Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rizz, Grass!

"The spring has sprung, the grass is rizz. I wonder where them birdies is?"
A.A. Milne

Ahhh... how could you look at that sweet thing and not Spring? But this is Idaho. And right now, ya gotta fake it. So here's my best.

Look! Peter Rabbit was kind enough to lend us his little coat to hang on a peg in my room just for the occassion!! I can't promise you will ever get it back, Petey. But I do promise to find new buttons for the lost ones. Replacing the tabby cat with you, eating a carrot.

Joel's winter wonderland were replaced with some cute cottages that Madre bought somewhere..

Some more fakery of flowers adds a nice center piece on the kitchen table. The leaves just need dusting.....

Thanks to Susan Branch's blog and some prednison, I got the idea and had the time late one sleepless night, to cut out tulips and spell 'Spring'  and string it on some yarn for a banner across the window. It was a welcome Jaden home to Spring Break activity! (he didn't notice it spelled spring)

And why all this effort? Why the attempts to bring the Leprauchan green onto the scene here in IF?

Because outside my window, there is still this:

Friday, March 30, 2012

March On

"I have said that there was great pleasure in watching the ways in which different plants come through the ground, and February and March are the months in which that can best be seen."
- Henry N. Ellacombe

Yup, Henry, you're right! J. and I spotted these 'lil friends breaking through the earth the other day and I was pleased.

Can you guess what plant this is?

J. couldn't recognize it as we picke up garbage hugging the fences from last month's tornado.

Need another picture of it? Okay!

The Rhubarb is breaking through the Marchness! Good-bye, rugged 'ol month. Although needed, I can't say I will miss you!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring- Gimmie a Break/Clam Chowder Recipe

It's Spring Break! Not that you can really tell. Yes, I have been flabbergasted by some sunny moments and even high temps. The one on Saturday could have been plucked out of a sweet summery day in July. A cool breeze. Boys playing catch at the park for baseball practice.

And then there was a three minute mini-tornado. There the wind was! I wondered where it had gone!

So here is the Clam Chowder Recipe to keep you warm and cozy over spring break. If you actually are in a warmer clime- well, you'll have time at the beach to write this down on a cute recipe card and file it away until winter! Otherwise, you can enjoy one of my favs from above: brussel sprouts and vinegar. mmm. If felt springy while eating freshly steamed brussel sprouts at least!

3-4 cans of minced (or chopped) clams. I prefer minced

2 C. bite size potatoes. (5-6)

1 C. celery, finely diced

1 C. onions, finely chopped


3/4 C. butter, melted (just use the whole cube)

3/4 C. flour (remember the less flour makes thinner chowder)

1 qt. light cream (half and half)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sugar (optional)

Pepper to taste

First, pour juice from clams over veggies in a large saucepan. Add water to barely cover vegetables. Cover and Simmer for 20 minutes. (This takes longer than that! But it's what's on the well worn recipe card...)

Second, Make the sauce. Melt the butter, stir in flour 'til smooth. Blend in cream (use wire whip. Stir CONSTANTLY. (I am convinced that my grandmothers spent years, stirring. I will show you a pic. of a metal spoon stirred to death at some point when I take a pic of it.)

Cook until smooth and thick and season with the Salt, Pepper, Sugar.

Bring it close to boiling, then turn it down.

You can even add cut up bacon!!! Start with this first if you so choose to use. Cut the raw bacon into bacon bit size, cook and add to your delicious choweder towards the end of simmering. Let it simmer 5 min. or so and serve!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Accessory Fear

After baby sis dropped off two large black garbage bags that bulged like St. Nick's, of clothes, shoes, and accessories I went through them excitedly. I love to get hand-me-overs! Especially from her because she has taste and the only reason she must be getting rid of them is that she doesn't have room for them. Or they not working for her- I don't know, but I love to try her stuff on.

This purse is perfect. But it isn't my color. I threw all my magazines, books,journal and bear spray inside and it was PERFECT!

Except the color. DANG IT. But it is a "springy" color! A slight relative to the daffodils that should be coming soon!

I do appreciate function over, say fashion/color when in desperation. Heck, it could save my life one day while crossing the street or something! But I still couldn't decide if I'd let her pass it on to another, different skin toned soul. Say someone with actual color to their face.

When I told baby sis about my hesitation to take it on, she said:

"DON'T fear an accessory!" with the confidence of a fashion vet.

