Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christmas in July

Because we are all melting within seconds of stepping outside, and yet hobby lobby insists on putting all the Christmas decor out anyway, I thought I'd cool down our thoughts with Christmas in July.

1.Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? I love them both. Hot cocoa after playing in the snow or after a fall walk to the bus stop with my little sweet boy is the BEST. (Just add marshmallows). Egg nog is its own delight, however, don't pour me a big ol glass - it's like peeps in that regard - you CAN have too much of a good thing! The einsteins are collectively not fans of the nog, but hubby stands with me.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa wraps his gifts, using our paper that we leave out for him.

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white lights? I LOVE just white lights, but the kids love the colored. Christmas is so much more for them, so we have colored lights on the house, and white on the tree. (Though every now and again, when our lights die, we switch back and forth)

4. Do you hang mistletoe? We did when I was a kid, but since we've established our own family, I don't think we have. AND, mistletoe is our state flower! The shame!! ;)

5. When do you put your decorations up? While we're still digesting the big, fat, Thanksgiving turkey! (Hubs just hates that!)

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Green bean casserole!

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? My gosh, i could write for days on this one! I would have to say, we lined up in the hallway, youngest to oldest (there were 5 of us), and ran out to the stockings when we were told it was time. The anticipation (and tummies "sucking in" were funny perks)

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? When I had Emma, I learned that the truth about Santa is that he is the symbol for the magic of Christmas. Not so much a real flesh and blood man, or the reason for Christmas, just a symbol for the magic we felt as kids.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? The kids each get to open one gift - a pair of pjs. Hubby & I are so bad with waiting to gove gifts to each other, that ours are probably opened even earlier!

10. How do you decorate your tree? In silver, gold, and red balls, small photo frames, and the kids' handmade ornaments.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love it! (and I'd REALLY love it about now!)

12. Can you ice skate? Well, I'm no Yamaguchi, but I can get from one side of the rink to the other.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? One year after all the presents were opened, I found a card in the tree for me. When I opened it, it said to go look in my dad's closet. When i got there, there was a big sqaure box inside. I opened the box to find a BUNNY!

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? Celebrating our family as a whole, loving unit.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? My sister's spritz cookies!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Watching The Christmas Story with my dad.

17. What tops your Christmas tree? A star!

18. Which do you prefer-giving or receiving? I prefer shopping! But after that, I love giving because of the looks on faces of utter happiness or disgust.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Breath of Heaven

20. Candy Canes-yum or yuck? Yum - but only the old school peppermint. i don't like the fruity ones.

21. What do you want for Christmas? The death of cancer!!

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? Eh, work parties, but they aren't really parties.

23. Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJs? PJs...who dresses up???

24. Do you own a Santa hat? Yes, I even have a singing one I wear when i do Santa pictures!

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? I'm pretty adamant that the kids always awake on Christmas morning in their own beds. Whoever wants to come over in the morning is welcome, otherwise we see them later on.

Hey! i think it worked! I feel much cooler!! Oh....wait....nevermind. I'm sitting on the air vent again.

Have a great Tuesday!
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Just a random note...

it rained here monday.
Like, poured, rained.
It only lasted about 10 minutes, but it was bliss (until we realized we were locked out!)
{Thank goodness for a wonderfully huge porch!}
 ...meanwhile, pug slept.
 yesterday we got news that hubs wouldn't be home any sooner than wednesday afternoon. they are still growing cultures and filling him with antibotics. so, we made the drive down to the hospital to relief the troops with fresh supplies - unders (of the top and bottom), books, and movies, plus a couple hugs and kisses from the einsteins.
I always know im on the right track when i pass this old bindery building. something about it makes me smile, and it's not the hobos wandering around it...
 the ou hospital has a really pretty courtyard with a really pretty fountain. too bad it wasn't working. it was so hot, i could have jumped in!
 after a short visit with daddy, the kids got to go to build-a-bear to pick up ev's free birthday tee (and we truly got out of there without spending a PENNY! Can you believe it?!)
We stopped by the germ factory kiddie rides on the way out.

