Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I will be the first to admit it. We are not big Halloween lovers here in the Hough household. I dressed up when I was younger and went door to door, but it wasn't (and still isn't) my favorite holiday. And I'm not really one to dress up...costume or not. I think I just lack that creative gene.

Fortunately for me, ever since Jake was a baby, we discovered the brilliant invention of "Trunk or Treat" at our church. It is the GREATEST creation. Ever. Instead of trudging around a neighborhood for an hour or two and in unpredictable weather, you drive to church where all of your friends from your ward pop open their tailgates and the kiddies walk around the parking lot, getting plenty of treats in just a matter of minutes. So if the weather is nasty, it doesn't last long.

We've lived in several LDS wards in Northern Utah and Oregon and a ward in Kalamazoo, MI. In the past 12 years, they've ALL offered a Trunk or Treat of some sort or another. And that, my friends, is the only way to do it! It's quick. It's safe. It's quick. There's not normally a ton of candy involved. It's quick. Did I mention it's fast? Seriously...10 minutes tops and you're good to go!  I'm all about efficiency. So sue me.

Today started out with me chaperoning Karcyn's first grade class on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. Wooo doggy. It was cold and wet, wet, wet. But the kids had fun regardless. We were the only school there, which was nice and this was in place of a Halloween party, which I thought was perfect. I forgot my camera, of course (and don't know how to use the one on my phone), but we all looked like wet rats when it was over. And then I went and bought Karcyn a rain coat when I got home.

I was bracing myself for a lot more rain for the Trunk or Treat and even wore my rain boots. But the clouds parted and we actually saw patches of blue sky. We didn't get wet at all. And the temperature was rather pleasant, all things considered. It was a Halloween miracle.

This year, in our Halloween line-up, we had the following:

Cookie Monster--who wasn't all that happy about his costume.

But gradually warmed up to the idea.

And of course, was perfectly fine with it once he got his cookie. (What was I thinking?)

Oh, and Wes. Unless Dad or Mom is around, it's all Wes. And even then, it usually ends up being Wes. He and his family are our Oregon family. They sit with us in Sacrament Meeting each week (because Jared is on the stand) and are always thinking about and serving us, especially our kids and we love them to pieces. (Bev was the incredible Relief Society President I was privileged to serve as a counselor to for 2 1/2 years!)

And then there's...the crocodile (or Godzilla T-Rex, depending on the day)

Calvin, Calvin, Calvin...


Calvin got to wear his costume and go Trick or Treating at the high school on Tuesday where his Pre-K class is held, so this was his second round of Trick or Treating. But I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it was 10x more fun because Wes was there. He and Calvin are bud-dies! And when one is in trouble, the other is close behind!

And introducing...a bumblebee--in rainboots. Buzz, buzz.

Ohhh, boy.

After making 2 rounds to the parked cars, Karcyn decided she was done. So she climbed into the back of the suburban and helped me give out candy with Elissa (Bev and Wes' daughter...and fellow Calvin charmer and JJ snuggler). All of a sudden, Karcyn started announcing to the nearby Trick or Treaters, "Candy for sale. Come and get your candy!" That's when I informed her this candy was free so long as they said "Trick or Treat." She did a good job passing out the treats. A couple of minutes later, though, I noticed she had a piece of candy in her hand ready for the next child and it wasn't the candy I bought. She had been handing out candy from her own candy bucket! Silly girl.

And we have....Darth Vader--he always shows up at Halloween. The reason he doesn't have his red light saber is because he killed Luke Skywalker and stole his light saber.

What is it with my kids and cameras?

I didn't see Vader much tonight, but he seemed to fare just fine.

After the kids were satisfied with their Trunk or Treating haul, we closed up our trunks and headed into the cultural hall inside the church building for some more socializing with our friends. The Monster got his cookie, Elissa got the Monster, the Crocodile played basketball with Wes, and between me and Karcyn, we drank about 6 cups of cocoa. It was to die for!!

