Kemi, like “chemistry”

Random Musings of the Misunderstood

The Year Without A Christmas Tree… Maybe? December 9, 2014

Filed under: Holidays,The Looney Bin,Uncategorized — Kemi @ 1:21 am

It has been an interesting two weeks.

 

Hannah’s birthday was the day before Thanksgiving, just as it was 11 years ago. Then, Thanksgiving (and all that it entails!). Kenny and I spent two days trying to purchase a cell phone at Target during their Black Friday sale, and after 5 unsuccessful trips in two days, we gave up, Then, on December 2, my brother married the greatest girl in the world (who shall heretofore be known as “Rhonda”). The day was beautiful, but exhausting. (It’s been a week, and we’re still recovering. It didn’t help that when he departed for his Hawaiian honeymoon, he left us his cold. So generous, my brother is.)  Oh, and somewhere in there, Kendra tried to parkour over a desk at school, fell, and possibly fractured her wrist.  She’s wearing a splint.  And a sling.  And she’s less than thrilled with the whole situation.

 

So, normally we (and by “we”, I mean “I”) put the tree up over Thanksgiving weekend, but we were so busy making trips to Target and the E.R., and opening birthday gifts,  AND sucking up every last minute of family togetherness, it didn’t happen. It is currently just after midnight on December 9, and there is no Christmas tree twinkling brightly in the corner of my living room.

 

I bought a brand new tree this year, since the pre-lit one my dad surprised us with five years ago will not light up in the center section. The new tree is even full-sized, rather than the little 5-footers we’ve had since we got married almost 20 years ago.

 

The problem is, there needs to be some very minor furniture rearranging to get the tree up, and no one seems to care enough to lend a hand.

 

It’s all Little Red Hen at my house.

“Who will help me put away laundry and clean the house so we can put up the tree?”
“Not I,” said the teenagers, as they typed on their laptops.
“Not I,” said the tweens, as they played Minecraft.
“Not I,” said the toddlers, as they scattered more toys around the living room.

“Are you going to put the tree up anytime soon?” asked the Big Red Rooster.
“Not without some help,” said the Little Red Hen.  

“Oh,” said the Big Red Rooster, as he went back to his xbox game.

So the Little Red Hen turned into the Grinch and moved the unpacked boxes of Christmas decorations back into the garage.

 

I told my kids if the room isn’t ready for the tree by the weekend, I would bring in the ugly brown tree box and wrap it in tinsel, and we’d call it good for the year. I think they think I’m kidding. Won’t they be surprised to find out I am SO not kidding.

 

I’m actually a little giddy about how easy it will be to clean up in January…

 

Tales from Motherland September 11, 2013

Filed under: motherhood,Natalie — Kemi @ 2:35 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

My friend Jeri (Hi, Jeri!) complimented my blog this morning, and linked to it on her Facebook account.  Gaaah!  It hasn’t been updated in three months!  Suddenly there’s so much pressure to write!  I’m not even going to shoot for funny (don’t you DARE stop reading!  Eyes back here, NOW!);  I just need words on the page.

 

There is so much to say, and I am too busy to say it.  That’s the irony of having a blog when you’re a mother:  there is always material, but you’re too _______________ to write about it.  (You’re welcome to fill in the blank with any of the following words (or choose one of your own!):  tired, irritated, overwhelmed, exhausted, angry, frazzled, tired, forgetful, hungry, distracted, lazy.

 

For example, I posted this on Facebook yesterday:

It never fails… when I don’t shower or get dressed in the morning, one of my kids will get sick at school and need to be picked up, and I’ll run into everyone I know.

It’s the mom walk of shame, and unfortunately, I walk it well.

 

What I did not share on Facebook, but that I don’t mind sharing with you, is that I swapped out my pajama bottoms for a pair of jeans, and tried to hid the fact that I was bra-less under a hoodie.  Double bonus points because it also covered up some mysterious stains on my pajama shirt.  (Mystery solved!  I have young kids!)  Yes, it was 80+ degrees outside, and I chose a hoodie and long pants because I didn’t want to put on my bra.  Oh, and because I haven’t done laundry in a week or four, and those were quite possibly the only clean clothes in my closet.

