June 27, 2011

The 2nd anniversary of an epidural-free labor and the birth of my Emeroo

Emery Faith,

  Your two years old now. Two years in the scheme of life is next to nothing. I'm positive there are canned vegetables in our pantry right now with a longer shelf life then the 730 days you've lived on this Earth.

  Like most things I do I've procrastinated in writing this so it's actually a few days past your birthday and all. But hey there are only so many hours in a day. It was either write this late or buy presents and bake cupcakes late. I think we both agree on which was more important.

  It doesn't seem logical, this love I have for you. And I wish that somehow I could express just how much I do love you. There will never be enough words.  Not to long ago I had only three children to call my own. And then you came along and showed us just how much we were missing. You've reconstructed the whole entity that is this family of ours and filled gaps that we never even knew were there.


  Two years ago I had prepared for your birth in all the same ways I did your brother and sister. Bags were packed, hospital admittance forms were pre-filled, arrangements were made for your brother and sisters to stay with Nanna and Poppa, and your nursery was all ready waiting for your arrival. So when the big day came, off we went to the hospital. It's really the place to be if you when having a baby. Especially if you want an epidural to be involved. Which I did. Because why WOULDN'T you want effective pain management when bringing new life into this world? Except that didnt happen. There are a whole list of reasons of why it didnt but we'll save that for another time. The important thing is I gave birth to you NATURALLY kid. No meds of any kind. And I will repeat that to you each and every year on your birthday. Because it bears repeating. On that day it was like I got a gold medal in the Labor Olympics. Today it's like I won the offspring lottery, Super Bowl and Olympics all in one.

  There are so many things that you do that make you the person you are. Your our little tongue-sucking baby who drags as many blankies as you can wherever you go. You will dance at the drop of a beat, all shaking hips and swinging arms, full of latin flair. Your fearless, jumping and climbing without a hestitation or second look. You are my little cuddle baby who has always been a Mommy's girl following me around the house or squeezed in next to me on the couch. These days you love to point out other people's baby's and have begun to play with baby dolls that you push around in their mini baby doll stroller. You love buckles and carry around a puppy dog backpack leash thing that I bought to try to contain you in public just so that you can constantly fasten the buckle. Your a little prodigy soaking up life around you and imitating everything you see, saying everything you hear.

  On your birthday you woke up your normal happy self, laughing and playing from your crib until I came to get you and sing Happy Birthday to you for the first of many times that day. We waited until Daddy got home from work and then after dinner it was time for you to blow out your candles for the first real time and open presents all by yourself.

 Much like your 1st birthday, shoving your face directly into the cupcake was your preffered method of eating, allowing for maximum icing consumption.

 After we got you all jacked up on sugar we headed outside to let you run and play while I tried to take pictures of you in your pink pouffy skirt. 'Cause really what better day to wear a pink pouffy skirt then on your birthday? You had other ideas though as you ran around like the wild woman you are. A good 85% of the pictures I take of you are from the back as you run away laughing at the fool who tries to contain you.

  I can't believe your two already. It's like the sands of time are slipping right through my fingers. In some ways I think its hardest for me to watch you grow in comparison to your siblings. We aren't planning on having any more children so watching you outgrow your baby days has a finality to it that I've never had to process before. I texted my friend Kalyn who lives in another state a picture of your cupcakes and said I was going to cry all over them. She told me not to cry that your only going to be 2, not 18. What she doesn't realize is that life around you moves in supersonic speed and that in Emery time you'll be 18 in like 6 months. At least I know that's how it will feel 16 years from now when I'm wondering how I got there so quickly in that corner rocking from the effects of empty nest syndrome. 'Cause when your 18 that empty nest syndrome is gonna eff all my stuff up. All of it.

June 21, 2011


  I’ve been on a technological hiatus of sorts for the past few weeks while I just spend as much time with the kids as I can during the summer. There’s been a noticeable and surprisingly painless reduction of time blogging, Facebooking and tweeting. The blogging and tweeting is relatively new and not hard to put aside but the lack of Facebooking is HUGE for me. Especially given the fact that I’m a Facebookaholic and all. Instead we’ve been spending our days swimming, pretending to be dragons, dancing the nights away with glow sticks, running around like wild banshees, cleaning like indentured servants, watching movies for only $1 at the theater, and hanging out with friends. Typical summer stuff that will stick in all of our brains as some of the best days ever.

