Friday, December 31, 2010

Dear God, Please Stop Time

I'm watching videos of last year on the dawn of the next year and I notice something. My little ones are growing up. Caleb's hair has changed. Looking at last year he still had the sweet angelic whisps of blond, uncut as of yet, and he still fell occaisionally and grunted to tell me whatever he needed. The girls are a bit pudgier than now, and still have a babyish lisp that makes them slightly tough to understand on video. And God, I know I complain alot... way too much, about life with little ones, but right now I want to stop and beg you to freeze time. No more advances, please.
My little ones still look at me with stars in their eyes. They still want to play games of Candy Land, and bake cookies. They don't know yet what "cool" means, and they still dress only for themselves. Artwork is simply for the sake of joy, no worrying about realism or coloring in the lines. Chores with Mommy are a reward, not a burden, and learning is an ecstatic process of ingesting new discoveries thru play. Christmas is a gleeful celebration of fun and song, not simply a wish list to be fulfilled or being drug to church by Mom and Dad. And Daddy is still the knight in shining armor, hailed by wild jubilation upon returning home from work. The mismatched clothes with tutus, glitter and glue explosions, the squeals of joy upon seeing a dog being walked down the street or the trash truck approaching, and the excitement over their daily gummy vitamin will all be so sorely missed if you choose not to grant my wish.
Sure, I'll get to see their scholarly achievements grow, and their faces mature in beauty, and greater independence dawn every day, but I can't bear the heartbreak of losing my babies. Already Caleb can talk and run and jump and torment his sisters in new ways every day, and the girls are learning so much about the world... more than I care for them to. So though I know you won't truly stop time... I'm hoping this blog will serve as my time capsule... and serve to remind me to appreciate each day and not long for it's passing, but savor each hug and dance and night night kiss. Thank you God for my perfectly perfect, wonderfully innocent, sweet little ones. May you guide me as I guide them and help me cope as they grow.
Your Loving Daughter,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes...

Sarah tonight at the dinner table was asked if she liked Daddy's new giant TV. This was her response:
"Yes! It's so shiny! Not dusty and dirty like the old one!"
Dangit Sarah, quit reinforcing Daddy's idea that I'm a bad housekeeper!

Monday, December 27, 2010

King of the "Nation of Woosies"

"Dis mor yike it Mommy"

"Yay Cocoa!"


Sarah's Snowball

The day after Christmas we got a snowstorm that rivals any in my memory. It began while we were in NJ visiting Ryan's parents, and while I was hoping we could ride it out there (they were expecting 10-20 inches there... would've been great to go sledding), Ryan insisted we drive home ASAP so he could run point for shutdown of his plant during the snowstorm, and he was very afraid we'd be stuck there in NJ for several more days. So we high-tailed it outta there, with me clinging to the car frame all the while like a nervous cat on the way to the vet, worried that we'd be stuck in the blizzard on rt. 13 with kids in tow. My worried mind kept thinking of scenarios where we'd be trekking thru the cold snow on foot, having surrendered our car to traffic jams of epic proportions, searching for "room at the inn", and having to sleep in the lobby of some over-packed motel in Po-dunk VA, all the while procuring umteen new species of bedbug to bring home. All I can say is thank goodness for in-car DVD's, because the kids had a marvelous ride and barely made a peep the whole way, all 7 1/2 hours it took us to get home. When we arrived home, we found we had returned to 13 inches of snow on the ground, with three kids squeeling to "PLAY IN THE SNOW" despite the fact that it was dark, bitterly cold, and time for dinner.

Now Hannah is my one child who MUST take a nap. I don't care where we are or what's going on around us, if that child doesn't take a break for a mid-day siesta, all hell breaks loose, and that's what we came home to last night. For some reason, she doesn't sleep in the car. Maybe it's the fascination with whatever movies are playing, or maybe it's just that she enjoys the scenery, but even when she was a baby she just would not fall asleep while we were driving... hardly ever, anyway. So yesterday her lack of a nap led to meltdowns of epic proportions once we got home. At one point while unpacking I found her despondant and weeping on the floor of the living room with her doll clutched to her chest: "Mommy, I can't find my Dolly's shoe!!! Wail!" Literally, I lifted the Dolly half an inch and found the shoe sitting under Dolly's butt. That signaled bedtime.
Then, this morning bright and early we had the kids suited up in their 14 million layers of snowclothes and off we headed to make snow angels and snowmen... well, ok, maybe Ryan spent the majority of the time shovelling walks, but he did it with a smile, so that counts as fun, right? They even made the snowman they so desperately wanted, though we all found out I'm a bit of a snowman nazi, insisting that everyone leave "Snowy" untouched after he was completed and hollering at little ones when arms repositioned led to breakage or their attempts to add snow caused him to teeter. Thank goodness Daddy talked me down and made me sit it out while the kids got to enjoy their creation a bit more.
Caleb was the only dissenter from the fun. He spent the entire time wailing "I stuuuuuu-uuck!" in a piteous voice, as if we had plopped him down into the Labrea tarpits, rather than the 6 inches of snow at the transition from the garage to the driveway. You know, after the snowfall ended, the Governor of Pennsylvania made the remark that we're becoming a "nation of woosies" because the game between the Eagles and Vikings was cancelled due to the oncoming snowstorm... well, if we're becoming a nation of woosies, I think my boy must be the king. Must be from my end of the gene pool... I'm with him, pass me a cup of hot cocoa and turn on a good movie... that's my perfect snow day :) It is so nice to see the girls having a blast, though.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not quite Pavlov, but close...