I didn't see the Slender Man until it was time to go. When we got home, he and Cooper went on their first "real" Trick or Treating experience around our neighborhood for an hour with Jake's friend Elena. They were very responsible and came home right when we asked them to. And then they had to organize and sort their mother loads. Cooper got so much candy the plastic handle on his bucket snapped off. They weren't too happy to hear we were issuing a 10% duty tax (payable in candy only) for letting them go around the neighborhood :)

And here is Slender Man. He's supposed to instill fear. His look is a little freaky. Slender Man was actually an LDS missionary at school today with a name tag that said "Elder Hough" in yellowing letters. There was a costume contest during lunch and Jake was surprised to find out he was actually "voted" to be in it. He didn't place, but he got some nods :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A hunting we will go...Part deux!

Some of you may recall this post one year ago, almost to the day. Jared's first experience in shooting a deer last year has become quite the legend around these here parts. Jared even wrote a poem about it.

He has had quite the year trying to live that one down. But to his credit, he has remained undetered and started planning for hunting season again this fall.

Unfortunately, for Jared's hunting plans, we've had an Indian summer. The weather was beautiful through mid-October. However, because of the warm, dry temperatures, the department of Fish and Game had declared the area where Jared would be hunting as "closed" due to the risk of fire threat when firearms are discharged.

When the rains finally came (and boy did they come alright), Jared still had to wait a week for his area (up near Vernonia) to open up. He went last Saturday, for his first hunting opportunity. Our friend's dad, Art, who lives in and hunts the area regularly, knows the hot spots and took Jared and our friend Brian around. Sadly, it was a bust.

This weekend was Jared's last shot (no pun intended). In fact, he and Brian took a half day off on Friday, so they could use what daylight was left that day to hunt and then spend the night with Art and get another early start at 6am today.

This morning they drove to an area where Art had seen signs of deer and proceeded to lead the city boys on a strenuous 5 mile hike up and down hills through that entire area. And didn't see anything. Nothing. Maybe 2 bluebirds. Oh and a frog. Jared also slipped and fell twice as they trudged through clear cuts. So all he got out of that was a 5 mile workout, blisters and a flare up of plantar fasciitis.

They finally left that spot and started "road hunting"--basically driving around the logging roads and looking for deer from the truck. (Like what Jared did last year, when he shot the wrong deer).

They used this method for another hour or so. A couple of does were spotted, but Jared refrained this time.

The two "office men" decided they were getting tired so they tried one more logging road as they made their way back to Art's house (which sits on 64 acres) and saw nothing still.

As they headed back to Art's house around 1:30 in the afternoon, Art mused facetiously, "after all we've done today, watch us find deer in my yard."

As they drove up the beginning of a very long driveway, would you believe Art spotted 2 deer...a doe and a buck sitting in his yard?! He told Jared, "get your gun and get out of the truck." Jared did as he was told but kind of stood there for a minute because all he got a good look at was the doe--and was a little gun shy (literally). Art urged him on, "walk forward a little bit." Jared did so and when he looked through his scope, he saw the doe and finally saw the buck walking behind a tree. As it cleared the tree, Jared knew the safety on the rifle was off and readied himself for the shot.

He took careful aim and "click". (Whoops! A dry fire.) Obviously, you don't want to have a bullet in the chamber of the gun when you're riding around in a truck on a bumpy road and in all the unexpected excitement, Jared forgot to put a bullet in the chamber.

So...he had to lower his gun, pull the bolt back, load a bullet in the chamber, (making a lot of noise and out in the open no less), raise the gun, and look through the scope again. [At the same time, in the truck, Brian was asking Art if he should be getting his rifle ready because all they could see was Jared dinking around, wasting precious time with a buck that had been served to him on a silver platter.] While Jared was making his gun more effective, the deer had walked maybe 5 yards then stopped. When Jared looked back through his scope, the deer was standing broadside and turned to look right at Jared while he was taking aim. Jared said the buck looked like one of those lifesize archery targets that just stand there. So he shot it. He shot a little high, but he dropped it in one shot nonetheless. Jared said it wasn't a very smart deer and deserved to die since it just stood there with a rifle pointed at it.

