The Baby Shower

I am feeling pretty darn good right now.

I have been stressed to the max about today and now it’s finally over and I can say that I honestly feel like I pulled it off well.

I successfully threw a Baby Shower.

My sister-in-law is pregnant. She had a baby shower out-of-state with her family a couple months ago, but apparently it didn’t go well. Her mother invited all of her own friends and only a couple of my SIL’s so it wound up being a flop from what I hear.

I felt bad and decided that I would throw a shower here for two reasons.

  • One: it would make her happy, and
  • two: our family (my brother’s family) could be a part of it.

I never had a baby shower, nor have I ever attended one so I had NO idea how to go about this. My knowledge of showers consists only of what I have seen in movies. Of course, I had my moments of “it’s not fair that I should do all this when nobody did this for me” but I tried to avoid the Pity Party thoughts and focused on what I WOULD have wanted had I been given one. I was young when I had my first so obviously my brothers (being younger than me) couldn’t do anything, my mother was dealing with her own issues at the time and I didn’t have many (any) friends so… Anyway, we are all older and in a better place right now and if I were pregnant I’m sure they WOULD do something for me. So, that is how I came to be  throwing a Baby Shower in the middle of my second to last semester of Nursing School while my husband is deployed.

My brother was beyond excited that I wanted  to do this which made me very happy since we haven’t always had the best relationship. Fortunately, he has a lot of friends because I don’t, and the party would have been a real flop if invitations had been left up to me. He invited a whole bunch of people who I didn’t know, but I trust his judgement so I wasn’t worried about any weirdos coming to my house.

In theory it was a great idea, but when it came down to it I may have bitten off more than I could chew. Well, I was starting to think that. As I said, I pulled it off so apparently I can chew a lot.

Here’s how it went down, of course, in true Me fashion, I waited until the last minute to do everything so I basically started yesterday afternoon.

First thing I did was the Diaper Cake, now, I had never even HEARD of a Diaper Cake until I googled “Baby Showers” to get ideas for decorations. It’s a neat idea, and everything but the ribbons can be used later. This is the final product.

diapers are rolled around bottles for strength and held together with ribbons and rubber bands.

Her color scheme for the baby’s room is pink, green and black so that is what I tried to go with for the party.

I was lucky because Valentine’s Day is over and now all the stores have the stuff discounted. I found milk chocolate roses 75% off! I bought a dozen! I also picked up a 2 liter bottle of every type of soda I could find because I didn’t know what everyone liked.

After I finished with the diaper cake the kids and I worked on cleaning the house while I started baking the cakes for the 3 tier that I had decided to attempt (for the first time EVER).

First problem of the night: I thought I had 2 dozen eggs in the fridge. WRONG! I had 6… eggs, not dozens. It was already getting late and I didn’t want to run to the store so I decided to work on decorations for the rest of the night and just head to Sam’s Club early in the morning.

My boys were totally grossed out by all the pink decorations; they said I should have just used the black tablecloths, lol.

of course, every single bottle was opened yet less than half of each was consumed. Can we say "flat soda"?

 

This is what I had accomplished as of about 8pm. Not bad, but not nearly done. I was already getting tired because I had been up all night the night before (that’s another story, geesh). The boys were arguing at this point and I was starting to lose my patience with them so I began working on the first tier of the cake since that was all I could make due to the egg situation.

That’s when C told me that the toilet was “still clogged”. Yeah, that’s right, I had forgotten that he had told me it was clogged hours ago.

Problem #2: I have no plunger. After the last incident with a clogged toilet I put the plunger outside; we then had a snow storm that dropped 3 feet of snow and I haven’t seen the plunger since.

I wound up having to go to the hardware store to buy a plunger. I walked in, found the nearest associate and (with what I can only imagine was a crazed/stressed out look on my face) asked him to point me toward the “biggest, baddest plungers” he had. He laughed and walked me down to them. I asked him if there was something I could pour down the drain just in case the plunger didn’t work (past experience told me that I can’t always rely on a plunger with three boys in the house. We’ve had to have the septic company out here more than once). He said the next best thing would be a snake.

Now, for all of you girly girls out there (such as myself) a “snake” is a long piece of metal that you shove down the toilet to free up a clog. It is the most disgusting thing EVER!

I bought it, all the while crossing every finger I have that I wouldn’t have to use it.

Well, you guessed it, the plunger didn’t do a damned thing. I wound up snaking my toilet and I am not ashamed to admit that I was practically crying, screaming and dry heaving all at the same time, but it worked. When that toilet flushed I wanted to shout it from my rooftop!

After scrubbing my hands until they were almost raw from the hot water, I allowed myself to take a short break from cleaning and baking. I jumped on the computer with my feet up and began typing up a shopping list for the morning. I decided to buy premade appetizers rather than making everything from scratch. That would save a lot of time and stress. That’s when I realized problem #3 of the night. It was Saturday, which meant that I was planning to go to the store on Sunday morning. Woops! Nothing opens early on Sunday! It was now too late to go to Sam’s Club and they weren’t opening until 10am (3 hours before the festivities were scheduled to begin).

I spent the rest of the night cleaning and preparing everything I possibly could because I knew I would be rushing today to get everything done since I couldn’t even BUY the ingredients until 10am.

I wound up crawling into bed around 3am. I set the alarm for 6:30, but hit the snooze until 7:45am.