My kids are an excellent example of Classical Conditioning... you know, like how Pavlov once trained his dog to salivate at the sound of a bell? That's it. Except, instead of a bell, my kids are trained to the sound of a phone ringing... that is, whenever they hear a phone ring, something aggressive triggers in their little brains that causes a full-out smackdown resulting in tears and screams.
Another example: the moment hot food arrives on Mommy's plate and they sense my butt nestled happily in my chair at the dinner table, it signals their little tummies to HAVE TO poop... all of them, in succession, until my meal is one big blur of wiping hineys, gasping and gagging for fresh air, and then scooting people back up to the table in booster seats. For those un-initiated to parenthood, you may be thinking, "Aren't your kids 4?! Why not make them do it themselves?" The answer, my naive friends, is that 4 year olds can, in fact, wipe, but it's a horribly messy endeavor ultimately ending up in my having to scrub walls, sink handles, door knobs, and toilet seats, not to mention undies and hynies anyway... so I say why double (or quadruple) my work, when one quick wipe of the tushie saves me a full bathroom and child scrub down.
One more example, you say? Well lets talk meal preparation. I have my children fully conditioned to come to the dinner table at the sound of the smoke alarm. When that baby rings, it must mean Mommy's almost finished cooking. Yep, some day the firefighters are going to arrive at my house in the middle of the evening and find my kids seated at the table with fork and spoon in hand, and even a little drool...
Pavlov would be proud.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I do all day...

I feel that I should write today about what I fill my time with all day, since my dearest hubby seems to come home every day to a bomb and must be wondering what I've done, why it's justified that I bring no income into our home, and why the chocolate and coffee continue to dissappear in large quantities each day. Also, it would help to offset the reports our kids give him that would make it seem that we spend all day every day at playdates and on fun outings. And so, here it is, in one run on sentence (since that's how mylife feels).... what I did yesterday:

Wake up and hit the ground running, must find out and gather what supplies I'll need for school today, have my cereal and coffee, empty last night's dishes from dishwasher, and read 1 blog page (time splurge!)... put a load of bedding in the wash...wake/dress/diaper/brush teeth for all three kids and make my bed... rush them down and make breakfast and drinks for all three, start grinding flour for bread baking later, clean up after breakfasts, load dishwasher, sweep up (no. 1), notice hall is filthy and sweep it too... begin school: bible lesson, songs, calendar time, craft (ohmygoodnessamicrazy. whatwasIthinking "glitter!?")... intermission to sweep up lots of glitter and wipe glue off counters, children, and tabletop... laundry load #2 changeover...remove 2 year old from behind Christmas tree and rehang ornaments, silence tantrumming 2 year old with goldfish and milk snack, regather kids for math lesson, reading lesson and computer time... laundry load #3 changeover... (mind you, nothing is folded and all three kids' bedding are still either drying or sitting in baskets waiting to be put on the beds)... start 4 loaves of bread in the mixer with three kids "assisting"... wipe flour off three kids, sweep up the floor, set kids to work cleaning up the toy areas, then end up "helping" with most of it because I'm anal and nothing is in the right spots...
Shoo three kids upstairs and begin making their beds with clean bedding, make them clean up the toy area upstairs that they've trashed while I'm making the beds, yell for someone to "please-come-flush-the-daggone-nasty-toxic-toilet-and-stop-leaving-their-yuck-for-ME-TO-FLUSH!" Go back downstairs with kids, prepare lunch, clean lunch, feed self scraps of whatever I can throw together quickly, sweep floors, put kids down for naps.
Knead bread dough and transfer to pans to rise 2nd time. Check email and facebook, begin balancing checkbook... crapcrapcrappity crap it didn't balance the first time! Go over math twice before figuring out that Ryan went to Sams last night and there's an extra deduction that hasn't figured in online, find the amount and balance checkbook finally. Change over new load of laundry #4. Watch 15 mins of the end of "Little Miss Sunshine"... looks cute. Begin heating oven for baking. Eat half power bar because I'M STARVING.
Rescue 2 year old hollering "MOMMA, WHERE ARE YOUUUUU?!" in crib and proclaim an end to naptime... get 2 other kids up and tell them to wait in the upstairs playroom... make/deliver snacks, get/read mail, begin baking bread, change poopy and throw the diaper on the porch till I have time to put it in the outer trash, return upstairs and start "Cars" for the kids. Remove fresh bread from oven, Finish last load of laundry to the dryer and look tiredly upon the 4 loads of laundry waiting to be folded sitting in baskets in the hall... Wipe 4 year olds' bottom.
While all three are watching "Cars" grab a shower and order the older two to make sure their brother doesn't kill himself or destroy anything in the next 20 minutes.
Aaaaahhhh... shower nice.
Return to playroom (begrudgingly) and begin folding laundry. Tell sweet boy I can't read to him right now even though he's bored (already?) of the movie. Tell him he can go play in his room. 15 mins later go check on the boy and find him sweetly looking thru his favorite books on his bed all by himself and decide to chuck the chores and read to my baby for 20 minutes... then begin folding laundry AGAIN.
Finish laundry and return downstairs with 2 year old to "assist" while I empty the dishwasher, wrap and stow 4 loaves of fresh bread, and cook dinner... cook, serve, clean up and fill dishwasher, sweep up after dinner, and begin knitting Sarah's poncho because she can't wait one second longer for me to start hers. Ryan arrives home 6:45 and kids clean up the downstairs toys and head up for bedtime routines... kids go down and we head downstairs where I wrap 70 gajillion presents for delivery to our sponsored family this weekend. Finish at 9 and watch a program with Ryan because you-can't-be-serious-if-you-think-I'm-gonna-play-wii-after-all-I've-done-today. I love my hunny, but I just don't understand how he can have energy to play video games at the end of the night that involve standing and pretending to play a sport. I'm pretty much good only for laying around and drooling on myself at that point in the evening.
Hope that sums up why, though, hunny. Gotta run, time to put the laundry away now, and I believe I forgot to throw a poopy diaper in the outside trash can... ew :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No good deed goes unpunished...