 

And then I ran into the mom of one of Hannah’s friends who was substituting at the school.  “Oh, Kemi!” she said, startled.  “Is that you?  I didn’t even recognize you.”  Bless her for saying that, although I suspect she was just being kind.  And then, when I told her how nice she looked, she said, “I rarely dress up, so when I have a reason to look pretty, I embrace it.”  I thought about hugging her, but I remembered the baby stains and the no bra thing and decided to smile, instead.  I was grateful that I had the foresight to chew a couple of mint Mentos on my way out the door, because I couldn’t remember if I had brushed my teeth or not.  My appearance is all smoke and mirrors, people.  (And spit up.  And deodorant.  And ponytails.  And hoodies.  God bless hoodies.)

 

See?  Material.  But then I spent the rest of my day managing the child who was too sick to stay at school, but not sick enough for computer games, fighting with his sister (who was truly, legitimately sick), chasing his little brother, and generally driving everyone in the house CRAZY because his mean mom wouldn’t give in and let him play the Wii all afternoon, and by the time all the kids were in bed, I was practically comatose.  (“Dinner” was peanut butter and jelly on leftover hot dog buns, for crying out loud.)

 

So much to write, but so little energy.

 

I could also talk about my sweet baby Natalie (Hi, Natalie!) who is now FOUR MONTHS OLD.

(Isn’t she cute?  We love her to pieces.  She is my chunky monkey.)

 

You might want to hear less about how much she poops (she has been alive for 131 days, and has had, AT MINIMUM, 110 blowouts that necessitated complete outfit changes… NOT EVEN KIDDING), but like I said above, it’s material.  I got her up this morning and changed her diaper, and the minute it was off, she released her bladder and peed all over the couch.  ALL OVER.  I was so shocked, all I could do was sit there and watch, her feet clasped in my left hand, as it dribbled out like a bubbling fountain and seeped into the microfiber cushions.  Clearly, I have become less of a “Morning Person”, and more of a “Never Quite Achieves Full Consciousness At Any Point in the Day Person”.  I’m afraid my reflexes are firing a little slow, lately.  And, because my daughter not only has incredible volume, but impeccable aim, she managed to get her pajamas wet.  Soaked, actually.  And they were tucked up behind her neck, so you do the math.  Geometry was never my strongest subject.

 

Then, not even an hour later, I left her on the *other* couch cushion  (you know, the one that wasn’t wet and didn’t smell like Amoxicillin pee…  thank you, ear infection!) while I dragged the middle kids out of bed and got them going.  Then one of the dogs threw up, so I let them outside, cleaned it up, and took an armful of clothes downstairs to put in the washer.  Two steps into the laundry room, my foot hit something soft and squishy and slippery.  I didn’t know whether to be relieved or even more disgusted when it turned out to be chunky dog vomit and not poop.  So washing the dog bed and blankets became Priority One for the day, until I went back upstairs and heard, “Mom?  Natalie’s stinky.  Bad-stinky.  BAD.”

 

Do I even need to spell it out?  Probably not, but I’m going to.  It was a veritable poo-splosion, bubbling over the top of her diaper and squeezing past the flimsy elastic leg guards.  It was everywhere, including the couch cushion.  The kids are so used to the Natalie-Blowout drill, they moved into position with military precision (and without a word from me).  Anthony grabbed a used towel to put under her, and then found a plastic grocery sack and held it open.  Hannah searched the clean laundry basket for a new outfit.  Sam grabbed the wipes and a clean diaper, and put them within my reach on the coffee table.  Five minutes and 40 wipes later, she was fresh and clean, but the couch needed some major attention.  All I could do was throw a towel on it and yell, “DON’T SIT THERE!  DON’T SIT DOWN!  KEEP OFF OF THE TOWEL!” any time anyone got within two feet of the couch.  Once the kids left for school, the cleaning frenzy began.

 

Let me just say, vinyl upholstery covers and those glittery plastic runners my grandma used on her carpet have never held so much appeal.

