The highest expectations

eating some real food
things that grow from nearby dirt
should be easy, right?

OK, so, it's summer. Well, the wee one still has two days of school left, so it's not officially summer, but it's close enough for me to do that thing I do wherein I make a lot of plans and get really excited about potentialities that are a) impossible to achieve and b) borderline insane.

Originally, I did not have to work to be insane for the summer, because we were going to Cincinnati with Ike in June, and the insanity was just flowing over me without any work at all. But then that all got shot to hell, so here we are – one mom trying to keep it together, one dad trying to work everyday, two kids not scheduled for any summer camps, and one kid who can't leave the house do to various biohazard germ situations and the fact that Mexico has set itself on fire again. 

Add to all of this: we no longer have a day nurse.

(That's my fault, though. I've just hit some kind of limit with having people in the house. And I can see that with the kids home all day this summer, with me home, with Ike home, adding another warm body to that melee might hamper more than help. We do still have our Friday nurse, though, and our night nursing.)

As you can see, things are adding up to be pretty exciting around here. Images of the TV never turning off, screaming fights between siblings, lots of crying, losing the trach baby in drifts of laundry, never being able to leave the house to blow off steam at Target, etc. have put me in a state of panic.

But then I decided, no. It doesn't have to be that way, right? We can have a summer filled with new adventures and parent-child bonding and lovely days filled with lovely events, without ever leaving the house. Right?


OK. Shut up.

Really, though, I sat down the other day and thought that there have to be things I can do to help keep the summer from devolving into mayhem.

So here's my plan: The kids and I are going to learn to cook. This coming from the woman who blew up a ham. I know, I know. But bear with me. I just joined a local farm delivery service where we'll get local, seasonal produce delivered to the house every Wednesday, all summer. I bought special plastic knives for the kids so they can help chop fruits and veggies, but hopefully retain all digits. I am also not so secretly hoping that this will force us all to eat better and feel better and generally be nicer people.

Is this too lofty of a goal? Probably. Would you care to place any bets on how long the cooking experiment will last? How long until the kitchen explodes? Maybe a few weeks. Maybe a few days. Maybe a few minutes. It should be fun to see if we can do it, though, shouldn't it? I'm pretty excited. Next week, we're getting our first delivery and I have to figure out what to do with French sorrel. I don't even know what that is. The learning curve here is going to be HUGE. But it will be fun, and most of all – distracting.

Instead of worrying about when we'll make it to Cincy, how we're going to keep Ike healthy, how to keep his weight gain up, I'm going to worry about French sorrel and how to get the kids to eat it.

A solid plan, right?

Don't answer that.

Birthday season approaches

try not to buy stuff
already drowning in stuff
and still, we need stuff

The end of May marks the beginning of birthday season for us. First the wee one on May 31st, then the wee-er one on July 1st, then Ike-a-saurus on August 25th, then me in September, my dad in September, my husband, mom and sister in October, etc. Almost all in-laws have birthdays sprinkled in and around these months, too.

It's like a marathon to Christmas, starting in May.

Already the requests from the kids have started. Pocket knife, Yo Gabba Gabba cake, a USA vs. Afghanistan birthday party theme, a rebuilt trachea. So many requests, so little money.

This year we're shooting for the less is more idea. Like taking a couple of friends out for a movie and lunch. And not getting one million presents. I'm not sure the kids are buying it. And I feel bad for the wee-er one because she hasn't really had a big birthday party ever. Not like her big brother has. But she's also more shy than he is, and more likely to be overwhelmed by a million people paying attention to her all at the same time. Hopefully, she won't be scarred for life when we try to have a nice family party instead of anything too crazy.

I know the wee one won't be scarred for life emotionally, as long as we get him a pocket knife. But this may cause him to be scarred for life physically. A toss up.

And we're working on that rebuilt trachea. I don't know if we can deliver it before Ike-a-saurus' birthday or not.

As for me? I'd just like some quiet, some key lime pie, two months of no one being sick, and maybe some clothes that aren't older than my children.

I can't believe birthday season is already upon us. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime.

Update first, pie second

Thanks so much for all the kind words and well wishes and prayers and everything. We're still being knocked around pretty hard today, but within the black hole came some better news.

We saw
the pulmo today and he said it looks like Ike has a nasty virus, not bacterial pneumonia like we feared. Surprisingly, the little dude's chest x-ray actually looked better than it did last December. The pulmo also thinks that there is no asthma, just narrowing of little preemie airways in Ike's lungs due to mucus. That's why none of the steroids have helped. We're waiting on trach cultures to come back. There is still a chance we could have something really fucked up like staph going on.

