Saturday, December 22

Because I can . . .

The Doctor did it!
He saved us!
Sorry, I couldn't help it.

Friday, December 14

Thoughts on Coming Out

A spouse’s perspective
At the end of March my world changed.
Two words turned my life upside down and set me spinning.
 “I’m transgendered.”
There was so much heartache in those words,
 so much fear and longing.
Pain at the thought of such a complete rejection.
 A voice teetering on the edge of losing everything.
In that moment I had two clear choices:
I could run screaming and
break the fragile heart opening up to me.
Or I could see this as exploring a new aspect
of the person I’ve loved for so long and accept.
With either choice my life would change.  
A choice between fear and love.
Not everyone would agree with my choice,
but for me, in that moment, the choice was clear.
Love won.
It was the easiest choice I’ve ever had to make.
Love won.
In the months since she came out to me,
 we have weathered stresses and storms,
sick children and family who can’t understand.
We have disagreed, worried,
 broken down and held each other up.
We have answered questions, made new friends
and been hurt by those who can’t
come to terms with the changes.
We are closer now than we have ever been,
kissing like we did in high school, constantly in contact.
More supportive of each others’ needs,
 more forgiving of their faults.
I am so proud of her, proud and honored to be with her,
to take this journey hand in hand.
Two words can change the world.
Love won.  

Wednesday, November 7

A Quick Thank You

Families like mine in Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota
have new protections and rights.
Parents can rest easier knowing that their children
won’t be taken from their partners if tragedy strikes.
Partners won’t have to fight to see each other in the hospital
 if sick or injured. Can’t be denied health care or life insurance payments
because of who they love.
That our country can see that
the LGBTQ community is made up of people.
That who you love isn’t the only important thing about you. That it shouldn’t preclude anyone from being treated with equality and respect.
To the voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington: Thank you.

Thank you for accepting and including a community
that has been so often denigrated and overlooked.
Thank you for supporting everyone’s right
to marry the person they love, regardless of gender.
To the voters in Minnesota: Thank you.

Thank you for standing up for the rights of
your friends, family members, neighbors . . .
For not allowing bullies to use the law
to justify harassment and discrimination.
Thank you for taking the first step toward equality.  
Together we are powerful. We can change the world.
 And yesterday, in those four states, we did.

Thursday, November 1

All Hallows Eve

Halloween at my house . . .
When I was pregnant with Elroy my due date was Halloween. I was thrilled but since he decided to come just a bit early, I spent the evening tending a newborn and the candy bucket at the door.
The following year we decided to have a 1st birthday (the ‘see everybody, we all survived the first year’) party.
Easy enough.
Everyone came in costume, broke a piñata full of Halloween candy, and had a grand old time. And while I was prepping for the party I made a decision that has affected how we do things ever since.
 I decided to get pictures of Elroy done in his costume to include with the invitations. 
The pictures came out so cute, and the response I got from everyone was so overwhelming, that the following year I decided to do costumed pictures again, even without the party.
And we’ve done so ever since.
Each kid gets the choice once they start school to do an ‘in costume’ birthday picture or a school picture. We haven’t purchased school pictures yet.
About a month before each birthday I either take the birthday kid to a same day photo place in our mall, or having Granddaddy come to the house and take the pictures (since my dad is an amateur shutter bug, with an eye to potentially making it a real job in the future). Since Bam-Bam’s birthday is earlier in the summer (and less than a month into the school year), and the girls birthday is just after Valentine’s day, I have to be more organized (and creative) with the kids’ costumes.
This year I thought I’d share what my brood will be wearing . . .
Usually I try to steer the costumes in a ‘let’s not scare your siblings’ direction, but as Elroy is in 3rd grade (hold on, I may need a moment here), I agreed with his choice of a grim reaper.
The boys’ school does a costume parade for Halloween, so for that morning he will be without both his scythe and the mask.
I found the robe for $3.50 at a small thrift store, the hour glass (plain wood) for $2 at a kitchen / home imports store. The skull beads were from a pair of bracelets (2 /$1) at a 99¢ store. I made the belt from some leather laces my sister gave me, and the scythe was a plastic sword (also dollar store) a cardboard wrapping paper tube, some black duct tape and a couple of pipe braces (about $3 each) from a hardware store. The mask we already had. For safety reasons I got him the light up jars ($3 each at Target) to make him more visible after dark.
So . . . a unique reaper costume for under $30 dollars, which is the price of the basic store bought reaper costume at any local retailer.