Problem #4: SNOW!!! Will somebody please tell Mother nature that I’ve had enough of winter this year? I woke up to 5 inches of snow on my very steep driveway. Great! That’s just one MORE thing I have to do before 1pm. Nobody is going to get up my driveway unless I clear it and salt it. I decided to wait until it had finished snowing before even attempting to snowblow. I cleared off my truck, jammed that sucker in 4 wheel drive and backed down the driveway; packing that snow down as I went.

I headed to WalMart and picked up some last minute decorations, then decided to go to the grocery store for the appetizers rather than waiting for Sam’s even though I knew I would spend more.

Luckily, the temps rose quickly and the snow was easy to shovel. I salted, and by the time everyone arrived the driveway was almost clear.

I baked all the cakes and managed to put together my very first double layered, three-tiered cake.

I tried to put a "G" on the cake for the baby's name, but it didn't come out well.

the cake, before I put it on the pedestal

Leaning Tower of Cake

Yes, the cake is leaning. There are wooden pegs supporting it, so it is sturdy but lopsided.

frozen appetizers and turkey sandwiches

I think I did pretty well, considering I pulled it all together in such a short amount of time. I was running like a crazed woman right up until the last minute, in fact, I was still running crazy even after the guests arrived but luckily everyone was very understanding. Not everyone showed, and that was fine by me because fewer people meant less food. Enough people showed that the party was successful though, so all is well.

When my Sister in Law showed up, she was so surprised. She started crying and hugged me. Totally worth all the stress, well, almost, haha.

chocolate fountain with fruit and Bar-B-Q meatballs

I’ll leave you with a few pics from the party!

There were also cars on the street up the road because I live on a curve so it wasn't safe to park in front of the house.

The saying on the mirror is something my Dad used to say.

Z got a little out of hand so my Bro had to put him in his place.

 

How can you SAY that?

What a day it’s been. First off, I have to tell you all that I failed at my latest attempt to quit smoking. Yeah, yeah, bad me, but that’s not what this post is about. This is about my complete and total frustration with the situation I am in with my mother in law.

She is very demanding, she keeps track of when she sees the kids and will hold it against me during each and every phone call, which is why I sometimes (accidentally) don’t get to the phone in time to answer before voice mail picks up. Ooops!
We are busy, with three boys, sleepovers, school projects, dentists, orthodontists, nursing school, etc. it leaves very little spare time. Yet she doesn’t understand why I can’t spend a day driving the kids out to her house on the weekends! I have offered to have her come over for dinner, explaining that her coming to our house is much easier to arrange then an outing to a museum two hours away. Her reasoning for not wanting to come to our house is because we live on a mountain and the “curves are quite scary” and she’s too nervous to make the drive up here more than once in a while. This is why she makes me meet her in the grocery store parking lot (at the bottom of the hill) anytime she wants to “give” me something such as a newspaper clipping or a box of sugar cookies for the kids.  She complains to my husband every chance she has and tells him that she hopes “he can straighten things out” when he gets home, meaning bring the boys to see her.

The boys don’t want to go to her house any more than I want to drive out there because she has difficulty dealing with all of them at once. She only had one child and has no idea how to handle three brothers who can a bit rowdy sometimes.
OK, so here’s what happened. Last night I had to go to class. C babysits his brothers; he is very good about it and he thinks he is completely in charge. What he doesn’t know is that my brother (who lives 2 minutes down the road) is pretty much “on call” and will do drive by’s or drop in’s periodically just to make sure things are going smoothly.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the mother in law taking advantage of my school schedule to call and harass the kids.

When I got home last night I got an earful from Z and B. They told me how she repeatedly asked them who they liked better her or their other grandmother.

Which of their brothers were their favorites.

Which uncle bought them the most gifts.

And last but not least; who they loved more, me or DH!

Yeah! I couldn’t believe it either. Who DOES that?

The boys refused to answer and apparently my 9 y/o told her that they were “inappropriate questions” and he “doesn’t have a favorite because we are all family”. So mature, I’m so proud of him.

After this conversation I went looking for C and found him asleep in his room. Strange! This kid NEVER goes to bed early. I figured maybe he didn’t feel well and let him sleep.

Today I find out that he was really upset by the conversation that he had with his grandmother and was so worried about the idea that he was disappointing his father and that when he came home he was going to force him to spend weekends with her; that he went to bed early. That’s really saying something.

I talked to my brother about it and he said he wouldn’t be able to keep his mouth shut. He said he’s tempted to call her himself and give her an earful because you can’t do that to kids. You can’t call them after consuming enough alcohol to intoxicate a football team and ask ridiculous questions and threaten them with “you just wait until your father comes home”. Their FATHER would NEVER force them to put up with this and if he had any idea what she did/said to them he’d probably handle it himself.

I’m just so over this situation with her. I have tried to be mature, I’ve tried to compromise with her but she wants it her way or no way. The thing is she probably won’t even remember the conversation with the kids so talking to her about it does no good. The sad part is that the kids WILL remember and she thinks it’s ME brainwashing them. HA! I don’t have to say a word, she does all the damage herself.

I just don’t want her making the kids feel bad about hurting their father or letting him down because that is not even close to being the case. He, of all people, knows how she is and would NEVER put her before his children’s feelings. He’s too good of a father.

OK, enough of my ranting for tonight.

