This week has been a lesson in futility for Erin.
First, it started out last Tuesday with a major lightning storm rolling into San Antonio around 5:00 p.m. I was outside with the kids, enjoying an unusal period of dry weather. Of course, a roll of thunder rumbled across the neighborhood and down came the huge, "run because you've just gotten into a water balloon fight with God and are losing" raindrops. I shuttled the kiddos inside and soon the rain started coming down in sheets. Thunder and lightning made it interesting and Devin stayed close by me, none-too-impressed by God's show.
Now, being the industrious (and obviously brillilant) woman that I am, I decided to get some work done before I started dinner, knowing that Todd would undoubtedly be late because of the weather.
So I did some dishes. I stood with my hands in water, at my aluminum sink, which is placed in front of my aluminum framed window, under our corrugated tin patio cover.
Can you see where this is going?
BOOM! A crash of thunder came simultaneously with a flash of lightning which obviously hit somehwere very, very close to our home.
The electricity from the bolt came through the tin roof, around the window, through the sink and water and zapped me in the stomach. At first, I thought I'd dropped a breakable item and that a piece of glass had flown out and gotten me. But I soon realized that I had dropped nothing and that there was nothing broken anywhere around me.
I quickly turned off the water and the electricity went out. The kids were freaking out and I was trying to take stock of my bodily functions:
Heart beating? Check.
Lungs breathing? Check.
Eyes blinking? Check.
Ten fingers and ten toes? Check.
Name: Erin Pruetz
Okay -- I was all right, as I had not lost my delusions about my age.
Sadly, though, our phones and internet service did not fair so well, so if you've recently left me a phone message or sent me an email that I never responded to, now you know why.
Everything has been restored, except that our TiVo is on the fritz. We can't seem to plug both the TiVo and the phone in at the same time, so I have to make a choice: Pause-able, rewind-able TV or ability to make a phone call? It's a toss up, sadly.
We recovered quickly and Todd left on Thursday afternoon for his retreat. He was on a team for the first Teen ACTS retreat that our parish has done. He got back today with reports of an amazing weekend with some very inspiring kids.
While he was gone, I played single parent to the three kids. We had a good weekend, although I admit that we did not go a lot of places. We did got to Costco on Saturday and as I was standing in line with all three kids, who were crying and/or whining about various issues, a woman behind me asked, "How do you do it with three little ones?"
I told her, "There are a lot of tears shed. They are usually mine."
But the real excitement was on Saturday morning. Devin woke up at his usual time, around 7:30, and climbed in bed with me. I turned on the Disney Channel for him and snoozed while he watched. Soon, though, I heard the girls "talking" in their cribs and listened as they went from babbling to talking to crying to screaming. It was time to go get them and start the day.
The girls' cribs are positioned on either side of the door to their room. The way the door is positioned, though, you see Faith's crib when you first walk in. Around the door is Gracie's crib.
So I opened the door and there was Faith, standing at the end of her crib, doing her little, "Good Morning, Mommy!" dance that I just love.
But before I could open the door far enough to see Grace, I knew something was wrong. The smell. The girls' room smelled like the zoo. I kid you not -- it was the only thought that could get through my mind: This room smells like the zoo.
I continued opening the door and the stench got stronger and stronger. Moments later, the origin of the odor was apparent.
Grace was standing in her bed, crying, diaper still attached around her hips, but hanging down to her ankles.
And there was poop everywhere.
It was on the sheets. On the walls. On the rails and rungs of her crib. It was in her hair. Down her legs. In her ears and between her toes.
You have never seen so much poop in your entire life. How can so much stuff come out of such a small body?
I had to move quickly, running to get a pastic bag in which to put the soiled linens, a can of Lysol to disinfect everything that couldn't be put in the washer and start the bathtub.
In record time, I got Gracie cleaned up, her sheets, mattress pad and jammies into the wash and the poop off the walls and crib. All the remained was the smell, which took an entire 24 hours to get rid of.
Chalk one up for Super Mom...I had to laugh because if I didn't, I would have cried.
Most things are back to normal around here, although it seems that Faith may be developing another fever. We'll see how she sleeps tonight -- if she's up two or three times, it's a sure sign that she's got another ear infection.