Right now, we just have to wait it out. The doc thinks Ike will be all better in two weeks, but the anesthesiology team in Cincinnati will not put a child under general anesthesia for an elective surgery unless the child has been healthy for 6-8 weeks at least. I completely understand that, but it's terribly disappointing. It's also really fucked up that having your airway reconstructed is considered elective.

We will try to reschedule. But until then, I have a lot of reservations to cancel and people to call. Heartbreaking work, really. At least the little dude was feeling better today, and he was off oxygen all day.

Nothing ever goes to plan. I should know that by now. It's still upsetting, though. And I know everything happens for a reason, blah, blah, but a lot of things have happened to this kid and I am running out of reasons.

I'm going to go eat a piece of pie now. And wish I had some warm chocolate chip cookies to wash it down with. Anyone want to go on a liquor store run tomorrow? I think all of this bullshit calls for some very fine tequila. Or maybe just some very fine chocolate. Or maybe two xanax instead of one. So many choices. So many potential headaches.

Here he is, sweet boy, with a Mickey Mouse mask over his trach to try to hedge off extra germs at the hospital today. You can tell he's starting to feel better.


Hi, Blog!

You may remember me from such posts as "Holy fuck, the world is ending" and "oh shit, my kid's a demon".

Well, just to update you on everything… IT IS ALL WORSE. God. Remember when this blog used to be funny? One day, I will get you bitches laughing again. Until then, if I am being honest (and I have to be honest, because this is the interweb and everyone is honest on here), it is my duty to report: Nothing is better. A spiraling tornado of shittiness is trapped within these four walls and it is just going to keep throwing me up against the floor and ceiling until all my bones are broken or I am addicted to prescription medication.

Like, seriously, Smokey from Lost is trapped in this house and he's all "ticka-ticka-ticka I'magonnagetcha" and then he grabs me by my ankle and throws me against the dishwasher and I discover we have no tabs to put in it to clean the dishes. And then he's all "ticka-ticka-ticka I'magonnasquishya" and he throws me up against one of my kids and I realize said kid is running a thousand degree temperature.

Days and days and days of this shit right now. At least the power is back on so we can run all of Ike's doodads. (Oh yes. It's been THAT kind of week.)

But I don't want to dwell on the shittiness of everything. I mean, what would Oprah say? She'd be all, "KAARRRRRIIIIIII!!!! You have to watch this montage of other women who have been starving and living in ditches and then overcome it all to become the CEO of million dollar companies!!!" And then I would want to stab her a little bit, so maybe this is not a good example.

Anyway. I just wanted to say that things are still terrible. But, you know, I guess I'm going to have to get used to it. I'm going to have to realize that this terrible fucking shit ass shit month is happening so that something unicorny and pony-like and sparkly and fancy can happen. The one particular thing I have in mind is probably going to get postponed because of the "ticka-ticka-ticka I'magonnasmashya" grabbing me by the wrist and thrusting my face into the fact that Ike is probably not going to be well enough to make the June trip. BUT, there has to be a karmic switcheroo, right? At some point?

Maybe it is the Advil Cold & Sinus talking, but this house is being sucked into a black hole right now and I am just too fucking tired of it all to be sad about it.

Into the black hole we go. Let's find out what's on the other side. Hopefully, it's better than Oprah. And hopefully, it has some fucking dishwashing tabs.

Tuesday is Demon Day

I want that blanket
but don't call it a blanket
or I'll spit at you

So yesterday was an epic fail disaster hootenanny here at chez haikuoftheday. Ike-a-saurus has been running a high temp, having brutal bronchospasms and not eating. Pretty much everything that CAN'T HAPPEN before major surgery? It's happening right now.

On top of that, the wee-er one has come down with a demon.

She woke up from a nap yesterday and was screaming from her room. I went in there and was like, "Holy shit!" all grabbing for the wall to steady myself. She was sitting in the glider, her hair all sweaty and stringy. Dark circles under her eyes, pale face, a blanket over her legs. She looked up at me without moving her head and I was like, "Oh, fuck, she is going to fucking eat me."

I was trying to play it cool, all, "Hey! How was your nap?"

And with the voice of a chipmunk-ized Zuul she said, "GET ME A BLANKET!"

So I (mistakenly) said, "You already have a blanket."

To which she screamed, "IT IS A PRINCESS SNUGGIE, NOT A BLANKET."

To which I replied, "OK, do you want the flower blanket?"

To which she screamed, "I WANT THE PRINCESS BLANKET!"

Me: "You mean the princess snuggie?"