>Answering the Difficult Questions

>

I have had so many ideas for posts over the past few days but I haven’t had time to sit down and actually write so of course, as always, the ideas got twisted in my head and disappeared.
I guess the underlying theme with everything that is going on is the fact that we are approximately 3/4 of the way through this deployment. We are on the downhill finally and it feels so good but at the same time we still have about a quarter of the deployment left to get through. Sometimes it feels like Homecoming is so close I can taste it, while other times I sit here saying “we still have X number of months LEFT“??????
We were in the truck today driving home and B asked me how long until Dad comes home. I told him not too much longer but that we don’t know exactly. He asked me to guess, so I responded with the best answer I could come up with that didn’t sound like too long but didn’t get his hopes up only to be let down. His reaction caught me off guard. He said “why does he have to be gone so long, I miss him, I just want him to come home now”.
For the most part our kids are used to him being gone; deployments, training, even his civilian job had him away on travel. The kids don’t know any other life and it probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if they didn’t have to constantly explain it to their friends. The boys don’t normally ask me to give them specific dates, typically they are OK with an answer such as “he will be home before so-and-so’s birthday” or “we are hoping he will be home before this holiday”.
Tonight was different, B needed something more definite. He needed to know exactly how long he had to wait and I couldn’t give that to him. It is so up in the air (as it always is with the military) that I can’t even begin to speculate on a homecoming MONTH!
I decided to tell him how many days it’s been since he left. I thought that hearing that number might make him feel better. I then told him that when I get sad and miss him I try to think of all the things I want to do BEFORE he comes home; that way I can look at it as “I only have X number of days to complete this task”. He asked me to be more specific so I gave him my goals for the remainder of the deployment.
1. Learn how to make a Topsy Turvy Cake with fondant icing.
 – the practice cake will be used at Bro #2’s baby shower and the real one will be for DH’s bday. This is an example I pulled off the Internet. I will be sure to blog about the baking experience as it is sure to be quite a fiasco.
2. Complete/Pass my OB/Peds semester of nursing school.
 – after this semester I only have one left before I graduate with my RN. Then it’s off to the BSN program.
3. Exercise more and lose more weight.
4. Organize all of DH’s clothes and give him back his side of the closet.
 – I have taken over the entire closet and most of his clothes have ended up in boxes and shoved into the back of C’s closet.
I explained to him that I have a lot to do in a short amount of time and if I think of it like that it doesn’t seem so bad. He then asked me what his goals should be. We came up with quite a few ideas but narrowed it down to a more “do-able” size. His list was a little more fun than mine.
1. Learn to count to ten in Spanish.
2. Organize all of his toys in his closet so he has a separate bin for each activity i.e. Lego’s, art supplies, etc.
3. Get to level 30 on Farmville
 – yes, he does have a Facebook account but he only uses it to play Farmville and post pictures for his Dad. 
4. Grow an inch taller.
5. Get 15 A’s on spelling tests, vocab tests or math tests.
After discussing all this he seems to be feeling better. It’s just so hard to see the kids struggle to handle a deployment because I know how hard it is as an adult and time moves even slower for kids.
How do you all handle these questions from your kids?
How honest/vague are you about length of time?
Are there any goals you can think of that would be fun for all of us to try to achieve before homecoming?
I was thinking of making a Family Goal; something we can all work on together but I can’t come up with any ideas that will interest all of them. What the 14 y/o wants may not be what the 9 y/o thinks is fun and the 12 y/o is just plain hard to please.

>Another Baby Shower?

>

Yet another snow day for our town. This is the 7th cancellation this year and that does not include delays and early dismissals. My classes are cancelled tonight as well. I don’t think Nursing school is supposed to be self taught, but that is what we’ve had to do so far, lol.
This afternoon I was sitting on the couch with my laptop doing some ATI assignments (online assessments and quizzes that count toward our final grade this semester) when the phone rings. It’s Bro #2. He asks me to accept his game request on Facebook. I argued, saying that I am worried about viruses but he insists he needs “neighbors”, so I give in. As I’m accepting his game invite the REAL reason for calling emerges.
A few weeks ago, they had a baby shower. Her mother hosted it in Jersey. Apparently she did not have a good time because she didn’t have many friends there and the gifts were not what she expected. She had gone to Babies R Us and signed up for a registry. She was not pleased when people showed up with $40 gifts rather than the more expensive items. My brother said it was because they “are millionaires and can afford more expensive stuff”. While they were down there he had called me and told me that she wasn’t having fun. I told him that I wish the shower had been up here so I could have gone. I would have tried to make it fun for her.
Long story short, I kind of got cornered into “looking into hosting a shower for her” here. Honestly, I had forgotten about it and now that she’s 32 weeks I figured it’s too late anyway.
Nope, the Bro asked me if I was “still planning on doing something” for her. I stumbled and stuttered and basically didn’t know how to answer. I don’t have the time or the money to do something like that. Not to mention I am slightly jealous that she would would be getting two showers when I didn’t get any. Honestly I think they just want the gifts.
So, I’m thinking about it and even though I don’t want to do it I probably should. They are the type of people that hold a grudge. They remember EVERYTHING. If I don’t do this, I will look like I don’t care.
Not to mention, they want the shower at their condo. What am I supposed to do with the kids? Parking is going to be an issue at their place. People aren’t going to be able to move around and I don’t think Bro #1 will go all the way out there for this.
The other thing is that if I were to do this I would want help. I would want to call my mom because she’s good at throwing parties, plus she’d help me cook and come up with decorations. The girlfriend and my Mom are not the best of friends, I don’t know if my mom would even be willing to help me. I brought it up to my brother and he said that “of course she is invited” but I don’t know how my mom feels about it. I guess I’ll have to see.
I will think more about it later, right now I need to get back to my assignments.

