Monday, March 23, 2015

The Quarantine Chronicles

 But first, and way more importantly, this little girl turned one last month!!

She was thoroughly delighted (as were we all) with the  caramel cream cake provided by Grandma Trudy. Who also provided the meal.
As lent had just begun two days previously, a Fi(st) day was a welcome reprieve from our onerous Lenten observations. I am still working on trying to get back up to my prepregnancy weight and was directed to not give up anything which contained calories. Or fat. Or pretty much anything. Fi is a major calorie consumer (those thighs don't some easily) so until she stops nursing I'm pretty resigned to wearing Audrey's hand-me-downs and eating like a fatted calf. And then eating the fatted calf for dessert. It's rough having such a freaky metabolism. Know what it's like being cold and hungry all the time? Take  me out to  lunch and I'll tell you all about it.
We all enjoyed the nice party. And then a week after the festivities, a nasty cold descended on the house and we've been shut-ins since. It hit some of us harder than others. Thankfully the little ones had a light version and I was mostly unscathed and got to play Florence Nightingale for the duration of the plague. I didn't have to do any amputations, which was a relief, mostly just keep up the feeding and medicating of the invalids. Which I was able to do because our supplier (aka Grandma Trudy) left a huge cache of goods on our porch. Shane and the four big kids were hugely scathed and missed weeks of work and schooling.
This week  I'm hoping we can transition from  the land of the not-dead-yet to the living. Or, in my case, the gimpy-but-still-not-dead-yet crowd. Which seems to be the new normal. At least for  me.
A few weeks ago, in addition to the plague fairies, I got a visit from the Frankenstein fairy. Which left me with rubberbands in varying lengths and elasticities wrapped around my legs. Which were turned into ice, then stone, then wood.  At least that is how they feel to me. Shane assures me it doesn't look that way. Though I have not tried running or anything that requires quick foot work. Because, let's not add injury to insult.
I emailed my neurologist, which is a new feature the clinic has set up, which is awesome but also surprising that it is 2015 and this is new feature. She offered a course of steroids, and for the first time in 24 years, I said I'd consider it. Which I did for a couple days and then decided no. In addition to not wanting to have interference with breastfeeding- I'm still a little scarred from the cold turkey weaning with Malachi-I didn't want the other side effects. Insomnia- oh because our sleep routines after two years of crazy have finally become bearable. Irritability, aggression, oh, and the munchies. I don't have time for any of that. So in the end I passed. It's been three weeks and typically a relapse starts calming down after 6 weeks so we'll just figure it out as we go.
I'm curious to talk more to my doctor in May. Last visit I didn't have much to report. When I  brought up some of my latest internet researches, she  suggested I focus my investigations more in the line of the anti-brain-atrophy therapies being worked on, as opposed to the anti-inflammatory drugs.  Which seemed a covert way of saying I've transitioned to the second part of the party. Progressive MS. She explained it as the difference between  a fire that periodically lights up versus a hot bed of coals that just sits and smolders. So in addition to my swagger, I've got smolder. Gary Cooper, you've got competition.
If the transition proves true it would also mean a new field(albeit smaller field) of therapies would be options and other therapies would be ixnayed. I don't mind passing on any more of the needles, for sure.  I am still intrigued by the HSCT I mentioned in a previous post. There are trials going on, even in Seattle, but they want fresh meat. Not aged and smoldering for 24 years. Mostly because they found it most beneficial when done in the still relapsing stage. Which, because of the most recent gimpiness, I might still be in. So there's a silver lining. Or maybe Shane will take me to Germany and get it done there. He totally would if I wanted to. But for now we'll just wait and see how it all goes down. And hope no one gets their leg broke in the process.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sorry For Beating A Dead Horse...

Though if it helped I would do it in an instant. And maybe poke a few pins in it just for good measure. Though what I think I really need is sleep. That might change everything. For example:

Yesterday, my sister came over for a visit. It had been while due to kids sickness, some family vacations, and just life. She showed of her nice winter boots that did not make her legs look like toothpicks, talked about her yoga classes as she cooked a fat pork hunk for dinner with her husband and boys that night probably with a cozy bottle of wine and a nice fire. I know I desperately need to exercise and eat more, and even more. Every shower I'm reminded how slack my skin is over less than toned muscles. My belly looks like a goofy-grinned Cyclops  in desperate need of a face lift ( big shout out to daily Copaxone shots for smiling crescent and to pregnancies for the rest.) But lately I'm too tired to really care and I rarely go anywhere I can't just throw cozies on for. So no big deal.

