Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Sam

Today is my first born's birthday. Unfortunately, they are heavenly birthdays and not earthly ones. Today he is nine. I can't begin to imagine who that sweet baby I held nine years ago would be today. What would he look like? What kind of personality would he have had - I think he would have be a lot like Eliza Claire? What would his interests be?

Oh, how I miss him. Oh, how I wish I could spend his birthday with him. Oh, how I wish I could spend his birthday joyfully and not tearfully. Oh, how I wish I could see all five of my kids playing together. Oh, how I wish I could see my two sons together laughing over some silly, gross, elementary boy thing.

I just wish I got to know him. But, I know God is good. And I know God loves me and Sam. I know I will see him again. I know I will always be his mother. I know I will always love him. I know, but still, I wish...

The trip to NC

Traveling 1300 miles each direction with four kids can make for an interesting trip. I have to say we have great travelers! They all did a great job.

It is bad where you know where every fast food restaurant with a indoor play scape is located on I-20. And where the one coveted Pizza Hut with a play scape is. It is even worse when you are excited that you will be in that city at a meal time because the thought of one more fast food burger or chicken sandwich is just nauseating. Side note here: I do NOT eat iceberg lettuce so 99% of fast food salads are out.

Of course we had our share of "I've gotta go potty! Bad! Bad! BAD!" exclamations. Only to find a place to stop and then the child not potty! And we did a few potty breaks on the side of the road because, well sometimes you just have to.

I noticed that Louisiana had the most unidentifiable road kill. And some of it was definitely not neutrino (whatever they are).

Did you know that there are now armadillos in GA? Well, at least there are dead armadillos in GA but I have this theory that some bored Louisianans are just taking their road kill and tossing it out in other states to confuse people. Seriously though, I didn't think armadillos lived that far east/north.

South Carolina has the worst roads. They need to do some major repaving.

Atlanta has the worst traffic! We got stuck in major traffic jams both times we came through Atlanta. It doesn't seem to matter what highway we take or what time of day we travel the traffic is crazy.

The traffic in Atlanta was the culprit of my husband yelling at me, which never happens. We had been stuck for over an hour and both had to go to the restroom. We finally got to an exit but needed to make a u-turn to get to a place to stop. There was so much traffic it was taking forever. Michael was getting more and more antsy and I found it extremely funny. My laughing of course did not help Michael's situation. Finally he yelled, "Stop laughing!" Of course that was very effective and I started laughing harder. Charlotte piped up from the back seat with "Daddy, we don't yell in the car!" Luckily we are now all able to laugh about it.

When we leave our house I always have all these fun activities planned to do with the kids. The first day we do a decent job of balancing screen time with other things. By the time we are headed home, I'm bribing them to get them to watch more TV! And tell me why the second they are done with anything in the van they immediately throw it in the floor? And why they unzip and dump the contents of their very carefully packed backpacks?

Then there are the hotels. It is amazing how much stuff you have to unload for a single night in a hotel with six people. Part of the issue is the two pack-n-plays we still have to take along. Once we got everyone settled for the night the twins would start a luvie war where they would try their best to hit each other with their luvies and then laugh hysterically! After a while the whole family was cracking up, which of course didn't help anyone get to sleep.

Overall, we really did have a great trip and the driving always proves to be a fun adventure.
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Friday, August 29, 2008


This morning Eliza Claire was sitting on the potty. She passed gas and made a funny expression. I think she was wondering what happened. To help her have words for this phenomenon I said, "Eliza Claire you passed gas." She looked up at me with a big smile on her face and said, "My Daddy get gas!"

After I quit laughing, I realized what she was telling me. Last night on the way home, Michael stopped at the gas station to get gas in Henry (the van). He had all the kids with him. She recognized the word and was trying to associate it with what I had just told her.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Life is in the way

I realized that I haven't been blogging much lately and have been feeling very guilty about it. I want to share all the great and not so great things that have been happening but just haven't seemed to have the time or mental energy to do it lately. And when I do actually blog, the posts seem boring. I seem to have lost my wit. This has been bothering me and today I finally understood what has happened.

Life has gotten in the way.

In the last month we have driven over 2600 miles. Gone to Winston-Salem, NC, Atlantic Beach, NC, the Fort Worth Zoo, Mo Ranch (in Hunt, TX), and Chicago (adults only). We have dealt with losing a cat, car and van issues (I promise to write about these they were quite the adventure), illness (me), working, and just the normal craziness that comes with having four kids.

