Sunday, November 29, 2009

Can You Barfle?

At the dinner table tonight, Ginger began to gargle her water and Bud hollered at her, "Don't barfle it!!" 

We corrected Bud, but it didn't stop Big from saying, "Can I barfle it? .... Oh, I can't. It's hard." and "Can you barfle it, Daddy?" and, once informed of what's proper, "We don't barfle at the table. It's rude!" We laughed every time. By the end of dinner Big had corrected it to "gargle", but I wouldn't be surprised if our family continues to call it barfling. It's way more fun.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend Funnies

I don't have a single photo to post from Thanksgiving. Nope. Not a one. The meal was fantastic, though, if I do say so myself. I especially liked the cauliflower brussels sprout gratin that I made. Brussels sprouts are Rophone's favorite vegetable, so I was trying to find a way for him to get his favorite, but yet have him not be the only one to eat them. It was a fantastic dish. You can find the recipe here if you're interested. 

Oh, I guess I did take this picture on Thanksgiving day, but it's not of anything Thanksgiving-y.

But it's still kind of nice. 

As usual, my kids provided ample entertainment. The day after Thanksgiving we were enjoying lunch as a family, having a great time, when suddenly Big looks at me and says, "Hey, Mom! Ask me, 'So, Big, how are your Cheetos?'" Apparently he was feeling left out of the mealtime conversation. Sorry, Big!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, his Cheetos are good.

Then I stumbled across this doodle of Ginger's. 

Bud thinks that it's a Martian in a dress. That's why abstract art is so great. It can be interpreted in so many different ways! Yup. Just because I only see one thing doesn't mean that someone else can't see something completely different!

Big is really into role playing these days. He pretends to be Grizzly Ted the school bus driver from The Berenstain Bears while he drives me around in our love seat. He pretends to be Cousin Freddie when he plays catch and Brother Bear when he plays baseball. (Can you guess what his favorite show is?) But, his favorite role to play is that of his daddy. He becomes Daddy and Rophone becomes Big.

The thing that is amazing about when Big does his role playing is his ability to stay in character-- for hours on end sometimes. He gets so frustrated with my inability to remember to call him by the proper name. He just continues to remind me, and I try to get it right. 

Today at lunch, Big (playing the role of Daddy) volunteered to say the prayer. It went something like this--

"....We're grateful for this day. Please bless that Daddy will drive home safely..."

(Then, as an aside to himself)-- "Oh, wait, that's me!"

"...Please bless that I will drive home safely..."

Praying that Rophone will drive home safely is something that Big always does, even if Rophone is with us as he was today. It's just hilarious that he stayed in character even while he prayed! 

No one ever said he was a normal 2-year-old, most certainly not me. Man, I love that kid!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sing It!

I have complained in the past of feeling like I am parroting my mother when it comes to parenting my children. I have begun to change my mind about that as of late. Now that I am living in my folks' house, I no longer feel like I am parroting her-- I am channeling her!!! I swear that I am becoming my mother in her absence. 

It's not that I don't love her, mind you. I would just rather be myself. My own person. And maybe, just maybe, the characteristics and sayings I find myself mirroring are the ones that drove me a tad crazy in my youth. To hear myself saying the same phrases and doing those same things.... Ack! Talk about a shock to the system!

One of the things that I found slightly embarrassing and annoying as a youth was my mom's penchant for breaking into song. It's all about keyword triggers, you see. Mention the state of Oklahoma in a sentence? Be ready to hear the theme song from "Oklahoma!".  Mention the word "sugar" as you bake cookies together? All of the sudden you're baking with Mary Poppins! (At least she has a good singing voice! My mom, I mean. Well, and Mary does too, of course.)

I, too, break into song on occasion because of a keyword trigger. I have siblings who do it. And now, I have children who do it. Were we born to do it? Or have we been conditioned to do so? Nature or Nurture? Maybe it's not my mom's fault! Maybe it's in the genes!