"I'm not afraid! I'm afraid I don't like the color!" I responded defiantly. However, in my mind I am thinking: 'this purse is gonna make running an errand to the grocery store harder to do if I haven't put make-up on, brushed my teeth, or taken off my bag lady clothing.

I took her advice and went with confidence at loading the bag with my "stuff" into the big, spacious bag and guess what!

I LOVE it.

Just like I love that this little carnation from my bday bouquet followed me into the bathroom!
This purse has the right pockets for my chap stick, stamps and pens; It holds my library books, and the magazines I love to pull out and look at the pics while waiting in a Dr. office. It has room to put my kitchen sink!

It hangs on my shoulder at just the right place. It conforms to my body. It was meant to be. This purse found its home with me!

I LOVE, love, lOVE it.

In ONE day, it made me a believer in function over my fear of a fashion accessory! (because to me, it isn't an accessory- ha! It's a tool; it fixes my problems.

Hope your weekend finds a similiar, happy tool ending story!

*btw- the purse's second trial run ended in disaster when J. put a Gatorade in the bag, not completely closed. So while sitting in the car, I found that the purse "leaks". Oh, well.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Paddies Day Green

Sitting in a lawn chair Padre pulled out for me the other day.

The sun was shining and I was anxious to read one of my favorite magazines- This Old House. An article entitled: DIY-ers gone wild had caught my interest even though it wasn't the highlighted story for the month.

My expectations were high. I thought I'd be seeing Do-It-Yourself-ers going AWOL by asking for help or something. They did say it there were tales of "make overs". They just weren't in the personal department.

I had conjured up confessions of independents telling how, finally, they came to the conclusion that it was okay to delegate tasks. Their pictures would be taken, but only in the dark lighting where their identity would be hidden- you know, the kind that are reserved for people in Protection Programs.

Instead, it was the normal renovations I usually see, and love, in the magazine. The beautiful before and after pics were there. But, I was thoroughly let down that it wasn't a list of folks who'd gone over the edge with all their do it yourself-ness.

I walked into the garage and snapped a picture of another DIY-er gone "Wild" at least in the sense of the article.

Don't you love the green stain for these magnet/chalkboards?

Padre does such a professional job. I wouldn't call him wild, however. Not in front of him anyway.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Ides Warning- Really about Clock Change

The Ides of March warning from Shakespear's play had to do with daylight savings time... The witch wasn't only foretelling Caesar's death. she was giving a "head's up" that we'd have to set our clocks back, lose an hour of sleep- and possibly suffer through a Caucus.

William had a sense of Humor, remember??

Day Light Savings Time totally puts the stabbing of Caesar into perspective.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunshiny Luck/Dog Accident/Ides of March!

"Amanda, what is all this?" my cowboy nephew, Kay Dub-ya, asked as he climbed the step into our house in his cowboy boots and waved his hand at the front window.

He was referring to the new decorations I'd put up since his last visit. Rather than go into a lengthy explanation about steroids/prednisone to a 3 year old, I told him about Leprechauns,

pots of gold at ends of rainbows and 4 leaf clovers that carry luck. Like horse shoes. This hit home for him. The horse shoe idea for luck.

However, what really drove the whole St. Paddy's luck thing home, was a book I read to him under condition he eat a lunch; like real cowboys do.

The book was about two boys trying to catch a leprechaun and make it laugh or something. It was set on an old Eglish farm, I believe, because the fences were made of rocks.

Which threw K.W., because he is used to "western looking" ones- that have to be fixed a lot. (you know, the wooden detiorating, rusty barb wire ones that J. loves to drive by when we head to their K. Dubs house/farm/ranch while listening to country music.

Outside little nehpew's door, are horses. (100 yards away )and K.W. is alllllllllllllll cowboy.

Every boy, that I've known, is "cowboy"- in the loose sense of the word. [He] Loves the horse idea and will rock/bounce on one until his cowboy hat or he himself is thrown. Loves trucks with hook ups to trailers. Animals to pull around. But to have real horses outside your door.... can you imagine?

Add a dog, cats for chasing mice and some chickens and you have Kade's bliss.

