Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Teaching Thankfulness

We were sitting at dinner, talking about the importance of manners. With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to remind the kids again about how to be a cheerful giver and a cheerful receiver, even if the gift is not what they want.

We role played a couple of things that we could say to a gift giver, "Thank you so much for this ice scraper! I can use it to help Mommy and Daddy!" "Thank you for the sweater with the colorful reindeer and the Christmas tree on it. It was so nice of you to think of me!"

I reminded them that no matter what, we are to be thankful for the gifts we receive, as someone put thought into them and we do not ever want to hurt people's feelings.

Emma chimed in, "But mommy, what if someone gives me a head for Christmas? And I have to take my head off to use it? Do I still have to be grateful and nice and say thank you?"

OK, we are to be be thankful for most gifts. Severed heads are an exclusion.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Blogging Returns

Hey all!! I'm still here, still blogging. OK, I know it doesn't really count as "blogging" when I start a post and never finish it, leaving it my drafts folder for no one to read. Yes, I have done that several times recently. I know, it's horrible.

I will be back to my former blogging glory soon, so look for new posts coming soon! Things are crazy around here (I know, it's shocking!) and in the next three weeks we have Christmas (yay!) and birthdays for all three boys. I am almost done with my shopping, wrapping, and planning. I haven't even started planning the twins' birthday party, which is in three days. People are coming but I don't know what they are eating, or what we are playing, or what the cake will look like, or if we will be able to see my kitchen counter by then. Yup, I'm in trouble.

The twins are turning four. Wow.

Well, I gotta go and let them out of time out. That happens a lot around here lately. I'll be back soon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Of Pedophiles, the First Amendment, and Amazon.com

Oh good heavens, I'm riled up.

I don't use this blog as a way to rant and rave about different things that catch my attention, I do believe in standing up for what you believe in. I think if you save your rant for those most important to you, you will have much greater power to inflict change. I feel the need to get up on my soapbox on this one. What started this whole thing for me was my attention pointed to THIS article by BlogHer.

Many of you are aware of the outcry yesterday over the self-published book available for purchase on Amazon.com titled "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure." The author's book description is as follows: "This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught."

The content of this book contains helpful hints like where to buy condoms to fit anyone under the age of thirteen. You know, to make these situations safer. Apparently he shares details of intimate encounters with children from the child's point of view, where the children are not feeling victimized, but instead feeling loved and nurtured.

Feel free to go throw up. I'll still be here when you come back.

While I understand that Amazon cannot monitor everything that is self-published on their site, this clearly violates their content guidelines and should have been removed upon first protest, and not only after thousands agreed to boycott Amazon.com via Facebook and Twitter; and after the news got a hold of the story. (Did you know that on the news websites they have a place where you can tip them off to a breaking story? And from my experience yesterday, they get back to you quickly when it's a story like this. Good job, Q13Fox News.) And yes, as of this morning, the book is no longer for sale at Amazon.com.

There seem to be two sides to this debate. To clarify, I never heard a single person in support of this book or it's contents, that's not the issue at all. But I have heard a few people in support of letting it remain on Amazon.com as a result of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and the press.

The argument being that this guy who published this book has the right to do so under the First Amendment, and that by making an exception in this case can lead to a precedent of not allowing offensive material to be published just because the majority doesn't like it. I get that. But offensive is a matter of opinion. Illegal is not.

Yes, it's true that Amazon.com sells "Mein Kampf", Hitler's anti-Semitic text. And we "do not claim they are complicit in hate crimes against the Jews." (Quoted from one of my Facebook comments yesterday.) While I agree that this may come across as a bit of a hypocritical situation, it is not at all. What Hitler did was horrible, but it was history. We cannot ban all books with information about the holocaust under the guise of not complying with hate crimes. History books are filled with horrendous crimes against all types of people, but this is not the issue at hand.

The issue being, are people allowed to publish whatever they want under the First Amendment, even if those things are instructing others how to best commit a felony?

I think we all know that the First Amendment does not protect us in all situations. I cannot go into an airport and yell, "I have a bomb!" I cannot go through a White House tour and say, "Where's the president? Cuz I'm gonna kill him!" Free speech does not apply to every American all the time.

One commented stated (and no, I'm not going to name names, as my friends have the right to state their opinions to me in a private manner through Facebook without the threat of being publicly blogged later,) this is the type of thing that can lead, through many steps of course, to a total censorship of anything remotely pornographic or offensive, including the ban of breastfeeding and breastfeeding materials.

Is this the truth? Well, its a stretch, but I could see how that might be justifiable in the minds of some.

By letting this book remain, we keep the author's rights intact and don't rock the boat, so to say, starting a floodgate of censorship. OK, good point.

But it doesn't end there. We can't assume that by doing nothing, nothing will be the result.

So let's go there. Let's pretend that the book hadn't been pulled from the shelves. What then? Do we honestly believe that by protecting the First Amendment rights of those who are purporting to commit a felony, that we are not setting a precedent by doing so?

What about the right to peaceably assemble? In the same world where we look at the what if's, where we use our imagination to see what is down the road, do we not see a group of pedophiles having informational meetings, protected under the First Amendment? Do we not see their meetings advertised with little fliers at the grocery store, "Pedophiles: learn how to love children and not get caught," with tear-off tabs with an e-mail address or phone number? And God forbid anyone protest these little gatherings where pedophiles share secrets and tips for committing their crimes, I mean, we surely can't violate the rights of those who do things that we feel are offensive.

Or can we?

Where do we draw the line? Doing nothing is doing something. When you refuse to act, you are making a choice. Standing in support of Free Speech is noble, and I have to say I have great admiration for those who stood in support of the First Amendment in this situation, considering how horrendous the topic is. But how far should our freedoms go?

I love the quote by Zig Ziglar, "One of the greatest disasters of our time is our universal acceptance of the word "tolerance" as a great virtue." I have no tolerance for pedophiles. I have no tolerance for the belief that they have a right to inform other pedophiles how to violate and ruin the lives of innocent children.

I would sincerely like to know why this book isn't considered probable cause for searching this guy's house and arresting him.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Wrath Of Drew

Once again, this is a post started a couple weeks ago, and never published. I finally found twelve seconds where Drew was strapped in somewhere, and enamored with something so that he isn't trying to unbuckle himself and fling headfirst across the kitchen floor, and could finish it. Enjoy!

Drew is at it again.

My sister-in-law, Holly said to me a while ago, "You know, I used to think that God gave you twins as paybacks since Emma was such an easy baby. Now I know God gave you twins to prepare you for Drew."

I'd have to agree.

(And no, we don't actually believe that God EVER does things to "get back at people". It's just kinda funny.)

Yesterday Drew showed his abilities to push the chair across the dining room, use it as a stepladder to get up on the arts and crafts cabinet, and then use something he found to knock the cup of kid-safe scissors down on top of himself, although he managed to catch a few pair on their way down and play with them.

No, I didn't hear it. Yes, I do have to pee on occasion.

He also got into my sewing stuff and tried to use a straight pin as a q-tip. I caught him just a half-inch before he would have pierced his eardrum. I also found him playing with a barbecue lighter, and he also pushed the chair up to the stove, where he snitched freshly-baked cookies off the pan.