  Matter of fact we’ve (and by we I mean I’ve) been so oblivious to everything else that it just hit me that Emery’s second birthday is on Saturday and that the fourth of July is only two weeks away. Emery’s birthday will most likely be a low key family affair, other than my semi mental breakdown over the realization that our household is about to be baby-less for the first time in five years. Sigh. The ending of an era and all that jazz. Whatever.

  Skipping ahead…. July 4th is always kinda a big deal to us in a very relaxed, small town way. And while I really look forward to all the traditional things that we do every year on the 4th it always seems like the school year starts only a blink after the firework show is done. Things might be a little different this year because Jerry’s new job doesn’t give him the leniency in his work schedule that we’ve enjoyed in years past for fun family days like the 4th. Chances are he will have to work for at least part of the day and will miss out on going to the parade with us. So just a quick recap: ending of an era and a break in family traditions. Whatever squared.

Her kung fu is strong.

Trampoline fun with Caleb and Ella

Kayley blowing bubbles


Emery clutching her drink and stumbling around
 like an angry drunk with her mismatched shoes,
doggy, too small swim cover up, and a disgruntled look.

Ella at the park

June 17, 2011

Fess Up Friday

1. I'm attempting to learn how to be more computer code savvy. Considering that I'm positive that computer code was initially scripted by aliens and I'm a self taught student from the school of Google this could be a lengthy process.

2. What started out as a small missing sock pile has grown over time into a laundry hamper full of ALL of the kids socks making Search and Rescue missions necessary on those random summer days when socks are needed. I blame the magical dryer that steals socks and repays me in extra dryer sheets.

3. My oldest child (Kayley) is really my step-daughter but I've been her Momma and loved her with my whole heart since she was 2. I am hers and she is mine. Stuck like glue we are.

June 16, 2011

Parenting 101

Below are some random musings on parenting in general for you to enjoy or mock. Your call. Either way my list is sure to grow regardless.

Parenting 101

  • The best time to engage the child door lock is before you even bring that precious bundle of joy home from the hospital. Otherwise you chance forgetting about it until a year later when all the sudden you hear the thump of a handle being pulled while your driving 70 mph down the hwy.
  • Daughters on the brink of puberty don’t have the willpower to refrain from spraying half a bottle of perfume on themselves. Save yourself the agony and monitor their perfume application much like you would a narcotic cough syrup that is locked away and dispensed under heavy supervision. (This is probably true for boys who have begun to discover girls, but I’ve got a few more years until I can test that theory out)
  • When in doubt on any aspect of caring for a child think of how you would deal with it if you were caring for your pet, a drunk, or the elderly. Chances are the answer will come to you.
  • Magic Erasers are your best friend.
  • If your child is one of those kids that throws fits in public when they don’t get their way and you either lack the capability or the desire to keep them under control then do everyone a favor and keep them at home. And then make sure you use birth control and are saving away bail money for future arrests. Cause one of y’all are getting locked up eventually.
  • The best time to introduce your child to vegetables and healthy eating is from their very first bites of solid foods. And if you one day you find yourself arguing with your offspring about the merits of eating vegetables just remember who’s the boss and take away all unhealthy snacks until they begin to eat their veggies. Or dress them in baggier, too large clothing the next day and tell them they must be shrinking from not eating their veggies. Whichever works best for you.
  • You can never take too many pictures of your children. Ever.
  • When debating on whether or not to take your child to the hospital for a mysterious illness, or minor injury a good google search can be immeasurably helpful in helping you make the final decision. Clicking on the images tab though will result in a trip to the ER every time.
  • Never underestimate the power of a good bribe. Or a reward based incentive  as I like to call them.
  • Kids, much like dogs, can smell fear. Never show fear.
  • You should always be your child’s biggest advocate. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your child against others. Especially at Wal-Mart.
  • Always check for soccer and baseball cleats at a good consignment store first. Chances are they have some in like new condition since kids feet grow so fast and you can save you some of your hard earned money.
  • Keeping your children involved in a sport of some sort will teach them invaluable lessons in character, sportsmanship, and will give them a sense of community. Meanwhile you can bask in the fellowship of the other parents on the sidelines. Its like soccer with a side of therapy!
  • When planning a family outing in a crowded place adopt field trip rules complete with a buddy system and coordinating outfits. That way it’s easier to pick your child out in a crowd AND they photograph better. SCORE!
  • Clean out where your children sit in the car frequently and well. Or be prepared to consult with the CDC on what type of fungus is growing beneath their car seat.
  • Please, for the love of all that’s holy, always buckle your children into the proper car seat, booster seat, or seat belt. If you’re an idiot who doesn’t buckle, that’s on you. They at least deserve a chance to survive if a wreck should happen.
  • When it comes to parenting (and life in general) you should always say what you mean and mean what you say.
  • At some point in life your child will be smarter than you. It's called evolotion. And you will probably curl into a ball and cry when that day comes.
  • Having the number for a good therapist WILL come in handy at some point in one of your lives. Better to research them now and save the number away then to wait for later when alcohol will likely be a factor in your decision making process.