We had the Sandbridge Chapel Annual Tour of Homes last week, a benefit function at our church to raise money for various church programs, and Ryan and I volunteered to work in/run the cafe portion of the event. This year, Ryan ran the food prep/service area whilst I functioned mainly as the runner, which literally meant I was schlepping large quantities of food back and forth between the church and community center and literally running most of the day. It also meant wearing a hat and apron around for food safety, which apparently isn't a good look for me. At one point, trying to be nice, I stalled my run just short of the door in order to stop and hold open the door for a group of elderly gentlemen. Smiling, I waited for them to pass with my best "Merry Christmas" face on and an effort to stop panting from the constant running, when one of the gentlemen looked up at me and said, "What a nice young gentleman. Thanks again!"...
I walked in to Ryan's prep station and said, "I'll be taking that plastic surgery now, thank-you-very-much."

Friday, December 3, 2010

My little buddy is "Tuesday"!

"Dis Nommy in my Tummy, Momma!"
Happy Birthday (belated for publishing this post, though) my sweet little buddy! Caleb turned 2 yesterday, and everywhere we went, when asked how old he is he sweetly and enthusiastically answered "Tuesday!"... and once again Mommy melted into a little puddle over his cuddly boy-ish cuteness. It's such a cliche, but they DO in-fact grow up way too fast. But watching him grow up, learning to pretend and play games with his sisters that he could not, hearing full, correct sentences come out of his tiny little mouth, and watching him conquer the playground is such a blessing to me. And he still loves a good cuddle with Mommy, so he's not too grown up... yet. Love you Caleb Michael... you'll always be MY baby boy. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why my house is like the bermuda triangle...

("My precious")

Things that are lost in my house, and (mostly) never return.

1. Kid toys...

There must be some law that after visiting a fast food joint, grandparents' house, or childrens' party, my children MUST come back with toys that Mommies would rather never have enter their house. They are either extraordinarily loud/annoying (i.e. the little Panda from Kung fu Panda that Mickie-D's gave us in our Unhappy meals that screams HI-Yah! when you move his arm), Dangerous (i.e. Yo-Yo's, things shaped like food that aren't food, and/or conversely, things that look like coins but are really chocolate and lead children to later taste more coins from Mommy's pocketbook) or Destructive (i.e. Bouncy balls, Bubbles- they look sweet and innocent but soon after opening result in a slimy mess all over child, carpet, & furniture and are somehow always swallowed... damn you Bubbles!).

Invariably when these things come into my home, they are fought over tooth-and-nail, held fast to ("my PRECIOUS"), and end up lost about 574 million times a day leading to tears, stained furniture, and/or gut wrenching pain as Mommy steps on them and re-discovers them.

No wonder these things dissapear into the void/trash can mere hours after entering my home.

2. Ryan's stuff- My husband is a pack rat hoarder. Seriously. I'd enroll him into one of those programs with steps, but he's too cheap to pay for it, and is in denial to boot. He expects me to keep and find a place for his crap, too, which is bad in two ways. First, when it involves documentation of sorts (such as bills, warranties, manuals to things... I hate them and invariably toss them in the dreaded boxes they came in...doesn't everyone?) it always comes back to bite me in the a-s. I know keeping important documentation for things, like, say, the deed to our HOUSE, is important, but I just can't see how we need to keep the 1 year limited warranty for our veggie peeler is that stinkin vital. But sure enough, 9 months after purchase, the damn thing invariably breaks in some warranteed-fricken fashion and Ryan hollers, "Mel, where's that warrantee?"... and I go and pretend to look in my big black file box for it and then fess up that "it's gone and I threw it away and I deserve to die for said crime but please, sir, show me some mercy. " This is followed by the "head shake"... Ryan has nailed a whole hour's worth of guilt trip with one simple maneuver.