 

So THIS is why I am an infrequent updater.  So much to say, but so little time.  So little energy.  So much laundry.

SO. MUCH. LAUNDRY.

 

Auf wiedersehen, for now.  Until we meet again…  like maybe when Natalie is out of diapers.  (Ha!)

 

One Month June 4, 2013

Filed under: motherhood,Natalie — Kemi @ 11:11 am
Tags: , ,

 

Natalie is one month old today.  (Yesterday, now, since I am posting after midnight.)

 

Image

(Oh, yeah!  I survived one month!)

I had grand plans for a blog post– with photo!– of her milestone day.  I thought I’d get her dressed up in a cute outfit and snap some adorable pictures of her, but it’s only been one month.

 

Do you know what one month looks like?

 

*One month looks like a month’s worth of laundry, both clean and dirty, waiting to be washed and/or put away.  They are slowly creeping together, making it hard to distinguish between the two.

*One month looks like a perpetual sink full of dirty dishes.

*One month looks like toys and books scattered from room to room (thank you, Sam!).

*One month looks like Zombie Mom and no sleep.

*One month looks like a disheveled ponytail, no makeup, unshaven legs, and mismatched clothes (when pajamas won’t do).

*One month looks like a plain white onesie and some cell phone shots on Mom’s bed, rather than a picture in a cute outfit and the “real” camera.

Image

 

One month is hard.  One month is so, SO hard.

 

One month is worth it, though.  One month is this face, peeking out at me from the folds of her swaddling blankets.  It’s the rhythm of her sucking, and the way she reacts to hearing my voice.  It’s the time we have together in the middle of the night, when no one else is awake. It’s the secrets I whisper to her, and the tears I cry that only she hears.

Image

 

One month may not be perfect to anyone else, but it’s perfect for me.

 

Impending Bloom May 1, 2013

Filed under: Kemi,motherhood,The Looney Bin — Kemi @ 1:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

Baby Luna is scheduled for delivery on Friday.  (Unless the storm that brought this morning’s snow also brings us a baby before then.)  While I am elated at being released from what my friend Melissa calls “House Arrest”, and I can’t wait to snuggle my new baby, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being a little anxious about what will change.

 

This is the last time our family will number 7.

This is the last time I will ever be pregnant.

Last time to feel a baby kick and move inside me.

Last time to bond with Kenny over a new life that we created.

Last time to be pampered at the Women’s Center.

Last two nights of decent sleep, at least for the next few months.  🙂

Last time wearing maternity clothes.  (I can’t say I’m too sad about this one.)

Last c-section and recovery.  (I can definitely say I’m not heartbroken about this one.)

 

There are a lot of other things I’ll miss about my life the way it is right now.  I’m sure that several of those will include doing things with two hands, showering regularly, and not having to take a double stroller everywhere.  However, when I think about all I get to look forward to (a new baby, nighttime feeding sessions that are exclusively ours, a new baby, our completed eternal family, and have I mentioned a new baby?), those little things seem trivial in comparison.

 

As much as I love being pregnant (and really, I do!), there is nothing like holding– or, in my case, seeing over the surgery curtain– your brand new baby, knowing that it came from a divine place, and realizing that it is yours.  Yours to love, to nurture, to bless, and to teach.

 

So, while there are a lot of “lasts” in my immediate future, there are equally as many beginnings in store.

 

Here’s to our new family… a family of 8.

Image

 

Luna-tic dream April 26, 2013

So, this has been a fairly uneventful pregnancy, until I got to about 31 weeks, when everything fell apart.  My blood pressure is consistently high, there is too much protein in my urine, I have gestational diabetes again (which I am convinced is a fluke, since I’ve passed every test except one, but whatever…), restricted activity, weekly doctor visits, and weekly antepartum testing.

 

On Sunday night, we went to the hospital because I had a headache so terrible, I was seeing spots.  The baby looked fine, so they sent me home after a few hours.  I met with my doctor on Tuesday, and my blood pressure– on medication– was 178/134.  He made me repeat a 24-hour urine capture (yes, it is every bit as gross as it sounds) and ordered a whole bunch of lab tests, and told us if they came back abnormal, he was going to do an emergency c-section at 35 (+3) weeks.  There was an extra sense of urgency because he was going out of town for the weekend, and everything had to fall into place by Wednesday evening.