Shane had already warned me he'd be late so I wasn't surprised when I didn't see his headlights until 9:30. But I was surprised as   the minutes continued and he didn't come to the door. I got the kids, babies included, to bed and waited but still no Shane.

"Maybe he fell asleep, " I started wondering. maybe he doesn't want to come in. Why would he want to? Its usually crazy and whiny in here. And messy. Of course he would rather eat dinner somewhere else with someone else and then it still wouldn't be enough of a break so he would need to just sit alone in his truck. Or maybe he has bad news and he is not sure how to tell me. Maybe he doesn't like me anymore and he's hoping I'll just go to bed before he comes in?

After 15-20 minutes, I gathered up all my nighttime paraphernalia- water, baby monitor etc.-and headed up to our room. Shane walked in the door just as I reached the staircase. We exchanged greetings in the mostly dark and quiet  hallway. He seemed beleaguered and weary. I was too tired to be curious about his absence and thought it could wait until morning. He asked if I'd be up for foot rubs and chatting but I said no. Too tired. So we went up to bed.

And of course I couldn't sleep. Shane fell asleep quickly and I lay there slightly regretting my turning down the offer of  company and happy feet. So I grabbed my phone and was surprised to find a text from some unknown man asking for my mailing address. And that his wife, oh sure you're married, had been trying to contact me about a contest I'd won and to please respond.

Really dude? Don't you know Facebook is riddled with  strangers, some not so bright, and others who can spot a scam when they see it and I am not telling you where I live but thanks for the heebie-jeebies just as I'm trying  to sleep.

Then Fiona started squirming. I was glad to have something pleasant, grounded, and real to do.  I lay there feeding her and she drifted back to sleep and I contemplated leaving Facebook forever.

I finally fell asleep after 1am, despite or maybe due to the Benadryl I took before getting in bed. Not for long as Malachi started his 'mama' calls just after. I tried to talk to him from our bed and see if that would work. It didn't  Then Fiona decided she just needed a little snack and started grunting.  Shane got up and I settled in with Fi thinking we could finally relax. Then Malachi called out again at which point I realized Shane did not get up to take care of  Malachi. He didn't even realize it was Malachi's calling that had woken him up and thought it was just his bladder which  caused him to bee-line it to the bathroom and out of hearing range. I was praying the noise would not disturb the baby into complete consciousness.

Shane came back and handed Malachi his sippy cup finally. Which Malachi did not want. So after only a few minutes of lost sleep, Shane decided it would be better to just put him in our bed. Which usually works. But this was not usually. Malachi still complained about his not-baba (I'm hoping/trying to get him used to no bottles of milk at night in the hopes that he will finally start eating in the day. When normal people eat.) But eventually Shane went down to make him a bottle and get ibuprofen. Malachi has been teething- like since he was born-but more so lately and was/is working on clearing up his pneumonia.  The fever is not gone for good yet so ibuprofen was a good bet.

By that time Fiona, who adores Malachi, had noticed the company and was so excited she started chatting a mile a minute only pausing a second before slipping into  tongue clicking mode. Which, even at that ungodly hour, is so ridiculously cute I couldn't help but smile. Then someone somewhere told a funny joke and she broke into belly giggles. Also insanely adorable.

Malachi was only mildly disturbed by Fi's antics and after an hour or so settled back down. Fi decided she was a tiny baby again and could only nurse with me sitting up. Which put her in prime pulling big brother's hair, or kicking his face territory. 'Sleep? That's for old people. I'm young and energetic and have a super clicky tongue. Want to hear?'

Finally, after a few hours of tortured sleep, Shane got up for work. I tried to prolong everyone's sleep but Fiona decided I probably needed to start my caffeine drip early as I would need a lot to make it through the day. Thoughtful girl.

But after a coffee and a shower and a little communication, yesterday turned into an entirely different day.