>Sanity Intact… For Now

>You know the term “emotional roller coaster”? Or the phrase “deployment is an emotional roller coaster”?

I’ve heard these terms and I had an idea of what they meant. It’s not like I’m new to this life, but for whatever reason this is probably the hardest deployment we’ve gone through.

Recently I have felt like my face should be next to the definition of these terms in the MilWife Handbook. I have been on the verge of tears, I have been determined to accomplish things during this deployment, I have been excited to start planning for Homecoming, I have wanted to punch the calander for having so many pages left until Homecoming…. and that was just today!
I have so much I want to talk about but I don’t have time now. I am making dinner and then I have to read my Nursing textbooks. Maybe if I can get enough done I will be back, but until then, I’m just letting you all know, I’m here, sane, and somehow making it through. You all have no idea how much you help me. You are my friends, and it’s so good knowing that you are out there. I’d give you all hugs if my arms were long enough. But for now, virtual hug!

>Overwhelmed

>

So, earlier today I blogged about being kinda sad, unmotivated, blah.
Boy how things can turn around; and not always in a good way either.
Shortly after I blogged the orthodontist finally called me back. I had left a message about Z’s new braces (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I had the kid’s braces put on Tuesday). Z’s been complaining about pain when he chews ever since. It has gotten worse instead of better. Anyway, long story short, the orthodontist said he needed to come in. I had to wait for B’s bus to drop him off first though. So, I’m all ready to go, waiting for the bus when the phone rings. It’s the school.
B’s bus was in a “minor” accident. No student injuries. Minimal damage to the bus. I FLEW to the truck. RACED to the intersection only to see the bus pulling away. Apparently I was one of the last of 13 parents to be called. I then raced home to wait for the bus. He finally got home and told me how the bus had cut the corner too short and crashed into a pickup truck at the 4 way intersection. I cried and hugged him and cried some more.
We then went to the orthodontist. That is when I found out that poor Z has been suffering since Tuesday. The braces were put on incorrectly. The orthodontist (the partner of the girl who put them on) was not happy. He fixed Z up and sent us home.
I made dinner. A nice dinner. Boneless ham with sauteed veggies and French Bread. It was pretty good.
I went to throw a load of laundry in my new washing machine and I found BROWN WATER IN IT! It’s my new front loader. I didn’t understand. Where would brown water come from. That’s when I heard it.
SWISHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
I open the door to the garage and the water is cascading from the ceiling. The entire 2 car garage has water coming from the ceiling. The light fixtures, holes in the ceiling, everywhere.
My pipes burst.
So now I’m sitting here. No water, no heat, no patience.
The boys are watching a movie with space heaters and electric blankets. Bro #2 wants me to go stay with him but for some odd reason I can’t leave my house. I don’t know what else could go wrong, but I feel like I am abandoning the house if I leave. Ridiculous, I know, but I can’t help it.
I am hoping my husband calls. I need to talk to him. I need him to tell me everything is going to be ok. I am feeling just a tad overwhelmed right now.