 

Naturally, the lab lost my blood work, so what should have taken a few hours to process dragged into the next day.  My liver and kidney functions both looked okay, but my doctor still had me on alert, pending the results of the 24-hour urine sample.  Which disappeared– of course it did!– and was unable to be read for a full day.  It came back elevated, too.  While not in kidney-failure range, it was still 3x higher than normal.  The doctor on call was ready to book an O.R., but based on some insurance technicality that says only MY doctor can tie my tubes, they paged my doctor on his vacation and asked him if he felt okay about holding off on the delivery until he gets back.  (He did.)

 

[I won’t get into it in this post, but out of everything scary that’s happened in the past month, making the decision to tie my tubes was the most emotional, heart-wrenching,  guilt-inducing,am-I-making-the-right-choice experience I have had to deal with.  Even knowing my body should not carry another baby without causing significant risk to both of us, I still struggle with the idea that this is it.  Finito.  No more babies for me.  I have cried more about this decision than anything else over the past 9 months combined.]

 

So, Monday morning, my doctor will review the labs and make a decision about surgery.  Will it be Monday?  Will I see him again on Tuesday and he’ll make his choice then?  Will we try to hold off until May 13, the scheduled date, which will make the baby 38 (+2) weeks?  Or go until this Friday, when I will be 37 weeks exactly, and we won’t have to worry about “pre-term” anything?

 

I am exhausted.  Mentally.  Physically, too, but the up-in-the-air-ness about the whole thing has become my full-time focus.  (No wonder my blood pressure is so high!)  I wander around the house during the day, flitting from thing to thing.  I am restless and unfocused.  My attention span is worse than Sam’s.  It’s time.  Even if it’s not time, it’s time.  I’ve never looked so forward to surgery before, even though it will bring the end of one of the best six experiences of my life.

 

I give you all of this information, not because I think you’re particularly interested, but to better illustrate my frame of mind and how last night’s dream reflects my insanity.

 

I dreamed that I received an LDS mission call along with my younger brother.  Nevermind that I am almost two decades too old to serve (and so is Kevin!), or that I have a family to take care of.  In my dream, I was single.  Maybe I was back in my 20’s.  I don’t know.

 

Anyway, I got a very detailed brochure about where I would be serving (Nebraska), who I would be paired with, what my responsibilities would be, why I was called to this specific place, and some background information about the people who lived in this area.

 

My brother’s brochure said, “Dallas, Texas.  Report to Provo MTC by 6 AM on [this date].”  That was all.

 

So, after re-reading my information, I discovered that there were some things missing.  (Duh.)  I knew where I was supposed to end up, and with whom, but I had no idea WHEN I was supposed to leave, or what I was supposed to take with me.  I spent the remainder of my dream trying to throw together two years’ worth of supplies while worrying about whether or not I would get to the right place at the right time.  Needless to say, Dream Me was completely unproductive.  I felt like a chicken, running around in circles with my head cut off.  When I woke up, my heart was racing and I was dizzy and disoriented.  It took me nearly an hour to settle down and go back to sleep.

 

I miss the dreams I had when I was pregnant with Sam.  At least THOSE ended with a baby.  🙂

 

Here’s to Luna, and to a delivery that comes SOONER, rather than LATER.  (Which, ironically, is my doctor’s name.)  😀

 

 

Baby Luna November 28, 2012

Filed under: family — Kemi @ 11:25 am
Tags: , , , , ,

How do you tell your kids they are going to have a new sibling when some of them have heard it four times already?

You take them into the mountains on a crisp, October day for a hike and a picnic.

Image

Image

 

 

Then you stop to take pictures of them on a picnic table.

You tell them, “Say ‘Cheese!'”  Then you say, “‘Cheese’ is boring.  Say, “‘New baby!'”

(They may look at you like this.)

Image

 

So you might need to say something else, like, “Say, ‘May 24!  New baby!’  Surprise!”