We have been using high places as a way to keep him out of stuff, since he has known for months how to open the child-proof locks. Now, with no place to put anything that can be used for terror and bodily injury by Mr. My-Abilities-Clearly-Surpass-My-Age, we are definitely up a creek made of feces without a propelling device.

This morning, I decided to ease my dinnertime burden and put dinner in the crock pot. There are two beef roasts, about five pounds of potatoes, and a few carrots, onion, and garlic cloves simmering away, making my house smell lovely right now. It was a good decision, but not without sacrifice.

For while I was busy chopping and searing, Drew was getting into the scissors again (apparently, Emma didn't listen when I told her to put them away after she did her homework last night) and put three slices in his favorite John Deere shirt that he has been wearing for two days because he refuses to take it off.

Fan-tabulous.

My friend Erin came over to help wrangle the kids so that I could get more stuff done, and even with both of us in the room, watching closely, Drew managed to sneak over to the iron, climb up on a chair and burn himself, all in about three tenths of a second. Luckily the iron had been unplugged, but it hadn't cooled down enough yet and he managed to get a good blister on his hand. However, he didn't cry, just said "HOT!" and got down. I didn't notice the blister till later, I had assumed that since he didn't cry, he didn't get burned. Silly me, forgetting about the fact that he's not really human.

I am working on a new keep-Drew-out-of-stuff plan. Either I need to get one of those government-issued hand print readers that will only allow cabinets to be opened by me and Marty, or I need to constantly order take-out and get myself a catheter bag, so that I have the ability to do nothing but follow him around and watch him ever-so-closely every second of every day.

Or, I need a bigger house. I try not to live in the world of "if only", but seriously, I really think an office with a door that could lock would solve all my current problems.

Now accepting donations of cash, check, and winning lotto tickets.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Listen to Mother

My grandpa set his house on fire as a kid.

To be honest, I don't know if it was my grandpa or his brother that did it. My grandpa has been gone for close to twenty years now, and I have heard the story both ways. The story is the same, but the guilty party might be Bob instead of Ken. But for the sake of the tale, we'll say it was my Grandpa.

Grandpa and Uncle Bob were boys. And no, I don't mean that is the stating the obvious sense, but more that they were boys who acted like boys. They got into a lot of trouble, and had a lot of fun. One day, Grandpa was told to go get some firewood and start a fire. Being the type who liked to exasperate his mother, got the firewood and then asked, "Where should I light the fire?" His mother, having five kids in a short period of time including twins (yes, that's where I got it, thanks, Great-Grandma!) answered sarcastically, "Where do you think you should light it? In the middle of the kitchen!"

Once again, sarcasm was lost on him. Or, he was just such a stubborn little boy that he decided that this would be the one time he listened attentively to his mother, because light a fire in the middle of the kitchen floor is exactly what he did.

As far as I know, he didn't burn the house down, but there was quite a bit of damage to the kitchen, and the floor needed to be replaced.

And my mother is saying she sees a lot of Grandpa in Drew. Between my Grandpa's genes and my Dad's, I think I'm in real trouble.

So when someone calls and asks how the kids are doing, and I answer, "Well, they haven't set the house on fire!", it's not just a joke or an exaggeration. I'm actually pretty pleased with that one.

I think I'll stick to using the furnace.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Word of the Day is: Sarcasm

Oh my goodness! In perusing my drafts folder, I came across this little tidbit that I had no idea I had never published. This was from back in August. Enjoy!!

Last night was bath night. Usually Drew and Emma take a bath together, and then Grant and Ben go after. I don't know why this is, but it works. And Drew is much more likely to survive bath time by not being with his rambunctious brothers.

Last night, we mixed it up for whatever reason, and I started with Drew and Ben. Ben really wanted a bath with Drew, and they had a good time. When Drew was done, Grant hopped in and he and Ben were done at the same time.

I went out and talked to Emma who was happily petting her cat. "Babe, it's your bath time," I said.

"Mom, I'm really having fun spending time with Teddy, can I just do this a little longer?"

"Sure, babe, but all the boys are done and it's your turn, so you need to hurry."

"What? I don't get my bath with Drew?!?" Horrified, she suddenly realized she would be bathing alone.

"Don't worry, sweetie," I joked with her, "you can take a bath with Teddy if you want."

Note to self: Never joke with a six year old when it comes to bathing with a cat.

Our friend Kelina was over, and we were chatting and dressing little boys, and generally not paying too close attention to Emma. Suddenly, I heard Marty say, "She did know we were joking when we said she could take a bath with her cat, right?!?"

I looked up. Emma was gone. The cat was gone.

Suddenly we heard, coming from the bathroom-

Thunk.

Sploosh.

"AYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!"


The bloodcurdling scream strongly suggested that perhaps, she had missed the sarcasm in our voice when we told her that bathing with her cat was a good idea.

We ran to the bathroom and opened the door to see a streak of soaking-wet, bubble covered fur, racing out of the bathroom and straight to the front door, making his petrified escape out of our crazy world. Emma was standing in a corner, hiding behind a towel, sobbing, bleeding, and covered in wet cat fur.

We tried to comfort her, but were unsuccessful for a while as we were so overcome with laughter that we could not speak.

She survived, and the cat did come back home late that night, smelling sweetly of princess bubble bath.

My bad.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Children That Will Be Fantastic Adults (If They Make It That Far)

Perseverance.

Outside the box thinking.

Follow through.

Fearlessness.

Determination.

Creative problem solving.

The ability to rise up against failure and try again and again.

All things that are fantastic qualities in an adult, right? I do believe that the above list would describe a very successful person.

But when those qualities are highly present in children, well, things get a bit trickier.

"Emma, how did you get on the roof of the shed?"

"OK boys, I understand you just wanted to make a tightrope high up in the air. But pulling out your dresser drawers to walk along the edge is really not a good idea."

"Drew, where did you find that puzzle?" Drew: "Up, up!" Me: "Yes, I know it was on top of the fridge, but how on earth did you get it down?" (Drew giggled and ran away.)

Emma: "Mommy, do you think Drew is super?" Me: "Of course, I think all of you kids are super." Emma: "No, Mommy, do you think he has super powers, like Jack Jack in the Incredibles? 'Cuz he does some crazy stuff."

Yeah.

A couple weeks ago we had our first injury-related ER trip. Drew, who will be two in January, has been nicknamed Monkey-Boy for his abilities to do his crazy stuff. Either he is the most fearless creative problem solver of them all, or he has the power of levitation, but only when no one is looking.

Well, he decided to demonstrate his money-like skills and showed his wonderful ability to climb out of his crib. But the skills he had in climbing out, he lacked in, well, landing. I was sitting on the couch eating lunch when I heard the THUNK! (short pause) "WAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!"

I ran.

Slightly panicked and in shock, I scooped up Drew off the hardwood floor of the boys' room, hearing the twins exclaim in surprise, "Mommy, he crawled out of his crib!" and took him into the living room to calm him down. In less than a minute, he started vomiting.

That's not a good sign.

I called the doctor, who said to go to the ER. I called Marty to meet us there, and packed up the kids and left.