This year Bam-Bam threw me a curve ball. I try to reuse the boys’ costumes by dressing Bam-Bam up in the costume that Elroy wore for that age (i.e. Elroy was a pirate for his 3rd birthday, so Bam-Bam was a pirate for his 3rd birthday picture). This year Bam-Bam was supposed to be a musketeer. I had the tabard, the boots, the belt, I had the blue hat ready for the feather. I thought I was ahead of the game.
Less than a month to picture time Bam-Bam decides he wants to be puss in boots instead. And not just a cat in boots with a sword . . . the puss in boots from the Shrek movies. *sigh*
I couldn’t find anything to use as a cat suit. Not camel colored sweats, not leggings, not a leotard, not anything. Happily I was able to convince him to wear black dress pants and a collared shirt for his pictures, but it was a near thing.
In the nick of time (less than 2 weeks ago) my mom found a handmade faux fur cat costume at a thrift store. In the right color!  Yay Grandmommy!

The cat costume my mom found (and paid) for $8 at goodwill, the boots I bought 3 years ago (for Elroy’s musketeer costume) and this is, I think, the 4th costume they’ve been used with. The cape was from Elroy’s centurion costume last year (and near constant dress up since), the belt was from a Narnia play set one of the boys got as a gift a few years back. The sword was part of a zorro kit (came with a black plastic mask the kids immediately broke) from the 99¢ store for (you guessed it) $1.  The only part of the costume I had to manufacture was the hat. I started with a 99¢ store black foam cowboy hat ($1), glued on some red bias tape ($1.50 ish), stuck a yellow ostrich feather ($1 at craft store) through one side and safety pinned a button (already in my craft stuff) on to cover the slits.
Puss in boots costume  . . . Grand total under $5 for the hat and sword, $13 if I include what my mom paid for the cat suit. The only retail puss in boots costume I found started at $35, and looked horrible.
Raspberry, Peach and Strawberry   
I shop post holiday clearance for everything, so the girls were relatively easy. I’ve actually had the main pieces of their costume in the closet for the last 2 years. All I had to do was gather up the accessories. The girls actually wear their costumes the Halloween before their birthday (in February), and again for their pictures.
Although I prefer to let the girls pick their own clothes most of the time, they have worn matching Halloween costumes so far. I do hope to have a superhero girls year in the future but haven’t been able to get the costumes on clearance yet . . . 
The dresses and hats came as a set at Costco 2 years ago, once again Grandmommy did the actual purchasing. I made the necklaces for their renaissance princess gowns last year (from buttons). The shoes I got (these are their everyday shoes) at payless over the summer. I hope to get them boots on clearance by their birthday pictures. For trick or treating I’ll put some black leggings under the dresses (for warmth), and for individual birthday pictures I plan to get a dollar store pirate sword as a prop.
Total cost : zero out of pocket for the girls this year.
Anybody else have a strategy for Halloween?    

Tuesday, July 24

Arguing With Myself: To Chick-fil-A or Not to Chick-fil-A

Facebook has been up in arms lately about the Chick-fil-A news release in which the company’s president admitted to using company profits to support anti- LGBTQ political groups.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Chick-fil-A. The food is good, the staff is friendly and helpful, the restaurants are clean and the play places don’t smell like pee.

I believe that the company president and everyone else involved have the right to support whatever issues they like . . . .
With their own money.
My issue is that they are using money paid by customers to do this . . . without informing them first.

