Monday, July 30, 2012

Improving the Olympics, aka "Why Isn't this Here?"

There are several foreign sports that should be added to the Olympics that I think (mostly) Americans would love once they watch it.

1. Calcio Fiorentino.  Started in the 16th century by noble Italian families who would compete with each other to show off their power and prowess, calcio fiorentino appears to be a combination of rugby and wrestling without the refs, rules, or timeouts.  There are 27 people on each team, and you're allowed to do whatever it takes, except for kicks to the back of the head, for 50 minutes straight.  There are no substitutes, so if someone gets injured then that team is down one man.  This would put football, soccer, and rugby to shame. See more here.
2. Botaoshi.  2 teams of 75 people. 2 poles. 2 rounds.  One team attacks and the other defends. The second round the teams switch.  The point is the see who can take down the other team's pole in the fastest time.  It was started by the Japanese as a military exercise, which they still do annually to initiate the new recruits.  So in essence it's a big brawl between 150 men attacking a pole.  No sexual overtones there, eh? But still, to watch a video of this it looks pretty awesome and reminds me of a childhood game we played in the neighborhood that was a combination of team freeze tag, hide and seek, and capture the flag.

3. Fierljeppen.  It's Dutch pole vaulting, but you do it over a canal.  You take a running start, grab a pole, and then try to climb as high as you can before jumping off it on the other side of a canal.  Whoever goes the farthest wins.  Here you go.  If you've ever watched a show called MXC (Most Extreme Elimination!) then you've probably seen something similar.  Combining MXC's version of it (well, they ripped it from a japanese game show) with the landing pad and wider canal would make it very watchable.

That is all.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Making it Work, aka "Keep on Rollin'"

It's funny how I have less time now to do things than I did while my wife was in the hospital. Granted, my stress level has decreased but what needs to be done has increased.  For starters, she's trying to do WAY too much right now, and she gets tired very quickly.  She keeps apologizing and telling me how guilty she feels because i'm still doing a lot of things, but I have to remind her that I don't mind, i'm happy she's home, and it's not a lot of effort on my part.  I've been trying to leave her alone in regards of the things she wants to get done, but I know she can't finish them without help.  Her big goal of the week was to get the house spotless and dust-free by Sunday afternoon, but so far she has only gotten a little bit of work done.  Most of her free time is spent with Smurf 3, which is preferable, but then she gets upset because she hasn't been able to clean.  I've stopped waiting and just started cleaning over the weekend, and i've already figured out when I could get stuff done around everyone's schedule.  But I'm going to continue to support her efforts to do things at home, but I'm pushing for her to slow down and take breaks so she's not too worn out by dinner and can't do anything.

Smurf 3 is doing very well. He's up to 3 lbs., 1 oz and hasn't started bottle feeding yet.  It looks good for him to gain weight quickly once he does start.  I've been debating on whether to post pictures/videos of him, and I decided against it simply for privacy reasons. 

I took Smurfs 1 and 2 to the pool today while their mom visited Smurf 3 at the hospital.  Smurf 2 won't put her head underwater, and Smurf 1 won't stop jumping in from the side of the pool.  If he could swim, he'd go off the diving board!!  I thought it would be harder to keep track of both of them, but they did well following directions and staying near me so that I could help them if needed.  It definitely wore them out to be at the pool for almost 2 hours.  We'll probably do it again on Sunday morning.

Work is a pain as usual.

Sleep has been... elusive.  Since I only can visit Smurf 3 after Smurfs 1 and 2 have gone to sleep and I've done some housework, I often don't see him until midnight.   I get back home around 1:45, then i'm up until 3 or 4 doing stuff.  I get back up around 8 or 9 and start my day.  I feel like i'm getting less sleep, but apparently it's the same amount just at different times.  However, I am feeling it around dinner time.

I realize how much more time I need to spend playing with my Smurfs.  I spent 30 minutes last night wrestling with Smurf 1 and 2 hours in the pool with the both of them.  They enjoyed it and wanted to do more stuff, which makes me feel as if I'm not giving them enough play time with me.  I know I don't have much extra time to give, but I might increase the level of activity we do so that they can get out all that excess energy and I can feel as if they had quality time with me.  One thing we did today was to vacuum out the car.  For most kids this is boring, but I turn it into a treasure hunt (removing all toys and non-garbage stuff), then I give them a hand-held vacuum and direct them where to go.  Afterwards, they get to beat up/shake out the floor mats, and then they sit in the car playing with the newly discovered old toys while I finish up all the extra cleaning.  They seem to be willing to do whatever chore I need to get done, so I guess i'll have them help me weed out some areas tomorrow after swimming; they'll need to take a bath anyway so I might as well get some free labor!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Smurfs, aka "This is the End"

Smurf 3 continues to do well, but they are concerned that his blood glucose levels are not as high as they should be.  They didn't have any idea why, but then they spoke with the doctor that delivered him.  Apparently the placenta was not fully attached to the uterus because of scar tissue,  and he should have technically not made it.  So with only partial attachment and help from the doctors he was able to make it to 32 weeks.  I'm thankful for the doctors and my wife for being able to make it as far as she did with Smurf 3, and just wait for him to come home. 

