Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Adventures in skiing

 We took the whole family skiing for the first time ever! Joe had the Monday after Christmas off so we thought it could be a grand adventure. Anything with 4 kids is not only an adventure but an exercise in planning, packing, and patience, so we set the bar high! When we skied last year we had 3 adults and 2 kids, so why not switch it up and completely overwhelm ourselves? HaHA, we are geniuses!

First, the planning: When Sports Authority was going out of business Joe came across great deals on their rental skis - skis and boots were only $10 each! He bought 3 pairs of skis and 2 boots, all kids sizes because that's what they had left. All of a sudden, skiing wasn't going to cost a million dollars just to get the family into skis! We got those set to Caroline, Eli, and Patrick on Christmas day (Eli ended up needing to rent boots). We looked up a few of the closest ski resorts and settled on Crystal Mountain because all kids under 10 ski free, and even though it's 2 hours away it's still the closest place. We would rent skis for Joe and and for Ethan, and I would wrangle kids in my regular winter boots and not ski.

Second, the packing: We dragged out every pair of snow pants, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, and ski goggles because the forecast said it would be a high of 20 degrees but feel like 10, and I know the quickest way to ruin a ski day is to be COLD. We loaded up a huge lunch, because another way to ruin a good day is to be HUNGRY. The two hour drive back was sure to be a time for rumbly tummies and boredom so I made sure we had extra snacks for the drive home, and I brought along our portable DVD player so we could rest our parental ears from any potential "when will we be home???" whining.

Eli is prepared for the cold

Third, the patience: Caroline and Ethan had never been skiing before, so they would need LOTS of help and probably get really frustrated. Eli has been skiing twice before and based on his two previous experiences, would definitely needs lots of help and get really frustrated.  We're pretty sure skiing is NOT the sport for him, but he likes to think it is. Patrick would likely be no trouble in the physical portion, but he is a kid and kids can get whiney, so we needed to keep our wits about us and not lose our minds, like "we drove two hour to get here and paid good money for this skis and you will have fun so help me!!" We didn't want to be THOSE parents.

We spent the morning in the beginner zone, where they have a never-before-seen-by-me contraption that takes the kids around in a circle on flat ground. Genius! Get the feel for skis before you head down a hill! Caroline and Patrick really enjoyed this.

They had ropes for skiers/snowboarders to hold onto, and then a few tubes attached for kids who needed a break and just wanted to sit and have fun; Ethan really enjoyed THIS.

Ethan was even a step below the merry go round so I pulled him with my scarf. At first he screamed and screamed, like being pulled along at 0 miles per hour with your mother at the helm meant certain death, but he calmed down eventually and by the end of the day had devised a little "stop/go" game for me and enjoyed me taking him down hills.

So in the end, all our planning, packing, and patience paid off! Caroline ended up LOVING skiing, and Joe took her down the real bunny hill TWICE, and (with the help of Joe) she never fell! Patrick went down the bunny hill tons of times and never fell (all his own skill). Eli enjoyed the Magic Carpet zone and never broke down crying - WIN! Ethan ended up having a wonderful day with 1/3 skiing, 1/3 tubing, and 1/3 just running around in the snow. Joe had a fun day with whoever was ready and able to ski, and I had a fun day running around in my boots and not feeling frustrated that I was missing anything (like getting my money's worth, because I hadn't spent a nickel to be there myself). It was an adventure, to be sure, and took us from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with 2 meals on the road and 5 hours of driving (thanks, ski traffic), but now we can say WE DID IT.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas 2016

Some Christmases are more successful than others... and this one was one of those that make the other Christmases look like a schmuck! We had a WONDERFUL time!

I was a little stressed out at the beginning of December when my goal of having all my shopping done got pushed back, and back, and the 1st quickly became the 18th.... but I got it all done before Christmas, and it hasn't always happened that way! And somewhere in the middle there we had some friends watch all the kids for us and Joe and I had a wonderful shopping day to ourselves - it was one of the magical shopping moments where you find just what you're looking for and you're in the mood to buy it without hesitation.