Secondly, we have his stupid-crap-from-childhood. He has a whole trunk full of old army figures from his childhood and old MAD magazines, for instance. "They might be valuable" you say? Nay, I say. They are missing arms and have bent pages and such. Therefore, they are crap and must be "lost to the void". His ancient Nintendo is another example. While awesome for its nostalgic potential, with games, it takes up a whole laundry basket size space in my house, which is not ok... especially since Ryan will take it out only once every couple of years, then use it for a couple hours, leaving me with a vomitous pile of nintendo games, cases, wiring, and other associated mess to clean up after his semi-annual Nintendo orgy. THESE. MUST.DISAPPEAR. I'll get caught some day, but the peace I'll enjoy in the mean time is so way worth it.

3. Other Various Stuff Lost To "the Mommy brain".

This list includes things that I have lost over time due to lack of sleep and or the disturbed frame of mind that comes from having requests, orders, and whines thrown your direction 24/7 by small (and large) angry people who live in your house but don't pay rent. So far, among these things are counted untold numbers of sock-mates, whole tubs of baking supplies (sometimes later found in my closet or in the cabinet where we keep the movies), gallons of milk, a pizza cutter (my very fave pizza cutter... I miss it so... an awesome multi-tasker in the kitchen), remote controls, cleaning supplies, and bras (sometimes found in Caleb's toy box, thus continuing the saga of my boy's love of all things boobs, ew.).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My "I'll never" list...

This was so not my idea... got this one from "Rants from Mommyland" but I'm too lame to figure out how to link it up so if you wanna read the origional post this is based on, googleityourfrickenself cuz' I'm tired and cranky and Caleb woke up early again, dangit. Anyway, here are the "I'll never"'s I swore on before I had kids...
1. I'll never count to three... pshaw... yea right. It really is magic. Really. I've even counted to a dog once shearly out of habit. They know when their butt's really on the line to watch out cuz' Mommy counts really fast when she's extra ticked off.

2. I'll never yell. HA! and HA again. I know one day DYFS (aka the Mommy Police) is going to show up at my door to check in on us because the neighbors are hearing me thru the walls and our leaky windows.

3. I'll never have children who don't learn to sleep thru the night early. - Caleb didn't sleep thru the night till he was 14 months old, and still doesn't about 40% of the time. Nuff said.
If you could hear his little toddler thoughts they'd sound something like "go screw yourself Dr. Ezzo... now find that lady with the boobies and the comfy rocking chair!"

4. I'll never have a DVD player in my car. That was before I found myself saying things like this: (also on my list of I'll never say THAT"'s)
"Stop touching her!"
"I'm gonna pull this car over, I swear it"
"Did you just throw your shoe at me?! Oh no, it's ON now kiddo!"
"Mmm-hmm. Thaaaaat's nice" (after being regailed by 30 minute rendition of a made up song about boogers and the apostle Paul)

Dammit- somebody find me a Barney and hit PLAY quick!!!

5. I'll never give them candy as a bribe. ... they now get lollipops as a reward for reading progress and a pizza party with ice cream for big accomplishments. Yay for that "not-reinforcing-food-as-a-feel-good-moment" thing Mommy. Suuuuuper.

6. I'll never use the phrase, "Time out!"... how lame is that, right? well, three kids later, I just put Hannah in there after her brother hit HER, so I could get some peace and quiet while on the phone with the cable guy. I can deal with her complaint and the resultant trial and punishment of Caleb afterward because if I'd have put him in time out I would have had to heard "all done timeout Mommy?" 8 million times from Caleb while I was on the phone.

7. I'll never bring them shopping with me at Walmart/I'll hire a sitter for them first. This is the most hilarious of my "I'll nevers" I remember seeing the poor mommies of 5 pushing their kids down an aisle with people hanging off every surface of the cart and invariably at least 1 kid wandering aimlessly in front of the cart screaming hysterically for some junk food item whilst Mommy stares off into her blissful happy-place looking as if she's had one too many shot of Jack before heading off in the family van, and I would think... "that will NEVER be me. I'll pay out the butt for a babysitter first"... Ha! That was before I found out you have to mortgage your house to afford a babysitter these days if you have more than one kid.

Do you have any "I'll never"'s?? Care to share?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hannah and Sarah's plans for the future...

(from the back of the car driving home from a night out at Panera)
Hannah: Sarah, when we're grown up, do you want to eat out with me E V E R Y night?
Sarah: OOh, yes. But first... we have to buy a wallet. And a credit card to go in the wallet.
Hannah: Yeah! A wallet.
Sarah: Oh, but you know what? We'll also have to get a new place to live. Cuz that's what people do when they grow up; they find a new place to live.
Hannah: I know, we'll live with Nonnie!
Sarah: Yeah, that's a good idea... if she's not dead then. Mom, will Nonnie be dead when we grow up?
Mommy: (Stifling a laugh) I certainly hope not.
Hannah: Oh yeah, and lets go camping every day.
Sarah: No Hannah, I'm only gonna camp when I want to, not when you say so, cuz I'll be grown up.

