Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

I'm not sure how all of this tagging began, is it tagging season?  I am a total novice when it comes to blogging but it seems that all of a sudden everyone is getting tagged to do one thing or another.  In this case I have been tagged by my lifelong friend Rachel to list 50 things about myself.  I'm not sure what the rules or requirements are so I will just follow Rachel's lead!

1.  I am truly an LDS GAL, as my high school license plate said!  I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am thankful for a gospel I believe in.  

2.  I love my husband!!!  I married my high school sweetheart and everyone who knows me knows that.  He is wonderful to me and I can't imagine any more supportive or loving man.  He is definitely my best friend and we LOVE being together (also something that everyone who knows me knows---when you get one of us, you get the other).

3.  I have four fab kids that both make me crazy and keep me sane.  Life with four little ones makes for a very hectic and unorganized life (anything I organize they immediately undo----Abbie is really into rearranging the pantry and making can towers) but it is totally worth the all of the craziness!!

4.  I sing all the time at my house.  I don't sing songs, not real songs, but more like little jingles that I make up to annoy my kids.  Well, I don't make them up to annoy the kids, it just turns out that they do get annoyed.  My dad does this, always has, I hated it growing up (we all hated it growing up) but as the parent it's actually super fun!  I sing about them getting dressed, or waking up, or whatever...

5.  I hate cleaning!  I don't mind straightening and picking up after the kids but I HATE actual deep cleaning.  I have WAY more important things to do than clean my windows, showers, toilets, etc.  Thank Heaven for Maria, she is my salvation!

6.  I fall asleep at the movie theater.  ALWAYS.  I am continuously sleep-deprived so when I get into a chair in the dark for multiple hours the inevitable happens.  It doesn't matter what time of day or night it is, I can't seem to stay awake.  I even fall asleep in very loud action movies, like X-Men.  Justin has contemplated on more than one occasion asking for his money back for my ticket.

7.  Along the same lines as #6, I am incapable of sleeping in...ever.  I think maybe I should try sleep aids.  I think that this may be my moms fault.  When I was in high school and had to wake up early on weekdays for seminary I remember wishing I could sleep in on the weekends but my mom would always wake me up to be her buddy and help with this or that while allowing my sisters to sleep, what crap.  Her excuse had something to do with Allie's disease and Jessie's unpleasant morning behavior.  Now I can't sleep in, even when Justin and I were in the Bahamas in January and I had no kids with me I was unable to sleep in.  My poor husband who loves sleep more than most other things has to deal with me (or maybe it's poor me that has to deal with him sleeping in, hmmm....)

8.  I don't function well without getting in my workout.  I spend an hour a day on an elliptical.  I find that I am in a better mood if I have been able to exercise.  Not that the exercising itself is fun, I do it for the feeling afterwards...and so I can eat chocolate.  Although currently I am losing the "more calories out than in" battle and holidays here we come!

9.  I love chocolate!!!  I am my mother's daughter and my grandma's granddaughter!!  It must be in the blood because they were choco-holics and so am I, and so is Abbie.  Milk chocolate is the best.  Dark and white are far inferior, in fact white is intolerable.  Yuck.

10.  I love to bake.  I make brownies, cupcakes, cakes, chocolate chip cookies like my mom used to always make for my dad, and sugar cookies!  Yum!!  We bake every week at least once.  My kids have their own little aprons and we bake together all the time.  Now if only I could develop some self-control.

11.  I hate having to decide what to make for dinner.  I like cooking in general but my life would be a lot easier if someone else could decide what I should make and if they could be sure I had all of the ingredients.  Oh, and if they could watch my kids while I cooked and if they could clean up the mess, yeah that would be great.

12.  I always have painted toenails.  Justin commented the other day that he had only seen my toenails without nail polish like twice in the nearly 12 years we've known each other.

13.  I silently correct people when they use incorrect grammar.  I do it in my head (unless you are a Lee, then I correct you out loud because you are used to it from DBL).  It is a nasty habit resulting from having a father who always corrected his children.