Art graciously gutted and skinned it. Apparently there was a lot of fat on that buck and Art commented it's gonna be some good meat because of all the apples the deer eat on his property. It'll be like eating a grass fed cow :) Our friend's husband Rick (who took Jared on his infamous hunting trip last year) is taking care of the hide as well as mounting the antlers and will take the meat to be processed for us after it hangs for a couple days in Art's barn.

Next year for hunting season, Jared and Brian said that they'll just bring lawn chairs, sit in Art's yard, eat Doritos and drink hot chocolate while they wait for the deer to walk by. Whatever works!

Friday, October 26, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, Karcyn was dutifully sitting at the dining room table, anxiously engaged in her spelling homework. Doing homework with her is a dream--because I don't have to do it with her. She's a total self-starter and when I even mention the "h" word she lights up and happily complies with my suggestion to get it done. But only when she's mildly sidetracked. Usually she's the one that reminds ME she needs to do her homework.

Fortunately, we have no academic concerns with Karcyn. (We feel so blessed considering this same child wasn't speaking just 3 years ago!) Once we agree on what task she's going to do, I can walk away and supervise another child.

Karcyn's assignment this particular afternoon was to use half of her spelling words in a sentence. One of the words was "am".  She came looking for me so she could show me her work, which was a little unusual for her. She usually waits for me to come check it. But she was so proud of her sentence. It read:

I am a child of God.

My mommy heart just melted! It was absolutely precious. First of all, she used the spelling word correctly :) Secondly, she not only thought of a fantastic sentence, she recalled the most IMPORTANT sentence she could ever remember. I was so thrilled with her sentence choice, that I wrote a note to the teacher (whom I volunteer for regularly and who has also been to our Primary Program in the past) to tell her that Karcyn came up with that sentence all on her own and how happy it made me to see it printed in Karcyn's sweet first grade handwriting.

Last week, Karcyn was writing sentences again using her spelling words. For the word "came", she again wrote all on her own:

I came to earth from Heavenly Father.

Little does Mrs. Hugelier know she's getting the first missionary discussion on the sly from Karcyn :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cooper has landed

My due date for baby #2 was 10/22/02 ten years ago. It certainly had a nice ring to it. However, I had no desire to go to my due date. We still don't know if Jake was on time or not because my cycle was irregular when I got pregnant and the due date I was convinced we had (because Jared and I were apart before that!) was actually not the way he was measuring. So I had no idea what to expect with baby #2, except that we were having another boy. Plus we were having a vaginal birth after having a C-section to add more mystery to the mix.

Like all my pregnancies, I labor for about a month. And go no where. It's ridiculous. I have friends that sneeze and they go from 1 cm to 5 cm. I labor for hours, in REAL labor and I don't get to a 1.5. I had actually considered trying a natural childbirth with Cooper, even though I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My contractions finally started to be consistent on Sunday evening, October 20th (when, again, for the third time, a man at church asked me if I was having twins. REALLY??? You don't ask a woman that even if she IS having twins, but especially a woman who is about ready to pop and already feels like the Goodyear Blimp). My mom had flown in the day before and I'm convinced Cooper was waiting for her to get there.

The problem with my contractions is that they start out of virtually out of the blue and they are hard and close immediately. There's no building. But even though they're hard, at least with Cooper, they aren't productive.

After laboring at home for about 2 1/2 hours and getting in the tub to see if that did anything, we finally drove to the hospital. This was around 2am. We were about 2 blocks away, alone on the road, with no one else in sight. Except for the police car. Who then proceeded to pull Jared over. Are you kidding me?

