Thursday, February 26, 2015

Do you ever?

Do you ever think back to those treats of your youth and remember how good they were? Or do you remember that person being so tall when you were so short? Or that place that had the coolest things?

And you revisit that person who isn't quite so tall anymore and those cool things in that place? Not so cool. Not like Neverland and Michael Jackson kind of uncool, but just uncool. A Twinkee? It's just not so good anymore- they're oily, more oily than you remember, and the satisfaction does not last the way it once did. Don't get me started on Little Debbie Cakes. Tucked in the back of my mother's pantry, there might be a box still hidden and those perfect little cakes wrapped in their cellophane wrapper probably look like they did twenty five years ago. Fortunately, my mother stays on top of her pantry much better than my father does with his garage.

The garage has 32 hammers. I digress.
64 screwdrivers. 25 of which are flat head. Must... quit... digressing...

The other day, my mom and I were talking as she was cleaning out the pantry and I asked her about something I remember from my childhood.

My grandparents used to make a special Jell-O for the grandchildren. My grandparents were of the Jell-O mold generation and found fanciful ways to dress up the gelatin and make it picture perfect. My mother has old cookbooks with sections dedicated to Jell-O salads and gelatin-li-ness for the most elegant of dinners. In case you are curious, at the fanciest of dinners, Jell-O is served in a small bowl with a low lip and is eaten with a fork. Oh, and a mold isn't so pretty once a spoon comes into play.

This Jell-O is made from apricot Jell-O and involves hot orange juice and cold buttermilk. I kid you not. And we devoured it. They made it for us when we were sick or visiting. Not every time we were sick or every time we visited, but just enough to make us want it all the more.

Mom and I went to Publix to look for apricot Jell-O. Nothing. They have Black Cherry Jell-O and Pina Colada Jell-O, but no Apricot. Also, the flavors are alphabetized at Publix, in case you were curious.

I was at Fresh Market some time later and looked at all their Jell-Os. Arranged by color, there was no apricot.

Mom went to Target and thought to look at their selection. No apricot.

Kroger- the place where my grandmother used many a coupon- they would have to have it. Nope. Their Jell-O was arranged by someone smoking doobies.

It started to bother me. Did Jell-O cease to make apricot flavor? How will I rekindle this memory from being so small? Surely... Shirley apricot Jell-O is still in existence. A google search and a trip to the Jell-O website (because they have such) informed me that apricot Jell-O is still in production.

I am turning Hometown upside down looking for this ingredient out of mere curiosity as I am hesitant to concoct a recipe that involves hot orange juice and cold buttermilk. But, curiosity killed the cat and it will always get the best of me. Why turn a town upside down when Al gave us the Internet?

And God gave us Amazon?

Apricot Jell-O is sold on Amazon... but only by the case. Do you think I walked away without purchasing that which I have scoured the town for days looking for? You bet your sweet tail that I did not walk away empty handed. A case of apricot Jell-O arrived on my doorstep yesterday. Husband is going to flip when he sees it-- and not the good kind of flip. Mom promised me that she will make it for me tomorrow. I hope that it is as good as I remember.

A call to one of my Hanes-wearing aunts to tell her what I have purchased, I could tell it made her smile to hear the memory of this concoction that we all remember so fondly. She mentioned that her son still loves it.

"Wait- they have apricot Jell-O in Montana?!"

She did not know.

"Well, I can solve that. I'll send him some."

A label on a tiny Jell-O box and it gets weighed on the same scale we weigh Fuzzy. $1.61 worth of stamps later- it is in the mailbox. $1.61 worth of stamps do not fit on the front of the box without obscuring the addresses. Rather they ran along the side of the box. And the back. I wonder if it will get delivered.

I don't even like apricots.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fuzzy at one month

Hair... still red.
Tears... often and regular.
Eating... a lot.
Gaining weight... proficiently.
Diaper rash... waxing and waning.

He's small- albeit his sister's best efforts to help him gain weight... neither he nor I were really impressed with Bennie the other day when she gave him eggs. In his mouth. As he cried. Good job, Bennie. Thanks for your help. Mental note: don't leave children alone. Ever.