Sometimes I get caught up second-guessing myself, even when it will obviously be good in the long run - this happens a lot with grocery shopping! For instance: I know I'll need more oatmeal soon, but how soon is soon? Oatmeal's not on sale right now, so maybe I should wait? But maybe I'll need it soon and I should get it now (splurge on the extra 50 cents, since it's not on sale, heaven forbid). But seriously, nobody in my family is that crazy about oatmeal, so I should definitely wait, right? I hem and haw and stand there for approximately 180478378 years, make my decision NOT to buy the oatmeal and firm up my resolve to not take this long on my next shopping purchases, but then I come to the cold cereal.... and it starts all over again. And I get home, exhausted from my mentally challenging shopping experience so I want to make No Bake Cookies, and it turns out we are OUT OF OATMEAL.

So I was worried it would be like this with Christmas shopping! But NO, it was AWESOME, and on top of it all we got to go out to lunch without kids, so we had huge, greasy, delicious burgers from Five Guys. Anything that wasn't purchased that whirlwind day was bought with Amazon Prime and came in plenty of time for no-stress wrapping (and led to plenty of  remember when Amazon was an online site for buying books, and who even needed that? conversations.)

As a common-but-still-cute-tradition we bought new pajamas for the kids to wear Christmas Eve. The Cat&Jack line from Target had adorable stuff that really fit each kid's personality, so Ethan got diggers, Eli got a bear, Patrick got a Triceratops, and Caroline got a dress.

Debbie and John sent their packages with LOTS of time to spare, and far exceeded our own purchases in sheer volume! By the time we had all presents set out, our tree skirt was full to the brim... but there is a moment if disappointment when you come out Christmas morning and the presents look basically the same as the night before (even though seriously, there are a million presents), so Santa came by Christmas Eve and added chairs and tables for a multi-layer stacking effect. And, as is our tradition, the stockings were removed from the mantle, filled with candy and a few small gifts, and set by a large Santa gift somewhere in the room, so there were presents everywhere.

Sure enough, Christmas morning there were GASPS of delight from the kids (yessssss!). You know it's a good gasp when you can hear them all the way down the hall in your bedroom :) We got clothes and books and toys and gifts-asked-for and total-surprise-gifts, we got games for now and experiences for later (paid-for classes starting in January). The big surprise gift was a keyboard for the kids, with a set of headphones (for the parents' sanity). We were SO BLESSED with gifts!

Ethan left the hubbub after he opened his matchbox cars from Debbie and digger from Santa - he was content to play in the other room on his road!

Christmas on a Sunday is looked forward to with dread, but we decided we would use 11:00 church to slow down our morning and stretch it out into a whole day, so we opened most of our gifts before church, then attended a special one-hour service that was centered around music (which makes me cry) and had a few speakers (which also made me cry). It was a wonderful break from the physical to appreciate the spiritual. I had a moment, while we were singing and I was crying, where I could see the older members of the ward as the young children, when they were singing with their parents and their grandparents, and I could see the very young children in the ward and how they will be the grandparents, singing alongside their children and grandchildren, and it all happens in the space of a moment. The days are long, but the years fly by, and all of these generations pass in a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things, and we are ALL blessed by the birth of our Savior, and by his sacrifice for every single one of us. Including me! In that very moment! It was a wonderful moment.

 Wonderful days filled with wonderful moments: a Christmas miracle.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Finished! In that 98% Kirsta-kind-of-way

 I have continued working on the tree skirt, and I am pretty darn pleased with the results! There are some ornaments that are just basics, some based on actual ornaments on our tree, like the bell and the candy-cane mouse, and there are some that are based on the spirit of the holiday. Here they are in all their glory:

 And the effect under the tree is quite lovely!

The kids obviously couldn't look forward to unpacking it with their stockings, since it didn't exist until just now, but they have enjoyed helping me along as I make the designs, and we even had a nice night where I taught them how to embroider! Ethan was, of course, not a part of that crowd.

But that's it for my holiday crafting this year! I've learned that it's important to have a craft to look forward to because planning is half the fun, I've learned tree skirts don't need to be nearly as big as you think they do (I cut this one down 3 times), and I learned I need to move out Christmas tree next year because in its current location it gets walked on a lot and white felt was a bad choice for that. Ahhh, so much learning every time!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

How to party when you're 6

Caroline's birthday was on Thursday and the only thing more disappointing than a December birthday is a middle of the week birthday, especially when your mom makes you ride the bus as usual and also chooses not to bring in treats to your class. There just are already TOO MANY TREATS floating around in December, including the birthday cake she was getting that night, so was practically doing her and her insulin a FAVOR... though I don't know that she saw it that way.

