Sunday, August 29, 2010

Camping: Take 1

Connor-man joined cub scouts this year.  Only one month into scouting and it has already been an adventure.  Anyone that knows Caskey and I knows that are favorite hobbies are ones with a controlled climate; air conditioning and heat, oh and no bugs.  I prefer sewing, reading, sitting on the couch and napping.  Caskey likes video games and programming.  None of those hobbies are weather dependent.  Heck, we even live in a state that isn't weather dependent.  Caskey is always laughing at me for checking the weather because in Southern California it is never more than a few degrees away from between 65* and 95* and rain only happens about 10 days a year.

Scouting was going to be a whole new experience for us; camping, shooting rifles, beach trips, hiking.  All the things I could live without.  But since this part of our lives is about raising the best children we can who have had the most experiences we jumped in with both feet.

The very first camping trip will be over Halloween weekend, since I will be 38 weeks pregnant, I get out of the trip.  Caskey will be taking the two oldest kids for 3 days and 2 nights of adventures.  I plan, with the remaining 3 kids, on joining them for the spring camping trip.  That meant buying camping gear for a family of 7.

Obviously our friends know who we are, because not more than an hour after we got home from the camping store did the phone ring.  My good friend was calling dibs on our camping gear, knowing that camping wouldn't last long in this house.  LOL

That evening we decided to try out the gear, kind of a test run in the front yard.  The whole family piled into the tent.  I got to lay on the cot due to the pregnancy and all the kids had little cots on the ground.  I gave everyone flashlights and we settled in to sleep.  An hour later no one is sleeping, Alexander can't get used to sleeping on the floor instead of his crib, Lainy Ann is crying because she wants her bed, Connor wants what Lainy wants.  The only one left in the tent is William, the one I thought for sure would be scared of the dark.  At 9:30 pm only William and I are sleeping in the tent.  The other kids were all zonked in their beds and it was getting chilly outside.

At 10 pm we gathered up the last child, William, and his things and put him in his bed.  I went to my own bed (with all the pillows to support my very fat body) and we called it a 'good try'.  I foresee another test camping trip in our future, after all, I don't want Caskey to end up in the middle of nowhere with crying kids next month.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kitty Prozac

I want to preface this entire post by saying I love our cat. He is wonderful to our kids and to our friends children. He is patient and polite when 1 year olds pull his fur, he lays still when William uses him as a pillow and he even lets the kids carry him around sometimes. He is the best cat to have with a family.

Lately though he has become high maintenance. It started weeks ago with constipation. I couldn't get a vet appt so I used Vet Google to find out how to solve his problem, short of an enema of course. We ran out to the store to buy canned pumpkin, baby food prunes and wet cat food. After two all day vet stays he was rehydrated and given pain meds. Then he began symptoms of a UTI; peeing all over the house and trying to pee every 10 minutes. Another vet visit later, more meds and he was doing better. When the pain meds ran out we had another bout of UTI-like symptoms.

That's when the doctor started saying my cat is stressed. Really?! What exactly is stressful about his life. Half of our house is off-limits to kids, but not to kitty. His food, water, house, and blanket are all in the off-limits part of the house. What exactly is stressful about being an indoor cat that is fed multiple times a day.

The vet suggested multiple litter boxes, multiple water dishes and a few other homeopathic changes. I skipped the extra litter box, if the 6 people have to share one toilet than the cat only needs one toilet - not two. But I did spend over $100 on a water fountain type drinking fountain that runs all the time, making me think my washing machine has over-flowed, and a phermone diffuser in the main room of the house so the cat feels calm; think Glade plug-in for cats.

At one point I told the vet that I couldn't see how the cat was stressed; we are a one pet household and he has full access of half of the house. She responded, "well, there are a lot of kids there." Yeah, because I am going to chose the cat over my kids.

A week later it started up again. We ended up putting the cat on oral narcotics as needed. The original directions were for 3 times a day at $4 a dose. But we have weaned him down to every other day at this point. I think this whole would be easier if he could just say "it hurts right here".

The diffuser is plugged in, but I haven't noticed a difference in his behavior unless he is on the narcotics. I still haven't seen him drink from the fancy water fountain. I have had to refill it, so I hold out hope he is drinking it, rather than the water evaporating. At this point we have managed to avoid kitty Prozac. He seems to be doing okay now. Maybe he just needed a little attention so he didn't get lost in our big family.

Alexander's Reminder

On Alexander's 2nd birthday he tried to drown. We went to Vegas for the weekend with friends and took a quick dip before dinner. I got in the pool with all 4 kids, 2 water safe, one terrified of the water, and Alexander. I put his swim vest on his. And I still Thank God that I did. The big kids swam around, throwing balls and racing plastic boats. William entertained himself on the stairs in his vest. He isn't confident in the water and stays near the steps, which is fine with me since he isn't completely water safe. But Alexander has a zest for life. Everything he does is big. He took to immediately jumping off the side of the pool and into my waiting arms.

We took turns; William jumped, then Alexander jumped. I should have known that it was an accident waiting to happen when Alexander starting jumping at the same time as William. I put both boys on the stairs within arms reach of me, took a sip of bottled water and answered a question for William about what kind of dessert we would be having for Alexander's birthday.

Then I turned behind me and saw Alexander floating face down prone in the water. He wasn't struggling, he was still. I scooped him up and he immediately started coughing and breathing. He must have climbed up the stairs, walked behind me and jumped in all without me noticing. Alexander was done swimming after that. I wouldn't let him near the pool anymore.

I am still in shock now that there were 4 adults in the pool and a professional lifeguard and no one noticed him. Caskey tries to comfort me and say that he must have just popped up when I noticed him. Also, he wasn't blue so he must not have been in the water very long. But it was enough of a scare that I won't take 2 non-swimmers in the pool anymore.

Another Funny Man

I can't believe that all of my boys have been born with a sense of humor. Alexander's latest joke goes something like this.

I went into his room to find him in his crib completely naked, again. He is going through a stripping phase. I wrestle him into his diaper and then leave the room to get his jammies. When I get back he is laying face down in the crib fake snoring. When I exclaimed that Alexander must have fallen asleep, he jumped up and laughed. Apparently he thought he pulled one over on me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Not as Planned

I confess I hate the park. I do not enjoy taking the kids to the park at all. There is sand and dirt, bugs, restrooms that are too far away, which means taking all 4 kids to the bathroom together or letting one or two go alone. Its a hassle to pack everything up.

Instead we have a lovely gated yard complete with a swing set in the back. The kids can play outside, use a clean restroom all while I catch up on dishes or laundry. The kids really rule the outside of the house, as long as they don't break anything. They can arrange their play equipment, have a picnic on the grass, go barefoot and dig up my planters. The trade off is that we don't go to the park.

But every once in a while I do take them to the park. Just this last Sunday we had an outing of buying new soccer equipment for the impending AYSO season. I packed a dinner and blanket and snacks. We bought the new balls and cleats and brought along our goal. Even though the park was packed we found a spot on the far side of the park that was mostly shady and away from everyone else.

Caskey and I settled onto the blanket, enjoyed the shade and read our books. I was hoping for an hour or two of reading while the kids played and ate dinner. The weather was perfect.

The kids didn't last 20 minutes. Every two minutes one of them was complaining about not wanting to play, its too hot, they are too thirsty. Oh my! No playing was done and certainly no relaxing. We packed up and headed home.

That is why I don't take the kids to the park.