So we're waiting (well, I'm trying to crawl out of my skin becasue of the contractions which are torture when you're sitting in a car) for the officer to approach our vehicle. He shines his light on Jared and asks him where he's going in such a hurry. (Seriously, Jared wasn't going but a couple of miles over the speed limit. He wasn't going fast enough in my opinion). I didn't wait for Jared to respond. I leaned over my big belly as much as I could so the officer could see me and I said as nicely as I could, "to the hospital!"

He shone his flashlight on me and said, "Well looky there. How nice. I've got kids too. How exciting." He may have even gotten his family photos out to show Jared while I worked through another contraction. I'm not sure. But then he let us go on our merry way, without giving Jared a ticket. If I hadn't been in excrutiating pain, I would have argued with the officer. Jared has been pulled over for speeding, oh, about half a dozen times that I know of and each time the officer has let him go. I got pulled over ONCE on the worst day of my teaching career with a sick baby crying in the back of my car and I don't get one little "where you going so fast?" or courtesy warning for a spotless record. And I got slapped with not one, but two tickets because I couldn't find my insurance card either. So while I was glad we were moving again, I was a little miffed Jared did it again! Is he seriously more charming than moi?

That would only be the first of a few crazy scenarios over the next 12 hours. I was shocked to discover that with the labor pains I was experiencing, I was only at a 3. I wanted to cry. When the nurse asked me what I wanted for pain, I said an epidural. This was insane. It was late, I was tired and some sleep would be nice. That's when the nurse said an epidural wouldn't be possible. Excuse me? Turns out a week before, the anesthesiology group (the only one in Kalamazoo serving both hospitals in the city) decided that they were no longer going to administer epidurals to VBAC women. (Vaginal birth after Cesarean). That would be me. Yet no one cared to let me know. Although a lot of good it would have done. Jared asked what on earth were they thinking? Well, it was a tactic to get more money. We VBACs are at "higher risk" for uterine rupture and have to be monitored more. So if they have to monitor more, they want more money. However, and here was the clincher...IF I wanted another C-section, they'd come at my beckon call to do that. Because those are faster. If women are laboring, who knows how long they'd have to stick around. So feeling beat up and exhausted, I was told at 3 in the morning my choices were: door #1) another C-section or door #2) a natural, drug free vaginal delivery. I didn't want to do another surgery. But after what I'd already been through, I didn't want to do natural either. But here was my chance to "try" it, even if it was forced. So that's what I did.

Pure hell. I can't explain it any other way. For almost 12 hours. It was the hardest, most excrutiating physical distress I've ever been in, with no end in sight. The nurses gave me Stadol, which as Jared so accurately described, is like giving Tylenol to someone with a migraine. It's useless. And it made me mentally miserable. I had tunnel vision and hearing. I couldn't speak the words my brain wanted to say. Why people voluntarily do drugs is BEYOND me. That was also around the time I was feeling nauseous and got sick. And oh, yes, the contractions started to piggy back...when right after one has peaked, another one starts up without giving you any rest on the way down from the first. Yeah...I did that for several hours.

Then, as if it couldn't get any worse, I got stuck at a 9. I was at a 9 for a good hour. That's when the midwife on-call gently suggested that after all I had been through we should think about a C-section since I wasn't progressing and I'd labored so hard for so long already. We had two different reactions to that option. Jared went ashen and his heart sank. He immediately thought: We went through all of that just to do a C-section anyway? My verbal response to anyone who would listen: "I don't care, just get this baby out!"

So while Jared got in his scrubs, the midwife told me to change positions while she went to find the doctor and let her know we were doing surgery. My mom had arrived by this point. I think it was 15 minutes or so before the doctor showed up. She checked me and in that amount of time I went to a 9 1/2. She looked at the midwife and said, "Just hold up this part of the cervix and let her push."