The day certainly wasn't a bust, though! It snowed the night before so school started 2 hours late, meaning she had lots of time for her smoothie and blueberry muffin breakfast, and to open gifts before school! Then we had pizza for dinner, her special request, followed by chocolate cake, and I am not exaggerating when I say it was the best chocolate cake I've ever made. From a box mix, but the frosting was homemade and fudgy, and I opted for a 2-layer round cake, which means MORE fudgy frosting!! We were in heaven.

The a.m. gifts REALLY worked out great because there wasn't much time the night, as picking up her special request of pizza made me re-think all my life decisions as we waited for nearly an hour for 2 pizzas that, we found out as we opened the box at home, they got WRONG. Next time I will settle for pizza I cook myself; at least I'll know what I'm getting and when I'm getting it. In the end we DID get some pizza and the worldkept turning despite my first-world problems, but HUMPH.

She got fuzzy sweaters from the Gustavson grandparents, a book and a chock-full-of-baubles jewelry box from the Jacobs grandparents, and hair accessories from us because we've really been tring to tame her mane for kindergarten and church. Good thing she's my only lady, I fall down pretty hard on the hair game! But we try.

And that was Caroline turning 6! What a day.
Her crown from school, taste-testing her frosting

 Trying on mom's boots, wearing her new sweater

Checking out her new jewelry box 

 Gifts and brothers <3 nbsp="" p="">

 ...and a dad :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

How to party when you're 33

I don't think I was EVER much for going out, not in my teens OR my 20s, so turning 33 was not the time to begin a wild life of debauchery! And so, homebody that I am, I stayed up late the night before, waiting for Joe to get home - there was a catered dinner for the 2nd shift at work, served at 10 p.m., and he was one of the people in charge of doing that serving. So he got home at 12:30, right as I was giving up and going to bed, and I was so glad I caught him because he walked in with a beautiful bouquet of flowers! He admitted he didn't know where we had stashed the vases so he would have had to wake me up anyway :) 
The flowers were the only thing he brought me on my actual day because just the week prior my birthday present was delivered, and I certainly wasn't going to twiddle my thumbs for a week waiting to open these beauties:
So awesome, right?! Up until they arrived the only place we had to sit was the dining table, which is also the kids art area, and you have to fully clear one vefore you start the other and sometimes I just want a soda and a snack and to NOT clear the table, so this bar has been crying out for some seating! Mission accomplished.

My other birthday wish was to not cook, so we ordered pizza. Hooray, I felt like a kid again! Pizza on my birthday and I was so stoked! I thinks adults are supposed to be stoked about fancy restaurants and extensive dessert menus and such, but we polished off our dinner with made-from-scratch homemade ice cream (as opposed to the "homemade flavor" ice cream from the store, which should be ashamed of itself because it's not even close to fulfilling its claim [except Blue Bell, which isn't sold here]). It was a WONDERFUL evening. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Piano Forte

Two of my kiddos are enjoying the piano! One of those "if I were a better mom" guilt traps is that I do not have a set practice time or amount for them. Once they start playing I think, "oh yeah! I wanted to make them practice!" But as soon as they step away I think, "Oh, yeah! I wanted to house to be quiet, I'm so glad they're done, but TOMORROW I'm definitely setting a time and a timer so we can get serious...." Ahhh, the eternal optimism - it's hopeful yet maddening. 

