Wednesday, March 30, 2011

If Harper Blogged...

Hi everyone! (And by "everyone", I mean Pappy and 3 other people). Mommy said if I went a whole morning without stripping my diaper off smearing poo on my hands and running naked through the living room, she would let me blog on her computer.

You'll never guess what we did last week. I'll give you a hint. It's March. We go here every year in March. My mommy has to figure out what to do with 13 pounds of strawberries afterwards.

We took some of my friends along with us to King's Orchard last week, and boy did we have fun! Mommy took a picture of some of us before started. I don't always like to look at the camera.

This was the first time my sister Emerson has ever been strawberry-pickin, so I showed her how it's done.

Emmy's favorite part was getting to carry the little box. She kept putting strawberries in the box and saying "Emerson's!".

I think she would have loved it even more if she liked strawberries.

Not that I know anything about loving strawberries. Because I would never dream of eating strawberries as I picked them, before they were rightfully paid for and properly disinfected.
I would never teach my friend Reed how to eat strawberries in the field.

I would never try to figure out how to sneak freshly picked strawberries under my shirt.
The little kid catches the blame for everything! If you tell me not to eat the strawberries, Mommy, I will not eat them. How dare you accuse me!

After picking almost 5 pounds of strawberries per box, the mommies attempted the impossible: a picture with all of the children (except little baby Lori):

Silly mommies. They should know by now that I'm not going to sit for a picture when there's strawberries to eat and dirt to play in and shoes to take off!

When we were done, we all had a little lunch. Mommy kept trying to get me to eat the yogurt and peanut butter and the other food that she had brought for me, but I was very busy digging in my friends' lunch bags, scavenging for chips and goldfish and sneaking sips of sprite. I was quite a mess after lunch, given the dirt and strawberry juice and peanut butter and yogurt encrusted in my hair and under my fingernails. Mommy got pretty tickled when she saw this sign over the bathroom sink, and realized that I must not have been the only strawberry-covered little girl to ever leave King's Orchard!

And, frankly, she briefly considered using the hose outside on me.

I had so much fun picking all the strawberries (I have a confession to make: I ate a few in the field), and I hope we can go back again soon!

Love, Harper

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baby Laurel Ann

I can't remember if I've mentioned this or not, but about a month ago, I was re-aunted. My very first niece, Laurel Ann was born last month, and we finally finally got to meet her last weekend. We loaded up the van on Thursday and headed up to Ft. Worth to spend a couple of days with Grammy and GranDoug (and of course, baby Laurel) before heading to my parents' house for my birthday.

Friday Brandon and the boys met up with GranDoug for a train ride and a little tour of the 911 facilities, and baby Laurel came over to visit with her Aunt Mandy.

The guys came back to Ft. Worth on the train, loaded down with bags of 9-1-1 SWAG, including water bottles, pill holders, and DVDs featuring Land Line Larry and Cell Phone Sally.

Somehow, these few pictures of the afternoon that Brandon took with his new cell phone are the only pictures of Aidan I got the entire time we were in Ft. Worth.

(Totally off topic: Did you read correctly? New cell phone? But how can that be? Brandon and I have had the exact same "dumb-phones" for about 3 years now. You push a button, make a call, and that's it. No internet, no "apps", no texting. Brandon has even been known to mock text messaging a bit. Well no longer, my friends. When Brandon quits playing Angry Birds on his new Droid I'm sure he'll send me a text saying how dumb texting is. I got another dumb phone, this one a cute pink flip-number with a full keyboard. Most of the online reviews for Pinky were written by 13 year old girls. So it's perfect for me.

And yes, iphone-loving family of mine, I married a Droid. Hopefully we're still going to heaven.

My Droid with his niece:

We tried and tried to get a picture of the little girl cousins, but Harper was having none of it. She was practicing "being a two year old" a day early, and was just a little stinker on Friday.

Dane, however, could not get enough of his newest cousin. An experienced baby-holder, Dane proved that you only need one good arm to snuggle a sweet little newborn.

I finally resorted to letting Harper play with my new cell phone so she would sit still for more than a couple of seconds.

I have no idea where Aidan and Emerson were when all of this picture-taking was going on. Maybe they were in the backyard talking about how neglected and under-photographed they feel. Maybe Harper is calling them on my phone.