Emma had strict instructions in the van. "Tell me right away if he starts shaking, and don't let him go to sleep, OK?" She was on it, my little administrator, loving being in charge of something. She played games with him on the way to the hospital, and he laughed and giggled and had a great time.

About an hour into our waiting room wait, I started to re-consider my decision to bring him in. He was his boisterous self, and quite ticked at the fact that we wouldn't let him run outside, was protesting loudly at the fact that we were trying to quiet him down, and the fact that we wouldn't let him lick the bench in the ER, and that we wouldn't go home.

We finally go in to see a doctor, who checked him out and declared him to have a concussion, but nothing more. All during the visit the doctor kept jumping every time Drew tried climbing up on a chair, and seemed a bit surprised that we weren't doing the same. "I don't even jump when he's dancing on a table anymore. I will move quickly if he's up on the kitchen counter trying to get a glass out of the upper cabinet, but this is nothing."

We left with instructions to try and keep him from hitting his head again, but after watching Monkey Boy climb all over the room, the doctor left us with encouraging words.

"Uh, good luck."

Why thank you, thank you very much.

Marty took the kids home and I went on a quest to find something to keep him safe at night. He is way to little to be in a big boy bed, and the fact that he shares his room with his twin brothers would leave three destructive boys on the loose and while there is the chance that they would use their powers for good instead of evil, creating an alternate fuel from dirty diapers, boogers, and the gunk that collects in the windowsill; it is much more likely that they would re-enact the circus and the tightrope act would only be the beginning.

So I went hunting for a crib tent. I headed to the fancy baby store in town, hoping that it would be a quick search. No luck, not only were they our of the tents, they told me that they cost $80.

Holy smokes, batman.

I don't happen to have $80 lying around, and especially since there will be and ER bill coming, I cringed at the thought. I tried Target, no luck. By then I was really wishing that I had not declared it to be jammies-all-day day, and although I had thrown on a t shirt and jeans before leaving for the hospital, I had not showered, put on make-up, or actually found a shirt that fit well. I was uncomfortable, looking like a slob, stressed out, and cranky. Really not a good combo.

I gave up and headed home. Drew now sleeps in his playpen, as the sides are higher than the crib. The playpen is pushed up to the front of the crib and the crib mattress sits on the floor in front of it as a landing pad in case he tries to launch himself again.

Two weeks later, I am still on the hunt for a crib tent, and I still haven't found $80 lying around. In the mean time, all the circus performers boys are loving the fact that there is a mattress on the floor.

I did make a call to the doctor's office as I was told by the ER doc to have a follow up visit. I spoke with a nurse (not our regular nurse) and asked if we could skip it and just do it over the phone, since he was fine. I was told that the most important part of the follow up was so that the doctor could talk to the child about sports safety so this wouldn't happen again.

Ummmm... really?!? Sign me up for that talk, I would love to see it!

After explaining to the nurse that he was one and didn't have an attention span long enough for a nice sit down chat, she passed me off to my regular nurse who had no problem with me not coming in. (Although, in all fairness, they have a new all-digital medical records system, and she might have been afraid that Drew would come in and re-program the computers so that every child's name is Elmo and add a John Deere soundtrack. He's smart like that.)

Anywhoo.

I'm hoping that the onset of fall will make my blogging easier and get me back into the routine. However, the children that I am so blessed to call my own are exploring their creative problem solving, perseverance and determination, and actually causing my hair to leap from my head on it's own without even being pulled. ( I stole that phrase from Kingdom Mama, it made me laugh. And it's so appropriate!)

But it does make sitting still at the computer for a half hour at a time reasonably difficult, of not dangerous. I really don't want anything else covered in crayon, broken, or set on fire. OK, nothing has been set on fire yet, but I'm sure that day is coming.

My Grandpa set his house on fire as a kid. But that's a story for another day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Memorial Box

Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity (a fabulous blog that I stalk obsessively follow regularly) does a fun post called Memorial Box Monday. I highly recommend you check her blog out, she is an amazing woman with a wonderful heart for God. I really want to meet her in real life and hug her neck and sit and have a long chat.

Anywhoo.

In a nutshell, a Memorial Box is a place where we can have physical reminders of God's faithfulness to us. In a longer version, it is explained HERE.

So here it is, my very first Memorial Box Monday. You know, on Thursday. Cuz we all know I don't follow rules well.

Grant was born with clogged tear ducts in both eyes, but primarily the left one was a problem. He also has a roseacea (sp?) birthmark, or a red spot on his left eyelid. The doctor said that the clogged duct was something that usually heals itself on it's own, but if it was still there after a year they would have to do surgery. The birthmark might fade or it might not. I knew it would either resolve itself or not, so I didn't worry about it. I'm not really a stress-out-about-things-you-can't-control person.

(Ben is on top, and Grant on the bottom)

I trusted God that His will would be done. I prayed that Grant would be safe, and that either resolution (either healing on it's own or surgery) would work well and that there would be no complications. I prayed for Grant's safety and God's will be done.

(Grant is on the left, Ben on the right)

After a year, he was still having problems. Every morning he would wake up with eye goop that would sometimes bind his eyelids together so that he could not open one eye. I was constantly getting warm washcloths to loosen up the mucous and clean it, it was necessary several times a day. We made the decision to do surgery when it was apparent that it was not going to resolve on it's own.
We had the initial pre-surgery consultation, and I was pleased with the doctor and comfortable with the procedure. I hated the thought of my sweet fourteen-month-old being put under anesthesia, but I trusted God that all would be well. We scheduled surgery for the following Thursday.

It suddenly hit me, two days before Grant's surgery, that I had not prayed for healing of Grant's eye, just for God's will and our peace and Grant's safety. That night, as I put my sweet boy to sleep in his crib, I prayed over him for healing of his clogged tear duct and to be able to cancel the surgery. I went to bed that night not really thinking anything of it, and still believing that God would do His will and that I would be content with whatever the outcome was.

Grant woke up the next morning with a perfectly clear eye. None of the goopiness that had plagued him for the previous fourteen months was there. I looked at my bright eyed boy for the first time, finally without the crud and redness that went with the constant wiping and cleaning, and heard God speak clearly to my heart: "All you had to do was ask."

(Grant on the left, Ben on the right)

I tend to do that, to pray that things will work out for the good of all involved, and that I will have peace regardless of the outcome, but I don't tend to pray for what I want. I don't know why that is, that I don't ask for what I want, but that is something that I have been working on. God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, but we have to ask.

I canceled the surgery, and Grant's eyes have been clear ever since.

In our Memorial box I have placed the appointment card for the eye doctor, as a reminder of Grant's healing.

And I'm learning to ask. I don't know why I struggle with it, but I do. I am reminded of the Sunday school song I used to sing as a kid, "ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find, knock, and the door shall be opened unto you, hallelu, hallelujah."

Thank you, Lord, for showing me your strength and your power and your love. Help me to recognize you when you are at work.

Head on over to A Place Called Simplicity to see more Memorial Box stories!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Potty Training Progress Report #463

After

close to two years,

many, many attempts,

an entire gallon of Simple Green concentrate (after I was tired of the smell of vinegar, our cleaner of choice),

pee in the corner,

pee in the furnace vent,

pee on each other,

pee on me,

pee on the floor,

(lots and lots of pee on the floor)

some more pee on the floor,

some poop on the floor,

poop on the walls,

poop on each other,

poop on the baby,

poop on me,

an exhausted carpet cleaner

and

a thoroughly,

completely,

and totally,

exhausted

Mommy-

we have

finally,

successfully,

completed the potty training process.

