Jan 31, 2010

I forgot to mention...

Denise, LisAway, Wonder Woman, Emmy, cc, That Girl, Rachel Sue, and MissOlea: You are all on my list to get bloggy whatever designs according to your hearts desires.  (Just as soon as my eyes recover from surgery.)  So be thinking of what you'd like and email me the details, melissabastow AT hotmail DOT com.  (Don't worry, you probably have a few weeks to mull over the intricate specifications...)

on the subject of balloons

First of all, I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post and said how I awesome I am.  I mean, that wasn't the point of sharing that story, but it's really really nice to hear that you guys think I'm amazing.  It was like...validation.  I wish I was a blogger back when Monkey was born.  I wouldn't have felt so alone.

And for the record, I think that you are ALL amazing too!!  I think mothers have to be amazing, just to endure motherhood in general.  Anyone who has ever had to potty train another human being deserves a trophy.  A big one.

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Husband and I threw a birthday party for our boys yesterday.  I'm so glad we combined their parties this year, because they are SO MUCH WORK.  Not to mention entertaining 11 kids between the ages of 3 and 6 isn't exactly my idea of a good time.

Before the party I was trying to find a place near us that would blow up some balloons.  Just regular latex balloons.  It doesn't sound difficult, right?  It was a pain.

One of the places I checked was the dollar store.  I asked the young check-out girl girl if they did latex balloons.  And she said:

"No, we only have the mylex ones."

Mylex? 

So I was wondering how old you have to be to talk to young people in a sweetly condescending way and get away with it?  I really wanted to say, "They're called mylar, sweety."  And give her one of those 'I'm old and I know so much more than you' smiles.  I really can't wait until I'm old enough to do that.

I finally ended up getting the balloons from the grocery store down the street.  They were expensive, but I was tired of looking and had a cake to go home and rescue (it really needed rescuing.)

If you've never gotten balloons from the grocery store down the street, then you probably don't know that the produce guys have to blow them up on saturdays when the regular chick isn't there.  This proved interesting.  I almost offered to blow them up myself when he came over and said:
 
"Oh man, I hope we have enough propane to blow all these up."

PROPANE?!!!!!

And when I say "blow up" I really just mean INFLATE.

Some people need to educate themselves on the subject of balloons.  (And luckily, none of our balloons exploded during the party.)

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My surgery is tomorrow morning.

I'M SO NERVOUS.

This is like my ninth surgery in life, I shouldn't be so scared.  But I am.  I really really am.

But instead of freaking out about the big things, like the surgery going wrong and ending up blind, I keep thinking about that floating consciousness thing.  And also that I'll have to wear my glasses for two whole weeks while I recover.  Or more importantly - I won't be able to wear mascara to the surgery and people will SEE me.

The horror.

I'm so scared.

They should just knock me out (all the way, none of this floating crap) RIGHT NOW.  Then maybe I could quit freaking out.  And completely push out of my mind that I could wake up blind.

Jan 28, 2010

and then he was three

I dedicate this post to my little Monkey who turned 3 today.

From the beginning things were rough with Monkey.  And I'm talking, from the VERY beginning.  I have never thrown up so much in my entire life than I did in that first trimester (I think my record was 11 times in one day.)  And then once the puking stopped the contractions started.

But fast forward 8 months and you would have found me wishing to be either puking or contracting, because life got rougher.


Monkey was born only 4 1/2 weeks early with a chub totaling 8 pounds 9 ounces (the biggest baby in the NICU.)  He was beautiful.  Unfortunately he wasn't quite ready.  Although it's uncommon for baby's his gestational age, he hadn't made lung surfactant and couldn't breath on his own.  It was a quick and painless fix, but it was just the beginning of his trials.