I've taken a few videos of them playing, NOT to brag (because let's face it, Patrick is almost 9 and there are concert pianists his age) but to enjoy watching the kids do what THEY enjoy. Caroline especially enjoys it, and will find a few moments, opportune or otherwise, to practice the piano (while I make dinner? Great! After I've asked you 3 times to find your shoes because we're late? Not so much!). Patrick enjoys it BUT... I think he mostly enjoys being better than Caroline, however so slightly. When she can't quite figure out a note or a phrase, he will step in and step on her toes - often literally, hip-checking her to the side so she can "see how it's done." This, not-so-shockingly, drives Caroline insane, thus driving me insane. I think he practices juuuuuust enough to stay ahead of her on a song. I've noted to Patrick's teachers, and I think it remains true here, that Patrick is motivated by praise for being the best. I suppose it's fortunate that Caroline is setting the bar high for him ;) 

I posted most of these videos on Facebook, but that was a terrible combination of oversight and laziness** on my part. I don't really like posting on Facebook - I find it more a useful platform for getting information like, "Where's a good Mexican restaurant Joe can take me for my birthday?" and, "What was the book club book this month?" And I also enjoy funny videos people post, so if it made my day, it made my wall! But I REALLY don't like multiple posts of the same event, and I could not for the freaking LIFE of me get the videos to upload into one post! But the videos were too long for instagram (where I ALSO hate multiple posts of one event), and people... it's just been so long since I was in the habit, I FORGOT ABOUT THE BLOG. So now, for your viewing pleasure AGAIN, but all in one post where I can easily find them, are the piano videos. With a bonus video of Patrick playing Jingle Bells, his new all-day-every-day song.   

**You should know: It took me 2 hours of wrangling my phone's countless (ok, 1,830) picture and video files onto my external hard drive just so I could post these videos. I can only hope one of my kids turns out to be a tech whiz 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Skirting the Issue

Who doesn't like a good Christmas project? 

Last year my big project was (finally!!) making family stockings. I did them from felt and my very biased opinion thinks they are SUPER cute. This year as I unpacked our Christmas decorations the kids were first and foremost ready for those stockings, but I came up dry in terms of a tree skirt! I've previously used blankets, and now I see I was using those blankets as a placeholder until those stockings were done so I could creat a MATCHING SKIRT!! Not for the first time, procrastination served me well! The stockings dont have a theme exactly, but "colorful" and "felt," "embroidery" and "ricrac" come to mind, so with that I am making colorful felt ornaments that decorate the edge and "hang" from colorful ricrac. For your (ok, MY) viewing pleasure, here are the more detailed ornaments I've finished, and on the bottom is a more general view of the project. I am approximately one million hours away from finished, but I am having lots of of fun in the process.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Back in the Saddle again

Debbie suggested a start writing blog posts again, and I agreed. So let's get started!

I meant to keep my blog going as we were moving in and seeing things with new eyes, so I could log all the things that were "new" and "interesting," and then look back at that post in a few years and LAUGH and laugh and roll over and laugh some more because DU-uh, it's Washington! In preparing for that post (that obviously never happened) I mentally catalogued a few things. In no particular order, Washington (specifically Olympia) is:

1. Beautiful. Holy SMOKES this place is lovely! The trees are unbelievably tall. Things are green, green, and more green - plants, yes, but sidewalks! Walls! The dang TRUNK of the trees are green, because moss grows everywhere. It lends a magical quality to decidedly non-magical things like "gutters" and "sticks" and "that old tree stump that nobody bothered to clear away."

2. Wet. There is water EVERYWHERE - lakes, inlets, rivers, ponds, Puget Sound, the Pacific Ocean! I am so excited that we live so close to the ocean - I love me some Colorado and mountains, but I'm not a big traveller, so when our kids started pestering us about "when are we going to the ocean?" and we didn't even have plans to VISIT the ocean, I thought "this is going to be a long childhood." We satisfied their beach desires the very first week we were here, and they love it all. Love Puget Sound, love the Pacific, love the sand and crabs and sand dollars and boats and seagulls and (thank goodness) DON'T mind the cold. Our neighborhood is built around a lake, and we enjoyed walking down to the lake this summer, going every few days and staying for hours and hours. I LOVE living by a lake.

3. Gross. There are the biggest bugs I have ever seen in my life, and they're NORMAL here! Slugs that stretch from my thumb to my pinky, thicker around than any of my fingers, just sliding across my driveway! Like it's NORMAL! (Hint: It's not normal if you're not from Washington). Massive mosquitos. Spiders to scare the pants off you. But they are everywhere, and they are *considered* normal, so your job is to get used to them.