I am pleased to announce that the twins are fully,

completely,

and forevermore

potty trained.


(cue angel choir singing hallelujah, as the heavens open and shine the most glorious light)

Ahhhhhhhh....


I need a nap, a vacation, and a massage.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bedroom Makeover 2010

This week, I learned that my darling Ben has inherited his father's creative streak. My husband is a doodler, the type who will completely cover his church bulletin with drawings and doodles during the sermon, and it actually helps him pay attention. Apparently, Ben decided to try that skill during nap time in my room.

I didn't notice his creation right away, until I went to bed that night and found a beautifully decorated faux-headboard running the width of our king-sized bed, and about two and a half feet tall. The nice thing was he decided to tie the elements of the room together by creating a similar swirly pattern on our sheets as well.
Such a nice thing to do.

And I know you are all insanely jealous of out beautifully matched blue-sheets-with-green-wall-color-and-nicely-accessorized bedroom. I know, I worked hard on it.

Unfortunately the wall was impossible to photograph, as the glossy wall with the light ink wasn't something the camera could focus on. I was able to capture a bit of the creation, so you will have to imagine this on a much larger scale.
And yes, that pen did gouge into the wall. Texture is important in decorating, right?

Regardless of the thoughtfulness of the decor, the lesson had to be taught, so the next morning I put Ben to work removing his creation. Of course, pen does not come up easily, so it took a bit of scrubbing on his part.
And a bit of whining.
OK, a LOT of whining.
But still I persisted, knowing that this would be a good way for the lesson to sink in.
I helped him for a while, so that he would see that a lot of scrubbing in one spot would, in fact, remove the pen, and then left him to cry clean on his own.

After quite a bit of sobbing time, there was quiet coming from the room. I decided to go in and check on the progress of the pen-removal and found this.

Well played, Tom Sawyer, well played.

I have to say, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers work wonders at removing everything from walls, including ball point pen.

And, well, paint.

Of course, I didn't notice the paint-removal until I re-entered the room and saw that the glossy paint had lost all of it's glossiness during the pen-removal process.

And some of it's a tad lighter than the rest.

I never liked the color of our bedroom anyway. And I certainly needed something to do with my time. I've been getting bored with nothing to do lately, so a painting project is just the right thing.

I'm so lucky my kind, caring son was willing to show my what to do with all my loads of extra time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today's blog is written by Emma

i am gna go to the gren born and i am goeto rit a son from emma.

Translation: I am gonna go to the Green Barn and I am going to write a song. From Emma


(Note to self: teaching writing by having your child blog while sitting behind her and cutting her hair might seem like a good idea, but in reality, she tilts her head to the left when she's concentrating. It doesn't work well.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why I Beat My Husband Yesterday

"Wait, what?!? You're kidding, right? You did not just let Emma take the boys potty in a public bathroom by themselves!!"

I didn't hang around to find out the answer, but ran to the bathroom where I found my wonderful sister-in-law wide-eyed and looking a bit panicked, she had seen the kids go unaccompanied into the women's bathroom and wisely decided to follow. However, as she is not actively involved in the potty-training process, was able to be convinced by Emma that it was perfectly OK for them to all go into different stalls, where they promptly locked the doors and started crawling under the dividers. At which point I walked in to find unruly children, screaming and laughing behind locked bathroom stall doors.

And all of this at my great aunt's memorial service.

Luckily, the sternness of Mom's voice can command children to do the right thing, and I managed to order the kids to unlock the doors, finding that although Grant had gone into the stall dry, the excitement of the whole thing caused him to have an accident.

And I found Ben holding a nicely wrapped "package". You, know, the kind of "package" that is usually found in the little receptacle box in women's stalls. Yeah, that kind of package.

I went out to glare at my husband and get a change of clothes for Grant. Then back into the bathroom for some clean-up. By the time we were done, I was mad and frustrated.

And I'm pretty sure my sis-in-law was exhausted as well. Seriously, they don't have kids yet, and as I'd really like to have some nieces and nephews from them, I think I need to shelter them from this kind of child-exposure, and limit their kid-time to times where the kids play with them nicely and tell them they love them while giving hugs and snuggles and sweet smiles.

In Marty's defense, Emma told him she could take the boys potty and just ran off with them. He said by the time it clicked that it was a bad idea, they were gone into the women's bathroom and there was nothing he could do. Which makes sense, but I beat him anyway. Just for fun. Love you, honey!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stuff-is

I love three-year-old babble.

The boys have their treasured things, things that are most coveted and change with the mood of the day. But they love carrying their chosen items around, and they are called their "stuff-is". It all started when we were getting ready to move onto the next thing, and I'd ask, "Do you know where your stuff is?"

So now, their small collection of trains and cars that they carry with them are their "stuff-is". These things are fiercely protected when they have to put them down to go potty or to time-out. With this many kids, they have to fight for what they want.

This morning, a still-sleepy Grant came out of his room and settled on the couch, sleepies still creating a fog around his mind, and his hair tousled in a most adorable way. I met him on the couch to cuddle. I settled in one one end, he on another. I looked at him, and he smiled at me in his sleepy, soft, innocent way.

"Hey, buddy," I said, "do you want to come cuddle me?" He rubbed his eye with his fist, nodded sleepily and with a smile, crawled into my lap. I noticed a couple of trains beneath him, and Ben was on his way over with an eye on them, so trying to avoid the inevitable fight I reminded him, "Grant, don't forget your stuff-is."

My sweet boy looked up at me from his snuggle spot in my lap. "Mommy, you're my stuff-is," he responded, and snuggled deeper.

Oh, the things that make your heart melt and bring tears to your joyful eyes.

This is why it's all worth it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Potty Training Progress Report

Holy freakshow, Batman.

I went into yesterday feeling pretty confident about our progress. At the end of yesterday's post, I mentioned that Ben had peed, and them tried to sit in Emma's lap.

It all went downhill from there.

Yesterday was one of those days where everything that could get covered in pee, did. It was bad.

At one point yesterday, Grant, without any prompting from me, 'felt the urge' and went into the bathroom to do his business. This is a good thing, and a very important step in the right direction. However, the good part about that was quickly negated when he simply stood in the middle of the bathroom floor with his undies on, and peed and pooped. Then, since he was done, he walked out of the bathroom, still wearing his poop-filled undies and dripping pee down his legs. He went into the living room, where I found him playing tracks and trains with his siblings, a trail of piles and puddles from him to the bathroom.

Yeah.

They are supposed to hate the feeling of sitting in poop and that's how the whole 'training thing' gets done. Of course, my kids defy the odds.

I did make some progress on organizing the boys' room yesterday, cleaning our drawers of stuff that is too small and stuff that can be put away till fall. I know, it's kinda late to be pulling the cooler-weather stuff out, but our weather has been so crazy here lately I haven't dared do it earlier. Anywhoo, I got a lot of it done, and left the box on top of the boys' dresser during nap time.

Big mistake.