The problem this presents is that with the scar tissue we realize that having any more children might not work for us, which is saddening because we wanted 4 Smurfs.  However, we're not willing to risk my wife's nor any child's life just because of the idea of having 4 Smurfs. So barring any surgery to remove excess scar tissue (which is not something we think is worth the risk), we are done with having children.

On a lighter note, Smurf 2 made me laugh when they got home.  She was playing with a balloon and needed to wash her hands.  This was our exchange:

Me: Smurf 2, give me your balloon so you can wash your hands.

 S2: No daddy you can't hold my balloon.

Me: I can hold it if I want.  It's my money so I can hold it.

S2: Daddy you hold the money, but you can't hold my balloon.

The Smurfs like to have helium balloons, especially when they get to release them into the air.  I think it's cool as well to let a balloon go and watch it disappear into the clouds.  But I do hate regular balloons that just pop when you look at them.  I cringe whenever they get them and want to sit right next to me playing with them, knowing that at any moment they're going to pop.  I think I was frightened by one popping as a kid along with the clown that gave them (I abhor clowns).  But my kids like them, so I continue to blow them up, make water balloons, and fly helium balloons with them because it's nice to do something as simple as that to have fun with my kids.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

She's Home! aka "Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back!"

Yay!  The wife came home on Friday.  Although it doesn't change the level of burden I have, it's such a relief to just have her around.  Since she's still recovering I am still doing everything around the house (having to force her to sit still and stop trying to be superwoman) and with the kids.  She finally recognizes that she has to go slowly, so I'm running with the Smurfs, doing baths, household chores, etc.  However, it helps that she can take them for rides and join us to help watch them while they play.

Smurf 3 is doing very well for being premature.  He's now doing more oral intake of breast milk and will probably be started on a bottle by the end of the week.  His bloodwork is great and he's responding to our voices.  My wife spends more time with him because it's easier for her to visit him and me stay with the other two Smurfs, which works out well because i'm afraid to hold him at this time.  He's small enough that I worry about applying too much pressure to his body, so i've decided to wait until he's able to bottlefeed to hold him.  That way he should be bigger and stronger.  I'll get to see him every evening, which will be nice.  Hopefully he'll be home in 4 weeks or less.

Smurf 2 is just... Smurf 2.  She's so into wearing dresses and having her hair put up in certain styles.  What happened to my truck-playing, pants-wearing, daredevil little girl?  And she's only 3!  At least she's into spicy foods and has almost no qualms about trying new foods.  It's funny to watch her eat chips and hot salsa at a restaurant.  Her artwork is pretty good, and the patience she puts into her work is amazing.  I like the stories that go along with her pictures, and she often will redraw a picture several times in order to make it perfect to her.

Smurf 1 is such a hyperactive kid.  I think his mind works a lot like mine and he has a hard time dealing with his brain moving faster than his body.  I've been showing him various coping methods for kids that seem to work.  He's showing emerging reading skills because I was able to get him to sound out several short words.  He was quite happy to be able to read a few words (dog, stop, bus, cat, school, exit, and camp), and he can definitely write any word we spell to him.  His math skills are pretty good too, but could be better.  He can add and subtract up to +2 in his head but cannot do it on paper.

So today while my wife visits Smurf 3, I will have the kids outside playing on a sprinkle mat similar to this.  Also, i've got some water balloons, guns, and bubbles.  I'm hoping to wear them out enough to take an early nap (early for them being before 4 p.m.).  I need to finish some outdoor work, laundry, dishes, dusting, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.  I've got to work it out with my wife on how to divide the chores again because i've learned that I can't sit still now and just relax; I see everything that needs to be done and get the urge to just go at it.  If I sit still I start to fall asleep due to boredom, so it's back to taking care of things for me. 