14.  I am horrible at keeping in touch.  When I left for college, though e-mail was really beginning to take off I did not catch on, and thus was left behind.  My best high school girl friends can testify to that.  If only cell phones had been more prevalent back then.

15.  I love my cell phone and I really love texting.  What a fabulous invention!!

16.  I am big on traditions and holidays.  My mom was amazing and was also very tradition-oriented, her love of parties and holidays definitely rubbed off on me.  I love to make Thanksgiving dinner and be surrounded by my family and good food.  I love to decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving--the tree is always a special project with hundreds of lights!  Holidays are just magical and developing family traditions makes celebrating so much more fun!

17.  I am the nap Nazi.  My kids have a very strict nap schedule.  Their naps make them happy and that time allows me to get things done and re-group.  I am happy to be made fun of for this fact because it is fabulous for me to have kids that nap. 

18.  I am an instant gratification kind of a gal.  I hate waiting.  

19.  I hate the process of blow drying my hair.  It is hot, boring, and takes forever.  I may tolerate it more if I could hear the TV over the dryer.

20.  I LOVE make up.  I think it's fun to do make up and can't understand why some women avoid it all together.  They are missing out.

21.  I am lucky if I get my hair cut more than twice a year.  Not good.

22.  I don't mind having surgery or being in the hospital but I HATE the dentist.

23.  I love "chick-lit".  I used to hate reading but at some point after entering adulthood I developed a love for it.  A special thanks to Sophie Kinsella, Stephenie Meyer, Jennifer Weiner and all of the other fabulous authors who have allowed me to escape into another world while working out.

24.  I also love gossip mags like People.  I love to see what clothes people wear, how they do their hair, what weird name they've named their children.  I'm a girly-girl and I love all things girl!

25.  I love TV.  Justin and I have a number of favorite shows.  We often have to miss them so thank heaven for Tivo and the internet so that we can eventually get caught up.

26.  I'm pregnant.

27.  While we were dating, Justin brought me one rose on the 8th of every month because that was the date in April that he asked me out.  He did this for multiple years.  Bravo to my romantic husband!

28.  I have DDD (designer denim disease).  I love jeans!  I'm not exactly sure why but I do.  Some favorites are True Religions, Rock & Republics, Sevens, and Citizens.  Too bad I almost never get to shower until late afternoon and spend my days in workout gear.

29.  My left leg is about two inches longer than my right.

30.  I speak with everyone in my family almost everyday at least once.

31.  I am extremely claustrophobic, due perhaps to time spent in a body cast as an infant.  My husband thinks it's hilarious and sometimes traps me under a blanket.  He laughs at me but always lets go when he sees the terror on my face.

32.  I, like Rachel, love purses and shoes.  Who can get enough of such fabulous things?  I like high high-heels.  Before moving from Virginia I wore flats to church and my friend Audrey said it was the first time she had seen me at church not wearing high heels in the four years we lived in Ashburn (including throughout three pregnancies).  I'm sure she was right.

33.  My memory is not my friend.  I can remember full outfits certain people have worn and the occasions for which they wore them, this aspect of my memory definitely stretches back through high school and some even before then.  I can remember all kinds of stupid things like this but can't seem to remember most of what I learned in my core subjects while in school.  Heaven help my kids when they come to ask me to help them with calculus.  I remember thinking that for an intelligent woman it was remarkable how little my mom could remember from school, I began to doubt that she had graduated.  Mom, now I understand.

34.  I am a creature of habit and routine.  I do not like change.  I can eat the same thing everyday and not care at all.

35.  I had 6 fingers on my left hand when I was born.

36.  I played the viola for almost ten years and was good at it but hated my my teacher, and thus hated it.  Though some of my best friends did come from my orchestra days.  Good times!