They took it off the dresser, and dumped it. They strew the nicely folded clothes all over the room, and then peed on them.

I did not know this was happening, as I was shampooing the carpets because of Grant's morning poop-fest.

So not only did I not get anything done, I created more loads of laundry for myself.

Perfect.

The boys never napped yesterday. Drew fell asleep in my arms before lunch, and slept for about forty minutes, part of which was on the couch as I was cleaning up yet another puddle of pee. He did not nap again at naptime, leaving a room filled with three screaming boys, two of whom were destroying everything possible.

And then, you know, peeing on it.

Today is going to be better. For one thing, it cannot get worse. For another, my wonderful brother-in-law Dan has offered to take the kids for a while this morning so that Holly and I can go out and do something, anything, without kids to save me from a life of padded walls and anti-psychotic medications.

Sigh of relief.

I am tired, and frustrated, and ready to have this done. I am so stinking mad about this whole thing, I am going to get them potty trained if it kills me.

I just hope it doesn't drive me over the edge of insanity first.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tips and Tricks, Potty Training Twins, Take seventy-five

If you have a very successful day on Monday, with each child only having one small accident, you will feel like a million bucks and be ready and waiting Tuesday morning to continue your quest to save fifty-six thousand dollars a month on pull-ups.

You will expect your children to feel the same way, and wake up ready to continue to fill their sticker charts and feel good about their accomplishments.

You would be wrong.

Because there is a good chance that your children will wake up on Tuesday, thinking that potty training was Monday's fun thing to do, and be ready to move on to something else.

They might refuse to go potty.

They might sneak pull-ups on instead of undies when you are not looking.

They might have screaming fits where they throw themselves on the floor in distress at even the thought of sitting on the potty again.

You might need to take a day off and re-group.

Well, you might not need to take a day off and re-group, but if you are PMSing and cranky, it might be in the best interest of all involved to take a day off and drink re-group.

It is a good idea to come up with a game plan for Wednesday, and sneak into their room while they are sleeping and hide every pull-up. Then start again Wednesday, refreshed, less PMS-ey, and ready to go.

Don't give them a choice. Don't fight with them, just tell 'em that this is the way it's gonna be, and go for it.

And when they cry, saying "babies go potty in diapers, are you a baby?" will work on one of them, but not both. One might want to be a baby, so be prepared with the follow up, "well, you can be a baby if you want to. Babies take naps right now, so let's go for a nap, OK? Well, either you are a baby or you're not, so take a nap or go potty. It's your choice." It might work. I'm just sayin'.

If you feel especially insane, you might even take the potty training twins out running errands for three hours with you in undies.

Well, take them with you, and take them in undies. Not take them with you in undies. I mean, I wore shorts.

Anywhoo.

I packed four beach towels, five garbage sacks, fifteen extra pairs of undies (for the boys, not for me), seven pairs of shorts, a pack of baby wipes and a costco-sized pack of sanitizing wipes. Oh, and of course, the potty that stays in the van.

I definitely recommend putting a garbage bag in their car seat, just in case. Your drive will be a lot less stressful that way.

Hey, while you're already insane, go through the car wash to see of they really can hold it. It's a good test.

And then scream like a banshee when they stay dry. Watch their faces when you scream like a banshee in excitement. It's priceless.

Yes, they completed all three hours of errands, and stayed dry the whole time. However, upon two minutes of returning home, Grant peed on his foot.

Baby steps. And it wasn't in the van, so I'm good.

Anywhoo.

Back to potty training tips.

You might notice the boys' room start to smell a bit... off.

If you are like me and don't have much of a sense of smell, it might take you a while to discover that no, it's not just due to the fact that it's summer and it's hot, but yes, there is a corner where the boys have been peeing.

Yup, the boys are peeing in the corner of their bedroom.

I know Holly's busting a gut right now.

Hardwood floors are great for cleaning up pee, except when that pee has been sitting there a while. Then it really stinks.

Haha, get it? Stinks. A little potty humor for ya. I know, no one else is laughing at that one, but I'm a-giggling over here.

Again, anywhoo.

The thought will cross your mind that several times, the boys have had accidents in their room and gotten their undies wet, but you never found the puddle. Then you will realize that they have been peeing in a corner without getting un-dressed first.

This might make you really question the intelligence level of these children.

You might decide not to think about it. It's easier that way.

If you have a Holly, she might take pity on you and bring you a ton of new stickers for the boys' sticker charts, and she might even bring you a new Scentsy to make your house smell a bit less like pee.

If you don't have a Holly, you might want to get one. She is a lifesaver. I don't know how to tell you to go get one, mine showed up when I got married and thankfully has been around ever since.

I love her. And, I love my new Citrus Sun Tea Scentsy. Do you know Scentsy? If not, go here and see what all the fabulousness is about.

Each boy had one accident yesterday. If they go a day without accidents, the get a sticker in the special spot on their sticker chart. Seven dry days in a row gets them a fancy dinner with mommy.

Grant wants the Nuthouse. Ben wants McDonalds.

Ya know, cuz it's so fancy.

(OK, I was about to wrap this post up, feeling pretty darn good about the progress we have going on here. But then Ben tried to sit on Emma's lap, and Emma screamed, "He's wet!" So not only did Ben pee, but he ignored it and sat on his sister. Sigh.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Potty Training Twins, Take Sixty-Seven

Once again, I am doing the full-bore potty training thing. I know, I keep saying that I am doing it and never looking back, but every time I say that, circumstances arise that stop the whole thing. Like Grant going to the hospital. Or me going insane and running out of carpet cleaner. Or cleaning up the third puddle of pee in fourteen seconds and seeing a boy put on a pull up instead of undies and deciding not to say anything, since I am also seeing two more puddles that I haven't had a chance to get to yet, and needing things to be contained for a bit.

Anywhoo.

The fact is, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of my three and a half year olds not being potty trained, I'm tired of potty training, I'm tired of knowing that the only thing holding them back is me and my inconsistent approach. No, I'm not being hard on myself, I don't think there's much different I could have done at this point, but it's true.

And I know the boys are actually, truly ready this time.

And I'm sick of buying diapers and pull ups.

I can think of sooooo many other things I'd rather spend $120 a month on.

Do you know you can buy a new car for $120 a month right now? Or we could put the boys in pre-school. Or I could buy a new coat. Or more groceries. Yeah, probably more groceries.

So we are going for it again today. I've been setting the timer, we've been consistent, and we've only had one accident so far. We have new sticker charts that I made this morning, since after almost two years of bribing the boys with candy, the "YIPPEE!" factor is gone with that one.

I'm ready. I'm prepared.

Oh, but I'm out of juice. And juice is important to get them to drink lots, and then pee lots, and then learn faster.

I guess you get lazy/forgetful on your sixty-seventh attempt at potty training.

I thawed some Otter Pops to dilute with water for juice to encourage them to drink today.

Hey, at least I'm resourceful.

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So it's now after lunch, and I haven't finished this blog since, well, I've been busy. You know, potty training. We've still only had one small accident today. Ben has successfully peed on the potty seven times and Grant four. Ben's success has caused me to have to re-think my chart, since there were only six boxes on the chart for each day. I don't know why I thought six was enough, but that number of squares made the chart look pretty.