 When the grumblies hit the tumblies, we picked up some chik-fil-a and headed back to the hospital to eat with hubby.
i got a happy fry.
...and em ate it.
{happily, of course}

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Sewing on a Sunday

Sunday started out with a few sad faces when it was truth that Daddy wasn't magically transported here over night. We did some laundry and played some pet shops and ran a couple errands and spent some Grammie time, and then I started my biggest sewing project yet.
I had been wanting to make one of these for Ev, seeing as how Em used hers QUITE a bit growing up.
In the city on Saturday we stopped into a Joanns Fabric store for my mom to pick up some specialty fabric, and they had THE cutest fleece prints for little boys. There were a few final choices, but Evan narrowed it down to this one:
 For the minky dot, of COURSE he chose his favorite color.
 So off we went with a bunch of cute fabric, no pattern, and no clue.
 (Thank goodness I had a professional seamstress (mom) on hand!
She helped me decide on a plan of attack, and it was pretty easy once it was all cut out. (Just a whole lotta mental thinking!)
And here's the final result:
 What is it, you ask?
It's a nap mat to put over his sleeping mat at school!
 The pillow and blanket are attached by one seam, so he can flip the blanket off of himself without losing it, and the pillow can flip up, making it usable for when he grows another foot (Ha ha!)
It turned out PERFECT, a little monster nap mat for my littlest monster.
it kept my mind off the sad fact that hubby is STILL away.
I've got all my fingers and tes crossed that they find out what kind of bacteria has infected his blood, and he can get antibiotics and COME HOME!

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Birthday Boy

Knucklehead Harley Castro, the First (and only), turned NINE this year on July 17th.

Have your cake, and eat it too.
What a good boy you are!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

A wrench in the gears

So, the *last* day of chemo this week was supposed to be yesterday. Notice how I said "supposed to be"? Yep. Well, as it turns out, the blood taken Monday grew some cultures that are from an unknown infection. Nice. (what IS it with this family and rare and unknown diagnoses?!?)
So, he was kept overnight at the hospital in the city. :(
We tried to spend the whole day there, just in case they let him go, but it didn't happen, so we left for the long car ride home at about 9 last night, minus hubby.

With any luck, they'll figure out what the "mystery culture" is, write him a script and let him come home, but let's not get too attached to that idea, lest it pass by and we all sink lower in our chairs for the day.

The good thing was, we had an adventure yesterday, the kids and grammie and I, that is. We had lunch at my favorite munchdown spot, TGI Fridays, who also happened to be having a car show outside, which was a nice perk for a little boy who's wild and crazy about cars. He said this one was a "DOMO Car". So cute.


We also passed a ginormous Vietnamese (I think) shopping center, and just had to stop. It was a little strange, walking in there. I almost felt like I was back in Cali! (and then the smell hit me like a ton of fish slapped me in the face with their rotting tails, and I was back to reality)!
Ev is a REALLY sensitive nose person. He gets that from his Uncle Alex. One smell gone bad, and you're going to see a smear of a person flying off to the nearest unsmelly point, or you're going to have a mess to clean up. Ev took one sniff and immediately we heard the protests in a little,stifled, hand-over-entire-mouth-and-nose region voice. I couldnt argue. It was terrible, but you grow to expect it, and I had given Em the speech before we headed into the dead sea, so she knew it was coming,too. (She's not a weak stomach, just a VERY opinionated eight year old with NO filter OR volume control. It's been broken on MAX for years now...)
Anyway, we wandered through, looking at all the strange foods and budda statues and cute characters drawn that resemble a Great Value brand of Hello Kitty, Pokemon, and other Japanese cartoons. For a little fun and relief from, number one, the smell, and number two, carrying E2, who was, at this point holding chunks of my hair over his nose as a breathing filter (HA!). (I was honestly scolding myself for not taking any of the free SARS-reminiscent masks from the hospital waiting room earlier!), I dressed Em in a rice farmer hat, and Evan had a broom of...twigs? Hay? Ida know. But it darn right funny. Think of the famous American farm couple painting when you view this one:

Can you see how happy he is? Haha! Poor kid. As payment for our Vietnamese adventure (this is how you grab a little culture here in Oklahoma, folks!), Grammie bought them each a cute animal container full of jelly squishers and we were off to the mall to get some security tags removed from a couple pairs of jeans I had bought earlier in the week. (I have a grand talent for getting the cashiers that neglect to take them off. Seriously. And let me tell you - apparently they must NEVER set the alarms off!)
After the mall, the kids were hungry, tired, and grouchy, so we livened up the party by stopping in at Toys R Us for the annual birthday boy shopping adventure.

