Thursday, February 28, 2013


We've got some sickies over here today.  

You can tell by the size of the bed head going on up there. Pretty impressive. 

Of course, it has to happen when John's gone for 2 weeks on a business trip to Russia. Fate works that way, huh? I don't think I got more than a few hours of sleep last night since I jumped up with every sound that came from the boys room, hoping to prevent any middle of the night sheet changes. 

I haven't seen this guy take a nap in years, so I know he isn't feeling good. That and you can tell by the redness of his ears. The ears always give it away. 

He started complaining of a bellyache the night before last. When I mentioned he was probably going to throw up he just about lost it in hysteria. He's been hugging that ice cream bucket ever since. 

I guess I really can't blame him. I would probably be traumatized too if the last two times I threw up were Christmas Eve and in the middle of our big family reunion in Florida this summer. Not good memories, either one. 

Ah-oh. I see eyes now, even if they're hazed.  Check out the asthmatic shiners around his eyes and the dull look. This kid is pretty easy to read by just looking at his face. I've always been able to glance at him and tell if he's sick, tired or can't breathe. Unfortunately, getting him to agree with me about any of the three has always been the tough part. 

He's definitely not one to go down without a fight. The house has a whole different feel about it when he's not feeling good since usually his feet are dashing around, hopping and jumping and he just can't figure out how to contain all his energy. With John gone and everyone a little subdued anyway, I can honestly say I missed his craziness the past few days. 

I've been discovered. He also is very sensitive and doesn't like much attention on himself, positive or negative. It'll probably be years before he'll be ok with these pictures being up on the computer.  I hope someday he'll forgive me for documenting the rare stillness of the "Nathan-in-the-wild". 

And he's back out. It's a hard job, growing up. Hope he's better soon. We miss his liveliness. 

This "beef turkey" is sick too. 

He just doesn't know it. He came to me in the middle of the night also with a fever. But it sure isn't keeping him down today. 

He's enjoying sneaking around the house, being quiet as a mouse and playing with all the Legos that usually he has to share. 

Look, a rare glimpse of the elusive "Elias's eyes"!!! They do exist and they're actually a very cool color of grey-blue-hazelish. They just often get lost in his smiling face. 

Which is ok too, cause he's pretty cute either way. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

21 Reasons (and counting) Why Stinkbugs are Worse than Spiders

So everyone knows my loathing for the spiders that come along with my house (read about it here and here), but I think they've officially been ousted as the worst pest. Here's why stinkbugs are definitely worse that spiders.


1. I've never found a spider in my bed. I've found over 50 stinkbugs in here. Ironically, as I'm getting ready to write this post I felt something crawling up my thigh. Sure enough, stinkbug UNDER THE COVERS on my leg. I hate these things.

2. The spiders come for about 3 weeks in the fall and then go. The stinkbugs have yet to leave after years.

3. Spiders don't fly. Especially kamikaze style at your head while you're in the shower or on the toilet or just trying to walk down the hallway.

4. The bookcases are not home to hundreds of spiders and I don't have to worry about them falling out of any book I take off the bookcase. (I take that back. There was that one incident in the bathroom that involved a spider and a book and a very unfortunate landing of afore mentioned spider on a very delicate body part. That was pretty bad….)

5. I've never had a spider in my hair.

6. Spiders don't leave their body parts all over the house. Each week I vacuum up hundreds of wings, thoraxs and legs that have scattered into every crack and crevice in my house.

7. Stinkbugs stink. Really they do.

8. I've never found a spider in my babies diaper. (Don't freakout, she didn't eat it. I'm pretty sure it was in the middle of the late night diaper change but it sure disgusted me in the morning!)

9. Spiders don't try to winter over in my guest bedrooms linens. Shook the towels before John's bosses came to visit one time and found 16 of the suckers. That would make a good impression.

10. I haven't found a spider in my jackets, hanging shirts, or closets yet.

11. Spiders stick to the downstairs, where I can leave at night and not deal with them. Stinkbugs stick to the top levels, where I have to deal with them constantly.

12. I haven't found a spider in my nightly glass of water next to my bed.

13. Spiders don't congregate in double digits behind pictures on walls.

14. Spiders don't bleed every color of the rainbow. Blue, green, red, pink, yellow, purple, brown- I've seen all these colors and more come out of the stinkbugs, depending on what part you hit when you smash it. My walls are permanently stained.

15. Spiders aren't attracted to my laptop lights when I'm laying in my bed in the dark at night.

16. I've never found a spider on my toothbrush. Enough said.

17. Spiders don't make awful sounds circling the lights like there are 100 wasps in your room somewhere.

18. I don't spend 20 minutes every night catching spiders (except for those 3 weeks) and putting them in the toilet so I can morbidly watch them drown. (Although this is somewhat similar to my piles of dead spiders on the kitchen floor. What can I say, it gives me immense pleasure to count the corpses, even if I'm not actually making headway on them….)