Some of the things on the list of worries for his first 6 weeks of life was: a PDA that wouldn't close (heart thing); recurring jaundice (liver thing); an under-developed (or missing) eye muscle which caused unnecessary concern about a brain bleed which luckily was proven ok via MRI; severe reflux; and a cord stump that wouldn't detach which led us to find an abnormally low white blood cell count, which led us to 3 tries at for auto-immune testing, which led to the stupid lab screwing up 3 times, which led to me wanting to punch someone, which led to the Dr deciding that it wasn't worth drawing that much blood again unless he started showing symptoms....which he didn't...thank goodness.

The first four months of Monkey's life was a blur of dr's visits, lab draws, scans, and worries.  It felt like I never slept because my head wouldn't stop worrying.  One morning I woke up early and did my "paranoia new baby in the house" routine where I check for breathing (our babies always sleep right next to me in a bassinet, just so I can check for signs of life whenever I'm even slightly awake) and I couldn't detect breathing for like 6 seconds until I started freaking out and snatched him out of bed.  Of course the Dr thought I was freaking out over nothing - which I'm sure I was - but with all that was going on I feel I had a right for freaking-out-ed-ness, and I refused to let him out of my arms until we bought a motion detector monitor for his bed (those things are great.)

When Monkey was four months old we could get him to smile and laugh, but only if we touched him, and only on rare occasions.  But he was a really happy little booger and I remember I would always put him in his bouncy chair up on our countertop while I cooked dinner (it was the only place safe from an Opie mauling.)  But I also remember that I liked talking to him while he was up there, and unlike typical four month olds (attention hogs) he didn't seem to care.  In fact when I would grab a stray toe, or rub his little head he would jump like he had no idea I was in the room.

It didn't help that during this same time Opie, who was 2, was reversing in his development, constantly screaming, and was getting evaluated for autism.  And Two Bits, who was 3 1/2, was physically awkward and still had unintelligible speech, despite her therapy and hard work.

I remember one day when Two Bits's therapist applied the words, "Significantly Delayed" to her speech.  It wasn't something I didn't already know, and also I knew that Two Bits was extremely bright and would someday talk just fine.  But it was one of those moments that topples a person's emotions.  You know - the last straw kind of thing.  I went home and sobbed.

I didn't cry often in those days.  Although I was constantly on the verge of a complete meltdown.

The hardest part was that everyone kept telling me that I worried too much.  My family, my in-laws, neighbors, ward members, and even Husband all said, "Quit worrying.  The kids are fine."

The kids weren't fine.  I was definitely not fine.  Things weren't fine.  And I was all alone in my growing bubble of worries. 

But we had an amazing pediatrician who listened and cared and tested.  And we got Monkey and Opie into the Infant Toddler Program (birth-3 therapy services through the state) and we had super amazing therapists who listened and cared and worked.

And things got better.  Sometimes slowly, and worries never disappeared, but things got a whole lot better.  (Which was good since Monkey was 8 months old when I got pregnant with Number Four.)

Here's our Monkey when he turned one. Adorable, no?



Life with Monkey has always kind of been rough.  He'll be having his second eye surgery in a couple months.  I have to make sure he gets enough occupational therapy so he can function (if we slack on the therapy the kid can't even use a fork.)  His social, adaptive, cognitive and speech skills are still lagging by varying degrees.  And he really likes to break things and body slam people.

But I wouldn't trade this kid for anything in the entire world. 


Monkey, is by far, our goofiest, creative-est, nut ball-ish-est kid.  We're a goofy, creative nutball kind of family, so you can bet that Monkey is far beyond the norm in all of those areas.  And I love it.

I love that I'm understanding his speech more lately.  He's cracking jokes all the time.  They just come naturally to him.  Yesterday when I told him to put away the toys, he dropped what was in his hand in the nearest (and wrong) container and cocked his head to look at me sideways and said, "Better?"

I love that he loves art.  Oh man does this boy love art.  Hand him a crayon, marker, paintbrush, pencil, whatever, and be prepared for a masterpiece.