I have to warn you, I have about a bajillion cute pictures that I took last weekend, and I'm going to be blogging about it and posting more pictures later on this week. Boredom can be expected for my non-grandparent readers.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

1 in 133,333.33

...are the odds that this girl

would share a birthday with this girl

and a birthday with this girl

Happy March 26! And Happy Birthday to Harper, myself, and my mom!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Middles

This past Sunday morning found me losing the never-ending wardrobe battle with Aidan...
...and while I was snapping his picture, the perfectly coordinated Emerson impatiently waited for her turn in front of the camera, telling me "Emerson picture, Emerson picture!"
This is a girl who is clearly not lacking for self confidence,

wearing an outfit that she specifically picked out "for church" the night before and laid on her bed,
who immediately requested "two bows" during beauty-parlor time on this morning.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't middle children supposed to be laid back? Low maintenance? "Go-with-the-flow"?

What, in any of these pictures, suggests that these two are "go-with-the-flow"?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Fishing We Will Go...

Some days are just perfect for goin' fishin'.

Perfect for catching seven fish in 30 minutes.

Perfect for dropping that slippery sucker on the ground and watching it flop around, slipping through your fingers before your daddy can grab it.

Perfect for learning how to throw fish back in.

Perfect for wearing "spring" clothes for the first time this year.

Perfect for playing on the playground while your brothers handle yucky fish!
...perfect for leaving the little yellow shoes behind while wandering around exploring.
Hope you've had a few perfect days of your own lately!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Other Spring Break Stuff I Haven't Blogged About Yet

I've told you about the Boy-venture 0f 2011.

You know about Dane's loose tooth.

But did you know about this?

Yes, that is my daughter wearing a long leg splint sitting in the lobby of our favorite children's hospital.

Let me back up a little bit. Tuesday afternoon, while I was at work, I got a phone call from my mom. She was outside on the driveway cleaning out my nasty van (because she's awesome), and Emerson had just gone into the backyard to play. After a couple of minutes, Mom hears Emerson crying, and goes outside to find Emmy sittin g on the porch with a skinned up right elbow and right knee. Our back porch is basically a concrete slab, nothing to climb up and fall off of, so as best we can figure, Emerson tripped over her feet or a piece of chalk or a wayward soccer ball and hit her knee and elbow on the concrete. Mom told me on the phone that Emmy was being very dramatic about it, telling everyone about her bandaged up boo-boos, wanting to be carried and sit on the couch and watch movies. My little drama queen.

When I got home, I kissed the girl and her boo-boos, and watched as Miss Emerson limped around the house, crying and wanting to be carried. It didn't seem to hurt her to bend her knee, but she genuinely did not want to bear weight on that leg. It seemed to be more painful than a skinned knee should be. After we put her to bed, she continued to cry and fuss off and on for a couple more hours, until finally I gave her some Tylenol with codeine and put her in my bed for the night.

The next day, she was walking a little bit better, but still limping quite a bit. Not giving it much thought, I let her tag along Wednesday afternoon to Dane's follow up appointment with the hyperactive orthopedic. He saw her limping around and expressed some concern. Before I knew it, two and a half hours had passed and the three of us were still sitting with hyper-ortho in his office. He had given Emmy a full exam, moving the leg, feeling the leg, and watching her walk around the office. X-rays were done of the knee from every imaginable angle, x-rays of the lower leg, and x-rays of the opposite knee were taken for comparison purposes.

For a skinned knee. Because my daughter tripped on the back porch.

I was starting to wonder if perhaps hyper-ortho was really crazy-ortho, when he came to talk to us about Emerson's x-ray. He thought he may have seen an abnormality on the very end of the femur by the knee, right at the growth plate. Meanwhile, Emerson is smiling, giggling, and coloring, with her legs bent underneath her. Dr. Crazy sent the x-rays to his partner, who agreed with him that it may look not-completely-normal, but it likely was fine since Emerson wasn't tender anywhere on her leg. It may have looked abnormal because of the particular angle of her leg in the x-ray.

But we should put her in a splint and keep her from weight-bearing for the next 5 days just in case.


One kid with a broken arm and another one with a full toes-to-thigh leg splint? I think I would like my Mother Of The Year trophy in gold instead of silver, please.