On a good night- he wakes up twice, once about 1:30 and again about 5:30. On a bad night, it's 1:30, 2:15, 3:37, 4:10, 5:45, 6:30... and then he sleeps until noon. Those nights aren't my favorite.

Here he is... one month on the outside:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Boxes of Wine

At this moment, this exact moment, I have a glass of red wine the size of Texas next to me. Leenie is back in Bennie's room throwing stuffed animals at her. Literally.

To make the odds a little more in Leenie's favor, Bennie is trapped in her crib. Leenie jumps on the twin bed across the room and slings whatever animal she can reach in the basket at her sister. Half of them have hit the chandelier hanging in the middle of the room. The monkey with long arms has caught itself on the chandelier and precariously hangs by a velcro thread.

Bennie laughs.

I cringe.

Fuzzy screams from the bassinet in my bedroom.

Where was I when this debacle stared? Not sitting next to a glass red wine the size of Texas, I can say that much. One clue...


Strapped to the plastic cones, I let my head fall back against the chair as the BZZZZZt continues. Bennie laughs. Leenie screams. Fuzzy cries.

Husband is on call.

I have mastitis. How is the word "t*t" in mastitis and I never noticed it until now?

Whoops- Leenie cleared the chandelier and one landed on Bennie in the crib. Bennie is no longer the one laughing. I rip the plastic cones off, spilling everywhere and leaving a bruise. I know better than this- wait for the end of the BZZZZZt before the "suck back in" to pull off. Rookie mistake. That'll leave a mark.

I have sour cream in my hair.

Life's a comedy. I laugh at myself.

Milk is everywhere. Animals are everywhere. Bennie is naked. Lennie runs between my legs to "pat Fuzzy" and help him stop crying. She's carrying two more stuffed animals. Probably to throw at him in his bassinet. I collar her before she can turn the corner.

Into Bennie's room, it dawns on me that it took me exactly three weeks- practically to the hour- for me to admit defeat and realize that life will be different with three children.

There will be less structure.
There will be less discipline.
There will be more wine.

Lots more. Because I have realized that sometimes, in life, and especially motherhood-- they just don't make boxes of wine big enough.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Almost There

We have to get the tiny baby back up to his birth weight. I have mentioned this before. To track his progress, we put him on the kitchen scale:

He is really not a fan of this process. Can you blame him? He fits in a bowl, for Pete's sake.

And what am I doing? Ohhh... taking pictures of him crying.

A few moments of thought and I remember an acrylic tray in our pantry. He seems to like this much better:

I like that he is 6 pounds 12 ounces and is within shouting distance of those last two ounces he needs. Grow, Fuzzy, GROW!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Two sleeping children

I currently have two sleeping children in this house and one at school.
I have had a shower- my hair is still wet, but I have had a shower.

Husband was on call last night and I kept the two youngest while Mom had the oldest. We went to bed early, but I still felt a bit like a rockstar.

Slowly- very slowly... okay, maybe not- it's barely been two weeks... but, slowly for me- I am starting to grasp parenting three. And let's be perfectly clear: I could not do half of what I have done without my mom. I have only had to manage two while she picks up one of the girls- if not both- more often then I should admit. Yesterday, Bennie was quite pleased with herself about most everything. Husband was actually the one who called mom and asked if she wanted to adopt a middle child for a few hours in order to save her life. She readily agreed.

I feel like I am constantly neglecting at least one child. The one that should take up the least amount of time as he is currently a glorified paperweight takes up the most. My days are diaper changes, My five hours are broken up by pumping and pouring up the white gold that sustains his life. My nights are feedings.

My children are blessed with my skin. Sensitive, terribly sensitive and probably allergic to everything- kind of skin. Currently, Fuzzy is in the throws of a wicked diaper rash. And let's not go straight to passing blame on the mother or offering up dietary suggestions. I do my part with all those dang ointments and creams, but the rash is so bad- that sticky, messy Desitin or Boudreaux's or whatever anyone deems the best will not physically stick to the rash as the skin has wept away, leaving these pathetic open sores that hurt to merely look at.