Yes, my boot-wearing sister came over. And yes she did yoga. Also  it did something to her back in   that makes her wince when getting out of chairs. She also brought a toy vacuum cleaner for Malachi and walked Fiona to sleep for a nap. And showed me and my kids there is a world still out there not populated by zombies. And we can go there too. Someday.

Shane did work late and had a dinner meeting with a co-worker. Which wasn't much in the way of sustenance but at least he got dinner. Some days he has to skip lunch  When he got  home he sat in his car to take a call for a sync-up with his India team. When you have teams spread across time zones somebody is staying up late or getting up early. He did hear Malachi and gave him a  pat  BEFORE going to the bathroom and Malachi seemed fine. When he realized he wasn't he went down filled a bottle and gave him Motrin  and sat by him comforting him for a long  time before deciding it would be better to just put him in our bed for the little time he had left to sleep. Before he had to get up and do it all over again.  He did hear Fi and the clicking and also couldn't help but smile at her cleverness.

And the Facebook stranger really is the husband of the husband-wife team running an out-of-print  Catholic book printing shop. And I had legitimately  won the free book contest  they were running which I had entered. I just didn't  know his name.

Moral of the story, get some rest. And if you do come across a dead horse, give it a swift kick from me.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Shane is not a huge reader of blogs. At least mine. Which makes me feel better about stating 'facts' when I write. Typically if the main point of a text I send him is not in the first paragraph, he won't get to it. If I need five items from the grocery store, I need to communicate it in the first three words. In emails, he will often skim for the main points. So I usually distill as much as possible. I know he's busy doing whatever he does and I respect whatever that is.

So I was surprised the other night as we got into bed and he  looks at me and asks in amazement,

"You really don't know what I do?"

"Kind of. Maybe. I mean you've had lots of different roles. I wouldn't know how to explain it someone else. Can you tell me in one sentence I can remember?"

"Sure" he says.

"In words I can understand" I add.

"Oh. Hmmm. Lets see." He thinks a bit.

"Ok. This is really over simplified. You can just say I build systems that run Microsoft."

"Right now you could say I work on Cosmos."

Thrilled with the chance to show off that I have gleaned a tiny bit of knowledge over the years I look at him and say,

"But isn't that just a tool?" It seems to me all the languages, you know, like C# and SQL (pronounced sequel)  and methodologies like SAP and Hadoop- I might be totally off, but I do know Hadoop was named for a kids toy elephant. I can understand things like that.

So tool seemed like a safe bet. It worked.

"Yeah, you could say that. Do you know what it does?"

Oh shoot. Why does he always ask for verification. Now he'll find out that I am totally faking it, kind of. Can't I just intuitively know Cosmos isn't a product or project therefore it has to be a tool? Or it is one of those others but can still be classified as a tool. Why can't he just be impressed and we can go to sleep?

"Its a tool for organizing data" I state, feeling the odds are pretty good whatever it is or does could be described that way.

He seemed a little surprised.

"Yeah, actually." He admitted. It was dark but I'm pretty sure his face would have shown how impressed he was with my knowledge of geek speak. Or he was stifling his laughter at my poor attempts to converse knowledgeably on things I was clueless about and just pulling my leg. If so, please no one tell me. Ignorance is bliss and then I might feel tempted to ask him to really explain it to me.

But just to show off some other words, did you know that a yodabyte is bigger than a petabyte?  And if you do something to either of those you can turn them into yobabytes and pebabytes? I think one of those has wings or can't live within 500 yards of a school. I can't remember which.

Also to my credit, I know I couldn't be fooled like this:

I know you would need a much bigger box.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Linking up with Grace Or Copycatting because it has been a long time since I've been here and it seemed an easy segue to get back into writing, if it works. And not too much energy wasted if  it doesn't. Lists are easy, so I'll go with it. Also, if I finish this post before next month, I'll only have to come up with 36 bits of useless information. Who doesn't like to save a little?
Here we go:

1. I have not slept a full night's sleep in 3 years.

2. I do not have a sleeping disorder.

3. I do have 6 children, two of which are two and under, and the main bestowers of nighttime fun.

4. I complain a lot. In my head, if  Shane's not home.

5. I could not buy alcohol when I got married or had our first baby.

6.I never went to college. I like history. And learning. Though I have been known for embellishing some events when describing current hardships, and minimizing others when it comes to dents in vehicles.  According to some historians, named Shane.