He's such a sweet kid, my Evan monster. He asks for so little, it was hard to pick anything for a gift. (Though he was pretty attached to the $300 Lightning McQueen Power Wheels...) He liked a lot of things, but wasn't too hold-me-back!-I'm-not -lettin-go! about much, except a construction vehicle set, which I ended up getting. (Shh!)
By now, it was getting late, and those of us who wore flip flops were paying for it dearly, and those of us who have been driving for hours everyday for the past week were paying dearly also in their back, and so we headed back to the hospital and wished hubby a good night (he was about an hour and a half shy of infusion:complete), and headed sleepily home.
We'll wait until we get a call from the culture folks before we start on our trek again. Em was promised a build-a-bear trip and so we'll have an added agenda today as well. We'll see if we wore Grammie out so much yesterday that she chooses to remain home today!
I can't wait to get hubby home. This chemo cycle has been a pain in the patootie!!

UPDATE: Hubby just called. Looks like we'll be having another night apart. :'( Pin It

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Enrollment Day

Did you catch my blog post the other day when I told you that the einsteins carried pottery barn lunchbags?
If so, you may just have tossed it aside as one of my many misspellings or whatnot, but the truth is, baby Evan will be going to preschool part time this fall.

I know.

Did you just have a minor heart attack? Don't worry, it passes. It comes BACK, but it passes. The baby in our family will head off to school this year. Just repeat it over and over until your mind accepts it. (Or at least, that's what I've heard. I haven't been successful yet, but...)

We went today to enroll and met his teacher, Ms. Diane, who we already love. They seem to practice developmentally appropraite behaviors and as far as I can tell, are going to make this year wonderful for Evan.
My baby.
All grown up.

He had a blast while we were there, and I know he'll love it. He's been waiting for his turn to go to big kid school like sis, and it's come. There are so many, many things I can teach him at home, but sitting quietly in a circle time with 20 kids or waiting his turn in line, or listening to the teacher, I cannot do well, and this is where it can be done, free from mom, free from comfortable, familiar settings, and free from the kingdom of Evan, where toys all belong to him. It's going to be wonderous for him, and he'll be ready for school the next fall, and I won't be worried.

But, oh gosh! He's my BABY!!

So he got a hand-me-down (barely used) backpack and lunchbag from sis (she decided blue wasn'r her favorite color anymore), plus a new backpack he HAD to have from Hastings (Domo!) and he's set. It made me realize that this year, I'll be doubling my back-to-school shopping. *Gulp

I was watching the Staples ads (don't you LOVE their back to school sales?!?) for the colored notecards that I use for school lunch notes, but they haven't come yet. White ones, yes, but no colored. Then, I saw online that a mom had made a lunch note form for her kids to fill out and thought that was a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?!?

So I drew up this lunch survey for Em to have in her lunch everyday. Not only will it tell me what she liked & didn't like, but also who she's sitting by - things I always ask, but don't always get an answer either because she can't remember or because she's headed out to soccer or swim or dance or to stand on her head.
Would you like to print some off for your own? Just click on the image and print away! (I made them on a standard 8.5 x 11). If they don't print right, I'll be glad to email you a copy! Just write "Lunch Notes" in the subject line and send it to me at heidiecastro at gmail dot com!

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A Delay

There was a HUGE water line break yesterday in the city.
The heat is buckling roads and breaking things, and the loss of water was NOT a good thing.
They closed the infusion room today, so we don't have chemo today, which means we'll be making it up Saturday in the hospital. Ugh.
Hubby is tired, but he ventured off to work this morning and came home at lunchtime. He's on his way to dreamland now.
I think I just may join him as soon as the kids fall asleep. I'm yawning and drooping with every breath.
It feels like a Monday!
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Monday, July 18, 2011

The week begins!