June 15, 2011

A hypocritical mess

Uploading and editing pictures from my “best day EVER” (that 's a direct quote from the kids, but they say that at least a few times a week so take it with a grain of salt) with the kiddo’s today has made a few things abundantly clear to me. One, my children are ridiculously cute. Gobble ‘em up, squeeze ‘em tight, photograph ‘em often cute. I love how much of their personality shines through in pictures almost as much as I love how they all look so much alike and yet different at the same time.

 Two, they are growing at a ridiculous rate. I look at each one of them and I remember the babies that they were and I wonder how I blinked my eyes and now I’m not cuddling sweet, tiny helpless babies anymore. Now I’m watching these children so full of potential, personality and  their own idea's run around by themselves with sure feet that no longer need me there to guide them.

 It seems like only minutes ago that our entire life was dictated by what time they needed to eat and nap,making sure they had pooped recently, and packing half of our house into the diaper bag just to go pick up a gallon of milk. It was during those sleep deprived days that Jerry and I began a game that we play to this day. It’s our very own version of chicken but instead of waiting to see who will swerve first it’s a battle to see who can pretend to sleep for the longest amount of time before the other gives into the battle cries being issued from the crib. It's a hardcore battle of wills and takes alot of practice to perfect. Bonus points are issued if you can be so convincing that the loser thinks that you truly slept through the screaming banshees down the hall, for all you other parent's out there looking to play along at home on your own. You know you wanna, with a sweet prize like 5 more minutes of sleep on the line.

 I still remember that unique baby smell that lingered in the air for so long here, and how the tiny creases in their necks had the perpetual smell of slightly sour milk and baby lotion. Highly addictive stuff, that baby neck smell. Part of the reason we have four kids is because of that smell. All you non-breeders can gag all you want, one day if you’re lucky enough you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. When you find yourselves sniffing your child’s neck like a crack head getting their first fix of the day you’ll be all oh, that’s what she meant. It’ll be a lightbulb moment, or an “aha moment” for all you Oprah fans out there.  

 I remember laying in bed at night imagining what it would be like the first time they came running into our room to climb into bed with us, what the pitter patter of those tiny feet would sound like.  Trying to envision what they would look like when the chubbiness of babyhood had started to wane, what they would sound like when baby gurgles became baby chatter, and what kind of children would they grow to be.  Even my best dreams could have never hinted at just how amazingly awesome each of them would become.

 Right now its like they’ve got the whole wide world in the palm of their hands and they know it. They know they can do anything, be anything, go anywhere and do everything. They have dreams and aspirations and the world is their oyster. I see them absorbing life and learning and growing and I’m humbled. They are everything that is good and perfect in this world and in a way I want to become the best kind of parent and the worst all at the same time.

 I want to encourage them to venture out and make their own path and yet keep them chained to my side. I want them to learn and yet keep them ignorant so that I’m still the smartest person in the world to them. They should play with others, yet never forget about me. I want them to stay all night in their beds but still spend plenty of time cuddling with me. I want them to sing their own songs but still wait for me to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” at bedtime. They should pray on their own but still recite the Lord’s Prayer with us.  Basically, I’m a hypocritical mess.