And then there is Ruby!

Today alone I have found her with soap slathered from head to toe, twice! Playing with poop. Not napping. And covered in diaper rash cream!

Not only were they playing in soap but they had filled the sink up to make a very bubbly mess.

I know you are wondering why I didn't move the soap after the first smearing - I DID! Charlotte moved it back. And apparently Ruby things foam soap is something you rub all over your self - especially on your face.

I thought we had taken care of the poop issue but the last two days I have found her at nap time not sleeping but playing in poop. I guess there are some good things about her being constipated - the poop is easier to clean.

I noticed she wasn't downstairs this afternoon and sent Charlotte upstairs to find her. Charlotte came back and said, "Mom, you have to come see what Ruby is doing - she is in Rehm's room with baby cream!" I rushed upstairs, with my camera, to find Ruby sitting in the floor, in just a pull up, with diaper rash cream smeared on her face and body and of course all over the floor. She was very proud of herself and happily chattering away when I arrived.

Oh how fun!

Really Mom, I don't know what I was thinking!

Still covered after about 5 minutes in there

I know Ruby likes to play in the dipaer rash cream so I have made a point to store it out of reach. Well today she apparently climbed the changing table to get to it and then proceeded to climb back down and take it to Rehm's room. Why she took it to his room is beyond me.

Ruby got an early shower today. The cream of course is very water resistant so it took a while to get it all out of her hair and off her body. Now if I can figure out how to get it out of the carpet. If you have any ideas please send them my way. I'm sure Rehm would appreciate his room not smelling like a rashy baby and not having white spots on the carpet.

I should be folding laundry or working or packing lunches, but instead I think I'm going to bed and hoping that tomorrow is a bit calmer than today.

So if you notice I'm not blogging or I'm getting boring, you'll know that doesn't mean nothing interesting is going on. It just means I'm too overwhelmed to deal.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to School

Wow! Look at that second grader! Rehm was excited about going to school today and had a great first day! He knows several kids in his class. And even has a friend from scouts sitting at his table.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Today we were driving to the doctors office. Rehm kept asking me questions about space.

Rehm: How long does it take the earth to go around the sun?

Me: A year.

Rehm: How long does it take the earth to go around the galaxy?

Me: I don't know, Rehm.

Rehm: How long does it take the galaxy to go around the universe?

Me: I don't know, Rehm

Rehm: What makes all the planets stay around the Sun?

Me: Gravity

Rehm: But some of the planets are bigger than the Sun.

Me: Really? Are you sure? It is still gravity that makes them stay with the Sun. Are you reading a book?

Rehm: Yeah. (holding up a Eye Witness Space book)

Me: Then why don't you read it? I bet it will tell you the answers to these questions!

A few minutes later...

Rehm: Mom! It takes 220 million years for the Earth to rotate around the galaxy!

Me: Really that is a long time.

Rehm: I bet there is a big national holiday when that happens!

Me: Rehm, people haven't been living that long. It hasn't every happened.

Rehm: Well there should be a holiday when it does! That is a BIG deal!

This kid is just too funny!

Loggerhead Turtles

The turtle nest. Our condo was the two sliding doors directly over the swing. We had a great view of the nest

While on vacation in North Carolina, we spent a week at the coast. When we walked out on our balcony we discovered that there was a Loggerhead nest right outside our condo! We have been staying in the same complex for almost 30 years and this is the first time we have ever seen a turtle nest! We were thrilled!

Ruby and Eliza Claire posing in front of the nest.

That night we learned that not only was there a nest, but it was expected to hatch during the week we were at the beach. Now we were all beyond excited and crossing our fingers that it really would hatch and we really wouldn't miss it.

Rehm had spent several months during first grade learning about the loggerhead for a class project. We had even been to Galveston to see the loggerheads NOAA raises there - apparently I never blogged about this, so I'll have to find time to rectify that. To actually see a nest in the wild was a great treat after all that hard work.

No turtles hatched Sunday night.

Not turtles hatched Monday night.

Tuesday night I got a call from my sister at 10 pm saying they were hatching. I ran to tell Michael and grabbed the two big kids out of bed. They were so soundly asleep they didn't even know what was going on until we got on the beach.