Once again, I know, I'm crazy.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Love/Hate

I HATE that Drew got sick and threw up Monday.

Twice.

I LOVE that it didn't seem to bother him at all once his puke-fest was over.

I HATE that puking: round two took place in the car. On the freeway. Two miles before the first available pull-off spot.

I also HATE that by the time we pulled over, he was so covered that all I could do was clean him up a little and just leave him there till we got home.

I LOVE that the kids were so excited to go watch Daddy's softball game.

I HATED telling them that we had to turn around and go home, because of head-to-toe puke-covered baby Drew.

I LOVED that they wanted to pray for him as we drove home.

I really LOVED listening to each one pray for their little brother. Ben, with his, "Dear Jesus' name, Amen." Grant's hands clasped so tightly, eyes shut, and whole face squeezed tight while he prayed quietly, head lifted up, desperately petitioning God to make his brother better. Emma's fussing over her charge, offering him a wipe, and patting his hand, giving words of encouragement and love.

I HATED the fact that we had to stop for gas on the way home, with poor puke-covered Drew still strapped into his puke-covered seat while I filled the van. And then, while I was pumping gas, he puked some more.

Which I HATED.

And then he was fine. Which I LOVED.

Once we got home, I HATED cleaning him up, trying to find the best way to get him out of the van with as little flying debris as possible. Oh, and I also HATE cleaning puke off the seat under the car seat. Especially since I just did that on Thursday.

I LOVED the fact that once clean, he wanted to snuggle. I LOVE snuggling my baby boy.

I LOVED having movie night with the older kids after Drew went to bed, in order to make up for the fact that we didn't go to the game.

What can I say. I LOVE microwave popcorn.

I LOVED that Drew appeared fine yesterday, with not even a belch in sight.

I HATED that he puked all over myself and my bed again this morning. It seems to be milk that is causing it. I don't know why.

LOVED the fact that he's been fine since, but haven't tempted it and have had him off milk all day.

I will LOVE the feeling of crawling into nice, clean sheets tonight. And I will LOVE when the puke-fest is over.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Things Heard Around Here By Ten-Thirty This Morning

Emma: "Mom, Grant and me, well, we were getting the laundry out of the dryer like you asked, and we broke the hangy-down thingy on the laundry basket."

Me: "You did? Wait, what hangy-down thingy on the laundry basket?"

Emma: "Well, actually, it was the hangy-down thingy on the dryer."

Me: (walked into laundry room) "Babe, that's the dryer door. And it didn't used to hangy-down like that. I have told you never to climb on the drawer of the dryer, haven't I?"

Emma: "Yeah, but I forgot."

Fan-freaking-tastic.

(I was successful in popping the dryer door back on the hinges. However, it is really unstable and cannot withstand any more abuse, or I fear it will retire itself from it's relentless pursuit to provide us with clean, dry clothes several times a day. And that would be bad.)

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Grant: "Mommy, the swing set is broken."

Emma: "Yeah, Mom, the big long pole on he swing set is all wiggly and broken."

Me: (still holding the screwdriver I used to fix the dryer) "You have got to be kidding me. Right? Is this a joke?"

Emma: "Come see, Mom." (then she went over to the swing set to show me that one of the middle support bars was above a low spot in the yard and just swung freely.)

Me: "Baby, that's not broken, there just isn't any dirt under it. Daddy will move it when he gets home, but I'm not moving the swing set myself, that's daddy's job. If you want to swing, put some dirt under there so it doesn't wiggle like that, OK?"

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Me: "Holy dirtballs, batman! No way, guys you are not coming into the house like that. You are all covered with dirt. What was going on?" (Then I suddenly remembered my request that the kids fill a hole with dirt, and chided myself that it did not cross my mind that they would then fill the hole as well as each other's hair, clothing, and ears with dirt as well. Oh well, at least they worked together, right?)

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Me: "Hey! Who gave Drew a movie?!? Drew, you do NOT pull the tape out like that! No, Drew, give it to me now!"

(And yes, we still have VHS movies around here. And that one was actually new to us, and hadn't been watched yet. Sorry, Muppet Movie, but you have been attacked and mutilated by the ever-vicious Baby Drew, Destroyer of All Things Fun or Useful.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

In God Is Our Trust

I found this article while web surfing a while ago, and I loved it. Perfect as we celebrate the birthday of our country. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

All Four Stanzas

By Isaac Asimov

Introductory Note. Unless you're already well acquainted with our "national anthem," this interesting piece by the late Isaac Asimov will be an eye-opener. It was for me. It's especially appropriate at a time when there is much talk of tossing out this difficult-to-sing and difficult-to-comprehend old song in favor of something that better suits Ray Charles' voice. You'll understand the song much better after you read Mr. Asimov's explanation.--Hardly Waite, Gazette Senior Editor.



I have a weakness--I am crazy, absolutely nuts, about our national anthem.

The words are difficult and the tune is almost impossible, but frequently when I'm taking a shower I sing it with as much power and emotion as I can. It shakes me up every time.

I was once asked to speak at a luncheon. Taking my life in my hands, I announced I was going to sing our national anthem--all four stanzas.

This was greeted with loud groans. One man closed the door to the kitchen, where the noise of dishes and cutlery was loud and distracting. "Thanks, Herb," I said.

"That's all right," he said. "It was at the request of the kitchen staff."

I explained the background of the anthem and then sang all four stanzas.

Let me tell you, those people had never heard it before--or had never really listened. I got a standing ovation. But it was not me; it was the anthem.

More recently, while conducting a seminar, I told my students the story of the anthem and sang all four stanzas. Again there was a wild ovation and prolonged applause. And again, it was the anthem and not me.

So now let me tell you how it came to be written.

In 1812, the United States went to war with Great Britain, primarily over freedom of the seas. We were in the right. For two years, we held off the British, even though we were still a rather weak country. Great Britain was in a life and death struggle with Napoleon. In fact, just as the United States declared war, Napoleon marched off to invade Russia. If he won, as everyone expected, he would control Europe, and Great Britain would be isolated. It was no time for her to be involved in an American war.

At first, our seamen proved better than the British. After we won a battle on Lake Erie in 1813, the American commander, Oliver Hazard Perry, sent the message "We have met the enemy and they are ours." However, the weight of the British navy beat down our ships eventually. New England, hard-hit by a tightening blockade, threatened secession.

Meanwhile, Napoleon was beaten in Russia and in 1814 was forced to abdicate. Great Britain now turned its attention to the United States, launching a three-pronged attack. The northern prong was to come down Lake Champlain toward New York and seize parts of New England. The southern prong was to go up the Mississippi, take New Orleans and paralyze the west. The central prong was to head for the mid-Atlantic states and then attack Baltimore, the greatest port south of New York. If Baltimore was taken, the nation, which still hugged the Atlantic coast, could be split in two. The fate of the United States, then, rested to a large extent on the success or failure of the central prong.

The British reached the American coast, and on August 24, 1814, took Washington, D. C. Then they moved up the Chesapeake Bay toward Baltimore. On September 12, they arrived and found 1000 men in Fort McHenry, whose guns controlled the harbor. If the British wished to take Baltimore, they would have to take the fort.