7. My breakfast usually consists of two tall breve latt├ęs. And maybe an egg and toast later when the big kids are making their breakfasts and I put an order in.

8. I hate schedules and start panicking the minute I commit to one especially if it involves all children dressed with shoes and a starting time.

9. I wish dreadfully that my kids would be amenable to a sleep schedule. But they take after me.

10. I am an INTJ. Shane is an INTP. Supposedly that is the most difficult combination to make work. Thanks to Holy Spirit, its been working for almost 17 years.

11. I absolutely hate the cold and, much like transition, feel like I'd  jump out the nearest window if it would make the feeling go away.

12. Growing up, my favorite TV show was Night Hawk. For all of its 11 or so episodes. Rex Smith. A motorcycle. Say no more. ( I was 8. Or  9Then I saw Pirates of Penzance. It was a quick soup d'jour.

13. I don't know French. I took Latin.

14. I am terrible at math or anything with numbers.

15. I don't know how many more line items I can come up with.

16. I am horrible with new technology, including the handsfree system in my car. How  does  'Text Shane' turn into "Calling your 'deceased grandmother's name' ".The best I can manage is knowing my ABCs and the backspace key. Shane does everything in that arena and I don't understand  how other people get by at all.

17. I didn't have to be sold on the 'Geek is the new Sexy' trend. Our priest said to always maintain a little mystery. Marrying a computer geek is a pretty surefire way for me to always have some perpetual mystery in my life. Shane is super patient and still tries to explain what he does for a living. He leaves. He comes home. Money appears in my account.

18. Often I find being an introvert and having 6 kids isn't lonely enough.

19. I don't mind going to the dentist. Though I would rather spend the time away from the kids doing something other than saying 'AHHHHH' for 45 minutes.

20. I do like my annual MRIs and look forward to a cozy, albeit noisy, alone time.

21. I was diagnosed with MS when I was 13 and introduced to MRIs. They have improved greatly, and now with the added heated blanket option, I almost consider it a spa visit. Just a very expensive one that does nothing to improve my hair.

22. I hate clothes and especially shoe shopping.

23. If I am feeling unenergized about making dinner, I always default to a breakfast dish. Luckily my kids like French toast.

24. I am not sure of the last time I formally exercised. If it were not for the 2 yr old's antics I would not be getting any exercise. If it were not for the 2 yr old's antics, I might have time to exercise. But probably still wouldn't.

25. Kateri just now informed me said 2 yr old peed under the table.

26. I am ok with waiting to finish this list before asking one of the kids to clean it up. Fiona doesn't crawl yet so I've got a little time. I call it relaxed. Shane says it is bordering on lazy.

27. I was not gifted with any graces in the arts.  I usually just mouth the words to Happy Birthday. My kids tell me all my animal drawings look like llamas. No matter the intended species.

28. I like comedy better than drama. There isn't really anything I would not prefer to drama. Maybe Horror.

29. I like red wine and dark chocolate. Together or not.

30. I love dirt. Maybe it's the Irish in me. I even wrote a poem about it in 2nd grade.

31. I can't get the picture in the right place and Shane is not home so it is at the end of the list.

32. I've drinking coffee since I was 12. This is Seattle!

33. I was homeschooled from 7th grade through high school.

34. I cleaned the under the table mess.

35. This list has taken me ridiculously ,embarrassingly, long to write.

36. I have a cold so feel that #34 was especially heroic of me.

I wasn't kidding about #27.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Enjoying Summer, A Little Longer