The other day, Rophone and I were talking about how different his body looks since his abdomen has been "cleaned out", as it were-- both because of antibiotics and the preparations for his colonoscopy. 

As Rophone probed his belly, he remarked on how much less firm it is. The second the word "firm" was out of his mouth, Bud piped up in his clear, beautiful voice with "How Firm a Foundation..."-- a hymn from church! Thus pairing talk of constipation and clean colons with spiritual song!

It was then that I decided it surely can't be helped. 

P.S. I love you, Mom! ; )

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Typical Work Day

This morning the boys were playing nicely in Bud's room as Rophone was getting ready for work. Big put on Bud's cowboy hat and I heard him say, "Well, I guess I'd better head to work." He headed out of the room and walked down the hall as Bud waved to him from the doorway like some dutiful wife and called out, "Have a great day in the Wild West!"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just a Smattering

So, I thought I'd post just a smattering of the new photos I've taken as of late. 

Okay, a big smattering. But I'm allowed. My arm hurts. Plus, I have a twitch in my butt that makes me afraid it's growing-- only on one side. So, no complaining.

Most of these I used for The Challenge, but there are a few strays that I didn't. You'll like them anyway.

Again, apologies to my friends on that other website, as you've seen all of these before. These are for the other people. 

Buckle up! Here we go:

Take a deep breath. Go get a snack if you need one. But come back. 

Okay, you're free to go about your business. You're welcome. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The 12 Year Sick

Rophone is often sick. He hasn't really felt well for about the last 12 years-- sometimes worse than others. Believe it or not, although he's a typical male, he's even been to the doctor. Many times. But, they've never been able to tell him what is wrong.

Yep. Rophone hasn't felt well for the majority of our almost 15 year marriage. Not many people really knew-- I mean, a lot of the symptoms he suffers from aren't the kind you want to shout from the rooftops or have dinnertime conversation about. So, not knowing he's sick a lot, perhaps people may have made assumptions about him because of the length of our lawn, or the fact that I was out shoveling the snow instead of him.  

Honestly, a lot of the past 12 years, especially the last few, have not been fun for Rophone. To put it simply-- they've sucked for him. And, by association, they've sucked a little for me too. 

A few days before we celebrated Ulnar Nerve Un-Entrapment Day, Rophone started feeling less than stellar. I asked him if he wanted me to re-schedule my surgery, but he insisted I go ahead, saying he would be fine. Well, the first week he was fine. He was able to push through feeling gross and do my job pretty well. He was even keeping up with the laundry! The next week... well.....

The next week, it truly became evident that all was not well in Rophone-land. He became less and less able to do things, so I stepped in and took up the slack. (It's amazing how many things I could actually do one-handed, but I was even more amazed over the things that hadn't even occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to do-- like opening a stubborn ziploc, or pull the trash bag out of the can... frustrating!). By Friday, Rophone ended up in the hospital, truly miserable. He stayed there for the weekend. 

People in the neighborhood knew I had surgery, but they also knew that Rophone was taking 2 weeks off to care for me and the kids. So, I'm sure they thought things were going swimmingly. We most certainly hadn't told them otherwise. 

But, it's amazing what showing up to church with your arm in a sling and 4 kids in tow will do to cause people to throw themselves into action. It most certainly didn't hurt, either, that both the lesson in our women's meeting and one of the talks in the main meeting were on service and looking for opportunities to serve. 

By the time the second message came around, and I'm sure word of our plight had gotten around, I could feel peoples' eyes boring into me. There I sat, struggling one-handed with an ornery two-year-old, husband absent, clearly the poster child for service opportunities. I had a target on my back. And a blinking neon sign over my head. And, quite likely, a panicked look in my eyes (it just so happens that my red-headed daughter's pre-teen hormones decided to come a ragin' that same weekend.... Woah!)