On one of the British ships was an aged physician, William Beanes, who had been arrested in Maryland and brought along as a prisoner. Francis Scott Key, a lawyer and friend of the physician, had come to the ship to negotiate his release. The British captain was willing, but the two Americans would have to wait. It was now the night of September 13, and the bombardment of Fort McHenry was about to start.

As twilight deepened, Key and Beanes saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry. Through the night, they heard bombs bursting and saw the red glare of rockets. They knew the fort was resisting and the American flag was still flying. But toward morning the bombardment ceased, and a dread silence fell. Either Fort McHenry had surrendered and the British flag flew above it, or the bombardment had failed and the American flag still flew.

As dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Key and Beanes stared out at the fort, trying to see which flag flew over it. He and the physician must have asked each other over and over, "Can you see the flag?"

After it was all finished, Key wrote a four stanza poem telling the events of the night. Called "The Defence of Fort M'Henry," it was published in newspapers and swept the nation. Someone noted that the words fit an old English tune called "To Anacreon in Heaven" --a difficult melody with an uncomfortably large vocal range. For obvious reasons, Key's work became known as "The Star Spangled Banner," and in 1931 Congress declared it the official anthem of the United States.

Now that you know the story, here are the words. Presumably, the old doctor is speaking. This is what he asks Key

Oh! say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
W hat so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

"Ramparts," in case you don't know, are the protective walls or other elevations that surround a fort. The first stanza asks a question. The second gives an answer

On the shore, dimly seen thro' the mist of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep.
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream
'Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!



"The towering steep" is again, the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and the British can do nothing more but sail away, their mission a failure.

In the third stanza, I feel Key allows himself to gloat over the American triumph. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Key probably was in no mood to act otherwise.

During World War II, when the British were our staunchest allies, this third stanza was not sung. However, I know it, so here it is

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep's pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.



The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung more slowly than the other three and with even deeper feeling.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation,
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n - rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto--"In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I hope you will look at the national anthem with new eyes. Listen to it, the next time you have a chance, with new ears.

And don't let them ever take it away.

--Isaac Asimov, March 1991

Happy birthday, America.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

I have been working on teaching the kids the Lord's prayer. I gotta say, the boys are adorable.

"Our Fodder, who are in heaben, hollolled be dy name..."

I love it.

A couple of nights ago, I said it with Grant while tucking him into bed.

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen."

Grant: "We hafta watch the glory."

Me: "How are you going to watch the glory, baby?"

Grant: "We gotta sit in chairs and watch it."

Me: "Really?"

Grant: "Yeah!"

Me: "And what will the glory look like?"

Grant: "It gonna be greeeeen."

Me: "Oh?"

Grant: "Yeah. It gonna be green and look like Lightning McQueen."

Me: "Really?"

Grant: "Yeah."

And then with a smile, he put his head on his pillow and curled up to go to sleep. I stroked his head, wondering what exactly was going on in his mind.

It's gonna be a fun ride.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dear Mother Nature,

Thank you.



Sincerely,

Tiff

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A New Method of Discipline

Yesterday I was on the phone with Holly. I love my phone chats with Holly, she is one of the only people who will put up with conversations that are constantly interrupted by "No, you guys may not dog pile on the baby," "Drew, get out of the windowsill," "Drew, give Mommy the marker," "Drew, get off the table, please," "Drew, please stop standing on that chair," "Drew! Put the meat fork back in the drawer!" Yeah, it's tough to have an insanely curious seventeen month old who climbs and opens child proof locks.

Anywhoo.

Yesterday was no exception. I was sitting on the loveseat, enjoying my little chat with Holly when Drew came wandering into the room. He had gotten the wooden spoon we use on the twins occasionally at bedtime to encourage them to want to stay in their beds, and was grinning wildly in that way that says he is truly up to something as he carried it across the room. He then climbed up on the big couch, and stood on it, still grinning and waiting to make sure I was watching.

Before I could get him down, he did a little dance. Then he stopped, bent over, and reached his hand with the spoon back and tried to swat himself on the bum, completely missing, but giggling the whole time. Back to dancing, including jumping on the couch this time. Them more swatting, grinning and giggling the whole time.

There is definitely a right thing to do and a wrong thing to do in a situation such as this. The right thing to do would be to firmly explain to the child that we don't stand/jump/dance on the couch, and remove him from the situation. The wrong thing to do would be to laugh hysterically while gasping for breath enough to try to explain to Holly what is going on, and be so doubled over in laughter at the adorableness of his proud little face that you just keep laughing and watch him continue his charade, with tears streaming down your face until you almost fall off the loveseat.

I did the wrong thing.

But seriously, I wish I had a video camera to document the whole episode, it was hysterical. Now, we've never swatted him, I believe he is too young to understand and there are better ways to deal with behavior in babies, but since he shares a room with the twins, he has witnessed a few swats in his day.

Apparently, he figured out that a consequence was coming for dancing on the couch, and he was just gonna take care of it himself. I admire his forward thinking and his apparent desire to take some of the pressure off of me. Now if only I can channel that helpful mindset into something a little more, well, helpful.

At least he is getting the concept of consequences, right?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

September 23, 2009.

Almost nine months ago.

Yes, it has actually been almost nine months since that wonderful, glorious day. Nine very long months.

Do you all remember September 23? I don't, not particularly, since I didn't know it would have such meaning to me now. One of those lasts that you don't know is slipping by until it's gone and you suddenly realize how desperately you have missed it.

I just can't believe it has been nine months since the last day our area reached 75 degrees.

We had a very early spring. Many of you may remember the Olymipcs, which were about thirty miles from our house, and how it was so warm that they had refrigeration units under the snow that they had to bring in from another mountain to keep it somewhat close to frozen. It was about fifty degrees then, and here, on the first day of summer, it was about six degrees warmer.

We've had a few nice days here and there, making us believe that summer is coming. But those days are just lies, cruel tricks dangled before us like a carrot on a stick in front of a treadmill. I enjoyed 73 degree weather the day before my birthday, on the first day of spring. We have had a few warmer ones, where our wet, soppy, rusty, soaked into a pruney mess skin starts sweating in the massive 68 degree heat because we are not used to it at all. But those days never come two at a time. One nice day leads to another week of rain, wet, windy, cold, dreary grey skies and one mother of four in particular who end up curled up in the fetal position on the bathroom floor as the children run wildly through the house, massive amounts of pent up energy creating a frenzy of fighting, yelling, fighting, screaming, fighting, and getting into things they shouldn't.

Like the markers.

And the knife drawer.

I am all about sending my kids outside in the cold, but their pants are too short and their long sleeve shirts are worn thin. Their winter coats were getting a bit small back in February, but thinking that spring was on it's way, I figured we were fine. Little did I know that winter would continue for months and months.

And months.

I strongly object to letting the kids back in the house after forty minutes of playing, shedding layers and layers of sopping wet, muddy clothing on the entryway floor and donning more layers and layers of clothing to go back out again, after hot chocolate and cozying up with a blanket to warm up.

In June.

My laundry pile is overwhelming as the kids are going through five full-sized outfits (including the dreaded socks) a day. Their tennis shoes are too tight, but I was planning on having them in sandals all summer and not having to buy new tennis shoes till fall.