Remembering that Leenie had the same kind of rash, we went straight to Chlorine Free diapers, but skipped the gDiaper route.  Chlorine Free are more expensive and they might be a placebo effect, but they work for us. I have also foregone wipes and changing pads. He gets his diaper changed in the bathroom and gets dipped-- yes, like a flea dip. Every diaper change has him getting shucked from the waist down and dipped under warm water to rinse off. After the dip, he gets a few minutes of tummy time while he air drys or I pull out the hair dryer to expedite the process. It's a debacle. A wet, drawn out, time consuming debacle. This is great- because typically, after he gets a diaper change... it's time to pump. Again.

We are working to put weight back on his little body. It takes too long for him to latch and I am committed to giving him the best that I can (except at night- then he gets formula. A girl's gotta get her beauty rest.) Bennie was my nurser. Leenie- poor Leenie- we had no idea I was starving her until she was about six months old. The doctor patted me on the back and said I was making a valiant effort, but it was time to supplement those efforts. A case of ready-made Enfamil later and I discovered just how easy feeding a baby can be.

When a child is well-fed... they don't cry nearly as much. The things our first borns teach us.

If I am not heating up chicken nuggets for the girls (and promising myself that this is temporary), I am holding Bennie's hand and taking her to time out. Middle children teach us a lot, too.

She just doesn't listen.
Not even a little bit.

Today, I started registering some of the phrases that come out of my mouth with her.

Bennie, pat your brother. Don't hit him.
Bennie, pat mommy. NO! No hit! Pat... pat... OW! No hit!
Get off the trash can.
Bennie, please take the spoon off his head. And pick up the Cheez-its you spit out.
Bennie, it's sweet of you to offer your cracker- but he doesn't want it.
Yes, that is Baby Fuzzy's pacifier. He doesn't need it righ-- oh, he does? Okay, well- let's try and not jam it down his throat.

My personal favorite? Just today, I said...

Bennie, get the knife out of his face. NOW.

Friday, February 6, 2015

We bought a freezer

Husband likes projects. He doesn't sit still all that well. Neither of us do. Constantly, he is moving and working on something. Recently, he picked up brewing beer. It's a developing hobby and something that I find entertaining to watch.

In brewing beer, supplies are needed. A big jug, a little jug, beakers, stirring plates- the kitchen turns into the lair of a mad scientist and his nerdy-ness comes to light. As he cooks, the house starts to smell like an old bakery as the yeast does what it does.

About a week ago, Husband was playing on the computer and started laughing.

"What's so funny?" I ask, thinking there would be a conversation about Facebook in our immediate future.

"I bought a freezer."

"You what?"

"I bought a freezer."

"Off of Craigslist?"

"No... eBay."

"You bought a freezer off of eBay? Is it local?"

"No. Columbia."


"South Carolina."

"Oh...." I pause. 
"Why'd you buy a freezer?"

"So I can convert it a refrigerator and store my beer in it."

"Why didn't you just buy a fridge?"

"Because they were too expensive."

"More expensive than a freezer?"

"A deep freezer."

"More expensive than a deep freezer?"



In life, I have learned- don't question too far when it comes to Husband and his projects. A few days after Leenie was home from the hospital, he drove to Savannah or Atlanta or somewhere other than the neighborhood baby superstore to pick up a boat motor for the boat he was building. Brother still brings this up- almost six years later. Whenever Husband comes into question with Brother, Brother is quick to say, "Yeah- he did drive to wherever to pick up a boat motor."

It's his retort to most anything.

So, Husband bought a deep freezer off of eBay in Columbia, SC to convert it to a fridge and store his homemade beer in it.

In the basement.

I look outside at our mini freezer that holds duck breasts and ask him why he can't convert the perfectly good freezer we already have into a fridge.

"Too small."

Fair enough.

The four duck breasts in the freezer are safe for another day.

Three days ago, Husband comes up from the basement (another project) around 3-ish and says, "I'm heading to Columbia to get the freezer. I'll be back around 5." A kiss and he is gone.

4:45 I get a phone call from Husband.

"Hey- I bought the freezer."

This was going somewhere. I was no fool. I just needed to wait and see where it would go.