Why should I care?
I care because the moment my spouse came out to me as transgender, my family became part of the group ‘the customers’ money’ is being used to try to destroy.
I am one person, not a large franchise with a legal team. I don’t want to be a landmark case to keep my family together and safe.
And to those who think I’m over-reacting . . .

My medical coverage (and that of our kids) is through my spouse. If anti-LGBTQ legislation (like these groups want) goes through, my insurance could disappear as soon as my spouse’s legal name and gender change go through.
Our 8 year marriage could be declared legally invalid. My wife could loose her parental rights . . . to our biological children.

When someone tries to remove the safeguards you have built to protect your family on the basis of not agreeing with your choices . . . and has billions of dollars and a huge political machine to do it . . .
It becomes difficult not to feel harassed and threatened.
While this may not be personal for the president of Chick-fil-A, it is for me.

My heart goes out to any LGBTQ employees at Chick-fil-A who are forced to choose between paying the bills and having equal rights.
To be put in that position by the actions of your employer . . . is horrible.

But I think I have a solution:
Companies using sales based profits for political purposes (i.e. Chick-fil-A, Target, Walmart, etc.) need to step up. Post (both on websites and in store) that a percentage of the profits goes to fund x, y, and z political groups, like they do with charities.
This way supporters know their money is going to a cause they believe in, conscientious objectors are informed before buying, and those in the middle can decide if they care enough to go elsewhere. This also gives prospective employees an idea of where they stand within the company.

In short, I want informed consent. If you are going to use the money I spend for political purposes . . . tell me so I have the option to choose where my monetary support goes.

Anyone have a better plan?
- Vixi

(P.S. – as for the “defense of the ‘biblical’ family” nonsense . . . Jon Stewart of The Daily Show said it so much better than I could. Sorry, this was the best video I could find. If anyone finds a better one please link it to me in the comments.)
Thanks Arcee for the video link.

Friday, July 6

Where We are Now

Loving my Wife

Since my husband came out to me as transgender
things have changed in our home.

We spend more time getting ready (she’s very feminine and loves her makeup and accessories) and shopping (much to Elroy and Bam-Bam’s dismay).

We talk more (she often states how much closer she feels we have become, how much stronger our relationship is now than before).

We spend at least a part of every night cuddled in each others’ arms. This has been one of my favorite new rituals. I hadn’t realized how much
I missed that contact and connection until we had it back.

She helps more around the house. It sounds strange but before she began her transition she might make dinner a couple times a month, or do a load of dishes or laundry about as often. Now, she cooks at least a couple times a week and does laundry or dishes when she sees it needs doing. She spends more time actually parenting our children, and more time playing with them. I didn’t realize how deeply the gender bias had become ingrained in our daily lives
until she gave hers up.

I feel more appreciated and more wanted now than ever before. I had gotten used to talking to myself and to not being heard. Now she tells me at least once a day how much having me in her life has made it better.
She listens when I talk and values my thoughts and opinions.

I occasionally still worry that she is using me as a template for her womanhood.
(When she read this she said ‘not template, stepstool.’ Thanks my love.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered. But her likes and preferences line up so closely to my own that I was afraid her voice would get lost in trying to become who she is meant to be. Then she says or picks out something I just can’t agree with
and I laugh at my narcissism.

She has found a family in others who are transitioning as well.
People whose stories are varied but the moral is the same.
Being who you are is worth the cost.

I’ve also found a community. Through blogs and support groups I’ve found that I’m not alone in being willing and able to love the person I married through this change. People who share my belief that the equipment is not as important as the mind and soul within it. That it’s possible to come out the other side
 together, in love and happy.

It is still early yet in this process. She’s still on initial doses of hormones (hopefully that will increase this month) but the changes emotional and physical have been both subtle and life changing. Her body is changing. She has saddle bags that make her smile every time she sees them. She even has boobs now. Her face is fuller and softer. She has been undergoing electrolysis and is seeing some real results.
She’s even had men check her out in public . . . .