>The Perfect Christmas That Wasn’t

>

Christmas morning was wonderful. The boys woke us up around 0700 (we had gone to bed around 0500; yeah, we were tired) and we watched the boys open their presents. I took still pictures while DH videotaped. It was great. The boys had a great time; they all got what they asked for; plus some. I had planned on having everyone over around 1700 so I figured I had plenty of time to get everything ready. DH played a little xbox with C, then he put together a robot for B, then he and Z organized all the parts in preparation for his RC truck that should be arriving back from the repair shop this week. I was so happy. Our family was whole, we were celebrating Christmas and I felt good.
Bro #2 asked me on Tuesday if I would watch one of his dogs while he went to New Jersey. I told him I had not had good luck the last time I watched a dog.
He insisted that he would give me the good dog; the young one, he said it was housetrained and crate trained. He told me that the dog wouldn’t bark if he was in the crate.
I told him that Christmas Eve was an issue.
We would go to pick up the toys at Bro #1’s house and we’d have to leave the front door open while we brought everything in. Opening and closing the front door would wake up the kids.
He said that was fine, put him in the crate.
I told him I couldn’t risk having the dog bark on Christmas Eve; there are no “do-overs” when it comes to kids and Santa. Once they see you with their presents; that’s it.
So, he assured me it would be fine. He dropped off the dog midweek. That also happened to be the beginning of R&R (perfect timing, huh).
The first night the dog stayed in his crate. We left the door open but he wouldn’t come out (new environment, understandable). After a while we noticed that the dog WAS coming out….. to pee, then he would go back in. He literally only left the cage to use the bathroom in the living room. That night the dog slept in the cage.
The next day the dog didn’t hide in his cage all day, but he proved that he was most certainly NOT housetrained. I must have cleaned up 25 small puddles and 2 land mines in the living room and the kitchen. That night the dog went into his cage around midnight and at 0300 it started barking. I finally got up and took the thing outside while DH cleaned out the cage (the dog’s butt must have exploded). After 20 minutes I brought the dog in. As soon as I closed the door the dog turned on the fire house and left a giant puddle in the kitchen. I brought him back out for 10 minutes and then put him back in the cage. We then lay there for about an hour listening to the dog bark and howl.
The next day was Christmas Eve, more of the same. The boys have started wearing shoes in the house because they kept stepping in puddles. It is disgusting. I have gone through more paper towels and clorox wipes in the past week than at any point this year. That night we put the boys to bed. It was exciting because Santa was going to be coming. The boys finally went down but we still waited a bit to be sure they were asleep. Around midnight we decided it was time to head to Bro #1’s to pick up the toys. The dog, however, did not feel that it was a good time. He started barking as soon as we put him in the cage. I didn’t know what to do. I was going to be so mad if he woke up the kids. We made sure that the kids had sound machines turned on in their rooms and we left; hoping for the best. When we arrived back home the dog was out. One of the kids must have gotten up and let him out because of the barking. Of course, we spent the next 15 minutes cleaning puddles. We then brought in all the presents and arranged them. Santa normally drops a whole bunch of miniature chocolate candy all over the toys and living room, I stopped myself just in time though. I realized that the dog was obviously not going to stay in the cage and chocolate is bad for dogs. Whew, that would have sucked. Dog Diarrhea on Christmas? No thanks.
So, we went to bed at 0500, the boys woke us up at 0700. We enjoyed our morning (I will post about it in more detail later when I have the pics uploaded). That afternoon the dog started again. He was totally messing with us. He would pee a couple ounces in different places but refused to pee outside even though we were taking him out almost constantly. DH and I were beyond frustrated; we had the family coming over, dinner and sides to make, toys to put together, etc. Christmas is a hectic day, we did not need this added stress. We started off early in the day, but as the day went on we were more and more off schedule. He went in to the bathroom to start cleaning it while I attempted to get dinner ready. I had to keep stopping to clean up the dog mess though. Bro #1 and his girlfriend got here first; I was on the verge of tears at this point. Then my Mom and stepdad showed up. I didn’t say hello at first because I knew that my Mom would see that something was wrong (you can’t get anything by her) and she would ask me. I can’t shrug it off with my Mom either. I am not usually able to just say “nothing”. I knew that if she saw me I would just start crying and I didn’t want to do that on Christmas. At this point, DH was still in the bathroom. I don’t think he wanted to come out because he knew that I would ask him to clean up after the dog every 15 minutes while I finished cooking, he would rather scrub the bathroom from top to bottom. The dog peeed three more times after they all arrived. The last time was in the study, I went in with paper towels and clorox and started cleaning. That’s when my Mom said, “Oh Lin, that’s not the spot we were talking about, he just did it over here”. I cracked, started crying, threw the paper towels on the floor and hid in my room. I cried and cried into my pillow. This was Christmas. The Christmas that I had been looking forward to and preparing for for months. This was R&R. this was how I was welcoming home my husband, by dog-sitting a dog that had mental issues. My house smelled like urine, dinner was late, I had not made most of the side dishes I had planned, my husband wouldn’t come out of the bathroom and I was running on almost no sleep for 3 days because if you remember, the dog started barking at 0300 the night before Christmas Eve.
Anyway, 20 minutes later Bro #1 came into my room and said that he wanted to take me for a drive; go get coffee or something. He said that it would do me good to get out for a bit. I told him that I couldn’t go, I couldn’t leave DH. It wasn’t fair.
The dog continued to pee throughout the night but Bro #1’s girlfriend kept taking him out. We went to bed almost as soon as the last guest left. We were both exhausted. I am not sure if the dog barked again or not; if he did I slept through it.
This morning DH let me sleep in. He cleaned up after the dog 5 times in a couple hours. Once I got up I was on Doggie Duty (get it? Doody? hahaha, I can laugh now because the dog is gone). I cleaned up 4 times, the boys cleaned twice. The brother finally called and said he was on his way. Thank goodness, I will NOT be doing this again, EVER. I am not a dog person, I am not a PET person, I am a kid person and that’s about all I can handle.
Anyway, I was thinking about it today and I really screwed up Christmas. The morning was great but Christmas Dinner was terrible. I burned the ham, forgot to add spices to the broccoli, etc. I had a melt down halfway through and I couldn’t get rid of the puffy, crying eyes for the rest of the night. I was just so upset that I had wanted this Christmas to be so special. I wanted to make it perfect for DH. I wanted it perfect for us. I wanted smiling pictures and memories to cherish. What I got was my husband in the bathroom, an unhousetrained dog and puffy eyes.
My aspirations were too high. I know that, but I couldnt’ help it. I wanted it to be perfect. Then, when the dog forced me to run  late I lost it. I cried because I wanted DH to know how much I loved having him home by setting up and giving him the best Christmas. I’m sure that part of my tears were exhausted tears but that doesn’t change the fact that I failed.
One of these years my family is going to refuse to show up because I never seem to be able to pull it off smoothly yet always insist on doing it. All in all, the morning was great, I got lots of pictures of the kids. It was just dinner that I messed up.
I guess, there’s always next year, right?

