Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Big News

So, after a very long wait we're finally going on a family vacation... with the entire family!  Me, Mike, the kids, my Mom and Dad, my sister, her husband and their three kids.  All twelve of us are headed down to good ol' Disney World this summer!  We've been planning it since January, but just told the kids this weekend.  Here's how we told them:

The Reveal...

Yes, that was my very own snazzy Photoshop work on the last picture.  Luckily we went to Disney on our Honeymoon almost 11 years ago, so I had a picture of the castle handy.  :-)  That, by the way, was the last time I was on vacation.  Here is the kids reaction after seeing the video.

The Reaction....
(If you really want to watch this, skip to the 1:50 mark.  My favorite part is Mya doing the Cabbage Patch in the background.)

So, it's going to be a really fun time.  We are Disney novices, so if you have any tips or tricks for having a great Disney vacation on the cheap with kids (all six of them!)  then leave a comment.  We can use all the help we can get!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm a Maniac... or, The Mouse in the House

Have you ever thought you saw something out of the corner of your eye, but when you look there's nothing there?  Well, that happens to me on a daily basis.  Mostly at night.  I usually think I see bugs crawling across the carpet or up the walls.  It's disturbing, but something I've learned to live with and generally ignore.

On Monday night I had another seemingly similar experience.  We had been sitting on the couch watching TV (okay, I admit that I was actually laying down.  Having three small children is exhausting!) and we were about to get up to go to bed when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  The shadow I saw was larger than normal, but I ignored it as I usually do.  Until Mike said, "What... was that?"

And then we saw it.  Plain as day.  A small brown mouse ran from behind the box we keep DVDs in and skittered underneath the entertainment center.  It quickly made its way to the hallway and scampered underneath the fold in the runner that we have never been able to smooth out.  I would like to say that I kept my wits about me, that I moved calmly and formulated a plan to evacuate the mouse.  But if I did I would be a lying liar who lies.  I freaked out.  I don't know why, exactly.  I mean, it's a mouse, one of the many creatures on the planet that, I am told, is more afraid of me than I am of it.  They look so cute in pictures, balanced on the end of a blade of wheat with its long, slender tail wrapped around the stalk.  But when you're up close and personal with one in the sanctity of your own home, it's a vicious creature that's out for blood... and pretzels.

Once we got something to trap the mouse in I began to slowly pull back the rug so my husband could catch the fiend.  This did not work well because as soon as I saw its little head poke out and look at me with its beady little eyes I dropped the rug and the darn thing skittered under the hall closet door. 

The freaking out continued.  Over the winter we had gotten into the terrible habit of tossing the hats, mittens, gloves and scarves randomly into the closet, mostly landing on the floor.  In truth, it was not so much my habit as that of the other four people living in the house.  I simply gave up.  The thought of this stinking creature crawling all over my winter outerwear creeped me out right down to my toes. 

My husband reminded me of his father, the fire fighter, with his cool, calm, even disposition.  He wasn't panicking in the slightest bit, but calmly began to take items out of the closet one by one, making sure that our tiny visitor wasn't hiding inside any of the folds.  I would normally have stopped to appreciate this aspect of his father's personality showing in him, but I was too busy blaming him for putting the scarves and hats on the closet floor in the first place. 

The hallway filled with the junk that had been on the closet floor.  If a fire had broken out we would have all been doomed.  The front door was completely blocked and since the closet door was blocking the closest window, there was no way of escape. 

Unless you're a mouse.  It suddenly flew out of the closet like a shot.  I screamed, "Mouse! Mouse!" While my husband yelled back, "Where?!? Where?!?"  "It's under your legs!  Don't you feel it?!?"  "NO!! WHERE IS IT?"

At this point, the mouse had made its way through my husband's legs, around the back of the closet door, and squeaked through the door jamb and back into the closet.  The entire time, my feet were moving like Jennifer Beals' in "Flashdance", but with less poetry in motion and more panic induced motion.  I cried out, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!"  I briefly worried that I was using His name in vain, but quickly realized that it was a desperate prayer to God Almighty to deliver me from the tiny, furry enemy that was now hiding deep in my closet.

As my husband crawled deeper into the closet I repeated questions, "Do you see him?  Did you catch him?" while my feet continued to move.  I was sweating with anxiety.  After what seemed like hours, my husband emerged from the closet with the beast contained in our make-shift trap.  I grabbed a flashlight and we headed out into the dark night to release the mouse in the neighbors hideous wood pile from which, I believe, it came from in the first place.  The freaking out continued as I considered the many creatures who could be lurking in the darkness, raccoons, skunks, attack owls.