I love his fearlessness.  Fearless kids are hard to parent, but it's something I wish I had.  I'm a coward.  But not Monkey.  He likes to ram his bike into parked cars.  One day a cop showed up across the street and I saw that glint in Monkey's eye.  The cop car was all clean and shiny - Monkey could hardly stop himself from ramming into to.  I'm sure the cop was wondering why I was standing guard around his car.  And I have to say that I don't so much love his fearlessness when I'm chasing him down the middle of the street, or the middle of the grocery store, or the middle of Sacrament Meeting.  But I hope it's a quality he keeps for life.

So on this momentous day of Monkey turning three we had a major party.  Ok, really the party is saturday, and it won't be that momentous or major, but I did let him pick dinner: FRENCH TOAST.

We put a candle in his stack and sang.  Then, in typical Monkey style, he shoved,


he chewed,


he devoured.


Happy Birthday, little Monkey!  I love you.

you can help me become famous

I'm considering offering my services as a blog header/button/makeover designer.  But I think I need practice.  I also think I need advertising.

Which is where you come in.  Because I was thinking, "How could I pull off practicing AND advertising all at the same time?"  And then, of course, it hit me, "I'LL FORCE MY FRIENDS INTO IT!!!!!"

And by "friends" I mean YOU.  (Because in real life I only have like 2 friends.  I'm horribly socially awkward.  Haven't you already picked up that vibe from reading my blog? Yeah, I thought so.)

So if you want a free blog header/button/makeover design (all custom and original and stuff), let me know.  And in exchange you have to advertise for my super design services by way of button AND a really great post about how you absolutely adore your new blog header/button/makeover (even if you hate it, which hopefully you won't, hopefully you'll really adore it, because I'll want you to adore it, and I'll try really hard to make something you adore....not hate.)

And then someday I'll be famous, and you'll be happy because you helped me become famous.  It's a great plan, I know.  Because I really have to become famous somehow.  Why not be a famous blog header/button/makeover designer?  I can imagine the paparazzi now....

But here's the thing - I don't want to be doing too many free things.  So you have to act quickly.  SUPER quickly.  Like, comment now....right now.....because you never know if my 4 other readers will jump on the opportunity before you do.

Also, I'll be scheduling to get these blog header/button/makeovers done AFTER I recover from my eye surgery next week.  Because you probably want me to be able to see while I design, right?  And I've already scheduled myself a whole week of rest (whether or not I need it, 'cause I'm milking this surgery thing for all it's worth, 'cause I really would like to spend a week in bed, who wouldn't?)

Anyways, that's my offer.  Now don't cram my comment section all at once - the five of you need to take turns.

Jan 26, 2010

are you afraid?

So I have this stupidly irrational fear of the dark. 

Every morning I open my bedroom curtains and blinds, and then shut my door and promptly forget about spending any time in my room because there is too much insanity to control elsewhere in this house.

But then I don't remember to close the blinds and curtains in there until after it gets dark.  Sometimes it's only semi-dark.  But mostly, just dark. 

And every day I'm thoroughly convinced that just as I'm reaching up to pull the blinds that some deranged psycho-stalker and/or mutant claw-beast is going to spring up in front of my window on the outside.

EVERY DAY.

I realize that it is the most idiotic fear on the planet.  Except that one of these days there really could be a deranged psycho-stalker and/or mutant claw-beast outside of my window just as I close the blinds and then I'm going to be blogging to all of you with a big "I told you so!"

I also have this other fear - but it's kind of like a one-time only thing. 

I'm having my first eye surgery on Feb. 1st.  (Reminder for new readers: I have glaucoma and am going blind.)  And while I'm afraid of the surgery not going as planned or having a poor recovery, like a normal person would, what I'm really afraid of is something they told me at my pre-op last week.

I won't be completely unconscious for this surgery.  I'll be in a "floating consciousness" instead.  So I asked what that was.  Apparently I'll technically be awake, but "most people don't remember anything" afterwards.

So here are the fears:

1. What if I'm not "floating" enough?  What if I'm just totally conscious?  My sister just opted to have her second eye surgery completely awake (for pregnancy reasons.)  Just thinking about her getting it done gives me the ultra freak-outs, I doubt I can handle it if I'm aware of what's going on during my surgery.

