Monday, September 29, 2008

Island flu.

Every year we get it- once if not twice. Sometime we pass it around for weeks- sometimes it comes and goess within a couple days. I blame it on high incidence of travel and tourists. And school. And Children are germ factories. When we get the letters home from school that there's another case of fifth disease or pink eye- I know our days are numbered. I also know that if we set foot in Chuck e cheese or the burger king play place the kids will be feverish or sick to their stomachs in approximately 24-48 hours. I once had to rescue Bella from the top of the Burger King playplace- it was not a good experience and I'm pretty sure it had not been cleaned or sanitized since it was built. We didn't go back for a long long time.

So Keola pops in on Friday- he looks a little pekid and I feel a knot in my stomach. Rough night? I ask tentatively? No, he slept fine- but he hasn't eaten anything and spent all day throwing up yesterday. As if on cue- the child starts to dry heave. Oh boy. Go ahead think it- Phil already admonished me for being a doormat. I am told it had to be something he ate. Sure- I will take your pukey child and spend the next 2 weeks puking or cleaning it up. Yea me. So I relegate him to a towel covered spot on the couch. He is not allowed to move. He eats a half of banana and drinks a whole cup of water. His color is back and he wants to play. Lets play outside- minimal cleanup should the blessed event occur- and I know it will- that's just my luck. But no- he's doing well. He drinks more water. They want to walk to the park. It's a couple houses away- what's the worst that can happen? We make it to the park- a bucket of sippy cups in hand. The girls are bopping around and I hear AN JEN! followed by a splashy sound- they must of spilled my water. I walk around the side of the playhouse and Keola is soaked in water/banana chunks. He is walking around in circles in the puddle. I get him to the grass for round 2 and after start stripping him down for the walk home. My water is intact and I use it to rinse down the playplace. Fortunately the girls brought one of kiera's blankets and I wrapped him in it. I look for the girls- Bella is splashing around in the puddle drinking out of Ola's sippy cup. Seriously. Fortunately his dad picks him up early. I try to sanitize everything before Phillip and Kiera get home from school. Lysol and bleach are my friends. Meanwhile Lily and Bella play doctor with a booklight. I know who will be playing doctor in the next 24-48 hours.......

Stop, Drop, and Roll

We had our first Field Trip for Lily's Preschool. It was the classic Fire Station trip. Lily LOVED it- especially the part where she got to wear the hat and exclaimed It's Lily Fireman! Of course we spent the previous 3 days preparing for the trip- I want to see the fireman, I do NOT want to go on the Firebus. I do NOT want you or Bella to go on the Firebus. Sweetie, it's a truck, not a bus- you can look at it, but you don't have to go in it. We arrive at the Fire station and Bella thinks it's too cool that she can hang with Lily's friends. Lily does the rounds, says hi to everyone and their mother-literally. And then we all gather for the presentation. It was all fine and dandy until the fireman in the suit showed us how a fire extinguisher worked and made it "snow" over the crowd. Bella was not pleased. I think the technical term would be "pissed off". I wanna go HOME. All done. I wanna go home. And that is what I heard on permanent loop for the next hour. I was not allowed to stand in the shade- I had to stand approximately 10 yards away from any vehicle, fireman or firestation paraphenalia. That included the entire structure known as "fire station". Notice the look of disdain, as we pose for a picture, far , far closer than 10 yards away from the vehicle.
I won't even mention the screams when they set the little doghouse on fire and showed how they put out fires. I should have figured- she only recently would be in the same room while birthday candles were aflame. I really didn't expect a demonstration considering the parking lot of the fire station was smaller than my backyard. I wonder what the codes for that sorta thing are here-but I guess they are trained professionals. Anywho- we survived the trip- she actually slept for the remainder of the afternoon and absolutely refused to speak of the incident again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

9 years and Going Strong...

Well, we've managed to keep out eldest offspring in circulation for another year. It wasn't without it's moments. But we did it. Things we have learned this year- skateboards: bad, Helmets:good. Of course had he been wearing a helmet on his pancreas all along- this year might have been a little less interesting and I would not have had to start dying my hair. I recently paid an outrageous amount for a mountain dew helmet that was to his liking- because the dirt bike helmet that he had to have last year is hot and heavy. He hangs on to it though and says it will come in handy when he gets his dirtbike- well yeah that helmet won't seem nearly as hot when hell freezes over.

