Our Five Ring Circus: July 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Quiet Friday

I have spent the last 45 minutes, sitting on my couch, enjoying the blessed silence. It really is refreshing to be all alone in my house. I forced myself to stay seated to avoid cleaning anything up, and just take advantage of the "me" time.

The kids are currently with my parents, and will be there for the next few hours. Grant is on his way home, and we are heading to his X-mas in July work picnic.

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Dealing With My Elderly

After the recent loss of our cat and Dylan's fish, we realized just how old our animals are getting. It really is a depressing though, considering they have been with us for as long as (or almost) Grant and I have been together.

Things in this already crazy household are getting a bit more difficult with the pets increasing ages. Now, our Giant is not really considered elderly. At 4 1/2 years old, she is, indeed, middle age for a Great Dane.

My chihuahua, Pepe, aka Mister Pepito Bismol (don't ask, I was young and stupid), was my belated high school graduation gift. Grant came into my life a few months after I got Pepe. He will be turning 11 on August 13th, and is really showing his age. He has the horrible chihuahua teeth and breath, and now has bladder problems. It's exhausting taking him out every hour...I feel like I'm potty training two kids!

Our cats are also getting up there in age. Cosette is the sister of Mazzy (our cat who just passed away) and is 9 1/2, and Baby Phat is now 8. Both of them are taking the recent loss of their buddy

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A brutally honest post about poop

Other than giving general updates about Lexie, I try not to discuss her ongoing problem. I hate to complain. The only person I frequently discuss my stress with is my mom. I try to remind myself that what we are going through with Lexie is NOTHING compared to what some parents are dealing with. My heart goes out to all parents with a critically ill child.

To be honest, as frustrating as Lexie's problem is, it's become "normal" to me. I know it's not the case, but at this point, I feel like we'll be dealing with this issue forever, and never have an answer. So I just suck it up, deal with the frustration, and pretend like she's 100% healthy.

Just by looking at Lexie, you would never think that she had a health problem. She is the picture of good health...a beautiful, spirited, talkative, active 2 year old. She has good days, and bad days. On the good days, I try to convince myself that her chronic diarrhea will just go away. But then a bad day-a really bad day-strikes, and I know, for a fact, that there is something wrong with her. The truth is, she has not had a solid poop in over 7 months.

Nobody knows exactly what I deal with on a daily basis. Just imagine...

...your child has an eczema-like rash that never goes away. Her skin feels like sandpaper all the time, and no prescription cream or treatment works. You were told this is eczema, and she's had it almost all her life, but it never clears up.

...not being able to completely potty train your child because she has no control over her bowels.

...cleaning out a tub filled with diarrhea at least once a week, because once again, no control.

...changing up to 6 diarrhea diapers a day. That number was once 8-10. We're not just talking loose stools. We're talking, run-down-the-legs diarrhea.

...your child smelling so bad when she poops that she clears the room, and literally makes people gag. The smell is not something I will ever forget, nor will I ever get used to it.

...being afraid of taking your child to a public pool for fear of a diaper explosion in the water.

...seeing major diaper rash on your child most of the time. At least once a month, a bleeding diaper rash that requires a prescription cream.

...seeing stuff in a diaper that should never be seen.

...diligently logging every item

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Already worth it!

On Monday, Grant took a vacation day from work, so we surprised the kids by taking them back to the Pittsburgh Zoo. They didn't know where we were going until we pulled into the parking lot. Our zoo membership has already paid for itself. We would have spent more money on admission for our last two visits, than for our membership! Buying a membership was definitely worth it!

We learned two valuable lessons after our zoo trip 3 weeks ago. 1) Leave the stroller at home. 2) Pack a lunch. Lexie walking the entire way and our packed lunch worked out well! Now, we just need to buy backpacks, because our bag was a bit uncomfortable to carry!

The kids love climbing on this!

Checking out the lions.

This ostrich was completely bizarre.

The giraffes were hilarious. They kept trying to knock each other over by leaning against each other, and were wrestling with their necks!

The gorillas were very active and fun to watch! The one in front kept trying to put a stick on his back and walk around, but the stick kept falling off. He was getting so frustrated!

We stopped for lunch, and Grant and the kids entertained each other by making funny faces.

The beautiful PPG aquarium is one of our favorite spots in the zoo.
Talk about an ugly fish.
A few shots with mommy and daddy.

The kids love the underwater crawl through tunnel.

Lexie was surprised to see us above the water.

We took a brief break so the kids could play in Kids Kingdom.

How cute was this mama beaver with her babies?
Lexie gave the turtle a very serious kiss before walking away.

I wanted to bring this cute little thing home with us! ;)

Checking out the Llama.
The boys took a train ride while Lexie took a serious poop. Yuck.

It was another successful visit. We got to see feeding time for the penguins and the sea lions, and lots of baby animals. We all had a great time, and we're looking forward to going back soon!

We left the zoo, happy, but tired. The kids loved their new treats. Lexie picked out a purple bush baby, which she hasn't put down since Monday, and Dylan got another toy frog. That's his newest obsession!

It didn't take long for them to fall asleep.

Yet another great day!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

30th Birthday Bash

On Friday, Grant celebrated his 30th birthday. He was not looking forward to the big 3-0, but the gift from the kids and I seemed to help-a brand new Wii!

