Friday, December 28, 2007

And his name just happens to start with the letter L. How "yucky" for him.

On Christmas Day, my sweet, patient cousin, Christine, was physically attacked by my children. They all decided that what Chrissy needed most for Christmas was some serious love and they gave it to her. If one of them wasn't sitting on her lap, one was asking her to play with them, or showing her their bedrooms, or shoving toys in her face. As a mother, I see it as payback for all the times my little cousins attacked me when I was 16. Chrissy was one of those cousins, but as a little girl, she never attacked. She was sweet and calm and I loved her little chubby cheeks.

As you might expect, there was a little issue when it came time to eat because L, O and K all wanted to sit next to her. L was the winner. As he finished his food, he leaned over and put his arm around Chrissy's shoulder and said, "This is the yucky seat because it's next to you."

Chrissy's face was a little confused and I could hear the confusion in her voice as she said, "Why?"

"Because," he answered, "It's next to you and you are great."

"But, you told me I'm yucky."

I was listening to this conversation and I was ready to pull Mr. L off his chair and into the other room to have a chat about polite behavior.

L shook his head, "No, not yucky I said yucky!

And then it hit me, he didn't say yucky, he was trying to say, "lucky."

I explained to Christine and she laughed, but L shook his head and said, "I don't yike it when everybody says I say one thing when I'm not saying that thing at all. Don't you yisten to me?"

Yes, I think it might be time for some speech therapy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

and how was your Christmas?

Can you hear it? It's the sound of silence as we all fall into a too much food, too much rushing, too much wrapping paper, too much Wii coma.

Ahhhhhhh. Sweet Christmas.

It all started last night. We went to church, but first I wanted a Christmas picture of them in all their finery. Of course it didn't go so well because my children are incapable of all looking at the camera at the same time without doing something strange.

And later, a Christmas miracle occurred. They actually posed with my parents and you can see them all looking at the camera!! With eyes wide open!! Nobody is doing anything weird with his or her mouth, finger, nose, or any other body part. But, you'll have to go over to Flickr to see the rest of the pictures since I've used up my allotted monthly picture download for Blogger and now I'm realizing that what I really should've asked for for Christmas was an advanced account where I can download to my heart's content. So, you'll have to venture over to Flickr. But I digress...

After church we went to my parents' to feast on nachos, shrimp cocktail and other yummy treats and somehow at the end of the evening, we wrestled four children into the van to go home, into pj's with teeth brushed, potty breaks taken and into bed. It was now close to 11:00 and we still had to get their gifts together. And that's when Mike and I discovered the Wii. He was getting it set up for the boys' suprise for the morning, but it's just so darn fun. Close to two hours later, I made it to bed. Just for the record, I beat my ultra competitive, athletic, husband's patootie in boxing AND bowling.

Today was just pure fun. We had all of my family over and it was a blast. My cousin's husband, Paul, looks an awful lot like Santa Claus if Santa was in his mid-40's, and had red hair. Yes, I realize in your mind he probably doesn't look much at all like Santa, but to my two year old daughter, that was another story. When I opened the door to greet them, Paul said in his jolly voice, "Ho, Ho, Ho!" just for fun since he was standing on my porch with gifts. As soon as he walked into the house, she ran to me yelling, "Mommy! Santa is here!" Although she was afraid to actually sit on his lap, she walked around the house all day saying, "My cousin is Santa Claus." She was in pure awe.

Everything was going great until an unfortunate occurrance with Molly, our cat. Molly is 12 years old. She's a qwerky little feline, but we love her. For example, she likes to play in her water bowl, get her paws wet and then wipe them on the side of the refrigerator so she can watch the water drops slide down. She also likes to snoop and nose into things which is where the unfortunate occurrance comes in. My Nana's purse was in the living room unsupervised as everyone was either in the kitchen, or in the family room exhausting themselves by playing on the Wii. I walked into the living room once to see Molly's body inside Nana's purse sniffing and licking her chops. Upon hearing me, she ran away. I just chalked it up to Molly being weird until a few minutes later when Nana went into the living room to "get something out of her purse." In our family, we all know this is code for, "I'm going to get a dip of snuff, but I don't want you to know because even though the entire family knows I'm a rampant snuff user, I like to pretend that nobody knows." Ahem. (My Nana grew up in the south in an era where it was perfectly acceptable for ladies to dip as long as they were discrete about it and by golly, this almost 88 year old lady isn't going to change her ways just because it's 2007 and she now lives life as a Yankee!)