K.W. has inherited every pair of boots J. owned. (we didn't even own the real horses- just the hand-me-over springy rocking one from an Aunt!.) What K. will be happy to know is that he will ALSO inherit a pair that J. spent a good chunk of last summer earning just to wear out to their house. Dang you CAl-STORES!! (Actually they were bought at Vickers after some price/quality shopping. And Kade is the only one who has actually worn them the most. He pulls them outta the closet where Papa's boots are and puts on J.'s. This makes the purchase less painful.

(Yes, they are Tony Lamas)

Back to March!!!! Leave it to an English class to remind us to BEWARE of the next few days!!!! (Roman calendar- middle of the month- 15th. Every month has a middle. So you could say beward the Ides of August. Just count out what day is the middle. Anyway, the Seer foretold of Caesar's death, around the festival they had for the 'god' Mars; which Plutarch joked about in front of her cause it was past the Ides of March; the 15th.

But the 'ol witch had to strike some fear in him and, no doubt, paranoid causing confusion when she said;

"Ay, but Caesar is still alive" or something. Go look into Shakespeare's play exactness, I am going off Wikipedia to trigger my memory. And not Madre's few books from the case downstairs..

And while you are there, You can learn more about Caesar being stabbed, 23 times of so, by the Roman senate and some co-conspirators. One who he thought was his friend.... hence, the term: "Y tu Brute?" Bad month for this Jules C.

Great play. I especially love this book, that is no doubt out of print; Shakespeare Without Tears


They obviously mean the tears you get when trying to understand Shakespeare, and not the tears that come from actually getting the jokes, treachery, betrayal; so on and so forth. Maybe it talks about English teachers in relation to Shakespeare and how to deal with the tears that come outta that relationship. I dunno. I better read it.

Speaking of tear inducing behavior, Idaho is playing "tricky" with us; giving us more sunshine and warmness than we had in August. But the meteorologists said "snow" is in the forecast for Tuesday. J. said they [weatherpeople] "guess" for the most part. But I do have to give them a break, it changes on a dime here.

So ya gotta just enjoy the sun while ya can! I couldn't help but be excited for warm weather around the corner, and ignore the witch's admonishment to "beware" of a few days in March when the radio blasted Keith Urban's song: Better Life thumped from the radio!!

A nice little banjo mixed with electric guitar promising that GOOD LUCK is gonna shine and admonishments to HOLD ON cause we are headed for a BETTER LIFE! That there is a place that we can dream as big as the SKY and despite a long road, faith will get us up in the air; FLYING!!!!!

But he keeps singin' Hold on, Hold on, HOLD ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cause someday I- you and Keith Urban are gonna be the ones headin' for a better life!!!!!!!!!!1

woot, woot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ALL this--- chains that bind us, will be left behind according to sweet country singin' Keith Urban!

Throw your hats in the air and doe c. doe in your calico around the kitchen!

Take that IDES of March!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

However, sometimes life is just hard. And right now we are feeling that in a big way and it involves a sweet blue tick hound, coincidentally named SUNNY. SUNNY BLUE.

(Hound Dog in pom pom form over the holidays.)

BABY SIS and hunny have been raising this adorable, sloppy skinned hound for a few weeks. You should see his face! Here it is!!

J. is just stoked Sunny is part of our family. Every time G. runs passed our house and stops we love to love on this hound dog that howls like a sad pup but isn't!!!!!

Sunny's training to be a good 'ol huntin' dog began a few weeks ago! This involved trips to the park and all sorts of training that I have no idea about. Except a shock collar. ugh. But Sunny did great! Enjoyed our sunny days in Idaho all day with his mum and pa!

And then something awful happened. Horribly awful. The kind of event that takes me back to my dog as a kid. Sunny, who was tied and centered in the back of G's truck wandered too far to the edge of the truck- G. was changing lanes and didn't see how far he'd gotten over and couldn't click the shock collar soon enough.

A loud "thump" drew his attention to the empty truck bed, his rear view window and the dark mass in the road less than a mile from home.....

Luckily, the rope snapped- or our Sunny could have hung his 80 pound, wobbly body from it. And LUCKILY the car a few hundred feet behind slowed before plowing "our" pup. G. jumped out, ran to Sunny- who was scared and tried to run away then recognized G. and let him pick up his broken body carry him to the truck and emergency drive to the vet.