You here that Nonnie? You can't keel over for a long time, because otherwise, apparently, your grand-daughters will be homeless. And you might want to guard your wallet :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Love... Hate

Things I love:
Coffee- sipped leisurely with no interruptions, in my time, as prepared by me
Dark Chocolate
Naked baby butt
Novels- preferrably sci fi or period novels
Bones/crime drama
Ryan's cooking
Fist/belly bumps during a workout
Hot baths
Teaching my kids at home
Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream
Finally being able to do a pull up
A balanced checkbook (on the first try)
a clean house

Things I hate:
Cold meals- served to me daily because somehow as soon as my food is ready and hot my kids have finished theirs and need "something else", cleaned up, or have spilled something. Mom's never get hot meals.
Waking up early- meaning before 7:30 am
photo editing
cleaning house with kids in tow
my bad memory
babyhood slipping away
taking time to shower, shave, and do my hair
cream of wheat or rice on a hard-wood floor
Ryan's sharp tongue when irritated
The fact that Ryan thinks he's always right
The fact that he's usually correct
cold mornings

What are your love/hates... any we have in common?

Monday, September 20, 2010

The boy knows how to get what he wants...

When I went into Caleb's room to get him up this morning, his first words to me were this:
Caleb: "Cookie!"
Mommy: "No, baby, no cookies for breakfast... that's not good for you"
Caleb: "Cookie! Cookie!"
Mommy: (trying a different strategy) "No, we don't have any cookies. There are no cookies in this house" (sadly, this is too true)
Caleb: "Car! Get some! Car! Get some cookie!"

Gotta give him credit... the little guy knows how to get what he wants. He actually expected me to jump in the car and go to the store immediately for a cookie.
Much whining and gnashing of teeth ensued upon a negative answer to his request.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Preschool week 2

Measuring body parts and charting them
Self portraits

Caleb's puzzles (Hannah's a great helper!)

Computer time!

Week two of preschool is almost done now and we're still hanging in there. It's been tons of fun so far, but also a lot of juggling, now that Caleb doesn't nap in the morning. We're spreading our learning out over the course of the 5 week days so that the actual school time is only an hour to an hour and a half a day. Usually, Mon./Wed./Thurs. are our longer school days, with Unit study time, math-u-see lessons, and Writing/Reading lessons, along with a simple music lesson on Thurs. instead of a unit study, while Tues. and Fri.'s are shorter, usually with just a reading lesson and a fun unit study activity. The first week the kids learned about insects, while this week, our Unit Study has focused on God's creation of Man, so we've been learning about what makes us special and unique. We throw in a trip out for playgroup or somewhere fun, like the zoo at least twice a week, also.

Caleb has been involved in almost every day's lessons... he loves to pray, participate in Calendar time (we go over the month, day, and date each day with an interactive calendar), sing the bible verse memorization song of the week (this week, it's Psalm 33:4- You can trust God to keep his promises), and whatever crafts we're doing that week. Then, when the girls are busy with tougher stuff, he likes to color (thank goodness he no longer eats crayons/markers), work puzzles, stamp, play with playdough, and goof around with counting/sorting bears. He insists on being at the table whenever the girls are there.

So as not to cast it in an unfairly perfect light though, there are drawbacks to school so far. First of all, Caleb wants to potty train (yes, I didn't want it yet... I like diapers... so convenient and easy, without running to the bathroom every 10 minutes), so every few minutes we're interrupted by his adorably cute but interruptive call to "POO POO!"... which may or may not result in said poo-poo. Anymommy would agree I guess, if you've seen her recent posts (LOVE HER!). Also, dealing with three youngsters at once often leads to a cacophany of requests, interruptions, squabbles, and general glitter/paper scrap disasters on my floor. And yes, I am anal retentive and MUST sweep the floor after such messes before the next activity. MUST. I cannot bear the thought of one of my little ones tracking glue residue or glitter from their socks onto my carpet. C-A-N-N-O-T. Wish I was more flexible, but it's not gonna happen.
In the end, though, I'm over-the-moon-gleefully-joyful over being able to homeschool my little ones. And teaching/attending preschool in your pjs just can't be beat. It is a great adventure I just can't wait to undertake further. So here goes... here's to many more fun weeks to come!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Got your nose!

You can tell alot about a kid from playing "got your nose" (where you pretend you're taking their nose and show them your thumb between two fingers as if it was their nose)...
Hannah (at about Caleb's age): Laughed heartily and asked for more. Pretended to steal someone else's nose so she'd have a nose again
Sarah (also, when she was about 20 mo): Cried over her lost nose and demanded her nose back.
Caleb: Smiled brightly, leaned in, and bit my nose in an attempt to get a nose in return.
I love watching their different reactions to things... being their Mom is lots of fun!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Playing doctor...