Wednesday night found me working an overnight shift, while my mom stayed home with the kids. (Brandon is out of town, remember? I don't think my mom had any idea what she was getting herself into). I wandered back home at 7am and promptly fell asleep for the next 5 hours. I awakened at noon to find not one, but three missed calls on my cell phone from hyper-ortho's cell phone number. Turns out, he had also left messages on my home phone, and even tried to track me down at work. You get an A+ in persistence and follow-up, Hyper Doc. I look over at my totally comfortable looking daughter, playing and in no obvious pain, and consider just placing all of my children in a padded room for the next 10 years so no more bones get broken.

I call Dr. Crazy back on his cell phone, as instructed, and learn that he is still concerned about the possible abnormality on Emmy's x-ray, and after consulting with a radiologist, is concerned about a fractured growth plate. He tells me that these types of fractures can require surgery to repair, and that repairs have to be done within a few days after the injury occurs or permanent growth problems can occur. He tells me that he hasn't stopped thinking about Emerson's leg since we left his office the day before, and he made an appointment for her to see a pediatric orthopedic doctor down at the big children's hospital in Houston early the next morning. He wanted an ortho doc who sees kids as young as Emerson all the time to see her x-rays and assess her. He again expressed concern that she may need surgery.

He may have said other stuff, but this is all I heard.

Please make sure my name is spelled right on that Mother Of The Year trophy.

May I remind you, that Emerson tripped and skinned her knee on the back porch. And all of a sudden, may have a fractured growth plate in her femur requiring surgery.

So bright and early Friday morning, Emerson and I headed down to the big hospital in Houston, the same building she has been in many times before, seeing adoption doctors and audiologists and cleft palate surgeons. And now orthopedics. I briefly wonder if she thinks fondly back to her days in the orphanage, when she didn't spend quite so much time with doctors. We sat in the lobby, watching movies and taking this picture:

I handed over the x-rays from earlier this week, along with the three pages of notes hyper-ortho had written up about Emerson, and she posed for a few more x-rays at the children's hospital. Then she posed for Mommy's camera:

We played with stickers, worked puzzles, read books, and colored while waiting for the doctor. Still not sure if we would be told Emerson needed immediate surgery, I hadn't let her eat or drink anything that morning, which led to this face when I denied her the goldfish that she found in my purse:

The doctor came in, poked around and bent Emmy's leg for a bit, and proclaimed the x-rays, seen by two of their pedi-orthopedics and their radiologist, to be good. The doctor threatened to put Emerson back in a splint if she was still hesitant to bear weight on the leg, so we got Emerson to walk a few laps around the hallways, still limping a little, but overall walking much better than she was earlier this week. Given Emerson's improved gait, the pedi-ortho decided to call this a "bad contusion" (aka "bruise") as opposed to a "toddler fracture" or fracture of the growth plate. After four days, two orthopedics, too many x-rays to count, a long leg splint, and a still-limping three year old, praise God, there is no fracture to Emerson's leg.

So. Long story short, Emerson fell down and bruised her knee.

Her propensity for drama does not bode well for her teenage years.

(*Disclaimer: I mock our hyperactive orthopedic doctor a bit. But I agree with every single thing he has done for my children so far, and am thankful that he takes the conservative route when it comes to my kids' limbs. As he puts it, "She has to use this leg for the next 80 years." I agree with him that a fracture needs to be ruled out on a kid who is limping 24+ hours after a seemingly minor injury, and as a parent, I am grateful that he took the initiative to ensure that Emerson was seen promptly by a specialist. Wouldn't trade him for the world.)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Right Lower Central Incisor, Thou Art Loosened!

After seven years, three months, and two days, GUESS WHO finally has a loose tooth?

His very first loose tooth?

I can't tell you how much Dane has been waiting for this a very, very long time, watching while all of his friends, and Aidan's friends, and our friends that are still in Pre-K wiggle loose teeth in their mouth. He could not be more excited.

And he just told me, "I hope I lose it in school because then they will give me a little treasure box." My apologies in advance to his poor teacher, who will have to watch my son wiggle his loose tooth for the better part of next week until it falls out in class and he gets the little treasure box.

Someone alert the tooth fairy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Break Boy-venture 2011

This past Sunday (aka the beginning of Spring Break week), my parents came down to help out with the kiddos and help me maintain a bit of sanity while Brandon was out of town.

Mandy-Brandon+Four Kids-School=CHAOS. It's the new math.