37.  I hate flying.  When I was a kid I loved riding on airplanes and flew rather frequently.  I always looked forward to those trips.  Now I hate it, I hate the security process, I hate the stress of flying with little kids (and jerky passengers), and I hate that I get airsick.  Flying sucks.

38.  I can't stand not wearing a watch because I hate not knowing what time it is.

39.  I am musically challenged, not as a musician but as a consumer.  I mainly listen to the radio and like it when I can sing along but don't like having to be the one to choose what is played---I like to be surprised by a great song coming on.  I think I have bought maybe two CD's in my entire life.  I can never remember who sings what or anything like that.  All three of my siblings are huge into music and could probably create soundtracks to their lives, I could not.  My husband is also music obsessed, he knows exactly what he likes and has an uncanny memory for all things music.  How did this skill pass me by?

40.  I love my friends!  Rachel knows this from the zillions of hours we've spent being totally crazy.  Andrea could also testify to some pretty hilarious stuff, usually initiated by me in wilder times (nothing too crazy or illegal, just wacky, fun, and probably embarrassing).  In fact all of my high school friends could probably resurrect a few entertaining stories...but lets not.  My post-marriage friends have not seen this side of me.  I think that I've mellowed since marriage and am mainly content to be home with Justin----actually he'd probably say I'm pretty hyper and crazy still...

41.  I'm not really pregnant but I wanted to see who was paying attention!  Also, anytime that I say I have any kind of news or tell my sisters to check my blog one of them asks me if I'm pregnant.  Geez guys, I do other things too you know!

42.  I spent a few weeks backpacking around Europe with two of my girlfriends the summer after my mom died since I was already living in Belgium.  I developed a love for Italy that summer, especially the Italian riviera.

43.  I eat treats before dinner after telling my kids that they're not allowed to.  They are still young, impressionable, and in my care---they can make bad decisions when they're the ones in charge.

44.  I love Nordstrom's!!!  It is definitely my favorite store, not only because they have so many things that I love, but because they have the BEST return policy ever!  I inherited the shopping gene from my mom (so did Jessie) and it was fostered by my Aunt Christena who could single-handedly keep the company in business!

45.  I am a designer clothes snob.  I love clothes but, like Rachel, would rather buy one amazing piece that is probably way too expensive than have an entire wardrobe from Target (that is not a Target dis, I also love Target...I just love designers more)

46.  I love to snuggle and cuddle.  I love it when my kids will cuddle with me and when they lay their head on my shoulder while I carry them with their arms around my neck!!!  Oh, and I love to snuggle with Justin too, he is very patient with me (and I know he loves it too)!!

47.  I used to have my ears double pierced and my cartilage pierced also but took them all out while sitting in Young Women's Conference with my mom when I was nineteen because President Hinckley said one hole only.  A good move in hindsight.  

48.  I love going for walks with my whole family and am not sure what I will do when I have too many kids to fit in strollers (currently two double strollers is working out pretty well).  My dad calls them "death marches" but I think they're great!

49.  My full name is Barbara Brooke Lee Allen and my first name serves as a tribute to my mom's mother and my dad's sister, both amazing Barbara's!!!  I would love to be like them both!

50.   I was editor-in-chief of my high school yearbook and loved it!  Maybe someday I'll get back to writing and layout and all of the fun that came with that position.

Well, that's 50 random things that you may or may not have known about me.  I wrote these while my babies were napping and the older two were running around and being crazy.  I hope you were entertained.  I did not re-read them so hopefully they are coherent.