More to come. Here's to wishing you a poopless night...
Sunday, July 29, 2007
This week has been a lesson in futility for Erin.
Monday, July 23, 2007
A friend of mine, a mom of triplets in California, also keeps a blog of things that are important in her life. Like my blog, most of her entries are about her girls, but every once in awhile, something else sneaks in.
Today, there was a new post about a Web site called UptownLiz.
I read the story and visited the site. The whole thing touched my heart and I contacted the owner, Ramona, to let her know how moved I was by the way she honored the sister she lost.
We emailed a few times and I asked her if I could please feature the site on my blog. She was ecstatic and even sent me some information and a picture of Liz.
This company was created in the memory of the late Elizabeth Ann Overturf, who died at the age of 28 years old on February 1, 2006 from a long and painful battle with breast cancer. Liz was a fashionista; she loved clothes, handbags, shoes, jewelry and perfume. One of her dreams was to own a clothing boutique with her sister, Ramona Russell. Because this was one of many dreams cut short for Liz, Ramona decided to create Uptown Liz and launch it on what would have been her sister's thirtieth birthday, July 17, 2007.
July 17, 1977 - February 1, 2006
I don't know Ramona and I didn't know Liz. But I don't have to know them to realize what a senseless loss this was. Ladies, you are the best judge of what's going on in your body. If you feel something is not right, get to the bottom of it. Don't take no for an answer until you've exhausted every option.
You may not be someone's sister, but you are someone's daughter, friend, mother, or wife. Take care of yourself for yourself ... and for them.
This weekend marked a lot of "firsts" for our family. And frankly, it's about time.
For awhile now, the twins have been saying, "Mama" and "Da-dah," with the occassional, "Deh-deh" thrown in (something I assume is their version of "Devin"). But, like all babies, sayings and habits come and go and they dropped these words for the most part (dire cases like 3:00 a.m. bad dreams or the need for a toy that's rolled under the couch brought the words back out). Because of this, I've become very frustrated in recent weeks.
See, Devin was very advanced in his speech. He started using multiple signs by about nine months and had about a 500 word vocabulary on his first birthday. Very early on, I knew Devin's needs and was over the "Why are you crying? What do you want?" stage of mommyhood much earlier than most. Devin being my first, though, made me think this was all very normal.
The girls, however, are on the opposite end of the spectrum. First, being preemies works against them -- for at least a few years, they'll be behind in just about everything.
Second, being twins is also a strike. Twins tend to learn to communicate with one another before anyone else and they very often stick with that method of communication. I've known of twins who didn't speak until they were six because their twin talk got them where they needed to go.
This is certainly the case already with my girls. They hold entire conversations in some language I've never heard. We often call it, "Speaking in tongues."
And third, my history works against me My first kid talked early. So my second and third should do the same.
All of this spells a lot of, "You're 14 months old! Why are you crying all the time???" Even if i don't say it, I think it very often.
But this weekend, we made a breakthrough (yes...I'm finally getting to my point).
On Friday morning, as we were having breakfast, I was feeding the girls their usual bananas. They love bananas and will take them any way they can get them. First was from a jar, then was mashed up on their trays and now it's just dump a few pieces down and back away quickly before you lose a finger.
As they were finishing up with their first round, I was asking out loud, "What else do you want?" trying to come up with something to give them some variety in their diet.
Grace looked right at me and said, "Manna..."
What? What did you just say?
Then she did the sign for "Please" by patting her open hand to her chest. And once again said, "Manna..."
I nearly died. I called Todd.
"It's happening! It's finally happening! They're communicating with me!"
You'd think I'd just won the lottery.
And doesn't it seem that when one thing happens, it opens a floodgate? Thoughout the weekend we had a number of "firsts" from both girls. Gracie learned to play Peek-a-Boo without our help -- hands over the eyes and "Where's Gracie?" from Mom or Dad. Then she uncovers her eyes and grins with all three teeth.
Three teeth? Hey look! One of Grace's top teeth is coming in!
Then it was kisses from Grace -- big, open-mouth, slobbery kisses, right on the kisser.