I am truly a summer girl. I love shorts and tank tops, sandals and cutely painted toes. I hate socks with a passion. I strongly dislike using the furnace in June. I am very sad that I got my garden planted right before the wettest two week stretch on record for our dry season, drowning all my seeds so that nothing grew.

I need the sun. I need vitamin D, and the pure joy that comes from getting out of bed and walking through the kitchen to see sunlight streaming through the skylight, pooling on the kitchen floor in a delightfully warm, sunny spot of joy. I love the kids' hair when it bleaches out in the sun, transforming my dirty-blonde children into shining, happy kids with halos of golden hair.

I know, I night be a bit over-dramatic here. But seriously, I need summer to get here, and fast. And I needed that rant. I certainly feel better now, thanks for listening. That is, if you actually did read all the way to the end, which I greatly doubt since I was just complaining this entire post. For those of you who did suffer through my rant and are still with me here, I appreciate you. Would you pray for some sun for me? I really need it to maintain the tiny little sliver of sanity that I have left. Thanks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dear Mother Nature,

Hi, it's me again. I know I write to you quite often lately, and I'm sorry that it is mostly to complain. I'll try to compliment you from time to time as well.

The reason I am writing you today is that it is the third day of summer vacation for the kids. In case you had forgotten, summer is supposed to be the warm one. I went to my sister-in-law's house yesterday with mental images of letting the girls frolic in the flowers in cute floofy skirts, and basking in the sunshine while my sis-in-law took amazing photos of the adventure. I was slightly disappointed in the fact that we just waded through mud with winter coats on instead. Then, we went in and had hot chocolate. Not quite summer-vacation activities, if you ask me.

In case no one told you, this has been the wettest dry season ever on record. I haven't watered my garden in a month, and it's drowning. Literally. the plants are turning yellow and wilty from too much water. I'm still using the furnace. The kids are in pants and long sleeve shirts. And I think we all know my aversion to socks in general, I tend to think it is absolutely unacceptable for them to be needed in the middle of June.

Don't get me wrong, I love your occasional days lately of temps in the low sixties. Compared to yesterday's 51, I'll take it. But we still haven't reached 75 degrees one time this year. At all. That's a new record, too. And if we're going to have record breaking temperatures, I'd really rather be on the other end of the spectrum.

If you would be so kind and actually warm us up a bit, I'd really appreciate it. This isn't working for me on several levels, namely- I hate socks, we're out of firewood, our budget does not include higher power bills from running the furnace all the time, the kids want to go outside, I want to go outside, their winter coats are too small and I can't buy new ones because it's June, their sneakers are getting tight and I want to just put them in sandals till fall, and lastly, I hate cold, wet, dreary weather. I want sunshine and warmth and happiness. Please.

Thank you for your time, Mother Nature, and I'll do my best to stop complaining now.

Sincerely,

Tiff

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy birthday, Darling Emma

Last night before bed, Marty and I sat on the couch together and snuggled our five year old daughter. I held her tight, smelling the flowers and dirt in her hair, trying to memorize her voice, her giggles, her five year old sweetness and her little girl joy. I knew, right then and there, that it was the last time I would ever snuggle with my five-year-old daughter again.

This morning, a six year old climbed into my bed to snuggle me.

No, she hadn't changed overnight. They never quite do, but the changes happen so slowly and yet so fast, before you can even plan or realize it is happening, next thing you know your little baby girl that you brought home from the hospital is going off to college.

So last night, I tried to memorize my five year old. Engrave in my brain the sound of her voice when she calls me Mommy, because I know that is going to be gone soon. Someday, she will call me Mommy for the last time, and I won't even know to savor it as the last. So I will try to savor these, knowing she will grow up on me much faster than I want or plan or will even realize until it's too late.

As I write this, my darling girl has forty five minutes left of Kindergarten. I am sitting here, tears streaming down my face and wondering where all the time went. In a little less than an hour, I will go to the end of the driveway and pick up my six-year-old, newly turned first grader.

And in the blink of an eye, she'll be seven.



My darling Emma-girl,

I am so proud of you. You have blossomed into an amazing girl and although I want to keep you little forever, I also can't wait to see how you will develop as you get older. You are beautiful, you are so kind, you have a love of life that is a joy to everyone around you.

Emma, I delight in you.

I love how you love God, and tell your brothers about His love. I love how you care for those around you, how you always want to pray for whomever is in an ambulance going by. I appreciate how you care for your cat and how you show him love and protect him from the boys.

I had a wonderful time going roller-skating with you last night. I loved spending time with just you, and I loved how you just kept going. I was (and still am) delighted at your reaction to falling down and getting hurt, you just giggled and said, "falling is just part of learning how to roller skate!" and got up and kept going. I love that about you, and continuing to get up and try again is something that will make you very successful in whatever you choose to do in life.

As I held your hand around the rink for the couples skate last night, I realized that I was truly having a great time hanging out with you. You are fun to be with and I really, truly enjoyed our time together. I can't wait for the times you tell me your secrets and we get to hang out together, just the girls. We are outnumbered in our family, so we need to stick together, OK?

I love how your whole face lights up when you smile. I love when you dance. I love when you sing. You are amazing, beautiful, and I still am in awe that out of everyone on the planet, God chose me to be your mom. I thank Him every day for that.

I love you, sweet princess Emma. I don't think you will ever know how very much I love you, because until you have a little girl of your own, you just can't know a mother's love. And even then you just can't picture anyone else on earth loving another person as much as you love your child. It's just the way it goes.

Have a wonderful birthday, darling. I hope it is everything you imagine and more.

I love you, baby girl. Promise you will always be my little girl, even when you grow up, OK? ;)

Love, Mommy

Friday, June 11, 2010

Can You Bounce a Background Check?

"Mommy?" Emma asked me yesterday, in the car on the way to Costco.

"Yes, dear?"

"Mommy, remember that time I thought Mrs. Teacher was sick?" (We will call her "Mrs. Teacher" for her sake. I know not everyone loves the idea of having their personal business all over the Internet. Especially, you know, this.) "Mommy, Mrs. Teacher wasn't really sick, she was in jail."

Wait... what?!? Something doesn't seem right here. Mrs. sweet, wonderful kindergarten Teacher isn't really the going to jail type.

"What do you mean Mrs. Teacher was in jail?"

"Well, she wasn't really in jail, like real jail, it was where there were too many people in jail, so she got to go home. But she has to go back to jail later."

Hmmmm....

"OK, I'm confused. Can you tell me that again?"

"Well." Emma is in her full I know everything mode now, ready to inform me of all of her teacher's time in jail. "Mrs. Teacher went to the thing by the jail, but there were too many people so they let her go home. That's why there was a sub, because she had to do that jail thing. But she didn't have to go to the jail, she will go again next year. But she wasn't sick, mom, it was that thing by the jail."

Suddenly, a light bulb clicked on over my head.

"Emma, do you mean Mrs. Teacher had jury duty?"

"Yes! That's what it was!" She then gave a huge sigh, content that she had gotten her point across.

I laughed a little inside. Thank heavens she told me that instead of someone else, lest my darling daughter spread slander about her sweet, kind kindergarten teacher's life of crime.