Urban's song gives me hope that Sunny will recover. Despite a few days in vet hospital, and the unfortunate news that he didn't break a bone, but is front leg with no feeling; lost nerves. Along with his face, which hit the pavement at 30 miles an hour is even more pitiful to look at! The nerves are either fried or need time. One more week of anti-biotics, steroids (we both are on them! Bless the drug!)and pain meds. Pooooooor Sunnnnnyyy!!

He can't lift his leg, feel it, or anything. It just drags. So he has a rigged sling holding his bum leg up, out of the way, and attached with some stretchy stuff to his collar- to keep it out of the way. Already the weight he needs from the bum leg is shifting to his other front leg and bowing it.... Sunny is sad, very tired, and not the same dog we knew just a week ago.

Sunny doesn't know that he was going to be sniffing out antlers in the hills, hauling in whatever G. hunted in the mountains and whatever else hounds do. Unless, he's been watching some Disney movies. But he did know that every day he went on walks, ate food, and romped easily in his back yard and howled the most mournful cute howls that we can hear over here in our neighborhood; are harder to do. Are you crying yet?

Why do I share this heartwrenching story? I don't know. It just came out of my fingers. I want my baby sis to hear Urban's Song and HOLD ON!! I want Sunny's leg to miraculously heal.

J. said he felt confidant it will. Such faith. But I'm an adult, whose seen way too many Disney dog shows and hospitals. And Sunny's leg's fate has one week to resolve. Then he will have it amputated, I guess. I don't have the heart to see all this happen!!

I know, it's a dog for crying out loud! But he just GOT here a few month ago! It has been so fun! Especially since we didn't have to care for him, other than pet, walk and play with him! And he went home with his parents.

So, since this is March, and it's filled with Luck- I am banking on a miracle. Poo-poo to the IDES. And sharing this story with you so you can bank on some in your own lives. If, not, you might be a tri-pod dog, but heck, you will still have some SUN a commin'!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vaseline and other DanGeroUs Ingredients!

I have extolled the many uses of vaseline on here before, haven't I? The virtues of the simple, cheap product are endless and a main staple in my life.

It helps dry heels. Put on socks though at night to trap the stuff from ruining your 6ooo thread count sheets. I don't have those, but I imagine you wouldn't want to ruin them. And you want the vaseline to stay moist on your feet.

The blessed tub of light yellow greasyness helps dry cuticles, exzema, dry knees. It's amazing, I tell you! It outperforms ANY moisturizer on the market. Period. Greasy, yes. But it works. And it comes with aloe in an equate brand from Wal-Mart for change you can find in the parking lot or your couch.

So you can imagine when I was at EIRMC, had hustled over there without some chapstick, and was finally so parched on my lips that when I requested the simple, cheap, ordinary componenet; was shocked to have the nurse reply with a well rehearsed sigh and explanaation

"The hospital doesn't carry it anymore."

The comment came out sincerely apologetically.

But being a bit disoriented and surprised that it was taken off the shelves along with the current medication shortages I became somehwat confused as this fact mulled in my head:

"A hospital without vaseline?"

The kind nurse continued:

"If ya think about it," "Petrolleum. Pet rol." She slowly sounded out the last sylablles for emphasis.

Immediately I bit my lip and was transported to a classroom at some point in my history of education, and tried to rack my brain for understanding.

Here's what happened:

First I thought of Maverick gas station. Gas going into a car, yeah, a fire could light up.

Second thought came of these oil refineries in Salt Lake City that I passed daily on my commute to work in the city; the plumes of smoke going up into the air- adding to the bad air quaility, I guess?

I couldn't quite get a grip on why I couldn't use the stuff to put on a "wound" in the hospital that had actually come from a Dr. order. So I squinted hard and was in front of Einstein, writing on his chalk board about the Relative Theories and Light Speed

and it just made me feel stupid. (I didn't quite understand math that well in school.) so I sat in my bed looking at the nurse confudlled. A word I made up just now.

Thankfully, she gave me some time to wrap my mind around this complex math equation dealing with Petroleum Jelly and its unavailability in hospitals by jabbing a needle in my arm.

At this, my mind was transported to a middle eastern country, where there were innocent looking buildings where they built bombs. And lining the walls of the building were all the tubs of vaseline; stockpiled. Most likely purchased from Wal-Mart at a discount price!

Why those dirty..... I began to think. But then was reminded that I still needed some vaseline.

"So what should I do about such and such?" I asked the nurse while she stuck another vein.