Hallelujah! I didn't care how we did it, I just wanted to do something to get this show on the road. I pushed hard and was told I was a champion at it. It was only for about 30-40 minutes, which impressed the nurses since this was my first vaginal birth. When Cooper came out he had his fist up by his cheek, so I tore. Horribly. I had to be sewn up in 3 or 4 layers, by 2 doctors. And I bled. A LOT. My mom even leaned in to Jared and said she had never seen that much blood before. I was dangerously close to needing a transfusion. The second they got me up to go to the bathroom, I fell flat on my back and passed out. Consequently, I was put on alert and couldn't get out of bed without someone else in the room. And I almost had to have a catheter, but somehow managed to dodge that bullet. Then I had to go to the ER a couple days later due to massive swelling in my feet due to the loss of blood. Fortunately it was nothing a little pill couldn't fix.

People are amazed I decided to have more kids after that. Which is funny because it never crossed our minds to stop at just 2. But I've never been through the ringer quite like that...or since, I might add.

Despite it all, we were so glad to have our new baby who arrived at 11:59am on 10/21/02 and tipped the scales as my BIGGEST baby at 7 lbs. 9 oz. Cooper is named to honor my Grandma and Grandpa Cooper. Interestingly enough, for those who weren't there when it happened, we moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan when I was 6 months pregnant. After spending 2 days looking for a place to live, we were thrilled to discover we were approved to live in brand spankin' new apartments with new EVERYTHING. A dream for starving students living in a variety of dumps for the past 7 years.

The development: Cooper's Landing Apartments
The street: Cooper's Landing Drive
Township: Cooper

No joke. Pretty crazy since we named Cooper before we left Ogden, Utah.  I asked the management if we'd get a deal on our rent since we were naming our baby Cooper. No such luck. Fortunately it was already priced well to begin with.

Here's the new family after a couple of weeks:

This was Cooper at one month. (Reminds me of JJ).


Here's big brother Jake holding our little linebacker! He got really big, really fast :)


Here we are getting ready to say good bye to Kalamazoo and make the 2700 mile trek to Forest Grove, Oregon!


I love this picture of Cooper. He was caught in mid-air!
Fast forward 10 years from that "special" delivery in Michigan. I got a text from the Birthday Fairy who said she'd be at our house Saturday night with helpers to leave a surprise on our doorstep.
This is what I found Sunday morning.
Right as we were getting ready to leave for church, I said loudly, "What on earth? Are you kidding me? Who's knocking on our door at this hour and on a Sunday no less. Cooper? Would you get the door please?" Dutifully, he went to the door, while I grabbed the video camera.
He opened it and said, "What the?" and then just stood there in shock. The other kids had run (and crawled) to the door to join him (because if the door is for one person, it's for all of them!) and were giddy to see all the ballons falling into our entry way and started playing in them like a pile of recently raked leaves.
Cooper asked if I knew who did this. I said, "the Birthday Fairy, of course." I explained he's crazy if he thinks I'd spend all that time blowing up 30+ balloons.
Where's Cooper?
So many balloons!
It was SO thoughtful of the Birthday Fairy to pay us a visit for Cooper's birthday. We've only had a couple of balloon casualities and are still enjoying them.
Happy 10th Birthday, Cooper!!
It's been quite the decade. I can't wait for many more!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

You gotta see this...

For anyone out there who has BYUtv, you've got to check out the new sketch comedy series "Studio C." I saw it advertised during General Conference and forgot to search for it until last week. Jared set a recording for it and we caught the 2nd episode. It airs on Monday evenings around 6 or 7pm. It was AWESOME! And the best part? All of our kids (ages 13 to 1) could sit down and enjoy it with us...without the parental units having to preview it first. We actually watched it for our Family Home Evening activity last week.

And...we've watched the recording 3 times since then :) The kids LOVE it.

Finally...a good, clean, FUNNY comedy show. "YAY! Happy Day!"

Watch the 2nd episode here.

License to drive?

A friend of ours just recently returned home from his mission. His welcome home get together was this afternoon and Jared was planning on taking Jake and Cooper with him.