 I was never one of those women who felt my biological clock ticking or pressure to have children. But damn if I don’t hear that clock ticking away each second of their childhood loud and clear. Each little tick is a transition that I’m not sure I’m ready for. Each day is an adventure with them and I wake up each morning loving them more than I did the night before as impossible as that seems. I know that I should look forward to how much more is still to come and I do. Believe me I do. And I cant wait to get there, I just wish it would come a little slower. A lot slower. I want to stretch each minute out to its limit and breathe my time with them in. Because no matter how long it is it’ll never be enough.

June 10, 2011

Fess Up Friday

Each week on my Facebook page (the personal one, not the photography one) I fess up to three random facts/quirks of my life. I do that for a few reasons. In part because there is so much more to me than most people in my life will ever realize, me being the introvert that I am, but I also do it because I think the world would be a better place if we all shared pieces of ourselves (for better or worse) with each other. I think we would all be amazed at just how much we have in common with each other that stays hidden away inside for whatever reason.

There are a few friends of mine who are no longer on Facebook but are aware of my Friday postings and they asked if I would also include my Fess Up Friday's on my blog as well. Ask and ye shall receive! Here's what I'm fessing up to this Friday:

1. Amongst the rules that children are taught growing up shoud be YE SHALL ALWAYS REPLACE THE EMPTY TOILET PAPER ROLL YOU CONSUME. I am currently imparting that life lesson on my children who are struggling with that concept much like their father occasionally has.

 2. My age seems to dictate the amount of time I talk on the phone. As I age my talking time decreases while my texting increases.

3.I have always kept my children on a schedule. Not a strict militant minute by minute regiment but an orderly flow of sequenced events that gives them comfort and security in knowing what comes next. From birth their days have been mapped out in a predictible pattern and I truly believe that has played a part in them being the smart, confident, well-behaved children that they are.

June 9, 2011

Little Miss Smarty Pants

Ella's John Hancock
    Impressive for a three year old. And sadly, it's probably more legible then Mommy's. We've spent several days this week coloring and after watching her big brother Caleb write his name on his pictures she wanted to be able to do the same. So I wrote her name once for her at the top of the page and instantly she took to it like a duck to water.

    Without any help from moi she was able to write her name all by herself. I wish I could take more credit for teaching her a developmental milestone but really it was all her and that genius brain of hers. Her head measurements from birth have always registered in the 95th percentile which for the first 18 months or so gave a bobble head effect of sorts to her. I always knew she would grow into the head but I could've never guessed at just how smart she would be. The bigger the head the bigger the brain I say.
    The art form of writing is almost extinct in this day in age. When I recently came across an old binder full of notes I had taken for a class in college I couldn’t help but marvel at my beautiful handwriting. It was pretty and loopy and most of all legible. Less than a decade later and anything I scrawl on paper is most times indecipherable even to me.

    I'm so proud of her and all of her accomplishments but I can't help but wonder if she shouldn't be learning how to type and generate computer code instead. Given that Ella has aspirations of world domination I'm sure that she'll Facebooking, blogging and twittering any day now. Keep a lookout for @TheWorldIsMine and stay abreast of her quest to rule the world. It's sure to be soon.

June 8, 2011


Every night before I go to bed I check on the kids. To make sure they are where they are supposed to be, are sleeping peacefully and are tucked into bed comfortably instead of the contorted arrangements they like to adapt once they drift off into la la land. The ways we can find them are impressive to say the least. Dangling off the bed with only a third of their body weight keeping them from crashing to the ground, actually on the floor, legs stuck in between crib slats, blankets covering heads, sitting up, etc. If there were a sleep position Olympics I'd have some real gold medal contenders.

Some nights are quieter then others, with no children migrating to our bed, waking from a bad dream crying or sleep walking. And then there are the days that are so crazy that I know before the teeth are brushed or the prayers said that I'm not lucky enough the keep the crazy from extending into night time.

So yesterday after Emery's diaper debacle, the lamp that she broke, her near miss with 3rd degree burns (Fearless Emer's dragged over a chair and climbed onto the kitchen counter by the stove while I was cooking. And all in under a minute while I ran to answer the front door really quick. Like a ninja that one is) and then the nighttime heat rash that appeared on her back I was sure Emery had more in store for me.