As for the future . . . my tarot cards can’t answer that question. We‘re working on getting her name changed, and the other legal stuff we need to cover our bases. I hope that we’ll be celebrating her surgery next summer (and that our insurance will cover it so we don’t have to shoulder that much extra debt). I’m looking forward to renewing our vows in a couple of years (this time she’ll get to be the bride too), although it looks like it will cost at least as much
for our dresses as our first wedding did all together.

But the most important part, the part that makes her transition feel right, is simple.

I love my Wife.

Tuesday, July 3

Feminine Ideals

Art in the Girls’ Room

We got the second crib moved into the office / girls’ room. This is big. Now the girls are in their room full time, and my Hunny and I are alone in our room again.

As we moved furniture we discussed what to do with the art already in the room. Half the room has the usual little girl unicorns, butterflies and princesses. The other half has fantasy swords (high on the wall) and art prints. The question of what to do with the art made me rethink what each piece means to me.

3 of the 4 pictures depict some version of womanhood but not the old Disney version.

Above the printer is a poster Hunny was given called ‘Illusion Chess’
It doesn’t have much meaning for me but it’s a fun image and I really like it.

Next to the computer is ‘Ex Libris” by Michael Parkes.
I love books, so the young woman so engrossed that her nudity doesn’t matter resonates deeply.

Above one of the cribs is ‘Gargoyles” also by Michael Parkes.
The idea that a little girl’s whimsy is powerful enough to bring stone to life to play with her . . .

Above the changing table (used to be above a bookshelf before things were rearranged) is ‘Serra Angel’ a large version of the art from the Magic: The Gathering card by the same name. 
 Serra is fiercely beautiful. She is both protector and avenger and is beautiful in full armor. She is strength personified and I want my girls to see that women can be strong and glorious. That beauty does not have to wait to be rescued, or avenged. That it is their responsibility to defend and protect, just as it is their brothers. I want my daughters to grow up knowing they are powerful. That they can change their world.

Hunny suggested putting Serra up in the boys room, or in our room where it would fit the décor better. I think I want it to stay where it is.    

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time reading really fantastic feminist blogs. Many of these are from women who spent part of their lives in very strict religious orders and had to break free in order to live as a complete person.
Love Joy Feminism by Libby Anne, and Permission to Live by Melissa are a couple of my favorites. 

Whether my girls take away as much or any of what I see in the art in their room doesn’t matter as much as having those images of the intelligence, magic and power of the feminine for my girls (and boys) to see. And hopefully, in seeing Believe.

Thursday, May 17

Defining Moments

Ever have a moment define your life? One second in time that changes how you view the world and how the world responds to you? For most of us it happens when we first become parents. I remember how my world shifted when I found out I was pregnant with Elroy, and again with the girls.

My world has shifted again. Just before Easter my husband of almost 8 years told me he had been keeping something from me.

He fearfully told me how much he loved me, our children and couldn’t bear to hurt us or be without us.

And went on to tell me that he had been diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. That he had always felt that something was wrong, off somehow. That he was really a woman on the inside. I was stunned for a moment. And thought ‘he didn’t cheat, this isn’t the end of my world, I can deal with this’. 

He reassured me that I was the only one he wanted, that he was still attracted to women, to me. He showed me the backpack of clothing he had been keeping in his car, and at my request tried some of it on for me.

He had been seeing a therapist and a psychologist for months with little result. A couple of days earlier he had been to a specialist. The only therapist specializing in gender in our state. And in doing so, had found the strength to reveal the woman inside.

I had seen the darkness creeping closer and watched him struggle to find a way through it, and had encouraged him in finding someone to talk to. Sadly, the initial treatment was only of the symptoms (depression, anxiety, addictive tendencies) and not the root cause of his discomfort. I was so relieved to feel that black cloud he had been lost in lift and dissipate once he told me. It was the first time in over a year he had really smiled.

We spent that whole first day cuddled in each others’ arms (my mom was able to watch the kids for me), reaffirming our love of (and our attraction to) each other. We talked on the phone with his therapist (who was thrilled at the progress made and spoke to both of us in person the next day), and he shaved (and Nair-ed) his legs.