19.  The spiders don't reappear  in droves every semi-warm day we have, leaving me dreading the spring and what might come out of the walls with it.

20. Spiders don't have antennas that wiggle and vibrate when you're about to kill them. It's like the stinkbugs are sending a message to the mothership and it freaks me out each time I get close enough that they realize I'm coming for them.

21. Did I mention they stink??

To put it mildly, I hate them. If anyone else can relate, please share your worse stinkbug tales with me so I won't feel so alone over here. Actually, I wish I was alone. It's not very reassuring to realize there must be hundreds of those little nasties within 10 feet of me. And now I'm shutting the lid to my laptop so they'll get out of my bed. Good night….

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Tale of the Green Ring

Once upon a time there was a little boy that loved his mama so much. Everyday he would tell her he loved her and do little nice things for her, like get her shoes whenever she asked or jump up quickly to clean whenever she asked. The little boy grew older and soon it was time for him to start school again, this time in the 1st grade. This made the little boy anxious and nervous to be gone from his mama for so long, but he tried to be brave and do exactly what the teachers asked of him. Each day he listened so well that he would be rewarded with a special penny to put into his penny cup. As the days went on, his pennies grew and grew until soon he had enough to pick a treasure from the very special treasure box that his teacher presented every Friday to anyone who had earned enough pennies during that week. He dug through the treasure box, tempted by the fancy pencils and silly putty, but looking for just the right thing. At last, he saw it: a beautiful shiny ring and in his favorite color, GREEN!! Bursting with excitement, he turned over all his pennies, snatched it up and rushed home. eager to show his mama his treasure. He bounced off the bus, tore open his bookbag and proudly showed it off.

But his mama was busy looking through all his papers from school and cleaning up the kitchen and didn't really notice his beautiful new ring. "Besides" she asked him, "Are you sure you wanted a ring? Didn't the teacher have any toys for little boys?" so the little boy set the ring down on the counter and went off disappointedly to play with his little brother. Maybe his ring wasn't so fancy after all.

That evening after dinner, while the little boy's mama was wiping off the counters, she found the ring again. It was a pretty ring but she was so confused why the little boy wanted a ring since normally he didn't like any type of jewelry. She walked over to the little boy who was playing on the computer and asked him again, "Why did you pick this for your treasure?" The little boy stop playing the game, turned to his mama and said, "I saved all my pennies for 3 weeks so I could pick out a fancy treasure. I got that pretty green ring since I thought you would like it!"

His mama put down her cloth, gave him a hug and told him thank you and that she loved the ring. Then she put it on her finger but it was too small. Since it was made for a little child's finger she took off her necklace, slipped it onto the chain, and wore it around proudly so she could remember just how much the little boy loved his mama, especially when she missed him while he was at school during the day. And the little boy thought she looked like the prettiest mama in the whole world. The end.

Little Boy = Nathan, just for posterity's sake! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

All things Good

Yesterday as I was attempting to get my lesson ready for the Young Women's class I teach, Adele was fussing. I tried handing her off to a few of the girls (Brooke and Breezy) but as I came into view, it was pretty clear she wasn't going to settle for less than me. She was tired and grumpy and wanted her mama, so I plopped her on my hip and kept going. She immediately stopped fussing, cocked her head shyly to the side (her latest trick) and looked over at the girls that had been trying to calm her down with a "See, aren't I cute" expression on her face. It made us all laugh and as I expressed my exasperation at her antics one of the leaders (Michele Paul) made the comment, "Of course she's happy now, Mom. You represent all things good in life to her!"

That phrase keeps coming back to me over the past day each time I go to pick her up, or change her wet diaper, or snuggle her for a midnight feeding. All things good. I DO represent all things good to that little baby. And that's an awesome and staggering feeling to know that she depends on me for everything. EVERYTHING. When I look at her cute little roly poly body or see her sweet little smile, I love the fact that everything she is physically comes from me and only me. (Ok, so technically John helped a little but we're ignoring that fact right now.) My body was able to create, grow, birth (well, sort of), nourish and make this little being survive. And not just survive but thrive with her own huge personality bursting out of her little body and eyes that irresistibly draw anyone within sight to try to get her attention.

And not just my body but the entire way that we interact is perfect: babies may not talk but I know exactly, and I mean EXACTLY, what she wants or needs 99% of the time. When we're in sync, it's like watching a mesmerizing dance between the two of us as she is able to completely control me with her little coos, grunts and hollers and, in turn, I am rewarded with such intense rushes of pleasure just looking at her cuteness that sometimes it almost hurts. It makes me want to just eat her up and I do, many times a day. And those rare times when I'm unable to make things right, like the other day after she had her shots and as I picked her up she cried out in pain, its like a knife to my heart. I cannot imagine the pain some mothers have to deal with when they have a sick or hurt baby and they are unable to fix it. Just listening to her cry (not tears of frustration or anger, cause those I can deal with) does something to me deep inside and it's almost as if I'm physically in pain too. Whoever talked about having kids is like having your heart walk around outside your body hit the nail on the head.