We bought the Wii on Thursday night, and he played until the wee hours of the morning.

He was looking pretty beat, so I told him he'd better rest up for his big birthday bash. Grant took a vacation day on Friday, so he got to hang out with the family all day. The big birthday bash began at 5 PM on Friday...and lasted until 6 AM on Saturday morning. OY. That was rough. It was great fun, though.

The 30th birthday bash included a handful of kids. The party's first two guests were a wolverine wanna-be, and a pretty princess who insisted on wearing a flower girl dress.

We invited some of our closest friends, siblings, and a few of Grant's coworkers. Things got so busy that I put my camera down, and didn't pick it up again until 1 AM. By that point, the boys decided it was time for bed.
The Princess retired much earlier.

The kids played outside for hours. The adults played cornhole, stood around the fire, and set off some fireworks once it got dark.

There were a lot of heated debates in the kitchen.

There was some torture involved.

I had to rescue my son from my brother-in-law around 3 AM.
And there was a 30 year old, who was surprised by the camera.
I headed to bed at 5 AM. When I went to bed, almost everyone, with the exception of the sleeping children and my brother in law, was still sitting around the fire. At 6 AM, I came out to find everyone coming inside to get some sleep. At 8 AM Lexie woke up. UGH.

I felt like I had a hangover all day, and I didn't even have a single drink. I guess lack of sleep will do that to you.

I wish I had taken more pictures of the fun, but I was having too much fun myself!

Happy 30th Birthday, G! I love you, and I'm glad you had a great day!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Adventures of Bat Fish and Super Snail

Allow me to introduce the newest member of our family.

He is a male Betta, lovingly chosen by Dylan, who goes by the name Bat Fish. Bat Fish joined Super Snail, and seems to be adjusting well to his new, much larger home. He's a friendly, baby fish, and is completely interested in the humans staring at him.

After the recent death of Dorothy, the Betta that Dylan had for over 3 years, we promised to get him a new fish. The new fish is proving to be a great addition. Dylan kissed the aquarium twice before bedtime, and proudly declared, "I love you, Bat Fish."

And he fell asleep watching his new buddy, just as he did with Dorothy.

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Two of my sisters and I have recently adopted Girls Only Movie Night Monday. Our local movie theater offers $5 movies all day on Mondays, with free popcorn. Can't beat that!

I had a great time the first Monday we went. We saw "The Proposal" and it was so nice to get out with my sisters, without our kids, and just relax and laugh. This Monday was our second night out. I wasn't planning on going, but decided to at the last minute, and I'm so glad I did. We saw "The Hangover" and I haven't laughed that hard in years. Well, except for tonight, when we were watching "Arrested Development" and Grant kept backing up a funny scene over and over again. ;)

You see, I have a supermom complex. I hate leaving my family, and handing over control of the kids. But I'm finding that I really do need the time away. It took 4 1/2 years for me to admit that fact. I need to get out alone so I can keep my sanity and feel like someone other than just a mom. I adore being a mom, and wouldn't change that for anything, but sometimes mom needs a break!

I'm looking forward to our next GO MNM. We need to convince our other sisters and our mom to join us!

Plus, I came home on Monday to a fixed garage door and the kids were in bed. (Way to go, G!) This GO MNM thing is so worth it!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Gymagic Bus is Coming!

On Saturday, we celebrated my nephew, Brandon's, 4th birthday. Baby B wanted the Gymagic bus to come to his party.

What is a Gymagic bus? Why, a gym on a bus, of course!

Lexie and her 3 year old cousin, Aubrey, refused to climb aboard. Halfway through, Lexie joined me on the bus, and I got to take her through the obstacles. All was fine, until the instructor touched her. She got off the bus to manage her tears, and rejoined the kids for the award ceremony.

The older kids had a great time. They started out with a few stretches and exercises.

Then, they got to do a few obstacle courses, with some music blaring in the background.

They finished off with a few rides on the zipline.
I have to say, the Gymagic bus was a success! Fun was had by all!

After the bus left, we had a picnic, cake, and fire. The kids ran around outside all day, and Lexie enjoyed some much needed girl time with her cousin.
The birthday boy wanted a dinosaur theme and loved his cake!
His brother, Brady (aka Big B), loved the cake as well!
Dylan was just frustrated that he was so itchy. Seems like the same rash he had last summer has made a comeback.

We heard there was going to be cake? Where's the cake?
Oh, the girls. Lexie and Aubrey showing their 'tudes at such a young age. The teenage years are going to be lovely.

Lexie's favorite giraffe had an unfortunate fall down the stairs. He still attempted to join the party. What's wrong with this picture? ;)
Lexie attempted to bring Baby B's birthday gift home. She couldn't sneak that one out!

It was a great party! We got there at 11:45 AM, and didn't leave until 11:30 PM! Lexie was so tired, that around 9 PM, she fell asleep on the floor while I was putting her pajamas on! Now that's a sign of a great party! Both kids stayed asleep in the car, and we successfully transferred them to their beds, once we got home. Phew!

*Rumor has it that my Patriots-loving Brother-In-Law found that his laptop had a new Steelers background on it. I most certainly was not behind that incident. I heard he LOVED the new picture! ;)

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