As Nana walked into the living room she hollared, "Heather! Your cat is sick. She is sick to her stomach."

Sick to her stomach? Can a cat be sick to her stomach?

The answer is yes, yes a cat can indeed be sick to her stomach and she was being sick to her stomach all over the living room floor only FEET away from where I had a very long table set up and decorated for Christmas dinner.

What made Molly so sick? It certainly wasn't a furball judging from the amount of yuck that was on my carpet. I suspect, and keep in mind that I have no proof, that it was a wee bit 'o snuff that she might've gotten out of Nana's purse. If that was indeed what she was on a search and destroy mission for in Nana's purse, let it be known here, Internet, that cats and snuff do not mix. Please don't let your cat dip. If you have a cat that is heading down the wrong path into the world of addictive substances, steer them away from the snuff!

We're all resting peacefully now after our day of presents, food, laughter, Wii, and cat vomit--even Molly who now is sleeping on the back of the family room couch. Go over to Flickr and see some pictures. Click on my flickr badge at the top until it takes you there.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Entertainment

Last night marked a milestone for J. It was his last grade school Christmas Concert because next year he'll be in 6th grade which means junior high. No more songs about snowmen, reindeer or Santa. My Mommy Heart hurts when I think about it.

Here's a picture of him singing his very last grade school choir song. The girl on the end dressed as a mail carrier is Sydney for whom J has a serious case of "I know I'm too young, but I like you away." She's only about 1 1/2 feet taller than he is. She likes him too, or so I'm told by half the
5th grade when I am subbing at his school.

Here's another picture when Sydney looked our way as Mike was taking a close up picture of her to show J's wife someday. Look at her expression. She's saying, "Oh my gosh. J's dad is totally zooming in on my face!"

It also was his first band concert. He began playing the trombone this year and has done a really good job. Of course, it would be easier for him if his arms were a little bit longer, but hey, having notes in 6th position be in tune is highly overrated, don't you think? I realize that probably only family members will truly care to see and hear what we endured, I mean, listened to last night, but here's a little clip for you. J's the one on the right wearing a cream colored sweater. His poor friend who was sitting next to him will appear to be lost during this song and that's because he couldn't see the music, so he was essentially playing by ear. The band is playing a "round" in this piece. Please be understanding if the clarinets and oboes make you want to shoot your computer. You'll also have to ignore the man's head in front of us. Obviously, Mike does not have a future in film making since he cannot see the large hill of graying hair in front of the camera lens. Click below on Christmas Concert. Once the picture comes up, click on it and turn up the sound!

Christmas Concert from June Clever on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Reasons to buy the Beach Boys Christmas album

Each year between Thanksgiving and New Years I either read at least one article in the paper, or see something on t.v. regarding seasonal depression. Maybe it's gloomy weather, a lack of finances, missing a friend or relative, but this time of year can really be hard on people. I consider myself very blessed. I'm healthy, my family and friends are healthy, I'm not living in a box on the street. I have a loving husband and goofy children that make me laugh. For these things, I thank God daily because I know that I am really blessed. Even though I understand in my head how fortunate I am, the other day I was hit with a big case of the BLAHS. I was standing in the kitchen making dinner, the kids were quietly playing, and the radio was on playing Christmas music. And then I heard it. The song that opened the door to the BLAHS.

It was, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and Judy Garland was singing it. For the first time, I really paused to listen to it. Her warbly voice oozing all over the words, "Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow..." I felt a lump in my throat, my eyes were tearing up (and it wasn't because I was cutting onions either) and I thought to myself how that has to be the most depressing Christmas song ever. Suddenly, I was thinking about Christmas when I was little, when my dad was alive, going to my grandparents with all of my extended family--many of whom are dead now. I thought about my grandparents' Christmas tree decked out entirely with mercury glass ornaments, eating nuts and candy, playing games, acting silly. Was that really nearly 30 years ago? Before I knew it, I was thinking about the day when my kids are grown with families of their own. Would they come home for Christmas? Would they want me with them at Christmas or would their spouses ask to have me locked up in a nursing home somewhere. Would Mike and I just sit wrapped in afghans on Christmas holding hands like two pathetic little skeletons? STOP! I wanted to scream. Stop the time from going so quickly. Let me enjoy my babies!