The cake this year was Phineas and Ferb- and I was relieved. He is also into Bakugan which are these little ball things with a magnetic clasp and they pop open when they hit metal. Thanks to Grandma C- his birthday wasn't a total bust- as she delivered the Delta Dragonoids which apparently are uber awesome and nowhere to be found on the island of Oahu. I could not imagine trying a cake that would somehow pop open- so Phineas and Ferb were easy. Relatively speaking. He stayed home from the beach to help make the cake. I have to say it was fun having him help- although the realization that cake making from start to finish requires more than just and hour or so about did him in. By the end of cake day- I usually have all the kids completely hyped up on sugar because they steal handfuls of scraps and know I won't chase them around the house while I am coated in frosting, fondant and cornstarch- sounds yummy doesn't it? SO the base is Perry the Platypus- with Phineas and Ferb - stepbrothers who are always building wacky larger than life inventions.

I am not sure when the cake thing got out of hand in our house. No one even likes cake- except Bella. It always sits around and I end up giving it away. When I realized that no one really liked cake we switched to ice cream cakes and I would toss some sort of figure on top and call it good. But then in my more frugal years- it became difficult to shell out the dinero for a gigantaur ice cream cake- so when we would have parties I would make cakes. Kiera had the huge mermaid with cupcake hair and tail, Phillip had Baseball- there's been princess, Dora, spiderman, Bronco, Rockies, TMNT- I'm starting to lose track and each one gets more complicated. Apparently it is a reflection of my love for them. Phil requested a life size Eagle Jet this year- I wonder if the Air National Guard would mind if I quietly frosted one and plopped a few candles on it- I mean no one really likes the cake anyway.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Libraries are not monkey friendly.

Our library books were due yesterday. All 23 of them. If I get them there early enough today- they won't charge me. It wouldn't be the end of the world- but at .15 a book- I could buy myself a happy meal or something. I could definitely use one right now. Phillip and Kiera are off of school today. I imagine the teachers get the day off to grade the mountain of homework that I am needed to help with at night. My theory is that if I do a good job at explaining math to Phillip- then he can "help" Kiera, Kiera can help Lily, and so on and so forth. I mean really that is why I had more than one child- right? Distribution of household chores. Because like the good mom I am -I evenly distibute the household chores, do them all myself and nag constantly about no one helping out. But I digress. Library books. due. 23 books. 5 kids. This oughta be fun.

In the antiquated facilities- there are book drops. But they are locked during open hours to force patrons to bring books inside. Phillip needs books to reach his reading goal next week - off we go. We enter the library- and they scatter. The brief to Phillip and Kiera before we left was that we would play zone defense until such situation occurred that required man to man. We talked about holding hands, quiet voices, the whole routine. The "babies" were reminded of their expected behavior. Man to man- NOW! Keola runs to the life size papier mache giraffe- Lily spots the triceratops at the other side of the library. Kiera- stick to Bella- Phillip keep on Keola- Lily hold my hand. Lily snaps to my side- I think she remembers the last time we were asked to leave the library and I sat and cried in the car for 20 minutes before I could drive us home. Phillip is trying to hold Ola's hands and he is squealing and dodging up and down the stacks of books. Bella wants in on the game and sets off after Phillip- Kiera shrugs at me and Lily tries to squirm away from my grip. I haven't even managed to get the books due on the counter- criminy. I tell Phillip to freeze- Bella rams into him and Ola immediately turns around to see where his pursuer went. I grab Bella's hand and Olas and off goes Lily- followed by Phillip. 2 librarians are giggling already. That's how it starts- giggling- oh how cute- now you must leave. My blood pressure is sky rocketing. This was a very bad idea. I finally convince them that they do in fact get to pick out books but we have to go over here and wrangle them up. They go to the secluded kid area and proceed to dance on the stage that has umpteen signs posted that say DO NOT PLAY ON STAGE. Has anyone anywhere who designs this stuff EVER actually seen a child- or spent 2 flipping seconds with one. If they had they would not have put anything that was supposed to be off limits in the child area. Maybe it's just me. Allright. I've had enough. The procession to check the books out went pretty much the same as the initial entry. And I see a class coming in from the school. Yep we must leave. I try to snag a book here and there as I chase the rats through the maze. Lily and Kiera recognize "the look" and stop in their tracks. Phillip is trying to wrangle Ola and I see the youngest librarian heading our way. Lovely. Do you think you could keep them together? One would think I could- but obviously I cannot. I hate being a spectacle. There is an entire class of teenagers giggling and a very agitated teacher glaring at me. We are leaving- I am very sorry. Note to self- next time just pay the fine and kept one last shred of sanity.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Laying Down on the Job.