2. What if I talk during the surgery?  I hear all the time about how even the most shy people go off talking about all sorts of weirdness while sedated.  As far as I know I'm not a sedated talker, but who knows?  I don't know if I've ever "floated" before.  And to be honest, I have some highly secretive things that I've thought about this dr - what if they come out?

They aren't like love fantasies or anything.  Because, ewww.  And also phew, because that would be embarrassing.

But he used to have this really ugly mustache.  It was really a porn stache.  And I referred to it as a porn stache, sometimes only in my mind.  But still.  What if I SAY THAT OUT LOUD?

Or horribly horribly worse, I think that this Dr has Aspergers.  Not because I'm all about diagnosing everyone around me with serious social disorders.  I realize the severity of Aspergers.  I just really think he has it.  Of course this makes him a good and bad dr.  I never know what I'm going to get when I see him - he can be a humongous jerk sometimes, and then sometimes not so bad....just really technical.  And the man is a genius about all things glaucoma, therefore an excellent dr to have perform a surgery.  But the fact that he can never refer to it as just glaucoma, but has to say, "Juvenile Early Onset Primary Open Angle Glaucoma" each time he mentions my eyes, as he stares at the wall behind me just seems to suggest Aspergers.  And I really don't want to start talking about that during my "floating" state while he has my eyeball in his hand.

(Ok, he won't be removing my eyeball, but that sounded most dramatic. So yeah.)

But I'm really worried. I have a hard enough time keeping my foot out of my mouth while completely conscious.

So here's to hoping that I won't be a "floating" talker or get attacked by mutant claw-beasts.

Jan 25, 2010

remorse

I am a horrible person.  Seriously, what is wrong with me?

I feel like such a whiner.  "Oh, woe is me, I'm a bit stressed."  How about I write a whole blog post about it?

So my kids are hard, my life is busy, money is tight, and I don't get enough sleep.  BIG DEAL.

Reading *this, put things into perspective.  I may not have the easiest life, but what are my problems compared to that? 

*warning: do not read that blog if you are wearing non-waterproof mascara.

Jan 22, 2010

conversation

Two minutes ago in the Bastow household the following conversation took place.

Scene: Kids seated at the table eating aliens for lunch (aliens are actually rolls with marshmallow and pretzel antanae.)  PBS Kids is playing in the background, because Mom is busy, and PBS Kids is a great babysitter.

Opie: "Four is my favorite number!"

Two Bits: "Mine is 10!"

Mom: "What about you Monkey, what's your favorite number?"

Monkey: "BOOTY!!!!"

Jan 21, 2010

stress with a capital S-T-R-E-S-S

My left shoulder hurts.  It started about a week ago.  At first it felt like my muscles were just tired from lugging around Number Four all day.  But then it got worse.  Plus, yeah, it's lasted a week.  Sometimes it feels like someone is trying to shove the handle of a wooden spoon in my shoulder socket.  It's lovely, I tell you.  Ibuprofen is my friend.

Being a righty, I never realized how much I relied on my left arm.  It's the arm that reaches and grabs and pushes and lifts while my right arm focuses on the fine motor stuff.  It's been my baby holding arm for a non-stop 6 1/2 years.  It's my diaper bag shoulder, and my milk pouring arm.  I also realized that I steer the car mostly with my left arm, and I like to hold the phone on that side too.  So I may be right handed, but I think I'm definitely left armed.

I have three theories as to why my shoulder is painfully freaking out:

1- A migrating genius virus that has set up camp in my shoulder to breed.  I swear this can happen.  Just last month my cousin's daughter had a virus move to her hip socket and fester - they had to take her into surgery and pull buckets full of infected green puss from her hip. True story.

