to be with oo, Mom." I include him in whatever I'm doing, be it cleaning or computer time, and he always goes back to bed without a fuss.

See? I'm not controlling at bedtime either, so I can enjoy these moments with my son.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Impromptu Block Party

We let the kids stay up for the fireworks last night. Their bedtime is usually between 7:30 and 8:00 pm, and last night they went to bed at 10:30. They were incredibly good! Of course there was the excitement of explosions, but Elisa never cried through the loud ones (both boys did at her age). The best part was that no one got hurt. Last year Benjamin grabbed a sparkler right after it burned out, which put a damper on the rest of the night.

We lit a few little fireworks after dinner, and some neighborhood kids showed up to help. Then we got our kids ready for bed and waited until it was good and dark. More neighbors were out by then, and we had a pretty good view of the city's fireworks over the houses and trees.

The night felt like a block party because the families intermingled much more than usual, and someone blasted fun music from their house during the whole thing. We even met neighbors for the first time, even though we walk past their house often. It felt like we should have been grilling hot dogs and hamburgers and eating ice cream cones. It was a fun and celebratory atmosphere for the Fourth of July.