Faith wasn't left out either. She's begun with please, like today when she was sitting on the floor, crying and, once again, the "You're 14 months!" thought went through my mind. Before I could ask her to try to tell me what she needed, she did the sign for "up" by holding both hands in the air. I said, "You want me to hold you?" Her reply? The sign for "Please."
At dinner tonight was what I think may have been the sign for "Thank you."
Finally. Thank God.
Today was Devin's 4th check up. I'm proud to say that it went great. He weighs 38 pounds and is 41.5 inches tall. That puts him at 75% for weight and 55% for height. Larger than 75% of the population of boys age four, and yet the kid is as thin as a rail. I guess that's just how boys are. It just ain't fair.
He did great with his Denver study, being able to point to and do all of the things he was supposed to do. Ahead of the curve as usual.
His hearing test went well, but his vision test showed him with 20/40 vision. We'll be seeing an eye doctor soon to get a complete exam and see what's going on.
Lastly, though, were his four-year shots. I told him ahead of time that he'd have to get shots and while he didn't seem to dwell on it all day long, he did ask about it a few times during the exam. And finally, the nurse came in and the wailing began.
Because he's such a big boy (*sniff*), he got the shots in his arm. I sat in a chair with him on my lap. I wrapped my legs around his, my arms around his and held his head still with my chin. Polio vaccine in the left arm.
Second shot (don't recall which one) in the right arm.
Measles/Mumps/Rubella in the right arm.
My child turned into Satan.
Apparently, the MMR shot is a doozie and boy did it hurt him. The poor guy just screamed and screamed. After it was all done and the bandaids were administered, I held Devin to my chest and rocked him back and forth. Even as a baby, this wasn't something he loved to do, but today all he wanted was his mommy. Even in such a horrible situation, it still warmed my heart. He'll always be my first love.
As a special treat, we drove through our local Krispy Kreme and got a doughnut for Devin (okay, one for me too). He also requested a Sprite. Against my better judgment, I acquiesced, and minutes later sticky soda was all over my minivan. I guess it wasn't truly a mom-mobile until that happened.
And now, without further ado...
Here are the photos I promised in my last post:
Saturday, July 21, 2007
We have been so busy around here. I keep saying to myself, "I need to post this, " and "I need to blog about that." But I just can't seem to find the time. I'll start from where I left off. Get comfy...we could be here awhile.
After the Fourth of July, the girls were diagnosed with two double ear infections. True to form, Gracie's cleared up very quickly, while Faith finished ten days of antibiotics and got a fever on the 11th day. Another round of antibiotics. Ten days of medications. Fever on the 11th. Another round of antibiotics. An allergic reaction. Stopped antibiotics for 48 hours. Restarted antibiotics two days ago. Waiting for fever to return. Tubes are next.
The Monday after my last post, July 9, Devin started Vacation Bible School at one of the neighborhood churches. Our church's VBS is only for four-years-old and up, so he missed that one. But this one accepted kids at two years of age, so we signed up. Day One went great. We were set for Day Two.
Day Two arrived. Devin complained that he didn't want to go. I put him in the car anyway. We drove to the church and he refused to get out of the car. I dragged him out and took him to his classroom.
That's when all hell broke loose.
There was screaming, crying and an attempt to "climb" me in order to get me to carry him. I quickly said my goodbyes, handed him to his teacher and made my way down the hall.
Moments later, I heard a screetch, an "OUCH!" and here came Devin, out of the room, bolting toward me, his teacher limping behind him. Apparently, he kicked her, wriggled from her arms and ran after me.
I begged, I pleaded and then I just got downright mad. He wouldn't relent. He didn't want to go. VBS was starting and we were beginning to make a scene. So I gave up and took him home.
I know I sent the wrong message, but I didn't know what else to do.
We came home and D's punishment was to stay in his room until Daddy got home that night. I also told him that if he didn't got to VBS for the rest of the week, I would cancel his birthday party. And I meant it -- I was prepared to do so.
Needless to say, Days Three, Four and Five went much better. He wasn't thrilled to go, but he knew I was serious about his party and he wasn't about to let that happen.