2- A recent traumatizing injury that I have very successfully locked into my repressed memory.  Repressed memories are powerful things.  I mean, I don't even remember when I was abducted by aliens and had all my brain cells stolen (although I clearly have less brain cells than I used to.

or

3- STRESS.  Obviously, this is the most likely reason.  By the end of the month, I must accomplish the following: completely finished artwork for that book I'm illustrating; a 10 page, fully illustrated, booklet on hearing and vision loss in spanish; a family project that I cannot at this time clarify due to secrecy and that I should already have done, but I don't, not even close; regular normal stuff; and oh, yeah, my kids have been non-stop sick all month.  So yeah, stress = spoon handle shoving shoulder pain.

I'm also kind of stressed because I am meeting with a client today (the vision/hearing spanish booklet one) and it's been like 5.9 years since I've met with a client in actual person.  I hardly even talk to clients on the phone anymore.  Most of my work is done strictly through email, so this whole meeting thing is really throwing me out of my comfort zone.  Especially since I realized I have nothing but jeans and sweatshirts to wear, because my fatty fatness has refused to budge a pound and all my good clothes are about 52 sizes smaller.

And you know what else?  Right after that meeting I have to go to a pre-op appointment for my eyes.  Well, actually just eye (because they will only operate on one eye at a time.)  And it turns out that my Dr, that I thought was all involved and caring, is actually just a jerk.  Because they're making me pay for the surgery UP FRONT.  $3600.  Per eye.  And don't even ask for a payment plan, because the answer is no.  Of course the other option is going blind, so there's really no options at all.

And you know what else?!!!  I am not done whining yet.  There has to be something else. 

Let me think....

Oh ok, here's one:  I checked out some books at the library and hardly noticed that two weeks had  passed, and I didn't get to read them, so I went to renew them online so I could read them after my surgery (which is Feb. 1st, assuming of course my eyes will focus on a book) and one of them is non-renew-able.  And it's due tomorrow. 

Life is so unfair.

Jan 16, 2010

looky looky!!

I gave myself a blog makeover.

Because it was time.

So what do you think?  (Is my sidebar confusing?  Because it kind of confuses me.  But I'm used to looking at the old one, so it could just be a matter of perspective?)

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In other news:

Number Four has RSV.

Actual, diagnosed, the real thing, RSV.

You know how I mentioned the kids were sick and how grateful I was for modern medicine?  Yeah, well, that was all RSV.  It's just that Number Four has decided NOT to get over it.

We had to take her back to the ER again last night.  Because paying ER bills is the number one thing on my "I SO MUCH LOVE TO PAY" list.  But when your toddler is struggling to breath you really don't question it.

And now we know: RSV.

Yay.

Jan 11, 2010

dream home

I don't really want a 'dream home'. I don't want to settle down in one house to raise my kids and then grandkids and then great-grandkids. I don't want to be trapped within the confines of the same exact walls from this moment until the day I die.

The whole idea sounds like torture.

Sometimes my house feels like a prison. (Although, I think it may have something to do with the little wardens that keep me from leaving at my leisure.) And once I've lived in one place long enough I just get really really bored.

We've been married for 8 years and moved 7 times. I always hate the moving part, but I do like being somewhere new. And the house we're in right now is actually perfect for us. Just the size we need, great neighbors, close to the school, blah blah blah. The only thing is that we're renting and I can't paint the walls. I like painting walls. But for the most part, I really like living here. Granted, we've only lived here for seven months, so I haven't had a chance to get bored yet. (And yeah, it feels like a prison sometimes, but I think any house would feel that way at this point.)

But if, for some reason, I was forced into choosing a dream home, there would be a few non-negotiable requirements:

1- Hidden passageways. Because, if you're going to force me to live somewhere for the rest of my life, then I must have the option of traveling from room to room creatively. Also, no one else will know about these passageways but me. Except someday I might show my grandkids where they are...maybe.

2- An art studio/sewing/craft/MY room that no one else is ever allowed to touch. EVER. Have I made myself clear?

3- A cleaning lady. Because if I'm stuck in the same house forever, then you can't expect me to want to clean it when I get bored with it. That's the first thing that starts slacking when I've lived somewhere too long.

4- An intercom system throughout the whole house. And you'd have to know a code to use the intercom so that the kids couldn't do it. Also I might tell the kids that it's not really an intercom but just me, able to boss them around at all times. I think video survellaince might also be a good idea since that would really convince them that I'm omniscient.