Then she started kicking and screaming in a way that was, frankly, scary as shit. I tried to stay calm. I asked her what I could do to make things better. Leave her alone? Come back later? Hug her? Call a priest? But everything I suggested made her kick and scream even worse.

So I started to cry.

Excellent parenting, I know.

The demon inside her broke me. For real. I've been so worried about Ike – watching the Cincy trip seem to spiral out of our grasp more and more everyday – that this just pushed me over the edge. So I stood in her room and wept. Briefly, my crying surprised the wee-er one enough to get her to take a breath and to move rooms. I got her settled into my bed, with a movie playing, and I made a quick escape to compose myself.

This is when I texted my husband: "G has demon. Can you take her to after hours clinic tonight?"

His response: "? Y"

So my husband got home from work, gathered up the possessed child and took her to the doctor.

Diagnosis? Sinus Infection.

I was all, "Is 'sinus infection' code for 'has come down with a fucking devil'? What is the medicine for that?" Turns out, it's Omnicef.

Two doses in, and the demon seems to be subsiding. Or maybe the fact that I took a whole xanax for the first time in my life last night made it seem like the demon was subsiding. Or maybe the fact that Ike is STILL running a fever makes the demon seem less insidious. Or maybe the fact that my therapist offered extra, free, sessions because of all this shit means that I have officially gone cray-cray crazypants and so demons seem kind of funny in retrospect. I don't know. I don't care. Because for a little bit today, I had my sweet girl back. And she was not spitting in my face, which is always nice.

Fuck. How is it only Wednesday?

Out of mom experience

how did I get here
a faster than light wormhole
invades my kitchen

I was running through the kitchen with a naked 20-month-old covered in spit up, and I slipped on a puddle of something in the floor. As we went sailing out of control toward the wall, a thought crossed my mind:

How is this me? How am I someone's mom? Not just one someone's mom, but three someones? When did this happen? What is going on here?

And then I was back in real time, narrowly avoiding a major collision, dumping the baby in the kitchen sink, rinsing him off and answering a barrage of "Mommy, can you…"s and "Mommy, will you…"s and "Mommy, I need…"s from the other two kids.

My super awesome BFF/co-hilarious bitch mamalibrarian and I were talking the other day and we discovered that we were both the kind of kid who tried to have as many babies as possible while playing Life when we were little. My goal used to be to have to get another car to fit all the kids in. What the hell was wrong with me?

And yet here I am, even with all of the shit going down these days, and even with flashes of "who am I?" "how did I get here?", I find I still have that craving to fill up as many cars as I can with babies.

Will I ever have more kids? I don't know. Probably not. I'm not sure it would be advisable both physically and emotionally to go through the trauma of pregnancy again. But do I still want more little butts running around the house, even as I feel guilty for not spending enough time with the current little butts? Boy, do I.

It's nice to know that whatever the heck was wrong with me when I was a kid is still part of who I am.

Happy Mother's Day, crazies.

March of Dimes Win! Walking part? Fail.

felled by a virus
valiant attempt thwarted
but we're all OK

First, the good news: Team Ike raised $1100 for the March of Dimes! Right now our team is walking through Austin, celebrating Ike-a-saurus and all of the other little babies just like him. I am overwhelmed and amazed, as always, by the generosity of our friends and family, and their friends and families.

$1100! In only a few weeks!

But, Kari, you ask… if everyone is marching for dimes right now, how are you blogging this? Ah well, that's where the fail part comes in. Stomach virus. I thought I was OK this morning when I got up. After all, it's already been two days, and yesterday I ate a bit before bed and all was OK.

Well, we got almost to the walk and had to pull over so I could run into some coffee shop and lose it in the bathroom. (Sorry, coffee shop!) And Ike coughed the entire way in the car, red-faced, suction machine going non-stop. A mess. So I forced my husband to take the wee one and the wee-er on to the walk to meet our team, and I broke all the rules and drove Ike home all by myself.

We made it just in time for HIM to puke all over the carpet as soon as we got in the door. I think it was from the coughing, though. I hope, hope, hope it was from the coughing.

So, anyway, Ike and I tried our very best to be there. And I am SO BUMMED to be missing it. We have people on our team who have loved and supported us even though we haven't met in person, so I'm heartsick to have missed meeting them. Though you guys wouldn't want a hug from me in this state. No way.

One of these days we'll have a big party, and everyone in the world will be invited. All of our friends and family and other former preemies we know, and our nurses, and everyone. No one will have the stomach flu or need instant nebulizer treatments, or inexplicably fall asleep two hours before naptime. It will be a great party and we can all hug and cry happily and eat cake.

Until then – I'm sorry to have missed the festivities today. But I know everyone is having a great time.

And $1100?! HOLY CRAP, YOU GUYS!