"We have ky jelly." She said encouraginly, a little bothered I was interrupting her while she worked no doubt. --Ya gotta concentrate on those veins, ya know.

Wincing a little as the needle struck valve or nerve, I tried to explain how the jelly wouldn't work under the situation:

"Isn't that water based." I said with a slight dizzy spell coming on.

"Well, of course." she said as she pulled the unsuccessful attempt at a vein from my arm and pressed a cotton ball to the red polka dot surfacing on my skin.

"Can you hold this?" she asked as she gathered the materials for I.V. placement up and I held the cotton ball tightly to my skin to prevent a big bruise.

Shifting gears, I asked if I could have a heating pad. She turned around quickly, narrowly missing my nose with the syringe that had my blood on it and said disappointedly: "Ohhh! There are only 2 or 3 of those that "rove" around the floors. And besides we'll have to have the Dr. okay that. They are actually called K-paks."

Another confusing moment came across my face and I felt like I was in Mrs. Taylor's Honors English class trying to dissect a sentence.

"Sooo.. that's a no?" I gave my best guesstimate.

The happy, bubbly, helpful nurse threw the contaminated waste in the red recepticle and said: "Of course not! We can write this down on your dry erase board, and when you Dr. comes to see you, you can talk to him about it."

She grabbed a black marker and scribbled: KY Jelly, K-Pak and then my last request; some Talcolm powder on the board and skipped out of my room. Meanwhile two different people came in and took blood and talked about a blood transfusion or something.

This got my attention, since I'd had an I.V. already placed in the E.R., had a nurse try a few times and fail to get it in another location, and had already given blood samples that didn't seem to fit the bill for a transfusion.

When I asked my nurse why, she assauged my fears that it wasn't me they were giving it to but the old lady across the hall!

But when anotherm white jacketed person came in and went for my arm, I garnered all my mental faculties and said; "Now, I know my blood count is off a bit, but do you think it warrants or is necessary for a blood transfusion?"

She told me the Dr. Ordereded it. My nurse came back in and I tiredly relayed this mix up to her, and she exclaimed: "Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh! They must think you are the person's across the hallway!"

As if we'd both discovered the math equation Einstein developed at the same time, we rejoiced in the light bulb moment for a few brief milliseconds.

My eyes got big with excitement at this achievement, I nodded and then croaked out: "Well, maybe we ought to tell them [white coat people] to go get her/his [person across the hall] blood match, just in case we have different blood types?" I sat waiting for her analysis of my postulation.

"For Sure!" she said happily and exited the room.

Feeling that same way the guys in Houston do when they get a Shuttle back to earth safely, I laid my sweaty head back onto the bed to rest. I half debated calling and telling my parents about the fiasco, or texting it. But then just opted to tell them whenever the right moment arose. Like on our next family vacation when there is a quiet opening for a funny story, or lull in the conversation, as we sit around the camp fire.

A few days later the Dr. came in and approved my requests dry erase board request. However, on the last one, the talcolm powder request, he looked up at me from his chair through his round spectacles and asked lawyerishly yet kindly; "Now, Why do you need the Talcolm powder?"

Immediately I felt like I was in co-horts with those vaseline hoarders in the foreign country hoarding our vaseline in shelves along the walls.

However, I garnered the strength to tell the truth; that it was nice to help me feel dry.

Well, that's the Reader's Digest version of my explanation. But the whole while I was telling it I remembered a story a nurse had told me years ago about a little baby that had inhaled it while getting a diaper change; ended up dying and she'd said she just banned it from her home for safety reasons. So this was whirling through my head and I wondered if this might be like the vaseline and had been banned from the hospital. I took my chances- stuck to my guns, and asked for the powder.

As I waited for the verdict,I bit my lip and waited.... He was scribbling some stuff on my chart and so I had to kind of wait a minute but then....

He said 'Yes'!!

I felt I'd won a very important trial with the Supreme Court of our Nation! It was an exhilerating feeling and I could finally understand the pride lawyers derive when justice is actually achieved in our court system!!

After this conversation, this "win", a very interesting heating pad came to my room. An LPN from another floor brought it into me. It was a moisture-type contraption, with two clear tubes leading to and from a light green corrugated, rectangular piece of plactic-ish material.

However, it did supply heat when plugged into the wall. No wonder it was named "K-pak", because it had no resemblance to a heating pad other than the virtue that it supplied heat.

