And the winner is ...

I've nominated myself for the Mother of the Year Award. Last week I let Kate toddle over to the lawn mower and grab a metal part on the top right after I had finished mowing the yard. I didn't realize how hot it was and she burned her hand pretty badly. She screamed (top of her lungs, writhing on the floor and shaking her hand in pain) for two hours. She now has large purplish blisters that are just starting to peel off on the end of her index finger, on part of her palm, and all the way up the inside of her middle finger. Then, Tuesday afternoon I was cooking and puttering around in the kitchen when I heard her fall down the stairs. She has only done that once before. Cletus and I have never been super cautious with our children when it comes to letting them do things on their own. We want them to be independent and confident in themselves, so we let them learn their limitations on their own (instead of what I commonly hear at the playground, "get down, you're going to fall!"). So, after we taught Kate how to go up and down our stairs, we felt okay about letting her do that on her own without having one of us holding her hand every time. Back to the story! I heard Kate fall down the stairs. I rushed over to her, picked her up, and almost immediately got a call from Cletus that his car had broken down in Rocky Mount and he needed us to come and get him. I noticed that Kate's right arm was hanging funny, but she wasn't screaming all that much (compared to the burning experience the previous week). So I popped her in the car and off we went. On the way, I called my sister-in-law Celeste who is a nurse (and who has 6 children, who makes her even more qualified) and asked about bad falls. For anyone who needs to know, when your child has a bad fall and may have hit their head, you should shine a light in their eyes and make sure that their pupils are dialating. If they are not dialating or if they are vomiting, then it could be a sign of a concussion. Well, Kate cleared both of those without a problem. She still wasn't using her arm and she seemed a little bit out of it, but she had been sick over the weekend and like I said, she wasn't screaming. So, we put her to bed early. The next morning, her arm was really swollen and really sore. So, off the the pediatrician I go. I found out that Kate had roseola (that was why she had had a fever on Sunday and wasn't feeling so hot) and the doctor gave us a referral to Raleigh Orthopeodics in (suprise) Raleigh for an x-ray. Once there, they found that she had a fracture in the growth plate in her elbow. Translation: we let Kate go to bed with a broken arm! What a tough little pooper! She isn't crazy about the cast at all and is having trouble using her left arm for everything. But, the pediatric orthopoedist assured me that it will heal quickly and completely in about 3 weeks (his actual words were, "kids at this age are so resilient and she's going to heal like a gangbuster". Interesting. I wonder if he learned that in medical school). So I nominate myself for the award. Are there any other nominees?
And to help my nomination: Kate was bringing me a book to read to her when she fell down the stairs.

Teva Time!

We strapped on our Tevas this past weekend and headed to the Outer Banks with our friends, Jason and Heather Pollei (by the way, toddler Tevas are my all time favorite hand-me-downs). We had such a fun time! Just one tip for anyone who might go to the Outer Banks over Memorial Day weekend: don't go to church in Nags Head! I have never experienced anything like attending church at Nags Head. Little did we know that every Memorial Day weekend, hundereds of singles head to the Outer Banks to spend time with other singles. There isn't an official conference, but they just all go that one weekend to be together. So we showed up at church and found people directing traffic from the street next to the church. We walked in and found that their small ward building was STUFFED with people. There were chairs along every available open wall. There were people crammed into the foyer, along all of the hallways (both walls), in every room, and in any extra space. We were sitting in the Primary room, and there were people filling all of the seats and people along the walls standing. There were even people standing in the little alcoves by the restrooms. Someone finally opened a window in the Primary room, and people gathered OUTSIDE of the window to be able to hear. They announced that there were close to 1,000 people attending sacrament meeting that Sunday. I have never seen anything like it. Just three words: claustrophobia and fire code. We had a great time! Our friends from our 4 years in dental school in Chapel Hill, Jason and Heather, and their three girls, Madelin, Halle, and Meagan, were fun beach companions. Cletus and Jason enjoyed bocce on the beach (even though they scared away a lady sunbathing by throwing those heavy wooden balls over her) ...