When the hubs got home from work at 11 o'clock last night I sent him to go check on them. Let him deal with whatever destruction may be awaiting. Until he came to me all panicked to tell me to come look at this:

Whoa. Immediate freak-out city. Because here's the thing. The term "better safe then sorry" doesn't even begin to cover how paranoid we are as parents. We have spent more then one night in a hospital with the kiddo's afraid that some ailment of theirs was a sign of something more severe or at the very least needed immediate medical attention. But when it comes to eye swelling we are PAIR-RA-NOID. Because of this:

When Caleb was a little over two he started swelling TREMENDOUSLY. In this picture his entire face (as well as the rest of his body) was extremely swollen. From April until September his poor little body just kept swelling, larger and larger. We went to endless amounts of doctors visits, and consulted with no less than 7 different specialists to try to find out what was wrong. And in the end we did find out but not until he was hospitalized for several days at Egleston Hospital in Atlanta and had to undergo blood transfusions, and a variety of other procedures to drain the fluids from his body and keep him from going into kidney failure. We found out that Caleb has Nephrotic Syndrome, which while we obviously wish he didn't have this illness it sure as heck beats the other alternative diagnosis that were explored like cancer.

So we freaked our freak, dragged Ella  out of bed (thanks Universe you pulled a quick one there. Throwing a minor catastrophe at us at night and on a different kid then the one we expected) , called the doctor (that's what they get paid the big bucks for, midnight calls from paranoid parents from us) dosed her up with Benadryl and then proceeded to enjoy the hilarity that is Ella hopped up on Benadryl. She had never had Benadryl before so I fully expected her to immediately fall asleep like I do. Nope, she began rambling like a drunk at happy hour and once we were reassured by our doctor that all would be well we were able to settle down, cuddle our princess and enjoy the show she provided free of charge. All we had to provide was the meds.

Quick Update: her eye is still noticeably swollen but is much better then yesterday and after seeing the doctor today we expect that it should be back to normal soon since it doesn’t appear to be infected.

June 7, 2011

Best Birth Control EVER

    When I was still up at 1:30 this morning a few things were running through my mind. Like how I’d only have 7 hours (at best) to sleep, what to cook for dinner tonight without using the oven considering I’m pretty sure  confident I could just cook off solar power outside being that the sun is like 200 feet from my window and all. And then I thought about what I would post on here today. Something witty, endearing and full of pictures I thought. Something that would make a memorable impression and keep people coming back for more. Well it’ll be memorable, of that I’m sure but as for the rest? Yeah, I'll let you decide about that. Beware that it’s not for the faint of heart or those who are actively trying to conceive a child.

     You would think that after four kids I would have this whole parenting thing down pat, and that not much could surprise me. WRONG. When it comes to Emery my handy dandy, one size fits all parenting mold has been shattered and thrown out the window.  What happened when I heard a cheerful Emery calling for me after waking up from naptime has happened before. Jailor’s around the world deal with this daily, and at the time of THE OCCURANCE Emery was indeed in a jail of sorts. You see, my beautiful, delicate, precious baby girl became a rebel without a cause during naptime. Trapped behind bars, she apparently had enough of conforming to the demands of a diaper and decided to take matters into her own hands. By removing her diaper at some point after waking up and then taking care of all (and I do mean ALL) of her potty business. Sans diaper. Oh the horror!

     As you can imagine I’ve excluded the planned pictures for today. You can thank me later.  They don’t make a disinfectant strong enough to erase the grossness of the scene of that crime. I know Emer’s loves bath time and all but COME ON. That is such a party foul. And while I’m sure you would have gone about your day blissfully ignorant of the goings on here at casa Medrano I’m sharing this with you anyway. Partly to be your therapist and encourage you to realize that whatever crap you’ve dealt with today, at least it wasn’t this crap. Literally.  And also because if Emery keeps evolving along the same path that she has for these first two years of her life I’m going to need this sort of documentation sooner rather then later. I can see it now. “I said NO Emery you cannot go incite a riot at the pre-school, I don’t care WHAT she said that made you mad. Don’t make me read your friends the story of what you did that time in your crib. Better yet, how about I give their mothers my blog address and let them see what they're getting into by inviting you over to play.” Hmm, maybe I should take pictures next time…


June 6, 2011

An upgraded, newer me

     There’s not a doubt in my mind that only existing friends and family are currently reading my blog. Those random people of the internet could care less about some woman in Georgia with enough kids to form a sports team and a start up blog. But I am hopeful that one day strangers, friends of friends and distant, out of touch family members will stumble across this little blog o' mine, settle in, read it and then come back to visit again. Because the person I am inside is a social butterfly that enjoys meeting new people, sharing life stories and learning from other's experiences. I like to think of myself as a sponge, soaking up the best that friends have to offer and in turn becoming a better person, bit by bit.