You know when your kid has been to the doctor entirely too much when he builds an otoscope out of tinkertoys. This is Caleb's first creation with tinkertoys that is representational, meaning it represents something real. Normally he sticks stuff together randomly, but today he walked up to me with this, stuck it into my ear, looked in the hole on the other end, and declared, "Ear, good." Then he walked around to the other ear, stuck it inside, and said, "Good!" Apparently I don't have an ear infection, which is great news! I'm going to make a doctor out of the little guy yet!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another cute milestone

Today Caleb began using "Please" "Thank you" and "You're welcome" in everyday, appropriate situations. The cutest thing is he says "peeeeez", "tink ooooo," and "wah-cum"... I forgot how precious it is when they begin to use those manners. It makes me want to pick him up and squeeze him to death with hugs and smother him with kisses. Esp. because he automatically says, "wah-cum" after he says "Tink ooo"... so for instance, after handing him a drink, I'll say, "What do you say, Caleb?"
"Tink-oooo.... wah-cum"
(Mommy melts into puddle of adoration)

On another note, the girls began going to vacation bible school this week at a nearbye church and have spent two days enjoying themselves apart from me. This morning they said, "Mom, we're going to have so much fun today, and you can't come, ok?" Part of me wants to be there for every ounce of fun and learning, and the other part is having a blast devoting my attentions to Caleb this week and is grateful they don't always need me right beside them. This is such a sweet season in motherhood, even if I do feel a bit batty sometimes.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One of my favorite milestones yet.

The girls each caught their first fish camping this weekend!!! Those who know me know I'm a marathon fisher... I would fish all the time, day and night, if allowed, and so their first catch is a huge point of excitement for me. Ryan and I took the girls out fishing while Caleb napped in the camper... it was last minute right before leaving for home on Monday, and I really didn't expect anything, but they were begging for one last boat ride and try at a fish with their little purple Dora rods. Ryan and I each took a girl, and about the third cast in, Sarah caught a 4 in "sunny"... not much, but she reeled it in herself and helped hold it while I removed the hook, and then released it herself. Then, about 15 mins later, Hannah caught a beautiful 7 in brim... looked so good I wanted to let her eat it, but she too reeled in, held, and released her catch.
When we returned to the deck to tell Nonnie and Papaw about it, Hannah's report was that she caught a fish "this big" (gesturing her hands to indicate about a foot long), and Sarah's report was that her fish "was about as long as it is from the gate to that post" (about 5 feet). It was their first fish tale. Can't wait for more!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Work it on out...

So we started P 90 x yesterday...
Honestly I have never been one of those ladies who thought it was necessary to work out so hard you want to hurl, but I did it last night. Count this as one more stupid thing Ryan talked me into in my life. I don't necessarily think I need a program bent on fashioning my body into something like Ms. Universe... I am a self-assured 130 lbs, and I don't think I look too bad. Ok, well, my bottom is a little bigger and saggier than I like, and my bo.obs... don't get me started on those... alls I can say is Caleb better be grateful and frickin' super-healthy and smart after my sacrifice of my ta-tas. But I'm doing this mostly for him. While I'd be content whiling away the nights watching Crime Drama (I can hear Ryan rolling his eyes out there somewhere... "oh-my-goodness-not-another-episode-of-NCIS!"), Ryan is a mover and a shaker, not content to sit too long (unless it's some mindlessly boring reality show about decorating or cooking that makes me want to go to sleep), and so this is my way of supporting him (dammit) and spending quality time with him. It's kinda fun, sitting side by side doing sit ups and yelling "Damn you Tony Horton!" at the TV screen together, in a wierd sadistic way. Well, at least we're doing it together, ya know? And hopefully it will bring me a little more energy and enjoyment of how I look in a bathingsuit this summer. We'll see... I may only last a week, or I may go the distance, but I'm not going to try to predict what will happen. I do know that Ryan better not say A THING about the further loss of my Ta-ta's for the cause. NOT. ONE. THING. MISTER.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

For an hour this morning I was a kid again

We broke out the pool and slip n slide this morning. The kids had such a blast. Caleb enjoyed pouring cups out over and over, while the girls splashed and splashed in the pool. Once the slip n slide came out for the first time, I had to teach them how to use it, which was HILARIOUS. Imagine chubby little belly flops onto the slip n slide, wedgie side up, with giggles galore. I even got on and joined in the fun a few times, which was like a time warp. For a moment, I was 7 again, slipping and sliding in the back yard and having a blast. I'm so glad we got them the slip n slide for their birthdays! I didn't get any good pictures, though... too much fun to stop and ask for poses :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh Dear!

So this afternoon, the girls were playing hide and seek around the house while I cleaned up after dinner. Caleb was running around chasing them and hiding behind doors and such trying to play along. Right before finishing, I noticed it was really too quiet around the house... no Caleb noises, so to speak. I asked Sarah if she'd seen him, and she responded no. I asked Hannah, and she replied that he wasn't hiding with her. So then I listen...
(Sounding as if it's in a tunnel)
"Caleb, where are you?!"
(again, tunnel-ish sound... I begin to look in closets where he's been known to lock himself a time or three)
(Sound seems to be getting further away... I look frantically to the stairs, nope, no Caleb)
I look at the front door... yup still closed, but the sound is coming from that direction. I quizzically look out the door, only to find my 16 month old son wandering around on my front porch aimlessly, calling my name all the while.
I've been leaving my door unlocked starting at 5ish so Ryan can get in. That won't happen again. It seems I've got an escapee on my hands.

Farm Fun

Sarah caught this one all by herself!