The past few days have been really nice and it is supposed to be even nicer this weekend so we are trying to fit a little more summer in before the weather changes and we start school. Shane took a few of the kids camping and brought back some gorgeous pictures of landscapes I will never see in persons, unless he helicopters me up there. Hiking/camping is still not my thing. I am glad the kids like it so Shane has someone to enjoy it with. Everyone had a good time.
I decided to be a mom and took the four younger kids to the park yesterday. It was almost as fun as blowing bubbles with Muffin the other day. One bubble. Two bubbles. A flock of bubbles. And there go the bubbles. Maybe we can smear the wand in the pool of bubbles we spilled and get a few more out. NO? Ok then lets run our dinosaurs through the soap, maybe smear some on our feet so we can slip and track it around everywhere. Or we can skip to the end, take a bath, and stay inside the rest of the evening.
I'd forgotten how boring it is to be home with just little ones. Fiona liked watching the bubbles from her bouncy chair but couldn't really get into the whole soap smearing bit, got bored, and started fussing. I really don't know I survived the first 10 years. It is sooo much easier now. And there are adults  to talk to. But Shane was gone with the bigger kids overnight so there we were. Kateri was left home to help but I'd given her some much-deserved time off to play with her friends out front. Commence bubble blowing.
 Then yesterday I let the little kids convince me to take them to the park. Fiona likes the stroller and with school in session there would be limited numbers to witness my kids stellar observance of playground etiquette. Running UP slides is so much fun and then you can avoid all the lines to wait your turn to go again.
 Malachi actually just wanted to crawl on the benches and bark like a dog.

Because he never gets to do that at home.

And then he wanted to follow the big kids through trails the stroller was not really built to go on but when your toddler is running away down the path and there is a road near by you just make it work and hope the turbulence doesn't cause too much damage to Fi's brain. Or the stroller.

After about an hour of our magical adventure we came home and luckily they have not asked to go again. Although I probably would. With a leash. And the bigger kids.

But it was a good pre-schooltime excursion. (And yes, I do consider the park an excursion and I like the kids to think that too or else they'll think of it as an easy and often to be repeated distraction.) But if they think of it as an annual event, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, they won't add it to the list-of-things-to-ask-mom-for-every-30-minutes.

Monday, September 1, 2014

You've Been Fi'd

Which is code for :

You have vomit on your shirt (pants, shoes, face etc.)

Fiona is still generously sharing her leftovers. We had lots of appointments and did dietary experiments. But no amount of adjustments or alignments had an effect. At least not on her regurgitation. I will say she is a much more settled baby now and I would go so far as to say content. And I will take that. Along with some extra laundry soap for all our clothing. We will just accept the need for multiple shirt changes every  day and the fact that life just kind of stinks right now. We're all in it together. So there is  that.

There is/was also the matter of her hair. She had so much at birth. And then is started falling out. But not all of it. So she had patches of longer hairs that were quite endearing. Much like an old man's unkempt comb-over. You can try and hide it but everyone knows. We finally cut it. Immediately I regretted it.

She looked so kempt.

And fat.

I didn't realized how much the hair distracted from the jowls until the hair was gone. But it is gone. And after accepting that this fuzzy head is still our Fiona we are just as much head-over-heels for her.
Especially when she tries to talk. I'm not such a fan of the bushman tongue clicking in the wee hours, though I can't help but think its darling and super tricky. But I love how pleased she is with the coos and shrieks she makes. Even though it makes conversing

Her other new development is she enrolled herself in GymNurstics. At first she thought she'd try out some other exercise classes. She'd start with some stretching.

'Look, Mom. I can reach your face. Oh, I can reach my foot.'

 Flex. Point. Flex. She'd practice while holding her foot.

'Oh! My foot can reach your face, Mom. Isn't that neat? Do you like my foot in your face, Mom? I like my foot in your face.'

Sometimes she likes to hold my hand while she nurses. Then she brings her foot up and slips is into my hand.

'Can you just hold that for me? Oh that is so much better. Man my legs are getting heavy. I'm not sure how long I can keep up this exercise routine. Oh,  its time for yoga. Look, Mom. What do you think of this pose? I call it Fish on a Hook. Do you like it? I like it. Almost as much as Cat Covered in Oil Getting a Bath and Eating Lunch at the same time.'

Crazy antics included, I am really enjoying this stage. Nursing was kind of not smooth in the beginning, maybe she just has a small stomach and can only keep half of what she puts on her plate. But at least she is more relaxed about it. After have the tongue-tie with Malachi and then having to wean him early and still feeling concerned because he only eats a real meal  about once a week, I really appreciate not worrying about Fi's nutritional intake. The jowls and thighs are lovely, and I mean really lovely, reminders that all is well.

                                                        Next up is a hair cut for Malachi.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

SHHHH! Don't Tell Anyone.

That I am trying to type.

So, yes, its been a long time. So long, in fact, Shane even commented on my non-blogging presence. And asked why?