My dad took Dane and Aidan on a bit of a Spring Break Boy-venture. What does a Spring Break Boy-ventrure consist of? I'm glad you asked. Sunday afternoon they headed down to the Battleship Texas, arriving about an hour before closing. Clearly my dad had big plans of making a quick jaunt to the ship to let the boys look around for a few minutes before heading for the next destination. The boys had different plans. Plans that included trying out every bunk bed and aiming missles and navigating narrow ladders with a broken arm and taking cute pictures.

Surely they could not be expected to leave when the ship closed to visitors at 5 pm. Surely that voice on the overhead speakers at 5:45 pm telling people to GET OFF THE BOAT is not meant for them. There were still bunk beds to try out.

(Sidenote: At church Sunday morning Aidan got ahold of a bunch of red heart stickers and stuck them all over his face. Apparently he left them all over his face all day.)

Please don't tell the orthopedic (whose cell phone number is on my phone at this point) that Dane is up here:

A Boy-Bedroom Makeover is in the works for the next couple of months, and bunk beds are in their near future. I think they'll like them. We'll have to make Dane sleep on the top, in case he falls off at least he's met his deductible for this year.

After the Battleship Texas, the boys loaded up and headed west, young man, for a hotel near San Antonio, where, as best as I can tell, is the only time they brushed their teeth the entire time. I'm still not sure if they showered or not the whole time they were gone. Perhaps they're just preparing for their days as junior high boys at church camp.

Monday morning saw my boys remembering the Alamo...

...with some souvenir weapons that they convinced Pappy to buy them.

I asked Aidan if he had fun in San Antonio, and he told me "They have Davy Crockett's raccoon hat at the Alamo. They had to scoop the brains out and dry off the blood from the raccoon before he could wear it." I'm usually left a little speechless learning about what goes through Aidan's mind at times, and what he remembers about a place days days after he has visited.

Texas history at its finest, folks.

After their visit to the home of Davy Crockett's hat (I have no idea if the actual hat is at the Alamo, I think Aidan's assessment is based on the bin-full of Davy-Crockett hats he saw in the gift shop), they all headed to the Riverwalk to chase the ducks.

Not content to just experience the battleship, a hotel stay, the Alamo, and the San Antonio Riverwalk in a 24-hour period, my dad headed a bit north to take Dane and Aidan on a glass-bottom boat at Aquarina Springs, which would prove to be one of the highlights of the trip. I have heard over and over again about all the turtles and fishes at the "boat with the glass in the middle". Pappy reported that both boys were very interested in learning about all of the animals they saw swimming around, raising their hands further question the boat staff about the animals they were seeing underwater.

After a BBQ lunch, where Dane ate his weight in sausage and Aidan ate Saltine crackers, they pressed on, driving up to Pappy's house in the Dallas area.

The plan for Tuesday was for the boys to help Pappy take pictures of a baseball team. Tuesday morning dawned bright and early with the realization that it was chilly outside, and a certain mommy had not thought to pack jackets for the little boys. A quick trip to the WalMart was in order. Unfortunately, the WalMart in spring time only carries Dallas Cowboys or UT sweatshirts, much to the chagrin of Brandon's sons. They left the store, Cowboys sweatshirts in tow, Dane proclaiming, "Well, I guess it's better than freezing to death." Brandon has ingrained an irrational distaste for both the Dallas Cowboys and UT into my boys, and my sports-loving sons were horrified to be seen on a baseball field wearing Cowboys sweatshirts. According to their Pappy, they recovered from their embarrassment just in time to flirt furiously with a little girl who was tagging along on picture day also. I'm glad they didn't let the Cowboys gear hold them down and crush their spirits.

Pappy had one last surprise up his sleeve for the boys on Tuesday night when they pulled up to DFW airport. Aidan tells us almost weekly that he is the only kid who has never been on an airplane. Dane flew from Dallas to Houston with Pappy when he was about a year old, Harper flew with MoMo last year, and of course Emerson is our airplane queen with a trans-oceanic flight under her belt. Aidan has never let us forget that he is the only. one. who has never been on an airplane. Ever. So Tuesday night Aidan got his turn, along with his Pappy and his big brother Dane-o.

Despite the weird expression on his face, this was his favorite part of the trip.

Thanks so much for the Spring Break Boy-venture, Pappy! We had a great time!