Finding the oomph

head above water
it's one of the worst cliches
and yet it's so apt

I don't like to think too far into the future. Ironic that this is coming from someone who loves to watch and read and write sc-fi. The circumstances that my family is in, though, makes it very difficult to look ahead. I learned during my last pregnancy to only look ahead minute-by-minute. Back then I couldn't even do day-by-day. It was terrifying and surreal to sit in a bed dripping weird substances like a poorly designed time bomb.

At that time, I spent every ounce of my being wishing and praying and mantra-ing and doing whatever else I needed to do so that I could psychically feel connected to what was happening to myself. I wanted to know that, whatever the outcome, I had done my very best to give mind-over-matter a whirl. I focused all of my energy on my sheer force of will to makes things OK.

And you know what?

It fucking worked!

It worked!

I give you guys a lot of credit, too. Friends, family, friends of friends, friends of family, other community members, strangers, there were so many people out there creating a kind of cushion for me and my family.

Then Isaac was born. He was tiny, but OK, and I thought, "Hot damn, we did it!" I still couldn't really relax with 8 weeks of NICU ahead of us, but I felt like the worst was behind us. Something amazing, singular, once in a lifetime had happened to help me sustain that pregnancy. I felt powerful and awed and humbled and exhausted.

Then all of a sudden, Ike was 5.5 months old and the second-by-second, minute-by-minute, sheer force of will type strength was needed again. I didn't know if I could do it. I felt like I'd used up my once in a lifetime stores of energy. I didn't know if I had it in me to do it again. I really didn't. It was harder, scarier. But harder and scarier in different ways.

Again, everyone swarmed to help us. Even more so than before. My whole family was buoyed on a wave of generosity and love. We somehow made it through. We came home to a whole new way of life, and again, we were asked to push through, soldier on, make it to the next day and the next, shoving through obstacles and frightening moments that could pop up out of nowhere, at any time.

Again, I thought, how am I going to do this? I don't have the strength for this. I don't know what to do.

But I didn't have to know what to do, because at that time we just had to do it. There was no choice. We just did it. I just did it. We barreled through the days and nights and the hardships and the terrifying moments and I kept saying – as I did it – I don't know how I'm going to do it.

I can feel it now, you guys, the time is upon us yet again. The time to wonder where the strength is. Where is the courage? Was there ever any courage, really? The time to worry second-by-second and minute-by-minute is almost here. And I don't know if I can do it. I don't know if there is anything I can scrape together to get me through.

I spend my days making phone calls and setting up travel arrangements and talking to doctors and nurses and insurance people and medical supply people and then when I have a minute to sit down and think, it all hits me. The time is coming. It is barreling down on us like a train or a 18-wheeler or something else big and fast and heavy and unstoppable.

I don't know if I have the strength to make it to June. I don't know if I have the strength to make it THROUGH June. I don't know if the sheer-force-of-will coffers have anything left inside of them. It has been a hard couple of years. Really, really hard. And here we again – at the cusp of something new or terrible or terribly new or newly terrible. Or maybe it will be hard, or difficult, or difficultly hard or hardly difficult.

It's like something sitting on my chest. Maybe that train is on my chest. Or the 18-wheeler. Or a skyscraper. And I've already pushed it off of me so many times, but now it's back. How will I be able to push it off again?

It's terrifying and exhausting to think about.

And it's coming up so soon.

Up Yours, I Can Do It Myself

As I was waking up this morning, I was thinking of a list of book titles for three and four-year-old kids. Specifically, book titles that would tell the truth about really happens everyday. Like, there are a lot of "I can be a big sister!" books and "I can count these animals!" books. They are all very colorful and cheerful and nice.

But if we're being realistic, I think there needs to be an "Up Yours, I Can Do It Myself" book. Because this is what I get from my almost 4-year-old daughter everyday.

"Want me to help you tie your shoes?"


"Want me to help you carry that giant jug of milk that's getting ready to splash on the floor?"


"Would you like to wear the pink shirt or the yellow shirt?"


Lots of doing it ourselves around here. But the doing isn't being done very sweetly. It's being done with a quavering stink eye and a puckered mouth and v-shaped eyebrows, and sometimes with a few donkey kicks thrown in.

An "Up Yours, I Can Do It Myself" book would be realistic, but I guess it would just emphasize how true it is that these little people really do run our lives. Every minute of everyday it seems sometimes.

I guess the sequel could be, "Eff You, I'm Not Eating That". And we could round out the trilogy with "I Left My Shoes In The Car, And You Can Suck It."

Maybe I'm writing country songs here, and not books. Eh, either way, I think there's a franchise.