And then you get pictures like these, which are AWESOME.

Image

Image

Image

 

 

And then you tell the rest of your family like this, on Halloween night:

 

 

Then, you throw around some nicknames you can call the baby until it’s born.  Boo, Autumn, Taco Salad, Burrito, Pooky, Star… and none of them feel right.  And then on Thanksgiving, your brilliant sister says, “How about Luna?  It’s Spanish for ‘moon’.”  And everyone loves it.

 

So, Baby Luna* is official!

 

(*With that name, I hope Kenny’s right about her being a girl!  We won’t find out until May.)

 

No Help for Hypochondriacs May 2, 2012

(This post could also be titled “My Mom is the Meanest Mom in the Whole World”, and it might even be true.)

 

So, apparently I really freaked my kids out by being so sick a few weeks ago.  None of us have ever had strep throat (that I can remember, anyway), so it was a BIG DEAL to them.  Like, one-breath-away-from-death Big Deal.  I was too sick to realize they were so panicked, and so they turned to their dad for reassurance, which… well, let’s just say that he’s a bit of an alarmist when it comes to illness.

 

I got better, but the damage was already done.  Every day, for the past three weeks, I have engaged in some variation of the following conversation:

 

Kid:  Mom, I’m sick.

Me:  Oh no!  What’s wrong?

Kid:  Strep throat.  I have it bad.

Me:  What are your symptoms?

Kid:  My eyes won’t stop watering.

Me:  Are you sneezing?  Is your nose running?  Does your throat itch?

Kid:  (insert dramatic swoon here) Yes!  I knew it!  It’s strep!  Do I need to go to the hospital?

Me:  Allergies.  They are ALLERGIES, and you need Benadryl.  Or Allegra.

Kid:  I’m pretty sure it’s strep throat.

Me:  I’m pretty sure it’s not.

 

I’m not even kidding.  Every headache is a migraine.  Every sniffle is strep throat.  A warm or sweaty forehead means one of two things:  either a raging fever, or a raging fever that has broken.

[Common sense would (should!) show that the child who goes to bed in flannel pajamas when it’s 70 degrees outside, and then pulls two fleece blankets over himself, plus a comforter and a quilt, might wake up a teensy bit hot.  Most definitely sweaty.  But who needs a thermometer when one of us has a magic hand that ignores common sense and can accurately measure a fever simply by hovering over the afflicted person.  “Oooh, it feels like 103.7.  Let’s add more layers so the fever will break faster.”  Or (my personal favorite), “It feels like a fever of 101.2.  Based on the amount of sweat on the pajamas, I’d bet this fever was at least 105, and it’s gone down that much on its own.  Should we call the doctor to let her know?”]

 

I have started telling the kids, in what has to be the WORST Arnold impression EVER, “It’s not a too-mah.  It’s NOT.”  And of course, they don’t get it.

 

For the past week, Sam has been running a (legitimate) low-grade fever.  He’s had a mild runny nose.  He’s also teething again, and he really likes to gnaw on his hands, which were looking a little red and chapped.  Thursday night he threw up after dinner.  (It’s the first time he’s ever thrown up, which is a miracle by itself!)

[Would it surprise you to know that parent with the magic fever-hand who claims to be the epitome of calm and collected in ANY crisis– HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Hahahaha.  Ha.– stood at the high chair screeching for the other kids to grab something, ANYTHING, to stop the vomit, but “NO!  NOT THAT!  SOMETHING ELSE!  NO!  NOT THAT, EITHER!  What about a clean towel from the bathroom?  GRAB ALL THE TOWELS!”]

After a bath (and a large load of laundry), poor Sam laid on my lap in a sad, hot little heap for the rest of the night.  He was running a (legitimate) fever, but couldn’t keep anything down, so I used cool washcloths to help him feel better.  Four kids went to bed convinced that their baby brother had some sort of intestinal blockage that would require emergency surgery and a lengthy hospitalization, because what other reason could there possibly be for a baby to vomit?

 

(I KNOW!!!)