We (meaning I) took a day to play hookie from our housework and spent the day at Hunt Club Farms petting zoo today. It was a real blast. And yes, Aunt Stacey, we payed perfectly good money to do what you get to do every day :)

Enjoy the pix!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Four Years Old

Can you believe those are my precious babies, now turning four tomorrow? Always 2 peas in a pod, they held hands even from the first days after being born. I loved sneeking up on them in the crib, always delighted by the way they would cuddle up to each other while sleeping. Nevermind that at about 9 mo we had to move them apart because they'd drive each other crazy... stealing pacifiers, sitting on each other, etc :)
And now they continue to grow and blossom. I'm so delighted to see how lovely my little ladies are. They have a beautiful love for Christ already, and their sweet faith inspires me to be better myself. They have learned so much in the past year... how to recognize letters and numbers, how to associate sounds with those letters, how to ride a bike (with training wheels), how to care for (and be infuriated by) their little brother. They play board games and work puzzles, they recite songs from memory flawlessly (better than I can), and they can play on the bigger parts of the playground without my having a heart attack. They now no longer scream and run fearfully at the mention of going in the pool- and even swear they're going to learn how to swim this year. And they continually surprise and delight me (with occaisional infuriation thrown in).
Hannah has had her share of tough times this year. Her asthma seemed to really worsen in severity. And we must have dragged the poor kid all over town trying to find answers to why she would occaisionally turn blue-lipped, complain of tiredness all the time, and tummy aches. But my goodness that girl is plucky. She has so much spirit and humor and wonderful cuddliness to her that it amazes Ryan and I. She has an amazing temper, and tends to blow her top sometimes just for sport, it seems, but in the next moment after she's always looking to crawl into one of our laps and get a good long cuddle, which she calls "loves" (as in, "Mommy, I want some loves")... often with thumb in mouth. We tease about how tough she is, too, in that when disciplined she has an amazing ability to keep a stiff upper lip and appear unfazed by rebukes. She has a thick skin, which is a great trait in this tough world, in my mind. Hannah loves to play games, thoroughly enjoys a good plate of spaghetti, loves singing songs (loudly and with the funniest changes in wording), and adores animals (unfortunately at times, because she's also allergic to them). She has also surprised me in her love of school this year. Though attention to and recall of things learned appear to be difficult for her at times, she really appears to relish and appreciate school, and tries so hard, often to the point of perfectionism, with all she puts her mind to. In fact, Sarah and I often have to soothe her during tantrums after a letter is not perfectly written and reassure her that it's ok to move on and try again rather than getting upset about imperfections. And the girl LOVES crafts. When school starts, it's "what are we going to make today"- she loves all things crafty. And also surprising has been her continued bond with Caleb. She is his guide and protector around here. She is quick to tell others how he should be cared for, and is my little helper whenever I need assistance with something for him, whether it be diaper fetching, feeding, entertaining, etc. etc. I really thought she would be the one who was jealous of him, but she adores her brother and we just love it!
Sarah has had a tough year, on the other hand, adjusting to having another sibling and sharing the attention with him. Sarah's love language has always been quality time, and she has been none-too-happy with Mommy's time being split three ways. She is a smiling, goofy, silly little young lady who also happens to be completely addicted to t.v. - I think she'd sell a sibling (or two) for the chance to watch t.v. more often each day. We've giggled over her new langauge this year, too, as she apparantly speaks "cat"- that's right, she speaks in meows when she's feeling her silliest. And she is so ridiculously curious. Sarah's word is "WHY?"- she must ask it a million times a day. But she's also very quick to pick up on new information. And technical-minded, as well... she can build some amazing things with just a jar of tinkertoys and some imagination. She is imaginitive in so many ways, as well, often leading the games of pretend, and often getting herself in trouble in equally imaginitive ways (i.e. having water-park-like escapades in the bathroom while supposedly handwashing). Sarah has a sensitive, brooding side, now too, in that she gets her apple-cart upset very easily by a look or a word, often leading to cascades of tears and loud sobs from hurt feelings. And when feelings are upset, we've also noticed a new tendancy to snap back and sass at Ryan or I, largely out of a sense of apparent righteous indignation at being rebuked for something she sees as perfectly ok. Her greatest loves are learning new things (esp. about the natural or mechanical world), playing games, esp. with Mommy, imaginitive play with Hannah, and riding her new bike. She loves Caleb, too, as long as he's not in the way :). I just love watching her figure stuff out and absorb information like a sponge, and she's a constant source of funny comments and phrases, often taken incorrectly from something she's heard from the adults around her. She's a silly, fun-loving spaztastic little girl, and keeping up with her energy is rough, but fun!
Happy Birthday my little darlings. Mommy and Daddy love you with all our hearts, and we always will. That's a promise.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Note to self

Bathtime AFTER Spaghetti dinner. A F T E R.
p.s. Caleb finally learned to say "Cheese!" for the camera. It's the cutest. thing. ever.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Where I've been...