Favorite Devin's Doozie from Day Two of Vacation Bible School: "I don't want to learn about Jesus!!!"
Wednesday, July 11, was Devin's fourth birthday and we celebrated at home with cupcakes for breakfast (a family tradition), a big, "It's my birthday!" button worn all day and a special dinner of pizza and Sprite, followed by presents from the family.
Saturday the 14th was the big party and, since VBS had gone smoothly for the rest of the week, Devin was permitted to go and have a great time.
We arrived at Inflatable Wonderland a little before the 1:00 p.m. start of the party. Todd arranged the cake and presents while I re-stuffed the goodie bags that I had dropped all over the parking lot on the way in. Classic Erin.
Soon, kids and family started arriving and most of the kids bolted for the giagantic, inflatable slides, castles and obstacle courses while their parents came to sit down and chat to avoid the mayhem.
There was the hokey pokey, the limbo and some fun dancing. Next was cake (Lightning McQueen from Cars of course) and ice cream and then presents. Lots and lots of presents. My Lord, the presents. It was gluttonous.
And then, two hours after the start, it was over. We paid up, loaded up and left the mess behind. It was totally worth every cent to walk away from the melted ice cream, cake-smeared table cloth and mound of wrapping paper.
If you're wondering, the girls were in attendance at the party and they enjoyed the attention they got from Grandma, Grandpa and Pa-Pa, as well as friends like the Schaefers and the Daniels.
Sunday was a night on the town with my sister, brother-in-law and three of their four kids (their oldest when on a summer trip with Pa-Pa, my dad). We went to the San Marcos River Pub and Grill, about an hour north of here. We dined on burgers, chips and queso (for those of you non-Texans, french fries are very often cut out of the picture in lieu of tortilla chips and cheesy dip -- a very yummy Texas delicacy) and beer on the lawn and waited for the show to begin.
Around 7:30, Bruce Robison, brother to Charlie Robison, who is married to one of the Dixie Chicks (SMU girls! Go Ponies!), hopped up on stage and sang a number of fantastic Texas-country style songs. Some were originals I had never heard like, "I went out to find myself and I found myself in bar." and others were classics like, "What Would Willie Do?" There were even a few George Strait and Dixie Chicks songs. Our kind of show, for sure.
ZZ's three kids (Presley, four, and Brendan and Kaelin, two) and Devin had the best time running around, catching lightning bugs and making friends with the families around us. The kids were almost as big of a hit as the performer was.
We packed up the families around 9:30 and headed back to San Antonio. As we were approaching our neighborhood, I got a call from our babysitter -- apparently the girls had been screaming since we left (despite the fact that I had bathed, fed and jammied them so that all Sarah had to do was put them to sleep at 6:30) and she was wondering if she could give them some milk. The poor thing -- my heart was sick for this poor young lady. She'd even called her mom over to help her out. I doubt she'll ever want to babysit for us again, and I can't blame her.
We got home and got the girls settled down (apparently, only mommy and daddy will do) and I drove Sarah home, apologizing all the way. I wish I could have crawled into a hole and died.
We didn't get into bed until pretty late and the next day was the first day of summer camp for Devin. It's held at the same church where VBS was held and when we pulled into the parking lot, Devin said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! What are ya doin'?" I said, "Summer camp!"
"No way! This is VBS!" It was as though this was the first my son was hearing of summer camp, even though I'd been talking it up for weeks.
It took some time for me to convince Devin that this would be a totally different experience than Vacation Bible School and he finally obliged, dragging his feet into the building. He perked up when he saw that he was going to be in a different classroom with different teachers. It finally dawned on him that this really might be different.
Then he saw Colin. Colin is a buddy of his who is exactly the same age as Devin. Colin's mommy, Erin, is a good friend of mine as well and I said a special, "Thank you God!" prayer right then and there as Devin suddenly became interested in being a part of summer camp.
So Tuesday and Thursday went great (only two days a week - bummer for me). Devin just loves this summer camp program and so far he's made homemade play-dough (Casey -- my dream came true! Devin got to make play-dough and I didn't have to clean it up!) and brought home tons of crafts. Much better than VBS, apparently.
