Friday, February 29, 2008

It's A Good Thing I'm Not A Nurse

As I was driving to the pharmacy today I was thinking about my career choice. I was thinking it was probably a good thing I took the Mom Only path.

All though my childhood I wanted to become a doctor. My favorite show was Marcus Welby MD. How's that for a blast from the past?

I also wanted to have 12 children. I used to spend hours planning my future family, taking the Sears catalog, cutting out cute kids, naming them, drawing pictures of my future house.

Uh-huh. A woman doctor with twelve children. At some point I realized those two don't go so well together and I got a little further ahead with the twelve children start but even when my second was a baby I was applying to go back to school to major in Pre-med. My problem was I just couldn't leave my babies (and I just kept having them) so for years, I thought I would eventually finish my degree in nursing. Hey, if I couldn't be a doctor at least I would be in the medical field.

It's a good thing I eventually decided to stay out of the health field.

I already knew this, but this week has made it extremely clear that I would have been a very bad nurse.

As you know, Eric had back surgery after having been bedridden the past several weeks. He is recovering very slowly and is still basically bedridden.

Add to that my 18 yo who came down with the worse sore throat ever! It isn't strep and we are hoping it isn't Mono. His throat was so swollen he could barely breathe. This necessitated numerous doctor calls, visits, trips to the pharmacy etc.

Add to that my 15yo and 11yo have come down with the crud too. High fevers, coughs. "Mommy, bring me a drink!" "Mommy get me some soup." "Mommy come and lay with me."

Seriously! I am about to shoot myself with a popsicle stick!

I actually do well with kids when they are sick. But I'm not so good with adults. Eric knows it. He says that if I were an ER nurse I would say things like, "Oh pah-leeeeaze!! Man up Sissy Boy! It can't hurt that bad! Yes, you have a gunshot wound but it didn't even hit any major organs!"

The doctor role I could handle. Go in, diagnose, fix, get all the glory, be done with it. But the nurse role. It wears on me.

You know, I might have been one of those nurses you read about in the paper. I can see me explaining it now. "But officer, I wasn't TRYING to OD the patient on morphine! He just needed some extra sleep! He was pushing that call button every two seconds! That couldn't be good for him. He needed rest!!!"

Uh-huh. He got a WHOLE lot a rest.

Seriously tho, it's times like these where I rely on God to get me through. I couldn't do it without God! I wouldn't want to! It's also times like these where I know I have to put people before things. I can always clean my house but I can't always snuggle with my kids. Often, I find the thing that helps the most is to establish priorities. Here are some I've been working on this week:

1.) Keep everyone alive including the old fart upstairs.
2.) Get through the day without losing my mind or my patience.
3.) Keep the essentials going: food, water, clothing. This means keeping up with SIMPLE meals (which can include delivery pizza), keeping everyone hydrated (when it's a goal of mine I don't mind running upstairs at a rate of 50 drinks an hour), keep the dishes done, the laundry done, and the bathrooms clean.
4.) Get enough sleep.
5.) Drink coffee, eat chocolate, pray, blog.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feeling Better

Thank you for all your prayers. Eric's surgery went well and he is now home, already logged on to his computer for work. I tell ya, his company gets a lot of work out of the guy! They certainly don't expect him to be working today, it's just his nature. He comes from a family of ten kids and they are all very hard working people. I hope our own kids learn such a good work ethic.

At the same time, even though he works really long hours, I wouldn't say Eric is a work-a-holic. When he is home, he leaves work at work and he enjoys his family and life. And golf of course. Lots and lots of golf.

Here's to hoping he is back out on the course soon!

I'll leave you with another picture of my Hottie on a recent golf trip on the coast. It actually SNOWED this day but he insists he was not cold. Hmmmm....he looks a little cold to me! I guess the beautiful ocean view made up for it.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Through Sickness and In Health

Please keep Eric in your prayers tomorrow. He is having back surgery. Just a couple weeks ago he was here:
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Now he is here:
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Despite being nearly bedridden the past couple of weeks, he made the kids his traditional Valentine's cookies which I never had time to blog about. Here is Vu with his, bearing his new American name. I was so worried about changing his name but he loves his new name so it has been an easy switch. Vu is still one of his middle names.
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Eric is the world's greatest ATM! Oops, I mean, Eric is the world's greatest husband. We are opposites attract but also very much alike. For one, we are both very stubborn (of course, he is way worse than me!), but it has been one of our keys to a successful marriage. How?