Turns out, he was not going to Columbia, rather West Columbia- which isn't West of Columbia, rather East. In West Columbia, there is a trailer park where Chet lives.

Chet has a 4 month old- this is his sixth child from his fourth "old gal" in the same trailer in the same trailer park in West Columbia. It made me wonder why polygamy is illegal.

Chet swings open his door and steps out.

I like to picture him fat and hairy- something like a retired carney. Rather, he was a slim jim- chewing on a plug of something. Husband didn't think it was tobacco.

They walk around behind the trailer to his "garage" ... his "barn" ... his "storage building" ... his place where he hoards.

Actually, I'm exaggerating. Chet had a building behind his trailer that held used restaurant equipment. He makes his money by going to auctions when restaurants close and buys the equipment. He breaks up the set, turns around and sells them off in pieces.

Pause for a moment and let this statement sink in.

Husband is buying a deep freezer. From a guy who buys restaurant equipment. Thus- Husband is buying a restaurant deep freezer.

Chet and Husband got to talking- Husband never meets a stranger- and Chet started telling him about this idea he had to make his millions and retire.

"I want to build a website where you can auction off restaurant equipment."

"You mean... like eBay? Like where you sold this freezer, Chet?" thought Husband. He elected to phrase it a little better.

"Like eBay?" he said, instead.

"Hunh. Yeah, I'd guess it'd be a lot like eBay. Maybe I could set up a website where you could post things for people to buy locally? That might work instead."

"Like... Craigslist?" though Husband, but elected instead to nod his head and smile.

"That could work," He said.

Chet and Husband loaded the industrial sized restaurant grade deep freezer from Krispy Kreme that closed on 58 into Husband's truck and off he went down the interstate bringing it home. Upon his arrival, he unloads the beast and rolls it into the garage.

It won't fit.

It literally won't fit in the garage.

We have an industrial sized restaurant freezer from the Krispy Kreme that closed on Hwy 58 that won't fit into our garage.

It's okay though, it's not going in our garage. It's going in our basement.

-- -- -- --

"Honey, how are you going to get it into the basement?" envisioning the doors and steps that this thing is going to have to navigate.

"Through the window that we got the rug out of."


If I have faith in one person- it is Husband. Square peg-- round hole? He'll make it work.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Past Few

The kid is 8 days old. We are working on a semblance of a pattern. Some might call it a schedule, but  I am smarter than to say such. Just when I think I have it down (eating every three hours, for instance)- I get a curve ball.

"He's hungry."
"I just fed him."
"Tell that to the fingers he is trying to get milk from."
"Dangit." Only, I'm not saying dangit. And the parable of getting honey from the rock is coming to mind.

No milk in the fingers.
No honey in the rock.

There is, however, nourishment found at the bottom of a ready-made Enfamil bottle.

It's the one place where you will find my sensitivity very, very vulnerable. "He's hungry" sometimes makes me want to cry.

It's for a good reason Husband worries about his intake. He lost weight after he was born. A lot. More than anyone was really pleased with. Born at six pounds 13 ounces- he came home at six pounds on the dot and weighed 5 lb. 14 oz at his one week check-up. Leenie was born at 6.5 pounds and came home at 5 pounds 15 ounces and the doctors were concerned.

Six pounds can be a handful.

He got his first bath...

He wasn't a raging fan.

After the bath, with all that hair puffed up- we discovered that those 7 wisps are, in fact, red. Or strawberry blonde. Or anything that has to do with Husband's genes instead of mine.

We weighed him today... on a kitchen scale (first time for everything) and he has put on a little over 100 grams. I pulled out the scale and Husband asked what I was doing.

"Weighing him."
"On that?"
"What's the bowl for?"
"To put him in."
"Perhaps we should use a plate?"

As if the plate were going to improve his lot in life from a bowl. Either way- he was getting weighed on the same scale with which I measure my hamburger meat.

We have been to the doctor twice- once for a regular check-up and once for a weight check. In typical boy fashion, he Baptized the nurse, her computer, and the scale. Marking his territory has to start early when as he has two older sisters.