All this week, too, we've been doing swimming lessons. A former neighbor of my sister is a certified swimming instructor who does private lessons in her own pool. For eight days straight, I take D to her house and she spends 30 minutes teaching him to kick his legs, use his arms and blow bubbles. He's gotten all three down -- now we're just trying to coordinate them all. She says she sees a lot of progress already. We'll finish out these eight lessons, practice what we've learned and then take some more next summer. Hopefully soon, I'll have a little fish on my hands, as I loved the water when I was Devin's age (okay, I still do) and I want him to feel the same way.
So along with ear infections, parties, VBS, summer camp and swimming lessons, we've also been doing gymnastics. Devin just loves it and opted to continue gymnastics rather than do soccer this fall. A former gymnast and diver myself, I couldn't be more proud.
So there you have it -- the hectic life of the Pruetz family. I vaguely remember my husband and I assume I could pick him out of a lineup. I haven't seen him much lately, as he's been at church a lot, working on a retreat that he's teaming next weekend and I've been all over the place with the kids.
Such is the life of a mommy, huh? And it's only going to get more and more hectic as the three of them get older. For the most part, I enjoy it, but when I fall asleep at 9:15 and don't wake up again until 7:15 the next morning (as I did last night, thanks to Todd who took over household responsibilities for the night), I know I must be exhausted and think to myself, "Slow down... you're going to burn out." We'll see.
PS - Of course, there are lots of photos, but I'll post them later. Hopefully today, but the twins are crying and I need to go get them from their cribs before they learn how to jump out. ;)
Friday, July 06, 2007
The Fourth of July was a fun one around the Pruetz house. The day started out with threatening clouds and a couple of showers of rain (which, as you know from my last post, has become pretty commonplace around here!). We worried a little about our plans getting ruined, but true-to-form, the rain was kept at bay for a good fireworks show after dark.
Our friends Jennifer and Jesse, and their kiddos Amanda and Andrew, came over, along with Sylvia, Morris and their son Andrew. The only family missing from our usual group was Destiny and Steve and their son, whose name is....you guessed it: Andrew. Do you sense a theme here? Out of our little group, 75% of the couples have a son named Andrew. Weird, huh?
Anyway, we started the fun out doing some smoke bombs on the driveway. All of the neighbors came out, too, with their fireworks and the kids invented a new game: Todd, Morris and Jesse would light a smoke bomb and roll it down the street toward the storm drain. All of the kids would try to stop it from going into the drain by kicking it, stepping on it or somehow otherwise diverting it. You would have thought this was the Super Bowl -- they all had a blast.
We cooked burgers and hot dogs, drank beer and watched the kids foam at the mouth as darkness fell around us and the real fireworks came out.
We put the girls down just before we started the show, but not before Todd and I noticed that Faith felt warm. She had just finished her ten-day round of antibiotics that morning, so certainly she couldn't have a baceterial infection -- could she?
Sure enough, the poor baby had a 101.6 fever. Break out the Tylenol.
We got the babies down and started the fireworks. We bought little people-friendly fireworks, but our neighbors with older kids bought some really good ones. As our neighbor, Susan, says, "The shooty-uppy kind." And I'll bet you all know what she's talking about, don't you? Sad, but true. Shooty-uppy kind says it all!
So it was a night of sparklers, fountains, little tanks and chickens that lay eggs. There were roman candles, shooty-uppy fireworks and "screamers" -- those fireworks that shoot little balls of fire into the air while making a shreiking sound. Devin was not impressed by those. :)
I love the Fourth of July -- it just makes my heart swell with pride. What an amazing country we live in. It's not perfect and I'll continue to question our government on many things. But I try to remember just how lucky I am whenever I go to church, meet up with my friends or express my own opinions. Such rights aren't rights to everyone in the world and I have to remember that I am as lucky as can be for living where I do.
On Thursday morning, I called the pediatrician's office and got Faith in to see our doctor at 10:00. Sure enough, the ear infection that she had suffered from only ten days earlier had never cleared up (despite the regimen of antibiotics). Her poor ear was still bulging and painful. A prescription for Amoxil and we're (hopefully) on the road to recovery.