In the weeks since, life has changed in our house. My Hunny now goes by a female name (and pronouns). I’m training the kids to call her Mommy, not Daddy. We spend more time together as a family (she has discovered a love of shopping that she never expected) and her online gaming has dropped to practically nothing.

But the biggest change of all has been how much happier she is now that the darkness is gone. How much easier she is to love, to live with. She was so much less involved in the everyday tasks. I often felt like a single parent, responsible for so much of the burden of keeping things going, even with my spouse in the other room. Now I have a partner.

So begins this new phase in our relationship, in our marriage, in our lives.
We can handle this . . . together.

A quick word about comments:

From now on I will be screening comments before they are posted. I will try to answer respectful questions to the best of my ability. I don’t mind spirited discussion, and I understand that there will be people who disagree with the choices I (and my family) have made. Personal attacks and hateful or discriminatory remarks will not be allowed.

Saturday, March 10

Arguing with Myself: An Ode to Pierced Ears

Or why informed consent is important when dealing with hereditary allergies

When I was in Junior High I begged and pleaded to get my ears pierced. My sister and
I had tons of old clip and screw on earrings, but they were so painful to wear.
I eventually prevailed and got my much desired pierced ears. After six months I
noticed a problem. My ears were getting infected even though the holes had been
healed for months.

So I tried different earrings. Eventually I determined that
I could only wear sterling silver or pewter, not just in my ears, but now
anywhere on my body. My neck would break out in tiny sandpaper bumps, and if I
wore a watch without covering the back it would eventually irritate the skin so
much it would lift right off leaving a raw red area.

Over time I learned to deal with my allergy. Every few years I develop a fun new
facet (because staying the same would be boring).
In High School I wore a costume necklace for a choir performance. After less than an hour I had broken out so badly that I still have a scar in my cleavage from the center drop.
In college I found out that the rivets in my jeans were a problem, so I cover every rivet in every pair with mole skin.
My husband and I had to drive almost 60 miles to find a jeweler who would cast our wedding rings in sterling.
When Elroy was born my best friend made me a sling with special plastic rings so that I wouldn’t have to worry about having a reaction.
If I hold straight pins in my mouth, even for the time it takes to stitch a seam, my lips blister and swell.

I have adapted. My inability to find or afford jewelry I can wear is part of why
I design my own. About 2 years ago I found out that my allergy is hereditary. My maternal great grandmother had the same allergy, as does my cousin. Up until then I thought it was just because my body didn’t like me.

Now that my girls are two, Hubby has been pushing to get their ears pierced. He does not have any allergies in his family, and his nieces both had their ears pierced as toddlers with no ill
effects. I understand that piercing infant and toddler’s ears is a normal and perfectly socially acceptable occurrence in many cultures. I feel that it is every parent’s right to make that decision
themselves. I’m not trying to advocate one way or another.

Hubby argues that so far the kids don’t seem to have picked up the other issues (low-grade febrile seizures) that run in my family, and so should not have picked this one up either. He may be right. My sister-in-law often references a study she read somewhere stating how allergies only get passed on the dad’s side. Her girls ears were pierced early (her husband is of Latin descent) and
she has ‘theories’ about allergies. This is not true. I know for a fact that I have family allergies from both parents and those have been passed on regardless of the parent’s gender.

I’m not against them getting their ears (or other places as they get older) pierced; I just want to wait until they’re old enough to understand the possible consequences and give informed consent. I can’t take the thought of dooming them to my allergy because earrings are pretty on
little girls. And I can’t imagine having an allergy like this and finding out that I could have avoided it if not for someone else’s vanity. Had I known how bad it could get, I might have gotten mine done with more caution.

Happily, I have come up with a way to check for the warning signs without getting their ears
done. I have always had issues with watch backs. I used to cover mine with nail polish or later moleskin long before my allergy reared its ugly head. As watches might be wasted on toddlers, I found a company on-line that sells stainless steel jewelry for reasonable prices (I couldn’t find surgical steel for cheap enough to buy three just as a test). So, just after Christmas each girl got a steel I.D. style bracelet with her initial engraved on it. I plan to have them wear the bracelets for at least the next year or until they show signs of sensitivity. Peach is already starting to show what could be early symptoms . . .