I tag Jessie, Heather, Megan, Wendy, and Rachael.  If you have nothing better to do we'd like to learn a little more about you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sweetberry Farms...picking pumpkin's at the patch

****Justin is out of town this week in Cupertino, California for Apple's annual kick-off event.  So, once again I am left alone with the kids during the busy last week of October.  Apple has these same meetings during this same week each year.  Luckily the dates have never interfered with the actual day of Halloween, but in the past Justin has missed field trips, ward Halloween parties, and other such festive activities.  I mention his absence as a preface to this blog entry only because it is nearly midnight here and I am beat from my several days of flying solo so I am unsure how coherent this will be---I promised my sister pictures tonight so I am dedicated to getting this done!****

We finally got around to taking our kids to the pumpkin patch...or at least a place to get pumpkins.  While I was at The Cheesecake Factory last month with some friends after Women's Conference I was warned by Angela V. that "pumpkin patch's" here in Texas are nothing like the ones back home.  Angela is from Virginia also and said that she was beyond disappointed last year when she joined her preschooler on his field trip to the "pumpkin patch" which was really a parking lot with pumpkins spread around for the kids to choose from.  I agreed that that would not do and could not compare to the fabulous experience (minus the rain) that we have had each year in Va at Great Country Farms---a real farm where the kids take a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch where they could pick their perfect pumpkin straight out of the field where it had grown.

She, and some other women at the table, recommended that we take our kids to a farm nearly an hour away in Marble Falls, Tx. so that they could experience something more like what we had back home.  So, we loaded our crew into the car last weekend and headed out for our adventure to Sweetberry Farms.  It was a beautiful drive, though I was disappointed (but not surprised) that there were no colorful leaves.  It did take us about an hour to get there and by the time we arrived the kids were beyond anxious to see what was awaiting their arrival.  Let me say, it was no Virginia---first of all, some of my kids were in shorts (not a possibility in Va at this time of year), the pumpkins are not grown on-site but are transported in, and the hayride was all around a dusty unattractive ranch road (though we did see a penned longhorn).  However, I must admit, the kids didn't seem to even notice any difference between this new place and farms from years past.  
Sweetberry had just that, fields and fields of strawberry plants that will be ready for harvest early next spring.  They are famous for their homemade popsicles, which they make out of their hand-picked strawberries.  The older kids each got one and they were delicious---everyone always has to share with mom!
Well, crated in or not, the kids each loved choosing their own special pumpkin.  Ruby was more interested in using them to balance and then stopping to lick them, and Tate kept choosing ones that were prefect to him but way too heavy for him to carry---it must be very frustrating to be two.  Eventually we each had one that we felt happy with.  

The kids also had a great time with the animals they got to see at the farm.  Unfortunately the huge goat pen was located very near the picnic tables so the kids didn't care much about eating their lunches and instead wanted to watch the goats climb the trees.  Yes, they were climbing the trees in their enclosure.  Who knew goats were such good climbers (actually I guess they climb cliffs and mountains and stuff, right?)?  There was one large tree that had grown straight out of the ground but then had veered toward the sun (I'm guessing) and toward the open field, it is because of this horizontal growth that the goats were able to use it as a bridge from one side of their pen to the other.  Each of the kids were fascinated and would laugh and laugh as the goats would jump down and head over towards them hoping for some food.  Tate loved them and even tried on multiple occasions to climb in with them.  I was able to finally lure him away with food, he was like my own little goat!  In fact all of the kids were hungry because they had been too interested in the animals to eat, though Ruby was very resourceful and somehow nabbed a bag of Frito's with her foot and strained down to reach chips out of the bag, it was so funny that I included the picture!
All in all it was a very fun outing and we were glad to have made the trek.  However, right before we got in the car to head home I noticed how dirty and dusty each of the kids were and I began to wish that I could pull the kids home in a horse trailer like the one they so eagerly climbed into on the farm (see picture above)!

I will be sure to post pictures of how our Sweetberry Farm pumpkins transform into Jack-o-lanterns this friday!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Why do I feel like a prisoner in my own home when my cleaning lady is here?  It's as though I think that if I hide out while she's here then she'll think I'm somewhere else.  It's like when my toddler doesn't want me to know what naughty thing he's doing so he refuses to make eye contact; I know he's there and what he's done, it's not like by not looking at me he'll be able to get away with anything.  I'm sure that Maria knows that I am not the one who sometimes misses the bowl and pees on the back of the toilet seat in the boys bathroom.  I hope that she knows that I am not the one who leaves sticky handprints all over the glass windows and doors.