Easter Sunday
On the Train

Stacey, Rebeccah, Micah, Eliahna, Hannah, Sarah

Havin' fun in the sun

Vroom Vroom

Well, I'm finally crawling back out of my hole after several MONTHS of my kids being too sick or too ornery to be able to take the time to blog. In the last couple months, Hannah's asthma has worsened to the point of her having to be taken to the hospital, the kids all had colds, then stomach bugs, then colds again, and Caleb cut 4 new molars... ok 3, but the fourth one is almost there, so the end is in sight. I've had a tough run as a Mommy, constantly juggling puke buckets, tossing tissues to runny nosed sickies, rotating doctor appointments, and following little ones around with hand sanitizer and a bleach bucket. But like I said, the end is in sight, and I'm finally getting to sleep most nights for more than 5 hours, and I don't have to sleep in the hall just so I can get to either kids' rooms quickly in the event of "waaaaah!" or "Mommy, I think I'm gonna throw up! Oops, I already did."

On the upside,

School is winding down for the year, so that I'm only doing it when we have a free day, i.e. the weather isn't sunny, warm, and we don't have other plans. It's been such a lovely year and I've LOVED teaching the kids. They've now learned all their letters, upper and lowercase, and alot of their corresponding sounds, all their numerals from 1-20, and can do simple addition problems (with help). That may not sound that great, but hey, I can look back at the beginning of the year and say, "wow, I did that! I taught my girls those things!" Neat.

We also recently had a lovely visit with Ryan's family, including getting to visit with Stacey & Daniel, and their lovely family of 4 (and 1/2, Stacey's 35 weeks pregnant with #5) kids. I wish we could see them more often, but we relish every visit. We went with Barry and Dianne (Ryan's parents), all the brothers and sisters, in-laws, and their 11 (and 1/2) kids- all under 6 years old- to the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County, PA, and had a fun train ride and visit to the train museum one day. It was just a fabulous time for all. The visit was so much the better, too, since we invested in DVD players for the car, thus silencing at least 2 of the 3 whines in the car on the 5 hour drive to Jersey and back. Paradise was, however, quickly lost after returning home and the next morning having Hannah puke all over the kitchen floor and Caleb come down with his cousin's cold. Oh well, it was totally worth it.
So now we're starting to settle into "normal" life again, and preparing for the girls' fourth birthday in about a week. Sorry for the lack of updates, to the 2 or 3 people who read this regularly... hopefully you'll see this more often- assuming noone gets sick again and I get some stinkin' sleep. :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Caleb's definitions- No. 2

Imagination- Galloping out on your trusty steed with your handy sword-broom to vanquish the deck dragons.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And it's just not the same without....

Hot Cocoa, compliments of Daddy.

Snow Days

I know every Mommy blogger in VB has a post titled similarly from the past couple days, but here's my 2 cents...

We got about 8 in of snow this week. It's been over 20 years since I've seen this kind of snow in our area, so we were all very excited to see all the white blanketing our home on Saturday. We've had a great time, romping out in the snow for the past three days. I told them today that they better make the best of it since it's not likely to stick around much longer. Caleb got a few minutes out in it, but after standing stock still in the snow for about a minute, he promptly threw himself down and had a fit over who-knows-what (scared of the white stuff, can't move, whatever). Then we put him on the girls pink Dora bike at the entrance to the garage and that was enough to placate him for a while. He hasn't been out since Saturday, though, because he's been sick with a fever, poor little guy. Here are some pictures of the last couple days, though, including our micro-snowman, made of a couple of snowballs and some Juniper twigs. I told you guys in NJ that we'll pretty much make a snowman out of anything here in VA, just to say that we did it. The snow's been too powdery for anything better than that, though my neighbor cheated and made a nice 4 footer using a spray bottle to make it stick together :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

My own Mr. Belvedere

I was feeling a bit upset and dejected today after spilling an entire bowl of rice on the floor... the sparkly-fresh, newly-cleaned floor near my refridgerator, when Caleb came toddling towards me (predictably) to investigate the mess. I quickly shooed him away to prevent him from trying to eat the mess, and I told him to go play whilst I grumpily began sweeping up the mess. He waddled off, I thought to go play, but returned a minute later and melted my heart.
He had gone to the closet and pulled out the girls' toy broom, then returned to the kitchen and proceeded to "help" me sweep up the mess. He took his little broom and started pushing it every which way in an attempt to do exactly what I was doing. My thirteen month old. He was then covered in smushy Mommy kisses for being the sweetest little boy ever.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Welcome to raising a man, Mommy.

We've been teaching Caleb to recognize and point to his different body parts... a skill his sisters had mastered by about this time, too. Both girls at this age could point to their tummy, toes, facial features, etc, without difficulty, much to our delight. Fast forward to Caleb, and I'm seeing the difference between how the male and female minds work. If you ask Caleb to point to his belly, he points to his pe-nis. His toes... he sticks his feet in the air and... grabs his pe-nis. His nose... you guessed it- pe-nis. Yep, he's definitely got the mind of a guy.

(p.s. the extra dash you see in the word of the day is to make it difficult for any old joe blow surfing the net and searching for blogs with dirty content to stumble onto my happy family blog, Mom, in case you were wondering).

We'll keep working on the body parts. At least he's getting closer to finding his toes.