Thursday, March 8

Just a little something I put together . . .

Back before Halloween I found metal gears at my local craft store. They were awesome, so I bought a few packages. I saw them at a couple other stores and so wasn’t worried about finding them again.

What was I thinking . . . ?

When I needed more of them, they were gone. No one had them. The only place I found any was on etsy where an enterprising seller had broken up the pack and was selling it in small (expensive) lots. I despaired of finding them again before next Halloween. And I haven’t.

But I did find a new series of craft gears (for jewelry and scrapbooking) in similar metal finishes. These were bigger and had different shapes than the last set, and had more interesting detail. This new series also has clock hands in a selection of styles and sizes, chess piece charms, wings, birds, crowns . . .

And then
inspiration struck. A little time and some glue later . . . .
And then inspiration struck. A little time and some glue later . . . .

Faux-Pocket Watches!
I have a metal allergy so mine will be hanging from the vest I plan to make,
but they could also be worn as pendants. So . . . what do you think?

Tuesday, February 14

The Week Before Valentine’s Day

(a love story)

I take Bam-Bam to the dentist. His tooth has what looks like an abscess and all the brushing in the world isn’t going to fix it. Even though I am miraculously able to secure an appointment today, Elroy has a minimum day and just to play it safe we all go.
All of us . . . Me, my mom, Bam-Bam and the girls. We even take 2 cars so that she can run to pick Elroy up if things run too long. My mom and the girls play in the kids’ waiting room (much to the amusement of the dental staff) while I go back with Bam-Bam to see what the damage is. The tooth isn’t salvageable, and he needs other work done (ahh, mommy guilt, my old friend). But they can take care of all of it tomorrow. And even the sedative isn’t as expensive as the place I took Elroy to a few years back (and not again). The dentist nearly jumped for joy when he found out that Bam-Bam has 4 siblings.
Things calm down for a while after picking up Elroy. The usual routine of snack, homework, tantrum, time out and finish homework play out normally. Until after dinner, Elroy gives one of those coughs and instead of bee-lining to the bathroom decides to cuddle on my lap. On the sofa. Just long enough to spray my whole side and down between the seat cushions. And again across the rug and yet again. It was a vile, stinking mess, and hubby (who doesn’t do vomit as it triggers his gag reflex) retreated to the kitchen while I, still dripping, started trying to clean up the carnage before the babies could play in it. Soon after, Hubby heads off to his night job and I get Elroy bundled off to bed with a large bowl and little hope that his aim will improve.

Bam-Bam follows directions and doesn’t eat or drink before his appointment. Elroy stays home even though he feels better and Hubby declares it must have been something he ate. My mom stays at my house with the kids and Bam-Bam and I head off for a morning of sedative induced drunken-ness for him and getting to sit and read something larger than a package label for me. Bam-Bam’s procedure goes smoothly and soon we are back at home. All seems quiet until our middle triplet, Peach Blush, climbs onto my mom’s lap and proceeds to douse her. Again, food is blamed as the likely culprit. I clean up the resulting mess and we return to trying to find Elroy’s spelling words in the only magazines I have (a mid 90’s World Wildlife and Horse Illustrated from my time in high school).
Hours later, Elroy is still working when Peach throws up again. I know for sure now. The kids have some sort of bug and life will be . . . interesting until its run its course.

Elroy is back at school, and Peach is keeping food down. No one else seems to have picked anything up, and I (naively) begin to hope that perhaps the worst is over. All I have to do is keep Bam-Bam on soft foods so that his mouth can finish healing and things can get back to normal. Right up until Strawberry Shortcake (littlest triplet) decides she won’t be left out and soaks the rug. Happily she misses the sofa and the people . . . unhappily she won’t leave her sisters’ food alone and throws up on 3 more occasions that day. Part way through the day I notice a fun sensation of nausea. One that I hope will go away if I ignore it. I make guacamole to go with dinner and hope things will be better soon.