I like to think that this trap would actually work.  :-)
Once I got back into the house, I hit Facebook for advice on my predicament after scrubbing my skin, the floor, and putting all the scarves and hats into the laundry.  I needed to know if there were going to be more mice.  I couldn't sleep knowing that there were more furry little creatures roaming around my house, nibbling on my breakfast cereal while I'm in bed.  Facebook proved to be a terrible idea, with most people telling me that there were most certainly more mice to come and that I need to set traps right away because they breed like crazy.  My favorite advice, by far, was from my friend Andrew who suggested I half-fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and black sunflower seeds and lean a 3-foot plank with a trail of seeds on it.  The idea is that the mouse or mice will follow the seed trail to the top of the plank and unwittingly jump into the bucket of water and drown.  Of course, then there's the what to do with a bucket full of dead, wet mice?

The answer to that question doesn't really matter, because we set traps the next morning.  I'm happy to report that after several days there hasn't been a single mouse sighting.  Although, I was sort of looking forward to trying Mouse-Ka-Bobs.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More Adventures in the ER

Boys are weird.  This is a statement that I have held firm to since I was a little girl.  It was always my observation that boys were weird, and nothing in the past thirty years has swayed my opinion.  Especially after our most recent adventure this past weekend. 

I dozed off on the couch on this past rainy Sunday afternoon because the kids were playing Star Wars Legos on the Wii and it's totally boring to watch.  I don't know how long I was asleep, but I awoke to two very alarming things.  The first thing was the image of Michael Jackson dressed as a scarecrow.  Apparently, The Wiz was on Bounce TV and the kids took to it.  As if that isn't frightening enough to wake up to, moments later Jack began to scream louder than I have ever heard him scream before.  He kept pointing to his nose and saying, "It hurts!  It hurts!" 

Now, nothing had happened.  They were all sitting on the living room floor completely entranced by Richard Pryor's portrayal of the Great and Powerful Oz.  Frankly, it creeps me out, but whatever.  The kids were not even moving, so he didn't get hit or bump into anything.  It took several minutes for us to figure out what had happened.  Jack shoved the Incredible Hulk's head up his nose.  Yes, you read that correctly.  He shoved the Incredible Hulk's head... up his nose.  It was stuck, and it was bleeding.

I tried to call the pediatrician to find out what to do in a situation like this.  There's just no training for "when you're kid shoves a superhero up their nose."  And even if there was, I would probably skip it because what is the likelihood that my kid will shove a superhero up his nose?  There was no answer at the doctor's office, so we decided to just take him to the ER.  While helping him put his shoes on, Jack sneezed a really wet and disgusting sneeze all over the top of Mike's head and he stopped crying for the first time in ten minutes.  We wondered if the sneeze ejected the Hulk, but a quick look with a flashlight confirmed that the superhero was still there.  I guess it just moved into a more comfortable position.  At this point, Jack's nose was beginning to swell.  I was panicking inside, but trying to stay calm.

We loaded the kids into the car and I called my parents house to let them know we were on our way to drop the girls off.  No answer.  I called my mom's cell phone.  No answer.  By the time my dad answered his cell and told me they were at the store I was really panicking and yelled something like, "We have an emergency, so you need to get home fast to watch the kids!"  Then I hung up.  In retrospect this was incredibly rude, and for that I apologise.  Sorry, Mom.  Sorry, Dad.  I wasn't really thinking about the parts I was leaving out of the phone conversation.

Jack had fun playing with the bead table and watching the fish.
Once that got worked out, and the girls were explaining to my parent's neighbors that their little brother shoved the Hulk's head up his nose, we were on our way to the hospital.  The entire time I tried to distract Jack from sticking his finger up his nose and pushing the toy further up.  This turned out not to be an easy task.  The hospital has a separate Pediatric Emergency Room that is pretty cool.  (Thanks, Tom Galisano!)  It has these big glass tubes with lights and bubbles and little plastic fishes swimming around in them and several tables with those wire and bead toys.  It was a very happy little place, and we were the only people in the waiting room.
Okay, so I took my hands off my face
for a second to take this picture.
Before long, we were called into the little exam room.  They tried several things to try and get the Hulk out of Jack's nose, but finally got him out using those little forceps that look like scissors.  He did not enjoy this experience at all.  Neither did I.  He screamed in a way that I hope I never hear again.  Mike had to help hold him down because I was very busy covering my face and trying not to cry on behalf of my poor little baby boy.

After a minute or two of trying, they were able to pull the Hulk out of Jack's nose.

He was not at all pleased with this experience. 
My poor baby had blood running down his face.
Although, he was fairly interested in what had come out of his nose.
It's the top of Hulk's head.  Really, just his hair.
But it's still far too large to be shoved up one's nose.