5- Everything else is pretty normal. You know like: big backyard, open floorplan, laundry chutes that could double as kid slides, bowling alley in the basement. General typical stuff.

But for now, I think I'll just keep up our habit of moving often. Eventually we may even get out of this state....although I've been trying that one for years and haven't managed it yet.

Jan 6, 2010

grateful

Ever wonder what your 1 1/2 year old would look like with a 106 degree fever? Yeah, me neither. I hope I never have to see that one again.

So we have this virus at our house that is attempting to kill off my children one by one.

Two trips to the dr's office for non-breathing kids and last nights run to the ER. Plus two full bottles of childrens motrin and another of tylenol. (Some antibiotics that are probably doing nothing.) Plus countless breathing treatments, constantly running humidifiers, vicks, steamy bathrooms and extending the kids Christmas vacation an extra week.

I'm so tired.

Also, I'm extremely grateful for modern medicine.

I keep thinking about how kids used to die from croup all the time and how scary that would be. I think I can safely say that if it weren't for modern treatments and medicines we would probably have a few less kids at this point.

I am happy to live during these times. Though they be the 'last days,' and the state of the world scares me silly, there are certainly great advantages to living now. Like all of my kids. Breathing, getting better, and having the energy to pretend to be Speed Racer.

Jan 1, 2010

the new year, no this is not a list of resolutions...

First of all, I have to announce that after 3 attempts RhondaLue got all the questions on my quiz right!

1- birthday gift bag (Husband's doing - not my fault.)
2- Lincoln Logs (I know, that was an easy one...)
3- Yes, socks. (However unexcited the kids were about this, I actually requested socks this year. And underwear. Really. And I got them both and was very happy.)
4- Although there is a Cotonelle box sitting on the floor, that's not what I meant. This is where the mind reading came in, because I meant that big bulk package of T.P. sitting on the green bin in the background. (Which was one of the most awesome Christmas presents of all time.)
5- bean bag (Although technically also on the Lincoln Log package, but I meant the bean bag.)

So, RhondaLue, what should your prize be? I should really give you something for your ingenious detective skills. What do you want? (As long as it's not really the big taco, because I don't make that great of tacos anyway, and I'm sure once it was shipped to your house it would be just a mess of sour cream and ooze.)

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I'm completely against Resolutions this year.

In fact, I think I'm going to make anti-lutions. Except that I'm not quite sure out that would work out...

If I make negative goals, that would still be considered resolutions of sorts, so I think I'll just ignore the whole thing and go on as usual.

Although I must say that this year was probably one of the most exciting New Year's Eves we've ever had. For dinner we had frozen pizza and applesauce with MARSHMALLOWS on it. Oh yeah, we also gave the kids rootbeer, which is a pretty uncommon treat these days.

Then we watched "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" that we borrowed from the kids across the street. Which was only slightly interrupted when Number Four was found trying to chew a piece of poop that had fallen out of Opie's dirtied underwear, warranting a full blown adult freak-out, mouth cleaning and kid showering.

Once the kids were in bed (at like 8:30, because we're clearly the party animal type parents) Husband and I cracked out a Star Wars puzzle and the cheeseball that I put way too many onions in. And then we happily put pieces together, while munching crackers, during a viewing of 'Pirates: At World's End'. Because if it's two things we can't get enough of at this house it's the Millenium Falcon and Johnny Depp (but probably not in that order.)

Also, we kept score during the puzzle process. One can get points for say, finding the most corner pieces. Or spotting the piece with Princess Lea's eye. You can also be docked points for putting pieces in in the wrong order. Or if you mock your wife's amazing ability to keep score during a puzzle.

Needless to say, I won the puzzle scoring. Although the acutal puzzle never got finished - but that's a minor detail.

So see - a killer rocking New Year's Eve by all standards measurable. If my life got any more exciting I might just.....oh, I don't know......have to count it as actually having a life.