When we arrived at the nest there was a hole in sand that was several inches in diameter. We waited and nothing happened, we waited some more. Michael decided it was time to go back up to our room in case the twins woke up. Then the turtle expert arrived and said it would definitely be that night but it could be any minute or 3 am before they hatched.

At 11 pm I called Michael and told him they were coming out of the nest. There were tiny little turtles everywhere! Due to the lights from some of the condominiums in the area many of them were going the wrong way. After trying several things to steer them the right direction volunteers had to resort to picking them up and carrying them down to the waters edge. I helped a couple make it to the water. It was very surreal to have a baby loggerhead in my hand and place it gently in the ocean. It was such an once in a lifetime experience. And those tiny little turtles, not as big as my palm, were absolutely adorable and super wiggly. Michael rescued one that was being stalked by a ghost crab. After about a half an hour it seemed they had all made it to the ocean.

We started back up to our condo and Rehm spotted another baby going the wrong direction. He says he spotted the tracks first and started looking around and then saw the turtle. I picked it up and let Rehm and Charlotte each have a turn holding it. Then I took it down to the ocean and gently placed it in the surf. Rehm was so proud of himself for saving that sea turtle's life.

Baby turtle tracks! Once you knew what to look for they were easy to spot. I snapped these pictures the next morning when we went out to the beach. There were tracks everywhere. It is amazing the distances these babies went in the wrong direction. It was neat to see that some of the tracks went all the way up to the wall but then turned and went back down to the ocean. I hope all the babies were either found and taken to the ocean or found their way on their own.

There are no pictures of the hatchlings as we were not allowed to use flash photography and without the flash the pictures turned out too dark to be able to see anything.

Here is a picture of a loggerhead hatchling so you can see how small they are.

Starting the excavation

Three nights later the turtle team came back to excavate the nest. They wait a few days to allow any stragglers a chance to make it to the ocean. In all 62 turtles hatched, 6 eggs did not hatch and then there were two eggs about the size of marbles. I never heard the explanation for the small ones. Of the ones that did not hatch one was still white and looked like a ping pong ball. It was assumed that it was an unfertilized egg. The others that didn't hatch were all a brownish color and I assumed that something happened to those that caused them not to hatch. The top of the nest was 14 inches deep in the sand. It was a small nest as they usually average about 100-125 per nest. Once everything had been counted it was all put back in the nest and buried per state law.

Counting the eggs.

Close up of the unfertilized egg.

This was such an amazing, once in a lifetime experience for our family! I am so glad we got to witness this miraculous event. I have decided that when we retire and live at the beach I want to be a "Turtle Lady." Meaning one of the volunteers that walks the beach every morning at dawn to look for newly laid nests and who sit on hatch watch when the nests are expected to hatch. Now to figure out how to afford retiring to the beach...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A glimpse of the future

Is this what the teenage years will look like? Will it be all about make up and electronics?

Charlotte had a great time putting on her make up. Rehm kept begging to get to put some on too. He did try out the body glitter and lip gloss, but decided to draw the line at blush and eye shadow.

Ruby is super cool, sporting headphones, sun glasses and her "wigglepod!" And you know the animal print seat really does complete the look. I can't complain though as all of these gadgets helped all of us survive the drive from Texas to North Carolina. Two twelve hour days in the car with five other people can be quite interesting.
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Monday, August 18, 2008

A Little Confused

It seems that my girls have forgotten that they live in Texas and that it is summer! This is how they came downstairs this afternoon. They are all wearing Charlotte's dresses and Ruby even has on her shoes! She even made it downstairs in them without falling.

When Ruby first put on this hat she got very excited and started saying "Ponies!" She liked that the hat had two tassles. It apparently reminds her of her two ponies!
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Little Things

Last night Charlotte came into our room. When she opened the gate it sounded like Zach jumping over it. For a moment I thought he was. Then I remembered.

Today I was walking upstairs with the girls, no Zach came running by. Then I noticed the worn trail he has made up the carpet on the stairs. Just a little indention, maybe an inch wide on each stair - he always took the exact same path up and down. I wonder how long it will be there now.

I didn't have to clean the litter box this morning. I haven't had to share my water. I don't have cat hair on my clothes.

Man, I miss him.

Rehm and Charlotte decided last night that Sam was going to the animal shelter in heaven to adopt Zach as his pet. Charlotte started to ask if Rehm was sure there was an animal shelter up there. He interrupted her to tell her, "of course there is an animal shelter!"