I wrapped it in a towel, to keep it from burning or whatever, or maybe I was trying to be sanitary about it all since all 8 floors shared the 2 or 3 K-paks available. And then I put it on my stomache to ease the discomfort. It was also attached to a machine that looked like a humidifier. No wonder all the fuss, right?? We are talking heat, electricity, and moisture. All dangerous things and better warrant a good reason!

And You won't belive this! Eventually some KY was brought in. It didn't really work. But after I told the Dr. about the need for a stronger healing agent, he said my mom could smuggle some of my vaseline into me! Wasn't that nice? I felt a bit guilty going against the Petrol dealio, but heck, the Dr. okay-ed it! I felt like a bandit breaking all sorts of protocol!!

Some powder from the Nursery level on the floor first floor came a day or so later. On it in big letters was a sticker, indicating who and what it was for. I felt sorta sheepish about that but my nurse made me feel better.

That day's nurse was male, 6' 3" teddy bear of a person who wrestled in college and even took a national championship! We joked about all the red tape of the previous days, the blown veins, the vaseline crisis, KY Jelly, and the powder.

"Wulp, here's what I can do." he said in an authoritative take charge attitude and leaned in to whisper; "I can go down to the vending machine and just get ya some water." He looked both ways, checked the hallways for other co-workers then continued: " Bottled water. Filtered bottled water! And ya can just pour that on your wound!"

"You'd do that for me?" I asked leaning in closer to him and staring directly into his eyes.
He firmly nodded. But put a finger to his lips. I nodded as well and said:


As he left my room, carrying the tray of my hospital food, which made it look like a mouse's in his big pawed hands. Before he left he'd written on my dry erase board, that was a few days behind what day of the week it was and my goals for my stay; that I wanted to GET OUTTA THERE.

A year later the Dr. came in and saw his note up on the white board, gave the "go ahead" to release me with a scribble of a pen, dusted the cob webs off my hair and eye lashes and left the room.

Ya-hooooo!!! Can you imagine how excited I was? And can you imagine the wax build up in J's ears that piled up the whole time I was gone? I HAD to get the heck outta there so I could examine them, take a dangerous Q-tip to them and clean them out for crying out loud!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Disclaimer: This is a tall tale. Some events, people, and circumstances have been fabricated for the benefit of the author. Please note that nothing sharper or smaller than your elbow should be inserted into your ear.

Also note, I did NOT ask persmission for any pics posted in this post. Wal-Mart, Sinclair, Einstein, please notify me if I need to find a lawyer and face any sort of ramifications, etc. I am too ill to take a pic of the refinery in SLC, or of my vaseline in the bathroom. Please understand. And Einstein, well, I think he'd be okay with me using the pic because he also struggled in math and did have quite a sense of humor. But.... I am infringing. I'm sorry. Can I plead the 5th... ??

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Blog You MUST Vist Daily

I can not emphasize this site enough:

She is an artist whose work was first published in one of my fav. magazines from years ago: Country Living Magazine. She also is a wonderful cook. She made stickers, books, recipe books, journals. She still does. And they are so beautiful. But her art is on her blog. It is so peaceful to read and look at her home on Martha's Vineyard.

She is getting ready for her garden and it makes me so happy to see! I don't know how this year's garden will go... But just seeing hers is comforting enough!

Please go there. I spend some of my most treasured moments dreaming on those pages. REad about the legendary woman, Ms. Luce on an upper tab on the main page about Martha's Vineyard. It's heartwrenching and inspiring!

Treat yourself to Susan's talents! You will be hooked!

Wise Mommy and Baby Sleep Schedule

(a random shot of the swing at Gma's taken by my cousin that has nothing to do with this post)
Sleep is important.

I discovered the benefits of a good 'bed time routine' early in life; especially when I started to play sports. I don't know if it was my coaches that worked the tar out of us at practices that induced such a major life style choice, or if I was a light weight.

Either way, by Jr. High, rain or shine, homework left to do or no; by 8 o'clock I was IN bed. Face washed, teeth brushed- IN BED by 8. I went directly to sleep. If there was homework left over, I woke up a bit earlier and finished it. Nothing could mess with my 8 o clock schedule. Not even my older brother teasing me about it could phase me from staying up.