After the ordeal, the hospital staff gave him a popsicle and everything was as
right as rain.  When we asked him why he shoved the head up his nose he said,
"I was trying to get out some boogers."
Well, sure... that makes sense...
Here's what's left of the hulk.  His rubber face is missing most of the back half.
"Hulk smash Jack's buggers!"

My girls never did anything like this.  I never had to bring my girls to the Emergency Room and they never tried to shove anything up their noses.  This is the closest any of my girls have ever gotten to shoving something up their nose.  It was unsuccessful.
We call this photo "Moink" because that's what Mya said when
she tried to shove the bunny up her nose.
Mya - 18 months old
So, boys are weird.  My opinion stands firm.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Month of May

May was a rough month.  And not just because my hair is inexplicably falling out in clumps.  A dear family friend passed away very unexpectedly and another is in hospice care while we await the terrible phone call we're all dreading.  Several of my friends are having babies and I am smacked with the reality that I will never be able to have another one even if I want to.  Life, in general, has just been fairly stressful.
I'm sure Mayim and
I would be BFFs if we ever
met. But my love of bacon
would likely come between us.

But this morning I was inspired by a friend of mine.  Okay, she's not really a friend of MINE.  I've never actually met her, but I follow her blog and feel, as I do with Mayim Bialik, that if we were ever to meet we would get along splendidly and be the best of friends.  Yes, I'm a bit of a stalker.  I hang out with people under 4-feet tall all day long.  Sometimes reality gets away from me.

Anyhow, the inspiration:  She reviewed the month of May and posted a bunch of happy pictures of her family.  It seemed like she had a really great month.  She traveled a little and smiled a lot with her family.  I know that life isn't always happy and wonderful but when it's not, sometimes we just need to look at all of the pretty pictures and pretend that it was always happy until that's all that we remember.

So, here is the retrospective of the Gallagher Family's Month of May 2012.

The girls had their dance recital.  One of my children is a fairly good dancer.  The other has a really good time dancing.  We try to be supportive and not to judge.  Cartwheels are hard.
Emily (5) and Mya (8) posing before their dance recital.
We went to the Seneca Park Zoo several times this month.  We have a membership, so I'll often take my two little ones out in the morning after putting their older sister on the bus.  We're usually home in time for Emily to catch her noon bus to Kindergarten.  Usually.

Emily and Jack love to sit on this log.  It must seem really high up to them.
I never realized how big the Sea Lion is until little Jack was standing next to it.
This is just an absurd way for a wild animal to sleep.
We also went to the Syracuse Zoo.

For about four days we had a pair of ducks visiting our front yard twice a day.  We would feed them bread and they would hang out for a couple of hours before waddling down the street somewhere.  We don't know where they came from or where they eventually went off to, but we had a good time visiting with them while they were here.
The ducks let the kids get pretty close to them. 
I made a cake made out of bacon.  That's right.  A cake... with bacon.  It was awesome.
Bacon cake is a beautiful thing.
We planted our vegetable garden in May.  It seems to be doing alright so far, as long as I can keep the squirrels from digging up the plants.  We planted peas, beans, lettuce, onions, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, carrots and pumpkins.  We also planted a grape vine and some asparagus seeds.  The asparagus takes two years to grow.  I don't know if I can hold out that long.  It seems like quite a commitment for a vegetable.

Peas, Beans and Lettuce in my little garden.

We set up our little pool in the backyard.  There's a great deal of satisfaction that comes with finding each and every tiny pinhole that has mysteriously formed in the inflatable ring while it was stored safely in the box over the winter.  We inevitably miss one and discover 200 of the 500 gallons of water flooding our yard the next morning.  But it's always worth it on a muggy August afternoon.

Practicing for when there's water in it.

Allowing them to "wade" in the pool until it was
filled turned out to be an ill-conceived plan.
We also spent some time at Bill Grays.  My kids are fantastic.

After this picture they decided to make goofy faces.
My three goofballs.
My beautiful Mya.

My precious green-eyed Emily.

My handsome Jack.

We also went to Seabreeze.

The girls got to dance on the stage with their dance teacher.  It was fun.

They are very serious about their moves.

And Memorial Day was epic...

So, when I look back at May 2012 I won't focus on the loss of my dear friend who was like family.  I won't recall that between the time that I wrote the first sentence of this blog and this sentence, I received the horrible call that my friend in hospice had passed away.  I won't think about my hair falling out, or the fact that I can't have any more children.  I won't think about our financial troubles.  I won't remember all the troubles because I will just look at all of the pretty pictures and pretend that it was always happy until all I remember is the smiling faces of my beautiful children and how much fun we've had together.  After all, God didn't promise me that life would be easy.  He only promised that He would get me through it.