Calvin saw his big brothers getting their shoes on to go somewhere and he came up to me and asked if he could go with them. I told him he needed to ask dad. He dutifully went up to Jared and asked if he could go too and Jared said that he could. Calvin already had his shoes on so Jared told the boys, "You need to be in the suburban," while he finished chatting with me real fast.

The three of them walked out to the garage and shut the door behind them. Two seconds later, the door popped open and Calvin, still holding onto the handle leaned inside and said very seriously, with a puzzled expression on his face, "But we can't drive."

Our explosion into laughter was so loud that Jake came running back from the burb to see what was so funny. Poor Calvin was still confused. Jared recovered first and said, "I know, Buddy. I'm driving."

Calvin laughed it off in "Silly me" fashion. Then, with his super cool voice, cocking his head to the side, he said, "Just kiddin'." As if he was pulling our chain the whole time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Flashback Friday: Calvin Goes to the Hospital

Since Calvin was about 18 months old, we realized that his testicles weren't descending as they should. Sometimes they are delayed and just need a little more time, so we kept an eye on them over the next 6 to 12 months. That's when we, and our pediatric urologist friend, concluded that surgery would be the best course of action.

At his pre-surgery exam, it was also discovered that the opening at the tip of his penis was too small and needed to be enlarged. That would be taken care of during surgery as well. The names of the official procedures being done under general anesthetic would be: bilateral orchiopexies and urethromeatoplasty. Yeah, I can't say them either.

We had about a month to prepare Calvin for the big day which was one year ago. We wanted Calvin, then 3 years old, to realize that while his private area is, well, private, he'd have to allow people to examine him. We also explained Dr. Pat would be fixing his penis so it would work and feel better. We used the correct anatomical terms and he announced only to a few people in public that he was having penis surgery. Not bad considering how unabashed my children are. I was, however, a little concerned when Karcyn, who was in Kindergarten, had to think of and list all the words she could think of that started with 'P'. Fortunately, she overlooked the obvious elephant in the room, despite the fact that we were all hyperaware of Calvin's groin area at the time.

We scheduled the surgery on a day that Jared worked in the afternoon so we could both be with Calvin, including JJ who was almost 2 months old and of course before the end of December since we had met our yearly deductible. Our neighbors took our school-aged kids for us at 6:00 in the morning and we headed to the hospital. I was more worried about Calvin not cooperating than about anything that could possibly go wrong while he was in surgery.

We were at Legacy Emmanuel hospital and they were fantastic with Calvin. After we checked in and got the paperwork out of the way, we were escorted to a big play room and hung out in there for a little while. I was feeding JJ when they came to take Calvin (and Jared) to his room and dress him in his hospital attire.

Only Calvin could look adorable in PINK elephant scrubs.

After Calvin was changed and got his preliminary vitals taken, we went back to the play room to hang out. We were actually in there for quite some time, about an hour. But since it was just the 4 of us and not 7, I didn't mind. Calvin and Jared had dino wars.

I played with JJ on the floor. LOVE those first big gummy smiles.

Finally it was time for Calvin to get his "sleepy" medicine. I'm so grateful it was in liquid form. He's a champ at taking medicine. When I went to the hospital for open heart surgery when I was 4 years old, I still remember the nurse bringing in my "sleeping" medicine in a HUGE needle. Oh no you don't. And I fought it and screamed and cried for a long time. My poor parents.

Calvin was wheeled down to the surgery waiting area--in other words...waiting for the relaxers to kick in. I was happy to know we were able to join him until right before they took him to surgery.

I was also able to meet the doctor who would be performing the surgery. Jared had met him before in his office for Calvin's earlier exam. This was when it was apparent that the drugs they gave Calvin were quickly doing their job.

The BEST part of this whole experience (minus Calvin getting the treatment he needed) was seeing him on controlled drugs. He is so funny. We have a video clip of it that Jared took with his iphone and I've been trying to figure out how to get it uploaded, but clearly have been unsuccessful. Drats. If you're ever at our house, you need to see it.