5. Sunny. Maybe it's because I expected all rain, all the time, so any sun took me by surprise, but the weather here is actually beautiful! Not hot (it got in the low 90's a few times and "extreme weather warnings" were issued - I laughed!!), but not as cool as I (forlornly) thought it would always be. Really just NICE (except the week my parents were here in May, when it got cold again), and we had plenty of sunny days through the summer and even the fall. I hear winter, starting about now through February, is where it gets unbearably rainy, so this may be one of those items I mentioned looking back on and laughing until I hurt myself.

4. Cared for. Earth day is a THING around here! I think Earth Day decorations outstripped all the other holidays we've been here for. NO STORES in Olympia use plastic bags; instead, you pay 5 cents to buy a paper bag, or you can bring a reusable one. This took the longest to get used to. Everybody recycles, and most things are recyclable. Composting is a thing - everybody does it! We have a garbage can, a recycle can, a yard waste can (all the same size), and then a composter in our back yard. It took some getting used to not just to chuck everything in he trash as usual, but they only pick up trash every other week, so it is NECESSARY. Being an outsider looking in, it's a whole bunch of little changes and who cares about reusing your bags or putting your egg shells in the compost instead of the trash? But now that I'm used to it, it seems perfectly normal that you should think about it, and how sad for all those people who don't think about it and just chuck it all in the trash! ... But I'm sure if I were hauled back to our old Pueblo digs I would look back on this time and think, "what weirdos we turned into!" I guess it's the bubbles you live in, and Olympia is a very (VERY) earth-oriented bubble.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Silly little things

Awwww, KIDS... they make us laugh, which makes me write blog posts.

Joe went to the gym early one morning, and when he got home the kids were at the table for breakfast.  He sat next to Caroline and they began that game where you set your hand on the table, the next person slaps theirs down on top, you slap your hand on top, they slap theirs, and you're trying to make your hand be king of Hand Mountain. Anyway, Caroline won the round of King of Hand Mountain, and smugly said to Joe, "You must not have worked out your arms today."

Ethan got up much earlier than the other kids and came down to play with toys. I was already downstairs to scrapbook, and all was quiet... until he farted LOUDLY. I said coyly, "Ethan, did you fart?" He replied, "no, I not fart. Caroline farted." Laughing, I told him, "Caroline is asleep, I think it was you." He matter-of-factly said, "Caroline farted in her bed." He is SO sneaky.

Speaking of sneaky farts, I was holding Ethan on my lap during sacrament meeting on Sunday (I become a human dog-pile during sacrament, it's really sweetly obnoxious, as Joe sits in his corner, untouched), and for that moment everyone was perfectly still. It was a short moment, as Ethan turned to me and announced from out of nowhere, "I didn't fart." Ummmm.... ok, not sure why you would tell me you didn't..... and then the stink cloud hit me. SURE you didn't fart, you little sneakster!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Home, home on the market!

Well, where to begin? As Maria van Trapp would say, "Let's start at the very beginning... a very good place to start!"

Joe has been an all-star at work and about a 9 months ago was sent to Target HQ to begin training to become an SGL, or  Senior Group Leader (he is currently the Group Leader of Engineering and Facilities, or the E&F GL for short). His training through the months has continued to go swimmingly and we began considering places we might relocate, as the Pueblo Distribution Center did not have available SGL positions. About 2 months ago the DC in Lacey, Washington contacted Joe's DC to say they were looking to fill an SGL position for E&F, and would we consider a relocation there? Well YES WE WOULD! (And were you able to follow all those acronyms? Yeah, it gets confusing for me, too!). Joe did a few meet-and-greet interviews, and the General Manager felt that Joe would be a really good fit, so he did a formal interview (actually over the weekend of Patrick's baptism!) and it became official - Joe is being promoted to a Senior Group Leader in the Lacey, Washington Distribution Center! His official last day in Pueblo is March 25th, his first day in WA is April 4th!

So the process has begun. SELLING. As soon as Joe went to that training last summer we started preparing ourselves - wrapping up home renovation projects, clearing out and cleaning up the far reaches of our home (like the attic), and mentally preparing ourselves to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new. When his official offer of a position and salary came through we called our realtor, who helped us buy our home 4 years ago, to put our place back on the market. This happened in a flash - we called her Friday, she took pictures and measurements Monday, it was officially on the market Monday night, we had showings starting on Tuesday, we continued showings on Wednesday, received three offers on Wednesday night, accepted one of those offers Thursday afternoon, had a few more stragglers come for showings Thursday afternoon, and by Thursday night we had the place back to ourselves while we could kick up our feet in the comfort of "under contract!"