We got married at 18 and many told us it would never work out. There were some hard times but we were out to prove all those people wrong! We stuck it out, finally realizing we needed to point our fingers right back at ourselves and change what we could there before pointing the finger at each other. That stubbornness kept us together and now we have a most amazing marriage. We don't have a perfect marriage--who does? We are coming up on 27 years!

Here's my amazing Sweetie and me on a trip to Las Vegas! Can't wait until he is feeling better so we can enjoy another 27 years and then another 27!
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy 11th Birthday Kim!

Six of our childrens birthdays fall in the course of three months--plus mine! Plus James' girlfriend's! It's birthday season around here!

Someone once said to me that we probably don't celebrate with parties with so many kids. They couldn't be more wrong! I love birthday parties! (Eric, on the other hand, would rather go golfing but he's a good sport and after all, he is the chief cake baker.)

We have a family birthday party, usually on the day of the actual birthday, and then we have a friends party too--sometimes at home, sometimes out, usually involving some type of sleepover too. We also celebrate at school. When my kids are in therapy someday, they cannot hate me for neglecting their special day. :-)

I love having a theme for the parties. A great book on the subject is Penny Whistle Birthday Party Book. Kim's theme was "The Mall." She had three friends over, we went to the mall (of course), I gave the girls a little spending money and they had fun getting jewelry at Claire's, hitting a place with lots of Beanie Babies and 'Hello Kitty' stuff, the pet shop (no purchases allowed) and even the bookstore.

The girls played the board game "Mall Madness," had a shopping theme birthday cake on shopping themed plates and watched a movie, "Game Plan" which has nothing to do with shopping but is a good family movie combining football and an adorable little girlie girl.

The girls stayed up until all the wee hours of the night and morning and we had a gigantic breakfast including blueberry sauce and whipped cream on pancakes, one of Kim's favorites!

Happy Birthday Kim! I love you!!!

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Friday, February 22, 2008

He'll Get My Presidential Vote

We were driving home from getting haircuts and my quiet boy, 9 yo Paul, asked my not-so-quiet boy, 5yo Patrick, why he has such a loud voice.

Patrick took great offense and shouted out, "I'm going to need this loud voice someday! I'm going to be President Of The United States just like George Washington and I'm going to need my really loud voice!!!"

He crossed his arms, put his chin up in the air and thought about his great ambitions for a minute. Then, after a long pause, he added,

"I'm going to be President and I'm going to work at Game Stop . . . I'm going to be the BOSS at Game Stop."

Mr. President, what's the latest polls on the popularity of Wii games?

I've always said it. This kid is going to rule the world someday!

Actually, come to think of it, he already does--at least he thinks so!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dangers Of The Internet

I am having someone make Vu's adoption announcement and wanted to put a Vietnamese phrase on it. On one website, I discovered the phrase for "happy family"--thú khác loại nhốt chung một chuồng.

I e-mailed it to the woman making the announcement and then, as a second thought decided I should run it by someone who actually speaks VNese.

I'm glad I did! The phrase I was using means:

"A lot of different types of wild animals all in a cage together but getting along nicely."

Now, while that might describe my family really well, it is NOT what I want written on my sweet son's adoption announcement!

I have since corrected the error with the proper phrase for happy family: gia đình hạnh phúc.

The truth was almost revealed!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Reputations

Okay, now to share the smut.

Earlier this week I needed to trade Will cars. I love my 15 passenger van but it will not fit in many parking garages and I was on my way to see my niece at the hospital. Her baby (Levi) had heart surgery--he is now home and doing well. Yeah!

Will has a really cool Nova. I am not talking about borrowing that car. I would not dare to drive that car far and I would not dare drive it in the rain. It leaks like a storebrand diaper. I am talking about his not-so-cool 20 year old Toyota with the crunched up front. It's ugly but drives great. And it fits in parking garages.

He was fine with trading cars for the day. I thought it was really neat and a sign of self-confidence that an 18 yo boy does not mind driving "The Beast", or what he refers to as "The Mormon Mover." Will gets asked so often if we are Mormon that he just answers, "Uh-huh." He says it keeps people from thinking we are crazy when they find out we have eight kids yet are NOT Mormon or Catholic.

Okay, so I drive his little two-door and he drives the Morm...err...I mean, The Beast. I drive to the hospital just before he leaves for school.