And then we said goodbye for a little while.

Surgery was supposed to be about 90 minutes. It was a little longer. During surgery they discovered that Calvin also had a hernia and fixed that while they were in there. Once Dr. O'Halloren came and told us Calvin did great, Jared left for work. He also took JJ with him and delivered him to Grandma Vickie who would watch him so I could just focus on a post-operative Calvin. Fortunately, Jake was old enough to come home with Cooper and Karcyn after school and hold the fort down until we came home about an hour after them.

Calvin was out cold. Even the nurses in the recovery room were surprised by how long Calvin was under. They tried everything they could to rouse him. They finally came to get me almost an hour later when he started to stir. After he woke up, and I said hi, they wheeled him back to his room upstairs. We watched cartoons on TV and he had at least 3 popsicles. We were upstairs only about 45 minutes. Once the nurses established he was able to keep his fluids down, his vitals were stable and the surgical area looked normal--we were able to leave. It's a good thing I didn't have JJ. Calvin was a bear trying to get him dressed and to walk. He was still numb in that area, so he didn't have any pain, but he was super groggy. It was a long, s..l..o..w walk back down to the parking area. He gave up in the big atrium area so I picked him up. The hard part was that he couldn't straddle me, so it was awkward carrying a big child in a nontraditional way. It would have been impossible with an infant carrier and diaper bag on top of that.

It didn't take long before he was sleeping again. I picked up JJ and we came home. When we came inside the house, the three older kids had hidden behind the furniture and yelled "surprise!" when Calvin appeared. There was a big "WELCOME HOME, CALVIN!" sign taped on the wall that they had made while we were gone. I was so touched that they would think to do something so thoughtful for their little brother.

The first few days were the most challenging. It was shortly after we got home that the numbing stuff wore off and Calvin was acutely aware of the pain. He would just lay on the couch and quietly moan or flat out scream in pain. It was like having 2 babies, 3 years apart. Calvin had his first accident while he rested. I didn't catch him soon enough. He needed help getting to the bathroom and the first few times were painful, no doubt. Fortunately, there wasn't much that LOTS of popsicles and some pizza and LOTS of pain reliever couldn't fix. The first night or two were also long and not as restful as we would have liked, but all things considered, I think Calvin did great.

I had to laugh when the post-op instructions said that we needed to keep Calvin from running, jumping, and straddling things for 3-6 weeks. Really? This is a 3-year-old BOY we're talking about. By day 3 he was up and at 'em again. I gave up telling him not to run or play. It was impossible without the use of restraining equipment.

I really wanted to take a "before" picture and an "after" picture, but Jared gave me a scolding look. What??  It's amazing the difference in just the "look". Calvin has two 3 inch scars in a V formation in his pelvic area. But now he looks so much better and more comfortable. There were 2 plastic buttons secured on the under side of his scrotum to hold those testicles in place for 10 days after surgery. Calvin was very aware of those too. Fortunately, the buttons remained in place (since Calvin is known to remove stitches on his own) and served their proper function.

Calvin was still pretty hung up on his penis for a while, so much so that when he started preschool in February, I had to explain to his teacher about his surgery so she would know that while we're advocates for using the appropriate anatomical terms, it wasn't just a topic we like to talk about frequently in our family.

We're hoping there won't be any negative effects, like a higher risk of testicular cancer or fertility issues when he's older. I think we caught it in enough time that there won't be. I'm so grateful for modern medicine and technology that improves our quality of life.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mystery solved

I've been packing the kids' lunches this year in divided plastic containers. They also take a metal fork and reusable water bottle. To be honest, I was a little worried that these things wouldn't make it  home each day. Much to my surprise, the kids have been perfectly diligent about bringing it all back.

Karcyn's water bottle is blue and I remember seeing it Tuesday after school on the counter. She was drinking out of it.