Today Eliza Claire heard me say something about the cat. She wanted to know "where is my cat?" I had to tell her he wasn't coming home anymore. I know she doesn't understand.

I let the dogs in this morning as there is no litter or food for Toby to mess in. Toby searched the house. I think she was looking for her buddy. I had to tell her he wasn't coming back, too. She understood about as much as Eliza Claire did.

I wasn't ready for him to be gone, but I guess we never are.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Goodbye, Dear Friend

Zachary Martin Sisk Maham (1993-2008) also know as Zach, Zachifer, Jefe, Zack Cat, and Ack went to kitty heaven today. He died of complications from diabetes. He will be greatly missed by his human family he left behind.

I got Zach in the fall of my junior year at UNC-Chapel Hill. I had just moved into an apartment and wanted a cat. I couldn't bring one of my cats from home as they were outdoor cats and we didn't think they would adjust well to being indoor cats. So I went to the Chapel Hill animal shelter and found Zach.

He isn't the kitten I intended to get. I liked a dark gray kitten, but my roommate Jill convinced me that Zach had way more personality than the other kitten so I adopted him instead. This was around Halloween and I had to wait an extra few days to be able to pick him up as they wouldn't let me get a black cat right before Halloween.

I remember bringing Zach back to my apartment and letting him out of the carrier. He looked so much smaller and more fragile than he did at the animal shelter. The first time I needed to go somewhere I was scared to leave him by himself.

Zach did have lots of personality and was constantly getting in trouble for jumping on the counters and digging holes in the carpet. He liked to chase the fish in the aquarium and he loved to fetch pencils and other toys.

Just a few weeks after getting him, I had to take him to the vet late at night. He had a respiratory infection left over from being a pound kitty. Luckily he ended up being fine. Then when I finally had him de-clawed he had complications and had to have a second surgery. For months afterward anytime he was in trouble he would raise his paw and pretend it was hurt to try to get out of trouble. Zach was a very smart cat.

Zach moved with me to Texas after college. When I arrived he was the only thing I knew in the state. I loved coming home from work and knowing he was waiting for me. He was always so happy to see me. The first several times Michael came to visit, Zach attacked him - biting and scratching his ankles. At one point I told Michael, "the cat is staying, you can decide whether or not you are!"

Zach wasn't so sure what he thought of Howdy and Toby, our dogs, when we brought them home, but he soon showed them who was boss. He would go up to Toby standing on his hind legs and "attack" her nose. She would bark and snap at him and then chase him through the apartment. Most of the time all three of them really liked each other and usually if there was trouble, Zach had started it.

When we moved into our house Zach started peeing on things. This was Zach's way of showing displeasure. If we went away for a weekend, Zach peed. If we didn't clean the litter box to suit him, Zach peed. If we had a baby, Zach peed. If we had overnight guests, Zach peed. Anytime Zach got stressed, Zach let us know.

Zach had a habit of drinking out of my water glass. I know it is gross and I'm not really sure how it started but the cat loved ice water. It wasn't good enough to get him his own glass - he wanted mine. For a while I would feed him a bite or two of ice cream when I had it but at some point he developed an intolerance. It didn't stop him from begging for it though.

After Sam was born, Zach was my buddy. He would always comfort me and snuggle with me. He did everything he could to console me during those first months.

Rehm's very first word was "Ack." He thought that was what all cats were called and he loved his "Ack" most of all.

Zach was also an escape artist. If a door was open, Zach was going outside. Once the kids got old enough to open the outside doors I constantly heard, "Mom, Zach is out!" Then I would have to chase him down and get him back inside. One time he got out and we didn't realize it for about 48 hours. We panicked. We found him several hours later hanging out in one of the neighbors' driveways with not a care in the world.

Zach has had his share of health issues. He had pancreatitis 7 or 8 years ago. Let me tell you force feeding a cat with a syringe for several weeks is not fun. It also can cause quite a few arguements with your spouse when it takes one of you holding him and one feeding. Three years ago Zach was diagnosed with diabetes. Since then we have been treating him with insulin twice a day to keep it under control.

It will be strange not to have to pick up every clothing or other cloth things off the floor immediately to ensure that Zach doesn't pee on it. It will be strange not to have to stand vigilantly at the door everytime it is opened. It will be strange not to share my water. It will just be strange.

Zach took very good care of me for 15 years. I hope he thought I took good care of him, too.

Zach, you will be missed. I love you buddy!