We both arrive home just before it is time for me to go get the kids from school. I switch keys and rush out.

At school, we have this little traffic circle we drive around to pick up the kids. It is slow and tedious but safer than having everyone park and try backing over anyone and everyone's kids in a rush to make it out of the lot before the bus caravans pull out.

So, I'm starting and stopping around the circle and I see the Principal looking strangely at my van. He looks at me, he looks at the back of my car. He gives me a REALLY weird look. Then, some moms are looking at my van. One is laughing, the other frowning. I look back and can now see that someone has written something on the back window.

I'm thinking some highschool kids must have window painted some saying on the van as a little joke. They will often write things on Will's car like, "Will loves ________." I can't make out what's written and by this time the kids are all clammoring to get inside. I again see the principal with this weird smile on his face.

I get home, crane my head out the window and read:

THE SHAGGIN WAGON

I run into the house and I am yelling for Will that his friends wrote something bad on our car. He comes down the stairs and very nonchalantly says, "I wrote that before I drove it to school."

And I thought he had such great self-confidence to drive such a vehicle!

I still have the principal's look etched in my mind.

Two thoughts:

1.) It is going to take a long time to recover that ding in my reputation.

2.) Our principal now thinks he finally understands how we ended up with so many children--and it obviously ain't because he thinks we're Mormon!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pictures

A few pictures:

Here's Vu exactly one year ago:

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Here he is yesterday:

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Here's Kim the day after she came home from Korea:

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Here she is two days ago after just getting highlights:

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A cute picture of Paul on his birthday:

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Here is where Eric would like to be right now. Instead he is flat on his back with his back hurting, perhaps from too much of this activity (oops, did I say that outloud?)

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Hamster Status

The past couple weeks I've felt like a hamster on a wheel, running faster and faster and faster yet falling further and further behind. Do you ever feel this way? How does this happen?

The sad thing is, I can't really answer it! Eric's back went out so he has been completely incapacitated but still!

So much to catch up on, so little time. A birthday party, Valentine's day love and a big ding in my reputation.

Later folks, later.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

LAUNDRY TIPS--FROM A PRO

Sometimes someone will ask me for advice on raising kids and the more kids I have, the less advice I have to dispense. Funny how that works.

But let me tell you, I've learned a thing or two about laundry! And hey, when a mother of eight talks about laundry, you might want to listen up :-)

First of all, let me tell you, I am a woman that APPRECIATES her washer. For our first eight years of marriage and until I was pregnant with our third child, I hauled it all to the laundry mat--cloth diapers and all. Not fun! The good part is, as you read in my bad boy blog, I now have an appreciation for the world's most wonderful invention. Next to the Wonderbra of course.

MY BEST LAUNDRY TIPS:

*I start a load of laundry first thing every morning--BEFORE I can have my coffee.

* I have one day of the week where I get to the bottom of the hamper by focusing on laundry through out the day.

* I used to struggle everyday with piles of folded clothes--on the couch, or on my bed, or on the kitchen table. It looked messy and then each pile had to be put away--not to mention the fact it was easy to get several baskets piled up of clean clothes that needed to be folded.

Now, I fold directly from the dryer into stacking bins or small, individual laundry baskets, one for each child. The kids empty their own basket or bin once a week. Easy.

* I used to put everything my kids wore into the wash automatically. Now I tell my kids that if it smells clean and it looks clean it IS clean. Since instituting this rule, nobody has died. Not that they always follow the rule; for some reason it is easier to walk 20 steps to the laundry shute than walk 3 steps to their drawers.

* Along those same lines, sometimes something just has one little dirty spot. It can easily be spot cleaned with a wet washcloth and worn again. Some would say this is gross but I can say that again, nobody has died.

* A laundry shute is WONDERFUL! If our next house doesn't have one I'll probably take a chainsaw to the floor. Before I had a shute I had a divided hamper and the kids would sort their laundry. Even a 3yo can learn this.

* My kids do their own laundry once they are in middle school. I have not really had good success with this but it sounds like I am doing a good job parenting by saying it. The reality of this is, my older kids put their laundry into the washer and then leave it there until the next day, when it smells moldy and then I wash it TWICE more, put it in the dryer, put it in a basket, THEY fold it but of course it is wrinkled by then so every morning they pop what they want to wear in the dryer to get out the wrinkles upping our utility bill by I-don't-even-want-to-know-how-much. Uh-huh. I was sounding pretty smart up until now, huh?