The great part of that timing was that there wasn't any panic - we'd been working on putting things together for so long that when it was time to put it on the market it was a cinch, we just had to make sure things were wiped down and laundry put away. The terrible part of that timing was ETHAN'S timing in breaking his arm. Tuesday morning we had Ethan's surgery and the realtors had a group tour; while we were in recovery we had our first showing; starting at 5 p.m. we had a slew of showings. We could normally go out to dinner, but not with Ethan in his state! Our friends the Steels had already graciously provided dinner that night after the surgery, so we took even greater advantage of their hospitality and took up that dinner offer at THEIR house. During our stay we got call after call, and by the time dinner was done we'd had five showings on the house all in 2 hours, and 7 more scheduled for the next day. Whaaaat?! We kept the house to ourselves Thursday morning and then showings started at noon - I loaded up our wagon with pillows and blankets to keep Ethan warm and comfortable, and we went to the zoo for a few hours. Our neighbor Doris had offered to let us crash at her house during any showings, so after the zoo we watched cartoons from her couch. Thankfully we already had dinner plans, with the Cub Scout Blue and Gold dinner at church from 6-7:30. When we got home our realtor updated us on offers coming in, and we agreed to meet up in the morning to discuss with Joe at work. Thursday morning we took a look at the offers, which were all wonderful - I suppose that's typical for a multiple-offer situation? Everyone brought their "highest and best" and we had to pick, which was really hard! A good problem to have, but still a problem. In the end we decided to accept the offer from a young family who wrote us a letter and gushed about the house and seemed to be a perfect fit (or maybe they just really reminded us of us when we bought the house, and we happen to really like "us").

The deal is far from done, as we still have appraisals and inspections to go through, but at least on this end we are perfectly happy with the way things have gone so far.

On the other end, the Washington end, Joe will be taking a trip to the rainy state and finding a place for us to rent for a few months! Soon we will be on the flip side of the coin, being shown houses while someone possibly sits with their kid in the hospital, takes in dinner with a friend, or crashes on their neighbor's couch to watch some cartoons.  The end of one adventure here is the beginning of another one there...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

LOOSH, and our broken Ethan

The big news story is that Ethan broke his arm. He broke it Monday, was splinted by the Orthopedist that evening, had surgery Tuesday morning to put in pins, and was put in a cast from his hand to his shoulder, where he will be recovering for 4 week.

So, apparently he jumped to his own demise. He jumps off the stairs every day, 3 or 4 stairs up, and lands and rolls - no big deal. He jumped off the stairs the minute we were unloading ourselves from picking up the boys from school Monday, so nobody saw HOW he jumped and landed, but it must have been all wrong because he started screaming. I ran to his side ... ok, that's a lie, I walked over after I finished writing some school events on the calendar. If you know Ethan you know he screams about everything, so I figured he had mildly bonked his head but was convinced it was a head-injury. But there he was, crumpled on the floor, and ever since Caroline broke her arm I check arms first after falls - it was obvious from the way he was screaming that he was in pain, the way he was holding himself that it was his arm, and the way his allow stuck out at a funny angle that something was amiss. I took it for a dislocated elbow - c'mon, the elbow was in the wrong place, and there's obviously no way you can break your elbow by jumping down 3 stairs! Right? So we loaded right back into the van that we had literally JUST piled out of, I buckled him up as best I could, and we went to Urgent Care.

Urgent Care looked like they would be less than urgent, their waiting room was PACKED. Our pediatrician is in the office right next door down the hall, so we walked in there hoping there might be a pediatrician who had a second to correct his "nurse's elbow." THEIR office was packed, and all Dr's were booked solid, so we were sent back to the Waiting Room of Doom. I signed in Ethan and the lady at the desk informed me there were 7 people ahead of him, so I sat down to fill our paperwork and Ethan did his job of screaming. Have you heard Ethan scream? It's loud, it's incessant, and it reaches a pitch that physically hurts your eardrums, so I did not even attempt to shush him because I WANTED TO BE SEEN. Sure enough, I hadn't even filled out the second paper in the stack and we were called back to be seen! The nurse rolled up his sleeve to inspect the dislocation, but she said, "sorry, we won't be able to set this, you'll have to drive over to Pueblo West to Dr. Hanson's Orthopedic Center." BOO. I didn't want any more piling in and out of the car, it was excruciation for Ethan, and meant another waiting room, but it was our only hope and it was thankfully just down the road. 