Sure, on the weekends, I stayed up. But not often. 11 was my breaking point. My poor parents didn't even have to give me a curfew. I came home from parties on my own accord. Not to be a "good child" but to go to bed; "early".

If I stayed up later, I paid for it. I needed my rest. I think I may have made some excuse and pawned off the ditching of partying late into the night on my parents or Coach Guilford from HS. (He was a nightime bedtime natzi) But, it was a total lie. I was almost "embarrased" of my little bedtime schedule, like a kid who has to use an asthma inhaler. You feel like it makes you look weak, take some jabs about having lungs that close off and the likes. But there was no denying, my bed owned me.

With each new season or sport, my body always had some sort of cold to get over and so this consistent, religious sleep pattern followed me pretty much all my teen life and I can totally contribute my success for graduating and being able to last through sports to this honed talent.

Motherhood totally wrecked it.

(random pic of a baby that keeps his mom up. notice how innocent they look about it..)

Actually, there are some other things that did, too. But I blame the cute little kid I blog about- like I was the only person on earth to become a mother-

as the NUMBER ONE REASON for ruining my sleep.

And, henceforth, changing my life for all eternity!! (This is why God has to be all powerful, he has too many children, therefore, he can not sleep. He had to become a God to enable him to not have to sleep. It was the first requirement of parenthood I am convinced.)

Each night, before J. settles down to bed, he counts out on his fingers how many hours he'll get before his alarm goes off in the morning. This is really cute to me. I, on the other hand, do the oppossite. When it's morning I think back over the night and count off how many hours I actually got of the blessed relief.

This little counting game we play has been going on since the day he was born. It innocently started out with me 'worrying' over how many hours "in a row" that he slept.

Before he entered the world and was still snuggled up in my tummy, no doubt snoozing the whole entire 9 months so that he could stay awake the next nine months outside the womb, I read a book about how to get them to sleep.

(again, another peaceful shot by Karen, a talented photographer! doesn't it just seem peaceful enough to put you to sleep?)

A kind, well meaning friend dropped it by one day with a Milky Way and a Gatorade. Yes, I dealt with dehyration even back then. The book captivated me. I was glued to its precepts. I interogated all women who'd had children about this amazing book that took me, step by step, to safely getting my baby to sleep 23 of the 24 hours of a day. It sounded amazing! Like winning something really neat on Wheel of Fortune. My heart skipped with joy at how "prepared" I was going to be when this little guy came out of the womb and I got him on the "schedule".

As you can imagine, to my horror, it did not work as planned. I would go back to the book where I had stuck book marks, to the places where I thought I was not doing it right. Every two hours the unwise baby would wake up. I marked this up as the fact that he was a newborn and had to eat. I think the book even eluded to this little fact. So I really didn't put too much pressure on the wisdom of my little one at 8 days old.

Then miraculously, one night when he was still an infant he slept a total of 8 hours! I woke up, sized up the clock and rejoiced! I had done it! ME! It was all me, my efforts. The calculated times I had fed him, the amount of tummy time I had given him, the interactive play all had worked together in perfect harmony and he wisely slept the 8 hours promised from my dog earred book! I was so proud of myself! I couldn't wait to join the ranks or rank of women that met and proudly tell them how I'd mastered my child and got him to sleep soundly through the night; leaving me time each evening to take care of myself. You know, shower and brush my teeth.

This was the first and last time J. slept through the night. Or maybe that I slept 8 hours in a row.

(the yard we played in as grandkids)

Can you imagine the horror and subsequent humbling, when the next night, he went right back to being "unwise"?? What went wrong I asked myself? Can you imagine my horror that he continued to "get up" in the night? I was brought to tears as I picked up the book and tried to figure out what it was that I was doing "wrong".

I don't know the date of the night he slept through a full 8 hours, but I should have written it down as the only successful night of wisely used sleep he ever gave me. Because, as he aged, he started to do things that woke me up. First it was crying. He'd be upset about a wet diaper or something.

Then maybe he'd cough and it woke me up.

Then he got to where he could say my name, call out to me in the night and ask for something. Meanwhile, I was so perplexed at this behaviour I had to talk to the wise mothers about this phenomenom. They'd give the advice, I'd recheck the book, let him bawl in his crib a few times only to find out I'd let him sit in a soaked diaper and bedsheets for a good hour. I swithced diapers. Finally, I just gave up. I accepted that I was not a Tiger Mother in any sense of the word.