Hayden and Madelin were raised almost as siblings in Chapel Hill since they lived next door, saw each other every day, played and grew together. They were fast friends again and enjoyed playing together. We hope it lasts!
We shared a house together in Nags Head - 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. We had a game night every night we were there after the kids were in bed. We ate so much junk food: M&M's, popcorn, chips and dip, cookies, ice cream ..... Hey - it was vacation!
Some of the other fun things we did were:
Putt-putting at night,
Visiting the Wright Brother's Memorial (with Hayden the airplane),

Saw the Outer Banks aquarium,

Played on the beach,
Saw the Bodie Island lighthouse,
Flew kites at Jockey's Ridge state park and played on the dunes,
And finally, had our family pictures taken on the beach. I don't know why I put our family through the stress of trying to get that perfect family picture on the beach. We've tried before. I guess my goal is to have all of us dressed in coordinating outfits, looking beautiful, and to have the picture look like someone just came along and happened to snap a picture of us walking along together on the beach looking great. Unrealistic and silly, I know. The process involved a lot of crying and a spankin. But, here we are smiling .....

I like the one of Kate screaming best. Well, it's good to be home, but I love going to the beach and I hope this summer holds at least a couple more beach trips.

Person of Interest?

So, I have had several people make the comment that I don't post very often anymore. To which I relpy, "I don't have a camera"! And, they say, "Just write about what's going on in your life". Although that seems a bit boring to me, especially sans pictures, I will give it a try. So, you tell me, is my life interesting enough to write about?

Last Simpson family gathering, I was assigned to bring the rolls. No big deal, right? Well, I'm not good at making rolls; I can make bread I can make biscuits. But, why make a bunch of little tiny breads when you can just make one big loaf in half of the time and just serve that? So I made rolls and I burned half of them. In addition, I didn't let them rise long enough. Not many people ate the rolls and the few that did probably didn't enjoy it. So, what a surprise when I was assigned to bring rolls again to the Mother's Day dinner. I was told that I was being given a chance to redeem myself and could try and try again until I brought yummy rolls. Well, I determined that I would bring the best rolls ever to a Simpson family function. Yesterday I called and got the famous refrigertor roll recipe that my family loves. I made the dough ahead of time, doubled it (to feed the masses at the Simpsons') and put it in the fridge. Well, a few hours later, I opened the fridge to find that the dough had overflowed and basically exploded over everything on the top shelf. Frustration number one. I took the dough that had been recovered out of the fridge today after church, turned it out onto the counter and found that it was the consistency of chocolate pudding. Frustration number two. I added flour and managed to plop portions of dough onto four cookie sheets. I then covered it with saran wrap while it rose. Well, just a few minutes ago I came down to put the rolls in the oven. I pulled the saran wrap off, which was stuck to all of the dough, pulled some of the dough off of the top of each roll, and watched in horror as they all deflated to a lump of chocolate pudding on the cookie sheets. Oh well. I'm cooking them anyway and I will take them with my chin held high. My other thought? Let them eat cake.

I asked Cletus to build our kids a sandbox for our new house in our new backyard so that we could be one of those fun houses where all children want to come and play. So, he built them a great sandbox. It's huge: 8x8! As I started calling around to find a place to buy sand, I realized that this was going to get expensive quick! My highest quote was $288 and my lowest was $174 (including delivery). I figured that is what we would pay for sand, so I almost forged ahead and ordered 2 yards of sand from the cheapest place. Then, I rememebered a little voice in my head (called Cletus) who suggested that we call a concrete company and ask them since they have sand to make the concrete. I called and they quoted me only $30! Hooray! I drove over there and they loaded up the back of our pickup about twice as much as it should have been loaded. As I went to pay, the guys there said, "Ah, don't worry about it. You can just have the sand. We have kids too. It's alright". I was quite pleasantly surprised. As I drove away, I realized that Kate and I looked quite disheveled since we had left early in the morning. I was pretty much wearing pajamas and flip-flops and Kate definitely had pajamas on, hair in the face, and was eating a banana. I wondered whether they thought ... "oh, there is a poor single mom, who just wants to give her neglected kids a place to play in the sand ... let's just give it to her for free". Whatever their motivations, I was grateful and a little embarrassed. I got home and shoveled almost a ton of sand out of the pickup by myself! It has turned out to be great sand. The only strange things we've found in it have been a rusty hanger and a turtle skull.

Other potentially interesting things:
Cletus, Hayden, and I got to go up in an airplane flown by a member of our ward. He flew out of the Franklin County Airport, took us up for about an hour, did a "rollercoaster move" that left me screaming with eyes closed, and then brought us safely back. It was quite a fun time.

I painted our downstairs bathroom Friday night while Cletus and Hayden were at the Raleigh Stake Father and Son

I got a Japanese Maple tree for Mother's Day.

Kate now has a repertoire of about 10 words of which "mama" is still not included.

I killed another black widow. Single handed.