>Last Clinical of Nursing 200

>

Clinical is over for the semester! I can’t believe how FAST it went. Seriously, this semester flew by. It’s crazy to think that last semester I was considering dropping out because my teacher was so mean and now here I am finishing up my third semester. We only worked the floor until noon and then we went downstairs to the cafeteria to have post conference and final evaluations. My teacher had super awesome compliments for me. She kept telling me that my Care Plans are perfect and that she loves reading my journal and soap notes because I really pay attention to the patient and all the different factors that go into their care. She said that she has found that I have difficulty expressing my thoughts but on paper I have no problem. I kept waiting for her to say something bad but she never did. I FLOATED out of that hospital.
It’s hard to believe that I will be an RN in two semesters. Well, that is IF I pass my final exam on Tuesday. I sure hope it isn’t as bad as some people are saying. It makes me very nervous.
At clinical today I felt really bad for this one girl. I keep thinking about her and I wish there was something I could do. We’ll call her Helen. At the beginning of the semester Helen told me that her husband was in the Guard. As I’ve said before this is a non-military area so finding a fellow MilWife is rare. A couple weeks ago she appeared upset; withdrawn and even less talkative than normal. I asked if she was ok and she told me that they had mobilized her husband and that he was going over this summer. She was upset but it was obvious that she wasn’t ready to talk. So, I let her know that I was there and she could call me anytime if she wanted to talk. Even though we might not be close friends we have a connection that civilian wives don’t have. We have the same fears and pride for our husbands and we “get it” like only other milwives can.
Anyway, today Helen was having a really bad day. She had a very tough, demanding patient. He had her running like crazy. At one point during the day another student poked her head out of a room and asked me to call Respiratory for a breathing treatment asap. I went to the nurse’s  station to get the extension but the secretary beat me to it. I thanked her and went back to checking my meds. Helen was at the med cart next to me and said “that’s my patient” I said “oh, is it”? She said yes and then said “don’t be all confused, I’m just trying to get pain meds for the patient and she was watching him because he was on the commode”. I saw that she was on the verge of tears so even though I wasn’t sure why she thought I was confused I just nodded and said ok. Then she started talking about how our teacher was going to be upset because she wasn’t there with her patient but she couldnt’ leave the meds unattended. I listened to her and finally she said “I’m sorry, thank you for letting me vent”. I smiled and told her that we all need to do that sometimes.
At noon we all gathered in the nurse’s lounge to get ready to go downstairs, but Helen wasn’t there. She was with her patient who had been incontinent all over the bed and floor. She was incredibly upset and stressed out but refused to let any of us help her.  One of the other students was pretty ticked off. She wanted to get out as early as possible and hanging around for 45 minutes made her mad. I told her that it wasn’t Helen’s fault that her patient needed extra help. She replied that even though it wasn’t Helen’s fault, it WAS her fault that she didn’t accept help to make the clean up go faster. I dropped the issue because I didn’t want to start anything but I certainly didn’t agree. This is a woman who is going through a tough time right now. Independence is something that military wives HAVE to have. We have to be able to do things on our own, we have to hold it together even when we don’t want to. Accepting help when it’s offered is something that we ALL need to work on. I don’t know what her specific reason for refusing help was; maybe she was on the verge of tears and didn’t want anyone to see her cry, maybe she was embarrassed that she didn’t get the patient to the commode in time, maybe she thought that accepting help would look bad to the instructor, whatever her reason she didn’t want help.
We went downstairs to eat lunch and she sat at a table all by herself. I kept looking over and she was just the saddest person I’ve seen. I went outside when the middle school called and when I came back in she was sitting at out table next to my seat. While everyone else was talking about going out for drinks after the final exam she started talking to me very quietly; I’m glad I heard her because she was so quiet. She started asking me about the communication I’ve had with my husband. Frequency, quality of calls, duration. Then she asked about safety; has anything changed since 2005? I couldn’t answer that question because my husband wasn’t over there in ’05 and besides I don’t know that my husband would really give me any details if it HAD been unsafe. She asked me a few more questions and appeared to be a little calmer than she had been.
I am hoping that she and I stay in touch even though the semester is over. Probably not likely because she is a really quiet person but I think she could use the support of having a friend that is semi familiar with the military and deployments. I know I could.
Anyway, that was my day.

>My Day Spent With Murphy

>

Have you ever had a day that went so completely wrong that it was almost comical? Well, AFTER the day is over it becomes comical, it isn’t at ALL funny when you’re going through it.
Last night as I was trying to fall asleep (my inability to sleep lately is really starting to tick me off) I was thinking about my next blog post. I realized that the last few posts have been a bit on the negative side. I’ve been complaining about things and just venting. I had decided that today’s post would be focusing on the positive aspects of this point in my life. Almost like a belated Thanksgiving post.
Yeah, that was the plan.
That was NOT what Murphy had planned for me today. No Siree, he decided that he was going to flex his muscles and show me who’s in charge.

MURPHY’S LAW:
It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.

Ready for a run down of my day? We’ll start last night, yeah, that will give you the total picture.
Last night Z reminded all of us that December was his favorite month and that he fully intended to celebrate the arrival of December in a way that we will all be forced to join in. He then went to bed leaving us all to wonder what his mysterious warning could have implied. I went to bed at a semi-normal time last night and of course tossed and turned as I do many nights lately. I finally fell asleep around 0300.