Dr. Hansons's office was, in contrast to Urgent Care, empty. They took us back right away, the team of nurses and assistants took a quick look and said, "that's not dislocated. It's a blahblahblahblah-long-name fracture" We had been out of the house for over an hour at the point, and I was stunned! BROKEN? Ok, let's let that sink in while they take x-rays (and meanwhile understand what the nurse at Urgent Care said about not setting his arm there - I knew they didn't set broken bones there, and I wondered why you'd need to set a dislocated joint... denial was strong with me, I guess). They brought x-rays back, along with Dr. Hanson, who explained that Ethan had broken off the bottom edge of his humerus, and it got shoved out (THAT'S why his elbow looked out of place! it WAS), and had twisted so that he couldn't set it there in the office; Ethan would require surgery to twist is around and scooch it back, then he would pin fractured-off bone disc back to the main bone. SURGERY? Ok, let's let that sink in while the good doctor write up a prescription for some hopped-us Tylenol. 

We left the office with Ethan in a splint, which kept his arm in place but did absolutely nothing for his pain (as opposed to Caroline's break, which was much more comfortable once it was splinted).  We headed straight for Walgreens, our regular pharmacy for filling prescriptions, and it was worse than the urgent care waiting room! The drive-through line was not one or two cars, it was at least TEN! Fortunately there is a side lane for prescription drop-offs only, so we whizzed through that in comparison to those 10 cars, but it meant that the inside pharmacy was ridiculously slammed. Sure enough, the prescription wouldn't be available for TWO HOURS. We grabbed some dinner from Wendy's and went home to put on a movie to hopefully distract Ethan during these miserable hours. Joe came home from work and got the full story, plus some sobs from me - I didn't feel responsible for his accident by any means, and I didn't feel particularly bad about mis-diagnosing it as a dislocated elbow instead of a break because I did as good as I could, but I was just really overwhelmed by the amount of crying involved (it's really hard to listen to your kid in so much pain and not be able to do a darn thing about it), and we've never had any of our kids have any kind of surgery, so I was pretty scared. 

The night was long, even once the overdue prescription was picked up. Ethan was most comfortable in my arms, in a sitting position, so Joe piled pillows around me to be as supported as possible. Ethan's only 3 1/2, about 35 pounds, but that weight becomes impossibly heavy after only a few minutes, and we'd passed the minute mark HOURS before - my arms were aching long before bedtime. He couldn't have food or drink after midnight, and pain meds on an empty stomach just make you feel sick, so we dosed him as best we could before midnight, and he finally fell into a deep sleep around 12. I encouraged Joe to ignore any crying he heard because he wouldn't be able to help anyway, and one of us needed better sleep so the other could go to the hospital in the morning. Ethan's deep sleep only lasted until 3, then we were back to 15-minute intervals of crying - he never quite woke up, but it certainly never let me sleep. Check-in time for surgery was 5:30, so Joe took him in and I was able to get another hour of sleep from 6-7, then get the kids ready for school and drop them off before going to the hospital to meet with Joe.

The hospital was an exercise in patient waiting. 7:30 surgery turned into 8:45 surgery (and no pain meds for Ethan, since he was still not eating), a 45-minute surgery turned into a 90-minute surgery, a 30 minute recovery turned into a 2-hour recovery, so we were finally discharged at 1:00. Ethan's grogginess continued through the day and he slept on the couch while watching movies. The doctors encouraged us to keep him in meds around the clock, which keeps him comfortable ahead of the pain. He is also supposed to be basically immobile with his arm supported by pillows to encourage the swelling to go down. We thought it might be difficult, but his arm is more comfortable when elevated and he's made the connection between the nasty medicine and his arm not throbbing, so even our 3 1/2 year old is on board with his treatment plan! 