7 am I realize that ignoring my nausea has not indeed made it go away and happily have just enough time to not decorate the house. Guacamole does not taste as good the second time. Hubby, hearing my plight, decides that he’ll be needed more at home and calls into work. This is absolutely necessary, as I get a phone call from my mom. As soon as I’m capable of answering, I find out that not only am I sick, so is she. Hubby has to get Elroy to and from school today. I meanwhile have crawled back to bed, repeating my new mantra ‘it’s only a 24 hour bug, just need to make it a few more hours’. This might have been manageable until the second, shall we say, intestinal half of the bug reared its ugly head. Life was not fun for the next few hours. I couldn’t even keep pepto bismol down. Hubby, seeing that I was incapacitated, was able to hold down the fort until I tottered out. I’m still sick but holding food down seems more possible. 4 down, maybe I’ll get lucky and the last 3 won’t get it. Miracles happen, right?

Everyone seems to be on the mend. I wake up feeling hungry instead of nauseous and even though my mom is still down for the count (she usually takes Elroy to school) getting everyone ready and Elroy dropped off isn’t a monumental task. I even decide to take the younger 4 to run a quick errand before we go back home. We have a quiet day and, still feeling good, I take the kids by myself for a lap of the mall after Elroy is out of school. Even that goes smoothly, the boys stay with the stroller and the girls are happy to be out. We don’t even manage to draw much of a crowd. Leaving the mall was not so easy. The pretty new car next to me was parked too close. Not I-might-graze-it-with-my-door close. It was how-am-I-going-to-buckle-my-toddlers-in close. I grabbed Strawberry (she’s the lightest and so is loaded in the top seat of my stroller) and twisted to get her into the car, sending Elroy in after her to (hopefully) get her buckled in. Peach went in next (which is when Elroy lost control of the situation and got to spend the next 10 minutes or so chasing the girls around the car). As I went to lift Raspberry Tart, the biggest triplet, out of the anchor position at the front of the stroller I saw that her diaper had not been able to contain a blowout. Not just a blowout, a full blown mudslide, like she hasn’t had since she was 6 months old. It appears that Raspberry got the lower portion of the bug after all. And I can’t reload the kids to take her to a changing station inside. I have to change her in the car. She has ruined her clothes, top and bottom, and the seat cover for the stroller. I manage to thread my way between the cars and get her changed on the passenger seat, all the while contemplating how satisfying it would be to write a note on the hood of said pretty new car with the resulting mess. Something along the lines of:
‘In the future please don’t park so close.
Sometimes diapers have to be changed in the car and
that can be difficult if you can’t open the car door.
Thank you – the mom whose car doors you blocked’
I didn’t, but I really, really wanted to.
I stripped down the offending stroller seat, got the stroller and seats loaded and turn to address the shenanigans occurring in the car. Elroy had not only lost control, he had completely given up and the girls were happily climbing from one end of the car to the other. A few frantic minutes of buckling and squirming later and we finally managed to leave the mall. I have timed loading the car alone before. Without the stroller it takes about 7 minutes, with the stroller a little under 15. This time it took 30 minutes. At least Raspberry didn’t throw up.

Hubby let me sleep in a little on Saturday morning, which was good as the stress of Friday afternoon had me hoping against a relapse. I was considering nominating him for sainthood, then I saw what Bam-Bam had done to the bathroom. To give him credit, he was the only kid who managed to even get to the bathroom, much less get anything into the toilet. Unfortunately, his aim needs some work and half the bathroom got splattered. Elroy slept from mid-afternoon until morning, and the others were not any worse than usual. We manage to make it through until bed time without too much drama. Hubby gets home from his night job and he and I get a few quiet moments to ourselves. Until a few hours later when Hubby wakes up. It’s his turn. He’s unlucky; he gets the version I had.