 

So, Friday morning he woke up with a rash on his fingers, but with no more fever or vomiting.  Since this is not my first baby, and not the first time I’ve taken a baby to the doctor for a rash, only to be told it’s Roseola, and will go away on its own, I let it go.  By Sunday, they had morphed into these nasty blister-like things that resembled Chicken Pox, but only on his hands.  So, to the InstaCare we went.  (Remember when everyone got Chicken Pox at some point, and it was just part of childhood?  Now they have the vaccine, for which I am EXTREMELY grateful, but kids hear “Chicken Pox” and equate it with imminent death.  Or maybe that’s just my kids.  I could not convince them that I survived Chicken Pox almost 30 years ago, along with their dad, their aunts and uncles, their friends’ parents, their teachers, their grandparents, and pretty much every other person over the age of 20.)  Anyway, not Pox;  Impetigo.  It turns out that the strep version of Impetigo affects primarily the hands, and the staph version spreads around the mouth and nose.  (DO NOT GOOGLE images.  Trust me on this.  Nasty, nasty, nasty.)  So, I guess you could say that Sam had “strep hands”, which sent the family into another tizzy.  It didn’t help when Kenny told them if they touched Sam, they would get it, too, and it would spread all over their bodies.

 

Kendra came into our room Monday night, about 2:30 AM, whimpering.  She is 12 now, and hasn’t come into our room at night for years.  Years and years.  So, this was surprising.  She felt hot, so I used the thermometer (NOT the magic fever-hand).  101.2.  She took two Advil, and crawled back into bed.  I asked her if she was hurting somewhere, and she said no.  I asked why she was crying.  “Because I have a fever.  It’s probably strep throat.  I’m so scared!  Will I get Sam’s rash?”  I reassured her that it was most likely NOT strep, but probably Roseola, or something similar, which was completely mild and would go away in a day or two, and didn’t even give older kids a rash.  She still felt miserable in the morning, so I let her stay home from school.  I knew she was really, truly sick when she spent the entire day on the couch, watching movies and dozing off.  She begged me to sit by her and play with her hair, or tickle her back, or rub her face.

 

When Anthony got home from school, he was not happy about having to share my attention, so he turned into Naughty Boy.  (Annoying siblings and making them miserable since 2005!)  Bedtime could not come fast enough.  Of course, there had to be a massive thunderstorm that woke him up shortly after midnight, and the magic-hand thermometer pronounced he had a fever in the 102 range.  (Because why wouldn’t a fever wake you up, rather than thunder, lightning, and a full bladder?)

 

So, I’ll give you one guess who did not want to go to school this morning.  Anthony stomped around the house in his nightshirt, refusing to get dressed for school.  When I sent him to his room, he sat on Alex’s bed and refused to move.  He kept insisting he was sick, and he didn’t feel well, and there was no way he could go to Kindergarten.  (He would have been more convincing if he’d kept the smile off his face.)  I was tempted to let him stay home for a split second, but then I knew that I’d spend the morning hearing, “Mom, whyyyyy can’t I play Nintendo?  What about my game boy?  Pleeeeeeeease?  Pleeeeeeeeeeeease?  Can I at least play your phone?  I’m feeling so much better now!”  So I told him he could stay home (his face lit up!) but since he was sick, he would be expected to lay on the couch ALL DAY LONG, not getting up to play, not having any computer time, not having snacks or candy or anything else.  (Aaaaand, just that fast, his face fell.)  He practically flew back to his room to get dressed and brush his teeth while I wrote a note to his teacher.  He thought I wrote that he was sick, and should be allowed to call me if he needed to come home.  What I really wrote was an apology to his teacher, for sending him to school in such a rotten mood.  (Good thing he can’t read cursive!)

 

Kindergarten ends in 20 minutes, and– surprise!  He did not die.  Nor did he vomit, cough up a lung, asphyxiate, bleed out due to nosebleed, or go into anaphylactic shock.  He did have a small bug bite on his thumb, which was not caused by a Brown Recluse or a Black Widow, or a hepatitis-carrying mosquito, but as long as we don’t consult the magic-hand thermometer, it’ll probably clear up on its own.

 

If not, there is Calamine lotion in the medicine chest.