Misspoken Words of the Day

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ramblings, aka "Another Day, Another Way to Stress"

So Smurf 3 is doing well.  There were some concerns about his liver functioning and potential brain bleeding, but all scans come back positive.  He still bruises and bleeds easier than he should, but it's getting better. His platelet count has stabilized and is improving, so he should not bleed as much.  It appears the same issues that my wife had are showing up in him, but they are definitely getting much better.  His suck reflex is very strong, so even though they have a nasal feeding tube in him they are giving him drops on his lips and in his mouth along with a pacifier to get him used to the coordination of eating and breathing.  And he is not on any breathing machines and such, so things are going really well for him.  However, I can't bring himself to visit him for long in the NICU.  It's a combination of the hospital (this hospital is great; I just hate hospitals), wanting him out of NICU, him being fragile so i'm afraid of accidentally hurting him (I have a hard time judging my strength), and then having to watch over the other Smurfs.  They cannot visit him because of their ages, so they stay with Momma Smurf in her room.  However, she cannot handle them as easily right now, so I try to limit myself so that she is not having increased difficulties.  Last time I left them, when I returned both Smurfs were in the hallway and had been trying to follow me when I left.  I know there are more serious things that could be happening and so i'm trying not to stress out my wife and the kids.  But I am going to have to find some time to shower.

At times my Smurfs irritate the hell out of me, and others they are cute.  I had a bit of both yesterday, but i'm not going to get into them.  I do like the fact that I can now explain things to them, wait about 20 minutes, and then check to see if they understand.  Granted, I still do a lot of misdirection or distract from questions which are difficult to answer, but overall I'm finding that by talking to them I get to increase their vocabulary and problem solving/critical thinking skills.

I hate eating out.  I used to like it, but I just don't like most fast foods anymore, and I don't like going to restaurants (although my Smurfs are very entertaining when they're not whining).  If I had a new grill at home I don't think I would ever eat out again. However, my wife likes to eat at certain places and the kids like to entertain other people, so I put up with it.  It just sucks that I can't order a true medium rare steak with the blood and juices coming out; I miss that.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Smurf 3 is Here! aka "Tonight's Da Night"

So my third child is here as of 5:50 p.m.  He was 15 inches long and 2 lbs, 14 oz. at 32 weeks.  I'm told that this was a good weight for him since to weeks ago he was estimated at 2 lbs. 2 oz.  The reason he was delivered today was because my wife's liver functioning changed quickly, so the doctors didn't want to waste any time.  He seems fine and has no physical issues; now it's a matter of time to see if there are any cognitive ones. 

As I watched him in the NICU, I began to think about all the things we will need to do at home.  We had already talked and agreed upon everything, but i've realized that a lot of it will fall on me because my wife will still be recovering when she returns home, and Smurf 3 will still be in the hospital.  Also, Smurf 1 and Smurf 2 are asking a lot of questions, especially about being able to see and touch Smurf 3.  So i'm having to deal with the sad, disappointed looks and mini-tantrums when they're told they cannot touch or visit him yet.

We've only told my family because they will not come here to bother us; they actually understand that they need to wait until he is able to come home and get used to us.  Her family?  They would ALL drive here tonight, set up camp, and try to spend about a week in town just to sit and stare at us.

When I started writing this I had the idea that this would help me sort out my thoughts and be able to just write as much as I want without worrying about someone reading or critiquing this; therefore I wouldn't have to follow any format and just stream out sentences based on my thoughts at the moment.  However, after today I see that I will most likely continue to write because I will have to stay at home with Smurf 3 for almost six months because we can't afford daycare for all three of them at the moment.  Right now I have the flexibility to work in the afternoons and evenings, which means that once Smurf 3 gets home I can arrange to stay with him during the day until we get our finances straight.  However I will be out of a job (unless i find another one) at the end of the year and may become a permanent stay-at-home dad at the time.  And right now I have to work since i'm the only one bringing in any money, but my wife also expects me to be at the hospital most of the days this week.  I've got a ton of paperwork to finish and to reschedule/schedule appointments, plus ensure that the other two smurfs make it to daycare in time to stay all day this week.  I definitely need to go out and exercise this week.

Speaking of exercise, I went on a walk/run with the Smurfs last night.  I put them in their wagon and walked up and down the hills in the neighborhood for 30 minutes.  I even ran down a few of the hills; when I was done, I was covered in sweat.  Of course they were fine, sipping on water and enjoying the breeze of being towed.  Normally on our walks we went slow because my wife could not walk as fast as I could. I think I will definitely do this again tomorrow night when the sun is almost down so I don't pass out from a heat stroke.