I slept like a log. 
Until 0500 when Christams Carols began BLASTING through my house.
Z’s idea of “celebrating December” was to turn up the speakers as loud as they could possibly go as early as he could possibly get up.
So, my day began with a headache but that’s ok. I suppose it was a sweet thing that I will remember to tell his wife about when he’s older. I promise you Z, I will  embarass you!
Anyway, B begged me to drive him to school this morning. I agreed to do it despite having class this morning because I know how much he hates the hour long bus ride. As we are walking out the door he asks if he can have a Capri Sun for the ride to school. I said yes, he happily sat there drinking his juice on the way to school until we were about a block away. Somehow, the damn pouch spontaneously exploded; spraying juice EVERYWHERE. How does that even happen?  I have no idea, all I know is that he and I BOTH needed new shirts. I started to yell, but as I turned to look at him his look of shock put me in my place and I instead yelled at the Capri Sun for “throwing up on me”.
He laughed.
I drove home.
We changed.
He was late to school.
I was behind schedule.
Oh and my van was almost out of gas.
Now I would only have time to make ONE stop on my way to class. I needed gas, but I also needed coffee (thanks Z) but the gas station with a Dunkin Donuts has expensive gas and I didn’t have time to get coffee AND drive to the cheap gas station. So, I paid an arm and a leg for gas this morning, but I got my coffee.
So, I am on my way to school and the weather starts to get bad. It’s raining and now the wind is starting to gust. It’s pushing me all over the road forcing me to drive slower than I would like. I make it to school with about 2 minutes to get all my stuff and get to the 3rd floor. Parking lot is packed. I park WAYYYYYY in the back in the middle of a friggin’ puddle the size of Lake Erie. With my backpack on my back, purse on my arm, coffee in one hand and an umbrella in the other I half run/half walk across the parking lot SPLASHING through the puddles; completely submerging my new shoes in water. That’s when a gust of wind comes, blows my umbrella inside out and knocks me over. I literally FELL into the car next to me. Thank goodness it was not a new car; I would have felt REALLY bad if I had scratched someone’s car. I didn’t hit the ground (thank you Volvo) but my coffee didn’t survive. At that point I was very happy to have chosen black jeans this morning; but I was also not looking forward to sitting through a 4 hour lecture in wet pants.
I arrive to class and find the door locked. I find my classmates sitting in the 3rd floor lobby. After waiting for a half hour, we learn that the teacher cancelled class but had forgotten to inform the students. Nice, huh? The week before an exam. So, I head back across Lake Erie this time without an umbrella because I got mad and threw it in the dumpster (what the hell am I going to do with an inside out umbrella anyway?), throw my backpack in the van and start heading home. I’m a little peeved by this though because just yesterday my Doctor’s office called me with a referral to a vascular surgeon. They were booked through mid December except for a cancellation today. I had to refuse today’s appointment because of class, but if I had known class was cancelled I could have taken that appointment and gotten this whole surgery thing taken care of.
OK, so, it’s 1100 and I decide that I should go to Best Buy to pick up the xBox Santa is bringing. I call my bro’s girlfriend to make sure that I can drop it off at their place. I think I mentioned before that everything I have bought so far has been found so from here on out, all gifts are being stored at my Bro’s condo. So the girlfriend says she will be home about 1530. No problem, I had a conference with Z’s teacher at 1430 I told her I would drop it off after that.
I buy the xbox.
Come home.
Realize that I have nothing for dinner tonight.
Yell at my husband for something really stupid when he calls.
Apologize for yelling.
Yell again because I am not convinced he listened to my apology.
Apologize again.
Leave for conference.
The conference goes well, Z is doing fairly well in school. Motivation is an issue but his report card is good. I get out of there and head over to the Bro’s condo. I got there at 1520, so I sit in the parking lot and wait for the girlfriend to show up. (My bro works 3rd shift so he’s home; but sleeping and I don’t want to wake him up). I sit there watching the rain and wind out of my windshield. Now it’s 1530.
1545
1605 – I call her, no answer
1625
Finally at 1640 I start worrying about the kids. They are at home, C is babysitting but I know they are getting hungry and I need to get their homework started. Oh crap! No dinner. McDonalds it is. I call the kids but they don’t answer the phone (unfortunately, this is not an uncommon thing; none of them like to answer the phone and they always assume one of the others will answer it). So, I leave. I’m a bit ticked off that I just sat in the parking lot for almost an hour and a half. 80 minutes that could have been spent doing something usefull like cleaning the house, studying, kid homework, grocery shopping. I kept thinking that as soon as I left she would arrive. I should have left after the first 10 minutes.
I’m pulling into the drive thru when the girlfriend calls; rather than apologizing to me she tells me that she “was at the gym and totally lost track of time, you know when you just get in the zone and lose track of everything”? Ha, yeah, sure I do, like when there aren’t enough hours in the day and I have to decide between washing my hair that day and folding the three loads of laundry sitting on the couch. Yeah, sure, I know what it’s like to lose track of time because I don’t have any to spare. So, wasting 80 minutes in YOUR PARKING LOT WAS NOT COOL!!!!! This is what I wanted to say, instead I told her it was ok, no harm done. Boy, did I eat my words on that one, but I digress.
With 3 Large Value Meals on the passenger seat I am now on my way home, passing through an intersection with a green light when a car comes SCREECHING to a halt with his bumper about 2 feet from my driver’s door. I swerved, hit a curb, knocked my van out of alignment BAD and knocked over one of the sodas. Heart still pounding I turn onto the road that leads up the mountain to my house. About a block from my street I see traffic being turned around. OK, bout face, turn up the next street. Nope, blocked. I go all the way down the mountain, cross to the other side in the next town over.
Not going that way either. What the heck is going on here? The only other way home is going up and around to the other side of mountain via the highway. At this point I’m getting a little upset. I call the boys again. No answer. I call each of their cell phones, and get no answer. Now I’m not feeling good. I am ready to cry. I can’t get home, and I can’t get in touch with the  kids. I start letting it ring constantly and calling back when I get the voicemail. FINALLY, they answer. The home phone isn’t working because the power is out, and the cell phones don’t have reception unless they stand in the doorway. They had been trying to answer the phone but without the wireless router working the phones have no service. I told them I was going to be home as soon as I could, I had to go around the mountain. Of course, I get to the other side and who do I meet???