Why am I embarrassed that she is cleaning the toilets and bathtubs?  I hired her to be the cleaning lady, to clean the house.  Maybe its just as Bracken said, "we should be cleaning up our own messes."  I know that I am not the only one who avoids those who have come to help, Allie used to spend time circling the block with her kids in the car when her cleaning crew was at the house.  She would sometimes ask me to peek out Abbie's window and look down the street to her house to see if the yellow Maids car was still in the driveway.

I must hide out because I can't bear for people to know what it's truly like to have four little people that are really more like pets at this age than actual people who can take care of themselves.  It takes about fifteen minutes once the kids have been released back into their natural habitat (the house) for things to go down hill dramatically.  I have included pictures of Abbie's idea of helping me make cookies two days ago, thankfully before "Maria day".  There is no zoom in or out on my iphone camera or else I would have taken pictures so that the entire kitchen mess could have been seen.  Just picture a lot more baking soda and flour all over the place.  I did, obviously, clean that mess up myself.  Also, I am including pictures of Ruby at meal time.  This is often how all of my kids and kitchen look after a meal, which is why I am now grateful for an outdoor eating space.

It is perfectly normal to try and stay out of the cleaning lady's way so that they can get their job done without tripping all over you, I just think that it is strange that a grown woman feels the need to hide from the cleaning lady.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What they have to say while riding in the car...

On the way to school on Monday:
Bracken: Mom?
Me: What?
Bracken: I'm not sure what I should be when I grow up, so could you decide for me?
Abbie: I'm going to be a butterfly when I grow up.
Bracken (exasperated): Abbie!  You CANNOT be a butterfly when you grow up, you are a human.
Abbie: Yes I can. I will just go to the butterfly store and buy my wings.

After school on Monday:
Me: Bracken do other kids in your class wear Crocs?
Bracken: Yeah. A girl does, hers have flowers on them.
Me: What shoes do the other kids wear?  Sneakers?
Bracken: Yeah.
Me: Do you want to wear your sneakers?
Bracken: Sure.  The jumping moose ones?
Me: What jumping moose ones?
Bracken: The brown and white shoes with a jumping moose on them.
Me: Those are not moose, they are Puma's.  A puma is like a cheetah or a leopard.
Bracken: I don't think so mom, they have antlers.
[I have no idea what he is talking about, but I have included a picture of his shoes in case any of you are able to see antlers on his puma's]

On the way home from school on Tuesday:
Abbie: Mom can you change this music to a love song?
Me: A love song?
Abbie: Yeah.
Me: Ok. (I changed the song on the CD to a slower song)
Abbie: No mommy not this one! The one that makes you and Daddy be in love!!
Bracken: I don't want to listen to that one, it makes me feel embarrassed.
[who knew that Aerosmith could elicit such emotion from 3 and 4 year olds?]

Not in the car, but hilarious during dinner last night:
Bracken: What is this stuff you are making me eat? 
Me: Salmon.
Bracken:  What does it taste like?
Me: Just eat it and see.
Bracken: Why do I have to eat it?
Me: Because it is healthy for you.
Bracken: Why is it healthy?
Me: Because it has omega three fatty acids.
Bracken: I don't want fatty asses.
[a little inappropriate but completely hilarious, I don't know how I didn't see that one coming]

Monday, October 20, 2008


As I lay awake at night worrying---as mothers often do---I find my mind wandering from one random topic to the next.  I am ALWAYS exhausted so I don't know why it is that I can't just automatically turn off when my head hits the pillow.  Unfortunately my brain usually has other plans---to allow me to filter through many unrelated topics aimlessly, anxiety levels increasing and creating more reasons why I should get up and get things done and not lay in bed.--- Did I pay this or that certain bill?  What should I pack in the kids lunches in the morning?  Did I RSVP to that e-vite?  What gift should I get for such and such's new baby?  Is my cell phone on its charger in the kitchen?  Did I move that last load of laundry from the washer to the dryer?  What time was that appointment I made for Ruby at the childcare center at the gym?  What is the best way to get rid of the dreaded last 10 lbs. of baby weight?....or worse, Will we ever close on this house?  Will we still be living in Texas in five years?  Where do I think will really be the best place for our family to live long term?  ...those longer-term questions can really be a pain.