If he bawled, I went in and just laid by him so we both could get some rest.

Eventually, he got old enough, he'd get up and come into my room, crawl into my bed and stick cold feet on my legs- which, of course, woke me up. Can you believe the foolhardiness on my part. The lazyness of not dragging his ice cubed feet back to his bed?

Eventually, he got old enough to where he'd get up in the night to go to the bathroom by himself but it still woke me up.

But I remember those early months and empathize with young mothers when I see the dark circles under their eyes as they discuss the matter of sleep.

(the entryway to the well known gingerbread-like house made by Gpa Ed.)

I am transported to when J. was say 3 months old; or whatever age it is that you finally take them out in a stroller, meet up with other moms at a park or house, and swap stories. Where I compared myself or tried to figure out what I was doing "wrong". Luckily, my closest comrade at the time struggled with unwise babies, too. (Ones that didn't follow the bedtime sleep schedule book) Or else I would have given up the dream for my son to attend Harvard at 7 weeks old.

I don't think there were very many moms who were much different than I was; they all struggled. But there is always ONE mom who has a wise child who sleeps through the night, a mother who has mastered the crying child, conquered the night like Joan of Ark. And you envy her and want to emulate her like you would a supermodel when you look at what happened to your body just by being pregnant.

And so, of course, you compare yourself to Joan, berate yourself nightly on this sleeping failure.
Until, finally one day you just don't care. J. eventually figured out how much sleep he needed and if it wasn't enough, it was his problem. His clock was his own.

The shame in all of this, is now- he sleeps like a log. He can get 9-10 hours of sleep. And to my utter horror, I still wake up every few hours. It's as if his early childhood, unwise sleep schedule destroyed my sleep schedule!

Mind you, the book DID NOT inform me of this horrible consequence. If it had, well, J. may well have been put up for adoption. kidding.

Actually,I think it's just motherhood. You will never, ever sleep like you did in HS. Falling into bed and then just sleeping in til, say noon. Those days are forever behind you. Your child doesn't have to have a wet diaper for you to worry or wonder about them at night. It comes with the territory.

(the steps that creaked and wound up the house to the top floor where two bedrooms held beds that we slept in on overnighters to Gma's house. Which usually resulted in a mid-night call to mom, who had to drive to Shelley and pick us up cause a certain sibling couldn't sleep through the night. It wasn't me!)

Unless of course you are a good sleeper. And in that case, I hope we don't meet up at any ball games and swap stories about how well you sleep through the night. Please try not to share with me ANY ways that you sleep soundly for 5 hours a night. I will only be jealous and ask you to write a book about how you manage this miraculous feat!

I don't know how time really works in heaven. It is fascinating to think about, but I'd like to think there are still some sort of clock up there and that if I wanted, even if I didn't need to, that at 8 o clock, I could go to a room where my bed is, lay down and sleep for 8 hours.

Heck, it's heaven. Why not?

(A pic only those of us grandkids can appreciate.. sorry blogosphere! You will have to indulge my fam members.... This L shaped nook, led from the bathroom passed gma's room and opened up to the front room. thanks to Ed's brillaint architectural skills we could run, in a circle, through out the whole house!

Everytime we ran passed Gpa Ed sitting by the stove in his rocking chair in the living room he'd scare us. Either by trying to grab an arm or swivel in his chair and make it look like he'd try to gram us. We'd squeel like pigs! But we'd do it over and over. Cuting in tight to the wicker coffee table that held hard candy that we never really eat. Because what kid likes butterscotch?

Ed had his hearing aides turned down, so we could do this for hours. But, oh! Gma, whose hearing was perfect, would be in the kitchen doing dishes or making food and boy, howdy! She would give it to him! Thanks Gpa!!!!!!!!!!!! Sooooooooorrrryyy, Grams!!! Those times were loads of fun and I miss that house so bad! Remember when the boys, set fire to the ditch in the back yard during the driest part of the summer??

Man, that was a close one! I wasn't thinking of the house burning down as much as I was upset that it melted my favorite bracelet! It got hot so fast, and sent me crying into you both and subsequently tattling on the boys- but at least it propelled me into the house quicker than they could catch me! ha! Probably where I learned I could run.

By the way, I have told that story to J. and we have a strict match rule! So No Worries!

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