The evening was spent at our friend's house because we had house showings, but that's another story for another blog post...

Meanwhile, our doctor friend loves hearing tales of broken bones so Joe was describing the accident and he said, "oh, a LOOSH! It happens all the time - enough that it has it's own name - Landing On Out-Stretched Hand. Ethan must have stuck out his arm to land, which knocked the bottom of the humerus so they had to pin it." So now you know. Ethan is a LOOSHer.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

dancing queen

Caroline got dance classes for christmas, and she has a of of fun, but I think I have more fun watching her! It brings back so many memories of dance classes with my sisters when we were little. The stretching, imaginary play, positions of the band's and feet, leaping over a stream at the end, it's all the same! The main difference is we danced to a real piano player and they have a CD (which didn't exist when I was Carolina's age, WEIRD).

Typical Jacobs, taller than everyone.
The dance dress code is a pink leotard and pink ballet shoes with black leggings. We have this ensenble, but we also have gymnastics leotards and (more importantly) Caroline has her own sense of style - never mind that she is The Only One wearing something different, it is what she wants to wear and she loves it! Caroline to a tee. 

Friday, January 29, 2016


For Patrick's 8th birthday we threw him an art party! Because really, if I had to throw him another dinosaur party I think I would die, and his only other passion is art. Boom! Art party!

Luckily, Pinterest backed me up with some great ideas for invitations, decorations, party favors, and sundries - I was pin-winning right and left! We scheduled our time so we would use up our 3 hours of party without being booked solid but also without having so much time everyone was hounding me to call their parents to pick them up early because they were bored. We nearly had to call a mom early because one of the boys freaked out about seeing a bee (SEEING it, nothing more!), but fortunately that happened right at the end anyway. Mom confirmed that he goes psycho about bees (and no, he isn't allergic, just psycho) and she didn't try punching me for subjecting her child to such emotional trauma. Perhaps we could egg him on and plan a bee-themed party next year... but I digress!

First up was painting t-shirt with puff paint. The puff paint was supposed to take 4 hours to dry, and sure enough everyone went home with messy, wet t-shirts. I suspect t-shirt painting would go better at a summer party where the sun could speed along the process.

Next we played some Twister and Pin-the-paint-on-the-pallette. This was thanks to Facebook, where I borrowed 2 Twister games from people I would never have suspected owned one! We had 6 guests and 4 of my own kids so we needed 2 sets of twister dots, which worked out great to fit everyone in to one giant round of Twister. Added bonus: the new, improved Twisters have "air" as a spin possibility, meaning even crazier positions that are unsustainable! Good times, good times.

 While we were borrowing one of those Twister games we were also given a "pin the paint on the palette" game - they'd thrown an art party just a few weeks prior and couldn't bear to throw away their hard work on their poster, so I swooped in and snatched it for our party, then threw it away without remorse (they asked to me to. I'm not completely heartless). Two girls at the party were sisters and their mom stayed to help out (never expected but always appreciated) - her most helpful contribution was taking pictures while I was helping out kids! This was the only "pin the paint" photo she took, but it's better than my big-fat-ZERO pictures.

After games the crowd was getting rumbly for some food so Joe ran to get pizza and we got started on pillowcases - no puff paint, I was aiming for something they could actually sleep on - and then we took a food break when lunch arrived.

 The cake was not so much a real cake as individual cupcakes that the kids got to decorate by themselves - yet another art activity! And I'm glad it showcased my baking skills on the small screen, as I managed to forget to put eggs in one of the batches of cupcakes (it was a box mix! There are only 3 ingredients to add, for crying out loud! Fail).

 After pizza and treats we opened gifts - always fun! Always impressive! I set a personal gift limit of $10 per gift for parties the kids are invited to, which I think you can meet while finding some really great stuff. I seem to be the only with with such a limit, though, and he was showered with everything an 8-year-old-boy could ask for. My contribution (besides throwing a party) was a microscope - it has a nifty carrying case, some pre-made slides, some blank slides for creating your own, and other activities and instructions for making the most of your kit. Patrick has a friend who has a microscope and he frequently asks for playdates with her, just to use the microscope.

 And that is how WE get down at the Jacob's house!