Can you say overreacting?

I decided to try and give a different version of that song a chance, but really, I found that it doesn't really matter who is singing it, it's a depressing song. There are other Christmas songs that I find depressing as well.

Take "I'll be home for Christmas" for example. Can't you just picture the poor soul who so desperately wants to be home for Christmas, but can't? And what about his or her family or friends? They're sad!! They want their loved one to be with them and either war or money or work or distance isn't letting them. It's unfair!

This next song should just come with a bottle of Prozac because if you can handle listening to the entire thing without changing the channel, sobbing uncontrollably into a tissue or turning off the radio all together, you will certainly be mopey and sad afterwards and either medication, or a dozen Christmas cookies will probably be needed. It's "Christmas Shoes."

Oh my gosh, I cannot express how much I detest this song. I also detested the email with the same name that went around a couple of years before this song was written. Now, I'm forced to hear it almost daily on any number of radio stations that are supposed to be playing "festive" Christmas music. This song is not festive. It's the complete opposite of festive. It makes me think about being a little girl and how I wouldn't have been able to go on if my mother would've died. It also makes me picture my boys standing in a store buying me the grown-up of equivalent of Dorothy's ruby slippers for my death. NO! NO! NO! This is a horrible song.

Bring on Bobby Helms singing, "Jingle Bell Rock" "White Christmas" by the Drifters, or "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee, these make me happy!

So, if too much Christmas sugar or Judy Garland has got you down, go rent the movie Elf to cheer you up.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A cry for help!

Will someone please remove all Christmas cookies from my home? My husband made 11 dozen Snickerdoodles for his work cookie exchange. Only problem is he left 3 dozen here.

I am addicted.

I need help.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Making a list

As we were sitting down to dinner last night, the Food Critic, a.k.a. my youngest son, decided to voice his opinions on the menu.

Spelling errors are done to interpret his speech.
"Quesadillas? I don't know if I yike deese. Do I yike them?"

"Yes, I've made them lots of times. Eat. now. You must eat."

Whining, moaning, some more whining. More moaning. More whining.

And then his father says, "You better eat. Santa is still making his list."

To which his 2 year old sister replied as she sat munching happily in her high chair, "And he's checking it TWICE! You hear me? He's checking it TWICE!!"

Did it help motivate him to eat? Not really.

This morning he informed me, "Mommy, Santa doesn't really care what you eat. He just eats cookies and not quesadillas."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Think before you throw

Sometimes I do things without thinking. It can be a case of opening my big mouth too soon, or making a rash decision without pausing first to consider the ramifications of my actions. Last night, I had one of these moments.

My friend, Julie, and I went shopping. Julie has been through hell the past 10 months. 2007 has not been gracious to her. In a nutshell, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, went through chemo, ended up having a "preventative" double mastectomy and hysterectomy, and now she's in the process of regrowing hair. In fact, today is the day she plans to shed (pun intended) her dear friend Ms. Wig, to go for a short, sassy hair style a la Alyssa Milano. But, I digress.

So, last night, Julie was doing some much deserved shopping for herself. And I, because I love shopping for anything or anyone, was helping her pick out stuff. She was trying on a super cute sweater and turtleneck in the dressing room while I waited amongst the racks. I realized that the size of sweater she had picked up was probably going to be too large for her, so I took a smaller one back to the dressing room.

There were two doors closed in this dressing room as I said, "Julie, I think that sweater is too big. Try this one."

"Yes," she replied, "I think so too. Can you get me another one?" (I thought I heard her voice coming from the room on the left.)

"Actually, I have one. Here, let me throw it over."

"Thanks, I'm in--"

I didn't give her a chance to finish her statement. And then, as the sweater left my hand, as it sailed up, up into the air over the very tall door, I realized that I had made a terrible mistake. Julie was not in the one on the left. She was in the one on the right.

I threw a sweater at a stranger. Before it hit said stranger I yelled, "I think I made a mistake!"

There was silence except for Julie's hysterical laughter. Since I'm real mature and all, instead of apologizing right away, I started laughing. I laughed so hard I cried. The lady who had been attacked by a flying sweater slowly opened the door and here's where it got weird.