My husband does not seem to have this problem, I know that he worries about the normal things that fathers worry about, but somehow when it comes time for sleep he's out like a light each night.   What would it be like to be able to sleep?  To not hear the pitter patter of little feet padding down the hallway upstairs at 6AM?  To be able to sleep through the requests to "turn on a show" or "can you get me a snack"?  Justin does not seem to hear these things, he often doesn't hear his alarm (I do), or even me trying gently to wake him up.  The latest I have slept in for as long as I can remember was until 7:45, and that was a major accomplishment.  Children have us programmed so that even if they are miraculously able to sleep in (which never has happened at my house), or we are able to steal away for a private weekend with our husbands, our body clocks are still set to wake up at the crack of dawn.

I often think how much simpler life would be if I had lived fifty or even one hundred years ago.  I yearn for a time when things were not always so rushed.  Maybe even a time when my home would have been so far down the road from my neighbors that it would have required a several mile walk or horse ride to find me and my family.  A time when I wouldn't have had to worry about whether or not I had returned all of the e-mails piling up in my in-box, or whether or not I was on top of my voicemail's from both my house and cell phones.  I yearn for a less media-centric world where I would not be continuously bombarded by what I should look like, how I should dress, how I should behave, what car I should drive, what I should believe---what is the newest, the latest, the best!  

I know that there are many strong women out there who are wholly unaffected by this phenomena.  I wish that I were one of those women, but admittedly I am not.  I have a classic people pleaser personality, which is usually not a good thing.  I am fairly certain I inherited this particular personality trait from my father (it is a curse for him also).  Anyway, I think that one facet of this personality is a need to feel as though I am doing things "right".  As though there is just one correct way to live my life.  When I stop to think about this rationally I know that there are many ways for people to be successful and happy, but when it comes right down to my daily actions and decisions I find that I often do what I think others would want me to be doing.   Living this way can make a person feel quite inadequate and can lead to all of the lying awake at night.

Case in point, yesterday when I picked Bracken up from preschool I let him run around outside with some other little boys on the blacktop.  After a few circles around the perimeter Bracken fell going full speed and one of his shoes flew off.  The other mother standing near me (clearly a Type A personality) turned to me and told me that Bracken really shouldn't be wearing Crocs to school and that I should send him in sneakers.  So, when the fun was over and the kids were loaded back into the car I asked Bracken if any other kids in his class wore Crocs, he told me that a girl did and that "she has flowers on hers."  Why should I care what this other mother thinks?  Bracken likes his Crocs, I like--no love--not having to find matching socks, so Crocs are really the best choice for our family.  Why would I even entertain the idea of being a lemming and doing as the others are doing?  Because I have a need to perceived as doing the "right" thing.  What a pain.

I find myself fascinated by the stories I hear everyday about how people are living their lives.  Some are meant to depict people who are living the right way, others the wrong.  But what I have to remind myself is does it really matter what diet the celebs are on (as if acai berries are going to make us all thin)?  Or if Angelina and Brad are ever going to get married so that their culturally diverse clan can have parents who are legitimately and legally bound to one another?  Or how quickly each celebrity mom was able to shed those baby pounds?  Do we really care whether or not Jessica and Nick will ever get back together even if she doesn't know if it really is fish in her can of tuna and not chicken?  These are not the things I lay awake worrying about, but they are kinds of things I can't escape in my daily life.  They are reminders of what our society values most: beauty (defined as being wafer thin and flawless in every other way), money, and "stuff".  