* My kids all use white socks--Hanes, which are color coded by size on the bottom, and Nike for the teenagers because it would just be the worst thing in the whole world to even be caught dead in a pair of Hanes socks! Boring yes. Easy yes. It makes sorting a breeze and when we lose one sock, we haven't lost the whole pair.

* We have a folded socks basket on the dryer for the four youngest children. Since the socks are color coded on the bottom they can easily find their own size. No running upstairs to find socks for each individual child.

*We have a sweatshirt bin in the hall closet for the younger kids. No folding or hanging. Easy access.

*I keep the three little boys' pajamas all together in a drawer in the bathroom. When they get out of the tub, their p.j.s are right there.

*I keep one bin for sports gear in the laundry room--sports uniforms immediately go from the dryer to the bin. No panicked digging ten minutes before game time--unless of course they forgot to PUT the uniform INTO the wash.

* In the evening, I have my elementary age kids lay out their clothes for the next day (for some strange reason my teenagers now refuse to do this). This way, I can check to see that their clothes will match and are weather appropriate BEFORE they get dressed in the morning. Note: If you are a teacher of one of my children and you do not think my child's clothing always matches--you should have seen what they WANTED to wear!

My favorite spot cleaner: Oxy Clean
My favorite detergent: Tide
To get out Crayon, gum and lipstick: Goo Gone
Best Tip: Do not smell underwear or socks to see if they are clean--learned the hard way--too many times.
My Best, Best Laundry Tip: Don't have pets or kids

Some of those responsible for my resume' to read:

"PROFESSIONAL LAUNDRESS"

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Why Am I Eating Salad Today?

When I put the Dynamic Duo to bed at night I lay in the middle of the bed with Vu on one side and Patrick on the other. Sometimes I lay with them in my bed, let them fall asleep and then move them into their own beds. Other times I lay with them on Vu's bottom bunk. They like to sleep together though by morning, Vu is always in bed with us and sometimes Patrick has joined in too.

Last night I was putting them to sleep on Vu's bed. Mind you, this is a TWIN size bed. When getting in between the two of them, I accidently squished Patrick's arm.

Patrick: "Ouch! Mommy, you're a BIG hippopotamus!"

Me: "Patrick, it's not nice to call someone a hippopotamus! It's just like calling someone fat. You shouldn't do that. And anyway, I'm not fat."

Patrick thinks about that for a minute then quips, very seriously: "Okay, you're a skinny hippopatomus . . . with a big, FAT butt."

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Sick Thought

I realized this morning that life has been too crazy lately.

Here was the thought running through my head at 6am:

"I am so tired! We seem to be going 100 MPH every day. Nobody has even been sick this winter! Not so much as a sniffle! Wouldn't it be great if the kids all got that flu going around and we could stay home for a whole week and sleep in and cuddle and watch movies?"

Yea. It's a sick thought. Time to slow down a little.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chuc Mung Nam Moi

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The Year Of The Rat


Happy New Year! Tet begins today! I gave the kids red envelopes with chocolate coins and money. Lizzy said she likes new traditions--esp. when they include money.

I'm trying some new VNese recipes for dinner--served on Ratatouille plates. Singing Chicken, Buddha Rice, Coconut Banana Cake and eggrolls (I cheated on those and brought frozen.) I'll share after family evaluation.

May the year of the rat be amazing!!!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

MY NEW BAD BOY

There's a new bad boy in town and I am utterly and completely in love with him. I love him so much I spend LOADS of quality time with him every day. He is buff, beautiful and has brut strength. The guy can do double what most bad boys can do! He has taken up a presence in the house that has been missing for a long time.

Who is this Bad Boy????




Is this him?
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No, that was the Bad Boy last week. And for those wondering, I wasn't mad for long. How could I be with that sense of humor? I appreciate a good joke!

Is this him?

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Nope. That's not him either but as you can see, I have plenty of protection around my house so don't try to come and rob me of my bad boy anytime soon.

Him?

superman

Not in my wildest dreams. Well . . . maybe in my wildest dreams.



This is him. He's the gray one with all the buttons. I'm trying to figure out the "Wash and Wear" program.

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Let's see . . . new stove, new dishwasher, new microwave and now, new front loader--all in the last six months. Hard on the bank account but I don't care. I'm one happy woman. It's sick that I'm happy about it. I guess this means I really am getting old.