Monday, August 25, 2014

Remember That One Time?

The Boy: Remember how you told me I was going to Monterey that one time?

Me: No. How?

The Boy: With the glass bottle? Remember?

Me: (blank stare)

The Boy: We were at the corner restaurant having dinner, and I took my little sister to the bathroom or something, and when I came back to the table the waitress brought me a message in a bottle. It said "pack your bags, you're flying to Monterey for the youth leadership conference!"

Me: I did that?

The Boy: Yeah! You don't remember?

Me: Huh. Dang. You've got a really cool mom!

I think I need a new memory stick installed. I've run out of space or something.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Sweet 12th Birthday

Here it is, our 69th birthday party. Rough Stuff loves candy. She magically acquires a steady stream of suckers. So it was no surprise when I asked her what her party theme would be this year and she replied "candy!"

We started by making fake candy. Lots, and lots of fake candy. We used foam pool noodles, paper plates, toilet paper tubes, pretty much anything remotely candy shaped and disposable. We covered our collection in tissue paper and then with cellophane. A roll of cellophane cost us $9.99. This may have been one of the most cash-friendly parties we've ever planned.

I painstakingly covered bouncy balls with cellophane to put in the party favor bags and then the Big Guy insisted that middle school-aged children would try to eat them so they became additional decor. I might be harboring some resentment. Those suckers, er, um...gumballs, took a long time to wrap.

I failed to take a single photo of our fake-candy decorated home because I was exhausted and that's how I roll. You'll just have to settle for this bad photo of the table. 

My lovely daughter, Fish assembled this cute little lollipop tree. 

My beautiful girl, Tuna created these adorable lollipop cookies.

And I, rolled ham and cheese and pimento cheese pinwheels.

That's teamwork. I'm tellin' ya...if you're hosting a birthday party, you really need to have a couple of teenagers on hand. I have a few I can loan out. Just holler. 

I  created this candy-themed bingo game and then my two lovely bingo callers, Tuna and Fish, donned fake mustaches and took this game to a level I had never dreamed possible. They put on a 20-minute comedy show that had everyone laughing. The game was crafted in a simple table in a Word document and laminated for good measure- the bingo markers were Reese's Pieces. The prizes were all candy-themed but non-edible- Laffy Taffy-flavored lip gloss, candy-themed puzzles, etc.

Before the kids left the table, we gave everyone a miniature Hershey's bar and the kids raced to see who could unwrap and eat their candy bar first- using only their mouths with both hands clasped behind their backs. I'm quite sure I enjoyed watching that game more than any of them enjoyed playing it.  

We also played a relay game in which players took turns sucking a Skittle onto a straw and then running across the room to drop it in a bucket before it fell off the straw. Amazingly, no one hyperventilated or had an asthma attack. There were plenty of laughs and a few defective Skittles that couldn't be sucked to the straws. (That's their story and they're sticking to it.)   

We made party favors with...what else? Candy! (And a toothbrush for good measure.) Rough Stuff learned to make a candy shape on her Rainbow Loom and we tied one to each toothbrush. I absolutely love that all of the kids are old enough to help plan and create things for the birthday parties. With 69 of them under our belt, they've had some experience, yo.

No birthday party is complete without cake. This was definitely one of my favorite cakes. What kid wouldn't love a cake with giant lollipops plopped on top? A kid whose mother accidentally loaded it with relighting candles. True story. 

It was an accident, I swear. I found these adorable little lollipop-shaped candles and they were $3.99 for 4 candles. I was not spending 12 bucks for candles, so I bought one package and filled in the rest with color coordinated striped candles at 99 cents a package. Yup. Go me. I did not read the package. I swear I did not. I am terrified of fire. I would never intentionally buy a candle you cannot blow out. The actual suckers were melting by the time we had extinguished the cake.  

But that Rough Stuff? Well...she's a forgiving girl. (I might have placated her with candy.) 


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It Happens (To Us)

Heads up: there is a graphic photo at the end of this post

The past seven days have been absolutely ridiculous. I mean, even for our herd. We're talking high level ridiculousness. It started when Rough Stuff gave us a scare with a very appendicitis-like belly pain that landed us in the ER until 3 am. The friendly, if overzealous, doctors gave her a dose of Fentanyl for pain and some Zofran for nausea and sent us on our way. She tied her head and glasses to the ceiling of the mini-van with a headband via the clothing hook (don't ask me, I was baffled), bit her sister 3 times, and asked for a donut a total of 3,075 times between the hospital and home. It was highly entertaining and incredibly exhausting. I will remember to ask for lower levels of pain medication should she ever need it again.

I opted for several hours of sleep and decided I would start work around noon, but that was not to be. I woke at noon and found a chilling message on my phone. My dad had been admitted to the hospital and was moving to the ICU. I packed my bags for the five-hour drive to the hospital. I spent one night in the ICU and then went to a friend's house to get some sleep. I woke to a series of cell phone messages.

It seems that Rough Stuff's pain had returned and she was not eating which surely must signal some level of crisis because she does not turn away food. Reference the donut incident above. The Big Guy had taken her back to the hospital and she was getting a full work up to rule out appendicitis and pancreatitis.

-Heads up: this is a totally anticlimactic tale- 

On the way to the hospital, the truck broke down and just coasted into the parking garage. Grand total on that unexpected repair: $1,200. Ouch. I was afraid Rough Stuff would be admitted because she'd been in the ER for hours and they'd run so many, many tests. I wanted to come home and be in that hospital, with her, instead of the one I was in. But...the storm clouds cut loose and the severe storm warnings rolled and it didn't make sense to drive in that kind of mess so I stayed. She was discharged late that night with absolutely no clue as to what was causing the pain or appetite loss. See? No dramatic ending.
Heads up: that graphic photo is coming. It may or may not contain bones.

So, I stayed at the hospital another night with my dad. That night was the worst hospital experience I've ever had. There was 1 tech assigned to 20 patients so you can imagine the level of care that entailed. I learned to change bed sheets that night, but I'm not sure I ever mastered hospital corners. One lovely tech gave me instruction on how to change the trash bags and set the trash out as I stood by speechless. When she explained later how to wash a bedpan, I found my voice and what I had to say was not very pleasant. I may refer to myself as Limitless Lisa, but that is an outright lie.Well, it's more of a hope really. Like a battle cry. Anyway, I have my limits.

The next night I drove home because my little Rough Stuff had turned 12 and we had a birthday party to prepare for. I'll post pics soon. It was lovely. I spent most of it in a fog. Turns out I'm not so good at switching my days and nights around. I'm blaming it on age.

Anyhoo, crappy week. High level of ridiculousness. Yada, yada.

And then this happened...

Owl pellet, up close and way too personal

An owl yakked on my deck. I mean, why not? It was so symbolic really. This whole week just kind of vomited on us. Every undigested thing just sort of spewed into existence. I am so seriously disgusted by this mess. 

So, it's time to just wash this whole mess away. All of it. It's a new week. It's time for fresh challenges. And a clean deck. 

Grossed out? I warned you. My kids think owl upchuck is beyond awesome. Perspective I tell ya.