I don't get paid hourly. And there are times when I work nights, weekends, and really bizarre hours. Anyone with children knows this. And sometimes, although circumstances rarely allow for it- I attempt to take a little snooze on the couch. A snooze on the couch can usually be defined as me laying on the couch in a somewhat tense state as Lily snuggles either on or behind my legs and Bella repeatedly bounces on me like I am a coin operated machine that is not functioning properly. Today did not differ. We spent the morning trying to find parking at the army medical facility where we see the doctor. With four kids, you get to see them a lot. Fortunately today- I only had 2 with me. I left an hour an a half early to pick up some refill prescriptions. I figure transit time is anywhere from 30 min to 1 hour depending- that still leaves at least 30 minutes to park and get an rx. Reasonable planning. Lily has her backpack filled with toys, snacks and enough to keep them occupied for the next 2 days. I also pack back-up snacks and entertainment in my bag. Traffic moved smoothly- we were there in 26 minutes- outstanding. Hmm- valet parking is full. This is a bad sign. Valet parking at Crippler, oops Tripler Army Medical Center is the somewhat reasonable response to the criticism that severely ill patients, pregnant women and women lugging 85 children should not have to hike 1 mile up a hill(Phillip counted 2 sets of 20 steps between the lowest parking level and entrance level) . So they designated all the "no parking" areas- valet parking areas. Mind you people were parking there anyway because there was no parking- at least now $5 a car may fund a new parking structure somewhere in the 22nd century. But as usual I digress. An hour later- I finally score a parking spot after several close calls. SO much for going to the pharmacy- off to our appointment. After a 30 minute wait and Lily and bella exhausting their supply of entertainment- we saw the doctor and were on our way. I stopped by the pharmacy- they were on #425, I grab a ticket- #474. The sign say approximately a 3-5 minute wait per customer....almost 5o ahead of me- sha right- it's a good thing no one is gonna die without their vitamins ...I'll have to come back. It's 12:30- I left the house at 9- any visit to Tripler takes about 3 hours- our time is more than up- Plus Phillip and Kiera need to be picked up at 1:10 today. We get home. We are all tired. Let's take a nap on the couch I say. Bella rummages through Phillip's bag and finds a book cover which apparently doubles as a mighty fine hat. Kiera finds it amusing and wants to take a picture- but first she must take a picture of herself. That's just how Kiera is- all about equality. Meanwhile Bella has scored some glittery lip gloss and is proceeding to beautify herself. I close my eyes and must have really looked like I needed some make-up- because I then feel ooey gooey jabs to my eyelids. Good lord I hope I am not allergic- I can't possibly do another trip to Tripler today.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Keeping Monkeys out of your Food.

Every time I make an omelet- I am approached hungrily by a ravenous crowd. It matters not that already by 8 am on a Saturday morning they have had juice, fruit, cereal, and I'm pretty sure a few cheese sticks based on the wrappers lying next to the trash container. I doubt they are even hungry, but if you put an omelet on the table- they are starved. I've tried different ingredients, but have yet to find ones that eliminate all beggars. Until this morning. Contrary to popular belief, size does matter. At least in the world of omelets- I mean I have not really researched if how you flip the omelet makes a difference one way or another- but in the land of my monkeys- the size of the ingredients is the key to my having a peaceful meal. The key ingredient- green peppers. Big, evenly distributed- deters them all. I'm not crazy about them. They are my least favorite ingredient of the Denver omelet- but sometimes you have to make concessions. Cheese automatically eliminates Phillip. I melt the cheese in his- sometimes he tastes it, sometimes not. Onions- Lily's out. Kiera is pretty nonplussed about most ingredients and Bella is not afraid of green things. She rather likes salad- especially if it's mine. They scarf theirs down, and by the time I get to my eggs- they are all up in it. But throw some hearty chunks of green peppers in an omelet- they will scan it, crinkle their nose and go about their business. And I get to eat my omelet in peace- well that is to say, I get to eat my omelet. The peaceful part is all relative.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's Raining, It's Pouring....

It Poured. It generally doesn't pour here. The kids were amazed ,hopping around like they had been fed giggle juice for lunch.It's Weening! And I realize, they don't know rain in the typical midwest rain for months scenario that I grew up with. They don't know the sudden onslaught of torrential downpour of Colorado. The kind that if you wait 5 minutes- it'll stop- If you try to go out in it- you will be soaked immediately. All they know is what Phil refers to as - The sprite mist. Like the old commercials when you'd open the Sprite can to a sprinkly pssst sound. It mists here. And hardly that on our side of the island. SO when it rains- I let them play in it. They require umbrellas and boots. At first they giggle. Then they complain. Bella informs me There's water there. and there. On my BOOTS! On my Table. On my Car. Yes dear, that is rain. No. Water! Ok. I'm not gonna win this one. They last a few minutes and then go inside to snuggle under blankets. After all- it was a chilly 82 degrees. That kind of cold will get to you. It was all I could do to keep from brewing them a big ol pot o hot chocolate. But I realized if I made them hot chocolate- from now until the end of time- every single day it rained I would have to make hot chocolate and seriously- we live in Hawaii.