My good friend, the traffic blocker.
This guy tells me that some trees went down and there are power lines all over the roads. There is one more route I can take and it’s a dirt road, but at this point, if they have it blocked off I have decided that I am just going to leave the van on the road and walk home. Thankfully, it is not blocked. I drive home in the pitch blackness. I pull into the driveway and carry in the cold burgers and fries. The boys greet me with smiles and hugs. They had taken all the flashlights in the house and had put them on various surfaces in the house. There was one in the bathroom, three in the kitchen, a big one sat in the center of the living room on the floor and mini lights were scattered everywhere. They each were armed with no less than four lights a piece. There were flashlights hanging from their necks, looped through belt loops, stuffed in their socks, etc. Every single one of them was on. It was brighter in the house than it normally is when the power is on! I gave them all HUGE hugs and told them the story of my drive home as we turned off most of the lights to conserve batteries. We then played Pictionary by candlelight.
As soon as I was home I felt better. As difficult as the day had been it culminated in such a stressful event that the simple act of coming home and getting a hug from my boys made me happier than anything in the world. It’s funny how that works. For every up there is a down, one of the philosophers that I studied years ago talked about how our postive and negative emotions are experienced in equal extremes. In simple terms he explained that if a person feels a sadness of -5 he can therefore feel happiness of +5. Theoretically, the more unhappy a person is the happier they can potentially be. It sounds strange at first but he believed that the trying times in our lives are necessary to truly value the happy times.
I got nothing accomplished today, I drove around the state most of the day for cancelled classes, absent minded family members, and downed power lines. Mr. Murphy was with me the entire time however that last part of the day; when I was just trying to get home to my kids was by far the worst part but it’s also what made the remainder of the evening so good. If I had been able to come straight home after getting their burgers I never would have played that game of Pictionary with them because the power would have been on and I would have been working on my Clinical Packet for school. If that tree hadn’t gone down, I would have walked in the door 2 hours earlier and said “hi, how was school” to each one. But that tree DID go down, so while I was driving around upset and on the verge of tears, the boys were having a good time playing with flashlights. When I got home instead of just saying “hi” I got a big strong hug from each one. My care plan is not finished and I have just spent entirely too long writing this post, but I don’t want to forget this. I needed to get it down, because if I don’t I won’t remember how good it felt to play Pictionary with them on a school night when I had so many other things to do.
Murphy, I know I complain about you and I was not happy that you insisted on hanging out with me all day today, but looking back, I suppose I am glad you did. Your presence today made me appreciate the simple things tonight. Now, please go away!

>How much money have you wasted on Christmas?

>

I was just reading a post over at Wife on a Roller Coaster about Christmas presents and it made me think of past years in my house. The gifts that we spent entirely too much money on and weren’t played with. See, we want our kids to be happy; and we know that money and material things don’t buy happiness, but it’s so easy to spend the money on the kids because watching their faces light up on Christmas morning is the best feeling in the world. The one argument I like listening to is when they are fighting over who had the best Christmas. THAT makes it worthwhile… or so I thought.
Ten years ago C was obsessed with Thomas the Train. We knew he would love to have a set because he always played with the one that was set up at Toys R Us. Finances were tight, and we couldn’t afford the set at Toys R Us, so we went on eBay and found it (brand new) for $500. It came in a giant box shaped like Thomas. Of course, he was excited, he played with it for a couple days and it wound up in the corner of his bedroom. Did you read that??? A couple of DAYS!!! $500 was a lot of money to us back then, heck, it’s a lot of money NOW!
Two years ago Santa brought Z a cell phone, a nice one; the Alias 2! Sure he was happy to get a cell phone but a couple months later he started hounding us for a Droid which didn’t end well. I gave in a couple months ago but it turned out that Droid reception was terrible and I had to trade it for a Blackberry which just proved how spoiled he truly is because he refuses to use the Blackberry “because it’s not a Droid”. RRRR 
Last year B got a microscope that looked like a giant eyeball. It wirelessly transmitted the picture to the TV. Cool huh? Well, he looked at some grains of salt, and then it went into the toy box never to be used again. There was also an artist’s easel that came with paint, markers, crayons, pencils and rolls of paper. The tray got stepped on after it was buried under wrapping paper and broke. $60 down the drain. I think they may have used the markers, but I’m not entirely sure about that. Oh yeah, there was the RC helicopter that crashed on the first flight and got stuffed in the attic ($200). I could go on, but it’s just more of the same.
Every year we try to outdo the year before. It wasn’t a conscious thing, but I recently realized that is exactly what we do. I had bought a few things already, but they’ve been found so I have nothing so far. Thinking about what Santa is going to bring is just stressing me out because I’m tired of wasting money on things that they don’t play with.
I was thinking about the purpose of Christmas and how it’s not about the presents. I want my kids to know this and I think they do but I’m not 100% certain anymore. One of these years I want Santa to bring them money with a note that says that they can spend it on whatever they want but it CANNOT BE FOR THEMSELVES. They can buy gifts for anyone they want, spend what they want, but it cannot benefit them at all. I think this is a good idea. Of course I will make sure that they all get an equal amount of presents by pushing them in certain directions if need be but I think this could help them think of Christmas as more of a time of giving rather than the day they get a bunch of gifts for themselves.
Maybe this is something that we’ll have to do once they all stop believing in Santa. I don’t know, maybe it’s a stupid idea, I just want to try something different because what we do year after year doesn’t seem to be working so well.
I’m curious, do any of you have stories of gifts that weren’t as popular as you thought they’d be?