As we tread very lightly into the parenting of three business, I have graciously volunteered to sleep with Fuzzy (you like that, don't you?) in the playroom -- across the world from where the family sleeps -- so that the kids and Husband can get a good night's rest and only one of us has to get up in the middle of the night. This is secretly for my benefit as I would much rather wake in the middle of the night than rise early in the morning.

I still can't drive, which is fine- because I still can't lift him in his carrier. Six pounds is not a lot, but tack on the weight of the carseat and it is too much for me yet.

Speaking of too much, I have had an amazing allergic reaction... to my stere-strips. It's incredibly uncomfortable. I would use the word "horrible" but when you throw "horrible" in with an incision, Frankenstein comes to mind. And I would also use the term "Hurts like hell" ... but, again, that + incision and Werewolf is thought to have made the cut. As I continue to coat my belly with a plethora of medicinal creams, cursing ethyliendiamine, Bennie looks at me, pulls her shirt up and sticks her hand out for her own dose of medicine. She rubs in her pretend dose on her belly, pats her stomach and says, "Mo better, Mah-Mah" before running off to find another tube of something and bring it back to me for a repeat.

Bennie has been neat to watch with Fuzzy. She is quick to jump on the couch, pat her lap and say, "Baby Fuzzy!" on repeat until someone puts him in her lap. She pats his head, kisses his forehead, has a huge smile on her face and says, "Baby Fuzzy! HI!" She might closed-fist punch anyone else around her, but with her baby brother- she is gentle. At least, for the moment.

Leenie is an old hand at being a big sister and sees her advantages- knowing that she can get away with more. Fuzzy interests her, but not as much as whatever naughty thing she has thought up when she knows we are not looking. She is also quick to express her independence- pouring her own milk, for instance. This is fascinating to me, watching her fetch the cup, the milk from the fridge, and then balancing the carton while pouring it into the cup, before recapping and returning it to the top shelf. I had to stop buying gallons and start buying cartons for this fact.

Her first night back home, my first night in the playroom, I awoke in the middle of the night to a little five year old running into "my room."

"Honey, what are you doing?"
"I just wanted to check on Fuzzy."
"Ok- he's fine. Go back to bed."
"Mommy? It's okay I sleep with you?"

Part of me wanted to take that five year old and envelope her in a big hug on the couch. The smarter part of me knew better and kindly sent her back to her room. Some time later- could have been an hour, could have been five minutes- that same five year old returned.

She creaked open the door, poked her nose in to see that I was still there, and ran to me. Wrapping her little arms around my waist, she says, "I love you, Mommy."

"I love you, too, Sweet Potato."
"Take care of Fuzzy!"

And off she goes again, back to her room where she stayed until the morning. It made my heart swell with love for her. So easily I could have sent her marching before she even got in the room, but I didn't, thank goodness.

I have even improved my ability at diaper changing. Boy diapers are very different from girl diapers. There are things that need to be moved around and pulled back- even ointments applied. Ointments... what a word. These are not things I am accustomed to and am constantly asking Husband to look over my shoulder to make sure I am doing it right or that I didn't miss anything. Typically, there are improvements needed in both categories.

Today I even got an anatomy lesson.
I have a lot to learn.

While I have not personally been baptized by Fuzzy, Husband has. The changing station has. A number of perfectly clean diapers and clothes either clean or waiting to be washed have as well. This baptism business is serious stuff. What's the deal with that?

Fuzzy stirs. At this moment, Husband catches a catnap, and Leenie settles down to a 7D- her new favorite TV show. Bennie long sense has been asleep in her crib. I sit and type. This day has been good and it is a day made for smiles and extra kisses. I am lucky- eternally, I know that I am lucky. While I might take these days for granted, I do so very much love them. The complications that come along with adjusting to three.

This afternoon, I poured a glass of wine for myself and a drink for Husband. The music in the kitchen was on for the first time in a long time at a level louder than quiet and the girls ate a homemade supper made by a friend. The weather outside was crisp with a hint of warmth and I felt a warmth in my heart from these people that I am lucky enough to call family.

These past few days have been wonderful. Confusing and all things crazy- but still, a lovely kind of wonderful.