     In every day life though I'm somewhat of a hermit who is most comfortable in surroundings that I've adapted to, with people who I know are A, sane (because it's a CAH-RAZY world out there these days) and B, have a sense of humor (life is so much better when you can laugh about it). That should make it easy enough to interact with others right? Except that my list of desirable traits in people is waaaayyyyy shorter then the list detailing the crap people can do that will ensure I avoid them at all costs. And oh my, what a lengthy list that is. But that's a story for another day.

     So here’s a glimpse into my family just so you can put some faces to names if you don’t already know them. Your welcome. Here we all are.


            There is so much more to us then just one picture or one blog post could say. So instead of rambling on about our whole life story here and now I'll share it piece by piece over the following days, months and years. And hopefully one day I'll have the story of our life all mapped out here to come to and reminisce, to remember times otherwise forgotten and to share with friends both new and old.

     Well that’s my little attempt at a meet and greet of sort’s for those who either don’t know me or haven’t seen me since those awkward days of high school when our whole world revolved around prom dates, pushing boundaries, getting our first car and counting down the days until graduation when that magical diploma would at last mark us as the grown adults we already knew we were. Back before life smacked some much needed common sense into our delusional little minds. Who I am now is much different then who I was then. I've grown, matured and evolved into Erica 2.0, 3.0 and now 4.0. But I know version 5.0 is on the horizon and it’s getting closer every minute. I can’t wait to embrace it, it’s sure to be the best me yet.

June 3, 2011

Because crazy always makes a great first impression

    When it comes to life in general I’m as impatient as a person can be. But when it comes to my kids I like to think I totally rock in the whole patient, nurturing, loving mom department. The baby colored on the wall? Time to break out the magic eraser. You want to play hair shop and yank half the hair out of my head? Here’s a brush. You want to pretend to be a musician at 8 am? Here’s the Barbie guitar, baby piano, drums and maracas’. Bonus points if you can all sing together while you channel your inner Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. Practice up and we’re hitting the road baby.  
     And then there are times when they push me to that line, linger there for a minute as if they’re testing the waters and then WHAM push me right over that edge. The edge where suddenly I’m yelling for everyone to go to timeout, wild hand gestures are flailing around to emphasize that YEP, MOM JUST WENT CRAZY and suddenly I’m hearing phrases coming out of my mouth that are wildly dictatorial. While the success rate of a little bit of crazy is just about 100% when used in moderation, I hate it. Mostly I resent that afterwards I feel like I lost control. Because my kids are amazing, and that carelessly spilled cup of juice, that picture that got knocked down, those kids who bumped heads and are now wailing after I told them for the 10th time to settle down before someone gets hurt, well they don’t deserve the crazy mom, regardless of how seldom she appears.
     It’s very rarely what they do that sends me over the edge; it’s more an accumulation of a variety of mishaps in a short period of time. I swear at times it seems like they must have huddled up, conferred about their level of boredom and then took bets on who could get Momma to go crazy and in what amount of time. I bet the winner gets secreted stashes of pixie sticks (or as I like to call it, kiddy crack) that were hidden away last Halloween. So I’m working on becoming a more serene Momma, and rolling with the punches. Mainly just to mess up the betting pool and freak them out, but also because I know that one day I’m going to miss all of this. One day they won’t be babies, or toddlers or even kids anymore. And these childish antics will progress into teenage ones that will inevitably land one, if not all, of us in therapy. Then they’ll be gone, adults out in the world, fending for themselves without me there to micromanage every detail of their life.
     So despite the short term effects of a calmer, quieter, cleaner household that  will always follow a bout of crazy; I think I’d rather soak in the contained chaos that usually reigns here in this casa of ours. Because that’s where the sound of giggles trail up and down the halls, happy memories are made, smothering amounts of hugs and kisses are given and received and where each night four amazingly smart and beautiful children lay down their heads and go to sleep knowing how much they are loved. And loved they are, more than they will ever know.