The Faux Hawk and other hair disasters.

I probably should not cut my children's hair. I know there is probably an age limit, at which point it is considered emotional and physical abuse to do so. But today was picture day. They needed haircuts. It was pouring yesterday. I was not leaving the house. So last night I cut Phillip and Kiera's hair. Phillip's was easy- I've been doing his for 6 years. He fusses every time, but as long as I spike it or do something crazy with it when I am done- he will tolerate it. Last night was the faux hawk.

Now Kiera was a different story. She wanted her hair short. And layered. Ok I can do layers. SO I do a little research and try to attemt the angled bob that is soooo popular these days. I manage a shoulder length bob. The child is incapable of sitting still. The angling posed somewhat of a problem. I had to stop before she was bald. It is a chin length bob in front- which is adorable with her features- and we won't talk about the back which is this shaggy layered mess. She LOVES it. She spent the night looking at herself and shaking her hair back and forth. I kept chasing her with the scissors trying to even it out here and there- which I am pretty sure to an outsider would totally look like I had lost my mind. The whole time Kiera's giggling- I LIKE IT THE WAY IT IS!!! Perhaps the 2 hours of sitting "still" had gotten to her. I guess I won't be adding hair stylist to my resume quite yet. When I drag her away from the mirror I'll get a picture- who am I kidding- she'll sit for 3 hours for a photo shoot.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Mo-Mo Potty

Bella loves Elmo. And in this house- as in many with avid Sesame Street fans- he is affectionately known as Mo-Mo. Lily was not much into the goings on of Big Bird and his pals- she was all about Dora and Diego. Keola's mom- in an effort to encourage potty training in the little ones bought us an Elmo Potty that the kids can hi-Five when they are done and he says encouraging things. We tripped over it in the bathroom for a few weeks and then I had a brilliant idea. Whenever the little ones are outside playing in the sprinkler or the pool- the first thing they need to do is go potty. It never fails. NEVER. So why not use the Mo-mo potty outside. I mean after all- with the 2 and under crowd- there isn't a whole lot of notice in the "I have to go" realm. It has been working beautifully. Ola trots over to any vacant piece off grass or nearest trees and adds a little fertilizer. Bella watches it run down her leg. Lily. Now Lily religiously uses the Elmo throne- it is sooo choice. Much more convenient than bothering with the indoor loo. Finally Bella catches on. She now will exclusively use Elmo for #2. If the door is locked and she has abandoned clothing- she might bother to sit on the porcelain variety for awhile- but her first choice is to make the pilgrimage outdoors to visit Elmo. As much as I hate cleaning the thing- it is progress and for our little exhibitionist types- for them it is a pure piece of heaven.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Monkeying around with Homework

I am an involved parent. I try to help as much as possible with homework while the littlest baboons are slinging poo and wrestling each other- which is usually accompanied by this ungodly shrieking. The first week of school Kiera comes home with her instructions for studying- Mrs. Brouse says I need a quiet environment to do my homework in- no tv, radio or any noise and I have to sit at a table. Hmm. Well the sound proof booth is currently being renovated, so the kitchen table will have to do. Phillip locks himself in his room and tries to ignore the continual knocking of the baboon babies- egging him to come out or let them in. He is more independent and self motivated to complete his homework. Kiera likes the one-on-one guidance- aka- she wants to manipulate someone into doing it for her. Her father is particularely vulnerable to this and it brings her great joy when he is available during homework time. I watch from a distance as she bats her beautiful little eyes at him and he has no idea that she is masterfully pulling his strings with every move. It did not help that her teacher last year was also male and during the first parent-teacher conference he informed me that Kiera needed a lot of individualized attention. I shook my head and explained to the young man- she is a master manipulator- do not be fooled. After that she seemed to need a lot less attention. Last night I took the female baboons for a walk around the block , Phillip had to stay at home to finish his homework. When I get home, I am presented with 3 pages of Algebra problems that are mostly finished, but mostly incorrect. So I proceed to tackle explaining to an almost 9 year old the basic tenets of algebra as they relate to his homework. All in all, we spent a solid hour going through it and I am convinced if we spent another 5 hours on it, he would still not understand a darn thing- I mean he's in 4th grade for crying out loud(which I was really trying not to do). Kiera and the girls were in bed- after all she had completed her homework right after school, eating apples and peanut butter, Bella in her lap, with Lily watching tv, while at the same time helping her friend Eliza with her homework so they could play together.