I don't want my kids to grow up in a society where my daughters have to develop eating disorders so that they will be thin enough to be considered beautiful by their peers.  How do we avoid falling prey to the pressures of society?  I often find myself wondering if I will ever be able to just "release myself" (that's a DBL term).  Why have we all decided to place so much pressure on each other to look, act, and live a certain way?  Or is this just a perceived pressure and none of us really care what anyone else does with their life? What ever happened to growing old gracefully?  Or being grateful for what God has given us?  Do we really need to inject our faces with poison in order to freeze frame ourselves  so that we look perpetually frozen in our twenties or thirties?

Anyway, this is a completely random blog entry, all resulting from me asking Justin the other night whether or not he thought he would experience a mid-life crisis.  He looked at me like I was crazy (probably because he is 27 and mid-life seems ions away...let's all remember this when he is forty because his answer was no).  I, on the other hand, inch closer and closer to thirty each day...well, not really since I still have 22 and a half months in my twenties.  I just know that there is so much that I want to accomplish in my life and I would like to do those things without worrying how others will perceive them.  I yearn to be sheltered from the judgements and biases of others, and I yearn for my children to be sheltered as well...but mostly I yearn to not yearn anymore.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My baby's arm is broken...and my other baby did it!

Yes, it's true Bracken broke his arm.  He was shoved from the top bunk by his naughty little sister who I'm sure was trying to impress the neighbor boy who was over for a play date.  Dylan has come over to play many times but has always been restricted to driveway play.  So far there are only two finished homes in our cul-de-sac, ours and his.  Dylan is five years old and therefore a very desirable friend in my kids eyes because he is older and wiser----and even more importantly has his own two-wheeler (with training wheels) AND a Powerwheels tractor given to him by his grandparents.  Any child of the 80's totally gets that a Pow-Pow-Powerwheels makes you amazingly popular with all other children in the neighborhood.

Anyway, Bracken (who was dressed in his Peter Pan Halloween costume at the time) was giving Dylan a complete tour of the house.  When I could no longer hear Bracken's directives I assumed that they had ended up in the playroom upstairs.  I was wrong.  Bracken, Dylan, and Abbie had all decided that the top bunk in Bracken's room would be a great place to play.  Unfortunately Abbie---who seems to always be jockeying for the attention of others---must have thought that it would get a laugh out of Dylan if she made Peter Pan fly.  Instead what she got was a puddle of tears and a host of shrieks from her big brother who was crumpled up on the floor.

Dylan was taken home, Abbie was put on time out, and Bracken was given some Motrin.  I have never broken any bones and wasn't sure quite how to assess the damage done.  Justin has suffered a few breaks and had Bracken try and do various moves, like making a fist and moving it all around and back and forth.  Bracken seemed to be able to accomplish those tasks with minimal pain but it was clear that his wrist was a little swollen.  We decided to feed the kids dinner and see how our little patient was doing after that.  We had not anticipated Bracken falling asleep while the other kids ate and didn't want to wake him once we realized that he was out cold.

Of course once all of the other kids were in bed asleep and Justin and I were amped for "Debate Night in America" (as Wolf likes to say), we heard stirring from our bedroom.  Bracken was awake and in pain and needing attention.  At that point I wasn't sure if heading to the ER would be our best bet especially since we did not yet know where the closest hospital was and Bracken is a bit of a 'fraidy cat.  So, we decided to wait out the night and reevaluate in the morning.  We gave Bracken some ice cream because he was sure that he didn't have the strength to eat "real" dinner but that he could manage ice cream as long as I spoon fed him, which I did. 

******completely off-track side note: Abbie has just come to me sobbing, when I asked her what was wrong she told me that "[she] doesn't want to be beautiful anymore"...ah, yes, what a curse it must be to be beautiful*****

For the next two hours we attempted to watch the debate in our bed with Bracken.  He is actually quite an interesting commentator, making comments like, "Mom, is that Uhrock Obama?" "Is he President yet?" "Why is that white man so old?" (white being a reference to his hair color, not race...Bracken has a "white grandpa" and a "brown grandpa"...I can't wait to hear how he distinguishes between them once my Dad's hair is no longer brown) "Why does that man look like an egg?" "When are they going to stop fighting?" "Who decided that they wanted to be president first because who ever decided first should get to be it."