She was wearing a winter coat with the hood pulled tightly over her head. She handed me the sweater and I apologized profusely. When Julie got out of the dressing room, I told her about how strange I thought it was that the woman went into the dressing room to try on a winter coat. Who does that? Why not just try it on in the middle of the store over your clothes? Then, the lady walked out of the dressing room and Julie got a good look at her.

As we walked away she said, "That woman is wearing a wig. I can tell because I can see where it is pushed up in the back and you can see her scalp. She wasn't trying on a coat in there, she had to take off her wig to try on clothes. I have to do that all the time. When you sent the sweater flying at her she probably didn't have time to get her wig back on, so she put her coat and hood on so that she could give the sweater back to you!"

After that, I felt really bad because I had assaulted a bald woman with merchandise. I'm glad Julie gave me permission to laugh.

Monday, December 3, 2007

When your diet consist entirely of American food...

While eating Chinese food, L said to me:

"Mommy, can I have this cracker?"

"It's not a cracker, it's a cookie, but you can have it."

He carefully opens the package, smells it, and then breaks it open in preparation to feast.

Suddenly, he says in a voice full of disappointment, "Oh man, mine has a tag in it. Here you go, Mommy."

"Honey," I explained, "It's not a tag, it's a fortune because it's a fortune cookie.

"Oh," he replied surprised, "Well, they shouldn't be putting paper in food. Someone might eat it."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

My, what big adenoids you have...

As parents, we see a lot of things.

We see our children all goopy and gunky right after birth. We see their first smile, steps, laugh. I always carefully examined every part of my babies during the first hours after their births because I wanted to know them in every way. And, I felt like I really did know everything about my children until yesterday.

I got to see the inside of O's nose and throat. Was it interesting? Yes. Was it fascinating? Yes. Was it gross? Yes.

One thing the "non-cleft affected" world doesn't think about when a baby is born with a cleft palate is how much more involved the cleft is beyond the outward appearance. Appearance is important, but so are other things like speaking, eating, and breathing. Yesterday we were able to see very up close and personal the ramifications of O's cleft palate.

The doctor put a camera up her nose, carefully sent it on a mission to the back of her throat, and then had her talk. She's five and took it like a champ. I'm not five and can't say that I would've been nearly as pleasant as she was. This was a mini miracle seeing as how an off glance from one of her siblings can send her into a tirade that warrants punishment. It took a lot of prayer to have her be so cooperative and agreeable for this test.

While the camera made its journey, we were able to find out that she has extremely small nasal passages. They are so small that for a couple of seconds, the doctor didn't know if he'd be able to even get the spaghetti-like camera tube to actually go through there. We were able to see buggers up close and personal. (Insert dry heave here.)We also found out that her palate is only closing about 50% when she talks. This means air is escaping which causes her to sound nasal when she speaks. Everyone is always so amazed at how good she sounds for having had a cleft palate. Truly, she does sound pretty good. It's kind of been a puzzling experience of wondering why she sounds so good if she has palate closure issues and yesterday we found out why.

My daughter has GINORMOUS adenoids.

They are so big that they are helping her speak because they're taking up the room where her palate doesn't close all of the way. They also cause her to snore loud snores that rival a grown man. But if we take them out and do nothing else to her palate, her speech will become terrible. Her narrow nasal passages are also helping her to speak because they, too, are blocking this air.

So what now, you ask? We have to wait for her plastic surgeon to review the results, and the cleft team will get together and decide what kind of surgery she needs. She's already had a repair on her palate when she was 13 months, and a palatoplasty done in the fall of 2006, so the next step is either pharyngeal flap surgery, or sphincter surgery. These would require adenoids and tonsils to be removed prior to surgery, but the surgery would then help her speech. However, I'm scared of these surgeries. I've heard so many people talk about how this very stage of surgery is what caused their child to have sleep apnea. While it helped the speech aspect tremendously, the child couldn't go through life not breathing during sleep, so the surgery would have to be "undone" which means speech regresses.

As I expressed my concerns to our wonderful, wonderful speech therapist, Loretta, she said it's all in the skill of the surgeon and she said ours, Dr. Carstens, happens to be amazing at both of these surgeries. THANK YOU, GOD!!!!!

It was an informative day. It was also a scary day as reality once again hits us like a truck and makes us realize that being born with a cleft is like a seeping leak that invades every corner, every crevice, of our lives.