Knowing the hell he was going through, I let Hubby sleep. I even manage, on pain of time-out, to keep the kids from being too obnoxious for most of the morning. Hubby wandered out mid-afternoon, much to my surprise (and has been on the mend since).
It’s a good thing Hubby and I are waiting ‘til Friday to do the Valentine’s thing.

7 people, a 24 hour bug, gallons of vomit.
It took 7 days from the first symptom to the end, but . . . . We appear to have survived. Now I just have an extra week’s worth of laundry and cleaning to find time for. I’m not really in the mood for any of the leftover guacamole. It may be a while before I am.
And then hubby suprised me with a Kindle Fire when he got home from work (after midnight, so it totally counts). Which makes my gift of candy and a card (well and other stuff, later) seem pretty half-assed (to be fair, hubby was making up for not getting me a birthday present last year, or that was how he justified it). *sigh*

coming soon . . . more crafty stuff I've been up to, and seat covers for toddler bike seats.

Friday, January 13

VixiDragon Designs Page Winner!

I know I could have used a number generator,
but with only this many entries I figured I’d pick one by hand.

Bam-Bam pulled your name out of the hat.

debbielynne- Jan 1, 2012 05:04 PM
I like the steamy gear earrings - multi!

You get a pair of Multi-Gear Earrings!
Email me with your info, and I’ll send them right out to you.

Didn’t win, but still really want something sparkly?
Check out my designs page for pricing and contact info.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by and took a few moments to enter.
Hope to see you back again soon!

Update: Debbie got her earrings and sent me this link

She has tons of fun thrift store finds and frugal living ideas.

Feel free to drop by and check her out. - Vixi

Wednesday, January 11

And the World Turns . . .

Today is my 30th birthday.

In the 3 decades I've been on this planet I may not have changed the world, become famous, or become who I thought I'd grow up to be . . .

When I was in elementary school I dreamed of being a biochemist, of creating animals that didn't exist and designing a car that would run on smog.

Instead I have become a mother. I created children whom I hope will grow uo to be good people.

When I was in high school I wanted to become a veterinarian and work with horses.

Now I tend to bruises and scrapes, remove stitches and heal hurts with band-aids, perxoide, and a loving touch.

When I was in college I wanted to own a ranch and train horses.

Everyday I wrangle wild children and teach them to work together, to follow directions, to do their share, and hope to do so without breaking their spirit.

And I have accomplished so much more than I ever dreamed possible.
I have stood on the field inside the RCA Dome and preformed in front of tens of thousands from all over the country.
I have gotten back on the horse after nearly being thrown.

I have rafted the white water on the Kern River and smiled as we bounced off the rocks.

I swam in pools heated by hot springs and being fed on my mosquitoes the size of bison.

I helped clean the burns of a child who'd fallen into a fire pit, who's mother rode the bus to school with me.
I carried triplets who should not have survived, and learned that having them saved my life.

I kept my head when my child stopped breathing, and brought her back from the brink.

I have stretched pennies into dollars, kept the wheels turning and made sure we got by.

I have worked for a salary, worked to save money, and worked to keep it all together.

I have a wonderful husband beside me who works incredibly hard for us, for our family. He was my first love, my first kiss, and so many other firsts . . . my light in the darkness and my only love.
I have 5 beautiful children, 2 boys and 3 girls who teach me everyday. Who are my hope for the future. Who challenge me daily to be better, to show them how. Who changed how I view the world.
I have friends who have supported me in times of weakness and who have leaned on my strength when theirs ran out. We have laughed until we cried, loved even though distance made it hurt, cried on each other's shoulders when life pushed us down and pulled each other back up when it seemed we couldn't get back on our feet.
My friends, my sisters and brothers . . . I love you.
Thank you, my world would be a colder place without you.

Tonight I'm going out with my husband. We'll get some food, see a movie, spend a few precious moments together. To just BE with one another.

And that's all I really want for my birthday.

- Vixi

(P.S. Jewelry Giveaway is now closed. Any comments after 9pm pacific time will not be entered. Winner will be announced on Friday Jan. 13th.)