Seriously? We picked out half of their names before we were even married? How could he forget?

And do you know where any clean socks are? Because I certainly don't. Well, that's not true. Its just that there are dirty ones on top of them so they are kind of hard to find. And I got home from Kateri's orthodontist appointment to find Malachi had thrown (his new really, really, favorite activity) a potted rose and the pot's contents all over the new concrete patio and was in the midst of throwing Cyril's glass of water down like Thor demanding more drink. Which is why we have transitioned to all plastic drinkware. I do not have time to clean up glass. Or eat. Or have coffee. Which I am trying to have now as well, so I'm double daring the lot of them to destroy something or wake the baby. Which will happen. But hopefully I can regurgitate a few thoughts that have been rolling around the old noggin before that happens. But I am also not a fast typer. Partly due to not knowing where the Mavis Beacon game is, partly due to the still gimpy fingers. I am not sure how voice blogging would be. But the idea sounds weird and a lot of my text to Shane are still riddled with hilarious typos so we'll wait until that tech is a little more improved. Or maybe not. Could make for some funny posts. And I like funny.

This morning I had a little inspiration in the bathroom. No, not like that. I don't have time for broken glass or bathroom breaks. Shane asked me to toss him the deodorant. So I threw it at him. Not on purpose. I mean, sort of. Because he asked for it. It bounced off his chest and hit the floor. He gave me a funny look and said,

"Not like that. Like this."  And he demonstrated a gentle 'lofting' of the deodorant back to me. So I showed off what I had learned and 'lofted' it back to him. Repeat.

"Oh, this would be great to blog about." I exclaimed. "Lofting deodorant in the early morning."

"You should", he said. "when you get a moment."

"If I get a moment, I'm going poop" I stated.

We both laughed. One of us knew it was not entirely a joke.

So yes, life has been very busy. So very busy. And messy. And wonderful too.

Fiona is a such a joy. Strangers can't help but be captivated by her balding old man head and come closer to get a better look. Which is when the stench of her oft' puked on undershirts kicks in and the smiles turn to grimaces and we move our separate ways. She's going to barf again in a minute so the energy to change her every time would be much better spent cleaning up rose pots or spilled water. Or maybe making dinner. Some night.

But not tonight. Kateri had her birthday party two days ago and I am still not recovered from serving 8, at least, slices of the cake my mother-in-law so graciously made for her. ( Pictures and all coming later to a blog near you. Maybe right here. Maybe not.) And from keeping Malachi from throwing the cake on the floor and dumping out the face-painting water on the party goers as they sat and waited for Audrey to turn them into butterflies, tigers, and dogs. Audrey was a real champ and painted and painted as they found new skin to decorate all afternoon. Finally, I told them they had enough tattoos, necklaces, and bracelets, told Audrey she was relieved from duty and they could paint each other. Which they did. For another hour or so.

Then Malachi's bedtime, at 7:30, turned into a 3 hour nap, and 1am bedtime is a lot harder to recover from the older you get. And then Fi, wakes herself up at 6am, and will not let herself go back to sleep. She works hard to keep herself up and at the slightest droop of an eyelid calls all her limbs to action and kicks and squirms like an inertia crocodile trying to roll over until she gets a second wind or is sure that mom is fully awake and deciding to make coffee. Whichever comes first. The coffee came first this morning. But not before the deodorant tossing. I like a little exercise in the mornings. NOT. (Right up there with glass shards)

But coffee, sans offspring, is worth playing for. So I got up after nursing Fiona. And now I'm really tired. Also, my allergies ambushed me while I was still lying in bed. Nasty old things. And I had not had the foresight to anticipate such a plan and didn't have any Kleenex or pills near me. For some reason the tomato plants have been the most serious offenders, and as I don't have any tomatoes or plants in my bed, I thought I would be safe until I got downstairs. Not so. Its been really strange how swiftly they started up again. It has been so long since they have bugged me, mostly due to the fact that they lesson with pregnancy and I've been pregnant for about two years now so the allergy routine was not directly on my radar. Until I staked the tomato plant and was sneezing/crying for the rest of the day.

Which makes me wonder what else might be feeling like returning to the party. Which brings me to another distraction of mine of late. Which I might return to discuss more later. Or not. You never know.