The last thirty minutes of the debate were spent answering Bracken's nonstop questions of when it would be over.  When it finally did end we were not allowed to watch any of the after show analysis because Bracken was too sleepy and did not want to sleep upstairs in his own bed.  So, needless to say, it was an uncomfortable night for us all and in the morning things did not seem to have gotten any better.  His arm wasn't bruised but it was still quite swollen and he was clearly being very protective of it.  The night had only changed one person, it seemed that Abbie had realized the error of her ways some time during the night because she showed up by my bedside first thing and looked right at Bracken and said, "Bracken, are you better?  I'm so sorry that I pushed you.  I will never push you again."  Apologies, better late than never.

It was about that time that I began to wish that there were a doctor in the neighborhood who could give us a more educated opinion on what our next step should be.  But since the only doctor I know of is an opthomologist we dropped Abbie off at preschool and took the other kids to run some errands and vowed that if by lunch Bracken was still uncomfortable then we would take him to the ER.

Well, lunch time came and he was still not back to his old self, though he was bolstered by the many cards that were sent home in Abbie's backpack made for him by his teachers and classmates.  So I called the pediatrician who had been recommended to me by all of the moms at school and in the neighborhood and asked their office where they recommend we take Bracken.  The nurse told me the name and location of the closest good hospital and off Justin went, broken child in tow.

Bracken was mostly concerned that he may need to have a shot (clearly he takes after his father when it comes to needles) but we assured him that the doctor would just take a picture of the inside of his arm and see whether or not the bones had broken.  I am told that he was a little trooper and happy as can be to watch Cartoon Network in the ER waiting room.  I had to get all of my updates and information via text messages and pictures Justin would e-mail me to keep me informed since I was stuck at home with napping babies.

When it was all over and X-rays confirmed that he had indeed broken both bones in his arm Bracken was mostly just glad to have gotten a Speed Racer sticker and a pack of Starbursts from the vending machine at the hospital.

Some day I will figure out how to place captions directly under the pictures in my blog, but until then here are some of the choice quotes that Justin texted me from the hospital (they should accompany the pictures).

At the hospital:
Justin: [I'm sure he asked this for blogging purposes] why are we at the hospital?
Bracken: My name is Bracken and I hurt my arm, my right one, because I have bunk beds with a ladder and my sister pushed me all the way off and down.  So I hurt it.

Bracken: [after getting his hospital ID] It's my bracelet Dad.

Doctor: How did this happen?
Bracken: Abbie pushed me off my top bunk.
Doctor: Why did she do that?
Bracken: My sister is always so naughty, that's why she pushed me.

Bracken: So, when are we doing the x-ray?
Justin: We did it already.
Bracken: oh.
Justin: See, it was easy.  Just a picture.
Bracken: A picture of my bones?
Justin: Yes.
Bracken: Can we keep them, the pictures?
Justin: Yes.
Bracken: COOOOOOL!!
[we were not able to keep them]

Doctor: We will cast you then in a few weeks cut it off.
Bracken: CUT IT OFF! WAIT you are going to cut off my ARM????

Bracken: [after being "casted"] Look dad, I can still do thumbs up!!!

*****Special thanks to my good friend Landrey (who graduated from Georgetown Medical School last spring) whom I call whenever I have ANY medical question.  I sent her a text about Bracken and she called me immediately even though she is going to have a baby any day now and is in the middle of her residency.  She is always very patient with me and gives me great advice.  I just wish that we lived in the same city so I could rush my children over to her each time they had any medical issue!  Which is, I'm sure, exactly why she is glad we do not live in the same city :)!