I really was doing fine. I told people. Really. I was managing. Rophone came home that night, and could at least reprimand the kids from the couch. We didn't really need help. I told people that a person can really do a lot one handed. You'd be amazed. It wasn't until I heard myself explaining to someone my plan to push the full laundry basket with my feet to the laundry room, where I would load and unload one-handed, and then kick the basket of clean laundry over to Rophone on the couch where he could fold it with his two hands, that I realized just how pitiful our situation sounded. 

Okay. We'll take some dinners, thanks.

It was so nice at the end of the day, with my arm aching, not to have to worry about making a meal. Even once my sling and bandages disappeared earlier in the week, it was still nice. One less thing to have to manage. Thanks neighbors.

Oh, and you're probably wondering about Rophone. Well, the doctors he encountered at the hospital can't believe he's never been diagnosed. We're still waiting on the definitive results from this week's  colonoscopy, but they are 99.9% sure he has Crohn's. He's got classic symptoms, I guess. Even a surgery he had 10 years ago was for a classic symptom of the disease. Who knows why no one ever put 2 and 22 together, but now we've got a diagnosis. 

It's funny how people react. As though this is some new and shocking development in our lives. As though it will disrupt our existence and make things hard. What people forget, is that we've already been dealing with it for a loooong time. It has already been disruptive and difficult.

We are excited, actually. Optimistic for the future. Crohn's isn't curable, but it is treatable. Now that he's been diagnosed, Rophone has the chance to be better off than he has been in years. 

We can't wait.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meal Ticket

The other day, Rophone and I took the boys outside to play some hoops and some baseball. Those of you who have been following my blog know that Big rocks at basketball. What you may not know is that Bud also rocks at baseball. The hitting part anyway. He regularly hits 7 of 10 balls we pitch to him. 

As we were playing with the boys, I began to have visions of a future meal ticket in my head. The wheels were turning. Excitement was starting to mount. I said to Rophone--

"Just think... when the boys are older... Bud will be in the Majors... and Big will be starring in the NBA..."

Then Bud pipes in with--

"...And you'll be all alone..."

Hilarious. But true. And glorious. Think of all the time we'll have to travel around the country going to all their games!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Big is, by far, the most binky-dependent of all of my children. Bud probably would have had the same problem, but when he picked the binky over nursing early on, the binky was the one to go, never to return. Big, on the other hand, had to be taught to love his binky-- and love them he does. To distraction. (I say "them" because he always has 2 he uses-- this is no minor addiction)

They often get in the way. We have a rule in our house that binkies are only for when in bed. The girls accepted the rule of binkies only at bedtime with no problem. Not so with Big. He is constantly finding ways to try to get around the rule-- he'll tell me he wants a nap so that I'll give him his binky, but then will emerge from his room with it in and begin to play, clearly hoping I won't notice he still has it in. He asks to get ready for bed at, like 5pm, so he can have it. He begs me to let his binkies play with him and watch him do things. 

I hate to admit that he ends up with it in far more than I like or am comfortable with. But, honestly, the kid would sit on his bed all day just to have it! It has made me seriously contemplate getting rid of them entirely, earlier than the usual 3 year deadline we gave the other kids. It just seems weird that Big still uses a binky-- is it because he's big for his age? Or because he talks? 

Right before dinner tonight, Rophone took Big to purchase some knew binkies for him to chew to bits. Big insisted that the newly boiled binky-friends needed to watch him eat dinner. My one-armed self was too tired to protest, so they joined us at the table.

Not only is this tremendous binky-bond a little unnerving to me, I know it will be a terribly difficult bond to break. As Big is nearing the 2 1/2 year age milestone, I decided tonight at dinner that it might be a good time to begin prepping him for the inevitable visit from the Binky Fairy. A perfect time, since all involved parties were present.

We had this conversation:

Me: "So. Big. I just wanted to let you know that when you turn three, the Binky Fairy will come."

Big (with some excitement): "The Binky Fairy?"  