Today is day one of five that we'll be down here in the city for chemo (round 2! Ding ding ding!). It is also the very first day that the new Oklahoma Cancer Center has been opened. How do ya like that?? It's really nice.
The waiting room has a little zen sand thingie that I immediately played with (and spilled sand out of the box - fail). i was feeling rather un-zened after trying feverishly to blow all the sand off the table before the tours and news crews go to our area.
 They also had a water cooler like the one I put out for the kids in the yard.
 A little library of books - John found  couple he was intrested in.
 ...and they have games and such for the waiting peoples.
 Infusion is on the third floor, but we can see all the way down. The coutryard is a lot bigger than the last one, and the fountains are HUGE!
 The best part? We get our own cubicle for treatments now! A nice recliner and a persoanl TV. PLUS, I actually have a chair with cushion and a side table! Hooray!
 Watching the replays of the World Cup.
Congrats Japan! A much needed joyous event after the hardships you have seen lately!

 This week is "Make Someone Smile Week", and Teleflora has send a flower arrangement to each infusion patient - isn't that the bees knees?
They had beautiful flower arrangements, but I chose the potted plant - my favorite kind - and they will live longer :)
 Thank you, Teleflora!! You definately made a couple smiles here!
Before we can start the chemo drugs, they have to test his levels in the blood, and they were doing extra tests this week because of the infection earlier this month.
Would you like anything from the cart, dearie? Blood cocktail?
 It's like Tabasco sauce for vampires!
We are waiting on these tests to come back before we can start the chemo drugs, but he's gotten an accidental infusion of benadryl (nurse said it was in the wrong spot), a dose of the right drug, and now another drug for nausea.
Let the games begin!

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bento (Lunch) Boxes

I have found a bento box that does NOT leak liquidy stuff all over the other compartments (and believe it or not, I've tested, and reviewed, and researched since Em started school!).
In a quick trip to WalMart today to get Harley's birthday "cake", I ran by the tupperware isle and came across these:
 Now, I HAVE bought these sectioned ziplocks before, and the lid was a solid piece, so the compartments leaked and contaminated each other, but these (new and improved!!) sectioned plasticware looked like it might just seal.
 So I filled up one, and shook it like a polaroid pitcha, or, a kid running to and from school in a tornado, and...
No ranch dip on the PB&J!

So, these DO happen to be made in America, where we eat more than the usual bento box manufacturers, so they were quite a bit bigger. I tested them in the kids' lunch boxes, and they had just enough room for a caprisun, a napkin, and the lunch lovenote, plus a package of fruit snacks or other slim foods to fit on top. Plenty of space for the kids' lunches.
(The Einsteins carry  Pottery Barn Classic Lunch Bags.)

I'm now already in the test kitchen trying to find NEW meals they'll eat.
Especially now that I won't have to pack 4 different containers of things every day (times 2!).
I bought 4 of them, so I'll always have a clean one ready to go, even on my lazy dishwashing days, and at under $2.50, I just may pick up a couple more for hubsy-wubsy's lunches, too!
Got some cool EASY lunches that your kids actually EAT?
Shoot me a comment PLEASE!!!
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Mother & Son Date Night!

Yes, folks, it's finally here! An official Mommy&Evan date night! Em and Daddy get several date nights put on by various places (and not), but after a little (or a lotta) persuasion, Chick-fil-a decided to host us mommas a date night, too!
Woo hoo!
So we got dressed and headed out!
We got an exquisite table for two in the balloon section, no less!
How romantic! ;)
Evan got a cute OSU Cowboys cow and a baseball (plus a couple Chik-fil-a shoelaces) from the restaurant...
 They also had cute "conversation starters" placemats for us. SO cute! I loved this idea when they did it for Daddy & Daughter date night, so I had my fingers crossed!

 ...and I got a rose from the most handsome little date in the world!
 To top off the meal that we barely ate (I mean, really, there IS a playground there. WHY would we want to waste our date EATING?!? Psh...), we split a strawberry shake.
 A. Dora. Bole.
 Our neighbor, the balloon clown (remember him from the July 4 parade?) made Ev a green sword and a red "Dobby" dog.
It was my idea of a perfect date, if that date happens to be 2, almost 3.
And we had so much fun, him playing and me watching.
And the valet was a nice guy, and the red carpet was, well, a runway for the Evster, but also cute, and they took pictures that we'll get soon, and I can't wait to see.

I had a wonderful time, Evan.
Thank you for the date, and the flower, and the top half of the milkshake.
I love you.

Love, Mommy

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