More updates to come.
Blessings to you.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
We've seen a lot of rain around here. A LOT. It's been a particularly rainy year here in San Antonio, where we have had more rain in the first six months of the year than we get on average in an entire year. Compare that with the last two years where we have had major drought conditions that lead to water restrictions and blistering temperatures and you've got one wild weather pattern.
Luckily, it's really kept our temperatures down. By this time of year, our temperatures are usually in the mid- to high-nineties with heat indexes of over 100 degrees. It's usually downright miserable and while the humidity here has been pretty nasty lately, we've only had highs in the high-eighties. The idea of temperatures being in the eighties during summertime in South Texas is absurd, and yet we're living it. It's fantastic!
All this rain, though, has caused some major problems. Just up the road from us, near where we vacationed at Lake LBJ last year, in Marble Falls, there have been major flooding issues that made it onto the likes of CNN and the CBS Evening News. Nearly 15 people have died in all of this, as our ground is so saturated that any rain that falls can't be absorbed into the ground and has to find alternate places to go. In a hilly place like San Antonio and the rest of the Texas Hill Country, running water can become very dangerous very quickly.
Last Thursday, it started raining around 7:30 in the morning. And I mean pouring. You know those storms that you get that dump an inch of rain in a half-an-hour and then clear out? Well that was the kind of storm that we had, only it didn't clear out for nearly 12 hours. It just poured and poured and poured without stop. Thursday alone, we got around six inches here in my neighborhood.
Today started out with a nice morning, but this afternoon the sky began to darken and the wind started to blow. Sure enough, the sky opened up and dumped another hour's worth of pouring rain on our city. Our across-the-street neighbor, Kurt, measured three-and-a-half inches in just over an hour. Yowza.
As it was coming down, I was looking out our front windows. True to form, our next-door-neighbor, Zach (14 years) was running around, enjoying the downpour. When it's not thundering or lightening, the kids on our street just love to play in the rain.
I saw a person following Zach and assumed it was Dillon, Zach's ten-year-old brother. But I looked more closely and realized that the bathing-suit clad person wasn't Dillon, but rather Billy, Zach and Dillon's dad.
I laughed out loud at the site of the grown man playing the rain and Todd asked what I was laughing at. I told him and BOOM! quicker than lightening, he had gone upstairs and come back down wearing his swim trunks and holding Devin's. Dev quickly dressed into his trunks and out the two of them ran into the pouring rain, to meet up with Zach and Billy.
You have never seen a group of kids (that word includes the adults out there, since they were just as bad as the kids, if not worse) have so much fun. The water rushed down the steep hill on our short cul-de-sac and made little rivers in our front yard and rapids near the storm drain at the end of the street.
Kurt and his five-year-old son, Nate, and eight-year-old Daughter, Emily, joined in the fun and I was able to catch a few pictures of the melee.
As far as the rest of the family goes, all is well. Last week I had to take the girls into the pediatrician's office to seek out the cause of fevers they both woke up with on Sunday afternoon. Sure enough, they both had double ear infections. We went through this with Devin and as Todd put it, "Break out the ENT's number -- we're getting tubes!" I'm sure we're heading down that road.
Faith's second tooth has finally shown up and Gracie's second tooth (her first one appeared when we were in Galveston on June 7) is trying to break through. Poor girls...I know it can't feel good.
Devin is quickly coming upon his 4th birthday and every day I have to convince him that, "No, today is not your party," and, "If we show up at Inflatable Wonderland they will not just spontaneously throw you a party. We can't have the party until the 14th, when we have it scheduled." Reasoning with a three-year-old ain't easy.
We're looking forward to the Fourth of July and are hoping that the rain holds off at least a little while so we can do some fireworks.
And Finally...Devin's Doozie
Tonight we are spending family time together in the living room, with Todd and Devin playing and me typing. We have "Titanic" on TV and Devin goes in and out of being interested in it. The idea of a ship sinking piques his interest, but the movie as a whole is a bore to him.
A moment ago, he asked Todd, "When is this thing gonna sink?!?"