(I'm sure the poor kid thought the Binky Fairy was certainly going to bring him some spectacular pile of wished for binkies, and here I was, about to dash his hopes.)

Me: "Yup. When you turn 3, you'll be too old for a binky. You won't need one anymore. So, the Binky Fairy will come and take your binkies to some other kid who needs them.

Big (with some nervousness): "When I turn 3 the Binky Fairy will come take my binkies?"

Me: "Yup. Because when you're 3 you won't need them anymore, but there is some kid out there who will, and the Binky Fairy will take your binkies to them."

Big (clearly disbelieving): "I won't need my binkies anymore?"

Me: "Nope."

Big: "But, I'm two, so I still get a binky. The Binky Fairy's not coming."

Me: "No, not yet. But when you turn 3 she'll come."

Big: "But now I'm two. I'm still two. Not three."

(He seemed to really want to be sure his age was known. Really known. Without question.)

Bud then asked a few questions about the Binky Fairy-- what she looks like, what she does with the binkies, etc. 

Big interrupted my description with: "Mom, I don't want to talk about the Binky Fairy any more. Let's not talk about it."  Clearly, he was not appreciating the subject matter and would rather bury his head in the sand when it comes to his and his binkies' future.

Then Big, who had been nervously fiddling with his binkies during our entire conversation, squished the rubbery part of the two binkies together so they adhered and piped up with, "Look my two binkies are connected!"

Seriously, should a two year old who can use the word "connected" properly in a sentence still be using a binky?! Weird.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

It's hard to believe that Halloween has come and gone already. The older I get, the faster the years fly by. Part of the reason that it felt like Halloween crept up on us this year was the absence of the pumpkin carving tradition we normally take part in. Carving pumpkins isn't something Rophone enjoys, and since my surgery has left me one armed it was something that just didn't get done. I think doing that a few days before Halloween gets us excited for what's to come. Plus, I usually make spudnuts on Halloween for the kids to enjoy when they come home and to deliver to the neighbors. That, too, was not going to happen with one arm.  Oh, well. Halloween came anyway.

This was a big and exciting Halloween for Bud. This is the first year he has been in school with a school party to celebrate. He was super excited about his costume this year, too. He decided to be a cowboy, both on Friday for his school party and for Halloween. He wore his costume for days straight. He was so excited about his school party--

And getting him to bottle his excitement for a picture before trick-or-treating was a challenge.

The girls were excited, too. Ginger indecisively decided to go as a crossing-guard-witch, and Pen went as a fairy.

Big was super excited to be a construction-worker-guy-- until it actually came time to get ready to go. Failing to take a nap earlier in the day, he was pushing for one as we were trying to get ready to go. Posing for a picture of his costume wasn't high on his list of things he wanted to do.

I attempted to take a few more photos of all the kids together before they headed out.

Rophone reported that while trick-or-treating Bud was a man on a mission. He exhibited some surprising speed-walking skills. Excited to get to as many houses as possible, he was driven nuts by Big, who had to pause to admire every basketball hoop they encountered. A couple of the hoops even had balls nearby, and Rophone said it was difficult to convince Big to continue on instead of shooting a few. They also came across a few broken hoops on their way, over which Big had to stop and mourn for a minute or two, lamenting the loss. It didn't help that Ginger was stopping and staring at things, as well. Rophone said it drove anxious Bud absolutely batty. How I wish I could have seen it.

The kids really had a blast and brought home a ton of candy. Not that we needed any more candy. Based on past experience, Rophone bought about 200 pieces of candy to pass out. Only 9 kids came to our door. 9!!! I got rather bored, actually. I found myself peeping out the window in hopes of seeing someone on their way up the walk. It felt rather like I'd been stood up for a date or something. 

Even though I kind of got stood up this year, I can't wait until next! I love seeing my kids get dressed up and excited, and participating in all of our Halloween traditions. I can't wait until I'm two-armed again next year so we can do them all. Happy Halloween!