So the next time that I try to eat dinner and feel a set of eyes on me no matter where I move, or no matter how many others are in the room vying for her attention, I won't get frustrated or annoyed. I'll just take the adoring stares, smile a big smile, watch her perch there on my hip like she owns it and remember that to her, I am all things good. It's rare that I can be all things good for someone and for now I'll just bask in the feeling that I can do no wrong in the eyes of my baby.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Baltimore for the Break

This Christmas the kids had almost 3 weeks off of school and I was bound and determined we were going to do something productive (in other words, Get the heck outta dodge!) with all that time off school. 

But we were thwarted by one virus after another so the New Year came and went and we hadn't done as much as gotten away for one night. 

A few years ago it was the end of summer and we were having the same problem (I get this urge to go a lot) so we hopped in the car one Friday night. We ended up in DC, getting a killer deal on a Priceline hotel on our way up to the city and liked it so much we stayed for 2 nights.

We had so much fun on that staycation that we've been looking for other metropolises to hang out at that are within a short driving distance. Almost 2 years ago we did New York city for a 3 days trip and had an awesome time then too. We also were nicely gifted with a little extra cash from family for Christmas so that made the decision even easier to make!

Baltimore fit the bill since it's only about 2 hours away and we'd heard great things about the aquarium and ports. Only, I don't think anyone we talked with ever ventured up there with 3 little kids and a baby in the dead of winter. Oh, well we had a great time anyway!!

We started out with a fun night in the hotel which was just 4 blocks away from the harbor. I think I could be content to go on a vacation and just sit in the nice, clean hotel room all day long. Ah, blissful but everyone else wanted to actually see things so off we went.

We bundled Adele and everyone else against the 20 degree weather, grabbed the kids hands and stepped out of our hotel into the city. It's always fun to see the city through our country kids eyes and watch them be amazed by the "really tall buildings" or "pizza stores on every corner"!  

"What are you doing?"

"Oh no, he's gonna do it!""

"EWHH, my parents are the grossest!!"  

We stopped in the harbor and took some pictures in front of a boat as John told the story about how his great-great grandfather, Elias Genho, came here from Lebanon. He had the kids looking everywhere to see if they could find anywhere that he had signed his name. It wasn't found but not for trying! 

We went aboard one of the old ships that was in the harbor and got to tour all 4 levels. It was a cargo ship but they showed how they would have stacked the slaves inside also. After wandering all over the ship all I can say is I'm very glad to have the modern amenities we have today! 

This was a fancy submarine that we boarded and got to climb all around in. Talk about tight living quarters. As a kinda claustrophobic, I wasn't too impressed but the kids all had a great time turning knobs and fitting in tight spaces. 

I could get used to this. All three in one bedroom.... 

Poor Adele didn't have a great navigator and got her head bonked by the low doors. Thanks Dada. 

"Who's driving this crazy contraption anyway???"
Into the deep, dark abysses of the ocean... or just down a really steep set of stairs that leads to the belly. 

A baby on board?? I don't think that's allowed ... 

After the ships and cold we hit the big attraction that Baltimore is famous for - the National Aquarium. The price to get into it is normally an arm and a leg but on Friday nights they slash the price for the last 4 hours so that was the major pull to come to Baltimore. 

Right as we got there the was some sort of Asian celebration for the New Year going on so we took advantage of the downtime and sat and watched the Chinese Lion dance through the crowd. I think that was actually a highlight of the night since he was so animated and playful. 

We saw lots of fish, got a little lost, and saw lots more fish. Ava and this little guy checked each other out for quite awhile. 

We found this exhibit with a longhorn cow fish and had to take a picture to remember the farm. 

The aquarium doesn't allow strollers so Adele was strapped to us the whole night. I think John looks very modern with his beany and a baby. 

Maybe it was the fact that we had been out in the cold all day long and it was nice and warm inside, or maybe it was because we had done Busch Gardens this summer, but the aquarium was a little of a letdown. The dolphin show didn't have any of the dolphins jumping, the sharks were kinda lazy and we were beat. We called it a night about an hour before it was closing time and made our way back to the warm hotel. 

Really, all I go on vacation for is the hot, clean baths and the fun hotel rooms, all of which this trip provided. The boys caught a Duke basketball game and Nathan was amazed to finally see how the sport is really played. We all had a blast and I'm pretty sure we'll figure out another city next dead of winter that needs to be visited!!