When I went to pack it up on Wednesday morning, I couldn't find it anywhere. I was seriously stumped. I could have sworn I had seen it the day before, after she got home. Then a scary thought occurred to me. Maybe my brain isn't as sharp as I thought. Perhaps the days really were running into each other and it was actually two days prior that I had seen the water bottle...even though I was almost certain I had just seen it. Before she left for the day, I suggested to Karcyn that she might have left it at school and to take a look there.

I volunteered in Karcyn's class a few hours later and her teacher said they looked for the water bottle, but couldn't find it in the room. I told Mrs. Hugelier it was okay. I explained that she has a brother at home who likes to take things. Maybe Calvin knows where it is.

As I did the last bit of tidying up last night in the kitchen area, my eyes were drawn to the area by one of our floor vents. (I caved in yesterday and turned on the heat. I still don't get how 68 degrees on the "cool" setting is so much colder than 68 degrees on the "warm" setting. And despite the gorgeous sunny autumn days this past week, our house hasn't gotten above 70 degrees, making it colder inside than it has been outside. But not anymore.)

The furnace kicked on last night and the heat was blowing so much that the papers taped to the wall nearest the vent were doing some serious flapping. That's when I saw the vent grate had been moved over to the side, exposing the entire vent space. I bent over to slide the grate back in place and this is what I found...

Hmmm. I had the right idea. Wrong brother. JJ was the swiper. And I had stumbled upon his secret stash. How did I know? That's Calvin's green water bottle. The most perplexing thing is when JJ hid this stuff (also including Jake's tennis ball, a small blue car, and about 19 magnetic letters--which was all my short arm could reach...who knows what else is down there!). It's rather impressive and somewhat disturbing considering how open and relatively small our house is with 7 people in it.

Jake said now that I've blown his cover, JJ will be forced to find another secret hiding spot :)

The best part...not having to say I'm sorry for a) accusing Calvin of taking Karcyn's water bottle and for b) issuing a consequence because he's the least trustworthy child in our family. Calvin is not the child you want to be beholden to.

Wardrobe malfunction

Last Friday was picture day at school. We had recently received some hand-me-downs for Karcyn and we selected one of those outfits for her school pictures. I'm pretty sure I had her try it on since she's still small for her age and I just never know with pants.

The bottoms (a skirt with attached leggings) seemed to fit. I recall them being just a smidge loose, but nothing that would be a hindrance for her. Better to be loose than too tight, right?


After school on Friday, the first thing out of her mouth was "My pants fell down at recess."

Oh no! "I'm so sorry, Karcyn. Are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." And that was that.

Yesterday, while I was volunteering at the school in Karcyn's classroom, her teacher Mrs. Hugelier  asked if I had heard about Karcyn's wardrobe malfunction on picture day. Sheepishly, I told her I was made aware of the situation by Karcyn herself when she came home from school.

Mrs. Hugelier said Karcyn had mentioned her pants were falling down in class earlier that day. Mrs. Hugelier thought they were maybe too small and were being pulled down when Karcyn was sitting and didn't think to look into it or she would have pinned them for her.

As I was leaving the school, Mrs. Hanzel, from the library, was in the front office. She asked me if I had heard about Karcyn's pants last week. I smiled, nodding and said I had. Mrs. Creek, the secretary, piped up and said she heard that when it happened Karcyn was just standing there, crossing her arms to shield the front of her, screaming and laughing. Apparently Karcyn thought it was funny and that there was no real urgency to get those pants up. Mrs. Hanzel responded that she hadn't seen that reaction at this particular recess and Mrs. Creek said that another recess duty teacher had told her about it. Sooooo...apparently it happened in two different recesses or twice in one.

*sigh* That's not exactly how I want our reputation to be known around the school. Needless to say, those bottoms are now at the bottom of Karcyn's drawer until she gets a little bigger. Fortunately, it appears that Karcyn is "no worse for the wear" :)